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1. The Revelation (apokaluyiv). The Greek word is transcribed in Apocalypse. The word occurs only once in the Gospels, Luke ii. 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:
Christianity itself is the revelation of a mystery (Rom. xvi. 25). The participation of the Gentiles in the privileges of the new covenant was made known by revelation (Eph. iii. 3). Paul received the Gospel which he preached by revelation (Galatians i. 12), and went up to Jerusalem by revelation (Gal. ii. 2).
(b.) Christian insight into spiritual truth. Paul asks for Christians the spirit of revelation (Eph. i. 17). Peculiar manifestations of the general gift of revelation are given in Christian assemblies (1 Corinthians xiv. 6, 26). Special revelations are granted to Paul (2 Corinthians xii. 1, 7).
(c.) The second coming of the Lord (1 Pet. i. 7, 13; 2 Thessalonians i. 7; 1 Cor. i. 7) in which His glory shall be revealed (1 Peter iv. 13), His righteous judgment made known (Rom. ii. 5), and His children revealed in full majesty (Rom. viii. 19). The kindred verb ajpokaluptw is used in similar connections. Following the categories given above,
The word is compounded with ajpo from, and kaluptw to cover. Hence, to remove the cover from anything; to unveil. So of Balaam, the Lord opened or unveiled his eyes (ajpekaluyen touv ojfqalmouv: Numbers xxii. 31, Sept.). So Boaz to Naomi's kinsman: "I thought to advertise thee:" Rev., "disclose it unto thee" (ajpokaluyw to ouv sou: Ruth iv. 4, Sept.). Lit., I will uncover thine ear.
The noun ajpokaluyiv revelation, occurs only once in the Septuagint (1 Samuel xx. 30), in the physical sense of uncovering. The verb is found in the Septuagint in Dan. ii. 19, 22, 28.
In classical Greek, the verb is used by Herodotus (i., 119) of uncovering the head; and by Plato: thus, "reveal (apokaluyav) 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: jOptasia a vision (Luke i. 22; Acts xxvi. 19; 2 Cor. xii. 1). Orama a vision (Matthew xvii. 9; Acts ix. 10; xvi. 9). Orasiv a vision (Acts ii. 17; Apoc. ix. 17. Of visible form, Apoc. iv. 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, ajpokaluyiv includes, along with the thing shown or seen, its interpretation or unveiling.
Epifaneia 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 Tim. i. 10, where it signifies His first appearing in the flesh. See 2 Thess. ii. 8; 1 Tim. vi. 14; Tit. ii. 13. As distinguished from this, ajpolaluyiv is the more comprehensive word. An apocalypse may include several ejpifaneiai appearings. The appearings are the media of the revealings.
Fanerwsiv manifestation; only twice in the New Testament; 1 Corinthians xii. 7; 2 Cor. iv. 2. The kindred verb fanerow to make manifest, is of frequent occurrence. See on John xxi. 1. It is not easy, if possible, to show that this word has a less dignified sense than ajpokaluyiv. The verb fanerow is used of both the first and the second appearing of our Lord (1 Tim. iii. 16; 1 John i. 2; 1 Pet. i. 20; Col. iii. 4; 1 Pet. v. 4). See also John ii. 11; xxi. 50. Some distinguish between fanerwsiv as an external manifestation, to the senses, but single and isolated; while ajpokaluyiv is an inward and abiding disclosure. According to these, the Apocalypse or unveiling, precedes and produces the fanerwsiv 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 (deixai). Frequent in Revelation (iv. 1; xvii. 1; xxi. 9; xxii. 1). Construe with edwken gave: gave him to shew. Compare "I will give him to sit" (chapter. iii. 21): "It was given to hurt" (chapter. vii. 2): "It was given him to do;" (A. v. "had power to do;" chapter. xiii. 14).
Must (dei). As the decree of the absolute and infallible God.
Shortly come to pass (genesqai en tacei). For the phrase ejn tacei shortly, see Luke xviii. 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 Pet. iii. 8. The idea is, before long, as time is computed by God. The aorist infinitive genesqai is not begin to come to pass, but denotes a complete fulfilment: must shortly come to pass in their entirety. He sent (aposteilav). See on Matt. x. 2, 16.
Signified (eshmanen). From shma a sign. Hence, literally, give a sign or token. The verb occurs outside of John's writings only in Acts xi. 28; xxv. 27. See John xii. 33; xviii. 32; xxi. 19. This is its only occurrence in Revelation. The word is appropriate to the symbolic character of the revelation, and so in John xii. 33, where Christ predicts the mode of His death in a figure. Compare sign, Apoc. xii. 1.
