Book of Revelation Chap. 1 Explained : Vision Of The Risen Savior Video Bible Study
Welcome, again to our program “Revelation of the Coming King.” I am Ranko Stefanovic, Professor of New Testament at the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary, Andrews University. And I am so thrilled and excited to be with you here. I have here the best audience. Actually, you motivate me really to speak and to go much deeper into the word of God. And I’d like also to express my gratitude to ABN for making this program possible and also all people who’re involved here, they are wonderful Christians. Actually, when I will leave this place, I’ll be so much spiritually, enriched by coming to know them. And one day, we’ll be in God’s kingdom with no separation anymore. We’ll not have to record anything. We’ll have only one preacher and one teacher and he will teach and preach to us through all eternity. I just want to remind you of what we already covered. So far, we’re really with the introductory remarks about the Book of Revelation. There is much more to say but I believe it is enough. First we try to understand about two central themes of the Book of Revelation. Then we went on trying to understand how the Book of Revelation was written, trying to understand how to interpret that symbolic, very strange and bizarre language of the Book of Revelation. But yesterday, we tried to see, why different Christians group are interpreting the Book of Revelation in different way.
And you see, it’s not a result of what people try to understand about the text. It’s sometimes theological bias that people have within ourselves. But we’ve to love all the people and we have to listen to each other and trying to study the Book of Revelation as it is and is what intended by God to be understood. But today I’m very excited because I’d like to invite you that we go into the very-very text of the Book of Revelation. We understood that Book of Revelation actually falls into three major divisions. First three chapters– three chapters, then chapters to and the last chapters, just generally speaking. Okay, we did not mentioned the prologue.
We did not mention the epilogue. The first eight verses of the Book of Revelation, they form the prologue, but we’ll skip it now. We stay not in the prologue. We’re now going to that first vision of Jesus Christ. And the next two presentations will be actually dealing that first major division of the Book of Revelation as we’re doing this. We’ll be dealing with the text of the Book of Revelation. We need a special wisdom of the Holy Spirit and His guidance and trying to understand that deep meaning of the text. So I’d like to invite you here and our viewers if we can bow our heads and ask God for His special assistance and help in dealing with the text. Our heavenly Father, thank you so much for giving us this Revelation of Jesus Christ. Father, we know that we are dealing with the book that’s not always easy to understand. But at this moment we’re asking Your special presence of the Holy Spirit in our midst. We’re asking that Holy Spirit can give us wisdom, discernment and understanding that we can understand this text.
Not in the way how different people try to understand. But Father we want to be sure that we can understand the text in the way that You intended to be. Thank you for Your presence in our midst and we pray all of this in the precious name of our Savior Jesus Christ, amen. Before we go into the text, I’d like to remind you, who’re here my audience and also our viewers is, that we’re not able to cover everything from the Book of Revelation. We just want to get a general picture. But you’ve a great opportunity, once this program is over and each segment is over that you can go and study the Book of Revelation in the deeper way for yourself and get explanation for many details that we’re not able to mention and to address here during this presentation and you’ll need some tools and believe me there’re many good tools.
But I just want to mention to you one particular tool which is actually the companion of our presentations here. It’s this commentary titled, “Revelation of Jesus Christ.” Actually, you can see the altar here. It’s a product of my research– many years of the research, but what you find here is not simply product of my research. I depend on many other people who contributed to different parts of the Book of Revelation. And you can find in this commentary what our church today believes and teaches about the Book of Revelation. I would like to encourage you that you afford and provide for ourselves a copy of this. And once the presentation is over, I’ll always mention the pages that you can go and dig much deeper into the text of the Book of Revelation. So are you ready for this? See the today’s presentation– if you want to study more for your yourself. It’s actually found in my commentary from page . But please I am not following the order that is in the commentary. You can do it later for yourself. Page , and after that also page from and on.
It’s actually, the entire chapter. Just keep in mind this is just a tool. This is just a companion to help you to dig deeper into the word of God. Now, I’d like to ask you if you can open your Bibles. And let’s go back to Revelation Chapter . We’re dealing with the first vision of Jesus Christ. Actually, it’s John’s personal encounter with Jesus Christ. So we’ll start reading from verse . We’ve left the prologue okay. It says, “I John, your brother and fellow partaker in the tribulation and kingdom and perseverance which are in Jesus. I was on the island called Patmos because of the word of God, and the testimony of Jesus.
I was in spirit on the Lord’s Day. And I heard behind me a loud voice like the sound of a trumpet, saying, write in a book what you see, and send it to the seven churches that were located in Ephesus and Smyrna and Pergamum and to Thyatira and to Sardis and to Philadelphia and to Laodicea.” Let’s stop here at this moment and after that we’ll go on from the text. See John begins. Okay, his story by telling his readers and we are one of those readers. That actually, he was at certain point of his life– he was on island called Patmos. Just a few words about Patmos. Patmos was a rocky island, barren island. About miles in length and about miles wide at the widest point. When we read the report of early Christians who lived very close to the time of the Book of Revelation, they’re all unanimous and they all agree that Patmos at that time of the writing of the Book of Revelation was actually a prison island. And I’ll use just one word, one name and then everything will explain, Alcatraz. This is actually the way how they portray Patmos. Today modern scholarship try to challenges this and because of certain problem, okay? I’ll not now deal with those problems because we know that the other islands around Patmos and we have information from Greco-Roman sources that they were prison islands. But we do not have any information from the time of the Book of Revelation about Patmos.
But it does not mean that Patmos could be prison island for some short time and John was there. Whatever your view is but one thing is clear that John was there in tribulation and suffering. He makes it very clear here. Okay. We need to actually read the Christian sources, okay, that were written–I don’t know about — years after the time of the Book of Revelation. All those Christians are talking about the John who was there in the real suffering, never to be a Roman prisoner. It means hard work. If you cannot work, Romans they found way to stimulate you to work by beating you with a little food. And can you imagine, you find yourself on the rocky island about degrees temperature there and you don’t have a shoes you’ve to work to be there. Actually, John was there and you know what the problem is.
When you find yourself on a Patmos. When you deserve it, then you’ve to accept it as a fact. But when you are there because of your faithfulness to God, then that’s the problem. By the way, when you read the text, the text is not telling us exactly why John was on Patmos. You know, John is telling us he said, “I was on Patmos in tribulation and perseverance which were in Jesus because of the word of God and the testimonial of Jesus.” When you say because of the word of God, what does it mean? And biblical scholars are divided. Some people think they say that John went to Patmos to preach the gospel and he got into trouble.
Because Patmos was about and plus miles from Ephesus, okay? So they said, John got into trouble there. Actually I disagree with that because the early Christians, they make very clear that John was arrested while he was in Ephesus. And he was sent there to Patmos as a prisoner there. So I accepted this as a fact. I trust those Christians, friends, we’re not talking about one witness, we’re talking about a great crowd of witnesses. They’re all unanimous about what happened to John. I would like to invite you if you can imagine about John’s situation there on Patmos. He was there because of his faithfulness to God. And dear viewers, I just want to tell you, the great test of our faith is not when I serve God and I’m blessed in everything. It’s when I’m faithful to God, eating what God ask me to eat and I’ll get their council. I’m faithful to God supporting His work and I’m broke. I’m so faithful to God and I’ve problem with my family.
This is the real test of our faith. So John was there and he was in a real suffering. But I’d like you to imagine something. This verse that we just read is very, very lauded. John was on Patmos. You know, when you are on an island– I just want to illustrate, okay. You look there what do you see? Water, you see water, you see water and what is behind, it’s water. I just want to tell you how God meets people where they are. I’d like to invite our viewers once this program is over. If you go little bit to the Book of Revelation and try to find how many times the word of waters or the sea is mentioned in the Book of Revelation. When John wants to portray the voice of Jesus speaking to him. It looks to him like a sound of many waters. And many historians, okay, in the past history who traveled to Patmos, they would come with the reports they said. When you’re there in Patmos, I didn’t noticed it because evidently I don’t have such a sense for music and melody. They said there is no more melodic sound of waters than there round Patmos.
