“The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to show unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John: 2 Who bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw. 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.”
Revelation Chapter 1
The testimony of Christ, a testimony of the most solemn character, is to be borne to the world. All through the book of Revelation there are the most precious, elevating promises, and there are also warnings of the most fearfully solemn import. Will not those who profess to have a knowledge of the truth read the testimony given to John by Christ? Here is no guesswork, no scientific deception. Here are the truths that concern our present and future welfare. Testimonies for the Church Vol 8, pg 302.
Revelation 1:1-3 “The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to show unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John: 2 Who bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw. 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.”
The Revelation - The word Revelation comes from the Greek name of Apokalypsis or Apocalypse which means a disclosure, a revelation or manifestation. So already we find that what is contained in this book is not a secret or hidden thing, for “the secret things belong unto God, but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children.” Deuteronomy 29:29. We can possess the understanding of this book.
Of Jesus Christ - This revelation is the revealing of Jesus Christ, but not only so it belongs to Him as well. So we should expect to see Christ revealed in this book.
God gave unto him - The message originally came from God the Father. But since the introduction of sin, all communication between heaven and earth has been through Christ as He is the only mediator between God and man. (1 Timothy 2:5) This is not unusual as we are told in Hebrews 1:1-2 that God spoke to the fathers by the prophets, but in these last days He has spoken to us by His Son. (this being Jesus Christ)
To show unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass - The events that are outlined in the book of Revelation were in the future at the time that they were given. Even though they were future events, they were soon to come to pass, that is the fulfilment of them was to begin shortly.
Who are these servants? They are the ones that receive this message from heaven. While ever any portion of this message remains to be fulfilled, then God's servants are to be interested in it as it is for them, in all times and all places until it all is finished.
A servant is one who faithfully serves his master. Thus these, being the servants of God, must be serving God faithfully by continually yielding their will over to His will, and by doing all that He bids them. They are obedient to him. (Romans 6:16, 20-22)
Signified - To indicate, or attest by a sign, to announce, to reveal, to make known, to explain. That is in signs and symbols.
Angel - Gabriel is the angel of prophecy as was seen in the book of Daniel. (See Daniel 8:16, 9:21-22, 10:11, 21)
Process of Revelation John has just revealed to us how the message came to him. We can see that the message comes from God, Who then gives it to Jesus, and from here it is put in signs and symbols before giving it to Gabriel who gives it to the servants of God. Thus the message is received by humanity. This is seen also in the book of Daniel where Christ was nearby but the angel actually spoke to Daniel himself.
2. Who bare record - It is John that is to bare record of the following three things, the word of God, the testimony of Jesus, and of all things that he saw. The last of them being proof that John is recording everything for our benefit as it came to him, no changes or alterations, but faithfully presenting it without any variations. We will see this emphasized in later verses.
Of the word of God - The word of God is none other than Jesus Christ, the creator of all things, Who was manifest in human flesh and dwelt amongst us. (John 1:1-3, 14) It is He that John bares record of, as he has seen Him and bear witness of Him, have handled with his own hands, and have heard. (1 John 1:1-3)
Testimony - Evidence, demonstration, oral or written statement under oath or affirmation. (Oxford Dictionary)
Of Jesus Christ - Thus this is a message from Jesus not from John. The testimony of Jesus Christ is the spirit of prophecy, (Revelation 19:10) the word of God that is revealed through a prophet. (1 Peter 1:21) John is bearing record of the gift of prophecy as it is revealed through Jesus Christ. He saw the testimony of the Old Testament prophets, concerning Jesus Christ, fulfilled in Him and heard the words of life as they came from the Father through Jesus, as Jesus only spoke the words of the Father. (John 12:49-50) Jesus is the greatest prophet and John can easily bare record of and to this fact.
All things that he saw - Words denoting visual communication and perception occur 73 times in the Revelation, and words denoting audio communication and perception 38 times. The revelation is a factual, eye and ear witness report of what John saw and heard while in vision.
3. Blessed is he that readeth, heareth, and keepeth - A blessing is pronounced upon those that read this book, those that hear the words of this prophecy, and those that follow its teachings. We are told in James 1:22-25 that we are not to be a forgetful hearer, but to be a doer of the word, and if we do a blessing will be imparted. If we are a doer of the word we will abide for ever. (1 John 2:17)
For the time is at hand - The time for the fulfilment of these messages is at hand. Knowing this, “it is time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light.” Romans 13:11-12.
