Revelation 6:11
And white robes were given to every one of them; and it was said to them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellow servants also and their brothers, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled.
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(11) And white robes were given . . .—The victims, however, are not forgotten. There was given to them (each) a white robe. The white robes, the glistening apparel of the saints (comp. Revelation 3:4-5), shall be theirs; each shall receive it. They are robes of righteousness (Revelation 19:8); they are robes of honour (Revelation 4:4), for those who wear them are like God, seeing Him as He is, reflecting His image; they are acknowledged to be His, as they have acknowledged Him to be their God. Persecuted on earth, they are honoured in heaven. There is also a sense in which a white robe is given to them in the eyes of men: those whose names have been cast out as evil have been honoured by a repentant posterity with the robe of tardy praise; after-generations garnish the sepulchres of the righteous whom their fathers slew. The excommunicated in one age are often the canonised of the next, for the dull world learns slowly, and its purest honours are posthumous. But however this may be, for the suffering saints there is the heavenly robe and the heavenly rest.

It was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellow- servants also and their brethren, that should be killed (better, who are to be slain) as they were, should be fulfilled (or, shall have fulfilled their course).—They are to “rest.” This does not mean that they are to cease their cry for vengeance, for the saints have never cried for this; but they are to rest, as the souls of the faithful after they are delivered from the burden of the flesh, in joy and felicity. But this rest is yet a waiting for a little while till fellow-servants and fellow-sufferers have achieved their work also. To every disciple a work is given in service and suffering, and till these have borne their witness and fulfilled their course (comp. 2Timothy 4:7-8, and Acts 13:25) the departed must wait for their perfect consummation and bliss both in body and soul.

Revelation 6:11. And white robes were given unto every one of them — As a token of their justification, and favourable acceptance with God; of their victory and triumph over death, their joy and glory. And it was said unto them, that they should rest — That is, wait; yet for a little season — Though, in the mean time, their blood remained unrevenged; until their fellow-servants also, and their brethren, that should be killed for the defence of the gospel, as they had been, should be fulfilled — That is, should have finished their testimony; or till the number of the martyrs should be completed, according to the intention of Divine Providence, in letting persecutors go on a while, until they should have filled up the measure of their iniquities, when the martyrs should receive their full reward, as we shall see hereafter. Lowman observes here, very well, that “this representation seems much to favour the immediate happiness of departed saints, and hardly to consist with that uncomfortable opinion, the insensible state of departed souls, till after the resurrection.” There were other persecutions before, but this was by far the most considerable, the tenth and last general persecution, which was begun by Dioclesian, and continued by others, and lasted longer, and extended farther, and was sharper and more bloody, than any or all preceding; and therefore this was particularly predicted. Eusebius and Lactantius, who were two eye- witnesses, have written large accounts of it. Orosius asserts that this persecution was longer and more cruel than all the past; for it raged incessantly for ten years, by burning the churches, proscribing the innocent, and slaying the martyrs. Sulpicius Severus, too, describes it as the most bitter persecution, which for ten years together depopulated the people of God; at which time all the world almost was stained with the sacred blood of the martyrs, and was never more exhausted by any wars. So that this became a memorable era to the Christians, under the name of the era of Dioclesian, or, as it is otherwise called, the era of martyrs.6:9-11 The sight the apostle beheld at the opening the fifth seal was very affecting. He saw the souls of the martyrs under the altar; at the foot of the altar in heaven, at the feet of Christ. Persecutors can only kill the body; after that there is no more they can do; the soul lives. God has provided a good place in the better world, for those who are faithful unto death. It is not their own death, but the sacrifice of Christ, that gives them entrance into heaven. The cause in which they suffered, was for the word of God; the best any man can lay down his life for; faith in God's word, and the unshaken confession of that faith. They commit their cause to Him to whom vengeance belongs. The Lord is the comforter of his afflicted servants, and precious is their blood in his sight. As the measure of the sin of persecutors is filling up, so is the number of the persecuted, martyred servants of Christ. When this is fulfilled, God will send tribulation to those who trouble them, and unbroken happiness and rest to those that are troubled.And when he had opened the fifth seal - notes at Revelation 5:1; Revelation 6:1.

