Revelation 6:1
And I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals, and I heard, as it were the noise of thunder, one of the four beasts saying, Come and see.
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(1) And I saw when the Lamb (the diminutive form of Lamb is still used) . . .—The words “and see” are doubtful. They are found in some MSS. and omitted in others: the authority for their omission and for their retention is about equally divided. Under these circumstances we may fairly be guided by the context. To whom is the summons addressed? Who is bidden to come? If it was taken to be addressed to the seer, we can understand why some copyist should add the words “and see.” But are they addressed to the seer? It seems difficult to see the purpose of such a command. He was near already. He had seen the Lamb opening the seal. There was no object in his drawing near. Are the words, then, addressed, as Alford supposes, to Christ? It is difficult to believe that the living creature would thus cry to the Lamb, who was opening the scroll. The simplest way of answering the question is to ask another: Who did come in obedience to the voice? There is but one answer—the horseman. The living beings cry “Come,” and their cry is responded to by the appearance of the several riders. What is the spiritual meaning of this? The living beings represent, as we have seen, animated nature—that nature and creation of God which groans and travails in pain, waiting for the manifestation of the sons of God. These summon the emblems of war and pestilence to come on the scene, for these things must needs be, and through these lies the way for the final coming of God’s Christ, for whom creation longs. They bid the pains and troubles come, because they recognise them as the precursors of creation’s true King. Thus their voice has in it an undertone which sighs for the advent of the Prince of Peace, who is to come.

Revelation 6:1-2. And — Being all attention to this wonderful scene; I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals — Of the book which he had taken from the hand of him that sat on the throne; and I heard, as it were the noise of thunder — Signifying the great importance of the event about to be disclosed; one of the four living creatures — That is, it seems, the first, which was like a lion, looking forward toward the east, toward Asia and Syria, where the prophecy had its principal accomplishment, and from whence Christ and his gospel came. Saying, Come and see — Pay particular attention to what is now to be exhibited. And I saw, and behold a white horse — The contents of this seal seem evidently to refer to the triumph of Christianity over Jewish and heathen opposition, by the labours of its first preachers. Therefore the person here represented is Jesus Christ, who had received a kingdom from the Father, which was to rule all nations, and concerning which it was foretold, that notwithstanding the efforts that would be made by earth and hell to oppose its progress, and even to destroy it, it should be preserved and prevail, so that at length all enemies to it should be subdued, and the kingdoms of this world should become the kingdom of our God and of his Christ. The white colour of the horse, the bow which he had that sat on it, shooting arrows afar off, the crown given unto him, and his going forth conquering and to conquer — All these circumstances betoken victory, triumph, prosperity, enlargement of empire, and dominion over many people. And all these figurative representations of authority, government, success, and conquest, may be properly applied to the gospel and the kingdom of Christ, which was now beginning to spread far and wide, and would tend greatly to comfort the faithful in Christ Jesus, assuring them that, however the Jews on the one hand, or the heathen Roman empire on the other, opposed and persecuted them, yet they should see the punishment of their enemies, both Jews and heathen, and the cause of Christianity prevailing over both, in the proper and appointed time. These expressions, and this interpretation of them, are elucidated by the words of the psalmist, Psalm 45:3, &c: Gird thy sword upon thy thigh, O most mighty, and in thy majesty ride prosperously, because of truth, &c. Thine arrows are sharp, &c., whereby the people fall under thee. Thy throne, O God, is for ever, &c. The application of this prophecy to Christ is still further justified by Revelation 19:11, I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse. &c., a passage which all allow was intended of Christ; he only being worthy of being called, as he is there, Faithful and True, and THE WORD OF GOD. Thus, with great propriety to the order and design of this revelation, the dignity and power of Christ, and the protection and success of his gospel, are the first part of its prophecy for the consolation of his followers, which, it seems, is the chief end of the whole book.

