Revelation Sermon Series- Week 2 Preview


Having given us an overview of what this Revelation is all about, John continues now and reveals to us how he was called to receive this “unveiling of Jesus Christ” (Revelation 1:1). John himself is suffering under the tribulation, along with the Church, and has been exiled to the island of Patmos. One Sunday, however, while worshiping the Lord John hears the Lord calling from behind in a loud voice like a trumpet. He turns and beholds the most awesome sight he has ever seen. Even more awesome than the Transfiguration when Jesus gave Peter, James, and John a glimpse of His glory (Luke 9:28-36).

What’s most interesting about John’s description, however, is that he doesn’t really describe Jesus’ appearance as much as Jesus’ glory and power. The details of which are pulled together from multiple Old Testament revelations (visions) so that we can see that Jesus really is the “ruler of kings on earth” (Rev. 1:5). When Daniel had his vision of the “Ancient of Days” and the “son of man” in Daniel chapters 7 and 10, he was seeing Jesus in His power and might that John is describing here.

This Jesus is the One who reaches out to John and tells him, “Fear not, I am the first and the last, and the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades” (Rev. 1:17-18). This is the Christ who comes to us in tribulation and calls us to trust Him and keep walking with Him.

As to the technical details of the vision, it’s important to notice how the number seven is repeated 11 times in this chapter (13 if you go through 2:1). Seven, biblically speaking, is used to symbolize God. It’s the sum of the number three, God’s number, and the number four, the number of creation (Ezek. 37:9; 1 Chr. 9:24) or perhaps the number of letters in the Hebrew rendering of God’s personal name, YHWH (Yahweh). The number, therefore, represents the number of perfection or completeness. You could paraphrase and replace “seven” with “all of” and get the idea.

It’s also important to note the symbolic nature of the imagery. For example, “from his mouth came a sharp two-edged sword” is obviously not literal language. We know from Hebrews that a two-edged sword describes the function of the Word: Law and Gospel. While reading Revelation, we need to strive to interpret the symbolic language in a way that John would have understood it and is internally self consistent. In almost every case, the symbolism is saying more than what can be literally imagined.

This Week’s Verses: Daniel 7:9–10, Psalm 93, Revelation 1:9-20, Matthew 17:1–8.

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