Revelation 1:17
And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand on me, saying to me, Fear not; I am the first and the last:
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(17) I fell at his feet as dead.—At the sight of Him, the Evangelist fell as one dead. “Was this He whom upon earth St. John had known so familiarly? Was this He in whose bosom He had lain at that Last Supper, and said, ‘Lord, which is he that betrayeth Thee?’ When I saw Him thus transformed, thus glorified, I fell at His feet as one dead. Well might such be the effect, even upon the spirit of a just man made perfect—and St. John was still in the body—of such an open revelation of the risen glory of Christ” (Dr. Vaughan). It was pity, and the pang felt at the severity of retribution which overtook sin, which made Dante fall as a dead body falls (Inferno, v.); it is the felt consciousness of unworthiness which seems to have overcome the Evangelist. This consciousness has its witness outside the Bible as well as in it. “Semele must perish if Jupiter reveals himself to her in his glory, being consumed in the brightness of that glory.” (Comp. Exodus 33:18; Exodus 33:20, “Thou canst not see My face; for there shall no man see Me and live.”) For every man it is a dreadful thing to stand face to face with God. Yet the consciousness of this unworthiness to behold God, or to receive a near revelation of His presence, is a sign of faith, and is welcomed as such. Of him who said, “Lord, I am not worthy that Thou shouldest come under my roof,” Christ said, “I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel” (Matthew 8:8-10).

He laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not.—The words “unto me” should be omitted. The gesture is designed to give the assurance of comfort; the hand which was raised up to bless (Luke 24:51), which was reached forth to heal the leper, to raise the sinking Peter (Matthew 14:31), and to touch the wounded ear of Malchus, is now stretched out to reassure His servant; and the words, like those which John had heard upon the Mount of Transfiguration, and when toiling against the waves of Galilee, bid him not to be afraid. (Comp. Daniel 10:10.)

I am the first and the last.—The “last” must not be taken here to mean the least and lowest, as though it referred to our Lord’s humiliation; the last points forwards, as the first points backwards. He was before all things, and so the first; and though all things change, folded up as a vesture, yet His years shall not fail, and so He is the last. “The first because all things are from Me; the last because to Me are all things” (Richard of St. Victor). (Comp. Colossians 1:16-18; Hebrews 1:11-12.) This pre-eminence of first and last is thrice claimed for the Lord Jehovah in Isaiah (Isaiah 41:4; Isaiah 44:6; Isaiah 48:12), and thrice for the Lord Jesus in this book (in this passage, in Revelation 2:8, and Revelation 22:13).

Revelation 1:17-18. And when I saw him — In this awful, this glorious, and resplendent form, I was perfectly overwhelmed with the majesty of his appearance, so that I fell at his feet as dead — Human nature not being able to sustain so glorious an appearance. Thus was he prepared, (like Daniel of old, whom he particularly resembles,) for receiving so weighty a prophecy. A great sinking of nature usually precedes a large communication of heavenly things. St. John, before our Lord suffered, was so intimate with him as to lean on his breast, to lie in his bosom. Yet now, near seventy years after, the aged apostle is by one glance struck to the ground. What a glory must this be! Ye sinners, be afraid. Cleanse your hands. Purify your hearts. Ye saints, be humble. Prepare. Rejoice. But rejoice unto him with reverence. An increase of reverence toward this awful Majesty can be no prejudice to your faith. Let all petulancy, with all vain curiosity, be far away, while you are thinking or reading of these things. And he laid his right hand upon me — The same wherein he held the seven stars. What did St. John then feel in himself? Saying, Fear not — His look terrifies, his speech strengthens. He does not call John by name, (as the angel did Zachariah and others,) but spoke as his well-known Master. What follows is also spoken to strengthen and encourage him. I am — When in his state of humiliation he spoke of his glory, he frequently spoke in the third person, as Matthew 26:64, but he now speaks of his own glory without any veil, in plain and direct terms. The first and the last — That is, the eternal God, who is from everlasting to everlasting, Isaiah 41:4. I am he that liveth — Another peculiar title of God; and I have the keys of death and of hell — Or hades, that is, the invisible world; in the intermediate state the body abides in death, the soul in hades. Christ hath the keys of, that is, the power over both, killing or quickening of the body, and disposing of the soul as it pleaseth him. He gave St. Peter the keys of the kingdom of heaven, but not the keys of death or of hades. How comes then his supposed successor at Rome by the keys of purgatory? It must be allowed that αδης hades, sometimes signifies the grave; but, as Mr. Howe has largely proved in his excellent discourse on this text, the interpretation here given is most reasonable. That which would refer it to hell, as the seat of the damned, limits the sense in a manner very derogatory from the honour of our Lord, as he there shows unanswerably. According to Grotius, (in his note on Matthew 16:18,) the word αδης always denotes either death, or the state after death. Our English, or rather Saxon word, hell, in its original signification, (though it is now understood in a more limited sense,) exactly answers to the Greek word αδης, and denotes a concealed or unseen place, and this sense of the word is still retained in the eastern, and especially in the western counties of England; for to hele over a thing, is to cover it. From the preceding description mostly are taken the titles given to Christ in the following letters, particularly the first four.

