Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Revelation 1:5

and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To Him who loves us and released us from our sins by His blood—
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Cherub;   Holy Spirit or Holy Ghost;   Washing;   Witness;   Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Blood;   Firstborn;   Redemption;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Christians, Names of;   Death of Christ;   Descent into Hell (Hades);   Jesus Christ, Name and Titles of;   Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - Ascension of Christ;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Magistrate;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Adoption;   Atonement;   Elect;   Firstborn;   Holy Spirit, the;   Revelation of John, the;   Sacrifice;   Son of God;   Turtle (Dove);   Holman Bible Dictionary - Binding and Loosing;   Firstborn;   Greeting;   Revelation, the Book of;   Trinity;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Asia;   Atonement;   Faith;   Firstborn;   Forgiveness;   Justification, Justify;   Love, Lover, Lovely, Beloved;   Predestination;   Prince;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Apocalypse;   Ascension;   Atonement (2);   Baptism;   Blood;   Brotherhood (2);   Character;   Death of Christ;   Doxology;   Doxology ;   Eschatology;   Faith;   Faithfulness;   First-Born First-Begotten ;   Forgiveness;   Grace ;   King;   Love;   Martyr;   Mediator;   Persecution;   Pre-Eminence ;   Preaching Christ;   Priest (2);   Prince;   Prince (2);   Propitiation (2);   Revelation, Book of;   Sacrifice;   Salvation Save Saviour;   Teaching of Jesus;   Type;   Unity;   Vicarious Sacrifice;   World;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Begotten;   Faithful,;   First-Begotten, First-Born,;   Martyr;   The Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary - Begotten;   Christ;   Faithful;   Priest;   Washing;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Names titles and offices of christ;   Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary - Holy Ghost;  
Encyclopedias:
Condensed Biblical Cyclopedia - Jesus of Nazareth;   Kingdom or Church of Christ, the;   International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Atonement;   Faithful;   First-Begotten;   King, Christ as;   Magistrate;   Obedience of Christ;   Papyrus;   Primogeniture;   Prince;   Revelation of John:;   Sanctification;   Text and Manuscripts of the New Testament;   Trine (Triune) Immersion;  
Devotionals:
Daily Light on the Daily Path - Devotion for October 3;   Every Day Light - Devotion for October 30;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

The faithful witness - The true teacher, whose testimony is infallible, and whose sayings must all come to pass.

The first-begotten of the dead - See the note on Colossians 1:18.

The prince of the kings - Ὁ αρχων, The chief or head, of all earthly potentates; who has them all under his dominion and control, and can dispose of them as he will.

Unto him that loved us - This should begin a new verse, as it is the commencement of a new subject. Our salvation is attributed to the love of God, who gave his Son; and to the love of Christ, who died for us. See John 3:16.

Washed us from our sins - The redemption of the soul, with the remission of sins, and purification from unrighteousness, is here, as in all the New Testament, attributed to the blood of Christ shed on the cross for man.

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Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Revelation 1:5". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/revelation-1.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness - See the notes on Revelation 1:2. He is faithful in the sense that he is one on whose testimony there may be entire reliance, or who is entirely worthy to be believed. From him “grace and peace” are appropriately sought, as one who hears such a testimony, and as the first-begotten from the dead, and as reigning over the kings of the earth. Thus, grace and peace are invoked from the infinite God in all his relations and operations: as the Father, the Source of all existence; as the Sacred Spirit, going forth in manifold operations upon the hearts of people; and as the Son of God, the one appointed to bear faithful testimony to the truth respecting God and future events.

And the first-begotten of the dead - The same Greek expression - πρωτότοκος prōtotokos- occurs in Colossians 1:18. See it explained in the notes on that passage. Compare the notes at 1 Corinthians 15:20.

And the prince of the kings of the earth - Who has over all the kings of the earth the pre-eminence which kings have over their subjects. He is the Ruler of rulers; King of kings. In Revelation 17:14; Revelation 19:16, the same thought is expressed by saying that he is the “King of kings.” No language could more sublimely denote his exalted character, or his supremacy. Kings and princes sway a scepter over the million of the earth, and the exaltation of the Saviour is here expressed by supposing that all those kings and princes constitute a community over which he is the head. The exaltation of the Redeemer is elsewhere expressed in different language, but the idea is one that everywhere prevails in regard to him in the Scriptures. Compare Matthew 28:18; Matthew 11:27; John 17:2; Ephesians 1:20-22; Philippians 2:9-11; Colossians 1:15-18. The word “prince” - ὁ ἄρχων ho archōn- means properly, “ruler, leader, the first in rank.” We often apply the word “prince” to an heir to a throne who is not invested with absolute sovereignty. The word here, however, denotes that he actually exercises dominion over the rulers of the earth. As this is an authority which is claimed by God (compare Isaiah 10:5 ff; Isaiah 45:1 ff; Psalm 47:2; Psalm 99:1; Psalm 103:9; Daniel 4:34), and which can only pertain to God, it is clear that in ascribing this to the Lord Jesus it is implied that he is possessed of divine attributes. As much of the revelations of this book pertained to the assertion of power over the princes and rulers of this world, there was a propriety that, in the commencement, it should be asserted that he who was to exert that power was invested with the prerogative of a ruler of the nations, and that he had this right of control.

Unto him that loved us - This refers undoubtedly to the Lord Jesus, whose love for people was so strong that nothing more was necessary to characterize him than to speak of him as the one “who loved us.” It is manifest that the division in the verses should have been made here, for this commences a new subject, not having any special connection with what precedes. In Revelation 1:4, and the first part of this verse, the writer had invoked grace from the Father, the Spirit, and the Saviour. In the latter clause of the verse there commences an ascription of praise to the Redeemer; an ascription to him particularly, because the whole book is regarded as a revelation from him Revelation 1:1; because he was the one who especially appeared to John in the visions of Patmos; and because he was to be the great agent in carrying into execution the purposes revealed in this book.

And washed us from our sins in his own blood - He has removed the pollution of sin from our souls by his blood; that is, his blood has been applied to cleanse us from sin. Blood can be represented as having a cleansing power only as it makes an expiation for sin, for considered literally its effect would be the reverse. The language is such as would be used only on the supposition that he had made an atonement, and that it was by the atonement that we are cleansed; for in what sense could it be said of a martyr that he “had washed us from our sins in his blood?” How could this language be used of Paul or Polycarp; of Ridley or Cranmer? The doctrine that the blood of Christ cleanses us from sin, or purifies us, is one that is common in the Scriptures. Compare 1 John 1:7; Hebrews 9:14. The specific idea of washing, however - representing that blood as washing sin away - is one which does not elsewhere occur. It is evidently used in the sense of “cleansing” or “purifying,” as we do this by “washing,” and as the blood of Christ accomplishes in respect to our souls, what washing with water does in respect to the body.

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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Revelation 1:5". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/revelation-1.html. 1870.

Coffman Commentaries on the Bible

And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loveth us, and loosed us from our sins by his blood.

Jesus Christ who is the faithful witness ... There is a powerful New Testament emphasis upon the faith of Jesus Christ, as in Paul's writings, especially in Galatians 2:16,20; 3:22; Romans 3:22,26; Ephesians 3:12; Philippians 3:9; etc. There is a false impression that since Christ was deity incarnate he did not need to have faith; but in our Lord's humiliation as a man, faith in the Father was his predominate characteristic. All hope of salvation rests ultimately in the faithfulness of our Lord Jesus Christ. He was the faithful witness in the sense of delivering accurately to mankind the word and the commandment which the Father gave him on behalf of humanity.

