Morning Bible Study
around the year 95 AD the apostle John found himself exiled to the little
island of Patmos. His crime? Preaching
While on this island, John is given an amazing “Revelation”, an unveiling
about things to come.
We ended the introductory passages last week with John describing how this
“Revelation” started, with
him hearing a loud voice like a trumpet behind him
1:11-20 The Glorified Son of Man
:12 Then I turned to see the voice that spoke with me. And having turned I
saw seven golden lampstands,
:12 seven golden
that what John is seeing looks like the Menorah
It’s more likely
that these are seven separate lampstands.
John will see Jesus “in the midst” of these lampstands.
Jesus Himself will tell us in verse 20 that these lampstands have a
(Re 1:20 NKJV) …and the seven lampstands which you saw are the seven churches.
The Bible tells
us that the worship of God at the Tabernacle of the Old Testament was a “shadow”
of heaven (Heb. 8:5)
The book of Revelation clarifies, unveils some of these “shadows” by giving
us a better picture of what heaven is like.
had the “mercy seat”. Heaven has the
throne of God.
had a “bronze sea”. Heaven has a “glass
Both will have
the “Ark of the Covenant”.
had an altar of incense. Heaven has the
prayers of the saints.
had one lampstand. Heaven has seven.
:13 and in the
midst of the seven lampstands One
like the Son of Man,
:13 like the Son of
It’s a title
that refers to the humanity of Jesus.
Even though He is fully God, He is also fully human.
used this title around 600 B.C. to describe the coming Messiah.
(Da 7:13a NKJV) “I was watching in the night visions, And behold, One like the Son of Man, Coming
with the clouds of heaven!
:13 …clothed with
a garment down to the feet and girded about the chest with a golden band.
:13 the chest
Josephus tells us that the priests, rather than being girded about the waist as most people
were, the priests were girded about the chest.
This seems to suggest that Jesus here is dressed as priest
Priest at Work
Jesus is demonstrating the role of the priest.
The author of Hebrews calls Jesus our “High Priest” (Heb. 8:1)
He’s moving among the lampstands (His church) in the holy place, trimming the lamps,
cleaning them out, refilling them, and lighting them on fire!
That’s what the
letters to the churches are all about.
He’s the Inspector of the lampstands. He’s the one works to help the churches burn brighter as lights
in this world.
This is what you will experience over the next seven or so
weeks as we look at the letters that Jesus has written to all of us.
As we work our way through this description, we’re going to see of these elements
of Jesus’ description affecting the various churches. The letters will help us understand some of
:14 His head and hair were white like wool, as white as
It shows us
that in heaven there is no “Grecian Formula” or “Just For Men”
It is a reference
to His purity and holiness.
Isaiah uses “white snow” as a picture of purity:
(Is 1:18 NKJV) “Come now, and let us reason together,” Says the Lord, “Though your sins are like
scarlet, They shall be as white
as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They shall be as wool.
Himself to the church of Philadelphia as “He who is holy”, a reference that
doesn’t show up in any of the description here in Rev. 1
except possibly here.
:14 …and His eyes like
a flame of fire;
This speaks of
Jesus’ knowledge of us (seeing right through us) and of His judgment.
To the church
He was most upset with (Thyatira), Jesus used this very description:
(Re 2:18 NKJV) “And to the angel of the church in Thyatira write, ‘These things
says the Son of God, who has eyes
like a flame of fire, and His feet like fine brass:
It’s to the
unrepentant people of this church that Jesus says,
(Re 2:23 NKJV) I will kill her children with death, and all the churches shall
know that I am He who searches the minds
and hearts. And I will give to each one of you according to your works.
The “searching” of the eyes and the judgment of fire.
:15 His feet were like fine brass, as if
refined in a furnace,
same parts of Jesus’ description are used for the church of Thyatira, I believe
that this too speaks of judgment.
:15 …and His
voice as the sound of many waters;
This same description
is used to describe the voice of God:
(Eze 43:2 NKJV) And behold, the glory of the God of Israel came from the way of
the east. His voice was like
the sound of many waters; and the earth shone with His glory.
It might sound
something like a waterfall or the ocean. (Play “Many Waters” clips)
:16 He had in His
right hand seven stars,
The right hand
is usually seen as the favored hand.
Then Israel stretched out his right hand and laid it on Ephraim’s head…
(Is 62:8 NKJV)
The LORD has sworn by His right hand And by the arm of His strength…
(Ps 16:8 NKJV)
I have set the LORD always before me; Because He is at my right hand I shall
not be moved.
(Heb 8:1 NKJV)
…We have such a High Priest, who is seated at the right hand of the throne of
the Majesty in the heavens,
:16 …seven stars,
Jesus tells us
in verse 20 that these stars represent the “angels” of the seven churches.
Though these angels might be what we normally consider angels (the guys
with the big wings), it might be referring to the leaders or pastors of the
The word “angel”
is aggelos, which simply means “messenger”.
Matthew (11:10) uses this word to describe John the Baptist
In a great place
Look where we are in relation to Jesus.
He is walking among the lampstands.
He has us in His hand – His RIGHT hand.
That’s place of blessing, strength, choice, and authority!
We can kind of get the idea that Jesus is a little rough on some of the
But it’s only because He loves us so very, very much.
The truth is
that the church is Jesus’ highest priority.
:16 …out of His
mouth went a sharp two-edged sword,
– rhomphaia – a large sword
Is this literal or symbolic? I’ve seen drawings with a literal sword.
I hope you can see the clear symbolism of this description. The Bible says,
(Heb 4:12 NKJV) For the word
of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing
even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a
discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
What is coming out of Jesus’ mouth? The Word of God, like the
letters to the churches.
