Revelation of Jesus Christ Chapter 1 denniscopp Revelation 1 - Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary - Bible Commentaries - StudyLight.org Verses 1-3 The Apocalypse, or Revelation. I rather prefer the …More
Revelation of Jesus Christ Chapter 1
Revelation 1 - Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary - Bible Commentaries - StudyLight.org

Verses 1-3

The Apocalypse,
or Revelation. I rather prefer the word Apocalypse, which the Latin interpreter did not think fit to change. --- Of Jesus Christ....by his Angel, sent to his servant, John. So that these things were immediately revealed to St. John by an Angel, who represented and spoke in the person of Christ.--- Which must shortly come; and as it is again said, (ver. 3.) the time is at hand. This cannot be meant of all things in the Apocalypse, where mention is also made of the day of judgment, and of the glory of heaven at the end of the world. It can only mean, that some things were to happen shortly, i.e. what is said of the seven churches. (Chap. ii. and iii.) Or the persecutions foretold should begin shortly. Or else these expressions are only to signify, that all time is short, and that from the coming of the Messias, we are not in the last age, or the last hour. See 1 John ii. 18. (Witham) --- St. John excites their attention by the most pressing motives, the approach of the events. Whatever explanation be given of this book, it is equally true in all, that the time is at hand, when it will begin to be accomplished. To find our consolation and happiness in this sacred book, according to the promise of the Holy Spirit, we must peruse it with faith and humility, receive the interpretation of the Church with submission and docility, and practise the truths contained with fidelity and promptitude. What is the life of man, since ages are but moments that escape us? Eternity is but a moment, but a moment that will never end.

Verse 4

Ab eo qui erat, & qui est, & qui venturus est, Greek: apo tou o on, kai o en, kai o erchomenos, as if it was said, Greek: apo tou os legetai o on, &c.

Verses 4-6

John to the seven churches,
[1] afterwards named; and by them, to be understood of all churches, bishops, and people in the like dispositions. --- From him, who is, who was, and who is to come. As these words are only applied, and applicable to him, who is truly God and eternal, Alcazar (p. 176) applies them to God the Father. Others think them to be spoken of God, as the word God agrees to all the three divine Persons, who are one and the same God. See Ribera. --- And from the seven spirits. Alcazar understands them of seven of God’s attributes, or perfections, but, by the common exposition, are meant seven of the chief created spirits, who in a special manner assist at the throne of God, employed to execute God’s commands, as Raphael saith. (Tobit. xii. 15.) I am one of the seven who stand before God. (Witham) --- Spirits, &c. Some understand this of the Holy Ghost, on account of his seven gifts; but the most literal interpretation is of the principal Angles, who always surround the throne of God, and are his ministering spirits. (Calmet) --- And from Jesus Christ,[2] made man, and the Redeemer of mankind, whom St. John here names after the seven spirits, because he continues his discourse about Christ, who is the faithful witness; testified and approved of God by so many miracles, prophecies, &c. He is the chief of the martyrs or witnesses, as the Greek word signifies. --- The first begotten of the dead, both first in dignity, and first that rose to an immortal life. --- The prince of the kings of the earth, whose power is infinetely greater than all theirs; and this to put the suffering Christians in mind, that they needed not to fear the persecuting emperors, who have no power after this life. --- And Christ hath made us a kingdom, inasmuch as by his grace he has made us members of his true Church, called the kingdom of God, and promised us to reign with him in his glorious kingdom in heaven. --- And hath made us priests to God, and his Father, to offer up spiritual sacrifices. See 1 Peter ii. 9. --- To him be, or is due, glory and empire, for ever and ever. Amen. That is, to Jesus Christ. (Witham)

Verse 5

Qui est testis fidelis, Greek: o martus o pistos. Martyr ille fidelis.

Verse 7

Behold, he cometh,
or is to come at the day of judgment. (Witham)

Verse 8

I am Alpha, and Omega.
These, the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet, signify the same as what follows, the beginning, and the end, the first cause and last end of all intelligent beings, who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty: These words agree only to him, who is the true God, and here are applied to our blessed Redeemer, who is to come and judge all. (Witham)

Verse 10

On the Lord’s day.
[3] Not on the Jewish sabbath, which is our Saturday, but on the Christian sabbath, our Sunday, called the Lord’s day. The Church, in the apostle’s time, changed the day of rest, on which the Jews were commanded to rest and sanctify that day, from Saturday to Sunday, from the last day of the week to the first. They judged this only to be an indispensable precept, that some day or some time should be appointed, in a special manner, to God’s service and worship, on which Christians should also abstain from servile works, that were not of necessity: as to the determination of such a day of the week, they judged that the Church had power to change the day. The late pretended reformers have all agreed with us in this change. And if they would have all that is expressed in this commandment, to be of an indispensable and unchangeable obligation, according to the letter of the law, they ought certainly to observe, to sanctify, and to abstain from all servile works of Saturday, or on the Jewish sabbath. --- A great voice, as of a trumpet. To signify the importance of things to be revealed. (Witham) --- Voice, &c. This was most likely St. John the Baptist, who calls himself the voice of one crying in the desert, and who in Malachias is called the Angel of the Lord, as he is also styled in the first verse of this chapter. (Pastorini)
In Dominica die, Greek: en te kuriake emera.

Verse 12

I saw seven golden candlesticks,
which, by the last verse of this chapter, represented the seven Churches of Asia. We may suppose these candlesticks to have been shown to St. John, like what is described, Exodus xxv. 31. For in these visions of St. John are frequent allusions to the former tabernacle, and to things relating to the service and worship of God, which Moses was ordered to make. (Witham)

Verse 13

And in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks,
i.e. walking among the candlesticks, like unto Christ, as he many times called himself the Son of man, and at other times told the Jews he was the Son, the only begotten Son of God. By this walking among the candlesticks is signified his providential care over all the particular Churches, which make up one Catholic Church. --- With a long garment,[4] and a golden girdle, with a resemblance to the habit of the priests. (Witham) --- Jesus Christ is in the midst of his Church to enlighten it, to defend and sanctify it, the true model of pastors, who should reside in the midst of their flock, be clothed with sanctity and justice, and girt with the golden girdle, i.e. with singular purity, always ready for combat and labour, by their charity and zeal.
See Exodus xxviii. 51.; Daniel x. 5.

