Monday, January 10, 2011

Revelation Chapter One, Part 2 of 6

1:5 And from Jesus Christ…the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth.
Our Lord was the firstborn from the dead (NKJV) in the sense that when He was resurrected the third day He arose in His glorified body. He has the preeminence; like the firstborn in Jewish custom allotted them a double portion. So was our Lord, the resurrected Man given great glory, John 17:22.

This was why our Lord could appear where He wished after His resurrection; it appears that His body was no longer constrained by material laws. Though our Lord was a sinless Man, He was yet in mortal flesh, as witnessed by the fact that He aged and suffered hunger, thirst, and pain. When he rose from the dead he possessed what Paul called a spiritual body, 1st Corinthians 15:44. The natural must come first, Paul informed us, and then the spiritual will be raised up after the natural is sown (in the earth), verses 42-43. Whether we are dead or alive when our Lord summons us to meet Him in the air, we shall then receive a spiritual body for our spirits to eternally house.

Paul writes, “Behold, I tell you a mystery: we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed—in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality,” 1st Corinthians 15:51-53. He writes elsewhere about the general gathering of the saints once the body of Christ is complete: “For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus. For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be with caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord,” 1st Thessalonians 4:14-17. “We know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is,” 1st John 3:2.

The NKJV translates “prince” to “ruler.” We are told that Jesus in His glorified Manhood is raised above “principality and power and might and dominion (angelic ranks), and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come,” Ephesians 1:21. By Christ’s atoning death and resurrection He “disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it,” Colossians 2:15. We also read that “God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth (Hell), and that every tongue confess that confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father,” Philippians 2:9-11. These three passages are taken from Paul’s “Christological epistles” or epistles that deal with the deity and majesty of Christ’s person as the glorified God-man. Our Lord is exalted to the Father’s right hand, and as A.W. Tozer would love to point out, we have a glorified Man in the Heavens! Our Advocate and High-priest, Jesus, sits at the right hand of God, the work of redemption finished, now awaiting His time to return to the earth and ascend the throne of David as the rightful Ruler of all the earth; God’s justice and holiness manifested in the Person of His Son as He fulfills His promises to Abraham and his descendants.

1:5 Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood
I love this verse. It never loses its charm, and it never fails to amaze me that John relates how Christ loved us, and loved us with such love that He shed His blood in order that He may wash us in it, and give us a cleanness that only God could supply. We are clean through faith in Christ. Look back again to the book of Zechariah and read chapter 3. Joshua the high priest was standing before the Angel of the Lord in a vision. Since Joshua held the office of high priest, and we know that the high priest atoned for the people of Israel, it is reasonable to assume that Joshua represented the nation of Israel in this vision. In verse 3 we see that Joshua is clothed in filthy garments. Refer to Isaiah 64:6 and you will see in the Old Testament that “filthy garments” refers to the righteousness men possess; one may say in fact, self-righteousness.

It was only at the Angel of the Lord’s command that the filthy garments were removed from Joshua, and the Angel is not remiss in letting him know what this meant: “See, I have removed your iniquity from you and I will clothe you with rich robes,” verse 4. Later in this same prophetic book, the Holy Spirit makes mention of Israel’s national cleansing once more: “In that day (the Day of the Lord) a fountain shall be opened for the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, for sin and for uncleanness,” Zechariah 13:1.

Christ’s blood can cleanse a man from any sin, save one. The sin of unbelief is the only sin which our Lord’s blood cannot pay for. Jesus called it the sin against the Holy Spirit. One must by faith appropriate the cleansing power of the blood; if you do not come to God in faith to receive Christ as Savior, you have no part with Him, and He cannot justly forgive your unbelief. It is the only sin that cannot be forgiven, because while you remain in it, it is the only sin which you will never ask forgiveness for, and therefore cannot be cleansed from. John writes that if we walk with Christ the power of His blood cleanses us from all sin, 1st John 1:7. He also states that a Christian who confesses sin will find God faithful and just to forgive and (there is that word again) cleanse us from all unrighteousness, 1st John 1:9. There is a fount of cleansing at Calvary; do go while there is still time. Christ our Lord is on His mercy seat presently, but there will come a time when He will arise from His wait to commence this momentous time on earth that we are about to look more closely upon. Redeem the time.

1:6 And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father
The universal priesthood of the believer is taught in the Bible, as this verse clearly attests. Peter also writes, “you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ,” 1st Peter 2:5. The Roman Catholic Church, the Orthodox Church, and every such “Christian” church that possesses an elite clergy that has power over the laity goes against the written declaration of God. Every believer is equipped to minister and receive confession (James 5:16; 1st John 5:16). Not only are all believers priests unto God, but every Christian is a saint. The saints in the New Testament were simply believers; many (like our day) did not likely act saintly all the time. Yet it was not their conduct that earned them such a title; it was their position in Christ. Every believer shares an equal position in Christ as far as salvation is concerned, according to the Bible.

In Matthew chapter 20:1-16 we find Jesus telling the parable of laborers. A man who owned a vineyard hired out laborers to work in his field, some went early, some at midday, and some late, even unto the eleventh hour when there was almost no time left to work. Despite that fact, the master of the vineyard still paid all laborers an equal wage. Christ our Lord was teaching that those men saved while young who labor hard for the Lord are no less or more “saved” then someone who is saved in their latter years. Someone who enters Heaven via “death bed repentance” is every bit as saved as the man who served his Lord sixty years. We are all saints by virtue of Christ; as with the parable, He “hired” us, we accepted His terms, and we receive what He offered: eternal life.

2 comments:

  1. Great Post, Ian.

    Our salvation is so totally Chris's work, and not ours. Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Good Bible Study Ian.

    You are either "in Christ" or your not.

    Sadly there's not to many death bed conversions.

    2 Corinthians 6:2 (King James Version)

    For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.

    ReplyDelete

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