Revelation 1:1

The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him. The very word belongs to the Holy Scriptures, and is peculiar to them. None of the Greek writers use it in the sacred sense which we always associate with it. And this is not to be wondered at, for they had naught to tell with any authority on those profound questions with which it is the province of revelation to deal, and upon which the mind of man yearns for light. But when that light first flashed upon men, no wonder that they spoke of its manifestation as an unveiling, as an apocalypse, as a revelation. And the record of that revelation is our Bible. The word has become so familiar to us that we are apt to forget that the unveiling implies a previous veiling, and that both the one and the other fact suggest questions, not merely of great interest, but of much and practical importance to every one of us. Therefore let us consider -

I. THE VEILING IN THE PAST. The writer of the Book of Proverbs affirms that "It is the glory of God to conceal a thing;" and undoubtedly God did see fit for long ages to hide from the knowledge of men not a little of that which he afterwards was pleased to reveal. So that those dark days of old St. Paul called "the times of ignorance," and adds the too much forgotten and most blessed fact that "God winked at" those times; i.e. he did not hold men accountable for them, and would not bring men into judgment because of them.

1. This ignorance hung like a pall over vast regions of human thought.

(1) God. Some denied his existence altogether. Yet more, forced to believe that the universe and themselves could not have come into being by chance, multiplied gods many and lords many, and invested them, not with the noblest, but the basest characteristics of humanity, so that they worshipped devils rather than gods - monsters of might and maligmity, of lust and lies. So was it with the mass of men.

(2) Man. They knew not themselves more than the true God. They knew that they were miserable, but how or why, or how to remedy their condition, they knew not. Of sin as the virulent venom that poisoned all the veins and arteries of their life they were ignorant, and of holiness as the alone road to happiness they knew still less; the very idea of holiness had not dawned upon them.

(3) And of immortality, the life eternal, they knew nothing, Nothing could be more dim or vague, more uncertain or unsatisfying, than their views as to what awaited them when this life was done. They beheld the sun and stars set and rise, but they bitterly complained that for man there was the setting, but no rising again. Over all these topics and those related to them the veil of ignorance hung down, and no light penetrated through its thick folds.

2. But why was all this? is the question that irresistibly rises in our minds as we contemplate this most mournful fact. A complete answer no man can give; we can only suggest some considerations supplied to us from the Word of God, and from our observation of God's methods of dealing with men.

(1) Man's own sin was, doubtless, one chief force that drew down this veil. This is St. Paul's contention in the opening chapters of the Epistle to the Romans. And the universal experience, so terrible but so true, that let a man will to be ignorant of God's truth, ere long it will come to pass that he is so, whether he will or no. Furthermore

(2) such times of limited knowledge serve as tests of character. The faith of the good is tried, and thereby exercised and developed. Such faith shines out radiant on the dark background of the ignorance and sin that stretch all around. Hence Abraham became the father of the faithful and the friend of God. But the evil of evil, working in surroundings congenial to it, mounts to such a height, and becomes so glaring and abominable, that the justice of God in judging it is seen and confessed by all. And yet again

(3) such times cannot be done away until the instruments and conditions requisite for the bringing in of better times have been prepared. Hence the advent of Christ was so long delayed. A people cosmopolitan - the Jews; a language universal - the Greek; an arena large, compact, organized, with free intercommunication - the Roman empire; a period when the strife and din of war were hushed, and the different nations of the world had become welded into one - the period of the Roman peace; - not till these all and yet others were had the fulness of time arrived. Till then the veil must yet hang down, and darkness cover the land,

(4) The futility of all other means of uplifting and raising mankind needed to be made manifest. Hence one after another, military force, statecraft, commerce, philosophy, art, religion, had successively or simultaneously striven to show what they could do in this great enterprise. Scope of space and time had to be given them, and not till each had been compelled to confess, "It is not in me," was the way clear for "the bringing in of the better hope." Man had to be "shut up" to God's way, or nothing could keep him from believing that he could find, or from attempting to find, some better way of his own. It has always been so; it is so still. We will not turn to God until we are made to see that it is the best and the only thing to be done. And man takes a long time to see that. Some light is surely shed on this protracted ignorance, this long-continued veiling, by such considerations as these, and we may well wait, therefore, for the larger light in which we shall rejoice hereafter.

II. THE UNVEILING - the revelation that has been given to us. Note:

1. Its nature. It has shown to us God. In Christ he is made known to us. Atonement, how to obtain acceptance with him; regeneration, how to be made like unto him; immortality, our destined dwelling with him; - all this has been unveiled for us on whom the true light has now shined.

2. Its necessity. The darkness of which we have told above on all these great questions so momentous to our present and eternal well being.

3. Its probability. God having constituted us as he has, with religious capacities and yearnings, and being himself what he is, it was likely that he would interpose for our good, and not let the whole race of man die in darkness and despair. Granted that God is, and that he is what the nature he has given us leads us to believe he is, so far from there being any antecedent objection to the idea that he should have interposed to save us out of our sin and misery, the great probability is that he would do just that which we believe he has done, and give us such revelation of himself and his will as we possess in his Word. He who has planted in us the instincts of mercy and compassion, who has given us yearnings after a purer and nobler life, who prompts us to rescue and to save whenever we have opportunity, - is it likely that in him there would be nothing akin to all this? The probability is all the other way, so that a revelation from him whereby our evil condition may be remedied and man may be saved, comes to us with this claim on our acceptance, that it is in keeping with his nature and what that nature leads us to expect.

