Revelation 1:1 "The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John: 2 Who bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw. 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."
These three verses reveal that there are special blessing for those who read and believe the things contained in the book of Revelation.
1:1 - Shows that this is the Revelation of John about Jesus Christ and is given to John of God's angel. Notice that John, James, Peter and Jude, all refer to themselves as servants of Jesus Christ.
1:2 - According to Revelation 19:10, the testimony of Jesus Christ is the spirit of prophecy, which is the ability to tell the future. We have this ability because 1 John 5:13 lets us know that we can know we have eternal life. 1 John 1:1 is a cross reference to the last part of the verse.
1:3 - We will know when the time is at hand by studying this book. An example, here, is that we know we are in the Laodicean church period, today (Revelation 3:14-17). We also know that the Philadelphia church period (1500-1900) kept his words with the AV1611. Cross references to this verse include Revelation 22:7, 9, 10 and 19.
Revelation 1:4 "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."
In this passage John the Apostle sees the Revelation of the Lord Jesus Christ.
1:4 - Notice the number seven appears in the Book of Revelation numerous times. This is because it is the last book of the Bible and the number seven usually means completion. Asia mentioned in this verse is referring to Asia Minor, not Asia Major. The seven Spirits are found in Isaiah 11:2.
1:5 - Jesus was a prophet, who died for us, in the past, a priest located in Heaven, in the present, and will be a King on the earth, in the future. The Kingdom in this book is a literal one on this earth where Jesus reigns one thousand years on the throne of David (Matthew 25:30-40). Jesus is the first begotten of the dead, because He is the first to come up from the dead and never die again. Notice that our sins are not washed away by water, but by the Blood of Jesus Christ (1 John 1:7, Colossians 1:14).
1:6 - As Christians we are priests now (1 Peter 2:5-9) and we will be kings, in the future, with Him, in the Millennium, on the earth (Revelation 5:9-10).
1:7 - This verse is about the Second Advent of Jesus Christ. We know that this is not the Rapture because not every eye will see Him, at the Rapture. 1 Corinthians 15:50-53 says that the Rapture is a mystery and happens in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye. The cross references, to this verse, are Zechariah 9:1, 12:10 and Matthew 24:30.
Revelation 1:8 "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."
From this point, John starts writing about the Church Age, Tribulation and Millennium.
1:8 - This verse is spoken by Jesus Christ. Alpha and Omega is the first and last letter in the Greek alphabet. God is eternal and is our final authority. “[W]hich is”, Jesus is as priest now; “which was”, Jesus was prophet in the past; “which is to come”, He will be a King in the future.
Revelation 1:9 "I John, who also am your brother, and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was in the isle that is called Patmos, for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ. 10 I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet, 11 Saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: and, What thou seest, write in a book, and send it unto the seven churches which are in Asia; unto Ephesus, and unto Smyrna, and unto Pergamos, and unto Thyatira, and unto Sardis, and unto Philadelphia, and unto Laodicea. 12 And I turned to see the voice that spake with me. And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks; 13 And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle. 14 His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire; 15 And his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters. 16 And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp twoedged sword: and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength."
John writes, here, about the Second Advent.
1:9 - This could either apply to the Tribulation or historically, the Church Age with John being exiled to Patmos, because of his witness.
1:10 - John saying that he was in the Spirit refers to a transformation in time—moving him forward to the Second Advent, which is the Lord's day according to Old Testament prophecy (Isaiah 2:12, Jeremiah 46:10, etc).
1:11 - Historically, there were seven local churches in Asia Minor by these names, but they also represent church periods from then to the Rapture. Each church name means something. Ephesus (33-300 A.D./Apostolic Church) = fully purposed, Smyrna (200-325 A.D./Martyred Church) = myrrh, Pergamos (325-550 A.D./Imperial Church) = much marriage, Thyatira(500-1000 A.D./Medieval Church) = odor of affliction, Sardis(1000-1500 A.D./Persecuting Church) = red ones, Philadephia (1500-1900/Reformation Church) = brotherly love, Laodicea (1900-Rapture/Apostate Church) = civil rights. Laodicea, (the church period we are in, now), is the last church age before the Rapture.
1:12 - The seven candlesticks are the seven churches, according to Revelation 1:20.
1:13 - The Son of man is Jesus Christ. “Paps” mean breast or chest. The cross reference of this verse is found in Daniel 10:5-6.
1:14 - The appearance of Jesus on earth and in Heaven is something to note. On earth, Jesus is a Jew with eyes like a dove, his skin a yellowish brown color and bushy black hair (Song of Solomon 5:10-15). In heaven, He is in his glorified appearance. His hair is white and his eyes are like fire.
1:15 - His voice often sounds like a waterfall or thunder (Ezekiel 43:2) .
1:16 - The seven stars are angels of the seven churches according to Revelation 1:20. Stars are sometimes angels in the Bible (Revelation 12:4). The two-edged sword is the word of God (Hebrews 4:12, Ephesians 6:17). The word countenance means appearance. Jesus is called the Sun of righteousness in Malachi 4:2. The sun is a type of Jesus Christ, because it has three rays: Alpha (heat/feel, but cannot see), Beta (light/see, but cannot feel) and Gamma (actinic/cannot see or feel) rays. God, who is the light of the world, is a Trinity consisting of the Father (cannot see or feel), Son (see, but cannot feel) and Holy Spirit (feel, but cannot see). This explains Romans 1:20 and Psalms 19:2-4. When the sun dies, it turns blood red and is buried below the horizon. When it comes back up in the morning, it comes back up as blood red. This is a picture of the First and Second Coming of Jesus Christ (Isaiah 63:1-7).
Revelation 1:17 "And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last: 18 I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death. 19 Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter; 20 The mystery of the seven stars which thou sawest in my right hand, and the seven golden candlesticks. The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches: and the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches."
The last verses of chapter one shows us the basic outline of the whole book of Revelation.
1:17 - John falls down at Jesus' feet. Cross references: Luke 5:10, 8:50, etc.
1:18 – Today, Jesus is a Priest, who died, yesterday, as a Prophet and Saviour, and will be a King to live and reign on earth for one thousand years. Not only does Jesus possess the keys of death and hell, but He himself is the door (John 10:9).
1:19 – John, in time, is recording events that deal with the Second Advent. The things “seen” are the historical events before the Tribulation (Revelation 5-19), like the Church Age (Revelation 2-4). The things that “are” is the Tribulation (Revelation 5-19) because in the Old Testament the judgments in the Tribulation is part of the Second Advent (Jeremiah 30:7). The “hereafter” is the Millennium and Eternity (Revelation 20-22).
1:20 - Each of the churches has an angel (star) and candlestick, in heaven, representing them. The seven churches will also be local churches in the Tribulation. Remember, that the churches also spiritually represent church periods starting from the Apostles to the Rapture. Historically, the churches were churches in Asia Minor, during John's time.