In 1941, Lyndon B. Johnson was running for U.S. Senate from Texas in a time when President Franklin D. Roosevelt was very popular. So in a deft political masterstroke, Johnson decided to totally align his campaign with the President. His theme for the campaign? “Roosevelt, Roosevelt, Roosevelt.” His campaign flyer showed a picture of him shaking hands with Roosevelt. And he proudly proclaimed in his campaign speeches: “I will be just a private under my Commander-in-Chief”: Roosevelt! For Johnson, it was all about aligning himself with the one he believed would bring him victory.
As Christians, we ought to follow a similar strategy: except that our allegiance is not to any mere human, but to the Lord Jesus Christ. Let OUR commitment be “Jesus, Jesus, Jesus.” JESUS is OUR King. JESUS is the One who will carry us to victory. And JESUS is the repeated theme of this Book of Revelation.
Last Sunday we looked at how Revelation 1:5 told us that Jesus is “the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, the ruler of the kings of the earth,” and also that He “loves us, and released us from our sins by His blood.”
So now Verse 6 continues, “AND …” because one verse could not possibly tell us everything about Jesus! So it says, “AND …” — and the next verses describe Jesus in even more detail, starting here in :6:
- The King’s Priests
:6a “And He has made us to be a kingdom, priests to His God and Father”
God told Moses in Exodus 19:6 “You shall be to Me a kingdom of priests”
What He promised Israel back then, came true with the coming of Jesus in the New Testament. When God saved us, He didn’t just “give” us priests in His New Covenant; He MADE us priests. He made us “a kingdom of priests.”
We see this taught all through the New Testament:
— here in Revelation 1:6 “He made us to be a kingdom, PRIESTS”
— we see it again in Revelation 5:10, “You have made them to be a kingdom, and PRIESTS to our God”
— a third time in: Revelation 20:6 “Blessed and holy is the one who has a part in the first resurrection; over these the second death has no power, but they will be PRIESTS of God and of Christ, and will reign with Him for a thousand years.”
— I Peter 2:5 says “You … are being built up as a spiritual house for a HOLY PRIESTHOOD, to offer up spiritual sacrifices to God through Jesus Christ.”
— I Peter 2:9 says “You are a chosen race, a royal PRIESTHOOD”
God repeatedly teaches us that followers of Jesus are priests, with personal access to Him through Christ:
— Ephesians 3:12 says we have “boldness and confident access through faith in Him.” We ourselves can enter boldly into the presence of God. We don’t need priest to come to Him for us; WE are priests!
— Hebrews 4:16 “Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”
— I Timothy 2:5 says “there is one God, and ONE MEDIATOR also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.” ONE mediator. Not a bunch of priests we have to go through, ONE — Jesus Christ only. You are your own priest to God through Jesus Christ.
This is the doctrine that Baptist theologians over the years have called “The Priesthood of the Believer.” It’s an important doctrine, one that many people are taking for granted these days, but it is a very important teaching: that each Christian has direct access to God through Jesus Christ. We don’t need a human priest to intercede for us. You don’t need a priest; you ARE a priest! Every one of us who knows Jesus as our Lord & Savior has direct access to God for ourselves through Him.
When Theodore Roosevelt Sr had a plan to help Union soldiers save money from their paychecks to send home to their families, he had to set up an appointment to see President Lincoln with John Hay, Lincoln’s personal secretary at the White House. Mr. Roosevelt was one of the richest, most powerful men in the country. But he had to go through through an intercessor, John Hay.
But while Roosevelt was in Lincoln’s office that day, little Willie Lincoln walked into the office, unannounced. He just strolled in. And Roosevelt said that Lincoln’s face, which had been “all business” before, broke into a big smile, when his SON walked in.
What you need to realize, is that if you are a Christian, you are a SON of God through Jesus Christ. And you don’t have to “go through” anybody to get to God — you don’t need any special “priest” or mediator between you and God other than Jesus Christ — just like Willie Lincoln, you can just “walk right in”! You are a son. You are a priest!
Being a priest of Jesus Christ is both a privilege and a responsibility
— it’s a privilege: you have boldness and access to the very presence of God
— but you are also responsible to ACT like a priest. You are to be holy to God in the way that you live.
I Peter 2:5 tells us what we are to do as priests: “to (here’s our purpose) offer up spiritual sacrifices to God through Jesus Christ.”
