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New Defender's Study Bible Notes

1:4 seven. This is the first occurrence of the number “seven” with which Revelation abounds. The word itself (Greek hepta) occurs fifty-four times in Revelation, more than in all the rest of the New Testament combined. The reason for this pervasive “seven-ness” of Revelation is undoubtedly to emphasize that this book completes God’s written revelation to man. Ever since God completed His creation of the world in six days and rested on the seventh, “seven” has been regarded in all times and places as indicating fullness or completion.

1:4 Asia. These churches were seven real local churches, but they represent all churches with their various merits and problems. Christ’s messages to them surely are also directed to all churches of all times and all places. It is significant that the Apostle Paul also wrote inspired messages to seven different local churches—the churches at Rome, Corinth, Galatia, Ephesus, Philippi, Colosse and Thessalonica. The church at Ephesus was included in both sets of epistles. This church was founded by Paul, then eventually pastored by John at the time the New Testament was completed by him.

1:4 to come. The message of grace and peace is sent through John by the three that bear witness in heaven (note I John 5:7): the Eternal One, the sevenfold Spirit, and the faithful Witness.

1:4 Spirits. The seven spirits are not seven angels at the throne. If they were angels, the text would say so. Since they join with the Father and with Christ in sending the message, they must be one with God and should be recognized as the seven-fold Holy Spirit. This sevenfold nature of the Spirit presumably speaks of His ministry in the whole world (note John 16:8; also II Chronicles 16:9). There is also a possible reference to Isaiah 11:2, which speaks of “the Spirit of the LORD” resting on the coming Messiah. He is there called “the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD.”

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