Seven Churches – Revelation Chapter 1:9 Commentary

Seven Churches – Revelation Chapter 1:9

Revelation 1:9 I John, who also am your brother, and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was in the isle that is called Patmos, for the Word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ.

Adam Clarke’s Commentary says:

[Your brother] A Christian, begotten of God, and incorporated in the Heavenly family.

[Companion in tribulation] Suffering under the persecution in which you also suffer.

[In the kingdom] For we are a kingdom of priests unto God.

[And patience of Jesus] Meekly bearing all indignities, privations, and sufferings, for the sake and after the example of our Lord and Master.

[For the testimony of Jesus Christ.] For preaching Christianity, and converting pagans to the Lord Jesus.

Information below is derived from Adam Clarke’s Commentary and an article by Rick Renner entitled “A Light in Darkness”, June 2011 issue of Victory Magazine (Kenneth Copeland Believers Voice of Victory). The article is based on Rick Renner’s new book called “A Light in Darkness – Seven Messages to the Seven Churches”. A Light in Darkness by Rick Renner (Jan 3, 2011).

Patmos was a small, desolate island of about 30 miles in circumference. It belonged to a group of islands called the Sporades. It’s located in the Aegean in the region known as the Icarian Sea. Patmos is around 60 miles from Ephesus and 25 miles to the nearest coastline of Asia Minor (modern day Turkey).

Patmos was the “Alcatraz” of the first century. The worst of the common criminals (murderers, rapists) and political offenders were brought to this island. It was an open-air prison. Common criminals were fettered, scourged and treated very harshly. They had to do hard labor. Political offenders were treated with more respect and were allowed to roam the island freely. However, no food, clothing, supplies or medical care was provided. Political offenders formed communities to create a better chance of survival.

John was exiled to this island as a political offender for spreading the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. It was here that John had the Vision and was caught up to Heaven (in his spirit).


Seven Churches – Revelation Chapter 1:8 Commentary

Seven Churches – Revelation Chapter 1:8

Revelation 1:8 “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End,” says the Lord, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.”

Alpha is the first letter of the Greek alphabet. It looks exactly like an “A” in the English alphabet.

Omega is the last letter of the Greek alphabet. It is equivalent to the letter “Z” in the English alphabet.

Jesus is the A to the Z, and everything inbetween. To read about the Names of Jesus Christ from A-Z, please go to:

Names and Titles of Jesus Christ: A – B

Names and Titles of Jesus Christ: C – E

Names and Titles of Jesus Christ: F – I

Names and Titles of Jesus Christ: J – L

Names and Titles of Jesus Christ: M – Q

Names and Titles of Jesus Christ: R – S

Names and Titles of Jesus Christ: T – Z

Glory of the Lord – A Name of Jesus Christ

Power and Authority in the Name of Jesus

“I am Alpha and Omega” – I am from eternity to eternity

“The Beginning and the End” – God is the establisher of all things and the end of all things. He has always existed and will always exist. He was there at the beginning of creation and will be there at the close of the world as we know it now.

The language in this verse implies Divinity, and can be applied to no one but the true living God. Jesus is God. In other writings of John, he establishes the Divinity of Jesus Christ. John 1:1 says, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” The Word is talking about Jesus.

“Who is” – God is in the present

“Who was” – God is in the past

“Who is to come” – God is in the future

God can be in the past, present and future all at the same time because He’s eternal.

If you have pressing needs that you are praying about, be assured that God has already worked it out for you. He’s prepared the way and gone ahead into your future, and already taken care of the matter. Not too long from now you’ll begin to see the manifestation of answered prayer.

“The Almighty” – The All-Powerful One. The Hebrew name for Almighty is El Shaddai.

Other references in which Jesus introduces Himself as the Alpha and Omega are:

Revelation 1:11

Revelation 21:6

Revelation 22:13

Seven Churches – Revelation Chapter 1:7 Commentary

Seven Churches – Revelation Chapter 1:7

Revelation 1:7 Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him, even they who pierced Him. And all the tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him. Even so, Amen.

Cross Reference:

Matthew 24:30-31

30 And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.

31 And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.

Also see: Matthew 26:64, Mark 13:26, Mark 14:62, 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17

This coming of the Lord is His second coming. It could be talking about one of two things:

  1. The rapture, because it says that His angels shall gather together His elect from the four winds (four corners of the earth … worldwide extension … north, south, east, west).
  2. This verse could be talking about Jesus’ coming after the rapture has already occurred, when Jesus comes to set up His kingdom on this earth during the millennium.

The Lord, when He returns, will come accompanied with clouds. Clouds are symbols of Majesty and the Shekinah Glory.

God spoke from the Cloud that led the Israelites through the wilderness.

Jesus will appear in the sky, in the literal clouds. In the same way He ascended to heaven, is the same way in which He will return to earth. Acts 1:9-11.

They who pierced Him is probably in reference to those who crucified Him (the Jewish people and the Gentiles). His feet and hands were pierced, as was His side. This is also in reference to those who have pierced His heart (figuratively speaking) through habitual sin, rebellion, rejection and wrong doing.

Every eye will be able to see Him … this is possible with modern-day media and satellite. His coming will be a visible appearing.

All the tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him. The Barnes’ Notes Commentary says they shall:

“Wail on account of their treatment of Jesus. The coming of the Savior will be an event which will call to remembrance the sins of the people and they will be overwhelmed with the apprehension of wrath to come.”

The word “Amen” means: so be it, assuredly, certainly. The word “Amen” in this verse is an affirmation of a certainty, rather than an expression of a wish.

Seven Churches – Revelation Chapter 1:6 Commentary

Seven Churches – Revelation Chapter 1:6

Revelation 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.

Jesus Christ is a Priest-King like Melchizedek (Hebrews 7), and we are seated with Him on His throne ruling and reigning with Him (Ephesians 2:1-10).

1 Peter 2:9 says, “But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.”

A royal priesthood reigns on this earth in the here and now (not just when they get to heaven or during the millenium). Revelation 5:10 tells us: “And have made us kings and priests to our God; and we shall reign on the earth.”

Kings and priests exercise spiritual authority and serve God in this earth.

Kings rule and reign. Kings decree a thing and so shall it be established. Kings make laws and change laws and regulations. Kings have dominion. Kings conquer their enemies and have the victory. Kings are wealthy. Kings have an audience with people in high places. Kings primarily serve in the marketplace.

At my church, a prophetic word was given in January 2011 concerning the role of kings. The word is:

God is birthing kings in the Spirit.  These kings will take on the 7 mountains (the 7 mountains being the 7 worldly systems):

  1. Family
  2. Government
  3. Business
  4. Education
  5. Religion
  6. Media
  7. Arts and Entertainment

There is the spirit of momentum and escalation.  You will get more done in less time.  There is a remnant whom will arise and build by faith.

These kings will release God’s children from a poverty and beggar’s mentality.  God’s people will be infused with the spirit of dominion, at which the oceans would obey at our mouth.  (The oceans refer to the sea of humanity.)  Kings and Priests are being raised up.

Priests primarily serve in the five-fold ministry. Ephesians 4:11-12 refers to the five-fold ministry.

11 And He gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;

12 For the perfecting (maturing) of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.

The Barnes’ Notes Commentary says the following regarding kings and priests in Revelation 1:6:

The quotation in 1 Peter 2:9, Revelation 1:6 and Revelation 5:10 comes from Exodus 19:6: “And ye shall be unto Me a kingdom of priests.”

This idea is expressed here by saying that Christ had made us in fact kings and priests; that is, Christians are exalted to the dignity and are invested with the office, implied in these words.

The word “kings,” as applied to them, refers to the exalted rank and dignity which they will have; to the fact that they, in common with their Savior, will reign triumphant over all enemies; and that, having gained a victory over sin and death and hell, they may be represented as reigning together.

The word “priests” refers to the fact that they are engaged in the holy service of God, or that they offer to him acceptable worship.

In the Levitical priesthood, a priest could not be a king and a king could not be a priest. They were two separate offices.

However, since Jesus comes from the priesthood of Melchizedek (who was both a priest and a king), and because if we are in Christ we have the divine nature of God living on the inside of us, we can reign in this life as both kings and priests.

King David was a type of Christ in that he was a king, priest and prophet all at the same time. And David came from the tribe of Judah (the tribe of kings).

In a teaching I posted about intercession, we see how intercessors operate in the 3-fold anointing as prophet, priest and king. To read this message, please go to: Notes on the Principles of Intercession

Seven Churches – Revelation Chapter 1:5b, Part 2

Seven Churches – Revelation Chapter 1:5b, Part 2

Revelation 1:5b NKJV

5 To Him who loved us …

The Greek word for “loved” in Revelation 1:5 is agapao, which is a verb or action word.

