“5and from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, the firstborn (or firstbegotten) from the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth.
To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood, 6and has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve his God and Father—to him be glory and power for ever and ever! Amen.
7Look, he is coming with the clouds,
and every eye will see him,
even those who pierced him;
and all the peoples of the earth will mourn because of him. So shall it be! Amen.” (Rev 1:5-7 NIV)
Each week a group of faithful men gather to study The Word of God under the guidance of Pastor Michael. This is my summation of our 10/13/10 study session. This week we pick up the study with Revelation 1:5-7.
Recall that Revelation is the testimony of Jesus Christ contained in a letter to the Seven Churches by John.
The Greek word for “firstborn or firstbegotten” in v. 5 is “prototokos.” This Greek word is the root of our word “prototype.”
This has two meanings here:
Jesus is the first of His kind, the first to conquer death. In the New Living Translation, this phrase is “the first to rise from the dead.” This makes things a bit clearer, but misses half of the meaning.
The other half is that Jesus, as the firstborn of the Father, inherits all that is the Father’s. He can share His inheritance with us. As the firstborn inheritor, Jesus is King of all creation. He is Lord of all. There is no part of the universe that He doesn’t own.
“Christ is also head of the church, which is His body. He is the beginning, supreme in all who will rise from the dead. So He is first in everything.” (Colossians 1:18)
“I will make him my firstborn son, the mightiest king on earth” (Psalm 89:27)
As in our secular world, there are those who do not follow and may not even recognize the authority of their kings and rulers. Many do not recognize the authority of Jesus as King. Others simply refuse to follow His authority.
The theme of Revelation is that false gods, false prophets and false religions will rise. But they all will be conquered by Jesus Christ. Revelation, rather that being a book of disaster and failure is a book of victory over all of these things.
Jesus wants all to recognize Him. He wants all to be saved. The Father placed humans above all of His created creatures. He wants us to be saved.
“and has freed us from our sins by His blood,” This is “the blood of the Lamb.” Recall the importance of blood that is so key throughout the Old Testament going back to the killing of Abel and the role of blood in the sacrifices.
Just as someone who has been kidnapped andr held captive for ransom, we are held captive by Adamic sin. Jesus has paid the ransom with His life and His blood. We are no longer under the dominion of sin when we repent and accept Jesus Christ. This is the message Paul gave to the Galatians. (Ch 3 & 4)
“To Him who loves us and has freed us from our sins…”
Verb tense is extremely important here:
“loves” is present tense. Jesus loves us now and will forever.
“freed” is past tense. It’s already done! Our salvation has already been accomplished.
It is our choice whether or not we will accept His grace. This is the essence of Free Will!
“and has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve His God and Father..”
“you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.” (Exodus 19:6)
“Priest” comes from the word “pontifix”, meaning bridge builder. Priests are bridges or intermediaries between God and man. (See below)
“As you come to Him, the living Stone — rejected by men but chosen by God and precious to Him—you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood…” (1 Peter 2:4-5)
Jesus is the bridge over the chasm of sin. Only He can deliver us to the Father; we can’t do this on our own.
Prior to the Protestant Reformation, the priests of the Roman Catholic Church were viewed as required intermediaries between common man and God. One of the driving forces of the Reformation was that we can each have a personal, direct relationship with Jesus. And since the Father and the Son are One, also with the Father. Through the Holy Spirit (God the Spirit) we also become bridges because the Father has adopted us.
St. Francis of Assisi said “Preach the Bible constantly and, if necessary, use words.”
As members of the priesthood we must “walk the walk” of Christian Living. We are known by our actions, not our words. If our actions don’t match and even exceed the words we speak about the Good News, we will not bring others to the glory of Jesus.
“Look, he is coming with the clouds,
and every eye will see him,
even those who pierced him;
and all the peoples of the earth will mourn because of him. So shall it be! Amen.” v. 7)
In verse 7, John demonstrates his extensive knowledge of the Old Testament. Here he is referring to Daniel’s prophesy in Daniel 7:1-14.
“Daniel’s Dream of Four Beasts
1 In the first year of Belshazzar king of Babylon, Daniel had a dream, and visions passed through his mind as he was lying on his bed. He wrote down the substance of his dream.
2 Daniel said: “In my vision at night I looked, and there before me were the four winds of heaven churning up the great sea. 3 Four great beasts, each different from the others, came up out of the sea.
4 “The first was like a lion, and it had the wings of an eagle. I watched until its wings were torn off and it was lifted from the ground so that it stood on two feet like a man, and the heart of a man was given to it.
5 “And there before me was a second beast, which looked like a bear. It was raised up on one of its sides, and it had three ribs in its mouth between its teeth. It was told, ‘Get up and eat your fill of flesh!’
6 “After that, I looked, and there before me was another beast, one that looked like a leopard. And on its back it had four wings like those of a bird. This beast had four heads, and it was given authority to rule.
7 “After that, in my vision at night I looked, and there before me was a fourth beast—terrifying and frightening and very powerful. It had large iron teeth; it crushed and devoured its victims and trampled underfoot whatever was left. It was different from all the former beasts, and it had ten horns.
8 “While I was thinking about the horns, there before me was another horn, a little one, which came up among them; and three of the first horns were uprooted before it. This horn had eyes like the eyes of a man and a mouth that spoke boastfully.
9 “As I looked,
“thrones were set in place,
and the Ancient of Days took his seat.
His clothing was as white as snow;
the hair of his head was white like wool.
His throne was flaming with fire,
and its wheels were all ablaze.
10 A river of fire was flowing,
coming out from before him.
Thousands upon thousands attended him;
ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him.
The court was seated,
and the books were opened.
11 “Then I continued to watch because of the boastful words the horn was speaking. I kept looking until the beast was slain and its body destroyed and thrown into the blazing fire. 12 (The other beasts had been stripped of their authority, but were allowed to live for a period of time.)
13 “In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence. 14 He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all peoples, nations and men of every language worshiped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed.”
Daniel is the OT “Book of Revelation.”
John refers to Daniel’s prophesy to say “we’ve done it before and we will do it again!” This is the theme of the Book of Revelation.
In Daniel’s vision he sees four beasts:
The lion represents Babylon. Babylon defeated both Israel and Judah, enslaving the Israelites.
The bear represents the Medes. They also enslaved the Hebrews.
The leopard is the symbol of Persia. The Persians enslaved not only the Israelites, but also conquered Egypt and Greece.
The fourth beast represented the Greeks under Alexander the Great. While still in his early 20’s, Alexander had conquered all of the area around the Eastern Mediterranean Sea. The Greeks intended to Helenize the entire world and were completely intolerant of Jewish practices.
The countries represented by all four of these beasts persecuted and slaughtered the Israelites without mercy. Yet, in each case, God redeemed His chosen people. They overcame.
The “small horn” is the Messiah, Jesus Christ.
Recall that at the time of the writing or Revelation, the Jews were being ruthlessly persecuted by the Romans. John was a prisoner on Patmos because of his faithfulness to Jesus Christ.
Where Daniel foresaw the overcoming of the Greek domination via the power of God, John sees the overcoming of the Romans and, ultimately, the Prince of Darkness, through the power of Jesus Christ.
This blog is part of an ongoing series based on my notes from a weekly Bible Study. For all of the blogs in this study, see: A Study of the Book of Revelation: Index of Blogs
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