Continuing in Chapter 1 of Revelation, 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, the way you view others, everything. The word "revelation" in Greek is Apokalupsis and means "unveiling." 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.
Patmos is a small rocky island about ten miles long and six miles wide lying about seventy miles southwest of Ephesus in the Aegean Sea. The Romans banished criminals to this island, forcing them to work at hard labor in the mines and quarries of the island. Early Christian writers say John was exiled to the island for eighteen months during the reign of the Emperor Domitian (A. D. 81-96)
As is often the case in our lives, trials, and experiences John’s revealed that 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.’
We immediately learn that Jesus’ purpose was to pen a letter to His Church, as we learned last night there were at least 12 churches in Asia, but God only chose to send letters to seven of them. Why you might ask?
The seven churches were literal, there were actually seven real churches, but it was also a symbolic number. The symbolic number seven, indicating completeness or fullness, appears fifty-four times in Revelation. Jesus’ letter was meant to be circulated amongst the churches, which is why our church can now read it as well. Within the seven churches are words of warning and encouragement that apply to all believers. We will dig deeper into those in the weeks that come.