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him, and they also which pierced him ; and all kindreds of the
earth shall wail because of him Even so, Amen.
the two preceding verses. This coming of Christ was that virtual display of divine power which was seen at the overthrow of Jerusalem and the abolition of the Mosaic religion. The subject is clothed in oriental imagery. It was a figure of the ancient prophets, to represent God as coming in the clouds. “He maketh the clouds his chariot.” See Psa. civ. 3; Jer. iv. 13; Nahum i. 3; Matt. xxiv. 30. Daniel refers to the coming of the Son of man to establish his kingdom, in similar phraseology: “I saw in the night visions, and behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him : his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed;” vii. 13, 14. This coming of Christ was one of the events which were shortly to come to pass. That it was after his crucifixion is evident, because it is said, They that pierced him shall wail be. cause of him; evidently referring to his crucifixion ; and all the kindreds and the tribes of the land should mourn. See Matt. xxiv. 30, where it will be seen the Saviour applied the same language in reference to his coming at the destruction of Jerusalem. “And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven : and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.” Let us now consider these three passages in connection. First, Daniel. He states, 1st. It is one like the Son of man that comes ; 2d. The Son of man comes “in the clouds of heaven;” 3d. He comes in his kingdom, or in power and glory. Second, The
1st. It is the Son of man that comes;
2d. He comes “in the clouds of heaven;” 3d. In power and great glory, and all the tribes mourn. There is so remarkable an agreement between the passages quoted from Daniel, from the Apocalypse, and from Matthew, that we cannot entertain a doubt they all refer to the same subject, viz., Christ's coming at the overthrow of Jerusalem, and the abolition of the Mosaic religion. The testimony of the following authors will confirm the opinion we have given. Archbishop Newcome says, “The coming of Christ to destroy the Jews was a virtual, and not a real one, and was to be understood figuratively, and not literally.” Again he says, “The destruction of Jerusalem by Titus is emphatically called the coming of Christ. The spirit of prophecy speaks particularly of this, because the city and temple were then destroyed, and the civil and ecclesiastical state of the Jews subverted. The Jews also suffered very great calamities under Adrian ; but not so great as those under Vespasian ; and the desolation under Adrian is not so particularly foretold. But I think that any signal interposition in behalf of his church, or in the destruction of his enemies, may be metaphorically called a coming of Christ.”— (Observations, pp. 280,281.) Dr. Campbell remarks, on the expression, “Then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven,” “We have no reason to think that a particular phenomenon in the sky is here suggested. The striking evidences which would be given of the divine presence, and avenging justice,
8 I am Alpha and Omega,
the beginning and the ending,
are a justification of the terms.”— (Note on Matt. xxiv. 30.) Kenrick observes, “The great power and glory of Christ were as conspicuously displayed at the destruction of Jerusalem, and the other circumstances which accompanied that event, as if they had seen him coming upon the clouds of heaven, to punish his enemies. When the prophet Isaiah represents God as about to punish the Egyptians, he speaks of him as riding upon a swift cloud for that purpose; Isa. xix. 1. In that case, there was no visible appearance of Jehovah upon a cloud; but it was language which the prophet adopted, in order to express the evident hand of God in the calamities of Egypt. The same thing may be said of the language of Christ upon the present occasion.”— (Expos. on Matt. xxiv. 30.) Dr. Hammond interprets Christ's coming to be a “coming in the exercise of his kingly of. fice, to work vengeance on his enemies, and discriminate the faithful believers from them.”—(Par. and Annot. Matt. xvi. 28.) . Again he says, “The only objection against this interpretation is, that this destruction being wrought by the Roman army, and those as much enemies of Christianity as any, and the very same people that had joined with the Jews to put Christ to death, it doth thereupon appear strange, that either of those armies which are called abominable should be called God's armies, or that Christ should be said to come,
John's gospel, is this fact mentioned about the piercing Christ's side with a spear; and in both instances John refers to what is mentioned by the prophet Zech. (xii. 10,) viz., that those who pierced him should behold him at his coming in power and glory. These are singular facts, if John were not the author of the Apocalypse. T Even so, Amen. —This is almost precisely like xxii. 20, “He which testifieth these things, saith, surely I come quickly; Amen. Even so come, Lord Jesus.” It is an expression of desire for the coming of Christ. The enemies of Jesus would wail because of his coming ; but he directed his friends to rejoice when that event should happen. “And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads: for your redemption draweth nigh;” Luke xxi. 28. They said, “Even so, Amen.” Wer 8. I am Alpha. — Having completed this section of the introduction, God, the Father, whom John had mentioned, ver, 4, is represented as speaking again, and confirming what had been said by his unerring and immutable authority. “I am Alpha and Omega.” Alpha was the first letter of the Greek alphabet, and Omega was the last. It was the custom of Hebrew writers to use the first and last of their letters to signify the beginning and end of things. John introduces the custom here; but writing, as he did, in Greek, he takes the Greek letters. T The beginning and the ending, i.e., I am Alpha, the beginning, and Omega, the ending; I exist forever; or, as it is in the next words, I am he “which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.” This is the precise phraseology, applied to the Father in ver. 4. These terms, in this instance, are applied to God, the Almighty; but in ver, 11, and in other places, they seem to be applied to Jesus Christ. The terms saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty. 9 I John, who also am your brother, and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and
patience of Jesus Christ, was in the isle that is called Patmos, for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ. 10 I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day, and heard behind
are peculiarly those of the Apocalypse, occurring in the following passages only : Rev. i. 8, 11 ; xxi. 6; xxii. 13.
