Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Revelation 1:1

The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show to His bond-servants, the things which must soon take place; and He sent and communicated it by His angel to His bond-servant John,
New American Standard Version
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American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Inspiration;   Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Angels;   Apocalyptic literature;   Canon;   Inspiration;   John the apostle;   Prophecy, prophet;   Revelation, book of;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Holy Spirit, Gifts of;   Ministry, Minister;   Mission;   Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - Ascension of Christ;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Revelation of John, the;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Ascension;   John;   Prophecy, Prophets;   Resurrection of Jesus Christ;   Revelation, the Book of;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Asia;   Revelation;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Apocalypse;   Eschatology;   God;   Israel;   Revelation (2);   Revelation, Book of;   Type;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - 36 Ought Must;   Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary - Inspiration;  
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Adam Clarke Commentary

The Revelation of Jesus Christ - The word Αποκαλυψις, from which we have our word Apocalypse, signifies literally, a revelation, or discovery of what was concealed or hidden. It is here said that this revelation, or discovery of hidden things, was given by God to Jesus Christ; that Christ gave it to his angel; that this angel showed it to John; and that John sent it to the Churches. Thus we find it came from God to Christ, from Christ to the angel, from the angel to John, and from John to the Church. It is properly, therefore, the Revelation of God, sent by these various agents to his servants at large; and this is the proper title of the book.

Things which must shortly come to pass - On the mode of interpretation devised by Wetstein, this is plain; for if the book were written before the destruction of Jerusalem, and the prophecies in it relate to that destruction, and the civil wars among the Romans, which lasted but three or four years, then it might be said the Revelation is of things which must shortly come to pass. But if we consider the book as referring to the state of the Church in all ages, the words here, and those in Revelation 1:3, must be understood of the commencement of the events predicted; as if he had said: In a short time the train of these visions will be put in motion: -

- et incipient magni procedere menses.

"And those times, pregnant with the most stupendous events, will begin to roll on."

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These files are public domain.
Bibliographical Information
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Revelation 1:1". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/revelation-1.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

The Revelation of Jesus Christ - This is evidently a title or caption of the whole book, and is designed to comprise the substance of the whole; for all that the book contains would be embraced in the general declaration that it is a revelation of Jesus Christ. The word rendered “Revelation” - Ἀποκάλυψις Apokalupsiswhence we have derived our word “Apocalypse” - means properly an that is, nakedness; from ἀποκαλύπτω apokaluptōto uncover. It would apply to anything which had been covered up so as to be bidden from the view, as by a veil, a darkness, in an ark or chest, and then made manifest by removing the covering. It comes then to be used in the sense of disclosing or revealing, by removing the veil of darkness or ignorance. “There is nothing covered that shall not be revealed.” It may be applied to the disclosing or manifesting of anything which was before obscure or unknown. This may be done:

(a) by instruction in regard to what was before obscure; that is, by statements of what was unknown before the statements were made; as in Luke 2:32, where it is said that Christ would be “a light to lighten the Gentiles” - φῶς εἰς ἀποκάλυψιν ἐθνῶν phōs eis apokalupsin ethnōnor when it is applied to the divine mysteries, purposes, or doctrines, before obscure or unknown, but made clear by light revealed in the gospel, Romans 16:25; 1 Corinthians 2:10; 1 Corinthians 14:6; Ephesians 3:5.

(b) by the event itself; as the manifestation of the wrath of God at the day of judgment will disclose the true nature of his wrath. “After thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and “revelation” of the righteous judgment of God,” Revelation 2:5. “For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation (Greek revelation) of the sons of God,” Romans 8:19; that is until it shall be manifest by the event what they who are the children of God are to be. In this sense the word is frequently applied to the second advent or appearing of the Lord Jesus Christ, as disclosing him in his glory, or showing what he truly is; “When the Lord Jesus shall be revealed,” 2 Thessalonians 1:7 - ἐν τῇ ἀποκαλυψει en tēn apokalupsei- in the revelation of Jesus Christ; “Waiting for the coming (the revelation - την ἀποκάλυψιν tēn apokalupsinof our Lord Jesus Christ,” 1 Corinthians 1:7; “At the appearing (Greek revelation) of Jesus Christ,” 1 Peter 1:7; “When his glory shall be revealed,” 1 Peter 4:13.

(c) It is used in the sense of making known what is to come, whether by words, signs, or symbols, as if a veil were lifted from what is hidden from human vision, or which is covered by the darkness of the unknown future. This is called a revelation, because the knowledge of the event is in fact made known to the world by Him who alone can see it, and in such a manner as he pleases to employ; though many of the terms or the symbols may be, from the necessity of the case, obscure, and though their full meaning may be disclosed only by the event. It is in this sense, evidently, that the word is used here: and in this sense that it is more commonly employed when we speak of a revelation. Thus, the word גּלה gaalaahis used in Amos 3:7, “Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants.” So Job 33:16, “Then he openeth (margin, revealeth or uncovereth; Heb. יגלה yiglehthe ears of men”; that is, in a dream, he discloses to their ears his truth before concealed or unknown. Compare Daniel 2:22, Daniel 2:28-29; Daniel 10:1; Deuteronomy 29:29. These ideas enter into the word as used in the passage before us. The idea is that of a disclosure of an extraordinary character, beyond the mere ability of man, by a special communication from heaven. This is manifest, not only from the usual meaning of this word, but by the word “prophecy,” in Revelation 1:3, and by all the arrangements by which these things were made known. The ideas which would be naturally conveyed by the use of this word in this connection are two:

(1)that there was something which was before hidden, obscure, or unknown; and,

(2)that this was so disclosed by these communications as to be seen or known.

The things hidden or unknown were those which pertained to the future; the method of disclosing them was mainly by symbols. In the Greek, in this passage, the article is missing - ἀποκάλυψις apokalupsis- a Revelation, not ἡ hēthe Revelation. This is omitted because it is the title of a book, and because the use of the article might imply that this was the only revelation, excluding other books claiming to be a revelation; or it might imply some previous mention of the book, or knowledge of it in the reader. The simple meaning is, that this was “a Revelation”; it was only a part of the revelation which God has given to mankind.

The phrase, “the Revelation of Jesus Christ,” might, so far as the construction of the language is concerned, refer either to Christ as the subject or object. It might either mean that Christ is the object revealed in this book, and that its great purpose is to make him known, and so the phrase is understood in the commentary called Hyponoia (New York, 1844); or it may mean that this is a revelation which Christ makes to mankind, that is, it is his in the sense that he communicates it to the world. That this latter is the meaning here is clear:

(1)because it is expressly said in this verse that it was a revelation which God gave to him;

(2)because it is said that it pertains to things which must shortly come to pass; and,

(3)because, in fact, the revelation is a disclosure of eyelets which were to happen, and not of the person or work of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Which God gave unto him - Which God imparted or communicated to Jesus Christ. This is in accordance with the representations everywhere made in the Scriptures, that God is the original fountain of truth and knowledge, and that, whatever was the original dignity of the Son of God, there was a mediatorial dependence on the Father. See John 5:19-20, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, the Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for whatsoever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise. For the Father loveth the Son, and showeth him ( δεικνυσιν αὐτῷ deiknusin autō) all things that himself doeth.” “My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me,” John 7:16. “As my Father hath taught me ἐδιδάξεν με edidaxen meI speak these things,” John 8:28. “For I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak,” John 12:49. See also John 14:10; John 17:7-8; Matthew 11:27; Mark 13:32. The same mediatorial dependence the apostle teaches us still subsists in heaven in his glorified state, and will continue until he has subdued all things 1 Corinthians 15:24-28; and hence, even in that state, he is represented as receiving the Revelation from the Father to communicate it to people.

To show unto his servants - That is, to his people, to Christians, often represented as the servants of God or of Christ, 1 Peter 2:16; Revelation 2:20; Revelation 7:3; Revelation 19:2; Revelation 22:3. It is true that the word is sometimes applied, by way of eminence, to the prophets 1 Chronicles 6:49; Daniel 6:20, and to the apostles Romans 1:1; Galatians 1:10; Philippians 1:1; Titus 1:1; James 1:1; but it is also applied to the mass of Christians, and there is no reason why it should not be so understood here. The book was sent to the churches of Asia, and was clearly designed for general use; and the contents of the book were evidently intended for the churches of the Redeemer in all ages and lands. Compare Revelation 1:3. The word rendered “to show” ( δεῖξαι deixai) commonly denotes to point out, to cause to see, to present to the sight, and is a word eminently appropriate here, as what was to be revealed was, in general, to be presented to the sight by sensible tokens or symbols.

Things which must shortly come to pass - Not all the things that will occur, but such as it was deemed of importance for his people to be made acquainted with. Nor is it certainly implied that all the things that are communicated would shortly come to pass, or would soon occur. Some of them might perhaps he in the distant future, and still it might be true that there were those which were revealed in connection with them, which soon would occur. The word rendered “things” ( ἅ ha) is a pronoun, and might be rendered “what”; “he showed to his servants what things were about to occur,” not implying that he showed all the things that would happen, but such as he judged to be needful that his people should know. The word would naturally embrace those things which, in the circumstances, were most desirable to be known. The phrase rendered “must come to pass” ( δεῖ γενέσθαι dei genesthai), would imply more than mere futurity; The word used ( δεῖ dei) means “it needs, there is need of,” and implies that there is some kind of necessity that the event should occur.

That necessity may either arise from the felt waist of anything, as where it is absent or missing, Xen. Cyr. iv., 10; ib. Revelation 7:5, Revelation 7:9; or from the nature of the case, or from a sense of duty, as Matthew 16:21, “Jesus began to show to his disciples that he must go ( δεῖ ἀπελθεῖν dei apelthein) to Jerusalem” (compare Matthew 26:35; Mark 14:31; Luke 2:49); or the necessity may exist, because a thing is right and just, meaning that it ought to be done, as Luke 13:14, “There are six days in which men ought to work” δεῖ ἐργάζεσθαι dei ergazesthaiAnd ought not this woman οὐκ ἔδει ouk edeiwhom Satan hath bound, etc., be loosed from this bond,” Luke 13:16 (compare Mark 13:14; John 4:20; Acts 5:11, Acts 5:29; 2 Timothy 2:6; Matthew 18:33; Matthew 25:27); or the necessity may be that it is conformable to the divine arrangement, or is made necessary by divine appointment, as in John 3:14, “As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must ( δεῖ dei) the Son of man be lifted up.” “For as yet they knew not the Scriptures, that he must ( δεῖ dei) rise again from the dead,” John 20:9; compare Acts 4:12; Acts 14:22, et al.

In the passage before us, it is implied that there was some necessity that the things referred to should occur. They were not the result of chance, they were not fortuitous. It is not, however, stated what was the ground of the necessity; whether because there was a want of something to complete a great arrangement, or because it was fight and proper in existing circumstances, or because such was the divine appointment. They were events which, on some account, must certainly occur, and which, therefore, it was important should be made known. The real ground of the necessity, probably, was founded in the design of God in redemption. He intended to carry out his great plans in reference to his church, and the things revealed here must necessarily occur in the completion of that design. The phrase rendered “shortly” ( ἐν τάχει en tachei) is one whose meaning has been much controverted, and on which much has been made to depend in the interpretation of the whole book.

The question has been whether the phrase necessarily implies that the events referred to were soon to occur, or whether it may have such an extent of meaning as to admit the supposition that the events referred to, though beginning soon, would embrace in their development far distant years, and would reach the end of all things. Those who maintain, as Prof. Stuart, that the book was written before the destruction of Jerusalem, and that the portion in 1 Corinthians 4:19, “But I will come to you shortly, if the Lord will.” “Go out quickly into the streets,” Luke 14:21. “Sit down quickly, and write fifty,” Luke 16:6. “She rose up hastily ( ταχέως tacheōs) and went out,” John 11:31. “That ye are so soon removed ( ταχέως tacheōs) from him that called you,” Galatians 1:6. “Lay hands suddenly on no man,” 1 Timothy 5:22. See also Philippians 2:19, Philippians 2:24; 2 Thessalonians 2:2; 2 Timothy 4:9. The phrase used here ἐν τάχει en tacheioccurs in Luke 18:8, “He will avenge them speedily” (literally with speed). “Arise up quickly,” Acts 12:7. “Get time quickly out of Jerusalem,” Acts 22:18. “Would depart shortly,” Acts 25:4. “Bruise Satan under your feet shortly,” Romans 16:20; and Revelation 1:1; Revelation 22:6. The essential idea is, that the thing which is spoken of was soon to occur, or it was not a remote and distant event. There is the notion of rapidity, of haste, of suddenness. It is such a phrase as is used when the thing is on the point of happening, and could not be applied to an event which was in the remote future, considered as an independent event standing by itself. The same idea is expressed, in regard to the same thing, in Revelation 1:3, “The time is at hand” - ὁ γὰρ καιρὸς ἐγγύς ho gar kairos engusthat is, it is near, it is soon to occur. Yet.

