1This is the Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show to his servants the things which must happen soon, which he sent and made known by his angel to his servant, John, 2who testified to God’s word and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, about everything that he saw.

3Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of the prophecy, and keep the things that are written in it, for the time is near.

4John, 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; 5and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To him who loves us, and washed us from our sins by his blood— 6and he made us to be a Kingdom, priests to his God and Father—to him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.

7Behold, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, including those who pierced him. All the tribes of the earth will mourn over him. Even so, Amen.

8“I am the Alpha and the Omega, says the Lord God, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.”

9I John, your brother and partner with you in the oppression, Kingdom, and perseverance in Christ Jesus, was on the isle that is called Patmos because of God’s Word and the testimony of Jesus Christ. 10I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and I heard behind me a loud voice, like a trumpet 11saying, “What you see, write in a book and send to the seven assemblies: to Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and to Laodicea.”

12I turned to see the voice that spoke with me. Having turned, I saw seven golden lamp stands. 13And among the lamp stands was one like a son of man, clothed with a robe reaching down to his feet, and with a golden sash around his chest. 14His head and his hair were white as white wool, like snow. His eyes were like a flame of fire. 15His feet were like burnished brass, as if it had been refined in a furnace. His voice was like the voice of many waters. 16He had seven stars in his right hand. Out of his mouth proceeded a sharp two-edged sword. His face was like the sun shining at its brightest. 17When I saw him, I fell at his feet like a dead man.

He laid his right hand on me, saying, “Don’t be afraid. I am the first and the last, 18and the Living one. I was dead, and behold, I am alive forever and ever. Amen. I have the keys of Death and of Hades. 19Write therefore the things which you have seen, and the things which are, and the things which will happen hereafter. 20The mystery of the seven stars which you saw in my right hand, and the seven golden lamp stands is this: The seven stars are the angels of the seven assemblies. The seven lamp stands are seven assemblies.

John Writes to the Seven Churches of Asia Minor

John Writes to the Seven Churches of Asia Minor

Site Study | Rev 1:4 | Hershel Wayne House | Patmos

The apostle John identifies several congregations of believers in southwestern Asia Minor (Turkey), in a clockwise path from the southwest, to whom he sent this book. The first one mentioned in his letter is Ephesus, where he apparently lived, and the remainder on a Roman circuit, which are  Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea (Rev 1:11 lists each of these).[1]

John greets his readers similar to the apostle Paul, with the Greek and Hebrew words grace (charis, a Greek greeting) and peace (shalom, a Hebrew greeting), from the eternal God (Heb 13:8) and (most likely) the seven spirits before the throne with.[2] The apostle Paul greets in a similar matter to churches to whom he wrote. This grace and peace comes from the eternal God and the seven Spirits who are before His throne. 

These seven Spirits may refer to the seven angels of the seven churches in chapters 2-3, to the seven angels mentioned in Rev 8:2, or to the fullness of the Spirit of God referred to in Isaiah 11:2.[3] At times numbers in the book of Revelation, and other places in the Bible, have meaning beyond the literal meaning of the text.[4]

[1] See Map of Seven Churches.

[2] See the Word Study on grace and peace in 1 Corinthians 1:3.

[3] See the discussion on the "seven spirits of God" in Isaiah 11:2.

[4] Reference to John Jefferson Davis, Biblical Numerology: A Basic Study of the Use of Numbers in the Bible.