Revelation 1:19-20, Write the things which thou hast seen — Contained in this chapter, which accordingly are written, Revelation 1:11-18 : and the things which are — The instructions relating to the present state of the seven churches; these are written Revelation 2:1-29; Revelation 3:1-22; and which shall be hereafter — The future events which begin to be exhibited in the fourth chapter, where (Revelation 1:1) it is said, Come up hither, and I will show thee things which must be hereafter, namely, to the end of the world. The mystery — The mysterious meaning; of the seven stars — St. John knew better than we do, in how many respects these stars were a proper emblem of those angels; how nearly they resembled each other, and how far they differed in magnitude, brightness, and other circumstances. The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches — Mentioned in the eleventh verse. In each church there was one pastor or ruling minister, to whom all the rest were subordinate. This pastor, bishop, or overseer, had the peculiar care over that flock: on him the prosperity of that congregation in a great measure depended; and he was to answer for all those souls at the judgment-seat of Christ. And the seven candlesticks are seven churches — How significant an emblem is this! For a candlestick, though of gold, has no light of itself; neither has any church, or child of man. But they receive from Christ the light of truth, holiness, comfort, that it may shine to all around them. As soon as this was spoken, St. John wrote it down, even all that is contained in this first chapter. Afterward, what was contained in the second and third chapters, was dictated to him in like manner. 1:12-20 The churches receive their light from Christ and the gospel, and hold it forth to others. They are golden candlesticks; they should be precious and pure; not only the ministers, but the members of the churches; their light should so shine before men, as to engage others to give glory to God. And the apostle saw as though of the Lord Jesus Christ appeared in the midst of the golden candlesticks. He is with his churches always, to the end of the world, filling them with light, and life, and love. He was clothed with a robe down to the feet, perhaps representing his righteousness and priesthood, as Mediator. This vest was girt with a golden girdle, which may denote how precious are his love and affection for his people. His head and hairs white like wool and as snow, may signify his majesty, purity, and eternity. His eyes as a flame of fire, may represent his knowledge of the secrets of all hearts, and of the most distant events. His feet like fine brass burning in a furnace, may denote the firmness of his appointments, and the excellence of his proceedings. His voice as the sound of many waters, may represent the power of his word, to remove or to destroy. The seven stars were emblems of the ministers of the seven churches to which the apostle was ordered to write, and whom Christ upheld and directed. The sword represented his justice, and his word, piercing to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, Heb 4:12. His countenance was like the sun, when it shines clearly and powerfully; its strength too bright and dazzling for mortal eyes to behold. The apostle was overpowered with the greatness of the lustre and glory in which Christ appeared. We may well be contented to walk by faith, while here upon earth. The Lord Jesus spake words of comfort; Fear not. Words of instruction; telling who thus appeared. And his Divine nature; the First and the Last. His former sufferings; I was dead: the very same whom his disciples saw upon the cross. His resurrection and life; I have conquered death, and am partaker of endless life. His office and authority; sovereign dominion in and over the invisible world, as the Judge of all, from whose sentence there is no appeal. Let us listen to the voice of Christ, and receive the tokens of his love, for what can he withhold from those for whose sins he has died? May we then obey his word, and give up ourselves wholly to him who directs all things aright.And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead - As if I were dead; deprived of sense and consciousness. He was overwhelmed with the suddenness of the vision; he saw that this was a divine being; but he did not as yet know that it was the Saviour. It is not probable that in this vision he would immediately recognize any of the familiar features of the Lord Jesus as he had been accustomed to see him some sixty years before; and if he did, the effect would have been quite as overpowering as is here described. But the subsequent revelations of this divine personage would rather seem to imply that John did not at once recognize him as the Lord Jesus. The effect here described is one that often occurred to those who had a vision of God. See Daniel 8:18, "Now as he was speaking with me, I was in a deep sleep on my face toward the ground; but he touched me, and set me upright"; Daniel 8:27, "And I Daniel fainted, and was sick certain days; afterward I rose up, and did the king's business." Compare Exodus 33:20; Isaiah 6:5; Ezekiel 1:28; Ezekiel 43:3; Daniel 10:7-9, Daniel 10:17.