Angel (aggelou). Strictly, a messenger. See Matt. xi. 10; Luke viii. 24; ix. 52. Compare the mediating angel in the visions of Daniel and Zechariah (Dan. viii. 15, 16; ix. 21; x. 10; Zech. i. 19). See on John i. 51. Servant. Designating the prophetic office. See Isa. lix. 5; Amos iii. 7; compare Apoc. xix. 10; xxii. 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 Dan. viii. 1; ix. 2.
2. Bare record (emarturhsen). See on John i. 7. Rev., bear witness. The reference is to the present book and not to the Gospel. The aorist tense is the epistolary aorist. See on 1 John ii. 13, and compare the introduction to Thucydides'"History:" "Thucydides, an Athenian, wrote (xunegraye) the history of the war," etc.; placing himself at the reader's stand point, who will regard the writing as occurring in the past.
Testimony (marturian). For the phrase to witness a witness see John iv. 32. For the peculiar emphasis on the idea of witness in John, see on John i. 7. The words and the ides are characteristic of Revelation as of the Gospel and Epistles.
And (te) Omit. The clause all things that he saw is in apposition with the Word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ, marking these as seen by him. Rev. adds even.
All things that he saw (osa eiden). Lit., as many things as he saw. In the Gospel John uses the word eiden saw, only twice of his own eye-witness (i. 40; xx. 8). In Apoc. it is constantly used of the seeing of visions. Compare i. 19. For the verb as denoting the immediate intuition of the seer, see on John ii. 24.
3. Blessed (makariov). See on Matt. v. 3.
He that readeth (o anaginwskwn). See on Luke iv. 16. The Reader in the Church. See 2 Cor. iii. 14. They that hear, the congregation. The words imply a public, official reading, in full religious assembly for worship. The passage is of some weight in determining the date of this book. The stated reading of the Apostolical writings did not exist as a received form before the destruction of Jerusalem, A.D. 70.
And keep (kai thrountev). The absence of the article from thrountev keeping (compare oiJ ajkountev they that hear), shows that the hearers and the keepers form one class. Threin to keep, is a peculiarly Johannine word, and is characteristic of Revelation as of the other writings in its own peculiar sense of "keeping" in the exercise of active and strenuous care, rather than of watching over to preserve. See on reserved, 1 Pet. i. 4.
Prophecy. See on prophet, Luke vii. 26.
Which are written (ta gegrammena). Perfect participle, have been written, and therefore stand written.
At hand (egguv). Lit., near. See on shortly, verse. 1.
4. John. Note the absence of all official titles, such as are found in Paul; showing that John writes as one whose position is recognized.
Seven. Among every ancient people, especially in the East, a religious significance attaches to numbers. This grows out of the instinctive appreciation that number and proportion are necessary attributes of the created universe. This sentiment passes over from heathenism into the Old Testament. The number seven was regarded by the Hebrews as a sacred number, and it is throughout Scripture the covenant number, the sign of God's covenant relation to mankind, and especially to the Church. The evidences of this are met in the hallowing of the seventh day; in the accomplishment of circumcision, which is the sign of a covenant, after seven days; in the part played by the number in marriage covenants and treaties of peace. It is the number of purification and consecration (Lev. iv. 6, 17; viii. 11, 33; Num. xix. 12). "Seven is the number of every grace and benefit bestowed upon Israel; which is thus marked as flowing out of the covenant, and a consequence of it. The priests compass Jericho seven days, and on the seventh day seven times, that all Israel may know that the city is given into their hands by God, and that its conquest is a direct and immediate result of their covenant relation to Him. Naaman is to dip in Jordan seven times, that he may acknowledge the God of Israel as the author of his cure. It is the number of reward to those who are faithful in the covenant (Deut. xxviii. 7; 1 Sam. ii. 5); of punishment to those who are froward in the covenant (Lev. xxvi. 21, 24, 28; Deut. xxviii. 25), or to those who injure the people in it (Genesis iv. 15, 24; Exod. vii. 25; Ps. lxxix. 12). All the feasts are ordered by seven, or else by seven multiplied into seven, and thus made intenser still. Thus it is with the Sabbath, the Passover, the Feast of Weeks, of Tabernacles, the Sabbath-year, and the Jubilee."
