|The Salutation, Revelation
Verse 4-8 (NASB)
John to the seven churches that are in ASIA:
Seven is the number of completeness or perfection. So while this book (Revelation 1:11) is to seven churches - each with their own individual "letters" in Revelation chapters 2 and 3, it is in a broader sense to all churches and believers (Revelation 1:1). The area "ASIA" was the region of greatest missionary activity to both Jews and Gentiles. Paul explains why the Gentiles accepted the gospel while the Jews didn't (Romans 11:25-32). It will be interesting to discover how much of Revelation, especially the middle chapters, is based upon the Jewish tabernacle and traditions. Yet it is the Gentiles who receive the Word most readily.
GRACE to you and PEACE,
"GRACE" was the Greek way of greeting someone; "PEACE" the Hebrew way. Both can only come from God; man is only capable of receiving them.
It is GRACE which allows us to participate in and have God's riches. PEACE results from a close fellowship with Jesus Christ (see verse 5); He leaves it with us - John 14:25-27 . It removes trouble and fear.from HIM who is and who was and is to come; and
This is a label for God, the Father. It is found in these Revelations (Revelation 1:8 , Revelation 4:8 , Revelation 11:17 , Revelation 16:5). It is a paraphrase of the Hebrew word, YWYH, and equivalent to "I AM WHO I AM" - Exodus 3:13-14 .
We find God, the Son, described similarly in John 1:1-2 .from the seven spirits who are before His Throne; and
The completeness of the Holy Spirit is shown here. There is only one Spirit (Ephesians 4:4-6), yet He has several ministries. Some believe they are listed in Isaiah 11:1-2 .
In any case, the placement of this phrase between God, the Father and God, the Son (verse 5), clearly makes this God, the Holy Spirit. He has a prominent position before God's Throne meaning that the peace He brings is directly from God. See John 14:25-27 that the Holy Spirit, the Comforter, and Jesus Christ work closely together.The Old Testament, in Zechariah 4:1-7 , prophesied of the sevenfold nature of the Holy Spirit and this close relationship to Jesus Christ, the Top Stone. Note, the salutation of "GRACE, GRACE" given at the end....just like our salutation here.
and from Jesus Christ
The continuation of the trinity from the previous verse.
1) the faithful witness
Past - His earthly life of obedience as given in the gospels.
Present - His witness to the condition of the churches both in chapters 2 and 3 and present day.
Future - His finality when all things are consummated under His control.
The world doesn't like His witness (John 7:7) because its the truth (John 18:37) in spite of religious or political leaders who crucified Him (1 Timothy 6:13).
2) the firstborn of the DEAD and
Christ was the first one to be raised from death...those of us who believe this have the same opportunity of resurrection - Revelation 7:13-14.
This verse is the only place John uses this expression, "firstborn". Paul was fond of it. He used it in Romans 8:29, Colossians 1:15-18, and Hebrews 1:6. Christ conquered death in all its forms - creation, human, and even/especially spiritual.
Rabbinic tradition also believes that Psalm 89:27 really refers to the Messiah even though it is written about David.3) the RULER of the kings of the earth.
This is a key theme of Revelation. It is used in Revelation 11:15, Revelation 17:14, and Revelation 19:16. Who are the kings of the earth?
Perhaps:John is not clear which of the above he meant. Maybe all of them.
TO HIM who
a) LOVES US (present tense) Romans 8:37-39 and
b) RELEASED US (past tense) Revelation 5:9 and Revelation 7:14 from our SINS by HIS BLOOD,
We, as believers, do/will overcome the devil because of the BLOOD of the Lamb (Revelation 12:11). The devil can NEVER undo that act of SALVATION that Christ did at Calvary and His subsequent resurrection!!
and He has MADE US to be a KINGDOM, PRIESTS to HIS GOD and FATHER;
This verse indicates one of the greatest transformations that takes place in a believer's life. While here on earth locked in our physical bodies, and at times not feeling very royal, Christ through His blood (see previous verse) and its release makes us into a priestly kingdom. The four living creatures and twenty four elders sing of it before the throne in Revelation 5:10 .
