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"The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John: who bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw. Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand."


 A Preacher in his Study





The comment was meant to be critical.

It was based on Revelation 1:1, at least mostly so.

"The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John."

The accuser, an infidel, said that the whole Book of Revelation is not much more than a bunch of "hand-me-down" stories and dreams and visions!

It came, he blasphemed, from God ... to Jesus ... then next to John ... and finally to the servants of the Lord alive back in the late first century! Add to that, he would advance, those of us who read it today and "no telling" what might be deducted from its pages!

The devil, Satan I mean, hates God's Word!

Yes, many try to insinuate that any Text, five generations down the line, cannot possibly be trusted. Thus, Revelation is belittled yet once again!

But just a minute!

Someone is being omitted here!

The Holy Spirit of God!

Verse 1 of the Book clearly says that God, the Originator of Revelation, is its Almighty Source! Then Jesus is given possession, He Himself being the Grand Subject, the Hero, the Saviour, the Lord of it all!

But from that point onward ... including the involvement of John and all his readers, from whatever century, the Holy Spirit assumes control!

He inspired John as the imprisoned Apostle wrote these words. That fact alone removes the possibility of error!

Then that same Holy Spirit illuminates and teaches us as we read and study the Book! There is no "hand-me-down" danger here at all! As long as the Spirit of God is in control!

Listen to Jesus on the power and presence of the Holy Spirit, one aspect of His work anyhow: "Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come." John 16:13 presents the Spirit as the Teacher of divine Truth!


So, for a few days, the Lord willing, we shall study the opening three Verses of John's Book of Revelation!

The "Apocalypse" it's often called, accurately too.

That noun is derived from the very first word in the Greek Text, English too! "Revelation" is spelled "apokalupsis" and means "an unveiling!" The root verb "kalupto" means "to cover, to hide, to veil" something. The prefix "apo" means "off" or even "away."

Thus, an apocalypse is "the taking away" of any object that obscures one's view of a critical subject!

Uncovering God's Plan for the future!

That's mostly what this Book does!

Of course when we get to Heaven and all these 22 apocalyptic chapters have been fulfilled, they will no longer be considered "future!" But they still will have been unveiled in advance of their literal occurrences!

But, technically, I'm getting a little ahead of myself!

Before we discuss the Book's purpose of showing us "things which must shortly come to pass," we must see "apokalupsis" in its full context, its exact setting.

"The Revelation of Jesus Christ" we are told!

This book is not a revelation of John the Apostle!

Or of the coming anti-Christ, not really!

Or even of the nation of Israel, though it is extremely Jewish in nature!

It's all about Him, Jesus, the dear Lord!

He is the Subject!

He is the Focus!

He is the Lamb!

He is the coming King!

We are about to study the opening paragraph, three verses, of "The Revelation of Jesus Christ."

The name "Jesus" is spelled "Iesous" in Greek. It literally means "Jehovah is salvation!" Simply put, "Saviour!" In Hebrew "Jesus" is roughly the equivalent of "Joshua," both names meaning "deliverer!" Jesus is the Lord's human name! "But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for That which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. And she shall bring forth a Son, and thou shalt call His Name JESUS: for He shall save His people from their sins." Matthew 1:20-21

Then "Christ," or "Christos," means "anointed!" It's by definition the equivalent of the Hebrew noun for "Messiah." This identifies Jesus as a King! And a Prophet! And a Priest! These are the three categories of men who were all anointed with oil in Old Testament days! But of course now we know that Jesus is so much more than these! He is God! God the Son! Very God of very God!

And It is He Whom we shall study these next few Lessons!

After all, John later tells us: "For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy." Revelation 19:10 could be saying something like this: "For the real spirit, the true essence, the main focus of all Bible prophecy is to give a clear witness for Jesus." Just like the miracles our Lord performed are called "signs" in John's Gospel, the Greek noun "semeion" indicating "marks or tokens or pointers" to some greater Truth ... so prophecy, Bible prophecy, "points" to Jesus Christ our dear Lord!

He is the Culmination of it all!

Hebrews 2:10 says of Jesus ... "for Whom are all things, and by Whom are all things." Jesus created it all! And all will some day end ... right at His omnipotent feet!

Glory to God!

                                                                           --- Dr. Mike Bagwell




The "rights" to a book or play or poem or even a song can be very important.

In many countries ownership rights and copyright laws apply to such works, calling them "intellectual" property.

Well, then, I have a question.

Who "owns" the "rights" to the Bible Book of Revelation?

This is being asked for a reason.

We know the answer, definitely!

It's found in the very first Verse of the Book.

"The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John." Revelation 1:1

Today we shall study that first clause only. "The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto Him ...."

This "unveiling," an inspired disclosure of spiritual truth, is modified by the prepositional phrase, "of Jesus Christ." Those who study language tell us that this phrase could be "objective" or "subjective" in nature. If "objective," Jesus is the Subject of the whole Book. It's "about" Him. If "subjective," Jesus is the Recipient of the whole Book, all 22 chapters! He owns it! It's presented "to" Him as a gift!

The context here places more weight on the second option. The genitive case used for "Jesus Christ" shows possession!

Jesus owns the "rights" to the Book of Revelation!

