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Bible Commentaries
Revelation 1

Gann's Commentary on the BibleGann on the Bible

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Verse 1

Revelation 1:1

Book Comments:

Walking Thru The Bible



Author: We understand the Apostle John to be the author of the last book in the New Testament (Revelation 1:1, Revelation 1:4, Revelation 1:9; Revelation 21:2; Revelation 22:8). He is "a brother, and a companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ" (Revelation 1:9).

Evidence from within the book indicate that it was written by the same author as that of the Gospel and Epistles which bear John’s name. From the nature of the book no other John can measure up to what is demanded by the essence of the book.

Date: The book of Revelation is unique in that the date of its composition affects the interpretation placed upon its message. There are two general views, called "The Late Date" (c. AD 96) and "The Early Date" (c. AD 64-68).

Some think the book was written about AD 96 during the reign of Domitian (AD 81-96) and that he had banished John to Patmos. The tradition for this however is unreliable and there is no internal support. Those who take the Late Date hold to various views of its interpretation.

For those who understand the book is dealing with the destruction of the Temple, Jerusalem, and Judaism, a date before AD 70 is essential, and therefore a date from the time of about AD 65-68 seems valid.

Reasons for Holding to the Early Date:

1. The parallel between passages in the Gospels and in Revelation that deal with the destruction of Jerusalem would call for a date for the book before AD 70.

2. Allusions to other apostles still alive besides John.

3. The state of Israel and the temple still existed.

4. The fact of Jewish persecution of Christians in foreign cities.

5. In the most ancient version or translation made of the Bible into another language (The Syriac version in the second century) the superinscription says the letter was written by the Apostle John during the reign of Nero.

6. John expected to leave Patmos (in ch.1) and go and preach among the churches to whom he addressed this letter. That could be expected of a man who was 60 years old, but it could hardly be expected of a man who was 96 years old.

7. John says that the visions occurred in the reign of the sixth Roman Emperor. That within itself nails down the date without any doubt. The six emperors were: Julius, August, Tiberius, Caliguia, Claudius, and Nero. Nero reigned from AD 54 to 68. (Revelation 17:10)

Overview: There are four important things to remember: --

1. It is a revelation, that is, "an uncovering, or unveiling." People who think that the book cannot be understood need to look at its title, it is not ’a concealment’ or ’a hiding’ but an uncovering and an unveiling. It is a book about something that is being made known.

2. It is addressed to the seven churches of Asia. (Revelation 1:11) We need to realize that first and foremost it was a message for them and it had significance for them.

3. It is a revelation in signs. The things revealed were "signified" (Revelation 1:1), thus these things are not "literal" but revealed in symbolic language. (We should not expect the devil to look like a real dragon.) The signs and symbols are drawn primarily from the Old Testament.

4. The revelation concerns "things which must shortly come to pass" (Revelation 1:1); and the things it talks about "were at hand" (Revelation 1:3). The time element is emphasized at the beginning of the book, and lest the reader has forgotten during the course of the book, it is emphasized again at the end of the book, as well as several reminders along the way, i.e. 6:10 "a little season," or "a little while." (Revelation 1:1; Revelation 1:3; Revelation 22:6; Revelation 22:10).

Any interpretation of Revelation that ignores these vital points is a wrong interpretation.

What Revelation Is About:

Revelation is NOT primarily about the "last days" before Christ’s second coming, but about the "last days" of Judaism, and the fall of the nation and the destruction of their capital city Jerusalem, the temple, and the Jewish hierarchical system.

It is a parallel to the subject the Lord dealt with in Matthew 23, Mark 13, and Luke 21. It concerns the vengeance and judgment of God upon the Jewish nations for their rejection of the Son of God and their persecution of Him and the church (Luke 11:47-51; Luke 21:20-22; Revelation 18:20-24).

The Message From the Book:

1. It is a message to the saints concerning the tribulation they were suffering. It helped them to understand what the outcome of such suffering was going to be. It helped them to pinpoint the source, the cause, and the eventual outcome of the persecution being inflicted upon the saints.

2. It was particularly a message to the seven churches of Asia to remain steadfast in the faith and to a warning to them to correct the deficiencies in their faith.

3. It was a warning to those saints who needed to repent and get right with God.

4. It was a message that those afflicting the saints would have to face the judgment and wrath of God for their evil deeds.

5. It was a message of hope and comfort to the saints indicating that God had not forgotten them and that the ultimate victory would be theirs.

6. The message of God’s judgment upon Judaism stands as a reminder (and a ’type’) of the final great judgment upon every individual at the second coming of Christ (2 Corinthians 5:10; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18.).

The "Coming" of the Lord:

1. Revelation is speaking about the Lord coming soon in a judgment upon the persecutors of His people as vengeance is meted out. (Revelation 6:9-10; Revelation 18:20-24; Revelation 22:20).

a. This was a coming in judgment like the judgment upon the world at the time of Noah; and like His judgment upon Sodom and Gomorrah, and His judgment upon Jerusalem in the time of Nebuchadnezzar.

b. It was a time of vengeance for how the unfaithful Jews had treated the prophets and apostles God sent to them (Matthew 23:34-36; Luke 18:7-8; Luke 11:47-51; Revelation 18:20-24).

2. We are waiting His visible return when he comes in a final judgment upon all the world (2 Corinthians 5:10).

a. This will be the time of the resurrection of the bodies of those who have died (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18).

b. It will be the rewarding of the saints (John 14:1-3) and the ushering in of eternity with God or separation from Him (Matthew 25:41-46).

See the note at the end of Revelation 22:21 for a list of resource abbreviations used.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _

e-Sword Revelation Study Notes

Windell Gann

Verse Comments:

Revelation 1:1 KEY VERSE ***

The Author is the Apostle John: Date: about 66- 68 AD

Revelation -- an unveiling, uncovering, revealing "of Jesus" 1) from Jesus; 2) about Jesus (xxx)

See a study of the word "shortly" Revelation 1:1, Revelation 1:3; Revelation 22:6, Revelation 22:10 ( ἐν τάχει list: Luke 18:8; Acts 12:7; Acts 22:18; Acts 25:4; Romans 16:20; Revelation 1:1; Revelation 2:5; Revelation 22:6;)

Four things to remember about Revelation:

1. It is a Revelation (unveiling, intended to be understood)

2. It is a Revelation to the Seven Churches of Asia .Revelation 1:4, Revelation 1:11

3. It is a Revelation in Signs ( Revelation 1:1)

4. It is a Revelation about things that must shortly come to pass Revelation 1:1; Revelation 1:3; Revelation 22:6; Revelation 22:10

404 verses in Rev; and 278 of them refer to OT; We need to understand OT to understand Rev.

The revelation of Jesus Christ . . Revelation 1:1 It was made known by Jesus Christ, that is, it was not concerning Christ himself. The language does not refer to the person of Christ, as the subject of the vision, but to the One by whom it was communicated to John--by Jesus Christ "the faithful witness," through the agency of his angel. - Foy Wallace

Things which must shortly come to pass . . Revelation 1:1. Reference to things indicated a definite form of events then shaping, and the word must is not a speculative or conjectural term; it was factual, and the word shortly denoted immediacy. These events applied to them, not to centuries after their time, and even yet to come. The object of the entire revelation was to inform and forewarn, to comfort and encourage the church in the time of this vision --the apostolic age, the period of the churches addressed. - Wallace

He sent . . “He” may be either “God” as in Revelation 22:6, or “Jesus Christ,” as ibid. Revelation 1:16. It seems best to take it of the latter: the sense will be, “He, having received the Revelation from the Father, sent by His angel, and indicated it to His servant John.” The angel is the same who is mentioned in Revelation 17:1, &c., Revelation 19:9, Revelation 21:9, Revelation 22:6, Revelation 22:8, Revelation 22:16. - CBSC

signified . . The term "signify" comes from the word "sign" and indicates that the things to be revealed to John would be presented through signs and symbols. This word is used in the same sense by John in the following passages: John 1:1 John 1:1-19. It is an appropriate word to express a revelation which was to be made largely through symbols. The symbolic nature of much of the book is evident from even a casual reading of it. - Zerr

by His angel . . The word "angel" means "messenger". Which "angel" this is, is not specified here. See Revelation 22:16. An angel that Jesus sent to testify, witness, these things to the churches.

to His servant John . . The phraseology and construction of the Book too closely resembles the Gospel of John to believer it is any one else but the Apostle John who also wrote the Gospel.

