Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Revelation 1:11

saying, "Write in a book what you see, and send it to the seven churches: to Ephesus and to Smyrna and to Pergamum and to Thyatira and to Sardis and to Philadelphia and to Laodicea."
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Alpha;   Asia;   Ephesus;   I Am That I Am;   Inspiration;   Jesus, the Christ;   Laodicea;   Omega;   Pergamos;   Philadelphia;   Sardis;   Smyrna;   Thyatira;   Vision;   Word of God;   Scofield Reference Index - Christ;   Churches;   Holy Spirit;   Sacrifice;   Theophanies;   Thompson Chain Reference - Alpha;   Christ;   Churches, the Seven;   Divinity;   Divinity-Humanity;   Laodicea;   Pergamos;   Philadelphia;   Preeminence;   Sardis;   Seven;   Thyatira;   The Topic Concordance - Jesus Christ;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - A;   Cherub;   Inspiration;   Laodicea;   Pergamos;   Prophets;   Thyatira;   Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Lamp;   Pergamum;   Revelation, book of;   Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - Ascension of Christ;   Jesus Christ;   Easton Bible Dictionary - A;   Asia;   John;   Laodicea;   Pergamos;   Thyatira;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Ephesus;   John the Apostle;   Laodicea;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Ephesus;   Library;   Mysia;   Pergamos;   Revelation, the Book of;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Alpha and Omega;   Angels of the Seven Churches;   Antioch;   Asia;   Atonement;   Brotherly Love;   Colossae;   Ephesus;   Pergamum;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Apocalypse;   Asia ;   Galatia ;   Laodicea;   Lydia ;   Numbers;   Numbers (2);   Pergamus Pergamum ;   Writing;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Ephesus ;   Laodicea ;   Omega ;   Pergamos ;   Philadelphia ;   Sardis ;   Smyrna ;   Thyatira;   The Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary - Golden candlesticks;   Laodicea;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Alpha;   Laodicea;   Pergamos;   Philadelphia;   Smyrna;   Smith Bible Dictionary - Alpha;   A'sia;   Ome'ga,;   Per'gamos;   Per'gamum;   Wilson's Dictionary of Bible Types - Alpha;   Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary - Inspiration;  
Encyclopedias:
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Colossae;   Laodicea;   Parousia;   Revelation of John:;   Kitto Biblical Cyclopedia - Alpha;   Asia;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Laodicea;  
Devotionals:
Every Day Light - Devotion for October 30;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: and - This whole clause is wanting in ABC, thirty-one others; some editions; the Syriac, Coptic, Ethiopic, Armenian, Slavonic, Vulgate, Arethas, Andreas, and Primasius. Griesbach has left it out of the text.

Saying - What thou seest, write in a book - Carefully note down every thing that is represented to thee. John had the visions from heaven; but he described them in his own language and manner.

Send it unto the seven Churches - The names of which immediately follow. In Asia. This is wanting in the principal MSS. and versions. Griesbach has left it out of the text.

Ephesus - This was a city of Ionia, in Asia Minor, situated at the mouth of the river Cayster, on the shore of the Aegean Sea, about fifty miles south of Smyrna. See preface to the Epistle to the Ephesians.

Smyrna - Now called also Ismir, is the largest and richest city of Asia Minor. It is situated about one hundred and eighty-three miles west by south of Constantinople, on the shore of the Aegean Sea. It is supposed to contain about one hundred and forty thousand inhabitants, of whom there are from fifteen to twenty thousand Greeks, six thousand Armenians, five thousand Roman Catholics, one hundred and forty Protestants, eleven thousand Jews, and fifteen thousand Turks. It is a beautiful city, but often ravaged by the plague, and seldom two years together free from earthquakes. In 1758 the city was nearly desolated by the plague; scarcely a sufficient number of the inhabitants survived to gather in the fruits of the earth. In 1688 there was a terrible earthquake here, which overthrew a great number of houses; in one of the shocks, the rock on which the castle stood opened, swallowed up the castle and five thousand persons! On these accounts, nothing but the love of gain, so natural to man, could induce any person to make it his residence; though, in other respects, it can boast of many advantages. In this city the Turks have nineteen mosques; the Greeks, two churches; the Armenians, one; and the Jews, eight synagogues; and the English and Dutch factories have each a chaplain. Smyrna is one hundred miles north of the island of Rhodes, long. 27° 25' E., lat. 38° 28' N.

Pergamos - A town of Mysia, situated on the river Caicus. It was the royal residence of Eumenes, and the kings of the race of the Attali. It was anciently famous for its library, which contained, according to Plutarch, two hundred thousand volumes. It was here that the membranae Pergameniae, Pergamenian skins, were invented; from which we derive our word parchment. Pergamos was the birthplace of Galen; and in it P. Scipio died. It is now called Pergamo and Bergamo, and is situated in long. 27° 0' E., lat. 39° 13' N.

Thyatira - Now called Akissat and Ak-kissar, a city of Natolia, in Asia Minor, seated on the river Hermus, in a plain eighteen miles broad, and is about fifty miles from Pergamos; long. 27° 49' E., lat. 38° 16' N. The houses are chiefly built of earth, but the mosques are all of marble. Many remarkable ancient inscriptions have been discovered in this place.

Sardis - Now called Sardo and Sart, a town of Asia, in Natolia, about forty miles east from Smyrna. It is seated on the side of mount Tmolus, and was once the capital of the Lydian kings, and here Croesus reigned. It is now a poor, inconsiderable village. Long. 28° 5' E., lat. 37° 51' N.

Philadelphia - A city of Natolia, seated at the foot of mount Tmolus, by the river Cogamus. It was founded by Attalus Philadelphus, brother of Eumenes, from whom it derived its name. It is now called Alah-sheker, and is about forty miles ESE. of Smyrna. Long. 28° 15' E., lat. 38° 28' N.

Laodicea - A town of Phrygia, on the river Lycus; first called Diospolis, or the city of Jupiter. It was built by Antiochus Theos, and named after his consort Laodice. See the note on Colossians 2:1. And, for a very recent account of these seven Churches, see a letter from the Rev. Henry Lindsay, inserted at the end of Revelation 3.

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Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Revelation 1:11". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/revelation-1.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

Saying - That is, literally, “the trumpet saying.” It was, however, manifestly the voice that addressed these words to John, though they seemed to come through a trumpet, and hence the trumpet is represented as uttering them.

I am Alpha and Omega - Revelation 1:8.

The first and the last - An explanation of the terms Alpha and Omega. See the notes on Revelation 1:8.

And, What thou seest - The voice, in addition to the declaration, “I am Alpha and Omega,” gave this direction that he should record what he saw. The phrase, “what thou seest,” refers to what would pass before him in vision, what he there saw, and what he would see in the extraordinary manifestations which were to be made to him.

Write in a book - Make a fair record of it all; evidently meaning that he should describe things as they occurred, and implying that the vision would be held so long before the eye of his mind that he would be able to transfer it to the “book.” The fair and obvious interpretation of this is, that he was to make the record in the island of Patmos, and then send it to the churches. Though Patmos was a lonely and barren place, and though probably here were few or no inhabitants there, yet there is no improbability in supposing that John could have found writing materials there, nor even that he may have been permitted to take such materials with him. He seems to have been banished for “preaching,” not for “writing”; and there is no evidence that the materials for writing would be withheld from him. John Bunyan, in Bedford jail, found materials for writing the “Pilgrim‘s Progress,” and there is no evidence that the apostle John was denied the means of recording his thoughts when in the island of Patmos. The word “book” here ( βιβλίον biblion), would more properly mean a roll or scroll, that being the form in which books were anciently made. See the notes on Luke 4:17.

