The Book of Revelation is often referred to as “The Apocalypse”
for that corresponds to the title in Greek, actually apokalupsis. So to study the Book of Revelation we need first to understand this word.
The word apokalupsis is also found 19 times in the Greek New Testament and is variously translated in the KJV by the following words or phrases:
“Revelation” 12 times: Romans 2:5; 16:25; 1 Corinthians 14:6, 26; 2 Corinthians 12:1, 7;
Galatians 1:12; 2:2.
“Manifestation” once: Romans 8:19.
“Revealed” once: Matthew 10:26.
“Revealed” To enlighten, once: Matthew 11:25.
“Appearing” once: 1Peter 1:7.
“Coming” once: 1Corinthians 1:7.
“When Christ shall be revealed,” twice: 2Thessalonians 1:7; 1Peter 4:13.
Study these passages of Scripture
In these instances, when speaking of persons, it means “appearing,” or “manifestation”; when speaking of facts and truths it means “disclosure,” or “revelation.”
Note that in Romans 8:19 apocalupsis is translated by the KJV as “manifestation.” In 1Corinthians 1:7 apocalupsis is translated by the KJV as “coming.” Therefore, the title of the Book of Revelation could have been translated: “The Coming of Jesus Christ.”
The “Revelation/Coming/Appearing of Jesus Christ” was predicted by several instances in the New Testament, (KJV), using a form of the word apocalypse:
Matthew 16:27: “…Son of Man shall come in the glory of His Father….”
Matthew 16:28: “Verily I say unto you There be some standing here which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of Man coming in His Kingdom.”
Luke 17:30: “…day when the Son of Man is revealed.”
1Corinthians. 1:7: “…waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
2Thessalonians 1:7: “…when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed”
1Pet. 1:7: “…at the appearing of Jesus Christ.”
1Pet. 1:13: “…grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ…”
Revelation 1:1: “The revelation of Jesus Christ…”
Do these references all refer to the same event as Revelation 1:1?
The problem for interpretation is: Does the “Revelation” in 1:1 refer to the same event as the others mentioned in the New Testament where the same word is used? Since the New Testament is the immediate context for the Book of Revelation, then there is no reason to believe otherwise. The view that they are not the same event would need defense; the logical view is that they do indeed speak of the same event. The Book of Revelation announces the fulfillment of the “revelation/coming/appearing” that was predicted by the other New Testament prophets.
Prediction and Fulfillment
In the Scriptures, prophetic predictions are followed by the historical account of the fulfillment of those predictions. Although “the things which must shortly come to pass,” Revelation 1:1, were in the immediate future at the time John the Revelator received the vision and gave testimony to it, the Book was not canonized, that is, was not recognized as Scripture, until after these events had indeed become historical fact. The canonization of the Book by the Christian community was their witness that the prophesied events had indeed come to pass at the appointed time.
Just as the Old Testament predictions of the first coming of the Messiah are shown to be fulfilled by the Gospel accounts, so the predictions recorded in the New Testament of His “second coming,” or “revelation,” are fulfilled in the Book of Revelation. Thus the pattern is complete: Light has been perfected.
But the Book is eternally relevant, for just as Jesus referred to the events of Noah’s day: “As it was in the days of Noah…,” so should we refer to the events of the end of the Jewish fleshly nation: “As it was in the days of the destruction of Jerusalem,” for that event served as an example of the end of any nation that rejects God. Yes, even finally, of the end of the whole world.
This lesson is an edited excerpt from my book, Revelation In Context, pages 66-69, available at the Living Word Bookstore in Shawnee, Oklahoma and also at www.Amazon.com and www.xulonpress.com. Free downloads are available at www.revelationincontext.sermon.net.