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A Walk Through Revelation - Part 3


John’s Vision of Christ

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. Revelation 1:9
John states again who he is - a brother and companion there different areas...
  • In suffering. There was great persecution of Christ followers in that day.  John, himself was a prisoner and exiled to the island of Patmos to live out the rest of his days for, as he puts it - the word of God and the testimony of Jesus, for he spent his day doing just that - preaching the word and his testimony - what he saw Jesus do and heard Jesus say.
  • In kingdom. John had worked along side other believers to further the kingdom of God and the gospel of Jesus Christ.
  • In patient endurance - this is the one that trips me up. I am not very patient when it comes to enduring hardship, so I admire John's ability to be patient and consistent in his work for God under great duress.
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.” Revelation 1:10-11 NIV
Interesting that even though John was in exile, he kept the Sabbath. I love how he says he was "in the Spirit" on the Lord's Day. I wonder how many of us are "in the Spirit" on the Lord's Day...or is it pretty much like every other day with the exception of church in the morning? Anyway, John was so in tune with the Lord that He heard Jesus' voice speaking directly to him.
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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,[a] dressed in a robe reaching down to his feet and with a golden sash around his chest. 14 The hair on his head was 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 coming out of his mouth was a sharp, double-edged sword. His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance. Revelation 1:12-16 NIV
What a sight that must have been! Is that how you picture Jesus? Quite a transformation from what he must have looked like when he walked the earth with John and the other disciples. Read that description again slowly and picture exactly what Jesus looked like. Amazing!

Notice the phrase "like the son of man."   This is a cross reference to a passage of prophecy in the book of Daniel. It was part of a vision Daniel had of heaven. 
Here's that passage from Daniel ...
13 “In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man,[a] coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence. 14 He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all nations and peoples of every language worshiped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed. Daniel 7:13-14
Notice again the reference to "one like a son of man" in referring to Jesus. A footnote to this passages states...
*The Aramaic phrase bar enash means human being. The phrase son of man is retained here because of its use in the New Testament as a title of Jesus, probably based largely on this verse.
Isn't it amazing that the book of Daniel was written 605 years before the birth of Christ and yet Daniel and John both have similar visions of heaven?
 
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 now look, I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades.  Revelation 1:17-18
I'm sure I would have had the same reaction as John did - falling at Jesus' feet as dead - dropped, flattened - terrified. I love how Jesus reaches out and touches him, then reassures him, telling him not to be afraid. He then goes on to reassure John of his identity. How stunned John must have been to see Jesus again. Thrilled, but humbled to the core to be standing in the presence of the Savior.  Notice that Jesus holds the keys of death and Hades. For followers of Christ, that means we need never fear death or Hades, for death ushers us into the presence of God in Heaven and Hades will never be our destination!
19 “Write, therefore, what you have seen, what is now and what will take place later. 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. Revelation 1:9-20 NIV
Jesus gives John instructions. He is about to dictate letters to the seven churches. We'll begin to look at those letters next, with the first to the Church in Ephesus (Revelation 2:1-7) As we read through these letters, let's glean from them what pleases the Lord and what he does not like.

Prayer:
Father, thank you for this book. For this incredible glimpse of what Jesus looks like in Heaven and for what we are about to read. Help us to see in the letters things that we can incorporate into our lives that please you and point out things in our lives that we should change with your help. Amen 

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