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3 - Behold He Cometh

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Behold He Cometh

Rev 1:4-8

Introduction:  Keynote to the book of the Revelation is the phrase  in  Rev 1:7 “Behold, he cometh”  The coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

The second coming of Jesus Christ is mentioned 1527 times in the OT and 319 times in the NT. 

·              There is no place in all of scripture where the Second Coming of Jesus Christ is more prominent.

·               The very first testimony given in this book is the Second Coming of the Lord Jesus. The very last testimony in this book Chapter 22:20 is a testimony to the coming again of our Lord Jesus.

·              From Chapter 1 through Chapter 22 and everything in between is anticipating the coming again of our Lord.

·              It is significant that the first mention of his return is found in the salutation of this book, and that is the area we will be studying today.

You will remember that in the first three verses from Chapter one verse one through verse three is the prologue. In those verses we noticed a few things in our previous studies.  In today’s study we will be considering the salutation.

 

Rev 1:4-8 - The Salutation

The Addressee (4)  John to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace be unto you, and peace, from him which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from the seven Spirits which are before his throne; (5)  And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, (6)  And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

The Promise (7)  Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen.

The Declarations (8)  I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.

 

  1. The Addressee (vs. 4-6)   Rev 1:4  John to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace be unto you, and peace, from him which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from the seven Spirits which are before his throne; Rev 1:5  And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, Rev 1:6  And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

    1. One long Sentence – Two Major Parts

                                                               i.      Identifies

                                                             ii.      The Invocation of Blessing

    1. Seven Churches Which are in Asia                                                                i.      A province in the Roman Empire

                                                             ii.      Not identified here, but clearly identified in verse 11.

                                                            iii.      John has not mentioned all the churches in Asia. He does not mention Colossae, Miletus, Hierapolis, or Magnesia.

                                                           iv.      These churches form a hub around the city of Ephesus. And that may be significant as a capital city in Asia.

                                                             v.      This is the first seven in the book of the Revelation. There are many sevens. 64 sevens in the book.

1.       seven lamp stands

2.      seven stars

3.       seven spirits of God

4.      seven  seals

5.       seven angels

6.      seven trumpets

7.       seven  vials

8.      seven thunders

9.      seven thousand killed in earthquake

10.   seven heads on dragon

11.   seven crowns

12.   seven mountains

13.   beast with seven heads

14.   seven kings

15.   Seven is the most frequently used number in the book.

                                                           vi.      Seven in the Bible conveys completeness or perfection.

1.       Seven days in a week.

2.      The number seven was regarded by the Hebrews as a sacred number, and it is throughout Scripture the covenant number, the sign of God's covenant relation to mankind, and especially to the Church.

3.       The evidences of this are met in the hallowing of the seventh day; in the accomplishment of circumcision, which is the sign of a covenant, after seven days; in the part played by the number in marriage covenants and treaties of peace.

4.      It is the number of purification and consecration (Lev_4:6, Lev_4:17; Lev_8:11, Lev_8:33; Num_19:12). “Seven is the number of every grace and benefit bestowed upon Israel; which is thus marked as flowing out of the covenant, and a consequence of it.

5.       The priests compass Jericho seven days, and on the seventh day seven times, that all Israel may know that the city is given into their hands by God, and that its conquest is a direct and immediate result of their covenant relation to Him.

6.      Naaman is to dip in Jordan seven times, that he may acknowledge the God of Israel as the author of his cure.

7.       It is the number of reward to those who are faithful in the covenant (Deu_28:7; 1Sa_2:5); of punishment to those who are froward in the covenant (Lev_26:21, Lev_26:24, Lev_26:28; Deu_28:25), or to those who injure the people in it (Gen_4:15, Gen_4:24; Exo_7:25; Psa_79:12).

8.      All the feasts are ordered by seven, or else by seven multiplied into seven, and thus made intenser still. Thus it is with the Sabbath, the Passover, the Feast of Weeks, of Tabernacles, the Sabbath-year, and the Jubilee.”

9.      Similarly the number appears in God's dealing with nations outside the covenant, showing that He is working for Israel's sake and with respect to His covenant.

