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Revelation Chapter 4

In chapter 4, we begin to read of future events. The words, “after this” tell us John is now writing about things that will happen after the events of chapters 2 and 3, which describes the Church Age in which we now live. Between chapters 3-4, the rapture will have occurred; Jesus will have come as described in 1 Thessalonians 4:14-17.

vs. 1  The chapter opens with a scene in Heaven. The voice telling John “come up hither,” is a hint of the voice of the Lord calling His saints to rise and meet Him in the clouds.

vs. 2-3  John was transported in spirit to heaven, where he sees a throne being set, which is the throne of God. During this Church Age, God has been seated on a throne of grace (Hebrews 4:16), with Jesus at His right side. However, after the rapture, a time of judgment begins. Therefore this throne John sees is a judgment throne. And yet, we note the rainbow around this throne – the rainbow is indicative of God’s mercy, given in the time of Noah after the flood. Even as the Lord will begin to pour out His judgement on the earth for seven years, His mercy will still be manifested. It is not His will any should perish (2 Peter 3:9).

Revelation: Chapter Three

Church of Sardis: (A.D. 1520-Tribulation)

Sardis represents the universal church from time of the Protestant reformation until the end of the age. The root word of Protestantism is “to protest.” At this time God revealed to Martin Luther that salvation is by faith, not by works. He then wrote his thesis which protested the teachings of the Roman Church. Thus Protestantism was born.

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Ancient city of Sardis

vs. 1.He that hath the seven Spirits of God and the seven stars.” The Holy Spirit, represented by the seven Spirits of God, is seen to be especially active in this church, usually working through the ministers (the seven stars) to lead. Jesus states, as he does with all the churches, “I know thy works.” But here no good works are mentioned. This probably surprised them, because they evidently thought their works would be accepted as good. Instead, they have a name that they are living, but are dead. Through the years, many Protestant churches have become this way. It is not only true of churches, but also individuals (1 Timothy 5:6).

vs. 2  Jesus admonishes them to be watchful. There are many scriptures which instruct us to “watch” or be awake. It is a ploy of Satan to cause Christians to become lax, indifferent, or sleepy concerning the things of the Lord.

“Therefore, let us not sleep as do others, but let us watch and be sober.” 1 Thessalonians 5:6

Jesus continues to tell the church their works are not perfect or complete before God; they needed to remember what they learned from the beginning – to hold fast to those things and repent. This echoes the letter to the Ephesian church, when Jesus admonishes them to remember from where they had fallen and repent and do the first works – those works which came from loving Jesus supremely. “Repent” means to turn completely away from what one is doing and have a different attitude towards those things.

vs. 3  If they would not watch, Jesus would come as a thief, and catch them unawares. This describes His coming at the beginning of the Tribulation, where many Christians will be asleep and not paying attention. There are warnings of this in Matthew 24:23-27, 25:13, 1 Thessalonians 5:1-8, and 2 Peter 3:10.

vs. 4  We learn that though this church had a lifeless condition, God had a few who weren’t defiled by their surroundings, but walked in righteousness. 

vs. 5  The overcomers would be clothed in white raiment. We see the fulfillment of this reward in Revelation 19:7-8 where the Lamb’s wife is arrayed in fine linen, clean and white, which is the “righteousness of saints.” The overcomers are also promised that their names will not be blotted out of the book of Life, but will be publicly acknowledged before God and His angels, by Jesus Himself!

The book of Life mentioned here speaks of a book God writes the names of all individuals born into the world. For those who believe on Jesus as their Savior, their names remain in this book of Life. However, if an individual lives a lifetime without ever acknowledging Jesus as Savior, their name is blotted out of the book of Life. This occurs either at the time of their death, or when they simply reject God’s plan of salvation and henceforth become a “son of disobedience,” (Ephesians 2:2). Only God knows who those individuals are. We must never stop praying for the salvation of lost souls.

