CHAPTER ONE

REVELATION CHAPTER ONE

Reference Scriptures and Links:

 

 

 

 

 

See this link for further details: Revelation Outline

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1.1Kings 22:13-28

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2.Matthew 17

3.Matthew 24, Mark 13

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4.Acts 17:10-11.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

See this link for further details: How to Study the Bible (page 6)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5.Isaiah 2:10-21

6.Zechariah 14

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

7.2 Timothy 2;15

 

 

CHAPTER ONE PREFACE

 

The Book of Revelation, the last book in the word of God is perhaps the most important book of all. It is supposed to be very "figurative," "symbolical," and "Apocalyptic," that is, "hidden," "veiled," or "secret." The big problem people have with the Book of Revelation is not that it is hard to understand, but the problem people have with the Book of Revelation is that it is hard to believe. The Book of Revelation, as it stands in the word of God, has twenty-two chapters, four hundred and four verses, and twelve thousand words.

 

The Book of Revelation was written between 91 A.D. and 96 A.D. during the reign of Domitian, the Roman Emperor, not Nero. The date of the writing is very important. If the book was written during the reign of Nero, it was written before the destruction of Jerusalem. If it was written before the destruction of Jerusalem, then the events in the book that take place can be applied to the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. Thereby, they can be said to have no future application to the 20th century. Men, especially men of today, resent being told the future by any authoritative source, and they deeply and bitterly resent oracles about their future which are negative and prophesies evil concerning them1. Palm readers, tarot cards, Ouija Boards, horoscopes, astrology charts, etc. are NOT authoritative! Regardless of how men may resist the Book of Revelation none have succeeded in even slowing down its on-rushing fulfillment.

 

As mentioned in the introductory lesson, there have been (and still are!) arguments about the authorship of the Book of Revelation. However, it stands to reason that if the New Testament were to have writings outside of the gospels, they would be written by Peter, James, and John. They were the three apostles, that is, the three "close ones." They were the three witnesses of His transfiguration2, and the Olivet Discourse3. So, we have Peter's epistles and James' epistle and John's gospel writing and his epistles, and now the Book of Revelation. This book is obviously the work of John.

 

Revelation is usually taught by Pre-Millennialists as applying directly to Christians. While I believe in the pre-millennial return of Christ, I do NOT apply all of the Book of Revelation to Christians. Why? The making of a chart as described below will help me explain my reasons why. In saying this, I want to make it very clear that YOU DO NOT HAVE TO BELIEVE THE WAY I DO! However, I can defend my reasons from the Word of God and I would challenge you to defend yours from the same source! That is what our Berean4 Bible Study Home Group is all about.

 

Making a Simple Chart

This is the first thing we should do in studying the Book of Revelation. Let's make a chart.

Draw a straight line 12 inches long.

  1. At the 2-inch mark draw three crosses. This will represent the death of Christ.
  2. Then draw a line going up from the cross, back to heaven, curving down and hitting the line at the 10-inch mark, making a half-circle. This will give 2 inches before the cross to represent the Old Testament, and 2 inches at the other end to represent the: "Millennial reign" of Christ.
  3. At the 8-inch mark, point an arrow going up. This will indicate the Rapture of the New Testament saints.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This will make a chart, which we will use constantly in referring to the book of Revelation. Now we have a picture of Christ going up at the 2-inch mark, the New Testament saints going up at the 8-inch mark, and Christ coming back and landing on the earth at the 10-inch mark. This chart shows the Pre-Millennial return of Jesus Christ as He comes back to this earth before the one thousand years.

 

The word "Millennium" itself is a Latin word - mil (one thousand) annum (year). A person who has a Pre-Millennial view will have a good idea of where to place the Jew correctly in the word of God. And knowing where to place the Jew determines what passages belong to the Jew, and what passages do not. This certainly helps to determine correct doctrine or false doctrine in relation to baptism, "tongues," the church, sanctification, the Kingdom of Heaven, and the Age of Grace!

 

The passage for the "mil-annum" is found in Revelation 20:1-7, where "one thousand" is mentioned six times. Some thought the Civil War was supposed to bring in this Millennial Kingdom. Another party in the Revolutionary War was called "Fifth Kingdom Monarchists." Others thought that World War I was the Battle of Armageddon. Sometimes, it seems as if all history is bound to Revelation 20:1-7. Whether a man believes the Book of Revelation or not, he can get shot on a battlefield trying to bring in "the Kingdom" that will never be here until Jesus Christ comes back. Now many are preparing for "something" to happen when the year 2000 arrives - The Y2K Bug!!

 

Let it be said that there are many godly men who live consecrated, dedicated, saintly lives, who are not Pre-Millennialists. While I believe The Book of Revelation clearly teaches Christ will have to come back before there can be any one-thousand year reign on this earth, others do not see it so clearly. However, these people have to go to other passages in Hebrews, Matthew, or Acts to teach their "Kingdom" ideas.

