Ok I'm back and we are on a mission. We are going to go through the book of Revelation, starting from the beginning. Well...at least I hope to go through every chapter. I may skip around a little bit...don't hate me!
We are going to start by looking at the first half of chapter 1...
It is important to understand first that the book of Revelation was written about things present and about the things to come...both in the near future and in the distant future. The first 3 chapters are written about the things present.
In verse 1 John addresses one of the things I cannot stand right off the bat..."The revelation of Jesus Christ...". Like I've said before, this book is about only ONE revelation...the Revelation of Jesus Christ! This is not the book of RevelationS. That's one of my pet-peeves (spelling?). I literally cringe when someone says Revelations instead of Revelation. The main focus of this book is to reveal the Father's heart for the Bridegroom (Jesus) to be reunited with His bride (us, the church), and for us to come to the realization that we must fall deeply in love with Jesus!
Verse 3: "Blessed is the one who reads the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it, because the time is near."
There are 3 crucial things a Believer MUST do when it comes to this book: 1) Read it; 2) Hear it; and 3) Take it to heart. The last imperative there means that this book must alter how we live our lives. Believers have to take this book to heart and change the way they live. We must live as love-sick brides longing for the return of our Bridegroom!
Verse 4: "...Grace and peace to you from Him who is, and who was, and who is to come, and from the seven spirits before His throne." The "seven spirits" is also translated "sevenfold Spirit." So what is the "seven spirits?" We find the answer in Isaiah 11:2, which states, "The Spirit of the Lord will rest on Him (Jesus) - the Spirit of wisdom (1) and of understanding (2), the Spirit of counsel (3) and of power (4), the Spirit of knowledge (5) and of the fear of the Lord (6) - and He will delight in the fear of the Lord (7)."
Verse 5: "...and from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth." The firstborn of the dead refers to Jesus being the first One ever to be resurrected from the dead and who is the King of Kings. He will soon rule over the entire earth with His iron sceptor and every knee will bow and tongue confess that He is Lord of heaven and of earth.
We will skip down to verse 7 which describes Jesus' descension and earthly procession:
"Look, He is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see Him, even those who pierced Him; and all the peoples of the earth will mourn because of Him. So shall it be! Amen." The Bible tells us that Jesus is going to return the same way He left. After He was resurrected and walk the earth with His disciples, it says that Jesus ascended up into the clouds. So, we know that this is the same way He is going to return...with the clouds. When He does this, every eye is going to see Him. To me this is crazy to even think about and there are opinions being tossed back and forth as to how this is going to actually look. Some say that every person on earth is going to see Jesus at the same time. I know that He is God in the flesh, but this seems rather hard to process. It is hard to imagine that every living person on planet earth is going to see Him at the same time.
I have a thought of my own here (well maybe not my own but it's backed by Scripture). In Malachi 1, verse 11 it says, "My name will be great among the nations, from the rising to the setting of the sun." It is the rising and setting of the sun that serves as a symbol of how Jesus' triumphal procession is going to look!
Want another reference? Psalm 19:4-6
"In the heavens he has pitched a tent for the sun, which is like a bridegroom coming forth from his pavilion, like a champion rejoicing to run his course. It rises at one end of the heavens and makes its circuit to the other; nothing is hidden from its heat." The bold there is to emphasize my point. This basically says that the sun is our day-to-day example of how the bridegroom is going to run his course when He comes again! To maybe try and make more sense of this, take for example the sun rising. Nowadays, the sun rises around say 6:30 in the morning here in Georgia. In California, the sun rises at around the same time; and the same goes for people in Hawaii, Australia, India, etc. So in essence, we will all see Jesus at the same time, but not at the exact same time. Make sense?! I hope it does.
And I would love to hear your thoughts!!
In that same verse it says that "all the peoples of the earth will mourn because of Him." This may have several meanings. One may be the type of mourning described in Matthew 5. "Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted." We as Believers must mourn (ie. long or ache) for His return, and we will be comforted when we see Him coming on the clouds because we would have just gone through the worst time period in history...the Great Tribulation. Also, people are going to mourn because they know their names are not written in the book of life and they are now going to spend eternity in hell, apart from Jesus.
Can I just say here that I cannot imagine how crazy unbelievable His return or procession is going to be. Imagine now the Son of Man, riding on the clouds in all of His glory with all of the resurrected bodies with Him, cruising around the earth! Man, it gives me chill bumps even thinking about it now. Since Jesus is fully man (and fully God), one would have to think that the cloud He is riding on will have to be close enough to the ground in order for us to recognize Him...maybe? Thoughts?
Jesus then is quoted in verse 8: "I am the Alpha and the Omega...who is, and who was, and who is to come, THE Almighty." We all know that Alpha is the first letter of the Greek alphabet and Omega is the last letter of the alphabet. So Jesus is saying here that He was the first (He was there WITH God before the creation of the universe - John 1) and He is the last (He is coming back to reign forever). Jesus then sums it all up by saying that He is THE ALMIGHTY! There is none like Him; none past, present or future. He is above ALL! He is so completely other!
So there you go, the start of our study of the book of Revelation. Again, I would love to hear your thoughts and comments as we proceed.
Until next time...
Grace and peace.