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A Bible Study:

The Revelation to John

May 30, 2006

A Study of the Revelation to John

A Study of the Revelation to John

By Bernie Parsons - May 30, 2006

A Study of Revelation Chapter 1:11-20



Revelation 1: 8: I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.

9: I John, who also am your brother, and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was in the isle that is called Patmos, for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ.

10: I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet,

11: Saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: and, What thou seest, write in a book, and send it unto the seven churches which are in Asia; unto Ephesus, and unto Smyrna, and unto Pergamos, and unto Thyatira, and unto Sardis, and unto Philadelphia, and unto Laodicea.


I backed up to verse 8 in order to include the statements regarding “Alpha and Omega”. I want to jump forward and pick up verses 17 and 18, as well.


Revelation 1:17: “And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last:

18: I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.”


Alpha and Omega are the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet, and would correspond in meaning to saying, “I am A and Z”, in our alphabet. The meaning is that He is the first, and the last; the beginning, and the end. While this may sound enigmatic, think about the statement for a bit.


God was the beginning of our world, and will be the end of it. He created us, and will destroy us. Only those who humble themselves, and are obedient to God, will live for evermore. Jesus is one with God. They are one in purpose, and Jesus did everything just as God directed Him to do it. Jesus was with God in the beginning, and will be there at the end. Jesus was given all power, except for power over God Himself, until all these things should be finished, and then He was to turn the power back to God, His Father.


John 1:1: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

2: The same was in the beginning with God.

3: All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.

4: In him was life; and the life was the light of men.”


Hebrews 1:8: “But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom.

9: Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.

10: And, Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of thine hands:”


Ephesians 3:9: “And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ:

10: To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God,

11: According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord:”


Colossians 1:13: “Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son:

14: In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:

15: Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature:

16: For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:

17: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.

18: And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.

19: For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell;”


1 Corinthians 15:23: “But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's at his coming.

24: Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power.

25: For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet.

26: The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.

27: For he hath put all things under his feet. But when he saith all things are put under him, it is manifest that he is excepted, which did put all things under him.

28: And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all.”


Jesus is also first and last, in that He is the author and finisher of our faith (that is, the beginning and the end of it).


Hebrews 12:2: “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”



Revelation 1:12: And I turned to see the voice that spake with me. And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks;

13: And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle.

14: His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire;

15: And his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters.

16: And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp twoedged sword: and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength.


To get the answer to the seven golden candlesticks, and the seven stars, we look ahead to verse 20.


20: “The mystery of the seven stars which thou sawest in my right hand, and the seven golden candlesticks. The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches: and the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches.”


The candlesticks are the seven churches. Gold, then the most expensive metal, denotes the highest value. The seven stars are the seven angels, or messengers, of the churches. Many speculate as to whether these were heavenly beings in charge of the churches, elders in charge of the churches, or some other person responsible for the reading of the message to the churches. It does not say. The Greek word angelos means messenger.


I want to concentrate now on the description of the one like the Son of man. The voice apparently came from this individual. Compare to:


Ezekiel 1:26: “And above the firmament that was over their heads was the likeness of a throne, as the appearance of a sapphire stone: and upon the likeness of the throne was the likeness as the appearance of a man above upon it.

27: And I saw as the colour of amber, as the appearance of fire round about within it, from the appearance of his loins even upward, and from the appearance of his loins even downward, I saw as it were the appearance of fire, and it had brightness round about.

28: As the appearance of the bow that is in the cloud in the day of rain, so was the appearance of the brightness round about.  This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD.  And when I saw it, I fell upon my face, and I heard a voice of one that spake.”


Daniel 7:9: “I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool: his throne was like the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire.

10: A fiery stream issued and came forth from before him: thousand thousands ministered unto him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him: the judgment was set, and the books were opened.

11: I beheld then because of the voice of the great words which the horn spake: I beheld even till the beast was slain, and his body destroyed, and given to the burning flame.