Verse 2

Revelation 1:2

This verse tells us who the author is -- John 21:24 - the Apostle John

bare -- Revelation 1:9, Revelation 6:9, Revelation 12:17; John 1:32, John 12:17, John 19:35, John 21:24; 1 John 5:7-11; 3 John 1:12

The “witness” John is said to bear is that contained in this Book—not, as some have imagined, in his Gospel. - CBSC

who bare record -- John is meant, who made the record of all he saw and heard. - PNT

and of all things he saw -- Revelation 1:19; John 3:11; Acts 4:20, Acts 22:15, Acts 26:16; 1 John 1:1, 1 John 4:14

16 The Book of Revelation Made Easy

The Churches Instructed

As John opens his letter to these seven churches, he emphatically declares that he intends them to understand him. Indeed, the opening verse (a portion of which becomes the title by which we know the book) reads: The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show to His bond-servants … and He sent and communicated it by His angel to His bond-servant John.” (Revelation 1:1)

He expressly states that he intends to “reveal,” “to show,” to “communicate” something to them—not to hide information from them. When two verses later he directs them to hear with understanding so that they might keep the obligations found in his book:

Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of the prophecy, and heed the things which are written in it (Rev. 1:3a). They are to “hear” and to “heed,” which obviously require that they understand. Thus, John writes to original 1st century churches who are suffering, in order to give them directives they must understand and act upon. As we will see, this becomes a crucial piece of evidence toward grasping John’s expectation.

the testimony of Jesus Christ -- Like v. 1, this can be either an OBJECTIVE, the testimony about Jesus, or SUBJECTIVE GENITIVE, the testimony given by Jesus. - Utley

Verse 3

Revelation 1:3

Blessed is -- The first of seven beatitudes in Revelation (Revelation 14:13; Revelation 16:15; Revelation 19:9; Revelation 20:6; Revelation 22:7, Revelation 22:14), reminiscent of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:3-11). - FSB

he who reads” The NRSV adds “aloud,” implying a public reading (cf. 1 Timothy 4:13). Congregational reading of the Scripture was done originally by specially trained members of the Church as in the synagogue (cantor). The Church took over the worship forms of the early synagogue (cf. Luke 4:16; Acts 13:15; Colossians 4:16; 1 Thessalonians 5:27). We have a historical confirmation of the public reading of Scripture from Justin Martyr, a.d. 167, who mentioned that the Church read a portion from the Gospels and a portion from the prophets. - Utley

hear -- in accusative meaning to "understand"

listen … and obey -- Authentic hearing entails obedience - NLTSB

In the early church one would read aloud while others listened. Revelation’s message and its blessing can be received even by hearing it read, but only if that hearing is accompanied by obeying as well. - ESVSB

the words of this prophecy . . Revelation 1:3. These words were prophetic in the sense of being visional. In this use of the word prophecy, it was apocalyptic only of things already beginning to occur. It was not the foretelling of far future events not connected with the experiences of his servants to whom and for whom the apocalypse was delivered. - Wallace

because -- Introduces the reason that virtuous readers are blessed: God’s revealed purposes will soon be fulfilled (cf. Revelation 1:1; Revelation 22:10). - NIVZSB

time is near -- The revelation concerns "things which must shortly come to pass" (Revelation 1:1); and the things it talks about "were at hand" (Revelation 1:3). The time element is emphasized at the beginning of the book, and lest the reader has forgotten during the course of the book, it is emphasized again at the end of the book, as well as several reminders along the way, i.e. 6:10 "a little season," or "a little while." (Revelation 1:1; Revelation 1:3; Revelation 22:6; Revelation 22:10). (cf. Revelation 3:11; Revelation 6:10)

Any interpretation of Revelation that ignores these vital points is a wrong interpretation.

time..at hand -- Rome was destroyed AD 476, How could Revelation be about a judgment on Rome if the time was at hand? On the other hand, Jerusalem was destroyed in AD 70, and when this was written the "time was at hand."

the time is at hand -- The period to which the prophecy relates is near. - PNT

for the time is at hand . . Revelation 1:3. There can be no reason to assign any other meaning to this phrase at hand than that which it had in the announcement of John the Baptist that the kingdom of heaven was at hand (Matthew 3:2), or of Jesus that the kingdom of God was at hand (Mark 1:14-15). The language and the context of it can mean only one thing--that these events were imminent. The sole reason for the admonition to read and hear and keep the things signified is stated in the clause of this verse: for the time is at hand. If the things written therein pertained to the remote future rather than to the immediate future, there was no application for such a warning. - Wallace

The concept of time is very fluid in this book for several reasons: (1) there are two different Greek words that express time—chronos, the passing of time (cf. Revelation 10:6) and kairos, a special time, season, or event (cf. Revelation 1:3; Revelation 11:18; Revelation 12:12, Revelation 12:14); (2) there are several idioms used: “the things which must shortly take place” (cf. Revelation 1:1; Revelation 22:6); “the time is near” (cf. Revelation 1:3; Revelation 3:11; Revelation 22:10); “I am coming quickly” (cf. Revelation 2:5, Revelation 2:16; Revelation 22:7, Revelation 22:12, Revelation 22:20); “I will come like a thief” (cf. Revelation 3:3; Revelation 16:15). All of these speak of immediacy. However, some passages speak of a delay (cf. Revelation 6:11; Revelation 10:6; Revelation 14:13). Another idiom is that the day of judgment and rewards has arrived, “it is done” (cf. Revelation 16:17; Revelation 21:6) or “the time has come” (cf. Revelation 11:18; Revelation 20:12). - Utley

[ In the warning to the church at Pergamum, Revelation 2:16, Jesus said he would come soon if that church did not repent. cf. Revelation 3:11]

Verse 4

Revelation 1:4

The phrase " from him who is, who was, and who is to come" is the Greek correspondent to YHWH, or the "I AM" of the Hebrew O.T. cf. Revelation 1:8,

seven churches in Asia -- While these seven churches were not the only ones in Asia 9 [Miletus Acts 20:17; Colossae; Hierapolis Colossians 4:13; Troas] (a western region of modern-day Turkey), they were influential and located on a well-known circular route. The number seven often denotes fullness or completion in the Old Testament (e.g., Genesis 2:2; Leviticus 26:18; Joshua 6:4). John uses the number in this way throughout Revelation—most notably in the judgment sequences (seven bowls, seven trumpets). The seven churches would have been understood as representing all the churches of Asia - FSB

to the seven churches -- Exactly why only seven churches were listed is uncertain. There are several theories: (1) some have asserted that these were the churches that John had a special ministering relationship with; (2) others have asserted that they form a postal route in the Roman Province of Asia; and (3) the number seven had great significance to the Jews, especially in inter-biblical apocalyptic literature. It was the number of perfection from its use of the days in Genesis 1. Therefore, it was probably used in both a literal sense—John did write to several churches which formed a Roman postal route in Asia Minor and symbolically as a way of referring to all churches of all days. - Utley

in Asia -- This refers to the western end of the modern country of Turkey, which was, in large part, the old country of Phrygia, which became the Roman province of “Asia Minor.” - Utley

in Asia -- The proconsular province of that name. In Acts 16:6 “Asia” seems to be used in a still narrower sense, being distinguished from the adjoining districts of Phrygia and Mysia, as well as from the provinces of Galatia and Bithynia; so that it would correspond approximately with the ancient kingdom of Lydia. But as Pergamum was in Mysia, and Laodicea in Phrygia, it seems that here the word is used to include the whole province. - CBSC

Grace and peace -- Standard Christian blessing (cf. Romans 1:7), here rooted in the triune God - NIVZSB

