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τοῦ θρόνου αὐτοῦ, 5 4 καὶ ἀπὸ Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ, ὁ μάρτυς ὁ πιστὸς, ὁ πρωτότοκος @ P§. 89. 38.
Acts 20. 28.
1 John 1. 7, 9.
11 Ιδοὺ, ἔρχεται μετὰ τῶν νεφελῶν, καὶ ὄψεται αὐτὸν πᾶς ὀφθαλμὸς, οἵτινες αὐτὸν ἐξεκέντησαν, καὶ κόψονται ἐπ ̓
e Rom. 12. 1.
& 2. 5, 9. 1 John 1. 7. ch. 5. 10. & 20. 6.
Acts 1. 11.
followed by a nominative case, seems designed to remind the
These remarkable structures, frequent in this Book, excite
See below, v. 5, and Winer, Gr. Gr. pp. 64. 164; it indicates that the phrase ὁ ὢν καὶ δ ̓ ἦν καὶ ὁ ἐρχόμενος is a proper name reserved to God alone, and that He Who spake to John in Patmos is the same as He Who spake to Moses in the Wilderness, when He thus described Himself, 'Eyú eiμi d wv, “I AM the BEING One;" "I AM the ever EXISTING One," and ordered Moses to say, ¿ àν àтéσтaλké μe, “I am hath sent me." Exod. iii. 14.
The commission given here to St. John resembles that given
ἀπὸ τῶν ἑπτὰ πνευμάτων] from the Seven Spirits which
Andrewes (Sermon "on the Sending of the Holy Ghost," iii.
5. ἀπὸ Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ, ὁ μάρτυς ὁ πιστός] from Jesus Christ, the faithful Witness. The structure of and with a nominative may be compared with that in v. 4; and as in that passage it declared that there is no variableness or shadow of turning in God (James i. 17), so it may here be understood to signify, that whatever vicissitudes may occur in the affairs of Nations, and in the History of the Church, as revealed in the prophecies of this Book, yet "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and to-day and for (Heb. xiii. 8), and that He Who "came into the world to witness to the truth" (John xviii. 37), is always "the faithful witness;" and whatever corruptions of Christian doctrine may arise in the Church, yet His testimony is always faithful and true.
ὁ πρωτότοκος τῶν νεκρῶν] the first-begotten of the dead. Death has become Birth, through Him Who is the First-born from the Grave. See above, on Acts ii. 24. 1 Cor. xv. 20. Col. i. 18. Bp. Andrewes, iii. 57.
8pxwv] the Prince of the Kings of the Earth, an appropriate declaration consequent on the statement of Christ's Victory over the Grave at his Resurrection, when He asserted this Supre macy (see Matt. xxviii. 18), and here it is the preamble of a Revelation which will disclose insurrections of earthly Powers against Christ, and His triumph over them (xix. 19—21).
kal λovσavTI K.T.λ.] and Who washed us from our sins by His blood. Some MSS., viz. A, N, C, and several Cursives, and the Syriac and Armenian Versions and Fathers, Andreas and Primasius, and Cassiodorus, have Avoavri, Who redeemed us, and so Lachmann, and Düsterdieck, but not Ewald, De Wette, Tisch.
There would be, doubtless, an appropriate significance in the conveyance of the message of Grace and Peace from God and Christ through the ministry of the Seven Angels of the Church in Heaven to the Seven Angels of the Churches of Asia, who represent the fulness of the Apostolic Ministry of the Church Universal on Earth. See i. 20; ii. 1.
αὐτὸν πᾶσαι αἱ φυλαὶ Προ
1 Pet. 1. 19.
f Isa. 3. 13, 14.
Dan. 7. 13. Zech. 12, 10. Matt. 24. 30. 1 Thess. 1. 10. 2 Thess. 1. 10. Jude 14.
Perhaps, however, inasmuch as the number Seven in the Apocalypse symbolizes completeness (see on xii. 19), and inasmuch also as Angels are not called Spirits in this book, the Seven Spirits represent the Holy Spirit, in His sevenfold fulness, which rests on Christ, the Holy One of God (Isa. xi. 2; lxi. 1. Luke iv. 18), and which after His Ascension He sent, and is ever sending, to comfort and illuminate His Church, and therefore they may well be called horns, lamps, and eyes. Nor is there any harshness in the expression Grace and Peace be to you from the Seven Spirits; for these seven gifts of the Holy Spirit bestowed by Christ, Who received them from the Father (John xiv. 16), Who is the Wellspring of all good (see on 2 Cor. xiii. 14), are the means of all Grace and Peace to the Church; and so the words are understood by Victorinus, Primasius, Andreas, Bede.
This reading deserves consideration, and may perhaps be preferable. For the Copyists were more likely to alter AuσavT I into Aotoart than vice versá; and the great proof of Christ's love is, that He redeemed us by pouring forth His Own Blood, as our ransom, λurpov; and whereas we were held in bondage by reason of our sins, and were liable to everlasting death (Rom. vi. 17-23), our Redeemer delivered us from that captivity by paying that price which alone could satisfy God's justice, and procure our release, and He purchased us at that price for Himself. See Matt. xx. 28. Acts xx. 28. 1 Cor. vi. 20; vii. 23. Eph. i. 7. Col. i. 14. Heb. ix. 12. 1 Tim. ii, 6. 1 Pet. i. 18. On the use of ev as the instrument, see vi. 8.
6. καὶ ἐποίησεν ἡμᾶς βασιλείαν] and He made us to be a kingdom, Priests to God and the Father. So the best MSS. Elz, has Barikeis, Kings; but the spiritual character of the Christian privileges is best expressed by the abstract word a Kingdom, which may be designed to be a caution against erroneous and antinomian notions which some have deduced from the declaration of Scripture, that all Christians are Kings. It is a phrase derived from the Ancient Scriptures (Exod. xix. 6; xxiii. 22), "Ye shall be to Me a royal Priesthood," Baoiλelov ¡epáтevμa. Cp. 1 Pet. ii. 9, and Winer, p. 512.
