Let's have a little Bible study, shall we?
1:1, 3, “The revelation from Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show his servants what must soon take place… the time is near.”
1:9 “Companion in tribulation and the Kingdom of God.” Jesus had foretold apostasy and persecution, Mt. 24:4-13, and the apostles wrote of it during its fulfillment, 1 Thes. 1:6; 3:4; 2 Thes. 1:4-10; 1Tim. 4:1-3; 2 Tim. 3:1-12.
1:10, “I was in the Spirit…” The language of prophetic inspiration, Mt. 22:43. Cf. Num. 11:25; Ezek. 2:2; 2 Pe. 1:21. “…on the Lord’s Day,” Mk. 16:9; Acts 20:7, “First day of the week” the day of resurrection and new beginning. “The Spirit of the day,” Gen. 3:8, judgment day.
1:11-15 John transported to the Holy Place, and sees the Lord amidst the lamp stand. Cf. John’s vision of Christ with Daniel’s vision of God, Dan. 7:9-10, 13-14; 10:5-11.
- See Ex. 28:4;29:5; 39:27-29; Lev. 16:4, Christ dressed as High Priest.
- Seven stars appeared on coins bearing the Emperor’s visage. John is saying that dominion belongs to Christ, not Caesar.
- A sword issues from Christ’s mouth, Isa. 11:4. Cf. Rev. 2:16; 19:11-16. Cf. He. 4:12.
1:17-18 More OT imagery to “apocalypse” or reveal the truth:
- “I am the first and the last,” Isaiah 44:6; 48:12.
- “I am the Living One,” Dt. 5:26; Jos. 3:10; Ps. 42:2 Jer. 10:10.
- “I have the keys of death and Hades,” means, “I have power of life and death.” This is a claim of supreme authority. (I used some of these on JW's yesterday!)
1:19-20 “Write what you have seen, and what they are.” Seven is the number of perfection, meaning that these epistles are for the whole Church, not just seven parochial bodies. This is not code but mystery, something not everyone knows. Hidden knowledge is being revealed. The lamp stands, the 144,000, the seven cities, the twenty-four elders, the city descending from heaven as a bride adorned for her husband all reveal aspects of the Church. We know the Church, but these symbols tell us about her. The Church is a mystery but her qualities aren’t.
Angels and stars are often linked in Scripture, Jud. 5:20; Job 38:7; Isa. 14:13; Jude 13; Rev. 8:10-12; 9:1; 12:4. Angels and stars are also associated with authority, Gen. 1:14-16; 37:9; Dan. 8:9-11; 10:13, 20-21. Therefore, the angels are the bishops of the churches in these cites.