I recently read a textbook that attacks the whole Apocalypse. All 400 verses are suspect to this unsaved author. He, at least by implication, adds and subtracts various thoughts to John's Patmos Literature. Oh, by the way, that's not a wise move! "For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: and if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book." Of course, Revelation 22:18-19, the whole promise, will be mocked by many as well!

It is not a good thing to "tamper" with someone else's property! Especially when that Person is God the Son, the Lord Jesus Himself!

But if Jesus "owns" the Book, there should be "proof" of such a fact. Something in writing, a deed! Documented from days past.

There is!

"The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto Him ...."


"Which God the Father gave to Him, Jesus the Son!"

The word "God," a noun, is the Greek term for deity. It is spelled "theos." In Latin, God is spelled "deus." These two words give us the basis for "theology," the study of God, and "deity," that very God in Person.

The Greek teachers tell us that when the "article" is used in reference to God, THE GOD, then our True and Living God, God Supreme is in view! An "article" in a language means its little adjectives "a, an" and "the."

Sure enough, in our Text today we read "ho theos," The God, the only Real God, He gave to Jesus the Revelation!

This distinction must be made because "theos" in Scripture also can mean the false "gods" of this world. I will underline an example. Paul says to the superstitious citizens of Athens, "For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, to the unknown god. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you." Acts 17:23 uses no "article" when describing these "gods!"

We're seeing the Trinity in Revelation 1:1. God The Father is the Giver! God the Son is the Recipient! God the Holy Spirit is the unseen and unheard Narrator! Amazing!

The verb "gave" translates "didomai" and means "to grant, deliver, supply, furnish, bestow or extend." Its "aorist" nature reveals past action, now completed.

All Scripture is related to Jesus, in several ways really.

He is the Subject, directly or indirectly.

He is the Living Word of God. The Bible is the Written Word of God! What affinity this reveals!

He is the Verifier of God's Word! "The scripture cannot be broken," proclaimed our Lord in John 10:35. And, still speaking of God's Word, it's sustenance  and nourishment, Jesus said: "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God." Matthew 4:4

Therefore we conclude that a study of the Book of Revelation is unique. One is learning a body of divinely inspired Literature that belongs to the Lord Jesus Christ in a special way, by decree of God the Father!

We must be careful how we treat Jesus' Property!

"The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto Him."

I, for one, will not be critical of the Text!

I love my Lord too much for that!

                                                                         --- Dr. Mike Bagwell




The purpose of the Book of Revelation is stated in its very first Verse!

In fact, one does not have to read ALL that verse to discover why God has blessed us with such a wonderful Book!

"The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass ...." Revelation 1:1

See it?

"To shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass."

God the Father gave to Jesus the Son these 12,000 or so words to reveal to His servants things to come!

The verb "shew" is "deiknuo" in Greek and means "to put on exhibit!" It also can mean "to explain" and at times, "to prove!"

"Deiknuo" here is precisely spelled "deixai," the Greek form indicating the aorist infinitive. This "exhibition" has historically occurred already! There will be no new apocalypses! No new Book called Revelation! Not from God! The one He has given is sufficient!

The noun "servants" is "doulos," a common term for "slaves!" Really it is built upon the "deo" root. "Deo" means "to bind" someone, with chains for instance! Perhaps preachers are particularly in mind here, but more than likely all God's children are in view.  Technically everyone who has been "born again" is a servant of the Lord. Yes, He's our Saviour, but also our Master!

"Things," just a pronoun in Greek, is expressed by "hos," a neuter accusative that's plural in number. Some coming events need to be explained! God is allowing Jesus to reveal them to us!

What "things?"

For the answer to that question, one must read the Book, Revelation. All 22 chapters!

Things like the Rapture!

The Tribulation!

Jesus' literal Second Coming to earth, riding a white horse of victory!

The Millennial rule of Christ, all thousand years!

The final defeat of the devil!

The great White Throne Judgment!

And the new heavens and new earth!

And blessed joy for evermore, to those who are saved by God's Grace!

"Things" like that!

But these things are qualified.

"Things which must shortly come to pass!"

The verb "must" is critical here. "Dei" means "to be necessary!" It's another word fathered by "deo," meaning "to tie up" something or someone! No other alternative! No possible escape!

These things are certain!


"Come to pass" translates "ginomai." Another aorist infinitive, but this time in the "middle" voice! A middle voice verb indicates action that will change the lives of those involved!

The saints of God will never be the same, after the Rapture!

The world will never be the same, after the Tribulation!

The devil will never be the same, after his expulsion to the Lake of Fire!

Israel will never be the same, after Armageddon!

Life changing events!

Now only one word remains.


It's expressed like this in the Text, "en tachos." It usually means "in a brief space of time." It has a verbal cousin, "tachus," which similarly means "fleet," or just "swift."

But occasionally, and especially when linked with the preposition "en" as here, "tachos" can mean "in haste." That is, once things get started, they will occur in rapid succession!

The latter set of meanings probably apply to our Verse today.

It's already been 2,000 or so years since God gave Jesus this Revelation!

And many of the things prophesied therein have not yet happened!

The Rapture, just to name one! (To those of you reading these lines sometime after 4:00 AM on November 19, 2007, if the Rapture has now happened, just remember ... God always keeps His Word!)

