By Pastor J.W.T. Spies
The book of Revelation is an amazing book. It is also a very complex book. There are many twists, turns and rapid plot developments in its pages. This book contains all the elements of a great thriller. In its pages you will find action, suspense, mystery, wonders, fear, dramas, horror, and much excitement.
While it takes a full 22 chapters for all the action to completely develop; John gives us incite to what’s about to come in a theater near you. Some would call it a coming attraction, while others may say that it is in theaters near you. As we look at the trailer, and the previews, John arouses the thought of those that will hear and listen in a way that will reminds us about what is to come.
The verses we have read today are an introduction into the material that will be developed as we move through this chapter of revelation. With that in mind, let’s take a look at this sneak preview of the coming attractions.
So, what we see first, is the Journey end of this letter, he writes to the seven churches that are in Asia. This Holy writ is to be delivered to seven particular churches. The actual names are given in verse 11, and they are studied, cut up, and dissected in detail in chapters two and three.
And here’s what we know:
First we know that, they were not fiction, but they are a real set of churchgoers that showed up for church in this time that John corralled, wrote, chartered and penned this book. Jesus was speaking to John about some real saints, some real sinners, a real situation, and a real solution.
Secondly, these churches are representative of every Christian church that has ever existed. And what I have learned is that every church contains some of the characteristics that marked these churches.
This memorandum, this memo, this message was directed and delivered to the seven churches of Asia Minor. This is the first use of the number seven in Revelation. But this is a number that will show up time and time again as we study the Word.
Seven is a number that suggests perfection, completion, and fullness. So, when the Bible mentions seven churches, it is referring to the church in its fullness. These were not a baby church, they were not churches that did not have a chance to develop, and they were well established churches.
And this number seven means something. Seven is a prominent number.
There are seven colors that make up the light spectrum.
There are seven notes in the musical scale.
There are seven days in one week.
There are seven deadly sins.
There are seven days in a week.
Some say that seven is the magic number.
Seven is seen often in the Bible. God commanded seven feats in the Law.
There are seven secret, or mysteries, in the Christ’s parables of the kingdom.
There were seven sayings of Jesus on the cross.
At Jericho, seven priests, are carrying seven trumpets, and marched around the city for seven days. And on the seventh day, they marched around the city seven times.
In revelation the number seven is used forty-nine times, which is seven times seven. And here are some of the sevens in Revelation.
Seven Churches, Seven Spirits, Seven Stars, Seven Seals, Seven Horns,
Seven Eyes, Seven Trumpets, Seven Angels, Seven Thunders, Seven Heads, Seven Crowns, Seven Plagues, Seven Vials, Seven Mountains
Seven Kings the number seven has some power.
So, first is the Journey end of this letter.
Then we see the message of this letter, the letter reads grace unto you and peace.
John meets them with the prayer that they will continue to enjoy the all-sufficient grace of God and the peace of God which will pass all understanding.
Although this book is filled with passages of judgment, ruling and disapprovals, it is also a book of joy, happiness, delight and pleasure. The letter discloses the grace of God, and it points to a coming world where grace and peace will reign forever.
As we arrive in verse four and five, we see the Deity of the letter. We see the promise of grace and peace that comes to us from the Holy Trinity. Look at the word which in verses 4. This word is used three times, and each time we see it, it introduces another member of the Godhead, God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Which was, is and to come.
These two verses remind us that this book was not the creation of a man. But it is the Words of God to man! Therefore, it carries power and divine authority. Let’s examine the Deity behind this letter
So in this, we see the Sovereign Father. This identifies the God Who is “the self-existent One”. The God who calls Himself I AM. The God Who has always existed. The God Who is the eternal One, the one who lives in three dimensions, past, present and future, all at the same time. He is the source of grade and peace. This God, the One Who has always existed; who exists; and who will always exist, he is the source of this grace and peace.
When John mentioned the Father and the Spirit, he spoke of them in symbolic language. But when he speaks of Jesus, he uses straightforward language, and the reason why is because he sets Jesus on center stage to reveal, and to unveil who Jesus is.
So, right here in the beginning, John tells us exactly who Jesus is.
He tells us who he is because John does not want there to be any confusion about Jesus, Who He is, or what He is about.
He wanted us to know about his Revelation, that Jesus is called the faithful witness. And this little phrase calls to mind His coming to the world the first time. Jesus came to reveal who the Father is. In fact, Jesus is the only Person in history who really has the right to bear the title of Jehovah’s Witness.
You see, in the Old Testament, Israel was God’s witness to the world. In this age, the church is His witness to the world. However, neither the church nor Israel is a faithful witness. In fact, the best we can be is a mere reflection of God and His grace. Jesus Christ was and is, God in human flesh. He is more than a reflection, He is God! Therefore, He was able to give a “faithful witness” to the Person and work of the Father,
And then he tells us of his Resurrection. Jesus is called the first begotten of the dead. Now, Jesus was not the first one to get up from the dead. There were others in the Old Testament and several in the Gospels. But, Jesus was the first one to get up and stay up. The rest died again!
The word translated “first begotten” comes from the word that gives us the word prototype. In other words, Jesus sets the standard. When the Bible says that Jesus is the “first begotten of the dead”, it does not mean that He is the first One to get up. It means that He is first in preeminence. He set the standard! He is the prototype. He is the example of the coming attraction of what will happen to all those who believe in Him.
What are you saying Spies? I’m saying that just as He got up and stayed up from the grave forever, one of these old resurrected days, I will be able to get up and stay up forever.
In other words, because He lives, those who have their faith in Him have “passed from death unto life”, well how do you know this Spies? Well, I know because John 5:24, says "Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me, has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life. and they “will never die”.
John 11:25-26 say Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, (and that included me) though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. What a sneak preview!
But then we see His Royalty. Jesus in this verse is the prince of the kings of the earth. This means that Jesus is the “King of Kings and Lord of Lords”. This means that he is the one who is in control.
And as kings, the saints will reign with Jesus one day, 2 Tim. 2:12.
As priests, we are given direct access to the throne of God. And because for all that he has done for me, He deserves to be praised, for him caring for me; him cleansing me, him changing me, holding me, and for lifting me up for His glory. I just want to thank him for giving me a sneak preview of what is to come.
What I love about this preview is that John tells us all this about Jesus, and then he breaks out in praise. He says, to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.” And may I tell somebody this morning that the closer we get to Him, the more that I learn about him, is the more I praise Him. The more we learn about him, the more my heart gets stirred to give Him praise, honor and glory.
And I must tell you that the more that I hear his name the more, I want to go back and look at another sneak preview.
Because in these previews there are some promises. There is the promise of a coming one. I’m talking about the one who came the first time that was born of a virgin and died on the cross to purchase the redemption of our lives. He is the same one that will be returning in the clouds above this earth to catch His Bride in the Rapture. He is the same one that will defeat the enemies of God and He will establish His kingdom.
My brothers and sister we have a lot to look forward to. And, every bit of it is
going to happen, just as He has promised it will. So, what are we to do with this information? What are we to do in light of this preview?
I don’t know about you, but when the day comes, I want to be in that number, when Gabriel shall blow his horn and the dead and Christ shall rise, and my question is, will you be there.