Rev 1:4-8 – Greeting to the Seven Churches

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Rev 1:4

  1. Revelation was addressed primarily to seven churches in Asia Minor (modern-day western Turkey), all of which were located so that they could make a tour and carry the message.
  2. The “grace and peace” that God gives comes from the Father, the Holy Spirit and Jesus Christ, i.e. all three persons of the Trinity.
  3. “He who is and who was and who is to come” is a description of God’s name YHWH (I am who I am), which God revealed to Moses at the burning bush (Ex 3).
    1. “I am who I am” is “ehyeh asher ehyeh” in Hebrew and is shortened to “I am” in English and “ehyeh” in Hebrew. Of course, when Moses had to say God’s name to the people of Israel, he could not say “I am” but was told by God to say “He is” instead, which becomes “yhwh” and is usually pronounced “Yahweh”. Although God had said that this was the name that Israel could use, they felt that the name was too holy to be pronounced, except on certain occasions in the Temple, so they pronounced “adonaj” (“lord” in English) instead of “yhwh”. In the New Testament we also find that instead of pronouncing God’s name, they choose to say “heaven” (Luke 15:21). Hence the expression “kingdom of heaven” instead of the more common “kingdom of God” and therefore we often say we are going to “heaven” when we really mean we are going to “God”.
      1. Where the Swedish Bible says “LORD” in capital letters, the Hebrew text says “yhwh”.
      1. When the Old Testament was translated into Greek, they continued to avoid writing “yhwh” and instead wrote “kyrios” (“lord” in English).
    1. Some linguists argue that the verb in God’s name “I am” cannot be determined; the name could just as easily be “I was”, “I am” or “I will be”. From this we can learn that God is the one who has done wonders in the past and whom we should remember and tell about. God is also the one who is with us today and with whom we can have a relationship. God is also the one who will intervene in the future and we can trust that what he says he will do, he will do.
    1. Since a name in the Bible is often more than just an address name, it also says something about the character and personality of the person, I want to give a suggestion on how to relate to God’s name:
      1. Believe that God created you and saved you on the cross. Remember what God has done in your life in the past, read about what God has done in the Bible and celebrate God for all the good he has done.
      1. Believe that God is with you today. Ask God for help in small and big situations and let the Holy Spirit lead you, fill you with power and work miracles in your life and the lives of others.
      1. Believe that God will come back. Live with the hope that God will punish evil and make things right. There is something more and greater than what we can see with our eyes.
  4. The number seven in the Bible symbolizes “perfection”, “completion”, “total”, “perfection”, “all”, etc. When John writes about God’s “seven spirits”, it is a description of God’s holy, perfect and perfect Spirit.

Rev 1:5-6

  1. Jesus is not only God’s witness, but also the credible witness”, i.e. we can trust that what Jesus said and did is God’s truth. Jesus was really born of a virgin for real, Jesus really died on the cross for real, Jesus will really come back, for real, etc, etc.
    1. The Bible describes a number of people who came back to life after they died, but who eventually died again. Jesus is the first to die and be resurrected into the new and eternal resurrection life that all who believe in Jesus will share (Romans 8:29).
    1. Although Jesus Christ is Lord of heaven and earth, not all men, kings and kingdoms have yet accepted this and bowed before their King. But in due time, Jesus will take his rightful place (Phil 2:9-11, Rev 5:13).
  2. Jesus’ death on the cross is the ultimate proof that Jesus truly loves us and is willing even to die for us (Rom 5:8).
    1. Jesus showed his love for us by taking away our sins. God’s love does not mean that God condones our sins and lets us live as we please, but means that God wants to save us from our sins and make us clean and holy.
  3. All who believe in Jesus are God’s “priests”, i.e. God’s servants. In the Old Testament, the priesthood conveyed God’s word to the people and was the people’s representative before God. In New Testament times, i.e. today, everyone who believes in Jesus has a task to convey God’s word and pray for the people around them.
    1. Not only does Jesus love us, save us and make us priests of God, but the glory and power belong to Jesus for all eternity! When we exalt and confess Jesus in this way, we freely acknowledge what is the real truth, no matter what the world around us looks like, a truth that the world will in due time realize, either willingly or unwillingly.

Rev 1:7

  1. According to Acts 1:9-11, Jesus will come back the same way he went up to heaven, that is, he will come among the clouds.
    1. Clouds are often symbolic of God’s presence (Exodus 13:21, 1 Kings 8:10-11).
  2. When Jesus first came to earth, he “took the form of a servant when he became a man” (Phil 2:7) and was born as an incorruptible little newborn baby in a small village on the outskirts of the Roman Empire. When Jesus comes to earth the second time, he will come as King and Lord and NO man, dead or alive, will be able to miss Jesus’ return!
  3. In Zech 12:10 we read that God will “pour out the Spirit of grace and prayer” on Israel, “so that they will look up to me whom they have pierced”. We can also see in Matthew 23:39 and Romans 11:25-26 that in the last days Israel will confess Jesus as their Lord. So when Jesus returns, Israel will gladly receive Jesus, but at the same time will be painfully reminded that they did not receive him when he came the first time.
  4. When Jesus returns, there will be saved among all the “peoples and tribes and nations and languages” of the earth (Rev 7:9).

Rev 1:8

  1. Alpha (A) is the first letter of the Greek alphabet and Omega (O) is the last. The meaning of this title is that God is both the beginning and the end. God is both the one who started everything and the one who will finish everything. God directs and rules over both creation and the end times.
    1. A more correct Swedish translation would be “I am A and Ö”.
    1. Is it the Lord God or is it Jesus Christ who now titles himself as the “Alpha and Omega” and the “Almighty”? The answer is yes!
      1. In Revelation 1:8 it is the Lord God who is the “Alpha and Omega” and in Revelation 21:6 it is Jesus Christ who is the “Alpha and Omega”. The truth is that since the Father, Son and Spirit are one (John 10:30, 2 Corinthians 3:17), both the Lord God and Jesus Christ are “A and O”.
  2. The Book of Revelation repeatedly emphasizes that God is the one who has all power, i.e. that God is the Almighty. Nothing escapes God, and even if the world seems to be falling apart around us, we can trust that God is the one who will have the last word.
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