THE REVELATION OF JESUS CHRIST
To teach the basic introductory truths necessary for an understanding of the Book and to give the pupils a vision of the likeness of Jesus
POINT OF CONTACT
How long did Jesus live? When He went away what did He promise ( John 14:1-3)? How is He coming and what is going to happen is taught to us in the Book of Revelation.
The Book of Revelation is not a sealed book. It is a book that God wants us to study and understand. Much of the book covers the period of Daniel's seventieth week. In this first chapter, God teaches us some basic truths about the book that we need to know in order to rightly divide and understand the book.
I. INTRODUCTION -- VERSES 1-3
Verse 1 "Revelation" means unveiling or uncovering. This book unveils Jesus to us. "Which God gave unto Him" means that the things revealed about the exalting of Christ in this book are the rewards He will receive because of His sufferings. "To show unto His servants" means this book is for God's people. "Shortly come to pass" means surely. It speaks also of the imminency of His return. In other words, there is no doubt that these things written in this Book will come to pass.
Verse 2 God's servant, John, was a faithful testifier of all things of God that he saw (John 1:1; 20:31).
Verse 3 The Beatitude of Revelation -- Blessed means happy or contented. God promises to make happy and contented those who read and hear and keep or guard the sayings of this book. So God promises blessings for those who study it.
God blesses the churches that study it. The reason we are to study it is that "the time is at hand." It could happen any minute. Three more reasons why we should study this book are:
(1) It is the only prophetic book in the New Testament.
(2) The study of any Scripture is profitable (II Timothy 3:16).
(3) This prophecy concerns us. Christ will not be glorified alone. We shall be glorified with Him.
II. THE GREETING -- VERSES 4-8
Verse 4 It was written to churches. These were young churches. Some say that Revelation is too hard for us to understand, yet the book was written to young churches.
Grace and Peace is the salutation. Note that Grace always precedes Peace. Without God's unmerited favor being bestowed there would be no peace of heart.
Verses 4,5 Greetings from the Holy Trinity
(1) Him which is and which was and which is to come -- God the Father.
(2) The Seven Spirits -- The Holy Spirit (Seven is the number of perfection.) CF. Isaiah 11:2; I Corinthians 12:4
(3) Jesus Christ -- The Son -- The faithful witness, the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth
Thus, each person of the Trinity is described by three things.
Verses 5,6 Greetings continued
(1) "And from Jesus Christ" -- Think of it! A letter from one so important as Jesus Christ
(2) Who is the Faithful Witness? In a trial there is always the "key witness." When we stand before God, Jesus will say that He witnessed our conversion experience and will be our witness.
(3) "Prince" -- Ruler. He is the King of Kings.
(4) John's Ascription of Praise -- Upon the mention of Jesus, John begins to praise Him. We should revere His name.
a. "Unto Him that loved us," yea, He loves us. He loved us in our uncleanness and He always will.
b. "And washed us" -- Note: He loved us when we were foul, unclean and unwashed. Then He washed us. One great act and it occurred on Calvary (Acts 13:38,39; Romans 3:22; I John 1:7).
c. "And hath made us Kings and Priests," or a Kingdom of Priests -- We are, if saved, all Priests unto God. We have access to God for ourselves and for others.
d. "To Him be Glory" -- The thought of the coming Kingdom thrilled John, so he says, "Glory to God."
e. "Amen" -- Let it be done. Are you anxious for this to come to pass? John was and we should be.
Verse 7 This coming refers to Christ's coming at the close of the Tribulation. CF. Zechariah 12:10; Acts 1:11; Daniel 7:13; Matthew 26:62,64.
Far better will it be to bow before Him now and be saved than to bow before Him at His Second Coming (Philippians 2:9-11).
John was a good Baptist. Even So, Amen. Let it happen.
Verse 8 Alpha and Omega are the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet. These things will come to pass. Jesus is coming to earth again. The Almighty Lord hath declared it (Isaiah 9:6,7).
III. John's Vision of Jesus -- Vs. 9-17
Verse 9 John was now over ninety years old. He had lived for God for over sixty years. He had learned by experience that the Christian life was one of tribulation (II Timothy 3:12). He was now exiled on a little island in the Mediterranean off the coast of Asia Minor. He was banished to this desolate spot because he had been preaching and testifying of Jesus Christ faithfully. John constantly thought about the coming Kingdom and patiently waited for it. We should be like John.
