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– subject to continuing refinement –
Revelation assumes the reader knows the whole Bible and therefore understands the symbolism used,
For instance: "Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth [with no unbelieving/Gentile nations],
for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more
." Revelation 21:1.
for Isaiah used it symbolically:"...the abundance of the sea shall be turned to you.
the wealth of the
[Gentile] nations shall come to you." Isaiah 60:5.
 
 
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COMMENTARY
1:1
A revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show to His slaves, things which must occur quickly:
and He signified by sending through His angel to His slave John;
'His slaves' ('doulois') implies:
(1) His ownership of us; and,
(2) The unconditional obedience we owe Him.
1:2
who bore witness of the word of God, and the testimony of Jesus Christ, as many things as he saw.
 
1:3
Blessed is the reader and the hearers of the words of this prophecy
and those who keep the things that have been written,
for the time is near.
 
The fulfillment of all is imminent!
See Rev.22:10.
1:4-5a
John to the seven congregations in Asia:
Grace to you and peace,
from One who is, and who was, and who is coming,
and from the seven Spirits who are before His throne;
and from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth.
'John' to whom Jesus had entrusted His mother (Jn.19:27).
The address implies a pre-existing relationship
to these seven churches.
'Grace and peace' from God the Father, God the Spirit (in fullness to each of the seven churches), and God the Son.
John's words 'is coming' violates Greek grammar (which should be "will be") for the sake of spiritual accuracy.
1:5b-6
To the One who loves us, and has freed us from our sins by His blood, and made us a kingdom, priests to His God and Father;
to Him is the glory and the might, forever and ever.
Amen.
 
More than forgiveness, we are also freed from sin – no longer bound.
1:7
"See! He comes with the clouds," and
"every eye will see Him, and those who pierced" Him, and
all the tribes of the earth "will wail because of Him."
Yes, amen!
 

Daniel 7:13;
Zechariah 12:10
1:8
'I am the alpha and the omega', says the Lord God, 'the One who is, and who was, and who is coming, the Almighty'.
X
The A to Z is the Timeless One.
The term 'one coming' ('erchomenos') violates Hellenistic Greek grammar in order to not imply change in God, as the correct grammar ('will become') would have done.
1:9
I John, your brother and sharer with you in the suffering, kingdom, and endurance of Jesus, was in the island called Patmos, because of the word of God and the witness of Jesus.
Believers now share in the kingdom as much
as in the suffering and endurance.
John, a prisoner for preaching.
A faithful pastor, he is in worship before God in identification with his people at the time in which they worship. 'Lord's day'('kuriakon') = first day, 1 Cor.16:1, not Sabbath, not 'Day of the Lord (not Judgment Day).
Send to the seven local congregations in the province of Asia via their messengers who visit John in the island prison at risk to themselves.
1:10
I became in the Spirit on the Lord's day, and I heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet saying,
1:11
'What you see, write in a scroll and send it to the seven congregations:
to Ephesus, and to Smyrna,
and to Pergamum, and to Thyatira,
and to Sardis, and to Philadelphia, and to Laodicea'.
1:12
And I turned to see the voice which spoke to me.
And having turned, I saw seven golden lampstands;
 
1:13    and in the midst of the lampstands One like a man, clothed to the feet, and girded with a golden girdle at the breasts.  
1:14
And the hair of His head was like white wool, white as snow;
   and His eyes were as a flame of fire;
 
1:15
   and His feet were like burnished brass glowing in a furnace;
   and His voice as the sound of many waters;
 
1:16
   and He had in His right hand seven stars;
   and out of His mouth came a sharp, two-edged sword;
   and His face was as the sun shining in full strength.
 
1:17,18
And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead.
And He laid His right hand on me, saying,
'Don't be afraid!
I am the First and the Last, and the Living one;
   and I died, and see, I am alive for evermore, and I have the keys of Death and of Hades.
 The seven messengers,
from the seven congregations,
who will visit John in the Roman prison on Patmos
will be protected – 'in My right hand'.
1:19,20
Write therefore the things which you saw, and the things which are, and the things which are to occur hereafter.
The mystery of the seven stars which you saw in My right hand, and the seven golden lampstands:
the seven stars are the messengers of the seven congregations, and the seven lampstands are seven congregations'.

 
2:1
'To the messenger of the congregation in Ephesus write:
These things says the One holding the seven stars in His right hand, the One walking in the midst of the seven golden lampstands:
 
2:2
I know your works, and your labour and endurance, and that you cannot bear evil persons, and tested those calling themselves apostles and are not, and found them to be liars;
 
2:3
   and you have endurance and have borne for My name's sake, and have not grown weary.
 
2:4 But I have against you that you left your first love.  
2:5
Remember therefore where you have fallen from, and repent and do the first works; or else I am coming to you and will remove your lampstand out of its place, unless you repent.
Remove 'lampstand' = close-down the church in Ephesus.
2:6
But you have this, that you hate the works of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.
'Nico-laitans' – Greek equivalent of conquerors of Hebrew 'Bal-am' Destroyer of the people. (Licentious backswing from Judaic legalism in the early Christian Church).
2:7
The one who has an ear,
let him hear what the Spirit says to the congregations.
  To the one overcoming I will give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.
Life everlasting!
2:8
And to the messenger of the congregation in Smyrna write:
These things says the First and the Last, who died, and came alive:
 
2:9 I know your suffering and poverty, you are rich, and the slander of those calling themselves Jews, and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan. Smyrna had a very large Jewish synagogue at this time.
2:10
Do not fear the things which you are about to suffer.
See, the devil is about to cast some of you into prison, in order that you may be tested; and you will have suffering for ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.