 

A great deal is said about the church in Revelation. Consequently; most people would doctrinally apply Chapters 1,2, and 3 to the church age. I think that these are a type of the "Church Age." Doctrinally, however, these passages may apply to a period in the Tribulation itself. This is a difficult view because this would put the local church in the Tribulation. Everywhere in the passages it is spoken of as a local church. These are probably Tribulation Churches. Please be assured we will thoroughly discuss all applications as noted below.

 

There is another important fact about Revelation which we need to remember when we are studying any passage in the word of God; i.e., every verse in the Bible has three applications:

1. Historical - This means the thing happened in history as it said it happened, where it happened, like it said it happened.

2. Doctrinal - Every verse in the Bible is aimed at a specific person, for a specific reason, to teach a specific truth.

    1. Inspirational - Since all scripture is profitable for doctrine, reproof, correction, instruction in righteousness, every verse of scripture has a spiritual application which can be used to correct or instruct people.

 

Although a verse may have a primary doctrinal application, it also has a spiritual application. This is where many people get all tangled up in studying the word of God. They try to take a passage that has a spiritual truth in it and force it to be taught as Christian doctrine. This is an error. Not everything in the Bible is Christian doctrine, see examples below:

  • Christ told the twelve apostles to raise the dead; Christians don't.

  • He told the twelve apostles to minister to Israel only; Christians don't.
  • Moses told them not to eat pork, but Christians do.

 

Anyone who thinks that all the Bible is doctrinally applicable to the Christian, and that Christians have to obey all the Bible to get to heaven, needs to understand God's economy regarding the death of Jesus Christ!

 

When we read Revelation 1,2, and 3, we ought to keep in mind:

  1. Historically - Revelation 1,2, and 3 is addressed to local churches in 90 A.D. in Asia Minor at the time that John was held prisoner on the Isle of Patmos.
  2. Spiritually - the passages can apply to local churches, and they can be taught as giving a history of the Church Age from the first coming of Christ to the Second Coming of Christ.
  3. Doctrinally - when we get into the specific, absolute, exact, doctrinal meaning of the chapters, they are almost sure to have a Tribulation application. Notice, Revelation 1:9 - the reference to the Kingdom is a literal earthly kingdom. Revelation 1:7 -"kindreds of the earth"; Revelation 1:6 -"kings and priests," "glory and dominion" - an earthly kingdom; Revelation 1:10 - "Lord's day."

 

We call the Lord's day Sunday, but of course, this is "tradition." There is nothing in the Bible to indicate Sunday is the Lord's day. We call it the Lord's day because He rose from the dead on that day. Revelation 1:10 is not the day Christ arose from the dead, it is the Lord's day. It is "the day of the Lord" as we find it in the Old Testament5,6. "The day of the Lord" is always a reference to the Advent of Jesus Christ, the Second Coming. This is the 10-inch mark on our chart. It is not the Rapture at the 8-inch mark on our chart.

 

Now, look at our chart again. Between the cross at the 2-inch mark and the Rapture at the 8-inch mark, is the Church Age. Between the 8-inch mark and the 10-inch mark is the seven year Tribulation. Between the 10-inch mark and the 12-inch mark is the one-thousand year reign of Christ on this earth.

 

If we keep this chart before us it will help place a lot of verses in the "right" places for us.

It divides this age into three sections:

1. Church Age - From the resurrection of Christ to the Rapture of the saints.

2. Tribulation - From the Rapture of the saints to the Second Advent.

3. Millennium - From the Second Advent to the Great White Throne Judgment in Revelation 20.

 

This is important because the Book of Revelation is divided into these three parts. Since the Bible is its own interpreter, we will find these parts clearly defined in the scripture and we can learn where the divisions are.

 

Check this out: in the Book of Revelation, heaven is opened only two times:

  1. Revelation 4:1,2 - Heaven opens and somebody goes up. Who?
  2. Revelation 19:11 - Heaven opens and somebody comes down. Who?
  3.  

    If John is a type of the Church and he goes UP in Revelation 4 then it must mean that Revelation Chapters 1 - 3 are messages meant for the Church. But, it also implies that that the Church, as we know it, will MISS the Tribulation. Observe that it is Jesus who descends in Revelation 19:11, in the transition from the Tribulation to the Millennium as LORD OF LORDS and KINGS OF KINGS, Revelation 19:16 - a future event.

     

    That the heavens open twice in Revelation appears to divide the book into three parts. Observe in Revelation 1:19 and notice that John is told to write the book in three parts - (1) the things thou hast seen, (2) the things which are, and (3) the things which shall be hereafter - past, present, and future. The Book of Revelation divides itself into three parts: the Past - Chapters 1-3; the Present - Chapters 4-19: and the Future - Chapters 20-22. Therefore, it seems the book falls into three logical, reasonable, and scriptural divisions:

    First Division - Chapters 1,2,3.

    Second Division- Chapters 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19.

    Third Division - Chapters 20,21,22.

     

    If the Book of Revelation is in three parts, and Revelation 4-19 is in the present, then we have to find out where John is when he writes the book. The following logic might be tough to follow BUT please stick with it, it is very important to understand in the timing sequence of the whole book!

