Revelation 1:18-20

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Rev 1:18-20 I Am He That Lives And Was Dead

Rev 1:18  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.
Rev 1:19  Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter;
Rev 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.

Introduction

For perhaps the first time since we have started these studies in this Revelation of Jesus Christ, we hope to cover more than one verse. We have covered most of what we see in the remaining three verses already. What we need to do as we cover these next three verses is to notice how they reinforce what we have seen already, and to always keep in mind the opening admonition to “keep the things which are written therein, for the time is at hand.

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.

The only people who “read and hear the words of this prophecy and keep the things which are written therein” are those to whom it is “given to understand the mysteries of the kingdom of God:

Mat 13:10  And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables?
Mat 13:11  He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given.

Rev 1:18 (a) I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen…
Rev 1:19 Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter;

We will get to the last part of verse 18 in a moment, but first we need to take note that the first part of verse 18 and all of verse 19 make the 4th and 5th times in this one chapter alone that we are reminded of the nature of the words of this prophecy and the nature of the author of the words of this prophecy. Here now, is Christ’s example to us, as to how we are to apply this knowledge.

Mat 24:15  When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, ( whoso readeth, let him understand:)

This is the supposedly “apocalyptic” 24th chapter of Matthew. But let’s ask the question that never seems to occur to the dispensationalists. What if Mat 24 were being read by someone in 100 A. D. or 1000 A. D. or 1500 A. D. or 2000 A. D? What application would “the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place” have to do with those people? Well, if we approach God’s Word with the singular, dispensational, apocalyptic, end time approach, which the whole orthodox Christian world has given to these words, then they have no application whatever to anyone who reads of  “the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place.”  “Whoso reads” would have no application to anyone other than someone reading that prophecy of Daniel in the generation in which “the kingdoms of this world become the kingdoms of our Lord and His Christ.” But that is not how Christ intended for His words to be taken. That is not how Christ’s Words are to be understood, and he makes that super clear in this same 24th chapter of Matthew. Here is how Christ meant for His words to be applied and understood:

Mat 24:34  Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.
Mat 24:35  Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.

Christ tells us that “the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place” was fulfilled in Christ’s own generation! But He is also telling us that it was also fulfilled in 100, 1000, 1500 and 2000 A. D. Who ever “reads and understands” fulfills that prophecy in every generation. “Who reads and understands” IS “this generation which shall not pass away until all these things be fulfilled.”

So that is why Christ repeatedly tells us that He is “the first and the last,” and His words “are, were and will be.” We have already covered these verses earlier in this chapter, but just so this point is made clear, here again are the other three times, in this one chapter, that  this very special doctrine is repeated and emphasized for our edification who have ears to hear and eyes which see.  It is a doctrine which is hidden from the eyes of this world:

Rev 1:4  John to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace be unto you, and peace, from him which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from the seven Spirits which are before his throne;
Rev 1:8  I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith th e Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.

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.

Any time we read “I am Alpha and Omega” or any time we read “I am the first and the last,” what we are being told is that Christ and His words “are, were and will be.”

Rev 1:18 (b) … and have the keys of hell and of death.

Why does Christ want us to know that He holds the keys of death and of hell? Do not the scriptures teach that “the devil has the power of death?”

Heb 2:14  Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil;

This verse is true, but it is true in the context of God’s sovereignty, and in the context of the sum of God’s word, both of which reveal that Christ has been given all power in heaven and in earth, and Satan’s powers are under Christ’s ‘keys.’

Mat 28:18  And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.

“The keys of hell and of death” are held by the same man who has “the keys of the kingdom of heaven,” the key of knowledge, the key of David  and the key of the bottomless pit,” and Christ holds all of those keys, and if He is in us, then we too, have “the keys of death and hell, the keys to the kingdom of heaven, the key of knowledge, the key of David and the key of the bottomless pit.”

Mat 16:19  And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall[ have been] be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.

Luk 11:52  Woe unto you, lawyers! for ye have taken away the key of knowledge: ye entered not in yourselves, and them that were entering in ye hindered.
Rev 3:7  And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write; These things saith he that is holy, he that is true, he that hath the key of David, he that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth;
Rev 20:1  And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand.
Rev 20:2  And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years,
Rev 20:3  And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season.

Nothing is opened without Christ. The entire word of God is about Christ and His Christ. The entire Bible is Christ- centric. Christ is the key to all knowledge. Christ in us is “the fear of God” in us, and the fear of God is the beginning of knowledge, the “key of knowledge.”

Pro 1:7  The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.
Pro 9:10  The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.
2Pe 2:20  For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning.

This is where “the fear of the Lord” leads us:

1Jn 4:18  There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.

“Perfect love” is the least understood subject on this earth. Here is the definition of perfect love. All other attempts to love God or our brothers are not really ‘love’ at all, but are rather a counterfeit of this “perfect love.”

1Jn 5:2  By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments.
1Jn 5:3  For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.

So then, scripturally speaking, “the fear of the Lord” and “the love of God” are one and the same thing, which lead us to “the key of knowledge… Christ in you, the hope of glory.”

