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 Revelation Chapter 1 (Part 2) (verses 4-5a)

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PostSubject: Revelation Chapter 1 (Part 2) (verses 4-5a)   Sun Oct 05, 2014 9:51 pm

Revelation Chapter 1 (part 2) (verses 4-5a)

We left off on verse 4 of Revelation chapter 1. It reads, “John, To the seven churches in the province of Asia: Grace and peace to you from him who is, and who was, and who is to come and from the seven spirits before his throne, and from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth.” I included verse 5 because it is all one sentence. John is the author of this letter, and his audience is to the seven churches in the province of Asia. Paul wrote separate letters to 7 churches (also to 3 people: Timothy, Titus, Philemon). John writes one letter to 7 churches and the idea is for all 7 churches to share the one letter by passing it around to each other for the next church to read. (Eventually though, they copied it and all had a copy.) These are 7 real churches. Only the church of Ephesus gets addressed by both John and Paul. It appears that we have the Trinity in this long sentence. Since verse 5 says, “…and Jesus Christ”, then the beginning of verse 4 (“him who is, who was, and is to come”) refers to the Father. The phrase “7 spirits before his throne” can also be rendered, “the sevenfold Spirit”, and if that’s the case, it refers to the Holy Spirit. But, the 7 spirits, can just as well refer to the angel at each of the 7 churches.

Notice that God assigns an angel to represent each of the seven churches. Verse 2:1 says, “To the angel of the church in Ephesus write”. Verse 2:8 says, “To the angel of the church in Smyrna write” and so on. So it appears that for each church in history, God assigns at least one angel to them. We said before that angels are messengers from God. They are also protectors of God’s people. They also bring God’s judgment (called discipline for God’s people), and warnings. It should be no surprise that angels participate in our worship services. 1 Peter 1:12 says, “Even angels look into these things.” Angels are interested in the affairs of the cross because they never had the Savior die for them and redeem them—to them that’s a foreign concept.

Going back to the possibility of “spirit” referring to the Holy Spirit, an interesting point to add is that Isaiah 11:2 describes the Holy Spirit, which is placed on Jesus as having 7 qualities to Him. He is of the Lord, of wisdom, of understanding, of counsel, of power, of knowledge, and of the fear of the LORD. And as we all know, 7 is the number for completeness in the bible. I should point out Revelation 4:4-5 which gives a vague definition of these 7 spirits: “Before the throne, seven lamps were blazing. These are the seven spirits of God.” The lamps, according to Revelation 1:20 are the 7 churches. So it appears that the seven spirits represents the Holy Spirit in all churches. You recall that the Holy Spirit appeared to the disciples as flames (or tongues) of fire at Pentecost in Acts 2.

We will say more about the churches soon, but let’s discuss this clause that describes Jesus as “the first-born from the dead.” It means that Jesus was the first to rise to resurrect to life after dying. Lazarus resurrected, but he had to die again. Jesus resurrected to life to never die again. Colossians 1:15 says that Jesus is the firstborn over all of creation. The word “first” has to do with rank. When we say “the First Lady of the United States”; that has to do with rank, not meaning the first lady born or created in the United States. The Jewish firstborn had the rights of all of the inheritance of the father by rank. Also, Jesus was the first expression in history, because the bible says that the Word of God, who is Jesus, created all things. For more on this, you can refer to Colossians 1:18, Acts 26:23, Romans 8:29, and Psalm 89:26-27. Jehovah’s Witnesses like to use these verses to say that Jesus was the first created being by God the Father, which is a mishandling of these passages.

Jesus, it says in verse 5, is the ruler of the kings of the Earth. It may not seem like it now, but Jesus is in complete control and everyone, even rulers will one day have to answer to Him. That is all for today. We will start back on Revelation 1:5b next. It is going to get really good and interesting soon so stay tuned.
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