Revelation 1:4-6 “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; 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, 6 And has made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.”
John to the seven churches - While these seven Churches existed in Asia in the days of John, we will also see they are used symbolically within this book, and represents the time period of the Christian Church until the return of Christ. Thus there are three applications that can be made. The first is the literal letter to the literal Church, the second is the application showing the time period of the Christian Church until the return of Christ, and lastly certain aspects we find in these messages apply to the condition of our own Christian experience. This will become clearer as we go through the messages, as we will be mainly looking at the symbolic and personal aspects.
The number seven in the Bible indicates completeness (e.g. The days of creation/week), thus we are looking at God's complete Church from the time of the Apostles till the end of time. Another example is that the Son of man was standing in the midst of the seven candlesticks/Churches v13, 20. If taken literally, Christ is only amidst seven of His Churches and leaves the rest to fend for themselves, as there were more than just seven in this area, Colosse, Troas, and Miletus were some. A more appropriate way of looking at it is that Christ is in the midst of His Church all through its history until the end of time. Thus showing the symbolic aspect.
Also most of the events brought to view in the book of Revelation happened far beyond the lifetime of these Churches, thus showing that you can not contain this to just them alone. There are more reasons to show why they are symbolic of the Church through the ages until the end of time, as we will see in v11.
Asia - That is the Roman Province of Asia which is in the region today referred to as Asia Minor, in the present day the republic of Turkey.
Grace and Peace - These two words appear commonly in the salutations of the early Christian epistles, and together apparently constituted a characteristic form of greeting in the Apostolic Church. (See Galatians 1:3, Ephesians 1:2, Philippians 1:2, Colossians 1:2 etc) These salutations are always from the Father and Son. And so we find it is as follows, “Grace be unto you, and peace, from him which is, and which was, and which is to come [Father]; … 5 and from Jesus Christ [Son],”
From Him which is, was and is to come - Thus we find this particular phrase has to refer to the Father. The expression “which is,” “which was,” “which is to come” indicates that the last clause (which is to come) is a substitute for the future tense of the verb and is the same as saying “which will be” which would have been less misunderstood. Because Some have understandably assumed that this clause refers to the second coming of Christ. But it does not fit the context or the meaning of this phrase. This reference to the Father refers to His eternal nature and is saying that the same One who now continually exists has always existed and will always exist. The Twentieth Century New Testament says, “from him who is, and who was, and who shall be,”
Seven Spirits of God - In other places these seven spirits are referred to as seven lamps of fire (Revelation 4:5) and seven eyes of the Lamb. (Revelation 5:6) Throughout Scripture the number seven when used symbolically is generally understood to indicate completeness and perfection.
There are also seven candlesticks (Revelation 1:12), seven stars (Revelation 1:16), seven lamps of fire (Revelation 4:5), a book with seven seals (Revelation 5:1), the seven horns and seven eyes of the Lamb (Revelation 5:6), seven angels with seven trumpets (Revelation 8:2), seven thunders (Revelation 10:4), a dragon with seven heads and seven crowns (Revelation 12:3), a beast with seven heads (Revelation 13:1), seven angels having seven vials containing the seven last plagues (Revelation 15:1, 7), and the beast with seven heads, which are also said to be seven mountains and seven kings (Revelation 17:3, 9, 10). This repeated use of the number seven with so many different symbols implies that it is to be understood in a symbolic sense.
The association here of the “seven Spirits” with the Father and with Christ implies that they represent the Holy Spirit. The designation seven is probably a symbolic expression of His perfection, and may also imply the variety of the gifts by which He works through man.
In Isaiah 11:1-2 we find seven attributes of the spirit listed, as shown below;
Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him.
Spirit of wisdom.
Spirit of counsel.
Spirit of knowledge.
And of the fear of the LORD.
Which are before His throne - That is before the throne of “him who was, and is and is to come” in readiness for service for the Church on earth.
5. Faithful Witness - Jesus is here called the Faithful Witness. Whatever He bears witness to is true as He was to bear witness to the truth, (John 18:37) and whatever He promises He will surely fulfil.