Notice the Trinitarian formula of v. 4 (if the seven Spirits represent the Holy Spirit). The term “trinity” is not a biblical word, but the concept of the one God but three divine Persons active in redemption certainly is (cf. Matthew 3:16-17; Matthew 28:19; Acts 2:33-34; Romans 8:7-10; 1 Corinthians 12:4-6; 2 Corinthians 1:21-22; Revelation 13:14; Ephesians 1:3-14; Ephesians 2:18; Ephesians 4:4-6; Titus 3:4-6; 1 Peter 1:2). - Utley

who is, who always was, and who is still to come -- God controlled the past, will surely control the future, and is sovereign over every present crisis (see also Revelation 1:8; Revelation 4:8; Revelation 11:17; Revelation 16:5) - NLTSB

from Him who is and who was and who is to come -- This is obviously a title for the unchanging Covenant God (cf. Psalms 102:7; Malachi 3:6; James 1:17). Its grammatical form is awkward in Greek but may reflect an Aramaic background. The literal phrase is “from the One who is, from the One who was, and the One coming” (cf. Revelation 4:8). This phrase reflects the OT covenant title “I Am” (YHWH, cf. Exodus 3:14). This phrase is used for God the Father in Revelation 1:4 and Revelation 1:8, and of Jesus Christ in Revelation 1:17-18 (cf. Hebrews 13:8). The purposeful transfer of titles from YHWH to Jesus was one way the NT authors asserted the Deity of Jesus. - Utley

seven Spirits -- 1) A view of the fullness of the one Holy Spirit.

2) "In the light of the content of the book this must refer to the seven angels who blow the seven trumpets, ‘the seven angels who stand before God’ (Revelation 3:1; Revelation 4:5; Revelation 5:6)"

seven spirits -- Possibly alludes to the sevenfold spirit of God in Isaiah 11:2. The number seven indicates the fullness of the Holy Spirit’s work (compare Revelation 3:1; Revelation 4:5; Revelation 5:6). - FSB

the seven Spirits. There are two possible meanings: 1) a reference to Isaiah’s prophecy concerning the 7-fold ministry of the Holy Spirit (Isaiah 11:2); or 2) more likely, it is a reference to the lampstand with 7 lamps (a menorah) in Zechariah—also a description of the Holy Spirit (See note on Revelation 4:5; Revelation 5:6; Zechariah 4:1-10). In either case, 7 is the number of completeness, so John is identifying the fullness of the Holy Spirit. - MSB

Verse 5

Revelation 1:5

faithful witness -- Refers to Jesus, who testified faithfully unto death (compare John 1:18; John 18:37; 1 Timothy 6:13). - FSB

This is the first of three phrases which describe Jesus the Messiah. These opening verses are paralleled in Revelation 20:6-21. It had an OT connotation of one who is loyal, true and dependable. - Utley

the faithful witness -- See 1 Timothy 6:13: Jesus Christ was in His Death much more than a martyr, but He was also the perfect type and example of martyrdom. Observe His own words in John 18:37—to which perhaps St Paul l.c. is referring. Here as in the next clause, see below, the language recalls Psalms 89:37, perhaps too Isaiah 55:4. - CBSC

"first begotten" ..The preeminence of the firstborn one. He was not the first resurrected from the dead, what about Lazarus (?), he was the "firstborn" one, that is, the preeminent one so raised.

Of all who have been or will be raised from the dead [permanently], He is the preeminent one, the only one who is the rightful heir (cf. Revelation 3:14; Psalms 89:27; Colossians 1:15). - MSB

firstborn … ruler -- Jesus’ resurrection establishes him as the exalted Davidic king (Psalms 89:27; cf. Psalms 2:6-9) and anticipates believers’ future resurrection (cf. 1 Corinthians 15:20; Colossians 1:18). Jesus—not Caesar—is the supreme ruler, worthy of worship and total allegiance (Revelation 11:15; Revelation 12:10; Revelation 17:14; Revelation 19:6). - NIVZSB

ruler of all the kings of the world -- (see also Revelation 17:14; Revelation 19:16), he is the absolute Lord of everything. Inhabitants of the Roman world were expected to declare Caesar as absolute lord; many early Christians died for their conviction that Jesus alone holds that position. NLTSB

ruler -- Reminiscent of Daniel 2:47 (see Revelation 17:14; Revelation 19:16).

washed -- cf. Acts 22:16, in our obedience to baptism (Matthew 28:19; Romans 6:3-4; Romans 6:18) in having our sins "washed away" the cleansing, freeing, loosing, is done by the "blood of Christ" and not by the water.

washed us -- Rather, as in the Revision, “loosed us.” This was done by the shedding of his blood. - PNT

and released us from our sins -- The King James Version has the verb “washed” (louō) which was pronounced exactly like the word “released” (luō). - Utley

in His own blood -- This is an obvious allusion to the sacrificial (cf. Lev. 1–7), vicarious atonement of Jesus Christ (cf. Revelation 5:9; Revelation 7:14; Revelation 12:11; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Isa. 52:13–53:12).

Verse 6

Revelation 1:6

made us kings and priests -- More accurately, “a kingdom and priests.” All who believe live in the sphere of God’s rule, a kingdom entered by faith in Jesus Christ. And as priests, believers have the right to enter God’s presence. - MSB

kings and priests -- Read, a kingdom, priests: a phrase synonymous with the “royal priesthood” of 1 Peter 2:9. That is an exact quotation from the LXX. version of Exodus 19:6 - CBSC

kingdom, priests -- In Christ, God has done for the Church what He had earlier done for Israel (compare Revelation 5:10; 1 Peter 2:9; Exodus 19:5-6). - FSB (Exodus 1:1; rev 20:6; Isaiah 61:6; )

kingdom and priests. Describes the church’s vocation in light of Israel’s calling to be a “kingdom of priests” (Exodus 19:6; cf. Revelation 5:10; Revelation 20:6; Isaiah 61:6; 1 Peter 2:9). - NIVZSB

He made us to be a kingdom; to be priests unto his God. His disciples are constituted a kingdom; a kingdom in which each one is a priest. No disciple needeth a priest to offer incense or sacrifice for him, for he can go directly to the Father through Jesus Christ. See notes on 1 Peter 2:9. Christians are called priests, but are never called kings in a correct translation of the New Testament. - PNT

And hath made us kings and priests"-- Revelation 1:6. The God unto whom all members of the church are priests is here affirmed to be his Father, thus ascribing deity to Jesus Christ. The offices of royalty and priesthood are united in the members of the churches, as typified in Exodus 19:6, and finds its spiritual fulfillment in 1 Peter 2:9. The allusions to the "kingdom of priests," in the Exodus passage, was to emphasize that Christ has made us new kings and priests in contrast with what once was but is no more. The church is the kingdom of Christ, and all the members are priests unto God--hence, the church is a kingdom of priests. The Syriac New Testament reads: "And hath made us a priestly kingdom." - Wallace

to Him be the glory and the dominion . . The term “glory” is an OT commercial term that meant “to be heavy”; that which was heavy (i.e. gold) was valuable. The term came to be used of God’s brightness, majesty, holiness, etc. Glory was often ascribed to God the Father in the NT (cf. Romans 11:36; Romans 16:27; Ephesians 3:21; Philippians 4:20; 1 Timothy 1:17; 2 Timothy 4:18; 1 Peter 4:11; 1 Peter 5:11; 2 Peter 3:18; Judges 1:25; Revelation 1:6; Revelation 5:13; Revelation 7:12).

The term “dominion” addressed to God the Father, is similar theologically to the subordination of the Son (cf. John 17). Jesus is the Father’s agent in all things, but the goal is the ultimate glorification of the Father (cf. 1 Corinthians 15:27-28).. - Utley

Amen -- The Greek word used here, meaning “let it be so,” served to strongly affirm something just stated. It expressed an indication of trust in God’s ability to bring about a desired result. - FSB

Its original etymology was “to be firm or sure.” However, the connotation changed to that which is to be affirmed (cf. 2 Corinthians 1:20). It was used metaphorically of someone who was faithful, loyal, steadfast, trustworthy. - Utley

Verse 7

Revelation 1:7

[Only the Apostle John supplied information bilingually in the New Testament (cf. John 1:1 John 1:42; John 4:25; John 6:1; John 9:7; John 11:16; John 19:13, John 19:17, John 19:20; John 20:16; Revelation 1:7; Revelation 3:14; Revelation 9:11; Revelation 12:9).]

clouds -- Are these: 1) bright clouds of glory; or 2) dark thundering clouds of judgment. The context seems to favor #2.

