Welcome to God First with Brian C. Thomas, a program committed to encouraging you to put God first while viewing life through the window of the Bible. Now, in honor of the one and only true God, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, let's join Brian C. Thomas for today's message. We are picking up this week where we left off in the book of Revelation, chapter 1, verse 16, as we are looking at the vision of the Son of Man, this great vision that the apostle John is seeing in the future, the time that is still yet to come for us. But John was taken there by an angel to the future, and he saw this great vision of our great Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. So, we want to continue today talking with part two of the vision of the Son of Man.
So, please turn your Bibles to Revelation, chapter 1, and we will pick up with verse 16. Heavenly Father, we thank you, Lord, for this day. We thank you, Lord, for your word. We thank you for allowing us this time to come together to hear a word from you. It is my prayer, Lord, that all things that are spoken, that it be nothing but sound doctrine. May you be honored and glorified in all things in your name, Jesus.
Amen. The word of God reads as follows in Revelation, chapter 1, verse 16. He had in his right hand seven stars out of his mouth when a sharp two-edged sword and his countenance was like the sun shining in its strength. In the right hand of our Lord Jesus is seven stars. We will find when we get to verse 20 of this chapter that the seven stars are angels of the seven churches. The Greek word translated angels means messengers. Now it is debated among scholars, but some believe these angels are not the supernatural beings of heaven, but instead are the local church pastors. When we get to chapter two of Revelation, we will find in the first verse to the angel of the Church of Ephesus.
Right. So that is a a reference there to the angel of the church. Now, those on the other side of the coin believe this does refer to an actual angel of heaven that is assigned to the respective church, sort of like a type of guardian angel.
It is not something that I am dogmatic about, as I could see it applying to either. But we see here that in the right hand of Jesus is seven stars and again this word angels or messengers. And we will see that come into play as we go forward in the chapter. And then it says a sharp two-edged sword is extending out of the mouth of Jesus in this vision. The Roman soldiers would battle with swords that were sharp on both sides.
The weapon was lethal in that it cuts both ways on the downswing and upswing. So this is not a literal sword, but it is the word of God coming from the mouth of our Lord. And his word is powerful and it cuts both ways. Ephesians Chapter six, verse 17 states, The word of God is the sword of the spirit.
In Hebrews 4-12 states, The word of God is sharper than any two-edged sword. So his word will be for judgment as John sees him again in the future when our Lord is preparing to come back to the earth to judge those who have rejected him. And we will find in Revelation chapter 20 verses 11 through 15 that rejectors of Christ will be judged by the books that will be opened by our Lord at the great white throne judgment.
What books will these be? Well, without a doubt, I believe the Bible will be on hand and that our Lord will be judging according to what is written in his Holy Word. But alongside of that, I believe there will be books that will contain everything that has been done as the Bible says, whether it's by deed or by thought in God is going to to play these things. That is, for those at the great white throne judgment, those who are rejectors of Jesus Christ, these things will be played out before them and they will be judged accordingly to what the word of God says. And so John sees Jesus preparing to return to the earth with judgment in his words.
And then the countenance was like the sun shining in its strength. This reveals the divine nature of Christ. It also reminds us of what took place on the Mount of Transfiguration when he was transfigured before them, his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the lights as Matthew Chapter 17, verse two. And so John is here witnessing Jesus in his divine glory at the transfiguration, just as he sees him in this vision. And again, it is just a wonderful, beautiful and powerful vision that John is witnessing as he sees Jesus Christ and what the Bible refers to him as the son of man. So as we move on to verse 17 of Revelation, Chapter one. And when I saw him, I felt his feet is dead. But he laid his right hand on me, saying, Do not be afraid.
I am the first and the last. I don't know about you, but I often wonder what it will be like when I see Jesus face to face for the first time. Do you ever stop and think about that moment? Do you look forward to that moment?
Because I do. I look forward to that time. And when I will, I will see him for the first time.
It is a moment that I eagerly anticipate because I imagine what he will look like and what I will say to him and what he will say to me. I think today's verse leaves no guessing as to what our initial reaction will be. I see in Jesus Christ in his glory, John collapsed in all. And I think it is safe to say that all of us will do the same when we see our Lord face to face for the first time. Remember, this is the same John who laid his head on the chest of Jesus in the upper room.
