Bible Study: Revelation 1 – The Book from God Himself

Revelation is the only book that says we are blessed to read, hear and keep the things that are written, for the time is near. Hence, let us not be like hypocrites without discerning times and seasons. Here we will look into Revelation 1 and understand what it says.

(Rev 1:3) Blessed [is] he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written in it; for the time [is] near.  

(Luke 12:56) “Hypocrites! You can discern the face of the sky and of the earth, but how [is it] you do not discern this time?

Author

(Rev 1:1-3) The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show His servants — things which must shortly take place. And He sent and signified [it] by His angel to His servant John, who bore witness to the word of God, and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, to all things that he saw. Blessed [is] he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written in it; for the time [is] near.

The book of Revelation is the only book in New Testament that was given directly by God Himself through His servant. We are blessed to read, hear and keep those that are written in it. The first few passages clearly explain that God Himself is the author.

(Rev 10:4) Now when the seven thunders uttered their voices, I was about to write; but I heard a voice from heaven saying to me, “Seal up the things which the seven thunders uttered, and do not write them.

Seven thunders are a good example which shows how John was guided to write even each line in the Book of Revelation. Hence, each word in this book is extremely important.

The Triune God

(Rev 1:4-6) John, to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace to you and peace from Him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven Spirits who are before His throne, and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler over the kings of the earth. To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood, and has made us kings and priests to His God and Father, to Him [be] glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. 

John mentions God Himself as the author and writes to whom it is addressed. His first greeting itself is interesting and mentions Trinity: three persons in one God.
Grace to you and peace:
  • from Him who is and who was and who is to come, and 
  • from the seven Spirits who are before His throne, and
  • from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler over the kings of the earth.
God the Father

(Rev 4:8-9) [The] four living creatures, each having six wings, were full of eyes around and within. And they do not rest day or night, saying: “Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, Who was and is and is to come!” Whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to Him who sits on the throne, who lives forever and ever, … (Rev 5:7) Then He came and took the scroll out of the right hand of Him who sat on the throne.

It is God is the Father who sits on the throne, who is, who was and who is to come.

God the Son

(Col 1:18) And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence. 

(Rev 12:5) She bore a male Child who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron. And her Child was caught up to God and His throne.

Jesus Christ is the faithful witness, first born from the dead and ruler of all kings.

Holy Spirit

(Rev 3:1a) “And to the angel of the church in Sardis write, ‘ These things says He who has the seven Spirits of God and the seven stars:

God having seven Spirits is something new and only found in Revelation.

(1Cor 12:12-13) For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also [is] Christ. For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body — whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free — and have all been made to drink into one Spirit. 

(Eph 4:4-6) [There is] one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who [is] above all, and through all, and in you all.

Having said that we can see the shadow of what is clearly known today in Revelation is also seen in the law and old testament times.

  • (Zech 3:8-9) ‘Hear, O Joshua, the high priest, You and your companions who sit before you, For they are a wondrous sign; For behold, I am bringing forth My Servant the BRANCHFor behold, the stone That I have laid before Joshua: Upon the stone [are] seven eyes. Behold, I will engrave its inscription,’ Says the LORD of hosts, ‘And I will remove the iniquity of that land in one day. … (Zech 4:10) For who has despised the day of small things? For these seven rejoice to see The plumb line in the hand of Zerubbabel. They are the eyes of the LORD, Which scan to and fro throughout the whole earth. … (Rev 5:6) And I looked, and behold, in the midst of the throne and of the four living creatures, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as though it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent out into all the earth. 
  • (Exod 25:37) “You shall make seven lamps for it, and they shall arrange its lamps so that they give light in front of it. … (Rev 4:5) And from the throne proceeded lightnings, thunderings, and voices. Seven lamps of fire [were] burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God.

John then preaches the good news in John 3:16. To Him who loved us (God so loved the world) and washed us from our sins in His own blood (He gave His only begotten Son), and has made us kings and priests to His God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever (whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life).

(Rev 1:7-8) Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him, even they who pierced Him. And all the tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him. Even so, Amen. I am the Alpha and the Omega, [the] Beginning and [the] End,” says the Lord, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.

The verse should not be misunderstood as if when Christ is coming in the clouds, every eye even those of the dead will see Him. The verse however confirms Christ’s second coming and every eye, even those of the dead will see Him.

