This will begin by giving you the scripture from the King James Version of the Bible, then will go into our description of what the verses mean. You will be able to read various additional information contained in more specific files under "Research Materials".
Before we begin the explanation of the scripture, here is a short overview of the writer of Revelation, the Apostle John.
Before we go into the first chapter and verse of Revelation chapter 1, I would like to acquaint you with the penman, John the Apostle.
I believe that God Himself is the author of the Bible. That includes the book of Revelation as all writing in the bible was inspired by the Holy Spirit of God, ( About the Bible ) but the penman was the apostle John. History of the Bible's English Origin
John was the beloved of Jesus. He and James were the sons of Zebedee, the sons of thunder. John was one of the younger of the disciples. He loved Jesus so much that John was known as the disciple of love. He would lay his head on Jesus' chest. He adored Jesus. It seems that Jesus felt the very same way about John. It was John that Jesus entrusted his mother to. Whenever three disciples went aside with Jesus, as they did at the transfiguration, John was one of them.
John was there at the Garden of Gethsemane, waiting while Jesus prayed. John loved Jesus so much, that he was never very far from Jesus. It seemed that this great love that John had for Jesus helped him to understand the person of Jesus more than any other disciple.
In the book of John, John shows Jesus as God manifest in the flesh. The first few scriptures say,
Now look at verse 14.
This gives no doubt that it was Jesus who made everything including the earth, heavens, sun, moon, oceans and He created man as seen in the first 3 scriptures of the Gospel of John. But verse 14 tells us that the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us as the true Son of God.
The four gospels show Jesus as a Lion, Calf, Man, and Eagle. The Eagle is symbolic of God. This is the message that John brought in his gospel, that Jesus was in fact God who took on the form of flesh and dwelt among us.
John knew Jesus better than any of the other disciples. He even knew Him better than Paul knew Him. There was something very special about John's relationship with Jesus. John's mother knew of this closeness and even asked Jesus for James and John to sit on His right and left hand in His kingdom. Jesus answered her and said that these positions were not His to give. John was the only disciple present at Jesus' crucifixion (that the Bible mentions).
John penned several books in the Bible besides Revelation. The Gospel of John, and First, Second, and Third John are written by him, as well.
Second John is even a mystery today. So much discussion surrounds this little book, because no one knows for sure who it was addressed to.
Was it a woman that John knew from his age?
Was it all women in general?
Was it Christian ladies of all ages?
Was it written to the church?
Was it written for our day to some woman prophetically?
Only John and God know.
So many people are carried away with Paul's writings (and they are wonderful), but my favorite penman is John. John knew Jesus personally. He walked and talked with Jesus as He ministered here on the earth. John saw the miracles. He was there when Jesus taught the Sermon on the Mount. He had first hand knowledge.
Paul had a brief encounter with Jesus on the road to Damascus, but his other knowledge was by revelation. He was carried into heaven for a brief encounter as well, but most of his knowledge of Jesus came when he was three years in the wilderness studying and communing with God in prayer. Paul's writings are not to be diminished in any way, but John's writings seem to understand the purpose of Jesus' ministry more than anyone. He knew Jesus' mission. John understood that Jesus was the perfect sacrifice; that Jesus' blood would be sufficient to destroy death and sin. John knew that Jesus was God the Word.
The Lord, in his three years of ministry here on the earth, seemed to be with Peter, James, and John even more than with any of the other disciples. The thing that really stands out is that John was so bold for Jesus that he was banished to the Isle of Patmos.
John was so devoted, that even though there was no other one there, he was in the Spirit on the Lord's Day.
Many writers think that John had been fasting for seven days when he received the information for Revelation. There is really no mention of this in the Bible, however.
Just the name of the manuscript gets me excited. The Revelation of John the Divine and The Revelation of Jesus Christ our Lord
Given by John the Divine are just two names that this book took on in various Bibles.
John was not just an ordinary man that walked the earth. He was one who had touched and felt physically and even emotionally the Lord Jesus.
One of the unusual things about the book of Revelation is that it is the only book in the Bible that contains a promise to everyone that reads it, and all that hear it will be abundantly blessed. The early church read the book of Revelation in its entirety every time they met. There was a curse spoken at the end of Revelation to anyone who tampered with the contents of the Bible.
