BIBLE STUDY: PART 1
The word Revelation is a translation of the Greek word apokalypsis. It means unveiling or disclosing something that has previously been hidden. The phrase” The Revelation of Jesus Christ” tells us that this book is all about Jesus.
Revelation tells us what has happened since Jesus’ first coming, and the things that must happen from then until His second coming, and beyond. There are many references to prophecies written in Old Testament Books like Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel and Isaiah. Revelation is not so much a history book as it is a re-telling of what has happened and a foretelling of what will happen.
V. 1- This Book is the Revelation of Jesus Christ, not John the Revelator. Jesus is the author of Revelation. Who knows the beginning from the end? Only God does. "Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled. Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away" (Matthew 24:34-36). So how could Jesus know this? He is God. But this information was given to Jesus, our Mediator, the Son of God, by God to share with God‘s people creation. Let's read John 3:31-36, Jesus sent His angel who then showed the revelations to John by visions. John was chosen as the messenger who would write down all that has happened, is happening, and will happen.
Angels have always been used in Jesus’ life. One announced His conception (Luke 1:31), an angel proclaimed His birth (Luke 2:8-11). An angel protected Jesus from Herod when he had the children 2 years and under killed in an effort to wipe Him out before He could start His ministry (Matthew 2:13). And it was angels who fed Jesus in the wilderness after His forty day fast, and after He dealt with the devil’s temptations (Matthew 4:1-11).
The information Jesus had was to warn the people of what was to come. He was given this word by God. Jesus is God, and deity, but in this case the revelation was made from God to Jesus the man/mediator. Giving this information was part of the job Jesus was given as a prophet, Savior, and redeemer. He was working as a prophet here. He “sent and signified” (Revelation 1:1) this information before He gave it to the angel who gave it to John to write down on earth so that every age from then on could know it. John said, “He sent and signified it by His angel...” To signify something is to make it known by signs, speech or actions. Where it says in verse 1 that these things must shortly take place does not mean soon, but rather that they will happen fast. As soon as the things revealed here begin to happen, they will happen in quick succession. Let’s read II Peter 3:9,10 and Revelation 3:3. The end will come suddenly. Jesus will return as a thief in the night. We must be prepared, and that’s one of the things this Book of revealing is for. It is to forewarn us so that we can keep ourselves ready at all times. Does this mean to prepare by the works of the flesh? No. Then what? We must do it by the Holy Ghost who empowers us for the day. We need to seek forgiveness every day for any sin we have committed. Did you argue with your spouse? Seek his forgiveness, not allowing the sun to go down on your wrath. Did you lie about something? Did you forget to pray today? Whatever you have done that offends God should be dealt with on a daily basis, and we should be seeking to repent, or turn from that behavior, so that we don’t repeat it.
Who is the angel in Revelation? It’s not stated with certainty, but most scholars agree it is Gabriel since He was the one sent to deliver the messages to Daniel (Daniel 8:16-27), Zacharias (Luke 1:11-22), and Mary (Luke 1:26-38), and is “the angel who stands in the presence of God (Luke 1:19). Jesus has been given authority in heaven and on earth (Matthew 28:18), this included His authority over angels to send them out as He needed them.
“To His servant,” does not mean the angel’s servant, but Jesus’ servants. We know and understand this because several apostles referred to themselves as “doulos” or servants of the Lord. Let’s check some of those references. Look at Romans 1:1; Philippians 1:1; Titus 1:1; James 1:1; II Peter 1:1 and Jude 1. So, any of us who serve the Lord is one of the servants spoken of here. V. 2- Since the beginning of his ministry, John has proclaimed the Word of God, which is Jesus. He wrote about Him in the Gospel of John, and in the three epistles of John. Let’s read I John 1:1-4, “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life; (For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;) That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ. And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full.” Everything John has seen, heard, and experienced with Jesus is written about so that we can know the true Jesus and His Father. The testimony of Jesus Christ is the person of Jesus, His deity, His human nature, and the God/man ministry that He had on earth, and still continues to work at. John talked about Jesus as Prophet, Priest, King, and Lord. He told about the suffering of Jesus which affords us the blessings of grace. All the things John saw, and the other apostles saw, were the miracles Jesus performed of healing the sick, giving sight to the blind, turning water to wine, raising the dead, and Jesus’ own death and resurrection. There’s so much more that John was witness to. He was at the Mount of Transfiguration, and at the Garden of Gethsemane. It was to this John that Jesus gave charge over His mother while hanging on the cross (John 19:15-27). It was because of his faithfulness to Jesus that John was chosen for such a special job.