In 1 Corinthians 13, the Greek word for “love” (translated as charity in the KJV) is agape, which is a noun.

In the Greek there are various words for love, but the kind of love that Jesus loves us with is agape (noun) or agapao (verb) love. He wants to fill our hearts with His love so that we are able to love others in the same way He loves us.

Romans 5:5 says, “And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.”

Agape love, in 1 Corinthians 13, is defined as:

  1. Patient (Strong’s New Testament #3114 makrothumeo) – to be long-spirited, forbearing, patient; to be patient in bearing the offenses and injuries of others; to be mild and slow in avenging; to be long-suffering; slow to anger; slow to punish.
  1. Kind (5541 chresteuomai) – to show oneself helpful; i.e. act benevolently; to show oneself mild.
  1. Not Envious (2206 zeloo) – to have warmth of feeling against; to be heated or boiling; jealousy.
  1. Not Boastful (4068 perpereuomai) – braggart; to vaunt oneself.
  1. Not Proud or Arrogant (5448 phusioo) – to be haughty; to inflate; blow up; blow out; to cause to swell up.
  1. Not Rude (807 aschemoneo) – to be (or act) unbecoming; behave unseemly.
  1. Not Self-Seeking (2212 zeteo) – seek; require; demand (one’s own way); selfish; self-centered.
  1. Not Easily Angered (3947 paroxuno) – to exasperate; to irritate; provoke; rouse to anger; to talk sharp.
  1. Thinking No Evil (2556 kakos) – troublesome; injurious; pernicious; destructive; baneful; [keeping a record of wrongs].
  1. Not Rejoicing in Iniquity (93 adikia) – injustice; moral wrongfulness (of character, life or act).
  1. Rejoices in Truth (225 aletheia) – what is true in any matter under consideration (opposed to what is feigned, fictitious, false); truth as a personal excellence; that candor or mind which is free from affectation, pretence, simulation, falsehood, deceit.
  1. Beareth all Things (Protects) (4722 stego) – to roof over, i.e. (figuratively) to cover with silence; to keep secret; to hide; conceal; to protect or keep by covering; to preserve; to bear up against; hold out against; and so to endure, bear, forbear.
  1. Believeth all Things (Trust) (4100 pisteuo) – to have faith (in, or with respect to, a person); to think to be true; to be persuaded of; to credit; place confidence in.
  1. Hopeth all Things (Expect) (1679 elpizo) – to expect; [expect the best].
  1. Endures all Things (5278 hupomeno) – abide; remain; i.e. bear (trials); have fortitude; persevere.
  1. Love Never Fails (or Falls) (4098 pipto) – to fall; used of descent from a higher place to a lower; used of descent from a standing to a prostrate position; to fall from a state of uprightness; i.e. to sin; to come to an end; cease.

Years ago I watched the Believer’s Voice of Victory television broadcast, week after week, where Gloria Copeland was teaching on the subject of love.

She said that if one personalizes this passage by replacing the word “love” with the word “I”, and declares it aloud as an act of faith, then after a while it will take root and will come to fruition.

Declare aloud …

I am patient. I am long-suffering. I am slow to anger. I am patient in bearing the offenses of others.

I am kind. I am mild. I am benevolent. I am helpful.

I am not envious. I have no feelings of jealousy against another.

I am not boastful. I do not vaunt or brag on myself.

I am not proud or arrogant. I am not haughty. I am not puffed up.

I am not rude. I do not act unbecoming. I do not behave unseemly.

I am not self-seeking. I do not demand my own way. I am not selfish or self-centered.

I am not easily angered. I do not get exasperated quickly. I am not easily provoked. I am not sharp with others.

I think no evil. I do not keep a record of wrongs. I do not have spiteful, destructive, injurious or malicious thoughts towards anyone.

I do not rejoice in iniquity. I do not take pleasure in injustice and moral wrongfulness. I do not rejoice in someone else’s calamity.

I rejoice in the truth. I do not pay heed to what is fictitious and false. I take no part in rumors.

I bear all things. I protect and cover. I do not expose the secrets of others. I can be trusted to keep a confidence.

I believe all things. I have faith in that person. I trust that person. I have confidence in that person. (This is not saying that you should trust every person because not every person can be trusted. This passage may be saying to look for the best in every person.)

I hope all things. I expect for the best.

