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The Things Which Thou Hast Seen
Revelation 1


Preface (vv.1-3)

What is this book about? (vv.1-2)

CHAPTER 1
Revelation of Jesus Christ, which (1) God gave to him, (2) to shew to his bondmen what must shortly take place; and (3) he signified it , sending by his angel, to his bondman John, V.1 “Jesus Christ” - the true object of the book: the unveiling of christ (see eph. 1:10). “Things which will shortly take place” - the true subject of the book: future events used to accomplish said purpose… through judgments. God gave to him” - though in glory, he still takes everything from the hand of God. Servant” - not our closest relationship. relationship isnt the subject. also, while it is primarily for the church (v.11), this will be applicible for readers during the tribulation. These things “must” come to PASS – because the christian apostacy demands an answer. Signified” - a key to understanding: these are literal events, but deliever by symbolic signs. we don’t iterpret sybols litterally. Also, see II Peter 1:20 – we need the light of other scriptures (see Rev. 10:10). See also I cor. 2:11.

2 who testified the word of God, and the testimony of Jesus Christ, all things that he saw. v.2 this is not a list. john testified everything he saw.  The spirit here clearly authenticates it all with the word of god, the testimony of Jesus Christ – although in the character of judgment not grace like the epistles.

A Special Blessing for the Reader (v.3)

3 Blessed is (1) he that reads, and (2) they that hear the words of the prophecy, and (3) keep the things written in it; for the time is near. v.3 notice the beautiful groups of three in this chapter.  There are at least 17 groups of three! we need to follow through: (1) read, (2) hear/heed, and (3) keep. to “keep” is to treasure it in our hearts. “the time is near” - true blessing comes from reading, hearing, and keeping the prophecy before it is fulfilled “at hand” not “has come.”  Prophecy edifies those who believe god, ii Peter 1:19 and john 15:15.


Greeting (vv.4-6)

The Trinity is the Source of this Book (vv.4-5a)

4a John to the seven assemblies which are in Asia: Grace to you and peace from him who is, and who was, and who is to come; v.4ajohn” - the one who lay on Jesus bossom and whose ministry centered around grace and truth was the vessel god chose to reveal god’s judgments on the world. “seven” equals spiritual completeness.  A complete picture of the church’s history as a witness on earth. “Asia” - the sphere of paul’s labors, II tim 1:15. God the Father in his eternal being – the eternal “I am”. it is god because usually in revelation it is god on the throne (5:7, 5:13, 7:10, and 19:4).

4b and from the seven Spirits which are before his throne; v.4b not seven unique spirits (because there is only one holy spirit, Eph. 4:4), but the God the Holy Spirit in diversity of character.  See Isa. 11:2. “before his THRONE” acting in the sphere of government.  a very different activity from uniting the body or indwelling believers.

5a and from Jesus Christ, (1) the faithful witness, (2) the firstborn from the dead, and (3) the prince of the kings of the earth. v.5A to God the Son as: (1) past – the faithful witness of everything that was in god’s Heart toward man. (2) present – the first begotton of the dead (conquered death). note: is doesn’t say in glory… all three titles are earthly. (3) FUTURE – WHAT HE WILL BE IN THE MILLENNIUM. WE ARE ASSOCIATED WITH HIM IN (2) + (3).

1st Utterance: A song of praise (vv.5b-6)

5b “To him who loves us, and has washed us from our sins in his blood, 6 and made us a kingdom, priests to his God and Father: to him be the glory and the might to the ages of ages. Amen.” V.5B as soon as the name of christ is mentioned, the christian’s heart pours out in doxology… this will always be the case (see rev. 4:9-10). vv.5b-7 contrast the song with the cry – two aspects of the cross. v.6 “kings and Priests” - the thought is not so much nearness, but dignity and office.