Wer. 9. John. — The revelator here gives his name for the third time; and then proceeds to describe the appearance of the Lord Jesus to him, with the symbols of his power, and the commission received from Him to write what he beholds. TI Your brother. — John was their brother in Christ. It will be remembered this book was addressed to the seven Christian churches in Asia; ver, 4. John styles himself the brother of those suffering Christians; their companion in tribulation, for he was at that time suffering banishment for his devotion to Christ; and he was their companion also in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ; see under ver. 6. T Isle that is called Patmos. – He was in the isle of Patmos, whither he had been banished, for the word of God, [i. e. for adhering to the word of § and for the testimony of Jesus Christ. . Patmos is a small island, lying west of Asia Minor, in the Archipelago. It is one of the nineteen islands called the Sporades; and is between Icaria and the promontory of Miletus, or between Samos and Naxos, and is now called Patimo, or Patmosa. Its circuit may be twenty-five or thirty miles. There are different opinions in regard to the time of John's banishment, some supposing that it took place in the reign of Nero, and others in the reign of Domitian. That the book of Revelation was written before the destruction of Jerusalem, we can entertain no doubt; and if so, John was banished in the reign of some emperor previous to that time. In the Syrian
version of the Apocalypse, the title
page declares, that it was nritten in Patmos, nhither John was sent by Nero Caesar. — (Stuart on Apoc. i. 267.) This banishment, probably, took place between A. D. 55 and 60. 10. Lord’s day. — This is the only instance in the Bible of the occurrence of this phrase. It is probable the first day of the week was intended. This was the day on which Jesus rose from the dead; and very early did the Christians commence to observe that as the holy-day of the week, instead of the Jewish Sabbath; see Acts xx. 7; 1 Cor. xvi. 2. Jesus was Lord even of the Sabbath day; Mark ii. 28; and had the authority, therefore, to change the day. The same principle is observed in the New as in the Old Testament, viz., that one day in seven is sacred; but the day was changed from the seventh to the first day; and the latter is called the Lord's day. T In the spirit—that is, under the influence of the spirit. God fits his servants for the duties he calls them to perform. The spirit was given without measure unto Jesus; Isa. xi. 2; Matt. xii. 18. The Christians upon the day of Pentecost were all filled with the Holy Ghost; Acts ii. 4; that is, such a measure of divine power and wisdom was communicated to them as to fit them for the duties they were called to perform. Paul took the same view; 2 Cor. iii. 3; Eph. i. 17; and Peter likewise; 1st Epistle, iv. 14. T A trumpet. — The revelator was under the peculiar influence of God's spirit, upon the Christian Sabbath; and he heard a great voice as of a trumpet. A communication of divine wisdom to men is described as a voice uttered
me a great voice, as of a trumpet, 11 Saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last : and, What thou seest, write in a book, and send it unto the seven
churches which are in Asia; unto Ephesus, and unto Smyrna, and unto Pergamos, and unto Thyatira, and unto Sardis, and unto Philadelphia, and unto Laodicea.
