Sun, Jan 16, 2000

Do You See Anything: Revelation 1:9-20

Ministry of Pastor Joe Guglielmo teachings through the Bible, verse by verse for a better understanding of Gods Word.
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DO YOU SEE ANYTHING?

REVELATION 1:9-20

In his book, Come Before Winter, Charles Swindoll said:

The four-word question must have made both men smile later on when they thought about it: "Do you see anything?" It was asked by an aide whose name has not found its way into the history books, but the one who was asked the question is known by many - Dr. Howard Carter, a well-known British archaeologist who at the time had his head poked into an ancient Egyptian tomb. For six uninterrupted years the man had been digging. There were trenches all around the area, endless trenches, tons of sand and rock that had been moved aside and made into mounds, big boulders, as well as smaller rocks. Mounds of worthless debris were all over the area and nothing for six years had been discovered until this most unusual history-making day in 1922.

You see, everyone else had dug into the Royal Valley and said by the time they finished combing the area there was nothing else to be discovered, nothing else to be found. Which made the question all the more interesting as Dr. Carter stared in disbelief into this ancient tomb, soon to discover in the minds of many archaeologists the most significant discoveries in the history of that particular discipline.

Peering into silent darkness, Howard Carter saw wooden animals, statues, chests, gilded chariots, carved cobras, unguent [liniment] boxes, vases, daggers, jewels, a throne, a wooden figure of the goddess Sekhmet, and a hand-carved coffin of a teenage king. In his own words, he saw "Strange animals, statues, and god’s - everywhere the glint of gold." It was, of course, the priceless tomb and treasures of King Tutankhamen, the worlds most exciting archaeological discovery up to that time. More than three thousand objects in all, taking Carter the next ten years to remove, catalog, and restore. "Exquisite!" "Incredible!" "Elegant!" "Magnificent!" "Ahha!" were the words and phrases used by Dr. Carter and his aide, who had earlier asked, "Do you see anything?"

- Charles R. Swindoll, Come Before Winter

As some read the book of Revelation, they are digging and searching, moving rocks and bolder’s, leaving debris all over the place and missing what they are suppose to see, the revelation of Jesus Christ in all of His glory. I guess the question I can ask you is, "Do you see anything?" If you haven’t yet, hopefully by the time we finish with our study this morning you will see Jesus Christ in all of His glory. You will see Jesus as PRIEST, PROPHET, and KING!

And so if you would, please turn with me to Revelation chapter 1, and lets begin reading in verse 9, as John is preparing to revel to us Jesus Christ in all of His glory!

REVELATION 1

VERSE 9

John tells us in the gospel he wrote, that he was the apostle that Jesus loved. He was part of that inner circle of three; Peter, James and John. He walked with Jesus. He was entrusted to care for the mother of Jesus, Mary, after Jesus was crucified on the cross of Calvary. And yet, as he writes these things down, he doesn’t use any flattering words about himself. He doesn’t say, "The highly exalted, most reverend, apostle of apostles, John!" No, he just says that he is a brother in the Lord. Nothing about spiritual hierarchy or being better than anyone else, he is our brother. You see, we all stand before God alike!

He is not only our brother, but a companion, one who shares the same things with us. What does John share with us? Not fancy cars! Not big homes! Not lots of money! Not great popularity! And the list can go on. But that is not what John is speaking of. John has this in common with us, TRIBULATION! Now I bet there are not to many "Amens!" to that. But understand this, anytime you are going to take a stand for Jesus Christ, you have a great potential to receive persecution. That is just the way it is.

John was banished to the island of Patmos, which was a small, barren, rocky island, only some 10 miles long and 6 miles wide, located in the Aegean Sea southwest of Ephesus. And John was banished their to die because of his testimony of Jesus Christ. And of this place, Sir William Ramsay said that criminal’s, which John was considered because of his proclamation of the gospel, would be "Preceded by scourging, marked by perpetual fetters, scanty clothing, insufficient food, sleep on the bare ground, a dark prison, work under the military overseer."

And John is having us identify with him. He is telling us he knows what it is like to suffer persecution for your faith. It truly was a difficult time in church history. Millions of Christians were being martyred for their faith. We saw that Stephen was stoned to death by the Jews. Peter was crucified upside down by the Romans. James was beheaded by the Romans. And Paul was beheaded by Nero in 67 or 68 AD.

And things have not changed in the last 2,000 years. People are still being persecuted, and, in some parts of the world, put to death for their faith in Jesus Christ. Paul warned Timothy of this very thing when he said "Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution." II Timothy 3:12. And in Acts 14:21-22 we read "And when they had preached the gospel to that city and made many disciples, they returned to Lystra, Iconium, and Antioch, strengthening the souls of the disciples, exhorting them to continue in the faith, and saying, ‘We must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God." And Peter said in I Peter 4:12-14, "Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ's sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy. If you are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. On their part He is blasphemed, but on yourpart He is glorified."