First begotten of the dead - Jesus is also called the first begotten of the dead. God calleth those things which be not as though they were, (Romans 4:17) thus Christ was the Lamb slain from/before the foundation of the earth. (Revelation 13:8) It was by virtue of this fact that Moses and others could be raised from the dead before Christ had even died.
Also to, Christ might have the pre-eminence. (Colossians 1:18) This means to be chief in order or importance, and rank or influence. Thus we have today the first lady of America, that is, chief or first in importance. So it is with Christ, chief in importance, rank and influence.
Prince of the kings of the earth - This world is Christ's legitimate domain as he won it back through his death after Adam had lost it through sin. He is the rightful ruler of mankind. He is “far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come.” Ephesians 1:20-21. See also Revelation 19:16 and John 12:31-32.
Unto Him that loved us - The cross demonstrates the love that God has for us, as it is written, “greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends” John 15:13. Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. (1 John 3:16)
This also can be translated as present tense, that is “that loves us” revealing that although he demonstrated his love for us at Calvary, that love is eternal and ever present just as He is Himself. We are counselled to have the same self sacrificing love that drove Christ to the cross manifest in our own lives. (Ephesians 5:1-2)
And washed us from our sins in his own blood - If something needs to be washed it must be dirty. This is true about our lives, they are dirty with sin. But we are redeemed by the precious blood of Christ, (1 Peter 1:18-19) and it is this blood that was shed for the remission that is pardon or forgiveness, of sins. (Matthew 26:28) It is Jesus' blood that cleanses/washes us from all sin. (1 John 1:7)
6. Made us kings and priests unto God - Ancient Israel were to be a kingdom of priests, and a holy nation, (Exodus 19:6) to teach the other nations around them the truth and to offer up sacrifices. They failed miserably and were rejected as God's chosen nation. (Matthew 21:43)
Peter picks up the verse in Exodus and applies it to the Christian Church or spiritual Israel, (1 Peter 2:9) thus those that have surrendered all to Christ and are washed in His blood become kings and priests. If we overcome Christ will grant us to sit upon His throne and rule with Him throughout the ceaseless ages of eternity. (Revelation 3:21, Romans 8:14-17)
We to are to offer up sacrifices, but they are spiritual sacrifices, (1 Peter 2:5) these being anything from prayer, thanksgiving and the most important the sacrifice of self. (Romans 12:1-2) Because every Christian is a priest, he may approach God on his own behalf, without the mediation of another human being, and on behalf of others. For Christ is the only mediator between God and man, and thus these sacrifices are acceptable to God by/through Jesus Christ our great high priest.
Also then, as priests, we are to “go ye therefore and teach all nations” Matthew 28:19, sharing with them the truths of God's word.
To him be glory and dominion for ever and ever - The Him is a reference to Christ. So to Christ be glory and dominion for ever. (Jude 25)
Revelation 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.”
Behold he cometh with clouds - Clearly a description of Christ coming in the clouds of glory the second time. (Luke 21:27, Matthew 24:30) The clouds are a reference to Christ's form of transport as seen in Daniel 7:13. Christ's form of transport is none other than the angels, (Psalms 18:10, 68:17) thus the angels are represented by the clouds. This fits with His second coming as He comes with all His angels. (Matthew 25:31) In the distance they look like a cloud because of their glory.
Every eye shall see him - When Christ returns it will not be a secret event, but every eye shall see Him coming. “For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.” Matthew 24:27 Also Christ is to come in the same manner as He left, visible to the eye. (Acts 1:9-11) Also 2 Peter 3:10-12 and Psalms 50:3.
They also which pierced him - Those who were part of the murder of Christ will be raised to witness his return. Zechariah says “they shall look upon me whom they have pierced” Zechariah 12:10. Those who condemned Him will also see Him come. (Matthew 26:64)
All kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him - Those who during their lives did not seek the Lord, who did not prepare to meet Jesus at His return, will wail when they realize that they have consumed their opportunity upon the things of this life, and worse than wasted their time. The things which were so important to them only moments before become the object of their hatred as they realize that they are lost. They wail because they are lost and they know that it was their own choosing. Christ has freely offered salvation but they have rejected it. (Isaiah 2:19-21; 33:14)
Revelation 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.”
