Revelation 1:4-8

Sunday, December 21st, 2014

Text: Revelation of Jesus Christ 1:4-8

THE REVELATION OF JESUS CHRIST

INTRODUCTION:

In our last message we introduced the Book of Revelation and studied Revelation of Jesus Christ 1:1-3 .

Revelation of Jesus Christ 1:1-3 - 1 The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John: 2 Who bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw. 3 Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.

We saw that God the Father gave this message in the Book of Revelation to Jesus Christ for the purpose of showing His servants things which will soon occur.

We saw that Jesus then sent this message through His angel (or heavenly messenger) to the Apostle John. John bore witness to God's word, to Jesus Christ's testimony, and to things he saw as an eyewitness.

We also saw that the one who reads Revelation is blessed and that the ones who hear and heed the words of Revelation are blessed because the time for its fulfillment is near.

We move on to the greeting -

II. THE SALUTATION - 1:4-8

Revelation of Jesus Christ 1:4-8 - 4 John to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace be unto you, and peace, from him which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from the seven Spirits which are before his throne; 5 And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, 6 And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen. 7 Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen. 8 I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.

Let's analyze verse 4 -

Revelation of Jesus Christ 1:4 - John to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace be unto you, and peace, from him which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from the seven Spirits which are before his throne.

We see that -

A. The Apostle John is the writer

We also see that -

B. The recipients of this book are the seven churches which are in Asia

These seven churches are local churches or local congregations which contained the exact characteristics God wanted to address in this book.

The number seven seems to signify completeness, and its use implies that these particular congregations are completely representative of all congregations everywhere.

These seven churches are specified in verse 11 as being the churches in Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamos, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea.

Which are in Asia indicates that these seven churches are located in the Roman province of Asia which was located in Asia Minor [i.e. present-day Turkey] rather than somewhere in what is known today as Asia in the Far East such as Russia, Japan, China, India, etc.

C. John wishes grace and peace from him which is, and which was, and which is to come [i.e. from God the Father]

As saved people they already had saving grace, but grace which goes beyond what they received at salvation was also available. This additional grace would enable these people to live the Christian life.

James 4:6 - But he giveth more grace. . . .

Similarly, these believers already had peace with God, but they could always use more of the peace given by the Holy Spirit as part of the fruit of the Spirit. There is also the peace of God which passeth all understanding which comes as a result of praying rather than of worrying according to Philippians 4:6-7 .

From him which is, and which was, and which is to come refers to God the Father inasmuch as the Holy Spirit and Christ are mentioned separately. He is the eternally existing one. There has never been a time when He has not existed, and there never will be.

From him which is - the present tense of is indicates duration.

And which was indicates continuing action in past time. There never was a time in the past when He did not exist.

And which is to come means that He will be here in the future.

At whatever point in time someone wishes to consider, at that point in time God the Father exists; He also always existed before that point in time; and He furthermore exists at every point in time after that time.

D. John also wishes grace and peace from the seven Spirits which are before his throne [i.e. God the Father's throne]

The seven Spirits which are before his throne is best understood as referring to the Holy Spirit Who is pictured as being before God the Father's throne, ready to carry out His every command and wish. The number seven may be explained by Isaiah 11:2 .

Isaiah 11:2 - And the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him [i.e. upon the Messiah], the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord.

Here the Holy Spirit is referred to in seven ways as 1) the spirit of the Lord, 2) the spirit of wisdom, 3) the spirit of understanding, 4) the spirit of counsel, 5) the spirit of might, 6) the spirit of knowledge, and 7) the spirit of the fear of the Lord.

The number seven may instead be explained by a comparison of Zechariah 4:2 and 4:10 with Revelation of Jesus Christ 4:5 .

Zechariah 4:2 - And said unto me, What seest thou? And I said, I have looked, and behold a candlestick [i.e. a lampstand] all of gold, with a bowl upon the top of it, and his seven lamps thereon, and seven pipes [i.e. spouts] to the seven lamps, which are upon the top thereof.

Zechariah 4:10 - For who hath despised the day of small things? for they [i.e. these seven] shall rejoice, and shall see the plummet in the hand of Zerubbabel with those seven [i.e. for these seven shall rejoice when they see the plumb line in the hand of Zerubbabel; they are the eyes of the LORD, which run to and fro through the whole earth.

Revelation of Jesus Christ 4:5 - And out of the throne proceeded lightnings and thunderings and voices: and there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God.

E. John wishes grace and peace from Jesus Christ - 1:5-6

Revelation of Jesus Christ 1:5-6 - (5) And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, (6) And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

Jesus Christ is described in a variety of ways.

1. Jesus is the faithful witness - 1:5

By faithful John means trustworthy, reliable, or dependable. Whatever witness He gives is always accurate and trustworthy.

2. Jesus is the first begotten of the dead - 1:5

First begotten (or firstborn) implies that Jesus is the first One raised from the dead Who is no longer subject to death. Whereas some had been raised from the dead in both Old and New Testaments, they were always subject to death a second time, even after their resurrections.

In I Corinthians 15:20 Paul describes Jesus as the firstfruits of them that slept.