I saw under the altar - The four living creatures are no longer heard as in the opening of the first four seals. No reason is given for the change in the manner of the representation; and none can be assigned, unless it be, that having represented each one of the four living creatures in their turn as calling attention to the remarkable events about to occur, there seemed to be no necessity or propriety in introducing them again. In itself considered, it cannot be supposed that they would be any less interested in the events about to be disclosed than they were in those which preceded. This seal pertains to martyrs - at the former successively did to a time of prosperity and triumph; to discord and bloodshed; to oppressive taxation; to war, famine, and pestilence. In the series of woes, it was natural and proper that there should be a vision of martyrs, if it was intended that the successive seals should refer to coming and important periods of the world; and accordingly we have here a striking representation of the martyrs crying to God to interpose in their behalf and to avenge their blood. The points which require elucidation are:

(a) their position - under the altar;

(b) their invocation - or their prayer that they might be avenged;

(c) the clothing of them with robes; and,

(d) the command to wait patiently a little time.

(1) the position of the martyrs - "under the altar." There were in the temple at Jerusalem two altars - the altar of burnt sacrifices, and the altar of incense. The altar here referred to was probably the former. This stood in front of the temple, and it was on this that the daily sacrifice was made. Compare the notes on Matthew 5:23-24. We are to remember, however, that the temple and the altar were both destroyed before the time when this book was written, and this should, therefore, be regarded merely as a vision. John saw these souls as if they were collected under the altar - the place where the sacrifice for sin was made - offering their supplications. Why they are represented as being there is not so apparent; but probably two suggestions will explain this:

(a) The altar was the place where sin was expiated, and it was natural to represent these redeemed martyrs as seeking refuge there; and

(b) it was usual to offer prayers and supplications at the altar, in connection with the sacrifice made for sin, and on the ground of that sacrifice.

The idea is, that they who were suffering persecution would naturally seek a refuge in the place where expiation was made for sin, and where prayer was appropriately offered. The language here is such as a Hebrew would naturally use; the idea is appropriate to anyone who believes in the atonement, and who supposes that that is the appropriate refuge for those who are in trouble. But while the language here is such as a Hebrew would use, and while the reference in the language is to the altar of Burnt sacrifice, the scene should be regarded as undoubtedly laid in heaven - the temple where God resides. The whole representation is that of fleeing to the atonement, and pleading with God in connection with the sacrifice for sin.

The souls of them that were slain - That had been put to death by persecution. This is one of the incidental proofs in the Bible that the soul does not cease to exist at death, and also that it does not cease to be conscious, or does not sleep until the resurrection. These souls of the martyrs are represented as still in existence; as remembering what had occurred on the earth; as interested in what was now taking place; as engaged in prayer; and as manifesting earnest desires for the divine interposition to avenge the wrongs which they had suffered.

For the word of God - On account of the word or truth of God. See the notes on Revelation 1:9.

And for the testimony which they held - On account of their testimony to the truth, or being faithful witnesses of the truth of Jesus Christ. See the notes on Revelation 1:9.

(2) the invocation of the martyrs, Revelation 6:10; And they cried with a loud voice. That is, they pleaded that their blood might be avenged.


11. white robes—The three oldest manuscripts, A, B, C, read, "A white robe was given."

every one of—One oldest manuscript, B, omits this. A and C read, "unto them, unto each," that is, unto them severally. Though their joint cry for the riddance of the earth from the ungodly is not yet granted, it is intimated that it will be so in due time; meanwhile, individually they receive the white robe, indicative of light, joy, and triumphant victory over their foes; even as the Captain of their salvation goes forth on a white horse conquering and to conquer; also of purity and sanctity through Christ. Maimonides says that the Jews used to array priests, when approved of, in white robes; thus the sense is, they are admitted among the blessed ones, who, as spotless priests, minister unto God and the Lamb.

should—So C reads. But A and B, "shall rest."

