REVELATION CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCING JESUS CHRIST
- The identification of Jesus is given as the Firstborn of the new creation, Lord over the kings of the earth, and the One Who holds keys to Death and Hades. He also claims the title of ‘Alpha and Omega’ which means Jesus is claiming to be the Almighty God. Of all of these, focus on the fact that He is the key holder. Jesus Christ is the only way to the Father and the only path to Heaven and the only source of eternal life because He has the keys. To put it another way, He is the “bread of life” (John 6:35) or He is “living water” (John 4:14, 7:38, Revelation 21:6).
- In verse 4, John seems to point to Exodus 3:14 in his description of Jesus. “I AM THAT I AM” is clearly in view with “Him Who is, and Who was, and Who is to come.” This is a reference to the Name of God (YHWH).
- In verse 4, we also have the “seven spirits.” Don’t let that throw you. Isaiah 11:2 speaks of the Spirit of God in this way. Revelation 3:1 states that Jesus has the “seven spirits.” Revelation 4:5 also states before the throne are “seven torches of fire which are the seven spirits of God.” This is a symbolic way of talking about the completeness of God. It is the same later in Revelation 5:6 which speaks of seven horns, seven eyes, etc. What we are seeing is a vision of the complete Godhead which includes the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Nothing is lacking. God the Father is Jesus Christ is the Holy Spirit.
- Add verse 4 to verse 5, and this all points to God, the Holy Spirit and more clearly to Jesus Christ. Yes, still talking about Jesus. The whole book is about Jesus. We see God as individually Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, but more importantly as One. That makes sense since this is a message from the Triune God.
- Verse 7 refers to Daniel 7:13
- Verse 9 shares that there is suffering and tribulation going on. He focuses on patient endurance for those that are in Jesus Christ. John says he is in tribulation at the time of the vision or writing of Revelation.
- Verse 11 shares with us that what the Apostle John sees is happening “now” (in his time) and also will happen “later” (after his time).
- Verses 13-16 are an awesome symbolic poetic description of Jesus Christ standing among the lampstands (church fellowships).
- Verse 19 is important because it repeats the phrase from verse 11 that what the Apostle John is seeing is happening “now” (in his time) and also will happen “later” (after his time). This will be important as we interpret the events of the rest of the book.
- Symbolism is thick in these verses towards the end of the chapter. Stars are symbols of angels. The lampstands are the churches organized into fellowships. There are other interpretations for the meaning of the ‘stars,’ since ‘angel’ is a job description (could be a human messenger of the Church) and not a category of being as we usually think.
COMMENTS TO HELP YOU STUDY:
John, the Apostle, greets believers and relates that he has been given a vision. More than anything in this chapter, Jesus is introduced and specifically identified. The whole book is about Jesus Christ revealing Himself.
Jesus Christ is presented as the ascended King of Creation with a resulting upgrowth and maturing of His kingdom. This is the direct result of His resurrection from His human death by His crucifixion on the cross. One of the major themes in the Book of Revelation is the call for believers to full faith in Jesus Christ because of His faithfulness. In Him, is God’s full intent and manifestation for humanity. Christ is both the source of the revelation and the topic because He is the King of the Kingdom of God in both of Heaven and Earth; He is the Holy of Holies and the Spirit indwelling the temple of God built of His people. He is the Second Adam (Humanity) to come in fullness at the second coming of Christ. He is the glory of God filling all creation forever. That sounds like a lot… because it is!
Jesus reveals (through John the son of Zebedee) He is the Beginning and the End (Alpha and Omega).
Verse 5 is quite significant in this chapter… so don’t miss it! Verse 5 specifically lines out Who Jesus is theologically and also specifically amongst humanity. Sin is overcome by the blood of Christ. Humanity is restored. We will see in the rest of the book that He will bring sentencing to the unrepentant and the openly rebellious.
The Church is praised and chastised to conform to Christ where lacking at time of the writing of the Book. Some of the points we will find are specific to those believers while other points are applicable throughout history and the future.
The Kingdom of God is always in focus in this book. It has come. It is coming. The Kingdom of God is the people and the people are being added to the Kingdom on a regular basis. Jesus is the focus even when entering into the Kingdom. Remember Jesus said “no one comes to the Father but through Me (John 14:6).” How is this so? He is the King (John 18:36-37). Remember Jesus said, “I am the beginning and the end” (Revelation 1:17, 21:6, 22:13). Whenever entering the Kingdom of God is talked about or we focus on Kingdom living… Jesus is part of that conversation.
REMINDER: Revelation is a particular type of literature. Symbols are “impressionistic” in their meaning. This gets established early in the book in chapter 1. For example, the lampstands are explained as the structured group of people of believers. Lampstands = church fellowship. When things are not explained, Jews would have picked up on the impressionistic meaning from the Old Testament. These things would have been a common reference for them and so are not always explained to us. The object (lampstand) is the object (lampstand)… but there are symbolic meanings.
Jesus Christ is saying Who He is and because of Who He is, He can call His Kingdom to conform to Him even to the point of death to be faithful.
Summary: Chapter 1 is about the identification of Jesus Christ and the results of Him being King of the Kingdom of Almighty God. It is important to note that Jesus Christ is also God… the Primary One being the beginning and end. He is the Almighty.
TMB & BMD