The Revelation of Jesus Christ: The Father’s Perfection Part 4
Revelation Upon Revelation
Message on The Lord in Revelation Chapter 1
All scripture is from NASB
Rev 1:17 “When I saw Him, I fell at His feet as a dead man, and He laid His right hand upon me saying, ‘Do not be afraid. I am the first and the last.'”
In considering these magnificent truths we are about to enjoy, I will be combining thoughts from this verse with verse 18. This was a natural reaction for John to fall at the Lord’s feet, for the magnificence of the Lord he had witnessed was so overwhelming. Remember John, Peter and James had seen the Lord transfigured some 65 years earlier, but this revelation of the Person of his Lord was just so transcending. When Daniel saw that image of Jehovah, he could not eat for days. This is the same Lord on whose chest John had rested on Passover night, but this was also the ascended Lord in glorious revelation. All feeling and rationality had departed from John.
He was overcome. I do wonder what it will be like for us when we see Jesus.
He won’t be the carpenter’s son who walked those Jewish streets long ago or the pale, insipid representations of Medieval artists. He won’t be the disgraced and ashamed One standing condemned before Pilate and the hateful priests, scribes, Pharisees and Sadducees. He won’t even be the Lord as He ascended from Olivet. I think He will be transcendent in glory and light like we can’t imagine, and we will see Him as He truly is in such glory that ordinary human eyes cannot look on it as Moses was unable to do so long ago. Paul’s friend (or was it actually Paul himself?), when caught up to the third heaven, had a taste of that glory that awaits all His redeemed children. Jesus is the fully glorified One in overwhelming majesty.
Jesus laid His right hand on John “to bring him back to his senses.” You might call this “The Right Hand of Comfort.” Place yourself in that situation – “Do not be afraid”!!
Majestic for all of us who have traumatic and unsettling situations! “Fear not” in the KJV. Commit yourself to the hand of the Lord. Why should we do this? I think this is the answer –
Psalm 118:15 “The sound of joyful shouting and salvation is in the tents of the righteous. The right hand of the LORD does valiantly.” Psalm 118:16 “The right hand of the LORD is exalted. The right hand of the LORD does valiantly.” That is how magnificent the Lord is, but the Lord also ministers to us as this verse confirms – Psalm 109:31 “for He stands at the right hand of the needy to save him from those who judge his soul.” This is the Right Hand of Strength!
This expression, “Do not be afraid” as used in the NASB is used 18 times in the New Testament. I would like to mention two of them –
(a). Matt 17:7 “and Jesus came to them and touched them and said, ‘Arise, and do not be afraid.” That would be the hand of Comfort! How many times do we need that right hand of comfort? More than we can ever count. Whether it be in a personal tragedy, or the loss of a loved one, or false accusation, or fearfulness of the world situation, we all need so much that hand of comfort. The Lord Jesus Christ is the great Comforter, and if that is not enough, then the Holy Spirit is also our great Comforter. The Father loves us, and as Father sends His comfort to us, so we are upheld by the comfort of every member of the trinity.
(b). John 6:20 “but He said to them, ‘It is I. Do not be afraid.'” Such comfort!
There is something much deeper in this verse that I can’t explore at this time, and that is the great divinity of the Lord. When He said, “It is I,” the Greek is “ego emi,” meaning “I, I AM.” This is the great Almighty God, our Saviour. There should be no cause to be afraid because the whole power and support of God Almighty is protecting and sustaining us.
“I am the first and the last.” Now we come back to what we read in verse 8. “The Alpha and Omega, the first and the last.” This is to reassure John that the Lord He knew as the eternal God, the everlasting Word that John knew so well on earth, is the same One in this magnificent revelation.
All the following statements – “Alpha, Omega,” “First, Last,” “dead, alive” (verse 18), all point to one thing.
It is DIVINITY. This One John is relating to in this first chapter is the divine Son of God, God the Son. He is the one in charge of the whole universe which He created, and He will see the whole consummation of it. He is about to step out in judgment, which is what chapter 6 onwards is all about.
John is seeing this “fearful” One, but who is also His blessed Friend and Lord. What a revelation this is.