Are you willing to take a stand for what you believe in, at any cost? John was, and as our brother and companion in the Lord, he is admonishing us to do the same. And John is telling us that this revelation that was given to him was born out of intense pressure, persecution. When you read from Genesis through Deuteronomy, the Pentateuch, understand that this was written by Moses during their wilderness wanderings, a desert experience. Most of the Psalms written by David were written when he was on the run from his enemies. II Peter was written while Peter was on death row. II Timothy was written while Paul was on death row. Jeremiah they kept trying to kill. Isaiah lived half of his life with a death threat upon him. God tends to do great things during difficult times! What are you going through? And more importantly, what does God want to reveal to you as you are going through these times?

VERSES 10-11

Now I don’t believe John is speaking of Sunday when he uses the phrase "The Lord’s Day." I believe that as John was worshiping the Lord he was given a vision of the things that would transpire during the end times, the last days, that last 7 year period of time known as the tribulation period, prior to the Lord’s return and including the Lord’s return, the setting up of His kingdom on this earth and the creating of a new heaven and new earth. John saw it all, the culmination of history. And John literally saw these events take place before his eyes. And think about this for a minute. John could have been angry at God, bitter for all that has happened to him. But he wasn’t. He is found worshiping God, and when a person does, God will reveal to him things he needs to know. As Psalm 25:14 says, "The secret of the LORD is with those who fear Him, and He will show them His covenant."

As John is transported to this heavenly scene, he hears the sound "as of a trumpet." It is the voice of Jesus speaking of His eternal existence, restating what He said back in verse 8, that He is God. And the words to John from Jesus are to be written down and sent to the seven churches that were located in the Roman Province of Asia. And in our next study we will be looking at the letters that Jesus sent to these churches and see how relevant they are to us today.

VERSES 12-16

As John is transported to this heavenly scene, he see’s 7 golden lampstands. If you remember, the 7 branched oil burning lamp was used to light the way for those who came before God. What do these 7 golden lampstands represent? We don’t have to guess because verse 20 tells us they represent the seven churches. Thus, as John saw the church, they were not the source of the light, but light holders. We are to carry the light of Christ to a dark world. Paul pointed this out to us in Philippians 2:14-16, when he said "Do all things without complaining and disputing, that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life, so that I may rejoice in the day of Christ that I have not run in vain or labored in vain." We are to let the light of Christ shine in us and through us, we are to be light holders for the world to see.

And Jesus is in the midst of these lampstands or churches. That is a great comfort to me to know that Jesus is the one who is in control of His church. But that also means that the church must recognize Him as God, that He is sovereign, and He has all authority over what goes on in the church, or at least He should! If He is not, then the source of the light is gone, and we no longer are light holders, but our vessels or bowls are empty. We are to be the light of the world, reflecting the light of Jesus, but without the light of God within us, we are in darkness.

Now one of the titles that Jesus uses of Himself is "Son of Man." It speaks of His humanity, that God became flesh. This same title is given to us by Daniel, when he said in Daniel 7:13-14, "I was watching in the night visions, and behold, One like the Son of Mancoming with the clouds of heaven! He came to the Ancient of Days, and they brought Him near before Him. Then to Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and His kingdom the one which shall not be destroyed." You see, this is not just a New Testament idea!

And why did God become flesh and dwell among us? The reason is given to us in Hebrews 2:17-18, where we read "Therefore, in all things He had to be made like His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted."

And now John is going to paint a picture of Jesus for us in all of His glory, and it is probably one that you haven’t seen hanging in homes and churches. In this picture we will see Jesus as PROPHET, PRIEST and KING.

JOHN’S VISION OF CHRIST

1. HE IS CLOTHED WITH A GARMENT DOWN TO THE FEET

Remember when Isaiah saw the Lord in Isaiah chapter 6, and in this vision the train of the Lord’s robe filled the temple. It was a picture of great majesty and dignity. And this is the garment of a priest, a prophet and a king. The common person did not wear a long robe, but a short one. And this is illustrated to us in Hebrews 4:14, where we read "Seeing then that wehave a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God..." In Deuteronomy 18:15, 18 we read "The LORD your God will raise up for you a Prophet likeme from your midst, from your brethren. Him you shall hear...I will raise up for them aProphet like you from among their brethren, and will put My words in His mouth, and Heshall speak to them all that I command Him." And in I Timothy 6:15 where it says of Jesus that He is "...the King of kings and Lord of lords." Thus, Jesus is our High Priest, the Prophet of God, and King of kings!

