In this section of scripture, John gives us the first of many groupings of sevens: seven aspects of Jesus Christ. Here, too, we see that The Triune God has written to us: Father, Spirit, and Son, and intertwined in these verses is a unique structure of past, present, and future – subtly reinforcing to us that God is eternal.
“John to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace be unto you, and peace, from Him existing, and Him having been existing, and Him coming; and from the seven Spirits which are before His throne;”
This letter is from all three persons of the God-head.
- The Father, who is ever-existing and ever-coming. The Father has existed since before time began, and it is from Him firstly this letter comes.
- The Holy Spirit, who is symbolized by “seven spirits.” Seven represents completeness: The Holy Spirit is complete and lacks nothing.
- This is not the only place we see this imagery used. In revelation, we see that the seven spirits are also symbolized by seven lamp-stands of fire and by the seven eyes upon The Lamb, which are also pictured in Zechariah. The eyes represent God’s omnipresence through the entire earth, as symbolized in Zechariah 4:10. And our Lord Jesus holds these Spirits for truly The Holy Spirit is the spirit of Christ. The lamp-stands of fire represent The Holy Spirit’s role as the church’s fuel for light and zeal.
- The Holy Spirit is also a seven-fold Spirit. In Isaiah, we see His characteristics.
- The LORD
- Fear of The LORD
“and from Jesus Christ, who is The Faithful One, The witness, The first begotten of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. Unto Him that is loving us, and having released us from our sins in His own blood, and hath made us a kingdom, priests unto God and His Father; to Him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.”
Before exploring these seven aspects of Jesus, notice the structure of past, present and future which John uses, showing us the eternal work of Christ.
- Jesus’ functions throughout time.
- The Faithful One, The Witness. Jesus is attributed one of The LORD’s titles: The Faithful One. Jesus has existed for all of eternity, faithful with The Father from the very beginning.
- The witness speaks of Jesus’ witness on earth, now past.
- The first begotten of the dead. Jesus’ present role as Mediator and High Priest on The Father’s right hand.
- Jesus will one day rule upon earth. This is yet future.
- Jesus’ actions toward us as Saints.
- Loving us. Jesus is ever loving us as His beloved bride, from which nothing can separate us.
- Hath made us a kingdom, and priests unto God and His Father. Though in truth and position we are in Jesus’ kingdom and priests, our role as this is not perfected. But God “calleth those things which be not as though they were” because He is outside of time.
- The Faithful One
- The Witness
- Jesus is the witness of The Father. Jesus boldly proclaims seven times that He is The Witness which The Father has sent. John the Baptist also bears witness to this. Jesus is The Faithful One and The Witness: He is the Faithful Witness.
- We can place all of our weight upon Jesus, all of our hope, faith, joy, etc… Jesus has borne to us a faithful testimony, and truly His demand in Luke is worth all of the cost: “whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be My disciple.”
- The First Begotten of the Dead
- Jesus is the first one to resurrect out from among the dead as Moses testifies to; He is the “firstfruits of them that slept,” pre-eminent in all things including the resurrection.
- We have a strong consolation, a promise of eternal life through resurrection, and Jesus Christ is our forerunner. Because of this hope and promise, “Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompence of reward” and as Paul encourages, “be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.”
- The Ruler of the Kings of the Earth
- Jesus will one day rule over all the kings of the earth. Though Jesus created all things, including powers that be (i.e., demons. c.f., Eph 6:12), and is over all, ordaining all existing authorities, right now He does not rule over the earth, though positionally He is higher. Currently, Satan controls the earth. One day that will change and Jesus will rule. But for now, we can trust the providence and sovereignty of God, knowing “He that is higher than the highest regardeth; and there be higher than they.”
- Him Loving Us
- Him Having Released us From our Sins in His Own Blood
- There is a one letter difference in Greek between “washed” and “released.” There are manuscripts with both translations.
- [Him Who] Hath Made us a Kingdom, Priests unto God and His Father
To Jesus Christ alone, be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.
[Note: the phrase “for ever and ever” is used to speak praise to Jesus four times. Each time more descriptors are added, until ending with seven]
Our God is eternal. He has always existed and always will. He is triune and each part of Him is equally eternal and complete. Jesus, our precious bridegroom, has faithfully represented The Father to us. He has risen from the dead, going before us, and will one day return again to reign, us alongside Him. He loves us, freed us, and we have a kingdom waiting for us. Truly, we have an awesome savior who is worthy of our lives. “Let us go forth therefore unto Him without the camp, bearing His reproach. For here have we no continuing city, but we seek one to come. By Him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to His name.” [Heb 13:13-15]