I. Video Data. How is Jesus described in Revelation, Chapter 1? 1
A. The first chapter of Revelation describes how God prepared John to receive subsequent portions of the revelation that were to constitute the book. After John introduces the work in its prologue (1:1-8), he describes a vision of Christ especially designed to direct the prophet’s thinking into channels appropriate to what follows in subsequent chapters (1:9-20). 2
B. The content of the book was revealed by Jesus Christ (v 1). The transmission of the material began with God the Father and was given progressively to Jesus, an angel, the apostle himself, and finally the seven churches of Asia Minor. Blessings were promised for the one who would read the prophetic scroll to the various congregations, as well as to those who would hear and obey its teachings. 3
C. The opening verse of the first chapter introduces immediately the central theme of the book of Revelation, namely, Jesus Christ in His present and future glory. The futuristic and prophetic character of the book is indicated in the words “a revelation of Jesus Christ” in which God will declare to John “things which must shortly come to pass.” The word revelation is the translation of apokalypsis without the article, meaning a “revelation, disclosure, or unveiling.” It is a revelation of truth about Christ Himself, a disclosure of future events, that is, His second coming when Christ will be revealed. It is as well a revelation which comes from Christ. 4
III. Scripture Text. Revelation Chapter 1. 5
The Revelation of Jesus Christ
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.
Message to the Seven Churches
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.”
The Patmos Vision
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.
IV. Verse Examination. 6
A. 1:1. “of Jesus Christ” = from Jesus Christ. Jesus gave this revelation from God, by means of an angel, to John. “soon.” This word does not indicate that the events described in this book will necessarily occur soon but that when they do begin to happen they will come to pass swiftly. (The same Greek word is translated “quickly” in Luke 18:8.)
B. 1:3. ‘Blessed.” There are seven beatitudes in Revelation. This is the first; the others are found in 14:13; 16:15; 19:9; 20:6; 22:7, 14. John wanted the book read at once, and preferable aloud, in the churches.
C. 1:4. “seven.” The number seven is associated with completion, fulfillment and perfection. In Revelation there are seven churches and seven spirits (1:4), seven lampstands (1:12), seven stars (1:16), seen seals on the scroll (5:1), seven horns and seven eyes of the Lamb (5:6), seven angels and seven trumpets (8:2), seven thunders (10:3), seven heads of the dragon (12:3), seven heads of the beast (13:1), seven golden bowls (15:7), and seven kings (17:10). “the seven spirits.” Many understand this to refer to the Holy Spirit in His perfect fullness (see 4:5a; Isa 11:2), though some take this as a reference to seven angels who are before God’s throne.
D. 1:5. “firstborn of the dead.” I.e., Christ was the first to receive a resurrection body that is immortal. See Col 1:15, where He is designated the firstborn of of every creature (cf. Ps 89:27).
E. 1.6. “a kingdom, priests.” Description of both Israel (Ex 19:6) and the church (1 Pet 2:9-10), indicating that we shall minister to Him forever.
F. 1:7. On “pierced” see Zech 12:10. “all…will mourn.” See Matt 24:29:30).
G. 1:8. “the Alpha and the Omega.” The first and last letters of the Greek alphabet, indicating that the Lord God is the beginning and end of all things.
H. 1:9. “Patmos.” A small island in the Aegean Sea, SW of Ephesus.
I. 1:10. “in the Spirit.” I. e., in a state of spiritual “ecstasy.” “on the Lord’s day.” Likely not a reference to Sunday (which is called the first day of the week in the NT) but literally 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.
J. 1:12. “lampstands.” These represent the seven churches mentioned in verse 11 (see also v 20).
K. 1:13. Christ’s clothing designates Him as priest and judge. Notice the description of the Ancient of Days in Dan 7:9.
L. 1:14. “like white wool…..snow.” Pictures Christ’s wisdom and purity. “His eyes were like a flame of fire.”Piercing and penetrating in holiness. Compare the figure used in 1 Cor 3:13 in relation to judgment.
M 1:15. His “feet” walked through the trials and limitations of His earthly life. No one will talk back to one who has such a “voice.”
N. 1:16-20. “In His right hand he held seven stars.” The right hand is the place of honor (cf. Eph 1:20). The stars are the “angels of the seven churches” (v 20). The word “angel” may mean “a superhuman being,” implying that each church has a special guardian angel or, more likely, it refers to the human leader of each local church. (See Luke 9:52 and James 2:25, where the word “angels,” translated “messengers,” is used of human beings.) “sword.” A symbol both of the truth and of the severity of the Word of God (Heb 4:12).
