Introduction to Chapter 1
The book of Revelation is letter written to seven churches in
Asia, revealed to the
Apostle John by Jesus and signified by an angel. John was probably in his
eighties since this was taking place about A.D. 95, over sixty years after
the crucifixion. John, who was younger then, is now sixty years older.
John was sent to Patmos, to work the mines as punishment for his bold testimony of
While on this island, Jesus Christ appears to John and dictates a letter
for John to send to the Seven Churches in
Asia. Though the letter is
to seven specific churches, the letter applies to all believers. Jesus
instructs those with “spiritual ears” to listen,
“He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the
The word Revelation means, unveiling, the veil of the future is lifted
from the eyes of believers and the plan of eternity set forth. A blessing
is promised to those hear, read and keep the words revealed.
Chapter 1 introduces us to the rest of the letter, establishing the
background. John answers the questions, who is the author? what are the
circumstances behind the letter? How it was revealed? and Who revealed it?
The first chapter shows Christ in his glory appearing to his servant
John. Christ comforts John, who is on
Patmos for his testimony of
Christ, he assures John, He is in control. Jesus Christ reaffirms his
nature and identity in this chapter, anticipating the apostasy to develop in
the church as his nature and work in the future would be denied.
Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show His servants-things
which must shortly take place. And He sent and signified it by His angel to
His servant John,
bore witness to the word of God, and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, to
all things that he saw.
Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy, and
keep those things which are written in it; for the time is near.
The Greek word is
means laying bear, making naked, disclosure of truth. The letter is from God
the Father to Jesus Christ, signified by His angel, to John for the church.
Jesus removes the veil, and allows His church to see the plan for eternity.
The word servant comes from
the Greek word,
dou'lo Doulos meaning, a slave, bondman, man of servile condition. Those
who trust Christ, become his servants. We are representatives of Jesus
Christ in this world, to announce his kingdom and establish his salvation in
the earth. A servant does the master’s will, not his own. We are called in
service to administer the kingdom.
The letter is to the servants of Christ, for this reason, unless someone
is Christ’s servant, the letter makes no sense.
Shortly take place:
The Greek word,
meaning, quickness speed. The events revealed to John have immediate
application. In the 63-years since Christ death on the cross, the Church
had grown from Jerusalem to encompass the whole Roman Empire. There were
literally hundreds of churches established throughout the Empire and
Signified: The Greek word
shmaivnw Semaino means, to give a sign, to signify, indicate. The book of
Revelation is filled with signs and symbols. For the most part, the
explanations of these signs are within the context of the scripture or
within the whole body of scripture. For example in chapter one, Jesus,
glorified, stands in the center seven lamp stands holding seven stars. In
verse 20, we find the meaning of the lamp stands and stars, the lamp stands
represent seven churches and stars, seven angels.
Angel: The identity of the angel is subject to speculation. Gabriel is the
most likely candidate. Gabriel first identified in Daniel 8, communicates
the message from God’s throne to God servants. Gabriel is seen again in
Daniel 9 and in Luke 1:19, 26 where the birth of John and the Messiah is
The word of God:
In this letter, John is an
eye-witness merely reporting what he sees. The word witness comes from
the Greek word,
marturevw Martureo where the word “martyr” is derived. John personally
testifies about what he has sees.
That he saw:
From Chapter one to the
last chapter, 22, John stats 38 times that he personally “Saw” the events
taking place. John, as a servant to Christ is reporting what he has seen to
Revelation is the only book of the Bible with the promise
blessing to the reader.
to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace to you and peace from Him who
is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven Spirits who are before
from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and
the ruler over the kings of the earth. To Him who loved us and washed us
from our sins in His own blood,
has made us kings and priests to His God and Father, to Him be glory and
dominion forever and ever. Amen.
Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him, even they who
pierced Him. And all the tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him. Even
8 "I am
the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End," says the Lord, "who is
and who was and who is to come, the Almighty."
The Seven churches:
The number seven plays a
prominent role in the book of Revelation. The number is
used over 20 times in the
letter. Here are some of the configurations,
Seven churches (Rev.
Seven seals (Rev.
Seven thunders (Rev.
Seven plagues (Rev.
Seven spirits (Rev.
Seven horns (Rev.
Seven thousand (Rev.
Seven vials (Rev.
(Rev. 1;12,13,20; 2:1)
Seven eyes (Rev.
