Previous Verse Next Verse


From JOHN,

to the seven churches


Go to footnote number

May grace and peace be given to you from the one who is, and who was, and who is to come,

Go to footnote number

and also from the seven spirits

before the throne,

Go to footnote number


From THE ONE TO WHOM GOD IS GRACIOUS, to all the churches where the Gospel has spread with LIFE-GIVING POWER. May grace and peace be given to you from the one who exists right now in the fullest sense possible, who has always existed, and always will exist, and also from all created spirits that properly acknowledge His authority and are in submission to His authority,


1: Asia

There were more than seven churches in Asia, but only seven are later mentioned by name. There can be two ways to interpret this phrase, and both ways can be right: this phrase could refer to a specific place (Asia), or to a place that represents more than just itself (Asia as the places where the Gospel has spread), or it could refer to both at the same time. Since seven means “all” and yet specific cities will be listed by name, it is likely both meanings at the same time. For us the meaning that carries the greatest importance is “the places where the Gospel has spread.” The term “Asia” has to do with the East, the place where the sun rises. Because the sun rises in the east, and because the sun gives life by providing light and heat, the East was considered the origin of life. Here I have tied together the meaning of the name with the meaning of the “symbol” even though it is not a symbol in the normal sense of the word.

2: Who is, and who was, and who is to come

This phrase would have reminded the Jews of another name of God, “I am.” A reference to God’s eternal existence would have reminded them of the encounter Moses had with God at the burning bush. When Moses asked God how he could tell the Israelites back in Egypt which God sent him, he was told to say, “I am” had sent him. Describing Himself this way, and reminding them that He is the “I am,” was intended to encourage those facing persecution. God was saying, “You can trust me, for I was faithful in the past, I am more than capable of giving you strength in the present, and I will be the same in the future.” Revelation is a message of encouragement for right now.

3: "before the throne"

“The throne” means “authority;” “Before the throne” has to do with a proper response to His authority.


We are only told that the “seven spirits” are worshipping before the throne, thus it must be a reference to created beings with spirits, unlike animals that do not have spirits. The created beings could be angels, humans, or other “spiritual beings,” it does not matter.

This cannot be a reference to the Holy Spirit because He is part of the God whose authority is being worshipped and obeyed. Although the Holy Spirit does do the will of the Father and of Jesus, this image of bowing down before the throne does not seem to fit the role the Holy Spirit plays. The triune Godhead work together as a team, therefore the only interpretation I can be comfortable with is a reference to all the spirits of created spiritual beings.

Why are created beings included as “senders” of this message granting grace and peace? Created beings that fully understand God’s authority are a part of sending this blessing to the hearers of this vision because that is an encouragement to those going through persecution at the time of reading this vision. It’s as if they are saying, “We’ve been there, God helped us make it through without succumbing to the enemy’s tricks, and He will help you too.” Created beings, even those who have been martyred for their faith, do not actually provide the grace and peace, but they are an encouragement none the less.