Revelation i: 9 to 20; iv: 1, to v: 14.
OU remember the apostle John, "the disciple whom Jesus loved." When John was an old man, he was made a prisoner by a cruel emperor of Rome, and was kept in a little island called "the isle of Patmos," which is in the Ægean Sea, not far from Ephesus. While John was shut up on this island the Lord Jesus Christ came to him, and showed him some things which were to come to pass.
John on the Isle of Patmos.
It was on the Lord's Day, the first day of the week, when suddenly John heard behind him a loud voice, as loud as the sound of a trumpet. He turned to see from whom the voice came; and then he saw seven golden candlesticks standing, and among them One whom John knew at once as his Lord Jesus Christ. Yet Christ, as he saw him, was far more glorious than he had been while living as a man on the earth. He was dressed in a long white garment, with a girdle of gold over his breast; his hair and his face were so shining that they seemed as white as snow; his eyes flashed like fire; his feet were like polished brass, glowing as a furnace; and his voice sounded like the rushing of a mighty torrent of waters. In his right hand were held seven stars; and a glory came from him brighter than the sun.
When John saw his Lord in all this splendor, he fell at his feet in great terror. Then he felt the right hand of Christ laid upon him; and he heard his voice, saying:
"Fear not; I am the first and the last, and the Living One. I was dead, and now I am alive for evermore. Write the things which you have seen, and other things which I will show you, and send them to the seven churches in Asia. The seven stars which you see in my hand are the ministers of the seven churches; and the seven candlesticks standing around me are the seven churches."
Then the Lord gave to John the words of a letter which he commanded John to write to the seven churches in that part of Asia, of which churches that at Ephesus was the first. To each church was to be sent a different letter, the word of the Lord Jesus to that church, praising it for some things, and rebuking it for others. When these words had been given to the churches, John saw a door opened in heaven; and he heard a voice like the sound of a trumpet, saying to him, "Come up to this place, and I will show thee things that shall come to pass."
Then at once John was taken up to heaven, and he saw the throne of God, and One sitting upon it whom he could scarcely see for the dazzling glory around him. And over the throne was a rainbow of many colors. Around the throne were twenty-four thrones, and upon them sat twenty-four old men, the elders of the church, dressed in white, with crowns of gold on their heads. Out of the throne came lightning, and thunder, and the sound of voices. Before the throne was a sea of glass like crystal, and beside the throne were four strange living creatures, each having six wings. And these living ones were saying, "Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God, the Almighty, which was, and which is, and which is to come."
And then the elders would fall down and worship him who sits on the throne, and lay their crowns at his feet, and say, "Thou art worthy, O God, our Lord, to have the honor, and the glory, and the power; for thou didst create and make all things."
Then John saw in the right hand of the One sitting on the throne a book, in the form of a roll, written on both sides, and sealed with seven seals. And a mighty angel called out with a loud voice, "Who is worthy to open the book, and to loose its seals?"
And no one in all the heaven, or on the earth, or under the earth, was able to open the book or to loosen its seals. Then John began to weep, because there was found no one worthy to open the book or even to look upon it. But one of the twenty-four elders spoke to John, saying, "Weep not; see, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, he who came from David, has won the right to open the book and its seven seals."
Then before the throne, and among the elders and the four living creatures, John saw standing the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ, with the wounds of the cross upon him, in hands, and feet, and side. He came and took the book from the right hand of the One who was sitting on the throne. And as he took the book the four living creatures, and the twenty-four elders, all fell down before the throne. Each held a harp and a golden bowl full of incense, such as was used in the Temple, as a sign of the prayers of God's people. And they all sang a new song, with the words:
"Worthy is the Lamb who was slain to have the power, and riches, and wisdom, and might, and honor, and glory, and blessing."