And he laid his right hand upon me - For the purpose of raising him up. Compare Daniel 8:18, "He touched me and set me upright." We usually stretch out the right hand to raise up one who has fallen.

Saying unto me, Fear not - Compare Matthew 14:27, "It is I; be not afraid." The fact that it was the Saviour, though he appeared in this form of overpowering majesty, was a reason why John should not be afraid. Why that was a reason, he immediately adds - that he was the first and the last; that though he had been dead he was now alive, and would continue ever to live, and that he had the keys of hell and of death. It is evident that John was overpowered with that awful emotion which the human mind must feel at the evidence of the presence of God. Thus, people feel when God seems to come near them by the impressive symbols of his majesty - as in the thunder, the earthquake, and the tempest. Compare Habakkuk 3:16; Luke 9:34. Yet, amidst the most awful manifestations of divine power, the simple assurance that our Redeemer is near us is enough to allay our fears, and diffuse calmness through the soul.

I am the first and the last - See the notes at Revelation 1:8. This is stated to be one of the reasons why he should not fear - that he was eternal: "I always live - have lived through all the past, and will live through all which is to come - and therefore I can accomplish all my promises, and execute all my purposes."

17. So fallen is man that God's manifestation of His glorious presence overwhelms him.

laid his right hand upon me—So the same Lord Jesus did at the Transfiguration to the three prostrate disciples, of whom John was one, saying, Be not afraid. The "touch" of His hand, as of old, imparted strength.

unto me—omitted in the oldest manuscripts.

the first … the last—(Isa 41:4; 44:6; 48:12). From eternity, and enduring to eternity: "the First by creation, the Last by retribution: the First, because before Me there was no God formed; the Last, because after Me there shall be no other: the First, because from Me are all things; the Last, because to Me all things return" [Richard of St. Victor].

I fell at his feet as dead; astonished at the majesty and glory of the appearance: see Joshua 5:14 Daniel 8:17,18 Mt 17:6 Acts 9:4.

And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; to comfort me, and let me know, that I had no reason to be afraid, he would do me no harm.

I am the first and the last: see Revelation 1:8,11. And when I saw him,.... The glorious person here described, who was just behind him, and of whom he had a full view, being so near him:

I fell at his feet as dead; through consternation and fear, the sight was so amazing and terrible; the appearance of a divine person in any degree of majesty and glory, has had some considerable effect upon men, even upon the best of men; but John seems to be more affected with it than any, as the vision was the more grand and illustrious: Manoah was afraid he should die, but did not fall down as dead; Ezekiel fell upon his face, but had his senses; Daniel's comeliness turned into corruption, and he retained no strength, he fainted, and fell into a deep sleep; see Judges 13:22; but John fell down at once, as dead. This panic which good men were seized with, at any more than ordinary appearance of God, or apprehension of his presence, arose from a notion that present death ensues a sight of him; hence Jacob wonders, and is thankful, that he had seen God face to face, and yet his life was preserved, Genesis 32:30; and such an effect as here, upon the body, any uncommon discovery of the divine Being has, partly through the weakness of human nature, which in its present circumstances is not able to bear the rays and glories of a divine person; hence the resurrection of the body in power, glory, and immortality, incorruption and spirituality, is necessary to the enjoyment of God and Christ in a state of bliss and happiness to all eternity; and partly through a consciousness of sin, which ever since the fall of Adam has occasioned fear and perturbation of mind, even in the best of saints, when they have had any sense of the divine Majesty being near, in an unusual form of glory:

and he laid his right hand upon me; even the same in which he had, and held the seven stars; and which showed what an affection he had for him, in what esteem he had him, what care he took of him, and what power he would exert in lifting up, strengthening, and supporting him; for he laid not his hand on him in wrath and angers, but in love; and in order to raise him up and revive his spirits, and remove his fears; hence the Ethiopic version renders it, "and he took hold on me with his right hand, and lifted me up"; as he does all who in a spiritual sense fall at his feet; it is always safe and comfortable falling there:

saying unto me, fear not; language which John had heard from him in the days of his flesh, and might therefore be chose now on purpose that he might the sooner know who he was and be comforted; see Matthew 14:27.