There’re so many islands, there is a cluster of islands around Patmos. And when the water goes through, it produces a great melodic sound. Of course, then when he hears the voice of God’s people before the throne of God, it looks like a sound of many waters. But you know, I was there on Patmos when you see it’s such a beautiful scenery. No wonder when John sees that spread, the space before the throne of God. It looked to him like the Sea of Glass. There’re so many positive elements of the concept of water seen in the Book of Revelation but then suddenly when you read the Book of Revelation, the concept moves from positive to negative.
Did you notice that in the Book of Revelation that the water functions so many times as a negative thing? It’s out of the sea that the beast is coming to persecute God’s people. They persecute Babylon that the apostate power that will work and be present at the time of the end sits on many waters. Actually, for John that scenery lost its beauty because for him the waters and the sea meant a separation. The call of all trouble making him to suffer there on Patmos. You don’t know what is worse.
During the summertime or the wintertime to be surrounded by those waters. Now, I’d like to invite you to something and this is the beautiful message of the Book of Revelation. When you go to the end of the book, John suddenly in the last vision, you know the last vision begins with chapter ? And John looks there and he said, “Behold then new heaven.” Evidently, it’s all atmosphere, okay, the sky, new heaven and the new earth.
And what is the first thing that John cannot see there on the new earth. Please, so many times we’re misled by Bible translations. If you read, your translation it says, and no there is no any scene. And I know what Christians are debating. Of course, on the new earth we’ll not have those oceans. In my view they’re the result of the flood, okay? But in Greek text it looks like this and the sea– it’s the definite sea, the definite article and the sea there is no there any longer. So when John mentioned that sea that there is no there any longer, which sea did he have in mind. You see that sea that was a cause of all his suffering while he was there in Patmos. That sea that meant for him a separation.
The sea out of which all kind of evil and bad things come out. So now he is there on the new earth and the first thing that he notices that there is no there on the new earth. What is that? The cause of his own suffering. Friends, that’s what the messages of the Book of Revelation are all about. I don’t know dear viewers, what kind of sea you are surrounded by? Financial, health, family or any other sea in this life.
The message of the Book of Revelation is that one day when we get there on that new earth that God will create. The first thing that we will notice that there no there. There is no that sea that may be suffered during this life. What a book? Amen. What a savior is presented here in this book. So John is there on Patmos, surrounded by the sea. And when we read the verse , it says “I was in the spirit on the Lords Day.” So there was one particular point of time that John had his encountered with Jesus Christ. What is the problem? The problem is with the expression, the Lord’s there. You see that expression is not found anywhere in the Bible. This is the only place in the entire Bible that the expression the Lord’s Day is yours and the scholars are debating just recently. Actually, I wrote a scholarly article and presented the most prestigious scholarly meeting here in United States. Where I really showed what the text or the Bible shows which day the Lord’s Day is. By the way there is only one day in the Bible that is clearly called the Lord’s. If you go to the Fourth Commandment, we see that the Sabbath belongs to God. Then we go to the Book of Exodus Chapter , it talks the Sabbath that actually, belongs to God.
Then in the Book of Isaiah and , “The Sabbath is called the Lord’s Day.” Then we go to the New Testament. Gospel of Mark Chapter , Jesus says that” The Son of Man is the Lord of the Sabbath.” So when John used the expression the Lord’s Day, the Christians of the st Century to whom the Book of Revelation was originally written. Coming from the Old Testament, the Bible is in their hands. There was only one way that they could understand what that word “Day” was about. However, there is in the Bible another expression for the Lord’s Day, actually, it s called the “Day of the Lord.” In English it’s the big deal. But in Greek when you say the Lord’s Day or the Day of the Lord, it’s actually, just different way of saying. And the Day of the Lord in the Old Testament and in the New Testament refers to the time when finally God will come in judgment.
Bring the history of this world to its end and to establish His kingdom. So there’re many scholars they’re debating that actually, John meant that the Lord’s Day is this the Day of the Lord when God will come in judgment. Actually, I’ll ask to say just for you that most likely both concepts are expressed here. Why? Because we will come to this topic in the due time is. In the Bible the Sabbath has the Eschatological significance in the meaning. You see, the Sabbath according to the Bible reminded the people of Israel and us Christians, what God did for us in the past. God created the heaven and earth in six days.
