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REVELATION 1:12-18

A PORTRAIT OF JESUS!

Study these verses with us!

On the authority of God's Word ... He will bless you!

  "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."  Revelation 1:3

--- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 A Preacher in his Study

 

 

 

 

 

"And I turned to see the voice that spake with me. And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks; 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.  His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire; and his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters.  And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp twoedged sword: and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength.  And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last:  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."  Revelation 1:12-18

 

SEVENTEEN LESSONS ON REVELATION 1:12-18 APPEAR BELOW:

Now, don't let the number overwhelm you!  Take them one at a time.  You will be glad you did!  It's not a "quick" study ... but it's a rewarding one!

 

LESSON 1 ... NOVEMBER 4, 2004:

Occasionally one hears the question.

I personally have never paid a lot of attention to it.

A faithful Christian ought to serve the Lord diligently ... having never seen the Saviour he so loves!

The New Testament suggests this is the right attitude in 1 Peter 1:8 --- "Whom (Jesus) having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory."

Paul adds to this conclusion in 2 Corinthians 5:7 --- "For we walk by faith, not by sight."

But if one just HAD to give some description of Jesus, what would he or she say?

I think I've perhaps found the BEST answer!

I'll let the Apostle John supply the details.

And he very capably does so in Revelation 1:12-18.

He had just heard a Voice ... and turned to see Who had spoken.  It was Jesus!

"And I turned to see the voice that spake with me. And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks; 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.  His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire; and his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters.  And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp twoedged sword: and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength.  And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last:  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."

Wow!

This is a good description of our Lord!

(I think it's the fullest one in the entire Bible ... although the Song of Solomon has some lovely paragraphs about the Bridegroom, who is a Type of Christ.)

John here supplies us with a picture of Jesus' very clothing!

Then His head and hair and eyes are mentioned descriptively!

Next His feet and His mouth and His hands are noticed!

Then even some identifying words are spoken!  (So we here see Him and hear Him too!)

And in case you're worried that I've made a mistake ... Jesus clearly identifies Himself to the Patmos Apostle in those last two verses!

Here we have it ... a "picture" of Jesus!

Come back tomorrow if you can.  I want us to begin studying His Person in some detail.  We have a lovely Lord and Saviour!

I think I'll already share with you the conclusion of Scripture about His appearance: "Yea, he is altogether lovely. This is my beloved, and this is my friend!"  Song of Solomon 6:16.

To use the words of the Christmas carol:  "O come, let us adore Him!"

                                                                               --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 2 ...

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

Back in verse 10 John has just told us that he heard a "great voice!"  He said It was like a "trumpet!"

That Voice has so overwhelmed the Apostle that he's just sure he can "see" It!

John has written earlier about that Voice!  (Watch him tell us that he has earlier HEARD Jesus' voice!  "That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life!"  1 John 1:1)

Or maybe he associates this Voice with the miraculous "rapture" to heaven he had just experienced!  "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."  (Revelation 4:1)   By the way, we are all going to hear THAT Voice one day!

And John is not the first one to be impressed with That Voice!

Listen to the crowds around Jesus!  "Never man spake like this Man."  John 7:46  (And notice it is JOHN who tells us this!)

Jesus here has such a powerful Voice that John assimilates it into our Lord's very Person! The Voice is the Man!  This is interesting.  He has just come very near to calling Jesus the WORD again!  We Christians have a written word (the Bible) and a Living Word (the Saviour)!  How blessed we are!  In Hebrews 4:12-13 where the WORD is being discussed, notice that Paul says of the WORD ... "Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do."  Here The Word is also a PERSON!  It is Jesus!

The noun for voice in Greek is "phone" (pronounced as fo-nay')!  The adjective "great" is in Greek "mega!"  Put them together and Jesus' Voice is like a "mega-phone!"  Wow! I've heard of telephones and speaker phones and such ... but one day I shall hear literally the Megaphone of all time and eternity!

The verb "see" is "blepo" and means to look at ... but usually with intensity and earnest contemplation!  The word as used here is a present infinitive ... John just kept on staring and gazing and beholding!  (He is astounded!)

The verb "spake" here is "laleo."  It emphasizes not the intent of Jesus' words yet ... just the majestic sound of them!

But before John saw Jesus ... he saw something else!

This verb "saw" is different!  It translates "eido" and means "to know by perception!" Apparently as soon as the Beloved John sees these candlesticks he knows what they represent (seven churches)!

Need proof of that?  "And the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches."  Jesus Himself told that to John in Revelation 1:20!

Where is Jesus when John first sees him?

He's in the midst of his Churches!

That's where you'll always find Him!

(Even in the Song of Solomon which is so filled with types and pictures and symbols of Jesus and His Church, His Bride!)

Lord willing ...more tomorrow as we journey through this paragraph about Jesus!

It's ALL about Him!

                                                                                          --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 3:

"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."  Revelation 1:13

The noun "midst" (actually in Greek ... a pronoun) is spelled "mesos" and means in the middle!  (Among, in the center!)

The "candlesticks" represent the seven churches to whom John is writing (local congregations in Asia Minor, located in an area equivalent to present day eastern Turkey).

Here these lampstands are parallel to the 7 pronged candlestick in the Tabernacle of old!

The "Son of man" is perhaps Jesus' favorite title for Himself!  ("huios anthropos")  It carries the idea of being The Perfect Man!  (It's a title "borrowed" from the Prophet Daniel also.  "I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him.  And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed."  Daniel 7:14-15

The verb "clothed" translates "enduo" ... which became our English word "endued!" (Wrapped up in a cloth!)  The perfect participle here suggests Jesus is still wearing such a robe!

"Garment down to the foot" translates just one Greek word ... "poderes," meaning a robe that covers one modestly and literally reaches the feet!  Three particular branches of men in the Old Testament wore such robes:  prophets, priests and kings! I believe Jesus here is being depicted as a priest!  (In fact He is a Great High Priest!)

The verb "girt" is "perizonnumi" and means "belted around" or "bound/tied around!" This is specifically priestly attire!  The "paps" translates "mastos" and means the human breast.  (Josephus, the first century historian, says the priests wore their belts or girdles high like that ... around the breasts!)

Think with me a minute about the "clothes" of Jesus.

At birth He is wrapped in swaddling clothes!  (Luke 2:7)

No doubt His mother made the family's clothes.  Perhaps even including His work garments (as a Carpenter)!

And at Calvary He owned a beautiful seamless robe ... according to John 19:23-24. Was this given Him by a dear friend or admirer?

But once His clothes glowed with radiant light!  His Glory as God was allowed to shine forth in great splendor!

He also at times wore clothing that had the "tassels" or "borders" (the "hem" of Luke 8:43-44)!  We know this because a bleeding lady touched Him there one day!  (And she was healed!)

And during His trial ... Jesus was mockingly robed with "purple" as a king would have been!  He endured such ridicule to die for sinners like you and me.

Next His burial garments must be mentioned.  A "clean linen cloth" no doubt was used to wrap His dead Body!  There was something "special" about these however after His resurrection.  "Then went in (to the empty tomb) also that other disciple(John), which came first to the sepulchre, and he saw (the grave clothes), and believed."  John 20:8

And now we see His garments of Glory!

