Reading Revelation 1:3-8 we hear that the "time is near". This links nicely to the things that "must soon take place" in verse 1. But our question is, does this mean our time or God's timeframe? 2 Peter 3:8 tells us that, with the Lord, one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day. God is not bound by our rules, in fact, every generation thinks that the book of Revelation speaks into their time and none others. Columbus, the Reformers, the Puritans, each war of the 20th century, even the rise of Donald Trump, sparks the rush of "the time is now" advocates. Truth is, this was written for the 7 churches in Asia and us, and us being every generation that has come, and that will come until our Lord Jesus Christ comes again. Whether Casaer Nero in 67AD or Casaer Domitian in 96AD, the church that this was written to was being persecuted and is to gain encouragement from this letter, and we today are the same. These churches were flourishing, not just these specific communities, but right across the Roman province of Asia Minor (modern-day western Turkey), the Gospel was impacting lives.
This book is in the form of a letter and as such has the customary Christian welcome of grace and peace for its readers. Grace coming from the Greek, and peace (Shalom) from the Hebrew. A greeting that can be found in many of the epistles.
At the end of verse 4, we hear of seven spirits or sevenfold spirits. This does not refer to seven individual spirits or have any linkage to the 7 literal churches, but rather the 7 attributes of the Holy Spirit we read about in Isaiah 11:2;
The Spirit of the Lord will rest on him— the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of might, the Spirit of the knowledge and fear of the Lord—
With the trinity covered, (Father, Spirit, Son), we now focus back on Jesus, the source of this revelation. We first hear 3 titles given to Him. 3 titles aimed at providing encouragement to us. The first, faithful witness, is what was on display at His trial in front of Pilate. When He was sentenced to death, death by crucifixion, the death of a criminal, He did not back down, and so we now know that we are able to depend on His promises and that He provides us with the perfect model for us to follow when we too witness to His deity. He is the first person to rise from the dead. Clearly relevant to all later generations who will follow Christ and His resurrection. These churches are witnessing and being persecuted for it. They might soon face death themselves, following Jesus's resurrection encourages us all to stay firm in the Good News of Christ and shows us that we have nothing to fear when we do so. Thirdly, He is the ruler of all kings. While Casaer might be the one doing the persecution, Jesus is the sovereign ruler over all. While we might be suffering in our circumstances, we are reminded that everything is under His control, even kings and governments, and us such we're able to lift our eyes to heaven and feel joy for the hope with have in Christ.
Following these 3 titles, we are provided with 3 actions of Jesus. He loves us, present tense. He still loves us today. This is a timeless statement. It speaks as true today to us as it did to the 7 churches of Asia Minor. He freed us from our sins; the gospel message and a reminder of all that He has done for us, and thirdly, that He has made us a kingdom of priests, united and given purpose, to worship and to serve God. Just in these 3 actions we are shown that we are saved from our sins and saved for worship! A point that to these 7 churches would have been important as they were no longer under the protection of being a separate sect of Judaism, but now regarded as a separate religion and therefore not exempt from having to worship Casaer and in fact, being put to death if they didn't worship Casaer over our Lord Jesus Christ.
In verse 7 we read a combination of Daniel 7:13 and Zechariah 12:10, pointing to the Messiah and the Kingdom and the mourning that will take place by all those that reject Jesus. This also was echoed by Jesus Himself in Matthew 24:30;
“Then will appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven. And then all the peoples of the earth will mourn when they see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory.
Finally, we conclude with a reminder that all of history is in the hands of God. He is the Alpha and the Omega, being the A-Z of the Greek alphabet, He is the beginning and the end. We are told twice that He is, was, and is to come. He is Lord over the universe and Lord over time itself. He is the Almighty. A common title throughout the book of Revelation for God, and a constant reminder that He is bigger than space and time... He is timeless