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Dr. Walter D. Huyck Jr. D.Min.

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The Salutation

Revelation 1.4-8

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[Having heard the preliminaries of the book a salutation is now offered.  In this salutation we notice the presentation of the text, the authentication of the text, and the glorious manifestation in the text.]

A.    Its Presentation (vs 4) [-  John to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace be unto you, and peace, from him which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from the seven Spirits which are before his throne;  - In these verse we find the formal salutation of the letter.  In this salutation we are given the singular focus of the text, the special favor recognized in the text, and the spiritual fullness represented in the text.]

1.      The Focus (vs 4; 1 Cor 2.9-16) [- John to the seven churches which are in Asia: . . . -  The prophecy and the book are focused upon the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ.  The seven Churches of Asia are specifically mentioned yet are thought to represent the Church as a whole.  These seven Churches are the strict focus of Chapters two and three of the book and will be studied in greater detail at that time.] 

[This message is directed to the Church of our Lord directly and more specifically to the seven Churches where the apostle John was intimately involved, as their pastor and leader?  Because, as in the case of all scripture, just anyone, just any ordinary mind, just any mortal intellect would fail to decipher and understand the full meaning of the text.  The need for illumination in the text is not new to the genre of scripture.  The Bible reveals,]

[1 Corinthians 2:9-16 9 But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. 10 But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. 11 For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. 12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. 13 Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. 14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. 15 But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man. 16 For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.]

[As is the case with all scripture, spiritual illumination is absolutely essential for a proper understanding of this apocalyptic revelation.]

[Even though this message is directed to the Church of our Lord there are still those within the congregations of these Churches, who in fulfillment of our Lord’s revelation in the parables about the condition of these churches, will be incapable of spiritually interpreting the context of the books message.  Within these Churches there are wheat and tares, leaven has permeated each congregation and will inevitably hinder the unfolding of its message.  Still there will be those who are spiritually filled and spiritually enlightened who will be able to carry this glorious revelation to all believers and even to the lost who hearing it will come to repentance and salvation.]

[So the books focus is toward those born again believers who being filled with the Holy Spirit of God will be capable of understand the true message of the text.  Many will read this text, but few will be capable of truly discerning its message.]

2.      The Favor (vs 4; Exo 3.14) [- . . . Grace be unto you, and peace, from him which is, and which was, and which is to come; . . . – Two glorious endowments accompany the Revelation and its message, which are two gifts so incredible and precious that while they are simple they are almost too simple to understand and receive.  Notice here the,]

a.      [Benefits offered,[

1)      [Grace - This Book deals primarily with judgment, yet God begins it with grace.  Demonstrating to all who read this book, yet living in this dispensation of Grace, that it is not to late to escape the wrath to come.  God does not desire to give us what we deserve, which is justice.  Nor does God desire to merely not give us what we deserve, which is mercy.  Our Heavenly Father desires to give us that which we do not deserve, which is grace.]

2)      [Peace - Here is a book which deals with the very opposite of peace, again demonstrating that the terror of the Lord will only be experience by those who refuse to be raptured to a place of wonderful peace.]

b.      [The Benefactor - . . . from him which is, and which was, and which is to come; . . . – There are generally two views about who this refers to,]

1)      [God the Father - The "I am that I am" (Ex 3.14).  It is certainly within our Heavenly Fathers nature to be gracious since He is the source of every good gift (James 1.17).  Hence, it is possible that this statement refers to God the father.]

2)      [The Lord Jesus Christ - Eternally present, crucified, yet risen to glory forever more. It seems more likely that our Lord Jesus Christ fits this description better.  He certainly always has been and always will be, yet He came and died for our sins thus making the phrase . . . which was . . . fit Him better than any other person of the godhead.]

3.      The Fullness (vs 4; Heb 4.16; Isa 11.2) [- . . . and from the seven Spirits which are before his throne; - Again there are two possible views about these seven spirits before the throne,]

a.       [The Spirits of Churches – Thus representing the true believers, a remnant in the midst of apostate Churches. It is not unheard of in Scripture for born again believers to stand before the throne of God.  The Word of God calls God’s people to this very place,]

[Hebrews 4:16 16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. ]

[For the children of God, born again believers, to be standing before the throne of God is to place them right where God desires that they be.]

b.      [The Holy Spirit – Gaebelien suggests that these seven spirits represent the Holy spirit in His seven administrations (Isa 11.2)[1]: ]

[Isaiah 11:2 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; ]

