Revelation 1:4-8 Part 8

As verses five and six indicate, Jesus, the Christ of God, has received His glory, His power and His dominion over all things. And as we saw in verse seven, He is coming with the clouds to excommunicate the adulterous and unrepentant covenant nation. And the twelve tribes of the nation would mourn His Parousia with weeping and gnashing of the teeth (Matthew 24:51).

Because of His absolute faithfulness, God’s Anointed One, Son of God/Son of Man, has “acquired”, as an inheritance, all power in the heavens and upon the earth; and He is King of all kings, nations, tribes and tongues.

And now, the One Who has been given all authority says: “I Am the Alpha and the Omega, says Kurios God, the Is and the Was and the Coming, The Almighty”. (verse eight)

I don’t know whether it’s all that necessary at this point, but I feel the need to emphasize, once again, the source of this Revelation of Jesus Christ, and the perspective from which it originates and is sent forth. And, once again, we can’t just “read into” the Revelation whatever we would like for it to say, because Revelation comes directly from God in His sanctuary.

You see, we don’t want to look at things backward - in reverse!

If we read it backward, then we muddy it up with ourselves and our own experiences and our own ideas. But the source from which the Revelation springs forth is Almighty God from His sanctuary! And the only way to get a clear picture of what’s happening is to read it that way.

A good way to get at that concept is to illustrate it from one of the approaches to Scripture. A general approach in evangelicalism would say that the Kingdom of God is in our hearts. Now the outworking of that is as abstract and diffuse as it can be, and it affects everything in every walk of life.

But that approach to Scripture begins with a question such as this: “what does this mean to you”? I hear that time and again; and I’m sure that you have as well. Bible study teachers; Sunday school teachers; study groups; preachers; “how does this apply to you”. “What is God saying to you here?” “You, in your present situation, what does this verse mean to you?” “How do your circumstances affect how you understand this word to you from God?”

You see, that’s backward! It approaches the Scripture from the individual’s point of view. The whole context is here, and now; the “present” is the determining factor, along with the situation and circumstances surrounding the present. And the “truth” of the Scripture is being interpreted by a fallen and sinful human being from his own perspective and in his own set of circumstances and in his own present time.

The question “what does this verse mean to you”, would probably be answered a little differently by the gal sitting next to you in the study group. Almost assuredly it would be answered differently by somebody in a Bible study in 1960….. or 1650….. or 1492!

If there were three persons attending a study group, one with a husband and three children and going through a nasty divorce; another whose family had just been robbed and beaten by a gang; and another who was about to be shipped out to a war zone, the question: “what does this verse mean to you” would probably be answered three different ways!

See, the question is not “what does this passage mean TO YOU”! The question IS: “what does this MEAN”. The question is: “what did God SAY”!

What God said is from HIS perspective…. not ours. And it always means the same thing. It doesn’t change with the situation in which one finds Himself. And it certainly doesn’t change with the year, or years, in which one lives.

Now. As we delve into verse eight of our text, let me just review for you what was said at the end of our lengthy Gospel of Matthew study, because it has so much to do with our understanding of the text of Revelation of Jesus Christ.

Matthew 28:19: “And Jesus came and spoke unto them saying, ‘all authority in the heavens and upon the earth is given to Me”. This is one of the “linchpin” verses of the Christian faith. Perhaps more than in any other passage of Scripture, the interpretation and exposition of these words illustrates the theological differences between the modern evangelical church and the historic, orthodox Faith! Because in Evangelicalism there is more of a great “omission” than a great commission!

As we learned in the introductory sermons, one of the most important rules in exegesis of Scripture is: “don’t take verses out of context!”

What is happening at the time that Jesus gives His disciples the great commission? He has just returned from the realm of death, having defeated it, and He gives “the twelve” His final admonition. And just before He “commissions” them, He proclaims this: “all authority in the heavens and upon the earth is given to Me”!

Jesus does not even hint that His preeminence, or His power, or His reign over the heavens and the earth will occur at some future date after the Church has been beaten up by the devil! As of His ascension into the glory cloud sanctuary of God, everything in the heavens and on the earth is rightly His. It is an accomplished fact.

Not to mention the rest of the great commission……which begins with “therefore”! The rest of the great commission begins with “therefore”! So “as you go, make disciples; baptizing them and teaching them to obey all My commandments” begins with “therefore”. It’s all based on the accomplished fact that “all power in the heavens and upon the earth is given to Me”.

Somehow, over the last century or two, evangelicalism has concentrated on the second part, “omitting” the first part! That’s why we can call it the ”great omission”! Evangelical dispensationalists preach an impotent Christ whose Church “fails” in history!

