The Revelation of Jesus Christ can be the most life-changing book in the Bible, but only if you read it and apply it to your life. The Word of God says in Revelation 1:1, “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.”
In most copies of the Scripture, we have a title across the top of this book, “The Revelation of Saint John the Divine.” The real title for this book of the Bible is given to us in verse one: “The Revelation of Jesus Christ.”
The word revelation means “the revealing, the unveiling.” This is what God wants us to see. It is the most life-changing book in the Bible. In I John 3:1-2, the Bible says,
“Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.”
The Bible is God’s revelation of Himself to us. We have this progressive revelation given to us all throughout the Bible. All of it is God-breathed. We have the perfect revealing of the Lord Jesus Christ to us when we come to the final book of the Bible: “The Revelation of Jesus Christ.” This entire book is about Jesus Christ. It reveals to us His Person. He is eternal God, the Creator God, coequal, coexistent, and eternally existent with God the Father and God the Holy Spirit.
The world does not look at Jesus this way. The world does not know Him for who He truly is. God wants us to see Him high, holy, exalted, and lifted up. God reveals to us in these twenty-two chapters of this one book of the Bible the Person of Jesus Christ and the victory we have in Him because of who He is and because He lives in those who know Him. He reveals to us His power. Every element we know of in this universe is at His disposal: lightning, earthquakes, mountains, rivers, and oceans. Everything that God has created is at His disposal to use as He wishes when He wishes to use it.
The unleashing of these powerful things that we read about in the Bible will take our breath away and cause us to say, “Unimaginable! That such things would happen—such creatures would be unleashed on mankind! Oh, how the mighty moving of God’s power will affect this earth!”
The Bible reveals to us not only His Person and His power, but also His plan. The concluding words of this book declare, “Even so, come, Lord Jesus” (Revelation 22:20). This book of the Bible opens with the words, “The Revelation of Jesus Christ,” meaning the unveiling of Jesus Christ. When we have Christ revealed to us, we see that He is victorious over all. Every knee will bow before Him, and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.
Powerful people sit on thrones all over the world. They mock God and mock God’s Word. In their fair speeches, they act as if they have the last word. How foolish they are! Many of them will cry out for the mountains and rocks to fall upon them to hide them from the wrath of the Lord Jesus Christ.
The Old Testament book of Psalms tells us about Christ’s cruel death on the cross. Isaiah 53 says He was slaughtered on Calvary as you would slaughter a beast. As He was slaughtered, He became the drunkard’s song (Psalm 69:12). The only perfect person to ever walk on the earth was laughed at, mocked, and taken into the hands of angry sinners who did with Him as they pleased.
God wants us to know that the lowly vision the world has of our suffering Saviour is not the final look we should have of Him. He wants us to see Christ as He truly is, the Creator God, the Lord of Lords, and King of Kings who is coming to reign. He will execute judgment on all unbelievers. God opens His Word to reveal these things to us in this Revelation of Jesus Christ.
The Word of God says in Colossians 1:15-16, “Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him.”
We may have many people nod their heads and affirm that He created all things, but God proves to us in Revelation that they were not only all created by Him, but all created for Him. When every loose end is brought together and every dangling string of misunderstanding in the human mind is all tied together, we see the picture of God’s purpose moved to His final action in this last book of the Bible.
In Colossians 1:17, the Bible says, “And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.” When we begin to read about how the earth and the universe will come apart in the last days, we truly understand that it is all held together by Him. When He decides, it is coming apart. Planets will fall, stars will fall, oceans will turn to blood, and death will cover the earth. The once mocked-at man, the perfect, sinless man, Emmanuel, the God-man will reveal to the world that He truly is the One by whom all things consist.
Revelation 1:1 says, “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.” What does the word “shortly” mean? It means that once that which God has revealed has begun, it shall be consummated quickly. There is no turning back. There is no undoing the judgments that God has pronounced. The Lord Jesus could come again at any moment. There is no sign needed for that to happen. Certain things are going to take place, but once that twinkling of an eye moment takes place when Christ returns for His own to take them to glory with Him, everything else God tells us in the consummation of the ages will take place quickly.
People you know and love who have never been born again will be caught in the wrath of Almighty God. Nothing is going to change what God has measured out to take place in this book of the Revelation.
The next verse tells us about the man through whom God delivers His message. “Who bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw” (Revelation 1:2). John, banished to the isle of Patmos, has this revelation given to him. He is the human penman who catches a glimpse of the eternal Son of God and pens these words for all.
Then notice what the Word of God says in Revelation 1:3, “Blessed is he that readeth.” God says that He will bless you for simply reading this one book of the Bible! Take it down from some dusty shelf, open it, turn through its pages and read it and ask God to teach you His Word. You can learn what God says in this book of the Bible. Then He says, “and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.” Do you want God’s blessing on your life? Then read the Revelation of Jesus Christ, hear the Revelation of Jesus Christ, and obey these things that are revealed to you in the Revelation of Jesus Christ.
Revelation 1:4-5 says, “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; And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness…” Here we have a wonderful list of things God wants us to know about Jesus Christ.
- He is “the faithful witness.”
- He is “the first begotten of the dead.”
- He is “the prince of the kings of the earth.”
- He “loved us.”
- He “washed us from our sins in his own blood.”
- He “hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father.”
Do you think sometimes in life that you get lost in all the multitudes? God said that for His children, Jesus has made us kings and priests. And the Word of God goes on to say, “to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.” Then God gives us this sweeping verse in verse seven, “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.” Take special note of this expression “with clouds.” In the Rapture of the church, Christ is coming in the clouds, not to the earth. The trumpet will sound and the dead in Christ shall rise. If He came in this moment, we would go up to be with Him.