a little season—One oldest manuscript, B, omits "little." A and C support it. Even if it be omitted, is it to be inferred that the "season" is short as compared with eternity? Bengel fancifully made a season (Greek, "chronus," the word here used) to be one thousand one hundred and eleven one-ninth years, and a time (Re 12:12, 14, Greek, "kairos") to be a fifth of a season, that is, two hundred and twenty-two two-ninths years. The only distinction in the Greek is, a season (Greek, "chronus") is a sort of aggregate of times. Greek, "kairos," a specific time, and so of short duration. As to their rest, compare Re 14:13 (the same Greek, "anapauomai"); Isa 57:2; Da 12:13.

until their … brethren … be fulfilled—in number. Until their full number shall have been completed. The number of the elect is definitely fixed: perhaps to fill up that of the fallen angels. But this is mere conjecture. The full blessedness and glory of all the saints shall be simultaneous. The earlier shall not anticipate the later saints. A and C read, "shall have been accomplished"; B and Aleph read, "shall have accomplished (their course)."

And white robes were given unto every one of them; white robes of glory; for the white robes of Christ’s righteousness, and of a holy life, were by them put on before they were slain.

That they should rest yet for a little season; that they should be satisfied, and acquiesce in God’s dispensations.

Until their fellow-servants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were; for God had yet more faithful witnesses to be martyred, (though not in such flocks as before), who should die for the same faith and profession.

Should be fulfilled; when the number of those his martyrs should be completed, he would avenge their blood upon their enemies. And white robes were given to everyone of them,.... The Alexandrian copy, and some others, read in the singular number, "a white robe", and so does the Syriac version; as a token of their innocence, that they did not suffer, or were slain, for any capital crime or immorality they were guilty of; and of their purity and perfection they now enjoyed; as also of that spiritual delight and pleasure, which was unspeakable and full of glory, they now had in the presence of God and Christ; and in short, of that happiness and glory which souls in a separate state, before the resurrection morn, are partakers of; who besides the righteousness of Christ, comparable to fine linen clean and white, walk with Christ in white, in the shining robes of bliss and glory:

and it was said unto them, that they should rest; or have rest; eternal rest from all their toil and labour, from all their sorrows and sufferings of every kind, which rest remains for the people of God, and into which these were now entered; or that they should cease from expostulating and inquiring after the above manner, and rest satisfied and contented, exercising the graces of faith, hope, and patience, believing, looking, and waiting:

yet for a little season; either until the end of this persecution by Dioclesian, when vengeance would be taken of the Roman empire, and it would be no more as Pagan; or until the day of judgment, when full vengeance will be inflicted on the persecutors of the saints; and which is but a little while with God, with whom a thousand years is as one day, and in comparison of that eternity of blessedness glorified saints are partakers of:

until their fellow servants also, and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled; meaning either the rest of the saints that should suffer martyrdom in the: following part of this persecution; or those who should suffer under the Arian persecution, when the empire would become Christian; or under Rome Papal, and in all the persecutions of the apostasy, unto the end of that state: these are called "fellow servants" and "brethren" of the saints in heaven; for they all worship and serve the same God, and belong to the same family, in heaven and in earth; and the selfsame reason that is made use of to animate the saints below to courage, faith, and patience in suffering, 1 Peter 5:9, is used to keep up the expectation of the saints in heaven, of that vengeance that will be executed on their enemies, and to point out the time when it will be; and it may be observed, that the number of martyrs, or of those that shall suffer and die in the cause of Christ, and for his Gospel, is fixed and determined by God; and that number shall be perfected and completed, and when that is done, he will pour out all his wrath on them that have persecuted them and put them to death: and so the Arabic version renders it, "that the number of their companions and brethren, and of those who are to be killed as they have been killed, is fulfilled"; In the Apocrypha is written:

"39 Which are departed from the shadow of the world, and have received glorious garments of the Lord. 40 Take thy number, O Sion, and shut up those of thine that are clothed in white, which have fulfilled the law of the Lord. 41 The number of thy children, whom thou longedst for, is fulfilled: beseech the power of the Lord, that thy people, which have been called from the beginning, may be hallowed.'' (2 Esdras 2)

Now though this seal does not introduce any judgment to be executed on the Roman empire, as the others do; yet since it introduces all the martyrs with one united voice requiring vengeance on their blood, it may very well be considered as a step towards, and as making way for, the utter ruin of that empire: and which the next seal being opened brings on, and is a full answer to the cry of these souls.