Christ coming in the clouds -- "judgment" at the destruction of Jerusalem. See Isaiah 19:1 Mark 13:26; Matthew 24:29-30 Joel 2:2; Zephaniah 1:15

he is coming with the clouds -- John applies the imagery of the son of man from Daniel 7:13-14 to Jesus. Cloud imagery also recalls the manner in which Jesus left the earth (Acts 1:9). - FSB

...recalls Jesus’ teaching (Matthew 16:27; Matthew 24:30; Mark 14:62) - NIVZSB

Behold he cometh with the clouds"-- Revelation 1:7. The reference here is not to the second advent, or return of Christ, but to the coming events about to be delineated, as in the Lord’s reply to Caiaphas, the high priest in Matthew 26:64 : "Thou hast said: nevertheless I say unto you, Hereafter ye shall see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven." This high priest would live to see the event here foretold, the fulfillment of which occurred in the figurative coming of Christ in the destruction of Jerusalem, as previously foretold in Matthew 24:1-51, and centuries before by the prophet Zechariah in chapter 14. The prophet referred to the destruction of Jerusalem as "the day of the Lord," and in Matthew 24:1-51 Jesus designated it as his coming. And Jesus told Caiaphas that he would live to witness it. The words behold he cometh are an announcement of warning, a call to expectancy, an alert to the impending developments.

The added expression "with the clouds" is not to be literally taken for a material display of his bodily presence. In the description of God’s judgment on Egypt, in Isaiah 19:6, the prophet said: "Behold, the Lord rideth upon a swift cloud, and shall come into Egypt." Also, in Ezekiel 38:16, the prophet said that the latter days God would come up against Israel "as a cloud to cover the land." And in Matthew 24:30, Jesus describes the events in the destruction of Jerusalem as "the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory." This is precisely what Jesus told Pilate that he should see, and it is the meaning of Revelation 1:7, pointing to the destruction of Jerusalem. - Wallace

every eye will see him -- They (the scattered tribes of Jews) will know (see) this is His judgment (the destruction of their nation, their holy city and temple) because they have pierce (rejected, crucified) the Messiah. (Matthew 21:43-46; Matthew 22:7; Matt 23:35-36;

every one who pierced him -- An allusion to Zechariah 12:10.

These prophecies find initial fulfillment in Jesus’ crucifixion (John 19:34, John 19:37) - NIVZSB

they who pierced. Not a reference to the 4 Roman soldiers usually involved in crucifixion, but to the Jews who were actually responsible for Christ’s death (Acts 2:22-23; Acts 3:14-15). Zechariah identified the ones who pierced Him as “the house of David” and “the inhabitants of Jerusalem” and prophesied that they will weep tears of genuine repentance because of what they did to their Messiah (Zechariah 12:10). - MSB

all kindreds of the earth -- Better, all the tribes—the reference is still to Zechariah 12:10; through the medium of Matthew 24:30.

Thus we see that the fact that the profitable and the unprofitable “mourning” (or “wailing”—the Greek word is the same in St Matthew as here) are foretold in the same terms, in solemnly suggestive contrast with each other, is due not to the Apostle but to his Master: it is He that tells us that all tribes of the earth must mourn, either now for the woe our sins caused Him, or then for the woe they will cause us. - CBSC

all peoples on earth “will mourn -- Refers either to sorrowful repentance from sins (Zechariah 12:10) or lamentation over divine judgment (cf. Revelation 1:1). - NIVXSB

` wail -- Most scholars think the wailing is a reaction to judgment instead of the kind of grief that leads to salvation. - ESVSB

Verse 8

Revelation 1:8

v. 8 -- YHWH Himself speaks this verse, affirming the truth of the previous statements about Jesus. It combines four titles for Him with an allusion to a fifth and possibly a sixth. Apparently, v. 8 was God adding His personal affirmation to the above statement by the use of these magnificent names: - Utley

I am -- “A weighing of evidence, especially in light of the OT ‘flavor’ of the expression and a recollection that the Father in the OT refers to Himself as ‘I am’ (i.e., the Tetragrammaton, Exodus 3:14; cf. Isaiah 48:12), tips the balance ever so slightly to the side of concluding that God the Father speaks in v. 8. - Constable

I am -- “I Am,” which is an allusion to the Covenant name YHWH (cf. Exodus 3:14), a CAUSATIVE form of the verb “to be.” Jesus used this of Himself (cf. John 8:56-59). - Utley

Alpha and Omega -- God confirmed the preceding forecast with a solemn affirmation of His eternity and omnipotence. Alpha and omega are the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet and signify here God’s comprehensive control over all things including time. John strengthened this point further with present, past, and future references (cf. Revelation 4:8; Revelation 11:17; Hebrews 13:8). He is the originator and terminator of all things. God is not only Lord of the future. He is also powerful enough to bring what John just predicted to pass. He is the “Almighty.” - Constable

Alpha and the Omega. These are the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet. An alphabet is an ingenious way to store and communicate knowledge. The 26 letters in the English alphabet, arranged in almost endless combinations, can hold and convey all knowledge. Christ is the supreme, sovereign alphabet; there is nothing outside His knowledge, so as there are no unknown factors that can sabotage His second coming. (cf. Colossians 2:3). - MSB

the Lord -- The title “Lord” (kurios) in the NT reflects this OT title [ YHWH, Exodus 3:14; used also of Jesus of Himself ]John 8:56-59; - Utley

which is, -- was -- is to come -- “The One who is the One who was, the One coming” is the phrase used earlier in Revelation 1:4 which speaks of the unchanging, ever-living God (cf. Psalms 102:27; Malachi 3:6; James 1:17). This phrase is used of God the Father, YHWH, in vv. 4 and 8 and of Jesus, God the Son, in Revelation 1:17 and Revelation 1:18 (cf. Hebrews 13:8); - Utley

the Almighty.“Almighty God” occurs 8 [other] times in Revelation, underscoring that God’s power is supreme over all the cataclysmic events it records (see also Revelation 4:8; Revelation 11:17; Revelation 15:3; Revelation 16:7, Revelation 16:14; Revelation 19:15; Revelation 21:22). He exercises sovereign control over every person, object, and event, and not one molecule in the universe is outside that dominion. - MSB

the Almighty. The Greek word for “Almighty” is pantokratōr, “the all-powerful One.” It is used 10 times in the New Testament, 9 of them in Revelation (2 Corinthians 6:18; Revelation 1:8; Revelation 4:8; Revelation 11:17; Revelation 15:3; Revelation 16:7, Revelation 16:14; Revelation 19:6, Revelation 19:15; Revelation 21:22). The major revelation of the entire book is referred to in these salutation verses. - BKC

the Almighty -- “Almighty is a key name for God in Revelation (Rev. 1:8; 4:8; 11:17; 15:3; 16:7, 14; 19:6, 15; 21:22). - Wiersby

Verse 9

Revelation 1:9

1:9–20 John describes here the circumstances of his receiving the revelation, drawing on imagery from the book of Daniel to describe the glorified Christ. John then receives the commission to write to the seven churches. - FSB

your brother -- A common term of endearment among first-century believers, highlighting their equality in Christ. The common barriers of status, gender, and rank were done away with in the early church, and a sense of familial obligation predominated. - FSB

companion -- co-sharer, Persecution is a persistent theme of Revelation. John identifies with those undergoing persecution because he likewise endures hardship for the cause of Christ. - FSB

the affliction and kingdom -- The language suggests that the believers to whom John is writing are suffering persecution (or tribulation) and that the kingdom is, through the power of the Spirit’s work in their lives and the world, already present with the Church. - FSB

"THE tribulation" -- the definite article is present in the Greek. Matthew 24:21-29 It thus refers to John’s and the church’s present tribulation, and not to something in the distant future. The term was used by Jesus to refer to the hardships that would accompany the fall of Jerusalem and the temple Matthew 24:21-29. The definite article "the" specifies and limits what "the tribulation" was of which John speaks. Mark 13:9; Luke 19:43-44, Luke 21:24; 1 Thessalonians 2:16; Hebrews 10:26-29 - WG

your brother, and companion in tribulation . . Revelation 1:9. The common ground of fellowship between John and the members of the Asian churches was not his apostleship. It was the brotherhood relation and the mutual participation in the sufferings existing and anticipated. He was speaking not of the incident of his presence on Patmos, or of imprisonment there, but rather to the threat of the gathering and darkening clouds of persecution, such as mentioned in the letters to Smyrna, Thyatira and Philadelphia; particularly as related to its then present and incipient stage; and as in Hebrews 10:31-39, the portent of the things to come. - Wallace

patience -- patience endurance -- Entails waiting on the Lord and overcoming evil amid suffering (cf. 13:10; 14:12). - NIVZSB

Patmos-- There for preaching the word of God, and for the testimony of the Lord Jesus. Nothing said about being a prisoner, or in exile. That is tradition.

