“Fear Not!”

In Revelation 1 we have here a description of Christ’s appearance to the Apostle John. This was more than 60 years after the Lord Jesus bodily ascended into heaven. As you know, the Lord Jesus received His glorified body when He returned to heaven.

But did He appear to John in His glorified body?

Absolutely not!

Christ brought a message to John, and His appearance was adjusted to convey this message. For example, there are no people in heaven with a twoedged sword protruding out of their mouths. Nevertheless, His appearance to John was so awesome, and so frightening, that John fell at His feet as dead. That is why the title of this sermon is, “Fear Not”. The Lord Jesus comforted John with the words “Fear Not”. But before we get to that point, let us hear what the Lord had to say about:

“Alpha and Omega” (Revelation 1:8-9, 2 Thessalonians 1:8, 2 Corinthians 6:18)

As you know, alpha and omega are the first and the last letters of the Greek alphabet. Jesus said in,

Revelation 1:8
I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.

At this point the Lord Jesus Christ is speaking directly to us, and He identified Himself in three ways First as alpha and omega, which means He is the beginning and the ending of everything that was created. Everything was created by Him and it was created for Him, meaning for His good pleasure. Unmistakably the Lord Jesus Christ identified Himself as God. Secondly Jesus identified Himself as the One “which is, and which was, and which is to come”, which means that He existed from eternity past, He presently reigns as King of kings and Lord of lords, and He will come as the Judge of all the earth, “In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Thessalonians 1:8). Then thirdly Jesus identified Himself as “the Almighty”. This is a name for God that is used many times in the Old Testament, and also in 2 Corinthians 6:18 where God says these comforting words to us, “And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty”.

Three times in this verse the Lord Jesus identified Himself as Almighty God.

Why are there people who claim that Jesus never said that He was God?

He is the Lord God Almighty. His appearance to any of the human race, whether saved or unsaved, while we still are in this mortal body His appearance to us is so awesome that we will fall at His feet as dead. And then we read in verse 9,

Revelation 1:9
I John, who also am your brother, and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was in the isle that is called Patmos, for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ.

The Apostle John was exiled to the lonely island of Patmos. It was a forsaken little island, a rock, from which no escape was possible, uninhabited except for a few prisoners who were exiled there. John was exiled as a martyr for the sake of the Word of God which he had preached and for the testimony of Jesus which he bore. And I am sure that Emperor Domitian who exiled John to this place, thought to give him a more humane treatment because of his old age, and instead of having John executed he banished him to Patmos. The Devil and his earthly helpers thought to have silenced John. But the Lord, who is the Prince of the rulers of the earth and who causes even their counsels to work together for the good of His church, had His own purpose with the banishment of His servant John. And though the worldly power, under the influence of the prince of the power of the air, had exiled the aged Apostle in order to forever silence his faithful testimony, the Lord transformed this lonely and secluded island into a spot, which served as a fabulous stage for the revelation of one of the most beautiful and most important parts of the holy Scriptures. Here John was separated from the tumult and business of the world, to be alone with his Lord. Here John could witness of the terrible symbolism of the restless sea, where he was reminded that the wicked are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt. Here John could hear the roar of the powerful waves crashing on the rocky shores of his dwelling place, and John experienced that his LORD was his rock, and his fortress, and his deliverer; his God, his strength, his high tower in whom he could trust. And here John had an unobstructed view of the heavens all the way to the four corners of the earth. And so this forsaken dwelling place was undoubtedly the most naturally adapted place to be the scene for this Apostle’s visions and revelations. God is gracious. There then John tells us:

“I Was in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day” (Revelation 1:10-11, Matthew 24:31, Romans 11:33-36)

Revelation 1:10
I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet,

Revelation 1:11
Saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: and, What thou seest, write in a book, and send it unto the seven churches which are in Asia; unto Ephesus, and unto Smyrna, and unto Pergamos, and unto Thyatira, and unto Sardis, and unto Philadelphia, and unto Laodicea.

The timing was not ON the Lord’s day. In the Bible Sunday is not called “the Lord’s Day”. It is called the first day of the week. John was literally “in the Spirit in the Lord’s Day”. Two times the same word “in” is used.

