1 The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him,
-The revelation given here is of Jesus Christ, not John as many think. John was only the instrument used to write the account.
to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass;
-refers to the beginning of events which continue unto this hour and will continue forever. It is the Church Age and beyond.
and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John:
-Even though the revelation came to Christ, it was delivered to John by His angel.
Verse 1 Note: The word Revelation is from the Greek word "apokalupsis" which means "to unveil or uncover." It implies the lifting of a curtain. The chapter is made up of the following:
1. The Revelation of Jesus Christ – Revelation 1:1-3
2. Greetings to the 7 Churches – Revelation 1:4-6
3. The Main Theme of Revelation – Revelation 1:7-8
4. A Vision of the Son of Man– Revelation 1:9-20
The Revelation of Jesus Christ
2 Who bare record of the word of God,
-regarded himself merely as a witness of what he had seen and claimed only to make a fair and faithful record of the same
and of the testimony of Jesus Christ,
-John was merely a witness of the testimony that Jesus Christ had borne.
and of all things that he saw.
-refers to the visions and symbols given to John
Verse 2 Note: The second verse indicates that John faithfully recorded everything he saw in these series of visions.
3 Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein:
-All who obey these admonitions are promised a blessing.
for the time is at hand.
-refers to the beginning of the fulfillment of these things which began with the church as recorded in Revelation 2 and 3 and continues forever
Verse 3 Note: We are told in verse 3 that three classes of people would be blessed pertaining to the book of Revelation:
1. Those who read the book of Revelation
2. Those who hear it
3. Those who keep the things written therein
The book of Revelation is a book of prophecy. If we understand the following, perhaps prophecy will be easier to understand:
1. Understand the prophecy as history written beforehand
2. Give the same credence towards prophecy as to the words of history
3. Do not think prophecy must come to pass before it can be understood
4. Do not alter God’s own interpretation of anything in prophecy
5. Take all prophecy literally unless it is clear that it cannot have a literal meaning. Get the literal truth conveyed by figurative language
6. Let the Bible be its own interpreter
4 John to the seven churches which are in Asia:
-These particular churches were selected by the Holy Spirit to portray the entirety of the Church Age.
Grace be unto you, and peace, from him which is, and which was, and which is to come;
-refers to sanctifying grace and sanctifying peace, all made possible by The Cross
and from the seven Spirits which are before his throne;
-It is given to us in this manner to emphasize the 7-fold aspect of the operations of the Holy Spirit according to Isaiah 11:2.
5 And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness
-earthly life of perfect obedience
and the first begotten of the dead,
-refers to His resurrection which is the first fruits according to Romans 8:23
and the prince of the kings of the earth
-This refers to Christ’s rulership of the world which is the key theme of the book of Revelation.
Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood,
-The Cross proves the fact of His love in no uncertain terms.
6 And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father;
-made possible by what Christ did at The Cross and only what Christ did at The Cross
to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.
-Christ is the Redeemer, so He deserves the glory and dominion which will be His forever and ever.
Verse 4-6 Note: The Scripture uses the term “seven Spirits” at least twice in reference to the Holy Spirit. Some have concluded this means the Holy Spirit has seven different titles. However, there are more than seven titles applied to the Holy Spirit.
We know there is only one Holy Spirit, so what does this mean? The word seven is a symbolic statement of the One Holy Spirit and denotes His total fullness and power. The word seven means “complete within itself.”
The 5th verse denotes the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ and the price He paid with His own blood to redeem mankind.
The 6th verse mentions the titles and positions freely given by the Lord Jesus Christ, “kings and priests unto God”. In this day of grace there is no such thing as an earthly priesthood since the priest was the mediator between God and man. Today Christ is our Great High Priest according to Hebrews 4:14. And every child of God has been made a priest by the Lord Jesus Christ. Under the Old Covenant, the individual could not go directly to God but had to have the mediator (the priest) to act for him. Now, at any time, a Christian can go before God the Father in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ without the aid of any other mediator or go-between (Hebrews 4:16).
