Read This Week: Revelation 1
“Look, he is coming with the clouds,” and “every eye will see him, even those who pierced him,” and all peoples on earth “will mourn because of him.” So shall it be! Amen. “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.” When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. Then he placed his right hand on me and said: “Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. I am the Living One; I was dead, and now look, I am alive forever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades.”
– Revelation 1:7-8 and 17-18 NIV
The ideas, visions, and dreams of what life will be like in the future have captured the imaginations of human beings from the beginning of time. Visionaries and pioneers have existed in every generation with the desire to explore and forge new paths toward the possibilities ahead. The rest gaze toward the horizon, stars, and boundaries of our world, wondering what life will be like in the future. What lies before us and what will become of us has and will always be in our minds and hearts. To be human is to aspire to know.
The book of Revelation is the ultimate look at the future. In the original language, Revelation is the word apokalupsis, which means “a revealing or unveiling.” So the book is uncovering what is to come and, more importantly, who is to come. Chapter 1, verse 8 illustrates this with Jesus’ declaration of being the Alpha and the Omega, who is, who was, and who is to come, the Almighty. This ties in perfectly with that profound passage in John 1, where Jesus is God and with God in the beginning. Now, in this study, we will see Him at the end. We will see Him revealed in all of His glory and what things will look like in the future for those who have placed saving faith in Christ and those who have and will reject Him. In fact, verse 7 tells us that every eye will see him. All will finally see Him for who He is, not who they think He is.
The Apostle John is the dreamer to whom Jesus shows our life in the future. He lives exiled on the Island of Patmos, and the Lord finds him worthy to receive this word and spiritual Revelation to the seven churches, and as John writes, anyone who reads aloud the words of this prophecy. From the start, we see Jesus, the most important truth about Revelation. But this book also shows us eschatological imagery that challenges the imagination. It shows us the Antichrist, God’s judgment, adversity and chaos on the earth, and final things. Most of all, it shows who Jesus Christ is to us. He is our king, our savior, our reclaimer, our deliverer, and our future. The best thing about our life in the future is Jesus and an eternal relationship with Him.
While the prevailing thought in chapter one is the exalted and glorified Christ among his church and his constant care for them, one can’t help but be captured by the language describing the majesty of Jesus. Take this moment to read these lines from verses 13-16, then close your eyes, worship God, and let your heart be filled with joy for your life in the future with such a grand, magnificent Savior:
I turned around to see the voice that was speaking to me. And when I turned, I saw seven golden lampstands, and among the lampstands was someone like a son of man, dressed in a robe reaching down to his feet and with a golden sash around his chest. The hair on his head was white like wool, as white as snow, and his eyes were like blazing fire. His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of rushing waters. In his right hand, he held seven stars, and coming out of his mouth was a sharp, double-edged sword. His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance.