The book of The Revelation is not written in exact chronological order. A basic and correct understanding of the rest of the Bible is needed to rightly understand The Revelation. Dr. McGee said of it, “The Revelation is like a great union station where the great tracks of prophecy have come in from other places in Scripture. The Revelation is not meant to originate or begin anything. Rather it completes and concludes that which has been begun elsewhere in Scripture. It's imperative to a right understanding of this book to be able to trace each great subject of prophecy from it's first reference in the Bible to where it is fulfilled here. There are at least ten great subjects of prophecy which find their completion here. 1. The Lord Jesus Christ. He is the subject of the book. The subject is not the beasts nor the wrath of God, but the Christ. The first mention of Him is way back in Genesis 3:15, as the Seed of the woman. As the events in this book unfold He will take His rightful place, like it or not. That is why the title is The Revelation of Jesus Christ. 2. The Church. It's first mentioned by the Lord Jesus in the gospels. It finds it completion here as the bride of Christ. 3. The resurrection and translation of the saints. (see John 14; 1 Thess 4:13-18; 1 Cor 15:51-52). We see it all fulfilled here. 4. The Great Tribulation, spoken of in several places in the Old and New Testaments. We will see it laid out in detail here from beginning to end. 5. Satan (see *Eze 28:11-18). We first seen him in the garden of Eden temping man to sin and we will see his end here. By the time the events of the Revelation conclude the devil will never deceive anyone again. 6. The Man of Sin (Antichrist), spoken of in Ezekiel, Daniel, and other places in scripture. We find his revealing and end here in this book. 7. The course and end of apostate Christianity (see *Dan 2:37-45; *Matt 13:47-50). A departure from the truth began when man questioned God. Since then it has grown with each generation. It ends here. 8. The course and end of the “times of the Gentiles”, Spoken of specifically in Daniel, Luke, and Romans. The Lord Jesus said that Jerusalem will be trodden down of the Gentiles until the "Times of the Gentiles" are fulfilled. The "Times of the Gentiles" finds its end here. 9. The second coming of Christ. Spoken of throughout scripture. According to *Jude verses 14-15, Enoch spoke of Christ's return, which takes us back to the time of Genesis. The second coming of Christ is fulfilled here. 10. God's promises to Israel, beginning with the covenant which God made with Abraham in *Genesis 12:1-3. Here we find God's promises to Israel fulfilled.” These ten prophetic subjects find completion here in The Revelation of Jesus Christ.
There is a tie between Genesis and Revelation, the first and last books of the Bible. Genesis presents the beginning, and The Revelation presents the end. There are contrasts between the two books:
In Genesis heaven and earth was created; by the end of The Revelation there is a new heaven and a new earth.
In Genesis was Satan’s first rebellion; in The Revelation is Satan’s last rebellion.
In Genesis darkness was called night; by the end of The Revelation there is no night or darkness.
In Genesis was the entrance of sin; in The Revelation is the exodus of sin.
In Genesis the curse was pronounced; in The Revelation the curse is removed.
In Genesis death entered; by the end of The Revelation there is no more death.
In Genesis was the beginning of sorrow and suffering; by the end of The Revelation there will be no more sorrow and no more tears.
In Genesis was the marriage of the first Adam; in The Revelation is the marriage of the Last Adam.
In Genesis we saw man’s city, Babylon (the tower of Babel), being built; in The Revelation we see man’s city, Babylon, destroyed and God’s city, the New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven.
In Genesis Satan’s doom was pronounced; in The Revelation Satan’s doom is executed.
In Genesis man is barred from the Tree of Life; by the end of The Revelation the redeemed will be freely eating from it.