Alpha and Omega - The first and last letters of the Greek Alphabet. Verses 17 and 18 reveal that the “first and the last” (Alpha and Omega) is Christ. “I am the first and the last: I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore.”
First and the last - This phrase has the same meaning as Alpha and Omega and beginning and the end as found in Revelation 22:13. Christ created this world and brought about its beginning, and He will be there in its end at His second coming and will bring about its destruction. Thus Christ is the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last as stated in Revelation 22:13.
Which is, was and is to come - Previous we have seen that this applies to the Father and His eternal immortal aspect.
The Almighty - The Father. He is the Almighty, the creator of the universe. This title which means “ruler of all, God as absolute and universal sovereign, Omnipotent” stresses the omnipotence of God.
Thus we find the phrase “I am Alpha and Omega” at the beginning of verse 8 refers to Christ, but the remainder of the verse refers to the Father entirely.
This confuses many as there appears to be a contradiction of Scripture. Verse 8 can be read one of two ways and most are inclined to read it incorrectly. This is why people either apply the entire verse to the Lord God almighty or they apply it entirely to Christ. But when you read it with the correct understanding there is no contradiction. Revelation 1:8 is just one of those verses that lost its clear meaning when it was translated from Greek to English.
If I paraphrase this verse, you can see how it is supposed to be read and understood. Note that Jesus is speaking the entire verse and is saying, “I am the Alpha and Omega,” and my Father who is the Lord God, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty declares this. With this correct understanding you should now be able read this verse without any apparent contradiction.
Revelation 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.”
I John your brother and companion in tribulation - John is now revealing the place and circumstances of this revelation. He associates himself with the universal brotherhood of the Church and also reminds them that he shares in the tribulation that each of them faces because of their faith in Jesus Christ. We must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of heaven, (Acts 14:22) and if we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us. (2 Timothy 2:12)
In the kingdom... of Jesus Christ - We are counselled to come before the throne of grace Hebrews 4:16. If you have a throne you have a kingdom, thus it would be the kingdom of grace. John recognized that each person who had committed their soul to Jesus Christ was a part of the kingdom of grace which was established by the gift of Jesus on Calvary. However, this also looked forward to the coming of the kingdom of glory at the Second Coming when the eternal kingdom would be made up. (Matthew 25:30-31)
And Patience - John reminded the believers that tribulation and temptation bring patience and hope in the Christian experience. (James 1:2-4, Romans 5:3)
Was in the island of Patmos - A small island in the Aegean Sea about 50 miles southwest of Ephesus. It measures about 10 miles north to south and about 6 miles from east to west at its widest point. This is a rocky and barren island, supposed by contemporaries of John to be a penal colony. (Pliny's Natural History written about AD 77)
For the word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ - Thus we see that John's only “crime” had been his faithfulness to the scriptures and the testimony of Jesus Christ himself. Domitian the Roman Emperor had exiled John to Patmos after failing to remove him by boiling him in oil, thinking that he had disposed of the preacher of righteousness. People today remember the name of John, but how many remember the name of the emperor who banished him to Patmos? This gives a good fulfilment of Proverbs 10:7.
Jesus reminded His disciples, when upon earth, that the servant is not greater than his lord, and if they persecuted Him they will also persecute them. (John 15:20-21) All that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. (2 Timothy 3:12)
Parallels between Chapter 1 and Chapter 4
|1:10 - John was in the Spirit.||4:2 - John was in the Spirit.|
|1:10 - Heard a great voice as of a trumpet.||4:1 - The first voice as of a trumpet.|
|1:12 - Seven golden candlesticks.||4:5 - Seven lamps of fire.|
|1:4 - From the seven Spirits which are before His throne.||4:5 - Before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God.|
|1:6 - Hath made us kings and priests unto God.||4:4; 5:9-10 - Hast made us to our God, kings and priests.|
|1:12-17 - Description of Christ.||4:2-3 - Description of Christ.|
|1:19 - Write the things which...shall be hereafter.||4:1 - I will show thee things which must be hereafter.|
|1:20 - An introduction to the seven churches.||5:1-5 - An introduction to the seven seals.|
When looking at these parallels, it is easily seen that chapter one like chapter four is an introduction. With chapter one we have the introduction to the vision and prophecy of the seven churches, also a description of Christ. Chapter four we have the introduction to the vision and prophecy of the seven seals, also with a description of Christ. So on this basis we must conclude that chapter one is an introduction to the seven Churches and chapter four is an introduction to a new vision dealing with the seven seals.
