The name of the ancient Greek underworld and the god of that underworld. In modern Christianity, the term hades refers to the abode of the dead, also known as Sheol, or hell, where the dead await judgment.
Revelation 1 Commentary
Summary: Read Revelation 1 KJV along with a helpful commentary.

Revelation 1 KJV


1The 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:


2Who bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw.

3Blessed 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.

1:1-3 The word “Revelation” comes from the Greek “apokalupisis” [Strong’s #602] which means: “an unveiling of”. The very name of this book disproves the common assumption that it cannot be understood.

This book is said to be the “Revelation of Jesus.” He is its author; it is a message straight from Him. Revelation continues where the four gospels and the book of Acts left off, and shows us what Jesus has done since then, is doing now and will do for His church in the future. Revelation 1:19.

Verse 2 confirms that John is the witness that bears record of the word of God - that which he hears and sees, of the "testimony of Jesus Christ". Revelation 19:10 defines the "testimony of Jesus Christ" as the "spirit of prophecy". This clearly tells us that the book of Revelation is a prophetic book, foretelling the future, and that therefore, the things therein will need to be interpreted primarily prophetically. In other words, there will be symbols that represent bigger concepts, not necessarily literal things. For example, when Revelation describes a beast, it won't be a literal beast, but the beast will represent something larger.

The book of Revelation is a loving message from Jesus Christ to His precious bride, the church, revealing the things that must soon come to pass. It is meant to be understood by His people, with a blessing promised to those who read, hear and keep the things revealed in these prophecies. The blessing is not just to those who hear but to those that keep, indicating that there is an obedience factor. There is something God wants us to do as a result of learning what is revealed in this book.

“The time is at hand.” This book of prophecy contained messages needed by the Church in John’s day, by the Church throughout its history and for us as individual Christians today. The message for today is especially relevant, for we are living in the “time of the end” and “the time is at hand” when the final events portrayed in the book of Revelation will sweep over the world and bring the great controversy to a spectacular conclusion.

4John 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;

1:4 There were seven literal churches in Asia along the old post road to which John directed this letter. (See notes on Rev 1:20.)

Seven is also a symbol of perfection, wholeness, or completeness in prophecy. When you apply this to other examples of seven in the Bible you see the idea coming through. God created the world in six days and then rested the seventh day, showing completeness. There was nothing left to do as the world was perfect. Jesus asks us to forgive 70x7 times, signifying until the close of probation, until the end of the world and Jesus' second coming. King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon lost his mind and experienced judgment for seven years, until he was restored to wholeness of mind. Matthew 12:45 indicates that when someone responds to the spirit of God and is cleansed of evil, and then does not feed on the Word of God and allow himself to be filled with the Holy Spirit, Satan can return to take possession of them, and "seven spirits more wicked than himself" enter them, indicating behind completely filled with the devil's spirit.

The term “seven churches” indicates the whole or complete church through all ages. The “seven spirits” denote the perfect Holy Spirit of God.

The phrase "from him which is, and which was, and which is to come" refers to none other than Jesus Christ and shows His divinity having existed since the beginning of time, being resurrected from the dead, and who will come soon to take His people home.

The "seven Spirits of God" before the throne are an interesting reference to God's omniscience. They are referenced in the Bible in several places including Zechariah 3:9, Zechariah 4:10, Revelation 4:5 and Revelation 5:6. Revelation 4:5 talks about "seven lamps of fire burning before the throne which are the seven Spirits of God." Revelation 5:6 talks about seven eyes "which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth". Zechariah 4:10 talks about the "eyes of the Lord which run to and fro through the whole earth."


5And 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,

1:5 Christ’s death on the cross bore witness to the truth of the righteousness of God’s character and of Satan’s malignant lies. Jesus is our “faithful Witness” “that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood.”

The term “first begotten of the dead,” refers to first in importance, and refers to the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. Since Moses, Lazarus and a number of others were raised from the dead before His own resurrection; Jesus is the foremost or most important of those raised from the dead. 1 Corinthians 15:20; Colossians 1:18. He is head of the church. He is the “second Adam,” the new head of the human race for those who have faith in Him. He is the “first fruits of the dead,” the preeminent one of the harvest of the saints of earth rose from the dead. He is the pattern of righteousness into whose image we will be conformed. Romans 5:12-19; 8:29.

