Revelation 1:1
The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John:
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(1) The Revelation of Jesus Christ.—The book is a revelation of the things which are and the things which shall be. “John is the writer, but Jesus Christ is the author,” says Grotius; and consistently with this the action of Christ is seen throughout. It is Christ who bids John write to the seven churches; it is Christ who opens the seven seals (Revelation 6:1), who reveals the sufferings of the Church (Revelation 6:9), who offers the prayers of the saints (Revelation 8:3), and delivers the little book to John (Revelation 10:1-11). Thus it is seen that though the rise and fall of earth’s history is included in the revelation, it is a revelation also of a living person; it is not the dull, dead onward flow of circumstances, but the lives of men and nations seen in the light of Him who is the light of every man and the life of all history; and thus we learn that “only a living person can be the Alpha and Omega, the starting-point of creation and its final rest.” The testimony of Jesus is the spirit of this prophecy, as of all others. The Father gives this to the Son whom He loves, and shows Him all things that Himself doeth.

Shortly.—On this word much controversy has turned. Its force, “speedily,” affords a groundwork, and, it must be admitted, a plausible one, to the præterist school of interpreters, who hold that the whole range of Apocalyptic predictions was fulfilled within a comparatively short time after the Apostle wrote. The truth, however, seems to be that the words of God are of perpetual fulfilment: they are not only to be fulfilled; they have not only been fulfilled; but they have been and they are being fulfilled; and they yet will be fulfilled; and the principles which are enunciated by the Prophet, though “shortly” fulfilled, are not exhausted in the immediate fulfilment, but carry still lessons for the succeeding generations of mankind.

Johni.e., the Apostle and Evangelist. The arguments in support of this identification are admitted even by the most captious critics to be conclusive. “The Apocalypse, if any book can be traced to him, must be ascribed to the Apostle John” (Supernatural Religion). (See Excursus A.) To many it will seem natural that John, the beloved disciple, should be the recipient of this revelation. Those who have been nearest to God learn most of His will. Such are friends, not servants, for the servant knoweth not what his Lord doeth; and thus, as in the Old Testament to Abraham, the friend of God, and to Daniel, a man greatly beloved, so in the New Testament to the disciple who leaned on Jesus’ bosom, are shown the things which God was about to do. “Mysteries are revealed unto the meek. The pure in heart shall see God. A pure heart penetrateth heaven and hell” (Thomas à-Kempis).

“More bounteous aspects on me beam,

Me mightier transports move and thrill;

So keep I fair through faith and prayer,

A virgin heart in work and will.”—Sir Galahad.

Revelation 1:1. The book opens with the title or inscription of the book itself, and an account of the scope and design of it, namely, to foretel things which should shortly begin to be fulfilled, and should succeed in their due season and order till all were accomplished. The Revelation — Properly so called; for things covered before, are here revealed, or unveiled. No prophecy in the Old Testament has this title; it was reserved for this alone in the New. It is, as it were, a manifesto, wherein the Heir of all things declares, that all power is given him in heaven and earth; and that he will, in the end, gloriously exercise that power, maugre all the opposition of all his enemies. Of Jesus Christ — Not of John the divine, a title added in latter ages. Certain it is, that appellation, the divine, was not brought into the church, much less was it affixed to John the apostle, till long after the apostolic age. It was St. John indeed who wrote this book; but the Author of it is Jesus Christ. Which God gave unto him — According to his holy, glorified humanity, as the great Prophet of the church. God gave the revelation to Jesus Christ, Jesus Christ made it known to his servants. To show — This word recurs Revelation 22:6. And in many places the parts of this book refer to each other. Indeed, the whole structure of it breathes the art of God; comprising, in the most finished compendium, things to come; many, various; near, intermediate, remote; the greatest, the least; terrible, comfortable; old, new; long, short; and these interwoven together, opposite, composite; relative to each other, at a small, at a great distance; and therefore, sometimes, as it were, disappearing, broken off, suspended, and afterward unexpectedly, and most seasonably, appearing again. In all its parts it has an admirable variety, with the most exact harmony, beautifully illustrated by those very digressions which seem to interrupt it; in this manner does it display the manifold wisdom of God, shining, in the economy of the church, through so many ages. His servants — Much is comprehended in this appellation. It is a great thing to be a servant of Jesus Christ. This book is dedicated particularly to the servants of Christ in the seven churches in Asia; but not exclusive of all his other servants, in all nations and ages. It is one single revelation, and yet sufficient for them all, from the time it was written to the end of the world. Serve thou the Lord Jesus Christ in truth. So shalt thou learn his secret in this book. Yea, and thou shalt feel in thy heart, whether this book be divine or not. The things which must shortly come to pass — The things contained in this prophecy did begin to be accomplished shortly after it was given; and the whole might be said to come to pass shortly, in the same sense as St. Peter says, The end of all things is at hand; and our Lord himself, Behold I come quickly. There is in this book a rich treasure of all the doctrines pertaining to faith and holiness. But these are also delivered in other parts of Holy Writ; so that the Revelation need not to have been given for the sake of these. The peculiar design of this is To show the things which must come to pass. And this we are especially to have before our eyes, whenever we read or hear it.

It is said afterward, Write what thou seest; and again, Write what thou hast seen, and what is, and what shall be hereafter; but here, where the scope of the book is shown, it is only said, the things which must come to pass. Accordingly, the showing things to come, is the great point in view throughout the whole. And St. John writes what he has seen, and what is, only as it has an influence on, or gives light to, what shall be. And he — Jesus Christ; sent and signified them — Showed them by signs or emblems; (so the Greek word properly means;) by his angel — Peculiarly called in the sequel, The angel of God, and particularly mentioned chap. Revelation 17:1; Revelation 21:9; Revelation 22:6; Revelation 22:16; to his servant John — A title given to no other single person throughout the book.

1:1-3 This book is the Revelation of Jesus Christ; the whole Bible is so; for all revelation comes through Christ, and all relates to him. Its principal subject is to discover the purposes of God concerning the affairs of the church, and of the nations as connected therewith, to the end of the world. These events would surely come to pass; and they would begin to come to pass very shortly. Though Christ is himself God, and has light and life in himself, yet, as Mediator between God and man, he receives instructions from the Father. To him we owe the knowledge of what we are to expect from God, and what he expects from us. The subject of this revelation was, the things that must shortly come to pass. On all who read or hear the words of the prophecy, a blessing is pronounced. Those are well employed who search the Bible. It is not enough that we read and hear, but we must keep the things that are written, in our memories, in our minds, in our affections, and in practice, and we shall be blessed in the deed. Even the mysteries and difficulties of this book are united with discoveries of God, suited to impress the mind with awe, and to purify the soul of the reader, though he may not discern the prophetic meaning. No part of Scripture more fully states the gospel, and warns against the evil of sin.The Revelation of Jesus Christ - This is evidently a title or caption of the whole book, and is designed to comprise the substance of the whole; for all that the book contains would be embraced in the general declaration that it is a revelation of Jesus Christ. The word rendered "Revelation" - Ἀποκάλυψις Apokalupsis, whence we have derived our word "Apocalypse" - means properly an that is, nakedness; from ἀποκαλύπτω apokaluptō, to uncover. It would apply to anything which had been covered up so as to be bidden from the view, as by a veil, a darkness, in an ark or chest, and then made manifest by removing the covering. It comes then to be used in the sense of disclosing or revealing, by removing the veil of darkness or ignorance. "There is nothing covered that shall not be revealed." It may be applied to the disclosing or manifesting of anything which was before obscure or unknown. This may be done:

