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Revelation chp 17 - Babylon - The Satanic Kingdom of Tomorrow - JS Gillespie  


Revelation chapter 17 and the prophetic future of Babylon, what it is and who it is controlled by and the challenges presented by Babylon today. From our systematic series of bible teaching messages in the book of Revelation.

Revelation 17 - Babylon and the Beast the World Sleep Walking into Catastrophe - JS Gillespie  

The world looks on and wonders, surprised at the residence and presidence of the demonic beast's take over of Babylon. The most surprising aspect of Revelation 17 is that the world is surprised! Having fashioned a world system of atheism, humanism, hedonism and materialism nothing could be more predictable than that system would become a perfect habitation for the demonic. Anyone surely could predict this, except the world itself! Satan had mankind fashion his anti-church, his anti-kingdom on his behalf. Here was a place of safety, security, and salvation (17:4). Babylon offered everything a soul could wish for! Here was a false saviour and a false salvation! Here was Satan's master piece, the work of millenia! The angel (17:1) pauses from his busy schedule to emphasise to John that whilst the wheels of Divine justice may well turn slow, they turn certain and sure. There is nothing more certain than Divine justice played out in time and in eternity. Dr J Stewart Gillespie,

Revelation chp 17 - Babylon - The Dimensions of a Dream - JS Gillespie  

We continue our series of systematic studies through the book of Revelation, arriving at Revelation chapters 17 and 18 and teh subject of the mystery of Babylon the Great, the mother of Harlots. The subject of Babylon is as significant as it is controversial. Babylon in many ways sits uncomfortably in such a sacred part of the closing book of the Bible, in a letter prefaced as being none other than the 'Revelation of Jesus Christ' and yet in this very book 2 out of 22 chapters are dedicated to the subject of mystical Babylon! Babylon is in a sense present here so that it may be removed! The Divine object and that of the 7 seals, 7 trumpets and 7 vials is the complete destruction and removal of this cancerous monstrosity from the Divine Creation! One day Babylon will be no more!

Babylon was conceived as the dimensions of a Satanic Dream in Isaiah chapter 14. It was a means to an end. That end was domination, placing Satan as the object of worship and the power behind the thrones of men. He could not claim the throne of the Most High any longer, but as the god of this world he would do all that he could to bring it down with him!

In Genesis chapter 11 we saw Babylon as a Building

In Daniel chapters 2 and 3 we see Babylon as a Body

In Revelation chapters 17 and 18 we perceive Babylon as corrupted Bride

This is Satan's antichurch, anti kingdom, standing in opposition to Christ.


Revelation chp 15 - Hell the Unexpected Consequence of Holiness - JS Gillespie  


Although set in a future time of judgment and tribulation, chapter 15 of Revelation contains truths and insights too good to be left till the future. This is a chapter which shows us afresh of God's power to turn victims into victors and which demonstrates God's sovereign power over the wickedness of men. Men may plot and persecute to have God's people put out of this world but an exit from this world quickly becomes an entrance into the Glory of heaven under teh hand of a sovereign God!

We glimpse the Glory of the Divine character in chapter 15. Judgment emerges from an unexpected source here! Out of the sanctuary and the Divine Glory and presence the vials of God's wrath are carried and consecrated by angel's hands! Divine wrath and justice is displayed before the world as the awful and awsome consequence of Divine holiness.

Revelation chapter 15 vs 1 to 4 - The Sign The Sea The Song - JS Gillespie  


Revelation chapter 15 vs 1 to 4 traces the destiny of those who trusted the God of their strength, never flinching and refusing to let go until He became their salvation. As they stand upon the the crystal sea now mixed with the fires of affliction, they stand perpetual testimony to the God who is able to turn the victim into a victor. Here is the great secret of Christian trial and affliction that we have a God who is able to empower us to emerge butterfly like from the catastrophe of persecution and turmoil. The enemy in his hatred and cruelty may well have chased them to the brink of extinction at the edge of the sea but this was merely God's preamble to opening up the path before them for an eternal entrance to the habitation of God. They were like the Covenanter Martyrs of 1685, Corson and Hair; "Unknown till persecution dragged them into fame and chased them up to heaven"

What a God! What a Saviour! What a Lamb!

A message preached as part of our systematic study series on the book of Revelation by Dr J Stewart Gillespie

Revelation chapter 14 - A Letter Written A Song Sung - JS Gillespie  

Christian hymns, Old Testament Psalms (Psalm 2) and Biblical prophecies all look forward to Christ reigning in Zion; the Holy and royal mountain of Jerusalem. Well here He is; Christ in Zion, in Revelation chapter 14. John paints the picture, gives us a snapshot of Christ on mount Zion! It’s here He has finally arrived, but it's not what I would expect of:

  • The Son of God
  • The King of Kings
  • The Lord of Lords
  • Creator
  • Redeemer
  • Judge of all things
  • Miracle worker

It’s the picture I might anticipate of one who is:

  • Omnipotent
  • Omniscient
  • Omnipresent

“Yet have I set my King upon my Holy hill of Zion” (Psalm 2:6)

I wasn’t expecting to see a lamb there! Maybe a lion!

Yet the path from earth to heaven and glory, the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords has taken as a lamb.

That’s interesting that we should find the lamb on Mt Zion

We find the lamb in all sorts of places:

  • On the altar (Gen 22) – sacrifice
  • In the fire and flame (Ex 12) – suffering
  • In the mouth of the lion (1 Sam 17) – Satanic attack
  • Led to the slaughter (Isaiah 53)
  • Bearing away the sin of the world - As the Substitute

Finally we find the lamb here; on the throne (Revelation 4); in heaven (Revelation 14)

This path of the lamb by way of:

  • Sacrifice
  • Suffering
  • Satanic attack

Is the path followed by those whom we find here in heaven. The route to the destination is the same.

They have followed the lamb all the way to Zion.

Some claim that we ought not to be ‘prisoners to our past, it’s a lesson, not a life sentence.’ There is some truth in that, but not much!

The biblical view of our past is far higher than being ‘free from the prison’ of the past and the past is certainly no lesson, it is the real thing!

If the past is but a lesson for today and today is but a lesson for the future. Where is it that we put into practice these so called lessons? When do we actually graduate from school into the real world! This of course is the real world!

No doubt lessons should be learned but regarding our life as merely a lesson is way short of the profound depths which God attaches to our life here and now.

Our past is not a prison from which we ought to regard ourselves as liberated from, our past is

  • what in part moulds and shapes us and produces character in us (Romans 5:1ff).
  • Theatre in which is worked out our service for God, the race is run, and as such reward can follow on.
  • The arena of sin and error; a place where ripples extend out into eternity, to the judgment seat and to others

Our past is way more serious than a prison from which we might seek freedom.

Our past does indeed teach lessons, but it has eternal consequences for us and consequences for others, which we cannot ignore nor erase. Consequences not only of:

  • Education
  • Retribution
  • Reward

Once we face up to the reality of this, once we grasp the truth of this, this will lead us to:

  • Repentance
  • Redemption
  • Reward

As well as

  • Education

There is by far the greater path of:

  • Salvation

We are far more than prisoners of our past

We are products of our past

A past that is not merely a lesson in life but a past that is life itself, real life with ripples running off into eternity.

The 144,000 arrive in heaven, sounding like the lamb (14:2) with a “voice of many waters” and with a “new song” that no man could learn.

Anyone could read the lyrics but they could not learn the song

Anyone could learn words but they could not learn the song!

Anyone could follow a tune but they could not learn this song!

Many could play the music but they could not learn the song.

This was a song played on the heart, not only upon the harp (v2)

Like Christ who ‘learned obedience by the things which He suffered’

Learning is a change brought about from experience

At times in life we complain, we are resentful, become bitter, get discouraged.

