Revelation 1:1-20

Part I. Introduction.

A. At this time in our world’s situation with the Coronavirus (COVID-19), it has become my strong belief that I should veer from my intended course of writing, and explain the prophetic events of the end times. There are voices in the Christian world that have attempted to place the things that are affecting our world in the “yet future tribulation.” The events of Matthew 24 and Revelation 6 are said “to be happening now,” without making any mention of Israel, or of Christ. Israel is key throughout the tribulation. God will cause the tribulation events to occur, which will include the persecutions of the antichrist. So, what can we say about the things of COVID-19? Is God aware of the world’s situation? Is God a distanced bystander?

B. The recent article that I wrote, “God’s Purposes,” it addresses our world from Genesis to Revelation, prior and beyond. Psalm 103:19 explains God’s power over the entire world: “The Lord has established His throne in the heavens, And His sovereignty rules over all.” The strength of Psalm 103:19 is that it is God, “who keeps Jupiter from bumping into Mars;” you can take that train of thought further. As we look closer to earth, Psalm 147:8 explains the governing hand of God: “Who covers the heavens with clouds, Who provides rain for the earth, Who makes grass to grow on the mountains.” Again, you can carry that thought further. In this study, we will also introduce and discuss “The Office of Theocratic Administrator.”

C. This study of Revelation will answer many questions about the current world situation as they relate to the end times, and will conclude that we are not presently in any part of the tribulation. The articles in this end times study will show the purposes of the tribulation, which do not relate to anything that is happening in our world today. These articles will also conclude that nothing that occurs during the tribulation will be outside of God’s purposes, and His plan for the salvation of Israel. There will not be an “end of the world, ” which will be caused by global warming, or by “Mother Nature.” God is in charge of global warming, and “there is no “Mother Nature!” I will tip my hand and go “way forward” into this series of articles, and let Scripture speak concerning the subject of world destruction.

(1) 2 Peter 3:7 (NASB) “But by His word the present heavens and earth are being reserved for fire, kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men.”

(2) Revelation 21:1 (NASB) “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea.”

D. That which has been tainted by sin will be replaced by that which is Holy, and will be based on God’s sovereign purposes. No other factor, outside of God’s plan for the ages, has any place in the affect of the end times, which is known as eschatology.

E. Translation. The text is from the New American Standard Bible. Comments will come from the MacArthur Study Bible, unless otherwise noted.

F. Sources of information. Everyone reads articles and books that have been written by other people. Whenever I choose an author, a speaker, or any other type of teacher for source material for the articles that I write, I try to find out as much as is possible about each potential source of information. I want to know about a person’s reputation among their peers; I also want to know how their writings, or discussions, relate to my understanding of the subject that I will be discussing. A potential source’s length of service, in their field of expertise, is an extremely important factor in my search. Such is the background of the many sources of information whose expertise in Scripture I have entrusted to my writings

Part II. Revelation Chapter 1 Study.

A. The Revelation of Jesus Christ (vv 1-3).

1. Verses. 1 The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show to His bond-servants, the things which must soon take place; and He sent and communicated it by His angel to His bond-servant John, 2 who testified to the word of God and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, even to all that he saw. 3 Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of the prophecy, and heed the things which are written in it; for the time is near.


a. 1:1. The Revelation. The Gr. word from which the Eng. word “apocalypse” comes lit. means “to uncover, or to reveal.” When it refers to a person, it means that person becomes clearly visible. [My note. Notice that Revelation, “singular,” is used. The entire book of Revelation is “one revelation,” and is not a book of revelations.]

b. 1:1. Jesus Christ. The gospels unveil Christ at His first coming in humiliation; Revelation reveals Him in His exaltation: (1) in blazing glory (vv. 7–20); (2) over His church, as its Lord (chaps. 2, 3); (3) in His second coming, as He takes back the earth from the usurper, Satan, and establishes His kingdom (chaps. 4–20); and (4) as He lights up the eternal state (chaps. 21, 22). The NT writers eagerly anticipate this unveiling (1 Cor. 1:7; 2 Thess. 1:7; 1 Pet. 1:7).

