Revelation 1:9-20  (CLICK HERE FOR BIBLE VERSES)

Hi GAMErs!

Today’s passage is Revelation 1:9-20.  As usual, I encourage you to read the passage yourself first and see what you can glean with the Holy Spirit’s help, then read the GAME sharing below.  Let’s go!

Revelation 1:9-18 (NIV) 
9  I, John, your brother and companion in the suffering and kingdom and patient endurance that are ours in Jesus, was on the island of Patmos because of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus. 
10  On the Lord’s Day I was in the Spirit, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet, 
11  which said: “Write on a scroll what you see and send it to the seven churches: to Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea.” 
12  I turned around to see the voice that was speaking to me. And when I turned I saw seven golden lampstands, 
13  and among the lampstands was someone “like a son of man,” dressed in a robe reaching down to his feet and with a golden sash around his chest. 
14  His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and his eyes were like blazing fire. 
15  His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of rushing waters. 
16  In his right hand he held seven stars, and out of his mouth came a sharp double-edged sword. His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance. 
17  When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. Then he placed his right hand on me and said: “Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. 
18  I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades.

On verses 9-18:  John is in exile on the island of Patmos for preaching the Gospel (v9 – “because of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus”).  On Sunday (“the Lord’s Day”) he is praying deeply and sensing the presence of God (“in the Spirit” – v10) when he hears from behind him a voice like a trumpet telling him to write down on a scroll what he sees.  The voice behind John tells him to send what he writes down to the seven churches in the province of Asia (v11).  When John turns around to see who is speaking to him, he sees someone that he can only describe as “someone ‘like a son of man’” (v13).  One reason is because this person resembles a human being, yet his physical presence is unlike anything an ordinary human being has:  fully white head and hair, eyes like blazing fire, feet like bronze in a furnace, voice like rushing waters, his face like the sun in its brilliance.  He is wearing a robe with a golden sash across his chest (v13) and he stands among seven golden lampstands (v12).  The seven stars in His right hand represent the seven angels watching over the lampstands (v20).  Out of his mouth comes a double-edged sword representing the Word of God.  This “someone like a son of man” is none other than the resurrected and ascended Lord Jesus.

John falls at the feet of Jesus and Jesus tells him not to be afraid.  He affirms Himself as the First and the Last (v17, similar to the Beginning and the End).  He is the Living One who He has conquered death, holding the keys to death and hell (also known as Hades) and is alive forever (v18).

What can we learn from this?  Here are a few lessons I learn from this passage:

1. The double-edged sword coming out of Jesus’ mouth represents the Word of God.  In Hebrews 4 the Word of God is called sharper than a double-edged sword.  In Ephesians 6 the Word of God is called the “sword of the Spirit”. The Word of God is your weapon against the enemy’s attacks.  Whenever the enemy tries to come at you with lies and accusations, fight back with the Word of God.

2. The lampstands (v12-13) represent seven churches (see verses 7 and 20).  The fact that Jesus is standing among them suggests that Jesus loves to stay close to His church.  Just as He is with the various churches in the province of Asia all at the same time, Jesus is with every church today that worships Him, all at the same time.   Jesus is our ever-present help.

3. Jesus shows His care for His church(es) not just by being near and present with them. He also shows His care for His church(es) by sending a message to them (v11).  Jesus cares for His church(es) both through His presence and His words.

4. Notice that John heard from Jesus when he was “in the Spirit” (v10) – that is, he was praying deeply and sensing God’s presence. If you want to hear from Jesus, you need to place yourself in the right heart position to hear from Him.  If we want to hear Jesus’ message to the people, like John we need to be “in the Spirit”.

5. In the Old Testament book of Daniel, Daniel sees a vision of one like “the Son of Man” (a reference to the Messiah that the Jews had been waiting for), whose hair is white as wool (Daniel 7:9-13).  Revelation continues this image and builds upon it, describing Jesus as “someone like a son of man” (v13) and showing us how awesome the glorified Jesus looks like in heaven.

6. Jesus is the Living One, the One who has conquered death, who holds the keys to death and hell (also known as Hades) and who is alive forever (v18).

Revelation 1:19 (NIV) 
19  “Write, therefore, what you have seen, what is now and what will take place later.

On verse 19:  John is told to write down three things: (1) “what he has seen”, meaning the experience he just had of seeing Jesus and recorded in Revelation 1; (2) “what is now” (i.e. the present), referring to the messages Jesus has for the churches in Asia (as described in Revelation 2-3); and (3) “what will take place later” (i.e. the future).  According to some scholars, these three components form a basic outline of the book of Revelation.

Revelation 1:20 (NIV) 
20  The mystery of the seven stars that you saw in my right hand and of the seven golden lampstands is this: The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches.

On verse 20:  One of the helpful things about the book of Revelation is that after describing a vision that he has seen, John will then share the explanation for the vision that he received from the Lord.  That way we are not always left guessing as to what different symbols and images mean.  As the Bible Knowledge Commentary says, “[t]he Book of Revelation, instead of being a hopeless jumble of symbolic vision, is a carefully written record of what John saw and heard, with frequent explanations of its theological and practical meanings.” 1

Lord Jesus, You are awesome and glorified.  You are the Living One and the One who has conquered death for us all.  Thank You for loving Your church with Your presence and Your words.  May we be in the right heart condition to hear what You are saying.  In Jesus’ name, AMEN!

1 Walvoord, J. F. (1985). Revelation. In J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck (Eds.), The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Vol. 2, p. 931). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

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