Verse 15

His feet like unto fine brass,
to signify the purity and steadfastness of his steps and actions. --- His voice as the sound of many waters, the sound of his preaching by himself, and by his apostles, has been heard throughout all nations of the world. (Witham)

Verse 16

In his right hand seven stars,
which, as it is said, (ver. 20.) were the Angels, i.e. the bishops of the seven churches, by this comparison is expressed their dignity. --- And from his mouth came out a sharp two-edged sword. The word of God preached is compared to a two-edged sword. (Ephesians vi. 17. and Hebrews iv. 12.) It also signifies God’s severity in punishing sinners. (Witham)

Verse 17

I am the first and the last
. These are the words of the Son of man, or of him that represented our Saviour, Christ, to St. John. To be the first and the last, is another expression agreeing only to him who is the true God, as it is divers times applied by the prophet Isaias. (Witham) --- From the 12th verse to this place we have a description of the Son of man, i.e. Christ. The different emblematical descriptions of his countenance, his dress, &c. are similar to what are used by other prophets, and easily explained of his attributes, his eternity, vengeance, &c. &c. (Omnes passim.)

Verse 18

And alive, and was dead;
always living as God, and as man was dead, died on the cross for the salvation of all men, rose again, triumphed over hell, death, and sin, and am living for ever and ever, and have the keys of death and of hell, power over all, all things being made subject to me, even as man, or as God and man. (Witham)

Verse 20

These are the seven bishops of the churches. Christ’s having them in his right hand, shews the care he takes of his Church. (Calmet)


A revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him so that He could tell His servants what must take place very soon. Revelation 1:1]

Note: I am using the New Jerusalem Bible translation in our study but I will refer to other translation and I do always compare each phrase with the an Interlinear Greek-English which give a literal, word for word, translation.

Biblical treaties set down God’s transcendence and omnipresence by referring to His actions in creation, redemption and revelation. God’s divine revelation is stressed in the opening verses and it is the declaration of the redemptive powers of Jesus the Messiah that will close Revelation’s preamble:


PREAMBLE (Of the Covenant Treaty Format) = Lordship of the Great King : John’s Vision of the Son of Man

Please read John’s Introduction Read 1:1-8
Question: What is the title of this book?
Answer: As in the Old Testament tradition, the name of a book of scripture comes from the first line. The revelation of Jesus Christ]

Question: Who is the author and what is the message?
Answer: This work is the unveiling of Jesus the Messiah in the context of future events which are only known to God the Father (Matthew 24:36). Jesus, the Son, now shares in this knowledge which he will communicate to John. It is a revelation of Jesus Christ not only because it comes directly to John from Jesus but because Jesus is the subject, the beginning and the end, of this unveiling of future events. (note: when referring to God the Father the Greek text of the New Testament usually uses the definite, masculine article ’the’= the God).

Question: To whom is the message directed?
Answer: God’s servants his servants]

Question: Who has the responsibility to carry the message? How many times is his name used?
Answer: John. 2 times.

Question: This message is transmitted in 5 steps beginning with God the Father and ending with us, the readers. Can you list the 5 step process of transmission?
Answer: 1) from God the Father, 2) to Jesus Christ, 3) to an angel, 4) to the writer, John, 5) to the readers of this letter, the Servants of God.

Revelation 1: 1b: and He made it known can also be translated and He signified. John chose to use the Greek word semaino from the root sema which means ’mark’ or ’sign.’ John used this same word in 3 passages of his Gospel: Jn 12:33; 18:32; and 21:19. In each of these cases this word is used of Christ ’signifying’ a future event soon to occur: Example John 12:31-33 Now sentence is being passed on this world; and the prince of this world is to be driven out. And when I am lifted up from the earth, I shall draw all people to myself. By these words He indicated (semanino) the kind of death He would die. The ’lifting up’ would be the ’sign’. In this passage of Revelation John is saying that these things regarding the future soon to come are made known to him by the angel through ’signs’. In other words, the entire message is symbolic not literal. This is not simply history written in advance but the prophecy of future events symbolically represented.
Question: What does verse 2 mean and John bore witness to the Word of God and the witness of Jesus Christ. Note: the Greek word used for ’witness’ is martus from which we get our English word ’martyr’ and the Greek word for ’word’ is ’logos’.
Answer: John bore witness by teaching the Gospel of salvation through Jesus Christ and through the sufferings he endured for the sake of the Gospel message.

Looking at Revelation 1:3:
What is the condition of the blessing promised in association with this message of 1:3
Answer: if they read and hear and keep the content of the message.

Question: In what setting is scripture most often both read and heard?
Answer: in the liturgy of the Word at Mass. This is an indication that John’s message is not just for individual edification but the message is to be read to the Church. From the opening verses the Book of Revelation is set in a liturgical setting.

Revelation 1:3 contains the first of the 7 blessings or beatitudes of the Revelation of Jesus Christ.

The Seven Beatitudes of the Revelation of Jesus Christ to His Servant John

#1. Revelation 1:3

Blessed is anyone who reads the words of this prophecy, and blessed those who hear them, if they treasure the content, because the Time is near.

#2. Revelation 14:13

Blessed are those who die in the Lord! Blessed indeed, the Spirit says; now they can rest forever after their work, since their good deeds go with them [doctrine of merit].

#3. Revelation 16:15

Blessed is anyone who has kept watch, and has kept his clothes on, so that he does not go out naked and expose his shame.

#4. Revelation 19:9

Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding feast of the Lamb.

#5. Revelation 20:6

Blessed and holy are those who share in the first resurrection; the second death has no power over them but they will be priests of God and of Christ and reign with Him for a thousand years. [the first death is one’s physical death; the second death is the failure to win eternal life.]

#6. Revelation 22:7

I am coming soon! Blessed are those who keep the prophetic message of this book.

#7. Revelation 22:14

Blessed are those who will have washed their robes clean, so that they will have the right to feed on the tree of life and can come through the gates into the city. [ the Jerusalem of 21:9]

Michal Hunt, Copyright © 2000 Agape Bible Study. Permissions All Rights Reserved.

Question: What does a blessing from God indicate?
Answer: a divine promise

When will this prophecy take place? Which 2 verses give the answer Also see 1:19 and 4:1.
Answer: See verse 1 ’very soon’ and verse 3 ’because the time is near’

This imminent time fulfillment is given 5 times in the Book of Revelation

Revelation 1:1

A revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him so that he could tell his servants what is now to take place very soon.

Revelation 1:3

and blessed those who hear them, if they treasure the content, because the Time is near.

Revelation 1:4

John, to the seven churches of Asia: grace and peace to you from him (He) who is, who was, and who is to come

Revelation 10:7

The time for waiting is over; at the time when the 7th angel is heard sounding his trumpet, the mystery of God will be fulfilled, just as he announced in the gospel to his servants the prophets.

Revelation 22:10

Do not keep the prophecies in this book a secret because the Time is close.