Seven heads (Rev.
12:3; 13:1, 17:3,7,9)
Seven stars (Rev.
Seven angels (Rev.
Seven crowns (Rev.
Seven kings (Rev.
Seven lamps (Rev.
Seven trumpets (Rev.
Seven angels (Rev.
15:1,6,7,8; 16:1; 17:1; 21:9)
The number seven signifies in scripture completeness. Peter asked Jesus,
"Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to
seven times?" , Jesus replied, “Seventy times seven”. This same number
“Seventy-times seven” Gabriel tells Daniel is the completeness of time on
his people and his holy city (Daniel
The Seven Churches here are seven geographical churches located in
Asia. The message goes
beyond the churches and is also addressed to those who have “ears”. The
message is to the whole church, much in the same way the epistles (Corinth,
Galatians, Romans, Timothy, and Titus) are addressed to specific cities and
people, but apply to the whole church body.
to Laodieca a number seven can be traced over cities addressed.
Grace: The Greek word used here is
equivalent to the Hebrew word Shalom meaning peace. The greeting is from the
Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit to the Church.
Him who is…was…is to come…
The first part of this
salutation is from the God the Father (Rev. 1:1), who gave the message to
Jesus, who relayed this message through his angel to his servants.
In addition to the Father, the salutation comes from the “Seven Spirits”
before the throne. Some commentators view the Spirits as seven angels
before the throne. (See Rev. 8:2,6)
Another view is the “Seven Spirits” mentioned before the throne is the
fullness of Holy Spirit. Isaiah reveals the seven-fold nature of the Holy
11:2 The Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon Him, The Spirit of
wisdom and understanding, The Spirit of counsel and
might, The Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord.
Here the seven-fold ministry of the Holy Spirit addresses the church,
before the throne of God. The number seven representing fullness represents
the complete ministry of the Holy Spirit.
Addressing the church is
the Father, the Holy Spirit and Jesus Christ. What follows are descriptive
qualifiers of who Jesus is, what he did and what will occur. Over
sixty-years have passed from the Cross to Chapter one. Despite this short
period, already, false doctrines and heresy have infected the Church by A.D.
96. The proto-Gnostic movements taught by the Nicolations and Jezebel mixed
the Gospel with Greek paganism. Jesus condemned this aspect of the churches
in Pergamos and Thyatira. More heresy would follow in the coming
Like the churches of the first century, the issue of who is Jesus? and
what work did he do? are addressed in this salutation. These versus declare
Jesus’ personal death for our sins, his position over the kings of the earth
and his personal physical return. Revelation 1;5-8 proclaims the dual nature
of the Messiah, “Suffering Servant” and ‘Conquering King”. Christ
anticipates the coming false teachers and answers their charges before
hand. John in his letter qualifies the person of Jesus.
Jesus faithfully proclaimed
his identity. He did not fail in His mission as some cults like to claim
2. First born from the dead:
The position of ‘First
born” is right to inheritance. Jesus was not the first person ever
resurrected. Jesus attained to the position of “First Born”, meaning the
right of inheritance. Adam like all who followed him died with a sin
nature. Christ redeemed what Adam lost, giving him the right of
inheritance, belonging to the “First Born”. The position of “First-born”
will be the Messiah position, over the kings of the earth as the “Son of
Man” he inherited Adam’s loss.
I will make him My firstborn, The highest of the kings of the earth. 28 My
mercy I will keep for him forever, And My covenant shall stand firm with
him. 29 His seed also I will make to endure forever, And his throne as the
days of heaven.
3. Ruler over the kings of the earth:
Christ will rule over the Kings of the earth as their
kingdoms pass away at his Second Coming. The Messiah will rule over the
nations, as proclaimed in Psalm 2, Isaiah 11:1-6, Daniel 7:14 and Isaiah
Loved Us: Jesus
died, not because he was powerless to resist Roman authority, but because he
loved us, his death was an act of love. Cults such as the Reverend Sun Young
Moon, (The Unification church) teach Jesus died because he failed at his
mission. John 3:16, teaches Jesus died because God loved the world and
wanted to save humanity. John affirms the reason of His death.
5. Washed us:
Another heresy, to make its way into the Church is the
doctrine of “works salvation”, teaching, we are saved by works. John
counters this doctrine by proclaiming, Jesus “Washed us” the work was His
cleaning, not our cleaning. By His cleaning alone, we are cleansed. Jesus
answered Peter, who rejected Christ washing his feet before Passover; Peter
can have no part of Christ without Christ washing him.
