His eyes were like a flame of fire. And his voice was like the sound of many waters. A sharp sword that cuts with both edges came out of his mouth. And his face was like the sun as it shines in its strength. Verse 9 The writer again tells the readers that he is John. He did not think that he was better than them. He was just one of them. He suffered with them the same troubles that they were suffering.
This is what Paul wrote to Timothy 2 Timothy That will be a time of joy for Christians. John expects to share that joy with them. This kingdom has partly come. But when Jesus comes, it will be completely here. Until that future comes, Christians have to be patient. They must live through all the troubles. They need to look beyond the present and to live for the future. They must put their confidence in Jesus.
And they must trust God. John also trusts God with patience. John was on the island called Patmos. This was a small island of rocks.
It was about 10 miles long and 6 miles wide. He did not choose to go there. The rulers sent him there. It was like a prison. His crime was that he taught the word of God. It was the first day because on that day Jesus rose from death. Christians chose the first day of the week in order to respect Christ. They met on that day to praise God together. John was in the Spirit. This means that the Holy Spirit came on him.
The Spirit spoke to him and showed him many things. John heard a voice behind him. So, this voice was loud and clear. Verse 11 The voice told John to write what he saw. Asia Minor was an area that is now a part of modern Turkey. There was about 30 to 50 miles between them. The list starts at Ephesus. It follows the road north to Pergamum. Then it goes to the south and east to Laodicea. Verses John heard the loud voice. He turned to see who was speaking. People use lamp holders so that the light will shine into dark places. It is to show the light of God to the people.
A man was moving among the lamp holders. He was like the Son of Man. This person was a man but not just a man. He is more than a man. He is the Son of God. He was the Son of Man. The clothes that the man wore were those of a high priest. By his death, he has united us with God. And he is always with us to help us. Verse 14 John then describes the Son of Man.
This is not so much a picture as an impression. They respected old age and gave honour to the wise person. The Son of Man deserves all honour. We can hide nothing from the eyes of the Son of Man. So, John describes his eyes in a special way. It is as if the flame of fire sees all things. He knows all of history from the start to the end. He knows the thoughts and actions of each person. It is a very strong metal. The sound of the waters reminds us of their immense power.
Such is the effect of the voice of Christ. Christ holds all of them in his right hand. He looks after them. And he protects them, because nobody can take them out of his hand. He has the sharp sword with two edges. This means that nobody can defeat him. The sword comes out of his mouth. So, the sword means his word.
In the end, the word of Christ will defeat all his enemies.
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He will speak. What he says will happen. The word of God is sharper than any sword with two edges Hebrews The face of the Son of Man shone with a bright light. The strength of that light was like the sun. I am the first, and the last. I was dead. I am alive for all time and without end. Moreover, I have the keys of death and of the place of dead people. And write what is going to happen after these things.
Verse 17 John saw Jesus among the lamp holders. The sight was so powerful that it made John afraid. The effect of what he saw caused him to fall down at the feet of Jesus. John was on the ground as if he were a dead man. Jesus put his right hand on John. This seems to have put new life into John. Jesus tells John that he is the first and the last. This has the same meaning as in verse 8 above. Jesus is one with God. He is God. Verse 18 Jesus adds to the meaning of the first and the last. Jesus shows that he is the same as God. The false gods of the world are not alive. There is only the one real God who lives.
Jesus has always been alive but he died. But death could not hold him. He defeated death and he rose from death to live again. He is now alive and he can never die again. Jesus has the keys of the place of dead people. This means that he has power over that place. Life and death are both under the control of Jesus. He is able to take his people through death to new life. This again shows that Jesus is God. Verse 19 Jesus then repeats the command to write.
John must write all that he has already seen. That is, what is in chapter 1. Then he must write about what is now. And then he must write about those things that are still in the future. And it is for the end period of history, which is yet to begin. I am Jesus. I hold the seven stars in my right hand. And I walk in the middle of the seven gold lamp holders.
