Summary: John, who had known Jesus well, falls down as dead at the sight of his glorified Lord. This should cause us awe and wonder.
“I, John, your brother and fellow partaker in the tribulation and kingdom and perseverance which are in Jesus, was on the island called Patmos because of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus. 10 I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and I heard behind me a loud voice like the sound of a trumpet, 11 saying, “Write in a book what you see, and send it to the seven churches: to Ephesus and to Smyrna and to Pergamum and to Thyatira and to Sardis and to Philadelphia and to Laodicea.” 12 Then I turned to see the voice that was speaking with me. And having turned I saw seven golden lampstands; 13 and in the middle of the lampstands I saw one like a son of man, clothed in a robe reaching to the feet, and girded across His chest with a golden sash. 14 His head and His hair were white like white wool, like snow; and His eyes were like a flame of fire. 15 His feet were like burnished bronze, when it has been made to glow in a furnace, and His voice was like the sound of many waters. 16 In His right hand He held seven stars, and out of His mouth came a sharp two-edged sword; and His face was like the sun shining in its strength. 17 When I saw Him, I fell at His feet like a dead man. And He placed His right hand on me, saying, “Do not be afraid; I am the first and the last, 18 and the living One; and I was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of death and of Hades. 19 “Therefore write the things which you have seen, and the things which are, and the things which will take place after these things. 20 “As for the mystery of the seven stars which you saw in My right hand, and the seven golden lampstands: the seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches.”
I chose my title for this sermon based on the over all theme that represented this portion. Then as I studied and researched for it I discovered that commentators in their chapters on this section of Revelation chose the same subtitle, and when I went to the internet I found that more than one preacher had also given their sermons the same title.
I tell you this only to illumine the theme.
John the Apostle, now stranded on this isle of Patmos, receives a vision sent by God through an angel, and with all its contents its main theme, main character, main focus is on the glory of the risen Christ.
Before we go there however, I want to back up and take a running glimpse of the previous portion of this chapter which introduces the human author but also contains the signature, if you will, of the Divine Author that validates all that comes after.
TESTIMONY OF THE FAITHFUL WITNESS
In verse 1 of the first chapter John is referred to in the third person, although he himself is the writer. We see in those first 4 verses a sort of introduction to the main characters in this revelation. It is a revelation of Jesus Christ, being honored in this revelation by God the Father, who has given it to an angel to take to the faithful Apostle, the witness bearer.
In verse 4 John finally introduces himself in the second person, then addresses the addressees. John, to the seven churches. So now we know who is writing and who he is writing to. Here in verse 4 is his official salutation. “Grace to you and peace from Him who is and who was and who is to come…” and in so saying he jumps right into his favorite topic; his favorite focus, which continues in verse 5.
Now I’ll remind you that this is a sort of pre-introduction so I’m still on the run here, and I will say that these verses deserve much closer attention and reflection – but that will be for a future sermon [and of course if you’re in my local congregation you know that we’ve already looked at these verses more in depth].
John says that this is from Jesus Christ, and let’s just look at the things he says about Jesus Christ in verses 5-6.
• First, He is the faithful witness. This is an important distinction to make, since in later chapters so much is going to be said about the false prophet. Here is an eternal contrast. The false prophet, the final representative of all who have falsified their testimony and dishonored God’s Word, will finally meet his destruction at the hands of the Faithful Witness whose word is truth.