(Rev 20:5) But the rest of the dead did not live again until the thousand years were finished. This [is] the first resurrection. 

(Rev 20:12-13) And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is [the Book] of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works.

Those who pierced Him are long dead and are part of the second resurrection. When Christ comes in clouds, every eye of those living in this world will see and when He judges from white throne judgment after the second resurrection, every eye, even those of the dead will see Him.

Why John was in Patmos?

(Rev 1:9) I, John, both your brother and companion in the tribulation and kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was on the island that is called Patmos for the word of God and for the testimony of Jesus Christ.

John was imprisoned in the island of Patmos for the word of God and for the testimony of Jesus Christ.

(Rev 19:10b) For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.

We all earnestly desire the gift of prophecy through the Spirit but are we ready to be a testimony of Jesus Christ even in tribulations and have patience in Jesus Christ in our troubles?

The Lord’s Day

(Rev 1:10) I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day, and I heard behind me a loud voice, as of a trumpet, saying, “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last,” and, “What you see, write in a book and send [it] to the seven churches which are in Asia: to Ephesus, to Smyrna, to Pergamos, to Thyatira, to Sardis, to Philadelphia, and to Laodicea.”

While Sunday is generally understood as Lord’s day among Christians, Bible does not mention this. Hence, Lord’s day is not Sunday. Lord’s day is nothing but the day of the Lord. John was in the Spirit on the day of the Lord. 

(1Thess 5:2) For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night. 

(2Pet 3:10a) But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night

The Lord’s Day or the day of the Lord is speaking about the day He comes again to judge. It comes as a thief in the night which we least expect.
If John was in Lord’s Day, which is yet to come, how can these churches be when they have long vanished?

(Rev 5:6) And I looked, and behold, in the midst of the throne and of the four living creatures, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as though it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent out into all the earth.

The seven Spirits of God are not just for the seven churches but for all the earth and for all ages. This why when each of the seven Spirit speaks to the church, it doesn’t say to that particular church but to all churches.

He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. (Rev 2:7,11,17,29; Rev 3:6,13,22) 

Seven Golden Lampstands

(Rev 1:12) Then I turned to see the voice that spoke with me. And having turned I saw seven golden lampstands, and in the midst of the seven lampstands [One] like the Son of Man, clothed with a garment down to the feet and girded about the chest with a golden band. His head and hair [were] white like wool, as white as snow, and His eyes like a flame of fire; His feet [were] like fine brass, as if refined in a furnace, and His voice as the sound of many waters; He had in His right hand seven stars, out of His mouth went a sharp two-edged sword, and His countenance [was] like the sun shining in its strength. And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead. But He laid His right hand on me, saying to me, “Do not be afraid; I am the First and the Last. 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.

There is a big difference from the lampstand in the law and the lampstand in revelation.

(Exod 25:31-32, 36-37) ” You shall also make a lampstand of pure gold; the lampstand shall be of hammered work. Its shaft, its branches, its bowls, its [ornamental] knobs, and flowers shall be [of one piece.] And six branches shall come out of its sides: three branches of the lampstand out of one side, and three branches of the lampstand out of the other side. … Their knobs and their branches [shall be of one piece;] all of it [shall be] one hammered piece of pure gold. You shall make seven lamps for it, and they shall arrange its lamps so that they give light in front of it.

In the law, only one lampstand of pure gold with seven lamps with three on each side was made. However, in revelation, there are seven lampstands.  Jesus also confirms that each church is an individual lampstand and not branches of a single lampstand.

(Rev 2:5) “Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place — unless you repent.

It is the responsibility of the High Priest for the lampstand and the lamp must give light continually.

(Lev 24:2,4) “Command the children of Israel that they bring to you pure oil of pressed olives for the light, to make the lamps burn continually. … He shall be in charge of the lamps on the pure [gold] lampstand before the LORD continually.

Jesus Christ being the High Priest is responsible for the burning of the lamps in lampstands. This doesn’t go off when the church it was addressed to became no more. Instead it is addressed to all churches that are similar to it. 

(Matt 5:14-16) “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all [who are] in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.

(Rev 4:5) And from the throne proceeded lightnings, thunderings, and voices. Seven lamps of fire [were] burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God. 

We are the light, the Spirit is the fire in the lamp and the lampstand is the church. We give light where the Spirit of God working through us in the church of all generations. The seven churches are not only those seven churches in Asia but also seven types of churches which will exist in all ages.