And send it unto the seven churches which are in Asia - The churches which are immediately designated, not implying that there were no other churches in Asia, but that there were particular reasons for sending it to these. He was to send all that he should “see”; to wit, all that is recorded in this volume or book of “Revelation.” Part of this Revelation 2; Revelation 3 would pertain particularly to them; the remainder Revelation 422 would pertain to them no more than to others, but still they would have the common interest in it which all the church would have, and, in their circumstances of trial, there might be important reasons why they should see the assurance that the church would ultimately triumph over all its enemies. They were to derive from it themselves the consolation which it was suited to impart in time of trial, and to transmit it to future times, for the welfare of the church at large.

Unto Ephesus - Perhaps mentioned first as being the capital of that portion of Asia Minor; the most important city of the seven; the place where John had preached, and whence he had been banished. For a particular description of these seven churches, see the notes on the epistles addressed to them in Revelation 23.

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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Revelation 1:11". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/revelation-1.html. 1870.

Coffman Commentaries on the Bible

Saying, What thou seest, write in a book and send it to the seven churches: unto Ephesus, and unto Smyrna, and unto Pergamum, and unto Thyatira, and unto Sardis, and unto Philadelphia, and unto Laodicea.

We shall give particular attention to each of these churches in connection with the letter addressed to each. "It is difficult not to feel that SEVEN CHURCHES are chosen because of the sacred nature of that number."[40] Full agreement with this view is felt, as noted under Revelation 1:4, above. There is, furthermore, a sense in which the seven here selected represent a diversity of conditions prevailing in congregations throughout history. We do not believe that these seven churches stand for seven successive periods of the history of the church throughout the current dispensation; but that, in any given age, there may be congregations exhibiting the same characteristics as those found in any one, or all of the seven churches mentioned here. This very day, there are "Philadelphia churches," and "Laodicean churches," and even "Sardis churches." All seven churches lay relatively close to each other in western Asia Minor; and they have the same sequence in Revelation that would normally be followed by a person visiting all seven.

ENDNOTE:

[40] G. R. Beasley-Murray, op. cit., p. 1282.

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Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.
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Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on Revelation 1:11". "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

Saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last,.... These characters, which are repeated here; see Gill on Revelation 1:8; are left out in the Alexandrian copy, the Complutensian edition, the Vulgate Latin, Syriac, and Ethiopic versions; but are very fitly retained, to point out the person that speaks; to express his dignity, deity, and eternity; to excite the attention of John, and to give weight to what he said:

and, what thou seest, write in a book; that it might remain, and be read of all men, and be profitable to the churches in the then present age, and in all future ones:

and send it unto the seven churches which are in Asia; from whence it appears, that not only the seven following epistles were sent to the churches, but that after John had written in a book the account of all the visions that he saw, the whole was sent unto them, for their use and benefit; and who are particularly named:

unto Ephesus; which was a city of Ionia, and which Pliny callsF6Nat. Hist. l. 5. c. 29. the work of the Amazons, and the light of Asia; it was famous for the temple of Diana, but more so for having a church of Christ in it: hither the Apostle Paul came and preached, and continued for the space of two years; where a very famous church was planted by him, and proper officers appointed, to whom he wrote a very excellent epistle: this is now a miserable desolate place, not a city, but a village; and is called by the Turks, Aiasalik: of this place and church; See Gill on Acts 18:19, Acts 20:17,

and unto Smyrna; another city of Ionia, so called from Smyrna, the wife of TheseusF7Herodot. de Vita Homeri. c. 2. , the builder of it; or from Smyrna, an AmazonF8Vid. Hiller. Onomastic. p. 932. , the relies of whose marble bust are to be seen there to this day: it lies about forty six miles from Ephesus, and is by the Turks now called Esmir, and is still a place famous, not for pompous buildings, but for number of inhabitants, riches, and commerce:

and unto Pergamos; this was a city of Mysia, situated by the river Caicus, formerly the seat of the kings of Attalia, and was bequeathed by Attalus, their last king, to the Romans: it is famous for being the native place of Galen the physician, and of Apollodorus the rhetorician, master to Augustus Caesar, and for the invention of parchment in it, from whence it seems to have its name: it is now called by the Turks Bergamo, and is almost sixty four miles from Smyrna:

and unto Thyatira; a city of Lydia, near the river Lycus, formerly called Pelopia, and Euhippia, and now, by the Turks, Ak Hissar, or "the white camp", and is distant from Pergamos about forty eight miles; See Gill on Acts 16:14,

and unto Sardis; this was another city of Lydia, situated at the side of Mount Tmolus, it was the metropolis of Lydia, and the seat of King Croesus, and is now called, by the Turks, Sart; and instead of a famous city, it is now an obscure little village, of mean houses, and scarce any other inhabitants in it than shepherds and cow keepers, and is thirty three miles from Thyatira:

and unto Philadelphia; another city of Lydia, situated at the foot of Mount Tmolus; it had its name from Attalus Philadelphus, the builder of it; it is now called, by the Turks, Alah Shahr, or "the fair city", though there is nothing beautiful or magnificent in it; it is distant from Thyatira about twenty seven miles:

and unto Laodicea; another city of Lydia, near the river Lycus, first named Diospolis, afterwards Rhoas, and is now, by the Turks, called Eski Hissar, or "the old camp"; and is inhabited by none, unless it be in the night, by wolves, foxes, and jackals, as our countryman Dr. Smith affirms, in his "Notitia" of the seven churches of Asia; from whom I have taken the account of these cities as they now are, and the rest from Pliny and Ptolomy chiefly,

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The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rights Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
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Bibliographical Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on Revelation 1:11". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/revelation-1.html. 1999.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last; and — The oldest manuscripts, omit all this clause.

write in a book — To this book, having such an origin, and to the other books of Holy Scripture, who is there that gives the weight which their importance demands, preferring them to the many books of the world? [Bengel].

seven churches — As there were many other churches in Proconsular Asia (for example, Miletus, Magnesia, Tralles), besides the seven specified, doubtless the number seven is fixed upon because of its mystical signification, expressing totality and universality. The words, “which are in Asia” are rejected by the oldest manuscripts, A, B, C, Cyprian, Vulgate, and Syriac; Coptic alone supports them of old authorities. These seven are representative churches; and, as a complex whole, ideally complete, embody the chief spiritual characteristics of the Church, whether as faithful or unfaithful, in all ages. The churches selected are not taken at random, but have a many-sided completeness. Thus, on one side we have Smyrna, a Church exposed to persecutions unto death; on the other Sardis, having a high name for spiritual life and yet dead. Again, Laodicea, in its own estimate rich and having need of nothing, with ample talents, yet lukewarm in Christ‘s cause; on the other hand, Philadelphia, with but a little strength, yet keeping Christ‘s word and having an open door of usefulness set before it by Christ Himself. Again, Ephesus, intolerant of evil and of false apostles, yet having left its first love; on the other hand, Thyatira, abounding in works, love, service, and faith, yet suffering the false prophetess to seduce many. In another aspect, Ephesus in conflict with false freedom, that is fleshly licentiousness (the Nicolaitanes); so also Pergamos in conflict with Balaam-like tempters to fornication and idol-meats; and on the other side, Philadelphia in conflict with the Jewish synagogue, that is, legal bondage. Finally, Sardis and Laodicea without any active opposition to call forth their spiritual energies; a dangerous position, considering man‘s natural indolence. In the historic scheme of interpretation, which seems fanciful, Ephesus (meaning “the beloved” or “desired” [Stier]) represents the waning period of the apostolic age. Smyrna (“myrrh”), bitter suffering, yet sweet and costly perfume, the martyr period of the Decian and Diocletian age. Pergamos (a “castle” or “tower”), the Church possessing earthly power and decreasing spirituality from Constantine‘s time until the seventh century. Thyatira (“unwearied about sacrifices”), the Papal Church in the first half of the Middle Ages; like “Jezebel,” keen about its so-called sacrifice of the mass, and slaying the prophets and witnesses of God. Sardis, from the close of the twelfth century to the Reformation. Philadelphia (“brotherly love”), the first century of the Reformation. Laodicea, the Reformed Church after its first zeal had become lukewarm.