Question: What was the test of a true prophet of God? See Deuteronomy 18:21-22.
Answer: The true prophet had to be 100% accurate in his prophecies because those prophecies came from God. Given the fact that the test of a true prophet was that his predictions came true, St. John’s first century readers had every reason to expect his message to have immediate significance. The words he uses ’shortly’ and ’near’ simply cannot mean anything but what they say. Also consider such passages as Rev. 13:18 where John encourages his contemporary readers to calculate the number of the Beast and in Rev. 17:10 where he tells his readers one of the seven kings is currently on the throne or in 17:18 where John says that the great Harlot is (present tense) the Great city which reigns (present tense) over the kings of the earth. Then too there is the significance of the angel’s message to John in Revelation 22:10 So not seal up the words of the prophecy of this book for the time is near. Compare that passage with the command Daniel (6th century BC prophet) received at the end of his Old Testament book of prophecy in Daniel 12:4 Conceal the words and seal up the book until the time of the end. Daniel is ordered to seal up his prophecy because it referred to ’the end’ which was in the distant future. But John is told not to seal up his prophecy. Why? Because the time is near!

The revelation of Jesus Christ to John concerns contemporary (’very soon’) and future events. The blessing is extended to those down through the ages who prepare for his or her definitive encounter with the Savior by taking these words of the vision to heart and doing what it says. Paul in his letter to the Romans expresses this as the ’obedience of faith’ (Romans 1:5). Even though John’s letter is to the 1st century Christians of 7 churches in Asia Minor, his message is as timeless as Paul’s message to the Romans is to us today. In the context of ’the time is near’ phrase of verse 3 it is also helpful to remember what Peter wrote in 2 Peter 3:8-10 regarding the coming of the final days when it is asked What has happened to the promise of His coming? (2 Peter 3:4) Peter’s reply (beginning with a reference to Psalms 90:4) was that you must never forget: that with a the Lord, a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not being slow in carrying out His promises, as some people think He is; rather is He being patient with you, wanting nobody to be lost and everybody to be brought to repentance. The Day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then with a roar the sky will vanish, the elements will catch fire and melt away, the earth and all that it contains will be burned up. However, given the imminent nature of the warning of John’s prophecy perhaps he is not addressing the Second Advent of Christ. There will only be one ’Second Coming’ of Christ that will signal the Final Judgment but God’s comes in judgment continually throughout history on the nations and peoples of the earth. Is John’s prophecy concerned with a judgment other than the Final Judgment?

Compare the time frame for fulfillment of John’s vision with the interpretation of a dream by the Old Testament prophet Daniel. Please read Daniel 2:1-45.
Question: When will the vision of King Nebuchadnezzar’s dream come to fulfillment?
Answer: Daniel 2:28: ’what is to take place in the final (or latter) days.’

Question: When are these ’final’ or ’latter’ days?
Answer: John’s vision is the fulfillment of the prophecies that were given to Daniel. In Daniel verses 31-36 the visions correspond to 4 earthly kingdoms that will succeed each other in dominating the earth: 1)The Babylonians (Nebuchadnezzar’s kingdom); 2) the future Medo-Persian kingdom; 3) the Greek Empire of Alexander the Great and the generals who in succeeding him found 4 other kingdoms; and 4) the Roman Empire. But there is a 5th kingdom that will succeed in destroying the Roman kingdom. Daniel 2:35 Then, iron and clay, bronze, silver and gold, all broke into pieces as fine as chaff on the threshing-floor in summer. The wind blew them away, leaving not a trace behind. And the stone that had struck the statue grew into a great mountain, filling the whole world. Read verse 44 for the interpretation of v. 35: In the days of those kings, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which will never be destroyed, and this kingdom will not pass into the hands of another race: it will shatter and absorb all the previous kingdoms and itself last for ever
Question: What is this 5th kingdom? Hint: ’threshing floor’: the Temple in Jerusalem was built on what had been a ’threshing floor’ see 2 Samuel 24:18ff; 1 Chronicles 21:15ff. ’Stone’ = God’s Holy Temple in Jerusalem was built on the ’ev(b)anshettiyah’ the foundation stone of Yahweh on Mt. Moriah and on another ’rock’ God established His New Covenant Church (Simon-Peter).
Answer: The Universal Church is the 5th kingdom. This vision is repeated in Daniel ch 7. (Note: Christ is the evanshettiyah, the foundation/ cornerstone of the New Covenant. See Matthew 21:42-44; Luke 20:17-18; Psalms 118:22; Isaiah 28:16; Acts 4:11; 1 Peter 2:4, 7.

John has now seen the latter days prophesized by the prophet Daniel arrive. The setting up of God’s Holy Kingdom has begun with the coming of Jesus the Messiah; and the promise that it shall break in pieces all these kingdoms and bring them to an end, and it shall stand for ever (Daniel 2:44) is already starting to be fulfilled. But fulfillment is a process that began with the inauguration of the Kingdom and will end in its final triumph.
Question: In Peter’s first great homily at the time of the birth of the New Covenant Church during the Jewish Feast of Pentecost, what does Peter say about the ’Last Days’ and the ’Day of the Lord’ in Acts 2:16-36 and in his defense of the Gospel before the Jewish Sanhedrin in 3:22-26?
Answer: First quoting the prophecy of Joel 3:1-5 Peter tells the crowds of Jews that the ’last days’ prophesized by Joel have come to pass. And in 3:24 witnessing before the Jewish Law Court Peter proclaims: In fact, all the prophets that have ever spoken from Samuel onwards, have predicted these days.

John’s address and greeting continued: 1:4-8:

Question: To whom are John’s greetings addressed
Answer: To 7 churches of Asia Minor (modern Turkey). Get out a map and look up the 7 churches named in chapter 2.

They were (they no longer exist) located in what is today the country of Turkey. They are all located in somewhat of a circle. Perhaps this was John’s diocese or these cities may have been the path of a Roman mail route. Notice the location of the island of Patmos just off the coast near Ephesus. The Romans governed this area and it was known as the procounsular of Asia and the city of Ephesus, where John presided as Bishop of the Church, was the capital.

Revelation 1: 4-5: grace and peace to you from Him who is, who was, and who is to come.
This greeting: grace and peace, is in the usual New Testament style (see Romans 1:7; 1 Corinthians 1:2; 2 Corinthians 1:2; Galatians 1:3; Ephesians 1:2; Philippians 1:2; Colossians 1:2; 1 Thessa1onians 1; 2 Thessalonians 1:2; Titus 1:2; Philemon 1:3; 1 Peter 1:2; 2 Peter 1:2) The greeting calls to mind the saving work of Jesus Christ and projects that saving work forward through history.

from Him who is, who was, and who is to come.(literally from He., bad Greek but good theology. For another example of John’s bad Greek but good theology see John 16:13 where he uses the masculine article for ’the Spirit’. In Greek ’the spirit’ is neuter. John makes Spirit masculine for a good theological reason. The same is true here.
Question: When did God disclose a similar title to one of God’s prophets? See Exodus 3:13-15.
Answer: This title is an elaboration of the Tetragrammaton, YHWH, God’s holy covenant name as given to Moses which is usually translated as ’IAM WHO I AM’. By identifying Himself in this way He underlines the fact that He is the Lord of all time, past, present, and future. ’His Story’ is history! And that He is at all times acting to affect salvation for man. See repeated references to this title in Revelation 1:8; 4:8; 11:17; and 16:5. (for further reference see Jesus’ use of I AM in John 8:24; 8:58; 18:5-6; etc.)