1)      [Lord. ]

2)      [Wisdom. ]

3)      [Understanding. ]

4)      [Counsel. ]

5)      [Might. ]

6)      [Knowledge. ]

7)      [Fear. ] 

B.     It’s Authentication (vs 5-6; 2 Tim 3.16-17) [- And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, 6 And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen. – The authority and authorization of the text is given by our Lord Himself.  The Apostle John is but the scribe penning the revelation delivered to him by the angel, but even the angel is not the authority behind the text.  It’s true author and authority is found in the Lord Jesus Christ Himself, as is the case for all Scripture.  The Bible declares,]

[2 Timothy 3:16-17 16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 17 That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.]

[Of our Lord’s authentication for this text we are given.]

1.      His Credentials (vs 5) [-And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth . . .  - Three credentials are given that authorize the penning and content of the Revelation.]

a.       Our Lord’s Trustworthiness (Titus 1.2; Rev 3.14; Isa 55.3-4; John 18.37) [- And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, . . . -  Our Lord Jesus Christ is the ultimate faithful witness.   What testimony holds as high a level of trustworthiness as that of the Lord of all glory?  Our Lord Jesus Christ is wholly God and as God cannot lie (Titus 1.2).  He is “. . . the Amen, the faithful and true witness, . . .” (Rev 3.14).  Isaiah wrote of our Lord and His covenant,]

[Isaiah 55:3-4 3 Incline your ear, and come unto me: hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David. 4 Behold, I have given him for a witness to the people, a leader and commander to the people.] 

[Of Pilate and our Lord we read,]

[John 18:37 37 Pilate therefore said unto him, Art thou a king then? Jesus answered, Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice.]

[The Lord Jesus Christ is trustworthy as a witness unlike any other.]

b.      Our Lord’s Testimony [- . . . and the first begotten of the dead, . . . -  The first begotten of the dead, denotes supremacy and ability.  The fact that our Lord substantiates the message delivered by the revelation provides the kind of testimony that none other could hope to give.  The undeniable fact of the physical resurrection of our Lord gives His testimony an unfettered authentication.]

[The words “. . . first begotten of the dead . . . ”denote that the Lord Jesus Christ is the first man to be resurrected in an eternal, glorified state.  Others had bee brought back to life before, but none had experienced the immortal and eternal resurrected state in which our Lord Jesus Christ now stands.]

c.       Our Lord’s Tenure (Rev 11.15; Dan 8.25; 4.37; Matt 2.2; John 1.49; 1 Tim 1.17; Rev 15.3; 19.16) [- . . . and the prince of the kings of the earth  - Now tenure is given to a professor to protect him as he teaches what might be difficult issues and positions to his students.  Tenure helps to release the professor to step out in ways that may not always be comfortable in the current culture.  Clearly, the message of the Revelation is not a comfortable one and such a message needs the protection of tenure.  Our Lord Jesus Christ is the ultimate King. As the Lord of all kings no one is in a position to challenge the credentials of our Lord Jesus Christ or the message He provides and proclaims. References to our Lord as King in the Bible include: ]

1)      [The prince of the kings of the earth. ]

[Revelation 11:15 15 And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever. ]

[Daniel 8:25 25 And through his policy also he shall cause craft to prosper in his hand; and he shall magnify himself in his heart, and by peace shall destroy many: he shall also stand up against the Prince of princes; but he shall be broken without hand.]

2)      [The King of heaven.]

[Daniel 4:37 37 Now I Nebuchadnezzar praise and extol and honour the King of heaven, all whose works are truth, and his ways judgment: and those that walk in pride he is able to abase. ]

3)      [The King of the Jews.]

[Matthew 2:2 2 Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.]

4)      [The King of Israel.]

[John 1:49 49 Nathanael answered and saith unto him, Rabbi, thou art the Son of God; thou art the King of Israel.]

5)      [The King eternal]

[1 Timothy 1:17 17 Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen.]

6)      [The King of Glory.]

[Psalm 24:7 7 Lift up your heads, O ye gates; and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in. ]

7)      [The King of the saints.]

[Revelation 15:3 3 And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints.]

8)      [The King of kings.]

[Revelation 19:16 16 And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.]

