Revelation - Chapter 1

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Outline of Chapter 1

vv...
1-3  The Superscription.
4-8  The Salutation.
9-11 John's Charge to Write.
12-16 John's Vision of Christ.
17-20 Charge to Write Restated.

 

 

The Superscription

 

1 The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John:  

 

The Revelation was:

From God...
To Christ...
To an angel...
To John...
For Christ's servants.

The word "signified" simply means that it was delivered with signs.

That which was to be written was the "things which must shortly come to pass."
The vast majority of all that is recorded in Revelation happened right around that time period.
There are a few portions that deal with "final" things to come such as the resurrection and the judgment but the majority was to shortly come to pass.
This refutes the view that all the signs in Revelation are referring to events unfolding throughout history.

2 Who bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw.

 

John assures us that his account is accurate.  A look at John from Chapter 1:

He is the Lord's servant (1:1)

He is one who bore witness of all that he saw:

As an eyewitness of the life of Christ (John 1:1-4; 20:30-31).
As a recipient of the visions recorded in the book of Revelation.
He is a brother to the seven churches.
In the kingdom (1:9)
In tribulation (1:9)

He is on Patmos:

For the Word of God.
For the Testimony of Jesus Christ.

3 Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.

 

A blessing is pronounced on those who read or hear, and keep the things which are written in this book.

 

Notice that you have to KEEP the things written.

James 1:22; Be doers and not hearers only.
James 2:15-26; Faith without works is dead.
It is so important to keep the things written because the time is at hand.

Those who say that Revelation is strictly a foretelling of future events have a problem with this view.  How do you "keep" historical events.

 

The Salutation

 

4 John to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace be unto you, and peace, from him which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from the seven Spirits which are before his throne;

 

The specific recipients were the seven churches of Asia. They are: 

Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, Laodicea

Why these seven?  There were other congregations in Asia.

Seven represents fullness or completeness.
The problems that these church had completely or fully represent qualities of the Lord's church today.  Combinations of these characteristics are present in all congregations of the Lord's church today.  The characteristics are therefore timeless.

"Grace" = God's unmerited favor on the churches (Eph 2:5).

"Peace" = The peace that comes from being a Christian (Phil 4:7).

This grace and peace comes from all three persons of the Godhead.

"From him which is, and which was, and which is to come"

God is the eternally existing one.  The great I AM of Exodus.  He is eternal in the direction of the past as well as the direction of the future.  I believe that this is talking specifically about the father.  However, the Son is also eternal (John 1:1-4) and the Holy Spirit is eternal (Hebrews 9:14).

"And from the seven spirits which are before His throne" (4:5; 5:6)

Seven denotes perfection, nothing lacking.  I believe this is talking about the Holy Spirit, the second Person of the Godhead.  Notice that the Father is mentioned before and the Son is mentioned after.  Grace and peace comes from all three persons of the Godhead.  The spirits being before God's throne most likely means that the Spirit is ready to do the Father's bidding.  Jesus told us that the Spirit is subject to the Father (John 16:13).

5 And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood,6 And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

 

Christ is indeed a faithful witness.

He came to bear witness of the truth (John 18:37).

He never lacked courage or compromised.

There was no guile (lying) found in His mouth (I Peter 2:22).

Christ is also the first begotten of the dead.

This is not referring to chronology but to His preeminence.

Many people had risen to the dead but He is the preeminent.

Paul attributes this to him in Colossians 1:18.

Christ was the first one to rise to never die again.

By dying and rising from the dead, Christ became the ruler of those who had killed Him.

He has all power in heaven and in earth (Matt 28:18).

He is the King of kings and Lord of lords (I Tim 6:15).

But how is Christ the prince of the kings of the earth?  How does he rule the nations?

Daniel 2:20-21; He removes kings and sets up kings.
Daniel 4:25b; The Most High rules in the kingdoms of men.
Isaiah 50:-5-7; Assyria is described as God's destroying rod.
Jer 51:1-2, 11, 20-23; Babylon was to be destroyed by God's battle axe, the Medes.
Hab 1:5-6; God would raise up the Chaldeans to do His will.
Amos 3:6; A city has never fallen that God has not destroyed it.

In the New Testament:

Matt 24:27; The destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans was a work of God.
John 19:10-11; Pilate only had power because God gave it to him.
Romans 13:1-7; There is no power but that is ordained of God.

Next there is a doxology to Christ.  

He loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood.
God demonstrated His love for us in Christ's death (Romans 5:6-8; I John 3:16).
We contact that blood through baptism (Acts 22:16; Romans 6:3-4).

Christ has made us kings and priests unto the Father.

Christians are a royal priesthood (I Peter 2:9).

"Dominion" = rule or sovereignty.

Christ received his kingdom when He ascended to the Father (Daniel 7:13-14).

7 Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen.

 

Christ was taken up in a cloud and would return in a cloud (Acts 1:9-11).

 

ALL will see Him.  It will not be in secret as some teach.  Even those who crucified Him will see Him (Phil. 2:10-11).

 

Those who have rejected Him will wail when he comes back.

 

8 I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.

 

This is probably speaking about Christ but some think the Father is speaking here.

 

Alpha and Omega are the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet.  Therefore, God is saying that He is the beginning and end.  He is all inclusive.

 

God is timeless.

 

This served as encouragement to those who were undergoing persecution and should also encourage us today also.

