The book of Revelation is one that puzzles many of us but this first chapter is full of truth that we need to heed. The book of Revelation is an epistle to God’s Church which contains much mysterious symbolism but it is a book sent to the Church going through difficult times. It is therefore not surprising that in this first chapter the glory of God and especially of the Lord Jesus is revealed to us. The message of the book of Revelation could be summed up in these words, God is in control whatever happens. For the persecuted believers this message was crucial for keeping them on the right track. Satan is defeated and Christ is victorious therefore the people of God are secure. I want to look at some of the verses from this chapter and share something of the wonderful teaching contained here.
To the seven churches in the province of Asia:
Grace and peace to you from him who is, and who was, and who is to come, and from the seven spirits l before his throne, 5 and from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. (Rev 1:4–5).
When the Lord addresses himself to the Churches he reveals himself as the eternal God but in doing so he reveals himself as the God of grace and peace. This God is the one who grants the blessing in the present,he is also the god who designed and decreed these blessings in the past and he is the one who will be faithful to his promises in the future. Our God is shown to be the eternal one who loves us with an everlasting love. This is shown clearly in the fact that Jesus is the faithful witness, who died for our sins and yet is risen in power and glory for our sakes. Our Lord Jesus is Lord of all and he is the ultimate ruler of the earth, the kings of the earth may not acknowledge him but this does not change the facts. The Lordship of Christ brings comfort to believers going through difficult times, even when they don’t understand they can have confidence that he will work out his plan and purpose for their lives. The following verses illustrate this vividly,
To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood, 6 and has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve his God and Father—to him be glory and power for ever and ever! Amen.
7 “Look, he is coming with the clouds,” u
and “every eye will see him,
even those who pierced him”;
and all peoples on earth “will mourn because of him.”
So shall it be! Amen.
8 “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.” (Rev 1:5–8).
In these verse we see the wonder of our salvation, Jesus ha freed us from our sins by his precious blood, here we see the amazing grace of god towards sinful human beings. He died for us while we were sinners. This fact is enough to get us singing songs of praise but notice what he has done for us he has transformed us into being his people. We are now the children of the King of Kings, who have a royal identity as priests and kings of God. The New Testament constantly reminds us that we are called to be saints and in god’s eyes that is what we are. We need to realize the dignity that god has bestowed upon is in our salvation. Our identity is not found in our sinfulness but rather in what Christ has done for us.
17 When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. Then he placed his right hand on me and said: “Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. 18 I am the Living One; I was dead, and now look, I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades. (Rev 1:17–18).
When John sees the glory of who Jesus is, he is overwhelmed, seeing the glory of Jesus cause him to be afraid but Jesus reassured him. the purpose of this revelation is to inspire confidence in who Jesus is, he points us to his finished work and his triumph over all the powers of death and hell. Here he is the one who will live forever and ever. The fact that he has the keys of death and Hades should give us confidence in our glorious Lord We are not to be afraid of him but rather see that he has the whole of history in his hands. These words should encourage us to serve him knowing that even if we cannot see the end of the tunnel, he does see it but not only that he is with us in the tunnel although we may feel that everything is dark and threatening we can have confidence in the one that loves us. His love must prevail,his kingly power will triumph. Therefore one day we will know what it is to live perfectly as kings and priests in his presence for all eternity. No wonder we are told that we will be blessed as we read this prophecy, this first chapter is one that can reassure us as we see the love of our God and Saviour.