Friday, 17 September 2021
“I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these things in the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, the Bright and Morning Star.” Revelation 22:16
Those who are allowed into, and those who are excluded from, New Jerusalem have been noted. With that thought now complete, come words from the Lord directly. It could be that these words are being transmitted through His messenger, or it could be that Jesus directly speaks. Either way, the words begin with, “I, Jesus have sent my angel to testify to you these things.”
That takes the reader right back to Revelation 1:1 –
“The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show His servants—things which must shortly take place. And He sent and signified it by His angel to His servant John.”
The Lord has a message for His servants, and He has transmitted it through His angel to John. All three are a part of the transmission of the book. And this message, which is now the book of Revelation, is to be testified “in the churches.”
The Greek word, translated as “in” is epi. It is a word that generally means “on,” thus giving the idea of “that which fits.” As such, it is as if the message is alighting upon the churches. It is these seven churches that then represent all churches to follow throughout the church age. Each being a type, or pattern, of the various churches in various states before the Lord. As such, it is something the churches can wrap themselves in and feel blessed in. It is a beacon of hope for those throughout the church age who have no other place of hope.
John received the Revelation two thousand years ago. The utter stupidity of claiming that the message of Revelation is only for those of the tribulation period is made evident by the fact that churches for these past two thousand years have come to the book and found that hope they can hold on to in the most terrible of times.
There has been an unending stream of war, famine, pestilence, persecution, and martyrdom in the world since Revelation was penned, but through it all, churches – and those in the churches – have been able to wrap themselves in the contents of this book in order to know that there is a hope that transcends their present moments of affliction.
The church is given their notes of correction, and their promises of the glory ahead, in the first three chapters. From there, they are provided the assurances that there will be an end to the evil in the world during the tribulation period. During and after that, it is given the assurance that God is faithful even to His unfaithful people. God is upholding His word and will fulfill His prophecies spoken to Israel. In this display of faithfulness, the church is then given the absolute assurance that they too will receive the promises of glory set forth now by John.
Revelation has been, and it continues to be more so with each passing day, a book of hope in an often hopeless world. And yet, people tear it out of its proper context – for whatever perverse reason – and rob the church of the very hope the Lord has provided for them when the times of anguish, grief, or overwhelming sadness fill their souls.
To ensure that His words are to be accepted and clung to all the more, He next says, “I am the Root and the Offspring of David.” A human does not beget his father. Thus, this is a statement of the nature of Christ, being the God/Man. This was prophesied by Isaiah to Israel, but – importantly – Isaiah’s prophecy includes the Gentiles –
“There shall come forth a Rod from the stem of Jesse,
And a Branch shall grow out of his roots.” Isaiah 11:1
“And in that day there shall be a Root of Jesse,
Who shall stand as a banner to the people;
For the Gentiles shall seek Him,
And His resting place shall be glorious.” Isaiah 11:10
Again, the ludicrous nature of hyperdispensationalism is revealed in these words from Isaiah, and which Jesus refers to. Jesus is the Root of David, being the Lord God who fashioned Adam, and through whom David came. He is also the Offspring of David, the Messiah who came to receive all of the covenant promises given to him concerning an eternal kingdom – a kingdom that calls out to the Gentiles as well as to Israel. The next verse will reveal this more specifically with the word “whoever.” There are no limitations based on age, ethnicity, sex, tribe, or so on.
The thought is almost a mirror of what Paul states in the opening words of Romans –
“Paul, a bondservant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated to the gospel of God 2 which He promised before through His prophets in the Holy Scriptures, 3 concerning His Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who was born of the seed of David according to the flesh, 4 and declared to be the Son of God with power according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead.” Romans 1:1-4
The message is to any who are simply willing to come, and it is a united message from all of the apostles in their letters. There is not one gospel to the Jew and one to the Gentile. The heresy of hyperdispensationalism becomes painfully evident when the word is taken as a whole, understanding that it has a unified intent for all of the people of the world.
With the assurance that this is so, the verse ends with, “the Bright and Morning Star.” It is a term similar to that of Revelation 2:28. The Greek of these two does show a difference though –
ton astera ton prōinon – the star the morning (2:28)
ho aster ho lampros ho prōinos – the star the bright the morning (22:16)
Christ is the Hope of mankind for an eternal future. Without Him, there will only be death, decay, and eternal darkness. But Christ is the One to come forth, leading the way to the everlasting Day that man has hoped for. In a world of darkness, He is our Beacon of hope. He offers that hope to us, to share in Himself, and to be a part of what He is doing to redeem fallen man. In placing our trust in Him, we will find the brightness of the eternal Day that He alone can usher us into.
Life application: We cannot skip over the book of Revelation without missing out on a part of the very word of the Lord who authored the entire canon of Scripture. We also must be extremely careful when handling this word. If we over-spiritualize its contents, we diminish the reality of what Jesus wants us to understand. However, there are also allegorical elements to the book which must be understood as such.
The only way to have the proper interpretive balance is to know the rest of the word which He has given to us through His prophets and apostles. Jesus is speaking to His church, just as He has all along. The church is to know and understand, based on the whole counsel of the Bible, that He has placed the church here in the Dispensation of Grace and that it will be removed to fulfill His plans for the nation of Israel.
After the tribulation period, the church will return with Him, and there will be a millennial reign of Christ on earth where the law will go forth from Zion. What the role will be for those who return with Christ during the millennium – if any – goes unstated. Eventually, there will be an eternal state with a literal city, the New Jerusalem, where God will dwell with man. All of these things have been spoken, and all of these things are to be understood from the book of Revelation. The church is to be the one to carry this message to the world until her job is complete.
God united with humanity in the womb of a virgin from the line of David, and thus He is the very point where the infinite meets with the finite. He is the Bridge back to God for mankind, and He is the Mediator between the two. And because this verse centers on the name of David, He is the greater King which David only prefigured. He is the ruler of the nations and the Almighty God whose throne and dynasty are eternal. He is Jesus.
Finally, Jesus states He is the Bright and Morning Star. Peter uses this term for Him in 1 Peter 1:19. Malachi 4:2 calls Him the “Sun of righteousness.” He is the one who revealed the Father’s glory to the apostles on the Mount of Transfiguration. He is the One who in Revelation 1:16 has a countenance “like the sun shining in its strength.” He is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of His being. He is JESUS.
O great God Almighty – How wonderful it is to know You intimately because of our Lord and Savior Jesus. What was far off and uncertain becomes close and intimate through Him. What was once a point of fear because of our sin has now become a point of freedom because of His shed blood. O God, thank You for our wonderful Lord. Thank You for Jesus. Amen.