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Revelation 1: Introduction to the Seven Churches

REVELATION 1: INTRODUCTION TO THE SEVEN CHURCHES

Revelation 1: Introduction to the Seven Churches

(Direct Greek translation from the New King James Version Greek English Interlinear New Testament)

Rev 1:1.2. The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave to him to show his servants, which it is necessary to happen with swiftness.  And he made it known by sending it through his angel, to his servant John, who testified to the word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ, as to the many things he saw.

This revelation was given to John the disciple on the island of Patmos during the time of Domitian’s reign as Caesar in A.D. 96.

The process of giving a revelation from God to a prophet is: 1. From God. 2. Through an angel. 3. To the prophet John.

Rev 1:3.4. Blessed is the one who reads and who hears the words of this prophecy. John, to the seven churches which are in Asia.

The message of this prophecy was first sent to the seven churches in Asia existing around the time of John´s exile in A.D. 96. This message is also for anyone who hears the words of this prophecy through any time during the history of the church.

Rev 22:7. Blessed is he who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book.

Rev 22:18. For I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book.

In addition: The names of the seven churches are symbolic of the church in different periods of the Christian Era. The number 7 indicates completeness and is symbolic of the fact that the messages extend to the end of time, while the symbols used reveal the condition of the church at different periods in the history of the world.[1]

Rev 1:4.5. Grace to you and peace from God, he who is, he who was, and who is to come, and from the seven Spirits which are before his thrown, and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead and the ruler of the kings of the earth.

These two verses give us information about the Godhead. He who is, who was and is to come refers to the heavenly Father. The seven Spirits which are before the throne, refer to the Holy Spirit. Then there is Jesus Christ the third person of the Godhead.

What does the citation “the firstborn from the dead” mean from the Bible?

Does this text say that Christ was born up in heaven before he was born of Mary on this earth? People who believe in this teaching are the Jehovah’s Witnesses. They use texts like Revelation 3:14 and Colossians 1:15. He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.

The word “firstborn” can have a different meaning from the Bible than what we understand today. We understand that firstborn means the first child that is born in the family, like Jesus Christ who was the firstborn to Mary. Luke 2,7. And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

But the Bible has another meaning for the word firstborn. Psalm 89:20.27. I have found my servant David; with my holy oil I have anointed him. Also, I will make him my firstborn, the highest of the kings of the earth.

Now how can David be the firstborn, when he had seven older brothers and he was the youngest?         1 Samuel 16:10.11.13. Thus, Jesse made seven of his sons pass before Samuel. And Samuel said to Jesse, “The Lord has not chosen these.” And Samuel said to Jesse, “Are all the young men here?” Then he said, “There remains yet the youngest, and there he is, keeping the sheep.” And Samuel said to Jesse, “Send and bring him. For we will not sit down till he comes here.” The Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the midst of his brothers; and the Spirit of the Lord came upon David from that day forward.

How can David be the firstborn when he had seven older brothers?

It is because the word firstborn has another meaning in the text Psalm 89:20.27. I have found my servant David; with my holy oil I have anointed him. Also, I will make him my firstborn, the highest of the kings of the earth.

The word firstborn means the highest of the kings of the earth in this text and many other texts of the Bible when related to Jesus Christ.

Colossians 1:15.16. He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through him and for him.

Christ created all things. He was at the creation of this earth. Genesis 1:26. Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, according to our likeness.” The word God in the Hebrew is Elohim and means a plural god: more than one god. In Genesis 1:2 the Spirit of God was present at creation. In Genesis 1:26. That leaves God the Father and God the Son left to make a plural god in this text. All the three persons of the Godhead were present and taking part in the creation of this earth.

When referring to the text in Colossians 1:15.16. Christ was pre-eminent and taking a leading role at the creation of the earth. That is what the word firstborn means here.

Colossians 1:18. He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things he may have the preeminence.

How can Christ be the firstborn from the dead, when Adam and his son Abel where the first to die on this earth? It is because the word firstborn in Colossians 1:18 means the head, the beginning, and preeminence. In God´s eyes Christ is the foremost and the highest from all the dead on this earth. This is what the word means apart from a literal explanation of the word firstborn in the family.

Rev 1:5. And having washed us from our sins in his blood.

This picture is going back to the sacrificial system in the tabernacle in the Old Testament, where the lamb representing Jesus Christ is slain for the sinner who brings the sacrifice. The sins of the sinner were then transferred to the blood of the lamb and afterwards to the horns of the alter of burnt offering as an atonement for the sinner.

