5) 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 blood,
6) and has made us kings and priests to His God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and
7) 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.
8) 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.”
John continues his blessing in verse 5. restating that it is from Jesus Christ, with three more statements about His position in the throne room. First, He is the faithful witness. The Greek word for “faithful” is pistos (pronounced Pis-toes) and is rendered as someone who is worthy to be trusted. It means that Jesus, through His life and passion, His obedience to the work and will of the Father, has earned the right to be trusted. The Greek for “witness” is martus, (pronounced mar’-toos). It is defined as one who bears witness for God and testifies to the world what God is revealing through him. Thus, John is telling us that this blessing and this revelation is to be received because the One Who is revealing it has proven He can be trusted due to His obedience to the Father throughout His life, even unto death. As His life was a witness to the love and power of the Father, and as the Father trusted Jesus to reveal His true nature to the world, Jesus is also trusted by the Father to reveal this final word and work for His creation!
The second position statement is “the firstborn from the dead.” The Greek for “firstborn” is prototokos (pronounced pro-tot-ok’-os). It defines as the firstborn from a mother and father, a preeminent one who is highly distinguished from all others. Here, John is designating the promise of the resurrection of all believers exemplified through the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Because God resurrected Jesus from the dead – which then means that Jesus is the one WHO IS – all who are His disciples have secure claim to that same promise. The Greek for “dead” is nekros (pronounced nek-ros’) and literally means dead, a corpse. John again is reiterating that Jesus’s passion and death was real – literal – and that His resurrection was just as real and literal.
The third position statement is “the ruler over the kings of the earth.” John is proclaiming that Jesus is the true ruler over the earth. The Greek for “earth” is ghay, and Strong’s commentary tells us that in this case it is defined as that which is opposite to Heaven. Jesus Christ is ruler, the archon (pronounced ar’-k’home), which means first in power, authority, and dominion. He is over the kings, the basileus (bas-il-yooce’) meaning one who exercises royal sovereignty and authority. Therefore, Jesus is the real power, the true sovereignty. Notice the difference: Jesus IS first in power, authority and dominion. The kings only exercise royal sovereignty and authority. The word exercise tells us plainly that the authority is not theirs, it does not begin with them nor spring from them; rather, it is given to them by someone higher than they. They can only exercise what has been given to them. That Jesus has total authority and dominion over the entire earth, even over those who think they are the ones in control. These kings may believe they are the ones in control, but their position is upon the earth. Christ’s position is at the right hand of the Father. His obedience unto death, His faithfulness in His ministry and witness for the Father, His presence in the very beginning of creation with the Father and His position as the firstborn of the Father’s recreation or new creation – all give Jesus dominion over all earthly kings.
John continues to lift up Jesus by referring to Him as the One who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood, the Greek for love here being agapao (pronounced ag-ap-ah’-o). We all are familiar with the Greek word agape, we understand it to mean a sacrificial type of love, the love that God the Father has for us and that Jesus exemplified for us through the cross. Many times in the New Testament, agape will be mentioned but the word actually used is agapao. Agape is of course derived from agapao. In the Greek translation of the Old Testament, you will not find the word agape, but in a few places you will find agapao. John wants us to keep clearly in our minds Christ’s sacrificial love for us, that He loved even unto the cross where He cleansed us from our sins by His redeeming blood. John is proclaiming that through the precious atoning blood of Jesus Christ, the price for our salvation has been fully paid, that we have been washed clean from all our sins: past present, and future. The word translated sin here is not used very much in the New Testament. The word normally translated sin is an archers term, which means missing the mark. But here John uses hamartia (pronounced ham-ar-tee’-ah), meaning the guilt, punishment, and consequences of our sinful actions. In other words, Christ, through the shedding of His precious blood on the cross, has delivered us from the imputation and consequences of our sins and from the guilt and punishment of those sins!
Next, we read, “and has made us kings and priests to His God and Father.” John carries this thought further into verse 6 by explaining what this means to us. Because of Christ’s love, His faithfulness to the Father’s plan for salvation, the shedding of His blood, and His death on the cross (redeeming and atoning us from all our sins), we now have a position in the kingdom of God. Through Jesus’ finished work on the cross, we have been made basileus (kings) and hiereus (priests), pronounced hee-er-yooce’. We have been given the authority to exercise royal sovereignty and authority and the privilege to serve before God, the privilege to live, work, and stand in His presence.
Brothers and sisters, do you understand the depth of the meaning of this? Through the precious blood and atoning action of Christ’s death upon the cross, we have gone from sinners condemned to eternal death and punishment, sentenced to eternal separation from a holy and righteous God, to being kings living under and exercising His authority and to being priests able to come into the Fathers very presence and serve Him. So for this, we are to give Jesus all the glory and recognize His dominion for all of eternity. The Greek for “glory” is doxa (pronounced dox’-ah). It means to ascribe admonition and honor. The Greek for dominion is kratos (pronounced krat’-os), meaning power, dominion, absolute ruling control. John finishes verse 6 by telling us that because of Jesus’ finished work on the cross, we are to eternally ascribe glory and honor to Jesus. We are to also understand that because of His finished work on the cross, Jesus has dominion over the earth and His church. Our positions as kings and priests has nothing to do with anything we have accomplished. Our positions as kings and priests is all about what Jesus has done. John ends the verse with Amen, which literally stamps it as being trustworthy. You can “take it to the bank”, or totally depend upon it.
In verse 7 John moves from his greeting and talks about the “who is to come.” He’s saying that Jesus is coming back, and when He does, it will not be a secret. His second coming will not be hidden. Everybody will see it, even those who pierced Him. In today’s world, that means those whose are against Christ and enemies or non-believers today. John says Jesus will be coming on a cloud, indicating He will be coming from on high – from His position of power, from His position at the right hand of the Father. Jesus will come from the place of His ascension, not the place of His death. The place of glory, not the place of His passion. John says Jesus will be descending on a cloud. Here, John is repeating what Jesus Himself said about His second coming (reference John 19:37, Matthew 24:30, Zechariah 12:10-14). The literal Greek for the earth mourning is that they will beat their breasts, for the world will then realize that they have blown it, that the time for reconciliation has ended. Their failure to believe has come back to condemn them, because Christ’s second coming means judgment, not forgiveness. Their response in the rest of this book will be that of a condemned people desperate to stave off the judgment and punishment to come. John again ends this verse with Amen. And it means the same thing that it meant at the end of verse 6: this verse is also trustworthy. You can take this judgment to the bank as well. Depend on it.
In verse 8 John shares a direct quote from Jesus,”I am the Alpha and the Omega.” Alpha is the first letter of the Greek alphabet. Omega is the last letter of the Greek alphabet. Jesus is literally saying, “I am the first and the last.” We may think He repeats Himself with the next statement, “the Beginning and the End,” but actually this is carrying it a little bit deeper. The Greek for “beginning” is arche (pronounced ar-khay’) and is defined as “from the commencement of creation”. This confirms what John says in the beginning of his gospel, “In the beginning was the word…..” The Greek for end is telos (pronounced tel’-os), for “final purpose.” Through these specific words, Jesus is saying, “I was there before this whole thing began. and I am the finality of this creation.” Jesus is not just proclaiming that He is the Beginning and the End but that He was the purpose of all creation. The purpose of creation was for the Father to have a relationship and fellowship with His creation. Because of sin, beginning with Adam’s disobedience, this relationship and fellowship was severely altered. Jesus’ life, ministry, and finished work on the cross enabled the restoration of that fellowship and relationship. But when the appropriate time arrives, the time of judgment, that is Jesus’ final purpose. The savior of the world becomes the judge of the world. Then, Jesus repeats what John calls Him in verse 4, “who is and who was and who is to come.” (If you need to, go back to verse 4 and reread what what written about this trinity. Jesus just repeats it here.) Jesus ends verse 8 with a proclamation of Himself as Almighty. The Greek here is pantokrator (pronounced pan-tok-rat’-ore). It is defined as “absolute, universal sovereign”. I think this is a good place to end our study today – Jesus restating that He is the Who Is, the Who Was and the Who Is To Come. And He will fulfill His purpose, because He is the absolute, universal sovereign. As Jesus said in Matthew 28:18b, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.”
1) The second of three titles or trinity in reference to Jesus. The faithful witness, the firstborn from
the dead, and the ruler over the kings of the earth.
2) Because Christ loved us, through His atoning and redeeming blood, He cleansed us from all
imputation, consequence, guilt, and punishment of our sins.
3) Christ’s finished work on the cross has raised us to the positions of kings and priests and has
opened up our access to the very presence of God the Father.
4) Because of the finished work of Christ on the cross, He is worthy of all glory and dominion
5) Christ is coming again, and the whole world will see it and dread it. His second coming will mean
the time of reconciliation has ended, and the time of Judgment is at hand.
6) Jesus is the all in all, from the beginning of beginnings to the very end of endings.
7) Jesus has all dominion, power, purpose, and sovereignty.