Observe the aorist here, èroinoev, He made; that is, by certain special acts on His part, His Incarnation, and Death, and Ascension. See below, v. 10.
The addition of a finite verb (èπоínσev), preceded by kal, to participles (ayan@vτi-λouσavr), is a Hebraistic peculiarity, as is observed by Delitzsch, quoted by Hengstenberg.
7. ἰδοὺ, ἔρχεται μετὰ τῶν νεφελῶν] Behold, He cometh with the clouds, the clouds of the Last Judgment described by Daniel, vii. 13. St. John, being in the Spirit, already anticipates the end of all things, and sees it as already at hand; as it is to Him to Whom a thousand years are as one day (2 Pet. iii. 8), and by Whose inspiration he writes. See v. 3.
· καὶ οἵτινες αὐτὸν ἐξεκέντησαν] and they also who pierced Him, whether on the Cross, by nails and the spear, and by bitter mockeries and insults; or by their sins. Heb. vi. 6. On the variation here from the Septuagint Version of this text, cited from Zech. xii. 10, see above on John xix. 37, where is the same
The septenary number (says Aug.) is consecrated to the Holy Ghost in Holy Scripture, and is recognized as such by the Church. And (as is added by Bede here) the One Spirit is here characterized as sevenfold, because in the One Spirit is all fulness and perfection; and this interpretation is sanctioned by Bp.
g Isa. 41. 4.
& 44. 6. & 48. 12.
ch. 21. 6.
& 22. 13.
h Rom. 8. 17.
Phil. 1. 7.
& 4. 14.
2 Tim. 1. 8. & 2. 12.
τῆς γῆς· ναὶ, ἀμήν. 88 Ἐγώ εἰμι τὸ ̓́Αλφα καὶ τὸ Ω, λέγει Κύριος ὁ Θεὸς, ὁ ὢν καὶ ὁ ἦν καὶ ὁ ἐρχόμενος, ὁ παντοκράτωρ.
9 . Ἐγὼ Ἰωάννης, ὁ ἀδελφὸς ὑμῶν καὶ συγκοινωνὸς ἐν τῇ θλίψει καὶ βασιλείᾳ καὶ ὑπομονῇ ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ, ἐγενόμην ἐν τῇ νήσῳ τῇ καλουμένῃ Πάτμῳ
διὰ τὸν λόγον τοῦ Θεοῦ, καὶ διὰ τὴν μαρτυρίαν ̓Ιησοῦ Χριστοῦ.
variety; and where it is observed, that the text which speaks of Christ's suffering, affords also evidence of His Godhead.
This deviation from the LXX Version, and this identity of the rendering of this remarkable text in St. John's Gospel (xix. 37; cp. Lee on Inspiration, p. 345), and in the Apocalypse, are confirmatory of the belief that those two writings are from the same hand.
The frequent citations in this, the first chapter of the Apocalypse, from the ancient Hebrew Prophets, especially from Daniel and Zechariah, are doubtless designed to lead the reader to regard the Apocalypse as a sequel to, and continuation of, Hebrew prophecy, and as dictated by the Same Spirit Who spake by its mouth. And since the Apocalypse is the last prophetical Book of Holy Scripture, it may be regarded as the consummation of all God's prophetic Revelations to the world. See above, Introduction to this Book, pp. 150, 151.
Kai KóчovTai Èn' autòv nâoai ai quλal Tĥs yĥs] and all the Tribes of the Earth will wail at Him: a sentence uttered by Our Lord Himself in the Gospel, Matt. xxiv. 30.
The Tribes of the Earth in this book are they who are of the earth, earthy, and are not like the Tribes of the Israel of God, the heirs of the heavenly Jerusalem, who have their hearts in heaven, their treasure in heaven, and their conversation in heaven (Matt. vi. 20. Phil. iii. 20). See below, iii. 10.
It is a saying of S. Augustine, which is of constant use in expounding the Apocalypse," Ecclesia Dei cælum est, inimici Ejus terra sunt (Serm. 57).
The tribes of the spiritual Israel, the Church Universal, are represented as sealed with the seal of God, at the final gathering of all his people, in the seventh Seal. See below, vii. 4-9.
But they who set their affections on things upon earth will wail at Christ's Coming to Judgment; while they who have set their affections on things above (Col. iii. 2) will rejoice at His appearance, and will "lift up their heads, because the day of their redemption draweth nigh" (Luke xxi. 28).
On the use of the verb xóжтoμai, plango, see above, Matt. xi. 17; xxiv. 30. Luke viii. 52; xxiii. 27; below, xviii. 9.
8. ἐγώ εἰμι τὸ ̓Αλφα καὶ τὸ Ω] am the Alpha and the Omega. The first and the last letters of the Greek Alphabet are used by Christ in order to declare that He is the Beginning and End of all things. A similar mode of speech, derived from their own alphabet, was employed by the Hebrews, who said that Adam transgressed, and that Abraham observed the whole law" from Aleph to Thau" see Schoettgen, pp. 1086, 1087. A like usage is found in later Greek writers. See Wetstein, p. 749.
This use of letters of the Alphabet of the Greek or Gentile world, and not of the Hebrew, in the introduction of this Book, as a designation of Jesus Christ, and adopted by Himself as such, is characteristic of the universality of the Dispensation which it reveals, and of the incorporation of all nations of the Earth in the mystical Body of Christ. The numerical value of A is an Unit, and of is eight hundred; and eight is the symbol of glory. See on Luke xxiv. 1.
