Revelation 1:10-20: The First Vision: Part One
The persecuted and minority church of Asia needed to be reminded of who Jesus is and who they are. John has reminded them of the normal Christian life which is a paradox of suffering and triumph, that we like Christ in His incarnation are a mix of glory and humility, of strength in weakness; as goes the King so goes the kingdom, as goes the head so goes the body. Being in the minority, being the underdog, being killed and pushed down and targeted for extermination the church was in real need of encouragement and there is no better encouragement than to remember who our God is. John in the verses before us reveals the first vision. It is a picture of two realities, who He is and who we are in relation to Him.
In v10 we see that John is in the Spirit. This is not the daily being the Spirit that Christian are called to, (Eph. 5:18), but rather this is an ecstatic moment of prophetic revelation. We must not cheapen John’s revelatory experience by trying to equate it with our own spiritual experiences. We see that he makes reference to the fact that he was in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day. Consensus is that this is the first day of the week, Sunday. This is an important designation and lends weight to the teaching that Sunday was seen by Christians as the intended day of worship. The description ‘Lord’s’ is not a common one. We see it attached to the Lord’s table and the Lord’s supper but nothing trivial or unimportant. Given the fact that Jesus rose on a Sunday, made His second appearance a week later on a Sunday, poured out the Spirit on a Sunday, and that the churches met on a Sunday, it is believed that the first century Christians had a high view of the day betrayed in this reference by the end of the first century. Those who have a high view of the Lord’s Day believe that if God has appointed a day that unlike the OT Sabbath looked back to the Old Creation, that looks forward to the New Creation; that this day will be blessed and upon it we can expect as Hebrews puts it the ‘powers of the age to come’ to attend our observance of the day. It seems appropriate that the final revelation which climaxes with a sight of the New Creation was given on a day oriented to look forward to it.
We are told that John hears before he sees, he hears a loud voice like a trumpet. Trumpet being a suitable comparison as trumpets were used to announce battle, call the people of God to worship and in Ex. 19 to announce God’s holy presence upon Mt Sinai. The Second Coming of Christ is said to be with a trumpet because it is the fulfilment of the year of Jubilee which was every 50 years on the day of atonement and marked by a trumpet blast/shofar. Christ who is speaking speaks His first words about the recipients indicating the seven churches that need to be written to.