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Title: Studies in the Book of Revelation
Author: Hunter, Stephen Alexander
Language: English
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                          A Bible School Manual

                    Studies in the Book of Revelation

                   An Introduction, Analysis, and Notes

   Containing a concise interpretation according to the symbolic view,
     numerous references to authorities, and general mention of other

 With the Text of the American Revised Version Edited in Paragraphs, for
                        the use of Bible Students.


                  Stephen Alexander Hunter, Ph.D., LL.D.

                       Pittsburgh Printing Company

                             Pittsburgh, Pa.



Master‐Thoughts upon the Revelation
   1. General Introduction.
   2. The Title.
   3. The Author.
   4. The Unity.
   5. The Date.
   6. The Place.
   7. The Canonicity.
   8. The Form.
   9. The Theme.
   10. The Occasion.
   11. The Purpose.
   12. The Interpretation.
   13. The Outline Analysis.
   14. The Literary Structure.
   15. The Literature.
Scripture Text
Analysis And Notes
   I The Prologue, Ch. 1:1‐3:22
      1 The Superscription, Ch. 1:1‐3
      2 The Salutation, Ch. 1:4‐8
      3 The Introductory Vision (The Glorified Son of Man), Ch. 1:9‐20
         (1) The Trumpet Voice, Ch. 1:9‐11
         (2) The Triumphant Son of Man, Ch. 1:12‐13a
         (3) The Gracious Apparel, Ch. 1:13b
         (4) The Glorious Appearance, Ch. 1:14‐15, and 16c
         (5) The Seven Stars, Ch. 1:16a
         (6) The Two‐Edged Sword, Ch. 1:16b
         (7) The Assuring Message, Ch. 1:17‐20
      4 The Seven Epistles, Ch. 2:1‐3:22
         (1) The Epistle to the Church in Ephesus, Ch. 2:1‐7
         (2) The Epistle to the Church in Smyrna, Ch. 2:8‐11
         (4) The Epistle to the Church in Thyatira, Ch. 2:18‐29
         (5) The Epistle to the Church in Sardis, Ch. 3:1‐6
         (6) The Epistle to the Church in Philadelphia, Ch. 3:7‐13
         (7) The Epistle to the Church in Laodicea, Ch. 3:14‐22
      I The Vision of God on the Throne (A Vision of Sovereignty). Ch.
         1 The Throne and the King, Ch. 4:1‐3, 5a, and 6a
         2 The Four and Twenty Elders, Ch. 4:4, 10 and 11
         3 The Seven Lamps of Fire (or Torches), Ch. 4:5b
         4 The Four Living Creatures, Ch. 4. 6b‐9
         5 The Sealed Book (or Scroll), Ch. 5:1‐5
         6 The Lamb, Ch. 5:6‐8a
         7 The Heavenly Worship, Ch. 5:8b‐14
      II The Vision of the Seven Seals (A Vision of Trial). Ch. 6:1‐17,
      and 8:1
         1 The Opening of the First Seal, Ch. 6:1, 2
         2 The Opening of the Second Seal, Ch. 6:3, 4
         3 The Opening of the Third Seal, Ch. 6:5, 6
         4 The Opening of the Fourth Seal, Ch. 6:7, 8
         5 The Opening of the Fifth Seal, Ch. 6:9‐11
         6 The Opening of the Sixth Seal, Ch. 6:12‐17
         7 The Opening of the Seventh Seal, Ch. 8:1
      IIb The Episode of the Sealed Ones (A Vision of Salvation Assured).
      Ch. 7:1‐17
         A The Sealed of Israel, Ch. 7:1‐8
            1 The Angels Holding the Winds, Ch. 7:1‐3
            2 The Number of the Sealed, Ch. 7:4‐8
         B The Redeemed Out of All Nations, Ch. 7:9‐17
            1 The Innumerable Multitude, Ch. 7:9
            2 The Cry of the Church Triumphant, Ch. 7:10‐12
            3 The Redeemed Before the Throne, Ch. 7:13‐17
      III The Vision of the Seven Trumpets (A Vision of Threatening). Ch.
      8:2‐9:21, and 11:14‐19
         A The Preparation for the Trumpets, Ch. 8:2‐6
            1 An Angel Offers Incense upon the Golden Altar, Ch. 8:3‐5
            2 The Seven Angels Prepare to Sound, Ch. 8:2, 6
         B The Trumpets Sounded, Ch. 8:7‐9:21; and 11:14‐19
            1 The Sounding of the First Trumpet, Ch. 8:7
            2 The Sounding of the Second Trumpet, Ch. 8:8‐9
            3 The Sounding of the Third Trumpet, Ch. 8:10‐11
            4 The Sounding of the Fourth Trumpet, Ch. 8:12
               (1) The Eagle and Its Message, Ch. 8:13
            5 The Sounding of the Fifth Trumpet, Ch. 9:1‐12
            6 The Sounding of the Sixth Trumpet, Ch. 9:13‐21, and 11:14
            7 The Sounding of the Seventh Trumpet, Ch. 11:15‐19
      IIIb The Episode of the Angel with the Book; and of the Two
      Witnesses (A Vision of Divine Help). Ch. 10:1‐11:13
         A The Angel with the Little Open Book, Ch. 10:1‐11
            1 The Angel Foretells the End, Ch. 10:1‐7
               (1) The Thunder Voices, Ch. 10:3b and 4
            2 The Book Delivered to John, Ch. 10:8‐11
         B The Two Witnesses, Ch. 11:1‐13
            1 The Measurement of the Temple, Ch. 11:1‐2
            2 The Two Witnesses and their Martyrdom, Ch. 11:3‐13
      IV The Vision of Conflict (A Vision of Warfare). Ch. 12:1‐14:20
         A The Woman and the Dragon, Ch. 12:1‐6, and 13‐17
            1 The Sun‐Clothed Woman, Ch. 12:1‐2, 5‐6, and 13f.
            2 The Great Red Dragon, Ch. 12:3‐4, and 13f.
            3 The All‐Ruling Man‐Child, Ch. 12:5
            4 The Wilderness Refuge, Ch. 12:6a, and 14a
            5 The Persecution of the Woman and her Seed, Ch. 12:4‐6, and
         B War in Heaven, Ch. 12:7‐12
         C The Two Beasts, Ch. 13:1‐18
            1 The First Beast—the Beast from the Sea, Ch. 13:1‐10
               (1) An Admonition to Patience, Ch. 13:9‐10
            2 The Second Beast,—the Beast from the Land, Ch. 13:11‐18.
               (1.) An Admonition to Wisdom, Ch. 13:18
         D. The Lamb on Mount Zion, Ch. 14:1‐20
            1. The Redeemed with the Lamb, Ch. 14:1‐5
            2. The Three Angel Messages, Ch. 14:6‐11
               (1) The Message of the Eternal Gospel, Ch. 14:6‐7
               (2) The Message of Babylon’s Fall, Ch. 14:8
               (3) The Message of Doom for the Beast and his Followers,
               Ch. 14:9‐11
            3. The Blessedness of the Holy Dead, Ch. 14:12‐13
            4. The Harvest of the Elect, Ch. 14:14‐16
            5. The Vintage of Wrath, Ch. 14:17‐20
      V. The Vision of the Seven Vials [or Bowls] (A Vision of Judgment).
      Ch. 15:1‐16:12, and 16:17‐21
         A. The Preparation for the Vials, Ch. 15:1‐8
            1. The Angels with the Plagues, Ch. 15:1‐2a
            2. The Victors by the Sea, Ch. 15:2b
            3. The Song of the Redeemed, Ch. 15:3‐4
            4. The Judgment Made Ready, Ch. 15:5‐8
         B. The Vials Poured Out, Ch. 16:1‐12, and 17‐21
            (1.) The Command to Pour Out the Vials, Ch. 16:1
               1 The Pouring Out of the First Vial, Ch. 16:2
               2 The Pouring Out of the Second Vial, Ch. 16:3
               3 The Pouring Out of the Third Vial, Ch. 16:4‐7
               4 The Pouring Out of the Fourth Vial, Ch. 16:8‐9
               5 The Pouring Out of the Fifth Vial, Ch. 16:10‐11
               6 The Pouring Out of the Sixth Vial, Ch. 16:12
               7 The Pouring Out of the Seventh Vial, Ch. 16:17‐21
      Vb The Episode of the Frog‐like Spirits (A Vision of Warning). Ch.
         1 The Unclean Spirits of Evil, Ch. 16:13‐14, and 16
         2 John’s Word of Warning, Ch. 16:15
      VI The Vision of Victory (A Vision of Vindication). Ch. 17:1‐20:15
         A The Mystic Babylon and Her Fall, Ch. 17:1‐18:24
            1 The Harlot and the Interpretation, Ch. 17:1‐18
               (1) The Judgment of the Harlot Announced, Ch. 17:1‐2
               (2) The View of the Harlot, Ch. 17:3‐6
               (3) The Interpretation Given, Ch. 17:7‐18
            2 The Fall of the City Proclaimed, Ch. 18:1‐24
               (1) The Announcement of Her Overthrow, Ch. 18:1‐3
               (2) The Warning to God’s People, Ch. 18:4‐8
               (3) The Lament of the Kings of the Earth over Her Doom, Ch.
               (4) The Lament of the Merchants, Ch. 18:11‐17a
               (5) The Lament of the Seamen, Ch. 18. 17b‐19
               (6) A Call to Heaven and to the Church to Rejoice, Ch.
               (7) The Symbol of Her Irretrievable Ruin, Ch. 18:21‐24
         B The Triumph of the Redeemed, Ch. 19:1‐10
            1 The Choral Song of Hallelujahs, Ch. 19:1‐8
            2 The Blessedness of the Marriage Supper, Ch. 19:9
            3 Worship Refused by the Angel, Ch. 19:10
         C The Last Things, Ch. 19:11‐20:15
            1 The End of the Holy War, Ch. 19:11‐21
            2 Satan Bound, Ch. 20:1‐3a
            3 The First Resurrection, Ch. 20:4‐6
            4 The Millennium, Ch. 20.: 2b, 3b, 4b, 5a, 6b and 7a
            5 Satan Loosed Again and Overthrown, Ch. 20:3c, and 7‐10
            6 The Second Resurrection, Ch. 20:11‐12a, and 13a
            7 The Last Judgment, Ch. 20:11‐15
      VII The Vision of the New Jerusalem (A Vision of Triumph). Ch.
         1 The New Heaven and the New Earth, Ch. 21:1
         2 The Holy City, Ch. 21:2‐22:5
            (1) The Tabernacle of God with Men, Ch. 21:3‐4
            (2) The Bride, the Lamb’s Wife, Ch. 21:2, 9‐10
            (3) The City of New Things, Ch. 21:5‐8
            (4) The City of Glory, Ch. 21:11‐21
            (5) The City of Many Nations, Ch. 21:24, and 26
            (6) The City of Exclusions, Ch. 21:1, 4, 22, 23, 25, 27; and
            22:3, 5
            (7) The City of Life, Ch. 22:1‐2
            (8) The City of God, Ch. 22:3‐5
   III THE EPILOGUE, Ch. 22:6‐21
      A The Final Words of the Angel, with the Promise of Christ, Ch.
         1 The Message Reaffirmed, Ch. 22:6‐9
            (1) The Witness of the Angel, Ch. 22:6‐7
            (2) The Witness Confirmed by John, Ch. 22:8a
            (3) Worship from John again Refused, Ch. 22:8b‐9
         2 The Book Not to be Sealed, Ch. 22:10‐11
         3 The Promise of Christ to the Victors, Ch. 22:12‐16
      B The Closing Testimony of John, Ch. 22:17‐20
         1 A Last Universal Invitation of Grace, Ch. 22:17
         2 A Last Impressive Warning of Exhortation, Ch. 22:18‐19
         3 A Last Assuring Promise of Hope, Ch. 22:20a
         4 A last Ecstatic Prayer of Yearning, Ch. 22:20b
      C The Author’s Benediction, Ch. 22:21
Appendix A: Some Fundamental Conceptions of the Apocalypse
Appendix B: Current Questions of Divided Opinion
Appendix C: Heptachords of Song and Blessing
Appendix D: The Formal Series of Sevens
Appendix E: The Symbolism of Numbers
Appendix F: The Literary Structure of the Apocalypse
Appendix G: The Apocalyptic Literature

                               [Cover Page]


Map of Proconsular Asia. Following Ramsay, in _St. Paul the Traveller and
                             Roman Citizen_.


The Text of Revelation given in this volume is that of the American
Standard Edition of the Revised Bible, copyright 1901 by Thomas Nelson &
Sons, and is used by permission of the publishers.








The manuscript of this Commentary was completed several years ago, but its
publication was unfortunately deferred until the author’s health no longer
permitted him to see it through the press or even to be consulted in
regard to modifications. For this latter reason no change of any kind has
been made either in the language or the arrangement of the material. In
the bibliography we have added the two recent monumental contributions to
the literature on the Book of Revelation, commentaries by I. T. Beckwith
and R. H. Charles. Had the author possessed the physical strength after
their appearance, we feel sure that he would have drawn upon these two
extensive works which are intended for the use of technical scholars.

The significance of Dr. Hunter’s “Studies in the Book of Revelation” lies
in its clear and accurate presentation of the results of the investigation
of modern scholars, in language which is comprehensible to the intelligent
reader of the English Bible. The Revelation of St. John has been an enigma
from the earliest Christian centuries. On the one hand, it has been
shunned because of its mysteriousness; on the other, it has been
discredited for sober‐minded, intelligent Christians by the absurd
vagaries of its interpreters. Too often the caprice or predilection of the
commentator, rather than impartial study, has determined the meaning of
the closing book of the New Testament canon. The removal of this reproach
has been one of the signal achievements of the Biblical scholarship of the
last twenty‐five years. Such a notable result has been accomplished by the
discovery and the interpretation of the Jewish Apocalyptic, a type of
literature that flourished from 200 B. C. on for several centuries. The
Revelation belongs to this type of literature. It is the expression of a
Christian’s faith in the triumph of his Lord’s kingdom through the use of
symbolism and imagery peculiar to Jewish Apocalyptic literature. Our
author, in common with all modern scholars, has used this key for
unlocking the mystery of the closing book of the Christian Scriptures. By
its employment he has made clear the meaning of the Revelation to the
open‐minded reader of the English Bible. On every page the work gives
evidence of scholarship, wide in its range, and thorough in its grasp, as
well as of sanity of judgment in the discussion of controversial
questions. Because of these qualities, Dr. Hunter’s treatise is worthy of
wide circulation. It meets a special need at this time as it is especially
adapted to counteract fantastic theories of interpretation and theology
which are based on a misunderstanding of both the purpose and the
symbolism of a New Testament book that ranks as an equal of the greatest
pieces of imaginative literature.

The proofs have been read by Mr. Walter H. Millinger, of the senior class
of the Seminary, and the publication of the book has been made possible
only by the painstaking effort of a devoted friend and fellow‐worker of
Dr. Hunter, Mr. W. H. Wicks of the Pittsburgh Printing Company to whom
both the author and the reader are deeply indebted.


_The Western Theological Seminary,_
_Pittsburgh, Pa._


“*I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and
the end*” (Rev. 22.13):—“This is the unifying thought of the whole book:
nay of the whole Bible. _The Revelation of St. John is the meeting ground
of the Old and New Testament_: what binds the long succession of books—by
so many authors, of so many different ages—into a unity is expressed by
the saying that ‘the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.’ The
whole of prophetic literature yields its imaginative figures to adorn this
final Revelation; all history is made one by the central thought of the
kingdom of the world becoming the kingdom of Christ.”—RICHARD G.
MOULTON,—in _Literature of the Bible_.

“_The Book of Revelation is the sum of all prophecy._ It carries the
devout reader to a height from which he can see the history of God’s
kingdom from its beginning to its consummation in glory. It is the
sublimest book in the Bible, and its study awakens the profoundest
worship.”—J. M. STIFLER,—in unpublished _Classroom Lectures_.

“_The Apocalypse constitutes the meridian of Hebrew poetry and art_,
embracing in its individual forms the most diverse elements.... If the
laws of its construction be but recognized, the obscure Book of Revelation
will present itself to our eyes as a radiant constellation, a symmetrical
cathedral built upon a plan of perfect clearness and transparency.”—JOHN
PETER LANGE,—in _Commentary on the Revelation_.

“_The book has an imperishable religious worth_ because of the energy of
faith that finds expression in it, and the splendid certainty of its
conviction that God’s cause remains always the best, and is one with the
cause of Jesus Christ; but it is unreasonable to treat the detail of its
phantasies as an authentic source for a history of the past or future.”—A.
JÜLICHER,—in _Introduction to the New Testament_.

“_In the Apocalypse the emphasis placed upon the omnipotence of God rises
to a climax._ There only in the New Testament (except II Cor. 6.18) is the
epithet Παντοκράτωρ [All‐Ruler] ascribed to Him; and the whole purport of
the book is the portrayal of the Divine guidance of history, and the very
essence of its message that, despite all surface appearances, it is the
hand of God that really directs all occurrences, and all things are
hastening to the end of His determining.... It is the completeness of the
Divine government to which the world is subject by the Lord of lords and
King of kings, the Ruler of the earth and King of the nations, whose
control of all the occurrences of time is in accordance with His holy
purposes, that it is the supreme object of this book to portray.”—B. B.
WARFIELD,—in art. “Predestination”, Hastings’ _Dict. of the Bible_.

“_The Apocalypse is doctrinally the connecting link between the Synoptists
and the Fourth Gospel._ It offers the characteristic thoughts of the
Fourth Gospel in that form of development which belongs to the earliest
apostolic age.... The points of connection between the Apocalypse and the
Gospel of St. John are far more numerous than are suggested by a first
general comparison. The main idea of both is the same. Both present a view
of a supreme conflict between the powers of good and evil.... In both
books alike Christ is the central figure. His victory is the end to which
history and vision lead as their consummation. His Person and Work are the
ground of triumph; and of triumph through apparent failure. Both present
the abiding of God with man as the issue of Christ’s work.”—BP.
WESTCOTT,—in _Introduction to John’s Gospel, Bible Commentary_.

“_In Revelation_, as in John’s Gospel and First Epistle, _the
consciousness of a world‐conflict, a world‐process, and a world‐triumph is
manifest_. The return of Jesus is contemplated in relation to the enlarged
environment in which Christianity stood. Revelation testifies to the
existence of the hope with which Christianity had begun; but also to the
fact that into that hope had centered the fuller conception of Christ and
His salvation which the apostles had taught, and the broadened vision of
the purpose of God which history had made clear. Yet it was still the same
hope, ‘Behold He cometh,’ and the prayer was still the same, ‘Come Lord
Jesus’.”—GEORGE T. PURVES,—in _The Apostolic Age_.

“_The fundamental conception of the book is_ neither human weakness upon
the one hand nor divine power upon the other, but _divine power victorious
through apparent human weakness, life triumphant over death_.”—WILLIAM
MILLIGAN,—in _Discussions on the Apocalypse_.

“However long the conflict, _this book assures us of the ultimate triumph
of the Lamb_. That figure suggests Incarnation in order to Redemption; and
the description of the New Jerusalem shows us Light and Life reigning
eternally because the Lamb is ‘the lamp thereof’.”—MATTHEW B. RIDDLE,—in
unpublished _Classroom Lectures_.

“St John knew himself to be a prophet, and his writing to be a prophecy;
that he was commanded to consign his visions to a book was an assurance to
him that their purpose would not be fulfilled in one generation or two. He
sees the book going down to posterity, and like the Deuteronomist he
endeavors to guard it against interpolation and excision. As he writes the
last words upon the papyrus roll that lies upon his knee, the conviction
dawns upon him that _the Revelation of Jesus Christ was given for the
warning and comfort of the whole church to the end of time_.”—HENRY B.
SWETE,—in _The Apocalypse of St. John_.

“_The author of this great book has bequeathed to mankind a_ κτῆμα ἐς αεί,
_an imperishable possession_, the worth of which lies in the splendid
energy of its faith, in the unfaltering certainty that God’s own cause is
at issue now and here and must ultimately prevail, and that the cause of
Jesus Christ is inseparably linked therewith, and the main aim of which,
as is clear from every page, is to emphasize the overwhelming worth of
things spiritual as contrasted with things material, and in the next place
to glorify martyrdom, to encourage the faithful to face death with
constancy, nay more, with rapturous joy.”—R. H. CHARLES,—in _Studies in
the Apocalypse_.

The closing book of the New Testament with its prophetic outlook and
divine forecast, leaves us in the attitude of expectancy:—“*Looking for
that blessed hope and the glorious appearing of the great God and our
Savior Jesus Christ*.”—THE EPISTLE TO TITUS, Ch. 2:13.


The purpose of this volume is to present in concise form the general
thought and meaning of the Book of Revelation, to give an analytic view of
its contents, and to summarize the results of critical study. It is
intended both as an aid to interpretation, and as a guide to the use of
the many valuable commentaries which are now accessible to the English
reader. It is specially designed to meet the needs of the student in the
theological seminary or the modern Bible school, the busy pastor in his
field, the teacher of adult Bible classes, the Christian Association
worker, and the general reader of the Bible. With this object in view it
essays to provide in a direct and helpful form (1) the essential points of
Introduction; (2) an Analytic Study of the book which aims to discover its
meaning as a whole rather than to deal with it text by text; and (3) a
brief statement in a series of Appendices of some of the underlying
conceptions which give color to its thought and enter into its literary

The increased impetus given to Biblical study by advanced scholarship in
late years has created a demand for a class of works that give the results
attained by the masters of exegesis and critical research, without
attempting to give the various steps by which these results have been
reached. And it is one primary aim of this work, while attempting to give
a fresh statement of the teachings of the book, and to present such
thoughts as have come to the Author in the course of extended study, at
the same time to give due consideration to the varying opinions of others,
and for the most part to reproduce in the form which these have taken in
his own mind the best and most satisfactory explanations of the many
difficulties in the book which have hitherto been given by leading
scholars and commentators. For the book has proved a fertile field for
expositors that has been widely even if not always well worked in the
past, while in the last half‐century really substantial progress has been
made toward the general interpretation; and it may be confidently assumed
that any one who ignores these results has almost certainly nothing to
contribute to the solution of the real difficulties that confront us. In
response to extended popular inquiry some excellent commentaries and
expository works on the Revelation have been prepared in late years for
the general reader. And it is in order to further meet this requirement of
intelligent Bible study, and to contribute in some measure to what is
believed to be one of the most common needs of the general student of
Scripture, _a comprehensive view of each book_, that the publication of
the present Studies in the Book of Revelation has been undertaken.

It is necessarily true that a work so largely poetical in its thought as
the Apocalypse, and appealing so much to the imagination, does not lend
itself easily to logical analysis. Every such division, if exhaustive,
must be in a measure arbitrary. The main purpose in attempting it is to
present the principal ideas of the book in what is conceived to be their
proper relation. And in this we need not assume that the particular
outline which we adopt was formally in the mind of the writer. It is quite
enough if we can be assured that the formative ideas were conceived of in
somewhat the same relation, and that the analysis we accept at least
measurably represents the author’s point of view. This form of statement
enables us to grasp the contents of the book in their entirety and to
retain them in memory.

The view presented in the Analysis and Notes of this volume is not
intended to be controversial but interpretative. Hence other views of
particular passages have often not been stated, or are given only in foot‐
notes, and no special effort has been made to support the view given by
any extended discussions, as that would lead us too far afield for the
purpose in mind. For those who wish a wider view, references are given to
well‐known authorities. Much that might have been said has been left out
for the sake of brevity; for in this busy age few find time for extended
study, and the great works on the Revelation often lie unread on the
shelves. To reach the man of this generation the message must be short,
clear, and decisive. And with this in view the chief aim is to show that
the general meaning of the Revelation can be clearly understood, whatever
difference of opinion there may be concerning the more difficult portions;
and as a contribution toward this end to give in a direct form what the
Author of the present work regards as the correct method of interpreting
it. Other interpretations have been introduced where they serve to
illustrate this main purpose, or have special force and afford additional
light, or have been widely accepted and have affected the course of
opinion. The outline interpretation given in this work, while it does not
follow without deviation any particular view throughout or in every
respect—for a blind acceptance of any one method of interpretation would
often block the path to better knowledge, and perhaps cause us to miss the
real meaning—yet it accepts the principles of the Symbolical or Spiritual
School as affording in the main the best solution of the problems of
interpretation. The authorities cited in connection with any passage, when
not quoted, though they may differ somewhat in statement, will be found to
hold in some form the view given in the analysis.

It is not without considerable hesitation, and a personal sense of the
shortcomings of the present work, that it is now given to the public. It
necessarily contains much that is already familiar to the reader, and it
should be regarded as an effort to present in concise form and in one’s
own way what has been gathered through many years of patient study, and by
constant comparison with the works of the best commentators, together with
such thoughts as have come to the Author in the course of his inquiry. And
if thereby the reader should be in any measure led to a clearer
understanding or a more careful study of this marvellously beautiful and
strangely eloquent message of Christ to his church which is contained in
the Book of Revelation—the meaning of which has been too often
misunderstood by the Christian reader, or passed by as an insoluble
mystery,—it will be to the Author an abundant reward for his effort and a
cause for personal gratitude to Almighty God.


Pittsburgh, Pa.


1. General Introduction.

The Revelation is the most difficult book to interpret of any in the New
Testament canon. Its meaning is often involved in much obscurity, and the
interpretation of eminent scholars has differed so widely in the past that
we cannot always be sure, especially in the more difficult portions, that
the particular view which appears to us the more satisfactory or
convincing is certainly the correct one. This divergence of opinion has
had the unfortunate effect of disparaging the worth of the Apocalypse as a
part of the Word of God in the mind of many earnest students, who have
come to regard its meaning as so obscure, and hidden in such hopeless
perplexity, that any further attempt to interpret it is entirely
fruitless. So much, too, has been written about the book which abounds in
manifest vagaries that men of sober mind have often been thereby deterred
from forming or expressing any definite opinion concerning its teaching.
Indeed it is difficult to say whether the Revelation has suffered more in
the hands of expositors by means of fanciful and mistaken interpretation
of its true contents, or by the interpolation of ideas wholly foreign to
its thought. But, however brought about, we have reached this strangely
incongruous result, that what was originally designed to be the
_revelation_ of mystery has become instead the _mystery_ of Revelation.

There is evident necessity, therefore, of particular care in forming our
views with regard to the meaning of many portions of the book, and also of
often holding our opinions tentatively and subject to review, especially
in our earlier studies, as probable rather than positive interpretations.
We should avoid alike the mistake of dogmatically asserting that the
Apocalypse cannot be understood at all, or of affirming that it can be
fully understood.(2) And yet with this reservation in mind the book is
still a rich mine of spiritual wealth, much of which lies upon the
surface, while even its deeper mysteries abundantly reward our careful
search. For we are not justified in casting aside any part of divine
revelation upon the plea of apparent obscurity; and to do so is
practically to deny that it is a revelation. On the contrary we are under
manifest obligation to interpret the message of the Apocalypse so far as
we can, for to fail of this is to neglect the sure word of prophecy. And
even though the original meaning of the visions to John’s mind, and the
interpretation given them by those to whom they were first made known,
oftentimes cannot now be definitely determined,(3) yet the value of the
book does not depend solely upon that, however helpful it would be. The
matter of supreme importance for us is to apprehend aright the far‐seeing
and ulterior purpose in the mind of the Spirit in giving the Revelation.
And in search for this we should not allow our zeal for the original
interpretation to lead us to forget the significant lesson of the Old
Testament, that the primary teaching of prophecy has often not voiced its
deeper message, that God’s thought has mostly proved wider than man’s
first apprehension; so that in our reading of the prophets we are not
limited to the primary application, however important it may be, but
should strive rather to grasp the broader sweep and deeper thought made
plain by the fuller development of the divine purpose—the general meaning
for the whole church in all time rather than the particular meaning for
one age or generation. This consideration we will find of great value in
dealing with the generic and flexile forms of imagery contained in the
symbols of the Apocalypse, where in attending to a multiplicity of detail
the deeper and broader thought may so easily be misapprehended or even
entirely escape our notice.

The visions of the Apocalypse are generally conceded to belong to the
latter part of the first century, and manifestly relate in main portion to
the then future, whether near or far, of the church of Christ in the
world, for they pertain to a profoundly impressive prophetic experience.
The divine path of God’s people among the nations is beheld in symbol,
type, and figure, ever leading on to victory through Jesus Christ his Son
and our Lord; the church and the world are seen engaged in a multiform and
deadly conflict, while the consummation is depicted in the fall of evil
and the ruin of nature wrought by sin; and the triumph of the holy is set
forth in a vision of complete restoration to the divine presence amid the
beauty of a new world and the glories of the New Jerusalem—an outcome
never once in doubt, for God rules through all and wins. And though in
this ever changing picture the conditions of the early church and of the
first century are constantly reflected in every part, yet the
representative character of the whole may be clearly seen. Indeed one
cannot but be impressed with the fine insight and spirit of reserve which
is manifested by John throughout the book, in avoiding such explanations
as might serve to narrow the visions to a purely local and temporary
perspective, thereby evidencing that he had risen to a truly prophetic
view, and that to his mind the visions belonged to a wider horizon as well
as to the nearer limit of his own day. For whatever application or
fulfilment these may have had, and surely _did_ have, in the period in
which they were given, has not exhausted their meaning. To the ear that is
open to God’s voice they have a lesson and significance that belong alike
to the past, the present, and the future, a perennial freshness that time
can neither fade nor destroy, for they manifest the principles of the
divine government which abide for all the ages.

In the light of modern criticism the primary question to be decided is
whether we are dealing with an ordinary Jewish‐Christian apocalypse of
similar value with a multitude of others in the past, and with no
essentially deeper meaning or diviner message; or whether we have not in
the Apocalypse of John a true revelation, given in this literary form
because of its particular suitability to the condition of the time, and
its fitness for the needs of the generation that first received it. And
the answer to this question must be sought in the contents of the book
itself as vindicated by the Christian conscience—an answer that the church
has never been slow to make, and that never can be changed so long as the
needs of the human heart remain the same. We must therefore regard the
fundamental question which lies back of that of interpretation, viz. the
inspiration of the book itself, which alone can give it permanent value to
the Christian mind, as definitely settled by the clear message which it
contains for life, by the multitudinous voices of God which reverberate
within it, and by the heaven‐born solace which it ever affords to tried
and tempted men in the midst of the conflict of life. And we shall find
that the general meaning, so far from being hopelessly obscure, may be
fairly understood by the attentive student and devout reader.

The obscurity of the Revelation arises both from its literary form and
from the mystical character of its contents. The Apocalyptic form is so
foreign to our way of thinking, and the mysticism is so peculiarly
Oriental and Jewish, that these are apt to perplex rather than enlighten
us. The Apocalyptist, deeply absorbed in the later prophecies of the Old
Testament, especially those of Daniel and Ezekiel, and his mind steeped in
the dreams and images of current Jewish apocalypses, found under the
influence of the Spirit a fitting sphere for his prophetic fervor in a
series of strange symbolic visions such as belonged to the fashion of his
time. The chief symbolism throughout is that of the Old Testament,
quickened and vivified by the thought of the New,—for it is everywhere
assumed that the mysteries of the former dispensation find their only
adequate solution in the supreme and final testimony of Jesus the
Christ,(4)—but the atmosphere of the visions is that of Apocalyptic, which
curiously enough has contrived to cast its own peculiar glow upon all the
Old Testament teachings and thus create a new symbolism out of the old.
And even when many of the symbols are assumed to be drawn in their present
form from apocalypses then current in the Jewish world but which are no
longer extant, and these to be derived in part from Babylonian and Persian
sources, as held by one class of interpreters, they are yet found to have
become so assimilated by the Jewish mind that they reflect the later
development of Old Testament thought. These visions of the seer, like
shadows cast upon the foreground of the future, depict in outline great
fundamental truths or pervasive principles of the divine government that
are, and are to be, manifested in multiple facts in the progress of the
ages. It is not the purpose of the visions to disclose the facts
themselves, for that belongs to the development of history, but rather to
furnish the means for interpreting the facts, when once they appear, by
the exalted standard of the divine ideals. There are, indeed, a few
cardinal facts of the future that are kept well in the foreground, such as
the second coming of Christ, the triumph of God’s kingdom, and the end of
the present world; but these belong to the content of previous revelation
as well, and are not new or peculiar to this book. The content of the
visions is generic and not specific, and whenever we depart from broad
generalization and attempt to enter into detail in our interpretation, we
destroy the beauty and force of the lesson conveyed, and wander into the
field of speculation concerning things that were never intended to be
revealed, if the analogy of all other prophecy can be relied upon as a
guide.(5) For though the Apocalypse undoubtedly contains an element of
predictive prophecy, yet such prophecy is not history written before its
time, but a divinely inspired and profoundly discriminative pre‐view of
certain dominant issues in the future that belong to the purpose of God,
and are the resultant of well established principles of the divine
government—issues that stand out to the prophet’s illumined eye in bold
relief against the sky‐line like the headlands of a continent amid the
surrounding mists which envelop them.

Prophecy in this view is looked upon as much broader in its scope than the
_fore_telling of things that are future. This element should be regarded
as subordinate to the general purpose of prophecy, which is the
_forth_telling of the mind of God.(6) And we should avoid that “dwarfed
sense of the word prophecy in modern speech” which leads most readers (and
even interpreters) to fasten upon a revelation of the secrets of the
future. For it is evident that “Old Testament history and prophecy make
prominent another kind of revelation—the unveiling of the ideal, as when
the pattern of things sacred was unfolded to Moses in the mount”.(7) In
the true sense of prophecy it manifestly contains both these conceptions,
viz. the Prophetico‐predictive, and the Prophetico‐ideal, which enter in
varying proportion into the great messages of old. But it is believed by
many of our best authorities, and it will be found in a careful study of
the book of Revelation, that the prophetic element is not chiefly
predictive in the strict sense, and can for the most part be best
interpreted as the unveiling of the divine ideal which is being inwrought
in the sphere of human life, or the manifestation of the divine purpose
which is discovered as interpenetrating all the moral struggle and
apparent contradictions of earthly experience, and which is leading up to
the final victory; and only such glimpses of the future are given as serve
to assure a better comprehension of this main idea.(8)

The two most obvious principles that pervade the book of Revelation and
underlie its ever changing scenes, are, _first_, God’s method of
government in the world by the trial of his people and the judgment of the
wicked; and, _second_, God’s method of developing character in moral
agents by moral conflict. Accepting these as in a measure interpretative
of the ways of God with men, the Apocalypse approaches the standpoint of
the divine perspective, and traces the great lines of the divine purpose
as they traverse the entire field of human history. It makes Christ’s
relation to his people both in time and in eternity the ground of an
exhaustive inquiry into the mysteries of earthly life, which aims not only
to discover God in the trend of history but also to interpret God through
history wrought out to its end. It affords glimpses of God’s far reaching
plan in the process of redemption, leading up to the final salvation of
unnumbered multitudes; it finds the key to earth’s long‐drawn‐out story of
sin and suffering, of conflict and of death, in wider victory at larger
cost; and it teaches us to look calmly out beyond the ebb and flow of
tides and noons to the shoreless, timeless life that ever abides in the
presence of God. To the heart of faith it speaks of an unwavering trust
when days are dark and storms fill the sky; like a clear voice out of the
night it tells of the coming day; and with persuasive force its visions
bring man face to face with God, his Creator, Redeemer, and Eternal

2. The Title.

The Title used in the Authorized Version of our English Scriptures, and
retained by the English Revisers, is “The Revelation of St. John the
Divine,” a name given to the book by the early church, though many of the
older manuscripts omit “the Divine”. Our American Revisers read, “The
Revelation of John;” but the more correct title is the one that is
commonly used, and that is printed in the upper margin of the text, simply
“The Revelation,” i. e. the unveiling, or uncovering [viz. of the mystery
of the divine purpose and method in human life and history]—the opening
words of the book itself—or, if preferred, the original Greek name, “The
Apocalypse”,(9) which perhaps should have been retained without
translation as in the Douay Version, but of which “The Revelation” is the
exact equivalent. The phrase “of St. John”, or “of John”, may properly be
omitted because of its ambiguity; for the book is declared in its opening
sentence to be “the Revelation of Jesus Christ”, i. e. a revelation of or
from Jesus Christ, and it is only in a secondary sense “the Revelation of
John”, i. e. a revelation made to and recorded by John. The occasion for
the use of this title, “The Revelation of St. John”, in the first
centuries was in order to distinguish the canonical Apocalypse from many
others then in circulation, but this necessity has long since ceased to
exist. For us it stands alone, it is _the_ Apocalypse, the Revelation.

3. The Author.

That the Author of the Revelation was named John we have no reason to
doubt, if we believe the statements of the book itself, for this is
distinctly affirmed three different times.(10) He is also further
described in one form of the title as “the Divine,” i. e. the one who
discoursed about God, or the theologian. This latter designation, though
of uncertain origin and date, and omitted by the American Revisers as
without sufficient support, is yet undoubtedly as old as the latter part
of the third century(11) while it may be much older, and has therefore
some claim to traditional authority. The title, however, in any form is
subsequent to the book itself. The statements of the Author concerning
himself and his relations to the church in Asia, appear to the general
reader to be decisive, and to indicate with sufficient clearness that the
writer was none other than John the son of Zebedee, the apostle whom Jesus
loved, though this is not the view of the majority of the later critics.
Some consider it to be the work of another John known to tradition as the
Presbyter;(12) others attribute it to an unknown author of that name, or
to some one writing under that name. But notwithstanding the frequency and
positiveness with which the Apostolic Authorship and the Unity of the Book
have been called in question during the last half century, the entire
results of critical research may with some confidence be said not to have
discredited either of them.(13)

The considerations which support the Apostolic Authorship are chiefly the
following:—(1) the evidence of early Christian tradition imbedded in
history is practically unanimous in its favor, and the book was accepted
as the Apostle’s without question by the church in Asia where it
originated: (2) the internal evidence is to most minds convincing and even
decisive, viz. (a) the Author declares himself to be John, and addresses
the churches in Asia as their “brother, and partaker in tribulation,” and
there is no satisfactory historical evidence of any other John in Asia,
except the Apostle, of sufficient standing and influence to have spoken to
the churches with the authority of a prophet;(14) (b) there is a deep and
essential similarity of thought, diction, and doctrine in the Apocalypse
and in John’s Gospel and Epistles which outweighs all differences of
language, grammar, and style that appear upon the surface; (c) there is an
undercurrent “tragic tone” found in the Apocalypse, such as is manifest in
all of John’s writings, especially when he deals with the sad and terrible
phases of human life and character, and this serves to point toward the
Apostle as the author.

The grounds upon which the Apostolic Authorship is denied are:—(1) the
general inconclusiveness of tradition, even though in this case the
evidence is admitted to be particularly strong: (2) the pseudonymity of
all other apocalypses, with the apparent exception of “The Shepherd of
Hermas”, and hence the probability that this in a similar way may have
been written under the assumed name of John in order to give it
acceptance:(15) (3) the marked differences observable between the
Apocalypse and John’s Gospel and Epistles, viz. (a) the Greek of the
Apocalypse is full of striking peculiarities, of solecisms, and of
Hebraisms, quite at variance with the purer style of the other Johannine
writings;(16) (b) the spirit of the Apocalypse as revealed in its ideas,
terms, tone, and temper, differs widely from that of the Gospel and
Epistles. These differences, however, it should be noted, were recognized
and their force as objections to a common authorship was felt as early as
the time of Dionysius (circ. A. D. 260), for they are apparent to every
careful student of the Greek text; but they may be accounted for in a good
degree by the difference of occasion, purpose, and theme, as well as of
form and structure incident to the choice of a literary style that has
definite and necessary limitations. The differences have also been further
accounted for on the part of some by accepting the earlier date of the
Apocalypse, which in that case is assigned to the period just preceding
the fall of Jerusalem. The peculiarities of language are in this view
attributable to an imperfect knowledge of Greek, which was later overcome
by John’s long residence in Ephesus, while the apocalyptic form and
general contents are held to indicate an earlier stage of Christian
thought.(17) On the other hand it has been efficiently maintained,
favoring the later date, that the differences are mainly due to
psychological effects wrought by old age in the mind of John, whose mental
activities reverted to the familiar thought‐forms and apocalyptic
conceptions of his youth, the Greek he used being simply a modified
translation of Hebrew thought, while the Christological conceptions of the
Apocalypse are manifestly among the most advanced in the New
Testament.(18) In any case it will be seen that the reasons given under
(1) and (2) have little force apart from the question of internal
evidence, and are at most only inferences, while upon the other hand the
divergent qualities given under (3), forceful as they are, cannot be
assumed as without parallel in the history of literature. It has been
pointed out that the difference in style between Carlyle’s earlier and
later productions, as well as those found in the works of Milton, Watts,
Burke, and Wordsworth, written at different periods in their lives, is
quite as marked as that of the writings in question.(19) And we must not
leave out of view the possibility that John, if at an advanced age, may
have used one of his disciples as a collaborator, which would necessarily
modify both the language and style of the work produced. So that after all
has been said, it may be accepted as the concurrent judgment of the
majority of interpreters,—the advanced critics being excepted,—that as
great or greater difficulties are met in denying the Apostolic Authorship
as in accepting it. For notwithstanding the confident assertion of most of
the later critics that the Apocalypse was not written by the Apostle, yet
indications are not lacking in some quarters now, influenced perhaps by
the really cogent arguments so well stated by the decadent school of Baur,
of a return in opinion to the recognition of the Johannine authorship as
in some sense at least undeniable, though foreign elements are conceived
to enter into it.(20) It has indeed, not infrequently been held, among
those who deny that the Apostle was the author of the Fourth Gospel, that
he wrote the Apocalypse; but still more commonly it is accepted that the
work belongs to the “so‐called Johannine writings”, and originated in the
same circle at Ephesus to which these writings are now attributed by
advanced critics,(21) leaving the personal authorship more or less
indefinite. The question of authorship, however, is a subordinate one, for
the book maintains its own message, and it should be dealt with purely as
a subject of historical inquiry and not one of dogmatic importance, in the
interest of correctness rather than of traditional opinion.

