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8 I am Alpha and Omega, | the beginning and the ending,
are a justification of the terms.”- John's gospel, is this fact mention(Note on Matt. xxiv. 30.) Kenrick ed about the piercing Christ's side observes, “ The great power and glory with a spear; and in both instances of Christ were as conspicuously dis- John refers to what is mentioned played at the destruction of Jerusalem, by the prophet Zech. . (xii. 10,) and the other circumstances which ac- viz., that those who pierced him companied that event, as if they had should behold him at his coming in seen him coming upon the clouds of power and glory. These are singuheaven, to punish his enemies. When lar facts, if John were not the author the prophet Isaiah represents God as of the Apocalypse. | Even so, Amen. about to punish the Egyptians, he - This is almost precisely like xxii. speaks of him as riding upon a swift 20, “He which testifieth these things, cloud for that purpose; Isa. xix. 1. saith, surely I come quickly ; Amen. In that case, there was no visible ap- Even so come, Lord Jesus." It is pearance of Jehovah upon a cloud; an expression of desire for the combut it was language which the proph- ing of Christ. The enemies of Jesus et adopted, in order to express the would wail because of his coming ; evident hand of God in the calamities but he directed his friends to rejoice of Egypt. The same thing may be when that event should happen. said of the language of Christ upon " And when these things begin to the present occasion.”— (Expos. on come to pass, then look up, and lift Matt. xxiv. 30.) Dr. Hammond in- up your heads : for your redemption terprets Christ's coming to be a “com- draweth nigh ;” Luke xxi. 28. They ing in the exercise of his kingly of said, “Even so, Amen." fice, to work vengeance on his ene- Ver 8. I am Alpha. — Having com. mies, and discriminate the faithful pleted this section of the introduction, believers from them.”—(Par. and God, the Father, whom John had Annot. Matt. xvi. 28.) Again he mentioned, ver. 4, is represented as says, “The only objection against speaking again, and confirming what this interpretation is, that this de- had been said by his unerring and struction being wrought by the Roman immutable authority. “I am Alpha army, and those as much enemies of and Omega.” Alpha was the first Christianity as any, and the very same letter of the Greek alphabet, and people that had joined with the Jews Omega was the last. It was the cusio put Christ to death, it doth there-tom of Hebrew writers to use the first upon appear strange, that either of and last of their letters to signify the those armies which are called abomi- beginning and end of things. John nable should be called God's armies, introduces the custom here; but writor that Christ should be said to come, ing, as he did, in Greek, he takes the when in truth it was Vespasian and Greek letters. The beginning and Titus that thus came against this the ending, i. e., I am Alpha, the beginpeople. To this I answer, that it is ning, and Omega, the ending; I exist ordinary with God, in the Old Testa- forever; or, as it is in the next words, ment, to call those Babylonish, As. I am he “which is, and which was, syrian heathen armies his, which did and which is to come, the Almighty." his work in punishing the Jews, when This is the precise phraseology apthey rebelled against him.” (Ibid. plied to the Father in ver. 4. These Matt. xxiv. 3.) 1 They also which terms, in this instance, are applied to pierced him. - This is peculiarly like God, the Almighty; but in ver. 11, the apostle John. In no other place, and in other places, they seem to be except in the Apocalypse, and in applied to Jesus Christ. The terms
saith the Lord, which is, and patience of Jesus Christ, was in which was, and which is to the isle that is called Patmos, come, the Almighty.
