April 25, 2022
When talking with fellow Christians about the book of Revelation, some get really excited to discuss it, others seem to get slightly frustrated, and a handful are fearful of it. Those who are filled with excitement tend to be eager to connect prophecies, while those who are frustrated tend to be confused about what is literal, what is symbolic, what is in the past, and/or what is in the future. And those who are fearful of it, seem to get caught up in the earthly meaning of the “apocalypse” and fixate on the catastrophic destruction of humanity and of the earth, rather than focusing on the book being God’s gracious outline for each of our lives during the end times which really is all about the loving return of Christ for His family, the church.
Regardless of our soul’s response to the book of Revelation, we must remember God’s promise, which can be found in the very beginning of this book, and we need to allow this Truth to speak to our spirit: “God blesses the one who reads the words of this prophecy to the church, and he blesses all who listen to its message and obey what it says, for the time is near.” (Rev 1:3)
The word Revelation is a translation of the Greek work apokalypsis, which means an unveiling or a disclosure, and it is where the word apocalypse is derived. In this book, Jesus is “unveiling or disclosing” many prophetic passages from the Old Testament and foreshadows many future prophecies to yet be fulfilled. In the first 8 verses John greets his readers, he attributes glory and power to Jesus because of His love and redemption, and he sees believers as appointed by the Lord to serve the kingdom of God as priests.
In today’s passage, Jesus appears to John, who finds himself on the island of Patmos, where he was exiled, he is alone, and by this time most of the apostles have been martyred. Within this place of suffering, and being completely stripped down from the world, Jesus appears to John with a message for the churches. It is important to note two things, first is that even though John was suffering, Jesus appears to him during a time when he was worshipping in the Spirit. So, no amount of earthly pain, emotional, mental, and/or physical, could keep John from worshipping Jesus. Also, Jesus appears to him from behind with “a loud voice like a trumpet blast.” (Rev 1:10) Jesus told us that when He returns for His family (the church) that “He will send out His angles with the mighty blast of a trumpet, and they will gather His chosen ones from all over the world.” (Matt 24:31)
John goes on to record what he saw when Jesus appeared to him and asks him to write to the 7 churches, which are the 7 gold lampstands, and Jesus is standing right in the middle of them. Jesus is in His glorified form during this encounter, and what John sees points to Jesus as powerful, noble, wise, divine, majestic, glorified, righteous, and fair in judgment. This returning version of our Lord is much different than when He came as a baby. John fell to the Lord’s feet, with reverence, when he saw Him, just as you and I will do when He returns.
Revelation 1:9-20 NLT
Vision of the Son of Man
9 I, John, am your brother and your partner in suffering and in God’s Kingdom and in the patient endurance to which Jesus calls us. I was exiled to the island of Patmos for preaching the word of God and for my testimony about Jesus. 10 It was the Lord’s Day, and I was worshiping in the Spirit. Suddenly, I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet blast. 11 It said, “Write in a book everything you see, and send it to the seven churches in the cities of Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea.”
12 When I turned to see who was speaking to me, I saw seven gold lampstands. 13 And standing in the middle of the lampstands was someone like the Son of Man. He was wearing a long robe with a gold sash across his chest. 14 His head and his hair were white like wool, as white as snow. And his eyes were like flames of fire. 15 His feet were like polished bronze refined in a furnace, and his voice thundered like mighty ocean waves. 16 He held seven stars in his right hand, and a sharp two-edged sword came from his mouth. And his face was like the sun in all its brilliance.
17 When I saw him, I fell at his feet as if I were dead. But he laid his right hand on me and said, “Don’t be afraid! I am the First and the Last. 18 I am the living one. I died, but look—I am alive forever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and the grave.
19 “Write down what you have seen—both the things that are now happening and the things that will happen. 20 This is the meaning of the mystery of the seven stars you saw in my right hand and the seven gold lampstands: The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches.
Prayer: Jesus, thank You for providing such a loving outline of what is to come. Thank You for all of the prophecies that have been fulfilled, and I look forward for those still yet to come. Lord, I need Your guidance as I continue to grow in my understanding of Your heart through the book of Revelation. I am so thankful to be a part of Your family, the church, and so I want to be ready for Your return. I ask this in Your Holy Name, Jesus. Amen.
Written by: Jennifer Auer, Pastor Mary Haley’s Assistant