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 Sermons on important subjects by Rev. Paul C. Jong

 

Hear the Word of God's Revelation


< Revelation 1:1-20 >

"The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show His servants-things which must shortly take place. And He sent and signified it by His angel to His servant John, who bore witness to the word of God, and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, to all things that he saw. Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written in it; for the time is near. John, to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace to you and peace from Him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven Spirits who are before His throne, and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler over the kings of the earth. To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood, and has made us kings and priests to His God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him, even they who pierced Him. And all the tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him. Even so, Amen. 'I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End,' says the Lord, 'who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.' I, John, both your brother and companion in the tribulation and kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was on the island that is called Patmos for the word of God and for the testimony of Jesus Christ. I was in the Spirit on the Lord's Day, and I heard behind me a loud voice, as of a trumpet, saying, 'I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last,' and, 'What you see, write in a book and send it to the seven churches which are in Asia: to Ephesus, to Smyrna, to Pergamos, to Thyatira, to Sardis, to Philadelphia, and to Laodicea.' Then I turned to see the voice that spoke with me. And having turned I saw seven golden lampstands, and in the midst of the seven lampstands One like the Son of Man, clothed with a garment down to the feet and girded about the chest with a golden band. His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and His eyes like a flame of fire; His feet were like fine brass, as if refined in a furnace, and His voice as the sound of many waters; He had in His right hand seven stars, out of His mouth went a sharp two-edged sword, and His countenance was like the sun shining in its strength. And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead. But He laid His right hand on me, saying to me, 'Do not be afraid; I am the First and the Last. I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death. Write the things which you have seen, and the things which are, and the things which will take place after this. The mystery of the seven stars which you saw in My right hand, and the seven golden lampstands: The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands which you saw are the seven churches."



Exegesis

Verse 1: "The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show His servants-things which must shortly take place. And He sent and signified it by His angel to His servant John,"

The Book of Revelation was written by the Apostle John, who recorded the revelation of Jesus Christ made to him during his stay in Patmos, an island in the Aegean Sea to which he was sent in exile in the declining years of the Roman Emperor Domitian's reign (about AD 95). John was exiled to the Island of Patmos for bearing witness to the Word of God and the testimony of Jesus, and it is in this island where John saw the realm of God shown by Jesus Christ through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit and His angels.

What is this "Revelation of Jesus Christ?" By the revelation of Jesus Christ, it is meant that God would reveal to us, through His representative Jesus Christ, what will happen to this world and the Kingdom of Heaven in the future. Who is Jesus in His fundamentals? He is the Creator God and the Savior who has delivered the humankind from the sins of the world.

Jesus Christ is the God of the New Kingdom to come, the revealer who shows us everything about this coming new world, and the representative of God the Father. Through the Word of Revelation recorded by John, we can see how Jesus will deal with the old world and open the new one.


Verse 2: "who bore witness to the word of God, and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, to all things that he saw."

John could bear witness to the Word of the truth particularly because he saw what Jesus Christ would do in the future as the representative of God the Father. John saw and heard what will be fulfilled through Jesus Christ, and as such, he could testify on all such matters.


Verse 3: "Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written in it; for the time is near."

It is said here that blessed are those who read and hear the Word of God testified by John. Who are the blessed? First and foremost, they are the believers who have become the people of God by being delivered from all their sins through their faith in the Word of God. Only the saints can be blessed because it is they who read, hear, and keep the testimony of the Word of God-all the things that are to come through Jesus Christ-recorded by John. Those who have become the saints of God in this way will receive the blessings of Heaven by hearing the Word of God and keeping their faith in Him.

Had God not foretold us, through John, the secret of the truth of all that is to come to this earth and Heaven, how could the saints ever hear and see it? How could they have had the blessing of knowing beforehand and believing in all the changes that the world is undergoing? I give thanks and glory to God for showing us through John all that awaits this earth and heaven. In our present time, blessed are indeed those who can see and read with their own eyes the Word of God's revelation through Jesus Christ.


