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Revelation Episode 1: The Revelation of Jesus Christ

Revelation Episode 1: The Revelation of Jesus Christ

March 27, 2024 | Andy Davis
Revelation 1:1-20
Second Coming of Christ, Exaltation of Christ, Prophecy

John introduces and dedicates the whole book and records the incredible vision of Christ that is its basis.




Welcome to the Two Journeys Bible Study podcast. This podcast is just one of the many resources available to you for free from Two Journeys Ministry. If you're interested in learning more, just head over to Now, on to today's episode.

This is episode one in our Revelation Bible Study podcast entitled The Revelation of Jesus Christ, where we'll discuss Revelation 1:1-20. I'm Wes Treadway, and I'm here with Pastor Andy Davis. Andy, what are we going to see in these verses that we're looking at today?


What an exciting study we're about to begin on, and I'm looking forward to Revelation 1. What we're going to see in Revelation 1 is just the introduction to the book itself, the purpose for the book, the revelation of Jesus Christ and of the future. So, we're going to talk about the revelation, the unveiling of Jesus.

We're going to also talk about details in the first section there, the greeting, the doxology, the dedication of the book to Jesus Christ, a statement about his second coming, and about the eternality of God. Then it goes to a vision of Jesus moving through seven golden lampstands, a vision of him ministering to local churches, because the seven lampstands represent seven churches in Asia Minor. It's a significant image that every local church member and pastor should have of the intense active interest that Jesus Christ has as our great high priest and that he has for every local church around the world. So, it's going to be a thrilling study in Revelation 1.


Well, let me go ahead and read Chapter 1 of the Book of Revelation for us as we begin.

The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show to his servants the things that must soon take place. He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John, who bore witness to the word of God and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, even to all that he saw.

Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear, and who keep what is written in it, for the time is near.

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, and from Jesus Christ the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of kings on earth. To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood and made us a kingdom, priests to his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.

Behold, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him, and all tribes of the earth will wail on account of him. Even so. Amen. "I am the Alpha and the Omega," says the Lord God, "who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty."

I, John, your brother and partner in the tribulation and the kingdom and the patient endurance that are in Jesus, was on the island called Patmos on account of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus. I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet saying, "Write what you see in a book 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."

Then I turned to see the voice that was speaking to me, and on turning I saw seven golden lampstands, and in the midst of the lampstands one like a son of man, clothed with a long robe and with a golden sash around his chest. The hairs of his head were white, like white wool, like snow. His eyes were like a flame of fire, his feet were like burnished bronze, refined in a furnace, and his voice was like the roar of many waters.

In his right hand, he held seven stars, from his mouth came a sharp two-edged sword, and his face was like the sun shining in full strength. When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. But he laid his right hand on me, saying, "Fear not, I am the first and the last, and the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades. Write therefore the things that you have seen, those that are and those that are to take place after this. As for the mystery of the seven stars that 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."

Andy, what's the significance of the word revelation, and what does verse one teach us about the origin and transmission of this book?


Well, the basic concept of revelation is of things hidden that we did not know but are true. Then, God, through the ministry of the Holy Spirit, we believe, unveils, or reveals them to his people so they then do know them. There are things that can only be perceived by faith ultimately, and we believe the Bible is a book of faith and it is a word of faith. So, we take the words of scripture, and through the words of scripture we see a reality, past, present, and future, that we can only see by faith. That's general revelation, the idea of revelation.

There is physical revelation, like in creation, and there's special revelation through scripture. Both of them are forms of communication of the reality of an invisible creator God who rules over all things. The Book of Revelation is the capstone to the special revelation or written revelation of God. And it does mean an unveiling or a communication of hidden spiritual truths that we would not know any other way, and they focus specifically on Jesus Christ and on the future.


What's the significance of John's assertion that he testifies to everything he saw? And how is his testimony the word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ?


