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I, John, bore witness to the word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ. A joyous blessing[a] rests upon the one who reads this message and upon those who hear and embrace the words of this prophecy, for the appointed time is in your hands.[b]

From John to the seven churches[c] in western Turkey:[d] May the kindness of God’s grace and peace overflow to you from him who is, and who was, and who is to come,[e] and from the seven spirits[f] who are in front of his throne,

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  1. Revelation 1:3 Or “happiness to one who reads.” The book of Revelation is the only book in the Bible that promises a rich blessing to those who read and obey what it states. The word blessing can mean “happiness.” There are six other “blessings” found in Revelation (14:13; 16:15; 19:9; 20:5; 22:7, 14).
  2. Revelation 1:3 Or “at hand.” The Greek adverb eggus is taken from a primary verb agcho, which means “to squeeze” (in your hands) or “to hold the reigns” (or “throttle” in your hands). There is a sense in which the full understanding of the book of Revelation is ready to be unveiled when the reader is ready to receive it. The time for this revelation is now, not the past nor the distant future. See also 1 Peter 1:5.
  3. Revelation 1:4 The seven churches become a representation of all the churches, for the number seven denotes completeness, fullness, wholeness, and perfection.
  4. Revelation 1:4 Or “Asia” (Minor), which is modern-day western Turkey.
  5. Revelation 1:4 The God who dwells in these three realms (present, past, and future) is described by John as “who is, who was, and who is to come.”
  6. Revelation 1:4 Or “the seven-fold Spirit”; that is, the Holy Spirit. If God is three in one, the Holy Spirit can be seven in one. See Isa. 11:2-3; Zech. 4:1-10; Rev. 3:1; 4:5; 5:6.

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