4. The Unity.

The question of Unity is one of modern literary criticism. The view now
generally accepted that Jewish apocalypses, as we find them, are often of
composite origin, representing an original writing to which various
additions have been subsequently made by editors and redactors,(22) has
had its influence upon the judgment formed by critics concerning the
Apocalypse of John. The present tendency of critical investigation is to
consider the book as a composite structure, and to direct its effort
toward searching out the various sources from which it is supposed to be
derived, and determining what parts of the book are original, as well as
in pointing out various minor passages that are regarded as drawn from
other sources, or are the work of a later hand. This tendency has been
carried to such an extreme that the results are largely theoretical and
inconclusive, depending upon the personal taste of the critic and having
little force for other minds. The grounds upon which the unity of the book
has been disputed are:—(1) Frequent breaks in continuity which make it
difficult or impossible to trace the connection of thought: (2) a lack of
harmony in its various conceptions that is more or less incongruous, and
that is apparently inconsistent with its being the work of one author: (3)
an apparent indication in various parts of the book of different dates of
writing—see remarks in the section on Date. All of these reasons, however,
if taken together, and it be granted that they are well‐founded, are yet
insufficient to establish a diversity of authorship. The most that can be
said is that they suggest it. For it should be remembered that logical
sequence is not a quality of Apocalyptic thought; and also that there is
not even an approximate agreement, as yet, among advanced scholars as to
the character or extent of the material regarded as drawn from other

In favor of its Unity we find:—(1) a uniformity of style throughout which
is scarcely possible in the combined product of different authors without
such redaction as is equivalent to authorship: (2) an elaborate literary
structure quite incompatible with the existence of more than one
author—see section on Structure: (3) an essential Unity, whatever the
extent to which elements of Jewish apocalyptic may have been made use of
in its composition, which appeals to the literary judgment in a way that
is both forcible and convincing, for the personality of the author is
interwoven in every fibre of its frame. Though the present trend of
critical opinion is largely against the Unity of the book in the general
sense of the term, yet its essential unity is so manifest that it is
commonly conceded—“its inner unity is the foundation of all more recent
works on the Apocalypse”.(23) This is accounted for on the part of those
who accept a composite origin by attributing its unification to the final
editor, redactor, or author, a judgment that fails to carry conviction
with it for those who approach the question from the broader standpoint of
literary composition in general, instead of the narrower one of the
apocalyptic writings. The later critical views have, however, not yet
reached a conclusive stage, and indeed in the face of so great diversity
of judgment, can scarcely be said to have assumed a consistent form;
though it may be confidently predicated that no hypothesis of composite
origin is ever likely to command general assent in the case of a book
marked by such a definite unity of style and plan. The effort to discover
in it an original Jewish apocalypse which has been wrought over by
Christian editors into its present form,(24) or to reconstruct the various
sources, Jewish or Christian, from which it has been derived,(25) may well
be said to have been “thoroughly worked out”, and to have apparently
failed, though the labors of the critics have added largely to our
knowledge of Apocalyptic, and contributed not a little to a better
understanding of the book. The view now in the ascendant admits one
author, but attributes various portions of greater or less extent to a
common stock of Jewish, or Jewish‐Christian, apocalyptic fragments,
current at that time, which have been appropriated from and used in its
composition.(26) This, to the more conservative Christian mind, involves
an apparent denial of its true unity, and proceeds upon a theory of its
origin that is scarcely consistent with its effective inspiration. But it
fails to be conclusive on other grounds, for upon careful examination it
must become more and more apparent to the thoughtful student of Scripture
and apocalyptic that this view does not accord with the author’s use of
his materials, so far as we have any knowledge of their source. For
although he draws largely from the thought and figures of the prophets,
and uses freely the general form of imagery found in extant Jewish
apocalypses, yet everything has been transmuted in the crucible of his own
vivid imagination into new combinations, and there is not a single
instance in which he interpolates an entire passage from any known
author—indeed there are no quotations at all, in the strict sense, found
in the Apocalypse, but only allusions, reminiscences, and echoes, literary
devices which reflect the thought without reproducing the form—and it is
certainly an exceptional assumption that he interpolates only from authors
whose works are now lost, or from sources furnished solely by
tradition.(27) The impressions of unity are entirely too strong to be
dissipated by visionary and purely theoretical views.

A modified form of the Apocalyptic‐Traditional view, advanced by some late
writers,(28) indicates a healthful reaction from the piecemeal theories of
the earlier source‐criticism, and affords valuable suggestion for further
study—whether, indeed, we can follow them or not in finding evidence of
the introduction of a limited number of fragments of earlier origin,—viz.
that the author drew freely from a mass of apocalyptic ideas and forms, or
“apocalyptic conventions” as they have been called, which were widely
current in Jewish circles, and with which his own mind was richly stored;
and that this suggestive material was wrought over in his mental processes
and used like that from the Old Testament, with which it was closely
allied, as a framework for expressing the new and higher Christian thought
peculiar to his message, the old form being constantly adapted to new
meanings. The origin or source of these forms is chiefly a matter of
theory; but the probability of their use is the more practical side of the
problem. It will be seen that this view would account for all that the
theory of diverse origin does without doing violence to the real unity of
the book;(29) and it does not affect the question of the inspiration or
reality of the visions, for the thought of the seer necessarily took form
from his own mental furnishing, and his imagination, though quickened by
the prophetic ecstasy, was not essentially altered in its mode of
operation. But, with it all, let us not fail to apprehend that these
questions pertaining to the method used in the composition of the
Apocalypse, and to the introduction of foreign elements into its literary
structure, which so largely occupy the minds of critical scholars in the
present day, are, after all, mainly secondary to the larger question. In
it has God spoken? And if so, what are the spiritual lessons of the book
for the devout Christian mind and heart?

5. The Date.

Two different Dates of authorship have been commonly maintained by
different authorities, viz. either about A. D. 69 under one of Nero’s
immediate successors, Galba or Vespasian; or about A. D. 96 under
Domitian. Many modern critics have accepted the earlier date, though the
majority of commentators favor the later and traditional one. The evidence
cannot be considered as decisive for either, but the preponderance seems
to be in favor of the later date.(30) The earlier date, though accepted by
the majority of critics a score and more years ago, is not now in such
favor. The influence of present criticism, which is chiefly taken up with
discussion of the sources from which the book is assumed to be derived,
has produced a marked drift in opinion toward the acceptance of a date
near the close of the first century (the traditional view) as the time of
composition, or at least the period of final editing.(31) This view,
though accepting in a sense one author, yet holds that the contents of the
book indicate different dates of writing, and that it is made up of
visions of different origin, and composed at different times, which have
been subsequently formed into one consistent whole(32)—a conclusion that
would require something more than a theory to sustain it. The exact date,
however, is not of any great importance, as the difference does not
materially affect the interpretation, especially if we accept the symbolic
view of the purpose and teaching of the book; for though the date fixed
upon does affect somewhat the historical situation, and hence the
immediate reference, it does not affect the larger meaning which belongs
to all time.

The indications of the Earlier Date that usually obtain are:—(1) the
linguistic peculiarities already referred to under the head of Unity,
which are considered by many to indicate an earlier period in John’s life
and thought when he was still Hebraistic in method: (2) the historical
allusions in the book that seem to favor the earlier date, and which some
have thought are even decisive, viz. (a) the condition of the churches in
Asia as set forth in the Seven Epistles, which fairly accords with what is
known of the period of Nero’s reign and shortly thereafter; (b) the
references to persecution, war, earthquake, famine, and pestilence, which
find a ready explanation in current events of the earlier date;(33) (c)
the measurement of the temple directed in ch. 11:1f., which appears to
indicate that it was still standing; (d) the apparently veiled allusions
to Nero found in the description of the Wild Beast in chs. 13 and 17,
which, according to a widely accepted interpretation, point to a period
shortly after his death, when he was still a prominent figure in the
public mind.

For the Later Date the chief considerations are:—(1) the early and uniform
tradition concerning the origin of the book, viz. that it was written by
the Apostle John near the end of the reign of Domitian (see the section on
Canonicity): (2) the historical situation described and implied, which as
a whole is considered by most authorities as more suitable to and more
fully met by the later than the earlier date, viz. (a) the churches in
Asia, as indicated in the Seven Epistles, are in a more highly developed
condition than is likely to have been attained at so early a period as the
close of the sixth decade of the Christian era, and the omission of any
reference to the Apostle Paul as their founder within a quarter‐century of
their establishment would be entirely unaccountable; (b) the indications
of persecution are better suited to the time of Domitian than that of
Nero,(34) while the references to war, famine, and pestilence are equally
applicable to all the latter part of the first century; (c) the advanced
stage of the conflict between Christianity and the state religion of Rome,
shown in the worship of the Beast and the antagonism of Babylon, is a
strong indication of the later date;(35) (d) the assumed allusions to
Nero, and to the temple as still standing, depend in each case upon a
particular interpretation, and rest upon no certain foundation,—or
admitting an earlier date for this section, it is regarded as having been
inserted later,(36) which is a critical guess of uncertain value. This
seems to leave the balance of evidence upon the side of the later date,
though the best authorities have formerly been nearly equally divided.

6. The Place.

The Revelation was given in Patmos, one of the group of the Sporades, a
small, rocky, and irregularly shaped island, some ten miles long by five
miles wide, lying in the Ægean Sea, off the coast of Asia Minor, about
sixty miles from Ephesus and thirty‐five miles from Miletus,(37) to which
John was banished “for the Word of God and the testimony of Jesus”.
According to tradition offenders of rank were banished to this island
under the Roman Empire to work in the mines and marble quarries; and the
Apostle John perhaps shared in this harsh lot during his imprisonment, as
asserted by Victorinus in his commentary, the earliest work on the
Apocalypse, written toward the close of the third century. The chief
feature of the modern island is the Monastery of St. John, founded in A.
D. 1088, which lies a mile and a half south of La Scala, the landing
place; while halfway up the hillside a grotto, known as the cave of the
Apocalypse, is pointed out as the traditional place where the visions of
the book were seen. The natural scenery of the island is rugged and the
view of the sea and of the neighboring islands very fine, which may have
contributed somewhat to the imagery of the book, as has been suggested by
different travelers.(38) The content of the visions was doubtless
committed to writing soon afterward, and probably while John was still a
prisoner in Patmos, though the general work of authorship may have been
done later at Ephesus.(39)

7. The Canonicity.

The right of the Book of Revelation to a place in the New Testament Canon
is well attested both historically and by internal evidence. The
historical evidence is especially complete, and is regarded by some as
stronger than that of any other book in the New Testament:(40) the
objections have all arisen from the internal evidence, which has been
differently estimated by different minds.

The Historical Evidence covers the question both of authorship and of
canonicity,—for these cannot well be separated, since the apostolic
authorship carried with it for the early church the canonicity also—and it
may be briefly stated as follows, viz:—

(1) Papias (circ. A. D. 130). Bishop of Hierapolis, “the hearer of John”,
and “the companion of Polycarp”, regarded it as authoritative, and is the
first to attest it, though he does not affirm its apostolicity. We are
indebted for his testimony to Andreas of Cappadocia (about the end of the
fifth century), who refers to Papias along with Irenæus and others, and
quotes from a work by Papias his comment on Rev. 12:7‐9. In this early
witness of its canonicity we can scarcely conceive of Papias being
mistaken, and his testimony is of great value.

(2) Justin Martyr (circ. A. D. 140) says it was written by “a certain man
whose name was John, one of the apostles of Christ”. This testimony is
within fifty years of the later date assigned to the book, and seventy‐
five years of the earlier one, and is therefore of special importance; and
there is no hesitancy in affirming that the author was “one of the
apostles of Christ”.

(3) According to Eusebius, Melito, Bp. of Sardis (circ. A. D. 170), wrote
a lost work on “the Revelation of John”; also two other bishops,
Theophilus of Antioch, and Appolonius of Ephesus (both before the close of
the second century), cited from it in their writings.

(4) In a letter from the churches of Lyons and Vienne (circ. A. D. 177)
the Revelation is cited, and is described as “sacred Scripture”.

(5) Irenæus (circ. A. D. 180) defends its apostolic authority, and asserts
frequently and positively that the Apocalypse was written by “John, a
disciple of the Lord”.

(6) Clement of Alexandria (circ. A. D. 200) refers to the four and twenty
elders with an explanatory clause, “as John says in the Apocalypse”.

(7) Tertullian (circ. A. D. 200) cites it frequently, ascribing it to John
the Apostle, and attests its recognition in Africa.

(8) The Canon of Muratori (circ. 200) includes it without question, and
says, “John in the Apocalypse, though he writes to the Seven Churches, yet
says to all, &c,” and the context shows that the reference is to the

(9) Hippolytus (circ. A. D. 210) wrote on “the Gospel and Apocalypse of
John”; and he also cites the Apocalypse as a Scripture authority against
Caius. After this time its canonicity was regarded as established by the
Western Church.

(10) Origen (circ. A. D. 250), the pupil of Clement of Alexandria, and the
first textual critic of the New Testament, whose knowledge of the opinion
and usage in different parts of the church was very wide, knows of no
doubts concerning the Apocalypse, but quotes it as the recognized
composition of the Apostle and Evangelist.

The authority of the Apocalypse was not, however, destined to remain
unquestioned, though its apostolic authorship and canonical right were
practically unchallenged until toward the end of the second century—and in
fact it was generally received by the church until the middle of the third
century—but subsequently both of these were questioned, viz:—

(1) Marcion, the so‐called “Heretic” (circ. A. D. 150), rejected it in
forming his Canon because of its apparently Jewish character, and not
because he did not regard it as genuine. This, however, did not represent
a church view, and had little influence on opinion outside of his own

(2) Dionysius of Alexandria (circ. A. D. 247) argues that it is not by the
Apostle, though he does not reject the book. With him the question is
mainly one of authorship, and not of canonicity.

(3) Eusebius (circ. A. D. 270) follows the opinion of Dionysius and may be
regarded as “wavering”, for he cites much in its favor. After Eusebius,
however, opposition to it became general in the Syro‐Palestinian Church,
and it does not appear in the Peshito Version, though St Ephraim Syrus,
the chief father of the Syrian Church, cites it and ascribes it to the
Apostle John.

(4) Cyril of Jerusalem (circ. A. D. 386) omits the Apocalypse from his
list of the canonical books of the New Testament.

(5) In the Eastern Church the book was questioned on dogmatic grounds
connected with the Millenarian controversy, and it was omitted from the
Canon by the Council of Laodicea (circ. A. D. 360).

(6) Finally, however, in deference to the strong testimony of the Western
Church, and influenced somewhat, no doubt, by the internal evidence of the
book itself, it was authoritatively accepted and universally recognized by
the church at large.

The Internal Evidence for the canonicity of the book, apart from the
difficulties discussed under the head of Unity, is quite clear and
satisfying and is practically irrefutable, for the disputed questions of
authorship and date are not of such character as to affect its canonicity.
This evidence may be briefly stated as follows, viz:—

(1) The historical situation and references correspond to the time in
which the book claims to have been written, the latter half of the first
century, and are fully sustained by contemporaneous history.

(2) The literary form and diction are each suitable to the period and
authorship to which the book is ascribed.

(3) The doctrinal teachings are fully and distinctively Christian, and are
such as we would expect in a work of the period, written by inspiration
for the whole church, viz:—(a) the Christianity it bears witness to has
escaped from the particularism of Jewish thought into the broad
catholicity of the Pauline Epistles; (b) Christ is presented as the divine
atoning Lamb seated in the midst of the throne, co‐equal with the Father;
(c) the personality of the Holy Spirit is recognized, and his illuminative
work illustrated; (d) the chief duties of the Christian life are those
presented in the Gospels, faith, witness, and purity, while the reward of
overcoming is set forth in terms of apostolic hope; and (e) the entire
contents of the book, so widely different from the non‐canonical
literature, appeal to the instincts of the Christian heart now as in the
first generation, and verify themselves afresh to the Christian
consciousness in such a forceful and convincing way that this goes far to
overcome any apparent objections to its canonical authority based upon
subjective judgments of another class. In fact the impartial verdict of
careful investigation serves to confirm the opinion that the Apocalypse is
rightfully received on ample and concurrent testimony both of Historical
and Internal Evidence as a part of sacred Scripture by the whole church
throughout the world.

8. The Form.

The Book consists of a series of strange and impressive symbolic visions
which contrast present and historic conditions of trial and suffering in
the church and in the world with future and prophetic conditions of
triumph and reward for the holy and of wrath and punishment for the
sinful. It is an interpretative view of the divine path and plan of the
centuries that is evidently given for the comfort and help of God’s
children in the midst of trial and distress. Its Literary Form is marked
and significant, and belongs to that highly figurative style of late
Jewish and early Christian writings which is known as the Apocalyptic
Literature.(41) And though John must often have felt himself hampered and
impeded by the fanciful and more or less unreal character of this literary
form, yet it doubtless met more fully than any other the conditions of the
time, and afforded an adequate method of reaching the devout Christian
mind of that generation. This literature is distinguished both by its
peculiar style and by the exceptional range of its thought, and may be
described as consisting of all of that particular class of the Apocryphal
writings which are couched in mystic symbols and figures, and which
attempt to give an account of hidden things miraculously disclosed,
especially those pertaining to the other world and to the closing events
of human history. The word Apocalyptic in its present sense belongs to
recent usage, being introduced by the modern critical school as a generic
term to designate these writings as a distinct department of the
Apocryphal books, and also to denote the literary style or art‐form in
which they are cast. The use of the word Apocalypse to designate the
writings or books now known by that name (as the _Apocalypse of Baruch_,
and others) is undoubtedly very old, though it did not apparently begin
before the end of the first century, and seems to have taken rise from the
common use of the title “The Apocalypse of John” in Christian circles to
designate the Revelation, from which the word came to be applied to all
writings of a similar class. Every Apocalypse is thus an example of
Apocalyptic; but, owing to the late introduction of the latter term as now
used, most dictionaries do not give an adequate definition.(42)

The unique symbolism of these writings constitutes their most striking and
characteristic feature; and it is this uniform use of cryptic symbols
instead of ordinary figures of speech that invests the Apocalypse of John
with its peculiar charm, and at the same time creates the special problems
of its interpretation. A symbol may be defined as a conventional objective
form chosen to represent something else, often not otherwise capable of
portraiture, because of some real or fancied resemblance that appeals to
the mind; an ideal representation couched in sensuous form that embodies
one or more of the prominent features of its subject, and that comes to
represent a fixed conception in the world of fancy, a lower and material
sign being used to represent a higher and abstract idea. The use of
symbols of some sort is instinctive and universal, and grows out of a
natural effort of the mind to clothe its ideas in forms that give free
scope to the imagination. But the peculiar nature of the symbols and the
profusion of their use in the Apocalyptic literature, serve to mark it as
separate from all other literary forms. Oriental symbols, too, are so
unfamiliar and oftentimes so incongruous to our minds, such as the Dragon,
the Scarlet Beast, the Two‐horned Beast, and even the Cherubim, that we
perhaps fail to realize how much they meant to people of a primitive
civilization who were possessed of a vivid imagination without scientific
precision of thought. This difference in the instinctive appreciation of
the nature and value of symbols, together with the wide possibilities of
meaning that are apparently inherent in the symbols used in the
Apocalypse, has always given room for the fertile fancy of interpreters.
But the later study of the Apocalyptic writings as a class has made it
plain that this effort was largely misspent, and has led to more
discriminating views of the meaning and use of symbols as there found, and
to their limitation by established usage, where such is known to have
existed. For while the growth of recognized symbols is necessarily slow,
and their origin often impossible to trace yet when they have once been
formed, and have come to possess an established meaning in the public
mind, they exhibit a remarkable persistence; and though their meaning may
be somewhat modified by subsequent use and by particular application, yet
it can scarcely suffer sudden and radical change. And let us remember that
the symbols, metaphors, and other figures found in the Revelation are not
purely literary: they have had a history and have acquired a recognized
and conventional meaning. We have, therefore, an available guide to the
interpretation of the symbols in the book furnished by their use not only
in the Old Testament, in which by former interpreters they were mainly
sought, but especially in Jewish apocalypses, which give the current
meaning of many of them at the time when this book was written, a sense
which could not well have been departed from to any great extent without
making their meaning wholly unintelligible. And the more clearly we
apprehend this fact, the more constantly we apply it in our
interpretation, the more likely are we to arrive at the meaning
intended.(43) For while the Western mind revolts against the oftime
obscurity of Apocalyptic symbols, yet we not infrequently recur to the
same method of illustration. For instance, a good example of the present
day use of symbols, aided by illustrative skill, is found in such a
cartoon as “The Modern Juggernaut” that appeared a few years ago, in which
the wheeled car of India was transformed into a huge wine bottle full of
intoxicating drink that rolls along its way, crushing out the lives of
thousands of miserable victims, while the fierce dogs of War, Famine, and
Pestilence have under its malign influence slipped their leash and go
forth to prey upon men.(44) This symbolism in some measure parallels that
of the Scarlet Beast in the Revelation, and shows how a great destructive
force operating in the world may be presented to many minds in an
objective form much more effectively than by any abstract verbal
statement. Like a parable an apocalypse flings a great truth across our
path, instinct with the touch of spiritual life.

The revelation made to John doubtless took the Apocalyptic form because it
was the prevailing literary method of that time for the treatment of the
theme dealt with by his prophecy, and its constructive symbolism already
filled and colored his thought. But notwithstanding that it is cast in a
Jewish mould, the Christian thought everywhere triumphs over the Jewish
form. The line of thought is limited to the peculiar range of Apocalyptic
subjects, and is found to be closely related to that of our Lord’s
discourse upon the last things (the so‐called “little apocalypse” of our
Lord in Mat. 24), though it should not be regarded as formally an
amplification of that discourse, or as chiefly or wholly determined in
content by it.(45) The prophetic mood is manifest in every part of the
book, and the exalted mental state of the writer is sustained throughout
after the manner of a rhapsody, in the structure and movement of which all
literary forms are in a measure fused together.(46) Indeed by a deeper
study of this unique work we come to feel as though in it “we touch the
living soul of Asiatic Christendom”.

It remains to be said that while we class the Apocalypse of John with
Jewish apocalypses as to literary form, yet it so manifestly rises above
its class both in method and content that it is universally accorded the
first place among Apocalyptic writings, and fully establishes its claim to
a place among the inspired books of Scripture by reason of the penetrative
prophetic insight which it everywhere displays in dealing with the
greatest, the most central, and the most mysterious theme in the whole
sphere of Christian thought.

9. The Theme.

The Theme of the Revelation, stated in its broadest terms, is Christ and
the Church through Time to Eternity; the mystery of God in human life and
history made manifest through the disclosure of the divine redemptive plan
becoming effective and triumphant.(47) The theme we assign to the
Revelation will, of course, be determined largely by our view of its
contents. Many interpret it to be Jerusalem, Rome, and the End, limiting
its outlook to the horizon of the early church; others make it the Course
of History, or the Future Path of the Church in the World; still others
affirm it to be the Last Things, or the Second Coming of Christ. But the
wider view is the truer one, which includes many phases of the kingdom,
and the theme is properly interpreted as Christ and the Church here and
hereafter, or Redemption in its present and future relation to Human Life.
This theme is wrought out in prophetic vision by an evolving drama that
moves forward in multiple and progressive cycles of trial and triumph, of
conflict and victory, ever advancing toward the complete and final
consummation, when righteousness shall win, sin be punished, and the
redeemed be restored to the immediate presence of God; and whereby the
divine plan shall be abundantly vindicated notwithstanding all apparent
anomalies, and seeming contradictions, and temporary reverses, for it is
confidently affirmed that the night of sin shall ultimately pass away, and
the day dawn at last in which “the glory of God and of the Lamb shall be
the light thereof”; and “He that sitteth on the throne shall spread his
tabernacle over them ... that come out of great tribulation”. Thus the
book gives answer to the deep call of the soul for some sign concerning
the future that shall point the path of faith and cheer the heart for
service; and the answer is abundantly satisfying, for those who interpret
the theme aright. Occupied with such a subject of thought it finds its
proper place at the end of the inspired volume; it forms a fitting close
for the entire line of prophetic voices; and it binds the long succession
of books into an unbroken unity.(48) With illimitable sweep its visions
look backward through time and forward into eternity, downward on earth’s
struggles and upward upon heaven’s victory, inward to the soul’s conflicts
and outward to God’s eternal peace, while through it all there rings out
the one transcendent note, Christ reigns but to triumph.

10. The Occasion.

The conditions which gave Occasion for this sole Apocalyptic book of the
New Testament have left their impress on its form and thought, viz.
persecution from without, and trial and distress within the church. These
conditions which are subsumed throughout must be clearly recognized in
order to interpret the message aright, and to estimate its proper value
for the age which first received it. For, whether we accept the earlier or
later date of writing, the deadly power of the Roman Empire was being put
forth to repress and destroy the church. At the later date the worship of
the Emperor was being made the test of obedience to law, and at either
time many Christians in the face of persecution were weak and wavering.
The immediate outlook was increasingly dark, and the future prospect full
of gloom. The failure of the Messiah to reappear and of the church to
triumph; the bitter experience of persecution already endured, and the
certainty of greater suffering yet to follow; in a word, the apparent
reversal of the brightest hopes of early Christianity, all of these called
for some divine message of cheer that would inspirit the discouraged,
throw light upon the path of sorrow and shame, and make their lot
endurable because of the assuredly glorious outcome of the future. And
there was no kind of message so well suited to meet such a crisis as the
form of Apocalyptic, which grew out of similar conditions, and had a tone
and temper peculiarly adapted to infuse a triumphant hope in the midst of
growing religious despair.(49) But let us not fail to perceive that though
the Apocalypse was specially designed to meet a great crisis in the life
of the early church, its effectiveness does not end there. Its lessons are
for us and for all time; it has the course and end of world‐history in
view, and this is an ever‐living theme for the church of Christ in every

11. The Purpose.

The Purpose of the Apocalypse, as indicated by its introductory words “The
Revelation”, is the revealing or unveiling of mystery. In the Christian
sense a mystery is a former secret of divine truth that has now been at
least partially revealed (Eph. 3:1‐11), while an apocalypse is the process
of revealing it, and also the revelation itself containing the truth made
known. The comprehensive design of the book is to unfold and interpret the
divine purpose and method in human history, especially in relation to the
redemptive process, by portraying in scenic outline the present and future
course of the church of Christ through conflict to victory, for the
vindication of God’s righteousness in the final issue, and for the comfort
and encouragement of tried and persecuted Christians in the midst of the
pathway of life.(50) The more immediate purpose was to strengthen the
church in the strain of present distress, while the ultimate aim is to be
found not in the disclosure of history itself, but in the establishment of
the moral order of the world, in illustrating the fact that history is a
divinely guided “moral process toward a goal”, as the substantial ground
of a true philosophy of life, and as a permanent defense against false and
partial views. And this purpose is so wrought out by the portrayal of the
world as an ideal battlefield full of opposing forces, with alternating
scenes of triumph and danger, that the whole becomes a fervent and
powerful appeal to the heroic in Christian life and character, and a clear
call to new faith and courage. For whatever else may be its lessons, we
must not leave out of view this practical purpose of divine monition to
the world of men, which has so deeply impressed itself upon every
generation of Christians. Its message of warning is inwrought with and
reënforced by its prophetic scenes of terror and reward: for the
Apocalypse is the book of the future as well as of the past and present,
and that future is ever near in prophetic vision, however far it may be in
historic relation, and to John’s eye is always filled with the figure of
the returning Christ who comes to judgment and to victory. The message,
however, viewed in its entirety, while it contains a sympathetic element
of encouragement for the saints, and a monitory element of exhortation and
warning for all men, is yet fundamentally a philosophic interpretation of
the divine method in history for all who would see God in the story of
man’s life on the earth—a theodicy based upon prophecy. And any view which
assumes for the author a narrow field of vision, such as that he merely
grouped together the current apocalyptic conceptions of his time in order
to fling them in fierce polemic against the Roman Empire and to foreshadow
its defeat and fall,(51) rests upon a manifestly imperfect judgment that
fails in religious depth, missing the spiritual significance of the
message, and lacks in literary insight, denying the evident marks of
originality, genius, and inspiration in the most wonderful and unique
composition of its kind that has ever been produced.

12. The Interpretation.

There are two essentially different methods of Interpretation that have
been followed in attempting to arrive at the meaning of this manifestly
difficult book, which are founded upon different conceptions of its
didactic purpose, and proceed upon different lines of inquiry, viz. the
Historical, and the Symbolical.

The Historical Interpretation regards the book as a _prophetic review and
forecast of history_ veiled in symbol, and seeks the meaning and
fulfilment of the visions in certain specific historical events which
either have occurred, are occurring, or will occur within the sphere of
human life and experience. There are three different forms of this method
of interpretation, all of which specialize the prophecy but differ as to
the time and nature of the fulfilment, viz. (1) the _Preterist_ view (also
called the Contemporaneous‐Historical), which regards that the visions
relate mainly to events in the history of the early church, and that they
have been already fulfilled in the far past; (2) the _Futurist_ view (also
called the Future‐Historical), that the visions relate mainly to events
which shall occur in the last days, and that the fulfilment is to be
looked for chiefly in the more or less remote future; and (3) the
_Progressivist_ view (also called the Continuous‐ or Church‐Historical),
that the several visions constitute a continuous and progressive series,
covering the whole period of the church’s history from the time of John to
the last judgment, and that their fulfilment is therefore to be found in a
successive line of historical events, part of which lie in the past and
part in the future.

The Symbolical Interpretation, upon the other hand, regards the book as a
_prophetic idealization of history_, dealing with the general course and
outcome of man’s life upon the earth, and disclosing under the form of
symbols the spiritual and moral forces which give to history its deeper
meaning; and seeks the significance and fulfilment of the visions not,
therefore, in particular events, but rather in classes of events, not
solely at one definite time, but at many different times, finding the
revelation mainly illustrative of general principles of the divine
government rather than predictive of particular facts of history, a view
of various phases rather than of historic stages of the church’s
experience,(52) and interpreting its symbols in the genuine spirit of
Apocalyptic as pictorial representations of the prevailing fortunes of the
church in the world as she moves forward to the final consummation.(53)
This method of interpretation, which is commonly known as the _Symbolist_
view (also called the Spiritual), presents no such marked difference of
form as the Historical, but with a wider outlook regards that the visions
relate to all such like events in every age as specially manifest God’s
rule in the world sending forth judgment unto victory, and such as
particularly exhibit the progressive development of good and evil in human
life, together with their constant conflict and their final reward and

All the current interpretations may be classified under one or other of
the above heads, yet in the hands of individual interpreters they are
often modified and blend into each other in their application—a manifest
recognition of the fact that there is an element of truth underlying each
view, which we may perhaps say has been unduly emphasized, for all agree
that the interpretation is somehow and somewhere to be found in human life
and history.

What might be called still another method of interpretation is the
Apocalyptic‐Traditional (or Tradition‐Historical) view of late critical
writers on the Apocalypse already referred to, which approaches the
question from the viewpoint of literary origin, and attributes certain
portions of the book to the introduction of traditional Jewish or Jewish‐
Christian Apocalyptic fragments that have been utilized by the author and
applied to the historical conditions of his time, adapting them to a new
meaning. This, however, is not so much a separate method of interpretation
as it is a corollary of the present Literary‐Critical method of dealing
with the book, which regards it as an early Christian work in successive
editions that has taken into itself certain Jewish elements. With this
origin assumed the interpretation does not differ materially from the
Preterist view except, perhaps, that it is less rigorous in its
application to current events, and recognizes more fully the idealism of
the author; for the historical outlook has measurably lost its value
except as an indication of the date of writing, and for most who hold this
view the book has no longer any distinctive prophetic message for the
church; it has become chiefly a fantastic dream, a pious dream it is true,
but only a dream of the far past.

The principal question of interpretation, as will be seen by a
consideration of the current views, relates not only to the view‐point,
but also to the aim or design of the Revelation. The Historical method
centers the chief aim of the book in a _predictive_‐prophetic element
which it finds throughout and regards as pointing to specific events in
particular periods of history that are designed to teach important
spiritual lessons. With this idea of the didactic purpose, it yet presents
the widest variation of opinion concerning the viewpoint of the book, and
includes upon the one hand the extreme rationalist who considers it a
purely human writing, a Jewish apocalypse that has been revamped to
include Christian ideas, which blends history with prediction and reflects
only the horizon of the first century; and on the other hand the devout
mystic who accepts its message as chiefly predictive prophecy of the far
future, and interprets it well nigh literally as a prophetic account of
the world’s ending amid terror and blood. The Symbolist method, with a
quite different conception, centers the aim of the book in an
_interpretative_‐prophetic element which it finds in every part, and
regards as setting forth the principles of the divine government, and
pointing to their exemplification in multiple events occurring in
different periods of history that are working together toward the final
consummation. According to this method of interpretation the viewpoint is
idealistic, universal, and timeless, and the scope of the visions
correspondingly wide.

The latter view, which is the one presented in the following outline,
affords a fairly satisfactory interpretation that has been steadily
gaining ground during the last half‐century, and to the present author
seems destined in some form to attain general though perhaps not universal
acceptance. The views of the leaders in the symbolical school present no
material divergence in general interpretation,(54) and the principles of
this interpretation seem likely to prevail throughout the Christian church
of the future, though the form and application may be somewhat modified.
The objection that “this system of interpretation is out of keeping with
the general purpose of Apocalyptic literature”,(55) loses its force if we
grant that the book is inspired, and realize that the literary form was
chosen because of its adaptability for the treatment of the topics dealt
with in the Apocalypse; for once, the Apocalyptic form becomes the vehicle
of a divine revelation, it thereby escapes some of the main limitations of
its class, one of which was “the consciousness of no new message from God
for the generation to which it was addressed”; and accordingly it should
here be regarded as only the literary setting in which the message
continually overtops the form, the art‐form in which the art is lost sight
of through the beauty and power of the truth which it presents. This view,
although not without difficulties, is yet believed by a good proportion of
eminent scholars to be based upon sound and temperate exegesis, to be best
suited to the character of the book, and to give relative value to all the
elements of truth contained in other views. The importance of the
historical situation of John’s time and of the lessons for that age is
fully recognized, the eschatological element throughout is given due
consideration, and the application of the prophecy to the entire trend and
events of history is made apparent, while the precise time‐relation of the
visions is for the most part eliminated, and thus the field of prophetic
prospective is maintained in its true breadth, and not narrowed as in the
historical interpretation to a particular age or series of events. And the
interpretation as a whole rests for its validity upon the scope and tenor
of the book throughout, and can therefore be maintained without
determining the full or specific meaning of every part. The Revelation
thus understood ceases to be either a political diatribe of the first
century, or the terrored story of the End; it rises above an epitome of
history whether near or far, and takes rank as a true prophetic book in
Apocalyptic form, dealing with the all‐embracing plan of God for the ages,
and the munificent purpose of redemption; and it is thereby rescued from
many conjectural and contradictory interpretations which have obscured its
meaning, and becomes a living prophecy of value to the church in every

The tendency toward wiser methods in the interpretation of the Apocalypse,
and the growing spirit of unanimity concerning its larger lessons, provide
good ground for encouragement to the troubled reader. And while, no doubt,
the influence of the individual type of mind will continue to be felt in
the interpretation, the rationalistic emphasizing the preterist
application, the mystic the futurist, and the practical mind the symbolic
and universal reference, yet it should always be kept in view that the
chief importance of the book for the church at large transcends any
question of theoretical interpretation, and lies in its practical worth in
providing a rich source of religious inspiration, an invigorating aid to
imperfect faith, and an abiding stimulus to the Christian imagination, in
enabling the ordinary mind to realize the spiritual in the midst of and
transcending the natural, and in making the deep conflict of life with its
divine superintendence an ever present fact to the human soul. Indeed the
book was evidently written for common use in the early church in public
worship (ch. 1:3), which indicates an appreciation of its value in
striking contrast with the modern indifference that passes it by as
unintelligible. The Apocalypse has also a historical value, quite apart
from its general meaning and use, that we should not overlook, for it
throws important light upon the political and social conditions as well as
the inner thought and development of the Christian church in the latter
part of the first century. It reflects throughout the faith and temper in
which the early church faced its growing conflict with the world. And it
serves to show that at the close of the apostolic age there was a
Christianity which was free from the law and universal, and yet continued
to adhere to Jewish modes of expression.(56)

13. The Outline Analysis.

1 The Superscription:      Ch. 1:1‐3
2 The Salutation:      Ch. 1:4‐8
3 The Introductory Vision:   Ch. 1:9‐20
4 The Seven Epistles:    Ch. 2:1‐3:22

1 The Vision of God on the Throne:    Ch. 4:1‐5:14
2 The Vision of the Seven Seals:     Ch. 6:1‐17, and 8:1
2b The Episode of the Sealed Ones:    Ch. 7:1‐17
3 The Vision of the Seven Trumpets:    Ch. 8:2‐9:21, and 11:14‐19
3b The Episode of the Angel with the Book, and of the Two Witnesses:
            Ch. 10:1‐11:13
4 The Vision of Conflict:    Ch. 12:1‐14:20
5 The Vision of the Seven Vials:    Ch. 15:1‐16:12, and 16:17‐21
5b The Episode of the Frog‐like Spirits:   Ch. 16:13‐16
6 The Vision of Victory:    Ch. 17:1‐20:15
7 The Vision of the New Jerusalem:    Ch. 21:1‐22:5

1 The Final Words of the Angel, with the Promise of Christ:    Ch. 22:6‐16
2 The Closing Testimony of John:    Ch. 22:17‐20
3 The Author’s Benediction:    Ch. 22:21

14. The Literary Structure.

The elaborate and artistic Literary Structure of the Apocalypse, the
numerical symmetry of its parts, the parallelism of its visions, and the
recurrent climaxes in its development, together unite to give it a unique
place among the writings of Scripture; and a clear perception of these
relations becomes a distinct aid to the better understanding of its
message, for these belong to it as the outer robes which enfold its inner
thought. The predominance of the number seven in the arrangement of its
subject‐matter throughout, especially the recurrence of formal series of
sevens in the Epistles, Seals, Trumpets, and Vials, has commonly led to
the conclusion that the book is somehow capable of division into seven
parts fundamental to its structure. And although the failure of
commentators to agree generally upon any lines of division yet proposed
scarcely seems to support this opinion, yet the possible correctness and
the general helpfulness of such a division is fully recognized. Any such
division which we may make, however, is chiefly one of analysis, for the
visions are continuous and develop without any distinctive break of
prophetic view. The outline analysis given above divides the Visions, or
main portion of the book, into seven parts, the Episodes being made
parenthetical and subordinate, as their contents and connection serve to
indicate; while the four subdivisions of the Introduction and three of the
Conclusion taken together, form another seven. This general division,
which is not an uncommon one, agrees in the main, though not in statement
or in full detail, with that in the _Pulpit Commentary_,(57) and is one of
the most natural as well as the most helpful in bringing out the chief
thought of the book. The carefully wrought out and remarkably suggestive
division and subdivision into complete series of sevens, given in the
_Modern Reader’s Bible_,(58) after the same manner as the Prophecy of
Ezekiel, and the Rhapsody of Joel, is worthy of attentive consideration,
though it may well be doubted whether such an extensive subdivision found
place in the Apocalyptist’s thought.(59) With discriminative literary
insight the author of that work says, concerning the general outline of
the book, “The seven visions of St. John’s Revelation seem in the line of
their succession to trace the figure of an arch, the keystone of the arch
being the master‐thought of the prophecy;... On either side of it [in the
arrangement of the visions] III is closely parallel with V, and II with VI
... while I and VII are separate from the rest.... As always, literary
form is here pointing to the deepest spiritual meaning”. The theme of the
central vision according to this view, is “Salvation: the Kingdom of this
World becoming the Kingdom of Christ”, which puts the purpose of the
Christian warfare to the front, and has much to commend it; for the
warfare is in order that the redemptive purpose of God may become
effective and triumphant. There are reasons, however, in the scheme of the
book which seem to place the main emphasis upon the warfare itself as
leading to salvation, and that view has been accepted in this work.
Following the fertile suggestion given above, though with a somewhat
different conception of the theme of the several visions, we arrive at the
following outline of the thought and plan of the chief part of the
book,(60) viz:—

          III        V
     II                   VI
I                              VII

[Transcriber’s Note: In the book, the above table had the following text
for each of the seven sections; they are laid out here to make it look
correct with modern readers.]

IV—A Vision of Warfare—the Church‐Historic World‐Conflict of the Evil
against the Just. (Ch. 12:1‐14:20)

III—A Vision of Threatening—the World’s Punishment Threatened. (Ch.
8:2‐9:21, and 11:14‐19)

V—A Vision of Judgment—the World’s Judgment Executed. (Ch. 15:1‐16:12, and

II—A Vision of Trial—the Church’s Trial Foreshown. (Ch. 6:1‐17, and 8:1)

VI—A Vision of Vindication—the Church’s Vindication Manifested. (Ch.