One of the great problems for Christians is that there have been so many interpretations of The Revelation many believe it impossible to understand. The Revelation is not hard to understand, the problem for many is it's hard to believe. Bible expositors have often made the mistake of supposing it cannot possible mean what it says so they attempt alternate explanations. Dr. Henry Morris, co-author of “The Genesis Flood” and one of the fathers of the young earth creationist movement said of The Revelation, “the best interpretation is no interpretation. That is, since it's purpose was to be a blessing to it's readers and to unveil the future to them, it would be written as simply and understandably as possible. Thus it would mean precisely what it says, with no interpretation necessary at all. John is simply reporting what he saw and heard, as he was translated in time as well as space to be an actual eyewitness of these great future events. He is merely reporting, as a direct eyewitness, of these things to come. He means to tell us that they will occur exactly as written, because he was there and he saw them happen.” Dr. Adrian Rogers, one of the greatest Bible teachers of our time, said, “If you are not a bondslave of Jesus Christ, you have no right to expect to understand this book. It will be a mystery unto you.” I would say that is the great problem when trying to understand much of the Bible. If you have not yet willingly placed yourself under the authority of Jesus Christ, then you will not understand, in fact it's not given you to understand.
The division of the book can be found in what Jesus said to John in Rev 1:19 Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter. I. The Things Which Thou Hast Seen, the past. The Person of Jesus Christ in glory as seen in chapter 1. II. The Things Which Are, the present. The Possession of Jesus Christ, the church in the world which belongs to Him as seen in chapters 2–3. III. The Things Which Shall Be Hereafter, the future. God's plan for mankind and the world in Jesus Christ as seen from heaven in chapters 4–22.
Historical Setting. The writing of this book occurred in the reign of the first Roman emperor to demand that his subjects address him as “Lord and God” on an empire-wide basis. His name was Domitian. It was under his rule the apostle John was banished to the isle of Patmos. God's people are forbidden by the first two of the Ten Commandments to worship any god other than the Creator God. In the Book of The Revelation, John reveals the end of all those who make Domitian’s declaration.
Before we begin our study I would like to mention some things said by knowledgeable men since the end of WW2. These men are not preachers, some of them are not even Christians, but because of their positions they had the opportunity to see the world in a way most people do not.
Dr. Urey, from the University of Chicago, who worked on the atomic bomb, began an article many years ago in Collier's magazine by saying, “I am a frightened man, and I want to frighten you.”
Dr. John R. Mott, who was associated with the Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA) from 1886 until his death in 1955 and was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1946, was a world traveler. Returning from a trip he made the statement that this was, “the most dangerous era the world has ever known”. He went on to say, “When I think of human tragedy as I saw and felt it, of the Christian ideals sacrificed as they have been, the thought comes to me that God is preparing the way for some immense direct action”.
Chancellor Robert M. Hutchins, of the University of Chicago, gave many people a shock years ago when he made the statement that, “devoting our educational efforts to people between the ages of 6-21 seems futile, the world may not last long enough”. He contended that for this reason we should begin adult education.
Mr. Luce, the owner of Life, Time, and Fortune magazines, addressing a group of missionaries who were first to return to their fields after the war said that, “when I was a boy, the son of a Presbyterian missionary in China, my father and I often discussed the premillennial coming of Christ, and thought all who believed it were fanatical. Now I wonder if there isn't something to that position after all”.
Dr. Charles Beard, the American historian, said, “All over the world the thinkers and searchers who scan the horizon of the future are attempting to assess the values of civilization and speculating about its destiny.”
Dr. William Yogt, in the Road to Civilization, wrote: “The handwriting on the wall of five continents now tells us that the Day of Judgment is at hand.”
Dr. Raymond B. Fosdick, president of the Rockefeller Foundation, said, “To many ears comes the sound of the trump of doom. Time is short.”
H. G. Wells declared before he died, “This world is at the end of its tether. The end of everything we call life is close at hand.”
Former president Dwight Eisenhower said, “Without a moral regeneration throughout the world there is no hope for us as we are going to disappear one day in the dust of an atomic explosion.”
Winston Churchill said, “Time may be short.”
General Douglas MacArthur said, “We have had our last chance.”
For a long time now worldly wise men in high positions have looked into the future and have said there is a great crisis coming. (I wonder what they would say if they were alive now!)
