1 The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show to his servants the things that must soon take place. He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John,
- The revelation – not the revelations. The apocalypse = Greek = revelation.
- So many think this is the revelation of anti Christ -Sadaam Hussein – Osama bin Laden, Donald Trump, (fill in the blank for the current bad guy.)
- What is a revelation? It would be the revealing of something that is already there. Picture this; a dark room where you see nothing – but as the lights are slowly brought up you start to make out the outlines of some furniture, and as more light is brought in you see the entire furnished room.
- Even in the pitch black, everything you now see has always been there.
- ‘Gave him’ = gave to Jesus. God the Father throughout all of scripture has given his word to Jesus to bring to the world.
- If you hear God’s word it is Jesus speaking.
- God is funny in this way – he reveals himself by being hidden – he hides in the flesh of Jesus Christ.
- So Jesus sends an angel to speak to John – Jesus is the mediator between God & man.
2 who bore witness to the word of God and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, even to all that he saw.
- John was faithful in what he was given – he gave it to everyone he came in contact with.
- What did John say at the end of his Gospel? ‘all these things are written that you may believe, by believing you have life in his name.”
- This is why he wrote all of this down – just like his gospel.
3 Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear, and who keep what is written in it, for the time is near.
- Prophecy is what is now and what will happen – but it is always about Jesus.
- What already is – is prophecy that has already has happened / is happening.
- Foretelling and forth telling – proclamation of God’s word for today – the past for us, he shed his blood, he rose and he now reigns.
- In chapters 2 & 3 we see Jesus presently reigning in his church.
- In the future we expect “behold, I am coming soon.”
- This Revelation of Jesus Christ (not a narrative about Jesus Christ), is that he died for you, he rose for you, he loves you, he gives you eternal life, he is going to take care of you no matter what.
- Jesus keeps his promises despite what persecutions and trouble you are going through in this life.
- In spite of everything that seems to the contrary, God is in control of world history – and the climax was Good Friday.
- We are to proclaim Jesus Christ for the sinner – The “for you”.
- When you go to church and you hear the pastor say “Jesus died for you.” Or at communion and you hear Jesus’ own words “this is my body, ‘given for you’… this is my blood, ‘shed for you’ – this is a revelation.
- This is his kingdom and he reigns over your sin and death with his own body and blood in his death.
- Also, not to be missed – his kingdom is on this earth – and Jesus comes to us.
Greeting to the Seven 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,
- Greetings from John – was John that well known or would a brief introduction be given by the reader of the letter to the crowd?
- Asia = Asia Minor = Modern day Turkey
- Grace / Peace = very similar to the Pauline greetings.
- This is a word from God – not John. It is a word of God to be read during the Divine Service.
- This is a message from God the Father, who is, who was and who is to come.
- This is also from the Holy Spirit – the 7 spirits – 7 = God – 7 = divine completion.
5 and from Jesus Christ the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of kings on earth. To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood
- And Jesus Christ – John has the Trinity covered.
- Jesus is the faithful witness – he is the martyr. Faithful even unto death – this is important to me, as I am not a faithful witness.
- Look what we have here – a vision – a letter – a sermon from the Trinity.
- This is for those in John’s age and those for us in this age – but we must read it first in their day.
- Note – his blood freed us from our sin. This is not that he made us capable of being free from our sin – No! We are actually freed.
- Something to think about – who are the kings Jesus rules over? Are they Caesar, Hitler, Stalin, Trump?
- Or are they us, the Christians, those who gained our crowns through his ascension? Ruler of the kings, we who reign with him – saints who later take our crowns and cast them at the feet of Jesus as we realize our crowns are because of him.
6 and made us a kingdom, priests to his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.
- Has made us – not a future tense – this is already done.
- This is not something that is to be fulfilled later in some future kingdom.
- For those who believe that the kingdom of God has not yet come – that some future priesthood will be set up, waiting for some millennial age – believe me, Jesus the King has come.
- Jesus, the high priest has come – Jesus is the lamb, the whole sacrificial system is fulfilled in him. Jesus is the temple; he is God with us.
- The Apostle Peter himself has picked up on this in 1 Peter 2 recognizing we are the New Israel – the Church. We who are baptized – we are NOW a kingdom and we are priests. “9 But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.”
- Jesus reigns among us – he put his name on us and dies for us and reigns among us sinners.
- We are his priests – not high priests – but on top of all, we are the New Israel.