The firstborn from the dead ... The New Testament records the resurrection of Dorcas, the daughter of Jairus, Eutychus, the widow's son at Nain, and that of Lazarus in addition to the resurrection of Christ. In addition, there were "many of the saints" who came out of their graves following the resurrection of Christ (seven resurrections). In what sense, then, is Christ the firstborn from the dead? He alone came back from death never to die again; and besides this, there is the inherent significance of his being the first of many to triumph over death. As Beckwith put it: "The language implies the future resurrection of the saints."[15]

The ruler of the kings of the earth ... Christ is here spoken of as the possessor of all power and authority, fully in keeping with the Saviour's words, "All authority in heaven and upon earth has been given unto me" (Matthew 28:18). It should be noted that this authority belongs to Christ in the present time and perpetually. He is not planning to start ruling at some future time; he rules now! A great deal of the misunderstanding of this prophecy, as well as of the whole New Testament, derives from a failure to take account of this tremendous truth. Many have difficulty believing that Christ rules now; because, as they say, the world is in such a dreadful mess. However, the world was in a dreadful condition in the days of Nebuchadnezzar, who had to eat grass with the beasts of the field for seven years to learn that "The Most High rules in the kingdom of men" (Daniel 4:25). As for the reason why God's rule permits such atrocious wickedness on earth, it is clear enough that God permits it because it is in keeping with his purpose. The reign of Christ now in this present time will be more extensively treated under the "thousand years" interpretation (Revelation 20:2). There is no way in which this student of the Lord's word can accept such a declaration as that of Hal Lindsey, who wrote: "Even though Christ has the right to rule the earth, he isn't exercising this authority over kings and kingdoms at this time."[16] If Christ is not exercising his authority, how can the church receive his promise that Christ will be with us "even unto the end of the world" (Matthew 28:18-20)? Yes, despite the inability of some to see and recognize it, Christ is ruling now and will continue to rule until the last enemy is destroyed (1 Corinthians 15:25).

Unto him that loveth us, and loosed us from our sins by his blood ... Of significance are the present tense (loveth) and past tense (loosed), showing that Christ's love is continuous, and that the redemption mentioned is a past accomplishment. Since it is an undeniable truth that Christ keeps on saving the saved until at last they are saved eternally in heaven, it is evident that the initial salvation in conversion is the redemption that John had in view here; therefore, the KJV rendition of this as "washed us" is likewise correct. On what the scholars consider sufficient textual evidence, this was changed to "loosed us" in subsequent versions. The Greek words for these two expressions are almost identical in appearance; and, furthermore, it is immaterial exactly which is the original reading. As Hinds said:

Both words state true facts. That Christ washes us, cleanses us, through the merits of his blood is unquestionably true, as stated in Revelation 7:14. But by Christ's blood we are loosed from our sins also.[17]

The passage in Revelation 7:14, as well as the overtones of the whole context, incline us to accept the opinion of Carpenter: "The general tone of thought would lead us to prefer "washed" as the true reading."[18] The slavish following of certain preferred manuscripts is not necessarily an infallible method of determining accuracy.

[15] Isbon T. Beckwith, op. cit., p. 428.

[16] Hal Lindsey, There's a New World Coming (California: Vision House, Publishers, 1973), p. 26.

[17] John T. Hinds, op. cit., p. 22.

[18] W. Boyd Carpenter, Ellicott's Bible Commentary, Vol. VIII (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan Publishing House, 1939), p. 535.

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Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on Revelation 1:5". "Coffman Commentaries on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/revelation-1.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

And from Jesus Christ,.... Who, though the second Person in the Trinity, is mentioned last, because many things were to be said of him; and who is described in all his offices: in his prophetic office,

the faithful witness; as he is of his Father, of his mind and will, with respect to doctrine and worship; of his truth and faithfulness in his promises; and of his love, grace, and mercy, to his chosen; and of himself, of his true deity, proper sonship, and perfect equality with the Father; of his Messiahship, and of salvation through his obedience, sufferings, and death; and of all truth in general, to which he has bore a faithful testimony several ways, in his ministry, by his miracles, at his death, and by the shedding of his blood to seal it; by his Spirit since, and by the ministers of his word: he is described in his priestly office be

the first begotten of the dead: being the first that rose from the dead by his own power, and to an immortal life; for though some few were raised before him, yet not by themselves, nor to live for ever, but to die again. Moreover, he is the firstfruits of the resurrection, the pledge and earnest of it, as well as the efficient cause and exemplar of it. This character supposes that he died, as he did, for the sins of his people; and that he rose again from the dead, as he did, for their justification; and that he rose first as their head and representative, and opened the way of life for them. And he is described in his kingly office, for it follows,

and the Prince of the kings of the earth: which is not to be understood figuratively of the saints, who have power over sin, Satan, and the world, through the efficacious grace of Christ, and of whom he is Prince or King; but literally of the kings and princes of this world, over whom Christ is King and Lord, who receive their crowns and kingdoms from him, and rule by him, and are accountable to him, as they one day must be. Next follows a doxology, or an ascription of glory to him,

unto him that hath loved us; his own, his people, his church, his chosen, and who are given him by his Father; these he has loved with an everlasting and unchangeable love, with a love of complacency and delight, which passes knowledge, and will never end: and which he has shown in espousing their persons, undertaking their cause, assuming their nature, and in nothing more than in giving himself for them as a propitiatory sacrifice, or in dying and shedding his precious blood for them, as is next expressed:

and washed us from our sins in his own blood; which shows that these persons were loved before washed; they were not first washed, and then loved, but first loved, and then washed. Love was the cause of washing, and not washing the cause of love; hence it appears that they were in themselves filthy, and unclean through sin; and that they could not cleanse themselves by anything they could do; and that such was the love of Christ to them, that he shed his precious blood for them, which is a fountain opened, to wash in for sin, and which cleanses from all sin. This is to be understood, not of the sanctification of their natures, which is the work of the Spirit, but of atonement for their sins, and justification from them by the blood of Christ, whereby they are so removed, that they are all fair, and without spot. It is afterwards said, that these same persons are made priests; and it may be observed, that the priests were always washed, before they performed their service, as suchF14Misn. Yoma, c. 3. sect. 2,3,4,5,6. . The Alexandrian copy and the Syriac and Arabic versions read, "and hath loosed us from our sins in", or "by his blood"; that is, from the guilt of them, which was bound upon them,

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The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rights Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
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Bibliographical Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on Revelation 1:5". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/revelation-1.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

And from Jesus Christ, 5 [who is] the faithful witness, [and] the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood,

(5) A most ample and honourable commendation of Christ, first from his offices of the priesthood and kingdom: secondly from his benefits, as his love toward us, and washing us with his blood, in this verse, and communication of his kingdom and priesthood with us: thirdly, from his eternal glory and power, which is always to be celebrated by us; (Revelation 1:6) Finally, from the accomplishment of all things once to be effected by him, at his second coming, at which time he shall openly destroy the wicked, and comfort the godly in the truth; (Revelation 1:7).
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Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Revelation 1:5". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/revelation-1.html. 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

the faithful witness — of the truth concerning Himself and His mission as Prophet, Priest, and King Savior. “He was the faithful witness, because all things that He heard of the Father He faithfully made known to His disciples. Also, because He taught the way of God in truth, and cared not for man, nor regarded the persons of men. Also, because the truth which He taught in words He confirmed by miracles. Also, because the testimony to Himself on the part of the Father He denied not even in death. Lastly, because He will give true testimony of the works of good and bad at the day of judgment” [Richard of St. Victor in Trench]. The nominative in Greek standing in apposition to the genitive, “Jesus Christ,” gives majestic prominence to “the faithful witness.”

the first-begotten of the dead — (Colossians 1:18). Lazarus rose, to die again. Christ rose to die no more. The image is not as if the grave was the womb of His resurrection-birth [Alford]; but as Acts 13:33; Romans 1:4, treat Christ‘s resurrection as the epoch and event which fulfilled the Scripture, Psalm 2:7, “This day (at the resurrection) have I begotten Thee.” It was then that His divine Sonship as the God-man was manifested and openly attested by the Father. So our resurrection and our manifested sonship, or generation, are connected. Hence “regeneration” is used of the resurrection-state at the restitution of all things (Matthew 19:28).

the prince — or Ruler. The kingship of the world which the tempter offered to Jesus on condition of doing homage to him, and so shunning the cross, He has obtained by the cross. “The kings of the earth” conspired against the Lord‘s Anointed (Psalm 2:2): these He shall break in pieces (Psalm 2:9). Those who are wise in time and kiss the Son shall bring their glory unto Him at His manifestation as King of kings, after He has destroyed His foes.

Unto him that loved us — The oldest manuscripts read the present, “  …  loveth us.” It is His ever-continuing character, He loveth us, and ever shall love us. His love rests evermore on His people.

washed us — The two oldest manuscripts read, “freed (loosed as from a bond) us”: so Andreas and Primasius. One very old manuscript, Vulgate, and Coptic read as English Version, perhaps drawn from Revelation 7:4. “Loosed us in (virtue of) His blood,” being the harder reading to understand, is less likely to have come from the transcribers. The reference is thus to Greek, “{lutron},” the ransom paid for our release (Matthew 20:28). In favor of English Version reading is the usage whereby the priests, before putting on the holy garments and ministering, washed themselves: so spiritually believers, as priests unto God, must first be washed in Christ‘s blood from every stain before they can serve God aright now, or hereafter minister as dispensers of blessing to the subject nations in the millennial kingdom, or minister before God in heaven.

