Welcome to the Bible-Smart study of The Book of Revelation. As we begin this study, allow me to say that every time I study this book or any book of the bible, I find the Lord showing me new insights. So, it may be that we won't cover every possible detail, but shoot for a clear, good working overview of this amazing prophecy. We will either look at single verses at a time or look at groupings of scripture (ex: 1-3) within each chapter and note the main points within those groups before moving on in the chapter. Thanks so much for joining this weekly study (usually a new post each Friday) and I hope it proves helpful in your understanding of God's word.
Revelation Chapter One:
Firstly this is the Revelation (revealing) of Jesus Christ, despite sometimes being headed in bibles as "The Revelation of St. John." In this book of prophecy, Jesus is seen in all of his heavenly glory as God's sacrificial lamb to atone (pay) the penalty for man's sins to His own Holy Law. Jesus is seen as God Almighty and our coming King to takeover the Earth and reign forevermore. Now to the verses...
- God intends His servants to understand the things He will shortly bring to pass in human history. The apostle John (not John the Baptist) will be his instrument to bring this information to other believers.
- John attests that he is baring record of what he saw there on Patmos, that which God showed him through this vision.
- A blessing is added unto those who read and hold onto these truths with this prophecy...so you'll definitely get a blessing from this study, eh? Notice the admonition, "The Time is at Hand." In Daniel's vision, he was told to seal the book of prophecy given to him by visions "until the time of the end." Now, the time is at hand, so God's people were to be informed!
- Notice God referred to as "Him which is, which was, which is to come." This shows us God's eternal nature...He always has been and always will be!
- Jesus is characterized by being, "The faithful witness," for we spake as the Father gave him to speak during his earthly ministry..."the first begotten of the dead," for he was the first to die and be raised incorruptible in a glorified body, just as Believers are promised to receive (phil 3:21)..."prince of the kings of the Earth" which may refer to either to his own royal lineage through the line of King David or of Believers who through him made kings and priest unto God in the world to come. Notice the work of shedding his blood for our sins on the cross was a work of LOVE! (Rom 5:8)
- As we said, Christ has taken sinners and rebels from the earth and transformed them into kings and priests unto the Creator of the Universe...all possible through the cross!
- Notice not only the promise that "He comes" but that "every eye shall see him." How will this be accomplished? Television? Perhaps, he and the armies of heaven ride around the world before finally touching down in Israel? Or perhaps Jesus and his army remain stationary in full view while the Earth rotates beneath and then comes to touch down on the Mount of Olives? We cannot be precisely sure as is the nature of all future events. Notice the response to his coming--all kindreds (different ethnic groups) shall wail because of Him. The first coming was to provide himself a sacrifice for man's sins, the second coming will be to judge man's sins.
- Jesus declares himself to be The Eternal God by these statements. Can their be any doubt of his true identity as God, when he rose from the dead was seen of above 500 credible witnesses at one time and then ascended into Heaven in plain view of his disciples?
- John gives us his location: exiled to the little grecian island of Patmos because of his preaching Jesus Christ.
- Whether John means that he was simply in prayer or already within the vision is unclear, but the voice is Jesus Christ...
- ...who declares himself as Eternal God and instructs John to write what he sees in a book (scroll) and send it to these seven churches in Asia Minor. It should be noted that these seven were not the only churches at the time. However, some numbers have special meaning in Scripture. Seven refers to completion, as in "the seven spirits of God" or the Holy Spirit complete in all His attributes. These seven churches therefore represent all of God's congregations and later we will see that all believers are to heed the words written unto these seven.
- John turns to find the vision--firstly, seven golden candlesticks (lampstands).
- In the midst of these candlesticks we find Jesus described as wearing a robe (almost certainly white representing His holiness) wearing a golden girdle (sash)...
- ...His head hair is white as snow, his eyes like blazing light or fire...
- ...His feet like brass in a fire (usually signifying judgment) and a voice of great power.
- Christ is seen holding seven stars in his right hand. Seven (complete) and the right hand being a place of honor. Out of His mouth goes a sharp two edged sword and he glows brilliant like the sun. Now we must point out that this is a vision and symbolism is given here. How do we know? First, the meaning will be given soon...but we should understand that Jesus didn't have a "literal" sword stuck in his throat. It represents the power of his word and we find the Word of God described as such in (Hebrews 4:12).
- Notice John's reaction to seeing Christ in His glory...he loses all strength and faints, BUT the Lord responds by strengthening not holding him down as with many supposedly "spritual phenomena" like Holy Ghost glue and spirit slaying. These are never manifested in scripture. A similar fainting happens in Daniel, but it is only the prophets natural reaction to seeing the glory of God, not God knocking him down. As then, so here, God provides strength and stands his servant on his feet so they may continue with what the Lord has to say!
- Christ's affirms his sovereign authority even over death itself!
- HERE WE HAVE A KEY VERSE TO UNDERSTANDING THE ENTIRE BOOK OF REVELATION! Christ gives John the order of the events that he will witness in the vision and as we go through, we will find the events given in a consecutive (one after the other) order. Along the way, we'll find pauses where more details are given concerning certain events or people, but otherwise we are going from: "Things which thou hast seen" (Chapter One), to "the things which are" (Chapters Two & Three - instructions to the seven churches), and finally to "the things which shall be hereafter" (the future events - Chapters 4-22)
- Here Christ gives the interpretation of the Seven candlesticks and seven stars. Seven candlesticks symbolize the seven churches (same mentioned in verse 11) and the seven stars are the angels of the seven churches. The "Angels" referred to here could mean heavenly angels guarding the church, BUT why would Christ need John to write any instructions for them and how would he send them?? NO, these "angels / messengers" must refer to the human leaders (Pastors) of these particular congregations of believers.
This concludes our study of Chapter One...next week we will begin looking at Christ's instructions and admonition to the Seven Churches...Please join us and spread the word about BIBLE-SMART and our Revelation study!