“Iohn to the seuen Churches in Asia, Grace be vnto you, & peace, from him which is, and which was, and which is to come, and from the seuen spirits which are before his throne:”
1611 King James Version (KJV)
1:4 John - The dedication of this book is contained in the fourth, fifth, and sixth verses; but the whole Revelation is a kind of letter. To the seven churches which are in Asia - That part of the Lesser Asia which was then a Roman province. There had been several other churches planted here; but it seems these were now the most eminent; and it was among these that St. John had laboured most during his abode in Asia. In these cities there were many Jews. Such of them as believed in each were joined with the gentile believers in one church. Grace be unto you, and peace - The favour of God, with all temporal and eternal blessings. From him who is, and who was, and who cometh, or, who is to come - A wonderful translation of the great name JEHOVAH: he was of old, he is now, he cometh; that is, will be for ever. And from the seven spirits which are before his throne - Christ is he who hath the seven spirits of God. The seven lamps which burn before the throne are the seven spirits of God. The lamb hath seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God. Seven was a sacred number in the Jewish church: but it did not always imply a precise number. It sometimes is to be taken figuratively, to denote completeness or perfection. By these seven spirits, not seven created angels, but the Holy Ghost is to be understood. The angels are never termed spirits in this book; and when all the angels stand up, while the four living creatures and the four and twenty elders worship him that sitteth on the throne, and the Lamb, the seven spirits neither stand up nor worship. To these seven spirits of God, the seven churches, to whom the Spirit speaks so many things, are subordinate; as are also their angels, yea, and the seven angels which stand before God. He is called the seven spirits, not with regard to his essence, which is one, but with regard to his manifold operations.
Re 1:4 John to the seven churches which are in Asia. The churches are named in Re 1:11. The term "Asia" did not mean in the first century what it does now, but only the Roman province called Asia, of which Ephesus was the capital. All the seven churches are in that province. It is supposed that SEVEN, the perfect and sacred number, were chosen, because the seven were to symbolize the whole Church of Christ. There were in the province of Asia more than seven churches at this time, as we know, Colosse, Miletus (Ac 20:17) and Hierapolis (Col 4:13) being named in the New Testament. Grace [be] to you. The benediction, like that in the apostolic epistles, shows that Revelation is an epistle also, addressed directly to seven churches and through them to all the church. From him which is. The I AM. See Ex 3:14. From the seven Spirits. The Holy Spirit. The numeral seven indicates fulness, perfection. It is the sacred number. The sevens are constantly repeated through Revelation. There are seven churches, seven spirits, seven trumpets, seven thunders, seven vials, etc.