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This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.
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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Revelation 1:11". "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

Write in a book (γραπσον εις βιβλιονgrapson eis biblion). First aorist active imperative of γραπωgraphō for instantaneous action. The commission covers the whole series of visions which all grow out of this first vision of the Risen Christ.

Send (πεμπσονpempson). First aorist active imperative of πεμπωpempō Part of the commission from Christ. The names of the seven churches of Revelation 1:4 are now given, and the particular message to each church comes in chapters 2 and 3 and in the same order, the geographical order going north from Ephesus, then east and south to Laodicea. But apparently the whole book was to be read to each of the seven churches. It would probably also be copied at each church.

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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 1:11". "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

I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last

Omit.

Thou seest ( βλέπεις )

See on John 1:29.

Write ( γράψον )

The aorist imperative, denoting instantaneous action. Write at once, promptly.

In a book ( εἰς βιβλίον )

Lit., into. Commit in writing to a book. For book see on Matthew 19:7; see on Mark 10:4; see on Luke 4:17. The command to write is given twelve times in Revelation.

Seven churches

See on Revelation 1:4.

Which are in Asia

Omit.

Ephesus, etc.

Five out of the seven cities here named appear in a passage in Tacitus' “Annals” (iv., 55), in which is described a contention among eleven of the cities of proconsular Asia for the privilege of erecting a statue and a temple to Tiberius. Laodicea is passed over as unequal in wealth and dignity to the task. Philadelphia and Thyatira do not appear. Pergamum is rejected as having already a temple to Augustus. Ephesus (with Miletus) has sufficient employment for its state in the ceremonies of its own deity, Diana. Thus the dispute was confined to Sardis and Smyrna; and Smyrna was preferred on the ground of its friendly offices to the Roman people.

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Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on Revelation 1:11". "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

Saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: and, What thou seest, write in a book, and send it unto the seven churches which are in Asia; unto Ephesus, and unto Smyrna, and unto Pergamos, and unto Thyatira, and unto Sardis, and unto Philadelphia, and unto Laodicea.

Saying, What thou seest — And hearest. He both saw and heard. This command extends to the whole book. All the books of the New Testament were written by the will of God; but none were so expressly commanded to be written.

In a book — So all the Revelation is but one book: nor did the letter to the angel of each church belong to him or his church only; but the whole book was sent to them all.

To the churches — Hereafter named; and through them to all churches, in all ages and nations.

To Ephesus — Mr. Thomas Smith, who in the year1671travelled through all these cities, observes, that from Ephesus to Smyrna is forty-six English miles; from Smyrna to Pergamos, sixty-four; from Pergamos to Thyatira, forty-eight; from Thyatira to Sardis, thirty-three; from Sardis to Philadelphia, twenty-seven; from Philadelphia to Laodicea, about forty-two miles.

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Wesley, John. "Commentary on Revelation 1:11". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/revelation-1.html. 1765.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

11 Saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: and, What thou seest, write in a book, and send it unto the seven churches which are in Asia; unto Ephesus, and unto Smyrna, and unto Pergamos, and unto Thyatira, and unto Sardis, and unto Philadelphia, and unto Laodicea.

Ver. 11. Send it to the seven] As all Holy Scripture, so this piece especially, may well be called, The Epistle of Almighty God to his creature. (Greg. Mag.) It is directed to these seven Churches, because then the most famous and flourishing. There also this evangelist had long time taught; and, as some say, was president over them.

Which are in Asia] sc. in Asia the Less, which therefore haply bears the name of the whole, because it was the Asia of Asia, like as Athena was called the Greece of Greece.

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Revelation 1:11". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/revelation-1.html. 1865-1868.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Revelation 1:11. Saying, I am Alpha and Omega, Dr. Doddridge's note here deserves to be particularly remarked: "That these titles (says he) should be repeated so soon, in a connection which demonstrates that they are given to Christ, will appear very remarkable, whatever sense be given to the 8th verse; and I cannot forbear recording it, that this text hath done more than anyother in the Bible toward preventing me from giving into that scheme, which would make our Lord Jesus Christ no more than a deified creature." Whether these seven were the only Asiatic churches, we do not presume to inquire; doubtless they were the principal. See on ch. Revelation 2:1. It is certain, the epistles to these churches contain many things of universal concern; and as there is plainly an intention to represent the regard of Christ to ministers and churches, by his walking among golden candlesticks, and holding stars in his right hand, the number seven may be mentioned as it seems best to harmonize with some other parts of this book; namely, with the seven spirits, seven seals, seven trumpets, &c. See on Revelation 1:4.

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Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Revelation 1:11". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/revelation-1.html. 1801-1803.

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

Revelation 1:11. βλέπεις. The present is neither to be changed into the future,(732) nor to be explained by the fact, that, with the hearing (Revelation 1:10), the seeing, in the wider sense, has already begun;(733) but is without relation to time, i.e., it is not formally noted that the visions upon which the presentation depends(734) are yet to follow. There is a similar use of ἀποστέλλω, Matthew 23:34. The book into which John, according to the command, wrote what he had seen,(735) is the entire Revelation before us.(736)

The πέμψον in no way necessitates the conception, conflicting with the double ἐγενόμην,(737) that the book was written on Patmos;(738) but rather the sending of the book is explained in accordance with the epistolary superscription, Revelation 1:4 sqq., even if one of the seven cities—perhaps Ephesus—must be regarded the author’s place of abode, from the preponderating consideration shown it above the other cities. It is, of course, in itself improbable that John wrote long after the reception of the revelation, but he rather wrote “while the ἐν πνεύματι still continued in effective operation:”(739) but it would have been impossible(740) for him to write while in the condition which he designates by ἐγεν. ἐν πνεύματι; for an essential element of this condition is the cessation of the activity of the νοῦς, upon which nothing less than every thing pertaining to the literary form and character of the book throughout depends.

The seven cities named are clearly introduced according to their geographical situation. According to the adjustment of vision from the standpoint of one directing the sending of the book,—not of the one writing,—two lines moderately direct appear from Patmos, in which the cities lie. In the first line, from south to north, are Ephesus, Smyrna, and Pergamos; in the second line, which extends from north to south,—since Thyatira, which is in the neighborhood of Pergamos, naturally stands first,—lie Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea. (See on Revelation 1:20.)

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Meyer, Heinrich. "Commentary on Revelation 1:11". 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 1:11. λεγούσης) John often, according to the Hebrew custom, construes words with others that are nearer, though they cohere in sense with those that are more distant. He would have said, φωνὴν λέγουσαν· instead of which he says, σάλπιγγος λεγούσης.— βλέπεις) Some(18) prefix ἐγώ εἰμι τὸ α καὶ τὸ ω, πρῶτος καὶ ἔσχατος, καὶ. See Appar. Crit. on this passage, Ed. ii. It often occurs, that not until after the beginning of a vision, He who appears, declares who He is: Exodus 3:6. But in the present instance that impressive summary, βλέπεις, that which thou seest, and moreover the vision of John itself, was of itself equivalent to all titles; while in Revelation 1:17, presently after, the express title followed. And from this very fountain are drawn the repeated titles which occur in ch. 2 and 3. Upon the whole, on a review of the verses 8, 17, these words appear to have been introduced [by transcribers] into Revelation 1:11, rather than deemed superfluous [and so omitted by them]. Learned men in general, at the present day, do not readily deem anything superfluous, and many copyists of old were of the same opinion. Such passages are more safely decided by the copies, than by arguments: and under this head the Latin translator has special weight, wherever competent Greek witnesses, however few, prove that he is not affected with his own peculiar blemishes. Would that all would keep this closely in mind; it would be a very great advantage for the removal of many doubts. On the antiquity of the Latin translator we have spoken in the Apparatus, pp. 391, 419, etc. [i.e. P. I. § xxxii., Obs. vi. xx., Cons, viii., etc.] And this is confirmed by the remarkable agreement of the Latin Fathers with the text of the translator. That age was without numerous additions, which subsequent times have gradually introduced here, as in other places.— εἰς βιβλίον, in a book) To this book, which has such an origin, and moreover to the other books of which the body of Holy Scripture is composed, who is there that gives as much weight as the subject itself requires, preferring them to the multitude of other books? Ecclesiastes 12:12.

