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. (Revelation 1:1-2)
The Revelation of Jesus Christ:
The word “Revelation” is the translation of a Greek word “Apokalypsis” meaning “a revealing” or “an unveiling” of a reality that previously has not been perceived.
While many Bible label the Book of Revelation as “The Revelation of John,” it is more correctly called “The Revelation of Jesus Christ.” This is the title which is given right in the very first sentence of the book. It’s more appropriate because Jesus Christ is the central figure of the book – not Apostle John
which God gave Him to show His (Christ’s) servants:
The word servants in the original is bondservants. There is a major difference between a hireling (a paid servant) and a bond servant. A hireling works for wages and will work till the going is good for himself. The moment things get tough for him or his master – he seeks greener pastures. (John 10:12-13)
However, a bondservant is a slave that belongs to his master and as such has no rights. He has to be with his master for life or till one of them dies.
Who are the true bond servants of the Lord?
The Lord has many servants but there are few that are truly bond servants of the Lord. A bond servant is one who has given up all his or her ambitions and have fully surrendered every area of their lives to the will of God. (Read Exodus 21:2-6) Now you don’t have to be a pastor, priest, preacher or even a leader to be a bondservant of the Lord. You just need to be a disciple of the Lord.
If you notice, God gave it to His servants (bondservants). Revelation only belongs to His bondservants – not everyone. I have heard many people say, “I read the bible but I don’t understand” I tell you the moment you truly surrender and become a bondservant of the Lord you will not understand much. I know this may be hard for some to digest but its true.
who bore witness to the word of God, and to the testimony of Jesus Christ:
This revelation is the ‘testimony of Jesus Christ’.
Revelation 19: 10 tell us “….For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.”
True prophecy will always point out to Christ and not just to events. True prophecy will glorify the Lord, bring the fear of the Lord etc. This is crucial especially if you desire to operate in the prophetic.
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. (Revelation 1:3)
The Book of Revelation is unique among the books of the Bible in that it promises a special blessing to:
he who reads:
Back in those days, they did not have individual copies of the book of Revelation. The only way one could hear the message of the book was when it was read out in church gatherings.
(He) who hear(s):
What you hear and how you hear is important
a]Lord Jesus declared in Mark 4:24
“Then He said to them, “Take heed what you hear. With the same measure you use, it will be measured to you; and to you who hear, more will be given.
One of the secrets to receiving more is how you hear. This is one of the scriptural ways to increase.
b]What you hear is important because it either brings faith or fear. Just as faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God (Romans 10:17), fear comes by hearing the word of the devil. Fear grows when you entertain his threats of the future and his boasts about the past.
and keep those things which are written in it:
Today, many Christians have a very good head knowledge of the bible but very few put into practice what they already know. Many are on the look out for so called exotic teachings.
Everywhere I go people tell me “Bro.Michael, I want deep teachings.” Sometimes, I feel like telling such people. Don’t go too deep or else finding you will be difficult. Now don’t get me wrong. I like to go deeper in the word. However, there are people who have not put foundational teachings in place and all they want is to ‘go deep’.
In this process multitudes are deceived. They are like the Athenians during the time of Apostle Paul “who were there spent their time in nothing else but either to tell or to hear some new thing. (Acts 17:21)
Lord Jesus spoke about seed that was sown. Some seed brought a thirty fold harvest, some a sixty and some a hundredfold. I believe that when you just read the Word, it will bring a thirty fold harvest, and when you read and hear the Word, it will bring a sixty fold harvest. However, when you read, hear and put those things into practice, you will bring a hundred fold harvest.
Obedience means far more to the God than mere head knowledge of His Word.
“Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices,
As in obeying the voice of the Lord?
Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice,
And to heed than the fat of rams. (1 Samuel 15:22)
I know of a friend who has half the Gym equipment at home. Curiously, I asked him, “Don’t you work out.” Jokingly he replied, “Yes! everyday at four o’clock I get a dream in which I am working out.” Many Christians are like that. They know a lot but they never put things that which they know into practice. Its time to build spiritual muscles.
