Revelation 1: The King is in Your Midst

Jesus figures significantly in this first chapter of Revelation.  There should be no wonder; this is the “revelation of Jesus Christ” as verse one tells us.

John greets the seven churches of Asia Minor with a grand praise of Jesus, their common Savior:

Jesus the Messiah, the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. (1:5)

Now, stop for a moment.  Think how provocative that flourish of praise is.  John is ascribing a power to Jesus that is equal or even surpasses the Caesar.  Is this god of the Christians more powerful than the Caesar who rules all other regional kings of the Mediterranean?  What a dangerous way to start a book to people persecuted for their seditious beliefs!

Lest there be a misunderstanding, this is a different kind of king.  Yes, he has conquered kingdoms.  He holds in his hands trophies of powers that have been vanquished.

He touched me with his right hand. “Don’t be afraid,” he said.  “I am the first and the last and the living one.  I was dead and look!  I am alive forever and ever.  I have the keys of death and Hades. (1:17-18)

Jesus is not a king like Caesar.  He certainly desires the hearts of those who address him as king, but he is not seeking more soil and greater riches.  He has conquered a power greater than Caesar himself.  His greatest victories are spiritual.

John not only says great things about Jesus in this chapter, he even has a vision of Jesus as well:

So I turned to see the voice that was speaking with me.  As I turned, I saw seven golden lampstands, and in the middle of the lampstands “one like a son of man,” wearing a full-length robe and with a golden belt across his chest. (1:12-13)

As we start this book, it is important for us to note where Jesus is in this vision.  He stands in the midst of seven lampstands, which verse 20 tells us signify the seven churches to whom this book is written.  Thus, as we start this book we see Jesus standing in the midst of his suffering people.

Jesus is a mighty king but also a compassionate comforter.

What stood out to you in this chapter?

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Categories: Revelation | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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2 thoughts on “Revelation 1: The King is in Your Midst

  1. Pat

    I think I am one of those who avoid Revelation as much as possible. I remember reading it in the King James version as a teenager and just couldn’t understand it. It didn’t make any sense in my working-class world.

    Since then, I have made a few halfhearted efforts to read and understand it, but the KJV was just too hard and I hadn’t started using other translations yet. When the Left Behind series came along, I thought I would read those; maybe that would help me understand it. NOT!! I read one or two and quit. I felt they were so simplistic, and I just couldn’t find any literary or religious value to them. Since then, I have continued to ignore Revelation.

    I am so glad you are doing this study now. I think I will read it in the Message and perhaps compare with the NIV. One reason I am interested now is the big emphasis on pre-millennialism which I find off-putting because of its extreme literalism. Also, I attend BSF (Bible Study Fellowship, International) classes and I understand it will be the study for next year. I don’t know what their emphasis will be, but I would like to read it seriously for myself before I start that.

    Some chapter 1 phrases that caught my attention are:
    A revealing of Jesus, the Messiah. 1:1
    Time is just about up. 1:3
    All the best to you from THE GOD WHO IS, THE GOD WHO WAS, AND THE GOD ABOUT TO
    ARRIVE. 1:4
    The Master declares, “I’m A to Z. I’m THE GOD WHO IS, THE GOD WHO WAS, AND THE GOD
    ABOUT TO ARRIVE. I am the Sovereign-Strong. 1:8
    Don’t fear: I am First, I am Last, I’m Alive. I died, but I came to life and my life is now forever.
    See these keys in my hand? They open and lock Death’s doors, they open and lock Hell’s
    gates. 1:17

    Wow, this is power far greater than Caesar’s or any world leader.

    Pat

    • Absolutely! Such a powerful book.

      I totally understand where you are coming from and have many of the same feelings as you, especially about pre-millennialism. There are just so many more important points to focus on, especially the one you are already seeing: God is mighty and worthy of praise! There are so many church songs from this wonderful book too. We might could just have church for a month on this little blog!

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