Similarly the number appears in God's dealing with nations outside the covenant, showing that He is working for Israel's sake and with respect to His covenant. It is the number of the years of plenty and of famine, in sign that these are for Israel's sake rather than for Egypt's. Seven times pass over Nebuchadnezzar, that he may learn that the God of his Jewish captives is king over all the earth (partly quoted and partly condensed from Trench's "Epistles to the Seven Churches").
Seven also occurs as a sacred number in the New Testament. There are seven beatitudes, seven petitions in the Lord's Prayer; seven parables in Matthew 13; seven loaves, seven words from the cross, seven deacons, seven graces (Rom. xii. 6-8), seven characteristics of wisdom (James iii. 17). In Revelation the prominence of the number is marked. To a remarkable extent the structure of that book is molded by the use of numbers, especially of the numbers seven, four, and three. There are seven spirits before the throne; seven churches; seven golden candlesticks; seven stars in the right hand of Him who is like unto a son of man; seven lamps of fire burning before the throne; seven horns and seven eyes of the Lamb; seven seals of the book; and the thunders, the heads of the great dragon and of the beast from the sea, the angels with the trumpets, the plagues, and the mountains which are the seat of the mystic Babylon, - are all seven in number.
So there are four living creatures round about the throne, four angels at the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds; the New Jerusalem is foursquare. Authority is given to Death to kill over the fourth part of the earth, and he employs four agents.
Again the use of the number three is, as Professor Milligan remarks, "so remarkable and continuous that it would require an analysis of the whole book for its perfect illustration." There are three woes, three unclean spirits like frogs, three divisions of Babylon, and three gates on each side of the heavenly city. The Trisagion, or "thrice holy," is sung to God the Almighty, to whom are ascribed three attributes of glory.
Seven Churches. Not all the churches in Asia are meant, since the list of those addressed in Revelation does not include Colossae, Miletus, Hierapolis, or Magnesia. The seven named are chosen to symbolize the whole Church. Compare chapter ii. 7. Seven being the number of the covenant, we have in these seven a representation of the Church universal. In Asia. See on Acts ii. 9.
From Him which is, and which was, and which is to come (apo tou o wn kai o hn kai o ercomenov). The whole salutation is given in the name of the Holy Trinity: the Father (Him which is, and was, and is to come), the Spirit (the seven spirits), the Son (Jesus Christ). See further below. This portion of the salutation has no parallel in Paul, and is distinctively characteristic of the author of Revelation. It is one of the solecisms in grammatical construction which distinguishes this book from the other writings of John. The Greek student will note that the pronoun which (o) is not construed with the preposition from (apo), which would require the genitive case, but stands in the nominative case.
Each of these three appellations is treated as a proper name. The Father is Him which is, and which was, and which is to come. This is a paraphrase of the unspeakable name of God (Exod. iii. 14), the absolute and unchangeable. JO wn, the One who is, is the Septuagint translation of Exod. iii. 14, "I am the oJ wn (I am):" "oJ wn (I am), hath sent me unto you." The One who was (o hn). The Greek has no imperfect participle, so that the finite verb is used. Which is and which was form one clause, to be balanced against which is to come. Compare xi. 17; xvi. 5; and "was (hn) in the beginning with God" (John i. 2). Which is to come (o ercomenov). Lit., the One who is coming. This is not equivalent to who shall be; i.e., the author is not intending to describe the abstract existence of God as covering the future no less than the past and the present. If this had been his meaning, he would have written oJ ejsomenov, which shall be. The phrase which is to come would not express the future eternity of the Divine Being. The dominant conception in the title is rather that of immutability.
Further, the name does not emphasize so much God's abstract existence, as it does His permanent covenant relation to His people. Hence the phrase which is to come, is to be explained in accordance with the key-note of the book, which is the second coming of the Son (chapter i. 7; xxii. 20). The phrase which is to come, is often applied to the Son (see on 1 John iii. 5), and so throughout this book. Here it is predicated of the Father, apart from whom the Son does nothing. "The Son is never alone, even as Redeemer" (Milligan). Compare "We will come unto him," John xiv. 23. Origen quotes our passage with the words: "But that you may perceive that the omnipotence of the Father and of the Son is one and the same, hear John speaking after this manner in Revelation, 'Who is, etc.'" Dean Plumptre cornpares the inscription over the temple of Isis at Sais in Egypt: "I am all that has come into being, and that which is, and that which shall be, and no man hath lifted my veil."
