Revelation Begins with a short introductory paragraph that gives the title of the book, “The Revelation of Jesus Christ.” This is followed by a statement of intent: showing God’s servants “things that must shortly take place.” This is followed by an attestation regarding the author and vision contained in the book. Finally, there is a blessing pronounced on those who “hear” the prophecy and “keep” what was written. This introduction was probably added at the time the book was being collected with the other writings of the Apostles, and likely was not part of the original letter to the seven churches identified in its text.
Verses 4-8 begin the letter proper, and identify its intended recipients: seven churches in the Roman province of Asia (now the south part of Turkey in Asia Minor). This section is theologically charged with statements about who God the Father and Jesus Christ are, what they have done and what they will do in the world. Jesus is identified as “firstborn from the dead,” “ruler over the kings of the earth,” the one who “washed us from our sins in his own blood,” and the one who “has made us kings and priests.” Finally he is the one who “is coming with clouds” in a way that will be obvious to all, to the joy of his followers and the terror of his foes.
Jesus is quoted as saying that he is the “Alpha and Omega,” the “beginning and the end,” and the one “who was and is and is to come.” In others words, Jesus Christ is indeed God in the flesh and is just as worthy to be worshiped as “the One on the throne.” Verses 10-20 elaborate on that basic description and Jesus’ own introduction to the visions. Jesus then goes on to speak directly to the seven churches, both collectively and individually over chapters 2 and 3. This suggests that the messages, from His own voice, are of the utmost importance.
The ninth verse of the first chapter, however, are what highlight the major pastoral theme of the book. John calls himself a “brother and companion” in three things: 1) in the tribulation , 2) in the kingdom and 3) in the patience (patient endurance) of Jesus Christ. All of these things are to be seen as “of Jesus Christ.” In other words, they are all companions in Jesus’ own tribulation, His own kingdom and His own patience. These three themes will be the major focus of the remainder of the book. So keep an eye out for these three themes: