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=Chapter 2


:1 The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew to his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John.

:2 Who bore record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw.

:3 Blessed is he that readeth and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein; for the time is at hand.



:4 John to the seven churches which are in Asia:

Grace be unto you, and peace, from Him which is, and which was, and which is to come, and from the seven Spirits which are before his throne;

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

:6 And hath made us kings and priests unto his God and his Father, to him be glory and dominion forever and ever, Amen.

:7 Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him; and all kinderds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen.

:8 I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.



:9 I John, who also am your brother, and companion in the tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was in the island that is called Pat'mos, for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ.

:10 I was in the Spirit on the Lord's Day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet.

:11 Saying, I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last: and, What thou seest, write in a book, and send it unto the seven churches which are in Asia; unto Eph'e-sus, and unto Smyrna, and unto Per'ga-mos, and unto Thy-a-tira, and unto Sardis, and unto Philadelphia, and unto La-o-di-ce'a.

:12 And I turned to see the voice that spake with me. And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks;

:13 And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of Man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle.

:14 His head and his hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and his eyes were as a flame of fire;

:15 And his feet were like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters.

:16 And he had in his right hand seven stars, and out of his mouth went a sharp twoedged sword: and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength.

:17 And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last.



:18 I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive forevermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.

:19 Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which will shall be hereafter;

:20 The mystery of the seven stars which thou sawest in my right hand, and the seven golden candelsticks. The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches: and the seven candelsticks which thou sawest are the seven churches.



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Statement of Faith

Revelation of Jesus Christ


Verses 1 - 3

The Book of Revelation begins by stating that God (the Father) gave the Revelation of Jesus Christ to Him (His Son) to show to His servants the "things which must shortly come to pass". And that He sent and signified it by His angel to His servant John.

Going back to Matt. 24:36 and 25:13, Jesus stated that no man knows the day or hour of His return. Only the Father in heaven knows that time.

These verses are keyed to the beginning of the tribulation period {Luke 21:28}; and to the parable of the ten virgins {Matt. 25: 1-12} wherein Jesus, as the bridegroom, is shown coming to seize His bride, the church. He will then carry her away to the wedding chamber which He has built in heaven {John 14:2-3}.

Seizing the bride by surprise, was considered a romantic part of the Jewish marriage custom. The primary meaning of the word "seize", means, "to take legal possession of", which is what is happening at this juncture of the marriage process. The groom is honoring his legal commitment to the marriage contract, previously agreed to by the couple.

The term "Rapture" is often used in connection with this event. That word comes from the root word "Rapt" (from the Latin "Rapere"); and also means, "to seize"; as to "be carried away with joy and love".

Jesus' appearance to fulfill this ancient Jewish marriage rite; and how it differs from His revelation at the end of the tribulation period, will be explained more fully in chapter 19 of this study.

Here in the Book of Revelation, God the Father, is about to unveil the plan which will culminate in the revelation and enthronement of His Son as, "KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS", upon the earth.

That's the primary focus of this book. He who came down from heaven and died for sinners; ascended back to heaven. In due time He will return, with power, and put down all opposition to God. When that is finished, He will then deliver up the kingdom to the Father who will be forever glorified in His Son and those who were redeemed by Him.

No matter what your view point is concerning the timing of these events (pre, mid, or post tribulation), we can all agree that the fulfillment of these events is guranteed. This study presents a basic understanding of the pre-tribulation removal of the church, but fully respects those who hold a different view point, just as sincerely. Each one holds equally to their view, to the glory of God, and that is commendable. The best approach is, to always be ready for the Lord's return, whatever understanding proves to be the correct one. The admonition is, "...be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not, the Son of man cometh." (Matt. 24:44)

The Book of Revelation begins, in chapter 1, with the same basic words which are found at the end of the book, in chapter 22. Verse 6 of the latter chapter, declares:

"...And the Lord God of the holy prophets sent his angel to shew unto his servants the things which must shortly be done."

Then in verse 16, Jesus tells John,

"I Jesus, have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the Root and Offspring of David, and the bright and morning star."

The angel which is spoken of here, in verse 1, is properly identified in {21:9}, as one of the seven angels who poured out the seven last plagues of God's wrath upon the earth.

