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Revelation 1:5

Adam Clarke
Bible 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.

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; Philemon 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.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
There can be no true peace, where there is not true grace; and where grace goeth before, peace will follow. This blessing is in the name of God, of the Holy Trinity, it is an act of adoration. The Father is first named; he is described as the Jehovah who is, and who was, and who is to come, eternal, unchangeable. The Holy Spirit is called the seven spirits, the perfect Spirit of God, in whom there is a diversity of gifts and operations. The Lord Jesus Christ was from eternity, a Witness to all the counsels of God. He is the First-born from the dead, who will by his own power raise up his people. He is the Prince of the kings of the earth; by him their counsels are overruled, and to him they are accountable. Sin leaves a stain of guilt and pollution upon the soul. Nothing can fetch out this stain but the blood of Christ; and Christ shed his own blood to satisfy Divine justice, and purchase pardon and purity for his people. Christ has made believers kings and priests to God and his Father. As such they overcome the world, mortify sin, govern their own spirits, resist Satan, prevail with God in prayer, and shall judge the world. He has made them priests, given them access to God, enabled them to offer spiritual and acceptable sacrifices, and for these favours they are bound to ascribe to him dominion and glory for ever. He will judge the world. Attention is called to that great day when all will see the wisdom and happiness of the friends of Christ, and the madness and misery of his enemies. Let us think frequently upon the second coming of Christ. He shall come, to the terror of those who wound and crucify him by apostacy: he shall come, to the astonishment of the whole world of the ungodly. He is the Beginning and the End; all things are from him and for him; he is the Almighty; the same eternal and unchanged One. And if we would be numbered with his saints in glory everlasting, we must now willing submit to him receive him, and honour him as a saviour, who we believe will come to be our Judge. Alas, that there should be many, who would wish never to die, and that there should not be a day of judgment!
Ellen G. White
Christ's Object Lessons, 162

The life in which the fear of the Lord is cherished will not be a life of sadness and gloom. It is the absence of Christ that makes the countenance sad, and the life a pilgrimage of sighs. Those who are filled with self-esteem and self-love do not feel the need of a living, personal union with Christ. The heart that has not fallen on the Rock is proud of its wholeness. Men want a dignified religion. They desire to walk in a path wide enough to take in their own attributes. Their self-love, their love of popularity and love of praise, exclude the Saviour from their hearts, and without Him there is gloom and sadness. But Christ dwelling in the soul is a wellspring of joy. For all who receive Him, the very keynote of the word of God is rejoicing. COL 162.1

“For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy: I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.” Isaiah 57:15. COL 162.2

It was when Moses was hidden in the cleft of the rock that he beheld the glory of God. It is when we hide in the riven Rock that Christ will cover us with His own pierced hand, and we shall hear what the Lord saith unto His servants. To us as to Moses, God will reveal Himself as “merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin.” Exodus 34:6, 7. COL 162.3

The work of redemption involves consequences of which it is difficult for man to have any conception. “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him.” 1 Corinthians 2:9. As the sinner, drawn by the power of Christ, approaches the uplifted cross, and prostrates himself before it, there is a new creation. A new heart is given him. He becomes a new creature in Christ Jesus. Holiness finds that it has nothing more to require. God Himself is “the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.” Romans 3:26. And “whom He justified, them He also glorified.” Romans 8:30. Great as is the shame and degradation through sin, even greater will be the honor and exaltation through redeeming love. To human beings striving for conformity to the divine image there is imparted an outlay of heaven's treasure, an excellency of power, that will place them higher than even the angels who have never fallen. COL 162.4

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Ellen G. White
In Heavenly Places, 42.5

By pledging His own life Christ has made Himself responsible for every man and woman on the earth. He stands in the presence of God, saying, “Father, I take upon Myself the guilt of that soul. It means death to him if he is left to bear it. If he repents he shall be forgiven. My blood shall cleanse him from all sin. I gave My life for the sins of the world.” HP 42.5

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Ellen G. White
Lift Him Up, 40.3

Paul beheld the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world. He heard the voice of Christ saying, “I am the way, the truth, and the life; no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” He determined to avail himself of the benefits of saving grace, to become dead to trespasses and sins, to have his guilt washed away in the blood of Christ, to be clothed with Christ's righteousness, to become a branch of the Living Vine. He walked with Christ, and Jesus became to him—not a part of salvation, while his own good deeds were another part, but—his all in all, the first and last and best in everything. He had the faith that draws life from Christ, that enabled him to conform his life to that of the divine example. This faith claims nothing for its possessor because of his righteousness, but claims everything because of the righteousness of Christ. LHU 40.3

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Ellen G. White
Mind, Character, and Personality, vol. 2, 531.1

A Definition of Faith—Faith, saving faith, is to be taught. The definition of this faith in Jesus Christ may be described in few words: It is the act of the soul by which the whole man is given over to the guardianship and control of Jesus Christ. He abides in Christ and Christ abides in the soul by faith as supreme. The believer commits his soul and body to God and with assurance may say, Christ is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him against that day. All who will do this will be saved unto life eternal. There will be an assurance that the soul is washed in the blood of Christ and clothed with His righteousness and precious in the sight of Jesus. Our thoughts and our hopes are on the second advent of our Lord. That is the day when the Judge of all the earth will reward the trust of His people.—Manuscript 6, 1889. 2MCP 531.1