This is what I say to you. I know how hard you have worked. You have been patient and you have not grown tired. I know that you will not accept bad people. But you tested them. You found that they were telling lies. However, you have continued and you have not grown tired. You do not love as you did at the start. When you first believed you did well. Live like that again. You hate what the Nicolaitans do. I also hate what they do. To those who overcome, I will give the fruit from the tree of life. That tree is in the garden of God. Ephesus was the chief city in the region called Asia Minor.
It was a major city for commerce and trade. Three great trade routes came through Ephesus. It was one of the greatest buildings in the ancient world. Here, it is from verses 13 and The letter comes from Jesus, who holds the seven stars. They are safe in his hand. Nobody can take them from Jesus. He walks in the middle of the gold lamp holders. Jesus is present with them. He knows their situation.
This should both encourage and warn us. They had almost worked too hard. The situation that they were in was not easy. Some of these people were false teachers. They had suffered much trouble. They were patient as they suffered for Jesus. They had troubles because they lived for Jesus. Through all the problems, they remained true to Jesus. They did not turn away from him. They were careful to teach the truth. They would not believe what was wrong or false. All this was good but it was not enough. They had lost the most important thing. These Christians did not love as they used to.
They did not love God as much as when they first became Christians. Their love for each other was not as strong as it had been. But a hot object becomes cool. And their love for God and for other people had become less. They had fallen from that high place. Their love was not now as strong as it was then. Also, they loved each other.
And they worked for each other. Now it was not the same. They had lost something of that first love. They must turn again. They must do as they used to. Love must again be very important in their lives.
Love for God must be the reason for their actions. Their actions must show love for each other. Actions without love have no worth at all. Jesus will come and remove the lamp holder. But the most important thing was their love. Love is more important than good actions. But love will always produce good actions.
Verse 6 There was a group of people called the Nicolaitans. We do not know much about this group. But they did things that were not right for the Christians. They ate the food that people gave to false gods. And their ideas about sex were not what Christians should believe. He also hated what they did. There are many such strange groups. Christians must be careful to obey what the Bible teaches. They must refuse the actions of those who teach against the truth.
They should hate all that is false. The Spirit of Christ gives a promise to those who overcome. They are those who obey God. Adam and Eve were in the Garden of Eden. In that garden, there was the tree of life. He put a guard there so that they could not eat the fruit of it Genesis Then they would not be able to live with God. They can eat the fruit of the tree of life. I came to life again. I know that you are poor. However, you are rich.
And I know the evil things that some people say about you. I tell you, the devil will throw some of you into prison to test you. And you will suffer much trouble for ten days. And I will give you life as a crown. The second death will not hurt those who overcome. Verse 8 On the route north from Ephesus, the next city was Smyrna. Its modern name is Izmir. It is about 35 miles from Ephesus. It is on the sea and it had a good, safe harbour. In trade, it was second only to Ephesus. Jesus writes to Smyrna as the first and the last. He defeated death.
He was now alive Jesus suffered much. He knows what it is to suffer. Jesus died and came to life again. So, they too can be brave even to die. They can be sure of the life beyond death. He saw all the troubles that they had. They were very poor and they struggled to live. Life was very hard for these Christians. They were poor. But Jesus said that they were rich. But they were rich toward God. They caused a lot of trouble. They spoke lies and said evil things about the Christians. Perhaps they thought that they were serving God. But by their actions, they were against God. They would suffer much.
Ten is a whole number. Some would die because of their trust in Jesus. In all of this, they must remain strong. They must continue to trust in Jesus through it all. They must not deny Jesus. People will do these evil things but the real cause is the devil. He uses people to do his work. So, the devil will put them in prison. Rather we should be afraid of God who can punish the whole person, both body and spirit Matthew To those who overcome, Jesus will give life as a crown.
The reward, like a crown, is life itself. This crown is the sort that the winner in a race receives. They had races in Smyrna. This life is like a race. Those who win the race will receive the prize. All who trust Jesus to the end will win the prize. There is a second death. We all live and die. Then he will be the judge of all people. He will decide their fate by what they have done. But those who overcome will not die a second time. I have the sharp sword. It cuts with both edges. But you remain true to my name.