8 Peter said to Him, "You
shall never wash my feet!" Jesus answered him, "If I do not wash you, you
have no part with Me."
6. His own blood:
The blood of Christ alone saved us and restored our
relationship with the Father. Later in many of the Churches would arise
cults which would deny the physical death of Christ and his atoning blood.
Islam contains the Gnostic teaching of Basilides
who taught the Romans did not crucify Jesus but a phantom,
the real Jesus did not die on the cross but was taken into heaven. John
counters the future charge here.
how much more
shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself
without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the
Glory and dominion:
The Messiah died suffering for the sins of humanity, he will
return with great glory and power to rule over the nations. This will
fulfill the second picture of Messiah, the Conquering king portrait as
demonstrated in the two pictures of Isaiah 52:12-15
as many were astonished at you, So His visage was marred more than any man,
And His form more than the sons of men;
shall He sprinkle many nations. Kings shall shut their mouths at Him; For
what had not been told them they shall see, And what they had not heard they
Coming with the clouds:
In Acts when Jesus departed
to Heaven, the two angels proclaimed to the men of Galilee, (Acts 1:10)
Jesus who was taken up into heaven in a cloud would appear in like manner.
More then 500 years before the event, Daniel proclaimed the coming of the
Son of man in the clouds.
watching in the night visions, And behold, One like the Son of Man, Coming
with the clouds of heaven! He came to the Ancient of Days, And they brought
Him near before Him
declared to the High-Priest, and to the men Judah when he returns he will
return with the clouds. (Matthew 26;64)
"Then the sign
of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the
earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of
heaven with power and great glory.
anticipates future false doctrines denying the physical return of Christ.
9. Every eye will see him:
A growing interpretation of
Revelation is known as the Preterist (Past) view. They view the events of
Revelation as already having occurred. Preterist view the Olivet Discourse,
including most of Matthew 24 as being fulfilled in A.D. 70. Moderate
Preterist still anticipate a visible second coming of Christ, when Christ
visibly appears in glory. An off-shoot of this group known as
Hyper-Preterists believe Jesus has already physically returned. This is a
The Seventh-Day Adventist, Jehovah Witnesses also teach a similar
heretical teaching believing Jesus returned to the outer atmosphere in the
early 1900’s. They developed these teaching to cover false prophecies by
their false prophet leaders, Ellen G. White and Charles Taze Russell.
Scriptures from the Old and New Testaments clearly teach of the Glorious
return of Christ when every eye will see him, “Even those who pierced him”.
Quoting from Zechariah 12:10, John affirms his physical, the return of the
“rejected” “Suffering Messiah”. At His second coming, every eye will see his
"And I will pour
on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of
grace and supplication; then they will look on Me whom they pierced. Yes,
they will mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son, and grieve for Him
as one grieves for a firstborn.
After Jesus’ side was pierced with a spear, John in the Gospel also
quotes Zechariah 12:10 (See John
10. Alpha Omega:
Jesus called the “Word of
God” in John 1:1 and Revelation 19:13, here uses the first and last letter
of the Greek alphabet to proclaim he is the A to O (A to Z). This is again
used in Revelation 1:11, 21;6 and 22;13. John answers those who would deny
the deity of Christ.
11. Beginning and the end:
Along with being the A to O
(A to Z), Jesus is further qualified the term “Beginning” and “End”. This
is an adjective used to describe God’s nature alone. (Isa. 43:10, 44:6,
48:12) John, want no one to make a mistake, Jesus is fully God. Isaiah
performed and done it, Calling the generations from the beginning?'I, the
Lord, am the first; And with the last I am He.' "
12. Who is, was…is to come:
Here the same words used to
describe the Father in verse 4 are now used to describe Jesus Christ.
13. The Almighty..
Jesus is God, the Greek
word translated here is
leaves no doubt to who Jesus is. Jesus is not a powerful
angel, or a second lesser deity but God Himself who took human. There can
only be one “Almighty”, if there were two then neither would be “Almighty”.
(Ezekiel 1:24,10;5, Psalm 91:1, Rev. 16;14, 19:15; 21:22)
made us kings and priests:
We are Christ’s
representatives administering Salvation to a lost world. The saints will
rule with Christ in the Millennium age for 1000-years. (Matthew 19:38, Rev.