These words, applied by Christ to Himself (xxi. 6; xxii. 13; cp. i. 17, 18), and compared with the declarations of JEHOVAH, Isa. xli. 4; xliv. 6; xlviii. 12, are also a plain assertion of Christ's Divinity and Co-eternity with the Father. See Athanasius, c. Arianos, Orat. iii. vol. i. p. 317; and cp. Andreas, Ecumen., Arethas, here. Bp. Andrewes, ii. 162. Bp. Pearson, Art. ii. p. 233. Dr. Waterland, ii. 136. Observe the definite articles prefixed here to Alpha and Omega, indicating that He is the only Beginning and End of all things, and showing His Co-equality with the Father.
This declaration of Christ concerning Himself, "I am the A and the ," was reverently accepted by early Christian Art, and is often seen in ancient Christian Inscriptions, particularly in the Catacombs of Rome, where the symbols A, are frequently ac
(Xplorós). See Aringhi, Roma Subterranea,
cap. xiii. and xv. Bp. Kip on the Catacombs, Lond. 1859, p. 110; and Scott on the Catacombs, p. 100; in one case the symbol is accompanied with the words ES DEIS, probably DEUS, "Thou art God," asserting the GODHEAD of CHRIST.
It is also adopted in Christian Hymnology, e. g. by Prudentus, in the fourth century, Cathem. ix. 10.
Corde natus ex Parentis ante mundi exordium,
9. ἐγὼ Ἰωάννης—Πάτμῳ] I, John, your brother. Observe the humility of the beloved Disciple; see above, v. 1. I, John, your brother and partner in the affliction and kingdom and endurance in Christ Jesus ( and C omit Xplor. A omits 'Inooû, B has . X. 'I.) became (èyevóμnv, not ñv) a dweller in the Island called Patmos, on account of the word of God, and the testimony of Jesus Christ. Observe the gentleness with which he speaks of his exile and imprisonment for the Gospel; ἐγενόμην ἐν τῇ how, I became-I found myself-for the sake of God's Word, an inmate of Patmos. He regards his banishment like a voyage and sojourn in a pleasant place; for he was there visited by Christ. There is also something beautiful and touching in the repetition of this word eyevóuny here. I became a dweller in Patmos, for the Word's sake, and I became a dweller in the Spirit, on the Lord's Day. To be in Patmos for the Truth's sake is a proper preparation for being in the Spirit, and for seeing Revelations of heaven.
The aorist eyevóμny does not intimate, as some have sup. posed, that the Apocalypse was not written in Patmos; see v. 11. It is like the epistolary aorist ypaya, by which the writer puts himself in the place of the reader; see 1 Pet. v. 12.
St. John saw and wrote the Revelation in the isle of Patmos, one of the Sporades, in the Egæan Sea, to which he was banished by the Emperor Domitian about A.D. 95. See Tertullian, Præscr. Hær. 36. Iren., c. Hær. v. 30. Origen in Matt. tom. xvi. Euseb. iii. 18; and cp. Andreas here, and S. Jerome, Scr. Eccl. x.; and above, Introduction, p. 157; and Introduction to St. John's Gospel, p. 267, note, where the passages are cited.
Smaller Islands, especially in the Archipelago, such as Gyaros, Seriphos, Patmos, were used by the Romans for purposes of penal deportation and imprisonment; see Tacit., Annal. i. 53. Juvenal, i. 73; x. 170.
The island of Patmos still preserves some local traditions of St. John's sojourn there. A cave is shown where he is said to have seen the Revelation. Tournefort, ii. p. 198. Pococke, iii. p. 36. Walpole, Turkey, ii. p. 43.
At the opening of this book, Christ displays a specimen of the providential Scheme which is to be revealed in the Apocalypse. John was banished by the powers of this world; but Christ uses his exile and detention in Patmos as an occasion for revealing to him the glories of His Second Coming, and for commissioning him to write what he could not now preach by word of mouth, and to send the writing to the Seven Churches, so that it might be read by them and by all Churches in every age, even to the Coming of Christ.
St. John, an exile on earth, was admitted to visions of HeaConfined within the limits of Patmos, he was received into the courts of the Jerusalem that is above.
He who had been admitted to our Lord's most private retirements; to the most solemn scenes of His sufferings and sorrow; who had been with Him on the Mountain of Transfiguration, in the Garden of Gethsemane, in the High Priest's hall, and at the Cross; was now a prisoner in a lonely island.
All his brother Apostles had been taken away by Death. He was left the last. As the winds blew, and as the waves dashed on the rocky shores of Patmos, so the storms of the world were beating against the rock of the Church. But the aged and lonely Apostle was cheered with glorious visions. He was visited by JESUS CHRIST. The Man of Sorrows, whom St. John had seen in His agony at Gethsemane, He Whom He had seen standing bound before Caiaphas, crowned with thorns, mocked by Herod, condemned by Pilate, dying on the Cross, and pierced by the soldier, was now seen by him enthroned in heaven, and adored by Angels kneeling before Him. "I am the Alpha and the Omega, 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."
Here is comfort to all in times of sorrow. They who love Christ with St. John, they who suffer with Christ, and for Him, will be visited by Him, and after the troubles of this world will pass to the peace of heaven. See above, Introduction, p. 162.
10 1’Εγενόμην ἐν Πνεύματι ἐν τῇ κυριακῇ ἡμέρᾳ, καὶ ἤκουσα ὀπίσω μου ich. 4.2. φωνὴν μεγάλην ὡς σάλπιγγος 11 * λεγούσης, Ὃ βλέπεις γράψον εἰς βιβλίον, καὶ κ ch. 2. 8. πέμψον ταῖς ἑπτὰ ἐκκλησίαις, εἰς ̓́Εφεσον, καὶ εἰς Σμύρναν, καὶ εἰς Πέργαμον, καὶ εἰς Θυάτειραν, καὶ εἰς Σάρδεις, καὶ εἰς Φιλαδέλφειαν, καὶ εἰς Λαοδίκειαν.
