This is the transcript for this lesson, and you are encouraged to read along…
We’re going to have a not usual study tonight, but, tonight, I’m going to start a study in Revelation chapter 1. You can turn your Bibles there if you’d like to. And follow along. This study has been probably a long time coming. I’ve tried to figure out a way to get videos, teachings, and so on up on my website, RevelationGate.com. It hasn’t worked out for some period of time for any number of reasons, but it is always something that seems to come up and, doesn’t, you know, we don’t get over the hurdle. So, I realized that if I had started three years ago, we might already be done. This might be the concluding lesson tonight, instead of the first one.
Nevertheless, better, better late than never that we start and just get after it. So this will track right along really well, with the other studies and stuff that are happening in Prophecy Central. And I have a feeling that well, almost a certain feeling that the Lord will synchronize a lot of things as we go along.
I haven’t looked at it, I haven’t studied it either, just to think how that could happen. But I wouldn’t be surprised if we have a few surprises, you know, later on in the store.
What we’re going to do is we’re going to read through the text first, just so you’re familiar with where we’re going to be headed and then we’ll go back through and dig through it and so on, but we’re just going to take the first nine verses of Revelation chapter one.
This is, this is not the, the story, if you will, of Revelation. It starts in verse ten. So this is like the introductory part to the entire book of Revelation. It’s very meaty, of course, but, and we’ll see lots of things in it that pertain to us. But let’s just read the text, starting in verse 1, and we’re going to go through verse 9.
The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him to show unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass, and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John, who bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw. Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things, which are written therein, for the time is at hand.
John, to the seven churches which are in Asia, grace be unto you and peace from him which is, and which was, and which is to come, and from the seven spirits that are before his throne, and from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness. And the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth, unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, and hath made us kings and priests unto our God and his Father, to him be glory and dominion forever and ever.
Amen. Behold, he cometh with clouds, and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him, and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him, even so, Amen. I am the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, saith the Lord, which, which is, which was, and which is to come, the Almighty. I, John, who also am your brother, and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom, and patience of Jesus Christ, was in the isle that is called Patmos, for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ.
Let me say as we start this, as we go through this study, I want you to be mindful to even as you look at the text, I want you to be, always be mindful of how The Apostle John, who is the author of this book, how the Apostle John is handling what he sees and what he experiences with this amazing vision that he had in presence in heaven.
Because John is a human guy, like us, right? And God could have just sent an angel to proclaim it to everybody, one at a time, I suppose. But that’s not the way the Bible was constructed. It was constructed, and written through men, just like us, humans, just like us. And they had some of the same fears and some of the same predispositions and stuff. And there’s a real, there’s a real I want to say a drama, but there’s a real blessing to see how John made it through this whole thing. And so, as we start out here, I want to be really clear too, this lesson and all the way through as we go forward, we’re going to take a very literal approach to There’s no reason in my mind to take any other approach to unpacking what the book of Revelation has to say.
It’s a literal book, and if you look at all the rest of scripture where God has spoken very plainly, Right? He didn’t mince any words. The Apostles didn’t mince any words, the Disciples, and the Old Testament Prophets, they mince no words. You don’t have to dig very deep to find out what God said if you just read it.
And I would suggest that if the rest of the Bible is painfully clear to almost anybody who reads it, why on earth would God give us the book, the last book, probably the most important ending chapter of the entire Bible, and make it a confusing pile of twisted, thoughts and symbolism that nobody could understand who would do that.
It’s not true. That’s a lie of the devil if anybody’s thinking that way. Oh, I can’t understand It’s just got all these symbols and all this weird stuff or whatever No, it’s not and you’ll see why as we start into this a little bit that God has spoken again Plainly to us in these last days, as it says in Hebrews, in these last days, He has spoken to us, God, through His Son, that’s through Jesus.
This book is about Jesus. In fact, it starts out that way. Verse 1, Phrase 1, The Revelation of Jesus Christ. It couldn’t be any plainer. This is the testimony of Jesus Christ that we’re about to get in detail. So it says, The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to show unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass, and he sent and signified it. By his angel unto his servant John. Now, I want you first just to think about the progression of the waterfall of information that’s taking place here God the Father says gave this revelation to Jesus He gave it to him. Why, well to show unto his servants. That’s us Okay, and then he said on top of that he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John.
So, you see the progression here, you have God the Father, Jesus, the angel to John. From John, where does it go next? To us, right? There’s a lot of order here as this happens. And some people suggest, well, why did he send an angel to do that to John? Well, as you get into the book of Revelation, you get the idea that Jesus is just a tad busy with other things.