7 Behold, he cometh with clouds;
-The Second Coming of Christ is the chief theme of this book. The word “clouds” represents great numbers of saints.
and every eye shall see him,
-This refers to all who will be in the immediate vicinity of Jerusalem and possibly even billions who may very well see Him by television.
and they also which pierced him:
-The Jews. And they will know beyond a shadow of a doubt that Jesus is Messiah and LORD.
and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen.
-The wailing will take place because of the judgment Christ will bring upon the world for its sin and shame.
8 I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending,
-The First and the Last, The only God
saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.
-The word “Almighty” guarantees He will be able to accomplish all that He says.
Verses 7 and 8 Note: “…Every eye shall see Him…” does not imply that every person on the face of the earth shall see Him. Certainly, those in the immediate vicinity of Jerusalem will see Him come on the clouds (Zechariah 14:1-5).
Television cameras can catch the event, taking it all over the world. The millions of people will not actually see Him until later according to Isaiah 2:2-4; 66:19-21. “…they also which pierced him…” refers to the Jews. “…all kindreds of the earth…” refers to the armies of the nations surrounding Jerusalem when Christ returns.
In the 8th verse, the Lord is, once again, given the highest deference of deity, “the Almighty.”
9 I John, who also am your brother, and companion in tribulation,
-John was a fellow partaker in the tribulation which was then coming to all the churches.
and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ,
-Christ will ultimately establish His Kingdom on this earth.
was in the isle that is called Patmos,
-an island about 37 miles west/southwest of Miletus in the Aegean Sea.
for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ.
-John was not in prison for crimes he committed, for he had committed none, but for his stand for our LORD.
10 I was in the Spirit
-He entered into a new kind of experience relative to the Holy Spirit’s control over him.
on the Lord's day, (Sunday) and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet,
-The voice John heard is heard unto this hour all over the world and, in fact, will ever be heard. It is the voice of Our Lord.
Verses 9 & 10 Notes: John underwent tribulation as so many other Christians did. The Roman emperor, Domitian, was heavily persecuting the church. John, even at his advanced age, was banished to this treeless, volcanic island called Patmos used by the Romans for the exile of the lowest criminals. John was there because he preached the Word of God and testified of Jesus Christ. The beautiful statement “in the Spirit” means being wholly in union with the Holy Spirit and yielded unto Him. The term “Lord’s day” was used by early Christians of the first day of the week, the day of the Lord’s resurrection, which was on Sunday. Romans set aside certain days for emperor worship and called them “the Augustin day” Christians set aside Sunday as the day to worship God and Christ, calling it “the Lord’s day”. When John heard the “great voice as of a trumpet”, it was similar to when God gave the law to Moses. He prepared Moses to receive the law by the blowing of a trumpet (Exodus 19:16-19).
11 Saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last:
-Christ is All in All.
and, What thou seest, write in a book,
-constitutes what we now have and refer to as the book of Revelation
and send it unto the seven churches which are in Asia; unto Ephesus, and unto Smyrna, and unto Pergamos, and unto Thyatira, and unto Sardis, and unto Philadelphia, and unto Laodicea.
-This phrase presents these churches that were selected personally by Christ.
Verse 11 Note: So, John was told to write in a book what he was about to see and send it to the seven churches of Asia Minor (Turkey).
12 And I turned to see the voice that spake with me. And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks;
-presents the symbolism for the seven churches
13 And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man,
-Jesus is head of the church, the centerpiece of its activities.
clothed with a garment down to the foot,
-indicates His position as King and Priest
and girt about the paps with a golden girdle.
-presents Kingly apparel. Christ is our King and Priest.
14 His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow;
-denotes majesty and authority
and his eyes were as a flame of fire;
-portrays penetrating scrutiny and fierce judgment
15 And his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace;
-Brass signifies His humanity, but super-human.
and his voice as the sound of many waters.