As to whether 2,000 years can be considered a short span of time, consider this. With God, time is nothing anyway! Peter wrote: "Beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day." 2nd Peter 3:8 suggests that Jesus was crucified only "two days" ago! By God's time-clock!

On the other hand, maybe we are NOT being told that these things will occur "shortly" at all! The word CAN MEAN things that "once started, will happen successively."

Using the "string" John just wrote, "en tachos," I examined the New Testament, looking for matches. There are a few, seven in fact!

See how quickly these things have happened!

"And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them? I tell you that he will avenge them SPEEDILY. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?" Luke 18's "speedily" here is not always "soon" or "immediate!" But it is definite!

On the other hand, this one did happen quickly! That is, after Peter finally woke up! "And, behold, the angel of the Lord came upon him, and a light shined in the prison: and he smote Peter on the side, and raised him up, saying, Arise up quickly. And his chains fell off from his hands." Acts 12:7

But here's a 2,000 year "shortly!" Paul writes: "And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen." Romans 16:20 was written after Calvary! Paul has the events of Revelation chapter 20 in mind here, no doubt.

"En tachos" shall certainly be fulfilled, as will all God's prophecies, just like He said!

The reason I have hammered so heavily at the meaning of "shortly" in our verse, "shortly come to pass," is that many skeptics and enemies and reprobates are now calling the Book of Revelation a failed prophecy!

"Loaded with wonderful fantasies, but dead wrong in its predictions!" So many lost people nowadays are saying this, blaspheming Almighty God in this manner! I just finished a book that says this!

But the critics are wrong!

Whenever these future things begin ... watch out!

We Believers are leaving here!

And the terrors listed in Revelation 6-19 will be unleashed, staccato fashion! Like the shots of a machine gun, rapid fire!

Now, talk about a man being glad he is saved!

That's me today!

How about you?

                                                                      --- Dr. Mike Bagwell




We often fail to realize the track God followed in getting His precious Word into our hands!

Many have died that we might enjoy the Scriptures as we do today.

Such a path, from the God Who gave His Word ... all the way to the saints who read His Word, is carefully delineated in Revelation 1:1.

"The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John."

Let's count the levels of involvement.

First is God, the Originator, the Author!

Then Jesus, the very Subject of the Apocalypse, is the second Party involved!

God gave the Book to Jesus, as a Gift!

It's a revelation of the darling Son of God! "The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto Him."

But next, and this is interesting, God used an angel in the transmission of this great Book of Prophecy!

"And He sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John."

The verb "sent" is "apostello," closely akin our word Apostle! God dispatched an angelic "apostle" to convey the Text of the Book of Revelation!

In fact, the very noun "angel" or "aggelos" means "messenger."

There apparently were many angels present at Sinai when Moses received the Law! Stephen says so in Acts 7:53. "Who have received the law by the disposition of angels."

How many angels? Hebrews 12:22 says, "an innumerable company" of them!

Yes, this Verse particularly describes the transmission of the last Book of Scripture, known often as the Apocalypse. The "unveiling!"

The Book of Revelation!

From God ...

To ... Jesus,

Through ... an angel,

Then on to John!

Now, the verb "signified" is important too. "Semaino" means "to make clear" some point or fact. This verb might also carry this idea: saying something with "signs!"

And, as you know, Revelation is full of signs and symbols and expressions that help convey truth.

But let's quickly get to that fourth step.

God ... Jesus ... an Angel ... then John, the prisoner of Patmos!

Here is one of the few times John ever identifies himself!

He does not do so in his Gospel, not by name anyway! Four times he calls himself "the Disciple whom Jesus loved." But never by proper name, John!

Nor is his name used in his three Epistles. In 2nd and 3rd John he is the "Elder," and in 1st John 1 he has seen Jesus, touched Him too! But no names like "Son of Zebedee" or "John" are used.

But again I say, Revelation is different!

While the liberals and modernists say that the "John" of Revelation could be any of hundreds of men alive in the late first century, the name being so "common" they allege, fundamental Christians have always belived this is John, the Disciple or Apostle!

God the Father to Jesus the Son by means of an angel to John the Beloved on the isle of Patmos!

Now, maybe we can better understand the process by which God provided us a Bible we can read!

And if that's not enough, from John the Book of Revelation came to you and me!

Glory to God!

Psalm 56:4 illustrates the feeling of my heart here today: "In God I will praise His Word!" 


Indeed, anywhere you read from the precious old Book, you will find Fingerprints!

Some of them are mine too!

                                                                                --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

One more thing ...

Yes, only God can perfectly handle the transmission of His Word. He inspired it! He is the real Author. He recorded it! He has preserved it! And when we read it, He is there to illuminate it! Through His Holy Spirit!

And just as Revelation 1:1 has outlined the specific line of transmission for the last Book of Scripture, from God ... to Jesus ... by an angel ... then to John the Disciple on the isle of Patmos, so does the whole Bible fit that same pattern!

Think about this. From Genesis to Revelation we have 66 Books! And they are written over a period of 1600 years, Genesis being first and Revelation being last. And the number of human writers totals somewhere around 40 different men!

With no disruptive breaks!

And no contradictions!

And the same constant Theme, Jesus Christ as our Saviour and Redeemer and Lord!