We know this because, if we read Scripture, from that point, to {22:8-9}, it becomes evident that there is only one angel who is speaking to John: the same angel which Jesus spoke of in verse 16; and the one by whom Jesus, "...sent and signified..." the Revelation to John in Chapter 1:1.

When John is caught up, in the Spirit, to heaven in {4:1}, he is to write all that he sees in a book, which is to be sent to the seven churches of Asia {1:11}.

It appears that since he is "in the Spirit", the book which he writes is not physical in nature. The spiritual man writes in a spiritual book. When John returns from heaven, he then commits to the physical media, the things which he was shown in the Spirit.

In other words, the book which was actually written and sent to the churches, was a copy of the book spiritually entrusted to him in heaven.

The heavenly book, composed by John, was not written upon earthly parchment, while he was caught up to heaven. Furthermore, John did not know he was to write everything he saw in a book, until we reach verse 11. Therefore, everything in the book, prior to that point, would have to have been added later.

This is said to emphasize the point, that the first verses of the Book of Revelation which we have, were written with the writer having a full knowledge and understanding of events depicted at the end of the book. Hence it is at the end of the book, that we are told of the angel, identified in chapter 1:1, as the one sent by Jesus, to show John all things.

Chapter 22: 8-9 also suggest that this angel may be one of the Old Testament prophets, rather than an angelic being, "...for I am thy fellow servant and of thy brethren the prophets, and of them which keep the sayings of this book..." The Book of Revelation was committed to the keeping of the Church, not angelic beings.

A literal translation of the word "angel", simply put, means "messenger". It should be understood that the use of the word "angel" is not limited to heavenly or angelic beings (i.e. Michael, Gabriel, Satan, etc.).

In verses such as {Matt. 11:10} ; {Mark 1:3} and {Phil. 2:25}, people are also referred to as messengers. John the Baptist was called a "messenger". This word is translated from the Greek word, "ang'-el-os", from which we get the word angel. Anyone therefore, who delivers a message from one party to another can rightfully be called an angel.

Verse 3 also echoes the words of {22:7}, by promising a special blessing to all who read the book, and those who hear it read. The word "blessed" means, happy.

The Book of Revelation is filled with a series of horrendous events. Why would those who read, or hear the book read, be happy? It's because, those who do so, are apprised of the fact that God's plan shows the faithful as totally triumphant over Satan and sin, which would otherwise have mankind bound for all eternity.

Prior to the appearance of this book, the church had no definitive understanding of how all things would culminate. The plan is now set forth by God the Father, to show those who love Him, the precise scenario which will lead to the conclusion of history. For the wicked, this book is bad news; but for the righteous it is the best of all possible news!

The promise of blessing however, is contingent upon the reader, or hearer to "...keep those things which are written therein..." The key word here is "keep", which means to hold with reverence those things which are written in it.

Reverence is here used in the same sense as one would reverence the Sabbath Day. In other words, a blessing is promised to those who read, or hear the words of the book, and hold what they have received in their hearts with great reverence or esteem. For it is the Word of Almighty God which is delivered to us for our reading, hearing and benefit. Those deceived and taken in by the world system during the tribulation period will be those who have not received what this book teaches.

In summation, if we follow the actual progression of how we came to have the Book of Revelation, it would go like this:

He who sits on the throne in Heaven (the Father), gave the Revelation to his Son, who then proceeded to show it to John through an angel (messenger) appointed by Him.

John all the while, in the Spirit, is writing down in a book the heavenly visions presented before him, which he would later entrust for delivery to the seven messengers (angels) of the seven churches. From there copies were made and sent to the other churches of God (at Rome, Colassae, Thesolonika, Corinth, etc.). From those churches, copies have been dispersed and passed down, through the centuries, to us.

 
 
 


Verses 4 - 8

In verse 4, John himself begins to speak to the seven churches, by greeting them with a blessing similiar to that found in other epistles of the New Testament, particularly those attributed to the Apostle Paul. Having returned from the heavenly visions presented to him on the Island of Patmos; John begins his writing by greeting the churches with, "Grace be unto you, and peace,..." from the Father, Jesus and the seven Spirits before the throne.


"...the seven Spirits which are before his throne..."

Does God in heaven have "seven Spirits" as indicated in the verses below, or does this phrase refer to something else?

Scripture itself defines for us just what the "seven Spirits of God" or the "...seven Spirits which are before his throne." represent.