To make the picture even more bleak, the modern church is offering no solutions for the problems of this hour in which we are living. The church is still offering salvation, but it's salvation without a savior because, we are showing no distinct difference between ourselves and those who do not believe. We may not show people who Christ is through our life, but God will in the Revelation of Jesus Christ. By the end of the events recorded in this book everyone will know for sure who Jesus is and what He can do, but for many it will be to late. (The above introduction in part was taken from commentaries by Dr. J Vernon McGee and Dr. Henry Morris)
1:1 The Revelation of Jesus Christ - This book is “The Revelation of Jesus Christ”. To call it by any other name would be grossly incorrect. The word revelation means disclosure. To disclose is to uncover, bring into the open, to make known. The purpose of this book is to disclose, uncover, and bring into the open the glorified and powerful Christ, the one who is in control and has ownership of all things. One bible expositor said it like this, “In the Revelation Jesus Christ is the center around which all else is clustered, the foundation upon which everything lasting is built, the nail on which all hangs, the object to which all points, and the spring from which all blessing proceeds. Jesus Christ is the light, the glory, the life, the truth, the way, the Lord of heaven and earth, from whose face all defilement must flee away, and in whose presence fullness of joy is known. Hence we can hardly begin the study of The Revelation without seeing Him. In this book there are many sign posts along the road to remind us that He, who did by Himself purge our sins, is now highly exalted and that to Him every knee must bow and every tongue must confess that He is LORD of all.” In the gospels we generally see Jesus in humility, being persecuted, rejected, condemned and then crucified. In The Revelation we see Him in power and great glory, having always been in control of all things. This book is the revealing of Jesus Christ. Though He has been and is still being rejected as the events in this book unfold He will be revealed to all for who He truly is. It's much better to know Him and submit to Him now than to wait until later when you will have to bow your knee, but it won't help you.
which God gave unto him – The world, as a whole, has rejected Jesus Christ. This is the way God will reveal Him so no one can deny who He is. Speaking of God's grace Paul said in Eph 1:8-10 Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence; Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself: That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him. The revealing of Jesus Christ will be right on time according to the perfect plan of God. I say the following with the upmost urgency, “look up for your redemption draweth nigh”.
to show his servants - Show means to expose, give evidence or prove. The things we find in this book are not things God wishes to remain hidden from us. Servants here has the meaning of bondmen or slaves. Jesus said in Matt 11:29, “Take my yoke upon you”. He is looking for people who will willingly become His servants, those who will cast off all other yokes and take upon themselves His. It's to His willing servants He wishes to reveal these things. Many are under the impression we can not understand much of what we find in The Revelation. However, this book is written to the servants of Christ, to show them what must come to pass. God wants us to understand. 1 Cor 2:9-10 But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. When Jesus taught on the kingdom of heaven using parables He was asked an interesting question by His disciples in Matt 13:10-12 ...Why speakest thou unto them in parables? He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given. For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath. Jesus said, “For whosoever hath, to him shall be given”. To understand the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven a person has to already be in possession of something. A saved person is indwelt and enlightened by the Spirit of God. Without Holy Spirit enlightenment there is no correct understanding of God's Word or any of its mysteries. Many have trouble understanding scripture and especially The Revelation without lesson plans, study guides and commentaries. There are mainly two reasons why. 1. Some are simply not a child of God. 1 Cor 2:14 ...the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. 2. Many are not in a position to be taught. Ps 25:9 The meek will he guide in judgment: and the meek will he teach his way. James 1:5-8 If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord. A double minded man is unstable in all his ways. Without a heart truly toward no enlightenment can be given. Jesus said in Matt 13:15 For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them. Matt 15:8 This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. A heart that's toward God and enlightenment by the Holy Spirit are essential to understanding scripture or any of the mysteries found in it.
things which must shortly come to pass - One meaning of shortly is in a brief space. Though there is very much information and very many events recorded in this book, it will all happen in a space of seven years. Another meaning of shortly is in haste meaning this will all happen suddenly. The return of Christ for the Church and the beginning of the Tribulation Period will take place when most are not expecting it.