Question: In verses 4-5 what mystery, previously revealed by Jesus Christ to the Church, is expressed and in what order (see Matt. 28:19 for help). There will be 3.
Answer: God the Father (He who is and who was and who is to come), God the Holy Spirit (from the seven spirits before His throne), God the Son (Jesus Christ the faithful witness). This is liturgical order as opposed to theological order (in Matthew 28:19).

Read Exodus 40:16-35 for the arrangement of the Tabernacle of God in its 3 parts which corresponded symbolically to the mystery of the Trinity.
Question: How was the tabernacle arranged
Answer: The arrangement was in three sections: The Holy of Holies, The Holy Place, and the Altar reflect the mystery of the Trinity. This mystery is also reflected in the placement of the sacred furniture. The Ark of the Covenant, which was place in the Holy of Holies, represented the throne of God. The 7 branched lampstand placed in the Holy Place, represented the Holy Spirit, and the courtyard with the sacrificial altar and priests represented the redeeming work of the Son. Later John will be taken up into the heavenly Sanctuary. The Tabernacle and later the Temple in Jerusalem was only a copy and shadow of the Heavenly Sanctuary. Hebrews 8:5 They worship in a copy and shadow of the heavenly sanctuary as Moses was warned when he was about to erect the Tabernacle. For He(God) says, See that you make everything according to the pattern shown you on the mountain. Show overhead of the Tabernacle plan. See handout of the Tabernacle.

Question: How is this liturgical order of the Trinity reflected in the sacrifice of the Mass?

We begin by addressing our prayers to God the Father, and continue with prayers to the Father until the Eucharistic prayer.
In the Eucharistic prayer the priest first calls upon God the Holy Spirit when he prays: Let your Spirit come upon these gifts to make them holy, so that they may become for us the body and blood of our Lord, Jesus Christ.
It isn’t until the rite of the Sign of Peace that the priest first address a pray to God the Son: ?Lord Jesus Christ, you said to your apostles: I leave you peace, my peace I give you. Look not on our sins, but on the faith of your Church and grant us the peace and unity of your kingdom where you live for ever and ever. From the Sign of Peace onward our prayers are directed to God the Son.

Now look at the unique way John expresses the unity (oneness) and diversity (threeness) of God in this passage in Revelation 1:4-5. Remember the concept of the Trinitarian unity of the Godhead is a mystery that was not revealed to the Church until the advent of Christ. It was the very reason He was condemned to death by the Jews:

Revelation 1:4: God the Father: The transliteration reads: He (not Him) the Being, and the Was and the Coming. John uses atrocious Greek to express excellent theology. Read Malachi 3:6aNo, I, Yahweh, do not change; God is eternally unchangeable. He is not subject to history or environment. He is not defined by external conditions. His coming is not limited to His coming at the end of time but to His complete and unceasing rule over history. He comes again and again to judge the wicked and to rescue the faithful.
Revelation 1:5a: God the Holy Spirit: the 7 Spirits who are before His throne. Some scholars have interrupted the 7 spirits to be 7 angels but I doubt this interpretation because it just doesn’t fit the sequence. Why would John leave out one person of the Trinity? And what about the grace and peace that comes from the 7 spirits? Can grace and peace originate from angels? Grace & peace can only originate from God. Finally, the person spoken of here is clearly equal to God the Father and God the Son so the reference must be to God the Holy Spirit. But when in doubt, search the Scriptures. My answer came from Zechariah chapter 4 The angel who was talking to me came back and roused me as though rousing someone who was asleep. And he asked me, What do you see I replied, As I look, there is a lamp-stand entirely of gold with a bowl at the top of it; it holds 7 lamps with 7 openings for the lamps on it. (Without any human assistance there is an unending flow of oil through 7 spirits to the lamps. God tells Zechariah the interpretation of this vision: These are the 7 eyes of Yahweh. And at the end of the chapter: Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit.

Patristic tradition has always interpreted the seven spirits as the Second Person of the Holy Trinity. The Holy Spirit’s filling and empowering work in the Church is expressed in terms of the number 7 symbolizing spiritual perfection , completeness and fullness.
Question: What are the gifts of the Holy Spirit and how many are there See CCC#1831 and also Isaiah 11:1-2.
Answer: This reference reminds us of God’s power and omniscience. See Zechariah 4:10. God the Father’s divine power is symbolized by the 7 eyes of Yahweh which range the whole earth. Also see Revelation 5:6. John tells us the 7 spirits of God sent out into all the earth are the 7 eyes of the Lamb (Christ). This symbolism (also in Old Testament passages like Is. 11:2 ff) tells us that God acts through His Holy Spirit and that His Spirit has been communicated to the Son and from the Son to man through His death, burial, and resurrection.
Revelation 1:5b:God the Son: What 3 Messianic titles are given to Jesus in verse 5? All three are from Psalms 89:26-38 and each title calls to mind the promise of the 3 fold mission of the Messiah as prophet, priest, and king.

Let’s look at the titles used for Christ in this passage:

The Faithful Witness
: It is from the Greek word that we translate ’witness’ that we get the word ’martyr’. Originally the word martyr, as used in the 1st century, meant one who works to enforce the Law and assist in its execution, even to the enforcement of the death penalty. The significance of this title applied to Jesus the Christ is that He both witnesses against those who are at war against God but He also persecutes them. Don’t forget his role as The Prophet, God’s prosecuting attorney especially as He fulfilled that role in Matthew 24’s mini apocalypse when He called down judgement of Judea and how He met his death at the hands of false witnesses as many of those who would follow Him in bearing true witness would also meet their deaths which fulfills our modern interpretation of the word.

Question: How is this title fulfilled in light of God’s promise to King David in the Old Testament (2 Samuel 2:14f)?
Answer: Jesus is the fulfillment of God’s covenant with David; that his [David’s] throne should rule forever. Jesus is a direct descendant of the great King David. He is in fact the fulfillment of all the Old Testament promises God the Father made about the Messiah (also see 2 Samuel 7:1a; Psalm 89; Isaiah 55:3-4; Zechariah 12:8).
The firstborn from the dead

Why is Jesus the firstborn fromthe dead?
Answer: In His resurrection Jesus defeated sin and death. See Col. 1:18-20 where you will find this phrase. By His resurrection from death Jesus has obtained supremacy, having ’first place’ in everything. This concept is also expressed by Peter in his homily on the 2nd Great Pentecost in Acts 2:32-36. In His resurrection, God has fulfilled His promise in Psalms 89:27 I will make Him My Firstborn, the highest of the Kings of the earth. St John (and God the Holy Spirit) must have had this passage in mind because the next title he applies to Jesus is from Psalms 89:28
The ruler of kings on earth

Christ is not only Savior; He is the universal King. Christ is in effect the King of Kings sitting at the Father’s right hand with dominion over all the earth. As Lord of all the earth, all earthly kings are subject to Him (read Psalms 110:1-7). This kingship will be manifested in a special way in His Second Coming. For further study please read Psalms 89:26-38 and compare with these verses. Notice the promise of God’s faithful love, His agape, self-sacrificial love!