& 22. 13.
The expression-"the Lord's Day"-shows that the First Day of the Week, on which our Lord rose, was now observed by Christians as a day set apart for religious uses. In the words of S. Augustine (Epist. 119), "The Lord's Day being proclaimed to Christians by the Lord's Resurrection, thence became their festal Day."
A weekly Day of Rest typifies the Rest or Sabbatism which still remaineth to the people of God (see Heb. iv. 9). The Sabbath commemorated God's Rest after creation, which concerns all men; and the transfer of the Sabbath to the First Day recalls the mind to the blessing of Creation, begun on the First Day, and consecrated anew by those of Redemption and Sanctification, bestowed in the Resurrection of Christ on the First Day, and in the Descent of the Holy Ghost from heaven, on the First Day. The Sabbath of the Jews commemorated their deliverance from Egypt (Deut. v. 15). The Christian Sabbath celebrates the substance of which that national deliverance was a shadow; it celebrates the Exodus of mankind from a spiritual Egypt, in the Resurrection of Christ.
See note above on Matt. xxvii. 62; xxviii. 1. Luke xxiii. 56. Acts xx. 7; Col. ii. 16, and Bp. Andrewes, Sermon on 1 Cor. xi. 16, vol. ii. p. 426, who there says, "The Lord's Day hath testimony in Scripture." Bp. White on the Sabbath, Lond. 1636. Bp. Cosin, De die Dominico, Works, v. p. 529; and Archbp. Bramhall on the Lord's Day, Works, vol. v. pp. 9-85; and Bp. Pearson on the Creed, note, Art. v. pp. 497, 498; and Grotius here; and No. xliv. of the Editor's Occasional Sermons, "On the Christian Sunday;" and Ellicott on Col. ii. 17. Tertullian refers to this passage in his De Animâ, c. 9.
before the throne (Rev. i. 4; iv. 5), seven Candlesticks (i. 13), seven Women in Isaiah (iv. 1), seven Churches addressed in St. Paul's writings, seven Deacons (Acts vi. 3), seven Seals (Rev. v. 1), seven Trumpets (Rev. viii.), seven weeks ending at Pentecost (Lev. xxiii. 15), seventy weeks in Daniel (ix. 25), seven clean animals in the Ark (Gen. vii. 2), seven chastisements on Cain (Gen. iv. 15), seven years followed by a release of debt (Deut. 1), seven Pillars in the House of Wisdom (Prov. xi. 1).” (Victorin. de Fabricâ Mundi.)
There is also another special aptitude and adjustment in the Visions of the Apocalypse to the first day of the week. For all these Visions-the Seals, the Trumpets, the Vials, are grouped in sevens; they begin on the first day of the Seven, the birthday of the Church, whose history and pilgrimage they reveal, till she comes, after the Hexäemeron of her trial, to the Sabbath of her Rest; and to the Octave of a glorious Resurrection.
11. 8 BλÉTELS ypayov] what thou art beholding write forthwith (aorist) into a book.
· καὶ πέμψον ταῖς ἑπτὰ ἐκκλησίαις] and send it to the Seven Churches: that is, primarily to the Seven Churches in Asia here specified.
"Numero septenario Universæ Ecclesiæ significata est plenitudo: propter quod et Joannes Apostolus ad septem scribit Ecclesias, eo modo se ostendens ad unius plenitudinem scribere" (S. Augustine, de Civ. Dei xvii. 4).
St. John, in writing to Seven Churches of Asia, writes to all Churches of the world; and it has been observed by ancient Expositors (Canon. Muratorian. ap. Routh, R. S. iv. p. 2. Victorinus. Cyprian, de Exhort. Martyr. c. ii., and others), that the number of Gentile Churches to which St. Paul wrote Epistles is seven; and that what St. Paul wrote to them he wrote to all.
The Candlestick or Lampstand in the Temple had seven branches, i. e., three on each side and the shaft in the centre (Exod. xxv. 31, 32), and it was a figure of the Church fed by the Oil of Holy Scripture, and illuminating the World (see Zech. iv. 2, and below, i. 20, and especially xi. 4); whence S. Irenæus says, v. 20, that "the Church is the Seven-branched Lamp, holding the Light of Christ."
Hence the testimony of those Churches to the genuineness of the Apocalypse is of great weight. It was sent to them, and they bear witness that it was sent by the Apostle and Evangelist St. John. See above, the Introduction to this Book, pp. 154-6. Tertullian (adv. Marcion. iv. 5) refers to this passage, and calls these Churches "alumnas Joannis."
Secondly, the message delivered to them was designed by the Great Head of the Church for the perpetual edification of all Churches in every age and country of the World. This is evident from the fact, that each of the Seven Epistles here sent contains the solemn words, "He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the Churches" (Rev. ii. 7. 11. 17. 29; iii. 6. 13. 22).
There are Seven Golden Candlesticks in the Apocalypse, and yet there was but one Seven-branched Golden Candlestick in the Temple, and in the visions of Zechariah. So there are particular Churches throughout the World; but all these together make One Church Universal; being fed with the same Oil of pure doctrine, and all constructed of the same pure material of fine gold.
Besides, in Holy Scripture the number seven indicates completeness (see Bahr, Symbolik i. pp. 187-201), and it is specially used in the Apocalypse in this sense. The Seventh Seal, the Seventh Trumpet, the Seventh Vial, is the last in their own series respectively.
