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The Revelation (αποκαλυψις). Late and rare word outside of N.T. (once in Plutarch and so in the vernacular Koine), only once in the Gospels (Luke 2:32), but in LXX and common in the Epistles (2 Thessalonians 1:7), though only here in this book besides the title, from αποκαλυπτω, old verb, to uncover, to unveil. In the Epistles αποκαλυψις is used for insight into truth (Ephesians 1:17) or for the revelation of God or Christ at the second coming of Christ (2 Thessalonians 1:7; 1 Peter 1:7). It is interesting to compare αποκαλυψις with επιφανεια (2 Thessalonians 2:8) and φανερωσις (1 Corinthians 12:7). The precise meaning here turns on the genitive following.
Of Jesus Christ (Ιησου Χριστου). Hort takes it as objective genitive (revelation about Jesus Christ), but Swete rightly argues for the subjective genitive because of the next clause.
Gave him (εδωκεν αυτο). It is the Son who received the revelation from the Father, as is usual (John 5:20; John 5:26, etc.).
To shew (δειξα). First aorist active infinitive of δεικνυμ, purpose of God in giving the revelation to Christ.
Unto his servants (τοις δουλοις αυτου). Believers in general and not just to officials. Dative case. God's servants (or Christ's).
Must shortly come to pass (δε γενεσθα εν ταχε). Second aorist middle infinitive of γινομα with δε. See this same adjunct (εν ταχε) in Luke 18:8; Romans 16:20; Revelation 22:6. It is a relative term to be judged in the light of 2 Peter 3:8 according to God's clock, not ours. And yet undoubtedly the hopes of the early Christians looked for a speedy return of the Lord Jesus. This vivid panorama must be read in the light of that glorious hope and of the blazing fires of persecution from Rome.
Sent and signified (εσημανεν αποστειλας). "Having sent (first aorist active participle of αποστελλω, Matthew 10:16 and again in Revelation 22:6 of God sending his angel) signified" (first aorist active indicative of σημαινω, from σημα, sign or token, for which see John 12:33; Acts 11:28). See Revelation 12:1 for σημειον, though σημαινω (only here in the Apocalypse) suits admirably the symbolic character of the book.
By his angel (δια του αγγελου αυτου). Christ's angel as Christ is the subject of the verb εσημανεν, as in 22:16 Christ sends his angel, though in Revelation 22:6 God sends.
Unto his servant John (τω δουλω αυτου Ιωανε). Dative case. John gives his name here, though not in Gospel or Epistles, because "prophecy requires the guarantee of the individual who is inspired to utter it" (Milligan). "The genesis of the Apocalypse has now been traced from its origin in the Mind of God to the moment when it reached its human interpreter" (Swete). "Jesus is the medium of all revelation" (Moffatt).
Bare witness (εμαρτυρησεν). First aorist active indicative of μαρτυρεω, which, along with μαρτυς and μαρτυρια, is common in all the Johannine books (cf. Revelation 22:18; Revelation 22:20), usually with περ or οτ, but with cognate accusative as here in Revelation 22:16; Revelation 22:20; 1 John 5:10. Epistolary aorist here, referring to this book.
The word of God (τον λογον του θεου). Subjective genitive, given by God. The prophetic word as in Revelation 1:9; Revelation 6:9; Revelation 20:4, not the personal Word as in Revelation 19:14.
The testimony of Jesus Christ (την μαρτυριαν Ιησου Χριστου). Subjective genitive again, borne witness to by Jesus Christ.
Even of all the things that he saw (οσα ειδεν). Relative clause in apposition with λογον and μαρτυριαν.
Blessed (μακαριος). As in Matthew 5:3. This endorses the book as a whole.
He that readeth (ο αναγινωσκων). Present active singular articular participle of αναγινωσκω (as in Luke 4:16). Christians in their public worship followed the Jewish custom of public reading of the Scriptures (2 Corinthians 3:14). The church reader (αναγνωστης, lector) gradually acquired an official position. John expects this book to be read in each of the seven churches mentioned (Revelation 1:4) and elsewhere. Today the public reading of the Bible is an important part of worship that is often poorly done.