Church of Philadelphia: (A.D. 1750 – Rapture)

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Church of St. John in Philadelphia

The meaning of the word Philadelphia is “brotherly love.” This church is true to its name.  Between the 1700-1800’s, several mighty revivals came about as God awakened His people to the fact of His soon coming. This church represents believers who live at the time of Jesus’ coming in the rapture, and give Him first place in their lives. They love His appearing. (2 Timothy 4:8)

vs. 7  Jesus’ first address comes as “He that is holy.” His holiness is absolute; nothing can be added to it. He is perfect and complete in His holiness. The more we understand, realize and accept His holiness, the more we will desire to walk in that same holiness. We read this also in 2 Peter 1:4, and 1 Peter 1:15.

“But as He which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation.” 1 Peter 1:15

Then Jesus addresses them as “He that is true.” Jesus is Truth. There is nothing false or hidden about Him. He is perfect and constant in truth. Consequently, we can know truth. Have you ever wondered, “How can I know what is true, and what is false?” The answer – get to know Jesus. The more we know and understand His Word and ways, the more we will know what is true.

Jesus’ final address is “He that hath the key of David, He that openeth and no man shutteth…” Isaiah 22:22-23 gives a clear understanding to this reference. 

“And the key of the house of David will I lay upon His shoulder; so He shall open and none shall shut; and He shall shut, and none shall open. And I will fasten Him as a nail in a sure place; and He shall be for a glorious throne to His Father’s house.”

This is a prophecy of Jesus reigning on the throne of David, also mentioned in Luke 1:32 when the angel Gabriel told Mary God would give her son, Jesus, “the throne of His father, David.” This picture of Jesus with the key of David implies the door right into His throne room – and He is offering this church the privilege of entering in and reigning with Him as joint-heirs. (Romans 8:17).

vs. 8  This awesome opportunity is offered this church because of the three-fold commendation Jesus give them.

  1. Thou hast a little strength.” This could read, “You have but little strength.” In other words, they were not strong in themselves, but learned to relinquish their self-effort and live in the sufficiency of Christ. (2 Corinthians 12:9-10)
  2. “Thou hast kept my Word.” In 1 John 2:5, we read how God’s love is perfected in those who keep His word. Also, in Psalms 119:101, there is a correlation between keeping His Word and walking in holiness. So how do we keep His Word? See Deuteronomy 6:4-9.
  3. Hast not denied my name. Jesus tells us in John 15:18-21 the world will hate and persecute us for His name’s sake. Are we willing to endure persecution for Jesus? To proclaim the name of the Lord even though it brings ridicule from others? If we are ashamed to stand for the name of Jesus, our Christian walk will become more and more lax and worldly, which will hinder us from entering the door to the throne room of Jesus. We are heirs of God when we are born again, but we will only become join-heirs as we are willing to suffer with Him. (Romans 8:17)

vs. 9  Those of the synagogue of Satan are ones who profess to be believers, but do not possess salvation. They have never accepted Jesus as their Savior. One day Jesus will vindicate His true believers by causing those who only profess to believe to worship before the feet of those who love Him.

vs. 10  Here is a wonderful promise to those who have kept the word of His patience. James 5:7-8 admonishes us to be patient concerning the Lord’s coming. Why does Jesus say here, “My patience“? Because any true patience is not from us, but from the Lord. As we give ourselves to Him, He works His characteristics in us. To those who have such patience for His coming, Jesus said He will keep them from (out of, in Greek) the hour of temptation which shall come upon the entire world. The word hour means “a definite and limited time, a specific period.” This no doubt refers to the 7 year tribulation period which shall begin following Jesus’ coming for the rapture of the overcoming Christians who look for His return. (Hebrews 9:28)

vs. 11  The word quickly does not mean soon, but rather, speedily. In other words, when it is time for His coming, He will speedily come and not delay.

The church in Philadelphia is admonished to hold onto their crown. This indicates it is possible for a believer to give their lives completely to Jesus, only to lose that place by allowing someone to interfere with their complete submission to the Lord. See Colossians 2:4,8 and 1 Corinthians 9:24-27.

vs. 12  Several promises are given to the overcomers of this church:

  1. Made a pillar in the temple of God. The church is called “The pillar and ground of truth,” in 1 Timothy 3:15. The church is the support and foundation of truth. In like manner, the overcomers of the church (whom we identify as ‘first rank’) will be the support and strength in the temple of God (heaven).
  2. Go no more out. Christians do not belong to this world. Our citizenship is in heaven. We are strangers and pilgrims here. When we get to heaven, we’ll finally belong, and never have to leave our home!
  3. Given the name of God. We will be identified with our heavenly Father.
  4. Given the name of the city of God. We will be identified with the heavenly city, the New Jerusalem (Revelation 21).
  5. Given Jesus’ new name. We will be identified with Jesus. We don’t know what this new name will be, but no doubt it will reveal Him as Bridegroom. The overcomers of the Philadelphia church are the ones mentioned in Revelation 19:7-8 as the bride. The bride of Christ will be seated on His throne, reigning as joint-heirs with Him for eternity, known by His new name. This is the hope of every believer! So run with patience the race set before us (Hebrews 12:1-2).

Church of Laodicea: (1900’s – Tribulation)

This church represents present day conditions. Indifference, professors of Christianity rather than possessors, and apathy seem to permeate. The city of Laodicea had everything the ancient world could offer: a stadium, gymnasium, numerous theaters, public baths, and even running water. The citizens of Laodicea had all the wealth and luxury they wanted, and the city even had their own coin mint.

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Laodicea’s Sacred Agora

vs. 14  In this last letter, Jesus addresses them as “The Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God.” The meaning of the word Amen is “true”. It speaks of that which is final, revealing Jesus as the final truth. He who is complete. Nothing can be added to Him. He is all in all. The title “faithful and true witness” depicts Him as the One on Whom we may rely. There is nothing false about Him. He is real and true in every aspect, thus a perfect witness and testimony of God. In Hebrews 1:1-2 that God has spoken to us by His Son, “by Whom also He made the worlds.” This describes Jesus as the Creator of all things. See Colossians 1:15-17.

vs. 15  In light of this depiction, the church of Laodicean had absolutely no excuse for the pitiable condition they were in. There’s no word of commendation for them. They were lukewarm, which can be very deceiving. Jesus told them He would rather they be either cold or hot. Being cold would’ve allowed them to recognize their need and thus be more likely to make needed changes. Hot would have meant they were zealous for the Lord. But being lukewarm, they thought they were doing well, deceived into thinking they were rich and needed nothing more.

vs. 16-17  Riches of this world are of no value whatsoever as far as our spiritual life is concerned. Jesus’ assessment of them was they were wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked! This is a sharp contrast to the Smyrna church, a very poor church, and yet Jesus called them rich. The difference in the two churches was one loved Jesus enough to suffer for Him, even in their poverty, while the other gloried in their wealth and did not even realize they needed Jesus.

Laodicea represents those people who have a form godliness, but deny the power thereof (2 Timothy 3:5). There are many people today who are very religious and claim to know the Lord, but Jesus will say to them when they stand before Him on that day: 

I never knew you, depart from me…” Matthew 7:21-23

vs. 18  Jesus counsels these ones to buy of Him gold tied in fire – to accept His divine plan of salvation. Isaiah 55:1 gives the invitation to everyone athirst to come buy wine and milk without price. Eternal life with Christ cannot be bought. It can only be received as a precious gift by believing on Him. This gift of salvation allows us to be clothed with white raiment, which is the robe of righteousness, taking away the shame of our nakedness. Then our eyes are anointed with the slave of the Holy Spirit, enabling us to see spiritual things. 

vs. 19  Jesus assures this church His rebuke and chastening is because He loves them, and desires they repent. Jesus proved His love for sinners by dying on the cross, atoning for our sin, that we might be saved.

vs. 20  Jesus invites all who will hear His voice to open the door of their hearts, so He can come in and fellowship with them. Jesus doesn’t force Himself on anyone, but all have the opportunity to let Jesus enter their lives and dwell in them.

vs. 21  The promise to the overcomers of this church is the privilege of sitting on the throne with Jesus, even as He overcame that which was before Hime when He was on the earth and is now seated with His Father on His throne.

A part of the promise to the overcomers in Philadelphia church was they would have the name of New Jerusalem written upon them. According to Revelation 21:9-10, the bride, the Lamb’s wife, is seen as the New Jerusalem. Realize the city will be made up of more believers than just the ones known as the Lamb’s wife. She receives the name of the city to give her honor and recognition. Romans 8:16-17 states all children of God are heirs of God, but those willing to suffer with Him will be joint-heirs of Christ. These joint-heirs will be seated on His throne with Him, and make up the bride, the Lamb’s wife.