The Greek word used in Heb.4:12
is machaira, a small sword.
The Greek word used here in Revelation is rhomphaia which was a large sword, the kind that was so big it had
to be carried on the shoulder.
Kind of like the one Indiana Jones faced.
Jesus isn’t messing around with the little sword anymore!
:16 …and His
countenance was like the sun
shining in its strength.
:16 countenance – opsis – face
– phaino – to bring forth into the
This is what we call “glory”
Part of the Biblical idea of glory is a shining light, a kind of glow.
When Jesus took
Peter, James, and John up to a mountain retreat…
(Mt 17:2 NKJV)
and He was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became as white as
Jesus allowed the His glory to peek out.
There is a sense in which God wants His “glory” to affect our lives. John’s
describing Jesus’ glory is meant to rub off a little on the churches.
that when he spent time with God, the “glory” rubbed off.
(Ex 34:29 NKJV) Now it was so, when Moses came down from Mount Sinai (and the two
tablets of the Testimony were in Moses’ hand when he came down from the
mountain), that Moses did not know that the skin of his face shone while he talked with
Look at the blessing that the priests were to speak over God’s people:
(Nu 6:24–26 NKJV) — 24 “The LORD bless you and keep you; 25 The LORD make His face shine upon you, And be gracious to you; 26 The
LORD lift up His countenance upon you, And give you peace.”
The priests were to be asking God’s glory to “shine” on
Paul draws on Moses’ experience and applies it to us.
(2 Co 3:18 NKJV) But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord,
are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the
Spending time with God ought to change us. His glory ought to rub off.
As we truly spend time in God’s presence; people ought to see
in our faces that we’ve been with God.
What we call our “worship” time is a chance for you to
draw near to God, to spend time in His presence. I hope it’s more than just music for you.
:17 And when I
saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead.
This is what happens to people who catch a glimpse of glory. It happened to
(Eze 1:28 NKJV)
Like the appearance of a rainbow in a cloud on a rainy day, so was the
appearance of the brightness all around it. This was the appearance of the
likeness of the glory
of the Lord. So when I saw it, I fell on my face…
If we are truly aware that we are in God’s presence, there ought to be a
sense of awe and fear that should drive us humbly to the floor.
I wonder why we don’t spend more of our worship time flat on our faces.
If I’ve never sensed a need to get on my face before God; I kind of wonder
if I’ve ever worshipped at all.
We don’t have to wait until we see something has dramatic as John did,
After healing the
blind man, Jesus asked if he believed in the Messiah:
NKJV) —37 And Jesus said to him, “You have both seen Him and it is He
who is talking with you.” 38 Then he said, “Lord, I believe!” And he worshiped Him.
The words used imply he fell to the ground.
Warren Wiersbe writes:
“There is a
dangerous absence of awe and worship in our assemblies today. We are boasting
about standing on our own feet, instead of breaking and falling at His feet. For years, Evan Roberts
prayed, “Bend me! Bend me!” and when God answered, the great Welsh Revival
:17 …But He laid
His right hand on me, saying to me, “Do not be afraid; I am the First and the
:18 I am He who lives, and was
dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades
and of Death.
:18 He who lives,
and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore
Jesus was the
One who died for our sins and rose from the dead, never to die again.
:18 the keys of
Hades and of Death
– hades –the realm of the dead, the
This speaks of Jesus' authority over death and the grave.
He can take away persons in death, as in Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5).
He can bring people back from death, as in raising Jairus’ daughter (Luke 8)
Even though it is proper for us to experience a sense of fear in God’s
presence, there’s also a sense in which we should not be afraid.
He’s the first and last – it all begins with Him and it all ends with Him.
He’s the one who has conquered death.
He’s the reason we have hope when we face death.
(Ps 23:4 NKJV) Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I
will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort
Donald Grey Barnhouse was one of
America’s great preachers. His first wife died from cancer when she was in her
thirties, leaving three children
under the age of twelve. Barnhouse chose
to preach the funeral himself. What does
a father tell his motherless children at a time like that? On his way to the service, he was driving
with his little family when a large truck passed them in the highway, casting a shadow over
their car. Barnhouse turned to his
oldest daughter who was staring sadly out the window, and asked, “Tell me,
sweetheart, would you rather be run over by that truck or its shadow?” The
little girl looked curiously at her father and said, “By the shadow, I
guess. It can’t hurt you.” Dr. Barnhouse
said quietly to the three children, “Your mother has not been overrun by death,
but by the shadow of death. That is
nothing to fear.”
:19 Write the things
which you have seen, and the things which are, and the things which will take
place after this.
:20 The mystery of the seven stars which you saw in My right hand, and the
seven golden lampstands: The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches,
and the seven lampstands which you saw are the seven churches.
:19 Write the
If you’re not careful, you’ll speed right past this verse. Jesus isn’t just telling John to write, He’s
actually dividing the book into three parts.
the things which you have seen
This is what John has just seen, this vision of Jesus in Revelation 1.
the things which are
These are things in the present age, the church age, referring to the content
2-3, the letters to the seven churches.
the things which will take place after this
This refers to the rest
of the book, the things that shall be “after” the “things which are”. These are the future things, the things that
shall take place after the church age.
John will even repeat this phrase
in the Greek (meta tauta) when he starts this section in chapter 4
to let you know that he is starting this last section of things to come –
(Re 4:1 NKJV) After these things (meta
looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven…
When you grasp how this works out in the book, it helps you to see how the
book is laid out prophetically.
Read about Ephesus. Acts 18-20. Ephesians.