John testifies to the things that he has seen, and it's a very visionary book. There's going to be a lot of visions. "I looked and behold I saw," dot, dot, dot, et cetera. He's going to say that again and again. Fundamentally, the revelation was a vision given by Almighty God, and the relay race of the realities and of the truth comes down from God to Jesus, from Jesus to the angel, from the angel to John, and then from John to us. Holy Spirit superintends that entire process. These truths are given to John, who's in exile. We'll talk about that. And he wrote them down so that God's servants, the servants of Christ, throughout 20 centuries now of history would be able to see Jesus more clearly and the future more clearly.


I love that image of a relay race passed on, passed on, passed on, faithfully delivered by John here, and what we have is the word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ.




How should we understand the statement, "The time is near"? It has been 19 centuries since this book was written. What does this statement mean?


It's the next massive thing that's going to happen in the sequence of redemptive history, is the second coming of Christ. In the meantime, we have the spread of the gospel and the persecution, all those things. I think it's beautiful that in this little introductory section, in verse 3, a blessing is promised to anyone who reads the words of this prophecy and takes them to heart because the time is near.

I think we're blessed. This podcast, we hope, will be a blessing to all who hear it. And you and I, Wes, as we walk again through the magnificent words of this book, we're going to be blessed. This will help us. This will enrich us and strengthen us. It will be a blessing to us to read the words of Revelation and take them to heart.

Now, it's important to know that because it's a very difficult book to interpret. It's hard to have a sense of absolute certainty at this apocalyptic genre at the symbolic language and how much of it is literal and will be historical at some point and how much is just metaphorical or symbolic. Very hard to know. But in any case, we know, right from the get-go, that we are blessed if we make that effort.


Now, the greeting in these verses is like many of the letters in the New Testament. John identifies himself as the author, he identifies the churches he's writing to and he says, "Grace to you and peace," as Paul often does in his epistles. What's unique about John's greeting, however, and what does John say about each member of the Trinity in verses four and five?


Well, you said it yourself, what's unusual about the greeting is he says that the letter is effectively from the triune God. But it is a human author. John is the human author, and he's going to mention himself, which is interesting because he doesn't mention himself at all in the Gospel of John. He just talks about the disciple whom Jesus loves. When you start to put a line through the 12 apostles, and the only one that doesn't ever get mentioned is John, we know who it is.

But here he openly says John right away. And later in the book, he's going to say, "I, John, am the one who saw these things." Like he can't get over, "It's just me. I'm just a regular guy. I'm a fisherman, and now here I am seeing these incredible things." That's the human author. But then having said that, he's writing to the seven churches in the province of Asia. We'll get to that. That's the human recipients of the letter initially. It's really intended for every Christian throughout all generations, and we'll get to that as well.

But then it says, "Grace and peace to you from him who is, and who was, and who is to come." That's Almighty God, as we'll see in verse 8, the Lord God, and so God the Father. Then from the seven spirits, sometimes translated the sevenfold Spirit, or the perfect or complete Spirit, the number seven being a number of perfection or completion, the sevenfold Spirit before his throne. And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead and the ruler of the kings of the earth. That's the Father, the Spirit, and the Son. Different order than we usually have in terms of the Trinity, but that's who the grace and peace come from. That is the ultimate author or originator of the Book of Revelation.


Now, to whom is the book dedicated in verses five and six? And what does John say Christ has accomplished for us?


It's dedicated to Jesus. It is to him who has loved us and has freed us from our sins by his blood. The word blood is the key. God the Father never had blood, never will have blood. God the Spirit, same. But Jesus incarnate had blood, and his blood was shed, and he has freed us from our sins by his blood. It's to him, to Jesus, the one who shed his blood for us.

"The word blood is the key. God the Father never had blood, never will have blood. God the Spirit, same. But Jesus incarnate had blood, and his blood was shed, and he has freed us from our sins by his blood."

