Hidden Treasures: Word Studies in the New Testament — REVELATION

A peak at the Italian Alps near Mont Blanc. Photo by Thomas Robinson. See www.zoomdak.com.

Another hidden treasure in our readings in Immerse: Messiah this week is the first word in the Book of Revelation which is translated into English as revelation.

This is a revelation from Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show his servants the events that must soon take place. 

In the Greek original, revelation is the first word in the Book of Revelation, “(The) revelation of Jesus Christ.” The Book of Revelation unveils Jesus.

In Greek, this word is Ἀποκάλυψις, Apokalypsis, a combination of the Greek word apo (away from), and the Greek word kalypsis (covering). Literally, apocalypse means to uncover, or to remove the covering from something hidden. Sometimes this word is translated unveiling or uncovering.

Think of ways we unveil something, such as a newly commissioned piece of art in an art gallery that is covered with a cloth until the “unveiling” which literally is removing the cloth covering to let people see the masterpiece for the first time.

Another way I’ve seen this word at work is out in nature when clouds cover the mountains. Small breaks in the clouds can unveil scenes of glory or wonder such as in the image above taken by Thomas Robinson while we were hiking the Tour du Mont Blanc, the 100 mile loop hike around the tallest mountain in Europe. On the day that photo was taken, the Italian alps were mostly veiled by clouds until an opening between the clouds uncovered a picture of stunning glory. That is what we experience in the Book of Revelation.

Too often, the English words apocalypse and apocalyptic evoke images of destruction or ruin, such as a battlefield after the battle, or a city ruined by an earthquake. This word does not mean destruction, but unveiling.

The Book of Revelation is an unveiling of God’s glory presented in the person of Jesus Christ who comes in this Book, with majesty and power to set things right that have been marred by human corruption and sin. Yes, the Book of Revelation unveils many scenes of ruin and destruction, but this is all a precursor to God’s final plan to make all things new, as we finally get to see in Revelation 21:1.

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the old heaven and the old earth had disappeared.

One simple way to practice revelation, to live an apocalyptic life is to physically open the window blinds or curtains in the morning, allowing the morning sun to beam radiance into your home in the morning as you offer a prayer, asking the Lord to unveil your heart, and reveal more of God’s glory to your innermost being.

In this life, we only get occasional glimpses of eternity, of the glory of God unveiled in the new heaven and new earth. When the skies part, and heaven opens up, we stand in wonder, or kneel in prayer, grateful that God lifted the curtain, opened the veil to let us see the brilliance of eternity with our mortal eyes.