The Author and Finisher of our Faith

Bible Book: Revelation  2
Subject: Revelation, Author of
Series: Revelation

There are seven letter in Revelation 2-3, each addressed to a real historical church at a real place at a real time. There were many more churches, but only seven churches receive a letter addressed specifically to that church. The number seven is the complete number, the perfect number. In other words, though each church was a real historical church, each letter has an application to churches of all ages, of all places. There are Ephesian churches today, churches that are still orthodox in theology, but they have left their first love. There are Laodicean churches, churches that are neither hot nor cold - they are lukewarm and because the are lukewarm Jesus says He will vomit them out of His mouth. There are Philadelphian churches, churches that are loyal and faithful to the Lord (there may even be some of these in America!). There are Sardis type churches, churches that receive both commendations and condemnation from the divine Author.

These letters are not haphazardly written, but carefully constructed by the Lord Himself. Let me briefly run through the literary scheme of these letters, even though there will be some variation from letter to letter. There is:

1) A superscription to the church.

2) A description of the divine Author.

3) An account of the spiritual condition of the church.

4) Either a commendation or a condemnation for the church.

5) An exhortation in view of conditions in the church.

6) A promise to those who overcome.

7) A command to pay attention to the voice of the Spirit.

The only exception to this order is that in the first three letters the command precedes the promise and in the last four it follows it.

After looking at all seven letters to the churches in Asia, I would like for us to do something right now I have never done before. As a matter of fact, I have never heard anyone else deal with this subject. What I would like for us to do is to focus more than ever before on the Author of each of the letters to the seven churches of Asia.


"The One who holds the seven stars in His right hand, the One who walks among the seven golden lampstands."

1) The Author holds the pastors in His right hand.

The Author holds the pastors in His hand. Every pastor needs to be reminded of that every day, and it wouldn’t hurt to remind some church members of that. Jesus is the One who holds the ministers of the seven churches in His right hand, the hand of power, might, authority. Pastors and other called servants of the Lord know a lot of highs and a lot of lows. They are as well acquainted with the valleys as they are with the mountain peaks. The Lord used the pen of Isaiah to provide assurance for every minister of the Gospel: "You are My servant, I have chosen you and have not cast you away: Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand" (Is. 41:9b-10).

2) The Author walks among the churches.

Jesus is also the One who walks among the seven churches - representing all churches of all ages. He is the Head of the church, and the church is the body of Christ. Make no mistake about this: Jesus is the divine Author, and for that reason you had better take this message seriously. He commands us to be His witnesses in the world and He promises to be with us always.

It is interesting to note that Jesus says, "I know thy works." He has perfect knowledge of every Christian and every believer. Jesus is qualified to judge because of His perfect knowledge of each church and each believer. Furthermore, He has the authority to judge and to either bless the faithful or to punish those who are not faithful.


Jesus is "the first and the last, who was dead, and has come to life."

1). He is the first and the last.

This is significant. In the first chapter we see that Jesus is the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last (letters of the Greek alphabet). He is the beginning and the consummation of our salvation, the beginning and the consummation of the ages. He is the Author and finisher of our faith. He Who is without beginning or end is for us just that - the first and the last.

2). He was dead and has come to life.

The divine Author introduces Himself as "the first and the last, who was dead, and has come to life." He is also the one who was crucified and raised from the dead. The Resurrection was the crowning message of the New Testament, and without it there would be no church, and there would be no salvation. In the Revelation, Jesus is the One who was dead, but is now alive. Paul places great emphasis on the resurrection of Jesus. It was a major theme of the preaching, teaching, and witnessing of the early church.

Do you think that if we would put Jesus back into Easter we might be more effective in proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I am amazed at those who are constantly crying that we need to get prayer back into schools. My great burden is that we get prayer back into the church. Then maybe we will refocus our attention on the risen Lord. Is it not interesting that in all the propaganda we are hearing from Muslims and their ready and willing accomplices in the American media that they have yet to make a statement about the resurrection?


"And to the angel of the church in Pergamum write: The One who has the sharp two-edged sword..."

1) He has a sharp two-edged sword.

The letter is addressed to the pastor of the church at Pergamos, with the obvious understanding that he would read it before the church (1:3). There is no question as to the identity of the speaker here. In Revelation, Jesus is often portrayed with a sword:

In His right hand He held seven stars, and out of His mouth came a sharp two-edged sword; and His face was like the sun shining in its strength (1:16).