4. And when we examine the revelation itself, it is commended to us by the fact that we find in it the full setting forth of those truths which men had been for long ages feeling after, but had never yet found. Take these three amongst the chief of them.

(1) The Incarnation. Man has never been content that the gulf between him and God should remain unbridged and impassable, and hence, in all manner of ways, he has striven to link together his own nature and the Divine (cf. on this subject Archbishop Trench's Hulsean Lectures, 'The Unconscious Prophecies of Heathendom'). Reason cannot discover the doctrine of the Incarnation, but the history of man's efforts after a religion give ample proof that this is a felt necessity of the human spirit; "For where is the religion of human device, where mythology, that has not sought to bridge over the awful chasm between the finite and the Infinite, between man and God, by the supposition of a union of some sort between the human and Divine? Sometimes by supposing God to be a Spirit dwelling in men as in the material universe; sometimes by filling heaven with deities possessed of bodies, and having passions little differing from our own; sometimes by supposing actual descents of the Deity in human form upon the earth; and sometimes by celebrating the rise of great heroes and eminent men by an apotheosis unto gods, the heathen have sought to alleviate the difficulty which men must ever feel in seeking to have intercourse and relations with the Infinite and Eternal. How can the weak and sinful come nigh to the All Perfect? How can the finite enter into relations with the Infinite? He cries out for a living, a personal, an incarnate God;" and this his great need is met by the revelation of God in Christ, and because so met the revelation is thereby commended powerfully both to our hearts and minds.

(2) The atonement. This, too, has been a felt necessity of the human spirit. To answer the question - How can man be just with God? what have not men done? what do they not do even now? Scoffers think to make an easy conquest over the gospel by calling its doctrine of atonement "the religion of the shambles;" and by that sneer to dismiss the whole question of the truth of revelation to the region of ridicule and contempt. But at once there confronts them the whole force of human conviction as to the necessity and craving for atonement, which has found and yet finds expression in ten thousand forms, some of them, without doubt, horrible enough. No religion has ever found acceptance amongst any people in any age that ventured to ignore, much more to scoff at, this ineradicable demand of the human heart. "Be the origin of sacrifice what it may, its universal prevalence amongst men, and its perpetuation amongst peoples the most widely separated from each other, and in spite of changes of manners and customs and usages, in other respects of the most radical kinds, incontestably show that it has a firm root in man's deepest convictions, and lies embedded in his religious consciousness, to be parted with only as he ceases" to care for religion at all. Our revelation, therefore, coming to us as it does with blessed light on this great theme, and showing us how God in Christ has provided the perfect Sacrifice, of which all others were but vain attempts or dim types, commends itself thereby to every man's conscience in the sight of God.

(3) And so, too, with the doctrine of immortality. "Let us eat and drink; for tomorrow we die," has been the practical outcome for the mass of mankind of the darkness in which they dwelt in regard to this great truth. "Without God, and without, hope:" what blessedness above that of the mere sensual life was possible to them? What can keep men, taken as a whole, from living like the brutes if you tell them that they are to perish like the brutes? Down to that dread level they have gravitated more and more, and must. But a revelation which "brings life and immortality to light cannot but be welcome to the hearts of men, uplifting, strengthening, regenerating them, so that if any man embrace it he shall, he must, become "a new creature." Thus does the revelation given us of God draw us to itself and to him; and our duty and delight should be to receive, believe, and commend it to all men everywhere, that they, too, may become partakers of the like precious faith. If in virtue of this revelation we can any of us say, and do say of the Lord, "He is my Refuge and my Fortress; my God, in whom I will trust," our next duty surely is to turn to our brother, who as yet knows not what we know, and say to him, "Surely he will deliver thee." - S.C.

The Revelation of Jesus Christ. &&&

1. This sacred book is called the Revelation, or Apocalypse, to express its origin. It is the Word of the living God, given by Divine inspiration, and invested with Divine authority.

2. It is called the Apocalypse to express its nature. It gives a blessed manifestation of the character, counsels, and dealings of God.

3. It is called the Apocalypse, to express its object. There is an objective revelation of the character and will of God which is given in His Word; of the great plan of mercy which is given in the gospel; of the great events of Providence which are given in sacred prophecy.

4. It is called the Apocalypse, to express its subject. There is a subjective revelation experienced by the saint, consisting in the saving illumination of the Spirit (Matthew 11:25; Psalm 119:18).

5. It is called the Apocalypse, to express its great design. The word signifies to remove the veil that conceals an object from view.

6. There is, notwithstanding this glorious manifestation, considerable darkness resting on this book. It is denominated "The mystery of God." This obscurity arises from the depth of the counsels of heaven, from the symbolical language in which they are revealed, from the prophetical nature of the sacred book. But amid all the mystery with which it is enveloped, there is a light within the cloud to illuminate and cheer.


1. It is a revelation from Him as the great Author, and the great Medium, and the great Depositary, and the great Dispenser of Divine revelation, and all its hopes, promises, and blessings.

2. It is a revelation concerning Him as the great subject, the sum and substance of the glorious gospel.

3. It is a revelation through Him, as the medium of Divine communication, as the great Prophet and Teacher of the Church.

4. It is a revelation to Him as the great object, the end, the proprietor of the oracles of heaven. It is His — His own peculiar charge, ant His own Divine prerogative. In Him all the lines of Divine truth centre; from Him all the beams of its glory irradiate; to Him all the prophets gave witness.