"And he has made us to be," it says, "a kingdom and to serve his God and Father." That's similar to John's Gospel where after Jesus's resurrection he says, "Go. I am going to my God and your God, to my Father and your Father" (John 17:20b, paraphrase). There's that language of his God and Father and ours, "to him be glory and power forever." So, it's dedicated to Jesus.


Verse 7 introduces the main theme of Revelation, the second coming of Jesus Christ. How does John introduce this theme, and what is the significance of the fact that every eye will see him, him being Jesus Christ?


This is really pretty exciting because I just saw it literally a second ago while you read it for the first time. It's two different seeings, two different visions. He says, "Behold, he is coming with the clouds." We can't see that physically. We're supposed to see it now by faith in the word of God. But someday there'll be a seeing with the eye that has nothing to do with faith because every eye will see him, even those who pierced him. Unbelievers will see him. You won't need any faith to see the second coming of Christ. But if you can behold it now by faith, then it will do you good. It will be a blessing for you to behold him now.

Verse 7 begins with the word behold, but it's a spiritual sight you should have by trusting in the word of God. Close your physical eyes, so close them. Now with your eyes closed, behold he is coming with the clouds. Can you see it by faith? That's the idea. But someday the inhabitants of the earth who live all over the world will see him in the clouds, "and they will mourn because of him," it says. All the peoples of the earth will mourn because of him. They'll grieve because judgment has come, so the second coming for them will be a devastating event. But it is, as you said, the theme of the Book of Revelation.


Now, you mentioned earlier that verse eight speaks of Almighty God. What does the title used in verse eight, Alpha and Omega, teach us about God, about history, and about Christ?


It's going to be said of Jesus at the end of the book. Jesus is the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and end. That's in Revelation 22. But in this case, it's God the Father. Just as much as God the Father is Alpha and Omega, so also Jesus is Alpha and Omega. That's the unity of the Trinity. We could argue also the Holy Spirit as well.

But when it says that God is the Alpha and the Omega, this is alphabetical order is what it is, A, B, C, D, E. There's a sequence. The alphabetical order matters a lot in a library. It matters a lot in a phone book and for other listings. There's a sequence.

What it says to me is that history matters. There's the beginning, there's a middle, and an end. There's this, then this, then this. The sequence matters in many, many respects. There are theological truths that are made by the Apostle Paul based on sequencing. Like was Abram justified by faith before he was circumcised or after? Well, it was not after he was circumcised. It was before. And that matters. What does it teach you? Circumcision has nothing to do with justification.

What about the twins? Before the twins were born or had done anything good or bad, the promise was made the older will serve the younger. The sequence matters. First this, then this.

I was teaching some men recently in a Bible study. I was saying, "As you grow in your knowledge of the Bible, you more and more get an accurate chronology and sequence of the events taught in the Bible. Just simply, old covenant first, then new covenant. There's a sequence, and you have to learn what that is." "All right. When does the exile happen? "Which exile? There are two of them." "Oh. Which one happened first? Which one happened second? Why were there two exiles." The prophets, the judges, the kings, who came first, who came second? It matters. Whole doctrinal points are made on sequencing. So, big picture.

The Book of Revelation is the clearest in the Bible of telling us there's an absolute sequence to history. There's a beginning. Bible starts with, "In the beginning," and then there's an unfolding history. This final book tells us of the Omega day, the final day, for us in the English language, Z day. We go from A to Z.

But what God is saying and what Jesus says at the end of the book is he is history. He didn't just invent it. He didn't just write it. He doesn't just know it or predict it. He is the history. He is the Alpha and he is the Omega.

Also, it teaches that history's not cyclical. There's not reincarnation. There’re not endless cycles and then karma and then nirvana to get escaped. None of that's true. There is one and only one history. We're not going to be repeating this. There is a beginning of that history, there's a day-after-day aspect of the history, and there will be a final day, and God is all of those things, and Jesus is all of these things. Jesus is also the Alpha, the Omega, the first and last, the beginning and the end.

