As a child whenever they would read from "Revelation" there was a shudder that went through the crowd. It seemed that the "Revelation" was a terrible book to read. However, the book of Revelation isn't the revealing of the tribulation or doom and gloom, it is the revealing of Jesus Christ! Knowing that should eliminate the fear and trepidation that anyone might have in studying this book, this is about Jesus! As you read Revelation may Jesus be revealed to you!
Opening: Read the First 9 verses of Revelation Chapter 1
Verse 1 the Revelation of Jesus Christ – (Apokalupis of Iesou Christou) Greek the unveiling or the presentation of Jesus Christ.
Apo= means away from
Kalupto = to cover or to hide
Compounded to together it means to take away the covering! Something is being revealed! The cover is being lifted and Jesus Christ is being revealed.
The title of the book is the summation of the contents of the book. It’s the same as the seventh verse of the first chapter.
Where it states… Behold He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him.
This is the revelation, the manifestation, of Jesus Christ. He’s coming in clouds of glory and power.
You see the first time He came He calmed veiled in flesh, His deity was covered over with His manhood! Every once in a while, His deity would show out, on Mt. Transfiguration or while doing one of His mighty works, you could see a glimpse of His Deity that was veiled in Flesh. He was God but veiled in flesh, he was born in a manger! He knew what it was to hunger and thirst, he was beaten and bruised, crucified and hung like a felon and accused of being a felon. All of this before the chiding of the whole world. The last time that the world saw Him, He was hanging in shame, misery, and anguish upon the Cross.
Now, He did appear to some of His disciples but the whole world hasn’t seen Him alive, they haven’t believed, because their witness was that He died on the Cross.
So there are many that do not believe, because He is still veiled, hidden, cloaked, and hasn’t been revealed to them. However, to us who have witnessed the resurrection power, we can testify that He is certainly alive.
This time at the Revelation of Jesus Christ, all men even those that pierced Him shall see Him, and then they shall see that Jesus does indeed hold all power in heaven and in Earth in His Hand.
The first verse states that this was signified by an Angel.
A sign = tells you what to expect, how far you have to go.
A curve is ahead, bump, etc… Now some take the sign as that they’ve arrived.
Let’s say you are on I-64 and come to a sign that says “Welcome to St Louis.” You jump out and grab the sign and throw it into your car. Now all of us know that you don’t have St Louis, you just have the sign.
There are many that do that same thing with Jesus, just because you have a sign doesn’t mean you have Jesus. To actually take St Louis with you, you have to dive into the culture, and absorb what St Louis is! That way when you leave, you still act and talk like a St Louis Native. You’ve been around it long enough that their culture has become your culture!
The same with Jesus, the sign leads you to Christ, the sign isn’t Christ. It points you to the direction of Christ. Don’t just take the sign and call that Christ. No you need to dive into the culture of Christ, get around him, study him, let him speak to you and then you can take Him with you wherever you go.
Lastly, these signs shall follow them that believe. We need demonstration so that there are signs that will lead others to Christ. We shouldn’t be seeking a sign once we have come to Christ, instead we now have signs following us!
We receive Christ and then we reveal Christ to others! How? Through signs!
9 I, John, both your brother and companion in the tribulation and kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was on the island that is called Patmos for the word of God and for the testimony of Jesus Christ.
The New King James Version. (1982). (Re 1:9). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.
8 Now Cain talked with Abel his brother; and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother and killed him.
9 Then the Lord said to Cain, “Where is Abel your brother?”
He said, “I do not know. AmI my brother’s keeper?”
10 And He said, “What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood cries out to Me from the ground.
The New King James Version. (1982). (Ge 4:8–10). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.
In the opening book of the bible, we are witnessing what sin will do, sin causes people who should be supporting, loving, and kind to one another to kill one another. Sin causes us to allow hurt, bitterness, and a wound to allow a murdering spirit to come upon ourselves. It is of no surprise that in the world that we live in that we have these same spirits being played out.
When God asked Cain, where is your brother, his response was, I don’t know, am I my brother’s keeper?
As a kid growing up in church, I never really knew the first names of the people that I went to church with. They were Brother Baskins, Edgins, Simon, Silvers. Or they were Sister So and So. That tradition has faded in the church for the most part. What cannot fade is the responsibility that we each should show for each other. Because of the blood of Jesus, we are all the children of God, therefore we are brothers.
