This is a book that many Christians tend to avoid. The truth is if we are in Christ there is nothing to fear, we are on the winning side. I hope that as we study this together that the fear will fade away and we can gain understanding of what the Bible really teaches about end times. No one knows the time and date of when these events will take place, but we do have some prophecies that need to take place before then. With Jerusalem now being the nation’s capital I can say with certainty that the day is drawing near. I do not know if it will be in my life time or not, but I want to be ready and I want as many others I know and love to be ready as well. This book was penned by John the apostle, the very same John who wrote the Gospel of John, the books of 1, 2, and 3 John. The book of revelation was given to him directly through Jesus Christ. John wrote this while on the Island of Patmos. The Island of Patmos was where he was exiled to after being thrown in prison for being a Christian. The book is believed to have been penned around 96 AD.
1 The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show His servants—things which must shortly take place. And He sent and signified it by His angel to His servant John, 2 who bore witness to the word of God, and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, to all things that he saw.
This is the beginning of the book of revelation, or book of revealings. From the beginning John tells us it is both a book of revealing made by Jesus, and made about Jesus. We can sometimes think oh prophecy, I do not need to be concerned with prophecy. Or we can think that we will just never understand it so we shy away from it. The purpose for this being given though was for us to read it and understand it. This book is very much things that an angel of the Lord showed to John and had him write down.
3 Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written in it; for the time is near.
We who read this book are blessed. The time of the end is very much at hand. As we have been reading through the Bible we see the things that we are to take seriously. We need to keep to what we know is true of scripture, those things we have read we have heard from God on and need to put into practice in our lives. We need not be afraid of what we read here, but it should cause us to want to confirm those we love are saved.
4 John, to the seven churches which are in Asia: grace to you and peace from Him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven Spirits who are before His throne, 5 and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler over the kings of the earth.To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood, 6 and has made us kings and priests to His God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.
These seven churches were likely real seven churches. Over the next couple of days we will read the individual letters written to each of these churches. They are also types of churches that exist today. Most importantly though they also represent the different stages our hearts can be in. For our purpose that is mostly where I will focus in at, the churches representing our hearts. The list of things mentioned after the seven churches are attributes of Christ. In talking to each individual church John will mention one of these attributes in each one specifically.
7 Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him, even they who pierced Him. And all the tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him. Even so, Amen.
Jesus is coming back the same way that He left, on a cloud. This is true in a physical sense as well as figuratively. We will be coming back with Him. Every eye will see this. You do not have to worry about missing the return of Christ, he will be making a grand entrance. The question is will you be coming back with Him, or standing in opposition to Him? His return will happen in the twinkling of an eye, so there will not be time to make the decision upon His return, it is a choice and lifestyle we need to live by now.
8 “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End,” says the Lord, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.”
God is rightfully claiming who He is here. The alpha, beginning and the end, Omega. He is the first and the last. He is the One who began everything, and He will be the One who remains when it is all over. He supersedes us all. He was, from time past, from before the world even began, He was. He also is, currently exist in this present moment. And He is the One who is to come, He will come in triumphant victory in the last days. He is the almighty One, He is our Rock and our Savior.
9 I, John, both your brother and companion in the tribulation and kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was on the island that is called Patmos for the word of God and for the testimony of Jesus Christ. 10 I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day, and I heard behind me a loud voice, as of a trumpet, 11 saying, “I am the Alpha and the 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, to Smyrna, to Pergamos, to Thyatira, to Sardis, to Philadelphia, and to Laodicea.”
John is giving us some details as to what was happening and going on around Him in the midst of this revelation coming to him. John was on the island of Patmos. This was an island where they would send prisons to do manual work. John was sent here for no crime committed, except that of proclaiming Christ. He was in the Spirit. He was worshiping the Lord in the midst of all his troubles. I can we can sometimes have a lot go on in our lives, but we must never forget to worship the Lord, so be caught up in the Spirit. These are seven churches that the Lord had a message He wanted them to hear.
12 Then I turned to see the voice that spoke with me. And having turned I saw seven golden lampstands, 13 and in the midst of the seven lampstands One like the Son of Man, clothed with a garment down to the feet and girded about the chest with a golden band.
John knew it was the Lord that spoke to him. I wonder if he longed to see his friends face again, like he did when Jesus was alive and they would travel and Jesus would teach. John turned to see who it was that was talking with him. I am sure he was hoping to catch a glimpse of Jesus, instead He was seven golden lampstands. But Jesus was there in the midst of those seven lampstands. John describes Him as the Son of Man, referring back to how Daniel described Him. The long robe signified Jesus stature as only men who did not have to work much would wear the long robes. The Golden sash around His chest likely denoted Him as high priest, which the writer of Hebrews tell us He is out high priest forever in the order of Melchizedek.
14 His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and His eyes like a flame of fire; 15 His feet were like fine brass, as if refined in a furnace, and His voice as the sound of many waters; 16 He had in His right hand seven stars, out of His mouth went a sharp two-edged sword, and His countenance was like the sun shining in its strength.
His hair was white signifying His old age and making reference to Him being the ancient of days, the One who was from the beginning. His eyes being like a flame of fire likely signify His judgment. The brass feet show one who has been through the first and has Come out purified. Brass was also the strongest metal known in the ancient world so it shows the strength of our Savior. His voice being the sound of many waters speaks of it having as much power and might as a water fall. The seven stars represent the seven churches leaders. Jesus is safely holding all the churches in His hands. Out of His mouth came a sharp double edged sword. The idea of it proceeding from His mouth indicates that the sword is His very words.
17 And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead. But He laid His right hand on me, saying to me, “Do not be afraid; I am the First and the Last. 18 I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death. 19 Write the things which you have seen, and the things which are, and the things which will take place after this.
Can you imagine seeing Jesus like this. I do not blame John, I would have fallen down as though dead too. Jesus laid His hand on Him and said do not be afraid. Sometimes our friends will try to comfort us with those words and it does not mean much, we know they mean well by it though. When Jesus speaks it those words ring true in our hearts. I have had situations where I was afraid and God spoke peace over my life. I had things to be afraid about and friends would try and tell me not to fear, but hearing it from Jesus made all the difference. Christ lived, He died, and the joy is that He lives again forever more and one day soon He will call us to live with Him in Heaven forevermore. John was to write those things which Christ is revealing to him, both the things that are happening and the things that are yet to come.
20 The mystery of the seven stars which you saw in My right hand, and the seven golden lampstands: The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands which you saw are the seven churches.
Jesus gives John an explanation as to what the seven stars and the seven lampstands means because His next instruction is going to be about the seven letter to the seven churches. That is where we will pick up tomorrow.