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Revelation Chapter One


Revelation 1

The revelation is one belonging to Jesus Christ, which God gave Him, and He signifies it to John. Though God over all blessed for ever, He is here seen as Son of man, the rejected Messiah or Lamb, and so Head over all things. This fact, that the revelation is one confided to Him, is important, because it at once makes it the testimony of Jesus and the word of God being communicated by Jesus, and given to Him by God. This testimony of Jesus and word of God comes as a vision to John, who bare record of all He saw. All of it is prophetic in character, not the Spirit of God the messenger of the Father and of the Son's grace to the assembly in its own place-a direct inspired communication to the assembly itself for itself as in its own right place-but a prophetic revelation to John about it as in the world, and about the world itself.

The assembly being already in decay and to be removed, whatever the delay of grace, the time was at hand, and the rejection of the assembly on earth to be taken as a starting-point. Another system was to be set up. The apostle had not his face turned towards the assemblies at all, but his back. The mind of the Spirit is towards Christ's taking the kingdom. Still Christ was yet amongst them, but as Son of man, the character in which He judges and inherits the world. The apostle turns and sees Him. Still it behoved, if He was recounting the coming dealing with the world in judgment, to notice by the bye "the things that are." By giving them in seven contemporary churches, no time was necessary; it left the final results as at the door, for they were in the last days, yet it gave, if there was delay, opportunity for a full moral picture of the whole of the assembly's history. I see in this only the wisdom of the Spirit, and exactly the character of John's ministry. " If I will that He tarry till I come."

I cannot doubt then for a moment that (while professedly of universal application for every one that had an ear, not an address to the general conscience of the assembly) the seven assemblies represent the history of Christendom, the assembly as under man's responsibility, the fact of the judgment of the world coming afterwards on its close (the assemblies being "the things that are ") and the character of events, beginning with the assembly leaving its first love, and ending with holding fast till He comes, and with being spued out of Christ's mouth. The adoption of the number seven, which cannot mean completeness at the same time because the states are different; the reference to Christ's coming; the reference to the great tribulation to come on all the earth in the letter to Philadelphia; the clear object of warning the assembly till Christ came, the world being then in scene for judgment: all leave no cloud upon the conclusion that the seven churches are successive phases of the professing assembly's history, though not exactly consecutive (the fourth going on to the end; new phases then commencing, and going on to the end collaterally also). [1]

But though the assembly be thus spoken of, God Himself appears here as the administrator of the world, even when addressing the assembly; and Christ as man coming, under Him to this purpose, the Holy Ghost being noticed as the direct agent of power in the sevenfold perfection in which it is exercised. It is not the Father and the Son, but God who is, yet who embraces past and future in His being, and is never inconsistent with Himself, making good in time all in which He has announced Himself in the past. The form of this however is peculiar here. It is not merely the abstract idea of Jehovah, who was, and is, and is to come. He is first announced by His present absolute existence, "from him who is," the "I am," God Himself; and then to connect Himself with previous dealings (not present relationships) declares that He is the One who was (had revealed Himself in previous ages to the earth or to men, to the Abrahams and Moseses of old time), [2] who would make good everything revealed of and by Himself. Jesus Christ (who comes last as the Man in immediate connection with God's witness to, and government of, the earth) is presented as the faithful witness-as He was personally on earth--of God; as risen from the dead (but no ascension or headship of the assembly), taking all in this character, not after the flesh; and lastly, in government not yet made good, the Prince of the kings of the earth.

The saints then express their own consciousness of what He has done for them, yet still in reference to the kingdom, not as the body or bride, or their own heavenly joys, but the highest possible as regards the given glory and place. This is the necessary consequence of the consciousness of a near and blessed relationship. Whatever the glory of the One we are in relationship with, it is what He is for oneself, one's own nearness to Him, that comes to the mind when the glory is declared. Were a general to march in triumph into a town, the feeling of a child or wife would be, " That is my father," " that is my husband." Here the feeling, though of this character, is more unselfish. "To him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood." It is His love to us which is celebrated, still with the personal feeling "us." The saints know what He has done for them, and further what He has made them. His love as perfect King and Priest are His highest characters here: nearest to God in power downwards, and in approaching Him upwards. He has made us kings and priests to God and His Father: to Him be glory! Such is the saint's thought when He is spoken of. He loved us, has cleansed us, and given us a place with Himself. This flows out the instant He is named. It is the answer of heart when He is announced, before any communication takes place. His having done this is not announced; it is the saints' own consciousness. [3]

As to others, all must be told. The next point, the first announced, is His appearing to the world. No direct communication to the assembly for its own sake--the book is not that. Here the assembly has that in its own consciousness only, as we have seen. Behold! He cometh with clouds; every eye shall see Him, the Jews too who pierced Him, and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of Him. His appearing is in judgment.

We then find, what is so remarkable in John, the mixing up in expression God and Christ Verse 8 cannot be said to be one or the other. It is Christ; but it is Christ Jehovah, Almighty, the Lord; who is, and who was, and who is to come; the first and the last. (Compare chap. 22:12,13)

Thus, we have the saints of these days; Christ's appearing to judgment; He is God, the first and the last, Alpha and Omega; the complete circle of position from John's day to the end. The practical position which John takes with all the saints, is " the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ." He belongs to the kingdom, but must wait while Christ waits, expecting till His enemies be made His footstool. The generic name given to testimony applies to all his ministry as well as to the prophecy-the word of God and the testimony of Jesus: only one might have thought that prophecy was not this last, as it was not to the assembly about itself from its Head; but the Spirit of prophecy is the testimony of Jesus.

Such is the introduction to this book. We now enter on its contents. John was in the Spirit on the Lord's day. It is his place and privilege however then, as a Christian, which is spoken of, not the prophetic period into which He entered. In the day of resurrection-his own place-the day on which Christians meet, the apostle, removed from the society of Christians, still enjoyed the special elevating power of the Holy Ghost, though alone; and is thus used of God, allowed to be banished for the purpose, for what He could not, in an ordinary way, have communicated to the assembly for its edification. The persecuting emperor little thought what He was giving to us when He banished the apostle; no more than Augustus, in his political plans as to the census of the empire, knew He was sending a poor carpenter to Bethlehem, with his espoused wife, that Christ might be born there; or the Jews and Pilate's soldiers, that they were sending the thief to heaven, when they broke his legs in heartless respect for their own superstitions or ordinances. God's ways are behind the scenes; but He moves all the scenes which He is behind. We have to learn this, and let Him work, and not think much of man's busy movements: they will accomplish God's. The rest of them all perish and disappear. We have only peacefully to do His will.