     

    If the present is a reference to John writing in this age, then Revelation 1,2, and 3 refer to a period before the Church Age, Revelation 4-19 refer to the present now, during the Church Age, and Revelation 20-22 refer to something future after the Church Age. This division cannot possibly work because the church is found in Revelation 1,2, and 3, it vanishes in Chapter 4 (John as a type of the Church goes UP!), and is not heard of again in Chapters 5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12,13,14,15,16.

     

    Therefore, when John writes the book, he is ahead of the present time. He has been taken by the Holy Spirit up into a future age. His "present" is a Future (Revelation 1:10). When John writes the book, the Holy Spirit has carried him ahead to the "day of the Lord" - the Second Coming. He is writing this book from a standpoint of a man standing out late in the 20th century, with the Church Age behind him, the Tribulation beneath him, and the Millennium in the future.

     

    Look at our chart. Historically, John is on the Isle of Patmos around the 2 -inch mark. But the Holy Spirit has carried him forward, and when John writes he is somewhere between the 9-inch mark and the 10-inch mark on our chart. From where John stands in the spirit, the Church Age (from the 2-inch mark to the 8-inch mark), is past; the Tribulation (from the 8-inch mark to the 10-inch mark), is present; the Millennium (from the 10-inch mark to the 12-inch mark), is future.

     

    John in the

    Spirit on the

    Day of the Lord.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Church Age Tribulation Millennium

     

    The book, therefore, divides itself into three logical visions:

    1. The Church Age - Chapters 1,2, and 3. (On our chart from the 2-inch mark to the 8-inch mark.)

    2. Tribulation - Chapters 4-19. (On our chart from the 8-inch mark to the 10 inch mark.)

  4. Millennium- Chapters 20-22. (On our chart from the 10.inch mark to the 12-inch mark.)

This is not only a logical division, but it also appears to be a scriptural division which means that it is the Holy Spirit's way of dividing the book Himself7.

 

Since all the Bible is written to one of three classes of people - either the Jew, the Church, or the Gentile - we should not be surprised to find here in Chapter 1 (the Church Section), an address given to Christian people, i.e., the Church. Therefore, Chapters 1-3 primarily deal with Christians during the Church Age (with the some exceptions which will be discussed in Chapters 2 and 3). Chapters 4-19 deal with the Jew during the Tribulation. Chapters 20-22 deal primarily with the Gentiles in eternity.

 

CHAPTER ONE

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.

 

Some people think the book is wrongly called the Revelation of St. John because it says the Revelation of Jesus Christ. For example: when it says The Revelation of St. John the Divine, it means the revelation that God gave to John about Jesus Christ. Revelation 1:1 does not mean the Revelation of Jesus Christ in the sense of what He knows to be so. He is the object of the sentence. The book is the revelation about Jesus Christ which God gave unto John. Therefore, the Book of Revelation is correctly named - it is the Revelation of John about Jesus Christ. This revelation about Jesus Christ is given to John of God's angel.

 

The progression goes something like this: God>Jesus>Angel>John.

1:2 Who bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw.

 

 

 

8.Isaiah 41:23-26.

 

 

See this link for further details: IS THE BIBLE VERBALLY INSPIRED

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

9.1 John 5:13

 

 

John bears record of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ. Notice the same expression at the end of verse 9. Now we know what the "word of God" is, but the "testimony of Jesus Christ" is something that is a little more obscure. Let's look at this in Revelation 19:10 where we will find the "testimony of Jesus Christ" is defined as the "spirit of prophecy." This is the ability to tell the future. Prophecy, then, is the sure test of infallibility. We know the word of God is infallible because of the element of prophecy8.

 

How do we know the Bible is the word of God? It is the only book in the world that accurately foretells every detail of the future without making one single mistake. The Bible is the only book in the world written by more than twenty authors on three different continents (who lived more than a thousand years apart), that predicts accurately every detail of the future without making one mistake. Therefore, the testimony of Jesus Christ is the "spirit of prophecy." This is the way to tell whether a man is saved or not, and has the Spirit of Jesus Christ. When the Spirit of Jesus Christ comes into a man, the man knows he is saved. He knows where he is going in the future. He knows the future. People that are unsaved just "hope they are saved," or "think they are saved," or "guess they are saved," or "try to be saved." If we are really saved and have the Spirit of the Lord Jesus Christ, we know where we are going when we die because the testimony of Jesus Christ is the "spirit of prophecy9". It is the "spirit of prophecy"- to tell the future. So John was on the Isle of Patmos for the word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ.

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.

 

10 Revelation 3:17

 

Notice the time is said to be "at hand" in verse 3. It is said "to shortly come" in verse 1. So when the events found in the Book of Revelation begin to take place, we know the end is drawing near. This is one of the most excellent signs for the Christians in this age. One of the things found in the Book of Revelation, regardless of where Chapters 1-3 belong, is a luke-warm church10. It brags about its physical properties, about its wealth, about its material goods, but it is really wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked.