(a) by instruction in regard to what was before obscure; that is, by statements of what was unknown before the statements were made; as in Luke 2:32, where it is said that Christ would be "a light to lighten the Gentiles" - φῶς εἰς ἀποκάλυψιν ἐθνῶν phōs eis apokalupsin ethnōn; or when it is applied to the divine mysteries, purposes, or doctrines, before obscure or unknown, but made clear by light revealed in the gospel, Romans 16:25; 1 Corinthians 2:10; 1 Corinthians 14:6; Ephesians 3:5.

(b) by the event itself; as the manifestation of the wrath of God at the day of judgment will disclose the true nature of his wrath. "After thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and "revelation" of the righteous judgment of God," Revelation 2:5. "For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation (Greek revelation) of the sons of God," Romans 8:19; that is until it shall be manifest by the event what they who are the children of God are to be. In this sense the word is frequently applied to the second advent or appearing of the Lord Jesus Christ, as disclosing him in his glory, or showing what he truly is; "When the Lord Jesus shall be revealed," 2 Thessalonians 1:7 - ἐν τῇ ἀποκαλυψει en tēn apokalupsei - in the revelation of Jesus Christ; "Waiting for the coming (the revelation - την ἀποκάλυψιν tēn apokalupsin of our Lord Jesus Christ," 1 Corinthians 1:7; "At the appearing (Greek revelation) of Jesus Christ," 1 Peter 1:7; "When his glory shall be revealed," 1 Peter 4:13.

(c) It is used in the sense of making known what is to come, whether by words, signs, or symbols, as if a veil were lifted from what is hidden from human vision, or which is covered by the darkness of the unknown future. This is called a revelation, because the knowledge of the event is in fact made known to the world by Him who alone can see it, and in such a manner as he pleases to employ; though many of the terms or the symbols may be, from the necessity of the case, obscure, and though their full meaning may be disclosed only by the event. It is in this sense, evidently, that the word is used here: and in this sense that it is more commonly employed when we speak of a revelation. Thus, the word גּלה gaalaah is used in Amos 3:7, "Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants." So Job 33:16, "Then he openeth (margin, revealeth or uncovereth; Heb. יגלה yigleh the ears of men"; that is, in a dream, he discloses to their ears his truth before concealed or unknown. Compare Daniel 2:22, Daniel 2:28-29; Daniel 10:1; Deuteronomy 29:29. These ideas enter into the word as used in the passage before us. The idea is that of a disclosure of an extraordinary character, beyond the mere ability of man, by a special communication from heaven. This is manifest, not only from the usual meaning of this word, but by the word "prophecy," in Revelation 1:3, and by all the arrangements by which these things were made known. The ideas which would be naturally conveyed by the use of this word in this connection are two:

(1) that there was something which was before hidden, obscure, or unknown; and,

(2) that this was so disclosed by these communications as to be seen or known.

The things hidden or unknown were those which pertained to the future; the method of disclosing them was mainly by symbols. In the Greek, in this passage, the article is missing - ἀποκάλυψις apokalupsis - a Revelation, not ἡ hē, the Revelation. This is omitted because it is the title of a book, and because the use of the article might imply that this was the only revelation, excluding other books claiming to be a revelation; or it might imply some previous mention of the book, or knowledge of it in the reader. The simple meaning is, that this was "a Revelation"; it was only a part of the revelation which God has given to mankind.

The phrase, "the Revelation of Jesus Christ," might, so far as the construction of the language is concerned, refer either to Christ as the subject or object. It might either mean that Christ is the object revealed in this book, and that its great purpose is to make him known, and so the phrase is understood in the commentary called Hyponoia (New York, 1844); or it may mean that this is a revelation which Christ makes to mankind, that is, it is his in the sense that he communicates it to the world. That this latter is the meaning here is clear:

(1) because it is expressly said in this verse that it was a revelation which God gave to him;

(2) because it is said that it pertains to things which must shortly come to pass; and,

(3) because, in fact, the revelation is a disclosure of eyelets which were to happen, and not of the person or work of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Which God gave unto him - Which God imparted or communicated to Jesus Christ. This is in accordance with the representations everywhere made in the Scriptures, that God is the original fountain of truth and knowledge, and that, whatever was the original dignity of the Son of God, there was a mediatorial dependence on the Father. See John 5:19-20, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, the Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for whatsoever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise. For the Father loveth the Son, and showeth him (δεικνυσιν αὐτῷ deiknusin autō) all things that himself doeth." "My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me," John 7:16. "As my Father hath taught me ἐδιδάξεν με edidaxen me, I speak these things," John 8:28. "For I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak," John 12:49. See also John 14:10; John 17:7-8; Matthew 11:27; Mark 13:32. The same mediatorial dependence the apostle teaches us still subsists in heaven in his glorified state, and will continue until he has subdued all things 1 Corinthians 15:24-28; and hence, even in that state, he is represented as receiving the Revelation from the Father to communicate it to people.

To show unto his servants - That is, to his people, to Christians, often represented as the servants of God or of Christ, 1 Peter 2:16; Revelation 2:20; Revelation 7:3; Revelation 19:2; Revelation 22:3. It is true that the word is sometimes applied, by way of eminence, to the prophets 1 Chronicles 6:49; Daniel 6:20, and to the apostles Rom 1:1; Galatians 1:10; Philippians 1:1; Titus 1:1; James 1:1; but it is also applied to the mass of Christians, and there is no reason why it should not be so understood here. The book was sent to the churches of Asia, and was clearly designed for general use; and the contents of the book were evidently intended for the churches of the Redeemer in all ages and lands. Compare Revelation 1:3. The word rendered "to show" (δεῖξαι deixai) commonly denotes to point out, to cause to see, to present to the sight, and is a word eminently appropriate here, as what was to be revealed was, in general, to be presented to the sight by sensible tokens or symbols.

Things which must shortly come to pass - Not all the things that will occur, but such as it was deemed of importance for his people to be made acquainted with. Nor is it certainly implied that all the things that are communicated would shortly come to pass, or would soon occur. Some of them might perhaps he in the distant future, and still it might be true that there were those which were revealed in connection with them, which soon would occur. The word rendered "things" (ἅ ha) is a pronoun, and might be rendered "what"; "he showed to his servants what things were about to occur," not implying that he showed all the things that would happen, but such as he judged to be needful that his people should know. The word would naturally embrace those things which, in the circumstances, were most desirable to be known. The phrase rendered "must come to pass" (δεῖ γενέσθαι dei genesthai), would imply more than mere futurity; The word used (δεῖ dei) means "it needs, there is need of," and implies that there is some kind of necessity that the event should occur.