1. The nature of this design. It is "to show." This partially explains the word "revelation," which is to make manifest what was before concealed. It also explains the word "signified," which is to show verbally, in plain language; or symbolically, by signs or symbols.

2. The persons to whom this design is made known. They are "servants" — the servants of God, by a devout and voluntary surrender of themselves. They are not only servants, but they are kings and priests. To these distinguished servants God's holy will is given. The secret of the Lord is with them that fear Him; and He will show them His covenant.

3. The objects revealed.

4. The time of fulfilment — "Things that must shortly come to pass."(1) This may be viewed personally, as referring to ourselves as individuals. The time of our departure is at hand. "Lord teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts to wisdom."(2) It may be viewed generally. The time is at hand with regard to the Church, and the end of the world, and the day of judgment.(3) It may be viewed comparatively. The time is short when we view it in connection with eternity.(4) It may be viewed progressively with respect to the nature, the order, and arrangement of Divine operation — the time is at hand.

5. As the message was important, so the messenger was honourable: "He sent and signified it by His angel unto His servant John."(1) The message, and how it was delivered. He signified and testified, or showed it; He made it manifest by plain words, direct testimony, and by signs or symbols (Hosea 12:10).(2) The person that sent — "He sent." God the Father sent His angel to His servant John. The Lord Jesus sent His angel: I, Jesus, sent Mine angel to testify to you these things in the Churches.(3) The messenger sent was "His angel." All the holy angels are His by creation, providence, electing love, confirming grace, and sacred office. But some He selects for distinguished services.

(James Young.)

There is an irresistible charm in lofty eminences. There is exhilaration in ascending them, though attended, often, With much fatigue. Similar should be the charm of this wondrous book.

I. THE TITLE — "The Revelation of Jesus Christ."

II. THE DESIGN. "To show unto His servants," dec.

III. THE SPECIAL PROMISE. "Blessed is he that readeth," etc.

(D. C. Hughes.)

I. Its ORIGINAL SOURCE is expressed in the title which the author gives to his book: It is a revelation of Jesus Christ, and not the revelation; as though it were the only one which He has given, or the only one which He gave to His servant John. There may be a reference in this term to the special design of this book to reveal the time and manner of the Saviour's coming. It was an exciting topic then, as it is now; and many were the conflicting sentiments that were entertained concerning the apocalypse, or revelation of Jesus Christ. It is styled "a Revelation of Jesus Christ," because in His mediatorial person, as Immanuel, or God-man, and in His official capacity as the great Prophet and Teacher of His Church, He was the principal party in making it known. Yet in this, as in every other part of His work, He acts by delegated authority from the Father, and in subserviency to His will. Not less in heaven than on earth, in His glorification than in the scenes of His humiliation, is He the medium of communication between God and His redeemed. This revelation was given to Jesus Christ "to show unto His servants." It was given to Christ to reveal to others. He knew them before. The revelation was not made for Him, but for Him to make known. The persons to whom He is empowered to reveal them are "His servants." The servants of Christ, or of God, are the redeemed. This He is ready to do by His Word, and the teaching of His Spirit.

II. Of the GENERAL CHARACTER of these contents we are thus informed: they are "things which must shortly come to pass." It is not a history of the past, nor a record of the present, but a prophecy of the future. It is not a mass of conjecture, but of certainties. Though pending upon the fickleness of human passions, the whole future course of events is as unalterably fixed as the past.

III. We are informed TO WHOM this revelation, in the first instance, was made known. "He sent and signified it... unto His servant John." He teaches one, that this one may teach many. Ministers should look for their teaching immediately from Christ. John had borne a faithful testimony of the things which had been, and now he is to bear record of the things that should be hereafter. Those who have evinced a sound judgment, and given a faithful record of things which are, and have been, are best qualified to treat of things to come.

IV. We are informed of THE MANNER in which this revelation was communicated by Jesus Christ to His servant John: "He sent and signified it by His angel." God gives the revelation to Jesus Christ, and He to an angel, and the angel to John. The word "angel," which simply signifies a messenger, is not applied in Scripture exclusively to that particular order of beings of which it is the generic term. What more natural to conclude than that saints carry with them their prevailing disposition to heaven; and that the saint whose heart was most interested in the events here recorded should have been selected by Christ as His messenger to John? We have Moses and Elias appearing in angelic forms to our Lord upon the mount. Why not Isaiah or Jeremiah, or Daniel, to John in the isle of Patmos?

V. We are informed of THE PURPOSE for which this revelation was recorded. It was for our study and observance; "Blessed is he that readeth," etc. Whoever undertakes to read the Divine Word to ethers, shall be blessed in his deed. While he is reading new light will burst upon the sacred page, and his own mind will be instructed. The hearers too will be blessed. Few, if any methods, are better adapted to ascertain the meaning of Scripture, and to impress it upon the mind, than its being read by one and afterwards made the subject of mutual inquiry and observation. The multiplication of copies ought not to have superseded this wholesome practice. Let the reading and familiar discussion of all parts of the sacred volume once become general, and a blessing, as the dew of Hermon, will descend upon the mountains of Zion. h particular reason for the blessedness which would accompany the study of this book is given in the concluding observation: "for the time is at hand." This had a special application to the Churches to which it is first addressed. It was an intimation to them that the first events of the series in which they were principally concerned would speedily occur. It was needful, therefore, that they should take them at once into serious consideration. To be forewarned is to be forearmed. Let them avail themselves of these preadmonitions, and they would experience the blessedness of those who are prepared for the conflict and sure of final victory. Conclusion:

1. The Church is entrusted with the observation and improvement of events as they rise.

2. It must adapt itself to external changes in the use of appointed means.

3. Prophecy is intended to point out the direction in which its energies should be employed.

(G. Rogers.)