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By faith, our hearts can reach out and lay hold of this hope set before us! What awesome reality that this highest reward of exaltation with Christ is offered to the overcomers of this Laodicean church, which has not even seen their need of salvation! This demonstrates how salvation is offered to the entire world, and this place of reigning with Christ is offered to all who have received Him as Savior. However, just as everyone in the world will not accept God’s gift, neither will all believers accept the offer to be seated on His throne as His bride, reigning jointly with Him.

Why? Because the price of reigning with Christ is suffering. (2 Timothy 2:12)

In the parable of the sower (Matthew 13:18-23), Jesus speaks of how the seed which fell on good ground yielded fruit, some hundredfold, some sixty, and some thirty. The believers who bear hundredfold are the ones who will have that place of reigning with Him on His throne. Other believers will have their place in heaven as servants or guests. However, Jesus died for the church for a specific purpose.

“That He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, that He might present it to Himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing,; but that it should be holy and without blemish. This is the great mystery; but I speak concerning Christ and the church.” Ephesians 5:26-27, 32

What a wonderful hope set before us! This is the prize of the high calling of God Paul mentions in Philippians 3:8-14. See also 1 Corinthians 9:24.

Revelation: Chapter Two

The Church of Ephesus: (A.D. 30-100)

“He that holds the seven stars in His right hand, who walks in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks;”  Revelation 2:1

This is how Jesus addresses Himself to the church of Ephesus. It is awesome to think of Jesus holding His messengers in His right hand as He walks among the churches. As we noted before, these lamp stands represent the universal church. The stars, or messengers, represent pastors of the individual churches around the world. It shows the importance of pastors allowing Jesus to guide them. Not to say that Jesus does not speak to others also, but He usually speaks through the pastors. It is a serious thing to stand against a true pastor who seeks the Lord’s guidance, else we find ourselves standing against the Lord Himself!

As Jesus walks in the midst of the church, He sees and knows every problem, every need, and every victory taken. And acts accordingly.

“For where two or three are gathered together in My name, there am I in the midst of them.” Matthew 18:20

Jesus uses this description as He tells not only the Ephesus church but each of the 7 churches, “I know thy works.” Nothing is hidden from Him, therefore His judgments are just.

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Temple of Diana in Ephesus

vs. 2-4  Ephesus was a church with many good works. They labored much for the Lord, unto weariness and pain. They were constant in patience and cheerful endurance, unwilling to give up. They gave no place to evil in their midst or to false apostles. Nevertheless…all of these good works stemmed from a natural effort, which is of no value to Christ – because they had left their first love.They put their service for Christ ahead of their love for Him (See 1 Corinthians 13:1-3).

When we become more occupied with good works than with spending quality time in fellowship with Jesus, we risk leaving our first (chief) love, and He is not pleased.

“Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works;” Revelation 2:5

vs. 5  Remember. Repent. And renew fellowship with Jesus. Do the “first works,” that is, those works which stem from loving Jesus supremely. The warning to the church, if they would not repent, was Jesus would remove their lampstand out of its place. Thus they would no longer be a light for the Lord. This is true today of either an individual assembly or believer. 

vs. 6  This church hated the deeds of the Nicolaitanes, which Jesus also hated. “Nicolaitanes” comes from the word Nikao, meaning “to conquer or overthrow,” and Laos, which means “the people of laity.” It is not clearly understood just what group or sect is meant by the Nicolaitanes; however, from the word’s meaning, it may refer to the order of clergy asserting wrongful authority over the lay people. Also, some believe the Nicolaitanes were a sect which taught that what you do in your body does not affect your spirit, giving license to sin (for more, check got questions? ). 

vs. 7  Whatever is meant here, the church of Ephesus was in agreement with Jesus on this false doctrine, and He commends them. He then promises the overcomers they will be able to eat of the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God. In other words, they will have eternal life and enjoy the blessings of heaven.