Revelation 1:10-11 “I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet, 11 Saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: and, What you 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.”
In the Spirit - That is in vision, dislocated from earthly things aware only of what the Lord was giving him at that time.
The Lord's Day - John was in vision upon the Lord's Day. But which day is the Lord's Day? The Lord's day according to Christ, in the New Testament, is the Sabbath, for He states that He is Lord of that day. (Mark 2:27-28, Matthew 12:8)
Unlike any other day in history, God rested from all His work upon the seventh day, blessed it, and sanctified it. (Genesis 2:2-3) Also He asked the Jews to remember it in His commandments. (Exodus 20:8-11) In the time of Isaiah the Sabbath was called, by God, my holy day. (Isaiah 58:13-14)
Voice as a trumpet - The description of the voice of God often associated with the communicating or speaking of God to man. See 1 Thessalonians 4:16 and Revelation 4:1.
11. Alpha and Omega, first and the last - This is a reference to Christ who is the beginning of all things and the end of all things. (see verses 4-8)
What thou seest write in a book - John was encouraged to write down the visions in order that others might read them also. Thus this message in the Revelation is not John's ideas or opinions but the words of God as shown to him in vision.
The Seven churches - The sequence here given is the way a messenger from Patmos would take a message to the seven cities in geographical order. However, the context reveals that the seven Churches are the first in a long series of sevens found throughout the book of Revelation. This includes the Seven lamps of fire (4:5) seven Spirits (v4) seven candlesticks (v12) seven stars (v16) a book with seven seals (5:1) seven horns and seven eyes of the Lamb (5:6) seven angels with seven trumpets (8:2) seven thunders (10:4) a dragon with seven heads and seven crowns (12:3) a beast with seven heads (13:1) seven angels having seven vials containing the seven last plagues (15:1, 7) a beast with seven heads, which are stated to be seven mountains and seven kings. (17:3, 9-10) Thus this repeated use of the number seven with so many different symbols implies that it too is to be understood in some sort of symbolic sense. Throughout the scriptures the number seven when used symbolically is generally understood to indicate completeness and perfection. When applied to the seven Churches then, this number implies that the literal and local descriptions of seven of the Churches of Asia fulfil conditions that will be found in the Church of God from that time until the end as can be seen by the parallel prophecies outlined in further chapters.
Revelation 1:12 “And I turned to see the voice that spoke with me. And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks;”
Voice - John turned to see who was speaking to him, who it was that was the alpha and omega, who was the first and the last, who was asking him to write down what he was to see.
Seven golden candlesticks - According to verse 20 the seven candlesticks represent the seven Churches, to whom the revelation is addressed to. The fact that he uses sanctuary imagery reminds us that Jesus is interceding in the heavenly sanctuary at this time. Thus He sees Christ in the first apartment of the heavenly sanctuary.
After Jesus ascended to heaven to begin his high priestly ministry he entered into the holy place, or first apartment delineated by the presence of the candlesticks. This description also gives us the time frame for this prophecy that John is about to write down. Throughout the book of revelation John uses Sanctuary terminology that gives us insight into the time frame described. Thus this period here outlined begins at the time of Christ, as he begins his ministry in the holy place and goes until the end of time. Thus the starting date for this prophecy is 31 A.D. when Christ ascended into the holy place of the sanctuary in heaven.
Revelation 1:13-15 “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. 14 His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire; 15 And his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters.”
