Sunday, October 17, 2010

Revelation 1 - The "Man" in the Midst of the Lampstands

by Becky

LINK: Revelation 1

BACKGROUND

Let me tell you (oh no, Carol has already done that!) writing about Revelation is quite intimidating. I guess the best way to do it is simply to jump into this blog post and begin writing!

I think the best approach to Revelation is to read it to get the big picture. Ask what the book has to say about God, about the Lord Jesus Christ, about history. Don't begin by trying to analyze the symbols or details.

Revelation was written to encourage believers. The first century church was undergoing tremendous persecution. John wrote down his vision to reveal the reality that God is in charge. Good does triumph over evil! This is a book of hope.

There are seven divisions, or visions, in this book. Almost everything I've read agrees about that!

  1. Christ in the midst of the seven golden lampstands (1-3)
  2. The book with seven seals (4-7)
  3. The seven trumpets of judgment (8-11)
  4. The woman and the Man-child persecuted by the dragon and his helpers (the beast and the harlot) (12-14)
  5. The seven bowls of wrath (15,16)
  6. The fall of the great harlot and of the beasts(17-19)
  7. The judgment upon the dragon (Satan) followed by the new heaven and earth, new Jerusalem (20-22)
I have used the divisions outlined by William Hendriksen in his very readable book More than Conquerors. Others will probably mark the divisions slightly differently.

It is Mr.Hendriksen's view that Revelation is an organic unity, with an easy transition from vision to vision. Each of the visions spans the era from Jesus' first coming to the time He returns again in judgment. So the message is for us if we are part of the universal Church! We live in that era.

REFLECTION

There is much to reflect on in this first chapter. This is a revelation of Jesus Christ to John, so that John could communicate it to the believers alive at that time and to all of us who have come since then. It says we are blessed if we read the book and blessed if we hear it - especially if we take to heart what it says. So get ready to receive a blessing!

Try to lay aside any preconceptions you have of the book. Read this chapter and worship the LORD.

Look at what is said about Jesus:

  • He loves us.
  • He's freed us from our sins by His blood.
  • He has made us a kingdom and priests to serve God.
  • He is coming back in the clouds and everyone will recognize him.
  • He is the Alpha and Omega. (The first and last letters of the Greek alphabet)
  • He is the one who is , who was, and who is to come. (The I Am.)
  • He is the Almighty.
  • He is the First and the Last
  • He is the Living One.
  • He was dead and now he's alive for ever and ever!
  • He holds the keys of death and Hades.
How can we not fall down and worship him?

We meet someone "like the son of man" in the middle of seven lampstands. This is the Lord Jesus in power! Look at the similes used to describe Him:

  • His head and hair - like wool, as white as snow
  • His eyes - like blazing fire
  • His feet - like bronze glowing in a furnace
  • His voice - like the sound of rushing waters (Have you ever heard a huge waterfall or waves?)
  • His face - like the brilliant sun (Can you look at the sun?)
Do you see him? This man, clearly the Lord Jesus because He'd been called "son of man" when he lived and walked on earth, holds seven stars in his right hand and out of his mouth comes a double-edged sword.

In short, He is frightening. John fell down in fear as if dead. I think we will, too, when we see Him in His power and glory. But the man reassures him, "Don't be afraid."

The man himself tells John what some of the objects represent: The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches. (I don't begin to understand that, but isn't that cool?) The seven lampstands are the seven churches. (How fitting is that? We, the church, are the bearers of God's light.)

APPLICATION

Read this chapter again and then bow low and worship our Lord Jesus.

PRAYER
Thank-you for this book, Lord. Help us to read it and heed it. Help us to worship you and trust you more through what we read. You are in charge. You are directing history to the end you have in mind. We praise you that you love us and that you have freed us from our sin through your death on the cross, through your shed blood. We are your servants. Give us eyes to hear and ears to hear.
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