2 “I know your works, your labor, your patience, and that you cannot bear those who are evil. And you have tested those who say they are apostles and are not, and have found them liars; 3 and you have persevered and have patience, and have labored for My name’s sake and have not become weary. 4 Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love.
The New King James Version. (1982). (Re 2:2–4). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.
Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love.
The corrective exhortation concerns the fact that, although they labored faithfully and showed discernment theologically, they had left their first love.
Notice He doesn’t say they lost their first love. He says they left it.…
Early on in the church, no doubt these people really loved each other. Their hearts were toward one another and their hands eager to help and assist one another. But something happened.
I’ve watched and been a part of churches as “holiness and purity” were achieved. However it was achieved at the price of love and fellowship and even friendship and families have been devoured at the altar of “holiness and purity”.
Could it be in our zeal to achieve “holiness” and to ensure purity we’ve succumbed to a rigid code that has caused us to be sour, brutal, cold and calculated and bitter. And at the end of our pursuit of our version of “holiness” are people who bruised, battered and wounded. Through that hurt people have withdrawn from the brotherhood (Revelation 1:9) of Christian fellowship, instead of a trustful eye, everything is viewed now through a suspicious eye.
It’s true when a pastor first comes in, there is friendship, fellowship, and unity. Then after a while, fellowship turns into bickering and friendship is now suspicion, and the first love is gone. All the purity and religion that you can muster will never replace the love and fellowship of the brethren.
It happens in the church, but it also happens in the family.
That young couple standing before their friends and family, deeply and madly in love, they pledge themselves to each other through vows. Then life begins to happen and coldness sweeps in. Soon forget the great love they had for each other.
You didn’t lose it, you left it. The first step in the deterioration of any relationship is the losing of the first love.
You can be faithful and disciplined but leave your love. You can state that you have never cheated on your spouse. Yet, still not show them the love that you had when you first got together.
The indictment was that they had left their first love.
We must be sober, vigilant, on guard in maintaining the same passion for Jesus and our spouses. If not we will leave it and those relationships will go from deterioration to devoured.
In the second section of the Book of Revelation which deals with “the things which are” (Revelation 1:19; we come to the letters to the Seven Churches. These letters are inserted between two visions. The Vision of Christ in the middle of the Seven Candlesticks in Chapter 1 then the Vision of the Four and Twenty Elders round about the throne in Chapter 4.
Within these letters we will learn something about each Candlestick individually (each church individually) and how it is applicable in the present and the future.
As he addresses the seven churches of which he was an overseer, John paints a portrait of church history in its entirety.
The seven messages that follow have a four-fold application.…
First, they are to be applied locally. The cities of the seven churches are given in the order of an ancient Roman postal circuit. Making the distribution of these letters to others and to the church that is addressed.
Second, they apply ecclesiastically (relating to the Christian Church). Anyone who cares about the church or is involved with the church needs to study these letters because every problem, difficulty, and challenge facing the church is addressed in these seven letters.
Third, they apply personally. These letters apply to us individually. How can we know that? Each letter ends with “Let hethat hath an ear, hear what the Spirit saith.” Anyone with an ear, this is for you.
Fourth, the letters apply prophetically. For us today, most of the events are history because we’re approaching the end of the church age. However, John was writing at the beginning of the church age, the events of which he wrote had not yet transpired.
In addition to a four-fold application, there is also a pattern seen in each letter.…
First, there is positive affirmation. Jesus finds something to affirm or compliment in the churches.
Second, there is corrective exhortation.
Third, there is an eternal motivation.
And finally, there is partial revelation.
“To the angel…
Meaning “messenger,” it is most likely that the word angelousused here speaks of a pastor, or leader.
…of the church of Ephesus…
The church of Ephesus that being addressed is in A.D. 33 to A.D. 100. By A.D. 97—the year John recorded this book—the church was already a mess.
The Book of Acts presents the model of the way the church was supposed to function. But Acts only covers a span of thirty years. By the time John penned Revelation a mere sixty years later, the purity of the church had been compromised to such a degree that they were in a position to hear the Lord say, “Unless you repent, I’ll not stay in your midst” (Revelation 2:5).