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Ellen G. White
SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 7 (EGW), 922

The first chapter of Hebrews contrasts the position of the angels and the position of Christ. God has spoken words concerning Christ that are not to be applied to the angels. They are “sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation,” but Christ, as Mediator, is the great Minister in the work of redemption. The Holy Spirit is His representative in our world, to execute the divine purpose of bringing to fallen man power from above, that he may be an overcomer. All who enter into a covenant with Jesus Christ become by adoption the children of God. They are cleansed by the regenerating power of the Word, and angels are commissioned to minister unto them (Manuscript 57, 1907). 7BC 922.1

6, 8. See EGW on ch. 3:1-3; John 1:1-3, 14; Colossians 2:9. 7BC 922.2

8. See EGW on John 1:1-3. 7BC 922.3

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Ellen G. White
Testimonies for the Church, vol. 6, 367

Then as you meet from Sabbath to Sabbath, sing praises to Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light. “Unto Him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in His own blood” let the heart's adoration be given. Let the love of Christ be the burden of the speaker's utterance. Let it be expressed in simple language in every song of praise. Let the inspiration of the Spirit of God dictate your prayers. As the word of life is spoken, let your heartfelt response testify that you receive the message as from heaven. This is very old-fashioned, I know; but it will be a thank offering to God for the bread of life given to the hungry soul. This response to the inspiration of the Holy Spirit will be a strength to your own soul and an encouragement to others. It will give some evidence that there are in God's building living stones that emit light. 6T 367.1

While we review, not the dark chapters in our experience, but the manifestations of God's great mercy and unfailing love, we shall praise far more than complain. We shall talk of the loving faithfulness of God as the true, tender, compassionate shepherd of His flock, which He has declared that none shall pluck out of His hand. The language of the heart will not be selfish murmuring and repining. Praise, like clear-flowing streams, will come from God's truly believing ones. “Goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” “Thou shalt guide me with Thy counsel, and afterward receive me to glory. Whom have I in heaven but Thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside Thee.” Psalm 23:6; 73:24, 25. 6T 367.2

Why not awake the voice of our spiritual songs in the travels of our pilgrimage? Why not come back to our simplicity and life of fervor? The reason why we are not more joyful is that we have lost our first love. Let us then be zealous and repent, lest the candlestick be moved out of its place. 6T 368.1

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Ellen G. White
That I May Know Him, 168.5

If our senses had not been blunted by sin and by contemplation of the dark pictures that Satan is constantly presenting before us, a fervent and continuous flow of gratitude would go out from our hearts toward Him who daily loads us with benefits of which we are wholly undeserving. The everlasting song of the redeemed will be praise to Him who hath loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood; and if we ever sing that song before the throne of God we must learn it here.”17 TMK 168.5

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Ellen G. White
God's Amazing Grace, 83.2

The Prince of heaven has placed man in an exalted position. His life has been valued at the cost of Calvary's cross.... From the depths of sin's degradation, we may be exalted to become heirs with Christ, the sons of God, and kings and priests unto the Most High.... AG 83.2

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Ellen G. White
The Great Controversy, 416

“He shall build the temple of the Lord.” By His sacrifice and mediation Christ is both the foundation and the builder of the church of God. The apostle Paul points to Him as “the chief Cornerstone; in whom all the building fitly framed together groweth into an holy temple in the Lord: in whom ye also,” he says, “are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.” Ephesians 2:20-22. GC 416.1

“He shall bear the glory.” To Christ belongs the glory of redemption for the fallen race. Through the eternal ages, the song of the ransomed ones will be: “Unto Him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in His own blood, ... to Him be glory and dominion for ever and ever.” Revelation 1:5, 6. GC 416.2

He “shall sit and rule upon His throne; and He shall be a priest upon His throne.” Not now “upon the throne of His glory;” the kingdom of glory has not yet been ushered in. Not until His work as a mediator shall be ended will God “give unto Him the throne of His father David,” a kingdom of which “there shall be no end.” Luke 1:32, 33. As a priest, Christ is now set down with the Father in His throne. Revelation 3:21. Upon the throne with the eternal, self-existent One is He who “hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows,” who “was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin,” that He might be “able to succor them that are tempted.” “If any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father.” Isaiah 53:4; Hebrews 4:15; 2:18; 1 John 2:1. His intercession is that of a pierced and broken body, of a spotless life. The wounded hands, the pierced side, the marred feet, plead for fallen man, whose redemption was purchased at such infinite cost. GC 416.3

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Ellen G. White
The Great Controversy, 646

Before the ransomed throng is the Holy City. Jesus opens wide the pearly gates, and the nations that have kept the truth enter in. There they behold the Paradise of God, the home of Adam in his innocency. Then that voice, richer than any music that ever fell on mortal ear, is heard, saying: “Your conflict is ended.” “Come, ye blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.” GC 646.1

Now is fulfilled the Saviour's prayer for His disciples: “I will that they also, whom Thou hast given Me, be with Me where I am.” “Faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy” (Jude 24), Christ presents to the Father the purchase of His blood, declaring: “Here am I, and the children whom Thou hast given Me.” “Those that Thou gavest Me I have kept.” Oh, the wonders of redeeming love! the rapture of that hour when the infinite Father, looking upon the ransomed, shall behold His image, sin's discord banished, its blight removed, and the human once more in harmony with the divine! GC 646.2

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