Revelation 1:9-13

Wednesday Night Bible Study

November 27, 1996


Last week we ended with the part of the introduction where we find out who this book is from.

It's from the Father, the Holy Spirit (the seven spirits), and the Son.

Jesus is the one in Zec 12:10 when they look upon Him whom they have pierced.

:9-11 Beam me up, Lord!

:9 I John, who also am your brother

This book was written after John wrote his other books, around A.D.95.

He had been imprisoned on the island of Patmos 85 b.c.

By this time, he is the last of the original twelve left alive.

It's been 65 years since Jesus was walking on the earth.

John is probably kind of a living legend.

He's about 90 years old right now.

But he considers himself just "one of the guys", one of the brothers.

I love this humility.

He doesn't say, "I, John, the most exalted reverend, and last of the awesome, powerful, authoritative apostles"

When Paul had healed a crippled man in Lystra, the people of the city came out to worship Paul and sacrifice to him, treating him like a god.

Ac 14:14-15 [Which] when the apostles, Barnabas and Paul, heard [of], they rent their clothes, and ran in among the people, crying out, 15 And saying, Sirs, why do ye these things? We also are men of like passions with you, and preach unto you that ye should turn from these vanities unto the living God, which made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all things that are therein: (AV)


God looks for humble people to serve Him.

Peter writes to the elders in the church:

(1 Pet 5:3 KJV) Neither as being lords over God's heritage, but being ensamples to the flock.

Our tendency when we start serving the Lord is to get rather puffed up over the fact that God is using us!

But watch out, because pride is what God works AGAINST, not with.

Read on in Peter:

(1 Pet 5:5-6 KJV) Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. {6} Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:

We have a choice:

If we want God giving grace to us, we ought to be humble.

If we want God opposing everything we do, then we ought to become proud.

:9 companion in tribulation

companion - sugkoinonos (sun "with" + koinonos "fellowship"); participant with others in anything, joint partner

But what John is a companion in, is tribulation.

What was going on?

Persecution of Christians began thirty years prior, under Caesar Nero, around A.D.64, with the burning of Rome.

But under Emperor Domitian, the persecution got really bad (A.D.91-96).

From Fox's Book of Martyrs: (pg.6-7)

"The emperor Domitian, who was naturally inclined to cruelty, first slew his brother, and than raised the second persecution against the Christians. In his rage he put to death some of the Roman senators, some through malice; and others to confiscate their estates. He then commanded all the lineage of David to be put to death."

"Among the numerous martyrs that suffered during this persecution was Simeon, bishop of Jerusalem, who was crucified; and St. John, who was boiled in oil, and afterward banished to Patmos. Flavis, the daughter of a Roman senator, was likewise banished to Pontus; and a law was made, "That no Christian, once brought before the tribunal, should be exempted from punishment without renouncing his religion.""

"Timothy was the celebrated disciple of St. Paul, and bishop of Ephesus, where he zealously governed the Church until A.D. 97. At this period, as the pagans were about to celebrate a feast called Catagogion, Timothy, meeting the procession, severely reproved them for their ridiculous idolatry, which so exasperated the people that they fell upon him wth their clubs, and beat him in so dreadful a manner that he expired of the bruises two days after."

John wasn't just a guy who stood at a safe distance, watching the persecution.

He was a part of it.

And it's while he's a part of it that this book comes.


Look at what God can do in trials!

This Revelation is one example!

Your hardest times just might be the times when you're closest to the Lord.

It may be during these times that God might reveal the bestest things to you.

:9 patience of Jesus Christ,

patience - hupomone - steadfastness, constancy, endurance

It's the idea of "remaining under" the trial, patient enduring of hard times.

Jesus had warned the guys:

Mr 13:13 And ye shall be hated of all [men] for my name's sake: but he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved. (AV)

I think this is what John is hinting at.

He's saying to the readers, "Hey, I'm hanging in there!" "I'm sticking it out with Jesus!"

:9 Patmos

An island 10 miles long, 6 miles wide, 50 miles off the coast of Ephesus, from modern Turkey.

:9 for the testimony of Jesus Christ

testimony - marturia - same word we've seen before, translated "witness", etc.

Have you noticed how many times this word "martureo" or it's various forms have been used here so far in Rev. 1?

