Revelation 1:5-9 Notes

Stylized Alpha and Omega carving at entrance t...
"I AM the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last . . ."

1:5 and from Yeshua the Messiah, the faithful witness the Seed of David of whom the Eternal One swore, “His descendants shall endure forever and his throne as the sun before Me.  It shall be established forever like the moon, and the witness in the sky is faithful” (Psa. 89:36f).  Jeremiah likewise prophesied, “Thus says Hashem: If you can break My covenant with the day and My covenant with the night, so that day and night will not be at their appointed time”—in other words, if you can stop the rotation of the earth itself—“then My covenant may also be broken with David My servant so that he will not have a son to reign on his throne, and with the Levitical priests, My ministers (Jer. 33:20-21) so that they would lack a man before Me to offer burnt ovverings, to burn grain offerings, and to prepare sacrifices continually” (v.18).  Thus, the eternal kingship of the Messiah is bound to the eternal covenant of shalom that the Holy One made with Pinchas, because he was zealous for his God and made atonement for the sons of Israel (Num. 25:13).  The Eternal One keeps His promises.

However, as the people of Judah said to Jeremiah, “May Hashem be a true and faithful witness against us if we do not act in accordance with the whole message with which Hashem your God will send you to us” (Jer. 42:5), and as it is written in the Torah, “I will raise up a prophet from among their countrymen like you, Moses (Deu. 18:18), who unlike other prophets did not know the Holy One only in a vision, nor spoke to Him only in a dream . . . “With him I speak mouth to mouth, even openly, and not in dark sayings, and he beholds the form of Hashem” (Num. 12:6, 8).  Yeshua claimed to be this very prophet when He said, “Not that anyone has seen the Father, except the One who is from God—He has seen the Father” (John 6:46).  Of this Prophet—and more than a Prophet—the Torah declares, “It shall come about that whoever will not listen to My words which He shall speak in My Name, I Myself will require it of him” (Deu. 18:19).

John continues, calling Yeshua the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To him who loves us, and washed us from our sins by his blood even as He washed the feet of the disciples (John 13:10) and washes (i.e. prunes, the Greek word meaning both) the branches of the True Vine (John 15:2).  Of this firstborn of the dead, Paul writes,

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.  For by Him were all things created, in the Heavens and on the earth, things visible and things invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers; all things have been created through Him, and to Him.  He is before all things, and in Him all things are Held together.  He is the Head of the body, the assembly, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things He might have the preeminence.  For all the fullness was pleased to dwell in Him; and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made shalom through the blood of his cross. Through Him, I say, whether things on the earth, or things in the Heavens. (Col. 1:15-20)

 1:6 And he made us to be a Kingdom, priests to his God and Father, John writes, speaking to the natural-born Israelites, of whom Hashem spoke, saying, “And you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation” (Exo. 19:6).[1]  And yet John speaks not only to the Jew, but also to the Gentiles who were fast becoming a majority in the Ekklesia when he penned the Revelation.  This is not Replacement Theology, for in truth the Gentiles replaced no one, but rather Adoptionalism:  The Father made His family bigger by adopting more sons and daughters, bringing them into His purpose, but without replacing those born into the family, the Jewish people.

Of the grafted-in Gentiles, Paul writes, So then you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but you are fellow citizens with the holy ones, and of the household of God, being built on the foundation of the emissaries and prophets, Messiah Yeshua himself being the chief cornerstone” (Eph. 2:19f).  But anticipating that many of the Gentile believers would begin to lord it over the Jewish remnant, let alone over unbelieving Israel, he also warned, “if God didn’t spare the natural branches, neither will he spare you.  See then the goodness and severity of God. Toward those who fell, severity; but toward you, kindness, if you continue in his kindness; otherwise you also will be cut off” (Rom. 11:21f) from the olive tree, Israel.  And as we will see, many indeed failed to continue in kindness and were broken off themselves.

John concludes in the manner of a benediction: To him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen. The “amen” shows that this book was meant to be read aloud in the assemblies, with a special blessing for both the reader and the hearers.

And another benediction:  1:7 Behold, he is coming with the clouds, as Daniel saw: One like a son of man, and he came even to the ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. There was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all the peoples, nations, and languages should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed (Dan. 7:13f); and every eye will see him, including those who pierced him. All the tribes of the earth will mourn over him, a great mourning in Jerusalem, like the mourning of Hadadrimmon in the valley of Megiddon. . . . every family apart; the family of the house of David apart, and their wives apart . . . all the families who remain, every family apart, and their wives apart (Zec. 12:11, 12, 14).  And in that day of mourning, there will be a spring opened to the house of David and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, for sin and for uncleanness (Zec. 13:1), which John, mourning for the losses of his people and the Temple, looks forward to with all of his heart:  Even so, Amen.

Now the speaker changes to one far higher than John:  1:8 “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.”   In many manuscripts, the word alpha is spelled out while omega is signified only by the letter Ώ.  The beginning we have spelled out for us, but the outcome is now delivered in signs.

1:9 I Yochanan, your brother and partner with you in tribulation, for you know that we are appointed to them (1Th 3:3), the Kingdom, and perseverance in Messiah Yeshua, was on the isle that is called Patmos where he was exiled during the reign of Domitian (90-96 ce), according to many of the fathers of the Church.[2]  Those who insist on the preterist interpretation as the sole and final fulfilment of this book will claim that it must have been written earlier, during the reign of Nero.  There are no early sources to support this, and all attempts to early-date Revelation from the so-called “internal evidence” ultimately beg the question.  John was exiled

“Though Patmos is deficient in trees, it abounds in flowery plants and shrubs. Walnuts and other fruit trees are raised in the orchards, and the wine of Patmos is the strongest and the best flavored in the Greek islands. Maize and barley are cultivated, but not in a quantity sufficient for the use of the inhabitants and for a supply of their own vessels, and others which often put into their good harbor for provisions. The inhabitants now do not exceed four or five thousand; many of whom are emigrants from the neighboring continent. About halfway up the mountain there is shown a natural grotto in a rock, where John is said to have seen his visions and to have written this book. Near this is a small church, connected with which is a school or college, where the Greek language is taught . . .”[3]

because of the Word of God’s and the testimony of Yeshua the Messiah.

[1] Some manuscripts, including the Textus Receptus, read “kings and priests.”  This is not objectionable, given Yeshua’s promise to the overcomer to share His throne (Rev. 2:26, 3:21), but the clear allusion is to the title of Israel in Exodus, and we have so rendered it here.

[2] Irenaeus, Against Heresies, V.30.3; Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History, III.18 and V.8; Victorinus, Commentary on the Apocalypse, ch. 10; Jerome, Illustrious Men, ch. 9; Hippolytus, On the Twelve Apostles

[3] Barnes, Notes, Rev. 1:9

2 Replies to “Revelation 1:5-9 Notes”

  1. The TR is the correct text…and the “kings & priests” reference is also along the order of Melchizedek (King and Righteous Preist). We New Covenant people are spiritual Jews (our hearts, wherein His laws are now written, are “circumcised without hands”) and each of us is a king (prince below the King of kings) and priest (able to offer fitting daily sacrifice–in our case, ourselves, a “living sacrifice”; being crucified daily for His name’s sake). Paul tells us that the natural-born Jew is not of God’s Israel; but the spiritual Jew is. The sons of the promise are those who believe in Yeshua, period, of whom there is neither Jew nor Greek, male nor female…Only natural born Jews who are given belief in Yeshua will enter the Kingdom to be co-heirs with Mashiach; the rest will be outside the house looking in, weeping and gnashing their teeth from rage and frustration.


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