Rev 1:17 “When I saw Him, I fell at His feet (transcendent Lord of glory) as a dead man, [the fully glorified One in overwhelming majesty], and He laid His right hand upon me [The strength of the Lord’s right hand. Jesus has the right hand of comfort.] saying, ‘Do not be afraid [the great Comforter, as is the Holy Spirit). I am the first and the last'” [the eternal God, First and the Last, Alpha and Omega, God Almighty].
Rev 1:18 “and the living One, and I was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of death and of Hades.”
The First and the Last now adds that He is the living One. That is eternally magnificent as He is our “first fruits” from the grave. The joy the women had at the tomb when they beheld to risen Lord will be ours, too, in the resurrection that is waiting for us. Then to emphasize the fact the Lord is THE risen Lord, the First and the Last, and the Eternal One states He was dead and is alive forevermore. This is the Almighty of verse 8. He was crucified, was buried, and He is alive forevermore. Praise God that He is the hope of our salvation and of our resurrection.
We have so much there. He is the Eternal God, the Living One! He is the Lamb of God, for He died for our sins and was dead! He is the Resurrection and the Life, for He is alive forevermore.
As He rose from the grave in a resurrected body, He paved the way for us to rise with our resurrected bodies to live forever more. He is the living One, both Himself, and for His Bride.
The Jehovah Witnesses deny the divinity of Christ. They claim He is just the highest of God’s creations.
That is Arianism. Have you ever used these divinity passages from chapter 1 to refute JWs? This is how you do it. When they come to the door or wherever, they like to engage you in discussion/debate on their ground. Take them off their comfort ground by asking,
* “Who is the Almighty?” They will automatically answer, “Jehovah.” You agree.
* “Can Jehovah ever die? Can he be killed?”
* “Who is the first and the last, the One who was from the beginning to the end?”
* “That is Jehovah.” Again, you agree – Yes, that is Jehovah.
* Then take them to Revelation 1 and verse 8 and read it.
(They will usually want to go check it in their horrible “New World” translation version.) [Rev 1:8 “I am the Alpha and the Omega,’ says the Lord God, ‘who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.'”] Then ask:
* “Who is speaking here?”
* “It is Jehovah.” Again, you agree.
* “So is Jehovah the Almighty?”
* “Yes, He is.”
* “And He is also the Alpha and the Omega?”
* “Can you turn to Rev 1 and to verse 17” – Rev 1:17 [“When I saw Him, I fell at His feet as a dead man, and He laid His right hand upon me saying, ‘Do not be afraid. I am the first and the last.'”]
* “Who is this still speaking? Who is the First and the Last?”
* “It is Jehovah.” Again, you agree with this.
* “Now turn to verse 18. Read it.” Rev 1:18 [“and the living One, and I was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of death and of Hades.”]
* “This is still Jehovah speaking from verse 17. When did Jehovah die, because you told me He can’t?
They can’t answer, but usually they are taught to deflect the question by saying, “But there is another verse over here….” Don’t let them do it. It becomes obvious to them that they can’t answer, so they usually then ask if they can come back with another person (the one higher up the line).
Finish up with, “There, it is so clear. The one who was living and died and is alive forever is Jesus Christ.
Jesus is Jehovah! He is the Almighty!”
Then we have one of the nicest revelations in the whole Bible. Let us look at that. The Lord declares He has the keys of death and hell (death and Hades).
This statement of the Lord holding the keys follows right on from the great victorious fact that He is alive evermore, so He then has the authority over death. Death is conquered. “O, death, where is your sting?” There is none! The picture in verse 18 is that of the old gatekeeper who had the keys of entry and closure hanging at his side on a great ring and sometimes a chain. When one wanted the city gates open or even the rooms within a castle opened or closed, the gatekeeper or doorkeeper would do that.
That person had great power because he could refuse entry.
Again, that by having the keys, he keeps the door and lets in and shuts out.
In fact, Jesus is the Door as we read, John 10:9 “I am the door. If anyone enters through Me, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out and find pasture.” The Lord Jesus Christ is the Door to my salvation and the Door to my departure. He is the Door to my fellowship, and He is the Door to my feeding.