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:
Rev 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.

“The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches: and the seven candlesticks which you saw are the seven churches.” Just so we do not miss what is being said here, let us not fail to remember that this entire book and all of “the things written therein” are all from “John” and are all addressed to these “seven 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.
Rev 1:4  John to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace be unto you, and peace, from him which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from the seven Spirits which are before his throne;

Here in verse 4 we are told that this book is being sent to the seven churches in Asia from “John,” who had received this revelation from Christ, who had in turn received it from His Father.

Rev 1:1  The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John:
Rev 1:2  Who bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw.

“God’s angel”, who was sent unto John, was Jesus Christ by His own words:

Joh 20:21  Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you.

Christ has sent us just “as My Father has sent me.” Yet at the beginning of every message to each of the seven churches, of chapters two and three, we are told:

Rev 2:1  Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write; These things saith he that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks;
Rev 2:8  And unto the angel of the church in Smyrna write; These things saith the first and the last, which was dead, and is alive;
Rev 2:12  And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write; These things saith he which hath the sharp sword with two edges;
Rev 2:18  And unto the angel of the church in Thyatira write; These things saith the Son of God, who hath his eyes like unto a flame of fire, and his feet [ are] like fine brass;
Rev 3:1  And unto the angel of the church in Sardis write; These things saith he that hath the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars; I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead.
Rev 3:7  And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write; These things saith he that is holy, he that is true, he that hath the key of David, he that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth;
Rev 3:14  And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God;

So while this revelation of Jesus Christ is sent from God to Christ and from Christ to His elect, it becomes obvious that ‘the seven angels of the seven churches’ are those chosen of Christ to bring this revelation of Jesus Christ to the seven churches, to “show them these things.” In other words, “the angel which showed me these things” is  John and his “fellowservants who keep the sayings of this book.”

Rev 22:7  Behold, I come quickly: blessed is he that keepeth the sayings of the prophecy of this book.

Is that really who these seven angels are? Is that actually who shows these things to God’s elect? Is that really what the scriptures teach? Yes, it is, and here are the scriptures which tell us who it is who “shows us these things:”

Rev 4:1  After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter.

Who is this who is showing these things to John and to us? It is a “voice… as it were of a trumpet.” And who has a “voice… as it were of a trumpet who “shows us these things?”

Rev 17:1  And there came one of the seven angels which had the seven vials, and talked with me, saying unto me, Come hither; I will shew unto thee the judgment of the great whore that sitteth upon many waters:

The angels which “show us these things” are “the angels which had the seven vials.” Now all we need to do is to determine who these seven angels are which have these seven vials. We are never left to guess. We never need “to think above what is written” (1Co 4:6). All we need do is to “believe what is written.”  Here is who are these “seven angels:”

Rev 19:10  And I fell at his feet to worship him [ the angel which had just shown John the judgment of the great harlot]. And he said unto me, See thou do it not: I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.

There it is. None of this is left to the fertile imaginations of men. It is “the doctrine of Jesus Christ” that these “seven angels which have the seven vials” are also “the angels which show us these things.” There are not several groups of “the seven spirits of God.” The “seven spirits” are “one spirit.”

1Co 6:17  But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit.
1Co 12:13  For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether [ we be] Jews or Gentiles, whether [ we be] bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.
Eph 2:18  For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.
Eph 4:4  [ There is] one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling;

So when we read of “the seven spirits before His throne:

Rev 1:4  John to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace [ be] unto you, and peace, from him which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from the seven Spirits which are before his throne;

The seven lamps which are the seven spirits of God:

Rev 4:5  And out of the throne proceeded lightnings and thunderings and voices: and there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God.

The seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God:

Rev 5:6  And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth.

The “seven spirits,” the “seven lamps” and the “seven horns and seven eyes” are all one and the same “one spirit”  which spirit, according to the Word of God, is us being joined to the Lord. Here again is the verse which makes this clear to those with eyes that see and ears that hear:

1Co 6:17  But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit.

The seven spirits of God “in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders… a Lamb as it had been slain;” are the Christ, those whom God has “sent forth into all the earth.” Who has God, through Christ, “sent forth into all the earth?” We need not guess:

Joh 20:21  Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you.

What did God send Christ to do? He sent Christ to be a lamb slain from the foundation of the world, as the sacrifice for the sins of the whole world. Do you have a part in that commission? Answer at your own peril, for “out of your own mouth you will be judged.”

Now if all the different “seven spirits of God” are really “one spirit,” then the same is true for the seven angels which are sent to the seven churches. 

Conclusion

This first chapter, by God’s design, tells us what we are about to be shown as “the revelation of Jesus Christ.” What it reveals is that we are the christ of Christ..

We have seen in this first chapter, that God has given this revelation of Jesus Christ to John, who in turn gives it to the seven churches of Asia. But as is always the case, we saw that the seven churches are the one church, with one spirit and one gospel and one doctrine and one mind.

Eph 4:4  There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling;
Eph 4:5  One Lord, one faith, one baptism,
Php 2:2  Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.

