John’s vision is not named The Book of Revelations, The Book of Revelation, or simply The Revelation. Its full name is: The Book of the Revelation of Jesus Christ.
I have read many books about John’s vision, which begin with a statement about how the vision is about Jesus, and then they spend hundreds of pages writing about the Antichrist, the Tribulation, and the end of the world. So while I agree with their opening statements, I find that what follows in their writing is inconsistent with their introduction.
I believe this inconsistency stems from the fact that although they know that the vision is supposed to unveil Jesus, it seems like much of it is actually about the destruction of the planet. This confusion comes in because of not understanding the shift in the first century from the Mosaic Covenant to the New Covenant. The Revelation of Jesus Christ is about the removal of the Old Covenant and the fully unveiled New Covenant.
All through the New Testament, we find the Apostles writing of a soon approaching day when Jesus would be fully revealed.
- These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith--of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire--may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. 1 Peter 1:7
- Therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober, set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at his coming. 1 Peter 1:13 (His coming in the 70AD destruction, not His final return)
- God is just: He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you and give relief to you who are troubled, and to us as well. This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels. 2 Thessalonians 1:6-7
- Therefore you do not lack any spiritual gift as you eagerly wait for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed. 1 Corinthians 1:7
But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God's wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed. Romans 2:5 (Notice in this passage, the day of wrath (70AD) was also to be the day of revealing.)
The idea that Jesus needs to be revealed is based on the presupposition that He is hidden or unrevealed. So the obvious question would be, what hid Him? Is it that Jesus is in the invisible heavens? That may be the first answer of the modern Christian, but not the first century Christian. Jesus was very active through His Early Church and the manifestations of the Holy Spirit.
To properly answer this question, we must clarify the terms. When the New Testament says “revealed” it uses the Greek word Apocalypsis, which means to “unveil,” this means that Jesus was veiled and needed to be unveiled. So the more precise question is, what was veiling Jesus? And when was it removed?
The Apostle Paul gives us an incredibly clear answer to this question:
Now if the ministry that brought death, which was engraved in letters on stone, came with glory, so that the Israelites could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of its glory, transitory though it was, will not the ministry of the Spirit be even more glorious? If the ministry that brought condemnation was glorious, how much more glorious is the ministry that brings righteousness! For what was glorious has no glory now in comparison with the surpassing glory. And if what was transitory came with glory, how much greater is the glory of that which lasts!
Therefore, since we have such a hope, we are very bold. We are not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face to prevent the Israelites from seeing the end of what was passing away. But their minds were made dull, for to this day the same veil remains when the old covenant is read. It has not been removed, because only in Christ is it taken away. Even to this day when Moses is read, a veil covers their hearts. But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplatethe Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. 2 Corinthians 3:7-18
THE OLD COVENANT, THE MOSAIC COVENANT, WAS A VEIL THAT KEPT JESUS HIDDEN.
As I have addressed in Raptureless, and many other blogs, what Jesus did by the cross established the New Covenant, and made the Old Covenant “obsolete, outdated and soon to fade away” (Hebrews 8:13). Yet as long as the Temple stood in Jerusalem until 70AD, the Old Covenant continued to operate in obstinacy to the New Covenant. From the Cross-until the destruction of Jerusalem, 30-70AD, the earthly Jerusalem had become a “New Egypt” and the Christians were experiencing a new exodus from the earthly Jerusalem into the New Covenant Heavenly Jerusalem (Read Galatians 4:24-27).
John’s Vision is the Apocalypse of Jesus because it is about the destruction of the Old Covenant system (Rev. 4-19) and the finalization of the New Covenant being the only covenant in existence (Rev. 20-22). It is the unveiling (Apocalypsis) of Jesus Christ and His New Covenant, by the removal of the veil, which was the Old Covenant system (2 Cor. 3).
With this proper foundation, Revelation 1:1 makes sense. If you can understand the first verse of the book properly, then the rest of the book can come into right focus.
"The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show to his servants the things that must soon take place. He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John," Revelation 1:1
PS. The Old Testament contains a book about the Old Covenant (Deuteronomy) which says: "You shall not add to the word which I command you, nor take from it, that you may keep the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you." (Deut. 4:2)
The New Testament contains a book about the New Covenant (Revelation) which says: For I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: "If anyone adds to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book; and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the Book of Life, from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book." (Rev. 22:18-19)
In the earthly Jerusalem, the Ark of the Covenant (which symbolized the Old Covenant) had disappeared and was revealed as missing when the temple veil was torn (Matt. 27:50-51; Mark 15:37-38; Lk. 23:45-46)
In the Heavenly Jerusalem, the Ark of the Covenant (which symbolizes the New Covenant) is found in Heaven with God: "Then God's temple in heaven was opened, and within his temple was seen the ark of his covenant. And there came flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder, an earthquake and a severe hailstorm." (Rev. 11:19)