The same voice that afterwards called John up to heaven, He now hears behind him on earth-the voice of the Son of man. It summons his attention with power; and turning to see the voice, as Moses towards the bush, He sees, not the image of God's presence in Israel, but the vessels of God's light in the earth, and a complete summary of it all, and, in the midst of them, Christ as Son of man. We find, thus, in the Revelation, God's whole history of the world, or of what is of Him in it, from the first decay of the assembly to the new heavens and new earth. But it was impossible for God to set aside the present expectation of Christ, or to justify the assembly in its careless but sinful thought, My Lord delayeth His coming. Hence, as always, this history, and especially that of the assembly, is given in a way which leaves time out altogether. The moral progress of the assembly is given in pictures of the state of the existing assemblies selected for that purpose, beginning with its first decline, and ending with its entire rejection. Being taken up as assemblies, the general principle of responsibility is in view, and the assembly viewed, not as the infallibly blessed body of Christ, but such as that it may be rejected and set aside on earth; for a local assembly and the external visible assembly clearly can.

These assemblies are seen as distinct light-bearers; that is, in their place of service, or rather position of witness in the world. They are viewed in their own proper character as of God; as set by Him in the world, they are of gold. He may take them away because they give a dim, or no true light or witness for God; but the thing taken away was founded in divine righteousness, and founded originally by a divine hand.

But the Spirit first occupies itself with the character of Him who stood amongst them. First, we get His actual position, before stating what He was. He stood as Son of man. We have not Him here as Head of the one body, nor even as heavenly Intercessor; nor have we the Christ, of course (that is, the Jewish character of the Lord). It will be found that these are just the characters of Christ omitted also in the first chapter of John's Gospel. John sees Him in the wide character in which He is set over all the works of God's hand, and Heir of all promises and purposes of God to man according to divine righteousness. He is not the Son of man in service. His garment is down to His feet, and He has the girdle of divine righteousness about His loins. This is His character.

We have then His qualities or attributes. First, He is the Ancient of days. In Daniel the same truth comes out. The Son of man is brought to the Ancient of days; but, farther on in the chapter, it is the Ancient of days who comes. The Son of man is Jehovah. This characterises all the testimony. The King of kings and Lord of lords shews Him: (1 Timothy 6:15) but, when He comes, we find that He is King of kings and Lord of lords. But in this glory He has the attributes of judgment-eyes of fire-that which pierces into everything, and fire is ever the sign of judgment. This was its piercing, searching character: His feet, the firmness with which sin was met; for brass is righteousness, viewed, not as intrinsically in God to be approached, but as dealing with man, in his responsibility as man. The mercy-seat was gold, the altar and laver brass; but there it was as an altar, that is, dealing with sin for man, a sacrifice, though fire was there, but here the burning furnace of judgment. The voice was the sign of power and majesty.

Next, we have official supremacy. He held all that was subordinate authority in light and order, here spoken of as regards the assembly, in His right hand, in His power. He had the power of judgment by the word, and supreme authority-the sun-in the fullness of its highest character. We have His personal glory as Jehovah; His qualities as divine Judge; and His supreme official position.

But, He was not less the Redeemer, the gracious securer in blessing of them that were His. John (as ever in prophetic vision of Jehovah, for it is not the Spirit of adoption here) falls at His feet as one dead. So Daniel; so in spirit Isaiah (chap. 6); but His power sustains the saint, does not destroy him. He lays His right hand on John himself, declares Himself the first and the last, Jehovah Himself, but withal the same that died in love and has complete power over death and hades; the deliverer from it, not the subjecter to it. He has risen out of death and hades, and has the keys-full power over them-divine power or support; and He who died and rose again, and lives forever even as man, does so, not simply in the power of divine life in man, but of victory over all that man was subject to by sin and infirmity.

This is the position He here takes with John His servant, and with the assemblies respectively. We shall see that the state of the latter assemblies brings out other characters known only to the opened eye of faith. These were what John had seen and which he was to write. Then as regards prophetic facts, he was to write the things that were, the state of these various assemblies as the setting forth historically of the assembly's various state-a history; and the things which should be after them (that is, when the assembly's history had closed on earth). The whole assembly therefore, is thus, to the Spirit, present time--the "things that are." The future was what came after it, God's dealings with the world. This, while it left the coming of the Lord, or preparatory prophetic events in immediate expectation, left,if there was delay (and there was to be), the period indefined, and the expectation, though prolonged, still a present one. We may remark that we have the personal glory of Christ here, the position as to the assemblies accompanying it. He is not personally revealed as Son of man, that is, as taking the Son of man's place: only He who is Ancient of days is so seen as to make us understand that it was one who had that place-was Son of man. Subsequently, in the Apocalypse, it is not His intrinsic personal character, but some relative character or place He takes. Only we have something analogous to this, when the account of future things comes in. As regards the world, He is seen as the Lamb, one whom the world has rejected, but who has redemption right over it. There He is seen with the seven horns and seven eyes-His power over the world, as with the seven stars here as Son of man. These are the things John had seen.

We now pass to " the things that are." The stars are in Christ's hand; He speaks of them first; He walks in the midst of the assemblies. The latter are light-bearers, the assemblies or assembly as set in a given position, and viewed as such before God; not what the people became, but what the assembly is in His sight; just as Israel was His people whatever the Israelites became. The stars are that which is held by Christ to give light and have authority, what He holds responsible to this end before Him. It is, in a certain sense, all composing the assembly therefore, and so it is often said in the addresses to the assemblies; but more especially those who stand in responsibility through their connection with Himself, the stars in His hand. They should shine, and influence, and represent Him, each in its place during the night. That the clergy gradually took this place, and in this sense are responsible in it, is quite true; but that is their affair to answer for themselves before the Lord. The Spirit does not so take it here. They assume it as honour; they have it as responsibility. If ever they were called "angels," it was evidently just this assumption, and taken from this place. Again, it cannot be doubted that leaders, elders, or others, were in a special place of responsibility, supposing them to be rightly such. In Acts 20 they are so treated; but the Spirit does not so own them here. Christ does not address Himself to elders, nor to the modern notion of a bishop, which did not indeed exist then. Nor is a [4] thought of in these addresses. You have not the authorities (elders) spoken of in scripture, of which there were always several; and this passage of scripture cannot be applied to human arrangements as now existing.

