Revelation One

Author: John, the apostle. Calls himself "servant" or "your brother."

Challenged by Dionysius of Alexandria around 200 AD. His argument was based on:
1) Accusation of bad grammar, but this style of grammar has been found in contemporary Koine literature in the Papyri.
2) The writer never claims to be an apostle, but in the book of John he never calls himself even by name.

We must remember concerning Dionysius in the city of Alexandria, Egypt:
1) Alexandria's theological climate in the School of Theology opposed the doctrine of a Millennial kingdom.
2) It was a liberal school.

The book of Revelation was accepted as scripture around 150 AD.
It was not challenged until around 200 AD.

Revelation was written around 95-96 AD at the end of Domitians reign. This is recorded by Irenaeus.

John the Apostle had three well known students:
1) Ignatius (67-110) a pastor in Antioch
2) Polycarp (69-156) a pastor in Smyrna
3) Papias (70-155) a pastor in Hierapolis

Then, Iranaeus (130-200) was a disciple of Polycarp. Iranaeus grew up in Smyrna and was a pastor in Lyons, Gaul

(All four of these students and disciples were martyred.)

Those who oppose the book want reason to reject it because they do not accept the belief that Christ
will return to the earth

The book is about Jesus Christ's return.

It was given in a historical setting.

John was on Patmos.

John lived in Ephesus after returning from Patmos.

Is was given to 7 persecuted churches for:
1) Instruction.
2) Encouragement

Each of the seven churches would have received a copy of this book so it would have spread quickly.

Ignatius refers to it.
Iraneus refers to old copies of the book.
By 150 AD it had wide circulation.

Problems come when it is viewed as a literature written by man:
1) Must all be with in man's sight or understanding
2) Must be limited to time past or guesses about possible historical development.

Problems disappear when it is realized that it is divinely inspired:
1) Book offers knowledge beyond man's investigative ability.
2) Offers revelation in spiritual truth.
3) Offers revelation extending to visions of:

Views of interpretation:

Preterist—a historical record of the first century.

            Ignores  what is said in the book itself in:

                        1:3, “Blessed is the one who reads the words of this prophecy, . . . because the time is near.”

                        22:7, “Behold, I am coming soon!  Blessed is he who keeps the words of the prophecy in this book.”

                        22:10, “Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this book,  because the time is near.”

                        22:18-19, “I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book.”


            Second coming becomes the coming of the Romans in 70 AD destruction of Jerusalem.

            Nothing matches the cataclysmic events of chapters 6-19

Historicist—Prophetic record of History including:

                        * Fall of Rome to Barbarians

                        * Rise of Roman Catholic Church

                        * Coming of Islam

                        * French Revolution

            Interpretation becomes subjective as events of the last 2,000 years are picked through to and assigned to different parts of the book.

            There is no consistency from commentator to commentator.  The commentary is “every  man for himself” style.

            Revelation is not kept in the confines of literal, historical hermeneutics, and is instead  destroyed as each individual allegorizes and spiritualizes the book

Idealist—The book is used to define the continuous battle of good and evil that each  generation experiences. 

            The is not historical or prophetic. 

            It is a collection of thoughts, stories and examples to communicate spiritual realities.

Futurist—this view sees chapter 4-22 as predictions of the future.

            With this view the book can be understood with basic hermeneutic principles.


The first three views produce many, many interpretations.  Most of which are believed and accepted by a few people or a small group.  Each event could have as many as fifty explanations that conflict with each other.


The Nature of the Book                    “The Revelation. . .

The Central Theme of the Book       . . .of Jesus Christ, . . .

The Divine Source                             . . .which God gave Him. . . 

The Human Recipients                      . . .to show to His bond-servants. . .

The Prophetic Character                   . . .the things which must soon take place.

Supernaturally Communicated          He made it known by sending his angel. . . 

The Human Author                            . . .to His servant John, who testifies to everything he  saw—that is the word of God and the testimony                                                                   of Jesus Christ.

Its Promised Blessing                        Blessed is the one who reads the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart                                                              what is written in it

Its Compelling Urgency                     . . .because the time is near.