What then does it mean that John was “in the Spirit in the Lord’s Day”?

It means that John was in a state of prophetic spiritual ecstasy, separated from the world of sense and experience and prepared to receive new spiritual things. The objects that will be presented to him were of such a nature that his natural eye could not perceive them, and therefore a translation in the Spirit was necessary to prepare John to receive the visions.

And what does it mean that he was “in the Lord’s Day”?

It means that he was translated to that point in time when the Lord Jesus will come to judge the whole earth. He was brought right up to Judgment Day. He is writing as if he is standing at that very day, looking back on all the events that have happened throughout the history of mankind, looking right at Judgment Day itself, and even looking forward to the New Heaven and the New Earth as being very close at hand. And John heard the voice of the Lord Jesus Christ behind him, as loud as a trumpet sounding next to his ear.

As you know, when the Lord comes to judge the earth He will announce His coming with a loud voice, as loud as a trumpet. We read in Matthew 24:31, “And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other”.

And again Jesus identified Himself as Alpha and Omega, the first and the last. He is the beginning and the ending of everything created and of everything in history. He is the Sovereign, Almighty and all wise God whose purposes for this creation are past finding out. We read in Romans 11:33,

Romans 11:33
O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!

Romans 11:34
For who hath known the mind of the Lord? Or who hath been his counselor?

Romans 11:35
Or who hath first given to him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again?

Romans 11:36
For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen.

“Of Him”, means that He is the sovereign creator who is the fountain of everything created and the fountain of everything that comes to pass. “To Him”, means that all things have their purpose “in Him”. From the beginning He made all things with a view to the end: the alpha is connected with the omega, the one must inevitably lead to the other. And whatever lies between alpha and omega is through Him. “Through Him”, means that He controls all things in such a way that His counsel is accomplished, His design is fulfilled, His end is reached. And His end goal is that He is the One in whom all things in heaven and on earth are to be united forever. Then, in the new creation, the tabernacle of God shall be with men, and God shall be all in all, through Jesus Christ our Lord. And in this God is glorified. Nothing can prevent His end goal Omega. For Christ is Lord, and He is the Almighty. He is not more powerful than other forces combined, but there are no other forces. Even the power of darkness, the power of Satan and his demons, is all under His control. They have no power outside Him. And He uses them, in spite of themselves, for His sovereign purpose. Therefore surely and irresistibly He is coming and has been coming, through the ages of history, coming from the alpha to the omega, from glory to glory, His own glory, until all His glory shall forever shine forth in the perfect revelation of Jesus Christ.

The King-Judge (Revelation 1:12-16, Daniel 7:13-14, Revelation 19:15)

Revelation 1:12-13
And I turned to see the voice that spake with me. And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks; And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle.

Revelation 1:14-15
His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire; And his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the
sound of many waters.

Revelation 1:16
And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp twoedged sword: and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength.

What did John see?

John saw someone like unto the Son of man. He saw someone looking like the Lord Jesus Christ, but he described Him as “the Son of Man”.

Where did the expression “Son of man” come from?

O yes, Jesus used this expression to point to Himself. But God introduced this name 500 years earlier in the prophecy of Daniel. Daniel was a contemporary of Ezekiel. Both Daniel and Ezekiel were taken captive and brought to Babylon. Ezekiel served as Prophet among the captives from Judah, and Daniel served as a high government official in the kingdom of Babylon. In chapter 7 Daniel had a dream and this is what he saw in verses 13-14,

Daniel 7:13
I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him.

Daniel 7:14
And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.

Look at the overwhelming glory the appearance of Lord Jesus made upon John. John described Him as the Son of man from the prophet Daniel. No longer is He the Suffering Servant of Jehovah, but He appears as the glorified Son of Man who received “dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him”. The vision that John saw also showed Christ in His humiliation, but only as a necessary way to His exaltation and Messianic glory. The passage in Daniel shows Christ only in His glory. And notice that the clouds of heaven are mentioned again. We saw those clouds earlier in Revelation 1:7. It points to the fact that He does not only come as the King, but also as the Judge.

