What’s about to happen in this book is that John’s vision is going to open the eyes of those to whom he writes to a reality greater than their suffering. While he was worshiping and praying, he suddenly heard a loud voice that told him to write down what he was about to see and send it to the seven churches. The voice like the sound of a trumpet is like the voice that Moses heard on Mount Sinai. John is making us think about the Old Testament.

Let me point out a book I read called Angels in the Architecture, written by Douglas Jones and Douglas Wilson, two very brilliant writers. It has a chapter on poetic knowledge that argues that for human beings who can’t see directly and fully, as God does, there is a sense in which all knowledge must be metaphorical or communicated by symbols. God knows immediately;

Thus far in our study of Revelation, most of what we’ve said has been introductory. However, we’ve come to verse 9, and here begins the first of the visions that form the heart of this difficult, but very intriguing book. Here is a vision of Jesus Christ. He’s standing in the midst of seven lampstands that represent the seven churches to whom the letters in chapters 2 and 3 are addressed. How are we to understand the vision, or any of the following visions for that matter?

We come today to the last term God applies to himself in verse 8 - "the Almighty." It’s a translation of the Hebrew words El Shaddai, which occur for the first time in the Bible in Genesis 17, verse 1. God is speaking to Abraham. He says, "I am God Almighty. Walk before me and be blameless." The formula, "Thus says the Lord Almighty" or "The Lord Almighty says this," occurs again and again throughout the Old Testament. But here in this last book of the Bible, God is again holding before us the fact that he is the all-powerful One.

In verse 8 God also refers to himself as "The God who is, who was, and who is to come." Previously I pointed out that that’s actually echoing that great name for God that was disclosed to Moses at the Burning Bush when God said, "I am who I am." It’s a way of saying that God is "pure being." In other words we could put it this way: He exists in all the tenses of the Hebrew verb. He existed in the eternal past, he exists now, he will always exist.