Namely, taking care of the earth. And, you know, the angel is there to testify and to be the narrator, if you will, like in a documentary. To be the narrator of what’s going on as John sees the vision, the angels there, to give him some, some insight of what’s going on, some, let’s call it private commentary if you will.
He had his own commentary expert right there. So what’s the business about to show unto his servants? This is pretty significant. Because the word here that’s used for servants is not just a common servant, it’s the word doulos, and it means bondservant. And here’s the very first, key that you get how to understand the book of Revelation.
It’s not written to anybody but bondservants. Nobody but bondservants. You say, well, what’s a bondservant? Well, a bondservant, in those days… was a servant, a slave, if you will, who, in a sense, not in a, in any kind of a sexual way, but it fell in love with his owner and was deeply committed to his owner, not because he was in chains or going to be put in chains or anything, but he said a slave that became a bond servant was one that says, I will willingly serve you for the rest of my life.
Nobody else, just you. And that happened from time to time. Often those types of bondservants were received then as sons. And in some cases, as daughters. And what it, what it meant, even the ceremony that went through was pretty weird and ugly. They would, the bondservant would allow his ear to be taken and spiked to the door of the house.
Little bloody perhaps, but showed the commitment that he had to the master that he was committing to. As Christians, I have to say not every person in the world is born again, truly. Not every person is a bondservant, we should be, but that doesn’t, it doesn’t always happen that way.
And I’m sure everybody knows somebody that, you know, you say, Well, he says he’s a Christian, or I prayed with him five years ago, but he sure isn’t acting like it today. Well, he’s going to get into heaven, but he’s not a bondservant. So one of the keys to understanding the book of Revelation, the most, the easiest way, is to commit yourself to being a bondservant of Jesus Christ.
That means you pledge to obey him and him only and as Jesus himself said, if you love me you will keep my commandments. In other words, you’ll do what I say and they say well, what does that mean? What does he say? Well, I go read the New Testament read the Old Testament to read the New Testament Especially you’ll find out what Jesus said.
It’s not hard. It’s very plain You don’t have to get mystical about it at all Just read the text and say oh he wants me to do that. He wants me to love my neighbor He wants me to pray for my leaders, he wants me to remove all the guile from my life and stuff like that. I mean, it’s easy stuff, really.
It’s easy to understand, not easy to do, unless you commit yourself to being a bondservant. The word for revelation is just really key here too. It’s the Greek word “apokalupsis” from what we get the word apocalypse. And the word apocalypse has a bad connotation. connotation in English, because it’s always associated with some disaster.
There was a movie, wasn’t there recently, called The Apocalypse or something, and it was horrible. You know, destruction of everything, and, and, you know, that’s kind of the idea that people have. Oh, The Apocalypse, that’s, that’s like you know, some kind of real disaster movie or something. I don’t want to, you know, have anything to do with that.
But this word is very simple. It simply means the unveiling of something. Like you have a statue, remember down, down in the, in the south, they dedicated a lot of statues back in the late 1800s, and they would have the, the mayor would come out and they’d have a big band or something, you know, a little marching band would be there and they’d, people had come to the town square and there’d be a statue there and it’d have a sheet over it so nobody could see it because it was put up in the middle of the night, it was a secret, and so when the ceremony took place and they yanked the sheet off of that Statues, everybody could go whoa, you know, like that.
That was Apocalypse. That’s it. Just the unveiling. Well, we know pretty intuitively that all throughout the Bible, and even in the New Testament, that there has been a veil over the person of Jesus Christ. There is. There’s many things we don’t understand about the Lord. We don’t see Him face to face.
Okay, John did. We don’t see Him face to face. So, the unveiling of Jesus Christ has probably got to be the most amazing thing that could ever, that God could ever, ever do for us to unveil the person of Jesus Christ. But this word also is a bigger word than just unveiling in this sense. It also is accompanied with the interpretation of the unveiling at the same time.
In other words, as the sheet is being taken off, the intent and purpose of the unveiling and of the object underneath is made clear to the people who are observing, right? That’s good news for us because we, we can see him, but we also want to know, what does it mean? What does it mean to us? And so we’re going to see this as we go through it.
It’s amazing. The angel, we don’t know which angel this is, it doesn’t say, but angels are very prominently figured in the book of Revelation. This angel, it could be, could be Gabriel, I don’t know, it just doesn’t really say, but it’s his angel. He signified it. He made it known. This angel was the one that was interpreting the events.
We’ll see this many times when John turns to him and says, well what does that mean, or who’s that guy over there, or whatever. The angel responded and told him exactly who it is. He signified it to him, he made it known to him, the meaning, the interpretation of the things that he was seeing. And I would suggest if that angel could get through to John, the Holy Spirit can get through to you as well.
And anytime you approach the book of Revelation, it’s always good to pray and ask for the Holy Spirit to give you wisdom and insight into what you’re reading, so you can make sense out of it. But I don’t think God has made any mistake. Now John goes on in verse 2, he says, Who bear record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all the things that he saw.
And it’s important to note here, John is an eyewitness to this. He didn’t have just a vision. This wasn’t like some of the visions in the Old Testament, which were truly visions. There’s nothing wrong with visions. But in this case, this was not a vision that he had. It wasn’t open to interpretation. This was what he saw.
He was an eyewitness. God, you know, somehow allowed his human frame to enter into heaven and to see these things with his own eyes. So he’s giving us eyewitness testimony. That also is important because, you know, there would always be doubt if there wasn’t an eyewitness to the effect. You know, the death of Jesus, for instance, if there were not eyewitnesses and for all the other events that happened for that matter, if there were not eyewitnesses who testified, even unto death, that those things happened, we would always have a question mark.
Did it happen? Or did it happen, you know? Conspiracy theories start, right? Well, you know, it did happen this way. Well, conspiracy theories start anyway, I guess. But you get my point. So, John says that that he bore record of the Word of God. Whatever God showed him through this, he did. And he wrote it down as we, as we see later.
Obviously, we’re dealing with a book here. But I want you to focus for just a second on the fact that he bore record of the Word of God and of the testimony of Jesus Christ. Here he says it again. The testimony of Jesus Christ. This reflects back on the revelation of Jesus Christ. This is what this book is all about.
John was there for the revelation of Jesus Christ. And we’re going to see this we’ll see it actually two or three times before we’re done with this study, but this is a key thing to focus on. Revelation 19:10 says, I am thy fellow servant, this is John speaking, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus, worship God, for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.
Wow. Now this is, this is how John kind of concludes that thought. That’s his last time he mentions the testimony, but he held the testimony of Jesus Christ till the day he died. Now somebody’s going to say, well, didn’t Jesus give him lots of testimony before that? Sure he did. He had already written the gospel of John by this time.
And, and you know, he had lots of things that that he had taught, authoritatively as an apostle to the people around wherever he went including an Asia minor, and he testified to them, he showed, taught those things that God had shown him over the years. And you say, well, okay, so how come he’s here?
How come this is the testimony of Jesus Christ? Well, listen, the story is still unfolding. The story simply is still unfolding. And now he has the rest of the story, like Paul Harvey used to say. Now he has seen the whole thing in the end and how history wraps up and all the works of Jesus during that period of time and beyond, he’s seen into the new Jerusalem, comes down from heaven, even, you know, as it gets way to the end of Revelation.
He sees all this stuff with his own eyes. He says, yeah, I knew a lot before, you know, I’m thinking about the writer who said, I have heard him with my ears, but now I’ve seen him with my eyes. There’s a big difference here. And John has John has stepped up to the plate. Of course, he didn’t really have any choice and, you know, he stepped up to the plate and did it.
The book of Revelation, likely, was written in the year 95. John was an old man, and I want to bring this point out. John was an old man at that point, possibly in his 90s, and he likely passed just a few years later. But we’ll see that, that he was held captive, exiled, if you will, to this small island called Patmos.
Church historians’ tradition has suggested that, that they tried to kill John by boiling him in oil, which was not an uncommon way to kill somebody back in those days. It’s a pretty gross thought, but some people suggest that, at least church history has some inkling of that, that they tried to kill him, at least, if boiling oil was it.
Well, they didn’t succeed because here he is on the, on the Isle of Patmos. But they did exile him, and that was you know, that was a habit of the Roman ruler at that point. Rather than just to kill people outright they, he took pleasure in exiling him away. So John’s an old man on an island that isn’t his home a very sterile place for him.
And he’s out there maybe pretty much alone, and his body is very possibly under duress. And he’s had some great days with God, with the Lord, over, you know, in his earlier days, some great days. And here he is at the end of his life seeming like, you know, here, what on earth am I doing out here? Am I just going to fizzle like an old you know, like an old firecracker that was a dud and a the fuse goes, pfft, at the end of it. And you wonder. Then you get too close to it and it blows up. No, I’m just kidding. But, ha, ha, ha. But, you know, John, I’m certain that John, even though he was continuing in the spirit, that John had thoughts and questions. God, what are you doing? What are you doing with me?
