The revelation from Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show his servants what must soon take place. He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John, 2 who testifies to everything he saw – that is, the word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ. 3 Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it, because the time is near.
Greetings and doxology
To the seven churches in the province of Asia:
Grace and peace to you from him who is, and who was, and who is to come, and from the seven spirits before his throne, 5 and from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth.
To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood, 6 and has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve his God and Father – to him be glory and power for ever and ever! Amen.
7 ‘Look, he is coming with the clouds,’
and ‘every eye will see him,
even those who pierced him’;
and all peoples on earth ‘will mourn because of him.’
So shall it be! Amen.
8 ‘I am the Alpha and the Omega,’ says the Lord God, ‘who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.’
John’s vision of Christ
9 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. 10 On the Lord’s Day I was in the Spirit, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet, 11 which said: ‘Write on a scroll what you see and send it to the seven churches: to Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea.’
12 I turned round to see the voice that was speaking to me. And when I turned I saw seven golden lampstands, 13 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 round his chest. 14 The hair on his head was white like wool, as white as snow, and his eyes were like blazing fire. 15 His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of rushing waters. 16 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.
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 now look, 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.
John sees a vision of the glorified Jesus amidst His churches.
The lampstands are symbolic of the churches (1:20), local churches that together form the Church. Local churches where believers gather before the Light of the world to become shining lights for God in the midst of a hostile world. Likely these seven local churches are representative of all local churches, everywhere, through all ages.
And Jesus is in their midst. The One John sees has the rank of a ruler or king; is described as God is described – radiant, shining in all [His] brilliance, powerful and strong, and who speaks with sovereign authority. He is in their midst … there is no need to be afraid. The One who was dead is alive and with them; and He holds the keys of death and Hades.
It’s a vision bringing comfort, encouragement and hope. Jesus is not an absent landlord … but real and present. As His people face trials and tribulations, sufferings and struggle; He’s in their midst supporting, leading, guiding … nothing happens outside of His rule and He overcomes all things. John writes this down to encourage and comfort those patiently enduring … both then and now.
Despite what it might feel like and even look like on occasion, we must remember that Jesus stands among the Church, represented by various local churches, as the victorious King – do not be afraid!
Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank You for this amazing revelation of Jesus Christ as the living One – the first to rise from the dead and that because He lives, I too will live.
We praise You that He rose again from the dead and is alive forevermore and has the keys of death and hell.
Thank You that while I was still a sinner, He died for my sin so that I may be included in Your family, the Church.
Thank You that He is alive, and that I too will rise from the grave imperishable, and live with You through all eternity.
Thank You that He is alive and stands in our midst as the victorious King, the powerful Son of Man who rules and reigns over all the world.
Thank You that those who are in Christ have nothing to fear – for perfect love casts out fear.
Praise the name of Jesus. Hallelujah. Amen.