Revelation Commentary: Chapter I

Rev. 1:1 The Revelation of 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: 2 Who bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw. 3 Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.

Thus, we are introduced to the author, the apostle John and that the execution of his Revelation would soon begin, completely precluding the Futurist scheme. The Historicist scheme tells us that this Revelation would begin to be executed in the generation of the author himself. Thus, John tells us that Yeshua gave him the history of the subsequent age in a series of visions that reveal something about History.

4 John to the seven churches which are in Asia:

Asia here is what is now Turkey, as we will be introduced to the Churches in now Turkish cities.

and peace, from him which is, and which was, and which is to come;

This is the Father Yahovah who will be distinguished from Yeshua in the first words of the next verse, “And from Jesus Christ” vs. 5.

Grace be unto you and from the seven Spirits which are before his throne;

Historicists generally interpret the seven Spirits as a symbol of the Holy Spirit considering his seven-fold attributes in Isa. 11:2 and also the Seven angels to be mentioned later in verse 20 and Rev. 8. Though angels are depicted as part of the Council before the throne, 1 Tim. 5:21, Luke 9:26, 12:8, and also called ministering spirits Heb. 1:7, the seven angels(seven stars) are explicitly distinguished from the seven Spirits in Rev. 3:1.

And unto the angel of the church in Sardis write; These things saith he that hath the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars

The seven Spirits are also called lamps before the throne:

Rev. 4: 5 And out of the throne proceeded lightnings and thunderings and voices: and there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God.

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.

Here we see Yeshua being depicted as the firstborn from the dead. This is the description Paul makes of him in Col. 1:18 with the emphasis being on his preeminence. Surely others, such as Lazarus, had risen from the dead before Yeshua. As a matter of fact it was Yeshua himself who raised him up. But he was to rise again to a mortal state and die again while the master Yeshua was to rise in his glorious body victorious over sin and death, fulfilling all the conditions of the Covenant of Redemption. Phil. 3:21, Rom. 5:21, 6:23.

Thus, this theme of preeminence is developed by the apostle in the next phrase as he proclaims Yeshua the prince of the kings of the earth. This verse utterly refutes the Futurist heresy that the kingdom of Yeshua will not arrive until the future political restoration of ethnic Israel. To the contrary, Yeshua did set up his kingdom with his first coming as he was declared a king at his resurrection.

Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood

The apostle crescendos with the sublime truth of the penal substitutionary atonement made on our behalf which I defend in my book 166 Theses.

6 And hath made us kings and priests

Which he reiterates in 3:21 To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne. The same is said by Paul and the writer of Hebrews, Heb. 6:4-5, 1 Cor. 10:11, Eph. 2:6-7, that we are now enjoying the benefits and graces of the age to come. He calls us Priests as we have received the full Revelation from Elohim with the canon being completed with the Book of Revelation and thus the right of Private Judgment. Thus, the apostle John states, 1 John 2:27:

But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.

We are now fully equipped to test the religious organizations of the world, and as Paul says, “Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;” 2 Cor. 10:5

unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

Here the apostle reiterates the truth that God is not an abstraction but the concrete person of the Father of our master Yeshua messiah, thus utterly denying the Trinity heresy.

7 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.

Seeing this passage reads of those seeing him pierced was fulfilled at his crucifixion: John 19:37 And again another scripture saith, They shall look on him whom they pierced, I am of the opinion this passage refers to Messiah’s ascension to the Father after his resurrection. As I stated in my 166 Theses Book:

Concerning, Matt. 10:23,

“And when they persecute you in this city, flee to another. For truly, I say to you, you shall by no means have gone through the cities of Yisra’ĕl before the Son of Aḏam comes.”

And Mark 14:62, Mat. 26:64,

“And Jesus said, “I am; and you shall see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven.”