Patmos: Patmos is an arid island approximately 24 square miles (62 sq. km) in area and roughly 40 miles (64 km) from the mainland of Asia Minor.

Since antiquity, it has possessed a working protected harbor near its center (modern Skala) and other places for small boats to anchor. Inscriptions and archaeological remains indicate the existence of a fortress before John’s arrival, and the clear presence of the Artemis cult afterward. The limited population of the island during John’s day was probably largely pagan. Assuming (with church tradition) that John had been officially banished to Patmos, he may have been granted some freedom of movement on the island (even if, as claimed in later tradition, he lived in a cave) and may not actually have been in a prison, though he would have been barred from leaving Patmos. - ESVSB

on the island called Patmos -- The Romans used these small islands off the coast of Asia Minor for political prisoners (cf. Tacitus’ Annals, 3:68; 4:30; 15:71). Apparently John was exiled to this small island, 37 miles from Miletus. The island was crescent shaped, facing east, ten miles long and six miles wide. - Utley

Patmos . . Tradition claims that John was banished by the Roman government and exiled on Patmos. There is no conclusive scriptural evidence nor verified factual history to sustain this traditional claim, and it stands somewhat on the same basis as the Petrine tradition that the apostle Peter once resided in Rome. It is not said in the text, nor necessarily implied in the contents of Revelation, that John was a prisoner on Patmos. If John was a prisoner on Patmos, as Paul was a prisoner in Rome, it is singularly strange, if not unaccountable, that no mention was made of it, and no reference was made to it, by himself or in any other New Testament epistle. - Wallace

for the word of God, and testimony -- [for preaching … and for my testimony: NLT] -- In typical Semitic parallelism, the second statement means essentially the same as the first. By John’s time, Jews were persuading Roman authorities that Christianity was different from Judaism and therefore not an authorized religion. - NLTSB

because of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus -- There are three possible interpretations of this phrase. It can refer (1) to John’s preaching the gospel; (2) to John’s receiving the revelation; or (3) to John’s political banishment, which is the most likely. We have several historical references to John’s political banishment: (1) Tertullian, On the Prescription of Heretics, 36; (2) Origen, Homilies on Matthew; (3) Clement of Alexandria, The Rich Man’s Salvation, 47; (4) Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History, III:20:8–9; and (4) Jerome, Concerning Illustrious Men, 9. - Utley

For the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ . . Revelation 1:9 The English preposition for in this passage is dia, which Professor Terry states that, by its established usage with the accusative, means for the sake of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ. It gives the ground or the reason for John’s presence on Patmos: that the reason for being there was no other than to receive the revelation, that is, for the vision itself--for "the testimony of Jesus Christ" and "of all things that he saw," and not because of banishment and exile.

The coupling of the testimony with the vision in verse 2, supports the view that he was there to receive the things that he saw, and that these things were themselves the word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ, for which he was there.

A further evidence of this concept in John’s own statement, in Revelation 10:11, of his intention to leave Patmos for an active itinerary among the people of many nations, to carry to them in personal evangelism the testimony of this apocalypse. If John had been prisoner in exile, no such liberty existed on which to base such an announcement, for he was imprisoned on Patmos, and his status would have been no different from Paul’s imprisonment in Rome. - Wallace

Verse 10

Revelation 1:10

in the Sprit -- inspired, 2 Peter 1:21; 1 Corinthians 12:3 Ezekiel 2:2 Ezekiel 3:12 Ezekiel 37:1; Matthew 22:43

in the Spirit -- Probably describes a visionary state (compare Acts 10:10; 2 Corinthians 12:2-4). John’s visions are framed by his four experiences in the Spirit (Revelation 1:10; Revelation 4:2; Revelation 17:3; Revelation 21:10). - FSB

in the Spirit -- This was not a dream. John was supernaturally transported out of the material world awake—not sleeping—to an experience beyond the normal senses. The Holy Spirit empowered his senses to perceive revelation from God (cf. Acts 10:11). - MSB

In the Spirit -- could also be rendered “in [my] spirit” (cf. Revelation 4:2; Revelation 17:3; Revelation 21:10). That is, he was projected forward in his inner self in a vision, not bodily, to that future day of the Lord when God will pour out His judgments on the earth. - BKC

I was in the Spirit -- This is a special phrase that marks off the different visions that John received (cf Revelation 1:10; Revelation 4:2; Revelation 17:3; Revelation 21:10). It seems to refer to a trance-like state in which a revelation was given (cf. Acts 10:10; Acts 22:17; 2 Corinthians 12:1 ff). This is characteristic of Jewish apocalyptic literature. - Utley

Lord’s Day -- Sunday ? Usage in apostolic fathers.

Lord’s Day -- Sunday, “the first day of the week” (Matthew 28:1), the day Jesus rose. The majority of Christ’s followers see this passage as evidence that already in the first century this day was set aside for worship and fellowship (Acts 20:7; 1 Corinthians 16:2). - NIVZSB [Citations given however say "on the first day of the week" and not "the Lord’s day." -WG]

-- or "Day of the Lord" Joel 2:1; Isaiah 2:12; Usage in the New Testament: 1 Corinthians 1:8 ; 1 Thessalonians 5:2; 2 Thessalonians 2:2; Reference to a day of the Lord’s judgment, or retribution.

the Lord’s Day -- John’s revelation occurred on the Lord’s Day while he was in the Spirit. Some have indicated that “the Lord’s Day” refers to the first day of the week. However, the word “Lord’s” is an adjective and this expression is never used in the Bible to refer to the first day of the week. Probably John was referring to the day of the Lord, a familiar expression in both Testaments (cf. Isaiah 2:12; Isaiah 13:6, Isaiah 13:9; Isaiah 34:8; Joel 1:15; Joel 2:1, Joel 1:11, Joel 2:31; Joel 3:14; Amos 5:18, Amos 5:20; Zephaniah 1:7-8, Zephaniah 1:14; Zephaniah 1:18; Zephaniah 2:3; Zechariah 14:1; Malachi 4:5; 1 Thessalonians 5:2; 2 Peter 3:10). - BKC

The “Lord’s day” probably refers to Sunday, but it could refer to the future day of the Lord spoken of frequently elsewhere in Scripture. ... The New Testament writers never called Sunday the Lord’s day elsewhere in Scripture. - Constable

in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day -- An indication that John was transported in the Spirit to "the day of the Lord" judgment which is unraveled, or revealed, in the book. (cf. Revelation 4:2; Revelation 17:3; Revelation 21:10)- WG

loud voice -- Throughout Revelation, a loud sound or voice indicates the solemnity of what God is about to reveal. - MSB

loud voice -- [great sound] -- The voice of the glorified, exalted Christ. - FSB

The loud voice like a trumpet blast was an announcement of the Lord’s coming. - NLTSB

behind me -- John first heard the great voice and then turned to see, Revelation 1:12.

as of a trumpet -- The voice was clear, loud, and sent warnings.

Verse 11

Revelation 1:11

saying ... what thou seest -- -- John was about to see the mighty unfolding of God’s judgment upon Jews (Jerusalem), which was to come shortly, for the time was at hand, A.D. 67-70. "The Revelation of Jesus Christ."

