Introduction and Benediction
The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show His servants—things which must shortly take place. And He sent and signified it by His angel to His servant John, who bore witness to the word of God, and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, to all things that he saw. Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written in it; for the time is near.
Greeting the Seven Churches
John, to the seven churches which are in Asia:
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 from the dead, and the ruler over the kings of the earth.
To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood, and has made us kings and priests to His God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.
Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him, even they who pierced Him. And all the tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him. Even so, Amen.
“I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End,” says the Lord, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.”
Vision of the Son of Man
I, John, both your brother and companion in the tribulation and kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was on the island that is called Patmos for the word of God and for the testimony of Jesus Christ. I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day, and I heard behind me a loud voice, as of a trumpet, saying, “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last,” and, “What you see, write in a book and send it to the seven churches which are in Asia: to Ephesus, to Smyrna, to Pergamos, to Thyatira, to Sardis, to Philadelphia, and to Laodicea.”
And He sent and signified it by His angel to His servant John, who bore witness to the word of God, and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, to all things that he saw. Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written in it; for the time is near.
The Bible as a whole is not just another sacred book, it is God’s written revelation of Himself and mankind’s relationship to Him through the covenant bond He establishes with the men and women He calls into a unique relationship and it has always been defined through the sacred Covenant.
Starting with the Covenant of Adam and creation through Noah, the second Adam as well as a second creation motif, man was to subdue the earth for the glory of God, which mankind failed to do.
Notice in Genesis we see the use of water in creation, dividing the land and the sea and the Holy Spirit moving over the chaos and evil of the darkness. Man is created, placed in the garden, blessed and told to subdue the earth, yet mankind failed to do so
In Noah’s account, the world is recreated through the flood, the Holy Spirit is seen in the dove released by Noah, who flew over the waters. Noah and his family are blessed and told to renew and subdue the earth, yet mankind failed to do so again.
Starting with Abraham and through the renewing of the Covenant with corporate Adam, or Israel, man was still to subdue the earth for the glory of God. It wasn’t just about the Jewish people and the land, it was about something more. All the nations were to be blessed.
We see Abraham as a type of the Father in his ordeal with Isaac, as well as giving birth to Israel. We see the new creation in the Exodus through Moses and the parting of the Red Sea. We see a new Covenant with Israel where they are blessed and told to subdue the earth. So the original boundaries of Israel were to grow bigger as they filled the earth with the glory of God. Israel failed as well. God created a renewing of the Covenant with the generation that enters the Promised Land and they cross the waters of the Jordan, yet they also fail. It seems like there is no hope.
Obedience to God’s covenant allows blessings but disobedience brought about curses. We can see this in Gods dealings with Israel, in that His relationship with Israel was always defined in terms of the Covenant, the marriage bond by which He joined her to Himself as a chosen people. It is the same structure for what would become standard peace treaties of the city-states and Empires of the Ancient Near Eastern societies.
The standard covenant has 5 parts, wether between a King and his vassal, a covenant with equals, both swear an oath that binds the two parties.
1. Preamble – Identifies the two parties involved, if a King and vassal is involved, it would stress his greatness and dominance over the vassal
2. Historical Prologue – Recounting the previous relationship to the two parties and emphasises the benefits or blessings of that relationship
3. Ethical Stipulations – Introduction of the obligations involved to maintain the relationship
4. Sanctions – A list of the blessings for obedience and the curses for disobedience if one party breaks the covenant
5. Succession Arangements – Arangements and provisions for continuing the covenant relationship over future generations
Covenants between equals would create a brotherly covenant while a covenant between a King and a vassal, would create a father/son relationship. Marriage covenants followed a similar format.
God formed His covenant with Israel as both a King to a vassal as well as a husband to wife covenant. When Israel strays from God to embrace foreign gods she is both seen as an unfaithful wife breaking the marriage covenant, and an ungrateful son who breaks his covenant with his Father.
The Old Covenant blessings and curses
Read Leviticus 26, in it you will find the record of the establishing of the Sinai Covenant between God and Israel. God wanted Israel to be a royal priesthood and a light to the nations.
In the book of Deuteronomy Chapter 28, we see the reestablishment of the original Sinai Covenant with the new generation of Israel who had grown up during the 40 years wandering in the wilderness and now about to take possession of the Promised Land.
Sadly Israel does not keep the Covenant with God just as their fathers had not and we eventually see them taken out of the land and ultimately we see the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple. Israel had come out of exile, yet in their hearts, they were still in exile.
They were guilty of idolatry.
They put the Law, circumcision, the land, their national identity, and the Temple before God. They wanted nothing to do with the Gentiles. They were not being the light to the nations.
Yet God has something greater in mind, for Israel and the nations.
He is perfect Israel and the last Adam
Like Israel, God calls Him His Son, He fulfilled Hosea
13 And when they were departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word: for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him.
We see a pseudo creation account in that we see the last Adam passing through the water and the presence of the Holy Spirit.
16 And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: 17 And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.
And we see Him tested in the wilderness
Yet, unlike the first Adam, unlike Corporate Adam, the Last Adam passed the test showing His worthiness to be called the Son of God in His deity and what He accomplished through His humanity.
Mark tells us that while He was tested, He was among the wild beasts
This gives us the idea of the beginning of His work of reconciliation because the curse of the fall affected everything
We see Jesus, the perfect Israel, the Last Adam, Who came for reconciliation of the universe and redemption for all
This only comes through Jesus Christ.