These passages do not refer to Yeshua’s second coming to the earth but to his coming to the Ancient of Days in Daniel 7:

Dan 7:13 “I was looking in the night visions and saw One like the Son of Enosh, coming with the clouds of the heavens! And He came to the Ancient of Days, and they brought Him near before Him. Dan 7:14 “And to Him was given rulership and preciousness and a reign, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him. His rule is an everlasting rule which shall not pass away, and His reign that which shall not be destroyed.

This happened in Acts 1:9, many years before 70 A.D. Probably, the reason why Dan. 7:13 is cited in Mat. 24:30 is because his second coming is just like his Dan. 7:13 coming as Acts 1:11 states,

“Act 1:11 who also said, “Men of Galil, why do you stand looking up into the heaven? This same יהושע, who was taken up from you into the heaven, shall come in the same way as you saw Him go into the heaven.

8 I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.

Samuel Clarke says,

“414. [Rev 1-DS] 8. I am Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End, saith the Lord, [in several MSS …the Lord God,] which is and which was and which is to come, the Almighty. [Gr. ὁ παντοκράτωρ, the Supreme Lord over all]…”

Παντοκράτωρ [Supreme over All] was ordinarily by Ancients (Saith the learned Bp. Pearson) taken for the Father: As Origen, book the 7th against Celsus;…the prophecies, in which (saith he) either…the Supreme God over all, or the Son of God, or the Holy Spirit was believed to be the speaker. And according to this general Confession did Polycarp begin his Prayer at his Martyrdom; …O Lord God Almighty, [or Supreme over all;] the Father of thy beloved and blessed Son Jesus Christ.—And Constit. Apost. Lib. I. proem…Who have taken confidence to call the Supreme God, Father. Pearson on te Creed, pag. 41, Edit. 4th.

Again, pag. 42 By the First, [the Title…Almigty,] they seem to signify the Rule and Dominion which God hath over all.And again : From the Use of the sacred Writers, from the Notation of the Word in Greek. And from the testimony of the Ancient Fathers, we may well ascribe unto God the Father, in the Explication of this Article, [I believe in God the Father Almighty…] the dominion over All, and the rule and government of all.
Again, pag. 43. He——–is——– the only Potentate; because He alone hath all Power , of Himself; and whosoever else hath any, hath it from Him, ether by donation or permission. And again: He hath all Power over every thing, as being Absolute and Supreme.”

The Scripture Doctrine of the Trinity, pg. 62-64

First I would like to point out that the “Alpha and Omega “reading in Rev 1:11 is not found in the Westcott-Hort nor in the Majority Text.

http://openscriptures.org/prototypes/manuscript-comparator/?passage=rev+1%3A11&view=parallel&strongs=1.

It appears in the Textus Receptus which is well known for its textual additions.

Samuel Clark’s point is defended by an examination of Scripture. In Rev. 1, verse 2 we have a distinction between God and Jesus Christ; 1:4 distinguishes between he which was and is and is to come from Jesus Christ;1:6 refers to Jesus’ God as the Father; 1:12-13 distinguishes between the voice that cried “Alpha and Omega” from the son of man; Rev. 21 distinguishes between the Lord God and the Lamb as does Rev. 22.

Now Rev. 1:17 is the strongest passage for the Triune Sabellianism. However, as Clarke pointed out Rev. 1:17 does not include the language of “the Almighty” [Παντοκράτωρ].
This word, Παντοκράτωρ shows up in 10 passages in the New Testament and none of them refer to the Son. They all refer to the Father.

http://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=G3841&t=KJV

Now the Trinitarians at this point will fume and demand that since Yeshua uses the words first and last he must be identifying himself as the same person as the Alpha and Omega in verse 8. But the problem is verse 17 does not use Alpha and Omega. It uses protos and eschatos.

9 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 called Patmos, for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ. 10 I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet, 11 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.

Here John receives the vision in the Spirit which is never to be considered literal.