6:1-8 Christ, the Lamb, opens the first seal: observe what appeared. A rider on a white horse. By the going forth of this white horse, a time of peace, or the early progress of the Christian religion, seems to be intended; its going forth in purity, at the time when its heavenly Founder sent his apostles to teach all nations, adding, Lo! I am with you alway, even to the end of the world. The Divine religion goes out crowned, having the Divine favour resting upon it, armed spiritually against its foes, and destined to be victorious in the end. On opening the second seal, a red horse appeared; this signifies desolating judgments. The sword of war and persecution is a dreadful judgment; it takes away peace from the earth, one of the greatest blessings; and men who should love one another, and help one another, are set upon killing one another. Such scenes also followed the pure age of early Christianity, when, neglectful of charity and the bond of peace, the Christian leaders, divided among themselves, appealed to the sword, and entangled themselves in guilt. On opening the third seal, a black horse appeared; a colour denoting mourning and woe, darkness and ignorance. He that sat on it had a yoke in his hand. Attempts were made to put a yoke of superstitious observances on the disciples. As the stream of Christianity flowed further from its pure fountain, it became more and more corrupt. During the progress of this black horse, the necessaries of life should be at excessive prices, and the more costly things should not be hurt. According to prophetic language, these articles signified that food of religious knowledge, by which the souls of men are sustained unto everlasting life; such we are invited to buy, Isa 55:1. But when the dark clouds of ignorance and superstition, denoted by the black horse, spread over the Christian world, the knowledge and practice of true religion became scarce. When a people loathe their spiritual food, God may justly deprive them of their daily bread. The famine of bread is a terrible judgment; but the famine of the word is more so. Upon opening the fourth seal, another horse appeared, of a pale colour. The rider was Death, the king of terrors. The attendants, or followers of this king of terrors, hell, a state of eternal misery to all who die in their sins; and in times of general destruction, multitudes go down unprepared into the pit. The period of the fourth seal is one of great slaughter and devastation, destroying whatever may tend to make life happy, making ravages on the spiritual lives of men. Thus the mystery of iniquity was completed, and its power extended both over the lives and consciences of men. The exact times of these four seals cannot be ascertained, for the changes were gradual. God gave them power, that is, those instruments of his anger, or those judgments: all public calamities are at his command; they only go forth when God sends them, and no further than he permits.And I saw - Or, I looked. He fixed his eye attentively on what was passing, as promising important disclosures. No one had been found in the universe who could open the seals but the Lamb of God Revelation 5:2-4; and it was natural for John, therefore, to look upon the transaction with profound interest.

When the Lamb opened one of the seals - See the notes on Revelation 5:1, Revelation 5:5. This was the first or outermost of the seals, and its being broken would permit a certain portion of the volume to be unrolled and read. See the notes on Revelation 5:1. The representation in this place is, therefore, that of a volume with a small portion unrolled, and written on both sides of the parchment.

And I heard, as it were the noise of thunder - One of the four living creatures speaking as with a voice of thunder, or with a loud voice.

One of the four beasts - notes on Revelation 4:6-7. The particular one is not mentioned, though what is said in the subsequent verses leaves no doubt that it was the first in order as seen by John - the one like a lion, Revelation 4:7. In the opening of the three following seals, it is expressly said that it was the second, the third, and the fourth of the living creatures that drew near, and hence the conclusion is certain that the one here referred to was the first. If the four living creatures be understood to be emblematic of the divine providential administration, then there was a propriety that they should be represented as summoning John to witness what was to be disclosed. These events pertained to the developments of the divine purposes, and these emblematic beings would therefore be interested in what was occurring.

Come and see - Addressed evidently to John. He was requested to approach and see with his own eyes what was disclosed in the portion of the volume now unrolled. He had wept much Revelation 5:4 that no one was found who was worthy to open that book, but he was now called on to approach and see for himself. Some have supposed (Lord, in loco) that the address here was not to John, but to the horse and his rider, and that the command to them was not to "come and see," but to come forth, and appear on the stage, and that the act of the Redeemer in breaking the seal, and unrolling the scroll, was nothing more than an emblem signifying that it was by his act that the divine purposes were to be unfolded. But, in order to this interpretation, it would be necessary to omit from the Received Text the words καὶ βλέπε kai blepe - "and see." This is done, indeed, by Hahn and Tittmann, and this reading is followed by Prof. Stuart, though he says that the received text has "probability" in its favor, and is followed by some of the critical editions. The most natural interpretation, however, is that the words were addressed to John. John saw the Lamb open the seal; he heard the loud voice; he looked and beheld a white horse - that is, evidently, he looked on the unfolding volume, and saw the representation of a horse and his rider. That the voice was addressed to John is the common interpretation, is the most natural, and is liable to no real objection.