That takes a miracle!

Maybe a lot of them!




Those who despise the Word of God, particularly the Gospels in recent years, have insisted that the time lapses between the events themselves, things like our Lord's "Sermon on the Mount," and the moment when the Gospel writers put their accounts on "paper" were many decades, many!

They are saying that far too many years passed between the events and the written records of those events ...  so long that specificity was lost!

In other words, they allege, the Gospel stories are not accurate!

Merely hearsay!

Tales and rumors and faulty recollections!









And they are also ... this being critically important ... written by men who were "eye-witnesses" to the events themselves!

Read this short verse from Mark's account of Jesus feeding the multitudes. "And he commanded them to make all sit down by companies upon the green grass." How did he know that the grass was green?

Mark, apparently writing under the direction of Simon Peter,  Peter who was PRESENT when Jesus fed that crowd, unconsciously has proved himself to have been giving "eye-witness" information!

Who else would have known the very color of the grass?

Or even what season of the year the miracle occurred?

Next, listen to Luke tell us about the research he did when preparing to write his Gospel. Watch the words that have been capitalized! "Forasmuch as many have taken in hand to set forth in order a declaration of those things which are most surely believed among us, even as they delivered them unto us, which from the beginning were eyewitnesses, and ministers of the word; It seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write unto thee in order, most excellent Theophilus, that thou mightest know the certainty of those things, wherein thou hast been instructed." Luke 1:1-4

Not great "time gaps" between occurrence and writing of occurrence ... but "eye-witness" testimony!

Again, as usual, the liberals are wrong, the theological modernists!

Matthew tells us what he saw ... and heard!

So does John in His Gospel! He, writing of Jesus says, "And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld His Glory, the Glory as of the Only Begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth." Yes, "I saw Him" proclaims John 1:14. "I saw Him and His radiant Glory," maybe a direct reference to Jesus' Transfiguration. Or His glorified Body after the Resurrection!

In fact, John does the same thing again in his little Epistles. Read with me please. "That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life; for the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us; that which we have seen and heard declare we unto you ...." Again, he's talking about Jesus! 1st John 1:1-3 is accurate eye-witness testimony!

John, Disciple of Jesus, affirms visual contact with Jesus in his Gospel record, in his Epistles ... and, guess where else?

In the Book of Revelation!

Read the second verse John penned there!

"John ... who bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw." Revelation 1:2

Get it?

That little verb "saw" is spelled "horao" in Greek. Actually, as an indicative verb, stating a fact, and as an aorist verb, recording action completed in the past, it's spelled "eiden." It means "to see, observe, notice, recognize, make sure ... with understanding and comprehension!"

John was an eye-witness to the events and visions and experiences of the Book of Revelation too!

That verb "bare record" is "martureo" and carries the weight of a witness in a court of law! Having promised to tell the truth! Obviously it gives us the English word "martyr." A martyr to the Greeks was a man who saw something, testified to what he saw, and would NOT change his witness ... even at the penalty of death!

That's a pretty strong witness!

The "martyrs," in other words, were the very most reliable witnesses in all the ancient world! They died for what they believed, what they had seen!

And, remember, the name "Word of God" is not only a reference to the Scriptures themselves, but to John is also a Name for Jesus! "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." See! "The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men." The "Word" here is a "Him!" It's Jesus!

John, in Revelation 1:2, is saying that he is a witness to Jesus' actions and a hearer of Jesus' very words, as recorded in the Book of Revelation!

By the way, the noun "testimony" as in "the testimony of Jesus Christ" is also "marturia," just the substantive form of the verb "witness!" Jesus certainly died for what He knew! What He had seen! For Who He was, that he might save lost sinners! A vicarious Substitute, our Lord has left us the greatest "testimony" of all time! A bloody but empty Cross on Golgotha's hill!

Again, here's today's verse, John speaking of himself: "Who bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw." Revelation 1:2

"All things that he saw!"

No hearsay!

No inaccuracy!

Just the facts!

That's what we have in the Word of God!

Psalm 12:6 says it best. "The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times."


                                                                            --- Dr. Mike Bagwell




It's the only Book in the Bible to explicitly promise such a thing!

A blessing!

Just to those who read its content!

Yes, Revelation 1:3 begins, "Blessed is he that readeth ...."

The word list here is short.

The sentence begins with an adjective.

In Greek great attention is paid to the starting word in a Verse, it's first written part of speech.


"Makarios" means "happy" 7 times in the New Testament, and is so translated.

"If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them." Jesus in John 13:17

"I think myself happy, king Agrippa, because I shall answer for myself this day before thee touching all the things whereof I am accused of the Jews." Paul in Acts 26:3

"Hast thou faith? have it to thyself before God. Happy is he that condemneth not himself in that thing which he alloweth." Romans 14:22

"Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy." James 5:11

"But and if ye suffer for righteousness' sake, happy are ye: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled." 1st Peter 3:14

"If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified." 1st Peter 4:14

"The wife is bound by the law as long as her husband liveth; but if her husband be dead, she is at liberty to be married to whom she will; only in the Lord. But she is happier if she so abide, after my judgment: and I think also that I have the Spirit of God." 1st Corinthians 7:40

But 44 more times when "makarios" appears in the Bible, it is indeed translated "blessed."