But what does it mean that the Son of man approached the Ancient of days?

Christ approached His Father through His suffering and death on the cross, and through His resurrection and exaltation at the right hand of God. And as such, as the glorified Lord who already received His Kingdom from the Ancient of Days does He now appear in the vision to John. Let us now return to the vision to John in Revelation 1:16. In the vision Christ appeared not only as King, but also as Judge. “Out of his mouth went a sharp twoedged sword”. This sword represents the Word of God, the Bible, by which Christ shall Judge all the reprobate. We see this again in Revelation 19:15, where we read, “And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations”. He is coming to judge the unsaved in the church, and the unsaved in the world, till all the powers of darkness shall be destroyed forever. However, not only as King and Judge does He reveal Himself, but also as:

Our Great High Priest (Revelation 1:13, Hebrews 4:16)

Revelation 1:13
And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle.

What is the meaning that He had a garment down to the foot?

The high priest in the Old Testament wore a long robe, called the robe of the ephod. The Lord Jesus reveals Himself here to John in this long high-priestly garment. Since the garment is hanging down to the feet it indicates that He is not now functioning in the offering of sacrifices of blood, for in that case the garment would have been taken up by means of the girdle. The great and final sacrifice has been offered on the cross. It is finished! On the other hand, since He still wears the golden girdle it shows that this High Priest is still engaged in active ministration in the sanctuary, for the high priest would wear this girdle only as long as he was busy in the temple. Immediately after his service in the temple was accomplished he would lay the girdle aside. And so, we have here a beautiful picture of our Savior as He has finished His sacrificial work on the accursed tree on Golgotha, but He is still engaged as our High Priest and intercessor with the Father in the sanctuary above. There He prays for us, and there He intercedes for us, and from there He blesses us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places. A fine point of distinction is that our High Priest in this vision wears a girdle of gold, whereas the ordinary girdles of priests were of fine twined linen and purple and scarlet. The golden girdle indicates that our great High Priest is also a King. And thus the Lord Jesus perfectly matches the picture of being a priest according to the order of Melchisedec. Who was King of Salem and priest of the most high God. And since the Lord Jesus was without sin He qualified to be our great High Priest. “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need”, from Hebrews 4:16. Therefore, fear not, but let us come boldly to the throne of grace. And remember, it is a throne of grace. It is a throne of unmerited favor. It is not a throne where rewards are given for good works done on this earth, because there are no such things. But When Christ has paid for all our sins, and when God has given us the faith to believe all that He wrote in the Bible, then we have a throne of grace with Christ seated on the throne.

We have seen in Revelation 1:6 that Christ has made us kings and priests. And in Revelation 22:9 God shows us that Christ has also made us prophets. He has made us like Him, because He also is King, and Priest, and a Prophet. That Christ is a prophet is not commonly known, but verse 16 again explains it.

The Prophet (Revelation 1:16, Exodus 7:1-2, Hebrews 4:12)

What is a prophet?

According to God, a prophet is one who brings messages from God to the people. God says in Exodus 7:1-2, “And the LORD said unto Moses, See, I have made thee a god to Pharaoh: and Aaron thy brother shall be thy prophet. Thou shalt speak all that I command thee: and Aaron thy brother shall speak unto Pharaoh, that he send the children of Israel out of his land”.

Therefore, anyone who proclaims messages from the Word of God to the people is prophesying, and is declared a prophet in Revelation 22:9. But the Lord Jesus Christ also has the Word of God in His mouth.

Revelation 1:16
And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp twoedged sword: and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength.

That twoedged sword represents the Word of God, and for this reason the Lord Jesus is a prophet.

God says in Hebrews 4:12, “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart”.

