The King and His Subjects – Revelation 1:4-8

By John Bellingham on July 26, 2020
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The King and His Subjects

Revelation 1:4-8

I. A Greeting From our King

  1. Recipients: Seven Churches of Asia Minor
    • These were real historical Churches in Asia Minor
    • These Churches are representative of the Church in every age
    • The number ‘7’ is a very prominent feature in Revelation
      • The number takes its significance from the 7 days of creation
      • The number represents ‘completion’ or ‘perfection’
  2. Sender: the Triune God
    • God the Father
      • YHWH = I am (cf. Exodus 3:14-15)
      • John describes the Father in terms of His eternal existence ( He is, He was, He is to come); He is sovereign over all of history
    • God the Spirit (‘seven spirits’)
      • May be in reference to the seven virtues of the Spirit that are listed in the Greek version of Isaiah – the perfect nature of the Holy Spirit (cf. Isaiah 11:2 LXX)
      • May be a way of emphasizing the Spirit’s activity in each of the seven churches to which the letter was addressed
      • May be in reference to Zechariah’s prophecy (Zech 4:1-9). Just as the Spirit empowered the re-building of the Temple during Zechariah’s Day, so does the Spirit empower the building of the ‘spiritual Temple’ (ie. the Church)
    • God the Son (Prophet, Priest, and King)
      • The ‘faithful witness’ (witness = martyr)
        • This book was written in the crucible of persecution and martyrdom
        • Jesus is presented as one who remained faithful unto death – He is the model for ‘martyrdom’
        • Underscores Jesus’ ministry as our Prophet
      • The ‘firstborn from the dead’ (cf. Colossians 1:15, 1 Corinthians 15:20)
        • Jesus is pre-eminent
        • Jesus is the first-fruits of all believers who will be raised to new life at the end of the age
        • Underscores Jesus’ ministry as our Priest
      • The ‘ruler of kings on earth’
        • He is a King in David’s lineage – the ‘Messiah’
        • His rule and reign is a present spiritual reality
        • His rule and reign will one day be a visible reality here on earth ( Psalm 2)
        • Underscores Jesus’ ministry as our King


II. The Worship of Our King

  1. To the one who loves
  2. To the one who saves
  3. To the one who rules
    • His Royal Subjects – a ‘Kingdom of Priests’
      • Originally this title was ascribed to the nation of Israel as part of the Covenant God had made with her ( Exodus 19:6)
      • Israel failed to fulfill her priestly mandate (ie. her duty to mediate God’s light and truth to the nations)
      • The priestly role is fulfilled by ‘spiritual Israel’ (ie. the Church)
        • Our Priestly Benefit – free and full access to God the Father, through the mediation of Christ the Son
        • Our Priestly Responsibility – declaring the good news of Christ’s rule and reign to the nations
    • His Royal Privilege – eternal glory and dominion!


III. An Announcement from Our King

  1. He is coming!
    • A majestic entrance
      • ‘on the clouds’ (cf. Daniel 7:13, Mark 13:24-27, 14:62; Acts 1:9-11)
      • An image of judgment and power – cf. Isaiah 19:1
      • A reference to Christ’s return at the end of this present age
      • A reminder of past in-breakings of divine judgment (ie. the descruction of Jerusalem in AD 70)
    • A public entrance
      • No ‘secret rapture’ – the return of Christ will be a visible affair
      • Every eye will see, and every knee will bow!
    • A distressing entrance (cf. Zechariah 12:10)
      • A mourning over sin (cf. Luke 22:61-62; Matthew 5:4)
      • A weeping over the terror of God’s judgment (cf. Rev 18:19)
  1. His plan for the future cannot be thwarted
    • Alpha and Omega – first and last letters of the Greek Alphabet
    • God is completely sovereign over history, and His decrees will prevail


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