BSF Study Questions Revelation Lesson 5, Day 3: Revelation 2:18-29

Summary of passage:  Jesus says the church in Thyatira is improving but they are tolerating Jezebel and her teachings, which lead to sexual immorality and idol worship.  Jesus intends to make those who commit adultery with her suffer and will kill her children.  Those who haven’t followed her Jesus encourages to hold fast to him.  If they do, he will give them authority over nations and the morning star.


6)  The Lord commended their improvement in deeds, love, faith, service, and perseverance of him.

7a)  Thyatira and Pergamum both were susceptible to false teachings and prophets, sexual immorality, and idol worship.

b)  She was impudent, shameless, evil, wicked, ruthless, unrepentant, murderer, a thief, and a bully.  She abused her power to gain what she wanted.  She pushed her religion upon everyone.  She was a false prophetess.  She almost brought down God’s people (see End Notes for her history).

c)  She will suffer and her children will be struck dead.

8 )  Personal question.  My answer:  Jesus is just (punishing according to deed).  It challenges me to do right always, to know I will be judged by Jesus, even in the little things.  To remember Jesus is not just the “warm and fuzzy” Jesus some churches portray him as; he’s also the final judger of deeds and a healthy fear would be good to imbed in my soul.

Conclusions:  The questions themselves weren’t challenging; the commentary and meaning behind it all especially in relation to the other churches was.  I would encourage all of you to take your time here.  Read more than the passage.  Really study what Jesus is saying here.  Imbed it in your soul.  Read commentaries.  Ask questions.  Investigate.  I promise you will be rewarded if you do.

That being said, be cautious of commentaries especially ones online.  One commentary I read said the children of Jezebel was the Roman Catholic Church and the commentator went on to chastise the church.  Obviously, Catholicism did not exist in the first century so this interpretation is extreme.

Use common sense and prayer.  If something is way out there, don’t believe it.  If it doesn’t line up with your beliefs of what is right or what the bible says, then disregard it.  Remember, gathering ideas is a good thing; but we also cannot know God’s ways.  Man’s interpretations and analysis is not God’s.  But we can learn from those around us.  Hence, our time sharing our answers in BSF!

With practice and God’s guidance you will be able to decipher the good versus the junk out there and you will grow in unbelievable ways.

End Notes:  Jezebel’s name is synonymous with evil.  She was a princess of the Phoenicians and was married to Ahab, king of Israel for political reasons.  She worshipped Baal and brought her religion with her (hence God forbid the marriage of foreigners).  She convinced Arab to build a temple to Baal in the capital of Jerusalem and set out to exterminate the worship of the One, True God.  She installed 850 priests of Baal and slaughtered God’s prophets.

In the end, she died as she deserved–thrown out a window and driven over by a chariot.  Her body was left to be ravaged by the dogs, fulfilling Elijah’s prophecy (1 Kings 21).

Thyatira was the most insignificant of the 7 cities.  It was the smallest and no persecution or suffering of Christians is even recorded in history occurring in this city.

Map of Thyatira

Still, it was a city of trade and Acts 16:14-15 mentions Lydia who traded in cloth, a good Thyratira specialized in.

To say “son of” something meant to the Jews you had the nature of that something.  Here, Jesus purposely uses “Son of God” to emphasize his deity to the people.  Revelation 1:14 and 1:15 is repeated here as well when Jesus describes himself with “eyes like blazing fire and feet like burnished bronze.”

Again, fire is judgment here and bronze is pure and steadfast.

Jesus picks this insignificant church in the ancient world to show that no one is insignificant in his eyes.  He cares for all and watches all.  He praises their love, faith, service, and perseverance–4 qualities that mark a good Christian.

Praises BUT…

The people were following a woman who was leading them astray, a false prophetess whom Jesus warned about in Matthew 24:11.  Whether her name was actually Jezebel or not, scholars are unsure.  Some even speculate she was the pastor’s wife as the Greek words could be indicative of that translation.

What is important here is the significance of the name; every Jewish person would have known immediately who Jezebel was and how evil she was in the eyes of the Lord.

