Rev 1:4–8 NRSV – “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, 5 and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To him who loves us and freed us from our sins by his blood, 6 and made us to be a kingdom, priests serving his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. 7 Look! He is coming with the clouds; every eye will see him, even those who pierced him; and on his account all the tribes of the earth will wail. So it is to be. Amen. 8 “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.”
Summary – John writes to the seven churches in Asia, named in ch. 2-3. He extends grace and peace from God (the Father) “who is and who was and who is to come,” from the seven-fold Spirit and Jesus Christ. Jesus is described as the faithful witness, the first-born from the dead and the ruler of the kings of the earth. John describes believers as though whom Jesus loves and has freed from our sins, who are a kingdom and priests. Jesus is coming in judgment to those who pierced Him and the “tribes” of the “land” (Greek word “ge” can mean “land”) will wail. This emphasizes the judgment coming to first century Jerusalem, since “the time is near” (v3). The Lord is “the Alpha and Omega” and the Almighty.
Insight – In these verses one of repeated themes comes out for first time: the number seven. The number seven and groupings of seven occur as many times. Can you count how many times? Note: the word “seven” (hepta in Greek) is used 60 times, but then you must also count those things that occur seven times, but are not explicitly counted in the book (such as Amens, Blessings, sharp things,. What is special about the number seven? In the Bible it is the number of perfection or completion. Can you guess why? It is because the Creation was complete in seven days (Gen. 1). God completed His work in seven days. Not only that, but there are many other sevens in Genesis (especially in Hebrew, such as 7 words composed of 3 x 7 Hebrew letters in Gen. 1:1). So the book of Revelation is organized around a multitude of sevens to show the completion of Christ’s redemptive and kingdom work which is declared or prophesied (“prophecy” used 7 times, Rev 1:3; 11:6; 19:10; 22:7, 10, 18–19). His judgment avenges His “prophets” (used 7 times, Rev 10:7; 18; 16:6; 18:20, 24; 22:6, 9). By His completed work, He has freed us from our sins we are a kingdom and priests to the Lord.
Catechism – What does the numbers seven mean? It means completion.
Discussion – What other numbers are significant in the Bible and why? How are they related (for example how is 7 and 12 related to 3 and 4)?
Prayer – Father we thank you for the marvelous book of Revelation and we pray that you would increase our understanding, even more we thank you for the completed work of the Lord Jesus for us who has freed us from our sins and made us a kingdom and priest to serve you. In Christ’s Name.