2.      His Coronation (vs 5-6; John 3.16; Rom 5.8; Rom 6.6; 1 John 3.5; Heb 9.22; 1 Pet 2.5-10; Rev 4.11; 5.13; 7.12) [- . . . Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, 6 And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen. – Our Lord is in a positions to authorize the text of the revelation not only be cause of His stately credentials but also because of what He, as our supreme Prince, has given for those that are His.  Through His benevolent gifts He is worthy of a supreme coronation in our lives.  What has the King of kings and Lord of lords done for us?]

a.       [He "Loved us" (John 3.16; Rom 5.8)]

b.      [He "Washed us from our sins" (Rom 6.6; 1 John 3.5)]

c.       ["With his own Blood (Heb 9.22)]

d.      [He "hath made us kings and priests unto God and His Father" (1 Pet 2.5-10)]

[Doxologies of Praise - Because of His benevolent gifts and worthiness a twofold doxology of praise is proclaimed in our text, the apostle John writes, “. . . to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.” (Rev 1.6).  Doxologies of praise permeate the text of the Revelation.  There is a threefold doxology of praise in,]

[Revelation 4:11 11 Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.]

 [A fourfold doxology of praise in,]

[Revelation 5:13 13 And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever.]

 [A sevenfold doxology of praise in, ]

[Revelation 7:12 12 Saying, Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen. ]

 [Our Lord Jesus Christ is worthy, above and beyond any other, to be worshipped and praised for He truly is the Lord God Almighty.]

C.    It’s Manifestation (vs 7-8) [-  Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen. 8 I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty. – Again the purpose for the book is manifested with a majestic declaration of what this vision unfolds.  It is the revelation of the Lord Jesus Christ and his manifestation is it declaration.  In this reiteration of His manifestation we discover,]

1.      His Dignity (vs 7; cf. Exodus 13.21-22; 24.15-18; 2 Chron 5.13-14; Ezek 1.4) [- Behold, he cometh with clouds; . . .- Multitudes upon multitudes have denied the deityship of the Lord Jesus Christ.  The evidence of His physical resurrection was not enough to convince many that Jesus Christ truly is God and Lord.  But, when He is revealed he will come with the clouds.  Clouds are a symbols of the presence of divinity in the Bible (Exodus 13.21-22; 24.15-18; 2 Chron 5.13-14; Ezek 1.4).  Hence, when John describes the Lord Jesus Christ Coming with clouds it is a description of the undeniable divinity presented in His revelation.  The scoffers will no longer be able to deny the deity of the Lord Jesus Christ.]

2.      His Display (vs 7; Philip 2.9-11; Rom 14.11) [- . . . and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen. -  Every man, woman and child will see the revelation of the Lord Jesus Christ, especially those who pierced Him.  Hence, we discover the ultimate fulfillment of the long awaited hope of all of God’s people throughout the ages.  The New Testament finds its ultimate fulfillment in passages like,]

[Philippians 2:9-11 9 Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: 10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; 11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. ]

[Romans 14:11 11 For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God. ]

[Those rebels who pierced our Lord through and those many rebels who, if given the chance, would have gladly pierced Him through will gaze in dismay upon the Lord of all glory.  His manifestation will be undeniable and unbearable for all of the lost.  But for the saved what a glorious manifestation this will be, the hope of all the ages unfurled before them.]

[Or text reveals that our Lord will,]

1)      [Come in the clouds. ]

2)      [Be seen by all. ]

3)      [Instill fear in all. ]

[The fact that our Lord will be seen by all indicates that this is a reference to His second coming, and not the rapture of the Church (cf. Acts 1.11; Matt 24.30; Dan 7.13; Zech 12.9-14).]

3.      His Declaration (vs 8, 11) [- I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty. – Our Lord is revealed in His dignity, displayed for every eye to see, and then there is the great declaration of the ages, the Lord God almighty has been revealed.  The Alpha and Omega reveals that he is the creator and grand architect of all things, the beginning and the ending reveals that his authority is the support and stay of all other authority.  His eternal existence is revealed in the fact that He is, He was, yet He is to come.  No other being in all of creation can clam these great claims, only the Lord God almighty.]

[Secondly, the fact that our Lord is referred to as the Alpha and Omega (Rev 1.8,11) reveals that He is the source of all possible knowledge and wisdom.  Alpha is the first letter of the Greek alphabet; Omega is the last letter of the Greek alphabet.  The alphabet is used to pen words, sentences, and to store all of the accumulated wisdom of humanity.  Therefore our Lord is knowledge, wisdom, and truth.]

[1] Arno C. Gaebelein, The Revelation (New Jersey: Loizeaux Brothers, 1982), 19.


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