John begins this powerful letter by telling his audience that the contents have come directly from God. This message is a revelation (Revelation 1:1), or in the Greek, apokalupsis, from which we derive the English word apocalypse. However, that word has been somewhat misused in our modern context. The original word does not mean a mass catastrophe that brings about widespread destruction as movies portray. The word apokalupsis refers to mysterious truths that were once hidden, but that have now been graciously revealed. In this case, these truths are “things that must soon take place” (v. 1). Thus, John is referring to events that have begun to unfold in the age of the Church and will culminate in the end of all things, or the eschaton. This mystery has been disclosed to the apostle John, who is writing these truths down for the benefit and strengthening of the Church. This revelation of Jesus is to encourage the believers who are enduring
widespread suffering and persecution. John invites his audience to read this revelation of Jesus, corporately, for their betterment and blessing. Those who hear and heed these words will be indeed blessed (v. 3).