The revelation of Jesus Christ was given by God the Father to his Son then from his Son to an angel who delivered the vision to the apostle John. It contains many things past, present and future although the focus of the vision is the unveiling of the glorified Christ or Messiah and his present ministry in the heavens. Our English word “revelation” is from the Greek word “apokalupsis” which means to uncover something hidden or unveil something. If I was to draw you a word picture then think of a box sitting in front of you that is covered with a lid, now take off the lid and look at the contents that is inside, that is a revelation.
The interesting concept of looking at the book of Revelation is that when you take the cover off you see the glorified Christ in heaven ministering to his church and ultimately the entire world. When we get into chapters 2 and 3 we find the phrase “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” What is peculiar about this phrase is that it hints at the fact that there some who cannot hear what the Spirit is saying. In Corinthians, Paul writes “But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.”
In other words if you are not “born again of the Spirit” you will not understand the unveiling of the glorified Jesus Christ or any other spiritual message contained within the pages of the bible. If you have a hard time understanding the bible then before going any further you should read the gospel of John particularly chapter 3. It is the section that contains the text where Nicodemus comes to Jesus at night asking why he does not understand how to be saved.
As we embark on a study of one of most interesting books of the bible I have a disclaimer. Studying and knowing what will take place in the future has no bearing on your salvation. Let me say it again, knowing what will take place, eschatology-the study of end times events, has no weight on your salvation. In other words if you hold to a preterist, amillennial or futurist view of the second advent of Christ or whether you believe in a rapture of the church from the earth has absolutely nothing to do with your salvation. The main focus of the book of Revelation is the unveiling of the glorified person of Jesus Christ.
In chapter one John describes his vision of Jesus Christ standing in the midst of seven golden lampstands. He is dressed in the apparel of a High Priest with a garment down to his waist and a golden band around his chest. These garments represent the inherent righteousness of Christ, royalty and speak of his judgment in truth. The seven lampstands represent seven actual churches in Asia at the time of John’s writing. The fact that Jesus is standing in the middle of the seven lampstands speaks to the fact that he is actively judging them.
In the tabernacle and first and second temples the Menorah gave light to allow the High Priest to minister. The lampstand held seven golden oil lamps on two branches that were maintained by the High Priest. His duty was to keep the lamps filled with virgin olive oil, trim the wicks when they smoked and basically snuff out the ones when fouled. Jesus is our High Priest and part of his ministry today is to judge his church. From the description of the High Priest’s duties in the books of Exodus and Leviticus we can understand more of what the glorified Christ is doing today for us in heaven.
One of the High Priest’s duties was to offer up prayers for the nation of Israel which he fulfilled at the golden altar of incense. In the same way we know that Jesus intercedes for us by offering our prayers up to his Father in heaven. He also intervenes for us by washing our feet when they get dirty. You see as our High Priest he steps out of the Holy Place to the laver and listens as we confess our sins then he forgives us and cleanses us from all unrighteousness. The glorified Christ also has the responsibility of judging and inspecting his church. That in John’s vision we see him walking around in the midst of the seven lampstands.
So basically Jesus Christ is the lampstand, the Holy Spirit is the lamps filled with oil. Our power comes from the Holy Spirit as long as we keep our lamps filled with oil. As the church,we are not the light but are to reflect the light of God to the world in which we live.