Christians are not confined to this world in their enjoyments of life. They not merely behold the things of men, but also the things of God; not merely the things of time, but also those of eternity.


1. God is the primal author of spiritual revelations. He is the source of light, and alone can cause it to shine from heaven into the heart of man.

2. Christ is the sympathetic medium of spiritual revelations. St. John is here writing of Him as having ascended to heaven with a Divine-human nature.

3. Varied messengers are the communicating agencies of revelation. Angelic ministeries are interested in the instruction of the good. Who was the messenger here employed? It would seem that prophetic fires were kindled in some ancient seer who had entered upon his heavenly rest, and that he was employed to uncover to the imprisoned apostle the sublime visions of this book.


1. They are not given to the nationally presumptuous. These have other visions more welcome to their ambitious spirits — visions of fame. They would rather dream of servile crowds paying them transient homage, than be permitted the grandest revelation of heaven that is possible to human soul.

2. They are not given to the socially great. They are not given to kings by virtue of their kinghood. They are not given to the warrior in acknowledgment of his victory. They are not given to the wealthy in praise of their industry and thrift. They are rather given to the humble, to the poor in spirit, to the pure in heart, to the loving servants of the Lord.

3. They are not given to the intellectually wise. To untutored minds, but of heavenly thought, things Divine are made known, far grander than are suspected by the students of earthly things. They are given to the good —

(1)Because the good are in sympathy with God.

(2)Because the good will live under the influence of the revelation.

(3)Because the good will be faithful to the revelation.


1. The good man's solitude is never lonely. But when earth is far removed, when the hurry of business and the excitement of pleasure are behind, then come those heavenly visions which so enrich the soul.

2. God does not forsake His faithful servants in their time of need. In the furnace we get bright visions of the Son of Man.


1. Man is unable to interpret the spiritual meaning of the ages.

2. The moral significance of the ages ought to engage our most careful study.Lessons:

1. Adore the condescension of God in revealing Himself to man.

2. Praise the glory of God which He has manifested to your soul in time of vision.

3. Live and write the spiritual revelations of the Eternal.

(J. S. Exell, M. A.)

I. AS A REVELATION. Christ reveals the future history of mankind —

1. By disclosing its essential principles.

2. By the dispensations of Providence.


1. Here is a commission from heaven to record certain things.

2. Here is a commission from heaven to reveal certain things, addressed to a man.

3. Here is a commission from heaven to record certain things, addressed to a man of the highest moral class.


1. Historic events are of moral significance.

2. The moral significance involves a Divine law.

3. In practical obedience to this Divine law there is true happiness.

(D. Thomas, D. D.)

To show unto His servants things which must shortly come to pass
For the behoof and benefit of the family of faith who are all of Christ's cabinet council.

(J. Trapp.)

I. TIMELY REVELATION. "To show unto His servants things which must shortly come to pass." There was a time when we did not see into the evil of sin as we were afterwards led to do. There was a time when we did not see into the infallible certainty of the judgment of God as we did when the Lord was pleased to cause the weighty matters of judgment to sink down deep into our souls. Then the question was, How are we to escape this tremendous evil? What, then, is to be done? Some of us ran one way, and some another; but ere long the Lord showed unto us that Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners.

II. CONFIRMATION. Now these are the servants of the Lord that are thus brought to serve Him in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter; that are thus brought to serve Him, not at Mount Gerizim, nor at Jerusalem, nor any other earthly locality, but brought to serve Him in spirit and in truth, and consequently to worship Him everywhere. And we need confirming in these things, or else our unbelief, our many infirmities, our many trials, would put an end to His religion. And so we need confirming from time to time in God's truth in order to keep us pursuing. How does the Lord confirm us now? Is it not by a fresh manifestation of the redeeming power of the blood of the Lamb? Is it not by a fresh opening up unto us of the excellency of the atoning death of the Lord Jesus Christ?

III. DIRECTION. What a mercy this is! It is a great thing to be guided by the Lord; there is not anything too hard for Him. I have found it good in my time to watch the hand of the Lord in all these things. So, then, "to show unto His servants," to direct them; and He does in many of His dealings say, "What! do thou knowest not now, but thou shalt know hereafter."

IV. THE THINGS THAT WERE SHORTLY TO COME TO PASS. How there are two orders of things that were shortly to come to pass; one very unpleasant, and the other exceedingly pleasant. Well, you and I know not what troubles lie in our path yet, but there is not anything too hard for the Lord. I am not going to look to coming troubles — that is not my business, "Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof." So, then, if tribulation shall abound, consolation shall abound also. But now I must be careful in pointing out the pleasant circumstances — "things which must shortly come to pass." To speak plainly, it means that these people should soon be in heaven. You observe that every one of the promises is founded upon victory. "To him that overcometh." It is a legal victory, or victory of right. In righteousness did He judge and make war. He strove for the victory lawfully. Now the Lord shows unto His servants the way of victory, and that way is by faith in what the Saviour has done.

(Jas. Wells.)

If there be no revelation, we have no hope, and can have no comfort in our death, and no assurance of immortality after it. If there be no revelation, we are in a perpetual maze, as if we were at sea without star or compass, and knew not what course to take to gain our harbour.

(Bp. Williams.)