What then is the angel? It is not a symbol, properly speaking. The star is the symbol, and it is here seen in Christ's hand. It is (as angel is always used where it is not actually a heavenly or earthly messenger) the mystical representative of one not actually seen. It is so used of Jehovah, so used of a child, so spoken of Peter. Elders may have practically been specially responsible from their position; but the angel represents the assembly, and especially those to whom, from nearness to Christ and communion with him, or responsibility for it through the operation of His Spirit in them for His service, He looks for the state of His assembly in His sight. No doubt the whole assembly is responsible, and therefore the candlestick is removed when unfaithfulness is brought home to it; but Christ is in immediate communication with these in respect of it-a solemn thought for all who have the good of the assembly at heart.

The way in which the angels and the assemblies are identified, and any distinction in the degree or manner of it, requires a little more detailed attention. That the assemblies are addressed in their general responsibility, in the addresses to the angels, is evident. For it is said, "What the Spirit saith to the churches." It is not a private communication to an authority for his direction, as to a Titus or a Timothy, but said to the assemblies; that is, the angel represents their responsibility. So we find distinct parts of them noticed. " The devil shall cast some of you into prison;" " fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer:", "but I have a few things against thee, thou hast there:", " My faithful martyr who was slain among you:", "But unto you I say, the rest in Thyatira" (so it is to be read). Yet the angel and assembly or candlestick are distinguished: " I will remove thy candlestick out of its place." " Thou sufferest that woman Jezebel."

But this separation between the angel and the assembly does not take place in the last three assemblies. The angel is addressed throughout. As to them too it is only said, Christ has the seven stars, not that He holds them in His right hand. In Smyrna and Philadelphia there is no judgment; they were tried, as faithful, and encouraged. As to judgments, or rather warning threats-in the case of Ephesus, which presents the general fact of the assembly's first decline, the warning is given that the candlestick would be taken away unless thy repented: that the assembly did not, we know from scripture and fact, and these assemblies looked at as a successive history. In Pergamos and Thyatira the offenders are those specifically judged; in the case of Thyatira fearful judgments on Jezebel and those connected with her: she had had time to repent and had not; but here the change of everything is looked for at the Lord's coming. All this shews the angels to be the representatives of the assemblies, but morally such; Christ's warning to be addressed to them (as we can easily understand to be the case in any who had the interest of the assembly at heart), whom Christ trusted with this; but to be so far identified with the assemblies that it concerned all who composed them, while particular judgments were denounced on guilty parties.

We may now enter on the series of particular assemblies; but briefly, in connection with the whole structure of the book, rather than entering into the instructive details, which I have done elsewhere in a series of lectures.


[1] There are moral reasons from the contents. We shall see, farther on, that the structure of the book fully confirms this.

[2] "erchomenos" not "o esomenos"

[3] We shall find the same thing at the close when the prophecy is ended. Here what He has been to the saints and has done: there what He is for the future. See chapter 22:17.

[4] Except in the new world, those called bishops are always bishops of a city, shewing, historically that dioceses are a subsequent arrangement. Angels were not chief officers of the synagogue.

── John DarbySynopsis of Revelation


Revelation 1

Chapter Contents

The Divine origin, the design, and the importance of this book. (1-3) The apostle John salutes the seven churches of Asia. (4-8) Declares when, where, and how, the revelation was made to him. (9-11) His vision, in which he saw Christ appear. (12-20)

Commentary on Revelation 1:1-3

(Read Revelation 1:1-3)

This book is the Revelation of Jesus Christ; the whole Bible is so; for all revelation comes through Christ, and all relates to him. Its principal subject is to discover the purposes of God concerning the affairs of the church, and of the nations as connected therewith, to the end of the world. These events would surely come to pass; and they would begin to come to pass very shortly. Though Christ is himself God, and has light and life in himself, yet, as Mediator between God and man, he receives instructions from the Father. To him we owe the knowledge of what we are to expect from God, and what he expects from us. The subject of this revelation was, the things that must shortly come to pass. On all who read or hear the words of the prophecy, a blessing is pronounced. Those are well employed who search the Bible. It is not enough that we read and hear, but we must keep the things that are written, in our memories, in our minds, in our affections, and in practice, and we shall be blessed in the deed. Even the mysteries and difficulties of this book are united with discoveries of God, suited to impress the mind with awe, and to purify the soul of the reader, though he may not discern the prophetic meaning. No part of Scripture more fully states the gospel, and warns against the evil of sin.

Commentary on Revelation 1:4-8

(Read Revelation 1:4-8)

There can be no true peace, where there is not true grace; and where grace goeth before, peace will follow. This blessing is in the name of God, of the Holy Trinity, it is an act of adoration. The Father is first named; he is described as the Jehovah who is, and who was, and who is to come, eternal, unchangeable. The Holy Spirit is called the seven spirits, the perfect Spirit of God, in whom there is a diversity of gifts and operations. The Lord Jesus Christ was from eternity, a Witness to all the counsels of God. He is the First-born from the dead, who will by his own power raise up his people. He is the Prince of the kings of the earth; by him their counsels are overruled, and to him they are accountable. Sin leaves a stain of guilt and pollution upon the soul. Nothing can fetch out this stain but the blood of Christ; and Christ shed his own blood to satisfy Divine justice, and purchase pardon and purity for his people. Christ has made believers kings and priests to God and his Father. As such they overcome the world, mortify sin, govern their own spirits, resist Satan, prevail with God in prayer, and shall judge the world. He has made them priests, given them access to God, enabled them to offer spiritual and acceptable sacrifices, and for these favours they are bound to ascribe to him dominion and glory for ever. He will judge the world. Attention is called to that great day when all will see the wisdom and happiness of the friends of Christ, and the madness and misery of his enemies. Let us think frequently upon the second coming of Christ. He shall come, to the terror of those who wound and crucify him by apostacy: he shall come, to the astonishment of the whole world of the ungodly. He is the Beginning and the End; all things are from him and for him; he is the Almighty; the same eternal and unchanged One. And if we would be numbered with his saints in glory everlasting, we must now willing submit to him receive him, and honour him as a saviour, who we believe will come to be our Judge. Alas, that there should be many, who would wish never to die, and that there should not be a day of judgment!