High Priestly Garments!  ("And thou shalt make holy garments for Aaron thy brother for glory and for beauty."  See Exodus 28:2)  The next time you see Jesus ... He will be gloriously arrayed ... "for glory and beauty!"

At His literal Second Coming to earth Jesus will have a garment that's been "dipped in blood!" (Revelation 19:13)  Or He'll wear "dyed" garments as in Isaiah 63:1.

Of course Jesus has "clothed" us too!  With garments of righteousness!

                                                                               --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 4:

A "portrait" of our Lord!

Artists have tried for years to produce an adequate representation of the Saviour ... to no avail!

It's just not possible.

However, there IS a verbal "picture" of Jesus in the Bible!

John the Disciple saw our glorified Lord in Revelation 1.

And he wrote what he saw!

One of the most impressive features of Christ Jesus according to John is His head! In fact, it's one of the first things John describes.

"His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow ...."  Revelation 1:14a

The noun for "head" is "kephale" in Greek and is derived from the verb "kapto" which means "to seize!"  Perhaps the head of an individual is that part of his presence which first impresses you.  I know that the appearance of Jesus "seized" John here ... from the Lord's head downward it seems.  (By the way Jesus IS The Head of the church!)

I sure am glad He "seized" me one day!

The hair of our Lord is also included in John's analysis.  (Some of the old Puritans taught that the "hairs" were a picture of the "thoughts" that proceeded from Christ's head ... also pure and clean!)

Both are said to be "white" (in Greek = "leukos"), a word meaning bright with whiteness!  You might even say that Jesus is glowing here!  (He did during the Transfiguration too!)

"Wool" is an unusual word ("erion") ... found only twice in the New Testament.  It no doubt speaks of the pure clean radiant hair growing from a healthy little lamb or sheep.  This analogy would be fitting to those in John's age who lived so near the land ... pastures and fields and flocks and herds.

And "snow" (in Greek = "chion") is only used 3 times in the New Testament!  (Twice in the Transfiguration accounts ... once here!)  Of course we all know how completely white that is!

Now one of the amazing things to me is that John's two "similes" (word pictures) here (wool and snow) are the same two Isaiah used in an Old Testament verse! "Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool."  Isaiah 1:18

Once saved, a believer is pure and clean (like snow and wool)!

And those very two words describe our Lord Jesus too!  (His very Head!)

This is at least "implying" that we shall be made like HIM by means of the precious Grace of God!

The body (us) being made like The Head (Him)!

The sinner being transformed (via the Blood of the Cross) to be like the Saviour!

Glory to God!

Picture this darling Head of Jesus as it is cradled in the Virgin Mary's arms as a babe!

Then as baptized by John the Baptist!

And anointed by the Holy Spirit!  (Psalm 45:7 and Isaiah 61:1-2)

It was also a buffeted Head during His arrest and trial!

And One crowned with thorns!

Finally a "bowed" Head gave up the ghost ... that we might be saved!

But now ... in its glorified state Jesus has an exalted Head!  (Ephesians 1:22 --- "And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church.")

Incidentally, when He is described in the Song of Solomon (in Typology) His head is "gold" and His hairs are "black!"  (Song of Solomon 5:11 --- "His head is as the most fine gold, his locks are bushy, and black as a raven.")

Two descriptions of the Same Head ... but with different areas of truth being emphasized!

And ... best of all ... some day we shall gaze upon That Head and worship Him Who died to make us free!

We have such a lovely Saviour!  ("Yea, He is altogether lovely. This is my Beloved, and This is my Friend."  Song of Solomon 5:16)

Glory to God!

Don't you just love Him this morning?

At Church today ... worship Him heartily!

                                                                                  --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 5:

Have you ever thought about the "eyes" of the Lord?

Solomon tells us:  "The eyes of the LORD are in every place, beholding the evil and the good." Proverbs 15:3

And notice this verse in Luke 19:5 --- "And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up, and saw him, and said unto him, Zacchaeus, make haste, and come down; for to day I must abide at thy house." 

Jesus' gracious eyes it seems were accustomed to seeing sinners ... and inviting them to Salvation!

The beloved Apostle John tells us more about our Lord's eyes in Revelation 1.  He actually describes them for us!

" ... And His eyes were as a flame of fire."   Revelation 1:14

Jesus could see things others missed!

Simon the Fisherman was viewed by his peers as an ill tempered impatient human being.  BUT Jesus saw something else in him!  He saw the potential of a great Christian and faithful preacher of the Word of God!

The day Jesus met Nathanael was amazing also!  Here's the Gospel account:  "Philip findeth Nathanael, and saith unto him, We have found him, of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, did write, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph. And Nathanael said unto him, Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth? Philip saith unto him, Come and see. Jesus saw Nathanael coming to him, and saith of him, Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile! Nathanael saith unto him, Whence knowest thou me? Jesus answered and said unto him, Before that Philip called thee, when thou wast under the fig tree, I saw thee. Nathanael answered and saith unto him, Rabbi, thou art the Son of God; thou art the King of Israel. Jesus answered and said unto him, Because I said unto thee, I saw thee under the fig tree, believest thou? thou shalt see greater things than these. And he saith unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Hereafter ye shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man."  (John 1:45-51) Jesus "saw" this future Disciple before he ever met him!  Nathanael was sitting under a fig tree ... and apparently meditating about the Old Testament!  Jesus even saw what he was thinking, about Genesis 28 and the "ladder" of old Jacob's dream!  Now that's really seeing!

While on earth Jesus' eyes often were "lifted" to His Father in heaven also.  John 17:1 describes Jesus doing so as He prayed.  "These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee."  Our Lord repeated the action at the grave of dead (temporarily) Lazarus!  "Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead was laid. And Jesus lifted up his eyes, and said, Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me."  John 11:41

His "eyes" could bring conviction too!  After Peter's denial of the Lord  we are told: "And the Lord turned, and looked upon Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice.  And Peter went out, and wept bitterly."  Luke 22:61-62

Observe His eyes as they love sinners!  "Then Jesus beholding him (the rich young ruler) loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me."  Mark 10:21

One preacher says Jesus had good eyesight ... and insight!

Here's a surprising statement.  "And when he (Jesus) had looked round about on them with anger, being grieved for the hardness of their hearts, he saith unto the man, Stretch forth thine hand. And he stretched it out: and his hand was restored whole as the other."  (Mark 3:5)  Here's a holy look of anger!  Remember, Jesus was (and still is) sinless!

The world's last view of Christ was one of suffering and shame.  His eyes no doubt were weak and bloody!

But the next time the masses of humanity see Him ... His eyes will be "as a flame of fire!"

Listen to Paul describe the Lord's Second Coming to earth in 2 Thessalonians 1:7-8. "And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ."  Did you see the words "in flaming fire?"

I know this.  I thank God for the day the lovely Lord SAW me! 

I feel like Hagar when she said to Him:  "Thou God seest me." (Genesis 16:13) Wow!

