Lange Commentary - Revelation 1:1 - 1:8

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Lange Commentary - Revelation 1:1 - 1:8

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Comp. the Gospel according to John, Rev_1:1-18; 1Jn_1:1-3


Rev_1:2. JOHN.








1The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to show unto his servants things which [what things] must shortly [Lange: in swift succession] come to pass; and he sent [sending] and [om. and] signified it [om. it] by his angel unto his servant John: 2Who bare record [testified] of the word [Lange: Logos=Word] of God, and of [om. of] the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of [om. and of] 3all things that [whatsoever things] he saw. Blessed is he that readeth, [aloud] and they that hear4 the words of this [the] prophecy, and keep those [the] things which are written therein: for the time [Lange: decision-time]5 is at hand [near].


4John to the seven churches which are [om. which are] in Asia: Grace be [om. be] unto you, and peace, from him which [who] is, [om.,] and which [who] was, [om.,] and which [who] is to come [cometh]; and from the seven Spirits which [that] are before his throne; 5And from Jesus Christ, who is [om. who is] the faithful witness, and [om. and] the first-begotten [first-born] of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved [loveth] us, and washed 6us from our sins in his own [om. own] blood, and [ins. he] hath made us kings [om. kings—ins. a kingdom] and [om. and] priests unto [ins. his] God and his [om. his] Father; to him be glory and dominion forever and ever [into the ages of the ages]. Amen.


7Behold, he cometh with [ins. the] clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also [om. also] which [who] pierced him: and all kindreds [the tribes] of the earth 8shall wail because of him. Even so [Yea], Amen. I am [ins. the] Alpha and [ins. the] Omega, the beginning and the ending [om. the beginning and the ending,] saith the Lord [ins. God], which [who] is, [om.,] and which [who] was, [om.,] and which is to come [who cometh], the Almighty [or All-ruler].



[In this section the nature, subject, and writer of the Book are declared, and the importance of the subject indicated by a benediction on those who shall hear and read it in the spirit of obedience. (Altered from Alford).—E. R. C.]

See very rigorous revisions of the text by Kelly.—On John the Theologian, see Biographies of John.

Rev_1:1. Revelation of Jesus Christ. Indicative not of the form of the Book, but of its substance. The Book likewise receives its title from its subject-matter. Inadequate conceptions of the essence of the Apocalypse may be found in the works of Bunsen and Holtzmann. [ ἈðïêÜëõøéò is employed in the New Testament as indicating—1. The disclosure by word or symbol of that which is hidden or future, Rom_16:25; 1Co_14:6; 1Co_14:26; 2Co_12:1; 2Co_12:7; Gal_1:12; Gal_2:2; Eph_2:3; Ephesians 2. The manifestation in substance of that which was hidden or future, Rom_2:5; Rom_8:19; 1Co_1:7; 2Th_1:7; 1Pe_1:1; 1Pe_1:13; 1 Peter 3. Illumination (possibly) Luk_2:32; this meaning, however, may be resolved into the first. It is manifest from the following äåῖîáé that the term is here employed in the first of these senses. The following from the Treatise of Sir Isaac Newton is well worthy of consideration: “The Apocalypse of John is written in the same style and language with the prophecies of Daniel, and hath the same relation to them which they have to one another, so that all of them together make but one complete prophecy.—The prophecy is distinguished into seven successive parts; by the opening of the seven seals of the book which Daniel was commanded to seal up; and hence it is called the Apocalypse or Revelation of Jesus Christ.”—E. R. C.]—Of Jesus Christ.Genit. subj.: Christ the mediatory cause.—God, in the absolute sense, as the Father, being the primal source of all things, is likewise the fountain of Revelation.—[Which God gave unto Him.—God, i. e. the Father: Christ, the Mediator, knows not the times and seasons ( êáéñïýò , Rev_1:3) which the Father hath put in His own power, save as they are revealed to Him. Comp. Act_1:7; Mar_13:32.—E. R. C.]

To show unto His servants.—Statement of the purpose: To set before the eyes of the servants of Christ. Hengstenberg: the prophets. Ebrard: believers. These servants we hold to be believers who are in a condition to discuss the mysteries of the Apocalypse with the Church proper.—Such things are to be shown as must come to pass, in the sense of Providence, in the Christian apprehension of the term. [Must, “by the necessity of the divine decree. See Rev_4:1; Mat_21:6; Mat_26:54; Dan_11:28.”—Alford.—E. R. C.]

In swift succession [shortly].—Different interpretations of ἐí ôÜ÷åé . Ebrard correctly interprets it as referring to the rapidity of the course of the events prophesied. Düsterdieck maintains that this view is inconsistent with ἐããýò , Rev_1:3. But the êáéñüò is åããýò , irrespective of the length of time consumed by what is to come to pass. The whole course of the êáéñüò has for its final component part a period of a thousand years. The expression: what shall come to pass, cannot, however, be paraphrased by: what shall begin to come to pass. That exegetical prejudice which is incapable of distinguishing between religious and chronological dates, comes in play here (see Düsterdieck against Vitringa and others).— ἘóÞìáíåí is a modification of äåῖîáé , indicative of the signs employed, the symbolical representation. It relates to Christ. [Christ is the sender; see Rev_22:16.—E. R. C.] Hence, there is a change of construction, according to Düsterdieck and others.

Sending, ἀðïóôåßëáò ; absolute.—By His angel (compare Rev_22:6).—In respect to the various hypotheses concerning these words—the angel of the Lord—Gabriel—the angel who accompanied the Apocalyptist, or who did but throw him into his rapt state, etc.—we refer to the Comm. on Genesis, p. 385 sqq. [Am. Ed.]. From this Angel of Christ, in His universal form, particular angelic appearances are to be distinguished. Düsterdieck regards the term as generic, signifying that particular angel of whom Christ made use in each particular case. If we assume the angelic visible appearance of Christ to be the angel of the Apocalypse (comp. Act_12:11; Act_12:15), we do indeed encounter a difficulty in the fact that the angel designates Himself in Rev_22:9, as óýíäïõëïò ; doubtless, however, it suffices to remark that He appears to the apostle in the quality of an angel.