I—A Vision of Sovereignty—the Throne during Conflict. (Ch. 4:1‐5:14)

VII—A Vision of Triumph—the Throne after Victory. (Ch. 21:1‐22:5)

If we follow the natural order of the visions from I to VII, we find it to
be one of _progression_, viz. from Sovereignty to Trial, then to
Threatening, and on through Warfare, Judgment, and Vindication to Triumph,
each being a separate step in advance: if we compare I with VII, II with
VI, and III with V, we find the order to be marked by _parallelism_, viz.
Sovereignty corresponding to Triumph, Trial to Vindication, and
Threatening to Judgment, vision IV, that of Warfare, holding the balance
between them: while if we regard the central vision in relation to the
rest, we find the arrangement to be one of _climax_, vision IV forming the
connecting link between I and VII, II and VI, and III and V, the visions
preceding and following it forming an ascending and descending scale to
and from the center, viz. that of Sovereignty leading through Warfare to
Triumph, that of Trial through Warfare to Vindication, and that of
Threatening through Warfare to Judgment. The movement of thought is
thereby indicated to be from the throne challenged to the throne
triumphant, from the church tried to the church vindicated, from the world
threatened to the world judged, through a world‐conflict which forms the
acme of the dramatic purpose, and discloses the entire sweep of redemptive
history as buttressed upon the eternal throne. The seven visions,
according to this view, are not bound together by any temporal succession,
but each displays a world‐process complete in itself, and they are so
arranged that the climax is reached at the center instead of the end,
after the analogy of Hebrew poetry, the central vision furnishing the key
to the interpretation of the whole.(61) The value of such an analytic
interpretation, when sustained by the contents of the book, lies not alone
in the help which it affords in penetrating the deeper purpose of the
writer, and of the revelation made through him, but in the illuminative
effect which, in a case like this, it throws upon the disputed question of
unity; for if any such clearly marked and continuous current of thought
can be shown to thread its way throughout the entire book, despite all by‐
currents and eddies, then the various theories of diverse or composite
authorship cease to be credible except to pure theorists.

15. The Literature.

The Literature relating to this difficult book is very extensive, more
works, strange to say, having been written on the Apocalypse which has
been so imperfectly understood than upon any other part of Scripture,
though many of them are now rightly regarded as of little value. A careful
study of one or more of the leading authorities representing each of the
current methods of interpretation will give a fair view of the whole
field, and will serve to show that in many points there is essential
agreement among all schools of thought, though for advanced work one’s
reading must necessarily cover a wider range, for the student should then
know all the best that has been said upon the problems of the book. The
most important qualification, however, for this difficult study is to
approach the whole subject with an open mind and a fresh spirit of
inquiry, resolved to be quite untrammelled by traditional interpretations,
to investigate with scrupulous care the various points of view, and to
apply with fearless courage all the _well‐established_ results of
investigation, especially those of the later fruitful studies in
Apocalyptic literature, which enable us to approach more nearly the
viewpoint of the earliest readers of the book, but which yet remain to be
duly correlated with our previous knowledge, being confidently assured
that there is “light yet to break” for the earnest soul upon the deep
things of the Apocalypse.

It is not likely that any one commentary will prove entirely satisfactory
to the thoughtful reader, owing to the wide variation of opinion upon many
minor points among those holding the same general view. Milligan is very
suggestive though not always convincing, for he is oftentimes too
indefinite in interpretation to be satisfying to the reader, telling us
that “no detail of historic events need be looked for”. His discussion of
principles, however, is always illuminative, even when his application is
not quite so clear; and not infrequently his work is of more value in
showing the inconclusiveness of other views than in establishing his own.
We are indebted to him, through the general circulation of his works,
perhaps more than to any other writer, for the present prevalence of the
symbolic view in the English speaking world, and his _Lectures_, and one
or other of his _Commentaries_, should be read by every student. Plummer,
in the _Pulpit __ Commentary_, will be found more satisfactory by the
general reader, especially if he inclines to the symbolic interpretation,
and there is, in fact, no better commentary for common use, though we may
not agree with all his conclusions. To his wise and discriminative
judgment the present author wishes to express a deep indebtedness. The
short introduction to that volume, with its scholarly notes on
manuscripts, versions, &c, will also be found very helpful to the busy
student. Farrar, supporting the preterist view, gives the historical
conditions of the Neronic period in a striking way, many of which are
equally applicable to the whole latter part of the first century. Lee is
especially valuable for the condensed _résumé_ of opinions concerning many
obscure passages throughout the book, though the great diversity of views
at times presented is apt to be confusing. Faussett is excellent from his
point of view, ranking among the best premillennial interpreters. Seiss is
also a popular authority with those who share the premillennial
expectation, but his exegesis is often faulty, and his interpretation
fanciful. Moulton’s _Modern Reader’s Bible_ vol. John, is indispensable
for its literary analysis and aid in gaining the general perspective, and
should be in the library of every student. The Introduction to Revelation
in the _New Century Bible_, by C. A. Scott, gives an admirable and concise
statement of the present status of opinion concerning the problems of the
book, and the notes of the same volume are especially valuable for their
references to Jewish Apocalyptic. This is the best small book for the use
of the student who wishes to get an outline of the modern view concerning
the incorporation of Jewish apocalypses. For those who are acquainted with
the Greek text, Alford, Stuart, and Düsterdieck will be found quite
helpful, even though they belong to a former generation, for each has a
special excellency; but the late work of Swete, the _Apocalypse of St.
John_ (1906), which is both thorough and scholarly, is indispensable for
the critical use of the student in that it meets more fully the questions
of modern inquiry and present discussion, and maintains a moderate view of
the opinions now to the fore concerning the origin of the book. On the
other hand Briggs’ _Messiah of the Gospels_, and Moffatt’s _Historical New
Testament_ give a good account of late theories of composite authorship
and deserve attention. Also the able work of Moffatt on Revelation in the
final volume of the _Expositor’s Greek Testament_ has been issued (1910),
and deserves careful notice. The author adopts the modern critical view,
that portions of the book have been incorporated from current apocalypses,
and devotes considerable attention to source‐criticism as an aid to
interpretation, but too much time is given to pointing out what he regards
as parallel thought in Greek, Roman, and Jewish writings, and this often
has little interpretative value. The work is adapted to the ripe scholar
rather than the earlier student, and though rejecting extreme views, it
will not be found altogether satisfying to those of more conservative mind
who believe that the Apocalypse is entitled to a primary rather than a
secondary place among the books of Scripture. Another work awaited with
much interest is the volume on Revelation in the _International Critical
Commentary_ which is in course of preparation by Charles, the eminent
authority upon Apocalyptic.(62) This volume when issued will no doubt add
much of value to the modern point of view, and serve to throw additional
light upon the relations of Apocalyptic literature to this its greatest
masterpiece. His _Studies in the Apocalypse_ (1913) serves to indicate the
general line of interpretation to be expected, and it must be said that
this is somewhat disappointing to the conservative reader, for it is
highly critical. One naturally hesitates to disagree so widely with such
an eminent scholar and distinguished apocalyptist as has been found
necessary to do in the following pages; but it should be remembered that
all Scripture is written for the world of men, and that the opinion of no
one scholar or number of scholars can authoritatively determine the
meaning of any part of it, but that rather the interpretation must be
arrived at by a general consensus of opinion among men of learning and
piety throughout the world. That this opinion, though now veering toward
the critical view, will not be eventually sustained by more thorough
research is the confirmed judgment of many scholars. But with it all there
are many points of interpretation formerly in dispute that may now be
regarded as already settled, their essential meaning in any case being
substantially the same, and thus the book so long aglow with mysteries has
virtually become every man’s book in the light of intelligent

Finally, with special emphasis it should be said, that it is of prime
importance for those who would understand the Apocalypse in its proper
relations to Biblical thought, that a careful study should be made of the
prophecies of Daniel, Ezekiel, Zechariah, Isaiah, Amos, Joel, and
Habakkuk, together with the Book of Psalms, in connection with the
Revelation, in order to catch the inner thought of the book; also of some
portion of the Apocalyptic literature, particularly the _Book of
Enoch_,(63) the _Apocalypse of Baruch_, and the _Fourth Book of Ezra_, for
these will furnish the atmosphere of Jewish thought in which the
Apocalypse was conceived, and will provide substantial aid in
understanding the peculiarities of its literary form and the general
spirit of the work, as well as in freeing the mind from the trammels of
traditional interpretation. But, above all, we should not forget that the
book of Revelation is a properly recognized part of canonical Scripture in
practically the universal judgment of the entire Christian world, and that
notwithstanding its many and persistent difficulties of interpretation, it
is yet entitled to our earnest study and attentive thought as containing a
living and abiding message from Almighty God, through his Son Jesus Christ
our Lord to John the last of the apostles, and through him to the sin‐
burdened souls of men the world over.

A few authorities are named below, which will be found sufficient to give
most that is of value in interpretation for the general reader; others are
referred to in the foot‐notes. For a fuller list, especially of the older
books, consult the Schaff‐Herzog _Encyclopaedia_, or Smith’s _Dictionary
of the Bible_, art. “Revelation”; while for the later literature see
Hastings’ _Dictionary of the Bible_, and the _Encyclopaedia Biblica_.


Preterist View:—

    Farrar, _Early Days of Christianity_;

    Maurice, _Lectures on the Apocalypse_.

Futurist View:—

    Faussett, in _Jamieson, Faussett, and Brown’s Commentary_.

    Seiss, _Lectures on the Apocalypse_.

Progressivist View:—

    Wordsworth, _Lectures on the Apocalypse_;

    Barnes, _Notes on the Book of Revelation_.

Symbolist View:—

    Milligan, in _Expositor’s Bible_, and in _Popular (International)

    Plummer, in _Pulpit Commentary_;

    Lee, in _Bible (Speakers’) Commentary_.


Preterist View:—

    Düsterdieck, in _Meyer’s Commentary_;

    Stuart, in _Commentary on the Apocalypse_.

Preterist View—Modern Critical:—

    Moffatt, in _Expositor’s Greek Testament_;

    Swete, _Apocalypse of St. John_.

Progressivist View—Modified Historical:—

    Simcox, in _Cambridge Greek Testament_.

Futurist View—Modified Historical:—

    Alford, in _Greek Testament_.


Moffatt’s _Historical New Testament_;

Scott’s “Revelation”, in _New Century Bible_;

Dean’s _Book of Revelation_;

Alexander Ramsay’s “Revelation and Johannine Epistles”, in _Westminister
New Test._;

Briggs’ _Messiah of the Apostles_;

Barton, art. “The Apocalypse and Recent Criticism”, in _Amer. Journ. of
Theol._, Apr. 1884;

Porter, art. “Revelation”, in Hastings’ _Dictionary of the Bible_;

Bousset, art. “Apocalypse”, in the _Encyclopaedia Biblica_.

Moffatt, art. “Wellhausen and Others on the Apocalypse”, in the
_Expositor_, Mar. 1909;

Charles, _Studies in the Apocalypse_;

Charles, _Revelation of St. John (I. C. C.)_;

Beckwith, _Apocalypse of John_.


Fairbairn, _On Prophecy_;

Bleek, _Lectures on the Apocalypse_;

Vaughan, _Lectures on the Revelation of St. John_;

Milligan, _Lectures on the Apocalypse_; and _Discussions on the

Scott, “Book of Revelation”, in the _Practical Commentary_;

Stevens, _Theology of the New Testament_, Part VI;

Ramsay, _Letters to the Seven Churches_;

_Introductions to the New Testament_ by Salmon, Dods, Bacon, Jülicher, and

_Introductions to Revelation_ in the leading _Commentaries_, and in the
_Modern Reader’s Bible_, the _New Century Bible_, the _Temple Bible_, and
the _Modern American Bible_; and the text of Revelation in the _New
Translation of the New Testament_, by Moffatt.

The Text here given is that of the _American Standard Edition of the
Revised Bible_, copyright 1901 by Thomas Nelson & Sons, which is used by
permission of the publishers.

The arrangement of the text belongs to the present volume, and is offered
as a contribution to the correct interpretation. This in itself is of the
nature of a commentary, though no changes have been introduced into the
body of the text. The paragraphs, however, have been changed, and many new
paragraphs made, in order to emphasize the thought of the text.



I The Prologue

1 The Superscription

Chapter 1.

(M1) 1 The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave(64) him to show unto
his servants(65), _even_ the things which must shortly come to pass: and
he sent and signified _it_(66) by his angel unto his servant John; 2 who
bare witness of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ,
_even_ of all things that he saw.

(M2) 3 Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of the
prophecy, and keep the things that are written therein: for the time is at

2 The Salutation

(M3) 4 John to the seven churches that are in Asia: Grace to you and
peace, from him who is and who was and who is to come(67); and from the
seven Spirits that are before his throne; 5 and from Jesus Christ, _who
is_ the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the
kings of the earth. Unto him that loveth us, and loosed(68) us from our
sins by(69) his blood; 6 and he made us _to be_ a kingdom, _to be_ priests
unto his God and Father(70); to him _be_ the glory and the dominion for
ever and ever(71). Amen.

(M4) (7 Behold, he cometh with the clouds; and every eye shall see him,
and they that pierced him; and all the tribes of the earth shall mourn
over him. Even so, Amen.

(M5) 8 I am the Alpha and the Omega, saith the Lord God, who(72) is and
who was and who is to come, the Almighty.)

3 The Introductory Vision

(M6) 9 I John, your brother and partaker with you in the tribulation and
kingdom and patience(73) _which are_ in Jesus, was in the isle that is
called Patmos, for the word of God and the testimony of Jesus. 10 I was in
the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and I heard behind me a great voice, as of a
trumpet 11 saying, What thou seest, write in a book and send _it_ to the
seven churches: unto Ephesus, and unto Smyrna, and unto Pergamum, and unto
Thyatira, and unto Sardis, and unto Philadelphia, and unto Laodicea.

(M7) 12 And I turned to see the voice that spake with me. And having
turned I saw seven golden candlesticks(74); 13 and in the midst of the
candlesticks(75) one like unto a son of man, clothed with a garment down
to the foot, and girt about at the breasts with a golden girdle. 14 And
his head and his hair were white as white wool, _white_ as snow; and his
eyes were as a flame of fire; 15 and his feet like unto burnished brass,
as if it had been refined in a furnace; and his voice as the voice of many
waters. 16 And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth
proceeded a sharp two‐edged sword: and his countenance was as the sun
shineth in his strength.

(M8) 17 And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as one dead. And he laid
his right hand upon me, saying, Fear not; I am the first and the last, 18
and the Living one; and I was(76) dead, and behold, I am alive for
evermore(77), and I have the keys of death and of Hades. 19 Write
therefore the things which thou sawest, and the things which are, and the
things which shall come to pass hereafter; 20 the mystery of the seven
stars which thou sawest in(78) my right hand, and the seven golden
candlesticks(79). The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches and
the seven candlesticks(80) are seven churches:—

4 The Seven Epistles

Chapter 2.

1 To the angel of the church in Ephesus write:

(M9) These things saith he that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand,
he that walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks(81): 2 I
know thy works, and thy toil and patience(82), and that thou canst not
bear evil men, and didst try them that call themselves apostles, and they
are not, and didst find them false; 3 and thou hast patience(83) and didst
bear for my name’s sake, and hast not grown weary. 4 But I have _this_
against thee, that thou didst leave thy first love. 5 Remember therefore
whence thou art fallen, and repent and do the first works; or else I come
to thee, and will move thy candlestick(84) out of its place, except thou
repent. 6 But this thou hast, that thou hatest the works of the
Nicolaitans, which I also hate. 7 He that hath an ear, let him hear what
the Spirit saith to the churches. To him that overcometh, to him will I
give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the Paradise(85) of God.

8 And to the angel of the church in Smyrna write:

(M10) These things saith the first and the last, who was(86) dead, and
lived _again_: 9 I know thy tribulation, and thy poverty (but thou art
rich), and the blasphemy(87) of them that say they are Jews, and they are
not, but are a synagogue of Satan. 10 Fear not the things which thou art
about to suffer: behold, the devil is about to cast some of you into
prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have(88) tribulation ten
days(89). Be thou faithful until death, and I will give thee the crown of
life. 11 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith to the
churches. He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death.

12 And to the angel of the church in Pergamum write:

(M11) These things saith he that hath the sharp two‐edged sword: 13 I know
where thou dwellest, _even_ where Satan’s throne is; and thou holdest fast
my name, and didst not deny my faith, even in the days of Antipas my
witness(90), my faithful one, who was killed among you, where Satan
dwelleth. 14 But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there
some that hold the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to cast a
stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to
idols, and to commit fornication. 15 So hast thou also some that hold the
teaching of the Nicolaitans in like manner. 16 Repent therefore; or else I
come to thee quickly, and I will make war against them with the sword of
my mouth. 17 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith to
the churches. To him that overcometh, to him will I give of the hidden
manna, and I will give him a white stone, and upon the stone a new name
written, which no one knoweth but he that receiveth it.

18 And to the angel of the church in Thyatira write:

(M12) These things saith the Son of God, who hath his eyes like a flame of
fire, and his feet are like unto burnished brass: 19 I know thy works, and
thy love and faith and ministry and patience(91), and that thy last works
are more than the first. 20 But I have _this_ against thee, that thou
sufferest the woman Jezebel(92), who calleth herself a prophetess; and she
teacheth and seduceth my servants(93) to commit fornication, and to eat
things sacrificed to idols. 21 And I gave her time that she should repent;
and she willeth not to repent of her fornication. 22 Behold, I cast her
into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation,
except they repent of her(94) works. 23 And I will kill her children with
death(95); and all the churches shall know that I am he that searcheth the
reins and hearts: and I will give unto each one of you according to your
works. 24 But to you I say, to the rest that are in Thyatira, as many as
have not this teaching, who know not the deep things of Satan, as they are
wont to say; I cast upon you none other burden. 25 Nevertheless that which
ye have, hold fast till I come. 26 And he that overcometh, and he that
keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give authority over the
nations(96): 27 and he shall rule them with a rod of iron, as the vessels
of the potter are broken(97) to shivers; as I also have received of my
Father: 28 and I will give him the morning star. 29 He that hath an ear,
let him hear what the Spirit saith to the churches.

Chapter 3.

And to the angel of the church in Sardis write:

(M13) 1 These things saith he that hath the seven Spirits of God, and the
seven stars: I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and
thou art dead. 2 Be thou watchful, and establish the things that remain,
which were ready to die: for I have found no works of thine(98) perfected
before my God. 3 Remember therefore how thou hast received and didst hear;
and keep _it_, and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come
as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee. 4 But
thou hast a few names in Sardis that did not defile their garments: and
they shall walk with me in white; for they are worthy. 5 He that
overcometh shall thus be arrayed in white garments; and I will in no wise
blot his name out of the book of life, and I will confess his name before
my Father, and before his angels. 6 He that hath an ear, let him hear what
the Spirit saith to the churches.

7 And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write:

(M14) These things saith he that is holy, he that is true, he that hath
the key of David, he that openeth and none shall shut, and that shutteth
and none openeth: 8 I know thy works (behold, I have set(99) before thee a
door opened, which none can shut), that thou hast a little power, and
didst keep my word, and didst not deny my name. 9 Behold, I give of the
synagogue of Satan, of them that say they are Jews, and they are not, but
do lie; behold, I will make them to come and worship(100) before thy feet,
and to know that I have loved thee. 10 Because thou didst keep the word of
my patience(101), I also will keep thee from the hour of trial(102), that
_hour_ which is to come upon the whole world(103), to try(104) them that
dwell upon the earth. 11 I come quickly: hold fast that which thou hast,
that no one take thy crown. 12 He that overcometh, I will make him a
pillar in the temple(105) of my God, and he shall go out thence no more:
and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of
my God, the new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God,
and mine own new name. 13 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the
Spirit saith to the churches.

14 And to the angel of the church in Laodicea write:

(M15) These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the
beginning of the creation of God: 15 I know thy works, that thou art
neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. 16 So because thou
art lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spew thee out of my mouth.
17 Because thou sayest, I am rich, and have gotten riches, and have need
of nothing; and knowest not that thou art the wretched one and miserable
and poor and blind and naked: 18 I counsel thee to buy of me gold refined
by fire, that thou mayest become rich; and white garments, that thou
mayest clothe thyself, and _that_ the shame of thy nakedness be not made
manifest; and eye‐salve to anoint thine eyes, that thou mayest see. 19 As
many as I love, I reprove and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.
20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock: if any man hear my voice and
open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with
me. 21 He that overcometh, I will give to him to sit down with me in my
throne, as I also overcame, and sat down with my Father in his throne. 22
He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith to the churches.

II The Main Apocalypse

1 The Vision of God on the Throne (The Throne During Conflict)

Chapter 4.

(M16) 1 After these things I saw, and behold, a door opened in heaven, and
the first voice that I heard, _a voice_ as of a trumpet speaking with me,
one saying, Come up hither, and I will show thee the things which must
come to pass(106) hereafter.

(M17) 2 Straightway I was in the Spirit: and behold, there was a throne
set in heaven, and one sitting upon the throne; 3 and he that sat _was_ to
look upon like a jasper stone and a sardius: and _there was_ a rainbow
round about the throne, like an emerald to look upon.

(M18) 4 And round about the throne _were_ four and twenty thrones: and
upon the thrones _I saw_ four and twenty elders sitting, arrayed in white
garments; and on their heads crowns of gold.

(M19) 5 And out of the throne proceed lightnings and voices and thunders.
And _there were_ seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are
the seven Spirits of God;

(M20) 6 And before the throne, as it were a sea of glass(107) like unto
crystal; and in the midst(108) of the throne, and round about the throne,
four living creatures full of eyes before and behind. 7 And the first
creature _was_ like a lion, and the second creature like a calf, and the
third creature had a face as of a man, and the fourth creature _was_ like
a flying eagle. 8 And the four living creatures, having each one of them
six wings, are full of eyes round about and within: and they have no rest
day and night, saying,

    Holy, holy, holy, _is_ the Lord God, the Almighty, who was and who
    is and who is to come(109).

(M21) 9 And when the living creatures shall give glory and honor and
thanks to him that sitteth on the throne, to him that liveth for ever and
ever(110), 10 the four and twenty elders shall fall down before him that
sitteth on the throne, and shall worship(111) him that liveth for ever and
ever(112), and shall cast their crowns before the throne, saying,

    11 Worthy art thou, our Lord and our God, to receive the glory and
    the honor and the power: for thou didst create all things, and
    because of thy will they were, and were created.

Chapter 5.

(M22) 1 And I saw in(113) the right hand of him that sat on the throne a
book written within and on the back, close sealed with seven seals. 2 And
I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a great voice, Who is worthy to open
the book, and to loose the seals thereof? 3 And no one in the heaven, or
on the earth, or under the earth, was able to open the book, or to look
thereon. 4 And I wept much, because no one was found worthy to open the
book, or to look thereon: 5 and one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not;
behold, the Lion that is of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, hath
overcome to open the book and the seven seals thereof.

(M23) 6 And I saw in the midst of the throne and of the four living
creatures, and in the midst of the elders(114), a Lamb standing, as though
it had been slain, having seven horns, and seven eyes, which are the
seven(115) Spirits of God, sent forth into all the earth.

(M24) 7 And he came, and he taketh(116) _it_ out of the right hand of him
that sat on the throne. 8 And when he had taken the book, the four living
creatures and the four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having
each one a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers
of the saints.

9 And they sing a new song, saying,

    Worthy art thou to take the book, and to open the seals thereof:
    for thou wast slain, and didst purchase unto God with thy blood
    _men_ of every tribe, and tongue, and people, and nation, 10 and
    madest them to _be_ unto our God a kingdom and priests; and they
    reign upon the earth.

(M25) 11 And I saw, and I heard a voice of many angels round about the
throne and the living creatures and the elders; and the number of them was
ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands; 12 saying
with a great voice,

    Worthy is the Lamb that hath been slain to receive the power, and
    riches, and wisdom, and might, and honor, and glory, and blessing.

13 And every created thing which is in the heaven, and on the earth, and
under the earth, and on the sea, and all things that are in them, heard I

    Unto him that sitteth on the throne, and unto the Lamb, _be_ the
    blessing, and the honor, and the glory, and the dominion, for ever
    and ever(117).

14 And the four living creatures said, Amen. And the elders fell down and

2 The Vision of the Seven Seals (The Church’s Trial Foreshown)

Chapter 6.

(M26) 1 And I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seven seals, and I heard
one of the four living creatures saying as with a voice of thunder,
Come(119). 2 And I saw, and behold, a white horse, and he that sat thereon
had a bow; and there was given unto him a crown: and he came forth
conquering, and to conquer.

(M27) 3 And when he opened the second seal, I heard the second living
creature saying, Come. 4 And another _horse_ came forth, a red horse: and
to him that sat thereon it was given to take peace from the earth(120),
and that they should slay one another: and there was given unto him a
great sword.

(M28) 5 And when he opened the third seal, I heard the third living
creature saying, Come. And I saw, and behold, a black horse; and he that
sat thereon had a balance in his hand. 6 And I heard as it were a voice in
the midst of the four living creatures saying, A measure of wheat(121) for
a shilling(122), and three measures of barley for a shilling; and the oil
and the wine hurt thou not.

(M29) 7 And when he opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the
fourth living creature saying, Come. 8 And I saw, and behold, a pale
horse: and he that sat upon him, his name was Death; and Hades followed
with him. And there was given unto them authority over the fourth part of
the earth, to kill with sword, and with famine, and with death(123), and
by the wild beasts of the earth.

(M30) 9 And when he opened the fifth seal, I saw underneath the altar the
souls of them that had been slain for the word of God, and for the
testimony which they held: 10 and they cried with a great voice, saying,
How long, O Master, the holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our
blood on them that dwell on the earth? 11 And there was given them to each
one a white robe; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for
a little time, until their fellow‐servants also and their brethren, who
should be killed even as they were, should have fulfilled(124) _their

(M31) 12 And I saw when he opened the sixth seal, and there was a great
earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the whole
moon became as blood; 13 and the stars of the heaven fell unto the earth,
as a fig tree casteth her unripe figs when she is shaken of a great wind.
14 And the heaven was removed as a scroll when it is rolled up; and every
mountain and island were moved out of their places. 15 And the kings of
the earth, and the princes, and the chief captains(125), and the rich, and
the strong, and every bondman and freeman, hid themselves in the caves and
in the rocks of the mountains; 16 and they say to the mountains and to the
rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the
throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: 17 for the great day of their
wrath is come; and who is able to stand?

2b The Episode of the Sealed Ones (An Intervening Vision of Salvation

(A) The Sealed of Israel

Chapter 7.

(M32) 1 After this I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the
earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that no wind should blow on
the earth, or on the sea, or upon any tree. 2 And I saw another angel
ascend from the sunrising, having the seal of the living God: and he cried
with a great voice to the four angels to whom it was given to hurt the
earth and the sea, 3 saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the
trees, till we shall have sealed the servants(126) of our God on their

4 And I heard the number of them that were sealed, a hundred and forty and
four thousand, sealed out of every tribe of the children of Israel:

    (M33) 5 Of the tribe of Judah _were_ sealed twelve thousand;
    Of the tribe of Reuben twelve thousand;
    Of the tribe of Gad twelve thousand;

    6 Of the tribe of Asher twelve thousand;
    Of the tribe of Naphtali twelve thousand;
    Of the tribe of Manasseh twelve thousand;

    7 Of the tribe of Simeon twelve thousand;
    Of the tribe of Levi twelve thousand;
    Of the tribe of Issachar twelve thousand;

    8 Of the tribe of Zebulun twelve thousand;
    Of the tribe of Joseph twelve thousand;
    Of the tribe of Benjamin _were_ sealed twelve thousand.

(B) The Redeemed Out of All Nations

(M34) 9 After these things I saw, and behold, a great multitude, which no
man could number, out of every nation and of _all_ tribes and peoples and
tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, arrayed in white
robes, and palms in their hands;

10 And they cry with a great voice, saying,

    Salvation unto our God who sitteth on the throne, and unto the

(M35) 11 And all the angels were standing round about the throne, and
_about_ the elders and the four living creatures; and they fell before the
throne on their faces, and worshipped(127) God, 12 saying,

    Amen: Blessing, and glory(128), and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and
    honor, and power, and might, _be_ unto our God for ever and
    ever(129). Amen.

(M36) 13 And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, These that are
arrayed in the white robes, who are they, and whence came they? 14 And I
say(130) unto him, My lord, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are
they that come out of the great tribulation, and they washed their robes,
and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. 15 Therefore are they before
the throne of God; and they serve him day and night in his temple(131):
and he that sitteth on the throne shall spread his tabernacle over them.
16 They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the
sun strike upon them, nor any heat: 17 for the Lamb that is in the midst
of(132) the throne shall be their shepherd, and shall guide them unto
fountains of waters of life: and God shall wipe away every tear from their

Chapter 8.

(M37) 1 And when he opened the seventh seal, there followed a silence in
heaven about the space of half an hour.

3 The Vision of the Seven Trumpets (The World’s Judgment Proclaimed)

(A) The Preparation for the Trumpets

(M38) 2 And I saw the seven angels that stand before God; and there were
given unto them seven trumpets.

(M39) 3 And another angel came and stood over(133) the altar, having a
golden censer; and there was given unto him much incense, that he should
add(134) it unto the prayers of all the saints upon the golden altar which
was before the throne. 4 And the smoke of the incense, with(135) the
prayers of the saints, went up before God out of the angel’s hand. 5 And
the angel taketh(136) the censer; and he filled it with the fire of the
altar, and cast it upon(137) the earth: and there followed thunders, and
voices, and lightnings, and an earthquake.

(M40) 6 And the seven angels that had the seven trumpets prepared
themselves to sound.

(B) The Trumpets Sounded

(M41) 7 And the first sounded, and there followed hail and fire, mingled
with blood, and they were cast upon the earth: and the third part of the
earth was burnt up, and the third part of the trees was burnt up, and all
green grass was burnt up.

(M42) 8 And the second angel sounded, and as it were a great mountain
burning with fire was cast into the sea: and the third part of the sea
became blood; 9 and there died the third part of the creatures which were
in the sea, _even_ they that had life; and the third part of the ships was

(M43) 10 And the third angel sounded, and there fell from heaven a great
star, burning as a torch, and it fell upon the third part of the rivers,
and upon the fountains of the waters; 11 and the name of the star is
called Wormwood: and the third part of the waters became wormwood; and
many men died of the waters, because they were made bitter.

(M44) 12 And the fourth angel sounded, and the third part of the sun was
smitten, and the third part of the moon, and the third part of the stars;
that the third part of them should be darkened, and the day should not
shine for the third part of it, and the night in like manner.

(M45) (13 And I saw, and I heard an eagle(138), flying in mid heaven,
saying with a great voice, Woe, woe, woe, for them that dwell on the
earth, by reason of the other voices of the trumpet of the three angels,
who are yet to sound.)

Chapter 9.

(M46) 1 And the fifth angel sounded, and I saw a star from heaven fallen
unto the earth: and there was given to him the key of the pit of the
abyss. 2 And he opened the pit of the abyss; and there went up a smoke out
of the pit, as the smoke of a great furnace; and the sun and the air were
darkened by reason of the smoke of the pit. 3 And out of the smoke came
forth locusts upon the earth; and power was given them, as the scorpions
of the earth have power. 4 And it was said unto them that they should not
hurt the grass of the earth, neither any green thing, neither any tree,
but only such men as have not the seal of God on their foreheads. 5 And it
was given them that they should not kill them, but that they should be
tormented five months: and their torment was as the torment of a scorpion,
when it striketh a man. 6 And in those days men shall seek death, and
shall in no wise find it; and they shall desire to die, and death fleeth
from them. 7 And the shapes(139) of the locusts were like unto horses
prepared for war; and upon their heads as it were crowns like unto gold,
and their faces were as men’s faces. 8 And they had hair as the hair of
women, and their teeth were as _the teeth_ of lions. 9 And they had
breastplates, as it were breastplates of iron; and the sound of their
wings was as the sound of chariots, of many horses rushing to war. 10 And
they have tails like unto scorpions, and stings; and in their tails is
their power to hurt men five months. 11 They have over them as king the
angel of the abyss: his name in Hebrew is Abaddon, and in the Greek
_tongue_ he hath the name Apollyon(140).

(M47) (12 The first Woe is past: behold there come yet two Woes

(M48) 13 And the sixth angel sounded, and I heard a voice(141) from the
horns of the golden altar which is before God, 14 one saying to the sixth
angel that had the trumpet, Loose the four angels that are bound at the
great river Euphrates. 15 And the four angels were loosed, that had been
prepared for the hour and day and month and year, that they should kill
the third part of men. 16 And the number of the armies of the horsemen was
twice ten thousand times ten thousand: I heard the number of them. 17 And
thus I saw the horses in the vision, and them that sat on them, having
breastplates _as_ of fire and of hyacinth and of brimstone: and the heads
of the horses are as the heads of lions; and out of their mouths
proceedeth fire and smoke and brimstone. 18 By these three plagues was the
third part of men killed, by the fire and the smoke and the brimstone,
which proceeded out of their mouths. 19 For the power of the horses is in
their mouth, and in their tails: for their tails are like unto serpents,
and have heads; and with them they hurt. 20 And the rest of mankind, who
were not killed with these plagues, repented not of the works of their
hands, that they should not worship demons(142), and the idols of gold,
and of silver, and of brass, and of stone, and of wood; which can neither
see, nor hear, nor walk: 21 and they repented not of their murders, nor of
their sorceries, nor of their fornication, nor of their thefts.

3b The Episode of the Angel with the Book and of the Two Witnesses (An
Intervening Vision of Divine Help Attained)

(A) The Angel with the Little Open Book

Chapter 10.

(M49) 1 And I saw another strong angel coming down out of heaven, arrayed
with a cloud; and the rainbow was upon his head, and his face was as the
sun, and his feet as pillars of fire; 2 and he had in his hand a little
book open: and he set his right foot upon the sea, and his left upon the
earth; 3 and he cried with a great voice, as a lion roareth:

(M50) And when he cried, the seven thunders uttered their voices. 4 And
when the seven thunders uttered _their voices_, I was about to write: and
I heard a voice from heaven saying, Seal up the things which the seven
thunders uttered, and write them not.

(M51) 5 And the angel that I saw standing upon the sea and upon the earth
lifted up his right hand to heaven, 6 and sware by him that liveth for
ever and ever(143), who created the heaven and the things that are
therein, and the earth and the things that are therein, and the sea and
the things that are therein(144), that there shall be delay(145) no
longer: 7 but in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he is
about to sound, then is finished the mystery of God, according to the good
tidings which he declared to his servants(146) the prophets.

(M52) 8 And the voice which I heard from heaven, _I heard it_ again
speaking with me, and saying, Go, take the book which is open in the hand
of the angel that standeth upon the sea and upon the earth. 9 And I went
unto the angel, saying unto him that he should give me the little book.
And he saith unto me, Take it, and eat it up; and it shall make thy belly
bitter, but in thy mouth it shall be sweet as honey. 10 And I took the
little book out of the angel’s hand, and ate it up; and it was in my mouth
sweet as honey: and when I had eaten it, my belly was made bitter. 11 And
they say unto me, Thou must prophesy again over(147) many peoples and
nations and tongues and kings.

(B) The Two Witnesses

Chapter 11.

(M53) 1 And there was given me a reed like unto a rod: and one said(148),
Rise, and measure the temple(149) of God, and the altar, and them that
worship(150) therein. 2 And the court which is without the temple(151)
leave without(152), and measure it not; for it hath been given unto the
nations(153): and the holy city shall they tread under foot forty and two

(M54) 3 And I will give unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a
thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth. 4 These
are the two olive trees and the two candlesticks(154), standing before the
Lord of the earth. 5 And if any man desireth to hurt them, fire proceedeth
out of their mouth and devoureth their enemies; and if any man shall
desire to hurt them, in this manner must he be killed. 6 These have the
power to shut the heaven, that it rain not during the days of their
prophecy: and they have power over the waters to turn them into blood, and
to smite the earth with every plague, as often as they shall desire.

(M55) 7 And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that
cometh up out of the abyss shall make war with them, and overcome them,
and kill them. 8 And their dead bodies(155) _lie_ in the street of the
great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also their
Lord was crucified. 9 And from among the peoples and tribes and tongues
and nations do _men_ look upon their dead bodies three days and a half,
and suffer not their dead bodies to be laid in a tomb. 10 And they that
dwell on the earth rejoice over them, and make merry; and they shall send
gifts one to another; because these two prophets tormented them that dwell
on the earth.

(M56) 11 And after the three days and a half the breath of life from God
entered into them, and they stood upon their feet; and great fear fell
upon them that beheld them. 12 And they heard a great voice from heaven
saying unto them, Come up hither. And they went up into heaven in the
cloud; and their enemies beheld them. 13 And in that hour there was a
great earthquake, and the tenth part of the city fell; and there were
killed in the earthquake seven thousand persons(156): and the rest were
affrighted, and gave glory to the God of heaven.

(M57) (14 The second Woe is past: behold, the third Woe cometh quickly.)

(M58) 15 And the seventh angel sounded; and there followed great voices in
heaven, and they said,

    The kingdom of the world is become _the kingdom_ of our Lord, and
    of his Christ: and he shall reign for ever and ever(157).

(M59) 16 And the four and twenty elders, who sit before God on their
thrones, fell upon their faces and worshipped(158) God, 17 saying,

    We give thee thanks, O Lord God, the Almighty, who art and who
    wast; because thou hast taken thy great power, and didst reign. 18
    And the nations were wroth, and thy wrath came, and the time of
    the dead to be judged, and _the time_ to give their reward to thy
    servants(159) the prophets, and to the saints, and to them that
    fear thy name, the small and the great; and to destroy them that
    destroy the earth.

(M60) 19 And there was opened the temple(160) of God that is in heaven;
and there was seen in his temple(161) the ark of his covenant; and there
followed lightnings, and voices, and thunders, and an earthquake, and
great hail.

4 The Vision of Conflict (The Church‐Historic World‐Conflict of the Evil
against the Just)

(A) The Woman and the Dragon

Chapter 12.

(M61) 1 And a great sign was seen in heaven: a woman arrayed with the sun,
and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars; 2
and she was with child; and she crieth out, travailing in birth, and in
pain to be delivered. 3 And there was seen another sign in heaven: and
behold, a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his
heads seven diadems. 4 And his tail draweth the third part of the stars of
heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon standeth before the
woman that is about to be delivered, that when she is delivered he may
devour her child.

(M62) 5 And she was delivered of a son, a man child, who is to rule all
the nations(162) with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God,
and unto his throne.

(M63) 6 And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place
prepared of God, that there they may nourish her a thousand two hundred
and threescore days.

(B) War in Heaven

(M64) 7 And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels _going forth_
to war with the dragon; and the dragon warred and his angels; 8 and they
prevailed not, neither was their place found any more in heaven. 9 And the
great dragon was cast down, the old serpent, he that is called the Devil
and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world(163); he was cast down to the
earth, and his angels were cast down with him.

(M65) 10 And I heard a great voice in heaven, saying, Now is come the
salvation, and the power, and the kingdom of our God, and the authority of
his Christ(164): for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, who
accuseth them before our God day and night. 11 And they overcame him
because of the blood of the Lamb, and because of the word of their
testimony; and they loved not their life even unto death. 12 Therefore
rejoice, O heavens, and ye that dwell(165) in them. Woe for the earth and
for the sea: because the devil is gone down unto you, having great wrath,
knowing that he hath but a short time.

(M66) 13 And when the dragon saw that he was cast down to the earth, he
persecuted the woman that brought forth the man _child_. 14 And there were
given to the woman the two wings of the great eagle, that she might fly
into the wilderness unto her place, where she is nourished for a time, and
times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent. 15 And the serpent
cast out of his mouth after the woman water as a river, that he might
cause her to be carried away by the stream. 16 And the earth helped the
woman, and the earth opened her mouth and swallowed up the river which the
dragon cast out of his mouth. 17 And the dragon waxed wroth with the
woman, and went away to make war with the rest of her seed, that keep the
commandments of God, and hold the testimony of Jesus:

Chapter 13.

1 and he stood(166) upon the sand of the sea.

(C) The Two Beasts

(M67) And I saw a beast coming up out of the sea, having ten horns and
seven heads, and on his horns ten diadems, and upon his heads names of
blasphemy. 2 And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his
feet were as _the feet_ of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion:
and the dragon gave him his power, and his throne, and great authority. 3
And _I saw_ one of his heads as though it had been smitten(167) unto
death; and his death‐stroke was healed: and the whole earth wondered after
the beast; 4 and they worshipped(168) the dragon, because he gave his
authority unto the beast; and they worshipped(169) the beast saying, Who
is like unto the beast? and who is able to war with him? 5 and there was
given to him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and there was
given to him authority to continue(170) forty and two months. 6 And he
opened his mouth for blasphemies against God, to blaspheme his name, and
his tabernacle, _even_ them that dwell(171) in the heaven. 7 And it was
given unto him to make war with the saints(172), and to overcome them: and
there was given to him authority over every tribe and people and tongue
and nation. 8 And all that dwell on the earth shall worship(173) him,
_every one_ whose name hath not been written from the foundation of the
world in the book of life of the Lamb that hath been slain(174).