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This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.
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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Revelation 1:5". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/revelation-1.html. 1871-8.

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament

Who is the faithful witness (ο μαρτυς ο πιστοςho martus ho pistos). “The witness the faithful,” nominative in apposition like πρωτοτοκοςprōtotokos and αρχωνarchōn with the preceding ablative Ιησου ΧριστουIēsou Christou with αποapo a habit of John in this book (apparently on purpose) as in Revelation 2:13, Revelation 2:20; Revelation 3:12, etc. See this same phrase in Revelation 2:13; Revelation 3:14. The use of μαρτυςmartus of Jesus here is probably to the witness (Revelation 1:1) in this book (Revelation 22:16.), not to the witness of Jesus before Pilate (1 Timothy 6:13).

The first-born of the dead (ο πρωτοτοκος των νεκρωνho prōtotokos tōn nekrōn). A Jewish Messianic title (Psalm 89:27) and as in Colossians 1:18 refers to priority in the resurrection to be followed by others. See Luke 2:7 for the word.

The ruler of the kings of the earth (ο αρχων των βασιλεων της γηςho archōn tōn basileōn tēs gēs). Jesus by his resurrection won lordship over the kings of earth (Revelation 17:14; Revelation 19:16), what the devil offered him by surrender (Matthew 4:8.).

Unto him that loveth us (τωι αγαπωντι ημαςtōi agapōnti hēmās). Dative of the articular present (not aorist αγαπησαντιagapēsanti) active participle of αγαπαωagapaō in a doxology to Christ, the first of many others to God and to Christ (Revelation 1:6; Revelation 4:11; Revelation 5:9, Revelation 5:12.; Revelation 7:10, Revelation 7:12, etc.). For the thought see John 3:16.

Loosed (λυσαντιlusanti). First aorist active participle of λυωluō (Aleph A C), though some MSS. (P Q) read λουσαντιlousanti (washed), a manifest correction. Note the change of tense. Christ loosed us once for all, but loves us always.

By his blood (εν τωι αιματι αυτουen tōi haimati autou). As in Revelation 5:9. John here as in the Gospel and Epistles states plainly and repeatedly the place of the blood of Christ in the work of redemption.

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The Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament. Copyright Broadman Press 1932,33, Renewal 1960. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman Press (Southern Baptist Sunday School Board)
Bibliographical Information
Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on Revelation 1:5". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rwp/revelation-1.html. Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.

Vincent's Word Studies

Jesus Christ

The Son. Placed after the Spirit because what is to follow in Revelation 1:5-8relates to Him. This is according to John's manner of arranging his thoughts so that a new sentence shall spring out of the final thought of the preceding sentence. Compare the Prologue of the Gospel, and Revelation 1:1, Revelation 1:2, of this chapter.

The faithful witness ( ὁ μάρτυς ὁ πιστὸς )

For the phraseology see on 1 John 4:9. For witness, see on John 1:7; see on 1 Peter 5:1. As applied to the Messiah, see Psalm 89:37; Isaiah 55:4. The construction again departs from the grammatical rule. The words witness, first-born, ruler, are in the nominative case, instead of being in the genitive, in apposition with Jesus Christ. This construction, though irregular, nevertheless gives dignity and emphasis to these titles of the Lord. See on Revelation 1:4. The word πιστὸς , faithful is used (1), of one who shows Himself faithful in the discharge of a duty or the administration of a trust (Matthew 24:45; Luke 12:42). Hence, trustworthy (1 Corinthians 7:25; 2 Timothy 2:2). Of things that can be relied upon (1 Timothy 3:1; 2 Timothy 2:11). (2), Confiding; trusting; a believer (Galatians 3:9; Acts 16:1; 2 Corinthians 6:15; 1 Timothy 5:16). See on 1 John 1:9. The word is combined with ἀληθινός , true, genuine in Revelation 3:14; Revelation 19:11; Revelation 21:5; Revelation 22:6. Richard of St. Victor (cited by Trench) says: “A faithful witness, because He gave faithful testimony concerning all things which were to be testified to by Him in the world. A faithful witness, because whatever He heard from the Father, He faithfully made known to His disciples. A faithful witness, because He taught the way of God in truth, neither did He care for any one nor regard the person of men. A faithful witness, because He announced condemnation to the reprobate and salvation to the elect. A faithful witness, because He confirmed by miracles the truth which He taught in words. A faithful witness, because He denied not, even in death, the Father's testimony to Himself. A faithful witness, because He will give testimony in the day of judgment concerning the works of the good and of the evil.”

The first-begotten of the dead ( ὁ πρωτότοκος ἐκ τῶν νεκρῶν )

Rev., the first-born. The best texts omit ἐκ fromCompare Colossians 1:18. The risen Christ regarded in His relation to the dead in Christ. He was not the first who rose from the dead, but the first who so rose that death was thenceforth impossible for Him (Romans 6:9); rose with that resurrection-life in which He will finally bring with Him those who sleep in Him (1 Thessalonians 4:14). Some interpreters, rendering first-born, find in the phrase the metaphor of death as the womb which bare Him (see on Acts 2:24). Others, holding by the rendering first-begotten, connect the passage with Psalm 2:7, which by Paul is connected with the resurrection of Christ (Acts 13:32, Acts 13:33). Paul also says that Jesus “was declared to be the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead” (Romans 1:4). The verb τίκτω which is one of the components of πρωτότοκος first-begottenor born, is everywhere in the New Testament used in the sense of to bear or to bring forth, and has nowhere the meaning beget, unless James 1:15be an exception, on which see note. In classical Greek the meaning beget is common.

The Ruler of the kings of the earth ( ὁ ἄρχων τῶν βασιλέων τῆς γῆς )

Through resurrection He passes to glory and dominion (Philippians 2:9). The comparison with the kings of the earth is suggested by Psalm 2:2. Compare Psalm 89:27; Isaiah 52:15; 1 Timothy 6:16; and see Revelation 6:15; Revelation 17:4; Revelation 19:16.

Unto Him that loved ( τῳ ἀγαπήσαντι )

The true reading is ἀγαπῶντι thatloveth. So Rev. Christ's love is ever present See John 13:1.

Washed ( λούσαντι )

Read λύσαντι loosedTrench remarks on the variation of readings as having grown out of a play on the words λουτρόν , a bathing, and λύτρον aransom, both of which express the central benefits which redound to us through the sacrifice and death of Christ. He refers to this play upon words as involved in the etymology of the name Apollo as given by Plato; viz., the washer ( ὁ ἀπολούων ) and the absolver ( ὁ ἀπολύων ) from all impurities. Either reading falls in with a beautiful circle of imagery. If washed, compare Psalm 51:2; Isaiah 1:16, Isaiah 1:18; Ezekiel 36:25; Acts 22:16; Ephesians 5:26; Titus 3:5. If loosed, compare Matthew 20:28; 1 Timothy 2:6; 1 Peter 1:18; Hebrews 9:12; Galatians 3:13; Galatians 4:5; Revelation 5:9; Revelation 14:3, Revelation 14:4.

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Bibliographical Information
Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on Revelation 1:5". "Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/vnt/revelation-1.html. Charles Schribner's Sons. New York, USA. 1887.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood,

And from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the first begotten from the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth — Three glorious appellations are here given him, and in their proper order. He was the faithful witness of the whole will of God before his death, and in death, and remains such in glory. He rose from the dead, as "the first fruits of them that slept;" and now hath all power both in heaven and earth. He is here styled a prince: but by and by he hears his title of king; yea, King of kings, and Lord of lords." This phrase, the kings of the earth, signifies their power and multitude, and also the nature of their kingdom. It became the Divine Majesty to call them kings with a limitation; especially in this manifesto from his heavenly kingdom; for no creature, much less a sinful man, can bear the title of king in an absolute sense before the eyes of God.

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Wesley, John. "Commentary on Revelation 1:5". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/revelation-1.html. 1765.

Abbott's Illustrated New Testament

The first-begotten of the dead. Those persons who had been raised from the dead before the resurrection of the Savior, were only restored to mortal life; they were to die again, Jesus was the first who rose to immortality. Hence such expressions as this, and others similar to it, as in 1 Corinthians 15:20, are applied to him.

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Abbott, John S. C. & Abbott, Jacob. "Commentary on Revelation 1:5". "Abbott's Illustrated New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ain/revelation-1.html. 1878.

Scofield's Reference Notes

sins

Sin. (See Scofield "Romans 3:23").

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Scofield, C. I. "Scofield Reference Notes on Revelation 1:5". "Scofield Reference Notes (1917 Edition)". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/srn/revelation-1.html. 1917.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

5 And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood,

Ver. 5. And from Jesus Christ] Who is here set last of the three persons, because more is to be said of him; both as touching his threefold office, and a threefold benefit therehence redounding unto us.

That hath loved us] See Ezekiel 16:6-9. Christ, that heavenly pelican, revived his dead young ones with his own heart-blood. (Pierii Hieroglyph.) He saw the wrath of God burning about them, and cast himself into the midst thereof, that he might quench it. Judah offered to be bound that Benjamin might go free. Jonathan risked his life and quitted his kingdom for love of David. Arsinoe interposed her own body between the murderer’s weapons and her children. But what was all this to this incomparable love of the Lord Jesus? When the Jews saw him weeping for Lazarus, "Behold," they say, "how he loved him." When we see him weeping, bleeding, dying for us, shall not we much more say so?

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Revelation 1:5". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/revelation-1.html. 1865-1868.

Sermon Bible Commentary

Revelation 1:5

Christ's Present Love and its Great Act.

I. Consider the ever-present, timeless love of Jesus Christ. John is writing these words of our text nearly half a century after Jesus Christ was buried He is speaking to Asiatic Christians, Greeks and foreigners, most of whom had not been born when Jesus Christ died, none of whom had probably ever seen Him in this world. To these people he proclaims, not a past love, not a Christ that loved long ago, but a Christ that loves now, a Christ that loved these Asiatic Greeks at the moment when John Was writing, a Christ that loves us nineteenth-century Englishmen at the moment when we read. (1) This one word is the revelation to us of Christ's love as unaffected by time. (2) Then, further, that love is not disturbed or absorbed by multitudes. (3) Another thought may be suggested, too, of how this present, timeless love of Christ is unexhausted by exercise. (4) Again, it is a love unchilled by the sovereignty and glory of His exaltation.

II. Notice the great act in time which is the outcome and proof of this endless love. The one act in time which is the proof and outcome of His love is the deliverance from sin by His blood. What a pathos that thought gives to His death! It was the willing token of His love. He gave Himself up to the cross of shame because He held us in His heart. There was no reason for His death but only that "He loveth us." And with what solemn power that thought invests His death! Even His love could not reach its end by any other means—not by mere goodwill, nor by any small sacrifice. Nothing short of the bitter cross could accomplish His heart's desire for men. We have no proof of Christ's love to us and no reason for loving Him except His death for our sins.

III. One final word as to the praise which should be our answer to this great love. Our praise of Christ is but the expression of our recognition of Him for what He is and our delight in, and love towards, Him. Such love, which is but our love speaking, is all which He asks. Love can only be paid by love. Any other recompense offered to it is coinage of another currency. The only recompense that satisfies love is its own image reflected in another heart. That is what Jesus Christ wants of you.

A. Maclaren, A Year's Ministry, 2nd series, p. 305.


Look at the text—

I. As a statement of a fact. "The blood of Jesus Christ, His Son, cleanseth us from all sin." The reasons for this arrangement are not with the theological reasoners, but they are among the secret things which belong to God. But just as the body is washed by pure water, so are we washed from our sins in Christ's own blood.

II. As the most perfect illustration of Jesus's love. (1) Dying for us was grief, sorrow, self-denial, trouble, a cup of gall to Jesus Christ, just as His temptations were fiery trials. (2) Nothing can be so precious as love thus proved.

III. As a matter of consciousness. "Looking unto Jesus," we begin to hate evil, to be weaned from the love of sin, to love righteousness; we "cease to do evil and learn to do well."

IV. As an incentive to praise and as a theme of praise. Praise is the expression of holy, happy, devout feeling; and such expression must be acceptable to God. Divine revelation is Divine expression. Creation is expression by the absolute and infinite God. "He that offereth praise glorifieth Me."

S. Martin, Comfort in Trouble, p. 232.


References: Revelation 1:5.—W. J. Knox-Little, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xiii., p. 248; Preacher's Monthly, vol. iii., p. 321; vol. viii., p. 240. Revelation 1:5, Revelation 1:6.—Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xxix., No. 1737; W. Cunningham, Sermons, p. 146; Homiletic Quarterly, vol. iii., p. 87.

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Nicoll, William R. "Commentary on Revelation 1:5". "Sermon Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/sbc/revelation-1.html.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Revelation 1:5. The faithful witness, In the original the nominative case is again used by St. John, contrary to the analogy of grammar, to signify, that, as he had intimated the immortality of the Deity, so likewise Christ was no less immutable in his kingdom and in his testimony. Christ is called the Prince of the kings of the earth, to encourage them in the profession of Christianity, notwithstandingthe opposition made by kings, whom he could easily defeat and destroy in a moment. See John 13:34; John 15:9. 1 John 1:7.

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Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Revelation 1:5". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/revelation-1.html. 1801-1803.

Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament

In the former verse our Saviour was considered in the excellency of his person, and with respect to what he is in himself; in this verse he is considered in the execution of his office, or with respect to what he is unto his church.

And here observe, 1. His affection in general towards us, he hath loved us; our blessed Redeemer hath given ample and full demonstration of his great and wonderful love unto his church and people, and none doth so properly and passionately love the church as Christ himself; before conversion he loves his people with a love of commiseration and compassion; after conversion, he loves them with a love of complacency and delight.

Observe, 2. The discovery and manifestation which Christ has made of this his love particularly towards us, He hath washed us from our sins in his own blood; that is, he hath given himself a sacrifice for our sins, and by the merit of his blood freed us from the guilt of sin in our justification, and also by the efficacy of that blood cleansed us from the filth of sin in our sanctification: the blood of Christ hath both a pacifying and a purifying influence; it pacifies God's wrath, and purges the sinner's conscience; the blood of Christ merited the Spirit of God for our sanctification, and so reconciled us to God, as well as obtained pardon for us, in a way of meritorious satisfaction, and so reconciled God to us: He washed us from our sins in his own blood.

Where note, A great emphasis in the double word of property.

1. Our sins; that is, every one of our own sins, without any imitation or exception whatsoever, as to the number or heinous nature of them: the sin against the Holy Ghost is indeed excepted; and this proceeds from the incapacity of the sinner, not from the inefficacy or insufficiency of Christ's sacrifice for sin.

2. There is also an emphasis in the word of property with respect to Christ, when it is called his own blood: the Levitical priests sprinkled the people with blood, but it was not their own blood, but the blood of bulls and goats; but Christ spared not his own blood, and he did not barely sprinkle us with it, but washed us with it: it was not the blood of his finger, but the blood of his heart: his very life went with it; He washed us from our sins in his own blood.

Observe, 3. The consequent effect and happy result of all this love of Christ towards us, and undertaken for us, He hath made us kings and priests unto God.

1. Kings, not in a temporal but a spiritual sense; they reign as kings over their unruly lusts and corruptions, over Satan, over the world, over death the king of terrors; they begin their reign upon earth, without which it were impossible to perfect and complete it in heaven.

2. Priests, consecrating themselves a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable unto God, and offering up, not expiatory, but gratulatory sacrifices unto him, namely, prayer and praise, supplication and thanksgiving. Ye are an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. 1 Peter 2:5

Observe, 4. After this description of Christ, follows an ascription of all that glory and honour, dominion and power, which is his due, and our duty to ascribe unto him: To him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

Where note, That the same honour and glory, dominion and power, being here attributed and given to Christ, which Christ teaches us to ascribe and render unto God, Matthew 6:1 it is a sure testimony that Christ is God, and as such to be acknowledged and adored by us: To whom be glory, &c.

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Burkitt, William. "Commentary on Revelation 1:5". Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wbc/revelation-1.html. 1700-1703.

Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament

Revelation 1:5. As from the seven spirits of God, as the Spirit of God and of the Lamb beheld in living concretion, comforting, warning, strengthening believers, but judging the world, grace and peace are wished; so also, finally (Revelation 1:5-6), from Jesus Christ, since he is μάρτυς πιστὸς, κ. τ. λ. The construction with the genitive is not abandoned in order to indicate “the immutability of the testimony,”(589) neither is it aided by supplying ὅς ἐστίν:(590) but the importance of the ideas breaks through the limitations of regular form; the abrupt mode of speech makes prominent the intense independence of all three predicates. Compare the energetic change of construction in the sentences immediately following. All three predicates of Jesus Christ stand in pragmatic connection with the contents of the entire ἀποκάλυψις communicated through him, but not(591) in correspondence with the three themes of the ascription of praise, τ. ἀγαπῶντι, λύσαντι, and ἐποίησεν ἡμ. βασιλ., κ. τ. λ. Inconsistent with the conception and reference of the three predicates, is also the opinion that in them Christ “is characterized according to the consecutive series of his works, and therefore according to his threefold office.”(592)

Christ exalted to his majesty is first μάρτυς πιστός, i.e., the trustworthy(593) witness, and not because in his earthly life he testified, in general, to the divine truth,(594) and maintained it even unto death;(595) nor because what he has threatened and promised in the flesh(596) he will execute: but also, not alone because of the attestation to apocalyptic truth,(597) which reference, of course, must not be omitted, but absolutely as the very one through whom each and every divine revelation occurs, who communicates predictions not only to the prophets in general,(598) as at present to the writer of the Apoc.,(599) but also testifies to the truth(600) by reproving, admonishing, and comforting the churches. That, just on this account, Christ was the faithful witness in the flesh, is self-evident, but lies here beyond the sphere of the visions.

πρωτότοκος τῶν νεκρῶν. This figurative expression(601) agrees, as to its essential meaning, with the figure, ἀπαρχη τῶν κεκοι΄η΄ένων, 1 Corinthians 15:20.(602) The figure is obliterated if πρωτότοκος,(603) without any thing further, be received like ἀρχή, the first.(604) Grot. already justly remarks, “The resurrection is a birth.”(605) Yet the view according to which the resurrection to a new life(606) appears as a birth is to be maintained in its simplicity, and not, as with Ebrard, to be further portrayed.(607) But, since Christ is the πρωτότ. τ. νεκρ., he may represent himself as in Revelation 1:18; Revelation 2:8; and that applies to him as returning, which Revelation 1:7 represents as the fundamental thought of the book. [See Note XX., p. 123.] καὶ ἄρχων τῶν βασιλέων τῆς γῆς. This, Christ—to whom, as the Messiah, and that too as one dead and risen again, the dominion over all things belongs(608)—will prove himself to be, in the judgment, at his advent.(609)

If the three predicates of Christ just mentioned are presented without formal opposition, because in this way the unconditional objectivity of the ideas is the more forcibly marked, the subjective references in the following expressions, τ. ἀγαπ. ἡμᾶς, λυσ. ἡμας ἐκ τ. ἁμαρτ. ἡμῶν, ἐποιησ. ἡμῶν βασιλ., require that they be made in the form of a doxology. The new clause, τῷ ἀγαπῶντι ἡμ., looks from the very beginning to the close ( ἀυτῷ) δόξα, κ. τ. λ.; the ἀυτῷ restoring the original form of the sentence after it had been interrupted, after a Hebraistic manner, by the finite tense, καὶ ἐποίησεν.(610)

The present, τ. ἀγαπῶντι, is neither to be accounted for by the false reading ἀγαπήσαντι, nor to be explained in the sense of an imperfect participle; but, on the contrary, the certainty that Christ continues to love his people is just as significant in the connection of the book as that of his being the faithful witness.(611) The bride is comforted, and rejoices in the coining of Him whom she loves.(612)

καὶ λύσαντι ἡ΄ᾶς ἐκ τῶν ἁ΄αρτ. ἡ΄., κ. τ. λ. The loosing which Christ has accomplished(613) by means of his blood(614) [see Note XXI., p. 124] represents our sins as a power enchaining us.(615) For the thought, cf. the similar conception of ἀγοράζειν, Revelation 5:9.(616) The reading λούσαντι(617) yields, according to another figure,(618) essentially the same idea, in both of which(619) the forgiveness of sins and liberation from their power(620) are comprised. Yet, even in an exegetical respect, the reading λύσαντι is preferable. As in Revelation 5:9 the allied idea of the ἀγοράζειν, so also here the λύσαντι ἡμ. is followed by the declaration which, in most forcible opposition to the bondage of the sins from which we are delivered, ascribes to us a royal dominion and holy priesthood with God.

NOTES BY THE AMERICAN EDITOR

XX. Revelation 1:5. πρωτότοκος

Cf. Meyer on 1 Corinthians 15:20; Colossians 1:18. Others, indeed, were raised from the dead before Christ’s resurrection, e.g., the daughter of Jairus, and Lazarus; yet they were not raised to immortal life, but their souls were re-invested with mortal bodies. See the contrast drawn by Romans 6:9; also, in this chapter, Revelation 5:13.

NOTES BY THE AMERICAN EDITOR

XXI. Revelation 1:5. καὶ λὐσαντι

Beck, who, however, prefers the reading λούσαντι, adds on the ἑν τῷ αἵματι: “For it is not the material, lifeless blood of one dead, but the spiritually quickened blood of the risen One, i.e., of one born anew by the resurrection, of the spiritually glorified Son of man. The sin-cleansing efficacy of the blood of Christ is, therefore, one that works inwardly, cleansing the heart and mind, towards God (Hebrews 9:14; cf. Hebrews 7:16; Hebrews 10:19-21). λούειν is, therefore, not merely judicial liberation from sin as a debt, nor moral liberation from the bondage of sin (as two parties of exegetes here try to maintain), but one divine act accomplished in the person, whereby the habitual, sinful nature of the human heart and mind, discontent with God, and hostility towards him, are removed, and changed into a communion of peace and love with God, into a new habit, whence, at last, the personal freedom from sin, and sanctification in God, result.” Tait: “Tell us not, then, that the death of Christ was merely that of a martyr, a spectacle before men and angels of the dignity of self-sacrifice,—that it was intended to reconcile man to God by preaching to us, through a mortal, the evil of sin and the majesty of sorrow.”

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Meyer, Heinrich. "Commentary on Revelation 1:5". Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hmc/revelation-1.html. 1832.

Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament

Revelation 1:5. ἀπὸ ἰησοῦ χριστοῦ, μάρτυς, κ. τ. λ.) In this book apposition is frequently used between an oblique case and a nominative. We have collected examples in the App. p. 778 [Edit. ii. p. 488]. In this manner the Hebrews decline a nomenclature consisting of many words by only prefixing Mem, for instance: and in like manner the French, by the use of the preposition de, etc. Moreover Luke also has, ἐν τῷ αἵματί μου, τὸ ὑπὲρ ὑμῶν ἐκχυνόμενον, ch. Revelation 22:20.— τῶν νεκρῶν) The editions read, ἐκ τῶν νεκρῶν.(8) It is only in the Apocalypse that my text shows a reading sometimes different from the printed editions. I have stated the reason at full length in the App. p. 788 [Ed. ii. p. 498 and following], and in either Defence [App. Crit. Ed. ii. P. iv. N. iv. and bx.]— ἀγαπῶντι(9)) This is the reading of the most ancient Alex. and of six others, not to be despised, and probably of a greater number, who have been overlooked by ancient collators. Others read ἀγαπήσαντι, on account of the following words, λούσαντι and ἐποίησεν: and it is preferred by Wolf. But the present participle includes the force of the præter-imperfect also. οἱ μισοῦντες, οἱ ̔ ἀγαπῶντες, οἱ φιλοῦντες, οἱ δοξάζοντες, they who hated, who esteemed, who loved, who honoured: 2 Samuel 19:6; Lamentations 1:2; Lamentations 1:8. Thus Matthew 2:20, οἱ ζητοῦντες, they who were seeking; 2 Peter 1:19, φαίνοντι denotes a light which WAS SHINING, for it is followed by Aorist 1st, διαυγάσῃ and ἀνατείλῃ. Thus θεωροῦντες and ὤν the imperfect, John 9:8; John 9:25, and repeatedly. And the use of the word ἀγαπῶντι in the present with the force of a præterite was so much easier, because two aorists follow. And so the present is used for the præterite, when the præterite follows, ch. Revelation 13:12. But ἀγαπῶντι is strictly a present, and denotes perpetual love, as John 3:35, πατὴρ αι απα τὸν υἱὸν, καὶ πάντα δεδωκεν ἐν τῇ χειρὶ αὐτοῦ, The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into His hand: where the present and præterite are joined together. In the German translation of the Apocalypse I have designedly translated it, who loves us. And such passages, as I understand, displease many. But the style of John and the taste of the present day are as widely apart as the east and the west. In translating, I do not seek to gratify fastidious ears, but I scrupulously follow John, who wrote altogether in accordance with the sense of the Hebrew. This is a part of the reproach of Christ.(10)αὐτοῦ) I have everywhere written αὐτοῦ, with a soft breathing,(11) even where it has a reflexive sense, following the example of Erasmus, who indeed, in his editions, almost indiscriminately edits αὐτοῦ, by way of concession to prejudices, as I imagine, and αὐτοῦ, even in a reflexive sense, from MSS. The reason has been mentioned once for all in the Appar. p. 453 [Ed. ii. p 93], (Buttigius agreeing with me in his preface to the New Testament); and it must be supposed to have been mentioned in each particular passage. Compare therefore on this passage also Appar. Crit. Ed. ii. p. 504. As with the Hebrews ך and other suffixes have both the relative and reciprocal force of the third person: so the writers of the new Testament use αὐτοῦ in either sense indiscriminately. And so in this passage, ch. Revelation 1:5, αὐτοῦ altogether refers to Jesus Christ, who hath washed us in His own blood.