Commentary on Revelation 1:9-11

(Read Revelation 1:9-11)

It was the apostle's comfort that he did not suffer as an evil-doer, but for the testimony of Jesus, for bearing witness to Christ as the Immanuel, the Saviour; and the Spirit of glory and of God rested upon this persecuted apostle. The day and time when he had this vision was the Lord's day, the Christian sabbath, the first day of the week, observed in remembrance of the resurrection of Christ. Let us who call him "Our Lord," honour him on his own day. The name shows how this sacred day should be observed; the Lord's day should be wholly devoted to the Lord, and none of its hours employed in a sensual, worldly manner, or in amusements. He was in a serious, heavenly, spiritual frame, under the gracious influences of the Spirit of God. Those who would enjoy communion with God on the Lord's day, must seek to draw their thoughts and affections from earthly things. And if believers are kept on the Lord's holy day, from public ordinances and the communion of saints, by necessity and not by choice, they may look for comfort in meditation and secret duties, from the influences of the Spirit; and by hearing the voice and contemplating the glory of their beloved Saviour, from whose gracious words and power no confinement or outward circumstances can separate them. An alarm was given as with the sound of the trumpet, and then the apostle heard the voice of Christ.

Commentary on Revelation 1:12-20

(Read Revelation 1:12-20)

The churches receive their light from Christ and the gospel, and hold it forth to others. They are golden candlesticks; they should be precious and pure; not only the ministers, but the members of the churches; their light should so shine before men, as to engage others to give glory to God. And the apostle saw as though of the Lord Jesus Christ appeared in the midst of the golden candlesticks. He is with his churches always, to the end of the world, filling them with light, and life, and love. He was clothed with a robe down to the feet, perhaps representing his righteousness and priesthood, as Mediator. This vest was girt with a golden girdle, which may denote how precious are his love and affection for his people. His head and hairs white like wool and as snow, may signify his majesty, purity, and eternity. His eyes as a flame of fire, may represent his knowledge of the secrets of all hearts, and of the most distant events. His feet like fine brass burning in a furnace, may denote the firmness of his appointments, and the excellence of his proceedings. His voice as the sound of many waters, may represent the power of his word, to remove or to destroy. The seven stars were emblems of the ministers of the seven churches to which the apostle was ordered to write, and whom Christ upheld and directed. The sword represented his justice, and his word, piercing to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, Hebrews 4:12. His countenance was like the sun, when it shines clearly and powerfully; its strength too bright and dazzling for mortal eyes to behold. The apostle was overpowered with the greatness of the lustre and glory in which Christ appeared. We may well be contented to walk by faith, while here upon earth. The Lord Jesus spake words of comfort; Fear not. Words of instruction; telling who thus appeared. And his Divine nature; the First and the Last. His former sufferings; I was dead: the very same whom his disciples saw upon the cross. His resurrection and life; I have conquered death, and am partaker of endless life. His office and authority; sovereign dominion in and over the invisible world, as the Judge of all, from whose sentence there is no appeal. Let us listen to the voice of Christ, and receive the tokens of his love, for what can he withhold from those for whose sins he has died? May we then obey his word, and give up ourselves wholly to him who directs all things aright.

── Matthew HenryConcise Commentary on Revelation


Revelation 1

Verse 1

[1] The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John:

The Revelation — Properly so called; for things covered before are here revealed, or unveiled. No prophecy in the Old Testament has this title; it was reserved for this alone in the New. It is, as it were, a manifesto, wherein the Heir of all things declares that all power is given him in heaven and earth, and that he will in the end gloriously exercise that power, maugre all the opposition of all his enemies.

Of Jesus Christ — Not of "John the Divine," a title added in latter ages. Certain it is, that appellation, the Divine, was not brought into the church, much less was it affixed to John the apostle, till long after the apostolic age. It was St. John, indeed, who wrote this book, but the author of it is Jesus Christ.

Which God gave unto him — According to his holy, glorified humanity, as the great Prophet of the church. God gave the Revelation to Jesus Christ; Jesus Christ made it known to his servants.

To show — This word recurs, Revelation 22:6; and in many places the parts of this book refer to each other. Indeed the whole structure of it breathes the art of God, comprising, in the most finished compendium, things to come, many, various; near, intermediate, remote; the greatest, the least; terrible, comfortable; old, new; long, short; and these interwoven together, opposite, composite; relative to each other at a small, at a great, distance; and therefore sometimes, as it were, disappearing, broken off, suspended, and afterwards unexpectedly and most seasonably appearing again. In all its parts it has an admirable variety, with the most exact harmony, beautifully illustrated by those very digressions which seem to interrupt it. In this manner does it display the manifold wisdom of God shining in the economy of the church through so many ages.

His servants — Much is comprehended in this appellation. It is a great thing to be a servant of Jesus Christ. This book is dedicated particularly to the servants of Christ in the seven churches in Asia; but not exclusive of all his other servants, in all nations and ages. It is one single revelation, and yet sufficient for them all, from the time it was written to the end of the world. Serve thou the Lord Jesus Christ in truth: so shalt thou learn his secret in this book; yea, and thou shalt feel in thy heart whether this book be divine, or not.

The things which must shortly come to pass — The things contained in this prophecy did begin to be accomplished shortly after it was given; and the whole might be said to come to pass shortly, in the same sense as St. Peter says, "The end of all things is at hand;" and our Lord himself, "Behold, I come quickly." There is in this book a rich treasure of all the doctrines pertaining to faith and holiness. But these are also delivered in other parts of holy writ; so that the Revelation need not to have been given for the sake of these. The peculiar design of this is, to show the things which must come to pass. And this we are especially to have before our eyes whenever we read or hear it. It is said afterward, "Write what thou seest;" and again, "Write what thou hast seen, and what is, and what shall be hereafter;" but here, where the scope of the hook is shown, it is only said, the things which must come to pass. Accordingly, the showing things to come, is the great point in view throughout the whole. And St. John writes what he has seen, and what is, only as it has an influence on, or gives light to, what shall be.

And he — Jesus Christ.

Sent and signified them — Showed them by signs or emblems; so the Greek word properly means.

By his angel — Peculiarly called, in the sequel, "the angel of God," and particularly mentioned, Revelation 17:1; 21:9; 22:6,16.

To his servant John — A title given to no other single person throughout the book.

Verse 2

[2] Who bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw.

Who hath testified — In the following book.

The word of God — Given directly by God.

And the testimony of Jesus — Which he hath left us, as the faithful and true witness.

Whatsoever things he saw — In such a manner as was a full confirmation of the divine original of this book.

Verse 3

[3] Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.