Let me close by reminding you of this.  Jesus saw with such clarity because of Who He is!  The very Son of God.  He is God the Son!  He is perfect in every way.  Of course He could see clearly!

BUT He also gave us the "secret" for seeing well!

It comes in Matthew 5:8 where He taught us:  "Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see ...." 

The more and more holy one's heart becomes ... the better and better he sees!

Purity improves eyesight!

Here's the last word in that great verse!

"Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see GOD!"

                                                                                   --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 6:

Who would want to study anyone's "feet?"

I mean outside of a college of Podiatrists?  (Foot Doctors)

Students of Jesus are interested in His every feature!  He is "altogether lovely" to them!

Even His feet!  Here's what John says about them:

"And his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace."  Revelation 1:15

I'll tell you this about His feet.  They were (and still are) beautiful!

How do I know?

Isaiah 52:7 tells me.  "How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth!"

If anyone ever brought Good News, It was Jesus!

Plus, they are now nail scarred feet!  Scars inflicted when He died for you and me to be saved!  That fact alone makes them beautiful beyond measure!

See if this verse gives you a mental picture of Jesus' feet.  "How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him."  Acts 10:38

And the other day I read this.  "Everywhere Jesus went in the Gospel records, with one exception, He walked!"  (I have been thinking about this ... and can't disprove it!)  He indeed went about doing good!

People fell at Jesus' feet, begging for healing!  Matthew 15:30 tells us:  "And great multitudes came unto him, having with them those that were lame, blind, dumb, maimed, and many others, and cast them down at Jesus' feet; and he healed them."

People worshipped at the feet of Jesus!  Remember the one grateful leper (of ten) who did so?  (Luke 17:11-19)  "And fell down on his face at his feet, giving him thanks: and he was a Samaritan."

In fact every time you see Mary (Sister of Lazarus and Martha) in Scripture ... she is at Jesus' feet! 

Here's she's at home in Bethany.  "And she (Martha) had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus' feet, and heard his word."  Luke 10:39

Here's she grieving over the death of her brother Lazarus.  "Then when Mary was come where Jesus was, and saw him, she fell down at his feet, saying unto him, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died."  John 11:32

And here's she's just adoring Him. "Then took Mary a pound of ointment of spikenard, very costly, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped his feet with her hair: and the house was filled with the odour of the ointment."  John 12:3

And, praise God ... Jesus has "victorious" feet!

"For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death. For he hath put all things under his feet."  1 Corinthians 15:25-27

In Ephesians 1:22 we are told that the Father "Hath put all things under his (Jesus') feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church!"  Glory to God!

Jesus' glorified feet are depicted by John as being like "fine brass."  The word  used here has the idea of "brightness ... brilliancy!"  Many Bible teachers believe that "brass" in the Bible is a symbol of judgment.  If so, it "fits" the picture here very well!  (Not just brass ... but FINE brass too!  Jesus has the preeminence in all things! See Colossians 1:18.)

The verb "burned" in Revelation 1:15 is "puroo" and means to be set on fire!  The "furnace" has the idea of being refined by the goldsmiths ... tested and proved to be geniune and pure!

Why don't we all stop for a while today and spend some time ... at the feet of the Saviour?

It would be a wise thing to do!

Oh, by the way ... you WILL spend some time at his feet this side of eternity ... or on the other side you will be FORCED to do so!  That's a promise from the Word of God!  "That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth.  And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." (Philippians 2:10-11)  Also see Isaiah 45:23 where God says --- "I have sworn by myself, the word is gone out of my mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, That unto me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear."

                                                                      --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 7:

John the Apostle had heard Jesus speak many times!

After all, he spent over 3 years with our dear Lord.

He heard perhaps every sermon Jesus ever preached!  He heard Him at every mealtime discussion!  He even heard Him as He spoke over the bodies of 3 dead people ... all of whom arose immediately!

So I again say it ... John knew the voice of Jesus.

He even once wrote of hearing Jesus' voice.  "That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life."  (1 John 1:1)  The Word of Life was (and still is) Jesus!  When John here says he has HEARD Jesus speak ... he frames the verb "akouo" as a perfect indicative active.  This means (the term "perfect") that once Jesus spoke ... the effect, the influence, the impact, the very "ring" of That Voice never ended in one's mind and in one's life!  (The talking was over ... but the hearing was still happening!)

Yet when the Beloved Disciple was on the isle of Patmos (in the book of Revelation) he saw the Lord in even greater detail ... the resurrected and glorified Lord Jesus Christ!

There in Revelation 1:15 he says:  "And His voice (was) as the sound of many waters."

That's quite a different characterization than ever before! 

Isaiah 42:2 says prophetically of the Saviour:  "He shall not cry, nor lift up, nor cause his voice to be heard in the street."  This implies that Jesus will be rather quiet.  (At least much more quiet than loud or boisterous!)

Yet (again I say) the resurrected Jesus is One with a "voice as the sound of many waters!"  That's very loud and powerful!

But it's clear from the New Testament that Jesus also has a voice of compassion! Listen to Him in Matthew 11:28 --- "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest."

However Jesus also has a voice of stern rebuke for those who disobeyed the Father in Heaven!  Again, listen to Him in Matthew 23:14 --- "Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye devour widows' houses, and for a pretence make long prayer: therefore ye shall receive the greater damnation."

Jesus' voice was the voice of instruction for His followers too.  Remember when "One of his disciples said unto him, Lord, teach us to pray.  And He (Jesus) said unto them, When ye pray, say ...."  Luke 11:1-2  (What teaching that was!)

Jesus also voiced Himself from the Cross of Calvary!  He spoke a total of 7 timers from the old rugged Tree.  (He spoke in His "humiliation" ... and He will speak again in His "exaltation!"  That means when He comes again in glory and victory!)

Jesus' voice could enunciate the Scriptures well also.  Luke 4:16 describes one of the Sabbath Days in Jesus' home town of Nazareth.  "And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read."  We all would have loved to hear that!

And on occasion He even spoke loudly when here on earth.  For example at the grave of Lazarus:  "And when he thus had spoken, he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth."  (John 11:43)  Or from the Cross itself:  "And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?"  (Matthew 27:46)  Then again in Matthew's very next verse:  "Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost."

But what John has just told us in Revelation 1:15 is even more astounding!  Who has ever yet heard a voice "as the sound of many waters?"

The term suggests roaring dynamic power!  An unending source of it too!  Vibrating, earth-shaking terrain-changing water!  (Water can come in drops to quench thirst or in floods to sweep houses down river!)

Maybe when Jesus was arrested we see a "foretaste" of this powerful voice!  "Judas then, having received a band of men and officers from the chief priests and Pharisees, cometh thither with lanterns and torches and weapons.  Jesus therefore, knowing all things that should come upon him, went forth, and said unto them, Whom seek ye? They answered him, Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus saith unto them, I am he. And Judas also, which betrayed him, stood with them. As soon then as he had said unto them, I am he, they went backward, and fell to the ground."  The sheer power of His voice knocked them to the ground!  (About 600 soldiers!)  John 19:3-6

Or get this.  His glorified voice can be a destructive voice!  At Jesus' Second Coming the anti-christ will be slain by means of Jesus' voice!  "And then shall that Wicked (the anti-christ) be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming."  Paul said this in 2 Thessalonians 2:8.