Re 6:1-17. The Opening of the First Six of the Seven Seals.

Compare Note, see on [2691]Re 5:1. Many (Mede, Fleming, Newton, &c.) hold that all these seals have been fulfilled, the sixth having been so by the overthrow of paganism and establishment of Christianity under Constantine's edict, A.D. 312. There can, however, be no doubt that at least the sixth seal is future, and is to be at the coming again of Christ. The great objection to supposing the seals to be finally and exhaustively fulfilled (though, probably, particular events may be partial fulfilments typical of the final and fullest one), is that, if so, they ought to furnish (as the destruction of Jerusalem, according to Christ's prophecy, does) a strong external evidence of Revelation. But it is clear they cannot be used for this, as hardly any two interpreters of this school are agreed on what events constitute the fulfilment of each seal. Probably not isolated facts, but classes of events preparing the way for Christ's coming kingdom, are intended by the opening of the seals. The four living creatures severally cry at the opening of the first four seals, "Come," which fact marks the division of the seven, as often occurs in this sacred number, into four and three.

1. one of the seals—The oldest manuscripts, A, B, C, Vulgate, and Syriac read, "one of the seven seals."

noise—The three oldest manuscripts read this in the nominative or dative, not the genitive, as English Version, "I heard one from among the four living creatures saying, as (it were) the voice (or, 'as with the voice') of thunder." The first living creature was like a lion (Re 4:7): his voice is in consonance. Implying the lion-like boldness with which, in the successive great revivals, the faithful have testified for Christ, and especially a little before His coming shall testify. Or, rather, their earnestness in praying for Christ's coming.

Come and see—One oldest manuscript, B, has "And see." But A, C, and Vulgate reject it. Alford rightly objects to English Version reading: "Whither was John to come? Separated as he was by the glassy sea from the throne, was he to cross it?" Contrast the form of expression, Re 10:8. It is much more likely to be the cry of the redeemed to the Redeemer, "Come" and deliver the groaning creature from the bondage of corruption. Thus, Re 6:2 is an answer to the cry, went (literally, "came") forth corresponding to "Come." "Come," says Grotius, is the living creature's address to John, calling his earnest attention. But it seems hard to see how "Come" by itself can mean this. Compare the only other places in Revelation where it is used, Re 4:1; 22:17. If the four living creatures represent the four Gospels, the "Come" will be their invitation to everyone (for it is not written that they addressed John) to accept Christ's salvation while there is time, as the opening of the seals marks a progressive step towards the end (compare Re 22:17). Judgments are foretold as accompanying the preaching of the Gospel as a witness to all nations (Re 14:6-11; Mt 24:6-14). Thus the invitation, "Come," here, is aptly parallel to Mt 24:14. The opening of the first four seals is followed by judgments preparatory for His coming. At the opening of the fifth seal, the martyrs above express the same (Re 6:9, 10; compare Zec 1:10). At the opening of the sixth seal, the Lord's coming is ushered in with terrors to the ungodly. At the seventh, the consummation is fully attained (Re 11:15).Revelation 6:1-17 The opening of six of the seals in order, and what followed thereupon.

Chapter Introduction

We are now come to the prophetical, and therefore the most difficult, part of this mysterious book; as to which I judge it reasonable, before we come to open the mysterious text, (after Mr. Pool’s method in his Latin Synopsis), to premise some things which may instruct the reader of these notes, both of the things wherein the difficulties lie, and of the fairest way to find out the sense of them. Hitherto we have met with no great difficulties; what have been, have been chiefly:

1. Concerning the seven Spirits of God.

2. Concerning the seven churches, and epistles to them; whether the churches be to be considered typically, and what was written to them be to be understood in a prophetic, as well as a didactic, or a corrective sense?

But in what follows we shall find great (if not some inextricable) difficulties. To prepare a way for the explication of which:

1. I shall first take it for granted, that from this chapter to the end of the book, is revealed the most remarkable things which have happened, or shall happen, to the church of God over all the earth, from the time of this Revelation first made to John, to the end of the world.