Key to Understand Revelation

(Rev 1:19) “Write the things which you have seen, and the things which are, and the things which will take place after this.

Jesus Christ mentions what to write and explains how the prophecy will unfold.

(Rev 1:20) “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.

Steganography is the practice of concealing a message within another. The last verse in this first chapter explains how God conceals His message with symbols when told to His servants. We see this throughout Scripture. Hence, the seven golden lampstands are the seven churches and the seven stars are the angels of seven churches. 

For understanding Revelation, we need to have a better understanding of the entire Scripture. This is because, the key with which Revelation is locked is the Bible itself.

Why Steganography in Revelation?

Why revelation is written in Steganography ? Christ doesn’t want you to know if you don’t want to know.

(Matt 13:13-15) “Therefore I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. And in them the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled, which says: ‘Hearing you will hear and shall not understand, And seeing you will see and not perceive; For the hearts of this people have grown dull. Their ears are hard of hearing, And their eyes they have closed, Lest they should see with [their] eyes and hear with [their] ears, Lest they should understand with [their] hearts and turn, So that I should heal them.’

Christ speaks in parables (or Steganography) because seeing they do not see and hearing they do not hear and understanding they do not understand. We are not to be like those multitude to which parables are spoken. Hence, only those who are truly His servants will be able to see, hear and understand the book of Revelation. God doesn’t give a book which His servants don’t understand. Blessed are those who reads Revelation and those who hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written in it. How can we know what God wants us to understand unless we seek to understand what Christ is saying in Revelation? Revelation is the least read book in Christendom.

Chronological Order

One of the important aspect to understand Revelation is it’s chronological order. We will notice the chronological is not as per the chapters only after reading the entire book several times. The entire book of Revelation if for God’s people. The first 11 chapters are speaking about the events happening within the churches and events related to God’s people. The rest of the chapters speaks about events happening in the world and outside the church.

Below below tabulation will help you understand the chronological order of Revelation

Prophecy about the Church Prophecy about the World
Roman Empire; Birth, Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ
Revelation 12:1-5
War in Heaven
Revelation 12:6-12
John in Patmos; Revelation of God
Revelation 1
7 Churches in Asia
Revelation 2 & 3
Persecution of Jews & Christians
Revelation 12:13-17
Vision of Heaven & Book of Life
Revelation 4 & 5
1st Horseman (Spirit of Catholicism)
Revelation 6:1,2
2nd Horseman (Spirit of Crusade)
Revelation 6:3,4
Beast rises Out of Sea (Caliphites)
Revelation 13:1-10
3rd Horseman (Spirit of Reformation)
Revelation 6:5,6
TODAY
4th Horseman (Spirit of Carnal Mind)
Revelation 6:7,8
Beast Out of Earth & 666
Revelation 13:11-18
144000, Great Tribulation & Final Harvest
Revelation 7 & Revelation 14:1-5 & Revelation 14:8-20
Redeemed from Great Tribulation
Revelation 7:14 & Revelation 15:2
Plague of  hail, fire and sores
Revelation 8:7 & Revelation 16:2
Sea become blood
Revelation 8:8-9 & Revelation 16:3
Rivers and on the springs of water become blood
Revelation 8:10-11,  & Revelation 16:4-7
Plague on sun, moon and stars
Revelation 8:12-13 &  & Revelation 16:8-9
Torment and Painful disease
Revelation 9:1-12 & Revelation 16:10-11
200 million army camped at Armageddon
Revelation 9:13-21 & Revelation 16:12-21
Mystery of God (Abomination of Desolation)
Revelation 10
The 2 Witnesses
Revelation 11:1-12
Jerusalem’s Repentance
Revelation 11:13
Mystery Babylon’s Judgement (Mecca)
Revelation 17 & 18
Marriage Supper of Lamb
Revelation 19:7-9
Christ’s Second Coming
Revelation 19:11
Kingdoms of earth became God’s Kingdoms
Revelation 11:15-19 & Revelation 19:15-16
The Great Slaughter 
Revelation 19:17-21
1000 Year Reign
Revelation 20:4
Gog and Magog War; Jerusalem Surrounded
Revelation 20:8-9
White Throne Judgement
Revelation 20:10-15
New Jerusalem; New Heaven and Earth
Revelation 21 & 22