Chapter 1 – Examined
Revelations is the most difficult book of the bible to interpret. Yet, it is one of the most important books. Many have tried to interpret it, however, are any interpretations of this book infallible? Have any of these prophecies mentioned in Revelations been fulfilled yet?
Below are comments and thoughts about Chapter 1 of this wonderful book.
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: 2 Who bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw.
1 Jesus Christ’s revelation which God gave him to show his servants what must soon take place, and which he sent by his angel and indicated to his servant John, 2 who testified to the word of God and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, all that he saw.
The scriptures show that the book of Revelations was a “revelation” given to John by an angel sent from Jesus (who was told these things by God) about the future so that he may show it to all of Jesus’s servants. It doesn’t seem that it was just for a specific group or set of people. Was it referring to the destruction of Jerusalem, to our times, or to a future time?
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. 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;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, 6 And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen. 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.
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. 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; 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, 6 And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen. 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.
It tells us here that blessed is anybody who reads this prophecy or, rather, this book and remembers it because the time for these prophecies to be fulfilled is near. He then directed the following message to seven churches. Does this mean that only these seven churches should read this and pay mind?
It states that the prophecies are from Jesus, and it mentions seven spirits. It also describes Jesus and mentions how he washed our sins of blood, and he will come with clouds and all shall see and fear him. Are the clouds literal or symbolic? Let’s read on.
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. 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.
10 I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet,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. 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.
14 His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire; 15 And his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters. 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. 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: 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. 19 Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter; 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.
New World Translation
8. “I am the Alʹpha and the O·meʹga,” says Jehovah God, “the One who is and who was and who is coming, the Almighty.” 9 I John, your brother and a sharer with you in the tribulation and kingdom and endurance in association with Jesus, was on the island called Patʹmos for speaking about God and bearing witness concerning Jesus.
10 By inspiration I came to be in the Lord’s day, and I heard behind me a strong voice like that of a trumpet, 11 saying: “What you see, write in a scroll and send it to the seven congregations: in Ephʹe·sus, in Smyrʹna, in Perʹga·mum, in Thy·a·tiʹra, in Sarʹdis, in Philadelphia, and in La·o·di·ceʹa.” 12 I turned to see who was speaking with me, and when I turned, I saw seven golden lampstands, 13 and in the midst of the lampstands someone like a son of man, clothed in a garment that reached down to the feet and wearing a golden sash around his chest.
14 Moreover, his head and his hair were white as white wool, as snow, and his eyes were like a fiery flame,15 and his feet were like fine copper when glowing in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of many waters. 16 And he had in his right hand seven stars, and out of his mouth a sharp, long, two-edged sword was protruding, and his countenance was like the sun when it shines at its brightest. 17 When I saw him, I fell as dead at his feet.And he laid his right hand on me and said: “Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last, 18 and the living one, and I became dead, but look! I am living forever and ever, and I have the keys of death and of the Grave. 19 So write down the things you saw, and the things that are, and the things that will take place after these. 20 As for the sacred secret of the seven stars that you saw in my right hand and of the seven golden lampstands: The seven stars mean the angels of the seven congregations, and the seven lampstands mean the seven congregations.
The Lord emphasizes that he is the Almighty, the Alpha and the Omega. John then refers to himself in verse 9 as a “brother” and fellow “companion in tribulation.” It’s funny even though he is a prophet he does not go on to call himself a leader or member of a special group. He refers to himself as a brother to the seven congregations.
John then starts to see a vision in verses 10-13. He is “in the Lord’s day.” Could he be referring to being in his presence? The voice directs him to write these words in a scroll to the seven congregations named. He also notices that there is someone who looks like the son of man speaking to him. He is surrounded by seven lampstands, could this be a symbol of the congregations, or something else?
In verses 14-20, he describes the appearance of the voice. Could it be that of the angel which Jesus sent to speak to him, or is it Jesus himself? Are the seven stars mentioned also referring to the seven congregations? His words are described as “a twoedged sword.” Perhaps because the sword is in his mouth. John drops to his knees, but the figure tells him not to fear, for he is “the first and the last” and has “the keys of death.” This must definitely be referring to Jesus then.
Verses 19 shows that Jesus, or the angel, wanted John to write about the things that are currently happening, the things he saw and the future events to come. Verse 20 confirms that the seven lampstands are the seven congregations, but it states that the seven stars are the angels of the congregations. Could the angels of the congregations be leaders or actual angels? I guess we will learn more as we read the subsequent chapters.
Differences between translations
We see that the New World Translation substitutes the word Lord for Jehovah. Perhaps to avoid confusion between Jesus and God? Do you see any other differences?
Let me know what you think about this chapter, and if you have any thoughts or other interpretations.