To His servant John.—Is it conceivable that a presbyter John could have applied this emphatic term to himself, so long as the memory of the great Apostle John endured?

Rev_1:2. Who testified.—According to Düsterdieck and many others (from Andreas of Cæsarea to Bleek, Lücke, Ewald, II.) the whole of Rev_1:2 d refers to nothing but the present scripture. This supposition they hold to be in nowise inconsistent with ἐìáñôýñçáå . Not only, however, is the Aorist thus rendered of no distinctive value, but the ìáñôõñåῖí and ìáñôõñßá are likewise deprived of their full weight. Neither to a vision nor to the report of a vision could these expressions be applied. We, therefore, with many others—from Ambrosiaster to Eichhorn—refer this passage to what was known as the earlier ministry of John; not simply to his Gospel, but, with Ebrard, to his whole evangelical and apostolic witness, corroborated by his martyrhood, and familiar to his readers.

The Word of God (comp. Rev_19:13).—Why should not the Logos be intended, as Ebrard and others maintain? [See the preceding extract.—E. R. C.]

The testimony [Zeugnissthat=witness-act] of Jesus Christ.—Not testimonium de Christo (Lyra), and still less the angelic message of Christ. [See preceding extract.—E. R. C.] How natural it was for the Apostle, in his martyrhood, to think of Christ as the great Martyr (see Rev_1:5).— Ὅóá åἶäå . Düsterdieck: The visions here described. Comp. against this view 1Jn_1:1; Gosp. of Joh_1:14; Joh_19:35.—The expression embraces the whole witness of John concerning his whole view of the glory of Christ, in the grandeur of His deeds and demonstrations.

Rev_1:3. Blessed is [or be] he. [Comp. Mat_5:3-11.—E. R. C.]—This conveys an idea of the importance of this book totally different from that which is represented by many moderns—Schleiermacher, for instance, in his Introduction to the New Testament. Düsterdieck affirms that this ìáêÜñéïò has reference only to a participation in the kingdom of glory, and not to conservation in the conflicts which precede its establishment—as if the two ideas were separable.—That readeth, and they that hear. Representation of a religious assembly. If the hearing be intended to convey the idea of religious earnestness [comp. Rev_2:6; Rev_2:11; Rev_2:17; Rev_2:29; Rev_3:6; Rev_3:13; Rev_3:22, &c.—E. R. C.] thus being emphatic, why may not the reading be expressive of the same idea? [These words imply the duty of striving to understand—a duty still further implied by the following direction to keep. How can that be kept which is not understood? There are those who refrain from the study of unfulfilled prophecy, upon the ground that “the prophecies were not designed to make us prophets.” This is true; but a prophet is one thing, and an understander of prophecy is another. There is, indeed, a curious prying into things not revealed, an effort to make determinate those times and seasons which our Lord has expressly declared are (for us) left indeterminate (comp. Mat_24:36; Act_1:7). Such conduct, however, is entirely different from the reverential, prayerful study of the word as revealed. It should be remembered that our Lord rebuked the Jews and His disciples for not understanding the prophecies relating to His first Advent, (comp. Joh_5:39; Joh_5:46; Luk_11:52; Mat_16:3; Luk_24:25); and that His last great eschatological discourse was delivered that His people might be fore-warned (comp. Mat_24:4; Mat_24:15; Mat_24:24-25; Mat_24:33)—the implication, of course, being that it should be studied. It is not intended by these remarks to assert that a full and complete understanding of all prophecies will be attained to, by all who faithfully study; their design is to set forth the duty of study. Doubtless, many things will remain dark to the most earnest students, even to the beginning of the end; it may be confidently believed, however, that to such, much important knowledge will be vouchsafed which will be withheld from the negligent; and, furthermore, that all knowledge expedient for them to possess will be granted.—E. R. C.]—The words of the prophecy. These eschatological predictions.—And keep. An edifying impression on the heart is not the sole thing intended here; reference is had to the faithful holding fast of all things set down in this prophecy, and to a corresponding observation of the signs of the times.

For the decision-time. This is not to be considered as relating to ìáêÜñéïò , as Düsterdieck thinks, for the blessedness cannot refer to the future alone; that time is intended when that which relates to the last things shall begin—hence ὁ êáéñüò . [The classical meaning of êáßñüò is the right measure, the right proportion. In the New Testament it is used to indicate a time, a period; but it seems to carry with it its classical force of determinate proportion—it is a season fixed as to time of occurrence and duration. Comp. Mat_8:29; Mat_13:30; Mat_21:34; Mat_26:18, Joh_5:4; Act_1:7; Act_17:27; Rev_12:14, etc. But what êáéñüò is here referred to? Is it not, manifestly, the entire period, viewed as a unit, in which the things symbolically seen by the Apocalyptist should come to pass?—a period near to the Apostle when he wrote; to us, present.—E. R. C.]


The view of Hengstenberg and Ebrard, who regard this dedication, from Rev_1:4-6, as relating only to the seven epistles, in antithesis to the established theory, is opposed to the organic simplicity of the book. The entire prologue belongs to the entire book, as does the entire epilogue. The seven churches, however, as the congregations of the first readers, represent the entire Christian reading-world; just as the Gospel of Luke and the book of Acts composed by him, were not designed for Theophilus alone.

Rev_1:4. John to the seven churches.—On the relation of the Apostle John to the Church in Asia Minor, comp. Church History. The fact that the seven churches formed an ecclesiastical diocese, extending from the metropolis of Ephesus to Laodicea, is intimated by the address of the Epistle to the Ephesians, taken in connection with Col_4:16. [It is difficult to perceive the intimation. Most certainly the fact that neighboring Churches are exhorted to exchange epistles directed to them respectively, does not imply that they belong to one diocese.—E. R. C.] On the accounts of John’s labors in Ephesus, comp. Steitz. The reality of the septenary does not preclude its symbolical import.

Asia.—In the narrowest sense—proconsular Asia. See Winer and others. [See an exceedingly valuable and interesting passage in Conybeare and Howson’s Life and Epistles of St. Paul, Vol. I. Revelation 8. Also Smith and Kitto.—E. R. C.]

Grace be with you and peace.—As in the writings of the Apostle Paul principally. Comp. also 2Jn_1:3.

From the: He is present, etc.—Declaration of the name of Jehovah, not an etymological analysis of it, as earlier exegetes imagined (see the citation of Bengel in Düsterdieck). The declaration He is, He was, He cometh, or He is to come, does not do full justice to the idea, for the word Jehovah signifies that God is ever present, at hand, for His people, as the faithful covenant-keeping God; neither is this idea contained in the expression who is, etc. [Alford writes: “A paraphrase of the unspeakable name éäåָֹä , resembling the paraphrase àֶäְéֶä àֲùֶׁø àֶäְéֶä in Exo_3:14, for which the Jerusalem Targum has, as here, qui fuit, est, et erit: as has the Targum of Jonathan in Deu_32:39; Schemoth R. 3. f. 105, Revelation 2 : ‘Dixit Deus S. B. ad Mosen: Ego fui et adhuc sum, et ero in posterum.’ Schöttg., Wetst., De Wette.”—E. R. C.] On the [grammatical] imparity of this formula, and the attempts to smooth it down ( ôïῦ - ἦí - ἐñ÷üìåíïò ), see Düsterdieck, page 100. [Trench, in his Com. on the Epistles to the Seven Churches, thus treats of “the departure from the ordinary rules of grammar: Doubtless, the immutability of God, ‘the same yesterday, and to-day, and forever’ (Heb_13:8), is intended to be expressed in this immutability of the name of God, in this absolute resistance to change or even modification which that name here presents. ‘I am the Lord; I change not’ (Mal_3:6), this is what is here declared.”—E. R. C.] The name is no direct designation of the Trinity; at most, it contains but an indirect allusion to the three economies.

From the seven Spirits.—See Isa_11:2; Rev_3:1; Rev_4:5; Rev_5:6. The seven Spirits burn like lamps [Germ. Fackeln, torches] before the throne, as Spirits of God, and are at the same time seven eyes of the Lamb. By this we understand seven ground-forms of the revelation of the Logos or heavenly Christ in the world (hence ideals of Christ; lamps of God; eyes of Christ); neither, therefore, seven properties of the Holy Ghost, though, the Spirit of God is their unitous life; nor properties of God (Eichhorn); nor the symbolical totality of the angels (Lyra); nor the seven archangels, in accordance with the traditional view (of these archangels six only are grouped together on canonical and apocryphal ground); as in Isa_11:2, the six spirits are merged in the unity of the septenary [Siebenzahl]; nor seven of the ten Sephiroth (Herder). We must likewise distinguish from these seven Spirits the Spirit who speaks to the churches (Rev_2:7; Rev_2:29); with reference to Zec_3:9; Zec_4:6; Zec_4:10.

Rev_1:5. From Jesus Christ.—From Him also the blessing of grace and peace comes; hence, to Him divine operations are attributable.

[Who is].—The nominative, making a change in the construction, manifestly gives prominence to the three following designations of Christ as favorite Apocalyptic names. As God Himself, in an Apocalyptic view, is preëminently He Who is present, Who was present, and Who draweth nigh [present], so Christ is, first, the Great Martyr in a unique sense; secondly, the Conqueror of death; thirdly, the Prince of the kings of the earth. In accordance with the sense, a ôïῦ ὁ would be in place here also. These names, therefore, serve neither as a foundation for that which follows nor for that which precedes them, though it is not without reason that Ebrard parallelizes these three names of Christ with the following three soteriological operations. With the faithful Witness correspond the words: Who loveth us, etc. The three offices of Christ are likewise suggested here, though Düsterdieck disputes even this. We must remark that the reading ëýóáíôé would convert the high-priestly function into a kingly one.

The faithful Witness.—See Rev_3:14; also Rev_19:11; Rev_21:5; Rev_22:6.—Düsterdieck apprehends this as intimating the fact that Christ is the Mediator of all divine revelation, and disputes the very reference in point; viz.: to the fact that Christ, in the extremity of temptation under suffering, sealed the revelation of God with His testimony (Ebrard). The revelation of God is likewise enwrapped in both the following points; the First-born and the Prince. Other references [of the faithful Witness—Tr.] either to the fulfillment of threats and promises, or to the truth of the apocalyptic words, pass by the fundamental idea. [The following comment of Richard of St. Victor, quoted by Trench, sets forth the truths involved in this appellation in great fullness: “Testis fidelis, quia, de omnibus quæ per Eum testificanda erant in mundo testimonium fidele perhibuit. Testis fidelis, quia quæcunque audivit a Patre fideliter discipulis suis nota fecit. Testis fidelis, quia viam Dei in veritate docuit, nee Ei cura de aliquo fuit, nee personas hominum respexit. Testis fidelis, quia reprobis damnationem, et electis salvationem nunciavit. Testis fidelis, quia veritatem quam verbis docuit, miraculis confirmavit. Testis fidelis quia testimonium Sibi a Patre nec in morte negavit. Testis fidelis, quia de operibus malorum et bonorum in die judicii testimonium verum dabit.”—E. R. C.]