We don’t do it through anyone else, other than Jesus. We are our own priests. And what we DO is offer up spiritual sacrifices to God: in worship & praise
Our job as His priests, is to give HIM glory. Every day, and all through the day. Like Psalm 5:3 says: “In the morning, O Lord, You will hear my voice; In the morning I will order my prayer to You, and watch.”
The Hebrew for “order my prayer” is the same word as is used to describe the Jewish priests, who “laid out the sacrifice” in order, first thing in the morning.
In the same way, OUR first duty every day, is to “order our prayer” to God, as His priests.
Our PRAYERS are the sacrifice we bring as “priests.” We will see in Revelation 5:8 that the elders in heaven worshiped the Lamb, “each one holding a harp and golden bowls full of incense, which are the PRAYERS of the saints.” So instead of “burning incense” before God like they did in the Old Testament, as New Testament “Kingdom of Priests”’ our “incense” is our PRAYERS. OUR job is to offer our “incense of prayer” to God every day as His priests.
Are you doing that? Are you praying to Him and worshiping Him every day (and all through the day) as His priest? Are you living a holy life like a priest?
If you belong to Jesus, you are a priest! You need to ACT like a priest, and you should be doing the WORK of a priest, in your prayers every day.
II. The King’s Glory
:6b “To Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.”
Along with all creation, as God’s priests we give glory to our King. Verse 6 says “To HIM be the glory and the dominion forever and ever.”
So when it says “to HIM,” here, is it referring to Jesus, or to the Father? In English, it could read it either way. But Greek Bible scholars tell us that grammatically here the original Greek Bible is referring to Jesus.
(We will also see in a minute that Daniel 7 also backs this up, saying that when the Son of Man comes on the clouds, he will be given “dominion” — this same word! So this is talking about Jesus, the Son of Man. Jesus is given the glory, and dominion or power forever. (But remember, the three are One, so it is not like we won’t be worshiping God the Father also!)
What is “dominion”? The word “kratos” means “strength, power, might.” We are to praise Jesus for the power and might and rule that He has over all creation.
And what is “glory”? Glory means the “shining forth”, the brightness of His presence. God’s glory shines like the sun; God told Moses you can’t stand to see My glory in your human flesh. It is absolute beauty, which we are too sinful as human beings to be able to see. But the greatest blessing of heaven is that we will be perfected there, and we will be able to just gaze at His perfect beauty and glory forever! Like Psalm 16:11 says, “In Your presence is fullness of joy; in your right hand there are pleasures forever.” That’s His glory; that’s what we were made for; and what we will enjoy in heaven forever.
But there is also a sense in which “glory” means “praise.” That all “praise” and fame and attention belongs to Jesus, for who He is, and what He has done.
In Revelation Chapter 5 they show John a book, which is sealed up with seven seals. And one of the angels asks: “who is worthy to open the book or to break its seals?” No one is found who can open it, and John begins to weep. But then one of the angels says, Stop weeping; there is ONE who is worthy: Only ONE: the Lamb, who was slain and who was raised. HE is worthy!
And :11 says “the voice of many angels around the throne and the living creatures and the elders, and the number of them was myriads of myriads, and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice: “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing”!
ONLY THE LAMB was glorified! Only the Lamb received honor and glory!
This is what :6 means here; only the Lamb; only Jesus, is worthy of praise and glory.
In our Simply Prayer discipleship class last Sunday night I mentioned an article in Christianity today about the revival that broke out at Asbury College in Kentucky, when thousands of college students began to gather and worship God endlessly for days. This article talked about what some of the wise leaders at Asbury did to “protect” the revival, including:
— that every person who got on the platform must be prayed for, for at least 30 minutes in the prayer room, without exception.
— that every person who came up to share a testimony would be screened before they shared.
— And when several “big name” televangelists offered to come and “help” they revival, they turned them down. Their motto? “No. No celebrities except Jesus.”
I read where Kari Jobe, the Christian singer who recorded “The Blessing,” went to Asbury — but she didn’t go there to “perform,” she just went down front as an anonymous worshiper, to kneel at the altar, and let people pray for her like everyone else. There were no “celebrities” there at Asbury.
That’s a good motto, isn’t it? “No celebrities except Jesus.” HE is our glory! Only HE is to be glorified in His church. Perhaps one of the problems of the contemporary American church is that we have become too dependent upon “celebrities.” We glorify this pastor and that singer and those Christian athletes, and that famous Christian entertainer, and so so on. We almost feel like we need some “special celebrity” to do worship. But we have the only “celebrity” we need! This is JESUS’ church. HE is the one who is to be glorified here.