Her sin was leading others to sin (Mark 9:42).  In the ancient world and beyond into Medieval times, a craftsman had to be a member of a trade guild in order to prosper and gain work.  Here, in ancient times, trade guilds were closely associated with the pagan gods which would entail sexual immorality and the eating of foods in the people’s worship ceremonies.

Note “my” servants.  We are all Jesus’s.

“Deep secrets” of Satan referred to the Gnostics who all claimed they knew such things.

Giving her time to repent is Jesus’s great mercy and love.  We are all given time to repent, but the time is limited.

The sin was also tolerating Jezebel.  The people needed to throw her out and now before she could corrupt others.

“Adultery” here is also spiritual adultery.  The people were betraying Jesus when they followed pagan ways.

The NIV uses “bed of suffering”, which is much closer to another translation of “sickbed.”  We know from 1 Corinthians 11:30 that God does use sickness as a method of judgment.  The word used here for “bed” in Greek is a banqueting couch.

“Suffer intensely” is also rendered “great tribulation” in some translations, which brings up THE Great Tribulation.  “Striking her children dead” and the mention of the tribulation here has some scholars saying all this is for future generations–meaning us.

Jesus still hopes for repentance “unless they repent of their ways”.  He uses punishments as a push towards him.  He never loses hope until the last second.

“Heart and minds” in Greek is “heart and kidneys.”  The heart was the source of intellect; the kidneys emotions.  God wants both.

Hold on until Jesus comes.  We are to hold fast to him until the End.

Jesus is encouraging the faithful:  “overcome and do my will to the end.”  We are to focus on Jesus despite all the immoral crap around us in the world.  If we do, we are promised the ultimate reward:  the morning Star, which is Jesus himself (Revelation 22:16).  Morning star could also be knowledge of God’s ways (2 Peter 1:19).  I happen to think it’s both–we get Jesus and knowledge all at once!

The iron scepter is a reminder that Jesus shall vanquish the unfaithful.  He alone is to worry.

Scholars debate when as always–either the millennium rule or the final rule or rule from heaven.

The Greek word here translated “rule” means to shepherd.

Again, Jesus tells us this message is for all including us.  A warning to unrepentant sinners; a ray of hope for those holding on to him.

Fun Fact:  This is the first and only time Jesus calls himself the Son of God in the book of Revelation.  Why?  Because this church is heavily engaged in idolatry.

BSF Study Questions Revelation Lesson 5, Day 2: Revelation 2:12-17

Summary of passage:  Jesus praises the church in Pergamum for its fidelity to him even in the face of  persecution and the death of Antipas.  He condemns them, however, for some following the teaching of Balaam and Nicolaitans and tells them to repent.  Jesus says those who overcome will receive manna and a white stone with a new name written on it.


3)  They remained true to his name and did not renounce their faith even under persecution and the death of Antipas. (See explanation of Antipas in End Notes).

4a)  Balaam was the false prophet hired by Balak to curse the Israelites which God would not allow him to do.  It is believed it was Balaam’s idea to subvert the Israelites by using women and sex and causing them to sin and idol worship.  (We studied this extensively last year).

b) Part personal question.  My answer:  “The sword of his mouth” i.e. the Word of God. Knowing God’s word has shown me what God says is right and wrong not what society says is right and wrong.  It is the ultimate moral code, the one we will be judged upon, infallible and pure.  It has corrected my thinking in terms of gay marriage, sex before marriage, capital punishment, etc.

5)  Part personal question.  My answer:  Those who are victorious will gain heaven as their reward. It encourages me to keep working for Him even when I am so utterly discouraged I want to quit.  There is a plan for me; I just have to believe it.

Conclusions:  Thoroughly enjoyed this lesson.  It kept to the passage and the personal questions were applicable. There is so much here packed into 5 verses.  Awesome!

End Notes:  Antipas was the first martyr of Western Asia.  Precious little is known of him.  Some say he is the same Antipas as Saint Antipas (who may not have even existed either).  You can read HERE and HERE on him.