And talk about power, listen to Jesus again:  "Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live."  John 5:25

But here's something beautiful too. 

As a lost man Saul of Tarsus was on his way to Damascus ... to imprison or slay more Christians WHEN he heard a voice!  Acts 9:4 tells us:  "And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?"  (Repeated again in Acts 22:7 and 26:14!)  The voice he heard was Jesus! Notice that the awesome voice of our Lord called little Saul's (soon to be Paul's) name ... twice!  Of course Saul promptly got "saved" by God's grace.

Is there someone today hearing Jesus' voice!  He knows your name too, dear friend! If He speaks to you through His dear Word and the convicting presence of the Holy Spirit ... listen and obey immediately!  You will be glad you did for the rest of time ... and eternity!

Jesus again says in John 10:27 --- "My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me."

Christian friend ... listen!

                                                                                      --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 8: 

Today let's notice Jesus' Hands!

In Mark 6:2 people asked this about Jesus:  "What wisdom is this which is given unto Him, that even such mighty works are wrought by His Hands?"

He even created the heavens with His Hands (His Fingers)!  Listen to Psalm 8:3. "When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained."

And remember, Jesus grew up in a carpenter shop!  He worked physically with His Hands!

I would have loved to have seen how His Hands gripped the Scroll (the Old Testament Scriptures) from which He read that day in Nazareth!  See Luke 4:17 --- "And there was delivered unto Him the book of the prophet Esaias. And when He had opened the book, He found the place where it was written ...."

He had loving Hands!  "And, behold, there came a leper and worshipped him, saying, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean.  And Jesus put forth his hand, and touched him, saying, I will; be thou clean. And immediately his leprosy was cleansed."  Matthew 8:2-3  (He even touched this leper!)

And He had healing Hands for thousands it seems!  Luke 4:40 --- "Now when the sun was setting, all they that had any sick with divers diseases brought them unto him; and he laid his hands on every one of them, and healed them."

He of course had nail-scarred Hands too!  He invited Thomas to ... "Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing."  John 20:27

But let's look at our text verse more carefully.  What are His Hands doing there? They are holding seven stars!

"And he had in his right hand seven stars." (Revelation 1:16) 

Those stars represent the "preachers" of those seven churches (Ephesus through Laodicea) mentioned in verse 11.  This conclusion is based on Revelation 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 ("messengers") of the seven churches: and the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches."

Preachers, you are "in His Hands!"

In fact, all the truly saved are in His Hands!

"And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.  My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand."  John 10:28-29

And you're not just sitting in His Hand either.  You are "engraved" into It!  In Isaiah 49:16 our God says:  "Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands; thy walls are continually before me."

And today ... from Heaven ... He still has those uplifted Hands bestowing blessing after blessing upon His Own people!  Or at least that's the last view we have of Him as He ascended to Glory! 

"And he led them out as far as to Bethany, and he lifted up his hands, and blessed them.  And it came to pass, while he blessed them, he was parted from them, and carried up into heaven."  Luke 24:50-51

Glory to God!

Are you dear friend "in His Hands?"

                                                                                --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 9 ... FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 12, 2004:

Look at Jesus' Mouth!

"And out of his mouth went a sharp twoedged sword."  Revelation 1:16

This picture of Christ with the Sword no doubt symbolizes the very Word of God! ("For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart."  Hebrews 4:12)

And it looks to me like this depicts the Word of God in its judging and cleansing aspects particularly!

"Sharp," an adjective that translates the Greek word "oxus," means "swift" as well as sharp!  The Bible is swift and strong!  (The root word means "pointed" too!) 

And "twoedged" literally indicates a "two mouthed" sword!  The "Sword" of the Word of God can either perform surgery and heal spiritually sick saints ... or decapitate wicked reprobate rebels!

However the Word of God not only judges.  It does other things also ... especially for Believers!

The Word has a nourishing aspect!  (It is both milk and meat!)

And it has a burning aspect!  And a  softening aspect!  ("Is not my word like as a fire? saith the LORD; and like a hammer that breaketh the rock in pieces?" The Lord asked that in Jeremiah 29:23!)

The Word is also sweet and strengthening to some!  ("Sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb."  Psalm 19:10)

BUT the Word as a sword suggests battle!  Maybe even outright warfare!

Psalm 149 describes the purpose of this two-edged sword:  "To execute upon them the judgment written."  To put into effect what God's Word has already declared for the wicked!

That is exactly what Jesus has come to do in this Revelation 1 vision!  And He will DO THAT when He literally returns again to earth.

(By the way Psalm 149 strangely links "PRAISE" and the "SWORD!"  "Let the high praises of God be in their mouth, and a twoedged sword in their hand!"  Psalm 149:6.  And Jesus, The One with the Sword ... is from the Tribe of Praise, Judah!  So here's even more "linkage."  The whole Book of Revelation begins with PRAISE and ends with God's SWORD being unsheathed and used in judgment!)

To be balanced in our portrait of Christ, we must acknowledge that the sword is not the only thing that ever proceeded from Jesus' mouth!

Grace did often!  The Psalmist prophesied of our Lord when He said:  "Thou art fairer than the children of men: grace is poured into thy lips: therefore God hath blessed thee for ever."  Psalm 45:2  (Think of all the "Peace be unto thee" statements of our Lord and the "Fear not" words He spoke!)  Also see Luke 4:22 --- "And all bare him witness, and wondered at the gracious words which proceeded out of his mouth."

And Authority just oozed from Jesus' lips!  Even His enemies had to admit:  "Never man spake like this man."  John 7:46  He KNEW whereof He spoke!  The winds and the waves truly did obey His commands!

And Life emanated from His mouth too!  "The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life."  John 6:63  Wow! 

And what great teaching was in His mouth!  Here's how the great "Sermon on the Mount" begins:  "And he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying ...."  Matthew 5:2 (And this is not counting the "parables!"  See Matthew 13:35 --- "That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, I will open my mouth in parables; I will utter things which have been kept secret from the foundation of the world.")

On the Cross wicked men tried to do something to Jesus' mouth!  "Now there was set a vessel full of vinegar: and they filled a spunge with vinegar, and put it upon hyssop, and put it to his mouth."  John 19:29

Some day that kind of crowd will receive what they've so wickedly given!  When out of the mouth of Jesus comes the very words of judgment that will condemn them to hell forever!

This mouth that was so quiet on Calvary will speak plenty in the day of coming wrath!  "He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; and like a lamb dumb before his shearer, so opened he not his mouth."  Acts 8:32 quoting Isaiah 53

Let me close today with a "parallel" Bible description of Jesus' mouth having a twoedged sword:  "And then (at Jesus' Second Coming) shall that Wicked (anti-christ) be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming."  2 Thessalonians 2:8  (Sounds like a sword to me!)

I am so glad that I've experienced His mouth uttering words of GRACE in my life ... not words of condemnation!