They that hear (ο ακουοντες). Present active plural articular participle of ακουω (the audience).
And keep (κα τηρουντες). Present active participle of τηρεω, a common Johannine word (1 John 2:4, etc.). Cf. Matthew 7:24. "The content of the Apocalypse is not merely prediction; moral counsel and religious instruction are the primary burdens of its pages" (Moffatt).
Written (γεγραμμενα). Perfect passive participle of γραφω.
For the time is at hand (ο γαρ καιρος εγγυς). Reason for listening and keeping. On καιρος see Matthew 12:1, time of crisis as in 1 Corinthians 7:29. How near εγγυς (at hand) is we do not know any more than we do about εν ταχε (shortly) in Revelation 1:1.
To the seven churches which are in Asia (ταις επτα εκκλησιαις ταις εν τη Ασια). Dative case as in a letter (Galatians 1:1). John is writing, but the revelation is from God and Christ through an angel. It is the Roman province of Asia which included the western part of Phrygia. There were churches also at Troas (Acts 20:5) and at Colossal and Hierapolis (Colossians 1:1; Colossians 2:1; Colossians 4:13) and possibly at Magnesia and Tralles. But these seven were the best points of communication with seven districts (Ramsay) and, besides, seven is a favorite number of completion (like the full week) in the book (Revelation 1:4; Revelation 1:12; Revelation 1:16; Revelation 4:5; Revelation 5:1; Revelation 5:6; Revelation 8:2; Revelation 10:3; Revelation 11:13; Revelation 12:3; Revelation 13:1; Revelation 14:6).
From him which is (απο ο ων). This use of the articular nominative participle of ειμ after απο instead of the ablative is not due to ignorance or a mere slip (λαψυς πενναε), for in the next line we have the regular idiom with απο των επτα πνευματων. It is evidently on purpose to call attention to the eternity and unchangeableness of God. Used of God in Exodus 3:14.
And which was (κα ο ην). Here again there is a deliberate change from the articular participle to the relative use of ο (used in place of ος to preserve identity of form in the three instances like Ionic relative and since no aorist participle of ειμ existed). The oracle in Pausanias X. 12 has it: Ζευς ην, Ζευς εστι, Ζευς εσσετα (Zeus was, Zeus is, Zeus will be).
Which is to come (ο ερχομενος). "The Coming One," futuristic use of the present participle instead of ο εσομενος. See the same idiom in verse Revelation 1:8; Revelation 4:8 and (without ο ερχομενος) in Revelation 11:17; Revelation 16:5.
From the seven spirits (απο των επτα πνευματων). A difficult symbolic representation of the Holy Spirit here on a par with God and Christ, a conclusion borne out by the symbolic use of the seven spirits in Revelation 3:1; Revelation 4:5; Revelation 5:6 (from Zechariah 4:2-38.4.10). There is the one Holy Spirit with seven manifestations here to the seven churches (Swete, The Holy Spirit in the N.T., p. 374), unity in diversity (1 Corinthians 12:4).
Which are (των article Aleph A, α relative P).
Before his throne (ενωπιον του θρονου αυτου). As in Revelation 4:5.
Who is the faithful witness (ο μαρτυς ο πιστος). "The witness the faithful," nominative in apposition like πρωτοτοκος and αρχων with the preceding ablative Ιησου Χριστου with απο, a habit of John in this book (apparently on purpose) as in Revelation 2:13; Revelation 2:20; Revelation 3:12, etc. See this same phrase in Revelation 2:13; Revelation 3:14. The use of μαρτυς of Jesus here is probably to the witness (Revelation 1:1) in this book (Revelation 22:16), not to the witness of Jesus before Pilate (1 Timothy 6:13).
The first-born of the dead (ο πρωτοτοκος των νεκρων). A Jewish Messianic title (Psalms 88:28) and as in Colossians 1:18 refers to priority in the resurrection to be followed by others. See Luke 2:7 for the word.
The ruler of the kings of the earth (ο αρχων των βασιλεων της γης). Jesus by his resurrection won lordship over the kings of earth (Revelation 17:14; Revelation 19:16), what the devil offered him by surrender (Matthew 4:8).