(b) it is not necessary to suppose that the meaning is that all that there is in the book was soon to happen. It may mean that the series of events which were to follow on in their proper order was soon to commence, though it might be that the sequel would be remote. The first in the series of events was soon to begin, and the others would follow on in their train, though a portion of them, in the regular order, might be in a remote futurity. If we suppose that there was such an order, that a series of transactions was about to commence, involving along train of momentous developments, and that the beginning of this was to occur soon, the language used by John would be what would be naturally employed to express it. Thus, in case of a revolution in a government, when a reigning prince should be driven from his kingdom, to be succeeded by a new dynasty, which would long occupy the throne, and involving, as the consequence of the revolution, important events extending far into the future, we would naturally say that these things were shortly to occur, or that the time was near. It is customary to speak of a succession of events or periods as near, however vast or interminable the series may be, when the commencement is at hand. Thus, we say that the great events of the eternal world are near; that is, the beginning of them is soon to occur. So Christians now speak often of the millennium as near, or as about to occur, though it is the belief of many that it will be protracted for many ages.

(c) That this is the true idea hem is clear, whatever general view of interpretation in regard to the book is adopted. Even Prof. Stuart, who contends that the greater portion of the book refers to the destruction of Jerusalem, and the persecutions of pagan Rome, admits that “the closing part of the Revelation relates beyond all doubt to a distant period, and some of it to a future eternity” (ii., p. 5); and, if this be so, then there is no impropriety in supposing that a part of the series of predictions preceding this may lie also in a somewhat remote futurity. The true idea seems to be that the writer contemplated a series of events that were to occur, and that this series was about to commence. How far into the future it was to extend, is to be learned by the proper interpretation of all the parts of the series.

And he sent - Greek: “Sending by his angel, signified it to his servant John.” The idea is not precisely that he sent his angel to communicate the message, but that he sent by him, or employed him as an agent in doing it. The thing sent was rather the message than the angel.

And signified it - Ἐσήμανεν EsēmanenHe indicated it by signs and symbols. The word occurs in the New Testament only in John 12:33; John 18:32; John 21:19; Acts 11:28; Acts 25:27, and in the passage before us, in all which places it is rendered “signify, signifying, or signified.” It properly refers to some sign, signal, or token by which anything is made known (compare Matthew 26:28; Romans 4:11; Genesis 9:12-13; Genesis 17:11; Luke 2:12; 2 Corinthians 12:12; 1 Corinthians 14:22), and is a word most happily chosen to denote the manner in which the events referred to were to be communicated to John, for nearly the whole book is made up of signs and symbols. If it be asked what was signified to John, it may be replied that either the word “it” may be understood, as in our translation, to refer to the Apocalypse (Revelation), or refer to what he saw ( ὅσα εἶδε hosa eide), as Prof. Stuart supposes; or it may be absolute, without any object following, as Prof. Robinson (Lexicon) supposes. The general sense is, that, sending by his angel, he made to John a communication by expressive signs or symbols.

By his angel - That is, an angel was employed to cause these scenic representations to pass before the mind of the apostle. The communication was not made directly to him, but was through the medium of a heavenly messenger employed for this purpose. Thus, in Revelation 22:6, it is said, “And the Lord God of the holy prophets sent his angel to show unto his servants the things which must shortly be done.” Compare Revelation 1:8-9 of that chapter. There is frequent allusion in the Scriptures to the fact that angels have been employed as agents in making known the divine will, or in the revelations which have been made to people. Thus, in Acts 7:53, it is said, “Who have received the law by the disposition of angels.” “For if the word spoken by angels was stedfast,” etc., Hebrews 2:2; “and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator,” Galatians 3:19. Compare the notes on Acts 7:38, Acts 7:53. There is almost no further reference to the agency of the angel employed for this service in the book, and there is no distinct specification of what he did, or of his great agency in the case.

John is everywhere represented as seeing the symbols himself, and it would seem that the agency of the angel was, either to cause those symbols to pass before the apostle, or to convey their meaning to his mind. How far John himself understood the meaning of these symbols, we have not the means of knowing with certainty. The most probable supposition is, that the angel was employed to cause these visions or symbols to pass before his mind, rather than to interpret them. If an interpretation had been given, it is inconceivable that it should not have been recorded, and there is no more probability that their meaning should have been disclosed to John himself, for his private use, than that it should have been disclosed and recorded for the use of others. It would seem probable, therefore, that John had only that view of the meaning of what he saw which anyone else might obtain from the record of the visions. Compare the notes on 1 Peter 1:10-12.

Unto his servant John - Nothing could be learned from this expression as to what John was the author of the book, whether the apostle of that name or some other. Compare the introduction, section 1. It cannot be inferred from the use of the word “servant,” rather than apostle, that the apostle John was not the author, for it was not uncommon for the apostles to designate themselves merely by the words “servants,” or “servants of God.” Compare the notes on Romans 1:1.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Bibliographical Information
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Revelation 1:1". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/revelation-1.html. 1870.

Coffman Commentaries on the Bible

THE APOCALYPSE

INTRODUCTION

(Revelation 1-3)

REV:1

The predominating thought in this chapter is that of the exalted and glorified Christ amidst the congregations of his church, his constant attendance with them and concern for them being represented in this chapter as a fact connected not merely with the salvation of people, but especially with the execution of judgment, not merely upon the church alone, but upon all people. The judgment is the theme of Revelation, and that subject is stated in the master-sentence of the whole book in Revelation 1:7. In the first paragraph (Revelation 1:1-3), the writer introduces himself, states the nature of what he is about to write, and pronounces a double beatitude upon those who read, and upon those who hear and keep the words of the prophecy. The second paragraph (Revelation 1:4-8) contains the salutation to the original recipients of Revelation and a noble doxology in which appears the grand thesis of the whole book. The third paragraph (Revelation 1:9-20) has the introductory vision of the Christ glorified, the details of which strongly emphasize his character and office as the Judge of all people.

The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show unto his servants, even the things which must shortly come to pass: and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John. (Revelation 1:1)

The Revelation of Jesus Christ ... Although the primary meaning of this phrase regards the source of the prophecy as having come from God through Jesus Christ, it is also true in the extended sense of being a revelation of the Son of God in his capacity as the judge appointed by the Almighty God himself and divinely commissioned to "execute judgment" (John 5:27). The word "Revelation," capitalized in the text, was so rendered in order to indicate the word as the title of the prophecy. It is translated from a Greek word [@apokalupsis], from which also comes the similar English word given to the book and also applied to a whole field of similar writings. It means "an unveiling."

The things which must shortly come to pass ... Scholars generally assume that this means: (1) either that all of Revelation was fulfilled within a very short time after John wrote, or (2) that such events as "the thousand years" and the final judgment were mistakenly believed by the apostle to lie in the near future. We simply cannot believe that either proposition is true. Caird declared that all of the events John prophesied were "expected to be accomplished quickly in their entirety."[1] Even the respected Foy E. Wallace, Jr., wrote that, "The word "shortly" denotes immediacy; the events applied to them, not to centuries after their time, and even yet to come.[2] The objection to the view in (1) is twofold: first, many of the events foretold in Revelation, notably the final judgment, did not take place "shortly"; and secondly, it is incorrect to suppose that the holy apostles of Christ erroneously "taught" that the end of all things would occur soon. It may be freely admitted that they may indeed have been mistaken in thinking such a thing; but, in fairness, it must be admitted that none of them either implied or declared the Second Advent to be an event in the immediate future. The statement before us teaches no such thing. The meaning of it is the same as when Jesus said, "The kingdom of God is at hand," meaning that the "beginning of it" was near at hand. Furthermore, the declaration of John in 4:1 that some of the things he prophesied were to "come to pass hereafter" categorically refutes such views. Regarding the view in (2), we heartily agree with McGuiggan who said:

The claim is made that the early church believed that the second coming was near in time; but this is just not true. They may have lived aware of the possibility of his coming soon, but that they believed he was coming soon is not at all established by the New Testament.[3]

Furthermore, such a figure as reigning with Christ "a thousand years" could not possibly have been written by one who believed the end of the world would occur in a few weeks. No matter what view of the prophecy is taken, the extensive treatment of the Second Advent and accompanying judgment of all mankind absolutely forbids the notion that all of this great prophecy has already been fulfilled. There are some who delight in attributing ignorance and misunderstanding to the New Testament writers, using their false interpretation of this verse to bolster their opinions. For a more thorough refutation of the false view that the apostles all expected the speedy return of Jesus, see in my Commentary on 1Thessalonians, pp. 18-20.

Signified it by his angel ... The use of angel (singular) here is strange, especially in view of the fact that a number of angels are seen in the course of the Revelation. Lenski's explanation of this has the ring of truth:

Such singulars are at times generic. "His angel" does not necessarily mean only one and the same angel. Any angel, now one, now another, would be Christ's (and God's) angel ... that conferred the commission on John.[4]

Unto his servant John ... The only person who ever lived in the first century, speaking with the great authority evident in Revelation, who could possibly have identified himself in these words, was the holy apostle John, the son of Zebedee, and author of the fourth Gospel and the three Johannine epistles. As Hendriksen expressed it:

We are thoroughly convinced that there was only one John who did not need to add "the apostle", for the very reason that he was the apostle! Besides, he does not call himself "the apostle" because he (in this book) wrote in his capacity as a seer (or prophet).[5]

Further comment on the authorship of this book is in the introduction.

[1] G. B. Caird, The Revelation of St. John the Divine (New York: Harper and Row, 1966), p. 12.

[2] Foy E. Wallace, Jr., The Book of Revelation (Nashville: Foy E. Wallace, Jr., Publications, 1966), p. 63.

[3] Jim McGuiggan, The Book of Revelation (West Monroe, Louisiana: William C. Johnson, 1976), p. 32.

[4] R. C. H. Lenski, The Interpretation of St. John's Revelation (Minneapolis, Minnesota: Augsburg Publishing House, 1943), p. 31.

[5] William Hendriksen, More Than Conquerors (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Book House, 1956).

Copyright Statement
Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.
Bibliographical Information
Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on Revelation 1:1". "Coffman Commentaries on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/revelation-1.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

The Revelation of Jesus Christ,.... Either of which he is the author: for it was he that sent and showed it by his angel to John; it was he, the lion of the tribe of Judah, that took the book, and opened the seals of it, and which is a very considerable proof of his deity; since none but God could foreknow and foretell things to come, or declare the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet, as is done in this book: or of which he is the subject; for it treats much of his person, offices, and grace, and of Christ mystical, of the state of his church, in the several ages of time; or it is that revelation which was first made unto him, to which sense the following words incline:

which God gave unto him; not to him as he is God, for as such he is omniscient, and foreknew whatever would come to pass, and needed no revelation to be made to him, but as he was man and Mediator; and this was given him by God the Father, and put into his hands, to make known as being a part of the administration of his prophetic office: the end of its being given him was,

to show unto his servant things which must shortly come to pass: the Arabic version adds, "in future ages"; things that were to be hereafter, the accomplishment of which was necessary, because of the certain and unalterable decree of God, the good of his people, and his own glory; and these were to come to pass quickly, in a very little time; not that they would all be fulfilled in a short space of time, for there are some things not fulfilled yet, though it is nineteen hundred years ago and more, since this revelation was made; and we are sure there are some things that will not be accomplished till a thousand years hence, and more, for the millennium is not yet begun; and after that is ended, there is to be a second resurrection, and a destruction of the Gog and Magog army; but the sense is, that these things should very quickly begin to be fulfilled, and from thenceforward go on fulfilling till all were accomplished. Now to show, to represent these things, in a clear manner, as the nature of them would admit of, to the servants of Christ, all true believers, read and hear and diligently observe them, and especially to the ministers of the Gospel, whose business is to search into them, and point them out to and particularly to his servant John, was this revelation made by Christ, who immediately answered this end:

and he sent, and signified it by his angel unto servant John; he who is the Lord of angels, and to whom they are ministering spirits, sometimes sent one angel and sometimes another; and by various emblems, signs, and visions, represented and set before John, a faithful servant, and a beloved disciple of his, the whole of this revelation.

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Bibliographical Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on Revelation 1:1". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/revelation-1.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

The 1 a Revelation of b Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified [it] by his angel unto his servant John:

1 AD The dragon watches the Church of the Jews, which was ready to travail: She brings forth, flees and hides herself, while Christ was yet on the earth.

34 AD The dragon persecutes Christ ascending to heaven, he fights and is thrown down: and after persecutes the Church of the Jews.

67 AD The Church of the Jews is received into the wilderness for three years and a half.

70 AD When the Church of the Jews was overthrown, the dragon invaded the catholic church: all this is in the twelfth chapter. The dragon is bound for a thousand years in chapter twenty. The dragon raises up the beast with seven heads, and the beast with two heads, which make havock of the catholic church and her prophets for 1260 years after the passion of Christ in (Revelation 13:11).

97 AD The seven churches are admonished of things present, somewhat before the end of Domitian his reign, and are forewarned of the persecution to come under Trajan for ten years, chapter 2,3. God by word and signs provokes the world, and seals the godly in chapter 6 and 7. He shows examples of his wrath on all creatures, mankind excepted in chapter 8.

1073 AD The dragon is let loose after a thousand years, and Gregory the seventh, being Pope, rages against Henry the third, then Emperor in chapter 20.

1217 AD The dragon vexes the world for 150 years to Gregory the ninth, who wrote the Decretals, and most cruelly persecuted the Emperor Fredrick the second.

1295 AD The dragon kills the prophets after 1260 years, when Boniface the eighth was Pope, who was the author of the sixth book of the Decretals: he excommunicated Philip the French King.

