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Daniel, ch. ii. 28, 29, .45, we have the same words, & 35 yeweałai : there they are coupled with ex' erzarov Two oustov: the events were to take place in the latter days; but these latter days are said by Saint John, to have commenced in his time, that is, at the close of the apostolic age, and to be the antichristian days". Thus we learn that the antichristian times, revealed to the prophet Daniel, are the same which are now to be disclosed in the Apocalypse. Ib. Signified them.] Ezquaviv, expressed them by awusia signs significative, for awpstow has precisely this meaning in ch. xii. J. f Ib. Unto his servant John.] John the Evangelist, one of the twelve Apostles, as will appear from the Dissertation preceding these notes. Ver. 2. JWho bare record of the word of God, &c.] This may be understood to allude to the former testimony of St. John, which he had delivered in his Gospel, or to the testimony which he had just now recorded of the visions seen by him in Patmos; or to both. Ver. 3. Blessed is he who readeth, &c.] The same kind of blessing is pronounced in Matt. xiii. 16, Luke xi. 28, 2 Pet. i, 19, on those who cultivate spiritual knowledge, who attend with faith to the light of “Prophecy, shining in a dark place, until the day “dawn,” &c. But to knowledge must be added practice; “If ye know these things, happy are ye “if ye do them.” The word Tzosa is used in this sense more frequently by Saint John, than by any other sacred wiiter. And it is with great propriety applied to this book of prophecy, in which much practical exhortation is interspersed; more especially in the three first chapters. Ib. For the time is near.] The time which is here announced as fast approaching, seems to be that, wherein the Son of God, having obtained the victory over those powers who oppose the progress of his power, shall pass final sentence upon all; when “he “cometh in the clouds of heaven,” as represented in the seventh verse of this chapter. By comparing Deut. xxxii. 3, 5. Is. xiii. 6. Joel ii. 1, 15. Phil. iv. 5. 1 Pet. iv. 7, we shall perceive that it is usual with the Divine Spirit to announce this great day as near, when yet at considerable distance, measured by years, and applied to successive ages. The reason of which may be, that this great day is always near to every individual; who, at the time of his departure from this world, will have made up his account. And the warning is here applied to individuals, for such are addressed in the beginning of the verse. It has been observed also, that, in the Scriptures, we are never exhorted to prepare for death, ` but always for the coming of the Lord,
* 1 Joh. ii. 18. + See, says Daubuz, Jamblic. de Myst. Eg. sect. iii. c. 15, where couziya is used in the very same signification.
! Joh. xiii. 17. other
4 John to
7 Behold, he
the seven Churches which are in Asia. Grace be unto you, and peace, from Him which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from the seven spirits which are before his Throne; 5 And from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the first-born of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. Unto Him who loveth us, and hath washed us from our sins in his 6 blood, Aud hath made us a kingdom; hath made us priests, unto God even his Father; to him be the glory
and the dominion for
ever and ever. Amen. cometh with the clouds, and every eye shall see him, and all they who have pierced him; and all the Tribes of the earth shall wail because of him; even so, amen.
8 I am the Alpha and
4 John to the seven
churches which are in Asia: Grace be unto you, and peace, from Him which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from the seven spirits which are before his throne; And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful wit. ness, and the first-begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth: Unto Him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen. Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him: even so, Amen. I am Alpha and Omega, the be
Ver. 4. To the seven Churches which are in Asia.] This book, being written in an epistolary form, begins, like other Apostolic Epistles, with a Salutation, followed by a Doxology. It is addressed to the seven Churches, which are afterwards mentioned by name. They were situated in the proconsular province properly called Asia, which, at the time when the Apocalypse was written, is reported by historians to have contained five hundred great cities. Of these, Ephesus, Smyrna, and Pergamos, (being three of our seven,) long contested for the pre-eminence. And when a Heathen Temple was to be erected in this province, in honour of the Emperor Tiberius, and of the Roman Senate, eleven Cities contended for the possession of this Temple: and, among these, were five of the seven; for Sardis also and Laodicea entered the lists on this occasion". They were certainly therefore cities of great account. The order in which they are here named is that probably in which they were visited by the Apostle Saint John, who, both before and after his banishment to Patmos, superintended them all, residing principally at Ephesust. It is the order also in which epistles written by Saint John from Patmos would be most
" Tacit. Annal. iv. 55. Gibbon's llist. i. 60. Inscriptions upon medals still extant, and relating to this contest, may be seen in a note of Michaels to sect. i. of the 20th chapter of his Introduction to the N. T. t Euseb. Eccl. Hist, lib. iii. c. 20, - conveniently
conveniently distributed through the Churches, by a messenger making a circuit of about three or four hundred miles, as may be seen in the most correct maps. - These Churches of Asia continued their bond of Christian connection, long after the time when they were thus addressed by Saint John. For it appears, that when toward the close of the second century the contest about the time of keeping Easter grew warm between the eastern and western parts of Christendom, Polycrates, who engaged in that controversy, “pre“sided over the Bishops of Asia *.” And the famous Epistle from the Gallic Churches, written somewhat earlier, is addressed to the Churches of Asia and Phrygia. Now Phrygia lay contiguous to the province of Asia, of which it was sometimes accounted a part; and Laodicea, one of the seven Churches, was the capital of Phrygia f. The number of Churches to which the Epistle is addressed, is seven : the same number which we shall find frequently employed in this sacred book. For we read in it of seven spirits of God, seven angels, seven thunders, seven seals, seven trumpets, seven vials, seven heads of the Dragon, of the Beast, &c. In which passages, as in others of holy Scripture, the number seven appears to represent a large and complete, yet uncertain and undefined number. Hannah, in her song, says, “The barren hath borne seven,” (that is, a great and indefinite number of) children f. God threatens the Israelites that he will punish them “seven times;” that is, very completely and severely,