First begotten (or firstborn) also speaks of His priority over the creation or of His pre-eminence.

Colossians 1:15 - Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature.

Colossians 1:18 - And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.

Psalms 89:27 - Also, I will make him my firstborn, higher than the kings of the earth.

3. Jesus is the prince of the kings of the earth - 1:5

As such he is the ruler or king of all the kings on the entire earth. Except for God the Father, Jesus Christ is subject to no one.

4. Jesus is the One Who loved us - 1:5

He loves believers, He always has, and He always will. This love was demonstrated for believers when He died on the cross to save them from their sins.

5. Jesus is the One Who washed us from our sins in His own blood - 1:5

In his own blood indicates the means by which a believer's sins were cleansed. It was in [or with] His own blood. It was not in [or with] the blood of someone else; it was in [or with] Christ's own blood.

6. Jesus is the One Who has made us kings and priests unto God and his Father - 1:6

As individual kings, we have no spiritual sovereign other than the Triune God. There is no spiritual hierarchy. As a pastor, I am not your spiritual sovereign; and neither is anyone else. Pastors who lord it over their congregations make themselves spiritual sovereigns over their congregations.

As individual priests, we have direct and immediate access to God the Father through the shed blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. We do not have any human being through whom we must go in order to gain access to the Father. We offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Christ such as praise to God, giving thanks, doing good, and sharing (Hebrews 13:15-16 ). Kings and priests is reminiscent of I Peter 2:5 and 9,

I Peter 2:5 - Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.

I Peter 2:9 - But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light.

Unto God and his Father is literally unto the God and Father of Him. It suggests unto God, even His Father.

To him [i.e. to God the Father] be glory and dominion for ever and ever. This is a wish.

Glory is majesty; and dominion suggests power, rule, or sovereignty. The appears before glory and again before dominion in the Greek text. This indicates that the sum total of all the glory there is as well as the sum total of all the dominion there is are being ascribed as belonging to God the Father. No glory or dominion is ascribed to anyone else.

For ever and ever implies that there will never be an end to the glory and to the dominion being given to God the Father.

Amen. By amen, John affirms what he has just written and means so be it.

F. Jesus Christ is coming again - 1:7

Revelation of Jesus Christ 1:7 (7) Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen.

Behold is look or you see.

The present tense of cometh is used here even though His coming is yet future. It indicates that His coming is so certain of fulfillment that it may be viewed as already occurring. By picturing Him as already being on His way, it implies that His coming is imminent [i.e. that He could come at any moment].

With clouds is literally with the clouds. Some have conjectured that clouds has reference to clouds of angels. It will happen just like it did when He ascended to heaven.

Acts 1:9-11 - 9 And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight. 10 And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; 11 Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.

Every eye shall see him means that every eye will see Jesus Christ. It clearly indicates that this is a reference to the second coming of Christ rather than to the rapture. There will be no secret coming as a thief in the night this time as there is at the rapture. It does not necessarily mean that every eye shall see him at the same time. All saved people will certainly see Christ in heaven, and all unsaved people will stand before Him at the great white throne judgment according to Revelation of Jesus Christ 20:11-12 . They will also bow before Him and acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord according to Philippians 2:9-11 .

Philippians 2:9-11 - 9 Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: 10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; 11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

And they also which pierced him shall see him certainly includes the Jews who are still alive at the end of the tribulation. This will be the fulfillment of what Zechariah wrote in Zechariah 12:10 where the Lord is the speaker,

Zechariah 12:10 - And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.

Does it not also imply, however, that those who called for His crucifixion as well as those who carried it out will likewise see Him when they stand before Him?

They which pierced him is such ones who pierced him and refers to the sort of people who pierced Him and should not be limited to those who actually drove the nails or who were even present. It refers to those in every age who have the same attitude.

Shall see is understood in the sense of shall catch sight of or shall notice and is used of sense perception.

And all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him certainly has reference to the unbelieving Gentiles still alive on the earth at the end of the tribulation. Their wailing or great mourning will be because of their terror rather than because of their repentance. Does it not likewise have reference to all those throughout the centuries who have rejected Him as their Savior and Lord?

Even so is the word ordinarily translated yes.

Amen, meaning so be it, indicates John's approval of Christ's return.

G. The Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty, is the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending - 1:8

Revelation of Jesus Christ 1:8 (8) I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.

The same thing has already been stated of God the Father in verse 4. Thus, the I refers to God the Father who must be the speaker in verse 8 because of the previous reference to him which is, and which was, and which is to come in verse 4 and also because the words the Almighty which are included at the end of this verse.

I am Alpha and Omega means that He is all there is from Alpha to Omega, i.e. from A to Z had this been said in English.

God the Father is also the beginning and ending as well as all that comes in between. He is all there is, period.

Which is, and which was, and which is to come speaks of His eternality. It means that there has never been, and never will be, a time when He did not, does not, or will not exist.

The Almighty means the all-powerful One or the omnipotent One.

CONCLUSION:

So we conclude the salutation or greeting. Next time we will consider The Patmos Vision in verses 9-20.