Revelation is a simple book with a simple message for believers: be a faithful witness and don’t fear loss, rejection, or death. For believers who heed this message, Jesus promises rewards beyond their wildest imagination. Jesus Himself is an example of one who endured great suffering through obedience, and gained the greatest of rewards. He encourages “His servants” to follow in His footsteps. Chapter 1 introduces the circumstances in which the Apostle John received this vision and message from Jesus Himself.

Revelation 1:1-3

John introduces this epistle as a message to Jesus’ “bondservants.” He promises a special blessing/reward for any bondservant who reads, understands, then obeys this prophetic word. The emphasis is upon obedient action.

Revelation 1:4-7

The Revelation is addressed to seven specific churches that existed at the time. John emphasizes that the servants in these churches are fully justified in the sight of God, which is an unconditional position. He further states that each believer already has been granted a great inheritance.

Revelation 1:8

God declares that He is the Eternal and the Almighty, establishing His sovereignty over all that will be revealed in the Revelation.

Revelation 1:9-11

John speaks again and describes his circumstance when receiving the vision, and the introduction to the vision, which was directed toward the seven churches of Asia.

Revelation 1:12-17a

Now John, the disciple who Jesus loved, meets the messenger, who turns out to be the risen and glorified Jesus. Although John was quite close to Jesus during His earthly ministry, when he meets Jesus in this glorified state he falls at His feet like a dead man.

Revelation 1:17b-20

Jesus comforts John, instructing him to record in writing the things that he has and will be shown. Jesus also explains the meaning of the seven stars and seven lampstands, which represent the seven angels of the seven churches and the seven churches themselves.