This book concerns the closing of God’s controversy with creation, angels, man and Satan. It links Genesis to Revelation and it is saturated with Hebrew thought, idioms, phrases and concepts that we will attempt to bring out. There are over 550 references from the Tanach, so to understand this book you will need to have an understanding of what is called “the old testament” which is not an accurate term, but we use it for people to understand where we are coming from. It is meant for all believers and congregations of all the ages. The author is the Apostle John, who was exiled to the island of Patmos around 90 A.D. It was possibly written during the High Holy Days because of the themes and concepts that he uses, which include: teshuvah; the Birth-pains; the false messiah and false prophet; the Messianic Kingdom; the 144,000; the two witnesses and judgment. He writes in Jewish terms and his ministry was to the Jewish people, or the “circumcised.” This book is linked to the book of Daniel (Dan 9.24). Readers that are not familiar with Hebrew thought and the Torah often find this book hard to understand. It uses symbolism that is not used anymore, but it was comprehended when it was written. John felt that the readers could see what he was alluding to. So, the purpose of this study is to understand the “keys” to understanding the message which means there will many Hebrew idioms, phrases and concepts that we will have to learn to understand the message because this book cannot be understood outside of its Jewish context and eschatology.
1) The Revelation (Greek “apocalypto” which is singular because it reveals a person and it means a showing, revealing, unveiling. Around 200 B.C. to 200 A.D. a style of Hebraic, eschatological writing was developed called apocalyptic writing, which was a special style of literary work using images and based on a revelation due to a dream or vision) of Yeshua Ha Mashiach (Yeshua the empowered one), which God (the Father) gave him (Yeshua) to show his bond-servants (believers), the things which must shortly take place; and he sent and communicated it by his angel (messenger) to his bond-servant John (Yochanon)
2) who bore witness to the word of God (Johns revelation here will be grounded in the Torah and Tanach) and to the testimony of Yeshua Ha Mashiach, even to all that he saw (a witness).
3) Blessed is he who reads and those who hear (shema) the words of the prophecy, and heed (obey) the things which are written in it: for the time is near (Revelation will be a reflection of what has already been written in God’s word and Deuteronomy promises blessings also (28.1-2; 28.15-16).
4) John (Yochanon) to the seven (number of completion) assemblies (congregations) that are in Asia (these congregations were having problems, and they symbolized some of the same problems that congregations would have in the last days): Grace (kindness) to you and peace from him who is and who was and who is to come (the Father, YHVH means this), and from the seven (complete) Spirits (the fullness of the Ruach Ha Kodesh) who are before his throne;
5) and from Yeshua Ha Mashiach (the empowered one), the faithful witness (of the Father), the first-born of the dead (he was raised from the dead on the festival of First Fruits), and the ruler of the kings of the earth (It is Yeshua that rules over the earth, not Satan. This verse is a list of his credentials). To him who loves us, and bathed us from our sins by his blood (this refers back to the sealing of the Torah covenant and the priesthood by blood-Exo 24.1-11; Lev 8.22-24; 8.30. The New Covenant is also sealed with blood, so the bathing in blood is an allusion to the priests in their consecration and being set apart to the Lord)
6) and he has made us to be a kingdom of priests to his God and Father (to offer spiritual sacrifices, prayer with a contrite heart and Isaiah refers to Israel’s destiny in Isa 61.6. Peter refers to this kingdom of priests in 1 Pet 2.4-10. One must realize that Peter is speaking in his letter to Jewish believers (1.1) and not a gentile “church.” The people who were once “not a people” is Ephraim (Hosea), or the northern tribes of Israel. God’s promises to Israel can also be seen in Isa 62); to him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever (L’Olam Va’ed). Amen (the word is related to the Hebrew word for faith “Emunah” and truth, “emet”).
7) Behold, he is coming with the clouds (the clouds of glory are associated with the festival of Sukkot. The idea of the Messiah coming on the clouds can be found in the Tanch in Dan 7.13 and in the gospel of Matthew 24.30. These clouds are called witnesses in Heb 12.1 and they fly like a cloud (Isa 60.8). The term “son of the clouds” or Ben Nephle” is a term for the Messiah), and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him; and all the tribes of the earth ( or “land” is a direct reference to the tribes in the land of Israel, which were the tribes Zechariah was talking about in Zech 12.10-14) will mourn over him. Even so, Amen.