I am -- See notes on Revelation 1:8. These words are the self disclosure of Deity.

write … what you see -- Like some OT prophets (Revelation 1:19; Isaiah 30:8; Jeremiah 36:2; Habakkuk 2:2). - NIVZSB

write … and send -- God authorized John as a prophet and herald of his revelation (see Revelation 22:8; Revelation 22:10; cp. Isaiah 6:8-9; Jeremiah 2:1-2; Ezekiel 2:1-3; Ezekiel 34:1-2). - NLTSB

in a book -- Or on a scroll. The Greek word refers to a scroll made of parchment formed from papyrus, a reed that grows plentifully along the Nile. - MSB

in a book -- This is the Greek term biblion. It was used in the sense of a booklet or scroll. It later became a technical term for a codex or book. John was commanded to write down his visions. - Utley

to the seven churches -- All seven churches were the recipients of this prophecy, and not just the "letter" section sent to them. cf. Revelation 1:4. The book therefore must has had significance to them.

The cities where these churches met formed a wedge on the map pointing northwest. A messenger carrying John’s revelation would have traveled north from Ephesus to Smyrna and on to Pergamum. He would then have turned southeast to reach Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea. Note that all the Book of Revelation was to go to these churches, not just the special letter to each one contained in chapters 2 and 3. - Constable

Verse 12

Revelation 1:12

I turned to see the voice -- John received the command to write and looked around to see who issued it. - FSB

saw the voice -- An idiomatic expression.

When John turned to see the person who spoke to him he saw a majestic figure clothed in a long robe standing among seven lampstands (cf. Ezek. 25:31–40; Zech. 4:2; Matt. 18:20). This person would have been a priest in Israel ministering in the tabernacle or temple. - Constable

seven gold lampstands -- Golden lampstands stood in the Holy Place of the tabernacle and the temple (Exodus 25:31-37; 1 Kings 7:49). Zechariah also had a vision of a golden lampstand (Zechariah 4:2). The significance of these lampstands is explained in Revelation 1:20. - FSB

seven gold lampstands -- The lighted menorah was a symbol of God’s presence among his people (Exodus 27:21; Leviticus 24:1-4) and of his all-seeing eyes in the world (Zechariah 4:10). - NLTSB

lampstands -- These were portable gold lampstands that held small oil lamps. Each lampstand represented a church (Revelation 1:20), from which the light of life shone. Throughout Scripture, 7 is the number of completeness, so these 7 lampstands are representative of all the churches. - MSB

I saw seven golden lampstands -- This does not refer to the Menorah (seven-stemmed candelabrum) which was in the Tabernacle (cf. Exodus 25:31-40) nor to the lampstand of Zechariah 4:2. These separate, single lampstands were a symbolic way of referring to the seven churches (cf. Revelation 1:20; Revelation 2:1). - Utley

Apparently these were individual lampstands rather than one lampstand with seven lamps as was true of a similar piece of furniture in the tabernacle and the temple. - BKC

Verse 13

Revelation 1:13

and in the midst of the candlesticks -- Christ is pictured in the midst of the churches; here we’re not told whether he is standing or sitting, though in our minds we tend to see him here standing. - WG

and in the midst -- It is a beautiful thought that he who said “I will be with you always” is represented as moving in the midst of the church. - PNT

seven gold lampstands -- Golden lampstands stood in the Holy Place of the tabernacle and the temple (Exodus 25:31-37; 1 Kings 7:49). Zechariah also had a vision of a golden lampstand (Zechariah 4:2). The significance of these lampstands is explained in Revelation 1:20. - FSB

one like unto a son of man -- Daniel 7:13 Matthew 20:18 This is the triumphant Christ, the King of Kings - Revelation 1:5. An implication from Daniel 7:13 of Deity in human form. - WG

like the Son of Man -- (or like a son of man -- See Daniel 7:13): Son of Man is a title Jesus used for himself (see Matthew 8:20; Matthew 9:6; Matthew 16:13; Mark 2:28; Mark 9:9; Mark 14:41; John 1:51; John 3:13; John 5:27). - NLTSB

Son of Man -- According to the gospels, this is the title Christ used most often for Himself during His earthly ministry (81 times in the gospels). Taken from the heavenly vision in Daniel 7:13, it is an implied claim to deity. - MSB

the [a] Son of Man -- Notice the variety in capitalization [with different translations]. The reason is the ambiguity of the term. In the OT it was a descriptive phrase for a human being (cf. Psalms 8:4; Ezekiel 2:1). However, it also was used in Dan. 7:13 and possibly Ezekiel 1:26 to refer to a human Messiah, whose Deity is assumed because (1) he appears before God; (2) he rides on the clouds of heaven; and (3) he is given the eternal kingdom. Jesus used this term to refer to Himself because it had no rabbinical usages, no nationalistic or militaristic connotations. It combined the human and divine aspects of Jesus’ person. - Utley

There is no DEFINITE ARTICLE in the Greek text (cf. Daniel 7:13; Hebrews 1:2; Hebrews 3:6; Hebrews 5:8; Hebrews 7:28). However, the fact that it is a title makes it definite. The ambiguity may be purposeful. Jesus is a human being and the Divine Messiah. - Utley

a son of man -- The man looked like “a son of man.” This expression refers to the divine Messiah in Daniel 7:13-14 (cf. Acts 7:56). “Son of Man” was Jesus’ favorite title for Himself according to the writers of the Gospels (cf. Mark 13:26). The person John saw looked like a human man. His clothing was that of a priest: a long robe with a golden sash around it. Jesus Christ’s present office is that of our high priest (Hebrews 4:14). However this long robe (Gr. poderes) was also a sign of rank or dignity in those who wore them (cf. Ezekiel 9:2; Daniel 10:5). - Constable

one like unto the Son of man -- There is no article with either noun, while in the title of our Lord “the Son of Man” in the Gospels and in Acts 7:56 it is expressed with both. The inference is, not that our Lord is not intended, but that the title is taken, not from His own use of it, but direct from the Greek of Daniel 7:13—where also the art. is absent. Whether we should translate “a son of man” is a question rather of taste than of grammar: the words of themselves mean no more than “I saw a human figure,” but their associations make it plain to anyone acquainted with the Book of Daniel, that it was a superhuman Being in human form; and to a Christian, of St John’s days as of our own, Who that Being was. - CBSC

clothed with a garment down to the foot -- Clothed in priestly attire. Psalms 110:4 Hebrews 5:5-10 Hebrews 7:1 Hebrews 8:1-2 Hebrews 2:17 Hebrews 2:18,

clothed -- “In Revelation 1:13, Christ is seen dressed in the type robe worn by both a priest and a judge; but the position of the girdle about the breasts rather than the waist indicates that Christ, in this passage, is exercising a judicial rather than a priestly role. A priest would be girded about the waist, signifying service; but the girdle placed about the shoulders or breasts indicates a magisterial function (cf. John 13:2-5; Revelation 15:6).” - Constable

garment -- Most occurrences of this word in the Septuagint, the Greek OT, refer to the garment of the High-Priest. The golden sash across His chest completes the picture of Christ serving in His priestly role (cf. Leviticus 16:1-4; Hebrews 2:17). - MSB

clothed in a robe reaching to the feet, and girded across His chest with a golden sash -- This phrase has been understood in several ways: (1) as a reference to the High Priest (cf. Exodus 28:4; Exodus 29:5; Leviticus 16:4 and Zechariah 3:4); or (2) as a reference to a royal, wealthy person (cf. 1 Samuel 18:24; 1 Samuel 24:12 and Ezekiel 26:16); or (3) as a vision of the glorious messenger of Daniel 10:5, which would identify Jesus as bringing God’s message.

