Revelation 1:5 – Part 1

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Audio Download

Revelation 1:5 – Part 1, The Faithful Witness

[Updated August 16, 2023]

Rev 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,

Rev 1:4  John to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace [be] unto you, and peace, from him which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from the seven Spirits which are before his throne;

Rev 1:6  And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him [be] glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

Rom 11:36  For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom [be] glory for ever. Amen.


We intend to cover the first part of verse 5 today, but I have quoted verses 4-6 for the purpose of conveying the complete thought contained in these three verses. Christ, as always, is the focus of all of God’s Word, so I have placed Romans 11:36 here with these three verses simply because you will better understand the structure of verse 5 with that verse from Romans 11.


Verse 4 informs us that John, as Christ’s Christ, that is Christ’s Anointed, is addressing the seven churches in Asia. At the beginning of probably every study we have, I will remind you of the fact that the third verse of this chapter tells us that we are to “read, hear, [‘hear’ means to understand] and keep the things written therein.” To that end, we covered what the scriptures reveal concerning the meaning of the words ‘seven’ and ‘Asia.’ We have covered the meaning of the phrase ‘grace and peace’, and we have read the incredible revelation of the fact that Christ and His words ‘are, were, and will be’ and they “will never pass away.”

Mat 24:35  Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.

Therefore, as revolutionary as such a concept would be in the Dallas Theological Seminary, or any other seminary on earth, it is Christ and His words who “are, were, and will be read, heard, and kept” by all, in every generation of mankind, who are given to hear and understand that “the time is [always] at hand.” Time was not “at hand” exclusively for those who were alive at the time John penned this prophecy. Neither is the time “at hand” exclusively for those who happen to be alive when Christ comes to rule over the nations of this world. The time is always “at hand” to read, hear, understand, and “keep the things that are written therein.” If you see no need to “keep the things that are written therein,” then it is not yet your time to read, hear and keep the things written therein. However, you will do so in your own appointed time.

Finally, we also covered what the scriptures reveal concerning the meaning of the seven spirits, and we saw that the seven spirits, just like the seven churches in this same verse, means the complete “sum of God’s Word” or all of God’s spirit.

Who is Jesus Christ?

All we have covered so far in verse 4 is telling us from whom these words proceed, and we still have two more verses describing the source of these words. In other words, the holy spirit is revealing to us that this is all in one person, and that one person is Jesus Christ, and this is all preceded by verse 3 telling us that we are to “keep what is written therein, for the time is at hand.”

Now we come to verse 5, which is nothing more than a continuation of this introduction to the spiritual author of these words which are written. Added to all the titles given Him in verse 4, we now add “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.”

The name ‘Jesus’ is an English translation for the Greek name ‘Iesous‘ (pronounced ‘ee-ay-sooce’), and it means savior or deliverer. ‘Christ’ is from the Greek word ‘Christos‘ and means ‘anointed.’ It is understood that this anointing is, as was Aaron’s anointing, for the service of God. So Jesus Christ is actually “by interpretation” Anointed Savior.

Having the right verbal name, and pronouncing that verbal sound just so, has nothing at all to do with the meaning of the scriptural phrase, “the name of God.” It certainly has nothing to add to what we are being told about Christ here in verse 5. These verses should give us some idea what is meant by the word ‘name’ in scripture.

Rom 2:21  Thou therefore which teachest another, teachest thou not thyself? thou that preachest a man should not steal, dost thou steal?
Rom 2:22  Thou that sayest a man should not commit adultery, dost thou commit adultery? thou that abhorrest idols, dost thou commit sacrilege?
Rom 2:23  Thou that makest thy boast of the law, through breaking the law dishonourest thou God?
Rom 2:24  For the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles through you, as it is written.

It does not “blaspheme the name of God to call Him ‘God’ instead of Yahweh. Neither does it blaspheme the name of God to call Iesous, Jesus. What does blaspheme the name of God is drawing a lot of attention to oneself as a child of God while living a life which demonstrates that we are nothing more than sons of our father the devil. Contrary to the teaching of the ‘sacred name’ crowd, names are pronounced differently from one language to another. Here are a few verses  which should dethrone that idol of the heart.

