Book of Revelation – a series presented by pastor Michael Walker
Lesson #1 – Revelation, chapter 1
“Revelation” — Greek apocalypsis = ‘an uncovering’, ‘laying bare’, ‘a disclosure of a divine truth’, ‘a manifestation from God’ (Greek Lexicon of the New Testament by Abbott-Smith).
NB. Only divine revelation can come from God (cf. 1 Corinthians 2:10-12)
Author: John (Revelation 1:1-2)
John the beloved disciple previously bore record of God’s Word, writing the 4th Gospel and 3 Epistles. He has been banished to Patmos by Emperor (Revelation 1:9) c. AD 94-95. When Domitian died, Nerva took the throne and released political prisoners; so John probably returned to Ephesus. John received visions on Patmos and wrote them down (cf. v. 11)
“The Revelation of Jesus Christ” (v. 1). The Old Testament (OT) reveals Christ in prophecy. The 4 Gospels reveal His earthly ministry, sufferings, death, resurrection and ascension. The book of Acts and the Epistles reveal the earthly triumphs of Christ’s Church under the ministry of the Holy Spirit. The book of Revelation reveals Christ in glory at the right hand of God as High Priest and Minister of the Heavenly Sanctuary, also as Supreme Judge before Whom all nations must appear. The final scenes depict Him as “King of kings and Lord of lords”, reigning over saints in Paradise.
Christ is the central focus throughout this prophetic book. The Son of God is mentioned by name, or by the pronoun denoting Him, more than 140 times in the first three chapters. This emphasizes that Jesus is the central Person of the book.
In the incarnation, Christ dwelt amongst us, taking human nature and veiling His glory. Now seated on the throne of the universe, He reigns in unrivalled glory. John, who knew Jesus in His earthly sojourn, now falls prostrate at His feet as he witnesses His glorious majesty!
Christ “freed” (Greek: lyō) us from our sins by dying for us (cf. Revelation 5:9)
This book was written for Christ’s people, the Church, to reveal what was to come (see: Amos 3:7). It was explained by His angel. In vision, an angel is present to direct the prophet and explain the meanings (cf. Daniel 8:15-16; Zechariah 1:8-9). While it was encouraging for the Early Church and the suffering saints throughout history, it also contains a special message for these last days (i.e. 3 Angels of Revelation 14) just before Jesus returns (Revelation 22:6-7,10,12,20).
Everyone shall see Him (cf. Matthew 24:30-31; 25:31-34). The Second Coming is referred to in the New Testament (NT) 1 in every 25 verses; it is an important message, a message of hope to the saints, a message of warning to the wicked.
“Even those who pierced Him” – a special resurrection (Matthew 26:63-64; Zechariah 12:10; Daniel 12:1-2; cf. John 5:28-29 with 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 and Revelation 20:4-6.
Christ’s Message to His Church
There were more than 7 churches in Asia but their selection is significant in that they were located along the imperial post road. The road was built c. 133 BC.; it passed through the 7 churches where it joined another main post highway.
Numerology: “7” = completeness, universality, or perfection. In the Book of Revelation: 7 churches, 7 letters, 7 stars, 7 candlesticks, 7 Spirits of God, 7 lamps of fire, 7 seals, 7 trumpets, 7 horns, 7 eyes, 7 thunders, 7 heads, 7 crowns, 7 angels, 7 vials, 7 mountains, and so on.
The 7 Churches represents the Church of Christ throughout the world until Christ returns but their names represent what the condition of the Church would be in the different ages, and also what God requires of them.
The 7 Apocalyptic Beatitudes in Revelation
|1:3||“Blessed is he who reads, and those who hear.”|
|14:13||“Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord.”|
|16:15||“Blessed is he who watches, and keeps his garments.”|
|19:9||“Blessed are those who are called to the marriage supper.”|
|20:6||“Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection”|
|22:7||“Blessed is he who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book.”|
|22:14||“Blessed are those who do His commandments” (NKJV)|
|or “those who wash their robes” (NRSV).|
Jesus Amongst His Church
The book opens with focus on Christ’s atoning death (v. 5) and His priestly ministry (vs. 12-13); it closes with His return as King of kings and Lord of lords (19:16), the Final Judgement and destruction of the wicked (20:11-15), followed by the New Earth (chapters 21 & 22).