10.   It is the number of the years of plenty and of famine, in sign that these are for Israel's sake rather than for Egypt's.

11.   Seven times pass over Nebuchadnezzar, that he may learn that the God of his Jewish captives is king over all the earth

12.   Seven also occurs as a sacred number in the New Testament.

a.       There are seven beatitudes,

b.      seven petitions in the Lord's Prayer;

c.       seven parables in Matthew 13;

d.      seven loaves, seven words from the cross,

e.       seven deacons, seven graces (Rom_12:6-8),

f.        Seven characteristics of wisdom (Jam_3:17).

g.      In Revelation the prominence of the number is marked. To a remarkable extent the structure of that book is molded by the use of numbers, especially of the numbers seven, four, and three.

h.      SEVEN - There are seven spirits before the throne; seven churches; seven golden candlesticks; seven stars in the right hand of Him who is like unto a son of man; seven lamps of fire burning before the throne; seven horns and seven eyes of the Lamb; seven seals of the book; and the thunders, the heads of the great dragon and of the beast from the sea, the angels with the trumpets, the plagues, and the mountains which are the seat of the mystic Babylon, - are all seven in number.

i.         FOUR - So there are four living creatures round about the throne, four angels at the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds; the New Jerusalem is foursquare. Authority is given to Death to kill over the fourth part of the earth, and he employs four agents.

j.        THREE - Again the use of the number three is, as Professor Milligan remarks, “so remarkable and continuous that it would require an analysis of the whole book for its perfect illustration.” There are three woes, three unclean spirits like frogs, three divisions of Babylon, and three gates on each side of the heavenly city. The Trisagion, or “thrice holy,” is sung to God the Almighty, to whom are ascribed three attributes of glory.

                                                          vii.      Seven Churches – Two ideas communicated in this language.

1.       Seven Literal churches.

2.      Seven Representative Churches. (Typical of churches in their behavior.) These churches represent churches that exist today. These representative churches help us see the completeness of the church age.  Every church fits into one of these types.

3.       The seven named are chosen to symbolize the whole Church. Compare Rev_2:7. Seven being the number of the covenant, we have in these seven a representation of the Church universal.

    1. Invoking God’s Blessing (vr. 4-6)                                                                i.      The Content of the Blessing

1.       Grace - For grace (χάρις), see on Luk_1:30.

2.      Peace  - Gen 13:8  And Abram said unto Lot, Let there be no strife, I pray thee, between me and thee, and between

                                                             ii.      The Source of This Blessing

1.       “…from him which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from the seven Spirits which are before his throne; And from Jesus Christ”

2.      The Father – from him which is, and which was, and which is to come. The Eternal God.

a.       Is – Presence, The self existing God.  The I AM, Independent of all that we know.

b.      Was – Past, The Eternal God

c.       Is to come – Future, He will come in judgment  (notice 1:8, 4:8 compare, 11:16 no more is to come, He has come. 15:5 )

3.       The Seven Spirits – God the HS. (Eph 4:4 one spirit, Rev 1:4 seven spirits, This refers to the completeness , the perfection of the HS of God.

a.       Isaiah 11:1-2 - And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots:  Isa 11:2  And the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD;

b.      The first characteristics of the spirit of God relate to the intellectual life, the second to the practical life, and the third to the direct relation to God.

c.       (wisdom) is the power of discerning the nature of things through the appearance, and bīnâh

d.      (Understanding) the power of discerning the differences of things in their appearance; the former is σοφία, the latter διάκρισις or σύνεσις.

e.       “Counsel” (etzâh) is the gift of forming right conclusions, and

f.        “might” (gebūrâh) the ability to carry them out with energy.

g.      “The knowledge of Jehovah” (daath Yehovah) is knowledge founded upon the fellowship of love; and

h.      “the fear of Jehovah” (yir'ath Yehovâh), fear absorbed in reverence.

i.         There are seven spirits, which are enumerated in order from the highest downwards; since the spirit of the fear of Jehovah is the basis of the whole (Pro_1:7; Job_28:28; Psa_111:10), and the Spirit of Jehovah is the heart of all.

j.        It corresponds to the shaft of the seven-lighted candlestick, and the three pair of arms that proceeded from it. In these seven forms the Holy Spirit descended upon the second David for a permanent possession.