At times we desire an:

  • Easier life
  • Smoother path
  • To take it a little easier
  • Put our feet up
  • A bit less hassle

This path is the path to mount Sinai

This is the path which brought the Son of God to Glory

This song was and is the product of their lives.

This is the song that makes us sound like Christ!

  • Bass notes of suffering
  • The treble clef of lifes melody
  • The sharps of excitement
  • The flats of disappointment
  • The rests of recuperation
  • The repeats of routine
  • The majors of life’s dominant themes
  • The minors of less significant


We may be an epistle written and read as Paul reminds us but our life also produces a song that is sung and nothing need be wasted.

From a systematic bible teaching series from the letter of Revelation by Dr J Stewart Gillespie, preached at the Bridgend Gospel Hall, New Cumnock. Free to download messages and free to view online. 


The Secrets of the AntiChrist Revealed - Revelation chapter 13 vs 1 to 10 - JS Gillespie  


As the king of counterfeit and the master mimic, Satan parallels and contorts the work and ministry of Jesus Christ, into his own fake imitation; a Satanic image to worship, the ultimate deflection away from genuine devotion and affection. The roots of this supreme distraction spread deep, drawing their caustic sap to the final shoots of one supreme manifestation in the AntiChrist. Amusement has fulfilled it's unthinking purpose for generations, lives have been successfully sapped of all success, years frittered unfruitful, time wasted and human lifespans discarded into the dustbins of purposeless unproductivity. A wasted and worthless life is a worthwhile goal for this antichrist infused world over which Satan as prince presides. 

In the end, all of these roots will finally feed one shoot, the AntiChrist, the beast from the sea of Revelation chapter 13, Satan's man of Sin on earth. His worship will be volitional, devotion by deception! In the character catalogue of Revelation chapter 13 he attempts to emulate by inversion the character of Christ. The lamb becomes the beast (Revelation 13:1); his incarnation ascends from the depths in stark contrast to Jesus who descends from above, an anointing with the 7 fold Spirit of God in Isaiah 11:2 is parodied by 7 heads of blasphemy in the beast (13:1). The 3 and a half year ministry of Christ is mocked by a 3 and a half year reign of the beast (13:5) and the Sermon on the Mount is parodied by a mouth opening in blasphemy (13:6) rather than blessing (Matthew 5:2ff). 

Here is Satan's Antichrist, here is the destiny to which the compass of this world is pointing, passive distraction and distracted devotion to a delusion, 180 degrees from Jesus Christ, our only source of hope and peace. 

A message preached by Dr J Stewart Gillespie as part of a systematic series of bible studies in the book of Revelation, free to listen or view online.

Revelation chapter 9 vs 12 to 21 - The 6th Trumpet and the 4 Angels from the Euphrates - JS Gillespie  

Whilst undoubtedly one of the more complex chapters in Revelation, chapter 9 also contains some very practical lessons for the Christian by providing insight into the character and conduct of the enemy. The chapter begins with a Satanic smoke screen, emanating from the fumes billowing out their choking acrid debris into the air of earth. As always Satan obscures his purpose and as has been the case for generations his promises invariable conclude in the pit. This is the pit of broken promises, the pit into which the angels who followed him fell and an echo of the same trap set for Adam, David, Solomon, Ahithophel and Judas.

The second half of chapter 9 continues to provide forensic insight into the character of malevolence. The numbers perpetrating evil decrease from the swarms of locusts down to the 4 angels but their impact is amplified. These are the angels referenced in Daniel chapter 9, Isaiah 14 and Ezekiel 28; angels moving behind the scenes, motivating and manipulating the decisions and agenda of kings and politicians. These are the 4 angels of the Euphrates basin, hitherto placed on hold as the spiritual power house behind the dominance of Iraq, Turkey and Syria, once chained they now rise again, heralding the political ascendency of Turkey, Iraq and Syria. These lands become the setting for the fulfilment for some of the most unlikely of biblical prophecies. An army of 200 million are seen in this vision of John amassing for war with a third of the worlds population destroyed. At the time John wrote the world's population amounted to less than this total number observed as involved in the battle! Today however military, paramilitary and reserve forces already amount to 65 million (International Institute of Strategic Studies), with over 1 billion people potentially able to be called upon in the event of war. Today finally the numbers add up and the picture painted by John is no longer outlandish nor off the scale. Here is a battle and a slaughter ordered and ordained from the horns of the golden altar, all in God's plan and purpose, ultimately for His Glory. 

A study in our series of expository messages on the book of Revelation.

Yours by Grace in Christ

Dr J Stewart Gillespie 

Revelation chapter 7 vs 9 to 17 - Heaven - The Taste of a Place, The Touch of a Person - J Stewart Gillespie  

For the martyred multitude of Revelation chapter 7, heaven was worth it and heaven came as no surprise. With every strain of the sinews, every stretch of their muscle fibres and with each tensing of the tendons, this great multitude of God's people felt they were stepping upwards, higher and higher to the heavens. Reaching the summit came as no surprise. The clouds seemed closer with every step, the atmosphere of earth thinning and the sun a little brighter. Their journey had been one of progressing a little higher day by day. Along that upward path they had known the:

  1. The Taste of the Place
  2. The Touch of a Person 

Heaven was reached by a palm tree paved path from the:

  • Palms of the oasis of Elim bringing refreshment from the wells of God's provision for His people on their earthly journey
  • Palms of reflection as His people dwelt annually under the booths of palm leaves, reminding them of their pilgrim character on earth 
  • Palms of revelation under the palm tree of Deborah 
  • Palms of relationship adorning the temple 

Each step of the pilgrim journey home had a taste of the place, a fragrance of heaven. 

That journey to the dwelling place of the Lamb was likewise assured by the presence and provision of the Shepherd along the path. The one who had lead them by the still waters and who had made them lie down in green pastures was the same one who had lead them to the source of that supply. Psalm 23 with its closing promise of dwelling in the House of the Lord forever, is the doorway into the eternal vista of Revelation chapter 7. Still waters in the valley of Psalm 23 find the eternal and abundant source in the "living fountains of water" of Revelation chapter 7. In this eternal abode hearts are fully satisfied (verse 16) with Christ. 

It is at the conclusion of the journey for God's people, faithful martyrs for Jesus Christ, men and women who have come through persecution, suffering and death that we are finally able to weigh up the worth and value of all that has transpired before the eternal. Has earth been worth it? Has life been fare? Have the means been worth the end? Can we make sense of life now in the light of forever? The reflection and response of those martyred for Jesus is a resounding volley of praise and worship (verse 12); an emphatic 'yes'. Perhaps like them it would be wise for us to reserve judgment and assessment on our own trials and difficulties until finally we see life in the light of the Lamb, time from the perspective of forever. 

A message preached in our systematic series of studies in the book of Revelation at the Bridgend Gospel Hall, New Cumnock by Dr J Stewart Gillespie. 


Revelation chapter 5 verses 1 to 5 - The Book with the 7 Seals - Thy Kingdom Come - JS Gillespie - 01022022  

Upon the fulcrum of Revelation chapter 5 the whole of John's great prophetic book turns. John has introduced us to heaven in Revelation chapter 4 and to the God of heaven. In chapter 4 we learn WHAT God is; He is the covenant making and covenant keeping God of the rainbow encircled throne. All of His rule is founded on the principle of faithfulness and of God's unbreakable promises. He is the God of the crystal sea, impeccably Holy, absolutely pure. We glimpse WHO God is in the Jasper and the Sardine stone. The stones of the breastplate of Israel's high priest contain the names of Benjamin; the Son of His Father's right hand and Reuben: behold a Son. The God of eternity seated upon the throne of glory is the Son. This is the Jesus of the bible! Write above chapter 4 of Revelation: 

"Our Father which art in heaven..." 

