From Revelation 1-3
At the time of writing the church was being persecuted and is having trouble internally. John has received visions from the Lord Jesus which address these issues and hopefully bring comfort. Ive heard it said Revelation speaks a lot about the cross. So I intend to highlight what Revelation says about the cross.
This post is part of my bible in a year series.
Passage and Comments
In the first few chapters Jesus has a few things to say to the seven churches of Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea. We start of when John is introducing himself and Jesus before he addresses each of these churches.
4 John to the seven churches that are in Asia: Grace to you and peace from him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven spirits who are before his throne, 5 and from Jesus Christ the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of kings on earth. (Rev 1.4-5a)
John addresses the seven churches. The ‘beings’ (for lack of a better word) addressing the churches are;
- John the apostles (himself),
- Him who is and who was and who is to come,
- The seven spirits before his throne,
- Jesus Christ the faithful witness, firstborn of the dead, ruler of kings on earth.
I would have thought 2 and 4 were the same? The seven spirits are possibly the apostles and leaders of the church themselves. Revelation is obviously one of the most cryptic of the epistles. Another possibility.
- from him who is and who was and who is to come and =
- from the seven spirits who are before his throne, and =
- from Jesus Christ the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, =
- and the ruler of kings on earth.
They all refer to Jesus Christ himself.
To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood (Rev 1.5b)
Here is the reference to the cross. The blood spilling and death of Christ on the cross has ‘freed us from our sins’. The idea is similar to Romans 6 where Paul equates justification with being freed from captivity to sin. In both cases sin is perceived as a personal force which holds people in captivity. Death releases people from this captivity. Death being the payment or price required to release the slave from one master to another. All C3 believers have been freed from their sins by Jesus blood (C2 event of salvation).
6 and made us a kingdom, priests to his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. 7 Behold, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him, and all tribes of the earth will wail on account of him. Even so. Amen. (Rev 1.6-7)
The identity of believers is now quite different to what it was before they were freed. Now they are a kingdom. Part of God’s kingdom, under God’s rule. Believers are priests. They now serve God by representing him before the unbelieving nations. They serve these nations and God by sharing the gospel of Jesus life, blood spilling, death and resurrection.
Jesus will be coming on the clouds. God is exercising his dominion. A reference to Daniel 7.13-17. John is sharing the prophecy about Jesus. He has been raised, he will come again.
John was given this revelation from Jesus to comfort existing Christians who were having tough times. A great comfort for all believers is to know that Jesus blood spilling and death has freed them from their sins. No longer will they be punished for them, no longer will they burden them or hold them captive.
Jesus has made these freed people to be his priests is his kingdom. Now we declare the praises of him to the nations who desperately need it.
Copyright © Joshua Washington and thescripturesays, 2014. All Rights Reserved.