Some of the Scriptures in this book were for John's time. Most of the Scriptures in this book were for future events, especially the end of the Gentile age, the end of the world, and the 1000 year reign of Christ on the earth, then all of eternity in heaven. You will notice that the number seven, which means spiritually complete, is all through Revelation.
We will also see in Revelation a restoration to man of the blessings of the Garden of Eden in heaven. We will see again the tree of life and the water present. We will see access to the tree of life, which was lost in Genesis, restored in Revelation. The book itself says that it is the Revelation of Jesus Christ. The chain of information came from the Father God to Jesus, then to Jesus' angel, then to John, and John was to write it down, and give it to Jesus' servants.
This book was probably penned around 96 A.D. There is no proof of an absolute date. It is just as alive today as it was when it was written. So it doesn't matter when it was written.
We must remember, and I stress again, that John was banished to the Isle of Patmos, off the western coast of Asia Minor, because of his boldness in speaking of Jesus Christ. He loved Jesus more than he feared punishment from the authorities.
Alone, with no other believers to share with, John had been left out there to die. The authorities assumed that there was nothing he could do out there to promote this Jesus. How wrong they were. He wrote the book of Revelation which would witness for him until the Lord returns. His witness is even stronger today than when he walked upon the earth. We must look at and understand the symbols we see to truly understand this book. Revelation is easily understood if the Holy Spirit of God reveals to us the symbols within.
Revelation is not a horror story as many believe. To the Christian there are wonderful promises of a fantastic future. It is only a horror for those who have decided for all of eternity to refuse the free gift of salvation that Jesus offers to whosoever will. In many of the books, it is indefinite who says some of the things, but in Revelation it is Jesus speaking and He is the Truth. Jesus not only knows the end from the beginning, He is the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. There is nothing before Him and nothing after Him.
Many people believe that the things in Revelation have already happened. Many others believe that the things in Revelation are not even real, that they are a vision and we are not supposed to take it literally. There are others (and I am one of them) that believe it is current, happening now, and in the very near future. I really will not argue with anyone about any of this. All I can relate is what it means to me, and that is what I will attempt to do in this study with the guidance of the Holy Spirit of God.
In Revelation, it appears to me, that our Lord is pulling the curtain aside and allowing us to see what He really is and what He expects from us. Many people call this the Apocalypse which means the revealing.
Revelation is written in symbols so that people can not understand with their mind but must have faith. So many things in the Bible are veiled to the nonbeliever. So many people look at the Bible literally, but to truly understand, we must understand it through the Spirit. The veil in the temple was torn from the top to the bottom when Jesus died on the cross. This signifies that Jesus has opened the way to the Father for us. God the Father is no longer unreachable.
Jesus opened the way to Him for us. Now we pray to the Father in the name of Jesus. We need no other go between. The Holy Spirit of God reveals the Scriptures to the believer. He is our Teacher and Guide.
There are so many ways to study the scriptures such as types and shadows. This looks at the Holy City as a type of the Lamb's wife. We will look at these scriptures a dozen different ways. I believe in this study God will reveal Himself to us.
Jesus in the Scriptures calls Himself the Alpha and Omega, the Genesis, and Revelation. He was promised in Genesis and the fulfillment takes place in Revelation. We will see throughout this study as we will throughout the entire Bible, that for every blessing God promises, there is a warning of curses, if we do not follow the Lord.
We will touch on the 144,000 which some denominations base their entire belief upon. This 144,000 are physical Israel, in my opinion, and we will see also the large number of people around the throne in heaven when this 144,000 are here upon the earth. Those in heaven are the believers (beyond number) who have on white robes washed in the blood of the Lamb of God. Revelation, as well as the whole Bible, is of no private interpretation. Revelation is not a horror story for the Christians. Revelation tells us of the wonderful provisions made for the believers. We read about the tree of life, and the river of water which flows from the throne of God.
What was shown to John in this vision is shown to all believers by John's written account. John makes us realize that not only did John speak the message God gave him, but actually describes God's very nature in Revelation. There is no question in my mind that this John is the very same who walked with Jesus.
"Revelation" means the unveiling of Divine mysteries.
Christ is both the Mystery and the Revealer of the mystery. The Revealer is God the Son.
Read the following scriptures from the pen of John to better understand how well John knew Jesus. John was the only penman who called Jesus "The Word" and "The Lamb". The name "Word is in John 1:1, and we see Jesus as "The Lamb of God" in John 1:29, 1:36 and as "the Lamb" in Rev. 7:17, 14:10, 15:3, 19:9, 21:22, 21:23, and 22:1. Also in Revelation 5:6 there is a reference to "a Lamb", referring to Christ.
1:1 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:
We start Revelation chapter one with not a "theological" trip, but a spiritual journey into the future as we begin the study of the Book of Revelation written by John the Apostle while imprisoned on the Island of Patmos. John didn't receive a dry, dead, theological explanation of future events. He received a powerful, dynamic, life changing prophetic revelation. He received a revelation of Christ in all His Glory, he saw into the throne room of Heaven, and he received a supernatural unveiling of God's end time plan. It was so awesome that John actually fell down as though he were dead:
The Greek word, Apokalupsis, means to "reveal" or "unveil" that which is hidden. The term "signified" does not mean that this is a book of unknowable signs, but that God signified by the miraculous presence of the announcing angel that the message was from Him.
This Revelation is a revealing of the mysteries of Jesus Christ. God the Father gives this message to Jesus, Jesus gives it to His personal angel, the angel gives the message to John, and John writes this message to all believers in the Lord Jesus Christ. This message is given to John to encourage the Christians. These Christians should not be caught unaware. These things must come to pass because it is the will of the Father.
"Signified" means made known by symbol and figure. Some might say signs which reveal God's truth.
Angels are ministering spirits. This particular angel was Jesus' own personal angel who brought this message. "Jesus Christ" means the Savior, the Anointed One.
1:2 Who bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw.
To "bare record" indicates that John actually saw these things. John proclaims in his books that he is an eye witness testifying of all he saw and heard.
John could easily bear record of the Word (Jesus). He was a daily companion of Jesus. This particular Scripture however is speaking of the things that John sees in his visions. The testimony of Jesus is salvation to all who believe.
1:3 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.
The first of a sevenfold blessing is pronounced in Rev. 1 v.3 and expanded in the remainder of the book. As a child of God, each of these blessings are yours to claim:
A blessing is pronounced upon those who read, hear, and keep those things written in the Book of Revelation:
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.
The early church read the entire book of Revelation every time they met. This is the only book in the Bible that promises a blessing to those who read it, and those who listen to it being read. The preacher and the congregation that heed the teachings taught here will be blessed.
"The time is at hand." is an interesting true statement. Even the people that read these things a thousand years ago saw this happen in sixty or seventy years, because they died. Of course, it is even more current to our generation, because the rapture of the church is imminent.
1:4 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;
John became the apostolic leader of the church at Ephesus following the death of Paul and the destruction of Jerusalem by Rome (A.D. 70). The Ephesian church had established a number of daughter churches throughout the province of Asia (western Asia Minor), and John exercised pastoral and apostolic care of them. The blessing of verse 4 comes from the triune God-head: God the Father, the Holy Spirit, and Jesus Christ. Him which is a paraphrase of the name Jehovah or Yahweh (Ex 3:14): "I AM,"
The number seven means spiritually complete. I believe this number is symbolic of all churches for all time. These seven churches were probably literal churches of that day as well as giving us a view of the churches of our day in general. These seven Spirits take in all the Spirits of God.
There are actually many more than seven Spirits. This seven is a symbolic number meaning all. "Spirits" is capitalized so this is the Holy Spirit in all His workings. When it speaks of these Spirits ever before the throne, we see Teacher, Guide, Helper, Provider, just a few of the works of the Holy Spirit. John explains in this who Jesus is.
1:5 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,
Jesus Christ is the faithful witness in that He has finished His work of revealing the Father (John 17), the first begotten of the dead in that He is the firstfruits of the first resurrection (Rev. 20:6).
We see in verse 4 and 5 the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. As we said Jesus' witness is faithful, because He is the Truth. Jesus was the very first person ever resurrected. There was someone who went to heaven before, Enoch, when he was carried away into heaven mysteriously disappearing from the earth because he pleased God. Then there was Elijah, who was carried to heaven in a whirlwind accompanied by the chariot of fire. Neither of these, however, were resurrected. They were never buried.Lazarus rose as did several others the bible mentions, but only to die again. Christ rose to die no more as will all believers in Christ.
We read in Matthew 27: verses 52 and 53 "And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose," "And came out of the graves after His resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many."
