Revelation 19:12
His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself.
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(12, 13) His eyes were as a flame . . .—Or, rather, And His eyes are (as) a flame of fire, and upon His head many diadems—(He) having names written, and a name written which no one knows but He Himselfand clothed in a vesture dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. On the description here and in Revelation 19:5, comp. Notes on Revelation 1:14-16. There is no doubt who is before us in this vision. These flame-like eyes have been fixed upon the moving scenes of human life, and have been reading the hearts of men, and the true meaning of all events and actions. All things have been naked and open to the eyes of Him with Whom we have to do” (Hebrews 4:13). He wears many crowns—diadems—crowns rather of royalty than of victory. Some have thought that the crowns He wears are crowns taken from the heads of the kings who have made war with Him (Revelation 19:12-13, and Revelation 19:19). It is needless to suppose this; their crowns were His before they were discrowned. The diadems He wears proclaim that not only over a worldwide empire He is king, but of all nations He is truly king. He is not as an emperor among kings, the head of a federation of princedoms; but He is truly King—King of history, King of life, King of human hearts, King everywhere, over each realm and over all realms, King of kings, and Lord of lords. He has names written, and a name. The clause having “names written” is omitted in the English version. The authority for its insertion is not entirely satisfactory; but perhaps the balance of evidence is in its favour. He has many names which may be understood, besides a name which no one knows. This is fitting in One who is known to men as Shepherd, Redeemer, Saviour, Prince of Life, but the fulness of Whose love and power none can exhaust, and the depth of Whose wisdom none can fathom. “He knows our names. Thanks be to God, we cannot fathom the depths of His.” There is more yet to be known of Him in the world to which we go. His vesture is dipped in blood. The prophet Isaiah (Isaiah 63:2) probably supplied the foundation of this description. (Comp. Revelation 19:15.) The blood-red vesture is a fit token of the work. He comes to destroy those that destroy the earth—to tread the winepress of the wrath of God; but we cannot forget that He who comes for this came first to shed His own blood. He is, too, “The Word of God.” Again we hear this name; it is a name which is, besides other things, significant of Christ’s mediating work. He is the Word who was with God, who was God, and who declares God to man. (Comp. John 1:1-4; John 3:13; John 14:9.) The title the Word, the Word of God—used here and in the Gospel of St. John (Revelation 1:2; John 1:1; 1John 1:1)—is a token of their common authorship. (See Introduction and Excursus A: The Doctrine of the Word, in Commentary on the Gospel.)

19:11-21 Christ, the glorious Head of the church, is described as on a white horse, the emblem of justice and holiness. He has many crowns, for he is King of kings, and Lord of lords. He is arrayed in a vesture dipped in his own blood, by which he purchased his power as Mediator; and in the blood of his enemies, over whom he always prevails. His name is The Word of God; a name none fully knows but himself; only this we know, that this Word was God manifest in the flesh; but his perfections cannot be fully understood by any creature. Angels and saints follow, and are like Christ in their armour of purity and righteousness. The threatenings of the written word he is going to execute on his enemies. The ensigns of his authority are his name; asserting his authority and power, warning the most powerful princes to submit, or they must fall before him. The powers of earth and hell make their utmost effort. These verses declare important events, foretold by the prophets. These persons were not excused because they did what their leaders bade them. How vain will be the plea of many sinners at the great day! We followed our guides; we did as we saw others do! God has given a rule to walk by, in his word; neither the example of the most, nor of the chief, must influence us contrary thereto: if we do as the most do, we must go where the most go, even into the burning lake.His eyes were as a flame of fire - See the notes on Revelation 1:14.

And on his head were many crowns - Many diadems, indicative of his universal reign. It is not said how these were worn or arranged on his head - perhaps the various diadems worn by kings were in some way wreathed into one.

And he had a name written - That is, probably on the frontlet of this compound diadem. Compare the notes on Revelation 13:1; Revelation 14:1.

That no man knew but he himself - See the notes on Revelation 2:17. This cannot here mean that no one could read the name, but the idea is, that no one but himself could fully understand its import. It involved a depth of meaning, and a degree of sacredness, and a relation to the Father, which he alone could apprehend in its true import. This is true of the name here designated - "the Word of God" - the "Logos" - Λόγος Logos; and it is true of all the names which he bears. See Matthew 11:27. Compare a quotation from Dr. Buchanan in the Asiatic Researches, vol. 1, vi. p. 264, as quoted by Rosenmuller, Morgenland, in loco.

