Previously in Revelation
Overview of Chapters One Through Five
John lived on an island. John was exiled to Patmos for preaching the word of God and for speaking about Jesus. John worshiped God. One Lord’s day, John heard a loud voice. The voice sounded like a trumpet blast.
John turned around. He saw seven golden lampstands, and in the middle of the lampstands one like a Son of Man. John was looking at Jesus. When he saw Jesus, John fell down as a dead man. John was extremely afraid.
Jesus said, “Don’t be afraid! I am the first and the last. I am the living one who died. Look, I am alive forever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and the grave. Write down what you have seen—both the things that are now happening and the things that will happen later.”
John wrote. He wrote, “The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show to His bond-servants, the things which must shortly take place.” John wrote more. He wrote about a promise from God: “Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of the prophecy, and heed the things which are written in it; for the time is near.”
John wrote still more. He wrote Jesus’ encouragement and warning to seven churches:
Ephesus abandoned their first love, and Jesus said, “Remember and repent and work!”
Smyrna faced persecution, and Jesus said, “Be faithful!”
Pergamum stumbled over false teaching, and Jesus said, “Repent!”
Thyatira tolerated evil people within the church, and Jesus said, “Repent!”
Sardis slumbered, seemingly dead, and Jesus said, “Wake up!”
Philadelphia remained faithful to God and to one another, and Jesus said, “Hold fast!”
Laodicea turned lukewarm in their faith, and Jesus said, “Be zealous and repent!”
After receiving these messages for the churches, John looked and saw a door standing open in heaven. He heard the first voice say, “Come up here, and I will show you what must happen after these things.” And immediately John was in the Spirit. He saw a throne standing in heaven and One sitting on the throne who looked as brilliant as gemstones!
Four incredibly beautiful and fearsome living creatures gathered around that throne. They offered ceaseless praise, saying, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God, the Almighty, who was and who is and who is to come." When these four living creatures gave glory and honor and thanks to Him who sits on the throne, then twenty-four elders fell down before Him who sits on the throne, and worshiped Him who lives forever and ever.
John then saw a book in the right hand of Him who sat on the throne. The book had writing inside and on the back, sealed up with seven seals. A strong angel with a loud voice asked, “Who is worthy to open the book and to break its seals?” No one in heaven or on earth was found worthy to open that book. John wept mournfully.
One of the elders told John to stop weeping and to keep looking at Jesus—the Lion from the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, the victorious Savior, the Lamb that was slain, the Redeemer, the Lord God Almighty—the One worthy to receive all power and riches and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing. John saw Jesus as completely worthy!
Finally, John saw and heard every created thing in heaven and on the earth declare, “To Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, be blessing and honor and glory and dominion forever and ever.” The four living creatures kept saying, “Amen.” And the elders fell down and worshiped.
~ Douglas W. Vaughan, verses from the New American Standard and the New Living Translation Bibles
Revelation One Through Five Outlines
I. Introduction (1:1-3:22)
A. Title and Blessing (1:1-3)
B. Epistolary Introduction (1:4-8)
C. Narrative Introduction (1:9-20)
1. Setting (1:9-11)
2. Vision of the Son of Man (1:12-16)
3. Jesus’ Message (1:17-20)
D. Letters to the Seven Churches (2:1-3:22)
1. Ephesus: Lost Love (2:1-7)
2. Smyrna: Suffering Saints (2:8-11)
3. Pergamum: Fornicating Faction (2:12-17)
4. Thyatira: Compromising Christians (2:18-27)
5. Sardis: Sinful Slumber (3:1-6)
6. Philadelphia: Persevering Pillars (3:7-13)
7. Laodicea: Prosperous Paupers (3:14-22)
II. Visions of the Heavenly Temple (4:1-5:14)
A. Worship in Heaven (4:1-11)
B. Worthy to Open the Book (5:1-7)
C. In Praise of the Lamb (5:8-14)
~ Craig S. Keener, Revelation: The NIV Application Commentary, p. 44.
The Introduction (Revelation 1)
The Revelation as Apocalypse and Prophecy (1:1-3)
The Johannine Prescript (1:4-8)
The Dramatis Personae: John Introduces Himself and His Recipients (1:9-11)
The Dramatis Personae: John’s Vision of Christ (1:12-16)
John’s Response to the Lord’s Command (1:17-20)
The Letters to the Seven Churches (Revelation 2-3)
To the Church in Ephesus (2:1-7)
To the Church in Smyrna (2:8-11)
To the Church in Pergamum (2:12-17)
To the Church in Thyatira (2:18-29)
To the Church in Sardis (3:1-6)
To the Church in Philadelphia (3:7-13)
To the Church in Laodicea (3:14-22)
John’s Vision of Heaven and Earth (Revelation 4-6)
The Throne in Heaven (4:1-6a)
The Occupants of Heaven and Their Worship (4:6b-11)
The Unopened Scroll (5:1-4)
The Lion Who is a Lamb (5:5-6)
The Lamb Take the Scroll and Heaven Rejoices (5:7-14)
The Opening of the First Six Seals (6:1-17)
Seals One Through Four: The Four Horsemen (6:1-8)
The Fifth Seal: The Martyrs (6:9-11)
The Sixth Seal: The Great Earthquake (6:12-17)
~ Gordon D. Fee, Revelation, p. vi.
Building Our Worship Vocabulary
Then Hannah prayed:
"My heart rejoices in the LORD! Oh, how the LORD has blessed me! Now I have an answer for my enemies, as I delight in your deliverance.
No one is holy like the LORD! There is no one besides you; there is no Rock like our God.
Stop acting so proud and haughty! Don't speak with such arrogance! The LORD is a God who knows your deeds; and he will judge you for what you have done.
Those who were mighty are mighty no more; and those who were weak are now strong.
Those who were well fed are now starving; and those who were starving are now full. The barren woman now has seven children; but the woman with many children will have no more.
The LORD brings both death and life; he brings some down to the grave but raises others up.
The LORD makes one poor and another rich; he brings one down and lifts another up.
He lifts the poor from the dust -- yes, from a pile of ashes! He treats them like princes, placing them in seats of honor. For all the earth is the LORD's, and he has set the world in order.
He will protect his godly ones, but the wicked will perish in darkness. No one will succeed by strength alone.
Those who fight against the LORD will be broken. He thunders against them from heaven; the LORD judges throughout the earth. He gives mighty strength to his king; he increases the might of his anointed one."
1 Samuel 2:1-10, NLT