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

11.Isaiah 11:1,2

 

Notice the number seven and how many times it occurs in the Bible. There are seven churches in verse 4, seven Spirits in verse 4, seven stars in verse 20, seven golden candlesticks in verse 20, seven churches in verse 20, and seven throughout the Bible. As a matter of fact, in the last chapter of Revelation, the expression "this book" is found seven times. The last book in the Bible has seven churches, seven candlesticks, seven stars, seven angels, seven vials, seven trumpets, seven seals, and seven person-ages. One reason for this is that the Book of Revelation is the last book in the word of God. If we have no more reason to believe the Book of Revelation is in the Canon of scripture than the fact that it has the number seven in it more than seven times, this would be proof enough.

 

God's way of dealing is with "sevens." The number seven is the number of the days in the week. The cells in our bodies change once every seven years. There are seven colors, and seven notes. Our pulse beats slower every seven days. There are only seven colors that Michelangelo, Leonardo daVinci, or Rembrandt ever used. There are only seven notes on a piano. (The black notes are half-notes.) When God does a thing, He does it by sevens. He doesn't do it by tens.

 

Gentiles number 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10 and start over. God numbers 1,2,3,4,5,6,7 and starts over. In Leviticus 23 and Leviticus 25 we will find this universal law applied - the Law of Sevens.

 

"from him which is" (present),

"which was" (past),

"which is to come" (future);

"from the seven Spirits which are before his throne11."

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.

 

12 Revelation 1:6

 

13.Hebrews 3:1,2

 

14.Hebrews 10:8-12

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

15.Matthew 25:30-40

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

16.Revelation 11

17.Luke 7

18.John 11

19.Jonah 2

20.John11:25

 

 

 

The revelation is from the Lord Jesus Christ. In the past He was a prophet, in the present He is a priest, and in the future He shall be a king. As a prophet He died for us, He loved us, and "washed us from our sins in his own blood." In His present state as a priest, He is up in heaven; and when He comes back again He will be a king and make us kings12 . The Lord Jesus Christ then has three offices. He was a prophet, He is a priest, and He comes as a king, we shouldn't get these offices confused. Doctrinally, we can't look at Him as king on earth, and then go around looking for a priest now. We already have a high priest now. We have a high priest in heaven13. Doctrinally, we can't look to make the Lord Jesus Christ shed His blood now as a prophet. He shed His blood in the past as a prophet14 then He shed His blood once for all; then He made "one offering forever." We don't have a prophet today making a blood offering and dying for our sins. This is in the past. We have a priest in heaven making intercession for us and He is going to be a king.

 

The "Kingdom" referred to here in Revelation is an earthly, literal, physical, visible one thousand-year reign, and has nothing to do with us "being translated into the spiritual kingdom of His dear Son." The Lord Jesus Christ, when he comes as a King, comes to sit upon the throne of David15. He comes in Matthew 19 to sit on the throne of His glory, and in Luke 1:30-33, He is said to come to sit upon a literal, physical, visible, Messianic, Davidic throne on this earth. The fact remains that He was a prophet who died for us, He is a priest making intercession for us, and He is not crowned as King of Kings and Lord of Lords until Revelation 19, where He comes back at the end of the Tribulation to set up a visible, physical, literal, earthly reign upon this earth.

 

"The first begotten of the dead," is not "born again from the dead" but the "first begotten of the dead." Some teach that a man is not born-again until he comes up from the resurrection. The teaching that Christ was born again when He came up from the dead is not correct. Jesus Christ is not the "second born" coming up from the dead. He is the "first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth." He is the first man that ever came up from the dead that never died again. Moses came up from the dead in Deuteronomy 34, but he will die in the Tribulation16. The widow of Nain's son came up from the dead17, but died again. Lazarus came up from the dead18, but he died again. Jonah came up from the dead19, but he died again. Jesus Christ was the first man who came up from the dead never to die again. If we believe on Him as our Savior, and we come up from the dead after we are buried, we will never die again20.

 

"Prince of the kings of the earth." Notice that this is an earthly, literal, physical, visible kingdom He is talking about. That is the kind of Bible verse that this many people in this old world find hard to believe. Why? Many believe the Kingdom is here now, and the world is getting better and better, as men are converted to Christ. What they appear to try to do is to reign now without Jesus Christ, and we cannot do it. Do we want a "princely crown"? In this age we are to bear our cross. We don't get our crown until Jesus Christ comes - no cross, no crown. It is a strange thing that some of these people who talk about "bearing the cross," and being like the "lowly Nazarene," and the "lowly Galilean," and going forth to "emulate the master" as an example, are the people who believe the Kingdom is here now, and the world is getting better and better. They have never seen the vision of Jesus Christ the King that John saw!

 

"Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood." Notice: "Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own B-L-O-O-D!" It is not the washing by the baptismal "water of regeneration." The washing of "regeneration" is BLOOD.

 

Here John emphasizes the fact that Jesus LOVED us before He washed us from our sins in His OWN blood and that He has made us "Kings" and "Priests" unto God. We need no human priest to stand between us and God.

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.

 

Notice that while God made us priests in this generation, He is going to make us kings in the generation to come. The generation in which we are going to be a king is going to be a reign on earth. Look at Revelation 5:9,10. There is no doubt about it!

