Revelation is the open Book for everyone to read: Revelation 1:1-3.
Apostle John presents this book as the revelation of Jesus Christ (1:1). Many people find it difficult to understand the book of Revelation and even consider it fanciful. But God promises great blessing to those who read, listen and obey the things written in Revelation (Revelation 1:3). God said that this book should remain open to everyone to instruct them (Revelation 22:10). This insight and understanding do not come naturally but by intimate relationship with Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. From Genesis to Revelation every verse of the Bible ultimately speaks of Jesus Christ (John 5:39). Chapter 1:19 gives the division of the book of Revelation. “Write the things which you have seen and those that are and the things that will happen”. The thing John had seen was the vision of the glorified Christ (1:9-18). The events of chapter 2 and 3 refer to the entire Church age. The events which take place from chapter 4 through the end of Revelation will happen after the Church age is over. Since these things soon to take place, this urgent message should prepare God’s people for the future. The purpose of the study of Revelation is not to satisfy our curiosity or to engage in some intellectual speculation but to know Christ as our glorified Savior and King. It was written to prepare us for what lies ahead. John pronounces the seven blessings on those who speak, listen and obey the things written in this book (1:3; 14:13; 16:15; 19:9; 20:6; 22:7, 14). Jesus now reigns and he will bless those who are faithful to him. This book is the closing commentary on the person and work of Jesus Christ. Do you know the glorified Christ as your Lord and Savior?
Greetings to the seven Churches: Revelation 1:4.
John now addresses the seven Churches in Asia Minor (Modern day Turkey). Paul wrote seven letters to seven Churches. John wrote one letter to seven Churches. The entire book of Revelation is actually one letter that was distributed to the seven churches. The opening chapters describe Jesus as being in the midst of the churches, actively engaging with these churches. When John wrote his letter, the spiritual condition of these churches was in decline (2:4). These seven churches represent the entire church age. It was written to encourage those who experience suffering and persecution for Christ. God did not promise His blessing to those who simply read or hear this book but to those who obey what is written in it. These seven churches were located in a circle starting with Ephesus and ending with Laodicea. John greets them with a standard greeting (Revelation 1:4, 5). Grace and peace are the blessings of everyone who trusts in the Lord. Grace is God’s love and kindness revealed in Christ Jesus (John 1:14). It is the undeserving favor from God which cannot be earned by good work. Peace includes the idea of complete well-being. Peace flows from God's matchless grace. John gives a graphic description of God the Father who is without beginning or end. The sevenfold Spirit who is before his throne is a reference to the Holy Spirit (Isaiah 11:1,2). Jesus Christ is the faithful witness. He is the first born of the dead and the ruler of the kings of the earth (Revelation 1:4, 5). Thus Christ is not only the object but also the giver and subject of the book.
Christ deserves our Praise and Worship: Revelation 1:5, 6.
Following the greeting, John gives the personal description of Christ. He is the faithful witness of the Father. We know the Father only through Christ (John 14:9). He fulfilled the law and the prophets. He is the end of the law (Romans 10:4). Christ revealed what the future holds for His people. He conquered death, sin and Satan by His death and resurrection. Jesus is referred to as the firstborn of the dead. This is a reference to Christ’s resurrection. Christ’s resurrection guarantees the future resurrection of all believers (1 Corinthians 15:20-22). Jesus loved us and has freed us from our sins by shedding his blood for us (Revelation 1:5). He is risen from the dead. This is the message of the gospel. Now He reigns in the hearts of all who believe in Him. He demonstrated his love for us on the cross when He died. Someone has said “There is no love like the love of a dying Savior “. How wonderful to know that Jesus keeps on loving us!. It is the divine love that motivated him to give his life as a ransom for our sins. We are saved from judgment of sin (Romans 8:1). Now Christ lives to free us from the power of sin. He has made us his kings and priests to serve God (1 Peter 2:9). Christ is the first to rise from death and die no more. He is greater than any king in all the earth. Christ loved us and gave himself for us. He has set us free from sins and given us eternal life. He will return again in triumph. He is eternal. Only God could make these claims. Christ alone is worthy of our praise and worship.
Behold Christ is Coming: Revelation 1:7, 8.
Christ is coming in glory to reign in righteousness and truth. It is an obvious reference to Christ’s second coming (Matthew 24:30). Once in every 25 verses, it is mentioned in the New Testament. His coming was anticipated by the Old Testament prophets (Zachariah 12:10). Christ Himself promised about it (John 14:3). It was confirmed by the angels (Acts 1:11). Christ’s coming was attested by apostles (1 Corinthians 15:51, 52). Christ is coming with clouds. He will come in glory and power. He will bring His redeemed ones with Him. At his coming with clouds every eye will see him, even those who pierced Him (Revelation 1:7). They will weep because of their treatment of Him. And those who rejected Jesus will share the same destiny as those who demanded his death. No wonder there will be great wailing and weeping on earth. Christ is the eternal one. He is the Alpha and Omega. He was before all things and nothing existed before him (Colossians 1:17). The past, present and future are eternally present in Christ (John 1:1). Christ is the Almighty God. This speaks of His absolute sovereignty. Christ has absolute supremacy in all things. In His sovereign purpose, He controls everything. He always has been and always will be God. These titles apply to both God the Father and God the Son. The Bible does not give a physical description of Christ, yet allows us to see the glorified Christ in his power and majesty in the pages of the Bible. Because of the salvation Jesus has accomplished, He is worthy of our praise. May the Holy Spirit open our eyes to see Christ in his glory and majesty!