The Church of Smyrna: (A.D. 100-312)

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Spectators watch while Christians are killed by lions.

vs. 8  The word Smyrna means “myrrh.” Myrrh is a bitter herb which when crushed, emit a fragrance. This expresses the terrible persecution brought upon the believers during the 2nd – 3rd century. Hundreds of thousands of Christians were martyred during this time by crucifixion, thrown to lions, burned at the stake, and many other ways. How appropriate Jesus addresses this church as being the One Who is “the first and the last, which was dead and is alive,” giving them blessed assurance that He is eternal. Because He lives, they will live forever with Him.

vs. 9  Their works consisted of tribulation and poverty – not what we might consider good works. Yet Jesus’ assessment of them is they are rich! Our riches are never determined by how much or little we have in material possessions. The apostle Paul described himself as,

“having nothing and yet possessing all things.” 2 Corinthians 6:10

Jesus also assures the church He knew what they endured from the blasphemy of those who claimed to be believers, but were really of Satan (see Romans 2:28-29). Any church which does not preach the true gospel of Jesus Christ is a synagogue of Satan – he uses these false teachings to deceive many, leading them astray.

vs. 10  Do not fear these things you’ll suffer. This seems a strange admonition to not fear suffering or death. It would be impossible for the natural man – but for those whose trust is in God, it is not only possible, but suffering becomes a pathway to learning the grace and strength of the Lord. Paul even prayed, “That I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformable to His death.” Philippians 3:10.

It’s unclear what is meant by tribulation for ten days. Some scholars think from Emperor Nero to 312 A.D., there were ten distinct edicts demanding governors to seek out Christians and put them to death. The 10th and last persecutor was Diocletian. This could very well be what “ten days” referred to. (See John Gill’s Exposition for more).

 A crown of life is promised to the faithful. This reminds us of James 1:12 

“Blessed is the man that endureth temptation; for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.”

See also Romans 8:17-18. Those willing to suffer with the Lord in this life, will reign as joint-heirs with Him in heaven.

vs. 11  The second death mentioned here refers to the lake of fire (Revelation 20:14)

The Church of Pergamon: (A.D. 312-606)

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City of Pergamum, now modern Turkey

vs. 12  Jesus addresses this church as “He which has the sharp sword with two edges.” This immediately speaks of a need for judgement.

vs. 13  Pergamos was the center of idol worship. The city’s influence and and commercial import rivaled that of Athens. People from all over came to worship in the temples, one of which was the temple of Zeus, often referred to as “Satan’s throne.” The word throne implies the master’s seat, or where the lord of the domain resides and rules. In other words, Satan felt at home in this place! The temple’s remains now reside in Berlin, Germany.

According to tradition, it was in the temple of Zeus where the believer, Antipas, was roasted to death inside a bronze bull, during the reign of Roman Emperor Domitian (A.D. 81-96). Jesus commends the church in Pergamon for holding fast to His name, not denying the faith even in the face of Antipas’ horrible death.

vs. 14  But Jesus had a few things against them – they held fast to the doctrine Balaam and of the Nicolaitanes. In Numbers 22-25, Balaam prophesied for gain of the world’s good, a mentality very prominent today! (See Numbers 31:16, 2 Peter 2:15, & Jude 11). He taught compromise with the world’s ways. The King of Moab, Balak, attempted to bribe Balaam in cursing Israel so they would be defeated. God prevented Balaam from doing this (using a very unusual messenger), so Balaam advised the king to entice Israel to disobey God…thus bring God’s judgment upon them. The wiles of Satan has brought defeat to many all through the year. How important for us to know God’s Word and obey Him only!

vs. 15  The church of Ephesus hated the deeds of the Nicolaitanes, but with some in the church of Pergamon, those deeds became a doctrine they gave place to. Remember the Nicolaitanes had to do with clergy exerting undue authority over the laypeople. It seems these people took the analogy of Jesus’ holding the stars in His hand too far – they gave too much prominence to the leaders of the churches. This extreme practice can be seen in teaching the infallibility of the Pope. Jesus states He hated the deeds of the Nicolaitanes and their doctrine. Should we not agree with our Lord in this?

vs. 16  A solemn warning is given this church to repent, or face judgement by the sharp sword of Jesus’ mouth.

vs. 17  The reward promised to the overcomes of this church is two-fold:

  1. To eat the hidden manna. Manna was the food God gave Israel during their forty year period of wandering in the wilderness. Jesus mentioned this in John 6:32-58, teaching His disciples He is the Bread of life. This may be the “hidden” manna in our text, because the natural man does not understand how to partake of Christ as Bread of life.
  2. A white stone in which a new name is written. It’s been said in ancient times, a person tried in court was handed a black stone, if found guilty. If found innocent, he was handed a white stone. It’s possible this is what Jesus refers to. We know that white symbolizes righteousness, and Jesus is spoken of as the chief corner-stone (1 Peter 2:4-8). The main thought here is to receive more of Jesus. A new name in the stone displays ownership – we belong to Christ.