Revelation 1: 6He loves us and has washed away our sins with His blood, and made us a Kingdom of Priests to serve His God and Father: to Him be the glory and power for ever and ever. Amen.
Jesus has fulfilled what no Old Testament sacrifice (animal’s blood) could accomplish. Read Hebrews 9: 15-22. How have we become a ’Kingdom of Priests’? See 1 Peter 2:4-9 (v. 9 But you are a chosen race, a kingdom of priests, a holy nation, a people to be a personal possession to sing the praises of God who called you out of the darkness into His wonderful light.
Question: When do we assume this role in the priesthood of the faithful?
Answer: We first are born into this role in the Sacrament of Baptism when we are reborn into the family of God and no longer a child in the family of Adam. Later when our baptism is completed in the Sacrament of Confirmation when we take our place as active members of Christ’s royal priesthood of believers when we become apostles of Christ and carry His message of salvation to the world: Read CCC #1546 Christ, high priest and unique mediator, had made of the Church a kingdom, priests for His God and Father. The whole community of believers is, as such, priestly. The faithful exercise their baptismal priesthood through their participation, each according to his own vocation, in Christ’s mission as priest, prophet and king. Through the sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation the faithful are consecrated to be a holy priesthood.

Question: Is there a parallel in the Old Testament? Read Exodus 19:3-8. What happened to cause the loss of this status as a kingdom of priests? Read Exodus 31:1-4 and 31:25-29.
Answer: The Levites replaced the people as the priesthood but Aaron and his sons continued as the ministerial priesthood.

Question: Do we also have these two divisions of the priesthood? Read CCC # 1547.
Answer: Yes, those of us who are covenant believers are all members of the royal priesthood of Jesus Christ but some of us are called to serve in the ministerial priesthood.

Revelation 1:6 is John’s doxology of praise to Jesus the Messiah the Redeemer. Not only have we been redeemed from slavery to sin by the power of His perfect sacrifice but He has also constituted us as a Kingdom of priests. The end of the Old is the beginning of the New and Christians are now ruling with Christ (see Ephesians 1:20-22; 2:6; Colossians 1:13), spreading His ’Good news’ across the world over which only He has dominion and power.

Revelation 1: 7 Look He is coming on (with) the clouds: This verse announces what many scholars consider to be the theme of the book, which isn’t the Second Advent of Christ, but the Coming of Christ in judgement upon Israel in order to establish the universal (catholic) Church as the new Kingdom, the New Israel. This argument is supported by the Old Testament imagery John uses which is one of the most familiar Biblical images for judgement: the Glory-Cloud: (see Gen. 15:17; Ex. 13:21-22; 14:19-20 & 24; 19:9; & 16-19; Psalms 18:8-14; 104:3; Isaiah 19:1; Ezek. 32:7-8; Daniel 7:13-14; Nah 1:2-8; Matt. 24:30; Mark 14:62; Acts 2:19). The Glory-Cloud is God’s heavenly chariot by which He makes His glorious presence known. It is also a revelation of His Throne from which He brings judgement upon the wicked and justice and deliverance to the righteous. This is the wrathful judgement against apostate Israel as He has promised in Matthew chapters 23-24. In Matthew 26:63-66 Jesus uses this very passage when pressed by the High Priest to reveal His true identity. Read Matthew 26:63-66. Jesus warns the High Priest, Joseph Caiaphas: You shall see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of Power, and coming on the clouds of heaven. The High Priest realizes Jesus is quoting Daniel 7:13 and is claiming divinity and judgement upon Israel. The High Priest tears his clothes and condemns Jesus. Read Daniel 7:13 ff.

..and everyone will see Him, even those who pierced Him, and all the races of the earth will mourn over Him. Indeed this shall be so. Amen. This is a reference from Zechairah 12: 10-11. This is the second time John has used this phrase. He also used it in the Gospel of John 19:37. Let’s compare the passages: Zech 12: 10b-11: They will mourn for the one whom they have pierced as though for an only child, and weep for him as people weep for a first-born child. And John 19 beginning with verse 35: This is the evidence of the one who saw it, true evidence, and he knows that what he says is true, and he gives it so that you may believe as well. Because all this happened to fulfill the words of scripture: ;Not one bone of his will be broken; and again, in another place scripture says ; They will look to the one whom they have pierced. John is quoting the prophet Zechariah in this passage as well.

Question: who pierced Him?
Answer: the crucifiers. Those who crucified the Messiah would see Him coming in judgement. In other words, they would experience and understand that His Coming on the Clouds would mean wrath on the Land of the Old Covenant. The Zechariah passage occurs in the context of Judah’s (Israel’s) mourning in repentance. But the Judea of John’s day had gone beyond the point of no return. They were facing The Day Of The Lord. But Zechariah’s prophesy also promises redemption. This promised was to be fulfilled. By the means of the excommunication of the Old Israel the world will be saved through Jesus Christ; the message is to be carried by the New Israel (just as Jesus told the priests in Matt. 21:43). And by that means those of the Old Covenant still could turn again to the Lord and be saved (see Acts 2:37-41: Hearing this (that they had crucified the Messiah) they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles; What are we to do, brothers. You must repent, Peter answered, and every one of you must be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.) Jesus the Christ comes not simply for judgment but for judgment unto salvation: Isaiah 26:9 When Your judgments come upon the earth, the people of the world learn righteousness. And John 3:17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him.

Revelation 1: 8 I am the Alpha and the Omega, says the Lord God, who is, who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.
Question: What is the significance of the ’I AM’ Read Exodus 3:13-15.
Answer: It is God’s holy covenant name: Yahweh.
In his Gospel John records Jesus’ use of the words I AM ego ami in Greek, seven different ways; I AM the bread of life, the light of the world, before Abraham was I AM, etc. [see the Chart of the 7 Days and the 7 I AM’s of John’s Gospel].

Alpha and Omega are the first and the last letters of the Greek alphabet. The meaning is that He is the beginning and the ending of all things. This is expressed in the Old Testament reference in Isaiah 44:6 Thus says Yahweh, Israel’s king, Yahweh Sabaoth, his redeemer: I am the first and the last; there is no God except me. Jesus will use this expression, the Alpha and the Omega, three times in Revelations 1:8; 1:17 and 21:6. Then at the very end of the book in 22:13 the expression is used a fourth time I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End..

