Revelation 1:11:12

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Rev 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.
Rev 1:12 And I turned to see the voice that spake with me. And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks;

Introduction

In our study of verse 10 we saw that the “great voice as of a trumpet” is and always will be the words and voice and doctrines of Christ, the true shepherd. We saw that Christ said that His words cannot be understood by any who are not living “in the spirit” of those words “on the Lord’s day.” We saw in 1Pe 4 that “the Lord’s day” is the day of his “fiery trials and judgments, [ which are] now on the house of God.” We saw that “the Lord’s day” is that day in which God “reveals to us and in us, His wrath against all our unrighteousness and ungodliness of men” (Rom 1:18). The apostle Paul’s persecution of God’s church demonstrates that all of this ungodliness and unrighteousness, takes place within each and every one of God’s elect at their appointed time, during that “great and terrible day… of the Lord’s judgment.” If we dare to say that Rom 1:18 speaks of the unrighteousness and ungodliness of others, but not our own, then we are doing nothing less than “taking away from the words of this prophecy.”

Rom 1:18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;
Eph 2:1 And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; [“ungodliness and unrighteousness”]
Eph 2:2 Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:
Eph 2:3 Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.

When we “in time past… walked… according to the prince of the power of the air,” we were “holding the truth in unrighteousness.” But at that point we are those of whom these words proceed from the mouth of God: “God knows how to reserve unto fire against the day of judgment…” which is “now on the house of God;” now on God’s elect, who “were by nature, in time past, ungodly men.”

2Pe 3:7 But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.

When is that day of judgment for you and for me? We need to know the answer to that question, and here is that answer:

1Pe 4:7 But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer.
1Pe 4:12 Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you:
1Pe 4:17 For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?

For whom is this “fire reserved?” Is it not for the “perdition of ungodly men?” Who, then, could that possibly be?

1Co 3:13 Every man‘s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’ s work of what sort it is.
1Co 3:14 If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.
1Co 3:15 If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.

Is there a man who has ever lived, other than Jesus Christ, who has not suffered the loss of his works and had all of his works burned up?

Rom 3:23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
Rom 5:12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned

Eph 2:2 Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:
Eph 2:3 Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.

Let us not forget the admonition we are given in verse three that “the time is at hand for all of us to keep [ all] the sayings of the prophecy of this book…. [ all] the things written therein.”

Rev 1:3 Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.

With that admonition always in mind, let’s look now at verse 11.

Verse 11

Rev 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.

In verse 11 we are told that these words are coming to us from He who is “the first and the last.” ‘The Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last” is but another way of saying “is, was, and is to come,” which we have already covered in depth in verse 4. This whole prophecy, as is all of God’s Word, is addressed to God’s complete church, “the seven churches of Asia.” The fact that this prophecy is “written in a book,” tells us that “this generation” reading this prophecy, is the generation to which this and all of God’s Words are addressed.

Since we have already discussed the spiritual significance of the number seven, meaning the complete church, and the spiritual significance of “all they of Asia be turned away from me” (2Ti 1:15), meaning the whole church world, we will not bother to reiterate all of that in discussing this 11th verse. We will, however comment on the fact that each church is specifically named, just as are the names of the twelve tribes of Israel, in chapter 7. But the specific names of either the 12 tribes of Israel or the specific names of the seven churches of Asia are no more literal or physical than are any other symbols in this book of symbols. These seven churches, we are plainly told in verse one, “signify” something. What they signify, according to 2Ti 1:15, Rev 17-18, and many other verses of scripture, is the complete apostasy of all of the church in every generation which reads “the thing written therein.”

2Ti 1:15 This thou knowest, that all they which are in Asia be turned away from me; of whom are Phygellus and Hermogenes.

The outward fulfillment of the “great falling away” of 2Th 2:3 was complete before the apostles had all died. But the inward fulfillment is, was and will be being fulfilled in “this generation… who reads and hears the things written therein” as well.

2Th 2:3 Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;

Consequently we are also seven times told that what John is seeing and hearing is therefore addressed not just to “the seven literal, physical churches of Asia,” but also specifically to “He that hath and ear… keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.

Rev 2:29 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.
Rev 1:3 Blessed [ is] he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.
1Pe 4:7 But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer.

Let’s move on now to verse 12.

Verse 12

Rev 1:12 And I turned to see the voice that spake with me. And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks;

Let’s consider the first part of this verse. “And I turned to see the voice that spake with me…”
We have already discussed in detail the spiritual significance of why John tells us that he had to “turn to see the voice that spake with him” when we covered verse verse 10:

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

We saw when we covered verse 10 that we all see only what is “behind us” only after we have experienced it. We saw that the phrase ‘behind me’ is the same as the phrase in 2Co 3:18 “… Changed into the same image, from glory to glory by the spirit of the Lord.”

2Co 3:18 But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.

“The glory of the Lord” is “the revelation of Jesus Christ.” As we see and understand the revelation of Jesus Christ, we are transformed into “that same image from glory to glory.”
So no matter where we are as we come to know God and Jesus Christ, we are doing so only as we “turn to see the voice that is speaking to us… changing into that same image from glory to glory by the spirit of the Lord.” That is, ‘by the fiery judgment of the word of God’ as we become more and more familiar with Christ in his word and we decrease and Christ’s word increases in us day by day.