These things says He who holds the seven stars in His right hand,
Who are the seven stars? The leaders or pastors of these seven churches.
…who walks in the midst of the seven golden lampstands.
Where is Jesus walking? In the midst of the church. You will meet believers, former believers, and even unbelievers who say, “Well, I’m not into church.” That’s too bad, because Jesus is. If Jesus is into the church, shouldn’t we be?
Even though these churches we were in a mess and they were hurting Jesus was still walking in their midst.
Revelation 2:2, 3
2 “I know your works, your labor, your patience, and that you cannot bear those who are evil. And you have tested those who say they are apostles and are not, and have found them liars; 3 and you have persevered and have patience, and have labored for My name’s sake and have not become weary.
know = oida, meaning to see…
works = denotes deeds or actions.
if you read it from the sentence structure of the Greeks, your or thy would follow the word works.
So it would read. I know the works of you! Instead of “I know your works.”
Giving meaning that Christ, knew implicitly the personal works of each church and in particular this church…
Jesus gives the precise things that He knows about the church of Ephesus…
kopos = used to depict a farmer who works in his field during the hottest season of the year…
He is describing the church here that it is doing very tiresome and weary work –
Here, Jesus gives His affirmation. He says, “First of all, I affirm you for staying with the task. That is, you’ve worked hard. You haven’t fainted. Often the temptation is when the tough gets going or it the work and the workers gets a little heated is to leave. Here, there is a compliment issued that they stayed the course, they remained faithful.
Galatians 6:9 (KJV) 9 And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.
Secondly, Jesus affirmed that they’d stood with the truth. They had rooted out the deceivers who have come into your midst.”
Often, I have heard and no doubt you have as well, people saying to us Christians, “Don’t judge me. Didn’t Jesus say to judge not lest ye be judged?”
However, may they be reminded that fifteen verses later, He said, “Beware of false prophets who will come into your midst as wolves in sheep’s clothing. By their fruit you shall know them” (see Matthew 7:15, 16).
So what is Jesus saying? In Matthew 7:1, He says we’re not to judge for condemnation. In verse 15, however, we are instructed to judge for identification.
You have to judge whether or not it’s a lamb or wolf. You have to work through the fluff to find out what lies beneath.
The people in Ephesus tried people who claimed to be an apostle. They had faith but they also had discipline. We need true Apostle’s that will possess the land.
Apostle (during the time of the Greek Orator Demosthenes (384 bc – 322 bc) the word apostolos, was a naval term that described an admiral, the fleet of ships that traveled with him, and the specialized crew that accompanied and assisted him.
This fleet would be sent out to sea to locate territories that civilization was non-existent. Once the territory was discovered and identified the admiral, along with his specialized, apostolic crew, would disembark, settle down, and work as a team to settle the and establish a new community. they would begin to shape and form a strange land into a replica of life as they believed it should be. Their purpose was the total colonization of the strange land.
Among the resources of the Apostle was everything that he would need to build, teach, and reach the natives and then disciple them into this new way of life.
The word apostle was so closely associated with traveling that it became synonymous with the idea of a passport or travel documentation. If a person wanted to travel or exit out of a country, he needed a travel document, this document was called an Apostolos. The same word translated apostle. This document guaranteed the right of passage and the ability to move freely from one place to another.
When the word apostolos was applied to a New Testament individual, it referred to God anointed ministers, who were called by God to lead believers to spiritual heights that would otherwise be not possible without the leadership of an apostolic minister.
A new testament apostle was given revelation of truth and spiritual experiences filled with heavenly insight.
The apostle also was one who had the authority to act in the stead of the one who sent him. Much the way an ambassador works today. Dispatched by the ruling authority to operate and conduct business on behalf of that ruling authority. When the apostle acted and directed, the actions and words were interpreted to be from those that sent him to represent them. The connection between the person who was sent and the sender was nearly inseparable.
So when the people of the early church heard or read the word apostle. They understood what it meant. It meant…
This person was selected by God and commissioned to represent the Lord
That apostle arrived in that city or region with a mandate and a vision for establishing the church. He was a pioneer, overseer, coordinator, and the chief leader, for establishing the word of God in the region. He also was a passage way to take the church to new levels through his apostolic anointing.
