Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Revelation 1:4b-8 Daniel's Vision Clarified

KEY TEXT: Rev 1:4-7 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, and from Jesus Christ the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of kings on earth. To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood and made us a kingdom, priests to his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. Behold, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him, and all tribes of the earth will wail on account of him. Even so. Amen.

KEY THOT: John’s vision is a clarification of Daniel’s vision in Dan. 7:13-14. He saw God on his throne, and the Son of man who is now revealed as Jesus Christ, our Saviour and Lord. Furthermore, the Son of Man is now coming “with the clouds” to judge the nations and to rescue his elect who has been made “a kingdom, priests to his God and Father.” So we see Jesus Christ as the Son of Man who is given “all authority on earth and in heaven” and now confirmed as the Ruler (Lord) of all kings. And the people and nations that submit to Jesus as Lord have beccome part of his eternal kingdom as priests, worshipping and serving his God and Father. And he is coming with the clouds to gather the elect. But those who do not accept His free gift of salvation will wail when He returns to judge them. 

Jesus has been made Lord of all kings and He has included those who put their put their faith in Him as expressed in their identification with Him as Lord in baptism. Our old self which was defiled by sin and Satan is now dead and buried in baptism. The new self that we have in Christ is raised to serve God as priests. The priestly ministry is one of worship and work by the power of the Spirit—the “seven spirits who are before his throne”. Like one river flowing from the throne of God, the Spirit separates into seven streams as it flows into the earth to link the churches with the throne of God. The church of Jesus Christ is now absorbed into the fellowship of the Trinity—having Christ as Lord, being filled with His Spirit and now with Christ ruling over the nations. What a glorious place we have found ourselves as believers within the Godhead for all eternity. This is truly the kingdom that is eternal because it is absorbed into presence of the Eternal God. 

Believers are now priests unto God. We are here no longer to serve ourselves but to serve God our Father: "that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light” (1 Peter 2:9). We serve God by declaring His praises before the world in our worship. We also serve God by working with His Spirit to extend Christ’s rule and dominion over this world of darkness through the Gospel in order to rescue those who are still oppressed by the devil. The reminder that He is coming soon “with the clouds” adds a certain urgency to our task as priests unto God. Jesus warned his disciples not to get “weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and cares of this life, and that day come upon you suddenly like a trap” but to “stay awake at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that are going to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man” (Luke 21:34, 36). 

Let’s not be lulled into complacency and self-indulgence by the devil but to stay alert and be busy with His works while we can.

Father, thank You that You have called us to be priests under the rule of Christ to worship You and to share the Gospel, so the rule of Christ may be extended to all who are still enslaved by sin and Satan. Grant us a new sense of compassion and urgency to be alert, and not become weighed down by the pleasures and cares of this life. Amen.

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