Re 1:1-20. Title: Source and Object of This Revelation: Blessing on the Reader and Keeper of It, as the Time Is Near: Inscription to the Seven Churches: Apostolic Greeting: Keynote, "Behold He Cometh" (Compare at the close, Re 22:20, "Surely I come quickly"): Introductory Vision of the Son of Man in Glory, amidst the Seven Candlesticks, with Seven Stars in His Right Hand.

1. Revelation—an apocalypse or unveiling of those things which had been veiled. A manifesto of the kingdom of Christ. The travelling manual of the Church for the Gentile Christian times. Not a detailed history of the future, but a representation of the great epochs and chief powers in developing the kingdom of God in relation to the world. The "Church-historical" view goes counter to the great principle that Scripture interprets itself. Revelation is to teach us to understand the times, not the times to interpret to us the Apocalypse, although it is in the nature of the case that a reflex influence is exerted here and is understood by the prudent [Auberlen]. The book is in a series of parallel groups, not in chronological succession. Still there is an organic historical development of the kingdom of God. In this book all the other books of the Bible end and meet: in it is the consummation of all previous prophecy. Daniel foretells as to Christ and the Roman destruction of Jerusalem, and the last Antichrist. But John's Revelation fills up the intermediate period, and describes the millennium and final state beyond Antichrist. Daniel, as a godly statesman, views the history of God's people in relation to the four world kingdoms. John, as an apostle, views history from the Christian Church aspect. The term Apocalypse is applied to no Old Testament book. Daniel is the nearest approach to it; but what Daniel was told to seal and shut up till the time of the end, John, now that the time is at hand (Re 1:3), is directed to reveal.

of Jesus Christ—coming from Him. Jesus Christ, not John the writer, is the Author of the Apocalypse. Christ taught many things before His departure; but those which were unsuitable for announcement at that time He brought together into the Apocalypse [Bengel]. Compare His promise, Joh 15:15, "All things that I have heard of My Father, I have made known unto you"; also, Joh 16:13, "The Spirit of truth will show you things to come." The Gospels and Acts are the books, respectively, of His first advent, in the flesh, and in the Spirit; the Epistles are the inspired comment on them. The Apocalypse is the book of His second advent and the events preliminary to it.

which God gave unto him—The Father reveals Himself and His will in, and by, His Son.

to show—The word recurs in Re 22:6: so entirely have the parts of Revelation reference to one another. It is its peculiar excellence that it comprises in a perfect compendium future things, and these widely differing: things close at hand, far off, and between the two; great and little; destroying and saving; repeated from old prophecies and new; long and short, and these interwoven with one another, opposed and mutually agreeing; mutually involving and evolving one another; so that in no book more than in this would the addition, or taking away, of a single word or clause (Re 22:18, 19), have the effect of marring the sense of the context and the comparison of passages together [Bengel].

his servants—not merely to "His servant John," but to all His servants (compare Re 22:3).

shortly—Greek, "speedily"; literally, "in," or "with speed." Compare "the time is at hand," Re 1:3; 22:6, "shortly"; Re 22:7, "Behold, I come quickly." Not that the things prophesied were according to man's computation near; but this word "shortly" implies a corrective of our estimate of worldly events and periods. Though a "thousand years" (Re 20:1-15) at least are included, the time is declared to be at hand. Lu 18:8, "speedily." The Israelite Church hastened eagerly to the predicted end, which premature eagerness prophecy restrains (compare Da 9:1-27). The Gentile Church needs to be reminded of the transitoriness of the world (which it is apt to make its home) and the nearness of Christ's advent. On the one hand Revelation says, "the time is at hand"; on the other, the succession of seals, &c., show that many intermediate events must first elapse.

he sent—Jesus Christ sent.

by his angel—joined with "sent." The angel does not come forward to "signify" things to John until Re 17:1; 19:9, 10. Previous to that John receives information from others. Jesus Christ opens the Revelation, Re 1:10, 11; 4:1; in Re 6:1 one of the four living creatures acts as his informant; in Re 7:13, one of the elders; in Re 10:8, 9, the Lord and His angel who stood on the sea and earth. Only at the end (Re 17:1) does the one angel stand by Him (compare Da 8:16; 9:21; Zec 1:19).Rev 1:1-3 The preface.

Rev 1:4-6 John's salutation to the seven churches of Asia.

Rev 1:7 The coming of Christ,

Rev 1:8 his eternal majesty.

Rev 1:9-20 John relateth his vision of the Son of man with the

seven stars and the seven golden candlesticks.

The Revelation of Jesus Christ; the Apocalypse, (as this book is sometimes called), that is, the discovering or unveiling of some hidden things; so the word revelation signifieth. The Greek word is often used in the New Testament, and is ordinarily translated so. It is called The Revelation of Jesus Christ because Christ received it from his Father, as the next words show.

Which God gave unto him, as he was Mediator: by God, here, is to be understood the Father, not exclusively to the Son, as if he were not God, but to show the order of working in the Holy Trinity, Joh 7:16 Joh 14:10. Christ in his state of humiliation is said to learn of the Father; in his state of exaltation, to receive from the Father.

To show unto his servants; to John, and by him to all saints that will be studious of things revealed.

Things which must shortly come to pass; a dei genesyai en tacei. This phrase puts us out of doubt, that this book is not a relation or narrative of things past, but a revelation or prediction of things to come: see also Rev 22:6,16. Which makes me wonder at the confidence of a learned annotator of our that all things here relate, either to the siege of Jerusalem (which was past more than twenty years before this Revelation to St. John), or to pagan Rome, which, indeed, continued two hundred and odd years after this. But his notion is contrary to the general sense of all interpreters, whether the ancient fathers or modern writers. The phrase, indeed, signifies shortly, but never what was past, nor always what shall in a few days come to pass; see Luk 18:8 Rom 16:20; though indeed sometimes it signifies the time immediately following a command, as Act 12:7 Act 22:18: and considering it is God's phrase, to whom a thousand years are but as yesterday, Psa 90:4, and who calls the things that are not as if they were, and who manifestly calls all those years between Christ's coming and the end of the world (almost one thousand seven hundred of which are past already) the last days, we may allow him to say, those things should be shortly, which soon after should begin to be effected, though not finished till Christ's second coming. Though therefore we may allow this verse the key to open the whole Apocalypse, yet we must judge the learned author hath turned it the wrong way. Christ had foretold the ruin of Jerusalem, Mat 24:1-51, nor was it now the matter of a prophecy, but history. The first six seals plainly show the state of the Christian church under Rome pagan; what shall we say to all things represented under the seventh seal, &c.?