12. Identifying Him with the Son of man similarly described, Re 1:14.

many crowns—Greek, "diadems": not merely (Greek, "stephanoi") garlands of victory, but royal crowns, as King of kings. Christ's diadem comprises all the diadems of the earth and of heavenly powers too. Contrast the papal tiara composed of three diadems. Compare also the little horn (Antichrist) that overcomes the three horns or kingdoms, Da 7:8, 24 (Quære, the Papacy? or some three kingdoms that succeed the papacy, which itself, as a temporal kingdom, was made up at first of three kingdoms, the exarchate of Ravenna, the kingdom of the Lombards, and the state of Rome, obtained by Pope Zachary and Stephen II from Pepin, the usurper of the French dominion). Also, the seven crowns (diadems) on the seven heads of the dragon (Re 12:3), and ten diadems on the ten heads of the beast. These usurpers claim the diadems which belong to Christ alone.

he had a name written—B and Syriac insert, "He had names written, and a name written," &c., meaning that the names of the dominion which each diadem indicated were written on them severally. But A, Vulgate, Origen, and Cyprian omits the words, as English Version.

name … that no man knew but … himself—(Jud 13:18; 1Co 2:9, 11; 1Jo 3:2). The same is said of the "new name" of believers. In this, as in all other respects, the disciple is made like his Lord. The Lord's own "new name" is to be theirs, and to be "in their foreheads"; whence we may infer that His as yet unknown name also is written on His forehead; as the high priest had "Holiness to the Lord" inscribed on the miter on his brow. John saw it as "written," but knew not its meaning. It is, therefore, a name which in all its glorious significancy can be only understood when the union of His saints with Him, and His and their joint triumph and reign, shall be perfectly manifested at the final consummation.

His eyes were as a flame of fire: see Revelation 1:14 2:18. This denoted either his piercing knowledge, or his infinite wisdom and understanding.

And on his head were many crowns; and there needs must be so; for, Revelation 19:16, he is said to be the King of kings, and Lord of lords.

And he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself; this denoted the incomprehensibleness of his Divine essence and perfections. His eyes were as a flame of fire,.... Which denotes the perspicuity and penetration of them, the omniscience of Christ to look into and discover the secret machinations, schemes, and devices of his enemies against his people, and his exercise of it in favour of them, his eyes, like a flame of fire, running to and fro on their behalf; and also this may signify the fierceness of his anger against the enemies of his people, the eyes of his glory being provoked by their cruelty and wickedness; and likewise the suddenness of their destruction, and the inevitableness of it.

And on his head were many crowns; for he has not only a crown, as the Creator and Governor of the universe, in right of nature, but he has one which his Father has put upon his head, when he set him as King over his holy hill of Zion, Psalm 21:3 and there is another which his mother, the church, crowned him with in the day of his espousals, Sol 3:11 and besides these, every believer puts a crown on his head, gives him the glory of their salvation, and all of them cast their crowns at his feet: to which may be added, that the crowns of all the kings of the earth are his; they reign by him, and are accountable to him. This part of the description may be expressive of that all power in heaven and earth, given to Christ at his resurrection, and exercised by him ever since; and particularly of the extensiveness of his kingdom at the time this vision refers to, when the kingdoms of this world shall be his, Revelation 11:15 for this vision, and the seventh trumpet, are contemporary; and it may be a symbol of the many victories obtained by him, and of the last and closing one that should now be obtained by him.