Joh 3:29 He that hath the bride is the bridegroom: but the friend of the bridegroom, which standeth and heareth him, rejoiceth greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice: this my joy therefore is fulfilled.
Joh 3:30 He must increase, but I must decrease.

As Christ and his Word increases in us our old men decreases and “dies daily” (1Co 15:31).
We also covered the fact that the only place you could be standing and “looking back and seeing seven golden candlesticks” is if you are standing in the holy of holies looking back into the holy place. We saw that that is exactly what Paul tells us. Paul tells us that we are even now in the holy of holies, in the very presence of Christ who is “in his Father,” and from this vantage point, we are able to look back and see this entire vision called the revelation of Jesus Christ. We can see this vision only because we have already lived it. An “open heaven” is always preceded by fiery judgments and baptisms. We can see the revelation of Jesus Christ only because Christ in us is “living by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.” We can see it only because Christ in us is “keeping the things that are written therein.”

Joh 17:6 I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world: thine they were, and thou gavest them me; and they have kept thy word.
Heb 10:19 Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus,
Heb 10:20 By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh;

It is Christ’s flesh that keeps us from seeing the Father as we ought. It was Christ himself who told us “God is spirit, and they that worship Him, must worship him in spirit and in truth.”

Joh 4:23 But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him.
Joh 4:24 God [ is] a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.

There is no way to worship Christ if you don’t know who he is. He is His Word and His Word is Him. We are all very familiar with the fact Christ tells us in Joh 6:63 that the words that he speaks to us are spirit. Then we are also told this amazing fact, the truth of which very few can receive:

2Co 5:16 Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more.

Yet the whole world believes that since Christ was raised bodily so as to witness to His faithless disciples, we will therefore all be given bodies of eternal flesh at the time of our resurrection. Here we are being told that we are to no longer know Christ after the flesh, and yet the whole world believes that Christ was resurrected with a body of flesh that is eternal flesh. Christ’s words are not flesh. Spirit is not flesh. “That which is born of the Spirit is spirit, and which is born of the flesh is flesh.”

Joh 3:6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.

Truly “that old serpent the devil has deceived the whole world.”

Rev 12:9 And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.

Now let’s examine the second part of verse 12. “And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks;”

We’ve already covered the fact that the seven golden candlesticks represent the complete church. Chapters 2-3 reveal that the complete church is in its complete apostasy. We have already seen that the apostasy of the church was complete before either Paul or Peter of John had died.

2Ti 1:15 This thou knowest, that all they which are in [“the seven churches of”] Asia be turned away from me; of whom are Phygellus and Hermogenes.
Rev 3:17 Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:

To apply verse three we must see that it is we who have “in time past… left our first love,” and must now repent.

Where the revelation of Jesus Christ takes place

Let me mention at this point that the setting for this vision is within the temple of God. It is within this temple that this entire vision takes place. That is right; it is all primarily within that we “keep the things that are written therein.” It all takes place within this temple of God, “which temple ye are.”

2Co 6:16 And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.

“You are the temple… I will dwell in you… keeping the things written therein… the revelation of Jesus Christ…” because “the kingdom of God is within you.”

Luk 17:20 And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation:
Luk 17:21 Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.

If we are to understand what we are being told, when John tells us that he looked behind Himself and saw seven golden candlesticks, we must first understand that the temple of God in which these seven golden candlesticks are located is in the temple courtyard, and that temple is the last of three structures within that courtyard, standing behind the brazen sea and the brazen altar. The ‘brazen sea’ is a huge copper pot with spigots near the bottom where the priests washed their hands after making all of the bloody sacrifices that had to be made for the sins of the people. The brazen sea stood behind the brazen altar on which the sacrifices were made. This brazen altar was the first thing seen by the people of God who came through the gate of the temple courtyard to present their sacrifice to the Lord.
Christ Jesus is every sacrifice that is mentioned in the Scriptures. There are no exceptions. He is all of the daily sacrifices. He is all of the weekly, monthly and seasonal sacrifices. And he is all of the special sacrifices, including the sacrifice of the scapegoat and the leper’s two doves. Be sure to read the Law of the Offerings series on iswaswillbe. com and come to know Christ as God wants us to see Him and to know Him. God has shown Christ to us as He wants us to see Christ, in the law of the offerings.
When an Israelite entered the courtyard, he presented his sacrifice to the priest. The priest would inspect the sacrifice to see if it were fit to present to the Lord. Then the offerer himself would lay his hands on the head of the sacrifice and spill its blood on the north side of the altar.
But that was as far as any Israelite could go who was not a Levite. Only Levites were permitted to perform the service of the tabernacle. But even the Levites could go no further toward the presence of God than the brazen sea. Only the sons of Aaron the high priest were permitted to enter into the temple of God. No Israelite who was of any of the other 11 tribes could ever go beyond the brazen altar. That was as close to the presence of God as they were permitted to approach. The Levites who were not the sons of Aaron could go beyond the brazen altar, yet they could never enter the temple.
All of this is “written for our admonition” and is really all about the process of the revelation of Jesus Christ, and how that is accomplished within us, as we come from without the court, into the court, and then we progress to the brazen altar. In time we become Levites who served the tabernacle around the brazen altar and around the brazen sea. Then finally we are permitted to enter into the temple of God. In other words, all of this is about our walk in Christ.
The Levites who were not the sons of Aaron, performed the duties of bringing the wood for the altar, drawing water for the brazen sea, and they were commissioned to handle all the implements concerned with the brazen altar and the brazen sea. All of these instruments were made of brass, and could be handled by any Levite, even if he was not a descendent of Aaron. But no one except a son of Aaron could enter into the holy place within the temple of God and handle any of the golden implements of the holy place.
So when John “turned to see the voice, what He saw was “seven golden candlesticks.” This tells us that John was in the holy of holies. John had passed beyond the second veil, and was looking behind himself back into what had once been a room separated from the presence of God by “the veil, that is to say His flesh.” John could do that only because the veil of the temple had been torn from top to bottom signifying the fact that our high priest had entered into the holy of holies to appear before our Father for us.