Let me also say something about the rest of verse 8. It says, God says he, "Who is and who was and who is to come." That is the eternality of God. He is always the same. He is the I am. He's always present. He's always the same. It's the immutability of God and the eternality of God here. Also, he finishes with the Almighty, which is the language of omnipotence. He is history. He's the sequencer of history. He is never-changing. He's not changed by history. He's eternal, he's above history, and he is omnipotent.


We really do have there in verse 8 a powerful picture of Almighty God. We've established, though, that, on the whole, the Book of Revelation really is the revelation of Jesus Christ. What is the importance of verses 9-20, which we'll look at in detail in just a moment, in this book as a whole, and how do these verses relate to the phrase, "The revelation of Jesus Christ," with which John began the book?


We have, I would say, different images or pictures of Jesus in the Book of Revelation. We're going to later see the lion and the lamb of Revelation 5, and that's going to be overpowering. We're going to see the second coming of Christ, Jesus coming on a huge horse for war with a sword coming out of his mouth and the armies of heaven following him. He's coming as a conqueror to conquer, and he's going to destroy and kill his enemies.

Here we have him as a picture of a great high priest who actively cares about his people. He's Ancient of Days. We have all these images and symbolic depictions of him. But here his concern, his deep concern for his people, his active, energetic, shepherding and ministering, his knowledge of them... Revelation 2 and 3 is going to be based... All of the letters to the seven churches will be based on his intimate knowledge of each of those churches, strengths and weaknesses, the challenges that are before them, and their locality, where they are. He knows them. He knows them completely because he's intimately there. "I am with you always. I will never leave you. I'll never forsake you." He's actively involved with his people.

It's just like it says in Isaiah, "When you pass through the waters, I will be with you. When you pass through the fire, I will be with you. I will never leave you" (Isaiah 43:2, paraphrase). So, there's that sense of intimacy and care.

I think it also explains, somewhat of a mystery linguistically in the Book of Revelation, how he is portrayed as a lion, the lion of the tribe of Judah. But the language used again, and again, and again, and again is the lamb. He is the lamb. It's the wrath of the lamb. He's never referred to as lion again. Though he behaves like a lion, at the end, he's still the lamb. Why is that? For us, for his people, he's lamb. He's always gentle, always loving, always patient, always the sacrificial lamb that died for us. That's who he is. But here he is our loving and tender great high priest.

"Though he behaves like a lion, at the end, he's still the lamb. Why is that? For us, for his people, he's lamb. He's always gentle, always loving, always patient, always the sacrificial lamb that died for us."


Let's walk through the latter half then of chapter one here, beginning in verse nine. How does John describe himself in verse nine, and what were the circumstances of John's receiving this revelation?


One of the lessons of the unfolding history that's yet to come is immense suffering for the people of God. It's going to be terrible to be on planet earth in the final stages of human history at many levels. The persecution that's going to be unleashed on the faithful followers of Jesus by the beast from the sea, the Antichrist, and by the beast from the land, which is the false prophet, and by the dragon, who is Satan, and by their henchmen, and by the kings that come together in Revelation 17 to make the Antichrist their king, the persecution will be off the charts.

Most of the martyrs, by far, I believe, most of the martyrs who will spend eternity being honored for being martyrs have not yet been martyred, perhaps have not yet even been born. Who knows. But John identifies himself as your brother and companion in the suffering, and kingdom, and patient endurance that are ours in Jesus.

One of the lessons of the Book of Revelation is it's hard to be saved. It's hard for the righteous to be saved. We are going to be hated in this world. We're going to be persecuted, and this Book of Revelation gets us ready for that. John says, "You should expect it." He knows that by now probably all of his brother apostles have died martyrs' deaths. Just him has been spared for the purpose, I think, of writing this book.

He says, "Look, this is who I am. I am in exile on the island of Patmos because of my faithful service to Jesus. And you need to know that there is a suffering, and kingdom, and patient endurance that is ours in Jesus."