The Church of Thyatira: (A.D. 606-Tribulation)

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Ruins of Thyatira

This church represents the universal church as it was during the dark ages. It was during this time the Islamic religion became strong, as well as Catholicism.

vs. 18  Jesus addresses this church as the Son of God, in contrast to the worship of man or idols. His eyes like a flame represents ability to pierce into the innermost being of all people; His feet like fine brass shows walking in judgement. This description suggests Jesus knew all about this church – their good works and bad. 

vs. 19-20  He mentions their good works – love, service, faith, patience, and works. Yet He then tells them even though they have these, He is not pleased with what they were permitting, namely, the same sins which were prominent during Jezebel’s time.

We read about Jezebel in 1 Kings 16:29-32, 21:1-25. She was a prophetess who promoted idolatry, fornication, and total immorality under the guise of religion. Idolatry and fornication has been prominent throughout history, and often mentioned in scripture as things which to flee from.

vs. 21-23  God will always give mankind time to repent, but if we refuse, His judgment will fall. It is believed the judgements mentioned in these verses take us to the 7 years of tribulation when the false church will be judged. See Jeremiah 17:9-10.

vs. 24-25  There were a few in this church who were not in agreement with the false doctrine, or the false practices so prevalent in their midst. The Lord gives them an encouragement to hold fast to what they had until He comes.

vs. 26-27  The promise to the overcomes is a place of rulership over nations, ruling with a rod of iron. This is said of Jesus in Revelation 19:15, so the overcomes of Thyatira will be part of the true church who will rule under the leadership of Jesus.

vs. 28  Jesus also promises them the Morning Star. The idea of a “bright morning star” is a star that outshines all the others, and Jesus is the One who is called “bright.” Perhaps this promise implies being a light to the whole world, as Jesus is (See John 9:5, & Revelation 22:16). The morning star also represents hope, as the star heralds the sun rising in the east. From the shadows of night, hope rises with the dawn.

Revelation: Chapter One

Many people shy from studying the book of Revelation, thinking it’s way too hard to understand, or that whatever the future holds, we don’t need to concern ourselves with learning about it. Perhaps the propelling of these thoughts is Satan himself, because we read in 1:3: 

Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein:”

Read. Hear. Keep. These verbs are present tense, implying the thought of continuing to read, hear, and keep. This blessing is the 1st of 7 promised in this book (see 1:3, 14:13, 16:15, 19:9, 20:6, 22:7 & 14). You’ll notice the number 7 often in studying Revelation. It’s the number of perfection, or completion. 

This book contains the revelation of Jesus Christ. Revelation in Greek means “unveiling” or “uncovering.” Much like an artist who spends time painting a beautiful portrait and then finally unveils it for all to see, so too Revelation is an unveiling of God’s masterpiece – His dear Son for all to behold His glory and beauty. Revelation conveys the thought of spiritual illumination, not intellectual finding. It is the only book portraying Jesus as the risen, victorious, glorified Christ! (In contrast, the Gospel’s portray Jesus mainly as the suffering Man of sorrows).

vs. 1  This revelation was given to Jesus by God, His Father. Jesus then made it known to the Apostle John by His angel. For what purpose?

