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Revelation Chapter One: What you have seen    Listen to .mp3 propecy podcasts.

Lyn Mize

I.            Introduction: "What You Have Seen" (Chap. 1)

            A.            Prologue (1:1-3)

Rev 1:1-3 (KJV) 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.  

1. 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:  

a. This verse describes the subject and contents of the book of Revelation. The subject is the Apocalypse, which is the unveiling or revealing of Jesus Christ. The Apocalypse is an unveiling or manifestation of the glorified Christ, and not simply a revealing of a message about Christ. The written record of this vision of Christ provides details of the redemption of the earth and the people of God, including the Church, the elect of Israel, and certain elect Gentiles saved outside of the Church age.

b. God gave the unveiling of Christ to him as the crowning reward for his mediatorial work as the overcoming Christ in faithfully discharging everything that He came to earth to accomplish. Therefore, the honors and triumphs that are due him will be fulfilled at the time of his unveiling as King of kings and Lord of lords. Because of Christ’s perfect obedience to God the Father, He will be highly exalted at his personal appearing in honor and glory. This was a gift from God the Father to Jesus Christ.

c. It is because of this gift that Jesus Christ is to receive yet future that it is very important for the servants of Christ to be well informed concerning it. Therefore, Christ, the blessed Savior, took steps to have the facts communicated to his servants upon the earth. Christ sent an angel who “signified” it to his servant John. The angel’s account of himself simply states “I am thy fellow-servant, and of thy brethren the prophets, and of them which keep the sayings of this book” (Rev. 22:9). All we know for sure is that this heavenly messenger was commissioned by the Lord Jesus to come and make known to John the apocalyptic wonders that are described in the Book of Revelation. We do know that angels are called “ministering spirits, but not “God’s servants” nor fellows of the prophets and apostles. This messenger appears to be of human origin, though highly honored by the mission set before him. Since the Scriptures do not identify the “angel”, we will not attempt to go beyond what is revealed. The word “signified” means that John actually saw in vision the revelation that he recorded. John actually saw and heard the events recorded in this book.  

d. The more accurate translation of “things which must shortly come to pass” is “that which must come to pass speedily”. The meaning is not that the events will happen after a short lapse in time, but that when the events do start, they will happen speedily. The events that John saw in vision almost 2000 years ago will happen just as he saw them, and once the unveiling begins, the events will take place speedily.  

2. Who bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw. 

a.      This verse speaks of John the Apostle, who bare record of the “logos” of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all the things that John saw in his time with Jesus Christ upon the earth. The events that John saw in his time with Jesus were recorded in the Gospel of John. John’s gospel is best known for his reference to Jesus Christ as the “Word” or “Logos” of God. The disciple that Jesus loved is clearly the author of the Revelation of Jesus Christ.  

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.  

a.      This verse speaks of the blessedness to be received by those who read the books, hear the words of this prophecy and keep those things written in it. It is even repeated in Chapter 22:7 “Blessed is he that keepeth the sayings of the prophecy of this book.”  

b.      The more we learn and know of Christ, the better it will be for us, if the spirit of faith and obedience is in our hearts. This book is pre-eminently the revelation of Christ, so it draws back the veil that hides the precious Savior to our eyes and shows us the sublimest things of heaven.

c.      The Apocalypse shows us the grand reward of the Son of Man and the works and offices that have been assigned to him as the Meek Lamb of God. It shows us the history of the Savior, his glorious and exalted rank and the great ministrations in the Church and in the Universe when He comes again in great glory and honor. We see the condition in which the world will be found at this Apocalypse, what will be brought to the prepared and watching saints and what will be the lot of those lukewarm believers, the infidels and the evil-doers in that day. It also provides the details of the events in the Day of the Lord God Almighty.  

d.      The Apocalypse also tells what the Church will be like till Christ returns, what Satan and his children will attempt during this time, what it will be like in the dreadful period of trial for the Church, and how Satan and his children will be trampled down under the might and power of Jesus Christ. It shows the order of the resurrections, the renewal and cleansing of the earth, and the blessed reign of Jesus Christ and his saints from the New Jerusalem over the earth.  

e.      It is very important for Christians to be forewarned in regard to the future. This appears to be the grand blessedness that is promised to those who read, understand and adhere to the truths delineated in this book of the Revelation. The grand reward to Christ revealed in the Apocalypse can be shared by Christians who read, study and cling to the promises in this book. What greater blessing can we receive for delving into this book with our whole heart, mind and soul.

