1:4-6 A MESSAGE FROM JESUS
“John, to the seven churches which 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, and from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, the first begotten of the dead and the prince of the kings of the earth” (Revelation 1:4,5).
"The Revelation of Jesus Christ" begins by showing who He is. The idea that the one-and-only God is also three persons, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, was not the phiosophical invention of Byzantine theologians; it permeates the scriptures. The messages “to the seven churches” are from all three persons. “Him who is and who was and who is to come” is the Father<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]>, and this title emphasizes His eternal nature. The “seven Spirits” refer to the fullness and completeness of the Holy Spirit, the third person of the Godhead.<![if !supportFootnotes]><![endif]> But the greatest emphasis is upon Jesus. Even though He is fully man, “the first begotten of the dead” and “the prince of the kings of the earth,” He is also completely and fully God.
Why does the Book of Revelation especially focus on Jesus? It is He “who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood, and has made us kings and priests to His God and Father” (Revelation 1:6). This is not to say that the Father and the Spirit have any less love for sinful mankind; “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son” (John 3:16). But Jesus loves us in a unique way: with the unity of the human and the divine. "The Word" existed from eternity with the Father and the Spirit, but 2000 years ago "the Word became flesh and dwelt among us" (John 1:14). Jesus did not cease to be God, but He is forever the “Son of Man,” eternally identified with the human race which He died to save.
God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit sent Revelation as a message “to the Seven Churches.” The number seven is used throughout scripture to represent fullness and completeness, so the message is to the full and complete Body of Christ. Many denominations and Christian organizations have tried to limit the Church, claiming that they only are the “true church.” But God’s message in Revelation is unlimited and totally inclusive, directed toward all believers everywhere at all times. "Whoever believes in Him" (John 3:16) has the privilege of being a part of His kingdom; all who accept His offer of forgiveness can be “kings and priests to His God and Father.” This is not to say that any of us deserve to be a King or a Priest—we are all sinners, no matter what religion or denomination we belong to. But Jesus with “His own blood” took upon Himself the death that we deserve for our sins, giving us hope and assurance that we can be a part of the Eternal Kingdom forever! “To Him be glory and dominion forever and ever! Amen” (Revelation 1:6).
Continue to next section: 1:7-9 THE GREAT CONTROVERSY
<![if !supportFootnotes]> <![endif]> Some have assumed that since He “is to come” that this title refers to the Son. However, in the other three texts where this title appears it becomes clear that this is God the Father. In Revelation 1:8, He “who is and who was and who is to come” is called “the Almighty,” a title of the Father. Again in Revelation 4:8, before the lamb is introduced, the four living creatures sing “Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, Who was and is and is to come!” Also in Revelation 11:15-19 it is clear from the context that God the Father, “Lord God Almighty,” whose wrath and judgment have come, whose temple is opened, is “the One who is and who was and who is to come” (v.17).
<![if !supportFootnotes]> <![endif]> See chapter 4:5 Seven Lamps, Seven Spirits. The seven Spirits of God are also mentioned in 3:1 and 5:6.