The book of Revelation shows us the Almighty King of Kings, Creator of the universe finishing what He began at creation. Century after tortured century God has endured the vile presence of evil because He is not willing that any perish but that all turn back to Him. Horoscopes and false prophets abound, but what God has revealed about the future is written in this book.
The Lord Jesus holds the keys of death and hell
1 The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave to him to show to his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and made it known it by his angel to his servant John: 2 Who bare record of the word from God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw. 3 Blessed is he that reads, and those that hear the words of this prophecy, and guard those things which are written in it: for the time is near. 4 John to the seven churches that are in Asia:Grace to you and peace, from him who is, and who was, and who is coming; and from the seven Spirits that are before his throne.
- God’s last revelation to His people begins and ends with grace.
- He’s all we need to be concerned about.
- The seven Spirits are seen again in Revelation 4:5.
- Isaiah 51:12-13 I, even I, am he that comforts you: who are you to be afraid of man that will die, and of the son of man who will be made like grass, 13. and forget the LORD your maker that has stretched out the heavens, and laid the foundations of the earth.
Jesus faithfully showed us God the Father
He is Prince over the kings of the earth
He loves us and washed us from our sins
He is the beginning and end
5 And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the firstborn from the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. To him that loved us and washed us from our sins in his own blood, 6 and has made us kings and priests to God and his Father; to him is glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. 7 Behold, he comes with clouds; and every eye will see him, also the ones who pierced him: and all races of the earth will wail because of him. Yes, Amen. 8 I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, says the Lord, who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.
- Alpha is the first letter of the Greek alphabet. Omega is the last letter.
- Jesus embodies all the communication to man from the eternally divine holiness that created us.
- We come from Him, are sustained by Him, and we go back to Him.
- Jesus is the faithful witness because He showed us God’s sovereign control over all things, His genius, His power, and His love.
- Jesus is the first one resurrected to ETERNAL life.
- Those in scripture who were raised, like Lazarus, died again later.
- Throughout history from the first to the last ruler of earth Jesus was ruling over them—Daniel 5:21.
- And when He comes again, He will be the best ruler earth has ever had.
- Verse 6 says He has made us kings and priests to God.
- Hosea 4:6 says that God rejects from being priests those who refused to learn of Him.
- Romans 11:36 For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom is glory forever. Amen.
9 I, John, your brother and companion in affliction, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was on the island called Patmos for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ. 10 I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day, and heard behind me a great voice, like a trumpet,
- ‘a trumpet,’ is bright, clear, melodious, and beautiful.
- Patience is the word ‘hupomone’ which means to stay under.
- Jesus stayed under the Father’s plan. We are to stay under the Father’s plan (1 Peter 5:6).
11 Saying, I am Alpha and 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. 12 And I turned to see the voice that spoke with me. And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks; 13 And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and wrapped all around the chest with a golden girdle. 14 His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were like a flame of fire; 15 And his feet like amber more precious than gold, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters.
- The garment is a robe like the high priest of Israel.
- The golden belt or sash around the chest represents kingship.
- Daniel 10:5, 6 records a similar being with a body like beryl, a face like lightning, eyes as lamps of fire, arms and feet like polished brass, and a voice like the roar of a huge crowd.
- Ezekiel saw a similar vision of God, A being like a man of fiery amber gemstone flashing forth rainbows.
- The Son of man was Christ’s favorite term for Himself. He used it over 80 times in the gospels because God has done nothing more stunning than become a man to save us.
- The word for brass is ‘aurichalcum’ which was a kind of amber more precious than gold (Ezekiel 1:26-28).
His face shines like the sun
16 And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp two-edged sword: and his appearance was like the sun shining in its strength. 17 And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand on me, saying to me, Do not fear; I am the first and the last: 18 I am he that lived, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive forevermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.
- When you have the key, you say who comes and goes there.
- The sight of our Lord is so stunning that John fell down as dead.
- When Jesus lifted him up, He comforted Him by reminding him that He loved him enough to die for his sins.