A Greeting of Comfort
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, (Revelation 1:4)
John, to the seven churches which are in Asia:
The apostle John was writing to seven actual churches in the Roman Province of Asia Minor. However, the Book was obviously and sovereignly intended to reach much farther than to just those few hundred Christians of the first century. These churches are also symbolically representative of all local churches in every age.
Grace to you and peace from Him who is and who was and who is to come:
If you carefully notice, it is not “peace and grace” but “grace and peace” because this is God’s program for sinners throughout all ages.
8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9)
Again, Titus 2:11 says, “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men,”
First comes grace whereby we receive the free gift of salvation. Once we have received salvation we are then at peace with God.
Also, one must remember that this book was penned only a few years after Nero’s brutal persecution of Christians in Rome. These Christians in Asia Minor had therefore experienced very little of this worlds peace.
History also tells us that after the death of Apostle Paul and John, legalistic Judaizers began infiltrating many of the prospering little churches which the Apostle had founded or aided. The legalists tried to force the new Christians back under the Mosaic Law as a way of life. Apostle John’s greeting of “grace and peace” was thus rich with meaning for these struggling churches.
The Seven Spirits
…the seven Spirits who are before His throne:
There is only One Spirit – The Holy Spirit. Seven is a number which always stands for completeness or perfection in Biblical symbolism. The number ‘Seven’ refers to the fullness of the Holy Spirit powers and His various activities or ministries to the Christian.
The Bible says “Joseph had a coat of many colors” given to him by his father Jacob. (Genesis 37:3). I believe this coat was symbolic of the mantle of the Holy Spirit. Joseph was a type of Christ in the Old Testament. Now here is Lord Jesus wearing the coat of many colors; the mantle of the Holy Spirit given to Him by His Heavenly Father.
Now prophet Isaiah prophetically speaking of Christ in Isaiah 11:2 clearly tells about the seven distinct ministries of the Holy Spirit:
1The Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon Him, 2The Spirit of wisdom and 3understanding, 4The Spirit of counsel and 5might, 6The Spirit of knowledge and 7of the fear of the Lord. (Isaiah 11:2)
This also refers to the fullness of the Spirit. This fullness of the Spirit rested upon Jesus.
Everywhere I go throughout this nation and to some part of the world. I see the same Holy Spirit minister in different ways to different people. To some He ministers in might – they are healed, delivered, they are knocked down to the floor etc. To some He ministers wisdom, to some understading. They come and tell me, “wow, Bro.Mike, I received such understanding. Now I will not give up.”
Also read in Zechariah 4:10
For who has despised the day of small things?
For these seven rejoice to see
The plumb line in the hand of Zerubbabel.
They are the eyes of the Lord,
Which scan to and fro throughout the whole earth.”
For these seven rejoice to see The plumb line in the hand of Zerubbabel:
Who are the “Seven?” Notice they are also seeing. The question is answered in the same scripture. They are the eyes of the Lord, Which scan to and fro throughout the whole earth.”
Three Marvelous Titles
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, (Revelation 1:5)
- The Faithful witness
- The Firstborn from the dead
- The Ruler over the kings of the earth
What beautiful ways to praise the name of the Lord. You can use these titles while praising the Lord in corporate or personal prayer.
The Faithful Witness:
In what sense was Christ a faithful witness?
As a true prophet Jesus revealed God to men. Lord Jesus did not merely reveal God by what He said (as other prophets before Him had done), but He was, in His person, a perfect revelation and witness of all that God is.
Someone once said that “Jesus Christ was a perfect portrait of God.” I don’t fully agree with that statement because He is really much much more than this. He is a perfect replica or similitude of God. Furthermore, He is all that we can possibly conceive and understand of God. The following verses make it very clear.
who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high (Hebrews 1:3)
8 Philip said to Him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is sufficient for us.” 9 Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; so how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? (John 14:8-9)
“He who has seen Me has seen the Father” No offence! but no prophet spoke in this manner, no saint or philosopher spoke like this. Everyone claimed to show the way but Jesus alone claimed to be ‘The Way’.
The Firstborn from the Dead:
Why is Lord Jesus Christ called “The Firstborn from the Dead” when Lazarus and others were raised first? The answer is that others were raised to life, but they died again.