Unto him that loveth us (τω αγαπωντ ημας). Dative of the articular present (not aorist αγαπησαντ) active participle of αγαπαω in a doxology to Christ, the first of many others to God and to Christ (Revelation 1:6; Revelation 4:11; Revelation 5:9; Revelation 5:12; Revelation 7:10; Revelation 7:12, etc.). For the thought see John 3:16.
Loosed (λυσαντ). First aorist active participle of λυω (Aleph A C), though some MSS. (P Q) read λουσαντ (washed), a manifest correction. Note the change of tense. Christ loosed us once for all, but loves us always.
By his blood (εν τω αιματ αυτου). As in Revelation 5:9. John here as in the Gospel and Epistles states plainly and repeatedly the place of the blood of Christ in the work of redemption.
And he made (κα εποιησεν). Change from the participle construction, which would be κα ποιησαντ (first aorist active of ποιεω) like λυσαντ just before, a Hebraism Charles calls it, but certainly an anacoluthon of which John is very fond, as in Revelation 1:18; Revelation 2:2; Revelation 2:9; Revelation 2:20; Revelation 3:9; Revelation 7:14; Revelation 14:2; Revelation 15:3.
Kingdom (βασιλειαν). So correctly Aleph A C, not βασιλεις (P cursives). Perhaps a reminiscence of Exodus 19:6, a kingdom of priests. In Revelation 5:10 we have again "a kingdom and priests." The idea here is that Christians are the true spiritual Israel in God's promise to Abraham as explained by Paul in Revelation 1:3; Revelation 1:9.
To be priests (ιερεις). In apposition with βασιλειαν, but with κα (and) in Revelation 5:10. Each member of this true kingdom is a priest unto God, with direct access to him at all times.
Unto his God and Father (τω θεω κα πατρ αυτου). Dative case and αυτου (Christ) applies to both θεω and πατρ. Jesus spoke of the Father as his God (Matthew 27:46; John 20:17) and Paul uses like language (Ephesians 1:17), as does Peter (1 Peter 1:3).
To him (αυτω). Another doxology to Christ. "The adoration of Christ which vibrates in this doxology is one of the most impressive features of the book" (Moffatt). Like doxologies to Christ appear in Revelation 5:13; Revelation 7:10; 1 Peter 4:11; 2 Peter 3:18; 2 Timothy 4:18; Hebrews 13:21. These same words (η δοξα κα το κρατος) in 1 Peter 4:11, only η δοξα in 2 Peter 3:18; 2 Timothy 4:18, but with several others in Revelation 5:13; Revelation 7:10.
Behold, he cometh with the clouds (ιδου ερχετα μετα των νεφελων). Futuristic present middle indicative of ερχομα, a reminiscence of Daniel 7:13 (Theodotion). "It becomes a common eschatological refrain" (Beckwith) as in Mark 13:26; Mark 14:62; Matthew 24:30; Matthew 26:64; Luke 21:27. Compare the manifestation of God in the clouds at Sinai, in the cloudy pillar, the Shekinah, at the transfiguration" (Vincent).
Shall see (οψετα). Future middle of οραω, a reminiscence of Zechariah 12:10 according to the text of Theodotion (Aquila and Symmachus) rather than the LXX and like that of Matthew 24:30 (similar combination of Daniel and Zechariah) and Revelation 26:64. This picture of the victorious Christ in his return occurs also in Revelation 14:14; Revelation 14:18-66.14.20; Revelation 19:11-66.19.21; Revelation 20:7-66.20.10.
And they which (κα οιτινες). "And the very ones who," Romans and Jews, all who shared in this act.
Pierced (εξεκεντησαν). First aorist active indicative of εκκεντεω, late compound (Aristotle, Polybius, LXX), from εκ and κεντεω (to stab, to pierce), in N.T., only here and John 19:37, in both cases from Zechariah 12:10, but not the LXX text (apparently proof that John used the original Hebrew or the translation of Theodotion and Aquila).
Shall mourn (κοψοντα). Future middle (direct) of κοπτω, old verb, to cut, "they shall cut themselves," as was common for mourners (Matthew 11:17; Luke 8:52; Luke 23:27). From Zechariah 12:12. See also Revelation 18:9.
Tribes (φυλα). Not just the Jewish tribes, but the spiritual Israel of Jews and Gentiles as in Revelation 7:4-66.7.8. No nation had then accepted Christ as Lord and Saviour, nor has any yet done so.
The Alpha and the Omega (το Αλφα κα το Ο). The first and the last letters of the Greek alphabet, each with its own neuter (grammatical gender) article. This description of the eternity of God recurs in Revelation 21:6 with the added explanation η αρχη κα το τελος (the Beginning and the End) and of Christ in Revelation 22:13 with the still further explanation ο πρωτος κα ο εσχατος (the First and the Last). This last phrase appears also in Revelation 1:17; Revelation 2:8 without το Αλφα κα το Ο. The change of speaker here is unannounced, as in Revelation 16:15; Revelation 18:20. Only here and Revelation 21:5. is God introduced as the speaker. The eternity of God guarantees the prophecy just made.
The Lord God (Κυριος ο θεος). "The Lord the God." Common phrase in Ezekiel (Ezekiel 6:3; Ezekiel 6:11; Ezekiel 7:2, etc.) and in this book (Revelation 4:8; Revelation 11:17; Revelation 15:3; Revelation 16:7; Revelation 19:6; Revelation 21:22). See Revelation 1:4; Revelation 4:8 for the triple use of ο, etc. to express the eternity of God.
The Almighty (ο παντοκρατωρ). Late compound (πας and κρατεω), in Cretan inscription and a legal papyrus, common in LXX and Christian papyri, in N.T. only in 2 Corinthians 6:18 (from Jeremiah 38:35) and 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.
I John (Εγω Ιωανης). So Revelation 22:8. In apocalyptic literature the personality of the writer is always prominent to guarantee the visions (Daniel 8:1; Daniel 10:2).
Partaker with you (συνκοινωνος). See already 1 Corinthians 9:23. "Co-partner with you" (Romans 11:17). One article with αδελφος and συνκοινωνος unifying the picture. The absence of αποστολος here does not show that he is not an apostle, but merely his self-effacement, as in the Fourth Gospel, and still more his oneness with his readers. So there is only one article (τη) with θλιψε (tribulation), βασιλεια (kingdom), υπομονη (patience), ideas running all through the book. Both the tribulation (see Matthew 13:21 for θλιψις) and the kingdom (see Matthew 3:2 for βασιλεια) were present realities and called for patience (υπομονη being "the spiritual alchemy" according to Charles for those in the kingdom, for which see Luke 8:15; James 5:7). All this is possible only "in Jesus" (εν Ιησου), a phrase on a par with Paul's common εν Χριστω (in Christ), repeated in Revelation 14:13. Cf. Revelation 3:20; 2 Thessalonians 3:5.
Was (εγενομην). Rather, "I came to be," second aorist middle indicative of γινομα.
In the isle that is called Patmos (εν τη νησω τη καλουμενη Πατμω). Patmos is a rocky sparsely settled island some ten miles long and half that wide, one of the Sporades group in the Aegean Sea, south of Miletus. The present condition of the island is well described by W. E. Geil in The Isle That Is Called Patmos (1905). Here John saw the visions described in the book, apparently written while still a prisoner there in exile.
For the word of God and the testimony of Jesus (δια τον λογον του θεου κα την μαρτυριαν Ιησου). The reason for (δια and the accusative) John's presence in Patmos, naturally as a result of persecution already alluded to, not for the purpose of preaching there or of receiving the visions. See verse Revelation 1:2 for the phrase.
I was in the Spirit (εγενομην εν πνευματ). Rather, "I came to be (as in Revelation 1:9) in the Spirit," came into an ecstatic condition as in Acts 10:10; Acts 22:17, not the normal spiritual condition (εινα εν πνευματ, Romans 8:9).