(M68) (9 If any man hath an ear, let him hear. 10 If any man(175) _is_ for
captivity(176), into captivity he goeth: if any man shall kill with the
sword, with the sword must he be killed. Here is the patience(177) and the
faith of the saints.)

(M69) 11 And I saw another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had
two horns like unto a lamb, and he spake as a dragon. 12 And he exerciseth
all the authority of the first beast in his sight. And he maketh the earth
and them that dwell therein to worship(178) the first beast, whose death‐
stroke was healed. 13 And he doeth great signs, that he should even make
fire to come down out of heaven upon the earth in the sight of men. 14 And
he deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by reason of the signs which it
was given him to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell
on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast who hath the
stroke of the sword and lived. 15 And it was given _unto him_ to give
breath to it, _even_ to the image of the beast, that the image of the
beast should both speak, and cause that as many as should not(179)
worship(180) the image of the beast should be killed. 16 And he causeth
all, the small and the great, and the rich and the poor, and the free and
the bond, that there be given them a mark on their right hand, or upon
their forehead; 17 and that no man should be able to buy or to sell, save
he that hath the mark, _even_ the name of the beast or the number of his

(M70) (18 Here is wisdom. He that hath understanding, let him count the
number of the beast; for it is the number of a man: and his number is Six
hundred and sixty and six(181).)

(D) The Lamb on Mount Zion

Chapter 14.

(M71) 1 And I saw, and behold, the Lamb standing on the mount Zion, and
with him a hundred and forty and four thousand, having his name, and the
name of his Father, written on their foreheads.

(M72) 2 And I heard a voice from heaven, as the voice of many waters, and
as the voice of a great thunder: and the voice which I heard _was_ as _the
voice_ of harpers harping with their harps: 3 and they sing as it were a
new song before the throne, and before the four living creatures and the
elders: and no man could learn the song save the hundred and forty and
four thousand, _even_ they that had been purchased out of the earth.

(M73) 4 These are they that were not defiled with women; for they are
virgins. These _are_ they that follow the Lamb withersoever he goeth.
These were purchased from among men, _to be_ the firstfruits unto God and
unto the Lamb. 5 And in their mouth was found no lie: they are without

(M74) 6 And I saw another angel flying in mid heaven, having eternal good
tidings(182) to proclaim unto them that dwell(183) on the earth, and unto
every nation and tribe and tongue and people; 7 and he saith with a great
voice, Fear God, and give him glory; for the hour of his judgment is come:
and worship(184) him that made the heaven and the earth and sea and
fountains of waters.

(M75) 8 And another, a second angel, followed, saying, Fallen, fallen is
Babylon the great, that hath made all the nations to drink of the wine of
the wrath of her fornication.

(M76) 9 And another angel, a third, followed them, saying with a great
voice, If any man worshippeth(185) the beast and his image, and receiveth
a mark on his forehead, or upon his hand, 10 he also shall drink of the
wine of the wrath of God, which is prepared(186) unmixed in the cup of his
anger; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence
of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: 11 and the smoke of
their torment goeth up for ever and ever(187); and they have no rest day
and night, they that worship(188) the beast and his image, and whoso
receiveth the mark of his name.

(M77) (12 Here is the patience(189) of the saints, they that keep the
commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.)

(M78) 13 And I heard a voice from heaven saying, Write, Blessed are the
dead who die in the Lord from henceforth(190): yea, saith the Spirit, that
they may rest from their labors; for their works follow with them.

(M79) 14 And I saw, and behold, a white cloud; and on the cloud I _saw_
one sitting like unto a son of man, having on his head a golden crown, and
in his hand a sharp sickle. 15 And another angel came out from the
temple(191), crying with a great voice to him that sat on the cloud, Send
forth thy sickle, and reap: for the hour to reap is come; for the harvest
of the earth is ripe(192). 16 And he that sat on the cloud cast his sickle
upon the earth; and the earth was reaped.

(M80) 17 And another angel came out from the temple(193) which is in
heaven, he also having a sharp sickle. 18 And another angel came out from
the altar, he that hath power over fire; and he called with a great voice
to him that had the sharp sickle, saying, Send forth thy sharp sickle, and
gather the clusters of the vine of the earth; for her grapes are fully
ripe. 19 And the angel cast his sickle into the earth, and gathered the
vintage(194) of the earth, and cast it into the winepress, the great
_winepress_, of the wrath of God. 20 And the winepress was trodden without
the city, and there came out blood from the winepress, even unto the
bridles of the horses, as far as a thousand and six hundred furlongs.

5 The Vision of the Seven Vials (The World’s Judgment Executed)

(A) The Preparation for the Vials

Chapter 15.

(M81) 1 And I saw another sign in heaven, great and marvellous, seven
angels having seven plagues, _which are_ the last, for in them is finished
the wrath of God.

(M82) 2 And I saw as it were a sea of glass(195) mingled with fire; and
them that come off victorious from the beast, and from his image, and from
the number of his name, standing by(196) the sea of glass(197), having
harps of God.

(M83) 3 And they sing the song of Moses the servant(198) of God, and the
song of the Lamb, saying,

    Great and marvellous are thy works, O Lord God, the Almighty;
    righteous and true are thy ways, thou King of the ages(199). 4 Who
    shall not fear, O Lord, and glorify thy name? for thou only art
    holy; for all the nations shall come and worship(200) before thee;
    for thy righteous acts have been made manifest.

(M84) 5 And after these things I saw, and the temple(201) of the
tabernacle of the testimony in heaven was opened: 6 and there came out
from the temple(202) the seven angels that had the seven plagues, arrayed
with _precious_ stone(203), pure _and_ bright, and girt about their
breasts with golden girdles. 7 And one of the four living creatures gave
unto the seven angels seven golden bowls full of the wrath of God, who
liveth for ever and ever(204). 8 And the temple(205) was filled with smoke
from the glory of God, and from his power; and none was able to enter into
the temple(206), till the seven plagues of the seven angels should be

(B) The Vials Poured Out

Chapter 16.

(M85) 1 And I heard a great voice out of the temple(207), saying to the
seven angels, Go ye, and pour out the seven bowls of the wrath of God into
the earth.

(M86) 2 And the first went, and poured out his bowl into the earth; and it
became(208) a noisome and grievous sore upon the men that had the mark of
the beast, and that worshipped(209) his image.

(M87) 3 And the second poured out his bowl into the sea; and it became
blood as of a dead man; and every living soul(210) died, _even_ the things
that were in the sea.

(M88) 4 And the third poured out his bowl into the rivers and the
fountains of the waters; and it became(211) blood. 5 And I heard the angel
of the waters saying, Righteous art thou, who art and who wast, thou Holy
One, because thou didst thus judge: 6 for they poured out the blood of
saints and prophets(212), and blood hast thou given them to drink: they
are worthy. 7 And I heard the altar saying, Yea, O Lord God, the Almighty,
true and righteous are thy judgments.

(M89) 8 And the fourth poured out his bowl upon the sun; and it was given
unto it(213) to scorch men with fire. 9 And men were scorched with great
heat: and they blasphemed the name of God who hath the power over these
plagues; and they repented not to give him glory.

(M90) 10 And the fifth poured out his bowl upon the throne of the beast;
and his kingdom was darkened; and they gnawed their tongues for pain, 11
and they blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their
sores; and they repented not of their works.

(M91) 12 And the sixth poured out his bowl upon the great river, the
_river_ Euphrates; and the water thereof was dried up, that the way might
be made ready for the kings that _come_ from the sunrising.

5b The Episode of the Frog‐like Spirits (An Intervening Vision of Warning
to the Redeemed)

(M92) 13 And I saw _coming_ out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the
mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet, three
unclean spirits, as it were frogs: 14 for they are spirits of demons,
working signs; which go forth unto(214) the kings of the whole world(215),
to gather them together unto the war of the great day of God, the

(M93) 15 (Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and
keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame).

The Gathering at Har‐Magedon 16 And they gathered them together into the
place which is called in Hebrew Har‐Magedon(216).

(M94) 17 And the seventh poured out his bowl upon the air; and there came
forth a great voice out of the temple(217), from the throne, saying, It is
done: 18 and there were lightnings, and voices, and thunders; and there
was a great earthquake, such as was not since there were men(218) upon the
earth, so great an earthquake, so mighty. 19 And the great city was
divided into three parts, and the cities of the nations(219) fell: and
Babylon the great was remembered in the sight of God, to give unto her the
cup of the wine of the fierceness of his wrath. 20 And every island fled
away, and the mountains were not found. 21 And great hail, _every stone_
about the weight of a talent, cometh down out of heaven upon men: and men
blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail; for the plague thereof
is exceeding great.

6 The Vision of Victory (The Church’s Vindication Manifested)

(A) The Mystical Babylon and Her Fall

Chapter 17.

(M95) 1 And there came one of the seven angels that had the seven bowls,
and spake with me, saying, Come hither, I will show thee the judgment of
the great harlot that sitteth upon many waters; 2 with whom the kings of
the earth committed fornication, and they that dwell in the earth were
made drunken with the wine of her fornication.

(M96) 3 And he carried me away in the Spirit into a wilderness: and I saw
a woman sitting upon a scarlet‐colored beast, full of names of
blasphemy(220), having seven heads and ten horns. 4 And the woman was
arrayed in purple and scarlet, and decked(221) with gold and precious
stone and pearls, having in her hand a golden cup full of abominations,
even the unclean things(222) of her fornication, 5 and upon her forehead a
AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH. 6 And I saw the woman drunken with
the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs(224) of Jesus.
And when I saw her, I wondered with a great wonder.

(M97) 7 And the angel said unto me, Wherefore didst thou wonder? I will
tell thee the mystery of the woman, and of the beast that carrieth her,
which hath the seven heads and the ten horns. 8 The beast that thou sawest
was, and is not; and is about to come up out of the abyss, and to go(225)
into perdition. And they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, _they_
whose name hath not been written in(226) the book of life from the
foundation of the world, when they behold the beast, how that he was, and
is not, and shall come(227).

(M98) 9 Here is the mind(228) that hath wisdom. The seven heads are seven
mountains, on which the woman sitteth: 10 and they are(229) seven kings;
the five are fallen, the one is, the other is not yet come; and when he
cometh, he must continue a little while. 11 And the beast that was, and is
not, is himself also an eighth, and is of the seven; and he goeth into
perdition. 12 And the ten horns that thou sawest are ten kings, who have
received no kingdom as yet; but they receive authority as kings, with the
beast, for one hour. 13 These have one mind, and they give their power and
authority unto the beast. 14 These shall war against the Lamb, and the
Lamb shall overcome them, for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings; and
they _also shall overcome_ that are with him, called and chosen and

(M99) 15 And he saith unto me, The waters which thou sawest, where the
harlot sitteth, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues. 16
And the ten horns which thou sawest, and the beast, these shall hate the
harlot, and shall make her desolate and naked, and shall eat her flesh,
and shall burn her utterly with fire. 17 For God did put in their hearts
to do his mind, and to come to one mind, and to give their kingdom unto
the beast, until the words of God should be accomplished. 18 And the woman
whom thou sawest is the great city, which reigneth over the kings(230) of
the earth.

Chapter 18.

(M100) 1 After these things I saw another angel coming down out of heaven,
having great authority; and the earth was lightened with his glory. 2 And
he cried with a mighty voice, saying, Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great,
and is become a habitation of demons, and a hold(231) of every unclean
spirit, and a hold of every unclean and hateful bird. 3 For by the
wine(232) of(233) the wrath of her fornication all the nations are fallen;
and the kings of the earth committed fornication with her, and the
merchants of the earth waxed rich by the power of her wantonness(234).

(M101) 4 And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come forth, my
people, out of her, that ye have no fellowship with her sins, and that ye
receive not of her plagues: 5 for her sins have reached(235) even unto
heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities. 6 Render unto her even as
she rendered, and double _unto her_ the double according to her works: in
the cup which she mingled, mingle unto her double. 7 How much soever she
glorified herself, and waxed wanton(236), so much give her of torment and
mourning: for she saith in her heart, I sit a queen, and am no widow, and
shall in no wise see mourning. 8 Therefore in one day shall her plagues
come, death, and mourning, and famine; and she shall be utterly burned
with fire; for strong is the Lord(237) God who judged her.

(M102) 9 And the kings of the earth, who committed fornication and lived
wantonly(238) with her, shall weep and wail over her, when they look upon
the smoke of her burning, 10 standing afar off for the fear of her
torment, saying, Woe, woe, the great city, Babylon, the strong city! for
in one hour is thy judgment come.

(M103) 11 And the merchants of the earth weep and mourn over her, for no
man buyeth their merchandise(239) any more; 12 merchandise of gold, and
silver, and precious stone, and pearls, and fine linen, and purple, and
silk, and scarlet; and all thyine wood, and every vessel of ivory, and
every vessel made of most precious wood, and of brass, and iron, and
marble; 13 and cinnamon, and spice(240), and incense, and ointment, and
frankincense, and wine, and oil, and fine flour, and wheat, and cattle,
and sheep; and _merchandise_ of horses and chariots and slaves(241); and
souls(242) of men. 14 And the fruits which thy soul lusted after are gone
from thee, and all things that were dainty and sumptuous are perished from
thee, and _men_ shall find them no more at all. 15 The merchants of these
things, who were made rich by her, shall stand afar off for the fear of
her torment, weeping and mourning; 16 saying, Woe, woe, the great city,
she that was arrayed in fine linen and purple and scarlet, and decked(243)
with gold and precious stone and pearl! 17 for in one hour so great riches
is made desolate.

(M104) And every shipmaster, and every one that saileth any whither, and
mariners, and as many as gain their living by sea(244), stood afar off, 18
and cried out as they looked upon the smoke of her burning, saying, What
_city_ is like the great city? 19 And they cast dust on their heads, and
cried, weeping and mourning, saying, Woe, woe, the great city, wherein all
that had their ships in the sea were made rich by reason of her
costliness! for in one hour is she made desolate.

(M105) 20 Rejoice over her, thou heaven, and ye saints, and ye apostles,
and ye prophets; for God hath judged your judgment on her.

(M106) 21 And a(245) strong angel took up a stone as it were a great
millstone and cast it into the sea, saying, Thus with a mighty fall shall
Babylon, the great city, be cast down, and shall be found no more at all.
22 And the voice of harpers and minstrels and flute‐players and trumpeters
shall be heard no more at all in thee; and no craftsman, of whatsoever
craft(246), shall be found any more at all in thee; and the voice of a
mill shall be heard no more at all in thee; 23 and the light of a lamp
shall shine no more at all in thee; and the voice of the bridegroom and of
the bride shall be heard no more at all in thee: for thy merchants were
the princes of the earth; for with thy sorcery were all the nations
deceived. 24 And in her was found the blood of prophets and of saints, and
of all that have been slain upon the earth.

(B) The Triumph of the Redeemed

Chapter 19.

(M107) 1 After these things I heard as it were a great voice of a great
multitude in heaven, saying,

    Hallelujah; Salvation, and glory, and power, belong to our God: 2
    for true and righteous are his judgments; for he hath judged the
    great harlot, her that corrupted the earth with her fornication,
    and he hath avenged the blood of his servants(247) at her hand.

(M108) 3 And a second time they say(248), Hallelujah. And her smoke goeth
up for ever and ever(249). 4 And the four and twenty elders and the four
living creatures fell down and worshipped(250) God that sitteth on the
throne, saying, Amen; Hallelujah. 5 And a voice came forth from the
throne, saying,

    Give praise to our God, all ye his servants, ye that fear him, the
    small and the great.

6 And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice
of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunders, saying,

    Hallelujah: for the Lord our God, the Almighty, reigneth. 7 Let us
    rejoice and be exceeding glad, and let us give the glory unto him:
    for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made
    herself ready.

(M109) 8 And it was given unto her that she should array herself in fine
linen, bright _and_ pure: for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the

(M110) 9 And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they that are bidden to
the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are true
words of God.

(M111) 10 And I fell down before his feet to worship(251) him. And he
saith unto me, See thou do it not: I am a fellow‐servant with thee and
with thy brethren that hold the testimony of Jesus: worship(252) God: for
the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.

(C) The Last Things

(M112) 11 And I saw the heaven opened; and behold, a white horse, and he
that sat thereon called(253) Faithful and True; and in righteousness he
doth judge and make war. 12 And his eyes _are_ a flame of fire, and upon
his head _are_ many diadems; and he hath a name written which no one
knoweth but he himself. 13 And he _is_ arrayed in a garment sprinkled
with(254) blood: and his name is called The Word of God. 14 And the armies
which are in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen,
white _and_ pure. 15 And out of his mouth proceedeth a sharp sword, that
with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of
iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness(255) of the wrath of
God, the Almighty. 16 And he hath on his garment and on his thigh a name

(M113) 17 And I saw an(256) angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a
loud voice, saying to all the birds that fly in mid heaven, Come _and_ be
gathered together unto the great supper of God; 18 that ye may eat the
flesh of kings, and the flesh of captains(257), and the flesh of mighty
men, and the flesh of horses and of them that sit thereon, and the flesh
of all men, both free and bond, and small and great.

(M114) 19 And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their
armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat upon the horse,
and against his army. 20 And the beast was taken, and with him the false
prophet that wrought the signs in his sight, wherewith he deceived them
that had received the mark of the beast and them that worshipped(258) his
image: they two were cast alive into the lake of fire that burneth with
brimstone: 21 and the rest were killed with the sword of him that sat upon
the horse, _even the sword_ which came forth out of his mouth: and all the
birds were filled with their flesh.

Chapter 20.

(M115) 1 And I saw an angel coming down out of heaven, having the key of
the abyss and a great chain in(259) his hand. 2 And he laid hold on the
dragon, the old serpent, which is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a
thousand years, 3 and cast him into the abyss, and shut _it_, and sealed
_it_ over him, that he should deceive the nations no more, until the
thousand years should be finished: after this he must be loosed for a
little time.

(M116) 4 And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given
unto them: and _I saw_ the souls of them that had been beheaded for the
testimony of Jesus, and for the word of God, and such as worshipped(260)
not the beast, neither his image, and received not the mark upon their
forehead and upon their hand; and they lived, and reigned with Christ a
thousand years. 5 The rest of the dead lived not until the thousand years
should be finished. This is the first resurrection.

(M117) (6 Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection:
over these the second death hath no power(261); but they shall be priests
of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a(262) thousand years.)

(M118) 7 And when the thousand years are finished, Satan shall be loosed
out of his prison, 8 and shall come forth to deceive the nations which are
in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together
to the war: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea. 9 And they went
up over the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints
about, and the beloved city: and fire came down out(263) of heaven, and
devoured them. 10 And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake
of fire and brimstone, where are also the beast and the false prophet; and
they shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever(264).

(M119) 11 And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat upon it, from
whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no
place for them. 12 And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing
before the throne; and books were opened: and another book was opened,
which is _the book_ of life: and the dead were judged out of the things
which were written in the books, according to their works. 13 And the sea
gave up the dead that were in it; and death and Hades gave up the dead
that were in them: and they were judged every man according to their
works. 14 And death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the
second death, _even_ the lake of fire. 15 And if any was not found written
in the book of life, he was cast into the lake of fire.

7 The Vision of the New Jerusalem (The Throne after Victory)

Chapter 21.

(M120) 1 And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and
the first earth are passed away; and the sea is no more.

(M121) 2 And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of
heaven(265) from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband.

(M122) 3 And I heard a great voice out of the throne saying, Behold, the
tabernacle of God is with men, and he shall dwell(266) with them, and they
shall be his peoples, and God himself shall be with them, _and be_ their
God(267): 4 and he shall wipe away every tear from their eyes; and death
shall be no more; neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain,
any more: the first things are passed away.

(M123) 5 And he that sitteth on the throne said, Behold, I make all things
new. And he saith, Write: for these words are faithful and true(268). 6
And he said unto me, They are come to pass. I am the Alpha and the Omega,
the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the
fountain of the water of life freely. 7 He that overcometh shall inherit
these things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son. 8 But for the
fearful, and unbelieving, and abominable, and murderers, and fornicators,
and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, their part _shall be_ in the
lake that burneth with fire and brimstone; which is the second death.

(M124) 9 And there came one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls,
who were laden with the seven last plagues; and he spake with me, saying,
Come hither, I will show thee the bride, the wife of the Lamb.

(M125) 10 And he carried me away in the Spirit to a mountain great and
high, and showed me the holy city Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven
from God, 11 having the glory of God: her light(269) was like unto a stone
most precious, as it were a jasper stone, clear as crystal: 12 having a
wall great and high; having twelve gates(270), and at the gates twelve
angels; and names written thereon, which are _the names_ of the twelve
tribes of the children of Israel: 13 on the east were three gates; and on
the north three gates; and on the south three gates(271); and on the west
three gates. 14 And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on
them twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.

(M126) 15 And he that spake with me had for a measure a golden reed to
measure the city, and the gates thereof, and the wall thereof. 16 And the
city lieth foursquare, and the length thereof is as great as the breadth:
and he measured the city with the reed, twelve thousand furlongs: the
length and the breadth and the height thereof are equal. 17 And he
measured the wall thereof, a hundred and forty and four cubits, _according
to_ the measure of a man, that is, of an angel.

(M127) 18 And the building of the wall thereof was jasper: and the city
was pure gold, like unto pure glass. 19 The foundations of the wall of the
city were adorned with all manner of precious stones. The first foundation
was jasper; the second, sapphire(272); the third, chalcedony; the fourth,
emerald; 20 the fifth, sardonyx; the sixth, sardius; the seventh,
chrysolite; the eighth, beryl; the ninth, topaz; the tenth, chrysoprase;
the eleventh, jacinth(273); the twelfth, amethyst. 21 And the twelve gates
were twelve pearls; each one of the several gates was of one pearl: and
the street of the city was pure gold, as it were transparent glass(274).

(M128) 22 And I saw no temple(275) therein: for the Lord God the Almighty,
and the Lamb, are the temple(276) thereof. 23 And the city hath no need of
the sun, neither of the moon, to shine upon it: for the glory of God did
lighten it, and the lamp thereof is the Lamb(277). 24 And the nations
shall walk amidst(278) the light thereof: and the kings of the earth bring
their glory into it. 25 And the gates thereof shall in no wise be shut by
day (for there shall be no night there): 26 and they shall bring the glory
and the honor of the nations into it: 27 and there shall in no wise enter
into it anything unclean(279), or he that maketh(280) an abomination and a
lie: but only they that are written in the Lamb’s book of life.

Chapter 22.

(M129) 1 And he showed me a river of water of life, bright as crystal,
proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb, 2 in the midst of the
street thereof(281). And on this side of the river and on that was the
tree(282) of life, bearing twelve _manner_ of fruits(283), yielding its
fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the

(M130) 3 And there shall be no curse(284) any more: and the throne of God
and of the Lamb shall be therein: and his servants(285) shall serve him; 4
and they shall see his face; and his name _shall be_ on their foreheads. 5
And there shall be night no more; and they need no light of lamp, neither
light of sun; for the Lord God shall give them light: and they shall reign
for ever and ever(286).

III The Epilogue

1 The Final Words of the Angel with the Promise of Christ

(M131) 6 And he said unto me, These words are faithful and true: and the
Lord, the God of the spirits of the prophets, sent his angel to show unto
his servants the things which must shortly come to pass. 7 And behold, I
come quickly. Blessed is he that keepeth the words of the prophecy of this

(M132) 8 And I John am he that heard and saw these things. And when I
heard and saw, I fell down to worship(287) before the feet of the angel
that showed me these things. 9 And he saith unto me, See thou do it not: I
am a fellow‐servant with thee and with thy brethren the prophets, and with
them that keep the words of this book: worship(288) God.

(M133) 10 And he saith unto me, Seal not up the words of the prophecy of
this book; for the time is at hand. 11 He that is unrighteous, let him do
unrighteousness still(289): and he that is filthy, let him be made filthy
still: and he that is righteous, let him do righteousness still: and he
that is holy, let him be made holy still.

(M134) 12 Behold, I come quickly; and my reward(290) is with me, to render
to each man according as his work is. 13 I am the Alpha and the Omega, the
first and the last, the beginning and the end. 14 Blessed are they that
wash their robes, that they may have the right(291) _to come_ to the tree
of life, and may enter in by the gates(292) into the city. 15 Without are
the dogs, and the sorcerers, and the fornicators, and the murderers, and
the idolators, and every one that loveth and maketh(293) a lie.

(M135) 16 I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things
for(294) the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, the
bright, the morning star.

2 The Closing Testimony of John

(M136) 17 And(295) the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And he that
heareth, let him say, Come. And he that is athirst, let him come: he that
will, let him take the water of life freely.

(M137) 18 I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy
of this book, If any man shall add unto(296) them, God shall add unto him
the plagues which are written in this book: 19 and if any man shall take
away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his
part from the tree of life, and out of the holy city, which are
written(297) in this book.

(M138) 20 He who testifieth these things saith, Yea: I come quickly. Amen:
come, Lord Jesus.

3 The Author’s Benediction

(M139) 21 The grace of the Lord Jesus(298) be with the(299) saints. Amen.


The Book of Revelation bears the inherent marks of a thoroughly wrought
out and carefully finished literary production, showing evident traces of
design and arrangement throughout, which constitute a studied setting for
the remarkable series of visions that contain its chief message to the
church. Behind the outer form lies the deep experience of the author who
received a fresh revelation of divine truth. To him God spoke in strange
visions and in a marvellous way about the divine purpose concerning his
people and the great world of men: for couched though it is in the strange
figures of Apocalyptic, a method of religious thought belonging to that
time, it yet bears to the Christian mind indisputable marks of divine
inspiration. Moved by the visions which it records, John wrote to the
churches in Asia a message not only for them but for all believers in all
time; for its lessons lie not alone in the events of that age, but in the
wider and permanent relations of the church and the world throughout the
centuries, and they appeal to us with new force as the varying conditions
continue to change with the revolving years. The lessons of the book are
for us in our day no less than they have been for others in the past, and
as they will be for still others in the advancing future; and though these
lessons are not always easy to grasp or lightly to be understood, they are
yet eminently worthy of our attentive study and patient consideration. The
synthetic analysis which is here given, attempts to set forth the main
thought of the Revelation as it has been interpreted by many eminent
commentators, and it is presented in as concise a form as is consistent
with clearness for the benefit of the general reader, for the chief
purpose of the present work is to make plain the symbolic view as it has
taken form in the mind of the writer. No extended discussion of the more
difficult portions of the book has been attempted, for a satisfactory
conclusion is more often reached by careful thought than by elaborate
argument, though it has seemed best to reinforce the view presented by
constant reference to well‐known authorities, and also to provide a brief
comparison of different opinions on the main points of disagreement for
those who desire further study.

The book is found upon examination to consist of three principal parts,
which are those common to every finished composition, viz:—


This division is one generally accepted by those who have studied the
book, for it is to most minds both natural and obvious, though some make
the Introduction end with the first chapter, and include the Epistles to
the Churches in the second part. As these, however, are not so markedly
Apocalyptic in form as the chapters that follow, and do not enter into the
chief message of the book, but rather serve to prepare the way for it,
they are more properly regarded as part of the Introduction.

I The Prologue, Ch. 1:1‐3:22

The introductory and epistolary portions of the book which occupy the
first three chapters, consist of four parts, viz. the superscription, the
salutation, a vision of the exalted Redeemer, and messages to the seven
churches in Asia. These give the source and authority of the Revelation,
convey a greeting to the seven churches that are named, set forth the
present activity of Christ in his redemptive work with the certainty of
his personal return, and then present particular messages to each of the
churches in Asia, which through their general condition afford a
perspective view of the continuous and varied experience of the whole
church in the process of redemption. These preliminary parts of the book,
also, serve to introduce the great theme which is to occupy the subsequent
revelation, viz. Christ and the Church through Time to Eternity. The style
is at once that of Apocalyptic, though the form is less characteristic in
the second and third chapters than in the first and subsequent ones; the
literary construction is marked by obvious and sustained artistic skill;
and the subject‐matter shows a profound inner connection of thought with
the visions that follow, affording a clear indication of the unity of the
whole work that should not be overlooked in our study of the book.(300)

1 The Superscription, Ch. 1:1‐3

In the superscription the book is described, its history and contents are
given (v. 1‐2), and a blessing is pronounced (v. 3) upon those who read
it, i. e. aloud before the congregation (ἀναγινώσκων), and those who hear
and keep the things written therein, an indication that they were expected
to be understood. This blessing is the first of seven beatitudes found in
the book (see App’x C), and serves to show that the office of public
reader in the primitive church was established in the first century,
evidently because of a general lack of education among the early converts.
The book is declared to be the Revelation or Apocalypse of things about to
happen,—not a revelation which has Jesus Christ for its subject,(301) but
“the things which must shortly come to pass”, a phrase that is best
interpreted as a prophetic formula for the uncertain future which is
always near with God (cf. Lu. 18:8), and not to be taken in the stricter
sense of limiting the prophecy to the immediate future,(302)—to have been
given of God (v. 1), and to have been made of, i. e. through or by, Jesus
Christ as the communicating witness,(303) to have been sent by the
instrument of an angel, and to have been testified to by John, who
witnessed concerning the word of God and the testimony of Jesus
Christ(304) which he received through the visions that are herein
recorded. These introductory verses (v. 1‐3) are usually regarded as an
integral part of the book, though they are thought by some to have been
added afterward as an introduction and authorization by the church,
probably by the elders at Ephesus.(305)

2 The Salutation, Ch. 1:4‐8

The salutation is an address and greeting of grace and peace to the seven
churches in Asia from John, in the name of each person of the triune God,
viz:—(1) in the name of the Father, who is designated as “him who is and
who was and who is to come”,(306) i. e. whose existence is alike present,
past, and future, the Eternal One, and expansion of the sacred name
Jehovah, the I AM, or the I WILL BE, of Hebrew historic faith (cf. Ex.
3:14, Am. R. V., marg.); (2) in the name of the Holy Spirit, who is
typified by “the seven Spirits that are before his throne” as being seven‐
fold in his operation, i. e. complete and perfect (cf. Isa. 11:2);(307)
and (3) in the name of Jesus Christ, who is presented as “the faithful
witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the
earth”, whose redemptive work is declared in a doxology of praise (v. 5b
and 6) which is rendered unto him as the one “that loveth us, and washed
us from our sins in his own blood”,(308) and whose coming again is notably
heralded—a pivotal thought throughout the book.(309) The descriptive
phrase “the firstborn of the dead” is an evident recognition of Christ as
the first to conquer death by resurrection. The closing part of the
salutation (v. 7‐8) is exclamatory and parenthetical, and forms a kind of
prelude to all that follows, affirming the certainty of the second advent
as if already present, and introducing at this point the divine witness,
which is generally attributed to Christ who speaks as God, affirming
himself to be the source and end of all things, the Eternal and All‐Ruler,
whose word stands as surety for the fulfilment of the visions. The fact of
God as All‐Ruler (Παντοκράτωρ, “the Almighty”),(310) and the realization
of that fact in history, “constitutes the deep undertone which pervades
every part of the Apocalypse, and rises here and there into its loftiest
strains”. Terms like this, never applied to any but God in the Old
Testament, and well understood as belonging only to the Divine Being, are
freely used of Christ in the Revelation, showing how fully his divine
nature was realized in that stage of the church’s experience. The
connection of the eighth verse may properly be considered as the answering
voice of Christ to the cry of John in the seventh, “Behold he cometh”!

3 The Introductory Vision (The Glorified Son of Man), Ch. 1:9‐20

This vision presents a transcendent Christophany, unfolding the source of
the Revelation, and introductory to all that follows throughout the book;
a view of the glorified Son of Man in his exalted relation to the church
as King‐Priest, manifesting his dignity and authority in bold and striking
imagery through a seven‐fold vision.

(1) The Trumpet Voice, Ch. 1:9‐11

A great voice is heard, making a special revelation to John as he partook
with the saints in the tribulation of Jesus(311) in the isle of Patmos,
off the coast of Asia Minor,(312) where he was banished for the word of
God and the testimony of Jesus, when he was in the Spirit, i. e. in the
ecstatic state peculiar to the prophets, on the Lord’s day;(313) speaking
behind him, i. e. while the speaker was yet unseen, in a voice as of a
trumpet, commanding him to write the things which he saw in a book (v.
11), and to send it to the seven churches which are then named, the chief
churches in Asia, to whom the message of the Revelation is addressed as
the typical representatives of all the churches throughout the world. The
human name Jesus is here found twice in one verse (v. 9), and occurs in
the Revelation nine (or ten) times, whereas it is seldom used by Paul and
never by Peter in the Epistles. This seems to point toward the Johannine
authorship, for the name that belonged to the earthly life of our Lord was
not likely to be used by one who had not known Jesus in familiar

(2) The Triumphant Son of Man, Ch. 1:12‐13a

The divine Savior at this point appears in the vision as “one like unto a
son of man”, i. e. human though transfigured, standing in the midst of
seven golden candlesticks, or lampstands, which represent in symbol the
seven churches of Asia bearing light on the earth, and in a wider sense
the whole church in its completeness witnessing for the truth, for seven
is the number of universality—a scene recalling the temple, and indicating
Christ’s triumphant and continual presence in the midst of his

(3) The Gracious Apparel, Ch. 1:13b

The Divine One is clothed with a garment down to the foot, the mark of
dignity, and is girded about with a golden girdle at the breasts as for
reigning or priestly intercession, not about the loins as for toil or
conflict, indicating the nature of Christ’s present and continuous work on
behalf of his church.

(4) The Glorious Appearance, Ch. 1:14‐15, and 16c

The revealed Son of Man is majestic in form and mien, and wondrous in
appearance, like the Ancient of Days in Daniel’s vision (Dan. 7.9f), his
head and hair like wool in purity and majesty, his eyes penetrating and
enkindling as a flame of fire, his feet awe‐striking and destructive like
molten brass glowing in a furnace, his voice sounding like the roar of
cataracts, and his countenance like to the unclouded sun—symbols all of
these of his exalted state, and perhaps intended to present a reminiscence
of the transfiguration. The Greek word Χαλκολίβανος (v. 15), translated
“burnished brass” by the Revisers, is of unknown origin, and occurs only
here and in ch. 2:18. It is thought to have been a technical term in local
use among the metal workers of Ephesus, and to apply to some alloy of
copper or brass.(316) The literal interpretation of the word is “incense‐
brass”, which suggests a metal used for making utensils in which to burn
incense, evidently precious, and having a glow in the furnace, or like a

(5) The Seven Stars, Ch. 1:16a

The Glorious One has in his right hand seven stars, which, we are told (v.
20), are the angels, or heavenly representatives of the seven churches, i.
e. Christ holds the churches in his right hand, for the stars and the
angels are declared to be identical.(317) It will be seen that the seven
angels, which stand as the ideal representatives of the churches
throughout the first part of the Revelation, are here presented under
another symbol, as seven stars which are upheld in the hand of Christ
“like a chain of glittering jewels”, thereby showing his sustaining care
of the churches. The angels of the churches that are symbolized by the
stars, are not to be regarded as true angelic beings any more than the
stars are real stars, but are the churches themselves personified by
angelic forms after the manner of the Apocalyptic. The figure is not
properly applicable to the bishops, pastors, or leaders of the churches,
though often so interpreted, for these are leaders upon earth, whereas the
angels like the stars belong in heaven.(318)

(6) The Two‐Edged Sword, Ch. 1:16b

Out of the mouth of the Conquering Christ proceeds a sharp two‐edged
sword,(319) the emblem of the Word of God in its penetrating power (cf.
Eph. 6:17b, and Heb. 4:12) which is designed both to reprove and punish,
and which serves to show that the divine Christ speaks with supreme

(7) The Assuring Message, Ch. 1:17‐20

The Gracious Savior reassures John, who fell at his feet as one who was
dead, both by his touch and by his words as of old on the holy mount (Mat.
17:7); declaring that he, the Son of Man, is the first cause, and final
arbiter of destiny, the ever living one though once dead; affirming that
he has the keys of death and of Hades,(320) i. e. through his own
resurrection has forever gained the power over death, holding the key of
its control, and has also the key of Hades, the invisible spirit‐world,
which is commonly associated with death in the New Testament as the
general habitation of the dead during the intermediate state (not “hell”,
as in the Authorized Version); and reaffirming the command to John to
write therefore the things which he saw in a book, viz. “the things which
are”, i. e. which now exist, looked at from the divine point of view as
beheld in the vision, and “the things which shall come to pass hereafter”,
i. e. which shall be made manifest in history, those things that belong to
the mystery(321) of the seven stars and the seven golden candlesticks, or
to the mysterious and hidden future of the church of Christ in the world
which the seven churches represent in its ideal unity.

The change of symbols in this vision is apt to be confusing unless we
catch the distinctive meaning of each. Three different symbols are here
used to represent the churches, each presenting a different point of view,
viz:—(1) the angels, who represent the churches in their individual and
organic life, engaged in active service for God; (2) the stars, which
represent the churches in their relation to Christ, receiving and
reflecting light from him and upheld by his hand; and (3) the
candlesticks, which represent the churches in their relation to the world,
bearing light to men upon the earth. If these distinctions are kept in
mind the interpretation will be greatly simplified. At this point it may
also be well to note that the view which regards the visions in the
Revelation as purely literary in origin, fails to satisfy the
circumstantial account of John. On the contrary we find it is more in
accord with the spirit of the record to regard them not as literary
inventions in which the message is clothed, but as true visions divinely
given which were, nevertheless, essentially adapted to and conditioned by
the previous mental training and habits of the writer—the product of an
ethical and not a magical inspiration. In fact the reality of the visions
is in some sense coming now to be recognized upon psychological grounds as
the natural view.(322) And it should also be seen that the studied
literary setting of the visions, indicating arrangement and design upon
the part of the seer in his record of them, does not militate against the
view that the visions were real and the experience recorded an actual one.
But, “even were the supposition correct that the seer had only certain
truths divinely impressed upon his mind, which his poetic fancy led him to
clothe in the shapes before us, it would in no degree modify either the
extent of his inspiration or the value of his teaching”.(323)

4 The Seven Epistles, Ch. 2:1‐3:22

The seven epistles are Christ’s messages of encouragement and warning, of
praise and blame, which were given to John in vision, and which are
addressed to the seven churches of proconsular Asia,(324) the scene of
John’s later ministry, and through them to the church at large, for each
epistle contains not only a message to the particular church, but “what
the Spirit saith to [all] the churches”. The form of epistles or letters
in an apocalypse was foreign to the Jewish method of writing, but was
doubtless introduced by John because the use of such letters or epistles
had already become established in the church as a characteristic
expression of the Christian mind.(325) These seven churches were not the
only ones then existing in Asia,(326) but were evidently chosen to
represent them all, and were intended through their individual experience
“to exemplify the experience of the whole church in the field of history”;
not, however, in numerically successive and historic stages, but the
general experience of the church universal throughout all time, for seven
is the symbol of universality, and the seven churches are here intended to
symbolize the universal church. Each of the seven churches named occupied
a strategic point of special opportunity for gospel dispersion, and they
were doubtless addressed for that reason, though the message imparted was
divinely intended for the whole church in all the ages. The number seven
occurs so often in the Revelation that it necessarily attracts our
attention, and the book itself has not inaptly been styled “the Book of
Sevens”. In each case, too, as here, the number has a symbolic reference,
a fact that should not escape our observation, for it points the way to a
general principle of interpretation, viz. that _every number used
throughout the book, without exception, has an acquired symbolical
meaning_,(327) i. e. its ordinary arithmetical value is ignored, or
becomes subordinate, and it represents a different idea that has in some
way become associated with it as a number; and this important
consideration often furnishes a key to the correct interpretation. The
origin of this symbolism is very early, antedating history—seven, for
example, was a sacred number with the Accadian predecessors of the Semites
in the remote dawn of Babylonian civilization.(328) This use probably had
its rise from observations of the heavenly bodies, such as the phases of
the moon lasting seven days, the seven planets of ancient astronomy, and
the Pleiades, together with the occurrence of seven as a factor in
gestation and in other well known phenomena, all of which served to
impress upon the Eastern mind that the number was somehow inwrought in the
order of nature and must therefore have a special significance. In a
similar way the number ten probably had its origin as a symbol in the fact
that it represented the complete number of digits on a man’s hands, and
formed the norm of mathematical reckoning. Other numbers, also, from some
real or fancied relation to things, became ready symbols for the Oriental
mind. In the Apocalypse numbers are often introduced first in their
ordinary significance, as the seven churches, and then pass easily and
naturally to their symbolic meaning which is usually apparent. But it
should be seen that a number does not thereby cease to have a quantitative
value when it becomes symbolical, e. g. the seven churches represent a
number still, though it is the number of all the churches, the whole
church, and not seven units as before. It is the definite numerical value
only that is lost in the symbolism, and not the entire idea of number or
quantity; and the failure to recognize this fact may lead us astray in the
interpretation, as for instance, in that of the thousand years in chapter
twenty, where a great and complete number of years seems to be meant, and
not the completeness of Satan’s binding apart from any period of time, as
held by some commentators.(329)

Each epistle is addressed to the angel of the individual church which is
named, i. e. to its heavenly representative, the church personified in the
form of an angel according to the prevailing symbolism of the book, a
poetic form of addressing the church itself; and the message is given by
authority of Christ himself,(330) who is described in veiled terms that
are drawn mainly from the imagery of the preceding vision, where the
exalted Redeemer is so vividly set forth; and the terms are aptly chosen
to suit the particular needs of the church to which it is sent. It has
been suggested, also, that these epistles to the churches contain numerous
historical allusions to events connected with the cities in which the
churches were located, as for example Sardis, whose fortress had been
twice captured while its people slept, is exhorted to be watchful.(331)
The epistles are addressed first to the individual and historic churches
named, and then through them are addressed to the whole church throughout
the world, of which the number seven is representative. Each of the
epistles contains seven component parts, viz:—(1) the address to the
individual church, i. e. to the angel of the church who represents the
church itself; (2) the command of Christ to the seer to write; (3) the
title of Christ, usually taken from the vision of the glorified Redeemer
in the opening chapter; (4) the praise or blame for good or ill, given to
the church for the conduct of the past; (5) the divine charge or warning
against special forms of sin; (6) the promise of blessing to the victors;
and (7) the call to each individual Christian to hear and heed. The order
in which the churches are addressed is that of a geographical circuit
beginning at Ephesus, the first city of Asia, and going northward, which
seems also to have been the order of their importance from the chief city
downward. The literary form of this section may be regarded as a
reflection or echo of the manner of the opening part of the rhapsody of
Amos where recurrent formulæ of doom on seven nations are given (Amos ch.