You’ve taught me, you’ve showed me so many things in my life, and here I am out on this little rock of a place, and I’m doing stuff, you know, and I’m really doing nothing for you out here. I’m, he’s still praying certainly, he’s still reading whatever he has of the scripture. But John probably was not expecting to be tapped on the shoulder by the Lord.
Say, John, I got something for you here. I’m going to take you out, I’m going to show you some stuff. I don’t think that was probably in his mind. He didn’t have any advanced notice of that. This was the capstone of his life, however, wasn’t it? Right? This became the most important book that was ever written, probably, in the Bible, I think.
And it happened to John, who was kind of out there, I’m not going to use the phrase down on his luck, but he was out there wondering if there was any future for him in God’s work. He found out there was. You know that we’re going to see patience down here as we go on, too. Patience is an interesting study all by itself.
But John had the patience of Jesus Christ. It says he did. And he was out there just doing his thing. And I’m sure he had the attitude, Lord, if I do nothing more for you, Other than just, you know, commit myself to you, that’s enough. That’s all I need. I’m happy with that. I’m content with that. If I do nothing else.
It’s easy for us to get into that same position where it seems like God can’t use us anymore. Or maybe he doesn’t, you know, the devil says he probably doesn’t want to use you anymore. Look at you. But aside from the temptations and stuff we have from the devil, there’s a lot of people I’m sure that get even if they get older, to wonder, what could God possibly do with me at this point, you know, in my life? And I got news for you. God can use anybody, anywhere, at any time, to do incredible things. And often, he used old people. I don’t know why. Maybe it’s because old people couldn’t make a claim. It’s like, boy, I’m so strong and so energetic, I could just get out there and do stuff.
And, you know, like we could when we were 30 or 40. When you’re older, it’s like, well, okay, we’re running out of resources, we’re running out of energy, running out of life, my bones are brittle, and, you know, etc. And… What could I do for the Lord? I can’t start a big ministry right now. There’s no time to start a big movement, you know, yada, yada, whatever.
And that’s bad thinking. That’s the devil’s thinking. God’s thinking is He will use whom he uses when he wants to. And John is just a perfect example of that. You know, I just, you, you look at John’s life and you just say, Wow, that’s just, just an incredible story. Okay, so verse 3:
Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein, for the time is at hand.
No other book in the scripture starts with this kind of statement. A beatitude. This is like the beatitudes in the Gospels. You know, blessed are the meek and the poor and so on, the poor in spirit. This is just a continuation of those beatitudes that we found earlier. You wouldn’t be surprised to know that there are actually seven of these beatitudes in the book of Revelation either.
Seven. You see the seven, number seven, pop up time and time again. But in this case, it says blessed is he. Okay, he, then it gives a list here. He that reads, hears, and keeps the things that are written therein, for the time is at hand. Now, this doesn’t mean that you get a tape recorder or whatever, you know, MP3, and you just start, you know, reciting the words of the text.
That’s not what it’s talking about. It doesn’t mean, like, well, you’re just going to sit down and kind of read it and, well, maybe I’ll see something, maybe I won’t. These words specifically have great meaning. It means readeth, the word used under, and this is beautiful about the Greek language, it means read with understanding.
Don’t just read it, read it with understanding. Well, there’s an assumption right now that if he tells you to read it with understanding, you can. He wouldn’t tell you to do something if you could, if it was impossible to do. So, it’s possible to read the book with understanding. He says that’s what you need to do to be blessed.
You need to hear with attention. In other words, if you have ears to hear, and you need to keep your eyes fixed on those things. You don’t give up from it. Once you see it, you cannot unsee it. You’ll keep it in, in front of your, you know, in your eyes for the rest of your life. And that’s exactly what he suggests here.
And when he says, when he says that, when he uses these words, he that readeth and so on, all of these words are in the present tense. The present tense. Not future, not past, not one time and then don’t do it again, or one time and do it again. It’s just in the present tense. So it’s supposed to be a continuing thing that Christians are faced with here to always be in the state of reading, hearing, and keeping.
Okay, well, you know, some people say, keep it in my heart or something like that. That’s true. But really, literally, the word means to keep your eyes fixed upon it. And the Apostle the writers, other writers of the New Testament exhorted us to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus anyway, the author and finisher of our faith.