Joh 1:40  One of the two which heard John [the baptist] speak, and followed him, was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother.
Joh 1:41  He first findeth his own brother Simon, and saith unto him, We have found the Messias, which is, being interpreted, the Christ.
Joh 1:42  He brought him unto Jesus. Jesus looked upon him, and said, Thou art Simon the son of John: thou shalt be called Cephas (which is by interpretation, Peter).

Act 9:36  Now there was at Joppa a certain disciple named Tabitha, which by interpretation is called Dorcas: this woman was full of good works and almsdeeds which she did.

Act 13:8  But Elymas the sorcerer (for so is his name by interpretation) withstood them, seeking to turn away the deputy from the faith.

Heb 7:2  To whom [Melchisedec] also Abraham gave a tenth part of all; first being by interpretation King of righteousness, and after that also King of Salem, which is [by interpretation], King of peace;

Christ has not blasphemed the name of His Father, and is instead called “the faithful and true witness.”

Rev 3:14  And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God;

Rev 19:11  And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him [was] called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war.

Rev 22:6  And he said unto me, These sayings [are] faithful and true: and the Lord God of the holy prophets sent his angel to shew unto his servants the things which must shortly be done.

Christ  and His word are both called “faithful and true.” How is He such? To answer that question we must know what a “witness” is. Let’s notice how this same Greek word is used just two chapters later:

Rev 2:13  I know thy works, and where thou dwellest, [even] where Satan’s seat [is]: and thou holdest fast my name, and hast not denied my faith, even in those days wherein Antipas [was] my faithful martyr, who was slain among you, where Satan dwelleth.

This is where it appears in the book of Acts:

Act 22:19  And I [Paul] said, Lord, they know that I imprisoned and beat in every synagogue them that believed on thee:
Act 22:20  And when the blood of thy martyr Stephen was shed, I also was standing by, and consenting unto his death, and kept the raiment of them that slew him.

This is how it is used where it first appears in the New Testament:

Mat 18:16  But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.

The Greek word in both cases is ‘martus.’ It appears 34 times in the New Testament, and of those 34 times it is translated as ‘witnesses’ or ‘witness’ 29 times.

Twice it is translated ‘a record’ and as you can see, it could just as easily have been translated ‘witness’ those two times. Here they are:

2Co 1:23  Moreover I call God for a record upon my soul, that to spare you I came not as yet unto Corinth.

Php 1:8  For God is my record, how greatly I long after you all in the bowels of Jesus Christ.

Christ’s “faithful and true” witnesses are “in the bowels of Jesus Christ” by virtue of having His mind and His words and His doctrine in them, and they are faithful to those words to the very end. Notice the two verses that precede Romans 11:36, quoted above.

Rom 11:34  For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counsellor?
Rom 11:35  Or who hath first given to him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again?
Rom 11:36  For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen.

“Who has known the mind of the Lord? That is a fair question, and it deserves a Biblical answer. The questions are posed, “Who has been His counsellor? Who has given to Him first, deserving of something in return?” The obvious answer to both those questions is, “No one!” However, is that telling us that no one has known the mind of Christ? Absolutely not! It is simply telling us that those who do have the mind of Christ realize that “of him, and through him, and to him, are all things” and that we bring nothing to the table. So who, then, does have the mind of Christ? Let’s repeat that question in 1 Corinthians and get our answer. It is the exact same question:

1Co 2:16  For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.

Now if you cannot say with Paul “We have the mind of Christ” then that is fine. It is good to be honest. If you come to me and tell me that there is no way for you to know what is truth, then that, too, is fine. Again, it is good to be honest with yourself. Just don’t then turn and accuse me of saying that you don’t have the mind of Christ and you don’t know the truth. You are the one who told me that you did not have the mind of Christ, and you are the one who told me that you could not say you know the Truth. If I take you at your word, why are you upset with me?

The answer is that you, out of your own mouth, have condemned yourself and have told me that you do not believe Christ when He says:

Joh 8:32  And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.