And {8} white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellowservants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be {b} fulfilled.

(8) As before Re 3:4.

(b) Until their number is completed

Revelation 6:11. The white robe assigned each (Blass, § 32, 4) of these martyr-spirits as a pledge of future and final glory (Revelation 7:9) and a consoling proof that no judgment awaited them (Revelation 20:4-6), is a favourite gift in the Jewish heaven (cf. Enoch lxii. 15 f., and Asc. Isa. ix. 24 f.). The intermediate state was a much debated question in apocalyptic literature, and early Christian thought fluctuates between the idea of a provisional degree of bliss (as here and, e.g., Clem. Rom. i. 3, “those who by God’s grace have been perfected in love possess the place of the pious, and they shall be manifested at the visitation of God’s kingdom”) and a direct, full entrance into heavenly privileges—especially, though neither uniformly nor exclusively, reserved for martyrs (Clem. Rom. v, Polyk. ad Phil. ix. 2, Hebrews 12:23, etc.); cf. Titius, 44–46. A cognate idea is reproduced in Asc. Isaiah 9:6 f., where in the seventh heaven Abel, Enoch and the Jewish saints appear all clothed “in the garments of the upper world” (i.e., in their resurrection-bodies) but not yet in full possession of their privileges, not yet seated on their thrones or wearing their crowns of glory. These are not theirs, till Christ descends to earth and ascends to heaven again.—“And they were told to rest (or wait quietly) for a little while yet,” as they had been doing till the successive shocks of providence stirred them to an outburst of eager and reproachful anticipation. To rest implies to cease crying for vengeance (cf. Revelation 4:8). Gfrörer (2:50) cites a rabbinic tradition that the messiah would not come until all souls in גוּף (an intermediate resting-place of the departed?) were clothed with bodies. ἕως κ.τ.λ., this is closely and curiously reproduced, not so much from ideas preserved in the contemporary Apoc. Bar. xxiii. 4, 5 (where the end of the world comes when the predestined number of human beings is completed) as from the religious tradition also used in Clem. Rom. ii, lix, Justin (Apol. 1:45), and the contemporary 4th Esdras (4:36 f., quoniam in statera ponderauit saecula et mensura mensurauit tempora et non commouit nec excitauit, usquedum impleatur praedicta mensura … quando impletus fuerit numerus similium uobis) which thinks not of mankind but of the righteous (cf. Apoc. Bar. xxx. 2, and Hebrews 11:40). The atmosphere of this belief goes back to the first century B.C., as in Enoch (xlvii, cf. 9:22.) “and the hearts of the holy were filled with joy that the number of righteousness had drawn nigh, and the prayer of the righteous was heard, and the blood of the righteous required, before the Lord of Spirits” (cf. below, ch. Revelation 11:15 f.). The thought is repeated in Ep. Lugd. from this passage (“day by day those who were worthy were seized, filling up their number, so that all the zealous people and those through whom our affairs here had been especially established, were collected out of both churches”). It had been already developed otherwise in 4th Esdras 4:35 f., where the seer’s impatience for the end is rebuked and God’s greater eagerness asserted. “Did not the souls of the righteous question thus in their chambers, saying, ‘How long are we still to stay here? et quando ueniet fructus areae mercedis nostrae?’ And the archangel Jeremiel answered them and said, ‘When the number of your fellows is complete’.” Substituting martyrs for the righteous, the author of our Apocalypse has exploited the idea thus familiar to him as a devout Jew; his first four visions come mainly through Zechariah; for the next he adapts this later post-exilic notion. The Neronic victims and their fellows occupied in his mind the place filled by the early Jewish saints in the reverent regard of contemporary Jews. As Renan notices (317 f.), this thirst for vengeance was in the air after Nero’s death, shared even by Romans; one legend (Suet. Nero, xlviii., Dio Cass. lxiii. 28) told how, as Nero fled to his last retreat, during a thunderpeal the souls of his victims burst from the earth and flung themselves upon him.—As the safety of the physical universe rested on the safety of the righteous, according to the Jewish notion, so any massacres of the latter at once affected the stability of the world. Hence the sequence of Revelation 6:11-12 f. There is no hint that these physical aberrations were temporary. Yet the following catastrophes (7 f.) plainly presuppose a universe in its original and normal condition. It depends upon the theory adopted of the book whether this points merely to such discrepancies as are not unfamiliar in literature (especially imaginative literature), or to recapitulation, or to the presence of different sources.11. And white robes were given] We should read, and there was given them to each one a white robe, bringing out still more fully than the old text, that the white robe is an individual, not a common blessing. It serves to mark them both as innocent and as conquerors: what it is is better felt than said. We see that the “souls” appeared in some visible form, like enough to bodies to wear garments: one of the considerations against regarding them as abstractions, not personal beings. There can hardly be any doubt that this verse (cf. Revelation 3:4-5) represents a portion of the reward given by God to His Saints, and if so, evidently such a portion of their reward as they receive in the interval before the Resurrection. But whether all the elect are in the same position as the Martyrs, or whether we have here described a special privilege granted to them only, is more doubtful: the prevalent belief of Christendom has been, that Martyrs and the like more excellent Saints have, in this intermediate state, a privilege above all the other justified ones.

