John defines his audience. He also further clarifies those who are bearing witness to what he is about to share.
The very first groups that John mentions are the “seven churches that are in Asia” (verse 4a). What is about to be revealed is especially pertinent to them. But that is not the whole of his audience. This message is also for everyone; “every eye will see Him, even those who pierced Him, and all the tribes of the earth will wail on account of Him” (verse 7b). My name and location may not be specified in this letter but I am CERTAINLY part of the everyone being addressed her; and so are you.
We have now determined who this letter is to. The last time we were together we identified Who this letter was from. Now I want to look at the witnesses to this letter.
If you have ever made out a will or other binding legal form, you probably had to have someone else sing that form as a “witness” to your signature. In a lot of cases the person signing has to be an independent party and not a party to the matter under review. God provided witnesses for His big revelation too. Those witnesses are listed for us by John.
The witnesses to God’s revelation are not passive. In fact John pronounces a blessing from them to the readers. “Grace to you and peace” (verse 4b) from the host of witnesses yet to be listed. And because of the ones soon to be named, we KNOW that this grace and peace are REAL and within their power to establish.
The first witness is God Himself. John doesn’t list Him by name but lists His existence instead. “Him who is and who was and who is to come” (verse 4c). That is the very description of the “I Am”, the name He shared with Moses.
The next witnesses named are the ministering spirits that watch over the individual churches mentioned in John’s greeting. The seven churches each have an assigned spirit that works on their behalf. I believe they bring the blessings of God to those they are assigned to as well as relay their needs and bring correction. These witnesses are not assigned to an individual person but to a specific body of believer as a whole. We know that we have individual ministering spirits assigned to watch over us, but those are not the spirits bearing witness to this revelation.
The next witness mentioned is Jesus Christ. Jesus receives special titles affixed to Him. He earned each of these through His work here on earth. He is “the faithful witness” for He did EVERYTHING asked of Him by His Father; including giving the Father all the glory for the work being done. He is “the firstborn of the dead” as He was raised by His Father to an incorruptible form after completing ALL His work. And He is given the title of “the Ruler of kings on earth”, as that is His ultimate place to rule upon His return. No longer will people be asking “is it time yet?” when He comes back. He will establish His Kingdom at that point in time.
So fasten your seat belts, put your tray tables in their upright position, stow all your carry-on items under your seats and let’s get ready for the ride of your life! He is about to show us things never before seen or known. (At the time of John’s writing anyway.)
I’m not promising any special insight but I can guarantee that the One who gave us this amazing revelation WANTS us to dig into it. We can be certain of its authorship, authenticity and blessings to those who care to read it.
Father God, thank You for providing me with a list of the witnesses. Your word on the subject alone is enough but You wanted to add more weight to it for me. ALL of Heaven agrees with what is written here. It is also part of their “script.” The staging of what is to come. Thank You for sharing it with me. I PRAY I can learn something every day from it. Lead me by the hand as we walk through this book.