for the word of God, and for the 9 I John, who also am your testimony of Jesus Christ. brother, and companion in tribu- 10 I was in the Spirit on the lation, and in the kingdom and Lord's day, and heard behind are peculiarly those of the Apocalypse, version of the Apocalypse, the titleoccurring in the following passages page declares, that it was written in only: Rev. i. 8, 11; xxi. 6; xxii. 13. Patmos, whither John was sent by Nero
Ver. 9. John. - The revelator here Cæsar. (Stuart on Apoc. i. 267.) gives his name for the third time; This banishment, probably, took place and then proceeds to describe the ap- between A. D. 55 and 60. pearance of the Lord Jesus to him, 10. Lord's day. - This is the only with the symbols of his power, and instance in the Bible of the occurrence the commission received from Him of this phrase. It is probable the first to write what he beholds. Your day of the week was intended. This brother. – John was their brother in was the day on which Jesus rose from Christ. It will be remembered this the dead; and very early did the book was addressed to the seven Christians commence to observe that Christian churches in Asia ; ver. 4. as the holy-day of the week, instead John styles himself the brother of of the Jewish Sabbath ; see Acts xx. those suffering Christians; their com- 7; 1 Cor. xvi. 2. Jesus was Lord panion in tribulation, for he was at even of the Sabbath day; Mark ii. that time suffering banishment for 28; and had the authority, therefore, his devotion to Christ; and he was to change the day. The same printheir companion also in the kingdom ciple is observed in the New as in and patience of Jesus Christ; see the Old Testament, viz., that one day under ver. 6. | Isle that is called Pat- in seven is sacred; but the day was mos. — He was in the isle of Patmos, changed from the seventh to the first whither he had been banished, for the day; and the latter is called the word of God, [i. e. for adhering to the Lord's day. | In the spirit — that word of God,) and for the testimony is, under the influence of the spirit. of Jesus Christ. Patmos is a small God fits his servants for the duties he island, lying west of Asia Minor, in calls them to perform. The spirit the Archipelago. It is one of the was given without measure nineteen islands called the Sporades; Jesus; Isa. xi. 2; Matt. xii. 18. and is between Icaria and the prom- The Christians upon the day of Penontory of Miletus, or between Samos tecost were all filled with the Holy and Naxos, and is now called Patimo, Ghost ; Acts ii. 4; that is, such a or Patmosa. Its circuit may be twen- measure of divine power and wisdom ty-five or thirty miles. There are was communicated to them as to fit different opinions in regard to the them for the duties they were called to time of John's banishment, some sup- perform. Paul took the same view; posing that it took place in the reign 2 Cor. iii. 3; Eph. i. 17; and Peter of Nero, and others in the reign of likewise; 1st Epistle, iv. 14. TA Domitian. That the book of Revela- trumpet. The revelator was under tion was written before the destruc- the peculiar influence of God's spirit, tion of Jerusalem, we can entertain upon the Christian Sabbath ; and he no doubt; and if so, John was ban- heard a great voice as of a trumpet. ished in the reign of some emperor A communication of divine wisdom previous to that time. In the Syrian to men is described as a voice uttered
me a great voice, as of a trum- churches which are in Asia ; pet,
unto Ephesus, and unto Smyr11 Saying, I am Alpha and na, and unto Pergamos, and Omega, the first and the last : unto Thyatira, and unto Sardis, and, What thou seest, write in a and unto Philadelphia, and unto book, and send it unto the seven Laodicea. from the throne of God; see iv. 5; for the revelator to speak of the comvii. 5, 13; xi. 15, 19; xviii. 4. The munications God made to him, as Jews were accustomed almost from coming in a trumpet-like voice. His the earliest antiquity to represent the mind was evidently on the temple, voice of God by the sounding of the and on the services there. The voice trumpet. The trumpet was an in- was behind him. He saw not who strument much used in the holy ser- spake, but he heard the words. We vices of the Jews; and a blast pre- know not what language was used. ceded the solemn communications Saul testified that the voice which he from the excellent glory. “And heard spake in Hebrew ; Acts xxvi. when the voice of the trumpet sound. 14. The voice which spake to John ed long, and waxed louder and loud certainly used a language which he er, Moses spake, and God answered could understand, and that was all that him by a voice ;" Exod. xix. 19. was necessary., The trumpet was blown by the priests 11. Alpha and Omega.- These terms in the course of their services; and, will be found explained under ver. 8. in certain cases, when the trumpet They are applied to both the Father was blown, the people waited, from and the Son. | First and the last. that sign, to hear the voice of God. Meaning the same, or nearly so, as the The sacred writers often speak of the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and voice of the Lord; not only in a the end. (What thou seest, or rather, metaphorical sense, as when the what thou art about to see, write in a thunder is called his voice,- Job book. – That is, make solemn record xxxvii. 5; x1.9 ; Psa. lxxvii. 18,— but of it; and send the communication to in the literal sense also. Instance the the seven churches in Asia, in par“still small voice;" 1 Kings xix. 12; ticular. | Asia. — By Asia here is not the voice from heaven at Christ's neant the entire quarter of the world baptism, saying, “ This is my beloved which at present bears that name, but Son, in whom I am well pleased;"' Asia Minor, so called, a cape, or Matt. iii. 17; Mark i. 11; Luke iii. peninsula, that lies between the waters 22; the same voice uttering the same of the Black Sea and the Mediterraapproval, at the transfiguration ; Matt. nean. It belongs now to the Turks. xvii. 5; Mark ix. 7; Luke ix. 35, 36; The scimetar gleams where the the voice in answer to the prayer of proudest trophies of the cross were Christ, “Father, glorify thy name,” once gathered. The island of Patmos saying, “I have both glorified it, and was in its immediate vicinity. The will glorify it again;" John xii. 28. seven churches are named; but as This voice the apostles recognized as we shall notice the case of each having spoken; Heb. xii. 26; 2 Pet. church, when we come to consider i. 17. The voice of Jesus addressed the
sent to ea as recorded Paul from the skies; Acts ix. 4—7. in chaps. ii. and iii., we pass by them Peter was also addressed in a similar now without any further remarks. manner; x. 13. It was, therefore, Why these seven churches are menperfectly correspondent to the style, tioned, and not others, is explained both of the Old and New Testament, under verse 4.
12 And I turned to see the 13 And in the midst of the voice that spake with me. And seven candlesticks one like unto being turned, I saw seven gold- the Son of man, clothed with a en candlesticks;
garment down to the foot, and 12. I turned. - The voice had been 13. In the midst of the seven candlebehind him ; ver. 10. He had been sticks. — A person was seen in the instructed, What thou seest, or art midst of the
candlesticks. about to see, write in a book. He When the high priest was behind turned to see who addressed him. the branches, moving about to dress | Seven golden candlesticks. -— Here the lamps, he appeared to an observer again the number seven is preserved. in the front to be walking in the It was a sacred number, or series, made midst of the seven candlesticks. so in the first place, perhaps, in the These candlesticks represented the minds of the Jews, by the seventh churches, whose duty it was to let day being established as a day of their “light shine before men, that
Thus seven became a sacred others might see their good works, round of days, and signified to the and glorify their Father in heaven;" mind of the pious Hebrew the idea of Matt. v. 16. Christians were called sacred completeness and perfection. the light of the world. Jesus was the
The revelator evidently draws several true light; John i. 9; and John the of his metaphors in this chapter from Baptist was “a burning and shining the sacred furniture of the temple. light;" John v. 35; that is, a light Moses was commanded to make a of great brilliancy. Perfectly corregolden candlestick, of massive size, spondent was it to these figures, which having branches, three upon a side, John knew his Lord had used, to repvery highly ornamented; and these, resent the seven churches by the with the help of the main shaft
, seven-fold lamp-bearer in the temple. would hold seven lamps. See God's One like unto the Son of man.- This command to Moses to make this can language is borrowed from Daniel. dlestick, Exod. xxv. 31–40, where “ I saw in the night visions, and bea very particular model of it is de hold, one like the Son of man came scribed, and the manner in which it with the clouds of heaven, and came was made is showed; Exod. xxxvii. to the Ancient of days, and they 17—24; Numb. viii. 4. It stood in brought him near before him ;" vii. the holy place without the vail, was 13. This was the title which our fed with pure olive oil, and was light- Lord took to himself — “Son of man.” ed by the priests every evening, and How is it to be interpreted? Does extinguished every morning. Do we the word son here have the same not have here the origin of the figure force that it has in other New Testa. of the seven golden candlesticks? ment combinations in which it is True, they were all united in one used ? Is the term significant of main shaft; but there were seven. distinction? or does it merely import There is a remarkable resemblance that Christ was a human being like in Zech. iv. and v. to the style of the other men ? Perhaps the modesty Apocalypse. The prophet saw a and humility of Jesus inclined him to vision of a candlestick all of gold, use this term in reference to himself, with seven lamps thereon. These in preference to one of higher disfigures of speech were probably well tinction; or, perhaps, he used it to sig. known to the revelator. He, there- nify to the Jews that he was the perfore, employed the well-known met- sonage referred to in the prophecy of aphor to represent the seven churches Daniel. | Clothed with a garment. to whom he was to write.