"Even so ... come Lord Jesus!"  Revelation 22:20

                                                                           --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 10 ... SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 13, 2004, FROM HOME:

His "countenance!"

The Greek word is "opsis" and means literally face or appearance.  (It is only used 3 times in the whole New Testament and is translated once each as:  appearance, face and countenanace!  John 7:24 --- "Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment."  John 11:44 --- "And he that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with graveclothes: and his FACE was bound about with a napkin. Jesus saith unto them, Loose him, and let him go."  And here in Revelation 1:16 --- "And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp twoedged sword: and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength.") Wow!

So here is described for us the FACE of Jesus!

And it is shining ... like it did on the Day of Transfiguration just before the Cross! 

Mark 9:2-4 puts it this way:  "And after six days Jesus taketh with him Peter, and James, and John, and leadeth them up into an high mountain apart by themselves: and he was transfigured before them. And his raiment became shining, exceeding white as snow; so as no fuller on earth can white them.  And there appeared unto them Elias with Moses: and they were talking with Jesus."

And Matthew (17:1-3) says:  "And after six days Jesus taketh Peter, James, and John his brother, and bringeth them up into an high mountain apart, and was transfigured before them: and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light. And, behold, there appeared unto them Moses and Elias talking with him."

And Luke 9:28-29 ...  "And it came to pass about an eight days after these sayings, he took Peter and John and James, and went up into a mountain to pray.  And as he prayed, the fashion of his countenance was altered, and his raiment was white and glistering."

In Mark Jesus' clothes glowed.  In Matthew His Face did!  And in Luke everything about Him did!

This is Jesus in His Eternal Glory Who is being described both in the Transfiguration account(s) and in the Patmos event here in Revelation 1.

Jesus had a joyful Face I believe!  He attended weddings and feasts and was honored at meals time and time again.  In fact His enemies (falsely) accused Him of being a party-goer!  Matthew 11:19 says:  "The Son of man came eating and drinking, and they say, Behold a man gluttonous, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners. But wisdom is justified of her children."  He WILL BE eternally joyful too! See Matthew 25:23 where the Lord says to His profitable servants:  "Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy Lord."

But Jesus also had a sorrowful Face!  He is called a "Man of Sorrows" in Isaiah 53:3. And while yet a young Man of thirty or so ... his detractors accused Him of being nearly fifty!  "Then said the Jews unto him, Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham?"  John 8:57  (Had He aged prematurely, bearing all the weight of His sacred Duty?)

He once had a smitten Face too!  Matthew 26:67 --- "Then did they spit in his face, and buffeted him; and others smote him with the palms of their hands."  And Matthew 27:30 --- "And they spit upon him, and took the reed, and smote him on the head."  It was prophesied of Him that He would say:  "I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair: I hid not my face from shame and spitting."  See Isaiah 50:6.    It was so bad that Isaiah (52:14) reports:  "As many were astonied at thee; his visage was so marred more than any man, and his form more than the sons of men!"  Even to the point that:  "We hid as it were our faces from him!"  What a Saviour!

Oh, but within that Glorious Being (Jesus the Christ) resided the very Shekinah Glory of God Himself! 

Jesus had a set and determined Face also!  He was absolutely resolved to go to that Cross and die for our sins!  That's exactly what Luke meant when he said:  "His face was as though he would go to Jerusalem."  (Luke 9:53)  I think he's alluding to Isaiah 50:7 where Jesus says:  "For the Lord GOD will help me; therefore shall I not be confounded: therefore have I set my face like a flint, and I know that I shall not be ashamed."  Amen!

But I will tell you this for sure!  The next time you see Him ... He will not have a sad Face or a defeated Face or a beaten Face or a tearful Face! 

He might have a tinge of Holy Anger in His Face though!

Yet it will be a SHINING FACE!

Listen to John in our text:  "And his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength."  Revelation 1:16b

Like the sun shining in its greatest brightness!

(That's not the first time He has been compared to the sun either!  See Psalm 19:4-6 and Malachi 4:2!  Preachers, study the sun ... then compare it to Christ!  There are MANY helpful similarities!)

The Greek noun for "sun" is "helios!"  (That makes me want to study the chemical element "helium!"  I'll guarantee you it's a picture of Jesus in some lovely ways!)

The verb "shineth" is "phaino" and means a burst of sudden and brilliant light!  An explosion of brightness!  An eternal flashbulb of Glory!  (Present tense ... It goes on and on and on shining!)  It means "to shed light," or "to be resplendent!" Or "to radiate!"

And the word "strength" is dunamis, our word dynamite or dynamic!  Think of the power of the sun ... and how it's just a mild picture of the Power of our Lord!

And the good thing about it ... we are all going to see Him one day ... and it may be soon!

Again, I pray ... "Even so, come, Lord Jesus."

Revelation 22:20 ---"He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus."

Think of being "face to Face" with Him!

                                                                           --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 11 ... MONDAY MORNING, NOVEMBER 15, 2004:

Our first view of Jesus will be awesome!

Look at John's first glimpse of Him in the Book of Revelation:  "And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead."  Revelation 1:17

Of course John had seen the glorified Lord several times while Jesus was still on earth!  He showed Himself alive for 40 days after His Resurrection and before His Ascension.  Acts 1:3 tells us:  "To whom also He shewed Himself alive after His passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God."

But our verse today gives us John's first Patmos view of Jesus!  (Patmos was the island where John was imprisoned for the sake of his testimony!)

Now when Daniel saw such godly things he had a similar reaction!  (Daniel 8:17 --- "So he came near where I stood: and when he came, I was afraid, and fell upon my face: but he said unto me, Understand, O son of man: for at the time of the end shall be the vision.")

And the same was true of Isaiah!  (After he had seen the Lord he was so astounded that he tells us:  "Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts.")

And how about Peter?  (Once he saw observed one of Jesus' "fishing" miracles and ... "When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus' knees, saying, Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord."  Luke 5:8)

And after Paul's "trip" to the "third heaven" (the very abode of God) he recorded very little:  "How that he (Paul) was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter."  2 Corinthians 12:4

And even Thomas, upon beholding our resurrected Lord, exclaimed:  "And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God."  John 20:28

And the group of godly women who had come to his newly emptied grave ... when they finally saw Him ... "Behold, Jesus met them, saying, All hail. And they came and held him by the feet, and worshipped him."  Matthew 28:9

Friend, what will be our reaction when we first see Him in all His Glory?

Will we hug Him and kiss Him and fall at His Feet and adore Him worshipfully?  I'm sure we shall do all that and a whole lot more!  For all of eternity!

David's life-long desire was to see Him as such!  "One thing have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to enquire in his temple."  Psalm 27:4

And Moses had the same longing ... "And he (Moses) said, I beseech thee (Lord God), shew me thy glory."  Exodus 33:18

We shall all forever behold our blessed Saviour!

Of course Moses humanly could not see God in all His Glory ... so God showed him this ... "And he (the Lord) said, I will make all my goodness pass before thee, and I will proclaim the name of the LORD before thee; and will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will shew mercy on whom I will shew mercy."  Exodus 33:19  Wow!

God says:  You can't see all my Glory yet Moses ... so I will just show you all My Goodness!

Now here in Revelation 1:17 John the revelator sees our Glorified Lord in all His GLORY and in all His GOODNESS!

I'll explain the "Goodness" part tomorrow, Lord willing.

                                                                                        --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 12, TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 16, 2004:

When John saw Jesus, he ... "fell at His feet as dead. And He (Jesus) laid His right hand upon me (John), saying unto me, Fear not ...."  Revelation 1:17

John, fearful and reverent as he was, just fell at Jesus' feet in worship (and fear)! This is a good case of the Fear of the Lord!  We all should have it!

John was just overwhelmed by the Glory of God expressed in Jesus the Saviour!

BUT look at what Jesus did to John in response to His adoration and worship!

"And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not ...."  Revelation 1:17

Wow!

For several verses we have been seeing the GLORY of God!  Now suddenly we also see something else about our Almighty Lord.

He is not only filled with GLORY ... but also with GOODNESS!

Jesus just reached out and "touched" John ... to comfort him and remove his fears!

What GOODNESS!  What GRACE!

By the way, John was bending down in a prostrate position ... but still knew it was Jesus' RIGHT Hand that had touched him!  He knew the "feel" of Christ's right hand as opposed to His left hand ... without even looking!  Jesus had touched John before this event occurred!  (Again and again!)  Guess who John 13:23 is describing!  "Now there was leaning on Jesus' bosom one of his disciples, whom Jesus loved."

The TOUCH of Jesus!

How many blind men knew It?

How many lepers felt It?

How many bleeding women?

How many dead bodies?

How many lost sinners?

I base my questions on John 21:25 --- "And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen."

Thank God for that "touch!"

Then the GOODNESS of God is proved through Jesus' first words to John here. "Fear not!"

I can find that expression 57 times in the Bible (in the sense of God calming His people)!  That's more than one "fear not" for every week of the year!

Talk about the GOODNESS of God!

And our text here has the final "Fear Not" of the whole Bible!

Once the glorified Jesus says it ... it's all over!

In Heaven eternally ... there will be no more destructive fear ... ever!

Glory to God!  To the God of Goodness!

                                                                                     --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 13:

In Revelation 1:17 Jesus said to John (who was exiled on the small island of Patmos) ... "I am the First and the Last!"

Among the many meanings this well-known saying of Jesus can bear, here is one ...

The little Greek word for "first" is "protos" and means chief!  It insists upon the idea of One Who is first in time or in place or in rank or influence or honor!  (And Jesus IS First in all of these!)

The "prefix" to our word "protos" simply means the "front" or "before!"

Yet one prominent lexicon (dictionary) says the word "protos" carries the idea of being FIRST IN QUALITY too!

Hence, Jesus is the BEST as well as the First!

He is the BEST Saviour!

He is the BEST Lord!

He is the BEST Comforter!

In our King James Bibles this word "protos" is translated "best" in Luke 15:22 where the Prodigal Son's Father said:  "Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet!"

(Of course we all realize that He is the only true Saviour and the only real Lord also!)

Still He is the BEST of everything to the Believer!

Yet here is the strange thing.

The accompanying adjective says that Jesus is the "last."

That word is "eschatos" and means last in time or place or rank too!

But that same lexicon that says "protos" means BEST IN QUALITY also says that "eschatos" means LAST IN QUALITY ... or lowest in grade of worth!

It means the WORST!  (As opposed to the BEST!)

What a minute, preacher!

You have better not be telling me that Jesus is the BEST then turning right around and telling me that He is the WORST!

(I am not telling you anything.  The Scriptures are telling us these things!  The New Testament is declaring to us a great Truth!)

Of  course the very thought that Jesus could be both the BEST and the WORST introduced confusion to my mind.

I think I know how He is the BEST!  (I suspect in many more ways that I'll ever learn here on earth!)

But how could He possible be the WORST of anything?

Then ... the Lord showed me.

One day Jesus became the very WORST ... so sinners like you and me could be saved!

On that old rugged Cross that day 2,000 years ago, our Lord, Who had never sinned, Who was spotless, Who was perfect, Who had no sin IN Him ... took all our sin upon Him.  (When our sin was poured upon Him ... He became the WORST for those hours as He died in our stead!  So bad in fact that God the Father forsook His Own Son!)

Any Scripture to prove this?

Yes!

"For He hath made Him to be sin for us, Who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him."  2nd Corinthians 5:21

Let's place the Proper Names by their modifying adjectives in the verse for clarification!

"For He (God the Father) hath made Him (Jesus) to be sin for us, Who (Jesus) knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him (Jesus)."  2nd Corinthians 5:21

Jesus became SIN for us that day.  He took  our sin upon Himself and paid our sin debt eternally! 

Isaiah 53:6 --- "All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all."

The moment He had the sin of the world poured upon Him ... Heaven's BEST became the WORST to redeem the likes of you and me!

Oh, What a Saviour!

So the next time a Preacher mentions that Jesus is the First and the Last ... think of Calvary!  (And with a wet spot in the corner of your eye ... praise the dear Lord!)

Take a few minutes and worship Him right now!

                                                                                   --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 14 ... NOVEMBER 17, 2004 (WEDNESDAY MORNING):

Jesus says this of Himself in Revelation 1:18.  "I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen."

This is an amazing statement!  What views of our Lord it shares with us!

It looks through the eye of the PAST ... Jesus was dead!

It looks through the eye of the PRESENT ... Jesus liveth!  He is alive!

And it looks through the eye of PROPHECY ... Jesus is alive for evermore!

"I am He That liveth" translates just 3 little words in the Textus Receptus (the Greek text from which our King James Translators worked):  kai ho zoe!  (And the Living One I am!)    The verb is a present participle.  Jesus was then alive and had been for all eternity!  I believe in the eternal Sonship of the Second Person of the Trinity! I'm pretty sure all of you do too!)  Zao (zoe here) means life ... life on the highest plane ... real life ... abundant life (not just biological life)!

Jesus at Creation could have said:  "I live!"

And during the Flood:  "I live!"

And during the Virgin Birth:  "I live!"

And right now, 2000 years later, He still can say: "I live!"

And ten billion years from now He will still declare: "I live!"

He is the eternally existent One!

I'm glad my God is The Great "I AM!"

(I'm so thankful my God's Name is not "I WAS!")

Next ... Jesus says that He "was dead."

This verb and adjective ... ginomai nekros ... tell us that Jesus became dead! (Ginomai = to be, to come to be, to come into existence as)  And this verb is an "aorist!"  That means that Jesus' state of being dead is over!  It's finished!  He is through being dead!  It will never be a state into which He enters again! 

Now none of us knows anyone who can say to our face "I was dead!"  No!  Those dead bodies still lie in their graves!  Death so far is a permanent state!  BUT NOT WITH JESUS!  He was temporarily dead!  He died to atone for our sins ... but God raised Him from the Grave!

