Description of the Lord of the Church

1:9-20

NOTES:

v9: There are a few scholars who think John possibly escaped the hands of Domitian and went to the island of his own will. However, most believe seems to clearly state John was on the island of Patmos. He, most likely, was sent there by Domitian (81 - 96 A.D.) to Patmos. The words for "companion in tribulation" seems to indicate he was in trouble just as all the brothers and sisters in faith were. Around this time, there was severe persecution of the church. There is a tradition (a possible situation or story) that says he was thrown into a caldron of hot oit and was miraculously delivered by God from it.

v10: There is a question of what condition John was in at the time of the "visions".

  • Was he was in prayer on the day of worship, first day of the week, the day the Lord rose, or
  • Was he in a realm of the Holy Spirit in the spirit world, on the "Day of the Lord" (i.e., end of the Tribulation)?
Sometimes in the Bible the term "the Lord's Day" refers to the 1000 year time when Jesus will rule after the Tribulation. Because John "ascends" in chapter 4, it seems he probably received a vision in Spirit in prayer on Sunday the day of Worship, the Lord's Day.

It is important to recognize that many of the books of the Bible, especially Daniel and Revelation, have phrases like "sounded as", "looked like", and "tasted like" (later in Revelation) to mean exactly that. They were not literal; they were symbols or caricatures (distinctive features or peculiarities are deliberately exaggerated to produce a comic or grotesque effect) of something or someone. The voice was as a trumpet. The trumpet was always used to call attention to something very important. Much of the time it was related to authority or kingship. It usualy indicated a time to pay attention to a very important public message.

Dan. 9:3 [scripture] 9:3 [commentary]
Dan. 9:20-21 [scripture] 9:20-21 [commentary]

v11: Here again is the statement of the Alpha and Omega, the first and the last (as verse 8). John is told to write what he sees. Here again, John will write what he sees. That may be what is actually occurring (literal) or what he is perceiving (what God wants him to see). The Greek word for scroll is biblos meaning "book"; hence the word Bible. Therefore, John wrote on a scroll; probably papyrus. Also, John probably was old and rather feeble; therefore, he probably had a writer for his book to whom he gave instructions and what to write.

He is told to write to seven churches. They are now defined. It would be good to memorize these seven in the sequence they are presented. If the map is consulted, the sequence would be the logical way any person would walk to these cities. In those days, many did walk between the cities. The cities were Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamos, Thyratira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea.

v12: "Lampstand" or "candlesticks" in the Old Testament Tabernacle was called the "Menorah". It had seven (seven again) branches. It has a center vertical branch with three branches on each side. This was the typical candlesticks or stands that were used in the wilderness tabernacle of Moses and, later on, in the synagogues and the Temple. Olive oil was used to burn them; symbolizing the Spirit of god's Omnipresence. John turns around (since in verse 11 he was probably startled and turned to the voice as a trumpet). He actually sees seven (seven again) candlesticks or lampstands.

v13: Standing in the midst of the lampstands symbolizes Jesus in the middle of the "seven" churches. "Son of Man" means "a genuine man"; the Old Testament name of the Messiah (Dan 7:13-14). Garments to the ground is the symbol of a majestic ruler. Wrapped around the chest was a golden Sash which indicates absolute righteousness (Isa 11:5; Eph 6:14). It should be noted that in the KJV of the Bible the term paps is ued. The term means the chest of a man or the breasts of a woman (Ezek. 23:21; Luke 11:27)

Dan. 7:13-14 [scripture] 7:9-14 [commentary]
Dan. 3:25 [scripture] 3:24-25 [commentary]
Dan. 7:9 [scripture] 7:9-14 [commentary]

v14: "His head and His hair were white like white wool, like snow" shows His elder wisdom and likeness of the "Ancient of days". This term is used for the only personage of God (Dan. 7:9). It indicates the ageless, everlasting, antiquity, and purity of Christ. Even United States statesmen used to wear white wollen wigs of something similar to indicate they were elders with wisdom. His eyes like a flame of fire shows supernatural ability to be penetrating and see everything.

v15:The brass or bronze (an alloy of copper or gold and silver having a brilliant lustre) boots seemingly white hot shows the fierce judgemnent about to come. Compare with Dan. 10:6. The feet symbolism will be used in other chapters of Revelation to indicate treading upon, overcoming, stamping out, and likening to the wine press. The voice is speaking all notes (languages) at once with the power of the ocean. Jesus speaks through the churches to all languages on the earth

v16:Seven stars (see also 1:20) stands for the seven angels of the churches. This will be discussed further in the verse 20 commentary. Being in the right hand usually refers to God's preference. The two edged sword symbolizes speaking sharply, perfectly, in all directions, swiftly and, when something is said to be done, because of the authority, it IS done.

v17: When John sees Jesus, he falls at Jesus' feet in humility and reverence. This type action is not unusual (Dan. 10:5-9; Acts 9:3-4). It is very important to know one bows ONLY to God. In Rev. 19 John bows to an angel and the angel says no one bows to them; only to God. Jesus laid His hand upon John. Can you imagine that feeling of sensitivity and power?? Jesus said for John not to fear. Now Jesus further states He is the beginning and the end (much like the alpha and the omega).

v18: With this simple statement, Jesus says that He was alive as a man. He then died as a man. However, He now lives forever. Death has absolutely no power of dominion on Him. When someone has keys, the person has control and ultimate power over the entrance for which the keys control. So it is with Jesus. He holds the keys that will control who will go to hell and death. The death probably is referring to the complete absence of God. Wouldn't that be the most horrible thing??

v19: John is now instructed to write down the things that he has seen in addition to the things that have been and the things he is about to see. Now is the time for all people to be able to understand some of the desires of God. Some of these concepts and knowledge were "hidden" or not known. That is why the book of Revelation was decreed. It is the book of revealing those things previously hidden or unknown. Remember Daniel was told to seal his book and writings because people were not knowledgable nor wishful enough to know what God wanted. There was to be a later time when more knowledge would help in understanding Dan. 12:4

v20: In this verse, Jesus defines the interpretation of the mystery of the seven stars. However, even with His words, there is still some misunderstanding between scholars. Jesus says the stars are the angels of the seven churches and the seven candlesticks are the seven churches. The identities of the seven churches are known. However, who or what is a star? Also, why does He call this a mystery? Keep in mind, when one reads a true translation (not free translations) of the Bible, each word has meaning. Therefore, it is no slip to have the words of mystery and angels.

There are some who believe the stars refer to the leader, chief, elder, or similar (minister or pastor) of each church. This would seem to be a logical choice because the letters that John will write in chapters 2 and 3 will be read and understood by someone at the church. We will find out shortly, Jesus meant for ALL in the church to hear the words. There is also a school of thought that, although someone in the church will get the letter for possible action, there is a actual responsible angel that oversees each church (even today). They provide and reveal divine guidance to the leaders and answer for the divine plan for the church.

The Greek musterion means mystery. It was used back in that time to refer to mysteries of a cult. Those mysteries were known only to the members of the cult. The word is used here to help differentiate between the believers (the cult) from the non-believers. The items to be seen are to be seen and understood by believers. Those who do not spend the time to read and hear and pray and receive the blessing of reading and hearing this book (Rev. 1:3) will not understand. Therefore, it will always be a mystery to them. The mysteries will be "revealed" to believers who wish to know. That is why Revelation CAN be understood enough to believe in it 100%.


REFERENCES:
Exod 25:31-40; Dan 7:9; Dan 9:21; Zec 4:1-6; Mat 16:18; Heb 4:12

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