- Matthew 11:29 for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
19 Write the things you have seen, and the things that are, and the things that will be hereafter; 20 The mystery of the seven stars that you saw in my right hand, and the seven golden candlesticks. The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches: and the seven candlesticks that you saw are the seven churches.
- The Lord holds churches and their messengers in His hand.
- Daniel 12:3 And they that are wise will shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars forever and ever.
He walks among His churches
He knows our works
1 To the angel of the church of Ephesus write: These things says he that holds the seven stars in his right hand, who walks in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks; 2 I know your works, and your labor, and your patience, and how you cannot bear those who are evil: and have tested those who say they are apostles, but are not, and have found them liars: 3 and bore up and have patience, and have labored for my name, and have not fainted. 4 But I have something against you, because you have left your first love.
- The Lord is our first love (Deuteronomy 6:5, Matthew 22:37, 38).
- Jesus dictated these letters. This illustrates how the Bible was written for us by the Holy Spirit (2 Peter 1:21).
- Jesus told what the stars and candlesticks are in Revelation 1:20.
- Beware of any ‘good’ that does not have Christ as the center.
- Beware of any good that leaves out God.
- John 10:28-29 And I give to them eternal life; and they will never perish, neither will any man pluck them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who gave them to me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand.
5 So remember from where you have fallen, and repent (turn back), and do the first works; or I will come to you quickly, and will remove your candlestick out of its place unless you repent. 6 But you have this: you hate the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. 7 He that has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches; To him that overcomes I will give to eat from the Tree of Life which is in the midst of the paradise of God.
- ‘Nicolaitans’ means power over the people.
- This is similar to Baal of the Old Testament. He represented a false system of power.
- Today many worship power. That is the same as worshipping Baal.
- Many usurp Christ’s position over people as the head of the body, the church on this earth.
- The Nicolaitans were a sect during the early church that held to Balaam’s bad example of greed, of compromise with idolatry, and of fornication.
- They denied God as creator, sponsored a community of women, and practiced the highest degree of licentiousness.
- Those who overcome will be welcomed back into paradise to eat of the Tree of Life.
- The way back into the Garden of Eden has always been open—by faith in the God’s promises.
He conquered death for us and is alive forevermore
He will give us a crown of life
8 And to the angel of the church in Smyrna write: These things says the first and the last, who was dead, and is alive; 9 I know your works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but you are rich) and I know the blasphemy of those who say they are Jews, and are not, but are the assembly of Satan. 10 Fear none of those things that you will suffer: behold, the devil will cast some of you into prison so that you may be tested; and you will have tribulation ten days: be faithful to death, and I will give you a crown of life. 11 He that has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. He that overcomes will not be hurt by the second death.
- Smyrna means myrrh—used at death.
- This church era saw much suffering and death.
- This speaks today to those who are persecuted and martyred for their belief in God and trust in His Son.
- There are over 75 ‘fear not’s’ in scripture.
- The Lord is the first and the last. He is our source and our destiny.
- The ten days is ten successive rulers of the Roman empire that persecuted the early church.
- Psalm 23:4 Yes, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for you are with me.
He judges rightly in faithfulness
12 And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write;: These things says he who has the sharp sword with two edges. 13 I know your works, and where you dwell, where Satan's seat is: and you hold fast to my name, and have not denied my faith, even in those days when Antipas was my faithful martyr, who was killed among you, where Satan dwells. 14 But I have a few things against you, because you have there those that hold to the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balak to cast a stumbling block before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols, and to commit fornication. 15 You also have those that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which I hate. 16 Repent, or I will come to you quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth. 17 He that has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him that overcomes I will give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knows except he that receives it.
- Pergamos is married to the world: They compromise with evil and money is the motivation. They live for sexual sins and power.
- In God we walk by faith and not sight. You either believe each truth of God’s word or you don’t.
- Numbers 22 gives the full story of Balaam. Jude 1:11
summarizes. “they…ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward.”