There is only ONE person we are to glory in, in the church, and that is Jesus Christ. We don’t glory in the pastor; we don’t glory in the musicians; we don’t glory in some prominent members; we glory in JESUS CHRIST. “No celebrities but Jesus”! The glory and the dominion are HIS forever and ever! The glory of the King.
III. The King’s Return!
:7 “Behold He is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see Him, even those who pierced Him; and all the tribes of the earth will mourn over Him. So it is to be. Amen.”
Here we read about the King’s glorious return! As we mentioned a few minutes ago, this was actually prophesied in Daniel 7:13. In Daniel 7, the Lord gave Daniel a vision. Daniel said in :13, “I kept looking in the night visions, and behold with the clouds of heaven, One like a Son of Man was coming, and He came up to the Ancient of Days and was presented before Him. And to Him was given dominion, glory and a kingdom, that all the peoples, nations and language might serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion which will not pass away; and His kingdom is one which will not destroyed.”
Daniel says in his vision, he saw “The Son of Man” coming on the clouds of heaven! Jesus is that “Son of Man.” That is the name He kept calling Himself in the Gospels: “for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost,” (Luke 19:10) and so on. Many people think that Jesus was somehow being “humble” and trying to “obscure” the fact that He was the Messiah the Old Testament prophesied, by calling Himself “The Son of Man” instead of “Son of God.” But as we see in Daniel 7, “Son of Man” is the term for the Messiah that Daniel uses. Jesus knew that. The Biblically literate Jews knew it too. When Jesus was on trial in Mark 14, the Jews asked Him: “Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed One?” And :62 tells us Jesus said, “I AM; and you shall the see the SON OF MAN sitting at the right hand of power and coming with the clouds of heaven.” Jesus is quoting Daniel 7 there! And He’s saying, I AM that “Son of Man,” the Messiah that Daniel prophesied. And the Jews said in :64, “You have heard the blasphemy …” and they condemned Him to death, because they KNEW that He was saying that He was indeed the Messiah!
Revelation 1:7 teaches us here that Jesus IS the fulfillment of Daniel 7. He IS “The Son of Man;” He IS the Messiah, the Son of God, God Himself. And He is COMING! Not only is He “the Lamb of God,” who was slain to take away the sins of the world; not only did he rise from the dead on the 3rd day and appear to 500 witnesses at one time and teach them and ascend back to heaven; but also He is COMING BACK!
And the Bible says He is not coming back “secretly.” Verse 7 here says “Behold He is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see Him; even those who pierced Him; and all the tribes of the earth will mourn. So it is to be. Amen”!
In Matthew 24, when Jesus’ disciples asked about His return; He said “If anyone says to you, ‘Behold, here is the Christ,’ or ‘There He is,” do not believe them.” He said “So if they say to you, ‘Behold He is in the wilderness,’ do not go out, or ‘Behold He is in the inner rooms, do not believe them. For just as the lightning comes from the east and flashes even to the west, so will the coming of the Son of Man be.”
Jesus is saying: Nobody’s going to have to tell you: “Hey Jesus is over there in that house;” or “Go see Him; He’s over there.” NO! He said when I come, it’s going to be like a lightning flash in the sky! YOU ARE GOING TO KNOW IT WHEN JESUS COMES. You don’t need to worry that you might sleep through it! Nobody’s going to have to point it out to you and say “Look, there He is!”
No, He said in the next verses of Matthew 24:29+ “But immediately after the tribulation of those days, the sun will be darkened and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from the sky, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. And then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky with power and great glory. And He will send forth His angels with a great trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other.”
Jesus said several times that He is coming again; just like Daniel 7 said, with the clouds of heaven. And when He does, you’re not going to have to “wonder” if it’s Him. He says, I’m coming like a lightning flash across the sky, and I’ll gather My people up — but “all the tribes of the earth will mourn.” It says that in Matthew 24, and it says it again here in Revelation 1:7 too. Why will “all the tribes of the earth mourn”? Because they didn’t believe it. Because they didn’t get ready for it. And like a lightning flash, He’s coming! And everyone is going to see Him, and everyone will know Who He Is.