His servant John, who bare record
Of what sort was the Christianity of St. John between thirty and forty years after Christ's death, as we find it in the Book of the Revelation?(1) In chap. Revelation 4. we have a vision reminding us of Isaiah and Ezekiel. There is a Throne, and One who sits on it. He is Lord and God. He lives for ever and ever. He created all things, and is worthy to receive glory and honour and power. In the second chapter we read of One who is the Son of God. He in whom St. John believes is therefore God the Father, Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth.(2) This Son of God is Jesus Christ, who is also King of kings and Lord of lords, and therefore Lord of all men, our Lord. The Lamb, that is Christ, is worshipped by every created thing, in one breath with Him that sitteth upon the Throne.(3) The Incarnation of Christ is implied in His crucifixion, His blood, His death, and the title, or description, Son of Man. All of these are expressly mentioned in the Revelation. Besides we find Christ described by him as the Lion of the Tribe of Judah, and the Root of David.(4) That Christ suffered is implied in His overcoming, and in His being a Lamb, as it had been slain; a phrase recalling the fifty-third chapter of Isaiah, where the suffering is described at length, and where it is foretold that the Sufferer shall triumph after death.(5) The Descent into Hades must be understood from the words, "I was dead, and behold I am alive for evermore," etc. The Resurrection is not only stated in these and other like words, but is a fundamental conception of the whole book.(6) We do not read of the Ascension; yet as the death took place on earth, and Christ is described as in heaven after His resurrection, an ascension is implied.(7) The sitting on the Throne of God, and the coming again to judgment are me prominent as to need no special reference.(8) Then we have the Spirit, symbolised in His abundant powers by the seven lamps before the Throne, and again by the seven eyes of the Lamb. From this last may we not infer the double procession?(9) The Communion of Saints is indicated in many ways. The Angels of the Seven Churches are wreathed into a garland of stars in the right hand of the Son of Man. The souls of the martyrs, under the altar, are to wait for their brethren. The great multitude who have come out of the great tribulation stand before the Throne and before the Lamb.(10) The Remission of Sins meets us in the very first chapter;(11) the Resurrection of the Dead comes in the twentieth; and(12) the Life Everlasting is the one great gift variously shadowed forth by the Tree of Life, the Crown of Life, the Hidden Manna, the Morning Star, the Book of Life, the Pillar in the Temple, the Sitting Down with Christ on His Throne; the Seven Gifts to the Seven Churches. Here then, in this venerable monument of the apostolic age, are all the Articles of the Christian faith, as we now have them in our creed.

2. Until a man has made a careful study of the Revelation, he might very possibly set it down as a tissue of harsh allegories, thrown together without skill or method, and betokening little in its author but a bewildered enthusiasm. But indeed there is in it a wonderful order. The whole book seems to have been all present to the writer's mind at once, like the universe to the mind of the Creator, before a word of it was written. Vision follows vision, each complete in itself, like a picture, yet all adding something new, like each of the seven parables in the 13th of St. Matthew, to the manifold lineaments of the kingdom of heaven. Then there is this peculiarity: Almost every phrase of the Revelation has its counterpart in the old Testament. The Revelation consists of Old Testament ideas spiritually combined with New Testament narratives.

3. St. John, after all, only translates the Old Testament prophecies out of their local dialect into catholic speech. Malachi's pure offering in every place, Zechariah's feast of tabernacles, Daniel's kingdom of the saints, Jeremiah's Jerusalem with the ark. What is all this but our Lord's teaching to the woman of Samaria, and the absence of a sanctuary from the New Jerusalem — everywhere Immanuel? Then we have Isaiah's abounding prophecies of these things, the Psalms with their trumpet-call to all lands, the seed of Abraham blessing the nations, nay, the primal promise of bruising the serpent's head — the wonder is that there could ever have been a mistake. These old prophets saw there was something in their faith and worship, different in kind from the local idolatries of other nations, something which had in it the germ of catholicity. St. John had touched and handled the stem which grew from that germ, and he knew that it must grow till it filled the earth.

4. St. John paints an ideal; and ideals are never realised completely in this world. But what would the world have been without them? Here in England, what has been, deep down beneath the vulgar strife of parties, the ground of our Constitution in Church and State? What but the walking of our nation amidst the light of the holy city, and our kings bringing their glory into it?

(J. Foxley, M. A.)

Of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things
Some apply these three expressions to the three portions of Holy Writ, of which John was the inspired penman. The word of God, they refer to the gospel; the testimony of Jesus, to the epistles; and the things which he saw, to the Book of Revelation. But they rather seem to refer to the subject of all these sacred writings.

I. "THE WORD OF GOD" is His personal, essential, and eternal Word — His only-begotten Son. John bare record of Him in the gospel, in the epistles, and in the Book of Revelation. Or the Word of God is His written Word, the glorious doctrines of Divine revelation. This is the meaning of the Word of God in ver. 9; Revelation 6:9; Revelation 12:11; Revelation 20:4.

II. "THE TESTIMONY OF JESUS" is the glorious gospel of the blessed God.

1. The gospel is called the testimony of Jesus, because He is the author of it, equally with the Father. He is the faithful witness, revealing the character, the counsels, and the will of God.

2. Because He is the subject of it. The Spirit of Christ testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that followed.

3. Because He is the object of it. To Him gave all the prophets witness. The holy apostles were His inspired witnesses.

4. Because He was the recipient of this testimony (John 5:19, 20; John 7:16; John 8:28; John 12:49; John 14:10; John 17:7; Matthew 11:27).