2. HIS HAIR WAS WHITE LIKE WOOL, AS WHITE AS SNOW

John tells us that his hair was like wool, as white as snow, which speaks of His absolute purity, His holiness. Jesus was without spot or blemish, and Peter makes this point in I Peter 1:18-19, when he said "knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot." And that purity, that righteousness God wants to give to you. We read of this in Isaiah 1:18, which says "‘Comenow, and let us reason together,’ says the LORD, ‘Though your sins are like scarlet, theyshall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall be as wool." And of course, Paul tells us in II Corinthians 5:21, "For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin forus, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him." If He was not pure, if He was not righteous, He could not be the sacrificial lamb to die for our sins. He could not impute to us a righteousness that would save us. But Jesus is pure, He is holy, He is righteous, and thus, He is our sacrificial lamb!

3. HIS EYES LIKE A FLAME OF FIRE

John see’s the eyes of Jesus like a flame of fire. Jesus see’s all, He know’s all, you can’t

hide anything from Him. Paul said in Hebrews 4:13, "And there is no creature hidden fromHis sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must giveaccount." And it speaks of His righteous judgment, that the all-seeing, the all-knowing God will judge this world. It is as Hebrews 12:29 says, "For our God is a consuming fire."

4. HIS FEET WERE LIKE FINE BRASS

John tells us His feet were that of brass, which speaks of judgment. Brass is always the metal of judgment in the Scriptures. Remember the brazen altar in the temple, it was the place where the fire consumed the sin offering. And the picture is that outside of Christ we will be consumed by the fire of God and sent into eternal punishment.

Remember in Numbers chapter 21 when the children of Israel were complaining and sinned before the Lord. And God sent serpents into the camp and everyone who was bit died. And Moses interceded for the people and God instructed Moses to make a bronze serpent and place it upon a pole. Then, if anyone is bit by these snakes, if they would look to that bronze serpent on a pole they would be healed, if they refused they would die.

In the New Testament Jesus picks up on this and tells us what that was a picture of. In John 3:14-15 Jesus said "And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life." In other words, if you look to Jesus to be Lord and Savior of your life, the one who hung on a cross for our sins, then the bite of sin will not destroy you. If you refuse, then sin will destroy you. Either case, sin will be judged, either on the cross of Calvary or upon you!

5. HIS VOICE AS THE SOUND OF MANY WATERS

John tells us that His voice roars like a water fall. If any of you have been to Niagra Falls you know the tremendous sound that is produced by the crashing waters, and that is what John says the Lord’s voice is like, that powerful. In fact, in Psalm 29:3-9 we get a picture of this as we read "The voice of the LORD is over the waters; the God of glory thunders; the LORD is over many waters. The voice of the LORD is powerful; the voice of the LORD is full ofmajesty. The voice of the LORD breaks the cedars, yes, the LORD splinters the cedars ofLebanon. He makes them also skip like a calf, Lebanon and Sirion like a young wild ox.The voice of the LORD divides the flames of fire. The voice of the LORD shakes thewilderness; the LORD shakes the Wilderness of Kadesh. The voice of the LORD makes thedeer give birth, and strips the forests bare..."

6. SEVEN STARS IN HIS RIGHT HAND

The right hand speaks of power, authority, and in His right hand are 7 stars, which verse 20 tells us are seven angels or messengers. The word "angels" or "messengers" in the Greek is AGGELOS, and it seems that Jesus is speaking of not angelic beings but the overseers of the church, the leadership of the church. That is a great comfort to me, and it should be to all leaders in the church, that God holds us in His hand. And we all need that because He will hold us accountable for how we led the church. Yes He has given to us the authority to oversee the church, but we are also responsible to Jesus for the well-being of the flock He has entrusted to us.

7. OUT OF HIS MOUTH WENT A SHARP TW0-EDGED SWORD

Here is another picture of Christ you don’t see too often, having a double-edged sword coming out of His mouth! In Hebrews 4:12 we are told that God’s Word is living, it is powerful, like a sharp sword, and the Greek word for "sword" is MACHAIRA, or a small dagger that was used in hand-to-hand combat. That is not what is being spoken of here. It is the RHOMPHAIA or the broad sword that you would swing in battle to cut down you opponents. That is what Jesus was carrying!

This is not the cutting away of the hardness from your heart, but the sword of judgment! In Revelation 19:15, which speaks of Jesus’ second coming, says "Now out of His mouth goes asharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them witha rod of iron. He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of AlmightyGod." This is the sword of judgment and death. And Jesus makes it clear why they are being judged, for in John 12:47-48 we read "And if anyone hears My words and does not believe, Ido not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world. He whorejects Me, and does not receive My words, has that which judges him-- the word that Ihave spoken will judge him in the last day." When Jesus speaks, we better listen!