and it was said unto them] From the nature of the case, their cry and the answer to it had to be heard by St John successively. But doubtless in fact they are contemporaneous: the Saints at once share God’s desire for the triumph of righteousness over sin, and rest in God’s assurance that it is for good reason that that triumph is delayed.

that they should rest] i.e. not be impatient and disquieted. Something more is meant than to be at peace, freed from the troubles of their earthly life (as Revelation 14:13): but the word does not in the least imply that they are to be unconscious, or as it were asleep.

yet for a little season] Yet to Stephen and his companions it is not less than 1840 years: and though the Old Testament Martyrs be not exclusively meant, they are no doubt included. But notice that it is contemplated that there will be an interval between the Martyrs of the Primitive Church and those of the last days.

their fellowservants also and their brethren] It would be possible to construe the words “both their fellowservants and their brethren,” as though two classes were spoken of. In Revelation 19:10, Revelation 22:9, where we get the same words coupled, though in another construction, it may be thought that St John is called a brother of Martyrs and Prophets in a special sense. It would therefore be possible to distinguish the two classes, “their fellowservants (viz. all their true fellow-believers), and their brethren which should be killed as they were.” But it is much simpler to translate as the A. V., making both nouns antecedents to the clause that follows.

that should be killed as they were] The word “as” is slightly emphasised, “even as they.” The Martyrs of the last days are to be like those of the first, Martyrs in the strictest sense—Christians slain because they hold the Christian faith, and will not renounce it. Such Martyrs there have been, no doubt, in the interval between the great ages of persecution under the Roman emperors and under Antichrist, e.g. in the Mohammedan conquests, in the age of the conversion of central Europe, in Japan in the seventeenth century, and in Madagascar, China, New Zealand, and Zululand in our own time. It is likely enough also that martyrs to charity—men like St Telemachus and St Philip of Moscow, Abp. Affré and Bp. Patteson—have their portion with the perfect martyrs to faith: in some cases, as in the last, it is hard to draw a line between the two: any way, those who suffer for righteousness’ sake suffer for Christ, as St Anselm said when Lanfranc wished to deny the honours of a martyr to St Alphege. But to suffer for conscience’ sake, however noble, is not necessarily quite the same thing: and it is hardly right to claim the name of martyr for the victims—certainly not for the victims on one side only—in the fratricidal contests of Christians. “The Lord knoweth them that are His;” He knows whether Becket or Huss, More or Latimer, Charles I. or Margaret Wilson, had most of the Martyr’s spirit: we had better not anticipate His judgement whether any or all of them are worthy of the Martyr’s white robe.

