Revelation 1:4-8 Part 4

I just want to follow up on last Lord’s Day with a quote from Paul’s letter to the Church at Colossae. We were speaking of the Son of God/Son of Man being the “firstborn from death, and Ruler of the kings of the earth”. Here’s what Paul had to say in his letter, in chapter one; it will lead us directly into the next portion of John’s letter in verses five and six:

13) who delivered us out of the power of darkness, and translated us into the kingdom of the Son of his love;

14) in whom we have our redemption, the forgiveness of our sins:

15) who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation;

16) for in him were all things created, in the heavens and upon the earth, things visible and things invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers; all things have been created through him, and unto him;

17) and he is before all things, and in him all things consist.

18) And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from death; that in all things he might have the preeminence.

19) For it was the good pleasure of the Father that in him should all the fulness dwell;

20) and through him to reconcile all things unto himself, having made peace through the blood of his cross; through him, I say, whether things upon the earth, or things in the heavens.


Nowhere in Scripture is there a more complete Theology of the Person of Jesus Christ than that passage in Colossians. It is, indeed, Revelation from God to the apostle Paul. And John’s Revelation of Jesus Christ is equally complete as he sees (and hears) Revelation from the mouth of God the Father, witnessed by Jesus Christ.

“…….and from Jesus Christ the Witness, the Faithful, the Firstborn from death and the Ruler of the kingdoms of the earth --- To Him Who loves us and has freed us from our sins in His blood and made us a kingdom, priests to His God and Father – to Him the glory and the dominion into the age. Amen.” (verses five and six)

When reading the Revelation of Jesus Christ, it will become ever obvious that God doesn’t submit to the rules of grammar that men have developed with regard to language! And the attribution to Jesus Christ here in verses five and six is made all the more difficult because of it. Since we’re not here to teach Greek and English grammar, I’m not going to wear you down with “seeming” perplexities.

Simply to say that the language (and the grammar) is lofty, elegant, sublime…….. it is divine. We don’t question God’s use of language; we receive it. And we “feebly” attempt to explain it.

The very center of this attribution is the kingly rule of the Christ. The words from John say “……the Ruler of the kingdoms of the earth”; and at the end of verse six they say “… Him the glory and the dominion into the age”. In between those two statements is this: “….to Him Who loves us and has freed us from our sins in His blood, and made us a kingdom, priests to His God and Father.”

We’ll be back to comment on the kingly rule of the Christ and His dominion, which is the vital center of the entire letter from John. But let’s deal first with the language in between, represented by a beginning – and ending – dash in verses five and six. Once more:


“ – to Him Who loves us and has freed us from our sins in His blood and made us a kingdom, priests to His God and Father.”


Here’s what the apostle John says in his great love passage, chapter three of his first letter to the Churches: “Hereby know we love, because he laid down his life for us…..”

Paul asks (rhetorically) the mighty question in Romans chapter eight: “who shall separate us from the love of Christ……?” And Paul, again, in the incredible letter to the Ephesian Church, chapter three: “and to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge, that ye may be filled unto all the fullness of God.”

The One Who Was, in the beginning; the One in Whom all things consist; the One without Whom nothing was made that was made, took on our flesh and gave Himself for us. Then He came up out of the realm of death – Firstborn among many! That’s why John the apostle, in 1 John, says: “thereby know we love, because He laid down His life for us”.

Please understand this; the One in Whom all things consist is the One in Whom love inheres. And in Whom know we love. We comprehend love – we know it – for it exists. He is that One in Whom all things consist; and for that reason love “is”! And He exhibited that love in that He died for us.

Let’s move on now to John’s further glorious words concerning the Person of Jesus Christ. To Him Who loves us and has freed us from our sins in His blood…..” I’ve translated it “freed us”. It is the word which we’ve spent much time on in the past: To loose. In our preaching through Matthew, we heard our Lord discipling His followers regarding “binding” and “loosing”.