And he sent and signified it by his angel; first by one angel, and then by another, or (possibly) constantly by the same.

Unto his servant John: who this John was, we shall declare further, Rev 1:2,4.

The Revelation of Jesus Christ,.... Either of which he is the author: for it was he that sent and showed it by his angel to John; it was he, the lion of the tribe of Judah, that took the book, and opened the seals of it, and which is a very considerable proof of his deity; since none but God could foreknow and foretell things to come, or declare the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet, as is done in this book: or of which he is the subject; for it treats much of his person, offices, and grace, and of Christ mystical, of the state of his church, in the several ages of time; or it is that revelation which was first made unto him, to which sense the following words incline:

which God gave unto him; not to him as he is God, for as such he is omniscient, and foreknew whatever would come to pass, and needed no revelation to be made to him, but as he was man and Mediator; and this was given him by God the Father, and put into his hands, to make known as being a part of the administration of his prophetic office: the end of its being given him was,

to show unto his servant things which must shortly come to pass: the Arabic version adds, "in future ages"; things that were to be hereafter, the accomplishment of which was necessary, because of the certain and unalterable decree of God, the good of his people, and his own glory; and these were to come to pass quickly, in a very little time; not that they would all be fulfilled in a short space of time, for there are some things not fulfilled yet, though it is nineteen hundred years ago and more, since this revelation was made; and we are sure there are some things that will not be accomplished till a thousand years hence, and more, for the millennium is not yet begun; and after that is ended, there is to be a second resurrection, and a destruction of the Gog and Magog army; but the sense is, that these things should very quickly begin to be fulfilled, and from thenceforward go on fulfilling till all were accomplished. Now to show, to represent these things, in a clear manner, as the nature of them would admit of, to the servants of Christ, all true believers, read and hear and diligently observe them, and especially to the ministers of the Gospel, whose business is to search into them, and point them out to and particularly to his servant John, was this revelation made by Christ, who immediately answered this end:

and he sent, and signified it by his angel unto servant John; he who is the Lord of angels, and to whom they are ministering spirits, sometimes sent one angel and sometimes another; and by various emblems, signs, and visions, represented and set before John, a faithful servant, and a beloved disciple of his, the whole of this revelation.

The {1} {a} Revelation of {b} Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John:

1 AD The dragon watches the Church of the Jews, which was ready to travail: She brings forth, flees and hides herself, while Christ was yet on the earth. 34 AD The dragon persecutes Christ ascending to heaven, he fights and is thrown down: and after persecutes the Church of the Jews. 67 AD The Church of the Jews is received into the wilderness for three years and a half. 70 AD When the Church of the Jews was overthrown, the dragon invaded the catholic church: all this is in the twelfth chapter. The dragon is bound for a thousand years in chapter twenty. The dragon raises up the beast with seven heads, and the beast with two heads, which make havock of the catholic church and her prophets for 1260 years after the passion of Christ in Re 13:11. 97 AD The seven churches are admonished of things present, somewhat before the end of Domitian his reign, and are forewarned of the persecution to come under Trajan for ten years, chapter 2,3. God by word and signs provokes the world, and seals the godly in chapter 6 and 7. He shows examples of his wrath on all creatures, mankind excepted in chapter 8. 1073 AD The dragon is let loose after a thousand years, and Gregory the seventh, being Pope, rages against Henry the third, then Emperor in chapter 20. 1217 AD The dragon vexes the world for 150 years to Gregory the ninth, who wrote the Decretals, and most cruelly persecuted the Emperor Fredrick the second. 1295 AD The dragon kills the prophets after 1260 years, when Boniface the eighth was Pope, who was the author of the sixth book of the Decretals: he excommunicated Philip the French King. 1300 AD Boniface celebrates the Jubile. 1301 AD About this time was a great earthquake, which overthrew many houses in Rome. 1305 AD Prophecy ceases for three years and a half, until Benedict the second succeeded after Boniface the eighth. Prophecy is revived in chapter 11. The dragon and the two beasts question prophecy in chapter 13. Christ defends his Church in word and deed, chapter 14, and with threats and arms, chapter 16. Christ gives his Church victory over the harlot, chapter 17 and 18. Over the two beasts, chapter 19. Over the dragon and death, chapter 20. The Church is fully glorified in heaven with eternal glory, in Christ Jesus, chapter 21 and 22.

(1) This chapter has two principal parts, the title or inscription, which stands in place of an introduction: and a narration going before the whole prophecy of this book. The inscription is double, general and particular. In Re 1:1 the general inscription contains the kind of prophecy, the author, end, matter, instruments, and manner of communication the same, in Re 1:2 the most religious faithfulness of the apostle as public witness and the use of communicating the same, taken from the promise of God, and from the circumstance of the time, Re 1:3

(a) An opening of secret and hidden things.

(b) Which the Son opened to us out of his Father's bosom by angels.

Revelation 1:1. Ἀποκάλυψις, i.e., revelation, unveiling of things concealed as divine mysteries, which are presented to the prophetic view of John, and interpreted to him.[454] Heinrichs incorrectly: ἀποκ. = παροισία or ἐπιφάνεια, viz., of Jesus Christ.

Ἰησοῦ Χρ. in no way an objective,[455] but a subjective genitive,[456] but not the possessive[457] or the genitive of reception;[458] but by the context Jesus Christ is designated as the author and the communicating witness.[459] ἣν ἕδωκεν αὐτ. ὁ θ. To the clause which has been concluded, since ἕδωκεν has ἣν as its object, the next clause δεῖξαι

τάχει is connected, as the infinitive δεῖξαι marks the purpose of the ἣν ἕδωκεν[460] and the words ἃ δεῖ γεν. ἐν ταχ., are combined as the object of δεῖξαι. On the contrary, Heinr.: ἣν

δεῖξαι, so that ἕδωκεν is combined with δεῖξαι in the sense of permitted, and then this infinitive is regarded as repeated with the object ἅ δεῖ γεν. ἐν ταχ. With the conception ἣν ἔδωκεν, cf. especially Revelation 5:7, and in general Acts 1:7; John 1:18; John 3:11; John 12:49; John 17:7 sqq.; Matthew 11:27. In conflict with the text, and in itself incorrect, is the remark of Calov.: “It was given to Christ according to his human nature;” still more, that of C. a Lap. and Tirin: “Christ received the revelation from the Father in his conception and incarnation.”[461] The revelation described in this book, Christ received from the Father, not in the flesh, but when exalted and glorified,[462] the perpetual mediator between God and man,[463] in order to communicate it by his testimony to the prophetic seer,[464] and thus besides to all his servants. Not so far as he is man, but so far as he is the Son, does the Father give to him.[465] [See Note XV., p. 121.] δεῖξαι. According to the constant usage of the Apoc.,[466] and the context in which the expressions ἀποκάλυψις and σημαίνειν occur,[467] to which ΔΕῚΞΑΙ, Κ.Τ.Λ., are correlate, this word can be understood not only in general, as Matthew 16:21, by “to point out, to give to know,”[468] but must have also the additional reference to the prophetic vision.[469] But it does not follow hence, that by the ΤΟῖς ΔΟΎΛΟΙς ΑὐΤΟῦ, the prophets are specially meant, of whom John would here appear as the representative.[470] The particular idea shadowed in this conception of the ΔΕῖΞΑΙ is justified, inasmuch as it is immediately explained that it is through the service of the prophet beholding Christ, that future things are proclaimed.