He was my loyal servant. He spoke the truth about me. The people in your city killed him. Some among you follow what Balaam taught Balak. He tempted them to eat food from the table of false gods. He tempted them to have wrong sex. I will fight against them with the sword that comes out of my mouth. I will also give to each person who overcomes a white stone with a new name on it.
Nobody knows this new name except the person who receives it. Verse 12 The road north from Smyrna follows the coast for about 40 miles. Then it turns away from the sea up a river valley. Ten miles from the sea is the capital city, called Pergamum. Here they had a large and famous library. The city was on a hill.
Zeus was their chief god. The people in Pergamum had four main gods that they served. These were Zeus, Athene a special female god , Dionysos and Asklepios. The local rulers had the power of life and death. They could arrest and kill any person. But Jesus has the sharp sword. His sword cuts with both edges The power of life and death belongs to Jesus and not to the rulers. They can only kill the body. But Jesus has the power of life and death of the whole person. Verse 13 Jesus spoke to them.
There were so many false gods. People did so many evil things in that town. It was very hard to be a Christian there. The Christians lived in constant danger. They killed Antipas because he trusted in Jesus. They were brave. They were even willing to die for Jesus. Some members did not live as they should.
Some people there did what Balaam taught Balak. The story of Balaam and Balak is in Numbers chapters 22 to These members did not want to be different from the other people in Pergamum. They were happy to eat the food of false gods. They did the same things as other people. They even had sex with those who did not trust in Jesus. They may have had sex with more than one partner. This is against what Jesus taught. Some also followed what the Nicolaitans taught.
Perhaps they belonged to the same group because they did the same things. Christians ought to be different from those who do not trust in Jesus. They should do what he taught. They should not live to the standards of the world. They ought not to have members like these. If they do not then Jesus will come. Verse 17 What other people do tempts us.
We may want to live as they do. But God calls us to live for him. Jesus taught us how we should live. They were in the desert and he gave them this for food Exodus chapter Those who overcome will have the food of heaven to eat. This may mean food for the spirit while on earth. It may be a promise of heaven. On that stone, there is a name. It is a new name and nobody else knows it. Jesus died for all people. In the races at Pergamum, those who win receive a white stone. Those who overcome have won the race of life.
The new name on the stone may be the name of the person who overcomes. That new name is a prize and an honour. This will be the name of that person in the new age. In chapter , Jesus has a name on him, but nobody except Jesus himself knows it. He gives his name to his own people.
Those who know the name will be close friends of Jesus. I am the Son of God. My eyes are like a flame of fire. You are doing more now than you did at the start. You let that woman called Jezebel remain among you. She encourages them to have wrong sex. She causes them to eat food from the table of false gods. However, she does not want to change. And whoever has sex with her will suffer greatly. They must turn from the wicked things that they did with her. And I will give to each of you whatever your works deserve.
You have not believed what Jezebel taught. So, I will not make life any more difficult for you. Hold on to it until I come. To them, I will give power. They shall rule the nations. And they will break the nations as if they were dried mud. This is what I also have received from my Father.
Verse 18 This is the longest letter and it is the most difficult. We know less about Thyatira than the other cities. It is south and east of Pergamum at a distance of 40 miles. It was famous for its trade. There were many trade unions in Thyatira. Each one of these was for a particular trade. This caused real problems for the Christians. They had to belong to the union in order to get work in their trade.
Jesus describes himself as the Son of God. This is very different from the local god. His name was Apollo Tyrimnos. People thought that he was the son of a god called Zeus. But Jesus really is the Son of the real God. The eyes of Jesus were like a flame of fire. He could see all the problems of the Christians. He could see through all that Jezebel taught. He sees all things. He is able to deal with all the problems. This shows that Jesus is more magnificent than any false gods, or even the king of Rome.
So, the church in Thyatira should give honour to Jesus and not to these false gods. He knew all about the Christians in Thyatira. He liked so many of the things that he saw. They had not lost their love. It had not grown weak as it had in Ephesus. They believed in him. They trusted him completely.
