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The Seven Churches

The Seven Churches of Revelation
Art used by permission by Pat Marvenko Smith, copyright 1992. Click picture to visit her "Revelation Illustrated" site.

Revelation 1:4 - 8

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;

[John became the apostolic leader of the church at Ephesus following the death of Paul and the destruction of Jerusalem by Rome (A.D. 70). The Ephesian church had established a number of daughter churches throughout the province of Asia (western Asia Minor), and John exercised pastoral and apostolic care of them. The blessing of verse 4 comes from the triune Godhead: God the Father, the Holy Spirit, and Jesus Christ. Him which is is a paraphrase of the name Jehovah or Yahweh (Ex. 3:14): "I AM." The description of the Father shows eternal existence in the past (was), present (is), and future (is to come). The seven Spirits is apparently a symbolic reference to the Holy Spirit (cf. Is. 11:2; Zech. 3:9; 4:10).]

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

[John became the apostolic leader of the church at Ephesus following the death of Paul and the destruction of Jerusalem by Rome (A.D. 70). The Ephesian church had established a number of daughter churches throughout the province of Asia (western Asia Minor), and John exercised pastoral and apostolic care of them. The blessing of verse 4 comes from the triune Godhead: God the Father, the Holy Spirit, and Jesus Christ. Him which is is a paraphrase of the name Jehovah or Yahweh (Ex. 3:14): "I AM." The description of the Father shows eternal existence in the past (was), present (is), and future (is to come). The seven Spirits is apparently a symbolic reference to the Holy Spirit (cf. Is. 11:2; Zech. 3:9; 4:10). Jesus Christ is the faithful witness in that He has finished His work of revealing the Father (cf. John 17), the first begotten of the dead in that He is the firstfruits of the first resurrection (cf. 20:6), and the prince of the kings of the earth as the future worldwide Ruler of the millenial kingdom (cf. 19:16). Three works of Christ for believers are then listed: Loved us: Christ showed His supreme love for mankind in dying for them (cf. Rom 5:8; 1 John 3:16), Washed us: Believers have been redeemed from their sins through the blood and death of Christ. Made us kings and priests: In the true church, no one is called "priest" (singular) except Christ. Believers are part of a "royal priesthood" in Christ (cf. 1 Pet. 2:9; Rev. 5:10). The glory and dominion (authority) of Christ are emphasized throughout the book.]

7: Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen.
8: I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.

[Four aspects of Christ's return are mentioned, each of which alludes to another passage of Scripture. He will come with the clouds (Dan. 7:13) in the sky. Every person will see Him (Matt. 24:30). Those who pierced Him (Zech. 12:10), that is, those who rejected Him and wanted Him to die will repent and mourn (wail) over Him (Zech 12:10,11). This refers to Christ's return to the earth to establish His kingdom, not to the Rapture. Alpha and Omega, the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet, refer here to God's eternality and sovereignty, and possibly to the fullness of God's self-revelation.]

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Artwork © 1992 Pat Marvenko Smith. All Rights Reserved.
Text copyright © 0095-0096, Jesus Christ, All Rights Reserved.
References and notes are © 1988 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
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