I endure all things. I remain steadfast in bearing trials. I have an attitude of fortitude and perseverance.

I will never fall away from Christ because I walk in love. I will not fall into sin as long as I put on love. My love for Jesus Christ and others will never end. I will never cease to show love. Love is always the answer. Love never fails.

Amen, so be it!

If there is fear in your life, the love of God is the solution to that. 1 John 4:18 says, “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.”

2 Timothy 1:7 tells us: “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” He’s given us a sound mind because we are filled with His love and power.

John the Beloved Apostle teaches much about walking in love in his writings. In 1 John 4:19-21, John writes:

19 We love Him (Jesus) because He first loved us.

20 If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen?

21 And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God must love his brother also.

John goes on to say that if we do not walk in love, we walk around in darkness. But if we walk in love, we abide in the light as Christ is in the light (1 John 2:9-11, 1 John 1:5-10), and there is no cause of stumbling in us.

The prayer of my heart is “Lord, teach me how to love. Baptize me in Your love.”


Seven Churches – Revelation Chapter 1:3-5a

Seven Churches – Revelation Chapter 1:3-5a

Chapter 1

Verses 3-5a (New King James Version)

Revelation 1:3-5a

3 Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written in it; for the time is near.

Greeting the Seven Churches.

4 John, to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace to you and peace from Him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven Spirits who are before His throne,

5 and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler over the kings of the earth.

Verse 3

“Blessed” in the Greek means: happy, well off, fortunate, to be envied.

“Blessed” (in Verse 3) is the first of seven blessings, or beatitudes, in the Book of Revelation. The seven beatitudes are:

  1. Rev 1:3 Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy and keep those things which are written in it.
  1. Rev 14:13 Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord.
  1. Rev 16:15 Blessed are all who are watching for Me, who guard their clothing.
  1. Rev 19:9 Blessed are those who are called to the Marriage Supper of the Lamb.
  1. Rev 20:6 Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection.
  1. Rev 22:7 Blessed is he who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book.
  1. Rev 22:14 Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may have the right to the Tree of Life, and enter through the gates into the city.

In Verse 3, a blessing is given to the reader of the prophecy.  Writings were copied by hand, and so therefore, not everyone in the seven churches had their own scroll to read on their own.  An appointed speaker would stand up at the podium in the public assembly and read outloud the words of the prophecy to the congregation.

A blessing is given to the hearers of what they heard being read outloud. As the people heard this book being read, its message would give them strength and hope. The message would also help them examine their own lives, and each local assembly, to determine those areas needing correction.

A blessing is given to those who keep those things written in it. The blessing would come not just by hearing, but putting into practice what they heard and guarding it as a precious treasure.   James 1:22-25 (Amplified Version) tells us:

22 But be doers of the Word [obey the message], and not merely listeners to it, betraying yourselves [into deception by reasoning contrary to the Truth].

23 For if anyone only listens to the Word without obeying it and being a doer of it, he is like a man who looks carefully at his [own] natural face in a mirror;

24 For he thoughtfully observes himself, and then goes off and promptly forgets what he was like.

25 But he who looks carefully into the faultless law, the [law] of liberty, and is faithful to it and perseveres in looking into it, being not a heedless listener who forgets but an active doer [who obeys], he shall be blessed in his doing (his life of obedience).

“For the time is near”, in Verse 3, means that we are in the last days for all these prophecies to be fulfilled and for the second return of Christ to occur. Jesus said He was coming soon 2000 years ago. To us, 2000 years does not sound like anytime soon.

In the third chapter of Peter, the Apostle Peter talks about the return of Jesus Christ as well as false teachers. He said in Verse 8-10a:

8 But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.

9 The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.

10 The Day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night.

Time is different in heaven than here on earth.  In Heaven, a thousand years is as if one day had elapsed and a day could seem like a thousand years.  Time here on earth is chronos time (the ticking away of the clock which is measured in terms of years, months, days, hours, minutes, seconds).  Kairos time (God’s timing) means the appointed time, the set time for something to be fulfilled or to happen.

One reason for the delay in Christ’s coming, is that the Lord is merciful and is giving people more time to repent.  His will is that all would come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9). God sent His Son Jesus to die for everyone in the world, and His will is that all would be saved and none would be lost.

The Greek definition for the word repent means “to change one’s thinking.”  The mindset has to be changed or enlightened first before one’s actions change.  A person cannot go beyond their level of thinking.  As a man thinks in his heart, so is he (Proverbs 23:7).  For true repentance (a turnaround) to take place, one has to begin to think in a new way.  Mental strongholds and traditions are powerful and keep the mind locked in to think a certain way.  However, the Word of God is more powerful and has the ability to renew the mind so that we are transformed (Romans 12:2).

“Greeting to the Seven Churches” (Verse 3) is in reference to seven actual historical churches in Asia Minor (modern-day Turkey). There were many more than just seven churches, but Jesus chose seven, out of all, of the churches to give a message to.

Seven is the number of totality, perfection, completion, fullness. The seven churches encompass every church in the world to ever exist, as well as seven groups of people within the Body of Christ. The messages to the seven churches are applicable to every church, and every Christian, today.

The seven churches included: Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamos, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea.

“Grace and peace” (Verse 4) is a common salutation throughout the New Testament. To wish someone grace, is to wish them goodwill, lovingkindness, favor, benefits, and that which affords joy, pleasure, delight and sweetness. Grace is also defined as the unmerited favor of God and mercy.

To wish someone peace is the same as saying “Shalom”. Shalom is defined as:


  • peace (from war)
  • peace (inner peace)
  • good health
  • deliverance
  • preservation
  • salvation
  • prosperity
  • safety
  • friendship
  • well being
  • happiness
  • good welfare
  • favor
  • wholeness
  • rest
  • completeness
  • soundness
  • quietness
  • tranquility
  • contentment
  • harmonious state of the soul and mind
  • Covenant relationship with God


“Him who is and who was and who is to come” (Verse 4) is based on God’s self-identification in Exodus 3:14, “I am who I am,” or, “I will be who I will be” (from Jewish New Testament Commentary).

“Him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven Spirits who are before His throne, and from Jesus Christ”. This salutation may be alluding to the Trinity. John mentions the Godhead in other writings of his. I’ll mention one in particular. In 1 John 5:7, John records: “For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word (Jesus is the Word made flesh), and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.”

“Seven Spirits” is in reference to the Holy Spirit. It’s talking about the fullness of the Holy Spirit. Seven is the number of totality, perfection, fullness and completion.

The Seven Spirits of God are also known as “the seven-fold Spirit of the Lord.” See Isaiah 11:2-4 as a cross reference. Other references of the Seven Spirits of God are found in Revelation 3:1, 4:5, 5:6.

In the Throne Room of Heaven, the seven-fold Spirit of God is symbolized by the seven lamps (torches) of fire burning before the Throne (Rev 4:5).

In the earthly tabernacle (which was patterned after the real Sanctuary in Heaven), the seven-fold Spirit of God is symbolized by the 7-branched Menorah that continually burned day and night.

The seven torches of fire, and the seven-branched Candelabra symbolizes the Holy Spirit bringing illumination and revelation. The Holy Spirit also sanctifies us just as fire purges the dross.

In Revelation 3:1, Jesus is said to have those Seven Spirits of God. This is symbolized by the seven horns and seven eyes of the Lamb in Revelation 5:6. This verse says: “And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth.”

The horns speak of Jesus’ power and the eyes speak of Jesus’ manifold wisdom.

The Holy Spirit is the spirit of the Father (Matt 10:20, John 15:26) AND the Son (Gal 4:6, Phil 1:19). The Son issues out of the Father (John 8:42).

Isaiah 11:2-4a

2 The Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon Him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord.

3  His delight is in the fear of the Lord, and He shall not judge by the sight of His eyes, nor decide by the hearing of His ears;

4a  But with righteousness He shall judge the poor.

If Interpreting This Passage as Names of God

  1. Spirit of the Lord
  2. Spirit of Wisdom
  3. Spirit of Understanding
  4. Spirit of Counsel
  5. Spirit of Might
  6. Spirit of Knowledge
  7. Spirit of the Fear of the Lord

If Interpreting This Passage as the Seven-fold Character or Attributes of God

  1. Spirit of Wisdom
  2. Spirit of Understanding
  3. Spirit of Counsel
  4. Spirit of Might
  5. Spirit of Knowledge
  6. Spirit of the Fear of the Lord
  7. Righteousness (vs 4)

Kat Kerr, who has been caught up to Heaven many times, says that the seven Spirits of God are actually seven individual spirits who minister before God’s Throne (which is the Holy Spirit, who is eternal) and the six other spirits.