It means "religious joy."

It is connected to God's very Name in at least three places; 1st Timothy 1:11 and 6:15 and Titus 1:2. This fact says a lot! To the ancient mind, and now Biblically also, God is the Source of such "blessedness." God is the supremely "blessed" One! "Makarios" is a property belonging to God! Only those "right" with God may experience true happiness!

"According to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which was committed to my trust."

"Until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ: Which in his times he shall shew, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords; Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom be honour and power everlasting. Amen."

"Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ."

To John in Revelation again, "Blessed is he that readeth ... the words of this prophecy." Revelation 1:3

The noun "makarios" is built upon the "mak" stem in Greek, meaning "large, lengthy!" Again, "makros" is "long!"

When virtually offering congratulations, as in our Text here, the reason for such kindness is usually expressed by a participle following "blessed." That's the case here!

Blessed are those who "read" the precious Book lf Revelation!

Just read it!

This verbal unit is a classic! "Anaginosko" is just a participle here, depicting the action of the "blessed" one. But it means "to know again!" Yes, to know some fact again! Refreshed memory!

That's what real reading does! It either originally implants a fact in my mind, or reconfirms it there!

The present participle nature of "anaginosko" indicates this reading to be a habit! On-going reading! Durative in nature! Nearly constant!

This word specifically seems to have connotations of "the public reading of the Word of God!" That's a thing we no longer do, to our detriment!

In Jewish synagogues in John's day, the "anagnostes" was the Church Reader, who stood in the pulpit and read the Scriptures week after week, publicly!

There's no doubt that John here is giving more than a "hint" to the seven Church he is about to mention! Read the Apocalypse often in your worship services!

But the New Testament also uses the verb for one's private reading, many times.

I once knew a Preacher who had devotional time every day ... just out of the Book of Revelation!

He was a blessed man!

In fact, the Book itself contains some more "blessings," in addition to those who read its content!

"And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them." Revelation 14:13

"Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame." Revelation 16:15

"And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God." Revelation 19:9

"Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years." Revelation 20:6

"Behold, I come quickly: blessed is he that keepeth the sayings of the prophecy of this book." Revelation 22:7

"Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city." Revelation 22:14

A total of seven "beatitudes" in Revelation!

But none any more delightful than reading John's 22 amazing chapters!

Have you read the Book yet this year?

                                                                             --- Dr. Mike Bagwell




Not only is there a promise to those who read the Bible, specifically the Book of Revelation. That promise extends to those who consciously hear the Material as it's being read!


"Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy." Revelation 1:3

Logically this covers the whole "circuit," the whole communication process, on any given Sunday morning or evening, or any Wednesday night Mid-week service.

The Preacher publicly "reads" say, Revelation chapter twenty. He is blessed in so doing!

The people "hear" those fifteen precious Verses as they are being enunciated. They pay especially close attention as their Pastor exegetes each verse of that glorious Text! And they too are blessed, indeed!

He who reads!

They who hear!

Blessed by going to Church!

Blessed by studying the Word!

We learned already that "blessed," in Greek "makarios," is a term that originally was applied to God! Paul, in 1st Timothy 1:11, calls the Lord "the blessed God!"

Or, "Blessed be the name of the LORD from this time forth and for evermore." Psalm 113:2

And, "Daniel answered and said, Blessed be the name of God for ever and ever." Daniel 2:20

The blessed God, through the Life and Death of His dear Son the Lord Jesus Christ, has "blessed" us too!

Yes, we are blessed when we merely hear that last Book of the Bible!

But that great promise is nearly repeated elsewhere in Scripture.

For example, "Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper." These "Psalm 1" rewards all start when a man constantly delights in God's Word!

Joshua 1:8 says about same thing. "This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success."


Good success?


By meditating in God's Word, day and night!

The verb "hear" is spelled "akouo." We get our word "acoustics" from it, the audio capabilities of a building or room, particularly a Church auditorium. In Latin "audire" is the infinitive "to hear!" To "audit" a course in College means you just attend and "listen," taking no tests and receiving no credit toward a Degree.

"Akouo" in our Text is specifically written "akouontes," a present participle in the active voice, plural in number. The Members in Church that given day, if hearing God's Word reverently, will be blessed.

The noun "words" in "words of this prophecy" is "logos," unsurprisingly. The predetermined, logical, carefully chosen words of God, His Very Thoughts to us!

And, just in case anyone needs proof, the type literature Revelation gives us is "prophetic," predominantly a "prophecy" of things to come!

"Propheteia" is a great word! Blended, it comes from "pro," meaning "prior" to something, "before" it ... and "phemi," meaning "to enlighten" someone! Prophecy literally tells us in advance what God is planning to do! And "phemi" is derived from the Greek noun "phos," meaning "light!"