The Spirit is designated by
The seven Spirits (twn epta pneumatwn). Paul nowhere joins the Spirit with the Father and the Son in his opening salutations. The nearest approach is 2 Cor. xiii. 13. The reference is not to the seven principal angels (chapter viii. 2). These could not be properly spoken of as the source of grace and peace; nor be associated with the Father and the Son; nor take precedence of the Son, as is the case here. Besides, angels are never called spirits in this book. With the expression compare chapter iv. 5, the seven lamps of fire, "which are the seven Spirits of God:" chapter iii. 1, where Jesus is said to have "the seven Spirits of God." Thus the seven Spirits belong to the Son as well as to the Father (see John xv. 26). The prototype of John's expression is found in the vision of Zechariah, where the Messiah is prefigured as a stone with seven eyes, "the eyes of the Lord, which run to and fro through the whole earth" (Zech. iii. 9; iv. 10). Compare also the same prophet's vision of the seven-branched candlestick (iv. 2).
Hence the Holy Spirit is called the Seven Spirits; the perfect, mystical number seven indicating unity through diversity (1 Cor. xii. 4). Not the sevenfold gifts of the Spirit are meant, but the divine Personality who imparts them; the one Spirit under the diverse manifestations. Richard of St. Victor (cited by Trench, "Seven Churches") says: "And from the seven Spirits, that is, from the sevenfold Spirit, which indeed is simple in nature, sevenfold in grace."
5. Jesus Christ. The Son. Placed after the Spirit because what is to follow in verses 5-8 relates to Him. This is according to John's manner of arranging his thoughts so that a new sentence shall spring out of the final thought of the preceding sentence. Compare the Prologue of the Gospel, and verses 1, 2, of this chapter.
The faithful witness (o martuv o pistov). For the phraseology see on 1 John iv. 9. For witness, see on John i. 7; 1 Pet. v. 1. As applied to the Messiah, see Psalms. lxxxix. 37; Isa. lv. 4. The construction again departs from the grammatical rule. The words witness, first-born, ruler, are in the nominative case, instead of being in the genitive, in apposition with Jesus Christ. This construction, though irregular, nevertheless gives dignity and emphasis to these titles of the Lord. See on verse 4. The word pistov, faithful is used (1), of one who shows Himself faithful in the discharge of a duty or the administration of a trust (Matt. xxiv. 45; Luke xii. 42). Hence, trustworthy (1 Cor. vii. 25; 2 Tim. ii. 2). Of things that can be relied upon (1 Tim. iii. 1; 2 Tim. ii. 11). (2), Confiding; trusting; a believer (Gal. iii. 9; Acts xvi. 1; 2 Cor. vi. 15; 1 Tim. v. 16). See on 1 John i. 9. The word is combined with ajlhqinov, true, genuine in chapter iii. 14; xix. 11; 215; xxii. 6. Richard of St. Victor (cited by Trench) says: "A faithful witness, because He gave faithful testimony concerning all things which were to be testified to by Him in the world. A faithful witness, because whatever He heard from the Father, He faithfully made known to His disciples. A faithful witness, because He taught the way of God in truth, neither did He care for any one nor regard the person of men. A faithful witness, because He announced condemnation to the reprobate and salvation to the elect. A faithful witness, because He confirmed by miracles the truth which He taught in words. A faithful witness, because He denied not, even in death, the Father's testimony to Himself. A faithful witness, because He will give testimony in the day of judgment concerning the works of the good and of the evil."
The first-begotten of the dead (o prwtotokov ek twn nekrwn). Rev., the first-born. The best texts omit ejk from. Compare Col. i. 18. The risen Christ regarded in His relation to the dead in Christ. He was not the first who rose from the dead, but the first who so rose that death was thenceforth impossible for Him (Rom. vi. 9); rose with that resurrection-life in which He will finally bring with Him those who sleep in Him (1 Thess. iv. 14). Some interpreters, rendering first-born, find in the phrase the metaphor of death as the womb which bare Him (see on Acts ii. 24). Others, holding by the rendering first-begotten, connect the passage with Ps. ii. 7, which by Paul is connected with the resurrection of Christ (Acts xiii. 32, 33). Paul also says that Jesus "was declared to be the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead" (Romans i. 4). The verb tiktw which is one of the components of prwtotokov first-begotten or born, is everywhere in the New Testament used in the sense of to bear or to bring forth, and has nowhere the meaning beget, unless Jas. i. 15 be an exception, on which see note. In classical Greek the meaning beget is common.