6And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

1:6 When we receive Christ as our personal Lord and Saviour, we are forgiven, cleansed and made royalty as “kings and priests unto God!”

“To Him be Glory.” The glory, splendor, majesty and holiness of God are portrayed throughout the Bible. For some descriptions of God’s glory, see Isaiah 6:1-3; Ezekiel 10; Psalm 29; Daniel 7:9, 10; Exodus 24:17; 33:7-9, 18-23; 34:5-7, 29-35; 40:34-38; Mark 9:2-8.

7Behold, 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.

1:7 Every eye will see Jesus at His Second Coming. It will be as visible as a flash of lightning on a dark night. Matthew 24:27. This breathtaking event will not be a secret, but will bring terror to those who have rejected His mercy.

This verse also mentions that those also "who pierced him" will see him come in the clouds. This links back to Daniel:

And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. Daniel 12:2

These verses indicate a special resurrection of those that pierced Christ just before His second coming so that they can witness Him come attended by the angels coming in the clouds of glory, so that they may realize for certain who it was that they mocked and killed.

8I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.

1:8 I am Alpha and Omega” are the first and last letters in the Greek alphabet. Jesus calls himself the A to Z, “the First and the Last.” Jesus Christ is God Eternal. His love is constant and sure. He is everything we need from beginning to end. See Isaiah 41:4; 48:12.

In this verse, we also see Jesus calling Himself "the Almighty" showing that He is God. The term "the Almighty" or "God Almighty" (Strong's #3841 Greek) is referenced 57 times in the Bible (KJV version) and is used interchangeably for God the Father or Jesus Christ His Son in the Bible. It is clear here that Jesus is God otherwise He would not be able to use this title of divinity.

[[Strong's #3841 Greek] - "Pantokrator"= "almighty, omnipotent; he who holds sway over all things; the ruler of all; the Almighty; God" which is the same as the Hebrew word in Psalm 91:1 for "Almighty" [Strong's #7706] - "Shadday" - "almighty, most powerful, the Almighty (of God)".]

9I 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.


 John was the last Apostle of the twelve to die. Legend tells us that John suffered much for the cause of God, having been boiled in oil. When this did not kill him, he was sentenced to life imprisonment on the island of Patmos, a small island of about 17 square miles in the Aegean Sea (now belonging to Greece) where criminals were confined. He describes himself as a "brother and companion in tribulation" referring to the persecutions of Christians during those years under the Roman power.

10I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet,

1:10 John was “In the Spirit,” meaning he was in vision, “on the Lord’s day.” The only day the Bible calls “the Lord’s Day” is the seventh-day Sabbath. Isaiah 58:13; Mark 2:28; Exodus 20:11. Of all the eight times that “the first day” [Sunday] is mentioned in the New Testament it is never called holy, blessed, the Lord’s day, or anything but a common working day.

11Saying, 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.

1:11 See notes on Revelation 1:8 regarding "Alpha and Omega".

Watch Seven Churches on ADtv for more information....

The seven churches listed here are in the order one would come to them on the old Roman postal route. The distance between each is about 50 kilometres; a full day's journey on foot.

The names of the cities are significant in that they convey a spiritual message relevant to the Church as a whole. It is incredible that their names so accurately reflect the history of the Church. It is one of the great evidences for the inspiration of the Word and the omnipotence of God.

Names in ancient times conveyed a message. One of the names given to the Messiah was Emmanuel, conveying the message that God would live among us. In the same way, the names of the seven cities convey a message about the state and nature of the Church from John’s time to the end of time.

1. Ephesus means “desirable”

2. Smyrna means “sweet smelling,” like myrrh       
3. Pergamos means “elevation” or “exalted”

4. Thyatira means “sacrifice of contrition” or “sweet savor of labor”
5. Sardis means “renewal”
6. Philadelphia means “brotherly love”
7. Laodicea means “judgment” or “judging the people”

12And I turned to see the voice that spake with me. And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks;

13And 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.

1:12-13 The term "candlestick" is another word for "lampstand or candelabrum"[Strong’s#3087 Greek]. Revelation 1:20 tells us that the “seven golden candlesticks” represent the seven churches.

The clothing Jesus is wearing here is the attire of a high priest. This is a picture of Christ watching over and guiding His Church, and ministering as High Priest in the heavenly Sanctuary.

Christ appears here “like unto the Son of man,” in human form. He forever identifies Himself with humanity.

14His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire;

15And his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters.

