Since we covered verses 1-3 in the message, let’s pick up in verse 4. “This letter is from John to the seven churches in the province of Asia. Grace and peace to you from the one who is, who always was, and who is still to come; from the sevenfold Spirit before his throne; 5 and from Jesus Christ. He is the faithful witness to these things, the first to rise from the dead, and the ruler of all the kings of the world.” Revelation 1:4-5
John wrote this letter under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit as directed from God the Father and Jesus Christ his son to seven actual churches and future types of churches. This is why I believe that Revelation should be viewed from the futurist theological perspective. In these verses, John clearly states that it’s all about Jesus. He is the ruler of all the kings of the word meaning there is nobody greater than Him. He continues….
“All glory to him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by shedding his blood for us. 6 He has made us a Kingdom of priests for God his Father. All glory and power to him forever and ever! Amen.” Revelation 5b-6
Believers are to praise Jesus because of all that Christ has done for us. First, he loves us. He loves us unconditionally with open arms. Second, He shed his blood on the cross, becoming the substitutionary atonement. He did this so that our sins would not be held against us. Jesus took a bullet for us. He jumped in the way so that we wouldn’t have to die in our sin. And third, he has made us a kingdom of priests for his father. What does that mean? What does it mean to be a kingdom of priests? Have you ever thought of yourself as a priest? Most of us laugh because when we think of a priest we are thinking of a Catholic priest wearing black clothes and a white collar. But that is not what this verse is referring to. It means that believers have the right to represent God to men. We do this when we share our faith and this is only because Christ himself has commissioned us.
Verse seven refers to the fact that everyone will see him return. It won’t be hidden or secret; his return will stop the world in its tracks. Why? Because Jesus is the Living God who rules over all of his creation.
The word “Amen” in the ancient Greek language was brought over from the Hebrew language found in the Old Testament. It means “Yes.” It isn't a wish that it may be so, but it is an affirmation that, through God, it will be so. All glory and power to him forever, yes! Jesus will be praised forever. So every time you hear someone shout “Amen” it means “Yes, I agree, let it be so.”
“8 I am the Alpha and the Omega—the beginning and the end,” says the Lord God. “I am the one who is, who always was, and who is still to come—the Almighty One.” Revelation 1:8
This verse has three participles, past, present, and future. Once again we see that God has always been. He was there before the universe, he created the universe and is still involved, and he will be here after this universe is gone. Agnostics believe that if there is a god, that god cannot be known. They conclude that if there is something that started the universe, it left it to just unspool like fishing line cast from a reel or is basically uninvolved in any personal way.
In verse 9 and 10 John explains how this book came about. “9 I, John, am your brother and your partner in suffering and in God’s Kingdom and in the patient endurance to which Jesus calls us. I was exiled to the island of Patmos for preaching the word of God and for my testimony about Jesus. 10 It was the Lord’s Day, and I was worshiping in the Spirit. Suddenly, I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet blast. 11 It said, “Write in a book everything you see, and send it to the seven churches in the cities of Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea.” Revelation 1:9-11
John was told to write what he saw and to give it to the seven churches that he mentioned. They were actual historical churches and they are also types of churches that exist today and will continue to exist tomorrow.
“12 When I turned to see who was speaking to me, I saw seven gold lampstands. 13 And standing in the middle of the lampstands was someone like the Son of Man. He was wearing a long robe with a gold sash across his chest. 14 His head and his hair were white like wool, as white as snow. And his eyes were like flames of fire. 15 His feet were like polished bronze refined in a furnace, and his voice thundered like mighty ocean waves. 16 He held seven stars in his right hand, and a sharp two-edged sword came from his mouth. And his face was like the sun in all its brilliance.” Revelation 1:12-16
John is using human words to describe the most awesome amazing event and person he has even seen. He is describing Jesus in his glory and there just not enough human words to do a good job. It’s like taking a picture of a lake or mountain; you just can’t capture all the beauty on film. It just doesn’t do it justice.
“17 When I saw him, I fell at his feet as if I were dead. But he laid his right hand on me and said, “Don’t be afraid! I am the First and the Last. 18 I am the living one. I died, but look—I am alive forever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and the grave.” Revelation 1:17-18
This is more evidence of the Trinity. He is the first and the last; he died and is alive again. And he holds the keys to death and the grave. When Jesus walked the earth he said that he was the bread of life, now in his glory he is proving it.
“19 “Write down what you have seen—both the things that are now happening and the things that will happen. 20 This is the meaning of the mystery of the seven stars you saw in my right hand and the seven gold lampstands: The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches.” Revelation 1:19-20
Here we are given a prophetic picture. We know there are seven historical churches that Jesus is standing in the middle of and that each church has been assigned an angel and Jesus is holding them in his hand. This is yet another picture that Jesus is the center of it all. He created it, controls it, and is glorified by it. John understood this and it blew him away. Never before had anyone seen Jesus in all his glory.
I hope this further study has given you a deeper insight into the Scriptures. I am always amazed at how much I learn every time I study God’s Word. I am equally amazed at how much more I feel like I should know. After studying the scriptures for more than 20 years, there is always more to learn. That is the beauty of God and the mystery of the scriptures. Ultimately we examine the scriptures to learn more about God and at the same time we must and allow God’s written Word to examine us. Amen!