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Bible Commentaries

The Bible Study New Testament
Revelation 1

 

 

Other Authors
Introduction

The Church in the World. Chapters 1 - 3. (Matthew 28:20) [Chapters 1 to 3form the basic foundation of this entire book. Revelation is made up of "picture symbols," which, like "modern art," are intended to express an idea. Each of these picture-symbols presents one central idea. Be careful not to try to give a "deeper meaning," any more than is necessary to bring out this central idea. To evaluate these, ask: (1) How much description forms the entire picture-symbol? (2) What is the central idea?]


Verse 1

Revealed. The curtain of both the present and the future is lifted (Revelation 1:19). Jesus Christ. It is his message (see chapter 5). Which God gave him. God's Plan is behind it all. By sending his angel. Throughout this book, angels are given the messages to reveal. [See Hebrews 1:14; Revelation 4:1; Revelation 21:9; Revelation 22:1; Revelation 22:8; etc.] John, as a prophet, is to record all this and pass it on to all mankind.


Verse 3

Happy is the one who reads. This refers to the "lector" who read the Scriptures aloud. This blessing is for the one who reads, those who listen and obey.


Verse 4

John to the seven churches. This is to the Roman province called Asia. Ephesus was the capital. All seven churches are in that province. They are named in Revelation 1:11. There were other churches as well in Asia (Acts 20:17; Colossians 4:13). Seven is the perfect or sacred number, and these churches are symbolic of all the church everywhere at every age of time. Grace and peace. A blessing, directly to the seven, indirectly to all the church. God, who is. See Exodus 3:14. The seven spirits. Symbolic of the fullness and perfection of the Holy Spirit.


Verse 5

And from Jesus Christ. He is the faithful witness (John 8:14); the firstborn Son (Colossians 1:18); the ruler (Ephesians 1:21). He loves us. Continuous love! Death . . . freed us. Our sin-offering (see 1 Peter 1:18-19).


Verse 7

Look, he is coming. (Matthew 26:64; Acts 1:9-11.) Everyone. All the dead will awake. Those who pierced him. National Israel (Zechariah 12:10). All peoples of earth. Because he is coming to judge the world (Acts 17:31).


Verse 8

I am the Alpha and the Omega. The first and last letters of the Greek alphabet - the beginning and the end (Isaiah 41:4). All things begin and end in God (The Father - see also Revelation 21:5-6. But notice Colossians 1:15-16).


Verses 9-11

I am John. He mentions himself for the third time. [The fourth and fifth times are in Revelation 21:2; Revelation 22:8.] I share with you in suffering. All the church was being persecuted. Kingdom . . . Enduring. Being part of Christ's Kingdom also means enduring patiently, Island named Patmos. In some way, John's loyalty to Christ had caused his exile to this cruel island. Historical evidence points to 95-96 A.D. for the date of this book. Patmos is a rocky "prison house" in the south part of the Agean Sea about thirty miles in circumference. On the Lord's day. The resurrection of Jesus on Sunday caused that day to be known as the Lord's day. The letters written by Barnabas, Ignatius and Dionysius near this time, speak of the Lord's day in this way, and this "name" is commonly used from that time onward. It is not to be confused with the "Sabbath day" which was Saturday (see Smith's Bible Dictionary, etc.).

The Spirit took control of me. He was "lifted up" to that spiritual state in which revelations are given (John 14:26; 2 Peter 1:21). Write down what you see. This message was to be circulated among all the Christians (Revelation 1:4).


Verse 12

I saw seven gold lampstands. He saw this first. They symbolize the seven churches (Revelation 1:20).


Verse 13

Among them. "I will be with you always!" Like a man. (John 1:14; Romans 8:3) [Son of Man - Luke 22:69-70; Daniel 7:13. ] A robe . . . a gold band. The robe of a high priest with the gold band of a king.


Verse 14

His hair was white. Not with age, but with heavenly glory! White symbolizes purity and victory.


Verse 15

His feet . . . his voice. Along with the eyes that blaze like fire, these are symbolic of great power and authority (see Daniel 10:6; Ezekiel 43:2).


Verse 16

Seven stars. The "angels" of the churches (Revelation 1:20). Sharp two-edged sword. A symbol of God's word (Revelation 19:15; Ephesians 6:17). His face was as bright. See the transfiguration (Luke 9:29).


Verse 17

I fell down. Shock and fright! Don't be afraid. The old love (John 14:1-3). The first and the last. Compare Revelation 1:8. Note the similarity between God and Christ.


Verse 18

I am the living one! Killed, but alive forever! Note the stress on life. I have authority. Compare Matthew 28:18. He has authority even over death and Hades [the world of the dead]. He will raise everyone from death at his Coming! See John 5:27-29.


Verse 19

Write. John is to preserve this vision so that all may share its message. Now. Current events, dating from the First Coming of Christ. Afterward. Those things which had not yet happened. The curtain of both the present and the future is lifted.


Verse 20

Seven stars. The "angels" of the seven churches. "Angel" means "messenger," and is used for both human and heavenly messengers in the Bible [in the original language]. "Angels" here must refer to the "evangelists" [preachers - see note on Ephesians 4:11] of the churches since John is to write to them. Compare Malachi 2:7 : 2 Timothy 4:5.

[These seven churches are symbolic of all the church everywhere at all times. The letters to the churches describe conditions and events which occur again and again in the history of the church in the world. The geography of these churches can be found in a good Bible Dictionary. We concentrate on the spiritual lesson to be learned from each of these.

The idea which would make these churches represent seven successive periods of church history is clearly false, since this would make the dead church at Sardis represent the golden age of Reformation. ]

 


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.

Bibliography Information
Ice, Rhoderick D. "Commentary on Revelation 1:4". "The Bible Study New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ice/revelation-1.html. College Press, Joplin, MO. 1974.

Lectionary Calendar
Monday, December 16th, 2019
the Third Week of Advent
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