From His mouth comes a sharp sword, so that with it He may strike down the nations, and He will rule them with a rod of iron; and He treads the wine press of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty (19:15).

2) He know this church.

We do no injustice to the divine Author of this letter if we stress that He has perfect knowledge of each church. In 1:14, we read that Jesus has eyes like "flames of fire." He has eyes like lasers, penetrating each heart and each mind. Even the human Jesus, Who had to take on certain limitations with the Incarnation, knew what others were thinking. David was inspired to write:

"O LORD, You have searched me and known me. You know my sitting down and my rising up; You understand my thought afar off. You comprehend my path and my lying down, And are acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word on my tongue, But behold, O LORD, You know it altogether. You have hedged me behind and before, And laid Your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me

It is high, I cannot attain it" (Is. 139:1-6).


"To the angel of the church in Thyatira write: The Son of God, the One whose eyes are like a fiery flame, and whose feet are like fine bronze ..." (Rev 2:18-19, HCSB).

1) The Author is the Son of God.

Jesus, who often called Himself the Son of Man, introduces Himself here as the Son of God. This is the only use of the term in the Book of Revelation. It is possible that Jesus is using a play on words here: Apollo was the sun god, but Jesus is the Son of God. Every one of the ten plagues in Exodus was directed at one of the primary deities of Egypt, so it is not a major stretch to see Jesus making a statement that would once and for all put this pagan deity in its place.

2) He has eyes like flames of fire.

While this may refer to the sun god, it more likely refers to the Author’s penetrating discernment of the conditions in the church, including the devastating effects of the Jezebel who was loose in the church. In the first chapter, His eyes are like flames of fire. They knew nothing of laser beams in the First Century, but today we can appreciate the image of One Whose laser vision penetrates the hearts and minds of each person.

3) His feet are like burnished bronze.

Some see this as a symbol of crushing force, with emphasis on His power to accomplish his purpose. His are not feet of clay that will crumble when they come into contact with any obstacle. He will put every enemy under His feet, or make them His footstool. This really is amazing. He has something like laser vision. He can see what is in every heart. His feet are like burnished bronze. Whatever He decides to do, He will do, and He can do it.

4) The divine Author has perfect knowledge of His church, 2:19.

"I know your works——your love, faithfulness, service, and endurance. Your last works are greater than the first."

a. Jesus has perfect knowledge of each church and each individual.

b. He knows their love.

c. He knew their faithfulness.

d. He knew their service.

e. He knew their endurance.

f. He adds, "Your last works are greater than the first."


"To the angel of the church in Sardis write: ""The One who has the seven spirits of God and the seven stars says: I know your works."

1) The letter is addressed to the angel of the church in Sardis.

As we have already seen, the word translated angel is the word meaning messenger. Thus, as in the case of all the other letters, this letter was addressed to the pastor of the church who would read it before the congregation. A scribe would make a copy of the entire Book of Revelation and then sent the original on to the next church where the same procedure would be repeated.

2) The Author of this letter identifies Himself as "The One who has the seven spirits of God and the seven stars."

We are introduced to the seven spirits in 1:4-5:

"Grace and peace to you from the One who is, who was, and who is coming; from the seven spirits before His throne; and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead and the ruler of the kings of the earth."

The number seven is the perfect number, the complete number, or the mature number (a large oak tree is the "perfection of the little sprout, germinated many years ago). The designation, "the seven spirits of God," denotes the Holy Spirit. One can hardly miss that either in 1:4-5, or in this passage. Jesus is the One Who sent the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost to empower His church.

The seven stars are the pastors of the seven churches. Jesus calls pastors and other ministers, and He anoints them to preach and teach His Word. In 1:16, we learn that Jesus holds the pastors in his right hand, the hand of power. He does not say that He will use that power to prevent trials and tribulations. I do not know anyone who is anxious to face persecution, torture, or martyrdom for the Lord, but the simple fact is that we belong to Him. That means He has the sovereign right to use us, or may we say, invest us in any way that serves His purpose. He did not keep Paul, Peter, James, or John from persecution or death. Why do we think we deserve better than they? Are you willing to be invested in His kingdom’s work, regardless of the cost.


"To the angel of the church in Philadelphia write: "The Holy One, the True One, the One who has the key of David, who opens and no one will close, and closes and no one opens says..." (HCSB)

1) He is The Holy One.

