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“beginning,” and “from the beginning with God".” The apostle to the Hebrews enforces the same notion of our Lord's eternity, when he calls him “Jesus “Christ, the same yesterday, to-day, and for evert.” He is Alpha and Omega, the first and the last, the original Creator, and the final Judge, of the world; to whose illustrious advent, and final triumph over his enemies (as being the grand catastrophe of the Apocalypse) the prophet, who had already seen it exhi-X bited in vision, exultingly adverts, even before he begins his narration. This was natural, in one who had seen such a vision, but it would not easily have occurred in a work of mere imagination and art.
* John i. 1. 13. v. 26, 19. 22. xiv. 11. xvi. 15, also Col. i. 16. 17. Heb. i. 2, 3,8. 1 John v. 20. + Heb. xiii. 8,
The Appearance of the Lord Jesus with the Symbols of his Power; and the Commission given by him to Saint John to write what he beholds.
chap, i.ver. 9—to the end.
9 'Ey: ‘Iwamos, 5 9 I John, your brother, 9 I John, who also am *** **, * and fellow-sharer in your brother, and comovskairavös i to the tribulation and panion in tribulation, Saiou o 8xoiatiz kingdom and patience and in the kingdom and kai troporo "inas of Jesus Christ, was in patience of JesusChrist, Xgré, intréany is the Island called Pat- was in the isle that is t; rior ti Maas- mos, for the word of called Patmos, for the
God, and for the
word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ. I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet, 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. And I turned to see the voice that spake with me. And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks; And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, cloathed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle. His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes
were as a flame of
fire; And his feet like unto fine brass,
hand seven stars, and from his mouth a twoedged sharp sword coming forth; and his countenance as the Sun shineth in his And when I saw him, I fell at his feet, as dead; and he laid his right hand upon me, saying [to me] “Fear not; I am “ the first and the “last, and he who “liveth; and I was “dead, and behold I “ am alive for ever and I “have the keys of * Death and of hell. “Write therefore “ those things which “ thou seest, even “the things which “are present, “which are about to “ be after these : The “mystery of the ** seven stars which “ thou seest in my “right hand, and “ the seven golden
“lamp-bearers. The “seven stars are the “angels of the seven “churches; and the “seven lamp-bearers “ are the seven “Churches.”
as if they burned in a furnace: and his voice as the sound of many waters. And he had in his right hand seven and out of his mouth went a sharp twoedged sword, and his Countenance ords as the sun shineth in his strength. And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead: and he laid his right hand upon
* * * - - inla ixxxncial tiari.
and have the keys of hell and of death. Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter, The mystery of the seven stars which thou sawest in my right hand, and the seven golden candlesticks. The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches : the candlesticks
and Seven which thou sawest are the seven churches.
Ver. 9. I John, &c.] Who this John was, and why, and whither banished, may be seen in note, c. i. 1. His dignity, as an apostle, and as a prophet favoured with this vision, and honoured with this commission, was at all events considerable; but, in the spirit of the Gospel, he calls himself only a brother, as his Lord had called himself before him *, and a fellowsharer in the afflictions which the faithful were then suffering, under the persecution of Domitian. But to partake the sufferings of Christ, is to partake also his kingdomf, which are here therefore empliatically united. . . . For the word of God and for the testimony of Jesus.] The sense of this expression becomes clear, by comparing it with chap. vi. 9, where the Martyrs are represented as having suffered 312 row Moyow rs 9-8 was 3.2 passwogy ov eizov, “for the word of God, and for the “testimony which they bare.” John was, like them, a persecuted sufferer and confessor, in the Island of Patmos, to which he was banished for his adherence to the faith, and where he was favoured with this vision .
Ver. 10. I was in the Spirit..] It is in vain to inquire the exact manner in which these sacred visions were communicated. The Jewish writers have said much upon the subject, but nothing which can satisfy a rational and sober mind. So far however is plain from Ezek. ii. 2. iii. 24. 2 Cor. xii. 2. and other passages of Scripture, that the prophet commonly perceived the impulse of the Spirit acting upon him in a sudden and extraordinary manner; yet so mysteriously, that
* John xx. 17. + 2 Tim. ii. 12. ! Euseb. Eccl. Ilist. lib. iii. cap. 18.
Saint Paul affirms that he could not tell whether it was “in the body or out of the body,” that he was present in the heavens. Saint John perceived this movement of the Spirit upon him, when the heavenly voice called to him. He represents it, as it struck his senses, coming from behind him, and thus affecting him with more sudden surprise; it was loud, and as of a trumpet, the signal of war; it was fearful and alarming". The trumpet was the voice of God, at the awful delivery of the Law from Mount Sinai, and so shall be again at the consummation of the world f. Ver. 11. See notes on verses 4 and 8. Ver, 12. Seven golden lamp-bearers.] These are explained afterwards (v. 20.) to signify the seven Churches, or the universal Church of Christ £. They are not the lamps or lights, but the bearers of them; they are the instruments, on which the lights being suspended, illuminate the Christian world. Spiritual knowledge is frequently represented in Scripture, under the emblem of a light or lamp. Numerous are the instances; but see in particular Mat. v. 14, 15, and the parallel passages, and Ezek. iv. 2. Agreeably to which, in Rev. iv. 5, seven lamps of fire are used to express the gifts of the Divine Spirit; but the receptacle of religious knowledge, the station from which it is communicated, is the lamp-bearer or candlestick; and by this is denoted the Church of Christ. So Irenaeus, who, alluding to this passage, says, Ubique enim ecclesia praedicat veritatem, et hac est irrapuzo; (aliter śrtzpow$o:)
* Joel ii. 1. Amos iii. 6. 1 Cor. xiv. 3.