Revelation of John 1Revelation. The word in Greek is Apocalypse. Hence this book is often called the Apocalypse.—And he sent; that is, Christ sent.
He that readeth, and they that hear. In ancient times, very few could read, and of those who could read, very few could have direct access to such a book as this. Comparatively few copies of such a work could be made, and of course the multitude must depend for their knowledge of its contents upon hearing it read in public assemblies—And keep; keep in mind.
John. The frequency with which this writer uses his name, (see v. 1, 4, 9,) contrasted with the circumlocutory manner in which the evangelist John speaks of himself in the Gospel which was unquestionably written by him, (see John 21:20-25,) has been considered as an argument that the two books were written by different authors. The difference, however, in the character of the two works, is amply sufficient to account for this diversity.—In Asia; Asia Minor.—The seven Spirits; spiritual influences. They are represented, in 4:5, as lamps of fire, that is, as radiations of divine and heavenly light. The plurality expressed by this imagery would seem to refer to the various modes and forms in which the enlightening influences of the divine Spirit diffuse themselves over the moral world.
The first-begotten of the dead. Those persons who had been raised from the dead before the resurrection of the Savior, were only restored to mortal life; they were to die again, Jesus was the first who rose to immortality. Hence such expressions as this, and others similar to it, as in 1 Cor. 15:20, are applied to him.
To him be glory and dominion. This ascription of glory and dominion is plainly applied to Christ, the words to him being a resumption of the words unto him, in v. 5.
With clouds; that is, in majesty and power. The dark cloud bringing thunder, lightning, and tempest, in its train, is an appropriate symbol of terrible majesty.
Alpha and Omega. These are the names of the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet, and so are used metaphorically in the sense here indicated.
Patmos. Exile to the small islands of the Egean Sea was a common mode of punishment in those times. Patmos was not very far from the coast of Asia Minor, nearly opposite to Miletus.
On the Lord's day; the first day of the week, being the Christian Sabbath. It is called the Lord's day on account of its being the day on which our Lord rose from the dead.
Clothed, &c. This was a dress denoting, according to the usages of those times, very high rank and station.
As the sound of many waters; that is, as the roaring or thundering of the waves of the sea.
A sharp two-edged sword. The image here used, as a symbol, to denote the word or doctrine of Jesus Christ, is employed for the same purpose, metaphorically, in Heb. 4:12.
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