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They served God and not the local gods. They were doing more now than they did before. Life in Thyatira was difficult for them. What we do for each other shows our love. As the love of the Christians in Thyatira increased, they did more. There had been a queen, also called Jezebel. She was the wife of king Ahab. She was a wicked woman. Jezebel encouraged Ahab to do all kinds of wicked deeds 1 Kings This woman was probably very clever. She was able to convince people that she was right.
She said that she had special knowledge from God. She taught the Christians to live as the people in Thyatira did. She said that it was right to join the trade unions. They would even think that it was not wrong to have sex with different partners. This is an important question for Christians of all times. They have to decide how much they can join in with the local activities.
They must not deny what the Bible teaches. But they are members of the society in which they live. What she was doing was evil. She knew it. He had warned her and he had given her time to change. The bed here is a place of illness and pain. She will suffer much for the evil things that she had done. They too will suffer illness and pain. But they still have the chance to avoid the punishment.
They must not do those things that they knew to be wrong. Verse 23 These are not her children by natural birth. She was like a mother to them. They believed all that she taught. He sees all that we do. He knows all about us. He will be the judge of every person. He will punish or reward them. They will get what they deserve. We know that none of us deserves a reward. We all deserve death. However, he will be the judge of what Christians do. And he will give rewards to some Christians. Verses Jezebel argued that Christians should join in the things of the false gods. She probably said that the false gods were not really bad.
Therefore, there would be no problem for the Christians. What she taught was false. Most Christians in Thyatira did not follow Jezebel. They must continue in love and service to God. His people must continue to love him and to trust him. And they must continue until he comes. They continue to the end. Jesus will give power to his people when he comes to rule on earth. They will share with Jesus as he rules. They will lead the nations as those who lead sheep.
They will be able to encourage the people. A man who makes pots uses an iron bar to break any bad pots. Jesus has this power which God the Father gave to him. Jesus will share this power with his people. Verse 28 We do not know what the morning star means. But this is a description of Jesus. He is like the bright morning star I hold the 7 spirits of God and the 7 stars.
I know what you are doing. Everyone may think that you are alive. But you are dead. Give strength to those things that have almost died. I have looked at what you are doing. Your actions do not satisfy what God wants. Obey what you heard. So, if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief. And you will not know at what time I will come to you. They will walk with me in white clothes because they deserve it. I will not remove their names from the book of life.
Verse 1 Sardis was about 30 miles south of Thyatira and 50 miles east of Ephesus. It was on the side of a mountain. Below it there was a large plain. It was in a good position for an army to defend.
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It had been a powerful and rich city. But it was not still as strong as it had been. The letter comes from Jesus, who holds the 7 spirits of God and the 7 stars. Christ has the Spirit who alone can give life. Jesus holds the 7 stars in his right hand But by this time, it had lost its life. This process was slow. They did not see it happen. So, they did not live as they should. In the past, armies had twice defeated Sardis. They were able to do this because nobody watched. In other words, the Christians need to be aware of what is happening.
But some things there did not seem to be dead. A sleeper may seem dead until he wakes. But, unlike a dead body, a sleeper is not hopeless. He is still alive. But perhaps it was more like a sleeper. Perhaps it could recover, like a man who wakes. It must turn from its wrong actions. The Christians in Sardis were doing a lot. Much of the activity seemed to be for God. But God saw the reality. Their actions did not satisfy what God wanted.
Verse 3 Christ tells the Christians to remember what they had received. They received new life from God. They must obey his word and live for him. It is as if they must wake out of their present sleep. Or, as if they must come alive again. He will come when they do not expect it. He will not announce when he is coming. He will deal with them and he will be their judge.
Their belief made no difference to their lives. They were behaving like people who make their own clothes dirty. In Sardis, the people coloured wool and they made clothes. If the wool was dirty, it was not useful. This means that they did not live by the standards of the local people. Instead, they lived by what they had learned from the word of God. This means that they will be holy.
They will walk with him. This means that their lives will please him. He gives to them the reward that he earned. They do not deserve it because of anything that they have done. They obtain it because they believe in Christ. What they believed changed their lives. Verse 5 There are three parts to the promise for those who overcome. They will wear white clothes. Their names will be in the book of life. Many people died because they were Christians.
