02.0 The Book of Revelation: Chapter 1: vs 7 – 20

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We want to continue in our study of the book of Revelation by finishing chapter 1.

verse 7 [7]: Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen.

This verse announces the Lord’s return to earth. 

Notice that every eye sees Him. That is why this great event is described as the “revealing” or “revelation” of Christ and occurs when He comes as the KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS (Revelation 19:11-16).

Thus, our text is actually a preview of what will happen when He returns with His saints in chapter 19.

Isn’t it thrilling to know that when the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west (Matthew 24:27), every eye will witness the spectacle of the ages?

Notice also that the Israelites-a special group-will observe this momentous event, for they shall look upon [Him] whom they have pierced (Zechariah 12:10).

Furthermore, when He comes in power and great glory to smite the nations, all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. This is because He comes for judgment and none will escape.

As John envisions the hour when the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints (Jude 14), he victoriously cries, “Amen! Amen!

The Greek for even so is “Amen,” and “Amen” is the Hebrew for even so. John is literally shouting the praise or praises of God in two languages as he says, “Amen and Amen, He is coming!

verse 8 : [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 text speaks of the eternal Christ. 

Alpha and Omega are the beginning and ending letters of the Greek alphabet. Christ is saying, “I am the beginning and ending of all things.” He uses the title “I am,” which is a verb indicating being, but not becoming.

He always was.

He was before all things and created all things. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made (John 1:3). For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist (Colossians 1:16,17).

He also controls all things by upholding all things by the word of his power (Hebrews 1:3), and He will consummate all things as well (see Ephesians 1:10)

Yes, Jesus Christ is Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending.

The terminology, I am… the Lord which is, and which was, and which is to come, expresses Christ’s oneness with the Father (see verse 4)

In fact, He adds the term, the Almighty, a name used for the Father in connection with His person. This term is used forty-eight times in the Old Testament. This verse clearly refutes the doctrine of anti-trinitarianism, which is anti-God, anti-Christ, and anti-Holy Spirit.

verse 9 : [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 realizes that he is an old man and highly revered, yet he wants no praise from men for his sufferings. He immediately identifies himself as a brother in Christ and a companion in heartache and suffering. He tells of the tribulation he endured during his incarceration at Patmos, but he rejoices that the other blood-bought sons of God will miss the Tribulation. How true!

The Saviour stated: 

In the world ye shall have tribulation (John 16:33). However, this does not include the Tribulation hour out of which the saints are kept (see Revelation 3:10). John’s persecution came because of his devotion to Christ. This is always true when one takes a stand for the Saviour. Jesus said in John 15:18-20, If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you.

verse 10 : [10] : I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet,

Beginning with this verse, we enter into the revelation experience with John and observe firsthand all that is presented to him through the remainder of the book.

Joseph A. Seiss says that John was carried forward through the centuries until he saw a vision of the great and terrible day of the Lord-the Tribulation hour. A majority of scholars, however, believe that the phrase, on the Lord’s day, refers to the first day of the week. Thus, on Resurrection day-Sunday, the first day of the week-John is visited by the One who had so loved him while on earth-Jesus himself. As He appears, John hears the trumpet-like voice of Christ…

verse 11 : [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.

Alpha and Omega are the titles we discussed in verse 8. Verse 11 pictures the eternal Christ giving instructions to His beloved servant concerning the seven churches mentioned in verse 4 and to be discussed in chapters 2 and 3.

Then, John adds…

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

When the trumpet-like voice of Christ sounded in Verse 11, John turned to see the voice that spoke to him.

This is different! One does not normally “see” a voice. Yet John turned to see the voice. As he looks in that direction, he sees seven golden candlesticks or lampstands. Verse 20 clearly explains the meaning of  Verse 12 as follows: The mystery of the seven stars which thou sawest in my right hand, and the seven golden candlesticks [means this:] The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches: and the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches.

The fact that the seven churches are pictured as seven lampstands is significant because believers are the light of the world (Matthew 5:14). Sad, as we shall see, is the fact that the history of the seven churches often diminished that light.

Oh, pray that it shall not be so in your life.

Jesus said, Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven (Matthew 5:16).