2nd Utterance: A judicial cry (v.7)

¶ 7 “Behold, he comes with the clouds, and (1) every eye shall see him, and (2) they which have pierced him, and (3) all the tribes of the land shall wail because of him. Yea. Amen.” v.7 a summary of the book. following the song of praise is a timely solemn warning to others. communion with god is often linked with responsibilities toward others. the order is important. Clouds” - symbols of his majesty (song. 3:6). possible also a figure of his saints coming with him? see. rev. 19:14, Heb. 12:1, dan. 7:13). "Every eye" - at the rapture only the saints see him… at the appearing: (1) every eye – the whole world, (2) the jews, Zech. 12:10, and (3) the tribes of the land - all israel will see him, Matt. 24:30

3rd Utterance: a divine statement (v.8)

8 “I am (1) the Alpha and the Omega, saith the Lord God, he (2) who is, and who was, and who is to come, (3) the Almighty.” v.8 the divine titles of “the lord god” that seal these things: (1) he is the source and goal of everything; (2) the ever existing one “I AM” (in v.4 it was god the father, here it is the son! john 1:1); and (3) he who holds sway over all things.


Setting of the Vision (vv.9-11)

9 I John, your brother and fellow-partaker in the tribulation and kingdom and patience, in Jesus, was in the island called Patmos, for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus. v.9a the inspired writer was not removed from those he wrote to: he writes as a saint in the kingdom vs. a member of the body. he was their brother… part of the family of god. a fellow-partaker in:
  1. tribulation – exiled for the truth’s sake, etc.
  2. kingdom - we belong to the kingdom of heaven, not the world
  3. patience – we have to wait for the manifestation. C.p. I Thess. 2:12.
remember, john is writing more as a prophet than as an apostle. he “came to be there” – not by the emporer’s will – but by God’s… and for an express purpose. Secular history says that the Romans unsuccessfully tried to kill john by immersion in boiling oil. afterwards he was exiled to patmos. Exiled by a roman emporer, god used john to prophesy of the downful of rome in its final form. sometimes times of social isolation become times of spiritual illumination. patmos is the center of the prophetic earth. “ON ACCOUNT OF” – HE WAS EXILED FOR HIS FAITHFULNESS.

10 I became in the Spirit on the Lord's day, and I heard behind me a great voice as of a trumpet, v.10 he came under the power of the spirit in the special capacity of inspiration. “Lord’s Day” - the characteristic day of the christian. trumpets demand attention. This “voice” continues until the end of ch. 3. the same voice in ch. 4, but from a different direction. prophesy looks “FORWARD”, BUT this voice is “behind” him. before john can be show the way god will bring about the revelation of Jesus Christ (ch. 4-22) there must be a restrospective look at the Lord’s thoughts about the history of the church as a witness here in this world (ch. 1-3). A general principle: we must have god’s thoughts about the past before he will give us his thoughts about the future.

11 saying, What thou seest write in a book, and send to the seven assemblies: to Ephesus, and to Smyrna, and to Pergamos, and to Thyatira, and to Sardis, and to Philadelphia, and to Loadicea. v.11 Who is it addressed to? while believers in the tribulation may read and understand the revelation, it is primarily for the church. it concerns the glory of christ and it will have a furifying effect on us (I john 3:3).

The Son of Man in the Midst of the Candlesticks (vv.12-13a)

¶ 12 And I turned back to see the voice which spoke with me; and having turned, I saw seven golden lamps, v.12 John has to turn (be reoriented) to see the Lord Jesus in a different way – he had previously seen the spirit in a different way (v.4).  The affections are guarded. John 5:22 - the Father has committed judement to the Son. Isaiah 28:21 - it is his strange/foreign work. A short work (Roman 9:28) becasue He wants to get back to dispensing love, etc. Upon turning the first thing he sees is the candlesticks… it is because the chruch is here to represent Christ. “Seven” – because the church is complete and perfect in the mind of God as to its public position originally as set up by God. “golden” – because they are viewed in the righteous standing the church has before god. but, they are now being judged as to their “ways”. “Lampstands” – the responsible light-bearers (see I tim. 3:15). It is a question of corporate testimony.

13a and in the midst of the seven lamps one like the Son of man, v.13 It is "one son-of-man like". The definite article isn’t there. It is what he sees at a glance. He is usually called Son of God when acting in grace. Called Son of Man when acting in judgement (adopts the title after His rejection). See John 5:25 + 27 for the use of the two titles.