2. Hence it followeth, that many of the things prophesied are fulfilled; but how many is hard to determine, because the time is not set when these revelations should take place; whether (as some would have it) from the beginning of Christianity, which, to me, seemeth not probable; because at this time ninety-five years were elapsed since that time, and this prophecy was concerning the things that were to be after the time of John’s being in Patmos, Revelation 1:1 22:6; or from the beginning of the time when the Jewish church and state ceased, which was twenty-six or twenty-seven years before this; or from the time when this Revelation was, which was Anno 95, or thereabouts, in the time when Domitian was the Roman emperor, and had began his persecution of the Christians, which (as historians tell us) was but five years before he was slain, for he was slain in September, 97. And for those that are fulfilled, the things spoken are so applicable to various accidents happening in that period of time, that it is very difficult ofttimes to assert the sense of the prophecy.

3. I take it for granted also, that things happened in the same order as is here described; so as the things under the second seal came not to pass till those prophesied of under the first seal were, in a great measure, accomplished, &c.

4. I agree with those who think, that what we have, Revelation 12:1-13:18, Revelation 17:1-18:24, are but a prophecy of other things that happened to the church at the same times spoken of, Revelation 6:1-10:11.

5. I do believe the visions of the seals, trumpets, and vials, Revelation 6:1-17,8:1-13,15:1-8,16:1-21, the principal prophecies, and contain the revelation of things in order as they were to happen; and of these, that of the seals is the principal.

6. I agree with those who think, that God, by the first six seals, intends the whole space from the time when the things written in this book began to be fulfilled, unto the time when paganism was rooted out of the Roman empire, which some make the year 310, some, 325. In which time (counting the beginning from the time when John was in Patmos, which was in Domitian’s time) the emperors of Rome were Nerva, Trajan, Adrianus, Antoninus Pius, Antoninus Philosophus, Antoninus Verus, Commodus, Severus, Caracalla, Macrinus, Heliogabalus, Alexander Severus, Maximinus, Gordianus, Philippus, Decius, Valerianus, Gallienus, Claudius, Aurelianus, Tacitus, Probus, Carus, Numerianus, Dioclesianus with Maximinianus, Constantius Chlorus with Galerius, Constantius with Galerus, Constantinus; in all, twenty-seven, in about two hundred years: they were all persecutors, and God allowed them short reigns. So as what we have revealed in and under the first six seals, happened within the Short space of the three hundred or three hundred and twenty-five first years after Christ; I am apt to think, after ninety-eight or one hundred of them were elapsed. These things being premised, let us now come to consider the text.

John’s vision continueth still: by the Lamb he means Christ, the Lamb oft mentioned Revelation 5:1-14; and by

one of the seals, one of the seven seals mentioned Revelation 5:1, that were set upon the book which John saw in the right hand of God the Father, given to Christ, Revelation 5:7. Christ began to discover the counsels of God relating to that first period of his church. And John heard one of the four living creatures speaking to him with a great and terrible voice, like

the noise of thunder. Inviting him to come near, or to attend and see.

And I saw, when the Lamb opened one of the seals,.... Of the sealed book; one of the seven seals of it, as read the Alexandrian copy, the Vulgate Latin, and the Oriental versions, and the Complutensian edition; that is, the first; so "one" is used for first in Genesis 1:5; and as appears from the following seals being called second, third, fourth, &c. These seals express events to be fulfilled; and therefore cannot respect the steps towards, and the signs of Jerusalem's destruction, and that itself, which had been accomplished some years before the vision of the seals; and which vision would have been needless: and these are called seals, because they were sealed among God's treasure, or were resolved on, and decreed by him; and because they were hidden and unknown until they came to pass; and when they were come to pass, they were pledges of what God would do in the destruction of Rome Papal, as here in the destruction of Rome Pagan: for these seals, at least the first six of them, concern the Pagan empire, and the state of the church in it; and are so many gradual steps to the ruin of it, and to the advancing and increasing of the kingdom of Christ; and these, with the seven trumpets, which the last seal introduces, reach from the times of the apostles to the end of time, as appears from Revelation 10:6. Now the opening of these seals is the revealing of the events signified by them, and expressed in the hieroglyphics here made use of, and the fulfilment of them;

and I heard as it were the noise of thunder; a voice very loud and sonorous, exciting the attention of John:

