Pastor, First Baptist Church, Grand Junction
One thing my father instilled in me when I was growing up was to finish what I started. One time I started to play a sport in school and soon discovered that I hated it. I wanted to quit but my father reminded me that we finish what we start. So I had to suck it up and finish out the year. The book of Revelation is God’s example of finishing what He started (Revelation 1:8).
John sensing the significance and magnitude of the revelation wanted his readers to understand it came from God. God revealed His sovereign control and plan for the future through Jesus Christ who would reveal it to His followers (servants). The revelation that John received will happen soon.
John shares with his readers that they will receive a blessing by reading and applying the words found in this book. There is a sense that this verse speaks of a church worship service since individual copies of Scripture were scarce then — the idea being that the pastor would read the words and church members would hear and heed the words. Therefore, the church would be blessed. Some commentators speculate that the perceived difficulty of the book of Revelation among believers is simply a ploy by Satan to rob the church of a blessing.
The seven churches in Asia were the first but not the last recipients of this book. Those churches as well as us are introduced to the Holy Trinity in verses 4-6. The eternal God is emphasized by the phrase “Who is, Who was, and Who is coming.” Then the Holy Spirit is seen in the seven spirits before His throne. The number seven (completion) is speaking of the fullness of the Holy Spirit. More than likely Jesus is introduced last because John will go into more detail about Him.
John describes in detail several important things about Jesus Christ. He was the faithful witness as demonstrated by His time here on earth. He was the firstborn from the dead, meaning that His resurrection is of preeminence (Colossians 1:18) because by it eternal life was provided. He is in sovereign control of the earth as ruler of the kings.
John also describes what He has done for us. Out of His great love for us, He has set us free from sin and made us a kingdom of priests to God. Jesus not only atoned for our sins on the cross but made it possible for us to serve as priests who have direct access to God Almighty. In light of all Christ has done for us, John could not help but break out in praise and worship at the end of verse 6.
John in verse 7 gives a quick glimpse of what is to come (the return of Christ) as encouragement for his readers to remember. He shares that this return will be witnessed by all. When Christ came the first time, He was not recognized by all. However, that will not be the case this time. John identifies the response of the people when they recognize Him. “Those who pierced Him” refers to the Jewish nation of which many will genuinely repent. “The tribes of the earth” refers to Gentiles and their reaction is not repentance but fear over their fate. Finally, John wants us to know that this will certainly take place.
John closes this introduction of the book of Revelation by reminding the readers that it is God Almighty who guarantees these things will come to pass. God says, “I started this (Alpha) and I will finish (Omega) it.” And unlike us who sometimes start something we don’t finish, God will see this is completed.
— Styers is pastor of First Baptist Church, Grand Junction.