Τ. ΔΟΥΛ. ΑὐΤ., viz., not God’s[471] but Jesus Christ’s; as we find directly afterwards, Τ. ἈΓΓ. ΑὐΤΟΥ and Τ. ΔΟΥΛ. ΑὐΤΟΥ.[472] The parallel, Revelation 22:6, cannot be decisive as to the reference of the pronoun to us, as Jesus Christ is not mentioned there as the one who communicates. By the “servants of Jesus Christ,” believers in general are to be understood (cf. Revelation 22:9, where the angel calls himself the fellow-servant not only of the prophets, but also of those ΤΗΡΟῦΝΤΕς Τ. ΛΟΓ. Τ. ΒΙΒΛ. ΤΟΥΤ.). So Ebrard against Hengst. Cf. besides Revelation 22:16, according to the more correct reading.

Ἃ ΔΕῖ ΓΕΝΈΣΘΑΙ ἘΝ ΤΆΧΕΙ. The object of ΔΕῖΞΑΙ, and therefore, according to the connection with the first part of the sentence, forming the chief contents of the ΑΠΟΚΆΛΥΨΙς as written in the present book. Cf. Revelation 1:19, where there is fuller mention made, besides the future, also of present things.

The ΔΕῖ[473] depends upon the (not fatalistic) idea of “the divine ordination which could not be frustrated.”[474] The idea of Divine Providence is the essential presupposition of all prophecy.[475] But when Klief. presses the ΔΕῖ in such a way as though thereby the facts of prophecy belonging to the sphere of human freedom were excluded, the reason is entirely unbiblical, and inapplicable for interposing a false interpretation derived from ecclesiastical or secular history.

ἘΝ ΤΆΧΕΙ designates neither figuratively the “certainty” of the future,[476] nor the swiftness of the course of things, without reference to the proximity or remoteness of time in which they were to occur. So Ebrard, who appeals in vain to Romans 16:20 and Luke 18:8, since not only those passages, particularly Luke 18:8 (where the subject is not the concrete future, but a constant rule), are dissimilar to ours, but especially because by the ἘΓΓΎς,[477] Revelation 1:3, it is decided that the speedy coming of what is to happen is meant. When in addition to this idea reference is made on the one hand explicitly,[478] and on the other by the very organism and contents of the book, to the patient waiting, it does not follow that we dare not understand the “quickly” in its strict sense,[479] but that the prophet himself distinguishes the beginning of future things, as the beginning of the ultimate completion,[480] from that distant completion itself. The evasion that the ἘΝ ΤΆΧΕΙ is to be understood “according to the divine method of computation,” as in 2 Peter 3:8,[481] is contrary to the context.[482]

With the words καὶ ἐσήμανεν, κ.τ.λ., the construction changes. As the ΣΗΜΑΊΝΕΙΝ corresponds in meaning to the preceding ΔΕῖΞΑΙ, because of which not ΤῊΝ ἈΠΟΚΆΛΥΨΙΝ,[483] but Ἁ ΔΕῖ ΓΕΝ. is to be regarded the object,[484] so not Ὁ ΘΕΌς,[485] but the one who is to show, viz., Jesus Christ, is the subject of ἘΣΉΜΑΝΕΝ. The ΔΕῖΞΑΙ occurs in the way peculiar to ΣΗΜΑΊΝΕΙΝ, i.e., the indication of what is meant by significative figures.[486]

ἈΠΟΣΤΕΊΛΑς belongs to ΔΙʼ ἈΛΛΈΛΟΥ, and that too without supplying “this prophecy,”[487] etc.: on the contrary, the ἈΠΟΣΤ. ΔΙᾺ is absolute,[488] and to be understood according to the analogy of the Hebr. שָֹׁלח בִּיד.[489] Thus Ew. and Ebrard. Hengstenb., whom Klief. follows, tries to combine the ΔΙʼ ἈΓΓ. with ἙΣΗΜ., because in the N. T. the ἈΠΟΣΤΕΊΛΑς is regarded as requiring the accusative of the person.[490] But Matthew 11:2, according to the more correct reading,[491] is ΠΈΜΨΑς ΔΙΆ; by the parallel passage, Revelation 22:6, the combination of ἈΠΟΣΤ. with ΔΙʼ ΑΓΓ. is maintained, while it is also to be noticed, that, according to the analogy of all the examples cited by Hengstb., ἈΠΟΣΤΕΊΛΑς must stand before ἐσημ and that thereby the inner connection with ἘΣΗΜ. is in no way obscured.

ΔΙᾺ ΤΟῦ ἈΓΓΈΛΟΥ ΑὐΤΟῦ. Grot. incorrectly: “Learn hence that even when God or Christ is said to have appeared, it ought to be understood of the angel of God or Christ, acting in his name, and representing his attributes.” But God and Christ appear everywhere separated from all angels.

A difficulty lies in the fact that it is not everywhere the same angel who is the interpreter, as might be expected from our position.[492] Cf. Revelation 17:1; Revelation 17:7, Revelation 19:9, Revelation 21:5; Revelation 21:9, Revelation 22:1; Revelation 22:6, and besides Revelation 1:10 sqq., Revelation 4:1 sqq., Revelation 6:8 sqq., Revelation 7:13 sqq., Revelation 10:8 sqq. Hence Ewald thinks that the angel of Revelation 1:1, and also mentioned in all the visions, even where not named, and where another is presented, is to be regarded as the attendant of the Apostle John. But wherefore this superfluous attendance if a third one undertakes the showing and interpreting? That the angel[493] has no more to do than to transport John into a state of ecstasy,[494] is an arbitrary conception directly contrary to Revelation 1:10 sqq., because there John is already in the Spirit when he hears the voice of the angel. The explanation of De Wette,[495] that the angel is meant who shows John the chief subject of the entire revelation, the judgment upon Rome,[496] as all that precedes is only preparatory thereto, has against it, first, that also the important preparations are shown and interpreted to the prophet, and, secondly, that even in Revelation 17:1 to Revelation 22:6, the same angel does not always appear as interpreter; for it is difficult to regard the angel coming forth at Revelation 21:9, who continues from that time to remain with the seer, identical with the one speaking already in Revelation 21:5.[497] Klief. refers to our position, and ascribes to the angel mentioned again in Revelation 22:8 the office of bringing the full revelation which is still uncertain to angels otherwise occupied. All difficulty vanishes, if, as is undoubtedly grammatical,[498] the ΔΙᾺ ΤΟῦ ἈΓΓΈΛΟΥ ΑὐΤΟῦ be generically conceived[499] This appears at Revelation 22:6 doubly supported by the τὸν ἄγγελον αὐτοῦ in the mouth of the angel speaking at that place.[500] The ὁ ἄγγελος αὐτοῦ thus understood can apply to all the individual angels who in the different visions have the office of significative declaration.[501] [See Note XVI., p. 122.] τῷ δούλῳ αὑτοῦ Ἰωαννῃ. The seer designates himself as the servant of Jesus Christ in respect to his prophetic service.[502] The addition of his own name[503] contains, according to the old prophetic custom, an attestation of the prophecy.