4.      Jesus Christ -  The Son. Placed after the Spirit because what is to follow in Rev_1:5-8 relates to Him.

a.       The Faithful Witness – Past – The Great Prophet

                                                                                                                                       i.      faithful is used, of one who shows Himself faithful in the discharge of a duty or the administration of a trust

                                                                                                                                     ii.      A faithful witness, because

1.       He gave faithful testimony concerning all things which were to be testified to by Him in the world.

2.      A faithful witness, because whatever He heard from the Father, He faithfully made known to His disciples.

3.       A faithful witness, because He taught the way of God in truth, neither did He care for any one nor regard the person of men.

4.      A faithful witness, because He announced condemnation to the reprobate and salvation to the elect.

5.       A faithful witness, because He confirmed by miracles the truth which He taught in words.

6.      A faithful witness, because He denied not, even in death, the Father's testimony to Himself.

7.       A faithful witness, because He will give testimony in the day of judgment concerning the works of the good and of the evil.”

                                                                                                                                    iii.      He cannot lie. Faithfully communicating the Revelation of God.

b.      The first begotten of the Dead – Present –

                                                                                                                                       i.      His resurrection never to die again

                                                                                                                                     ii.      Col 1:18

                                                                                                                                    iii.      He was not the first who rose from the dead, but the first who so rose that death was thenceforth impossible for Him (Rom_6:9); rose with that resurrection-life in which He will finally bring with Him those who sleep in Him (1Th_4:14)

                                                                                                                                   iv.      Functioning as our High Priest

c.       The Prince of the kings of the Earth. – Future –

                                                                                                                                       i.      He will rule over the Kings of the Earth.

                                                                                                                                     ii.      Through resurrection He passes to glory and dominion (Phi_2:9).

                                                                                                                                    iii.      The comparison with the kings of the earth is suggested by Psa_2:2. Compare Psa_89:27; Isa_52:15; 1Ti_6:16; and see Rev_6:15; Rev_17:4; Rev_19:16.

d.      An Anthem of Praise

                                                                                                                                       i.      Unto Him that loved (τῳ ἀγαπήσαντι) The true reading is ἀγαπῶντι that loveth. So Rev. Christ's love is ever present See Joh_13:1.

                                                                                                                                    ii.      Washed (λούσαντι) Read λύσαντι loosed. Trench remarks on the variation of readings as having grown out of a play on the words λουτρόν, a bathing, and λύτρον a ransom, both of which express the central benefits which redound to us through the sacrifice and death of Christ.

                                                                                                                                  iii.      Kings (βασιλεῖς) The correct reading is, βασιλείαν a kingdom. The term King is never applied in the New Testament to individual Christians. The reigning of the saints is emphasized in this book. See Rev_5:10; Rev_20:4, Rev_20:6; Rev_22:5. Compare Dan_7:18, Dan_7:22.

                                                                                                                                   iv.      Priests (ἱερεῖς) The priesthood of believers grows out of the priesthood of Christ (Psa_60:4; Zec_6:13; Hebrews 7-10). In the kingdom of Christ each individual is a priest. The priest's work is not limited to any order of the ministry. All may offer the sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving: all have direct access to the holiest through the blood of Jesus: all Christians, as priests, are to minister to one another and to plead for one another. The consummation of this ideal appears in Rev_21:22, where the heavenly Jerusalem is represented as without temple. It is all temple. “It is the abolition of the distinction between holy and profane (Zec_14:20, Zec_14:21) - nearer and more remote from God - through all being henceforth holy, all being brought to the nearest whereof it is capable, to Him” (Trench).

                                                                                                                                     v.      Unto God and His Father (τῷ Θεῷ καὶ πατρὶ αὐτοῦ) Lit., to the God and Father of Him. Hence Rev., correctly, His God and Father. For the phrase compare Rom_15:6; 2Co_1:3; Eph_1:3.

