Revelation 1:1 The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John:

2 Who bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw.

3 Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.

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.

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.


MEMORY VERSE: 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. —Revelation 1:8


CENTRAL THOUGHT: The introduction and greeting of the book of Revelation, which includes a description of the author, his source of inspiration and a benediction of worship and praise to the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.




Revelation 1:1 “Revelation”: apokalupsis (Greek); an uncovering; an unveiling; a revealing; a spiritual manifestation. “Angel”: a messenger or delegate – either human (Matthew 11:10; Luke 7:24, 9:52; Galatians 4:14; John 2:25) or heavenly (a celestial angel); someone sent (by God) to proclaim His message (HELPS Word Studies). “Shortly come to pass”: “Not that they were all to be completely fulfilled within a short time, but that the series of special events predicted were soon to begin. Thus, we speak of a century or eternity as near at hand, by which we mean that the events of the period spoken of are about to commence, although the end of the series may be very far off” (F. G. Smith, Revelation Explained).

Revelation 1:2 “Testimony”: record; report; from the Greek root martus, meaning witness or evidence; from which we derive the English word martyr. This root word is also used in verse 5.

Revelation 1:3 “Prophecy”: the gift of communicating and enforcing revealed truth. “What is clarified beforehand; prophecy which involves divinely-empowered forthtelling (asserting the mind of God) or foretelling (prediction)” (HELPS Word Studies).

Revelation 1:4 “Seven Spirits which are before his throne”: “The number seven in Scripture often has the figurative meaning, ‘God’s perfect, finished work.’ Indeed, this symbolic sense is often key to interpreting texts that use the number seven, both in the Old Testament and New Testament” (HELPS Word Studies). “The number seven is used, as elsewhere in the sacred volume, to denote fulness or completeness…The seven spirits before His throne describe the third person in the Trinity, as will appear clearer hereafter; seven being used as a sacred or perfect number designating His dignity and excellence. Some have supposed that seven angelic spirits were here described; but it is not consistent with the honor due the God-head to suppose that created intelligences should be exalted to a plane of equality with the supreme Deity. Moreover, they would probably have been described as seven angels, and not as seven spirits” (F. G. Smith, Revelation Explained).

Revelation 1:6 “Kings and priests”: “Christ has made believers kings and priests to God and his Father. As such they overcome the world, mortify sin, govern their own spirits, resist Satan, prevail with God in prayer, and shall judge the world. He has made them priests, given them access to God, enabled them to offer spiritual and acceptable sacrifices, and for these favours they are bound to ascribe to him dominion and glory for ever” (Matthew Henry).

Revelation 1:7 “They also which pierced him”: John is the only Gospel author who recorded the piercing of Jesus (John 19:31-37). This allusion offers proof of the apostle being the author of the Revelation.

Revelation 1:8 “Alpha and Omega”: the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet, meaning eternity to eternity; used to express the whole of a matter, from beginning to end.




During the reign of the Roman emperor Domitian (81-96), John was banished to Patmos, a small, rocky, desolate island ten miles long and six miles wide in the Aegean Sea, near the coast of Asia Minor. Church historian Eusebius records that the Jews were heavily taxed and both Jews and Christians were persecuted during Domitian’s reign. Fox’s Book of Martyrs accounts that the bishop of Jerusalem, Simeon, was crucified during this time, John was boiled in oil, but miraculously survived and exiled to Patmos, and Dionysius, a learned bishop at Athens who had documented the supernatural eclipse at the time of the Savior’s crucifixion, was martyred, among others. Flavia, the daughter of a Roman senator, was banished to the island of Pontus.

Domitian insisted upon strict observance to the ancient Roman religious worship of idols. Under this revived pagan influence, when Roman provinces suffered earthquakes, famines or pestilences, blame was laid upon the Christians because they would not worship the pagan gods. When Christians were brought before the magistrates, they were required to take a test oath. If they refused to take it, they were put to death; if they confessed Christ, their judgment was the same. The law was made “that no Christian, once brought before the tribunal, should be exempted from punishment without renouncing his religion.”

“The mouth which persecution closes God opens and bids it speak to the world. So St. Paul, through the Epistles of his Captivity, still speaks. Luther, by his translation of the Bible, spoke from his confinement at Wartburg; and Bunyan, by his divine allegory, shows how feeble were the walls of his cell at Bedford to silence the voice of God. If speech be silver and silence golden, it is also true in the history of the Church that from the captivity of her teachers she has received her most abiding treasures” (Ellicott’s Commentary for English Readers).

This was a time when the church needed answers from God. How precious that the lonely island became a place of holy visitation, as John received encouragement and enlightenment for the days ahead!

—Sis. Angela Gellenbeck




  1. Messenger: How was the Revelation sent to John?
  2. Record: Of what three things did John write?
  3. Blessing: What three things bring about the “Blessed are they”?
  4. The Father: What three things are described about God?
  5. The Holy Spirit: What terms are used to describe Him and what do they mean?
  6. The Son: What three things describe Him and what three things has He done for us?
  7. Second Coming: What four things will happen at that time?
  8. Name: Which two letters of the Greek alphabet were used to describe Jesus?





So many precious truths are revealed just in this introduction and salutation. The first which resonate with me are the references to the triune God: three distinct persons, yet operating as One. There are many heresies which deny the deity of Jesus. Yet it is made very clear right here, as the names and attributes of the Father are also ascribed to the Son Jesus. He is called the Almighty. There is allusion to the beginning words of John’s gospel—“And the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”

The salvation message—Jesus’ sacrifice and death, His resurrection, His cleansing us from sin, His making us kings and priests, all He has done for us—is brought out so clearly as well.

His second coming—whether with clouds of the sky, as those that enveloped Him as He ascended, or clouds of saints—is clearly described in this passage. It won’t be a secret event, as you hear false teachers of the “rapture” propose. Every eye will see Him, and those in their sins will be mourning their doom.

What a sublime truth on which to meditate—the grace and the peace which come from the Father, the Holy Spirit, and the Son. And all this in just the greeting of the letter!

—Sis. Angela Gellenbeck




There is no other book in the world that gives us the daily inspiration for life and the accurate details of the future and the past like the Bible does. How great is our God to let His servants know what lies ahead of us!

I will admit some of the reading of the book of Revelation is hard to understand; but it says, “Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein.” Let us be challenged to be ones who read it and are blessed by it.

Perhaps the lonely island of Patmos was a blessing in disguise for John because it was void of distractions. The Revelator had all the time he needed to focus on the visions and translate them onto paper most accurately. One can’t even imagine, but only the Lord knows how John reacted when seeing the visions and how he felt once he was brought back to his regular mind after all those revelations.

John may have been sick and hungry after they dropped him off there. He most likely felt lonely and useless because there were no people to minister to. He probably thought that because of his isolation he would never be of any benefit to the gospel work. How could he be fruitful in such an isolated and forsaken place? But God’s Word would not return void. All the things that he saw have been and will be very useful for ages clear to the end of time.

—Bro. James Bell