Revelation 1:4-8 Part 5

REVELATION 1 4-8 Part 5

Last Lord’s Day we spent all of our time “between the dashes” of verses five and six: “-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-“.

Today we’re going to look at John’s Revelation of Jesus Christ before and after the “dashes”. “-the Ruler of the kingdoms of the earth-“ and “-to Him the glory and the dominion into the age. Amen.

Let’s begin this morning with an older Scripture prophet. His prophecy is often read during Christmastime, because it mentions the “ruler” that shall arise out of Bethlehem. Here it is:

2) But thou, Beth-lehem Ephrathah, which art little to be among the thousands of Judah, out of thee shall one come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth are from of old, from everlasting.

3) Therefore will he give them up, until the time that she who travaileth hath brought forth: then the residue of his brethren shall return unto the children of Israel.

4) And he shall stand, and shall feed his flock in the strength of Yahveh, in the majesty of the name of Yahveh his God: and they shall abide; for now shall he be great unto the ends of the earth.

That’s the prophecy of Micah chapter five, and it certainly corresponds perfectly with John’s words here in verse five of our text. The One Who Was, from the beginning, shall be born in Bethlehem; and He is called “Ruler” by God in the prophecy of Micah. And He shall be great “to the ends of the earth”, or “all over the earth”.

Another older Scripture text, also read and preached at Christmastime, is rarely exposited as a text for the rulership and kingdom of Christ. Listen:


6) For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

7) Of the increase of his government and of peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to establish it, and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of Yahveh of hosts will perform this. (Isaiah chapter nine)

Sometime in the future we’ll eventually come to Revelation chapter twelve, if God is willing to give us that much time. But listen now to what John saw concerning this Son that Micah and Isaiah prophesied:

1) And a great sign was seen in heaven: a woman arrayed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars;

2) and she was with child; and she cried out, travailing in birth, and in pain to be delivered.

3) And there was seen another sign in heaven: and behold, a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his heads seven diadems.

4) And his tail draweth the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon standeth before the woman that is about to be delivered, that when she is delivered he may devour her child.

5) And she was delivered of a son, a man child, who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and unto his throne.

So the very things that Micah and Isaiah had prophesied, John saw in the heavens as they were opened to him; and as was witnessed to him, and as he wrote in Revelation of Jesus Christ. It is the “rulership” of Jesus Christ over all the heavens and the earth – all the nations of the earth. There will be an increase of His government; and His government will have no end.

Let’s all appreciate the fact here that “rule” is both a noun and a verb. The “rule” (noun) over the nations of the earth entails “ruling” (a transitive verb). A ruler not only sets the standard for conduct in his domain; but he also rules on compliance with that standard.

Those who are in accord with the standard set by the ruler, conforming themselves to that standard, and those who are insubordinate and traitorous, receive their just desserts. For the ruler is one who metes out justice according to the standard that he sets! In other words he “rules” in matters of conduct.

Those who do conform to the ruler’s standards remain in his good graces; while the ones who disobey and rebel against the ruler suffer the just consequences.

That’s exactly what the entirety of the older Scripture says, doesn’t it? Psalm two is one good example of that:

1) Why do the nations rage, And the peoples meditate a vain thing?

2) The kings of the earth set themselves, And the rulers take counsel together, Against Jahveh, and against his anointed, saying,

3) Let us break their bonds asunder, And cast away their cords from us.

4) He that sitteth in the heavens will laugh: The Lord will have them in derision.

5) Then will he speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure:

6) Yet I have set my king upon my holy hill of Zion.

7) I will tell of the decree: Jahveh said unto me, Thou art my son; This day have I begotten thee.

8) Ask of me, and I will give thee the nations for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession.

9) Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; Thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel.

10) Now therefore be wise, O ye kings: Be instructed, ye judges of the earth.

11) Serve Jahveh with fear, and rejoice with trembling.

12) 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.


As we’ve discovered so far, and will see even further, Revelation of Jesus Christ is the fullness of all the older Scripture prophetic Word concerning The Ruler ruling in His Kingdom.

“The Ruler of the kingdoms of the earth…….” verse five. Stopping to put some theological meat on that for a minute, what are “the kingdoms of the earth”? Our Lord said to His disciples, before His ascension to the Father, “All authority in the heavens and on the earth has been given to Me……”

The apostle Paul says, in Romans chapter thirteen, “Let every soul be in subjection to the higher authorities: for there is no authority but of God; and the authorities that be are ordained of God.”

The “kingdoms” in verse five have to do with authority. It isn’t just a political authority; and it certainly has more than just a blood dynasty kingship in mind. There are geographical partitions; there are cultural partitions; there are theological partitions; there are linguistic partitions; and there are national and blood dynasty and political and family partitions. And all of them are “structured” (to one degree or another).

Even the more “uncivilized” have some structure or another.

In verse five, “the kingdoms of the earth” has reference to those structures. And we ought (by now) to know that the structure that is formed in societies doesn’t come about simply because mankind “decided” to form these “kingdoms” or structures. And the structures that are formed are conceived, or devised, not because they work; they work (in whatever manner) because they are patterned after God’s creation!

You see, man is made in the image of God. However much that image has been degraded by the curse, we were still made in His image. Therefore the “pattern” (in His creation and in His Word Revelation) is a created/image pattern of the Archetype (who is God). We “emulate” our Creator God by setting up hierarchy and organization (in other words – authorities). He is Archetype; we are “types” (again, in whatever degraded form).