He is represented as appearing in the
girt about the paps with a golden brass, as if they burned in a furgirdle.
nace; and his voice as the 14 His head and his hairs sound of many waters. were white like wool, as white 16 And he had in his right as snow; and his eyes were as hand seven stars : and out of a flame of fire ;
his mouth went a sharp two15 And his feet like unto fine edged sword : and his counte
dress of a Hebrew priest,-a garment, Daniel had described the heavenly or ephod, reaching down to the feet, messenger whom he saw. His im. and girt about the breast with a gold- ages were not the product of any wild en girdle. For an account of the fancy of his own; he drew them from ephod and the girdle of the priest, see the sacred books of the Jews. “As the Exod. chapters xxviii. and xxxix. sound of many waters.” The figure Jesus is well described in the dress here is truly grand. It is borrowed of the high priest, as he is the high from the Old Testament. See Psa. priest of the Christian profession, “a xxix., “ The voice of the Lord is high priest over the house of God;" | upon the waters ; the God of glory Heb. X. 21.
thundereth ; the Lord is upon many 14. White like wool. — This descrip- waters; the voice of the Lord is tion is evidently copied from Daniel. powerful; the voice of the Lord is "I beheld till the thrones were cast full of majesty.” See also Psa. xcii. down, and the Ancient of days did Ezekiel's metaphor is very forcible : sit, whose garment was white as " His voice was like a noise of many snow, and the hair of his head like waters, and the earth shined with the pure wool : his throne was like the his glory.” These things are metfiery name, and his wheels as burn- aphors merely; they have no foundaing fire ;" Dan. vii. 9. It is Daniel's tions in fact; they are the appeardescription of the appearance of the ances which the vivid imaginations Son of man. Possibly, the whiteness of the Hebrew poets supposed the of the hair is mentioned to add ven- Holy One to assume in the presence erableness to the description. | His of men. eyes. His eyes were said to be as a 16. In his right hand seven stars. — fame of fire, that is, exceedingly bril- That is, in the hand of him who was liant, searching
in the midst of the seven candlesticks. 15. And his feet. — The description It has been conjectured by some one, of the feet is also copied from Daniel. that this figure originated in the cirIn describing the eminent messenger cumstance, that the priest, in dressthat appeared to him in his vision, he ing and lighting the seven golden said, "His body also was like the lamps in the holy place, carried in beryl, and his face as the appearance his right hand a rod with seven minof lightning, and his eyes as lamps iature lights attached to it, intended of fire, and his arms and his feet like for ornament, symmetry, and use. in color to polished brass, and the If so, was natural to say he had in voice of his words like the voice of a his right hand seven stars, or twinkmultitude ;” Dan. x. 6. | His voice ling lights. They appeared to the as the sound of many waters. This is beholder like stars. What they repclearly taken from the verse last resented will be seen under ver. 20. quoted. It will be seen, then, that Sharp two-edged sword.— This seems the revelator sought to describe the at first an unnatural metaphor, appearance of the Son of man him- sword going out of one's mouth. We self, in the same terms in which I suppose it must have originated in