Happy is he that readeth, and they that hear, the words of this prophecy — Some have miserably handled this book. Hence others are afraid to touch it; and, while they desire to know all things else, reject only the knowledge of those which God hath shown. They inquire after anything rather than this; as if it were written, "Happy is he that doth not read this prophecy." Nay, but happy is he that readeth, and they that hear, and keep the words thereof - Especially at this time, when so considerable a part of them is on the point of being fulfilled. Nor are helps wanting whereby any sincere and diligent inquirer may understand what he reads therein. The book itself is written in the most accurate manner possible. It distinguishes the several things whereof it treats by seven epistles, seven seals, seven trumpets, seven phials; each of which sevens is divided into four and three. Many things the book itself explains; as the seven stars; the seven candlesticks; the lamb, his seven horns and seven eyes; the incense; the dragon; the heads and horns of the beasts; the fine linen; the testimony of Jesus: and much light arises from comparing it with the ancient prophecies, and the predictions in the other books of the New Testament. In this book our Lord has comprised what was wanting in those prophecies touching the time which followed his ascension and the end of the Jewish polity. Accordingly, it reaches from the old Jerusalem to the new, reducing all things into one sum, in the exactest order, and with a near resemblance to the ancient prophets. The introduction and conclusion agree with Daniel; the description of the man child, and the promises to Sion, with Isaiah; the judgment of Babylon, with Jeremiah; again, the determination of times, with Daniel; the architecture of the holy city, with Ezekiel; the emblems of the horses, candlesticks, etc., with Zechariah. Many things largely described by the prophets are here summarily repeated; and frequently in the same words. To them we may then usefully have recourse. Yet the Revelation suffices for the explaining itself, even if we do not yet understand those prophecies; yea, it casts much light upon them. Frequently, likewise, where there is a resemblance between them, there is a difference also; the Revelation, as it were, taking a stock from one of the old prophets, and inserting a new graft into it. Thus Zechariah speaks of two olive trees; and so does St. John; but with a different meaning. Daniel has a beast with ten horns; so has St. John; but not with quite the same signification. And here the difference of words, emblems, things, times, ought studiously to be observed. Our Lord foretold many things before his passion; but not all things; for it was not yet seasonable. Many things, likewise, his Spirit foretold in the writings of the apostles, so far as the necessities of those times required: now he comprises them all in one short book; therein presupposing all the other prophecies, and at the same time explaining, continuing, and perfecting them in one thread. It is right therefore to compare them; but not to measure the fulness of these by the scantiness of those preceding. Christ, when on earth, foretold what would come to pass in a short time; adding a brief description of the last things. Here he foretells the intermediate things; so that both put together constitute one complete chain of prophecy. This book is therefore not only the sum and the key of all the prophecies which preceded, but likewise a supplement to all; the seals being closed before. Of consequence, it contains many particulars not revealed in any other part of scripture. They have therefore little gratitude to God for such a revelation, reserved for the exaltation of Christ, who boldly reject whatever they find here which was not revealed, or not so clearly, in other parts of scripture.

He that readeth and they that hear — St. John probably sent this book by a single person into Asia, who read it in the churches, while many heard. But this, likewise, in a secondary sense, refers to all that shall duly read or hear it in all ages.

The words of this prophecy — It is a revelation with regard to Christ who gives it; a prophecy, with regard to John who delivers it to the churches.

And keep the things which are written therein — In such a manner as the nature of them requires; namely, with repentance, faith, patience, prayer, obedience, watchfulness, constancy. It behoves every Christian, at all opportunities, to read what is written in the oracles of God; and to read this precious book in particular, frequently, reverently, and attentively.

For the time — Of its beginning to be accomplished.

Is near — Even when St. John wrote. How much nearer to us is even the full accomplishment of this weighty prophecy!

Verse 4

[4] John to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace be unto you, and peace, from him which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from the seven Spirits which are before his throne;

John — The dedication of this book is contained in the fourth, fifth, and sixth verses; but the whole Revelation is a kind of letter.

To the seven churches which are in Asia — That part of the Lesser Asia which was then a Roman province. There had been several other churches planted here; but it seems these were now the most eminent; and it was among these that St. John had laboured most during his abode in Asia. In these cities there were many Jews. Such of them as believed in each were joined with the gentile believers in one church.

Grace be unto you, and peace — The favour of God, with all temporal and eternal blessings. From him who is, and who was, and who cometh, or, who is to come - A wonderful translation of the great name JEHOVAH: he was of old, he is now, he cometh; that is, will be for ever.

And from the seven spirits which are before his throne — Christ is he who "hath the seven spirits of God." "The seven lamps which burn before the throne are the seven spirits of God." " The lamb hath seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God." Seven was a sacred number in the Jewish church: but it did not always imply a precise number. It sometimes is to be taken figuratively, to denote completeness or perfection. By these seven spirits, not seven created angels, but the Holy Ghost is to be understood. The angels are never termed spirits in this book; and when all the angels stand up, while the four living creatures and the four and twenty elders worship him that sitteth on the throne, and the Lamb, the seven spirits neither stand up nor worship. To these "seven spirits of God," the seven churches, to whom the Spirit speaks so many things, are subordinate; as are also their angels, yea, and "the seven angels which stand before God." He is called the seven spirits, not with regard to his essence, which is one, but with regard to his manifold operations.

Verse 5

[5] And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood,

And from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the first begotten from the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth — Three glorious appellations are here given him, and in their proper order. He was the faithful witness of the whole will of God before his death, and in death, and remains such in glory. He rose from the dead, as "the first fruits of them that slept;" and now hath all power both in heaven and earth. He is here styled a prince: but by and by he hears his title of king; yea, King of kings, and Lord of lords." This phrase, the kings of the earth, signifies their power and multitude, and also the nature of their kingdom. It became the Divine Majesty to call them kings with a limitation; especially in this manifesto from his heavenly kingdom; for no creature, much less a sinful man, can bear the title of king in an absolute sense before the eyes of God.

Verse 6

[6] And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

To him that loveth us, and, out of that free, abundant love, hath washed us from the guilt and power of our sins with his own blood, and hath made us kings - Partakers of his present, and heirs of his eternal, kingdom.

And priests unto his God and Father — To whom we continually offer ourselves, an holy, living sacrifice.

To him be the glory — For his love and redemption.

And the might — Whereby he governs all things.

Verse 7

[7] Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen.

Behold — In this and the next verse is the proposition, and the summary of the whole book.

He cometh — Jesus Christ. Throughout this book, whenever it is said, He cometh, it means his glorious coming. The preparation for this began at the destruction of Jerusalem, and more particularly at the time of writing this book; and goes on, without any interruption, till that grand event is accomplished. Therefore it is never said in this book, He will come; but, He cometh. And yet it is not said, He cometh again: for when he came before, it was not like himself, but in "the form of a servant." But his appearing in glory is properly his coming; namely, in a manner worthy of the Son of God.

