« PreviousContinue »
for granted that no one will question the testimony of John. The brethren knew he was at Patmos, whence this Revelation came. Possibly they knew that he went there to receive it. (See R. 1-9 notes.)
Our Lord said to the Apostles “You shall be witnesses unto me”-_geo é pou paprupes"... even to the uttermost parts of the earth” (Acts i. 8). "Dr. Swete remarks, “ It may be doubted whether the word páptus had acquired a technical sense at the end of the first century” (Op. cit., p. 36). The doubt is greater in regard to the year 67.
3. Μακάριος ο αναγινώσκων και οι ακούοντες τους λόγους της προφητείας και τηρούντες τα εν αυτή γεγραμμένα ο γάρ καιρός εγγύς. .
3. Blessed is he that readeth and heareth the words of this prophecy; and keepeth those things which are written in it. For the time is at hand.
There are many correspondences between the beginning and the end of Revelation. We have in the last chapter “ Blessed is he that keepeth the words of the prophecy of this Book” (R. xxii. 7). Avayıvwokw means “ to recognise," "to distinguish,” “to discern.” It does not mean ordinary reading. Our Lord addressing His Apostles with reference to the destruction of the Temple, said, “When you shall see the abomination of desolation standing where it ought not, he that readeth let him understand” (Mark xiii. 14). Where the Greek for “he that readeth” is ó avayıvoorwv, precisely as above, meaning the interpretation of the signs of the coming fall of Jerusalem and the Empire. The fact that the angel sent to John, declared himself John's fellow servant, "and of those who keep the words of the prophecy of this Book” (R. xxii. 9), would seem to indicate that those " who kept the words,” were a limited and exalted class.
The Book is to a great extent a cryptograph, requiring labour and intelligence to discern its meaning. Hence, blessed are they who labour patiently to solve the mystery. “He that heareth” has an esoteric meaning, and refers to one who, by the exercise of reason, gets to know things recondite.' " He that heareth,” is again referred to at R. xxii. 17, 18. And at the end of each of the Letters to the Seven Churches of Asia, we find, “He that hath an ear let him hear what the Spirit saith to the Churches.” (See R. ii. 7, notes.)
The Book claims to be a Revelation of future events. Blessed are they who understand and keep this revelation in mind.
Why? For the time is at hand. What time? The fall of the Temple of Jerusalem, the symbol of the Old Law, and the establishment of the Kingdom of Christ. This warning appears to have been addressed particularly to the leaders of the Nazarene Church, which was in danger. S. John uses the verb tnpéw, “to give heed to,” “to watch narrowly,” in his Gospel several times (viii. 51, xiv. 23), e.g., “Remember my word that I said to you . . . if they have kept my word they will keep yours also ” (Jhn. xv. 20).
4. Ιωάννης ταϊς επτά εκκλησίαις ταις εν τη Ασία χάρις υμίν και ειρήνη από ο ών και ο ήν και ο ερχόμενος, και από των επτά πνευμάτων και ενώπιον του θρόνου αυτού.
4. John to the seven churches which are in Asia. Grace be unto you and peace from him that is and that was, and that is to come, and from the seven spirits which are before his throne.
S. John opens his address to the Seven Churches in the Apostolic Style. Paul an Apostle of Jesus Christ ... to the Church of God that is at Corinth, 2 Cor. i. 1, Gal. i. I, 1 Th. i. 11, We have considered the meaning of the Seven Churches elsewhere. Seven is a mystic number and these are mystic Churches. In the N.T. Asia means Mysia, Lydia, Caria, Lycia, and Phrygia, which constituted Roman or Proconsular Asia, see Map, p. 102. “From him that is and that was,” is from God the Father. In Exodus iii. 14 Moses enquiring by what name he should announce God to His people, is told, “I am, who am.” “ That is to come,” ó ép Xóuevos, is a Hebraic usage. It refers to Jesus Christ. We have έρχομαι ταχύ-“I come quickly," at R. iii
. 11, and R. xxii. 7, and 'Idoj špxetai—“Behold he cometh" at R. i. 7, and 'Idoù épxoual—“ Behold I come" at R. xvi. 15. At the close of the Book, a kind of recapitulation occurs in which we find 'Idoù špxoval taxú at R. xxii. 7, again at R. xxii. 12, and again at R. xxii. 20.