What begins the entire encounter? What is John commanded to do, and what's the significance of the seven golden lampstands when he turns to see the voice that was speaking to him in verses 10 through 12?


John is on the island of Patmos, which is a tiny little rocky island off the coast of modern-day Turkey. It's just this tiny place. It's meant to be a punishment. He could have been martyred because of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus, he says. It says, "On the Lord’s Day I was in the spirit." This is one of those verses in the New Testament that teaches Christians that they should worship on the first day of the week and not on the Sabbath, the seventh day.

On the Lord’s Day, it's called the Lord's day because in honor of the Lord Jesus Christ's resurrection people gather for corporate worship. John, I don't know that there's anybody for him to gather with for corporate worship. I think he might well have been completely alone, but he knew that the churches, the seven churches in the province of Asia, and indeed around the world, would be assembling on that day, and in spirit he wanted to join with them.

He's in the Spirit, he says, in the power of the Spirit on the Lord’s Day. So, he's Spirit-filled and also, as we're going to see, visionary, and prophetic, and apostolic in the Spirit. We'll get to that. But he's in the Spirit, and then suddenly he hears behind him a loud voice like a trumpet. And this is going to be a regular theme. You got overpowering visions but also overpowering sound. It is loud. Jesus doesn't have to do this, but he is trying to impress John with the greatness of his voice. We know that it's Jesus because that's what happens, but he hears behind him.

So, Jesus comes up behind John. Strange. Doesn't come in the front, like Ezekiel. He's standing there on the plane, flat plane, and then up comes this vision of a storm, a hurricane coming toward him, and he sees the whole thing. John's like, "Oh, there's something behind him," and he hears this voice. Before he even turns around, he's told, "Write on a scroll what you see and send it to the seven churches, to Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea." Those are the seven churches. What is it that he is going to see? Well, he hasn't seen it yet, but he's about to see it. He's going to turn around. And so, he turns around, and then we're told what he sees.


What's the significance of the seven golden lampstands when he turns to see the voice that was speaking to him?


Well, the symbols are interpreted for us at the end of the chapter. We're told that the seven golden lampstands represent the seven churches that he's already identified. Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea. These are the seven churches.

Now, the number seven most interpreters believe is a number of perfection or completion, or a symbolic number. These seven churches, which are actual, literal, local churches are also to some degree representative, like the 24 elders. Literal elders, I think, on thrones, but also representative of everyone else. These seven churches represent local churches.

Now, whenever you see the word churches, plural, you know you're talking about local churches because there is the universal Church, the bride, the body of Christ, but there's only one of those. Jesus doesn't have a harem. He doesn't have lots of brides. He has one bride. There's one bride, one body of Christ, one universal Church, but there are many local churches.

So what's a local church? It's an assembly of brothers and sisters in Christ, who are genuine believers in Christ who meet in a certain geographical location at a certain time physically so they can have active physical face-to-face fellowship with each other and worship on the Lord's day. That's what churches are. The seven golden lampstands represent those seven churches.

Now, why are they lampstands? Because Jesus said, "You are the light of the world," in the Sermon of the Mount. "A city on a hill cannot be hidden, neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead, they put it up in its stand and gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others" (Matthew 5:14-16a). They are meant to shine with the light of Christ. They're meant to shine the light of the gospel. "They're not meant to be lights shining in a dark place," Peter says, "as you hold forth the word of life" (2 Peter 1:19, Philippians 2:16 paraphrase). They are lampstands. And they're golden because they're precious, and valuable, and pure, and beautiful, so there's seven golden lampstands.


Why does John use the term, "one like a son of man," and where is Christ in the vision in verse 13?


Well, that is exactly the phraseology of Daniel 7. He sees the Ancient of Days, God, the Father, seated on a throne and a river of fire coming from the throne in Daniel 7. And then, one like a son of man coming on the clouds of heaven. That's almost a direct quote.