I believe that there is a move afoot to get us ,the church, to be just like the world. Where it is every man for himself. Selfish desire is running rampant. No doubt that is why in the book of Jude there is a warning. Right before the book of Revelation, right before the coming of the Lord, there stands an ominous warning.
11 Woe to them! For they have gone in the way of Cain,
The New King James Version. (1982). (Jud 10–11). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.
Jude was explaining why people no longer experience the love of God. He said, one of the reasons that this happens is they have gone the way of Cain! The way of Cain is anger. Cain was angry with his brother, Abel, because God blessed Abel, but He didn’t bless Cain.
It’s not fair,Cain must have thought. We both offered sacrifices to God. Abel brought a lamb, and I brought the fruit of my labor from the garden, but God blessed my brother’s and not mine(Genesis 4:4, 5). And such anger took root in Cain’s heart that he killed his brother.
We leave Jude, where there is a warning about not going the way of Cain to an opening from John.
1The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show His servants—things which must shortly take place. And He sent and signified itby His angel to His servant John, 2 who bore witness to the word of God, and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, to all things that he saw. 3 Blessed ishe who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written in it; for the time isnear.
4 John, to the seven churches which are in Asia:
Grace to you and peace from Him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven Spirits who are before His throne, 5 and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler over the kings of the earth.
To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood, 6 and has made us kings and priests to His God and Father, to Him beglory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.
7 Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him, even they who pierced Him. And all the tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him. Even so, Amen.
8 “I am the Alpha and the Omega, theBeginning and theEnd,” says the Lord, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.”
9 I, John, both your brother and companion in the tribulation and kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was on the island that is called Patmos for the word of God and for the testimony of Jesus Christ. 10 I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day, and I heard behind me a loud voice, as of a trumpet,
The New King James Version. (1982). (Re 1:1–10). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.
In the first chapter of Revelation John identified himself three times
In verse 1 He states..
The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show His servants—things which must shortly take place. And He sent and signified itby His angel to His servant John
The New King James Version. (1982). (Re 1:1). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.
Then in Verse 4 he states
4 John, to the seven churches which are in Asia:
Grace to you and peace from Him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven Spirits who are before His throne,
The New King James Version. (1982). (Re 1:4). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.
But in verse in 9 He states his identity even stronger than the first two times.
He said “I’ John with an emphasis on the word “I” – it’s as if he is trying to draw attention to himself.
He has already declared that he was the author of the message that is getting ready to come forth. Then he tells them the third time – but this time he used the word “I” the Greek word – ego.It’s almost that John has raised his voice as if to shout the people – it is Me – It’s John – it really is me that is writing to you about the Revelation! No name carried more authority than John throughout all the churches of Asia Minor. Paul, Peter, Philip, and Bartholomew had all ministered in the churches scattered throughout Asia Minor, but at the time of this writing all the other apostles had all been martyred and their voices had been silenced.
Bartholomew – also known as Nathanael – he was skinned alive, flayed with a knife, crucified and beheaded by the pagans in Albanapolis.
Philip – was martyred in Hierapolis
Peter was crucified in Rome – around A.D 67 –
Paul – The Bible does not tell us the exact time or manner of the apostle Paul’s death, and secular history has yet to provide us with any definitive information. However, evidence highly suggests the apostle Paul’s death occurred after his 5thMissionary Journey ended in 67 A.D. Paul was likely beheaded by the Romans, under Emperor Nero, sometime around May or June of 68 A.D. Nero himself died by suicide on June 9th of the same year.
So Paul who started the church in Ephesus and had great authority with the churches in Asia Minor, who he had even appointed Timothy as Pastor of the Church in Ephesus (1 Timothy 1:3)– but at the time of the writing of John’s revelation Paul’s voice had been silenced for almost 30 years and all that remained is the letters that he had written.
Timothy had Pastored the church in Ephesus until his death at the age of eighty after being attacked by a mob in the streets of Ephesus, so John had even outlived Timothy.
At the time of the writing here in Revelation Chapter One, John had outlived all of the apostles had been providing oversight for the churches in Asia Minor for nearly thirty years.