one of the four beasts saying, come and see; this was the of the four living creatures, for the word one is used in the same sense as in the foregoing clause; and this creature was like to a lion, Revelation 4:7; wherefore his voice was loud, as when a lion roars, Revelation 10:3, and is fitly compared to thunder: there is no need to look out for any particular person, as intended by this living creature; or to conclude him to be Peter, as Grotius, who was dead before this seal was opened; or Quadratus, Aristides, and Justin Martyr, who courageously appeared in the Christian cause, and made very excellent apologies for it, with success, since these lived under the second seal; it is enough in general to understand the ministers of the Gospel, who, as sons of thunder, loudly and publicly preached the Gospel, and, as lions, boldly and bravely defended, and took notice of the power and providence of God in succeeding their ministry, and in weakening the kingdom of Satan in the Gentile world, and particularly in the Roman empire; and therefore are represented as calling to John to "come and see"; observe and take notice of the following hieroglyphic, representing the success of the Gospel ministry, , "come and see", is a phrase often used by the Jews, to stir up attention to what is about to be said; See Gill on John 1:46.

And {1} I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals, and I heard, as it were the noise of thunder, one of the four beasts saying, Come and see.

(1) This is the second part of this first history (which I said was common and of the whole world) of the works of God in the government of all things. There are generally three parts to this: the forewarning, the caution, and the execution of all the evils which God sends on this world, which was scarcely postponed by him. The forewarning is set down in this chapter, the caution for preserving the Church is in the next chapter, and the execution is described in Re 8:9 In each part of the forewarning, there are three points: the distinct and express calling of John to prepare himself to take knowledge of the things that are to be showed to him in the opening of the seals, the sign, and the word expounding the sign. Though the express calling of John is used in only four of the signs, yet the same is also to be understood in the rest that follow. The author of the forewarnings is the Lamb as that word of the Father made the Mediator, opening the seals of the book. The instruments are the angels in most of the visions, who explain the sign and the words of it. Now this first verse contains an express calling of John to record the opening of the first seal.

Revelation 6:1. Καὶ εἷδον ὅτε, κ.τ.λ., does not mean, “I was a spectator when the Lamb opened a seal:”[2006] the opening of the seal is not designated as the object of the εἶδον.[2007] De Wette[2008] and Ebrard attach such a wide significance to the εἶδον, that it may include the hearing mentioned directly afterwards; the meaning is that the prophetic “beholding” properly consisted in “hearing.” It is more correct to say that what John sees when the seal is opened, he describes first in Revelation 6:2, where the repeated καὶ εἱδον refers back to Revelation 6:1. As in the vision itself, so also in its description, something heard is yet interposed.

μιαν. The cardinal number does not stand here for the ordinal,[2009] but here, as directly afterwards in the ἐνὸς τ. τ. ζ., it is only expressed that one of the seals (beasts) is spoken of. The order of succession is not marked until afterwards (Revelation 6:3; Revelation 6:5; Revelation 6:7).[2010]

ὡς φωνὴ βροντῆς. Loose construction. The voice of thunder belongs to all four beings, because they are alike superterrestrial.[2011] To the one of the four beings who speaks first, this voice is expressly ascribed, only because it is the first to speak. The thunder note of the voice has nothing to do with the contents of the first seal.[2012]

ἔρχου. Even if the addition καὶ βλέπε were genuine,[2013] a parallelizing of these words with John 1:40; John 1:47 would be inapplicable, and a critical inference as to the composition of the Apoc. by the Evangelist John would be without foundation.[2014] Not even is the note of Schöttgen[2015] here applicable: “This formula, occurring in the Holy Scriptures only in John, is the well-known בא וראה of the rabbins.

They employ it, however, as often as at the close of a disputation one approaches who makes a declaration concerning the subject.” The command ἔρχου[2016] is very simple, and is seriously meant: “John is to come up;” viz., to see accurately what proceeds from the unsealed book. This is written immediately afterwards.

[2006] Hengstenb.

[2007] Luther, incorrectly: “I saw that”—

[2008] Otherwise than Revelation 5:11.

[2009] Against Ew. ii., etc.

[2010] Cf. also Winer, p. 233.

[2011] Cf. Revelation 1:10, Revelation 10:3.

[2012] Against Hengstenb.

[2013] See Critical Notes.