c. 1:1. God gave Him. As a reward for Christ’s perfect submission and atonement, the Father now presented to Him the great record of His future glory (cf. Phil. 2:5–11). Readers eavesdrop on the gift of this book, from the Father to His Son.

d. 1:1. shortly. The primary meaning of this word (lit. “soon”; cf. 2:5, 16; 3:11; 11:14; 22:12; 2 Tim. 4:9) underscores the imminence of Christ’s return. [Walvoord Commentary note. That which Daniel declared would occur “in the latter days” is here described as “shortly” (Gr., en tachei), that is, “quickly or suddenly coming to pass,” indicating rapidity of execution after the beginning takes place. The idea is not that the event may occur soon but, that when it does, it will be sudden (cf. Luke 18:8; Acts 12:7; 22:18; 25:4; Rom. 16:20). A similar word, tachys, is translated “quickly” seven times in Revelation (2:5, 16; 3:11; 11:14; 22:7, 12, 20).

e. 1:3, Blessed. This is the only biblical book that comes with a blessing for the one who listens to it being read and explained and then responds in obedience. This is the first of 7 beatitudes in the book (v. 3; 14:13; 16:15; 19:9; 20:6; 22:7, 14). [ My note. The importance of churches studying the Book of Revelation can not be understated.]

f. 1:3. time is near. “Time” refers to epochs, eras, or seasons. The next great epoch of God’s redemptive history is imminent. But although Christ’s coming is the next event, it may be delayed so long that people begin to question whether He will ever come (cf. Matt. 24:36–39; 2 Pet. 3:3, 4). [Walvord Commentary note. “For the time is near.” The Greek word for “time” here is “kairos,” which means a season of time in contrast to the term “hour,” which means time on a calendar of clock. The next great event on God’s prophetic calendar, the prophetic calendar, the imminent return of Christ to rapture His church, is near from the standpoint of prophetic revelation and could occur at any moment.]

B. Message to the Seven Churches (vv 4-7).

1. Verses. 4 John to the seven churches that 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 His throne, 5 and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To Him who loves us and released us from our sins by His blood— 6 and He has made us to be a kingdom, priests to His God and Father—to Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen. 7 Behold, He is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see Him, even those who pierced Him; and all the tribes of the earth will mourn over Him. So it is to be. Amen. 8 “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.”


a. 1:4 seven churches which are in Asia. Asia Minor, equivalent to modern Turkey, was composed of 7 postal districts. At the center of those districts were 7 key cities which served as central points for the dissemination of information. It is to the churches in those cities that John writes. [My note. Notice that John did not address the Church at Rome.]

b. 1:4. who is and who was and who is to come. God’s eternal presence is not limited by time. He has always been present and will come in the future. [Walvoord Commentary note. The “who” relates to “God” the Father.]

c. 1:4. the seven Spirits. There are two possible meanings: (1) a reference to Isaiah’s prophecy concerning the 7-fold ministry of the Holy Spirit (Is. 11:2); or (2) more likely, it is a reference to the lampstand with 7 lamps (a menorah) in Zechariah—also a description of the Holy Spirit (see notes on 4:5; 5:6; Zech. 4:1–10). In either case, 7 is the number of completeness, so John is identifying the fullness of the Holy Spirit.

d. 1:5. firstborn. Of all who have been or will be raised from the dead, He is the preeminent one, the only one who is the rightful heir (cf. 3:14; Ps. 89:27; Col. 1:15). [Walvoord Commentary note. Referring to Christ’s resurrection.]

e. 1:6. kings and priests. More accurately, “a kingdom and priests.” All who believe live in the sphere of God’s rule, a kingdom entered by faith in Jesus Christ. And as priests, believers have the right to enter God’s presence. [Ryrie Study Bible note. “A kingdom, priests.” Description of both Israel {Ex 19:6} and the church. See note on 1 Peter 2:9-10, indicating that we shall minister to Him forever.]

f. 1:7 coming with clouds. This echoes the promise of Daniel: The Son of Man will come with the clouds of heaven (Dan. 7:13)—not ordinary clouds but clouds of glory. In the OT, God often manifested Himself in an energized, blazing light, called the Shekinah or glory cloud. No one could see it fully and live (Ex. 33:20), so it had to be veiled. But when Christ returns, the glory will be completely visible. Cf. Matt. 24:29, 30; 25:31; see notes on 6:12–17. [My note. Not every eye will see Christ when He comes in the air at the rapture to take His born again believers to Heaven {John 14:2,3,6; 1 Thes 4:16-17; 1 Cor 15:50-54}. At the 1:7 coming with clouds, every eye, of those whom were left behind from the rapture, will see Christ when He returns to earth from Heaven with His previously raptured born again believers {Zech 12:10; Matt 24:29-30}].

g. 1:7. they who pierced. Not a reference to the 4 Roman soldiers usually involved in crucifixion, but to the Jews who were actually responsible for Christ’s death (Acts 2:22, 23; 3:14, 15). Zechariah identified the ones who pierced Him as “the house of David” and “the inhabitants of Jerusalem,” and prophesied that they will weep tears of genuine repentance because of what they did to their Messiah (Zech. 12:10). [See my note in 1:7, above.]

h. 1:7. all the tribes…will mourn. The mourning of the rest of the earth’s inhabitants is not that which accompanies genuine repentance (cf. 9:21). It is the result of guilt for sin and fear of punishment (6:16; cf. Gen. 3:8–10). [My note. Tribes more directly relate to Jews, as they were the tribes of Israel; see Gen 49:16.]

i. 1:8 Alpha and the Omega. These are the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet. An alphabet is an ingenious way to store and communicate knowledge. The 26 letters in the English alphabet, arranged in almost endless combinations, can hold and convey all knowledge. Christ is the supreme, sovereign, alphabet; there is nothing outside of His knowledge, so as there are no unknown factors that can sabotage His second coming (cf. Col. 2:3).

j. 1:8. the Almighty. “Almighty God” occurs 8 times in Revelation, underscoring that God’s power is supreme over all the cataclysmic events it records (see also 4:8; 11:17; 15:3; 16:7, 14; 19:15; 21:22). He exercises sovereign control over every person, object, and event, and not one molecule in the universe is outside that dominion. [My note. See Introduction I.B., above.]

C. The Patmos Vision (vv 9-20).

1. Verses. 9 I, John, your brother and fellow partaker in the tribulation and kingdom and perseverance which are in Jesus, was on the island called Patmos because of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus. 10 I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and I heard behind me a loud voice like the sound of a trumpet, 11 saying, “Write in a book what you see, and send it to the seven churches: to Ephesus and to Smyrna and to Pergamum and to Thyatira and to Sardis and to Philadelphia and to Laodicea.” 12 Then I turned to see the voice that was speaking with me. And having turned I saw seven golden lampstands; 13 and in the middle of the lampstands I saw one like a son of man, clothed in a robe reaching to the feet, and girded across His chest with a golden sash. 14 His head and His hair were white like white wool, like snow; and His eyes were like a flame of fire. 15 His feet were like burnished bronze, when it has been made to glow in a furnace, and His voice was like the sound of many waters. 16 In His right hand He held seven stars, and out of His mouth came a sharp two-edged sword; and His face was like the sun shining in its strength.17 When I saw Him, I fell at His feet like a dead man. And He placed His right hand on me, saying, “Do not be afraid; I am the first and the last, 18 and the living One; and I was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of death and of Hades. 19 Therefore write the things which you have seen, and the things which are, and the things which will take place after these things. 20 As for the 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 are the seven churches.


a. 1:9–18. This vision of Christ is equaled in grandeur only by the vision of His final return as King of kings and Lord of lords (19:11–16).