In heaven, they have white clothes All the people in heaven have white clothes The clothes are white to show that they are not dirty. So, the clothes of Christians in heaven are white because Jesus made them clean.
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He gives the white clothes to those who believe. This means that he gives his own goodness to them. He makes them perfect. The idea is that God has a book. In it, he wrote the names of all those who would be his people. Those whose names are in the book would go to heaven. Those whose names are not in the book cannot go to heaven.
Jesus will take those who overcome to be at home with him. He will introduce them to God the Father. What he said to them, he says to Christians in every age. I am holy and true. I hold the key of David. What I open nobody can shut. And what I shut nobody can open. Look, I have given you an open door. Nobody is able to shut that door. I know that you have just a little power.
From Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler over the kings of the earth : John brought a greeting from God the Son , who is described by who He is and by what He has done. The ancient Greek word translated witness is also the word for a martyr. Firstborn from the dead means much more than that Jesus was the first person resurrected. It also means that He is pre-eminent among all those who are or will be resurrected. Jesus is the firstborn among many brethren Romans The use of firstborn does not mean that Jesus had a birth date and is therefore a created being, and not God.
Rabbis also used firstborn as a Messianic title. Nathan in Shemoth Rabba , cited by Lightfoot in his commentary on Colossians. Jesus is the ruler over the kings. Before the Book of Revelation is over, Jesus will take dominion over every earthly king. At the present time, Jesus rules a kingdom, but it is a kingdom that is not yet of this world. In this greeting, with its systematic mention of each Person of the Trinity, we see how the New Testament presents the doctrine of the Trinity.
To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood, and has made us kings and priests to His God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. To Him who loved us : What a beautiful title for Jesus! When loved is used, in the past tense , it points back to a particular time and place where Jesus loved us. It looks back to the cross. This is worth praising Jesus about.
Paul put it like this in Romans But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. He may give additional proof, but He can give no greater proof. No wonder many believers are not secure in knowing the love of Jesus towards them — they look to their present circumstances to measure His love. Instead, they need to look back to the cross, settle the issue once for all, and give praise to Jesus, to Him who loved us.
And washed us from our sins in His own blood : This is what happened when Jesus loved us at the cross. He washed us — cleansed us from the deep stain of sin, so that we really are clean before Him. If we understand our own deep sinfulness, this seems almost too good to be true. We can stand clean before God — clean from the deepest of stains. No wonder the same Apostle John also wrote, If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness 1 John In His own blood : If there were any other way to wash us from our sins, God would have done it that other way.
To wash us in His own blood meant the ultimate sacrifice of God the Son. How readily they will enter upon war! But Christ was willing to shed his own blood, to pour out his soul unto death, that we might be saved. Notice the order: first loved , then washed. He loved us while we were dirty, but then He washed us. In fact, washing proves love. If you had an old pair of pants, and got them covered in paint, you would only wash them and keep them for two reasons. First, you might wash them and keep them if you were poor.
Second, you might wash them and keep them if you really loved those old pants. You could go down and buy a new pair of pants any time; but you love that pair so much that you spend the time and the effort to clean them, and use them again. God loves us so much that He washed us. God certainly is not poor.
With merely a thought, He could obliterate every sinner and start over with brand-new creatures. He loves us so much that He washed us. Some scholars believe that John wrote and loosed us from our sins. There is only one letter different between the words washed and loosed in the ancient Greek language. Nevertheless, both are true — we are both washed and loosed from our sins. And has made us kings and priests to His God and Father : This is status Jesus gives to those whom He loved in His work on the cross and who are washed… in His own blood. It would have been enough just to love them and cleanse them.
But He goes far beyond, and makes us kings and priests to His God and Father. This is more than Adam ever was. Even in the innocence of Eden we never read of Adam among the kings and priests of God. We represent God to man and man to God. We offer sacrifice unto Him Hebrews Kings and priests : In the Old Testament, it was forbidden to combine the offices of king and priest. King Uzziah of Judah is an example of a man who tried to combine the two offices, and paid the penalty for it 2 Chronicles To Him be glory and dominion forever and ever : In light of all that Jesus did for us, it is right to praise Him.
