Revelation Part 6

Eternity Online: John Edmiston (Editor)

Eternity-Inspiration for Tuesday 21st October 1997

Revelation Part 6

(Revelation 1:5-6 NKJV) and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler over the kings of the earth. To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood, {6} and has made us kings and priests to His God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.
Jesus is here portrayed as God. He is ruler over the kings of the earth and to Him belong glory and dominion forever. These are terms reserved for God alone in Scripture. However Jesus Christ "made us kings and priests to His God and Father..". The Father is God to Jesus Christ. That was so when He was on earth and is so now. How Jesus is God and yet has the Father as His God is perplexing. Somehow within the Trinity the Father has pre-eminence. This pre-eminence is such that the Jesus Christ can call the Father "His God" without diminishing His own claims to be God and in the very form of God. Jesus is humble and does not (unlike the Devil) strive against the Father for pre-eminince. As the apostle Paul wrote of Jesus in the context of the incarnation "(Philippians 2:6 NIV) Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped," Jesus is in very nature God but does not grab after the pre-eminence of the Father. He is so beautiful! Praise His name!

In verse 5 Jesus is referred to in three puzzling terms."the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler over the kings of the earth." These are not terms we regularly use today and need a bit of explanation if we are to grasp what John is saying. Keep in mind that the apostle is writing to a persecuted church. What John is saying is that Jesus' conquest of persecution (as faithful witness) and death (as the first-born from the dead) and His absolute pre-eminence now (as ruler of the kings of the earth) makes the church unconquerable even by the most savage persecutions. He will conquer all the foes of the church including the then dominant Roman Empire. Jesus has always been pre-eminent but especially so since His ascension. Colossians and Ephesians take great care to spell out the supremacy of Christ over the world system.
(Ephesians 1:20-21 NIV) which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, {21} far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come.

(Colossians 1:16-20 NIV) For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. {17} He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. {18} And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. {19} For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, {20} and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.
The word John uses for ruler is an unusual one. It is archon (pronounced ark-own, it has a long "o") it means "first in rank or power". As in chief magistrate - the first of the magistrates. Therfore it implies firstly that Jesus is above all earthly authority but more subtly that He will establish his own earthly authority. He is the first of the kings because He is a king and will reign upon the earth. This theme is amplified later in Revelation, John hints at it to prepare the way for...(Revelation 11:15 NKJV) Then the seventh angel sounded: And there were loud voices in heaven, saying, "The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!"

What are the persecuted Christians being told? They are being told of the victorious path of Jesus Christ from witness to resurrection to Kingdom. This is a less than subtle exhortation for them to trace the same path in the midst of fiery persecution. The faithful witness will rise and will reign with Jesus in victory. That is the theme of the exhortations to the seven churches and throughout the book as a whole. The journey of Jesus will be the journey of the overcoming believer. Note that in 5:10 it says "we shall reign upon the earth..". Praise the Lord! In Him we overcome.
(Revelation 5:9-10 NKJV And they sang a new song, saying: "You are worthy to take the scroll, And to open its seals; For You were slain, And have redeemed us to God by Your blood Out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, {10} And have made us kings and priests to our God; And we shall reign on the earth."

Lord some of Your paths are not easy! The path of the faithful witness Lord seems difficult indeed. Strengthen our hearts that we may know that this is not a bad path. Rather it is a path full of glory. Open our eyes to this Lord Jesus so that we may be faithful witnesses like You are. Amen.


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John Edmiston ([email protected])
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