The First-born of the dead.—See Col_1:18; 1Co_15:20.—The idea of the ancient Church, that the day of a man’s death is the day of his higher birth, was founded upon fact in the history of Jesus, and upon the word of the apostles. [The reference however, of the title First-born of the dead was not to a glorification co-incident with death, but to the resurrection of Christ from the dead. Comp. Col_1:18; 1Co_15:20; 1Co_15:23.—E. R. C.] Christ, according to the epistle to the Colossians, is the ἀñ÷Þ in a two-fold sense: the ἀñ÷Þ of the creation and of the resurrection; the latter is of course implied here, for the heavenly birth of Christ is the efficient cause of the resurrection of the dead (Eph_1:19 sqq.).

The PRINCE of the Kings.—In Rev_19:16, He is called the King of kings. There He has taken possession of the kingdom; in the beginning of the Apocalypse He has but unfolded the power and right of a king in a princely manner before the eyes of His people, and commenced to give proof thereof in the world; see Mat_28:18; Act_13:33; Php_2:6 sqq. Comp. Psalms 110; Isaiah 53, and other passages. As the kingly principle, even now dynamically ruling over the kings of the earth, and destined in the end to prevail over the Antichristian powers also, He works on and on until His appearance as the King proper.

The three names jointly form the foundation for the truth of the facts of the Apocalypse. The whole of divine revelation, whose goal is a new world, is sealed by the faithful Witness; the principial foundation of its work of renewal—a deadly work to the old world—is in the First-born; it is continually at work and unfolding its royal power in the Prince.

From Him who loveth us.—According to Düsterdieck [the E. V., Lachmann and Alford], the doxological formula begins here. The doxology at the close of Rev_1:6, however, is independent; it is founded upon all that has been previously affirmed of Christ. Düsterdieck rightly insists upon the significancy of the present [tense] form ἀãáðῶíôé (Rev_22:17; Rom_8:37). The real motive for the foundation of a new world is the loving glance of God and Christ at the men of God, who are to be the fruits of creation and redemption.

And washed us.—It is an unmistakable fact that one and the same root lies at the foundation of both ëïýåéí and ëýåéí ; that the one involves the other, and that both are embraced in this concrete expression of Scripture. Nevertheless, the ideas of liberation from the guilt [reatus = liability to punishment.—E. R. C.] of sin and liberation from the bondage of sin are contra-distinguished, not only in doctrinal theology, but also in the Holy Scriptures. Now it is manifest that in Rev_7:14, a liberation from guilt is meant; so likewise in 1Jn_1:7. These analogies, as well as the consideration that an atonement for the guilt of sin lies at the foundation of a redemption from its power, add weight to the remark that the operation of Christ’s blood is distinct from His special act of making us kings. We cannot, therefore, with Düsterdieck, find “substantially the same idea in both readings.”

Rev_1:6. A kingdom.—It is true that believers are, in a spiritual sense, kings as well as priests. They are true priests, however, through individual self-sacrifice. It is impossible for them, on the other hand, to exercise an individual government, thus encroaching upon the rights of Christian fellowship;—kings they can be only in the community of the Church. Hence there are material reasons, as well as documentary ones, for preferring the more difficult reading ἡìᾶò to ἡìῖí and ἡìῶí ; though the abstract fact that Christians are spiritually possessed of kingly dignity is to be maintained; that fact is also supported by Rev_5:10 ( âáóéëåýåéí ). The term, then, denotes neither, on the one hand, a people of kings, nor, on the other: the subjects of the kingdom, for the essential element in this kingdom is that the members of it rule by serving and serve by ruling (Mat_20:25 sqq.) or the identity of sovereignty and subjection [serving. The ideas of serving and subjection are widely different.—E. R. C.] Christians, therefore, are a kingdom, because they are priests,—by virtue of a self-abnegation, heavenly in its purity. (On the Old Testament type, see Exodus 19) [See Excursus at the end of the section.—E. R. C.]

To His God. Ἀõôïῦ “appertains to the whole term ôῷ èåῷ êáὶ ðáôñß .” (Düsterdieck, against De Wette and Ebrard.) Believers are priests on the basis of the High-Priesthood of Christ, because, with reconciled consciences, they have immediate access to God in prayer for themselves and intercession for others (Rom_5:2), in the spirit of self-surrender, giving proof of this spirit in their sufferings, and that not only as witnesses (Rom_12:1); these sufferings are of course (as Ebrard remarks in reference to Col_1:24) to be distinguished from the perfect expiatory passion of Christ. “We find a kindred conception in Rev_21:22, where the new Jerusalem is represented as destitute of a temple.” (Düsterdieck.)

To Him be.—According to De Wette and Düsterdieck, äüîá should be supplemented by ἐóôß , after the manner of 1Pe_4:11. A more obvious explanation of the ellipsis is in accordance with the sense of Rev_4:9; Rev_4:11, and other passages. [Alford remarks: “The like ambiguity is found in all doxological sentences.”—E. R. C.]


Rev_1:7. Behold, He cometh.—In the following words the Apostle announces the theme of his book with prophetic vivacity. Behold, ἰäïý (see Rev_16:15). He directs the attention of his readers to a new and grand fact as one who himself beholds and wonders. This form is likewise met with in the Gospels.—He cometh. Not: He shall come. The strong Apocalyptic term He cometh, for He cometh quickly, is partly based upon the idea that He is continually coming—continually on the way.

With the clouds.Dan_7:13; Mar_14:62.—“Among the later Jews the Messiah is actually called the Cloud-Man” (Düsterdieck after Ewald). God also is said to have His dwelling among the clouds (Psa_97:2; Psa_18:11). The cloud is, so to speak, a material symbol of the divine presence, or the divine mystery—partly veiling, partly revealing. [We are not to suppose, however, that the declaration “He cometh with clouds” is figurative. The clouds with which He will come may be symbolic, but they will be real. Of the literal fulfillment of a prophecy solemnly repeated by our Lord in His discourse on the Mount of Olives (Mat_24:30), and again to the High Priest, before the Sanhedrin, on the occasion of His trial (Mat_26:64; Mar_14:62); and referred to in the account of the ascension (Act_1:9; Act_1:11);—all under circumstances that preclude the idea of figure;—there should be no doubts.—E. R. C.]