(James Young.)

Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear
There are seven benedictions in the Book of Revelation. Seven is said to be the number of completeness or perfection. The first of these benedictions occurs in the opening lines of John's Apocalypse: "Blessed is he that readeth and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep," etc. Just at the close of the Apocalypse is another similar passage: "Blessed is he that keepeth the sayings of the prophecy of this book." These two verses are like the golden clasps — one on either lid — that hold together a dear old family Bible. The next benediction is pronounced upon the gospel-guests: "Blessed are they who are called unto the marriage-supper of the Lamb." They who are drawn by the attraction of the Cross, and yield to that drawing, are renewed by the Holy Spirit. Theirs is a place at the celestial banquet. How careful should every disciple be to walk unspotted from the world, for every stain looks ugly upon a white ground. There is a hint as to the method of keeping thus clean, which is given in the third benediction: "Blessed is he that watcheth and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked and they see his shame." No believer can preserve the purity of his character without prayerful vigilance. "Watch." And one reason for this watchfulness is that Christ's coming is to be as unannounced as the midnight visit of a burglar. Old Dr. Alexander used to say with solemn tenderness, "I won't answer for any Christian who dies while in an awful state of backsliding." Upon the gospel-doers rests the sweet approval of the fourth benediction. It is the blessing upon those "that do His commandments." The evidence and the joy of discipleship both lie in obedience to Christ. This is what the world has a right to demand from us — a religion of fruits. God will judge every one of us according to our works. The next blessing is that angelic voice that floats over the resting. place of the pious dead. "Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord." To them the perils of the voyage are over. They have cast anchor in the haven. They are safe. About the last one of the benedictions in this sublime book there has been no little controversy: "Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection." It is enough for me that, if I fall to sleep in Jesus I shall awake with Him. There is not an unmarked grave in all Christ's household of the slumberers. Them which sleep in Jesus will God bring together with Him.

(T. L. Cuyler, D. D.)

A scholar of singular simplicity and holiness of life was asked by a friend at the University, why he so often read the Book of the Revelation. The answer savoured of great humility and simple faith. He turned to this verse, "Blessed is he that readeth," etc. Bengal, with his usual sagacity, in his commentary on these words rebukes men for their neglect of this great book, reversing the promise, as ii it were written, "Blessed is he that readeth not!" The very title "Revelation" should, he says, quicken our interest, and provoke our desire to look in and see those things which are revealed; whereas too many pass by the uplifted veil with eyes averted, and lips closed, as if silence were wisdom, and indifference a sign of reverential fear. But let them take heed, he says, lest, while they devise all manner of excuse for refusing the heavenly gift, they weary God as did Ahaz, when in pretended modesty he would ask no sign of Him; lest also they be found ungrateful to Jesus Christ.

(Canon Furse.)

What if there be a veil laid over this Revelation, will it not be rarified by reading, and by degrees wholly worn away?

(J. Trapp.)

The words of this
When Professor Stuart, one of the greatest biblical authorities, was asked one time by his scholars to explain this book to them, he told them he wouldn't till he understood it. Now, if you wait till you understand every stone, rivulet, tree, bush, and blade of grass in a picture it will be a long time before you admire it. And so with our food. If you wait to analyse every kind of edible on the table it will be a long while indeed before you enjoy it. Because we can't understand every thought, word, and picture in the Book of Revelation is no reason why we should not give our attention to what we can understand in it.

(H. A. Buttz.)

And keep those things which are written therein
1. To keep those things is to believe them. Faith must be mixed with the hearing of the gospel; we cannot keep those things unless we believe them.

2. To keep those things is to remember, ponder, keep them in mind (Luke 2:19, 51). We are saved by the gospel, if we keep it in memory. We must remember God's name, His wonderful works, His holy Word, and His precious promises.

3. To keep those things is to observe or obey them; to be doers of the Word and not hearers only; to resemble, embody, and exhibit the holy Word of God in living characters in the life and conversation.

4. To keep those things is to hold them fast; to hold fast the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end; to take heed lest at any time we should let them slip; lest there he in us an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God; lest we should draw back unto perdition.

5. To keep those things is to make progress in holiness, to go on from strength to strength, from grace to grace, from glory to glory, till every one appears in Zion before God.

(James Young.)

Ephesus, Laodicea, Patmos, Pergamum, Philadelphia, Sardis, Smyrna, Thyatira
Angel, Behoveth, Bondman, Bondmen, Bond-servant, Bond-servants, Christ, Clear, Communicated, Events, Granted, John, Messenger, Pass, Quickly, Revelation, Sending, Servant, Servants, Shew, Shortly, Signified, Signify
1. The preface.
4. John's salutation to the seven churches of Asia.
7. The coming of Christ.
8. His glorious power and majesty.