On the seventh day God rested. But the people of Israel according to the Fourth Commandment in Deuteronomy, Chapter , reminded the people of Israel that they were the slaves in the land of Egypt and God took them out. So the Sabbath also was a foretaste of that world to come. The Jewish sources indicate that really the Jewish people at the time of the Book of Revelation they believed that actually, Sabbath was the foretaste of that future world and the kingdom of God that God will one day establish with the coming of the Messiah. So there is no problems.
I believe that the text is telling us clearly when John met Jesus Christ it was on the Seventh day Sabbath. Does it make sense? But at the same time that seventh day Sabbath was also the sign with that Eschatological significance because John was taken there to witness the future events that will take place. To witness those events that will take place particularly at the time of the end. When finally God will come in judgment bring the history of this world to its end and establish His kingdom. So John was on the Sabbath day there on Patmos. And then he heard the voice of Jesus Christ. And friends, here is the beauty of this text. I would like to use one sentence that’s sealed in my mind. And actually motivated me to study the Book of Revelation in much deeper ways. Because I concluded that the Patmos experience always results in the revelation of the Jesus Christ. You know, when we are in this life, and when everything goes nice hours.
We have good health, happy family, the bank account is good. Believe me so many times we even forget to give thanks for God. But when we find ourselves on the Patmos of suffering, when we are there hit by the greatest crisis of our life. When we start asking questions, Lord where are you? That there’s opportunity for Jesus Christ to come to reveal Himself to us.
So please do not forget, that the Patmos experience always results, always results in the revelation of Jesus Christ. It’s the opportunity that we can meet Jesus Christ. Not Jesus Christ of my parents, we’ll see it just little bit later. Not Jesus Christ of my friends, of my pastor, of the church elder, Jesus Christ of somebody else. This is the occasion that I can meet Jesus Christ as my personal Savior. You and I–the one who comes for me because the Patmos experience. Always results in the revelation of Jesus Christ. So John was there in suffering. I know we talk so much about his physical suffering. Yeah, he was beaten, he was hungry, But his sufferings was much greater than physical. And John was there on Patmos.
A news came to him that the seven churches in the Roman Province of Asia we call it today Asia Minor, why today because today we have the continent of Asia. But it was the Roman Province of Asia, seven churches that John was in charge of them. Actually, it came into great apostasy. When John was there, he was able to hold the situation under control. But now he left, the churches were deprived of His leadership. And suddenly some false teachers we’ll talk about that during our next presentation, those churches they came into serious trouble. Okay, their faith in God became challenged. This always gives an occasion to false teachers in the church to do their work. John was not there, evidently some people they tried to say, hey Brother John is not here, what he’ll say to us. Evidently, those people turned against John.
Who is John? If he’s something good, he’ll be here with us. God would not allow him to suffer. How it’s very easy to blame people for suffering? You remember, what the disciple said to Jesus, “who sinned, this blind man or his parents.” Friends, the fact that we find ourselves on Patmos. They’re in suffering does not mean that we’re not faithful to God. It’s a simply an opportunity that God wants to meet us on that personal base and it’s always a great occasion to have that personal encounter with Jesus Christ. So John was in pain, both physical and mental.
He was in anguish. And the Sabbath day came, you know, the Sabbath day, is the time when we want to worship God. But when you’re in pain you’ve different experience. When John was there overwhelmed by his situation, he heard a voice, John and then the instruction. Write what you’ve seen. And write in a book and send those to those churches. You see Jesus wanted to come to visit John, to help him in his situation but at the same time to give him the message for those churches. Friends, before I go further just a thought came to me, have you ever thought? That John had to go to Patmos. So that today, we’ve revelation of Jesus Christ, this beautiful book that we’re studying. He had to go to Patmos there to suffer.
Do you know that Daniel. He had to be taken into the captivity as a slave, to Babylon there. So that today we have the Book of Daniel. You see when so many times we ask the question, Lord why? Evidently, God want something good to come out of that. For my personal salvation and also that God one day can use me as His personal witness. So that I myself who came out of that situation can carry that witness for God, what He did for me to encourage others? I know that’s what God–this is exactly what God did for my personal life. And I know how God wants to use my personal experience to use it to reach others for Christ and to encourage them to come much closer to Jesus Christ. So John hears his name. John, he recognized the voice. Of course, during those three-and-half years, how may times John heard his name? He knew that was the voice of his beloved teacher, okay. Now when you read verse , it says, “And I turned to see the voice that was speaking with me.