Josephus, in his book, Antiquities of the Jews III:7:2, 4, said that the High Priest wore a girdle interwoven with gold. Therefore, Jesus is the High Priest of the heavenly sanctuary (cf. Hebrews 8:1-13). - Utley

robe … golden sash -- Suggests a king’s authority (Isaiah 22:21), a high priest’s purity (Exodus 28:4; Exodus 29:5-9), or both. - NIVZSB

girded about the chest -- girt about the paps -- So Revelation 15:6, of angels. We therefore can hardly press the distinction of this from Daniel 10:5 (and Ezekiel 9:2, LXX.), where the angels wear the girdles of gold or gems, as men would, on the loins. - CBSC

Verse 14

Revelation 1:14

hair ... white -- wisdom, honorable.

hair … white like wool -- Symbolizes the perfect wisdom of the Ancient of Days (Daniel 7:9), which Jesus also possesses. - NIVZSB

white like wool -- In Daniel 7:9, the Ancient of Days’ clothing is white like snow and the hair of His head is compared to pure wool. John combines the two descriptions to describe the head and hair of Christ. - FSB

white like wool -- “White” does not refer to a flat white color but a blazing, glowing, white light (cf. Daniel 7:9). Like the glory cloud (or Shekinah), it is a picture of His holiness. - MSB

His head and His hair were white like white wool . . This is an allusion to the Ancient of Days in Daniel 7:9. This is an example of NT authors attributing titles and descriptions of YHWH to Jesus, emphasizing Jesus’ Deity. - Utley

His head and his hair were white -- White is the color of purity and of triumph. The idea here is not age but heavenly glory. - PNT

eyes ... fire -- piercing, penetrating knowledge, the one who knows everything and will judge everyone. - WG

eyes … like blazing fire -- Suggests penetrating, divine insight (Revelation 2:18; Revelation 19:12; Dan 10:6). - NIVZSB

his eyes were like a fiery flame -- In Daniel 10:6, the eyes of the angelic figure are compared to flaming torches. In Daniel 7:9, the throne of the Ancient of Days is compared to fire. - FSB

eyes … flame of fire -- Like two lasers, the eyes of the exalted Lord look with penetrating gaze into the depths of His church (Revelation 2:18; Revelation 19:12; Hebrews 4:13). - MSB

Verse 15

Revelation 1:15

Feet -- often refers to messengers, especially to those bringing "glad tidings". Romans 10:15; Isaiah 52:7;

Feet like unto fine brass -- Shedding forth splendor like burnished brass heated in a furnace. - PNT

feet -- Refined or hardened bronze in the feet implies stability, firmness, and security (cp. Daniel 10:6). - NLTSB

feet . . Christ’s feet, like burnished bronze (cf. 2:18), will crush any opponents. - ESVSB

feet … fine brass -- The altar of burnt offering was covered with brass and its utensils were made of the same material (cf. Exodus 38:1-7). Glowing hot, brass feet are a clear reference to divine judgment. Jesus Christ with feet of judgment is moving through His church to exercise His chastening authority upon sin. - MSB

feet ... fine brass -- This word for bronze (chalkolibanon) is uncertain. Brass is the related term, chalkos (cf. Matthew 10:9; 1 Corinthians 13:1; Revelation 18:22). It was used in Ezekiel 1:7 for the cherubim’s feet and in Daniel 10:6 for the angelic messenger. Jesus is described in these same terms (cf. Revelation 1:15; Revelation 2:18) to show His heavenly origin or majestic character. - Utley

His feet -- which were like bronze glowing in a furnace (cf. 2:18). The bronze altar in the temple was related to sacrifice for sin and divine judgment on it. - BKC

voice ... many waters -- --majestic, easily heard.

like the sound of many waters -- This is similar to Daniel 10:6, where the angelic voice is likened to the sound of a multitude (compare Ezekiel 1:24; Ezekiel 43:2). Revelation 1:10 ascribes trumpet-like characteristics to Christ’s voice. The emphasis is on the force and authority with which He speaks. - FSB

voice … sound of many waters /. No longer was His voice like the crystal clear note of a trumpet (Revelation 1:10), but John likened it to the crashing of the surf against the rocks of the island (cf. Ezekiel 43:2). It was the voice of authority. - MSB

His voice sounded like a rushing river such as the Niagara at its Falls, namely, authoritative, powerful, and irresistible (cf. Revelation 14:2; Revelation 19:6; Psalms 93:4; Isaiah 17:13; Ezekiel 43:2). - Constable

Verse 16

Revelation 1:16

in His right hand He held seven stars . . This phrase is repeated in Revelation 1:20; Revelation 2:1; Revelation 3:1. This shows Jesus’ personal care of His local churches. - Utley

right hand -- Represents strength and special blessings. The "churches" are secure in his right hand.

Seven stars -- "angels" or messengers.Revelation 1:20; Revelation 2:1, etc.

seven stars . . These are the messengers who represent the 7 churches (see note on v. 20). Christ holds them in His hand, which means that He controls the church and its leaders. - MSB

and out of His mouth came a sharp two-edged sword . . This refers to the short, tongue-shaped sword which the Roman soldiers carried. This metaphor appears in the OT in Isaiah 11:4; Isaiah 49:2 and in the NT in 2 Thess. 2:8; Hebrews 4:12; and Revelation 2:12, Revelation 2:16; Revelation 19:15; Revelation 19:21. It symbolizes the power of the word of God, especially judgment. - Utley

sharp two edged sword -- The word of God, Hebrews 4:12, Ephesians 6:17 Indicates the power of God’s words, cf. John 1:1-5; Revelation 2:16; Revelation 19:15, Revelation 19:21. cf. Isa_1.20; Isaiah 49:2; Isaiah 66:16;

a sharp two-edged sword . . A large, two-edged broad sword. It signifies judgment (cf. Revelation 2:16; Revelation 19:15) on those who attack His people and destroy His church. - MSB

sharp double-edged sword coming out of His mouth . . This type of sword (rhomphaia, also referred to in Revelation 2:12; Revelation 16:1; Revelation 6:8; Revelation 19:15; Revelation 19:21) was used by the Romans in a stabbing action designed to kill. - BKC

The sharp sword coming from his mouth is his effective message and his judgment (see rev 19:15; Genesis 3:24; Ephesians 6:17; Heb 4:12). Jesus proclaims both grace and judgment, but here the emphasis is that he carries out judgment (see Revelation 2:12, Revelation 2:16; Revelation 19:15; Revelation 19:21; cp. Isaiah 11:4). - NLTSB

This two-edged sword is a symbol of the word by which Christ’s conquests are won. See Ephesians 6:17; Hebrews 4:12, and compare Revelation 19:15. - PNT

countenance like ..

His face was like the sun shining in its strength . . Similar phrases are used to describe the cherubim of Ezekiel 1:4 and the angelic messenger of Daniel 10:6 and Revelation 10:1. In Daniel 12:3 (cf. Matthew 13:43) it was a symbol of the resurrected righteous ones. The brilliance depicts God’s glorious presence (cf. Matthew 17:2). - Utley

like the sun shining in its strength -- In Daniel 10:6, the face of the angelic figure is “like lightning.” This description also reflects the transfiguration in Matthew 17:2. - FSB

Verse 17

Revelation 1:17

I fell at his feet . . A common response to a prophetic vision (cf. Ezekiel 1:28; Daniel 8:17-18; Daniel 10:7-9); appropriate reverence toward the exalted Christ (cf. Matthew 17:6) but not toward angelic messengers (Revelation 19:10; Revelation 22:8-9). - NIVZSB

fell at His feet. A common response to seeing the awesome glory of the Lord (Genesis 17:3; Numbers 16:22; Ezekiel 1:28; Isaiah 6:1-8; Acts 9:4). - MSB

like a dead person . . Falling to the ground from reverence and fear is a common reaction to encounters with the divine. - FSB

laid His right hand -- The Lord graciously responds by the touch of his right hand (cp. Matthew 25:34) and the words “Don’t be afraid!” (cp. Luke 1:13) - NLTSB

Do not be afraid -- A common heavenly greeting to people (e.g., Genesis 15:1; Daniel 10:12; Luke 1:30). - FSB

Present Imperative with the negative particle, meaning to stop and act that is already in process. - Utley

I am . . The phrase identifies Jesus as God (see note on Revelation 1:8). - NLTSB

the First and the Last. Alludes to God’s self-description in Isaiah 41:4; Isaiah 44:6; Isaiah 48:12; similar to “the Alpha and the Omega” in Revelation 1:8; cf. Revelation 2:8; Revelation 22:13. - NIVZSB

