Introduction: Would you like to know the future? The worrisome part
is that you might not like your future! Our study this week has a
slightly different approach. Instead of merely giving us information
about the future, it tells us that our future is in the hands of
Jesus, who not only has all power, but He cares for us. Let’s plunge
into our study of the Bible and learn more!

  1. John’s Life

    1. Read Revelation 1:9. How is John’s life at this point in
      time? (He says he joins other Christians in their
      suffering. This does not paint a picture of pleasure.)

      1. What positive thing does John say? (He does not feel
        alone. He is our “brother and companion” in the
        Kingdom of God.)

      2. John writes of “patient endurance.” How can we have
        that if we are suffering like him? (He says that
        Jesus will give us patience.)

        1. If you were suffering, what would you ask of
          God? (I would ask Him to take the suffering
          away! We should learn something here. Sometimes
          we need to ask for patience and the ability to
          endure the suffering.)

    2. Look again at the last part of Revelation 1:9. Why is John
      suffering? (It is not because he did anything wrong. He
      says it is because of the “word of God and the testimony
      of Jesus.”)

      1. What does John mean when he writes that his problems
        stem from the “word of God and the testimony of
        Jesus?” (He is suffering because he has been
        witnessing for Jesus. He has been following Jesus’
        command recorded in Matthew 28:18-20.)

      2. When you are suffering, do you ask the “why”
        question? Is this because of something that I’ve done
        wrong? (While I have seen some people who needlessly
        blame themselves, most of the time it seems that
        those who are suffering do not ask this question.
        Because they do not ask this question, they do not
        learn to avoid those things that cause them to

    3. We have not discussed what, exactly, is the nature of
      John’s problem. Do you know what he is talking about? (If
      you look again at Revelation 1:9 John says that he is on
      the island of Patmos. John is not vacationing in the sun
      and sand of a tropical island, this is a penal colony. He
      is there as a prisoner of Rome. His crime? Evangelizing
      about Jesus.)

  2. The Lord’s Day

    1. Read Revelation 1:10 and John 5:9-10. If this is the
      seventh-day Sabbath, why doesn’t John call it that?

      1. Read John 20:19-20. If this is Sunday, the first day
        of the week, why doesn’t John call it that in
        Revelation 1:10?

      2. Read 1 Corinthians 11:20. This is the only other
        place in the New Testament that the Greek word used
        in Revelation 1:10 (kuriakee – translated “Lord’s”)
        is found. Does this shed any light on the day to
        which John refers? (The commentaries that I read say
        that John is likely referring to Sunday, but I see no
        basis in the Bible for that conclusion. If you look
        at every other place that John refers to the Sabbath,
        it is in connection with Jesus healing on the
        Sabbath. The question of the appropriateness of doing
        this on the Sabbath is at issue with the Jewish
        leaders. Thus, it would be natural for John to write
        “Sabbath” in that context, while not calling Saturday
        the Sabbath in other contexts.)

    2. Read Deuteronomy 5:12-15. What does the Sabbath
      commemorate here? (God’s people being freed from
      government imposed slavery.)

      1. Robertson’s New Testament Word Pictures tells us that
        a form of this Greek word translated “Lord’s” was
        commonly used to refer to imperial Rome, such as
        “imperial finance and imperial treasury.” The sense
        is that God owns the day. The fact that Jesus rested
        on the grave during the Sabbath, the fact that the
        Sabbath reflects freedom from government-imposed
        slavery, might have caused a man who was currently
        confined by the government to refer to the Sabbath as
        time he could be with God – “the Lord’s Day.”)

  3. The Vision

    1. Read Revelation 1:10-11. To what is the message of this
      book directed? (To seven churches. These were Christian
      churches in existence at this time.)

    2. Read Revelation 1:12-15. Who does this describe?

      1. Who is “like a son of man?” (Read Matthew 9:4-6 and
        Daniel 7:9. Jesus refers to Himself as “the Son of
        Man.” Our first reaction is that this picture sounds
        like God (Daniel’s “Ancient of Days”), but this is
        God who looks like a human, and so that tells us that
        it must be Jesus who is speaking to John.)

    3. Read Revelation 1:16. Have you heard of someone in the
      Bible who has a sword coming out of his mouth? (Read
      Revelation 19:13-15, where we see a similar reference. In
      John 1:1 John previously referred to Jesus as “the Word.”
      This confirms that John is describing Jesus.)

      1. Isn’t it awkward to have a sword coming out of your
        mouth? (Swords should be in your hands, not your
        mouth. The symbolism here is that Jesus does not
        need to fight with His hands. He merely needs to
        speak and He can defeat His enemies.)

      2. Instead of holding a sword in His hand, Jesus is
        holding “seven stars.” What are they, and what does
        holding them mean? (Read Revelation 1:20. The seven
        stars are angels or messengers for the seven
        churches. The picture of Jesus holding them means
        that He has a special concern for them. Thus, Jesus
        is personally invested in the angels working with
        these seven churches.)

        1. Do you think that an angel is assigned to your

    4. Re-read Revelation 1:12. Now that we have read ahead, what
      is symbolized by Jesus being “among the lampstands?”
      ( Revelation 1:20 identifies the lampstands as the seven
      churches. Thus, we see the full extend of Jesus concern
      and work for His church. Not only does He hold the
      heavenly messengers to those churches in His hand, but He
      is personally present.)

    5. Read Revelation 1:17. Why did John faint when he saw
      Jesus? (This shows the awesome and terrifying appearance
      of Jesus. John falls down.)

      1. What does Jesus do when John faints? (He comforts

    6. Read Revelation 1:18. Is this part of Jesus’ message of
      comfort to John? (Jesus has all power, and this should
      comfort us, since He loves us.)

  4. Ephesus Church

    1. Read Revelation 2:1. Who is the source of this message?
      (Based on what we just studied, it is Jesus!)

    2. Read Revelation 2:2-3 and Revelation 2:6. What things has
      this church done? (Persevered, worked hard, and took
      action to test the message of those claiming to be proper
      leaders. It rejected the practices of the Nicolaitans.)

    3. Read Revelation 2:4-5. What is the failing of this church?
      (It has “forsaken [its] first love.”)

      1. How serious a problem is this? (Jesus threatens to
        remove it as a lampstand.)

        1. What does this say about hard work,
          perseverance and pure doctrine? (These are not

          1. Imagine the reverse: Jesus says I
            appreciate you clinging to your first
            love, but you lack hard work, perseverance
            and pure doctrine. Would Jesus threaten to
            take away their lampstand in that

    4. Read Revelation 2:7. Does it seem odd to you that Jesus
      would have a message for only seven Christian churches?
      (This says the message is for anyone with ears. Recall
      that Revelation is a book of symbols. As we get more
      deeply into our study of the messages to the seven
      churches, we will see that these are universal messages.
      Bible scholars believe that these seven churches represent
      a description of the stages of history of the Christian
      church – with Ephesus describing the early history of the

    5. Friend, when you feel under pressure and concerned about
      the future, remember that Jesus not only holds you in His
      tender embrace, but He holds the key to your future! Why
      not decide, right now, to accept Him and trust Him with
      your future?

  5. Next week: Jesus’ Messages to the Seven Churches.