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Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on Revelation 1:11". 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

I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last; I, who speak unto thee, am the eternal, immutable God.

What thou seest, write in a book; what thou shalt presently see, write in a book, not in loose papers. Whence we may observe, that this book is not only the revelation of the will of Christ, but written by his direction.

And send it unto the seven churches which are in Asia; not to all that lived within the jurisdiction or compass of these cities, but only to those Christians who lived in or near these places, which are all cities in the Lesser Asia.

Ephesus was the most famous, where Paul preached, Acts 19:10, &c., and stayed three years, Acts 20:31. It was a noble city in that part of Greece which was called Ionia.

Smyrna was a sea-port city in the same country.

Pergamos was a city of Troas, or Phrygia.

Thyatira was a city in Lydia, or Mysia.

Sardis also was a city in Lydia, near the mountain Tmolus.

Philadelphia was a city in Lydia, next Mysia.

Laodicea was a city in Asia, near the river Lycus. In all these cities there were congregations of Christians formed into churches, to whom God here ordereth St. John to send these visions, when he had written them in a book. Our countryman, Mr. Brightman, asks: Where Rome was all this while? And how it came to pass God directed not these mysteries to be sent, and kept in their archives, especially if (as the papists say) the bishop there be Christ’s successive vicar? And considering, too, how great friends Peter and John were wont to be? But the forementioned author tartly replies to his own question: That that church, it seems, could never err, and therefore needed not any correptory or monitory epistle.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Revelation 1:11". 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

в книгу Греческое слово означает книжный свиток, сделанный из папируса, полученного из тростника, который в изобилии растет по берегам Нила.

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MacLaren, Alexander. "Commentary on Revelation 1:11". Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mac/revelation-1.html.

Justin Edwards' Family Bible New Testament

Ephesus; the capital city of Proconsular Asia, lying near the Mediterranean sea.

Smyrna; a seaport of the Mediterranean about forty miles north of Ephesus.

Pergamos; on the river Caicus, about twenty miles from the sea, and sixty miles north of Smyrna.

Thyatira; a city in the province of Lydia north-east of Smyrna.

Sardis; a city east of Smyrna, and about thirty miles south-east of Thyatira.

Philadelphia; about seventy miles east of Smyrna.

Loadicea; a city in the west of Phrygia, about a hundred miles east of Ephesus.

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Edwards, Justin. "Commentary on Revelation 1:11". "Family Bible New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/fam/revelation-1.html. American Tract Society. 1851.

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

This is the first of twelve times that John wrote that he received instruction to write what he saw (cf. Revelation 1:19; Revelation 2:1; Revelation 2:8; Revelation 2:12; Revelation 2:18; Revelation 3:1; Revelation 3:7; Revelation 3:14; Revelation 14:13; Revelation 19:9; Revelation 21:5). The "book" in view was a roll of papyrus made from a plant that grew in Egypt. Normally papyrus scrolls were about15 feet long. [Note: Frederic G. Kenyon, Handbook to Textual Criticism of the New Testament, p30.]

The cities where these churches met formed a wedge on the map pointing northwest. A messenger carrying John"s revelation would have traveled north from Ephesus to Smyrna and on to Pergamum. He would then have turned southeast to reach Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea. The whole Book of Revelation was to go to these churches, not just the special letter to each one contained in chapters2,3.

Why did God select these churches in these particular towns? Obviously He did not do so because of their superior spirituality. Their popularity was not the criterion either since we read about only Ephesus and Laodicea elsewhere in Scripture. John knew of conditions in each of these churches, and God led him to communicate individual messages to them. Probably they were representative congregations from which this book could circulate easily. [Note: Thomas, Revelation 1-7, pp93-94.]

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Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Revelation 1:11". "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

2. "What thou seest, write in a book"--1:11.

The voice appointed John to be only the amanuensis of Jesus Christ--only the scribe of documents that were not his own; the mere chronicler of events of a supernatural apocalypse.

3. "And send it unto the seven churches which are in Asia"--1: 11.

This oracular command of the Addresser in this scene specified the seven churches as the addressees, and named them. Again, here is the indication of the period and date of the visions. If the seven churches were figurative, as some authors claim, why this factual designation of the actual names and locations of figurative churches. The argument for the early date of Revelation, as previously shown, is in the historical fact that there were only the seven churches in these western Asian provinces before the destruction of Jerusalem, but after that event the churches became numerous by the diffusion of Christianity over the empire, the opportunity for which was greatly enhanced by the removal of Judaism, its greatest foe, from the path of the church. It has been more than once mentioned that such eminent scholars as Schaff, Terry and MacDonald (and others) verify the historical fact that after the Great Earthquake (before the destruction of Jerusalem) the churches at Colosse and Hierapolis did not again maintain a separate existence, but consolidated with the nearby Laodicean church. Concluding his remarks on this point in The Life And Writings Of John, page 154, MacDonald says:

"There appear to have been but seven churches in Asia . . . when the book was written. It is dedicated to these seven alone by the careful mention of them one by one by name, as if there were no others. . . . The expression ‘the seven churches' seems to imply that this constituted the whole number, and hence affords one of the most striking incidental proofs in favor of an early date. . . . Those who contend for the later date, when there must have been a greater number of churches than seven in the region designated by the apostle fail to give any sufficient reason for his mentioning no more. That they mystically or symbolically represented others is surely not such a reason."

Again, Doctor Tilloch, in his work entitled Dissertations, says "There were but seven churches in Asia when the Revelation was written."

The historical evidences from these, and many others, cannot be spurned or waived aside with a theoretical assertion. It is weighty evidence that the visions of Revelation were composed before the destruction of Jerusalem. The history of these cities and churches supports John's specific statement. It is a vital point in the divergence of view on the chronology of Revelation. It involves the claim that the church at Colossae is an example of another Asian church than the seven mentioned, but as previously proven by historical data, Colossae was destroyed by the earthquake in the reign of Nero, and was not thereafter identified by that name, but merged with the Laodiceans, as was true of other cities and churches in the region. In his own one volume work titled A Dictionary Of The Bible, Philip Schaff, commenting on Laodicea, makes the following statement: "When, in the middle of the first century of our era, an earthquake destroyed Colossae, Hierapolis and Laodicea, the latter was rebuilt by its own inhabitants without any aid from the Roman senate." The casual reader cannot fail to observe the significance of the statement that "the latter (Laodicea) was rebuilt," which, mentioned in direct connection with Colossae and Hierapolis, can only mean that these two were not rebuilt. Laodicea was rebuilt, but Colosse and Hierapolis were not. This accounts for the disbanding of the two churches as separate congregations, and refutes the claim that there were more than the seven churches in the period when the Apocalypse was composed. If the facts of history mean anything at all, there is firm proof here for the pre-Destruction of Jerusalem date for John's Patmos apocalypse.

