The Veil is Rolled Aside
Note the blessing, “Grace and Peace Be Unto You,” in Rev. 1:4. This is noteworthy, because this book deals primarily with judgment; it shows how God will judge wicked men. It tells us that the floodgates of God’s wrath, dammed back since Calvary, will burst their banks and pour forth in all their fury. Despite these unalterable facts, God begins the book by telling men and women that they can have what they do not deserve - GRACE. Multitudes will respond to this message, see Rev. 6:9-14. Not only is there grace, but there is also PEACE.
The book deals with the opposite of peace. There is war and bloodshed, conflict and carnage, earthquakes, famine, pestilence, and woe. It tells of war in heaven and wars on earth. It tells of a horrible beast, driven by the devil, torturing and killing the believers. Thunders crash, stars fall, plagues emerge from the abyss, and demons take control of human affairs. Armies are conscripted, consisting of countless millions of men. Yet in the midst of all this war, confusion, and tragedy, God offers PEACE.
Eventually GRACE and PEACE emerge victorious. At the end of the book, the war clouds roll away, the tumultuous conditions quiet, the earth is purged, and a new heaven and a new earth is established in which righteousness dwells and where all is GRACE and PEACE. See Rev. 4:5. The source of this blessing is God - Who is, who was, and who is to come. This signifies an existence derived from no other; He is the self-existing One.
And from the seven Spirits before the throne. This is the Holy Spirit. See Isaiah 11:2. The phrase describes the perfections of the Spirit’s person and the plentitude of His power.
And from Jesus Christ, […] In this verse we have: God in the greatness of His being, the Spirit in the greatness of His power, and Jesus Christ, in His impeccable humanity, now glorified. These three unite in blessing the saints with grace and peace. Notice the three titles given to the Lord: (1) He is the faithful witness. In relation to God, He is faithful from the manger to the cross. In this respect, He is the Prophet. (2) He is the firstborn of the dead and the first to be resurrected with an everlasting body. This speaks of priority and sovereignty in relation to the dead. In this respect, He is the Priest. (3) He is the ruler of the kings of the earth; in relation to world powers, He is King of kings and Lord of lords. This attribute will be seen during the millennium. In this respect, He is the King. The One who was born in a barn and crucified on a cross is coming again to reign. See Rev. 19. Chapter one is all about the Triune God and in particular God the Son.
Notice the three things the Lord has done for us:
He loves us. (Present continuous tense) He loves with a changeless love. It is Calvary love. It is a love that many waters cannot quench.
He loosed us. He loosed us from our sins in His own blood. Thinking of sin as a chain, He breaks the power of cancelled sin, etc. Only the redeemed can sing this song.
He made us. He made us into a kingdom of priests unto God, His Father. Now and forever we shall serve God. He bestows upon us the majesty of a prince and the ministry of a priest. He gives us power with God and with man. Because of the description of the majesty of the Lord and the characterization of His work for the believer, all heaven breaks out into the Hallelujah chorus. Unto Him who loves us, loosed us, and made us a kingdom of priests unto God - to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen - so be it.
On this great occasion, the Lord’s glory will outshine the sun. The glory that He had before the world began will shine forth in incomparable resplendence. The saints will rejoice in the supremacy of His power. The Lord will regain the power that was lost by Adam. As world leader, He will manifest Himself to the world as the only Potentate, Kings of kings, and Lord of lords.
Notice the ever-increasing crescendo of adoration given to the Lord as His character unfolds. Here it is twofold: glory and dominion.
- In Rev. 4:11, it is threefold: glory, honor, and power.
- In Rev. 5:13, it is fourfold: blessing, honor, glory, and power.
- In Rev. 5:12, it is sevenfold: power, riches, and wisdom, strength, honor, glory, and blessing.
- In Rev. 7:12, it is also sevenfold: blessing, glory, wisdom, thanksgiving, honor, power and might, unto the ages of the ages.
Notice how the verse begins and ends with Amen. So Be It.
Behold He is coming in clouds with His saints. Nowhere does it say that He comes in clouds for His own. On the contrary, they go up in clouds. See 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18.
Every eye shall see Him. His coming will be visible. (Contrast His First Coming and The Rapture) Even “those who pierced Him shall see Him.”
All peoples of the earth shall mourn because of Him. His coming will be victorious.
Jesus Christ is “the Alpha and the Omega.” This is mentioned three more times in Rev. 1:11, Rev. 21:6, and Rev. 22:13. He is the Omniscient One. He is also “the beginning and the ending,” the author and finisher, the Omnipresent One. He is who was and who is to come, the eternal One, the ever-existing One, and The Almighty One. He is the All-Powerful One (used nine times in the book). He is the Omnipotent One. He is the King Eternal, Immortal, Invisible, and the only Wise God. See 1 Tim. 1:17.
Hitler boasted that his Third Reich would last 1,000 years. It was birthed on Jan 30th, 1933 and lasted 148 months (just over 12 years). The Lord Jesus will reign for 1,000 years as King of kings and Lord of lords. See Rev. 11:15 and Rev. 19:6. Then, after the thousand years, the earthly kingdom will be dissolved and we shall enter the everlasting kingdom.
John wrote from Patmos to the seven churches in Asia Minor. Notice his humility. He took his place with them as a “brother” in the Lord. He was their “companion” in tribulation and was a “sharer” with them of the kingdom. He was like them, patient in his endurance and suffering for Christ.
