First Reading

Revelations 1:5-8 Looks at Daniel 7:13-14

4 Grace and peace to you from the One existing (now), (who) was, and coming, from the seven spirits who (are) before his throne, 5 and from JESUS CHRIST, the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To the (ONE) loving us and freeing us from our sins in HIS blood, 6 HE made us a kingdom of priests (in service) to HIS God and Father, to HIM glory and (ruling) power into the age of ages. Amen.

7 Look! HE is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see HIM and (especially those) who pierced HIM; and all the tribes on the earth will mourn on HIM. Yes! Amen!

8 'I am the Alpha and the Omega,' says the Lord God, 'the (One) existing now, (who) was, and coming, the Almighty.'

Revelations: Popular Translation

The Book of Revelation has been problematic since it was written by "John the Elder" circa 95 A.D., a time when merely being a Christian was a capital offense. Besides an introduction (1:1-8) and a conclusion (22:6-21), the book consists of sections that revolve around the number "7": seven churches, seven seals, seven bowls, and seven plagues. The number "7" indicates a measure of fullness; the author is, after all, describing the fullness of time at the end of the world. Using these images, the author warns the seven churches in modern day Turkey (2:1-3:22) and attempts to paint the "last days" in sequence (4:1-22:9).

Revelations is a prophetic book in the style of Daniel. As a prophet, the author might be using symbolic language to describe present troubles (a Catholic interpretation). Or, he might be predicting future events (a fundamentalist interpretation). The fight between these two schools of interpretation only adds to the fiery debate over Revelations.

Found in the introduction to Revelations, today's passages consist of a doxology (a glory-giving phrase in 1:5-6) and a prophetic message (to answer the doxology in 1:7-8). The doxology uses a formula of "to whom/be the glory/forever." [6] The doxology praises Jesus Christ for as lover and liberator [6] since he is the faithful witness (on the cross) and firstborn of the dead [5]. It also praises him as the king of kings [5] who made us into a kingdom of priests [6]. The doxology ends with "Amen."

The prophetic message that answers the doxology consists of a vision [7] and an affirmation from Jesus [8]. The vision harkens back to Daniel 7:13-14:

13 I saw in the night visions, and behold, there came with the clouds of the sky one like a son of man, and he came even to the ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. 14 There was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all the peoples, nations, and languages should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.

World English Bible

John combines the image of Daniel's "Son of Man" with one of the crucified Lord. The people who see Christ will lament because they will be ruled by the One whose followers they persecuted. This vision ends with "Amen."

Notice who answers the vision: the Lord God who expresses his all-powerful nature in terms of time. Jews were unique in the ancient world, for they framed creation in terms of linear time, not the cycles of the seasons. Creation has a beginning, a middle, and an ending, based upon chronological time.

God's utterance is an affirmation on the vision and the doxology. The actions of Jesus Christ and the elevation of believers are all part of the divine plan throughout creation, from the beginning of time, to its ending.

Do we appreciate our faith and our place in God's plans? Do we thank God for his actions in our lives? Do we thank God for these action that were known to Him at the beginning of time and will affect future generations until the end of time?