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Bible Commentaries
Revelation 1

Concordant Commentary of the New TestamentConcordant NT Commentary

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Verses 1-20

1 This is the unveiling of a Person Jesus Christ-not merely a prediction revealed through Him. God gives it to Him as a reward for His sufferings.

1 Swiftly-not soon, but with speed. On the morning of the resurrection John and Peter started together, but John ran more swiftly than Peter (John 20:4). If this prophecy started soon after John wrote, it has moved very slowly indeed. When it does commence, it will run with great rapidity. God lingers in dispensing grace but hastens in executing judgment. This calls for an entirely future fulfillment.

1 Signify-not necessarily by signs, but in the ordinary sense of this word in English, as, the Lord signified His death (John 12:33; John 18:32), and foretold Peter's (John 21:19), and Festus signified Paul's crimes to Caesar (Acts 25:27). There are only three distinct signs in this scroll: the woman clothed with the sun (Revelation 12:1), the dragon (Revelation 12:3), and the seven messengers who have the seven calamities (Revelation 15:1). Besides this the false prophet (Revelation 13:13-14, Revelation 19:20) and the spirits of demons do signs (Revelation 16:14). None of the rest is communicated by signs.

3 Near denotes a conditional proximity. The kingdom of the heavens was near during the early part of our Lord's ministry. It was postponed by His rejection. It was near again when proclaimed by the apostles but once more rejected by the nation of Israel. Peter writes "the consummation of all things is near" (1 Peter 4:7), yet nearly twenty centuries have passed and the consummation or end is still future.


4 The Divine Name, JEHOVAH, is a union of the three tenses of TO BE.

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The reverse arrangement of this is used once (Revelation 4:8) by the four animals. Here and in Revelation 1:8 the present tense is put first to emphasize the fact that He is now present:

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In Revelation 11:17 and Revelation 16:5 the phrase "Who is coming" is omitted, because He is regarded as having come at that time. The Name is flexible and adapts itself to times and conditions.

10 In spirit, John is transported into the future day of Jehovah of which the prophets have often spoken. The Hebrew phrase "the day of the Lord" is changed to "the Lord's day" in order to shift the emphasis from the character of the day to the time, which is the important point in this passage. This is done in three ways, by changing the grammatical form, the rank, and the order of the words. The direction of the thought is altered by putting "Lord" in the dative instead of the genitive case, so that it locates rather than describes the day. Its force is further weakened by making it all adjective rather than a noun, and by shifting it from its prominent place at the end of the sentence and giving that striking location to "day".

13 Seven lampstands stand for a scattered Israel, as the one seven-branched lampstand in the tabernacle and temple stood for a united nation. These ecclesias are all in the "dispersion".

13 The description and acts here ascribed to Christ are not priestly, but accord with His prophetic office, The prophet's function was to point out God's method of procedure. At first this was done privately, by the seers; then officially by prophets. Prophets are sent especially in apostasy. Christ wears none of the priestly vestments except the girdle, and this is of gold, not of fine twined linen (Exodus 39:29), The scene is one of judgment, which the apostle tells us must begin at the house of God (1 Peter 4:17). The sword indicates this (cf .Daniel 10:5 ).

16 Stars stand for those whose spirits are in touch with God (Daniel 12:3, C. V.). Abraham's seed was to become as the stars of heaven. His physical progeny are like the sand upon the seashore.

17 First and Last (Isaiah 41:4; Isaiah 44:6; Isaiah 48:12; Revelation 2:8; Revelation 22:13) is a title of Jehovah, the King of Israel, and his Redeemer.

19 The word "are" must be given the same sense here as in verse Revelation 1:20 "the seven stars are," and "the lampstands are." It is a metaphor.

20 There are three "mysteries" or secrets in this scroll. The seven stars and lampstands are in

Christ's hands as Prophet. The secret of God (Revelation 10:7) is finished when Christ as King receives the sovereignty of the world. The secret of Babylon is in the Temple section (Revelation 17:5; Revelation 17:7).

The Prophetic Section

20 The vision is figurative. The explanation is literal. It must not be further "explained". The seven stars are seven messengers. The seven lamp stands are seven ecclesias. These will be found at the places indicated at the opening of the Lord's day. They are God's luminaries in the dense darkness of that judgment era.

Bibliographical Information
"Commentary on Revelation 1". Concordant Commentary of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/aek/revelation-1.html. 1968.
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