he sent and signified - Signified means to give a sign, indicate and to make known. It's a wonderful thing that God wants those who trust in Him to have knowledge of what will happen. It enables us to live with a purpose and in peace without fear. However, our hearts should be concerned for the many who will face events found in this book.
by his angel – Angel here means messenger. The messenger to John, at least in the beginning, is Jesus Christ Himself. There are many who believe the “Angel of the LORD” referred to in the Old Testament is actually Jesus Christ Himself. Given what we see here that is entirely possible.
his servant John - The Revelation of Jesus Christ was given to us through John. John described himself as the disciple whom Jesus loved. He was near Jesus during His trial and was the only one of the twelve disciples at the foot of the cross during Christ's crucifixion. Speaking of John, Peter once asked Jesus a question in John 21:21-22 ...Lord, and what shall this man do? Jesus saith unto him, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? follow thou me. John lived longer than any other apostle and was an old man when he saw Jesus on the isle of Patmos and received these things from Him. After the death of Domitian, the Roman emperor under whose authority John was exiled, He was allowed to return to Ephesus and minister to the seven churches unto whom Jesus told him to write. Some estimate John was over 100 years old when he died. Through all John faced he was a faithful servant of Christ.
1:2 Who bare record - To bare record means to be a witness of and then testify. John was faithful and as a result God chose him to record these things and give them to the Church. It's said in this verse that John was to bare record of three things: 1. The Word of God, John said of Jesus in John 1:14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. John seen, touched, and was taught by the living Word of God, Jesus Christ. Here John shares with us the declaration and revelation of the Living Word of God. 2. The testimony of Jesus Christ. Testimony means witness, record or report. John saw Jesus live, perform miracles, crucified and risen from the dead. Here in The Revelation John gives us testimony of the revealing of the glorified Christ. 3. All the things that he saw, John was an eyewitness to many things which Jesus did and said, some of which are recorded in the gospel of John. Here in The Revelation he will give us an account of things which will happen beginning with the calling out of the Church.
1:3 Blessed is he - Blessed here means supremely blessed, fortunate, well off. Those that read this book are blessed. Knowing God's plans for the future can give us bold contentment in a very troubled world. That's at least one way we can be peculiar people.
that readeth - Readeth means to distinguish between, recognize and know the accuracy of. It's important we know we have the true and living Word of God. Some even in early times tried to deny The Revelation as being authored by John or even having a place in the Bible, but all of the main Church fathers such as: Justin Martyr who was beheaded for his faith in 165 AD; Irenaeus who sat under the preaching and teaching of Polycarp a disciple of John; and Papias who heard John preach and was a companion of Polycarp; all these men firmly held John to be the author under divine inspiration. A person who recognizes this book and the Bible as the Word of God has a distinct advantage in this fallen world.
they that hear the words of this prophecy - To hear means to listen to, to consider, to take notice of, pay attention to, to be informed by. So we not only need to read this book, we need to receive what it says, understand and embrace it, so it may change our lives. Today as in the time of Christ many have no idea what real truth is or even where it can be found. Jesus told Pilate He came to bear witness of the truth. Pilate's response was, John 8:38 ...What is truth? Most people have their own truth or a truth that is forced of them by someone else. Pilate in his position knew that as well as anyone. Jesus said He was the truth and that God's Word was the truth. If we are to influence others for Christ we must embrace God's truth and as a result become His truth. That is the only real way to make a difference in the lives of others. Example: Prov 11:30 The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; and he that winneth souls is wise. The Hebrew word translated “fruit” is translated reward only once and “fruit” 113 times. To say the reward of the righteous is a tree of life may be true, but doesn't really fit the rest of the verse. In John chapter 15 the fruit Jesus speaks of must be things which come from us (the branches) because we are attached to The Vine (such as the fruit of the Spirit). That's the only way Jesus' analogy makes sense. The fruit of a tree provides nourishment to those who partake of it and causes them to return again and again. What better way is there to win souls than to become a fruitful tree?
and keep those things which are written therein - To keep is to observe or pay regard to, to take care of, to hold and not let go, to guard. The things written in this book need to be regarded highly and acted upon as written without adding or removing anything. John wrote in Rev 22:18-19 For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book. The consequences of not embracing The Revelation and acting upon it are great for us and for others who may be influenced by us.
for the time is at hand - The word "time" here means a fixed and definite period. "At hand" means near, some describe it as meaning at arms length. We are drawing very near the time when these events will begin to unfold.