The Almighty is the usual translation of the Greek word Pantokrator, which means the One who has all power and rules over everything. It is the New Testament equivalent of the Old Testament ’Yahweh Sabaoth’ or Yahweh (or LORD) of the Armies (of heaven and earth).

Read Revelation 1:9-16
Revelation 1: 9
I John, your brother and companion in the Tribulation and Kingdom and perseverance which are in Christ Jesus.. This is the fourth time John’s name is mentioned in the first chapter. John’s name will be given 5 times in the book: ( John 1:1; 1;1, 1:4; 1:9 and 22:8).
Question: Why does John call himself our brother?
Answer: We are brothers (and sisters) in the blood of Christ. Covenants create families. This is why in the Old and in the New Testament only one word is used for brother. In the New Testament it is the Greek word ’adelphos’, meaning ’from the womb’, but it is the same word used for brothers in the same family [John and James Zebedee], for kinsmen [the kinsmen of Jesus], for the disciples and apostles, and for members of the nation of Judah and the Israelites of the Galilee. Therefore, when this word is used to refer to Jesus kinsmen it is wrong to assume that Jesus had natural brothers and sisters.

Question: In Revelation 1:9-16 what 3 things are we united as brothers? In this verse we have a concise summary of the theme of the Book of Revelation as well as John’s worldview.
Answer: 1 = tribulation; 2 = the Kingdom; 3 = perseverance

Tribulation: Not only the continual persecution the Church will endure ( Acts 14:22 through many tribulations we must enter the Kingdom of God.), but also the tribulation, which was the subject of much apostolic writing as the Last Days progresses to their climax (see 1 Thessalonians 1:6; 3:4; 2 Thessalonians 1:4-10; 1 Timothy 4:1-3; 2 Timothy 3:1-12). For John and for us, what gives this tribulation, this suffering is that which is ?in Jesus Christ. We unite our suffering with His suffering just as Paul expressed in Colossians 1:24 ?I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and I fill up what is lacking of the tribulations of Christ in my flesh, on behalf of His Body, the Church.?? And where do we keep our eyes focused in this trial and tribulation?
On the Kingdom.? Where the Kingdom is there is also the King.? And if we keep our lives centered on Him, even though we are in the midst of tribulation, we will preserver.?
Perseverance is an important word in the message of John’s Revelation. He will use it 7 times! (1:9; 2:2, 3, 19; 3:10; 13:10; 14:12).

..was on (the island of) Patmos on account of the Word of God and the witness to Jesus Christ. Patmos is an island off the coast of modern day Turkey. Patmos is 35 miles from Miletus. It is a rocky , crescent shaped, volcanic island 10 miles long and 6 miles wide at its widest point. John has been exiled to the island of Patmos because of his apostolic activity. Christianity was not one of the approved religions. Christians refused to sacrifice to the Roman Emperor. Such a refusal amounted to treason. But it is interesting how John phrases the reason for his imprisonment. He doesn’t say it is because of his own actions but because God has spoken and Jesus has testified. The testimony of Jesus Christ has determined the march of history.

Revelation 1:10: ..it was the Lord’s Day and I was in the Spirit,..
Question: What does John mean when he says that it was the Lord's Day?
Answer: It is the day set aside entirely to worship God. The origin of this term goes back to the first Sabbath when God rested from Creation (Gen. 2:2-3). This original Sabbath was the prototype of the ’Day of the Lord’, the Day of Judgement. The weekly Sabbath of the Old Testament looked forward in time to the Final Day of the Lord when Yahweh gathered the people together for judgment, forgiveness, and the proclamation of the King’s Word.

Question: What day of the week was the Old Covenant Sabbath?
Answer: Saturday?

Question: What is the New Covenant Lord’s Day and why did the day change?
Answer: Sunday, the day of the Resurrection and the 2nd great Pentecost. Sunday is also the day God began creation in Genesis chapter 1. The Lord’s Day, Sunday, is the day of the New Creation in Christ Jesus.

Question: Can you compare the concept of the Old Testament Lord’s Day? to the celebration of the Mass?
Answer: For us it is also a day of judgment and forgiveness. We come before God’s throne to be forgiven and restored, to hear His Word and to be reunited to Him in the Eucharist. In the worship of the Mass we are all, like St. John, caught up to the Throne room of God, we are all in the celebration of the Mass in the Spirit.

and I was in the Spirit.
The Greek is ’egenomen en Pneumati’ This is technical prophetic language See Matthew 22:43; Numbers 11:25; 2 Samuel 23:2; Ezekiel 2:2; 3:24; and 2 Peter 1:20-21 = No prophecy ever came from human initiative. When people spoke for God it was the Holy Spirit that moved them.? In this moment his dark cell walls faded away and an entirely other kind of reality open up, John, the spirit-filled Apostle is admitted to the heavenly council-chamber just as Isaiah had been admitted 800 years earlier.

..and I heard a loud voice behind me, like the sound of a trumpet, saying Trumpets are mentioned more in Revelation than in any other book of the Bible. They are usually associated with the Last Things and with the revelation of God and Judgement. It is interesting that the Glory-Cloud, the most basic Biblical image for the Judgment, is generally associated with three other images: The Spirit, the Day (or light, since the light of day was originally born from the light of the Cloud) and the Voice, which often sounded like a trumpet; see Exodus 19:16-19 v. 18 Yahweh had descended on it (the mountain of Sinai) in the form of fire. The smoke (cloud) rose like the smoke from a furnace. And the whole mountain shook violently. Louder and louder grew the trumpeting. You may remember that these three images are mentioned in the Garden of Eden when The man and his wife heard the sound (actually the word should be ’voice’, kol in Hebrew) of God walking in the Garden in the cool the Hebrew word is ruah which means spirit. The passage should read in the spirit of the day. You see it wasn’t a gentle, refreshing breeze that floated through the Garden but it was the explosive thunderclaps and trumpeting of the God of heaven and earth that Adam and Eve heard; no wonder they hid!

Revelation 1:11: Write down in a book all you see and send it to the seven churches of Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, Laodicea. John was commanded to write this book and to send the letters to these 7 churches in Asia Minor (modern day Turkey). His heart must have leapt at the naming of these particular churches because they were probably part of his (to use a modern term) archdiocese. Ephesus was John’s home church before his imprisonment and he will return to Ephesus to spend his remaining days. These 7 churches are listed in a circular route. It is probably the route a messenger would travel; or even the route John would travel when he visited each of these faith communities.

Revelation 12-13: I turned around to see who was speaking to me, and when I turned I saw 7 golden lamp-stands and in the middle of them, one like the Son of Man dressed in a long robe tied at the waist with a belt of gold. Verses 12-15 is the only physical description of Jesus in the New Testament. Notice that first John hears and then he sees. At the end of John’s revelation in Rev. 22:8 John will tell us again: I, John, am the one who heard and saw these things. Perhaps the verbal revelation is necessary to understand the visual revelation.