The blessed Lord is My Doorkeeper, The Keeper of my Life, and He is the Door of Entry and Exit. He has the keys of death and hades. What can we take heart in, in all this? Well, the great news is that Jesus has your key and my key hanging at His side, and until He fits your key and my key into the lock and opens the door of departure, we are meant to be on this earth; but the moment He turns the key, He then calls us to His very presence. Death is never an accident for a Christian, and this next verse just confirms that truth – Psalm 31:15 “My times are in Your hand. Deliver me from the hand of my enemies, and from those who persecute me.”
The Roman Catholic church has cardinals who elect the pope and have the power of the kingdom of God (so they say). The word “cardinal” comes from the Latin adjective “cardinalis,” which meant “serving as a hinge (on the door).” The hinge opens and closes the door. I am afraid they are wrong because it is my Lord Jesus Christ who is the Door and operates the Door of heaven and death, not the cardinals. My Lord IS the Door and also owns the hinges!
Whatever you’ve allotted me in days or months or years;
Whatever life will weigh for me through many joys and fears,
I know my Lord has planned my way and through the darkness steers.
In God’s good time He’ll sit me where there are no bitter tears.
The Lord is my Provider here each step along the way.
He’ll walk with me and be my Guide through darkest night and day.
What then can man do unto me for I am in His hands;
My Saviour as my Great High Priest beside me always stands.
Lord Jesus Christ, we worship You; You are the mighty King.
At Calvary You bought for me the victory I sing.
Now in the time apportioned still, I walk the pilgrim road
Until that day I shout Your praise in gloryland’s abode.
(Ron Ferguson August 2020)
Rev 1:18 and the living One [In Him is life – He is the Resurrected Lord; the Triumphant One], and I was dead [The Lamb of God; the Sacrificial Lamb], and behold, I am alive forevermore [He is the Resurrection and the Life; Victor over death; the Living One], and I have the keys of death and of Hades. [He is the Doorkeeper, the keeper of my life. He is the Door of Exit and Entry. He is the Key-carrier.]
Rev 1:19 “Write therefore the things which you have seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall take place after these things.”
This is the most critical verse in the book for understanding Revelation. It lays the plan out before us. It breaks into three sections, and they are (A). The things which you have seen. (B). The things which are. (C). The things which shall take place after these things.
These form the three divisions of the book, and this division must be understood.
(A). The things which you (John) have seen. These things are the Revelation of Jesus Christ that John wrote about in the first chapter. That was the introduction to the book. Chapter 1 is the revelation of Jesus Christ, not of world events. They are covered, of course, but if you miss the first chapter, then you have missed the point. John saw such glorious revelations that at one point, he fell down like a dead man. Part (A) is Revelation Chapter 1.
(B). “The things which are” are the conditions that existed at the time of writing. They are the 7 churches of Asia Minor that were in existence then, and John was commanded to write to those 7 churches. In God’s great magnificent program, those churches were not just literal churches at the time, but they represent specified periods of church history right through from the Apostolic church to the time of Laodicea, which is our time right now. This is a huge study, but not part of our consideration in this article now. These “things which are” ARE covering the time from the formation of the Church in Acts 2 right up to the conclusion of the Church Age, and that is the Rapture. Part (B) is Revelation Chapters 2 and 3.
(C). “The things which shall take place after these things” are the events of prophecy that succeed the Rapture of the Church. They will all come about after the Church’s removal. They begin with the wonderful scene in heaven in chapters 4 and 5 leading to the scroll with 7 seals and then the judgments proceeding from that.
Successive judgments are covered, eventually leading to the Second Coming; the establishment of the Millennial Kingdom; the final revolt; the judgment of the Great White Throne, the New Jerusalem and the new heavens and earth. Part (C) is Revelation chapters 4 to 22.
Jesus Christ is The Lord of History, and The Lord of the Present, and The Lord of Prophecy, for He holds the future. Revelation is just such a magnificent book. In some ways Chapter 1 has been a bit like an overture for an opera.
An overture features snippets of operatic melodies as a foretaste to the main event. The Lord Jesus is the overture, and the opera is His hand in wrath in Revelation.
Rev 1:19 “Write therefore the things which you have seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall take place after these things. (The Lord of History, the Lord of the Living, the Lord of the Present, and the Lord of Prophecy; the Lord of the Future)
“As for 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 are the seven churches.”