            B.            Salutation (1:4-8)

Rev 1:4-8 (KJV) 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 hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen. 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. 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.  

4. 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;  

a.      This verse confirms that the written record of the Apocalypse was sent by John to seven churches in Asia Minor. We learn later the identity of these churches. This verse and the next verse are an inspiring salutation and confirm that Christianity is courteous. Christians are to be kindly affectionate to one another and courteous to all men. Coarseness and vulgarity are unwelcome in the domain of true Christian piety. John does not venture to deliver his grand message to the Church without first stating his love and affection toward them.

b.      The Church is one body in its source, head, faith and sacraments, but not in its earthly organizations. As the Church in Asia, they were known as the church in Ephesus, the church in Smyrna, etc. The local church is an ecclesiastical unit under one minister and helpers grouped around him, but the original order of the Church was congregational. John knew of no churches but the individual congregations, which made up the Church.

c.      Wishes of grace and peace to the recipients of the Revelation are provided through John from the Great I Am, which is God the Father, and the seven Spirits which are before the throne, which is the Holy Spirit. The grace wished is the divine influence upon the heart that should affect all Christians and the peace is the peace that passes all understanding. It is not peace with God, but the peace of God that is wished upon these churches.    

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,

a.      The third member of the Trinity of God is Jesus Christ, the faithful witness. He is also the First Begotten from the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Jesus loved us and washed us from our sins in his own blood. A higher testimony to the Deity of Christ could not be given than is given in this verse as member of the Trinity of God.  

6. And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.  

a.      It was Jesus who made us kings and priests unto God who is the Father of Jesus. Eternal glory and dominion is ascribed to Jesus Christ.  

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.

a.       This is a solemn prophetic allusion to the Second Coming in power and glory. “He cometh” is an unequivocal fact. “With clouds” is a depiction of his majesty and glory. “And every eye shall see him” confirms that it will be a public event. “And they also which pierced him” shows that all are accountable. “And all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him” is better translated "And all the tribes of the land shall mourn about him." This statement is in reference to the Jews, who will recognize him as their Messiah when He comes in power and glory, and they will mourn greatly because of their failure to recognize him before. This is a fulfillment of Zechariah 12:10.  

Zechariah 12:10 (ASV) 10And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplication; and they shall look unto me whom they have pierced; and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his first-born.   

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.  

a.       Jesus is described as the first letter of the Greek alphabet to the last letter of the Greek alphabet. Jesus is the expression of truth that is summed up in the whole alphabet. He is the Word, the embodiment of  all truth from the first to the last. “Which is, and which was, and which is to come is a sublime form of speech used to describe the Eternal Father, but it is used here to show the equality of the Son with the Father in his Deity.

b.        “The Almighty” also confirms the Deity of Jesus Christ. There is no higher name or power.

            C.  The Patmos Vision of Christ Glorified (1:9-18)

Rev 1:9-18 (KJV)  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. 10 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 thou seest, write in a book, and send it unto the seven churches which are in Asia; unto Ephesus, and unto Smyrna, and unto Pergamos, and unto Thyatira, and unto Sardis, and unto Philadelphia, and unto Laodicea. 12 And I turned to see the voice that spake with me. And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks; 13 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. 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. 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: 18 I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.  

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.  

a. In writing to the seven churches, John provides the circumstances of the Revelation or vision that he saw. The seer was John the sole surviving Apostle for Jesus Christ. He was exalted, yet humble and meek. He describes himself as the “brother, and companion in tribulation” of the recipients of the revelation that he is about to give them.  