That is the nature of man made in the image of God. God has “ordained” all the authorities. As Paul said in the Romans thirteen passage, He causes them to be the authority; and He causes them to be removed from positions of authority. They belong to Him! They do what they do because the creature emulates the “design” of the Creator! And God our Creator made things the way they are.

Now, whatever the anatomy of the system (whether it be an actual king, or a constitutional republic, or an ecclesiastical denomination, or an ethnic entity, or a corporation, or even a family structure), whatever it is, the authority is to govern by God’s Law. And there’s the “rub”, isn’t it?

We devise these “structures” because we’re created in the image of the Archetype; and the structures “work”. But how they work is conditioned on the attention given to God’s Law Word. It’s His structure; it’s His Law Word; it’s His authority…… And it’s the same story we’ve heard from the beginning, isn’t it?

God will bless whatever the framework of the system is, when authorities rule according to His Word! But when authorities (kingdoms) scheme against God and His Anointed King, and devise competing law-words, then God “laughs” (as Psalm two says) at their devices; and He will judge them without pity. All authorities (kings) better “Kiss the son, lest he be angry, and ye perish in the way, For his wrath will soon be kindled.”

Then there are those in subjection to God’s authorities. What we learned in the past when we were occupied with this topic, is that the authority belongs to God. Therefore we are to honor that authority (king). It is a “kingdom” of the earth.

Those under the authority are required by God to “be subject” to that authority – not because of the office, and not because of the man, and not because of his power, and not because he’s good or bad…….. but because he belongs to God! And God commands the governed to “be subject to the authorities that be”.

And may I say this one thing while I’m here, even though it may be stretching the subject matter a bit. Since God has ordained the authorities that be, and since we are to honor them and be in subjection to them, and since government is a reflection of God’s creation, there is one ultimate denial of these things that is more ungodly than any other.

It is more ungodly than communism; it is more ungodly than nazism; it is more ungodly than socialism (as ungodly as these forms of government are). It is radical libertarianism…..the denial of any authority except self. Libertarians consider themselves a law unto themselves, and any interaction between themselves and/or authorities must be purely voluntary!

Some libertarians will allow that authorities have some rights with regard to the society as a whole. But the central tenet of libertarianism is “self-ownership”. A libertarian believes in the sovereignty of each individual over life, liberty and property. Many of these are anarchists who believe in no government except self-government.

I bring this up only to contrast these anti-Christ concepts with God’s Word and the Revelation of the Ruler of all the kingdoms of the earth. Earth has no parallel under the rule of the King of Kings; and His Kingdom shall have no end over all the nations and kings of the earth. And the increase of His government shall have no end. He “made us a kingdom”; and we are priests unto God our Father in our Royal High priest Jesus the Christ of God.

To Him the glory and the dominion into the age. Amen.” (End of verse six) Glory is the Greek word “doxa”. The Greek word translates the Hebrew word which means “the manifestation of His Person”. The word “kabod” (Hebrew) is seen in the name “Ichabod”, which means “where is His glory”.

The Greek term figures prominently in the New Testament Revelation, especially in John’s Revelation of Jesus Christ, where it appears some seventeen times with reference to the newly crowned King of Kings and the sanctuary of God. And it’s used exactly the same way in which the older Scripture writers refer to Yahveh.

Since it has to do with the Revelation of His Person in all of His magnificence and luminescence, it is to be acknowledged by all His creation. The glory of God – Father, Spirit and Son – can’t be further supplemented by men. The glory of God is what it is. We can’t add anything to the brilliance and resplendence of His Person – in other words His glory.

But God requires His creatures to “glorify” Him – to honor Him – to magnify and exalt His Name. We are to acknowledge His glorious Person, primarily in public worship; and also in private and public conduct.

His “dominion” is from sea to sea and among all the nations; and the more who acknowledge Him and bow the knee to Him, the more He is glorified. Dominion may also be translated “might”, and His might may be seen in all the earth as His enemies are put under His dominion and rule.

At the end of the verse (verse six) John says “into the age”. Most of the translations have something like “forever and ever”. That’s an interpretation, not a translation (and not a very good one). One of the oldest manuscripts has a later corrected copy with this: “into the ages of the ages”, but the original manuscript (before it was corrected) has one singular “age”…..”into the age”.

So we are constrained by Scripture to say that Revelation of Jesus Christ was written and sent toward the end of “the last days” of God’s covenant with Israel. And the Parousia of Jesus Christ in judgment upon the adulterous nation ushered in a new “age” in which all peoples, tongues and nations are incorporated into the covenantal body of Christ. And His work of King of Kings and Lord of Lords was initiated in order to bring ultimate glory to the Father in His creation. “For the knowledge of God will cover the earth as the water covers the sea.”

And John ends the verse – a very powerful verse – with the “Amen”. All the new testament Scribes transliterate the Hebrew word into a Greek word – Amen”. And we transliterate the same sound into English. The sound is the same. It means “truth”; “verity”. It is a seal of confession and faithfulness and solemn assurance. This is Truth, says John. It comes from God the Father, witnessed by Jesus Christ, witnessed by John the apostle, and sent to all of Christ’s other servants.