In John Chapter 13, verse 23. Here, John is seen bowing and giving reverence to Jesus for the supreme God that he is. And again, I look forward to that day when I will collapse in all at the presence of my Lord, when I see him for the first time face to face.
I know him now in spirit, but the Bible says that we will see him face to face and we will fall down before him in all in adoration. And I want to say thank you, Lord Jesus, for what you have done for me. Thank you, Lord, for dying for my sins.
Thank you for standing in my place. Thank you for making it so that when God the Father sees me, he sees your righteousness because you took on my sin and gave me your righteousness. And folks, there is no greater gift that anyone could ever receive than the gift from our Lord Jesus Christ. And so I encourage anyone listening that has not received him come to Jesus today. Confess your sins and profess him as Lord and Savior.
It is that simple. And, you know, if you be true to yourself that the way you've been doing it on your own strength, it's not working. And that's because, folks, we can't do it in our own strength. It takes Jesus Christ, who is God in the flesh, to come to Jesus on today. Upon falling at the feet of Jesus, our Lord places his right hand on John. During his earthly ministry, Jesus would often say, Do not be afraid.
Peace be with you and do not let your heart be troubled. We find him comforting John in the same way here. Jesus declares that he is the first and the last, a reference to the eternal state of Christ, past and future. Jesus, as a person of the triune God, has always existed and always will exist. And when I think of that, I become overwhelmed at the thought of that our Lord, our Lord God. If you could get into a time machine and travel back in history, if you could just continue going on and on, he's always there. And if you go into the future, just continue going on and on, he's always there. We serve a mighty God, an all knowing God, a supreme God who has always been and always will be. And our Lord indicates it here by saying.
I am the first and the last. The question that I want you to ask yourself today is, am I ready to see Jesus? Because there are people out there who get nervous.
They get apprehensive. They become scared at the thought of seeing Jesus because some believers look forward to it while again, others tremble in fear. Make sure today that secret sin is not causing you to lose your desire to meet Jesus face to face. If there is something in your lifestyle, meaning habitual sin, that is not of God, repent today, as we will all stand before him in the near future. So, again, if you are afraid of meeting our Lord, if you are afraid of his presence, if you are afraid of him returning, you need to examine yourself and find out what is it in your heart?
What is it that you're doing that is causing you to not want to be with him? And you need to repent of that because we should all be excited and looking forward to seeing our great Lord face to face. Revelation Chapter one, verse 18 reads, I am him who lives and was dead and behold, I am alive forevermore.
Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of death. You know, it's been said by many that the fear of death is the greatest fear of mankind. But we should constantly remind ourselves that God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. A second Timothy Chapter one, verse seven says, and I think many fear due to having an uncertainty of what lies on the other side.
And as I have witnessed, we all have witnessed what took place over the past three years with with Covid-19. And I see how many churches were so quick and easy to just fold the tent and close out of fear. And folks, that should not be how we as believers should respond to these things. The Bible says again, the spirit of fear is not of God. We should not be afraid of of death. And so the Bible says do not fail to assemble.
And it doesn't have a clause that says unless there is a pandemic, unless there is some virus that you may die from. But no, we are to be faithful and we are to assemble and we are to trust in our Lord that even when we close our eyes on this side of life, we will go into his presence for eternity. And, you know, I cannot say that I know exactly how everything transpires when we take our last breath in this life and and cross over into eternity.
But all we have to do is look at Jesus for assurance. He stated, I am he who lives and was dead and behold, I am alive forevermore. So this speaks of his sacrificial death, his burial and resurrection because we serve a living God.
And he will never die. And when we place our faith and trust in Jesus to be our Lord and Savior, all we have to do is look at the events of his life to get an understanding of what will happen to us upon death, because the Bible states that Jesus rose as the first fruits. Thus, all of us who follow him will likewise rise from the dead at his return.
First Corinthians Chapter 15, verses 20 through 23 reads. But now Christ is risen from the dead and has become the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since by man came death, by man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ, all shall be made alive.
But each one in his own order, Christ, the first fruits afterward, those who are Christ at his coming. And so praise be to our God. Praise be to King Jesus for conquering sin and death through his sacrifice so that all might be alive forevermore.
His victory is proclaimed by his words that he has the keys of Hades and the keys of death. Put your faith and trust in Jesus Christ on today. You are listening to Brian C. Thomas on God First. For more of Brian's teachings, please visit GodFirst.org to browse our extensive library of material. There you will find devotionals, blogs, articles, and audio messages available as MP3 downloads on various topics such as salvation, Bible prophecy, marriage, and the significance of Lesson Israel, just to name a few.
