Revelation Chapter 1

1 The Revelation of Jesus Christ.
God gave it to him to let his ser vants know what is soon to take place.
He sent his angel to make it known to his servant, John,

2 who reports everything he saw, for this is the word of God and the declaration of Jesus Christ.

3 Happy is the one who reads aloud these pro phetic words,
and happy those who hear them and treasure everything written here,
for the time is near.

4 From John to the seven Churches of Asia:
receive grace and peace from him who is, who was and who is to come,
and from the seven Spirits of God which are before his throne,

5 and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, the ruler of the kings of the earth.
To him who loves us and has washed away our sins with his own blood,

6 making us a kingdom and priests for God his Father,
to him be the glory and power for ever and ever. Amen.

7 See he comes with the clouds and every one will see him, even those who pierced him; on his account all the nations of the earth will beat his breast. Yes. It will be so.

8 ¡°I am the Alpha and the Omega,¡± says the Lord God, he who is, who was and who is to come: the Master of the universe.

9 I, John, your brother, who shares with you, in Jesus, the sufferings, the kingdom and the patient endurance, was on the island of Patmos, be cause of the Word of God and wit nessing to Jesus.

10 On the Lord¡¯s day, the Spirit took pos session of me and I heard a voice behind me which sounded like a trum pet,

11 ¡°Write down all that you see, in a book, and send it to the seven Churches of Ephe sus, Smyrna, Perga mum, Thyatira, Sar dis, Philadelphia and Lao dicea.¡±

12 I turned to see who was speaking to me; behind me were seven golden lampstands

13 and, in the middle of these, I saw someone like a son of man, dressed in a long robe tied with a golden girdle.

14 His head and his hair are white as wool or as snow and his eyes are like flames of fire.

15 His feet are like burnished bronze when it has been refined in a furnace. His voice is like the roaring of the waves.

16 I saw seven stars in his right hand and a sharp, double-edged sword coming out of his mouth; his face shone like the sun in all its brilliance.

17 Seeing him, I fell at his feet like one dead but he touched me with his right hand and said, ¡°Do not be afraid. It is I, the First and the Last.

18 I am the living one; I was dead and now I am alive for ever and ever; and mine are the keys of death and the nether world.

19 Now write what you have seen, both what is and what is yet to come.

20 Know the secret of the seven stars you saw in my right hand and the seven golden lamp stands: the seven stars are the angels of the seven Churches and the seven lampstands are the seven Churches.

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Comments Revelation, Chapter 1

• 1.1 The time is near. This has been written first of all for John¡¯s first readers. Thus the idea of contemporary readers who would wish to read a description of current events into Revelation is unfounded.

• 4. John greets his readers, wishing them the peace that comes from the Father, Christ and the Holy Spirit. As soon as John has named the three divine Persons, all his praise goes to Christ. This was the new ness that energized the early Christians so powerfully: Christ, God who came as a human.

The Seven Spirits means the fullness of God¡¯s Spirit.

The one who is, who was, and who is to come. This way of naming God expands what was revealed to Moses: ¡°I am who am¡± (Ex 3). The living God is a God who is coming.

Then Christ is presented as the Messiah and Judge hoped for by the Jews. He comes with the clouds. In his trial, Jesus also referred to this text of the prophet Daniel (7:13).

All the nations of the earth will mourn his death. See this prophecy of the murdered Messiah: ¡°the one they pierc ed¡± in Zechariah 12:10.

Alpha and Omega (that is A and Z). This suggests that God embraces all time.

Revelation is addressed to Christians who are beginning to suffer for their faith, and shows Christ to them, as the model they are imitating. Christ is the ¡°servant and the witness of God the Father.¡± Let us not forget that martyr means witness.

• 9. John had been condemn ed on account of his faith and was living in exile on Pat mos. It was around the year 95.

John had this vision on the Lord¡¯s Day, that is, on Sunday, or the day of the resurrection. So this vision will be enlivened by the triumphant breath of the resurrection.

I saw someone like a son of man. This is a symbolic vision of Christ dressed as a priest, and with a golden sash as a king. His white hair is a symbol of his eternity. His feet like bronze means that no one will defeat him. Christ appears in the same way as Daniel represents God as the universal judge (see 7:9).

It is I, the First and the Last. By these words, Christ identifies with God himself. In the Bible, this is characteristic of God¡¯s way of speaking (see Is 44:6 and 12). The double-edged sword coming out of his mouth is the word of God that irresistibly penetrates the heart and is always fulfilled in events. It deals death as effectively as it saves.

There were more than seven churches in Asia. Seven represents fullness, and the seven churches, then, represent all the Christian communities. Seven is the perfect number and this is why in the book of Revelation, Christ¡¯s name is mentioned seven times, Jesus fourteen times, and the Lamb (who is Christ) twenty-eight times. There are seven prophecies of Christ¡¯s victory with his people and seven beatitudes like those of the Gospel: ¡°Happy those¡­¡±

The stars, the angels and the lampstands: these three images may complement one another to designate a church, its bishops and believers together.