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Bible Commentaries

Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament
Revelation 7



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Verse 1

Revelation 7:1. ἄνεμος, the wind) The winds in this passage denote the assuaging mitigations of threatening evils; for the holding of them back hurts, Revelation 7:2. A remarkable allegory.

Verse 2

Revelation 7:2. ἄλλον, another) This other angel is distinguished either from the angel who makes proclamation, ch. Revelation 5:2; or from the four angels who hurt, in this passage.

Verse 3

Revelation 7:3. (81) σφραγίσω΄εν, we may seal) By this sealing, the servants of God out of the tribes of Israel are preserved, all along from the time of John, against the calamities which threaten under the seven trumpets. Before this there had been no need of sealing, before the danger. The ancestors are sealed at one time, and their posterity at another. If the ancestors were slain, there would be no posterity. Under the trumpet of the fifth angel, not even are those slain who are not sealed; much less, therefore, are they slain who are sealed.

Verse 4

Revelation 7:4. ἰσραὴλ) Israel in the strict sense is denoted. For this book pronounces literally respecting Israel many things, which some take in a figurative sense. Israelism, as H. More terms it, Book i., Synops. proph., cap. 4, ought not to be too much extended. Lampe rightly says, that the Jews ought to be sought for in the Apocalypse, more than most interpreters have found them. Medit. anecd. in Apoc., p. 261.

Verse 5-6

Revelation 7:5-6. δώδεκα χιλιάδες, twelve thousand) We ought to take the twelve thousand twelve times with such exactness, that they may amount altogether not to 143 or 145, but to 144 thousands. Round numbers often have an exact value: see Jeremiah 52:30, where a total of 4600 souls is made up of numbers by no means round, preceding in the same place. Perhaps there are so many heads or fathers (just as in Romans 11:4, men, not souls, are enumerated), together with their posterity. [The twelve tribes [die zwölf Stämme] are mentioned by six pairs.—Not. Crit.]

Verse 6

Revelation 7:6. νεφθαλίμ· ΄ανασσῆ, Napthali: Manasseh) Dan is omitted, because that tribe had now long ago fallen away to the single family of Hussim, as the Hebrews say; and this family itself seems to have perished by wars before the times of Esdras. For in the Chronicles, where the posterity of the patriarchs is mentioned, Dan is omitted. And perhaps this is predicted in Amos 8:14. John of Antioch relates that a few survived of the tribe of Dan, and that they fled into Phœnicia.—Grotius. It is not so much that Dan is omitted, as that his small numbers, concealed under Manasseh, are joined with Napthali, whose brother he was by the same mother. [For Napthali alone, unless this is here tacitly implied, throughout the whole, series, would not have his brother by the same mother mentioned in connection with him. As for the rest, Levi, in this enumeration, occupies his own place again, and two portions are given to Joseph, the one in his own name, the other under the name of Manasseh.—V. g.]

Verse 9

Revelation 7:9. ΄ετὰ ταῦτα εἶδον, καὶ ἰδοὺ ὄχλος πολὺςἑστῶτεςπεριβεβλημένους, κ. τ. λ.) A Middle reading:(82) whence some reduce the whole paragraph to the nominative, others to the accusative. The mixture of cases displeases Wolf: which indeed is frequent in this hook. Li this passage is described ὄχλος, a host of the blessed, to which there is a Simultaneum(83) with the sealing previously described, and with the subsequent trumpets, under which the plague does not touch those that are sealed. Into this place this ὄχλος falls, in its own order, after their happy departure from the world. Afterwards more companies of this kind are mentioned: ch. Revelation 14:1, Revelation 15:2, etc. The degrees of happiness are various and very different; but the lowest of them, speaking by comparison, is now above all need of cleansing.— ἐκ παντὸς ἔθνους(84) καὶ φυλῶν καὶ λαῶν καὶ γλωσσῶν) In such an enumeration, the other passages either have the plural number four times, or the singular four times: see notes on ch. Revelation 5:9. In this passage alone the singular is put first, and then the plural three times, and not without reason. This multitude is led forth out of the whole human race. That race is one ἔθνος, all along from its origin: Acts 17:26. But in progress of time, while Adam himself was alive, it was multiplied, and separated itself both into tribes and peoples, and languages.

Verse 10

Revelation 7:10. κράζουσι) So all the MSS. A copyist of Andreas has in his haste caught up κράζοντες, from the rhythm, λέγοντες. The Augustan copy of Andreas itself has κράζουσι.(85)

Verse 11

Revelation 7:11. πάντες, all) This word is not yet found in ch. Revelation 5:11 [where mention is made of “many angels,” not “all”].—V. g.

Verse 12

Revelation 7:12. (86) τιμὴ) The Apocalypse everywhere divides sevens into four and three, as we show in its proper place. Now, when all the angels say, εὐλογία καὶ δόξα καὶ σοφία καὶ εὐχαριστία, ( καὶ) τιμὴ καὶ δύναμις καὶ ἰσχὺς τῷ θεῷ ἡμῶν, the first four acclamations have reference to the trumpet of the first, the second, the third, and the fourth angel; the remaining three, to the trumpet of the fifth, the sixth, and the seventh angel. Therefore if καὶ is omitted before τιμὴ, the sentiment begins as it were afresh. The Latin, indeed, omits the particle “and,” and with him Ambrose Ansbert. Nor does that appear worthy of neglect: for often, in a passage containing many connecting conjunctions, some clauses are put without a conjunction: Exodus 23:23; Exodus 32:2; Jeremiah 1:10. The Greek copyists easily supplied καὶ: and in this passage befittingly in the seven words,—the hymn is distinguished into a set of four and a set of three. I definitively decide nothing in this case. Let the reader judge. [Moreover, this hymn is appropriately inserted in the description of the multitude adorned with white robes: when immediately afterwards the trumpets are delivered to the seven angels.—V. g.]

Verse 15

Revelation 7:15. διὰ τοῦτο, therefore) No one is permitted to come forth into sight, unless he is clothed with a white robe.—V. g.

Verse 17

Revelation 7:17. (87) ὅτι) כי preceded by not, often has the meaning of but.— ἀνὰ ΄έσον τοῦ θρόνου) ἐν ΄έσῳ τοῦ θρόνου John saw τὸ ἀρνίον: ch. Revelation 5:7. In this place alone he says, ἀνὰ ΄έσον τοῦ θρόνου: comp. ἀνὰ ΄έσον, 1 Corinthians 6:5.— ἐπὶ ζωῆς(88) πηγὰς ὑδάτων) The natural construction would be, ἐπὶ πηγὰς ὑδάτων ζωῆς; but ζωῆς is put first for the sake of emphasis (as σαρκὸς, 1 Peter 3:21), and πηγὰς ὑδάτων is, as it were, one compound word, so that it may be, zu den Lebens-Wasser-brunnen. See App., Ed. ii.— ἐκ) Again see App., Ed. ii. Wolf joins ἀπὸ and ἐκ, below, ch. Revelation 22:19. And thus in one sentence John may have written ἐκ, and below ἀπό.(89)


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Bibliography Information
Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on Revelation 7:4". Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. 1897.

Lectionary Calendar
Wednesday, October 21st, 2020
the Week of Proper 24 / Ordinary 29
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