And having turned I saw the seven golden lampstands, and in the midst of the lampstands I saw one like a son of man.” Verse , “Clothed in a robe reaching down to the feet and girded with golden girdle.” His head and hair were white as white wool as snow and his eyes as a flame of fire, and his feet were like a burning bronze, as refined in furnace, and his voice was like the sound of many waters. And he had in his right hand seven stars, and out of his mouth proceeded a sharp two-edge sword, and his face was as the sun shinning in its power. And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as a dead person. And he placed his right hand on me saying, “stop being afraid” this ishow it looks in Greek.
It’s not “don’t be afraid” because he was afraid already. “Stop being afraid, I am the first and the last and living one, and I was dead and behold, I am alive forever and ever. And I have the keys of death and of Hades. Write therefore the things which you saw, namely the things which are, and the things which are about to take place after these things. With regard to the mystery of the seven stars that you saw in my right hand. And the seven golden lamp stands. The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches. And the seven lampstands are the seven churches.” I apologize translation that I read now it’s my own translation from Greek. I wanted you to get the dynamic of this text and everything, everything what is here. So John recognizes the voice.
He turns around to seek his beloved teacher. When he looked at Him, he’s stunned. He expected to see the man of Galilee walking on the dusty roads of Palestine But what he sees here in front of himself is the glorified Lord. And he would like now to describing to us but the words are lacking. So we will notice what is the most common word here? I intentionally use my translation to express as in Greek– what is the word like or as. You cannot describe Him, okay? You cannot, you cannot describe Him, describe Him.
He’s using, okay, all those different expressions. He’s using the metaphoric language in order to portray Christ. Amen. Now please, there are few things here that we have now to point out. What is Jesus doing when John sees Him? He’s dressed in the priestly robe. By the way it’s not just priestly. Josephus Flavius, who lived around the time of Book of the Revelation little bit earlier just– actually, he uses the same expression the Greek word poderes, long robe to portray the robe of the high priest in the Jerusalem temple. Okay. But it doesn’t telling us anything about high priestly ministry, it’s simply the priestly robe in which Jesus says, but something else. What is Jesus doing when John sees? He says, He walks. Actually, in chapter , verse , he says, he walks among the seven candlesticks. But in verse , he says, that “The Son of Man was in the midst of the seven candlesticks.” Okay? Now we’ve to go to the Bible and find interpretation that the Bible provide for us, it’s in verse .
He’s telling us here that these seven candlesticks or lampstands symbolize what? The seven churches. Okay, what is the message? Why is Jesus present and why is Jesus walking among those seven candlesticks. By the way… if you open the Book of Leviticus and . We read there so Leviticus and . That God said to the people of Israel “Make a sanctuary for me, so that I can dwell among you.” But verse said, “And I will be walking among you. And you will be my people and I will be your God.” Amen. So the promise that God long, long ago gave to the people of Israel that He will be walking among them. Now we see Jesus here that He’s fulfilling that promise in the symbolic walking among the seven candlesticks. But then it’s here has much deeper meaning.
So the seven lampstands or the seven candlesticks actually, they represent seven churches. The Jewish work Mishnah, okay. That is actually a codex of all legal rights of the Jewish people from the st Century, okay. That is codified and put in one book. There is one special chapter on the Jerusalem temple in the sanctuary, how the priest were supposed to perform their duties. We’ll several times during these series refer to this chapter. But they say, that the duties of the priest that were allotted for the duty by casting a lot. Okay, one of the duties of some of those priests was everyday to go there to the holy place of the temple, several times a day they had to go there. Why because the lamps, they had to be kept burning hours a day. So they had to be very careful that those lamps are indeed burning. So the priest would go there and check each one of those lamps individually. Some lamps were doing okay.
