An Announcement

  • In v4 God expressed Himself in the language of manifestation as One who manifested Himself in the past, is manifesting Himself in the present and will do so in the future, through His omniscient and almighty power and wisdom.
  • Now the identity of the manifestation is further explained and an announcement is made to introduce the identity of the personage in the next vision and tell us more about the manifestation of the One who is coming. It consists of a multitude of people.

v8-11 The Great Voice to the Ecclesias

1:8 – I am

This is a singular individual comprised of many personages.

Alpha and Omega

Alpha and Omega are the first and the last letters of the Greek alphabet which consists of 24 letters. This answers to 24 elders of 4:4.

the beginning

The immortal manifestation of the head of the body started with Christ’s resurrection. The rest of the body is yet to experience this.

and the ending

The end will come when the body will be complete and there will be no further proclamation inviting Jews and Gentiles to inherit the kingdom. “Whatever may be the destiny of the earthborns of the Millennial nations in relation to the post-millennial cycle, they will not be ranked with the Alpha and Omega of this annunciation” (Eur 1:153).

Allusion to Isaiah 41:4 (Heb = First One and Last Ones); 44:6; 48:12.

saith the Lord 

i.e. Yahweh

which is, and which was, and which is to come

The full ambit of manifestation (v4).

the Almighty

Gk – pantokrator = to hold or have strength. It is equivalent to Shaddai in the OT.

1:9 – I John, who also am your brother, and companion in tribulation

John was banished to the isle of Patmos by the emperor Domitian who, in AD95, renewed the horrors of Nero’s persecution of AD64. Common suffering came as a result of their common testimony to the truth as it is in Christ.

and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ

Besides being a sharer or fellow-partaker (sugkoinonos) in the tribulation (thlipsis), he was also a sharer in the hope of the kingdom as well as the constancy or endurance (hupomone) associated with following Jesus Christ.

was in the isle that is called Patmos

About 28 miles south-west of the island of Samos and about the same distance from the coast of Asia Minor. Its length is about 8 miles, width about 6 miles. Romans used the island as a place of banishment for criminals.

It was lonely, desolate, barren, uninhabited, seldom visited – ideal for banishment.

for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ

John was banished to Patmos on account of his bold witness to the truth.

1:10 – I was in the spirit

Better rendered, ‘I became in spirit’ – he was now influenced by prophetic inspiration (cp Ezek 8:1-3).

on the Lord’s day

Not a Sunday (which is always referred to as the first day of the week), but the day of Yahweh, i.e. day of Christ’s return (2 Pet 3:10, Acts 2:20, 17:31, 1 Thess 5:2, 1 Cor 1:8).

and heard behind me

John heard the voice and then turned to see who it was that spoke. This indicates that he was listening to events coming before the day of the Lord, watching the continuous historic events concerning the ecclesias (Lampstands vv12,20) unfold towards him.

a great voice as of a trumpet

Language of Exodus 19:16,19 used. Here is a dramatic announcement that must be heard. We must listen to the opening message as though we were listening to the voice of God booming forth from Sinai.

Trumpets were used to call assemblies and proclaim freedom in the jubilee as well.

1:11 – Saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last

Once more the emphasis is on the plan of manifestation from beginning to end (v8).

What thou seest, write for a scroll 

He was to simply witness and record.

and send it unto the seven ecclesias which are in Asia

They were selected as representative ecclesias. The messages are for the benefit of all in every age.

v12-20 The Vision of the Son of Man

1:12 – And I turned to see the voice that spake with me

By turning as he did, he faced events leading up to the day of the Lord, when the saints burst forth upon an unsuspecting world. How far back was he looking? He saw a perfected body standing, ready to judge the world. Hence it is post-resurrectional, but pre-millennial (Eureka 1:162).

And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks

Gk – lampstands = 7 ecclesias (v20)

In this future vision, the seven ecclesias typify the complete assembly of saints who will be gathered together in this day. Only those who have a pure faith and have held forth the Word of life (Phil 2:16) will be there in reality.

1:13 – And in the midst of the seven candlesticks

The very heart and purpose of the formation of ecclesias is to develop the multitudinous Christ, a “people for the name”.

one like unto the (Gk = a) Son of man

Vision was not of Christ himself, although Christ was part of it, but one “like unto” him. Interpretation – v17-18 = body = first and last. Based on visions of Daniel 7:9,13; 10:5-6; Ezekiel 1:26-28.

Reappears in 14:14 in judgment.

clothed with a garment down to the foot

Clothing is significant of the character and office of the wearer (e.g. priests – Exod 28:3-4). Garments = covering for sin (Rev 16:15), im- mortality (Rev 7:13-14), putting on righteousness (Psa 132:9; Rev 19:8), being clothed with salvation (Isa 61:10).

and girt about the breasts with a golden girdle

This would answer to a breast band rather than a girdle. Josephus says that the priests of the first century wore the girdle upon the breasts. Aaron wore the representation of a girdle upon himself – Jesus bore the lessons within himself.

This girdle is of pure gold, because in the end faith has overcome all – faith has been perfected through trial.

Daniel 10Revelation 1
Certain man (v5)One like the son of man (v13)
Clothed in linen (v5)Clothed with garment to feet (v13)
Waist girded with gold (v5)Golden girdle (v13)
Hair and head white like wool (v14)
Body like beryl and face like lightning (v6)Countenance like sun (v16)
Eyes fire (v6)Eyes of fire (v14)
Arms/feet brass (v6)Feet burning brass (v15)
Voice multitude (v6)Voice of many waters (v15)
Daniel ‘died’ (v8)John ‘died’ (v17)
A hand, fear not (v10,12)A hand, fear not (v17)