Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Revelation 1:9-20 The Almighty Christ

Revelation 1:10-11 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.”

As we begin once again to consider the Book of Revelation in closer detail, I remind the reader of the theme assigned to the opening section of Revelation 1:1-8 - "The Coming Christ".  In that opening section we saw how the second coming of Jesus Christ was to be the chief theme of Revelation.  In today's blog we pick up Revelation 1:9-20 to note a second major theme of Revelation 1: The Almighty Christ.

What other's have noted about Revelation 1:9-20
Steven Gregg in his commentary notes: "The general character of the vision is one of the glory of Christ, the shining face being reminiscient of that which John had seen on the Mount of Transfiguration decades earlier."1

The reader must be made aware of the fact that the Apostle John was in his mid-nineties when he penned this Apocalypse (another title for the Book of Revelation". Furthermore, the setting in which he wrote was during his exile on a little island off the Southwestern coast of Asia Minor - the area of the seven churches to which he wrote.  Prophecy Scholar John Walvoord notes: "The exile of John to the Isle of Patmos is in itself a moving story of devotion to Christ crowned with suffering.  The small island, rocky and forbidding in its terrain, about ten miles long and six miles wide, is located in the Agean Sea southwest of Ephesus just beyond the Island of Samos."
Walvoord later writes: "It was in these bleak circumstances, shut off from friends and human fellowship, that John was given the most extensive revelation of future things shown to any writer of the New Testament.2

With regards to our suggested theme for Revelation 1:9-20 "The Almighty Christ", other more noteworthy commentators confirm this main thought.  The late pastor of First Baptist Dallas, Dr. W.A Criswell, notes in his commentary on Revelation 1:10-16 - "This is the first vision of the Apocalypse and, significantly and appropriately, it is a vision of our reigning Lord Christ."3

Dr. John MacArthur, noted pastor of Grace Community Church in Sun Valley California and founder of Grace to You ministries notes in his own commentary: "This revealing and richly instructive look at the present work of the glorified Son of God discloses seven aspects of the Lord Jesus Christ's constant ministry to His church: He empowers, intercedes for, purifies, speaks authoritatively to, controls, protects and reflects His glory through His church."4

How and where you see the Almighty Christ in Revelation 1:9-20
In noting the brief background and opening thoughts about this section, we can now peer into the text and trace the suggested theme of "The Almighty Christ".  Two questions and their answers can be used to guide out thoughts.  The first question, which we will answer today, is: Where exactly do we see the Almighty Christ? The second question, which we will explore tomorrow, is: What do we see in the Almighty Christ?

Where do you see the Almighty Christ in Revelation 1:9-20?
As the Holy Spirit takes John by Divine inspiration into the realm of revelatory thought, John hears the sound of a trumpet behind him. (1:10)  The vision he will behold took place on the "Lord's day" or Sunday - the first day of the week.  As John hears the mighty voice like the sound of the trumpet, He see the Almighty Christ in the following:

1. The Almighty Christ is seen in the Word of God.  Revelation 1:11,19
Jesus tells John in Revelation 1:11a Write in a book what you see".  In John's day it would had been a scroll of some sort, meaning that the word of God written by John was to be continuous, unbroken and unified in one complete whole.  Jesus Christ both then and now is seen in his Book - The Bible.  Revelation is God's exclamation point on the end of the sentence of His Word.  Again John is told in Revelation 1:19 "Therefore write the things which you have seen...".  But notice where else the Almighty Christ is seen...

2. The Almighty Christ is seen in the church.  Revelation 1:20
Revelation 1:20 reads - "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."  The reality back then is the same as now.  The church exists to show forth to the world the Almighty Christ that reigns over her and in  her and through her by the Holy Spirit and the scriptures.  But notice thirdly where John beholds the Almighty Christ...

3. The Almighty Christ is seen at His throne.  Revelation 1:12-16
Though this particular truth is more explicitly brought out at Revelation 5, nevertheless the description John brings out about the Almighty Christ matches very closely with Daniel's vision of the Son of Man in Daniel 7:13-14.  The Son of Man, the Glorious God the Son, Jesus Christ, in all His Post-resurrection glory is shown to John.  In Daniel's vision the Pre-incarnate Son (before the flesh) is seen at the throne, then of course in John's later vision of Revelation 5, we see the Lamb, the Son, on His throne.  King Jesus is ruling and reigning, as already expressed by John in Revelation 1:5, presumably upon His throne.  Again, as it was then, so it is now, the Almighty Christ is seen in the Word, Amidst His church by the Word and the Spirit, ruling upon His Throne.

In tomorrow's blog we will endeavor to answer the second question: What do we see in the Almighty Christ?

End Notes______________

1. Steve Gregg.  Revelation Four Views: A Parallel Commentary.  Page 60.  Nelson 1997. 

2. John Walvoord.  The Revelation of Jesus Christ - A Commentary by John F. Walvoord. Page 41.  Moody Press. 1966

3. W.A Criswell.  Expository Sermons on Revelation.  Zondervan 1966  

4. John MacArthur Jr. .  The MacArthur New Testament Commentary - Revelation 1-11. Page 43.  Moody Press.  1999

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