Vision of the Glorified
John, both your brother and companion in the tribulation and kingdom and
patience of Jesus Christ, was on the island that is called
Patmos for the word of God and for the testimony of Jesus Christ.
was in the Spirit on the Lord's Day, and I heard behind me a loud voice, as
of a trumpet,
saying, "I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last," and, "What
you see, write in a book and send it to the seven churches which are in
Asia: to Ephesus, to Smyrna, to Pergamos, to Thyatira, to Sardis, to
Philadelphia, and to Laodicea."
I turned to see the voice that spoke with me. And having turned I saw seven
in the midst of the seven lampstands One like the Son of Man, clothed with a
garment down to the feet and girded about the chest with a golden band.
head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and His eyes like a
flame of fire;
feet were like fine brass, as if refined in a furnace, and His voice as the
sound of many waters;
had in His right hand seven stars, out of His mouth went a sharp two-edged
sword, and His countenance was like the sun shining in its strength.
when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead. But He laid His right hand on
me, saying to me, "Do not be afraid; I am the First and the Last.
am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And
I have the keys of Hades and of Death.
A prisoner on
Patmos in his old age, John according to some accounts was placed on the
they failed to kill him. He was forced to work in the mines of the Roman
Emperor Domition mines.
John was not ashamed of his witness for Christ. Demonstrating
suffering for the Gospel is not to be avoided when presented with the
alternative. The willingness to suffer for the cause of the Lord is seen by
Daniel and his fellows. (Daniel 1,3,6) Through our suffering God’s glory is
Suffering for Christ sake contrary to human nature is not a benefit we
bestow on God, but a blessing God bestows on us.
Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try
you, as though some strange thing happened to you;
rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ's sufferings, that when His
glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy.
If you are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the
Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. On their part He is
blasphemed, but on your part He is glorified.
Peter 4: 12-14
Suffering for Christ is demonstration of God’s favor, because when we
suffer for Christ, we partake in his suffering.
In the Spirit:
John describes his state at
the time of the Revelation. He describes himself as being “In the spirit”,
this term is used four times in Revelation, (Revelation 1:10, 4:2,
17:3,21;10). Ezekiel also refers to being, “in the spirit”. In each case,
John and Ezekiel report leaving their physical location and being
transported to place and witnessing events taking place in a spiritual
The hand of the
Lord came upon me and brought me out in the Spirit of the Lord, and set me
down in the midst of the valley; and it was full of bones.
Ezekiel then explains events taking place in the future as Israel is
restored to her land and becomes a great nation, confronting the nations of
the world. Ezekiel is looking forward to future event known as the “Day of
The Lord’s day:
John like Ezekiel is in the
Spirit, but not on Sunday as some view this scripture since believers are
instructed to view ever day alike, not honoring one day above another.
(Romans 14:5-8 and Colossians 2:16) The Day of the Lord on other hand is
coming day when God deals with the sin of this age, in judgment power and
great glory. This time will be a time of great distress for the whole world
and Israel, it will be a time of Jacob’s trouble. (Jeremiah 30:5-7, 46:10,
Joel 1:15; 2:1,11, 31, 3:14, Amos 5:18,20,Daniel 12;1, Matthew 24:21)
for the day of the Lord is at hand! It will come as destruction from
Therefore all hands will be limp, Every man's heart will melt,
they will be afraid. Pangs and sorrows will take hold of them; They will be
in pain as a woman in childbirth; They will be amazed at one another; Their
faces will be like flames.
Behold, the day of the Lord comes, Cruel, with both wrath and fierce
anger, To lay the land desolate; And He will destroy its sinners from it.
most logical verdict is John, “In the Spirit” is taken forward to the day of
the Lord’s wrath, the time of the tribulation.
John, “In the Spirit”, hears a voice him which sounds like a
trumpet. The voice identifies Himself as Christ glorified. The names used
by the voice reinforce His deity. Knowing in the future, cults such as the
Gnostics, Arians, Islam, Jehovah Witnesses and Mormons would rise, each
challenging the identity of Jesus Christ. Here his identity as God is
The person identifies
Himself as the Alpha and Omega, who we know is Jesus Christ the son of God,
What you see:
John’s job is to convey the
message he sees. Jesus is asking John to report what he sees in a book and
send it to the churches.
Book: The Greek word translated book is
Biblion meaning a small book, a scroll, a written document.