Prophecy has also come to mean not just the "fore-telling" of future events, but also "forth-telling" God's Word, preaching in the power of the Holy Spirit! For that matter it can even mean "testifying." Look: "And the next day we that were of Paul's company departed, and came unto Caesarea: and we entered into the house of Philip the evangelist, which was one of the seven; and abode with him. And the same man had four daughters, virgins, which did prophesy." These girls, in Acts 21, were certainly not preachers, but just "testifying," telling what God had done for them. And they certainly were not predicting anything. In fact, when God needed to get a real message to Paul, he sent a Brother named "Agabus," in the very next verse, to deliver the Word to Paul. "And as we tarried there many days, there came down from Judaea a certain prophet, named Agabus. And when he was come unto us, he took Paul's girdle, and bound his own hands and feet, and said, Thus saith the Holy Ghost, So shall the Jews at Jerusalem bind the man that owneth this girdle, and shall deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles." Acts 21:10-11

But Revelation is a true Bible "prophecy," both revealing things to come ... and proclaiming God's Truth, simultaneously.

Let's all "hear" the Book today, at least a part of it!

By the way, to anyone who cannot read for some reason, or cannot read well, just buy a tape or CD of Revelation. Let your audio "player" do it for you! You will still be blessed, if you hear carefully!

One could do this as he goes to sleep each night!

Or drives down the highway!

Or takes a shower!

Or a thousand other things!

Have a blessed day!

You know how!

                                                                           --- Dr. Mike Bagwell




Just read it!

If that's not feasible for some reason, just hear it being read!

God will bless you for doing so!

The Bible's Book of Revelation opens with these words! "Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy."

But there's more!

I will capitalize the the third clause. "Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein." Revelation 1:3

The verb "keep," really a present participle like "readeth" and "hear" before it, is a translation of the Greek "tereo." In our King James Bibles "tereo" is rendered as "observe" 4 times and "hold fast" 1 time. This gives the verb the idea of "obeying" the commands on the Apocalypse.

There are many such injunctions too.

The command-rich section is probably concentrated in chapters 2 and 3, the letters to the seven Churches of Asia Minor.

To the Church at Ephesus John writes, quoting the Lord Jesus, "Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent."

These are commands ... to be obeyed!

To the Church in the ancient city of Smyrna, "Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life."

To Pergamos, "Repent."

To the Thyatirans, after rebuking their worldliness, Jesus says, "But that which ye have already hold fast till I come."

Yet another command!

Similarly, to Sardis, "Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God. Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent."

Even to godly Philadelphia, the revived Church, "Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown," promises our Lord! But the verb "krateo" is in the imperative mood! Obey it!

Laodicea, the most "lukewarm" of the Churches, "I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent."

Live for God!

Pure lives!

He will bless those who "keep" the things commanded in Revelation!

But, back to today's Verse.

"Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein."

The verb "keep" is also, King James Bible again, translated as "preserve" 2 times and "watch" 2 times and even "reserve" 8 times, definitely suggesting "guarding" this portion of the Word of God!

Defending it!

In fact, the lexicons, Greek dictionaries, define "tereo" as "keep under guard" and then "keep in custody" and "maintain!"

These definitions do not cancel the idea of "obeying," not at all. They augment it. We can only obey what has been preserved for our study!

One source says of "tereo" this, "to keep intact." Another, "inviolate," to keep it from being profaned! Do not allow it to be violated!

Then a Greek scholar thinks "tereo" might be derived from the verb "theoreo," a forerunner of our English word "theatre!" It means "to view attentively, to behold, to be a spectator, to survey!"

"Blessed are they who keep those things which are written therein."

"Keep" them!

Meaning, obey them! Guard them! Study them carefully!

Lastly, let's look at that final participle, "are written." Here "grapho" is expressed as a perfect participle in the passive voice. It is often this way when referring to Scripture!

Grammatical implication: the writing has been completed, but that's not all! The Greek "aorist" idea of time would have sufficed for mere past action. The "perfect" participle here means that the action, the power, the impact of that writing is still with us! The Word of God lives on, teaching and convicting and encouraging yet today!

The "passive" trait of the verb means that the Scriptures did not write themselves! There was a Mind, a Hand, a Designer, an Author, behind the Word of God! The Lord God Almighty through His Holy Spirit! "All scripture is given by inspiration of God," writes Paul in 2nd Timothy 3:16. God-breathed!

What a challenge John has penned today!

In the opening paragraph of the greatest Book of Prophecy the world has ever known!

"Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein." Revelation 1:3

Tomorrow, Lord willing, one more thought.

                                                                                   --- Dr. Mike Bagwell


The Bible's own employment of the verb "keep," in Greek "tereo," supports the definitions we have given in the Lesson just completed.

Here's the idea of "watching carefully" illustrated: "And sitting down they watched him there." Jesus was dying on the Cross and the wicked throngs just gawked at Him! Matthew 27:36

Then "tereo" when it means "obeying" God's Word: "If ye love me, KEEP my commandments." Jesus said so in John 14:15

Also the concept of "guarding" is clearly presented. "And when Herod would have brought him forth, the same night Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains: and the keepers before the door KEPT the prison." Peter in prison, just before being rescued by the angel! Acts 12:5

Here's a  man "guarding" his daughter who is a virgin! "Nevertheless he that standeth stedfast in his heart, having no necessity, but hath power over his own will, and hath so decreed in his heart that he will keep his virgin, doeth well." No vile hands will touch this young lady! 1st Corinthians 7:37

Bible examples have thus been given for each definition presented in today's Lesson. Thus, we're not just depending on lexicons or dictionaries, but the Word of God Itself!

