Our Bibles carry the title of the book as "The Revelation of John," or "The Revelation to John" which means it is a revelation given to the Apostle John, but the proper name is found in the first words of 1:1, "The Revelation of Jesus Christ." Revelation is from the Greek word apokalupsis meaning "a disclosure, an unveiling."
Our study last week pointed to the fact that the book of Revelation validates and authenticates certain central issues mainly- the Lordship of Jesus Christ, the reward that awaits everyone who accepts the Lordship and sovereignty of Christ, the potency of the blood of Jesus. It also provides a peek into the mode of worship in the heavenly realm.
Rev.1:3 The Book of Revelation proclaims a blessing to everyone who reads and hears the word of this prophecy and Revelation 22:10 says, "seal not the sayings of the prophecy of this book, for the time is near." God does not intend for the truth of this book to be sealed to man. He intended the church to study and understand the message of Revelation.
Rev. 1:1 revealed the flow of command from God to Jesus Christ and to John by His Angel. Rev.1:8 revealed the deity of Jesus Christ;" I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, said the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty".
Today we shall continue our study from verses 9 to 20.
1) Verse 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"
John begins this section by calling himself "your brother, and companion in tribulation" The word "brother" stresses the family relationship that we have when we are born into God's spiritual family. The phrase "companion in tribulation" means "to share jointly, to have in common with others the trouble, affliction, and distress". The word "tribulation" refers to the general tribulations that all Christians experience. Jesus Himself said, "In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world" (John 16:33). John was exiled to Patmos, "because of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus." John's faithful stand is an example for every one of us. This points to the source of his affliction and endurance as a partaker of Christ's rule and reign in his life.
2) Verses 10,11 "I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet, Saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: and, What you see, write in a book, and send it to the seven churches which are in Asia; to Ephesus, and to Smyrna, and to Pergamos, and to Thyatira, and to Sardis, and to Philadelphia, and to Laodicea."
John writes that he was "in the Spirit" (1:10). This refers to an entrance into an unusual state. This vision took place "on the Lord's day." This is a reference to Sunday, the first day of the week. Although this is the only reference to Sunday as being called the Lord's day. Early Christians found this to be an appropriate title for Sunday since Christ's resurrection was on a Sunday.
John was commanded to "Write in a book what you see" (1:11). This is one of 12 times John was told to write in a book what he saw. This indicates that John was to write after seeing each vision. The phrase "and send it to the seven churches," shows us again that God intends for the church to have and to know the contents of the book of Revelation (1:4). Vision is still common today, but how many of us are writing and sharing what is being revealed.
3) Verses 12-16 "And I turned to see the voice that spoke with me. And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks; And in the middle of the seven candlesticks one like to the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the breasts with a golden girdle. His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire; And his feet like to fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters. And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp two edged sword: and his countenance was as the sun shines in his strength.
After hearing the voice of the Lord, John turned and saw seven golden lampstands (1:12). The lampstands are a reference to the seven churches that were just mentioned by name in the previous verse. In 1:20,
the lampstands are the churches portraying their function in the world and the stars are the angels of the seven churches. The churches were to emit light as a lampstand and the angels were to project light as stars. It is important to note that the churches are no more than "lampstands." The light is Christ, and they are to show Him forth.
It is also important to note that the focus of this section is on the risen Lord Jesus Christ who is "in the middle" of these lampstands (1:13a). This demonstrates that He has a direct relationship with each church. He is in the midst to minister to us, to search us, and to enable us. Bear in mind, the purpose of the lampstand was not the light itself. It was to bear the light. The church is to bear the light of Jesus Christ to a dark world (see Matt 5:14; Phil 2:15; Eph 5:8-13). Sadly, many churches today are known for great worship, great preaching, great facilities, or great programs. Yet, this is not the true measure of success. Ultimately, we are successful to the degree that we reflect Christ.
Jesus is defined: as "one like a son of man." This title points to His true humanity and messianic character. Though portrayed in all the glory of His deity in the similes that follow, He is still the Son of Man, One made like His brethren that He might be a faithful High Priest and reclaim what Adam lost in the fall (Heb 2:9). Note also as the Son of Man, He is seen "clothed in a robe reaching His feet, and girded across His breast with a golden sash." In many weddings the bride has a long train that sweeps across the white runner of the church aisle. This is meant to be impressive and beautiful. Likewise, in biblical times a long robe was a sign of greatness. Either a priest or judge wore a long robe. However, a priest would wear his girdle around his waist, signifying service. He would often lift the hem of his garment and tuck it under his girdle as he went about some of his priestly duties.
His head and hair (1:14a): "were white like white wool, like snow." This is intended to remind us of the vision in Daniel of "the Ancient of Days" (Dan 7:9). The double emphasis of "white" is symbolic of Jesus Christ's absolute purity. It also refers to Jesus' wisdom.
