Friday, May 26, 2017

Revelation 5b-6, An Expositional Commentary


John, having mentioned God and Jesus Christ at least twice now, and the Holy Spirit, takes a moment to offer praise and worship, moving from who God is to what He’s done; and an affirmation of those things that belong uniquely to God. In other words: a prayer.

Verse 5B - Unto him that loved us,     
    Of all the translations that I have, the King James and the New King James are the only ones that say “loved”, in the past tense. When I look this word up in Strong’s Concordance, the Greek word they have for “loved” is agapaō. I read all the way through that and Thayer’s Lexicon and there is no indication of any kind of tense. But, my friends over at say the Greek word is agapōnti, a present participle. That means it should be in the present tense - “is loving”. If this is the case, this would be the only place in the entire Bible where the Greek has God’s love for us in the present tense. Then again, if this is present tense, this would be “He who is”.

and washed us from our sins in his own blood,  
   Washed (louō) is in a past tense. (He who was). The Greeks have more than one past tense. They have so many tenses it can give you a headache. This one is called “Aorist tense”. I really don’t see the point in splitting hairs over the nuances involved - it’s a past tense. One interesting aspect of this word is that it means to wash the whole person, as opposed to just getting partly wet.

Hebrews 9:22 - And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of        blood is no remission.
Leviticus 17:11 - For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul.

And hath made us kings and priests

    Here is a place where the differences in the Bibles make a difference. The King James Bibles are the only Bibles that say “kings and priests”. Every other translation I have says “a kingdom of priests” or “a kingdom, priests”. This doesn’t seem like that big a deal, but it’s going to come back up, so we might as well dig into it now.
    There is a denomination that has a major doctrine built over the idea that we are all going to be kings. I have always had trouble with the math involved with that concept.
    If all of those whose names are written in the Book of Life (a list of names that stretches all through history) all come back at the same time to be kings, who are their subjects going to be? There’s a school of thought that believes the church will be raptured before the tribulation, and that those who are saved after the rapture, who survive the Wrath of God that comes just before the second coming, will be those who inhabit the earth during the Millennium rule of Christ and His saints. The problem I have with this idea is that if anybody survives the Wrath of God, that number is going to be tiny compared to the number of saints that would be ruling with Jesus Christ.
    On the one hand, we have Revelation 20:4 - And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.
    This actually sounds like saints that go through the Tribulation are the ones who will reign with Christ.
Then, Revelation 20:6 - Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.
Makes it sound like everybody will be reigning.
    I’m starting to think that reign might not mean what I think reign means. In Genesis 1:28 - And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.
    If “have dominion” (râdâh) means to rule or to reign (and it does - I looked it up), then Adam was told to reign over the earth. Not other people - but everything else.
Isaiah 32:1 Behold, a king will reign in righteousness, and princes will rule with justice.

Daniel 7:27 Then the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people, the saints of the Most High. His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey Him.

 For all the ruling and reigning going on, we will still serve and obey God. The only other place where the Bible says we are to be kings is in Revelation 5:10, and there is the same disagreement there as to whether it should be “kings” or “a kingdom”.

On the other hand, in Exodus 19:6 - And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel.
    We clearly have “a kingdom of priests” mentioned. Using the principle that the Bible interprets itself, any time I have trouble figuring out what was said, if I can find an exact match somewhere in scripture, I generally let that make my decision for me.

     All of that to say here, I lean toward the “kingdom of priests”  side of the argument. In either case, we are not there yet. We are currently neither kings, nor even a kingdom of priests. A priest, by definition, ministers to God. A lot of Christians are committed to God, but they end up ministering to other people. They serve God. They honor God, but they are not ministering to God. When we no longer have to minister to other people, we will be free to minister to God. This would be He who is to come.

unto God and his Father;
    When I first saw this, I thought it meant unto God (Jesus Christ) and His Father (you know, The Father). This would have been the only place in the Bible with such a strange phrase, and in fact it shouldn’t say it like this at all. Every other translation - even the New King James - says “to His God and Father”. So while at first glance it looked like a huge win for the Trinitarians, I think this point actually goes to the followers of Arius. Once again, Jesus is put in a subservient position to God, the Father.

to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever.
    Once again we have that lower case “h” in “him”. That really bugs me. Some would argue that it shows that Jesus Christ is not really God, but the seven Spirits was capitalized in verse 5. Are you telling me the King James translators believed that the seven Spirits are God but Jesus is not? They are going to ascribe glory and dominion, but that doesn’t rate a capital “H”? It just strikes me as a little inconsistent.
    Glory is described as splendor, magnificence, excellence, majesty. Everything you would expect from that word. Dominion (kratos) is not the same word we discussed earlier. This dominion means great power, might, strength.
    The structure of the sentence suggests that all this is ascribed to Jesus. I need to point out here that in Isaiah 48:11 God says ...I will not give my glory unto another. It’s the Hebrew word for glory instead of the Greek word used in Revelation, but the definitions are similar. I think we can score one here for the Trinitarians.

    My favorite definition of this word come from Walter Cronkite: “That’s the way it is”. Technically, it means surely, truly, so it is, etc. Traditionally, in both Jewish and Christian gatherings, when someone offered up a prayer, everyone would respond with “amen”, which would hold them in agreement with what was said.

    I grew up thinking it meant “the end”, which would make it a great place to end this essay.

(Note: All scripture is copied and pasted - with permission - directly from The Blue Letter Bible)

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