Because of who John was, one of the twelve originals, and having been the overseer for nearly thirty years, his words carried great weight.
Thereby the reasoning of the usage of his name 3 times to make clear it is really, I, John, who is writing to you.
The early church at the time of the writing was under terrible persecution. John knew that the people needed to hear from him at that moment of pressure and persecution. The moment didn’t pass by John, he knew that he carried more apostolic authority than anyone else .
Watch what he writes. Notice he doesn’t say – I John the last of the originals – nor does he write to them and state I John the most important voice in the world.
Instead he writes in Revelation 1:9 – I John, your brother…
The church at this time was fighting a tough fight… facing great persecution. There had been a two year reprieve from the persecution under the reign of Emperor Nerva, but the reprieve had been ended when the Emperor named Trajan had come into power. For this change in leadership the church and the believers faced huge amounts of pressure to abandon Christ and return to the pagan temples, to return to what they were before their encounter with Christ. All over the roman empire the Christians were suffering, and John knew it.
So at the time that the church was facing the greatest opposition and under great persecution and in need of great encouragement, John the greatest authority in the church didn’t miss the opportunity to speak a word.
He said I John your brother.
The words your brother must have had a great calming effect on the church at large. John was communicating so much to his readers with those simple words that we just gloss over. He was communicating a message of great comfort to strengthen their faith in the face of opposition.
Today in the church we use the word brother very freely. However in the New Testament Church this word had great significance to the people.
It comes from the Greek word – adelphos – (80 – strongs) – in it’s earliest usage it was a medical term meant to describe two people born from the same womb.
So when the Greeks would greet each other as brothers – they in essence were declaring that – You and I are brothers – born of the same womb as humanity, we have the same feelings, similar emotions, and we deal with the same problems in life. In every respect we are brothers.
John used this terminology to tell his readers that we are on the same level. He was identifying with their position and circumstances in life.
He was truly their brother – born from the same womb of God, related through the blood of Jesus Christ, a member of the same spiritual family.
Here is John the great apostle – telling the readers – I am your brother, I understand the predicaments that you face, I understand the oppression, the persecution, I am your brother in the tribulations of life.
There is another reason that I believe that he used the word brother.
In the New Testament times the word brother also carried another meaning as well.
This word “brother” was used by Alexander the Great to describe faithful soldiers. These fighting men were true brothers, comrades, and partners who united together to fight the same battles, handle the same weapons, and win the same wars.
Alexander the Great would hold huge public ceremonies where he would give awards to the soldiers who had went above and beyond in battle – they had gone the extra mile. The most coveted awards would be given at this time, and Alexander the great would call the most faithful, valiant soldiers to stand next to him. There with the soldier standing next to him, in front of the masses of people, and other soldiers, Alexander would embrace the soldier and Publicly declare: “Alexander the Great is proud to be the brother of this soldier!”
The word used their by Alexander the great to declare this soldier his brother – was the same Greek word – aldephos – which referred to men that were brothers in battle.
To be a “brother” meant that you were a true comrade. These soldiers stood together through thick and through thin, through adversity, through defeats and through victories, they had come to a special level of brotherhood. This bond known by those who had stayed united in the heat of the battle. I believe that’s what John was conveying to the early church – when he stated – I am your brother.
He stating – we’ve been through some tough stuff, the heat of the battle is great. And we are still fighting – but I’m proud to be your brother.
In the church today – we ought to convey this thought with each other, that we are a part of the same womb! We have been born again – and are a part of the same family, the family of God. We share the same emotions, the same battles, the same feelings, in life, we are brothers.
Now that we are in a fight for our faith – thereby – we stick together when the going gets tough, when the going is easy, we grieve with one another, we celebrate with one another, we bear one another’s burdens – this again makes us brothers from another level – we are comrades in a fight!
We fight for our faith
We fight for our friends
We fight for our families
As your brother it is my duty to keep fighting. Whether you are fighting well or fighting to survive, keep fighting – I am proud to be your brother.
John wanted the people to know – that He was proud of the fight that was in them despite the great persecution that was coming. John came to remind them that they were not alone! He send word to encourage them, that if you keep fighting, your brothers in Christ will fight along side of you. We fight together for our families, our faith, and friends. Why? Because, that’s what Brothers do!