Revelation 1 - IVP New Testament Commentaries
The Testimony of John
"John" is identified only as one who testifies to everything he saw. The title makes no claim that John was a creative writer or a literary or religious genius. He simply transcribed a vision. What John saw is summed up in the twin phrases, the word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ. These phrases reiterate the assertion in verse 1 that God is the ultimate source and Jesus is the immediate source of all that is going to be revealed. The word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ are not two messages, but one. Word of God recalls the message of the biblical prophets (compare "word of the Lord" in Jer 1:2, 4; Ezek 1:3; Hos 1:1; Joel 1:1; Jon 1:1; Mic 1:1; Zeph 1:1; Hag 1:1; Zech 1:1; Mal 1:1). Like many of those oracles, it is based on what someone "saw" (Is 1:1; Ezek 1:1; Amos 1:1; Obad 1:1, Mic 1:1, Nahum 1:1). Now, however, the word of God is identified with the testimony of Jesus Christ because it is by virtue of Jesus' resurrection from the dead that John will be called and commissioned to write (compare vv. 12-18). The prophets' "word of the Lord" becomes in this last book of the Bible the word of the risen Jesus.