1:1 The 1 a Revelation of b Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified [it] by his angel unto his servant John:
1 AD The dragon watches the Church of the Jews, which was ready to travail: She brings forth, flees and hides herself, while Christ was yet on the earth. 1:4 2 John to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace [be] unto you, and peace, 3 from him c which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from 4 the d seven Spirits which are before his throne;
34 AD The dragon persecutes Christ ascending to heaven, he fights and is thrown down: and after persecutes the Church of the Jews.
67 AD The Church of the Jews is received into the wilderness for three years and a half.
70 AD When the Church of the Jews was overthrown, the dragon invaded the catholic church: all this is in the twelfth chapter. The dragon is bound for a thousand years in chapter twenty. The dragon raises up the beast with seven heads, and the beast with two heads, which make havock of the catholic church and her prophets for 1260 years after the passion of Christ in ( Revelation 13:11 ).
97 AD The seven churches are admonished of things present, somewhat before the end of Domitian his reign, and are forewarned of the persecution to come under Trajan for ten years, chapter 2,3. God by word and signs provokes the world, and seals the godly in chapter 6 and 7. He shows examples of his wrath on all creatures, mankind excepted in chapter 8.
1073 AD The dragon is let loose after a thousand years, and Gregory the seventh, being Pope, rages against Henry the third, then Emperor in chapter 20.
1217 AD The dragon vexes the world for 150 years to Gregory the ninth, who wrote the Decretals, and most cruelly persecuted the Emperor Fredrick the second.
1295 AD The dragon kills the prophets after 1260 years, when Boniface the eighth was Pope, who was the author of the sixth book of the Decretals: he excommunicated Philip the French King.
1300 AD Boniface celebrates the Jubile.
1301 AD About this time was a great earthquake, which overthrew many houses in Rome.
1305 AD Prophecy ceases for three years and a half, until Benedict the second succeeded after Boniface the eighth. Prophecy is revived in chapter 11. The dragon and the two beasts question prophecy in chapter 13. Christ defends his Church in word and deed, chapter 14, and with threats and arms, chapter 16. Christ gives his Church victory over the harlot, chapter 17 and 18. Over the two beasts, chapter 19. Over the dragon and death, chapter 20. The Church is fully glorified in heaven with eternal glory, in Christ Jesus, chapter 21 and 22.
(1) This chapter has two principal parts, the title or inscription, which stands in place of an introduction: and a narration going before the whole prophecy of this book. The inscription is double, general and particular. In ( Revelation 1:1 ) the general inscription contains the kind of prophecy, the author, end, matter, instruments, and manner of communication the same, in ( Revelation 1:2 ) the most religious faithfulness of the apostle as public witness and the use of communicating the same, taken from the promise of God, and from the circumstance of the time, ( Revelation 1:3 )
(a) An opening of secret and hidden things.
(b) Which the Son opened to us out of his Fathers bosom by angels.
1:5 And from Jesus Christ, 5 [who is] the faithful witness, [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,
(2) This is the particular or singular inscription, in which salutation is written to certain churches by name, who represent the catholic church: and the certainty and truth of this is declared, from the author of it, in ( Revelation 1:8 ). (3) That is, from God the Father, eternal, immortal, immutable: wholly unchangeable, John declares in a form of speech which is undeclined. For there is no incongruity in this place, where, of necessity the words must be adapted to the mystery, not the mystery corrupted or impaired by the words.
(c) These three, Is, Was, and Shall be, signify the word Jehovah, which is the proper name for God. (4) That is, from the Holy Spirit who proceeds from the Father and the Son. This Spirit is one in person according to his subsistence: but in communication of his power, and in demonstration of his divine works in those seven churches, perfectly manifests himself as if there were many spirits, every one perfectly working in his own church. Which is why in ( Revelation 5:6 ) they are called the seven horns and seven eyes of the Lamb, as if to say, as his most absolute power and wisdom. In ( Revelation 3:1 ) Christ is said to have those seven spirits of God, and in ( Revelation 4:5 ) it is said that seven lamps burn before his throne, which also are those seven spirits of God. That this place ought to be so understood, it is thus proved. For first, grace and peace is asked by prayer from this Spirit, which is a divine work, and an action incommunicable in respect to God. Secondly, he is placed between the Father and the Son, as set in the same degree of dignity and operation with them, besides, he is before the throne, as of the same substance with the Father and the Son: as the seven eyes and seven horns of the Lamb. Moreover, these spirits are never said to adore God, as all other things are. Finally, this is the power by which the Lamb opened the book, and loosed the seven seals of it, when no one could be found among all creatures by whom the book might be opened ( Revelation 5:1-10 ); Of these things long ago Master John Luide of Oxford wrote to me. Now the Holy Spirit is named before Christ because a long speech about Christ follows.