Every eye.—All mankind; not believers simply (Mat_25:32).

And they who pierced Him.—According to Düsterdieck, this is significant of the Jews alone. The following sentence he renders: and all the Gentiles shall wail because of Him. This, however, does not accord with Zec_12:10. Why should not those who at the first pierced the Lord be the mourners afterwards? And if a mere external historical meaning be attached to the former clause, the saying would apply to a few individual Jews only. The text leaves the question as to whether, and to what degree, repentance is involved, undecided. An element of judgment, startling to all, is enwrapped in the appearance of the Crucified One. Particular interpretations by Ebrard and Düsterdieck, see in the work of the latter, p. 116. The ἐîåêÝíôçóáí appears also in Joh_19:37. It was for the Apostle a point of the highest symbolical significance. [Alford makes the following important comment: “As there (Joh_19:36) St. John evidently shows what a deep impression the whole circumstance here referred to produced on his own mind, so it is remarkable here that he should again take up the prophecy of Zechariah (Rev_12:10) which he there cites, and speak of it as fulfilled. That this should be so, and that it should be done with the same word ἐîåêÝíôçóáí , not found in the LXX. of the passage, is a strong presumption that the Gospel and the Apocalypse were written by the same person.”—E. R. C.]

Yea ( íáὶ ), amen.—Double assurance in the Greek and Hebrew.

Rev_1:8. Alpha and Omega—(Rev_21:6).—Indication of the principle and the final goal of all things, in a symbolism drawn from the Greek alphabet (see Rom_11:36). Hence the interpolated gloss by way of exegesis. The corresponding Jewish symbolism says: from à to ú . The deduction of the divine Essence from the revelation of that Essence in the world forms the foundation for the deduction of the divine Rule, in accordance with the divine Essence as revealed; and upon this latter deduction the certainty of the last things is based.

The All-ruler.—It is not without reason that this expression ðáíôïêñÜôùñ is of constant occurrence in the Apocalypse. It is one of the tasks of the last times to hold fast this assurance, notwithstanding all appearance to the contrary. [The Apocalypse is the only portion of the New Testament in which the word occurs, except in 2Co_6:18. It is, however, of frequent occurrence in the Septuagint, and to that book we must look for the determination of its meaning. In Job it is used to translate ùַׁøַּé , the Almighty; elsewhere it is employed as the second member of the compound expression ( êýñéïò ðáíôïêñÜôùñ ) which most frequently represents—not translates—the Hebrew compound éְäåָֹä öְðָàåֹú Jehovah of hosts. (Sometimes the second term is translated by ôῶí äõíÜìåùí (Psa_24:10), ôῶí óôñáôéῶí (Amo_6:14), and frequently it is reproduced, óáââáþè , as in Isa_1:9). Now, it is impossible to suppose that the Seventy regarded ðáíôïêñÜôùñ as the Greek equivalent for öְðָàåֹú ; the most natural supposition is that they looked upon the entire Hebrew expression as an ellipsis for éְäåָֹä àֱìäֵֹé öְáָàéú , which would give as the meaning of the Greek term one consistent with its etymology, viz.: God of hosts. This supposition is confirmed by the fact that, in several instances where the three terms occur, as in Jer_5:14; Jer_15:16; Jer_44:7; Amo_3:13 (in this instance four), ðáíôïêñÜôùñ is used to render the last two. From all these facts it is natural to conclude that it was used as a term expressive of infinite supremacy, including the two correlated ideas of universal dominion (God of hosts) and almighty power. This meaning, which is most in accordance with the classical and sacred usage of the words from which ðáíôïêñÜôùñ is compounded, and which is consistent with every instance of its use in the New Testament, is, almost certainly, the meaning that should be attached to it.—E. R. C.]


So the Rec.; Cod. B.* has the Theologian [Divine] and Evangelist. [Lach., Alf., Treg., Tisch., with à . C., give simply ἈðïêÜëõøéò ἸùÜííïõ . The title of A. is lost.—E. R. C.]

Rev_1:1. [“Whether ἐóÞìáíåí has its object expressed in ἥí of this verb, or in ὅóá åἶäå of Rev_1:2, or whether the object is to be supplied by a pronoun for ἀðïêÜëõøéò , or for & äåῖ ãåíÝóèáé , or, lastly, whether the verb is used absolutely, are questions, some of them at least, more difficult than important, into which we need not enter. A translation, especially of the divine oracles, ought not to be more explicit and determinate than the original.—No object is supplied by Wick., Tyn., Cran., Gen., Rheims,—Vulg., Syr.,—Erasm., Vat., Castal., Cocc., Vitr., Ros., Greenf., Lord, Kenr.”—Note of Dr. Lillie in his Translation for the A. M. Bib. Union.—E. R. C.]

Rev_1:2. The ôå after ὅóá of the Rec. disturbs the sense, and is omitted, according to A. B.* C. à . There is also an erroneous exegetical addition in [some] minuscules. Thus Düsterdieck. [Omitted by Crit. Eds. generally.—E. R. C.]

Rev_1:3. Ὁ ἀíáãéíþóêùí êáὶ ïἱ ἀêïýïíôåò . Unimportant variations and additions in minuscules.

Rev_1:3. [Lach., Alf., Treg., Tisch. (1859) give ôïὺò ëüãïõò with A. C. P., Vulg., etc.; Tisch. (8th Ed.), with à . B.,* gives ôὸí ëüãïí .—E. R. C.]

Rev_1:4. The words which are do not occur in the Edition of 1611.—E. R. C.]

Rev_1:4. Variations: before ὁ ὢí á ôïῦ (on which see Delitzsch, Handschriftliche Funde), also èåïῦ , and instead of , ὃò . [Rec. gives ôïῦ before ὁ ὢí ; B.* gives Èåïῦ ; Lach., Alf., Treg. Tisch., with à . A. C., etc., give simply ἀðὸ ὁ ὤí . The last mentioned reading is adopted in the text. The translation is to come, although not erroneous, is objectionable, as it is liable to have put upon it the erroneous meaning, is to be. The Rheims, following the Vulgate, translates and which [who] shall come. (See Trench On the Epistles to the Seven, Churches). Still better is the translation given above.—E. R. C.]

Rev_1:4. ÐíåõìÜôùí ἅ ; B.* C. The additions are explanatory. [Lach., Alf, and Tisch., read as above; for given by B*. C, Treg. reads ôῶí with à . A.; Rec., in accordance with P., inserts ἐóôßí alter , which is omitted by à . A. B*. C., etc.—E. R. C.]

Rev_1:5. The ἐê is omitted [by Crit. Eds. generally] in accordance with à . A. B*. C. [(Also by P. Vulg. Cop. Syr., etc.) The German Vers. reads “from the dead.” Rec. gives ἐê .—E. R. C.]

Rev_1:5. Ôῷ ἀãáðῶíôé , à . A. B*. C. [So read Lach., Alf., Treg., and Tisch.—E. R. C.]

Rev_1:5. Ëïýóáíôé according to B*. Vulg.; more Johannean than ëýóáíôé . See, however, Düsterdieck. [Lachm., Treg., and Tisch. (8th Ed.) give ëýóáíôé in accordance with à . A. C.; Alford presents both readings (but brackets the o), ëïýóáíôé , in accordance with B*. P., Vulg. etc. Tisch. (1859) gave ëïýóáíôé .—E. R. C.]

Rev_1:5. [Lach., Alf., Treg., Tisch. (8th Ed.) give ἐê with à . A. C., etc.; Tisch. (1859) gives ἀðü with P. B*.—E. R. C.]

Rev_1:5. Ἡìῶí is better established than the omission of it. [Lach., Treg., and Tisch., give ἡìῶí with à . C. P. B*.; Lach. (Min. Ed.) omits with A.; Alford brackets.—E. R. C.]

Rev_1:6. The reading âáóéëåßáí established by à *. A. C., etc., against âáóéëåῖò [by Rec. and P., and âáóßëåéïí by B*.—E. R. C.] Ἡìᾶò established by à . and B*. against ἡìῖí and ἡìῶí . [Alf. and Tisch. read ἡìᾶò with à . B*. P. Vulg. (Cl.), etc.; Lach. (Ed. Maj.) gives ἡìῶí in accordance with C., Alford cites in favor of this reading the following MSS. of the Vulgate—Amiat., Fuld., Harl., Toll. Lach. (Ed. Min.), and Treg., give ἡìῖí with A. The correct reading of each word is exceedingly uncertain.—E. R. C.]

Rev_1:6. [Lach. (Ed. Min.), Tisch. (1859), and Alf., omit ôῶí áἰþíùí with A. P.; Lach. (Ed. Maj.), Treg., Tisch. (8th Ed.) and Lange retain it with à . B* C., etc., Vulgate.—E. R. C.]

Rev_1:8. The unauthorized addition ἀñ÷ὴ êáὶ ôÝëïò is explanatory. [These words find no place in any one of the old Codices.—E. R. C.]

Rev_1:8. Êýñéïò ὁ Èåüò against the Rec. [They are given by Crit. Eds., with à . A. B*. C. P., etc.—E. R. C.]

Rev_1:8. [For the translation All-ruler see Add. Com. on Rev_1:8, p. 93.—E. R. C.]

[The contrary opinion as to the meaning of ἐí ôÜ÷åé , is ably set forth by Alford in the following extract: “The context, the repetition below, ὁ ãὰñ êáéñὸò ἐããýò , and the parallel, Rev_22:6, followed ib. 7, by ἰäïὺ ἔñ÷ïìáé ôá÷ý , fix this meanings (before long) here, as distinguished from the other of swiftly, which indeed would be hardly intelligible with the historic aorist ãåíÝóèáé . This expression, as De Wette well remarks, must not be urged to signify that the events of apocalyptic prophecy were to be close at hand; for we have a key to its meaning in Luk_18:7-8, where long delay is evidently implied.”—E. R. C.]

[This restriction of the meaning of óçìáßíù is not in accordance with the other instances of its use in the New Testament (three of the five, it will be observed, being by John), Joh_12:33; Joh_18:32; Joh_21:19, Act_11:28; Act_25:27. In all these instances the signifying was by word and not by symbol.—E. R. C.]

[Lange translates, in that he sent (indem er Botschaft sandte), a German idiom equivalent to the sending, with which the E. V. in this translation is corrected.—E. R. C.]

[The comparison of Act_12:11 with 15, most certainly does not show that by “the angel of the Lord,” Rev_1:11, it was intended to indicate in any sense “a visible appearance of Christ.” The disciples, manifestly, did not intend to designate Peter himself by that which they styled his angel—at the most, all they could have intended was his spiritual representative, a person or thing distinct from himself. On the supposition that by “the Angel of the Lord” it was intended to designate some special representative of Christ, he would be distinct from Christ, and, as a creature, would represent himself as a óýíäïõëïò . On the supposition that by the Angel was meant Christ Himself, it is impossible satisfactorily to explain the language of Rev_22:9. The explanation of Lange does not suffice. However He might have appeared (either subjectively or objectively) to the Apostle, it is impossible to conceive of Him as using the language there attributed to the angel.—E. R. C.]