1:4 the seven churches – The number seven appears 54 times in this book, appearing more frequently than any other number. In the Bible seven is associated with completion, fulfillment and perfection. That should be exactly what we expect to find at the end of God's revelation to mankind. These seven literal churches were in the area of what we now know as Turkey. Their ruins have been found and explored. They are Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamos, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea. The fact that their ruins have been found is a testimony of why they do not exist today. When a church begins to build an elaborate building, the kind that would become a landmark, it's a testimony that church is dead or dying. Many believe the seven churches represent a period in church history from the time of John to the end. That's probably true and we will explore that, but there is also much to learn about churches today from each one of the letters Jesus told John to write. It's important to note that not one of the seven local churches mentioned by Christ in this book has survived to modern times.
Grace be unto you, and peace - Grace is the undeserved favor of God for Christ's sake. The gift of salvation from sin and the help to be a living sacrifice unto God. We have access to God's grace by faith, that is believing Him. Part of God's grace to us is His precious word of which The Revelation is a part. Peace is quietness and rest through a harmonious relationship with God. We can have peace with God. Rom 5:1 ...we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. We can have the peace of God. Isa 26:3 Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. Phil 4:6-7 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. 1 Pet 5:7 Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you. We have access to peace through a choice to rest in God. Knowing what the future holds can be a source of great peace and The Revelation is certainly about the future.
from Him which is, and which was, and which is to come – One of the great messages of the Bible is that God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit (three persons, one God) is everlasting. Everlasting is an interesting word because as we find it in the Bible it looks both to the past and the future. Moses said in Ps 90:1-2 Lord, thou hast been our dwelling place in all generations. Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God. Everlasting means without beginning and without end, that which always has been and always will be. It's very hard for our finite mind to grasp the concept of someone being everlasting. God has stated the concept here in a way we can best understand it. Someone once said, "Try to define the Eternal God and you'll lose your mind, deny Him and you'll loose your soul." There are many things, this being one of them, that we must accept wholly by faith.
the seven Spirits which are before His throne – Seven is a number associated with God, signifying completeness. What are these seven Spirits? The closest we might come to finding an answer may be in Isa 11:1-2 And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots: And the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him (that's 1), the spirit of wisdom (that's 2) and understanding (that's 3), the spirit of counsel (that's 4) and might (that's 5), the spirit of knowledge (that's 6) and of the fear of the Lord (that's 7). Those seven things certainly describe how we should view God. God is the LORD, He is wise, He understands all, He has all the answers, He is all powerful, He knows all and we should fear Him, that makes Him completely God. However, we can't be sure these are the seven spirits which John spoke of.
1:5 the faithful witness - A witness is a person who can give a first hand account of something. A faithful witness is one who will not distort the facts. Moses spoke of Christ in Duet 18:15 The Lord thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken. John the Baptist spoke of Christ in Matt 3:11 I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire. God the Father spoke from heaven concerning Christ in Matt 3:16-17 And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Christ's own works testified of Him, Jesus said in John 5:36 But I have greater witness than that of John: for the works which the Father hath given me to finish, the same works that I do, bear witness of me, that the Father hath sent me. Jesus Christ was and is the faithful witness of God. Jesus said in John 14:9 ...he that hath seen me hath seen the Father. Jesus is the truth, not just a truth, but “the truth”. This is perhaps an answer for one of the great problems of many today. For them Jesus is a partial truth or one of many truths which means they partially build their life upon Him. When Jesus becomes “the truth” He becomes the center and foundation of life. That is His rightful place.