You can also sign up for our monthly newsletter and visit our webstore. So please visit us at GodFirst.org. Now let's return to the conclusion of today's message. We find in the book of Hebrews chapter two verses 14 and 15 reads as follows.
In as much the end as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, he himself likewise shared in the same that through death he might destroy him who had the power of death. That is the devil in release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. So, as I mentioned, the past three years, covid-19. And here we are three years later, and I still hear of churches that are not gathering for worship out of fear of covid-19. There is a church in my area that still does parking lots, church, if you want to call that church. Park and praise out of a fear of assembling because of a fear of death. There are churches that are still wearing masks. There are churches that are still social distancing because of a fear of death. But let me remind you, as I've said so many times already, the spirit of fear is not of God, but what comes from God is the power of love and of a sound mind. Folks, we have to stop fearing these things that God has power over and trust in him. And I want to encourage you, my brothers and sisters in Christ today, that we need not fear death. We are not in bondage to it. But again, as I looked over the past three years and I don't mean to harp on this, but I've seen so many people that there have they have been in bondage to covid-19. They have been enslaved in prison, afraid to to go out to worship God who has the power over a virus, but they've been in bondage to it because of a fear of death. But we should instead look forward to the day when we enter into the presence of our Lord for eternity, because, folks, that's the end goal.
That is what we want. If we are true believers in Christ, we should want to be with him and we should look forward to it. It reminds me of a time when I once toured a prison. And although I will admit I had a bit of apprehension, this was years ago as to what it would be like, I did not have any fear. And the reason I did not have fear is because I was there as a visitor under the watch of the warden. Who held the keys. So I rested in the security of knowing he could get me out of there at any moment. But on the other hand, the inmates fear the sale door slamming shut behind them because they know the one who holds the keys is not on their side.
So whose side are you on today? I encourage you to receive Jesus if you have not already, for he is the one who holds the keys to eternal life. And if you're on his side, you need not fear death. Because, again, he is the one who overcame it. But the only way that you can have eternal life is to receive him as Lord and Savior, confess your sins and profess him as Lord over your life.
And you too can have eternal life. Verse 19 of Revelation, chapter one. Write the things which you have seen and the things which are and the things which will take place after this. As Jesus continues speaking to the apostle John, he instructs him on what to write. He commands John to write things that he has seen occur in the past, in the present and in the future. Remember, John on the island of Patmos around the year of ninety five a.d. And an angel showed John through this great vision. He showed John the past and he showed John the present. And he also showed John the future, things that still have not yet taken place. And the text tells us here the things which you have seen entails those things that were revealed to John prior to addressing the seven churches. The things which are concerns, things which were in play during John's time of writing the book, again, approximately ninety five a.d., which are set forth in the letters to the seven churches found in chapters two and three of Revelation. And the things which will take place after this is a reference of things yet future to John's time. And these events constitute the majority of the Book of Revelation from Chapter four onward. And folks, this is why I just find this such a fascinating book, as again, it is about our Lord Jesus Christ being revealed. And I've known people over the years that have said they have a fear of revelation. And let me say once again, God has not given us the spirit of fear.
And here's the other thing I tell people. What sense would it make that God loved us so much that he came out of a perfect heaven? Because there had to be a perfect sacrifice and no man could fulfill that perfect sacrifice because all man has sin.
So God took it upon himself to come to the earth. He became one of us in God, the son as Jesus Christ. He allowed himself to be tormented. He allowed himself to be beaten.
He was bruised for our iniquities. But the Bible says by his stripes, we are healed. And so he allowed himself to come in to suffer and to be tormented. But yet he rose from the dead and now he is seated at the right hand of the father. But why would God do all of that? Give us the account of his salvation plan in the Bible.
And then at the end of the book, give us something that would drive us crazy and cause us to lose our minds. It simply makes no sense because it is a deception of the devil. But I see Christians that fall prey to this as they are afraid to read the Book of Revelation.
God did not give us the spirit of fear. Don't be deceived. Don't be so easily fooled and tricked by the devil. There are great blessings, as we saw previously in this chapter that says there is a great blessing for anyone who reason adheres to the prophecies of this great book. Want to close out with verse 20, Revelation, chapter one, verse 20. The mystery of the seven stars, which you saw in my right hand and the seven golden lampstands. The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches and the seven lampstands, which you saw are the seven churches.