We should honor Him with all glory and dominion forever and ever. We are simply recognizing that He has it, and honoring Him for it. To recognize the glory of Jesus is to come out-and-out for Him. Is this worthy of yourself? Is it worthy of your Lord and Master? To recognize the dominion of Jesus is to let Him truly rule over us. Each man is a little empire of three kingdoms — body, soul, and spirit — and it should be a united kingdom. Make Christ king of it all. Do not allow any branch of those three kingdoms to set up for itself a distinct rule; put them all under the sway of your one King.
Jesus will be praised. Jesus has done all this and more for you. You have much to praise Him for — so praise Him! The time will come when you must die; would you not desire to have a good hope of entering then into the felicities of the perfected ones? I am sure you would; but if you are at last to be numbered amongst the redeemed host on high, you must here learn their song.
You cannot be admitted into the choirs above without having practiced and rehearsed their music here below. Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him, even they who pierced Him. And all the tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him. Even so, Amen. Behold, He is coming : This is a command to look — to check it out. John moved from praising Jesus to describing His return.
He wants us to behold the coming of Jesus. Jesus said that we should watch and wait for His coming Matthew It is something to keep before the eye of our mind , to behold. That supernatural vision will come later. For example, John knew that Jesus was coming because Jesus said He was coming. Jesus said, I will come again and receive you to Myself John He is coming with clouds : When Jesus comes, He will be surrounded by clouds.
This will be true literally, because when Jesus left this earth, He was taken up into a cloud and God said that He would return in the same manner Acts It will also be true figuratively, because multitudes of believers are called clouds in a figurative manner Hebrews Understanding this connection with the glory of God, it is fitting — and wonderful — that the multitude of believers is called a cloud. Everyone will know. At His first coming, Jesus was somewhat obscure.
During His earthly ministry, He never made front-page news in Rome. But when Jesus comes again, every eye will see Him. The whole world will know. For as the lightning comes from the east and flashes to the west, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be Matthew Even they who pierced Him : When Jesus comes, it will be a particularly meaningful revelation for the Jewish people. Of course, it was not the Jews alone who pierced Him. But we know John had in mind the revelation of Jesus to His own people because this is an allusion to Zechariah When Jesus reveals Himself to His own people, the Jews, it will not be in anger.
By that time, the Jewish nation will have turned to Jesus, trusting in Him as their Messiah Matthew , Romans When they see Jesus and His pierced hands and feet, it will be a painful reminder of their previous rejection of Him. It will fulfill the scene of Zechariah And I will pour on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and supplication; then they will look on Me whom they pierced.
Yes, they will mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son, and grieve for Him as one grieves for a firstborn. He could read it in Zechariah Since there will be people saved from all the tribes of the earth Revelation , everyone will have a part in this mourning. He just needed to remember what Jesus said at Matthew Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.
This shows that the translators believed that these were the words of Jesus. John was finished with his introduction, and now Jesus introduced Himself. Some wonder if it is God the Father or God the Son speaking here. We suspect it is the Son , Jesus Christ, and we believe this for many reasons. Third, though the title who is and who was and who is to come is used of God the Father in Revelation , it is also true of God the Son, and seems to be directed to Jesus in Revelation and The Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End : The idea behind these titles for Jesus is that He is before all things and will remain beyond all things.
Alpha was the first letter of the ancient Greek alphabet, and Omega was the last letter. If Jesus is both the Beginning and the End , then He also has authority over everything in-between. This means that Jesus has a plan for history, and He directs the path of human events toward His designed fulfillment. Our lives are not given over to blind fate, to random meaninglessness, or to endless cycles with no resolution.
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Instead, Jesus Christ who is the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End directs all of human history and even our individual lives. Who is and was and who is to come : As shown in the comments on Revelation , this phrase communicates the idea behind the great Old Testament name for the Triune God, Yahweh. It reflects His eternal nature and His unchanging presence. Jesus has this eternal nature just as much as God the Father does. Micah prophetically expressed it this way: Whose goings forth are from of old, from everlasting. Hebrews expressed it this way: Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
This great word Almighty is used ten times in the New Testament, and nine of the ten times are in the Book of Revelation. I, John, both your brother and companion in the tribulation and kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was on the island that is called Patmos for the word of God and for the testimony of Jesus Christ.
