Click on this link to read the verses.
It is easy to get bogged down in the details of Revelation. Commentators famously interact with other commentators and literature on the Revelation. In desperation I end my reading of a great many commentaries by shouting, “Yea! but what does it mean and how does that affect me?”
One of my professors in Seminary used to jest that he was going to come to hear us preach and sit in the back. He would hold up a sign toward the end of the sermon reading, “So What?” I ask myself that question after I prepare every Bible study and sermon. What does this mean to my hearers and how does it impact their lives?
Let me point out some application from Revelation 1:4-8, where Jesus Christ is presented as King. There is more here, but this impacts how we live in this world.
We Must Embrace the Echo of the Divine Name from the OT
vs. 4 & 8 — “from him who is and who was and who is to come.” This phrase occurs twice in the section like “bookends,” emphasizing Jesus’s Deity. It is a definite reference to the Divine Name in Exodus 3:14, now applied to Jesus.
14 God said to Moses, “I am who I am.” And he said, “Say this to the people of Israel: ‘I am has sent me to you.'”
Moses was given the Divine Name at the burning bush.
Because we see this phrase in connection with Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit, God is shown to be the Trinity revealed in the Gospels and Epistles of our New Testament. Note the comment from the Reformation Study Bible on Ex. 3:14 —
“The Lord is not defined or determined by any other than Himself. As the self-existent One, His promise is sure; He will reveal Himself in His saving deeds.” (see Sproul below).
This echo of the Divine Name from Exodus puts Jesus Christ squarely in the Trinity! Note the chart below that defines the Trinity as much as we are able.
Graph that makes God as Triune as clear as we are able.
Link to the source of the Graph.
From time to time I will include hymns that make us think of the passage under discussion. This one is an old song set to new music.
We Must Look to God alone for Salvation
The Triune God is: “The One who is,” “who was,” and “who is coming.”
God is the Self-existent One
vs. 4 Grace to you and peace from him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven spirits who are before his throne, 5a and from Jesus Christ the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of kings on earth.
In theology we cite this attribute of God as His aseity. This term means “God is self-existent, a being dependent upon nothing outside of Himself.” (see Aseity; emphasis mine; below).
“He is the unchangeable God of the Covenant that provides salvation to his people. This grace and this peace are provided by the Father, dispensed by the Holy Spirit, and merited for us by the Son.” (see Sproul below).
“Grace and peace are represented as coming from the Father, who dwelt above the ark in the Holy of Holies; and from the Spirit, indicated by the [Lampstand] with its seven lamps in the Holy Place; and from Jesus Christ, whose atonement was symbolized by the blood under the altar of burnt offering in the court.” (see Hendriksen, p. 53, below).
Holy of Holies: associated with God the Father
Holy Place: associated with The Holy Spirit
Altar of Sacrifice: associated with Jesus the Son
Link to source of the Tabernacle/Temple layout.
We can rely on Jesus in an unstable world! He is unchanging in a world caught up in constant change. Jesus will hold us. We must take hold of Him before the mercy seat and rest in His holding of us in all difficult situations we face.
Jesus Christ Won Victory Over Sin and the Devil on the Cross
vs. 5b Jesus is the one “who has freed us from our sins by his own blood.” He did this on the cross of Calvary. He reigned as King-Priest over the Devil and sin while on the cross. His resurrection was proof his sacrifice was acceptable to the Father. It was vindication (see Beale below).
There is a reference in verse 7 to Jesus’s death on the cross, but included there also is an allusion to vindication at his second coming.
vs. 7 Behold, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him, and all tribes of the earth will wail on account of him. Even so. Amen. (see ESV below).
The ones who pierced him were the Romans. Rome was prophesied to embrace Christ and afterward all nations. The believers were in the minority in Asia Minor, but they are assured Christ would conquer Rome.
Note very carefully Christ’s Second Coming is public like his crucifixion. Scripture knows nothing of a secret coming to take his servants away to avoid suffering. Christ can only be vindicated by a coming for all see! We can only serve him through suffering.
Aseity. (2018). Accessed January 15, 2019 from https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/aseity
Beale, G. K.. Revelation (pp. 15-16). Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.. Kindle Edition.
Domitian. (2019). Accessed January 15, 2019 from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Domitian
ESV. English Standard Version. Accessed from https://www.biblegateway.com
Hendriksen, William. (1939). More Than Conquerors: An Interpretation of the Book of Revelation. Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
Sproul, R. C. (2015). Reformation Study Bible. Reformation Trust Publishing.
© 2019 C. Richard Barbare All Rights Reserved