Revelation 1:20

The Revelation

The King James Version of Revelation 1:1 says, “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.”

God’s signature is all over this book. God alone knows every inch, every second of future events. Only He could have written this. Prophecy is one of the proofs that God is the author of the Scripture.

But that word “signified” also helps us to see that much of the book is written in signs. When we read Revelation, we see lots of images, allusions, similes, metaphors, and signs for us to discover.

So why? Why use images and signs?

Let’s examine that.

First of all, they are descriptive. For example, the word beast says way more than the word dictator. A dictator can be malevolent, but he could also possibly be benevolent. But beast? That speaks of evil and harm and awfulness. We get a way bigger picture of who this global leader will be with that image. So, a picture can be worth a thousand words.

Secondly, language can be fluid. The meaning of words can change over time. But a beast is still a beast today, a seed is a seed, a serpent is still a serpent.

So, this book is filled with pictures we need to examine in order to understand.

When John first saw the vision of Christ in Revelation 1:12, Jesus was standing among seven lampstands. He held in His right hand seven stars. Stars, lampstands? What do those mean?

Part of the beauty of this book is that not only does God give the images and signs; He gives the definitions. Some of those definitions will be tucked away in the Revelation. However, for some we will have to go on a hunt through the Old Testament. But a hunt through the Scripture leads to treasure. So, as we walk through this book we will be on an amazing treasure hunt.

Verse 12 introduced the stars and the lampstands, but here in verse 20, God explains them.

“The mystery of the seven stars that you saw in my right hand and of the seven golden lampstands is this: The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches.”

Ah, discovery. God really wants us to understand. But I also think He wants us to enjoy the thrill of finding the treasure.

Let’s go on a treasure hunt.

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