Reading the book of Revelation, there is no doubt for centuries we have missed a lot that could have helped us understand how we are to prepare for the return of our king or prepare our children for the return of our king. And before we go into explaining the vision of John, it is also important to note Revelation 1:1-8 is an introduction to the vision John had received from Jesus Christ.
And moving on from Revelation 1:1-8, John after greeting the Church with the support of the leaders of the churches began to explain what he saw. He had set the stage for the telling of his testimony, and the testimony he had received from Jesus Christ his king.
Revelation 1:3, “Blessed is he that reads, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.” John ensured his audience attention, and before revealing the vision he received from Jesus, he first laid out before his audience that this was an important message because what he was about to reveal was urgent in short coming, and also must be with patience because of the things that will take place in the future.
But John did not leave the Church in the dark in regard to their cause and the reason they were being persecuted. He first identified with his brothers, but then confirm with the Church they were being persecuted because they were of the kingdom of God.
However, the kingdom of God was not far off, they were presently in the kingdom serving before the throne of God. John confirmed he was their brother “And companion in tribulation.” In the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ.
Christ was being patient with the world, but the day was coming when he will call for judgment and the nations will be brought before Christ to give an account for their lives and conduct toward God’s people and his message through his people.
Jon wrote in regard to this truth, “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.”
And exiled on the island of Patmos because of the gospel, Jesus met John and during that meeting revealed all that will come to pass in the in future for which the Church will need to prepare. And yet we missed so much, we had failed to realize the Church was facing persecution during the time of John. We missed the fact they were being persecuted and was about to come under grave attack. And we also did not understand John said he was suffering tribulation, a word meaning trouble which would suggest the Church has been in tribulation for some time.
That is why John said to the Church as part of his introduction, “Blessed is he that reads, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.” And because the Church was going to undergo a level of persecution they have never known, it was important they pay attention to the details of the prophecy because in it are the information on how to prepare for God’s wrath and the coming persecution or tribulation.
And having said all these things, John then wrote what Jesus told him to do with what he had showed him, “I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet, Saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: and, what thou sees, 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.
And coming to the end of his introduction, we missed one more important piece of information that was to have helped us understand the symbolic words John used to describe what he saw. And the information we missed was the fact John was told to write what he saw; therefore, when John said he heard a voice that sounded like a trumpet, we did not pause to note John did not saw a trumpet but that he heard a voice that sounded like a trumpet for us to understand what John saw was what Israel saw at mount Saini.
Exodus 20:18-19 “And all the people saw the thundering, and the lightnings, and the noise of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking: and when the people saw it, they removed, and stood afar off. And they said unto Moses, Speak thou with us, and we will hear but let not God speak with us, lest we die.” And so, it was, John said he fell at his feet as dead, but Christ touched him and told him not to be afraid.
John, “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:”