But He also includes this: “And every eye shall see him.” Every eye will not see Him when He comes with the clouds, but every eye will see Him when He comes seven years later at the end of the Tribulation to execute judgment on an unbelieving world. The battle of Armageddon will be fought. Both of His comings are given to us in this one sweeping verse.
“And they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen.” Then the Lord says of Himself, “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.” Notice the definite article: “the Almighty.” Many men and women throughout history have claimed greatness and power for themselves, but there is only one who can say He is “the Almighty,” and that is the Lord Jesus.
In Revelation 1:9, John tells us, “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.” He says that the reason he is here in exile where God revealed all this to him is for two things: “ for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ.”
The Word of God is “quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword” (Hebrews 4:12). The Word of God is like a hammer (Jeremiah 23:29). The Word of God is eternal; it “liveth and abideth forever” (I Peter 1:23). It is our battle weapon.
John says, “I’m here for teaching and preaching the Word of God ‘and for the testimony of Jesus Christ.’”
Many people are happy for you to have your religion and talk about anything you want as long as you do not mention the Lord Jesus Christ. He is the Saviour, but He is also the great divider. We see clearly why John was banished to the isle of Patmos.
And John tells us in verses 10-11, “I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet, 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.”
This message is now given to be the responsibility of the churches. Some churches never read a word from this book of the Bible. Some preachers never preach a word or make any reference to this book of the Bible, but God says specifically that this life-changing message was given to the churches.
The entire church age is covered in the Lord’s message to the churches. The church age began with Christ and His disciples and was empowered at Pentecost. It began with the Lord. He said, “Upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:18). But here is something we do not think of often enough: the Church Age will also have an ending. We know this is true because when we come to the fourth chapter of this particular book, the church is mentioned no more until the eighteenth chapter.
In chapter four, a door is opened in heaven and the church is gone. What you are going to do for God in the local assembly you must do now because you will not always have the opportunity to do it.
Then John says in Revelation 1:12-13, “And I turned to see the voice that spake with me. And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks; 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.”
This is a visual description of the Lord Jesus as John saw Him. Most people see Jesus wounded and bleeding on the cross, hung there by sinful men, crucified, and helpless; but that is not the vision God wants us to get of Christ. He has been to the cross. He did bleed and die. He was buried, but He came out of the grave alive forevermore, spent forty days with His disciples, and ascended to heaven. In this passage God gives us the vision we should have of Christ in heaven.
“In the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man.” The candlesticks are the churches. God tells us that Jesus Christ is actually moving in the local church. The most reverential, inspiring thing about the meetings of the Temple Baptist Church is the fact that Christ has promised to meet with us.
“Clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle.” John sees Jesus Christ from head to foot, and says of Him, “His head and his hairs were white like wool.” Do you ever think about what Jesus will look like when we see Him? We believe in the Godhead: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. The only God we will ever know is God the Father. The only God we will ever feel and have speak to us is the Holy Spirit. And the only God we will ever see is God the Son. When we get to heaven, we will not see three Gods. We will see God in the Person of His Son. The hairs of His head will be “as white as snow.”
John tells us, “His eyes were as a flame of fire; and his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters.“
“And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp twoedged sword.” We know that sword to be His Word.
“And his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength.” We are told in this book of the Bible that there will not be any need for the sun, moon, or stars in heaven. “The glory of God lightens that city, and the Lamb is the Light thereof” (Revelation 21:22). More than sufficient light will exude from the Person of Jesus Christ in heaven so that no other light is needed.
Then the Word of God says in Revelation 1:17-20,
“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: 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. Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter; 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.”
“The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches.” He is talking about the pastors. I have been called many things, but I do not think any other person has called me an angel. But God called me an angel. Thank you, Lord Jesus.
“And the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches.” God says that His candlesticks must be burning, but they can go out.
Give special attention to Revelation 1:19. In a sense, the Lord is laying out for us in this first chapter a table of contents of what we will find in the rest of the book.
- “Write the things which thou hast seen.” (Revelation 1)
- “Write…the things which are.” (Revelation 2-3)
- “Write…the things which shall be hereafter.” (Revelation 4-22)
When I was only a young fellow, someone took the Bible and explained to me how to know Jesus as my Saviour. I thought, “Well, I have done that now.” I had asked God to forgive my sin and by faith trusted the Lord Jesus as my Saviour.
Kind people told me, “Read the Bible and pray. Attend church. Give offerings. Be involved in the ministries. You are on a mission with the Lord.”
I learned that as a very young person, but I had a friend when I was a senior in high school who took me to a primitive meeting of a local church. I say it was primitive because they only had the bare bones: a Bible to preach from, a hymn book to sing from, and a room in which to meet. There was an elderly preacher there. He was a man of ripe old age. He only had one message. His message was on the Lord Jesus and His return.
I had been a Christian for years. I came to Christ shortly before my fourteenth birthday, but I had never heard anybody preach on the Return of Christ. I do not know what I was thinking. I had trusted in His death, burial, and resurrection. I was attending church. I had a Bible.
Since that old preacher preached in earnest about the fact that Christ is coming again, from that day to this, my life has never been the same. I came to believe that God has not finished His work on earth. He is coming again, and He will be honored and glorified.
The Revelation of Jesus Christ reveals that God’s program is not finished. Once the events foretold in this book begin taking place, they will all shortly come to pass. What we are going to do for God in this church age, we must do now.