So the priest would clean the wick and make it even to shine better, but some of those lamps were almost dying. So he will clean everything add oil there so to making them to burn. Actually, several times a day the priest would come there to the holy place to check those lamps. Let me now some– to ask you something. When you work in your kitchen, in your kitchen, how many times you check certain things in the kitchen. What happens after three, four months, six months, one year? Even if you’re blind you can go there, you know exactly what it is? You know, how it looks? You don’t even, you don’t need even to look into that. You know, how it functions. If you get two, three things you know exactly which of those three, four things does not function and you try to take care of that.
Can you mention, when the priest was coming, several times a day checking lamps, he knew exactly everything about each one of those lamps. Actually, this old century background help us to understand this vision of Jesus is. Jesus is there walking among those seven candlesticks. So what is He doing? Trimming the lamps, adding oil, checking if they’re burning properly. What is the main message of that? We’ll come to that. When you read the messages to seven churches. One of the very common words regularly used with reference to every church is, I know you. I know where you dwell. I know your labor. Amen. I know your trouble. I know your perseverance. Why? Because Jesus is present there with His churches. He’s present there with His people. He cares about those lamps. If the church is dying, He adds more oil. He cleanses them. He cleans those lamps, making them to provide the proper burning there, etcetera. This vision of Jesus Christ is very important for what follows, because we’d read in verse that Jesus said to John. John, I am now giving you the messages.
You’re supposed to write them down on the scroll and send there to those churches. But as we explained yesterday before Jesus gives to John those messages which he is supposed to pass to the churches. Jesus first wants to say something about Himself. He wants to tell those churches, I am the one who knows you very well. I care about you. I know your situation. And that’s the reason why I’m here, because I want to help you. I remember when my children were little and my son sometimes I had problem with him in the same way as my father had problem with me when I was his age. Amen. You talk and he doesn’t listen. So many times you had to push him in front of our self I say, Hey, you know, how much I was happy when you were born. I am so proud to have a son.
Is there anybody else in this world that loves you so much? I care about you. And you don’t listen to me, so better listen to me. Don’t try to trick me because I know you so well, because you’re my son. Actually, this is what Jesus is doing here in this vision. But I like now and the time that is left to us. That we notice something that really changed my personal life. We just read here from verses to verse . How John portrays Jesus that he sees there in the vision. And please when you take that companion to my commentary there. When you take it, you’ll find explanation of all those details. We don’t have time to go into all details. Each one of that detail has a great significance and meaning. But we like to get that general picture is. I hope that you still keep in your mind the description of Jesus, okay? When does John begin? With the hair– he goes then to Jesus’ face. Then He goes to His cloth.
He goes to His breast. Then He goes to His feet. So when you’re there in chapter , John sees the complete Jesus, from here and you will see He ends with His feet. He provides the description of the entire Jesus. Are you still with me? Let’s put it here in this way. So Revelation , this is artistic representation. We have the complete Jesus from here to here, that John sees. Now, we saw that in verse of chapter . Jesus commissioned John, to write to those churches. Jesus provides John with seven distinctive messages for those churches. And all those messages, they’re organized in the same way. They all have the same format. All the messages they begin with the statement. The one–actually to the angel of the church in right. The one and then Jesus introduce Himself to the church.
Then the next session begins, I know. And then after that, Jesus gives the consult to the church what to do. And the church concludes with the call to hear the spirit and the promise to the over comer. Sometimes the order is changed with regard to these last two items. I would like now, to invite you to go with me, we’ll put into the fifth-gear. I’d like us to go quickly through those messages. And I’d like to ask you to pay attention about those introductions of Jesus to each individual church.
And then I’d like to ask you a question. Are you ready with me? Let’s go through all those messages. Let’s see how Jesus comes to the church in Ephesus and please, pay attention to that, okay. So its chapter verse . We’re dealing with the church in Ephesus. “To the church in Ephesus Jesus comes as the one who holds the seven stars in His right hand and walks among the seven lampstands. The church in Smyrna Chapter , verse , Jesus comes to the church as the first and the last, who was dead and has come to life. The church in Pergamum, for that church Jesus comes as the one who has the sharp two-edged sword. To the church in Thyatira, Jesus comes as the Son of God who has eyes like a flame of fire, and His Feet are like burnished bronze. To the church in Sardis, Jesus comes as the one who has the seven spirits of God, and the seven stars. Then the church in Philadelphia. To this church, Jesus comes as the Holy one, the true one, who has the key of David, who opens and no one will shut, and who shuts no one will open. And finally to the church in Laodicea, Jesus comes as the one who is the Amen, the faithful and the true witness, and the ruler of God’s creation.” Do you see that? Before Jesus addresses the situation of a particular church, what does He do? He first wants to introduce Himself to that particular church. But then you notice something, how Jesus does it. Let me go here to this blackboard.