John was a prisoner for two reasons: (1) His faithfulness to the Word of God. John was uneducated, but Spirit filled. He preached the Word of God fearlessly and faithfully in Ephesus. (2) He proclaimed Jesus as Lord. Rome could not stand this message. For preaching the same message, Rome had crucified Peter, beheaded Paul, and now had banished John. He was sent to work in the mines of Patmos by Domitian, the Roman Emperor, on account of his faithful preaching. When Domitian died in A.D. 96, he was liberated by Nerva, his successor, and returned to Ephesus.
John was “in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day.” Notice the various phases that John went through while in the Spirit: “He heard a great voice.” This would give credence to the importance of the message. “He turned” to see the source of the voice. (Rev. 1:12)“I saw…” He saw one of the greatest revelations of Jesus Christ ever given to man. (Rev. 1:12-16) “I fell at his feet.” The reason he fell at the feet of the Lord was because he was overwhelmed by the mind shattering revelation of the Glorious Christ.
While in the Spirit, John heard this loud voice; it sounded like a blast from a trumpet. The voice said, “Write the things which you see in a book and send it to the seven churches.” The command to write is the first of 12 similar commands.
In Rev. 1:12-16 is a nine-fold description of the glorious Christ. The revelation is in two parts. He saw seven golden lamps. These represented the seven churches in Asia Minor. The golden lamps signify divine righteousness. In v. 16, he also saw seven stars in the hand of the Lord. These represented the seven messengers of these churches. The second thing he saw was “one like a Son of man.” This title is used 70 times. As Son of man, He is the Judge. Then follows the nine-fold description of Him. Notice the Lord is standing in the midst of the churches.
He is dressed in a long robe, which reached down to His feet. Dignified, priestly judgment is expressed here. There was a “golden girdle across His chest.” This would speak of Him as the dispenser of divine righteousness.
His hair on His head was white like wool, as white as snow. This reminds us of the Ancient of Days. It also speaks of His divine wisdom and His unimpeachable purity.
His eyes were like a blazing fire. This describes His piercing judgment of sin. Nothing can or will escape the scrutiny of those eyes. He is the one who cannot be deceived. The fire of His eyes bore into the darkest recesses of the human heart. Contrast his eyes here with when He was here on earth. Recall Peter’s experience.
His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace. The bronze altar speaks of divine judgment. See Isaiah 61:1-6. See also Rev. 19. He will trample the nations of the world. Finally, He will trample and crush the Serpent’s head. At one time, Satan bruised the Lord’s heel, but in the triumph of His universal victory, He will crush Satan’s head.
His voice is like the sound of many waters. His voice thundered like waves crashing against the shore. Or like the rumble of the raging cataract. Try to argue with the Niagara Falls, where twelve million cubit feet of water pour over the precipice and crash on the rocks below. It was this voice that brought order out of chaos, light out of darkness, and life out of death. It was the same voice that calmed the angry Galilean Sea.
Out of His mouth went a sharp two-edged sword. The Lord is depicted here as The Unconquerable One. He is no longer the Babe of Bethlehem, the man of Sychar’s well, or the Stranger of Galilee. He is not the Man of Sorrows crowned with thorns, nor the Man of Calvary. He is the Lord of Glory. He is the Almighty Conqueror. He never lays a hand on His enemies. He speaks in that awesome voice and world rulers are vanquished.
His appearance was ablaze, as the sun shining in its meridian glory. No mortal eye can gaze upon the sun. No mortal eye will be able to look on the supreme glory of the Lord Jesus. Saul saw something of the awesome glory of the Lord and was blinded. Contrast this vision of the Lord with the one in the Gospels. He was tender, holy, loving, and kind. Here, in His majesty and power, He is the unapproachable one. Hallelujah, what a Savior!
When John saw Him, he “fell at His feet.” This vision was overwhelming. John knew the Lord in the days of His flesh and had laid his head on the Savior’s breast. He outran Peter to the tomb, worshipped Him risen from the dead, and witnessed His ascension. John had this remarkable experience twice. For the transfiguration, see Isaiah 6 and Ezekiel 1:28. Could there be a thought of worship here? From the shock of this vision [“Do Not Be Afraid”], the Lord brings John back to reveal three more of His attributes.
- “I AM the first and the last.” He is before all and is after all.
- “I AM He that liveth.” I am the living One, the living God in contrast to all dead gods.
- “I AM alive forevermore.” Note the I AM’s. He lives in the power of an indissoluble life.
As the ultimate conqueror over all His foes, He proclaims that He has possession of “the keys of death and of Hades,” the unseen world. Death demands the body, Hades the soul. For believers, ‘Hades’ is to be with Christ. For unbelievers, Hades is to be in torment. Hades is the state that exists between death and resurrection. Having the keys of death and Hades, the Lord has complete mastery over the souls and bodies of all mankind. Possessing the keys is the symbol of His undisputed authority.
In this verse, John is instructed to write about the three aspects of the vision of Christ: (1) the things he had already seen and heard. (2) “The things that are,” referring to the actual conditions prevailing in the seven churches. (3) “The things that shall be thereafter,” referring to the period covered in Revelation 4 through 22.
This verse explains the mystery of the seven stars and the seven golden lamp stands. The seven stars are the seven messengers of the seven churches. They witness for God in the church. They would be the channels of divine communication. The seven golden lamps are the seven churches. Note that the Lord is walking in the midst of these churches. He is among them for reproof, correction, and encouragement. He who neither slumbers nor sleeps knows every thought, sin, and action.