|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
1:4-8 There can be no true peace, where there is not true grace; and where grace goeth before, peace will follow. This blessing is in the name of God, of the Holy Trinity, it is an act of adoration. The Father is first named; he is described as the Jehovah who is, and who was, and who is to come, eternal, unchangeable. The Holy Spirit is called the seven spirits, the perfect Spirit of God, in whom there is a diversity of gifts and operations. The Lord Jesus Christ was from eternity, a Witness to all the counsels of God. He is the First-born from the dead, who will by his own power raise up his people. He is the Prince of the kings of the earth; by him their counsels are overruled, and to him they are accountable. Sin leaves a stain of guilt and pollution upon the soul. Nothing can fetch out this stain but the blood of Christ; and Christ shed his own blood to satisfy Divine justice, and purchase pardon and purity for his people. Christ has made believers kings and priests to God and his Father. As such they overcome the world, mortify sin, govern their own spirits, resist Satan, prevail with God in prayer, and shall judge the world. He has made them priests, given them access to God, enabled them to offer spiritual and acceptable sacrifices, and for these favours they are bound to ascribe to him dominion and glory for ever. He will judge the world. Attention is called to that great day when all will see the wisdom and happiness of the friends of Christ, and the madness and misery of his enemies. Let us think frequently upon the second coming of Christ. He shall come, to the terror of those who wound and crucify him by apostacy: he shall come, to the astonishment of the whole world of the ungodly. He is the Beginning and the End; all things are from him and for him; he is the Almighty; the same eternal and unchanged One. And if we would be numbered with his saints in glory everlasting, we must now willing submit to him receive him, and honour him as a saviour, who we believe will come to be our Judge. Alas, that there should be many, who would wish never to die, and that there should not be a day of judgment!
Verse 6. - And hath made us kings and priests; rather, as in the Revised Version, and he made us (to be) a kingdom, (to be) priests. "Made us" is not coordinate with "loosed us;" the sentence makes a fresh start. "Kingdom," not "kings," is the right reading. Christians are nowhere said to be kings. Collectively they are a kingdom - "a kingdom of priests" (Exodus 19:6), or, as St. Peter, following the LXX., gives it, "a royal priesthood" (1 Peter 2:9). Each member of Christ shares in his eternal priesthood. Unto God and his Father; more probably we should render, with the Revised Version, unto his God and Father (comp. John 20:17; Romans 15:6; 2 Corinthians 1:3; Ephesians 1:3). Alford objects that when St. John wishes a possessive genitive to apply to more than one substantive, he commonly repeats the genitive; and he quotes John 2:12; John 6:11; John 9:21. But in these passages he repeats not only the genitive, but the article. Here the article is not repeated, and τῷ Θεῷ καὶ Πατρὶ αὐτοῦ must be taken as one phrase. To him be the glory. The construction returns to that of the opening clause, "Unto him that loveth us." St. John's doxologies increase in volume as he progresses - twofold here, threefold in Revelation 4:11, fourfold in Revelation 5:13, sevenfold in Revelation 7:12. In each case all the substantives have the article - "the glory," "the honour," "the power," etc. Forever and ever; literally, unto the ages of the ages (εἰς τοὺς αἰῶνας τῶν αἰώνων, in saecula saeculorum). It occurs twelve times in the Apocalypse, besides once without the articles (Revelation 14:12). In his Gospel and Epistles St. John uses the simpler formula, "forever," literally, "unto the age" (εἰς τὸν αἰῶγα). (See Appendix E. to St. John, in the 'Cambridge Greek Testament.') An indefinite period of immense duration is meant (comp. Galatians 1:5 and Ephesians 2:2, 7, where the countless ages of the world to come seem to be contrasted with the transitory age of this world; see also Hebrews 13:21 and 1 Peter 4:11).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And hath made us kings and priests,.... The Alexandrian copy, and Complutensian edition, read, "a kingdom, priests"; and the Vulgate Latin version, "a kingdom and priests"; and the Arabic version, "a kingdom of priesthood"; reference seems to be had to Exodus 19:6, "and ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests"; which the Jerusalem Targum renders, "ye shall be unto me", , "kings and priests"; and so the Targum of Jonathan ben Uzziel paraphrases it thus, "and ye shall be before me", "kings" crowned with a crown, "and priests" ministering. Hence it is a common saying with the Jews, that all Israelites are the sons of kings (o); and sometimes their doctors are called , "kings of the law" (p): and they ascribe the same thing to the word of the Lord as is here attributed to Jesus Christ: so the Targum of Jonathan on Deuteronomy 28:13 paraphrases the words,
"the word of the Lord shall appoint or constitute you kings, and not private persons.
