The 'Chain of Revelation' in Revelation 1:1-3. Part 1: "God"
First, it may be helpful to review Revelation 1:1-3.
My translation of Revelation 1:1-3.
1 [This is the] Revelation from Jesus Christ that God gave Him to show His servants [the things] that must happen quickly, and He made [it] known [by] sending [it] through His angel to His servant John 2 who testifies the message of God– the testimony of Jesus Christ– as many [things] as he saw. 3 Blessed is the one reading and those hearing the words of prophecy, and heeding the things written in it, for the time [is] near.
The 'Chain of Revelation' in Revelation 1:1-3.
1. God-> 2. Jesus Christ-> 3. His angel-> 4. John-> 5. The one reading-> 6. Those hearing
The "revelation" is "from Jesus Christ," and the text says that God gave Jesus the Revelation. In Revelation 1:1 "God" is clearly meant to signify "God the Father"- the first Person of the Trinity. Referring to "God the Father" simply as "God" is common in the New Testament. Jesus is often referred to as "the Son of God" (given that Jesus Himself is "God over all"- Romans 9:5- "God" in the phrase "Son of God" is not meant to refer to God in His essential unity- so that "the Son of God" would nonsensically make Jesus His own Son!- but to the Person known as "God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ"- Colossians 1:3), and there are a great number of verses that speak of "God" and "Jesus" as distinct Persons (see, for example, Jesus' words in John 17:3) without taking anything away from the Deity of Christ.
Though essentially One, the three Persons of the Trinity are revealed to take on distinct roles, so that (for example) the Father sent the Son into the world (John 8:42), and not vice-versa, and it was the Son, not the Father, who suffered and died upon the Cross.
Likewise, God the Father is demonstrated as the Person of the Godhead who is the distinct Author of revelation. In the first chapter of John's Gospel, God [the Father] is distinct from the Word (though, mysteriously, One with the Word as well- John 1:1), and it is the Word who reveals God (John 1:18). Likewise, in Hebrews 1:1-2 God [the Father] is the One speaking and the Son is the One through whom He speaks. In Revelation 1:1 God is the Author of revelation while Jesus Christ is the unique Agent of revelation from whom the revelation comes to the other members of the 'chain' outlined above.
As the reader will begin to perceive, it is impossible to truly contemplate God without contemplating His Word- Jesus Christ- and so the thought of God the Father as the distinct Author of revelation may become more intelligible in my next post, which will focus on Jesus Christ as the unique Agent of revelation.
Labels: Bible study