V. 3- This verse contains the first of seven beatitudes found in Revelation. Any who read Revelation are blessed. Be it lay people reading in the privacy of their homes, seeking to understand, or pastors reading aloud to the congregation while trying to explain the mysteries revealed, or teachers teaching this book, all who read and hear are blessed. We need to read it with a keen desire to understand what’s in this book. What does this reading parallel elsewhere in the Bible? It’s like when the priests read the Law and the Prophets in the synagogues. They didn’t just read it to have something to say. They read it with a determination to understand, and to impart that understanding to others.
Hearing the Word of Revelation does not simply imply hearing someone else read and explain it. This refers to hearing the Holy Spirit while we listen to the readings, or as we do our personal study. It’s the Holy Spirit’s job to reveal all truths to us. With God, the blessings always come as a result of obedience. Luke 11:28 says, “...blessed are those who hear the Word of God and keep it.” And Revelation 22:7 says, “Behold, I am coming quickly! Blessed is he who keeps the word of the prophecy of this book.” This makes it very clear that we are not only to read, and hear it, but we are to KEEP the words written in this book of the Bible. We have to read the information given us in this book, participate in studying it, alone and corporately, and we are to meditate on the words that give us the hope of the future found within its pages.
“...the time is near.” The word time is kairos, or a period of time. Let’s look at Daniel 8:17. While Daniel was looking for the meaning of the vision of the ram and goat, an angel came to him and told him that the visions he had been given were for a future time. The time referred to here, in Daniel is the time of the revealing. It’s the time of the apokalypsis.
The first three verses of Revelation are considered the prologue. A prologue is the introductory, or opening statements, of a message. In this prologue we find all the basic facts of what this book is about. It’s about Jesus, the church (servants), the angels who do His bidding, and the human resource, John, that Jesus used to achieve His goal of setting things down on paper. It’s about the Word of God and the testimony of Jesus. It’s about the visions John saw of the future. It’s about the blessings that come to those who read, hear, and obey the message of this book. Finally, it’s about the time being near for all this prophecy to take place. Rest assured; it could happen at any time.
Does our eternal future depend on us reading and hearing Revelation? No. There is pleasure though, and blessings, in knowing the future. We can live fearless lives when we know the truth of what‘s to come, and that’s a huge blessing. It relieves our fears to know we won't be part of the seals, trumpets, or bowls judgments.
BIBLE STUDY: PART 2
Last week we talked about how those who read, and those who hear the Book of Revelation are blessed. But the reading and hearing is not all that brings the blessings. It’s the doing of this Word as well. What should we be doing? We should be remembering what is written. Our love for God, the Trinity, should grow each time we hear or read in this book. That’s true of all Scripture, but God chose to tell us we will be blessed when we do these things in regard to Revelation. We need to read, hear, and practice the things contained herein.
V. 4- John’s salutation here is to seven actual operating churches in the Roman Province of Asia Minor (Rev. 1:4a). It is a salutation of direction. John’s greeting is to the churches, not to the Christian community at large. It’s speculated that he addressed them because he was the overseeing apostle, or Bishop of those churches. These churches are named in Rev.2:1-3:22. All of them can be compared to the churches of every generation.
The greeting is from God the Trinity. All aspects of God are seen here as it says, “...from Him [God] who is, who was, and who is to come. When Moses faced God at the Burning Bush, and God commissioned him to free Israel, Moses wanted to know in Whose name he should tell the people he had been sent. Let’s read Exodus 3:13-15. God is the I Am, the God of Israel’s ancestors. He was in the form of the man Jesus, and He came in the form of His Holy Spirit into all believers. So He is, He was, and He came.
