Revelation Explained

This site contains my personal views on Revelation. I will be teaching through the book verse by verse. My teachings will be from a conservative evangelical background.

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Location: Brampton, Ontario, Canada

Friday, August 26, 2005

Salutation - Revelation 1:4,5a

Verses four to eight of Revelation chapter one are the Apostle John's salutation to his readers. He wrote specifically to the seven Churches of Asia. In New Testament times, Asia was a small area which is now the western part of Turkey. We will learn much about these seven churches when we study chapters two and three.

John's greeting to these seven churches contains four elements: a prayer for blessing from the Trinity, an expression of Christ's work, a promise of Jesus' return and a declaration of God's greatness.

"John, to the seven churches which 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, and from Jesus Christ, . . ." (Revelation 1:4, 5a - New King James Version)

“Grace be unto you and peace” is a common New Testament greeting. Grace refers to God's affection for those who do not deserve it. It is a far reaching term that sums up the basis for all of God's dealings with us. He does not give us what we deserve, but because of His Grace, He acts with patience, mercy and love.

To say “Grace be unto you” is similar to our modern expression of “God bless you.” It is a prayer that God would give you that which is good.

Peace in this passage refers to peace of mind and heart. At least some of John's readers were not experiencing physical peace. They were under growing persecution. This would continue.
However, internal peace is of much more value than external. To have peace of conscience, knowing that God has forgiven our sin, allows us to face death with hope and confidence. To have peace of spirit allows us to relax even when the storms of life rage. To have peace of mind frees us from worry.

Peace is a great thing. But how can we have such peace? By putting our complete trust in the One to Whom John was praying. He makes it clear from where Grace and peace come.

First, they come “from Him who is, and who was, and who is to come.” This is a reference to God the Father. The idea is that God exists in the present, in the past and in the future. He is not just untouched by time, He lives outside of time!

The very nature of Revelation, being prophetic, requires such a God. To our heavenly Father, time is no limitation. He sees the future as clearly as He sees the past and the present. If we have God's Grace resting on us, then we need not worry about the future, because He already knows what will occur.

Second, Grace and peace come “from the seven Spirits who are before His throne.” This expression has been much debated.

Some believe this refers to seven angels. However, this interpretation has two major difficulties. It would seem blasphemous to mention angels between a reference to God the Father and God the Son in the way this verse does. Also, we do not need nor should we pray for the grace or peace that angels could give. Such an expression would encourage the worship of angels.

The best interpretation is to take this as an expression referring to the Holy Spirit. This is really the only acceptable view. Why then is the Holy Spirit referred to as the seven Spirits?

Listen closely to Isaiah 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.” (King James Version) This verse gives seven different ministries of the Holy Spirit.

He is the Spirit of the Lord, the Spirit of wisdom, the Spirit of understanding, the Spirit of counsel, the Spirit of power, the Spirit of knowledge, and the Spirit of the fear of the Lord. John is representing the seven fold ministry of the Spirit by referring to Him as the seven Spirits.

The Holy Spirit is also portrayed as standing before the throne of God. This indicates that He is ready to go to and fro upon the earth to fulfill the bidding of God the Father. He is the member of the Trinity Who puts into action the plans of the Father.

Thirdly, Grace and peace are “from Jesus Christ.” He is God the Son.

So John prays that his readers would receive the blessings of the Trinity, and would have the internal and spiritual peace that only the Trinity can give.

Although this was a common Christian expression of New Testament times, it is still a beautiful expression. We should wish that other believers would have the Grace and peace of God the Father, God the Holy Spirit and God the Son.


Anonymous Stephen F. said...

Wow... I really enjoyed the drawing of connections from the seven Spirits to the Holy Spirt.

I've always had difficulty understanding Revelation, even when my Dad explained it Sunday mornings (he is a pastor and did a four month study on Revelation).

I like your approach to the content, your explanations are as you hoped, enlightening.

1:48 PM  

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