And we found that both words have double meanings. Where “loosing” is concerned, men may be loosed from the constraints of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and His Law-word, and abandoned to degradation and eternal perdition!

On the other hand, as in John’s Revelation, the word may be used to describe Adamic humanity having been “loosed”, or “freed”, from the sin and the sin nature of that Adam lineage. All of Adam’s progeny, and every man’s ancestry, has a sin nature. Our nature is sin. That’s the composition of it. We’re cursed with it. But Jesus Christ loosed us, or freed us, by the shedding of His blood, and when He shed His blood! As John says, “To Him Who loves us and has freed us from our sins in His blood”.

The entire older Scripture prophesied it; the sacrificial and ceremonial law foreshadowed it; Jesus Christ is the fullness of it, and in Him all things consist! Due to His great love for us, he was crucified and shed His blood; He descended into Hades/death, from which He arose victorious; and He “freed” us from the cursed nature of all Adam’s progeny; and IN HIM He provided us an all-new ancestry. And now, “who shall separate us from the love of Christ……?”

Let’s go further in verse six:

“…….and made us a kingdom, priests to His God and Father…..”

Listen to what we will be dealing with later in Revelation chapter five:

“for You were slain, and did purchase unto God with Your blood men of every tribe, and tongue, and people, and nation, and made them to be unto our God a kingdom and priests; and they reign upon earth.”

In that same light, listen to the apostle Peter in 1 Peter chapter two, verses five and nine:

“…you also, as living stones, are built up a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” “But you are an elect race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God's own possession, that you may show forth the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.”

The apostle Peter is quoting right out of Exodus chapter nineteen, which says:

“Now therefore, if you will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then you shall be mine own possession from among all peoples: for all the earth is mine: and you shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and a holy nation.”

Again, John writes – directly revealed by God the Father, witnessed by Jesus Christ the Son, ( he writes) “and made us a kingdom, priests to His God and Father –“ Do you understand the continuity of the Scripture here? Jesus Christ, by His spilled blood, has freed us from our sins and made us a kingdom, priests unto His God and Father….the exact requirement He made of Israel (Exodus 19), which did not obey Him and keep His covenant!

Further, John reveals that Jesus Christ made us a kingdom, priests unto His God and Father. I don’t wish to spend a whole lot of time on this, but the term is revealed to John in a third person singular verb with stop-action completeness in the past! He did make us is the sense. The Greek word has also been translated (in other portions of scripture) “caused” and “performed” and “brought about” and “effected”.

There cannot be any doubt about the fact that Jesus Christ is the One Who made us a kingdom; and He did so definitively at His shedding of blood, His arising out of death (defeating it) and His receiving all power in the heavens and upon the earth as its King of Kings.

It’s also evident that that doesn’t happen by us; and it doesn’t happen as men “decide” that they wish to participate! And (if I might go further) “having made us a kingdom” isn’t restricted to the “hearts” of those who believe; and it certainly isn’t restricted to the “heavenlies” (where Jesus is). Jesus said to His disciples that He was given all power in heaven and on earth! And let me remind you of the Revelation chapter five passage we just read a short time ago: “for You were slain, and did purchase unto God with Your blood men of every tribe, and tongue, and people, and nation, and made them to be unto our God a kingdom and priests; and they reign upon earth.”

You see, these are authoritative, conclusive and unimpeachable statements revealed directly by God, Jesus Christ as witness! Jesus Christ is King of Kings and Lord of Lords over everything. And we His people reign with Him as His vice-regents.

Let me go a step further! We are made a kingdom; and that kingdom isn’t limited to our immediate sphere of influence. The kingdom of Jesus Christ isn’t just in our Christian homes or our Christian Church or our Christian businesses. Christ has claimed His kingdom that was given Him by the Father, and it includes the whole! All of it is His.

Those within the realm who refuse to acknowledge His Kingship are still within the realm of the King. Let’s just take an example of an earthly kingdom and explore that a bit. England (before its present parliamentary government) was once ruled by a king. Whatever you may think of some of England’s past kings (or queens), all who lived in the realm were his subjects. One who is a “subject” is one who is “subjected” to the rule of the king.