Verse 4: "John, to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace to you and peace from Him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven Spirits who are before His throne,"

John says here that he is sending his letter to the seven churches in Asia. Having recorded the prophecies and revelations that God made to him during his exile in the Island of Patmos, John sent it to the seven churches in Asia, as well as to all the churches of God in the entire world.


Verse 5: "and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler over the kings of the earth. To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood,"

Why does John call Jesus Christ "the faithful witness"? Our Lord came to this world and was baptized by John the Baptist to deliver all those who are in sin and bound for their destruction. Through His baptism Jesus took upon all the sins of the world at once, bled on the Cross to pay the wages of sin with His own life, and rose again from death in three days-all to save the believers and cleanse away their sins. Because it is no other than Jesus Himself who has delivered all the sinners of the world from all their sins, Christ is the living witness to this salvation.

By "the firstborn from the dead," John is telling us that Jesus became the firstfruit by coming to this world and fulfilling all the requirements of the Law-paying, in other words, the wages of sin-by taking upon all the sins with His baptism, dying on the Cross, and rising again from death. And as Christ "loved us and washed us in His own blood," God has freed those who believe in the gospel of the water and the Spirit from all their sins.


Verse 6: "and has made us kings and priests to His God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen."

As the representative of God the Father, Jesus came to this world in flesh and saved the sinners with His baptism and blood on the Cross. With these acts of grace, Christ has cleansed us and made us the people and priests of God. To the Father who has given us these blessings of His amazing grace, and to the Son who is His representative and our Savior, may all glory, praise, and thanks be given forever and ever! The purpose of Christ's incarnation was to make us the people and priests of the Kingdom of God for the Father. We have been made "kings," in other words, of the Kingdom of Heaven where we will live eternally with God.


Verse 7: "Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him, even they who pierced Him. And all the tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him. Even so, Amen."

It is said here that Christ will come with clouds, and I absolutely believe in it. This is not a science-fiction story. This is the prophecy that Jesus Christ will indeed return to this earth from Heaven. It is also said here that "even they who pierced Him" will see Him. Who are these? These are those who saw the Word of the water and the Spirit as merely one of the many religious doctrines of the world, even when this Word has the power to save them all.

When Christ returns, those who pierced Him with their disbelief will surely mourn. They will cry and grieve, because by the time they realize that the gospel of the water and the Spirit is indeed the gospel of redemption and deliverance from their sins, and that Jesus was baptized by John to take upon all the sins of the world, it would be too late for them.


Verse 8: "'I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End,' says the Lord, 'who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.'"

By "the Alpha and the Omega," John tells us that our Lord is the God of judgment from whom both the beginning and the end of the whole universe and the history of the mankind are derived. The Lord will return to reward the righteous and judge the sinners. He is the Almighty God who will judge the sins of the people and reward the righteousness of those who believe in His righteousness.


Verse 9-10: "I, John, both your brother and companion in the tribulation and kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was on the island that is called Patmos for the word of God and for the testimony of Jesus Christ. I was in the Spirit on the Lord's Day, and I heard behind me a loud voice, as of a trumpet,"

The word "brother" is used when the fellow believers call each other. In the born-again church of God, those who have become family by believing in the gospel of the water and the Spirit call each other as brothers and sisters, and these titles are given to us by our faith in the gospel of the water and the Spirit.

The "Lord's Day" here refers to the day after the Sabbath, when Jesus rose from death. It is this day of the week when Jesus was resurrected, and this is why we call Sunday "the Lord's Day." This day marks the end of the age of the Law and the opening of the new age of salvation. Also, with His resurrection, our Lord told us that His Kingdom is not of this world.


Verse 11: "saying, 'I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last,' and, 'What you see, write in a book and send it to the seven churches which are in Asia: to Ephesus, to Smyrna, to Pergamos, to Thyatira, to Sardis, to Philadelphia, and to Laodicea.'"