1:1  “Revelation” is the word “apokalypsis” means “revelation, disclosure, unveiling.”

            This information is not figured out or known by human understanding alone.  These  things where revealed by God to men.

            Daniel told Nebuchadnezzar that God is the one who reveals mysteries and makes known what is going to happen (Daniel 2:28, 29,45; and Amos 3:7) 


Soonis “tachos” and means “in a brief time” or “quickly”.  The emphasis here and through out the book when “tachos” is used is the nearness of Jesus’ coming. 

            2:16- “I will soon come to you and will fight against them with the sword of my  mouth.”

            3:11- “I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have, so that no one takes your crown.”

            11:14- “The second woe has passed; the third woe is coming soon.”

            22:6- “The Lord, the God of the spirits of the prophets, sent his angel to show his  servants the things that must soon take place.”

            22:7- “Behold, I am coming soon!

            22:12-  “Behold, I am coming soon!

            22:20-  “Yes, I am coming soon.”


The use of “tachos” (and its word group) say these things are close.  This is a source of motivation to read, hear and understand this book so that you may be motivated to live holy and be obedient.

1:3 “Blessed” is the word that means “fortunate, happy or blessed”


This blessing is for two groups of people:

            1.  “the one who reads (out loud) the words of this prophecy” as in the lector of the  church who read epistles to the congregation.  This is seen in 1 Thessalonians 5:27 and Colossians 4:16.   The word for “reads” can and should be translated   “reads out loud.”  John is not talking about privately reading this book alone, but   to reading it out loud to people to listen to it.


                        1 Thess.. 5:27- “I charge you before the Lord to have this letter read to   all the brothers.”

                        Col. 4:16- “After this letter has been read to you, see that is also read in the church of the Laodiceans and that you in turn read the letter from  Laodicea.”


            2.  “those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it” as in the early church   congregations who came weekly to hear the reading of the scripture.                              They must do two things:

                                    a.  Hear what was read

                                    b.  Take it into their souls to live right

                        Jesus said, “Everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice   is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.”  Matt.7:24


There are seven blessings or Beatitudes in Revelation:

1:3       “Blessed is the one who reads the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who  hear it and take to heart what is written in it, because the time is near.”

14:13   “Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.”

16:15   “Blessed is he who stays awake and keeps his clothes with him, so that he may not go   naked and be shamefully exposed.”

19:9     “Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!”

20:6     “Blessed and holy are those who have part in the resurrection.  The second death has no   power over them, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with him for a thousand years.”

22:7     “Blessed is he who keeps the words of the prophecy in this book.”

22:14   “Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life  and may go through the gates into the city.”


1:4 “To the seven churches in the province of  Asia”

            There where more than seven churches in Asia and in this part of Asia.

                        (Troas, Colossae, Hierapolis)

            Seven is the number of completion.

            The seven churches form a circle, actually the ancient mail route.

1:4 The Salutation

            1.  Wishing you well

                        a.  Grace wish from the Greek expression “charis” or “grace”

                        b.  Peace wish from the Hebrew expression “shalom” or “peace”

            2.  Source of the well-wishes

                        a.  From God

                                    i.  The one who is

                                    ii. The one who was

                                    iii. The one who is to come

                        b. From the Seven Spirits before the throne

                        c. From Jesus Christ    

                                    i.  The faithful witness

                                    ii. The firstborn of the dead

                                    iii. The ruler of kings on earth


Typical New Testament greetings include the “grace and peace.”  They often follow with sometimes one mention of God, more often with mention of God the Father and the Lord Jesus, but never are all three of the trinity mentioned as here.