(1) The Epistle to the Church in Ephesus, Ch. 2:1‐7

The epistle to the church in Ephesus is Christ’s message to a _declining_
church, a church which had left its first love:—“Remember ... and repent”.
In this epistle Christ is “he that walketh in the midst of the seven
golden candlesticks”, and “he that holdeth the seven stars in his right
hand”, i. e. he who is continually present among the churches, and who
upholds them by his power. The candlesticks are objective representations
of the seven churches bearing light upon the earth, as in the prophecy of
Zechariah (ch. 4:1‐10) a seven‐branched candlestick stands for the Jewish
nation as the representative of the kingdom of God; while the seven stars,
the counterpart of the candlesticks, represent the churches held in the
hand of Christ shining in heaven. In this symbolism it will be seen that
the stars represent the churches in their relation to Christ, while the
candlesticks are intended to exhibit their relation to the world. To move
the “candlestick out of its place” is a threatening of extinction to the
particular church unless it repent. Those “who call themselves apostles
and they are not”, were probably well known pretenders of the closing part
of the first century. The Nicolaitans here condemned, were an early
obscure sect concerning which little is known, but who are reputed to have
been libertines and seem to have denied the obligation of the moral law.
The epistle is declared to contain, as we find the other epistles are
also, “what the Spirit saith to the churches”, a clear indication of a
wider message than to the individual community of the separate
church.(333) “To eat of the tree of life” as the reward of overcoming, is
a reference to the story of Eden (Gen. 3:22), and then by anticipation to
the joys of the New Jerusalem which are the inheritance of the redeemed
soul (cf. ch. 22:2; and _Bk. of Enoch_, 25:4‐5). Paradise, a word rarely
used in the New Testament and probably of Persian origin, is here employed
to describe the future abiding place of the redeemed.(334) The church of
Ephesus, to which this epistle is addressed, is the chief of the seven
churches to whom John was instructed to write, though it has long since
ceased to exist. The city of Ephesus, which was some sixty miles northeast
of Patmos and was then a large and wealthy metropolis, has experienced
more vicissitudes in its history than any other city of the Roman province
of Asia. At that time it ranked first among all the cities of the
province, and shortly after it became the capital; but it subsequently
fell into decay, and it is now only a squalid heap of ruins.

(2) The Epistle to the Church in Smyrna, Ch. 2:8‐11

The epistle to the church in Smyrna is Christ’s message to a _suffering_
church, a church which had endured tribulation, poverty, and the blasphemy
of the Jews:—“Fear not.... Be thou faithful”. Christ is here described as
“the first and the last, who was dead and lived again”, a thought of
special consolation for those who were about to be cast into prison in the
coming persecution, and many of whom would suffer death—like Christ they
would live again. There is, also, a possible allusion in this to the
popular myth concerning the death and resurrection of Dionysius, the
favorite deity of Smyrna,(335) with which the death and resurrection of
Christ, the notable facts of the gospel, are placed in marked contrast.
The recognized poverty of the church in such a rich city is remarkable,
and it has been suggested that it may have been partly at least the result
of pillage by a mob;(336) though more likely the feeling against the
gospel in the midst of wealth like that of Smyrna was so strong as to make
its message unacceptable to any but the very poor. It will be seen that
the church receives no blame in this epistle, but only counsel and
encouragement. The ten days of tribulation represent a period that is
short but complete in itself, i. e. it has a fixed limit, for ten is the
number of completeness. The crown of life promised to the victors is not
the royal diadem but the victor’s crown, which is the symbol of life
eternal, and is the antithesis of the second death, i. e. of the soul in
hell (cf. ch. 20:14; and 21:8). John may have here had in mind the crown
often laid upon the head of the dead body of an earthly victor in his
funeral procession—a crown of death with which the crown of life is placed
in apposition. The second death by which “he that overcometh shall not be
hurt”, is the death of the soul—not ceasing to be, but dying to the best
in life—the final condemnation which sinners undergo at the judgment.
Smyrna is located some forty miles north, and somewhat west, of Ephesus,
and was one of the most wealthy, important, and beautiful cities of Asia
Minor. It has an unbroken record from the dawn of history to the present
day, and now has a population of some two hundred and fifty thousand, and
is both rich and prosperous.

(3) The Epistle to the Church in Pergamus(337), Ch. 2:12‐17

The epistle to the church in Pergamus is Christ’s message to an _impure_
church, a church which had some that held the teaching of Balaam, and
others the teaching of the Nicolaitans:—“Repent ... or else I come with
the sword”. To this church Christ is “he that hath the sharp two‐edged
sword”, i. e. who wields the instrument of rebuke and punishment. The
location of Satan’s throne in Pergamus denotes that the city was under his
dominion, and may refer to the newly introduced worship of the Emperor in
which that city was recognized as an important center;(338) while the
death of Antipas, an otherwise unknown martyr, called “my witness, my
faithful one”, and also the presence of those holding the teaching of
Balaam,(339) the symbolic name for a doctrine akin to the Nicolaitans,
serve to show that it was truly a place “where Satan dwelleth”. The
aptness of the name lies in the similarity of Balaam’s method of seducing
the Israelites by licentiousness, and that of the false teachers who were
introducing Antinomianism (cf. Num. 25:1‐2; and 31:16). The hidden manna
represents the true bread of life, and is doubtless an allusion to the pot
of manna laid up before the Lord in the hidden recesses of the holy place
in the tabernacle (Ex. 16:33f.). There may also be a reference to the
Jewish tradition that Jeremiah had hidden the ark with its contents in a
cave of Sinai until the advent of the Messiah (_II Macc._ 2.1), when it
was be restored. The white stone is probably the jade, which has been held
in high esteem in the East from the earliest times,(340) although some
think it refers to the diamond. White stands as the emblem of purity, but
the exact symbolism of the stone in this connection is obscure, though
clear enough to the first readers of the epistle. The figure may possibly
have been drawn from the Jewish sacred use of precious stones, especially
of the mysterious Urim and Thummim kept in the pouch of the breastplate of
the high priest, which according to Jewish tradition were inscribed with a
name known only to the priest himself.(341) The gift would then imply the
conferring of high‐priestly privileges on those who overcome. Some,
however, find in it a reference to the white pebble of acquittal used in
courts of justice, or in casting the lot; others a reference to the
_tessera_, or ticket, which admitted the victor in the Olympic games to
the public tables, and entitled him to the awards of his city; still
others a reference to the common use of amulets and charms with a secret
name or pass‐word on them, in that case the white stone conferring the
real power which the charm was assumed to have.(342) But more probably the
reference is to a stone engraved as a seal, with the name of Christ upon
it, the gift of which like the signet of a king (Gen. 41:42 and Est.
8:2f.) is regarded as bestowing something of the royal authority of Christ
upon the recipient. Precious stones of different shapes were commonly used
for seals, and were often unmounted and hung by a cord about the neck; and
the name of the owner and of the deity whom he specially worshipped were
engraved upon them.(343) Every man of rank and wealth in the East from
time immemorial had his own seal; and among the Babylonians so constant
and imperative were its uses that it was generally placed with his body in
his coffin.(344) In all these interpretations the gift carries with it
special privilege or advantage, though the chief virtue of the stone
apparently lies in the name written upon it. The “new name” is not
probably a new designation for the believer, but the new name of Christ
(ch. 3:12) which is expressive of the new and more perfect revelation of
him in heaven that only the redeemed can know (ch. 14:1). Many, however,
regard the new name as the heavenly name of the individual Christian,(345)
and this would be quite as appropriate for a seal as the name of Christ.
Pergamus was about a hundred miles north of Ephesus, and less than fifteen
from the sea. It was at that time the official capital of the Province of
Asia, and the seat of official authority. It ranked with Ephesus and
Smyrna as one of the great cities of proconsular Asia, and though it is
now chiefly “a city of magnificent ruins”, it still continues to exist
under the name of Bergama at the present day.

(4) The Epistle to the Church in Thyatira, Ch. 2:18‐29

The epistle to the church in Thyatira is Christ’s message to a
_struggling_ church, a church which had shown love and faith, ministry and
patience:—“Hold fast till I come”. Christ is called “the Son of God, who
hath his eyes like a flame of fire, and his feet are like unto burnished
[or molten] brass”, i. e. he who is divine, and whose all‐searching sight
and destroying footstep will surely recompense the evil (cf. Dan. 10:6).
It is interesting to note that the title “Son of God” which is here used
is not found elsewhere in the book, though the divine personality of
Christ is so evident throughout. Jezebel, the self‐styled prophetess that
the church had tolerated, but who with her children is about to be
punished with death, is probably the symbolic name of a class or leader in
the church, seducing it to sin.(346) The angel of the church is regarded
as the weak Ahab who allows himself to be the tool of this new
Jezebel.(347) “The deep things of Satan” designate the mysteries of the
false doctrine here condemned.(348) “The morning star” to be given to
those who overcome,(349) is such a revelation of Christ himself (ch.
22:16b) made to the redeemed when the night of earth is over as will usher
in the morning of eternal day—the beginning of the future and ever
progressive revelation of God. The titles applied to Christ in this
epistle, “Son of God”, and “morning star”, have suggested a possible
contrast in thought with Apollo, the sun‐god worshipped at Thyatira,
though such an allusion is quite uncertain. The epistle to this church is
the central one of the seven, and is the longest as well as in some
respects the most solemn of all the epistles. Thyatira lay about forty
miles southeast from Pergamus, and was an important and wealthy city in
the northern part of Lydia, though it never became a leading city of Asia.
The modern name of the town is Ak‐Hissar, “the white castle”.

(5) The Epistle to the Church in Sardis, Ch. 3:1‐6

The epistle to the church in Sardis is Christ’s message to a _dying_
church, a church which had a name as living and yet in a sense was
dead:—“Establish the things that remain”. Christ is designated as “he that
hath the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars”, i. e. he that hath
the Holy Spirit, whom the seven Spirits represent in his sevenfold or
multiple activity, and—as seems to be implied by connecting the seven
Spirits with the seven stars or angels of the churches—imparts the Spirit
to the churches, upon which their life so fully depends. This church
receives only rebuke, but the rebuke given is for lack of spiritual life
rather than for any special form of sin. It is declared to have no works
fulfilled before God—“before my God”, a Johannean phrase—and is exhorted
to “remember ... and repent”, for Christ “will come as a thief”;(350) but
the “few names [or persons] in Sardis that did not defile their garments”
are promised that they shall walk with Christ “in white”. The white
garments here promised to the victors are emblems of the perfect purity
and heavenly state of the glorified (cf. _Bk. of Enoch_, 90:31);(351)
while to blot one’s name out of the book of life,(352) a fate from which
those who overcome are declared to be exempt, is to cease to have any part
in the life eternal—a figure drawn from the custom of striking out the
names of the dead from the list of citizens. Not only shall the name of
him that overcometh be found in the register of the living, but it shall
also be acknowledged before God and the angels. The command to “Watch” was
a fitting exhortation for a city that was a well‐nigh impregnable
fortress, and yet had twice been seized by its enemies because of neglect
within its walls.(353) The exhortation to “hear what the Spirit saith to
the churches”, in the last four of the epistles, it will be seen, follows
instead of precedes the promise to the victors. This does not, however,
imply that a distinction is thereby intended between the churches,
dividing them into two groups, the first consisting of three and the
second of four, the former faithful and the latter faithless, a view held
by some.(354) The difference is conceded to be chiefly one of “tone ...
which it is easier to feel than to describe”,(355) and it must be said
that for most minds it does not exist. The church in Philadelphia, among
the last four, is a steadfast church, while the church at Pergamus, among
the first three, is an impure church in the view of many careful
interpreters; and Ephesus has evidently gone back, while Thyatira has gone
forward. The city of Sardis, to which this letter was addressed, lay about
thirty miles south‐east of Thyatira, and was anciently one of the most
famous cities of Asia; but even in John’s time it was “a town of the past
... decayed from its former estate ... and it is now only a ruin, with a
tiny village called Sart, while the town is Saliki, about five miles

(6) The Epistle to the Church in Philadelphia, Ch. 3:7‐13

The epistle to the church in Philadelphia is Christ’s message to a
_steadfast_ church, a church which had kept his word and had not denied
his name:—“Hold fast ... that no one take thy crown”. Christ is set forth
as “he that is holy, he that is true”, i. e. he who possesses these
attributes which are recognized as divine; and “he that hath the key of
David”, i. e. he who has full control in the kingdom of God, of which the
kingdom of David was the enduring type (cf. Isa. 22:22), he who grants or
withholds according to his will. These titles of Christ, it will be seen,
are not taken from the introductory vision, like most of those in the
seven epistles, but from the Old Testament, probably, as has been
suggested, because of the number of Jewish Christians in the Philadelphian
church. The “door opened” is one of opportunity for service afforded by
the position of Philadelphia on the borders of Mysia, Lydia, and
Phrygia.(357) Those “that say they are Jews and they are not”, are men
untrue to their Judaism in rejecting the promised Messiah; for to John’s
mind it was evident that only such Jews as believe in Jesus could belong
to the real people of God. “The hour of trial” (Gr. τοῦ πειρασμοῦ—of _the_
trial), “that hour which is to come upon the whole world”, seems to be
here equivalent to “the great tribulation” spoken of by our Lord (Matt.
24:21), and serves to introduce that element of shadow which ever hung in
the background of Apocalyptic perspective. But the crisis at hand is not
necessarily the end; the general tenor of the Revelation would rather show
that it is only one of many crises that constantly progress toward the
end.(358) The reward of overcoming is to be made “a pillar in the temple
of God”, i. e. in the ναὸς or inner sanctuary of the heavenly temple where
God dwells, not so much for support as for glory and for beauty, like the
pillars of brass in Solomon’s temple (I K. 7:15f.), though perhaps with
the additional idea of permanence and strength (cf. _II Esdra._ 2.15).

The pillar was not only a prominent part of ancient temples, but was often
sculptured in human shape(359)—a beautiful conception of man’s relation to
religion. Also the name of God, of the city of God, and of the Son of God,
Christ’s own new name known only to himself, are to be written upon the
victors in token of absolute divine ownership—three, the sign of the
spiritual, being perhaps also in mind in the use of three names.
Philadelphia, which lay about twenty‐eight miles southeast from Sardis,
receives unmixed praise, and the city remains almost unchanged unto this
day, though it has been transformed into the Mohammedan town of Ala‐
Sheker, “the reddish city”, a name derived from the speckled, red brown
hills around. It is renowned as having had the most glorious history of
all the cities of Asia Minor in the long struggle against the Turks;(360)
and it is a remarkable fact that the churches of Philadelphia and Smyrna,
the two which receive no censure in these epistles, both continue to exist
unto the present time.

(7) The Epistle to the Church in Laodicea, Ch. 3:14‐22

The epistle to the church in Laodicea is Christ’s message to a _self‐
deceived_ church, a church which had grown lukewarm and was neither cold
nor hot:—“Be zealous ... and repent”. In this final letter Christ is
called “the Amen [cf. Isa. 65:16, R. V. marg.], the faithful and true
witness”,(361) as a sure guaranty of the fulfilment of the promises; and
he is also declared to be “the beginning of the creation of God”, i. e.
not, indeed, the first whom God created, for Christ is not a creature, but
rather he is the primal source and causative agent in divine
creation,(362) the One who began the creation of God, whether the material
creation that waxeth old or the new creation that endureth forever. The
church is openly rebuked for a tepid Christianity that is nauseous to
Christ, a religion that is “neither cold nor hot”. Laodicea was a city of
trade and enterprise, but John regarded the church as “devoid of
initiative” in Christian work. The phrase “thou sayest I am rich ... and
have need of nothing”, perhaps reflects the boast of the city which, proud
of its wealth, had lately refused help from the liberality of the Emperor
after being destroyed by an earthquake (A. D. 60); and the exhortation “I
counsel thee to buy of me gold”, is perhaps a reference to the heavenly
riches as far surpassing the earthly which the people of the city
possessed. The “white garments”, the type of a pure life, may be here
intended to be put in contrast with those produced from the glossy black
wool of the sheep for which the place was noted; and the “eye‐salve” to be
contrasted with the noted eye‐powder of the neighboring temple of
Asklepios, as the restorer of spiritual vision.(363) Laodicea during the
Roman period attained great prosperity, and was the meeting place of the
Council of Laodicea in A. D. 361, but has long since been ruined and
deserted. It lay some sixty miles southeast of Philadelphia, and east of
Ephesus, in the valley of the Lycus, and was the leading bishopric of
Phrygia throughout the Christian period.(364) In this closing epistle of
the seven the climax of promise is reached in the assurance that “he that
overcometh” shall sit with Christ in his Messiah throne (v. 21), i. e.
shall share with him in the glory and rule of the church triumphant. This
promise seems to take a forward glance to the vision of the next two
chapters, especially to the view of the Lamb in the midst of the throne. A
preparation is thus made for the sudden transition from the introduction
and epistles to the chief visions of the book, after the closing words of
this epistle have been written. “He that hath an ear, let him hear what
the Spirit saith to the churches,” is a final voice of admonition and
warning to the church in Laodicea, to each of the seven churches in Asia,
and then through them to the whole church throughout the world in all
time, exhorting them to hear and obey the message given in each and all of
the seven epistles.


The Revelation Proper, which occupies the chief portion of the book, is a
symbolic view of the great spiritual conflict of the ages, reviewing the
whole course and outcome of the far‐reaching struggle between the church
and the world, with the multiple and diverse forces that are engaged in
it, and setting forth the absolute decisiveness of the final issue. It
consists of a series of seven visions which undertake to solve the
apparent anomalies of God’s present rule among men by affording recurrent
glimpses of the working out of a great, comprehensive, underlying plan,—a
providential and moral order in the world that is divine and sovereign,
interpenetrated with a concurrent redemptive purpose that is gracious and
elective,—which leads on through progressive stages of trial and warfare,
of threatening and judgment, to the complete and final overthrow and
punishment of all the wicked and to the full and glorious vindication and
triumph of all the holy. The seven visions, when carefully examined, will
be seen to be progressive in their revelation; for while they do not
follow any line of temporal succession, they yet show a progress of
thought and movement throughout. Beginning with the vision of God on the
throne, a vision of sovereignty, they advance in manifest order through
the vision of the seven seals, a vision of trial, and the vision of the
seven trumpets, a vision of threatening, to the vision of conflict, a
vision of warfare, which is central to all and furnishes a key to the
general interpretation of the book. Then by a scale of descending climax
they pass on to the vision of the seven vials, a vision of judgment,
followed by the vision of victory, a vision of vindication, and this again
by the vision of the New Jerusalem, a vision of triumph, which reveals the
final goal of Christian hope in the immediate presence of God.(365) The
purpose of the Apocalypse is thus disclosed to be interpretative of God’s
plan of the ages, an unfolding of the drama of destiny, in which,
notwithstanding all apparent contradictions and present reverses, he is
yet ever leading on to full and final victory in the end—through all the
conflict he is winning, even against appearances, and will triumph at
last,—a view full of encouragement for tried and disheartened Christians
of the first and each succeeding century. Why God permitted this struggle
to be begun and then let it continue throughout the centuries, why he ever
allowed sin to find a place among his moral creatures, is a topic nowhere
entered upon or discussed throughout the book. It is evidently recognized
as belonging to the unrevealed mysteries of God which lie outside the
sphere of the present Revelation. But that he overrules all the apparently
inapt and sinful conditions of this world for the ultimate good of his
kingdom, and that he will victoriously triumph at last, is the assuring
witness of the whole series of visions. The Apocalyptic form, we find,
becomes more marked and definite in this main portion of the book, and the
difficulties of interpretation are correspondingly increased; for they are
no longer chiefly those of grammatical exegesis and historical allusion,
but rather the elucidation of a body of mysterious symbols. The purpose
and limits of the present volume forbid the discussion of many of the
exegetical difficulties, and serve to confine attention mainly to the
meaning of the symbolism as the chief subject concerning which there is
wide difference of opinion. Questions of grammatical, or grammatico‐
historical, exegesis will be found more fully considered in the various
commentaries to which the reader is referred in the footnotes. The visions
and episodes into which the main part of the book is properly divisible,
are given separately in the following analysis, i. e. the seven seals,
trumpets, and vials are each considered in order consecutively, and the
episodes which intervene are taken up after each sevenfold vision is
complete, in order that they may be better understood. This preserves the
connection of the seven in the series, and emphasizes by itself the lesson
of the episodes which are interjected into the natural order.

I The Vision of God on the Throne (A Vision of Sovereignty). Ch. 4:1‐5:14

The opening vision of the seven chief visions in the Revelation is a
Theophany, revealing the majesty of the divine glory and the might of the
sovereign rule of God as the abiding source of the church’s confidence in
the midst of trial and distress, and as the unfailing ground of faith in
the fulfilment of the revelation that follows. This vision of the fifth
and sixth chapters is preparatory to those that deal with the present and
future prospects of the church upon earth, and with this in view it sets
forth the causal and higher relations upon which the history of the church
depends, viz. God’s sovereignty in creation and in redemption; for it is
only in relation to these two great abiding facts of the divine activity
that the passing events of time have their true meaning. We look first
upon the stability of the eternal throne, and upon the person of the
divine atoning Lamb, and then we are better prepared to understand the
drama of history, and to view with equanimity the dread scenes of crisis
and conflict which belong to the lot of the church upon earth. The scene
described in the fourth and fifth chapters, of the eternal throne with
those who are attendant upon it, and of the Lamb in the midst of it,
constitutes a proem to the succeeding visions, and may be thought of as
continuing throughout and forming the background for all that follows, in
the light of which it must be viewed and its meaning interpreted. In the
fifth chapter the action proper to the Revelation begins with the taking
of the sealed book, though some regard the action as beginning with the
sixth chapter in the opening of the seals. The present vision is
introduced with the phrase “after these things” (v. 1), which does not
indicate an interval of time but rather a succession of events, and always
marks a break in the connection and a new phase of the revelation.

1 The Throne and the King, Ch. 4:1‐3, 5a, and 6a

A door is opened in heaven that the seer may look in, and the trumpet
voice of ch. 1:10 is heard again, saying, “Come up hither, and I will show
thee the things which must come to pass hereafter”, the further
announcement of a prophetic vision, the sign not only that eternal
verities are to be revealed, but that earthly things are to be seen from
the heavenly point of view. And we are told that straightway John “was in
the Spirit”, i. e. he became conscious of an additional impulse of divine
rapture, for he was already in the Spirit (ch. 1:10); and then the throne
of God, the seat of the divine government, is seen in the eternal splendor
of repose, the reflection of the divine sovereignty, surrounded by a
rainbow of emerald green arching above it, the emblem of God’s covenant
mercy (Gen. 9:13), and sending forth lightnings, thunders, and voices, the
tokens of divine power, majesty, and judgment. The divine Person is
presented as enthroned, but is not named, and is described only by
comparison, a touch of reverent reserve as consonant with religion as it
is true to art. His appearance is glorious like jasper and sardius, the
last and first of the precious stones on the breastplate of the
highpriest, and part of the foundation stones of the heavenly city.(366)
The pure jasper and the red sardius are the apparent symbols of purity and
justice (cf. Ezek. 1:26, and 10:1; Dan. 7:9; _Bk of Enoch_ 14:18f.).
Before the throne, we are told, there is “as it were, a sea of glass(367)
like unto crystal”, the symbol of the calm and fulness of life in God’s
completed kingdom in contrast with the stormy sea of earthly nations, the
calm of the heavenly life in antithesis with the turmoil of the earthly.
This seems to be the more natural interpretation of the passage, yet the
symbolism of the sea in the Revelation has been interpreted with a good
deal of freedom, and there is wide difference of opinion concerning its
meaning. It is regarded by many as the symbol of purification the antitype
of the laver before the tabernacle, while others find in it a type of the
eternal fulness of joy in the presence of God. Some think the sea is
placed before the throne as a symbol of the former trial and conflict of
the earthly life through which the saints have passed to reach the
presence of God, and that it has now become a perpetual memorial of
victory, for the sea is glassy and quiet as the sign that the conflict is
over.(368) Other late writers connect the sea with early Hebrew ideas of
the waters before the firmament (Gen. 1:7), traces of which continue to
appear in Apocalyptic literature, and hold that this conception underlies
the symbolism of the molten sea in Solomon’s temple and forms the basis of
the present description.(369) With figures so flexible as these it is
quite possible that different thoughts have been included, for the sea was
closely interwoven with the early stage of Israel’s history, and may have
become a symbol covering a wide range of correlative ideas. But however we
may interpret the meaning of the symbolism, the presence of the sea in the
vision undoubtedly serves to enhance the majesty and splendor of the
scene, and may have been introduced partly for that purpose, though the
sea undoubtedly had a permanent place in Hebrew thought.

2 The Four and Twenty Elders, Ch. 4:4, 10 and 11

The vision presents the worship of heaven in the forms of earth for our
apprehension. The elders (Gr. “presbyters”) are the ideal representatives
of the redeemed church,(370) who are clothed in white raiment and placed
round about the throne wearing golden crowns and sitting on lesser thrones
reigning with Christ, the fitting tokens of royal dignity and authority,
and of their triumphant victory through him who is their Saviour. They are
ever active in service, casting their crowns before the throne and him
that sitteth thereon as they worship, and joining in every chorus of
adoration.(371) Their number is that of the twelve patriarchs and apostles
combined, indicating that they represent the church of both dispensations,
the saints of the Old and New Testaments. They are not, however, the
twelve patriarchs and apostles themselves enthroned, as suggested by some,
but ideal beings who have a representative character. Their number, twice
twelve, i. e. twice the national number of Israel, aptly symbolizes the
glorified church of all the ages.(372) Some find in these elders a group
of angelic beings who are attendants of the divine glory and whose
presence in the heavenly temple was a part of ancient Jewish tradition, as
in the _Judgment of Peter_, where it is said, “For there are four and
twenty elders, twelve upon the right hand and twelve upon the left.”(373)
There is no reason to infer, however, that the Greek term “presbyters”, or
“elders”, with its definite meaning in the New Testament church, is
otherwise used in the Apocalypse, even though the elders are here the
representatives of a class. It is quite possible that the earlier use of
the four and twenty elders in Apocalyptic literature may have been the
occasion of their introduction here, but there was nothing in the usage of
the past to prevent its modified application in a Christian sense so
natural as this in the first century; on the contrary it is quite in
accord with the gradually progressive method of Apocalyptic thought that
they should be introduced here to represent the church enlarged by New
Testament accessions. It is certainly quite beside the mark to affirm that
this idea of the church as a combination of the Old and New Testament
saints is “medieval”;(374) when it is found so clearly in the Epistles of

3 The Seven Lamps of Fire (or Torches), Ch. 4:5b

These lamps are seen burning before the throne which they serve to
illumine, recalling the seven‐branched candlestick in the tabernacle, and
they are seven in number, doubtless, to indicate their fulness or
completeness. We are told that the lamps “are [i. e. are the symbol of]
the seven Spirits of God”; they are, therefore, evidently designed to
represent the Holy Spirit throughout the Revelation, the seven Spirits
that are before the throne (ch. 1:4) and that serve to denote the fulness
of the Spirit’s operation, his manifold energy in contradistinction to the
unity of his person. The fitness of fire, or a flaming torch, to symbolize
the illuminative influence of the Spirit is quite evident, throwing light
upon the throne and revealing God to men, but the use of seven torches,
like that of seven Spirits, is peculiar to the Revelation, and is
introduced, one is constrained to think, for a special purpose. That the
Holy Spirit is indicated by this symbol throughout is shown by the context
(cf. chs. 1:4 and 3:1), but it is evidently used here to set forth the
Spirit from a particular point of view, i. e. to represent in a concrete
form the divine perfection of the Spirit as displayed in his multiple
activities. It seems to be an echo from the vision of Zechariah (ch. 3:9,
and 4:10) where the divine pervasive insight is represented by the “seven
eyes of the Lord”, (cf. also Rev. 5:6, “the seven eyes of the Lamb”).

4 The Four Living Creatures, Ch. 4. 6b‐9

The four living creatures (cf. Ezek. 1:5f.),—which are not to be thought
of as “beasts” even in a good sense, as in the Authorized Version, but
rather as in the Greek, “the living ones”, which gives a better idea,—are
seen “in the midst of the throne and round about the throne”, evidently
indicating their function in the heavenly court, to wait upon the divine
Person, though their exact arrangement in the vision is not so clear.(375)
These are composite creature‐forms that are manifestly to be identified
with the cherubim of the Old Testament. Each creature consists of four
representative forms of animal life combined in one, viz. that of the
lion, the ox, the eagle, and man, together producing a strange, anomalous
figure which is generally thought to personify wild animals, domestic
animals, birds, and man, as possessing a common physical life, or created
life in its entirety represented by its higher and more notable forms. In
the Revelation each has a different face, according to the animal form
which is made prominent, and not four faces as in Ezekiel (Ezek. 1:5‐14),
the individual life being thereby made more manifest. These living ones
are ideal symbols of the physical creation, especially of all created
life, and represent in the vision the entire earthly creation as sharing
in the benefits of redemption,(376) manifesting the divine glory, and
waiting upon God. They are used in the Old Testament as impressive symbols
of the divine presence, and Jehovah is known as “he that dwelleth between
the cherubim”, (Am. R. V. “sitteth above”—marg. “is enthroned”, i. e. upon
the cherubim),(377) a reflection of the thought embodied in the
arrangement of the ark of the covenant, where the mercy seat with the
shekinah flame was placed between the cherubim. In John’s vision the
living creatures are seen in closest proximity to the throne, and they
lead the heavenly choir in an unceasing song of praise (the Creation
Chorus, v. 8‐11), the closing verse of the song indicating their function
in the heavenly court to glorify God, as also the part they subsequently
have in the song of the redeemed (the Redemption Chorus, ch. 5:13)
reflects the nature of their worship. They are full of eyes, the sign of
their all‐seeing watchfulness; they have three pairs of wings, the symbol
of their spiritual ministry, for three is the sign of the spiritual as the
wings are of activity; and they are four in number while each is fourfold
to indicate their relation to the organic world, for four is always the
earth number. Also, they rest not day and night, showing the
characteristic of life in its fullest energy and ceaseless activity,
saying “Holy, holy, holy,” i. e. “holy” thrice repeated,—three a symbol of
the divine,—corresponding to the Trisagion of Isaiah’s prophecy (ch. 6:3),
declaring the holiness of God, the All‐Ruler, as especially revealed in
creation, all created beings ministering to the manifestation of the
divine glory. The identity of the living creatures with the cherubim of
the Old Testament is generally recognized, but the origin of the idea of
the cherubim in connection with the worship of Jehovah is as obscure as
the actual form is indefinite, though probably derived from a primitive
stage of religious thought among the Semitic people, and early
incorporated as a symbol in the religion of Israel. Apparently the form
and conception varied somewhat through time, as will be seen by comparing
Ezekiel’s description with that which is given here, though the general
idea remained the same. Some think the cherubim to have been originally
the storm‐clouds personified, regarded as supporting the divine throne and
surrounding the divine Person, while the seraphim represented the
lightning‐flash revealing God to men. Others regard them as unidentified
nature‐forces idealized in forms of life, and traditionally associated
with the throne of God. But whatever their origin, their meaning in
Scripture is plain, viz. the physical creation waiting upon God.(378)

5 The Sealed Book (or Scroll), Ch. 5:1‐5

A new phase of the vision now begins with chapter five, indicated by the
words “And I saw”, setting forth the glory and honor of the exalted
Redeemer, and indicating the divine purpose through him to throw light
upon the plan of God for the ages. A sealed book or scroll, the sign that
its contents are hidden, and written within and without, i. e. upon both
sides, or within and also on the back,—filled to its very margins like the
roll in Ezekiel (ch. 2:9‐10),—indicating the exceeding fulness of its
contents and the completeness of the divine plan, is seen lying “in [or
upon] the right hand of him that sat on the throne”. This book, which at
first no one can be found to open, apparently contains God’s multitudinous
and unrevealed purposes concerning the future course of the church in the
world,—as is afterward more fully indicated by the nature of the things
portrayed when the seals are broken,—for it evidently pertains to the
mysteries of the kingdom of God on earth, part of which are about to be
disclosed to John.(379) The book is closed by seven seals, a perfect
number, the symbol implying that it is perfectly sealed or fully
closed,(380) a roll apparently sealed in sections, perhaps with the end of
the parchment fastened down by the seals to its staff so that it cannot be
opened except by one having authority to break the seals.(381) The book
itself, it should be noted, is never read at any period of the vision,
showing that what it contains is not fully disclosed, but as the seals are
broken the general nature of the contents of each section is symbolically
portrayed in the form set forth in the succeeding vision of the seals.

6 The Lamb, Ch. 5:6‐8a

At this point in the vision the divine Redeemer, Jesus Christ, appears in
order to open the seals, portrayed as the Lamb of God, the recognized
atoner for sin, a symbol of striking power to every one familiar with the
Old Testament system of sacrifices. The importance of opening the seals
had been already indicated in the vision (ch. 5:2f.) by the appearance of
a strong or mighty angel, the sign of high rank and great power,
proclaiming with a great voice, “Who is worthy to open the book and to
loose the seals thereof?” And when no one was found “in the heaven, or on
the earth, or under the earth”, i. e. in the place of the spirits of the
dead—a phrase equivalent to saying that no one could be found in all the
universe—the prophet wept much, showing his deep interest and bitter
disappointment when his expectation seemed about to fail. But one of the
elders, a representative of the redeemed church, points out to John him
who is able to open the book because he “hath overcome”, indicating the
glorified Redeemer as the source of help.(382) He is described by the
elder as “the Lion that is of the tribe of Judah” (Gen. 49:9), and “the
Root of David” (Isa. 11:1), indicating his kingly(383) and prophetic
relations to Israel; but when he appears to John’s wondering view it is in
sacrificial form as the Lamb of God,(384) the sign of his priestly
relation to his people, bearing marks as though he had been slain, but now
standing in living power in the midst of the throne, the center of all
attention and the glorified object of all worship, alike the agent of
redemption and the consummation of sacrifice. The words “in the midst of
the throne” may mean in the center of the throne and encircled by it, or
between the throne and those surrounding it. Some regard the throne as a
semi‐circle in the open side of which the Lamb stands, and within which
are placed two of the living creatures, with the other two at the back,
while the elders surround the throne, and the many angels form the outer
circle,(385) a view that is helpful to those who wish detail in such
matters, for the chief thought in the symbolism is sufficiently plain. It
may also be worth while to note how clearly this symbolism implies that
the redeemed church, represented by the elders, stands nearer to the
throne of God than even the angels.(386) The seven horns of the Lamb
symbolize the fulness of his power, for the horn is the Hebrew emblem of
power as seven is of fulness or completeness of quality; and his seven
eyes represent the perfection of his vision and knowledge, seeing with the
omniscient eyes of the Holy Spirit (Zech. 4:10) who proceedeth alike from
the Father and the Son.(387) He takes the book out of the right hand of
God as a token of his rightful authority, an act full of meaning, for he
alone has prevailed and has power to open the book and to reveal God’s
purposes because he has redeemed the church and himself directs the path
of her history. In this sublime vision of the Lamb in the midst of the
throne we may be truly said to have reached “the point of highest dramatic
interest in the whole book”.

7 The Heavenly Worship, Ch. 5:8b‐14

The taking of the book is followed by an act of profound worship; the four
living creatures and the four and twenty elders fall down before the Lamb,
having each one a harp, the instrument of praise, and a golden bowl full
of incense, representing the prayers of the saints, which they offer
before God. Then they voice their thought in a new song, the song of the
redeemed (the Redemption Chorus), which is rendered unto him that sitteth
upon the throne, and unto the Lamb, declaring him worthy that hath been
slain to take the book and to open the seals, and “to receive the power,
and riches, and wisdom, and might, and honor, and glory, and blessing”,—a
sevenfold or complete ascription of praise—who hath redeemed his people
with his blood out “of every tribe, and tongue, and people, and nation”,—a
fourfold or world‐wide redemption for all peoples(388)—“and madest them
_to be_ unto our God a kingdom and priests; and they reign upon the
earth”, even now in the midst of trials, in a spiritual sense which though
imperfect foreshadows and assures their complete spiritual reign in the
new world wherein dwelleth righteousness. This song is sung by the four
living creatures as the representatives of the whole creation who unitedly
rejoice in the work of redemption together with man, and by the four and
twenty elders who represent the church of all time, the personal subjects
of redemption; and it is chorused by an innumerable company of angels,
God’s sinless creation, who are described as consisting of “ten thousand
times ten thousand”, i. e. the square of a myriad, a hundred millions in
number (or, as the words may mean, “myriads of myriads” i. e. hundreds of
millions), and in addition “thousand of thousands”, i. e. millions more,—a
symbolical expression for a numberless host; and it is echoed by “every
created thing which is in the heaven and on the earth and under the earth
and on the sea”, i. e. it is re‐echoed from every created being throughout
the universe. Thus the Chorus of Creation, wonderful as it was, is
surpassed by the Chorus of Redemption: and the four living creatures who
represent creation said in full accord, “Amen”, while the four and twenty
elders “fell down and worshipped” him that liveth forever and ever. The
opening of the seals then follows, and because of its widely different
bearing from that which precedes, is usually considered as forming a
separate vision, though the transition is not otherwise marked than by a
change of action and progress of thought.

II The Vision of the Seven Seals (A Vision of Trial). Ch. 6:1‐17, and 8:1

The vision of the seven seals is a prophetic delineation of the trials and
triumphs of the church of Christ throughout all her history, especially
from the days of John to the end of the world, depicted in the symbols of
Apocalyptic. These trials fall upon all men in common, and from another
point of view are also judgments upon the sinful world, but they are
regarded here chiefly as involving the church in suffering, and as
preparing the way for the triumph of the kingdom of God, the coming of our
Lord, and the final consummation of all things. The opening of the seals
by Christ indicates his purpose of revealing the hidden contents of the
book which he had taken from the right hand of God (ch. 5:7), and the
number of the seals (seven) shows the completeness of the series. The
order of the seals is progressive, but they have no definite or
categorical time‐relation; they regard only the ceaseless swing of the
ages ever sweeping on toward the final consummation. The underlying divine
purpose of testing men by moral struggle is apparent throughout; the
trials set forth are disciplinary to those who believe, but punitive to
those who resist. The form of trials in the vision is that of an
illustrative symbolism which should not be limited in interpretation to
the few particular kinds of trouble that are described, but should be
taken as representative of the whole round of sorrows endured by God’s
people throughout all time, a prophetic forecast which, though receiving
an immediate fulfilment in the experience of the early church, has yet had
and will have a further and wider fulfilment throughout the course of the
ages. The subordinate element of judgment upon the wicked in the vision is
implied rather than stated, except under the sixth seal; nevertheless upon
further reflection it may be clearly seen, for the advancing conquest of
Christ includes the overthrow of the wicked, while the sorrows of war,
famine, and death fall upon them without any consolation like the
recompense of the righteous, the avenging of the martyrs is foretold as
eventually to be visited upon them, and amidst the terrors of the final
judgment they find no availing refuge, but cry to the mountains and to the
rocks to fall upon them to hide them from the face of him that sitteth on
the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb. This bearing of the trials of
the seals, revealing judgment upon the world, should not be overlooked in
our interpretation, though we should not lay special stress upon it, for
it is not the foremost thought in mind.

In entering upon the more obscure portions of the book it may be well to
remind the reader that the interpretation will be much simplified, and
many of the difficulties will disappear, if we regard all the mysterious
action in these visions as in the broadest sense symbolical, and not
requiring detailed application. And although an effort may well be made to
recover what has been called the “ground‐view” of the Apostle, i. e. the
natural application of the prophecy that lay in the immediate horizon of
history and belonged to the conditions of his time, yet this cannot be
regarded as absolutely essential to the correct interpretation for us and
for all ages. We should not forget that we are dealing with what is really
a great creative poem in prose, containing idealized conceptions of widely
pervasive principles, and therefore its true interpretation lies in facts
of universal experience rather than in the special circumstances which
helped to give it form in the mind of the writer, but beyond which he
passed with poetic freedom to grasp the larger ideal—for to deny that John
had any such ideal in mind is to do injustice both to his prophetic and
poetic insight. And if in our anxiety to reproduce the author’s native
horizon, we allow the basis of historical fact to become the chief matter
of concern, we are sure to lose in literary insight in the interpretation
of the book far more than we gain through clearness of local perspective.
For it is always to be reckoned “amongst the impediments to the study of
literature ... that the personality of the author, and the circumstances
of actual life, are forever being allowed to interpose between a creative
poem and the mind of the reader”,(389) to the constant hindrance of any
free following of the author’s constructive idealization. And it is only
by avoiding this narrowing influence of realism that we are at all likely
to reach the heart of the Apocalypse.