1:14-15 Here we see an amazing description of Christ. He certainly did not look as John remembered his Lord when He left them on the day He ascended to heaven. His head and hair was white like wool, referencing back to Daniel 7:9 where the Ancient of Days sits on one of the thrones of judgement. He is described in Daniel also as having "the hair of his head like the pure wool", seeming to indicate that they are one and the same Person.

His eyes were "as flames of fire". In Revelation 19:12 describing Jesus' second coming, His eyes are like "flames of fire". The Holy Spirit is typically symbolized as fire in the Bible (Acts 2:3,4) and in verse 4 above, the eyes of the Lord are equated with the seven Spirits of God, indicating that Jesus is filled with the Holy Spirit. Daniel also saw Jesus in vision with the same characteristics. Daniel 10:6 tells us that he says a "certain man clothed in linen". His face had the "appearance of lightning" and "his eyes as lamps of fire".

We also see that His feet are "like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace". In the sanctuary we know that the altar of burnt offering was made of brass (Exodus 27:1,2), and the Bible speaks of a "furnace of affliction". (Isaiah 48:10) The three worthies, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were thrown into a fiery furnace (Daniel 3:21) and their lives were preserved because One "like the Son of Man" came to walk in the furnace with them. The Man in Daniel 10:7 had feet and also arms "in colour to polished brass" and was the Jesus of the book of Revelation. Jesus is the Lamb slain on the altar of burnt offering and He was oppressed and afflicted but He opened not His mouth. (Isaiah 53:7) The symbolism of feet "like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace" is most fitting.

His voice was also "as many waters". In Daniel 10:6, Jesus is described as having a voice "of a multitude". Jesus has been intimately involved in sharing the future with His people, not only in the book of Revelation to John, but also to Daniel, Nebuchadnezzar, and the many prophets in the Bible.


16And 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.

1:16 The sharp, two-edged sword” is the Word of God. Hebrews 4:12; Ephesians 6:17


Out of His mouth comes nothing but the truth. (John 17:17) When Jesus was tempted by the devil in the wilderness, His response each time was the Word of God. (Matthew 4:1-11) The Word of God is also our defence, and we may and should use it in response to temptations and trials that we experience in our lives.

For the “seven stars.” see Revelation 1:20.

17And 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:

1:17 John falls as dead at Jesus' feet. Jesus then raises him up with His right hand. This falling over as dead is common among prophets receiving visions in the Bible and is one of the characteristics for identifying a prophet. Daniel had the same experience when he went into vision. (Daniel 10:8-10)


18I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.

1:18 The word here translated “hell” is the Greek word “Hades” which literally means the “grave or abode of the dead.” Jesus alone has power over life and death. 1 Corinthians 15:50-58. Christ demonstrated His mighty power over the grave by raising the dead to life and through His own resurrection. Death is not God’s original plan; it was the result of the sin of Adam and Eve. Jesus plans to restore things to the way He meant them to be. He promises to destroy this curse (1 Corinthians 15:26; Revelation 20:14) so that no one will ever die again.

The Roman Catholic church teaches that the Pope has the "keys of Peter" but here we see that Jesus has the keys of hell and death. To Him has been given all power (Matthew 28:18).

19Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter;

1:19 To John, in what is about to be shown him in the Book of Revelation, will be revealed current and future realities, and by these revelations, we can know the future, the glories of Christ's coming kingdom, and how to avoid missing out on them. This verse also shows us that John's visions had application for his time, "the things which are", as well as future application, "things which shall be hereafter".


20The 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.

1:20 ldquo;The seven churches.” These messages have a dual application. First, as a literal message for the historical churches to which they were addressed. But most importantly, each is a prophecy representing seven periods in the history of the Christian church from John’s day till the end of time, just like the time prophecies in Daniel. Each of the seven churches is symbolic of what God’s people would face during the succeeding periods of history.

The seven stars we are told are the "angels" of the churches. Another word for "angel" is "messenger" - "one who is sent, a messenger from God" [Strong’s #32 Greek]. The fact that the churches have an angel dedicated to them shows how deeply God cares for each of His loved ones. Whether they are going through tribulation or need reproof, God is intimately interested in each and ever aspect of our lives, and lovingly administers the needed admonitions or encouragements. We can rest assured that God is in control and is working out what is for our good at all times. He will never leave us nor forsake us. (Hebrews 13:5)


Ahead to Revelation 2

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