should be fulfilled] Probably we should read, should have fulfilled—i.e. their course, as Acts 13:25, or their work.Revelation 6:11. Αὐτοῖς ἑκάστῳ[75]) You may with reason doubt, says Wolf, whether John wrote αὐτοῖς ἑκάστῳ. But he wrote ὑμῖν ἑκάστῳ, ch. Revelation 2:23; and so Luke, ch. Revelation 2:3, and Acts 2:8, πάντες, ἕκαστος· ἡμεῖς, ἕκαστος: Paul, Ephesians 5:33, ὑμεῖς ἕκαστος. The very expression, αὐτοῖς ἑκάστῳ, occurs, Sir 17:14. They who have not admitted the joining together of the plural and singular number, have made various changes: some of them have omitted ἑκάστῳ, Mill incorrectly giving his assent, Proleg. § 1003.[76]—χρόνον) Others, ΧΡΌΝΟΝ ΜΙΚΡΌΝ; and Wolf defends that reading. He says, John uses the same phrase below, ch. Revelation 20:3. From that place, in fact, some have introduced the adjective into this: for the copyists everywhere delighted to insert adjectives, lest the style should appear too abrupt. Whence also Augustine, in his second book against Gaudentius, c. 19, uses it more than once; and Jerome, in his treatise on the Perfect Man, thus has it. But this χρόνος, which is the subject of ch. Revelation 6:11, ends by a long interval before the beginning of the little season (μικροῦ χρόνου), which is the subject of ch. Revelation 20:3. Wolf subjoins: It certainly might have done much towards the arousing of those souls, if they understood that the delay of the Divine judgments would only be for a short time. It was this indeed which induced the African writers to add μικρὸν,[77] as a solace to the martyrs (comp. Coll. Antithet. of Antonius, p. 909, on precipitate hope); although in cases where the delay is in reality not short, they who affirm that it is short, cause an arousing which is not lasting. The best consolation is in the truth itself, which, in the meantime, by the form of speech in which it is veiled, softens down the more unfavourable points which are from time to time mingled with those more joyful, as the long-continued delay in this passage. As to criticism, I have nothing here to add to the Apparatus, except the explanation of Apringius, which is as follows: But because the everlasting recompense of the saints and the damnation of the wicked is about to come at the last time, it was said to them that they should wait, and for the comfort of the body, etc. He makes no remark respecting the shortness of the time. Χρόνον is used absolutely, as ἐπὶ χρόνον, without an epithet, Luke 18:4; on which passage E. Schmid remarks, that χρόνον is frequently used absolutely also by Homer. But it is used also, Acts 19:22, and Isaiah 27:11 in the Septuagint. Χρόνον is the reading which is supported by the most ancient, the most numerous, and best authorities, short, natural, without any adulteration, and, as the interpretation now demonstrates from the structure of the whole book, necessarily true. D. Lange places a short time from the crying of the souls to the time of judgment and vengeance, Comm. Apoc. f. 81, and everywhere. This is one of those passages, in which the labour spent by this illustrious man upon the Apocalypse would have produced greater fruits, if he had more thoroughly weighed the arguments for the true reading. The prophecy refuses shortness as applied to this time. Its subject extends itself from the time of John through the ages of the world which still remain, and which are not much fewer than those which have passed, by a continuous thread to the end of the world: and yet it shuts up many things into periods of times of considerable length, which are definitely expressed in their proper places: all other things are done ἐν τάχει, quickly. Therefore the Lamb immediately, and in rapid succession, opens the seven seals, the fifth of which contains the souls crying out. This cry, this complaint, long afterwards, IN THE SAME WORDS, is transposed into a song, ch. Revelation 19:2; then at length, namely, when the judgment of the saints and apostles shall be passed upon Babylon or Rome, ch. Revelation 18:20. Therefore two classes of martyrs are pointed out: the one under heathen Rome; the other under papal Rome. The former arc ordered to take their rest until the latter are added to them: the age of John already had the former; the thirteenth century bore the first-fruits of the latter. To the former, therefore, while they were expecting the latter, there was not μικρὸς χρόνος, but truly χρόνος. As καιρὸς has a special meaning in this book, ch. Revelation 12:12; Revelation 12:14, so also has χρόνος, which even in Latin we call chronos (derivatives of which word are not unknown to the Latins), that the time καιρὸς may not be confounded with it. Chronus has 11111/9 years, as we show in its proper place; and this Chronus flowed on from the year 98 to 1209, or from the first year of Trajan to the Crusade stirred up against the Waldenses by the zeal of Innocent III. Before this the Pope had never been a bloodthirsty persecutor: afterwards he never ceased to be such. To this Chronus is opposed No longera Chronus, ch. Revelation 10:6, whence there is a beautiful antithesis between the two passages, χρόνον ἔτι, χρόνος οὐκέτι. The expression NonChronus itself includes times of sufficient length, expressed, ch. 11 and 12 and 13, and yet a Chronus exceeds a NonChronus in length. How correctly these things are spoken, however paradoxical they are, the truth will bring to light, but after a time. I will here make a remark, which applies to all passages which have any indication of time. The times are not entirely determined from facts, much less are facts from times: but they afford mutual aid to each other, so that the event may be definitely distinguished.—ἕως, until) A Chronus is placed between this answer and the beginning πληρωσέως, of the fulfilment, as there were four kings of Persia between the prophecy and the destruction of the fourth King: Daniel 11:3. After a Chronus, “brethren” are to be added, by the continual slaughter of whom, accomplished under the fury of the beast, the promise is fulfilled. The Chronus extends to the times of the beast; when these are elapsed, the judgment takes place.—πληρωθῶσι) Comp. Al. Lat. most suitably have this passive form: many, with Andreas of Cæsarea, have the neuter πληρώσωσι.[78] Erasmus alone has the middle form, πληρώσονται (although the construction required the subjunctive); and, in what manner he proceeded in revising the Apocalypse, I have shown in the Apparatus, Fund. Cris. § xvii. But since that discussion is not specially suited to any particular text, I greatly fear, lest many readers should pass it by, and consequently, in particular passages of the text to which it ought to be applied, should be the less prepared to judge. Wherefore I have considered it my duty, in these annotations also, to put forward some of the strong points of my argument. I will here speak what is suitable for the subject.

