John’s vision of the Son of Man

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John’s vision of the Son of Man       

Revelation 1: 10-11 I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day, and I heard behind me a loud voice, as of a trumpet, saying, “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last,” and “What you see, write in a book and send it to the seven churches which are in Asia…”

Extra Reading: Revelation 1:8-20.

We read about the Risen Christ commissioning John to write Revelation. Such a commissioning vision is not unique to John; it is the normal vehicle by which God commissioned the Old Testament prophets, and then Paul, who received his call while travelling on Damascus Road (cf. Acts 9:1-9). The writer shares with us some insights about the names of Christ in verse 8. “I am the Alpha and Omega.” “Alpha” is the first word of the Greek alphabet, and “Omega” is the last word. God is saying here that He is both the beginning and the end, that He lasts from beginning to end. God is the beginning of everything. But God Himself has no beginning and no end; He always was, and always will be (verse 4). In verse 9 we learn that John was a companion in the suffering that is part of the Christian’s life in Jesus. He was also a fellow inheritor of the kingdom of Jesus (Romans 8:17). All those who belong to the kingdom of Jesus will face tribulation in this world (John 16:33; Acts 14:22). Because John was a faithful witness of Christ, he had been imprisoned on the island of Patmos. Patmos was a small island, located in the Mediterranean Sea south of present-day Turkey. During the time of the Roman Empire, the Romans used to send criminals and other prisoners to Patmos. The island served as a jail, from which no one could escape.

We learn from verses 10 and 11 that John received this revelation on the Lord’s Day-that is, Sunday. When John received the revelation, he was in the Spirit (verse 10); that is, he was in a state of special spiritual awareness, which made it possible for him to receive such a revelation (see Acts 10:10; 22:17; 2 Corinthians 12:1-4). Verses 12-15 tells us about the seven golden lampstands (verse 12) that they represent the seven churches, to which this book of Revelation was sent (see verse 20). The one like the Son of Man (verse 13) was Jesus Christ Himself (Daniel 7:13). The Old Testament prophet Daniel had seen a similar vision of the glorified Christ (Daniel 7:9; 10:5-6). In the vision (verse 16) Christ was holding seven stars in His right hand; these stars represent the spirits of the seven churches (verse 20). From His mouth came a sharp double-edged sword which represents His Word (Ephesians 6:17), especially His word of judgment (see Hebrew 4:12; Revelation 2:16; 19:15, 21). It is also revealed here that Christ’s face was like the sun. John had once before seen the glorified Christ; at that time also Christ’s face had shone like the sun (Matthew 17:2).  When John saw this vision of Christ (verses 17-18), he fell at Christ’s feet. Then Christ said to him, “Do not be afraid” (see Daniel 10:10-12; Matthew 17:6-7). Christ then said that He was the First and the Last (the Alpha and The Omega), which is the name that God gave to Himself in verse 8 (Isaiah 44:6). Christ said that he held the keys of death and Hades, that is, He had complete authority over death. Then Christ commanded John to write down everything he had seen and was about to see.

Prayer: Jesus, our Lord, help us to worship You as the Alpha and Omega. We pray, Amen!

Rev. Samuel N. Modise   

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