O. 1:17. “I am the first and the last.” In verse 8 God is called “the Alpha and the Omega.” Here, Christ gives Himself a similar title.
P. 1:18. “the keys of death and of Hades.” The keys denote the authority of Christ over physical death and Hades, the place that temporarily holds the immaterial part of the unbeliever between death and the ultimate casting into the lake of fire (see 20:14).
Q. 1:19. This verse gives the basic outline of the book: (1) “things which you (John) have seen,” as recorded in chap 1; (2) “things which are;” i.e., the present state of the churches (chaps 2-3); and (3) “things which will take place after these things.” The third section clearly begins with 4:1, since the same phrase is used there.
R. 1:20. “the….stars are the angels.”
V. Additional Thoughts.
A. Rev 1:19, per Dr. Ryrie’s note: (2) “things which are;” i.e., the present state of the churches (chaps 2-3). There is much teaching on the churches of Revelation Chapters 2 and 3, as to future date periods for each of the mentioned churches, from the date forward of the Revelation, such as:
The Church of Ephesus era occurred from 33-100 A.D.
The Church of Smyrna era, the Persecuted Church, occurred from 100-313 A.D.
The Church of Pergamos era occurred from 313-538 A.D.
The era of the Church of Thyatira, the Pagan Church 538-1514 A.D.
The Church of Sardis era, the Dead Church, occurred during the 1514 – 1798 A.D.
The era of the Church of Philadelphia occurred from 1798 – 1866 A.D.
The era of the Church of Laodicea, the Lukewarm Church, 1866 A.D. – present
B. Based on such flawed assumptions of when certain church periods will occur, the rapture of the church could not have been possible until present day. Per Paul’s writing of Titus 2:13, “looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus,” Christians were looking forward to the return of Christ, from the time of Paul’s writing of Titus in the year 65 A.D. John Walvoord had a sign in his office at Dallas Theological Seminary with the words, “Maybe Today.” As in the time of the writing of the New Testament, until all years forward, there has always been a teaching of imminency in regard to the Rapture of the Church. However, if the above suggested church periods were true, the Rapture could not have occurred until sometime during the “present”? Laodicean Church age. Chapters 2 and 3 address churches as they were functioning at the time of John’s writing. As we move on to chapters two and three of Revelation, we will see that every church problem that The Revelation addresses, has been common to the churches of every era of time, from the time of the Revelation, through present day churches.
C. In addition to the “church ages” incorrect teachings, it is important to address another incorrect teaching in reference to the Book of Revelation. Many people relate to “The Revelation of Jesus Christ, ” as to “the book of revelations.” But, per Rev 1:1, the correct wording is “The Revelation.” The Book of Revelation is “one revelation” (singular) that Jesus gave to the Apostle John, and “not many revelations” (plural).
VI. Summary. 7
In this first chapter of Revelation we considered: The preface (vs 1-3); John’s salutation to the seven churches of Asia (vs 4-6 ); the coming of Christ (vs 7-8); the Apostle’s vision in Patmos (vs 9-16); the effect of the vision of Patmos on the Apostle (vs 17-18); what the Apostle is commanded to write (vs 19-20).
1. John Ankerberg Show: Drs. Ron Rhodes (Th. M., Th. D.), Ed Hindson (Th. M., Th. D., D. Min., Ph. D.), Mark Hitchcock (Th. M., J. D., Ph. D.).
2. Dr. Robert L. Thomas (Th. M., Th. D.; 1928-2017). Revelation Commentary, 1992.
3. Dr. Daniel Green (Th. M., D. Min.). The Moody Bible Commentary, 2014.
4. Dr. John F. Walvoord (Th. B., Th. M., Th. D., 1910-2002). Revelation Commentary, 1974.
5. Scripture Text. Revelation 1, New American Standard Bible (NASB 1995). Pasted from Bible Gateway.
6. Dr. Charles C. Ryrie (Th. M., Th. D., Ph. D., 1925-2016). Ryrie Study Bible, 1986, 1995.
7. Dr. Orville J. Nave, Nave’s Study Bible, 1978 (D.D., LL. D., 1841-1917). Orville J. Nave (Editor), Anna Seamans Nave (Editor).
VIII. My Bucket List shows the references, of people and documents, that I use when I write my articles.
IX. My Websites To Follow.
https://untotheleastofthese.home.blog/ Equipping The Saints Web Site
https://thechurchoftheopendoor.wordpress.com/ Israel Web Site
https://success2693.wordpress.com/ Israel, History And Prophecy