Setting the Stage – part 1
Welcome back to our walk through the book of Revelation. I am in the material and I don’t want to stop. Looking to what’s next. And with that said, the next two posts will cover Chapter 1.
Setting the stage for the great “unveiling.”
For the most part in the book of Revelation, there will be an angel or the Lord himself speaking to John and revealing to him the things that were being revealed to him by Jesus Christ.
Can you imagine things will get much worse than they are now? We are getting shocked daily by open public sinful behavior and expressions of blatant unbelief. How much time can possibly be left before God say’s now is the time. And then, in the twinkling of an eye Christ returns like a thief in the night. I am sensing the end is very near.
John was the last personal disciple still alive. By this time all the rest of the apostles had all been martyred because of their faith in Jesus Christ. They had all been killed by the Roman government. John is the only one of the original disciples left, he is the last one. John is old now and probably is well into his nineties. It was now sixty-five years since the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus. John has been and still is faithful. John had been with Jesus since the beginning. Now he is left alone to die in exile. It is estimated that this was written in 96 AD, and it is estimated that John was approximately the same age as Jesus. That would make John around ninety-six years old. He is in a little rocky crag out there in the Mediterranean, offshore a little bit from the area of Ephesus. He was exiled to the island of Patmos.
From Chuck Smith’s commentary we get, “According to Usibius in his book on church history, as he records the violent death of all of the other apostles, he says concerning John that there was the attempt to boil him in oil, but he survived the experience of being boiled in oil. So, they exiled him to the island of Patmos. God wasn’t through with John yet. God had one final word for man. The book of Revelation needed to be written and John was the one that was eminently qualified to write the book. So, there on the island of Patmos, the aged John received this vision of the future.”
He (John) was in the spirit and worshiping the Lord on resurrection day. All the sudden a loud voice came out of the silence that announced, “I am the Alpha and the Omega… who is and who was and who is to come.” (Revelation 1:8) It was the savior! The Lord had come to care for John and to take him home to glory. Amen.
Lots of things are unanswered in this book, however there are a number of things very clear from this first chapter,
- John was exiled on Patmos. (Which was the Alcatraz of that day.)
- Christ appeared to him at that place.
- The Revelation was given to John.
- It was then sent to the seven churches for each of them to read.
The Lord has come for his disciple. The Lord has come with a vision of the future. A message of hope for His church. (For us believers!) What a glorious morning it was. The old testament prophesies were sealed up. (Daniel 12:9), but this prophesy was open and the Savior came to reveal the future (Revelation 22:10) What a glorious future to see.!
It would be impossible to understand the Apocalypse without familiarizing yourself with this first chapter. It holds some key elements like:
The Title- The Revelation of Jesus Christ. He is the author and it is His revelation (unveiling) of the future. John is the recording stenographer, doing shorthand on everything he saw and heard.
The Testimony- All that he saw. John began with one of the many triplets we will see. In Revelation 1:2 we see the triplet, “Who bore witness to: 1. The Word of God, 2. And the testimony of Jesus Christ, 3. Even to all that he saw. We get from this passage the Apocalypse is an eyewitness account. No second-hand information here. John has put his apostolic reputation on the fact that he actually saw and heard those things.
The terms- “Blessed is he” (Revelation 1:3) John uses another triple to introduce the first of seven beatitudes. “Blessed is: 1. He who reads, 2. And those who hear the words of prophesy, 3. And heed the things which are written in it; for the time is near.”
The time- The time is near.” No dates are set. There is no specific time indicated for fulfillment. The only indication is, “The time is near.”
John is identified three times. This is in keeping with the triplets. (Revelation 1:1, 4, 9) John did not know if he would ever see anyone again so he made absolutely sure the churches knew the book came from him. His greeting is “grace and peace.” Always stated in that order. There is no peace apart from God’s grace.
Reference to the seven spirits is only found here. New Testament scholar Bruce Metzger notes, “John uses this expression to symbolize the plentitude and power of the Holy Spirit.”
And Jesus Christ is introduced with a double triplet, (Revelation 1:5) He is the:
1. Faithful witness
2. First-born of the dead
3. Ruler of the kings of the earth
John was sure to remind the churches who Jesus really is because of all the persecution. He is the faithful martyr, risen savior, King of Kings. And John states what Jesus did for us:
- Loved us
- Released us
- Made us to be a kingdom, priests to His God and Father.
Edward Hinson wrote, “These designations of the Savior remind us that we have both a heavenly and earthly destiny in Him. He is the King of the earth and we shall reign as kings with Him on the earth. (Revelation 5:10) From the very beginning the Apocalypse has an earthly focus. Premillennialists have always understood this, but other eschatological viewpoints have missed this altogether. We are promised that we will rule with Him on earth, not just in a “spiritual” sense, but literally.”
God bless you’
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