So, the word time here too is important. It doesn’t you know, there’s a lot of confusion about this. The time is at hand. And some people always suggest, well, you know, that… 2, 000 years ago, I mean, where, where’s the coming of the Lord anyway? This is not the word for time that we use typically called chronos, which is the physical time, like on your wristwatch or your phone it’s the word kairos.
And kairos is interpreted time, but it doesn’t mean chronological time, it means… The season, the season, the appointed time. And there’s an appointed time, for instance, that Jesus Christ is coming back. And we don’t know when, but it’s out there. The Father knows. And there’s an appointed time for that.
That’s all we can say. That He hasn’t given it to us, but it’s an appointed time. We know that. And so that’s what, exactly what this, what this word here, the time is at hand. It means the appointed time is at hand. In other words, it’s the next thing that’s going to be in the history, in God’s, in God’s timeline of things.
There is an appointed time which is coming, and that time is at hand. In other words, there’s nothing in between today and the time that that happens. Whenever that thing is that happens, it’s going to happen. There’s an appointed time for it.
Prophecy, of course, is the foretelling of future events in, in all cases, and for the most part, this gives us a good clue that the book of Revelation is about future things, and we need to keep it that way. Some people interpret the book saying, no, it happened in 70 A. D. No, it didn’t. Sorry, but that’s not what the word says.
It didn’t happen in 70 A. D. These things are still future tense. They were future tense to John. He clearly said so, and that was in 95 AD. And they’re clearly future to us because these things haven’t happened yet. They read it. You know they haven’t happened yet. So we’re looking forward in time. And that’s the way God is with prophecy.
He always foretells in the future what’s going to happen. And then we wait for it and we see it happen exactly like He said. Right? Just like He said. And here again I would suggest some people say, Oh, that’s just too amazing, too fantastical. Stuff in the Revelation could never happen. Couldn’t possibly take place.
Well, listen, if God has prophesied that it will, and if he is fulfilled every prophecy to date that could be fulfilled in Scripture throughout the Old Testament and some in the New Testament as well, for all the prophecies that have been fulfilled, just like clockwork, why would anybody at this point discard that record and say he can’t do it this time?
It’s just too big or it’s too weird or something. Well, nonsense. If God foretold it, it’s going to happen just like it’s, just like he said. We can bank on that. We can take out to the bank. It doesn’t mean we’re going to be here. The rapture is going to take place before we even get into the real meat of the, of, of, of, of Revelation chapter 4, but it’s important for us to see the works of Jesus because we’re learning about him.
This is the unveiling of Jesus Christ. He’s not hanging on the cross anymore. He’s not he’s not in the grave anymore, even though they think they know where that grave is. He’s not there anymore. He’s not on earth walking around whatever anymore. He’s not he’s not suffering. He was, he was taken back up into heaven, and today he sits in glory.
John and Jesus and God want us to see Jesus as he is sitting in his glory. These are his works. You may not like him, but you’ll learn to like him if you understand, as you go through it, you understand what he’s doing, you’ll like it just fine. But it’s amazing, it’s an amazing story that she, that, that, not a story, not a fictional story, but it’s an amazing piece of future history that’s being presented to us, that shows Jesus to us in his, in full magnitude of glory.
It can’t get any better than that. You know, that’s, that kind of truth, by the way, transformed every one of the apostles. It did. Do you think that the Apostles that saw the Transfiguration were ever the same again? I don’t. I don’t think they’re ever the same. I, they didn’t understand it fully, but they were like, Whoa!
We’re talking serious stuff here. And they saw Jesus in His glory. We get to see Him in His glory by going through the book of Revelation. We have a faithful witness, and we have, we have John, an eyewitness to tell us this. And so let’s, let’s go on and look at verse 4 and get right into that. It says, John to the seven churches.
Now John is writing to the seven churches. We’re going to see those in chapters two and three. He’s writing to the seven churches which are in Asia. He says, Greetings, it greets them. Grace be unto you and peace from what from him Which is and which was and which is to come from the seven spirits which are before a throne and from Jesus Christ.
Now Do you see something here that kind of stands out? We just have the Trinity presented to us. What more authority could you get, for any, any part of the Bible, but this one especially. God goes out of His way to say, to introduce it, by saying it’s from the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. And there’s the seal on it, so to speak.
It’s incredible. And then he says after he, we get through the very first part, which is and was and is to come, that’s the father from the seven spirits before his throne, which speaks of fullness. There are not seven Holy Spirits, by the way, but it speaks of the fullness of God as the number seven appears many, many times in the book of Revelation and from Jesus Christ after, he presents the Trinity, he immediately goes into a summary of what he’s seen.