You have told me that you do not believe that “we have the mind of Christ.” When you make that decision, you have also automatically decided that these verses also are not to be believed:

1Jn 4:1  Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.

You have already told me that you cannot try the spirits simply because you cannot know the Truth. Christ said He was the Truth and that there is no other way to the Father.

Joh 14:6  Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

Christ did not say, “I know the way.” He said, “I AM the way.” Unless we misunderstand what He meant by that, He makes it crystal clear:

Joh 10:1  Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber.

Joh 10:7  Then said Jesus unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep.

Those who have the mind of Christ, know the truth because they know Christ. If you tell me that we cannot know for sure that what we believe is true, then you are automatically declaring that there is no way you can know Christ. These are your words about yourself; they are not mine. Those who are “faithful and true” do not shun to make known and declare the whole counsel of God:”

Act 20:27  For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God.

Which especially includes words like these:

Act 20:29  For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock.
Act 20:30  Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.
Act 20:31  Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears.

Tit 3:10  A man that is an heretick after the first and second admonition reject;
Tit 3:11  Knowing that he that is such is subverted, and sinneth, being condemned of himself.

1Jn 4:5  They are of the world: therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them.
1Jn 4:6  We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error.

“The faithful and true witness” does not shun to declare that “He that knows God hears us; he that is not of God hears not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth and the spirit of error.” ‘We’ and ‘us’ are those who are faithful and true to God’s Word, who do not shun to declare the sum of God’s Word, who declare that sum to be the Truth  and who do not hesitate to tell you “hereby know you the spirit of Truth and the spirit of error.”

Those to whom it is given to be “faithful and true witnesses… will be hated of all men” and will, in spirit, “lie dead in the streets of that great city where also our Lord was crucified” even as they “die daily” and are “crucified with Christ.” The word for the “two witnesses” is the word ‘martus.’ Like Stephen and Antipas, they are “faithful and true to the end.”


How important is it to be a “faithful and true witness?” This is just how important it is to be faithful and true to the end. It is not enough to be called and chosen. There is one more qualification that must be common to all who are in that “blessed and holy first resurrection.” Here is that final finishing quality:

Mat 10:22  And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved

Mat 22:8  Then saith he to his servants, The wedding is ready, but they which were bidden were not worthy.
Mat 22:9  Go ye therefore into the highways, and as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage.
Mat 22:10  So those servants went out into the highways, and gathered together all as many as they found, both bad and good: and the wedding was furnished with guests.
Mat 22:11  And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment:
Mat 22:12  And he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless.
Mat 22:13  Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Faithfulness endures to the very end, whereas not even all the chosen who are dragged to the marriage supper are faithful to the end. The ‘marriage supper’ here in Matthew 22 is “the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession…” meaning until that “blessed and holy first resurrection”:

Eph 1:12  That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ.
Eph 1:13  In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,
Eph 1:14  Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.

Rev 20:4  And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.
Rev 20:5  But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection.
Rev 20:6  Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection” on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.

Joh 6:70  Jesus answered them, Have not I chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil?

So these are those who endure to the end:

Rev 17:12  And the ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet; but receive power as kings one hour with the beast.
Rev 17:13  These have one mind, and shall give their power and strength unto the beast.
Rev 17:14  These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful.

Christ is the Father’s faithful and true witness, and as Christ’s Christ, we are “faithful and true witnesses” who are called and chosen and faithful and true “to the end.”

We have seen why Christ is called “the faithful and true witness.” In keeping with the instructions to “keep the things which are written therein” we have seen how He is faithful and true as He lives His life of faithfulness in us in the midst of rejection and trials. We have seen that those in whom He lives do not shun to declare that they are the sons of God and that they know God and Jesus Christ, and they who have the mind of Christ “hear us” because we “try the spirits”, and we are faithful to His Word which He is living out in our flesh.

Next study we will see, Lord willing, how we, too, are “a kind of firstfruits” meaning “the first begotten of the dead, and princes of the kings of the earth” in Christ.

Jas 1:18  Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.

Rev 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,

Other related posts