The Ruler of the kings of the earth (o arcwn twn basilewn thv ghv). Through resurrection He passes to glory and dominion (Philippians ii. 9). The comparison with the kings of the earth is suggested by Psalms ii. 2. Compare Ps. lxxxix. 27; Isa. lii. 15; 1 Tim. vi. 16; and see Apoc. vi. 15; xvii. 4; xix. 16.
Unto Him that loved (tw agaphsanti). The true reading is ajgapwnti that loveth. So Rev. Christ's love is ever present See John xiii. 1. Washed (lousanti). Read lusanti loosed. Trench remarks on the variation of readings as having grown out of a play on the words loutron, a bathing, and lutron a ransom, both of which express the central benefits which redound to us through the sacrifice and death of Christ. He refers to this play upon words as involved in the etymology of the name Apollo as given by Plato; viz., the washer (o apolouwn) and the absolver (o apoluwn) from all impurities. Either reading falls in with a beautiful circle of imagery. If washed, compare Ps. li. 2; Isa. i. 16, 18; Ezekiel xxxvi. 25; Acts xxii. 16; Eph. v. 26; Tit. iii. 5. If loosed, compare Matthew xx. 28; 1 Tim. ii. 6; 1 Pet. i. 18; Heb. ix. 12; Gal. iii. 13; iv. 5; Apoc. v. 9; xiv. 3, 4.
6. Kings (basileiv). The correct reading is, basileian a kingdom. The term King is never applied in the New Testament to individual Christians. The reigning of the saints is emphasized in this book. See chapter v. 10; xx. 4, 6; xxii. 5. Compare Dan. vii. 18, 22.
Priests (iereiv). Kingdom describes the body of the redeemed collectively. Priests indicates their individual position. Peter observes the same distinction (1 Pet. ii. 5) in the phrases living stones (individuals) and a spiritual house (the body collectively), and combines both kings and priests in another collective term, royal priesthood (verse 9). The priesthood of believers grows out of the priesthood of Christ (Psalms. lx. 4; Zechariah. vi. 13; Hebrews 7-10). This dignity was promised to Israel on the condition of obedience and fidelity to God. "Ye shall be a kingdom of priests and a holy nation" (Exodus. xix. 6). In the kingdom of Christ each individual is a priest. The priest's work is not limited to any order of the ministry. All may offer the sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving: all have direct access to the holiest through the blood of Jesus: all Christians, as priests, are to minister to one another and to plead for one another. The consummation of this ideal appears in Apoc. xxi. 22, where the heavenly Jerusalem is represented as without temple. It is all temple. "It is the abolition of the distinction between holy and profane (Zechariah xiv. 20, 21) - nearer and more remote from God - through all being henceforth holy, all being brought to the nearest whereof it is capable, to Him" (Trench).
Glory and dominion (h doxa kai to kratov). Rev., correctly, rendering the two articles, "the glory and the dominion." The articles express universality: all glory; that which everywhere and under every form represents glory and dominion. The verb be (the glory) is not in the text. We may render either as an ascription, be, or as a confession, is. The glory is His. Doxa glory means originally opinion or judgment. In this sense it is not used in Scripture. In the sacred writers always of a good or favorable opinion, and hence praise, honor, glory (Luke xiv. 10; Heb. iii. 3; 1 Peter v. 4). Applied to physical objects, as light, the heavenly bodies (Acts xxii. 11; 1 Cor. xv. 40). The visible brightness in manifestations of God (Luke ii. 9; Acts vii. 55; Luke ix. 32; 2 Cor. iii. 7). Magnificence, dignity (Matt. iv. 8; Luke iv. 6). Divine majesty or perfect excellence, especially in doxologies, either of God or Christ (1 Pet. iv. 11; Jude 25; Apoc. iv. 9, 11; Matt. xvi. 27; Mark x. 37; viii. 38; Luke ix. 26; 2 Corinthians iii. 18; iv. 4). The glory or majesty of divine grace (Ephesians i. 6, 12, 14, 18; 1 Tim. i. 11). The majesty of angels (Luke ix. 26; Jude 8; 2 Pet. ii. 10). The glorious condition of Christ after accomplishing His earthly work, and of the redeemed who share His eternal glory (Luke xxiv. 26; John xvii. 5; Philip. iii. 21; 1 Tim. iii. 16; Rom. viii. 18, 21; ix. 23; 2 Cor. iv. 17; Col. i. 27).
Trench remarks upon the prominence of the doxological element in the highest worship of the Church as contrasted with the very subordinate place which it often occupies in ours. "We can perhaps make our requests known unto God, and this is well, for it is prayer; but to give glory to God, quite apart from anything to be directly gotten by ourselves in return, this is better, for it is adoration." Dr. John Brown in his Memoir of his father, one of the very finest biographical sketches in English literature, records a formula used by him in closing his prayers on specially solemn occasions: "And now unto Thee, O Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, the one Jehovah and our God, we would - as is most meet - with the Church on earth and the Church in heaven, ascribe all honor and glory, dominion and majesty, as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end, Amen" ("Horae Subsecivae"). Compare the doxologies in 1 Peter iv. 11; Gal. i. 5; Apoc. iv. 9, 11; v. 13; 7. 12; Jude 25; 1 Chronicles xxix. 11.
Forever and ever (eiv touv aiwnav twn aiwnwn). Lit., unto the ages of the ages. For the phrase compare Gal. i. 5; Heb. xiii. 21; 1 Peter iv. 11. It occurs twelve times in Revelation, but not in John's Gospel or Epistles. It is the formula of eternity.
Amen (amhn). The English word is a transcription of the Greek and of the Hebrew. A verbal adjective, meaning firm, faithful. Hence oJ ajmhn, the Amen, applied to Christ (Apoc. iii. 14). It passes into an adverbial sense by which something is asserted or confirmed. Thus often used by Christ, verily. John alone uses the double affirmation, verily, verily. See on John i. 51; x. 1.
7. He cometh with clouds (ercetai meta twn nefelwn). The clouds are frequently used in the descriptions of the Lord's second coming. See Dan. vii. 13; Matt. xxiv. 30; xxvi. 64; Mark xiv. 62. Compare the manifestation of God in the clouds at Sinai, in the cloudy pillar, the Shekinah, at the transfiguration, and see Ps. xcvii. 2; xviii. 11; Nahum i. 3; Isa. xix. 1.
Shall see (oyetai). The verb denotes the physical act, but emphasizes the mental discernment accompanying it, and points to the result rather than to the act of vision. See on John i. 18. Appropriate here as indicating the quickened spiritual discernment engendered by the Lord's appearing, in those who have rejected Him, and who now mourn for their folly and sin.
Pierced (exekenthsan). See on John xix. 34, and compare Zechariah xii. 10; John xix. 36. The expression here refers not to the Jews only, but to all who reject the Son of Man; those who "in any age have identified themselves with the Spirit of the Savior's murderers" (Milligan). The passage is justly cited as a strong evidence that the author of the Gospel is also the author of Revelation.
Kindreds (fulai). More correctly, tribes. The word used of the true Israel in chapter v. 5; vii. 4-8; xxi. 12. As the tribes of Israel are the figure by which the people of God, Jew or Gentile, are represented, so unbelievers are here represented as tribes, "the mocking counterpart of the true Israel of God." Compare Matt. xxiv. 30, 31.
8. Alpha and Omega (to A kai to W). Rev., rightly, gives the article, "the Alpha," etc. The words are explained by the gloss, properly omitted from the text, the beginning and the ending. The Rabbinical writers used the phrase from Aleph to Tav, to signify completely, from beginning to end. Thus one says, "Adam transgressed the whole law from Aleph even to Tav." Compare Isa. xli. 4; xliii. 10; xliv. 6.
The Almighty (o pantokratwr). Used only once outside of Revelation, in 2 Cor. vi. 18, where it is a quotation. Constantly in the Septuagint.
9. I John. Compare Dan. vii. 28; ix. 2; x. 2.
Who am also your brother (o kai adelfov umwn). Omit kai, also, and render as Rev., John your brother.
Companion (sugkoinwnov). Rev., better, partaker with you. See Philip. i. 7, and note on partners, Luke v. 10. Koinwnov, is a partner, associate. Sun strengthens the term: partner along with. Compare John's favorite word in the First Epistle, koinwnia fellowship, 1 John i. 3. In the tribulation, etc. Denoting the sphere or element in which the fellowship subsisted.
Kingdom (basileia). The present kingdom. Trench is wrong in saying that "while the tribulation is present the kingdom is only in hope." On the contrary, it is the assurance of being now within the kingdom of Christ - under Christ's sovereignty, fighting the good fight under His leadership - which gives hope and courage and patience. The kingdom of God is a present energy, and it is a peculiality of John to treat the eternal life as already present. See John iii. 36; v. 24; vi. 47, 54; 1 John v. 11