Summary of passage: John writes to seven churches in Asia, wishing them grace and peace in God’s name, the seven spirits’ name, and in Christ’s name–Christ who had freed us from sin by his blood and made us priests to serve God. Christ will come with the clouds where all can see.
6a) God always existed (the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the one who is, was, and is to come). He is the Creator.
b) He alone is in control and knows the future.
7) John 3:16-17: Jesus is God’s only Son, sent to bring eternal life and save the world.
1 Corinthians 15:3: Christ died for our sins to free us.
1 Corinthians 15:20: Christ was the first to rise from the dead so that we may follow and rise as well.
Philippians 2:9-11: Jesus rules the earth as Lord to the glory of God forever.
8 ) Personal Question. My answer: Christ has freed us from our sins through God’s great love for us. He will forgive me no matter the gravity of my sins and I will live again in Him and with Him.
9a) Everyone will witness Jesus’s return including the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem. Non-believers are those who have pierced him. Also, those who condemned Jesus when he was alive. Non-believers and believers and all nations and all peoples of the earth will mourn.
b) Personal Question. My answer: I don’t have to be in charge. God is. God has a plan. I don’t have to have one. I don’t have to worry about other people. All I have to do is share His love for them. He’ll do the rest. Everyone will know when Jesus returns. It won’t be some big secret for the elect. God wants me with Him.
Conclusions: We are diving right in with God’s purpose in sending Jesus: to free us from our sins.
End Notes: Verse 4: Here we get our first glimpse into numbers and the importance of Old Testament references. Notice the number 7 here, which comes from Isaiah 11:2, which describes the 7 aspects of the Holy Spirit. Because of this, the number 7 is considered the number of completeness and perfection (after all, it took God 7 days to create the universe). Note there are not 7 different spirits. One Holy Spirit with 7 characteristics listed here.
Why these churches when there were many more? As we read Jesus’ words to the different congregations, we’ll begin to get an idea of why they were chosen. However, because there were 7 of them and 7 is the number of completion, scholars take this to mean Jesus was speaking to all churches. Therefore, these words are for us (the church) as well.
Verse 5: Jesus is the faithful witness which is the same Greek word for martyr.
“The firstborn from the dead” means Jesus was the first to rise from the dead AND he’s first amongst the risen (Romans 8:29). Firstborn is a title, not a literal reference to a birth (Exodus 4:22; Psalm 89:28).
Here, in one greeting, we see the Triune God: The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit–separate but the same.
“To him who loves us”. Here, this is also translated as “loved” past tense. “Loved” takes us back to the cross where our life began.
Notice the order: He loved us first, then freed (or washed in some translations). God loves us first. No matter what we have done. Then He cleaned us. Because He loves us. He didn’t clean us first then love us. Powerful.
Also, some translate the washed/freed as “loosed”. There is only one letter difference in the ancient Greek between washed and loosed.
Verse 6: Jesus made us kings and priests–something impossible for those in the OT. It was forbidden to be both.
Power here is also translated as dominion. We are recognizing God’s glory and dominion over every aspect of our lives–body, soul, and spirit.
Amen means “Yes” in Greek and is the worth for truth or faithfulness in the Hebrew. So, literally, when you say “Amen” you are saying “it is true”, “so be it”, and “yes” to God’s will.
Verse 7: John praises Jesus. He jumps straight away into describing his return. We are to watch for his return, which will be in clouds. Every believer in the first century knew Jesus would return in a cloud since he told us he would (Matthew 26:64). Also, we are described as clouds (Hebrews 12:1) and clouds are associated with God and His presence as we saw last year in our study of Moses (Exodus 13:21-22, 16:10, 19:9, and 24:15-18).
Verse 8: Now, scholars believe Jesus is speaking since it is after all his revelation. Some also say it could be God here as well since both claim the title of Alpha and Omega (Revelation 1:4; 22:13).
All emphasized the Triune God and the eternal nature of God. He is in control of everything from Alpha (A in the Greek alphabet) to Omega (Z in the Greek alphabet) and everything in between.
The Greek word “Almighty” here means “the one who has his hand on everything”. It is used 10 times in the New Testament, 9 times here in the Book of Revelation.
BIG THEME OF REVELATION right here in chapter 1: God is in control of everything.
Map of Seven Churches John was writing to in the province of Asia (modern-day Turkey): http://lifehopeandtruth.com/uploads/images/7-churches-of-revelation.gif