8. HIS COUNTENANCE WAS LIKE THE SUN

As John see’s Jesus he see’s Him shining like the sun. It speaks of the holiness of God, His unapproachable glory is what John is speaking of. And we can not approach that in our own righteousness, which is like filthy rags, only through the righteousness that has been imputed to us by faith in Christ. And we do have a glimpse of His glory when Jesus was transfigured on the mount before Peter, James and John, and we are told in Matthew 17:2, "and He wastransfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became as white asthe light."

Jesus truly is the light of the world and He desires us to be light bearers, reflectors of His glory to a world in darkness. And John, as he looks upon the Lord in all of His glory, does something that may shock many people. You see, we have this image of God as this friend, a "good buddy" you might say, and we lose sight that He is Almighty God! Just look at the response today of people who supposedly have encounters with Christ, and what happened to John in verse 17.

VERSE 17a

John hit the floor in worship of Jesus, who must be God or else John would not have worshiped Him. In Revelation 22:8-9 we are told, "Now I, John, saw and heard these things. And when I heard and saw, I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel who showed me these things. Then he said to me, ‘See that you do not do that. For I am your fellow servant, and of your brethren the prophets, and of those who keep the words of this book. Worship God." Only God is to be worshiped, no other created thing, be they angels, or so-called saints, or man himself! God only is to be worshiped!

And John is not alone in bowing before the Lord. Abraham did in Genesis 17:3. The parents of Samson, Manoah and his wife worshiped the Lord by falling on their face in Judges 13:20. Ezekiel fell on his face before the Lord in Ezekiel 3:23. And Daniel also fell on his face before the Lord in Daniel 10:8-9. And Peter did the same in Luke 5:8. May we not lose sight of how we are to approach God, bowing ourselves before Him!

VERSES 17b-18

The Lord says to John "fear not!" which tells me John was fearful of the vision he was seeing. And notice what the Lord does here. He picks John up with His right hand of power and authority. And here is the blow to those that don’t believe Jesus is God. Jesus starts out by saying He is the first and the last, which is a reference to the eternal state of God. We see this in Isaiah 44:6, "Thus says the LORD, the King of Israel, and his Redeemer, the LORD ofhosts: ‘I am the First and I am the Last; besides Me there is no God." And in Isaiah 48:12-13, "Listen to Me, O Jacob, and Israel, My called: I am He, I am the First, I am also theLast. Indeed My hand has laid the foundation of the earth, and My right hand hasstretched out the heavens; when I call to them, they stand up together."

Now the Jehovah Witnesses will tell you that this phrase is related to Jehovah God, but they do have a problem with Jehovah being alive, dead and alive forevermore! We know that Jesus died for the sins of the world, thus, Jesus is the eternal God, the second person of the Holy Trinity.

Not only that, but He holds the keys to Hades and death. The keys, of course, speak of Jesus’ authority, and He has authority over Hades (Greek) and Sheol (Hebrew), which is a holding place for those who have died rejecting Christ and they will remain there until the Great White Throne Judgment, when God will judge them and place them in the Lake of Fire or Gehenna, which is the final place of punishment for the wicked.

VERSE 19

This is the only book in the Bible that I know of that gives us a divine outline. And I believe that this is one of the keys to understanding this book. The things that John has seen are the things found in chapter 1. The things which are speak of what is found in chapters 2 & 3, the things of the church.

And lastly, the book is divided into the things which will take place after these things, or after the church age comes to an end. The Greek phrase that John uses is META TAUTA, which means "after these things." And it is interesting to note that as John opens up in chapter 4, at the close of the church age, he begins with this phrase META TAUTA. And so as the church age comes to an end, the tribulation period begins, and thus, chapters 4-22 deal with the last division of the book. And we will see this as we progress through this book.

VERSE 20

As I have already said, and we have read, the seven lampstands represent the 7 churches. The 7 stars are the shepherds or leaders of the church.

Remember the question we started out with this morning, "Do you see anything?" I hope you have seen Jesus in all of His glory. I hope you have seen Him with authority, power, in total control over all that goes on. I hope you see Him as a righteous judge who is coming back to judge a Christ rejecting world. I hope you come to know Him as Lord and Savior, and as the King of Kings and Lord of lords, who is coming back to establish His righteous kingdom here on the earth.

You will either see Jesus in all of His glory and make Him king of your life, or you will be digging in all the wrong places and come up empty handed. My prayer is that you will make a commitment to Christ. Your eternal destiny depends on it!

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