12: As concerning the rest of the beasts, they had their dominion taken away: yet their lives were prolonged for a season and time.

13: I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him.

14: And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.”


The combined imagery is that of God, and of the one to whom the eternal kingdom was given, or Jesus. It is given here to describe the Alpha and Omega, which seems to denote Jesus. However, as we saw previously, Jesus is one in purpose with God.


White hair denotes both purity, and age—representing wisdom. The golden girdle represents precious value. A girdle was worn by Aaron and his sons as priests before God, and was used by soldiers to bind their swords to their bodies. Jesus is both high priest and commander of God’s forces.


The eyes as a flame of fire represent the fiery judgment of God upon the disobedient. God sees the wickedness of man, and passes sentence by fiery retribution. The feet of polished fine brass tell us that His feet were hard, and shone like fire, and would trample the enemies of God in the pouring out of the fiery wrath of God.


His voice had the sound of many waters, or was loud and terrible.


Ezekiel 43:2: “And, behold, the glory of the God of Israel came from the way of the east: and his voice was like a noise of many waters: and the earth shined with his glory.

3: And it was according to the appearance of the vision which I saw, even according to the vision that I saw when I came to destroy the city: and the visions were like the vision that I saw by the river Chebar; and I fell upon my face.”


Psalms 68:33: “To him that rideth upon the heavens of heavens, which were of old; lo, he doth send out his voice, and that a mighty voice.

34: Ascribe ye strength unto God: his excellency is over Israel, and his strength is in the clouds.

35: O God, thou art terrible out of thy holy places: the God of Israel is he that giveth strength and power unto his people.  Blessed be God.”


Jeremiah 10:10: “But the LORD is the true God, he is the living God, and an everlasting king: at his wrath the earth shall tremble, and the nations shall not be able to abide his indignation.

11: Thus shall ye say unto them, The gods that have not made the heavens and the earth, even they shall perish from the earth, and from under these heavens.

12: He hath made the earth by his power, he hath established the world by his wisdom, and hath stretched out the heavens by his discretion.

13: When he uttereth his voice, there is a multitude of waters in the heavens, and he causeth the vapours to ascend from the ends of the earth; he maketh lightnings with rain, and bringeth forth the wind out of his treasures.

14: Every man is brutish in his knowledge: every founder is confounded by the graven image: for his molten image is falsehood, and there is no breath in them.

15: They are vanity, and the work of errors: in the time of their visitation they shall perish.”


Jeremiah 25:29: “For, lo, I begin to bring evil on the city which is called by my name, and should ye be utterly unpunished?  Ye shall not be unpunished: for I will call for a sword upon all the inhabitants of the earth, saith the LORD of hosts.

30: Therefore prophesy thou against them all these words, and say unto them, The LORD shall roar from on high, and utter his voice from his holy habitation; he shall mightily roar upon his habitation; he shall give a shout, as they that tread the grapes, against all the inhabitants of the earth.

31: A noise shall come even to the ends of the earth; for the LORD hath a controversy with the nations, he will plead with all flesh; he will give them that are wicked to the sword, saith the LORD.

32: Thus saith the LORD of hosts, Behold, evil shall go forth from nation to nation, and a great whirlwind shall be raised up from the coasts of the earth.

33: And the slain of the LORD shall be at that day from one end of the earth even unto the other end of the earth: they shall not be lamented, neither gathered, nor buried; they shall be dung upon the ground.”


Joel 2:10: “The earth shall quake before them; the heavens shall tremble: the sun and the moon shall be dark, and the stars shall withdraw their shining:

11: And the LORD shall utter his voice before his army: for his camp is very great: for he is strong that executeth his word: for the day of the LORD is great and very terrible; and who can abide it?”


Joel 3:16: “The LORD also shall roar out of Zion, and utter his voice from Jerusalem; and the heavens and the earth shall shake: but the LORD will be the hope of his people, and the strength of the children of Israel.”