“That the Christ would suffer, that He would be the first to rise from the dead, and would proclaim light to the Jewish people and to the Gentiles.” (Acts 26:23)
Notice, in this verse too it says, “He would be the first to rise from the dead,” what it really means is that he would rise from the dead to live forevermore. In that sense Christ was really the first to rise from the dead.
The reference to Christ as “The Firstborn from the Dead” also clarifies a puzzling statement in Colossians 1:15: “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.” Here, Christ is referred to as the “Firstborn of all Creation”
On the surface it almost sounds like Christ came into existence only when He was born into this world or in other words, that He isn’t eternal and just another created being. Jehovah Witness twist this scripture to further their own agenda. The point is that Jesus Christ was the first person ever to be permanently resurrected from the dead. The term “Firstborn” simply means that Christ “has become the firstfruits” (1 Corinthians 15:20) of a long line of people who will be resurrected with glorified, immortal bodies.
The Bible says, that at the second coming of Christ, we will receive glorified bodies. What will our glorified bodies be like?
1 Corinthians 15:53 says, “For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.”
This verse says that we will be changed. And I John 3:2 says, “..when He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is.” In other words, our glorified bodies will be like Christ’s glorified body.
What was Christ’s glorified body like?
1. It was spiritual — it was not confined to natural laws. According to Luke 24 and John 20, Jesus could appear and disappear and he could go through walls and closed doors.
2. It was physical. Jesus could eat fish and honeycomb, he could show the disciples the scars in His hands and feet, and He could speak and be understood.
3. It was powerful. In Acts 1:9-11, Jesus stood on a mountain and just took off into space.
4. It was glorified. As Luke 24:31 shows, Jesus could transport Himself by a thought.
5. It was incorruptible. Acts 1:11 shows us that Jesus will come in the same body that He left in almost 2,000 years ago.
The Ruler Over the Kings of the Earth:
When we see the mess the world is in, its sometimes hard for us to believe that Christ is actually the “The Ruler Over the Kings of the Earth” This is because even though Christ has the right to rule the earth, He isn’t exercising this authority over kings and kingdoms at this time.
satan won a temporary legal right to rule the kingdoms of the world when Adam relinquished his God-given authority in the Garden of Eden. Take a close look at the following verses of scripture:
8 Then the devil, taking Him up on a high mountain, showed Him (Jesus) all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. 6 And the devil said to Him, “All this authority I will give You, and their glory; for this has been delivered to me, and I give it to whomever I wish. 7 Therefore, if You will worship before me, all will be Yours.” 8 And Jesus answered and said to him, “Get behind Me, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the LORD your God, and Him only you shall serve.’” (Luke 4:5-8)
Although Lord Jesus made it crystal clear to the devil as to who was worthy of all worship, He did not dispute satan’s temporary claim to the kingdoms of the world.
The Lord Jesus knew that when His work on the Cross was finished, satan too would be finished! (See John 12:31)
After Lord Jesus rose from the dead, He declared “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.” (Matthew 28:18)
Today, the Lord controls the hearts of earthly rulers as well.
The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord,
Like the rivers of water;
He turns it wherever He wishes. (Proverbs 21:1)
Freedom is Now
To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood:
Notice the order of the words: first loved and then washed. It wasn’t that God washed us out of some sense of duty, and then loved us because we were then clean. He loved us while we were dirty, but then He washed us.
Romans 5:8, confirms the same thing: “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
Priests and Kings
and has made us kings and priests to His God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. (Revelation 1:6)
And has made us kings and priests:
Now before the law was given, there was a man who was both King and Priest – Melchizedek (Genesis 14:18) However, after the law was given in the Old Testament, it was forbidden to combine the offices of king and priest. You could either be a king or a priest – not both.