{NOTE: 'Color coded words are used, from time to time in this Bible Study, to emphasize the relationship which certain words or phrases in a passage, or passages may have with each other. It is offered to help the reader better understand some of the more veiled ideas conveyed by the writer '}

In chapter 4:5, we read:

"...Seven lamps of fire were burning before his throne, which are the seven Spirits of God."

Rev. 5:6 tells us that the Lamb which stood before the throne had seven horns and seven eyes, "...which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth."

Again, in Rev. 1:12 - 20, we are told that John saw seven stars and seven golden candlesticks, which Jesus defined as, "...the angels of the seven churches..." and "... the seven churches." (of Asia) respectively.

In Rev. 3:1, Jesus linked together, "the seven Spirits of God and the seven stars:..."

In the Great Commission, which Jesus gave to the church, it was directed to, " Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature." (Mark 16:15)

So what we see here is that the "...seven Spirits which are before his throne."and the "...seven Spirits of God." are synonymous with the "seven lamps of fire" and "seven golden candlesticks"; and that these are actually a reference to the seven churches, which were sent out as witnesses into all the world. At that time, these churches were, in effect, the witnesses for the Lord Jesus, in the world, concerning His promised revelation. For unto these seven churches was the testimony of Jesus, as written by the hand of John, committed.

The salutation from the "seven Spirits before his throne", in verse 4, appears to be coming from Christians from those churches, who had departed this life, and were now standing before the throne in heaven. It is as if they are saying to John, "tell the churches in the world we are well and love them."


In verses 5, Jesus is called the "faithful witness" (one whose testimony is trustworthy). He is also the "firs begotten of the dead" (the first of many to be resurrected - {Col.1:18}. He is:

"...the prince of the kings of the earth"

The truth of this phrase is evident in at least two senses. In Matt. 28:18, Jesus said that, "all power is given unto me in heaven and in earth". Kings and Rulers are appointed from heaven {Romans 13:1}.

In verse 6 it is stated that He, Jesus, has made the saints to be "kings and priest unto God and his Father". Also, in Rev. 21:24, the saints only are referred to as the "kings of the earth"; for they bring their glory and honor into new Jerusalem. No unclean person, though he be a king in this world, shall ever enter its gates {Rev. 21:27}.

John began in verse 4 by identifying himself and then greeted the churches; then ends in verse 7 with an admonition that Jesus is coming back and all the peoples of the world will mourn.


"...cometh with clouds..."

We are told at various places in Scripture that the comings and goings of Jesus Christ are with the clouds:

When he was transfigured (Luke 9:34) a cloud descended upon Him. When He was taken up to heaven (Acts 1:9), a cloud received Him out of their sight. When He comes to take the Church out of the world (I Thess. 4:17), the saints will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord. When He goes forth to the Ancient of Days (Dan. 7:13) to receive dominion and power as the sole ruler of the earth, He is brought to the Ancient of Days by the "clouds of heaven" (Zech. 14:9). When He returns to set up His kingdom on the earth, it will also be with the clouds (Rev. 1:7).

Are these clouds physical clouds or do they represent something much greater. In Hebrews 12:1, we are also told that we are surrounded by a "cloud of witnesses..."

In Rev. 19:8,14, we are told that the church, as the Bride of Christ, and the armies of heaven are clothed in "...fine linen, clean and white...". The multitude of saints of the ages, clothed in these garments may give the physical appearance of "clouds of heaven" as they approach the earth at the Revelation of Jesus Christ.


Verse 8

John here, seems to be stating the words of the Lord, as is the privilege of the office of a prophet. It is a, "Thus says the Lord", as declared through John's written words; rather than Jesus Himself, interjecting the words as John is in the process of writing the physical book.

The words spoken in this verse, as from Jesus, appear several times in the Book of Revelation. They are evidently written as a testimony, recounting the times when John heard the Lord speak the same words, during the heavenly visions to which he was a party. They seem to be included here, to bear witness and give weight, to the authenticity of things which John is now writing to the churches.

 
 
 


Verses 9 - 17

Verse 9 restates that it is John who is doing the writing; and that he had been on the Island of Patmos, where he received the things he is now declaring to the churches.

Patmos, a very rocky island, is located in the Aegean Sea about 60 miles southwest of the ancient city of Ephesus, in what is now modern day Turkey.