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Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on Revelation 1:5". Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jab/revelation-1.html. 1897.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness: here is an express mention of Jesus Christ, because he was the procurer of our redemption, and our Mediator, to whom the Father committed all power as to the church. He is called the faithful and true witness; 1 Timothy 6:13, he witnessed a good confession before Pontius Plate; he bare record of himself, John 8:13,14: see also Isaiah 43:10 55:4 John 18:37.

And the first begotten of the dead; that is, who first rose from the dead, viz. by his own power, John 10:18, and to die no more: see Acts 13:34 1 Corinthians 15:20.

And the prince of the kings of the earth: the King of kings, Revelation 17:14 19:16 1 Timothy 6:15. The first name here given to Christ speaketh his prophetical office, the second his priestly office, this last his kingly office.

Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood: here begins a doxology, or giving glory to Christ, (such forms are frequent in the Epistles), first, as he that washed us from our sins, both from the guilt and from the power and dominion of our sins, with his blood, paying a price, and satisfying God’s justice for, and meriting our sanctification: see Hebrews 9:14 1 John 1:7.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Revelation 1:5". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/revelation-1.html. 1685.

Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture

свидетель верный, первенец из мертвых и владыка царей земных Из всех, когда-либо восставших из мертвых в прошлом или будущем, Он является исключением: Он единственный правомерный наследник (ср. 3:14; Пс. 88:27; Кол. 1:15).

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MacLaren, Alexander. "Commentary on Revelation 1:5". Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mac/revelation-1.html.

Justin Edwards' Family Bible New Testament

The First-begotten of the dead; the first who rose to die no more, and the leader and head of all who shall be by his divine power raised from the dead to eternal life.

Him; Jesus Christ.

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Edwards, Justin. "Commentary on Revelation 1:5". "Family Bible New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/fam/revelation-1.html. American Tract Society. 1851.

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

John described Jesus Christ as the "faithful witness" (cf. Revelation 3:14; Psalm 89:37; Isaiah 43:10-13). This is the third and last time in the book that the double name "Jesus Christ" appears.

"Jesus Christ is of the seed of David and will sit on the Davidic throne that will endure forever as the sun ( Psalm 89:36)." [Note: Thomas, Revelation 1-7, p69.]

"Faithful witness" is Jesus Christ"s present ministry of revealing what follows. John also called Him the "first-born from the dead" (cf. Psalm 89:27; Acts 2:29-32; Acts 4:2; Acts 26:23; Romans 1:4; 1 Corinthians 15:23). This title looks at the culmination of His past ministry when God raised Him to new life at His resurrection.

"The Resurrection carried with it a potential lordship over all humanity (Rom. xiv9), not only over the Church (Col. l.c. [i.e, Revelation 1:18])." [Note: Swete, p7.]

John also referred to Jesus as the "ruler of the kings of the earth" ( Psalm 89:27). That is His future ministry following His second coming ( Matthew 2:6). The New Testament speaks much of believers entering into their rights as first-born sons of God and ruling with Jesus Christ in His millennial kingdom. This will be the privilege of faithful, obedient Christians (cf. 2 Timothy 2:12).

". . . the origination of all three expressions from Psalm 89 reflects a major authorial intent to direct attention to the fulfillment of the promises made to David regarding an eternal kingdom in2Samuel7." [Note: Thomas, Revelation 1-7, p70.]

John ascribed eternal glory and dominion to Jesus Christ who is the subject and object of this revelation. He described Him as the One who always loves us and who loosed us from the bondage of our sins by His death. Some ancient Greek manuscripts have, He washed us from the stain of our sins.

In these notes I will use the term "Christian" in its strict technical sense to refer only to believers who come to faith between Pentecost and the Rapture. There will be believers who are saved during the Tribulation, but these will be Tribulation saints, not "Christians," as I am using the term.

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Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Revelation 1:5". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dcc/revelation-1.html. 2012.

Foy E. Wallace's Commentary on the Book of Revelation

3. "And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness" --1:5.

It was Jesus Christ who had borne witness to the truth of his Sonship before Pontius Pilate, as mentioned in 1 Timothy 6:13. And he was associated with God in the salutatations to his servants who were on the brink of that hour of trial, which would bring death to them, for the same confession before men that Jesus had made before Pilate.

4. "The first begotten of the dead"--1:5.

The language here does not affirm that Jesus was the first person to be raised from the dead, for several names can be mentioned who were miraculously raised up out of their graves, by the prophets of the Old Testament, and by Jesus and Peter in the New Testament, all of which were for the purposes of divine demonstration. They were not resurrected to die no more, but returned to corruption -therefore they were not begotten of the dead. To him alone, who conquered death by a resurrection to die no more, belongs the title, the first begotten of the dead.

5. "The prince of the kings of the earth"--1:5.

The four appellations together accentuate first, who he was, and second, what he was, from whom this message came.

6. "Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood"--1:5.

The release from sins as the result of the shedding of his own blood, represented here as the element in which the sins of man are washed away, is the heart of the remedial plan.

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Wallace, Foy E. "Commentary on Revelation 1:5". "Foy E. Wallace's Commentary on the Book of Revelation". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/foy/revelation-1.html. 1966.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

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[BIBLIOGRAPHY]

Qui est testis fidelis, Greek: o martus o pistos. Martyr ille fidelis.

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Revelation 1:5". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/revelation-1.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

faithful. App-150. Compare Isaiah 55:4.

Witness. Greek. martus. See Revelation 3:14 and p. 1511.

First Begotten. See Romans 8:29. Hebrews 1:6. Compare Psalms 2:7. Acts 13:33. 1 Corinthians 15:20. Colossians 1:18.

of the dead. App-139. The texts omit ek.

Prince = Ruler. See John 12:31.

kings, &c. See Revelation 6:16 and Psalms 89:27, Psalms 89:37.

earth. App-129.

loved. The texts read "loveth". App-135.

washed. The texts read "loosed". App-95.:1; note 2, p 138.

from. Greek. ek. App-104.

sins. App-128. Elsewhere in Revelation 18:4, Revelation 18:5.

in = by. Greek. en. App-104.

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Bibliographical Information
Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Revelation 1:5". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/revelation-1.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood,

The faithful Witness - of the truth concerning Himself and His mission as Prophet, Priest, and King Saviour. 'All things that He heard of the Father, he faithfully made known to His disciples. Also, He taught the way of God in truth, and cared not for man, nor regarded the persons of men. Also, the truth which He taught in words He confirmed by miracles. Also, the Father's testimony to Himself He denied not even in death. Lastly, He will give true testimony of the works of good and bad at the judgment day.' (Richard of Victor). The Greek nominative, "the faithful Witness," stands majestically prominent, in apposition to the genitive, "Jesus Christ."

The first-begotten of the dead - (Colossians 1:18.) Lazarus rose, to die again; Christ, to die no more. The image is not that the grave was the womb of His resurrection-birth (Alford), but as Acts 13:33; Romans 1:4, Christ's resurrection is the event which fulfilled Psalms 2:7, "This day (at the resurrection) have I begotten thee." Then His divine Sonship as the God-man was openly attested by the Father. So our resurrection, and our manifested sonship, are connected. Hence, "regeneration" is used of our resurrection-state at the restitution of all things (Matthew 19:28; Luke 20:36; 1 John 3:2; Romans 8:11; Romans 8:19; Romans 8:23).