[2014] Against Hengstenb.

[2015] On John 1:47.

[2016] Inconceivable, and in violation of the context, because of the immediately following καὶ εἶδον, is the reference of the ἔρχου here, as in Revelation 6:3; Revelation 6:5; Revelation 6:7, to the appearance of the approaching horseman (against Klief.).

Revelation 6:1. The command or invitation ἔρχου is not addressed to Christ (as Revelation 22:17; Revelation 22:20). If addressed to the seer, it is abbreviated from the ordinary rabbinic phrase (ueni et uide) used to excite attention and introduce the explanation of any mystery. The immediate sequel (omitted only in Revelation 6:4), καὶ εἶδον, does not, however, forbid the reference of ἔρχου to the mounted figures; hearing the summons, John looked to see its meaning and result. The panorama of these four dragoons (“ad significandum iter properum cum potentia”) is partly sketched from Semitic folk-lore, where apparitions of horsemen (cf. 2Ma 3:25, etc.: “the Beduins always granted me that none living had seen the angel visions … the meleika are seen in the air like horsemen, tilting to and fro,” Doughty, Arab. Deserta, i. 449) have been a frequent omen of the end (cf. Jos. Bell. vi. 5; Sib. Or. iii. 796), partly reproduced from (Persian elements in) Zechariah 1:7 f., Revelation 6:1-8, in order to bring out the disasters (cf. Jeremiah 14:12; Jeremiah 21:7) prior to the last day. The direct sources of 6. and 9. lie in Leviticus 26:19-26; Ezekiel 33:27; Ezekiel 34:28 f., and Sir 39:29-30 (“fire and hail and famine and θάνατος, all these are created for vengeance; teeth of wild beasts and scorpions and serpents and a sword taking vengeance on the impious to destroy them”). An astral background, in connection with the seven tables of destiny in Babylonian mythology, each of which was dedicated to a planet of a special colour, has been conjectured by Renan (472); cf. Chwolson’s Die Ssabier, iii. 658, 671, 676 f. For other efforts to associate these horsemen with the winds or the planets, see Jeremias (pp. 24 f.) and M.W. Müller in Zeitr. f. d. neutest. Wiss. (1907), 290–316. But the proofs are fanciful and vague, though they converge upon the view that the colours of the steeds at least had originally some planetary significance. The series, as usual, is divided into the first four and the second three members. The general contents of Revelation 6:1-8 denote various but not successive phases of woe (only too familiar to inhabitants of the Eastern provinces) which were to befall the empire and the East during the military convulsions of the final strife between Rome and Parthia. The “primum omen,” for John as for Vergil, is a white horse, ridden by an archer.

The First Seal. Chap. 6 Revelation 6:1-21. one of the four] Presumably the Lion, as the other voices are described as those of the second, third, and fourth. But the voice (so the word “noise” should be rendered: cf. Revelation 10:3-4) like thunder does not refer to the lion’s roaring: no doubt the other three voices were as loud.

Come and see] The two last words are almost certainly spurious here and in Revelation 6:3; Revelation 6:5; Revelation 6:7 : the cry is only “Come!” in all four cases. Who then is to come? Some say the received reading, originally no doubt a gloss, is a correct gloss—the Seer is to draw near. But the word is quite different from the “Come hither” of Revelation 17:1, Revelation 21:9 : also there is no sign that he does draw near or has need to do so, and if he has done so once, why is he bidden to do it thrice again? Others take it to be a summons to the Horseman who in fact does come: and this at least is in harmony with the context, and makes good sense, and applies equally to the opening of the first four seals where the same expression occurs. Others, comparing Revelation 22:17; Revelation 22:20, take it as addressed to the Lord Jesus. His creatures pray Him to come—and behold, instead of His coming immediately, there come these terrible precursors of His, so increasingly unlike Him. But in an address to the Lord, surely His Name must have been added. It would have been not merely ‘Come,’ but ‘Come, Lord Jesus.’