Grace and peace are gifts from our loving God. Grace is God’s attitude toward us, and peace is a blessing we receive as we stand firmly with God. We can never truly have peace without God’s grace in our lives. Grace softens the heart. Just as the grace of God calms our spirit, the grace we show others brings peace. We’ve all heard stories of difficult situations that have come upon people. When those people are later asked what kept them alive, they often report, “There was this man/woman who was so calm in all the fray, that it calmed me down and helped me think.” Also, when you think about it, you can’t argue with someone who is demonstrating the grace of God to you. Grace encourages the soul, and uplifts the mind, therefore, it follows that peace will be where grace is practiced.
What about the seven spirits who are before God‘s throne? Let’s look at Isaiah 11:2. There are seven sprits mentioned here, but we all know it’s referring to one Spirit alone, God’s Holy Spirit. There is rest, wisdom, understanding, counsel, might, knowledge, and the fear of the Lord. These are some of the things the Spirit of God is in charge of teaching us. Seven also refers to the fullness of the perfection of the Spirit, and that He is over the seven churches mentioned here. He filled them and sanctified them for the work of service.
V. 5- Jesus is mentioned last because John has so much to say about Him. He is the faithful witness. Look at John 8:14. His witness about Himself is true. His ministry on earth of miracles, death on the cross, and the blood He shed which sealed the covenant between God and man, and His resurrection bares the truth of Who He is. There are many people in the Bible, Old and New Testaments, who were raised from the dead. There were the widows son in I Kings 17:17-22, the unnamed man in II Kings13:20,21, Lazarus in John 11:43,44, and Dorcas in Acts 9:36-40, to name a few. But only Jesus never had to die again. His resurrection was a permanent ascendancy to His throne at the right hand of God. This resurrection is what we have to look forward to ourselves. Read Hebrews 9:27,28 with me. The Mediator’s death was necessary, and the style of death cruel, and all to save wretches such as we.
Jesus is King of kings in all the earth. Read I Timothy 6:12-16, and Revelation 17:14. You know the lyrics of the song that say, “Ruler of everything.” That’s Jesus. Because of Jesus, we saints also have rule over the prince of darkness, satan. When we pray in faith to have satan defeated, he is. He cannot stand in the face of Jesus, or under His shed blood. Call out to the Lord, and pour out the blood over every attack, and the demons must flee. But this has to be done in faith, not doubting. We see this example in the Withered Fig Tree of Matthew 21:20-22. So - when you take the authority Jesus gave you (Matthew 21:18-22), and shout with conviction, “Cancer, come out.” And then add, “Well, if it’s the will of God, come out,” you have defeated yourself before the Lord could begin to move. Jesus never doubted His commands would be followed, and neither did the apostles once they learned the trusting process of believing.
V. 6- Jesus loved us, died for us, sanctified us, and redeemed us by His blood. As we believed on Him, He made us all part of the kingdom, the bride of Christ, the righteousness of God in Christ, and priests to God. These things give glory to God. Jesus is the God of glory and power forever. He rules, and we rule with Him.
V. 7- When Jesus returns, it will be with great awakening. Every eye will see Him.
Some have said that if He comes back over Israel, the people of the US will not see Him because it will be dark out. But remember, the Light of the world is Jesus (John 9:5). The glory of God which will light the new heaven and new earth will be the light by which we see Jesus. Now let’s read Matthew 24:29-31. The righteous will see Him coming on the cloud and be filled with joy unspeakable and full of glory. The sinner will see Him and faint.
Now we see the mention of the dead. Those who pierced Him will see Him. Those who were among the ones crying to crucify Him will face Him as He returns. Where will they be looking from? From their own eyes. They are the dead who are raised to judgment. All the wicked people to ever live will be the ones wailing and mourning. They are the ones who will be wringing their hands in fear as they face the coming judgment. What the wicked people fear is what will bring us the greatest joy. The return of the Lord our Savior. Those who have received the blessings from reading and hearing Revelation want Jesus to return more than anyone. We are those who shout Amen with John at the return of Jesus.