the first begotten of the dead - Jesus is not God's only Son as some translations of the Bible declare, He is, however, God's only begotten Son. Begotten in the sense He was born of a woman, conceived by the Holy Ghost. John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. All of God's children are begotten of Him as described in 1 Pet 1:3, but not in the same sense as Jesus was. First begotten of the dead speaks of the necessity that Christ be the first to rise from the dead bodily and enter heaven. 1 Cor 15:20-23 ...now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's at his coming. Concerning the resurrection of Christ we find in Matt 27:50-53 Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost. And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent; And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many. I think it's possible we fail to grasp the miraculous events which took place around the death and resurrection of Jesus. It was so remarkable that at least one man, the Roman centurion in charge of Christ's crucifixion, said, “truly this man was the Son of God”. The centurion was partially correct, Jesus “is” the Son of God. Christ literally and bodily rose from the dead and His resurrection is the guarantee of our resurrection. A picture of that truth is the saints who rose from the dead with Christ and showed themselves in Jerusalem.
the prince of the kings of the earth - The word prince here means ruler or chief. Isaiah said of Christ in Isa 9:6-7 For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counseller, The mighty God, the everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this. The last sentence in those verses means no power in the universe will stop it. The events of The Revelation will reveal who Jesus really is to the world and He will reign over all the Earth. Jesus said to Pilate in John 19:11 Thou couldest have no power at all against me, except it were given thee from above. Sounds like Jesus may have been trying to let Pilate know who was really in charge. Paul wrote in Romans 13:1 Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Every person who has come to power on earth was allowed and ultimately used by God to fulfill His plan. We can see it in what God said to the Pharaoh of Egypt in the time of Moses, Ex 9:16 And in very deed for this cause have I raised thee up, for to shew in thee my power; and that my name may be declared throughout all the earth. God used Pharaoh's rebellion to reveal His power. John wrote of Christ in Rev 19:16 ...he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS. Everyone who has or ever will have any kind of authority in this world has only been allowed it by the one who has all authority. Jesus Christ is truly the prince of the kings of the earth.
him that loved us - No one has ever loved you or ever will love you like Jesus. We can see it through the Bible's testimony of what He did for us. Rom 5:6-8 For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. 1 John 4:9-10 In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. We can continue to see Christ's love through His care for us as His children. Matt 6:31-33 Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?...for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. David said in Ps 37:25 I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread. God takes care of those who trust in Him and that shows His love. We can also see His love in what He has promised us. Jesus said in John 14:2-3 In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. Christ's love for us has moved Him to construct us a mansion, but I would have to say my love for Him may not allow me to rest in it. Why would I want to be resting in a mansion when I could be with Jesus or doing His bidding? We can only love Him because He first loved us.
washed us from our sins in His own blood – Of all God declares to us, to me, this is the most amazing. There is simply no way for us to fully appreciate the holiness of God. His perfection and completeness are beyond our comprehension. The proof of that is our many attempts at judging Him, we can't understand why He says this or that, why He does things a certain way, so we question Him. In fact a failure to grasp His perfection and holiness is the reason man's idea of redemption is very different from God's. We're not that bad, so we can be involved in our redemption. That way of thinking is evidence of being greatly deceived. There are four unique creatures around the throne of God. Isaiah, Ezekiel and John saw these creatures and partially described them for us. The following is what John said the creatures were saying. Rev 4:8 ...they rest not day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come. God is holy and that is the attribute of Him which stands out above all others. After mankind rebelled against God it was impossible for Him to associate with us. The only remedy was for God to make us holy as He is. The only real way to accomplish that was to sacrifice Himself for us, become as one of us, lay down His earthly life, shed His blood to wash us from our sins. It was His perfect and complete love for us that made Him do it. God is holy and we should praise Him for being holy. You know what heaven or paradise would be like if God wasn't perfect? It would be much like the places people call paradise and heaven on earth. I can't speak for you, but I surly don't want that. I'm looking for a place much better than we can find anywhere on earth. Heb 9:22 ...almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission. Heb 9:12 Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us. 1 Pet 1:18-19 Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot. Many view the sacrifice of animals God commanded in the Old Testament and the sacrifice of Christ on the cross as foolishness. However, our sin is so ugly and vile in the sight of God that were we to have to pay for it ourselves we would spend an eternity separated from God in torment. In the shedding of Christ's blood we can be washed and made clean in His sight. In accepting Christ as our Savior we are recognizing our guilt and God's deliverance. Titus 3:5-7 Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life. God's complete perfection and holiness is the reason you and I can have no part in our salvation, we must be washed from our sins in the blood of Christ. “No one ever cared for me like Jesus, there's no other friend so kind as He. No one else could take the sin and darkness from me. Oh how much He cares for me”.