Notice here that these saints' bodies were resurrected after Jesus' resurrection. You see Jesus' body was the first body to rise from the grave.
Notice, too, that we are spoken of as rulers in verse 5 of Revelation. During the 1000 year reign of Jesus Christ here upon the earth, we Christians will rule with Him. We will not be His equal, however. This tells us that He will be ruler above us.
The love that is spoken of here, that He has for us, is "agape love". This is love beyond our comprehension. So much love that He willingly suffered the pain and humiliation of the cross for us. I love the song that says "when He was on the cross, I was on His mind" How true this is. He died for us individually.
"Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends." John 15:13
It is this precious blood that cleanses us from all unrighteousness. We take on His righteousness. This love that Jesus has for us is not in the past tense, but is still just as powerful today. His love is never ending.
1:6 And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him [be] glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.
The most important statement in V-6 is that Jesus is called God. The statement "God and his Father" leaves no doubt that Jesus was, is, and always will be God. Notice, too, that it is nothing we do that makes us kings and priests. Jesus made us kings and priests.
We will sit on thrones in heaven with Jesus. There is no greater glory due anyone than Jesus who actually did all the work.
We see that Jesus is supreme in dominion in Philippians 2:9 -11 "Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:" "That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of [things] in heaven, and [things] in earth, and [things] under the earth;" "And [that] every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ [is] Lord, to the glory of God the Father."
Each Christian shares in Jesus' priesthood. He is the High Priest forever. So be it. Forever never ends.
In the true church, no one is called "priest" (singular) except Christ. Believers are part of a "royal Priesthood" in Christ (1 Peter 2: v.9; Rev. 5:10). The glory and dominion (authority) of Christ are emphasized throughout the book. (Romans 5: v.8; 1 John 3: v.16). Washed us: Believers have been redeemed from their sins through the blood and death of Christ. Made us kings and priests:
1:7 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.
This truth is the great hope and expectation of all true believers today and it is the theme of Revelation. The death and resurrection of Christ and the promise of His second coming are the foundation of our hope. They were a great source of strength to the Early Church and are even more so to us today as we move into the final days of time before Christ's return. This verse reveals how Jesus will return. He will come in the same manner in which He ascended into Heaven:
The interesting thing here is Jesus is coming in the clouds just as the angels said He would in Acts. In chapter one of Acts, Jesus was caught up to heaven in the clouds and the disciples were told by the angels, that Jesus would come back the same way. Acts 1: verses 9 -11 "And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight." "And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel;" "Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven."
Some people believe Jesus' return will be secret, I do not. How could every eye see Him, if He came back secretly? Don't you know that there will be some grieving people, when they realize who Jesus really is? Wouldn't you hate to be the one who spit on Him, or the one who drove the nails in His hands, or even the Scribes and Pharisees? Anyone who rejected Him will have grief beyond explanation. The grief will be so great that they will be moaning and grating their teeth.
Here John indicated in V-7, even if this is so, let it be. The terrible thing even worse than the first crucifixion for our sins is the terrible times when we, knowing better, crucify Him all over again. We must walk in our salvation. We must not enter back into sin after we have been freed from sin by His precious blood.
1:8 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.
The first words of Jesus to John personally identify him with the "I AM' of Scripture, for He calls Himself the "Alpha and Omega." These are the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet. The title signifies, in the language of communication, the completeness with which God revealed Himself to mankind through Christ. This is nothing less than an official affirmation by Jesus of His personal deity. No ordinary human would ever say of himself, "I am the first and last."
We see here that God the Father, God the Word, and God the Holy Spirit are all three eternal. They each have no beginning and no end. Their Spirit is one. Their embodiments are three.
"Almighty" indicates the power of the Godhead as being unlimited and omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient. There is no other power. This word indicates power beyond human imagination. Jesus is equal to the Father and the Holy Spirit. All three are the Spirit of God. They have separate personalities. This is Jesus speaking when He says "I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending". It is red in my Bible indicating Jesus' own spoken words. This leaves no doubt who He is.
1:9 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 identifies with the suffering believers in Rev. 1 v.9 by referring to himself as their "brother, and companion in tribulation," then he describes the place where he received the Revelation, exiled and alone on the Isle of Patmos. Can't you just visualize John standing there on the Lord's Day, alone, forsaken, cold, and weary? The sound of the howling wind echoes through the Rocky Mountains. The waves crash upon the deserted jagged shoreline.