Here is God in His dwelling. Here is God seated upon His throne! 

From chapter 6 to 19 of Revelation John will describe in detail not so much WHO God is or WHAT God is like but WHAT God will do. Chapter after awful chapter, catastrophe follows disaster and yet these calamities are anything short of natural or accidental. These earth shattering events are deliberate, ordered, designed and ordained; each one triggered by a definitive act of the Lamb and His angels. These events can in fact be traced back to the opening of the seven seals of Revelation chapter 5. 

And so after:

The 4 riders of the Apocalypse; harbingers of war, famine, death and disease you can write:

"Thy will be done on earth..."

After the veiling of the sun and the blood red moon you can write:

"Thy will be done on earth..."

After the destruction of 1/3 of the land, 1/3 of the sea, 1/3 of the rivers; you can write:

"Thy will be done on earth..."

As the solar system moves and the stars fall; you can write:

"Thy will be done on earth..."

As the bottomless pit is opened and as Apollyon leads the demonic locusts on their merciless mission; you can write:

"Thy will be done on earth..."

As 200 million horsemen emerge to destroy 1/3 of mankind, you can write:

"Thy will be done on earth..."

As Armageddon rages, the beast and Antichrist arise and the global financial and religious systems fall; you can write:

"Thy will be done on earth..."

With so much in these chapters as to who God is, what God is like and what God will do; what indeed is the purpose of Revelation chapter 5, and more particularly a scroll or book unsealed, one seal at a time unleashing global destruction? This pattern teaches me that:

  • Pain has a purpose
  • Grief has a Glory 
  • Madness has a meaning 

All of these subsequent judgments; wars and destructions are the essential forerunner to the opening of the book. It is in other words the opening of this book which heralds in Gods eternal Kingdom and New Jerusalem that necessitates the opening of this book. You can't have the open book without the preceding catastrophe!

You can't have success in life without the sacrifice!

You can't climb a mountain sitting on your sofa with your slippers on!

You can't have the donuts without the calories! 

You can't have a world of sin, rebellion, and separation from God without first the purging of fire, the fulfilment of the ultimate and eternal consequences of sin, the judgment of Satan and rebellion. To be separate from the God of life, light and love necessitates the experience of death, darkness and despair! 

The tragedy of Revelation has meaning and purpose as does all tragedy and turmoil under the hand of a sovereign God. 

To open the book that leads to Glory means to lose the seals which each demand judgment! where bible teaching never sleeps.

What is Heaven like - The Crystal Sea of Heaven - Revelation chp 4 vs 6 - JS Gillespie  


Part 2 of our studies in Revelation chapter 4 - What is Heaven Like?

It is surprising that a book about God, from God doesn't say more than it does on the subject of the dwelling place of God! The bible is written of course precisely because man is isolated and alienated from heaven! We live on the wrong side of Eden to enjoy heaven with God. In reality however heaven is in essence a minority interest. The path to heaven is difficult and narrow and there few who embark on that road to eternal life. Heaven may well be a word found on the lips of many, especially at times of loss and bereavement but the heaven of popular imagination, as the universal destiny of all souls, the place of general reunions or the perpetuation of earthly pleasures bears no relationship to the heaven of Divine revelation.


In Revelation chapter 4 we gain a unique insight into what heaven is actually like. The heaven of Revelation chapter 4 is God centred. This heaven has a door, only one, the voice that calls His sheep on earth (John 10:3) is the same voice we hear in heaven, calling us through the same door (John 10:9). For John as for us all, the last voice we hear upon earth; the voice of the Lord Jesus (John 10:27); is the same voice, ever so familiar that we will hear in heaven. Heaven is the place of God's throne, it is the place where God rules and reigns. This ought to be no surprise to us. Perhaps even from our earliest repetition of the Lord's prayer we were aware that heaven was the place where "thy will be done"; heaven is the place of God's rule and the origin of God's Kingdom; "thy Kingdom come."

Seated upon that throne we glimpse the Son of my right hand (Benjamin), the Son of His mother's sorrow (Benoni); behold a Son (Reuben); symbolised by two stones from the breast plate of the High Priest of Israel. The jasper stone was the stone of Benjamin (the son of my right hand) and the sardine stone was the stone of Reuben: 'behold a son'. Here finally we behold the Son of His Father's right hand, who is also the son of His mother's sorrow 'Benoni.'

For heaven the floor is the crystal sea, and from the perspective of earth it becomes a crystal ceiling (Ezekiel chp1). The pattern of Solomon's temple echoed of this with the molten sea for the cleansing of the priests. In this place all cleansing is past. This sea is crystal clear, it does not function any longer to remove sin. This sea excludes sin, for in this place there is nought that defiles that can enter therein. There is no possibility of rolling out of earth and into heaven. Absolute holiness is a condition of entry and not a consequence. Only the "blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses from all sin."

with Grace in Christ

J Stewart Gillespie

Revelation chp 3 vs 7 to 13 - The 7 churches of Revelation - Philadelphia - Surprising Origins and Unexpected Destinies - JS Gillespie - 17112021  

Philadelphia shines brightly against a backdrop of dark and dismal failure. It would be impossible to predict that unadulterated commendation of the church at Philadelphia would have followed after the preceding failures of Ephesus, Pergamos, Thyatira and Sardis. When God's Grace is operative it is impossible to predict the end from the beginning. Let us be encouraged, we may come from humble circumstances, we may have had an unpromising start in life, in the estimation of the world we may not amount to very much but when the grace of God is operative the outcomes and end point are consistent not with our limitations but with the immeasurable Glory of God's Grace in Christ. The unqualified commendation of this church after so much correction and condemnation in the other churches of Revelation, comes as a striking and refreshing surprise. It does not follow the pattern of past failure. As is so often the case, when God's grace blows afresh on glowing embers it is impossible to predict how high these glorious flames will rise.

Perhaps we have scratched our heads over the details of 1 Samuel chapter 17. Why the details of David's errand to deliver bread and cheeses to his brothers in the valley of Elah? The answer of course is very simple. 1 Samuel chapter 17 is actually all about David's errand to bring the bread, cheeses and parched corn to his brothers and their captain in the valley of Elah. David was sent on a simple errand of delivering bread and cheese to his brothers. The rest of chapter 17, the details of David's fight with Goliath, his victory over the Philistines, his gaining of a bride and his ascent to the throne of Israel is really an add on, an extra to what he had been sent to do; deliver bread, cheese and parched corn!

When the Grace of God and the power of the God of Israel is operative it is utterly impossible to predict the outcome from the beginning! It may have been a simple task David embarked upon, perhaps even a task like the foot washing of John chapter 13 that the disciples thought beneath them, but this led to David's first and greatest, that of the slaying of Goliath and the path to the throne. 

The key to the success of Philadelphia lay ultimately in their likeness to Christ. They kept His word and honoured His name; a path of truth and holiness (3:7). When the door was opened they were ready and waiting to go through that door. 

The door was undoubtedly one to mission and ministry, service and success in evangelism. As with all service, which can at times be onerous, involving sacrifice and commitment, service was the direction and not the ultimate destiny. The end point of this journey, through the open door, a door which was opened by David's anointed (Isaiah 22:22),  was the heavenly Jerusalem and God's eternal presence (Rev 3:12) just as the keys held by the typical Eliakim in Isaiah chapter 22 were keys to house of David, and to the temple; the "Father's house" (Isaiah 22:24). They too were to become pillars in the place of holiness.

