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Lowell Brueckner

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Revelation 1:8-11


8. “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.”
9. 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.
10. I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet
11. saying, “Write what you see in a book and send it to the seven churches, to Ephesus and to Smyrna and to Pergamum and to Thyatira and to Sardis and to Philadelphia and to Laodicea.”

The main purpose of Scripture

The Scriptures are about who God is; they are a revelation of His person. It is not primarily about the human race, and He is the one that His true people want to know. They have known Him personally from the beginning of their Christian experience, but they are continually looking into His word with hungry hearts, seeking to learn a little more of His personality.

In verse 8, God has given us something, upon which we can meditate. There are so many things, which can be used to describe Him and yet, we still must recognize the limitations of human language and everything known to man, to fully unveil His infinite essence and nature. The Greek alphabet becomes the tool in this text. Not only words, but letters, will help to open our understanding, and the Lord God uses the first and last Greek letters, Alpha and Omega. God is in every minute detail of written truth.   

He is the beginning and the end, that is for certain, but He existed endlessly before there was anything else. He is the Creator of time, and fills its past, present and future. He willed to give a beginning to everything, about which we know. The basis of all spiritual knowledge is knowing God as the Creator of all things. He created for His pleasure, and all of creation must answer to Him, concerning the purpose, for which they were created. Colors and sounds must display themselves to their fullest dimension. Animals and birds exist before His eyes and ears, and all their characteristics are for his delight and glory. Flowers and spices give off their aroma, only to please Him.

The human race is a creation; that is the root of the doctrine of man. He is the highest form of creation, made in the likeness and image of God. At this point, we are forced to contemplate the infinite tragedy of his fall and the fact that he became useless to God. Not only does he exist in vain, but he is a constant offense to his Maker, that is, if he has not been recreated.  

Having made the point, we turn our thoughts back to Him, who is the Alpha and Omega. In the first person, He reveals Himself in this way and in this place, to perfectly fit into the context of this inspired chapter and the entire book. In considering the Greek alphabet, we think of words and literature. Specifically, God is the Author and soon, He will command John to write. He is the beginning of all truth and expresses His truth through His word.

He is the Almighty. His might is beyond all the power that exists in heaven and earth. In this book, it signifies His ability to do all that He said He will do. The forces on display in the apocalypse are all under the authority of His mighty arm and nothing will happen without His consent.

Apostle John’s condition and situation

John humbly presents himself as His servant, and to his reader as a brother and partner, not a superior. The distance between the Almighty and the greatest of men dwarfs the distance between the high and lowly on earth.  He points to three elements that identify life in Jesus: tribulation, kingdom, and patient endurance.

Tribulation is characteristic of Christianity and Jesus promised His disciples tribulation: “In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world” (Jn.16:33). John remained after all the other eleven apostles laid down their lives in martyrdom. Soon Polycarp, John’s disciple and friend, would read these words and later die a martyr’s death along with many others. In these pages, John sees the greatest time of tribulation ever know, as spoken by Christ in Matthew, “There will be great tribulation, such as has never been from the beginning of the world until now, no, and never will be” (Mt.24:21), and over five hundred years earlier by the prophet, Daniel: “There shall be a time of trouble, such as never has been since there was a nation till that time” (Dn.12:1).  

In Jesus, we are part of a great Kingdom, a Kingdom above all kingdoms, which will one day blossom and rule the earth. It will topple the mightiest empires, which have dominated the world over the centuries. If we are in Jesus, we are part of that Kingdom. We do not have a president-elect or a prime minister, we have a King, who was appointed before the earth was created, to rule over heaven and earth forever. The Kingdom was founded by a suffering Monarch, who surveyed His Kingdom from a cross. In the time of John, it was a persecuted Kingdom, and so it remains in a great part of the earth. Even in the free western world, we feel the forces of opposition in the minds and hearts of society. Never mind, this is the only Kingdom, which will inherit the future world and reign throughout eternity.  

Along with the tribulation, Jesus stands triumphant in patient endurance… “I have overcome the world”. We have unchanging promises that will see His people through all that the devil and man can throw against them: “They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death” (12:11). John knew and wrote this already in his epistle: “This is the victory that has overcome the world… our faith” (1 Jn.5:4).

John was a partner, with those in tribulation. He was in exile on the Isle of Patmos, off the coast of ancient Asia Minor. Caesar Domitian could not allow him to circulate any longer in free society. This humble fisherman from the little province of Galilee was a threat to the mighty Roman Empire. There is an unseen authority residing in the smallest disciple, who stands in Jesus. He cannot be effectually imprisoned or detained. As John, he has no strength or qualifications in himself, but he testifies, through his life, the presence of Jesus Christ and he proclaims the word of God. Therein lies his power and the powers of this world will try, by any means, to silence and paralyze him (v.9). He is an enemy to the world’s system.

Here is the dilemma that confounds the world: John was in the Spirit. He was engulfed in the Holy Spirit! Natural man knows nothing about this, but there is a state into which a believer can arise, in which he is under divine control. Even those, who dapple in the spirit world through satanic rites and incantations, falling into trances and seeing visions, cannot arrive at this level. John is talking about something beyond thinking spiritual thoughts and praying. His natural faculties are taken over by the indwelling Spirit of God, who carries him into the supernatural realm (v.10).