His eyes (1:14b): "were like a flame of fire." Fire is used often in Scripture of God's judgment. This phrase looks to that day when every man's works will be tested by fire (1 Cor 3:13). Christ's eyes will be searching, penetrating, and revealing (Hab 1:13; Heb 4:12-13).
His feet (1:15a): "were like burnished bronze." The word "bronze" is only used here and in Revelation 2:18, in the New Testament. However, in the Old Testament, bronze stands for divine judgment as seen in the brazen altar and other items of brass used in connection with sacrifice for sin (Exod 38:30). The picture of Christ's feet is verification that He is holy from his head to His feet. Indeed, He is the awesome One. It also refers to His trampling down of sin and wickedness.
His voice (1:15c): "was like the sound of many waters." His voice, as John heard it, was "like the sound of many waters." About 35 million gallons per minute roar over the brink of the Niagara Falls. In the same way, it is Christ's voice of absolute authority to which all humanity must bow.
His right hand (1:16a): "And in His right hand He held seven stars." The "right hand" is a symbol of strength, power, and honor. Again, the mystery of the seven stars in the right hand of the Saviour is found in 1:20. It is symbolic of the "angels." The word "angel" (angelos) means "messenger."
His sword (1:16b): "and out of His mouth came a sharp two-edged sword." A "sword" in Scripture is symbolic of God's Word (Eph 6:17; Heb 4:12). In these two contexts, the word refers to a short dagger. However, in 1:16b, a different Greek word is used that describes a long, heavy, broad sword used for the purpose of executing justice and wrath on the unbelieving world (see 19:15, 21). It symbolizes the irresistible authority and devastating force of the Lord's judgment.
His face (1:16c): "and His face was like the sun shining in its strength." The energy of the sun is so great that it gives off 40,000 watts of light from every square inch of its surface. Yet only half-a- billionth of this energy reaches the earth. The rest is lost in space. In the beginning of the world the Lord made the sun to rule the day. Christ is to
the world more than what the sun is to the earth. This is a clear reference to the deity and holiness of Christ. Jesus Christ is the sun (Son) shining in the midst of the church. In Christ alone is our source of light and righteousness.
4) Verses 1:17-20 And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand on me, saying to me, Fear not; I am the first and the last: I am he that lives, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for ever more, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death. Write the things which you have seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter; The mystery of the seven stars which you saw in my right hand, and the seven golden candlesticks. The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches: and the seven candlesticks which you saw are the seven churches."
After seeing a vision as awesome as John witnessed, there can be only one response and that is to fall prostrate before the glory and majesty of God. Our text says that John fell at Jesus' feet "as a dead man." Now keep in mind, this is John. The one who laid his head on Jesus' chest, the one called the "Beloved Disciple." The one who saw Jesus at the transfiguration (Matt 17:2). Yet, when John saw the unveiled glory of Jesus he was utterly overwhelmed. What is interesting is Jesus immediately placed His right hand upon John. Throughout the Scriptures, when men caught a glimpse of God's glory and naturally bowed low, God always spoke or touched them or both (Dan 10:8-10, 15-16; Matt. 17:6-7). This is a wonderful expression of the grace of God.
Although the holiness and awesomeness of God is beyond our wildest imagination, God grants His children comfort and protection from His wrath. But for those who reject Christ, there will be no such thing! Indeed, this is a frightening reality. This knowledge should motivate us to do all that we can to prevent those who are outside of Christ from dying apart from the grace of God.
After touching John, Jesus comforts him with these words, "Do not be afraid; I am the first and the last, and the living One; and I was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of death and Hades." The basis for having no fear is Jesus' words, "I am the first and the last." The phrase "I am" recalls Jesus' claims in the Gospels (cf. Matt 14:27; Mark 6:50; John 6:20; 8:58) and connects Him with God the Father (Exod 3:14; Isa 48:12). The title "the first and the last" is essentially the same as "the Alpha and the Omega" (1:8) and "the beginning and the end" (22:13). This is similar to 1:8 and both of these statements are applied to Christ later in the book (2:8; 22:13). This passage helps us to grapple with God's independent, self-existence, and self-sufficiency as the transcendent God of the universe. He stands independent of all creation.
Jesus also informs us that He is "the living One" (Dan 6:26-27; Rev 4:9; 10:6; 15:7) who became dead and is alive forevermore! This is the bedrock for our salvation and assurance. Jesus' resurrection from the dead is the guarantee that we will live forever with Him. But Jesus does not stop there. He goes on to explain that He has "the keys of death and Hades." Death is the state or condition, while hades is the place of the dead. In the Bible a key is a sign of access and authority. Jesus Christ has the authority to decide who dies and who lives; He controls life and death.
Contributor: Alex Alajiki