And every eye — Of the Jews in particular.

Shall see him — But with what different emotions, according as they had received or rejected him.

And they who have pierced him — They, above all, who pierced his hands, or feet, or side. Thomas saw the print of these wounds even after his resurrection; and the same, undoubtedly, will be seen by all, when he cometh in the clouds of heaven.

And all the tribes of the earth — The word tribes, in the Revelation, always means the Israelites: but where another word, such as nations or people, is joined with it, it implies likewise (as here) all the rest of mankind.

Shall wail because of him — For terror and pain, if they did not wail before by true repentance.

Yea, Amen — This refers to, every eye shall see him. He that cometh saith, Yea; he that testifies it, Amen. The word translated yea is Greek; Amen is Hebrew: for what is here spoken respects both Jew and gentile.

Verse 8

[8] I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.

I am the Alpha and the Omega, saith the Lord God — Alpha is the first, Omega, the last, letter in the Greek alphabet. Let his enemies boast and rage ever so much in the intermediate time, yet the Lord God is both the Alpha, or beginning, and the Omega, or end, of all things. God is the beginning, as he is the Author and Creator of all things, and as he proposes, declares, and promises so great things: he is the end, as he brings all the things which are here revealed to a complete and glorious conclusion. Again, the beginning and end of a thing is in scripture styled the whole thing. Therefore God is the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end; that is, one who is all things, and always the same.

Verse 9

[9] I John, who also am your brother, and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was in the isle that is called Patmos, for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ.

I John — The instruction and preparation of the apostle for the work are described from the ninth to the twentieth verse. Revelation 1:9-20 Your brother - In the common faith.

And companion in the affliction — For the same persecution which carried him to Patmos drove them into Asia. This book peculiarly belongs to those who are under the cross. It was given to a banished man; and men in affliction understand and relish it most. Accordingly, it was little esteemed by the Asiatic church, after the time of Constantine; but highly valued by all the African churches, as it has been since by all the persecuted children of God.

In the affliction, and kingdom and patience of Jesus — The kingdom stands in the midst. It is chiefly under various afflictions that faith obtains its part in the kingdom; and whosoever is a partaker of this kingdom is not afraid to suffer for Jesus, 2 Timothy 2:12.

I was in the island Patmos — In the reign of Domitian and of Nerva. And there he saw and wrote all that follows. It was a place peculiarly proper for these visions. He had over against him, at a small distance, Asia and the seven churches; going on eastward, Jerusalem and the land of Canaan; and beyond this, Antioch, yea, the whole continent of Asia. To the west, he had Rome, Italy, and all Europe, swimming, as it were, in the sea; to the south, Alexandria and the Nile with its outlets, Egypt, and all Africa; and to the north, what was afterwards called Constantinople, on the straits between Europe and Asia. So he had all the three parts of the world which were then known, with all Christendom, as it were, before his eyes; a large theatre for all the various scenes which were to pass before him: as if this island had been made principally for this end, to serve as an observatory for the apostle. For preaching the word of God he was banished thither, and for the testimony of Jesus - For testifying that he is the Christ.

Verse 10

[10] I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet,

I was in the Spirit — That is, in a trance, a prophetic vision; so overwhelmed with the power, and filled with the light, of the Holy Spirit, as to be insensible of outward things, and wholly taken up with spiritual and divine. What follows is one single, connected vision, which St. John saw in one day; and therefore he that would understand it should carry his thought straight on through the whole, without interruption. The other prophetic books are collections of distinct prophecies, given upon various occasions: but here is one single treatise, whereof all the parts exactly depend on each other. Chapter iv. 1 Revelation 4:1 is connected with chapter i. 19; Revelation 1:19 and what is delivered in the fourth chapter goes on directly to the twenty-second.

On the Lord's day — On this our Lord rose from the dead: on this the ancients believed he will come to judgment. It was, therefore, with the utmost propriety that St. John on this day both saw and described his coming.

And I heard behind me — St. John had his face to the east: our Lord, likewise, in this appearance looked eastward toward Asia, whither the apostle was to write.

A great voice, as of a trumpet — Which was peculiarly proper to proclaim the coming of the great King, and his victory over all his enemies.

Verse 11

[11] Saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: and, What thou seest, write in a book, and send it unto the seven churches which are in Asia; unto Ephesus, and unto Smyrna, and unto Pergamos, and unto Thyatira, and unto Sardis, and unto Philadelphia, and unto Laodicea.

Saying, What thou seest — And hearest. He both saw and heard. This command extends to the whole book. All the books of the New Testament were written by the will of God; but none were so expressly commanded to be written.

In a book — So all the Revelation is but one book: nor did the letter to the angel of each church belong to him or his church only; but the whole book was sent to them all.

To the churches — Hereafter named; and through them to all churches, in all ages and nations.

To Ephesus — Mr. Thomas Smith, who in the year 1671 travelled through all these cities, observes, that from Ephesus to Smyrna is forty-six English miles; from Smyrna to Pergamos, sixty-four; from Pergamos to Thyatira, forty-eight; from Thyatira to Sardis, thirty-three; from Sardis to Philadelphia, twenty-seven; from Philadelphia to Laodicea, about forty-two miles.

Verses 12-13

[12] And I turned to see the voice that spake with me. And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks; [13] And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle.

And I turned to see the voice — That is, to see him whose voice it was.

And being turned, I saw — It seems, the vision presented itself gradually. First he heard a voice; and, upon looking behind, he saw the golden candlesticks, and then, in the midst of the candlesticks, which were placed in a circle, he saw one like a son of man - That is, in an human form. As a man likewise our Lord doubtless appears in heaven: though not exactly in this symbolical manner, wherein he presents himself as the head of his church. He next observed that our Lord was clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt with a golden girdle - Such the Jewish high priests wore. But both of them are here marks of royal dignity likewise.

Girt about at the breast — he that is on a journey girds his loins. Girding the breast was an emblem of solemn rest. It seems that the apostle having seen all this, looked up to behold the face of our Lord: but was beat back by the appearance of his flaming eyes, which occasioned his more particularly observing his feet. Receiving strength to raise his eyes again, he saw the stars in his right hand, and the sword coming out of his mouth: but upon beholding the brightness of his glorious countenance, which probably was much increased since the first glance the apostle had of it, he "fell at his feet as dead." During the time that St. John was discovering these several particulars, our Lord seems to have been speaking. And doubtless even his voice, at the very first, bespoke the God: though not so insupportably as his glorious appearance.

