Thursday, July 1, 2021

9. The Revelation: Its Beatitudes, Its Trinitarian Benediction, Its Exalted Doxology

We are wrapping up our look this week at the central characteristics of The Book of Revelation in Revelation 1:1-6. We begin with the seven beatitudes of The Revelation:

1. Blessed is he

"...who reads and those who hear the words of the prophecy, and heed the things which are written in it." (Rev. 1:3a)

2. Blessed are the dead

"...who die in the Lord from now on!” “Yes,” says the Spirit, “so that they may rest from their labors, for their deeds follow with them.” (Rev. 14:13)

3. Behold, I am coming like a thief. Blessed is the one

"...who stays awake and keeps his clothes, so that he will not walk about naked and men will not see his shame.” (Rev. 16:15)

4. Blessed are those

"...who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.” (Rev. 19:9)

5. Blessed and holy is the one

"...who has a part in the first resurrection." (Rev. 20:6)

6. Blessed is he

"...who heeds the words of the prophecy of this book.” (Rev. 22:7)

7. Blessed are those

"...who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter by the gates into the city." (Rev. 22:14)

Despite the skepticism of the scoffers, who demand, “Where is the promise of His coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation” (2 Peter 3:4), the Lord Jesus Christ will return. And His return is near.

10. Its Trinitarian Benediction

"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, and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth." (Rev. 1:4–5a)

Ancient letters named their writers at the beginning. John identifies himself as the author and names the seven churches in 1:11 as the recipients. “Grace to you and peace” was a standard greeting in New Testament letters, used here by John with an added Trinitarian conclusion.

The phrase “Him who is and who was and who is to come” identifies the first Person of the Trinity, God the Father, described here in humanlike terms. The eternal Father God is the source of all the blessings of salvation, all grace, and all peace.

“The seven Spirits before His throne” refers to the Holy Spirit. The number seven depicts Him in His fullness (5:6; Isaiah 11:2; Zechariah 4:1–10). Grace and peace also flow from “Jesus Christ.” It is only fitting that John mentions Christ last, and gives a fuller description of Him, since He is the theme of Revelation.

Jesus is labeled as a “faithful witness,” One who always speaks and represents the truth. Next, He is “the firstborn of the dead.” Of all who have ever been or ever will be resurrected, He is the premier one. Third, He is “the ruler of the kings of the earth.” He is Lord, who according to the Father’s plan and the Spirit’s work, grants believers His royal blessing of grace and peace.

11. Its Exalted Doxology

"To Him who loves us and released us from our sins by His blood—and He has made us to be a kingdom, priests to His God and Father—to Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen." (Rev. 1:5b–6)

The work of Christ on behalf of believers caused John to burst forth in inspired praise to Him. In the present, Christ loves believers with an unbreakable love (Romans 8:35–39). The greatest expression of that love came when He released us from our sins by His blood—a reference to the atonement provided by His sacrificial death on the cross on our behalf.

John concludes his doxology with the only proper response in light of the magnitude of the blessings Christ has given believers: “To Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.” This is to be the response of all who read Revelation with this future glory in mind.