There is special instruction and encouragement for us in the Way THE FATHER OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST is mentioned in the prophetic and symbolic book of Revelation. Five times He is there named. Three times our risen and ascended Lord speaks of Him as “My Father,” and twice He is named as “His Father” by the Holy Spirit.
FIRST (chap. 1:5-6). What a joy it is to know that the One who loves us, has removed our sins in His own blood, and has made us—as we are here told—a kingdom of PRIESTS TO HIS GOD AND FATHERS. Well might we praise Him.
This is blessedly true today of all His redeemed; they are priests, and their happy privilege is to approach unto God to perform their priestly service in holy freedom, offering thanksgivings, praise and worship. When religious formalism would exclude from this the majority of those who are saved, and make it the special privilege of a class, we should ponder these words the more deeply and rejoice in them.
SECOND (chap. 2:27). Here our exalted Saviour, the Son of God, encourages the overcomer to be faithful in the midst of ecclesiastical corruption and presumption. There are those who would seek national authority for their religious system, and exercise political power in the world, while Christ is still in rejection; but the overcomer waits in faith for His coming again—“Who is he that gets the victory over the world, but he that believes that Jesus is the Son of God” (1 John 5:5, N.Tr.). The Lord gives encouragement to the overcomer by announcing to him that He is coming again, when He Himself shall reign over the nations publicly, saying, “As I also have RECEIVED FROM MY FATHER” (see Psalm 2:8). The Crucified shall reign and that by His Father’s just decree. So He will give, along with Himself then, to the overcomer, “authority over the nations,” as it is said. And, meanwhile, before that day of His kingdom rule, Christ as “the Morning Star” is his glad portion as be waits for Him.
THIRD (chap. 3:5). A still more intimate word of cheer is found here. It is to stimulate the faith of the overcomer in the midst of a worldly and dead state of ecclesiastical formalism, where there is a name to live but a lifeless profession prevails. The reward here is more of an inward nature, whereas the former is outward. The Lord Jesus has the plenitude of power and direction at His disposal, therefore none who trust in Him need falter in the path of faith, though they be surrounded by chilly indifference He assures the heart of the overcomer. “White garments” in glory await him! His name will “not be blotted out of the book of life!” and He Himself will “CONFESS HIS NAME,” as He says, “BEFORE MY FATHER AND BEFORE HIS ANGELS.” That our glorious Lord finds pleasure in confessing the name of such an one before His Father and before His angels, surely imparts joy and courage to the believer in Him.
FOURTH (chap. 3:27). Still greater are the difficulties which arise in the so-called Christian world. Overcoming may be found where ecclesiastical corruption and presumption are; also where a dead formalism obtains; but a nauseating lukewarmness as to the Lord’s own glory, along with Laodicean wilfulness and boastfulness, present very grave snares and difficulties for true believers who seek to be loyal to their living absent Lord. The rush of pleasure and self gratification without Christ the Lord flows on at flood-tide, and it is no easy matter to withstand and to stand and heed the Lord’s Word. Self-will breaks forth impatient of all right authority, and God’s Amen, the faithful and true Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God, our Lord Jesus Christ, alone can sustain those who are truly His own amidst it all. To the overcomer, His encouraging Word promises a place along with Himself, “in His throne,” when His authority shall be publicly established, even as He Himself overcame in the midst of worldly Judaism, and is, as He says, “SET DOWN WITH MY FATHER IN HIS THRONE.”
The rewards are great and glorious! But how precious to our hearts it is to view our Saviour along with His Father, receiving from Him authority over the nations of this world; and then His owning the worth to Him of the overcomer—confessing his name before Him; and also placing him with Himself in His throne!
FIFTH (chap. 14:1). This Scripture is not connected with the Assembly. It speaks of a specially favoured company connected with Zion on earth—“the hundred and forty and four thousand, which were redeemed from the earth”—“the firstfruits unto God and the Lamb,” having a place of peculiar blessing though still on the earth; and they catch the heavenly music of the new song, which others could not learn. Just before the beams of the Sun of Righteousness shine over all the earth, these appear at Zion along with Him, the Lamb—at Zion, whence His administration for the earth will flow forth to all. And not only does this virgin throng catch the strains of heavenly music, but the heavenly favour of God is reflected by them, as they company with the Lamb, “HAVING HIS NAME, AND THE NAME OF HIS FATHER WRITTEN UPON THEIR FOREHEADS” (N.Tr.). At the very centre of earthly government with the Lamb, the Lord of lords and King of kings; heavenly grace will impart its wondrous character to them, and be reflected, as they share in the glorious reign of righteousness.
We would refer again to the first Scripture (1:5-6). There, as in the last, we read of “His Father.” It is here a company favoured with peculiar priestly nearness, which ascribes to our Lord Jesus Christ glory and dominion for ever and ever. Knowing their holy place divinely given to them before His God and Father, they take full advantage of this portion and knowledge, granted to them through the atoning blood of the One who loves them, and they render loyal homage. It cheers and rejoices our redeemed souls to observe this, recorded at the very commencement of a book which faithfully describes prophetically the opposite to this in the churches, the nations and peoples of the world, which will bring down upon them God’s sweeping judgments. The notes of loving harmony sound very sweet before the harsh tones of men’s discords are spoken of, and the thunders of righteousness are justly uttered.
The Spirit of God’s Son has been given to us, and the cry of relationship is ours—“Abba, Father.” Moreover Christ Himself loves us with an unchanging love; and having removed our sins in His atoning blood, it is not only that He loved us, He “loves” us now. It is a present love, and the love of One who has put away our many sins. The Father Himself loves us also.
And, being given by our Lord Jesus Christ such a priestly place of nearness to His Father, how beautifully the glad chords of praise break forth—“Unto Him!”—Yes, “UNTO HIM WHO LOVES US!” It is thus that the hearts of the loved ones respond—“UNTO HIM WHO LOVES US, AND HAS WASHED US FROM OUR SINS IN HIS BLOOD, AND MADE US A KINGDOM, PRIESTS TO HIS GOD AND FATHER; UNTO HIM BE THE GLORY AND THE MIGHT TO THE AGES OF AGES. AMEN.”