A Commentary on Revelation Chapter 01
Jesus Is the Alpha and Omega
INTRODUCTION TO REVELATION CHAPTER 1
When Daniel finished the Book Of Daniel he was told to “shut up the words, and seal the book,” Dan 12:4. John was instructed just the opposite. “Seal not the sayings of the prophecy of this book: for the time is at hand.” Rev. 22:10. Contrary to the speculations regarding another date it seems certain that John wrote the book about A.D. 96. We are first introduced to symbolism. It was a “spiritual code” only bible readers could understand this code. No officer (Government official) could cite any of this document against believers. However, do not get trapped into believing that the events described under symbols are not real. About 300 references to the Old Testament are found in this one book. If we anchor our ideas based on what the Old Testament teaches then we will have a true interpretation. If you are not grounded in the interpretation of Old Testament prophecies then you will not understand the code. In most cases I will refer you back to the Old Testament so you will see how the code was applied. If you are able to decode the Old Testament prophecies then you will be able in most cases to understand the New Testament prophecies. I have quoted the Old Testament Scriptures so the average reader can see clearly the meaning intended by the Holy Spirit and thus crack the code.
EXPOSITION ON REVELATION CHAPTER 1
1:1-3 The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show his servants what must soon take place. He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John, who testifies to everything he saw–that is, the word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ. Blessed is the one who reads the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it, because the time is near.
The revelation of Jesus Christ, Jesus Christ is the fountain of truth and knowledge. John is merely acting in the capacity of a scribe or secretary. He is about to give us a revelation that is unmatched in excitement and glorious to behold. Revelation means the unveiling of divine mysteries. To uncover. Jesus said “There is nothing covered that shall not be revealed.” Mt. l0:26. Revelation is a twisted rope rather than a tangled web. If we untwist the threads and lay them side by side, we shall not have much difficulty if we exercise all that reverent and painstaking care which is due to the examination of every part of the word of God. Therefore, we can conclude that IT IS A REVELATION–NOT A MYSTERY. which God gave him to show his servants what must soon take place. He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John.
Dan. l2.10…”and none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand.” If we are his servants then we should be interested in what Jesus has to show us. The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show his servants what must soon take place. He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John. An angel is the instrument and John is the recipient. He made it known by signs and symbols. cf. Hieroglyphics. who testifies to everything he saw. A witness who testifies to what he has seen cf. John 21:24 “This is the disciple who testifies to these things and who wrote them down. We know that his testimony is true.” Blessed is the one who reads the words of this prophecy, In ancient times one stood up and read publicly before the assembly. cf Acts 15:21 “For Moses has been preached in every city from the earliest times and is read in the synagogues on every Sabbath.” A. Q. Morton’s estimate of the cost of a Gospel represents in papyrus alone a years wages and a New Testament about eight years wages of a skilled workman. Few believers could look forward to owning a bible, therefore the function of a reader was tremendously important. Thank God for the printing press and paper. Today the cost of a complete Bible is minimal. and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it, because the time is near. Ten times Jesus uses the word hear. We are to keep in mind those things which relate to the future, and obey those things which require truth and duty. The blessings result from the fact that the truth exerts an influence over our lives. No blessings if this book was unintelligible. Therefore, this book is useful in supporting our faith, giving us elevated views of the final triumph of religion–glory of the world to come and anchors our hope to the heavenly world.
1:4,5a John, To the seven churches in the province of Asia: Grace and peace to you from him who is, and who was, and who is to come, and from the seven spirits [ Or the sevenfold Spirit ] before his throne, and from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth.
Asia did not mean in the first century what it does today. It was a Roman province of which Ephesus was the capital. Today when we think of Asia we think of a continent. Grace and peace The word grace occurs 129 times in the K.J. translation. It is translated benefit one time, favor 6 times, liberality 1 time, thank 3 times and thanks 4 times. Thayer gives this primary definition “Sweetness, charm, loveliness; and explains it to signify “that which affords joy, pleasure, delight.” other definitions are: Good-will, loving kindness, favor. The word peace was a favorite benediction of Jesus LUK 10:5 “When you enter a house, first say, Peace to this house.” JOH 14:27 “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”
I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. JOH 16:33
On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, Peace be with you!” JOH 20:21 “Again Jesus said, Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you. JOH 20:19
“And from the seven spirits [Or the sevenfold Spirit] before his throne:” Seven denotes the full complete or manifold working of the Holy Spirit on the Souls of men and the affairs of the world. and from Jesus Christ, This is not a revelation from John , but a revelation from Jesus Christ. the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. He is one in whom we can put complete reliance. He was the first to be raised from the dead never to die again. He has all power in heaven and on earth. Mt 28:18 “Then Jesus came to them and said, All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.” COL 1:18 “And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy.”
1:5b-8 To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood, and has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve his God and Father–to him be glory and power for ever and ever! Amen. Look, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him; and all the peoples of the earth will mourn because of him. So shall it be! Amen. “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.”