Now that we have observed  Verse 12 in light of  Verse 20, let’s take a closer look at the glorious Saviour who appears in the midst of the lampstands or churches.

verse 13 : [13]: And [I saw] 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 Lord is clothed with the garments of the Old Testament high priest because He is risen and in heaven, performing His ministry of intercession. For this reason, he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them (Hebrews 7:25).

Thus, sixty years after Christ’s death and resurrection, John sees Him as the High Priest in the heavenlies. Paul also testified to this blessed fact by stating: Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession (Hebrews 4:14).

Next our precious Lord is described in detail.

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

John’s description speaks of antiquity and coincides with the vision Daniel had in chapter 7, verses 9 through 13. This Ancient of days, the eternal One, Jesus Christ, is also pictured in terms of whiteness because of His righteousness, for He is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens (Hebrews 7:26). The Greek also emphasizes the fact that His eyes “shot out fire.” Christ is righteously angry concerning the sin of the churches depicted in Revelation, chapters 2 and 3.

verse 15 : [15: And his feet [were] like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice [was] as the sound of many waters.

Christ’s feet picture judgment and relate to the events that take place when He returns to the earth in chapters 19 and 20. His voice as the sound of many waters also depicts judgment.

verse 16 : [16] : And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp two-edged sword: and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength.

The seven stars of this verse are the angels or messengers of the seven churches (see verse 20), while the two-edged sword is the Word of God as described
in Hebrews 4:12: The word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of the soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Then the expression, his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength, takes our minds back to the transfiguration scene in Matthew 17:2 and thus pictures the glory of Christ, who is to be the Judge during the Great Tribulation hour, Armageddon, and the Great White Throne assembly of Revelation 20:11-15.Because of it, John is stunned, astonished, and humbled at the experience and cries…

verse 17 : [17] : And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last:
verse 18 : [18] : I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.

The sight of Christ glorified was breathtaking, and the one who laid his head upon Jesus at the Last Supper now falls prostrate at His feet. As John falls before his blessed Lord in fear, Jesus lovingly says, Fear not. He is saying the same to us today. In the midst of wars, rumors of wars, heartaches, and death, the blessed Lord says, Let not your heart be troubled (John 14:1).

This message to John is from the first and the last, the Alpha and Omega, the eternal One, Jesus Christ. The One that liveth (resurrection), and was dead (crucifixion) and who cries, behold, I am alive for evermore (ascension), Amen.

He also has the keys of hell and of death. Because of this tremendous fact, Christians are not to fear, for through death … [Christ destroyed] him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage (Hebrews 2:14, 15).

Not only have we been delivered from the fear of death but from the fear of Hades as well.

Let me explain: 

Hades was the place where the souls and the spirits of all humans went until the cross. Sheol (Old Testament) and Hades (New Testament) were one and the same. In Sheol and Hades were two compartments, one for the wicked and the other for the righteous.

In Luke 16:22, 23, the rich man and Lazarus went to their respective places- one to suffering and the other to comfort. The thief on the cross went to the comfort side, or paradise, as promised by Christ when He said, Today shalt thou be with me in paradise (Luke 23:43).

This is where Christ went upon His death (Acts 2:27, 31). There He ministered to His people and led captivity captive (Ephesians 4:8-10), literally releasing them for their entrance into the third heaven of 2 Corinthians 12:2.

Presently the comfort side of Hades has been emptied by Him who has the keys of death and Hades (hell), but the torment side is still full. This will be emptied for the Judgment Day when….death and [Hades deliver] up the dead which [are] in them: and they [are] judged… (Revelation 20:13).

verse 19 : [19] : Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter;
 
This verse gives us the order of the Book of Revelation, which is written chronologically, or as the events happen. One immediately recognizes the three tenses past, present, and future.Write the things which thou hast seen-past, chapter 1; the things which are-present, chapters 2 and 3; and the things which shall be hereafter-future, chapters 4 through 22.
verse 20 : [20] : [God explains to John:] 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.

Since we have discussed the closing verse of this chapter in connection with verse 12, let us move on to the study of the seven candlesticks, or the history of the seven churches, which we will cover in our next newsletter.

A MESSAGE OF HOPE FROM DR. JACK VAN IMPE

First published Jan 24, 2014 | re published January 11, 2016
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