As John is speaking here, he is not a god but a person, as we are. Truly he is an anointed servant of Jesus. He explains that believers in Jesus, then and now, will have tribulation. Tribulation is to make believers strong. Also to see, if under stressful situations, we still believe. This new message the church is sending out that Christians do not have problems is in error. In the Old and New Testament, men and women of God have had to stand midst tribulations and trials. Even Jesus was tried forty days and nights. Problems come to all. The difference is in the way you handle the problems.
John was not trying to impress anyone of how spiritual he was. He was alone on the isle of Patmos. The authorities had sent John to this isle to stop him from proclaiming Jesus. But we see that God had plans for this stay, as well. God's purpose in John being on the isle was to receive the Word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus. The enemy planned evil for John's stay here, but God turned something bad into something wonderful for all time.
John was full of patience, not his own, but the patience of Jesus. John knew the bottom line about the kingdom, as well. This was not a time of despair; he found this a great time to be with Jesus with no interruptions.
Romans 5: v.3 "And not only [so], but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience;"
Acts 14: "Confirming the souls of the disciples, [and] exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God."
This isle of Patmos was a special place for what we would call hardened criminals.
It was in exile that Jacob met God at Bethel. God helps us in our greatest need. Moses was in exile when he saw the burning bush.
Elijah heard the still quiet voice of God while he was running for safety. Daniel was also in exile when he saw the Ancient of Days.
Sometimes God must get us alone before He can reveal Himself to us.
1:10 I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet,
We note here that John was in the Spirit. Spirit is capitalized. This indicates that John was totally consumed by the Holy Spirit. This great voice is an awesome sound. There is no question whose voice this is. When the Lord returns and blows the silver trumpet to redeem His people from the earth, it will actually be His voice, which is like a trumpet. God's voice frightened the children of Israel on their way to the Promised Land. They thought it thundered the voice was so great.
1:11 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.
But as John begins to worship God, something supernatural occurs. Suddenly, he hears a voice behind him as loud and clear as a trumpet declaring, "I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last!" Alpha and Omega is the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet. Christ was describing Himself as being the eternal, complete, revelation of God and He was commanding John to write what he would see in a book to be preserved for the Church. When John turned to see the source of the mighty voice making this declaration, Jesus Christ, in all His power and glory was unveiled before his eyes. John saw into the realm of the Spirit and he was so overcome at Christ's awesome presence that he was fearful and fell at His feet as though he were dead!
Everything that was said here is in red, this means it is all said by Jesus Himself. Here Jesus is saying to John to write down everything he sees, and put it in a book, and send it to the churches. I really believe that it was not just to these seven physical churches, but to all the churches which are all the believers in Jesus Christ. As we begin to see the problems in these churches, we can easily relate it to problems that we see in our churches today. We can also look at the things that God is pleased with in these churches, and we will know what He finds pleasing in our church.
These churches were not physically very far from where John was on the island so he was familiar with them. There were about sixty known churches at the time this was written, so we must note that these were chosen for their peculiarities of worship.
John did not choose these, Jesus did. The purpose in sending these messages to the churches is so they can see their error and change. Take one more note that this is from Jesus the everlasting one, the A to Z.
This message, that John is to write down, is what he sees and also hears. Sometimes it is difficult for us to recognize what he is describing. You have to remember that John is describing things he has never seen. Things that would not be in existence until thousands of years after his time. You can imagine how he would describe a helicopter or a jet airplane. This vision is very similar to the parables. This, as the parables, must be spiritually discerned.
1:12 And I turned to see the voice that spake with me. And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks;
You understand that we cannot see a voice. This is saying, I turned to see where this voice was coming from.
This is not one candlestick with seven flutes, but rather seven separate stands. John wants us to see, not the happenings, but the one that causes it to happen. This revealing is not of historical events but revealing Jesus to us. One thing we see by the seven separate candlesticks is that there is light enough for each of these churches. They can have their own light. The gold in these stands indicates the presence of God, because the spiritual meaning of gold is purity of God. These churches' light or knowledge is not worldly wisdom. This knowledge and light comes from God.
1:13 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.
Where two or three are gathered in the name of the Lord there He is in the midst of them. This garment down to the foot is a priestly robe, a robe of authority. This "Son of man" is Jesus who is in the midst of the church. This golden girdle is saying that this is God.