This is his, this is his elevator speech, if you will. To open the book, just in case anybody would get scared. If you’re not a salesperson, you don’t know what elevator speech is, forget it. But here, but here’s what he says. He says, from Jesus Christ, comma, Who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of earth?
Unto him that loved us and washed us from our sins in his own blood, and hath made us kings and priests unto God his Father. To Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. See, it starts in chapter 1. The Lord is, God the Father is elevating the Lord Jesus Christ. He told us in the Gospels, He told Jesus that He would glorify His Son in time.
This is the glorification of Jesus Christ for us right now. This is what he’s doing. He’s lifting them up. Immediately, he lifts them up. He says, look, all the things he’s done. We could spend a whole three or four studies just going through this, these, this list of things here that he’s done and that he is.
There’s some pretty amazing, fantastical things in here. Like, gosh, a kingdom of kings and priests. We’re kings and priests? Well, we should know that from 1 Peter 2:9. If you remember, it says, But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people. It was pretty clear that this whole thing was being set up from before we had that knowledge in the gospel.
But now John is really telling these people, you know, flat out, Look, this Jesus has made us permanently. That’s the tense here. Kings and priests unto God and his Father. And then he, his doxology says to him be the glory and dominion forever and ever. He doesn’t stop there. He doesn’t stop there. He says, Behold, he cometh with clouds.
And every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him, and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen. It just continues. Lifting up the person of Jesus Christ. You’re going to see this all through the book. This is the unveiling of Jesus Christ. If you keep that in your mind and look for Jesus in every passage, in every verse, in every thought that you see as you go through this study and as you read the book of Revelation, look for Jesus.
Because that’s what the book is about. And doesn’t the author have the right, by the way, to tell you what the book is all about? I think so. Pretty clear he did tell us what it’s all about. A lot of people come into the book of Revelation, maybe they’re not bond servants, and maybe they’re not even saved, but they come into the book of Revelation looking for all kinds of other things.
Some people want to know what’s going to happen so they can buy the right amount of stored food and stuff, and guns and ammunition and whatever, they’re scared, and they want to see what the end, what it’s going to be like. Other people, you know, read it thinking, well, it’s just, maybe it’s just in the Bible and I should read it, but they figure it’s a fairy tale and they just, you know, don’t pay any heed to it.
But this is about the glorification of Jesus Christ. There could be no more important book for a Christian. Now it talks about, it says, he cometh with the clouds. This shouldn’t surprise us either. Jesus is coming with the clouds, yet the recipients, the churches that would receive this letter would understand this, some of them would at least, pretty well.
Because especially in the Jewish mind, clouds are extremely important to them. You say, well, how are they important? Well, what did you have in the wilderness when God led Israel around the wilderness? You had a pillar of fire by night and what did you have in the daytime? A pillar of smoke, right? Cloud. What about what about the transfiguration?
You go read that there’s a translucent cloud that surrounded him. Clouds. What about the ascension? He was received up into heaven. It says with the clouds. What about the rapture? It says he’s coming in the clouds. And then we get to the second coming, which should be no surprise that clouds are coming because clouds always speak of the glory of God.
It’s just that simple. You go look at all those different passages, it always speaks of the glory of God. Now you, you have to kind of take that by, by faith because you and I haven’t seen that kind of cloud yet. But they did in the Old Testament and they understood it. It represented the glory of God. So when Jesus is coming with the clouds, it means he’s coming with glory.
And honor from heaven and also says every eye shall see him and also they also, which pierced him and all the kindreds of the earth shall well because of him even. So, amen. This is one reason, by the way, that we know this is not talking about the rapture here. This is talking about the second coming of Christ.
Do you see why? It’s because every eye will see him and the rapture, that’s not going to be true. It says every eye shall see him and also which pierced him and all the kindreds of the earth shall wail. All the kindreds of the earth shall wail. That’s what happens with the second coming of Christ.
When they finally see him coming, they’re going to be most upset, let’s say, for sure.
But nevertheless, John says in verse 8, continues what the Lord told him to say. I am the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty. Some commentators think that this is God the Father speaking, and it could be, but it also could be the Lord Jesus Christ, because He also is God, and I personally would favor the latter.
That that he is, that John is declaring here that Jesus is fully equal to God the Father. And we know that already from our studies of the Trinity. But this is a refresher course for the people reading the letter for the first time. And then in verse 9 he says, I, John, who also am your brother and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ.
