14: Christ in the Midst of Lampstands
At the opening of the book, John
clearly identifies the source of revelation as Jesus Christ. The author did not
write the book at his own will but simply acted as a penman who
was commanded by God to write down what he saw. Before all other visions was
the vision of Christ. The chapter portrays His appearance in detail and records
what the Lord had to say about Himself. So while we study what has been
revealed, we must first get to know the one who reveals.
“‘I am the Alpha and the Omega,
the Beginning and the End,’ says the Lord, ‘who is and who was and who is to
come, the Almighty.’” (1:8).
Did You Know…?
1. Alpha and Omega (1:8): The first and last letters in the
2. Patmos (1:9): “One of the SporadesIslands, Patmos lies about
thirty-seven miles west-southwest of Miletus,
in the IcarianSea. Consisting mainly of
volcanic hills and rocky ground, Patmos
is about ten miles long and six miles wide at the north end. It was an island
used for Roman penal purposes. Tacitus refers to the
use of such small islands for political banishment (Annals 3.68; 4.30; 15.71).
Eusebius mentions that John was banished to the island by the emperor Domitian in a.d. 95 and released
eighteen months later by Nerva (Ecclesiastical
History 3.20. 8-9).” 9/424
3. Lampstands (1:12): “For the OT
tabernacle, Moses constructed a seven-branched lampstand
(Exod 25:31 ff.). Subsequently this lampstand symbolized Israel.” 9/426
4. Band/sash (1:13): “The long robe and golden sash were worn
by priests in the OT (Exod 28:4)….” 9/427
5. Wool (1:14): “was an article of the highest value among the
Jews, as the staple material for the manufacture of clothing.” 6/749
“Wool is sometimes used as an illustration of purity (Isa
5. Keys (1:18): “Keys grant the holder access to interiors and
their contents, and in ancient times the wearing of large keys was a mark of
status in the community (cf. 3:7; 9:1; 20:1; 21:25).” 9/428
6. Hades (1:18): “In the NT the word has a twofold usage: in
some cases it denotes the place of all the departed dead (Acts 2:27, 31); in
others, it refers to the place of the departed wicked (Luke 16:23; Rev
1. What does verse 1 tell us about
1a. The source of revelation?
1b. The method and nature of revelation?
1c. The messengers and recipients of
2. What was John’s mission?
3a. Are “the words of the prophecy” only predictions of future
3b. According to verse 3, what are we to do with the words of the
4a. What does it mean that the time is
4b. Why is it important that the time is near?
5. What could the seven spirits be referring to? See 4:5, 5:6
and Zech 4:1–7.
6a. What does this paragraph tell us
6b. How was he the faithful witness?
7. How are we kings and priests to God?
8a. What impact does the declaration in
verse 7 have on you, the reader?
8b. Why will all the tribes of the earth
9a. What does the Lord tell us about
9b. How many times do similar
declarations about God and Jesus Christ appear in this chapter? In the context
of Revelation, why is it important for us to know this about God and Jesus
10. How does John identify himself in relation to the believers?
In relation to Jesus Christ?
11a. What does it mean that John was in the
Spirit on the Lord’s Day?
11b. Contrast “on the island that is called Patmos” and “in the Spirit.” What can we learn
from John’s experience about overcoming suffering in our lives?
12. There were other churches in Asia
at the time besides the seven listed here. Considering the significance of the
number seven, why do you think the Lord spoke to seven churches?
13. What are your impressions when you read these descriptions of
Christ? Compare this vision with that recorded in Dan 10:5-6.
14. What does it mean that Christ is in the midst of the seven lampstands? See also verse 20.
15. What can we learn about Christ from the symbols in the vision?
15a. His garment and band (cf. Ex 28:4; Isa 6:1).
15b. His head and hair
15c. His eyes (cf. 2:23; 19:12; Prov 15:3;
20:8; Jer 17:10)
15d. His feet (cf. 2:26-27; Heb 1:13; Ezek 1:7,13,27; 8:2; Dan 10:6)
15e. His voice (cf. Ps 29:3-5; 93:4; Ezek 1:24; 43:2)
15f. His right hand holding seven stars (cf. Ex 15:6-7; Dan 12:3)
15g. His mouth, from which came a sharp double-edged sword (2:16;
19:15,21; Isa 11:4; Jn 12:48; Heb 4:12).
15h. His countenance (Mt 17:2; 2Pet 1:16-17)
16. Why did John react the way he did?
17. What reasons did the Lord give to encourage John not to be
afraid? Explain these reasons and why we as believers don’t need to be afraid.
18. Why do you think golden lampstands
are used as a symbol for the church?