1:6 hath made us kings and priests – God's salvation is more than we deserve or could ever hope for, but His love for us drove Him to do far more than just save us, He has made those who are washed in His blood kings and priests. A king is a leader of people, a commander, a lord of the land. Rom 8:15-17 For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together. 2 Tim 2:11-13 It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him: If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us: If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself. Rev 5:9-10 Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth. Those who have been washed in the blood of Christ will live and reign with Him on earth for a 1,000 years. Knowing that makes it easier to endure the here and now. A priest is a person who is busy about God's business and is interceding on behalf of themselves and others. Christ is our great high priest. 1 Tim 2:5-6 For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time. Heb 9:11 ...he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us. As priests we should be interceding for ourselves. 1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 Cor 11:31-32 For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged. But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with (counted among) the world. We should also be interceding on behalf of others. Eze 22:30 I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it: but I found none. James 5:14-16 Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him. Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. It's a truly marvelous thing that God would hear and answer our prayers. Part of the reason is because He has made us priests unto Him. As kings and priests we are Christ's ambassadors. 2 Cor 5:17-20 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God. We are saved by His grace, made kings and priests, carrying His message of redemption to the world by our way of life.
1:7 Behold, He cometh with clouds - Behold here means “look” and is used as an interjection. One day John the Baptist stood by the water preaching repentance toward God and saw Jesus coming, he stretched forth his hand and said, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” Perhaps some of us should be standing outside with our hand stretched toward the sky saying, “Behold, He cometh with clouds.” Like it or not, ready or not, Jesus is coming! When Jesus ascended to heaven after His resurrection many stood and watched Him go. The Bible says in Acts 1:9-11 And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight. And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven. Jesus is coming again, He is coming suddenly and in a time most will not be looking for Him. Are you ready and anticipating His return? I should say before I move on the coming of Christ John is speaking of here is not the Rapture, but the coming we see described in detail in chapter 19. We can make application to the Rapture here as I have, but this is Christ's return to reign on earth.
every eye shall see Him – This does not describe the events of the Rapture. When Jesus returns for His church He will probably not been seen by all. When the Rapture occurs thousands of people will simply vanish off the face of the earth. No doubt efforts will be made to discover what happened. In the chaos theories and explanations will abound. It may be that the Antichrist will peacefully rise to power by explaining what happened in a way that will still and quiet the chaos. I have heard some say there will be so few people missing after the Rapture it won't need to be explained. Nevertheless, when Christ returns to reign every eye shall see Him and there will be no mistake about who He is. Jesus said in Matt 24:24-30 For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. Behold, I have told you before. Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not. For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For wheresoever the carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered together. Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. For very many people when the event happens it will be to late to be saved. We need to remember that in the time we have left.