In our priestly function, we, as a group (kingdom), are to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God (1 Peter 2:4-10). One of these sacrifices is intercessory prayer. Is it a sign of the times that this kind of prayer is so seldom seem among believers today?
The result of our kingdom is to reign with Him for a thousand years - Revelation 20:6 .
In Old Testament times, after the children of Israel left Egypt, God promised the same kingdom and priestly function to the nation of Israel in Exodus 19:3-6 . Centuries later it was confirmed through the prophet Isaiah (Isaiah 61:4-9). That is not to say that present day believers replace the Israel kingdom; that promise was forever and irrevocable - Romans 11:28-29 .TO HIM be the GLORY and the DOMINION forever and ever. Amen.
Yet even though we are a priestly kingdom, we still are His servants. (Revelation 22:3). As for the earth, Adam was given dominion over it - Genesis 1:24-26 . Adam with his wife Eve, in turn, sold out to the serpent (Satan) - Genesis 3:1-7 , and now John is saying it really belongs to God, and He is reclaiming it (Hebrews 2:5-10); in fact, that is what the book of Revelation is all about!
This is an attention getter. John is saying, Listen up! I have something important to relay to you.
He is coming with the clouds,
This is the way Daniel saw it, Daniel 7:13-14 , and as Christ Himself said it will be, Matthew 24:27-30 . The cloud has always shielded mankind from the complete and awesome power and glory of God. We cannot look upon Him directly in our current human state. But He (God) has led His children of Israel from Egypt to the promised land using a cloud. Moses was the only one to go up into that cloud to talk with God. He saw flashes of lightning from His right hand (Deuteronomy 33:1-5) just like Christ said His return would be like lightning flashes from the east to the west.
and EVERY EYE will see Him, even those who pierced Him, and all the tribes of the earth will MOURN over Him.
His coming will be visible worldwide...and what every eye will see is given in Revelation 19:11-16 . Jude in Jude 14-16 lists some of those whose eyes will see Christ's coming. He even says that as far back as Enoch (seven generations from Adam) this was prophesied. Daniel (Daniel 7:9-12) sees the coming in a spiritual light against the beast (devil).
While it is felt that the reference to "those who pierced Him" is an indictment against the Jews and Gentiles (Pilate, Annas, Caiphas, and the Jewish leaders of the Sanhedrin) directly involved with Christ's death, the immediately following phrase "and all the tribes of the earth" includes all of us in the "piercing" process.
The physical piercing of Christ's side by the Roman soldier must have made an impact on John. For he writes about it in John 19:31-37 and it shows up here in Revelation again. Whether John was aware of Zechariah's prophecy of Christ's return (Zechariah 14:4), of the wounds inflicted by "the house of my friends" (Zechariah 13:6) or of the recognition that the house of David was responsible and will mourn over Him (Christ) for having done this (Zechariah 12:10-14), is not known. At any rate, all our sins put Christ on the cross where He received this piercing; we all will mourn over Him.Even so. Amen.
"I am the ALPHA and the OMEGA," says the Lord God,
Here we have the first words directly spoken by God in the Revelation. They impart the meaning that God is the Beginning and the Ending; Everything created, destroyed, transformed, brought to life, and submitted to death as far as we humans are concerned is within God's purview.
If this sounds familiar, it should be because it is used in verse 4 as the description of God, the Father. This phrase expands God out beyond just the Alpha and the Omega (alphabets are uniquely tied to human intellect; that is, it is our way to express concepts, ideas, feelings and emotion). This phrase says that existence of the spiritual is beyond ALL human knowledge and wisdom - Colossians 2:3 .
Literally, this means `the One who has His hand on everything". The ALMIGHTY is used 10 times in the New Testament. Nine of them are in the Revelation...when judgment is pending, we need to know Who is in control:
from the NEW
AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, © Copyright The
Lockman Foundation, 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975,
1977, 1995 Used by permission."
References to the Revelation of Jesus Christ are in bold italics. All other references are in bold only.