Christ’s Love for His Churches
Rubel Shelly   -  

Lesson 2: The Book of Revelation
Revelation 1:4-20

1. What does a sense of being isolated, alone, and unloved do to people? Why might Christians
at the end of the first century under the rule of the mighty Roman Empire have felt that
way? How does Revelation address their anxiety?

2. Locate the “Seven Churches in the Province of Asia” (1:4,11) on a map. What do you notice
about their geographical location? What modern country incorporates this region?

3. Trace the Trinitarian formula found at verses 4b-5a. Reflect on the beautiful doxology
concerning salvation in Jesus at 5b-6. Why are these two texts so vital to what follows?
What place was Caesar claiming over the people of the empire? How do these texts
challenge and refute such arrogant claims of any person or power?

4. The video spends time on Jesus’ “coming with the clouds” (v.7). Although this imagery
understandably makes readers think of Jesus’ return at the end of time (cf. Acts 1:9-11),
look at texts such as Isaiah 19:1-4 (i.e., “the Lord rides on a swift cloud” to bring judgment
against Egypt) or Matthew 24:30-35 (i.e., “the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven”
to tear down the Temple during “this generation”). Why did Rome deserve divine judgment?
How would its power be broken? Is this “judgment within history” or “end-times judgment”?

5. Who was the “John” to whom Jesus gave this message? Where was he? Why? Take note that
he sees himself as a “brother and companion in the suffering” taking place.

6. Describe the writer’s initial vision of the exalted Christ. How “literally” should we take this?
What is the point of this symbolic portrayal of the Son of God?

7. Verse 20 interprets the meaning of the seven stars and seven lampstands seen in the
opening vision of Jesus. The Greek word translated “mystery” is mysterion = making known
something that has been hidden (cf. Col 1:26-27; 2:2; Rom 16:25). Taken together with what
you already know about the word apokalypsis from our first lesson, how would you react to
someone who suggests that the Book of Revelation “just can’t be understood”?

For Reflection: The placing of this vision of Christ (1:12-20) right at the beginning of the book is
significant. This book is an unveiling or revealing. The Christians were a pitiably small group, persecuted
by mighty foes. To all outward appearance their situation was hopeless. But it is only as Christ is seen for
what he really is that anything else can be seen for what it really is. So for these persecuted ones it was
important that first of all the glory and majesty of the risen Lord be made clear. (Leon Morris)