We have here in Revelation Chapter , the complete Jesus. Please, now you have to be with me. This is the beauty of this message. And now Jesus takes some characteristic of Himself from Chapter and He gives to the first church. Then He takes some of these characteristics here and gives Himself to the second church then to the third church, then to the fourth church. Some characteristics He gives to the fifth church. Some characteristics to the sixth church and some characteristics to the seventh church. Did you notice it? Amen. Please, there’s something else. When you put all these characteristics together, what do you have? You’ve the complete Jesus of Revelation Chapter .
Amen. And this is something that puzzled the students of the Bible. What is the meaning of that? And praise God. In last several years, we discovered many gems coming out of that vision. Did you notice something? That there is no single church that receives the complete Jesus of chapter . Second thing there’re no two churches that received the same characteristics of Jesus. Jesus does not come to two churches in the same way. Each church receives a particular, specific aspect of Jesus from chapter . Why? What is the meaning of that? For simple reason is– because the way how Jesus introduces Himself to church corresponds to the situation and the needs of the church. So it means there’re not two churches, that are in the same problem and the same situation and that’s why Jesus comes to each church in the unique way. You see friends, God needs people where they are. Amen. Who is the Jesus of the Book of Revelation? When Jesus comes to the church in Ephesus, He comes to the church as the Jesus of the church in Ephesus, not as the Jesus of the church in Laodicea. When Jesus comes to the church in Philadelphia, He does not come to the church as the Jesus of the church in Smyrna.
Because the church, a particular church needs Jesus within its own life situation and the needs. Let me just take few moments to reflect on that. Have you ever wondered why we’ve four gospels? Why we have four gospels? If you’re a New Testament scholar and you’ve to teach class from the gospel, you will know how terrible headache is to teach? There’re differences. Actually, Ellen White talks that each gospel writer, wrote from his own perspective and his own experience with Jesus Christ. When I was a young scholar, I said Lord, why did You give us one gospel? We would have all the problems solved. To that I say, thank you Lord that we’ve four gospels. Because the four gospels, they’re written to four different groups and kinds of people.
When Mathew wrote his gospel, he wrote to the Christians coming from the Pharisees– and Jewish background. They put such emphasis on the law, friends, so when you read that gospel, it’s about spiritual needs of those people. In the same time Luke, wrote to the Gentiles, outcast from the society, women. So, he put the emphasis on the physical needs of people. And Jesus can satisfy those physical needs. John wrote to the second generation of Christians. You know, always second generation. They don’t know about the experience of the first generation. They have that struggle while Mark wrote to the persecuted Christians in Rome. Amen. The most common word in the gospel of Mark is immediately, everything is immediately. When people are persecuted, you don’t know, they will live until tomorrow, then everything must be immediately. That’s why we’ve four gospels.
The same is what we have here. Jesus comes to each church in the unique way. Friends, we live today as Christians. I want to talk about other people, I’m talking about myself. I remember when I was young, everything that I knew about Jesus Christ was Jesus of my father, of my pastor, who baptized me and church elder, who tried to care about me. But what I was lacking is my personal encounter with Jesus Christ.
Amen. Are you still with me? We know too much about Jesus Christ. But not too many people know Jesus Christ personally. In Revelation , He’s telling us, that the church in Ephesus did not need– may be that’s a wrong expression. Okay, but to the Jesus in Ephesus, Jesus does not come as the Jesus of the church in Thyatira. He’s coming as the Jesus whom the church in Ephesus and he that, and it is that Jesus who could satisfy the need of that particular church. Actually, this vision of Jesus Christ changed my perspective of Jesus Christ completely. Actually, after understanding this vision, I fell love in Jesus Christ. I decided to find the things not about Jesus, but to discover Jesus as my personal savior. I just want to tell you, everything changed in my personal life. I started with my own children trying to raise them in the Lord. I used all methods that we as parents are using in tricks, it did not work.