King Uzziah of Judah is an example of a man who tried to combine the two offices, and paid the penalty for it – leprosy. 2 Chronicles 26:16-21 tells us the whole story
16 But when he was strong his heart was lifted up, to his destruction, for he transgressed against the LORD his God by entering the temple of the LORD to burn incense on the altar of incense. 17So Azariah the priest went in after him, and with him were eighty priests of the LORD—valiant men. 18 And they withstood King Uzziah, and said to him, “It is not for you, Uzziah, to burn incense to the LORD, but for the priests, the sons of Aaron, who are consecrated to burn incense. Get out of the sanctuary, for you have trespassed! You shall have no honor from the LORD God.” 19 Then Uzziah became furious; and he had a censer in his hand to burn incense. And while he was angry with the priests, leprosy broke out on his forehead, before the priests in the house of the LORD, beside the incense altar. 20 And Azariah the chief priest and all the priests looked at him, and there, on his forehead, he was leprous; so they thrust him out of that place. Indeed he also hurried to get out, because the LORD had struck him. 21 King Uzziah was a leper until the day of his death. He dwelt in an isolated house, because he was a leper; for he was cut off from the house of the LORD. Then Jotham his son was over the king’s house, judging the people of the land.
Another person who tried to combine both the offices of king and priest was Saul – He was rejected by the Lord and lost his kingdom. 1 Samuel 13:8-14 tells us so
8 Then he waited seven days, according to the time set by Samuel. But Samuel did not come to Gilgal; and the people were scattered from him. 9 So Saul said, “Bring a burnt offering and peace offerings here to me.” And he offered the burnt offering. 10 Now it happened, as soon as he had finished presenting the burnt offering, that Samuel came; and Saul went out to meet him, that he might greet him. 11 And Samuel said, “What have you done?” Saul said, “When I saw that the people were scattered from me, and that you did not come within the days appointed, and that the Philistines gathered together at Michmash, 12 then I said, ‘The Philistines will now come down on me at Gilgal, and I have not made supplication to the LORD.’ Therefore I felt compelled, and offered a burnt offering.” 13 And Samuel said to Saul, “You have done foolishly. You have not kept the commandment of the LORD your God, which He commanded you. For now the LORD would have established your kingdom over Israel forever. 14 But now your kingdom shall not continue. The LORD has sought for Himself a man after His own heart, and the LORD has commanded him to be commander over His people, because you have not kept what the LORD commanded you.”
These two examples make it clear that in the Old Testament it was forbidden to combine the offices of King and Priest. However, under the New Covenant, we can be like the Lord Jesus Christ in the sense that He is both King and High Priest. The following verses will make this point clear.
31 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus. 32 He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. 33 And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.” (Luke 1:31-33)
Luke 1:31-33 clearly tell us that Lord Jesus Christ was, is and will be King forever.
Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. (Hebrews 4:14)
Again, Hebrews 4:14 tells us that Lord Jesus Christ is also our High Priest. So then Lord Jesus was both King and Priest. Now there is a principle here. Since Lord Jesus was both King and Priest, He could make us Kings and Priests unto God. You can never make someone else to be what you are not.
Now go to 1 Peter 2:9: “But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;”
Notice the combination of the words royal and priesthood. So then it is clear that every person who has truly believed in the Lord have been made Priests and Kings.
Like Christ, we also must minister in both ways; as priests, we are called to offer sacrifices of praise and intercession before the Father. As kings, we are to exercise our authority by healing the sick and casting out demons for the sake of the gospel.
In the New Testament, there is no separate category of priests. Every person who has truly believed on the Lord Jesus Christ is both King and Priest.
The Second Coming
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. (Revelation 1:7)
Behold, He is coming with clouds:
This exclamation is a prediction of the Second Coming of our Lord Jesus Christ – His glorious return to earth with His followers.
Now there are many well meaning Christians who do not believe or are simply not aware of the “literal” Second Coming of Christ?
9 Now when He had spoken these things, while they watched, He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. 10 And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as He went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel, 11 who also said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven.” (Acts 1:9-11)
So you see, the “Second Coming of Christ” will be true literally because when the Lord Jesus left this earth, He was taken up in a cloud, and God said that He would be returning in this same manner.
He is coming with clouds:
Why clouds? Is it going to be cloudy day when the Lord Jesus Christ returns? Hebrews 12:1 gives us the answer, “Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.”
