Bible Study

Revelation – The future has already begun

The book of Revelation which we will study in the next sermon series, is not so much a book foretelling the future, but the revelation of what God is doing in the spiritual realm. The first vision in this book is of Jesus Christ. The book of Revelation is about Him, and He is the One revealing Himself. This is what we need to keep in mind while studying Revelation, because it so easy to get lost in all sorts of details. Seven visions of Jesus Christ are revealed in Revelation: here (1:12-20), in the vision of the Lamb (5:6-7), in the birth of Jesus thrown on a cosmic screen (12:1-6), in the Lamb surrounded by the 144.000 (14:1), in the Son of Man crowned and armed for judgement (14:14), in the Rider on the white horse leading the armies (19:16) and finally in the Christ of the second coming (22:12-17).

Revelation 1:12-20

12 I turned around to see the voice that was speaking to me. And when I turned I saw seven golden lampstands, 13 and among the lampstands was someone like a son of man, dressed in a robe reaching down to his feet and with a golden sash around his chest. 14 The hair on his head was white like wool, as white as snow, and his eyes were like blazing fire. 15 His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of rushing waters. 16 In his right hand he held seven stars, and coming out of his mouth was a sharp, double-edged sword. His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance.

17 When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. Then he placed his right hand on me and said: “Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. 18 I am the Living One; I was dead, and now look, I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades.

19 “Write, therefore, what you have seen, what is now and what will take place later. 20 The mystery of the seven stars that you saw in my right hand and of the seven golden lampstands is this: The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches.

The seven lampstands

In this first vision of Jesus Christ He is ‘among seven golden lampstands’ (verse 12). Later on, we are told that these are the seven churches (verse 20). The message is clear, ‘Someone like a son of man’ is among the churches. ‘Son of man’ is a title Jesus frequently used to identify himself. In his days, it was a well-known referral to the messianic prophecy (Daniel 7:13-14). But now the son of man is not a very special, though obvious human from Galilee, but is revealed in awesome Messianic glory. What a great encouragement for the churches!

The looks of the Son of Man

In verse 13 we read that he was dressed in a robe and with a golden sash around his chest: the dress of a priest (Exodus 29:5). His head and hair white like wool: the obvious reference to what this High Priest can do, wash away our sins (Isaiah 1:18). And His eyes were like blazing fire: a reference to a host of biblical images: burning bush, pillar of fire, altar fires, fiery furnace, fiery chariots. And his feet were like bronze: the crucial foundation that was missing in Nebuchadnezzar’s image (Daniel 2:31-45). In his right hand he held seven stars (verse 16) – making clear that the stars do not control us; Christ controls the stars!

The voice of the Son of Man

In describing his voice, John doesn’t begin to tell us what he hears but makes sure that we understand that his voice is as awesome as his appearance: the sound of rushing waters. And that is not all, out of his mouth comes a sharp double-edged sword (verse 16). That is what we have learned throughout Scripture: God’s armour is his Word (Ephesians 6:17 and Hebrews 4:12-13).

Pastor Gilbert

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