Him who loves us I John 4:19. “We love because he first loved us.” freed us from our sins Have you been to Jesus for the cleansing power are you washed in the blood of the lamb. made us to be a kingdom and priests I Peter 2:5 “you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” Col. 1:13,14. “For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves,” Alpha and Omega. Doctors take X rays to reveal our bones and sonograms to see tissue, cartilage etc. But the Alpha and Omega can see the heart of man. Jesus Christ will thoroughly examine and completely diagnose his churches and where necessary prescribe a remedy.
14 In whom we have redemption Look, he is coming with the clouds, 2 Th. 1:10 “on the day he comes to be glorified in his holy people and to be marveled at among all those who have believed. This includes you, because you believed our testimony to you.” 2 Pet. 3:10 “But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare. [ Some manuscripts be burned up ] and every eye will see him, His coming will be personal and visible” even those who pierced him; and all the peoples of the earth will mourn because of him. John is the only one who speaks of the piercing of his side. The unconverted will wail when the Lord returns. Why be alarmed if there is no future punishment. So shall it be! Amen. Amen occurs l50 times in the N.T. Greek. It is translated 50 times “Amen” and l00 times “verily” Thayer says that at the beginning of a discourse it means “surely, of a truth, truly.” He says a repetition of a word as John alone uses it has the force of a superlative, “Most assuredly, “and at the close of a sentence means, “so be it, so be it, may it be fulfilled. “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.” He was our Alpha and Omega before the world was and shall be when the new world is. This indicated his exalted nature and supreme authority.
1:9-11 I, John, your brother and companion in the suffering and kingdom and patient endurance that are ours in Jesus, was on the island of Patmos because of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus. On the Lord’s Day I was in the Spirit, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet, which said: “Write on a scroll what you see and send it to the seven churches: to Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea.” which said: “Write on a scroll what you see and send it to the seven churches: to Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea.”
Irenaeus (2nd Century) says “Banished by Domition, Emperor of Rome at the latter end of his reign about A.D. 95 or 96. PATMOS This island is about 6 to 8 miles in length and about 15 miles in circumference. Neither trees nor rivers nor land for cultivation, except some nooks among the rocks. It has one deep bay sheltered by high mountains. It abounds in flowery plants and shrubs. It has walnut trees and fruit trees in its orchards. Anciently it was a convict quarry. Now it is populated by some five or six thousand inhabitants. (Kitto’s Cyclopedia of Biblical Lit.) “It was in its worst forms a terrible fate: Like the death penalty, it was preceded by scourging, and it was marked by perpetual fetters, scanty clothing, insufficient food, sleep on the bare ground in a dark prison, and work under lash of military leaders.” (Sir William Ramsey- Letters to the seven churches) It is located 20 miles South of Samos and 24 miles West of Asia Minor.
On the Lord’s Day I was in the Spirit, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet, The day which commemorates our Lord’s conquering the conquer of men. The Ethopic version renders it “The first day of the week” Justin Martyr (150 A.D.) “On the day called Sunday (by the Greeks) the Christians met together to read the Scriptures, and prayed together, and administered the Lord’s supper.” IN THE SPIRIT
John had passed into a state of prophetic illumination.
In the [Or my] thirtieth year, in the fourth month on the fifth day, while I was among the exiles by the Kebar River, the heavens were opened and I saw visions of God. Eze 1:1
He stretched out what looked like a hand and took me by the hair of my head. The Spirit lifted me up between earth and heaven and in visions of God he took me to Jerusalem, to the entrance to the north gate of the inner court, where the idol that provokes to jealousy stood. Eze 8:3
In visions of God he took me to the land of Israel and set me on a very high mountain, on whose south side were some buildings that looked like a city. Eze 40:2
After Jehoiachin [Hebrew Jeconiah, a variant of Jehoiachin] son of Jehoiakim king of Judah and the officials, the craftsmen and the artisans of Judah were carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, the Lord showed me two baskets of figs placed in front of the temple of the Lord. Accompanied with entire prostration of the body. Jer. 24:1
the oracle of one who hears the words of God, who sees a vision from the Almighty, [Hebrew Shaddai; also in verse 16] who falls prostrate, and whose eyes are opened: Num 24:4
He stripped off his robes and also prophesied in Samuel’s presence. He lay that way all that day and night. This is why people say, Is Saul also among the prophets? I Sam. 19:24
Like the appearance of a rainbow in the clouds on a rainy day, so was the radiance around him. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord. When I saw it, I fell facedown, and I heard the voice of one speaking. Ezek. 1:28
So I was left alone, gazing at this great vision; I had no strength left, my face turned deathly pale and I was helpless. Then I heard him speaking, and as I listened to him, I fell into a deep sleep, my face to the ground. A hand touched me and set me trembling on my hands and knees. Dan. 10:8-10
When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. Then he placed his right hand on me and said: Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. Rev. 1:17
1:12-16 I turned around to see the voice that was speaking to me. And when I turned I saw seven golden lampstands, and among the lampstands was someone “like a son of man,” [Daniel 7:13] dressed in a robe reaching down to his feet and with a golden sash around his chest. His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and his eyes were like blazing fire. His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of rushing waters. In his right hand he held seven stars, and out of his mouth came a sharp double-edged sword. His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance.