In this verse the cloud refers to that great company of Christians who died in the past and are now observing our lives.
The following verses also state that Lord Jesus Christ will return to the earth with a multitude of saints.
so that He may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all His saints. (1 Thessalonians 3:13)
Now Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about these men also, saying, “Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of His saints, (Jude 14)
It is this throng of Christians which Apostle John is referring or picturing as “clouds” in Revelation 1:7. To the people on the earth, Gods multitude of saints, all dressed in spotless white robes, will appear as clouds descending from the sky.
Also, “Clouds” are commonly associated with Gods presence and glory. The following scriptures will make this point clear.
21 And the Lord went before them by day in a pillar of cloud to lead the way, and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so as to go by day and night. 22 He did not take away the pillar of cloud by day or the pillar of fire by night from before the people. (Exodus 13:21-22)
Now it came to pass, as Aaron spoke to the whole congregation of the children of Israel, that they looked toward the wilderness, and behold, the glory of the Lord appeared in the cloud. (Exodus 16:10)
I also believe that during the Second Coming of the Lord Jesus Christ His presence and glory will appear in the form of clouds.
Every eye will see Him:
The first coming of the Lord Jesus was shrouded in secrecy. Very few people knew about the first coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. However, the second coming of the Lord Jesus Christ will be a public affair. How? The television and the internet will make sure that every eye will see Him. The whole world will know.
Now the devil knows the bible. He knows this scripture that says, “Every eyes will see Him” He knows that if every eyes sees Him they might know who He really is. So the devil will bring about a great deception on the earth calling the appearance of Christ as an alien invasion or something of that sort. In this manner they will see Him but not receive Him.
Even they who pierced Him:
“They who pierced Him” were Roman soldiers but under Jewish instigation so it can be said that the Jews pierced Him.
And all the tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him
When Lord Jesus comes, it won’t be only the Jewish people who mourn because of their previous rejection of Jesus. Since there will be people saved from all the tribes of the earth (Revelation 7:9), everyone will have a part in this mourning. They will all look at the scars on Jesus and say “We did this to Him.”
However, there will also be people from all tribes all over the world who are not saved and will probably mourn as an act of defiant rejection.
More Marvelous Titles
“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.” (Revelation 1:8)
- The Alpha and the Omega
- The Beginning and the End
- Who is and who was and who is to come
- The Almighty
Again, you can use these titles while praising the Lord in corporate or personal prayer.
I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End:
The Lord seals the prophecy with the authority of His name. Alpha was the first letter of the ancient Greek alphabet, and Omega was the last letter. Lord Jesus says, “I am the ‘A to Z,’ the Beginning and the End.”
who is and who was and who is to come
Some people think that Lord Jesus only came into existence 2000 years ago, when He was born. The following scriptures clearly reveal that Lord Jesus the 2nd person of the triune Godhead has always existed.
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:1, 14)
For unto us a Child is born,
Unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called
Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6)
On Christmas day, a Child was born and a Son was given. Lord Jesus always existed as the Son of God.
Lord Jesus Christ was incarnated as a human 2000 years ago but He has always existed from the beginning. Furthermore, can I tell you something? Today, He is not a baby or an infant but He is seated on the throne as Lord. However, there are some folks who still refer to Jesus as ‘infant Jesus’. There are some people who will not tell you this truth because they are afraid they might lose their positions of power and prestige.
Who is going to come soon? Its none other than Lord Jesus Christ!
In the entire New Testament God is called ‘Almighty’ only 10 times. Nine of those 10 references are in the Revelation. I believe the reason is that God wants us to be rooted and grounded in the fact that He is indeed Almighty, the one who is control of everything in the past, present and the future.
This word Almighty translates the ancient Greek word pantokrater, which literally means “the one who has his hand on everything.” It speaks of the great sovereign control of Jesus over everything – past, present, and future.
Jehovah Witnesses go to great lengths to discredit our Lord Jesus saying that He is not God but this scripture clearly tells us again that our Lord Jesus is indeed God.
Two Portraits of a King
In about 560 B.C. the Hebrew prophet Daniel described “one like the Son of man coming with the clouds of heaven.” He predicted that this person would receive dominion and glory and an eternal kingdom in which all nations and peoples would serve Him (Daniel 7:13, 14).