John wrote down what he saw through the revelation of Jesus Christ and sent them as letters to the seven churches in Asia. This tells us that God speaks to the entire Church through His servants who walked before us.


Verse 12: "Then I turned to see the voice that spoke with me. And having turned I saw seven golden lampstands,"

Because the Scripture of God was not yet completed in the apostles' days, there was a need to show signs and visions to the disciples. When John turned to hear the voice of God, he saw "seven golden lampstands." The lampstands here symbolize the churches of God, the gatherings of the saints who believe in the revelation of the gospel of the water and the Spirit. God was the Lord of the seven churches in Asia, and He was and is the Shepherd who takes care of all the saints.


Verse 13: "and in the midst of the seven lampstands One like the Son of Man, clothed with a garment down to the feet and girded about the chest with a golden band."

"One like the Son of Man," whom John saw "in the midst of the seven lampstands," refers to Jesus Christ. As the Shepherd of the saints, Jesus visits and talks to those who believe in the Word of the truth of His baptism and crucifixion. John's description of Christ in "a garment down to the feet and girded about the chest with a golden band" symbolizes the status of our Lord as the representative of God the Father.


Verse 14: "His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and His eyes like a flame of fire;"

Our Lord is perfectly holy, majestic, and dignified. "His eyes like a flame of fire" means that He, as the Almighty God, is the just Judge of all.


Verse 15: "His feet were like fine brass, as if refined in a furnace, and His voice as the sound of many waters;"

Who do we think that Jesus is? The saints believe that He is wholly and completely God. Our Lord is almighty and has no weakness. But because He experienced our weaknesses while living on this earth, He has a profound understanding of our circumstances and conditions, and can thus better help us. That His voice was as the sound of many waters shows just how holy and almighty our Lord is. There is not a trace of imperfection or weakness in our Lord, and He is filled only by His holiness, love, majesty, and honor.


Verse 16: "He had in His right hand seven stars, out of His mouth went a sharp two-edged sword, and His countenance was like the sun shining in its strength."

That "He had in His right hand seven stars" means that the Lord keeps the church of God. The "sharp two-edged sword" from His mouth, on the other hand, symbolizes that Jesus is the Almighty God who works with the Word of the authority and power of God. "Like the sun shining in its strength," our Lord is the God of Word, the Omnipotent One.


Verse 17: "And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead. But He laid His right hand on me, saying to me, 'Do not be afraid; I am the First and the Last.'"

This verse shows us just how weak and dark we are before the holiness of God. Our Lord is always omnipotent and perfect, and He reveals Himself to the servants of God sometimes as a friend, and other times as the God of strict judgment.


Verse 18: "I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death."

Our Lord lives forever and has all the authority of Heaven as the representative of God the Father. As both the Savior and Judge of the mankind, He is the God who has the authority over eternal life and death.


Verse 19: "Write the things which you have seen, and the things which are, and the things which will take place after this."

The servants of God have the duty to record the purpose and works of God, of both the present and the future. The Lord thus told John to spread in faith what He had revealed to him, the faith of the church of God that would earn eternal life, and all the things that are to come in the future. This is what God has, through John, also commanded us to do.


Verse 20: "The mystery of the seven stars which you saw in My right hand, and the seven golden lampstands: The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands which you saw are the seven churches."

Want to know more about the Revelation? Please click the banner below to get your free book on the Revelation.

What is "the mystery of the seven stars?" It is that God would build His Kingdom by making us His people through His servants. "The golden lampstands" symbolize the churches of God built through the saints who believed in the gospel of the water and the Spirit that God gave to the mankind.

Through His servants and His churches, God has shown the believers what His purpose is and what awaits this world in the future. Through the Word of revelation that He showed to John and made him record, we, too, will shortly see His works with our own eyes. I thank and praise God for His divine providence that has revealed all the things that will come to pass in this world.

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