V. 8- Jesus talks about Himself as the beginning and the end, the Alpha, first letter of the Greek alphabet, and Omega, the last. Jesus is the first Son of God. No one born to man is more the son than the Son of God. He is the first, the last, the all-in-all. Jesus is the Son of God and the Son of man, He is the covenant between God and man, He is the Mediator, He is our promise and pledge from God for our eternal life in heaven, He is the fulfillment of the Law. Jesus is first mentioned as God, the Trinity, in Genesis 1:1, and as Jesus Christ The Lord in Revelation 22:21, again making Him first and last. Here in V. 8, it is Jesus Who is, Who was and, Who is to come.
BIBLE STUDY: PART 3
V. 9- Here the Apostle is making his identity known to the people of the Seven Churches, and any Christians who read this message. He is their brother and companion in the suffering. What suffering? The persecution of Christians. We are seeing more of that here in the USA now that other religions have come here with their own laws that call for them to persecute, mutilate or kill their own who come to Christ. Mostly we see this kind of bitter hate against Christ followers in the Middle East, China, and the Communist nations.
John was sent to Patmos for his successful preaching of the Gospel about Jesus. I can see it now, “I tell you that Jesus is the living Messiah and He will return,’ declared John.
“Shut up, or face exile,” shouted the Roman officials.
“I can not shut up. I must preach the Truth.“
“Then we’ll see how many people you can reach with your preaching from Patmos.“
John went to Patmos and that's where the letter was written and the visions recorded. As I said last week, John had a personal stake in these seven ministries because he was most likely their bishop, or overseer, so he sent them the letter first to encourage them, then to bring correction. Once John letters were sent to the seven churches and read out loud to the congregations, they were made available for all to read. It still amazes me to think that the Christians of that day knew, and were encouraged, by what this message from Jesus contains, yet even with all our best scholars, all the research papers and commentaries available to us, and the fine preachers we have, we are basically clueless about this book of revealed truths. Most churches now won't even preach or teach through the prophetic books. The feel we can't understand it or that it will frighten us.
John shared the same trials and persecutions they did, but he also shared the promise of Jesus to come. Let’s get an idea what, “kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ,” means. In II Timothy 2:9, Paul admonishes Timothy to be, “...strong in the grace that is in Jesus Christ.” He tells him to endure hardship, to keep himself set apart as a soldier of Jesus Christ, and to compete in the race according to the rules. Timothy was exhorted to, “Remember that Jesus Christ, of the seed of David, was raised from the dead according to my (Paul‘s) gospel.” And this was the reason for which Paul was suffering in chains, and for which John was exiled to a penal colony. It was so others could attain the salvation of Jesus Christ. They, as Jesus, gave unselfishly so that we could know the truth and be blessed. This is what John was a companion in, and a brother to. He suffered just as all the other apostles did for the gospel of Truth. Just as the Christians were suffering. Now please read II Timothy 2:11-13. That is the patience of Jesus. That we must believe in His death, that we may have life with Him. We need to endure till the end, so we can reign with Him. We need to proclaim Him to the world, because if we deny Him, He will be forced to deny us. “Only the fool says in his heart there is no God (Psalm 14:1A).” No matter who denies Him, Jesus cannot, and will not, deny Himself before God or man. V. 10- What does he mean when he states he was in the Spirit? Look at the spelling of the word Spirit. It is capitalized. That means it refers to the Holy Spirit. It was the Lord’s Day. I refuse to get into the controversy about exactly what day that was. But three have been named, Saturday for the Jewish Sabbath, Sunday for the Christian Sabbath, and Monday which many consider to be first day of the week. Personally, I don’t think the name of the day matters, only the Spirit. It was the day the Christians of that time honored Jesus, and John was praying. He couldn’t be in the “church” with the rest of the believers, so maybe he sat in the rock quarry for prayer. But if I know John even a little bit, after the first couple days on Patmos, he had a following, so he might have been praying with them, and perhaps had even preached a sermon or two to them. How are we supposed to pray? In the Spirit (Romans 8:26)! So this is what John was doing. His spirit was in communion with God’s Spirit. He was being made ready to receive the Revelations of Christ.