This last verse of chapter 1 explains what are the 7 stars and the 7 lampstands. It is called a mystery, and I have explained that word previously in a Rapture posting. It means the unveiling of a truth not previously known. The verse tells us that the Lord is holding the seven stars that are the “angels” belonging to the 7 churches. This word ἄγγελοι (plural) means messengers or angels, for the angels are God’s messengers. It is thought they are the “secretaries” or church contacts, as earlier John was told to write to them. There is no room for fanciful imagination as to this word “angels.”
The 7 lampstands are the 7 churches that were written to.
Rev 1:20 “As for 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 [The Lord is the Upholder of the church members and those who minister], and the seven lampstands are the seven churches.” [The Lord is the Upholder of His churches].
Thus ends Chapter 1 of this magnificent book. Underneath, I have the summaries of the revelation of Jesus Christ taken from each verse. When considered all together, they are the greatest REVELATION of Jesus, the Son of God, anywhere in scripture. I hope you have enjoyed them.
THE REVELATION OF JESUS CHRIST IN REVELATION 1 – THE FULL LIST (Verses 1-20)
Verse 1 – Jesus, Saviour, Joshua, Conqueror, Christ, Messiah, The Promised One, The Anointed One, The Revealer of secrets, Master of what is fair and just and righteous, The Prophet.
Verse 2 – The Witness, Testifier.
Verse 4 – The Gracious One, and the Author of Peace; the Prince of Peace, the eternal God, the Almighty, the Promised one, the coming Lord, the great I AM.
Verse 5 – The faithful Witness who witnessed to the Father’s glory, truth and all other things, the first-fruits of the resurrection – the grain of wheat that died and rose to produce a harvest; He is the Lord of Lords and the King of kings, the King of the Jews who came and who is to come; Millennial King who comes. He is the loving One – the God of love – the sacrificial love, the One who loved us unto death, and continues that love in the present tense. The Lamb of God, our Deliverer, our Justifier. He broke the chains.
Verse 6 – Head of the Church. The Glorious King; King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
He is King of His priests, the Head of the Church. He is the glorious One and the Ruler forever.
Verse 7 – The coming Messiah to His people Israel. Israel’s Redeemer. Israel’s Deliverer, the Suffering One of Isaiah 53, the Crucified One, the Realized One, the Wounded One.
Verse 8 – Alpha and Omega; the First and the Last.
The Almighty; the Eternal God; the Word made flesh; the I AM.
Verse 10 – The Lord, the voice of authority over all the earth – the supreme authority.
Verse 13 – He is the Son of Man; the Lord who ministers in the middle of His churches), He is the Great High Priest ministering on behalf of His saints always.
Verse 14 The Ancient of Days revealed in Daniel. This is the Son of God seated on a judgment throne. The Lord who searches the hearts of men. He is the Discerner and the Judge, the Dispenser of wrath.
Verse 15 He is the Judge of ALL the earth – image from Daniel – the all-conquering future King of Revelation chapter 19; The Lord who is powerful in creation and judgment.
Verse 16 The Lord of the Churches, the Bridegroom of His Bride, the Upholder of His brethren. Again, the Judge of the earth. The sword of the Lord! The Word of God is Judge and Avenger, the Deliverer of His people.
Link with Rev 19). The Sun of righteousness with healing in His wings, the glorious God, the One who will usher in Millennial Righteousness with the dawn sun.)
Verse 17 Transcendent Lord of glory; the fully glorified One in overwhelming majesty. The strength of the Lord’s right hand. Jesus has the right hand of comfort; the great Comforter, as is the Holy Spirit. The eternal God, First and the Last, Alpha and Omega, God Almighty.
Verse 18 In Him is life – He is the Resurrected Lord; the Triumphant One; The Lamb of God; the Sacrificial Lamb. He is the Resurrection and the Life; Victor over death; the Living One. He is the Doorkeeper, the keeper of my life. He is the Door of Exit and Entry. He is the Key-carrier.
Verse 19 The Lord of History, the Lord of the Living, the Lord of the Present, and the Lord of Prophecy; the Lord of the Future.
Verse 20 The Lord is the Upholder of the church members and those who minister. The Lord is the Upholder of His churches.