 

John's Charge to Write

 

9 I John, who also am your brother, and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was in the isle that is called Patmos, for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ.

 

The actual meaning of the verses is that the kingdom, tribulation and patience are all in Christ and that they all share these things.

 

He says that he is in the kingdom with them.

The kingdom was already in existence!

The kingdom is the church (Matt 16:18-19).

Colossians 1:13.

He tells the seven churches that he is their brother and fellow partaker in their tribulation (John 16:33).

 

With the kingdom and tribulation come patience.

The steadfast endurance to overcome tribulation (James 1:2-4).

John then tells us where he was when he received his vision.

He was on the isle called Patmos.  (see introduction).

He was on the island for two reasons:

For the word of God.

For the testimony of Jesus Christ.

10 I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet,

 

John had the Holy Spirit in a greater measure than we do today.  Acts 2.

 

The Lord's day is referring to the first day of the week.  No Old Testament writer ever referred to the Sabbath as the Lord's day.

 

Look at the prominence of the first day of the week to Christians.

Jesus was raised from the dead on the first day of the week (Mark 16:9).

When the day is identified, every appearance of Christ to His disciples after His resurrection was on the first day of the week.

The church of Christ was established on the first day of the week (Acts 2).

The first century church assembled for worship on the first day of the week (Acts 20:7).

The Lord's supper was eaten on the first day of the week (Acts 20:7).

Saints are commanded to give on the first day of the week (I Cor 16:1-2).

John hears a great voice behind him that sounds like a trumpet.

 

11 Saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: and, What thou seest, write in a book, and send it unto the seven churches which are in Asia; unto Ephesus, and unto Smyrna, and unto Pergamos, and unto Thyatira, and unto Sardis, and unto Philadelphia, and unto Laodicea.

 

Christ identifies Himself as the first and the last (see v.8).

 

John is told to write the things he SEES and send it to the seven churches of Asia.

 

 

John's Vision of Christ

 

12 And I turned to see the voice that spake with me. And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks;

 

John turns to see the speaker (a voice is invisible).

 

He sees seven golden lampstands or candlesticks.

 

Verse 20 tells us that the seven candlesticks are the seven churches.

Lampstands serve to support and provide light.  If they do not use this, they are worthless. Matthew 5:14-16.

Each lampstand was separate from the others, unlike the one in the tabernacle of the Old Testament.  This could represent the independence of each church.

13 And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle.

 

The churches are inseparable from their head (Colossians 2:18).

 

Christ moves around among His churches and knows everything about them.

 

His clothing suggests an high office.  Someone of great importance.

 

14 His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire;

 

His hair is described as being as white as white wool.  See Daniel 7:9.

White signifies purity and holiness.

Could also signify His pre-existence.

Eyes were like a flame of fire:

They peer deep inside (John 2:25).

As our judge and ruler (Hebrews 4:13).

Christ's eyes:

Were filled with wrath and indignation (Mark 3:5).

Were filled with love (Mark 10:21).

Were filled with pity and compassion (Luke 22:61).

15 And his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters.

 

Feet like fine brass....as if they burned in a furnace.

When the Lord comes in judgment He will tread under feet and turn to ashes all that His feet touch.

All enemies will be placed under Christ's feet (1 Cor 15:25; Acts 2:34-36).

His voice was as the sound of many waters.

See Daniel 10:6.

His voice is powerful, strong, resolute.  Focusing on what it will be like at the Judgment.

His voice can be comfortable (Zech 1:13), like a mother comforting her children (Isaiah 66:17).  He will speak peace unto His children (Psalm 85:8).

16 And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp twoedged sword: and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength.

 

Holding seven stars in His right hand...

The right hand represents power and strength (Psalm 110:1; Hebrews 1:3-4).

The stars represent the angels of the seven churches (1:20).

The word "angel" means "messenger."

Thus, Christ upholds the messengers of the church with His powerful hand.  What a comfort!

Out of His mouth went a sharp two-edged sword...

The word of God is the two edged sword (Hebrews 4:12).

This is emphasizing it being used in judgment (John 12:48).

Notice its other uses in Revelation (2:12, 16).

Countenance was as the sun shining in his strength...

"Countenance" = "Appearance"

I Timothy 6:15-16.

 

Charge to Write Restated

 

17 And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last:

 

John was as dead.  See Isaiah 6:5; Ezekiel 1:28; 3:23; 43:3; Daniel 8:17; Matt 17:6.  Seeing the glory of Christ should have this effect on us as well.

 

Christ reassures John.  Only His enemies need to fear His appearance.

 

18 I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.

 

The fact the Christ is alive forevermore should comfort us.

 

A key symbolizes power or authority over something (Matt 16:19).

 

Christ says that He has power over death and Hades.

"Hell" should be translated "Hades."  Hades = unseen.

At Christ's coming, He will empty Hades (John 5:28-29; I Thess 4:14).

I Corinthians 15:54-58!!!

19 Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter;

 

The charge to write is restated.

 

20 The mystery of the seven stars which thou sawest in my right hand, and the seven golden candlesticks. The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches: and the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches.

 

See discussion of verses 12 and 16.

 

What a glorious image of Christ we see in this chapter.  It should serve to encourage all Christians who read to know that the one they serve is alive forevermore.

 

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10/05/2012