“him who is, and who was and is to come” is a paraphrase of the divine name, YHWH, out of Exodus 3:14,15.  This is a reminder to the churches that the source (God) of this letter (book, revelation) encompasses all time with his eternal presence.  John attempts to capture the concept of the eternal  presence of God.  The Greek is difficult and clumsy and often criticized by modern scholars:


            apo      o       wn       kai     o     hn      kai     o        ercomenos

            “from     the     being             and       the   was         and      the           coming”


It is the view of God in three dominions at the same time: the present, the past, the future.  It is an all encompassing description of the transcendent God.


from the seven spirits” refers to the Holy Spirit.  There is only one Spirit (“There is one body and one Spirit . . .one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all is over all and through all and in all.”  Ephesians 4:4)but seven areas for completeness or fullness are identified here.   It would appear that Isaiah 11:1-3 is in the mind of the writer:


                                    “A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse;                   

                                    From his roots a Branch will bear fruit.

                                    The Spirit of the Lord will rest on him—

                                    The Spirit of wisdom

                                    And of understanding,

                                    The Spirit of counsel

                                    And of power,

                                    The Spirit of knowledge

                                    And of the fear of the Lord

                                              And he will delight in the fear of the Lord.”

Spirit of the Lord           The presence of God

Spirit of Wisdom            Insight and ability to apply facts

Spirit of Understanding    Revelation, insight to understand facts

Spirit of Counsel              Guidance and direction; ability to fulfill God’s plan

Spirit of Power                 Miracle power; gifts of the Spirit;

Spirit of Knowledge            Exact knowledge; able to gain facts w. senses/experience

Spirit of Fear of the Lord      Honor and Worship; Ability to live Holy and Obedient


Jesus received this Spirit at his baptism.  We have been baptized with this same Spirit. 


Jesus Christ is described as:

            1.  The faithful witness (witness is the word “martys” where we get “martyr” or one who  suffers death for being a witness.  This book speaks often of those who       hold to the truth in death as martyrs; 2:13; 11:3; 17:6)

                        a. This is his ministry as the second member of the trinity.          

                        b. He has always appeared to men and spoken for God as the angel of the Lord   in the OT and as the Word in flesh (Jesus) in the NT.

                        c.  Jesus said, “For this reason I have been born, and for this I have come    into the world to testify to the truth.”  (John 18:37)

            2.  The firstborn from the dead

                        a.  Firstborn is not a reference to the order but to his position in the family.  The    firstborn had the double portion. 

                        b.  God promised in Psalms 8:27, “I also shall make him My firstborn, the    highest of the kings of the earth.”

                        c.  A reference to “first fruits” is the discussion about the order of the  resurrections as in 1 Corinthians 15:20.

            3.  The ruler of the kings of the earth

                        a.  Christ is the absolute authority over world events and world leaders.

                        b.  Jesus holds in his hand the title deed to the earth.  This he purchased the     right to with his blood.

                        c.  Jesus is the Sovereign King of the earth in scripture:

                                    Psalm 2:6-8, “I have installed my King on Zion, my holy hill. . .”

                                    Jeremiah 23:5,  “I will raise up to David a righteous Branch, a King who    will reign wisely. . .

                                    Zechariah 9:9, “Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem!  See, your king comes to    you.”

                                    Zechariah 14:9, “The LORD will be king over the whole earth.”

                                    Matthew 2:2, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews?”

                                    John 1:49, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the King of Israel.”

                                    Philippians 2:9-11, “God exalted him to the highest place. . .that at the     name of Jesus every knee should bow. . .”

                                    Revelation 19:16, “On his robe and on his thigh he has this name   written:  KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.”

1:5  “To him who loves us” begins a description of Jesus and his redemptive work towards us:

            1.  “To him who loves us

                        a)  His love is still in action today.  He loved us on the cross, but he loves us now  today from his exalted position.

            2.  “Has freed us form our sins by his blood

                        a)  The focus here is not that our sins have been washed away, but that we are  free from the bondage and misery of sin.

                        b)  This is to be understood in the Hebrews concept of a ransom to set someone    free.  Jesus set us free by his death.

            3.  “has made us to be a kingdom

                        a)  The early church that is receiving this letter saw themselves as the true   succession of the old covenant Israel who where told they would be a                            kingdom of priests and a holy nation in Exodus 19:5-6.

                        b)  1 Peter 2:5,9

                        c)  Believers are united in a kingdom, a nation, under the King of all Kings.