The great trumpeting voice was that of Jesus. We know that by what He said.
V. 11- “I am the Alpha and Omega, the First and the Last.” This is the second time we see Jesus refer to Himself that way. God also made a like statement in Isaiah 41:4B, when he said, “I, the Lord, am the first; and with the last, I am He.” Here Jesus said it in a loud voice to John as he was in meditation. So loud was it, in fact, that it had the effect of blowing a trumpet into his ear. Jesus wanted no misunderstanding about whose voice John was hearing. Neither did He want doubt about what He was saying. It was Jesus the Christ, the Anointed One who was giving John these instructions. Since coming to know Jesus, the apostles became used to listening, and following out the commands they were given. Jesus knew that when He instructed John to see, and to write down what he saw, he would be faithful to do it. This message was going to be among the others given to the church of God to encourage, teach, and enlighten the Christians.
V. 12,13- John turned around to find out who had spoken so loudly and what he saw was the Son of Man surrounded by seven golden lampstands.The seven lampstands of Exodus 25:37 were supposed to burn round the clock to light the front of the Tabernacle. The wick trimmers tended to them morning and night to assure they would remain lit. The lampstands mentioned here in Revelation are the seven churches (See Revelation 1:20). They are supposed to be the light in the world. Jesus is the Light of the world. The mission of the churches was to reflect the Light into the world. But they weren’t doing it very well. At least, not most of them.
There are so many references in this Bible to the Son of Man, that I only wrote a few down. You can do your own research about it, but let’s look at a few now. We’ll start with how Jesus referred to Himself in Matthew 24:30, “And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory,” and 37, “But as the days of Noe (Noah) were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.”
Now let’s see how Stephen referred to Jesus while he was being stoned. Read Acts 7 51-56, “Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye. Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted? and they have slain them which shewed before of the coming of the Just One; of whom ye have been now the betrayers and murderers: Who have received the law by the disposition of angels, and have not kept it. When they heard these things, they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed on him with their teeth. But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up steadfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God, And said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God.” Please don’t stop here. Come next week with more verses using this appellation, who said it, and to whom the speaker was referring.
Jesus was wearing a long garment. Let’s read Daniel 10:1-9. Daniel saw the same things John did. This gives validity to John’s visions. The way they describe the outfit Jesus wore of a long robe with a golden sash worn around the chest, let’s us know He was dressed as a Levitical Priest. Because Jesus made atonement for the sins of man, He became the High Priest to us. He is standing here in Revelation in His garment, and His office as High Priest. V. 14-The white hair connotes the Ancient of days in Daniel 7:9. Let’s go read the description of the Ancient of Days in Daniel 7:9,10. White hair is a sign of wisdom accumulated with age. It is also the glory of Jesus Christ visible for all to see. Jesus is the wisdom of God, and is God. The eyes of fire are those that can pierce to the heart of man, and reveal the hidden truths there. The fire of love that shines from His eyes onto the heart melts the ice there, and warms the heart toward God. People are then saved.
It might also mean the judgment of God onto man. The look makes man cower in fear. Prayerfully, it leads to repentance.
BIBLE STUDY: PART 4
In verse 14, we saw that The Ancient of Days, Jesus, had eyes like flames of fire. What we can assume from that description is that Jesus sees everything. His eyes can pierce the heart. His eyes can see the past present and future. His eyes see the beginning from the end. There’s nothing hidden beyond where His eyes can see. Everything is revealed to Him.
V. 15- His feet were like brass, or as Ezekiel 1:7 describes them, “They sparkled like the color of burnished bronze.” Burnishing is polishing something with friction to bring out the highlights in it, and makes it very shiny. It brings out the luster of the metal. Why would the feet of our Lord need to be a shiny bronze, or brass? The Bible tells us in Exodus 27:1-8 that everything related to the altar of sacrifice had to be covered in bronze. Jesus’ feet walked the ultimate sacrifice to the altar. Now He stands on the feet of bronze as He holds up His people, His church. He also needs heavy feet for stomping His enemies.
