Write the things which you have seen, and the things which are, and the things which will take place after this.
What is the book of Revelation? Why did John write it? These questions are helpful in understanding how to read this book. I think this verse helps to give us a little more insight into these questions.
Jesus gives a command to John, to write. Jesus is commissioning John to prophesy or to communicate what God reveals to him. He is to communicate 3 realities; what He has seen, the things that are, and the things that will be. Thus, John wrote the book of revelation; which is a written and canonized account of a prophetic encounter.
*I define prophecy, in simple terms, as communicating God’s heart and mind from personal experience with God.
What John has seen: Jesus commands John to write down what He has just experienced. I love that John’s encounter begins and ends with Jesus proclaiming who He is (verses 1:11; 22:16). We can rightly summarize the message with it’s title, “The Revelation of Jesus Christ.” This has to be our primary pursuit of reading this book and is to be what we walk away with; experiential knowledge of Jesus. The Father desires that we would be fascinated with His Son as we connect with His heart and His mind revealed in this book.
Things which are: The content of this prophecy are a very real and present reality. Every generation throughout history can relate to and engage with God through what is written. Some read the book of Revelation as just history or just some far off future, but God’s word is alive and active right now. It is a glorious story of Jesus’ leadership over heaven and earth that we are a part of.
Things that will be: Jesus is expressing that there are elements of this book that are yet future. It is written in Amos, “the Lord GOD does nothing without revealing his secret to his servants the prophets.” God wants His people “in the know” of what He is doing. This is to encourage the people of God to stand firm in righteousness through trial and to invite them into partnership with Him.
I also believe Jesus is expressing that the prophecy reveals truths that transcend time (as they always “will be”)… Try pondering that for a while and your head will hurt.
This makes me excited to read this book; to respond to God’s invitation to experience more of Him. And I am so thankful that He does not leave us in the dark concerning our future. God has revealed it to us through all of scripture, and I believe that the book of Revelation brings clarity in connecting a lot of dots.
Zack Roberts — zackroberts.blog
Operations Director at Ember