“YOU WILL HAVE TROUBLE”
Revelation is a book about the future.
Many of us have fearful questions about the future.
- Will I have enough money to pay the bills?
- Will I lose my job?
- Will I have enough money for retirement?
- Will my children/grandchildren be healthy and happy?
- How long will I live?
- How am I going to die?
- Will I get cancer?
I, John, your brother and partner in the tribulation and the kingdom and the patient endurance that are in Jesus, was on the island called Patmos on account of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus (v. 9).
John and the churches of Asia were experiencing “tribulation” (“partner”).
Jesus said to His disciples (including John), “In this world you will have tribulation” (John 16:33). Jesus didn’t promise us a trouble-free life.
Citizens of Christ’s kingdom will face tribulation and will need endurance.
We must endure the temporary troubles of life. One day, we will enjoy the eternal pleasures of God.
IN THE MIDST OF THE LAMPSTANDS
Then I turned to see the voice that was speaking to me, and on turning I saw seven golden lampstands, and in the midst of the lampstands one like a son of man (vv. 12-13a).
The seven lampstands are the seven churches (v. 20b).
Who is the “one like a son of man”? Jesus. He often called Himself “the Son of Man.” It isn’t a title of humility. It comes from Daniel 7:13-14: “I saw in the night visions, and behold, with the clouds of heaven there came one like a son of man, and he came to the Ancient of Days and was presented before him. And to him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him; his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom one that shall not be destroyed.”
Why is a golden lampstand a good symbol for a church? Because a church is supposed to provide “light” (truth), and a church is valuable to Christ like gold is valuable to us.
John says he “turned” to see who was talking to Him. When we realize the significance of what he saw (Jesus standing in the midst of the seven lampstands), it can be a “turning point” in our lives.
Jesus is with us, so (1) be courageous and (2) be committed.
This is a vision for the church (it continues in chapters 2-3 as Jesus addresses each of the seven churches). In Christ’s letters to the churches, He praises them for their commitment and rebukes them for their lack of commitment.
In vv. 13b-16, John describes the One who is in our midst. This is a symbolic, not literal, description of Jesus. In this vision He looks very different from the humble man from Nazareth. He is presented in a way that shows He is equal with God the Father (cf. Daniel 7:9).
When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. But he laid his right hand on me, saying, “Fear not, I am the first and the last, and the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades (vv. 17-18).
The right hand of Jesus signifies (1) His blessing: "I love you"; and (2) His commission: "I have a job for you to do."
John’s job was to “write” (vv. 11, 19). Many commentators believe that v. 19 contains an outline of the book of Revelation: (1) “the things that you have seen (ch. 1), (2) “those that are” (chs. 2-3), and (3) “those that are to take place after this” (chs. 4-22). Others see v. 19 as simply saying that the things John’s sees concern both the present and the future.
Jesus is with us. So be courageous. The One who triumphed over death is on your side. And be committed. He has a job for you to do.