from the throne of God; see iv. 5; viii. 5, 13; xi. 15, 19; xviii. 4. The Jews were accustomed almost from the earliest antiquity to represent the voice of God by the sounding of the trumpet. The trumpet was an instrument much used in the holy services of the Jews; and a blast preceded the solemn communications from the excellent glory. “And when the voice of the trumpet sounded long, and waxed louder and louder, Moses spake, and God answered him by a voice;” Exod. xix. 19. The trumpet was blown by the priests in the course of their services; and, in certain cases, when the trumpet was blown, the people waited, from that sign, to hear the voice of God. The sacred writers often speak of the voice of the Lord; not only in a metaphorical sense, as when the thunder is called his voice, — Job xxxvii. 5; xl.9; Psa. lxxvii. 18, -but in the literal sense also. Instance the “still small voice;” 1 Kings xix. 12; the voice from heaven at Christ's baptism, saying, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased;” Matt. iii. 17; Mark i. 11; Luke iii. 22; the same voice uttering the same approval, at the transfiguration; Matt. xvii. 5; Mark ix. 7; Luke ix. 35,36; the voice in answer to the prayer of Christ, “Father, glorify thy name,” saying, “I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again;” John xii. 28. This voice the apostles recognized as having spoken; Heb. xii. 26; 2 Pet. i. 17. The voice of Jesus addressed Paul from the skies; Acts ix. 4–7. Peter was also addressed in a similar manner; x. 13. It was, therefore, perfectly correspondent to the style, both of the Old and New Testament,
for the revelator to speak of the com
munications God made to him, as coming in a trumpet-like voice. His mind was evidently on the temple, and on the services there. The voice was behind him. He saw not who spake, but he heard the words. We know not what language was used. Saul testified that the voice which he heard spake in Hebrew ; Acts xxvi. 14. The voice which spake to John certainly used a language which he could understand, and that was all that was necessary.
11. Alpha and Omega.-These terms will be found explained under ver, 8. They are applied to both the Father and the Son. T First and the last. — Meaning the same, or nearly so, as the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. T What thou seest, or rather, what thou art about to see, norite in a book. — That is, make solemn record of it; and send the communication to the seven churches in Asia, in particular. TI Asia. —By Asia here is not meant the entire quarter of the world which at present bears that name, but Asia Minor, so called, – a cape, or peninsula, that lies between the waters of the Black Sea and the Mediterranean. It belongs now to the Turks. The scimetar gleams where the proudest trophies of the cross were once gathered. The island of Patmos was in its immediate vicinity. The seven churches are named; but as we shall notice the case of each church, when we come to consider the epistle sent to each, as recorded in chaps. ii. and iii., we pass by them now without any further remarks. Why these seven churches are mentioned, and not others, is explained under verse 4.
12 And I turned to see the voice that spake with me. And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks;
13 And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and
12. I turned. — The voice had been behind him ; ver, 10. He had been instructed, What thou seest, or art about to see, write in a book. He turned to see who addressed him. * Seven golden candlesticks. – Here again the number seven is preserved. It was a sacred number, or series, made so in the first place, perhaps, in the minds of the Jews, by the seventh day being established as a day of rest. Thus seven became a sacred round of days, and signified to the mind of the pious Hebrew the idea of sacred completeness and perfection. The revelator evidently draws several of his metaphors in this chapter from the sacred furniture of the temple. Moses was commanded to make a golden candlestick, of massive size, having branches, three upon a side, very highly ornamented; and these, with the help of the main shaft, would hold seven lamps. See God's command to Moses to make this candlestick, Exod. xxv. 31–40, where a very particular model of it is described, and the manner in which it was made is showed; Exod. xxxvii. 17–24; Numb. viii. 4. It stood in the holy place without the vail, was fed with pure olive oil, and was lighted by the priests every evening, and extinguished every morning. Do we not have here the origin of the figure of the seven golden candlesticks 2 True, they were all united in one main shaft; but there were seven. There is a remarkable resemblance in Zech. iv. and v. to the style of the Apocalypse. The prophet saw a vision of a candlestick all of gold, with seven lamps thereon. These figures of speech were probably well known to the revelator. He, therefore, employed the well-known metaphor to represent the seven churches to whom he was to write.
13. In the midst of the seven candlesticks. – A person was seen in the midst of the seven candlesticks. When the high priest was behind the branches, moving about to dress the lamps, he appeared to an observer in the front to be walking in the midst of the seven candlesticks. These candlesticks represented the churches, whose duty it was to let their “light shine before men, that others might see their good works, and glorify their Father in heaven;” Matt. v. 16. Christians were called the light of the world. Jesus was the true light; John i. 9; and John the Baptist was “a burning and shining light;” John v. 35; that is, a light of great brilliancy. Perfectly correspondent was it to these figures, which John knew his Lord had used, to represent the seven churches by the seven-fold lamp-bearer in the temple. T One like unto the Son of man.—This language is borrowed from Daniel. “I saw in the night visions, and behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him ;” vii. 13. This was the title which our Lord took to himself—“Son of man.” How is it to be interpreted 2 Does the word son here have the same force that it has in other New Testament combinations in which it is used ? Is the term significant of distinction ? or does it merely import that Christ was a human being like other men? Perhaps the modesty and humility of Jesus inclined him to use this term in reference to himself, in preference to one of higher dis. tinction; or, perhaps, he used it to signify to the Jews that he was the personage referred to in the prophecy of Daniel. T Clothed nith a garment. — He is represented as appearing in the