[454] Cf. Introduction, sec. 2.

[455] Heinr.

Revelation 1:1-3. The superscription. Ἀπ. Ἰωάννου is the ecclesiastical title (distinguishing it from the apocalypse of Peter, or of Paul, etc.) of what professes in reality to be an ἀπ. Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ (subjective genitive), i.e., a disclosure of the divine μυστήρια (Daniel 2:19; Daniel 2:22; Daniel 2:28, Theod.) in the immediate future (ἃ δεῖ γ. ἐν τάχει) which has been communicated (ἔδωκεν, cf. on Revelation 3:9) by God to Jesus (cf. Revelation 5:7) and which in turn is transmitted by Jesus (Galatians 1:12) to John as a member of the prophetic order.

Title and description of the Revelation. Chap. Revelation 1:1-31. The Revelation] Rightly so rendered in English idiom, though the definite article is not expressed in the Greek. The word, according to Jerome on Galatians 1:11-12, is peculiar to the Scriptures, and is not used by Greek classical writers.

of Jesus Christ] i.e. which He makes; as is explained by the words which follow: “which God gave to Him, … and He sent and signified it, &c.”

which God gave unto him] For as the Son is of the Father as regards His essential being, so He receives from the Father all that He has or knows. Compare in St John’s Gospel Revelation 7:16, Revelation 14:10, Revelation 17:7-8; especially the last passage. Doubtless when the Son made this revelation, He had received from the Father the knowledge which in the time of His humiliation He had not (St Mark 13:32), or rather had abdicated (Php 2:7).

his servants] Probably “God’s” rather than “Jesus Christ’s:” see Revelation 22:6.

things which must] The R. V. takes this as a further description of the “Revelation which God gave,” and renders “even the things which must shortly come to pass,” putting the A. V. in the margin.

must] as part of a Divine purpose, cf. Matthew 17:10; Matthew 26:54; Luke 24:26, &c.

shortly] So Revelation 1:3 fin., Revelation 22:6-7. Compare on the one hand Matthew 24:29; Matthew 24:34, and on the other Habakkuk 2:3; Luke 18:8; 2 Peter 3:8-9. These last passages suggest, that the object of these words is to assure us of God’s practical readiness to fulfil His promises, rather than to define any limit of time for their actual fulfilment. Slackness in fulfilling a promise is a moral fault (Proverbs 3:28), not to be ascribed to God: forbearance in executing a threat is not so. But we are not to press what St Peter says about the nothingness of time before God, so as to argue that these words mean nothing at all to human apprehensions: our Lord’s words in St Matthew l. c. are so strong and definite as almost to necessitate the view that a fulfilment (if not necessarily the final and complete one) was really to come immediately.

he sent] “He” may be either “God” as in Revelation 22:6, or “Jesus Christ,” as ibid. 16. It seems best to take it of the latter: the sense will be, “He, having received the Revelation from the Father, sent by His angel, and indicated it to His servant John.” The angel is the same who is mentioned in Revelation 17:1, &c., Revelation 19:9, Revelation 21:9, Revelation 22:6; Revelation 22:8; Revelation 22:16.