Any one Candlestick may be removed (see on Rev. ii. 5), but the sevenfold unity is not disturbed by its removal. Any particular Church may fail, but the promise of Christ to the Church Universal is, that "the Gates of Hell shall never prevail against it" (Matt. xvi. 18).
eis 'Epeσov, K.T.λ.] to Ephesus, and to Smyrna. The Churches here mentioned are situated in a circular group (see v. 4), and are specified in the geographical order in which they would occur to the mind of a person writing from Patmos. See above, on 1 Pet. i. 1.
There were many more Churches in Asia than Seven when St. John wrote (e. g. Colosse, Hierapolis, and probably Tralles, Magnesia, and others); and therefore, as is said by all the ancient Expositors (Victorinus, Andreas, Primasius, Bede, Arethas, and others), the design of the Holy Spirit, in adopting the perfect number seven as the number of Churches to whom the Epistles are to be sent, is to declare that in speaking to them He is speaking to all.
The words of Victorinus (Bishop and Martyr in the third century), whose comment on the Apocalypse is the oldest now extant, deserve to be cited here. "There are seven horns of the Lamb (Rev. v. 6), seven eyes of God (Zech. iv. 10), seven spirits VOL. II.-PART IV.
Some learned Modern Expositors (Vitringa, p 31. Venema, p. 55. Henry More, p. 720, and others) regard the Seven Epistles as having a prophetical character, and as representing Seven successive states of the Christian Church in seven consecutive periods of time, dating from the Apostolic Age to the end.
But this is a notion whic is not sanctioned by ancient Expositors, and seems to be unfounded.
It cannot be doubted that in writing to the Seven Churches St. John (as has been already observed) is writing to all; and that every Church of Christendom may see itself reflected in one or other of these Epistles. Indeed (as Victorinus says), in these seven Churches we see an image of the faithful of the whole Catholic Church. But the Epistles have an historical character (see ii. 6. 13. 15), and the arrangement of their order, as before said, appears to be geographical. Ephesus is fitly placed first, as being nearest to Patmos, and as being the Chief City and Church of Asia, where St. John himself lived and died.
Zuúprav] Smyrna; eight miles north of Ephesus. In Christian History it is celebrated as the Episcopal See of S. Polycarp, the scholar of St. John. See ii. 8-11. Iren. ap. Euseb., iv. 14, 15. Tertullian, Præscr. § 32.
Пéруaμov] Pergamum; rarely called Pergamus (Strabo, xiii. p. 924. Winer, ii. p. 224. Trench, on the Authorized Version, p. 44). But the Greek Expositors have Пépyaμos here (in Caten., p. 208), and so Ding. Laert., in Arcesida, iv. 30. It was in Mysia, on the Caycus. For further particulars concerning it, see on ii. 12.
OvάTeipav] So A, B, C.-Elz. has Ováreipa. Thyatira, in Lydia, on the river Lycus; mentioned Acts xvi. 14.
Zápdes] Sardis. The ancient capital of Croesus and the Lydian Kings, on the river Pactolus, south of the plain beneath Mount Tmolus; the Episcopal see of Melito, in the second century. Euseb. iv. 13. 26; v. 24.
Þiλadéλpelar] Philadelphia, in Lydia; deriving its name
12 Καὶ ἐπέστρεψα βλέπειν τὴν φωνὴν ἥτις ἐλάλει μετ ̓ ἐμοῦ· καὶ ἐπιστρέψας εἶδον ἑπτὰ λυχνίας χρυσᾶς, 13' καὶ ἐν μέσῳ τῶν ἑπτὰ λυχνιῶν ὅμοιον Υἱῷ ἀνθρώπου, ἐνδεδυμένον ποδήρη, καὶ περιεζωσμένον πρὸς τοῖς μαστοῖς ζώνην χρυσῆν· 14 " ἡ δὲ κεφαλὴ αὐτοῦ καὶ αἱ τρίχες λευκαὶ ὡς ἔριον λευκὸν, ὡς χιών· καὶ οἱ ὀφθαλμοὶ αὐτοῦ ὡς φλὸξ πυρὸς, 15 ἢ καὶ οἱ πόδες αὐτοῦ ὅμοιοι χαλκολιβάνῳ, ὡς ἐν καμίνῳ πεπυρωμένοι, καὶ ἡ φωνὴ αὐτοῦ ὡς φωνὴ ὑδάτων πολλῶν, chi2.15121&3.1. 16 ° καὶ ἔχων ἐν τῇ δεξιᾷ αὐτοῦ χειρὶ ἀστέρας ἑπτὰ, καὶ ἐκ τοῦ στόματος αὐτοῦ
p Isa. 41. 4.
& 44. 6.
& 48. 12.
ῥομφαία δίστομος ὀξεῖα ἐκπορευομένη, καὶ ἡ ὄψις αὐτοῦ ὡς ὁ ἥλιος φαίνει ἐν τῇ δυνάμει αὐτοῦ.
17 P Καὶ ὅτε εἶδον αὐτὸν ἔπεσα πρὸς τοὺς πόδας αὐτοῦ ὡς νεκρός· καὶ ἔθηκε
1 Ezek. 1. 26. Dan. 7. 13.
ch. 2. 1. & 14. 14.
& 15. 6.
m Dan. 7. 9.
ch. 19. 12.
n ch. 14. 2. o Isa. 49. 2. Eph. 6. 17.
Heb. 4. 12.
Dan. 8. 18.
& 10. 10.
ch. 2. 8.
from Attalus Philadelphus, of Pergamus; at the foot of Mount Tmolus.
Aaodikelav] Laodicea, in Phrygia; called from Laodice, wife of Antiochus II., a celebrated commercial city, Tacit. Ann. xiv. 27; on the river Lycus, not far from Colossæ, see Col. ii. 1; iv. 14; it had a Chief Pastor, Archippus, in Apostolic times, Col. iv. 16. Const. Apostol. viii. 47; and a Bishop and Martyr, Sagaris, circ. A.D. 170. Euseb. iv. 26; v. 24.
