Summary: The Lord set us free from sin & began His good work in us by His 1st coming & will wondrous bring His work to completion in His Second Coming.
THE ALPHA AND THE OMEGA
John begins his letter with an invocation in which He calls down the blessings of Heaven on the lives of the brethren. The closeness of John’s relationship with His Risen Lord had combined with the blessed days of their physical earthly pilgrimage, and gave him understanding that could only be gained through years of experience.
The love and thoughtfulness expressed by this matured saint revolve around the wondrous work of Jesus and His glorious return. The promise of Jesus’ return fills us with anticipation for it is He who has begun this good work in us and He who will bring it one day to wondrous completion.
I. The Triune Blessing, 4-5a.
II. Jesus the Redeemer, 5b-6.
III. Jesus’ Promised Return, 7.
IV. The Beginning and the Ending, 8.
John to the seven churches that are in Asia: 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.
Seven is the number of completeness or perfection. The seven churches are representative of all churches. The message is therefore for all churches, including our church. The customary greeting captures the richness of the Christian faith. Grace represents the believers standing in unmerited favor or kindness before God and peace represents wholeness and well-being that those in right relationship with God experience.
God, the source of all grace and peace is the God of the present, past, and the future and is called the One who is and who was and who is to come. This designation reminds us that God is the same yesterday, today and forever. The world will undergo drastic change but God never changes. This is why He can always be the source of grace and peace.
The second blesser and giver of grace and peace is the Holy Spirit. Here He is designated by the seven Spirits before the Throne. It indicates the sevenfold fullness or manifold works of the Spirit (Isa. 11:2-3; Rev. 3:1; 4:5; 5:6) [other places in the New Testament mention the multiple functions of the Holy Spirit: 1 Cor. 12:11; 14:32; Heb. 2:4; Rev. 22:6] [others believe these are 7 angels of high privilege].
The third blesser whom we find in verse 2 is Jesus Christ, for there is neither grace nor peace but by Him.
"And from Jesus Christ, the Faithful Witness, the First-Born of the Dead, and the Ruler of the kings of the earth" (5a).
The book of Revelation points to Jesus Christ and gives us a clear view of Him. He is introduced with three impressive titles. He is the one who has borne faithful and truth witness (a favorite word of John) to the world. It is His character and He cannot be other than the Faithful Witness. All that we need to know about faith and life He has revealed to us. He faithfully revealed God’s Word both during His earthly ministry and in this book.
Jesus is also titled the First Born of the Dead. He is the first to receive a resurrection body which is immortal. He was the first to rise from the dead and the title probably carries the idea of sovereignty. First of all in position or place and in chronology (first in time). Christ is the first and others follow Christ in His resurrection from the dead. (All the righteous dead are included in "the first resurrection, Rev. 20:5-6. The wicked dead are raised last after the millennium, 20:12f).
Most major religions of the world adore some great but dead leader or philosopher. Christianity alone declares its faith in a living, resurrected Savior.
A missionary was explaining this truth to some people. He said, "I am traveling and have reached a place where the road branches off in two directions. I look for a guide and find two men: One is dead and the other alive. Which of the two should I ask for directions, the dead or the living?" The people responded, "The living." "Then," said the missionary, "why do you follow a leader who is dead instead of Christ, who is alive?"
If we believe in the actual, physical resurrection of Jesus Christ, then we will have no difficulty in believing anything else in God’s Word. If we reject this central doctrine, we may as well throwaway the entire Bible. If Christ has not risen, He has broken His promises, failed in His prophecies, and we are still in our sins. But because Christ lives, we will live.
His witness and resurrection are past. His fulfillment of the role as the Ruler of the Kings of the Earth is future. He will one day direct the affairs and destiny of the nation on earth. He will be installed over all rule and authority after His victory over the beast and the false prophet (Rev. 19).