I am the first and the last; a way of speaking used by God when he is about to comfort his people, and remove their fears; see Isaiah 41:4; and is used by Christ for the same purpose here; and so is a proof of his true and proper deity, and is expressive of his eternity, and also of his dignity and excellency: he is the first and last in divine predestination, in the covenant of grace, in creation, in the business of salvation, and in his church, by whom, and for whom, are all things in it; he is the head of the body, the Son over his own house, and the firstborn among many brethren; and so the Alexandrian copy read, here, "the firstborn and the last". "the first", is a name of the Messiah with the Jews (t); See Gill on Revelation 1:8.

(t) T. Bab. Pesachim, fol. 5. 1. Bereshit Rabba, sect. 63. fol. 55. 2. Vajikra Rabba, sect. 30. fol. 171. 2. & Tzeror Hammor, fol. 71. 4.

{10} And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. {11} And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; {12} I am the first and the last:

(10) A religious fear, that goes before the calling of the saints, and their full confirmation to take on them the vocation of God.

(11) A divine confirmation of this calling, partly by sign, and partly by word of power.

(12) A most elegant description of this calling contained in three things, which are necessary to a just vocation: first the authority of him who calls, for he is the beginning and end of all things, in this verse, for he is eternal and omnipotent Re 1:8. Secondly the sum of his prophetic calling and revelation Re 1:9. Lastly a declaration of those persons to whom this prophecy is by the commandment of God directed in the description of it Re 1:20.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Revelation 1:17. The impression made by the appearance of the Lord[819] is that of mortal terror; for, since death is the wages of sin, no sinful man can stand alive before God.[820] Yet John is supported by Him who is not only absolutely the living, but also, since he himself has passed into death,[821] and has overcome it, has redeemed his people therefrom, as he has the keys of death and hell.

De Wette finds a contradiction in the fact that “the seer beholds all this in spirit, and so represents things as though he had stood opposite to these appearances in his bodily form, and with his ordinary human powers of conception and feeling: cf. Revelation 5:4, Revelation 17:6, Revelation 19:10, Revelation 22:8; Daniel 7:15.” But by the ἘΝ ΠΝΕΎΜΑΤΙ (Revelation 1:10), his being in the body is not removed. Just as the feeling of those who dream is also customarily expressed in a bodily way, e.g., by actual weeping, it may readily be thought that while John actually sees ἘΝ ΠΝΕΎΜΑΤΙ—i.e., in prophetic ecstasy—the actual appearance of the Lord, he bodily sinks down.[822]

Ὡς ΝΕΚΡΌς is not “like one dying,”[823] but “like one dead.” The laying-on of the right hand is, like in Christ’s miracles of healing,[824] an accompanying friendly sign of the aid peculiarly offered through the Word.

The Lord begins his words just as heavenly beings have ordinarily to address men: ΜῊ ΦΟΒΟῦ. Cf. Luke 1:13; Luke 1:30; Luke 2:10; Mark 16:6 (Matthew 17:7). This, as also in general Revelation 1:17 sqq., suits the opinion of Ebrard, that the falling-down of John was not merely an effect of terror, but “an act of love.”

ἘΓΏ ΕἹΜΙ Ὁ ΠΡῶΤΟς, Κ.Τ.Λ. Incorrectly, Wetst., Grot., etc., from dogmatic prejudice: “the highest in dignity—the most despised.” Three times after ΕἾΜΙ, Eichh. mis-points “I am,”—as, Matthew 14:27; John 6:20, which is entirely inapplicable here; and then, Ὁ ΠΡ. Κ. Ὁ ΕΣΧ. = “the only one in his class,” ΚΑῚ Ὁ ΖῶΝ = “with respect to life, among the living”! Christ is, as the Father (Revelation 1:8), the First and the Last, i.e., he is personally the A and the Ω;[825] and in this lies that which is epexegetically[826] added, that he is absolutely the Living One,[827] who, just on that account, can also give life. This reference of the conception ὁ ζῶν,[828] which is in itself already necessary, since the personal Eternal One must have his eternity as an energetic attribute, is yet specially emphasized by Revelation 1:18; and that, too, in such way that what is said in both halves of the verse, even though not according to form, yet according to meaning, is related as foundation (καὶ ἘΓΕΝ.