The Prince, [ Archon (Greek #756)] - ruler. The kingship of the world which the Tempter offered to Jesus on condition of doing homage, and so shunning the Cross, He has obtained by the Cross. "The kings of the earth" conspired against the Lord's Anointed; these He shall break in pieces (Psalms 2:2; Psalms 2:9). Those wise in time, who kiss the Son, shall bring their glory unto Him at His manifestation as King of kings, after having destroyed His foes.

Unto him that loved us. 'Aleph (') A C read [ agapoonti (Greek #25)], 'loveth us.' His ever-continuing character is, He loveth, and ever shall love, us. His love rests evermore on His people.

Washed us. 'Aleph (') A C read [ lusanti (Greek #3089)], 'loosed (as from a bond) us:' so Andreas and Primasius. B, the Vulgate, and Coptic, read "washed," perhaps from Revelation 7:14. 'Loosed us in (virtue of) His blood,' being the harder reading, is less likely to come from the transcribers. The reference is to [ lutron (Greek #3083)] the 'ransom' paid for our release (Matthew 20:28). "Washed" refers to the priests, before putting on the holy garments and ministering, washing themselves: so believers, as 'priests unto God,' must be washed in Christ's blood from every stain before they can serve God now, or minister as dispensers of blessing to the subject nations in the millennial kingdom, or minister before God in heaven.

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Revelation 1:5". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/revelation-1.html. 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(5) From Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten (or, firstborn) of the dead, and the prince (or, ruler) of the kings of the earth.—The triple title applied to Christ corresponds to the three ideas of this book. Christ the Revealing Prophet, the Life-giving High Priest, and the real Ruler of mankind.

The faithful witness.—There may be a reference here, it has been suggested by Prof. Plumptre, to the bow in the cloud, which is described in Psalms 89:37 as the faithful witness. The coincidence of expression is remarkable: “I will make him my firstborn, higher than the kings of the earth; he shall stand fast as the sun before me, and as the faithful witness in heaven.” The idea of testimony and witness is a favourite one with St. John, who records its use by our Lord Himself. (Comp. John 3:32; John 5:36; John 18:37. See also Revelation 19:10; Revelation 22:18. Comp. also the work of the Only Begotten as stated in John 1:18.)

The prince (or ruler) of the kings of the earth.—The message does not come from One who will be, but who is the true ruler of all earthly potentates. The disposition to dwell on the future and more visibly recognised reign of Christ hereafter has tended to obscure the truth of His present reign. It is instructive to notice that this book, which describes so vividly the manifestations of Christ’s kingdom (Revelation 11:15; Revelation 12:10), claims for Him at the outset the place of the real King of kings. Such was the Apostle’s faith. “Above all emperors and kings, above all armies and multitudes, he thought of the Crucified as ruling and directing the course of history, and certain in His own due time to manifest His sovereignty” (Prof. Plumptre). “What are we to see in the simple Anno Domini of our dates and superscriptions, but that for some reason the great world-history has been bending itself to the lowly person of Jesus” (Bushnell). “A handful read the philosophers; myriads would die for Christ; they in their popularity could barely found a school; Christ from His cross rules the world” (Farrar, Witness of History). Such is a real kingship.

Unto him that loved us, and washed us.—Instead of “washed us,” some MSS. read, “loosed us.” There is only one letter’s difference in the two words in Greek. The general tone of thought would lead us to prefer “washed” as the true reading. On a solemn occasion, which St. John remembered clearly, our Lord had said, “If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with Me.” The thought of the “cleansing blood,” intensified by the recollection of the water and blood which he had seen flowing from Christ’s pierced side, often recurred to his mind (Revelation 7:13-14; 1 John 1:7; 1 John 5:6-8).

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Revelation 1:5". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/revelation-1.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood,
who is
3:14; Psalms 89:36,37; Isaiah 55:4; John 3:11,32; 8:14-16; 18:37; 1 Timothy 6:13; 1 John 5:7-10
and the first
Acts 26:23; 1 Corinthians 15:20-23; Colossians 1:18
and the prince
11:15; 17:14; 19:16; Psalms 72:11; 89:27; Proverbs 8:15,16; Daniel 2:2; 7:14; Matthew 28:18; Ephesians 1:20-22; 1 Timothy 6:15
him
Deuteronomy 7:8; 23:5; John 13:1,34; 15:9; Romans 8:37; Galatians 2:20; Ephesians 2:4; 5:2,25-27; 1 John 4:10
washed
7:14; Zechariah 13:1; John 13:8-10; Acts 20:28; 1 Corinthians 6:11; Hebrews 9:14; 1 Peter 1:19; 1 John 1:7
Reciprocal: Exodus 29:4 - wash them;  Exodus 29:44 - sanctify also;  Exodus 30:19 - GeneralExodus 38:8 - the laver;  Exodus 40:7 - GeneralLeviticus 4:20 - an atonement;  Leviticus 4:35 - and the priest shall make;  Leviticus 8:6 - washed;  Leviticus 8:22 - the ram of consecration;  Leviticus 13:58 - be washed;  Leviticus 14:6 - dip them;  Leviticus 14:8 - wash himself;  Leviticus 14:14 - GeneralLeviticus 15:13 - wash;  Leviticus 16:4 - therefore;  Leviticus 16:24 - wash;  Leviticus 17:11 - I have;  Numbers 6:24 - The Lord;  Numbers 19:2 - a red heifer;  Numbers 19:19 - shall sprinkle;  Deuteronomy 18:2 - the Lord;  Deuteronomy 23:11 - wash himself;  Deuteronomy 26:19 - high above;  2 Samuel 12:13 - The Lord;  2 Chronicles 4:6 - but the sea;  Job 25:4 - how can;  Psalm 51:2 - Wash;  Psalm 51:7 - and;  Psalm 65:3 - transgressions;  Psalm 68:13 - the wings;  Psalm 72:15 - daily;  Proverbs 30:12 - not;  Song of Solomon 3:10 - the midst;  Isaiah 6:5 - mine eyes;  Isaiah 43:10 - and my servant;  Isaiah 63:9 - in his;  Jeremiah 17:26 - sacrifices of;  Jeremiah 29:23 - even I;  Jeremiah 33:8 - GeneralJeremiah 42:5 - The Lord be;  Ezekiel 16:9 - washed;  Ezekiel 36:25 - filthiness;  Daniel 2:37 - a king;  Daniel 2:47 - a Lord;  Daniel 9:25 - the Prince;  Daniel 12:1 - the great;  Malachi 3:2 - like fullers';  Matthew 1:21 - for;  Matthew 20:28 - and to;  Luke 10:37 - He that;  John 1:29 - which;  John 11:36 - Behold;  John 13:5 - to wash;  John 14:2 - if;  John 14:6 - the truth;  John 19:34 - came;  Acts 3:13 - hath;  Acts 5:31 - a Prince;  Acts 10:36 - he is;  Romans 1:7 - Grace;  Romans 4:25 - Who was;  Romans 8:29 - that he might;  Romans 8:35 - shall separate;  Romans 11:36 - to whom;  Romans 13:1 - there;  Romans 16:27 - God;  1 Corinthians 15:3 - Christ;  2 Corinthians 13:14 - The grace;  Galatians 1:1 - raised;  Galatians 1:4 - gave;  Galatians 3:13 - redeemed;  Philippians 2:9 - God;  Colossians 1:14 - whom;  2 Thessalonians 2:16 - which;  1 Timothy 2:6 - gave;  Titus 2:14 - gave;  Hebrews 1:6 - And again;  Hebrews 2:8 - hast;  Hebrews 8:12 - GeneralHebrews 9:12 - by his;  Hebrews 10:22 - our bodies;  1 Peter 4:11 - to whom;  1 John 3:5 - to;  1 John 3:16 - perceive;  1 John 5:6 - blood;  Revelation 3:7 - he that is true;  Revelation 19:11 - Faithful

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Revelation 1:5". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/revelation-1.html.

E.M. Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament

The faithful witness does not imply there are no other witnesses who tell the truth since we know there are many. We therefore must take this to mean that Jesus was the bearer of testimony for God in a preeminent degree. First begotten of the dead to die no more ( Romans 6:9). Prince of the kings of the earth. All power in heaven and in earth was given to Christ ( Matthew 28:18) thus making Him a prince above all. Jesus showed his love for men by giving his blood for their cleansing.

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Zerr, E.M. "Commentary on Revelation 1:5". E.M. Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/znt/revelation-1.html. 1952.