He is there on the Lord’s Day. There was a time in my memory, when there was an emphasis on the Lord’s Day. The doctrine of the church, a generation ago, included and taught a reverence for the first day of the week. It is almost totally lost in these days of lightness and irreverence. The church fathers, from earliest times, taught that this day belonged to the Lord and His people came together, to honor the day of His victory over death and hell (Mk.16:1-9). They remembered that it was on this day that He customarily appeared to His disciples after His resurrection (Jn.20:19, 26). This was the day, when Pentecost (the Feast of Weeks) occurred, 50 days after the Resurrection, which took place on the Feast of First fruits (see Lv.23:10, 15-16, also Dt.16:9-11). There is a common misunderstanding concerning the teaching of Paul in Romans 14. He was not including this day, when he said, “One person esteems one day as better than another while another esteems all days alike” (Ro.14:5). He was speaking of the Jewish Christians who continued to keep the Jewish Sabbath and the annual feasts.

All Christians, Jew and Gentile, honored the first day of the week and met together on that day (Ac.20:7; 1 Co.16:2), the first day of the week. John, alone on Patmos, partnered with the churches in Asia Minor, as they met on the Lord’s Day. Now again, the resurrected Christ appears to John on Sunday and, John Wesley, at least, believed that all that followed in this book, happened on that day. 

Jamieson-Faussett-Brown comment: “Though forcibly detained from church communion with the brethren in the sanctuary on the Lord’s Day, the weekly commemoration of the resurrection, John was holding spiritual communion with them.” My commentators agree on this.Warren Wiersby writes: There were at least five resurrection appearances of our Lord on the first day of the week: To Mary Magdalene (Jn.20:11-18), the other women (Mt.28:9-10), Peter (1 Co.15:5; Lk.24:34), the two Emmaus disciples (Lk.24:13-32), and disciples minus Thomas (Jn.20:19-25). The next Sunday, the disciples met again and Thomas was with them (Jn.20:26-31).

The Spirit reveals Christ

In the first verses of this chapter, John presented Jesus Christ, as we saw Him in his Gospel, as well as in the other Gospels. Now, John is going to take us beyond the Gospels to view the glorified Christ in His heavenly state. Christians need to see Him here, in order to have a complete concept of the Bible revelation of the Lord. How often have we heard a sermon or read material with a stinging depiction of Christ from the book of Revelation?

Paul warned the Galatians concerning a perversion of the gospel of Christ. He warned them of angels and apostles, including himself, as possible tools of deception. To the Corinthians, he wrote of someone coming to them and preaching “another Jesus” (2 Co.11:4). Jesus said, “Many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ’, and will mislead many” (Mt.24:5). Demons may come in dreams, visions and other revelations, claiming to be Christ, therefore John counselled, “Test the spirits to see whether they are from God” (1 Jn.4:1).

It is entirely possible that with only a Gospel comprehension of Christ, an individual or Christendom, in general, could suffer. The most complete revelation of the biblical Christ is not reached, until we come to the last book. Our understanding of Him is inadequate, if we haven’t studied Him through the last verse of this last book. To ignore this revelation is to create an imbalance in our mind, as to the personality of the Lord. The canon did not end until John added this inspired, unerring depiction of the Lord Jesus Christ. The believer must judge by it, if he has come to the true Jesus, the one, who is truly revealed through the Bible.

Under the control of the Holy Spirit, John is in the position, in which he must be taught. The Spirit of God is the Spirit of Truth (Jn.14:17; 15:26; 16:13), and He is the believer’s Teacher. John could not have seen and heard these things, had he not been in the Spirit: “He will teach you all things” (Jn.14:26). “He will bear witness about me… He will not speak on his own authority… He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you” He will not speak of Himself” (15:26; 16:13, 14). The Spirit’s teaching will not be centered on Himself, but on Christ. He will glorify Christ, He will testify concerning Christ to the church, taking that which has to do with Him and showing it to the disciples. See how He does this for John and through John to the whole realm of believers of all ages.

In this way, John hears a voice like a trumpet and a trumpet is used to summon the people together and herald the entrance of a distinguished personality. It demands our complete attention, and never in all the world, could there ever be an entrance of a king, a president or a prime minister, with more of an air of dignity and authority as this One. To be able to witness this scene today, is to be considered a high privilege.  May God grant to us the full influence of the Holy Spirit upon our lives, our hearts and minds, as we observe!  

He commands, “Write what you see in a book!” (v.11) John is to literally send it to seven churches in Asia Minor, but remember the significance of the number seven, as signifying perfect fullness. We have already said that there were more churches in that territory, so it is not just sent as a message to be read in every place. These seven churches represent the complete church from every place and every period of history. Remember also verse 3, in which a blessing is pronounced upon the reader, the listener, and the obedient disciples, who preserve and do, what is written in this book.

To me, these words from the Lord are very exciting. When He says, “Write”, He is showing His interest and concern for future generations and for believers in distant places. Write so that they can also be partakers in heavenly blessing and eternal joy. Write so that they may know the events of the end times. Write because the Word of God is spirit and it is life. Write because it is undying and never loses its power. Write because it is sharp and penetrates to the depths of the inner man, discerns his thoughts and reaches his heart, now and throughout the future.


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