One of my very first memories — and some of you can identify with this — is of the funeral of John F. Kennedy. I was four years old when he was assassinated, and one of the first things I ever remember, is seeing his casket, wrapped in a flag, on the tv in our house, instead of my cartoons. As a child I was upset, ‘cause I was missing my cartoons, and they just had that thing on there instead! My mom tried to explain it to me …
The death of John F. Kennedy is one of the most dramatic, most remembered events in American history. Everybody talks about where they were, when they heard that the President had been shot. I read recently where one historian said that one of the reasons this event is SO imprinted on our national consciousness is that EVERYONE SAW IT. It was one of the first tragedies like that after the dawn of the age of television, when almost everyone had a television. Everyone saw that casket. Everyone saw this unfolding event. But of course, it was still wan’t “ALL” …
But God’s word tells us: “EVERY eye will see Him” when he comes!
It says: “All the tribes of the earth will mourn.”
All those people who didn’t believe Jesus, will mourn when He appears.
Verse 7 here says: “even those who pierced Him” — the Bible says the Jews called out “crucify Him”! They slapped Him on the face. They spat in His face. They yanked His beard out. They beat Him with rods. They pressed a crown of sharp thorns on His head, and nailed Him to a cross to die, and ran a spear into His side. BUT THEY ARE GOING TO SEE HIM RETURN IN POWER AND GLORY!
And not only them, but the Bible says “ALL the tribes of the earth will mourn”:
— all the Communist dictators who proclaim “there is no god.”
— all the haughty college professors who so smugly declared to their impressionable students that you’re a FOOL to believe the Bible
— all your classmates who think you’re a prude for doing what the Bible says
— all those like the businessman I read about during the panic of 1873, Mr. Clews, who gave his whole life to his work, who never took a day’s vacation, but he said “all was swept away in a day” — everything he had lived for, “swept away in a day” — how many people will be just like that when Jesus returns?! All the things you devoted your life to, instead of God, will be “swept away in a day” — no in a moment, in the “lightning flash” of His return. “And all the tribes of the earth will mourn”!
But God’s people, God’s priests, bought by the blood of Jesus and who stood for HIM on this earth, will rejoice.
Jesus said in John 16, for a while you will weep and mourn, but don’t worry, the time is coming when you will rejoice.
In the same way, this world will scoff and laugh and rejoice right now — but in “a lightning flash,” suddenly they will weep and mourn — when The Son of Man returns in power and glory — “and every eye will see Him”!
And no celebrity will have the spotlight but the King of Kings.
And no riches will count but those we’ve stored up in heaven.
And no relationship will matter more, than the one you have with Jesus.
He is our Glorious King. And He is coming! He is coming! Like the old Battle Hymn of the Republic says:
“He is coming like the glory of the morning on the wave
He is wisdom to the mighty; He is honor to the brave
Oh this world shall be His footstool, and the soul of wrong His slave
Our God is marching on”!
“The King is Coming! The King is Coming! I just heard the trumpet sounding, and now His face I see!
The King is Coming! The King is Coming!
Praise God, He’s coming for me!”
— Jesus is the glorious King. Are you His priest? Are you acting like it? Is there anything going on in your life right now: thoughts, words, deeds, that are not fitting for a priest of the Most High King? Ask Him to forgive you, and help you get those things out of your life.
— And are you doing the WORK of a priest? Are you getting up first thing in the morning and “ordering your prayer” before Him like Psalm 5:3 says?
Are you lifting up the “incense” of your prayers in the morning and all day long? That’s your job as a priest, to give HIM glory.
— Are you focused on anyone or anything in the church more than Jesus? HE is the only “celebrity” in the church. Let’s keep our focus on Him.
And not only in church, but also in our homes, in our conversation, wherever we are.
— And the most important question: do you belong to Him? When He returns, will it be the moment you’ve been waiting for — or will it be the moment when you lose everything? He’s coming. And “Every eye will see Him” — but will you see Him as YOUR King? You can, if you haven’t already … make Him YOUR King today …
Thank you for taking to time to write and share this with us. What a blessing to hear and see a man of God boldly sharing the truth of God’s word. You are a true beacon and know that you are changing the world one Believer at a time !
Thank you – I found one of your posts from 2014 while searching via bible study. I’m from Australia, so a lot of the references fly over my head, but a good anecdote is still appreciated. Of the posts I’ve seen, I greatly endear your for being loving, biblically focused, and helping people. I pray for your strength in your journey with Christ and that you will bring many to him, and glorify him also.