Revelation is among the most neglected Books of the Bible. I say that not because people do not study or teach it, but because of how they study and teach it. The Revelation of Jesus Christ is an amazing prophetic guide into the future of the heavens and the earth. It is also a powerful revelation of Who Jesus Christ is and what He demands from His Church now.
“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. I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day, and I heard behind me a loud voice, as of a trumpet, saying, ‘I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last,’ and, ‘What you see, write in a book and send it to the seven churches which are in Asia: to Ephesus, to Smyrna, to Pergamos, to Thyatira, to Sardis, to Philadelphia, and to Laodicea.’ 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. His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and His eyes like a flame of fire; His feet were like fine brass, as if refined in a furnace, and His voice as the sound of many waters; He had in His right hand seven stars, out of His mouth went a sharp two-edged sword, and His countenance was like the sun shining in its strength. And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead. But He laid His right hand on me, saying to me, ‘Do not be afraid; I am the First and the Last. I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death.” 1:9-18
The Apostle John had been banished to the small island of Patmos because of his preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The year was about 95 AD; more than 60 years after Jesus died on the Cross, rose from the grave, and ascended to His Throne in Heaven. A lot had happened during those years, including the deaths of all of the Lord’s Apostles, except for John.
Jesus Christ appeared to John on the Lord’s Day and spoke to him. John described the Lord’s Voice as “loud” and “as of a trumpet.” The first thing Jesus said to John was, “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last,” reminiscent of what He had said to the Prophet Isaiah centuries before.
“Thus says the Lord, the King of Israel, And his Redeemer, the Lord of hosts: ‘I am the First and I am the Last; Besides Me there is no God.” Isaiah 44:6
“Listen to Me, O Jacob, And Israel, My called: I am He, I am the First, I am also the Last.” Isaiah 48:12
When John saw Jesus he fell at His feet as dead, but Jesus laid His right hand on him and said, “Do not be afraid; I am the First and the Last.” Again, a reminder of the great promise God made to Isaiah and Israel many years earlier in the same context as being the First and Last.
“Do not fear, nor be afraid; Have I not told you from that time, and declared it? You are My witnesses. Is there a God besides Me? Indeed there is no other Rock; I know not one.” Isaiah 44:8
Jesus told John to write in a Book what he saw in the vision the Lord was going to give him and then send that Book to the seven churches in Asia: Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamos, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea. Patmos was a small island, just a short distance from those seven churches. John was well known to the churches in those cities. The pastors, deacons and members of each church would have been able to verify that indeed it was from the Apostle.
The image most Christians have presented of Jesus Christ during the past 2,000 years has been of a loving Savior, wearing a flowing robe and looking meek and mild. The image John saw on that Lord’s Day on Patmos was of a powerful Warrior King – “One like the Son of Man, clothed with a garment down to the feet and girded about the chest with a golden band. His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and His eyes like a flame of fire; His feet were like fine brass, as if refined in a furnace, and His voice as the sound of many waters; He had in His right hand seven stars, out of His mouth went a sharp two-edged sword, and His countenance was like the sun shining in its strength.” John described Jesus many times in the Revelation and each time he presented a Mighty God Who conquers and judges the world and the heavens.
“Immediately I was in the Spirit; and behold, a throne set in heaven, and One sat on the throne. And He who sat there was like a jasper and a sardius stone in appearance; and there was a rainbow around the throne, in appearance like an emerald.” Revelation 4:2-3
“And I looked, and behold, in the midst of the throne and of the four living creatures, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as though it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent out into all the earth.” Revelation 5:6
“Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war. His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns. He had a name written that no one knew except Himself. He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean,followed Him on white horses. Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.” Revelation 19:11-16
“Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works.Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.” Revelation 20:11-15
Jesus revealed Himself to John as the Almighty God, One to be feared and obeyed. Remember that this is, “The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show His servants.” (Revelation 1:1) This is how Jesus wanted His Church to think of Him every day of their lives – not just once in awhile when a pastor or traveling evangelist or prophecy teacher held special meetings about the Book of Revelation. Jesus revealed Himself to John the Apostle and told him to write everything he saw and send it to the churches. Why? So that His servants, His children, would know He was coming soon and FEAR Him.
“Behold, I am coming quickly! Blessed is he who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book … And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last … I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these things in the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, the Bright and Morning Star … Surely I am coming quickly.” Revelation 22:7, 12-13, 16, 20
In the next part of our study, we will look closely at why we need to FEAR the Lord and what that FEAR teaches us about life here on earth.
In Christ’s Love and Grace,
“Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.”