So what we see here is an explanation of what Jesus referenced in verses 12 and 13 that we saw last week and verse 16 that we began with today. He explains to John that the seven stars in his right hand are the angels of the seven churches. So as I stated before, the Greek word translated angels means messengers. And again, it's debated among scholars, but some believe these angels are not supernatural beings of heaven, but are instead local church pastors. And when we get to chapter two, as I stated before, we will see to the angel of the Church of Ephesus.
Right. A reference to these angels. Those on the other side of the coin believe this does refer to an actual angel of heaven that is assigned to the respective church, sort of a type of guardian angel.
I'm not dogmatic about it, as I can see it applying to either, but I just want to share with you that these are two of the possibilities of what this verse is referring to. And then our Lord next explains that the seven lampstands, which John saw, are the seven churches. A lampstand is used to convey that the church is the light of the world. And just as a lamp does not originate as lights, but gets it from a source of energy, the church does not originate light, but gets it from the source, Jesus Christ. And John saw Jesus in previous verses standing among the lampstands, which is the church.
But here's the thing, folks. There are many churches today and I'm using air quotes that gathered together. And if you are present, if you walk into these assemblies and you you you sit and participated in the service, you you feel that there is no light that is there. You you feel a sense of darkness, a sense of deadness. And if you start asking yourself the question, well, why is that?
And I can tell you the reason why. It is because the light of Christ is not shining in that church, because there are so many today that truly are not there to worship and to serve our Lord. There are so many today there instead that are therefore a man centered theology. And what I mean by that is they are there to find out what can I get from God? It's all about me. It's all about God. How are you going to bless me, God? What are you going to do for me? God is going to do this and God is going to do that.
And that's all that you hear. But instead, folks, we should be looking to serve him and worship him and saying, Lord Jesus, you died for me. You stood in my place for my sins.
What can I do for you? That should be the nature of our heart. Now, as a result of that, God loves us. And yes, he wants to bless us and he will bless us. We will receive blessings. The Bible even says you have not because you ask not.
So I'm not advocating to not ask him. But what I'm saying is that our first and foremost thought should be to worship and to serve him and to say, God, what can I do for you? How can I serve you?
How can I further your kingdom? But when you see today bodies, that is all about them and that they are seeking what to get from God. But it's never about sacrificing themselves. It's never about denying their own desires for the sake of Jesus Christ, for the sake of his kingdom. And Jesus clearly said in his word, if you want to be a follower of him, you have to deny yourself, take up the cross and follow him. But where you find congregations that are not willing to deny themselves, not willing to take up the cross, you find that there is no light there because Jesus Christ, who shines the light, who is the source of light, his spirit is not present. And so we must make sure that we have the light of Christ in us because we are seeking to please him, looking for his perfect will and his perfect way and denying ourselves. Let us pray. Heavenly Father, we thank you, Lord, for this day. We thank you for this great and wonderful day that you have made, Lord.
We rejoice and we are glad in it. We thank you, Lord, for this great word that you have given us in the Book of Revelation, as you are concluding your great salvation plan laid out so beautifully in the scriptures. And Lord, it is my prayer that those out there who do not know you as Lord and Savior, that they will come to realize how much you love us.
They will come to realize what you have done for us as a result of that love. And they will come to realize that if they will just put their faith and trust in you, confess their sins, repent, meaning turn away from their sins, that they too can have eternal life. They can have that light that that you give shining through them and into this sin darkened world.
And you said that anyone who thirsts to come after you, he shall never thirst again. But there are so many today that are thirsting for something and they're trying to fill it with the ways of the world, with the ways of Satan, and they're never satisfied because only satisfaction comes by you, our king, Lord Jesus. And so, Lord, I just ask that you would take this word, send it out into the world, Lord, and prick hearts and minds so that they will come to know you as Lord and Savior. For we see in your word that you are coming back again and we want to be ready and to be on your side, Lord, so that we can go with you and go into your kingdom for all of eternity. And so, Lord, as we depart today, we remember to pray for the peace of Jerusalem. Bless your great nation of Israel until the only wise God be glory through Jesus Christ forever.
Amen. The Kingdom of God. The Kingdom of God. The Kingdom of God. The Kingdom of God.
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