Join us as we study through Revelation verse by verse. Our Bible study guides contain discussion questions, teaching points, and applications which can help you or your small group get the most out of this book as you grow in understanding and obedience.

Revelation 1:4-8 Bible Study Lesson – Every Eye Will See Him

Revelation 1:4-8 Video Bible Study

Revelation 1:4-8 Audio Bible Study

I. Greetings to the Seven Churches (4-8)

Discussion Questions

  • What were the seven churches referred to here?
  • What does the phrase “who is and who was and who is to come” teach us about God?
  • What may the seven spirits refer to here?
  • What do these verses teach you about Jesus?
  • In what way was Jesus the “firstborn of the dead?” What hope does this give to us?
  • How should the book of Revelation affect our view of God and His relationship with this world?
  • What does it mean that He is “coming with the clouds?”
  • How might every eye see Him since only a small part of the world can see any section of the sky at once?
  • Why is it important that “every eye will see him?”
  • Who are the ones who pierced him?
  • How will the earth respond to His second coming? Why? In light of this, what should you do?
  • How does Jesus’ title of the “Alpha and Omega” directly relate to the book of Revelation?
  • How is this significant for you as an individual?

Cross-References

Psalm 90:2 – Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever you had formed the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God.

Psalm 102:25-27 – Of old you laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands. They will perish, but you will remain; they will all wear out like a garment. You will change them like a robe, and they will pass away, but you are the same, and your years have no end.

Zechariah 4:2, 10 – And he said to me, “What do you see?” I said, “I see, and behold, a lampstand all of gold, with a bowl on the top of it, and seven lamps on it, with seven lips on each of the lamps that are on the top of it. These seven are the eyes of the Lord, which range through the whole earth.”

Hebrews 1:8 – But of the Son he says, “Your throne, O God, is forever and ever, the scepter of uprightness is the scepter of your kingdom.

1 Peter 2:9 – But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.

Exodus 19:6 – And you shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words that you shall speak to the people of Israel.

Teaching Points

1. To the seven churches – The seven churches are: Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea. These were all located in the province of Asia Minor, which is the location of modern-day Turkey. Later in Revelation Jesus will write a personal letter to each of the seven churches, and by extension to the whole church.

2. Who is and who was and who is to come – God is eternally existent. He is the great I AM.

Exodus 3:14 – God said to Moses, “I am who I am.” And he said, “Say this to the people of Israel: ‘I am has sent me to you.’”

He is the only being in the universe who exists forever of His own accord and by His own power. He has no beginning and no end. Nothing caused Him and He is the cause of everyone.

This truth has profound implications as we study Revelation. It reminds us that the events described are set in stone. Revelation is just as much history as Genesis is in God’s perspective.

3. The seven spirits who are before His throne – The seven spirits are mentioned four times in the book of Revelation (1:4, 3:1, 4:5, 5:6). Each of the other three instances refers to these as “the seven spirits of God.” The Greek word for spirit here is “pneuma,” which can mean “wind,” “spirit,” or “breath.” The most normal use is when “Holy” is attached to it and it means “Holy Spirit.”

There are various interpretations of what the seven spirits of God refer to.

A. It could refer to the Holy Spirit Himself. Seven is used in the Bible over 800 times. Many of these references are in Revelation. The number seven is often used to denote completeness or perfection. So it could be a way of referring to the Holy Spirit as complete and perfect. We know that there is only one Holy Spirit (Ephesians 4:4).

B. Some see this as a reference to what they call the seven-fold ministry of the Holy Spirit as seen in Isaiah 11:2.

Isaiah 11:2 And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.

The seven-fold ministry would include:

  • Spirit of the Lord
  • Spirit of wisdom
  • Spirit of understanding
  • Spirit of counsel
  • Spirit of power
  • Spirit of knowledge
  • Spirit of fear

This would be an obscure reference if this is the case. Also, if you look at Isaiah 11:2 carefully it would seem that the Spirit of the Lord is mentioned as having 6 ministries, not 7.

C. It may be a reference to seven spiritual beings (angels) that are not described in detail here or elsewhere.

The first or third option seem the most likely, but we cannot be dogmatic. There are some aspects of Revelation we will not fully understand on this side of heaven.

4. Description of Jesus –

Faithful witness – Jesus came to preach the kingdom of God (Matthew 4:17). Over and over (especially in the book of John) Jesus is recorded as declaring the Father, bringing people to the Father, and letting people know the Father. As such, Jesus was continually a faithful witness.

John 1:18 – No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him.

Firstborn of the dead – Jesus’ resurrection to a glorified body is the first of many. Just as the first fruit on a tree is a promise of more to come, so Jesus’ resurrection is a foreshadow of what is held in store for the church.

Colossians 1:17-18 – And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent.

Ruler of kings on earth – Satan once offered Jesus the kingdoms of this world. But Jesus did not need to take this route to be king. He already is the King of Kings. At His first coming, Jesus did not exercise His divine right as king (John 18:36.) At the second coming, He will.

Who loves us – Some of the descriptions in Revelation are frightening. There are many plagues, judgments, and disasters. It is important for us to remember that Jesus is ever loving. Firstly, we can avoid His wrath when we trust in Him. Secondly, we should remember that even many of the judgments serve as warnings to induce people to repent and turn to Him before it is too late.