Question: Where is it that John finds himself when he turns and sees the golden lamp-stands? Where are golden lamp-stands kept?
Answer: There was a single golden lamp-stand with 7 lamps in the Holy Place in the Temple.

Question: But why are there 7 golden lamp-stands?
Answer: Because John has entered the Heavenly Sanctuary, and he sees 7 lamp-stands, connected to each other in the Person who stands in their midst. We’ll discuss the symbolism when we reach verse 20 but for now picture what John saw: Jesus Christ is the one Lamp-stand, uniting the 7 lamp-stands, Jesus is surrounded by what? [Answer: Light!] And what a vision of Christ, clothed as the High Priest but perhaps also as a King (see 1Macc. 10:89). This vision recalls the Prophet Daniel’s vision in Dan. 10:5-11 I lifted my eyes and looked, and behold, there was a certain man dressed in linen, whose waist was girded with a belt of pure gold of Uphaz. His body also was like beryl, His face like lightening, His eyes were like flaming torches. According to the Jewish historian, Josephus, the priest wore the sash around his chest when he was at rest from his duties (Antiquities of the Jews, iii.vii.2). Also see the description of the High Priest’s vestments in Lev. 16:4ff.

Let’s look more closely at John’s use of Jesus’ favorite title for Himself: Son of Man: Outside of the gospels, where Jesus frequently refers to himself as Son of Man, this title is only found in the New Testament in three other places; in Acts 7:56; Rev. 1:13 and 14:14. The Aramaic (common language of Jesus’ time) is bar’nishah and originally meant man or one descended from Adam. But the use of Son of Man in this passage recalls Daniel’s vision in Daniel 7:13-14 I was gazing into the visions of the night when I saw, coming on the clouds of heaven, as it were a Son of Man. He came to the One most venerable and was led into His presence. On Him was conferred rule, honor, and kingship. Besides the Daniel passage where the Son of Man title refers to the Messiah, the expression is only found in the Old Testament in the book of Ezekiel (where God addressed Ezekiel as son of man 93 times beginning in Ezekiel 2:1 ) and one other time in the book of Daniel where God called Daniel son of man in Daniel 8:17 Son of man, He said to me, understand this: the vision shows the time of the End. Jesus used this title to stress His humanity but He also used it in relationship to Daniel’s vision of the glorified Messiah receiving all power and authority from the Father. Daniel’s prophecy of this vision is fulfilled in John’s vision of the glorified Christ as high priest, king and prophet/ judge. Remember, God’s prophets were His prosecuting attorneys; speaking God’s words and bringing God’s judgment.

Revelation 1: 14-15: His head and His hair were white with the whiteness of wool, like snow, and His eyes like a burning flame, His feet like burnished bronze when it has been refined in a furnace, and His voice like the sound of many waters. (many waters is a more literal translation than ocean. This is a key Biblical phrase symbolizing abundant grace and blessings and it will reappear later in the study). This fiery passage of the glorified Christ not only recalls Dan. 7:13 but also Daniel 7:9: While I was watching, thrones were set in place and the One most venerable (Ancient of Days) took His seat. His robe was white a snow, the hair of His head as pure as wool. His throne was a blaze of flames, its wheels were a burning fire. A stream of fire poured out issuing from His presence. A thousand thousand waited on Him, ten thousand times then thousand stood before Him. The court was in session and the books lay open.( these are the books in which human deeds, good and bad are recorded: see Jer. 17:1; Ps 40:8; 56:8; Dan. 12:1; Mal.3:16; Lk 10:12; Rev. 20:1). It is also interesting to compare these visions to Jesus Ben Sirach’s description of the glory of the High Priest in Ecclesiasticus 50:5-12. It starts: How splendid he was with the people thronging around him, when he emerged from the curtained shrine (Holy of Holies), like the morning star among the clouds, like the moon at the full, like the sun shining on the Temple of the Most High, like the rainbow gleaming against brilliant clouds,

Let’s look at the individual parts of this passage and the Old Testament passages to which they are linked:

The pure whiteness of His hair = His eternity (see the Dan 7:9 passage His head and His hair were white with the whiteness of wool, like snow).
His eyes burning like a burning flame = His divine knowledge which will search the depths of hearts and minds (Daniel 10:5-6b = another vision Daniel received of the glorified Christ I raised by eyes to look about me, and this is what I saw: A man dressed in linen, with a belt of pure gold round his waist (recalls the Rev. 1:13 passage) his body was like beryl, his face looked like lightening, his eyes were like fiery torches. And Revelation 2:23 where Jesus says it is I who test motives and thoughts and repay you as your deeds deserve.
His feet like burnished bronze when it has been refined in a furnace, and His voice like the sound of many waters..
the literal Greek refers to gold covered bronze. = His permanence, His purity, and His majesty. See Ezekiel 43:2 He took me to the gate, the one facing east. I saw the glory of the God of Israel approaching from the east. A sound came with Him like the sound of many waters. I love the way John completes the description of Christ in the statement that His voice was like the sound of many (or rushing) waters. Perhaps resembling the earthly sounds like, wind, thunder, trumpets, armies, waterfalls or maybe these earthly sounds were created to resemble various facets of the Voice of God. But in any case, John’s vision is obvious. He has seen the resurrected, transfigured Jesus Christ the incarnate Glory of God.

But why does John bring us back to all these Old Testament references? Why all these patterns of repetition? We will see this pattern of repetition again and again in Revelation. We have also seen the reference to the Alpha and the Omega; it will be repeated two more times. Saying a thing twice intensifies it. To repeat is to underline to emphasize. But repetition is more that that in Holy Scripture. I believe repetition between the Old and New Testament is continuity. We understand that there is continuity between the Son of Man vision of Daniel and the Son of Man vision of John. We should also understand that when we read the reference to the false prophet in the letter to the Church at Pergamum (Rev. 2:14) some of you are followers of Balaam who taught Balak to set a trap for the Israelites so that they committed adultery what this reference to the false prophet of Numbers 22:2ff tells us is that if what happened in the time of Balaam (over a thousand years before the birth of Jesus) could happen again in John’s time, it could would be wise for us to be on our guard because it is equally likely to happen today. This is what God is doing constantly in Scripture. He has basically just one message for man, the good news of salvation. But in His desire that we should truly understand and also knowing our limitations, He knows the one statement of it will not be enough. Psalms 62:11 Once God has spoken, but twice have I heard. That is why the Egyptian pharaoh is given 2 different dreams in Genesis 41. Joseph, empowered by the Holy Spirit, interprets these dreams as one message. Two dreams are given to impress Pharaoh with its validity. Joseph’s message = famine is coming! Genesis 41:32 The reason why Pharaoh had the same dream twice is that the event is already determined by God, and God will shortly bring it about. Jesus uses repetition with His disciples who are shown 2 separate miracles which convey the same truth in Matthew 16:5-12 (miracle of feeding the 5 thousand and the 4 thousand) to teach them a particular lesson. The purpose of hitting the same nail several tines is to drive it home. But more than that, in repeating all these Old Testament patterns in Revelation may be to revel the truth conveyed in this book to be intensive rather than extensive. What we are shown here may be the working over in COLOR of a picture we already know in outline instead of an extra piece of canvas added on to the original picture.

