“Saying, ‘I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last,’ and, ‘What you see, write in a book and send it to the seven churches which are in Asia: to Ephesus, to Smyrna, to Pergamos, to Thyatira, to Sardis, to Philadelphia, and to Laodicea‘”
saying, I am the Alpha and the Omega
This is the title of Jesus that we find in verse eight. Jesus transcends time because He exists from before time and after time. He began before time and created all things (John 1:1,3; Colossians 1:16; Hebrews 1:10).
the First and the Last
At the beginning of the message of Revelation, Jesus states His credentials. He is Lord of time and history. He is Lord over the Roman Empire. Jesus knew all events of the Roman Empire before time began.
It is interesting that a message of prophecy that begins with these great credentials, and thus bearing great weight, evangelical Christians ignore and some even denigrate.
and, What you see, write in a book:
Jesus tells John to write what he sees. Evidently, Jesus was the first person to use an overhead projector when He preached! Jesus wants John to get this down on paper (or parchment, if you prefer).
and send it to the seven churches which are in Asia
“Asia” is not the Asia of today but refers to an area of western Turkey. This is the Roman province of Asia. God gives John the responsibility to minister to the churches near his little rocky prison. All of the other apostles may now be dead.
Jesus gives John his orders to write the Book of Revelation and to send it to certain churches.
to Ephesus, to Smyrna, to Pergamos, to Thyatira, to Sardis, to Philadelphia, and to Laodicea
John does not choose these churches for their importance. Troy and Miletus were more populous than Thyatira and Philadelphia.
John names these churches according to a geographical order. He begins with Ephesus on the coast and goes north on a half circle and ends in Laodicea in the east. These cities, connected by superb roads, had vigorous communication between them.
These churches are seven representative churches for all time. Jesus will discipline each church for a specific problem. Jesus will put out their light if they are not faithful to His purposes.
Jesus, as the Sovereign Son of God, knows everything we face from eternity.
Although John suffered persecution from the Roman Empire, Jesus knew it before time began. This was no capricious event in history. The Sovereign Son of God placed John’s situation in time for His own purposes. Jesus understands his situation thoroughly. John had no excuse to feel self-pity or go over to a corner to sulk.
Jesus is aware of our situation at all times. There never was a time when He was not perfectly aware of our situation. He always has a perfect solution for any problem we might have.