Christ was wearing the robe of the High Priest. John states He was "clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle." In the Old Testament, the high priests wore full length robes with a girdle made of fine linen, embroidered with needlework, secured around their waist. In this vision, Christ had on the robe of a high priest, but the girdle He wore around His chest was made of gold, which denotes the dignity of an important office and signifies His office as our Great High Priest "But this man, because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood. Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them." (Hebrews 7 verses 24 to 25)
The three gifts that were brought to Jesus at His birth recognized Him for who He was. The gold recognized Him as God, the frankincense recognized Him as the perfect Lamb sacrifice, and the myrrh recognized Him as the groom of the bride of Christ. John sees Jesus in a body with a robe. Jesus, our High Priest, represents us before His Father. He is not an earthly high priest but a heavenly Priest. He appears before God to bless the Christians, to plead our case if you will.
His appearance in the churches would be as the Son of man. In other words in a body as man. The purpose of the high priest was to take the sacrificial blood into the Holy of Holies; and that is just what Jesus did, when He carried His own precious blood to the Father to abolish our sin. Not to cover them up, but to do away with them.
1:14 His head and [his] hairs [were] white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes [were] as a flame of fire;
Christ's hair was white like wool (Rev. 1 v.14). Christ's white hair is symbolic of His title, the Alpha and Omega, the first and the last. Christ is eternal, from everlasting to everlasting. When the prophet Daniel had a similar vision, he also described Him as having hair "like pure wool, "raiment" white as snow, "and eyes "as a flame of fire." (Dan 7 v.9)
Christ's eyes were as a flame of fire (Rev.1 v.14). This description is also found in Revelation 19 v.11-12 where Christ is pictured as a judge and Conqueror over the Antichrist and the nations of the earth who have gathered together for the Battle of Armageddon. His eyes of fire symbolize perfect discernment.
John was at the transfiguration of Jesus and had seen a glimpse of what He would be like then. We are looking here through John's eyes as he describes what he sees. This white hair can mean several different things. One is that white hair goes with Daniel's description of the Ancient of Days.
My own insight into this whiteness is because of the great Light. Jesus is the source of all light. We know that in heaven there is no need for the sun and moon, because of the presence of the Light which is Jesus. This much light can make anything look white. I am sure this hair is white, however. This white is so bright that no bleach on earth could make it so bright. The light just makes it look brighter.
Jesus was seen of John as Son of man, but now John is seeing Him as the second person of the Godhead. This eternity of Jesus (now known as King of Kings and Lord of Lords) is showing in all His majesty. We have seen God throughout the Bible associated with fire. We read that God is a consuming fire. We saw Him in the burning bush, the fiery finger of God that burned the Ten Commandments in the rock, and we are told that Jesus baptizes with fire. This fire of the Holy Ghost cleanses us inside by burning out the old self making way for the new.
Eyes indicate wisdom. Jesus' look is so full of wisdom and fire that it looks into our heart and purges out the sin with fire. This look (with these piercing, fiery eyes) will come into a Holy Ghost filled church and will burn so brightly that this look will purge the church. Those who cannot stand to be purged will leave. The church that is left, regardless of how small, will be lined up with the will of God.
1:15 And his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters.
Christ's feet were "like unto fine brass". Brass, a strong, purified metal which results from intense heat, denotes the purity and power with which Christ will bring judgment upon the ungodly of the earth.
This brass indicates the great strength and steadfastness of Jesus. Brass also means judgment and Jesus is the Judge. Jesus here is standing in the midst of the churches. Judgment begins at the house of God. Jesus has overcome Satan and the demons. We know the Word says that Satan, his demons, and all who reject Jesus have been judged; and they truly will spend an eternity in hell (furnace).
The Bible says Satan is under Jesus' feet. Here this is Jesus, upright, not defeated, overcoming the devil and his angels.
Christ's voice was "as the sound of many waters." The voice John first heard in his vision was described as "a great voice, as the sound of a trumpet," loud and clear. In this verse, John describes Christ's voice as "the sound of many waters" which is similar to the description given by the prophet in Ezekiel 43 v.2. His voice is mighty and powerful, beautiful but frightening.
1:16 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.