Rev 1:6. And made us priests in God´s kingdom, and his Father, to him be the glory and power, to the ages of ages. Amen.

Peter says a similar statement in 1 Pet 2:4.5. but on the other hand, chosen by God, precious, also yourselves as living stones, you are being built into a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.

Again, in Rev 20:6. John writes: Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.

Are these texts referring to men and women being priests?

These texts are referring to all believers in Christ both men and women. “You are being built into a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer acceptable sacrifices to God.” This text refers to the present. And Rev 20:6 refers to the future when we shall reign with Christ for a thousand years as priests.

There is a controversy in the church over the ordination of women. Should they be ordained or not? The Bible does not go in for the Roman Catholic ordination of men and women. But the Bible states that all believers in Christ become priests when they become believers and enter the kingdom of God. This priesthood continues up in heaven during the thousand years.

What are the characteristics of being a priest?

Is it to take holy orders and administer the communion at the altar and forgive people of their sins? This is the Roman Catholic view of the priesthood.

The greatest example of being a priest comes from Jesus Christ our High Priest.

Hebrews 5:6. (Referring to Christ). You are a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.

Heb 7:22-24. By so much of a better covenant Jesus has become a surety. And on the one hand many are become priests on account of the death to be prevented to continue. But he, because he remains forever, has an unchangeable priesthood.

Heb 4:14. Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession.

What was Christ´s work as a priest her on earth?

Mark 1:13.14. Now after John was put in prison, Jesus came to Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.” (The priest´s responsibility is to preach the gospel not only to his congregation but to everyone in different towns and villages in Israel.)

Mark 1:34. Then he healed many who were sick with various diseases and cast out many demons; and he did not allow the demons to speak, because they knew him. (Another part of the priest´s work is helping people who are sick to be healed. How? Not with pills and medicine like the medical doctors give but by changing a person´s lifestyle e.g., Sunshine, exercise, rest, plant diet, water, belief in God, the right balance of temperance in all these things.)

Mark 6:7.10.12.13. And he called the twelve to himself, and began to send them out two by two, and gave them power over unclean spirits. And he said to them, “In whatever place you enter a house, stay there till you depart from that place. So, they went out and preached that people should repent. And they cast out many demons, and anointed with oil many who were sick, and healed them. (The main part of a priest´s work is to go from door to door, from house to house, preach of repentance from sin, and casting demons out and anointing people with oil who are sick and cannot be healed with the seven principles of health mentioned in Mark 1:34.)

Mark 12:29-31. Jesus answered him, “The first of all the commandments is `Hear O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. `And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. ´ This is the first commandment.” And the second, like it, is this: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” There is no other commandment greater than these. (The last work of the priest is to teach that the 10 commandments of God are still binding for all believers in God. Not for works or for earning salvation, but for moral a standard in God´s kingdom and for pointing out our sins, which leads us to Jesus Christ as our savior.)

Now all those crying out for women´s ordination, can they tell me who practices the Biblical requirements for being a priest or minister? Who amongst the men who are ordained practices the Biblical requirements for being a priest or minister? Who amongst God´s people who are priests, practices the Biblical requirements for being a priest in God´s eyes? Not many.

I think we should get our preferences and requirements right from the Bible before we anoint people to the gospel ministry.

Rev 1:7. Behold, he is coming with clouds, and every eye will see him, and those who have pierced him. And all the tribes of the earth will mourn over him. Yes. Amen!

This text is talking about the Second Coming of Christ. Similar texts about the Second Coming of Christ are found in:

Acts1:9-11. Now when he had spoken these things, while they watched, he was taken up, and a cloud received him out of their sight. And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold two men stood by them in white apparel, who also said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in like manner as you saw him go into heaven.”

Matthew 24:30. Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.

1 Thessalonians 4:16.17. For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus, we shall always be with the Lord.

Rev 1:7. Behold, he is coming with clouds, and every eye will see him, and those who have pierced him. And all the tribes of the earth will mourn over him. Yes. Amen!

The quote “every eye will see him, and those who have pierced him” annuls and deletes the teaching of the Secret Rapture promoted by the Charismatic Movement in many Churches. Why? Because they say only believers will see and experience the Second Coming of Christ. But this text proves they are wrong in their teaching.