Dictionary of Bible Themes
Revelation 1:1

     4112   angels, messengers
     5263   communication
     5408   messenger
     6696   necessity
     7142   people of God, NT
     7160   servants of the Lord
     7944   ministry, qualifications

May 10. "I am Alive Forevermore" (Rev. I. 18).
"I am alive forevermore" (Rev. i. 18). Here is the message of the Christ of the cross and the still more glorious and precious Christ of the resurrection. It is beautiful and inspiring to note the touch of light and glory with which these simple words invest the cross. It is not said I am He that was dead and liveth, but "I am He that liveth and was dead, but am alive forevermore." Life is mentioned before the death. There are two ways of looking at the cross. One is from the death side and the other
Rev. A. B. Simpson—Days of Heaven Upon Earth

The Glorious Master and the Swooning Disciple
If our conceptions of the Lord Jesus are very enlarged, they will only be his due. We cannot exaggerate here. He deserves higher praise than we can ever render to him. As high as the heavens are above the earth, so high is be above our loftiest conceptions. Even when the angels strike their loudest notes, and chant his praises most exultingly on their highest festal days, the music falls far short of his excellence. He is higher than a seraph's most soaring thought! Rise then, my brethren, as on
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 18: 1872

10Th Day. Dying Grace.
"He is Faithful that Promised." "I have the keys of hell and of death."--REV. i. 18. Dying Grace. And from whom could dying grace come so welcome, as from Thee, O blessed Jesus? Not only is Thy name, "The Abolisher of Death;" but Thou didst thyself die! Thou hast sanctified the grave by Thine own presence, and divested it of all its terrors. My soul! art thou at times afraid of this, thy last enemy? If the rest of thy pilgrimage-way be peaceful and unclouded, rests there a dark and portentous
John Ross Macduff—The Faithful Promiser

Swooning and Reviving Christ's Feet.
AN ADDRESS DELIVERED AT THE CLOSE OF ONE OF THE PASTORS' COLLEGE CONFERENCES. "And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead. And He laid His right hand upon me saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last: I am He that liveth, and was dead; and, behold. I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death."--Revelation i. 17, 18. SWOONING AND REVIVING AT CHRIST'S FEET. WE have nothing now to think of but our Lord. We come to Him that He may cause us to forget all others.
Charles Hadden Spurgeon—Till He Come

The Fear of God.
And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as one dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying, Fear not; I am the first and the last and the Living one.'--Rev. i. 17, 18. It is not alone the first beginnings of religion that are full of fear. So long as love is imperfect, there is room for torment. That lore only which fills the heart--and nothing but love can fill any heart--is able to cast out fear, leaving no room for its presence. What we find in the beginnings of religion, will hold in varying
George MacDonald—Unspoken Sermons

Catalogue of his Works.
There is no absolutely complete edition of Eusebius' extant works. The only one which can lay claim even to relative completeness is that of Migne: Eusebii Pamphili, Cæsareæ Palestinæ Episcopi, Opera omnia quæ extant, curis variorum, nempe: Henrici Valesii, Francisci Vigeri, Bernardi Montfauconii, Card. Angelo Maii edita; collegit et denuo recognovit J. P. Migne. Par. 1857. 6 vols. (tom. XIX.-XXIV. of Migne's Patrologia Græca). This edition omits the works which are
Eusebius Pamphilius—Church History

The First and the Last
This title is used in Rev. i. 11. It is used again in 1. 17, ii. 8, and xxii. 13, but is never found in connection with "the Church of God." On the other hand, it is a title closely associated with "the Jew and the Gentile," as the following Scriptures will testify. Is. xli. 4, 5: "Who hath wrought and done it, calling the generations from the beginning? I, Jehovah, THE FIRST AND LAST; I am He. The isles saw it, and feared; the ends of the earth were afraid." Is. xliv. 6: "Thus saith the Lord, the
E.W. Bullinger—Commentary on Revelation

The Lord's Day
In Rev. i. 9 we are told that John saw and received this revelation on "the Lord's Day." Leaving the former part of this verse for the present, let us notice the latter expression, "the Lord's Day." [4] The majority of people, being accustomed from their infancy to hear the first day of the week called the Lord's Day, conclude in their own minds that that day is thus called in Rev. i. 9 because that was the name of it. But the contrary is the fact: the day is so called by us because of this verse.
E.W. Bullinger—Commentary on Revelation

A Great Voice
This expression links on the book of Revelation to the book of Deuteronomy, especially if we regard it in the connection with the fire, with which it is associated in each case. Ten times is the voice of God speaking "out of the midst of the fire" heard in Deuteronomy: viz., chaps. iv. 12,15,33,36; v. 4,22(19) [36] , 23(20), 24(21), 25(21), 26(23). Here, in Rev. i. 10, John hears "a great voice," and it is connected with fire, for the eyes of the speaker were "as a flame of fire" (ver. 14) and his
E.W. Bullinger—Commentary on Revelation

Call to China and Voyage Hence
The known facts in regard to John Talmage's boyhood and youthful days are few. Of the known facts some perhaps are too trivial, others too sacred to bear mention. The sapling grew. Of the inner and outer circles of growth there is but brief record. He spent his boyhood at a quiet country hamlet, Gateville, New Jersey. On the ridge swung the toll-gate, and a little beyond might be heard the hum and rattle of the grist-mill. His father kept the toll-gate. John was a fine horseman, and found great sport
Rev. John Gerardus Fagg—Forty Years in South China

Within the Holiest
Gerhard Ter Steegen Rev. i. 5, 6 His priest am I, before Him day and night, Within His Holy Place; And death, and life, and all things dark and bright, I spread before His Face. Rejoicing with His joy, yet ever still, For silence is my song My work to bend beneath His blessed will, All day, and all night long-- For ever holding with Him converse sweet, Yet speechless, for my gladness is complete.
Frances Bevan—Hymns of Ter Steegen, Suso, and Others

Moreover, to Give a Fuller Demonstration of this Point...
[2829] Rev. i. 5 [2830] 1 Cor. xv. 23 [2831] 1 Cor. xv. 42-4 [2832] animale. [2833] Phil. iii. 21
Various—Life and Works of Rufinus with Jerome's Apology Against Rufinus.