12. εἶδον ἑπτὰ λυχνίας χρυσᾶς] I saw Seven Candlesticks (or rather Lamps, or Lampstands) of Gold.
On the symbolic meaning of the number Seven, see below, note on xii. 19.
The word Candlestick has taken root in the English language as an emblem of a Church, and it seems almost impossible to eradicate it; but it must be borne in mind by the English reader that the word Candlesticks does not rightly represent those Auxvía, which were similar to the Seven-branched Avxviai, or Lampstands, which were to be kept continually burning in the Levitical Tabernacle, or Temple (Exod. xxv. 31; xxvii. 20. Lev. xxiv. 1-4. 1 Kings vii. 49. Heb. ix. 1, 2); and (as before observed, see v. 11) were fed with oil (cp. Exod. xxvii. 20) supplied through their branches, or tubes, into their bowls, and thus were very apt emblems of Churches (see v. 20), which have no independent light in themselves (as Andreas here observes), but are only vehicles (oxhuara) of light derived from above being supplied by the Holy Spirit with a perennial stream of pure oil (see Caten. pp. 194. 199) flowing from the Word of God, and enabling them to enlighten the world-even the Angels of heaven-with the pure light of the Gospel (see Eph. iii. 10), and ever tended by Christ, and under him by the Christian Priesthood; as the Seven-branched Lamp-stand was tended by the Levites in the Temple. In like manner the Priests of the Church of Christ are bound to keep watch and ward by day and night, and to take good heed that the wicks of the Spiritual Lamp in the Christian Sanctuary are duly trimmed, and that the pipes are not clogged | and obstructed by the clotted corruptions of unsound doctrine, and that the oil is not adulterated, and that the lights burn clearly; and they are responsible to Christ for the discharge of this duty, and He will remove their Candlestick if they neglect to perform it. See next note, and below on xi. 4.
13. καὶ ἐν μέσῳ τῶν ἑπτὰ λυχνιῶν] and in the midst of the seven golden Lamps one like the Son of Man, clothed with a long garment, reaching down to His feet. After wodnpn the word XIT@va is to be understood. "One like the Son of Man," so Daniel describes Christ, Dan. vii. 13; x. 5. Christ is arrayed in a long garment, as the High Priest of the Church Universal. Compare Ezek. ix. 2. 11, and the description of the High Priest's robes in Josephus, Ant. iii. 8. 4; viii. 3. 8; xx. 1. 1, who uses the word Toonpns, flowing to the feet, as applicable to the Sacred Vesture of the High Priest.
Christ is represented as walking in the midst of the Seven Golden Lamps (ii. 1), because, as the Priests in the Tabernacle and Temple lighted, and watched, and fed the Lamps (Exod. xxvii. 20, 21; xxxiv. 9. Lev. xxiv. 2. 4), so Christ observes the Churches of Christendom, which He illumines with the light of His Word, and feeds with the oil of His Spirit, and trims with His discipline, and guards with His care, and examines with His eye, whether they burn clearly with the luminous flame of true doctrine, and whether the liquid oil of the Spirit is corrupted with human admixtures, and the light of the lamp is dimmed with heresy, superstition, or unbelief.
Kal TeρIE(woμévov] and girded around at the breasts with a golden girdle. This also is a sacerdotal attribute, showing that the Son of Man is here presented as the High Priest of the Church. Compare the language of Josephus, Ant. iii. 7. 2, concerning the girdle of the High Priest of the Levitical Dispensation; and see Wetstein here.
14. ἡ δὲ κεφαλὴ, κ.τ.λ.] and His head and His hair white as white wool. Here the same attributes are ascribed to Christ as are assigned to God by Daniel, vii. 9; x. 6. Cp. v. 8.
It is observed by S. Irenæus (iv. 20. 11), that the imagery by which Christ is here described represents His two Natures and His Sacerdotal Office. The Hair, white like wool, shows the holiness and glory of His Divinity; His attire displays His Priesthood; His feet of chalco-libanum burning in a furnace represent His permanence, like the Bush in the Wilderness on fire, but not consumed (Exod. iii. 2); and the fire, adds Irenæus, may remind us of that conflagration with which He will execute Judgment at the end of the World.
15. οἱ πόδες αὐτοῦ ὅμοιοι χαλκολιβάνῳ] and His feet like unto chalcolibanus. The etymology of the last word is doubtful; but inasmuch as the language of the Apocalypse coincides in many respects with that of Hebrew Prophecy, it is probably equivalent to the shining brass, or molten brass or copper, glowing in a state of incandescence and fusion, in Dan. x. 6, and Ezek. i. 7. 13. And this is confirmed by Plin. N. H. xxxiv. 2. The word occurs again, ii. 18.
It is rendered aurichalcum, or orichalcum (see Cicero de Off. iii. 23. 12. Horat. Ars Poet. 202), by the Vulgate, and is said by Suidas to be the same as electrum, which is a composite metal (Plin. N. H. ix. 65), made of gold and silver. See Winer, R. W. B. ii. pp. 88, 89, and it is rendered by some "brass from Libanus." (Syr., Ethiop., Vatabl., Ebrard.)
Some learned expositors (Bochart, Grotius, Vitringa, Hengstenberg, Trench) suppose that the word is compounded of xaλnds and the Hebrew (laban), white; and that it signifies brass in a state of white heat.