Verse 10 John was especially in the Lord's will on the Lord's Day, Sunday. One of the keys to spiritual power is to observe the Lord's Day properly.
Verse 11 This verse deals with the letters being sent to the seven churches. These were orders from God. Let us be careful to hear and obey the orders from God as given in His Book.
Verse 12 Read verse twenty to understand the meaning.
Verses 13-16 In the midst of God's true churches is His Son. These verses describe symbolically what Jesus is like. NO ONE can really picture what He looks like. In this description, John presents Him with the symbols of His function and His characteristics.
(1) Symbols of Function -- "Clothed with a garment" -- This refers to His dignity, His judicial authority, His kingly presence (Isaiah 6:1). His train -- (His robes, His dress, His shirts) -- Such is the dignity of the presence of God. He was clothed with a garment, a flowing garment, down to the foot, the priestly dress of a priest, the regal robes of a king, the judicial attire of a judge. "Girt about the breast with a golden girdle" refers to His affection, His understanding, His sympathy, and His love for His people.
(2) Our Lord's Characteristics -- Sevenfold
a. His head, His hair -- white -- refers to the eternal purity -- His thoughts (Hebrews 13:8)
b. His eyes - picturing the omniscience of God (Hebrews 4:13)
c. His feet -- brass speaks of judgment (Numbers 21:4-9) -- This represents the judgement of God upon humanity and speaks of His HOLINESS.
d. His voice -- "many waters" refers to many messages and many messengers. His voice has gone thru them for ages and speaks of His LONGSUFFERING.
e. Right hand -- Seven Stars -- Stars refer to messengers or the pastors of the churches. In the midst of a multitude of sinners, God protects His servants. Here we see the FAITHFULNESS of God.
f. His mouth -- had a sharp two-edged sword (Hebrews 4:12) -- It is the Word of life unto life to them that believe, but it is the Word of death unto death to them that refuse. It is a sharp sword that cuts both ways. This speaks of JUSTICE.
g. His countenance -- the glory of Christ (Matthew 17:2) -- His TRUTHFULNESS is here revealed and therein is strength. What a picture! Someday we will see Jesus in all of His glory.
IV. The Message of John (Verses 17-20)
Verse 17 Seeing Jesus as He really is, is a great experience. An experience that causes one to see how unworthy and insignificant they are. In awe and reverence and godly fear, John fell at Jesus' feet as dead (Daniel 10:8; Genesis 18:27).
Jesus' message began with comforting, strengthening words. "Fear not -- I am ... the first and the last" (John 8:58).
Verse 18 Jesus speaks of His incarnation, His death and His resurrection. He lives forevermore and because He lives, we shall live also (John 11:25,26). Jesus has the keys to death and hell. In other words, no one dies without Jesus' permission, nor does anyone go to hell without His permission.
Verse 19 Jesus gives the outline of the book.
(1) The things which thou hast seen (Chapter one)
(2) The things which are (Chapters two and three) -- THE CHURCH AGE
(3) The things which shall be hereafter or after the church age (Chapters four through twenty-two)
Verse 20 The Seven Stars and the Seven Candlesticks were symbolic of something else, namely the pastors of the churches and the churches themselves; thus, we see that when symbols are used occasionally in the Book of Revelation, God does explain what the symbols mean.
In this chapter, we have studied what John had seen. We saw what Jesus is like and heard the message of comfort and peace from the lips of Jesus. Isn't it wonderful to know He loves us, He washed us, and that He lives for us. The events of this Book will surely come to pass and soon. Are you ready for them?
1. What does the word "Revelation" mean?
2. The Book of Revelation was written by whom ?
3. The Book of Revelation was written to whom?
4. Name five reasons for studying this book.
5. From whom is the contents of this Book?
6. Give three reasons why we should praise Jesus (Verses 5 and 6).
7. Was John anxious for the events of this Book to occur?
8. Jesus' coming in the clouds will be at the beginning or at the end of the Tribulation?
9. What does Alpha and Omega mean?
10. How old was John when he was on the isle of Patmos?
11. How long had he been serving the Lord?
12. Why was John on the isle of Patmos?
13. What does the garment that Jesus had on teach us about Him?
14. Name five of our Lord's characteristics as revealed by His appearance to John.
15. Why did John fall at the feet of Jesus?
16. Does anyone die without the permission of Jesus?
17. What does the Seven Stars refer to?
18. What does the Seven Candlesticks refer to?
19. State the outline of the Book of Revelation.
20. What does the number "seven" mean in the Bible?