The book also commences with a trifold salutation of grace and peace from the Holy Trinity. “Seven Spirits”: Seven attributes of the Spirit, including the “fruit of the Spirit” (Isaiah 11:2; Galatians 5:22-23).
The fruitage of the truth that righteousness by faith is in Christ and the outcome is expressed in these verses. God did not wait until we were cleansed before He loved us, but because He loved us He cleansed us (1 John 4:14; Romans 5:8).
Christ has many names or titles. “The Alpha and Omega” that speaks of the all-encompassing divinity of His nature & character.
Vision of Jesus Christ, our Eternal God, the all-encompassing ‘Alpha and Omega’, appears in all His glory as our heavenly High Priest (cf. Daniel 10:5-6. See also Hebrews 4:14-16; 7:24-25).
NB. v. 18. He lives forever and has conquered death and has power over the grave.
A Sharp two-edged sword comes from His mouth (Ephesians 6:17; Hebrews 4:12-13). 7 stars held in His hand: messengers (aggeloi) of His Church (v. 20).
7 golden candlesticks: the 7 churches (v. 20). What a wonderful encouragement to know that Jesus is with His Church on its journey through the ages, facing trials and opposition, suffering persecution and death (cf. Matthew 28:20). Jesus is holding His servants in His hand; He is amidst His faithful, keeping watch over His Own; Jesus is amongst us, holding His Church together.
A very special blessing is on those that study and take the Book of Revelation seriously.
As we journey through the Book of Revelation, alongside the prophet John as he beholds the scenes that pass before him, viewing the great controversy between Christ and Satan, and on into the final conflict, let us seek to understand this revelation in relation to Jesus being with us, offering grace and peace, as we enter into the stages of this earth’s final history where Jesus triumphs to the full and share that victory with Him.
The precious name of Jesus
“It stands for love, for patience, for kindness, for forbearance, for selfsacrifice, for magnanimity. It is aromatic with all odours, and accordant with all harmonies. Sometimes I see that name, and the letters seem to be made out of tears, and then again they look like gleaming crowns. Sometimes they seem as though twisted out of the straw on which He lay, and then as though built out of the thrones on which His people shall reign. Sometimes I sound that word ‘Jesus’, and I hear coming through the two syllables the sigh of Gethsemane and the groan of Calvary; and again I sound it, and it is all a-ripple with gladness and a-ring with hosanna. . . . Let it drip from the harp’s strings and thunder out in organ’s diapason. Sound it often, sound it well, until every star shall seem to shine it, and every flower shall seem to breathe it, and mountain and sea, and day and night, and earth and heaven acclaim in full chant: ‘Blessed be His glorious name forever; The name that is above every name.’ ” (The Palestine Sermons of Rev. T. DeWitt Talmage, p. 184)
The Keys to Unlock Prophetic Symbolism
[These only to be applied to what is symbolically portrayed]
|7 lampstands (or candlesticks)||Churches||Revelation 1:20|
|Stars or angels (only when used symbolically)||Messengers||Revelation 1:20|
|Two-edged sword from mouth||Word of God||Hebrews 4:17|
|A prophetic day||A solar year (360 literal days)||Ezekiel 4:6; |
|A pure woman||Christ’s true, faithful Church||Jeremiah 6:2; |
|An impure woman, a whore||Unfaithful, fallen Christendom||Revelation 17:3-6; |
Hosea 2:2-5; 9:1
|The dragon||Satan||Revelation 12:9|
|Wind||Warfare, commotion, trouble, strife||Jeremiah 49:36,37|
|Water or Sea||Peoples, nations, multitudes, languages||Revelation 17:15|
|Trumpet||An alarm, warning of coming judgement||Jeremiah 4:19; |
|Beasts||Kingdoms, empires||Daniel 7:23|
|Horns||Kingdoms within an empire||Daniel 7:24|
|Harvest and reapers||End of the world (the angels are the reapers)||Matthew 13:39|
The full video presentation is available here: