THE Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John:
2 Who bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw.
3 Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.
4 JOHN to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace be unto you, and peace, from him which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from the seven Spirits which are before his throne;
5 And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood,
6 And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.
7 Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen.
8 I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.
9 I John, who also am your brother, and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was in the isle that is called Patmos, for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ.
10 I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet,
11 Saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: and, What thou seest, write in a book, and send it unto the seven churches which are in Asia; unto Ephesus, and unto Smyrna, and unto Pergamos, and unto Thyatira, and unto Sardis, and unto Philadelphia, and unto Laodicea.
12 And I turned to see the voice that spake with me. And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks;
13 And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle.
14 His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire;
15 And his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters.
16 And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp twoedged sword: and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength.
17 And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last:
18 I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.
19 Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter;
20 The mystery of the seven stars which thou sawest in my right hand, and the seven golden candlesticks. The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches: and the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches.
The revelation is the unveiling of Jesus Christ and testifies about Jesus Christ. The nature and the character of Yeshua Ha’Mashiach can be viewed in each of the 66 books of the Bible (http://www.jesusplusnothing.com/jesus66books.htm). In the final prophecy many typical names and symbolic images of God’s anointed saviour of the world are summarized. All doubters should consider that it is impossible to take the scripts from over 40 authors, written over a period of more than 1500 years, and put them together as a harmonious masterpiece in the word of God. At the end, a serious investigator can only come to the conclusion that this was made possible by the inspiration and help of the Holy Spirit.
The words of the prophecy are addressed to the truth following disciples of Jesus that were edified and comforted through it, but also needed exhortation. My problem in the reading and study of the Apocalypse was that I got no good feelings hearing the message of judgements and outpouring of wrath. As a charismatic Christian I was mentally used to better hide in the loving arms of my Heavenly Father. But the promise of blessing is very clearly on those who read, listen, and keep the words.
The greatest difficulty, however, is caused through our understanding of time. If the time is near, the centuries old message maybe was valid only for the first Christians, who were severely persecuted by the Romans, as in the seven towns in Asia minor, but not for us today. Or the time of tribulation and the Antichrist appear only in the distant future, because most of the Western world’s positive thinking prosperity Christians hope that they will be raptured before the worst tribulation.
Peace from him who is, and who was, and who is to come reminds me of Hebrews 13 verse 8: Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and for ever. Together with Exodus 3 verse 14: And God said unto Moses: I AM THAT I AM.
Jesus, who was, and is, and is constantly coming, is changing as little as the Father of Lights (James 1, 17) and the Seven Spirits before the throne (Isaiah 11, 2).
And what has changed in the world after the crucifixion and resurrection of my Lord? Were the powerful kings of the earth willing to acknowledge his rule up to this day? At least, many people set their calender after his incarnation and celebrate his birth each year. Bible commentators view it as proven that the Roman monk Dionysius Exiguus has miscalculated the date of birth, and Christmas was donated by the superstitious, sly Emperor Constantine the Great, who celebrated the feast of the undefeated sun god “Sol Invictus” and the birth of the light god Mithras after the winter solstice on the 25th of December. The Roman Catholic Church introduced the Good Friday as the date of death of the crucified. If you trust more in the report of the Gospel of John, where the risen one appeared to Maria Magdalena in front of the grave on Sunday morning, at the first day of the week, theologically uneducated Bible students can notice the next historic fallacy. Because Jesus compared himself with Jonah and prophesied that he will be three days and nights in the belly of the earth (Matthew 12, 40). Making so many mistakes in the computation of time, it will be no wonder that all the families of the earth and those who pierced him are mourning. A terrible misunderstanding is not to acknowledge his omnipotence, for at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth (Philippians 2, 10). The true kings and priests have confessed their sins and believe in the power of the blood of the Lamb of God, whose name is glorified subsequently 28 times. Blessed is he who falls on the stone, and is inwardly broken, but woe to those who are crushed by the Rock of Ages (Luke 20, 8 – 1 Peter 2, 7+8 – Daniel 2, 35).
I see a real king and priest in John, who was taken to the prison camp of Patmos. It is quite possible that back then he was ninety years old and still had to knock stones together with homicidal criminals. The day of the Lord, as the point in time when John received the largest ever recorded vision of heaven, means in the biblical context not only the Sabbath as a day of rest, but is also known in the Old Testament as a time of the arrival of judgement. The prophets of old were predicting events of divine judgement which brings both: destruction and devastation, as well as justice for the righteous God fearing men.
Therefore it is possible that the innocent convict John received a vision of God’s judgment that is fulfilled continually over all times. But today preachers dare to say that earthquakes, famines, epidemics, or wars are a consequence of the wrath of the almighty creator. The image of a merciful God of love, who tolerates in his forgiveness everything is widely used in religious circles. John, whose name means God is gracious, wrote that God is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, if we confess them (1 John 1, 9). The beloved disciple of Jesus advised his little children in faith to beware of idols. Full of godliness he got a frightening vision of Jesus that made him fall as death on his face. This happened for the first time on the mountain of transfiguration, together with Peter and James. Jesus face shone like the sun, and his raiment was white as the light (Matthew 17, 2). A parallel increase was the great voice, as of a trumpet, which made John turn around to beheld an awe-struck view of the Son of man in the midst of the seven golden lampstands. Every Christian should brand itself on the memory the following appearance, because Jesus is not as weak as many do imagine. The long robe and the golden belt symbolize the high priest. The head and the hair, which are white like wool and snow, show one that is ancient in days exactly the same as in Daniel 7, 9. His eyes like a flame of fire, are all pervasive and see each hidden sin (compare the warming by the fire in Luke 22, 61: The Lord turned and looked at Peter). His feet are like shiny brass. Through his suffering he has crushed the head of the serpent, which bite him in the heel. Brass as a sign of the coming judgment can be seen in Deuteronomy 28, 23. The overwhelming power of his majestic voice is also in Ezekiel 43, 2 associated with rushing water. His right hand shows the great authority that the seven angels (stars) have received from him. And the sharp two-edged sword in his mouth stands for the Word of God, as Hebrews 4, 12 already tells in a well-known passage. The face that shines like the sun shows me that in my sinful flesh I can not stand before him without melting in immediately dying (Exodus 33, 20).
“Do not fear!” is the encouragement of God to his children no less than 365 times in his word, so to speak, for every day of the year. John needed this encouragement as well as Daniel and Ezekiel who received similar visions of God. It is much wiser to meditate on these congenial phenomena, than to devour modern books of alleged angel visitations and reports from heaven.
The lamb of God alone has the keys of death and hades. Thus, it makes me wonder how many people lately have reported to have spaced out into heaven to get a Jesus appearance, without having had a near death experience. The first and the last and the living one, who was dead and resurrected, promises, “because I live you shall live also.” I am convinced that he who was, and is, and is coming will meet all the dead who already have died, but again we have a problem with our time reckoning. It doesn’t matter at which point in time we have died in inheriting the eternal life, since first will be last and last will be first. In eternity there is no solar system with the day and night, month and year calendar, which regulates now our life. And above all, there is no gravity, which let the writer feel his butt pressed hellishly in the chair. Is there a difference in the spirit, if a person appears today or 1,000 years ago before the judgment seat of the eternal God?
He, who wants to experience Jesus, has to continue his journey to one of the seven churches which are described in the next chapters, for Jesus can be found in the very midst of their lights.