6-Week Series: Against All Odds

Sermons

Summary: John’s first glimpse of Jesus in this Revelation is extraordinary and strange. I’d like to focus on instead is where Jesus is. Jesus is in the midst of the Church and the Church is in the palm of His hand.

I was in the Spirit into the Lord’s Day (the Day of the Lord), and I heard behind me a great voice, like a trumpet, saying, I am the A and the Z, the first and the last and, What you see write into a book, and send to the seven churches, to Ephesus, and to Smyrna, and to Pergamum, and to Tyatira, and to Sardis, and to Philadelphia, and to Laodicea.

And I turned to see the voice that spoke with me and having turned I saw seven gold lights, and in the middle of the lights was one like the Son of Man, clothed to the feet and wearing a golden sash round the chest. His hair was white, like wool, white as snow, and his eyes were like a flame of fire, and his feet were like polished bronze, refined in a furnace, and his voice was like the voice of a lot of water, and he held seven stars in his right and out of his mouth came a sharp, two-edged sword, and his face was like the sun shining in its full strength. Revelation 1:10-16

v 10 In the Spirit on the Lord’s day is understood in two main ways. First it means that John was praying on Sunday (Luke 1:17). The second view is based on a literal understanding of the Greek. The phrase should be translated, “I was in spirit unto the day of the Lord”. In other words, John was taken in the spirit to see the day of the Lord. The Day of the Lord is not what we often might think, a pleasant, restful day. It is sorrow, and judgment, darkness, and pain, death, and destruction (Eze. 3:14; 8:3; 11:24; 37:1; Is. 2:11-12; 13:6-13; Jer. 46:10; Eze. 7:19; 30:2-3; Joel 1:14; 2:1, 11, 31 (Acts 2:20); 3:14; Amos 5:18-20; Zeph. 1:14; 2:2-3; Zech 14:1; Mal. 4:5; I Thess. 5:2; II Pet. 3:10). Trumpet sound implies the power, battle, and law of God (Ex. 19:13-19; 20:18; Leviticus 25:9; Josh. 6:5, 20; Psa. 47:5; 150:3; Ezekiel 33:2-9; Joel; 2:1-15; Matthew 6:2; 24:31; I Corinthians 15:52; Revelation 1:10; 4:1; 8:13; 9:14).

v 12 The candlesticks are literally light-stands. These are the churches (v.20).

v 13 The Son of Man is Jesus’ favorite title for Himself. See Dan. 7:13-14. The golden gown which reaches to his feet, and the belt around his waist are symbols of royalty, prophecy, and the priesthood (Ex. 28:6-8; I Ki. 9:14, 28; 10:10; 10:18; I Chro. 20:2; Dan 2:45; 3:1; 5:7; II Kgs 1:8). The girdle also speaks of service and righteousness, and the people of God (Is. 11:5; 22:21; Jer. 13:11).

v 14 White is a symbol of purity (Is. 1:18; Dan. 12:10), and deity (Dan. 7:9; Mat. 17:2). Flame is a symbol of judgment (Dan. 10L:6; Gen. 19:24; 22:6-7; Ex. 3:2; 12:8-10; I Chro. 28:9; Rev. 2:3).

v15 Brass is a symbol of judgment, the burning in a furnace actually speaks of his feet glowing (Gen.3:15; 19:28; Ex. 27:1-10; 30:18; Num. 21:9; Is. 48:10; Ez. 22:22; Dan. 3:21-27; Mat. 13:42; Rev. 9:2) See Dan. 10:1-10. Many Waters usually means a multitude, but here it appears to mean the voice is loud (Num. 24:7; Psa 29:3; 93:4; Is. 17:12-13; Ez. 43:2).

v 16 The Seven stars are the angels of the seven churches (v. 20).

The sword is the word of God (Eph. 6:17; Heb. 4:12; Rev. 2:16; 19:15).

Where is God? Where are You?

Philip Yancy wrote a wonderful book called “Where is God When It Hurts?” In it he argues that as Christians we often castigate people in the Church who are hurting, when we should, instead, acknowledge that their pain is legitimate and deserves a sympathetic response. Still, you ever feel like God seems foreign to your circumstances, like He went to sleep, or on vacation, or simply stopped caring about you? If you’ve ever felt that way you’re not alone. Maybe John’s vision will help.

John’s first glimpse of Jesus in this Revelation is extraordinary and strange. There are many aspects of this appearance of Jesus you can investigate on your own if you like. Just look up the passages in the notes above if you want to see what the Bible says about the sword, and the trumpet and golden sash and all that. What I’d like to focus on instead is where Jesus is. He is in the midst of the Seven Lights, and in the palm of His hand are the Seven Stars. Both the Lights and the Stars are images of the Church. Jesus is in the midst of the Church and the Church is in the palm of His hand.

Jesus said, “wherever two or three are gathered together in my name, I am there” (Matthew 18). He said

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