No one can define God, so we often study His various attributes. God is love. God is omnipotent, all powerful. He is omniscient, all knowing. He is omnipresent, everywhere present at the same time. But, let us not forget this essential attribute - God is holy. If the Father is holy the Son is holy. He is different from ordinary things and from all other persons. Just as there can be but one Creator, there can be but one holy God.

When vile, vicious, evil murderers in Iraq staged, for the world to see, one of the most vicious murders any one could imagine, they were shouting "Great is Allah." They were behaving in a manner they thought would honor their god and no doubt they thought they were reflecting the character of Allah, a god who is no god. If Christians would reflect the character of Jesus they must love one another, not kill those who disagree with them. That does not mean that we are not to go to war to fight for our country or to defend our way of life. But we do not murder other people to win the approval of our God.

God is holy and He demands holiness of those who follow Him. That which is holy is different from ordinary things. God is different from the false gods of the world and He demands that we be different from other people. Christians in this world may not fully appreciate the holiness of God, but in eternity we will be keenly aware of the fact that He is holy and we will sing of his holiness forever:

"Each of the four living creatures had six wings; they were covered with eyes around and inside. Day and night they never stop, saying: Holy, holy, holy, Lord God, the Almighty, who was, who is, and who is coming" (Rev 4:8, HCSB).

True believers must appreciate the holiness of Jesus Christ. We should confess with Simon Peter

"Lord, to whom should we go? You have the words of eternal life. 69 And we have come to believe and know that You are the Holy One of God!"

2) Jesus is the True One.

There are two words for true in the Greek. One word simply denotes that which is not false. The other word means that which is genuine and true. An elderly gave me her late husband’s tie tack, which they had treasured for years. It was so precious to them that they kept it in a small leather jewelry box bought in England. This dear, dignified, sophisticated, godly friend wanted to me have that tie tack. Some twenty years later, I showed it to my jeweler, who announced that the "black pearl" was not a genuine pearl, and the setting was not real gold. The lady did not lie, and the black pearl was not lying to me. The stones were simply not genuine. Becky’s brothers have both given her jewelry they had authenticated - they are genuine.

Jesus is the genuine, authentic Son of God. He identifies Himself as "The way, the truth, and the life." In the letter to Laodicea, He is "the faithful and true Witness." He is absolute truth. In the front of my favorite Bible I wrote the words someone spoke at a conference years ago: "It is not enough to say that God said it because it is true, it is true because God says it." When God speaks truth is established and declared.

3) He has the keys of David.

The Jewish people were well aware of the connection between David an the Messiah. The Messiah would be a descendant of both Abraham and David. They knew well God’s promise:

"I will place the key of the House of David on his shoulder; what he opens, no one can close; what he closes, no one can open" (Isaiah 22:22).

4) What He opens no man closes.

We might call the church at Philadelphia "the church of the open door." The city considered itself a missionary city to spread their culture and religion. The church at Philadelphia was indeed a missionary city. Jesus is the One who opens the door that no one can close. In your life, Jesus opens doors no one can close. Of this we can be sure, even when the day seems the darkest.

5) What He closes no man opens.

There is something final and shocking in this statement. Jesus says, "Him that commeth unto me I will in no wise cast out" (John 6:37b). That is the open door. That is the invitation. But for those who reject Him and refuse His invitation, the day will come when the door will be closed. Forever!

However, in this passage the emphasis seems to be on the door to service that He opens or closes. On the Second Missionary Journey when Paul and Silas had been joined by Timothy first, and then when they arrived in Troas, by Luke. Luke writes:

"Now when they had gone through Phrygia and the region of Galatia, they were forbidden by the Holy Spirit to preach the word in Asia. After they had come to Mysia, they tried to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit did not permit them. So passing by Mysia, they came down to Troas" (Acts 16:6-8, NKJV).

Do you see what happened? They sought an open door to Asia, but the Holy Spirit closed that door. They then sought an open door to Bithynia, but He closed that door. After they arrived at Troas God opened a door to Europe. Listen to Luke’s account:

"And a vision appeared to Paul in the night. A man of Macedonia stood and pleaded with him, saying, ‘Come over to Macedonia and help us.’ Now after he had seen the vision, immediately we sought to go to Macedonia, concluding that the Lord had called us to preach the gospel to them" (Acts 16:9-10).


"To the angel of the church in Laodicea write: ‘The Amen, the faithful and true Witness, the Originator of God’s creation says..."

