New American Standard Bible
John to the seven churches that are in Asia: Grace to you and peace, from Him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven Spirits who are before His throne,
King James Bible
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;
Darby Bible Translation
John to the seven assemblies which are in Asia: Grace to you and peace from him who is, and who was, and who is to come; and from the seven Spirits which are before his throne;
World English Bible
John, to the seven assemblies that are in Asia: Grace to you and peace, from God, who is and who was and who is to come; and from the seven Spirits who are before his throne;
Young's Literal Translation
John to the seven assemblies that are in Asia: Grace to you, and peace, from Him who is, and who was, and who is coming, and from the Seven Spirits that are before His throne,
Revelation 1:4 Parallel
CommentaryBarnes' Notes on the Bible
John to the seven churches which are in Asia - The word "Asia" is used in quite different senses by different writers. It is used:
(1) as referring to the whole eastern continent now known by that name;
(2) either Asia or Asia Minor;
(3) that part of Asia which Attalus III, king of Pergamos, gave to the Romans, namely, Mysia, Phrygia, Lycaonia, Lydia, Carla, Pisidia, and the southern coast - that is, all in the western, southwestern, and southern parts of Asia Minor; and,
(4) in the New Testament, usually the southwestern part of Asia Minor, of which Ephesus was the capital. See the notes at Acts 2:9.
The word "Asia" is not found in the Hebrew Scriptures, but it occurs often in the Books of Maccabees, and in the New Testament. In the New Testament it is not used in the large sense in which it is now, as applied to the whole continent, but in its largest signification it would include only Asia Minor. It is also used, especially by Luke, as denoting the country that was called "Ionia," or what embraced the provinces of Caria and Lydia. Of this region Ephesus was the principal city, and it was in this region that the "seven churches" were situated. Whether there were more than seven churches in this region is not intimated by the writer of this book, and on that point we have no certain knowledge. it is evident that these seven were the principal churches, even if there were more, and that there was some reason why they should be particularly addressed.
There is mention of some other churches in the neighborhood of these. Colosse was near to Laodicea; and from Colossians 4:13, it would seem not improbable that there was a church also at Hierapolis. But there may have been nothing in their circumstances that demanded particular instruction or admonition, and they may have been on that account omitted. There is also some reason to suppose that, though there had been other churches in that vicinity besides the seven mentioned by John, they had become extinct at the time when he wrote the Book of Revelation. It appears from Tacitus (History, xiv, 27; compare also Pliny, N. H., v. 29), that in the time of Nero, 61 a.d., the city of Laodicea was destroyed by an earthquake, in which earthquake, according to Eusebius, the adjacent cities of Colosse and Hierapolis were involved. Laodicea was, indeed, immediately rebuilt, but there is no evidence of the re-establishment of the church there before the time when John wrote this book.
The earliest mention we have of a church there, after the one referred to in the New Testament by Paul Colossians 2:1; Colossians 4:13, Colossians 4:15-16, is in the time of Trajan, when Papias was bishop there, sometime between 98 a.d. and 117 a.d. It would appear, then, to be not improbable that at the time when the Apocalypse was written, there were in fact but seven churches in the vicinity. Prof. Stuart (i., 219) supposes that "seven, and only so many, may have been named, because the sevenfold divisions and groups of various objects constitute a conspicuous feature in the Apocalypse throughout." But this reason seems too artificial; and it can hardly be supposed that it would influence the mind of John, in the specification by name of the churches to which the book was sent. If no names had been mentioned, and if the statement had occurred in glowing poetic description, it is not inconceivable that the number seven might have been selected for some such purpose.
Grace be unto you, and peace - The usual form of salutation in addressing a church. See the notes on Romans 1:7.
From him which is, and which was, and which is to come - From him who is everlasting - embracing all duration, past, present, and to come. No expression could more strikingly denote eternity than this. He now exists; he has existed in the past; he will exist in the future. There is an evident allusion here to the name Yahweh, the name by which the true God is appropriately designated in the Scriptures. That name יהוה Yahweh, from היה haayah, to be, to exist, seems to have been adopted because it denotes existence, or being, and as denoting simply one who exists; and has reference merely to the fact of existence. The word has no variation of form, and has no reference to time, and would embrace all time: that is, it is as true at one time as another that he exists. Such a word would not be inappropriately paraphrased by the phrase "who is, and who was, and who is to come," or who is to be; and there can be no doubt that John referred to him here as being himself the eternal and uncreated existence, and as the great and original fountain of all being.
They who desire to find a full discussion in regard to the origin of the name Yahweh, may consult an article by Prof. Tholuck, in the "Biblical Repository," vol. iv., pp. 89-108. It is remarkable that there are some passages in pagan inscriptions and writings which bear a very strong resemblance to the language used here by John respecting God. Thus, Plutarch (De Isa. et Osir., p. 354.), speaking of a temple of Isis, at Sais, in Egypt, says, "It bore this inscription - 'I am all that was, and is, and shall be, and my vail no mortal can remove'" - Ἐγώ εἰμι πᾶν τὸ γεγονός, καὶ ὅν, καὶ ἐσόμενον καὶ τὸν ἐμὸν πέπλον οὐδείς τω θνητὸς ἀνεκάλυψεν Egō eimi pan to gegonos, kai hon, kai esomenon kai ton emon peplon oudeis tō thnētos anekalupsen. So Orpheus (in Auctor. Lib. de Mundo), "Jupiter is the head, Jupiter is the middle, and all things are made by Jupiter." So in Pausanias (Phocic. 12), "Jupiter was; Jupiter is; Jupiter shall be." The reference in the phrase before us is to God as such, or to God considered as the Father.
And from the seven Spirits which are before his throne - After all that has been written on this very difficult expression, it is still impossible to determine with certainty its meaning. The principal opinions which have been held in regard to it are the following:
I. That it refers to God, as such. This opinion is held by Eichhorn, and is favored by Ewald. No arguments derived from any parallel passages are urged for this opinion, nor can any such be found, where God is himself spoken of under the representation of a sevenfold Spirit. But the objections to this view are so obvious as to be insuperable:
(1) If it refers to God as such, then it would be mere tautology, for the writer had just referred to him in the phrase "from him who was," etc.
Library10Th Day. Dying Grace.
"He is Faithful that Promised." "I have the keys of hell and of death."--REV. i. 18. Dying Grace. And from whom could dying grace come so welcome, as from Thee, O blessed Jesus? Not only is Thy name, "The Abolisher of Death;" but Thou didst thyself die! Thou hast sanctified the grave by Thine own presence, and divested it of all its terrors. My soul! art thou at times afraid of this, thy last enemy? If the rest of thy pilgrimage-way be peaceful and unclouded, rests there a dark and portentous …
John Ross Macduff—The Faithful Promiser
Catalogue of his Works.
Our Lord Appears after his Ascension.
The Spirit of the LORD will rest on Him, The spirit of wisdom and understanding, The spirit of counsel and strength, The spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD.
"Parthians and Medes and Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia,
to all who are beloved of God in Rome, called as saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show to His bond-servants, the things which must soon take place; and He sent and communicated it by His angel to His bond-servant John,
"I am the Alpha and the Omega," says the Lord God, "who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty."
I, John, your brother and fellow partaker in the tribulation and kingdom and perseverance which are in Jesus, was on the island called Patmos because of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus.
saying, "Write in a book what you see, and send it to the seven churches: to Ephesus and to Smyrna and to Pergamum and to Thyatira and to Sardis and to Philadelphia and to Laodicea."
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