Whenever possible, that's best! But if a word is only used once in all the Bible, a situation that occurs fairly often, the student cannot compare it to other Bible occurrences. There are none! Then, for sure, bring on the dictionaries and history books and nuances of that local culture. They will help. The Holy Spirit can even use them in helping us better understand God's precious Word!




Twice John says so!

Twice in the opening three verses!


"The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John: Who bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw. Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand." Revelation 1:1-3

The two occasions have been underlined and capitalized.

Both expressions are adverbial in nature, describing the "time" when these "things" might be expected to transpire.

"Shortly come to pass."

"The time is at hand."

Today we study the second of the two. The first one was examined back in Lesson three.

"The time is at hand."

The noun "time" is spelled "kairos" in Greek and means "a fixed and definite chronological unit," for example, "two days" or "one week" or "an hour and a half!" Something like that. It does not simply mean open-ended time, "eternity" or "forevermore."

"Kairos" is sometimes associated with time in this sense, "a window of opportunity."

Used 87 times in the Greek Text of the King James New Testament, the Textus Receptus, it's predominantly rendered as "time" (64 times), but occasionally as "season (13 times) and "opportunity" (2 times) and even "due time" twice.

See if you can find the "precise opportunity" motif in these two verses. Both use "kairos" for "due time."

"For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly." Romans 5:8

"Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you." 1st Peter 5:6-7

Jesus died right on time! On schedule! Not a minute early or a second late! For that matter, although using another grammatical term altogether, our Lord was born exactly on time also! "But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, "to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons." Galatians 4:4-5

And, according to Peter, the Lord will reward His children for their godliness, specifically humility, "on time."

Back in Revelation 1:3, when John says that the "time" is at hand, he is NOT setting dates or predicting specific spans of months or years.


He is saying that God's preplanned "events," the Rapture and the Tribulation and the Second Coming and the Great White Throne Judgment and so much more ... will occur right on schedule!

Soon or not soon!

Maybe tomorrow, maybe not!

But they certainly are imminent!

That word, "imminent," is Latin in background. "Minere" means "to jut out," as a flat rock might hang out over a cliff above! Looking like it could fall at any second! Yet perhaps having been there for many years! To "overhang!"

Jesus could come any second!

Yet Peter reminds us that, when Jesus does come, it will be at a time when men are scoffing at the very idea! "Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, and saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation." 2nd Peter 3:3-4

We may live in this "He could come at any second" mode for quite some time yet! We may not!

Regardless, we are to expect Him today!

We are to "love" the idea of His Appearing!

We are to count it as our "blessed hope!"

Now, to the phrase "at hand."

"For the time is at hand."

It's spelled "eggus" but is pronounced eng-goos' we believe. Accent the second syllable. It's from "agcho," a verb meaning "to squeeze!"

This adverb conveys the temporal idea of something that has just got to occur! There's no other way! It's under pressure to happen!

It must be!

Scientists today are studying certain volcanoes. They are all rumbling, the volcanoes are! They are under pressure! They will explode one day! Maybe soon! Maybe not!

That's the idea behind "eggus."

This is true of the first time Jesus used "eggus," its first Bible mention. "Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh: so likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors." Matthew 24:32-33

There the Second Coming of our Lord is said to be "near," but obviously this is a two-thousand year "near," up to this point anyway!

Jesus simply does not use "eggus" to mean soon in time!

God does not exclusively live in the sphere of seconds and minutes anyway. He is not limited by such! He inhabits eternity! Listen to Isaiah 57:15, quoting God Himself. "For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones."

Or Moses, as he preaches, "The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms." Amen to Deuteronomy 33:27.

"At hand" to God means "it's coming!"

It's unavoidable!

It must be!

It does not necessarily mean "before lunch!"

Man, even in his finite mind, has proved that when an object travels at the speed of light, time as a dimension ceases to exist! That's what Einstein's research was all about! This theory is seldom questioned today, having virtually been demonstrated using subatomic particles in physics labs!

Here's my point.

If God travels at the speed of light, and He does, then with Him there is no time! He is the everlasting "I AM" of the universe!

I said God travels at the speed of light. Let me go one step further. God is Light! That does NOT mean that light is God! It most certainly is not! But God is Light! This same John, of Revelation fame, elsewhere wrote: "God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all." 1st John 1:5

All I'm saying is this: God's "at hand" conception is different than ours!

God's "shortly come to pass" just might involve many years!

It already has!

Two thousand!

"The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John: Who bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw. Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand."

That does NOT mean that these "things" will not occur!

God has promised them!

In the mean time, during the interval between Jesus' First Coming and His Second Coming, here's our Lord's advice: "Occupy till I come." Luke 19:13

That's enough information!

"Occupy till I come."

                                                                         --- Dr. Mike Bagwell




We have recently been studying Revelation 1:1-3. For the past ten days now we have examined each word in this beautiful Text.

"The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John: who bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw. Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand."

Today, in summary, I would like to refute some critical statements that have been aimed at the Bible in general and Revelation in particular.

Some say that the number "seven," amazingly used 53 times in Revelation, is an ancient "magical" symbol and that John is merely drawing from the world of the occult in his prophetic writing.

But anyone who says this is wrong!