From a series of bible teaching messages on the seven churches of Revelation 

Yours by


Grace in Christ


Dr J Stewart Gillespie

The 7 churches of Revelation - Pillars in the Place of Holiness - Philadelphia (Revelation chp 3 vs 7 to 13) - JS Gillespie  

Philadelphia the church that breaks the mould. Arising from the unpromising soils of corruption and compromise Philadelphia has found the secret of success. The character of Christ is seen in His church; holiness and truth. They value His presence and His Word. Prepared with such a grasp of Divine truth and character they are ready to enter through the open door of opportunity, a door leading to a far greater destiny than service itself. They are destined as pillars in the place of holiness!

From a series of Bible teaching messages on the seven churches of Revelation 

Yours by 

Grace in Christ

Dr J Stewart Gillespie

The 7 Churches of Revelation - Revelation chapter 2 vs 1 to 7 - JS Gillespie  

The opening chapters of this great book of prophecy (Rev 1:3) describes 7 carefully arranged portraits of churches in the western part of modern day Turkey. It is possible to see in them a snap shot of the condition of the church historically. As we reflect upon them we are compelled to consider them practically; what kind of church am I in? Beyond this the challenge is surely to consider these churches personally; what am I in my church? It comes as little surprise to realise that the book of Revelation begins as it continues; that is prophetically. These 7 churches sketch out the history of the western Christian church for the past 2000 years:


Ephesus - the early Apostolic Church

Smyrna - the church persecuted under successive Roman Emperors

Pergamos - the mixed marriage of professing Christianity and paganism triggered by the professed conversion of Constantine.

Thyatira - the development of Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy

Sardis - the rediscovery of truth and reformation 

Philadelphia - the explosion of evangelism through the open door of mission in the 18th to 20th century

Laodicea - the self contented, self amused and financially prosperous western church of today 


The problems with the church began early with Ephesus. Right at the beginning Christ presents Himself as He ought to be considered and honoured; at the centre of His church; tragically from this His people have drifted in heart. Here lie the source of 2 millenia of problems.

From a bible teaching series expounding the book of Revelation.

Yours by Grace in Christ 

Dr J Stewart Gillespie

Revelation chp 1 vs 10 to 13 - The Voice I Saw - JS Gillespie - 27072021  



John now shares with us what he saw (v12) – the voice I saw! 

That sounds immediately strange and so it is! 

You don’t see a voice, but there is a significance attached to this, as we will see. 

John is “in the Spirit” (v10) – there are many times in the scriptures when unusual things are seen and heard, and at times few hear and see: 

Paul on the road to Damascus 
Paul in the third heaven 
John in Revelation 
Balaam’s ass! 

That vision only comes because: 

They listen when others only hear 
They perceive when others only see 


John hears a “great voice as of a trumpet” 

That small detail ties this event into a whole series of significant events in the OT scriptures. 

The trumpet is so often in scripture an alarm: 

To wake 
To watch 
To warn – Exodus 19; Neh 4; Jer 6; Ezek 33 
To war – Judges 7; Josh 6; Jer 4; Jer 42; Ezek 7 
To worship – Exodus 19; 20 
To warning – Exodus 19; Neh 4; Jer 6; Ezek 33 
To assemble 


The first time we hear the trumpet sound is back in Exodus chapter 19 at Mount Sinai; where the new nation of Israel received her first and foundational revelation from God; the only one written by the hand of God: 

Here in Exodus 20; Deut 9:10 
In the days of Belshazzer (Dan 5) 
In John 8:6 with the woman caught in the act of adultery! 

In Exodus chp 19 + 20; the trumpet announces a revelation from the presence of God in the midst of a Kingdom of priests (Ex 19:6). 

Why would we hear such a trumpet here in Revelation chapter 1? For exactly the same reason! 

Here in Revelation chp 1 we have not only the: 

Son of man 
Son of Mary 
Son of Abraham 
Son of David 
Son of Joseph so called 
Son of the Blessed 
Son of the Highest 

But we have also the eternal Son of God – the God of Sinai and so the trumpet sounds! 

At Sinai there was at least one great distinction as the trumpet sounded in the midst of a Kingdom of priests – that Kingdom of priests was expressly prohibited from looking on; “lest they break through unto the Lord to gaze and many of them perish” (Ex 19:21). 

Here we see ‘the voice I saw’ 

You will find also that the trumpet sounds at the end of the OT, in a series of final references in the minor prophets; announcing not: 

Presence of God 
Revelation of God 


Day of the Lord 

And the conclusion of all things is anticipated; Joel 2:1; Zeph 1:14ff; Zech 9:14ff 

The trumpet is also presented by God to be sounded on the day of Jubilee in acknowledgement that the earth and the rules governing this earth are the Lords and not mans (Lev 25:23) and that both man and the land enter into a Sabbath of rest; perhaps that too may be relevant here as ultimately this book will conclude with an eternal rest. 

The content of that voice: 

“Alpha and omega the first and the last” 

Cf verse 8: 

“I AM alpha and omega the beginning and the ending” 

The title “I AM” is of significance 

V8 – beginning “arche” 

V8 – ending “telos” – an end, termination, a completion 

V11 – first – ‘protos’ 

V11 – last – ‘eschatos’ 

As the first and the last we glimpse the character / the nature of Christ; at the dawn of time and at the conclusion of time He was and shall be there, as such, as a consequence of such, as preceding all and succeeding all He gives rise to and concludes all. 

He is the cause and conclusion of all! 

The book of Revelation then whilst it is the Revelation from Christ grammatically (1:1) is also the Revelation concerning Christ thematically (1:8). 

This book which deals with the conclusion of all things brought into being by Christ as the cause is dependent upon Him for its conclusion! All is directed from His throne! 

Interestingly the bulk of Revelation is book ended by 2 great thrones: 

The Sapphire throne of Revelation chp 4 + 5 
The Great White throne of Revelation chp 19 + 20 

That is: 

The Throne that governs, instructs, ordains, determines 
The Throne that judges, concludes and completes all things 

Between these 2 great thrones lies the bulk of the book of Revelation and the entirety of human history! 

What is especially of interest to us is the identity of the one who sits upon that throne : 

The Lamb 
Alpha and Omega (Rev 21:6) 

That is it is Christ – He is the beginning and the end of all things. 

When John turns to see the voice, first he sees the 7 lampstands! Where else would we expect to find Christ but in the midst of His people? Where would people find the voice of Christ today in this dark world?? 

The first glimpse of Christ in this book is very interesting (v13) – a garment down to the foot and a girdle about the chest. 

The girdle is associated with the priestly office and the prophetic office (eg Elijah and John the Baptist) 

The garment down to the feet is the same Greek word used for the priestly garment in the LXX . 

Righteousness is the girdle of His loins (Isa 11:5) 

His Appearance is that of the Priest 

His Attributes are that of the King (1:13, 18; 3:7; 1:16; 19:15-16) 

His Activities are that of the prophet in chapters 2 to 3 

All together He is the God of heaven (Dan 7:9; Rev 1:14) 

He is: 


Revelation chp 1 vs 4 to 5 - God Sovereign Eternal All Sufficient Triune - JS Gillespie - 22062021  

Revelation chapter 1 verses 4 to 5 - God Sovereign Eternal All Sufficient Triune: 

We have seen so far in our series of bible studies in the book of Revelation: 

  • Significance of the author – John 
  • Source of the Revelation – Jesus Christ 
  • Subject of the book – Jesus Christ 
  • Structure of the Book 

Significance of the author – John 

For John the book of Revelation is the 5th and final of John’s New Testament books. This interestingly is comparable to Moses who is the human author of the first 5 of the Old Testament books of the Bible. The closest parallels between these two authors exists between Moses first book; that of Genesis and John's final book that of Revelation.

