-The revelation (the unveiling, the prophecy) of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him, in order to show His servants the things that are and are to come (Revelation 1:1). The Lord choose John, who was banished on the Isle of Patmos (a 24 square mile Aegean Island where Rome banished exile political criminals, it is 40 miles off the coast of Asia Minor, tradition states that John was allowed some freedoms there and probably lived in caves, he would have been an aged man at this point) on account of the Word of God and the testimony of Jesus, to proclaim this message of apocalyptic proportions. “Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear, and who keep what is written in it, for the time is near (Revelation 1:3).”
-John begins with addressing the seven churches that are in Asia with grace and peace from God who is and who was and who is to come and from the seven spirits who are before His throne and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the first born of the dead, and the ruler of kings on earth (Revelation 1:4-5). This Christ is said to love us and has freed us from our sins by His blood making us a Kingdom and priests to His God and Father. To Him be glory and dominion forever (Revelation 1:5b-6). This One is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see Him, even those who pierced Him, and all the tribes of the earth will wail an account of Him. He is the Alpha (beginning) and the Omega (end) and He is Almighty from the past, present, and future (Revelation 1:7-8). *Application* Just as John takes time to praise the Lord, we should pause in our busy schedules to often realize what kind of King we are serving. He is holy, majestic, radiant, and powerful! Give Him credit and praise as you bow before His awesome authority realizing He has lifted up His saints to a high position as Kingdom servants and priests (reconcilers). From the beginning we are to consider the nearness of His coming and be ready for it.
-John claims his partnership, as a Christian brother, in the tribulation and the Kingdom and the patient endurance that are IN Jesus (Revelation 1:9). He was in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day (Sunday) and perceived the presence of the Lord in a powerful way (Revelation 1:10-16). He was given instructions to write what he saw in a book and send the message to the seven churches: Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea (Revelation 1:11). The descriptions of the Lord represent His wisdom (white hair), His omniscience (all knowing eyes as flames of fire), His power (bronze feet), His authority (voice of the roar of many waters), His might (control of the seven stars), His judgments (double-edged sword that searches hearts and judges rebels, Isaiah 49:2, Ephesians 6:17, Hebrews 4:12, Revelation 19:15), and His glory (face that shined like the sun in full strength). This powerful scene made John fall at His feet as though dead, but the Lord raised him and assured him not to fear. The Lord identified Himself as the first and the last, the living One who died and rose again with life forevermore, and that He had the keys of Death and Hades (Revelation 1:17-18). John is told to write what he had seen of the things that are and are to come. He is told the seven stars are the angels of the seven churches and the seven lampstands are the seven churches (Revelation 1:19-20). *Application* This type of encounter with God is something we should crave like the air we breathe. It may freak us out to think about being in the Lord’s presence to this degree, but we must remember that the Lord is always assuring when we are in His presence. He is the great Comforter and wants us to draw close in every way (James 4:8). He is still capable of showing us great and mighty things that line up with His Word in incredible power. Seek to pray in the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 6:18, Philippians 3:3, Jude 1:20, Revelation 1:10)!
Verse to Memorize: Revelation 1:3