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Wallace, Foy E. "Commentary on Revelation 1:11". "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 1:11. The first clauses of the verse in the Authorised Version must be removed, and the words of the voice begin with what thou seest write in a roll. Under the ‘seeing’ is included all that is to be written in the roll, not merely chaps, 2 and 3; and the command to write is so given in the original as to show that it is urgent and that it must be obeyed at once (chaps. Revelation 1:19, Revelation 2:1; Revelation 2:8; Revelation 2:12; Revelation 2:18, Revelation 3:1; Revelation 3:7; Revelation 3:14, Revelation 14:13, Revelation 19:9, Revelation 21:5).

When the roll is written it is to be sent unto the seven churches which are named. These are the seven churches already spoken of in Revelation 1:4, and no reasonable doubt can be entertained that they represent the universal Church in all countries and ages; for (1) The Apocalypse is designed for all Christians (chap. Revelation 1:3); (2) There were other churches in Asia at the time, at all events those of Magnesia and Tralles, probably those also of Colossae and Hierapolis. These two latter cities had indeed suffered from an earthquake before the Apocalypse was penned, but there is no reason to think that their churches had been wholly destroyed, or that, if destroyed for a time, they might not have been restored. Although, however, there were thus more than seven churches in Asia, this book, it will be observed, is addressed not to seven, but to ‘the’ seven (Revelation 1:4). (3) We must bear in mind the importance of the number seven, which often occurs in the Apocalypse, and apparently nowhere in its merely literal sense. Here as elsewhere, therefore, it is to be typically understood, as an emblem of the unity, amidst manifoldness, of that Church with which God makes His covenant (4) The character in which the Redeemer is presented to these seven churches consists of a summary of particulars which are afterwards applied separately to the seven churches in chaps. 2 and 3. But the summary represents Jesus as a whole; and the natural inference is, that the seven churches constitute a whole also. (5) The symbolism of the whole book is thus preserved. On any other supposition than that we have here a representation of the whole Church of Christ, chaps. 2 and 3 must be regarded as simply historical, and the harmony of the Apocalypse is destroyed.

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Schaff, Philip. "Commentary on Revelation 1:11". "Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/scn/revelation-1.html. 1879-90.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

I am . . . last: and. The texts omit.

seest. App-133.

in. Greek. eis.

book = roll, or scroll, as Revelation 6:14.

send. App-174.

which . . . Asia. The texts omit.

unto. Greek. eis, as above.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Revelation 1:11". "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

Saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: and, What thou seest, write in a book, and send it unto the seven churches which are in Asia; unto Ephesus, and unto Smyrna, and unto Pergamos, and unto Thyatira, and unto Sardis, and unto Philadelphia, and unto Laodicea.

I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: and. B 'Aleph (') A C, Vulgate, omit all this clause.

Write in a book. To this book, having such an origin, and to the other books of Scripture, who gives their due weight, preferring them to the many books of the world? (Bengel.)

Seven churches. As there were many other churches in Proconsular Asia (e.g., Miletus, Magnesia, Tralles) besides, seven is fixed upon because of its mystical signification, totality and universality. "Which are in Asia" is rejected by 'Aleph (') A B C, Cyprian, Vulgate, and Syriac. Coptic has it. These seven are representative churches; as a complex whole, ideally complete, embodying the spiritual characteristics of the Church, whether as faithful or unfaithful, in all ages. Those selected are not taken at random, but have a many-sided completeness.

Thus, we have Smyrna, a church exposed to persecutions unto death; on the other hand, Sardis, having a high name for spiritual life, yet dead. Laodicea, in its own estimate, rich, needing nothing, with ample talents, yet lukewarm; on the other hand, Philadelphia, with but little strength, yet keeping Christ's word: so an open door of usefulness set before it by Christ Himself. Ephesus, intolerant of evil and false apostles, yet having left its first love; on the other hand, Thyatira, abounding in works, love, service, and faith, yet suffering the false prophetess to seduce many.

Again, Ephesus in conflict with false freedom - i:e., fleshly licentiousness (the Nicolaitanes); so Pergamos in conflict with Balaam-like tempters to fornication and idol meats; on the other side, Philadelphia, in conflict with the Jewish synagogue - i:e., legal bondage. Finally, Sardis and Laodicea, without opposition to call forth spiritual energies: a dangerous position, considering man's natural indolence. In the historic interpretation, Ephesus ('the beloved' or 'desired') (Stier) represents the waning of the apostolic age.

Smyrna ('myrrh,' bitter, yet costly perfume), the martyr period of the Decian and Diocletian age. Pergamos (a 'castle'), the church in earthly power and decreasing spirituality, from Constantine's time until the seventh century. Thyatira ('unwearied about sacrifices'), the apostate church in the first half of the middle ages; like "Jezebel," keen about its sacrifice of the mass, and slaying God's witnesses. Sardis, from the twelfth century to the Reformation. Philadelphia. ('brotherly love'), the first century of the Reformation. Laodicea, the Reformed church after its first zeal cooled.

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Revelation 1:11". "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

(11) I am Alpha and Omega.—In this verse we pass from St. John to Him who was the Word, of whom St. John gave testimony. He who is the faithful witness now speaks. “What thou seest, write,” &c. The previous words, “I am Alpha,” &c., are not found in the best MSS. The words “which are in Asia,” are also omitted.

The seven churches.—There were more than seven churches in Asia Minor; but the number selected indicates completeness. Thus, though having special reference to the conditions of those churches, the epistles may be regarded as epistles conveying ever appropriate lessons to the churches of succeeding ages. The names of the seven churches are enumerated, as they would naturally be by a person writing from Patmos. “First, Ephesus is addressed, as the Asiatic metropolis, and as the nearest church to Patmos; then the other churches on the western coast of Asia; then those in the interior” (Wordsworth).

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Revelation 1:11". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/revelation-1.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

Saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: and, What thou seest, write in a book, and send it unto the seven churches which are in Asia; unto Ephesus, and unto Smyrna, and unto Pergamos, and unto Thyatira, and unto Sardis, and unto Philadelphia, and unto Laodicea.
I am
8,17
What
19; 2:1; 10:4; 14:13; 19:9; 21:5; Deuteronomy 31:19; Isaiah 30:8; Jeremiah 30:2; Habakkuk 2:2
seven
4; 2:1,8,12,18; 3:1,7,14
Ephesus
Acts 18:19-21,24; 19:1-41; 20:17; 1 Corinthians 15:32; 16:8; Ephesians 1:1; 1 Timothy 1:3
Laodicea
Colossians 4:15,16
Reciprocal: Deuteronomy 32:39 - even I;  Psalm 93:2 - thou;  Isaiah 41:4 - I the Lord;  Isaiah 43:11 - GeneralIsaiah 44:6 - I am the first;  Isaiah 48:12 - I am he;  Jeremiah 51:60 - GeneralEzekiel 9:1 - cried;  Micah 5:2 - whose;  Habakkuk 1:12 - thou not;  Zechariah 13:7 - the man;  Matthew 18:20 - there;  John 1:1 - the beginning;  John 1:15 - he was;  John 8:58 - Before;  John 14:28 - Father;  Acts 2:9 - Asia;  Acts 16:6 - Asia;  Acts 16:14 - Thyatira;  Acts 19:10 - Asia;  1 Corinthians 16:19 - churches;  2 Corinthians 1:19 - was not;  Colossians 1:17 - he;  Colossians 2:1 - at;  Colossians 4:13 - Laodicea;  Hebrews 1:11 - thou;  Hebrews 12:2 - the author;  Hebrews 13:8 - General1 Peter 1:1 - Asia;  1 John 1:1 - That which;  Revelation 21:6 - I am;  Revelation 22:13 - General

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Revelation 1:11". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/revelation-1.html.

Walter Scott's Commentary on Revelation

THE SEVEN CHURCHES.