Consider the parallels in particular between Genesis and Revelation: 





New Creation  

Satan comes in as the serpent 

Satan the serpent and dragon removed 

Sin and the fall 

Redemption and eternal salvation 

Sin, sorrow and suffering begin 

Sin, sorrow and suffering ended 

Tree of life guarded 

Tree off life freely available 

Plagues of Egypt 

Plagues on whole world 

Mark of Cain 

Mark of the beast 

Sun and moon created to give light 

Sun and moon no longer needed for light 

Babel its origins 

Babylon its fulfilment 

Manna for the Israelites 

Manna for Pergamos 



Subject of the book of Revelation is Jesus Christ 

Consider the following as suggested outlines of the book of Revelation:

  • Plan of Salvation (chp 1) 
  • Presence of Christ amidst His people (chp 2 to 3) 
  • Power over the world (chps 4 to 19) 
  • Purpose for Universe (chps 20 to 21) 
  • Pre-eminence in all things 

Structure of the Book 

Cf 1:19 

  • Lord in the midst of His people 
  • Lamb in the midst of the throne 
  • Lion over the world 
  • Lover of the Church 
  • Light in eternity 

Or we can divide the book of Revelation according to the locations in which the parts of the revelation were given: 

  • In Patmos (1:9) 
  • In Heaven (4:1,2) 
  • By sand of the sea (13:1) 
  • In wilderness (17:3) 
  • Great and high mountain (21:10) 

Consider the Setting in which this great book of Revelation was given to John. John was imprisoned on the prison fortress of Patmos. A penal colony and possibly also a quarry, to which prisoners were put for forced hard labour. John’s circumstances are greatly constrained, movements restricted, imprisoned and held on an island; possibly even set to work in a limestone quarry. These are not circumstances of his choosing by any manner of means!  Yet this island of Patmos was also conveniently situated just across the water from the port of Ephesus and this close to the 7 churches of Asia, addressed in the opening chapters of the book of Revelation. Whilst it may well be true that of all the places we might choose to be Patmos would not be one of them! It is also true that our disappointments can be Gods appointments! If life gives you lemons! John could either live according to circumstances he would like to be in and proceed to hit his head against a brick wall or he could live according to the circumstances that he was actually in! 

This is not just about making the best of a bad situation of course but rather making the most of a God given situation and opportunity! If we understand that God is in control, as we can certainly see here in Revelation then that injects purpose and infuses meaning into every part of human life and experience! If we understand that truth from anywhere in the scriptures that God is in control, it is surely from the book of Revelation! 

The 7 churches are in a geographical loop and sequence; interconnected by the Roman roads and each a postal town in the old Roman administration. Ironically the the infrastructure of hostile Rome provided for free movement and facilitated the distribution of the Gospel! John grasps the opportunity that presents itself to him and ministers within the new sphere of service given to him by the sovereign hand of God!

John discerns the hand of God in his circumstances and goes through the door that has been opened to him rather than trying to navigate around about the door. 

John is placed here in Patmos by GPS: 

  • Global Positioning System? 
  • God’s Providential Sovereignty! 

So far as God is concerned John's imprisonment in Patmos is: 

  • The Perfect Person in 
  • The Perfect Place for 
  • The Perfect Purpose 

This may not follow our plan or the normal pattern of life either; let’s not get irritated nor frustrated by Gods sovereignty. 

Note that John is thought to be around 90 years of age here! His greatest contribution to the scriptures and to the church and God’s people waited till he was 90 years of age! 

Normally we may be used with the secular pattern for life, a progression through: 

  • Childhood 
  • Maturity 
  • Education 
  • Adulthood and service 
  • Old age and retirement 

Christian life and service doesn’t necessarily comply with that pattern! Moses was aged 80 before God started to use him properly. Esther was present in the palace for one single crises in the 4000 year history of the nation of Israel. 

Are we willing to be so used?

Are we only willing to be who and what we wish to be, where and when we want to be? 

Like Naaman the leper (2 Kings 5:12) “are not Abana and Pharpar rivers of Damascus better than all the waters of Israel?” Are we only willing to do what we want to do or are we willing to be obedient and humble ourselves to do what God instructs us to do? Are we willing to confess with Christ; "not my will but thine be done"?

This ministry from John is no mere rhetoric or platitudes but is backed up by: God “which is, which was, which is to come.” This is the New Testament parallel to JeHoVaH. In the Old Testament Hebrew title for God, often translated as Jehovah or Yahweh or simply as The LORD, the consonants from the Hebrew word, are derived from the 3 parts of the Hebrew verb ‘to be’; signifying in one title: 

  • He who will be 
  • Who is 
  • Who has been 

We note that the order of tenses is different here between the Hebrew title and the New Testament order here in Revelation chapter 1! 

This present order of tenses in Revelation chapter 1: 

  1. Is 
  2. Was 
  3. Shall be 

Consider also the presentation of a similar pattern in the life of the Lord Jesus in verse 5:

  • “who is the faithful Witness” – In the present - He Is 
  • “first begotten of the dead” – An event in the past for Christ - Was 
  • “Prince of the kings of the earth” –  Awaiting future fulfilment for its full revelation - Which is to come 

Consider also the repetition of this theme in verse 8 and verse 18. 

The pattern seems to be consistent. 

As if we see God from the present extending back to the past and forward into the future; like an eternal light house casting His light into the whole of human history. It is not so much that God has a past and a present but rather it is that God is eternally present throughout history, providing a structure, order, plan and narrative to the whole of history. He is eternally present throughout history and over history; as Alpha and Omega (1:8) the originator and terminator of time and history; as the eternal “I AM” ever in the present! Recall the significance of “I AM the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob” quoted by the Lord to establish the reality of life after death to the Sadducees in Mark chp 12: 

“And as touching the dead, that they rise: have ye not read in the book of Moses, how in the bush God spake unto him, saying, I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? He is not the God of the dead, but the God of the living: ye therefore do greatly err.” (Mark 12:26-27) 

For this to establish the continued existence of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob there is an inherent assumption in this statement; that God Himself does not change! This statement presumes that the relationship of God to time is different from our relationship to time. For me to state that I am the friend of….. does not provide for them the assurance of their perpetual existence! Yet this statement regarding Abraham, Isaac and Jacob does! For God; what is, will always be because God does not simply have a past / present and future tense but He is the eternal being present in and over past, present and future. 

The continued existence beyond death of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is established because they are connected by the perpetual “I AM” to an unchanging God, an eternal being, not simply a person subject to and passing through time. They are "fastened to the Rock which cannot move, Grounded firm and deep in the Saviour's love."


“For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.” (Malachi 3:6) 

“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.” (James 1:17) 

The God whom Abraham met is exactly the same God we meet today! He has not changed, He cannot change! 

The eternal character of God orders and ordains not only events today but in the past and present and future. 

This gives a coherence, order, plan and structure to all of time. 

This brings all of history to an ordered conclusion and destiny! 


We note in these 2 verses; verses 4 and 5 of Revelation chapter 1 there is reference to the doctrine often referred to as the ‘Trinity.’ Not a Biblical term admittedly but a soundly Biblical teaching, truth and pattern. 

verse 4 : "from Him which is and was which was and which is to come" - God the Father 

verse 4: "the seven Spirits" - God the Spirit 

verse 5: "and from Jesus Christ" - God the Son 


God is 1 essential being with a 3 fold personality. 

Cf. Human nature :

  1. Body
  2. Soul
  3. Spirit

Not 3 persons but 3 aspects of the 1 individual. 