                        d)  We are citizens of a greater nation with greater privileges than any nation or   kingdom in the history of man.

            4.  “has made us to be. . .priest to serve his God and Father”                                                        

                       a)  We have been qualified to enter the highest office possible.  That is the to

                                    serve Jesus’ God and Father.

                        b)  It is a high honor to serve in the presidents cabinet.  They are not slaves, but    dignitaries.  The average citizen does not walk off the street into a                                        presidential cabinet meeting. 

                        c)  We will and are currently serving in the highest position possible.  We have

                                    qualified through Jesus to be dignitaries, ambassadors, for the God who  sent Jesus to save us.

1:7 Look, he is coming with the clouds” is from Daniel 7:13.  The clouds are his divine presence manifesting in the physical world. (Ex. 13:21; 16:10;  Mat. 17:5; Acts 1:9)


every eye will see him”  reference to the sign of the son of man being like lightning for the east to the west.


“Even those who pierce him” refers not only to the Roman soldier who pierced his side, nor to the Jews in Zechariah 12:10, but to people of all the ages who “pierced” Jesus with rejection.


All the peoples of the earth” is a reference to anyone who is not a member of the “Kingdom” just mentioned in verse 6.  The Kingdom of Jesus vs. the “peoples of the earth” or Believers vs. non-believers.


All the peoples . . .will mourn” is taken from a verse from Zechariah 12:10-12 where Israel mourns for their rejection of the Messiah with a mourning of repentance, but here this portion of the verse is used to refer to the mourning of the world for rejecting the Messiah and realizing he has returned to bring the inevitable final divine judgment.


“So shall it be.  Amen.”  is the combination of both the Hebrew and Greek expressions of affirmation. 

1:8  “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is, and who    was, and who is to come, the Almighty.”

Three descriptions of the Revealer of these mysteries that guarantee they will come to pass just like God says because God knows.


1)  Alpha and Omega are the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet. 

(The A and the Z or the a and the w or the A and the W)

All knowledge is assemble and communicated through language. 

God is all knowledge.  He is omniscient.

If it is knowable God knows it and can communicate it through writing.


He is the beginning and the end (21:6; 22:13; 3:14)

He is the first and the last (1:17; 2:8; 22:13)


2)  o      wn    kai    o       hn      kai      o        ercomenoV 


    who      is       and      who      was        and        who          is to come

All time is with in God.  God is not with in time.

God is outside the box of his creation.

God is both Transcendent and Immanent.

Transcendent means “beyond what is given or presented in experience.”  God is above and beyond the universe and has his existence separate from all.

Immanent means “remaining or operating within the subject”.  God is also within creation.  He is close and can be found here.

In context here God character (transcendence and immanence) are considered in the context of time.

God is outside of time, he is in time and he is ahead of time.


Almighty is a term describing God’s omnipotence.  He is all powerful.  God will is satisfied and his plans are fulfilled every time. There is no power greater that can stop him from achieving his goal. 

Jesus came the first time as a lamb, a servant, to die.

Jesus will return the second time as the lion, the king, to kill and conquer.


Here begins John’s Vision and Commission


1:9 I, John, your brother and companion in the suffering and kingdom and     patient endurance that are ours in Jesus, . . .

“Brother” is “adelphos” was a common term to identify fellow believers who were members of the same body.

“companion” is “synkoinonos” is fellow partaker, one who shares together.  It says that John is a participant in the suffering the churches find themselves in. 

“Suffering” (“qliyei”) means pressure, trouble, distress tribulation.


Note the listing and the order of both “the suffering” and “the kingdom”  


John 16:33, “In this world you will have trouble. . .”

2 Timothy 3:12, “Everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.”

Acts 14:22, “. . .strengthening the disciple s and encouraging them to remain true to the faith, “We must go through many hardships (“qliyewn”)to enter the kingdom of God,” they said.”


“Patient endurance” is what bridges the time between the “hardships, suffering, affliction” and the “kingdom, glory, ultimate salvation.”