Revelation 1:1. Ἀποκάλυψις) The Latin Fathers term it the Revelation, and they do so with propriety: for matters before covered are revealed in this book. No prophecy in the Old Testament has this title: it was reserved for the Revelation of Jesus Christ in the New Testament, [and for it] alone. It is a Manifesto, as the term is, and that of the kingdom of Christ.—Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ, of Jesus Christ) The title is prefixed by [uninspired] men, Ἀποκάλυψις Ἰωάννου τοῦ Θεολόγου. This title is ancient indeed,[1] but it presupposes doubts respecting the writer of the Apocalypse, which arose a long time after the age of the apostles; it also presupposes the introduction into the Church of the surname, “the Divine,” and its being assigned to John; and it implies that there were other Apocalypses, from which this true one was to be distinguished. The surname, Divine [as attributed to John], almost supersedes that of Apostle. It is indeed John, the apostle, who wrote this book; but the Author[2] is Jesus Christ. By prefixing the name John, the ancients wished to distinguish the true Apocalypse from the many apocryphal books. Apocryphal gospels and epistles presuppose others that are canonical, and so apocryphal apocalypses presuppose a genuine Apocalypse. Artemon. de Init. Evang. Joh., p. 88, 140, and following, affirms, and not without reason, that no one ever rejected the Apocalypse before Caius, a Roman presbyter, and the Alogi, but that it was received by all. The Lord taught the apostles many things before His departure; but those which were unsuitable for present narration He brought together into the Apocalypse. On which account, in the Æthiopic New Testament, the Apocalypse is not inappropriately placed immediately after the four Evangelists.—δεῖξαι, to show) This verb again occurs, ch. Revelation 22:6. And thus the parts of this book everywhere have reference to one another. Altogether, the structure of this book throughout breathes a Divine art. And it is in a certain measure its peculiarity, that it comprises in a perfect compendium future things in great number, and in this number things widely differing; things close at hand, far distant, and intermediate; very great and very little; dreadful and salutary; things repeated from old prophecies and new; long and short; and those interwoven with each other, opposed to one another and in agreement, mutually involving and evolving one another; having reference to each other from a little or a great interval, and so at times as it were disappearing, broken off, suspended, and afterwards un expectedly and most seasonably returning into sight; and to these things, which are the subject of the book, the structure of the book itself accurately corresponds. Therefore, in all its parts, it presents an admirable variety, and most beautiful involutions, and at the same time the greatest harmony, which is strikingly illustrated by the very irregularities, which appear to interrupt its course. And all this is done with such an amount of exactness, that in no book more than in this would the addition, or taking away, of even a single word or clause (ch. Revelation 22:18-19), have the effect of marring the sense of the context and the comparison of passages together, and of turning aside the most sacred boundary lines of the book. And this is especially remarkable, that when it gives but a slight indication of the greatest things out of the ancient prophets, whereas it more copiously explains those that are new, it still keeps the most exact proportion. And since these things are so, a true and full analysis, whatever it is, will not fail to appear too ingenious, and therefore to incur the suspicion of those who love simplicity, and especially deserve to attain to the knowledge of the truth. But in truth the Apocalypse proceeded from the mind of GOD, if one may use the expression; and, amidst the greatest simplicity, it most worthily represents His πολυποίκιλον, manifold wisdom, in the economy of so many ages of the New Testament. And therefore he who wishes to reject an interpretation on account of the various matters which flow into that interpretation from the context, will violate that very simplicity, which is especially in accordance with the Scriptures. This is certainly to be guarded against, that the acuteness of man should not think this subject given to it as a field for its exercise, and should not, from observing the nice and accurate adjustment which exists in one or two points, reduce all things into a system pleasing to itself. We ought to keep to that which is written, to that alone, to that altogether; and so to observe, as it is shewn.—τοῖς δούλοις αὐτοῦ, to His servants) He, who does not permit the things which must come to pass to be shewn to him, is wanting in the duty of a servant. Would that those holy men would think of this, who are so intent upon everything which is most excellent, that they regard the shewing of these things as a hindrance; whereas it is able to advance the servants of Jesus Christ in every good work.—ἃ δεῖ γενέσθαι, which must come to pass) There are those, who acknowledge that some use in teaching or comforting may be derived from this book (which use not even Bossuet would deny), but so acknowledge it, that they proceed no further. They not only put aside meanwhile a part of the special prophetical sense, as the venerable D. Weisman has done, with the greatest sobriety, in his dissertation respecting the excellent teaching of the Apocalypse as to faith and morals (in the same way as Theological Systems cite the Apocalypse in every passage or article); but in reality they entirely reject the whole of the prophetic sense, and applaud themselves for so doing. And not only do they themselves fail to enter into the understanding of this book, but they also prohibit, deter, and jeer at those who are entering. But let them take care, lest they offend, or err from the very scope of the book. These things which have reference to teaching and exhortation are contained in other books; but the Apocalypse especially shows the things which must come to pass; and that too with such seriousness, that a very great oath is interposed, ch. 10. We ought not to invert this scope: in short, we ought not to separate the things which God hath joined together, namely, the knowledge of future events, and therefore of future times, and repentance, watchfulness, etc. Holy men of all times, martyrs, etc., have had a perpetual succession of expectations arising out of the Apocalypse; and although, in the particular hypothesis,[3] they were not then able to discern the times, yet in the general thesis they had a most real and present advantage from it, whilst their error was not injurious to them. Do others defend the general and fundamental truth set forth by Christ in the Gospel? They do well. But they ought not so to conduct themselves, as though the Apocalypse had not the same Author, throughout all parts of the book; and that too a glorified Author. No one of those who make a wholesome use of the rest of Scripture, pays respect to the Apocalypse without singular advantage: if he does not find that of which he was in search, he finds that which he was not seeking. The things which must come to pass, are shewn in this book. If any one, in reading this hook, shall weigh (it may be by the use of Concordances) the usage of the verb γίνομαι (some tenses of which, for instance γενέσθαι in this passage, Sylburgius ad Clenard. p. 470, derives from the unused form γενέομαι), he will retire from the consideration, not without delight. There come to pass sorrowful things, there come to pass joyful things, great and many. This book represents those things which come to pass, absolutely; that is, the sums and series of events, through so many ages, to the very coming of Jesus Christ. To that event Daniel, to that John, extends his view, each from his own age.—ἐν τάχει, quickly) A regard for Christianity brings with it a regard for the times also.—Paulus Antonius, in the Antithetical College, p. 930. Respecting quickness, I would have you by all means see the note on ch. Revelation 6:11 : from which it will be evident, that the interpretation of the celebrated D. Lange, respecting the event of the seals, etc., as being about to be quick, after many ages have intervened [and not until then], is too weak.—Tom. i. Gl. Chr. Part i., or Comm. Apoc. fol. 22. The final time itself is at hand, Revelation 1:3 : and that approach gives quickness even to the advent and rise of the things nearer at hand, and not merely to their event and progress. The whole book ought to be taken as one word, pronounced in one moment. With the exception of definite times, which are of sufficient extent, all things are most truly done ἐν τάχει, quickly. Such a quickness is signified, ch. Revelation 11:14; 2 Peter 1:14, and in many places.—ἐσήμανεν, signified) The Apocalypse abounds with Hebraisms, in simple words, μάχαιρα, comp. Genesis 49:5, where now are mentioned מכרות, κ.τ.λ., and in words entirely Hebrew, as Ἀβαδδὼν, Σατανᾶς, Ἁρμαγεδών: also in construction, as ἀπὸ Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ, ὁ μάρτυς ὁ πιστός, κ.τ.λ., ἀπὸ ὁ ὢν, κ.τ.λ.; so that a proper name is put, in the Hebrew manner, undeclined (ἄκλιτον), and without the article. And here it is not said, ἀπέστειλε, but ἐσήμανεν ἀποστείλας, although the verb δεῖξαι preceded. And in this John seems to have in his mind the Hebrew סִמֵּן, to which the Greek word δεῖξαι may answer: for he often joins Hebrew and Greek words. The LXX. use σημαίνειν to express a great sign of a great thing: Ezekiel 33:3. See also John 12:33.

[1] And therefore also not rejected in the title of Vers. Beng.—E. B.

[2] See Erkl. Offenb. Ed. II. p. 154, and the next, and comp., if you think fit, my Beleuchtung, etc., § 2, pp. 4–8, § 33, n. 4, p. 149, and the next. Nor is it so insane a thing to attribute special weight to this book, as indeed the celebrated Ernesti deems it, for instance, Bibl. th. Noviss. T. T. p. 689. For more easily, for example, could either Matthew compensate for the loss of Mark, or one of the Pauline Epistles for the loss of another, than any book of the New Testament could supply the place of those things which were revealed at a later time in the Apocalypse.—E. B.

[3] Hypothesis denotes a proposition which refers to an individual person or object; thesis, an indefinite position, without any mention of persons or things. See 1 Peter 2:10.—T.

