The revelation from Jesus Christ, which 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 testifies to everything he saw—that is, the word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ. Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it, because the time is near.
To the seven churches in the province of Asia:
Grace and peace to you from him who is, and who was, and who is to come, and from the seven spirits before his throne, and from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth.
To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood, and has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve his God and Father —to him be glory and power for ever and ever! Amen.
“Look, he is coming with the clouds,”
and “every eye will see him,
even those who pierced him”;
and all peoples on earth “will mourn because of him.”
So shall it be! Amen.
“I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.”
I, John, your brother and companion in the suffering and kingdom and patient endurance that are ours in Jesus, was on the island of Patmos because of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus. On the Lord’s Day I was in the Spirit, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet, which said: “Write on a scroll what you see and send it to the seven churches: to Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea.”
In his book entitled, An Exposition of the Whole Bible, G. Campbell Morgan writes, “The theme of this book is found in its opening sentence, ‘The revelation of Jesus Christ.’ This should be borne in mind from first to last, and our object should be to see Jesus as He is here revealed.” I have often heard this book incorrectly referred to as the “Book of Revelations.” It is not so much about prophetic revelations as it is about the completed work of Christ. It is the perfect ending to a perfect book. In the end, Jesus reigns victorious over both the physical and spiritual realms. Because He is victorious, those who have put their faith in His completed work are also victorious.
As we approach this last book in our five-year journey through the Word of God, I am a little unsettled as we come to one of the greatest pieces of literature in human history. This book often raises more questions than it answers. Therefore, I often instruct people to read this book with the bigger picture in mind: Jesus wins! Yet, it is the only book of the Bible that promises a blessing to those who read it (verse 3). So, it is with great joy and trepidation that we take this plunge into one of the greatest mysteries in human history.
The same John who authored the Gospel of John, 1 John, 2 John, and 3 John is the author of this divine revelation. John had been exiled to the island of Patmos because of his testimony for Jesus. Early church writings identify Patmos as a Roman penal colony. This island is only 36 square miles and is made up of mostly rock. Early church history tells us that John was released from Patmos around 97 A.D.
In verse ten, John describes the events that surrounded this revelation that he was instructed to write down and send to seven churches in Asia Minor. John was worshipping the Lord in the Spirit when he heard a loud voice behind him. He was instructed to write down what he was about to be shown. He turned to see who it was that was speaking to him. He saw someone that was “like the Son of Man” yet he describes this messenger as a more glorified version of the Son of Man. Overcome by this glorified version of the Son of Man, John fell at His feet in fear. Then he heard those familiar words, “Do not be afraid.” John knew then that he was in the presence of His Lord and Savior, the glorified Christ.
Jesus then declares, “I am the First and Last. I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive for ever and ever! I hold the keys of death and Hades.” Here Jesus speaks concerning His deity. He came out of eternity and He moves into eternity. He is First because there were none before Him, and He is last for there are none to follow Him. Jesus is the Living One who became dead. This speaks of His redemptive work on the cross. The keys speak of authority and power. Jesus has the power over death because of His own death and the resurrection.
As worshippers of the Living One, we can take comfort in the fact that Jesus has the keys of death. He is the only One who can relieve us of the terrible fear of death. And so now we delve into this wonderful mystery of the revelation of Jesus Christ. Enjoy the blessing!
Questions to Ponder
How do you feel as you begin to journey through one of the most mysterious books in the Bible? How does it make you feel to know that Jesus has ultimate authority over death? What do you think John is thinking and feeling as he encounters this new version of the Son of Man? Are you looking forward to this last leg of our five-year journey? If so, why? If not, why not?
- Praise the Lord who is, who was, and who is to come – Jesus Christ! He is the faithful Witness, the Firstborn from the dead, and the Ruler of the kings of the earth (Rev. 1:5).
- Praise Him for He is our Victorious Warrior. He reigns victoriously over both the physical and spiritual realms.
- As you worship Him in His holy presence, confess any sin that comes to your mind. Thank Him for His forgiveness, amazing grace, and mercy.
- Thank Him for being the First and Last, the Living One who became dead. Thank Him for His redemptive work on the cross and that He has all authority and power.
- Soak and saturate your heart and mind with the reality of our glorious Lord and Savior. Worship Him out of your own heart.
Holy God, I worship and adore You. Thank You for loving us and freeing us from our sins by Your blood. I worship You as the Alpha and Omega, the Lord God, the one who is, who was, and who is to come, the Almighty. All power and dominion have been given to You. You, oh God, are before all things, and all things have been made by, for, and through You. Lord, I ask that You would help me and our church to engage with You as John did. Help us know You better in Your glory, holiness, beauty, and power. Cause us to tremble before Your holy presence. I ask in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.