“The faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler over the kings of the earth”. The Bible Exposition Commentary says, “Jesus Christ is seen in His threefold office as Prophet (faithful Witness), Priest (First-begotten from the dead), and King (Prince of the kings of the earth). First-begotten does not mean ‘the first one raised from the dead,’ but ‘the highest of those raised from the dead.’ Firstborn is a title of honor (see Romans 8:29; Colossians 1:15,18).”

A faithful witness is a reliable one. Proverbs 14:5,25 says, “A faithful witness will not lie: but a false witness will utter lies. A true witness delivereth souls: but a deceitful witness speaketh lies.”

“Firstborn” and “ruler over the earth’s kings” corresponds to Psalms 89:27, which says: “Also I will make him my firstborn, higher than the kings of the earth.”

The messages to the seven churches was given during a time of heavy persecution against the Church. The Jewish New Testament Commentary says the following:

“The original readers were greatly encouraged in their struggle against persecution by these three aspects of Yeshua the Messiah:

  1. He is the faithful witness (or “the faithful martyr”). He witnessed unto the point of his own death, and especially through his own death, that God is in control of history.
  1. He is the firstborn (or “foremost, chief”) of those who get raised from the dead. This means that faithful believers too can look forward to being resurrected and having eternal fellowship with God, even if in this world they receive no reward and die ignominiously.
  1. He is the ruler of the earth’s kings, the “King of Kings” (17:14, 19:16) who will one day subject to himself even the most unbridled and oppressive governments.”

Seven Churches – Revelation Chapter 1:1-2 Commentary

Seven Churches – Revelation Chapter 1:1-2 Commentary

We are discussing the seven churches in Revelation 1-3.  I have given an overview and introduction of the seven churches, listed the promises to overcomers, and talked about the significant number patterns found in the Book of Revelation.

I am going to now start with Chapter 1 and go verse by verse explaining what it means.  After Chapter 1, I will go through each of the seven churches, one by one.

Chapter 1

Verses 1-2 (Amplified Version)

1 This is the revelation of Jesus Christ [His unveiling of the divine mysteries]. God gave it to Him to disclose and make known to His bond servants certain things which must shortly and speedily come to pass in their entirety. And He sent and communicated it through His angel (messenger) to His bond servant John,

2 Who has testified to and vouched for all that he saw [in his visions], the word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ.

The Book of Revelation was authored by Jesus Christ and given (by way of vision) to John the Apostle around 95-96 AD.  John was affectionately known as John the Beloved, but also Son of Thunder.  He was full of love, yet also zeal.  He was very outspoken and fiery in his preaching, and especially dealing with issues of sin and walking in love.

John was also Jesus’ cousin, as well as appointed caretaker of Jesus’ mother Mary.  John’s death was around 100 AD, and church records report that he lived to be in his 90’s.

The book entitled “The Twelve: The Lives of the Apostles After Calvary” by C. Bernard Ruffin says on Page 89 that according to the Apostolic History of Abdias, it stated that John was 97 when he died.  That means he would have been in his early 90’s when he had the Vision in 95-96 AD.

The Roman Emperor Domitian ruled from 81-96 AD.  Persecution and martyrdom against Christians was intense during that time.

Earlier attempts during the reign of Domitian were made to persecute, torture and martyr John, but were unsuccessful (God supernaturally intervened and he lived and escaped).  Later on John was exiled to the Isle of Patmos to a prison camp as a form of persecution for preaching the Gospel.

It was while he was at Patmos that he received the Vision.  Patmos is a tiny, rocky island in the Aegean Sea, around 25 miles off the coast of Miletus – Miletus is around 35 miles south of Ephesus.

The word “revelation” comes from the Greek word apokalupsis from which we have our word Apocalypse.  It is defined as:  “disclosure of what was concealed or hidden, an uncovering, to lay open what has been veiled, manifestation, to make known, a revealing, an appearance.”

The main theme of the Book of Revelation is that it is a revelation of Jesus Christ.  The Amplified says “His unveiling of the divine mysteries.”

The Bible Exposition Commentary says,

“John’s prophecy is primarily the revelation of Jesus Christ, not the revelation of future events.

In Revelation 1-3, Christ is seen as the exalted Priest King ministering to the churches.

In Revelation 4-5, He is seen in heaven as the glorified Lamb of God, reigning on the throne.