1300 AD Boniface celebrates the Jubile.

1301 AD About this time was a great earthquake, which overthrew many houses in Rome.

1305 AD Prophecy ceases for three years and a half, until Benedict the second succeeded after Boniface the eighth. Prophecy is revived in chapter 11. The dragon and the two beasts question prophecy in chapter 13. Christ defends his Church in word and deed, chapter 14, and with threats and arms, chapter 16. Christ gives his Church victory over the harlot, chapter 17 and 18. Over the two beasts, chapter 19. Over the dragon and death, chapter 20. The Church is fully glorified in heaven with eternal glory, in Christ Jesus, chapter 21 and 22.

(1) This chapter has two principal parts, the title or inscription, which stands in place of an introduction: and a narration going before the whole prophecy of this book. The inscription is double, general and particular. In (Revelation 1:1) the general inscription contains the kind of prophecy, the author, end, matter, instruments, and manner of communication the same, in (Revelation 1:2) the most religious faithfulness of the apostle as public witness and the use of communicating the same, taken from the promise of God, and from the circumstance of the time, (Revelation 1:3)

(a) An opening of secret and hidden things.

(b) Which the Son opened to us out of his Father's bosom by angels.

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Bibliographical Information
Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Revelation 1:1". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/revelation-1.html. 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

Revelation 1:1-20. Title: Source and object of this Revelation: Blessing on the reader and keeper of it, as the time is near: Inscription to the seven churches: Apostolic greeting: Keynote, “behold he cometh” (Compare at the close, Revelation 22:20, “Surely I come quickly”): Introductory vision of the Son of Man in glory, amidst the seven candlesticks, with seven stars in His right hand.

Revelation — an apocalypse or unveiling of those things which had been veiled. A manifesto of the kingdom of Christ. The travelling manual of the Church for the Gentile Christian times. Not a detailed history of the future, but a representation of the great epochs and chief powers in developing the kingdom of God in relation to the world. The “Church-historical” view goes counter to the great principle that Scripture interprets itself. Revelation is to teach us to understand the times, not the times to interpret to us the Apocalypse, although it is in the nature of the case that a reflex influence is exerted here and is understood by the prudent [Auberlen]. The book is in a series of parallel groups, not in chronological succession. Still there is an organic historical development of the kingdom of God. In this book all the other books of the Bible end and meet: in it is the consummation of all previous prophecy. Daniel foretells as to Christ and the Roman destruction of Jerusalem, and the last Antichrist. But John‘s Revelation fills up the intermediate period, and describes the millennium and final state beyond Antichrist. Daniel, as a godly statesman, views the history of God‘s people in relation to the four world kingdoms. John, as an apostle, views history from the Christian Church aspect. The term Apocalypse is applied to no Old Testament book. Daniel is the nearest approach to it; but what Daniel was told to seal and shut up till the time of the end, John, now that the time is at hand (Revelation 1:3), is directed to reveal.

of Jesus Christ — coming from Him. Jesus Christ, not John the writer, is the Author of the Apocalypse. Christ taught many things before His departure; but those which were unsuitable for announcement at that time He brought together into the Apocalypse [Bengel]. Compare His promise, John 15:15, “All things that I have heard of My Father, I have made known unto you”; also, John 16:13, “The Spirit of truth will show you things to come.” The Gospels and Acts are the books, respectively, of His first advent, in the flesh, and in the Spirit; the Epistles are the inspired comment on them. The Apocalypse is the book of His second advent and the events preliminary to it.

which God gave unto him — The Father reveals Himself and His will in, and by, His Son.

to show — The word recurs in Revelation 22:6: so entirely have the parts of Revelation reference to one another. It is its peculiar excellence that it comprises in a perfect compendium future things, and these widely differing: things close at hand, far off, and between the two; great and little; destroying and saving; repeated from old prophecies and new; long and short, and these interwoven with one another, opposed and mutually agreeing; mutually involving and evolving one another; so that in no book more than in this would the addition, or taking away, of a single word or clause (Revelation 22:18, Revelation 22:19), have the effect of marring the sense of the context and the comparison of passages together [Bengel].

his servants — not merely to “His servant John,” but to all His servants (compare Revelation 22:3).

shortlyGreek, “speedily”; literally, “in,” or “with speed.” Compare “the time is at hand,” Revelation 1:3; Revelation 22:6, “shortly”; Revelation 22:7, “Behold, I come quickly.” Not that the things prophesied were according to man‘s computation near; but this word “shortly” implies a corrective of our estimate of worldly events and periods. Though a “thousand years” (Revelation 20:1-15) at least are included, the time is declared to be at hand. Luke 18:8, “speedily.” The Israelite Church hastened eagerly to the predicted end, which premature eagerness prophecy restrains (compare Daniel 9:1-27). The Gentile Church needs to be reminded of the transitoriness of the world (which it is apt to make its home) and the nearness of Christ‘s advent. On the one hand Revelation says, “the time is at hand”; on the other, the succession of seals, etc., show that many intermediate events must first elapse.

he sent — Jesus Christ sent.

by his angel — joined with “sent.” The angel does not come forward to “signify” things to John until Revelation 17:1; Revelation 19:9, Revelation 19:10. Previous to that John receives information from others. Jesus Christ opens the Revelation, Revelation 1:10, Revelation 1:11; Revelation 4:1; in Revelation 6:1 one of the four living creatures acts as his informant; in Revelation 7:13, one of the elders; in Revelation 10:8, Revelation 10:9, the Lord and His angel who stood on the sea and earth. Only at the end (Revelation 17:1) does the one angel stand by Him (compare Daniel 8:16; Daniel 9:21; Zechariah 1:19).

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These files are a derivative of an electronic edition prepared from text scanned by Woodside Bible Fellowship.
This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.
Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Revelation 1:1". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/revelation-1.html. 1871-8.

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament

The Revelation (αποκαλυπσιςapokalupsis). Late and rare word outside of N.T. (once in Plutarch and so in the vernacular Koiné), 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 αποκαλυπτωapokaluptō old verb, to uncover, to unveil. In the Epistles αποκαλυπσιςapokalupsis 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 αποκαλυπσιςapokalupsis with επιπανειαepiphaneia (2 Thessalonians 2:8) and πανερωσιςphanerōsis (1 Corinthians 12:7). The precise meaning here turns on the genitive following.

Of Jesus Christ (Ιησου ΧριστουIēsou Christou). 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 αυτοιedōken autoi). It is the Son who received the revelation from the Father, as is usual (John 5:20-23 f., John 5:26, etc.).

To shew (δειχαιdeixai). First aorist active infinitive of δεικνυμιdeiknumi purpose of God in giving the revelation to Christ.

Unto his servants (τοις δουλοις αυτουtois doulois autou). Believers in general and not just to officials. Dative case. God‘s servants (or Christ‘s).

Must shortly come to pass (δει γενεσται εν ταχειdei genesthai en tachei). Second aorist middle infinitive of γινομαιginomai with δειdei See this same adjunct (εν ταχειen tachei) 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 αποστειλαςesēmanen aposteilas). “Having sent” (first aorist active participle of αποστελλωapostellō Matthew 10:16 and again in Revelation 22:6 of God sending his angel) “signified” (first aorist active indicative of σημαινωsēmainō from σημαsēma sign or token, for which see John 12:33; Acts 11:28). See Revelation 12:1 for σημειονsēmeion though σημαινωsēmainō (only here in the Apocalypse) suits admirably the symbolic character of the book.

By his angel (δια του αγγελου αυτουdia tou aggelou autou). Christ‘s angel as Christ is the subject of the verb εσημανενesēmanen as in Revelation 22:16 Christ sends his angel, though in Revelation 22:6 God sends.

Unto his servant John (τωι δουλωι αυτου Ιωανειtōi doulōi autou Iōanei). 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).

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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)
Bibliographical Information
Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on Revelation 1:1". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rwp/revelation-1.html. Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.

Vincent's Word Studies

The Revelation ( ἀποκάλυψις )

The Greek word is transcribed in Apocalypse. The word occurs only once in the Gospels, Luke 2:32, where to lighten should be rendered for revelation. It is used there of our Lord, as a light to dispel the darkness under which the heathen were veiled. It occurs thirteen times in Paul's writings, and three times in first Peter. It is used in the following senses:

(a.) The unveiling of something hidden, which gives light and knowledge to those who behold it. See Luke 2:32(above). Christianity itself is the revelation of a mystery (Romans 16:25). The participation of the Gentiles in the privileges of the new covenant was made known by revelation (Ephesians 3:3). Paul received the Gospel which he preached by revelation (Galatians 1:12), and went up to Jerusalem by revelation (Galatians 2:2).

(b.) Christian insight into spiritual truth. Paul asks for Christians the spirit of revelation (Ephesians 1:17). Peculiar manifestations of the general gift of revelation are given in Christian assemblies (1 Corinthians 14:6, 1 Corinthians 14:26). Special revelations are granted to Paul (2 Corinthians 12:1, 2 Corinthians 12:7).

(c.) The second coming of the Lord (1 Peter 1:7, 1 Peter 1:13; 2 Thessalonians 1:7; 1 Corinthians 1:7) in which His glory shall be revealed (1 Peter 4:13), His righteous judgment made known (Romans 2:5), and His children revealed in full majesty (Romans 8:19).

The kindred verb ἀποκαλύπτω is used in similar connections. Following the categories given above,

(a.) Galatians 1:16; Galatians 3:23; Ephesians 3:5; 1 Peter 1:12.

(b.) Matthew 11:25, Matthew 11:27; Matthew 16:17; Luke 10:21, Luke 10:22; 1 Corinthians 2:10; 1 Corinthians 14:30; Philippians 3:15.

(c.) Matthew 10:26; Luke 2:35; Luke 12:2; Luke 17:30; Romans 1:17, Romans 1:18; Romans 8:18; 1 Corinthians 3:13; 2 Thessalonians 2:3, 2 Thessalonians 2:6, 2 Thessalonians 2:8; 1 Peter 1:5; 1 Peter 5:1.

The word is compounded with ἀπό fromand καλύπτω tocover. Hence, to remove the cover from anything; to unveil. So of Balaam, the Lord opened or unveiled his eyes ( ἀπεκάλυψεν τοὺς ὀφθαλμοὺς : Numbers 22:31, Sept.). So Boaz to Naomi's kinsman: “I thought to advertise thee:” Rev., “disclose it unto thee” ( ἀποκαλύψω τὸ οὖς σου : Rth 4:4, Sept.). Lit., I will uncover thine ear.

The noun ἀποκάλυψις revelationoccurs only once in the Septuagint (1 Samuel 20:30), in the physical sense of uncovering. The verb is found in the Septuagint in Daniel 2:19, Daniel 2:22, Daniel 2:28.

In classical Greek, the verb is used by Herodotus (i., 119) of uncovering the head; and by Plato: thus, “reveal ( ἀποκαλύψας ) to me the power of Rhetoric” (“Gorgias,” 460): “Uncover your chest and back” (“Protagoras,” 352). Both the verb and the noun occur in Plutarch; the latter of uncovering the body, of waters, and of an error. The religious sense, however, is unknown to heathenism.

The following words should be compared with this: Ὀπτασία avision (Luke 1:22; Acts 26:19; 2 Corinthians 12:1). Ὅραμα avision (Matthew 17:9; Acts 9:10; Acts 16:9). Ὅρασις avision (Acts 2:17; Revelation 9:17. Of visible form, Revelation 4:3). These three cannot be accurately distinguished. They all denote the thing seen or shown, without anything to show whether it is understood or not.

As distinguished from these, ἀποκάλυψις includes, along with the thing shown or seen, its interpretation or unveiling.

Ἐπιφάνεια appearing(hence our epiphany ), is used in profane Greek of the appearance of a higher power in order to aid men. In the New Testament by Paul only, and always of the second appearing of Christ in glory, except in 2 Timothy 1:10, where it signifies His first appearing in the flesh. See 2 Thessalonians 2:8; 1 Timothy 6:14; Titus 2:13. As distinguished from this, ἀπολάλυψις is the more comprehensive word. An apocalypse may include several ἐπιφάνειαι appearingsThe appearings are the media of the revealings.

Φανέρωσις manifestationonly twice in the New Testament; 1 Corinthians 12:7; 2 Corinthians 4:2. The kindred verb φανερόω tomake manifest, is of frequent occurrence. See on John 21:1. It is not easy, if possible, to show that this word has a less dignified sense than ἀποκάλυψις . The verb φανερόω is used of both the first and the second appearing of our Lord (1 Timothy 3:16; 1 John 1:2; 1 Peter 1:20; Colossians 3:4; 1 Peter 5:4). See also John 2:11; John 21:1.

Some distinguish between φανέρωσις as an external manifestation, to the senses, but single and isolated; while ἀποκάλυψις is an inward and abiding disclosure. According to these, the Apocalypse or unveiling, precedes and produces the φανέρωσις or manifestation. The Apocalypse contemplates the thing revealed; the manifestation, the persons to whom it is revealed.

The Revelation here is the unveiling of the divine mysteries.

Of Jesus Christ

Not the manifestation or disclosure of Jesus Christ, but the revelation given by Him.

To shew ( δεῖξαι )

Frequent in Revelation (Revelation 4:1; Revelation 17:1; Revelation 21:9; Revelation 22:1). Construe with ἔδωκεν gavegave him to shew. Compare “I will give him to sit” (Revelation 3:21): “It was given to hurt” (Revelation 7:2): “It was given him to do;” (A.V. “had power to do;” Revelation 13:14).

Servants ( δούλοις )

Properly, bond-servants. See on Matthew 20:26; see on Mark 9:35.

Must ( δεῖ )

As the decree of the absolute and infallible God.

Shortly come to pass ( γενέσθαι ἐν τάχει )

For the phrase ἐν τάχει shortlysee Luke 18:8, where yet long delay is implied. Expressions like this must be understood, not according to human measurement of time, but rather as in 2 Peter 3:8. The idea is, before long, as time is computed by God. The aorist infinitive γενέσθαι is not begin to come to pass, but denotes a complete fulfilment: must shortly come to pass in their entirety.

He sent ( ἀποστείλας )

See on Matthew 10:2, Matthew 10:16.

Signified ( ἐσήμανεν )

From σῆμα asign. Hence, literally, give a sign or token. The verb occurs outside of John's writings only in Acts 11:28; Acts 25:27. See John 12:33; John 18:32; John 21:19. This is its only occurrence in Revelation. The word is appropriate to the symbolic character of the revelation, and so in John 12:33, where Christ predicts the mode of His death in a figure. Compare sign, Revelation 12:1.

Angel ( ἀγγέλου )

Strictly, a messenger. See Matthew 11:10; Luke 8:24; Luke 9:52. Compare the mediating angel in the visions of Daniel and Zechariah (Daniel 8:15, Daniel 8:16; Daniel 9:21; Daniel 10:10; Zechariah 1:19). See on John 1:51.

Servant

Designating the prophetic office. See Isaiah 59:5; Amos 3:7; compare Revelation 19:10; Revelation 22:9.

John

John does not name himself in the Gospel or in the Epistles. Here “we are dealing with prophecy, and prophecy requires the guarantee of the individual who is inspired to utter it” (Milligan). Compare Daniel 8:1; Daniel 9:2.

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Bibliographical Information
Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on Revelation 1:1". "Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/vnt/revelation-1.html. Charles Schribner's Sons. New York, USA. 1887.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John:

The Revelation — Properly so called; for things covered before are here revealed, or unveiled. No prophecy in the Old Testament has this title; it was reserved for this alone in the New. It is, as it were, a manifesto, wherein the Heir of all things declares that all power is given him in heaven and earth, and that he will in the end gloriously exercise that power, maugre all the opposition of all his enemies.

Of Jesus Christ — Not of "John the Divine," a title added in latter ages. Certain it is, that appellation, the Divine, was not brought into the church, much less was it affixed to John the apostle, till long after the apostolic age. It was St. John, indeed, who wrote this book, but the author of it is Jesus Christ.

Which God gave unto him — According to his holy, glorified humanity, as the great Prophet of the church. God gave the Revelation to Jesus Christ; Jesus Christ made it known to his servants.

To show — This word recurs, Revelation 22:6; and in many places the parts of this book refer to each other. Indeed the whole structure of it breathes the art of God, comprising, in the most finished compendium, things to come, many, various; near, intermediate, remote; the greatest, the least; terrible, comfortable; old, new; long, short; and these interwoven together, opposite, composite; relative to each other at a small, at a great, distance; and therefore sometimes, as it were, disappearing, broken off, suspended, and afterwards unexpectedly and most seasonably appearing again. In all its parts it has an admirable variety, with the most exact harmony, beautifully illustrated by those very digressions which seem to interrupt it. In this manner does it display the manifold wisdom of God shining in the economy of the church through so many ages.

His servants — Much is comprehended in this appellation. It is a great thing to be a servant of Jesus Christ. This book is dedicated particularly to the servants of Christ in the seven churches in Asia; but not exclusive of all his other servants, in all nations and ages. It is one single revelation, and yet sufficient for them all, from the time it was written to the end of the world. Serve thou the Lord Jesus Christ in truth: so shalt thou learn his secret in this book; yea, and thou shalt feel in thy heart whether this book be divine, or not.

The things which must shortly come to pass — The things contained in this prophecy did begin to be accomplished shortly after it was given; and the whole might be said to come to pass shortly, in the same sense as St. Peter says, "The end of all things is at hand;" and our Lord himself, "Behold, I come quickly." There is in this book a rich treasure of all the doctrines pertaining to faith and holiness. But these are also delivered in other parts of holy writ; so that the Revelation need not to have been given for the sake of these. The peculiar design of this is, to show the things which must come to pass. And this we are especially to have before our eyes whenever we read or hear it. It is said afterward, "Write what thou seest;" and again, "Write what thou hast seen, and what is, and what shall be hereafter;" but here, where the scope of the hook is shown, it is only said, the things which must come to pass. Accordingly, the showing things to come, is the great point in view throughout the whole. And St. John writes what he has seen, and what is, only as it has an influence on, or gives light to, what shall be.

And he — Jesus Christ.

Sent and signified them — Showed them by signs or emblems; so the Greek word properly means.

By his angel — Peculiarly called, in the sequel, "the angel of God," and particularly mentioned, Revelation 17:1; 21:9; 22:6,16.

To his servant John — A title given to no other single person throughout the book.

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Bibliographical Information
Wesley, John. "Commentary on Revelation 1:1". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/revelation-1.html. 1765.

Abbott's Illustrated New Testament

Revelation. The word in Greek is Apocalypse. Hence this book is often called the Apocalypse.--And he sent; that is, Christ sent.

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Abbott, John S. C. & Abbott, Jacob. "Commentary on Revelation 1:1". "Abbott's Illustrated New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ain/revelation-1.html. 1878.

Scofield's Reference Notes

angel (See Scofield "Hebrews 1:4")

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Scofield, C. I. "Scofield Reference Notes on Revelation 1:1". "Scofield Reference Notes (1917 Edition)". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/srn/revelation-1.html. 1917.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

1 The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John:

Ver. 1. The Revelation] Or manifestation of many divine mysteries by the Mediator (who came out of his Father’s bosom) to John, who had the mind of Christ, and that purposely for the behoove and benefit of the family of faith, who are all of his cabinet council, John 1:18; 1 Corinthians 2:16; Galatians 6:10; Psalms 25:14.

Things which must shortly] That is, sooner or later in their proper season. God’s time seems long, because we are short. Nullum tempus occurrit regi, saith the lawyer. The Ancient of days is not to be limited.

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Bibliographical Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Revelation 1:1". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/revelation-1.html. 1865-1868.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Revelation 1:1. The Revelation of Jesus Christ, The book opens with the title, or inscription, the scope and design of it; to foretel things, which should shortly begin to be fulfilled, andsucceed in their due season and order, till all were accomplished; and with the blessing pronounced on him who should read and explain it, and on them who shall hear and attend to it. The distinction is remarkable, of him that readeth, and of them that hear: for books being then in manuscripts, were in much fewer hands; and it was a much readier way to publish a prophecy, or any thing, by public reading, than by transcribing copies. It was the custom too of that age to read all the apostolic writings in the congregations of the faithful; but now this excellent book of the Revelation is seldom read, or only some few parts of it, in the congregations. Instead of and he sent and signified it, &c. the Greek might be better rendered which he signified, sending by his angel. In the stile of prophecy, whence the expressions of this book are chiefly taken, every thing is called an angel that notifies a message from God, or executes his will; a prophetic dream is an angel; the pillar of fire, which went before the Israelites, is called God's angel. The winds, and flames of fire, are angels to us, when used by God as voices to teach, or rods to punish us: so that God is properly said to reveal by his angel, what he makes known either by voice, by dream, by vision, or any other manner of true prophetic revelation. BishopBossuet has finely observed, in the preface to his Exposition of the Revelation, "that in the Gospel of St. John we read the life of Christ on earth as a man conversing with men, humble, poor, weak, and suffering; we behold a sacrifice ready to be offered, and one appointed to sorrows and death: but in the Revelation of St. John we have the gospel of Christ, who was now raised from the dead. He speaks and acts as having conquered the grave, and triumphed over death and hell; as entered into the place of his glory, angels, principalities, and powers being made subject unto him; and exercising the supreme universal power which he has received from the Father over all things in heaven and earth, as our Saviour, for the protection of his church, and for the sure happiness of his faithful servants in the end." All this he is as Mediator, being at the same time, in respect to Deity, "God over all, blessed for ever."

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Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Revelation 1:1". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/revelation-1.html. 1801-1803.

Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament

That is, "This revelation God the Father gave to Christ his Son, as Mediator, and therewith a commission to impart it to his faithful servants, especially the ministers of his church, and particularly to St. John, who bare record in his gospel, and in his epistles, that Jesus Christ was the essential and eternal Word of God, and also bare record of the testimony of Christ, that is, of his doctrine and miracles, of his death and sufferings; declaring all things that he saw, namely, in his visions, and as they were represented to him."

Here note, 1. The favour granted to St. John, he had a vision or revelation of future things. Revelations from God were sometimes by visions, sometimes by voice, and sometimes by dreams: this revelation which John had, was of a mixed nature, partly by vision, and partly by voice.

Note, 2. The primary author of this revelation, God the Father, the first Person in the Trinity, he revealed it; The revelation which God gave.

Note, 3. The order in which God gave forth this revelation; first, it is given to Christ, The revelation of Jesus Christ which God gave unto him: next unto the angel, then unto St. John, to reveal it to the church. Christ, as God, knew all things from eternity, but as man and mediator he received this revelation from God the Father, and imparted it by the angel to his servant John; we see then that Christ, in his state of exaltation, by revealing to his servants the mind and will of God.

Note, 4. The subject-matter of the revelation, Things which should shortly come to pass; mark, not things which were already past, (then this book had been an history, and not a prophecy,) but which should certainly and suddenly come to pass; that is, they should shortly begin to be accomplished, and to take effect; not that they should all be immediately performed, but in God's time, in respect of whose eternity a thousand years are but as one day.

Note lastly, The fidelity and great integrity of St. John, in the making known to others all things that he saw; that is, he had by his writings told the churches what Christ by his angel told him, even all that he heard and saw in this vision, as St. Paul did not shun to declare the whole counsel of God, Acts 20, (he doth not say he hath declared the whole council of God, for who but God himself could declare that?) So St. John here bare record of the whole word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw and heard.

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Burkitt, William. "Commentary on Revelation 1:1". Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wbc/revelation-1.html. 1700-1703.

Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament

Revelation 1:1. ἀποκάλυψις, i.e., revelation, unveiling of things concealed as divine mysteries, which are presented to the prophetic view of John, and interpreted to him.(454) Heinrichs incorrectly: ἀποκ. = παροισία or ἐπιφάνεια, viz., of Jesus Christ.

ἰησοῦ χρ. in no way an objective,(455) but a subjective genitive,(456) but not the possessive(457) or the genitive of reception;(458) but by the context Jesus Christ is designated as the author and the communicating witness.(459) ἣν ἕδωκεν αὐτ. θ. To the clause which has been concluded, since ἕδωκεν has ἣν as its object, the next clause δεῖξαι

τάχει is connected, as the infinitive δεῖξαι marks the purpose of the ἣν ἕδωκεν(460) and the words δεῖ γεν. ἐν ταχ., are combined as the object of δεῖξαι. On the contrary, Heinr.: ἣν

δεῖξαι, so that ἕδωκεν is combined with δεῖξαι in the sense of permitted, and then this infinitive is regarded as repeated with the object δεῖ γεν. ἐν ταχ. With the conception ἣν ἔδωκεν, cf. especially Revelation 5:7, and in general Acts 1:7; John 1:18; John 3:11; John 12:49; John 17:7 sqq.; Matthew 11:27. In conflict with the text, and in itself incorrect, is the remark of Calov.: “It was given to Christ according to his human nature;” still more, that of C. a Lap. and Tirin: “Christ received the revelation from the Father in his conception and incarnation.”(461) The revelation described in this book, Christ received from the Father, not in the flesh, but when exalted and glorified,(462) the perpetual mediator between God and man,(463) in order to communicate it by his testimony to the prophetic seer,(464) and thus besides to all his servants. Not so far as he is man, but so far as he is the Son, does the Father give to him.(465) [See Note XV., p. 121.] δεῖξαι. According to the constant usage of the Apoc.,(466) and the context in which the expressions ἀποκάλυψις and σημαίνειν occur,(467) to which δεὶξαι, κ. τ. λ., are correlate, this word can be understood not only in general, as Matthew 16:21, by “to point out, to give to know,”(468) but must have also the additional reference to the prophetic vision.(469) But it does not follow hence, that by the τοῖς δούλοις αὐτοῦ, the prophets are specially meant, of whom John would here appear as the representative.(470) The particular idea shadowed in this conception of the δεῖξαι is justified, inasmuch as it is immediately explained that it is through the service of the prophet beholding Christ, that future things are proclaimed.

τ. δουλ. αὐτ., viz., not God’s(471) but Jesus Christ’s; as we find directly afterwards, τ. ἀγγ. αὐτου and τ. δουλ. αὐτου.(472) The parallel, Revelation 22:6, cannot be decisive as to the reference of the pronoun to us, as Jesus Christ is not mentioned there as the one who communicates. By the “servants of Jesus Christ,” believers in general are to be understood (cf. Revelation 22:9, where the angel calls himself the fellow-servant not only of the prophets, but also of those τηροῦντες τ. λογ. τ. βιβλ. τουτ.). So Ebrard against Hengst. Cf. besides Revelation 22:16, according to the more correct reading.

