John to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace be to you, and peace, from him which is, and which was, and which is to come…
I. The WRITER of this book is again named — "John." The things he was now about to relate depended upon his own testimony. He therefore mentions his name once, and again, and yet a third time. He refers to his former writings for his credibility as an inspired historian, and relates circumstantially the occasion upon which this revelation was given him. "I, John," he says in ver. 9, "I am the person to whom these disclosures were made, by whose hand they were written down, and am open to the examination of the most sceptical inquirer."
II. The PERSONS to whom he dedicates this book: "To the seven Churches," etc. It is dedicated to them particularly, partly because they were more immediately under this apostle's care, and partly because they were suffering from the same persecution with himself, and most needed the consolations which the views here given of the final triumph of the Church of Christ were calculated to impart.
III. The SALUTATION. "Grace be unto you and peace." The origin of our salvation is grace, the effect peace. In proportion as we perceive the grace, we have peace. First grace, then peace. Both are from God. We are reminded here of their threefold source. The Father is first mentioned as of unchanging form, who has never appeared under any other aspect than that of the Supreme Being, "Him which is, and which was, and which is to come." Next we have the Spirit under a divided form, as illustrative of the variety and diffusion, and also of the limitation of His influences; and here we have the Son in the distinguishing characteristics of His mission, "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." Thus all the persons of the Godhead are mentioned as constituting the well-spring of grace and peace to the Church. Nor is there any saving grace, nor is there any permanent peace, that does not flow from each and all of these.
IV. This dedication includes AN ASCRIPTION OF PRAISE TO THE REDEEMER: "Unto Him that loved us," etc.
V. This is followed by a reference to THE SECOND COMING OF CHRIST. "Behold He cometh with clouds," etc.
VI. This is further confirmed, by AN ANNOUNCEMENT FROM CHRIST Himself, of His proper Divinity. "I am Alpha and Omega," etc. To the foregoing truths Christ affixes this as His signature.
VII. This dedication closes with a STATEMENT OF THE TIME and place in which this revelation was given. "I, John, who also am your brother," etc. We need only observe here the humble and affectionate manner in which, though an aged apostle and favoured with these revelations, he speaks of his station amongst other Christians. He is not exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations. He speaks not of anything in which he was superior, but of that only in which he was upon an equality with them. He calls not himself a companion of Christ and of His apostles, but their "companion in tribulation." He does not address them as their diocesan, or father in God, but as their "brother." The humility of the apostles, it is to be feared, as well as their dignity, died with them. This "I, John," which is repeated in the last chapter, yet stands out as on the borderland of that primitive simplicity which the Church has yet many steps to retrace before she regains.
Parallel VersesKJV: 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;