ΑἹΏΝΩΝ
) and consequence (ΚΑῚ ἝΧΩ, Κ.Τ.Λ.). For, just because Christ who suffered death,[829] after having risen,[830] henceforth does not die,[831] but is living to eternity,[832] he has the keys of death and of hell, i.e., power over them, so that he can preserve and deliver therefrom, but also can cast therein.[833] The figurative presentation of the keys[834] must not be regarded a personification of the θάνατος and the ᾅδης;[835] but, on the other hand also, both can be regarded only as a place, when it is said that “both designate one and the same idea.”[836] Yet the θάνατος, after which the ᾅδης, Revelation 6:8, appears, is, more accurately speaking, to be distinguished from the latter.[837] To think of θάνατος as a place, is inadmissible. The gates of death[838] are spoken of in opposition to the gates of the daughter of Zion;[839] here death is personified, and regarded as a possessor or lord of the gates. The place of death, which appears closed in with gates, is ᾅδης.[840] In this double and not completely symmetrical delineation of the idea, according to which “gates” are ascribed to personal death as well as to local hell, the ΚΛΕῖς must here be understood.

The intention of this entire detailed address is so far in advance of merely freeing John from his terrors of death, as John is the prophet, who himself must experience and understand the majesty of the Lord, whose coming he is to proclaim, in order that he may bring to the churches full testimony concerning the same.[841] Thus Revelation 1:19 suitably concludes.

[819] Isaiah 6:4; Exodus 33:20; Ezekiel 1:28; Daniel 8:17 sqq., Revelation 10:7 sqq.

[820] Cf., especially, Isaiah 6:4.

[821] ἐγεν. νεκρός.

[822] Cf. Acts 9:4.

[823] Eichh.

[824] Beng., Hengstenb.

[825] Revelation 22:13.

[826] καί.

[827] Cf. John 1:1 sqq., John 5:26.

[828] Not equal to ζωοποιῶν, Grot.

[829] ἐγεν. νεκρ. Concerning the aor., cf. Revelation 2:8.

[830] Cf. the ἕζησεν, Revelation 2:8.

[831] Cf. Romans 6:9; Acts 13:34.

[832] ζῶν εἰμι, κ.τ.λ., a strong emphasis of the conception ζῶν.

[833] Cf. Revelation 3:7. This has an entirely different meaning from when Acacus, the porter of the lower world, is called κλεισδοῦχος. Cf. H. L. Ahrens, Das Amt der Schlussel, Hannover, 1864, p. 6.

[834] Revelation 9:1, Revelation 20:1Revelation 1:17. ἔπεσα κ.τ.λ., the stereotyped behaviour (cf. Numbers 24:4) in such apocalyptic trances (Weinel, 129, 182, R. J. 375 f.; for the terror of spiritual experience cf. Schiller’s lines: “Schrecklich ist es Deiner Wahrheit " Sterbliches Gefäss zu seyn”); Jesus, however, does here what Michael (En. lxxi. 3) or some other friendly angel does in most Jewish apocalypses. There is no dialogue between the prophet and Christ, as there is afterwards between him and the celestial beings—μὴ φ. The triple reassurance is (1) that the mysterious, overwhelming Figure reveals his character, experience and authority, instead of proving an alien unearthly visitant; (2) the vision has a practical object (“write,” 19) bearing upon human life, and (3) consequently the mysteries are not left as baffling enigmas. All the early Christian revelations which are self-contained, presuppose the risen Christ as their source; the Apocalypse of Peter, being fragmentary, is hardly an exception to the rule. The present vision presents him as superhuman, messianic, militant and divine. But the writer is characteristically indifferent to the artistic error of making Christ’s right hand at once hold seven stars and be laid on the seer (Revelation 1:16-17). Cf. the fine application of the following passage by Milton in his “Remonstrant’s Defence”. The whole description answers to what is termed, in modern psychology, a “photism”.17. I fell at his feet as dead] So Daniel 8:17 sq., Daniel 10:8-9; Daniel 10:15 (Ezekiel 1:28; Ezekiel 43:3; Ezekiel 44:4 do not necessarily imply so much): cf. Exodus 3:6; Exodus 20:19; Exodus 33:20; Jdg 6:22; Jdg 13:22; Isaiah 6:5, and also Luke 24:37; John 21:12. St John was in presence of both the sources of supernatural terror—of God’s Presence made manifest, and of One come from the dead.