It was used as a prison island and functioned as a jail without bars. The island was rich in marble, and most of the prisoners were forced laborers in marble quarries. Patmos was a rocky, desolate island about 10 miles long and 6 miles wide. But neither seas, nor Alps, nor ages, can sever the bonds by which Christians are united to each other, or to Christ, their Lord. Less than a year ago I passed that island. It is a mere mass of barren rocks, dark in colour and cheerless in form.
It lies out in the open sea, near the coast of Western Asian Minor. It has neither trees nor rivers, nor any land for cultivation, except some little nooks between the ledges of rocks. There is still a dingy grotto remaining, in which the aged Apostle is said to have lived, and in which he is said to have had this vision. A chapel covers it, hung with lamps kept burning by the monks.
For the word of God and for the testimony of Jesus Christ : Most scholars assume that John was on Patmos because he was arrested and imprisoned in persecution from the Romans. This is probably the case, especially because John said that he is your brother and companion in the tribulation and kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ. However, it is also possible that John was on Patmos as a missionary to the prisoners there. Church History , III. Early sources also indicated that about a. This was a unique spiritual experience for John, what some might call an out of body experience — though of course, without the occult or spiritism such experiences are associated with today.
There are four references to John being in the Spirit in the Book of Revelation. First at Patmos Revelation , then in heaven Revelation , then in the wilderness Revelation , and finally on the mountain of God Revelation This is not the same term used for The Day of the Lord in the Old Testament, nor is it the same idea. I heard behind me a loud voice : The loud voice John heard was clear and striking as the sound of a trumpet. The loud voice belongs to the Alpha and Omega , the First and the Last , who is the beginning and the end of all things.
Since Jesus introduced Himself with these titles in Revelation , we know this was the loud voice of Jesus. The title Alpha and the Omega has the same idea as First and the Last. This is one of the New Testament passages where Jesus clearly claimed to be God. What you see, write in a book : Here, John was commanded to write what he saw. He would be commanded to write eleven more times in the Book of Revelation.
We get the sense that unless John was commanded to write , he would have just kept it to himself. Send it to the seven churches which are in Asia : John was commanded to write to seven churches in seven cities. Each of these churches is in the region of the Roman province of Asia. But these were not the only cities with churches in this region. Why were these specific seven churches chosen? Some suggest that it was because they are arranged in a roughly circular pattern.
Others think it was because these were postal districts in the Roman province of Asia. Many believe seven churches were chosen because in the Bible, the number seven often represents completeness, and these letters — and all of the Book of Revelation — are written to the complete church, not only these seven churches. Then I turned to see the voice that spoke with me. And having turned I saw seven golden lampstands, and in the midst of the seven lampstands One like the Son of Man, clothed with a garment down to the feet and girded about the chest with a golden band.
He saw seven golden lampstands. These were not candlesticks, they were not menorahs, but they were free standing oil lamp stands. The lamps set on these lampstands. There were seven separate lampstands. This is an image that reminds us of the golden lampstand that stood in the tabernacle and the temple Exodus Yet this is different. The Old Covenant lampstand was one lampstand with seven lamps on it.
Here in the New Covenant, we see seven lampstands. God had but one church of the Jews, but many among the Gentiles. The light comes from the oil lamps themselves. The stands merely make the light more visible. Therefore, the lampstands are a good picture of the church. And in the midst of the seven lampstands One like the Son of Man : Jesus was there in the midst of these lampstands, as the Son of Man , a figure of glory looking back to Daniel Though the title Son of Man sounds like a humble title, in light of the Daniel passage, it is not a humble title at all.
Clothed with a garment down to the feet and girded about the chest with a golden band : The clothing of Jesus indicates that He is a person of great dignity and authority. The golden band around the chest probably hints at the garments of the high priest Exodus