“Searching the Seven Churches”
The Prologue – (Revelation Chapter 1 Verse 4-6)
Here (v4), begins the prologue. We have a prologue and an epilogue (Revelation 22:13-21), and in between we have the book of Revelation. The apostle John greets the church and sends the revelation of Jesus Christ to the church, the seven churches that are that are in Asia. The same Lord Jesus Christ communicates grace and peace to the church. That is, it comes from the triune God and the faithful Son who has been victorious over death, and who reigns and continues to redeem the elect until the end of the age. Part of that includes his restoring them to office-bearers in the church. Adam was God’s office-bearer, Jesus Christ is God’s office-bearer par excellence. We, God’s elect are restored to being God’s office-bearers. I don’t mean this in the official sense, that all are pastors, elders and deacons. But as a believer in Christ you are called to be an office-bearer in the church, prophet, priest and king (v6, 10). The number seven (v4), that is the number of fulness in Scripture, in other words to the entire, the whole church. But not just in Asia, the world over, even now, in every day and generation this revelation goes to the church universal. This communication of grace is not just a one-timer but is from God to all who belong to the church throughout the age, for we are ever in the need of grace. The peace is the objective peace which we received when we became Christians (Romans 5:1). We are no longer enemies of God, as a result of the grace, the unmerited favour of God. So, therefore, able to live in and enjoy the peace of God (Philippians 4:7). It’s the reception of this grace and peace that enables us to live in obedience and wait patiently for him (v3). This benediction you see is a reality in the midst of the tribulation and sufferings that God’s people will incur in the millennium, that is, in the New Testament age (John 16:33).
So here we have the fulness of God, the triune God (v4). This benediction’s the command of God for his church, in the midst of the world that’s full of terror, destruction and death. It is the Father who provides the grace, the Holy Spirit who dispenses the grace, and the Son of God who merits the grace. We are given a beautiful picture of the changeless covenant nature of God, this is the Exodus revisited, “I am that I am” (Exodus 3:14f). He who is was and is to come. The timeless, changeless, eternal, the absolute One, the fulness of God in Trinity. The seven Spirits, again seven is fulness, the fulness of the Holy Spirit, the fulness of the triune God. Whichever member of the Godhead you come to, you come to God, for God is one. You address the Father, you address God. You address the Son, you address God. You address the Holy Spirit, you address God. And the Holy Spirit is that promised gift to the Son of God (Acts 2:33). Who when he finished his work on earth and returned to glory, asks of his Father that which was promised him, the gift of Holy Spirit. The gift of the Holy Spirit is purchased by the Son, held by the Son and dispensed by the Son, because merited by the Son (Revelation 3:1). The Holy Spirit is he who executes the rule of the risen Lamb in the midst of his throne (Revelation 4:5). He, it is who, “will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: of sin, because they believe not on me; of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more; of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged” (John 16:8-10). Now here is an issue with the Pre-millennialist view, some maintain that there will be a time when the Holy Spirit will be removed from the earth, but there will still be conversions. Utter nonsense! Balderdash! Impossible! No one can be converted without the Holy Spirit and his operations, he is the executor of God’s will on earth. But he is also, for the believer, the child of God, he is our comforter (John 14:16). He, it is who brings the life of Jesus to us (Romans 8:2). The seven Spirits, the fulness of God.
(© James R Hamilton, written Summer, 2011)