Tradition holds that the Apostle John had been banished or exiled from Ephesus, to this island, for a period of about one year; only to return after the death of Roman Emperor, Domitian.

John makes the point, that he was on the island for the purpose of receiving, "...the word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ.": as if to say, his banishment was an appointment for that purpose, regardless of what the intentions of the Emperor were.


"...in the Spirit on the Lord's day..."

Here begins the first of the two major visions which comprise what we call, the Revelation of Jesus Christ.

Visions are different than dreams. In dreams we often see ourselves doing things; most often with a sort of diluted consciousness. Dreams often tend to be erratic or irrational. In visions ("...in the Spirit..."), on the other hand, there appears to be a total consciousness, as one has when not sleeping; however, the senses are unable to perceive the present natural world, but instead are completely drawn into the spiritual realm.

There are some who view "... the Lord's day..." as the first day of the week. Others, believe it refers to the future prophetic "Day of the Lord".

Following the second line of thought, many believe that John was spiritually catapulted into the future to view the events leading up to, and including the actual Revelation or return of Jesus to the earth.

In this first vision however, John is not going to be viewing events directly related to the final judgement of God, or the Revelation of Jesus Christ. The subject matter of the first vision is to be: Jesus giving messages to John which are to be convey to the seven churches of Asia, "...things which are...".

The second vision, in which John is, "in the Spirit"; and the one in which the details of Revelation are made known, begins in Chapter 4.

The messages to the seven churches are of an immediate nature, and it doesn't seem probable that John would have have been taken into the distant future to receive messages pertaining to the churches existing in his own day. So it is more likely that John was here referring to the first day of the week and not the prophetic day of the Lord. The day with that designation, begins to be revealed with John being caught up to heaven in chapter 4, to view "...the things which must take place after this."

John begins (verses 10-11) by saying that he heard a loud voice speaking to him, of the magnitude of a trumpet, saying,

" I am Alpha and Omega, ..."

This designation is used four times in the Book of Revelation to identify both Jesus and God the Father. Twice it is used of the Father as:

"I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end ..." (Rev. 1:8 ; 21:6-7)

and once of Jesus, the Son of God, as:

"...I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last..." (Rev 1:11)

and once more as:

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

By this last phrasing, Jesus reaffirms His identity and connection with God the Father, as He declared in John 10:30,

"I and my Father are one."

Verse 16 states that Jesus has the "seven stars" in his right hand. In verse 17, John fell at His feet as though dead. Then Jesus layed His right hand, containing the seven stars, upon John, as if to convey charge of them to him concerning delivery of the Book of the Revelation to the seven churches. He then strengthens John and tells him, "I am the First and the Last".

 


Verses 18 - 20

"...I am alive forevermore..."

Jesus further identifies Himself as the one who was dead and is now alive, and forevermore. He has also prevailed to take and hold the keys of both, "...hell and of death."

Death may put the saints in the grave, but Jesus would have us to know that He has the power to open the grave and summon its captives back to life.

In verse 19, John is again told to write down what he has seen, and the things which will be shown to him afterwards.

This Chapter concludes with Jesus explaining that the seven stars are the seven angels (messengers) of the seven churches; and that the seven golden candlesticks are the seven churches which are in Asia.

 
 


CHAPTER SUMMARY

In this chapter we learn that God the Father, is about to unveil the plan by which His Son will be revealed from heaven to take His rightful place as supreme ruler of the earth. This plan is revealed to His servant John, through the agency of an angel, who is to show him all things concerning it.

John gives us some background information concerning the writing of this book, and then proceeds to describe the beginning of the visions which were presented to him while "...in the Spirit on the Lord's Day..."

He sees the Lord Jesus first, who begins to speak to him concerning the seven churches of Asia. To these churches, John is to convey messages from the Lord concerning their spiritual state.

Jesus identifies Himself as the one who was dead and is now alive, and forevermore. He also declares that He has prevailed to take and hold the keys of both "...hell and of death." Death may put the saints in the grave, but Jesus would have us to know that He has the power to open the grave and summon its captives back to life.

In verse 19, John is again told to write down what he has seen.

This Chapter concludes with Jesus explaining that the seven stars are the seven angels (messengers) of the seven churches; and that the seven golden lampstands are the seven churches which are in Asia.

 

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