Revelation 1:11. — The divine titles, "I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last," should be rejected as forming no part of what John wrote. The first title was probably inserted from verse 8, and the second from verse 17;{*Archdeacon Lee remarks: "The English version of the Apocalypse represents a Greek text which does not rest upon the same authority as that of the other books of the New Testament" ("Speaker's Commentary"). All competent Bible critics concur in this testimony. It is based on the Greek text (fifth edition) published by Erasmus, the most distinguished scholar of the 16th century. But Erasmus had only one Greek MS., found by Delitzsch in a German library in 1861 before him, and that so defective and mutilated that he actually supplied the last six verses wanting in his copy from the Vulgate. Besides which, it was too hurriedly done. There are fewer uncial MSS., that is, the oldest Greek copies, than of any other of the books of the New Testament. But the text has in recent years been recovered to almost the state of purity in which it was originally written, so that God's mind in the Apocalypse is a matter of absolute certainty.} besides which, the speaker is not revealed, nor His titles declared till John turns round. "I turned to see the voice that spake with me."

11. — "What thou seest write in a book, and send to the seven assemblies — to Ephesus, and to Smyrna, and to Pergamos, and to Thyatira, and to Sardis, and to Philadelphia, and to Laodicea." There were other assemblies of importance in proconsular Asia besides the seven specified. But the Spirit of God had a moral end in view in the choice of those particular churches, hence the definite article, "the seven assemblies." The order, too, in which they are named is worthy of notice. Hengstenberg in his commentary remarks, "Ephesus, Smyrna, and Pergamos must stand together, and be separated from the rest. For these three cities, and these alone, contended for the primacy in Asia." In the separate addresses to the churches (Revelation 2:1-29; Revelation 3:1-22) there is a marked division into three and four. Thus the call, "He that hath an ear," seven times repeated, occurs in the addresses to the first three churches before the word to the overcomer (Revelation 2:7; Revelation 2:11; Revelation 2:17); whereas in the last four the call to "hear" comes after the promise to the overcomer (Revelation 2:29; Revelation 3:6; Revelation 3:13; Revelation 3:22). The assemblies are separately named. The independence of each is thus fully assured, and the responsibility of each to Christ is as distinctly taught. The vital unity of the Church as "one body," and the mutual dependence of its members, are truths exclusively taught by Paul. In the first three chapters of the Apocalypse the Church is, on the other hand, viewed in her public position on earth as God's light-bearer and witness. "The seven assemblies," without doubt, exhibited certain distinctly marked characteristics which separately stamp their character on the Church universal in successive stages of her history, while these same features collectively distinguish the Church throughout the earth at any given time, then and now.

Two of them, Smyrna and Philadelphia, are commended without a word of reproof. Suffering characterised the former, weakness the latter. Mingled praise and blame are meted out to Ephesus, Pergamos, Thyatira, and Sardis. Laodicea is the worst of "the seven." Her state is hopeless, all is blame without one word of commendation. In Thyatira a remnant is for the first time recognised.

(1) Ephesus,

the renowned capital of the Asia of the Apocalypse, the "Light of Asia," was the main seat and centre of heathen idolatry. It was the stronghold of Satan's power, and from it idolatry spread all over the known world (Acts 19:1-41). The small silver shrines representing the goddess Diana were eagerly bought by strangers, and set up as household deities in their distant homes; while the huge temple of the goddess, adorned and beautified by the wealth of Asia, was counted one of the seven wonders of the world. Ephesus became the scene of a fierce conflict between the powers of light and darkness. The devoted Aquila and Priscilla laboured for some time in this idolatrous city; previously twelve of John's disciples had helped in a small degree to break in upon the darkness, but their efforts must have been feeble owing to their own imperfect state (Acts 19:1-41); then the eloquent Apollos gave a further impetus to the work. Paul it was, however, who seems to have broken the power of darkness and roused to fury the devotees of idolatry and superstition, as they saw the whole system, like Dagon of old, trembling before the soul-emancipating truths of Christianity; lastly, the beloved John, after leaving his Jerusalem home, took up his residence in Ephesus, and for fully thirty years made it the centre of his work for Christ. The glory of Ephesus has departed, and the once proud heathen city is now but a miserable village known as Ayasalook.

(2) Smyrna

lay about 40 miles north of Ephesus, and is now one of the most important cities of the Turkish empire; its estimated population is about 200,000. It was anciently, in some respects, the rival of Ephesus. Its natural and commercial situation, its wealth and commerce, and the splendour of its buildings caused it to be termed "the beautiful." It was not much, if at all, behind Ephesus in idolatry. Smyrna is not named in the Acts, nor in the Pauline epistles, and we have no means of ascertaining conclusively how or when the Gospel was introduced there. The stringent imperial laws against Christianity were rigorously enforced in Smyrna, chiefly through the Jews and heathen combined, who pressed the unwilling hands of the local authorities to carry into execution the persecuting edicts. Polycarp, the friend of John, was, it is said, slain here in his ninetieth year, A.D. 168, the last disciple who had personally conversed with the apostle. The fierce persecution which raged in Asia Minor had its centre in Smyrna, and is no doubt referred to in the extended address to that assembly (Revelation 2:8-11).

(3) Pergamos

lay still further north. This city had little or no commerce, but was remarkable for its learning, refinement, and science, especially medicine. A long succession of kings made Pergamos, or Pergamum, as the Greeks termed it, their royal residence. Its celebrated library, only second to that in Alexandria, with which it was ultimately incorporated, consisted of 200,000 books. It was here that the art of preparing skins of animals for writing upon was perfected, and from which our word parchment is derived. Thus the name of this scripturally ill-omened city (Revelation 2:12-17) has been handed down through the Christian ages, and no doubt many a literary pergamena MS. of value had been prepared in Pergamos. The worship of Artemis characterises Ephesus. Dionysos was the distinguishing deity of Smyrna. These two cities were evil, but Pergamos was pre-eminently so in its idolatry. The epithets, "Satan's throne" and "where Satan dwelleth" (Revelation 2:13), must have had, in the first instance, a local application to Pergamos. The most conspicuous object in the celebrated temple of sculapius was the wreathed serpent, behind which was "Satan, that old serpent." The noble science of medicine was thus early identified with the worship of Satan, who usurped the place, functions, and titles of Christ. The names of "Preserver" and "Saviour" were applied to sculapius, and the cures wrought were ascribed to this chosen deity. It was, in short, substituting Satan for Christ.

(4) Thyatira

lay south-east from Pergamos. "The road from Thyatira to Pergamos……is one of the most beautiful in the world." The three cities previously named were much more noted than Thyatira, which, however, has an interest of its own. Indirectly, it connects itself with Paul's missionary labours in Europe. His first convert was a woman of Thyatira, engaged in selling the celebrated purple for which her city was famous (Acts 16:14). Inscriptions, yet extant, show that the guild of dyers formed the most important trade of the city, and to this day the brilliant scarlet cloth dyed here is largely used throughout Asia and Europe, a weekly supply being sent to Smyrna. Thyatira is at present a flourishing town with a population of nearly 20,000.

(5) Sardis

lay about 27 miles due south from Thyatira. Sardis was anciently a proud and wealthy city, and the capital of the kingdom of Lydia. This once royal city, spite of the valour of its inhabitants, fell before the conquering hero, Cyrus. With the fall of the city the Lydian monarchy came to an end. The present name of the former capital is Sart. What a commentary on human greatness is furnished in the now degraded city of the wealthy, wise, and able Croesus. "Two or three shepherds inhabited a hut, and a Turk with two servants, at the time of Mr. Arundel's visit in 1826. In 1850 no human being was found dwelling in the once mighty and populous Sardis."{*"Imperial Bible Dictionary," article, "Sardis."}

(6) Philadelphia

is derived from its founder, Attalus Philadelphus, king of Pergamos, and it is situated about 25 miles south of Sardis. Its modern name, Allah Shehr, "city of God," is significant, although the Turks do not regard the city with any degree of veneration. The present town is large, and contains about 15,000 inhabitants, of whom a fair proportion are Greek Christians. The remains of early Christian times are more numerous here than in any of the other Asiatic cities named by John; the ruins of no less than twenty-five churches are pointed out, while several marble pillars, almost entire, remind us of the apocalyptic reference (Revelation 3:12), probably to these very pillars. Its freedom from blame in the message to its angel (Revelation 3:7-13) is worthy of note in connection with the fact that it had the longest duration of any of the seven cities named. Says the sceptic Gibbon: "Among the Greek colonies and churches of Asia, Philadelphia is still erect; a column in a scene of ruins, a pleasing example that the paths of honour and safety may sometimes be the same."