[As supporting this view, see Joh_21:24; 1Jn_1:1-2. On the other hand, Alford writes: “The objections to Ebrard’s reference are to me insuperable. First, as to its introduction with the simple, relative ὅò . We may safely say that, had any previous writing or act been intended, we should have had ὅò êáὶ , or even more than this. … Next, as to the things witnessed. The words ὁ ëüãïò ôïῦ èåïῦ ê . ἡ ìáñôõñßá Ἰ ×ñ . cannot with any likelihood be taken to mean ‘the (personal) Word of God, and the testimony of Jesus Christ;’ for why, if the former term refer to Christ personally, should He be introduced in the second member under a different name? Besides, the words occur again below, Rev_1:9, as indicating the reason why John was in the island of Patmos; and there surely they cannot refer to his written Gospel, but must be understood of his testimony for Christ in life and words: moreover, ἡ ìáñôõñßá Ἰçóïῦ is itself otherwise explained in this very book, Rev_19:10. But there is yet another objection to the supposed reference to the Gospel arising from the last words, ὅóá åἶäåí . First, the very adjective ὅóá refutes it; for the Evangelist distinctly tells us, Joh_20:30, that in writing his Gospel he did not set down ὅóá åἶäåí , but only a portion of the things which Jesus did in the presence of His disciples. … But still more does the verb åἶäåí carry this refutation. In no place in the Gospel does St. John use this verb of his eye-witnessing as the foundation of his testimony. … But in this book it is the word in regular and constant use, of the seeing of the Apocalyptic visions. … Taken then as representing the present book, ôὸí ëüãïí here will be the aggregate of ïἱ ëüãïé , Rev_1:3 : ἡ ìáñôõñßá Ἰ ×ñ . will be the ðíåῦìá ôῆò ðñïöçôåßáò , embodied in the Church in all ages.”—E. R. C.]

[Alford attributes to Ebrard the exactly opposite view.—E. R. C.]

[Michael, Gabriel, Raphael, Uriel, Sealthiel, Jeremiel. The doctrine of a true septenary of archangels was advanced in later times, though not so late as 1460. Comp. the note in Düsterdieck.—E. R. C.]

[That created beings cannot he intended by the Seven Spirits is evident from their being mentioned between the Father and Jesus Christ, and also from their being regarded as sources of blessing. The view as to their nature advocated by Lange is inconsistent with their being associated with Persons, and their being named with and still more before Christ. Trench judiciously remarks: “There is no doubt that by ‘the seven spirits’ we are to understand not indeed the sevenfold operations of the Holy Ghost, but the Holy Ghost sevenfold in His operations. Neither need there be any difficulty in reconciling this interpretation, as Mede urges, with the doctrine of His personality. It is only that He is regarded here not so much in His personal unity, as in His manifold energies; for ‘there are diversities of gifts but the same Spirit,’ 1Co_12:4.—The manifold gifts, operations, energies of the Holy Ghost are here represented under the number seven, being as it is the number of completeness in the Church. We have anticipations of this in the Old Testament. When the Prophet Isaiah would describe how the Spirit should be given not by measure to Him whose name is the Branch, the enumeration of the gifts is sevenfold (Rev_11:2); and the seven eyes which rest upon the stone which the Lord had laid can mean nothing but this (Zec_3:9; cf. Zec_4:10; Rev_5:6).”—E. R. C.]

On Düsterdieck’s controversy with Ebrard in respect to ὠäῖíåò , Act_2:24, see the note in Düsterdieck, p. 113.

[This position can be maintained only in defiance of all grammatical propriety. For obvious reasons, the datives Üãáðῶíôé and ëïõóáíôé should be connected, not with the preceding genitives governed by ἀðü , but with the following áὐôῷ . The solecism of Rev_1:4, can have no place here, as the grounds of its existence are wanting; and, further, a similar solecism, were it in place, would give us Üãáðῶí and not ἀãáðῶíôé .—E. R. C.]

[“The certainty that Christ continually loves His people is as significant, in the connection of the book, as the certainty that He is the Faithful Witness, etc. The Bride, rejoicing, comforts herself with the coming of Him who loves her (Rev_22:17; comp. Rom_8:37”). Duesterdieck, p. 113.—Tr.]

[Liddell and Scott present both ËÕÙ and ËÏÕÙ as root words, the latter contracted from the old ëïÝù . They remark in a note under the latter—“Akin to Lat. luo, diluo, eluo, lavo, but hardly to the Greek ëýù .” (A similar note is appended to the former.)—E. R. C.]


Section First

Prologue (Rev_1:1-8)

General.—Of God.—Of Revelation.—Of witness [Martyrium].—Of visions.—Of Divine service.—Of the Church.—Of the Trinity.—Of salvation.—Of the destination of Christians.—Of the Coming of Christ, in order to the complete revelation of God.

Special.—[Rev_1:1.] Revelation as the Apocalypse, the end and crown of revelations.—-The end and crown of the Biblical Books.—The end and crown of the doctrines of the Christian faith.—The end and crown of paræneses.