b. 1:9 tribulation and kingdom and patience. Four characteristics that John and his believing readers share: (1) persecution for their faith; (2) membership in the redeemed community over which Christ serves as Lord and King; (3) eager anticipation of the glory of His coming millennial reign on earth; and (4) endurance and perseverance in spite of difficult times.

c. 1:9. island . . . called Patmos. Located in the Aegean Sea off the coast of Asia Minor (modern Turkey) and part of a group of about 50 islands, Patmos is a barren, rocky, crescent-shaped island that is about 10 mi. long and less than 6 mi. at its widest point. Barren in John’s day, it served as a Roman penal colony. According to early Christian historian Eusebius, the emperor Nerva (A.D. 96–98) released John from Patmos.

d. 1:10. in the Spirit. This was not a dream. John was supernaturally transported out of the material world awake—not sleeping—to an experience beyond the normal senses. The Holy Spirit empowered his senses to perceive revelation from God (cf. Acts 10:11).

d. 1:10. “Lord’s Day.” [Ryrie Study Bible note. Likely not a reference to Sunday (which is called the first day of the week) in the NT) but a “Lordian day,” or an “imperial day” (the same adjective is used elsewhere only in 1 Cor 11:20), referring to the contents of the vision that reveal the future time when Christ will judge and rule]. {My note. See Isaiah 2:4a, “And He will judge between the nations, And will render decisions for many peoples.}

e. 1:10. loud voice. Throughout Revelation, a loud sound or voice indicates the solemnity of what God is about to reveal.

f. 1:11 book. The Gr. word refers to a scroll made of parchment formed from papyrus, a reed that grows plentifully along the Nile.

g. 1:12. lampstands. These were portable gold lampstands that held small oil lamps. Each lampstand represented a church (v. 20), from which the light of life shone. Throughout Scripture, 7 is the number of completeness, so these 7 lampstands are representative of all the churches. [Ryrie Study Bible note. “lampstands.” These represent the seven churches mentioned in verse 11 (see also v. 20).]

h. 1:13. Son of Man. According to the Gospels, this is the title Christ used most often for Himself during His earthly ministry (81 times in the Gospels). Taken from the heavenly vision in Dan. 7:13, it is an implied claim to deity. “garment.” Most occurrences of this word in the Septuagint, the Gr. OT, refer to the garment of the High-Priest. The golden sash across His chest completes the picture of Christ serving in His priestly role (cf. Lev. 16:1–4; Heb. 2:17).

h. 1:13.(1). garment. Most occurrences of this word in the Septuagint, the Gr. OT, refer to the garment of the High-Priest. The golden sash across His chest completes the picture of Christ serving in His priestly role (cf. Lev. 16:1–4; Heb. 2:17).

i. 1:14. white like wool. “White” does not refer to a flat white color but a blazing, glowing, white light (cf. Dan. 7:9). Like the glory cloud (or Shekinah), it is a picture of His holiness.

j. 1:14. eyes . . . flame of fire. Like two lasers, the eyes of the exalted Lord look with penetrating gaze into the depths of His church (2:18; 19:12; Heb. 4:13).

k. 1:15 feet . . . fine brass. The altar of burnt offering was covered with brass and its utensils were made of the same material (cf. Ex. 38:1–7). Glowing hot, brass feet are a clear reference to divine judgment. Jesus Christ with feet of judgment is moving through His church to exercise His chastening authority upon sin.

l. 1:15. voice . . . sound of many waters. No longer was His voice like the crystal clear note of a trumpet (v. 10), but John likened it to the crashing of the surf against the rocks of the island (cf. Ezek. 43:2). It was the voice of authority.

m. 1:16. seven stars. These are the messengers who represent the 7 churches (see note on v. 20). Christ holds them in His hand, which means that He controls the church and its leaders. [ Walvoord Commentary note. The seven stars Christ holds in His hand are identified in verse 20 as “the angels of the seven churches.” Since the word “angel” means “messenger, one who is sent,” it is best to understand these angels not as divine beings, but as the leaders in these churches who are responsible for their spiritual welfare. These messengers representing the churches are in Christ’s right hand, indicating possession, protection, and sovereign control.]

n. 1:16. a sharp two-edged sword. A large, two-edged broad sword. It signifies judgment (cf. 2:16; 19:15) on those who attack His people and destroy His church.

o. 1:17. fell at His feet. A common response to seeing the awesome glory of the Lord (Gen. 17:3; Num. 16:22; Is. 6:1–8; Ezek. 1:28; Acts 9:4).

p. 1:17. First and the Last. Jesus Christ applies this OT name for Yahweh (22:13; Is. 41:4; 44:6; 48:12) to Himself, clearly claiming to be God. Idols will come and go. He was before them, and He will remain after them.

q. 1:18. keys of Hades and of Death. See note on Luke 16:23. Death and Hades are essentially synonyms, but death is the condition and Hades, equivalent to the OT Sheol, the place of the dead (see note on 20:13). Christ decides who lives, who dies, and when.

r. 1:19. This verse provides a simple outline for the entire book: “the things which you have seen” refers to the vision John has just seen (chap. 1); “the things which are” denotes the letters to the churches (chaps. 2, 3); and “the things which will take place after this” refers to the revelation of future history (chaps. 4–22). [My comment. Chapters 2-3 relate to the church age, of which time we are a part today. So, we can look at Chapter 1, as being our past, and Chapters 2-3 being our present time, and Chapters 4-22 being our future. The church is never mentioned in the book of Revelation after the end of Chapter 3. After the rapture of the church occurs, the purpose of the church will have been fulfilled, and the church will be non-existent. Rev 21:1-3 describes those whom will inhabit the eternal state, of what many people refer to as heaven. The Bible says that God will create “a new heaven and a new earth,” and the New Jerusalem will descend from God to the new earth (Rev 21:1-2). In this new creation, “the dwelling of God is with men, and He will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God” (Rev 21:3). The word,”men,” relates to all whom are born again believers in Christ, as opposed to “unbelievers,” whom are identified in Rev 21:8. At present time, all Jewish and Gentile born again believers in Christ can take pride in knowing that “we are one in Christ” (Gal 3:28).]

s. 1:20. the angels. The word lit. means “messenger.” Although it can mean angel—and does throughout the book—it cannot refer to angels here because angels are never leaders in the church. Most likely, these messengers are the 7 key elders representing each of those churches (see note on v. 16). [Walvoord Commentary note. As earlier noted, the mystery of the seven stars is revealed to represent the messengers to the churches, and the seven golden lampstands are the churches themselves.]


Author: Equipping

The Church is the Church, and Israel is Israel. The Church did not replace Israel, and is not spiritual Israel. In the New Testament, “church” and “Israel” are mentioned as being separate entities. In the New Testament “church” is mentioned 112 times; Israel is mentioned 79 times; both are mentioned as being separate entities The Kingdom “has not yet come,” and will not come until the Jewish bloodline of Israel accepts God’s chosen king (Deuteronomy 17:15), which will take place at the end of the Tribulation when the nation of Israel faces decimation and calls on Messiah, Christ, in faith, to save them (Zechariah 12:10). Individual salvation is of the Jews (John 4:22), and comes through Christ (John 14:6). Things are discussed in this website that relate to God’s creation, from “eternity to eternity,” and all that is addressed within those parameters. Consider Isaiah 43:13, “Even from eternity I am He, And there is no one who can rescue from My hand; I act, and who can reverse it?” The Moody Study Bible adds a comment: “God is the ruler of all, and there is nothing that can stand against Him. His will is irresistible. The Bible Knowledge Commentary adds this thought: “No one can reverse what God puts into action or thwart His plans.” The articles that are found in this site may relate to anything that is found in the Bible, from Genesis 1:1 to Revelation22.21, as well as anything else that may relate to the Bible.

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