There are two reasons for His voice to be like the “sound of many waters.” First, we’ve all experienced the sound of waterfalls, right? We know they are loud. Anyone who’s been to Niagara Falls can tell you how deafening the sound is when you are near it. Imagine many Niagaras all falling at the same time. That’s what the gospel did. It was sent forth by many people at once, reaching into the nations. If we put all the preachers in one room, and let them all speak together as they did individually, it would be loud. (Romans 10:18)
Second, the voice of many waters is the voice of judgment. Jesus will judge His enemies, and His voice will be loud as He condemns them. Jesus is King, and when a king gives a command, it’s loud enough for everyone to hear, even when they are not there to hear it for themselves. The weight of his voice travels all over by repetition or written document, and his edicts are obeyed. I think the word picture here is that no one will escape from the voice of Jesus when He returns. Many will hear, fear and tremble wishing they had made a wiser choice for Jesus while there was time.
V. 16- The seven stars are the ministers, or pastors of the seven churches in the Lycos Valley. God is the One who placed these pastors over the churches. Why are ministers compared to stars? It is because stars get there light from the sun just as we get our Light from the Son. We are not light, we are reflectors of light, the light of God’s glory. Stars are set in place by the hands of God to reflex the sunlight at night. As ministers we are to reflect the Light of the world, Jesus, ALL the time.
“Out of His mouth went a sharp two edged sword.” This sword is the Word of God which is sharper than any sword. Ephesians 6:17 tells us to, “Take up the helmet of salvation and the Sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God.” Why the comparison to a sharp two edged sword? That’s because the Word of God cuts to the quick. It both saves and destroys. It pierces the heart unto salvation, and cuts out the garbage so that we become cleansed temples of the Holy Ghost. Remember how Jesus used the Word of God while He walked the earth? One of His cutting remarks was when He called the Scribes and Pharisees an evil and adulterous generation Matthew. 12:39, hypocrites in Matthew 15:7, and hypocrites and white-washed tombs in Matthew 23:27. Another was aimed at Peter when He called him a man of little faith in Matthew 14:31. These are only some of the things Jesus said that cut like a sword into the hearts of men. He had an uncanny way of putting people in their place, calling things as they were, and never losing His temper. He let the Word work for Him. We must learn a lot from this. Speaking in anger creates more anger. Speaking the Word convicts!
His countenance, which is His face, was shining like the sun. We get a sample of that glorious shining in Matthew 17:2 at the transfiguration. It says, “His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became white as light.” The Jews understood the workings of the sun. They knew it gave heat, light, and comfort. It provided the source of energy to heat the ground for the growth of crops. Without the sun, man would perish. If we didn’t have the Light of the world, Jesus shining on us, and through us, and in us by salvation, we too would perish with the sinners. I agree with the Spiritual song that says, “Shine Jesus, shine!”
V. 17- Poor John! Can you imagine what this vision did to him? It frightened him so much that he fainted at the feet of the glowing Lord. We know what happened when Saul saw the glory of God on the road to Damascus. He was still sputtering threats against the Christians, when suddenly the heavens lit up. “And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven: And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks. And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do” “Acts 9:3-6”. Saul also fell to the ground, and the people with him ran and hid themselves. But for John the glory seems to have been so great it made him appear as dead before the Lord. The disciple whom Jesus loved the best was now literally scared to the brink of death by Jesus. Just think, our resurrection bodies will be like His. We will also glow with the glorious light reflected from God’s throne. Those who truly walk with Jesus right now on earth shine some of that reflected glory already.
Jesus held the seven stars in His right hand. But even as Jesus touched Daniel in Daniel 8:18, when he had become frightened at the sight of Him, and had fallen to the ground, so Jesus touched John and lifted him up. The laying of hands onto Daniel and John, and I’m sure others, signifies His affection and care of them. It’s also symbolic of how Jesus lifts us out of the miry pit of sin when we cast ourselves at His feet. He touches us, and we are free and lifted up. Oh praise the Lord!