Out of Christ's mouth proceeded "a two edged sword". (Rev. 1 v.16) This sword represents the power and authority of Christ's words by which the world will be judged (Rev. 19 v.15) and those aligned with Satan and the Antichrist will be defeated.
Christ's countenance was "as the sun shineth in his strength". The powerful light surrounding Christ was so blinding that John compared it to the powerful rays of the sun in all its strength. In 2 Thessalonians 2 v.8, Paul tells us that Christ will destroy the Antichrist with the brightness of His coming. Later on in the Book of Revelation (chapter 22), John tells us that in the New Jerusalem there will be no need of the sun, for the Lord God will be our light.
The right hand has to do with the blessings of God. The right hand blessing was always the preferential blessing. These seven stars are blessed over abundantly of God because they are in the right hand of Jesus. It was a double blessing. These seven stars are the ministers of the churches. He calls them stars, because they must shine in the world. They do not produce light; they just reflect His Light to the world. Jesus said to light this light and set it on a hill where all can see. The darker the area, the more important it is to shine His Light, so that those in darkness can come to the Light.
Jesus is the Word of God. The Bible proceeded out of His mouth. The Bible is the written Word of God. God is the author. People like Paul and John are just the penman, moved upon by the Holy Spirit to put it down for all to see. This Bible is the two-edged sword, Old and New Testament. This two-edged sword (law and grace) is the only weapon that God's people need.
The Bible itself says, "piercing even to the dividing asunder of the soul and spirit" Hebrews 4: v.12. The Word separates good and evil. The cutting edge of the Word sometimes even separates families. One who believes the Word cannot go back to their old sinful lives, and this divides families and friends sometimes.
In John 1: v.1 We read. "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." This Word divides the Spirit from the flesh. If you read it much, the Word will convict you of sin in your life. It will cause you to seek God and be saved. The Word is powerful. The power of Jesus is beyond comprehension. He is the Word. His Power, through His Word, has changed the whole world. He is Power. He is the source of all power, energy, and light. There is no power greater.
1:17 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 totally overwhelmed by this vision of Jesus. The manifested glory of God was like a thousand suns and moons all in one! How do you see Christ? Do you see Him as a babe in the manger? Do you see Him only as He was when He lived upon the earth 2000 years ago? Or do you see Him as He really is today, seated in power and majesty at His Father's side? You may have heard about Jesus all your life. You may even be saved and filled with the Holy Spirit, but have you really received a revelation of Him, "a drawing away of the veil of darkness" to see Christ as He really is? How do you see Christ?
John had never seen Jesus like this. He was so overcome with the vision of Christ that he: "fell at his feet as dead." When you really catch a vision of Jesus, you, too, will be totally overwhelmed, when you really understand His awesome power and majesty! God's message to you today, is the same as it was to His Apostle John: Fear Not! The same message the angel gave to Mary at the annunciation: Fear Not!
The phrase "fear not": is used over eighty times in the Bible and generally it is to quiet the fears of man in God's Presence. God is also saying to you today, as He did to John: do not fear your desperate circumstances. Do not fear the future. The One who was dead but is now alive is standing right by your side! There is nothing to fear because Jesus has conquered death and hell. He has power and authority over them. He has absolute power and authority and He wants you to see Him as he really is, high and lifted up, exalted above all things in heaven and on earth.
When you face sickness, disappointments, heartaches, financial problems, and family problems do you see Christ standing beside you as the Great High Priest making intercession for you? Do you see the Mighty Conqueror of death and hell standing ready to give you the victory? Many believers are living in defeat because their vision of Christ is limited to their natural minds. God wants to take you beyond the limitations of your natural mind so that you may see Him as He is and really know Him in the fullness of His manifested power. The Apostle Paul prayed that the Ephesians would receive "a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him". (Eph. 1 v.17) Paul was not talking about head knowledge, but a revelation deep within their spirits. Jesus Christ, in His glorified state of majesty and power, is depicted as standing in the midst of His Church:
Earlier we had seen Jesus standing in the midst of the churches (candlesticks). His appearance was: hair white as snow, eyes of fire, and feet of brass. A very awesome figure. The majesty of His person was overwhelming. We see here the effect that this presence had on John. If we were to come face to face with Jesus, this is the effect it would have on us, as well. When anyone encounters the presence of God, you cannot stand. Kneeling is not even enough. John fell flat on his face at His feet. He was totally humbled by this presence. This awesome appearance was almost too much for John. He appeared to be dead.
