In the greetings recorded at the beginning of Revelation we are introduced to the God from whom this Revelation comes. He is no ordinary god, no common god. He is not a god created by human hands or human minds – a god we humans have made for ourselves. He is the holy God – the unique, one-of-a-kind God, unequalled, incomparable.

He introduces himself here in terms of a trinity of unparalleled personal beings, distinct but of one mind and one purpose.

God the Father
He is the eternal God – ‘the one who is, and who was, and who is to come’ [1:4,8]. Living. Dynamic. Ever-present – now, in the past, in the future. He is the origin and source of all things – ‘the Alpha’, and the goal and consummation of all things – ‘the Omega’ [1:8]. He, the one who is on ‘his throne’ [1:4], is ‘the Almighty’ [1:8] – his power and his authority have no limits, nor can they ever be limited.

Jesus Christ the Son
This eternal, all-powerful God is the ‘Father’ of Jesus Christ [1:6]. Like his Father, the Son is powerful and authoritative, he is ‘the ruler of the kings of the earth’ [1:5]. He is also ‘the faithful witness’ [1:5] who during his incarnation faithfully revealed the truth about the Father and the Father’s Kingdom. Such is his love for us that he freed us from our sins by his blood [1:5], and rose to life, the ‘firstborn from the dead’ [1:5]. By his saving action he has made us ‘a kingdom and priests to serve his God and Father’ [1:6]. This same Jesus will come again, visible to all [1:7].

The Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit is symbolised by ‘the seven spirits before his throne’ [verse 4]. The reference to ‘seven spirits’ points to the utter perfection of the Holy Spirit [the number ‘seven’ symbolises perfection]. We see this perfect Holy Spirit again in 3:1 and 5:6, where ‘the seven spirits of God’ are associated with Jesus’ knowledge of what is happening in the Church and in the world. We see the Holy Spirit also in 4:5 where ‘the seven spirits of God’ are symbolised by blazing lamps [literally lamps set on fire], indicating the sheer holiness of the Spirit, a holiness that consumes all that is evil, a brightness that overcomes the darkness as the Spirit shines forth the glory of God. No evil, no darkness, can survive the consuming fire of God’s holiness.

This is the God from whom the message of Revelation comes. This is the God for whose name the redeemed are suffering. This is the God whose name the inhabitants of the earth are blaspheming. This is the God who is opposed by Satan and those aligned with him.

Because he is this God, this all-powerful, holy, eternal God from whom and for whom the whole universe has its existence, this God who sees all and knows all, this God who is even now on his throne, this God who has acted to redeem sinful human beings, two things are apparent:

Firstly, the utter security of the redeemed. The redeemed are in the hands of this amazing God, this holy God, this powerful God. The redeemed are his. There is no enemy strong enough or authoritative enough to steal back those whom this God has purchased for himself by the blood of his Son.

Secondly, the utter certainty of the end of those who are God’s enemies. When the ‘last day’ comes there is absolutely no doubt about who will win ‘the battle’. Indeed there will be no ‘battle’ as we humans define a ‘battle’. Such is God’s power, such is God’s holiness, that when the Son returns he does not fight. He destroys them simply by the sheer power of his word [19:15,21].

This God who introduces himself here in Revelation 1:4-8, is truly a God worthy of our praise, our honour, our allegiance.

© Rosemary Bardsley 2015