“To show His servants things which must shortly come to pass.” 1:1

The phrase, “must shortly come to pass,” could also be read, “What must speedily happen,” referring to the fact that once these things begin, they will happen very quickly. Note that God wants to show His servants. This includes all believers willing to devote themselves to a study of His Word.

vs. 2-3 The word “servant” means “a willing bond slave.” John, a willing bond slave, duly recorded what he heard and saw. When he instructed the believers to read and keep this testimony, he explains with the statement “the time is at hand.” Revelation begins and ends with this (note 22:10). This is in direct contrast to God’s instruction to Daniel to

“shut up the words and seal the book even to the time of the end.” – Daniel 12:4,9

Daniel received visions and revelations many years before the coming of Jesus – John’s revelation was given after Jesus’ death and resurrection. Since that time, God desires His people to understand what is going to happen prior to, and following, the glorious appearing of Jesus Christ.

vs. 4  John addresses the words of this prophecy to the seven churches in Asia. Now there were several churches, much more than seven, established during the time John wrote this book. So…why these churches? They were divinely chosen by God to receive these letters because He knew they were a perfect representation of the whole church of God, from the time of Jesus’ resurrection until His return for the rapture. Don’t forget – 7 is the number of completion.

If you are a believer today, then you are a part of the church, or body, of Christ. Therefore, these letters are addressed to you as well. So it’s kinda important you understand what Jesus is saying in the letters, His last words written to His people. They are the only words spoken directly by Him to the church.

John’s salutation is “grace and peace.” It is only because of the might grace of God, His bestowing upon us unmerited blessing and favor, that we not only have peace with God, but the peace of God fills our hearts in every circumstance of life. These blessings are from the 3 persons of the God-head: the eternal God (described as the One which is, which was, and which is to come); the Holy Spirit (represented by the 7 spirits before His throne); and Jesus Christ.

To better understand these analogies, we refer to the Old Testament. In Ezra 7:14, and Esther 1:14, we learn ancient kings often kept 7 counselors near them to give advice, wisdom, and do their bidding. This is a picture of the office of the Holy Spirit, which can be seen in Isaiah 11:2

vs. 5-6  The description of Jesus is as the “faithful witness” (prophet), “first begotten of the dead” (priest), and “prince of the kings of the earth” (king). Note Psalms 89:27. The word “loved” is in present tense – His love is always present, and the proof of that love is He washed our sins in His own blood. “Washed” means to cleanse and purify. As often said, our salvation is free, but not cheap! Jesus shed His blood that we might be made a kingdom of priests unto God and His Father. One day, we will reign as kings with Him, but right now, we are to enter into a priestly ministry by serving Him and interceding in prayer for others. No wonder John exclaimed,

“To Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.” 1:6

vs. 7  This verse moves forward to Jesus’ appearing when the entire world will behold Him and acknowledge He is truly the Son of God. This coming was prophesied in Psalms 86:9, Zechariah 12:10, Matthew 24:27, Philippians 2:10-11, and Revelation 19:11-16. 

http://www.pre-trib.org/articles/view/king-ans-i-historical-settingof-revelation-19and-apostle-john-on-patmos

vs. 8  Jesus Himself declares He is the All-inclusive One- alpha and omega being the 1st and last letters of the Greek alphabet. Every book ever written, every word of instruction, comfort, knowledge, direction, or information is given by utilizing only a few letters of the alphabet. Even so, in Jesus dwells all fullness of God, and we are complete in Him. He is all we need! He is also the Eternal One-

“which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty (Omnipotent).” 1:8

vs. 9  When John received this revelation, he was around his nineties. No doubt he was the oldest living disciple of the original twelve disciples of Jesus, yet he doesn’t hold himself up as greater than his fellow believers. Instead, he addressed himself as their brother and companion in tribulation. This refers to the suffering John endured and continued to endure for the testimony of Jesus. Patmos was a small island in the Mediterranean Sea, approx. 10 by 6 miles. It consisted of mainly rocky volcanic hills. History indicates John was exiled to this barren place and forced to work in the mines. (For more historical information, check Pre-Trib Research Center.)

vs. 10  It was during this time of hard toil and suffering John was given this revelation of Jesus. He was transported in spirit to the Lord’s Day. This does not refer to Sunday, when Christians today meet to worship the Lord, or the Sabbath. Instead, it refers to the “Day of the Lord,” which is mentioned both in Old and New Testament as being the 7 years’ tribulation, including the 1,000 years reign of peace.

vs. 11. John hears a voice behind him saying,

“I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last:”  1:11

The words in red is Jesus Himself speaking. He is giving John instruction to write what he saw in a book and send it to the 7 churches in Asia, which He names. The Lord is specific and complete in all He does.

vs. 12  While John was in spirit on this day, he heard a voice behind him. It is significant John did not see the lamp stands until he turned to look behind him. Remember, the Lord’s Day will begin at the end of the dispensation of grace, which we live in now. This grace age, sometimes called the church age, began at Jesus’ resurrection and will last until the beginning of Tribulation. Why all the fuss over this? Because the vision of the 7 candlesticks has to do with events of this grace age. Us today.