Biblically speaking the number "seven" is God's number of completion, spiritual perfection! It occurs so often in Revelation because that's the last Book of the Bible! The Book of completion where all things are brought to the state of spiritual perfection! By the way, Revelation 1:20, that verse alone, contains the number "seven" six times!

Incidentally, our precise Text, those opening three verses do not contain the number "seven" at all! But here's the next verse or two: "John to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace be unto you, and peace, from Him which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from the seven Spirits which are before his throne; and from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth." Revelation 1:4-5

John, in Revelation, condemns the world in which we live, seriously so! This is the same John who earlier wrote, "Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him." 1st John 2:15

Those critical of the Apocalypse often refuse to call the world system in which John lived "wicked" at all! What the Holy Spirit labels as "pagan" they idealize. Using just the etymology of the word, pagan is from the Latin "paganus," a "country dweller!" One who is "rural" in nature! Not an inhabitant of the city! That sounds so quaint and pleasant! But here's a popular secular dictionary's real definition of "pagan:" Ready? "One who is not a Christian! A worshipper of many gods! A hedonist!"

The world in which John lived and preached was indeed pagan, in that dictionary sense! Wicked and ungodly to the core!

But the critics of Revelation and haters of John the Apostle call this "paganism" the insurgence of the  the "Renaissance!" One said it's "classical paganism!" "Humanism" at its best! "High art!" But folks, it's really the world mood that will accept the anti-christ when he comes! 

Once again, the critics are wrong!

Then some "quack" said that the whole Book of Revelation did not belong in the Canon of Scripture at all! That it was "sub-Christian," largely because of its approval of violence and vengeance!

The world's coming  days of unprecedented violence are due to the sinful course she has followed for generations! Sin does have "wages," you know! God is merely allowing his unbreakable law of "reaping what one has sown" to operate!

And for the vengeance part, they mean verses like: "And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?" Revelation 6:10

In fact these words will some day be spoken by saints who will have just died for their faith, to be viciously martyred for loving Jesus! These heroes will just be agreeing with God's Plan to judge iniquity! And this is God Almighty they are praising, Who can do no wrong!

Listen to this. "True and righteous are God's judgments: for He hath judged the great whore, which did corrupt the earth with her fornication, and hath avenged the blood of his servants at her hand. And again they said, Alleluia. And her smoke rose up for ever and ever. And the four and twenty elders and the four beasts fell down and worshipped God that sat on the throne, saying, Amen; Alleluia." Revelation 19:2-4

For righteousness to triumph, sinfulness must wither and fade!

So, the "vengeance" critics are wrong too!

Then come the feminists. They say John is a hater of women! A misogynist! They mainly cite his negative references to Jezebel in Revelation 2, then later the harlot of Revelation 17. Plus John's praising a select group of Believers in chapter 14, "who have not defiled themselves with women."  This simply means they will not be immoral, fornicators or adulterers!

But these same critics omit the beautiful mystical Bride of Christ in chapter 22. She's a lady too! Yet Bible critics do such things, twisting facts and statistics to fit their convoluted arguments!

And what about the women John positively included in his great Gospel? The Samaritan woman at the well in John 4, a lady who was gloriously saved by the Lore Jesus Christ? Once a sinner, than a saint! Is that woman hatred? Hardly!

Or Jesus' kindness to the woman taken in adultery?

Or his devotion to Mary and Martha?

John, far from being gynephobic, is the very Disciple whom Jesus selected to care for His Mother after our Lord's Death, Resurrection and subsequent Ascension to Heaven! These words were spoken by our Lord as He was dying on the Cross:  "When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son! Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother! And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home." John 19:26-27

Bible haters, wrong again!

I read somewhere that old Dr. M. R. DeHann, a radio preacher of bygone years, had on his desk a plaque that said of Jesus' Second Coming, "Perhaps Today!" A now departed Congressman had a similar sign in his office I am told! But the critics attack such attitudes! Ridiculing the possibility of the Rapture!

Peter said these things would happen. "Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, and saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation." 2nd Peter 3:3-4 uses a word for "scoffers" that literally means "to mock" or "to make light of" or "to trifle with" something. Really, "to play" with an idea, in jest!

Today's newly emboldened Bible despisers have a "laugh-in" concerning Jesus' return to earth! Belittling anyone who really believes such, they show the deep hatred in their hearts!

But, as on all the other points today, they are wrong!

Lastly, they are now saying that those of us who accept the teaching of Revelation seriously and literally ... are a bit "unbalanced!" One simply called us "mad," crazy "mad" I think he means! Another quipped that Bible Believers, particularly those who adhere to the teachings of Revelation, are living "on the wider shores of sanity!" Nearly off the charts!

Let them laugh!

One of these days Someone Else will be laughing! "Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed." These words are from the second Psalm. Then God responds, "He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision. Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure."

Yes! God will indeed have "the last laugh!"

For, you see, one final time ... the critics will yet again be wrong!

Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

Only then will the vicious critics be convinced ... or convicted ... or condemned!

By the way, that's the last prayer of the Bible, Revelation 22:20.

"Even so, come, Lord Jesus."


                                                                              --- Dr. Mike Bagwell


All the Books of the Bible are great! But Revelation is special! If you have studied its opening three verses carefully, you know why!


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