                                                                                                                                   vi.      Glory and dominion (ἡ δόξα καὶ τὸ κράτος) Rev., correctly, rendering the two articles, “the glory and the dominion.” The articles express universality: all glory; that which everywhere and under every form represents glory and dominion. The verb be (the glory) is not in the text. We may render either as an ascription, be, or as a confession, is. The glory is His. Δόξα glory means originally opinion or judgment. In this sense it is not used in Scripture. In the sacred writers always of a good or favorable opinion, and hence praise, honor, glory (Luk_14:10; Heb_3:3; 1Pe_5:4).

                                                                                                                                 vii.      Forever and ever (εἰς τοὺς αἰῶνας τῶν αἰώνων) Lit., unto the ages of the ages. For the phrase compare Gal_1:5; Heb_13:21; 1Pe_4:11. It occurs twelve times in Revelation, but not in John's Gospel or Epistles. It is the formula of eternity.

                                                                                                                                viii.      Amen (ἀμὴν) The English word is a transcription of the Greek and of the Hebrew. A verbal adjective, meaning firm, faithful. Hence ὁ ἀμὴν, the Amen, applied to Christ (Rev_3:14). It passes into an adverbial sense by which something is asserted or confirmed. Thus often used by Christ, verily. John alone uses the double affirmation, verily, verily. See on Joh_1:51; see on Joh_10:1.

  1. The Promise -  (vs. 7) Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen. a.       His coming is Certain - He cometh with clouds (ἔρχεται μετὰ τῶν νεφελῶν)

                                                               i.      The clouds are frequently used in the descriptions of the Lord's second coming. See Dan_7:13; Mat_24:30; Mat_26:64; Mar_14:62.

                                                             ii.      Compare the manifestation of God in the clouds at Sinai, in the cloudy pillar, the Shekinah, at the transfiguration, and see Psa_97:2; Psa_18:11; Nah_1:3; Isa_19:1.

b.      His coming is Public - Shall see (ὄψεται)

                                                               i.      The verb denotes the physical act, but emphasizes the mental discernment accompanying it, and points to the result rather than to the act of vision.

                                                             ii.      See on Joh_1:18. Appropriate here as indicating the quickened spiritual discernment engendered by the Lord's appearing, in those who have rejected Him, and who now mourn for their folly and sin.

c.       His Coming is Universal  -

                                                               i.      They which Pierced (ἐξεκέντησαν) See on Joh_19:34, and compare Zec_12:10; Joh_19:36. The expression here refers not to the Jews only, but to all who reject the Son of Man; those who “in any age have identified themselves with the Spirit of the Savior's murderers” (Milligan). The passage is justly cited as a strong evidence that the author of the Gospel is also the author of Revelation.

                                                             ii.      Kindreds (φυλαὶ) More correctly, tribes. The word used of the true Israel in Rev_5:5; Rev_7:4-8; Rev_21:12. As the tribes of Israel are the figure by which the people of God, Jew or Gentile, are represented, so unbelievers are here represented as tribes, “the mocking counterpart of the true Israel of God.” Compare Mat_24:30, Mat_24:31.

d.      His Coming is Horrifying - Shall wail because of Him (κόψονται ἐπ' αὐτὸν) Rev., better, shall mourn over Him. Lit., shall beat their breasts. See on Mat_11:17.

 

  1. The Declarations - Rev 1:8  I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.
    1. Alpha and Omega (τὸ Α καὶ τὸ Ω) Rev., rightly, gives the article, “the Alpha,” etc. , the beginning and the ending. The Rabbinical writers used the phrase from Aleph to Tav, to signify completely, from beginning to end.
    2. The Lord (ὁ Κύριος)See on Mat_21:3. The best texts read Κύριος ὁ Θεὸς the Lord the God. Rev., the Lord God.
    3. Which is, etc. See on Rev_1:4. “God, as the old tradition declares, holding in His hand the beginning, middle, and end of all that is” (Plato, “Laws,” 715).
    4. The Almighty (ὁ παντοκράτωρ) Used only once outside of Revelation, in 2Co_6:18, where it is a quotation. Constantly in the Septuagint.

 

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