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).

Questions:

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

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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.

Questions:

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.  It’s a heart transformation and an honest effort to change.  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.

Questions:

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.

Questions:

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.

BSF Study Questions Revelation Lesson 3, Day 4: 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.

Questions:

10a)  On the island of Patmos in-between Turkey and Greece and he was suffering because of his belief in Jesus.

b)  They were killed, stoned, beaten, driven out of their homes, lost their jobs, banished from their homes, exiled, re-located, and discriminated against.

11a)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Same as last year’s answer.  In comparison to others around the world, nothing.  I live in America where I have the freedom of religion and speech.  Increasingly, there has been a backlash against Christians but I have not experienced anything close to death or loss of livelihood, etc.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  God is with you.  You will be rewarded in heaven. He will triumph.

Conclusions:  We have question 11a every year.  It’s hard to compare today and 2000 years ago when persecution was as common as water.  I’m extremely blessed to be alive in this time period as to then where I am free.

End Notes:  PATMOS was a prisoner island where most of the inhabitants mined marble for Roman Empire use.  It is 10 miles long and 6 miles wide, rocky and overall desolate.  Because of the historical uses for Patmos, most scholars agree John was exiled there.  However, Revelation just says John was there “because of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus”.  It is possible he was there as a missionary to the exiled prisoners.

This is the first of four times John mentions being in the Spirit.  Scholars agree this means he received revelation from the Spirit and was not just literally walking in the Spirit.  The four times John mentions this are:  1)  Patmos (Revelation 1:10), 2)  in heaven (Revelation 4:2), 3)  in the wilderness (Revelation 17:3), and 4)  on the mountain of God (Revelation 21:10).

Some also say “in the Spirit” means John was praying.  Again, speculation.

What is the Lord’s Day?  Scholars are unsure.  Romans honored the emperor with Emperor’s Day the first day of the month so perhaps this was something similar.  What scholars do agree on is this is NOT The Day of the Lord as mentioned in the Old Testament.

Some scholars say the Lord’s Day is Sunday morning because the early Christians traditionally gathered together on the first day of the week.  Speculation.  Ask yourself:  would a man exiled on Patmos take the risk of gathering together with other Christians when he was exiled for being a Christian?  Unless he was a missionary…  Again, we just don’t know.

Note John was commanded to write (the first of 12 times he as commanded in the book of Revelation).  This is a good lesson for us.  Don’t just reveal visions to others unless commanded to do so.  Some are meant to be private.

John responded.  Very important.  When called, respond.  When hear Jesus, respond.

The number 7 is the number of completeness.  Why these 7 churches?  As I discussed BEFORE, it could be random.  It could be because they are in a circular pattern on a good modern road.  It could be because these letters are complete and these 7 churches represent complete churches.  Scholars are unsure.  Interestingly, Paul also wrote to 7 churches.

Point to us:  These letters are for us–as the church.

Map of 7 Revelation Churches HERE

Day 5 discusses primarily Revelation 1:12-20.  The commentary for those passages will follow Day 5.

BSF Study Questions Revelation Lesson 3, Day 3: Revelation 1:4-8

Summary of passage:  John writes to seven churches in Asia, wishing them grace and peace in God’s name, the seven spirits’ name, and in Christ’s name–Christ who had freed us from sin by his blood and made us priests to serve God.  Christ will come with the clouds where all can see.

Questions:

6a)  God always existed (the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the one who is, was, and is to come).  He is the Creator.

b)  He alone is in control and knows the future.

7)  John 3:16-17:  Jesus is God’s only Son, sent to bring eternal life and save the world.

1 Corinthians 15:3:  Christ died for our sins to free us.

1 Corinthians 15:20:  Christ was the first to rise from the dead so that we may follow and rise as well.

Philippians 2:9-11:  Jesus rules the earth as Lord to the glory of God forever.

8 )  Personal Question.  My answer:  Christ has freed us from our sins through God’s great love for us.  He will forgive me no matter the gravity of my sins and I will live again in Him and with Him.

9a)  Everyone will witness Jesus’s return including the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem.  Non-believers are those who have pierced him.  Also, those who condemned Jesus when he was alive.  Non-believers and believers and all nations and all peoples of the earth will mourn.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  I don’t have to be in charge.  God is.  God has a plan.  I don’t have to have one.  I don’t have to worry about other people.  All I have to do is share His love for them.  He’ll do the rest.  Everyone will know when Jesus returns.  It won’t be some big secret for the elect.  God wants me with Him.

Conclusions:  We are diving right in with God’s purpose in sending Jesus:  to free us from our sins.

End Notes:  Verse 4:  Here we get our first glimpse into numbers and the importance of Old Testament references.  Notice the number 7 here, which comes from Isaiah 11:2, which describes the 7 aspects of the Holy Spirit.  Because of this, the number 7 is considered the number of completeness and perfection (after all, it took God 7 days to create the universe).  Note there are not 7 different spirits.  One Holy Spirit with 7 characteristics listed here.

Why these churches when there were many more?  As we read Jesus’ words to the different congregations, we’ll begin to get an idea of why they were chosen.  However, because there were 7 of them and 7 is the number of completion, scholars take this to mean Jesus was speaking to all churches.  Therefore, these words are for us (the church) as well.

Verse 5:  Jesus is the faithful witness which is the same Greek word for martyr.

“The firstborn from the dead” means Jesus was the first to rise from the dead AND he’s first amongst the risen (Romans 8:29).  Firstborn is a title, not a literal reference to a birth (Exodus 4:22; Psalm 89:28).

Here, in one greeting, we see the Triune God:  The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit–separate but the same.

“To him who loves us”.  Here, this is also translated as “loved” past tense.  “Loved” takes us back to the cross where our life began.

Notice the order:  He loved us first, then freed (or washed in some translations).  God loves us first.  No matter what we have done.  Then He cleaned us.  Because He loves us.  He didn’t clean us first then love us.  Powerful.

Also, some translate the washed/freed as “loosed”.  There is only one letter difference in the ancient Greek between washed and loosed.

Verse 6:  Jesus made us kings and priests–something impossible for those in the OT.  It was forbidden to be both.

Power here is also translated as dominion.  We are recognizing God’s glory and dominion over every aspect of our lives–body, soul, and spirit.

Amen means “Yes” in Greek and is the worth for truth or faithfulness in the Hebrew.  So, literally, when you say “Amen” you are saying “it is true”, “so be it”, and “yes” to God’s will.

Verse 7:  John praises Jesus.  He jumps straight away into describing his return.  We are to watch for his return, which will be in clouds.  Every believer in the first century knew Jesus would return in a cloud since he told us he would (Matthew 26:64).  Also, we are described as clouds (Hebrews 12:1) and clouds are associated with God and His presence as we saw last year in our study of Moses (Exodus 13:21-22, 16:10, 19:9, and 24:15-18).

Verse 8:  Now, scholars believe Jesus is speaking since it is after all his revelation.  Some also say it could be God here as well since both claim the title of Alpha and Omega (Revelation 1:4; 22:13).

All emphasized the Triune God and the eternal nature of God.  He is in control of everything from Alpha (A in the Greek alphabet) to Omega (Z in the Greek alphabet) and everything in between.

The Greek word “Almighty” here means “the one who has his hand on everything”.  It is used 10 times in the New Testament, 9 times here in the Book of Revelation.

BIG THEME OF REVELATION right here in chapter 1:  God is in control of everything.

Map of Seven Churches John was writing to in the province of Asia (modern-day Turkey):  http://lifehopeandtruth.com/uploads/images/7-churches-of-revelation.gif

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

Summary of passage:  An angel appeared to John to deliver and bear witness the revelation of Jesus Christ’s Second Coming, which was given by God.

Questions:

3a)  Jesus Christ

b)  An angel gave the revelation to John to reveal what must soon take place in order to bless the listeners.

4)  Part Personal Question.  My answer:  The definition of bless according to Webster’s Dictionary is:  “to hallow or consecrate by religious rite or word; to invoke divine care for; to confer prosperity or happiness upon”.  Basically, blessed in the religious sense describes the favorable circumstance granted by God to a person.  I anticipate furthering my knowledge of God’s word, of His character, of what is to come, and increasing my closeness to God.

5)  Part Personal Question.  My answer:  To take to heart means to take something seriously and to internalize or live according to something.  Personally, it means to live like Jesus is coming at any moment.  Live in God’s ways.

Conclusions:  I liked the message to truly live out what is written.  It’s different to know something than do something.  That is the crux of good and wrong.

End Notes:  Revelation has a two-fold meaning.  Jesus is the one revealed, but he also is the one doing the revealing.

Note God gave this to us (believers) to know the future.  He gave us what we need to know.

This is predictive prophecy meaning it will come to pass.  Why are we studying prophecy?  Because it’s in the Bible.  If God deemed we should know it, then we should know it and try to figure out why He wants us to know it.  It also is proclaiming the word of God; hence, we need to know what God says/commands/ instructs.

Five keys parts here:  1)  Revelation  2)  Given by God  3)  To us  4)  Given to John  5)  John is witness

In the original Greek, what is translated here as soon is supposed to be shortly.  This word doesn’t mean it will happen soon.  It means when it does happen, it will be sudden.  “Time is near” is also soon to God for His time is not our time.

“He made it known” was originally translated as “signified”.  This word is rooted in signs.  Revelation is a book of signs.  These signs are from heaven and trying to put them into earthly words requires such means.  Paul says his message from heaven is “inexpressible” (2 Corinthians 12:4).  Can you see the difficulty?  Don’t worry.  We’ll all get it when we get to heaven.

Last year, in the study of Moses, we were asked repeatedly, “Why study the Old Testament?”  I asked myself this as well especially in the books of Leviticus and Deuteronomy.  Because 70% of the Book of Revelation is rooted in the Old Testament.  It contains more than 500 allusions to the OT and out of 404 verses in the Book, 278 refer to the OT.  Worth your time, yeah?

Many of the signs and visions are from an angel to John in the Book of Revelation.

We’ve already discussed extensively who John is (See my post HERE and BSF’s Lesson 2, Day 3)

Here, we receive the first of seven beatitudes in the book of Revelation.  This first blessing (“blessed are those who read, hear, and take to heart what is written”) also gives credence to the fact Revelation is meant to be holy scripture since blessings weren’t given to ordinary works.