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Excerpt from Elder Athanasios Mitilinaios - Lesson 2: Revelation 1:1-3

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Excerpt from: "Revelation: The Seven Golden Lampstands" - Orthodox Christian Lessons (volume 1) by Archimandrite Athanasios Mitilinaios

Lesson 2

Revelation 1:1-3

“The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show his servants what must soon take place; and he made it known by sending his angel to his servant John, who bore witness to the word of God and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, even to all that he saw. Blessed is he who reads aloud the words of the prophecy, and blessed are those who hear, and who keep what is written therein; for the time is near.”

October 19, 1980

“This book begins with a wonderful introductory outline in which we can observe a number of essential elements. First, it is distinguished by its official tone that reminds one of the inscriptions of the books of the Old Testament. Its beginning can be compared with the grandeur of the beginning of the book of Isaiah, for instance, The vision of Isaiah, the son of Amoz which he saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah (Isaiah 1:1). Second, the character of the book is made known by the name Revelation and the holy author calls to our attention that what we have before us is a prophetic book. Third, the validity and authenticity of this book are declared because the source of this book is God Himself, Jesus Christ, whether He speaks personally or through an angel. Fourth, the purpose of the writing of this book is revealed with the words, to show His servants what must soon take place.

A fifth observation is the identification of the author, who is none other than His servant, Saint John the Evangelist. This is the disciple that Jesus loved, the author of the Gospel and of the three epistles (1, 2 and 3 John).

A sixth point is that the content of the book is revealed, who bore witness to the word of God and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, even to all that he saw. Therefore, Saint John bears record to the word of God; so the Revelation is the word of God, the testimony of Jesus Christ and all the things that Saint John saw. He will not add or subtract. At the end of the book John himself will note, anyone who adds anything to the words of this book, God will add to him the plagues described in this book. And if anyone takes words away from this book of prophecy God will take away from him his share in the tree of life (Revelation 22:18-19, meaning he will not enter the Kingdom of God. Saint John is very careful to record only what he saw and heard and nothing more.

The central theme of Revelation is the Second Coming of Christ, which includes the war of the godless powers against the Church, their great defeat handed to them by Christ, and the glorious reign of Christ unto the ages of ages. A seventh point is that the purpose of this book is made clear in the blessing it bestows, Blessed is he who reads aloud the words of the prophecy, and blessed are those who hear, and who keep what is written therein (Revelation 1:3).

One last point is that what is recorded here is the time frame of the fulfillment of the content of this book, for the time is near. The time is at hand. The details in the introductory outline of this book comprise a great deal of information in just a few lines. Now, by the grace of God, we will proceed to interpret holy Scripture, word-by-word and phrase-by- phrase. It has so much beauty that even if someone tells us to hurry along, how could we, when Scripture itself stops you, it holds you down fast; it stops you dead in your tracks. It demands your attention.”

Posted with the blessing of Constantine Zalalas, translator of the Revelation Series by Elder Athanasios. Purchase each volume here:

Learn more here about the New Lecture Series by Archpriest Peter Heers: The Revelation of Jesus Christ to the Apostle John:

Listen below to a reading of the full text of Lesson 2 on Revelation 1:1-3

Posted on January 7th, 2022

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