Revelation 6:1. Καὶ, and) By the first four seals it is shown, that all the public times of all ages, the flourishing condition of empires, war, supplies of provisions, and calamities, are subject to Jesus Christ: and a specimen of the first seal is intimated in the east, which followed in the reign of Trajan; of the second, in the west; of the third, in the south; of the fourth, in the north and the whole world. For it was towards these quarters of the world that the lion, the ox, the man, and the eagle were looking.—ὡς φωνὴ βροντῆς) See App. Ed. ii. On the nominative case, φωνὴ,[73] which displeases Wolf, but does not displease Valla, see below at ch. Revelation 16:13.—ἜΡΧΟΥ, ἼΔΕ) Wolf has curtailed my words on the subject of this call: I would have my readers seek for my opinion, if it is of any consequence, from the Apparatus on this passage.

[73] ABC read φωνη; Rec. Text, φωνῆς; Vulg. “vocem.”

Verse 1. - And I saw. A new departure in the series of visions is marked (see on Revelation 4:1). We have here the commencement of the Revelation proper, to which the first five chapters have formed an introduction (cf. Tabular analysis). The vision of the seals, which, although related first, exhibits events concurrent with those symbolized by the trumpets and vials, is contained chiefly in Revelation 6. Revelation 7 is occupied with an account of an episodal character, similar to that which occurs in Revelation 10:1-11:14 after the sixth trumpet; and the vision is completed by the opening of the seventh seal, described in Revelation 8:1. The opening of the first seal pictures the triumph of Christ and his Church, for the comfort and hopeful assurance of those to whom St. John was writing, and for the edification of struggling Christians of all time. To this theme, touched upon here proleptically, the apostle returns at the conclusion of the trumpets; the first six of which bear a general likeness to the last six of the seals. When the Lamb opened one of the seals; one of the seven seals (Revised Version). The insertion of "seven" (ἑπτά) is supported by A, B, C, א, and others; Vulgate, De Dieu's Syriac, Andreas, Arethas, Primasius, Victorinus, AEthiopic. (On the right of the Lamb to open the seals, see on Revelation 5.) And I heard, as it were the noise of thunder, one of the four beasts; the voice of thunder... four living creatures (Revised Version). (For the four living beings, see on Revelation 4:6.) Here each living being invites attention to the revelation of the future of that creation of which they are all representative. The thunder is the usual accompaniment of a special revelation of the Divine will, and indicative of the majesty of him whose will is declared (see Revelation 10:3 and Revelation 14:2; also Exodus 19:16; Acts 2:2). Nothing in the text warrants us in particularizing the four living creatures in these four invitations uttered by them, though many writers have endeavoured to do so. Thus, adopting the order in Revelation 4:7, they have supposed that the first voice was uttered by the lion, since the revelation of the first seal is distinguished by the prophecy of victory. The sacrificial nature of the second living being - the steer - is thought to be connected with the slaughter predicted under the second seal by the vision of war and persecution. The man is considered typical of the heresy which it is believed the third seal predicts, and especially of the false opinions concerning the Incarnation; while the eagle is regarded as a symbol of resurrection and the harbinger of the final victory of the just over the death and Hades of the fourth seal. Saying, Come and see. The Revised Version omits "and see." The Textus Receptus, without any apparent authority, reads Αρχου καὶ βλέπε, "Come and see." Αρχου, "Come," simply, is read in A, C, P, fourteen cursives, several versions, two manuscripts of Andreas, etc.; while Αρχου καὶ ἴδε, "Come and behold," is found in א, B, thirty-four cursives, various versions (including the Coptic), two manuscripts of Andreas, etc.; and the Syriac omits Αρχου, "Come." The authorities are thus very evenly balanced; but the addition of καὶ ἴδε, even if not warranted, seems to indicate that the sentence was generally considered to be addressed to St. John; and was intended as an invitation to him to witness the appearances which accompanied the breaking of the seals. Alford contends that the cry, "Come," is addressed, on behalf of creation, to the Lord Jesus, and is a petition to him to speedily bring these things to pass, that his own advent may follow. In support of this, Alford remarks that there is no example of the use by St. John of Αρχου in the sense of "Come and see," "Come hither," without ῶδε, or some qualifying particle; but, on the contrary, it is exactly the expression used of our Lord's advent in Revelation 22:17, 20, "The Spirit and the bride say, Come," etc. Though there is much reason in this contention, yet, on the whole, the weight of evidence, as stated above, makes it probable that the sentence is addressed to St. John. Revelation 6:1Of the seals

Add seven.

And see


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