Second, John tells us of the Lord’s Day. Catholics and Christians make much of this passage but their argument is baseless. The Catholics say that this refers to the first day of the week. Vincent’s Word Studies admits, “The usual New Testament expression for the first day of the week is ἡ μία τῶν σαββάτων (Luke 24:1; see on Acts 20:7).” But that is not the reading of the Greek here. All of the Greek Manuscript family read: τη κυριακη ημερα.” Some will reference The Didache at this point and maintain that John is here referencing The Didache to refer to the Lord’s day as Sunday. The Didache states,

14:1 And on the Lord’s own day gather yourselves together and break bread and give thanks, first confessing your transgressions, that your sacrifice may be pure.

http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/text/didache-lightfoot.html

The dating of The Didache ranges from the first to the late second century. This argument is not strongly founded at all. Moreover, The Didache itself affirms Seventh Day Sabbath keeping:

8:1 And let not your fastings be with the hypocrites, for they fast on the second and the fifth day of the week; 8:2 but do ye keep your fast on the fourth and on the preparation (the sixth) day.

The “Lord’s own Day” is never defined by The Didache as being Sunday or the first day. It is an argument from silence completely. Thus, from Scripture and from The Didache itself we can conclude he means the Sabbath day by the Lord’s day.

And finally, we see the Asia in verse 4 means modern day Turkey as the cities are explicitly stated.

cnm32-rev

12 And I turned to see the voice that spake with me. And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks; 13 And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle. 14 His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire; 15 And his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters. 16 And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp twoedged sword: and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength.

Thus, we learn from verse 20 that, “The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches: and the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches.” Thus, the things John is seeing are not literal. They are symbols of literal realities.

Another point needs to be made. The Black Hebrew Israelites will point out that visions of Yeshua depict his hair as wool. They will argue the texture of wool is not a Caucasian feature. First and again, the visions are not literal, they are symbolic. Second, the problem with this argument is that the texture of the wool is not the issue. Verse 14 emphasizes the color not the texture in saying that his hair was “white like wool.”

The characteristics depicted here of Yeshua is not the Ancient of Days in Daniel 7.

Dan 7:9 I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool: his throne was like the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire.

Is this one who sits on the throne the Son, as the imagery is a snow white garment and wooly hair? No, the Ancient of days is the father, which is proven by subsequent verses.

Dan 7:13 I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. Dan 7:14 And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.

The Son appeared in another vision with clouds of heaven and came to the Ancient of days, and power and dominion was given to him. Moreover, the description is not the same either. The depiction of Yeshua in Rev. 1 is:

1. Head and Hair white like wool.
2. Eyes a flame of fire.
3. Feet like brass as burning in a furnace.
4. Voice as many waters.
5. Sword coming from mouth. (Symbolic for his word. Heb. 4:12, Eph. 6:17)

The description of the Ancient of Days in Daniel 7 is:

1. Garment white as snow, not head and hair.
2. Hair like wool. No mention of white.
3. Throne and wheels like fiery flame with a stream of fire issuing forth. No brass feet.
4. No sword coming from mouth.

17 And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last: 18 I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death. As for the language of first and last, see my commentary on verse 8.

Verse 18 is very significant for his Priesthood as the writer of Hebrews states:

Heb. 7: 21 (For those priests were made without an oath; but this with an oath by him that said unto him, The Lord sware and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec:) 22 By so much was Jesus made a surety of a better testament. 23 And they truly were many priests, because they were not suffered to continue by reason of death: 24 But this man, because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood. 25 Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them. 26 For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens; 27 Who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people’s: for this he did once, when he offered up himself. 28 For the law maketh men high priests which have infirmity; but the word of the oath, which was since the law, maketh the Son, who is consecrated for evermore.

As for the keys of death and hell, this is a depiction of his mastery and lordship over the earth as promised to him by the Father, in the Covenant of Redemption, having conquered sin and death:

Psalm 89: 27″I also shall make him My firstborn, The highest of the kings of the earth. 28″My lovingkindness I will keep for him forever, And My covenant shall be confirmed to him. 29″So I will establish his descendants forever And his throne as the days of heaven.

