Yesterday at CrossHope Chapel we opened to Revelation 1 as we began our journey through this new study series and I want to share with you some of the highlights from our study and discussion…
Revelation 1:1 — It is important to note that this is the revelation of Jesus Christ, not the Anti-Christ. Some translations say “the revelation from Jesus Christ” because the word used means both “from” and “of” but the meaning is the same. While Revelation will deal with the scheme and personhood of the Anti-Christ, its primarily purpose is to reveal Jesus Christ and His plan for the future.
In fact, the book of Revelation begins with three promises:
- Blessings for those studying it (Revelation 1:3);
- Assurance that Jesus is coming again (Revelation 1:7);
- Encouragement that Jesus is the Alpha and Omega and just as He was present and oversaw the beginning of creation He will be present and oversee the end of creation and earth’s recreation (Revelation 1:8).
We can find comfort in knowing that our Lord is not a hands-off God. As we get deeper in the Revelation and begin to read about the wrath of God against the people of God, we can know that our Lord has not forsaken us.
Remember from our previous series, Jesus’ final words from Matthew 28:20 were “I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.” Our Lord is not an absentee God but is close to us as we navigate what’s ahead.
Revelation 1:3 — This is the only book in the Bible that specifically promises a blessing to the one who studies it. We saw that there are actually 7 blessings pronounced throughout the book of Revelation and we looked at those too. (Revelation 14:13; 16:15; 19:9; 20:6; 22:7, 14.)
We also paused to discuss current attitudes about prophecy, noting that some in the church do not believe in giving it attention. I shared the story about the pastor who told me, when I was a new Christian, to not worry about prophecy. He even specifically told me that believers have no reason to ever read the book of the Revelation.
We looked at 1 Corinthians 14:22 which says, “Wherefore tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that believe not: but prophesying serveth not for them that believe not, but for them which believe.” The point being that God has given prophecy for believers.
Revelation 1:8 — Jesus reminds us here that He is the beginning and the end, and as put in Psalms 90:2 He is “from everlasting to everlasting.” What is awesome to note in this verse is that Jesus ascribes to Himself the title of “the Almighty” which is a title that is ascribed to Him seven times by others throughout the reminder of Revelation (Revelation 4:8; 11:17; 15:3; 16:7; 16:14; 19:15; 21:22.) I’m not sure there is a better title to give to the Lord then “the Almighty” especially in the context of this prophecy.
Revelation 1:11 — The seven churches mentioned are to receive a letter describing what John receives from Jesus. In these seven churches we see an application to them, an application to the church universal, and an application to seven periods of church history.
The message is that the Lord is with the church, even as it spans across the time from Christ’s ascension to His return and ministers in different locations. The book of Revelation begins with the church scattered in different cities but will end with the church united in one city — the New Jerusalem.
Revelation 1:19 — The Lord tells John to write down what he sees, and that results in the book of Revelation. It is interesting that John was put on the Island of Patmos so he could have no influence on other followers of Christ, but this punishment has allowed John to have an ever-greater influence with the church throughout time as the deliverer of the Apocalypse.
Revelation 1:20 — In Jesus telling John the meaning of the angels and the lampstands, we have an example of Scripture interpreting Scripture. As we journey through the Revelation, we must keep in mind that the Bible is always its own best interpreter. Sometimes the most effective thing we can do when wondering what something means in written prophecy is to read on and simply compare with other texts with similar topics, symbols, or verbiage.
There was a lot more that we discussed and other points presented from this chapter yesterday, but perhaps Jesus’ words in Revelation 1:17 summed it all up best when He said, “Do not be afraid.”
Whatever the future holds and however the prophecy of Revelation unfolds, this chapter assures us that we do not need to be afraid because the Lord Jesus is with His church, and He will not forsake us.
Next Sunday, November 14th, we will open to Revelation 2 and discuss the letters Jesus dictates to the churches of Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, and Thyatira.