On the Lord's Day (εν τη κυριακη ημερα). Deissmann has proven (Bible Studies, p. 217f.; Light, etc., p. 357ff.) from inscriptions and papyri that the word κυριακος was in common use for the sense "imperial" as imperial finance and imperial treasury and from papyri and ostraca that ημερα Σεβαστη (Augustus Day) was the first day of each month, Emperor's Day on which money payments were made (cf. 1 Corinthians 16:1). It was easy, therefore, for the Christians to take this term, already in use, and apply it to the first day of the week in honour of the Lord Jesus Christ's resurrection on that day (Didache 14, Ignatius Magn. 9). In the N.T. the word occurs only here and 1 Corinthians 11:20 (κυριακον δειπνον θε Λορδ'ς Συππερ). It has no reference to ημερα κυριου (the day of judgment, 2 Peter 3:10).
Behind me (οπισω μου). "The unexpected, overpowering entrance of the divine voice" (Vincent). Cf. Ezekiel 3:12.
Voice (φωνην). Of Christ, as is plain in verses Revelation 1:12.
As of a trumpet (ως σαλπιγγος). So in Revelation 4:1 referring to this.
Saying (λεγουσης). Present active participle genitive case agreeing with σαλπιγγος rather than λεγουσαν, accusative agreeing with φωνην. So on purpose, as is clear from Revelation 4:1, where λαλουσης also agrees with σαλπιγγος.
Write in a book (γραψον εις βιβλιον). First aorist active imperative of γραφω for instantaneous action. The commission covers the whole series of visions which all grow out of this first vision of the Risen Christ.
Send (πεμψον). First aorist active imperative of πεμπω. Part of the commission from Christ. The names of the seven churches of Revelation 1:4 are now given, and the particular message to each church comes in chapters 2 and 3 and in the same order, the geographical order going north from Ephesus, then east and south to Laodicea. But apparently the whole book was to be read to each of the seven churches. It would probably also be copied at each church.
To see the voice (βλεπειν την φωνην). The voice put for the person speaking.
Having turned (επιστρεψας). First aorist active participle of επιστρεφω, from which also επεστρεψα, just before, for which verb see Acts 15:36; Acts 16:18.
Seven golden candlesticks (επτα λυχνιας χρυσας). See Matthew 5:15 for λυχνια (lampstand). Symbols of the seven churches as explained in verse Revelation 1:20. See Exodus 25:35 for description of a seven-branched candlestick, but here the lampstands are separate.
One like unto a son of man (ομοιον υιον ανθρωπου). Note accusative here with ομοιον (object of ειδον) as in Revelation 14:14 and not the associative-instrumental as is usual (Revelation 1:15; Revelation 4:3; Revelation 4:6). Charles holds that ομοιον here has the sense of ως (as) and compares Revelation 4:6; Revelation 22:1 for proof. The absence of the article here shows also (Charles) that the idea is not "like the Son of man" for Christ is the Son of man. He is like "a son of man," but not a man.
Clothed (ενδεδυμενον). Perfect passive participle of ενδυω, accusative case agreeing with ομοιον.
A garment down to the foot (ποδηρη). Old adjective ποδηρης (from πους, foot, and αιρω), here only in N.T., accusative singular retained with the passive participle as often with verbs of clothing. Supply χιτωνα or εσθητα (garment).
Girt about (περιεζωσμενον). Perfect passive participle of περιζωννυμ, accusative singular agreeing with ομοιον.
At the breasts (προς τοις μαστοις). Old word for breasts of a woman (Luke 11:27; Luke 23:29) and nipples of a man, as here. High girding like this was a mark of dignity as of the high priest (Josephus, Ant. III. 7. 2). For προς with the locative see Mark 5:11.
With a golden girdle (ζωνην χρυσαν). Accusative case again retained with the passive participle (verb of clothing). Note also χρυσαν (vernacular Koine) rather than the old form, χρυσην.
As white wool (ως εριον λευκον). Εριον (wool) in N.T. only here and Hebrews 9:19, though old word. The person of the Lord Jesus is here described in language largely from Daniel 7:9 (the Ancient of Days).
White as snow (ως χιων). Just "as snow," also in Daniel 7:9. In N.T. only here and Matthew 28:3.