δεῖ γενέσθαι ἐν τάχει. The object of δεῖξαι, and therefore, according to the connection with the first part of the sentence, forming the chief contents of the αποκάλυψις as written in the present book. Cf. Revelation 1:19, where there is fuller mention made, besides the future, also of present things.

The δεῖ(473) depends upon the (not fatalistic) idea of “the divine ordination which could not be frustrated.”(474) The idea of Divine Providence is the essential presupposition of all prophecy.(475) But when Klief. presses the δεῖ in such a way as though thereby the facts of prophecy belonging to the sphere of human freedom were excluded, the reason is entirely unbiblical, and inapplicable for interposing a false interpretation derived from ecclesiastical or secular history.

ἐν τάχει designates neither figuratively the “certainty” of the future,(476) nor the swiftness of the course of things, without reference to the proximity or remoteness of time in which they were to occur. So Ebrard, who appeals in vain to Romans 16:20 and Luke 18:8, since not only those passages, particularly Luke 18:8 (where the subject is not the concrete future, but a constant rule), are dissimilar to ours, but especially because by the ἐγγύς,(477), Revelation 1:3, it is decided that the speedy coming of what is to happen is meant. When in addition to this idea reference is made on the one hand explicitly,(478) and on the other by the very organism and contents of the book, to the patient waiting, it does not follow that we dare not understand the “quickly” in its strict sense,(479) but that the prophet himself distinguishes the beginning of future things, as the beginning of the ultimate completion,(480) from that distant completion itself. The evasion that the ἐν τάχει is to be understood “according to the divine method of computation,” as in 2 Peter 3:8,(481) is contrary to the context.(482)

With the words καὶ ἐσήμανεν, κ. τ. λ., the construction changes. As the ση΄αίνειν corresponds in meaning to the preceding δεῖξαι, because of which not τὴν ἀποκάλυψιν,(483) but δεῖ γεν. is to be regarded the object,(484) so not θεός,(485) but the one who is to show, viz., Jesus Christ, is the subject of ἐσή΄ανεν. The δεῖξαι occurs in the way peculiar to ση΄αίνειν, i.e., the indication of what is meant by significative figures.(486)

ἀποστείλας belongs to διʼ ἀλλέλου, and that too without supplying “this prophecy,”(487) etc.: on the contrary, the ἀποστ. διὰ is absolute,(488) and to be understood according to the analogy of the Hebr. שָֹׁלח בִּיד.(489) Thus Ew. and Ebrard. Hengstenb., whom Klief. follows, tries to combine the διʼ ἀγγ. with ἑση΄., because in the N. T. the ἀποστείλας is regarded as requiring the accusative of the person.(490) But Matthew 11:2, according to the more correct reading,(491) is πέ΄ψας διά; by the parallel passage, Revelation 22:6, the combination of ἀποστ. with διʼ αγγ. is maintained, while it is also to be noticed, that, according to the analogy of all the examples cited by Hengstb., ἀποστείλας must stand before ἐσημ and that thereby the inner connection with ἐση΄. is in no way obscured.

διὰ τοῦ ἀγγέλου αὐτοῦ. Grot. incorrectly: “Learn hence that even when God or Christ is said to have appeared, it ought to be understood of the angel of God or Christ, acting in his name, and representing his attributes.” But God and Christ appear everywhere separated from all angels.

A difficulty lies in the fact that it is not everywhere the same angel who is the interpreter, as might be expected from our position.(492) Cf. Revelation 17:1; Revelation 17:7, Revelation 19:9, Revelation 21:5; Revelation 21:9, Revelation 22:1; Revelation 22:6, and besides Revelation 1:10 sqq., Revelation 4:1 sqq., Revelation 6:8 sqq., Revelation 7:13 sqq., Revelation 10:8 sqq. Hence Ewald thinks that the angel of Revelation 1:1, and also mentioned in all the visions, even where not named, and where another is presented, is to be regarded as the attendant of the Apostle John. But wherefore this superfluous attendance if a third one undertakes the showing and interpreting? That the angel(493) has no more to do than to transport John into a state of ecstasy,(494) is an arbitrary conception directly contrary to Revelation 1:10 sqq., because there John is already in the Spirit when he hears the voice of the angel. The explanation of De Wette,(495) that the angel is meant who shows John the chief subject of the entire revelation, the judgment upon Rome,(496) as all that precedes is only preparatory thereto, has against it, first, that also the important preparations are shown and interpreted to the prophet, and, secondly, that even in Revelation 17:1 to Revelation 22:6, the same angel does not always appear as interpreter; for it is difficult to regard the angel coming forth at Revelation 21:9, who continues from that time to remain with the seer, identical with the one speaking already in Revelation 21:5.(497) Klief. refers to our position, and ascribes to the angel mentioned again in Revelation 22:8 the office of bringing the full revelation which is still uncertain to angels otherwise occupied. All difficulty vanishes, if, as is undoubtedly grammatical,(498) the διὰ τοῦ ἀγγέλου αὐτοῦ be generically conceived(499) This appears at Revelation 22:6 doubly supported by the τὸν ἄγγελον αὐτοῦ in the mouth of the angel speaking at that place.(500) The ἄγγελος αὐτοῦ thus understood can apply to all the individual angels who in the different visions have the office of significative declaration.(501) [See Note XVI., p. 122.] τῷ δούλῳ αὑτοῦ ἰωαννῃ. The seer designates himself as the servant of Jesus Christ in respect to his prophetic service.(502) The addition of his own name(503) contains, according to the old prophetic custom, an attestation of the prophecy.

NOTES BY THE AMERICAN EDITOR

XV. Revelation 1:1. ἥν ἔδωκεν αυτῷ θεὸς

Alford presents the argument on the other side: “Stern asks, ‘How are we to understand this? Is not Christ very God, of one essence with the Father from eternity? Did he not, by virtue of the omniscience of his divine nature, know as exactly as the Father what should be the process of the world’s history, what the fate of the Church? What purpose was served by a revelation from God to Jesus?’ He proceeds to say that the words cannot refer to the revelation as made to us, but are clearly against such an interpretation; and gives, at some length and very well, that which, in one form or other, all will accept as the true explanation, in accordance with John 7:16; John 14:10; John 17:7-8. The man Christ Jesus, even in his glorified state, receives from the Father, by his hypostatic union with him, that revelation which, by his Spirit, he imparts to his Church. For (Acts 1:7) the times and seasons are kept by the Father in his own power; and of the day and the hour knoweth no man, not the angels in heaven, nor even the Son, but the Father only (Mark 13:32). I may observe that the coincidence, in statement of this deep point of doctrine, between the Gospel of St. John and the Apocalypse, is at least remarkable.”

NOTES BY THE AMERICAN EDITOR

XVI. Revelation 1:1. διὰ τοῦ αγγέλου

Gebhardt (p. 40) maintains that the transference into an ecstasy cannot be regarded as showing the future; and, indorsing Düst.’s generic conception, defines the angel here as “the personification, so far as it respects the seer, of the whole revealing activity of God or Christ. With this idea alone, can we reconcile the fact that now this angel, and now that, sometimes, indeed, a voice, the voice of God, or Christ himself, speaks to the seer; and it is only on this principle that we can explain the manner in which, Revelation 22:6, the angel speaks of the angel of God being sent.” This conception of the angel as a personification harmonizes with the interpretation of the angels of the churches.

Beck, however, says, “The article before ἀγγ., according to the natural idiom, definitely presents an individual from the genus of angels, and the αὐτοῦ refers to Jesus Christ who sends; cf. Revelation 22:16. The designation ‘his angel’ is thoroughly consistent according to 1 Peter 3:22; cf. Matthew 13:41.”

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Meyer, Heinrich. "Commentary on Revelation 1:1". Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hmc/revelation-1.html. 1832.

Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament

Revelation 1:1. ἀποκάλυψις) The Latin Fathers term it the Revelation, and they do so with propriety: for matters before covered are revealed in this book. No prophecy in the Old Testament has this title: it was reserved for the Revelation of Jesus Christ in the New Testament, [and for it] alone. It is a Manifesto, as the term is, and that of the kingdom of Christ.— ἰησοῦ χριστοῦ, of Jesus Christ) The title is prefixed by [uninspired] men, ἀποκάλυψις ἰωάννου τοῦ θεολόγου. This title is ancient indeed,(1) but it presupposes doubts respecting the writer of the Apocalypse, which arose a long time after the age of the apostles; it also presupposes the introduction into the Church of the surname, “the Divine,” and its being assigned to John; and it implies that there were other Apocalypses, from which this true one was to be distinguished. The surname, Divine [as attributed to John], almost supersedes that of Apostle. It is indeed John, the apostle, who wrote this book; but the Author(2) is Jesus Christ. By prefixing the name John, the ancients wished to distinguish the true Apocalypse from the many apocryphal books. Apocryphal gospels and epistles presuppose others that are canonical, and so apocryphal apocalypses presuppose a genuine Apocalypse. Artemon. de Init. Evang. Joh., p. 88, 140, and following, affirms, and not without reason, that no one ever rejected the Apocalypse before Caius, a Roman presbyter, and the Alogi, but that it was received by all. The Lord taught the apostles many things before His departure; but those which were unsuitable for present narration He brought together into the Apocalypse. On which account, in the Æthiopic New Testament, the Apocalypse is not inappropriately placed immediately after the four Evangelists.— δεῖξαι, to show) This verb again occurs, ch. Revelation 22:6. And thus the parts of this book everywhere have reference to one another. Altogether, the structure of this book throughout breathes a Divine art. And it is in a certain measure its peculiarity, that it comprises in a perfect compendium future things in great number, and in this number things widely differing; things close at hand, far distant, and intermediate; very great and very little; dreadful and salutary; things repeated from old prophecies and new; long and short; and those interwoven with each other, opposed to one another and in agreement, mutually involving and evolving one another; having reference to each other from a little or a great interval, and so at times as it were disappearing, broken off, suspended, and afterwards un expectedly and most seasonably returning into sight; and to these things, which are the subject of the book, the structure of the book itself accurately corresponds. Therefore, in all its parts, it presents an admirable variety, and most beautiful involutions, and at the same time the greatest harmony, which is strikingly illustrated by the very irregularities, which appear to interrupt its course. And all this is done with such an amount of exactness, that in no book more than in this would the addition, or taking away, of even a single word or clause (ch. Revelation 22:18-19), have the effect of marring the sense of the context and the comparison of passages together, and of turning aside the most sacred boundary lines of the book. And this is especially remarkable, that when it gives but a slight indication of the greatest things out of the ancient prophets, whereas it more copiously explains those that are new, it still keeps the most exact proportion. And since these things are so, a true and full analysis, whatever it is, will not fail to appear too ingenious, and therefore to incur the suspicion of those who love simplicity, and especially deserve to attain to the knowledge of the truth. But in truth the Apocalypse proceeded from the mind of GOD, if one may use the expression; and, amidst the greatest simplicity, it most worthily represents His πολυποίκιλον, manifold wisdom, in the economy of so many ages of the New Testament. And therefore he who wishes to reject an interpretation on account of the various matters which flow into that interpretation from the context, will violate that very simplicity, which is especially in accordance with the Scriptures. This is certainly to be guarded against, that the acuteness of man should not think this subject given to it as a field for its exercise, and should not, from observing the nice and accurate adjustment which exists in one or two points, reduce all things into a system pleasing to itself. We ought to keep to that which is written, to that alone, to that altogether; and so to observe, as it is shewn.— τοῖς δούλοις αὐτοῦ, to His servants) He, who does not permit the things which must come to pass to be shewn to him, is wanting in the duty of a servant. Would that those holy men would think of this, who are so intent upon everything which is most excellent, that they regard the shewing of these things as a hindrance; whereas it is able to advance the servants of Jesus Christ in every good work.— δεῖ γενέσθαι, which must come to pass) There are those, who acknowledge that some use in teaching or comforting may be derived from this book (which use not even Bossuet would deny), but so acknowledge it, that they proceed no further. They not only put aside meanwhile a part of the special prophetical sense, as the venerable D. Weisman has done, with the greatest sobriety, in his dissertation respecting the excellent teaching of the Apocalypse as to faith and morals (in the same way as Theological Systems cite the Apocalypse in every passage or article); but in reality they entirely reject the whole of the prophetic sense, and applaud themselves for so doing. And not only do they themselves fail to enter into the understanding of this book, but they also prohibit, deter, and jeer at those who are entering. But let them take care, lest they offend, or err from the very scope of the book. These things which have reference to teaching and exhortation are contained in other books; but the Apocalypse especially shows the things which must come to pass; and that too with such seriousness, that a very great oath is interposed, ch. 10. We ought not to invert this scope: in short, we ought not to separate the things which God hath joined together, namely, the knowledge of future events, and therefore of future times, and repentance, watchfulness, etc. Holy men of all times, martyrs, etc., have had a perpetual succession of expectations arising out of the Apocalypse; and although, in the particular hypothesis,(3) they were not then able to discern the times, yet in the general thesis they had a most real and present advantage from it, whilst their error was not injurious to them. Do others defend the general and fundamental truth set forth by Christ in the Gospel? They do well. But they ought not so to conduct themselves, as though the Apocalypse had not the same Author, throughout all parts of the book; and that too a glorified Author. No one of those who make a wholesome use of the rest of Scripture, pays respect to the Apocalypse without singular advantage: if he does not find that of which he was in search, he finds that which he was not seeking. The things which must come to pass, are shewn in this book. If any one, in reading this hook, shall weigh (it may be by the use of Concordances) the usage of the verb γίνομαι (some tenses of which, for instance γενέσθαι in this passage, Sylburgius ad Clenard. p. 470, derives from the unused form γενέομαι), he will retire from the consideration, not without delight. There come to pass sorrowful things, there come to pass joyful things, great and many. This book represents those things which come to pass, absolutely; that is, the sums and series of events, through so many ages, to the very coming of Jesus Christ. To that event Daniel, to that John, extends his view, each from his own age.— ἐν τάχει, quickly) A regard for Christianity brings with it a regard for the times also.—Paulus Antonius, in the Antithetical College, p. 930. Respecting quickness, I would have you by all means see the note on ch. Revelation 6:11 : from which it will be evident, that the interpretation of the celebrated D. Lange, respecting the event of the seals, etc., as being about to be quick, after many ages have intervened [and not until then], is too weak.—Tom. i. Gl. Chr. Part i., or Comm. Apoc. fol. 22. The final time itself is at hand, Revelation 1:3 : and that approach gives quickness even to the advent and rise of the things nearer at hand, and not merely to their event and progress. The whole book ought to be taken as one word, pronounced in one moment. With the exception of definite times, which are of sufficient extent, all things are most truly done ἐν τάχει, quickly. Such a quickness is signified, ch. Revelation 11:14; 2 Peter 1:14, and in many places.— ἐσήμανεν, signified) The Apocalypse abounds with Hebraisms, in simple words, μάχαιρα, comp. Genesis 49:5, where now are mentioned מכרות, κ. τ. λ., and in words entirely Hebrew, as ἀβαδδὼν, σατανᾶς, ἁρμαγεδών: also in construction, as ἀπὸ ἰησοῦ χριστοῦ, μάρτυς πιστός, κ. τ. λ., ἀπὸ ὢν, κ. τ. λ.; so that a proper name is put, in the Hebrew manner, undeclined ( ἄκλιτον), and without the article. And here it is not said, ἀπέστειλε, but ἐσήμανεν ἀποστείλας, although the verb δεῖξαι preceded. And in this John seems to have in his mind the Hebrew סִמֵּן, to which the Greek word δεῖξαι may answer: for he often joins Hebrew and Greek words. The LXX. use σημαίνειν to express a great sign of a great thing: Ezekiel 33:3. See also John 12:33.