[75] AC read αὐτοῖς ἑκάστῳ: so Cypr. 310. Rec. Text, with h, ἑκάστοις. B, αὐτοῖς: “eis singulæ stolæ,” Cypr. 254 and Vulg.—E.

[76] στολὴ λευκὴ, a white robe) So also ch. Revelation 7:9.—V. g.

[77] B is the oldest authority for the omission of μικρόν: so Tisch. But AC Vulg. h, Cypr. support it; so Lachm.—E.

[78] AC read πληρωθῶσιν: Vulg. “impleantur.” But B, πληρώσωσιν: Rec. Text, πληρώσονται.—E.

I.) Erasmus had only one manuscript on the Apocalypse, the Reuchlinian.

II.) The Reuchlinian copy was the commentary of Andreas of Cæsarea upon the Apocalypse, and this had τὸ κείμενον, or the text inserted amidst the commentary.

III.) Erasmus wonderfully extols the antiquity of this manuscript. undoubtedly had a good text, and that in some places of singular gcellence; but that it was likewise mutilated, is understood from his, that Erasmus was both ignorant of the author of the commentry, and supplied a part of chapter 22 from Latin editions. He imself acknowledges the former point in his Annotations upon the New Testament, and the latter in his Epistles.

IV.) The edition of Erasmus is often so different from the Comslutensian edition, and from all the MSS., especially those which have been duly collated, and from all the versions and fathers whose pinions are on record, and from the remaining copies of Andreas himself, that it agrees with the Latin MSS., and those of an inferior character, and which are refuted by the Latin MSS. of a better class, sometimes also with Ticonius, or his faulty edition; and it Introduces into the text Greek words which are at variance with the usage of the Greek language.