For hundreds of years before Jesus Christ was born the Jews knew that this prophecy was concerning their long-awaited King and Messiah. The kingdom He would establish would be a kingdom of peace and righteousness and prosperity, with all nations dwelling at peace with Israel. You can see why the Jews yearned and prayed for such a deliverer to come to them, since they had known so many cruel years under the yoke of oppression.
However, the Old Testament prophets also painted another portrait of their coming King- that of a suffering Messiah who would die because of the sins of the people. About a century before Christ was born a certain school of rabbis recognized this paradox. They reasoned that their coming Messiah could not be both a conquering King and a suffering Servant at the same time, so they began to teach that two Messiahs might come. One would be a son of David and of course would be King. But the suffering Messiah, they reasoned would be probably of the lineage of Joseph, since he had suffered so much at the hands of his brothers and the Egyptian Pharaoh before rising to prominence in the land of Egypt.
When Jesus Christ came to earth and presented His credentials – those of the suffering Messiah – the religious leaders rejected Him. What they wanted was a conquering king who would deliver them from Rome. They realized that a suffering Messiah could only be a spiritual deliverer –not a political one. By this time the religious leaders had degenerated in their thinking to the point where they taught that approval with God was based on the observance of certain religious regulations.
When Jesus began to preach about sin, stating in the Sermon on the Mount that even wrong motives were considered sin by God; this was more than the Pharisees could take, and they ultimately succeeded in having Him crucified. Tragically, they failed to see that no man or nation can have outer peace as long as there is inner turmoil of soul.
For anyone who cared to investigate, there was no lack of evidence to show that Jesus was indeed the long-awaited Messiah. Had the people received Him, He would have fulfilled the kingly prophecies in their day in addition to the ones regarding the suffering Messiah. But when the Jewish nation as a whole rejected Christ, the fulfillment of His kingship was postponed until the final culmination of world history. This is the subject of the Book of Revelation.
Unfortunately, many people today are making the same tragic mistake which the Jews did when they ignored the overwhelming evidence of Christ’s claims at His first coming. Today we are standing at the threshold of Christ’s return as King of Kings and Lord of Lords; yet men in general are totally ignorant of the event or have dismissed it as religious fantasy.
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. (Revelation 1:9)
Apostle John uses his own name because he was well known. He was about 95 years old when the Lord gave him this revelation on the island of Patmos.
companion in the tribulation and kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ
Very often the Lord will take us through trials and tribulations first before giving us a ministry to others who are facing trials and tribulations.
On the island that is called Patmos:
Patmos is an Island 22km x 6km located southwest of Ephesus in the Agean sea. It was volcanic and mostly treeless. The Romans used it as a penal colony, forcing prisoners to work in the granite quarries.
Why was Apostle John on the Island called Patmos?
Apostle John was banned out of Ephesus by The Roman Emperor Caesar Domitian because of his faithful witness to the gospel. When you stand up for the word – you will be persecuted but that’s also when the greatest blessing also follows.
I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day, and I heard behind me a loud voice, as of a trumpet, (Revelation 1:10)
I was in the Spirit:
John the Apostle was carried forward through the centuries until he saw a vision of the great and terrible day of the Lord.
On the Lord’s Day:
Notice it does not say the “Day of the Lord” It refers to the first day of the week – Sunday. This is the earliest reference in Christian literature to the first day of the week as the ‘Lord’s Day’.
I was in the Spirit…and I heard a voice:
You can hear Gods voice only when you are in the Spirit. The next questions one might ask is, how do I get into the Spirit to hear the voice of the Lord?
For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. (Romans 8:5)
Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. (Colossians 3:2)
It all depends on what our minds are set on. If our mind is set on things of the earth, then we will hear voices that are concerning earthly things. However, if we consciously choose to set our minds on the things of the Lord, then we will clearly hear the voice of the Lord.
I heard behind me a loud voice, as of a trumpet:
Why trumpet and not flute? There are two different types of trumpets mentioned in the Old Testament
- The shofar (a ram’s horn)
- The silver trumpets (Numbers 10:1-10).