Every word to every church, just like all of Christ’s parables, is actually addressed to “he who hath and ear,” and so it is with this entire revelation.

Mat 13:9  Who hath ears to hear, let him hear
Rev 3:6  He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.

We have seen that it is given to but few to hear “the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven,” which is the same as “the revelation of Jesus Christ.”

Mat 13:11  He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given.

That is especially true of the revelation of Jesus Christ. Christ came to reveal to us His Father. In so doing He tells us:

Joh 14:8  Philip saith unto him, Lord, shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us.
Joh 14:9  Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou [ then], Shew us the Father?
Joh 14:10  Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works.

Christ, in turn, has sent us to reveal Him to the world. As Christ is so are we (1Jn 4:17). So we can say that we have been sent to reveal Christ to the world via the revelation of Jesus Christ.

Joh 20:21  Then said Jesus to them again, Peace [ be] unto you: as [ my] Father hath sent me, even so send I you.
1Jn 4:17  Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world.

We have been reminded that this entire revelation is to John, “our brother,” who is also “our fellowservant and of they who keep the sayings of the prophecy of this book.”

Rev 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.
Rev 22:8  And I John saw these things, and heard [ them]. And when I had heard and seen, I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel which shewed me these things.
Rev 22:9  Then saith he unto me, See [ thou do it] not: for I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren the prophets, and of them which keep the sayings of this book: worship God.

We have learned that the angel which “showed John these things” is the same as the angels which had the seven vials of God’s wrath:

Rev 17:1  And there came one of the seven angels which had the seven vials, and talked with me, saying unto me, Come hither; I will shew unto thee the judgment of the great whore that sitteth upon many waters:

Rev 21:9  And there came unto me one of the seven angels which had the seven vials full of the seven last plagues, and talked with me, saying, Come hither, I will shew thee the bride, the Lamb’s wife.

We have seen that just as all the sevens dealing with God’s spirit are actually “one spirit,” so too, all the apparently different groups of “seven angels” are actually the same angels to the seven churches, “sent into all the earth,” and all of those angels are really just “our brother and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ…”

1Co 6:15  Know ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ; shall I then take the members of Christ, and make them the members of an harlot? God forbid.
1Co 6:16  What? know ye not that he which is joined to an harlot is one body? for two, saith he, shall be one flesh.
1Co 6:17  But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit.

1Pe 3:18  For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit:

Those who cannot see that we must consider the sum of God’s Word,  do not see that we are the Christ of Christ. With that mindset they think that this verse is all that is written on this subject. But such is not the case. There is much more written about who suffers for whom and who dies for whom. For example:

1Pe 4:1  Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin;

Here we have it in this same epistle. If Christ is in you, then you have “the same mind,” and suffer with Him for the sake of His body which is the church, because His sufferings are not yet filled up.

Col 1:24  Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body’s sake, which is the church:

We, too, suffer and are crucified daily for the church, for Christ’s body, just as Christ suffered and was crucified:

1Jn 4:17  Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world.

We are John, and John is us, because we are all “joined unto the Lord in one spirit.”

Rev 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 [ Greek, the place of my dying], for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ.
Rev 5:6  And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth.

Are we “lambs, slain with Christ?”

Joh 21:15  So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs.
Gal 2:20  I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.
Rom 6:3  Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?
Rom 6:4  Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
Rom 6:5  For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection:
Rom 6:6  Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.

If we are “raised with Christ in the likeness of His resurrection,” if He has “laid His right hand on us,” then He has sent us to show these things to the seven churches, and through Christ in us, to open the seven seals and to go forth into all the earth blowing the seven trumpets and pouring out the seven vials of God’s wrath, and keeping the sayings of the prophecy of this book and keeping the things written therein.

The seven spirits sent forth into all the earth, are the same seven angels which are in Christ’s right hand, and those seven angels are the same seven angels which blow the seven trumpets, those seven angels are one and the same seven angels which pour out the seven vials full of the wrath of God. In other words the seven angels and the seven spirits are one and the same “one spirit of God” which is “joined unto the Lord” as God’s elect.

1Co 6:17  But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit.

It is only God’s elect who have been given eyes to see and ears to hear the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, and who understand that the time is at hand to keep the things written therein.

Rev 22:8  And I John saw these things, and heard them. And when I had heard and seen, I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel which shewed me these things.
Rev 22:9  Then saith he unto me, See thou do it not: for I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren the prophets, and of them which keep the sayings of this book: worship God.

Understanding that “as he is, so are we,” tells us that in Christ, we too, are the lamb who takes the book sealed with seven seals out of the right hand of the man on the throne, and in Christ, we show these things written in this book to the churches.  We, in Christ, are first the seven churches, then we are the seven angels of the seven churches, which angels are in Christ’s right hand and who being in His right hand have the power to blow the seven trumpets and to pour out the seven vials of God’s wrath, and as John, our fellowservant, we show all these things to the churches, because we are “one spirit joined to Christ.”

If we can keep all of this in mind we will now read the things that are written therein and know that it is all for us to “keep the things written therein, for the time is at hand,” and that we are to “live by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.”

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