I, John, your brother and joint-partaker in the persecution and kingdom and the patient endurance in Jesus, was on the island called Patmos through the word of God and the testimony of Jesus.
I was in [the] Spirit on the Lord’s Day, and I heard behind me a voice loud as a trumpet saying, “Write what you see into a book and send to these seven assemblies, in Ephesus, and in Smyrna, and in Pergamum, and in Thyatira, and in Sardis, and in Philadelphia, and in Laodicea.”
And I turned around to see the voice which spoke with me, and turning around I saw seven golden lampstands, and amid the lampstands One like the Son of Humanity, clothed in a foot-length garment, and gird about the chest with a golden sash: and His head and hair white, as white wool, as snow, and His eyes as flaming fire.
And His feet were like brilliant bronze, as though having been fired in a furnace,
And His voice as the sound of many waters.
And He had in His right hand seven stars, and out of His mouth a sharp, two-edged sword was coming,
And His face beams as the sun in its power.
And when I saw Him, I fell before His feet as if dead, and He placed His right hand upon me, saying, “Do not be afraid: I AM the First and the Last, and the One living—and I was dead and behold, I am alive into the aeons of aeons—and I have the keys of death and of Hades,
“Therefore, write what you saw, and what things are, and what things are about to be after these things.
“The mystery of the seven stars that you saw in my right hand, and the seven golden lampstands: The seven stars are the seven Angels of the seven assemblies, and the seven lampstands are the seven assemblies.”Revelation 1:9-20
As had become their custom soon after the Spirit had come in fire and in power, John lifted his hands and face to the heavens in worship, knowing the Spirit would sweep him up and carry him along. It was the first day of the week, Sunday, but they had begun to call it the Lord’s Day, for it was on this day that the Lord Jesus Christ had risen from the grave. So many years ago, and yet John remembered it as if it had been yesterday. The heart-stopping astonishment, seeing that tomb empty of all but the grave clothes. And then later, Mary of Magdala rushing in once again to tell them in excited gasps that the Lord had risen, He had risen indeed!
Soon after, more of the women came with reports of angels, and of seeing the Lord Himself with a message for them. They were to go to Galilee and wait for Him there.
Later that day, as they huddled together, trying to understand what was happening, the Lord had appeared among them. They had touched Him, and spoken with Him, and He had raised His hands above them and breathed over them, saying “Receive the Holy Spirit.”
But it was not until fifty days later at Pentecost that the Holy Spirit had come in flame and in power. And they had been filled with a transcendent energy, speaking in every known language, boldly declaring the risen Christ.
Now, on this Lord’s Day, John lifted his inward being and welcomed the fresh infilling of the Spirit. Yet suddenly, as he worshipped a loud voice rang out behind him—a voice like the trumpets atop the temple parapets, calling all Jerusalem to worship. A voice, John imagined, that must have sounded from Mount Sinai as the Lord God called to God’s people. The trumpet voice raised the hair on his head, caused the hair all along his arms to stand straight, and it was as though his body knew first what to do as his mind blanked numb, for he turned to see who or what had sounded such a cry.
But nothing could have prepared John for what he saw. There before him was a figure such as the Prophet Daniel must have seen, the Son of Humanity coming on the clouds, surrounded by the radiant glory of God’s Shekinah. A man, clothed with a long robe, and a golden sash wrapped around His chest, something like the high priest might have looked like, had John been able to peer into the Holy of Holies on the Day of Atonement.
And this man shone bright white! His hair was white, his face was white, white as washed wool, white as snow, a dazzling light that emanated all around Him. His feet were as burnished bronze, bronze fresh from the furnace, still hot and glowing, and the sound His voice made was as the loudest waterfall, as the waterfall of Dan, the River of Dan.
Astonishingly, in His right hand He held seven fiery stars, as though plucked from the sky. And from His mouth came a sharp two-edged sword, the deadly sharp sword of a Centurion.
But John’s eyes were drawn once again to the Son of Humanity’s face for His eyes were like flames of fire and His face shone like the sun in its midday brilliance, it was as though the heat of the sun radiated from the figure before him.
And John fell at his feet, his knees collapsed, his breath left him, there was no strength in him to stand, his body simply crumpled as though dead before this awe-inspiring personage. Yet, even in his dead faint, he felt a gentle touch and knew that the Son of Humanity had placed his hand upon John. He heard the man’s voice, as though a great river were flowing over him, saying,
“Do not be afraid. I am the first and the last. I am the living one. I was dead, but behold! I am alive into the eons, into eternity, and I am the one who holds the keys of death, now, I am the one holding the keys of the grave.”
The voice paused, as John looked up from his kneeling position. And it was as though light and sound came pouring over him in a fresh tsunami of power—the song of the stars, the celestial song of the cosmos, saying now,
“John, I want you to write everything down that you see. Write down what is happening right now, and write down the things that happen after this.
“Write it all down.
“Write down what is going to take place.
“And as for the mystery of the stars that you see in my hand, these stars represent the angels of the seven assemblies that are to receive your book. And these lampstands, these are those seven assemblies.”
A strange sense of disembodiment began to spread through John’s body. He glanced down to see where his body might end and the earth beneath him begin. He looked to his left hand, and to his right, and to his knees pressed into the dirt. The brightness of the Son of Humanity’s glowing presence washed over everything around John, as though a cloud of light softened every contour, and suffused every color.
As he looked at his hand, John realized there was a stylus in it, and as he looked at his other hand, he realized he was holding a tablet with fresh wax. Almost without thinking, John wrote, “I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day, and I heard behind me a voice loud as a trumpet . . . “