Verse 1. - The Revelation of Jesus Christ. This phrase occurs elsewhere in the New Testament only in 1 Peter 1:7, 13 (comp. 1 Peter 4:13; 1 Corinthians 1:7; 2 Thessalonians 1:7; Galatians 1:12). It means the revelation which Jesus Christ makes, not that which reveals him. John is the writer, Jesus Christ the Author, of the book. Revelation (απόκαλυψις) is a word reserved for the gospel; no Old Testament prophecy is called a revelation (contrast 1 Samuel 20:30). It means the unveiling of Divine mysteries (Ephesians 3:3), and from this it easily slips into meaning the mystery unveiled. Christ is both the Mystery and the Revealer of it. He comes to reveal himself, and in himself the Father, whose Image he is. Thus in its opening words the book takes us beyond itself. What is revealed is not secrets about the future, but a Person. And the Revealer is not man, but God; not John, but the Divine Son, commissioned by the Father. For even the unincarnate Word receives from the Father that which he reveals. Which God gave unto him. This is remarkably in harmony with the Christology of the Fourth Gospel (John 5:20; John 7:16; John 12:49; John 14:10; John 17:7, 8; comp. Mark 13:32; Acts 1:7). The simple infinitive to express a purpose after "give" is common to Gospel and Apocalypse (Revelation 3:21; Revelation 7:2; Revelation 13:14; John 4:7, 10; John 6:52). His servants. All Christians, not exclusively seers like St. John. "Even the things which" (Revised Version) makes "things which" in apposition with "the Revelation," which is probably right. Must (δεῖ); because God has so decreed. This Divine "must" is frequent in the Gospel (John 3:14, 30; John 9:4; John 10:16; John 12:34; John 20:9). Shortly. The meaning of ἐν τάχει is much disputed. But, like "firstborn" in the question about the brethren of the Lord, "shortly" ought not to be pressed in determining the scope of the Apocalypse. Calling Jesus the firstborn Son of Mary tells us nothing as to her having other children. Saying that the Apocalypse shows things which must shortly come to pass tells us nothing as to its referring to events near St. John's own day. Probably it refers to them and to much else in the Christian dispensation. In the language of the seer, past, present, and future are interwoven together as seen by God, and more truth is contained than the seer himself knows. "The whole book ought to be received as a single word uttered in a single moment" (Bengel). It does not follow, because St. John had events near to his own day in his mind, that his words are limited to those events for us (comp. Luke 18:7, 8; Matthew 24:29:2 Peter 3:4, 8; Habakkuk 2:3; see Westcott, 'Historic Faith,' pp. 74, 75, and note on 1 John 2:18 in the 'Cambridge Bible for Schools'). Signified. Jesus Christ signified, i.e. made known by symbol and figure, the things which must come to pass. "Signify" (σημαίνειν) is characteristic of St. John, to whom wonders are "signs" (σημεῖα) of Divine truths. "This he said, signifying [by means of an allegory] by what manner of death he should die" (John 12:33; comp. 18:32; 21:19). By his angel; literally, by means of his angel (διὰ τοῦ ἀγγέλου). "Angel" here probably has its, common meaning of a spiritual messenger from the unseen world; but it is the fact of his being Christ's messenger, rather than his heavenly character, that is specially indicated. Whether one and the same angel is employed throughout the Revelation is not clear. He does not come into the foreground of the narrative until Revelation 17:1, 7, 15 (comp. Revelation 19:9; Revelation 21:9; Revelation 22:1, 6, 9). The Revelation is begun (vers. 17-20) and ended (Revelation 22:16) by Christ himself; but the main portion is conducted "by means of his angel." Thus St. Paul says of the Law that it was "administered by means of angels in the hand of a mediator," i.e. Moses (Galatians 3:19). In this case the mediator is John, a "servant" specially selected for this work (Isaiah 49:5; Amos 3:7). Thus we have four gradations - the primary Agent, the Father; the secondary Agent, Jesus Christ; the instrument, his angel; the recipient, John. Revelation 1:1The Revelation (ἀποκάλυψις)

The Greek word is transcribed in Apocalypse. The word occurs only once in the Gospels, Luke 2:32, where to lighten should be rendered for revelation. It is used there of our Lord, as a light to dispel the darkness under which the heathen were veiled. It occurs thirteen times in Paul's writings, and three times in first Peter. It is used in the following senses:

(a.) The unveiling of something hidden, which gives light and knowledge to those who behold it. See Luke 2:32 (above). Christianity itself is the revelation of a mystery (Romans 16:25). The participation of the Gentiles in the privileges of the new covenant was made known by revelation (Ephesians 3:3). Paul received the Gospel which he preached by revelation (Galatians 1:12), and went up to Jerusalem by revelation (Galatians 2:2).

(b.) Christian insight into spiritual truth. Paul asks for Christians the spirit of revelation (Ephesians 1:17). Peculiar manifestations of the general gift of revelation are given in Christian assemblies (1 Corinthians 14:6, 1 Corinthians 14:26). Special revelations are granted to Paul (2 Corinthians 12:1, 2 Corinthians 12:7).

(c.) The second coming of the Lord (1 Peter 1:7, 1 Peter 1:13; 2 Thessalonians 1:7; 1 Corinthians 1:7) in which His glory shall be revealed (1 Peter 4:13), His righteous judgment made known (Romans 2:5), and His children revealed in full majesty (Romans 8:19).

The kindred verb ἀποκαλύπτω is used in similar connections. Following the categories given above,

(a.) Galatians 1:16; Galatians 3:23; Ephesians 3:5; 1 Peter 1:12.

(b.) Matthew 11:25, Matthew 11:27; Matthew 16:17; Luke 10:21, Luke 10:22; 1 Corinthians 2:10; 1 Corinthians 14:30; Philippians 3:15.

(c.) Matthew 10:26; Luke 2:35; Luke 12:2; Luke 17:30; Romans 1:17, Romans 1:18; Romans 8:18; 1 Corinthians 3:13; 2 Thessalonians 2:3, 2 Thessalonians 2:6, 2 Thessalonians 2:8; 1 Peter 1:5; 1 Peter 5:1.

The word is compounded with ἀπό from, and καλύπτω to cover. Hence, to remove the cover from anything; to unveil. So of Balaam, the Lord opened or unveiled his eyes (ἀπεκάλυψεν τοὺς ὀφθαλμοὺς: Numbers 22:31, Sept.). So Boaz to Naomi's kinsman: "I thought to advertise thee:" Rev., "disclose it unto thee" (ἀποκαλύψω τὸ οὖς σου: Ruth 4:4, Sept.). Lit., I will uncover thine ear.

The noun ἀποκάλυψις revelation, occurs only once in the Septuagint (1 Samuel 20:30), in the physical sense of uncovering. The verb is found in the Septuagint in Daniel 2:19, Daniel 2:22, Daniel 2:28.

In classical Greek, the verb is used by Herodotus (i., 119) of uncovering the head; and by Plato: thus, "reveal (ἀποκαλύψας) to me the power of Rhetoric" ("Gorgias," 460): "Uncover your chest and back" ("Protagoras," 352). Both the verb and the noun occur in Plutarch; the latter of uncovering the body, of waters, and of an error. The religious sense, however, is unknown to heathenism.

The following words should be compared with this: Ὀπτασία a vision (Luke 1:22; Acts 26:19; 2 Corinthians 12:1). Ὅραμα a vision (Matthew 17:9; Acts 9:10; Acts 16:9). Ὅρασις a vision (Acts 2:17; Revelation 9:17. Of visible form, Revelation 4:3). These three cannot be accurately distinguished. They all denote the thing seen or shown, without anything to show whether it is understood or not.

As distinguished from these, ἀποκάλυψις includes, along with the thing shown or seen, its interpretation or unveiling.


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Jude 1:25
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