He was authorized to speak on behalf of the Lord and act on the Lords behalf. and the government of heaven backed him up. Thereby giving the apostle apostolic authority and spiritual backing to accomplish the vision of the heavens.
He was a man of divine revelation, not just a pragmatic idea guy, but supernatural insight and wisdom. That was vital for the growth and building up of the church.
Revelation 1:9 (NKJV) 9I, 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.
John just didn’t stop at calling himself their brother – but went on to say that he was their companion in tribulation
companion – Greek – sunkoinonos– a compound of the words sun and koinonia – it means a partnership or cooperation
Paul used the word sun in II Corinthians 6:1 where he stated that we are co-workers together with God
The wording there that Paul used sunergos– implies that two or more workers who are joined for a common cause or project! it no longer is what one worker does by himself but what one accomplishes through a partnership and working together in cooperation with others.
John in Revelation 1:9 uses this to state the partnership and cooperation the kinship that he felt with the readers of Revelation.
He places it there in the scripture to eliminate the idea that they were the only people that were going through some stuff. He brings comfort and states that I am your partner in the same experiences, “I am facing the same things that you are facing right now”.
In other words, I understand the pressure that is being applied to you. The Pressure to back up off of what you believe, the temptation to give up, quit, pack up and get out of dodge. I get what you’re going through because I’m going through the same things.
When a leader steps out and gets down and real with the people it eliminates the guilt, condemnation, and the lonely thoughts, that you are alone in trial and tribulation. It removes the thought that somehow what you are going through is because of something you have done. You are being persecuted, and being tested because of what Christ has done in your life. Your physical life is being pressured for the destiny of the eternal man.
The devil would kill you if he could, but he cannot. Therefore, he needs you to believe his lies so that you will give him what he cannot take, and what he cannot keep.
John was experiencing exactly what they were going through. John had been boiled in oil and then sent to the isle of Patmos. Patmos was the deserted prison island. John was sent there for eighteen months. John was now an elderly man at the time of the writing, he had a doctorate degree in suffering. He was a man speaking from experience. John survived all he had faced, even the most difficult situations, and kept his faith. John had a right to speak to others and tell them don’t give up, but keep fighting.
John went on to write not only was he their brother and companion in tribulation, but also in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ.
The word kingdom is a Greek word “basileia”a word that speaks of a ruler, ruling power, or a kingdom.
The Romans had their basilicas, they were the places that ruling decisions were carried out by authorities. Over time large cathedrals were called basilica’s, because they were the important places where spiritual authorities carried out rulings that affected entire regions.
John is writing here to declare that even though they were partners in tribulation they were also apart in the kingdom of God. They are seeing persecution, but they have also seen in the region of Asia Minor, the most pagan area, the advancement of the kingdom of God. The entire region had seen a mighty demonstration of the kingdom of God.
They saw the men of God take the light of the gospel into the darkest of places. The book of Acts is filled with actions of the Apostles taking the gospel and establishing the Kingdom of God at the very gates of hell and prevailing. Acts describes and records healings, miracles, demonic deliverances, and the repentance of the masses, as the Gospel of Jesus Christ is brought into their region. They had seen the paganist turn to be a Christ lover, from the scrolls and divinations to the Word of God. They knew that the church of Jesus Christ was brought in and had risen in the power of the Holy Spirit, and they also knew that the church had risen up throughout the land not by enticing words, but by demonstration and power with spiritual authority.
John is reminding them, not only have we suffered together, but we also have exercised our spiritual authority together.
Lest we forget the victories because of the trials, we should constantly remind ourselves of the testimony that we have because of the blood of Jesus. I am not who I could be because of the blood, thank God for the wonder working power of the blood of Jesus.
Yes, we share in some trials, but we also share in great victories as well. In times that we are going through it, remind yourself of the times that you came through it.
Never lose sight of the great things that God has done for you and through you.
I want to remind you as John reminded his readers that you have seen and have known that power of the kingdom of God. Just as much as there is a mutual experience in suffering, likewise there is a mutual experience in the victory.