Antipas means “against all”.  The name Antipas is a shortened form of Antipater, one of Alexander’s successful generals (c. 397-319 B.C).  Many men and even women (Antipatris) in the Greek world were named after him.  Great in-depth article on Antipas and Pergamum HERE

Pergamum was the Roman capital for the Asiatic region under Rome’s control.  It had been the capital for more than 300 years.  It was a city noted for learning and knowledge, boasting one of the biggest libraries in the ancient world.  The city of Pergamum was a headquarters for several pagan cults and emperor worship began here (having three temples to the emperors and numerous other temples to Roman gods and goddesses) and spread, possibly the meaning behind “where Satan has his throne.”

Pergamum built the first temple to Caesar Augustus 50 years prior to John’s writing.  It had a huge temple to the Roman God, Asclepius, the God of healing, and people from all over the Empire would travel here in hopes of being healed.

Map of Pergamum:

In Revelation 1:16, John introduces the double-edged sword coming from Jesus’ mouth and repeats the idea here.  This would become a popular image as the writer of Hebrews uses this as well (Hebrews 4:12).  It stands for the Word.  Jesus is holding the Word here as His weapon.

The people did not deny Jesus’ faith.  Key point.  His faith, not our faith.

Notice Antipas and Jesus are both called “faithful witness.” (Revelation 1:5)  The word witness here used to be translated martyr and here the NIV is right.  The original Greek word (martus) meant witness.  Only in the first century AD did the word begin to take on the meaning of martyr in the English sense.

Nothing is known about Antipas except what is recorded here.  History forgot him.  But Jesus didn’t.

Balaam (his story is in Numbers 22-24 and again in chapter 31) encouraged sexual immorality and idolatry.  In the ancient world, there was no concept of sexual immorality except with the Jews.  The Romans married but were not faithful.  If they wanted to sleep around, they did.  And they saw nothing wrong with that.  These are people who had sex in temples remember.  It was their culture.  It wasn’t until the spread of Christianity that God’s way became the standard.

Here we see the Nicolaitans again (Revelation 2:6).  Again, not much is known of the Nicolaitans.  Some scholars say they were followers of Nicholas who was ordained by the apostles and who believed in revelry, adultery, and indulgence to the extreme. Other scholars say they were more gnostics who believed a physical body was intrinsically evil and denied the fact a pure, omnipotent God would take such a form. Hence, some claimed Jesus was a phantom or that God left Jesus before he was crucified. The Greek root words of Nicolaitan means “to conquer the people.”

Best explanation of Nicolaitans HERE.  Best brief account HERE

God’s people here allowed these practices to continue.  They were complicit in the sin, doing nothing to stop it.  Hence, Jesus’ rebuke.

5 of the 7 churches are commanded to repent or face judgment using the Word.

Hidden manna is God’s perfect provision–Jesus (John 6:41, 51).

In the Roman world, a white stone was known as tessera and it was a form of currency if you will. It was used as tickets to banquets, signs of honor and friendship, and even as a sign of acquittal in court.  Stones were also used in voting methods.  Citizens or those eligible to vote were given two stones:  a white one and a black one.  A white one meant “yes” and a black one meant “no.”  Citizens would drop only one stone when they voted.  This method was mainly for enacting laws.

Interesting historical note:  these stones were used to vote for the Nicene Creed.

Another interesting historical note:  this is where the colors also became associated with good and evil in the secular world (besides the use in the Bible).

Further interest:  This system of using black and white balls was carried over to the modern world for electing new members to clubs, fraternities, and guilds.  This is also where the term “blackballing” comes from albeit the meaning of the word has changed in modern times.  Cool short summaries HERE and HERE.

People’s names were carved on these stones, or more accurately, pebbles in the Greek.

Here, the white stone serves as the ticket to heaven, the “new name” probably the believer’s new name engraved on it.

BSF Study Questions Revelation Lesson 4, Day 5: Revelation 2:8-11

Summary of passage: John’s letter to the church in Smyrna says Jesus knows their afflictions and poverty and knows of the false prophets. He says they will suffer but encourages them to be faithful and they will earn the crown of life (eternal life).


