This is the beginning of a very enlightening and powerful series here on HappyTabernacle. We are going to read through, and study the book of Revelations. In times like we are currently living in, we should be so grateful for the Lord, and his willingness to leave us this book as an outline for things to come. The book is often ignored or overlooked by pastors and theologians because of the stigma that it is impossible to understand or interpret, however through the power of the Holy Spirit and mindful meditation on his word, we believe that together we can understand the authors intentions and warnings.
1:1 The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John:
‘The Revelation of Jesus Christ’, the opening line to the book. This means two things, that this message comes from Christ, and this book is all about Christ and the Glory in his return to Earth that us believers patiently await.
Upon reading the introduction and honourable mentions of the book, we are encouraged that this book is for believers, and that they may understand God’s master plan for the future. Now the phrase “things which must shortly come to pass” is commonly believed to mean that these times are coming soon. This cannot be the case though, because this book was written 2000 years ago. We discover this when we look at the two Greek words for ‘shortly.’ en which means in, and tachos which means swiftness. When the events of the end-times begin to take place, they will happen in swiftness, or rapid succession.
Now what we have read so far also says that God sent an angel unto his servant John and signified the things that were going to happen in the future. The word ‘signified’ means that God described the coming things in symbols and signs rather than plain language. He was aware that over time language would change, words would adopt different meanings, but symbols and signs stay the same. Another reason for God using signs and symbols rather than plain language has to do with the persecution in the Church in this day. if he had used regular language to describe the coming times, people who were not followers of Christ could have used it to persecute the Saints and the Church.
unto his servant John:
1:2 Who bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw.
Verse two describes how God chose to reveal these visions of signs and symbols to the servant John, one of Jesus’ closest friends. In Matthew 4:22 we read that John sacrificed everything to go follow Jesus. It was a touching story of him believing in Jesus’ ministry, and desiring to be a full-time part of it. (Something many of us believers should also consider.) We should also note that these visions must have had a great toll on John, and overwhelmed him greatly.
Jumping ahead to Verse 9, we are told that it is because of the word of God, and the testimony of Jesus Christ, that John was exiled to Patmos (a small deserted island) in an attempt to silence him from spreading God’s word.
1:3 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.
This passage is the only one in the bible that promises blessings for a reader who studies, and heeds a certain book of the bible. This states that we will be blessed for spending time in the book of Revelations, and keeping God’s guidelines that he sent in visions to John.
This means that we may rest in expectation knowing that as long as we read, hear, and keep dear this message of Revelation in our heart, we will be blessed and encouraged by our Lord and Saviour.
1:4 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;
1:5 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,
1:6 And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.
1:7 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.
1:8 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.
After writing about Jesus’ glory to the seven major churches in Asia, John mentions Daniel’s description of the second coming of Christ (Matthew 24:30). Every eye shall see him, as opposed to his first coming in Bethlehem. This is the beautiful contrast of his birth in the form of man, and his second coming as our God.
1:9 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.
1:10 I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet,
1:11 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.
John boldly identifies that he is in the same boat as the believers of today. Like Paul said, there would be many different tribulations, not just one. I actually spoke about this in THIS VIDEO. John was exiled to Patmos to silence him, and it is there that God revealed to him the visions of the coming apocalypse. God told him to write what he sat in a book, and to spread it to the seven major churches in Asia.
1:12 And I turned to see the voice that spake with me. And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks;
1:13 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.
1:14 His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire;
1:15 And his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters.
Seven golden candlesticks also represent the seven major churches in Asia. Jesus was in the middle of this group of Churches. John then described Jesus to emphasise on his righteousness and also his judgement of the impure, he is dressed like a high priest. This is quite different from where we last Saw Jesus here on Earth naked and wearing a crown of thorns, being tortured.
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.
19 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.
Seven stars in his write hand were the seven angels of the seven churches. The sword and the sun were representations of his judgement, a major theme in his return to Earth. an interesting idea presented in the bible is that while the seven angels hold authority over the churches today, in the kingdom of god, believers will judge angels. Here in this existence, it may be difficult for us to imagine ourselves having the wisdom or knowledge to judge an angel, but in Heaven, we will.
The first chapter of the book of revelations sets us up for a very symbolic and interesting series of events. Now that we have studied this boring section of the book, we can move on to the descriptions of events to come, and the signs we are living in today.
Finally, I just want to encourage you to meditate, pray, and worship over this book of the bible, and allow your spiritual discernment to guide your thoughts and interpretations. If you interpret part of these stories differently than me, do not dismiss either of our interpretations, but let god guide you to the truth.
I pray you are well, and follow this blog and our other media outlets to continue studying the book of Revelations!