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Summary: the opening of revelation

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Revelation 1:1-20, “This is a revelation from Jesus Christ, which God gave him concerning the events that will happen soon. An angel was sent to God’s servant John so that John could share the revelation with God’s other servants. John faithfully reported the word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ--everything he saw. God blesses the one who reads this prophecy to the church, and he blesses all who listen to it and obey what it says. For the time is near when these things will happen. This letter is from John to the seven churches in the province of Asia. Grace and peace from the one who is, who always was, and who is still to come; from the sevenfold Spirit before his throne; and from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness to these things, the first to rise from the dead, and the commander of all the rulers of the world. All praise to him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by shedding his blood for us. He has made us his Kingdom and his priests who serve before God his Father. Give to him everlasting glory! He rules forever and ever! Amen! Look! He comes with the clouds of heaven. And everyone will see him--even those who pierced him. And all the nations of the earth will weep because of him. Yes! Amen!"I am the Alpha and the Omega--the beginning and the end," says the Lord God. "I am the one who is, who always was, and who is still to come, the Almighty One." I am John, your brother. In Jesus we are partners in suffering and in the Kingdom and in patient endurance. I was exiled to the island of Patmos for preaching the word of God and speaking about Jesus. It was the Lord’s Day, and I was worshiping in the Spirit. Suddenly, I heard a loud voice behind me, a voice that sounded like a trumpet blast. It said, "Write down what you see, and send it to the seven churches: Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea." When I turned to see who was speaking to me, I saw seven gold lampstands. And standing in the middle of the lampstands was the Son of Man. He was wearing a long robe with a gold sash across his chest. His head and his hair were white like wool, as white as snow. And his eyes were bright like flames of fire. His feet were as bright as bronze refined in a furnace, and his voice thundered like mighty ocean waves. He held seven stars in his right hand, and a sharp two-edged sword came from his mouth. And his face was as bright as the sun in all its brilliance. When I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. But he laid his right hand on me and said, "Don’t be afraid! I am the First and the Last. I am the living one who died. Look, I am alive forever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and the grave. Write down what you have seen--both the things that are now happening and the things that will happen later. This is the meaning of the seven stars you saw in my right hand and the seven gold lampstands: The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches.”

John opens his letter with a preface to set the stage for what is to come in the later chapters. In a very real sense in the Apostle John’s writing; he begins first with an explanation with why he is writing this letter, but it not till the end that you understand why. He weaves and as an artist uses his phrases imagery to express to us what is to come. In vs.1-3 John outlines his intent in writing this letter vs. 2, “John faithfully reported the word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ--everything he saw.” John’s job is to report all that he sees in his vision to us, so that we will know what God is going to do. One thing you will hear me say throughout this series is that we are to look forward as Christians to Christ return. As a result of being saved by faith in Christ; the result should spur us to live in closer communion with our Father in heaven. The very fact of the return of Christ should motivate us to live as we have never lived fully in the Spirit that has been given to us as a guarantee of our faith in Christ. This is the only book in the entire Bible that carries with it a blessing. Vs.3 is the first of seven beatitudes in the book of Revelation. The other six are in 13:13; 16:16; 19:9; 20:6;22:7,14) The phrase time is near refers to Christ’s return being the next great even in God’s redemptive history. This could be delayed so that people begin to question whether Jesus will really ever return for His People. (Matthew 24:36-39; 2 Peter 3:3,4)

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