Agonizomai: Rev 1:10-11 - Vision Begins with Hearing

Friday, April 03, 2009

Rev 1:10-11 - Vision Begins with Hearing

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10-11 I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet 11 saying, “Write what you see in a book and send it to the seven churches, to Ephesus and to Smyrna and to Pergamum and to Thyatira and to Sardis and to Philadelphia and to Laodicea.”

At the beginning {Re 1:1} and end {Re 22:8-9} of this book, it is made clear that this vision was mediated by an angel. So whatever John means by "I was in the Spirit," and whatever he relates about hearing a loud voice and seeing an ensuing image of the glorified Christ it seems reasonable to receive these things as part of the vision the angel gave.

In other words, Christ did not actually descend from heaven and appear to John. Christ is seated at the Father’s right hand until all His enemies are made His footstool by God. The vision ultimately foretells of Christ’s return in power and glory but, until then, He uses other means of communicating with His saints.

So John was "in the Spirit on the Lord’s day;" he was communing intimately with God in prayer and worship - and during this very personal time a vision of Christ was given to him. It may be that John was not even on the island of Patmos at the time of the vision, but that his vision itself pictured him on the island (where he had been exiled) and portrayed him as in the Spirit receiving a vision of Christ. {This is admittedly not a view held by any commentators I have read.}

The vision itself began with the appearance of Jesus Christ in his ascended glory, commanding John to make a record of all he was about to hear and see and to publish it to the seven churches in Asia. The voice itself was not heralded by a trumpet, but had the sound of one. Jesus needs no intermediary to announce his glorious presence - no fanfare; He is his own fanfare. Glorious and blinding to see, penetrating and regal to hear. In His glorified state, there can be no mistaking Who it is that speaks and Who it is that appears. And John is given an apparition that is full of Hebraic imagery, much of which reflects and recalls the prophets of old, as we shall see.


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