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Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on Revelation 1:1". Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jab/revelation-1.html. 1897.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

REVELATION CHAPTER 1

Revelation 1:1-3 The preface.

Revelation 1:4-6 John's salutation to the seven churches of Asia.

Revelation 1:7 The coming of Christ,

Revelation 1:8 his eternal majesty.

Revelation 1:9-20 John relateth his vision of the Son of man with the

seven stars and the seven golden candlesticks.

The Revelation of Jesus Christ; the Apocalypse, (as this book is sometimes called), that is, the discovering or unveiling of some hidden things; so the word revelation signifieth. The Greek word is often used in the New Testament, and is ordinarily translated so. It is called The Revelation of Jesus Christ because Christ received it from his Father, as the next words show.

Which God gave unto him, as he was Mediator: by God, here, is to be understood the Father, not exclusively to the Son, as if he were not God, but to show the order of working in the Holy Trinity, John 7:16 John 14:10. Christ in his state of humiliation is said to learn of the Father; in his state of exaltation, to receive from the Father.

To show unto his servants; to John, and by him to all saints that will be studious of things revealed.

Things which must shortly come to pass; a dei genesyai en tacei. This phrase puts us out of doubt, that this book is not a relation or narrative of things past, but a revelation or prediction of things to come: see also Revelation 22:6,16. Which makes me wonder at the confidence of a learned annotator of our that all things here relate, either to the siege of Jerusalem (which was past more than twenty years before this Revelation to St. John), or to pagan Rome, which, indeed, continued two hundred and odd years after this. But his notion is contrary to the general sense of all interpreters, whether the ancient fathers or modern writers. The phrase, indeed, signifies shortly, but never what was past, nor always what shall in a few days come to pass; see Luke 18:8 Romans 16:20; though indeed sometimes it signifies the time immediately following a command, as Acts 12:7 Acts 22:18: and considering it is God's phrase, to whom a thousand years are but as yesterday, Psalms 90:4, and who calls the things that are not as if they were, and who manifestly calls all those years between Christ's coming and the end of the world (almost one thousand seven hundred of which are past already) the last days, we may allow him to say, those things should be shortly, which soon after should begin to be effected, though not finished till Christ's second coming. Though therefore we may allow this verse the key to open the whole Apocalypse, yet we must judge the learned author hath turned it the wrong way. Christ had foretold the ruin of Jerusalem, Matthew 24:1-51, nor was it now the matter of a prophecy, but history. The first six seals plainly show the state of the Christian church under Rome pagan; what shall we say to all things represented under the seventh seal, &c.?

And he sent and signified it by his angel; first by one angel, and then by another, or (possibly) constantly by the same.

Unto his servant John: who this John was, we shall declare further, Revelation 1:2,4.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Revelation 1:1". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/revelation-1.html. 1685.

Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture

Откровение Греческое слово apokalypsis, от которого произошли и английское и русское, буквально обозначает «открывать завесу». По отношению к человеку оно означает, что открыто спасение Божие (см. во Вступлении: Название, ср. Лк. 2:30-32; Рим. 8:19; 1Кор. 1:7, 1Пет. 1:7).

Иисуса Христа Евангелия «открывают» Христа во время Его первого пришествия – в смирении и уничижении, Откровение «раскрывает» Его во всем величии: 1) в блеске славы (ст. 7–20); 2) Господином над Своей церковью (гл. 2 и 3); 3) во время второго пришествия, когда Он забирает землю у узурпатора, сатаны, и устанавливает Свое Царство (гл. 4-20) и 4) когда дарует вечную радость (гл. 21 и 22). Авторы Нового Завета радостно предсказывают это «раскрытие» (1Кор. 1:7; 2Фес. 1:7; 1Пет. 1:7).

дал Ему Бог В награду за Христову покорность и совершенное Им искупление Отец даровал Ему великое свидетельство Его будущей славы (ср. Флп. 2:5-11). В этой книге читатели как бы подслушивают передачу власти от Отца Сыну. вскоре Первичное значение этого слова (букв. «скоро»; ср. 2:5, 16; 3:11; 11:14; 22:12; 2Тим. 4:9) подчеркивает приближение пришествия Христа.

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MacLaren, Alexander. "Commentary on Revelation 1:1". Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mac/revelation-1.html.

Justin Edwards' Family Bible New Testament

The Revelation of Jesus Christ; that made by Jesus Christ.

Which God gave unto him; here, as uniformly in the New Testament, Christ is represented as acting according to the commission which he has received from God the Father. Compare John 3:34; John 5:20; John 7:16; John 10:32; John 12:49.

Must shortly come to pass; these words may be understood as meaning that the series of events here foretold must soon begin to be accomplished. But this limitation is not necessary, since the constant representation of Scripture is, that with the Lord a thousand years are but as one day, and that the coming of Christ and the end of all things is always at hand, chapter Revelation 22:20; 1 Peter 4:7; 2 Peter 3:8; 2 Peter 3:12; and especially Luke 18:8.

He sent; whether we understand Jesus Christ, as in chap Revelation 22:16, or God, as in chap Revelation 22:6, is unimportant, since in the matter of this revelation the Father and the Son are one.

By his angel; making use of his ministry, chap Revelation 22:6; Revelation 22:8; Revelation 22:16.

John; the apostle John. The Lord reveals as many things as it is needful for his people in this life to know; and many things which are now dark and mysterious will hereafter be made plain. John 13:7.

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Edwards, Justin. "Commentary on Revelation 1:1". "Family Bible New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/fam/revelation-1.html. American Tract Society. 1851.

Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary

CONTENTS

After a short Preface of what the Apostle is called to, in the Ministry of this Book of Revelation, he addresseth the Seven Churches of Asia, with the Salutation of Grace and Peace. He speaks most blessedly of the Person and Glory of Christ, in his appearing to Him, and relates what passed at this Interview.

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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Revelation 1:1". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pmc/revelation-1.html. 1828.

Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible

‘And he sent and signified it by his angel to his servant John.’

The meaning is ‘signified, revealed through signs’. The book constantly uses symbolism to get over its message. We are left to interpret that symbolism carefully and thoughtfully recognising that it is a message from Christ Himself.

‘By his angel’. The message was considered so important that it was committed to a special angelic messenger. ‘His angel’ means simply the messenger whom God chose.

‘To his servant John’. The early church accepted that this was John the Apostle which was why the book was accepted. He is described as Christ’s ‘servant’. We can compare this with Paul’s constant claim to be ‘the servant of Jesus Christ’ (Romans 1:1; Philippians 1:1) and a ‘servant of God’ (Titus 1:1). James says that he is ‘a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ’ (James 1:1), as do Peter (2 Peter 1:1) and Jude (Jude 1:1). Revelation similarly uses this title of Christians as a title of honour.

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Pett, Peter. "Commentary on Revelation 1:1". "Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pet/revelation-1.html. 2013.

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

"The revelation of Jesus Christ" is the subject of this book. "Revelation" (from the Latin revelatio) means unveiling or disclosure and is a translation of the Greek word apokalypsis, the transliteration of which is an alternative title for the book (i.e, the Apocalypse; cf. Daniel 2:28-30; Daniel 2:45-47). The Greek word occurs only here in the book. Jesus Christ was the giver of this revelation (cf. Matthew 11:27; John 1:18; John 5:19-23; John 12:49; John 17:8), and He is its main subject. The genitive in the Greek text is probably both objective and subjective. "Communicated" (Gr. esemanen) simply means "indicated" (cf. John 12:33; Acts 11:28); it does not mean "signified" in the sense that everything that follows is symbolic, though much of what Jesus communicated is symbolic. Whereas the Gospels reveal Jesus in His humiliation, Revelation reveals Him in His glory.

"It will be vain to become occupied with "sevens," "hundred-forty-four-thousands," "six-sixty-sixes," the restoration of the Roman Empire, the person of the antichrist, the two wild beasts, the "millennium," or even the new Jerusalem; unless, along with God the Father, who has subjected all things unto Him, Christ is ever before our eyes!" [Note: William R. Newell, The Book of the Revelation, p31.]

God wanted the bond-servants of Jesus Christ (cf. Revelation 22:6; Acts 2:18) to have this revelation of things that will happen soon.

"If we are having difficulty with this blessed closing book of God"s holy Word, let us surrender ourselves to Jesus Christ as His servants. The book was written to bondservants." [Note: Ibid, p4.]

The idea behind the Greek words translated "shortly" (en tachei) is probably that the events to be revealed will appear soon rather than speedily.

". . . the view that sees en tachei meaning "soon" and thereby focuses on the imminence of the predicted events is impressive. A major thrust of Revelation is its emphasis upon the shortness of time before the fulfillment. In the midst of persecution God"s people do not have long to wait for relief to come. To say that the relief will come "suddenly" offers no encouragement, but to say that it will come "soon" does....

"The presence of en tachei in Revelation 1:1 shows that for the first time the events predicted by Daniel and foreseen by Christ stood in readiness to be fulfilled. Therefore, John could speak of them as imminent, but earlier prophets could not." [Note: Thomas, Revelation 1-7, pp55, 56. Cf22:6; Deuteronomy 9:3; Ezekiel 29:5 (LXX); Luke 18:8; Romans 16:20. See Mark L. Hitchcock, "A Critique of the Preterist View of "Soon" and "Near" in Revelation," Bibliotheca Sacra163:652 (October-December2006):467-78.]

There are many similarities between how John wrote Revelation and how Daniel wrote the book that bears his name. Both prophecies deal with God"s sovereign rule over world history.

Jesus Christ communicated this revelation to an angel (Gabriel? cf. Daniel 8:16; Daniel 9:21-22; Luke 1:26-31) who passed it on to the Apostle John. This is the first of some67 references to angels (messengers) in Revelation. John used the traditional title of bond-servant (slave) to describe his relationship to Jesus Christ, as did all the other apostles (cf. Romans 1:1; Philippians 1:1; Titus 1:1; James 1:1; 2 Peter 1:1; Jude 1:1). The chain of communication was from God the Father to Jesus to an angel to John and to Christians.

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Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Revelation 1:1". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dcc/revelation-1.html. 2012.

Foy E. Wallace's Commentary on the Book of Revelation

I. THE INTRODUCTION

(Revelation 1:1-20 : l-3)

(1) The source of the visions.

1. "The revelation of Jesus Christ"--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.

2. "Which God gave unto him"--1:1.

God, the Father, was himself the source of the vision. This reverence for God was always manifested by Jesus, as he affirmed in all of the gospel records while he was on the earth, that he did not speak of, or from, himself, but from his Father who sent him. (John 12:49) This vision was first a revelation that God sent to his Son, Jesus Christ, who, in the second place, sent it by an angel, in the third place, to John, in the fourth place of the numerical declension. The angel signified the vision to John, that is, communicated it to him in the signs directed by Jesus Christ.

(2) The object of the visions.

1. "To show unto his servants"--1:1.

It was on the principle that to be forewarned was to be forearmed. So the things signified, or symbolized--set forth in signs--were explained to the members of the churches for their needful information concerning the immediate events which pertained to the persons and churches addressed, and which would be fulfilled in the period of their own lives and experiences; else the language addressed to them served no purpose to the people for whom "God gave it," and to whom it was sent.

