Trinitarian Blessing for the Church: Revelation 4b-8

Revelation 4b-8

 

1. Blessing From Our Triune God 4b-5a

The blessing is Trinitarian, though, like much in Revelation, it has a complex background.

 

The Father

The first element of it reflects the name of God revealed to Moses (Ex. 3:14), but as interpreted by contemporary Jews. The Jerusalem Targum on Dt. 32:29 expanded ‘I am who I am’ as ‘I am he who is, and who was, and I am he who will be,’ thereby setting forth God as the Lord of all time. Our text modifies that significantly: God is not only Lord of the ages, it is of his nature that he is to come and achieve his purpose. This he does, and will do, through Jesus (the hint of the coming of the Lord at the end of the age is unmistakable). [1]

 

The Holy Spirit

In this context the seven spirits before his throne must denote the Holy Spirit; there is a reminiscence here of Zc. 4:6, 10 (cf. Rev. 5:6) and of the Holy Spirit as the Spirit of the seven churches and therefore of the whole church (cf. Rev. 2:7 etc.).[2]

The Holy Spirit is one person (3:6, 13 etc. for all the churches; Eph 4:4) but he also appears as “seven spirits” (3:1; 4:5), representing perfection, and as “seven torches of fire” (4:5) and “seven eyes” (5:6) to express his omnipresence and omniscience.

 

The Son

The description of Jesus in v 5 is peculiarly apt for the believers to whom the book was first directed.

The Son as witness

Jesus was the supreme Witness for God, and he died on account of his witness (cf. Mk. 14:62–63; 1 Tim. 6:13, and note that the Greek term for witness has come into English as ‘martyr’);

 

The Son as Firstborn

The firstborn from the dead indicates that by his resurrection Jesus assumed the first place in the kingdom of God (firstborn = heir) and opened it for all humanity;

 

The Son as Ruler

Ruler of the kings of the earth points to his supremacy over the hostile rulers of this world, whose opposition cannot prevent the victory of his kingdom.[3]

 

Why does this matter?

 

1 John 1:3 says, “That which we have seen and heard we proclaim to , so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed out fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ.”

 

Our fellowship is predicated on fellowship with the entire Trinity.

 

We enjoy fellowship with each person of the Trinity: with the Father (1 John 1:3), with the Son (1 Corinthians 1:9), and with the Holy Spirit (2 Corinthians 13:14).

 

This is possible because each person of the Trinity communicates with us in a way that corresponds to his unique role in creation, providence and salvation.

 

John Owen wrote in “Communion with God”, “…the Father communicates himself to us by the way of original authority, the Son from a purchased treasury, and the Spirit by an immediate efficacy.”

 

In other words, each person of the Trinity communicates with us distinctly in the sense that we may discern from which person particular realizations of the grace of God come to us. Yet, particular fellowship with each person of the Trinity is always one facet of ongoing communion with all three.

 

What are the implications of this Trinitarian blessing?

 

1. Humility

2. Love

3. Worship

4. Community

5. Unified Diversity

6. Submission

7. Joy

 

2. Our Salvation from Our Triune God 5b-6a

 

3. Our Worship of Our Triune God 6b, c

 

4. Our Great Win through Our Great God 7

 

5. Our Comfort from Our Great God8


D. A. Carson, New Bible Commentary : 21st Century Edition, 4th ed. (Leicester, England; Downers Grove, Ill., USA: Inter-Varsity Press, 1994), Re 1:1–8.

cf. compare

cf. compare

D. A. Carson, New Bible Commentary : 21st Century Edition, 4th ed. (Leicester, England; Downers Grove, Ill., USA: Inter-Varsity Press, 1994), Re 1:1–8.

cf. compare

D. A. Carson, New Bible Commentary : 21st Century Edition, 4th ed. (Leicester, England; Downers Grove, Ill., USA: Inter-Varsity Press, 1994), Re 1:1–8.

 

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