Jesus told John not to be afraid. “Fear not,” is a theme in the Bible. But we are also warned to fear the Lord. So what’s this? How can we fear as instructed, yet not fear as also instructed? We are to fear with reverential fear the power of God to save or destroy. However, we are not to fear the Lord Himself. He is our father, not some ogre. When He comes to us, we can look upon Him with love and hope. Jesus appears to people even to this day. I truly believe that in my heart. And if He came here to me, I would do as John did, I’m sure. But we are to “Fear not.”
“I am the First and the Last,” is a phrase that brings comfort to the hearer. When God was comforting Israel in Isaiah 41, and telling the people He would help them, He said, “I, the Lord, am first; And with the last, I am He (Isaiah 41:4b).” This tells us of the Lord’s eternity, no beginning and no end, from before till forever.
V. 18- Christ lived in eternity, came to life as a man, died, and yet lived. He never truly died. Only His bodied died. But remember, when the women then the apostles went to the tomb, it was empty. Not a bone of Him was found. Jesus came back and walked the earth for 40 days in His glorified body. Our earthly bodies will one day be glorified and we will be just like Jesus. His Spirit lives forever. Ours will too. But Jesus doesn’t just live to live. He lives to the glory of God. And He lives to serve His sheep. He died once to sin, our sin, not His, and became our justification, our Savior, redeemer, and Judge. Remember the sharp two-edged sword of conviction? Remember the eyes of fire to judgment? Remember the bronze feet that can stomp the toughest enemy? Jesus is serving us every day of our lives, and we will worship Him for it throughout eternity. We do not need to fear death because we have the Promise of life. Later on when you have time, read Romans 6:1-14. Actually, you should read the entire book of Romans.
Listen to what Deuteronomy 32:41 says, “If I whet my glistening sword, and my hand takes hold on judgment, I will render vengeance on My enemies, and repay those who hate Me.” Jesus has the keys to death and hell. He rules over both. He alone, having been given the authority by God, makes the decision of how to divide the sheep and goats. A great example of this power is Ananias and Sapphira. It didn’t take long for the sword of the Word of God, which is the Spirit, to come forth and kill both of them for their lie. Jesus will one day command death and hades to release their captives. When the judgment takes place, some will live with Jesus, some will be tossed into the doom where they will forever gnash their teeth and seek release from their torment. But Jesus has the keys, and no one who enters the doors of hell will ever be allowed escape. The door is locked. And the gates of hell cannot prevail against Christ or His church.
V. 19- After John was lifted up, and saw the Glory of Jesus, and knew that he would be used to make a record, Jesus told him to write all that he saw, the things which are, and what will soon take place. The things seen are what just took place in Revelation. 1:1-18. The things which are refer to what’s going on in the churches and appears in Revelation 2. And the things which will take place begin in Revelation 4. That is what will happen till the end of the earth: The opening of the seal on the Scroll, the seals, the bowl judgment, the trumpets, the beast, the witnesses, and so forth.
V. 20- The mystery, or hidden truth of the stars in Jesus’ right hand is not hard to understand. They are symbolic of messengers, or pastors of the seven churches of the Lycos Valley: Ephesus: Smyrna: Pergamos: Thyatira: Sardis: Philadelphia and Laodicea. Angels are ministering spirits sent by God to minister to those who will inherit the kingdom. They are messengers for God. Pastors are messengers of the Gospel for Jesus‘ sake, and we minister to the same people, the heirs of salvation.
The lampstands are the churches themselves, but not only those seven. This speaks to every church generation till the return of Christ to earth. The image of Jesus walking among the candlesticks expresses His care and ministry over the churches. That He is holding the seven stars in His right hand expresses His respect for the ministers of the churches, all churches. I say all churches because there were many other congregations at the time, and Jesus is not a respecter of persons that He would ignore the others. The seven churches are types of churches which were, are now and will be in the future after the Lord removes His bride from the earth.