The Revelation, John’s Apostolic Greeting and Prologue
By Al Stoner

“John 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; And 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, And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen. Behold, 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” Rev. 1:4-7).

To the Seven Churches

Rev. 1:4  John 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;
Rev. 1:11  Saying, 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.
Rev. 1:20  The 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.
There were several other churches in Asia Minor other than these seven: for example, in Pontus, Galatia, Pamphylia, Cappadocia, Phrygia, and Pisidia.  But these seven churches  identified in the Revelation (Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamos, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea) were divinely selected because that together they were representative of all churches in all ages. 
They were representative of all conditions and jeopardies that the church would be subjected to down through the ages.  They were representative of present struggles directly associated with a final conquest that would be glorifying to God.  To him that overcometh.
Each of the churches are golden candlesticks whose purpose is to “shine as lights” in the midst of a wicked and perverse generation.  They are to show forth the praises of Him who hath called us out of darkness into His marvelous light.  They are the light of the world, as Jesus said.  They are a city that is set on a hill.  A candlestick, even if it is a golden one, is worthless for the purpose for which God made it if there is no light shining from it.  This is not a self-manufactured light, but rather it is light that proceeds from abiding in the Father and in the Son.
Each of the churches are addressed by the glorified Christ, our great High Priest, and He reveals Himself to each of them in a capacity that will assist them in overcoming.  He apprises each of them of their condition before God, whether it is pleasing or not.  He either warns or comforts each of the churches according to their condition before God.  He then holds forth before them an incentive (a glorious promise) to overcome.  John tells us, This is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.  Wherever men are in fact believing, and abiding in Christ, the purpose of God in salvation is being worked in and through them.  But where they are not believing, they become subject to all manner of satanic assaults, and eventually will be overcome.

The Very Common Apostolic Greeting

Grace be unto you, and peace from Him.  Almost all of Paul’s and Peter’s epistles begin with a similar greeting: Grace and peace.  Two of the primary benefits man-ward proceeding directly from the sufferings of Christ, and from the glory which has followed: Grace and peace. The benefits, by their very nature are gracious and peaceable.  The grace of God is the foundation for the peace of God, and the peace of God is given to men directly because of the grace of God. What of this grace?  It makes for an abundance of peace.  What of this peace of God which passes all understanding? It is only by grace.

From Him which is, and which was, and which is to come

From God the Father. This identifier could also be describing the Son, but He is specifically identified in verse 5: “and from Jesus Christ”.  Thus we conclude that in verse 4, John is saying that this greeting is from the Father, and in verse 5, it is also from the Son.
From Him which is, and which was, and which is to come.  This identifier is somewhat equivalent to that Name of God which was revealed to Moses “at the bush” (Exod. 3:1-14): I AM THAT I AM.  Also, the Name JEHOVAH (Exod. 6:3), which means “the Self-Existent One”.  The Amplified Version calls this Name of God His redemptive Name

In Genesis 17:1 God revealed Himself to Abraham as God Almighty (El Shaddai), which also can be rendered the All Sufficient One.
“For as the Father hath life in Himself; so hath He given to the Son to have life in Himself” (Jn. 5:26).  Before the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, He also had “life in Himself”, but as the Son of man, the Father gave the Lord Jesus Christ to have life in Himself.  Christ is called “that Eternal Life which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us”.
Rev. 1:4  John 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;
Rev. 1:8  “I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.”  

The Seven Spirits of God

Rev. 1:4  John 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;
Rev. 3:1  And unto the angel of the church in Sardis write; These things saith he that hath the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars; I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead.
Rev. 4:5  And out of the throne proceeded lightnings and thunderings and voices: and there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God.
Rev. 5:6  And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth.

The Seven Spirits of God. The expression, “the seven Spirits of God” is found only in the Revelation.  The Holy Spirit is a seven-fold Spirit, meaning that He is able to minister to men effectually all things pertaining to the redemption which is in Christ Jesus.  He is limitless in His ministry to men, being hindered only by unbelief.  He is able to minister comfort and consolation. And He is able warn and admonish.  He is able to assist men in culturing a hatred for this present evil world, and also to set their affection on things above, and not on things on the earth.  He is able to effectually bring to men’s attention words that Christ has spoken in the hour of temptation.

Of the Lord Jesus Christ, Paul declared, “He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.)” (Eph. 4:10).  Jesus said, “And I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter, that He may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth Him not, neither knoweth Him: but ye know Him; for He dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you” (Jn. 14:16-18).

And from Jesus Christ.  In the Revelation we read of the throne of God and of the Lamb. Elsewhere, we read that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them.  From the lips of the Savior Himself we can recall that God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son. And John also tells us that the Father sent the Son to be the Savior of the world, as well as the propitiation for our sins.
And from Jesus ChristFrom Him who was wounded for our transgressions.  From Him who, by Himself purged our sins. From Him, who by Himself made purification for sins.  From Him who hath once suffered for sins, the Just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit.  From Him who laid down His life for the sheep.  From Him who once for all has been made an offering for sins.  In the present time, and for all time, this is the primary thing that we know Him for.  We live unto God, because Christ died, and rose again.  We have confidence before God because Christ laid down His life a ransom for many.  We have been made righteous before the living God because Christ was obedient, obedient unto death.  It was because of one Man’s obedience.