V.) Not a few of such passages occur to us while we make these remarks; and in such passages, there is no doubt that the Renchnian MS. was worn out by its antiquity, and that Erasmus patched up its deficiency from Latin copies. In this passage, therefore, Erasmus has given πληρώσονται from the Latin compleantur, and he as easily laid hold of the middle voice, answering to the nearest verb ναπαύσωνται. As often as anything of this kind occurs to Erasmus, his revision has not even the weight of a single MS.; nor do any renturies of subsequent editions make his conjecture better, in opposition to all the MSS. I sometimes speak τολμηρότερον, more holdly and confidently, not indeed through want of modesty, but that they may be excited to perceive the truth, who too superstiously defend the particular edition, whatever it is, to which they have once been accustomed. Πληρωθῶσι is used in this passage with reference to the completing of the number of the martyrs.Verse 11. - And white robes were given unto every one of them; and there was given to each one a white robe. Στολὴ λευκή, "a white robe," is supported by A, C, [P], N, B, etc. The white robe of righteousness, the wedding garment of Matthew 22:11, 12, is the sign of the blessedness of the saints. White is the colour of heavenly victory in the Apocalypse (see on ver. 2). The vision has recalled the past sufferings of the martyrs and their present expectation of the final consummation of their hopes, which is to be not yet. The other side is now to be shown; though they have not yet reached their final bliss, they have received the white robe, they are free from possibility of defilement, the victory is won, and they have rest. Comfort and encouragement are thus afforded to those still struggling in the world, who have not as yet attained to the white robe of perfect righteousness. And it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season. Revelation 14. seems to determine the exact signification ἀναπάυσωνται, viz. "rest in peace," "rest from their labours," rather than specifically "cease from uttering this cry" (ver. 10), as explained by De Wette and others. For a little time (χρόνος); that is, till the second coming of Christ, for the time which is to intervene before that event is frequently spoken of as a little time (see on Revelation 1:1; 20:3; 12:12; comp. Haggai 2:6, 7, "Yet once a little time, and I will shake the heavens, and the earth, the sea and the dry land, and all nations, and the Desire of all nations shall come"). The time of the world is little in comparison with eternity. This little time is depicted and set forth under the six seals; it comes to an end at Revelation 7:17, and merges into eternity in Revelation 8:1. Some expositors (of the historical school) understand a χρόνος to be a definite, arbitrary number; e.g. Bengel considers it to be 1111 1/9 years (see 'Speaker's Commentary,' p. 485). Until their fellow servants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled. R, B, P, read πληρώσωσιν, "shall have fulfilled" [i.e. their course]; A, C, read πληρωθῶσιν, "should be completed." "Their fellow servants also and their brethren" may not denote two separate bodies, notwithstanding that καί occurs twice, but, as Alford remarks, it may point out the same persons viewed in two aspects - first, the Christians needed to proceed with and finish Christ's work as his servants; second, the same ones needed to complete the number of his family. But it seems more likely that reference is intended to two classes of Christians - first, their fellow servants, that is, all Christians, who may, however, not suffer martyrdom; and, second, their brethren, the martyrs, who, like them, should yet be killed. White robes were given unto every one of them (ἐδόθησαν ἑκάστοις στολαὶ λευκαὶ)

The best texts read ἐδόθη αὐτοῖς ἑκάστῳ στολὴ λευκή there was given them to each one a white robe. So Rev. Στολὴ is properly a long, flowing robe; a festive garment. Compare Mark 16:5; Luke 15:22; Luke 20:46.

Should rest (ἀναπαύσωνται)

See on Matthew 11:28; see on 1 Peter 5:14; compare Revelation 14:13; Daniel 12:13. Not merely rest from their crying for vengeance, but rest in peace.


See Master in Revelation 6:10.

Should be fulfilled (πληρώσονται)

Completed in number. See Colossians 2:10. Some texts read πληρώσωσιν shall have fulfilled their course.

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