(1) There was a common brotherhood in Christ. John places himself on a level with the common brotherhood of believers.  

(2) There was a common suffering for Christ. This was a time of great persecution of Christians in the Roman Empire.  

(3) There was a common royalty and kingship yet unrevealed.

(4) There was a common hope and patient waiting for a coming coronation and dominion over the world. 

(5) This expectation for the Return of Christ was very much unlike Christianity today, where the majority of the Church is caught up in the affairs of the world.

b.      John was exiled to the island of Patmos, a lonely and desolate island in the open sea close to the coast of Western Asia Minor. He was banished to this inhospitable place because of the “word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ”.  

10. I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet,  

a. John was “in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day”, which most likely means that he was miraculously transferred via the Spirit to that time and place when the Day of the Lord is to transpire.

b. The first thing that got his attention in this state of prophetic exaltation was “a great voice, as of a trumpet”. When God revealed himself on Mount Sinai, he broke the silence with the “voice of a trumpet, exceeding loud”. It is a reminder of the Main Harvest Rapture of the Church at the time of the Day of the Lord upon the earth. The voice was that of the exalted and glorified Jesus Christ.

11. Saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: and, What thou seest, write in a book, and send it unto the seven churches which are in Asia; unto Ephesus, and unto Smyrna, and unto Pergamos, and unto Thyatira, and unto Sardis, and unto Philadelphia, and unto Laodicea.  

a. Jesus describes himself as the “Alpha and Omega”, which makes him the repository of all truth. Jesus Christ is the Living Word of God just as the Bible is the Written Word of God. Both manifest God to humankind. When the Christian wants to know God, he must study the Written Word, which reveals the Living Word. The Apocalypse is the crowning glory of the Written Word of God. This is why special blessing is ascribed to reading and studying this book of the Bible.  

b. The voice of Jesus Christ tells John to write the substance of this vision in a book, and to send it to the seven churches, which are in Asia. Jesus names the churches as Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamos, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea. These were seven literal churches located in Asia Minor—modern day Turkey. There were other churches in Asia Minor and elsewhere, but Jesus Christ chose these particular churches for special reasons. First, they typified the seven different kinds of Christians that make up the Church. Second, they typified the seven Church ages that would bring us up to the fulfillment of this Apocalypse at the time of the Return of Jesus Christ.

12 And I turned to see the voice that spake with me. And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks;  

a. After hearing the voice, John turned to see the voice (i.e., the Person) talking to him. John saw “seven golden candlesticks” or lampstands when he looked toward the voice.  

b.   The lampstands typify the witness of the whole Church upon the earth. The Church is God’s witness upon the earth during the current age. Seven is the number of spiritual perfection or spiritual completion.

13 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.  

a. The One in the midst of the seven lampstands “like unto the son of man” is Christ himself. He is described the same in the Psalms, the visions of Daniel and in his own discourses. It sets forth the prominence and importance of the human element in the character of Jesus Christ. Jesus is all God and all man and the union of the two is called the hypostatic union of Christ. It was absolutely necessary for the redemption of mankind. His redemptive work takes place in his human nature. It is as the Son of Man that he came, lived, suffered and died. It was as the Son of man that He arose from the dead, ascended into heaven and will come again to judge the world and establish his kingdom. The humanity of Christ was not temporary, but will abide forever as a thing of permanence.  

b. The garment in which He is clothed is the garment of royalty and magistracy. Jesus is not in the role of High Priest in this vision, but Sovereign Ruler and Judge of the seven churches. The picture is that of judging the whole Church from its inception in Ephesus until its conclusion in Laodicea. As Judge of the world, more will be shown later, but here He is Judge of the Church.
 

c. The golden sash around his chest is the garment of magistracy. Jesus is in the midst of the seven lampstands, which portrays him in the midst of the Church until the time for the Judgment Seat of Christ.  