 

This is where some "cults" obtain some of their doctrine, and teach that people are going to reign only on earth with Christ, and not reign in heaven at all with Him. While it is true that we are going to reign on earth in the Millennium, but we are also, after the Great White Throne Judgment, be forever with Christ in heaven. But in Revelation 5:9,10, we are said to be kings and priests, and we shall reign "on the earth."

 

Others think the verse is to be "spiritualized," and that we reign in heaven, or that we are reigning now in a spiritual condition. Revelation 5:9,10 says that when we come back we are going to reign on the earth - a literal, visible, physical, earthly, Messianic, Davidic reign on the earth.

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

21.John 20:24-29

22.Zechariah 12:9-14

 

 

This verse does not speak of the Rapture, but of the Advent. Look at our chart. Revelation 1:7 is not indicated by the line drawn up at the 8-inch mark; it speaks of the line drawn down at the 10-inch mark. This is the revelation of the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, His Advent as King, to reign on earth.

 

This will fulfil Zechariah 12:10. This confirms that the Book of Revelation deals mainly with the events that follow after the "Rapture" and precedes and speaks of the "Revelation" or the coming to the earth of the Lord. Oh, the grief and remorse that will fill the hearts of those Jews who shall witness the return of the Lord to the Mount of Olives, when they shall see in His hands and feet the "print of the nails" and He shall be revealed as the ONE they crucified! Like Thomas they will cry, "MY LORD AND MY GOD21." The Prophet Zechariah describes it as a time of great bitterness22 and a day of great mourning in Jerusalem, when families will separate themselves from their neighbors and mourn every family apart. And not only shall the Jews mourn because they rejected Him when He came the first time, but the nations will WAIL when they realize that He has come back not as a Saviour, but as a Judge to punish them for their iniquities.

 

How does this differ with the Rapture? "Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him." Every eye does not see the Lord Jesus Christ when He comes back to catch out His own. He comes as a "thief in the night," and His coming to "catch out His own" is so secret and so private that it is a mystery even today to many Christians. There are many Christians who know nothing about the "Rapture" at all. In 1 Corinthians 15:50-53, Paul says that this secret coming to catch out the Body of Christ is a mystery revealed only to saved people. Now, notice that this coming in 1 Corinthians 15 is not an outward, open, visible appearance to the world; it is a mystery. It is not a "coming in clouds to reign on earth," and to appear to people who have rejected Him; it is something that takes place before we can bat our eyes -"in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye." It is not a general resurrection and judgment of unsaved people: it is a blinding flash, and a momentary slap of lightning and clap of thunder that is over before we can blink! 1 Corinthians 15 is not the reference of Revelation 1:7, which says, "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."

 

The passage is a partial quotation from Zechariah 9:1, and we can find corollaries to it in Matthew 24:30, Psalm 104:3, and Matthew 26:65. All these verses speak of a visible, open appearance to the unsaved world, coming in the heavens with clouds. Notice, his appearance is to unsaved, Christ-rejecting people. This is not Christ coming for His saints in a mystery, "in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye."

 

Therefore, the location of Revelation 1:7 on our chart is at the 10-inch mark, not the 8-inch mark. If it says in one place that it is a mystery, a moment, "in the twinkling of an eye," and in the other place that it is a visible coming with clouds to the unsaved people, the two are not the same! Things different are not equal. For example, when Jesus Christ arose from the dead, He appeared only to saved people. Now, lets stop and think about that. Every person who ever saw His birth or His resurrection - believed! There isn't one unbelieving person that saw Him as babe in that manger. And there wasn't one unbelieving person that ever saw Him in His resurrection body. These were "secret" appearings to "His own."

 

Yet, publicly at the ministry of John the Baptist, and publicly at the crucifixion, to those that pierced Him, He appeared to the whole multitude. This should teach us a truth - God always repeats history. It seems that history is so worked out that it always repeats itself. Yet no matter how many times God repeats it, men cannot learn from it. Why is that? The surest proof of mankind's lack of Godly wisdom is the fact that we humans cannot learn a lesson when it is given to us over, and over again. For example, the first time Jesus Christ came to this earth, Rome was in power - not Russia. What will we learn from that? The second time Jesus Christ comes back to this earth, will Rome be in power again rather than Russia? The first time Jesus Christ came to this earth, the Jews were in their homeland. The second time Jesus Christ comes to this earth will the Jew be in their homeland? Well they have been since May 14, 1948! Is history repeating?

 

The first time Jesus Christ came He appeared, privately, secretly, alone at night to His chosen disciples, in a manger. He appeared to the shepherds, His mother and Joseph. The second time He comes He will appear privately, in a mystery, in the twinkling of an eye, and catch out saved people only. The first time He came publicly, was thirty years after His birth, at the ministry of John the Baptist. Who saw Him? The whole world! At the Second Coming He will appear publicly, openly to the whole world, seven years after the Rapture, seven years after His private appearance. So…what do we learn from this?

 

Before His first coming to this earth, there were four hundred silent years in which God gave no revelation. Before His Second Coming there will be a period of several hundred years in which God will not reveal a thing. Look out Joseph Smith!

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.