2. "Things which must shortly come to pass"--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.

(3) The method of the delivery and communication.

1. "And he sent and signified it by an angel"--1:1.

The revelation was sent by an angel--that is, it was delivered by a special messenger. And it was signified, indicating how it was communicated; that it was not merely made known, but was transmitted in code by signs and symbols. It was a special message, delivered by special messengers, in the special medium of code language. It was thus dispatched unto his servant John.

2. "Unto his servant John"--1:1.

There is a difference in the meanings of the words show and signify. Jesus Christ signified the vision unto John to show unto his servants. That is, it was revealed to John in code for explanation to the churches, which could, of course, have been accomplished by the spiritually gifted teachers of that period in each church. The meaning is that as a message, it was special and not general; it was for the churches, and not for the public. As an example, the Comforter (John 14:16; John 13:13) was a special promise to the apostles alone, and not to all of the disciples, nor for the world in general--only the apostles. So it was with the apocalypse; it was a message for the early churches, not for the Jewish world nor the Roman public--and that is why it was written in code instead of the use of literal language, as in all of the other epistles.

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Wallace, Foy E. "Commentary on Revelation 1:1". "Foy E. Wallace's Commentary on the Book of Revelation". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/foy/revelation-1.html. 1966.

Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament

Revelation 1:1. The book is a revelation, a drawing back of the veil which, to the merely human eye, hangs over the purposes of God; and it is a revelation of Jesus Christ, that is, not a revelation of what Jesus Christ is, but a revelation which Jesus Christ gives to His Church, even as the Father had given it to Him. As in the Gospel of St. John, God the Father is here the fountain of all blessing; but whatever He has He gives to the Son (John 7:16; John 12:49; John 14:10; John 17:7-8); and whatever the Son has He in His turn makes His people share,—‘Even as Thou, Father, art in Me, and I in Thee, that they also may be in Us’ (John 17:21). We have thus Jesus introduced to us, not simply as He was on earth, but as He has passed through the sufferings of earth to the glory of heaven. He has been dead, but He is now the First-born of the dead; and as such He sends and signifies the revelation unto His servant John.

The object of the revelation on the part of Jesus Christ [for it is to Him that the pioneers ‘him,’ ‘his,’ and ‘he’ in this verse must in each instance be referred] is to show certain things unto his servants. These are the members of the Christian Church, of the one Body of Christ, without distinction of standing or of office. St. John is a ‘servant’ (chap. Revelation 1:1); the prophets are ‘servants’ (chap. Revelation 10:7, Revelation 11:18); and all members of the Church are designated in the same way (chaps. Revelation 2:20, Revelation 7:3, Revelation 19:2; Revelation 19:5, Revelation 22:3; Revelation 22:6; Revelation 22:9).—The things to be shown are things which most quickly come to pass. And the word of the original, which can only be rendered in English by ‘come to pass,’ shows that it is not a beginning that is thought of but a full accomplishment. Nor can we fail to notice that they ‘must’ come to pass. They are the purposes of no fallible or mortal creature, but of the infallible and eternal God.—The words through his angel are to be connected with sent (comp. chap. Revelation 22:6); and the word signified must be allowed to stand in all its own absolute solemnity and force. It is by no means improbable that in this latter word there is special reference to ‘signs,’ to the figures which are to be used in the book, and which need to be interpreted. The word may indicate not only prophetic intimation (John 12:33; John 18:32; John 21:19; Acts 11:28), but the manner in which such intimation was usual among the prophets (see especially Ezekiel and Zechariah), that is, by ‘signs,’ significant acts, and parabolic words. Thus our Lord, by speaking of ‘being lifted on high’ as the brazen serpent was lifted on high, ‘signified’ by what manner of death He should die (John 12:33). On the only occasion in which the word is found in the N. T. in a more ordinary sense, it is employed by a heathen (Acts 25:27).

That St. John names himself here, while in his Gospel he only discovers himself to those who can read his name through the symbols in which he speaks, is easily explained. We are dealing with prophecy, and prophecy requires the guarantee of the individual who is inspired to utter it.

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Schaff, Philip. "Commentary on Revelation 1:1". "Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/scn/revelation-1.html. 1879-90.

Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

Revelation 1:1. The book opens with the title or inscription of the book itself, and an account of the scope and design of it, namely, to foretel things which should shortly begin to be fulfilled, and should succeed in their due season and order till all were accomplished. The Revelation — Properly so called; for things covered before, are here revealed, or unveiled. No prophecy in the Old Testament has this title; it was reserved for this alone in the New. It is, as it were, a manifesto, wherein the Heir of all things declares, that all power is given him in heaven and earth; and that he will, in the end, gloriously exercise that power, maugre all the opposition of all his enemies. Of Jesus Christ — Not of John the divine, a title added in latter ages. Certain it is, that appellation, the divine, was not brought into the church, much less was it affixed to John the apostle, till long after the apostolic age. It was St. John indeed who wrote this book; but the Author of it is Jesus Christ. Which God gave unto him — According to his holy, glorified humanity, as the great Prophet of the church. God gave the revelation to Jesus Christ, Jesus Christ made it known to his servants. To show — This word recurs Revelation 22:6. And in many places the parts of this book refer to each other. Indeed, the whole structure of it breathes the art of God; comprising, in the most finished compendium, things to come; many, various; near, intermediate, remote; the greatest, the least; terrible, comfortable; old, new; long, short; and these interwoven together, opposite, composite; relative to each other, at a small, at a great distance; and therefore, sometimes, as it were, disappearing, broken off, suspended, and afterward unexpectedly, and most seasonably, appearing again. In all its parts it has an admirable variety, with the most exact harmony, beautifully illustrated by those very digressions which seem to interrupt it; in this manner does it display the manifold wisdom of God, shining, in the economy of the church, through so many ages. His servants — Much is comprehended in this appellation. It is a great thing to be a servant of Jesus Christ. This book is dedicated particularly to the servants of Christ in the seven churches in Asia; but not exclusive of all his other servants, in all nations and ages. It is one single revelation, and yet sufficient for them all, from the time it was written to the end of the world. Serve thou the Lord Jesus Christ in truth. So shalt thou learn his secret in this book. Yea, and thou shalt feel in thy heart, whether this book be divine or not. The things which must shortly come to pass — The things contained in this prophecy did begin to be accomplished shortly after it was given; and the whole might be said to come to pass shortly, in the same sense as St. Peter says, The end of all things is at hand; and our Lord himself, Behold I come quickly. There is in this book a rich treasure of all the doctrines pertaining to faith and holiness. But these are also delivered in other parts of Holy Writ; so that the Revelation need not to have been given for the sake of these. The peculiar design of this is To show the things which must come to pass. And this we are especially to have before our eyes, whenever we read or hear it.

It is said afterward, Write what thou seest; and again, Write what thou hast seen, and what is, and what shall be hereafter; but here, where the scope of the book is shown, it is only said, the things which must come to pass. Accordingly, the showing things to come, is the great point in view throughout the whole. And St. John writes what he has seen, and what is, only as it has an influence on, or gives light to, what shall be. And he — Jesus Christ; sent and signified them — Showed them by signs or emblems; (so the Greek word properly means;) by his angel — Peculiarly called in the sequel, The angel of God, and particularly mentioned chap. Revelation 17:1; Revelation 21:9; Revelation 22:6; Revelation 22:16; to his servant John — A title given to no other single person throughout the book.

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Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Revelation 1:1". Joseph Benson's Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/revelation-1.html. 1857.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

-3

The Apocalypse, or Revelation. I rather prefer the word Apocalypse, which the Latin interpreter did not think fit to change. --- Of Jesus Christ....by his Angel, sent to his servant, John. So that these things were immediately revealed to St. John by an Angel, who represented and spoke in the person of Christ.--- Which must shortly come; and as it is again said, (ver. 3.) the time is at hand. This cannot be meant of all things in the Apocalypse, where mention is also made of the day of judgment, and of the glory of heaven at the end of the world. It can only mean, that some things were to happen shortly, i.e. what is said of the seven churches. (Chap. ii. and iii.) Or the persecutions foretold should begin shortly. Or else these expressions are only to signify, that all time is short, and that from the coming of the Messias, we are not in the last age, or the last hour. See 1 John ii. 18. (Witham) --- St. John excites their attention by the most pressing motives, the approach of the events. Whatever explanation be given of this book, it is equally true in all, that the time is at hand, when it will begin to be accomplished. To find our consolation and happiness in this sacred book, according to the promise of the Holy Spirit, we must peruse it with faith and humility, receive the interpretation of the Church with submission and docility, and practise the truths contained with fidelity and promptitude. What is the life of man, since ages are but moments that escape us? Eternity is but a moment, but a moment that will never end.

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Revelation 1:1". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/revelation-1.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

The . . . Christ. The Divine title of the Book.

The Revelation = Revelation. Greek. apokalupsis, whence our "Apocalypse". App-106and App-197.

Jesus Christ. App-98.

unto = to.

shew = point out. First occurrence Matthew 4:8. Compare Revelation 22:6. servants, servant. App-190. The word is peculiarly appropriated to Israel throughout O.T., and in this Book is used (fourteen times) as the proper title of those who are its subjects. Contrast "servants" and "sons", Romans 8:14-17. Galatians 1:4, Galatians 1:1-7. 1 John 3:1.

things, &c. = what things must needs come to pass. See Daniel 2:29 (Septuagint)

shortly = with (Greek. en) speed.

sent = having sent. App-174.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Revelation 1:1". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/revelation-1.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John:

Revelation - Apocalypse: unveiling those things which had been veiled. A manifesto of Christ's kingdom. The Church's traveling manual for the Gentile Christian times. Not a detailed history, but a representation of the great epochs and powers in developing the kingdom of God in relation to the world. The Church-historical view goes counter to the great principle, that Scripture interprets itself. Revelation is to teach us to understand the times, not the times to interpret the Apocalypse, although a reflex influence is exerted here, understood by the prudent (Auberlen). The book is in a series of parallel groups, not in chronological succession. Still there is an organic historical development of the kingdom of God. In this book all the other books of the Bible meet: in it is the consummation of all previous prophecy. Daniel foretells as to Christ and the Roman destruction of Jerusalem, and the last Antichrist. But John's Revelation fills up the intermediate period, and describes the millennium and final state beyond Antichrist. Daniel, as a godly statesman, views God's people in relation to the four world-kingdoms. John, as an apostle, views history from the Christian Church aspect. Apocalypse is applied to no Old Testament book. Daniel is the nearest approach to it; but what Daniel was told to seal and shut up until the time of the end (Daniel 12:4), John (John 22:10 ), now that the time is at hand (Revelation 1:3), is directed to reveal.

Of (i:e., from) Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ, not John, is the Author of the Apocalypse. The title ought to be, 'The Revelation of Jesus Christ according to John;' not 'of John.' Compare His promise, John 15:15; John 16:13, end. The gospels record His first advent in the flesh; the Acts, His coming in the Spirit; the letters are the inspired comment on them. The Apocalypse is of His second advent, and the preliminary events.

Which God gave unto him. The Father reveals Himself in and by His Son.

To show. So Revelation 22:6. Revelation comprises, in a perfect compendium, things close at hand, far off, and between; great and little; destroying and saving; prophecies old and new, long and short; mutually involving and evolving one another: so that in no book more than in this would the addition, or taking away, of a single word or clause (Revelation 22:18-19), have the effect of marring the sense (Bengel).

His servants - not merely to "His servant John" (cf. Revelation 22:3).

Shortly - `speedily;' 'in' or 'with speed.' Compare Revelation 1:3; Revelation 22:6-7. Not, according to man's computation, near; but "shortly" corrects our estimate of worldly periods. Though a "thousand years" (Revelation 20:1-15), at least, are included, the time is at hand (Luke 18:8). Israel's praise-worthy, but premature, eagerness for the predicted end, prophecy restrains, (cf. Daniel 9:1-27.) The Gentile church needs to be roused from her tendency to make this transitory world her home, by the nearness of Christ's advent. Revelation saith, "the time is at hand." On the other hand, the succession of seals, etc., shows that many events must first elapse.

He - Jesus Christ, by His angel, joined with "sent." The angel does not 'signify things' until Revelation 17:1; Revelation 19:9-10 : cf. Revelation 22:16. Previously John receives information from others. Jesus Christ opens the Revelation, Revelation 1:10-11; Revelation 4:1 : in Revelation 6:1, one of the four living creatures acts as his informant; in Revelation 7:13, one of the elders; in Revelation 10:8-9, the Lord and His angel, who stood on the sea and earth. Only at Revelation 17:1 does the one angel stand by him (cf. Daniel 8:16; Daniel 9:21; Zechariah 1:19).

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Revelation 1:1". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/revelation-1.html. 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(1) The Revelation of Jesus Christ.—The book is a revelation of the things which are and the things which shall be. “John is the writer, but Jesus Christ is the author,” says Grotius; and consistently with this the action of Christ is seen throughout. It is Christ who bids John write to the seven churches; it is Christ who opens the seven seals (Revelation 6:1), who reveals the sufferings of the Church (Revelation 6:9), who offers the prayers of the saints (Revelation 8:3), and delivers the little book to John (Revelation 10:1-11). Thus it is seen that though the rise and fall of earth’s history is included in the revelation, it is a revelation also of a living person; it is not the dull, dead onward flow of circumstances, but the lives of men and nations seen in the light of Him who is the light of every man and the life of all history; and thus we learn that “only a living person can be the Alpha and Omega, the starting-point of creation and its final rest.” The testimony of Jesus is the spirit of this prophecy, as of all others. The Father gives this to the Son whom He loves, and shows Him all things that Himself doeth.