Verse 14

[14] His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire;

His head and his hair - That is, the hair of his head, not his whole head.

Were white as white wool — Like the Ancient of Days, represented in Daniel's vision, Daniel 7:9. Wool is commonly supposed to be an emblem of eternity.

As snow — Betokening his spotless purity.

And his eyes as a flame of fire — Piercing through all things; a token of his omniscience.

Verse 15

[15] And his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters.

And his feet like fine brass — Denoting his stability and strength.

As if they burned in a furnace — As if having been melted and refined, they were still red hot.

And his voice — To the comfort of his friends, and the terror of his enemies.

As the voice of many waters — Roaring aloud, and bearing down all before them.

Verse 16

[16] And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp twoedged sword: and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength.

And he had in his right hand seven stars — In token of his favour and powerful protection.

And out of his mouth went a sharp two-edged sword — Signifying his justice and righteous anger, continually pointed against his enemies as a sword; sharp, to stab; two-edged, to hew.

And his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength — Without any mist or cloud.

Verse 17

[17] And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last:

And I fell at his feet as dead — Human nature not being able to sustain so glorious an appearance. Thus was he prepared (like Daniel of old, whom he peculiarly resembles) for receiving so weighty a prophecy. A great sinking of nature usually precedes a large communication of heavenly things. St. John, before our Lord suffered, was so intimate with him, as to lean on his breast, to lie in his bosom. Yet now, near seventy years after, the aged apostle is by one glance struck to the ground. What a glory must this be! Ye sinners, be afraid cleanse your hands: purify your hearts. Ye saints, be humble, prepare: rejoice. But rejoice unto him with reverence: an increase of reverence towards this awful majesty can be no prejudice to your faith. Let all petulancy, with all vain curiosity, be far away, while you are thinking or reading of these things.

And he laid his right hand upon me — The same wherein he held the seven stars. What did St. John then feel in himself? Saying, Fear not - His look terrifies, his speech strengthens. He does not call John by his name, (as the angels did Zechariah and others,) but speaks as his well known master. What follows is also spoken to strengthen and encourage him.

I am — When in his state of humiliation he spoke of his glory, he frequently spoke in the third person, as Matthew 26:64. But he now speaks of his own glory, without any veil, in plain and direct terms.

The first and the last — That is, the one, eternal God, who is from everlasting to everlasting, Isaiah 41:4.

Verse 18

[18] I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.

And he that liveth — Another peculiar title of God.

And I have the keys of death and of hades — That is, the invisible world. In the intermediate state, the body abides in death, the soul in hades. Christ hath the keys of, that is, the power over, both; killing or quickening of the body, and disposing of the soul, as it pleaseth him. He gave St. Peter the keys of the kingdom of heaven; but not the keys of death or of hades. How comes then his supposed successor at Rome by the keys of purgatory? From the preceding description, mostly, are taken the titles given to Christ in the following letters, particularly the four first.

Verse 19

[19] Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter;

Write the things which thou hast seen — This day: which accordingly are written, Revelation 1:11-18.

And which are — The instructions relating to the present state of the seven churches. These are written, Revelation 1:20-Re.

And which shall be hereafter — To the end of the world; written, Revelation 4:1, etc.

Verse 20

[20] The mystery of the seven stars which thou sawest in my right hand, and the seven golden candlesticks. The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches: and the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches.

Write first the mystery - The mysterious meaning of the seven stars - St. John knew better than we do, in how many respects these stars were a proper emblem of those angels: how nearly they resembled each other, and how far they differed in magnitude, brightness, aa& other circumstances.

The seven stars are angels of the seven churches — Mentioned in the eleventh verse. Revelation 1:11 In each church there was one pastor or ruling minister, to whom all the rest were subordinate. This pastor, bishop, or overseer, had the peculiar care over that flock: on him the prosperity of that congregation in a great measure depended, and he was to answer for all those souls at the judgment seat of Christ.

And the seven candlesticks are seven churches — How significant an emblem is this! For a candlestick, though of gold, has no light of itself; neither has any church, or child of man. But they receive from Christ the light of truth, holiness, comfort, that it may shine to all around them. As soon as this was spoken St. John wrote it down, even all that is contained in this first chapter. Afterwards what was contained in the second and third chapters was dictated to him in like manner.

