Revelation 1:1-8 Prologue to Doxology

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The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show his servants what must soon take place. He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John, who testifies to everything he saw—that is, the word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ. Blessed is the one who reads the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it, because the time is near.- Revelation 1:1-3

Unlike Paul, whose letters follow the standard epistolary form beginning with the author, the recipients, and the greeting, John begins with Christ. This is not John’s letter but is the word of God and revelation of Christ through his angel to his servant, John. That is a very important point for his readers to remember because ultimately their relief from persecution will come from God and his power.

Notice that from the very beginning John makes it clear that the things he is talking about are not going to happen some day thousands of years in the future. Instead, “to show his servants what must soon take place…because the time is near” (1:1,3). So many people read this today with an eye toward the future or the “end times” but John makes it clear that these things will soon take place. Why is that important to his readers? Because they are undergoing persecution and are looking for relief. This letter is an encouragement to stand firm because God is powerful and ultimately he is in control. The TNIV translates 1:3, “blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophesy,” however that is only implied in the text because at that time reading was done out loud.

To the seven churches in the province of Asia:

Grace and peace to you from him who is, and who was, and who is to come, and from the seven spirits before his throne, and from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth.

To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood, and has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve his God and Father—to him be glory and power for ever and ever! Amen.
Look, he is coming with the clouds,
and every eye will see him,
even those who pierced him;
and all the peoples of the earth will mourn because of him. So shall it be! Amen.

“I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.”
– Revelation 1:4-8

John introduces himself and gives the standard epistolary greeting of “grace and peace.” It will not be until verse 11 that he introduces his audience, the widest audience of any letter in the New Testament, the seven churches of Asia (Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea) but also the widest audience of any letter ever written as these seven churches represent every one of the Lord’s churches. However, John still identifies this letter as from someone other than himself, “from the seven spirits before his throne, and from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth.” (Rev 1:5).

Why is this important? Because those who are undergoing such intense persecution over whether or not they will worship the emperor are reminded of three things in verse 5 that will help them overcome through their persecution: that Christ is faithful, that he is firstborn from the dead, and ruler of the kings of the earth. Christ, the faithful one, calls his persecuted followers to remain faithful. Christ, the firstborn from the dead, reminds his followers that there is hope beyond the grave for those who love him. Christ, the ruler of the kings of the earth, reminds his followers that there is one greater than the rulers who persecute them and even they will answer to Christ one day.

John follows that by speaking of his return in the present tense because it is so certain that we can even speak of it as if it is happening even now (Rev 1:7). Speaking of future events in the present tense is not new to John. Jesus did the same thing in John 14:3 which the NIV translates as future tense but in reality is present, “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.” Again, this is an important reminder for those who are facing death to remember the assurance of his return. They are not dying in vain and they do have hope!

Finally, we are reminded that Jesus is the Alpha and Omega, the A and the Z, the first and last. Additionally, he is the one who always has and always will be, “who is, and who was, and who is to come.” Not only that, Christ is “the Almighty!” There is no power on earth that can withstand him. Not even the Romans or Domitian. Ultimately, Christ will have his way and “even those who pierced him” will see and if those who pierced him will see his return, so will those who pierced his followers. A better day is coming as we will soon see.

Message for Today:

The message for today is that it all starts with God. On our own we are nothing but we are a part of a bigger plan with a bigger purpose. Also, no matter what we face if it stands in opposition to Christ we have the assurance that we will be the victors, even over death. So stand tall and stand firm because Christ is fighting our battles for us and in the end we will see the one who is faithful coming on the clouds! So be filled with grace and experience his peace even in the midst of suffering and shame. What blessed assurance!

0 Responses

  1. Hi . This is an important message, please read and pass it along. God has made contact. The message is about Revelation. The message is from God, Jesus and the Holy Ghost respectively. It was sent in the Spring of 2006. It is about the meaning of First is Last and Last is First as written in Revelation. The message is this: In the morning I go to Heaven. In the afternoon I live my life. In the evening I die, death. What does this mean? In other words this means Birth is Last and Last is Birth. To understand this don’t think from point A to point B. Think of this as a continous circle of life. Birth is First, Life, Death, Birth is Last and completing the circle. God also said that Judgment will be before Birth in Heaven. AS birth on Earth is painful so will birth in Heaven. It is possible that this message was delivered by one of God’s Angels in the Spring of 2006. Yes, God has made contact and he sent a messenger. Spread this message along, just like a chain letter. Tell two people. Melanie Stephan

  2. This is not a joke or a lie. Jesus has returned in spirit and he talked to only one person. He was here in the Spring of 2006.