Not 1+1+1 but 1X1X1 

The truth of the Trinity is taught throughout scripture and especially in the NT: 

God the Son – John 1:1,14 
God the Father – John 6:27 
God the Holy Spirit – Acts 5:34 

All 3 Persons of the Trinity involved with: 

  • Incarnation of Jesus – Matt 1:18, 20, 23; Luke 1:35; 1 John 4:14 
  • Miracles of Jesus 

Performed by Jesus – John 2:11 
In the name of His Father – John 10:25 
By the power of the Holy Spirit – Matt12:28; Acts 10:38 

  • Baptism of Jesus – Matthew 3:16-17; Luke 3:22 
  • Resurrection of Jesus Christ 

God – Psalm 16:5-10 
Lord Jesus – John 10:17-18 
Spirit of God – Rom 1:4 
God the Father – Rom 6:4 

  • Salvation of the Christian 

Spirit of God – 2 Thess 2:13; John 3:6 – the one who performs / is the executor of the work of saving a soul. 
Lord Jesus – John 10:28 – whose work provides that salvation 
God the Father – 1 John 4:14 – with whom the plan of salvation originates 


  • Indwelling if the believer 

Spirit of God – John 14:17 
Lord Jesus – John 14:18 
God the Father – John 14:23 

  • Baptism – Matt 28:19 
  • Teaching of the Believer / Apostles – John 14:26 
  • Our relationship with God – Ephesians 2:18 


  • Prayer 

In the name of Jesus – John 14:13,14; 16:23 
To the Father – Luke 11:2; Matt 6:9 
By the Spirit of God – Rom 8:26 

  • Fruitfulness in the Christian life: 

Father – John 15:1-2 
Son – John 15:1,4-5 
Spirit of God – Gal 5:22 

  • Comfort and Consolation to the Christian 

Father – 2 Co 1:3 
Son – 2 Co 1:5; 1 John 2:1 
Spirit – John 14:16-17 

  • Eternal security of the Christian: 

Jesus – John 10:28 
Father – John 10:29-30 
Spirit of God – Ephesians 1:13 

Testimony in the heavens (1 John 5:7) 
Inspiration of Scripture 

Is this doctrine of the Trinity  a New Testament  doctrine only? 

Consider Deuteronomy 6:4 :         

Elohyenu – is a plural title for God 
Echad – is the Hebrew word for a composite unity compare the use of  the same word in Genesis 1:5; 2:24 
Yahid – by way of contrast is the word for a singular unity – used in Genesis  22:2 : "your only Isaac"


A sermon preached from our bible teaching series on the book of Revelation 

Yours by Grace in Christ  

Dr J Stewart Gillespie

Revelation chp 1 vs 1 - Revealing Reality Beyond - God Gravity and Glory - JS Gillespie - 15062021  


The closing book of the NT, bringing the entire Bible to a conclusion after more than 2000 years of inspiration! 

We might expect a massive finale, and we get one! 

This is the conclusion to: 

  • The Bible 
  • History 
  • Israel 
  • World 
  • Satan 
  • Evil 
  • Death 
  • Suffering 
  • Sin 

This is quite a conclusion 

There is a lot in it 

Revelation addresses: 

  • The meaning and purpose of life 
  • The destiny of humanity 
  • The end of the world 
  • The plan for the universe 
  • The battle of good over ever 
  • The ultimate and final victory 
  • The mystery of suffering 
  • The perplexity of seemingly unanswered prayer 


Perhaps we may feel overwhelmed by this, discouraged from studying the book with so many symbols, demanding such a thorough knowledge of the rest of scripture and maybe even a good working knowledge of  Church history. 

Perhaps as CA Coates has observed this is the reason for the encouragement of 1:3; the Spirit of God well understanding that we may indeed by discouraged from grappling with the book! 

Revelation 1:3 encourages us to personally engage with the book. 

Not only engage with someone who has engaged with the book; which may indeed be very tempting. 

There needs to be on our part, a fresh appreciation and application of the text of Revelation: 


All this given to the Apostle John. 

The first book of the Bible – Genesis – written by Moses 

The final book of the Bible – Revelation – written by John 

Each are responsible for writing 5 books in the OT and the NT 

Much of what Moses set the scene for in the first 5 books of the Bible will find its completion here in the final book by John. 

The symmetry through the ages of inspiration is striking: 




Old world passed away 

Satan comes in 

Satan removed 

Sin and the fall 

Redemption and eternal salvation 

Tree of life guarded 

Tree off life freely available 

Plagues of Egypt 

Plagues on whole world 

Mark of Cain 

Mark of the beast 

Sin, sorrow and suffering begin 

Sin, sorrow and suffering ended 

Sun and moon created to give light 

Sun and moon no longer needed for light 

It would seem justified to open the pages of Revelation with a degree of trepidation and humility, it is after all the magnum opus of John, given to him in his 90s after a long and deep experience of Christ and the gospel! 

It took a man of deep spirituality to write it, the author of the deeply spiritual 1 + 2 + 3 John! 

The apostle who served his apprenticeship leaning on Jesus breast and who gave to us the epistles of love, life and light. 

To John is given the task of writing the only completely prophetic book of the NT! 

Many books of prophecy in the OT: 

Major prophets: Isaiah, Jeremiah, Daniel and Ezekiel 
12 minor prophets 
A significant proportion of the Psalms 

At least 16/39 OT books could be classified as prophetic books, yet only 1 completely prophetic book in the NT, although parts of other NT books would have a prophetic content; Matthew, 1 + 2 Thessalonians, 2 Peter, and 2 Timothy. 

Interesting perhaps to reflect on why we might have that pattern / disparity? 

The great burden of  OT prophecy is to point us forward, not so much to events nor even a programme but to a person, that is Christ. 

The bulk of the NT now looks back at the person; that is Christ. 

The NT Gospels take the place mainly of the OT prophets, both from their own perspectives bringing us to Christ prospectively and then retrospectively. 

What was prophetic for the OT authors is now historical for the NT. 

The prophetic burden is not that God’s people become sign watchers, nor experts in geopolitics but rather that the Lord’s people look off unto Jesus! 

It is surely a great challenge to read it and apply it! 

Back to the book of Revelation at 50! 

It has been an interesting 50 years 

The intervening 35 years have shed considerable light on the revelation not so much from a biblical perspective but from human history and the areas of: 


 infectious diseases 

mechanized warfare 

Global politics 

eg Rev 1:7 “every eye shall see Him,” and the two prophets of Revelation 11 

the general witness of the Nations to two dead in Jerusalem. 

In the first half of the twentieth century Christians were unable to explain how this could happen. In the second half of the twentieth century in my younger days some saw the possibility of this by means of the television 

Now at the beginning of the 21st century such a statement is completely compatible with current experience, there is no explanation needed. 

The mark of the Beast is likewise enabled by modern technology implantable microchips are already in place. 

Illust: Story told of Albert Einstein setting a university exam for his students. His assistant professor asked ‘but isn’t that the same exam you set for your final year students last year? Exactly the same exam? You can’t do that! To which Einstein famously replied ‘yes the questions are the same but the answers have changed.’ 


As we come to look afresh at Revelation, the questions, the text, the inspiration, the Spirit remains exactly the same but we come with a fresh perspective as to what some of these texts could potentially mean in the light of recent, very recent changes in the world in which we live. 