── John WesleyExplanatory Notes on Revelation


Chapter 1. Appearance of Christ

The Lord Is the First
The Lord Is the Last

I. Revelation of Jesus Christ

  1. What Was Seen
  2. What Is Now
  3. What Will Take Place

II. The Son of Man among Lampstands

  1. Vision on the Island of Patmos
  2. Majestic Glory of the Savior
  3. To the Seven Churches

III. Effect of Seeing the Vision

  1. Fall at His Feet
  2. Comforted by His Hand
  3. Explain and Entrust

── Chih-Hsin ChangAn Outline of The New Testament

Chapter One General Review
1) To note that the Revelation was written to churches of things that
   would soon take place
2) To appreciate the implications of what is said about Jesus, both in
   the greeting by John and in the words of Jesus Himself
The Revelation of Jesus Christ begins with a clear statement of origin
and purpose.  Given to Jesus by God to show His servants things which 
must soon take place, it is designed to bless those who read, hear and
keep the words of the prophecy (1-3).  John then addresses the seven
churches in Asia (western Turkey), offering grace and peace from each
member of the Godhead with descriptive terms which become more
significant later in the epistle (4-6).  His greeting is followed with
a declaration concerning the Lord's coming, and a self-designation as
expressed by the Lord Himself (7-8).
At this point John explains how he was commissioned to record the
Revelation.  While on the island of Patmos (likely in exile for 
preaching the word of God), he was in the Spirit on the Lord's day when
he heard a loud voice behind him.  The voice identified itself as "the
Alpha and Omega, the First and the Last", and then charged him to write
what he saw to seven churches in Asia (9-11).  Turning to see the
voice, John saw seven golden lampstands and in their midst the Son of
Man.  Describing the awesome appearance of the Son of Man and his own
reaction, John then records how Jesus comforted and then charged him to
write what he has seen and will see (12-19).  The chapter ends with the
Lord's explanation that the seven stars in His right hand represent the
angels (messengers?) of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands
signify the seven churches themselves (20).
      1. Introducing the Revelation of Jesus Christ (1-2)
         a. Which God gave Him to show His servants
         b. Regarding things which much shortly take place
         c. Sent and signified by His angel
         d. To His servant John, who bore witness...
            1) To the word of God
            2) To the testimony of Jesus Christ
            3) To all things that he saw
      2. The benediction (3)
         a. Blessed is he who reads and those who hear this prophecy
         b. Blessed are those who keep those things written in it, for
            the time is near
      1. From John, to the seven churches in Asia (4a)
      2. With grace and peace (4b-6)
         a. From Him who is and who was and who is to come
         b. From the seven Spirits who are before His throne
         c. From Jesus Christ
            1) The faithful witness
            2) The firstborn from the dead
            3) The ruler over the kings of the earth
            4) Who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own 
            5) Who made us kings and priests to His God and Father
            -- To Whom be glory and dominion forever and ever!
      1. He is coming with clouds
      2. Every eye will see Him, and they also who pierced Him
      3. All the tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him
      -- Even so, Amen (so be it)
      1. "I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End"
      2. "Who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty"
      1. Their brother and companion (9a)
         a. In tribulation
         b. In the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ
      2. On the island called Patmos (9b)
         a. For the word of God
         b. For the testimony of Jesus Christ
      3. In the Spirit on the Lord's Day (10a)
      1. A loud voice, as of a trumpet (10b)
      2. Saying to him... (11)
         a. "I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last"
         b. "What you see, write in a book"
         c. "Send it to the seven churches which are in Asia..."
      1. Turning to see the voice, he saw... (12-16)
         a. Seven golden lampstands
         b. In the midst of the seven lampstands, One like the Son of
            1) Clothed with a garment down to the feet, girded about 
               the chest with a golden band
            2) His head and hair white as wool, white as snow
            3) His eyes like a flame of fire
            4) His feet like fine brass, as if refined in a furnace
            5) His voice as the sound of many waters
            6) In His right hand, seven stars
            7) Out of His mouth, a sharp two-edged sword
            8) His countenance like the sun shining in its strength
      2. Seeing Him, John fell at His feet as dead (17)
      1. "Do not be afraid" (17b-18)
         a. "I am the First and the Last"
         b. "I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive 
            forevermore. Amen."
         c. "I have the keys of Hades and of Death."
      2. "Write..." (19)
         a. "The things which you have seen"
         b. "The things which are"
         c. "The things which will take place after this"
      3. "The mystery of the seven stars...and the seven golden 
         a. "The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches"
         b. "The seven lampstands...are the seven churches"
1) What are the main points of this chapter?
   - Introduction (1-8)
   - The vision of the Son of Man (9-20)
2) What was Jesus intending to show His servants? (1)
   - Things which must shortly take place (cf. 1:3; 22:6,10)
3) How is John described in verse 2?
   - As one who bore witness to the word of God, to the testimony of
     Jesus Christ, and to all things that he saw
4) Who is this book designed to bless?  Why? (3)
   - Those who read and hear the words of this prophecy, and keep the
     things written in it
   - For the time is near
5) To whom was the book addressed? (4,11)
   - Seven churches in Asia
   - Churches in Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamos, Thyatira, Sardis, 
     Philadelphia, Laodicea
6) How is God described in the greeting from John? The Holy Spirit? (4)
   - Who is and who was and who is to come
   - The seven Spirits who are before His throne (cf. 4:5; Zech 4:1-6)
7) How is Jesus Christ described by John in this greeting? (5-6)
   - The faithful witness
   - The firstborn from the dead
   - The ruler over the kings of the earth
   - Who loved us
   - Who washed us from our sins in His own blood
   - Who has made us kings and priests to His God and Father
8) What is said about the coming of Christ? (7)
   - He is coming with clouds
   - Every eye will see Him, and they also who pierced Him
   - All the tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him
9) How does the Lord designate Himself? (8)
   - "I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End"
   - "Who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty"
10) How does John identify himself to His readers? (9a)
   - Your brother and companion tribulation
   - In the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ
11) Where and when did John receive the Revelation? (9b-10)
   - On the island of Patmos for the word of God and for the testimony
     of Jesus
   - While in the Spirit on the Lord's Day
12) What did he hear a loud voice say? (11)
   - "I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last"
   - "What you see, write in a book and send it to the seven churches
     in Asia..."
13) When he turned to see the voice, what did he see? (12-13)
   - Seven golden lampstands, and in their midst One like the Son of 
14) How does John describe the Son of Man? (13-16)
   - Clothed with a garment down to the feet
   - Girded about the chest with a golden band
   - Head and hair white as wool, white as snow
   - Eyes like a flame of fire
   - Feet like fine brass, as if refined in a furnace
   - Voice as the sound of many waters
   - In His right hand, seven stars
   - Out of His mouth, a sharp two-edged sword
   - Countenance like the sun shining in its strength
15) What was John's reaction when he saw Him?  What was he first told?
   - Fell at His feet as dead
   - "Do not be afraid"
16) How does the Son of Man identify Himself? (17-18)
   - "I am the First and the Last"
   - "I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive 
   - "I have the keys of Hades and of Death"
17) What is John told to write? (19)
   - "The things which you have seen"
   - "The things which are"
   - "The things which will take place after this"
18) What is the explanation of the seven stars and seven golden 
    lampstands? (20)
   - The seven stars are the seven angels (messengers?) of the seven 
   - The seven lampstands are the seven churches (in Asia)


--《Executable Outlines


Appearance of Christ

The Lord is the first

The Lord is the last


I.  Revelation of Jesus Christ

1.    What was seen

2.    What is now

3.    What will take place

II.The Son of man among lampstands

1.    Vision on the Island of Patmos

2.    Majestic glory of the Savior

3.    To the seven churches

III.       Effect of seeing the vision

1.    Fall at His feet

2.    Comforted by His hand

3.    Explain and entrust

── Chih-Hsin Changan Outline of The New Testament


Revelation 1. 1~3 tells us—

I. What This Book Is—‘The Revelation (or unvelling) of Jesus Christ’. How precious!

II. Whom It Is For—The servants of God. Am I one?

III. Why It Was Written—To show them ‘things that must shortly come to pass’

IV. Who The Writer Was—‘His servant John’; what a Privilege to write for God!

V. What He Records—

   1. The Word of God

   2. The Testimony of Jesus Christ

   3. The Things that he saw

   (a threefold testimony to the truth of what is written)

VI. Who May be Blessed—the reader of the book the hearer of its words, and those that ’keep the things written therein’.

   (Make sure of the blessing by doing all these three)

VII. Why Such Inducements Are Offered—‘The time is at hand’.

   (There is no time to lose if you would read this book. ‘The coming of the Lord draweth nigh’.)

── Archibald NaismithOutlines for Sermons