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. 8 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.
Verse 3 - The reader is blessed. The hearer is blessed. Those who keep this information are blessed. One definition of to keep is defined as to protect or guard as in the keep of a castle, the strong tower which is a defense of last resort.
Genesis 3:24 So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.
Another definition of keep is to maintain or follow something as in keep a rule or keep a covenant.
Genesis 2:15 And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.
Genesis 18:19 For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the LORD, to do justice and judgment; that the LORD may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him.
Still another definition of keep can be to stay as in staying in bed.
Exodus 21:18 And if men strive together, and one smite another with a stone, or with his fist, and he die not, but keepeth his bed:
It can also be for a man to stay at home and not be out partying as the following verse hints at the antichrist, the beast of Revelation to come.
Habakkuk 2:5 Yea also, because he transgresseth by wine, he is a proud man, neither keepeth at home, who enlargeth his desire as hell, and is as death, and cannot be satisfied, but gathereth unto him all nations, and heapeth unto him all people:
Or a wife, who should not be what we called down South a gadabout going around gossiping and visiting others for that purpose, always busy outside of the home.
Titus 2:5 To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.
Contrast the verse in Titus with these verses in Timothy.
1Timothy 5:13 And withal they learn to be idle, wandering about from house to house; and not only idle, but tattlers also and busybodies, speaking things which they ought not. 14 I will therefore that the younger women marry, bear children, guide the house, give none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully.
(Note that those verses do not mean that Paul thought women who have to work outside of the home were wicked. This is about bringing reproach on Christ’s name. See the reference to Lydia, a businesswoman, in Act 16:14, 15 and that there is no condemnation of her.)
The time is at hand – What does it mean when something is at hand? It means soon to arrive as in imminent or pending. It means that the time is near.
Genesis 27:41 And Esau hated Jacob because of the blessing wherewith his father blessed him: and Esau said in his heart, The days of mourning for my father are at hand; then will I slay my brother Jacob.
Jeremiah 23:23 Am I a God at hand, saith the LORD, and not a God afar off?
Verse 4 - John is speaking to seven literal churches in Asia which are types of all churches throughout history. It is difficult to say that each church represents an historic age of the church but they could typify the dominant church forms of each age.
God, is Him which is, and which was, and which is to come. He is the great I AM.
Exodus 3:13 And Moses said unto God, Behold, when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, What is his name? what shall I say unto them? 14 And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.
The seven Spirits, uppercase S, which are before God’s throne are the Spirits of the seven churches, the angels of the Seven Churches, as angels are spirits.
Psalm 104:4 Who maketh his angels spirits; his ministers a flaming fire:
Hebrews 1:7 And of the angels he saith, Who maketh his angels spirits, and his ministers a flame of fire.
They have spread the gospel over the entire earth and for all of the warnings that Christ is about to give them He has used them for His purpose.
Revelation 4:5 And out of the throne proceeded lightnings and thunderings and voices: and there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God.
Revelation 5:6 And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth.
And Jesus Christ, who was shown to be the visible image of God and the Word by which all things were created is the faithful witness reporting what is about to be told in the form of an angel. He rose from the dead so that we can rise from the dead, showing us by example what would happen to us. Enoch and Elijah did not die when they were translated, but were taken out of the world bodily and alive. He is also God as the first verses of John’s gospel tells us and constant, eternal as Paul said in Hebrews.
John 8:58 Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.
John 14:7 If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him…9 Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father?
Hebrews 13:8 Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.
He is the first begotten of the dead as He is the beginning of creation and holds it together.
Colossians 1:15 Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: 16 For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by
him, and for him: 17 And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.
He is above the kings of the earth as the prince to whom they have not but will be forced to submit.
Psalm 89:27 Also I will make him my firstborn, higher than the kings of the earth.
Christ washed us from our sins against God in His own blood.
Colossians 1:14 In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:
As even usually unites two things that are the same, the forgiveness of sins is found through the redemption of Christ’s blood shed for us.
Romans 3:25 Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;
Romans 5:9 Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.
Ephesians 1:7 In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;
Acts 20:28 Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.
For verse 6 please note the status of followers of Christ in;
1Peter 2:9 But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:
2Timothy 2:12 If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us:
Revelation 20:6 Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.
The king of an ancient city was also the high priest, who offered up sacrifices, and was the highest religious authority. This is evident in an number of ancient writers such as Aristotle, Euripides, and Demosthenes and related in De Coulanges’ work The Ancient City (1).
(1) Numa Denis Fustel De Coulanges, The Ancient City: A Study of the Religion, Laws, and Institutions of Greece and Rome (1864, repr. Mineola, NY: Dover Publications, 2006), 173.
“…glory and dominion for ever and ever…”
Similar sentiments are expressed by Peter;
1Peter 5:10 ¶ But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.
11 To him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.
And as part of the prayer given by Jesus to His disciples;
Matthew 6:13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.
1Chronicles 29:11 Thine, O LORD, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty: for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is thine; thine is the kingdom, O LORD, and thou art exalted as head above all.
God’s authority and power is limitless and unending. There is nothing before Him and nothing after Him. There is also nothing besides Him to compete with Him.
Verse 7 refers to verses like;
Daniel 7:13 I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him.
Matthew 24:30 And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.
Zechariah 12:10 And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.
John 19:37 And again another scripture saith, They shall look on him whom they pierced.
Psalm 22:16 For dogs have compassed me: the assembly of the wicked have inclosed me: they pierced my hands and my feet.
Here is Jesus Christ in verse 8 declaring Himself to be Almighty God.
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.
This will be expressed several times in Revelation (1:11; 4:8; 11:17; 22:13 as examples). See also in Isaiah;
Isaiah 43:10 Ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD, and my servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me.
Isaiah 44:6 Thus saith the LORD the King of Israel, and his redeemer the LORD of hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God.
Isaiah 48:12 Hearken unto me, O Jacob and Israel, my called; I am he; I am the first, I also am the last.
Isaiah 9:6 For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.
Remember, as well, that Jesus told Philip that to have seen Him was to have seen God the Father (John 14:7-9; also see John 8:58).