As a flame of fire (ως φλοξ πυρος). In Daniel 7:9 the throne of the Ancient of Days is φλοξ πυρος, while in Daniel 10:6 the eyes of the Ancient of Days are λαμπαδες πυρος (lamps of fire). See also Revelation 2:18; Revelation 19:12 for this bold metaphor (like Hebrews 1:7).
Burnished brass (χαλκολιβανω). Associative-instrumental case after ομοιο. This word has so far been found nowhere else save here and Revelation 2:18. Suidas defines it as an ηλεχκτρον (amber) or a compound of copper and gold and silver (aurichalcum in the Latin Vulgate). It is in reality an unknown metal.
As if it had been refined (ως πεπυρομενης). Perfect passive participle of πυροω, old verb, to set on fire, to glow, as in Ephesians 6:16; Revelation 3:18. The feminine gender shows that η χαλκολιβανος is referred to with της χαλκολιβανου understood, for it does not agree in case with the associative-instrumental χαλκολιβανω just before. Some would call it a slip for πεπυρομενω as Aleph, and some cursives have it (taking χαλκολιβανω to be neuter, not feminine). But P Q read πεπυρωμενο (masculine plural), a correction, making it agree in number and gender with ποδες (feet).
In a furnace (εν καμινω). Old word, in N.T. also Revelation 9:2; Matthew 13:42; Matthew 13:50.
As the voice of many waters (ως φωνη υδατων πολλων). So the voice of God in the Hebrew (not the LXX) of Ezekiel 43:2. Repeated in Revelation 14:2; Revelation 19:6.
And he had (κα εχων). "And having," present active participle of εχω, loose use of the participle (almost like ειχε, imperfect) and not in agreement with αυτου, genitive case. This is a common idiom in the book; a Hebraism, Charles calls it.
In his right hand (εν τη δεξια χειρ). For safe keeping as in John 10:28.
Seven stars (αστερας επτα). Symbols of the seven churches (verse Revelation 1:20), seven planets rather than Pleiades or any other constellation like the bear.
Proceeded (εκπορευομενη). Present middle participle of εκπορευομα, old compound (Matthew 3:5) used loosely again like εχων.
A sharp two-edged sword (ρομφαια διστομος οξεια). "A sword two-mouthed sharp." Ρομφαια (as distinct from μαχαιρα) is a long sword, properly a Thracian javelin, in N.T. only Luke 2:35; Revelation 1:16; Revelation 2:12; Hebrews 4:12. See στομα used with μαχαιρης in Luke 21:24 (by the mouth of the sword).
Countenance (οψις). Old word (from οπτω), in N.T. only here, John 7:24; John 11:44.
As the sun shineth (ως ο ηλιος φαινε). Brachylogy, "as the sun when it shines." For φαινε see John 1:5.
I fell (επεσα). Late form for the old επεσον (second aorist active indicative of πιπτω, to fall). Under the over-powering influence of the vision as in Revelation 19:10.
He laid (εθηκεν). First aorist active indicative of τιθημ. The act restored John's confidence.
Fear not (μη φοβου). Cf. Luke 1:13 to Zacharias to give comfort.
I am the first and the last (εγω ειμ ο πρωτος κα ο εσχατος). Used in Isaiah 44:6; Isaiah 48:12 of God, but here, Revelation 2:8; Revelation 22:13 of Christ.
And the Living One (κα ο ζων). Present active articular participle of ζαω, another epithet of God common in the O.T. (Deuteronomy 32:40; Isaiah 49:18, etc.) and applied purposely to Jesus, with which see John 5:26 for Christ's own words about it.
And I was dead (κα εγενομην νεκρος). "And I be came dead" (aorist middle participle of γινομα as in Revelation 1:9; Revelation 1:10, definite reference to the Cross).
I am alive (ζων ειμ). Periphrastic present active indicative, "I am living," as the words ο ζων just used mean.
Forevermore (εις τους αιωνας των αιωνων). "Unto the ages of the ages," a stronger expression of eternity even than in Revelation 1:6.
The keys (τας κλεις). One of the forms for the accusative plural along with κλειδας, the usual one (Matthew 16:19).