The shofar was a common everyday instrument and was used not only by the priests, but by any man, from shepherds through to watchmen. The shofar was made from a ram’s horn.
The silver trumpets, on the other hand, had to be specially made according to the specific design and instructions from God – from one piece of beaten, hammered silver. They were to be used only on specific occasions and only by the priests, under the control and instruction of the Breath.
The Trumpets were blown for the following reasons: (Numbers 10:1-10)
- For calling the congregation to the tabernacle and also alert them in times of danger
- For directing the movement of the camps
- For calling leaders, the heads of the divisions of Israel
- To begin their journey
- To be remembered before the Lord, during war
- At appointed feasts
- At the beginning of the months over burnt offerings and sacrifices
Trumpets have a very clear and pure sound louder than any other musical instrument. However, not everybody likes trumpets because of their loud and even frightening sound. Being woken up by trumpets can be a bit of a shock! Yet how necessary it is for us today to hear and know God’s voice as a trumpet blast which wakes us from our spiritual apathy, sleep and even death.
The trumpet summons and prepares John the Apostle to receive the momentous message.
The Seven Churches
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.” (Revelation 1:11)
The Lord told Apostle John “What you see, write in a book” A good habit is that whenever you see a vision write it down, whenever you receive a word, or a message in prayer write it down. (Habakkuk 2:2)
The person who received the message may pass away to glory but the very fact that it is written down makes it accessible to the next generation without any additions or subtractions.
Write in a book and send it to the seven churches:
Stresses the importance of written literature.
Send it to the seven churches:
Notice there are seven churches and not one yet they are all one body.
Why seven and not five and ten? The number seven in scripture refers to completeness or wholeness. Also, these seven churches were located on a major Roman postal route and are listed in the order in which a messenger would reach the towns. (Please see diagram A) Also, these seven churches are a representative of all churches at all times in every age. It is in the area of modern day Turkey.
The Seven Churches
Then I turned to see the voice that spoke with me. And having turned I saw seven golden lampstands, (Revelation 1:12)
Seven golden lampstands:
They represent the 7 churches which are lights in a dark world. If you read verse 20 of chapter 1, it will be clear.
The Church being called a lampstand indicates that in God’s eyes its primary function is to give light. The lampstands being golden indicate divine origin of a true church. It is built by the Lord and not by men.
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. 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; (Revelation 1:13-15)
In the midst of the seven lampstands:
meaning the centre of all church groups.
One like the Son of Man:
Jesus Christ. Lord Jesus often referred to himself as the son of man. (Matthew 8:20, 9:6 etc) Even though the Lord is risen, He is still called the ‘Son of man’. This is to emphasize the fact of His identification with humanity permanently.
A garment down to the feet and girded about the chest with a golden band:
His long robe (undoubtedly white in colour) reaching to His feet points to His High Priestly ministry of intercession for us – for this was how the Jewish High Priest was dressed when he went into the Most Holy place of the tabernacle on the day of atonement every year.
The Lord was wearing a golden girdle (belt) across his breast. Gold symbolizes what is divine.The girdle symbolizes righteousness and faithfulness (see Isaiah 11:5)
His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow:
This symbolizes eternity and wisdom. “I watched till thrones were put in place, and the Ancient of Days was seated; His garment was white as snow, and the hair of His head was like pure wool. His throne was a fiery flame, its wheels a burning fire; (Daniel 7:9)
This emphasizes the fact that Jesus although the ‘Son of man’ is nevertheless also the Eternal God, perfect in wisdom.
His eyes like a flame of fire:
This symbolizes omniscience (meaning can see everything) – nothing is hidden from His eyes. It also symbolizes wrath.
His feet were like fine brass, as if refined (purified) in a furnace:
Bronze was the material with which the altar of sacrifice was made (in the outer court of the tabernacle), where the sin offering was slain. Bronze therefore symbolizes God’s judgement of man’s sin at Calvary.
However, while crushing the serpent’s head, Jesus’ feet had to be pierced on the cross hence the reference to feet purified in a furnace.