He's saying, "Yeah, that's the same person. It's the same one. This is the son of man." And again, it just testifies to why it is that Jesus again, and again, and again referred to himself as the son of man. It means human, a human one, the incarnation. That's essential to Jesus's mission.

Jesus, as a son of man, as a human being, resurrected, in a resurrected body, is there appearing before John, and so one like a son of man. And he's dressed, it says, in a robe reaching down to his feet with a golden sash around his chest. It's a picture of its... Many people see it as a priestly robe, and this golden sash represents purity and value and all that. We know that the Aaronic priestly robes were ornate and given to give him honor and splendor. I think the same thing here. For Jesus, this robe gives him a sense of purity, of holiness, and honor, and splendor, but he is moving through the golden lampstands, implying direct proximity, access to them, knowledge of them, and we'll see clearly that all of that is true.


What do the details of John's description of the risen Christ that unfold in verses 13 through 16 teach us about the glory of Christ?


First of all, it's a little surprising. We don't think of Jesus as having white hair. We always see him as what he was, a young man. He was in his early thirties when he died. But now here he's got hair that's white like wool, as white as snow. I think this is meant to give us a sense of antiquity, of ancient knowledge, of wisdom, of authority, et cetera. Not in any way diminished power, like he's feeble or something like that. But I would say purity, and antiquity, and wisdom. That's what we get with his head and hair white like wool. But again, it's an unusual image that we have of Jesus. We usually don't have a sense of him having white hair, but here it is.

Then, his eyes are like blazing fire. He's going to talk about that in one of the letters to the seven churches, the one with eyes like blazing fire. The idea is purity. I'm thinking of Habakkuk 1:13 which says, "Your eyes are too pure to look on evil. You cannot tolerate wrong." So, there's that sense of a piercing gaze, a holy gaze.

I think about when Peter denied knowing Jesus. The rooster crowed for the second time, and Jesus, in Luke's gospel, was moving from one place to the other and turned and looked at Peter. So, you get the sense of what would that have been like to have Jesus looking at you at that moment. But here for the seven churches, what is it like to have one with eyes of blazing fire looking right at you?

It also describes his feet like bronze glowing in a furnace. This very much reminds me of Ezekiel 1 and the one seated on the throne, which I think is pre-incarnate Christ in Ezekiel's vision. And it's just fire, fire, fire, fire. That's it. It's brightness, fire, bronze, glowing, radiance, lightning. It's all about light. You're just overpowered by brilliance, and light, and color. Here it's that same way, the sense of eyes of blazing fire, feet like bronze glowing in a furnace. There's a sense of brightness and glory, and then overpowering sound. We've got his voice like a trumpet in verse 10. Here it says his voice was like the sound of rushing waters. So, this is depth. It's power, volume.

I was, this past summer, at Yosemite with Calvin, my son. I was right near one of those powerful waterfalls that come down into that valley, and it's just overpowering. There's a mist that comes off and it's just... But before you even get close, you can hear the thundering of the water, so there's a sense of great, great power in his voice.

Then it says, "In his right hand he held seven stars." And we're told what the seven stars are. The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches. We'll get to that, the messengers. It says, "Out of his mouth comes a sharp double-edged sword." The idea here is of his word being powerful, like the word of God is living and active sharper than any double-edged sword.

I've always thought of it in two senses. If he means to bless you and heal you, it's like a scalpel cutting out a tumor of sin. If he means to kill you, you're dead. If he says, "Be dead," you're dead. That's a powerful weapon. There is no more powerful weapon in the history of the human race then the mouth of Jesus. Whatever he says stays, and that's it. We've got that sense of his word being living and active, bringing healing to the one and death to the other. Then it says his face was like the sun shining in all his brilliance, going back to that idea of overpowering light and brilliance.


What was John's reaction to seeing Christ? I mean, just your description of this is enough to overwhelm our imaginations, but what was John's reaction, and how does Jesus show his tender love for John at that terrifying moment?


This is a point that John Calvin makes in his Institutes of the Christian Religion. There is this uniform reaction on the part of the holiest men of God. Whenever they have a theophany and a vision of God, they always, always, always do the same thing. They fall down on their face, they're overwhelmed, they're laid out, they're done, they're devastated. Daniel 10:9, That's not God even, that's just an angel. But here is the second person in the Trinity and all his radiant glory. "And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead."

Now, I preached this sermon a number of months ago talking about two different moments between John and Jesus. One of them is the moment at the Last Supper when Jesus is revealing who is going to betray him, and he's reclining a table right next to Jesus. Peter motions to John and says, "Ask him who it is." Then it says that John put his head on Jesus's chest, so it's like an intimate friend, almost like a child. You could imagine Jesus patting him or stroking his hair, and there's a sense of intimacy, and closeness, and a sense of absolute security, and safety, and peace. But now here in Revelation 1:17, he falls at his feet as though dead.

I preach the sermon on the two attributes of eminence and transcendence of the intimacy that Christ wants to have with his people, and he does want that. "Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I'll come and eat with him and he with me" (Revelation 3:20). You get the feeling that he would welcome you pillowing your head on his chest to be that close to him and that safe, feeling safe around him. That's eminence and gentleness and tenderness. But then you've got transcendence. It's like, "Yeah, but keep in mind who I am and who you are. I am God, and you're not. I am Savior, and you are a sinner saved by grace. Keep in mind who you are." So, sometimes it's reasonable to fall at his feet as though dead, so it's overpowering.

But then as you asked, how does he show that tenderness, well, he places his hand on him, his right hand and says, "Do not be afraid." By the way, this is also a picture that we get on the Mount of Transfiguration. The exact same thing happened. Peter, James, and John are on their faces. That's another one of those theophanies. They're down, and then Jesus comes and places his hand on them and says the same thing, "Do not be afraid." That's the tenderness of Jesus.


What is Jesus' statement about himself that follow in the rest of verse 17 and into verse 18? What do those statements teach about his resurrection, power, and heavenly glory?


Well, it goes back to that sequencing thing we talked about Almighty God being the Alpha and the Omega. Jesus says, "I'm the first and the last." I'm how the whole thing began, and I'm how the whole thing's going to end, so it all comes down to me." Then he says, "I am the living one." It says in John 1:4, "In him was life, and that life was light of men."

So, I am life. "I am the way, and I am the truth, and I am the life" (John 14:6). I am life. In me is life. So not only that, "I am the living one," and it's specifically important because I was dead and now I am alive forever. When he says that, "And behold, I'm alive forever and ever," it's, like it says in Romans, "Because he who died, once he is raised from the death, death no longer has mastery over him." Death had no power over him and never will again. So, he says, "look, I'm done being dead. I was dead, but I am alive."

This is the absolute truth of the incarnation. Only an incarnate son of God can die, so he died in his humanity. He died as a human being. His spirit was separated from his physical body. He was dead. And he says that, "I was dead. All right? But look at me. Behold. All right? Look at me. Behold, I am alive, and I am alive forever and ever."  And not only that, "I hold the keys of Death and the grave, or Hades."

Now, this is very, very important. When I was preaching through the Book of Job, I came to the realization that Job really did not have a good view of death. He was immature and undeveloped in his conception of what happened after the grave. Any New Testament Christian who understands what Jesus has done by rising from the dead and what that means has far less fear of death and far greater clarity of death as a mere portal or doorway into a beautiful heavenly world.

Jesus is the one who unlocked that door for us. "I hold that key. I am the one that unlocked resurrection in life for you. I am the resurrection and the life, and I hold in my hand, because I earned it by my death and my resurrection, the keys." So, that's authority. "I'm in charge of death, and I'm in charge of the grave, and I can effortlessly raise my people from the dead."

