Greetings and Doxology
4 John, To the seven churches in the province of Asia: Grace and peace to you from him who is, and who was, and who is to come, and from the seven spirits before his throne, 5 and from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood, 6 and has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve his God and Father—to him be glory and power for ever and ever! Amen. 7 “Look, he is coming with the clouds,” and “every eye will see him, even those who pierced him”;and all peoples on earth “will mourn because of him. So shall it be! Amen. 8 “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.”
As John begins Revelation, he addresses the seven churches in Asia from God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. As he writes this letter to encourage the believers, he wants to make sure they know where his vision came from. God the Father, is described as the One who is, who was, and is to come. He also describes him as the Alpha and the Omega, the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet. The idea is that no matter what happens, God is sovereign. He is the beginning and the end. The first and last.
And Jesus, who was, and is to come is the faithful witness and the firstborn from the dead. When the persecution comes, these believers will be called upon to be faithful witnesses. The Greek word for "witness" is martyr. But Jesus is also the firstborn of the dead, which makes him the King of all kings. He is now Lord and more powerful than enemy they will fight. And he will come again in great and promised glory. Again we see the hope given to the believers. Everyone will know Jesus including those who nailed him to the cross, and also those who will continue to kill believers for their faith. But since Jesus, they will live even though they one day will die.
Finally, he ends with the Almighty God who was and is and is to come. This greeting and ending with phrase sets the stage for all he will say in this book. Despite what is happening to the church, the One who God sent and died and rose again is "Lord of all". This will be a theme in this book. Jesus is Lord, who was, who is and will come again. This is good for us to remember in the light of every trial and suffering we go through, no matter what it is. Jesus is Lord of all and Lord of us.