There’s patience. Was in the isle that is called Patmos, for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ. Unbelievable. Remember he said in Revelation 19. 10, first part of it he says that, or last part of it, he says the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy. And he also just set up in Revelation 1 2, which we read just a little bit earlier, who bear the record of the Word of God and of the testimony of Jesus Christ.
And you say, what is this testimony? This is a curious thing. In Revelation 6 9 we have a view of those who were martyred, those believers that got saved during the tribulation, who got martyred and they’re in heaven. They’re absent from the body, present with the Lord. And chapter 6 verse 9 says, And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw unto the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held.
How about that? For the testimony which they held. Say, well, this testimony is beyond just the word of God. It’s beyond just what the Bible says. They had a testimony about who Jesus was. And it’s you know, I, I wouldn’t go, I don’t want to go too deep in this because I want to keep this kind of a light study and not go too long.
There’s a difference between knowing about someone and knowing someone. Amen? You can know about somebody by reading a book. You can get a biography, read a book. You learn all kinds of facts about somebody and you might even… Kind of delude yourself a little bit that well, I really do know that person I read, some stuff about him.
I really know him but until you have met that person and Spent time with him to get to know him, right? Intimately know him. You can’t say, you know him you can only say you know about it Here’s the difference between just the Word of God and testimony We read the Word of God and we learn a lot of things about Jesus Christ.
That’s good stuff. It’s all good But, the Word of God also tells us that He wants us to know Him, know Him. Well, I haven’t even seen Him face to face, but He’s given us the Holy Spirit, and the Holy Spirit reveals to us that knowledge, right? Corinthians says we have… the very mind of Christ. Wow, I, you know, I don’t see anybody’s head exploding out there when I say that.
But we’re supposed to have the mind of Christ to be able to test the will of God, to understand the deep things of God. That’s knowing Him, not just about Him. Well, I’ll tell you what, John, as well as these saints, the martyrs, and the tribulation, these people had met the Lord in their life in a personal, intimate way.
And they had that testimony. That makes people grind their teeth. You know, when you tell somebody that you know, you’re, you’re, you’re, well, I read the Bible, you know, well, what do you do? Well, I read the Bible, and the Bible says, blah, maybe you quote a proverb or whatever. It’ll roll off their back pretty quickly.
But you tell somebody that maybe isn’t quite where you are. You just try this. Well, you won’t have to try it. But if you might, just tell them that you know God and you know His will. Just tell them that. Oh, I know God. They don’t like that at all. What do you have, a hotline? You got a, you got a red phone in your house, you know, you pick up the phone, what do you do, talk to him?
Say, no, I know, but I know God. He’s revealed himself to me, and he can reveal himself to you. Some people just say, bah humbug, and walk off, maybe they’ll throw a rock at you as they depart. But you can talk about the Bible all you want. You can talk about Jesus in most circles all you want. But when you talk about knowing him, and it’s possible to know him, remember when Stephen was stoned?
Do you remember how aggravated they got when he looked up into heaven? He says, Lord! That’s all they had to say. They got it. They got the picture. These guys just went berserk with the rocks. And they killed him, because he said he saw the Lord. And he, he knew the Lord. It’s amazing. This little bit of introductory here, that John has given us, it may seem like it’s kind of a simple thing, but this is the bedrock upon which the entire book is written.
And we’re going to go through the second part of the study, the second half of this first chapter next time that I get to teach. But I would encourage you to reflect back on these things, and you know, some of the things If, if you’re in a position in your life where you think that I’m at a dead end with the Lord, I’m not saying I’m not, that you’re not saved.
You may say, well, I, I have a rich life with the Lord. Praise the Lord for that. But you may be saying to yourself, I, I just don’t know how God could use me. You know, what, or what he could do through me or with me or whatever. I, it just seems like I’m, I’ve expended all my energy. I’ve expended all my goods and whatever else you might, you know, think.
And that you’re just kind of grousing about it and thinking. I got nowhere to go. God has plans for you. That’s just the way He is. That’s part, that’s part of what knowing Him puts in your mind. It’s never too late for God. He’ll use anybody at any time for anything that brings glory to Him and His Son.
Just like He did with John. Just like He did with Sarah in the Old Testament. She’s too old to conceive. She had a baby. That was impossible with man. But the New Testament tells us with God nothing is impossible, right?