13a)  Death, torture, death

b)  Death, torture, death

14a)  Because it is just the body that suffers, not the soul.  The soul is what lives on in heaven–which is what matters.  All believers in Christ go to heaven.  There is nothing to fear in Christ.

b)  Knowing there is something beyond this realm gives hope and faith in suffering.  Our suffering turns others towards Him as we are living examples of faith.  Jesus himself suffered as we are called to do as well.

15)  Personal Question.  My answer:  We had this question last year as well.  I have not suffered anywhere remotely close to the first century Christians and living in the US has sheltered me from suffering physically.  I personally have not suffered in any life-impacting way.

Conclusions:  Not sure how any of these questions relate to the passage directly; they are extrapolations to Jesus.

End Notes:  See previous POST for commentary.

Conclusions to Lesson 4: We focused in on the first two letters John wrote to the churches of Ephesus and Smyrna.  We saw the major difference between the two is Ephesus was rebuked for turning from Christ; whereas, Smyrna was only encouraged and praised for its suffering for Christ.

A lot of repetition in questions from last year.  I suppose BSF asks these every year but it stands out to me this year.

I have also come to realize as I grow in Christ and as my knowledge grows these questions seem repetitive to me because I have answered them before and I know them.  I know more of the Bible and God’s Word and to me it’s easy because I do know it.  I’m trying to keep that in mind that BSF is appealing to all wherever their walk is with Christ so some questions will be repetitive and redundant to some of us but not others.

BSF Study Questions Revelation Lesson 4, Day 4: Revelation 2:8-11

Summary of passage:  John’s letter to the church in Smyrna says Jesus knows their afflictions and poverty and knows of the false prophets.  He says they will suffer but encourages them to be faithful and they will earn the crown of life (eternal life).


11)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  “Him who is the First and the Last, who died and came to life again.”  Jesus was, is, and will always be.  What is important about Jesus is just that:  he has always existed and he died for us.  Everything else is just icing on the cake.

12a)  Jesus knows their afflictions, their poverty, those who are of the synagogue of Satan, and he knows of their future sufferings and persecutions.

b)  Poverty is just a state of being here on earth.  What matters is after death and if you have Jesus, you have all the wealth in the world.  Jesus made himself poor (by being human and sacrificing himself) so that we all may be rich in heaven.

Conclusions:  Emphasis on Jesus’ character and persevering in this world.  Great reminder for all of us as we trudge through our days.

End Notes:  Very, very similar to the letter to the Church in Ephesus.  Smyrna was a very wealthy city similar to Ephesus.  It was a great trade city and lay at the end of the river Hermus and was a port city.  It was big and beautiful and known for its trade in wine.

Smyrna had multiple temples to the Roman gods but eventually the people began to worship the Roman emperor.  Smyrna built the first temple to the goddess of Rome in 196 BC and was the first city to build a temple to a Roman emperor in 23 AD.  It was the Roman emperor Domitian who first demanded to be worshipped as a god.  It was also probably him who banished John to Patmos.

Christians refused to worship the emperor; hence, the persecution Jesus is speaking of here.  All they had to do was burn incense and say “Caesar is Lord” once a year and be upon their merry way.  They refused and faced death.  How many of us would?

Smyrna comes from the word myrrh–the same gift to Jesus at his birth and the perfume used to cover the smell of dead bodies.

MAP of Smyrna

Jesus again echoes his appearance to John in these words he chooses to identify himself with.

Just like in Ephesus, Jesus knows their works and their hardships.  One form of persecution is economic and Christians lost their jobs and livelihoods for their belief.  The word “poor” here in the Greek means abject poverty.  They were dirt, dirt poor.

History tells us there was a large Jewish population here hostile to Christians.  Paul wrote thus they were not considered Jews in Romans 2:28-9, thus were labeled “a synagogue of Satan.”

Jesus tells them they are rich.  Rich in their eyes.  Often we don’t see this either.  All that really matters is how Jesus sees us.

We will see in Revelation 3 how the Laodiceans were rich but poor.

