Before moving on to Revelation 4, I need to summarize Chapters 1-3 so that I can consolidate the information and build a solid memory.
Chapter 1 was about the Father giving information to His beloved Son who then sent and signified the information by His angel to His servant John.
The information was given by Father God so that Jesus could share it with his servants who follow him. The information was about the things that would come.
The angel of the Lord came to John, and then John bore witness to the word of God. John testified to Jesus and to all things that he saw.
John heard a voice that said the most amazing words, and then John looked in the direction of where he had heard. John saw a person that looked like the Son of Man standing in the midst of seven lamp-stands, and in His right hand He held seven stars.
The One who looked like the Son of Man appears to be the same man described in Daniel 7.
"He was clothed with a garment down to the feet and girded about the chest with a golden band. His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and His eyes like a flame of fire; His feet were like fine brass, as if refined in a furnace, and His voice as the sound of many waters; out of His mouth went a sharp two-edged sword, and His countenance was like that of the sun."
Both Daniel and John had the same reaction. They both fell to their face as if they were dead, and in both instances, the Son of Man laid His right hand on them to give them strength and said, “Do not be afraid.”
The Son of Man who came through the angel of the Lord identified himself as the First and the Last, the firstborn from the dead, and the final ruler over the kings of the earth.
He said, “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End,” says the Lord, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty” and He declared he had the keys of death. He said, “To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood, and has made us kings and priests to His God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.”
The angel of the Lord declared that Jesus "is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him, even they who pierced Him. And all the tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him. Even so, Amen.”
Then he explained the seven stars and lamp-stands. I am so glad we don’t have to guess. The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lamp-stands are the seven churches. It’s really that simple.
The seven churches that Jesus addressed were seven churches in the region of Anatolia, also known as Asia Minor - which today are located in the region of western Turkey. The seven churches had all spring up in that area after the Good News of Jesus went out. That area was heavily under Greek influence, Greek gods and Greek culture.
Chapter 2 was about the message that was to be shared with leaders of the seven churches. John was instructed to write what he heard and saw, in a book, and then send the information out to them. John was informed that Ephesus lacked love, that Smyrna was good and needed to continue to endure persecution, that Pergamos was compromising and that Thyatira was a church filled with corruption. John found out that Sardis was dead, Philadelphia was faithful, and Laodicea was lukewarm. It’s crazy to see that only two out of seven were living life according to God.
In Chapters 1-3, the following things were greatly illuminated to me:
1. The Father is the One who holds all the information and He gives to Jesus his Son as He wants to disclose.
2. Jesus has his own angel - who is probably the Angel of the Lord.
3. The angel is the messenger between Heaven and earth.
4. The people who follow Christ are called His servants.
5. John was chosen to see the things that would come.
6. John was told to deliver a message to the angels of the seven churches through a book who were growing in Asia Minor which were heavily under Greek gods and Greek culture.
7. The same “Son of Man” appeared in Daniel chapter 7 and in both instances the people who saw him fell and appeared dead. And the Lord touched them with his right hand and breath came back in them and they regained strength and were alive again.
8. Only two churches were living according to God and both those churches were told to have faith, patiently endure and endure the persecution that was surely to come.
9. Five of the churches were living partly according to God, but God had things against them. They were told they would need to change or they would surely die.
10. This is interesting - because most believe “once saved always saved.” Now I’m confused. If the five churches did not change and continued to live lives partly dedicated to God, would they be saved or would they experience eternal death? According to scripture, they would not be saved for God’s kingdom. Perhaps this means they never truly were pure in heart - never really a true child of God???
11. But God! In all cases the One who appeared like the Son of Man told the five churches to repent. He always leaves an opportunity to do what is right. He always leaves an opportunity to reconcile men.
12. Last, the Angel of the Lord said to John, “Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written in it; for the time is near.” Revelation 1:3
Now I know that I MUST read and seek to understand the Book of Revelation that was given to Christ by His Father God about the things that are yet to come, and I must learn from the same instruction that was given to the seven lamp-stands who stood in the midst of Jesus, and the seven stars who were held in His hands.
I pray the Lord will open my eyes, and that the words that come out of mouth and the words that drop onto these pages are God-inspired and just in His eyes.