Revelation begins with a greeting similar to the ones found in Paul’s letters. The book was sent ostensibly as a letter to the seven churches in Asia Minor in John’s day (Rev. 1:11). However, Revelation was not written for them only, but for all generations of Christians throughout history.
Read Revelation 1:4-5 and Romans 1:7. What common greeting is found in both texts, and from whom is the greeting given?
Both texts offer an epistolary greeting: “Grace and peace to you”. This phrase consists of the Greek greeting charis (“grace”) and the Hebrew greeting shalom (“peace”, “well-being”). As we can see from these texts, the Givers of grace and peace are the three Persons of the Godhead.
God the Father is identified as the One “who is and who was and who is to come” (see Rev. 1:8, Rev. 4:8, NKJV). This designation refers to the divine name Yahweh, “I AM WHO I AM” (Exod. 3:14, NKJV) referring to God’s eternal existence.
The Holy Spirit is referred to as “the seven Spirits” (compare with Rev. 4:5 and Rev. 5:6). In Scripture, seven is a number of fullness. “The seven Spirits” means the Holy Spirit is active in all seven churches. This image refers to the omnipresence of the Holy Spirit and His constant work among God’s people through history, enabling them to fulfill their calling.
Jesus Christ is identified by three titles: “the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler over the kings of the earth” (Rev. 1:5, NKJV). They refer to His death on the cross, His resurrection, and His reign in heaven. Then John states what Jesus has done: He “loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood, and has made us kings and priests to His God and Father” (Rev. 1:5-6, NKJV).
In the original Greek, He “loved us” refers to Christ’s ongoing love, which embraces the past, the present, and the future. The One who loves us has released us from our sins by His blood. In the Greek, the verb “released” refers to a completed act in the past: when Jesus died on the cross He provided a perfect and complete atonement for our sins.
|Ephesians 2:6 and Philippians 3:20 describe the redeemed as citizens of heaven who are raised up and made to sit with Jesus in heavenly places. What might that mean, and how do we presently enjoy this glorious status in Christ as “kings and priests” (Rev. 1:6, NKJV) while still in this sin-cursed world? How should this answer impact how we live?|