Jesus tells them to not be afraid; the devil (in the Greek the word is diabolos meaning accuser or adversary) will test them but only for 10 days.  God will limit their trials.  Prison in ancient times was a holding place for death.  Not like it is today.

Scholars will debate the number 10 here.  Was it literally 10 days or was it 10 years or was it 10 emperors?  The Greek word for 10 days was not literal and an expression of speech–it meant a short period of time.  The important thing here is that the persecution was limited by God.

Note:  Daniel was tested for 10 days as we’ll read in Lesson 8 Day 2.

God purpose was to test, to purify, to make His people more like Jesus.  This would prove how rich they were.  Out of the seven cities, this is the only city still in existence today (now called Izmir in Turkey).

We can be tested today and have a heart and live a martyr’s life.  Sadly, many Christians don’t.

MAJOR DIFFERENCE FROM EPHESUS:  There is no corrections here.  No rebukes.  Only encouragements and praise.  Smyrna is the first of just two churches (the other being the church of Philadelphia Rev 3:7) Jesus has only words of praise.

The Greek word for crown here means the one given to an athlete (not one a king wears).  Winners.  The crown of life.

The second death is hell or lake of fire (Rev 20:14).

This letter is about persevering through persecution.  In the Western world, we are not persecuted as the first century Christians were.  Still, in other places in the world, Christians do face life or death over their faith in Christ.  It is estimated more Christians died in twentieth century for their faith than any other time frame.  Pray for an end to persecution.

Other interesting links:  Brief history of Smyrna with photos HERE

Great explanation of Jesus’ message to Smyrna HERE

Most famous martyr of Smyrna is Polycarp, a student under John the Apostle.  His story is HERE and HERE

BSF Study Questions Revelation Lesson 4, Day 3: Revelation 2:1-7

Summary of passage: John addressed the church in Ephesus and its angel (or messenger or priest or church). Jesus says he knows of the church’s hard work and how they have tested false prophets and endured hardships. Yet, they have abandoned him and need to repent or face the consequences. To those who hear him and overcome, they will receive the tree of life or the paradise of God.


7)  The people have forsaken Jesus.  They are not repenting of their sins.

8a)  By doing things Jesus wouldn’t do and going against his will.  By being selfish, prideful, sinful.  By kicking God out of the center of your life and putting another idol there instead.  By not loving others.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Walk in Jesus’ ways.  Know God’s word.  Obey Him.  Share the gospel.  Do what Jesus would do.

9)  Part personal Question.  My answer:  Repent means to turn away from sin and turn towards making changes in your life.  My words.  My actions.  My selfishness.

10a)  In Genesis, the tree is an actual tree that grew and bore fruit.  In Revelation, Jesus in our tree of life and in him lies our fruit.  Jesus is our life.  The tree in the Garden was man’s death.  Believing in Jesus gives us life.

b)  Part personal question.  My answer:  All we must do is believe in Jesus to have life and live in Paradise with God.  It is hope defined.  To walk with God.  Forever.  There is no greater hope.

Conclusions:  I liked the comparison of the trees.  So simple.  Even for Adam and Eve it was simple.  I think that’s why we fail all the time.  It’s so simple it’s hard for us to believe it.  We always think there’s a catch.  But there’s not.  Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life.  Period.

End Notes:  This is commentary on verses 4-7.  See Yesterday’s POST for commentary for verses 1-3.

Forsaken means abandon–a deliberate act.  The church hasn’t “lost” love.  It has turned away from it.

What “love” is this?  The love of Jesus or the love of people?  Probably both here.  We must do both. It’s easy to get caught up in the “doing” rather than the “loving”.

The first step is to always remember.  Then the next verb (an action of doing) is to repent–turn away from what you are doing and go a different path.  Then do the things you did at first (study God’s word, pray, evangelize, spend time with other Christians and others).

If they do not repent, Jesus will leave (“remove your lamp stand”).  Immediate judgment.

Not much is known of the Nicolaitans (mentioned again in Rev 2:15).  Some scholars say they were followers of Nicholas who was ordained by the apostles and who believed in revelry, adultery, and indulgence to the extreme.  Other scholars say they were more gnostics who believed a physical body was intrinsically evil and denied the fact a pure, omnipotent God would take such a form.  Hence, some claimed Jesus was a phantom or that God left Jesus before he was crucified.  The Greek root words of Nicolaitan means “to conquer the people.”

