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THE REVELATION OF JESUS CHRIST

Previous: Revelation 1:5b-d

-Dedication 1:5e-8

To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood, 6 and has made us kings and priests to His God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. - Revelation 1:5e-6

These words form a dedication of the book to the Lord Jesus Christ. It would be better if this section came at the beginning of a new paragraph since it begins a new thought. This is the problem of man-made chapter and verse divisions. But we will refrain from saying much about this as we proceed through this mighty prophecy.

This section is a "doxology." In many churches doxologies are recited or sung. They are usually scriptural passages that give glory (Greek doxos) to God.

Jesus is called, "Him who loved us." What could be a better thing to say about anyone? I have presided at funerals for people who were known to very affectionate. It is not unusual to hear one person say, "We were best friends. She really loved me." Afterwards another person might say, "She loved me, and I thought we were best friends." Another would say, jokingly, but sincerely too, "I know she loved me the most."

If this can be true of fallible human beings, just imagine how much more it could be said about God the Son, when the Bible assures us that "God is love"(1 John4:16).

The timeless children's song declares,

Jesus loves me! This I know,
For the Bible tells me so;

Another great musical reminder of this truth is the chorus of an old hymn,

Out of the ivory palaces,
Into a world of woe,
Only His great eternal love
Made my Savior go.

In John 15:15 it is recorded that Jesus told the Disciples that He no longer called them servants, but friends. On the night before Jesus was crucified, He washed His Disciples' feet. John affirmed that Jesus "loved them to the end" (John 13:1). This love relationship is so deep that the Apostle Paul taught that the Church is called the Bride of Christ (Ephesians 5:25-27, 32).

Of course, God the Father also loves us. According to the matchless words of John 3:16,

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.- John 3:16

The result of Jesus' great love is that He has "washed us from our sins in His own blood." This kind of imagery is not common in a love story. But unfortunately, the only way that the hero of this amazing true drama could save the object of His love was by dying in her (our) place! Keep in mind what we discussed earlier in this verse about Jesus being the "firstborn from the dead." His primary purpose in coming to earth the first time was to be a sacrifice for sin. John the Baptist called him "The Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world" (John 1:27). He paid the price, "once for all when He offered up Himself" (Hebrews 10:27).

Jesus Himself said,

Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one's life for his friends. - John 15:13

And the Apostle Paul gave us this theological perspective.

5 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, 7 but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. 9 Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, 11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. - Philippians 2:5-11

We are tempted to dwell more on this great topic, but it is time to quicken the pace of our commentary or we will never be able to cover the material that is still ahead of us.

As a result of Jesus' love and sacrifice for us, He "has made us kings (literally: "a kingdom") and priests to His God and Father." While the focus is still on Jesus, this part of the dedication to Him names us as beneficiaries of His work. As a result of the great salvation He has provided, He has given us vital Kingdom work to do (Colossians 1:3). We are kings in the sense that one day, when He establishes His Kingdom on earth, we will reign with Him (1 Corinthians 6:2; 2 Timothy 2:12).

Another great privilege that is ours as a result of His work is the work of the priesthood. As we mentioned in the previous verse, when Jesus died on the cross, providing the one perfect sacrifice for sin, and the veil to the Holy of Holies in the Temple was ripped in two, the old sacrificial system was rendered unnecessary. Not only that, but as Peter would later explain, the role of the priesthood was expanded to include all true believers.

You also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. - 1 Peter 2:5

But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; - 1 Peter 2:9

Why is this so special? In the Old Testament, under the Mosaic Law, the priests were intermediaries - standing between the people and God. The people would give the priests their requests. Then the priests would intercede for them in prayer. And only once each year, the High Priest alone entered the Holy of Holies to make atonement for his own sins and for the sins of the people (Hebrews 9:7). But now, all who have placed their faith in Jesus have this direct access! Furthermore, as priests, all of us have the privilege and responsibility of interceding for the needs of others.

Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. - Hebrews 4:6

Did you wonder about the phrase "to His God and Father"? Is that an indication that Jesus is not God? Not at all. One might have the opposite question reading the first chapter of Hebrews. In this passage God the Father calls Jesus "My Son." Then we read,

8 But to the Son He says:
"Your throne, O God, is forever and ever;
A scepter of righteousness is the scepter of Your kingdom. - Hebrews 1:8

The Father also says in that chapter that the Son is the Creator, and the "express image of His (the Father's) person (Hebrews 1:1-12).

Whole books of theology have been written to show that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are three equal persons in the Holy Trinity. One early statement (called The Athanasian Creed) expressed it this way: "The Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Spirit is God, and yet there are not three Gods but one God."

Who can fully understand God and His ways?

"For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways My ways," says the LORD.
"For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
So are My ways higher than your ways,
And My thoughts than your thoughts. - Isaiah 5:8-9

God is not limited by our physical universe, which is something He created. We have some understanding of our three-dimensional world, but we cannot hope to fathom the complexity of our multi-dimensional God, who is utterly beyond His created universe.

No example of the Trinity is perfect to our limited understanding, but here is my favorite. Suppose you lived in a two-dimensional world and had no concept of the third dimension. Everything would look like lines and points to us. Even a circle would look like a line, but it might get dimmer on the ends to show that it curved away from our point of view. Now, suppose a sphere should pass through our flat world. At first, when it touched our plane it would appear as a dot. As it entered further through the plane it would become a line, and the line would grow longer until it was half-way through. Then the line would gradually shrink, and finally disappear.

Inhabitants of such a world could not understand what had happened nor could they conceive of the true shape of the sphere.

Neither can we fully understand our Great God. But we can join with John and countless others since his time who have echoed this doxology to both the Father and the Son, "To Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen."

Glory is a vital subject in the Bible. We will encounter it many times in Revelation. At this point we will just begin the discovery of what glory means in God's Word. It starts with God revealing something about Himself to His creatures. He displays His glory. His creatures then acknowledge His greatness by honoring Him and praising Him. They give Him glory. This partial revelation of Himself sometimes took the form of light, as in the case of the pillar of fire and pillar of cloud that accompanied the Children of Israel (Exodus 13:21-22 and 16:10). In 1 John 1:5 we learn that "God is light." His first creative act was to say, "Let there be light" (Genesis 1:2). The Gospel of John, also written by the same author as The Revelation, begins with a beautiful summary of God, of creation, of life, and of light. It also introduces the creative power as "the Word." Then the Gospel reveals this:

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. - John 1:14

Toward the end of Revelation we will find "The Word of God" as one of the many names of Jesus. And on the journey we will be watching for a dozen other occurrences of "glory" in the book.


Next: Revelation 1:7-8


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