  3. Jesus returned in Spirit in the Spring of 2006. His message has not been spreading because no one believes this story. There is proof that the story is true. No one has come to see the proof. No one has taken serious interest in seeing the proof? It has been over a year now since Jesus was here. I would have thought it would have been the top news story on the national news. No one believes the story to spread Gods message.

  4. Melanie,

    If what you say is true, there are some things in the Bible that should accompany those events that will not be revealed to only one person. If I believed what you believe, I know I would be passionate about getting the message out as well but it does not really fall in line with scripture. Thanks for stopping by.

  5. Melanie,

    You wrote:

    “…No one has come to see the proof. No one has taken serious interest in seeing the proof?”

    Where do we go to see the proof?

  6. Hi, Matt. I don’t understand how this does not fall in line with scripture. In the book of Revelation, John writes First will be last and last will be First or in other versions First is Last and Last is First. What do you think this means? I don’t think anyone has figured this out correctly for over 2000 years. When you understand that Birth equals First then it all comes together. Melanie Stephan

  7. Melanie,

    Thank you for the continued dialog. That verse is not in Revelation. It is in Matthew 20:16. In Revelation Jesus says, “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.” – Rev 22:13. In Matthew 20:16 (and parallel stories in Mark and Luke) Jesus is talking about a great reversal of position. Those who pride themselves on being first and greatest (like some Pharisees) will end up last and least. Those who are humble may look like the last and the least but when God exalts them they will be first. Your interpretation doesn’t work for Revelation because that passage is not in Revelation and it clearly doesn’t fit the context of when Jesus did use those words in the gospels. Let me know what you think.

  8. I seem to have two different versions of Revelation. Now the reason I went to Revelation is because of the number 7. Seven is all over Revelation, so are the 7 lamps that give light. Now I remember seven from my childhood. I haven’t opened the bible for a very long time. I seem to have a good memory for numbers. I am not a Church person or a bible reader. Items that give light were in the dream, 3 were in the dream, but in real life there were 7. Key, metals, coins, 1/2 coin, hand full of grain, star, were other clues. I have all of these items in my possession except the handfull of grain. The handfull of grain is in the park, less than a mile from my house. For a small amount of money in the park you get a handfull of grain to feed the birds. A handfull of grain could also mean a handfull of believers. It also says “I am the First and the Last” in Revelation. I saw the words First and Last, I didn’t look any further. But the meaning is different. I only read Revelation and parts of Daniel. Those are the two places that I was sent to from the dreams. Now I have two very different versions of Revelation. One is correct the other is not? Now I am not an expert on religion, but I did figure out the message from God, Jesus and the Holy Ghost on First is Last. It took months. Maybe this is new information I don’t know. Someone in theology would probably be able to figure out the other information, some I don’t get at all. Melanie

  9. Correction: To the meaning of First is Last and Last is First. It means that Birth is Last and Birth is First. Sorry for the error. God talks in symbols and opposites at times so it takes time to figure out what he is saying. Some of his messages are clearer than others, plus they have multiple meanings.

  10. Yer a headcase and don’t appear to have the mental stability to dress yourself in the morning let alone begin to comprehend or comment on the Word of God.

    I do however commend you for opening the book in the first place.

    And as for the future, I suggest you turn yourself upside down and read with your eyes and not your ass…Now that’s a reversal of position that you shall benefit greatly.

    Quote: “I am the First and the Last” in Revelation. I saw the words First and Last, I didn’t look any further.”

    Bottom line…You need to read further.

  11. To misterbrian,
    God also told me that he is sending you to Hell Head First for not being nice. Now that’s a real reversal of position isn’t it. You thought you were going to Hell feet first didn’t you?

    That make you a real headcase when you finally hit your final destination. And . . . You need to read futher. But you can’t, cause there is nothing to read in Hell. Satan does not allow bible reading in Hell.

    Bottom line. Your at the bottom with your head stuck in the ground and your ass up, misterbrian.

    If you want to talk with your ass first, that is what you get in the next life. And don’t think I can’t do that to you either smart ass.

    Gods Messenger, Melanie

  12. Melanie and Brian…let’s just leave it at that. I try my best not to delete comments here so please just let this drop if we cannot discuss things in a productive way.

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