Has freed us from our sins by His blood – Revelation is also a depiction of Jesus’ wrath against sin and justice. We must view these events side by side with the cross. No one must face that justice because Jesus already gave His life to set them free. If one will but admit Jesus is Lord and repent of his sins, then he can experience the love of Christ.

Made us a kingdom, priests to his God and Father –

1 Peter 2:9 – But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.

Every believer is a priest to God. Priestly duties include worshiping God, sacrificing to God, and instructing people in the ways of God. We too are to worship God by being a living sacrifice for Him (Romans 12:1-2). And we are to perform the priestly function of acting as His representatives to the people of the world, preaching the gospel of reconciliation to the lost.

5. To Him be glory and dominion forever and ever – In fact, He is glorious. And every dominion is His. He is over the entire universe. This is the absolute truth. And that fact will not change no matter if people embrace it or deny it.

But it is our job as His priests to recognize and affirm this. Then we publicly declare it to be true. In the book of Revelation, it is clear that this fact will finally be made manifest to the whole earth. Before then it is our privilege to announce this truth to the world and to ascribe to Him the praise and glory He deserves.

6. He is coming with the clouds –

Daniel 7:13-14 I saw in the night visions, and behold, with the clouds of heaven there came one like a son of man, and he came to the Ancient of Days and was presented before him. And to him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him; his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom one that shall not be destroyed.

Acts 1:11 – “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.”

Jesus’ second coming will be from the air with the clouds. This is distinct from His first coming, when He was born as a baby. It will be more visible, more spectacular. The event will be clearly supernatural. If there is any doubt before then, this revelation of Jesus in the air coming with the clouds will silence any possible doubters.

Though the cloud formations will surely be awesome, Jesus Himself will be the focus.

Application: When you look up at the sky and see the beautiful clouds He has put there, remember that one day Jesus will return. As the rainbow reminds us of God’s promise to never flood the whole earth with water, so the clouds in the sky can remind us of His promise that He is coming again.

7. Every eye will see Him – Every single person in the world who is still alive will see Jesus in His glory returning to the earth. Only a small number of people in the world can see any fixed point in the atmosphere. So Jesus’ second coming will clearly be a supernatural event. He will miraculously enable every person on earth to see Him at the same moment.

Sadly, for many it will not be a joyous occasion. Instead most people around the world will be “wailing” at His return. It is the wailing of guilt and shame, knowing that they missed the chance offered. It is the fear of punishment, the certainty of their impending doom, which is brought about wholly by their own sin and pride.

Here is a foreshadow of what we will see in the rest of Revelation. Even after many clear signs, prophecies, and supernatural events which point to Christ, huge numbers of people will still reject Jesus and follow the evil ruler of this world.

Application: Bow the knee to Jesus now. Submit your lives to Him now. Do not put it off. Do not indulge in sin and think that perhaps later you will turn to Him. Every knee will bow. But those who do so willingly now will be able to celebrate on that day. For them it will be a day of joy and excitement like none seen before. There will be two sides witnessing this event. Let us witness it as members of Jesus’ team, not as His enemies!

8. Even those who pierced Him – This refers to the Jews who were responsible for Jesus’ crucifixion. In the below verse Zechariah describes them as the “house of David.”

Zechariah 12:10 “And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and pleas for mercy, so that, when they look on me, on him whom they have pierced, they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for an only child, and weep bitterly over him, as one weeps over a firstborn.

9. I am the Alpha and the Omega –

It is interesting to note that both the Father (here) and Jesus refers to Himself as the “Alpha and Omega.” Alpha and Omega are the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet. So this is a way of saying that He is the beginning and the end.

Revelation 22:13, 16 – I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.” “I, Jesus, have sent my angel to testify to you about these things for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star.”

It is a divine title that only the Creator can use. The fact that the Father and Son both use it is a strong proof of the doctrine of the Trinity.

All three uses of the title “Alpha and Omega” are from the book of Revelation. That is significant because the title is directly related to the contents.

It is a reminder to us that God holds all of history in His hands. From before creation to the very end, He is orchestrating the events of this world to come to His planned conclusion. Sometimes He does this subtly behind the scenes. And at other times like in this book, He will do it for all to see.

He is the giver of life. And not just physical life, but our spiritual life is from Him. But He is also the end. He created the world, but after that He didn’t just leave it to itself. He is still involved in the world and leading it towards a definite conclusion. We see that conclusion in Revelation, when every eye will see Him.

The fact that He is the end is not only true in a general sense, but also in a very personal sense. He will have the last say in our lives. One day every single person will stand before Him in judgment (Hebrews 9:27, 2 Corinthians 5:10). We are responsible to Him for what we do and say. We will have to give Him and account. Then He will give His verdict. And that judgment will stand. There will be no negotiation. Neither will there be any second chances or redoes.

Poor and rich, strong and weak, mail and female, will stand before Him. Stout atheists like Richard Dawkins will stand before Him. So will all agnostics. And they won’t be agnostics or atheists anymore.

Application: Are you ready? If not, what do you need to do to get ready?

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