The book is “The Revelation, or the unveiling, of Jesus Christ” (v.1). Just as the veil of the temple was opened from top to bottom, and the Ark of the Covenant was revealed, so this prophecy reveals or unveils the coming of Christ in the Day of the Lord to destroy His enemies, to take possession of the earth and to rule in splendor and glory. It, the Revelation, was given by Him; and it is about Him and His Second Advent. Jesus gave the Revelation to John; an angel “signified” or clarified its meaning (see John 18:32). The book is sent to God’s “servants” who are represented by the seven churches. It is true that all believers of all ages are God’s servants, but in the Revelation it is used in a restricted sense of the seven churches, which are comprised of Jewish believers. (See Rev. 2:20; 7:3; Rev. 10:7; Rev. 11:18; Rev. 19:5; Rev. 22:3,6.)
In verse 2, John records what Jesus did and calls Him the Word of God (see John’s Gospel and epistles). John calls Him by His earthly and official names. “Jesus” is His earthly name, which means, Jehovah saves. “Christ” is His official name and means the anointed or Messiah. Jesus Christ was Israel’s Messiah and they knew Him not.
It is important to remember that at the time John records the Revelation, he had already seen the entire vision through chapter 22:21. As he writes, he adds commentary and at times speaks of the time he was in. At other times, he speaks of what he has seen and what was to follow.
Jesus is also called, “God’s Faithful Witness.” His followers must also follow His example. Prior to His ascension to heaven, He commissioned the twelve as His witnesses (see Acts 1:8). The Book of Acts is a record of their faithful attempt to witness His resurrection to Israel and bring them to repentance so they might have the promised kingdom. Their witness was rejected. However, His faithful servants will take up the witness again in the Day of the Lord as recorded in the Book of Revelation. (See Rev. 6:9; 11:7; 12:11, 17; 19:10; 20:4.) Those who are faithful and endure to the end will enter the kingdom. “But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved” (Matthew 24:13). If we would mentally remove Romans through Philemon from our Bibles, we would see that there is a continuous witness from Acts through Revelation, with the offer of the Kingdom to Israel.
The “blessing” (v.3) is for those who read, hear, and keep the things written in the Book of Revelation. The entire book is written to the seven churches. They will testify that Jesus is the Christ in the Day of the Lord. Therefore, the “blessings” are for them. No one in this dispensation is to “keep” or do the things written to the seven churches. These churches do not exist in this dispensation; literally or figuratively.
“…the time is at hand.” In other words, the time at hand was contemporary with the Day of the Lord.
The seven churches are in “Asia” (v. 4). Asia is not the United States of America. These letters are for the Jews in a specific location in the “Day of the Lord.”
These letters to the seven churches are from:
1. The Eternal God- He is called the God who was, is, and is to come. He is the same God who appeared to Moses in the Wilderness as the great “I Am.” He is the eternal, ever- present, and ever-existing God!
2. The Eternal Spirit- Chapter 5 sheds light on what is meant by the “seven Spirits.” “And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth” (v.6). The seven horns and the seven eyes are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth. No doubt these speak of the omniscient, omnipotent and omnipresent Holy Spirit. The horns represent strength. The Eyes represent wisdom and observation. Their presence in all the earth assures the remnant that He is with them in their sufferings. This truth is seen throughout the Psalms.
3. The Eternal Son- The deity of Christ is attested throughout the book. Verses 5-6 state that he is:
a. The “Faithful witness” – We dealt with this in verse two. This speaks of Him as the “Son of Man” during His earthly ministry and in the coming “Day of the Lord.” God the Father said, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” The book to the Hebrews speaks of Him as a faithful High Priest. Jesus is seen in this book as the Son of Man, and God’s faithful high priest. Overcoming will be the requirement of the remnant if they are to enter the promised rest and become a nation of kings and priests. Jesus Christ is faithful and He is, “The same yesterday, today and forever.” (See Hebrews 13: 8.) Faithfulness is the requirement in the Day of the Lord to become citizens of the Kingdom.
b. The “first begotten of the dead” – This speaks of His resurrection in a glorified body. Jesus is the only person raised to eternal life in a glorified body. Thus, He is the “first begotten” and the “first fruits” from among the dead! This speaks volumes as to who He is, and of God’s pleasure toward Him.
c. It is said here, in time, that Jesus Christ is “the prince of the kings of the earth” It means, at this point in the Day of the Lord, John has already seen the complete unfolding of the Revelation, and Jesus is the prince of the kings of the earth. As said earlier, in relation to the time in which John found himself, Jesus had taken His position over the earth as King of Kings and Lord of Lords!
However, as far as Israel is concerned today, Jesus Christ is a banished and rejected King in waiting. “From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool” (Hebrews 10:13). He is not the prince of the kings of the earth today and most world leaders do not even acknowledge His existence except for political advantage. It is so imperative that we understand what John meant by “in the Spirit” and “the day of the Lord” which we will deal with in 1:10.
d. Jesus, “…that loved us and washed us from our sins” (v.5). To be washed in His blood is a figure of speech that speaks of His atoning death for them. No one in the Old Testament was ever “washed in blood.” His death on the cross atoned for their sins. As a garment washed in water looses and removes the dirt, so Jesus’ death on the cross loosed them from their sins and its penalty. The “us” in Revelation is not a reference to the body of Christ, but specifically the nation of Israel. At what point they fully understand this, we are not sure. God’s love for Israel is clearly stated throughout the Old Testament. “Blessed be the Lord thy God, which delighted in thee to set thee on his throne, to be king for the Lord thy God: because thy God loved Israel, to establish them for ever…” (2 Chron. 9:8; see also Hosea 11:1).
Keep in mind that those speaking are doing so in retrospect. They have overcome the Beast, endured to the end of the tribulation, and have washed their robes in the blood of the Lamb. It is the example of Christ’s faithfulness unto death, and His resurrection that empowered these to willingly lay down their lives for Him. This is how they “washed” their own robes in His blood. Again, those who have come through the Great Tribulation state this.
e. “…made us kings and priests” – This is the rejoicing by those who have rejected the mark of the beast and endured to the end. The above is a statement of fact. The text says, “hath made us…” This is the fulfillment of Exodus 19:6, which says, “And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel.” Peter says the same thing to the “…strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia,”
This promise is given again to Thyatira, “And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations: And he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father” (Rev. 2:26-27). Verse 6 will become a reality for believing Israel in the “Day of the Lord.” The following will illustrate Jesus’ promise to the faithful: “And he said unto him, Well, thou good servant: because thou hast been faithful in a very little, have thou authority over ten cities.” Luke 19:17. “That ye may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.” Luke 22:30. “His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.” Matthew 25:21.
Pastor Ken Blue was born in Boswell, Ark. In 1955 he accepted Christ as his Savior. He and his wife Joyce were married in 1955. They have 5 children. He graduated from Midwestern Baptist Bible College in 1969 and started the Open Door Baptist Church in Lynnwood, Wa. where he pastored for 39 years. Because of health issues (ALS) he was forced to resign as pastor. It is his desire to continue to be used of God to help pastors and believers through this ministry.
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