It is a frightening thought that the Word of God is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of our heart. He judges us even before thoughts enter our mind. Just the intents of our hearts are sufficient to condemn us. This is the sharp sword that Christ is able to wield. And for this reason He is called a prophet. But more so, because He reveals Himself as prophet by the Word which He speaks. He addresses John in the vision and commands him to write. John must write all that he sees in a book and send it to the seven churches in Asia. John must write what he has seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter. And most certainly Christ functions as the Prophet of His church, addressing to the seven churches of Asia words of instruction, of consolation, of encouragement, of exhortation and rebuke. And so we see, therefore that in the vision to John our glorified Lord appears in His threefold office of Prophet, Priest and King. And as such He stands in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks. Let us first gaze at the:

Seven Churches of Asia (Revelation 1:11, Daniel 7:25-27)

Revelation 1:11
Saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: and, What thou seest, write in a book, and send it unto the seven churches which are in Asia; unto Ephesus, and unto Smyrna, and unto Pergamos, and unto Thyatira, and unto Sardis, and unto Philadelphia, and unto Laodicea.

Here are these seven churches.

What is the connection between the seven candlesticks and the seven churches?

They are not the same. The candlesticks represent the church in her ideal existence and eternal perfection. The seven churches represent the church as she is in the world, with all her warts and freckles and blemishes. It is the historic church on earth with its essential holiness and actual imperfections and infirmities. It is indeed the church of Christ, but she is in constant need of consolation, and of encouragement, and of exhortation, and of rebuke. And as we draw closer to the Last of the last days, the church becomes more and more the house of God where judgment must begin. We can see this in that same prophecy of Daniel that we were before.

We will now return to the prophecy of Daniel 7:25. We have here the story of the “little horn”, which was actually only little in the beginning of this chapter. This “little horn” represents Satan, who wages war against God, and against the saints in the church in the New Testament era. And since it is God’s plan to loose Satan near the end of time, it will appear that Satan has won this war. We read in Daniel 7:25-27,

Daniel 7:25-26
And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time. But the judgment shall sit, and they shall take away his dominion, to consume and to destroy it unto the end.

Daniel 7:27
And the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the most High, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him.

And thus it shall be that Satan “shall wear out the saints of the most High”, and “they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time”.

This will not be through physical persecution, because physical persecution from the outside has always strengthened the church. But this assault on the saints will be from inside the local churches and congregations, through gospels that are very close to the true Gospel, but contain deadly errors. We must be constantly on our guard for deadly errors that are floating in other churches around us. Even then we must realize that it is only by the grace of God that we are still relatively faithful. Let us return to Revelation 1:11. These churches were chosen because they were prepared by God through Christ, in order that they might together constitute a picture of the entire church in the world, with its perfections and defects, its strengths and its weaknesses, its trials and temptations. And so we see that the seeds of corruption were already present in five out of the seven churches of Asia.
And this was only the first century after the cross.

Can you imagine what that ratio is after 20 centuries?

In all this turmoil and confusion that goes on around us the Lord Jesus Christ tells us, “Fear Not! I will never leave thee nor forsake thee”.

“Seven Golden Candlesticks” (Revelation 1:12-13, Hebrews 13:6)

Revelation 1:12-13
And I turned to see the voice that spake with me. And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks; And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle.

These seven candlesticks are a symbol of the church in her ideal existence and relation to her Lord, as a light shining to the glory of God in Christ. They represent the church in perfect holiness and righteousness, as she is in the counsel of God, and as she once shall be when the Lord shall present her as His perfected and glorified Bride, without spot or blemish. In the temple the lamp-stand had to be kept burning continuously, and it symbolized that Israel was the light of God shining in the darkness of the world to the glory of Jehovah their God. In the present vision to John the church is that light of God. But since Christ is in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks only through her fellowship with Christ in the Spirit can the church be the light of God. Apart from Christ she is in darkness and lies in the midst of death. The candlesticks are made of gold to indicate the church’s perfection, and purity, and incorruptibleness, because the church is precious unto Christ. He will preserve it. He has purchased it with His own blood. The church is more precious than the finest gold. The church is more glorious than the noblest of metals. The church is incorruptible and imperishable because of her union with her Lord, the Son of God in the flesh, who died and was raised and lives forevermore. And though we may not see the church in such glory, we see with earthly eyes, and our vision is not that of Christ. But who is that church that I have described to you? It is not a building, nor is it a congregation or a set of congregations, but the church of Christ is the Bride that He purchased on the cross, consisting of all individuals who were chosen by the Father when He chose the Bride for His Son, before the foundation of the world. And so, if you know that you belong to this group of saints, Christ says to you, “Fear Not! The Lord is your helper, and have no fear of what man can do unto you”, from Hebrews 13:6.

