Bible Study Questions – Revelation 1 (Two 4 Ten, Part 1-12)
We strongly recommend taking the time to read Revelation chapter one at least once in its entirety before beginning this study.
1The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show to his servants the things that must soon take place. He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John, 2 who bore witness to the word of God and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, even to all that he saw. 3 Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear, and who keep what is written in it, for the time is near.
· The word translated revelation in verse one is used several times throughout the New Testament, and its meaning is significant. Using a concordance or Bible study software, look this word up and read some of the other New Testament passages in which it is used. What sense do you get? What other things has God "revealed" to his people that we can read about in Scripture?
· The word translated soon in verse one is noteworthy, especially considering that soon is often viewed as a relative term. What does this word mean? And what implications does it have for the events that will unfold during the eschaton, for the events that will soon take place?
· Not only does John refer to the Book of Revelation directly as the word of God (v.2), but he also attaches a blessing to the person who reads it aloud (shares it) as well as to the one who "keeps what is written in it" (v.3). As we journey through this book, be thinking about what it means to share the message of Revelation and what it means to keep it faithfully.
4 John to the seven churches that are in Asia: Grace to you and peace from him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven spirits who are before his throne, 5 and from Jesus Christ the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of kings on earth.
· There are several different ways in which Christians have historically interpreted the expression "and from the seven spirits who are before his throne" (v.4). In Two 4 Ten, Part 3, we advocated for an interpretation that considers John to likely be referencing Isaiah chapter 11, a prophetic passage about the seven-fold Spirit of God that would rest upon Messiah. What are some other ways that faithful Christians have interpreted this expression through the years and even today? What do they say it means?
To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood 6 and made us a kingdom, priests to his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. 7 Behold, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him, and all tribes of the earth will wail on account of him. Even so. Amen.
· As with much of the Book of Revelation, verse seven is rife with Old Testament imagery. What are some of the passages that John could be echoing in this verse? Is there anything in their context that is significant?
· What type of wailing are people doing in verse seven? Is it a good wailing or an ominous wailing?
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."
· In verse nine, John lists three things in which he partners with the churches. What are they? How are they related to one another?
· Where was John and what was he doing when he received this revelation from Jesus Christ? How did it begin? Was it a vision, or did Jesus actually appear to him in bodily form?
12 Then I turned to see the voice that was speaking to me, and on turning I saw seven golden lampstands, 13 and in the midst of the lampstands one like a son of man, clothed with a long robe and with a golden sash around his chest. 14 The hairs of his head were white, like white wool, like snow. His eyes were like a flame of fire, 15 his feet were like burnished bronze, refined in a furnace, and his voice was like the roar of many waters. 16 In his right hand he held seven stars, from his mouth came a sharp two-edged sword, and his face was like the sun shining in full strength.
· Take some time and create a list of all the features mentioned regarding Jesus' appearance (if you're artistic, draw him!). What type of image do you think is being presented to us? What word would you choose if you had to describe the risen Christ using only one word based on John's description?
17 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, 18 and the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades. 19 Write therefore the things that you have seen, those that are and those that are to take place after this. 20 As for the mystery of the seven stars that you saw in my right hand, and the seven golden lampstands, the seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches.
· What are the ramifications for Jesus' two statements: "I am the first and the last," and "I hold the keys of death and hades"? How do these two statements, particularly the way in which they convey Jesus' authority, affect your everyday life? Do they cause you to think differently about Jesus? Do they cause you to think differently about dying as a Christian?
· What do you know about Jesus here and now? Is the resurrected Son of God omniscient? Is he omnipresent? Or are those characteristics reserved only for the Father?