 

This is the Lord Jesus Christ talking. Alpha is the first letter is the Greek alphabet, and Omega is the last letter in the Greek alphabet. That is, Jesus' statement is that He is the beginning and the ending of the alphabet. He is every letter in the alphabet, and therefore, every word printed, the entire Bible, every book, from cover to cover. Our word "alphabet" comes from the first two letters in the Greek alphabet -"Alpha" and "Beta."

 

"The beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is (He is now a priest), and which was (He was a prophet), and which is to come (He will come as a king), the Almighty." Then the Lord Jesus Christ's statement about Himself is that He is the beginning and the ending, the first and the last. He is the eternal Almighty God.

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 describes himself in the next two verses:

  1. By his present state and condition.
  2. By the place where he was when he had this vision.
  3. The day and time in which he had this vision.
  4. The frame that his soul was in at this time.

 

He was the brother and companion of these churches in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Christ. He was, at their time, as the rest of true Christians were, a persecuted man, banished, and perhaps imprisoned, because he stood up for Christ.

 

He was their brother, although he was an apostle; he seems to value more his relation to the church, rather than his authority in it. Judas Iscariot may have been an apostle, but not a brother in the family of God.

 

He was their companion. The children of God should choose communion and society with each other. He was their companion in tribulation. The persecuted servants of God did not suffer alone. We are comforted because others endure the same trials. He was their companion in patience, not only sharing with them in suffering circumstances, but in suffering graces. He was their brother and companion in the patience of the kingdom of Christ, a sufferer for Christ’s cause.

 

If we apply it to the Church Age historically, John is merely saying that he is in exile on the Isle of Patmos because he witnessed for Christ, and because he told the future.

1:10 l was in the Spirit on the Lord's day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet.

 

23.l Corinthians 12, Colossians 2, Romans 6,8

 

 

 

Notice the expression, "I was in the Spirit." Every Christian is in the Holy Spirit, and the Holy Spirit is in every Christian23. But this is a peculiar expression. "I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day." This is a special time accompanied by a special transformation. This has to do with a miraculous moving of somebody, John.

 

Notice Revelation 4:2 and the expression, "And immediately I was in the spirit." This expression "in the spirit" does not refer to a man being born-again in Jesus Christ, as Paul uses the term; but it refers, rather, to the miraculous movement of a body forward in time. "I was in the Spirit" in a different condition. That is, not in the body, as in contrast with being in the body. Instead of being in the body, John was "in the Spirit." This expression cannot apply to the Church Age because in the Church Age we are in our bodies. We are "absent from the Lord" in our bodies (2 Corinthians 5: 1-10). The Holy Spirit is in us and we are in Him. We are not "in the Spirit" on some special day. We are in the Holy Spirit 24 hours a day, or we are lost (Romans 8:9). So when John says he was "in the Spirit" on the Lord's day, he is referring to a miraculous spiritual transference in time from the Isle of Patmos around 96 A.D. up into the 20th century at the Second Advent.

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.

 

Note that John is "in the spirit on the Lord's Day" and now he is told "WHAT THOU SEEST - WRITE!" This is the speaker of verse 8. And HE wants His churches to know something. These are the names of seven local churches in Asia. Notice the word "Asia." We call it "Asia Minor." See map below.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Look up these seven churches, they are not in Asia proper; that is, they are not in China, India, etc. They are in what is called the "Near East" or Asia Minor. The present domain is around Turkey.

 

These seven churches have seven different names, and each one represents a local church in "Asia" existing at the time John wrote the book. These churches must be representative or typical churches, chosen for certain characteristics typical of the Church not only in that day but on down through the centuries. Therefore, they must also represent certain periods in church history that can be clearly defined. We will also see later that there are certain characteristics that seem to apply to "churches" during the tribulation.

 

Notice:

  1. Ephesus means "fully purposed" or "desirable."
  2. Smyrna means "myrrh" or "bitter."
  3. Pergamos means "much marriage" or "mixed marriage."
  4. Thyatira means "odor of affliction."
  5. Sardis means "red ones" or "escaping ones."
  6. Philadelphia means "brotherly love."
  7. Laodicea means "civil rights" or "rights of the people."

 

The last church on this earth before Jesus Christ comes is Laodicea, "civil rights," the "rights of the people," or "justice for the people." God has no authority in the last church, the people have the authority.

1:12 And I turned to see the voice that spake with me. And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks.

 

When John thus found himself in the spirit on the "Day of the Lord" he heard behind him a great voice, as of a trumpet, which said--"I am Alpha and. Omega, the First and the Last," and the repetition of the statement in verses 17 and 18, with the added words "I am He that Liveth, and WAS DEAD; and behold, I am ALIVE FOR EVERMORE, AMEN; and have the keys of Hell (Hades, the Underworld), and of Death (the Grave)," identifies the speaker as the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. John had his back turned to the speaker, and when he turned around he saw one like unto the SON OF MAN standing in the midst of "Seven Candlesticks." Candlesticks in ancient times were actually lamps whose wicks, instead of burning away as do wax candles, are fed from an oil reservoir within. In the Scriptures oil is emblematic of the Holy Spirit, and as Jesus Himself interprets these "Lampstands" as meaning the Seven Churches to whom He was about to send messages. We see that Jesus looks upon the churches as not the LIGHT, but simply the "LIGHT HOLDER."

