Episode #239. Today we’ll read Revelation chapter 1 together: John greets his readers and shares the beginning of his first vision of Christ.
Joy: You’re listening to the Lifting Her Voice podcast, Episode #239. Today we’ll read Revelation chapter 1 together: John greets his readers and shares the beginning of his first vision of Christ.
Welcome to the Lifting Her Voice podcast. I’m your host, Joy Miller, and I invite you to grab your Bible and join me as we simply read God’s word together. Some things require discipline and sometimes that’s just not easy to muster by yourself, no matter how badly you want to do it or how much you know you should. It’s just easier to do it with a friend. So refill your coffee or tea, get comfortable in your favorite chair and follow along as I read aloud. I’m so glad you’re here!
And so it begins – the final book in our goal to read the New Testament this year. This is the Book of Revelation. And as the very first verse reveals, it is the revelation of Jesus Christ that God gave Him to show His servants what must soon take place. It serves as a warning to the seven churches of Asia Minor and as a guidebook to the end times.
John was living on the Island of Patmos just off the coast of modern-day Turkey when this book was written. He had been exiled there by the Roman authorities for preaching the Gospel, which was considered a threat to the empire.
Christ’s revelation is shared with John through a series of visions that are not necessarily sequential. In between these visions, John finds himself in the presence of angels and the throne room of God.
There are recurring themes in this book, such as the use of groups of seven objects, such as the seven churches of Asia Minor, the seven seals, the seven trumpets and the seven bowls. We will talk more about this as we read through the book.
Don’t Get Discouraged
Revelation can be a very confusing book. It is written using symbolism and imagery that are perhaps recognizable by a first century Jew but can be downright baffling to us in the 21st century. Don’t let this discourage you. Revelation challenges even the best Biblical scholars, who vary widely in their interpretation of this book.
I will do the best I can to explain what are reading in each chapter, sharing with you what has been passed down to me. If you have thoughts or impressions about the book you would like to share with me, you can do so at Lifting Her Voice.com, Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.
Revelation Chapter 1
The revelation of Jesus Christ that God gave him to show his servants what must soon take place. He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John, who testified to the word of God and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, whatever he saw. Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear the words of this prophecy and keep what is written in it, because the time is near.
John: To the seven churches in Asia. Grace and peace to you from the one who is, who was, and who is to come, and from the seven spirits before his throne, and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead and the ruler of the kings of the earth.
To him who loves us and has set us free from our sins by his blood, and made us a kingdom, priests to his God and Father — to him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.
Look, he is coming with the clouds,
and every eye will see him,
even those who pierced him.
And all the tribes of the earth
will mourn over him.
So it is to be. Amen.
“I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “the one who is, who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.”
John’s Vision of the Risen Lord
I, John, your brother and partner in the affliction, kingdom, and endurance that are in Jesus, was on the island called Patmos because of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus. I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and I heard a loud voice behind me like a trumpet saying, “Write on a scroll what you see and send it to the seven churches: Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea.”
Then I turned to see whose voice it was that spoke to me. When I turned I saw seven golden lampstands, and among the lampstands was one like the Son of Man, dressed in a robe and with a golden sash wrapped around his chest. The hair of his head was white as wool — white as snow — and his eyes like a fiery flame. His feet were like fine bronze as it is fired in a furnace, and his voice like the sound of cascading waters. He had seven stars in his right hand; a sharp double-edged sword came from his mouth, and his face was shining like the sun at full strength.
When I saw him, I fell at his feet like a dead man. He laid his right hand on me and said, “Don’t be afraid. I am the First and the Last, and the Living One. I was dead, but look — I am alive forever and ever, and I hold the keys of death and Hades. Therefore write what you have seen, what is, and what will take place after this. The mystery of the seven stars you saw in my right hand and of the seven golden lampstands is this: The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches.
John opens this book with a standard greeting and doxology to the seven churches in Asia Minor and then tells us who he is and how he came to be on Patmos.
On the Lord’s Day…could be the first day of the week or could be the seventh…John has the first vision of Christ, which he describes as being “…in the Spirit.” This term is used each time John has a vision. John finds himself in the presence of Jesus Christ, who he describes as, “…the Alpha and the Omega, who is, and who was, and who is to come…”
The image of Christ presented to us to us is a far cry from the emaciated crucified Christ seen on crosses in churches everywhere. Instead, this is a victorious Christ, who has overcome sin and death and has been established at the right hand of God. He is a majestic figure, with eyes like blazing fire, a voice like rushing water and a double-edged sword coming out of His mouth.
We have an example of a double-edged sword in Hebrews 4:12-13: For the word of God is living and effective and sharper than any double-edged sword, penetrating as far as the separation of soul and spirit, joints and marrow. It is able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. No creature is hidden from him, but all things are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give an account. Wow. Now that we’ve read this new description of Jesus, who is the word, it gives that Hebrews verse a whole new texture, doesn’t it?
We Can Only Imagine
Some scholars believe that the double-edged sword mentioned here represents the power of the Word of God to separate out false teaching that had infiltrated the seven churches of Asia Minor, located in Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea.
Jesus is surrounded by seven lampstands, which represent the seven churches. He instructs John to write down what he sees on a scroll and send it to the seven churches.
John is overcome by awe in the presence of the Lord and falls face-down at His feet. This is a recurring theme throughout the Bible when mere men find themselves in the presence of the Lord. John says that he “…fell at his feet as though dead.” We can only imagine what an awesome and terrifying thing it is to find yourself in the presence of God. Let’s pray.
Heavenly Father, this book is a challenge to understand. I pray that you will give us wisdom and discernment as we read through the chapters. Help us to see Your truth in these pages and keep us from getting discouraged when we get confused. Give us an enthusiasm for reading Your word that will carry us through to the end. In Jesus’ holy name I pray, amen.
Thank you for joining me here today. I pray God will grow in you what has been planted and watered here. In this time of unprecedented struggle worldwide, we can look to God for guidance and comfort. Be sensitive to those in your circle of influence who need a word of encouragement and invite them to join us. If you like this show, it would be great if you give it a five-star review. Don’t forget to subscribe wherever you get your podcasts. See you right here tomorrow. Be well!
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Christian Standard Bible(r), Copyright (c) 2017 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Christian Standard Bible(r) and CSB(r) are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.
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