Perhaps we can see just how close these events have become, how easily and quickly our society has been and can be changed: Mass surveillance of the population; contact apps for ‘disease monitoring’ 
Control of financial transactions via electronic means 
Threatened and real abandonment of physical monetary transactions eg Wuhan province 
Attractiveness of implanted microchip technology 
Removal of civil liberties eg right to assemble and control of movement and monitoring of social media information feeds for ‘misinformation.’ 
Imposition of a closely policed state 
State interference in privacy 
Compromise of data and confidentiality –

How easily and quickly he Kingdom of the beast could emerge with: 

Financial control 
Restriction of personal freedoms and liberties 


Can’t go wrong with the one given: 


Thou hast seen (chp 1) 
Things which are (chp 2 to 4) 
Shall be hereafter (chps 5ff) 


Grace (chp 2+3) 
Government (chps 4 to 19) 
Glory (chps 20 to 24) 

Or thinking of Christ: 

  • Lord in the midst of the lampstands 
  • Lamb in the midst of the throne 
  • Lion over the nations 
  • Lover in the midst of the marriage supper 
  • Light in the midst of heaven 


Consider the differing perspectives we find here in Revelation: 

  • In the Isle called Patmos (1:9) 
  • In heaven before the throne (4:1ff) 
  • Upon the sand of the sea (13:1) 
  • Carried into the wilderness (17:3) 
  • On a great and High mountain (21:10) 


Perhaps my own 7 fold outline of the changing themes and scenes of Revelation: 

  1. Revelation of the Person and Character of Christ (chp 1) 
  2. Revival in the Church (ch 2 + 3) 
  3. Reigning and Ruling over the world (chp 4 – 19) 
  4. Response to the prayers of the saints 
  5. Retribution on the wicked 
  6. Removal of evil (chps 13 to 19) 
  7. Restoration of Righteousness 


The righteousness of God is seen in the person of Christ impacts: 

On the Church chps 2 + 3 
On the world chps 5 to 19 
Into eternity chps 20 to 22 

“the revelation of Jesus christ” (1:1) 

The whole of the Bible is the 'Revelation of Jesus Christ' 

In the sense that it is the revelation about Jesus Christ 

'Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.'(Joh 5:39) 

The scriptures are full of prophecies / patterns and parables of Christ 

Luk 24:27 'And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.' 

This revelation is a little different 

This is not the Revelation 'concerning' Jesus Christ but rather the revelation from Jesus Christ. 

This revelation is very special: 

This is the revelation from the Revelation of scripture. 

This is the revelation within a revelation, to reveal the truth behind appearance, reality behind perception! 

Genitive of Origin? 

Notice the flow here: 

God gave the Revelation to Jesus 


               Jesus Christ "Him" 


                    By His angel 


"Unto His servants" / "unto His servant John" 


               To show unto His servants 

God gave the revelation to Jesus 

Jesus gave his revelation to us 

This is the revelation from Jesus Christ as we follow the flow of the revelation through these verses. 

It is hard to miss the significance however of the fact that the whole of the Word of God is a Revelation of Christ: 

OT – pictures, prophecies, pointers and parallels 
NT – Person and work of Christ 

And here crowning it all – the concluding Revelation of Jesus Christ! 

Here we see that out of the: 

Trial and Tragedy comes Triumph 
Disaster comes deliverance 

All has as its destiny the glory of Christ. 

As the alpha He is the origin 

As the omega He is the destiny 

With all things headed up in Christ in chapters 21 and 22: 

The bride is the bride of the Lamb 
The apostles are the apostles of the Lamb 
The temple is The Lord God and the Lamb 
The Light is the Lamb 
The book is the Lambs book of Life 
The throne is the throne of God and of the Lamb 
The river of life flows from the throne of the Lamb 

History is His Story! 

This is about to come as something of a shock to a world which has universally rejected Christ : 

“14 But his citizens hated him, and sent a message after him, saying, We will not have this man to reign over us.” Luke 19:14 

“38 And a superscription also was written over him in letters of Greek, and Latin, and Hebrew, THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS.” Luke 23:38 

And still so: 

‘By the world rejected and by the few enthroned.’ 

Therein lies the missing piece of the jigsaw of this world 

If only he were not so universally rejected there would be no: 

Gender confusion 
Broken marriages 
Murdered unborn 
Racial tensions 
War, famine, and man made disasters 

This is indeed a book all about Jesus Christ; charting His life from: 

Grave (1:5) to the Glory (Rev 22) 
Cross (1:5) to the Crown (Rev 19:12, 16) 

Yet all of the Bible is about Jesus Christ! 

In the OT: 


In the Gospels – biography – Person of Christ 

In the epistles – doctrine 

This is the ‘Revelation of Jesus Christ’ – the unveiling! 

This is a unique glimpse behind the fabric of space and time, behind and beyond what we can see, to what we can’t see. 

This book reveals that righteousness is not random. 

Here is what lies behind the veil of reality, what is behind the scenes! 

Not only do we see that righteousness is not random, but we also perceive that evil is not random: 

Christ and the Church 
Satan and Babylon 

As He is progressively unveiled; we perceive Christ and: 

His Plan of Salvation (chp 1) 
His Presence in the midst of the Church (chp 1 to 3) 
His Power from the throne, in judgement (chp 4 to 19) 
His Purpose for the universe (chp 20 to 22) 
His Person supreme and glorified over all and in all 

We peel away the layers of what we refer to as reality and behind the appearance of what we perceive to be transpiring we see that hand of Christ! 

We gain a glimpse into the deep mysteries of this universe, beyond the dimensions of space and time. 

The Bible is full of mysteries, 14 specific NT mysteries of which we find 3 in the book of Revelation itself: 

The NT mysteries: 

Mysteries of the Kingdom – Matthew 13:11; Mark 4:11; and Luke 8:10 
Mystery of blindness on Israel (Roms 11:25) 
Mystery of the Gospel to all peoples (Rom 16:25ff) 
Mystery of the Cross (1 Co 1+2:7ff) 
Mystery of the Rapture (1Co 15:51) 
Mystery of His will, of all things in Christ (Eph 1:9) 
Mystery of Jew and Gentile in 1 body (Eph 3:3ff) 
Mystery of Christ and the Church (Eph 5:32) 
Mystery of Christ in you (Col 1:25ff) 
Mystery of Iniquity (2 Thess 2:7) 
Mystery of Godliness (1 Tim 3:16) 
Mystery of the 7 churches (Rev 1:20) 
Mystery of Gods judgement (Rev 10:7) 
Mystery of Babylon the Great (Rev 17:5-7) 

What is a mystery? 

Perhaps we have often heard the memorable phrase: 

'Truth once concealed and now revealed' 

With the thought of 'mystery' often attribute to previous concealment, ie that they once were a mystery. 

Is it? 

Certainly this highlights one important aspect of the NT mysteries – that they are NT mysteries and that if anything can be discerned of them in the OT can only really be discerned in retrospect! 

But as definitions go its not the best: 

It's not very precise, that definition would apply to any NT revelation or doctrine not clearly revealed in the OT for example; the incarnation, life and ministry of Christ, justification by faith etc. It is not very informative. 

It tells us nothing about the subject or content of the mysteries, it’s a rather cryptic definition of mystery! Having heard the definition of the mysteries of scripture, if I were to then ask; 'what is a mystery?' we would really be none the wiser. 

It's not entirely accurate – there are some mysteries which are not yet revealed (eg 2 Thess chp 2 and 3 mysteries in Revelation). 

It demystifies mysteries! Mysteries seem to maintain the character of mysteries in the NT rather than surrendering that character now that they are 'revealed' eg 1 Tim 3:9. This definition almost dismisses / denies the mystery aspect of these truths. 

What are the NT mysteries? 

''μυστήριον'' : from 'mustes' – a person initiated into the sacred mysteries, from 'mueo' to initiate, learn a secret or esoteric knowledge. 

Linked to the sacred mysteries. 

At the heart of many of the ancient religions lay a secret, an answer, a hidden insight into the nature of reality, the meaning of life, the destiny of existence, the mysteries! 