First and the Last . . Jesus Christ applies this OT name for Yahweh (Revelation 22:13; Isaiah 41:4; Isaiah 44:6; Isaiah 48:12) to Himself, clearly claiming to be God. Idols will come and go. He was before them, and He will remain after them. - MSB

The Son of Man affirms his divine eternity, echoing the Lord’s boast over idols (Isaiah 41:4; Isaiah 44:6). ESVSB

This was usually a reference to YHWH (cf. Isaiah 41:4; Isaiah 44:6; Isaiah 48:12), but here it is used of the exalted Christ (cf. Revelation 1:8). - Utley

I am . . recalls Jesus’ claims in the Gospels (cf. Matthew 14:27; Mark 6:50; John 6:20; John 8:58) and connects Him with Yahweh (Exodus 3:14; Isaiah 48:12). The title “the first and the last” is essentially the same as “the Alpha and the Omega” (v. 8) and “the beginning and the end” (rev 22:13). All three titles stress the absolute sovereignty of God. - Constable

Verse 18

Revelation 1:18

liveth and was dead -- clear reference to Jesus Christ

Living One . . The risen Christ lives forever like God (Revelation 4:9-10; cf. Daniel 4:34). - NIVZSB

I died … I am alive forevermore . . Paradoxically, this ever-living One died to redeem believers and now lives forever as “the firstborn of the dead” (Revelation 1:5). Because Jesus died and rose again, John must “fear not” (Revelation 1:17), and the churches should not fear death, because Jesus has conquered it forever. On Christ’s resurrection, see 1 Corinthians 15:42-57. - ESVSB

I was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore . . The resurrection was (1) the Father’s stamp of approval (cf. Acts 2:24; Acts 3:15; Acts 4:10; Acts 5:30; Acts 10:40; Acts 13:30, Acts 13:33-34; Acts 13:37; Acts 7:31; Romans 4:24; Romans 10:9; 1 Corinthians 6:14; 1 Corinthians 15:15; Ephesians 1:20; Colossians 2:12; Hebrews 13:20; 1 Peter 1:21); (2) a demonstration of the Spirit’s power (cf. Romans 8:11); and (3) a demonstration of Jesus’ power (cf. John 10:11, John 10:15; John 10:17-18). This reference to Jesus’ death was also a way to thwart the gnostic false teachers who denied His humanity. - Utley

keys of hell (hades) and death -- We don’t need to worry about going to some place where Jesus has he keys. - WG

keys of death and of Hades -- Keys represent authority. Christ has the authority both to confine and release from death (see John 5:25-29; compare Matthew 16:19). See note on Revelation 6:8. - FSB

I have the keys of death and of Hades . . The Jews saw death as a prison with gates (cf. Job 38:17; Psalms 9:13; Psalms 107:18; Isaiah 38:10; Matthew 16:18). This is symbolic of Jesus’ authority over death for Himself and His followers (cf. Revelation 5:9-10; 1 Cor. 15). - Utley

keys -- -- symbol of authority or control over something. Opens and closes, etc. For the significance of Jesus having these keys see the note of Acts 2:27. Hebrews 2:14, Matthew 12:27, Luke 10:17-18, 1 John 3:8

keys . . Convey power or control over something (Revelation 3:7; Revelation 9:1; Revelation 20:1; Isaiah 22:22; Matthew 16:19): Christ has complete authority over the cosmic forces of “death and Hades” now and will abolish them forever (Revelation 20:13-14; 1 Corinthians 15:54-57; Hebrews 2:14-15). - NIVZSB

Verse 19

Revelation 1:19

Write -- John to write what he saw. (See note on Revelation 1:11).

seen -- John was to write (1) about what he had seen or experienced so far (chapter 1) ; and (2) about things which are (letters to the 7 churches in ch 2 & 3); and (3) about things which will soon take place, for "the time is at hand" Revelation 1:1; Revelation 1:3; Revelation 22:6; Revelation 22:10.

things seen -- things which are -- things later -- Recalls Daniel 2:28-29, Daniel 2:45 (cf. Revelation 1:1); Isaiah 48:3-6. May recall vv. 4, 8: God is the one “who is, and who was, and who is to come.” - NIVZSB

The letters (royal edicts) to the churches (chs. 2–3) address the things that are. Thereafter John’s visions turn primarily to those that are to take place after this (see Revelation 4:1). - ESVSB

The Greek phrase is a twofold description of what is current and what will occur. John was speaking to his day as well as to the future. This book combines both aspects in the traditional prophetic sense of current events foreshadowing eschatological events. - Utley

things which shall be -- Remember vs. 1, these things were to shortly come to pass Revelation 1:1, they were "at hand" Revelation 1:3

1:19 Jesus Christ repeated His instruction to John to write down the things God was revealing to him (v. 11). The repetition of ‘write’ from verse 11 indicates that the ‘therefore’ is resuming the earlier command where it left off. Now Jesus gave John more specific instructions.

This verse provides an inspired outline of the Book of Revelation. Some of what John was to record he had already seen, namely, the Man standing among the seven golden lampstands with the seven stars in His hand (vv. 12–16). Some had to do with present conditions in the churches as exemplified by the seven churches (chs. 2–3). Some had to do with revelations about the times after conditions represented by the seven churches ended (chs. 4–22). - Constable

Verse 20

Revelation 1:20

Most of the symbols come from the Old Testament but when they do not, and are something new, they are explained to John.

mystery . . A divine secret previously hidden but now disclosed (Revelation 10:7; Revelation 17:5, Revelation 17:7; cf. Daniel 2:47; Romans 16:25-26). Here Christ interprets two symbols from the previous vision (Revelation 1:12; Revelation 1:16). - NIVZSB

mystery . . This term is used in several senses by Paul, but all relate to the believing Jews and Gentiles being united into one new body in Christ (cf. Eph. 2:11–3:13). Here, however, it seems to be used in connection with the seven churches Jesus is addressing in chapters 2 and 3. - Utley

the mystery . . The use of this word in the N. T. is not very far removed from its primary meaning in classical Greek. We may paraphrase it, “the hidden divine truth, now made known, but made known to God’s favoured ones only:” see Eph. 3:3–12 for the completest illustration of its meaning. Here the sense is, “I reveal to thee the secret and sacred meaning of …” - CBSC

seven stars -- -- heavenly angels (angelos), or human "messengers" of the seven churches. (In Revelation 1:1 and elsewhere in Revelation, the Greek term angelos denotes heavenly beings.)

the angels. The word lit. means “messenger.” Although it can mean angel—and does throughout the book—it cannot refer to angels here because angels are never leaders in the church. Most likely, these messengers are the 7 key elders representing each of those churches. - MSB

The Greek word angeloi (“angels”) frequently refers to human messengers (e.g., Matthew 11:10; Luke 7:24; Luke 9:52; 2 Corinthians 8:23; James 2:25). The "messenger" of each church could be a reference to the "reader" who read the letters to the churches Revelation 1:3. - WG

The angels (or messengers; Greek angelos) of the seven churches could be (1) the guardian angels of these churches (cp. Matthew 18:10; Acts 12:15); (2) the leading officials of the churches (cp. Matthew 11:10, where “messenger” is angelos); or (3) a personification of the ethos of the church. The best understanding is probably a combination of 1 and 3. - NLTSB

the angels . . The Greek (aggelos) and Hebrew (malak) terms can be translated “messengers” or “angels.” There have been several theories as to their identity: (1) some say they were the seven spirits which are mentioned in verse 4; (2) others say they were the pastors of these churches (cf. Mal. Revelation 2:7); and (3) others say it refers to the guardian angel of these churches (cf. Daniel 10:13, Daniel 10:20; Daniel 10:21). It seems best that they refer to the churches as a whole, whether symbolized as a pastor or an angel. - Utley

seven golden lampstands -- -- symbols of the seven churches of Asia . Symbolize the churches’ light-bearing role (Revelation 2:1; Revelation 2:5; Revelation 11:4; Matthew 5:14-16.

Christ commends: Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Philadelphia.

Christ rebukes: Ephesus, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Laodicea.

Bibliographical Information
Gann, Windell. "Commentary on Revelation 1". Gann's Commentary on the Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/gbc/revelation-1.html. 2021.
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