Wednesday, May 8, 2013
Encountering Christ in Revelation 1
Revelation 1:1 "The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show to His bond-servants, the things which must soon take place; and He sent and communicated it by His angel to His bond-servant John"
When you study the scriptures you discover some 200 or so names ascribed to Jesus Christ. Of those 200 or so names or titles or descriptions, nearly 40 of them are found in Revelation 1. The Book of Revelation is an incredible book, insofar that it reveals Jesus Christ most profoundly, personally and powerfully. In today's blog I want us to sketch out the five ways we encounter Jesus Christ here in Revelation 1.
1. Jesus Christ the Savior. Revelation 1:1,5,7,13, 18
As much as the Book of Revelation focuses upon Jesus Christ's Second Coming, reference is often made to the accomplishments of His first coming. For example, we are reminded in Revelation 1:5 that He is the resurrected "firstborn" from the dead Who has ascended to inaugurate His reign in Heaven over His church. As the term "firstborn" suggests, Christ is the rightful heir of all things. As you come to Revelation 1:7, mention is made of how the tribes of the earth will see Him who was "pierced", a reminder that even in His now glorified humanity, Jesus still bears the marks of nail prints in His hands and feet. Jesus Himself testifies in Revelation 1:18 that He is the Living One who was once dead but Who is alive forever more.
2. Jesus Christ in His Deity. Revelation 1:1,7,8,9,10,13-17
When Jesus came the first time, He came in the virgin birth to assume fully humanity. As a man Jesus could die. However as God at the same time, the value of what He accomplished was infinite. The Divine titles we see associated with God in the Old Testament are assigned to Jesus here in Revelation 1. Perhaps one of the clearest examples is the title "Alpha and Omega" in Revelation 1:8. In Isaiah 44:6 we read these words - "Thus says the Lord, the King of Israel and his Redeemer the Lord of hosts, 'I am the First and the Last; besides me there is no god."
3. Jesus Christ the Priestly Mediator. Revelation 1:5-6,13
In scripture we see Jesus occupying three offices in His representation of believer's before the Father's throne. First He is our King, who right now rules over His church in Heaven and Who is coming back to set up His throne here on earth. (Colossians 1:15-20; Revelation 1:5) Secondly, Jesus Christ is the Believers High Priest, represent us to God the Father. (1 John 2:1-2; Revelation 1:7) Then thirdly He is the Prophet Who is the Full Revelation of the Invisible Father and the fullness of the Godhead in bodily form. (Colossians 2:9; Hebrews 1:1-3; Revelation 1:12-16)
4. Jesus Christ the King. Revelation 1:5,6,8,20
Though we have already shown Jesus as the King, the title "Ruler of the Kings of the Earth" is worth mentioning. (Revelation 1:5) In the study of Bible prophecy scholars use a little phrase "already/not yet" to explain prophecies wherein an event has been begun but has not yet reached its full manifestation. Thus Christ is ruling right now in Heaven over His Kingdom in a spiritual sense and over the church in particular. In some sense He is already reigning in Kingly authority over the Kings of the earth. However He has not yet fully manifested this reign, and won't until He returns as revealed in Revelation 19-20 to set up His 1,000 year Millennial Kingdom.
5. Jesus Christ the Prophet. Revelation 1:6,16
As the "Prophet", Jesus Christ brings God to us because of the fact He is God Himself. Throughout the New Testament we see Jesus ascribing to Himself Deity. (John 8:58) He tells Phillip in John 14:9 "If you have seen me, you have seen the Father." The Apostle Paul writes in both Philippians 2 and 1 Timothy 3:15-16 that in essence, Jesus Christ is "God in Human Flesh". Jesus Christ is the Prophet Who is the Full revelation of the invisible God. (Hebrews 1:1-2) Jesus Christ as God in Human Flesh shares in the same Undivided nature with the Father. 1 Corinthians 8:6 for example tells us that the Father is the One "from whom all things exists" and the Son at the same time is the One "through Whom all things consist". In addition to the New Testament, the Old Testament hints at the fact that even in His pre-incarnate state (before the flesh state), the Son made various appearances and revealed the glory of the invisible God to the patriarchs and prophets. (Isaiah 6 compare John 12:41; Proverbs 30:4-5)