(d) These are the seven spirits, which are later called the horns and eyes of the Lamb in ( Revelation 5:6 ) and are now acting as a guard waiting on God.
1:7 Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every e eye shall see him, and they [also] which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen.
(5) A most ample and honourable commendation of Christ, first from his offices of the priesthood and kingdom: secondly from his benefits, as his love toward us, and washing us with his blood, in this verse, and communication of his kingdom and priesthood with us: thirdly, from his eternal glory and power, which is always to be celebrated by us; ( Revelation 1:6 ) Finally, from the accomplishment of all things once to be effected by him, at his second coming, at which time he shall openly destroy the wicked, and comfort the godly in the truth; ( Revelation 1:7 ).
(e) All men. 1:8 6 I am f Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.
(6) A confirmation of the greeting earlier, taken from the words of God himself: in which he affirms his operation in every single creature, the immutable eternity that is in himself, and his omnipotence in all things: and concludes in the unity of his own essence, that Trinity of persons which was spoken of before. 1:9 7 I John, who also am your brother, and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was in the isle that is g called Patmos, for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ.
(f) I am he before whom there was nothing, indeed, by whom everything that is made, was made: and I shall remain though everything else should perish.
1:10 I was in the h Spirit on the i Lords day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet,
(7) The narration, opening the way to the declaring of the authority and calling of John the evangelist in this singular revelation, and to procure faith and credit to this prophecy. This is the second part of this chapter, consisting of a proposition, and an exposition. The proposition shows, in ( Revelation 1:9 ) first who was called to this revelation, in what place, and how occupied. Then at what time, and by what means, namely, by the Spirit and the word, and that on the Lords day, which ever since the resurrection of Christ, was consecrated for Christians: that is to say, to be a day of rest, as in ( Revelation 1:10 ) Thirdly, who is the author that calls him, and what is the sum of his calling.
(g) Patmos is one of the islands of Sporas, where John was banished according to some historians.
(h) This is a holy trance expressed, with which the prophets were entranced, and being carried out of the world, conversed with God: and so Ezekiel says often, that he was carried from place to place by the Spirit, and that the Spirit of the Lord came on him. 1:12 8 And I turned to k see the voice that spake with me. 9 And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks;
(i) He calls it the Lords day, which Paul calls the first day of the week; ( 1 Corinthians 16:2 ).
1:17 10 And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. 11 And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; 12 I am the first and the last:
(8) The exposition, declaring the third and last point of the proposition (for the other points are evident of themselves) in which is he first speaks of the author of his calling (till verse 17), and secondly, of the calling itself ( Revelation 1:17-20 ). First of all the occasion is noted in this verse, in that John turned himself towards the vision, and after he sets down the description of the author, in the following verses, ( Revelation 1:13-16 ).
(k) To see him whose voice I had heard. (9) The description of the Author, who is Christ: by the candlesticks that stand about him, that is, the churches that stand before him, and depend upon his direction. In ( Revelation 1:13 ) he is described by his properties, that he is provided with wisdom and dexterity for the achieving of great things, and in ( Revelation 1:14 ) with ancient gravity and most excellent sight of the eye. In ( Revelation 1:15 ) he is described with strength invincible and with a mighty word, and in ( Revelation 1:16 ) by his ruling of the ministry of his servants in the Church by the sword of his word, and enlightening all things with his countenance, and mightily providing for everyone by his divine providence.
1:19 13 Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter;
(10) A religious fear, that goes before the calling of the saints, and their full confirmation to take on them the vocation of God.
(11) A divine confirmation of this calling, partly by sign, and partly by word of power.
(12) A most elegant description of this calling contained in three things, which are necessary to a just vocation: first the authority of him who calls, for he is the beginning and end of all things, in this verse, for he is eternal and omnipotent ( Revelation 1:8 ). Secondly the sum of his prophetic calling and revelation ( Revelation 1:9 ). Lastly a declaration of those persons to whom this prophecy is by the commandment of God directed in the description of it ( Revelation 1:20 ).
1:20 14 The mystery of the seven stars which thou sawest in my right hand, and the seven golden candlesticks. The seven stars are the l angels of the seven churches: and the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches.
(13) The sum of this prophecy, that the apostle must write whatever he sees, adding nothing, nor taking away anything ( Revelation 1:2 ). Here there are two parts: one is a narration of those things which are, that is, which then were at that time, contained in the second and third chapter: the other part is of those things which were to come, contained in the rest of this book.
(14) That is, the thing which was mystical signified by the particulars of the vision before going.
(l) By angels he means the ministers of the Church.