Notes on Revelation: "Jesus Christ"
The above genitive phrase is usually rendered "of Jesus Christ" in the translations and is taken by many preachers to indicate that the revelation of the book is "concerning Jesus Christ." Indeed, it is certain that Revelation is a Christ-centered book from John's initial vision of Jesus in chapter 1 to the Christ-directed praise uttered by the heavenly hosts in chapter 5 to the benediction at the end of chapter 22- and at all points in between- Jesus is glorified.
Currently, however, here is a wide-ranging consensus of commentators- including David Aune, Greg Beale, Grant Osborne, and Robert Thomas- who note that, as it is used in Revelation 1:1, =Ihsou: Cristou: appears intended as a subjective genitive, so that the phrase should be rendered "from Jesus Christ." An understanding of the phrase as indicating Jesus Christ as the chief agent of the revelation related by John, rather than as the content of the revelation related by John, fits better within verse 1, in which the content of the revelation seems to be "[the things] that must happen quickly." As noted previously, "revelation" indicates an uncovering of "what has formerly been hidden." If my understanding of verse 1 is correct, then John is indicating that Jesus Christ is uncovering "[the things] that must happen quickly." This understanding would also make sense of why the book is referred to as "the words of prophecy" in 1:4, and would fit well with the Christology presented in John's Gospel in which Jesus is called the "Word," and is seen as God's chief agent of special revelation (John 1:1, 18).
And so, if my understanding is correct, then the first 3 verses of Revelation present a chain of revelation, as follows:
1. God-> 2. Jesus Christ-> 3. His angel-> 4. John-> 5. The one reading-> 6. Those hearing
In my next post, I hope to explore this 'chain of revelation' a little more in depth.
Labels: Bible study