Revelation 1:8-20 | The First & the Last

Revelation 1, and the book begins with a vision of Jesus in a whole new light. Now here’s a question for you: Does the way you see God affect how you live? Does it change the way you see the world?

I think it changes everything. It changes your worldview, your self image, your others image, everything. The book of Revelation is an unveiling, pulling back the curtain on two things: Jesus and God’s plan for the world. Let’s pick up at verse 8:

“I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty” (Revelation 1:8).

God introduces Himself as the Alpha and Omega. That’s A and Z in Greek, the first and last letters. He is the Lord over all eternity.

Then in verse 9, John begins his story. He was on the island of Patmos, exiled, because of his testimony, because he testified of Jesus. And yet God had other plans. Verse 10:

“On the Lord’s Day I was in the Spirit, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet, which said: ‘Write on a scroll what you see and send it to the seven churches.’ I turned around to see the voice that was speaking to me. And when I turned I saw seven golden lampstands, and among the lampstands was someone like a son of man, dressed in a robe reaching down to his feet and with a golden sash around his chest. The hair on his head was white like wool, as white as 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 coming out of his mouth was a sharp, double-edged sword. His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance” (1:10-16).

What… just… happened? Who is this? We’ll find out in verse 18 that this man is Jesus. Now I don’t suggest trying to paint this. The visual is not the main point here. The real story here is understanding who Jesus is. There is more to Jesus than meets the eye. There’s a lot to take in here & I’ll run through it quickly.

Back in verse 12, he shows up among seven lamp stands, like menorahs. The lamp stands represent churches, the light of the world. Jesus appears among the lamps.

“Son of Man” is a title given to the Messiah in Daniel, and the robe and sash are the garments of a judge and king.

The hair as white as wool is a picture also seen in Daniel. There God is called the Ancient of Days, with snow white hair to show it. Jesus is old. Never aging, but very old!

Eyes of fire. Fire is dangerous. Piercing. Fire refines and purifies. Jesus sees with eyes of fire.

Bronze represents judgment, and Jesus’ feet are like bronze glowing in a furnace.

His voice is like rushing waters, majestic and powerful. And out of his mouth, the double-edged sword. That’s a direct reference to the Word of God. The word of Jesus is the Word of God, and it pierces.

And his face like the sun shining in all its brilliance.

Now if you didn’t get all of that. That’s okay. I don’t think John understood it all right away either. What did he do? Verse 17:

“When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. Then he placed his right hand on me and said: “Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last” (1:17).

Hold on a second. What did he say? Jesus here is clearly awesome. But does Jesus claim to be God? Remember in verse 8 the Lord God said, “I am the Alpha and Omega.” And in verse 17 Jesus says, “I am the First and the Last.” In chapter 22, Jesus says, “I am the Alpha and Omega, the First and Last.” This is an unequivocal, clear statement from Jesus, among many others, that he is God. And in verse 18:

“‘I am the Living One; I was dead, and now look, I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades’” (1:18).

I love this. Jesus holds the very keys to unlock the gates of death and Hell itself. That’s Jesus like you’ve never seen Him before.

Remember, faith comes by hearing, and hearing Through the Word (Romans 10:17).

Bible quotes in NIV unless otherwise stated.



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