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Wednesday in the Word

Second Baptist Church

February 26, 2014

Revelation 1:4-5

  1. Verses 4. We will break this verse up into three sections.

    1. The first section is simply that this book serves as a letter to the seven churches, sent by John, but in reality the testimony of Jesus Christ. John is the one who addresses the letter.

    2. The next part of this verse has to do with who is the recipient of this letter. The letter is written to the seven churches in Asia. It would seem from this, the book was originally dedicated or addressed to the seven churches, and the whole book was doubtless sent to them, and committed to their keeping. The word “Asia” is used in quite different senses by different writers. It is used:(1)as referring to the whole eastern continent now known by that name;(2)either Asia or Asia Minor; (3) all in the western, southwestern, and southern parts of Asia Minor; and, (4)in the New Testament, usually the southwestern part of Asia Minor, of which Ephesus was the capital. The word “Asia” is not found in the Hebrew Scriptures, nor in the New Testament. In the New Testament it is not used in the large sense in which it is now, as applied to the whole continent, but in its largest signification it would include only Asia Minor which we would consider the areas of Turkey and the surrounding countries. It is also used, especially by Luke, as denoting the country that was called “Ionia,” or what embraced the provinces of Caria and Lydia. Of this region Ephesus was the principal city, and it was in this region that the “seven churches” were situated. It is evident that these seven were the principal churches, even if there were more, and that there was some reason why they should be particularly addressed.

    3. The third part of this verse describes who really the author of this letter is. John is just the courier of this message, but God is the messenger and the message. The description of God is awesome. God is shown as the eternal father, the complete Spirit and the King of Kings. As God the Father he is “From him who is everlasting” - embracing all duration, past, present, and to come. No expression could more strikingly denote eternity than this. He now exists; he has existed in the past; he will exist in the future. There is an obvious allusion here to the name Yahweh, the name by which the true God is appropriately designated in the Scriptures. That name Yahweh means to be, to exist, seems to have been adopted because it denotes existence, or being, and as denoting simply one who exists; and has no reference to time, and would embrace all time: that is, it is as true at one time as another that he exists. Such a word would not be inappropriately paraphrased by the phrase “who is, and who was, and who is to come,” or who is to be; and there can be no doubt that John referred to him here as being himself the eternal and uncreated existence, and as the great and original fountain of all being. See John 1:1-3, Exodus 3:14. As the Holy Spirit. The "seven spirits of God" are mentioned in Revelation 1:4; 3:1; 4:5; and5:6. The seven spirits of God are not specifically identified, so it’s impossible to be dogmatic. Revelation 1:4 mentions that the seven spirits are before God's throne. Revelation 3:1indicates that Jesus Christ "holds" the seven spirits of God. Revelation 4:5 links the seven spirits of God with seven burning lamps that are before God's throne. Revelation 5:6 identifies the seven spirits with the "seven eyes" of the Lamb and states that they are "sent out into all the earth." The seven spirits of God are symbolic of the Holy Spirit. The Bible, and especially the book of Revelation, uses the number 7 to refer to perfection and completion. If that is the meaning of the “seven” in the "seven spirits," then it is not referring to seven different spirits of God, but rather the perfect and complete Holy Spirit. The work of the Holy Spirit is also seen in seven aspects based on Isaiah 11:2, which says, “The Spirit of the LORD will rest on him — the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of power, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD.” This could possibly explain the seven spirits of God: (1) Spirit of the LORD, (2) Spirit of wisdom, (3) Spirit of understanding, (4) Spirit of counsel, (5) Spirit of power, (6) Spirit of knowledge, (7) Spirit of the fear of the Lord.

  2. Verse 5. John continues to speak on the author of the book, but moves from the eternal nature of the father and the completeness of the Spirit to the work of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is the revelation of God and it is His testimony as the Word made flesh that must be obeyed. John describes him as the faithful witness. His testimony is He is a faithful witness and Jesus is the one who ushered in our eternal life. His conquering of death made him the one who could defeat any enemy since he conquered the enemy that conquered all other enemies. Every power on earth concerning man in the physical world eventually died, but Jesus conquers the enemy of all other enemies. His words carry weight and must be believed. He is King of Kings. Who has power over all the kings of the earth the pre-eminence which kings have over their subjects? He is the Ruler of rulers; King of kings. In Revelation 17:14; Revelation 19:16, the same thought is expressed by saying that he is the “King of kings.” No language could more sublimely denote his exalted character, or his supremacy. Christ and the exaltation of the Savior is here expressed by supposing that all those kings and princes constitute a community over which he is the head. The exaltation of the Redeemer is elsewhere expressed in different language, but the idea is one that everywhere prevails in regard to him in the Scriptures. Compare Matthew 28:18; Matthew 11:27; John 17:2; Ephesians 1:20-22; Philippians 2:9-11; Colossians 1:15- 18. He is also the one who loved us, meaning the one who gave up all for us (Romans 5:8). Who better to listen to than the one who cared and loved us more than any? He is also described as the one who purified us for all of eternity. The only eternal stain on us was our sin, and the only cleanser for such a stain was the blood of the perfect lamb that was sacrificed for our atonement. He has removed the pollution of sin from our souls by his blood; that is, his blood has been applied to cleanse us from sin. Blood can be represented as having a cleansing power only as it makes a washing of sin, for considered literally its effect would be the reverse. The language here refers to that he had made atonement, and that it was by the atonement that we are cleansed. The doctrine that the blood of Christ cleanses us from sin, or purifies us, is one that is common in the Scriptures. Compare 1 John 1:7; Hebrews 9:14.

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