Reading through the Bible together
The book of Revelation, as the first verse indicates, is a revelation of Christ and from Christ, which He received from God the Father (cf. John 8:28; 17:8). Here, as throughout the book, we are given glimpses of the Father and the Holy Spirit (Rev. 1:4) but Jesus Christ Himself takes center stage. Jesus is so wonderful, John can hardly contain himself. The images flow from His pen one after the next.
As the faithful witness (v. 5), Jesus is the living Word, accurately revealing God and His will to us (Rev. 19:13; cf. John 1:1, 18). As the “firstborn” from the dead, His resurrection is what makes our resurrection to eternal life possible (1 Cor. 15:17-23). As the prince or ruler of the kings of the earth, He is in control of this world. He loves us. He has washed us and cleansed us with His blood through His death on the cross. He has made us into a kingdom and commissioned every one of us as priests to enlarge His kingdom by proclaiming the praises of Him who has called us out of darkness into His marvelous light (v. 6; 1 Pet. 2:9). Above all, He is coming soon and “every eye will see Him” (Rev. 1:7). But that’s not all.
John’s vision of Christ in this chapter is one of the most striking in all the Bible. Jesus is clothed as our High Priest, walking among seven lampstands—the seven churches of Asia Minor (v. 20), which in turn represent His Church everywhere and throughout Christian history (v. 19).
The message is clear. Jesus has not forgotten us. He has engraved us on the palms of His hands (Isa. 49:16). He has not forgotten His Church. Its leaders—Christian ministers who are referred to as the “angels” or messengers and represented by the seven stars (see GW 13)—are in His hand. Christ is the Head of the Church. And, as the book of Revelation makes abundantly clear, He will guide us to the end. Because He conquered, by His grace we will conquer too, and reign with Him in the earth made new (Rev. 22:5).
Clinton Wahlen, PhD
Associate Director, Biblical Research Institute