[Rev_1:2.] The Apostles as the great martyrs or witnesses of Christ:—Of His past, present, future [or coming].—John, in respect to his import in a doctrinal and a homiletical point of view.—John as the Seer of spirit in realities (the Gospel) and of realities in spirit (the Apocalypse).—The vision as a sign of the depth of the inner human life, and the height of the ripened Christian life.—[Rev_1:3.] Blessedness of the Christian in anticipation of the Coming of Christ.—The always certain nearness of the last time in the rapid course and change of Christian times.—The Coming of Christ in every Christian age.—Christian worship in the simple ground-form of readers and hearers.—Common blessedness of the leading and the led in a true cultus.—[Rev_1:4-5.] As the all-embracing idiocrasy of Christ is divided and reflected in the Apostles, so the idiocrasies of the Apostles are divided and reflected in those of the Church.—The Seven Churches in the deepest reality One Church.—The Trinity of God in the glory of its revelation: The Father, as the Primal Source of grace and peace—Who is, Who was, and Who cometh; The Holy Ghost in the manifestations of the Seven Spirits before the Throne of the Divine Rule; The Son of God, as the Faithful Witness, the First-born from the dead; as the Prince of the kings of the earth; as He Who hath loved us and washed us from our sins in His blood.—The grace which is upon Christians, and the peace which is in them, an eternally new benedictive greeting from the Triune God.—[Rev_1:6.] The high calling of Christians, by which they are made a kingdom of priests; how this calling is realized for them, and how it becomes realized in them.—Kings and priests considered in respect of their connection: 1. Kings and priests, in the sense of their degeneracy, alternately war and conspire against each other; 2. Kings and priests, in the sense of the worldly order of things, mutually balance and limit each other; 3. Kings and priests, as servants of God, in the sense of the spiritual life, are one, and mutually condition each other.—A man becomes a king, in the service of God, only when he continually sacrifices or surrenders all things to Him in pure self-renunciation, as a priest.—A man becomes a priest of the Eternal Spirit only when he can administer kingly possessions in kingly freedom.—The first doxology: 1. Glory; 2. Dominion; 3. Both to continue into the æons.—Whereby can I perceive that God is glorified on earth? 1. When no earthly glory obscures, like a cloud, this heavenly Sun. 2. When His glory is duly seen and appreciated in the reflected lustre of all that is holy and glorious on earth.—In God’s Kingdom, His dominion is based upon His glory, as is His glory upon His dominion.—What is the meaning of eternities [æons? the G. V. has: von Ewigkeit zu Ewigkeit=from eternity to eternity]? Infinite revelation of the Divine Essence. Infinite unfolding of a blessed life. Infinite development and unveilment of the world.—The Biblical Amen: The perfected Personality of Christ; Perfected phase of the Kingdom; Perfected certitude of prayer.—[Rev_1:7.] The Theme of the Book: He cometh.—Also the theme of worldly history; of religious presentiments; of science and of art.—With the clouds. As high and free as are the clouds as they emerge to view out of the depths of Heaven; as hidden and as manifest as the lightning in the cloud; as elevated above the earth, and as surely destined for the earth.—And every eye shall see Him. One day these eyes of ours shall show to each and all of us the Lord.—How this announcement finds its incipient fulfillment in every act of worship that we perform: We look up to Him. We perceive ourselves to be guilty in respect of the cross of Christ. We celebrate His Passion and His Death with sacred lamentations for the Dead.—This prophecy shall one day become a completed reality.—With Christ’s Coming Sunday comes; true and unceasing worship comes; the word of revelation comes upon the whole earth.—Even His enemies must see Him; must recognize their guilt in respect of Him in their guilt in respect of their inmost selves; must join, in one way or another, in the last lamentation over Him.—[Rev_1:8.] In the Coming of Christ, God shall perfectly manifest Himself as Jehovah, the Covenant God:—faithful to Himself—faithful to His people—faithful to His justice toward all.—Alpha and Omega; or the most profound idea elementarily illustrated. As the whole expression embraces the entire spirit-world, so the Spirit of God comprehends the beginning, the middle, and the end of things.—Import of the fact that God will not perfectly manifest Himself until the end of the course of this world; that He is utterly distinct from (1) fate, (2) despotism, (3) arbitrariness, (4) chance.—On the Martyrs.—On Divine Service.—On the Feast of Trinity.—On Confirmation.

Comp. Exodus 19.; Isaiah 6.; Ezekiel 1.; Daniel 7.; Zechariah 12.; Mat_24:30, et al.

Starke: All revelations of God come to us through Christ.—The most eminent function of an Apostle or Teacher is to testify of Christ.—Such a reading and hearing of Holy Scripture as is pleasing to God, confers blessedness.—The wish: [1] The utterer of the wish; [2] The objects of the wish; [3] The subject of the wish; [4] The One to Whom the wish is addressed.—Cramer: The condition of a Christian a noble condition.— Íáὶ , ἀìὴí est gemina confirmatio, una græca, altera hebraica.

Sander (“Versuch einer Erklärung,” 1829, see p. 73): If the Revelation of John be compared with the rest of the Sacred Writings, especially those of the Prophets, it will be found that John uses scarce any image that is not contained in these and that might not be explained through them. Compare Revelation 1. and Eze_1:26; Isaiah 6., etc. (Moreover, the homogeneousness of the images presupposes the homogeneousness of the facts.) Only in John’s writings all those things which in the other Prophets are more scattered, are concentrated; he catches, as it were, in the focus of a burning-glass all the rays of individual Prophets, so that it is not to be wondered at that the brightness thence resultant dazzles many.

Waechtler (see p. 74): A knowledge of the Revelation of St. John is highly important for all Christians (Rev_1:1-3)—Grace and peace from God, the inexhaustible Fountain of all comfort (Rev_1:4-6).

Böhmer (see p. 73): In the Christian creed, the Holy Ghost is placed after the Father and the Son, as proceeding from Them both. John, however, is writing, not a system of divinity, but a sacred history, in which the general point of departure is the all-sovereign eternal God; next are revealed the powers which prepare the way for the fulfillment of His counsel of salvation, and last comes Christ Himself—first, as the true and highest Prophet, the “faithful Witness,” then as the “First-born of the dead,” and finally as the “Prince of the kings of the earth.”

[Barnes: Rev_1:7. And every eye shall see Him. Every one has this in certain prospect, that he shall see the Son of Man coming as a Judge.]

On the literature (see above, p. 74). Lilienthal, Bibl. Archivarius, p. 808.—Danz, p. 57 and Supplement, p. 6.