Every eye will see him at the Second Coming, means every person on this planet who is alive, both believers and non-believers. And when the text says, “the tribes of the earth will mourn over him,” this means the people of the earth who are not expecting his coming and now see it but it is too late to make a decision. They will not be resurrected with the believers to heaven. They have missed out in being saved to the heavenly kingdom. They have been deluded by Satan to not believe in God and the Bible: the word from God. They will mourn of the coming judgement to be pronounced upon them through the Holy Spirit. John 16:7.8. Nevertheless, I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you. And when he has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment. The Helper Christ is talking about is the Holy Spirit. John 14:26.

Rev 1:7.” And those who have pierced him.” This statement is talking about a special resurrection for those who were responsible for piercing Christ and putting him to death, at the Second Coming of Christ.

Who was responsible for piercing Christ and putting him to death?

Matthew 26:47.48. And while he was still speaking, behold, Judas, one of the twelve, with a great multitude with swords and clubs, came from the chief priests and elders of the people. Now his betrayer had given them a sign, saying, “Whomever I kiss, he is the one, seize him.”

Luke 22:63-66. Now the men who held Jesus mocked him and beat him. And having blindfolded him, they struck him on the face and asked him saying, “Prophesy! Who is the one who struck you?” And many other things they blasphemously spoke against him.

Matthew 27:1.2. When morning came, all the chief priests and elders of the people plotted against Jesus to put him to death. And when they had bound him, they led him away and delivered him to Pontius Pilate the governor.

Luke 23:11. Then Herod, with his men of war, treated him with contempt and mocked him, arrayed him in a gorgeous robe, and sent him back to Pilate.

Matthew 27:6. (Referring to Pontius Pilate.) Then he released Barabbas to them; and when he had scourged Jesus, he delivered him to be crucified.

Matthew 27:27-31. Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the Praetorium and gathered, the whole garrison around him. They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him. When they had twisted a crown of thorns, they put it on his head, and a read in his right hand. And they bowed the knee before him and mocked him, saying, “Hail, king of the Jews!” Then they spat on him, and took the reed and struck him on the head. And when they had mocked him, they took the robe off him, put his own clothes on him, and led him away to be crucified.

John 19:34. But one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and immediately blood and water came out.

All these men were involved in the crucifixion, death and the piercing of Jesus Christ. They will have a special resurrection, so as to see Christ Coming in the heavens, just before the great resurrection of all believers who had died since the time of Adam. And these men will mourn over what they had done to Christ.

Rev 1:8. “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God. The one being and the one who was and the one coming, the Almighty.

“I am,” refers to Jesus Christ. John 6:20. Alpha and Omega are the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet. “The one being and the one who was and the one coming,” refers to Christ in this verse.

In Rev 1:4, the same quotation refers to the Heavenly Father. So Christ and the Father share the same attributes because they are part of the triune Godhead.

In Rev 22:13. “Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last,” refers to Christ.

There are those who say that here is evidence that Christ was created and has a beginning. The same quotation refers to the Heavenly Father and therefore would infer that he has a beginning also. But this is not the case because we cannot just take one text from the Bible and say the verse means this and that. We have to compare the text with the whole of the Bible to get the real meaning of the text.

For example, in Salm 90:1.2. (Referring to the heavenly Father) Lord, you have been our dwelling place in all generations. Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever you had formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting you are God. (God is eternal in this text).

Micah 5:2. (Referring to Christ). But you, Bethlehem, Ephrathah, though you are little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of you shall come forth to me the one to be ruler in Israel, whose goings forth are from of old, from everlasting. (Christ is eternal in this text).

Rev 1:9. I John your brother and partner in the tribulation and kingdom and endurance in Christ Jesus, came to be on the island of Patmos on account of the word of God and of the testimony of Jesus Christ.

What does the testimony of Jesus Christ mean?

Rev 1:2. (John) who bore witness to the word of God, and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, to all things that he saw.

Rev 6:9. When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the testimony which they held. (This would refer to all believers since the time of Adam who were slain for the word of God).

Rev 11:7. (This text refers to the two witnesses which represent the Old Testament and the New Testament Bible, and the Christians believing in them). When they finished their testimony, the beast that ascends out of the bottomless pit will make war against them, overcome them, and kill them.

Rev 12:11. And they overcame him (Satan. Rev 12:9.10) by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death.

Rev 12:17. And the dragon was enraged with the woman, and he went to make war with the rest of her offspring, who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.   Rev 14:12. Who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus.