The 7 lamp stands represent the 7 churches (see vs. 20). These, in turn, represent the whole church, or body of Christ. Notice these are lamp stands – that which holds light, but is not the light itself. Jesus is the Light, and each individual church or assembly is responsible to shine forth the light of Jesus to all. Also, each lamp stand is separate from the other – each is to hear from the Lord as He speaks directly to them.

vs. 13  In the midst of the churches is Jesus. Our first description of Him is “One like unto the Son of man.” This reminds us of His becoming a man that He could give Himself as sacrifice for our sins. In John 5:27, we read God has given Jesus authority to execute judgement because He is the Son of man. Because He took our judgement upon Himself, He now has authority to execute judgement – in this manner we see Him in the midst of the church. Clothed with a garment down to the foot was typical clothing of the high priests as they ministered to God. Jesus is our High Priest, and as such, always in our midst. Remember He is seen here as the resurrected Christ. The golden girdle about His breast speaks of His divine authority.

vs. 14  His head and hair, white as snow, show wisdom, glory, and purity (see Proverbs 16:31). His eyes as a flame show His ability to pierce into the hearts of men, thus judge righteously. 

“The eyes of the Lord are in every place, beholding the evil and the good.” Proverbs 15:3

vs. 15  Brass in scripture represents judgment, as seen by the brazen altar. Jesus’ feet like brass shows that He stands in the righteous judgment of God. When you read of His voice like the sound of many waters, think of the mighty roar of Niagara Falls. The majestic, awesome power of the voice that stilled a stormy sea, and raised Lazarus from the dead, is the same gentle voice whispering to our hearts, changing the course of our lives, directing us in His will. This is who Jesus is.

vs. 16  Jesus told John the 7 stars in His right hand are the angels of the 7 churches. Angel means “messenger.” This same word is used in scripture of  both heavenly and human beings. Some have understood these in reference to be heavenly beings the Lord has put over each of His churches to guide and help. However, John is giving these letters to the angels of the churches, and nowhere in scripture do we read God giving a human a message for a heavenly being. Also, we don’t read in scripture God placing certain heavenly angels over individual churches. Further, there seems to be no distinction in the message given between the angel and the church itself – what is said to the church is for the angel to heed also.

Therefore, these letters must be addressed to the leaders, or pastors, of the church. This shows how important it is for pastors to hear from God, as well their responsibility to relate God’s Word to the church. Jesus holds and guides these messengers, which shows the congregation’s responsibility to receive the Word which a true shepherd brings them from the Lord.

vs. 17  On the Mount of Transfiguration, John saw Jesus’ face shining as the sun, along with Peter and James. Once again John sees Jesus’ countenance as the sun, shining in his strength. The whole world around us can be in total darkness, when suddenly, the sun breaks forth in glorious beauty and power as it rises over the horizon, illuminating the entire sky – and the darkness is gone! This is our Lord. No surprise when John saw Him, he fell at His feet as dead. But Jesus touched him saying, “Fear not.”

vs. 18  Once more Jesus proclaims Himself as the first and the last, the all-inclusive One. So there would be no question Who He was, He told John He was the One Who lived as a man, died, and now alive forevermore. He also now holds the keys of hell and death – He has authority over man’s death and over his life thereafter.

vs. 19  This gives the divine outline of the book of Revelation. “The things which thou hast seen,” speaks of what John saw in chapter 1. “The things which are,” speaks of chapter 2-3, which occurs during the church age. “The things which shall be,” is given in chapter 4-22.

vs. 20  The 7 stars and 7 lamps are called a mystery, showing they are not to be understood as literal stars and lamps, but a representation of other things. Jesus proceeds with the explanation in the following chapters.