People have difficulty bowing to God in church. Believe me, if you are before Him, there is no difficulty at all. He is God; we are just people. Do not let anyone convince you that you and I are on the level of God. It is not true. We are now and always will be, subordinate to Him.
We see here that Jesus has compassion on John and reaches and touches John with His right hand. Just one touch from Jesus calms the greatest fears. He reassures John when Jesus says to him, "Fear not". Jesus is always there comforting and encouraging Christians.
Just as Jesus said in John chapter 14:1, "Let not your heart be troubled".
Fear is not of God. Peace is what Jesus brings. We just need to trust Him. The fear we need is of God, no one or nothing else. The fear of God could be better stated as reverence. Here we see in red Jesus speaking of Himself, "I am the first and the last:".
This is similar to what God told Moses when he asked God who could he say sent him. He answered, "I AM" Exodus 3:14. Am is present tense, no beginning no end.
The earth is the only place that there is time, as we know it. In heaven there is no separation of time by light and dark. There is only one eternal day. God is eternity. This is difficult for us to understand only because we are trapped here with a cycle of time. twenty-four hour day, seven day week, three hundred and sixty-five day year, twelve month year. Eternity cannot be understood by flesh.
1:18 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.
Jesus is explaining here. He is the same one who took on the form of flesh and died on the cross for our sins.
This is interesting. We must not only believe who He is and that He saved us, but we must believe that He rose from the grave. His body is what died and rose again. Jesus, when He descended into hell, took the keys of hell away from the devil. When He arose, He did away with death. Death was the last enemy to be done away with. The devil cannot put anyone in hell. Jesus is the only one who can do that. Jesus has the key. No one can enter, or exit, without Him.
When Jesus said "I am He that liveth", it is life forevermore. Jesus Christ, as the absolute living one, He has life in Himself, He is life, He is our source of life, and He has control of everything, in heaven, earth, and hell.
Jesus brought many souls out of hell when He preached in hell. Jesus is Life. He controls our destiny. We choose (He controls) either heaven or hell eternally.
1:19 Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter;
Verse19 is the key verse that unlocks the door to the entire outline of the book. It is further evidence of the threefold division of this great Revelation. John was told expressly by Christ to write, what you have seen: To write the things which were. The things he saw, all that was revealed to him through the different visions.
What is now: To write the things which are, (referring to the condition of the churches in Asia Minor at that time), and what will take place later: To write concerning the things which were to come: The events which would happen in the future as God fulfilled His end time plan. The literal translation of Rev. 4 v.1 reads "things which must be after these things" meaning that the things of Revelation chapters 4-22 must be fulfilled after the "things" revealed pertaining to the churches in Revelation chapters 2-3.
John is commissioned of Jesus to write these things down so that they will be of use to all who read it. He is also telling John not to leave anything out.
1:20 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.
A mystery is a hidden message. Not for the world, but for the church. The mystery is Jesus. In this case it is the Truth and the Word that is kept secret. Jesus is widely proclaimed, but few really have the understanding or knowing of Him.
The seven stars are the messengers (not angels because angels are never leaders in the church). These messengers are the key elders or ministers representing each of those churches.
Whoever, or whatever, they are, they spread the Light. Jesus is the source of this Light. He is holding and protecting these stars in His right hand. If these are ministers of God, they have no power in themselves. The Light that they give out comes from Him.
This is one of the reasons that I believe preachers should be moved upon by the Holy Spirit of God, and receive their message for the church through the Spirit from God. I do not believe that ministers should buy, or be sent, messages from other people to be used to give to the church. Jesus' Spirit is in each church, if we are His. He knows the problem of each specific church on a given day, and He alone knows what message needs to be brought.
These seven candlesticks, we are told here, are the seven churches symbolic of all churches for then and now. A candlestick is not a light. It is the holder for the Light. These candlesticks lift the Light up for all to see. That is the exact purpose of the church, to elevate the Light, Jesus. These candlesticks have to be cared for and fueled to be able to burn.
The minister and the church are difficult to separate. We know this is speaking of the church and the ministry of the church. I believe that the stars are ministers held in Jesus' hand.
I believe these letters were actually written to these particular churches describing conditions that were going on then. But perhaps a more important message for us to see, is the message in each of them dealing with the problems in our churches right now.
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