If a conjecture of this kind is admissible, and if Aßards may be regarded as an adjective, a Greek root seems preferable to a Hebrew, and (as has been suggested by Schwartz, Monum. Ingen. iv. 283) it may perhaps come from λeißw, liquo (as σTEγανὸς from στέγω, πιθανός from πείθω, and λιχανὸς from λείχω), and thus xaλko-λíßavos may signify liquid or molten brass; and this would well suit the parallel places of the Old Testament and the context here, is ev kaμive TETUрwuévoi, as heated in a furnace.
Or, the word may be derived from xαλкds, copper, and λίβανος, frankincense, and be a word similar to χρυσόπρασος, and χρυσό-λιθος, and signify copper in a state of ignition, like frankincense when it is red-hot. Cp. Andreas and Wetst. here, and Salmas. ad Solin. p. 810.
16. καὶ ἐκ τ. στόματος] and going out of His mouth a sharp two-edged sword, the Word of God. Tertullian thus expounds it (c. Marcion. iii. 14), "the Apostle St. John, in the Apocalypse, describes a sword coming forth from the mouth of God, with two edges and sharp at the point, which is the Word of God, sharpened with the two edges of the two Testaments-the Law and the Gospel."
The judicial, punitive Power of God's Holy WORD, as an instrument of His retributive Justice and indignation on the guilty, for their disobedience, is displayed in the Apocalypse in awful characters, see ii, 12. 16, and particularly xix. 15. 21. This attribute of God's Word is carefully to be observed, as serving to explain some Visions in this Book which would otherwise be obscure, and particularly xi. 3-6.
This imagery is also derived from the ancient Scriptures, Isa. xi. 4; xlix. 2. Hos. vi. 5; and is adopted by St. Paul, Heb. iv. 12. This sword of Christ is always called poupala in the Apocalypse (i. 16; ii. 12. 16; xix. 15. 21), never μáxaipa, and perhaps this word may be chosen in order to express more clearly the terror of the Lord (2 Cor. v. 11), and of His Word to those who disobey Him.
17. Kal čoŋke] and He laid His right hand upon me, as the Angel did on Daniel, viii. 18; x. 10.
τὴν δεξιὰν αὐτοῦ ἐπ ̓ ἐμὲ λέγων, Μὴ φοβοῦ, ἐγώ εἰμι ὁ πρῶτος καὶ ὁ ἔσχατος, 18 9 καὶ ὁ ζῶν, καὶ ἐγενόμην νεκρὸς, καὶ ἰδοὺ ζῶν εἰμι εἰς τοὺς αἰῶνας τῶν αἰώνων, η Job 12. 14. καὶ ἔχω τὰς κλεῖς τοῦ θανάτου καὶ τοῦ ᾅδου. 19 Γράψον οὖν ἃ εἶδες, καὶ ἅ εἰσι, τα 22.42 à å Isa. Rom. 6. 9. καὶ ἃ μέλλει γίνεσθαι μετὰ ταῦτα· 20 * τὸ μυστήριον τῶν ἑπτὰ ἀστέρων, ὧν chat & 20. 1. εἶδες ἐπὶ τῆς δεξιᾶς μου, καὶ τὰς ἑπτὰ λυχνίας τὰς χρυσᾶς. Οἱ ἑπτὰ ἀστέρες ἄγγελοι τῶν ἑπτὰ ἐκκλησιῶν εἰσι· καὶ λυχνίαι αἱ ἑπτὰ ἑπτὰ ἐκκλησίαι εἰσί.
r Mal. 2. 7.
II. 1·Τῷ ἀγγέλῳ τῆς ἐν Ἐφέσῳ ἐκκλησίας γράψον· Τάδε λέγει ὁ κρατῶν
18. Kal exw тàs Kλeîs] and 1 hold the Keys of Death and of Hades. Christ holds the Keys of Death, both of natural and spiritual Death; of natural Death, as He proved by raising the Dead, and by giving to His Apostles the power of raising the Dead, and by raising Himself from the Dead. See John v. 21.
He holds also the Keys of Spiritual Death. He quickens the soul, dead in trespasses and sins, by His Word and Sacraments (see on John v. 25); and as the appointed Judge of Quick and Dead, He will condemn the wicked at the Last Day, to that spiritual death, which is called in the Apocalypse the Second Death. See xx. 6. 14; xxi. 8. "For Hell itself is secunda mors, and is so termed by St. John." Bp. Andrewes, ii. 194.
He it is therefore "that openeth, and no man shutteth; and that shutteth, and no man openeth," iii. 7.
He has also the Keys of Hades—that is, of it, Scheol, the region of disembodied spirits (see on Luke xvi. 23, and Andreas here), distinguished from Hell, yéevva, or the Lake of Fire, which is the final abode of the reprobate (see xx. 10. 14, 15), and into which none are cast until the Day of Judgment.
Therefore the word "Aions is not to be rendered Hell; we may adopt the word Hades, with Hammond and Bp. Wilson, pp. 700, 701, and others. See the notes in the American revised Version, pp. 86, 87, ed. 1854.
Our Lord used this Key on the Cross when He admitted the soul of the Penitent into Paradise (Luke xxiii. 43), and He will use it at the Great Day, when He will unlock the gates of Hades, and will call forth the Spirits of all men, and re-unite every soul to its own body, which He will raise from the grave (John v. 28); and summon all men in soul and body to His Judgment Seat, for their final doom of everlasting bliss or woe.
Elz. places Toù favátov before Toû“Aidov, but A, B, C place TOû lavárov first; and so all the best Editions. This is the order of the words in all the other passages in which they occur in this book, see vi. 8; xx. 13, 14, and with good reason, because Death is the inlet of the soul into Hades.
19. Kal & elo] and what they are. The word elo here may signify what they mean; as is explained by what follows, "the seven stars are, i. e. they represent, the Angels of the Seven Churches; and the seven Lamps are, i. e. they represent, the Seven Churches." This interpretation is mentioned by Arethas, and is adopted by Alcasar, Aretius, Launoi, Eichhorn, Herder, De Wette, Ewald, and others.