His voice as the sound of many waters:
The rivers of living water symbolize the Holy Spirit (John 7:37-39). The speech of Lord Jesus was always full of gentleness and the wisdom and authority of the Holy Spirit.
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. (Revelation 1:16)
He had in His right hand seven stars:
The right hand protects and sustains the seven stars which are the heads of the churches.
The word translated as ‘angel’ is a Greek word which actually means ‘one who brings news’ or ‘messenger’. These messengers are held by Christ in His hand. That is why we are commanded to give double honour to the elders “who work hard at preaching and teaching” (1 Timothy 5:17)
Also, God’s servants are special targets of satan. Therefore they are specially kept by the Lord in His hand. As long as they remain there in humility and obedience, the enemy cannot touch them. But when they are puffed by pride or if they sin and do not repent, then God allows satan to inflict them in various ways so that they can come to repentance. It is a tremendous privilege to be held by the Lord as His messenger in His hand but it is also an awesome responsibility as well.
Out of His mouth went a sharp two-edged sword:
This refers to His word. The following scriptures make it clear:
For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. (Hebrews 4:12)
And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; (Ephesians 6:17)
We notice in verse 15 that His voice was like the sound of many waters. Verse 14 and 15 put together indicates that Lord Jesus always spoke with great gentleness and yet spoke with firm rebukes when necessary.
His countenance was like the sun shining in its strength:
This description of the Lord’s countenance suggests indescribable glory and majesty. This symbolizes the ‘unapproachable light’ in which God dwells (1 Timothy 6:16)
This is how Peter, James and John saw Him on the Mount of Transfiguration.
1 Now after six days Jesus took Peter, James, and John his brother, led them up on a high mountain by themselves; 2 and He was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became as white as the light. (Matthew 17:1-2)
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. (Revelation 1:17)
And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead
The sight of the glorified Lord Jesus was simply breathtaking and the same John who leaned his head upon the bosom of Lord Jesus at the last supper now falls prostrate at His feet.
Apostle John had walked with the Lord for nearly 65 years and yet he could not stand erect in the presence of the Lord. Those who know the Lord revere Him the most. Those who don’t know Him choose to display a cheap familiarity.
But He laid His right hand on me, saying to me, “Do not be afraid
This symbolizes enduement with power and authority. His touch drives away all fear.
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. (Revelation 1:18)
I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore
The speaks about the life, death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.
The keys of Hades and Death:
Keys symbolize the power to open and close doors. When Lord Jesus died on the cross, He descended into hell. satan had kept captive all the righteous souls that died before Lord Jesus came to earth. Lord Jesus defeated satan, took the keys from him and stripped him of his power. The following verses make this clear.
14 Having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. 15 Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it. (Colossians 2:14-15)
When did all this happen? When Christ Jesus descended into hell. Furthermore, on the Cross, the Holy Spirit left the Lord – this is the reason He cried out, “My God, My God why have You forsaken Me.” Now He was just a man. He did not fight satan as the anointed One. He fought satan as the second Adam. What the first Adam lost, the Last Adam Jesus got it back.
Today Lord Jesus has the keys of death and Hades. This means that if you are a true disciple of Lord Jesus, seeking to do His will every day, then you cannot die before God’s appointed time. No weapon fashioned against you shall prosper; be it sickness or any accident or anything named under heaven or earth.
John was tremendously persecuted by men on the island of Patmos and yet they had no power to kill him before God’s appointed time. This should be a source of encouragement to you.
The Threefold Division of Revelation
Write the things which you have seen, and the things which are, and the things which will take place after this. (Revelation 1:19)
Apostle John was told to divide his prophecy into three parts
- The things which you have seen – the past
- The things which are – the present (the Church age)
- The things which will take place – the future (the time subsequent to the Church age)
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. (Revelation 1:20)
This verse is self explanatory. Can I tell you something? The Word will reveal Word. The Lord alone can give us revelation on the secrets of His Word.
14 The secret of the Lord is with those who fear Him,
And He will show them His covenant.
9 The humble He guides in justice,
And the humble He teaches His way. (Psalm 25:14,9)