(Even those raised from the dead in the Bible ... a little boy by Elijah and another by Elisha plus the 3 Jesus raised ... all died again!)

Only of Jesus can it be truly said: He was dead!

Glory to God!

And the verb "behold" literally means: "Look!"  And it's an imperative!  Jesus is commanding us to see that some other great truth is coming!

The Bible always uses "behold" (in Greek = "idou") for emphasis.

Then Jesus adds (the icing on the cake) these words:  "I am alive for evermore."

Yes!

Here Bible Prophecy reveals to us the very future!

Jesus will never die again!

No more Crosses!

No more devils!

No more battles!

No more funeral homes!

No more graves!

Just eternal life!

Twenty two (22) times in the King James Bible the words "for evermore" are found. I mean exactly in that order ... as a specific phrase. 

Here are just a few of them.  See what you think.

Psalm 16:11 --- "Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore."

Psalm 89:28 --- "My mercy will I keep for him for evermore, and my covenant shall stand fast with him."

Psalm 92:8 --- "But thou, LORD, art most high for evermore."

2 Corinthians 11:31 --- "The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which is blessed for evermore ...."

SINCE GOD HAS BEEN SO GOOD TO US ... CONSEQUENTLY ... we should adopt the attitude described here by the psalmist:

Psalm 86:12 --- "I will praise thee, O Lord my God, with all my heart: and I will glorify thy name for evermore."

Psalm 115:18 --- "But we will bless the LORD from this time forth and for evermore. Praise the LORD."

What can one say to that?

Only one word ... the word our text adds ... "Amen!"

This is in Greek spelled "amen" (Amazing isn't it?) and means firm, faithful or true! Jesus is saying AMEN to His Own Preaching!

Excuse me while I holler AMEN too!

                                                                                    --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 15:

This whole paragraph in Revelation chapter one has given us a complete "Portrait" of Jesus!

And if one studies it even more carefully, he will be impressed with the loveliness of our dear Saviour!

While I realize that Isaiah says that in Him ... "there is no beauty that we should desire Him ," He yet remains spiritually "altogether lovely!"

He is beautiful in His Wisdom!  John 2:25 tells us that ... "He knew what was in man."  (Yet He loved us anyway!)

He is beautiful in His Perfection!  Not one time does Jesus ever have to revise anything He said!  He never had to apologize either!  And although many tried, no one ever deceived Him with a question or leading statement!  The very Sermon on the Mount is nothing more than a summary of His character!  And as Paul wrote the great 13th chapter of 1st Corinthians (the Love chapter) ... He no doubt had Jesus in mind!  Our Lord truly was filled with "grace and truth!"

He is beautiful in His Sacrifice on the Cross of Calvary!  (Not the physical appearance ... but the spiritual radiance of that old rugged Tree!)  No bitter words fell from His Lips!  No curses!  Just God dying for sinful man!

And the Apostle Paul adds this to our thoughts today.  He says that in Jesus is found the very Glory of God!  How beautiful!  In fact ... Paul promises that if we behold that Splendor in the Face of Jesus ... we too shall be "changed into the same image from glory to glory!" See 2nd Corinthians 3:18.

One preacher pictured it this way.  He said that if we put a bright light into a clay jar (and the light is sufficiently bright) ... that jar will begin to glow!  So is is with Jesus! He is God ... and as Such He radiates the incandescent glow of God in every area of life!

He had no strong points and weak points.  Jesus was perfect in all points! 

He combines "strength" and "beauty" as is so often suggested throughout Scripture. He is perfect Man and (at the same time) all God!

He beauty overwhelms us all!

Here's a good Bible prayer for this Thursday:  "And let the beauty of the LORD our God be upon us: and establish thou the work of our hands upon us."  Moses prayed this in Psalm 90:17.

His beauty upon us!

Think about it!

No wonder, when speaking of His Cross, Jesus said:  "And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto Me."  John 12:32

An old British preacher said one day long ago,  there is a MAGNETISM about the Cross where Jesus died.  A magnetism that cannot be ignored. 

Dear friend, just "come and see!"  (That's what Jesus said to interested followers from time to time!  Just "come and see!")

David the King of Israel spent his life admiring the beauty of the Lord.  "One thing have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to enquire in his temple."  Psalm 27:4

I agree!

I have an idea.  Let's all tell Him today how very beautiful He is! 

                                                                                 --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 16:

Who would have imagined this?

When John saw Jesus in all His Glory (in Revelation chapter 1) our Lord had some KEYS by His side!

(We've all seen someone with a "bunch" of keys dangling from his belt or in his hand, suggesting that he has "access" to a number of places!)

Here's the verse I have in mind this Friday morning.  Jesus said in Revelation 1:18. "And I have the keys of hell and of death."

Why did the Lord feel it important to include the fact of His having those keys?

What's the significance of the keys anyway?

It surprised me that the word "keys" is only found twice in the whole Bible! However the singular noun "key" appears four more times.  (Six times total!)

It may or may not interest you, but the first time the word is used is in Judges 3:25.  It does not sound like a pertinent usage for our study, but it is!  A Judge of Israel named Ehud has just killed the oppressive King of Moab (named Eglon) and his royal attendants don't know it yet!  "And they tarried till they were ashamed: and, behold, he opened not the doors of the parlour; therefore they took a key, and opened them: and, behold, their lord was fallen down dead on the earth." 

From this verse it is easy to see that the first mention of the word "key" in the Bible is to gain entrance to a death chamber!  (That's exactly what this "parlour" had become!)

And isn't that precisely how Jesus used His KEYS ... to enter the parlour of DEATH and conquer forever that dreaded monster?

The next Bible use of the word "Key" is in Isaiah 22:22.  "And the key of the house of David will I lay upon his shoulder; so he shall open, and none shall shut; and he shall shut, and none shall open."  This is a prophecy of the coming Messiah, Jesus!  He will have the "key" to the Davidic Line of Royalty!  He will be qualified to sit on the Throne of David!  (He was and He still is so qualified!)  And He will occupy that Throne some day I believe! 

Preacher, how do you know Isaiah 22 is speaking of Jesus?  Because in Revelation 3:7-8 Jesus says so!  "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;  I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name."  There's that KEY again!

Once Jesus accused the Scribes and Pharisees (specialists in twisting the Mosaic Law) of robbing the people of an important "key" as well!  It's recorded for us in Luke 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."  So ... there's also a "Key" to Wisdom or Knowledge.  I suspect that one is on Jesus' Key ring too!

Jesus passed on to Peter (as a representative of the Preachers known as the Disciples ... NOT as a "Pope" of some kind) some "keys" one day.  "And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven."  Matthew 16:19 

I believe any preacher today who proclaims the true Gospel Story offers to lost sinners the "key" to heaven!  Jesus IS That Key!  In fact, He's not only the "Key" ... He is the very Door too!  He said in John 10:9 --- "I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture."

I am assuming that if Jesus gave his witnesses such "Keys" ... He kept the original ... and it is still on His mighty Key ring as well!