But He is NOT impotent – He is omnipotent!

In a period of “decline” for the Church, the United States has produced more missionaries to the nations than any other nation in history. And yet, the Church has been in decline during the whole time, and nations are languishing without the Gospel. The missionaries are out there trying to save the last souls before the whole thing blows up and Jesus comes and raptures the Church out of a defeated world!

The “heavens” are filled with devils; and the nations are overrun with evil, they say. But that’s the way it’s supposed to be, because Jesus hasn’t come into His Kingdom yet! They’ve “omitted” the first part of the great commission, and superimposed their own perspective on God’s Word.

But they’re out there saving souls (and God bless them for “going”). But families are sitting out there around their kitchen tables saying, “our four, and no more! We’re waiting for the rapture”! And family government, and Church government, and business government, and factory government and civil government at all levels are being left to languish and repine for the lack of the Word of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, Who said “all authority in the heavens and upon the earth is given to Me”!

It’s said, in fraudulent financial activity, “follow the money, stupid”! Well, in nefarious preaching and teaching, it’s “follow the theology, stupid”!

And that’s the segue back to the text, for the Son of God/Son of Man, having faithfully obeyed the Father, having arisen from death, having atoned for the sin of the world, having ascended to the Right, having received His glory, His Kingdom and all authority in the heavens and on the earth, now speaks!

This is “Revelation of Jesus Christ which God gave to Him to show His servants that which is necessary to be done in quickness, and He did make it known having sent through His messenger to His servant John who did bear witness the Word of God and the witness of Jesus Christ all he saw. Blessed the one reading and the ones hearing the words of the prophecy and keeping things having been written in it, for the time is near.”

This is God’s Word, from His sanctuary; it is about Jesus the Christ Who has received His inheritance, and about what is necessary to be done in quickness.

It is not to be reinterpreted from our perspective. It is His Word; and it is from His sanctuary, and it is about what the newly crowned King of Kings is about to do. Jesus the Christ has assumed the Throne of God as God-man. He is about to exercise His authority as the One Who has been given all authority in the heavens and upon the earth.

Please don’t get any idea that just because God the Son is fully human that He is “subordinate”. He is not. He is fully God and fully man; and He assumes the throne of God in His sanctuary. The “Lamb of God” is on His throne, and He has “all authority”.

And in verse eight He speaks from that position of “all authority”. “I Am the Alpha and the Omega, says Kurios God, the Is and the Was and the Coming, The Almighty.”

Having seen all of this now as Revelation of Jesus Christ from the throneroom/sanctuary, there should be no question about who is speaking here. John records the words of the One with all authority, and he attributes them to “Kurios God”.

Kurios is not an adjective….. it is a proper name. And unless an article is placed before it, I have to use the proper name. In almost every instance in which we find it translated, it is the Lord. That’s kind of like saying the Richard Harris, or the Flo Martin.

At the same time, it sounds a bit odd to our ears to say “says Lord God”, so I just use the Greek word “Kurios” (the proper name).

Kurios means “lawful owner”, “legitimate power and authority”, “one who has authority to dispose of what he owns in whatever way he sees fit”. Jesus, the Christ of God, has assumed the throne; and He is the legitimate and lawful authority of it all. And, in fact, He owns it! He was given the nations as an inheritance! It is God-man Who rules it from the heavens to the ends of the earth.

And the Ruler/Master of it all, Kurios God, says, “I am Alpha and Omega”. Ego Eimi – I am. The personal pronoun is in the emphatic position in the Greek; so the emphasis is on the “I”. The Owner – God; the Master – God; the legal authority – God says, “I am the alpha and the omega”.

Where have we heard that before? Listen:

“Thus saith Yahveh, the King of Israel, and his Redeemer, Yahveh of hosts: I am the first, and I am the last; and besides me there is no God.”

That’s in the middle of a passage in Isaiah chapter forty four having to do with the Redeemer, Yahveh of Hosts, Who will bring His people from all the wilderness places; and they will spring forth as if by the streams of water.

So Jesus Christ, Son of God/Son of Man, identifies Himself as Yahveh of Hosts. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last. I am the first, and I am the last; and besides Me there is no God. He is the God of all the hosts of the heavens; and He is the God of all the hosts of the earth; and there is none other than Him.

And He IS is! And He IS was! And He IS coming! Here are the three undefinable and indeclinable words that form one independent nominative that we saw back up in verse four.

What lofty language as we now see the Son of God/Son of Man as He assumes the seat of total authority over all things. In verse four, as “Grace” and “Peace” are pronounced on the entire Church for which Christ died and was resurrected, it was grace and peace from God the Father, God the Spirit and God the son. From the sanctuary, the Trinity operates economically for the sake of the Church.