- God’s offer to all is far better because it includes the desires of our hearts (Psalm 37:4).
- It also includes whatever we ask (John 14 and
- It includes eternal life (John 3:16).
- God’s offer includes ‘to inherit all things (Revelation 21:7).
- The white stone was the verdict of innocent brought before the judge, Christ (John 5:22).
- Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live to righteousness: by whose stripes you were healed (1 Peter 2:24).
- He gives us the white stone and a new name.
- The sword of His mouth is the Word of God (Hebrews 4:12).
He is against works corrupted by evil
18 And to the angel of the church in Thyatira write: These things says the Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire, and his feet are like fine brass: 19 I know your works, and charity, and service, and faith, and your patience, and your works; and the last are more than the first. 20 But I have a few things against you, because you allow that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed to idols. 21 And I gave her space to repent of her fornication; and she did not repent. 22 Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and those that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, unless they repent of their deeds. 23 And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches will know that I am he who searches the emotions and hearts: and I will give to every one of you according to your works. 24 But to you I say, and to the rest in Thyatira, those who do not know this doctrine, and who have not known the depths of Satan, as they speak: I will put on you no other burden. 25 But keep holding fast to what you already have until I come. 26 And he that overcomes, and keeps my works to the end, to him I will give power over the nations: 27 And he will rule them with a rod of iron as the vessels of a potter will be broken to pieces as I received from my Father. 28 And I will give him the morning star. 29He that has an ear let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.
- Thyatira means continual sacrifice.
- The fire in His eyes is His infinite, eternal love for all: the love that took Him to the cross for our sins.
- Jezebel killed Israel’s rightful line of rulership and took the power to herself. She led the nation saying she was serving God but was serving evil.
- There are people in Christ’s church who actively practice voodoo, witchcraft, and other Satanic cults.
- Huldah and Isaiah’s wife were real prophetesses of the Old Testament.
- They passed on what God had said.
- Jezebel claimed to be a prophetess, but did not speak God’s words.
- Any teaching that is contrary to God’s word, any book put above what God has said, is wrong.
- When God rules there will be no more abuse of power. No more exploitation of the masses. No more injustice. No more incorrect court verdicts. No more pork barrel politics. No more lobbying of special interest groups. Money will lose its power to persuade. Right will be right and wrong will be wrong.
- And the whole world will finally enjoy a true and lasting peace on a personal and national level.
- Jesus is the bright and morning star. He will give Himself to the one who overcomes by faith in Him and His words.
- Christ’s letters to the churches have many applications. There is personal application to each of our lives. There is contemporary application to every decade of history. There is worldwide application. And there is chronological application.
- Ephesis….apostolic age…. Before AD 100
- Smyrna…age of persecution…AD 100-313
- Pergamos…imperial church age…Ad 313-590
- Thyatira…age of papacy…AD 590- 1517
- Sardis…Reformation age…AD 1517-1730
- Philadelphia…Missionary age…AD1730-1900
- Laodicea…Age of Apostasy…1900- ?
- Ephesus – left first love -- the parable of the sower – the letter to the Ephesians
- Smyrna – suffering – parable, wheat and the tares – letter to the Philippians
- Pergamos – married to the world – parable, mustard seed – letters to the Corinthians
- Thyatira – Jezebel – leaven – Galatians
- Sardis – the Lord said nothing good about this church – parable of hidden treasure
- Philadelphia – brotherly love – pearl of great price – Thessalonians, rapture
- Laodocia – cold, vomit ---the parable of the dragnet --- Colossians
The Lord will keep from world’s hour of testing those who stay under His word
1 And to the angel of the church in Sardis write; These things says he that has the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars; I know your works, that you have a reputation that you are alive, but are dead. 2 Be watchful, and strengthen the things that remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found your works perfect before God. 3 Remember how you received (by faith) and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If you do not watch, I will come on you like a thief, and you will not know what hour I will come upon you.
- A thief comes suddenly and unexpectedly.
- This church began by faith but turned to trusting their works. That obscures the truth.
