Among the Lampstands

David Bast

Read: Revelation 2:1; Matthew 18:18-20 For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them. (Matt. 18:20) Each of Jesus’ seven letters is addressed to the “angel” of the church. The word angelos could also be translated “messenger,” so it’s likely that the addressee is the pastor of each of seven churches rather than a literal angel. Regardless, the Lord’s words are intended for the whole congregation. All seven letters follow the same outline: first, …

The Keys of Death and Hades

David Bast

Read: Revelation 1:17b-20 I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades. (v. 18) The Eastern Orthodox Church commemorates the moment when Christ triumphed over the powers of hell as the anastasis, which literally means “resurrection.” The idea is that sometime during the period between his death on Good Friday and his resurrection on Easter Sunday, Jesus went to hell—or at least to Hades, the realm of the dead—to release the souls …

What Jesus Looks Like Now

David Bast

Read: Daniel 7:9-10, 13-14; Revelation 1:12-17a When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. (Rev. 1:17a) What’s your mental picture of Jesus? Some might think of a painting that once hung in many a church lounge, a portrait of an olive-skinned Jesus with brown hair and beard and a rather dreamy expression on his face. Or there’s another picture I once saw—the laughing Jesus, head thrown back and white teeth flashing from a black beard. Then …

In the Spirit on the Lord’s Day

David Bast

Read: Revelation 1:10-11; John 20:1-10, 19-20 I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day. (Rev. 1:10) I have a pastor friend who likes to explain Scripture phrases by running them through the “Bible decoder ring.” If you run our key verse through that, it comes out “I was worshiping one Sunday.” John was doing what Christians do: we go to church on Sunday to worship God. We’re told that Jesus went to the synagogue one Sabbath day, “as was his …

Partners in Tribulation

David Bast

Read: Revelation 1:9; John 16:25-33 I, John, your brother and partner in the tribulation and the kingdom and the patient endurance that are in Jesus. (Rev. 1:9) A key word in the book of Revelation is thlipsis, meaning distress, suffering, tribulation. John knew all about thlipsis, and so did the churches he was writing to; they were partners in it. He was on Patmos, a small rocky island off the coast of Turkey. He had been exiled there during the …

The Alpha and the Omega

David Bast

Read: Revelation 1:8 “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God. Alpha and omega are the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet. I’m it, says God. Everything from A to Z comes from me and belongs to me. I’m the beginning and the end—and all that’s in between. Nothing exists apart from God or outside of God. Yet things have gone terribly wrong in God’s own creation. Some of God’s highest and most glorious creatures …