Mat 27:50 Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost.
Mat 27:51 And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent;
Heb 10:19 Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus,
Heb 10:20 By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh;
Heb 10:21 And having an high priest over the house of God;

What is this ‘new and living way He has consecrated for us through the veil, that is to say, his flesh?’ Well of course it was Christ’s body of flesh when He was on the earth, but what is “His flesh” now? What is it that keeps us from seeing God now? What is that veil now?

Eph 5:29 For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church:
Eph 5:30 For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.

If we say we are Christ’s “flesh and his bones,” are we denying that we “no longer know him after the flesh?” Absolutely not! When we acknowledge that we have this spiritual gift “in earthen vessels” as Christ’s Church and his wife, we are acknowledging Christ no longer as flesh but as spirit; as spirit within us. That is the secret that has been hidden for generations.

Col 1:24 Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of [ the] Christ in my flesh for his body’s sake, which is the church:
Col 1:25 Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfil the word of God;
Col 1:26 Even the mystery [ Greek, secret] which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints:
Col 1:27 To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:

Where is Christ? He is “in you.”
Paul tells us that he “fills up in his flesh what is behind of the afflictions of the Christ,” and yes, the article is there; it says ” the Christ” in the Greek. If Paul or you or I are filling up what is behind of the afflictions of the Christ in our own flesh, then we are indeed of his flesh and of his bones. And the mystery that has been hidden from ages and from generations is now being made manifest in us his saints. Acknowledging that mystery in no way denies that Christ is now spirit. To the contrary, when we say ‘We are his flesh and his bones,’ we are acknowledging that we now know Christ as spirit in us. We are also acknowledging “the secret which has been hidden from ages and from generations… which secret is Christ in us the hope of glory.” In doing that, we are also acknowledging that we know our brothers in Christ, as Christ in them no longer “after the flesh.”
If Paul tells us that he “fills up in his flesh what was behind of the afflictions of Christ,” is not his body of flesh “a lively stone” in the temple of God? That is what Peter tells us:

1Pe 2:5 Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.

Now let’s just believe the Scriptures. The secret that has been hidden from the generations and from the ages is that Christ is in us. So if Christ is in us, then according to Peter, we are a holy priesthood. Where then, would you expect to find a priest? That’s right; you would expect to find a priest in the holy place where the seven golden candlesticks are located. That is another thing we learn when we read what the scriptures teach us about the law of the offerings. And so John tells us in the very next verse:

Rev 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.

Christ is a priest who is in God’s temple, doing the work of a priest. You and I know where that temple is. As priests we had better be about our Father’s business, ministering to and serving in His temple. But this verse is for our next study.

Conclusion

We have seen how all- encompassing is the statement, ‘I am the first and I am the last’. We have seen how completely Christ- centric is the Bible. We have seen that the significance of “What you see write in the book” means that these words are for every generation which reads them. we have also seen the spiritual significance of the number seven and how that relates to the complete churches and how the word ‘Asia’ relates to the apostasy of the complete church.

Rev 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.

We have seen what was the spiritual significance of John telling us that he had to turn to see the voices spake with him. We saw that we see truth only as we ourselves being judged and and having all the wood, hay and stubble burned out of our lives through the fiery trials that are now on the house of God. We also saw that the fact that John saw seven golden candlesticks when he turned, reveals to us that he was now in the temple of God, in the very presence of God. And we have seen that it is here that this entire vision takes place; within God’s temple, which temple we are.

Rev 1:12 And I turned to see the voice that spake with me. And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks;

We have seen that this statement regarding John seeing the seven golden candlesticks reveals to us that this entire vision is experienced within the temple of God.
Next week, Lord willing, we will learn what it means to be “clothed with a garment down to the foot.” We will learn why John tells us that Christ is “Girt about the paps with a golden girdle.” And we will also learn what the Biblical phrase “like unto” means in Scripture. Does it mean not quite the same, or does it mean exactly the same? Knowing God and His Son depends upon understanding the meaning of that phrase “like unto.”

Rev 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.

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