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suppose that in the instance before us, such has been the case. For nearly the whole of this title is found quoted by the ancient Fathers, by Dionysius of Alexandria, and by Origen * Add to this, that the greater part of it is to be found, expressed in the same words, in the body of the workt. It is therefore of similar authority. And the subsequent notes will shew, that the expressions contained in it are concordant in their meaning and doctrine with other passages of sacred Scripture.
Ver. 1. The Revelation. We have many revelations from our Lord Jesus Christ. This delivered to his servant John, is one of them. Not only on this account, but because the prepositive article is omitted in the Greek, it may seem most proper to express the word uponatulis by 5 a revelation,” and not " the “ revelation,” but it is not necessary to make this alteration. For, by long usage and acceptance in the Christian Church, it is now accounted the Reve, lation.
Ib. Which God gave unto him.] The scheme of the Christian revelation is mediatorial throughout. God giveth to the Son #, dispensing knowledge and favour through him.
Ib. Which must come to pass in a short time.] The same expression is seen to recur at the close of the book ; and we may collect from it, that the events foretold in this prophecy begin to be fulfilled even from the time of its delivery, and are to follow in a rapid succession until the final consummation. In
* Euseb. Hist. Eccl. lib. vii. c. 25.
See ch. xxii, 6, 7. John ii]. 35. v. 19, 27. viii. 28, 38. xij. 15. xiv. 6, 10. Phil, ji. 9. Ch. xxii. 6,
Daniel, ch. ii. 28, 29, 45, we have the same words, α δει γενεσθαι : there they are coupled with επ' εσχατων Twy juegwy: 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.] Ecnjavev, expressed thein by σημεια signs significative, for σημειον has precisely this meaning in ch. xii. 1. 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. IVho 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 tugew is used in this sense more frequently by Saint John, than by any
* 1 Joh. ii. 18.
+ See, says Daubuz, Jamblic. de Myst. Æg. sect. iii. c. 15. where onuaryw is used in the very same signification. Job, xiii. 17.
other sacred weiter. 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. xxxií. 3, 5. Is. xii. 6. Joel ii. 1, 15. Phil. iv. 5. i 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.
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 Ephesus t. It is the order also in which epistles written by Saint John from Patmos would be most
* Tacit. Annal. iv. 55. Gibbon's Hist. i. 60. Inscriptions upon medals still extant, and relating to this contest, may be seen in a note of Michaelis to sect, i, of the 20th chapter of his lotroduction to the N.T. + Euseb. Eccl. Hist. lib. iii. c. 20.