Shortly.—On this word much controversy has turned. Its force, “speedily,” affords a groundwork, and, it must be admitted, a plausible one, to the præterist school of interpreters, who hold that the whole range of Apocalyptic predictions was fulfilled within a comparatively short time after the Apostle wrote. The truth, however, seems to be that the words of God are of perpetual fulfilment: they are not only to be fulfilled; they have not only been fulfilled; but they have been and they are being fulfilled; and they yet will be fulfilled; and the principles which are enunciated by the Prophet, though “shortly” fulfilled, are not exhausted in the immediate fulfilment, but carry still lessons for the succeeding generations of mankind.

John—i.e., the Apostle and Evangelist. The arguments in support of this identification are admitted even by the most captious critics to be conclusive. “The Apocalypse, if any book can be traced to him, must be ascribed to the Apostle John” (Supernatural Religion). (See Excursus A.) To many it will seem natural that John, the beloved disciple, should be the recipient of this revelation. Those who have been nearest to God learn most of His will. Such are friends, not servants, for the servant knoweth not what his Lord doeth; and thus, as in the Old Testament to Abraham, the friend of God, and to Daniel, a man greatly beloved, so in the New Testament to the disciple who leaned on Jesus’ bosom, are shown the things which God was about to do. “Mysteries are revealed unto the meek. The pure in heart shall see God. A pure heart penetrateth heaven and hell” (Thomas à-Kempis).

“More bounteous aspects on me beam,

Me mightier transports move and thrill;

So keep I fair through faith and prayer,

A virgin heart in work and will.”—Sir Galahad.

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Revelation 1:1". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/revelation-1.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John:
Revelation
Daniel 2:28,29; Amos 3:7; Romans 16:25; Galatians 1:12; Ephesians 3:3
which God
John 3:32; 8:26; 12:49
to shew
22:6; Psalms 25:14; John 15:15
which must
3,19; 4:1; 2Pe:
and he
22:6,16; Daniel 8:16; 9:21,23
John
4,9; 21:2
Reciprocal: 2 Kings 6:9 - thither the Syrians;  Psalm 36:1 - servant;  Isaiah 51:16 - I have put;  Daniel 2:23 - and hast;  Daniel 8:19 - I will;  Zechariah 1:11 - they answered;  Matthew 10:2 - John;  Mark 13:32 - neither;  John 7:16 - My;  John 16:13 - he will show;  Acts 1:2 - through;  Acts 1:13 - Peter;  Acts 3:22 - A prophet;  Romans 1:1 - a servant;  Romans 16:18 - serve;  1 Corinthians 2:10 - God;  Philippians 1:1 - the servants;  Revelation 5:5 - hath

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Revelation 1:1". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/revelation-1.html.

E.M. Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament

The word revelation occurs12times in the King James Version. It is from APOKALUPSIS and Thayer defines it as follows: "An uncovering; 1. properly a laying bare, making naked." The revelation is said to be of or from Jesus Christ and God gave it unto him. It was to show things that were to come to pass or that were in the future. "Shortly is a comparative term, for while some things predicted did take place in a short time literally, some of them were hundreds of years in the future. Signified is from SEMAINOO, which Thayer defines, "To give a sign, to signify, indicate." (See the comments on "symbols" in General remarks[in eSword see Book Notes] at the beginning of the chapter.) The revelation was sent to John and the bearer of it was an angel of the Lord. The writer is one of the twelve apostles but he uses the term servant which indicates his attitude of modesty. In a later verse he refers to himself as a brother to his readers in the kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ.

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Zerr, E.M. "Commentary on Revelation 1:1". E.M. Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/znt/revelation-1.html. 1952.

Hanserd Knollys' Commentary on Revelation

Revelation 1:1

Revelation 1:1 The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John:

This chapter consists of three general parts; first, an inspiration. { Revelation 1:1-3} Secondly, a direction of the prophecies of this book. { Revelation 1:4; Revelation 1:9}

In the first verse we have the title of this book,

"The Revelation of Jesus Christ"

As the whole scripture being given by inspiration of God, is the revelation of his holy will, { Ephesians 3:4-5} so this last part of the Holy Scripture is the Revelation of Jesus Christ: Also the author of this Revelation,

"which God gave unto him"

that Isaiah, God the Father gave unto his Son Jesus Christ

"To show unto his servants"

First, his sanctified servants, called saints: { Romans 6:12; 1 Corinthians 1:2} Second, his suffering servants, called martyrs. { Revelation 19:2} Thirdly, all his ministering servants, called angels (or elders) of his churches, { Revelation 1:20; 1 Corinthians 4:1-2}

"Things that must shortly come to pass"

that Isaiah, the dispensations of God both touching his Church, and his and their enemies.

"And he sent and signified it by his Angel unto his Servant John"

The holy angels are God's ministering spirits. { Hebrews 1:7-14} John was the ministering servant of Jesus Christ to his churches; the ancient learned and godly writers called him "John the Divine," because he wrote so profoundly of the divinity of Jesus Christ both in his gospel and in his epistles.

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Knollys, Hanserd. "Commentary on Revelation 1:1". "Hanserd Knollys' Commentary on Revelation". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hkc/revelation-1.html.

Harold Norris' Commentary on the Book of Revelation

1. The very FIRST word tells us WHAT THE BOOK OF REVELATION IS ABOUT, "THE REVELATION" The first word is significant.

"Revelation" (in Greek "Apocalypse") proves that this book is not meant of be a mysterious book. The meaning of the word "Revelation" is THE UNCOVERING OF THAT WHICH HAS PREVIOUSLY BEEN COVERED--THE DRAWING BACK OF THE VEIL WHICH HAS PREVIOUSLY COVERED SOMETHING--The book is a Revelation --THE UNVEILING OF GOD"S PLAN AND PURPOSE so that whoever reads this book will find faith and courage to meet all the trials of this present life in a strong and hopeful spirit. It is the Revelation, the drawing back of the curtain which has previously hidden the plan and purpose of God from our human eyes and understanding.

Song of Solomon, the very first word tells us what the book is about.

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Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

1. Title of the book, Revelation 1:1-3.

1.The—In modern style the first three verses would have been printed on a first title-page, with Revelation 1:3 for the author’s motto, and with names of publishers at bottom. Revelation 1:4-8 are the dedication, namely, to the seven Churches. At Revelation 1:9 begins the Apocalypse proper. Like most title-pages, this was apparently written after the book was finished, and it informs us how the writer came by its contents.

Revelation, or Apocalypse, means, literally, an unveiling or uncovering, namely, of some hitherto hidden or unseen object. The conception is, that St. John’s perceptions were so super-naturalized that the hidden things of God’s administration could be made bare before his eyes, as in a moving panoramic representation. It was a revelation of, that is, by, Jesus Christ as its immediate bestower. And that not only from his self-revelation in the Christophany of 9-20, but also from his conquering, (v, 5, where see note,) as Mediator, to open the seven seals, without which no disclosure could be made.

God gave—The theophany of chaps, iv and v explains this gave by showing God upon the throne, with the whole apparatus of revelation, yet not allowing the seals to be opened except to the adored and all-meriting Lamb. God, therefore, gave this revelation unto him as part of his winnings through his death and mediation.

To showTo exhibit; for as John saw the unveiling, (Revelation 1:3,) so it was Christ’s purpose through him to have it exhibited to all.

His servants—The seven Churches and the universal Church by them represented. For as Christ gave through John, so John gives through his apostolic seven the unveiling to the ecumenical Church. So this revelation comes from God, through Christ, through the angel, through John, through the seven, down even to us.

Shortly come to passShortly, by the arithmetic of eternity. See note on 2 Peter 3:8. The same note of immediateness at close of Revelation 1:3, and in Revelation 22:20. Dusterdieck decides that “the evasion that the shortly should be reckoned the divine mode of computation, according to St. Peter’s words, is contrary to the context,” but gives no reason. Hengstenberg gives for the same decision the reason that when God speaks to man, he must speak in a human manner. Therein he contradicts St. Peter, who, on this very point, declares that God does speak to man according to a divine arithmetic.

Alford here fairly breaks down. Through his whole commentary he stiffly maintains that all such expressions mean that the New Testament writers thought and said that the second advent would be in their own day. With this view we have taken issue at passage after passage. At last, when he comes to the Apocalypse, he happily turns about and takes precisely our own grounds. Pity he could not have sponged out his previous notes.

By his angel—Doubtless the interpreting angel of Revelation 17:1; Revelation 17:7; Revelation 17:15, who appears also at Revelation 19:9; Revelation 21:9; Revelation 22:1; Revelation 22:6. This last text nearly repeats the words here, and adequately explains them. The idea of some commentators that there was an attendant exhibiting angel from the beginning to end is not implied in the words.

 

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Revelation 1:1". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/revelation-1.html. 1874-1909.

The Expositor's Greek Testament

Revelation 1:1. , in specific sense of Revelation 10:7, Revelation 11:18, after Daniel 9:6; Daniel 9:10; Zechariah 1:6, and Amos 3:7 ( ). Jesus Christ is used only in Revelation 1:1-5 (Revelation 22:21?), Lord Jesus only in Revelation 22:20, Lord (i.e., Jesus) only in Revelation 11:8 and Revelation 14:13; elsewhere either (Revelation 20:4; Revelation 20:6) (Revelation 11:15, Revelation 12:10) or (as in Hebrews) the simple Jesus. . . . (from Daniel 3:28-29), either object of (Vit. ii. 229) or more probably in opposition to . = “soon” (as in Clem. Rom. 23:5 and the instructive logion of Luke 18:8). This is the hinge and staple of the book. When the advent of Jesus is hailed as a relief, it is no consolation to say that the relief will come suddenly; sudden or not, it must come soon (Revelation 10:7), if it is to be of any service. The keynote of the Apocalypse is the cheering assurance that upon God’s part there is no reluctance or delay; His people have not long to wait now. (so of what is future and momentous, Ezekiel 33:3, Acts 11:26, etc.: Heracleitus on the Delphic oracle, ) (from seventh heaven, in Asc. Isa. vi. 13), a loose Heb. idiom for “he (i.e., Jesus here and in xxii. 16, God in xxii. 6) sent and signified it”. (as in Asc. Isa. xi. 30, etc.) (cf. Test. Jos. vi. 6). Jesus is the medium of all revelation, but is further conceived of as transmitted through the angelus interpres, a familiar and important figure in rabbinic (cf.E. J. i. 592, 593) and apocalyptic tradition (see reff, and on Acts 7:30), who stands here between Jesus and the prophet as a sort of double of the former. Like Hermas (Mand. xi. 9), the post-exilic tradition required the executive function of this angel, in order to (a) satisfy the yearning for some means of divine communication, and (b) at the same time to maintain reverence for the divine glory (Baldensperger, 48 f.). But John’s Christian consciousness here and elsewhere is too large for the traditional and artificial forms of its expression. Unless this angel is identified with that of Revelation 10:1 f., he plays only a scanty and tardy role (Revelation 17:1 f., Revelation 21:5 f.) in the series of visions; the prophet’s sense of direct experience (e.g., in Revelation 1:9 f.) bursts through the cumbrous category of an intermediate agent between himself and Christ. It is by a conventional form of religious symbolism prevalent in this genre of literature, that Jesus, like Yahweh in Ezekiel (cf.Ezekiel 10:1; Ezekiel 10:3, Ezekiel 44:2), is represented both as addressing the prophet directly and as instructing him indirectly. The latter mode of expression (cf. Milton’s Uriel and 4 Ezra 4:1) was due to a hypostatising tendency which was not confined to Judaism. As Plutarch points out (cf. below on Revelation 8:5 and Revelation 15:8), the daemons in Hellenic religion are a middle term between the divine and the human; they prevent the former from being disturbed or contaminated by direct intercourse with men, and they also act as interpreters who communicate the divine will to men (cf. De Iside 25; Oakesmith’s Religion of Plutarch, pp. 121 f., 163 f.). Wherever the reaction against materialism prevailed, especially in the popular religion of the empire, the belief in daemons or spirits as intermediate agents gave expression to the conviction that human weakness could not come into direct touch with the divine glory (cf. Friedländer, iii. 430 f.; Hatch’s Hibbert Lectures, 245 f.).

 

 

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Bibliographical Information
Nicol, W. Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on Revelation 1:1". The Expositor's Greek Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/egt/revelation-1.html. 1897-1910.

The Bible Study New Testament

1. Revealed. The curtain of both the present and the future is lifted (Revelation 1:19). Jesus Christ. It is his message (see chapter 5). Which God gave him. God’s Plan is behind it all. By sending his angel. Throughout this book, angels are given the messages to reveal. [See Hebrews 1:14; Revelation 4:1; Revelation 21:9; Revelation 22:1; Revelation 22:8; etc.]John, as a prophet, is to record all this and pass it on to all mankind.

 

 

 

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Ice, Rhoderick D. "Commentary on Revelation 1:1". "The Bible Study New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ice/revelation-1.html. College Press, Joplin, MO. 1974.