John was in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day: Revelation 1:9-11.
John introduces himself to the seven Churches as their brother and partner in tribulation and in the Kingdom of God. John was one of the 12 apostles of Jesus Christ. He was one among the three key apostles. John was known as the disciple whom Jesus loved. He was an eyewitness of the glory of Jesus. John alone remained near the cross with the faithful women at the time of Christ’s crucifixion. John was asked to take care of Mary, the mother of Jesus. He was a true witness of Christ. Tradition tells us that John was exiled by Emperor Domitian to the island of Patmos because of the testimony of Jesus Christ. Probably it is a reference to his personal gospel ministry. All those who embrace the gospel will face tribulation (John 16:33). Patmos was a rocky volcanic island on the Aegean Sea and also it was a Roman penal colony. In the midst of John's suffering, the risen Christ appears to him in glory (1:10). Suffering is inescapable in Christian life (Acts 14:22). They have been given not only the privilege to believe in Christ but also to suffer for him (Philippians 1:29). John was in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day. There is no indication that it was Sunday. The day of Christ's resurrection is referred to as "the first day of the week" in the scripture. Every day is the Lord's day because He is the Lord of all things. The day of the Lord may indicate a period of judgment. John might have received a future view of the coming judgment on that day. He was alone there yet his focus was on Christ. Only those who focus on Christ will see Jesus as the glorified Savior. The ministry of the Holy Spirit is to reveal Christ to believers (John 16:14). John heard behind him a trumpet-like voice saying “Write what you see in a book and send it to the seven churches”.
Vision of the Son of Man: Revelation 1:12.
Four times the phrase “in the Spirit'' is used in Revelation (1:10; 4:2; 17:3; 21:10). John received four different visions of Christ. First he saw Christ as the High priest, the sovereign King and the Prophet standing in the midst of the seven Churches (1:11, 12). Secondly John saw Christ as the Lamb that was slain (5:12). Thirdly he saw Jesus as the glorious King (19:1). Fourthly John saw the glorified Christ sitting on the throne in the New Jerusalem making all things new (21:5). True worship takes place only when God reveals the glorified Christ to his servants. The Lord’s Day is different from the first day of the week. The day of the Lord is the period of time when God judges the world and triumphs over His enemy. John was given the vision of the coming judgment (Revelation 6-20). Some scholars suggest that the Lord's day may be a reference to the first day of the week when Christ was risen from the dead (Acts 20:7; Romans 1:4). When John turned to see the voice that spoke, he saw seven golden lamp-stands and Jesus was standing in the midst of them. These lamp-stands symbolize the seven churches in Asia Minor (1:20). Each church stands to bear its own witness.
Graphic description of the Glorified Christ: Revelation 1:13-18.
John saw among the lamp-stands one like the Son of Man walking in the midst of them. This is a reference to the Son of Man mentioned in Daniel 7:13. Christ used this title more than any other titles in the Gospels. The graphic description of Christ here clearly displays His deity. Christ is dressed in a long robe with a golden sash around his chest. This speaks of His royal priesthood and authority (Exodus 29:5). His head and his hair were white like wool. This is the description of the Ancient of days (Daniel 7:9). Christ is the eternal God and He is before all things. His eyes were like flaming fire. Nothing is hidden from Him. All things are naked and opened to him (Hebrews 4:13). His feet are like unto fine brass. Christ executes divine judgments on His enemies. His voice is like the sound of many rushing waters. This is a reference to his authority to Judge the world (19:6). In His right hand, he held seven stars. These Seven stars are seven messengers of the seven Churches (1:20). Out of His mouth went a sharp two-edged sword. This is symbolic of the Word of God. Christ will judge His enemies with the Word of His mouth (Hebrews 4:12). His Words are true and absolute. His face was like the sun, shining in all its brilliance. On the mount of transfiguration, Christ’s face shone like the sun (Matthew 17:2). When John saw the glorified Christ he fell at His feet as dead. Jesus said to him "Fear not , I am the first and the last, and the living one. I died and behold I am alive forevermore" (1:17-18). Those who are in Christ have nothing to fear. Jesus is the loving and living Savior who is able to save and strengthen all those who trust him. In Christ death itself has been undone and our eternal future is secured. Have you trusted Christ to find hope and security in life?
John was Commissioned to Write: Revelation 1:19-20.
John was assured that Christ is alive and He is in sovereign control of all things. Only Christ can set us free from fear because He is raised from the dead and death no longer has mastery over him. Christ holds the keys of death and Hades. Death and hell cannot bind the followers of Christ. John was commissioned to write the things he had seen, the things that are now happening and the things that will happen. And the seven stars are the messengers of the seven Churches in Asia Minor. Here is a perfect example of scripture interpreting scripture (1:12). The seven lamp-stands are the seven Churches. The location and the details of seven churches are given between two visions. First vision is the glorified Christ interceding as our great High priest in heaven (1:13-18). The second vision is the glorified church gathering around God's throne in heaven (4:2-11). Christ loves the church and those who are in Christ are more than secured. Only Christ can set us free from sin and give victory over sin. He is our source of comfort in suffering. With these verses John ends the record of the things he had seen in the first chapter. Christ is worthy of our devotion and worship. Do you know him as your Lord and Savior?