Three Personal Glories (vv.13b-14a)

13b (1) clothed with a garment reaching to the feet, and (2) girt about at the breasts with a golden girdle: 14a (3) his head and hair white like white wool, as snow; 
  1. The garments are present, not laid aside in priestly grace (John 13:4), and girded about the breasts in dignity, not about loins in service.
  2. Girdle Divine righteousness guards the affections (his strange work). wear your girdle to the care meeting, take it off at the Lord’s Supper.
  3. HAIR - fullness of divine wisdom (in absolute purity). He is Ancient of Days (Daniel 7:9) as well as Son of Man.

Three Relative Glories (vv.14b-15)

14b and (1) his eyes as a flame of fire; 15 and (2) his feet like fine brass, as burning in a furnace; and (3) his voice as the voice of many waters; 
  1. eyes: searching, penetrating, consuming judgment (Amos 9:2-3).
  2. Feet: unyielding faithfulness to principles of divine righteousness. v.15 Brass is a symbol of god’s righteous requirements for man in responsibility… i.e. the brazen altar. “Fine” – perfect consistency. “Glowing in a furnace” – unsparing. Metal shoes are inflexible.
  3. the voice – unstoppable power (psa. 29, ezek. 43:2). the niagra falls… the sound of power.

Three Official Glories (v.16)

16 and (1) having in his right hand seven stars; and (2) out of his mouth a sharp two-edged sword going forth; and (3) his countenance as the sun shines in its power. 
  1. Stars are subordinate powers (Gen. 1:16-18). in this context (v.20) they are the assembLy administration, (7X) set up by God.
  2. Sword: the word of God which judges with unerring descision on both sides (heb. 4;12).
  3. Countenance: supreme authority, power, strength.

Fear and Confidence (vv.17-18)

¶ 17 And when I saw him I fell at his feet as dead; and he laid his right hand upon me, saying, Fear not; (1) *I* am the first and the last, 18 and (2) (A) the living one: and (B) I became dead, and behold, (C) I am living to the ages of ages, and (3) have the keys of death and of hades. v.17 compare others’ reactions; Ezek. 1:28, Isa. 6:5, Dan. 7:15. Also, Compare the description of the lord as a judge in rev. 1 with the description of him as our lover in song. 5:9-16. no wonder john was shocked. fear not” – the same expression the lord used so many times in the gospels. it is the same jesus.
  1. The One Who is Above Time. “first and the last” - to have the source and goal of the universal creation on our behalf dispels all fear (i john 4:18).
  2. The One Who has conquered Death.
    1. The Living one - this is not talking about the incarnation… it is a title, similar to “I AM”. he is the source of life.
    2. Became dead - this is the strongest way to put it. he laid down his life and entered the state of being dead. he had to go their to “tear the bars away”.
    3. am living, etc. - whenever the resurrection is brought in, the effect is peace; e.g. matt. 28:5-6, rom. 4:25 - 5:1.
  3. The One Who is in Full Control of the Believer's Life. the keys: death is the state of the body without the soul and spirit. hades is the state of the soul and spirit without the body. christ has the keys (full control) over both types of separations. he is the custodian of (1) the body, and (2) the soul/spirit.

Introduction to the Book (v.19)

19 Write therefore (1) what thou hast seen, and (2) the things that are, and (3) the things that are about to be after these. v.19 an introduction to the book in its three major divisions. this word (g1526) “the things that exist” allows for a continuation of that state. some would like to argue that the events of revelation have already taken place, but “the things which are” continue to the rapture.

Key Terms Defined (v.20)

20 The mystery of the seven stars which thou hast seen on my right hand, and the seven golden lamps. --The seven stars are angels of the seven assemblies; and the seven lamps are seven assemblies. v.20 key terms defined:
  1. it is a mystery because there is something deeper than just seven literal churches.
  2. the right hand speaks of: delgated authoity, honor, and great responsibiliity (those who can be depended on).
  3. angels are mentioned in three ways: (1) conventional angels – created intelligence with power used by god, heb. 1:13, and (2) a disembodied spirit, matt. 18:10, acts 12:15, heb. 12:23, and (3) men set in a place of authority & responsibility on earth, ecc. 5:6, mal. 2:7. it is clear that ‘angel’ in rev. 1-3 is employed in a representative sense: the element representing the assembly.
  4. Seven – a complete picture of the church’s history, testimonially.