“Patient Endurance” is “hupomone” and means “patience, patient endurance, bearing up under pressure”  It means “to remain under” an incredible weight with out falling.


1 Corinthians 10:12-13, “So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful (“let him look”, “let            him be watchful” includes looking at the previous examples) that you don’t fall!  No    temptation (“peirazw” -to test to show good or evil, power or weakness in a person.              Here to prove you are worthy of judgment or reward.) has seized you except what is   common to man.  And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you   can bear.  But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out (“but will make           with the temptation also the way out”) so that you can stand up under it.”


All three of these are ours because we belong to Jesus:
            1)  Afflictions from the world on the outside

            2)  Strength from the Holy Spirit on the inside

            3)  Membership and position in the future kingdom forever


1 Timothy 2:11-13,

            “Here is a trustworthy saying:

            ‘If we died with him, we will also live with him;

            If we endure we sill also reign with him;

            If we disown (Gr. “deny”) him, he will also disown (“deny”) us

            If we are faithless (“unfaithful, untrustworthy”), he will remain faithful,

                        for he cannot disown (“deny”) himself.”


1:9 . . . was on the island of Patmos because of the word of God and the            testimony of Jesus.”

1 Peter 4:12-19 “Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, . . .So then, those who suffer according to God’s will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good.”


By this time Christianity had separated from  Judaism.

A Roman historian Tacitus says Christians were “a class hated for their abominations”

Suetonius called them “a set of men adhering to a novel and mischievous superstition”

Pliny, a Roman governor in Bithynia, wrote the Emperor Trajan calling Christians “a depraved and extravagant superstition” and said this superstition “has spread not only in the cities, but in the villages and rural districts as well.”


See page of “Anti-Christian Logic”

Patmos was a small, rocky island about 5 x 10 miles about 40 miles off the coast. 

The church historian Eusebius (around 350 AD) writes that John was released by emperor Nerva who reigned from 96-98 AD and then John returned to Ephesus.


John’s preaching was seen as seditious and threatening to the Empire.  He was sent to Patmos to help mine the minerals. 


1:10 On the Lord’s Day I was in the Spirit, and I heard behind me a loud voice         like a trumpet, . . .

“In the Spirit” indicates that God had taken John’s person and his senses into the spiritual realm where he could see, hear and perceive this spiritual dimension as clearly as he could normally experience the natural world.  It was something God did to John, not something John did to himself. 


See Paul’s account in 2 Corinthians 12


“Lord’s Day” could refer to a Sunday or it could be an eschatological reference to the place he was taken to in the spirit.  He was taken to “The Day of the Lord’s return”, the millennium, the second coming, etc.


The Greek phrase for the “Lord’s Day” does not occur elsewhere in the NT.  It does appear in church writings around 100 AD and is widely used to refer to Sunday.  It would appear that now the phrase has developed since the rest of the NT was written almost an entire generation before.  John is writing closer to the second century church than he is to the other NT letters.


A loud voice or  sound in Revelation indicates something serious and solemn is about to be said

   (5:2;5:12; 6:10; 7:2, 10; 8:13; 10:3; 11:12, 15; 12:10; 14:2, 15, 18; 16:1, 17; 19:1, 17; 21:3)

Also, the loud voice on Mt. Sinai in Exodus 19:16


1:11 . . .which said: “Write on a scroll what you see and send it to the seven      churches:

This is the first of twelve commands to John for him to write in Revelation

One time he is forbidden to write in 10:4


1:11   . . .to Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia and           Laodicea.”


These seven cities were in the order of the mail route and were all distribution centers for the mail into their surrounding areas.  They were 30-50 miles apart on a circular road that ran through them from Ephesus through Laodicea and then back into Ephesus.


There were seven cities on this route but seven is also symbolic of completeness.


1.  These churches were real churches.

2.  These churches also represent and speak to churches in every time period.

3.  There is also a prophetic element with in these seven that lays out the sequence and               attitude of all of church history


1:12   I turned around to see the voice that was speaking to me.  And when I    turned I saw seven golden lampstands, . . .


