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THE APOCALYPSE, OR REVELATION.

At the very

The true and eternal Godhead of Christ is certainly not taught in the Apocalypse so clearly as in St. John's Gospel, though the author speaks in enthusiastic language of the greatness of Christ's ministry, and the glory communicated to his human nature. beginning of the book, Christ is placed after the seven spirits, who stand near the throne of God; nor is he ever called God, or the Creator of the world, throughout the whole work.–J. D. MICHAELIS: Introduction to the New Testament, vol. iv. PP: 538–9.

Rev. i. 1: “ The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God

gave

unto him, to show unto his servants things which must shortly come to "pass; and he sent and signified [it] by his angel," &c.

Which he had formerly been taught by God. For whatever Christ taught while on earth, he had received from the Father. See John vii. 16; viii. 28, 38; xii. 49; xiv. 10. — J. G. RosENMÜLLER.

Ver. 4, 5: “ John to the seven churches which are in Asia: “ Grace [be] unto you, and peace, from Him who is, and who was, “and who is to come; and from the seven spirits that are before his throne; and from Jesus Christ,” &c.

As the Jews really speak of seven archangels, who had access to the throne of God, the seven spirits before the throne of God, mentioned chap. i. 4, can hardly be interpreted of the Holy Ghost. — J. D. MICHAELIS: Int. to the New Test. vol. iv. pp. 540-1.

That is, seven angels, in relation to the seven churches, which St. John addressed: see chap. v. 6, comp. viii. 2.

As this is a vision, the images are formed on the opinions which then prevailed respecting the presidentship of angels over each church, as well as over each kingdom: see Tob. xii. 15. St. Paul names the angels ministering spirits. -- BEAUSOBRE ET L'ENFANT.

Since seven spirits are here expressly mentioned, I really do not see how the Holy Spirit can be meant; or how he can be said to be “before the throne of God,” which is the office of ministers. J. G. ROSENMÜLLER.

and peace

If it be thought strange that John should pray

for

grace from the angels, which here he seems to do from the seven spirits, I answer, first, that these and the like words, “ Peace be to you, or with you,” are but a form of greeting or salutation, which includes in it all good wishes of the things mentioned, but not a solemn prayer to those persons named in the form. Supposing it a prayer, yet the action of prayer being not addressed to the seven spirits, whether immediately or terminatively, there can be no inconvenience from thence to define the spirits to be angels; for it is certain that the angels are used by God as instruments to convey his mercies to us; and then those mercies come from the angels immediately, though originally from God. And if it be farther objected, that these spirits here are named before Christ, and therefore must not be angels, I answer, first, that the order of setting down is no note of dignity or priority in the Scriptures. -- Abridged from Dr. HAMMOND.

[The seven spirits are interpreted seven angels, or chief ministers, by PEREIRA, SALMERON, Father Simon, and CALMET; DRUSIUS, BEZA, BAXTER, WELLS, PYLE, Dr. ADAM CLARKE, and Dr. Robinson in Lexicon, v. IIvevja, A. c.; and by a host of other writers, some of whom are referred to by Sandius, in his Scriptura S. Trinitatis Revelatrix, pp. 219-20.]

Ver. 5: “And from Jesus Christ, [who is] the faithful witness, “[and] the first-begotten of the dead, and the Prince of the kings of “ the earth.” Comp. with Col. i. 18, in “ Concessions,” p. 496.

'O TPWTOTOKOS TWV vekpwv, the first-begotten of the dead. That is, the first of the dead who was raised to immortal life: seo 1 Cor. xv. 20. Col. i. 18. The resurrection is a kind of nativity: see Matt. xix. 28. Acts xiii. 33. GROTIUS. [So interpreted by ZEGER, Father SIMON, DODDRIDGE, J. G. ROSENMÜLLER, VATER, and others.]

'O apxwv Twv Baoilewv ens yns, the Prince of the kings of the earth.

And hath all power given unto him in heaven and in earth; is superior to all the princes of this world, &c.— DR. HAMMOND.

Prince of the kings of the earth, since his exaltation. BEAUSOBRE ET L'ENFANT.

This title does not necessarily denote the Supreme Being.–J. D. MICHAELIS: Int. to the New Test. vol. iv. p. 470.

Rev. i. 8: “I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the “ ending, saith the Lord, who is, and who was, and who is to come, “the Almighty." I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending,

saith the Lord, &c. It is evident that, in the Apocalypse, Christ is called the beginning and the end, because he is the beginning and the consummation of the church, which was founded by his first, and will be completed by his second appearance.

ERASMUS, in his annot. on John viii. 25: Op. tom. vi. p. 376.

This is said either by God the Father, or Jesus Christ; but it is better to understand it of the Father, on account of what follows, “ saith the Lord, who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.” Though all this is suitable to the Son as well as to the Father, yet Scripture more usually ascribes it to the Father.- CALMET.

Alpha and Omega are the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet. .... Thus, I am the Alpha and the Omega is explained by the following clause, I am the beginning and the end, which denotes the unchangeable certainty of God's promises and oracles. See Isa. xli. 4. Rev. xxi. 6; xxii. 13. — BEAUSOBRE ET L'ENFANT.

Εγω ειμι το Α και το Ω, λεγει Κυριος ο Θεος.-GRIESBACH and VATER.

I am Alpha and Omega, satth the Lord God. - DR. J. WALLIS: Eighth Letter, p. 18. [So Wells, BOOTHROYD, J. P. SMITH.]