Rev 19:10. (An angel speaking to John). I am your fellow servant, and of your brethren who have the testimony of Jesus. Worship God: For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.

The citation “the testimony of Jesus Christ” includes the whole of the Bible: The Old Testament and the New Testament and everything that is written about Jesus Christ. However, the citation “the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy” is more explicit.

What does the spirit of prophecy mean from the New Testament Bible?

Matthew 13:14. And in them the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled, which says: “Hearing you will hear and shall not understand, and seeing you will see and not perceive.”

Romans 12:6. (Spiritual gifts in the church). Having then gifts differing according that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophecy in proportion to our faith.”

1 Corinthians 12:7.10.11. (Spiritual gifts in the church). But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all: – – – to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy. But one and the same Spirit works all things, distributing to each one individually as he wills.

1 Timothy 1:18. This charge I commit to you, son Timothy, according to the prophesies previously made concerning you, that by them you may wage the good warfare.

1 Timothy 4:14. (Paul to Timothy). Do not neglect the gift that is in you, which was given to you by prophecy with the laying of hands of the eldership.

2 Peter 1:20. Knowing this first, that no prophecy of scripture is of any private interpretation.

2 Peter 1:21. For prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.

Conclusion

Testimony of Jesus Christ is related to the life and works of Jesus Christ; the word of God from the Bible; the Old and New Testament Bible; overcoming Satan; the Ten Commandments of God; the faith of Jesus Christ; the Spirit of Prophecy; gift from the Holy Spirit; moved by the Holy Spirit.

Rev 1:10. I came to be in the Spirit in belonging to the Lord´s day, and I heard behind me a great trumpet.

This text has created a major problem with many of our theologians. They cannot find out if the Lord´s day means the sabbath which is Saturday, or does the citation mean the Second Coming of the Lord before the day of judgment.

For example, in Revelation 1:10 Stefanovic´s gives his explanation of “the Lord´s day.”

Stefanovic gives a series of explanations of the expression ”the Lord´s day” from a series of scholars and commentators. He says” most commentators, a few scholars, some authors, another view, a number of scholars, etc.” He concludes his explanation of the ”Lord´s day” by saying the eschatological character of the book as a whole is also in favor of the eschatological day of the Lord. It is not reasonable to see a double meaning in John´s enigmatic phrase. Hence, “the Lord´s” day has a double meaning: the Sabbath and the eschatological day of the Lord.[2]

Having given various meanings to the expression ”the Lord´s day”, my question is  where is the exegesis of the text? Quoting different authors and their different interpretations is not exegesis. This is what Stefanovic is doing, it is not exegesis but eisegesis. That is, he is imposing his own interpretation into the text without doing the real groundwork of exegetical studies. In so doing, one whitewashes the doctrines of our church with the use of theologians and commentaries. This is one of the greatest dangers entering the church of our time. When a theologian says the Sabbath has a double meaning in this text, where does one draw the line of double meanings to explain any text away?

For example if Stefanovic did a word study from the whole of the Bible: Old and New Testament, about the expression ”day of the Lord” he will find out that from 29 texts in the Bible, 28 of them refer to a negative judgment message immediately after each expression. Whereas the expression “Lord´s day” is only mentioned once in the New Testament (Rev 1:10) and is only followed by Christ´s ministry in the first apartment of the heavenly sanctuary. This in turn is followed by the message to the seven churches. The eschatological message of Revelation comes later and not immediately after as in the other cases. Therefore, the expression “the Lord´s day” does not refer to the judgment day of the Lord, but to the Sabbath as we always have understood it.

In Mark 2:28 it says that Christ is Lord of the sabbath. “Therefore, the Son of Man is also Lord of the Sabbath.”

Rev 1:11. Saying, “That which you see, write in a book and send to the seven churches: to Ephesus and to Smyrna and to Pergamos and to Thyatira and to Sardis and to Philadelphia and to Laodicea.

These churches existed in Paul´s day in Asia which is western Turkey today. When we look at a church today through our western eyes, we think of a building with a spire on top and there may be room for 100 to 500 members. This is not the case in the first 250 years after Christ. In the New Testament there was not a church in every city or town. The members assembled in the homes. They had only home churches and no large buildings like we have today.

  1. In Corinth Paul writes to the church in 1 Corinthians 16:19. The churches of Asia greet you. Aquila and Priscilla greet you heartily in the Lord, with the church that is in their house.

Romans 16:5. Likewise greet the church that is in their house. Greet my beloved Epaenetus, who is the firstfruits of Achaia to Christ.

Colossians 4:15. Greet the brethren who are in Laodicea, and Nymphas and the church that is in his house.

The churches in Corinth, Rome and Colossae consisted of many house churches spread all over in these cities. The earliest building used for a house church was first discovered by archeologists at Dura Europos on the Euphrates river. It was used during the time of 231 A.D.[3] After this period the church started to build basilicas and other large church buildings. But large buildings used for the local church during the first 231 years after Christ never existed. They were all house churches.

Rev 1:12. And there I turned to see the voice which was speaking with me. And having turned, I saw seven golden lampstands.

We must remember that when John was in the Spirit, he was having a vision from the Lord. Therefore, he was a prophet of the Lord.

John saw seven golden lampstands. Where does the Bible write about seven golden lampstands? Exodus 37:17-24. The lampstand was made for the tabernacle. Hebrews 9:2. The lampstand was placed to the left in the first apartment called the Holy Place.

Rev 1:13. And in the midst of the seven lampstands, someone like the Son of Man, having been clothed in a robe reaching to his feet and having been girded across the breast with a golden band.

These seven lampstands were separate unlike the lampstand in the earthly temple, which was joined together. These lampstands are a symbol of the seven churches in Revelation 1:20. They are named Rev 1:11 and Rev 2:3.

When lampstands are related to churches, it means that the members of these churches should be a light to the world. Matthew 5:14. When Christ is in the midst of these lampstands representing churches, it means he is present and close by to these churches despite the problems they are experiencing. Matthew 28:20.[4]

With Christ our High Priest walking among the seven lampstands, this action tells us that Christ is situated in the first apartment of the temple called the Holy place and not the Most Holy Place.

Furthermore, the golden belt/band/sash across Christ´s breast is significant because this was the sash made for the priests officiating in the earthly tabernacle. Ex 28:4.40. Lev 8:13.

Rev 1:14.15.  His head and hair were white like wool white, like snow, and his eyes like a flame of fire. And his feet were like fine brass as if in a furnace having been heated thoroughly, and his voice was like the sound of many waters.

Where do find a similar description of a person of the Godhead?

Daniel 7:9. (This refers to God the Father and what Daniel saw in vision). I watched till thrones were put in place, and the Ancient of days was seated; His garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head was like pure wool.

Daniel 7:13. The Son of Man came to the Ancient of Days. (Christ the Son of Man came to the

Heavenly Father. This is what Daniel saw in vision).

Revelation 19:12. His eyes were like a flame of fire. (This text refers to the Second Coming of Christ. This is what John saw in a vision).

Revelation 2:18. These things says the Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire, and his feet like fine brass. (This text refers to Christ our High Priest in the first apartment of the heavenly sanctuary. This is what John saw in a vision).

Daniel 10:6. His body was like beryl, his face like the appearance of lightening, his eyes like torches of fire, his arms and feet like burnished bronze in color, and the sound of his words like the voice of a multitude. (This is what Daniel saw in vision).

Conclusion 

This is what Daniel and John saw in vision. Both scenes have a description of the Godhead: God the Father and God the Son. They share the same attributes of a personal image.

What do many waters mean in the book of Revelation?

Rev 1:15. His voice as the sound of many waters. (Refers to the voice of Christ in heaven).

Rev 14:2. And I heard a voice from heaven, like the voice of many waters, and like the voice of loud thunder. And I heard the sound of harpists playing their harps. (Refers to the 144,000 voices in heaven singing a new song verse 3).

Rev 17:1. Come I will show the judgment of the great harlot who sits on many waters.

Rev 17:15. The waters which you saw, where the harlot sits, are peoples, multitudes, nations and tongues. (These people are related to one voice of praise and worship to the fallen church worldwide, which is opposite to the voices of the 144,000 who keep the Ten Commandments of God and the faith of Jesus Christ Rev 14:12).

Rev 19:6. And I heard, as it were, the voice of a great multitude, as the sound of many waters and as the sound of mighty thunder, saying, Alleluia! For the Lord God Omnipotent reigns.

Conclusion                                                                                                            

Many waters are related to the voice of Christ up in heaven and the 144,000 up in heaven. Many waters are also related to the 144,000 singing a new song and the voice of the great multitude praising God in heaven. They also keep the Ten Commandments of God and the true faith of Jesus Christ. These commandments include the Sabbath day which is on a Saturday.

As regards to the harlot sitting on many waters, this represents the worldwide fallen church singing and praising God through false worship and teachings they have received from the scarlet beast. These teachings represent the wine of her fornication in Rev 17:2.3. These teachings are opposite to the Ten Commandments of God and the true faith in Jesus Christ. i.e. the sabbath day which is on a Sunday.

Rev 1:16. And having in his right hand seven stars, and out of his mouth proceeding a sharp double edged sword and his face was as the sun shines in its strength.

Again, this is what John saw in vision. The seven stars are a symbol of the angels who look after the seven churches. This is just like the angels who look after individuals who believe in God. Psalm 34:7. 91:11. The sharp sword is a symbol of the Word of God. Ephesians 6:17. The sun is a symbol of Christ´s righteousness. Malachi 4:2.

Rev 1:17.18. And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as if dead. And he put his right hand on me, saying, “Do not fear; I am the first and the Last and the One living, and I became dead, and behold I am living for evermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Death and Hades.”

“I fell at his feet as if dead” is an experience of a true prophet of God whilst in vision. Daniel also experienced a similar event whilst in vision.

Dan 1:8.9. Therefore, I was left alone when I saw this great vision, and no strength remained in me; for my vigor was turned to frailty in me, and I retained no strength. Yet I heard a sound of his words; and while I heard the sound of his words I was in a deep sleep on my face, with my face to the ground.

“I am the first and the Last and the One living, and I became dead, and behold I am living for evermore.” This is Christ reiterating the attributes of his character and life experiences whilst on earth. Rev 1:11. And also one with the Father in Rev 1:4.8.

“And I have the keys of death and hades.” Which death does this refer to in the book of Revelation?

Rev 2:11. He who overcomes shall not be hurt of the second death.

Rev 2:23. I will kill her children with death. (Christ to the church in Thyatira).

Rev 6:8. So I looked and behold, a pale horse. And the name of him who sat on it was Death, and Hades followed with him. And power was given to them over a fourth of the earth, to kill with sword, with hunger, with death, and by the beasts of the earth. (Christ has the keys of death and rides the pale horse in this text, during the Middle Ages).

Rev 20:13. The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them.

Rev 20:14. Then Death and Hades were cast into a lake of fire.

Conclusion

Christ has the keys of death, both the first and the second death. It is he who decides who shall live and who shall die.

The Biblical understanding of the word Hades (Greek αίδου).

It is the unseen world of the dead, but not a place of eternal punishment. With the exception of the parable of the Rich Man Lazarus in Luk 16:19-31. To make a doctrine about hell with eternal torment from the Bible, one has to have more than 5 to 6 texts. The Bible does not have 5 to 6 texts to support the doctrine of hell.

Luk 16:19-31 is only one text and is a parable to teach the use made of the opportunities of the present life determines our future destiny.

Rev 1:20. The mystery of the seven stars which you saw on my right hand, and the seven golden lampstands: The seven stars are angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands which you saw are the seven churches.

The seven stars are angels of the seven churches.

Sometimes angels or ανγέλος in the Greek singular and αγγελοι in the plural, refers to both angels and human beings in the New Testament. John never uses the word ανγέλος to be related to human beings from the 75 instances in the book of Revelation. It means angels in this text.

Referring to Rev 1:1, the message of the book of Revelation came from God the father, then Jesus Christ, then through an angel and finally to John. This procedure reveals that the angels have a role in bringing the message to the believers in the seven churches.

“The seven stars are angels.” In prophecy stars are symbolic of angels.

Rev 12:3.4. And another sign appeared in heaven: behold, a great, fiery red dragon having seven heads and ten horns, and seven diadems on his heads. His tail drew a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth. (Who represents the fiery red dragon? Rev 12:9. The Devil or Satan. Who represents one third of the stars in heaven? One third of the angels with Satan in heaven were cast down to the earth).

 

Endnotes

[1] Ellen G. White, The Acts of the Apostles (Mountain View, California: Pacific Press Pub., Assoc., 1911), 585.

[2] Ranko Stefanovic, Revelation of Jesus Christ (Berrien Springs, Michigan: Andrews University Press, 2009),94-96.

[3] En.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dura-Europos church

[4] Ellen G. White, Review & Herald (May 26, 1903).

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