John lived for a few more years after he heard this revelation, or saw this revelation, unveiling of Jesus Christ. And he testified to the seven churches. He testified especially to the church in Ephesus. And he died. His body died. His spirit is in heaven, most certainly. But his passing exhortation to us, eyewitness testimony, authenticated by the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, Made easy to understand by the Lord Jesus Christ’s personal angel, his angel, says.
John is gone, but his word lives on to us to encourage us and to tell us that what is coming for us as Christians, is so far beyond our understanding, beyond our ability to grasp. Yet, he gives us a picture of it all the way through the book of Revelation. It’s an amazing story. We, you, Christians do it, the bondservants of Jesus Christ especially, need to grab a hold of this message.
This is our blessed hope. This is our only blessed hope, I might add, but this is our blessed hope. We hang on to this because it is real. And when, when John said that these things are going to happen, the, the way that the verbs, the tense of the verbs is that he says this is going to happen in such a way that it’s so certain that he speaks about it in the present tense.
That’s something only God can do. But there’s no if here that’s going to happen, it’s just when it’s going to happen. We don’t know, he hasn’t given us to know, but it’s going to happen. What precedes this, of course, is going to be the rapture of the church, and we’ll have, for all the things that we’ll see here, we should have absolutely no fear of it personally.
We will be, if you will, in the, in the, the, the, the peanut gallery in heaven, so to speak, right? Where we’re observing this whole thing. We’ll be seeing everything that happens on earth, without a doubt. But we’ll be protected because we’ll be at the side of Jesus. He’s our, we are His bride, and He is our groomsman.
And I’ll, you know, that, that also just the amazing thought of this, we’ll see this as we go through it. The amazing thought of how much Christ loves us, his church. It’s just, you see his love at every turn for his church, for his people, for those who follow him. You see his love for Israel. You see his love for the 144, 000.
You see his love for the martyrs that were martyred during the tribulation. They didn’t, you know, they got saved, maybe they didn’t live very long, certainly not more than seven years. But, you know, they might have gotten killed after a year, maybe a month, maybe a day, who knows? Christians are pretty easy to pick out in a land of darkness, actually.
So, it’s going to happen. It’s going to. It’s in front of us still, future tense. For us as we look forward, it’s spoken about in the present tense as if it’s already happened. In the Old Testament, I might add, the prophets often spoke in the same manner. They stated things in a very matter-of-fact way.
And people looked at it and said, isn’t no way. And then, a few hundred years later, it came to pass and, you know, every, the scoffers, of course, weren’t even alive at that point, but those who did scoff were, were they had egg on their face for sure. So, all of the promises that are given to us, the blessings the the knowledge, that you gain from this, that we’re a chosen generation, a royal priest, priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people all of these things should be fuel for our remaining journey on this planet.
This is what we hold on to. And I can promise you, once you see Once you see the Lord Jesus Christ in his proper setting, glorified by the Father himself, you cannot unsee it again. That’s the cool thing about this. You cannot unsee it any more than the apostles or the disciples could unsee the transfiguration.
Once they saw it, That was it. They knew what they saw, right? Somebody else might have doubted them and accused them, but they knew what they saw, because they were there. I witnessed it. So I’m hoping as we go through this, that you’re going to see Jesus in not any contradictory light whatsoever to what you already know, but I’m hoping that we’re going to see him as he is our glorified king, the prince of the kings of the earth.
The ruler of everything, the righteous judge who finally is going to take, you know, take vengeance, if you will, on all the people that have spilt. the blood of his people on planet earth. You know, we think, I mean, horrible things happening, right? School’s getting shot up and, you know, Christians dying overseas and stuff.
It might get a little bit routine. You hear it on the news. It’s like, Oh my gosh, it’s something else. You know, die, die, die, blood, blood, blood. It might get a little routine to you, but I got news for you. The Lord is keeping score. Ha! He’s, He’s keeping score. And He wants any who would come to be saved, even still, even the murderer and the killer, to be saved today.
But the Lord is keeping score of the people who have spilled the blood of His people. And He will take vengeance during that it.
It’s like, oh Lord, how long will you wait to do this work? Like, yeah, it’s high, it’s time, it’s going to happen. The old earth needs to be cleansed, and the only one that can cleanse it is the Lord Jesus Christ. I hate to say that it’s not going to be Donald Trump, and it won’t be Hillary Clinton. It won’t be the Premier of China.
It’s not going to be Prime Minister Merkel in Germany. It’s not going to be any political authority that can cleanse this earth. Only Jesus Christ can do that. He is our, He is our Savior, and He’s going to do it. Amen? Amen. Let’s pray.