In the midst - The son of man, which is Jesus Christ, (Matthew 16:13) is seen in the midst of the candlesticks, that is the seven Churches verse 20, not in some distant place but among his people. I am with you always. (Matthew 28:20)
The Son of man - Greek huios anthrōpou. The Greek here is without a definite article. It is an exact translation of the Aramaic kebar 'enash (see Daniel 7:13), and seems to have much the same meaning here as kebar 'enash in Daniel. What is said in comment on kebar 'enash (Daniel 7:13) would therefore apply also to huios anthrōpou. It is certain from Revelation 1:11, 18 that the One thus referred to as in Daniel 7:13 is in Christ. While the title “the Son of man,” with the definite article, is used of Christ more than 80 times in the New Testament, the expression “Son of man,” without the definite article is used of Him in the Greek New Testament in only two other instances. (Revelation 14:14, which is clearly an allusion to Daniel 7:13; and John 5:27, where Jesus' humanity is emphasized)
Applying the same principle as with kebar 'enash (see Daniel 7:13), we find that here John beholds Christ in vision for the first time. Who is this glorious being? He has the form, not of an angel or of some other celestial being, but of a man. He is human in form, albeit of dazzling brightness.
Although John wrote the Revelation in Greek, his mode of expression is often that of his native Aramaic (the Jewish language of New Testament times) rather than Greek. This is true of certain of his idiomatic expressions, and it is possible that huios anthrōpou, literally, “[a] son of man,” is one of these. If so, “a son of man” would mean simply “a human being,” “a man.” In the same way, “children of the resurrection” (Luke 20:36) are simply resurrected persons, and “children of the kingdom” (Matthew 8:12) are people eligible for the kingdom. Similarly, “children of the bridechamber” (Mark 2:19) are wedding guests, “children of this world” (Luke 16:8) are those who live for this world, “children of wrath” (Ephesians 2:3) are those eligible for punishment because of their evil deeds, and “sons of Belial” (1 Kings 21:10) are worthless fellows.
When the glorified Christ manifested Himself to John in celestial splendor He still appeared to him in the likeness of a human being. What a comfort to know that our ascended, glorified Lord is still our brother in humanity, yet at the same time also the Son of God!
Down to the foot - A long garment is a symbol of dignity.
Paps - That is, the breast.
14. White like wool - John grasps in vain for words with which to give an accurate description of what he sees in vision. At first sight of the whiteness of the hair of the One appearing to him in vision the whiteness of wool comes to his mind. But no sooner has he written this than he thinks of an even whiter substance, snow, and he adds it for a yet more accurate description. Perhaps also, the description of Daniel 7:9 comes to his mind.
Flame of fire - That is, a “fiery flame,” emphasizing the brightness of His countenance and the intensity of His gaze.
15. Fine brass - Greek chalkolibanos, a substance of uncertain identification. It was probably some metal like gold, burnished and radiant. The “brass” of Bible times was actually bronze. (see Exodus 25:3)
Burned - Rather, “having been burned,” that is, fired in a furnace. Textual evidence favors a reading that refers this phrase to the “brass” rather than to the feet themselves. That is, the brass appeared as if fired in a furnace. The feet looked like brass that had been subjected to intense heat.
Many waters - In John's day the roar of the ocean and the crash of thunder were among the loudest and deepest sounds known to man. In their depth and majesty these are still unsurpassed as symbols for the voice of the Creator.
Vision of Divine Being This vision is strikingly similar to a vision described by Daniel the Prophet in Daniel 10:5-6. See comparisons below.
|Clothed in linen||Garment down to the foot|
|Girded with gold of Uphaz||Golden girdle|
|Eyes as lamps of fire||Eyes like flame of fire|
|Feet like polished brass||Feet like burning brass|
|Voice like a multitude||Voice as many waters|
|Body like Beryl||Hair as white as wool, white as snow|
|Face as lightening|
The description in Revelation is clearly delineated as the Son of Man after his death and resurrection, while the similar description given by Daniel can be none other than Jesus Himself, before his incarnation.
Revelation 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.”
Right hand - This is usually a description of power and authority as seen in Psalms 20:6; 18:35 and Matthew 26:64.
Seven Stars - According to verse 20 the seven stars represent the “angels” or “messengers” of the seven Churches, and the messengers are the leaders or ministers of the Churches. The word Angelos in Greek simply means messenger, whether human or divine.
“In Daniel 12:3 faithful teachers of the gospel are represented as stars, that shine forever and ever; and in Jude 13 false teachers are called “wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever.” These spiritual stars shine as long as they remain in the right hand of Christ. When they stray from Him they become wandering stars, and eventually disappear in the darkness.” The Seven Epistles of Christ, by Taylor G Bunch pg 99. Thus Christ has the leaders of His Church in His hand of strength, so long as they remain faithful to him.
