Monday 01 September 2014

Bible Book:

“‘I am the Alpha and the Omega,’ says the Lord God, who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.” (v. 8)

Revelation 1:4-18 Monday 1 September 2014


Verse 4 tells us that this book entitled "Revelation" (its firstword) is effectively a letter addressed to the "seven churches thatare in Asia" which are then named in verse 11. Asia refers to theRoman Province with that name, nowadays the part of Turkey with awest facing coast onto the Aegean Sea. Seven is a symbolic numberin Revelation standing for completeness or perfection, so thesechurches probably represent all those in Asia of which the writerhas oversight. The reference to "seven spirits" (v. 4) is perhapssimilarly poetic language for the one all-encompassing Holy Spirit. 

The setting for the letter is evidenced by verse 9. John sharedwith his readers in experiencing persecution, and at the time whenGod gave him the message for the churches he was exiled to theisland of Patmos a short distance from Ephesus on the mainland. Inall eras islands have served as penal settlements. The banishmentfor a time of this Christian leader has the positive outcome thathe has time on his hands and is able to receive this Revelationfrom God, this "testimony of Jesus", for the benefit of thechurches then and ever since.

Because its purpose is encouragement during times of trial thepassage as a whole is one which magnifies God's authority andChrist's share in it. So God's eternal reign is stressed in verse8, Alpha and Omega being the first and last letters of thealphabet, and Jesus is specifically described as "the ruler of thekings of the earth" (v. 5), whilst his final triumph is declared inverse 7 as though it were already happening.

To Ponder

  • What would you be prepared to endure on account of your faithin Jesus? Would exile to an island prison be taking things too far?What experiences of persecution for your faith have you known?
  • Look at the names for Jesus in verse 5. Which name or title forJesus is your favourite and why?
  • The book of Revelation contains many symbols; not all themeanings are obvious to us. But Christ "coming with the clouds" (v.7) is Old Testament language which Jesus himself used (see Mark13:26). Since we are told in today's passage (verse 7) that"every eye will see him", how do you imagine Christ's futurecoming?
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