Revelation 1:1-3 / The Last Prophet Speaks (Sermon notes and Audio)

Posted on November 21, 2014


This is the first in a series of verse-by-verse expositions of the book of Revelation. This message was delivered at Hillcrest Baptist Church on the morning of November 16, 2014. This message serves as an introduction to the book of Revelation, and deals with the nature and purpose of the revelation, as well as our proper response to the revelation. This post contains an audio recording of my message, along with my sermon notes and a study outline. Please note that the sermon notes are not a full transcript.

AUDIO – Listen Now:


Rev 1_1-3




Revelation 1:1-3

This book was written by John between 94 and 96 AD.

John was the last surviving apostle and was in exile on the island of Patmos when he received this vision.


The opening words, The revelation of Jesus Christ, tells us that the subject of the entire book is Christ.

The word revelation means an unveiling or a disclosure. It is the uncovering of something hidden, the making known of what we could not find out for ourselves.

It is a revelation from God Himself, as testified to in this first sentence. That makes plain that this book is not a book of human wisdom.

But you may [rightly] say that Christ is already revealed in Scripture, so what is this revelation?


Where Christ was first seen as a babe in a manger, a humble suffering servant, He will now be revealed as victorious and triumphant.

Paul, for one, had already mentioned (without detail) this coming and imminent victory of Jesus Christ.

Romans 16:20

Here, we are given a specific and detailed account of how The Lord Jesus Christ will come as a conqueror, and be revealed as King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

This revelation was given to John and meant for us to see, so that we may know the things to come.

By doing this, He gives us hope. We are able to see a victorious future in the mist of a dark and cursed generation.

We are also able to see the fierceness of God’s wrath which will befall the world during the seven years of the great tribulation.

As we progress through the book of Revelation, you’ll notice that it is unique among New Testament books in a couple of ways.

  • It is a book primarily dedicated to prophecy. It is the last new revelation from God that man would receive. After this book was given, the era of prophets came to an end, and true prophets no longer exist.
  • For the majority of the book, there will be no mention of the church. The church will not present on earth when as God pours out His wrath. The church will already have been raptured (delivered), for the Bible tells us it is a time of Jacob’s trouble.

Jeremiah 30:7

Our attention; therefore, will be turned to Israel, as God works toward their eventual deliverance.


As these future events are revealed, we’ll see the urgency of the call to salvation in Christ.

We will also gain a new appreciation for the beauty of the promise that God will deliver the saved from His wrath.

We’ll be able to put our current sufferings in perspective, and understand that they pale in comparison to the suffering of those who will enter into the tribulation.

Such an understanding should then motivate us to more fervently share the gospel with a lost world.

To add to the urgency, we’re told that these things “must shortly take place.”

That doesn’t mean that the events recorded here were supposed to happen during John’s lifetime.

In fact it doesn’t refer to a specific time at all, so we don’t know when these things will happen.

What this does mean, is that the events are imminent. They are certain to happen.

The Greek for “shortly” is a variation of the same word used for “quickly” at the end of this book.

Revelation 22:20

The implication there, is that the return of Christ is imminent, and the meaning is the same in both instances.

Again, the imminent nature should make us all the more zealous to share the Gospel.

We are also told that this revelation was signified by an angel.

To signify means to cause something to be both specific and clear. That is precisely how God meant to communicate these truths to us, specifically and clearly.

Two things in the book are of paramount importance: The word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ.

The first sentence of this book tells us it came from God, and we know that all true prophecy comes from God, not man.

2 Peter 1:21

2 Timothy 3:16


What did John do with the Word of God? He bore witness to “all he saw”.

Likewise, all believers should be bearing witness of the Word of God to the world around us.

All to often, we base our witness on something else, but it is only through the Word of God that Christ is revealed.

John 5:39

No one can come to faith in Christ apart from the Word of God.

Romans 10:17

Neither your testimony, nor any other word can lead one to faith.

Personal experience, emotions, other philosophies are all imperfect and inadequate to the task of leading someone to faith in Christ.

Only the Word of God is infallible, and therefore suitable to lead someone to faith.

Good works (though important) will not lead one to faith, any more than good works can cause salvation.

One returning from the dead will not lead anyone to faith (Luke 16:27-31). They must hear the Word of God.

Stalling for time by building relationships will not lead one to faith. How many of the apostles converts were won this way?

The need is urgent, and only the Word of God is sufficient to the task, because Jesus is the only way.

Romans 10:17

John 14:6

We should all follow John’s example, and bear witness to the Word of God (which is the testimony of Jesus Christ) to all we see.

This revelation promises that those who hear this prophecy, and are obedient to His Word (I.e. The saved) will be blessed.

However, for those who aren’t saved, many parts of the Word of God, this book in particular will be quite disturbing.

We should strive to share the Gospel, and lead others into the blessing that is Jesus Christ.

It is an urgent mission, this entire book screams urgency, and begs salvation.

Once again we are told that the time is near, and this only adds to the urgency.

How near is near? We have no way of knowing. God’s eschatological time table is known only to Him.

As such, many people doubt whether there is any truth to the claims of Christ’s return.

Peter addressed this very issue.

2 Peter 3:3-9

He made it clear that God’s timing is His own, but He WILL make good on His promise.

God won’t rush it. He won’t be a moment too soon or a moment too late.

Not willing that any should perish, His timing will be perfect.

When He does come, not one person will be able to say that they didn’t have the opportunity to know Him.

In the meantime, we have much work to do. We can’t afford to be idle.

1 Thessalonians 5:6

We should be doing all we can to urgently lead others to Christ, and our study of this book should ultimately move each of us to do just that.

Posted in: Eschatology, Sermons