Likewise they say (q).
"that even a Gentile, if he studies in the law, is , "as an high priest".
All which may serve to show to what the reference is had in the text, and from whence the language is taken. But the words are used in a higher and greater sense. The saints are made "kings" by Christ; they are so now; they have received a kingdom of grace, which cannot be taken away; and they have the power of kings over sin, Satan, and the world, and all their enemies; and they live and fare like kings, and are clothed like them, in rich apparel, the righteousness of Christ; and are attended as kings, angels being their lifeguards; and they will appear much more so hereafter, when they shall reign on earth with Christ a thousand years, shall sit upon the same throne, and have a crown of life and righteousness given them, and at last be introduced into the kingdom of glory. And they become such by being the sons of God, which power and privilege they receive from Christ, and so are heirs of God, and joint heirs with him, and by being united to him. And he also makes them "priests" to offer up the spiritual sacrifices of prayer and praise, and those of a broken heart, and of a contrite spirit, and even their souls and bodies, as a holy, living, and acceptable sacrifice unto God, by anointing and sanctifying them by his Spirit: and they are made such by him
to God, and his Father; not to men, nor to angels. Now to him that has shown so much love, and bestowed such high favours and honours, is the following ascription made,
to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever, Amen. The glory of his deity, and of all his offices; of his being the faithful witness, the first begotten of the dead, and the Prince of the kings of the earth; and of all the benefits and blessings, favours and honours, received from him by his people: and "dominion"; over all creatures, and over all his saints, and especially in his kingdom, in the last days, which will be an everlasting one; and which is continually to be wished and prayed for, that it would come, and come quickly. "Amen"; so let it be, and so it shall be,
(o) Misn. Sabbat, c. 14. sect. 9. T. Bab. Sabbat, fol. 67. 1. & 111. 1. & 128. 1. Raya Mehimna in Zohar in Leviticus 12.1.((p) Shirhashirim Rabba, fol. 1. 2. Vid. Jarchium in. Psal. lxviii. 14. (q) T. Bab. Bava Kama, fol. 38. 1.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
6. And hath—rather as Greek, "And (He) hath."
made us kings—The oldest manuscripts read, "a kingdom." One oldest manuscript reads the dative, "for us." Another reads "us," accusative: so Vulgate, Syriac, Coptic, and Andreas. This seems preferable, "He made us (to be) a kingdom." So Ex 19:6, "a kingdom of priests"; 1Pe 2:9, "a royal priesthood." The saints shall constitute peculiarly a kingdom of God, and shall themselves be kings (Re 5:10). They shall share His King-Priest throne in the millennial kingdom. The emphasis thus falls more on the kingdom than on priests: whereas in English Version reading it is equally distributed between both. This book lays prominent stress on the saints' kingdom. They are kings because they are priests: the priesthood is the continuous ground and legitimization of their kingship; they are kings in relation to man, priests in relation to God, serving Him day and night in His temple (Re 7:15; 5:10). The priest-kings shall rule, not in an external mechanical manner, but simply in virtue of what they are, by the power of attraction and conviction overcoming the heart [Auberlen].
priests—who have pre-eminently the privilege of near access to the king. David's sons were priests (Hebrew), 2Sa 8:18. The distinction of priests and people, nearer and more remote from God, shall cease; all shall have nearest access to Him. All persons and things shall be holy to the Lord.
God and his Father—There is but one article to both in the Greek, therefore it means, "Unto Him who is at once God and His Father."
glory and dominion—Greek, "the glory and the might." The fuller threefold doxology occurs, Re 4:9, 11; fourfold, Re 5:13; Jude 25; sevenfold, Re 7:12; 1Ch 29:11. Doxology occupies the prominent place above, which prayer does below. If we thought of God's glory first (as in the Lord's Prayer), and gave the secondary place to our needs, we should please God and gain our petitions better than we do.
for ever and ever—Greek, "unto the ages."
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