1) The Author is the Amen.

The word means, "so be it." Amen is commonly used to conclude a prayer, or to show approval or agreement. For example, in Rev. 19:4, we read, "And the twenty-four elders and the four living creatures fell down and worshiped God who sat on the throne, saying, ‘Amen! Alleluia!" Here, Jesus is the Amen, the authentic One, the genuine Son of God, the Savior. Jesus is the great Amen.

2) He is the faithful and true witness.

Jesus is the "Way, the Truth, and the Light." He is absolutely true and He is absolutely trustworthy. He begins this letter by declaring that He is the Truth from God and that anyone who neglects the Truth does so at his own peril.

3) He is "the Originator of God’s creation."

The King James has, "the beginning of creation." The idea is that Jesus is the Source of creation, the Agent of creation, as we find in John 1:1-3:

"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made."

Creation is one of the great doctrines of the Bible, but it is a doctrine the church has neglected for a long time. For more than a century now men have been demoting Scripture to the realm of fiction and elevating science to the realm of the omniscient. The Bible is clear about creation and various writers affirm that under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. John proclaims Jesus to be the agent of God’s creation. My friend, it is not up to God to adjust His Word to the claims of the evolutionists. It is up to the evolutionists to get their theories in line with the Word of God.

Philip Johnson put the term, Intelligent Design, on the map, and now a controversy is raging again over whether or not special creation may be taught as an alternate theory of origins. To be perfectly honest, Henry Morris and his staff at the Institute for Creation Research pioneered the modern Creation movement. The late Dr. Jan Mercer, taught biology for thirty years, was my mentor in the study of creation science. Dr. Jimmy Draper, who had been Andy and Jan Mercer’s pastor, told me that when he preached on creation he got Jan to read it to see if he got it right. That speaks volumes about both Jimmy Draper and Jan Mercer. Jan assured me that all the modern creation scientists owe a collective debt of gratitude to Dr. Henry Morris, whom she believed had "one of the five best minds in America." Henry Morris was well aware of the fact that you cannot have a design without a designer. Creation’s Designer is Almighty God. The reason the lost world, which hates God, is fighting to keep creation, under any title, out schools and text books is that if creation is true there must be a Creator, and believer me, if there is a Creator at the beginning, there is a Judge at the end!

Let me tell you something right now - one day you are going to stand before the Originator of God’s creation" and you are going to have an opportunity to explain to Him why you rejected His explanation of origins for a view that is constantly, shall we say - evolving! If you reject Genesis One why would you believe John One. If you reject Genesis Three why would you believe John Three?

Apparently the believers in Laodicea needed to be reminded of the fact that Jesus is the "Originator of God’s creation." I believe the church needs to be reminded of that fact today. Maybe it would do something to refute the idea that so many seem to have that they make the decisions about God and forget that He is the One who makes the ultimate decisions about us.

What may we conclude from this point? Is the Lord, the Originator of all things, saying that no matter how proud they were of their wealth, He is not impressed. He made it all in the beginning! What do you think He would say to the person who is proud of his or her looks, his strength, her talent? He is the Originator of God, the source of all good things.


Jesus Christ, the head of the church, is the divine Author of each of the seven letters to the churches in the Revelation. Since the number of letters is the perfect number it is obvious that each letter will have an application somewhere, sometime. The Author is complete and perfect. Whatever we need He provides. Wherever we are, Jesus is there. Whenever we need Him He is there. He is the absolute Head of the church and He is absolutely qualified to judge each church. He has the authority to judge each church. And each individual.

In Hebrews 5:9, Jesus is "the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him." If you obey Him you can say with the author of Hebrews (12:2), "Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God."

It is interesting that some of the letters conclude with a warning that we must hear what the perfect Author, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, has to say to each church. We must hear what He has to say, and obey it. Obedience to God is the most serious obligation we have. When He commands you to repent you had better do it. When He commands you to worship you would be advised to do it. When he commands you to love Him and to love one another He expects you to obey His commandment. When He commands you to be a witness He is going to hold you accountable for it.

If you are lost, He reveals the love that led Jesus to the Cross to die for your sins. All you have to do is trust Him. Believe God sent His Son to die for you, and that He raised Him from the dead, and that He is sitting at the right hand of the Father, longing you to look to Him for His great salvation.

Because of His love for you He died a cruel death on the cross. His holiness demands eternal punishment appeals to you to repent and place your faith in Him right now.