and they also which pierced Him - It was the Romans who were in authority in Israel and overseen Christ's crucifixion, but we must remember the words of Jesus to Pilate to understand who John is speaking of here. John 19:10-11 Then saith Pilate unto him, Speakest thou not unto me? knowest thou not that I have power to crucify thee, and have power to release thee? Jesus answered, Thou couldest have no power at all against me, except it were given thee from above: therefore he that delivered me unto thee hath the greater sin. It was God's chosen people the Jews who delivered Jesus unto Pilate and were ultimately responsible for His crucifixion. In fact the Bible says in Matt 27:24-25 When Pilate saw that he could prevail nothing, but that rather a tumult was made, he took water, and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, I am innocent of the blood of this just person: see ye to it. Then answered all the people, and said, His blood be on us, and on our children. Those were hasty words, but they were also prophetic words. The Jews have suffered greatly as a people since that time. They are the ones that pierced Christ and the ones who John speaks of here. Most of the Jews are still looking for their Messiah, having rejected Jesus when He came 2,000 years ago. The nation of Israel is continuing to suffer greatly will again during the Tribulation Period. Jesus spoke of it in Matt 24:15-21 When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet...Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains: Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house: Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes. And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days! But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day: For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. The Jewish people have endured much and will endure much more, but when they see Jesus coming to reign they will believe on Him, and as a nation, they will be saved. In their blessing and God's fulfillment of His promises to Abraham, all the nations of the earth shall be blessed.
all the kindreds of the earth shall wail because of Him – I want to remind you that it's the coming of Christ at the end of the tribulation period of which we are speaking here. Wail means to cry out beating the breast in fear and grief. Few of us have suffered this kind of anguish in our lifetime. Wailing is what takes place when someone is both scared out of their mind and completely overcome with sorrow at the same time. This is completely understandable when we consider these people are facing God in His burning anger. Nahum 1:2-6 God is jealous, and the Lord revengeth; the Lord revengeth, and is furious; the Lord will take vengeance on his adversaries, and he reserveth wrath for his enemies. The Lord is slow to anger, and great in power, and will not at all acquit the wicked: the Lord hath his way in the whirlwind and in the storm, and the clouds are the dust of his feet. He rebuketh the sea, and maketh it dry, and drieth up all the rivers: Bashan languisheth, and Carmel, and the flower of Lebanon languisheth. The mountains quake at him, and the hills melt, and the earth is burned at his presence, yea, the world, and all that dwell therein. Who can stand before his indignation? and who can abide in the fierceness of his anger? his fury is poured out like fire, and the rocks are thrown down by him. The wailing of these people must be a lot like those who are in Hell right now. Matt 13:49-50 So shall it be at the end of the world: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just, And shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. For millions of people the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ to this earth will not be pleasant. Luke 21:25-26 And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; Men's hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken. John wrote of Christ's coming from the viewpoint of those on the earth in Rev 6:15-17 And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand? We must remember and meditate on these future events which God has made known to us. We may be the only person standing in the way of this being true for people we know and love, as well as their families.
1:8 I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending - Alpha is the first letter of the Greek alphabet and Omega is the last. Christ is the beginning and the ending of all things pertaining to this universe and mankind. He is the originator of all intelligence, language and reality. Dr. Morris says, “A more definitive claim to absolute deity could hardly be imagined”. He is the creator, He is the only true and living God and He is the only Savior. Therefore He is reality, there is no other. DNA is, in fact, a language by which the cells which make up all living things are told to form and organize. Language always arises from intelligence. There is no instance known where that is not the case. In fact it's ridiculous to conclude a language could ever arise by chance. So one could say there is no greater scientific proof of God than DNA. Of Jesus, John wrote in John 1:1-4 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men. Of Jesus, Paul wrote in Col 1:16-17 For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist. As a man removes a cloak and casts it to the side, God will one day destroy this universe and make a new one. Heb 1:10-12 And, Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of thine hands: They shall perish; but thou remainest; and they all shall wax old as doth a garment; And as a vesture shalt thou fold them up, and they shall be changed: but thou art the same, and thy years shall not fail. Jesus is reality, the beginning and the ending, but most, including many Christians, treat Him as if He is a spare tire to be brought out when needed.
the Almighty - Almighty means ruler of all, He who possesses unlimited power. The true and living God is the only One who fits that definition and is the only One who can say the following. Deut 32:39-40 See now that I, even I, am he, and there is no god with me: I kill, and I make alive; I wound, and I heal: neither is there any that can deliver out of my hand. For I lift up my hand to heaven, and say, I live for ever. The fact that you and I are here today and still breathing is evidence God loves us and has been merciful to us. No one can abide His wrath or dictate terms to Him.