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Revelation 1:9-20

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Some people say that the book of Revelation creates more fear and uneasiness in people than comfort.
All the imagery and strange scenes in Revelation are troubling. We wonder what this is all about. Some of things that John writes about beasts full of eyes and wings, horsemen who bring destruction, and any other wild things make us uncomfortable.
I read through the entire book of Revelation this week in one sitting and after doing so, I didn’t come away afraid. I was encouraged. As I focused on the text for today, I was reminded immediately why I felt that way.
Revelation 1:9 NIV
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.
John, the apostle, is our brother and companion. He is our companion in the suffering, the kingdom, as well as the patient endurance that comes through Jesus Christ.
The book of Revelation is for the people who can call him a brother and fellow traveling companion. Someone who identifies himself that way doesn’t write to terrify or trouble us. He writes to encourage us as we complete our part of the journey.
The story goes is that somewhere in the the wait on God—faithfulness, stand up against temptations and evil—patient endurance. persecution, kingdom, endurance
As we enter the text, John tells us about the day that he was given a particular vision—guided and led by the Holy Spirit.
It was both what John saw and heard that were important.
First, a voice, like a trumpet. What that exactly sounded like, we will have to use our imagination. What I take from the description is that the voice, like a trumpet, was piercing and bright. All instruments have their beauty in their own particular way, imagine the a tuba before the Kentucky Derby—maybe if it was an elephant race or reveille played on the flute or clarinet.
The voice, which we interpret to be the voice of Jesus tells John to write down what he sees and then send it to the seven churches.
Imagine the trumpet before the Kentucky Derby or reveille played on a tuba.
SHOW MAP
It’s intentional about he churches that John lists, as well as the order. There are other cities that had churches that were more influential and larger, but John sent the letter to churches that had easy access to many areas that surrounded them.
Also, John lists these churches in the order of the route that the would take from Patmos to Laodicea.
John turns around to hear who is speaking to him and then he sees seven golden lampstands. We’ll read more about those lampstands—each lampstand representing one of the churches in John’s letter.
Yet that wasn’t the most interesting thing he saw in his vision.
Revelation 1:12–13 NIV
I turned around to see the voice that was speaking to me. And when I turned I saw seven golden lampstands, 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.
Revelation 1:12 NIV
I turned around to see the voice that was speaking to me. And when I turned I saw seven golden lampstands,
Revelation 1:
There are lampstands—not just candle holders, but stands on which lamps were set. The image is more than like that of what we know as a menorah (described in ).
Show Picture
Jesus gives us a little later in the passage an explanation of what the lampstands are. They are the churches that John is to send this letter to. Why lampstands?
The best explanation of the the lampstands is God’s people shining upon the nations lighted by the Holy Spirit and God’s truth. The churches are shining lights for God in the middle of world that is trouble.
Some also connect it to a similar vision in
The angel describes similar looking lampstands...
Zechariah 4:6 NIV
So he said to me, “This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: ‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the Lord Almighty.
Zechariah
We are reminded of Jesus’ words. They are light that is not hidden under a basket, but put on a stand. We are to be salt, a city on a hill…()
Yet that wasn’t the most interesting thing he saw in his vision. We see

See Jesus and His glory and power.

Revelation 1:14–16 NIV
The hair on his head was white like wool, as white as snow, and his eyes were like blazing fire. His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of rushing waters. 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.
It reminds us of Daniel...
Daniel 7:13 NIV
“In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence.
It is very possible and likely that John was familiar with the writings of Daniel. Also, we can see some consistency in the visions that God gave to John and Daniel.
His sash—the clothing of a high priest.
His white hair—dignity and wisdom
blazing eyes—who can see and judge righteously
bronze feet—strength and glory, feet portrayed a person’s direction—Christ’s life shows its strength, stability, and purity.
His voice—like the roar of rushing water
Stars in hand—power and authority, Christ is in complete control of his churches
Sword—a long blade—a rhomphia—used primarily by the ancient Thracian people who lived in the area close to where John was held.
Revelation 4:12
Revelation 4:12
Revelation 4:12
It is very possible and likely that John was familiar with the writings of Daniel. Also, we can see some consistency in the visions that God gave to John and Daniel.
It is very possible and likely that John was familiar with the writings of Daniel. Also, we can see some consistency in the visions that God gave to John and Daniel.
What does John see?
eRWhat does John see?
What does John see?

See the glory of the resurrected Lord.

We see Jesus, white hair, blazing eyes, bronzed feet, a voice like a trumpet and a sword out of his mouth.
That’s a terrifying figure. Yet we need to make a point here. Each characteristic of Jesus listed here doesn’t need to be analyzed or dissected, but we need to take it as a whole. John’s vision is to remind us of Jesus’ power. We need to look at the whole, not the individual parts.
There is much of and in Revelation. We are reminded of the visions of Daniel as a whole. Each piece is a reminder of Jesus’ purity and strength.
His sash—the clothing of a high priest.
His white hair—dignity and wisdom
blazing eyes—who can see and judge righteously
bronze feet—strength and glory, feet portrayed a person’s direction—Christ’s life shows its strength, stability, and purity.
His voice—like the roar of rushing water
Stars in hand—power and authority, Christ is in complete control of his churches
Sword—a long blade—a rhomphia—used primarily by the ancient Thracian people who lived in the area close to where John was held.
Hebrews 4:12 NIV
For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.
When John saw this revelation, he fell at his feet and Jesus says four words we have heard over and over in Scripture. “Do not be afraid.”

See the power of God in message of Jesus.

Revelation 1:17–18 NIV
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. 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:
Jesus explains the vision—seven stars, seven angels, seven lampstands, seven churches.
Why all of this? We have to go back to the beginning of this section. John is writing these things down so that we are able to see God’s power.
Do not be afraid, Jesus is the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End. The Living one, who was dead and now alive for ever. He is the one who holds the keys of death and hell.
John reminds us that he is our brother and companion in suffering in this world. And that we can have patient endurance in Jesus.
The big picture is that while we might think that all is out of control, God is greater and bigger.
Why couldn’t John just say—Jesus is coming again and he is going to defeat sin and evil and death. Why all this imagery?
Eugene Peterson, in his book, Reversed Thunder, says that Revelation doesn’t say anything that hasn’t already been said in the other 65 books of the Bible. We can know the gospel of Jesus Christ without having to read Revelation.
What Revelation does is give us the ability to imagine, to see with our imagination, rather than read with our understanding.
We serve a God that cannot be fully known. Revelation encourages us to see, to dream, ultimately to encourage us in faith. We can’t fully imagine the glory and power of God. John’s descriptions help.
See God’s power and glory this week.
Amen
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