The word God is not in the ordinary reading, but is found in the ancient Alexandrian manuscript, in one of Stephens's, and in Cardinal Ximenes's edition, as well as in the Syriac and the two Arabic versions. FATHER SIMON.

The alteration made in this text by GRIESBACH, viz. the omission of the clause apxn kal telos, and the insertion of the word Okog after Kvploc, appears to rest upon ample authority. .... Since the description, “ which is, and which was, and which is to come,” is the same as that by which, almost immediately before, the Father is characterized, and distinguished from the Spirit and the Son, it must, I think, be allowed (especially if Griesbach's text be taken for our guide), that these are the words of God, even the Father. - J. J. GURNEY: Biblical Notes, pp. 85, 86. [The expressions under consideration are applied by BENGEL and VATER to God the Father. - GEORGE HOLDEN, in Script. Test. pp. 222-3, acknowledges the application to be doubtful, but considers that the words were spoken by the Son.]

Ver. 10, 11: “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," &c.

He is the Alpha and Omega, the first and the last, the beginner and finisher of our faith. — DR. JOHN OWEN (under Heb. xiii. 8), who seems to regard these as synonymous expressions.

That is, “ Before whom no man ever was that which I am, nor ever shall be; who neither had any predecessor, nor shall have any to succeed me.” This is a phrase taken out of Isa. xli. 4, where it is used of God the Father. - LE CLERC: Sup. to Hammond, p. 633.

I heard a voice, telling me that the person that spoke was no other than Jesus Christ himself, the glorified Son of God; whom the Almighty Father from the beginning constituted the Lord, Redeemer, and Governor (Matt. xi. 22. Heb. xii. 2) of his church in this world; and who will continue to rule and guide it through all its periods and dispensations, even to the last judgment, which he will execute upon the whole world. - PYLE. We

may observe, that the power of Jesus Christ, and his office in governing these churches, as it is distinct from that of his father, is merely ecclesiastical. I would not be so understood as if I meant, that Christ was wholly excluded from all temporal power in this case; for even this expression, I am the Alpha and the Omega, includes such a power: he hath power with his Father even to destroy and judge his enemies. But I mean, that these symbolical expressions, wherein Christ is only represented as actor, lead us to determine that this vision, or part of the prophecy, merely concerns the internal state of the church, which is the peculiar care and charge of Jesus Christ, as all the symbols seem to denote. DaubUZ.

Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end of the divine dispensations. .... Besides this, the Hebrew Aleph signifies chief (Gen. xxxvi.), or leader; or guide (Mic. vii. 5), or conductor; a friend on whom reliance may be placed (Prov. xvi. 28). Taking it in the former, which is the most general and usual sense, it applies very expressively to our Lord Christ. — CALMET: Dictionary, v. A.

[The expressions in question are evidently understood by the writers quoted, not as referring to the eternal existence of Christ, but to his relation with the church, of which he was the Founder and the Consummator. It is worthy of remark, however, that they are excluded by GRIESBACH from his text.]

Rev. i. 17, 18: ... “ Fear not: I am the first and the last; [I am] “ he that liveth, and was dead,” &c. See chap. ii. 8.

PARAPHRASE.

πρωτος και ο

Attend well to the comfortable words of your heavenly Master, whom God has appointed to be the original Lord, the continual Preserver, and at last the righteous Judge of mankind. - Pyle on ii. 8.

'O

εσχατος. . The first, that is, the most excellent of all; and the last, the most despised of all. — HUGH DE ST. CHER, apud Sandium, p. 154.

. IIpwros, the first, that is, chief in dignity, having much greater power than any one before possessed. .... Eoxaros, the last, that is, the most despised of men, Isa. liii. 3; having been betrayed, mocked, beaten, scourged, and even condemned to be punished as a slave. GROTIUS. [Similarly interpreted by J. G. ROSENMÜLLER.]

Christ is called, in the Apocalypse, chap. i. 17, the first and the last; and this expression, if taken in the same sense as that in which it is used, Isa. xli. 4; xliv. 6; xlviii. 12, may denote Christ's eternal Godhead. Yet it is not absolutely decisive; for the meaning of chap. i. 17 may be, “ Fear not; I am the first (whom thou knewest as mortal), and the last (whom thou now seest immortal), still the same, whom thou knewest from the beginning.” The same explanation may be given of chap. ii. 8, where the expression, the first and the last, again occurs, and is used in connection with Christ's resurrection from the dead. -J. D. MICHAELIS: Introduction to the New Test. vol. iv.

[See Isa. xli. 4, et al. in “ Concessions," pp. 199, 200.]

pp. 539–40.

Chap. ii. 7: “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the spirit saith (To avevpa deyer) unto the churches : To him that overcometh “ will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the “paradise of my God” (rov Okov Mov — GRIESBACH).

Let him attend to my revelation to what I, being inspired by God, am about to say.

FATHER SIMON. As

πνευμα, , the spirit, is used of God, whom we adore as the Father of Jesus Christ, so is it also applied to Jesus Christ, the Son of God. ... Rev. ii. 7 (comp. chap. i. 13, 17, 18; ii. 1), 11 (comp. ver. 8), 17, 29; iï. 6, 22; xiv. 13; xxii. 17. - SCHLEUSNER: Lex. in Nov. Test. v. IIvevja, 10.

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