It is because of the mutual experience that we must hang on, never give up, and keep fighting. Therefore, John included in his writing to them that they were co-workers in the kingdom and then he states that also in the patience of Jesus Christ.
For a sustained ruling of God’s kingdom, it requires patience.
What does patience mean and why must we see the ruling power of God?
patience = Greek word = hupomene: which is two Greek words brought together = hupo and meno –
hupo meaning under
meno meaning to abide or stay
This is referring to a resolute decision that one will move from the position or stance!
Now when those two words are brought together and form a compound word – the meaning changes dramatically.
hupo = meaning one who is under a heavy load or circumstance that would normally cause a person to bend or break – or to change position in order to escape the terrible circumstances or the pressures.
meno – meaning to abide – as used in the term that John used it portrays a person that is absolutely committed to what they believe and to the position that he holds dear and true. regardless of the pressure that is mounted against them – he refuses to move or to surrender. He will stick to his position, and he will stay put.
The more accurate translation is the word endurance – depicting one’s ability to outlast hard times.
One scholar stated it this way: “When hupomene is working in an individual’s life it gives him the supernatural ability to remain steadfast and to never surrender his position or beliefs, even in the face of insurmountable challenges and stress.
The intense persecution and resistance that the early church received made patience the queen of all virtues. The early church had to have resolve and endurance, to never give up and never give in.
John said, I was on the isle of Patmos, you think you’ve got it bad, but I’m on the isle of Patmos –
Why am I here? For the word of God and the Testimony of Jesus Christ –
John refused to worship the emperor! More than likely John was convicted of high treason for undermining the state religion, which was the worship of the emperor
When John preached the Lordship and the Kingship of Jesus Christ – he then faced the accusation of propagating a false religion and encouraging the worship of someone other than the emperor! These crimes especially during the reign of Emperor DOMITIAN were met with extreme consequences.
John was the last of the surviving members of Jesus’ first twelve. Domitian had long hated the Christians for their refusal to worship him (Sound Familiar – see Esther and the story of Haaman – the issue is always worship).
So John being one of the original twelve more than likely provided a greater incentive to Domitian to arrest him and attack him. This was the ultimate censorship, kill the voice of the apostles.
If you kill the voice of the apostles then you weaken the other offices of the ministry, because the apostle touches the pastors, prophets, teachers, and the evangelists. If you can weaken the church it is just as effective as destroying the church!
If the church is weak, we might as well go home! The church was birthed in power not money!
The church was birthed in power not politics!
They (Peter and John) stated silver and gold have we none, but such as we have, give I unto thee.
Now the church states we have silver and gold, but power we have none!
Well, not in this house! This is a place where the kingdom the authority and the power of God works and is available to you and to all that believe.
So John was their Brother, companion, and was refusing to give up, even on the isle of Patmos, because he stood for the word of God and the Testimony of Jesus Christ !
Revelation 1:10-11 (NKJV) 10I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day, and I heard behind me a loud voice, as of a trumpet, 11saying, “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last,” and, “What you see, write in a book and send itto the seven churches which are in Asia: to Ephesus, to Smyrna, to Pergamos, to Thyatira, to Sardis, to Philadelphia, and to Laodicea.”
Some say the Revelation happened in the mine quarries on Patmos. Others state that it was in the cave that John called home on the isle of Patmos! Regardless of the where, we are given an insight into the how the revelation came to John!
John stated this in Revelation – 1:10
I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day
The word that was used in the verse, is the Greek word “ginomai”, describing something that happens unexpectedly or something that would catch you off guard.
This speaks to the fact that John wasn’t expecting to have a divine encounter. He was just going about his business of survival on the isle of Patmos and then something happened that caught him by surprise, in a way that he never expected, he suddenly found himself “in the spirit”!
The King James Version of the bible has the word Spirit capitalized, however, in the original Greek writing it is not capitalized ( Greek- en pnuematic).The term means to be caught up into another realm, another dimension, or a spiritual realm far different then that of the natural world.
When John experienced this Revelation, he tells you this! I was just going about my business going through the trial of my life, and then all of a sudden, the unexpected happened in my life! I was caught up into another dimension on the Lord’s Day.