14. His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire;

a. The head and hair of Jesus is white like wool.  he came, lived, suffered and died. It was as the Son of man that He arose from the dead, ascended into heaven and will come again to judge the world and establish his kingdom. The humanity of Christ was not temporary, but will abide forever as a thing of permanence.

b. His white hair connects with his fatherhood and patriarchal dignity. It also connects with his eternal Deity and magistracy.  

c. His eyes as a flame of fire depict his burning, all-penetrating intelligence, to bring hidden things to light and to search all things at a single glance.  

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

a. His feet as burnished bronze depict him as Judge. Brass is the metal that typifies judgment. The heated brass typifies purifying judgment.  

b. His voice as the sound of many waters portrays his voice as being overpowering to all that hear. The sound of Niagara Falls comes to mind, as one must remain silent at its overpowering sound.  

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.  

a. The “seven stars” are the ministers or pastors of the seven churches. Jesus Christ held them in his hand, which means that He had them under his control. He walks among the lampstands, but he holds the ministers in his right hand.  

b. The sword is a symbol of magistracy and judgment. This is not a hand sword, but a word sword. It separates asunder the unfaithful servants as described in the Olivet Discourse.  

c. His countenance is that of the sun shining at full strength. The churches are lamps, the pastors are stars but Christ is the sun. The glory of Christ was depicted at the transfiguration when his face shone as the sun. It was also seen by Paul on the road to Damascus when He appeared as a light above that of the sun.  

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:  

a. When John saw the glory of the glorified Christ, he fell at his feet as one that was dead. Jesus laid his right hand upon John and told him not to be fearful, for He was the “first and the last”. This phrase is a formula that sets forth the eternity of God and places his superiority above all created things. For Christ, it asserts his proper and eternal Deity, and establishes his participation in the eternal Godhead. 

18. I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.  

a. Christ as “he that liveth” is another title of his Deity. This does not refer to manifest life, but to life inherent and underived. It does not allude to simply the fact that Christ lived in the flesh, but that He had a deeper and self-existing life, and the life in the flesh was just one manifestation of this life that was coeternal with the Father.  

b. He does attest to the fact of his death and his bodily resurrection to never die again. He states that He has the keys to death (thanatos) and Hades. The transliterated Greek word thanatos typically refers to the death of the body. The Greek word Hades refers to the abode of the dead, which is inside the earth, so it would be the abode of the soul after death. In essence, Jesus is stating that He is in charge of death and dying for both the soul and the body. This is highly significant, since it is the soul and body that can perish as a result of judgment.

             D.            The Command to Write  (1:19-20)

Rev 1:19-20 (KJV)  Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter; 20 The mystery of the seven stars which thou sawest in my right hand, and the seven golden candlesticks. The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches: and the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches.  

19. Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter;  

a. Jesus commands John to write down the things which He has seen (i.e., the vision of the glorified Christ described earlier in this chapter). John is also to write down “the things which are”. These are described in Chapters 2 and 3 in the description of the Church in the seven letters to the seven churches. “The things which shall be hereafter are the things described in Chapters 4-22.  

b. The vision of Christ has already happened, and the Church Age is presently underway and will soon end. When the Church Age ends, the future events recorded in Chapters 4-22 will begin to take place. The Open Door in Chapter 4 is the first thing that will happen at the end of the Church Age.

20. The mystery of the seven stars which thou sawest in my right hand, and the seven golden candlesticks. The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches: and the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches.  

a. Jesus also tells John to write about “the mystery of the seven stars” and the “seven golden candlesticks”. In the language of Scripture a mystery is something which man is capable of knowing, but he can only know it when it is revealed. There are only two mysteries given and they are of the stars and lampstands. Jesus reveals these two mysteries to John by stating that the seven stars are the pastors (i.e., angels) of the seven churches, and the seven candlesticks (i.e., lampstands) are the seven churches.

b. The divine command to write the apocalypse in verse 19 provides the outline for the book of Revelation. The things which he saw make up the vision and were described in the first portion of chapter 1.  "The things which are" give a detailed outline of the 2000 year-long Church Age and are described in chapters 2 and 3.  The things which shall be hereafter cover the entire seven year tribulation period, some of the things during the millennium and some in eternity beyond the millennium.