What’s important here is this:  Jesus HATED their practice.  The Son of Man who was pure love hates. That in and of itself should tell us they were sinful people to the extreme–enough to be mentioned twice by Jesus.  Not good.  Not good at all.

This message is for us (to all who have an ear) who will overcome sin and coldness and have his heart.  Reward?  Heaven.  The tree of life refers to Eden–Paradise.  Where God lives.  Paradise originally meant garden of delight.  Now it means where God lives.  God is paradise.  In eschatology and in Revelation paradise is where God and believers are restored to the perfect fellowship that existed before sin entered the world.

“He who has an ear let him hear”.  This appears in every letter (2:7, 11, 17, 29; 3:6, 13, 22).  A challenge to take to heart what Jesus is saying.

“To the one who overcomes”.  This appears in every letter (2:7, 11, 17, 26; 3:5, 12, 21).  A challenge to be victorious over evil.

BSF Study Questions Revelation Lesson 4, Day 2: Revelation 2:1-7

Summary of passage:  John addressed the church in Ephesus and its angel (or messenger or priest or church).  Jesus says he knows of the church’s hard work and how they have tested false prophets and endured hardships.  Yet, they have abandoned him and need to repent or face the consequences.  To those who hear him and overcome, they will receive the tree of life or the paradise of God.


3a)  The seven stars are the leaders of the seven churches John wrote to which are represented by the seven lamp stands.

b)  Jesus holds the seven stars in his right hand and walks amongst the seven lamp stands.  (Jesus is with us and holds us always).  He knows everything about us–deeds, perseverance, and hard work.

4)  Part Personal Question.  My answer:  Jesus knew their deeds, hard work, perseverance, testing of false prophets, and hardships.  And he knew they had turned from him, not heard the Spirit, and not repented of their sins.  I work hard and persevere.  My deeds for Jesus could be more.

5)  Acts tells us to examine what the false prophet is saying with the Word to see if it aligns with God’s teachings.  Romans tells us to allow God to transform our mind and not the world and then we will be able to know God’s will.  1 Corinthians says if a person curses Jesus, that is not from God.  Galatians says don’t compare yourself to others.  2 Timothy says all Scripture is true.  Hebrews says constant use of God’s word and ways will train you to distinguish good from evil i.e. know the word; know the truth.

6)  Just that:  persevere and endure hardship for Jesus.  Don’t bend.  Don’t waver.  Stand strong.  Know him.  Trust him.  Believe him.

Conclusions:  Good review of false prophets (we studied this last year in the Life of Moses).  3a was redundant.  Question 6 was self-explanatory.

My take-away:  Jesus/God knows everything:  our struggles, triumphs, dreams, and hearts. Good reminder as I pray and pray for my novel to be a success.

End Notes:  This is commentary on verses 1-3 as these questions focus on these verses.  Commentary on verses 4-7 will follow tomorrow’s lesson.

For analysis of 7 stars and 7 churches, see last week’s post HERE.

The letters are published here to each church in Revelation 2 & 3.  The structure of each letter is the same:

An address to a particular congregation
An introduction of Jesus (“These are the words of…”)
A statement regarding the condition of the church
A verdict from Jesus regarding the condition of the church
A command from Jesus to the church
A general exhortation to all Christians
A promise of reward

As previously discussed, the angel is probably the pastor of the church but the letter is to every member.

Ephesus was well known in the ancient world much like New York City today.  It held the famous temple of Artemis, the Greek goddess of the hunt, (Reconstruction picture HERE) and was a haven for immoral behavior namely sex with temple attendants.  The temple was one of the seven wonders of the ancient world.  It was so important it was completely rebuilt 3 times, finally being destroyed in 268 AD by the Goths and dismantled entirely in 401 AD by St. John Chrysostom.  Paul, Aquilla, Priscilla, Timothy, and John all ministered here.  MAP of Ephesus

Today the site is covered in swampland due to flooding and hence the remains of Ephesus are obscured.

Jesus is introduced just like in John’s vision–with power and authority over the church.  The Greek word for holds shows Jesus is in charge.

Jesus knew the church’s condition.  Patience here in Greek means “steadfast endurance.”  These were people with God’s heart.

Paul warned the Ephesians in Acts 20:29-31 about false prophets and evidently they took it seriously. So must we all be ever wary of falsehoods.

The church has patience and perseverance–great example for us today.

IMPORTANT:  Jesus ALWAYS in these letters and admonishes addresses the positive first, then he rebukes.  Good example for us today.  Acknowledge how good someone is doing, then tell them how to improve.

Commentary on verses 4-7 will follow on Day 3 as those questions focus on those verses.

BSF Study Questions Revelation Lesson 3, Day 5: Revelation 1:9-20

Summary of passage: John was exiled to the island of Patmos because of his beliefs in Jesus. He heard a voice tell him to write down and send to the seven churches a message. The 7 churches were: Ephesus Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea.

John saw 7 golden lamp stands and Jesus dressed in a robe and a golden sash. He held 7 stars in his right hand and a sword came out of his mouth. Jesus put his hand on John and told him he is God and he holds the keys of death and Hades. He commands John to write what he has seen, including how the 7 stars represent the angels of the 7 churches and the 7 lamp stands are the 7 churches.


12)  Verse 20 tells us:  “The seven lamp stands are the seven churches” previously mentioned:  Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea.

13)  Jesus is the Son of Man.  He is dressed in a robe reaching down to his feet and with a golden sash around his chest.  His head and hair were white like wool and snow and his eyes were like blazing fire.  His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace and his voice was like the sound of rushing waters.  In his right hand he held seven stars and out of his mouth came a sharp double-edged sword.  His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance.

[Side Note:  The “Ancient of Days” in Daniel is God, harking back to God at the beginning, the Alpha.  In Daniel 7:22, the “Ancient of Days” is Jesus.  All are one as the Triune God.]

14)  Personal Question.  My answer:  [BSF is assuming John is the Apostle John.  Seems to be BSF’s belief here.  The question is referring to John the Apostle.  John of Revelation or John of Patmos NEVER states he knew Jesus personally or was a “close friend”.]  John was overwhelmed seeing Jesus in his heavenly glory.  This teaches me not to judge others as they may cloak their true personas.  In worship, Jesus deserves all the glory for who he is.  Falling at someone’s feet is a sign of great respect and awe in the Bible.  I would imagine he was dumbfounded and speechless as I would be!

Conclusions:  I am a bit bothered that BSF doesn’t even mention that John of Revelation may not be John the Apostle.  I believe if we are to study the Word then we cannot ignore some facts (like John of Revelation may not be John the Apostle because in the Word John never identifies himself as such).  That needs to be made clear.  It’s fine if BSF wants to assume this is John the Apostle as most scholars agree with this.  However, it needs to be stated up front that this is their assumption for the rest of the study.  It is presented here as fact when doubt exists.

More and more scholars merely refer to John here as John of Patmos.  All we know for sure is he was a prophet (being given a vision by God/Jesus) and he was known to the churches he was writing to.  He was on the Island of Patmos (which the reasons exactly why are unclear besides “because of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus”).  And the text probably dates between 90-100 AD although some scholars say earlier in the 60’s AD.  See more thorough discussion HERE

There is a TON here and BSF has barely touched on this passage as it deserves to be studied. Please see End Notes below for a more thorough analysis.

End Notes:  This is an analysis of verses 12-20 only.  See Previous Post for an analysis of verses 9-11.

Verse 12:  We see the 7 lamp stands 7 times in the Book of Revelation (Rev. 1:12, 13, 20; 2:1, 5; and 11:4).

Jesus is still speaking here.  Note John saw the lamp stands first then Jesus.  These are not menorahs or candles stands.  These are free-standing and held the lamps on top.

THIS IS IMPORTANT AND CRUCIAL:  In the Old Testament in the Tabernacle, there was one lamp stand with 7 candles (Exodus 25:31-37).  Here there is 7 lamp stands.  As BSF asked us, the lamp stands represent the church.  In the Old Covenant, there was ONE church–the Jews.  In the New Covenant there are many churches (here 7)–signifying the Gentiles.  God’s people are now one.  Awesome!!

Light does not come from the lamp stands–it comes from the lamp on the lamp stand.  The church does not create the light (God does as the Light); the church merely displays it for all to see.

Verses 13-16:  The Son of Man is standing in his glory amongst all the lamp stands–Jesus is standing amongst all the churches.  This is a title all readers and listeners of these words would have understood.  Jesus used the title “Son of Man” about 90 times in the Gospels.  It was first used by Daniel in 7:13 to introduce the Messiah.  Remember, ancient Christians had much more of the Bible committed to memory than we do today merely because they couldn’t read and had to have it memorized.

His clothes are significant; they signify authority and royalty.  Only those who didn’t perform manual labor could wear long robes that would have hindered work to others.  The golden sash is something only the rich could afford.  The priests in the temple wore a sash with gold threads (Exodus 39:1-5).  Jesus’ is pure gold!

Jesus here is the high priest, our intercessor! (Exodus 28:2-4; Hebrews 4:14-16)

The high priest tended the lamp stands in the temple; so Jesus tends us.

White hair spoke of age; age spoke of wisdom in ancient times.  Also, snow is pure (Isaiah 1:18).  Also, Daniel 7:9 has the Ancient of Days with “clothing as white as snow; the hair of his head was white like wool.”  The Ancient of Days (God) is Jesus as well.

Fire represents judgment (Matthew 5:22, 2 Peter 3:7).

Bronze is a very strong metal and is what the sacrificial altar was made of (Exodus 27:1-6).

Verse 16:  The 7 stars represent the leaders of the 7 churches here.  7 is the number of completion; therefore, Jesus is holding the entire church in his hands.  Cool!

The double-edged sword coming out of Jesus’ mouth is the Word–Jesus’ weapon. The Greek word for sword here is a heavy, battle sword used to kill and destroy.

Jesus had the same glory as in the Transfiguration (Matthew 17:2).  Here is the real Jesus.

Fun Fact:  This is the only physical description given of Jesus in the Bible.  Isaiah 53:2 is vague in comparison.

Verses 17-18:  This is the first time John sees Jesus in all his glory.  Jesus’ touches him and comforts him.  He identifies himself 3 times–He is Lord of time–past, present and future.  Lord over resurrection.  Lord over death.  Only God and Jesus can determine life and death.  The devil has no power here.

Verse 17:  The First and the Last is God (Isaiah 41:4, 44:6, and 48:12).  This is one of the few places in the Bible where Jesus identifies himself as God himself.

Verses 19-20:  Second time John is commanded to write (Revelation 1:11 is the first) what he sees in the past, present, and future.

Revelation 1:  Past

Revelation 2-3:  Present

Revelation 4-22:  Future

Jesus tells us the 7 stars are angels.  Some scholars say the 7 stars are the pastors of the 7 churches.  The Greek word used here means “messenger”.  Some take it literally and say they are 7 guardian angels of the churches.  Some take it figuratively and say the 7 angels are the spirit of each church. What’s important here is they are representatives of the body of Christ.

Note Location:  Right Hand of Jesus.  We will see this in the next chapter as well.  In Jesus’ right hand, rests safety and strength–exactly where we want to be.

Remember–John is on the island of Patmos–maybe a prisoner.  Jesus is there in our sufferings and trials and we can know him and see him and trust him right where we are.

Conclusions to Lesson 3:  We learned the book of Revelation is all about Jesus and God’s plan for the future of His people–all peoples with the 7 churches.  There is so much here in Revelation that BSF does a good job of focusing the most important pieces and I hope the lectures will bring out more we don’t discuss.

I would encourage all of you to read my End Notes as they will bring out more BSF just can’t do in such a limited amount of time as well as do your own extra reading and analysis of Revelation. Commentaries will be most beneficial.