Now because of our culture stating that Sunday is the Lord’s Day we automatically assume that this means Sunday!
The phrase here that John uses is the term “kuriakos”– it was a specific word that they used to describe their emperor day! This word was used anytime that they wanted to designate something imperial, and they had set aside the first day of the month as an imperial day. On this day the emperor was especially celebrated. This was the emperor’s day!
On the day that the entire roman empire was celebrating, and giving honor to the supposed deity the emperor Domitian. The day that the entire world was worshipping a fraudulent, evil human ruler! The true ruler, the King of kings, the Lord of lords stepped forth on the emperor’s day and revealed Himself as the one who truly was the deity, who truly was worthy to be worshipped.
It had to strike John that on the emperor’s day, that Jesus Christ stepped onto a forsaken island to an exiled worshipper, and revealed Himself in all of His glory to the exiled one.
Maybe you are here today, and you feel that everybody has left you, and everybody else is worshipping other things, that you have become exiled to a forsaken place.
I’m here to tell you that. Yes, even in the forsaken places, Jesus Christ will step onto the scene and reveal Himself to you! Even when you feel forsaken and trapped by the circumstances of your life, Jesus Christ will reveal himself to you.
And you like John can say. I wasn’t expecting it. I was just going through the motions of my day trying to survive, and then suddenly the unexpected happened I wound up in the spirit on the Lord’s day!
Jesus Reveals Himself and then speaks.
It is important for us to know that it is not enough just to see Jesus, but you must also Hear the Word of the Lord for they are one in the same. Understand John 1:1 in the beginning was the word, the word was with God and the Word was God.
A lot of people stop with seeing Jesus. You also need to hear and then obey the words. For man shall not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.
John said I heard behind me a great voice. Not just a voice ,but a great voice!
John said it was so loud that it was like a trumpet! A clear loud blast of the trumpet commanding attention and requiring submission from the one speaking.
Now that Jesus had John’s attention, he then announced Himself!
I love the opening lines of Jesus to John.
Revelation 1:11 – I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last….
Alpha the first letter in the Greek alphabet and Omega the last letter in the alphabet. We often end with it just meaning that, but it was a phrase that was used to convey eternity and timelessness!
When God speaks He is telling what has already happened, He’s just waiting for you to catch up to it.
Jesus was saying to John! I am eternal and timeless!
I am the beginning of everything!
I am also the conclusion of everything!
Not only am I the beginning and the ending, but I also encompass everything that lies between the beginning and the ending!
That’s why He could say, “Lo, I am with you always…”.
Matthew 28:20 (NKJV) 20teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, evento the end of the age.” Amen.
Further He stated that I will never leave you, but I will be with you, until the ends of the world! No matter where you find yourself I am going to be right there with you…
I am with you always, no matter the circumstance maybe in your life! I am right here! The enemy thought that he could put you on an island all by yourself. Maybe man cannot reach you but I can! He put you here to destroy you to break you, but this is where I am going to Reveal myself to you.
Romans 8:28 (NKJV) 28And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to Hispurpose.
He meant it for evil, but I am going to give you a revelation here John! The things that you see, write them down in a book! Keep a record of what I tell you, because my word will go out and it will accomplish what it was sent out to accomplish!
The enemy may have put you in the circumstances, but even in the darkest of circumstances God can reveal himself to you and thereby give you a revelation. When He speaks you can write it down in a book for all the world to see that God has spoken and He has the final say over the beginning and the ending of my life along with everything in between.
What you are about to experience John you need to write down in a book –
unto the seven churches which were in Asia – Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamos, Thyatria, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea.
He said write it down and then send it to these seven churches.
At the time of the writing there were roughly 1000 cities in Asia Minor.
These seven were the largest and the most pagan, but they also had the largest congregations and the most influence then the other churches in Asia Minor.
To each of these seven churches Jesus specifically stated that “I know thy works…”
As Jesus is delivering his messages to John about the 7 churches it becomes very apparent that He is intricately knowledgeable about these seven churches. Jesus is very familiar with these seven churches in such a manner that in His delivering of the message to John, He specifically calls out one church member. He described a problem that one pastor had with his wife. It ought to speak to us. That Jesus, even though no one had seen him arrive at the front door of the church, had walked the aisles of the church and was very familiar with the spiritual condition of each church and each individual that was a part of the church.