And Revelation 9:1 mentions another "key" yet!  "And the fifth angel sounded, and I saw a star fall from heaven unto the earth: and to him was given the key of the bottomless pit."  Jesus holds the key to the "abyss" (the very Greek words used here)!  It was loaned to this angel for a "special operation," but I'll guarantee you it too is on Jesus "key" ring!

This same key is mentioned again in Revelation 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. And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, 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."

Someone told me once that the devil had those "keys" and the Lord took them from him?  I can't find a verse in the whole Bible that says that.  It instead looks to me like satan (rather that having such keys) gets those "keys" used against him!

But, don't worry, all the loaned keys (to angels and to preachers also) are accounted for ... and by the end of the age are in Jesus' Hands!  He says, "I have them!"  The verb have is "echo" which means "to hold on to" something!  He is presently holding those keys in His Sway! 

Now, to the word for "hell."  You will be familiar with it I'm sure.  "Hades," itself a Greek word, is used 11 times in the New Testament.  Ten of those times it is translated hell and once it is translated grave. (King James Version)  It certainly can (an usually does) refer to the place of literal and eternal fire and brimstone where there's weeping and gnashing of teeth ... the place of eternal punishment for rebels, unrepentant sinners against God and His grace!  But it does not always so refer to that place of literal hell.  It at times means the world of the dead ... indeed the grave. In the King James Bible 1 Corinthians 15:55 uses "hades" as the "grave."  Let me show you.  "O death, where is thy sting? O grave ("hades"), where is thy victory?" 

Neither did Jesus go to the place of literal fire and destruction to roast in the flames (as some preachers erroneously proclaim) after His Calvary experience!  He went to Abraham's Bosom ... to paradise ... to the abode of the Old Testament saints ... for 3 days and 3 nights ... then He arose from the grave!  Yet Peter uses the word "hades" in Acts 2:27 and again in Acts 2:31 where he is quoting Jesus in Psalm 16! "Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption."  And ... "He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption." 

The main point is this.  Jesus has the "keys" to it all!  To death!  To the grave!  To Hell-fire!  To Heaven!  To the bottomless pit (abyss)!  To knowledge and wisdom!  To the House of David!  To the Kingdom!  And to anything else He chooses!

Our verse closes with specific emphasis on Jesus having the "keys" to "death!"  The noun "thanatos" means physical separation from the body of the soul and spirit ... resulting in cessation of life itself.  (Heart quits beating and lungs quit breathing!)

There's coming a day when Jesus will use those "keys" and call forth each dead but saved man and woman's decaying body from the grave ... to be raised as a glorified body ... at the event Christians today call the Rapture.  "For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first!"  1 Thessalonians 4:16  Additionally Paul says in Philippians 3:21 --- "Who (Jesus at His Second Coming) shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself."

Later He (using those "keys" to the grave and to death and to hell) will also call forth the wicked dead to their judgment at the Great White Throne!  Here's one of the sobering Great White Throne verses:  "And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works."  Revelation 20:13

Wow!

Thank God, I know the One with the KEYS!

Do you?

If not, meet Him today as your precious Saviour and Redeemer.

DO NOT WAIT until He is your Judge!

                                                                          --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

LESSON 17:

Probably the clearest "portrait" of Jesus in all the Bible is found in Revelation 1:12-18.

He is just absolutely "glorious" in each of those great verses!

We have been studying those verses for a while now ... and it is time to "conclude" the series.

But how?

My mind was dwelling on that thought when the Spirit of the Lord showed me something.

As great a paragraph as Revelation 1:12-18 is ... it is NOT the final word in Scripture about the "appearance" of Jesus!

What!

Are there other descriptions?

Yes, a few.

Each of the seven churches described and addressed in Revelation chapters 2 and 3 re-emphasize something from that great first chapter.  BUT the church at Sardis hears something in a new context.  "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."  Revelation 3:1  (Now back in Revelation 1:4 those Spirits are mentioned ... but NOT in direct association with Jesus.  Here they are!  We are now being told that Jesus is filled and saturated and overwhelmed with the Presence and the Power of the Holy Spirit!  Perfectly so!  In a sevenfold manner!  I believe Isaiah 11:2 names each aspect of that seven-fold Spirit too!)

Again in Revelation 5 we see Jesus for sure!  Let John describe Him.  "And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof.  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."  Revelation 5:5-6  (That's our Lord in His post-resurrection Glory!  Seven horns are emblematic of all power!  Seven eyes typify all knowledge!)

Then in Revelation 14:14-16 we see another new item in relation to Jesus!  "And I looked, and behold a white cloud, and upon the cloud one sat like unto the Son of man, having on his head a golden crown, and in his hand a sharp sickle.  And another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to him that sat on the cloud, Thrust in thy sickle, and reap: for the time is come for thee to reap; for the harvest of the earth is ripe.  And he that sat on the cloud thrust in his sickle on the earth; and the earth was reaped."  Here's a golden crown and a sharp sickle!  Here is Jesus as Monarch and as Judge!  What a portrait!

But there are more!

In Revelation 19:7-8 we see that Jesus has a Bride, a Wife!  "Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready.  And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints."  The Bride is the Church!  And if you are truly saved, you're going to the Wedding!

But the most thrilling of Jesus' portrayals in the whole Bible may be next!  (Revelation 19:11-16)  "And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war.  His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself.  And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God.  And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean.  And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.  And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS."  This paragraph deserves a study of its own!  Let me jus say, "There He is!"  Observe Him! Adore Him!  Worship Him!  He is not here depicted as a Priest (as in chapter 1 of John's book) ... but as a mighty Warrior!  (I suspect He's the Captain!  See Joshua 5:14.)

Then look at Him it on the Great White Throne!  He will judge the wicked and the lost and all the rebels of the ages!  "And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them."  Revelation 20:11  And for those who only envision the little innocent babe of Bethlehem ... read verse 15 as Jesus executes the Will of God toward the Christ rejecters:  "And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire."

The a quick "glimpse" of Him in the new holy City:  "And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it.  And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof."  (Revelation 21:22-23)  Here He glows in eternal splendor, the very Glory of God!  Praise His Name!

Lastly we see Jesus the Writer!  (Revelation 22:16)  "I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star."  Here He further compares Himself (even identifies Himself) with two more word pictures!  The Root and the Star!  In fact, He is the great All In All!  Paul the Apostle even said:  "By Him all things consist." Colossians 1:17!

What a Saviour!

Wait!

He's saying something.  Let's listen carefully!

"He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen."  (Revelation 22:20)  He is a promising Saviour! 

Notice that He is also an "Amen-ing" Jesus too!  Maybe, in respect to Him, we should say "amen" more often!  Try it at church tomorrow!

Friends, remember all these things.  They will  flood back into your mind WHEN WE SEE JESUS!

                                                                      --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

IF YOU HAVE WORKED YOUR WAY THROUGH ALL SEVENTEEN LESSONS, YOU ARE A DILIGENT STUDENT OF THE WORD OF GOD!  THE LORD BLESSES THOSE WHO LOVE HIS BOOK!  AND AFTER ALL THESE VERSES, DON'T YOU AGREE?  WE SURELY DO HAVE A LOVELY SAVIOUR!

 

 

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