The Book of Revelation
John’s Greeting to the Churches
20 November 2016
John opens his letter to the churches in Asia with a greeting, blessing them with God's grace and knowledge of the Trinity. In these four verses of Revelation 1:4 - 8, we hear much about God's nature and love for His people.
John begins with greeting the seven churches of Asia: "grace to you and peace, from Him who was and who is and who is to come, and from the seven Spirits who are before the throne." Even in this opening greeting, we are reminded of God's eternal nature. The seven spirits here are symbolic of the Spirit's protection over the seven churches of Asia, sevenfold work (Isa. 11:1 - 2), and utter perfection. Throughout the Old Testament, God has often used seven to represent perfection.
John continues his greeting of grace "from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead." The fact that He is a faithful witness should give us confidence, because we know that everything He says is true. Thus, we can trust this letter as it is not only from John, but Christ also. The fact He is called "the firstborn of the dead" here refers to His pre-eminence, power, and honour (Col. 1:18). As it goes on to say, He is the "ruler of the kings of the earth."
John continues, "to Him who loves us and released us from our sins by His blood." While all religion is man's search for God, Christianity is God's search for man. Only through the person of Jesus Christ can we be made right with God through the shedding of His blood.
"Behold, He is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see Him." John reminds the reader that Jesus Christ is not only the eternal God, but is returning to earth. He will come for His Church as is prophesied many other times in Scripture (e.g. 1 Thess. 4:16, Matt. 24:29, Zec. 12).
The greeting closes with Jesus declaring Himself "the Alpha and the Omega;" the beginning and the end of all things. He is the Creator, and outside of time, and is penning this letter to us.
May we listen to, and act on the words of Revelation, for "blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy, and heed the things which are written in it; for the time is near" (v. 3).