Why God Chose John to Write the Revelation

This is a sample chapter Chapter 1

Why The Apostle John?

God tells us in Revelation 1:2 why he chose John to see the Revelation prophecy and to write it.

  It states that John, “bore witness to the word of God, and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, to all things that he saw.”   Basically, John was chosen because of his witness of the life of Christ. In examining John’s relationship with Jesus, in light of the Revelation prophecy, we learn details that provide further insights to the importance of its message, and give us a glimpse into the character of God Himself.

John was the youngest apostle and the only one to live to old age becoming the oldest  apostle in the Bible.  History records that the Roman Emperor Domitian tried to kill John by boiling him in oil and also made other attempts at executing a death sentence upon him, but he would not die. Like the prophet Daniel who survived a flaming furnace and a lion’s den, both men had the task of reporting the prophecies of the end of the world. Both messengers could not die until their job was accomplished; an indicator of the critical importance of the prophecy.

The emperor ended up banishing John to the Isle of Patmos, where Rome sent their political prisoners. There he could not speak to the multitudes about Jesus, but he would be given a message that he would record and would reach many more than he could have ever relayed to outside of Patmos. When John was released from exile, he returned to Ephesus and lived till the time of the Roman Emperor Trajan.

John was the younger brother of the apostle James. The Bible refers to them as the sons of Zebedee, who was a fisherman and had a fishing business. They worked for their father.   When Jesus walked by and saw James and John, He called to them, and they immediately jumped off the boat, and left their father with his servants. In following Jesus, they left their dad and the  fishing business they would most likely inherit from him behind.

John and James’s mother was Salome Mary’s sister. They were Jesus’s cousins.  James and John were disciples of John the Baptist, their second cousin. They were the first apostles Jesus called. Jesus referred to them as Boanerges translated sons of thunder for their fiery zeal. When a Samaritan town would not receive Jesus or his messengers, James and John asked Jesus  “Lord, do You want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them, just a Elijah did?” Jesus told them that the Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives but to save them (Luke 9:54-55).

Peter James and John were the only witnesses of the raising of the daughter of Jarius. All three also observed the transfiguration, where Jesus appeared on the mount talking to Moses and Elijah in a brightest of white light and transfigured before their eyes. Jesus sent John and Peter into the city to make preparation for the final Passover meal-the last supper. Jesus took John, Peter and James and asked them to watch for Him as He went ahead and prayed in agony prior to his arrest.  His despair was so great his sweat appeared as drops of blood.  After the arrest of Jesus, Peter and John followed Jesus into the palace of the high-priest.

John alone among the Apostles remained near Jesus at the cross. He stayed close to Jesus’s mother and His mother’s sister who stood along with Mary the wife of Clopas and Mary Magdalene. Jesus instructed John from the cross to take Mary into his care as his own mother.  Likewise, he told Mary to care for John if he was  her  son.  In addition to witnessing most of the life of Jesus, After Pentecost, John and Peter, took a major part in preaching the Gospel and building and guiding the church. John is with Peter at the healing of the lame man in the Temple and was thrown into prison with him. He is also with Peter visiting the newly converted in Samaria. John’s brother James became the first apostle to die a martyr’s death  (Acts 12:2).

Second to Paul’s contribution to the New Testament who wrote 13 possibly14 of the epistles, with the book of Hebrews in question, John authored five books of the Bible.  These include one of the gospels, three of the epistles and the book of Revelation.

Although John does not mention himself by name in his own gospel, he refers to himself four times as “the disciple Jesus loved.” He is pictured as the Apostle who leaned on Jesus, and his kindness and gentle spirit emanate from his writings.  He is the love apostle who spoke more of God’s love than any other.  In 1John 4:8 it was John, who stated, “God is love.” This brings us to why I believe God used him of all the apostles to write the Revelation.

The Revelation is about God’s judgment onto the earth and who does He give the vision to but the apostle who made known to the world God’s love and spoke often of it.  Who best to reveal the message of God’s judgment than the apostle who knew God’s love and understood that in them are no contradiction. John states in 1 John 5:2-3:

By this, we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and keep His commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome.

It is in not keeping the commandments and the first, especially, and the resulting idolatry and rejection of the Lord Jesus Christ that brings us to the perilous, idolatrous days that usher in the Revelation.

It is worth noting that just as John, who is referred to as the disciple who Jesus loved recorded the Revelation,  Daniel, who wrote the counterpart to Revelation is called greatly beloved by God in the book of Daniel three times.  There is a correlation to these two men upon whom our Lord placed his affection who he trusted with the end-time  prophecies.

In John’s gospel is the only place as Jesus was dying that John records Jesus stating, “It is finished. ” This statement marked the end of the law and that the sacrifice of Jesus’s life to pay for man’s sin was finished, and it ushered in the Age of Grace.  At the end of the age, when the wrath of God is complete and Jesus’s returns as King of Kings, John records in Revelation 16:17:

Then the seventh angel poured out his bowl into the air, and a loud voice came out of the temple, of heaven; from the throne saying, It is done.  And there were noises and thunderings and lightenings; and there was a great earthquake, such a mighty and great earthquake as had not occurred since men were on the earth.

Down in verse 20 it tells us that every island fled away, and the mountains were not found.

Finished and done derive from the same word in the Greek. When Jesus died on the cross, there was an earthquake, rocks split, the veil of the temple was torn in two. He died at 3 o’clock in the afternoon, the sun darkened for three hours.  When Jesus returns the earthquake will obliterate the earth. The moon will turn to blood, and the sky will roll up as a scroll.

The “it is finished” and “it is done” statements mark the end of the law, the resurrection, the start of the Age of Grace and its end. These are given to John, whom Jesus loved and as God would use Him to witness and write about the life and resurrection of Jesus, he would now record the vision of His return.  Jesus’s declaration, “I come quickly” and the description of heaven would offer many a believer hope and promise in difficult times.

In John’s gospel, he testified that Jesus was the Son of God,  and that by believing you might have life through His name. John also spoke in the epistles of the importance of keeping the commands of God.  In the Revelation, while believers are offered the promise of Jesus’s return and of heaven, John reveals what is in store for those who do not keep God’s commands or trust in His Son for eternal life.

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