1 The Opening of the First Seal, Ch. 6:1, 2

The Lamb as the ruler and revealer of destiny opens the seals. At the call
of one of the four living creatures, “come”,(390) a white horse and his
rider, who bears a bow, the sign of warfare, and receives a crown, the
token of victory, appear in view, representing Christ going forth
conquering and to conquer,(391) a vision depicting the beginning and trend
of the gospel age: the symbol of the victory of Christ’s cause attained
through conflict, Christianity triumphing in the earth,—for the progress
of the life of the church is viewed like that of the national life of
Israel as marked by constant conflict. The assurance of victory is made to
precede the revelation of trial as a ground of comfort and confidence
throughout the succeeding seals. We may properly regard the contents of
this seal as a present view of the onward course of the church, the
details of which are to be imagined rather than described, a suggestive
picture which stamps itself upon the mind, for the figure of the crowned
and conquering Christ once distinctly seen can never be effaced but marks
all our after‐thought of him. This vision was realized in some measure in
the splendid growth of the church in the first and following centuries,
but the full realization of its promise lies in the fulness of the ages
(ch. 19:11‐21)—Christ is ever moving on through the years to final

Many historical interpreters find in this rider the symbol of conquest,
especially of judgment on the Roman Empire by the Parthians, indicated by
the bow, their usual weapon, and premonitory of the end.(392) In that case
the first seal, like the succeeding ones, would indicate a form of trial
to the church. Others see in the rider the sign of Roman conquest, and in
the subsequent seals precursors of the destruction of Jerusalem, assuming
the earlier date of the book. These views, however, fail to recognize the
close similarity and apparent identity of the rider in this vision with
the one on the white horse in chapter nineteen (v. 11) who is evidently
divine;(393) nor do they agree with the above view as to the scope of the
seals, but limit them to the first century, while in the interpretation
given in this work they reach forward throughout the history of the church
to the end of time. We must be duly careful, according to the symbolic
view, not to limit the prophecy to too narrow a scope in its complete
fulfilment, and especially not to exclude the world‐wide and universal
reference, even though it be regarded as the secondary meaning, since to
many minds this is the essential and larger thought in the vision. For we
should not forget that while the visions of the Apocalypse, like the
voices of prophecy and the parables and teachings of our Lord, had their
immediate occasion and purpose, yet this becomes in turn the ground and
instrument of a wider and permanent divine message to all mankind, and
that this is the message which is our chief concern.

2 The Opening of the Second Seal, Ch. 6:3, 4

At the call of the second living creature, “Come”, a red horse and his
rider appear, to whom is given a great sword, and power to take peace from
the earth: the symbol of war, and of consequent trial to the church. The
blood‐red horse with his armed rider betokens the carnage of battle, and
suggests all the horrors of bloodshed with its accompanying train of
suffering. It is a prediction not of any particular war or wars, but of
war in general, as the “wars and rumors of wars” in our Saviour’s
discourse (Mt. 24:6). And it was only as it was “given unto him” (v. 4),
we are told, that the rider could accomplish his mission, thereby
indicating the divine authority, limitation, and restraint. The sword is
the same as the sacrificial knife, and the term used for slaying in the
passage is the Greek term for killing the sacrificial victim, which may be
intended to imply that the slaughter of the saints is to be included with
others.(394) The contents of this seal were realized to some extent in the
Jewish war connected with the fall of Jerusalem, and in the subsequent
wars of the Roman Empire which entailed great suffering upon the church as
well as upon the world. The form of the prophecy, however, does not
preclude reference to the then past as well as to present and to future
events; it points to the experience of God’s children in every age, to the
Jewish as well as the Christian church, though doubtless with the future
specially in view. These sorrows have been repeated again and again in the
numberless wars of history, and may be repeated afresh in the future, for
war is a constant trial of the church throughout the centuries. The symbol
of the armed rider on the blood‐red horse presents a vivid picture of the
horrors of war. It was a figure which spoke to the imaginative Eastern
mind with a power superior to words, especially to those who had known in
their own experience the destructive ravages of war; but the details were
left to be supplied by individual thought.

3 The Opening of the Third Seal, Ch. 6:5, 6

At the call of the third living creature, “Come”, a black horse and his
rider appear, weighing out grain with a balance: the symbol of famine,
want, and consequent suffering by the church. This expressive figure of
the black horse and his rider with a balance foretold in a form that
surpassed the power of language to describe, the prevailing gloom and
distress of famine. Grain is sold by weight instead of measure, thereby
indicating its scarcity (Ezek. 4:16), and the price is from eight to
twelve times its usual cost, the food of a working man requiring his
entire wages, and leaving those dependent on him without support.(395) The
famine indicated is not, however, any special season of want, but
recurrent famine as a condition of trial, and is limited in its extent, as
indicated by preserving the oil and the wine which may be regarded as
typical articles of food, or the best of the things of common life(396)—a
famine affecting the poor rather than the rich, the multitude rather than
the few. The contents of this seal were realized in prevailing famines
such as that under Claudius, that at the siege of Jerusalem, and many
other seasons of want which have occurred at different times throughout
the ages, but especially in the ancient world and in the Far East. The
emaciation and terror produced by hunger and want was a form of suffering
too well known among the inhabitants of those lands to need any further
emphasis—it spoke a language of its own to all those who had felt its

4 The Opening of the Fourth Seal, Ch. 6:7, 8

At the call of the fourth living creature, “Come”, a pale, ashen colored,
or green horse, and his rider Death appear, with Hades following after, i.
e. the world of departed spirits accompanying death as his after‐part to
swallow up his victims, both personified, and with power given them to
kill with the sword and with famine and with death in all its forms: the
symbol of mortality in the church, destroying the forces of the kingdom.
The pale green or livid horse, the color of a corpse, reflects the
ghastliness of a dead body bordering on dissolution, and points to the
ruin wrought by death. Death is here considered as in itself a trial, and
some of the more terrible and widespread agencies by which it is brought
about are mentioned in order to make its ravages more impressive. Among
other forms death by sword and famine are included, evils already
introduced under the two former seals as the occasion of suffering, but
here regarded as leading to death and constituting a separate trial. The
trial of this seal is also limited, and affects only one fourth of men, i.
e. a fractional part, not an actual fourth, the fourth being perhaps
suggested by the four horsemen. The contents of this seal were realized in
the fearful mortality of Roman times by means of the fourfold scourge of
sword, famine, pestilence, and wild beasts, the crown of all sorrows to
the Jewish mind; but they have also been realized in a similar way, though
different form, through the many dread visitations of death in later days.

It will be noticed that almost every part of the symbolism in these
visions has a meaning of its own. The horse in motion seems to indicate
the swift progress and triumphal march through the earth of the things
represented in the first four seals, viz. of Christianity the conquering
religion, and also of war, famine, and death, the widespread terrors which
are impersonated by the riders as treading the path of the centuries. The
color of the different horses, too, is not without significance; white is
the sign of victory (white horses were not uncommonly ridden by Roman
conquerors)(397) and it is also the symbol of purity, while red is the
symbol of bloodshed, black of want, and pale or ashen green of death, each
of the latter betokening something of the nature of the scourge which they
bring to men. The whole content of the seals presents a bare outline of
various forms of suffering, and is intended to typify a multitude of
sorrows that are unnamed. It should be noted, too, that at the close of
the fourth seal a division of the seals is apparent into two groups with
four and three in each. The first four relate to the sphere of the natural
world, as the number four indicates, and the fact also that they are
ushered in by the four living creatures who represent creation. These
seals are chiefly designed to show that during the period in which Christ
is carrying forward his conquest unto victory, both trial and suffering in
this world form part of the divine purpose of discipline for his people
which cannot be escaped from but should be endured with patience and hope.
The last three seals relate to the things of the spiritual life, of which
three is the symbol, and point forward to the future and great reward in
the world to come which is about to be realized by those who are faithful.
The same division into four and three, pertaining to the natural and the
spiritual, though with a distinctive application, is found in the visions
of the trumpets and vials (see App’x. D).

5 The Opening of the Fifth Seal, Ch. 6:9‐11

At the opening of the fifth seal a vision of the souls of the martyrs
appears, viz. of those “that had been slain for the word of God, and for
the testimony which they held” (cf. ch. 19:10), who are now seen
underneath the altar (i. e. the equivalent of the great brazen altar of
sacrifice in the Jewish service, at the foot of which the blood of the
sacrificial victims was poured) as the sign of their having sacrificed
their lives for the truth. The altar is in the heavenly temple, which to
the Jewish mind was the archetype of the earthly, where they are found
crying to God as their master(398) to judge and avenge them, i. e. calling
for vindication, not for vengeance in the earthly sense; and they receive
each a white robe, the recognized symbol of purity and victory, and are
bidden to rest until the roll of martyrs is complete:(399) the symbol of
martyrdom so often experienced by the church throughout the ages. These
saints of God have not been delivered from death, but they have been
delivered through death. The limit of this trial is the “little time” of
the church’s further conflict, a period looked upon as relatively short in
the whole course of the centuries, though not in itself necessarily short
or definitely limited, for the “little time” is practically the whole
period of this and the preceding seals. The contents of this seal were
partly realized in the ten persecutions of the early church, especially
those under Nero, and under Domitian, belonging to the period of the
Apocalypse; but they have also been realized in every subsequent
persecution that has followed the planting of the gospel in heathen lands.
The martyrs belong to all ages and all nations, and include every man who
has given his life as a testimony for the truth; and this seal looks along
the whole line and comprehends every martyr of every age.

6 The Opening of the Sixth Seal, Ch. 6:12‐17

At the opening of the sixth seal a vision of an earthquake appears, in
which the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, the whole moon as blood,
and the stars of heaven fell, while even the heaven itself was removed as
a scroll when it is rolled up, and every mountain and island were moved
out of their places, for we are told that the day, the great day, of
divine wrath is come: the symbol of judgment and retribution, especially
of the last judgment, and of the destruction of the world. The terrors of
the judgment thus described are sevenfold, affecting the earth, the sun,
the moon, the stars, the heavens, the mountains, and the islands; and
seven classes of men are mentioned, who call to the rocks and the
mountains to fall upon them and to hide them from the wrath of the Lamb,
viz. the kings of the earth, the princes, the chief captains, the rich,
the strong, and every bondman, and every freeman,—additional signs of
universality and completeness. The contents of this seal have been
realized in one way in the crises of history and the fall of empires,
which we may regard as described here after the analogy of Jewish
Apocalyptic, under the form of a great catastrophe of nature bringing to
an end the existing order of things—the fortunes of the people of God,
though not their fate, being conceived of as inseparably interwoven with
the world of nature; but this is only a temporary and passing fulfilment
which foreshadows and points to the final day of wrath (called in Greek
(v. 17), “the day, the great [day] of their wrath”, i. e. of the wrath of
God and of the Lamb), or the day of the Lord,(400) and the end of the
world. The End is a constant element in all Apocalyptic writings, as it is
the recurrent point of interest with John in the Apocalypse; and it was
undoubtedly due to the influence of Jewish Apocalyptic conceptions that an
expectation commonly prevailed in the primitive church that the End was
close at hand, and that it would come not through development but through
crises of judgment.(401) The important part which the End has in the
Apocalypse may be regarded as owing in some degree to the place it must
necessarily occupy in any exhaustive scheme of the course of the world;
but it is perhaps more largely due to the peculiar view‐point of
Apocalyptic, which exalted the End out of proportion to the present in
order to impress more deeply its lessons.(402)

All the visions of the six seals had a particular application and an
undoubted though partial fulfilment in the first age in which they were
given; but they have a wider and more perfect fulfilment in all subsequent
time, and perhaps will have an especially complete fulfilment in the last
time, such as we know that the sixth seal will surely have. To seek
constantly, however, for a merely literal fulfilment is surely to
emphasize the least important part of their meaning, and to limit them
narrowly to a definite historical event is to rob them of their larger
purpose, for they are wide‐flung types that speak as with a thousand
tongues to the open ear and ready mind.

[In the order of the Revelation the connection is at this point
interrupted and the climax suspended by introducing the Episode of the
Sealed Ones (ch. 7:1‐17), which will be found under IIb. The episodes are
given separately in this outline, and outside of their proper position in
the text, for the sake of clearness and emphasis].

7 The Opening of the Seventh Seal, Ch. 8:1

At the opening of the seventh seal a vision of heaven wrapped in perfect
silence appears: the symbol of mystery, the unrevealed, the unspoken, the
ineffable bliss of heaven which cannot be told in human words or portrayed
in physical form, the great sabbath of the church’s history,—a significant
sign of the deep, unbroken rest from conflict and toil into which the
people of God shall enter at the end of the earthly trial, and of the
fulness of joy to be realized in the future life of the redeemed when the
conflict and judgment of this world are over, all of which now lies beyond
the power of words or vision to describe or display. The form of the
vision is remarkably suggestive; the silence indicates that which cannot
be spoken; it gives time for thought that is beyond expression, deepens
“the sense of trembling suspense”, and serves to quicken anticipation of
the revelation to follow.(403) The contents of this seal are to be
realized in the future life of the redeemed after the conflict and
judgment of this world are over, and they cannot now be revealed except in
symbol; they lie beyond the sphere of earthly thought. The half‐hour is a
broken, fractional number, implying a limited period, and is here the sign
of the relatively brief time during which John beheld the vision,—for the
period covered by the thought of the vision is the whole period of
eternity, the future endless life with God, and only a glimpse of it is
given at this point in order to reassure the hearts of God’s children in
the midst of conflict,—thus affording an impressive break between the
seals and the trumpets, which, though short in itself, must have seemed
relatively long to the beholder in the midst of such stirring scenes. The
silence may have been suggested to John’s mind by that which the people
kept during the time when the priest offered incense in the temple, for we
find that the offering of incense by an angel immediately follows (v.
2‐5),(404) and the solemnity of that time in John’s own experience of the
ritual worship may well have left its impress upon his mind. In closing
the series it remains to be said that the last seal, notwithstanding that
its contents are incompletely developed, yet joins with the first, and
serves to mark out the whole course of the church’s history through all
the dread and storm of the other seals, as ever advancing from opening
conquest to final peace, all the trials of the seals leading on to deep
quiet in the end, the symbol of the great and enduring peace of God.

It may be well for us before entering upon the episode of consolation in
the seventh chapter, to review rapidly the steps by which the prime
purpose of the Apocalypse has been thus far wrought out in the vision of
the seven seals, viz. to encourage the hearts of weak and suffering
Christians and to fortify their patience on the upward way in the midst of
trial and distress by pointing out the path of faith and hope alike to the
certainty of victory in the future days of the church upon earth, and to
the fulness of joy reserved for the redeemed in the far and fadeless glory
beyond. The deeper lesson of the first four seals is one of absolute trust
in God when the way, as then, was dark and the hearts of men terror‐
stricken. God has not in any sense forsaken his people, the vision
proclaims, though his path and purpose lie hidden in the night. Amid all
the trials of the earthly life his plan is working out unseen through the
way to final victory. His people must learn the lesson of discipline in
the path by which he leads, and strive to trust and be patient and obey,
while he with unerring wisdom rules and works and wins. The closing three
seals contain a more direct revelation of hope and comfort. Under the
fifth seal the peace of the future life and the guarantee of recompense to
the saints is reassured; the vision of the sixth leads to the episode of
consolation which portrays the safe gathering of the redeemed on God’s
right hand at last, while the contents of the seal itself point to the
surety and justice of divine judgment that shall inevitably fall upon sin
and sinners; and the seventh reveals the endless and unbroken peace and
glory of the future life with God. Thus, contrary to all appearances in
the world of men, the perplexing trials of the Christian life are seen in
the apocalyptic vision to be not in vain; the painful discipleship of
Jesus has its abundant reward hereafter; the certain and unfailing victory
of the righteous lies at the very heart of the eternal purpose of God; and
this triumphant hope is presented as an abiding consolation for the
Christian mind in the midst of prevailing trial and distress.

IIb The Episode of the Sealed Ones (A Vision of Salvation Assured). Ch.

The episode of the sealed ones is a vision of consolation, that is
introduced as a digression between the sixth and seventh seals,
elaborating the idea of redemption inwrought with judgment, and showing
the safety, even in the midst of tribulation, of God’s people who are
divinely sealed, as also the certainty of their final reward. It is given
for the encouragement of tried and suffering Christians who cannot
understand why they suffer, and as an answer to the question in ch. 6:17,
“who shall be able to stand?” i. e. in the midst of such judgment as is
depicted under the sixth seal. There is, of course, a manifest element of
consolation for the saints in the contents of the seals themselves, as
indicated above, viz. the certainty of victory under the first, the divine
limitation and control signified in the second, third, and fourth, the
promise of peace and reward in the fifth, of vindication and judgment in
the sixth, and of the heavenly rest in the seventh; but this word of
comfort receives such a distinct reinforcement and emphasis in the episode
interposed as to indicate clearly its purpose. The blessed consolation for
God’s people in all ages given in the book of Revelation has not, perhaps,
been sufficiently emphasized in the past,(405) yet this has always made it
a cherished message for those in affliction. The episode is found to
consist of two parts, corresponding in some degree to the two
dispensations, the Old and the New, the first setting forth the surety of
salvation in the divine choice out of Israel (v. 1‐8), and the second the
fulness of salvation in the restoration to the divine presence of the
entire body of the redeemed out of all nations (v. 9‐17), the two together
manifesting the consoling thought that redemption triumphs in the midst of

A The Sealed of Israel, Ch. 7:1‐8

The first part of the episode shows Israel’s share in the sure and
unfailing results of God’s elective and redemptive purpose, and through
this the wider truth that God seals and keeps all his own (cf. Ezek.

1 The Angels Holding the Winds, Ch. 7:1‐3

At the bidding of another angel who ascends from the sunrising as the sign
that he brings light and hope, and who bears the seal of the living God as
the token of his authority, “the four angels to whom it was given to hurt
the earth and the sea” restrain the winds, which are apparently those of
destruction and judgment, until the act of sealing has been accomplished:
the symbol of the delay of God’s final judgment upon the world until all
his chosen ones are sealed, i. e. are marked as the subjects of
redemption, or until his redemptive purpose is complete—the choice
beginning with Israel. Four, the earth number, is the number of the
angels, corners, and winds in the vision, indicating the world‐wide
character of the judgment; and the sealing is upon earth, though
apparently not to be thought of as occurring in any particular point of
time, and not therefore to be placed, as by some, just preceding the final
judgment, for in a wider sense the sealing stands as a symbol of
redemption as a whole, viewed in effect as a process concurrent with the
trials of the seals, and illustrated by its operation in Israel.(407) The
time of holding back the winds is the entire period of divine grace, and
the sealing shows the brighter side of the former picture of trial and
suffering—God is ever doing what he did in Israel.

2 The Number of the Sealed, Ch. 7:4‐8

The redeemed are sealed upon the forehead, the sign of the visible and
personal ownership of Christ, but the act of sealing is not revealed; as
the act of God it is hidden, and only the number of the sealed is given, a
hundred and forty‐four thousand, i. e. the square of twelve, the national
number, multiplied by a thousand, the cube of ten, the number of
completeness,—twelve thousand from each tribe, or twelve, the number of
the tribes of Israel, multiplied by a thousand, the number of heavenly
completeness: the symbol of a vast, complete, but indefinite number chosen
from the people of Israel and kept unto eternal life as the first‐fruits
unto God and the Lamb, the true or ideal people of Israel, who are in a
sense representative of all the redeemed. Other interpreters, accepting
the apocalyptic‐traditional view of late writers, regard the first section
of the episode (v. 1‐8) as a reproduction in form or substance from a
Jewish apocalypse, while the second section (v. 9‐17), where there is so
manifest an expansion of the horizon, is the Christian development of the
same idea, showing how the older vision may be understood in our
time.(408) Such views evidently have strong attraction for the modern
mind, but it may well be doubted whether such a view solves as many
difficulties as it creates, for it assumes the existence of documents that
have no evidence on which to rest except the theory which assumes them.

B The Redeemed Out of All Nations, Ch. 7:9‐17

In this section is presented a view of all the glorified in heaven,
showing the world‐wide results of redemption, and the ultimate felicity of
the redeemed, a scene of triumph in vivid contrast with the trials and
sufferings of the church upon earth, and a striking illustration of the
difference which Christ has brought about through his atoning work.(409)

1 The Innumerable Multitude, Ch. 7:9

With the opening of the second part of the episode there is a sudden
expansion of the horizon; every barrier of race and nation has
disappeared, and a triumphant multitude of the saved from all peoples, a
company which no man could number, far surpassing that of Israel, is seen
standing before the throne and before the Lamb, arrayed in white robes,
the symbol of purity,(410) and having palms in their hands, the token of
joy as well as victory (cf. _I Macc._ 13.51), and perhaps, also, as a sign
of triumphant homage to the Lamb. The use of palms in the Feast of
Tabernacles may have been foremost in thought here, but we need not
confine the significance of the figure to the Jewish symbolism of joy. It
probably includes all the ideas connected with palms that were familiar to
the thought of the time, without regard to their origin; for it is not
justifiable to assume that the Apocalypse contains no ideas borrowed from
heathen antiquity, but moves exclusively within the circle of sacred, that
is, Jewish imagery and symbols.(411) This represents an opinion which in
the light of later studies in Apocalyptic cannot be maintained, though
manifestly everything has been assimilated by the Jewish conception, from
whatever source it may have been derived. The phase of the vision
presented in the ninth verse, affords a view of the redeemed church in its
fulness, the multitude of the saved from both covenants now joined in one
body in which no distinction of race or nation exists, a view much wider
in its scope than the former one of the sealing.(412)

Many commentators, it must be recognized, view this passage differently
(v. 4‐9), and maintain the full identity of the hundred and forty‐four
thousand and the great multitude by a somewhat strained exegesis, making
the hundred and forty‐four thousand the symbol of the Christian
church.(413) In the interpretation of such symbols, however, we must
always allow a latitude of view, for different interpretations appeal with
varying force to different minds; and it should be remembered in holding
the view accepted in this work, that while the symbol is taken from the
case of Israel, and is therefore correctly interpreted as applying
primarily to the people of Israel, yet it is not Jews as distinguished
from Gentiles that are meant, but the saints of the Old Testament as
distinguished from those of the New, the few in contrast with the many;
and that in a wider sense the figure symbolizes salvation as a whole,
represented here by a part in which it is shown to be effective, the main
idea being salvation made certain and efficient by the divine act of
sealing, while in the great multitude the symbol is that of salvation
become world‐wide in its results. The question of the identity of the two
groups is therefore subordinate, and cannot be regarded as of any special

It may be well at this point, in view of the great and radiant multitude
of the redeemed, the innumerable company out of all nations and tribes and
peoples and tongues, who stand before the throne and join in the cry of
“Salvation unto our God ... and unto the Lamb” (v. 10), for us to
emphasize the wide‐spread and triumphant effect of the gospel in the world
of men which is here foreshown. It has been too often asserted by modern
critics that the outlook of the Revelation is narrow and Jewish, and its
view limited and discouraging. As against this it is well to remember the
lesson of these verses, as well as that of many other similar passages
throughout the book (cf. chs. 5:9; 21:24; 22:7, _et al._). We should also
clearly see that the Revelation from its nature and purpose deals chiefly
with the plan of God for the ages, and with the causes and events which
lead on to the end of the world, and that therefore its essential message
is not addressed to evangelistic effort or to missionary enterprise, but
to faith in God when days are dark and storms fill the sky, and to
preparation for meeting him in a fairer world when earthly days are done.
Yet the book just as clearly shows that the divine plan both includes and
prepares for the essentially world‐wide and universal mission of
Christianity; and the message of the gospel to every creature is repeated
and emphasized throughout in such a way as to make plain that the great
work and chief purpose of the Kingdom of God in the earth is to redeem and
to save the lost. And surely this important truth should never be left out
of view in our perusal of the book.

2 The Cry of the Church Triumphant, Ch. 7:10‐12

The whole body of the redeemed, the saved out of both covenants, the
united company which no man could number, that includes both Jews and
Gentiles, is heard unitedly to cry with a loud voice, “Salvation unto our
God ... and unto the Lamb”, i. e. salvation is attributed unto God and the
Lamb(414) (the Salvation Chorus), while all the heavenly court join them
in a seven‐fold symphony of praise. This is the last in a series of
growing doxologies. In ch. 1:6 the praise ascribed is twofold, in ch. 4:11
it is threefold, in ch. 5:13 it is fourfold, and now in ch. 7:12 it is
sevenfold—“Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honor,
and power, and might, _be_ unto our God forever and ever”. It should also
be noted that in the Salvation Chorus, for the first of three times in the
book, salvation is ascribed by a voice from heaven to God, or to God and
to Christ, viz. in chs. 7:10; 12:10; and 19:1.

3 The Redeemed Before the Throne, Ch. 7:13‐17

John’s attention is at this point specially directed to the triumphant
company that is before the throne of God by one of the elders (v.
13f.)(415) in order to emphasize that they of that company have come
victorious out of the great tribulation of the earthly life, and
_therefore_ they are ever before the throne serving God day and night in
his temple, i. e. in the ναὸς, the shrine of the temple in heaven, and
sharing in the exceeding blessedness of the divine presence as their great
reward. “And he that sitteth on the throne shall spread his tabernacle
over them ... and God shall wipe away every tear from their eyes.”(416) It
is not likely that by the great tribulation in v. 14 is meant a special
period of trial such as is implied in ch. 3:10, and by the words of our
Lord in Mat. 24:21, but rather the world‐tribulation that belongs to the
earthly life of the Christian throughout all time, “the tribulation of
Jesus” (ch. 1:9) in which John felt that he had a share. Some, however,
think that it is the same period of trial referred to before as preceding
the end of the world.(417) Thus with a prophetic view of the redeemed
before the throne the episode closes, and the seventh seal is opened (ch.

III The Vision of the Seven Trumpets (A Vision of Threatening). Ch.
8:2‐9:21, and 11:14‐19

The vision of the seven trumpets sets forth in pictorial form a divine
proclamation of the judgments of God upon the sinful world, especially
those to be experienced throughout the prospective history of mankind
until the final consummation of all things. It consists of another group
of seven that are parallel in a certain sense to the vision of the seals,
covering like them the path of the ages, but that form a separate series
complete in themselves and that are issued for a different purpose, the
seals specially manifesting God’s care of his people in the midst of
trial, while the trumpets reveal the divine punishment visited upon the
sinful. These two lines of judgment are conceived of as occurring mainly
in the same period, but looked at from another point of view: or, perhaps,
it might better be said, that we have here another group of seven which
follow the whole course of history and develop a new line of divinely
ordered occurrences that neither follow nor precede, but are quite
independent of any time‐relation to the preceding series of the seals. The
number of the trumpets, like that of the seals, is intended to indicate
the completeness of the series, for seven is the number of completeness.
They are general indications of God’s judgments, and though particular
events may be partial fulfilments, the complete fulfilment is in all

A The Preparation for the Trumpets, Ch. 8:2‐6

In a short intervening section preparatory to the trumpets, we are shown
that the prayers of the saints lead to the manifestation of divine wrath
against sin. These verses, it may be said, form a transition from the
vision of the seals to that of the trumpets, and are in fact included by
some under the seventh seal, though not properly belonging to it. The
former vision reaches a fitting close in the period of eternal rest which
is looked upon under the seventh seal, and we wait in the quiet that it
brings, expecting the end to be announced at once. But instead of that a
further vision is revealed to the seer, and we again traverse the course
of history by a different path to its ending. In another series of seven
under the trumpets the punishment of the ungodly is reviewed, and divine
wrath is seen to fall upon the heads of the sinful. This succeeding series
of trumpet visions is introduced by verses two to six in the eighth

1 An Angel Offers Incense upon the Golden Altar, Ch. 8:3‐5

The incense is added unto the prayers of all the saints which are thus
typically purified, and they are straightway presented before the throne
of God in heaven. Incense was the symbol of prayer under the Old
Testament, but it becomes here, by a further development of the symbol,
the vehicle for bearing the prayers to the throne, and the action
apparently follows the form of the Jewish ritual worship. An angel
standing over the brazen altar of sacrifice, takes fire from it in a
golden censer or fire‐pan, and much incense is then given him to add unto
the prayers of all the saints, evidently for their purification and that
he may offer them at the golden altar of incense which is before the
throne of God. Completing this action, the angel returns again to the
brazen altar to take fire from it that he may cast it as the symbol of
judgment upon the earth (cf. Ezek. 10:2f). Others, however, think that
only one altar, that of incense, is referred to in the action.(419) In
either case the worship of the Old Testament is the basis of the figure,
though the scene is laid in heaven. “And there followed thunders, and
voices, and lightnings, and an earthquake”, the tokens of God’s presence
and of the approaching divine judgment.

2 The Seven Angels Prepare to Sound, Ch. 8:2, 6

To the seven angels are given seven trumpets with charge of the series of
impending woes; and the angels put the trumpets to their lips ready to
sound, mention of which is made in order to emphasize the importance to be
attached to their action as angels who stand before God. Their position
implies special service, and their number doubtless indicates the
perfection of their ministry.(420) The trumpet, which was the common
instrument for public announcement, and often connected with the idea of
judgment,(421) may be here intended to recall its use at the fall of
Jericho (Josh. 6:4f). The seven angels may also be taken to represent the
whole body of angel ministrants who serve before God, just as the seven
churches symbolize the whole church.

B The Trumpets Sounded, Ch. 8:7‐9:21; and 11:14‐19

The sounding of the trumpets represents the proclamation of signal and
destructive judgments upon the ungodly world. The form of these judgments
in the vision was adapted to current conceptions of great calamities, and
may be regarded as symbolizing all the terrible woes in store for all the
wicked in all the ages—wide world‐pictures of the divine purpose of
punishment. The latter half of the first century was marked by many
terrible visitations, such as earthquakes, famines, and plagues, and it
should not be thought strange to find these events reflected in such a
book as the Apocalypse at a time when they were fresh in the public mind.
That they had some such source is evident, for the graphic descriptions of
appalling disaster by earthquake in Martinique (1901), and in Messina
(1908), have served to illumine many passages in the Revelation, as have
also other similar occurrences previously known. These judgments in the
visions constitute not only the divine means of punishment, but become the
divine test of character, revealing the essential nature of evil men; for
the effect of the judgments, unlike that of the seals, falls mainly upon
the evil.

1 The Sounding of the First Trumpet, Ch. 8:7

The sounding of the first trumpet is followed by hail and fire mingled in
blood cast upon the earth: the symbol of disaster visited upon the land,
and men punished by such means as in the days of Pharaoh,—for fire is a
symbol of the divine presence and wrath, and the blood indicates the
destructive effects about to be wrought upon both the animate and
inanimate creation for the chastisement of man. The resemblance of the
first four judgments of the trumpets and also of the vials to the plagues
of Egypt, is too manifest to escape the attention of any careful reader of
Scripture, and affords a ready proof of their representative character.
These well‐known historic incidents of judgment, belonging to the birth‐
period of the Hebrew nation, which are so deeply inwrought in the Old
Testament story, and whose significance was so well understood, become the
ready types of other judgments that are sent with a similar purpose and
that belong to the divine order, but the intimate nature of which it was
not the divine purpose to disclose. They are widely suggestive of God’s
power over things the most permanent and stable. The destruction of but a
third part of the objects affected as the result of the trumpet series,
represents a limited judgment, not an actual third but a fractional
portion destroyed, a great but not the greater part. The earth, the sea,
the rivers, and the heavenly bodies, on which the first four judgments
fall, are parts of a fourfold division of the universe which is common in
this book, and are intended to designate the entire created world, both
here and in the vision of the vials.(422) In this comprehensive
designation the earth, or the land, was thought of as the nourishing
mother and the dwelling‐place of man; the sea as the agent and arena of
commerce; the rivers as the seat of cities, the centres of population, the
arteries of trade, and the source of water supply; and the heavenly bodies
as the source of light, and as the rulers of destiny—together representing
in common thought the great things of life to the world of men. Disaster
to these, the sources of wealth and well‐being, has always been among
Oriental nations the type of all that is most terrible.

2 The Sounding of the Second Trumpet, Ch. 8:8‐9

The sounding of the second trumpet is followed by, as it were, a great
mountain burning with fire cast into the sea, thereby working widespread
ruin: the symbol of disaster visited upon the sea, one part of creation
which is used as God’s agent for punishing mankind. To move a mountain was
a token of divine power, and it was blazing with fire as a sign of the
divine presence and wrath—another Sinai in effect flung into the sea. This
striking figure of a mountain of fire was perhaps suggested to John’s mind
by a volcano, with which he must have become familiar while resident in
Asia; but attention is directed more particularly in these visions,
especially the first four, to the effect produced rather than to the means
used, whether hail and fire, or a mountain, or a star, or the smiting of
the planets.(423) The effect produced is one of great terror, though the
way in which it applies to men is left to be inferred, and is not
attempted to be described. Such an incident was well adapted to the
thought of the first century, and could not but strike terror in the mind
of the beholder because of the complete helplessness of men in the
presence of such a disaster. It presents a wide field for thought, the
limits of which are not defined. It is in fact one way of saying that God
will make all nature to strive against man because of sin.

3 The Sounding of the Third Trumpet, Ch. 8:10‐11

The sounding of the third trumpet is followed by the falling of a great
star from heaven, called Wormwood, upon the waters, burning as a torch and
making them bitter: the symbol of disaster visited upon the rivers and
fountains of waters, still another part of creation, as an act of divine
judgment upon sinful men who dwell by the waters. As under the former
trumpets only a third part was affected: “And many men died of the waters,
because they were made bitter.” The falling of a star was regarded as a
sign of some great disaster about to happen, and is here apparently
intended to be typical of judgment sent from heaven, while the name
Wormwood signifies the bitterness of the trouble which it entails upon
men. But beyond this all is indefinite, a quality characteristic of
Apocalyptic which often heightens rather than lessens the general effect.
The bitter waters expressed the moral bitterness that men must taste
because of their sin: the wide result is thus covered by an unspoken
appeal to thought through a significant symbol.

4 The Sounding of the Fourth Trumpet, Ch. 8:12

The sounding of the fourth trumpet is followed by the smiting of the sun,
moon, and stars: the symbol of disaster visited upon the heavenly bodies,
not only destroying their light but inflicting a punishment peculiarly
terrifying to the Oriental mind because of the occult influence which
these bodies were supposed to exert upon the future destinies of men. We
need not necessarily regard John as personally sharing in this opinion,
but only as using the language and appealing to the thought of his time,
as in the preceding reference to the falling star. He seems to look upon
these strange occurrences mainly as signs of the divine purpose, as
“wonders in the heavens and in the earth” (Joel 2:30) through which God
wrought in manifesting his will. The evils resulting from this visitation
in the vision, as in the former judgments, are suggested rather than
named; but they lie before the mind in a haunting way to be filled in by a
vivid imagination with scenes of terror and wrath.

(1) The Eagle and Its Message, Ch. 8:13

At this point an eagle (not an angel, as in the Authorized Version), the
symbol of carnage, appears flying high in mid‐heaven, crying, “Woe! Woe!
Woe!” and indicating by its rapid flight and thrice repeated call of
terror the swiftness of the three coming woes of the remaining
trumpets.(424) Also three, the number of the spiritual in contrast with
the material, serves to indicate the sphere to which these judgments
belong. These three, the fifth, sixth, and seventh, are often called the
“woe‐trumpets”, and their effects are visited directly upon men, not
indirectly through natural objects as under the preceding four of the

5 The Sounding of the Fifth Trumpet, Ch. 9:1‐12

The sounding of the fifth trumpet is followed by a vision of a star from
heaven, fallen unto earth, the symbolic representation of Satan cast out
of heaven for his sin, and by smoke as of a great furnace enveloping a
swarm of locusts that ascend from the pit of the abyss, the present
dwelling‐place of Satan and the familiar haunt of demons: the symbol of
disaster to men through Satan and his multitudinous host, “the spiritual
hosts of wickedness” (Eph. 6:12), the demons from the pit. These are
permitted to torment men, producing bitter anguish for five months, the
usual life of the locust, and the symbol of an incomplete or limited
period of time, which may here refer to the time of man’s existence upon
the earth. Five, the half of ten the complete number, is a symbol of
incompleteness or indefiniteness. The invading army of locusts is a well‐
known figure of widespread disaster, as in the prophecy of Joel (ch.
2:1‐11). In accordance with general apocalyptic usage the pit of the abyss
is regarded as the present abode of the Devil and his angels, and is
conceived of as a vast subterranean depth connecting with the surface of
the earth by a great shaft or well which can be opened or closed from
above, and the entrance to which may be locked or unlocked by a key.(425)
That which at first seems to be a cloud of smoke proves to be teeming with
forms of life, an evident token of the hidden nature of the source of
evil. The power of the locusts is directed immediately against the wicked,
such men as have not the seal of God on their foreheads, while their sting
seems to be the type of the poison of sin which they infuse into the veins
of men, and the torment which they inflict to refer to the visitation of
sins that bring terrible punishment upon the offenders so that men prefer
death rather than life. The description of the locusts as “like unto
horses prepared for war etc.”, is a realistic touch intended to heighten
the sense of terror, but not to identify them with any objects in human
experience. Also the statement that “their faces were as men’s faces”,
implies only that they were like men in appearance, though some think this
points to human agents. The star is here used in a quite different sense
from that under the third trumpet,—for to insist that all objects must
have a single symbolism, and that the star must mean the same in every
case, i. e. a person, there as well as here, is to neglect one of the
clearest lessons of Apocalyptic. Here it is a personification or symbol of
Satan (Isa. 14:12), the angel of the abyss, who is named Apollyon,(426) i.
e. one who causes perdition to mankind, or in Hebrew, Abaddon, i. e. the
destroyer, a sufficient identification for the reader of the Old
Testament. The awful woe that the world of evil men suffers at the hands
of Satan and his legions is the ideal content of this trumpet; and we
notice that the severity of the judgments seems to increase as they
progress toward the end. The first woe is now declared to be past (v. 12),
but two others are foretold as yet to come.

6 The Sounding of the Sixth Trumpet, Ch. 9:13‐21, and 11:14

The sounding of the sixth trumpet is followed by the loosing of four
angels from the bed of the Euphrates (which is done at the bidding of a
voice from the four horns(427) of the golden altar of incense that is
before God, and underneath which are the souls of them that had been slain
for the Word of God—evidently a divine command) who had been prepared for
an appointed time, even “for the hour and day and month and year, that
they should kill the third part of men” from the earth, and by the coming
of a vast invading army of horsemen, the double square of a myriad, or two
hundred millions in all, the largest number used in the Apocalypse, the
type of an innumerable multitude, which apparently act under direction of
the four angels, and destroy a third part of men from the earth:(428) the
symbol of disaster to men through the world‐forces of heathenism, which
are under direction of the world‐rulers of the darkness (Eph. 6:12). The
unbinding of the angels is the symbol of evil let loose among men, for the
angels are evil as is indicated by their being bound, by their number, and
by the place of their imprisonment, i. e. the binding is the symbol of
divine restraint until the appointed time; their number is four, the earth
number, indicating that they belong to this world which is usually thought
of as evil; and the Euphrates, the place where they are bound, is the old
seat of the world‐power, and the representative of heathenism with its
multitudinous host. The evils inflicted by the heathen nations upon
mankind, especially the evils of war with their concomitant results, are
here indicated by this forceful figure; yet these, though deep and
terrible, entirely fail to turn the rest of men, who escape death, from
idol worship and its attendant impurities—a marvelous forecast of the path
of history, for the heathen powers have time and again become the agents
of woe to mankind, yet the people have not awakened to the true source of
their sorrow in idolatry. The description of the horses and of their
riders in the vision is purely an ideal one, intended to make them the
objects of greatest terror, a true Oriental touch, appealing to the vivid
Eastern imagination as such figures do with us to the minds of children.
The woes of men at the hands of heathen nations is the evident content of
this trumpet, as is clearly indicated in the twentieth verse of the
chapter. At this point the second woe is declared to be past, and the
third to be about to come quickly (ch. 11:14); but between them intervenes
a vision of divine help, and of the value of the church’s witness (ch.

This view of the fifth and sixth trumpets seems to meet more fully the
statements of the text than other views, and to conform best to the
general character of the whole series; for notwithstanding the recognized
obscurity of the trumpet visions, we can surely discern divine judgments
for wrongdoing in the first four, under forms of physical evil visited
upon the natural creation, and in the remaining three, manifestations of
moral evil visited upon men for their sin. That the pit or abyss points to
demoniacal forces, and the Euphrates to human agencies, is sufficiently
evident without discussion.(429) The application of the incidents of the
fifth and sixth trumpets to Mohammedans and Turks by some of the
historical school, who have even interpreted the tails of the horses as a
prophetic reference to these well‐known symbols of authority used by
Turkish Pashas, is a curious example of capricious fancy. The fact that
the events predicted under the sixth trumpet find a wide exemplification
in the incursions of Turk and Mohammedan, Goth and Vandal, is only a
clearer proof of their ideal character. And it is surely better to leave
these highly wrought imaginative symbols of the trumpets, with their deep
suggestiveness of appalling forms of coming evil, in the vague
indefiniteness in which we find them, rather than to mar their beauty by
weak and narrow interpretations.