And he had a name written that no man knew but he himself; which seems to be his name, the Son of God, as the unknown name of the overcomer, in Revelation 2:17 is a child of God; and the sense is, that his divine nature, in which he is the Son of God, is incomprehensible, and that the begetting or generation of him, as such, is ineffable, Proverbs 30:4 and that without a divine revelation the name itself could not be known; or it could not be known that God had a Son, and that Christ is he, and bears that name, Matthew 11:27 or else his name Immanuel. The incarnate God may be intended, which is a secret and wonderful name, and contains in it, without controversy, a great mystery, which cannot be comprehended by finite minds; or his name, "wonderful, secret", Isaiah 9:6. This name is said to be "written"; that is, in the Scriptures of truth, in which it is revealed that Christ is the Son of God, and Immanuel. In Revelation 19:16 the name of King of kings, &c. is said to be written on his vesture, and on his thigh; and the Ethiopic version makes this to be written on his crown or diadem, reading the words thus; "and upon his head a crown, and there was written in his diadem a name, and no man knew it, but he himself only"; as the high priest had "holiness to the Lord" written on his mitre. The Syriac version inserts a clause between the two last, "having names written", and then follows, "and a name written", &c. and so the Complutensian edition.

His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself.
Revelation 19:12. διαδήματα πολλά, bec. he is king of kings (Ptolemy on entering Antioch put two diadems on his head, that of Egypt and that of Asia (1Ma 11:13); cf. the ten golden diadems of royalty in ancient Egypt). Once crowned with thorns, Jesus is now invested with more than royal rank (cf. Barn. vii. 9, where Jesus, once accursed, is shown crowned). Eastern monarchs wore such royal insignia when they went into battle (e.g., 2 Samuel 1:10). Jesus has far more than the four (of a good name, of the law, of the high priesthood, of the divine kingdom, Targ. Jerus, on Deuteronomy 34) 5 or three (omitting the first) which Jewish tradition assigned to Moses (see Pirke Aboth, iv. 13, vi. 5; Joseph. Bell. i. 2, 8, prophetic, priestly, and royal honours).—ὄνομα κ.τ.λ., cf. Ep. Lugd., “when Attalus was placed on the iron seat and the fumes rose from his burning body, he was asked, ‘What name has God?’ ‘God,’ he answered, ‘has not a name as man has.” Contrast ὃ οὐδεὶς κ.τ.λ., with Matthew 11:27. The earlier words, πιστ. κ. ἀληθ., are a description of the messiah’s character and function, rather than a title. At this debût, which is the only event in the Apocalypse at all corresponding to the second advent (Revelation 1:7), the messiah’s judicial power is practically restricted to the external work of crushing the last pagan opposition to God’s cause on earth; it becomes therefore almost military. The divine commandant of the saints is “faithful and true,” as he loyally executes the divine purpose and thus exhibits fidelity to the interests of the faithful. The sense remains unchanged, whether the two adjectives are taken as synonyms, or ἀληθ. assigned its occasional meaning of “real”. Even in the latter case, to be real would mean to be trustworthy.12. His eyes, &c.] Revelation 1:14.

many crowns] These are distinctively kingly crowns, see on Revelation 4:4, Revelation 6:2. Their number marks Him as King of kings, Revelation 19:16 : perhaps also as both King and Priest, as in Zechariah 6:11 sqq., and in the use of the triple crown by modern popes.

a name written] Probably on the forehead, as Revelation 14:1. There is some authority for the remarkable reading, “names written, and a name written which,” &c.

that no man knew, &c.] Revelation 2:17 : for the Lord having such a name, see Revelation 3:12, and notes on both places.Verse 12. - His eyes were as a flame of fire; and his eyes [are] a flame of fire. Again as in Revelation 1:13. "Fire" is the type of purity and judgment (see Psalm 97:3; Isaiah 47:14; Isaiah 66:15; Amos 5:6; 1 Corinthians 3:13, etc.; Revelation 3:18). And on his head were many crowns; and upon his head [are] many diadems. Διαδήματα, " kingly crowns " (cf. Revelation 12:3; Revelation 13:1), because he now comes as a King to judgment. The plurality of "crowns" points to his character as King of kings (see Revelation 17:14; cf. Revelation 13:1). And he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself; hath a name... no, one knoweth. Evidently the "new name" of Revelation 3:12, the significance of which St. John is unable to comprehend (see on Revelation 2:7; 3:12). From the connection with the preceding clause, we naturally infer that this name was written upon his forehead (cf Revelation 7:3); 16:1); but the writer does not explicitly state this. In B, twenty-five cursives, and Syriac, the words, "names written and," are inserted before "name." Crowns (διαδήματα)

See on 1 Peter 5:4; see on James 1:12.

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