Revelation is a book that will fill the reader with awe and wonder. In it we read about the four horsemen, a dragon, beasts, and the Lion and Lamb of God.
Though written 2,000 years ago to people in a far away land, we can benefit from the book. It will help us stay away from sin and give us hope in persecution. We are also assured that Christ will be victorious over the forces of evil.
When Will It Happen?
John nails down the basic time frame of the events discussed in Revelation. He said, “The Revelation [about]…things which must shortly take place” (Rev. 1:1). And the one who reads, hears, and keeps these things is blessed (Rev. 1:3). This is a principle true for all the gospel. We cannot simply “hear” it and be pleasing to God. Rather, we must keep it, do it, live it. Those to whom the Revelation was originally written and to which primary application was made, were blessed to read, hear, and keep what was written.
Note: The Revelation had its chief application and fulfillment in the first century and shortly thereafter. It is futile to look for its primary fulfillment 2,000 years later. There are principles and lessons we can learn, but must understand God revealed these things for a specific reason and at a specific time.
There are several key “characters” introduced right away (Rev. 1:4-8). In 1:4, we have the seven churches, the Father, and the Holy Spirit—described as the seven Spirits (cf. Zech. 3:9; 4:6, 10). Then Christ is brought before us (1:5-8).
He is the faithful witness (Jn. 8:14). He tells the truth at all times about God, God’s will, Himself, man, and Satan. In Him is no guile.
Jesus is the firstborn from the dead (1 Cor. 15:20-23). He is the one who died, was resurrected, and did not see death again. All others who were raised from the dead in Bible times eventually went back to the grave.
Ruler over kings (Eph. 1:20-23; 1 Tim. 6:15). God has put all things under Jesus’ feet (Eph. 1:20-23). He triumphed over principalities and powers in the cross (Col. 2:13-15). Thus, He is at the right hand of God sitting on the throne of David (Acts 2:25-31). Truly, He is King of kings and Lord of lords (1 Tim. 6:15).
Christ is the one who loved us, enough to die for us (Jn. 15:13). He put our interests ahead of His own (Phil. 2:1-8). Hence, He deserves our greatest admiration and loyalty.
Jesus is the one who washed away our sins. He does this as we heed the commands given through the apostles and prophets (Acts 2:38; 3:19; 22:16).
He is the one who made us kings or a kingdom as the NASB translates it. When our sins are washed away, we are added to the kingdom (Col. 1:13). We are citizens of heaven (Phil. 3:20).
Jesus also made us priests (1 Pet. 2:9). Man need no longer go through another to approach God as it was done in Old Testament times. We can bring our sacrifices and petitions before Him with Jesus serving as our Mediator and High Priest (1 Tim. 2:5; Heb. 3:1).
He is coming with clouds in judgment. He judged Rome as God had judged ancient nations (Isa. 19:1; Eze. 30:3; 34:12). He will one day judge the whole world (Acts 1:9-11).
The Majesty of Christ
John’s faithfulness to the Lord brought down the wrath of the Roman government (Rev. 1:9). He shared this “tribulation” with the saints the world over. “All who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution” (2 Tim. 3:12). Faithful preachers are hardly ever popular—at least not for long.
This loyal servant of Jesus was permitted to see a representation of Him in a vision. John was in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day; no doubt, Sunday (Matt. 28:1; 1 Cor. 16:1, 2; Acts 20:7). On this occasion he received a message for the seven churches of Asia. At the beginning He sees the One who is giving the message; the One by whose authority it was given.
In this vision, John sees Jesus clothed like a priest (Rev. 1:13). His hair was white, indicating holiness (Rev. 1:14). Eyes of fire convey His ability to see all; a penetrating gaze (Rev. 1:14). His feet were solid, sure, and have the ability to crush that which is under them (Rev. 1:15). His voice was overwhelming (Rev. 1:15). The sword of judgment came forth from His mouth; the sharp two-edged sword of the gospel (Rev. 1:16; Heb. 4:12). His majesty was shining through, awesome and mighty, caused shock and fear to overcome John (Rev. 1:16, 17).
When Christ spoke, He described Himself as the victorious powerful one (Rev. 1:17, 18). The explained the stars are the angels and the lampstands the churches (Rev. 1:19, 20). Jesus is among them and in control of them, and He has a message for them.
Steven F. Deaton