Now, should one rebel against the law of the king, he is a traitor! He is a lawless traitor and subject also to the penal sanctions for his betrayal of the king’s sovereignty. He is a renegade anarchist. The king has preeminence and supremacy in his kingdom; and one who commits sabotage or sedition is an adversary of the king while living as a subject in the king’s realm! In addition, it’s hypocrisy to live there as a subject and, at the same time, be a rebel. (A rebel, by the way, is one who wishes to replace the law of the king’s realm by one’s own law.)

Now let’s place this entire scenario in the older Scripture context. What was the nation of Israel but God’s special kingdom on earth? He rescued them (saved them), leading them out of Egypt into the desert where He would reveal His sovereign law-word for His kingdom. Israel (all of them) was to obey its sovereign King and trust His merciful benevolence. God even called Israel His “son”, and treated this people as a wife. He controlled the elements of His creation for her, and gave her victories over her enemies.

But Israel wouldn’t live under the King’s Law-word. It was constantly involved in traitorous rebellion and revolt against its King. As a son, it invariably brought shame to its Father. As a wife, it routinely sought adulterous relationships with surrounding pagan nations. Its leaders relentlessly mistreated the King’s subjects. And the worship of its sovereign King was treacherous and unfaithful.

But God had covenanted to place a King over His entire realm Who would bring Him glory in all His creation! Listen to the Psalmist:


I will tell of the decree: Yahveh said unto me, Thou art my son; This day have I begotten thee. Ask of me, and I will give thee the nations for thine inheritance, And the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession. Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; Thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel. Now therefore be wise, O ye kings: Be instructed, ye judges of the earth. Serve Yahveh with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the son, lest he be angry, and ye perish in the way, For his wrath will soon be kindled. Blessed are all they that take refuge in him.”

And listen to the prophet Daniel (chapter seven):

“I saw in the night-visions, and, behold, there came with the clouds of heaven one like unto a son of man, and he came even to the ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all the peoples, nations, and languages should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.”

This is, of course, the ascended and glorified Jesus – The Christ. He was given a kingdom of all peoples, nations and languages. He made us a kingdom! He is Ruler of it all. All men are His subjects – whether they know it or acknowledge it. In His Kingdom there are many loyal subjects; also within the Kingdom are traitors! But all His enemies will be placed under His feet.

All His loyal subjects are “priests” unto His God and Father according to Revelation of Jesus Christ (verse six). It is a Royal Priesthood with Jesus as Royal High Priest.

As the priests in the temple were to make sacrifice and intercession often before God, Jesus Christ made One Sacrifice, and entered once into the Holy Sanctuary to make intercession before God the Father. We, IN HIM, also have immediate access to the holy Sanctuary of God. In Christ we are priests before the throneroom/judgment seat of Almighty God where the Royal High Priest of God stands as our Advocate.


“ - To Him Who loves us and has freed us from our sins in His blood and made us a kingdom, priests to His God and Father – – to Him the glory and the dominion into the age. Amen.”


Not only have we been redeemed from our slavery to our cursed natures, but we’ve been constituted a kingdom of priests. The Kingdom was begun. Christians now rule with Christ. We are a victorious, conquering priesthood, bringing all areas of life under His rule.

As we complete the preaching this morning, please hear the words of the apostle Paul in the first chapter of his letter to Churches in the city of Ephesus – the home Church of John the apostle:

17) …..that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him;

18) having the eyes of your heart enlightened, that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,

19) and what the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to that working of the strength of his might

20) which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and made him to sit at his right hand in the heavenly places,

21) far above all rule, and authority, and power, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age, but also in the one about to be,

22) and he put all things in subjection under his feet, and gave him to be head over all things to the church,

23) which is his body, the fullness of him that filleth all in all.

To all the Churches, is it “grace to you, and peace” from this Jesus.