[The Episode IIIb, which in this work is given after the seventh trumpet,
occurs at the present point in the vision covering chs. 10:1 to 11:13. The
connection is resumed in ch. 11:14, for the second woe found in that verse
belongs in order of thought at the close of the sixth trumpet, the
intervening part being parenthetical—see the Scripture text as paragraphed
in this volume].

7 The Sounding of the Seventh Trumpet, Ch. 11:15‐19

The sounding of the seventh trumpet is followed by great voices in heaven,
declaring that the kingdom of the world is now become _the kingdom_ of our
Lord and of his Christ;(430) by the elders praising God that the time of
judgment and reward has come (the Victory Chorus); by the ark of the
covenant, the token of God’s abiding presence, being revealed in the
opened temple in heaven—a traditional sign in the later Judaism of the
coming of the Messiah;(431) and by lightnings, voices, thunders, and an
earthquake with great hail, the necessary accompaniments in Jewish thought
of the great and final day of wrath: the multiple symbol of the final
judgment, and of the glorious triumph of God’s kingdom. The contents of
the seventh trumpet are not fully developed, perhaps because they are too
great for description, but in it we reach the climax and issue of the
whole process of judgment that is exhibited in the series, the full and
final establishment of the kingdom. The result is viewed in its entirety,
and the millennial period of victory is not brought separately into view.
The unveiling of the ark of covenant mercy and the ushering in of the
kingdom close the vision, and constitute an informal transition to the
vision of conflict through which the triumph has been effected.

If we now rapidly recall the whole course of the seven trumpets, we can
see how with progressive movement they increase in severity as they go
forward; the judgments they prefigure fall first upon the land, and then
consecutively upon the sea, upon the fountains of water, and upon the
heavenly bodies, as signs of God’s judgment upon the physical universe,
and thus upon men who in their earthly lives form part of the natural
world; then with the fifth trumpet the judgments take a wider trend, and
point to and include the setting free of numberless demonic forces of evil
from the pit of the abyss to prey upon men, and under the sixth trumpet
the loosing of the multitudinous world‐forces of heathenism from the banks
of the Euphrates to bring world‐wide judgments upon the race, thus
preparing the way for the blowing of the seventh trumpet which ushers in
the day of cumulative wrath upon sin, and the final triumph of God’s
kingdom. This onward progress of the plan of the ages is only broken by a
passing view of the possibility of recovery for men in the episode of the
angel and the book, and of the two witnesses, which follows. The whole
sweep of the judgments of the trumpets, in the view of Apocalyptic
perspective, is toward the end of the present world and the triumph of
righteousness in the final judgment. There the redeemed are left with God
in his glorious kingdom; the after life is not attempted to be described;
its blessings are evidently too great for our present comprehension. But
the triumph would not be so definite, without the vision of conflict which
follows, for it presents the path to victory through prevailing trial and
opposition as ever leading on to complete and final triumph in the end,
that is to be realized in the glorious presence of the Lamb who is
revealed as standing upon Mount Zion in the midst of the redeemed.

IIIb The Episode of the Angel with the Book; and of the Two Witnesses (A
Vision of Divine Help). Ch. 10:1‐11:13

This twofold vision forms a digression between the sixth and seventh
trumpets, similar to the episode between the sixth and seventh seals,
setting forth the opportunities which God has afforded men of escaping his
wrath, showing the divine method of help through the institutions of
religion, and affirming the permanent value of the church’s witness,—a
paragraph that notwithstanding its acknowledged difficulty, is manifestly
interposed for the comfort of the church as well as to prepare the way for
the last woe of the remaining trumpet.(432) The restraint of wrath
indicated by the destruction of only the third part under the trumpets, is
now further developed by showing the divine offer of escape; and also
man’s common neglect of that offer, which leads at length to final doom
under the seventh trumpet. The episode, it will be seen, differs in theme
from the one under the seals, the former setting forth the divine side of
redemption, and the surety of its accomplishment through the act of
sealing, the latter showing the human side of redemption as it is made
known to men through the institutions of religion, and the failure of its
universal operation through unbelief, leaving the world without excuse to
bear the weight of judgment—the one throwing light upon God’s relation to
the church, and the other upon his relation to the world, in accordance
with the general theme of the seals and the trumpets. Though many are
unable to agree that John had such a comprehensive view in mind, or that
it is to be looked for in a writing of this class, yet when we consider
the various marks of elaborate structure in the book, exhibited in the
relation of its different parts, and the deep prophetic insight and poetic
intuition manifested by the author in his idealization of the course of
the church, we need not be surprised to find a broad and perspicuous view
of redemption such as this, especially since the plan of salvation had
already been so fully elaborated in an earlier period by the great Apostle
to the Gentiles.

A The Angel with the Little Open Book, Ch. 10:1‐11

The first part of the episode exhibits the revelation of God’s will and
purpose as a source of help. The little book in the vision is evidently
the Apocalypse, though in a broader sense it doubtless represents as well
the general purpose and beneficent effects of all God’s revelations to
men; and the book is found open to indicate that its contents are made
known to the world. Some regard the little book to be the remaining part
of the Apocalypse, beginning with the succeeding chapter;(433) by others
its contents are considered to begin with chapter twelve, the first break
in continuity after the episode; but it seems more likely that the whole
book is intended. In any case it is clear that the prophetic form in which
the writer’s ministry is to be realized (viz. “thou must prophesy again
over many peoples and nations and tongues and kings”, v. 11) serves to
link the center of the book (ch. 10:11) with both the beginning (ch. 1:3)
and the end (ch. 22:19),(434) and thereby furnishes an incidental proof of
its unity of design.

1 The Angel Foretells the End, Ch. 10:1‐7

A mighty angel, the representative of Christ and bearing his
insignia,(435) having a book in his hand, and standing both upon sea and
land as a sign of his world‐wide mission, declares the coming end under
the seventh trumpet, when the mystery of God’s method and purpose in human
life and redemption shall be fully revealed and finally manifested in the
establishment of his universal kingdom. The manner of the angel is scenic
and impressive, and the message is one of undoubted power.

(1) The Thunder Voices, Ch. 10:3b and 4

Seven thunders utter their voices(436) in token of the approaching
judgment, but John is directed by a voice from heaven to seal them up and
is forbidden to record them, probably indicating that the terrors of God’s
voice in judgment are for the present hidden from men; though some regard
the voices as introduced only to emphasize the element of mystery with
which the Apocalyptic form always delighted to clothe its thought. The
voice, declared to be from heaven in verse four, is apparently not
intended to indicate by whom the words were spoken, but only the source
from which they came; some, however, attribute them to Christ.

2 The Book Delivered to John, Ch. 10:8‐11

The book is Christ’s revelation to John in the Apocalypse, a little open
book or scroll (v. 2), evidently set in contrast with the great sealed
book of God’s purposes in chapter five; and it is taken by the Apostle, in
obedience to a voice out of heaven, from the hand of the angel, who
commands him to eat it, thereby indicating that John should digest the
prophecy therein contained (Ezek. 3:1‐3).(437) Though it was sweet to his
taste at first as a message from Christ, it became bitter afterward when
its deeper meaning was understood, for it told of long continued trial and
conflict instead of speedy triumph and victory. The prophecy is declared
to be “over [i. e. concerning] many peoples and nations and tongues and
kings”, a fourfold prediction, showing its world‐wide application and
indicating its ideal content.

It was the common thought of the early church that the period of the
Christian dispensation would be very brief; and it may have been in order
to dispel in some measure this illusion, and at the same time to inculcate
patience and hope by showing the ideal shortness of the Christian age in
God’s eternal plan, that we are to find one of the many purposes of the
Apocalypse. For it should be noted that by the end of the first century
the view‐point on this subject shows a material change. The attitude of
John’s Gospel toward the second coming of Christ is manifestly different
from that of the Synoptists;(438) the significant predictions of Christ
concerning his own return are omitted, notably the discourse on the last
things (Mt. 24; Mk. 13; Lk. 21); and the only references to his coming
again are indirect (Jn. 14:3, 18, 28; 16:22; and 22:22‐3), though from
these it is evident that it is subsumed throughout, a view that is
confirmed by the Epistles (I Jn. 2:28; and 3:2). This is far from showing,
as some hold, that the coming predicted was only figurative, and was
fulfilled at the destruction of Jerusalem, an event already past when
John’s Gospel was written; but seems rather to indicate that the earlier
stage of thought, shared in by all the apostles, which expected the Lord’s
return within the first generation, had given way to a new and wider
outlook which emphasized the continuous coming that is present and
spiritual more than the personal coming that is future and outward, though
without losing faith in the surety of that coming. And even if the later
date of the Apocalypse be not conceded, yet coming from the same source as
the Fourth Gospel, we might not unnaturally expect to find in it some
anticipation of this view involving delay, for the coming thought of in
the visions is undoubtedly personal and future.

B The Two Witnesses, Ch. 11:1‐13

The second part of the episode sets forth the indestructibility and
permanent value of the two special divine institutions for human help,
viz. revealed religion and the church; and shows the triumph of enduring
witness for the truth.

1 The Measurement of the Temple, Ch. 11:1‐2

The ναὸς, or inner sanctuary of the temple of God, is at this point
introduced in the vision, a term which applied to the apartments of the
temple building proper, including the holy of holies, the holy place, and
in this case by implication the inner court, as distinguished from the
ἱερὸν which applied to the whole temple and included all the buildings
with the outer courts. The ναὸς in classical Greek is the sanctuary or
cell of a temple where the image of the god was placed. In Hebrew usage,
as applied to the temple at Jerusalem, it signifies the sacred edifice so
called, including the holy and most holy place.(439) Thus it is the true
temple with the altar and them that worship therein, i. e. the entire
contents of the inner court, the combined symbol of revealed religion and
of those who accept its truths, especially the revelation and worshippers
according to the Old Testament, which is here introduced in the vision.
This is directed to be measured, i. e. it is to be subjected to careful
scrutiny, and its proportions are to be observed, the sign as in Zechariah
(ch. 2:1f.) of preservation and renewal, and not of destruction. The
measurement apparently applies to the heavenly temple, though it may be
interpreted either of the temple at Jerusalem or its counterpart in
heaven, for to the Jewish mind the earthly temple was the type and shadow
of the heavenly (Heb. 9:5).(440) In either case the meaning is the same,
viz. only that which corresponds to the outer court of the earthly,(441)
the unessential portion, is given up by the fall of Jerusalem to be
trodden underfoot of the nations (Lk. 21:24) during forty‐two months (v.
2), the indefinite period of the world’s conflict with the church (see
App’x. E). The true temple with its worshippers, the heart and center of
the religious life of Israel, is indestructible and reappears in heaven
with the ark of the covenant restored (v. 19). This is a symbolic
expression of the important truth that the revealed religion of Israel is
to endure, the best in Judaism is imperishable, all that is fundamental
and essential is preserved though the outer form be destroyed;(442) and it
was designed to be a vision of comfort for the Jewish Christians, who
naturally regarded the ruin of the temple as a profound calamity. The
vision has been regarded by many interpreters as indicating that the
temple and the city of Jerusalem were still standing when this was
written, thus confirming the earlier date of the Revelation (circ. A. D.
69); but the weight of evidence to be attached to an Apocalyptic vision as
testimony in such a case is very small, and is quite insufficient when
compared with other evidences of the historical situation found in the
book.(443) It is evident, also, that there is a reference in the symbolism
here used, i. e. in the preservation not only of the altar, but “of them
that worship therein”, to the preservation of the Jews as a people, and
their future restoration when the times of the Gentiles shall be fulfilled
(Lu. 21:24), though not necessarily to Palestine,(444) and surely not to a
rebuilded temple, which in any case would be mere incidents, but to the
richer blessings of renewed fellowship with God, of which the temple and
its service were to the Jewish mind the truest type (cf. Rom. 11:1f.). The
late Apocalyptic‐Traditional view, it may be mentioned, attributes verses
one and two to a former Jewish apocalypse that has been lost, which is
here quoted as an introduction to the prophecy of the two witnesses that
follows. It may well be doubted, however, whether this theory of the
origin of the passage adds anything effective to its interpretation.

2 The Two Witnesses and their Martyrdom, Ch. 11:3‐13

The two witnesses who prophesy, i. e. bear witness for God, and whom God
ever preserves throughout all vicissitudes, and delivers even out of
seeming destruction, are the churches of the Old and New Dispensations
which have been divinely called to witness for the truth.(445) The two
olive trees represent the Old and New Testament revelations which supply
oil, the symbol of grace, to the two candlesticks, i. e. to the two
churches,(446) the Jewish and Christian, that have been and are God’s
special witnesses throughout the ages (cf. Zech. 4:2f.). The identity of
the candlesticks and witnesses is shown both by the connection, and by the
explicit statement of verse four: “These [two witnesses] are the two olive
trees and the two candlesticks, standing before the Lord of the earth,” i.
e. the witnesses are, in a sense, both the Old and New Testament
revelations and the churches of the Old and New Dispensations, which alike
witness for the truth of God, though the connection shows that the
churches are specially intended.(447) Two is the number of confirmation in
witness‐bearing (Jn. 8:17); hence the two witnesses may also be considered
to symbolize the sufficiency of the testimony of the Old and New Testament
churches, as also a sufficient number in the church in every age who
witness for God and truth. These have power that is not of man but
divinely given, as is indicated in symbolic language (v. 5‐6), yet when
their testimony is finished, the Beast out of the abyss, the world‐power
of chapter thirteen, introduced here by anticipation, accomplishes their
apparent overthrow. Out of this deadly conflict with the world, and the
apparent defeat and eventually the death of the witnesses, with the
exposure of their dead bodies and contemptuous refusal of burial, a
personal indignity and sign of hatred and contempt, the fitting type of
the world’s treatment of the church in all ages and times, which in the
vision occurs in Babylon, “the great city”, the type of the godless
world,—out of all this seeming defeat comes ultimate victory. After three
and a half days the breath of life from God enters into them, and they
live again, and go up to heaven in a cloud. This points to the experience
of grave peril by the church preceding her triumph, including temporary
and seeming extinction at the hands of her enemies, and forming the
occasion for an expression of their supreme contempt, an experience such
as has occurred at different periods in her history, and which may,
indeed, occur again in the future—the church persecuted, scattered,
peeled, seemingly destroyed, but revived and restored by the power of God.
Three and a half days of defeat,—a broken number, indicating a short but
indefinite period in contrast with the three and a half years, or forty‐
two months, or a thousand two hundred and three score days, (v. 3), the
length of the entire world‐conflict,—a time of rejoicing by them that
dwell upon the earth, is followed, as in the case of our Lord, by
resurrection, ascension, and triumph, a parallel that is apparently
suggested by the similarity and was doubtless intended. This is true not
only of individual saints who have borne witness and suffered death only
to rise again in the witness of others and in their own personal
resurrection, but is especially true of the church in a collective sense,
both under the Old Testament and the New, which always rises triumphant
after every great disaster in her history, and shall rise again in all her
members at the resurrection of the last day after her witness is
complete.(448) God avenges his own, as is indicated in the vision by the
fall of the tenth part of the city, which is the share of the tithe under
the Mosaic law, and by the death of seven thousand men, a great and
complete number, seven multiplied by a thousand, who bear the punishment
of their sin. As the result of the martyrdom and avengement the rest of
men, give glory to God, a manifest attestation of the value of the
church’s witness. The world’s persecution, though bitter and continued,
fails to accomplish its end; the church of Christ survives, and rises
again in power, and its witness becomes effective. Historical
interpreters, however, generally regard the two witnesses as persons,
futurists identifying them as Moses (or Enoch) and Elijah, whom they
regard as yet to come, and preterists finding in them two leading
characters during the siege of Jerusalem by Titus, a view that restricts
the vision to very narrow limits. Others, catching the larger view,
interpret as “The Christian church and the Christian state”, and still
others as “The law and the prophets”, or “The prophets and the
priesthood”,—i. e. the whole spiritual authority of the old dispensation
which, “though perverted and destroyed by the Jews (some of the best
representatives of each being put to death), yet rose to new life and
enthronement in Christianity”. In any case the obvious teaching is the
triumph of faithful testimony for God, a principle of inestimable value
for the church when in the throes of persecution. And now, having looked
on the vision of the angel and the book, and of the two witnesses, the way
is open for the sounding of the seventh trumpet.

It may be noted in closing our study of this episode that many
commentators interpret “the great city”, in verse eight of this chapter,
as referring to Jerusalem, because of the designation “where also their
Lord was crucified”—Jerusalem being regarded as a world‐city. The decisive
reason against this, however, is the uniform usage of the book,(449) for
the interpretation is not otherwise materially affected. Jerusalem is
everywhere else in the Revelation the type of that which is holy, and is
nowhere else called “the great city”, while this name is applied seven
times elsewhere to Babylon (or Rome), the type of the ungodly world, in
which and by which our Lord may be truly said to have been crucified; and
there seems to be no adequate reason for regarding this passage as
containing an exceptional use of the phrase. Whether, however, we
interpret of Jerusalem or of Babylon the general sense remains the same.
In the one case the apparent defeat and contempt for the church of God, or
its witness and witnesses, occurs in Babylon, the type of the godless
world, while in the other it happens in Jerusalem, in that case the type
of unbelieving Judaism. Either symbolism, it will be seen, is suitable to
the context.

IV The Vision of Conflict (A Vision of Warfare). Ch. 12:1‐14:20

A discursive view of moral and spiritual conflict as the key to man’s
redemptive history, the prime thought which underlies the whole book, and
which is portrayed in this central fourfold vision as a pervasive church‐
historic world‐conflict of the evil against the just, now forms the
essential climax of the Revelation, disclosing a divine panorama of the
world in process of redemption with the great opposing forces which
contend against Christ and his kingdom; a discriminating outlook upon the
significant world‐movements of all time from the spiritual point of view,
for it is everywhere assumed that the forces which mould history are
spiritual, and that the master key to life is found in the supernatural.
And, whatever the form in which these movements became apparent to John in
his time, we may rest assured that the divinely inspired prophetic insight
led him to perceive, at least in some measure, that in their essence they
were timeless and repeated themselves in every age. This central vision is
in part the most difficult portion of the Revelation, containing seven
mystic figures, viz. the Sun‐Clothed Woman, the Great Red Dragon, the All‐
Ruling Man‐Child, the First Beast (the Beast from the Sea), the Second
Beast (the Beast from the Land), the Lamb on Mount Zion, and the Son of
Man on the Cloud, each one of whom is invested with a special symbolism.
The difficulties of interpretation belonging to this part of the
Revelation, it will be seen, are scarcely lessened in any degree by
referring different parts of the section to various Jewish apocalypses
which are supposed to have contained the gist of the thought in this
portion, according to the Apocalyptic‐Traditional view;(450) for, apart
from the fact that no such apocalypses are now extant, these sections,
even if they were originally derived from such a source, have an
application here that is distinctively new and specifically Christian. The
vision itself is properly divisible into four parts or sections, as
indicated in the arrangement that follows.

A The Woman and the Dragon, Ch. 12:1‐6, and 13‐17

This is a vision of Satan persecuting the church and the Messiah, and of
the effective divine deliverance, which although permitting a continuance
of the conflict yet provides help for overcoming and anticipates final
victory. The scene opens in heaven, but is afterward transferred to the
earth—see verse six.

1 The Sun‐Clothed Woman, Ch. 12:1‐2, 5‐6, and 13f.

A great sign is seen in heaven, a Woman glorious and crowned, arrayed with
the sun, the bearer of light, and having the moon under her feet, i. e.
triumphing over time and change, who evidently represents the church of
God on earth which was first Jewish and then Christian—“the ideal
community of God’s people”. The moon was the Jewish divider of time, and
the phases of it being marked by recurrent changes, it naturally formed a
ready type of both these ideas; and it may here also include the thought
of stability of existence in the midst of change of outward
appearance.(451) The sun and moon have been thought by some to indicate
the relative light of the New and Old Dispensations, though it is more
probable that both have been introduced mainly to enhance the conception
of the church’s ideal glory. The crown of twelve stars is the sign of the
covenant people,—the crown is στέφανος, the crown of victory, which God
designs to give the church, and the number, twelve, is the number of the
tribes of Israel—while the woman’s travail anguish is the figure of Jewish
affliction, and of deep longing for the Messiah. Some interpret the figure
of the woman as representing the Virgin Mary;(452) but the symbol is
clearly wider than a person, as is shown by the whole course of the
persecution with its transference to the rest of her seed when the Man‐
Child has escaped, and evidently applies to “the mystical mother of
Christ”, the church whose seed are many, though the source and
appropriateness of the figure is doubtless found in the fact that Christ
was born of a woman.

2 The Great Red Dragon, Ch. 12:3‐4, and 13f.

The Dragon, a mythical animal of traditionary terror, the symbol to the
Jewish world of all that which was hideous and harmful, and described as
red in color to indicate his sanguinary and destructive character, is
introduced in order to represent the Old Serpent, the Devil, and Satan (v.
9),(453) the lord of the present world and the adversary of Christ. His
seven heads with diadems, and the ten horns, are symbols of his full
dominion and absolute power over evil in the world during the period of
conflict. The head with a crown or diadem is the natural symbol of
dominion, which in the Apocalyptic literature usually signifies kings or
empires (cf. Dan. 2:32; and 7:6), and the horn is a recognized Jewish
emblem of power. The crown is the διάδημα, the sign of royalty, not the
στέφανος, or garland crown of victory—a distinction that is carefully
observed in the Revelation, as is indicated in the Revised Versions by the
translation “diadem”.(454) This symbolism of the seven heads and ten horns
was evidently chosen to indicate the manifestation of Satan’s power in the
kings and kingdoms of this world which are adverse to the kingdom of God,
as is clearly shown by their use in chapter thirteen,—that through which
Satan operates and makes his power felt being attributed to him as an
essential part of his being. The use of seven and ten together implies a
twofold completeness, i. e. completeness of kind and completeness of parts
(see App’x. E). This combination of seven, the symbol of perfection of
quality which is usually moral, with ten the symbol of completeness which
is usually earthly, though without necessarily implying any moral element,
is used with an evil significance throughout in the Revelation, and
creates some difficulty of interpretation; but it is doubtless best
explained as indicating that that which was originally designed for moral
perfection, signified by seven, has been combined with and prostituted to
purely earthly ends, as signified by ten, which ends are in this case
notably sinful. The suitability of the seven heads and ten horns belonging
alike to the Dragon, who represents Satan, and to the Beast (ch. 13:1),
who represents anti‐Christian national government, is thus quite manifest,
for both are evil. If we compare this with the combination of seven with
seven in the horns and eyes of the Lamb, where the idea of a twofold
spiritual perfection is indicated, something of the peculiar combination
and significance of numbers in the Revelation will become apparent. The
Dragon’s casting down the third part of the stars from heaven (v. 4), i.
e. a considerable number but not the larger part, is another sign of his
power (Dan. 8:10), and may allude to the angels who lost their first
estate and fell with him. He stands waiting in the vision before the
Woman, the church, in order to destroy her child, the Messiah, as soon as
the child is born, a purpose that he does not prove able to carry out.

3 The All‐Ruling Man‐Child, Ch. 12:5

The Man‐Child is Jesus Christ, who was born of a woman, and whom Satan
endeavors to destroy, but who was brought forth to rule or to shepherd all
the nations with a rod of iron (Ps. 2:9), i. e. with irresistible power,
and who was caught up to heaven by his resurrection and ascension. In this
symbolic action the sufferings and death of Christ are passed over in
silence in order to set forth at once the triumphant escape as the chief
thought in mind, and the futility of the Dragon’s effort.

4 The Wilderness Refuge, Ch. 12:6a, and 14a

The wilderness represents the present evil world as the place of trial
during the period in which the church, like Israel, continues her
pilgrimage toward the promised fulness of the messianic kingdom. There may
also be a reference in this to the lands of the Gentiles, called a
wilderness in contrast with Canaan the glorious land to the Jewish
patriot, where the church “hath a place prepared of God”, and is now
nourished like Israel of old in the wilderness; or, by a change of figure,
like the prophet Elijah was fed for twelve hundred and sixty days, the
equivalent of forty‐two months, or three and a half years,—the time, [two]
times, and half a time, i. e. three and a half times, of verse
fourteen,—the symbol of the indefinite period of the church’s conflict
with the world, or of the world‐triumph, which is a shortened time, a term
that will end (see App’x E). It may be mentioned here that the preterist
interpreters usually regard the wilderness refuge as a reference to the
flight of the Christians to Pella before Jerusalem was destroyed, by which
they escaped the three and a half years of the siege(455)—certainly a
remarkable coincidence, though not serving to establish that
interpretation—a meaning that is narrow and local instead of broad and

5 The Persecution of the Woman and her Seed, Ch. 12:4‐6, and 13‐17

The persecution of the Woman with her seed represents Satan’s malign but
fruitless attempts to destroy the church. The two wings of the great
eagle, i. e. the number of added strength and surety, are those of divine
preservation which are given her to escape from the destroying flood cast
out of the mouth of the Dragon, the apt symbol of Satan’s persistent
effort to overwhelm the church. To John’s mind the eagle, which was
inscribed upon the Roman standards, may have seemed the symbol of the
Roman Empire that at first protected Christianity from Jewish
persecution,(456) or the symbol may have been suggested by that fact; but
it represents as well what God is ever doing through human and earthly
means for the church’s deliverance. By the exceptional statement that “the
earth helped the woman”, we are evidently to understand that natural
causes helped Christianity, a fruitful suggestion that is remarkably
exemplified in history. The Dragon making war upon the rest of the Woman’s
seed, i. e. all of her seed except Jesus Christ, who was caught up to
heaven, indicates his continued attack upon the church and its members.

B War in Heaven, Ch. 12:7‐12

We have in this incident a digression in the midst of the account of the
persecution of the Woman in order to show the origin of Satan’s hatred,
and the beginning of the conflict in the far past.(457) Michael the
archangel, regarded as the presiding angel of the Jews from the time of
Daniel, together with the angels under him, warred with the Dragon and his
angels; and Satan, being cast out of heaven, transferred the conflict to
earth. A great voice is then heard in heaven declaring his downfall
together with the triumph of the kingdom of God, and recounting the
suffering of the saints because of him (v. 10‐12). This term which is here
introduced, “the kingdom of our God”, though used but twice in the book of
the Revelation, is the most notable phrase in the New Testament. It occurs
nearly a hundred times, either as “the kingdom of God”, or “the kingdom of
heaven”, a term which signifies the rule of God in the earth, God becoming
king among men. The kingdom of God, it should be seen, has a far broader
meaning and wider sweep than the church, for it serves to include all that
God is ever doing the ages through for the spiritual uplift and permanent
betterment of mankind. In the broadest sense this beneficent kingdom may
be defined as all that divinely directed movement and control in human
life and history which has for its object the ultimate accomplishment of
the mind and will of God in the hearts and lives of men—for this glorious
kingdom on the earthly side has its ultimate seat within the human heart
(Lu. 17:21). Jesus by his luminous teaching lifted that name, “the kingdom
of God”, out of the older and narrower phases of its Jewish use, and gave
it a broader and more beneficent meaning for all succeeding time. The
casting out of Satan, which is related in this section, is introduced as a
contributive event to the glorious coming of the kingdom. His defeat in
heaven foreshadows his defeat on earth, and though he still has “great
wrath” which he pours out upon men, yet ’he hath but a short time’ (v.
12), i. e. a time that is relatively short, until Christ shall reign in
power. They who are our brethren overcame him, we are told (v. 11),
“because of the blood of the Lamb”, therefore they are called upon to
rejoice. In connection with this interpretation it should not be forgotten
that the time‐relation is, in this view, ignored in the vision, as
commonly throughout the book, for Apocalyptic often does not separate the
near and the far, and events widely separated in time are viewed as
contemporaneous in the timeless sequence of prophetic perspective. Thus
the incident before us without any intimation takes us back to the period
anterior to creation, and then recurs as suddenly to the experience of
persecution by faithful Christians.(458) In all Apocalyptic writings there
is a manifest indifference to formal consistency that we do well to bear
in mind.

According to another view the account in this section is to be regarded as
continuous with the last, verse seven following verse six in natural
order, and the conflict described is to be placed after the resurrection
of Christ, making the victory a shortening of Satan’s power following upon
Christ’s redemptive work, and depriving him of such opportunity as he
hitherto had in heaven of accusing the brethren, thereby limiting his
sphere to this world. Notwithstanding the attractiveness of this view,
however, and what may be said in its favor from several passages in the
Gospels (cf. Lk. 10:18; Jn. 12:31; 14:30b; and 16:11),(459) the former
interpretation is upon the whole to be preferred as agreeing best with the
general sense of the chapter.(460) Such a symbol of victory over Satan,
whatever the period to which the victory may be attributed, was not out of
accord with ideas current at that time; for “this feature impossible in
modern conceptions of heaven, shows itself from time to time in pre‐
Christian and also early Christian conceptions, viz. the belief in the
presence of evil, or the possibility of its appearance, in the heavens”
[i. e. in the lower heavens].(461) In any case this section places in
clear perspective the great truth that leadership in the antagonism of
evil with righteousness belongs to and takes its rise from the
supernatural world, and what we constantly see here has its source and
occasion there, in the deeper spiritual vision of prophecy.

In the interpretation of this section a manifest parallelism has been
pointed out between the conflict of Marduk with Tiâmat in Babylonian
mythology, and the war between Michael and the Dragon in the
Apocalypse.(462) Others pursuing this idea still further, though without
sufficient ground for their conclusion, have attributed to Babylonian
origin a body of Jewish apocalyptic traditions which they assume to have
been one of the sources of the Revelation and to have furnished the
incident of this section.(463) In correction of this position it should be
seen that even when we recognize to the fullest extent the necessary
influence of contact with Babylon, both early and late, upon Jewish
thought, and the introduction of ideas from that source as natural and
inevitable, it does not follow that there was any such use made of
Babylonian mythology in the later Jewish writings as this would imply, for
the Jew was exceedingly wary of any religious ideas that did not spring
from his own ancestral heritage. It is indeed quite probable that
particular concepts, or thought‐elements, like that of the Dragon and of
the two Beasts in this vision, are of Babylonian origin; but “the
hypothesis of a Jewish messianic use of an entire heathen sun‐myth, and
then the Christian adaptation of the Jewish form”,(464) is in itself
highly improbable at so late a period in Jewish development, and can
scarcely be accepted by those who maintain the inspiration of the
Apocalypse in any essential sense. It is much more likely that the author,
if using such material at all, incorporated the thought rather than the
form of such floating Babylonian fragments as belonged to his time, in
accordance with his usual method of employing the Hebrew literature,
though this is wholly a matter of hypothesis.(465)

C The Two Beasts, Ch. 13:1‐18

The vision now sets forth two of the principal forms of the world’s
opposition to Christ and his kingdom, which are represented as Beasts,
monsters that are terrible and revolting in appearance, that are placed in
notable contrast with the Lamb, and that are inspired by Satan who stands
watching in his dragon form on the sands of the sea—for according to the
corrected reading of the Revised Version, it is the Dragon and not the
Apocalyptist that stands upon the seashore.(466) This vision affords an
interesting example of John’s use of already existing material, for the
idea of two wild beasts opposing the Messiah is found elsewhere in
apocalyptic writings, although not in exactly the same form,(467) and is
here made the basis of an illustration of undoubted power. The Beasts in
the Apocalypse are the natural and fitting embodiment of brute force
operating to control men in the sphere of religion. Some would prefer the
translation of θηρίον as a “monster” rather than a “beast”,(468) and
perhaps, it is technically more accurate, but the long use of the term
“beast” in this connection has made it familiar to our minds and also
intelligible, for it is a beast in the bad sense that is intended, and to
the average reader this term undoubtedly conveys the proper meaning.

1 The First Beast—the Beast from the Sea, Ch. 13:1‐10

A wild Beast fierce and bloodthirsty, and ideal composite creature, “like
unto a leopard and his feet were as _the feet_ of a bear, and his mouth as
the mouth of a lion” (v. 2), evidently formed from the beasts in Daniel’s
vision (ch. 7:3f.), is seen coming up out of the tempestuous sea of the
nations, and is manifestly the same as the Scarlet Beast of chapter
seventeen, the one constantly referred to as “the Beast” without any other
qualification. This is the symbol of the universal world‐power, i. e. all
the world‐kingdoms are considered as one and personified in this Beast in
open hostility to the church;(469) national opposition to Christianity,
exemplified by heathen Rome in John’s day which supplied the groundwork of
the conception, but extending far beyond that and applying equally to all
persecuting nations during the whole forty‐two months, or three and a half
years, of world‐domination, which represents the duration of the church‐
historic period of trial (v. 5), a period that is broken and incomplete
(see App’x E). The Beast is described as having ten horns and seven heads,
the symbol of a twofold completeness, both that of parts (ten) and that of
quality or kind (seven), the same number as the Dragon, though in inverse
order, indicating that the Beast is the agent of the Dragon, i. e. of
Satan, and is possessed of like dominion and power,—for “the Dragon gave
him his power, and his throne, and great authority”. The heads seem to
symbolize the world‐power taking form, and the horns the exercise of that
power. (For the further development of this symbolism, see ch. 17:9f.) And
it should be noted that the ten horns and seven heads are common not only
to the Dragon and the Beast, but are also the sum total of those belonging
to the four beasts in Daniel’s vision, i. e. to all the world‐powers there
designed, a symbolism which suggests that it properly applies to more than
one nation, and which here seems intended to portray the persistent
opposition of the Devil to the church of God, working through the power of
the world in all time and in all nations. The ten crowns or diadems upon
his horns denote the fulness of his sovereignty, and imply the extent of
his earthly rule; the names of blasphemy upon his heads seem to refer to
the divine titles and honors assumed by earthly kings, especially those of
Rome, as Domitian who ordered that in official documents he should be
styled “Our Lord and God”—a figure that is perhaps suggested here by the
mitre of the high priest on which was written “Holiness to the Lord”, to
which this was antipodal;(470) while the wounded head that is healed
refers to the death stroke, given to the world‐power by the life, death,
and resurrection of Jesus Christ, from which there has been seeming
recovery,(471) for this was a true deathblow to the world‐power, even
though it failed of immediate realization and thereby disappointed Jewish‐
Christian hopes of early victory. The Beast blasphemes against God, “his
name, and his tabernacle, even them that dwell in the heavens”, i. e. the
inhabitants of the tabernacle. “And it was given unto him to make war with
the saints and to overcome them: and there was given to him authority over
every tribe and people and tongue and nation”; but it is only as it is
“given unto him” that he can exercise his power, i. e. he is subject to
divine control. And every one, “whose name hath not been written from the
foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb that hath been
slain”, shall worship him. Thus is depicted not only the fierce antagonism
of the Roman Empire to the church in that age, but the perpetual hostility
and unceasing opposition of the universal world‐power in all ages and
nations to the growth of the kingdom of God among men.

The symbol of the Beast, notwithstanding the difficulty of its
interpretation, has certain distinguishing features that help to interpret
its meaning. The close resemblance to Daniel’s vision gives a clue to the
thought in mind, and serves to indicate the proper method of
interpretation. That the world‐power in some form is symbolized in the
vision, is clearly indicated; on this point all interpreters are agreed,
though the majority of modern interpreters regard the Beast as the Roman
Empire. That John had Rome primarily in mind can scarcely be doubted; but,
in the view accepted by the symbolic interpreters, the Roman Empire served
only to supply the groundwork for an idealized conception, in which the
ordinary and limited view of sense has become transformed under the
influence of prophetic insight into the wider vision of a world‐power
belonging to all time and pervading all history that rises beastlike in
strength and might to oppress the people of God. The Beast, according to
this interpretation, is the persecuting world‐power in any and every age
antagonizing the kingdom of God; the national and political forces of the
world in their organized form arraying themselves against our Lord and his
Christ; that phase of the world’s life which finds expression for its
opposition to the children of the kingdom under the forms of law and
government, the most sovereign and irresistible of all kinds of
persecution. This symbol naturally found a ready and satisfactory
interpretation by the early church in the prevailing surveillance of the
Roman authority; but it is an interpretation none the less true of heathen
nations everywhere and always, who constantly persecute the church of God.
The interpretation thus given is the one accepted by the symbolist school
as the most natural and satisfactory of all, having a world‐wide
application and universal content; and it may be confidently adopted with
an adequate degree of assurance that it conveys the meaning intended. The
preterist interpreters, on the other hand, limit the meaning of the First
Beast to the Roman Empire, using its power to oppose and oppress
Christianity, and construe the wounded head as a reference to the death of
Nero (see notes on chapter seventeen).

(1) An Admonition to Patience, Ch. 13:9‐10

John adds a word of warning concerning the need of patience and
perseverance for the saints. If any one is ordained to captivity, into
captivity let him go as the lot appointed him; resist not, for he that
taketh the sword shall perish by the sword; this is the test of “the
patience and the faith of the saints”. When we compare this message
contained in the tenth verse, which is an exhortation to patience under
persecution, with that in the eighteenth verse of this same chapter, where
the exhortation is to wisdom against deception, we get a glimpse of the
different kind of danger that is to be apprehended from each of the two
beasts, the first persecuting men, the second deceiving them.

2 The Second Beast,—the Beast from the Land, Ch. 13:11‐18.

Another wild Beast, also an ideal and composite creature, like unto yet
different from the first, is seen coming up out of the earth,(472) i. e.
out of established and well‐ordered society; the Two‐horned Beast in whom
the exercise of personal power or force is less prominent than in the
First Beast with ten horns to whom he is subordinate, for the power he
exerciseth is “all the power of the First Beast”. This Beast is the symbol
of the universal world‐religion, i. e. all the world‐religions are
considered as one and personified in the Second Beast, in disguised
hostility to the church of Christ;(473) the False Prophet of chs. 16:13
and 19:20, assuming to be what he is not, and using his authority for evil
ends, who “deceiveth them that dwell on the earth”.(474) His two horns
like a lamb, but voice like a dragon, indicate that he has the external
characteristics of a lamb, but the inner nature of a dragon, and are
evidently intended to signify that he appears to be like Christ, while he
is like Satan; he represents the forms of religion that assume to save
men, but in fact only bind them to evil. “He doeth great signs that he
should even make fire to come down out of heaven upon the earth in the
sight of men”, i. e. not a literal bringing down of fire, but a power
counterfeiting the power of God as shown of old in fire from heaven, a
great sign to Israel (Num. 16:35; I K. 18:38), and sembling that of the
two witnesses (ch. 11:5). And he required of “them that dwell on the
earth, that they should make an image to the Beast who hath the stroke of
the sword and lived”, i. e. the false religions of the world, which the
Second Beast represents, operate to make the people subservient to the
world‐power, the First Beast which had the stroke of the sword and lived,
with which these religions always stand connected whether in Rome or in
other nations;(475) and the people render worship as they are directed.
“And it was given _unto him_ to give breath to the image of the Beast that
it should speak and cause as many as should not worship the image to be
killed”, i. e. the heathen religions give life and authority to national
worship, give vitality to the world‐power that it should command and
compel men to join in its idolatrous forms or lose their lives by refusal.
Thus the whole figure seems to indicate the spirit of the world operating
against the church through the forms of religion, especially as seizing
upon the natural and ethnic religions, permeating them with deceit, and
subverting them to worldly ends (v. 14), the element of religion being a
prominent feature throughout. Actuated by worldly wisdom, which is
“earthly, sensual, and devilish” (Jas. 3:15), this Beast, we are told,
bids all men worship the image of the First (v. 12 and 14), i. e. worship
the deification of the world‐power, thereby insidiously rehabilitating the
world‐power in another form, a figure likely drawn from the worship of the
Emperor’s image, a cult prevailing at the time, and showing how false
religions rest upon and are upheld by heathen governments. John doubtless
had primarily in mind the heathen priesthood of that period, especially
the priesthood of Caesar‐worship, which afforded the best example of the
then existing world‐religions, but this only formed the groundwork of the
larger thought of the vision. Preterist interpreters, as a rule, would
limit the meaning of the Second Beast to the heathen priesthood of that
time, but this is too restricted a view. Any religion anywhere rejecting
the Christ and crowning the world‐power is represented by the Second
Beast. It has also been suggested that the Second Beast represents the
Asiarch, or chief priest of Asia, the director and instigator of Emperor‐
worship.(476) This may possibly have been the source of John’s idea; but
however formed we should regard it as a universal and poetic conception of
one continuous phase of the world’s opposition to Christ and his kingdom,
and not limit it to any particular historic manifestation of that
opposition. Others, without sufficient grounds, have referred the title to
the papacy, interpreting the First and Second Beasts as Rome pagan and
papal. Another interpretation is that the First Beast is the secular
persecuting power, pagan or Christian, and the Second Beast is the
sacerdotal persecuting power, pagan and Christian; while still another and
better interpretation is that world‐force is the first, and world‐worship,
i. e. world‐religion and superstition, the second.(477) Symbolist
interpreters always prefer the wider to a narrower symbolism in accordance
with their general view of the book. According to this view, which is the
one accepted in the present volume, all the world‐religions which profess
to be holy but are controlled by the same spirit, belong to the Second
Beast and contribute to his power. The aspect of heathenism which here
presented itself to John’s mind is the most general and obvious of all its
many characteristics; and although we now recognize more fully the
elements of truth in the ethnic religions, and their relative value in the
moral education of mankind when without the gospel, yet John’s view still
holds good, and is confirmed by the world‐wide testimony of the mission
field. The world‐spirit which lies at the door of the world‐religions is
and always has been evil, and will always be degrading to the soul, that
spirit which subordinates the moral and spiritual to purely selfish and
worldly ends. The forms of the Two‐horned Beast today are just as
deceiving and defiling to men, and as much opposed to the kingdom of God,
as they ever were of old. And not only are all the world‐religions the
abiding manifestation of the Second Beast, but even the Christian church
also, whether Catholic or Protestant, may become subservient thereto,
whenever or wherever it, or any part of it, may be dominated by the spirit
of the world‐religions, and thereby yields its God‐given prestige to this
Beast. The forms of human learning, too, as philosophy, science,
literature, and art, when they trench upon the sphere of religion and
become atheistic, agnostic, materialistic, or God‐defying, exhibit the
spirit of the world‐religions in opposition to Christ, and are
manifestations of the same Beast. This power is world‐wide and age‐long,
and the vision seems to look through and beyond the forces then at work to
their wider manifestation in history. For the Second Beast is the
incarnation of the permanent and universal world‐religion in each and all
of its forms, and while presenting one aspect of the world‐religions of
John’s time, yet goes far beyond that and portrays the principle of
opposition to the church of Christ which underlies them all, and which
would develop new forms in the period when Christianity had nominally
triumphed, continuing the conflict upon different lines from the violent
persecutions of the earlier ages; a period when the world’s opposition to
God would be expressed “by affiliation with the religion of Jesus, and by
penetrating its life with false ideals”, producing a faithlessness within
the church even more deadly in its results than the fatal furor of
persecution, for the world within the church is one of the forms of the
Second Beast, and there is nothing so dangerous to the life of the soul as
irreligious religion.(478)

(1.) An Admonition to Wisdom, Ch. 13:18

“Here is wisdom”, John says: “He that hath understanding, let him count
the number of the Beast; for it is the number of a man”,—or rather, “the
number of man”, for there is no article in the Greek, implying that the
reference is not to any particular man—(479) i. e. it is a human number.
The mark of the Beast, like that of an ancient devotee to his idol, is put
upon both the hand and brain (v. 16)(480) of all the people who accept his
authority, without any distinction of rank, rich and poor, bond and free,
small and great, all alike, showing that their powers are uniformly
devoted to the service of this world. John exhorts the church to wisdom in
discerning this Beast, indicating the subtleness of his hidden power. The
number of his name, i. e. designation, is six hundred and sixty‐six (some
manuscripts read six hundred and sixteen, but this is almost certainly an
error of transcription), the symbol of a threefold, composite power of
evil which includes the Dragon, the First Beast, and the Second, and which
culminates in the last, viz:—600, a hundredfold of six, a numerical
designation of the Dragon, plus 60, tenfold of six, a similar designation
of the First Beast, plus 6, onefold of six, a like designation of the
Second Beast, if considered alone, which together, equal 666, the
numerical designation of the full power which the Second Beast represents.
The key to the mystical designation 666, according to this
interpretation,(481) is found in the number six, the number of evil, one
short of seven or perfection, Satan’s number, whether multiplied by ten or
not, here thrice repeated, _six_, _six_, _six_, each repetition
multiplying the previous number tenfold, or six a hundredfold added to six
tenfold added to six a single fold, producing a triple symbol of the full
power of evil. In this symbolism we seem to have the thought of a trinity
of evil striving in antagonism to the divine trinity; and though we cannot
be sure that John had this in mind, yet it seems quite in accord with the
apocalyptic method of depicting truth. If the reading 616 is preferred,
the First Beast is then designated by 10, the symbol of earthly
completeness, instead of 60 as above, a much less likely symbolism, but
not affecting the general meaning.