-the voice of power
16 And he had in his right hand seven stars:
-represents the pastors of these churches
and out of his mouth went a sharp twoedged sword:
-represents the Word of God
and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength.
-represents His glory
Verses 12-16 Note: The seven golden candlesticks were symbols of the seven churches to which John was to send the message (the book). Jesus is shown standing in the middle of the churches. Christ is the head of the body, the Church (Ephesians 1:20-23). Christ is active, not passive, completely involved in the actions of His body, the Church.
At the beginning of this passage, Christ is in the midst of the candlesticks (the churches), and at the conclusion, Christ is on the outside knocking, trying to get in, Revelation 3:20. The description of Christ as outlined in v. 13-16 is similar to the description recorded in Daniel 7:13-14; Daniel 10:5-10; Revelation 10. The seven stars are symbolic of the seven pastors of the seven churches. These pastors are also called angels.
17 And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead
-The idea is that John thought he was going to die.
And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not;
-In fact, Christ is telling John he will not die.
I am the first and the last:
-He alone is God, the absolute Lord of history and Creator of all things.
18 I am he that liveth,
-will never die again and has life in Himself; the foundation and source of life to others; the one Who has immortality
and was dead;
-represents the Living One entering into death, into our death, in His human nature so that, as the great High Priest, He might finish the sacrifice for sins, which He did.
and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen;
-Jesus will never die again, and death is totally defeated.
and have the keys of hell and of death.
-Jesus alone determines who will enter death and hell and who will not.
Verses 17 &18 Note: The effect upon John, “I fell at his feet as dead,” is similar to the effect upon others when The Lord has appeared unto them, either in his preincarnate state or as John saw Him. The Lord said to John, “fear not”. Often this involves God quieting man’s fears because of The Lord’s presence. Of course, the One who laid his hand on John was Christ.
The keys to the kingdom signify power and authority (Matthew 16:19; 18:18; Isaiah 22:22).
19 Write the things which thou hast seen,
-This verse is key to the understanding of the book of Revelation. It is broken up into 3 parts:
The 1st concerns the vision of Christ in the midst of the candlesticks - Chapter 1.
and the things which are,
-The 2nd concerns the churches in Chapters 2 & 3.
and the things which shall be hereafter;
-The 3rd concerns events after the Rapture of the Church. Includes the Great Tribulation and eternity ever after - Chapters 4-22.
Verse 19 Note: This passage contains the 3-fold key to the book of Revelation:
Write the things which thou hast seen. That is the vision of Christ in the midst of the candlesticks, which is Revelation 1.
Write the things which are. That is the things concerning the Churches - Revelation 2 and 3.
Write the things which shall be hereafter. That is the events which must be after the churches - Revelation 4:1 - 22:5.
20 The mystery of the seven stars which thou sawest in my right hand,
-portrays the fact that those pastors belong to Christ
and the seven golden candlesticks. The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches: and the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches.
Verse 20 Note: This represents the entirety of the Church Age even as we shall see.
Revelation Chapter 1 Supplement
The word “angel” is a somewhat generic term that can apply to angels (as we think of angels), man, or God. In this instance, it refers to the pastors of these seven churches. It should also be noted that The Lord referred to the churches in a plural sense. The message was not directed to a single, corporate church, but was directed to each church in particular, implying that Jesus holds each church accountable. Also, the statement of Christ completely abrogates the idea of any church hierarchy.
The message of Our Lord was not directed to any church official over a denomination or a group of churches. It was directed to each individual pastor. This tells us that Christ recognizes no authority over the individual pastor of the church except Himself, so the pastors are a direct line to Christ. The church is replete with a long line of hierarchical positions. However, all of these positions are man-made and not God-made. Tragically, the great problem in the church today is a man belonging to man-made organizations, elected to man-made positions on a man-made ballot, attempting to enforce man-made rules.
There is a 3-fold application of these messages (or letters) given to John concerning the churches of John’s day:
The Book of Revelation
Scripture is in BLACK FONT
Words of Jesus in RED FONT
Notes in BLUE FONT