St. John was not only admitted to see, and enabled to describe, the mysteries of the Spiritual World and of Futurity, but he was also empowered to explain them. Compare xvii. 9. 12. 15. 18, where the substantive verb eiu is used in this sense.
At the same time, in favour of the other interpretation (which is adopted by A Lapide, Grotius, Vitringa, Bengel, Hengstenberg, Ebrard, Lücke, Düsterd., and our Authorized Version), "the things which are," it may be observed, that things present are described in the Seven Epistles (chaps. ii. and iii.), and there seems to be a designed contrast between "the things which are," and "the things which are about to come to pass," by which it is intimated that the present and future condition of the Churches are alike open to the eye of Christ.
Angels, as the Representatives of their several Churches. Thus Christ Himself recognizes that form of Church government in which one Person presides, as Chief Pastor, over a City and Diocese, such as that of Ephesus, which, as we know from Holy Scripture, particularly from St. Paul's address to the Ephesian Presbyters at Miletus (Acts xx. 17), and from his two Epistles to Timothy, the Bishop of Ephesus, contained within it many Presbyters. See above, the Introductory note on 1 Tim. iii., p. 433.
Tertullian (adv. Marcion. iv. 5) designates these Angels as Bishops. "Habemus Joannis alumnas Ecclesias; nam etsi Apocalypsin ejus Marcion respuit, ordo tamen Episcoporum ad originem recensitus in Joannem stabit auctorem. And Aug.? (see above, p. 163) says here," Angeli non debent hic intelligi nisi Episcopi, aut Præpositi Ecclesiarum."
In these Epistles of the Apocalypse, Christ often blames the Angels of the Churches (see vv. 5. 14. 20; iii. 2. 17), but He never blames them for being Angels; that is, for occupying the chief place in their respective churches; which He certainly would have done, if such a pre-eminence in His Church had not been in accordance with His Will. See Matt. xx. 26. Luke xxii. 24-26.
20. ayyeλo] Angels of the Seven Churches. Angels, that is, their Chief Pastors, Bishops. The word Angel, or Messenger, had been applied to the Ministers of God, by ancient Prophecy. Cp. Mal. ii. 7, where see S. Jerome: cp. Augustine, Ep. xliii., Epiphanius, Bede, and Aquinas here; Saravia, de Minist. Eccles. p. 29; and Ussher on the Original of Bishops, p. 53; and Bingham, Antiquities, book ii. cap. ii. sect. 10, who says, "Hence, in after ages, Bishops were called Angels of the Churches." See below on ii. 1, and Trench here.
Avxvlai] The Seven Candlesticks-or rather Lamps-are Seven Churches. See on vv. 11, 12.
On the contrary, Christ recognizes the Angels as the Heads and organs of their several Churches; and sends His Epistles to the several Churches, through them. He recognizes the Seven Angels as the official Representatives of the Seven Churches.
Besides, what is very worthy of remark,-in the original Greek the various epithets (dead, hot, cold, poor, rich, blind, naked, and the like) which Christ uses in these two chapters to characterize the qualities and condition of these several Churches, do not agree in gender with the feminine word 'Eккλŋσía, Church; but they agree with the masculine word "Ayyeλos, Angel. They are all masculine; not one of them is feminine. The address to the Churches is personal to their several Angels. As Primasius expresses it, "unam facit Angeli Ecclesiæque personam." He identifies him with it. The Bishop is regarded as "Persona Ecclesiæ" by the Chief Shepherd and Bishop of Souls (1 Pet. ii. 5). The Great Head of the Church lays on the Angels the failings of their Churches; and thereby He not only makes a practical recognition of Episcopal Authority, but also teaches a solemn lesson of Episcopal Responsibility.
This Scripture also supplies a sacred precedent, and divine direction, as to the size of Dioceses, and number of Bishops. The territory, in which these Seven Churches were situated, was not much larger in extent than that of some single modern Dioceses; and each great City had its Bishop (see i. 4). The practical application of this sacred precedent to our own Church and Country at this time deserves serious consideration.
The SEVEN EPISTLES to the SEVEN CHURCHES.
CH. II. 1. т ȧyyéλw] To the Angel of the Church that is in Ephesus, write. Christ commands St. John to write to the Seven
· τῆς ἐν Ἐφέσῳ ἐκκλησίας] of the Church in Ephesus. He does not say "to the Angel of Ephesus," but to the Angel of the Church in Ephesus. Observe this title and style, which is employed by Christ in all His addresses to the Seven Angels of the Seven Churches. The Texts in v. 8, and in iii. 14, which seemed to offer exceptions to this rule, have been now restored from the best MSS.
This mode of address ought to regulate the language to be used by Christians toward Chief Pastors, and Cities, like those of Ephesus, Smyrna, &c. in the age of St. John, where the Civil Authorities are not yet Christian.
Accordingly, in the primitive writings of Apostolic men, the Church in a City is described as Tаpоikovσa, that is, as sojourning in that City. Thus S. Clement (Ep. i.) says, The Church of God that dwelleth at Rome" ( яароiкоvσα 'Рáμny), to the Church of God that dwelleth at Corinth (τῇ παροικούσῃ Κόρινθον). Compare the language of St. John's scholar, S. Ignatius, at the commencement of his Epistles, e. g. ad Ephes.: "To the Church that is in Ephesus," (ad Tralles) "to the holy Church that is in Tralles." The spiritual authority of Bishops flows from Christ alone. They are Chief Pastors of His Church, by virtue of their consecration to the Episcopal Office instituted by Him. But territorial titles are derived from God through the Power to which He has assigned dominion in this World, in which "He determines the