Sharp two-edged sword - This is a reference to the sword of the spirit which is the word of God. (Ephesians 6:17, Hebrews 4:12) It is this sword that He smites the nations with Revelation 19:15.
NOTE: AT the second coming Jesus will again be seen with a sword coming out of his mouth, thus it is up to us to decide which sword we desire to cut us to pieces. The sword now will convert us, and cut away our self and sin, but at the second coming it will cut us into pieces as probation has already closed. - Which will it be for us?
Countenance as the sun - The glorified Jesus shone as the sun when it shineth in its strength for He is the Sun of Righteousness. (Malachi 4:2) The sun is here used to show the extreme brightness of Christ's glory, His righteousness. Peter, James, and John, when at the mount of transfiguration, saw Christ's face shine as the sun. (Matthew 17:2) Saul expressed the same words when seeing Christ on the road to Damascus. (Acts 26:13-15) This glory He shared with the father from eternity past. (John 17:5)
Revelation 1:17 “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:”
When I saw him - When John saw Christ.
Fell as dead...right hand upon me - As was Daniel's reaction in the Old Testament so was John's in the New Testament. At the presence of Christ, all strength left the human thus privileged to behold the glorified Lord. (See Daniel 10:5-10) But Jesus laid His right hand of strength upon John to strengthen him, and encourages him to not fear for He is the beginning of all things and the ending of all things, as found in Isaiah 44:6 it is Christ our redeemer.
Revelation 1:18 “I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell [Hades] and of death.”
He that liveth, was dead, alive forever - This is a clear description of Jesus who lived on earth, died for the sins of mankind and then rose to live for ever more. Death has no more dominion over Him. (Romans 6:9)
Have the keys of hell and death - Satan claimed to have the power or dominion of death. But Christ took part of the same flesh and blood as we and, by His death, broke that dominion, thus being able to hold the key/power/authority over hell, that is the grave, and death, this enables Him to raise us from the dead. (Hebrews 2:14-15) The wages of sin is death, (Romans 6:23) but Christ never sinned, (1 Peter 2:22) thus death had no dominion over Him.
Unto God the Lord belong the issues/deliverances from death. (Psalms 68:20) The last enemy to be destroyed is death (1 Corinthians 15:25-26) and hell/grave. (Revelation 20:14)
Jesus is telling John this because through the book of Revelation we see a lot of persecution against God's people. Thus Jesus is telling them not to fear sealing their faith with their blood, for He has the keys to unlock the grave and death and can raise them to immortality when He comes the second time.
Revelation 1:19 “Write the things which you have seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter;”
Write the things seen, which are and which shall be - Here a direct command to write both his past experiences with Christ, and what he is currently seeing and what will be in the future, which he is about to see in the time he spends with the Saviour.
Revelation 1:20 “The mystery of the seven stars which you 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 you sawest are the seven churches.”
Seven stars - The seven stars are the angels of the seven Churches. The word angel means a messenger whether human or divine. The messengers of the Churches are the teachers or ministers/leaders as seen in Daniel 12:3, where the wise/teachers, margin, that turn many to righteousness shall shine as the stars. Christ holds them in His right hand of strength. See also verse 16.
Seven golden candlesticks - These are the seven Churches. They also show aspects of the Holy Spirit Revelation 4:5. This is why we have throughout the messages to the Churches, “he that hath an ear let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches” 2:7, 11, 17, 29 and so on. It is a message from the Holy Spirit to Christ's Church.
Christ is amongst His Church through the presence of the Holy Spirit.
- Revelation 1
- Revelation 2
- Revelation 3
- Revelation 4
- Revelation 5
- Revelation 6
- Revelation 7
- Revelation 8
- Revelation 9
- Revelation 10
- Revelation 11
- Revelation 12
- Revelation 13
- Revelation 14
- Revelation 15
- Revelation 16
- Revelation 17
- Revelation 18
- Revelation 19
- Revelation 20
- Revelation 21
- Revelation 22
- Revelation 4 Insert
- Seven Churches Chart
- Seven Seals Chart
- Bible Prophecy Symbols