(Rev 1:2 KJV) Who bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw.

(Rev 1:5 KJV) And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood,

(Rev 1:9 KJV) I John, who also am your brother, and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was in the isle that is called Patmos, for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ.

John is living out what Jesus said would happen:

(John 15:27 - 16:2 KJV) And ye also shall bear witness, because ye have been with me from the beginning. {1} These things have I spoken unto you, that ye should not be offended. {2} They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service.

But even in the hardest of times, John is still speaking up, even writing it down so others can read it!


Don't let persecution shut you up!

I have to admit that there's been times in my life that out of fear, I haven't spoken like I should have.

But John's giving us an example, that even in the hardest times, under the power of the Holy Spirit, we can speak up for Jesus!

:10 I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day,

There are two main ways of looking at this verse:

1) He was being a spiritual guy on Sunday.

He was "in the Spirit", he was walking in the Spirit on Sunday, which became known through church tradition as "the Lord's day", due to the resurrection.

2) He was in the dimension of the Spirit world, transported to the time known as "the day of the Lord".

It could be translated, "I was in the Spirit unto the day of the Lord".

I think this fits the whole book much better, since the book is mainly about the times we know as "the day of the Lord".

The Day of the Lord

Just as we've talked the about phrase "the angel of the LORD" being a specific phrase about a specific person, so the phrase "day of the LORD" (Yahweh) is about a specific time in man's history. It's found 23 times in the Old Testament, all running with a similar theme, the time of the end, the time of God's judgment, as:

Isa 13:9 Behold, the day of the LORD cometh, cruel both with wrath and fierce anger, to lay the land desolate: and he shall destroy the sinners thereof out of it. (AV)

Joe 2:31 The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the LORD come. (AV)

Mal 4:5 Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD: (AV)

I think that as you get familiar with the book of Revelation, you will realize that this is what the book is all about, John being there, in spirit, to see and witness the events of the end, the time of God's judgment on the earth.

:10 and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet,

There seems to be a sense in which heavenly voices apparently sound like trumpets.

When Moses received the ten commandments:

Exo 19:16-19 And it came to pass on the third day in the morning, that there were thunders and lightnings, and a thick cloud upon the mount, and the voice of the trumpet exceeding loud; so that all the people that was in the camp trembled. 17 And Moses brought forth the people out of the camp to meet with God; and they stood at the nether part of the mount. 18 And mount Sinai was altogether on a smoke, because the LORD descended upon it in fire: and the smoke thereof ascended as the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mount quaked greatly. 19 And when the voice of the trumpet sounded long, and waxed louder and louder, Moses spake, and God answered him by a voice.

We'll see in a few chapters:

Re 4:1 After this I looked, and, behold, a door [was] opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard [was] as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter. (AV)

:11 I am Alpha and Omega,

This phrase can be kind of confusing.

Just who is it?

You could use these verses on JW's with interesting results:

Who are these Scriptures talking about? (JW's say it's Jehovah)

(Isa 41:4 KJV) Who hath wrought and done it, calling the generations from the beginning? I the LORD, the first, and with the last; I am he.

(Isa 44:6 KJV) Thus saith the LORD the King of Israel, and his redeemer the LORD of hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God.

(Isa 48:12 KJV) Hearken unto me, O Jacob and Israel, my called; I am he; I am the first, I also am the last.

(Rev 22:13 KJV) I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.

What about -

(Rev 2:8 KJV) And unto the angel of the church in Smyrna write; These things saith the first and the last, which was dead, and is alive;

Who is it?

It's Jesus.

:11 What thou seest, write in a book,

This is the book we call "Revelation".

It's a record of what John saw, and according to the command of Jesus, he wrote it all down as it happened.

:11 send it unto the seven churches which are in Asia;

Why these seven churches?

Why not churches that might have been more important, like Jerusalem? Rome? Antioch?

Things to keep in mind:

1) I believe that this was John's last area of active ministry. I think that the Lord has sent this book to these seven churches mainly because they were the area of John's influence.

2) The number seven has popped up again.

That old number of completion.

That ought to have something to do with it.

I think there might be more to it than just the outward appearance.

Perhaps this book is relevant to the COMPLETE church, the whole church.

Historically, some see the seven churches being a picture of seven time periods, the development of the church through history.

