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      Chapter 1: Part 3

                                                                                                  A vision of Jesus



         Hello again, precious Ones,
       As you have probably noticed by now, I will be asking a lot of questions throughout this study. I encourage you to get a notebook and begin to answer those questions as you study.  They are mostly personal questions about you thoughts and reactions to various actions in the Book. It will help you as you study.  This is the last part of chapter 1 so let’s get right to it.

Read Verses 9-11.  Verse 9 tells us who is writing the book, where he was at the time of the writing, and why he was there. He lets us know immediately that he is a believer in Jesus.  He has suffered for the kingdom and he has endured the suffering. In fact, he has been banished to the island of Patmos because he would not keep quiet about Jesus being the long-awaited Savior. 

I don’t suppose any of us have ever truly suffered for our belief in Jesus, that is not to say we won’t be called on one day to be tried for the cause of Christ.  The way the world is going today, it might be sooner than most of us really know.  However, believers like John had truly suffered physically as well as emotionally but they had been most patient to endure the suffering.  Can you think of a reason why they could be so patient in this cause?

      Verse 10 tells us what day it was when John began to write.  I cannot say for certain that it was a Sunday as we call Sunday the Lords Day, today.  However, to John it could have been any day of the week, because if you want to be technical about it, every day is the Lord’s day, right?  At any rate, John was “in the spirit”.  Now, what on earth does he mean by that statement?  Have you ever been “in the spirit’?  I would certainly hope that you have if you are a born-again believer in Jesus the Christ.  It simply means that John was totally in tune with God.  He must have been praying, meditating, even maybe singing a hymn, but it was a time where John was truly expecting to hear from God, just as you and I would be if we were truly worshipping. 

John hears the voice of the Lord, from behind him and it was loud, as loud as a trumpet.  Now that is loud!! Then Jesus told John to write a letter to the 7 churches, then He names them. 

      Suppose for a moment that you are a member of one of the seven churches.   How would you feel when you discovered that Jesus Christ, Himself had asked John to send you this letter?

      To what extent do you have this same feeling today, knowing the letter is also addressed to you?  Notice that John calls Him Jesus.  Do you find it hard sometimes to call Him Jesus.  We say Christ, the Lord, the Savior.  But we should use His name, JESUS.  He said, “pray in the name if Jesus”: “if we ask, in Jesus’ name”.  Don’t be afraid to use His name.  There is magic to it. Let’s say it together. JESUS

       We will return to the Seven churches in chapter 2 so we will wait to talk about them when we get to that part,  But first I want us to look at the vision of Jesus that John sees in verses 12-16.  

       Have you ever met a famous person?  What did you think of Him or her?  Sometimes we are overwhelmed, and sometimes a little disappointed because they seem to look the same in person,  From all that you have read or experienced before reading this passage, what images or pictures do you have in your mind of Jesus?

Read the passage now.  You will notice, first thing, that John is overwhelmed when he sees Jesus face to face.  His countenance, His magnificence.

       In a minute we are going to look at this description of Jesus and see if you have ever met this same Jesus face to face.  See if this is the way you picture Jesus.  But first:  Go back to verse 10 for a moment.  Who is in control when a believer is “in the spirit”?

      The Holy Spirit was moving upon John and giving him a panoramic picture.  Both sight and sound.  John heard a voice that reminded him of a trumpet.  When the Lord Jesus descends from heaven to remove His church from the earth in the rapture, He will come with a shout that will sound like a trumpet.  I just have goose bumps all over, just thinking about that day!!  WOW.

Look at 1 Thes. 4:16 For the Lord himself will descent from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God; and the dead in Christ will rise first” His voice will be LIKE an archangel, and LIKE a trumpet, but it will be HIS OWN VOICE.

     Now, look at the picture of Jesus.
1.    Long flowing robe (Isaiah 6:1)”I saw the Lord seated on a throne high and exalted, and the train of his robe filled the temple”  How great He is !!
2.    The golden sash across His chest (Isaiah 11:5). “Righteousness will be his belt and faithfulness the sash around his waist”.
3.    Eyes like blazing fire (remember, John had seen those same eyes filled with tears.) (Hebrews 4:13, “Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight.  Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account”.
4.    Feet like bronze glowing in a furnace – brass represents judgment.  This indicates a time when He will put all His enemies and every evil power beneath his feet.  
5.    Have you ever felt so close to Jesus that you could almost “see” his voice?  Such sweet fellowship!!!  His voice was like the sound of rushing waters.  Not a quiet stream but a booming Niagara Falls. (Jeremiah 23:30-31), “The Lord will roar on high; he will thunder from His holy dwelling and roar mightily against His land” – So loud it will make your teeth rattle,
6.    A sharp double-edged sword out of his mouth – Hebrews 4:12. “For the word of God is living 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”
7.    His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance.  The face of the Lord is the central feature of His person – it represents everything that He is. Everything fades in comparison.
      What images of Jesus impress you the most?  Why?
      Why do you think a godly person like John would be so powerfully overcome at the sight of Jesus?
      What is He doing in the midst of the Churches?  Judging then.  How do we know that?  What follows?  

      The letters.  He wants to see if their light still shines. 
      What is Jesus doing in our churches today?  It is so important to let our light shine.  Not go out.  We already know that Jesus is our intercessor, our great High Priest. We love that part of His ministry.  We know, too that he intervenes in our behalf. We find in 1 John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.?

Now, look at the rest of chapter 1 verses 17-20. 

     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 behold I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades,
     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.

     There you have it, the answer to the first symbolism in the Book.  Any time you see the lampstands you know that they represent the churches or the collective body of believers known as “the church”.  Also, the seven stars represent the angels, or messengers to the churches. And the last symbol here is the light from the lampstands.  That light is Jesus, the golden lampstand holds up the lamps and the lamps, in turn, reveal the beauty and glory of the lampstand.  The church holds up the Holy Spirit to the world, which reveals the beauty and glory of Christ.  

     There is another ministry of Christ that we sometimes don’t like to acknowledge.  He is our inspector.  Where is He now? Walking among the lampstands.  In the book of Exodus, we saw the golden lampstand.  In Exodus, in the tabernacle, the lamps represent the Holy Spirit.  The golden lampstand itself represents Christ, His glory and His deity.  Today, the lampstands represent the church, which shines with the light of Christ in the world.  (verse 20 explains the symbolism).

     The responsibility of Christians is to let the lost world see the light of the glory of God.  The light is the Lord’s, not the churches, and the purpose of the light is to bring glory to the Father in Heaven.  Now if Jesus is walking among the churches, he is inspecting the church to see if the lamps are still lit.  What would Jesus say about your church?  

     Some of you who are probably my age might remember when we didn’t have electricity.  We used oil lamps.  What would happen when they started to smoke up the place?  You would snuff them out, clean the wicks, put in new oil and re-light.  I truly believe that when a church is not giving good light and keeps “smoking up the place,” the Lord Jesus will snuff out it’s light.  Haven’t you seen some churches that are so cold and ineffectual that there is just no spirit there?  You might say, like Elvis, “Jesus has left the building.” Oh, how important it is that we let our light shine for Jesus. 

     This number seven is going to be used over and over in this book, as it is in the rest of the Bible.  First of all, the number seven does not simply symbolize perfection, but it does stand for completeness.  Sometimes completeness is perfection, but not always.  Seven also has to do with God’s covenant and dealing with Israel.  For instance, the Sabbath, circumcision, and worship are all hinged around the seventh day.  Seven is the key number of this book.  Now notice that the Israelites marched around Jericho seven times (in the book of Joshua), Naaman was instructed to dip in the Jordan River seven times (II Kings 5:1-14), there were seven years of plenty and seven years of famine in Joseph’s time in Egypt. Nebuchadnezzar was insane for seven years (in Daniel), there are seven beatitudes in the New Testament.  There are seven petitions in the Lord’s prayer, there are seven parables in Matthew 13, and seven loaves fed the multitude, Jesus spoke seven times from the cross.

     We will look at numbers in the Bible next week, but for now let’s finish chapter 1.
     What did John do when He saw this vision of Jesus?  He fell at his feet as if he were dead.  Fainted, dead away.  But Jesus was so tender and merciful to John.  He gives John (and us) four reasons why we should not be afraid. 

     1.    He is first because there was none before Him.  He is the last because there is none to come after Him.  This speaks of His deity.  Psalms 90:2 says, “Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the whole world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God (Everlasting means from the vanishing point in the past to the vanishing point in the future, He is God)
     2.    He is the living One who became dead, but lives.  Romans 8: Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. 
Do you find fault with anyone?  Do you say he or she is a sinner?  Well, Christ died for that person, and He is risen from the dead.  He rose for their justification to show that they are forgiven and that they are gig to heaven someday if they will accept Him.   
     3.    “And behold, I am alive forevermore:  Refers to His present state. 
     4.    He holds the key to death and hades.  He has power over death right now.  This speaks of his authority.
     Have you ever been so afraid that you seemed paralized?  How can Jesus take away our fear? 

Friends don’t be afraid of death.  Jesus is the One who can relieve us of the terrible fear of death.  Just the touch of His hand can take away our fear.  Our future is in His hands and He has victory over death and the grave.  

     When my husband, Bill, died last year, he was not afraid of death. He was excited about getting to see Jesus.  We talked about what he might see and what it would be like, and he was so ready to go. He was so excited to be going there, not afraid in the least.

     As you Study Revelation, don’t get your eyes on the horsemen or on the bowls of wrath or on the beasts, they are just passing through.  Fix your eyes on the Lord Jesus Christ.  He is the one who IS and who WAS and who WILL BE.  Has this passage enlarged your vision of who Jesus is? 


     Can seeing this vision of Jesus give us strength to resist the temptations of our society?

     Next, as we look at the seven churches, we will look also at what we can do to help a fellow Christian who is ready to cave in under pressure.  Usually, we don’t tell someone that it’s gonna get worse before it gets better, do we?  Yet that is what Christ does in the seven letters to the churches.  Jesus shows us what tough love is really all about. 

                                                                                                                             See you then, Precious Friends

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