8) “I am the Alpha and the Omega (Hebrew Aleph and Tav, the first and last letter of the alphabet). This is seen in Genesis 1.1 where the fourth word is “et” spelled aleph tav. He is the beginning, and end. If you add a Hebrew letter called “mem” in between aleph and tav, you have the word “emet” which means truth)” says the Lord, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty (Shaddai begins with a “shin” which symbolizes the Lord’s name. It has three heads, just like the false “shin” of the false messiah will).
9) I, John, your brother and fellow-partaker in the tribulation and kingdom and perseverance which are in Yeshua, was on the island of Patmos (which means “my killing”) because of the word of God (the Tanach) and the testimony of Yeshua.
10) I was in the spirit (this means “under the control of”, “in the impulse of” or “in tune with”) on the Lord’s Day (or day of the Lord, was a Sabbath-Isa 58.13 or Rosh Ha Shannah, both alluding to the final 1000 year period of the 7000 year plan of God) and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet (shofar-which is associated with Rosh Ha Shannah, which is called Yom Teruah in the Scriptures meaning “day of the awakening blast” of the shofar),
11) saying, “Write in a book (scroll) what you see, and send it to the seven (complete) assemblies: to Ephesus (permit) and to Smyrna (myrrh) and to Pergamum (height) and to Thyatira (odor of affliction) and to Sardis (red ones) and to Philadelphia (brotherly love) and to Laodicea (peoples rights ….these congregations were John’s “turf” because he was an elder in that area-2 John 1; 3 John 1).”
12) And I turned to see the voice that was speaking with me (he turns to see “the voice” which is very similar to Mount Sinai-Exo 2.18-19). And having turned, I saw seven (complete) golden (for God’s glory) lampstands (menorahs, which symbolize the Shekinah or “presence” of God in the people and the assemblies in which they are present-Rev 2.5);
13) and in the middle of the lampstands (the middle light in a Menorah is called the “shammash” which means servant. This light is the one that lights the others) one like the son of man (the “son of man” or Bar Enosh of Dan 7.13), clothed in a robe reaching down to the feet (the long garment of the High Priest, not a short one of a worker), and girded across his breast with a golden girdle.
14) And his head and his hair were white like wool, like snow (like that of the Father in Dan 7.9, pointing to purity and age because he was with God in the beginning-John 1.1; a Yom Kippur term-Isa 1.18-20) and his eyes were like a flame of fire (God’s judgment and Yeshua is the visible form of the invisible God and is described like this in Dan 7.9-10);
15) and his feet were like burnished bronze (his ways, work and walk are holy and he is just in his judgment of sin) when it has been caused to glow in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of many waters (linked to Sukkot and Yeshua’s statement in John 7.37-38 and the festival of Shavuot, when the Spirit of God returns to the Temple. The Haftorah reading for Shavuot is Ezek 43.1-5 where his voice was like “the sound of many waters”).
16) And in his right hand (the side of power and authority) he held seven stars (the elders/teachers of the seven assemblies who give light and doctrine. Stars is a common idiom for angels, messengers or leaders, good or bad), and out of his mouth came a sharp two-edged sword (alludes to the Lord giving the Torah. Those that “hear” are blessed and those that don’t will be judged-Psa 7.11; Heb 4.11-13; Rev 14.12; 22.14) and his face was like the sun (Psa 19.4-9; Mal 4.2, symbolic of the Messiah in Scripture) shining in its strength (Luke 1.78-79).
17) And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as a dead man (like the prophets of old-Josh 5.14; Judges 13.20; Ezek 1.28; Dan 8.17). And he laid his right hand upon me (in comfort), saying, “Do not be afraid (he heard this before in Matt 14.27); I am the first and the last (a title for the Lord in Isa 41.1-4, 44.6, 48.12 meaning the first and the last, he was before any false god and will exist after them. This is proof of the deity of Yeshua)
18) and the living One; and I was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys (authority as the Lord) of death (speaks of the body, the physical) and of Hades (Sheol, the abode of the dead, speaks of the spirit. In other words, Satan has been defeated).
19) Write therefore, the things which you have seen and the things which are and the things which shall take place after these things.
20) As for the mystery (sowd, hidden, secret) of the seven stars which you saw in my right hand, and the seven golden lampstands (menorahs represent the Shekinah or “presence” of God in the people-Rev 2.5- and the assemblies in which they are present), the seven stars are the seven angels (stars is a common idiom for angels, messengers, elders or leaders both good or bad. They give light, or doctrinal messages) of the seven assemblies, and the seven lampstands are the seven assemblies.