he laid his right hand, &c.] So Daniel 10:10; Daniel 10:16. As in Luke 24:39, the Lord’s touch serves to remind the Disciple of His still remaining perfect humanity. Sharing our nature, He is no longer the object of such blind terror as we should feel before an Angel or a disembodied spirit, or still more before God if revealed otherwise than in Christ.

the first and the last] i.e. the Eternal, as Isaiah 41:4; Isaiah 44:6; Isaiah 48:12.Revelation 1:17. [ς νεκρὸς, as dead) Great contrition of nature usually precedes a large bestowing of spiritual gifts.—V. g.]—ὁ πρῶτος καὶ ὁ ἔσχατος, the first and the last) A most glorious title. In Hebrew ראשון אחרון, Isaiah 44:6; Isaiah 48:12; where the Septuagint renders it, ἐγὼ πρῶτος καὶ ἐγὼ μετὰ ταῦτα, πλὴν ἐμοῦ οὐκ ἔστι Θεός: and again, ἐγώ εἰμι πρῶτος, καὶ ἐγώ εἰμι εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα. In both passages the translators appear to have considered the word ἔσχατος as insufficient to express the dignity of the speaker, and yet in fact it answered admirably to the Hebrew. Isaiah 41:4, Ἐγὼ Θεὸς πρῶτος, καὶ εἰς τὰ ἐπερχόμενα (את אחרנים) ἐγώ εἰμι. The Messiah is speaking of Himself. Comp. Isaiah 48:16. Hence in the Apocalypse the Lord Jesus applies this description to Himself, and explains it by the words which follow. Let the Form be observed:

I am the First,

and the Last:

and the Living One:

and I became dead, and

behold, I am alive, etc.

The immediate construction, The first and the Last, declares, that His Life, by the brief intervention of death, was interrupted in such a manner, that it ought not even to be considered as interrupted at all. Artemonius, in his treatise de Init. Evang. Joh., interprets the First and the Last as the most excellent and the most abject, p. 248; but if this were the meaning, the order of the events would require to be inverted, and that it should be written, The Last and the First. It is plainly a title of Divine glory, the First and the Last, in Isaiah; and in his writings Artemonius in vain endeavours so to bend the same title, that it may denote the Beginning and the End: p. 249, and the following.Verse 17. - I fell at his feet as dead; literally, as one dead - as a dead man. St. Peter had fallen at Jesus' feet when he became conscious of the ineffable difference between sinlessness and sinfulness (Luke 5:8). How much more, therefore, would consciousness of the glorified Christ overwhelm St. John! Long years of contemplation of the incarnate Son would not prevent that. In like manner, Joshua (Joshua 5:14), Daniel (Daniel 7:17, 27), and St. Paul (Acts 9:4) are affected by the Divine presence. Fear not. Thus Christ encouraged the terrified apostles on the lake (John 6:20) and at the Transfiguration. So also the angel cheered Daniel (Daniel 10:12), Zacharias (Luke 1:13), Mary (Luke 1:30), the shepherds (Luke 2:10), and the women at the sepulchre (Matthew 28:5). Ifell

Compare Exodus 23:20; Ezekiel 1:28; Daniel 8:17 sqq.; Daniel 10:7 sqq.; Luke 5:8; Revelation 19:10. The condition of the seer, in the Spirit, does not supersede existence in the body. Compare Acts 9:3-5.

The first and the last

This epithet is three times ascribed to Jehovah by Isaiah (Isaiah 41:4; Isaiah 44:6; Isaiah 48:12); three times in this book (here, Revelation 2:8; Revelation 22:13). Richard of St. Victor comments thus: "I am the first and the last. First through creation, last through retribution. First, because before me a God was not formed; last, because after me there shall not be another. First, because all things are from me; last, because all things are to me; from me the beginning, to me the end. First, because I am the cause of origin; last, because I am the judge and the end" (cited by Trench).

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