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Grace and peace from God (Revelation 1:4)

After a brief prologue, the author of Revelation, John, starts to address the seven churches for whom Christ gave him messages. He writes,

John to the seven churches that are in Asia: Grace to you and peace from him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven spirits who are before his throne (Revelation 1:3).

Some think that John is addressing all of the church of Asia, with seven being the perfect and representative number, and others think he's addressing seven specific churches. I think both are true. He's addressing seven churches in particular, but the messages to them are applicable to all of the church everywhere and at all times.

John greets them with a customary yet genuine greeting: "Grace to you and peace." We see this pattern in several letters from the Apostles, and it's a combination of the common Gentile greeting (grace) and the common Hebrew greeting (peace). Now that Christ has made one new man out of Jews and Gentiles combined (Ephesians 2:15), this new pattern of greeting mirrored the unity of the church. And yet it was still full of meaning. John's benediction for them was that God would give them grace and peace.

This grace was "from Him who is and who was and who is to come" (v. 3). When we look at the rest of this verse and the next, it's clear that this is referring to the Father in particular. This grace not only comes from Him but also "from the seven spirits who are before His throne." The fact that grace and peace come from these seven spirits and the fact that the Son is included in the next verse as grace and peace also coming from Him indicate for us that these seven spirits are actually the one Holy Spirit. Seven, again, is the number of perfection, and the Spirit is so at work in each of these seven churches that it's as if there are seven of Him. But the point is that grace and peace come from the Father, from the Son (as we'll see in the next verse), and from the Holy Spirit.

How kind it is of the Godhead to give us grace and peace. God gives us what we don't deserve, and He grants us inner peace in Him, founded upon the peace that was made with Him through Jesus Christ. May we, like the churches, receive God's grace and peace, and may we, like John, pray these blessings on the rest of the church. May God give grace and peace to the church!

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