 

From the fact that Jesus speaks of "Stars" and "Lampstands" it is clear that we are living in the NIGHT of this Dispensation, for "stars" and "lampstands" belong to the night.

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.

 

The Vision that John saw was that of the GLORIFIED "SON OF MAN." When Jesus ascended He took up with Him His HUMANITY, and we now have in the Glory the MAN Christ Jesus. 1 Timothy 2:5. When Jesus was on the earth He was, as the "Son of God" a PROPHET, now as the "Son of Man" in Glory He is Priest and when He comes again it will be as the "Son of Man" to reign as KING. While Jesus is now a High Priest in heaven, John did not see him engaged in any High Priestly work.

 

While He was clothed in a High Priestly robe, there was no mitre upon His head, nor Kingly Crown. The description of Him is more that of a JUDGE. This is confirmatory evidence that John was transported into the "Day of the Lord," and that his vision of Christ is as Christ shall appear after His High Priestly work is finished and before He assumes His Kingly Office. This is seen in that He was girded about the breasts, and not around the waist. The High Priest was girded around the waist, signifying service, but a girdle or sash over the shoulder and around the breasts is an insignia of the Magisterial Office.

1:14 His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire.

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.

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.

 

 

Notice the difference between Jesus Christ in this picture and His human appearance on this earth. On this earth the Lord Jesus Christ appeared as a Jew. As a human Jew, He is described in the Song of Solomon 5:10-15. In this passage we are told He had eyes like a dove, head like burnished gold (a ruddy, yellow brown - He is a Jew, an Oriental, an Asiatic), and His hair is bushy, and black as a raven. The Lord Jesus Christ, as a Jew, had dark hair, black hair, black eyebrows, and a black beard. The Lord Jesus Christ was not a reddish-brown-haired, blue-eyed, Irish, Caucasian.

 

Let's take a look at John's description of the SEVENFOLD GLORY OF HIS PERSON.

 

1. HIS HEAD AND HIS HAIR.

His "Head" and "Hair" were "WHITE LIKE WOOL," as "WHITE AS SNOW." Here there is a correspondence to the "Snow White Wig" worn by English judges. This description of Christ reminds us of Daniel's vision of the "ANCIENT OF DAYS," "whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like the PURE WOOL." Daniel 7:9.

 

Daniel refers three times to the "Ancient Of Days." In Daniel 7:13, he distinguishes between the "Son of Man" and the "Ancient of Days." But in verses 9 and 22 he associates the "Ancient of Days" with a "Throne of Judgment." Since God the Father has committed all judgment to the, Son (John 5:22), and the Father and the Son are one, the title "Ancient Of Days" is used interchangeably. And as the title "Ancient of Days" is applied to the "Son of Man" (Christ) at the time He assumes the Judgeship (Daniel 7:9-10), which is not until after the Rapture of the Church, we have here additional corroborative proof that John's Vision belongs to the "Day of the Lord." The "White Hair" of the Son of Man refers to His ANTIQUITY, to His patriarchal dignity, not that His hair was made white by age, for the Eternal never grows old, but it speaks of wisdom and experience, and of the venerable nature of His character.

 

2. HIS EYES.

"His Eyes were a FLAME OF FIRE." Those eyes that had often been dimmed with human tears, and that wept at the grave of Lazarus, are here pictured as burning with an "OMNISCIENT PLAME." How often when on the earth those eyes read the innermost thoughts of men, and even soldiers quailed before His soul-penetrating gaze, so when He sits as the Judge of men all things will be NAKED and OPEN before Him.

 

3. HIS FEET.

"His Feet like unto fine BRASS, as if they BURNED IN A FURNACE." In that day those feet that trod the Via Dolorosa of suffering will be like unto INCANDESCENT BRASS, that shall tread and crush Antichrist and Satan when He comes to "Tread the WINE-PRESS of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God." Revelation 19:15.

 

4. HIS VOICE.

"His Voice as the SOUND OF MANY WATERS." There is nothing more melodious or musical than the babbling brook. Nothing more thunderous than the rush of the cataract over the falls. And there is nothing more fearful to the criminal than the words of the Judge as he passes sentence. But how terrifying will be the sentence when with a strong voice the Son of Man shall say in the Judgment Day, "Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the Devil and his angels." Matthew 25:41.

 

5. HIS HAND.

"In His Right Hand SEVEN STARS." We are told in verse 20, that the "Seven Stars" stand for the "ANGELS" of the "Seven Churches." These "Angels" are the Messengers or Ministers of the churches. What a beautiful and solemn lesson is taught here. It is that the ministers of Christ derive their power and office from Him, and that He holds them in His hand. If they are false to Him, no one can deliver them from His power, and if they are true and loyal, no one can touch or molest, or do them harm.

 

6. HIS MOUTH.

"Out of His Mouth went a SHARP TWO-EDGED SWORD." While the "Sword of the Spirit" is the "Word of God" (Ephesians 6: 17), and the "Word of God" is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any TWO-EDGED SWORD, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow (the body), (Hebrews 4: 12.)

 

The "Sword of the Spirit" is the Holy Spirit's SWORD, and He alone wields it. The Sword of the Son of Man (Christ) is the "SWORD OF JUSTICE." For, the Son of Man, out of whose mouth this sword comes, is the "White Horse Rider" of Revelation 19: 11-15, "out of whose mouth goeth a SHARP SWORD, that with it He should smite the nations." And that sword is for the protection of His people, and the destruction of His enemies. This is still further proof that John's vision of Christ was as He shall appear in the "DAY OF THE LORD."

 

7. HIS COUNTENANCE.

"His countenance (appearance) was as the sun shineth in his strength." His appearance is the appearance of an atom bomb going off. Notice the sun is referred to in the masculine- "as the sun shineth in his strength." This reminds us of the last passage in the Old Testament in regard to the Second Coming of Christ. Malachi 4:2 says, "But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings." Recall His countenance during His appearance on the Mount of Transfiguration when "His Face did shine AS THE SUN." And we read of the New Jerusalem that the inhabitants thereof have no need of the SUN, for the LAMB is the Light thereof. Revelation 21:23.

 

Thus we have in John's "Seven-Fold," description of the person of the "Glorified Son of Man." This is circumstantial or indirect evidence that John saw his vision of the Son of Man, not on a Sabbath Day but was projected by the Holy Spirit forward into the "Day of the Lord" and saw Him as He will appear then as the Judge, and the coming "SUN OF RIGHTEOUSNESS." This is a risen, glorified, Almighty God with eyes like a flame of fire. And that's the One we are going to meet in the judgment. He is no longer the "Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world." He is the "Lion of the tribe of Judah"!

1:17,18 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: 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.

 

"I am he that liveth, (He is living as a priest) and was dead; (He was living as a prophet) and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen" (He is coming again to live forever as a king).

 

"Keys of hell and death." The Bible speaks of a number of keys. We find the "key of David" that is called the promises. We have the "key of knowledge" that is called the law. We have the "Key of the kingdom" that is called the gospel. We have the "key of the bottomless pit" that is called the judgment. Here our Lord Jesus Christ says He has the keys of death and hell. Thank God for that! Our Savior has the keys and, more than that, He is the door (John 10:9).

 

Our Savior is the door: we've come into heaven through Him, and we're already there. Ephesians says that we are now seated in heavenly places in Christ Jesus! Our bodies will go later. Our spirits are there right now with Him! While we are here we are "at home in the body, and absent from the Lord" (2 Corinthians 5:6-8), but spiritually "he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit" (1 Corinthians 6:17). We are made to sit in heavenly places with Christ Jesus (Ephesians 2:1-7). Our Savior has the keys of death and hell. If we were to die and go to hell we would have nothing to worry about! We could get out because we've got the key. Jesus Christ has the keys, and we are His and He is ours!

1:19 Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter.

 

(Past - Revelation 1-3; Present - Revelation 4-19; Future - Revelation 20-22.) These three divisions have already been discussed. Notice the command "WRITE!" again. How many time is this word used in Revelation? 16

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.

 

This is a mystery revealed only to Christians. He told John to write about this "mystery of the seven stars which thou sawest in my right hand." And here it is, "The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches." Then each one of these churches has an angelic representative in heaven called "a star." "And the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches." Apparently, each church has a candlestick in heaven represented by a candlestick burning, with a flame on it.

 

Now, we are ready for John's vision given to him of the Church Age, pictured by seven local churches in Asia during John's time which picture, spiritually, the course of church history from the time of the apostles to the Rapture. What we are going to study is a picture of the Church Age beginning with the early church, that was fully purposed. But slowly losing its love for Christ, right on through church history up to the present, where the church has become lukewarm, and Christ is outside the local church door trying to get in the church, and the Christians inside don't want Him.

 

 

 

STUDY QUESTIONS

 

 

  1. What do you think is the most important distinction between Revelation and the rest of the New Testament?
  2.  

  3. What do these first few words of Chapter 1, verses 1, 2 tell us about the theme of Revelation?
  4.  

  5. Is Revelation more important to those to whom John specifically wrote, or to us today?
  6.  

  7. Revelation 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." If we want the blessing what do we have to do?
  8.  

  9. Why does John put it this way?
  10.  

  11. What is the concept that John has in mind when he adds "hear" to "read?"
  12.  

  13. What is the final element here for receiving the blessing?
  14.  

  15. What is your reaction to Jesus' appearance? Why does He look like this?
  16.  

  17. Many books have been written on how you should dress to make the right impression - it is called "power dressing." Do you think it is accidental that Jesus just happened to be dressed in this fashion when His vision appeared to John?
  18.  

  19. Why do you think John "fell as dead" in verse 17? Compare John reaction here to his actions at the Last Supper - John 13.
  20.  

  21. How do you respond to this vision of Jesus Christ?
  22.  

  23. In what way does this change your vision of Jesus?
  24.  

  25. What does this vision do to your relationship with Christ?
  26.  

  27. Why do we no longer have to fear death? How can this vision help us in times of trouble?
  28.  

  29. How can you help someone have a new awareness of Christ and His power?

 

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