S. John invokes a blessing on the Church from the Father, Son, and from the Seven Spirits, where the Seven gifts of the Holy Spirit (Isa. xi. 2), are put for the Holy Spirit. S. John here affirms the doctrine of the Trinity. He lays stress on the coming of the Holy Spirit in his Gospel. “But the Paraclete, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things ” (Jhn. xiv. 26). See also xiv. 16, 17, and xv. 26.
The Seven Spirits are again referred to at R. iv. 5 and v. 6.
5. Και από Ιησού Χριστού, ο μάρτυς ο πιστός, ο πρωτό. τοκος των νεκρών και ο άρχων των βασιλέων της γης: το αγαπώντι ημάς και λούσαντι ημάς εκ των αμαρτιών ημών εν τω αίματι αυτού. .
5. And from Jesus Christ who is the faithful witness, the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the Kings of the earth, who hath loved us and washed us from our sins in his own blood.
We must suppose a full stop at the end of the last verse. Kai—"and"-begins a new thought frequently in the Apocalypse ; which use of kaì shows a Hebrew writer steeped in the O.T. scriptures. It goes back to continue and unfold “The Revelation of Jesus Christ” (R. i. I).
“Thou shalt call his name Jesus; for he shall save his people from their sins" (Matt. i. 21). “Christ,” is—“the anointed.” Ο μάρτυς και πιστός, the faithful witness, where μαρτυς connotes witnessing for the faith by martyrdom. Accordingly we read, “who hath loved us and washed us from our sins in his own blood.” He washed away the stain of original sin, and opened the gates of heaven to the waiting saints of old. He descended into Limbo, and was the first to arise therefrom. Therefore is He, “the first begotten of the dead.” “ Prince of the Kings of the earth"-åpxw—“chief over all.” “Lord of Lords and King of Kings" (Ř. xvii. 14). This leads to the consideration of His Kingdom.
6. Και εποίησεν ημάς βασιλείαν, ιερείς τω Θεώ και πατρι αυτού, αυτώ ή δόξα και το κράτος εις τους αιώνας των αιώνων: αμήν. .
6. And hath made us a Kingdom and priests to God and his Father, to him be glory and empire for ever and ever. Amen.
“The kingdom” comes into view. “And hath made us a kingdom and priests to God and his Father” marks the transference of the promises of the Old Law to the Church of Christ. “And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests" (Ex. xix. 6). Under the Old Law the priesthood was confined to the tribe of Levi. Under the New Law, S. John of the tribe of Zabulon is made a priest. He is said to have worn, occasionally, the petalon of a high-priest. “ But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood” (1 Pet. ii. 9). S. John, writing to the Servants of God, reminds them that they are
priests. Another indication of their high position. "To God and his Father" recognises the Son, as God. Kpáros is from kpated, “to be mighty," "to conquer,” “to hold sway.” “For ever and ever” is a Hebrew phrase expressing endless time.
7. Ιδού έρχεται μετά των νεφελών, και όψεται αυτόν πας οφθαλμός, και οίτινες αυτόν εξεκέντησαν, και κόψονται επ' αυτόν πάσαι αι φυλαι της γης: ναι, αμήν.
7. Behold he cometh with the clouds and every eye shall see him, and they also that pierced him. And all the tribes of the earth shall bewail themselves because of him. Even so. Amen.
“Behold he cometh with the clouds,” expands the phrase at R. i. 4, “that is to come.” Daniel says, "One like the Son of Man came with the clouds of heaven” (vii. 13). “And they shall see the Son of Man coming in the clouds of heaven with great power and majesty” (Matt. xxiv. 30). It is made evident that the zápis úpiv, of Å. i. 4, comes from the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.
There is reference to the day of Judgment here, when all the tribes of “the earth"-ñs yñs-(denoting Antichristians in the Apocalypse) shall bewail themselves because of him. But especially those that pierced him—the Jews. This portends that the Jews will remain unconverted to the end. The connection between the writer of S. John's Gospel and of the Apocalypse is seen here. In the Gospel we read “One of the soldiers opened his side with a spear" (Jhn. xix. 34). S. John stood by the cross and witnessed this deed, which he alone mentions. He identifies the Son of Man in His glorious second coming by this dreadful wound, and puts it to the account of the Jews. Notice his solicitude for the fulfilment of the O.T. Scriptures. “Again another Scripture saith they shall look on him whom they pierced” (Jhn. xix. 37). The other Scripture is found in Zach. xii. 10. In the verse above we have vai, Greek, interpreted by åpnv, Hebrew.
This passage is apparently epexegetical of R. i. 4. · It does not indicate a speedy second coming. There is no word to that effect. It contrasts with the warning to the penultimate and last stages of the Christian Church. “Behold I come quickly” (R. iii. 11). “Behold I stand at the door and knock” (R. iii. 20).
8. Εγώ είμι το άλφα και το ώ, αρχή και τέλος, λέγει Κύριος ο Θεός, ο ών και ο ήν και ο ερχόμενος, o παντοκράτωρ. .
8. I am alpha and omega, the beginning and the end, saith the Lord God, who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.
(S. omits åpxò kai té os. Bd. follows the Vulgate "principium et finis.")
Aleph and Tau, the first and last letters of the Hebrew Alphabet, are the first and last letters of the Hebrew sacred word “Truth”—(Emoth), the Hebrew symbol of God. The Seer, writing in Greek, uses the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet, with a Hebrew meaning; as at R. xiii. 18 he uses Greek numerals with a Hebrew meaning. In the O.T we have, “I am the first and I am the last and besides me there is no God” (Isa. xliv. 6). The question arises whether God the Father is the speaker, here, or Jesus Christ. Kúpios, “ Lord,” is applied to both the Father and the Son in this Book. R. iv. 8, xi. 4, 8, xvii. 14, xix. 16, xxii. 20, 21. The Almighty, "ó Tavtokpátwp,” recurs at R. iv. 8, xi. 17, xv. 3, xvi. 7, 14, and xix. 15, with reference to God the Father. And at R. xxi. 22, where we read, “For the Lord God Almighty is the lamp thereof and the Lamb.” On the other hand Christ says at R. i. 17, “I am the first and the last,” and at R. xxi. 6, “I am Alpha and Omega.” And at R. xxii. 13, “I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end." 'N epxóuevos, “who is to come,” seems to point to Christ as the speaker. He it is who makes known the Revelation to His servants. And the context preceding and following verse 8, supports this view. We shall find that the Seer throughout the Book maintains the equality of the Father and the Son. Hence the appellation, “the Almighty,” is consistent with the view that Jesus Christ is the speaker.
9. Εγώ Ιωάννης, ο αδελφός υμών και συνκοινωνός εν τη θλίψει και βασιλεία και υπομονή εν Χριστώ Ιησού, εγενόμην εν τη νήσω τη καλουμένη Πάτμω δια τον λόγον του Θεού και την μαρτυριάν Ιησού.
9. I John your brother and sharer in tribulation, and in the Kingdom and patience in Christ Jesus, was in the island which is called Patmos, for the word of God and for the testimony of Jesus.
(S. omits XplotØ. Bd. follows the Vulgate.)
S. John further discloses his identity and that of the personages to whom he sent his Book. A servant of God, he sent