Of death and of Hades (του θανατου κα του αιδου). Conceived as in Matthew 16:18 as a prison house or walled city. The keys are the symbol of authority, as we speak of honouring one by giving him the keys of the city. Hades here means the unseen world to which death is the portal. Jesus has the keys because of his victory over death. See this same graphic picture in Revelation 6:8; Revelation 20:13. For the key of David see Revelation 3:7, for the key of the abyss see Revelation 9:1; Revelation 20:1.
Therefore (ουν). In view of Christ's words about himself in verse Revelation 1:18 and the command in verse Revelation 1:11.
Which thou sawest (α ειδες). The vision of the Glorified Christ in verses Revelation 1:13-66.1.18.
The things which are (α εισιν). Plural verb (individualising the items) though α is neuter plural, certainly the messages to the seven churches (Revelation 1:20-66.1.3) in relation to the world in general, possibly also partly epexegetic or explanatory of α ειδες.
The things which shall come to pass hereafter (α μελλε γινεσθα μετα ταυτα). Present middle infinitive with μελλε, though both aorist and future are also used. Singular verb here (μελλε) blending in a single view the future. In a rough outline this part begins in 4:1 and goes to end of chapter 22, though the future appears also in chapters 2 and 3 and the present occurs in 4 to 22 and the elements in the vision of Christ (Revelation 1:13-66.1.18) reappear repeatedly.
The mystery of the seven stars (το μυστηριον των επτα αστερων). On the word μυστηριον see on Matthew 13:11; 2 Thessalonians 2:7; Colossians 1:26. Here it means the inner meaning (the secret symbol) of a symbolic vision (Swete) as in Revelation 10:7; Revelation 13:18; Revelation 17:7; Revelation 17:9; Daniel 2:47. Probably the accusative absolute (Charles), "as for the mystery" (Robertson, Grammar, pp. 490, 1130), as in Romans 8:3. This item is picked out of the previous vision (Revelation 1:16) as needing explanation at once and as affording a clue to what follows (Revelation 2:1; Revelation 2:5).
Which (ους). Masculine accusative retained without attraction to case of αστερων (genitive, ων).
In my right hand (επ της δεξιας μου). Or "upon," but εν τη, etc., in verse Revelation 1:16.
And the seven golden candlesticks (κα τας επτα λυχνιας τας χρυσας). "The seven lampstands the golden," identifying the stars of verse Revelation 1:16 with the lampstands of verse Revelation 1:12. The accusative case here is even more peculiar than the accusative absolute μυστηριον, since the genitive λυχνιων after μυστηριον is what one would expect. Charles suggests that John did not revise his work.
The angels of the seven churches (αγγελο των επτα εκκλησιων). Anarthrous in the predicate (angels of, etc.). "The seven churches" mentioned in Revelation 1:4; Revelation 1:11. Various views of αγγελος here exist. The simplest is the etymological meaning of the word as messenger from αγγελλω (Matthew 11:10) as messengers from the seven churches to Patmos or by John from Patmos to the churches (or both). Another view is that αγγελος is the pastor of the church, the reading την γυναικα σου (thy wife) in Revelation 2:20 (if genuine) confirming this view. Some would even take it to be the bishop over the elders as επισχοπος in Ignatius, but a separate αγγελος in each church is against this idea. Some take it to be a symbol for the church itself or the spirit and genius of the church, though distinguished in this very verse from the churches themselves (the lampstands). Others take it to be the guardian angel of each church assuming angelic patrons to be taught in Matthew 18:10; Acts 12:15. Each view is encompassed with difficulties, perhaps fewer belonging to the view that the "angel" is the pastor.
Are seven churches (επτα εκκλησια εισιν). These seven churches (Revelation 1:4; Revelation 1:11) are themselves lampstands (Revelation 1:12) reflecting the light of Christ to the world (Matthew 5:14-40.5.16; John 8:12) in the midst of which Christ walks (Revelation 1:13).
The Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament. Copyright © Broadman Press 1932,33, Renewal 1960. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman Press (Southern Baptist Sunday School Board)
Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on Revelation 1". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/
the Second Week of Advent