There are seven separate lampstands.  Similar to the ones in Solomons’s temple. 

They would have been the common portable oil lamp that was placed on a

            lampstand to light a room.

They represent the seven churches (1:20)

            1)  Gold represents the presence of God.

            2)  Seven represents completeness

The church is the light of the world (Mt.5:14-16)

            Philippians 2:15, “. . .that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without                        fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the                 universe as you hold out the word of life. . .”

To fail at this means its removal (2:5)


1:13  . . .and among the lampstands was someone “like a son of man,”

Daniel 7:13 shows one like the “son of man” being ushered into the ancient of days (God)

Ezekiel 1

Here we complete Jesus as being introduced as:

            1) the Prophet (1:1),

            2) the King (1:5) and

            3) here as the Priest (1:13)

Jesus presence is always with the churches and in whatever condition they find themselves.

Matthew 28:20, “I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”


Jesus may seem to be gone, but his presence is promised and seen in the churches through out the church age.


Christ’s presence assures us of the victory of completing his work in the earth.




1:13  . . .dressed in a robe reaching down to his feet and with a golden sash      around his chest.

The Greek phrase for “robe reaching down to his feet” is used 6 of  7 times in the LXX to refer to the High Priest.


The High Priest also wore a sash across his robe.  Exodus 28:4; Lev. 16:4

The High Priest was a representative of two parties: God and man.

The same is true for Jesus. 

He is our High Priest who represents  God to us. 

He also represents us to God.

We are not alone.  Jesus does not stand as our High Priest to judge us, but to assist us, to protect          us, to give us the best case before God that he can.

See Hebrews 2:17-18;    3:1;    4:14, 15;     9:11-12

Romans 8:33-34


1:14  His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow and his eyes    were like blazing fire.


1.  Christ is the Truth of the church

“his head, that is his hair” is the correct Greek matches Daniel 7:9 and Isaiah 1:18

Christ is the absolute pureness, light and truth of God.


2.  Christ is the Evaluator of the church

Eyes blazing with fire is seen again in letter to Thyatira (2:18) and in 19:12.

These eyes penetrate and see everything including the purposes of men’s hearts.

These eyes are the fire of evaluation for the church (1 Corinthians 3:13)

Here the context is he is seeing the seven churches.


1:15  His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace, and his voice was like the         sound of rushing waters.


3.  Christ is the Judge of the church and the one who dispenses discipline

Bronze speaks of judgment

Kings in the ancient world always sat high enough on their throne to have their feet at a higher     level than those who stood before them.  Their feet symbolized their authority                      and judgment.

This is still in the context of the church.  Jesus is moving through his church as the judge to          chastise and deal out punishment.

Hebrews 12:5-10


4.  Christ is the Commander of the Church

Loud voice is similar to Ezekiel 43:2 and Exodus 19:16-20

This is the voice that will command the dead to live (Jn. 5:28-29)

In Matthew 17:5 God said, “This is my beloved Son. . .listen to Him!”

In these last days God has spoken to us in His Son (Heb. 1:1-2)



1:16  In his right hand he held seven stars, and out of his mouth came a sharp double-edged sword.


5.  Christ is the Head of the church

Ephesians 4:15 and 5:23

Colossians 1:18

The seven stars are “the angels of the seven churches (1:20)

This indicates control and protection.

John 10:28 “no one can snatch them out of my hand”


The double edged sword from Christ’s mouth is seen in





Consider Romans 13:4 “bear the sword” where the sword is a symbol of executive and criminal jurisdiction or the government.  The sword in Romans 13 represents the power of judgment and punishment that rests with the government.


Here Jesus is said to have the sword coming out of his mouth.  Judgment and punishment rests with the words of Jesus.  The judge of the churches is Jesus.  He is also the ultimate judge over the governments of man who cause the church trouble in the days of John and through out time.


1:16  His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance.

The word “face” is “opsis” (oyis) means “appearance, outward appearance, face.”  Here it is focused on the “face” of Jesus but it should be understood that his whole appearance is like that of the sun.