This is still seen in some today: Mormonism, Free Masonry etc. 

There is a reason we come to a place of worship, to a gathering, a reason we read the Bible! 

One of those reasons is our search for answers, for meaning, for purpose. 

We seek answers to why we are here, where we are going, the meaning of life, the answers to the big questions of life. 

There are answers in the Bible. 

The Bible is exceedingly interesting! 

The Word of God contains God's answers to the reason why, who, what and how! 

God's answers to: 

Why I am here 
What in the world is happening 
How I can find God 
Who God is 

These are the NT mysteries! 

These are Gods answers to the question why? 

Gods hidden agenda. 

They are justification for the conspiracy theorists paranoia that there is an agenda behind the scenes. 

Gods hidden agenda, revealed not by time, not by a time delay switch but revealed to those that have ears to hear, those who have the Spirit of God! 

'he that hath ears to hear let him hear' (Matt11:15; Luke8:8) and also Matt 13:11; Luke 8:10. 

Not so much: 

Concealed in the past and revealed in the present but 
Concealed to the unregenerate and revealed by the Spirit of God 

The distinction between: 

concealment and revelation 
mystery and understanding 

lies not so much in time but in aptitude and ability. 

The mystery is unlocked not by time but with a key; and that key is Christ. 

Not so much a distinction between: 


But rather: 

without the Spirit 
with the Spirit 

It is not time that is the key but Christ who is the key (Matt 16:19; Rev 1:18; Rev 3:7) 

God's agenda in human history has not been hidden. 

God's desire is for a world saturated with the knowledge of God: 

Habakkuk 2:14: 'filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord' 

Isaiah 11:9: 'They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of -- the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.' 

It is the insight into what is happening behind the scenes that is specific to Revelation. 

History is not chaotic 
Evil is not sporadic 
Righteousness is not random 

Revelation gives us a glimpse behind the scenes of this universe, into dimensions not apparent. 

It is interesting that science is perhaps catching up here! 

String theory – multiple dimensions beyond this world – possibly 11 
M-Theory – membrane / mystery / magic theory! 
Problem of the low value of gravity – cf. magnetic forces 
An attempt to identify the graviton via the SERN collider 
A hope to understand why the force of gravity is so low and the possibility of leakage into another dimension? 

Much is speculative of course but one thing is clear, that mainstream science and physicists are seriously entertaining the idea that there is more to this universe than appears on the surface, there are more dimensions to this universe than we have before appreciated! 

This is the “revelation of Jesus Christ” 

Not only is it all about Jesus Christ – which of course the rest of the Bible is too: 

  • Prophetically in OT 
  • Pictorially in the OT 
  • Parable in the OT 
  • Person in the Gospels 
  • Doctrinally in the epistles 

Here we see Christ hidden, cryptically, in secret and now unveiled: 

  • His Plan of Salvation (chp 1) 
  • His Presence in the Church (chps 1 to 3) 
  • His Power from the Throne (chps 4 to 19) 
  • His Purpose for the World (chp 19 to 20) 
  • His Pre-eminence Eternally (chp 20 and 21) 


Babylon, Satan, the Beast and false prophet are very much to the fore up until chapter 19; wickedness, death, destruction and chaos ensues, until reality is unveiled in chapter 20 and behind the scenes of the chaos of the apparent in the reality of one working all things according to the counsel of His own will; working all things for His Glory. Christ pulls the trigger on these judgements, from the very first seal which is opened till the final destiny is reached. He has been behind the whole of human history from the very beginning until the end. 

His Person sovereign supreme 

Righteousness is not Random 

Evil is not chaotic 

There is order, and organisation. 

Consider the coordinated and pan European attack on the Jews in WW2 and consider the ‘spontaneous’ almost world wide rise in woke culture, identity politics and the promotion of homosexuality and transgenderism. None of this is coincidental nor disco-ordinated. 

If the DESTINY of this world is headed to Christ so too is the 

DIRECTION of this world headed to Christ and by implication, the path too – the DETAILS as to how we arrive at that DESTINY. 

“That in the dispensation of the fullness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him: 
11 In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will: 
12 That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ.” (Ephesians 1:10-12) 

Not only is the ultimate DESTINY of all things ultimately leading to the revelation of Christ (Rev 22), but the route there, the DETIALS of that journey likewise reveal Christ – His Grace in the church, His Government, power and judgment over the world and His Glory eternally. 


For there to be a definite destination there must be a definite direction. 

To reach this destination the direction of all of human history is ordered and ordained! 

The reason Abraham was called from Ur of the Chaldees 
The reason Israel sheltered in Egypt 
The reason behind the Exodus 
The reason Ruth accompanied Naomi out of Moab 
The reason for Daniels captivity in Babylon 
The reason for the census in the days of Herod 
The reason Elizabeth bore John 

Was that all might be brought to Christ! 

Here is a fitting conclusion to the whole of the Word of God. 

“to show unto us his servants” 

The object of the revelation is for His servants. 

If you serve the Lord, or if you desire to serve the Lord, you can claim a right to this revelation. 

Why is this relevant to those who serve the Lord? 

Because these revelations: 'must shortly come to pass' 

These Revelations: 

put service to the Lord into context 
condition the outlook of the believer 

This conditions the mind of the servant, the focus of the servant 

The mindset of the servant, to leave all and follow, to not take the eye off the goal, to not get distracted. 

Why? for curiosity? 

Why bother? 

What is the purpose? 

Is it sufficient that it is: 

The Word of God 
It is about Jesus? 
It is in the Bible? 

Is that enough? 

Yet so much of the Bible has a clear purpose: 

The Gospels: 'these things are written that you might believe and that believing you might have life through His name.' 

Romans: 'the Gospel of Christ, it is the power of God unto salvation' – presenting and defending the gospel. 


sanctification truth – 1 Corinthians 
Church truth: 1 Corinthians, pastoral epistles 
Work of Christ: Hebrews 

But what would I think of Revelation? 

What does it do? 

What is it for? 

Revelation is the 'apocalypse' of John 

That Greek word has come into the English language. 

The apocalypse, the unveiling. 

The unveiling of what? 

The clue is in the name 

It is the unveiling of what we see. 

It is the unveiling to what lies behind what I see! 

What lies behind the veil of reality! 

Revelation is the true nature of absolute reality. 

This is God's plan and purpose and agenda, not ours! 

When the veil of appearance is dropped we see the nature of realty beneath it. 

That reality is very different from the one we have come to know. 

No rather to show the sovereignty of God in all things! 

To give a future eternal perspective on life. 

This makes sense of life! 

“if in this life only we have hope only in Jesus we are of all men the most miserable” 

‘laying up for ourselves treasures on earth’ is hardly an option! 

Do you see what happens to earth? 

Taking the easy way out? 
compromise with the world? 
collusion with the enemy? 

These are doomed to failure 

reassurance despite the difficulties and confusion there is a plan new life 

it is imperative to live in the present for the future. 

'shortly come to pass' (v1) 


But was this not 2000 years ago? 

Shortly come to pass – possibly from the Divine perspective. 

The blessing is to (1:3) 


Surely blessing in all of the Word of God, but particular blessing here, why? 

Sense of perspective in life, seeing that all these things shall be dissolved. 
Thus a sense of priorities 
A sense of Divine purpose; seeing the underlying and hidden purpose of God in all things. How can I know my purpose in life if I don't know God's purpose for me? 
For the purpose of my life to be meaningful it must align with Divine purpose. 

The content of the book ought to influence our life practically

A sermon preached from our bible teaching series on the book of Revelation

Yours by Grace in Christ 

Dr J Stewart Gillespie