TOM BROWN'S BIBLE COMMENTARIES
Book of Revelation
|1 The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show his servants
what must soon take place. He made it known by sending his angel to his servant
|revelation of Jesus Christ.
focuses on the main character and hero. It is not primarily a revelation of the
must soon take place.
It concerns immediate
future events, such as the fall of Rome and the Christianization of the World.
The very end the book deals with the new heavens and new earth.
made it known. KJV “signified it”
which means the book is given in symbolic form. That is, everything (including
numbers) has symbolic meaning. The error of interpretation is to take some
symbols and make them literal.
|2 who testifies to everything he saw — that is, the word of God and the
testimony of Jesus Christ.
|word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ. Every
symbolic vision must be interpreted by the word of God, not by current
events. Many make mistakes by trying to fit current events into the various
visions. Ex. taking the ten horns and trying to make it fit the European
Common Market; in this case ten is a symbolic number meaning completion, not
a literal ten nations.
|3 Blessed is the one who reads the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear
it and take to heart what is written in it, because the time is near.
There is a special blessing to the reader so long as he takes to heart
what is written. There is no blessing unless the reader understands it.
seven churches in the province of Asia:
Grace and peace to you from him who is, and who was, and who is to come,
and from the seven spirits a before his throne,
|5 and from
Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the
ruler of the kings of the earth.
To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood,
|ruler of the kings of the earth.
While it may not look like Christ is ruling, he truly is from
freed us from our sins by
The blood is the only thing that can not only cleans us, but free
us from the worldly system.
|6 and has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve his God and Father
— to him be glory and power for ever and ever! Amen.
|kingdom and priests.
The way Christ rules the nations is through us as kings and priests.
|7 Look, he
is coming with the clouds,
and every eye will see him,
even those who pierced him;
and all the peoples of the earth will mourn because of
So shall it be! Amen.
|Look, he is coming with the clouds. Make no mistake; the Lord truly is coming
personally and visibly. There is no secret return of Christ. Everyone will see
him when he comes.
|8 "I am the Alpha and the Omega," says the Lord God, "who is,
and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty."
|Alpha and the Omega
The first and last letters of the Greek alphabet. His identity is
clear: he is the Lord Almighty—the beginning and ending.
|9 I, John, your brother and companion in the suffering and kingdom and
patient endurance that are ours in Jesus, was on the island of Patmos because
of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus.
|companion in the suffering.
John is writing to a
persecuted church. Under the Emperor Domitian, the Christians have lost jobs,
wealth, prestige, and even their lives. You must read the book with these
saints in mind.
|10 On the Lord's Day I was in the Spirit, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a
|On the Lord's Day.
loud voice like a trumpet
Trumpets were used to sound a battle charge. This book is calling the
Christians to spiritual arms.
|11 which said: "Write on a scroll what you see and send it to the
seven churches: to Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia
|Write on a scroll. Experts in Greek confirm
that the writings of revelation seem very rushed. It is as though the apostle
writes just as he is seeing the visions.
|12 I turned around to see the voice that was speaking to me. And when I
turned I saw seven golden lampstands,
|seven golden lampstands.
It was the Jewish Menorah.
See Ex 25:31-32.
|13 and among the lamp stands was someone "like a son of
man," b dressed in a robe reaching down to his feet and
with a golden sash around his chest.
|14 His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and his eyes
were like blazing fire.
|hair were white like wool.
Common hair color for
judges. White speaks on wisdom.
and his eyes were like blazing fire.
Jesus sees through everyone and convicts just by his look. Peter felt
his penetrating look when he denied the Lord three times.
|15 His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace, and his voice was like
the sound of rushing waters.
|His feet were like bronze.
He crushes his enemies.
|16 In his right hand he held seven stars, and out of his mouth came a sharp double-edged
sword. His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance.
|In his right hand he held seven stars
The stars, which
represent the leaders of the churches, were not over the lamp stands, but were
in Christ hands. Pastors should not use their authority to dominate the laity.
|17 When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. Then he placed his
right hand on me and said: "Do not be afraid. I am the First and the
|right hand. Strong. Christ gives strength to John.|
|18 I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive for ever and
ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades.
|I was dead, and behold I am alive
. The identity could not be clearer: he is
|19 "Write, therefore, what you have seen, what is now and what will
take place later.
|what is now.
Though the vision is about the future, much of the visions are about the
present. An error people make is assuming all the visions (seven seals, seven
trumpets, seven bowls of wrath) are about the future. But in many cases, John
sees what has already occurred and what is occurring in his day. Ex. In the
cases of the seven seals, it is very clear that the first seal brings forth
Christ as the rider of the horse. And the other three riders bring war, famine,
and disease—which are things currently taking place in the world.
|20 The mystery of the seven stars that you saw in my right hand and of the seven
golden lamp stands is this: The seven stars are the angels c of
the seven churches, and the seven lamp stands are the seven churches.
|seven stars are the angels.
messengers. Likely a reference to the leaders of the churches.
seven lamp stands are the seven churches.
Like many parables that Jesus gave, he explains the meaning of the first
vision. After this, he or the angel provides very little interpretation of the
symbols. He counts on the reader to interpret the symbols correctly.
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