- We are saved by faith and walk by faith. There will be works, but they are the result, not the means.
- Isaiah 11:2 explains the seven Spirits.
- Isaiah 11:2 And the spirit of the LORD will rest on him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD
4 You have a few names in Sardis who have not defiled/soiled their garments; and they will walk with me in white: for they are worthy. 5 He that overcomes will be clothed in white clothing; and I will not blot out his name from of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels. 6 He that has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.
- The book of life contains the names of all for whom Christ died, that means everyone.
- When a person dies refusing God’s gift through Christ’s death for sin, their name is blotted out of the book.
- They must stand before God and be judged according to their works.
- God first clothed man with coats of skins in Genesis 3:21.
- He has clothed us with His righteousness (Isaiah 54:17).
- Revelation 20:13 And the sea gave up the dead that were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead that were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. 14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. 15 And whoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.
- I John 5:4 For whatever is born of God overcomes the world: and this is the victory that overcomes the world, even our faith.
- Romans 10:17 Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.
7 And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write; These things says he that is holy, he that is true, he that has the key of David, he that opens, and no man shuts; and shuts, and no man opens; 8 I know your works: behold, I have set before you an open door, and no man can shut: for you have a little strength, and have kept my word, and have not denied my name. 9 Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, who say they are Jews and are not, but lie; behold, I will make them come and worship at your feet, and to know that I have loved you. 10 Because you have kept the word of my patience, I also will keep you from the hour of testing, which will come upon all the world, to test those that dwell on the earth.
- This word ‘keep’ means to preserve something outside of something else.
- Therefore taken out of this world rather than preserved in this world through the tribulation (1 Thessalonians 4:16, 17).
- The key of David is ruling the nation
- Opening so none can shut or shutting so none can open’ is the Lordship of Jesus. He controls everything.
11 Behold, I come quickly: hold fast to what you have so that no man takes your crown. 12 He that overcomes I will make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he will not go out any more: and I will write on him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from my God: and I will write on him my new name. 13 He that has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.
- 2Timothy 4:8 From now on there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will give me at that day: and not to me only, but to all those also that love his appearing.
He warns and disciplines those He loves
He brings those who overcome by faith to sit with Him on His throne
14 And to the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things says the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the source/beginning of the creation of God; 15 I know your works, that you are neither cold or hot: I wish you were cold or hot. 16 So then because you are lukewarm, and not cold or hot, I will vomit you out of my mouth. 17 Because you say, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and do not know that you are wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: 18 I counsel you to buy from me gold tested in the fire, that you may be rich; and white clothing, that you may be clothed, and that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve so that you can see. 19 As many as I love, I admonish and discipline: be zealous therefore, and repent. 20 Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him, and will feast with him, and he with me. 21 To him that overcomes I will grant to sit with me on my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father on his throne. 22 He that has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.
- The word ‘feast’ means to totally fill up with the most costly food.
- “This is an amazing display of God’s grace. This one who is about to spewed out of God’s mouth is invited to sit with Him on His throne.” (Dr Henry Morris, The Revelation Record.)
- God’s throne is described in Ezekiel 1:26.
- Luke 24:27 and 32 tell us what heats up man's heart so that it won’t be lukewarm.
- Gold is truth of the word of God, wisdom and faith are built on it (Proverbs 3:14, 8:19).
- 1 Peter 1:7 That the testing of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perishes, though it is tested with fire, might be found unto praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:
SUMMARY: Revelation 1-3
- The Lord Jesus holds the keys of death and hell
- Jesus faithfully showed us God the Father
- He is Prince over the kings of the earth
- He loves us and washed us from our sins
- He is the beginning and end
- His face shines like the sun
- He walks among His churches
- He knows our works
- He conquered death for us and is alive forevermore
- He will give us a crown of life
- He judges rightly in faithfulness
- He is against works corrupted by evil
- The Lord will keep from world’s hour of testing those who stay under His word
- He warns and disciplines those He loves
- He brings those who overcome by faith to sit with Him on His throne