But now, as Jesus, the resurrected and ascended God-man assumes His authority over the heavens and the earth, He reveals Himself with the same sublime language!

Without any subordination whatsoever, God the Son, in His resurrected human body, who has received all authority in the heavens and upon the earth, defines Himself with the same undeclinable nominatives.

And then He says “The Almighty”. Three designations: Alpha and Omega, Is Was and Coming, and now The Almighty. The word is pantokratos from kratos, which appears in verse six. I have it translated “dominion” there in six. It can also be translated “might”.

This is the word that the translators of the Old Testament into Greek used to translate words such as Sabaoth (as in Yahveh Sabaoth), Lord of Hosts, and El Shaddai, the “Breasted One”, the One Who “pours out” every good thing to His people.

But there should be no question in anybody’s mind after hearing these things that Jesus Christ is now the self-identifying God of Scripture; He is the One without Whom nothing was made that was made; He is God of the covenant Who revealed Himself to Israel and the prophets; and He is the One Who is about to come quickly in order to prosecute the lawsuit against Israel for its idolatry and its adultery; and He is the One Who will exact the payment for all the blood of the righteous.

He is The Almighty, and the persecution of His apostles and the Church for whom He died will bring His great wrath. At the same time, there will be salvation for the nations; for Jesus did not come to judge the world, but to save it.

So, the name “Almighty” not only irrevocably connects Jesus the Christ to Yahveh of Old, but conclusively conveys the concepts of 1) judgment and 2) salvation. Judgment on the covenantal nation that consistently and continually turned its back on the God of the covenant. And salvation of the nations of the earth through judgment upon Israel. Israel’s loss is gain for the Gentiles.

Let me read for you what the apostle Paul says about all of this:

5) Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace.

6) But if it is by grace, it is no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace.

7) What then? that which Israel seeketh for, that he obtained not; but the election obtained it, and the rest were hardened:

8) according as it is written, God gave them a spirit of stupor, eyes that they should not see, and ears that they should not hear, unto this very day.

9) And David saith, Let their table be made a snare, and a trap, And a stumblingblock, and a recompense unto them:

10) Let their eyes be darkened, that they may not see, And bow thou down their back always.

11) I say then, Did they stumble that they might fall? God forbid: but by their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, to provoke them to jealousy.

12) Now if their fall, is the riches of the world, and their loss the riches of the Gentiles; how much more their fulness?

13) But I speak to you that are Gentiles. Inasmuch then as I am an apostle of Gentiles, I glorify my ministry;

14) if by any means I may provoke to jealousy them that are my flesh, and may save some of them.

15) For if the casting away of them is the reconciling of the world, what shall the receiving of them be, but life from the dead?

16) And if the firstfruit is holy, so is the lump: and if the root is holy, so are the branches.

17) But if some of the branches were broken off, and thou, being a wild olive, wast grafted in among them, and didst become partaker with them of the root of the fatness of the olive tree;

18) glory not over the branches: but if thou gloriest, it is not thou that bearest the root, but the root thee.

19) Thou wilt say then, Branches were broken off, that I might be grafted in.

20) Well; by their unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by thy faith. Be not highminded, but fear:

21) for if God spared not the natural branches, neither will he spare thee.

22) Behold then the goodness and severity of God: toward them that fell, severity; but toward thee, God's goodness, if thou continue in his goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off.

23) And they also, if they continue not in their unbelief, shall be grafted in: for God is able to graft them in again.

24) For if thou wast cut out of that which is by nature a wild olive tree, and wast grafted contrary to nature into a good olive tree; how much more shall these, which are the natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree?

25) For I would not, brethren, have you ignorant of this mystery, lest ye be wise in your own conceits, that a hardening in part hath befallen Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in;

26) and so all Israel shall be saved: even as it is written, There shall come out of Zion the Deliverer; He shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob:

27) And this is my covenant unto them, When I shall take away their sins.

28) As touching the gospel, they are enemies for your sake: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the fathers' sake.

29) For the gifts and the calling of God are not repented of.

30) For as ye in time past were disobedient to God, but now have obtained mercy by their disobedience,

31) even so have these also now been disobedient, that by the mercy shown to you they also may now obtain mercy.

32) For God hath shut up all unto disobedience, that he might have mercy upon all.

33) O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and the knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past tracing out!

34) For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counsellor?

35) or who hath first given to him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again?

36) For of him, and through him, and unto him, are all things. To him be the glory for ever. Amen.