If Clement of Alexandria (c.150–215) is right about the time of John's release, these ten-days of suffering were under Emperor Domitian.
2:11
The one who has an ear,
let him hear what the Spirit says to the congregations.
The one overcoming will not at all be hurt by the second death.
 
2:12
And to the messenger of the congregation in Pergamum write:
These things says the One who has the sharp two-edged sword:
Pergamum had a huge Altar to Zeus.
2:13
I know where you live, where the throne of Satan is; and that you kept My name, and did not deny My faith, even in the days of Antipas My faithful witness, who was killed among you, where Satan lives.
 
2:14 
But I have a few things against you, because you have there those that hold the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to throw a stumbling-block before the children of Israel, to eat idol sacrifices and to commit fornication.
See 2:6.
2:15
So you also have those that hold the teaching of the Nicolaitans in the same way.
 
2:16
Repent therefore; otherwise, I am coming quickly to you, and I will fight them with the sword of My mouth.
 
2:17
The one who has an ear,
let him hear what the Spirit says to the congregations.
To the one overcoming, I will give of the hidden manna,
and I will give him a white stone, and on the stone a new name written, which no one knows except the who one receives it.
 
Symbols from Israel's Exodus journey:
Hidden manna (Exodus 16:33), and
Aaron's Urim or Thummim stone (Exodus 28:30).
2:18
And to the messenger of the congregation in Thyatira write:
These things says the Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire and feet like burnished brass:
 
2:19
I know your works, and the love, the faith, the service and the endurance, and that your last works are more than the first.
2:20-25
But I have against you that you permit the woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, and teaches and deceives My slaves to commit fornication and to eat idol sacrifices.
I gave her time to repent; and she does not wish to repent of her fornication.
See, I am throwing her upon a sickbed, and those committing adultery with her into great suffering, unless they repent of her works. And I will kill her children with death, and all the congregations will know that I am the one who searches the minds and hearts, and I will give to each one of you according to your works.
But I say to the rest that are in Thyatira, as many as do not hold this teaching, who have not learned what some call the secrets of Satan, I will not throw upon you another burden. Nevertheless, keep hold of what you have until I come.
2:26-29 
And the one overcoming, and keeping My works until the end, "I will give to him authority over the nations," and "he will shepherd them with an iron staff" as "clay vessels are broken," as I also have received of my Father, and I will give him the morning star.
The one who has an ear,
let him hear what the Spirit says to the congregations.
Psalm  2:8,9 (LXX).
3:1
And to the messenger of the congregation in Sardis write:
These things says the One who has the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars:
I know your works, that you have a name that you live, and are dead.
 
3:2-4
Be watchful, and strengthen what remains and is about to die: for I have found none of your works completed before My God.
Remember therefore, how you received and heard, and keep it and repent.
If therefore you are not watchful, I will come as a thief, and you will not know when I will come upon you.
But you have a few names in Sardis who did not defile their garments, and they shall walk with Me in white, for they are worthy.
 
3:5,6
The one overcoming shall be clothed in white garments; and I will in no wise blot his name out of the scroll of life, and I will confess his name before My Father, and before His angels.
The one who has an ear,
let him hear what the Spirit says to the congregations.
 
 
3:7
And to the messenger of the congregation in Philadelphia write:
these things says the holy and true One, who has "the key of David," "the One opening and no one shuts and shutting and no one opens."
Isaiah 22:22
3:8-11
I know your works. See, I have put before you an open door, which no one can shut; because you have a little power, and kept My word and did not deny My name.
See, I will give from the synagogue of Satan, who call themselves Jews and are not, but lie. See, I will make them come and worship before your feet, and they shall know that I have loved you.
Because you kept the word of My endurance, I also will keep you out of the hour of trial which is about to come upon the whole world, to test those that live on the earth.
I am coming quickly. Hold what you have so that no one takes your crown.
 
3:12,13
The one overcoming, I will make him a pillar in the shrine of My God, and he shall in no way go out anymore. And I will write upon him the name of My God, and the name of the city of My God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down out of Heaven from My God, and My new name.
The one who has an ear,
let him hear what the Spirit says to the congregations.
 
 
3:14
And to the messenger of the congregation in Laodicea write:
These things says the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the head of the creation of God:
 
3:15-18
I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot: I would that you were cold or hot. So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I am about to vomit you out of My mouth.
Because you say, I am rich, and have become rich and need nothing, and do not know that you are wretched, pitiable and poor, and blind and naked, I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined by fire so that you may be rich, and white garments, so that you may be clothed that the shame of your nakedness may not be shown, and eyesalve to anoint your eyes so that you may see.
 
3:19-20
As many as "I love, I rebuke and chasten." Be hot therefore, and repent.
See, I stand at the door and knock: if anyone hears My voice and open the door, I will enter, and will dine with him, and he with Me.
Proverbs 3:12 (LXX)
3:21,22
The one overcoming, I will give to him to sit with Me in My throne,
as I also overcame and sat with My Father in His throne.
The one who has an ear,
let him hear what the Spirit says to the congregations.
 
 

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