I don’t time to talk about that, but when I left my own children to discover Jesus of the personal lives everything changed. Today, when I talk to my daughter, she tells me what pages of the Bible she read. What pages of Ellen White, she read ask me if sometimes for some explanation. We’re talking about the regular base. Ever morning she gets up even if she is tired to head one hour devotional with God, because she discovered Jesus Christ for herself. Every Friday evening I talk to my son and he said, “Dad we just finished the beginning of the Sabbath. We’re listening here to those songs.” This was not case earlier because my children they knew everything about Jesus Christ of the parents. When I led them to discover Jesus for themselves– when they found Jesus Christ, that personal savior everything changed. And I decided to use this method in the classroom.
When I am there in the classroom I tell my students, the struggles that you’re going through, I went through when I was your age. And I told them how I found Jesus Christ for myself. And I challenged them to have that personal encounter with Jesus Christ. I never teach them, I tell them I’m not here to teach you. I’m simply here to share with you what Jesus Christ means to me. And what I learn from the Bible about Him. This is what I do in my preaching. And my goal is to do also during these presentations. The entire purpose is that we have our personal encounter with Jesus Christ and I just want to tell you what the difference it will make in our lives. Amen. But there is something else in few minutes that are left to us. Jesus meets people where they are. Amen. But also He gives them the promises. We’ve already mentioned that each one of the seven messages concludes with the promises to over comers in those churches. Please, allow me something to illustrate something. I’ll put it here, okay, on this board here.
The first church is the church in Ephesus. We’ll talk about that next time. It was the fantastic church, loyal, faithful. Steadfast and brave in perseverance, faithful to God, didn’t tolerate the false teachers. Every pastor would like to be pastor of such a church. But the church has one problem lacking that first love. But its still very good church. What about the second church. Still very good church, nothing negative except one problem is that church lives in the constant fear. Overhead fear can be a serious problem, okay.
The next church in Pergamum actually it’s already in serious troubles. But it’s still a good church but some troubles. Then we come to the church in Thyatira, the fourth church, the church is a divided church. The people were very faithful. But there is a serious apostasy in the church. Then when we come to the church in Sardis this church has just a name to be alive. Living from past glory but this church that is dead. When we come to the church Philadelphia brotherly love. They just take a name and make glory of that. But Jesus says to the church that you’ve just a little strength. The church is hardly surviving and though it receives many promises from Jesus Christ. And then we come to the church of Laodicea, any comment, no. Nothing good to be said about the church. But then Jesus comes to the church and this is the beauty of the gospel. I hope that you can be now with me. If you open please I’ve only two minutes left. Just to see how Jesus comes to this church.
To the church in the Ephesus the best church. Jesus comes and gives how many promises. Only one promise is the tree of life. Then comes to the next church, just little bit down. The church is Smyrna, the church receives two promises, chapter verses to . Two promise, crown of life and escape from the second death. Then you come to the third church, Pergamum receives three promises, the church Thyatira fourth church, the four promises. The church in Sardis receives five promises. The church in Philadelphia receives, sixth church receives the six promises. And finally, the last church, the worse church. The church in Laodicea, any guess how many promises does the church Laodicea receives? Only one. “Everybody who overcomes will sit with me on my throne as I overcame and sat with my Father on His throne.” Did you notice something significant? If rich man comes here to you and tells you I can give million dollars to you, buy you a great mansion and give you these, these things. What I can adopt you as my successor to inherit all my things, what would you chose? You see when you sit with Jesus on his thrown then you’ve all these other promises.
Amen. Is that what Apostle Paul said? Is that what apostle Paul said? When sin increases the grace abounds even more. See this is the first vision of Jesus Christ. What a great savior He’s presented here? He walks among us. He understands us. He knows everything about us. He cares about us and He gives us those great promises. Please, accept Him as your savior because he meats people where they are. Amen. .
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