Revelation - the Unveiling of Jesus Christ

Rev 1:9-20

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.

10 I was in the Spirit on the Lord's Day, and I heard behind me a loud voice, as of a trumpet,

11 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."

12 Then I turned to see the voice that spoke with me. And having turned I saw seven golden lampstands,

13 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.

14 His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and His eyes like a flame of fire;

15 His feet were like fine brass, as if refined in a furnace, and His voice as the sound of many waters;

16 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.

17 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.

18 "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.

19 "Write the things which you have seen, and the things which are, and the things which will take place after this.

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. (NKJ)

As we come to the book of Revelation, we notice that there is a wide use of symbols in the book. Many times we are told what the symbols mean right in the text. Other times we must look to the Old Testament or other passages to understand what God wants us to see.

People make the book of Revelation more difficult than it is. One of the reasons why we do not understand the book of Revelation is that we do not know the Old Testament well enough. One writer said that among the 400 some verses in the book of Revelation, there are some 500 references to the Old Testament. When we understand that, then we can understand that we must know the Old Testament in order to understand the Revelation.

In our text this morning we continue with the second introduction to the book. Here we receive a glimpse of the Author. Not John, he is but a servant and fellow sufferer. No in these verses this morning we see Jesus in His Glory.

Remember that revelation means an unveiling and so in these verses we see the unveiling of Jesus Christ. Many people have raised questions as to who Jesus really was. Some have said that He was just a man, although a good man. Some have even said that Jesus never claimed to be divine, never claimed to be God, never claimed equality with the Father. But in these verses we can forever settle that matter. Let us look at these verses.

As John is imprisoned on the island of Patmos, he is in a attitude of worship on the Lord's dad, or Sunday. As he is in this worshipful attitude, Jesus reveals Himself to John as John had never seen Him before.

  1. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last
    1. Five other times these words are found the book of Revelation.
      1. Rev 1:8 "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." (NKJ)
      2. Rev 1:17 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. (NKJ)
      3. Rev 2:8 "And to the angel of the church in Smyrna write, 'These things says the First and the Last, who was dead, and came to life: (NKJ)
      4. Rev 21:6 And He said to me, "It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts. (NKJ)
      5. Rev 22:13 "I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last." (NKJ)
      6. Depending on which writer you are reading after, some ascribe these word to the Father while other writers to the Son.
    2. But what is amazing is that these same idea of first and last are ascribe to Jehovah in the Old Testament.
      1. Isa 41:4 Who has performed and done it, calling the generations from the beginning? 'I, the LORD, am the first; and with the last I am He.'" (NKJ)
      2. Isa 44:6 "Thus says the LORD, the King of Israel, and his Redeemer, the LORD of hosts: 'I am the First and I am the Last; besides Me there is no God. (NKJ)
      3. Isa 48:12 "Listen to Me, O Jacob, and Israel, My called: I am He, I am the First, I am also the Last. (NKJ)
    3. What does it mean to the be first and the last?
      1. Isa 43:10-11 "You are My witnesses," says the LORD, "And My servant whom I have chosen, that you may know and believe Me, and understand that I am He. Before Me there was no God formed, nor shall there be after Me. 11 I, even I, am the LORD, and besides Me there is no savior. (NKJ)
      2. This means that God is supreme, the only true God and beside Him there is no other.
      3. In this revelation of Jesus Christ we find the very same things that are said exclusively of Jehovah God are said exclusively of Jesus Christ.
  2. In the midst of the seven lampstands One like the Son of Man
    1. As John hears this voice he turns and sees seven lampstands.
      1. Lampstands & not candlesticks.
      2. Israel in the OT is represented as a lampstand.
      3. In the tabernacle and in the temple there was a lampstand with seven branches.
      4. He will tell us later that the lampstands represent each one of the seven churches to whom the letter is written.
    2. In the midst of these lampstands is the Son of Man.
      1. This goes back to Daniel 7:13.
      2. Dan 7:13-14 "I was watching in the night visions, and behold, One like the Son of Man, coming with the clouds of heaven! He came to the Ancient of Days, and they brought Him near before Him. 14Then to Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and His kingdom the one which shall not be destroyed. (NKJ)
      3. Jesus used the term Son of Man to refer to Himself some eighty in the Gospels.
      4. Do you also notice how that in Daniel 7:13 we find the similar phrase concerning how He will come with the clouds of heaven as in verse 7 for Rev. 1
      5. The reason why Jesus chose this term to describe himself was that it speaks of His sovereignty and power to reign.
  3. His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow
    1. This passage refers to God as in Daniel
      1. Dan 7:9 "I watched till thrones were put in place, and the Ancient of Days was seated; his garment was white as snow, and the hair of His head was like pure wool. (NKJ)
    2. It speaks of not the oldness of God but of the eternality of God.
      1. Hab 1:12 Are You not from everlasting, O LORD my God, my Holy One? We shall not die. O LORD, You have (NKJ)
      2. Ps 90:2 Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever You had formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God. (NKJ)
      3. Ps 102:24-27 24 I said, "O my God, do not take me away in the midst of my days; your years are throughout all generations. 25 Of old You laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the work of Your hands. 26 They will perish, but You will endure; yes, they will all grow old like a garment; like a cloak You will change them, and they will be changed. 27 But You are the same, and Your years will have no end. (NKJ)
    3. Only Jehovah is eternal so therefore Jesus is Jehovah.
  4. His eyes like a flame of fire;
    1. This speaks of His omniscience.
    2. They eyes are the primary intake.
    3. There is nothing that He does not see.
  5. His feet were like fine brass, as if refined in a furnace,
    1. This speaks of judgment.
    2. In the OT the altar was made of brass.
    3. It is where the sins of the people were judged.
    4. When Jesus returns it will be for judgment.
  6. His voice as the sound of many waters
  7. He had in His right hand seven stars
    1. Later we find that the stars are the angels or messengers or pastors of the seven churches.
    2. They are in His hand, and responsible to Him alone
  8. out of His mouth went a sharp two-edged sword
    1. The book of Revelation is a book filled with judgement and tragedy for those who remain here.
    2. The sword is two edged to tell us it cuts both ways.
  9. His countenance was like the sun shining in its strength.
    1. Throughout the Bible the appearances of God are associatied with blinding light.
  10. When I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead.
    1. For John the vision is more that he can take.
    2. He falls down dead or as dead.
    3. This reminds of the passage where God tells Moses that he cannot see His face and still live.
  11. But He laid His right hand on me, saying to me, "Do not be afraid; I am the First and the Last.
    1. But God is always merciful to us.
    2. Jesus reaches and touches John and restores him.
  12. "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.
    1. Vance Havner said that that was the only thing Jesus ever was.
    2. He was dead but is alive forever more.
    3. Death no more is a slave master that we fear but only a servant to take us into the presences of God.  

    This message was preached at FBC Toulon, by Albert Harmon. See it at http://toulonbaptist.com  

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