In Revelation 6-18, Christ is the Judge of all the earth; and in Revelation 19, He returns to earth as the conquering King of kings.

The book closes with the heavenly Bridegroom ushering His bride, the church, into the glorious heavenly city.”

God first imparted the revelation to His Son Jesus Christ.

Then Christ sent an angel to reveal the Vision to His servant John.

Then John sent the Vision to the seven churches.

According to Bible Knowledge Commentary, the angel who appeared to John is not named, but some theologians believe the angel was Gabriel, who explained visions to Daniel, and who brought messages to Mary and Zacharias (Daniel 8:16; 9:21-22; Luke 1:5-31).

The Greek word for angel is agellos, and it simply means “a messenger; to bring tidings; one who is sent.” The definition also says that the word angel could apply to a heavenly spirit-being or could be in reference to a pastor. In Revelation 1:1, the angel is a heavenly being, probably Gabriel.

In the letters to the seven churches (Revelation 2-3), the seven angels are seven pastors or bishops.

The phrase, in the NKJV, “The revelation which God (the Father) gave Him (His Son Jesus) to show (for Jesus to show) His servants (servants would be John, the seven pastors of the seven churches and other servants)”—the Amplified Version uses the word disclose.  The Greek word translated as show or disclose is the word deixai or deiknuoo which means:  “to point out, to cause to see, to present to the sight, to give evidence or proof of a thing, to show by words, to teach.”  This suggests that what was to be revealed was to be presented to the sight by tokens, symbols and words.

The phrase, “certain things which must shortly and speedily come to pass in their entirety” could mean:

  1. That the action will be sudden when it comes, not necessarily that it will occur immediately. Once the end-time events begin, they will occur in rapid succession.
  1. Time does not exist with God in the same way that we have time here on the earth.  A thousand years is as a day in light of eternity, and a day is as a thousand years.  On earth, we live in chronos time (the ticking away of the clock in terms of years, months, weeks, days, hours, and minutes).  Kairos time is the set appointed time for something to be fulfilled when everything is in place.

The phrase: “He sent and communicated it through His angel” (AMP).  The KJV says “sent and signified”.  The Greek word translated as communicated or signified is the word semaino meaning “to make known by signs or symbols,” but the verb also includes communication by words.

The word “bondservant” (referring to John) in Verse 1 denotes the idea of being a love slave of Christ.  It also refers to being a servant leader.  Jesus said that he who is greatest in the kingdom of God must first of all be a servant (Matthew 23:11).

The term bondservant is used by Jesus (Philippians 2:7 NKJV), Paul (Romans 1:1, Galations 1:10, Philippians 1:1, Titus 1:1 NKJV), Timothy (Philippians 1:1 NKJV), Epaphras (Colossians 4:12 NKJV), James (James 1:1 NKJV), Peter (2 Peter 1:1 NKJV), John (Revelation 1:1 AMP) and Jude (Jude :1 NKJV).

Philippians 2:7 says that Jesus, Himself, was a bondservant—serving His Father and serving others around Him.  Mark 10:45 NKJV says, “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served (to be ministered to – KJV), but to serve (minister – KJV), and to give His life as a ransom for many.”

Philippians 2:5-11 NKJV

5 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus,

6 who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God,

7 but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men.

8 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the Cross.

9 Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name,

10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth,

11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Verse 2 – John was an eyewitness of what had occurred in the life, death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus.

In John’s writings and public ministry (preaching, teaching, working of miracles and healings, testifying about Christ), John regarded himself as a witness of what he had seen and heard, and claimed only to make a faithful and fair record of it.

The phrase “The Word of God” could be referring to:

  1. The teachings of God
  1. A Name of Jesus Himself (i.e. John 1:1 “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God”).

The phrase “testimony of Jesus” could be referring to:

  1. John testifying of what he had seen with his own eyes and heard with his own ears the things which Jesus taught, the miracles He performed and other displays of Jesus’ glory (such as on the Mount of Transfiguration in Matthew 17:1-8 when Jesus transformed into spirit, yet man.  Bright light emanated from Him.  He spoke with Moses and Elijah.  The Father’s Voice from Heaven said “This is My Beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.” They were all enveloped by the Shekinah glory cloud.)
  1. The testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy (Revelation 19:10).

The words “witness” and “testimony” are legal terms.  It gives the picture of being in a court room and giving an eyewitness account of what happened, what you saw and heard, what was said, what was done, who was involved, when it happened, and so forth.