By Ray Jewell
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 before his throne, and from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth.
To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood, 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.
“Look, he is coming with the clouds,” 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.
“I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.” – Revelation 1:4-8
As John begins this letter, he continues with a focus on the Eternal God as presented in three persons. This section is wrapped by the phrase “who is, and who was, and who is to come.” That pretty much covers the nature of God. He is eternal. A side note on this. Noted naturalist, Carl Sagan, on his popular television series, Cosmos, plagiarized this phrase. He attributed to the Cosmos what is meant for God alone. Sagan believed that the Cosmos is eternal, therefore ultimate reality. The Bible states that God is eternal, and the creator of the Cosmos.
As John addresses this letter to the seven churches he talks about the seven spirits although some translators use the term the seven-fold Spirit. It can be done either way and still be true to the message John is portraying here. If it is seven-fold Spirit, the statement becomes one of many in the Bible pointing to the Trinity. If it is seven spirits it can be a way of referring to the angels for the seven churches. Personally I think it is a reference to the Spirit, who certainly plays an active part throughout the book.
But notice, the key person John talks about is Jesus Christ. It is Jesus who did so much for humanity. He is the faithful witness so He has every right to call those who follow Him to be faithful. He is the first born from the dead, His resurrection is what empowers His followers with the certain hope of eternal life. And He is the ruler of the kings of the universe, reminiscent of His statement in Matthew where He says all authority has been given to me. This has huge ramifications for those who are His people. We are called to be faithful, we have a hope that is a sure thing, and we serve the only King that really matters.
John recounts important events, that are in the future, by quoting two passages from the Old Testament. One day, when Jesus returns for the second and final time, all peoples will see Him coming as King, even the ones who crucified Him. And all the peoples of the earth will mourn because of Him. The ones who will not mourn are those who faithfully follow Him. The others mourn because they finally realize, too late, that this Jesus is who He said He is.
John’s response to all of this? The response he is calling the listeners to these words? “So shall it be. Amen.” This is not a wish list prayer. This is a confident statement of faith that what he is talking about is the case, has always been the case and always will be the case. What’s it all mean? Ultimately, God wins!
Lord, let me live my life in such a way that I show others the confidence I/we can have because You are God. So shall it be, Amen!
Until next time,
TO THE GLORY OF GOD!