“Seven Stars” (Revelation 1:16,20)

Revelation 1:16
And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp twoedged sword: and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength.

Christ had in His right hand seven stars. Christ also laid His right hand upon John. We cannot draw a picture of this. We must see all these 23 statements as independent word pictures, each conveying their own message. His right hand indicates a position of power and authority. For example, when Christ ascended into heaven He sat down at the right hand of God, and we believers are seated with Christ at the right hand of God. And so, the seven stars are in His right hand in a position of power and authority.

Who do the seven stars represent?

We read in Revelation 1:20,

Revelation 1:20
The mystery of the seven stars which thou sawest in my right hand, and the seven golden candlesticks. The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches: and the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches.

Who are the angels of the seven churches?

Certainly these are not angels. John is commissioned to write letters to these seven angels, and it is difficult to imagine that Christ in heaven would ask a man on earth to write letters to angels who are also in heaven. But the Greek word “angel” also means “messenger”. Furthermore the symbol of a star refers to a light bearer. And since the stars are in the hand of Christ, they are servants who are dependent and subordinate to Him. Therefore the seven stars refer to human beings who are overseers or pastors in these churches. It is the Lord’s good pleasure to enlighten and instruct His church in the world through their ministry. Through them especially it pleases Christ to preach and to preserve His Word. And yet by these stars that are held in the right hand of the glorified Lord the churches themselves are also addressed. You cannot separate these “stars” from Christ. Without Him they are nothing. On the other hand these stars also represent the churches. The churches function through them. When we look at the individual letters to the seven churches, in Revelations chapters 2 and 3, we see that John writes to the angels of the seven churches, but he simultaneously addresses the seven churches. But consider what comfort and glory there is in this. Christ holds the angels of the churches in His right hand, and therefore the churches are also held and preserved by His power alone. Christ knows whose are His. No one can pluck His own out of His hand. These messages to the seven churches of Asia are of concern to us as well as to them. The Lord is addressing these messages to us also. And He speaks to us:

Words of Comfort (Revelation 1:17-20)

Revelation 1:17
And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last:

Revelation 1:18-19
I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death. Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter;

Revelation 1:20
The mystery of the seven stars which thou sawest in my right hand, and the seven golden candlesticks. The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches: and the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches.

What greater comfort can there be that the Lord Jesus Christ says to us, “Fear Not! I have chosen you, and I have purchased you, and I have made you alive, and made your redemption effective at that certain date in your life through the operation of God the Holy Spirit. You are mine. I will never leave you nor forsake you. You may be in a heap of trouble right now. Your troubles may be caused by those whom you once loved dearly, or you may have health problems, or you may be worried about the upbringing of your children, and so on. “Fear Not! I am the first and the last”. I am fully in control of all these things in your life that trouble you. You must trust that all these things will work out for your good. Listen: “I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore”.

It means that I was crucified for you, and I died a gruesome death for you. Therefore would I not give everything I have for your wellbeing? Behold, I am alive forevermore to intercede for you, and to pray for you, and I will carry you through these troubles to bring you to a safe haven of rest. “I have the keys of Hell and of death”, which means that demons cannot touch you, evil men cannot touch you; they are entirely under my control. But there is one thing you can do: The seven candlesticks represent the seven churches. Do work that benefit the church, whom I love, and for whom I gave my life and my all. Study your Bible. Mark it up so that you will have beacons of light in this ocean of words. And practice hospitality. Gather together with fellow church members as much as possible, and compare your study notes. Be not afraid to make mistakes, because I have paid for all your mistakes. Fear Not! You are precious in my sight. I am your Mediator, the first begotten of the dead, the firstborn of every creature I am He through whom and unto whom all things were made. In my hands I hold you; in my arms I fold you. I am your Redeemer; I will care for you. AMEN.

By Alfred Chompff

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