The Fire of Love --Book I
Chapter I Note iii., p. 16--C. reads: for thai vnmanerly wyth warldly mone has armyd tham self.' But L. quia terrenas pecunias immoderate amauerunt'; which is probably correct, and which I have therefore followed. Note iv., p. 17--an omission in C. L., reads: Erumpit enim in ostensione operis feruor amoris.' Note v., p. 18--Another omission L. et qui ad amandum deum semper sunt auidi.' Chapter II Note vi., p. 20 The Bible references are to the Vulgate of Sixtus V and Clement VII, and where the
Richard Rolle—The Fire of Love

The Source of Power
'And the Angel that talked with me came again, and waked me, as a man that is wakened out of his sleep, 2. And said unto me, What seest thou? And I said, I have looked, and behold, a candlestick all of gold, with a bowl upon the top of it, and his seven lamps thereon, and seven pipes to the seven lamps which are upon the top thereof: 3. And two olive-trees by it, one upon the right side of the bowl, and the other upon the left side thereof. 4. So I answered and spake to the Angel that talked with
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

A Sight of the Crowned Christ
(Revelation, Chapter i.) "Since mine eyes were fixed on Jesus, I've lost sight of all beside, So enchained my spirit's vision, Looking at the Crucified." "The Lord Christ passed my humble cot: I knew him, yet I knew him not; But as I oft had done before, I hurried through my narrow door To touch His garment's hem. "He drew me to a place apart From curious crowd and noisy mart; And as I sat there at His feet I caught the thrill of His heart-beat Beyond His garment's hem. "Rare was the bread He broke
by S. D. Gordon—Quiet Talks on the Crowned Christ of Revelation

Love's Complaining
Hence our Lord's fitness to deal with the churches, which are these golden lamp-stands, for no one knows so much about the lamps as the person whose constant work it is to watch them and trim them. No one knows the churches as Jesus does, for the care of all the churches daily comes upon him, he continually walks among them, and holds their ministers as stars in his right hand. His eyes are perpetually upon the churches, so that he knows their works, their sufferings, and their sins; and those eyes
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 32: 1886

Our Lord Appears after his Ascension.
^F I. Cor. XV. 8. ^f 8 and last of all, as to the child untimely born, he appeared to me also. [Since Paul reckons this among the bodily appearances of our Lord, we have included it in our work; but it borders upon those spiritual appearances which belong rather to apostolic history and may be classed with the vision of Stephen (Acts vii. 55) and John (Rev. i. 9-17), to which it was near kin. Accounts of the appearance will be found in the ninth, twenty-second and twenty-sixth chapters of Acts. For
J. W. McGarvey—The Four-Fold Gospel

The Living One
"I am He that liveth, and was dead" (i. 18). (...) (ho zon), THE LIVING ONE. Like the previous title, it is used as a special designation of the One whose unveiling is about to be shewn to John. Its use is peculiar to Daniel and Revelation. The two books thus linked together by it are linked as to their character and subject matter in a very special manner. It is used twice in Daniel:- Dan. iv. 34 (31 [19] ) and xii. 7; and six time in Revelation:- Rev. i. 18; iv. 9,10; v. 14; x. 6; and xv. 7. [20]
E.W. Bullinger—Commentary on Revelation

Lord God
In i. 8 the title "god" must be added to the word "Lord," according to all the Critical Greek Texts [14] and the R.V. In chap. xxii. 6 we have the same title. Thus at the end of the book and at the beginning we have this peculiar title, which seems to enclose all that the book contains, and stamp it all with that which the title signifies. What is signifies is clear from the place where we first find it, vix., in the second of the twelve divisions of Genesis (chap. ii. 4 - iv. 26). This division
E.W. Bullinger—Commentary on Revelation

Letter v. Yes, My Dear Friend, it is My Conviction that in all Ordinary Cases the Knowledge...
Yes, my dear friend, it is my conviction that in all ordinary cases the knowledge and belief of the Christian Religion should precede the study of the Hebrew Canon. Indeed, with regard to both Testaments, I consider oral and catechismal instruction as the preparative provided by Christ himself in the establishment of a visible Church. And to make the Bible, apart from the truths, doctrines, and spiritual experiences contained therein, the subject of a special article of faith, I hold an unnecessary
Samuel Taylor Coleridge—Confessions of an Inquiring Spirit etc

The Royal Priesthood
Gerhard Ter Steegen Jer. xxxiii. 18; Rev. i. 6 The race of God's anointed priests shall never pass away; Before His glorious Face they stand, and serve Him night and day. Though reason raves, and unbelief flows on, a mighty flood, There are, and shall be, till the end, the hidden priests of God. His chosen souls, their earthly dross consumed in sacred fire, To God's own heart their hearts ascend in flame of deep desire; The incense of their worship fills His Temple's holiest place; Their song with
Frances Bevan—Hymns of Ter Steegen, Suso, and Others

Communion Again Broken --Restoration
Cant. v. 2-vi.10. The fourth section commences with an address of the bride to the daughters of Jerusalem, in which she narrates her recent sad experience, and entreats their help in her trouble. The presence and comfort of her Bridegroom are again lost to her; not this time by relapse into worldliness, but by slothful self-indulgence. We are not told of the steps that led to her failure; of how self again found place in her heart. Perhaps spiritual pride in the achievements which grace enabled her
J. Hudson Taylor—Union and Communion

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