Jesus tells John to write a
book to the seven churches. These churches are seven specific geographic
churches in seven literal locations. However, like the epistles, their
application does not end with the church itself. There are four audiences
addressed in these letters.
The letter is addressed to seven physical churches in Asia.
The letter addressed to the servants of Christ, includes the seven churches
and “He who has an ear”. This phrase is
used after each Church addressed.
(Rev. 2:7), Smyrna (Rev 2:11) , Pergamos (Rev 2:17) Thyatira (Rev 2:29),
Sardis (Rev 3:6), Philadelphia (Rev. 3:13) Laodicea (Rev. 3:22).
The letter would also be addressed to Seven church types. Today, all
churches can be categorized to “Church Type” located in Revelation.
A fourth way of looking at the Seven churches are by examining the Seven
church ages of history which can be demonstrated to correspond to the seven
churches in Asia.
Seven Lamp stands:
When John turns, he first
sees Seven Lamp stands made of Gold. These appear to be individual lamp
stands, as opposed to the one seven branched Menorah Lamp standing in the
Jesus in the center is the source of the light, he stands glorified in the
midst of the lamps.
From verse 20, we know the Lamp stands represent the seven churches. The
church, the body of believing Jews and Gentiles comes from the Greek word,
meaning a gathering of citizens called out from their
homes into some public place, an assembly. The Church bears the light of
Jesus Christ in the earth. The seven lamps represents the fullness of the
Church in the church age. The responsibility of every believer is to bear
the light of the Gospel in the world that is our purpose. We are His royal
priesthood administering salvation to a lost world. (I Peter 2:5,9, Rev.
are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden.
do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it
gives light to all who are in the house. 16 "Let your light so shine before
men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.
Son of man:
The name “Son of Man” is
the most common term Jesus used for Himself. Daniel in chapter 7, pictures
the “Son of Man” arriving on the clouds in the presence of the Ancient of
Days (Daniel 7;13) The description which follows is similar to the one
found in Daniel 10:5-6, both are described as being girded with a golden
band and clothed in linen. An item worn by the Jewish Priesthood
administering before the Holy of Holies, is a girdle holding an ephod and
is our High Priest,(Hebrews 7) the purpose of church is to illuminate
Christ, The world sees Jesus from the light reflected by the Church body.
The only light in the Holy of Holies was the light from the Seven-branched
lamp stand. We are the light in the world to reflecting Christ.
a certain man
like the Son of Man
clothed in linen
clothed with a garment
whose waist was
girded with gold of Uphaz
girded about the chest with a golden band
face like the
appearance of lightning
head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow
his eyes like
torches of fire
His eyes like a flame of fire;
Arms and feet
his arms and
feet like burnished bronze in color
His feet were like fine brass, as if refined in a furnace
the sound of his
words like the voice of a multitude
His voice as the sound of many waters
The Son of Man has seven stars in his hand, according to
verse 20, these stars represent angels or
meaning messenger. There
are two views here, one is the angels mentioned here are the pastors or
leaders assigned to lead the church. The second is they are actual angels
assigned to these churches. (See Ephesians 6:11-12, Matthew 18:10, I Tim.
is large devastating sword, refereed to five times in
the book of Revelation. This sword opposed to the “quick” sword of Hebrews
heavy and is associated with devastating judgment.
The word of God cuts two ways. One way for people, convicted of their
sins, they accept Christ. The sword cuts another way for those who reject
not fear: Jesus
tells John to not fear. Christians do not have to be afraid of eternity.
Jesus Christ controls the universe. He has the keys to eternity. We can
rest in Him and His promises.
John commissioned to write
"Write the things which you have seen, and the things which are, and the
things which will take place after this.
mystery of the seven stars which you saw in My right hand, and the seven
golden lampstands: The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and
the seven lampstands which you saw are the seven churches.
book of Revelation spans time, from the Apostolic church, through the
Millennium to Eternity.
book is divided into three time-periods.
Things you have seen:
The Book of Revelation is an eye-witness account of
what John saw. John did not imagine or dream, he actually saw what he
writes about. Like Ezekiel, John is taken, “In the Spirit” and records what
writes what he has seen in Chapter 1.
Things which are:
John was in the Church age, his letter addresses the churches
in Chapters 2 and 3.
Things which will take place:
Revelation speaks to the
future, what follows the Church age, the Tribulation, the Millennium and