A Heavenly Encounter of the Divine Kind
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The Book of Revelation is one of the most richly pastorally orientated books in the Bible. Rather than a letter to confound Christians, it is a prophecy designed to comfort them.
Immediately at the outset we encounter the one true God who exists within his own being in the eternally free, joyful fellowship of love between Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
1:4-5: ‘Grace to you and peace from him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven spirits who are before his throne, and from Jesus Christ the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of kings on earth.’
Grace is God’s underserved, unexpected, unimaginable goodness to sin-soaked human beings, and peace is its fruit. The great blessings of grace and peace have one source – God (Numbers 6:24f). And yet here three sources are mentioned: here is the first one, ‘him who is, was and is to come’, and the second, ‘the seven spirits’ and the third ‘from Jesus Christ.’ If God is the source of grace and peace, and there is only one God, yet three sources are mentioned here, this suggests there are three persons within the being of God, sharing the divine nature, because they are all equal sources of the divine blessings of grace and peace.
First, John speaks of the Father in his eternity and unchangeableness, the one ‘who is, and who was and who is to come’, sovereignly present at every point in history. He is the ‘Alpha and Omega’ (v8) which tells us something about God’s eternal relation to the world. He precedes all things, originates all things and is steering all things to their ultimate goal which is glory.
Then there is the Son in his faithful life, triumphant resurrection and heavenly reign ‘….Jesus Christ the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of kings on earth.’ John presents Jesus as ‘the faithful witness’, the model of how to stand firm in the truth of God even to the point of death which he has conquered on our behalf, ‘‘the first-born from the dead.” Now in his heavenly session he is ‘ruler of the kings of the earth’. This is the Reality behind all reality seen by faith.
Finally, there is the Holy Spirit, the source of revelation and life, rendered the ‘seven spirits’ or the ‘sevenfold Spirit’. The way grace and peace is given to God’s people is in part by the production of the book of Revelation itself. To know that Jesus, not Caesar, is Lord and that this Lord is tender towards us is a wonderful source of grace, giving us a deep and lasting peace. Not only is the Spirit the one who brings this prophecy about, he also tenderly applies it to our souls bringing the grace and peace of God from the throne of God; he is God dwelling with and working in us.
One of the hoped-for blessings for Christians reading the Book of Revelation is a recapturing of a child-like enchantment concerning ‘all things, visible and invisible’ and the triune God who made, sustains and redeems them. As we reverently bow before each member of the Trinity as displayed through the pages of the Revelation, may it be our experience that awe is rekindled and delight reawakened, so that the vibrant world John saw, which contrasts so starkly with the grey, eviscerated world of many of our contemporaries, may be the world our churches inhabit as they delight more and more in the Trinity.
The collect for Trinity Sunday (BCP):
ALMIGHTY and everlasting God, who hast given unto us thy servants grace, by the confession of a true faith to acknowledge the glory of the eternal Trinity, and in the power of the Divine Majesty to worship the Unity: We beseech thee, that thou wouldest keep us steadfast in this faith, and evermore defend us from all adversities, who livest and reignest, one God, world without end. Amen.
Pray with us today's prayer request:
‘He is risen indeed - Hallelujah.’ Gafcon Comms have put together a video from around the world - https://www.gafcon.org/news/christ-is-risen-from-around-the-world. Pray that this may be well used and be a great encouragement.
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