But not only that, he's in charge of hell. And when he says, "Depart from me you who are cursed into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels" (Matthew 25:41), it will be that way. He has that kind of power. He has, "I have the keys of death and the grave. I'm in charge of it forever."


Now, some say that verse 19 is the key to the whole Book of Revelation, maybe like Acts 1:8, in tracing out an outline for Revelation. Do you think that's a fair assessment? And if so, why would we think that?


Sure, it's not very detailed.




Because it says, "Write therefore what you have seen." He's already done that, so the vision of Jesus. Then, what is now, which is the seven churches, and what will come later, and that's Revelation 4 to the end of the book. There's lots, and lots, and lots, and lots, and lots, and lots, and lots, and lots, and lots of details. So yeah, it, doesn't go into much detail.

But "Write what will take place later." That's, I think, a decent three-part outline. But again, it doesn't get you very far. It's like you have the vision of the resurrected Christ. We've been through that now in this podcast. We're going to get to the Revelation 2 and 3, what is now, which is the condition of the seven churches. Then, what will take place later comes from there.


How does Jesus explain the mystery? We've alluded to some of this as far as what the lampstands and the stars are. What's the significance of the fact that the stars are in Jesus's right hand, and what final thoughts do you have for us on Revelation chapter one?


Right hand is a sense of closeness to him. To sit at his right hand is to be your right-hand man. We use that expression, "The one closest to me, my bosom friend," et cetera. So, there's that sense of intimacy and love. I think Benjamin means son of my right hand, and that's what Jacob, his father, called him. Jesus sat down at the right hand of God, so he is God's right-hand man, put it that way.

Fundamentally then, for the seven churches to be in his right hand means they are, first of all, protected. I think in John 10, in the Good Shepherd passage, also talks about his father. He says, "My sheep listen to my voice. I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish. No one can snatch them out of my hand" (John 10:27-28). Then he says, "My father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, no one can snatch them out of my Father's hand. I and the Father are one" (John 10:29). To have the seven stars in his right hand means they're safe, they're protected. They cannot be removed from his hand. It's a matter of security and intimacy, also a sense of ownership. He's in charge of them. They're in his hand, and he can do what he wants with them. So, there's that sense.

Then, he also talks about the seven. He gives the interpretation of the seven golden lampstands, which you've already said are the seven churches. Then, the seven stars he says are the angels of the seven churches. Now, the word [Greek 00:38:28] in Greek means messenger. Just like the good news is literally tied to the same root [Greek 00:38:37], which is good message. These are seven messengers. Some people believe these are the pastors of the church. I think those people almost clearly have a single elder model view of the church. But at any rate, it could be representative, though, of the leaders of the church.

Some also get a little more misty and spiritualized about it saying they represent the spirit of the church, what the prevailing spirit of it is. That makes sense in terms of the content of the letters, that it addresses the spirit of the church, its strengths and weaknesses, et cetera. In any case, it could be the leaders of the church, it could be the overriding spirit, et cetera. But fundamentally, he is going to speak to each of these seven angels, to the angel of the church at Smyrna, et cetera. They're going to be messengers who will give the relay race down to the seven churches.

Final word here is that we should be in awe of Jesus. All of us needs to think greater thoughts of Jesus and of his majesty. We need to put ourselves in John's place. If I had been there on the island of Patmos, what would it been like for me to see the resurrected glorified Christ? I would've been on my face, too. But I'm supposed to read these words as we are blessed by those who read these words and take to heart what is written, so a sense of the infinite majesty of Christ and, as we're about to see, his knowledge of what's going on in each of the seven churches and in what's going on in my life as well. It's very comforting, but also convicting. That's the final kind of takeaway I get in Revelation 1.


This has been episode one in our Revelation Bible Study podcast. We want to invite you to join us next time for episode two entitled Christ's Letters to the Churches: Ephesus, where we'll discuss Revelation 2:1-7. Thank you for listening to the Two Journeys podcast and may the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.

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