A lampstand has no light of itself but is dependent upon what is put into it, and when the oil is put into it and the wick is trimmed and lighted it holds forth its light. Likewise N.T. churches have no light of themselves but are dependent for what is put into them. Now the light that is put into them is the “Light of the Gospel” which dispels darkness and gives light to the saints. Christ is walking among them trimming the wicks and supplying the oil.
We note that Jesus has on a ROBE. Denoting royalty. dressed in a robe reaching down to his feet and with a golden sash around his chest. The High Priest wore a golden girdle cf. Exodus 28:8 “Its skillfully woven waistband is to be like it–of one piece with the ephod and made with gold, and with blue, purple and scarlet yarn, and with finely twisted linen.” Jesus is our high priest under the order of Melchisedec Heb. 5:10 “and was designated by God to be high priest in the order of Melchizedek.” This golden girdle was worn by one of rank and greatness. His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, His head and his hairs were white as snow; suggesting purity and ancient of days. Knowledge, wisdom and experience. John tells that Jesus said “before Abraham was, I am.” John 8:58. and his eyes were like blazing fire. His eyes were like a flame of fire. He sees all before his penetrating eyes. Paul tells us that “Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight but all things are naked and opened unto the EYES OF HIM with whom we have to do.” Heb. 4:13 Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account. History says that Napoleon possessed fiery eyes. The Lord Jesus can look into your past, your present and your future. His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace, His feet were like fine brass. He bore our judgment on the cross–refined , pure and clean. and his voice was like the sound of rushing waters. His voice was as the sound of many waters. Like the roar of a mighty cataract he sounded forth power and judgment. You can no more ignore the sound of the voice of Jesus than you can ignore the roaring of a mighty water falls.
16 In his right hand he held seven stars, Jesus had seven stars in his right hand. Stars are identified in verse 20. See my comments there. and out of his mouth came a sharp double-edged sword. Out of his mouth a sharp two edged sword. The word of Christ is a penetrating as a sword with two edges. cf. l9:15. “Out of his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. He will rule them with an iron scepter. [ Psalm 2:9 ] He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty.” Heb. 4:12. “For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” The sword of God’s word is seen in awakening the conscience; alarming the fears; laying bare the secret feelings of the heart, and causing the sinner to tremble with the apprehension of the coming judgment. It reaches the very center of the feelings, motives etc. It awakens sinners. The word enters like a sword, destroying the hope of a sinner, cutting him down under conviction; prostrating him as if a sword had pierced his heart. It slays the old man of sin. His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance. His countenance was as the sun shining cf. this to the transfiguration in Matthew 17:2 “There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light.”
1:17, 18a “When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. Then he placed his right hand on me and said: “Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades.
He was overwhelmed at the suddenness of the vision.
Like the appearance of a rainbow in the clouds on a rainy day, so was the radiance around him. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord. When I saw it, I fell facedown, and I heard the voice of one speaking. Eze 1:2
He said to me, Son of man, stand up on your feet and I will speak to you. Eze 2:1
I, Daniel, was exhausted and lay ill for several days. Then I got up and went about the king’s business. I was appalled by the vision; it was beyond understanding. Dan 8:27
Jesus laid his right hand upon John and reassured him He wanted John to know who he was and that He was GOD. I am the First and the Last.
Listen to me, O Jacob, Israel, whom I have called: I am he; I am the first and I am the last. Isa 44:6
This is what the Lord says–Israel’s King and Redeemer, the Lord Almighty: I am the first and I am the last; apart from me there is no God. Isa 48:12
Do not tremble, do not be afraid. Did I not proclaim this and foretell it long ago? You are my witnesses. Is there any God besides me? No, there is no other Rock; I know not one.” Jesus has the keys of Hell and Death And I hold the keys of death and Hades. He holds the keys of the visible and invisible world. therefore he can a accomplish all his plans and execute all his designs. Isa 44:8
1:19,20 “Write, therefore, what you have seen, what is now and what will take place later. The mystery of the seven stars that you saw in my right hand and of the seven golden lampstands is this: The seven stars are the angels [Or messengers] of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches.
John is instructed to write the PAST, The PRESENT (Condition of the seven churches), and the FUTURE (World history in prophecy). Why write if no one can understand it? The seven stars are the angels [Or messengers] of the seven churches: This was borrowed from the Jewish synagogue in which the angel, or messenger of the assembly was the person who presided over and arranged the meeting for worship. (Cook a compendium of 72 leading commentators) Do you know that it would be absurd to command John to write to an angel up in heaven. Genesis 37: 9,10 .Then he had another dream, and he told it to his brothers. “Listen,” he said, “I had another dream, and this time the sun and moon and eleven stars were bowing down to me.” When he told his father as well as his brothers, his father rebuked him and said, “What is this dream you had? Will your mother and I and your brothers actually come and bow down to the ground before you?” Eleven stars did indeed bow down to Joseph. They were Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Zebulun; Issachar, Dan, Gad, Asher, Naphtali; Benjamin. We speak of great actors as stars, great players in sports are stars, great men such as the above are refereed to as stars so also are the Bishops of the seven churches refereed to as stars.