And thus the master Yeshua says,

Mat. 28:18 All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.

And thus,

John 6:40 And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.

And again,

John 8: 51 Verily, verily, I say unto you, If a man keep my saying, he shall never see death. 52 Then said the Jews unto him, Now we know that thou hast a devil. Abraham is dead, and the prophets; and thou sayest, If a man keep my saying, he shall never taste of death.

And again,

John 11: 25 Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: 26 And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?

And thus the writer of Hebrews states,

Heb. 2: 14 Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; 15 And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. 16 For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham.

The Sinai Covenant, a covenant distinct from the Abrahamic Covenant (Deut. 5:3, Jer. 31:32) renewed with Yeshua (Luke 22:20, Gal. 3:6-18), contained no promise of eternal life. (This is not to say that Abraham, Jacob, or Job, who were not in the Sinai Covenant did not receive such promises, or men like David knew nothing of this but received no promise.) The Gospel of the New Testament and Paul is that atonement for sin and eternal life comes by the perfect life and death of Yeshua Messiah. (Mat. 26:28, Acts 20:28, Rom. 3:25, Heb. 9:12, 10:19, 1 Pet. 1:19, 1 John 1:7, Rev. 1:5, Mat. 7:14, 18:8, John 3:36, 40, 6:35, 6:53-54, 14:6, 20:31, 1 John 1:1-2, 5:11-12, 12: 44-50, 2 Tim. 1:1-10, Gal. 6:8)

19 Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter;

This is one of the strongest if not the strongest passage for the Historicist view of Revelation. Francis Nigel Lee states of this passage:

“Now one of the chief keys to the interpretation of the Book of Revelation, is Rev. 1:19. This text states: “Write the things which you have seen  both the things which are [now], and also the things which shall be hereafter.” As the Westminster Assembly’s contemporary the 1657 Church of Scotland Presbyterian Rev. James Durham points out at the end of his magnificent two-volume commentary on the Book of Revelation, this verse clearly rebuts Preterists like Gorgias and Hammond. Rev. 1:19’s “things which you have seen” means probably the first things John had seen which he was then to record, in writing, immediately  the seen things described in Rev.1:1-18. Rev. 1:19’s “things which are [now]” refers probably to the condition of the seven Congregations in John’s own day (then just about to be described in Rev. 1:20 to 3:22), and perhaps also to the heavenly ‘playbacks’ of then-current conditions also here on Earth (as recorded in Rev. 4:1 to 6:10f). However, Rev. 1:19’s “things which shall be hereafter”  not ‘things that shall be in the hereafter’ alias only in the next life  probably means the things that would take place principally only after the first-century time when Christ gave John this book we call Revelation. These things would thus include all of the thereinafter-mentioned major future events  regardless as to whether those subsequent events would start occurring immediately OR start occurring only some time after that; and irrespective of whether the subsequent events were to occur on Earth OR in Heaven OR in both of those two places. Cf. too nn. 44 & 123. In the Greek of Rev. 1:19, the ha eisen signifies things then (in John’s own time)  the things then happening in the first century A.D. both here on Earth and there in Heaven. The ha mella genesthai meta tauta  compare the meta tauta in Dan. 1:29 LXX  signifies the things that would happen both here on Earth and there in Heaven after the occurrence of what was then happening on Earth and in Heaven while John was writing down the Book of Revelation during the first century A.D. Consequently, Rev. 1:19’s grapson oun ha eides KAI ha eisin KAI ha mellei genesthai seems to mean: “Write down [now] what you have seen  [namely] both the things which are [happening now both on Earth and in Heaven], and the things which will happen after this [both on Earth and in Heaven].” This means that the Preterists’ hypothesis that practically the entirety of the predictions in the Book of Revelation were occurring at that time or would finish occurring within the lifetime of the John himself, is essentially incorrect.” Revelation Unveiled

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