I'm going to have to post more than one a week of these if I'm going to finish by Pentecost. Ah well. I'll try...
Revelation 1: John introduces his vision
Who is writing?
There are lots of Johns who may have written Revelation. John the Apostle, writer of John’s gospel and the letters of John is one likely candidate, but it’s unlikely that we’ll ever know for sure if he wrote the book of Revelation, or if it was another John. Some things that we can be pretty sure of are that this John knows his Bible, he knows Jesus, he’s a respected leader who’s letter will be read in the churches in Asia, he was banished to an island, and John received a vision from God. (Revelation 1:1-4)
Who is John writing to?
Revelation 1:4, 9-11 John writes to the “7” churches in Asia, and 7 stands for God’s plan. He could be literally writing to seven churches, no more and no less. But given the amount of symbolism in what he writes, it’s more likely that he’s writing to all the churches in God’s plan, and hence also to us.
Who is God?
Revelation 1:4-5 Who does John mean by “who is and was and is to come?” He has a throne, so he’s probably God (the Father). The seven spirits could represent the wholeness of God’s Spirit working His plan here on earth, and Jesus (first-born of the dead – no question that John believes in the resurrection) is the Son. The Triune God, Father Son and Holy Spirit, is the giver of the message of Revelation.
Who is Jesus?
John goes on to describe the one who has set us free in Revelation 1:5-8, 13-20. Don’t forget, the Old Testament references were probably quite well-known to John’s earliest readers. The images mentioned would bring all the references to mind in their description of Jesus.
Faithful witness (Isaiah 55:4, John 18:37)
First born of the dead (Ps 89:27, Isaiah 25:8, Col 1:18)
King of Kings (Ps 47:7, John 18:37)
Redeemer (Ps 146:7, Romans 6:18)
Kingdom of priests (Exodus 19:6, 1 Peter 2:9, James 2:5)
Deserves glory and dominion (1 Chronicles 16:28, John 1:14)
Coming on the clouds (Daniel 7:13, Matthew 24:30)
Pierced (Zechariah 12:10, John 19:37)
Son of man (Daniel 7:13, Matthew 8:20)
Priest (Exodus 28:39, Daniel 10:5)
Ancient of Days (Daniel 7:9)
Refiners fire (Exodus 3:2, Ezekiel 1:27, Matthew 3:2)
Voice like God (Ezekiel 1:24)
Held in his hand (Isaiah 41:10)
Double-edged sword (Genesis 3:24, Matthew 10:34, Hebrews 4:12)
Radiant (Exodus 33:20, Ps 4:6)
Fall down (Genesis 17:3, Exodus 33:20)
1st and last (Isaiah 44:6, 48:12)
Living (Isaiah 57:15)
Died and rose again (Matthew 17:23, Acts 2:24)
Raises from the dead (Luke 7:22)
Where is Jesus?
John describes Jesus standing in the midst of the lamp-stands (Revelation 1:12) wearing a golden sash (Revelation 1:13). The 7 branched lamp-stand would be found just outside the Holy of Holies in the Temple at Jerusalem, and the High Priest would wear the sash. This places John’s vision at the entrance to the temple.