Now here is a part that I love. Before Jesus continued with delivering his message to the churches. He continues to reveal Himself to John, this is the disciple whom He loved. (John 19:26). This revealing or the Revelation was so powerful that as it began, John fell at His feet (v17).
In verse twelve John turned to see the voice! Certainly, John had never forgotten the sound of that voice! How could he have ever forgotten that voice? It was the voice of the one that loved him, that died for him, that called him out, it was the voice of the Savior. How could you ever forget that voice, the voice of Jesus?
John describes His response as soon as He heard that voice. He turned.
There was something about this voice!
Voice is the word, “phone” a word simply describes a voice.
He turned to see it! Now can you really see a voice?
The word “see” is the Greek word – “blepo”. Which means to see, to watch, to look at, to give attention to, to pay heed to, or to perceive.
When John Heard this voice. He perceived something special about the sound, the voice that was speaking to Him from behind and he eagerly turned around to see who was speaking to him.
Now John hadn’t heard this voice in nearly 60 years, but he had never forgotten that sound of the Master’s voice!
John in his younger years had listened to the voice of Jesus teach. He also had been lead for nearly 3 1/2 years as one of Jesus’ twelve and he knew that voice. John carried the words, and the love for Jesus with Him in his heart.
Even though John was now older in His years, he was still deeply touched by the love that he had received from Jesus.
Watch what John wrote to his readers about this love of Jesus…
1 John 1:1-3 (KJV) 1That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life; 2(For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;) 3That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship iswith the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.
John was remembering the touch of Jesus’ hands, and the look that was in his eye, And John states this – the words “we have heard” – Oh, I can still hear the words, the sound of His voice, when He called me out. The words, the hands, and look of Jesus upon His life had lasted John for over 60 years, he had held those precious memories close to his heart, looking for that day – when he would once again see the Lord, hear the Lord, and feel the touch of the master’s hand.
So when John heard it – he knew it, he never forgot the words of the Lord to him, and as soon as He heard it – he turned around.
As soon as John turned around to follow the sound of that voice that sounded like a trumpet, the barrier between the natural world, and the realm of the spirit, was suddenly removed.
I heard a voice as a sound of a trumpet – I wasn’t expecting it – but when I turned around – I was translated into another realm.
1 Thessalonians 4:14-18 (KJV) 14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. 15For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive andremain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. 16For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: 17Then we which are alive andremain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. 18Wherefore comfort one another with these words.
It was at that moment that John saw Jesus.
But what He saw wasn’t the same person that He had carried in his mind – the voice was the same, but the physical appearance of Jesus was dramatically different then the thirty three year old man that had risen from the dead and showed himself to be alive. This was not the Jesus he had known during his earthly walk, but now He is seeing Him. Seeing Him in His role as King and Priest.
John wrote that (13) that he saw “One like the Son of Man”
The phrase, “like unto the Son of Man” the words “like unto” are a translation of the Greek word “homoios”which describes a resemblance similarity, or likeness.
Jesus had been transformed from His earthly appearance – and stood before the apostle as the glorified Christ. The One that was standing among the seven golden candlesticks had a likeness, a similarity, and a resemblance of Jesus the way that John remembered Him, yet completely different.
Many state that the vision of Jesus that John received is an allusion to what Daniel seen in…
Daniel 7:13 (KJV) 13I saw in the night visions, and, behold, onelike the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him.
Proving that without a doubt – He is the one who was and is and is come – Daniel seen and heard Him, John seen and Heard Him. No doubt, that you likewise that have heard Him call your name, when You hear Him call your name you shall likewise see Him, the one who was and is and is to come.
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!
A sermon is not a lecture it is to be delivered with the fire of the Holy Spirit! There’s a major difference in a sermon that is typed in the cool and leisure of the Pastors office and sermon that is preached given by God during the heat of the pulpit! Every sermon though can be only as effective as the heart of the people has been prepared! A sermon receives unction by the prayers of the people. Prayer is the tilling of the ground so that seed of the Word of God will take root!