Hanserd Knollys' Commentary on Revelation

Revelation 1:5

Revelation 1:5 And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood,

"And from Jesus Christ"

who is here described by his prophetical office,

"who is the faithful witness"

{ Revelation 3:14} God gave Christ for a witness unto the people. { Isaiah 55:4} Christ was that great Prophet, { Acts 3:21; Acts 7:37} who did faithful testify the whole will of God. { John 15:15; John 17:6; John 17:8; John 17:26}

"And the first-begotten of the dead"

the description of the priestly office. There are two parts of his priestly office. Satisfaction { 1 Timothy 2:5-6} and intercession; { Hebrews 7:24-25} Christ is called God's first-born from the dead.

"And the Prince of the kings of the Earth"

These words are a description of Christ's kingly office. There are two sorts of persons called kings of the earth; first, the great potentates and powers of this world, { Revelation 9:19} who give their power, strength and kingdom to the beast. { Revelation 17:12-13; Revelation 17:17} Christ is the Prince of these kings, therefore called the only potentate, the King of kings, the Lord of lords. { 1 Timothy 6:15} Secondly, Christ's redeemed ones out of all nations, are made unto God, kings and priests, who shall reign on earth; { Revelation 5:9-10} Christ is King of saints; { Revelation 15:3} King of Sion; { Psalm 149:1-2} and King of nations. { Jeremiah 10:7; Jeremiah 10:10; Zechariah 14:9; Revelation 11:15}

"Who hath loved us"

The love of Christ to his redeemed ones, is the same wherewith the Father loved him; { John 17:10; John 17:23; John 17:26} everlasting love. { Jeremiah 31:3; John 13:1}

"And washed us from our Sins in his own blood"

This blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth us from all sin; { 1 John 1:7; 1 John 1:9} purgeth our conscience from dead works; { Hebrews 9:14} sanctifieth us; { Hebrews 13:12} justifieth us. { Romans 5:9} Thereby we are redeemed. { Ephesians 1:7; Hebrews 9:15}

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Knollys, Hanserd. "Commentary on Revelation 1:5". "Hanserd Knollys' Commentary on Revelation". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hkc/revelation-1.html.

Harold Norris' Commentary on the Book of Revelation

Verse5.

Jesus is described as "HIM THAT LOVED US" in the A.V. that is grand. "He loved us." But the R.S.V. is a better translation and is grander "HE LOVES US" Not only HAS Jesus loved us in the past, but His love is PRESENT still. "He loves us" now, and to the end. And not only does He love us but the verse says "He loosed us" (A.V.) "He freed us from our sins" (R.S.V.). Not only has Jesus WASHED away the GUILT of our sins, but grander still He has FREED US from the power of sin. Do we readers know this full redemption of verse5? Do we know that Jesus loves us today? And have we found His POWER keeping us free from the domination of sin in our daily life? If we find only this one glorious truth in the book of Revelation, and fail to understand anything else in this difficult book, then we will indeed have found already a great blessing from reading this wonderful book.

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Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

5.The faithful witness—Through whom, and attested by whom, all revelation comes from God to man, especially this apocalypse, whose seals are opened by his conquering power. This witness is faithful to give us truth alone. The word witness is a favourite term both in the Apocalypse and John’s Gospel and Epistles. It implies, not merely revelation, narrative, but—as in a permanent contrast with unbelief—a testimony, a strong, sure, reliable attestation.

First begotten of the dead—As the firstborn was the chief among his brethren, so this might mean that Christ was chief of all risen from the dead, and leader of the resurrection. So Romans 8:29, “firstborn” or chief “among many brethren.” It implies, also, priority of time; for though Lazarus was raised from the dead, yet he died again, and his rising was no part of the one great organic resurrection to immortal life. So that he was truly “the firstfruits of them that slept,” in order of time.

The conception that the grave is the earth’s womb, (as Alford,) from which the dead are born into life, is in the very dim background, as in all such expressions as used by the Hebrews. Note on Ephesians 2:2-3. On the difference between the phrases “from the dead,” and of the dead, see note on Luke 20:35.

Prince—Leader or ruler.

Of the kings—Lord of the resurrection in the world to come; Lord of all authority in the present world.

Unto him—To this double Lord of both worlds, who, supremely King himself, has made us to be a kingdom.

That loved us—True reading, and more expressive, that loveth us; for his love is an ever present and perpetual thing; whereas the washed was a past and transient deed. For , washed, another reading is , released, redeemed. The former is both the better supported and the more expressive term; and corresponds most strikingly with blood. The powerful image of washing the soul in blood, gives a vivid idea of the power of the atonement as working both our justification immediately, and our sanctification mediately, by the Spirit purchased for us at the price of the blood.

 

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Revelation 1:5". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/revelation-1.html. 1874-1909.

The Expositor's Greek Testament

Revelation 1:5. , . . ., another grammatical anomaly; as usual the writer puts the second of two nouns in apposition, in the nominative.— . . Jesus not merely the reliable witness to God but the loyal martyr: an aspect of his career which naturally came to the front in “the killing times”. (a Jewish messianic title by itself, Balden-sperger, 88) . ., his resurrection is the pledge that death cannot separate the faithful from his company. The thought of this and of the following trait (cf.Matthew 4:8 f.) is taken fröm Ps. 88:28, , . On the two allied functions of ruling and witnessing (Isaiah 55:4) cf. the different view of John 18:37. At the inspiring thought of Christ’s lordship the prophet breaks into adoration— . . . The eternal love (cf.Revelation 3:19) which Christ bears to his people is proved by his death, as a revelation of (a) what he has done for them by his sacrifice, and (b) what he has made of them (so Ephesians 5:25-26 = Revelation 19:7-8). The negative deliverance from sins (cf.Psalms 129:8) at the cost of his own life ( instrumental) is a religious emancipation which issues in (6) a positive relationship of glorious religious privilege.— , , a literal (cf. Charles on Jub. xvi. 18) and inaccurate rendering of (Exodus 19:6) to emphasise the royal standing of the Christian community in connexion with their Christ as , . . ., and also (Titus 2:3) their individual privilege of intimate access to God as the result of Christ’s sacrificial death. , the harsh anacolouthon breaks up the participial construction, , emphatic. “We Christians are now the chosen people. In us the Danielic prophecy of a reign of the saints is fulfilled and is to be fulfilled.” This is a characteristically anti-Jewish note. Persecution (cf.1 Peter 2:5) deepened the sense of continuity in the early Christians, who felt driven back on the truth of election and divine protection; they were the true successors of all noble sufferers in Israel who had gone before (cf. the argument of Hebrews 11:32 to Hebrews 12:2). In the Apocalypse the Christian church is invariably the true Israel, including all who believe in Christ, irrespective of birth and nationality. God reigns over them, and they reign, or will reign, over the world. In fact, Christians now and here are what Israel hoped to become, viz., priest-princes of God, and this position has been won for them by a messiah whom the Jews had rejected, and whom all non-Christians will have to acknowledge as sovereign. According to rabbinic tradition, the messianic age would restore to Israel the priestly standing which it had lost by its worship of the golden calf; and by the first commandment (Mechilta on Exodus 20:2), “slaves became kings”. There may also be an implicit anti-Roman allusion. We Christians, harried and despised, are a community with a great history and a greater hope. Our connection with Christ makes us truly imperial. The adoration of Christ, which vibrates in this doxology (cf. Expos. ver. 302–307), is one of the most impressive features of the book. The prophet feels that the one hope for the loyalists of God in this period of trial is to be conscious that they owe everything to the redeeming love of Jesus. Faithfulness depends on faith, and faith is rallied by the grasp not of itself but of its object. Mysterious explanations of history follow, but it is passionate devotion to Jesus, and not any skill in exploring prophecy, which proves the source of moral heroism in the churches. Jesus sacrificed himself for us; . From this inward trust and wonder, which leap up at the sight of Jesus and his grace, the loyalty of Christians flows.

This enthusiasm for Jesus naturally carries the prophet’s mind forward (Revelation 1:7-8) to the time when the Lord’s majesty will flash out on mankind. He resumes the line of thought interrupted by the doxology of 5b–6.

 

 

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Nicol, W. Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on Revelation 1:5". The Expositor's Greek Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/egt/revelation-1.html. 1897-1910.

The Bible Study New Testament

5. And from Jesus Christ. He is the faithful witness (John 8:14); the firstborn Son (Colossians 1:18); the ruler (Ephesians 1:21). He loves us. Continuous love! Death... freed us. Our sin-offering (see 1 Peter 1:18-19).

 

 

 

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Ice, Rhoderick D. "Commentary on Revelation 1:5". "The Bible Study New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ice/revelation-1.html. College Press, Joplin, MO. 1974.