I think even more important, that this book applies to the entire church today.

There are seven kinds of churches today.

Even within a single church, there may be seven kinds of believers, parallel to the church.

Note: The order of the churches just happens to be in a geographical order, the route a messenger might take as he delivers the book from church to church.

:12-16 The Vision of Jesus

:12 I saw seven golden candlesticks

candlesticks - luchnia - a (candlestick) lamp stand, candelabrum

These are seven, free standing, separate lampstands.

Before we get too far into this, we need to realize that Jesus is going to tell us exactly what these lampstands are.

(Rev 1:20 KJV) The mystery of the seven stars which thou sawest in my right hand, 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.

Jesus is addressing this book to these seven churches, and their angels, and here in the beginning we get a picture of what the relationship between Jesus and these churches.

But why this picture?

I think the Lord is tying things together in Scripture, to give us a picture.

In the tabernacle:

Inside the first room of the tabernacle, the holy place, there was a single lampstand, with seven branches coming from it, with seven lamps on the single lampstand.

Ex 25:37 And thou shalt make the seven lamps thereof: and they shall light the lamps thereof, that they may give light over against it. (AV)

In Old Testament times, Israel was God's light in the world.

In the temple:

There were ten separate lampstands, five on each side of the holy place.

1Ki 7:49 And the candlesticks of pure gold, five on the right [side], and five on the left, before the oracle, with the flowers, and the lamps, and the tongs [of] gold, (AV)

We are told in Hebrews, that these things in the temple and tabernacle were meant to be a "shadow" of heavenly things.

(Heb 8:5 KJV) Who serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things, as Moses was admonished of God when he was about to make the tabernacle: for, See, saith he, that thou make all things according to the pattern showed to thee in the mount.

The things in the tabernacle and temple were a kind of model, a kind of "mockup" of heaven.

In Revelation, where we will clearly see heavenly things, we're going to be seeing things that have a clear reference to things of the tabernacle or temple.

We're going to see the "throne of God" (as the mercy seat).

We're going to see a "sea of glass" (instead of a brass sea)

We're going to see the ark of the covenant

We're going to see incense offered up as prayers

And here we see the churches as the lampstands, as the "lights of the world" as Jesus called us.

For me,

The "holy place" has always been a picture of the worship of God's people from earth.

The priest entered daily to trim and light the lamp, just as we are to daily, continually take care of our relationship with God.

It was a place of fellowship with God, eating with God, the table set with loaves of bread for each of the twelve tribes, all of God's people.

It is the place where prayer is offered, the altar of incense.

It's only separated from the holy of holies by the thinnest of veils, a veil that was torn when Jesus died on the cross and paid for our sins.

And the lamp (or, lampstands) is in the holy place, just as we are the light to the world.

:13 in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man,

This is clearly Jesus, as He often referred to Himself (83 times) as "the Son of man".

It's a title of the Lord, referring to the human side of His nature.

Jesus was fully God.

Yet He was also fully human.

This makes Him the perfect bridge between God and man, someone who could identify with both ends of the chasm.

Paul wrote:

1Ti 2:5 For [there is] one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; (AV)

:13 clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle.

Josephus tells us that the priests, rather than being girded about the loins as most people were, the priests were girded about the breasts.

This seems to suggest that Jesus here is dressed as a priests, as our Great High Priest.

In Hebrews, we read that Jesus is our High Priest.

Heb 4:14 Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast [our] profession. (AV)


Just where is Jesus, and what is He doing?

He's right in the midst of His churches.

He's with us.

That's comforting!

But He's also acting as a priest, moving among the candlesticks in the holy place, trimming the lamps, cleaning them out, refilling them with oil, and lighting them on fire!

That's the gist of the letters that Jesus is going to be writing to the seven churches.

He's the Inspector of the churches, the one who trims, chastens, making us burn brighter as lights in this world.

Jesus is concerned that our lamps burn bright and clear, giving light to all around us.

But sometimes we get kind of gunked up, and we don't burn like we should.

So the Lord has to come and clean out the lamps, re-fill us with oil, and re-light us on fire!

What follows is the only physical description of Jesus that we have in the New Testament. Interesting!

Guess how many characteristics of Jesus there are?


head and hairs ...




his hand

out of his mouth

his countenance