Revelation 1:16: In His right had He held seven stars John will go on to interpret this for us in verse 20. There are two interesting aspects of 7 stars that are worth noting. First, in the first century AD seven stars appeared on the Roman Emperor’s coins as a symbol of his political sovereignty. In putting 7 stars in Jesus’ hand instead John may be saying that power and dominion over the earth is God’s alone. Then too, 7 stars make up the cluster of stars known as the Pleiades. The Pleiades make a chain that form part of the constellation Taurus, the Bull. They are mentioned by name in Job 9:5-9; 38:31-33; and Amos 5:8. The sun is with Taurus in the Spring (Easter time) and so the Pleiades are a fitting symbol in connection with the celebration of the Resurrection of Christ as well as looking forward to the second Advent.\

..out of His mouth came a sharp sword, double-edged and His face was shining like the sun in full force. This is a vision of the Word that works to save as well as to bring judgment. The image is taken from the prophecy of Isaiah Isaiah 11:4] He will strike the Land with the rod of His mouth, and with the breath of His lips He will slay the wicked. The wonderful passage from Hebrews 4:12-13 also has this same imagery: The word of God is something alive and active: it cuts more incisively than any two-edged sword: it can seek out the place where soul is divided from spirit, or joints from marrow; it can pass judgment on secret emotions and thoughts. No created thing is hidden from Him; everything is uncovered and stretched fully open to the eyes of the one to whom we must give account of ourselves.

Read Revelation 1:17-20
Revelation 1:17
When I saw Him I fell at His feet as though dead, but he laid His right hand on me and said, Do not be afraid;
What would your reaction be to such a vision of the glorified Christ? The prophet Daniel had a similar experience and his response was I fell into a deep sleep with my face to the ground. Then behold, a hand touched me and set me trembling on my hands and knees..And when He had spoken this word to me, I stood up trembling.( Daniel 10:9-11) And then His words of love and encouragement Do Not Be Afraid! Do you know that these were the first words spoken by the newly elected Pope John Paul II as he stood on the balcony of the Vatican and greeted the crowds for the first time? John Paul II took these words as his motto.

Revelation 1:18: It is I, the Alpha and the Omega; I am the Living One. I was dead and look, I am alive for ever and ever, and I hold the keys of death and of Hades. Again He uses the phrase the first and the last. Let’s look at the Old Testament references to this phrase. They are found in the Book of Isaiah in the second section of the book which is often called The Book of the Consolation of Israel in which Isaiah prophesizes the coming of the Messiah and the salvation of God’s people:

Isaiah 41:4 He who calls each generation from the beginning: I, Yahweh, who am the first and till the last I shall still be there.
Isaiah 44:6b I am the First and I am the Last, and there is no God besides Me and
Isaiah 48:12 Listen to me Jacob, Israel whom I have called; I and none else am the first, I am also the last. My hand laid the foundations of the earth. And Jesus appropriates another Old Testament title for God, the Living One: Deuteronomy 5:26 For what creature of flesh could possibly live after hearing, as we have heard, the voice of the Living God speaking from the heart of the fire and Joshua 3:10; Psalms 42:2; Jeremiah 10:10. Paul was probably thinking of this title in Romans 6:9 (Christ)..having been raised from the dead, is never to die again; death is no longer master over Him.

..and I hold the keys of death and of Hades
The Greek word, Hades, means the abode of the dead. The Hebrew word is Sheol (see Numbers 16:33 ff). We use the Latin word Purgatory. The Roman Empire claimed to have all authority even over life and death/the grave. But Christ in His resurrection has defeated sin and death. He is now the Lord of all Lords and He holds the keys to both life, death, and the grave. But Jesus, our High Priest and our King, also entrusted those very keys which existed since Creation, to someone else.
Question: To whom did God first entrust the keys of death and the grave?
Answer: Adam was given complete dominion over Eden and the earth [see Genesis 1:28-29]. Adam was in a sense, God’s first High Priest and covenant mediator. As the keeper of Eden, Adam controlled the Tree of Life and the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. In essence, the control of these supernatural trees gave Adam the keys to supernatural life and to spiritual death and the by-product of spiritual death which was physical death. Adam, therefore, had control over both death and the grave, Sheol in Hebrew or Hades in the Greek

Question: To whom did Jesus, the High Priest and King of the New Covenant, give the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven on earth See Matthew16:13-20.
Answer: To Simon-Peter and to his successors. With these keys, the Church, led by Christ’s Vicar (Prime Minister) will have the mission of rescuing the elect from death’s dominion, from the death of the soul, to lead them into the Kingdom of Heaven just as Jesus rescued the dead souls trapped in Sheol [the grave] after His resurrection. See 1 Peter 3:18-19 and John 5:26-28, (for further references for Sheol see Genesis 37:35; Numbers 16:33; Deuteronomy 5:26; 52:6; Is. 14:9; 38:18; 1 Samuel 2:6, 8:19; Psalms 6:5; 16:10-11; 49:15; 88:4-5, & 11-12; 89:6; 115:17; Ezekiel 32:17-32; Amos 9:2; 2 Maccabees 12:38f; Wisdom 3:4-5 and CCC # 633).

Revelation 1:19-20: Now write down all that you see and what are of the present happenings, and what is still to come. The secret of the 7 stars you have seen in my right hand, and of the 7 golden lamp-stands, is this: the 7 stars are the angels of 7 churches, and the 7 lamp-stands are the 7 churches themselves..
Question: John receives 3 commands to write. What are they?
Answer: 1 = to write about the vision of Christ; 2 = to write about the present happenings; 3 = to write about what is still to come; the future events.

Question: What has he seen?
Answer: the vision of Christ.

Question: What will be the present situation?
Answer: the condition of the 7 churches in Asia Minor

These 3 commands are seen by many scholars as a natural division of the book of Revelation. However, there is a problem. This cannot be a clear cut division because the book of Revelation, like all other Biblical prophecies weaves past, present, and future together throughout the entire book. It is more likely that John is to:

write what he has seen = the vision of Christ among the 7 lamp-stands, holding the 7 stars; and
tell what they are, what they signify (prophetically) and
then to write as he was told in verse 1, the things that must shortly take place.

It also appears that there is a parallel here to the description of the One who was and who is and who is coming. Notice in verse 20 that these churches, which represent the Church as a whole (the actual existing churches), are no more than 7 lampstands. The light is Christ and they are to shine through Him. Halleluyah! Maranatha! (Praise God, Yahweh, Come Lord!).