Well, tonight is my other Bible Study group. Luckily, I don't have to read this one. I just have to read in advance, show up, and provide my thoughts if I feel the need to speak. It is a bit easier, not being the leader. There isn't as much pressure on you to make sure that conversation flows and stays on topic. People also don't look to you as the authoritative answer. Anyhow, since I am not leading the Bible Study, my posts concerning Revelation will be just on points I find interesting or might want to talk about.
Most of Church tradition states that John the Beloved, the Evangelist, or Theologian is the author of this book. However, Bishop Dionysius of Alexandria claims that he thinks it is another John who wrote this book, as the Apostle John never named himself in the Gospel or Epistles, so why would he in Revelation? The author isn't super-important. What is important is that we believe this book is inspired by God.
It also important to note that this book is not to be read like a road map to track the end of the world. You can open the book of Revelation and a newspaper and think you can match up horrible stores to obscure passages in Revelation. You would be missing the point of Revelation, and you would also be very presumptuous to assume the book of Revelation is only about your time, when the book is 1900 years old and addresses Christians from John's time til Jesus comes back (whenever that may be).
Onto my comments. This book starts off like both the Pauline and the Catholic Epistles. We see an indication of who is writing this book/letter and then are revealed the order of revelation. It goes from God to Jesus to an angel to John to us. Angels truly are awesome creatures, and I have a new found amazement for them after reading Lifted By Angels. Check out that book review tomorrow. Shameless plug, I know.
In Verse 3, we see a blessing for those who read the word and those who hear it. This is one of the 7 "Beatitudes" or blessings in Revelation. We then have the greeting to the 7 churches in Asia Minor, probably churches under John's guidance and shepherding. Truly, this must have been an awesome and terrifying vision what John saw and then wrote about.
He saw Jesus standing among the seven lampstands. These seven lampstands are the seven churches, which John is writing to, and Jesus being in the midst of them is symbolic to John that even though he has been banished to Patmos, Jesus is still in the midst of these churches and watching over them.
I like the description of Jesus, but more than that, I like how John fell as if dead at seeing Jesus. I imagine this is how most of us would react if we saw Jesus in his full glory. That's also how people reacted in the Bible at the sight of angels. Why do you think they always told people to not be afraid? The last interesting part to me is that each church had it's own angel, like they are watching over them and helping protect the flock. It's very comforting thinking about that.
To my readers, what do you find interesting in the 1st chapter of Revelation? Have you ever read Revelation or does the thought of it scare you? Stay tuned for my next post on the book of Revelation in 2 weeks.