(7) Laodicea

was situated about 40 miles east of Ephesus, and derived its name from Laodice, wife of Antiochus II., the Syrian monarch. It was an exceedingly wealthy city, so much so, that although overthrown by an earthquake in the reign of Nero, A.D. 62, it quickly recovered from the blow, and from its own resources soon assumed its pristine glory, and at the date of the Apocalypse was a magnificent city. The assembly was infected with the "gold fever," being "rich and increased with goods" (Revelation 3:17). Pride, luxuriousness, and self-satisfaction characterised the general life of the population, and evidently stamped their character on the Church as well. The pride of Laodicea has been humbled, its wealth scattered amongst strangers, and its splendour laid in the dust. The site of the once opulent city is a scene of utter ruin and desolation.{*Paul's references to the Church in Laodicea (Colossians 2:1; Colossians 4:13-16) afford a fine example of Christian love and interest to saints personally unknown. "Likewise read the epistle from Laodicea" (v. 16) probably refers to the epistle to the Ephesians, then going the round of the assemblies. From the fact that there are no salutations to individuals, and from the character of the epistle generally, we consider it extremely probable that the epistle to the Ephesians was a circular letter, then at Laodicea. It is certain that the epistle to the Colossians was intended by the apostle to be read to the Laodicean assembly. What more fitting than the truths contained in these epistles to rescue the saints in Laodicea from the grave perils which beset them! The cross in the Roman and Galatian epistles was the emancipating truth of the sixteenth century. The heavenly glory of Christ in the Ephesian and Colossian epistles is the grand and delivering truth of the twentieth century.}

THE APPLICATION.

A special, but by no means exclusive, application of the first three chapters to the Asiatic assemblies named must be admitted. Thus, John greets "the seven assemblies which are in Asia" (v. 4); he has them equally in view in verse 11; while to each of "the seven" a special epistle is addressed (Revelation 2:1-29; Revelation 3:1-22). But while a primary application to the seven Asiatic assemblies is undoubted, it is equally clear that they were representatives of the whole Church, not only at any given moment, but also in the successive moral stages of her history. After the third chapter we meet with no allusion to these Asiatic assemblies. "He that hath an ear let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches," seven times repeated, intimates a direct application of these addresses to the individual hearer, also to every company of professed believers on the earth at any given time. The present day application is of immense value and profit.

Questions have been raised as to John's ability, as a prisoner, to write and communicate with the assemblies. We hold that the Apocalypse as a whole was written in Patmos, and, further, that the seven assemblies had each their respective epistles sent to them from thence. We see no reason for the supposition put forth by some that the visions were seen in Patmos, and afterwards written in Ephesus on the Seer's release from banishment under Nerva. The supernatural characterises a large portion of the book, and hence difficulties disappear like melting flakes of snow.

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Scott, Walter. "Commentary on Revelation 1:11". "Walter Scott's Commentary on Revelation". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/sor/revelation-1.html.

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

Before turning round the voice delivered the names of the churches to which he said in verse4he was writing. The remarks were repeated that are at the beginning of verse8. What thou seest, write. This did not mean only what his eyes would behold, but also what he would hear, for later he is told what to put in the letters to the seven churches.

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Zerr, E.M. "Commentary on Revelation 1:11". 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 1:11

Revelation 1:11 Saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: and, What thou seest, write in a book, and send it unto the seven churches which are in Asia; unto Ephesus, and unto Smyrna, and unto Pergamos, and unto Thyatira, and unto Sardis, and unto Philadelphia, and unto Laodicea.

In this verse, we have the former description of Jesus Christ, his deity and eternity repeated, {see Revelation 1:8} that John might know, first, whose voice it was that spake unto him, and that he heard behind them. Secondly, from whom he had commission (as formerly to Preach, so now) to write. Thirdly, that the churches might know that this Book of the Revelation is also that part of the Holy Scripture of truth, unto which nothing is to be added, nor any thing taken away. { Revelation 22:18-21}

"What thou seest, Write in a Book"

It is the liberty of the ministers of Christ, when they cannot edify the churches of God by preaching unto them, to endeavor their edification by writing unto them.

"and send it unto the Seven Churches which are in Asia" etc.

Those seven churches were planted by the apostles in the seven principle cities in the lesser Asia, here named, and hence each particular church denominated, as appears in the second and third chapters of this Book, { Revelation 2:1-29} { Revelation 3:1-22} in the exposition whereof, more will be spoken of this matter: All that I shall say in general touching these, (and other churches of God mentioned in the Holy Scripture) in this place Isaiah,

First, that each church contained and comprehended, the whole number of them that believed in Jesus Christ, confessed the faith of the gospel, and walked in the order and ordinances of the Lord in one city and suburbs thereof; and had the denomination of that city, and was called the church of God in that city. Search these Scriptures, Acts 1:1; Acts 1:5; 1 Thessalonians 1:1; Revelation 2:1; Revelation 2:8; Revelation 2:12; Revelation 3:1; Revelation 3:7; Revelation 3:14.

Secondly, although the church in any city, at the beginning and first planting of it, was but one congregation, and assembled themselves together in one place, { Acts 2:1; Acts 4:31; 1 Corinthians 14:23} yet when the number of the disciples was multiplied, { Acts 4:32; Acts 6:1-2} and multitudes both men and women were added to the Lord, and by the Lord to the church, { Acts 2:41; Acts 4:4; Acts 5:14} then the church was necessitated, for the edification of the multitude, and great number of the members thereof, to assemble themselves together in particular congregations, and became distinct companies, of whom we read, { Acts 4:19; Acts 4:23} Peter and John had their own company or congregation, and so had Paul and Barnabas, and each company or congregation had their elders and deacons, { Philippians 1:1} and the denomination of the church, { 1 Corinthians 16:1} and are called churches. { 1 Corinthians 16:16} The apostles writing to the saints in the Church of Corinth, said, Let your Women keep silence in the Churches. { 1 Corinthians 14:34; 2 Corinthians 8:24} Shew ye to them, and before the Churches, the proof of your Love.

Thirdly, church is an homogenial word, as water in the sea, in a river, in a well, and in a spoon, is called water; so the assembly or congregation of sanctified believers in the general assembly, is called the church, { Hebrews 12:23} and the particular assemblies or congregations in any city is called the church, { 1 Corinthians 1:1-2} so in any village or town, { Romans 16:1} yea, in any house. { Colossians 4:15}

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Knollys, Hanserd. "Commentary on Revelation 1:11". "Hanserd Knollys' Commentary on Revelation". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hkc/revelation-1.html.

D.S. Clark's Commentary on Revelation

V:11. "What thou seest," — evidently the visions which were about to be disclosed, "write in a book", this book we are now considering. "And send unto the seven churches," — and here the specific seven churches of Asia Minor are given by name.

The book had some special application to the churches named, and to the conditions and circumstances in which they lived, and to those circumstances which they were soon to face. The book as a whole, not merely two chapters of it, was addressed to these seven churches.

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Ernst Hengstenberg on John, Revelation, Ecclesiastes, Ezekiel & Psalms

Revelation 1:11. Which said: What thou seest write in a book, and send it to the churches in Asia, to Ephesus, and to Smyrna, and to Pergamos, and to Thyatira, and to Sardis, and to Philadelphia, and to Laodicea. Between spake and thou seest several critical helps have introduced, "I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last." But Bengel has conclusively shown in his Appar. that these words have been derived from Revelation 1:8; Revelation 1:17. Züllig would still defend them as genuine; but a glance at the beginning of his defence, "These words are wanting indeed in the best manuscripts," renders it quite unnecessary to follow him farther. Where the external grounds are so decided, it is not worth while going more deeply into the internal considerations, which might be found to show the want of genuineness. We shall make but one remark, that it is only at Revelation 1:12 that John turns round to look after the voice which spake with him, consequently he could not yet know who the speaker was. The words would weaken the impression of the appearance and the surprise it occasioned. John must write what he sees, not what he may yet sec. The seeing has already begun; for according to the Biblical usage the hearing also is comprehended in the seeing in the larger sense. On the words in a book Bengel remarks, "Therefore all here makes up but one book. Not only is the address to each particular church to be sent to the angel of it, but the whole book is also to be sent to them all." But this remark would only be right, if we were to understand by the all what is written to the end of ch. 3. For this portion alone belonged specially to the seven churches of Asia. Ewald's attempt to delete the "seven," on the ground of a few unimportant manuscripts omitting it, and indeed with little advantage, since the hook still remains specially directed to the seven churches of Asia, whether they might be expressly said to be seven or not, only shows to what difficulties they reduce themselves who understand by the book here the whole book, which from ch. 4 to the end bears an entirely oecumenical character. The name of the book ( βιβλί ον, properly, little book) affords no handle to this mistake. For, in ch. Revelation 5:1, we find the book with the seven seals; in Matthew 19:7 the same word signifies the writing of divorce; in 2 Samuel 11:14, 2 Kings 19:14, it is used of letters (Suidas: βιβλί ον ἡ ἐ πιστολή), and in Macc. 1:44 of edicts. The corresponding Hebrew ספר denotes any sort of written declaration. The law of the order of the seven churches, the seven, as is clear from ch. 2 and 3, falling into three and four, may with certainty be discovered. Ephesus, Smyrna, and Pergamos must stand together, and be separated from the rest. For, these three cities and these alone contended for the primacy in Asia.[Note: See the Appendix in Spanheim, de usu et praestantia nomismatum I. p. 636, ss.]The order in which they are placed here is also not arbitrary. Ephesus must stand at the head as the seat of John's labours, and as such forming the centre of the whale circle. From Ephesus it proceeds northward to Smyrna and Pergamos. Then from Pergamos as the most northerly point it goes in a regular south-easterly direction down by Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, to Laodicea, which lies almost in the same parallel of south latitude with Ephesus, but considerably farther east.[Note: In the Itinerarium Antonini the four cities follow each other in precisely the same order, comp. Cellarius Schwärtz II. p. 113.]The apostle in his spiritual visitation takes the same course which he was wont to take in his actual visits (comp 2 John 1:12, 3 John 1:10). When John wrote to the seven churches, he had in his eye the example of the seven Catholic and the fourteen Pauline epistles (including the epistle to the Hebrews, which anyhow, even if not directly, flowed from Paul as its source.) That John was instructed to send to the churches, shows, notwithstanding the objections of Lücke, p. 243, that he wrote out what he saw on the spot. That "the state of the seven churches of Asia appears as immediately present in the seven epistles," indicates nothing to the contrary, for that belongs to the territory of the Spirit.

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Hengstenberg, Ernst. "Commentary on Revelation 1:11". Ernst Hengstenberg on John, Revelation, Ecclesiastes, Ezekiel & Psalms. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/heg/revelation-1.html.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

11. The words I’ and inclusive, are here a spurious reading. The voice does not as yet announce who is the speaker. St. John hears his commission, but is not yet told who commissions him.

What thou seest— This Christophanic commission includes only the revelations of the first three chapters.

Write in a book—A volumen, or parchment or papyrus roll.

Seven Churches’ in Asia—When the sons of Japhet, our Aryan ancestors, first emigrated westward from the fertile regions of the Euphrates, they found no fairer clime than in this land of Ionia. Here settled the sons of Javan, the fourth son of Japheth, and in the beautiful language formed by their genius—the Greek—Ionia is but a varied form of Javan, just as Hellas, the name of European Greece, is but a form of Elisha, the oldest son of Javan. This was the land of Homer and Herodotus. The soft clime rendered the Ionians gentle, refined, and brilliant, but too effeminate. So when, five centuries before Christ, the great Cyrus led his conquering legions westward, all Ionia submitted for centuries to the Persian sway. But when, three centuries before Christ, Alexander the Great, from European Greece, marched to the conquestof Persia and settled forever the superiority of Europe over Asia, Ionia easily accorded with this new Greek supremacy. And when, in the first two centuries before Christ, the Roman arms from still farther west spread their power over the known world, Ionia readily accepted their government. When Christ came, and Paul came proclaiming the Gospel of Christ, and when Timothy came, and an apostle John came, flourishing Churches, among which were these seven, were, in spite of persecution, established. When Rome, under Constantine, became nominally Christian, and Constantinople was by him built, paganism gradually disappeared, and Ionia became Christian. A Christian literature sprung up, and great Christian councils were here held. But in A.D. 1453 the followers of Mohammed took Constantinople. The Turks became masters, and from that time the Christianity, the civilization, the prosperity of the land perished. It is now, with few exceptions, a scene of semi-barbarism, stagnation, and decay. A glance at our little map will show reason for the order of the names of the seven Churches. From the metropolitan Ephesus, northward some fifty miles, is Smyrna, and more than fifty miles farther northward is Pergamos, or, according to the most authorized form of the name, Pergamum. This is the northernmost point. Thence south-eastwardly in succession are the other four Churches. Hengstenberg suggests, and we adopt the suggestion, that this was the usual order of St. John’s apostolic visitations; such visitations as are indicated in 2 John 1:13 and 3 John 1:10, and also in the account of his apostolic circuits after his return from the isle of Patmos.

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Revelation 1:11". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/revelation-1.html. 1874-1909.

The Expositor's Greek Testament

Revelation 1:11, (cf. Herm. Vis. II. iv. 3); this emphasis put upon the commission to compose and circulate what he sees in the vision, is due to the author’s claim of canonical authority and reflects a time when a literary work of this nature still required some guarantee, although at an earlier date smaller oracles had been written and accepted (e.g., that which determined the flight of the early Christians to Pella, Eus. H. E., iii. 5, 3). John’s role, however, is passive in two senses of the term. He seldom acts or journeys in his vision, whereas Jewish apocalypses are full of the movements of their seers; nor does his vision lead to any practical course of action, for—unlike most of the O.T. prophet—he is not conscious of any commission to preach or to reform the world. The prophet is an author. His experience is to be no luxury but a diffused benefit; and as in Tobit 12:20 (“and now ’ write in a book all that has taken place”) and 4 Esd. 12:37 (“therefore write in a book all thou hast seen, and thou shalt teach,” etc.), the prophet is careful to explain that composition is no mere literary enterprise but due to a divine behest. The cities are enumerated from Ephesus northwards to Smyrna (forty miles) and Pergamos (fifty miles north of Smyrna), then across for forty miles S.E. to Thyatira, down to Sardis, Philadelphia (thirty miles S.E. of Sardis), and Laodicea (forty miles S.E. of Philadelphia). Cf. on Revelation 1:4 and Introd. § 2. Except Pergamos and Laodicea, the churches lay within Lydia (though the writer employs the imperial term for the larger province) which was at that period a by-word for voluptuous civilisation.

 

 

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Nicol, W. Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on Revelation 1:11". The Expositor's Greek Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/egt/revelation-1.html. 1897-1910.