See Matthew 17:2


1:17  When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead.  Then he placed            his right hand on me and said:


Joshua 5:14

Eaek. 1:28

Dan   8:17

Dan. 10:15

Matt. 17:6; Acts 26:14


Jesus places his right hand on John


1:17 “Do not be afraid.  I am the First and the Last.”


The command “Do not be afraid” is not given without logical reasons:

            1)  I am the First and the Last.

            2)  I am the Living One.

            3)  I was dead. (emphasis on “was”)

            4)  I am alive for ever and ever.

            5)  I hold the keys of death.

            6)  I hold the keys of Hades


The “first and the last” is similar to “the alpha and omega”  (1:8).

In 22:13 these two titles are combined along with a third “the beginning and the end.”

See Isaiah 48:12 “I am the first and I am the last; apart from me there is no God.”


1:18 “I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive for ever and ever!        And I hold the keys of death and Hades.”


The “Living One” conquered death and is alive forever and ever.  He has sovereign power and control over both death on the earth and the abode of the dead, Hades.


In ancient mythology Hecate, an underworld goddess, held the keys of Hades.


1:19 “Write, therefore, what you have seen, what is now and what will take      place later.”

“what you have seen” refers to so far in chapter one.  John writes the things that had                  happened so far in this vision. (1:10-16)


“what is now” refers to the current state of the churches referred to in the seven cities (2 and 3) 

“what will take place later” refers to future events recorded in the book of Revelation. (4-22)


1:20  The mystery of the seven stars that you saw in my right hand and of the    seven golden lampstands is this: 


1:20  The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches. 

In Daniel 2:47 Nebuchadnezer says:

                        “Surely your God is the God of gods and the Lord of kings                                                       and a revealer of mysteries, for you were able to reveal this mystery.”


In this verse Jesus shows he is the revealer of mysteries by stating plainly what the stars and the lampstands mean.  It is simple and it is plain:

   The stars are the angels of the seven churches

  The lampstands are the seven churches


The “angels” (aggeloi means “messenger, angel”) of the church could be:

            1) human beings (as in Matthew 11:10, “I will send my messenger (aggelon)ahead                                                                  of you. . .” also luke 7:24; 9:52; James 2:25)

                        a)  pastor

                        b) prominent church official

                        c) delegates sent from the churches to Patmos to confer with John

            2) heavenly beings known as angels (sixty times in Revelation aggelos

            b) heavenly representatives or counterparts (Peter’s angel Acts 12:15)

            3) a personification of the spirit, attitude or inward state of the church


These are not heavenly angels because:

            a)  They are told to repent in Revelation 2:4-5, 14, 20;  3:1-3, 15, 17, 19

            b)  Angels are never in leadership of the church because

                        * The entire period of the cross and the church and the rapture and the setting                            aside of Israel were a mystery to everyone until it was revealed by Jesus                         to his disciples and his apostles

                                                The Mysteries:

                                                            Matthew 13:11  The church

                                                            1 Corinthians 15:51  The rapture

                                                            Romans 11:25  The setting aside of Israel


                        * The angels taught  Daniel, (but skipped the church age.)

                        * The angels are taught in the church age by the church

                                    “. . .things that have now been told you by those who have preached the                                                gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven.  Even angels                                     long to look into these things.”

                        * The angels assist the church but never teach the church

            c)  The transfer of information for Jesus to the churches would not make sense if it were:

                        From Jesus told to John. . .

                                    Written by John to be read by an angel. . .

                                                Taken by an angel to the church. . .

                                                            Received in the church by . . .?

                                                                        a) an angel preaching on a Sunday

                                                                        b) an angel mystically causing the book of

                                                                                    Revelation to appear on the pulpit

                                                                        c) an angel sitting down with the pastor and                                                                                           explaining things.

                        The transfer of information would have gone:

                                    Jesus to a man to an angel to a group of men

                        There is nothing like this in all of scripture.

                        We find:

                                    Jesus to an angel to a man (or, men)

                                    Jesus to a man to a man (or, a group)