Notice how all the imagery is interwoven? The day of the Lord (the Lord’s day) is a time of great wrath, in which God will call down armies upon the disobedient.  He will bring a sword upon a disobedient Israel, as well as the peoples of the world who worship false Gods. His voice will call forth the armies of the world to bring down vengeance upon the Jews who had rejected Him.


Notice the relationship between the language and imagery of Revelation with that of the OT prophets? What is being revealed to John is that which was prophesied of old.


Looking at the figure again, we see in verse 16 that He holds the seven stars (messengers of the churches) in His right hand. This proves that their future and well-being are in His hand. He can do with them as He wills. He can protect them from their enemies, or He can punish them for their wickedness. They are His messengers to the churches. Jesus stands in the midst of the churches.


Matthew 18:20: “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.”


Jesus is the Word of God. Out of His mouth comes a two-edged sword. We know that the Word of God is like a two-edged sword, a deadly weapon that cuts coming and going, and is wielded by one with great strength and power. The Word of God saves the righteous and destroys the disobedient.


Matthew 10:34: “Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.”


Ephesians 6:17: “And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:”


Hebrews 4:12: “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”


Revelation 2:16: “Repent; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth.”


Revelation 19:11: “And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war.

12: His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself.

13: And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God.

14: And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean.

15: And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.

16: And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.”


The sword that protrudes from the mouth of the Lord is the word of God. God judges, and His judgment is righteous, true, and just. God pronounces sentence, and the sentence is sure and the punishment swift. Jerusalem has been judged and is found wanting, so her destruction is sure and soon.



Revelation 1:17: And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last:

18: I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.


Similar to the weakness that Daniel felt when spoken to by the angel, so John fell as dead at the Lord’s feet. And as Daniel was told not to fear, so was John. The speaker proclaimed that He had died, but is alive for evermore. He said that He had the keys to hell (Hades) and death.


Recall that Jesus triumphed over Hades (hell) and the grave. He first predicted it, and then achieved it.


Matthew 16:18: “And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”


Acts 2:22: “Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know:

23: Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain:

24: Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it.

25: For David speaketh concerning him, I foresaw the Lord always before my face, for he is on my right hand, that I should not be moved:

26: Therefore did my heart rejoice, and my tongue was glad; moreover also my flesh shall rest in hope:

27: Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.”


Romans 6:8: “Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him:

9: Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him.

10: For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God.”


1 Corinthians 15:53: “For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.

54: So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.

55: O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?

56: The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.

57: But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”


2 Timothy 1:9: “Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began,

10: But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel:”


Hebrews 2:14: “Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil;

15: And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.”


1 Peter 3:18: “For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit:

19: By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison;

20: Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water.

21: The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ:

22: Who is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God; angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto him.”


Death means separation, or cutting off. Jesus proved that departure of the spirit from the body does not cut us off from God. We can live eternally, if we trust God, and believe in our risen Savior. Since Jesus holds the keys to death and Hades (hell), He was able to come out, and is able to release others who are held there. He proves by His resurrection that all believers can be resurrected, and thereby do not actually die—that is, are not actually cut off or separated from God.



Revelation 1:19: Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter;

20: The mystery of the seven stars which thou sawest in my right hand, and the seven golden candlesticks. The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches: and the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches.


John is told to write what he has already seen, what is now taking place, and what is to come. We have already discussed the explanation of the stars and candlesticks.


Before we begin chapter 2, I would like to point out the obvious. There is nothing said here about “seven church ages”, as many would have you believe. If I were to hand you the Bible, and ask you to read the book of Revelation, would you read it, and come up with an idea that there are seven church ages? This is a man-made doctrine, and has no root in the scriptures. It was apparently started by William Branham, of Burkesville, Kentucky, in 1946. We can lend no credence to this man-made doctrine, and if you knew the claims of this self-styled prophet, you would be shocked at his outrageous claims and presumptuousness. He claims to be the Elijah who is to come before the “Second Coming of Christ”. John the Baptist has already fulfilled this role.


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