The mark of the Beast is one of the most disputed points in the whole
book, and some commentators, while suggesting a probable interpretation,
prefer to leave the meaning unsolved. Certainly all interpretations
finding in the number a cryptic name, such as _Neron Caesar_, or
_Lateinos_, notwithstanding their wide acceptance by modern interpreters,
should be discarded as fanciful.(482) The number was evidently intended as
a designation rather than a name; it is a symbol like every other number
in the Revelation, and any attempt to solve it by reference to the Jewish
_gematria_, or numerical indication of names, is foreign to the method of
the book, and only involves it in greater obscurity, as the different
answers obtained in that way will show.(483) While that interpretation has
been the generally accepted view with preterists, a revolt against its
arbitrariness is manifest in late writers, and cannot but be felt by the
attentive student.(484) That six hundred and sixty‐six is a triple symbol
of the full power of evil, has found acceptance with a multitude of
readers, and is the most satisfactory interpretation to those who hold the
symbolic view.

In conclusion it should be said that the identification of this Beast, or
of the former one, with the Antichrist of John’s Epistles is of more than
doubtful value in arriving at the meaning intended; for the Apocalyptist
studiously avoided the use of that term though quite familiar with it (I
Jn. 2:18; 2:22; 4:3; and II Jn. 1:7), and we surely cannot do better than
to follow his example. Indeed the entire interpretation of the Apocalypse
will be permanently advanced when all direct reference to a _personal_
Anti‐christ is finally eliminated as foreign to the purpose, if not the
thought of the book. In the broad sense of the term the Anti‐christ is the
Against‐Christ in any and every form. John tells us (I Jn. 2:18) there are
“Many antichrists” (ἀντίχριστοι πολλοὶ), a term peculiar to John in the
New Testament; our Lord said (Mat. 24:24) “There shall arise false
christs” (ψευδόχριστοι), a different term in the Greek, and evidently
referring to more than one; and it may well be doubted whether the
prediction is anywhere intended to refer to a single person. The term may
be understood in a general way to include the Two Beasts, the Harlot, and
all other forms of anti‐christianity, but no more definite identification
can with any probability be made.

D. The Lamb on Mount Zion, Ch. 14:1‐20

The closing part of this fourfold vision, revealing the final outcome of
the preceding conflict in the glorious triumph of the Lamb and his
followers, is now given for the comfort of the church, and to relieve the
sombre shadows of the earlier parts of the vision by a foregleam of

1. The Redeemed with the Lamb, Ch. 14:1‐5

We see here a vast and virgin multitude, a hundred and forty‐four
thousand, a large and perfect number, the former symbol of the complete
first‐fruits from Israel (ch. 7:4), now used by synecdoche to represent
all the redeemed who have been chosen from among men, the best of their
race, who are called “the first‐fruits unto God and unto the Lamb”,(485)
and who stand with the Lamb upon Mount Zion, in the city of the living
God, the heavenly Jerusalem, having his name and the name of his Father
written upon their foreheads, signifying to whom they belong and marking
them as antipodal to those who have received the mark of the Beast (ch.
13:16), and who sing a new song, the song of victory (the Incommunicable
Chorus), known only to the redeemed. Of this blessed company it is said
that “they are without blemish”, i. e. they are sinless before God, which
is apparently an explanation of the symbolism used in saying that they are
“virgins”, and “not defiled with women”,—or “among women”. Roman Catholic
commentators, however, usually interpret literally, and apply the passage
to those women who have never entered into wedlock for the kingdom of
heaven’s sake—a construction that it scarcely seems to bear.(486)
Futurists generally maintain that the vision refers to the earthly Zion,
and connect the incident with the second advent, making the hundred and
forty‐four thousand to consist of Jews alone.

2. The Three Angel Messages, Ch. 14:6‐11

These are distinct notes of divine warning, prelusive of the End, which
are given by the mouth of three different angels, showing their separate
and individual importance; they are three in number, the symbol of the
spiritual, indicating the nature of their contents; and they are
introduced as preparatory to the scenes of anticipated judgment in verses
fourteen to twenty, and are premonitory of the End. The End is an ever‐
recurrent note that always finds place in the deeper strains of
Apocalyptic literature. The End that victory may come, was the natural cry
of a spirit that despaired of the present world, and believed that God
could only be vindicated by the consummation of all things. This was a
fundamental weakness of the Apocalyptic point of view, which found the
proper design of the world in its speedy ending and not in its longer
continuance, a mistake that unfortunately has been perpetuated in
Christian thought as though it were fundamental to it, whereas the victory
and the End may well be as far apart as the creation from the victory. The
Apocalypse sounds the note of the End without hesitancy or discussion. The
difficulties that embarrass us did not enter into the thought of that

(1) The Message of the Eternal Gospel, Ch. 14:6‐7

“Another angel” and the first of the three which follow, flying in mid‐
heaven proclaims the (or _an_) eternal gospel to every nation and tribe
and tongue and people before the time of judgment, the symbol of the
fulfilment of the words of our Lord: “This gospel of the kingdom shall be
preached in the whole world for a testimony unto all the nations; and then
shall the end come” (Mat. 24:14). The angel exhorts men to “fear God and
give him glory; for the hour of his judgment is come”, i. e. is now at

(2) The Message of Babylon’s Fall, Ch. 14:8

A second angel proclaims the fall of Babylon, the city of the world, the
dwelling‐place and symbol of the world of sinful men, and the antithesis
of Jerusalem, which is the city of God, the dwelling‐place and symbol of
the holy. The destruction of Babylon is a necessary prelude to the End,
for the sinful worldly life which finds its fitting type in this great
city must be broken down before Christ can triumph.

(3) The Message of Doom for the Beast and his Followers, Ch. 14:9‐11

The third angel proclaims the doom of divine wrath upon the worshippers of
the Beast and his image, i. e. upon those who glorify the blasphemous
world‐power, or share in the deceit of the world‐religion; and the terms
of the message are full of terror and foreboding. Thus in a concise and
triple message is foreshadowed the universal proclamation of the gospel,
the overthrow of the world’s social and communal life adverse to God, and
the final destruction of those forces in national and religious thought
that withstand the full and final triumph of the Christ.

3. The Blessedness of the Holy Dead, Ch. 14:12‐13

The author at this point expresses his sympathy with the church, setting
forth the need of patience in the conflict (v. 12); and then he records a
voice heard from heaven (v. 13), declaring that the dead who die in the
Lord are blessed “henceforth”, i. e. after death, for they have both rest
and reward,(487) and possibly including, also, the additional thought that
they have thereby escaped from the great tribulation even though by
martyrdom. Thus once more the redeemed are placed in opposition to the
unredeemed, the saved are set over against the lost, as those who have
secured the better part.

4. The Harvest of the Elect, Ch. 14:14‐16

One like unto the Son of Man (or _a_ son of man), i. e. one sharing our
humanity—a designation of the Messiah after the time of Daniel(488)—is
seen sitting upon a white cloud, the traditional covering of the divine
majesty and a symbol of the divine presence, having on his head a golden
crown, the token of glory and of victory, and in his hand a sharp sickle,
the instrument for reaping. And on the announcement of another angel(489)
from out the temple that the hour was come, he cast his sickle upon the
earth and gathered all the faithful into his kingdom as a harvest that was
ripe, a symbol of the ingathering of all the redeemed preceding the
punishment of the wicked (cf. Mat. 25:31‐46). The action set forth in this
part of the vision is preparatory to and anticipates the judgment, yet the
process of judgment is not described. The vision is occupied rather with
pointing out how the path of history inevitably leads to the judgment bar.
The incident serves to introduce the seventh and last of the mystic
figures of this wonderful vision of conflict, the Son of Man on the Cloud,
who represents Christ as the theanthropic Redeemer and Judge, a quite
different aspect of his character from the Man‐Child where he is set forth
subject to the conditions of his mysterious incarnation, and therefore
requiring an entirely different symbol.

5. The Vintage of Wrath, Ch. 14:17‐20

Still another angel came out from the shrine or sanctuary of the temple in
heaven, at the summons of the angel who had power over fire, i. e. the
fire of the altar, which is here the symbol of judgment, and gathered all
the ungodly as vintage from the earth, and cast them into the winepress,
the great winepress, of the wrath of God, a figure of the ingathering and
fearful punishment of the wicked at the end of the world. According to
this view the two gatherings described in verses fourteen to twenty, are
regarded as depicting the opposite fate in store for the faithful and the
wicked, instead of a twofold account of the same event repeated in
different form for the purpose of emphasis. This interpretation agrees
best with the general tenor of the chapter and the common method of
contrast throughout the book; others, however, regard the passage as a
double figure of the judgment.(490) The scene is laid outside the city, i.
e. Jerusalem, most likely the New Jerusalem, the home of God’s people,
without the gates of which are the wicked who perish (ch. 22:15). The
figure may have been drawn from the scenes of terror and bloodshed which
attended the fall of the earthly city under Titus, a view quite possible
if the later date of authorship be accepted, though possibly there may
have been no definite city in mind. Some connect this passage with the
struggle in chapter twenty (v. 7‐10), where the nations compass the
beloved city, and connect both with the advent, interpreting literally,—a
view common with the futurists. And we are told that when the winepress
was trodden “there came out blood, from the winepress, even unto the
bridles of the horses,”(491) a symbol of the terrible destruction of life
that ensued, a flowing stream that reached as far as a thousand and six
hundred furlongs, i. e. almost two hundred Roman miles, or somewhat
farther than the entire length of Palestine, a Jewish synonym for a great
distance. Sixteen hundred is also the square of four, the earth number,
multiplied by the square of ten, the number of completeness, which perhaps
indicates that the punishment is complete throughout the whole created
world. The passage in its essential thought is an echo from the rhapsody
of Joel (ch. 3:13), combined with the vision of judgment in Isaiah’s Zion
redeemed (ch. 63:3‐6), and recalls his Assyrian flood, reaching even to
the neck (Isa. 8:7‐8).(492) The transition to the vision of vials is now
made by a sudden change of theme, and a return to the world‐process of
judgment that is age‐long and world‐wide in its scope and purpose.

V. The Vision of the Seven Vials [or Bowls] (A Vision of Judgment). Ch.
15:1‐16:12, and 16:17‐21

The vision of the seven vials is a revelation of God’s last plagues upon
the ungodly, a final view of the divine providential purpose concerning
the wicked, another group of seven that are set forth in a form similar to
the judgments under the trumpets, but of increased severity, and that are
promptly executed. They are called “another sign”, and may be regarded as
another line of judgments of similar character to the trumpets, or as the
complete fulfilment of the contents of the trumpet‐judgments presented in
another way, which are given for increased emphasis under figures that are
analogous, and that indicate their inner connection; and, so far as the
vials have any time‐relation, they may be regarded as belonging to the
same general period as the trumpets, i. e. the time of man’s existence on
the earth, especially the period of conflict, though shown by their
progressive and destructive character to culminate in the closing period
of human history. The vials are marked by an intensity of form and
rapidity of movement, especially as they approach the end, and they are
not limited like the trumpets to a part of men, but affect all the evil.
They are vivid symbolic presentations of deep and terrible punishments,
and are called ’the last plagues’ because in them is fulfilled or
completed the wrath of God upon the earth—a new and final view of the
divine purpose concerning the wicked which may be looked at quite apart
from any previous view.

Some preterists, who find in the seals a prophetic description of the
trials of the church in the first age, regard the trumpets as a typical
presentation of the fall of Jerusalem, and the vials as a portrayal of the
fall of Rome.(493) This opinion, it is affirmed, accords best with the
general method of the Apocalyptic writings, which have for the most part a
definite and local interpretation, and avoids the difficulty of an
apparent repetition of similar judgments upon the same objects under the
trumpets and the vials. But, upon the other hand, the prophetic outlook of
John appears to the majority of devout minds to have a far wider sweep
than that of other Apocalyptic writers outside the Scriptures, and to
embrace a world‐view that is universal, and that is not at all met by
these limited historical fulfilments. Still, even if the former view were
correct in its main assumption, “that does not preclude us,” as has been
well said,(494) “from interpreting the inspired words as referring not
only to events near John’s time, but also to other events of which they
were the foretaste and figures. To us the meaning [in that case] is that
the type of the end has been foretold and has come, but that the end
itself which has been equally foretold [the full end] must be watched for
in all seriousness.” If we have a correct view of prophecy we can readily
assent to these words of wisdom which cannot be too strongly emphasized.

It should be noted in passing that the revelation of these world‐judgments
in the visions of the seals, the trumpets, and the vials, notwithstanding
their separate character, may be seen to follow a certain line of
development, showing an inner connection; and also, that the divine
purpose of judgment may be considered as being in a general way partially
disclosed under the seals,—for judgment is one phase of the seals though a
subordinate one—as being publicly proclaimed by the trumpets, and as being
fully executed in the pouring out of the vials, each series presenting a
different view, complete in itself, of God’s punitive inflictions for sin
throughout the whole history of mankind. They are seen, also, to reflect
God’s long‐suffering patience with the sinner, first making known his
wrath in an order of providences which affect his people as well as those
of the world; then in threatening and manifesting his purpose to punish
evil by an order of events which affect only a part of mankind, i. e. the
sinful because they are sinful, and that afford abundant opportunity for
repentance; and, finally, by the swift execution of a divinely just though
terrible punishment upon all the obdurately wicked that refuse to repent.
This last is the great, impressive, and awe‐inspiring thought of the
vision of the vials.

A. The Preparation for the Vials, Ch. 15:1‐8

The preparation for the vials, which is now entered upon, is a connecting
link with the former vision, and a prelude to the plagues that follow. It
is introduced by an inspiring view of the saints who have come victorious
out of the conflict depicted in that vision, and is intended for the
comfort of God’s people in the midst of trials to which they cannot be
indifferent, and which in affecting the world of nature and of men must in
some degree also affect the righteous as well, though delivered from their
destroying power. The comfort afforded in trial by the promise of
deliverance, an element which has no small share in the purpose of the
Apocalypse, is clearly brought out in this introductory passage before the
vials have begun to be poured out, and is not interjected between them, as
in the episodes that occur in the seals and trumpets—the episode in the
vision of the vials being a warning of danger. The vision, too, is
followed immediately by the comforting vision of victory beginning in the
seventeenth chapter.

1. The Angels with the Plagues, Ch. 15:1‐2a

Seven angels appear, to whom is entrusted the execution of the seven
plagues, which are called “the last” because they lead to the end of the
world and to the bar of judgment;(495) and the sea of glass, formerly
described as “like unto crystal”, now becomes “mingled with fire”, the
sign of the flushing of victory through anticipated judgment felt by all
those who share in that great boundless life which exists before the
throne, and whose experience is symbolized by the sea with its wide
relation to the people of God in the past (cf. notes on ch. 4:6).(496)

2. The Victors by the Sea, Ch. 15:2b

The victors over the Beast and his image stand by rather than _upon_ the
sea,(497) indicating their close relation to it, having harps of God
prepared for tuneful melody. The figure seems to be drawn from the triumph
of Israel at the Red Sea, though the significance of the sea cannot be
quite the same, for in the old sense ’the sea is no more’ (ch. 21:1); it
has here become the symbol of the calm and fulness of life and joy in the
presence of God.

3. The Song of the Redeemed, Ch. 15:3‐4

The united song of all the redeemed before God, (the Adoration Chorus of
Moses and the Lamb) who belong alike to the Old Dispensation and the New,
to Moses and to Christ, represents the essential unity of faith and life
under both parts of God’s redemptive plan which is now about to be
completed. It is an outburst of praise and adoration addressed to the Lord
God, the Almighty, the King of the Ages, whose wondrous works and
righteous judgments have been and are about to be made manifest before all
nations. The song is the counterpart of the song of deliverance by the
shore of the Red Sea, but it has a new and deeper fulness that is
consonant with its theme.

4. The Judgment Made Ready, Ch. 15:5‐8

The temple, the ναὸς or inner shrine of the tabernacle of the testimony
(i. e. of the tabernacle of the law of God), is seen in heaven opened, and
the seven angels who are clothed as priests and have charge of the plagues
come out of it as the vindicators of that law. These are “arrayed with
_precious_ stone”, according to the variant reading adopted in the Revised
Version, which has the weight of manuscript authority in its favor; but,
as this reading differs from the Authorized Version only by a single
letter in the Greek word, and only yields sense by the insertion of the
word “precious”, it is best to regard it as due to a very early mistake of
a copyist, and keep the old reading, “clothed in linen”, (Ezek. 9:2).(498)
The thought is in either case practically the same, viz. that these angels
are clothed like priests, for the phrase “arrayed with precious stone”, if
we adhere to that reading, recalls the breastplate of the high‐priest, as
the phrase “clothed in linen” evidently refers to the garments of the
priesthood. There are seven angels in the vision to symbolize the
universal character of the punishments, and there are given unto them by
one of the four living creatures who represent all created life, seven
golden vials or bowls full of the wrath of God (cf. Jer. 25:15f) to
indicate the nature of their mission. “And the temple was filled with
smoke”, the sign of the presence and glory and terror of the Lord; and, as
at Sinai, no one could enter his presence while the judgments were being

B. The Vials Poured Out, Ch. 16:1‐12, and 17‐21

The vials or bowls in the vision, which are apparently the same as the
basons used in the temple service for receiving the sacrificial blood and
the wine of the drink‐offering, are made the symbolic receptacles of the
judicial wrath of God against sin, called “the wine of the fierceness of
his wrath” in verse nineteen, which is evidently conceived of as stored up
through long periods to be suddenly and violently poured out. The golden
bowls seem to indicate broad shallow vessels quite unlike our modern
vials, probably of a deep saucer‐like shape so that their contents could
be poured out at once and suddenly.(499) The name “vials” has, however,
been retained in these notes, notwithstanding the change to “bowls” in the
Revised Version, because of its associations and wide use in commentaries.
The translation of φιάλας as “bowls” is doubtless more accurate, but the
term used is relatively indifferent if the proper meaning be attached to
it. They are not vials in the modern sense, but in the original sense of
the word φιάλη in the Greek, which is the source of our English word
“vial”, but which meant a shallow cup or bowl. The pouring out of the
vials or bowls is the symbol of the execution of divine wrath upon the
world. The vague description given in the vision of the nature of the
inflictions which finally fall upon men as the result of the pouring out
of the vials, forbids our attempting any very definite interpretation of
them beyond the most general one that the world of nature and of men is
made to abound with terrors which distress the evil. In this
interpretation we can be absolutely confident, and the general effect
seems to be the chief matter of importance. The abiding impression of the
judgments of the vials, despite their obscurity, is one of deep and
pervasive solemnity.

(1.) The Command to Pour Out the Vials, Ch. 16:1

Preceding the opening of the series a great voice is heard out of the
temple, i. e. from the inner shrine of the temple in heaven, apparently
from God himself, though possibly from one of the Angels of the Presence,
saying to the seven angels, “Go ye and pour out the seven bowls [or vials]
of the wrath of God into the earth”; and in obedience to this command each
angel empties his vial into, or upon, an appointed object. The first three
vials are poured _into_ the objects named, while the last four are poured
_upon_ them, as indicated by the prepositions είς and ἐπὶ; but, so far as
can be seen, no special purpose is served by this use.

1 The Pouring Out of the First Vial, Ch. 16:2

The first angel poured out his vial into the earth; and it became a
noisome and grievous sore upon the men that had the mark of the Beast: the
symbol of wrath poured out on the earth, and thus upon the men who are of
it and belong to it, producing suffering that is bitter and intense. The
form of the judgment is doubtless purposely indefinite, but the object on
which it falls is made plain: the men who have attached themselves to the
company of the Beast bear their punishment to the full, and it is poured
out upon them by divine authority.

2 The Pouring Out of the Second Vial, Ch. 16:3

The second angel poured out his vial into the sea; and it became blood as
of a dead man, i. e. clotted and putrefying, and it caused every living
thing in the sea to die—a form of judgment that was very repulsive to the
Jewish mind: the symbol of wrath poured out on the sea, one part of the
fourfold division of creation noted under the trumpets, and thus upon men
who are made to suffer by this means for their evil doing. As under the
trumpets the first four vials are poured out upon the earth, the sea, the
rivers and fountains, and the sun, a figurative form indicating their
world‐wide character—they affect the whole created world.

3 The Pouring Out of the Third Vial, Ch. 16:4‐7

The third angel poured out his bowl into the rivers and the fountains of
the waters; and they became blood: the symbol of wrath poured out on the
sources of water supply for the people, thereby punishing men
retributively for the righteous blood which they had shed, and calling
forth voices of approval from heaven, viz. from the angel of the
waters,(500) and from the altar, i. e. from the place where the martyrs
rest (ch. 6:9). Retribution is declared to be the judicial result of
divine wrath for sin; those who poured out the blood of saints and of
prophets are given blood to drink as their just desert—a fearful
punishment to the Eastern mind.

4 The Pouring Out of the Fourth Vial, Ch. 16:8‐9

The fourth angel poured out his vial upon the sun; and it was given unto
it to scorch men with fire: the symbol of wrath poured out on the heavenly
bodies, especially upon the sun the source of light and heat, that they
may become the agent of punishment to men. And men blasphemed the name of
God, who is recognized as having power over these plagues; and they
repented not to give him glory, exhibiting the aspect of punishment which
embitters and does not lead to repentance. It is a curious coincidence
that the parts of creation which are made the subjects of judgment under
the fourth vial and the fourth trumpet are described in Genesis as having
been created on the fourth day.

5 The Pouring Out of the Fifth Vial, Ch. 16:10‐11

The fifth angel poured out his vial upon the throne of the Beast; and his
kingdom was darkened; and men gnawed their tongues for pain, and
blasphemed the God of heaven, and they repented not of their works: the
symbol of wrath poured out on the throne of the Beast as the
representative of Satan’s power in the world, thus afflicting the
worshippers of the Beast and his image. Under the fifth vial it will be
seen that the plagues pass from the physical to the spiritual sphere of
action, just as they did in the seals and trumpets; and they are found to
be cumulative rather than successive, while, as under the preceding vial,
they do not lead to repentance but to wrath and punishment. Also,
throughout the vials, it is not the third part only that is affected, as
under the trumpets, but the punishment falls upon the whole created world,
showing the universal character of the judgments.

6 The Pouring Out of the Sixth Vial, Ch. 16:12

The sixth angel poured out his vial upon the great river, the Euphrates;
and the water thereof was dried up,(501) that the way might be made ready
for the kings that come from the sunrising: the symbol of wrath poured out
on the Euphrates, the center and seat of heathenism, or on the world‐
forces of evil, thereby opening the way for the influx of the Kings of the
East to march to their ruin. The Kings of the East evidently belong to the
“kings of the whole world” (v. 14), and are instruments of the Dragon and
of the Beast who go up to war, not against Babylon, but against
believers.(502) The Euphrates was the center and stronghold of heathenism
to the Jewish mind, and behind that lay the indefinite world‐power which
is here represented by the Kings of the East; upon these the angel poured
out the vial of the retributive wrath of God.

[At this point the Episode Vb, given in verses thirteen to sixteen, occurs
in the order of the vision,—a paragraph which though of limited extent has
yet a clear relation to the course of the vials as an intervening vision
of warning to the redeemed, and preparing the way for the approaching

7 The Pouring Out of the Seventh Vial, Ch. 16:17‐21

The seventh angel poured out his vial upon the air; and there came forth a
great voice out of the temple, from the throne, saying, “It is done:(503)
and there were lightnings, and voices, and thunders; and there was a great
earthquake, such as was not since there were men upon the earth”: the
symbol of wrath poured out on the air as the familiar abode of evil
spirits,(504) and also of the coming of the End, which is depicted by the
fall of cities, especially of Babylon the great city, the type of the
godless world, which is divided asunder into three parts, a symbol of
completeness,—also three a symbol of the divine, perhaps implying God hath
wrought it,—and is given to drink of the cup of the wine of the fierceness
of God’s wrath; by the destruction of islands and mountains, and by a
plague of great hail, exceeding great, every stone of which was about the
weight of a talent, i. e. from 108 to 130 pounds; “and men blasphemed God
because of the plague of the hail”.(505) The End itself is unrecorded; but
with the infliction of the seven vials it is declared that “the wrath of
God is spent”.(506) The whole course of the vials is toward the End, which
though not described, yet stands out in singular prominence as the
inevitable result of the ruin wrought by sin; and here, as in the vision
of the trumpets, the millennial period is not brought into view as a
preceding stage. The transition to the scene of victory in the seventeenth
chapter is after this immediately made by one of the vial‐angels (ch.

If we now recall the path of the seven vials, we can see how in their
course they rapidly and intensively press on to the end of the ages and to
the final ruin of the world, and also how they aptly prefigure the
progressive punitive inflictions of God for sin. They are both world‐wide
in their character and relentless in their execution. They fall upon the
land, and upon the sea, upon the rivers and fountains of waters, and upon
the sun the source of light,—the figurative representatives of the created
universe. Then, like the judgments of the seals and of the trumpets, they
pass from the natural world to the sphere of the spiritual, and are seen
to fall upon the far‐reaching kingdom of the Beast, i. e. upon the world‐
powers operating under Satan’s direction in open hostility to the church;
afterward they fall upon the Euphrates, the old center of heathenism and
seat of spiritual darkness in the far East, the typical center of the
world‐forces of evil; and finally under the seventh vial they lead to the
end of the world, the conclusion of the centuries, and the day of complete
recompense for sin. The distinction between the kingdom of the Beast, i.
e. the world‐powers of all time, and the forces represented by the
Euphrates, the center and seat of heathenism, is not so clearly drawn
under the fifth and sixth vials, as that between Satan with his host, and
the world‐forces of heathenism, under the fifth and sixth trumpets. But
the kingdom of the Beast, here, as elsewhere, evidently represents the
world‐kingdoms in their organized form (or if taken in a narrower sense
the then kingdom of Rome that foreshadowed them all), which forces are
spiritually opposed to the kingdom of God; whereas the Euphrates, the
center and seat of spiritual darkness in the historic past, apparently
represents heathenism in the great East, which is here regarded as a far‐
reaching spiritual force operating against Christianity—the judgments
under these vials falling upon the world‐force operating in the sphere of
the spiritual, and upon the world‐religions opposing Christianity. And no
one surely can read the record of the vials without being impressed with
the unerring certainty and absolute terror of the final punishment for
sin; so that even if the vision of the vials did point primarily, as most
preterists insist, to the destruction of Rome and its temporal power, it
surely points yet more decisively to the great era of judgment upon the
powers of evil that culminates in the closing period of human history. The
vision depicts God punishing the evil in a progressive course to the very
end, and this end is only effectively reached in the day of final

Vb The Episode of the Frog‐like Spirits (A Vision of Warning). Ch.

This passage, it will be seen, is a minor digression between the sixth and
seventh vials, corresponding to the episodes in the vision of the seals
and of the trumpets, though not like them a vision of comfort, but a
vision of danger to the church from the combined forces of evil in the
world, yet not without anticipation of the glorious outcome which is given
in the nineteenth chapter (v. 19‐21), for these forces, we are told, are
gathered together unto “the war of the great day of God, the Almighty” (v.
14), the outcome of which in the Revelation is never at any time in doubt.

1 The Unclean Spirits of Evil, Ch. 16:13‐14, and 16

At this point three unclean spirits, as it were frogs,(507)—three, the
symbol of the spiritual, used in this case exceptionally of the spirits of
demons,—come out of the mouths of the Dragon, the Beast, and the False
Prophet (or Second Beast), representing the malign influences by which
these powers of evil incite the kings of the earth to the great world‐
conflict against Christianity, described here under the figure of a battle
of the war of the great day of God, the Almighty, taking place at Har‐
Magedon, i. e. either the fortified city, or the mountain of Megiddo, by
the edge of the plain of Esdraelon, the great historic battle‐ground of
Jewish history (cf. Joel 3:2f; also _Bk. of Enoch_ 56.5‐8),(508) probably
referred to because of the notable victory attained there over the kings
of Canaan (Jg. 5:19). In this culminating scene of conflict we have what
may be regarded as a symbolic view of the entire struggle between sin and
holiness which is ever going on in the world the ages through, but more
particularly of its triumphant ending in the last age when the Dragon and
the kings of the earth shall be completely and finally overthrown;(509)
but beyond this partial interpretation we cannot safely go in any
trustworthy exposition of this truly impressive figure. The symbol of
battle and victory, it depicts the conflict of the centuries, and points
to the assured triumph that awaits the people of God in the end of the
world, while it incites men to persistent faith and hope; but like many
other prophetic predictions, its explicit interpretation can only be
definitely given after the events themselves have been openly fulfilled.

2 John’s Word of Warning, Ch. 16:15

In the midst of the episode a word of warning is given by John to the
reader, as from Christ himself, declaring the importance of watching in
the presence of such trial, and announcing a blessing upon him that
watcheth and keepeth his garments. Then with the closing words of the
episode in the sixteenth verse, the vision recurs to the seventh vial
which is at once poured out.

VI The Vision of Victory (A Vision of Vindication). Ch. 17:1‐20:15

The vision of victory is a revelation of complete and enduring triumph in
the final issue of the conflict between sin and righteousness, showing the
doom of Christ’s enemies, the vindication of the righteous, and the
consummation of the ages. The vision consists of three parts, viz. (1) the
mystic Babylon and her fall, (2) the triumph of the redeemed, and (3) the
last things, which are seven in number, implying a sevenfold completeness.
This triple division of the contents of the section before us, into a
description of Babylon’s fall, redemption’s triumph, and the things of the
end, is one that is clearly indicated in the thought of the text, whatever
plan of division we may adopt, and as these all belong to the final
victory in its completeness, they may well be presumed to constitute parts
of one vision. Opinions differ, however, concerning the correct division
of this part of the book almost as much as they do in regard to the
interpretation. The division adopted here, though not coinciding in all
its parts with any single authority, is one of the simplest and most
natural, and it is believed will commend itself to the reader.(510) In
entering upon this section it will be noted that the transition from the
vision of vials to the vision of victory is made in the first verse of the
seventeenth chapter by one of the seven vial‐angels, who offers to show
John the judgment of the great Harlot, or of Babylon, i. e. the complete
and final judgment of the seventh vial wrought out, thus leading by a
natural connection of thought to a fuller view of one phase of the
judgment of the world, and through this on to victory and to the End.

A The Mystic Babylon and Her Fall, Ch. 17:1‐18:24

In these two chapters there is given an impressive portrayal of the sinful
world as she lures men to evil, under the symbol of Babylon, or the
Harlot, and of the final punishment inflicted upon her; it is, in fact, an
elaboration of the judgment of the seventh vial, foreshadowing the
downfall of the most insidious, seductive, and persistent form of the
world’s opposition to Christ and his kingdom, viz. corrupt society. This
passage forms a subclimax of rare beauty and power, and one that is of
prime importance in the interpretation of the book, for it contains one of
the chief ideas of the Revelation, and necessarily affects our conception
of the prophecy throughout. That pagan Rome in its social debasement and
spiritual degradation was in the foreground of John’s thought can scarcely
be doubted;(511) but in the light of prophetic vision it formed an ideal
groundwork for the larger thought of the godless world, the world from the
standpoint of its material and social forces adverse to God and his
kingdom, the perpetual Rome. Some interpreters limit the meaning of
Babylon to the coeval city of Rome, or to the nation that centered in the
city, pagan Rome, others refer it to the Roman church, papal Rome, and
still others to Jerusalem, the Jewish Rome, while a common interpretation
makes it the apostate church in a fallen age, a prophetic Rome. But the
figure is more correctly interpreted as the ideal and universal world‐
city, a symbol designed to include every city or community that exalts
itself against the dominion of Christ, the perpetual Rome, the ever‐
recurring Babylon whose spirit never dies, the city being regarded as the
highest expression of the world’s social and communal life.(512)

With the portrayal of Babylon is completed the cycle of great world‐forces
that we find depicted in the Revelation as arrayed against our Lord and
his Christ. The entire opposition of the present evil world to Christ and
his kingdom is presented in these visions under four separate and distinct
symbols,—four the earth‐number—viz. (1) the Dragon or Satan, the World‐
Lord, the prime antagonist and representative leader of the spiritual
forces of evil, who incites the world to resist the rule of Christ, the
world taking its cue and color from Satan, the arch‐enemy of all good; (2)
the First Beast, the World‐Power, the national and political forces of the
world in their organized form opposing and persecuting Christ and the
church, the world acting through the elements of civic and social order,
of law and government, making them the agents of persecution; (3) the
Second Beast, the World‐Religion, the national and racial false religious
forces of the world, with their moral and intellectual thraldom over the
minds of men, contending against Christianity and the kingdom, the world
acting through the elements of the natural and ethnic religions, and of
superstition and priestcraft their innate cogeners, permeating them with
deceit and making them the agents of delusion and oppression; and (4) the
Harlot Babylon, the World‐City, society in its commercial, impure, and
godless life resisting the progress of the kingdom, the world acting
through the elements of the social, sexual, and commercial relations of
men, making them the agents of sin. This fourfold form of world‐opposition
to Christ and the church is a fundamental conception of the Apocalypse,
and lies at the core of any correct interpretation of the book.(513) For,
notwithstanding their close relation, to identify Babylon with the first
Beast, or the second, or both, as is often done, is to confuse ideas that
are essentially distinct, and measurably to miss the proper significance
of the lesson contained. And if we fail to perceive the proper meaning of
any part of this fourfold symbolism, we lose in some measure at least the
complete and general effect of the whole sublime creation of the
Apocalyptic vision.

1 The Harlot and the Interpretation, Ch. 17:1‐18

The vision of the Harlot is a figurative and profoundly significant view
of the world’s sin as unfaithfulness to God, described under the analogue
of unfaithfulness to the marriage relation, according to the familiar
method of Hebrew thought. The world is presented as a spiritual harlot,
one that has proved untrue to her Lord and that merits condign punishment.

(1) The Judgment of the Harlot Announced, Ch. 17:1‐2

One of the seven angels having the seven vials, calls John in order to
show him the judgment about to be inflicted upon the great Harlot. The
agency of a vial‐angel in revealing this vision, indicates a connection
between the vial‐judgments and the fall of Babylon; and, as stated above,
it is an elaboration of those judgments, especially that of the seventh

(2) The View of the Harlot, Ch. 17:3‐6

The angel carries John in the Spirit away into a wilderness where he sees
in the vision an impure Woman arrayed in purple, the royal color, and in
scarlet, the sign of bloodshed, while she is decked with gold and jewels,
the tokens of her wealth, and has in her hand a golden cup, full of the
abominations of her fornications; and she is seated on a scarlet‐colored
Beast that is covered with names full of blasphemy, i. e. she rests upon
and is allied with the world‐power, for the scarlet Beast is the same as
the Beast from the sea in chapter thirteen (v. 1‐10); and upon her
forehead her name is written,(514) “MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER
with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus”.

(3) The Interpretation Given, Ch. 17:7‐18

The angel declares the mystery of the Woman of Sin to John’s waiting ears.
The Harlot whose home is in the wilderness, i. e. in this world (perhaps
so called from the thought of the wilderness as the place of temptation of
Israel, of Elijah, and of Christ, and as the haunt of demons where the
scapegoat was sent forth to Azazel), is definitely identified with Babylon
(v. 5 and 18), the great World‐City, the dwelling‐place and representative
of corrupt society tempting men to evil. The great Harlot is the ideal
personification of the great city. There is in fact a double symbolism;
the great Harlot symbolizes the great city, as the great city symbolizes
the great world, for the Harlot, the city, and the world are one and the
same in the wider thought of the Revelation. She is the combined
incarnation of commercialism, lust, and irreligion,(515) the unbelieving
world and not the apostate church, humanity untrue to God, the social life
of men adverse to the kingdom.(516) The Harlot is the manifest
impersonation of lust and sexual impurity, a form of the world’s sin that
has always been the source of ruin to a multitude of souls—her traffic, we
are told, is in the “souls of men” (ch. 18:13). She represents the world
tempting men through the sexual appetite, though the figure does not stop
with that, as the story of the fall of her wealth and the punishment of
her irreligious life clearly shows. All the social side of life that tends
to sin is represented by this impressive figure before which the
Apocalyptist “wondered with a great wonder” (v. 6).

The interpretation of the Harlot Babylon as the Roman Catholic Church, a
method so prevalent in the period that succeeded the Reformation, is
happily in its decadence, for it has no justification in the text. But to
find in this figure a symbol and portent of apostasy prevailing in the
church universal that shall increase as the centuries go on,(517) is
equally unfortunate and imparts a tone of pessimism to the entire prophecy
which cannot be too strongly deprecated. No sign of apostasy is anywhere
given in the account of Babylon’s fall, for there is no indication that
the Harlot was ever holy. Her sin is worldliness, impurity, idolatry, and
persecution of the saints. For an apostate church the fitting symbol for
that age would have been not Babylon but Samaria, the city of the
faithless Israel. And we may be confidently assured that Babylon
represents here what it always stood for to the Hebrew mind, the typical
world‐city, the hereditary enemy of the church from without and not from
within, whose harlotry is the sign of her unfaithfulness to God and truth.
For even though a majority of Protestant interpreters until within a late
period have made Babylon the apostate church, following the traditional
opinion, it is nevertheless a mistaken view, since it is based upon the
Old Testament use of harlotry as a figure of apostasy and idolatry in
Israel, a figure assumed to be identical throughout, ignoring the manifest
difference in its present use in connection with a heathen city. The
modern view that Babylon is Rome in John’s day is nearer correct, but is
too narrow in its application. Babylon is the abiding Rome with its
worldly life striving to supplant the Christ, the world‐city in all ages
and times.

The Scarlet Beast on which the Woman is seated, the color of the Dragon
(ch. 12:3) and the sign of the blood which it has shed, is referred to as
the one that “was, and is not; and is about to come up out of the abyss”
(v. 8), a description showing it to be the same as the First Beast which
received the deadly wound that was healed (ch. 13:3), i. e. the world‐
power, and apparently designed to place it in marked antithesis with the
divine designation, “who is and who was and who is to come,” in the first
chapter of the book (v. 4 and 8). The enigmatical phrase “was, and is not;
and is about to come up out of the abyss, and to go into perdition”, may
also refer to a lull in the persecution by the world‐power, subsequently
to be renewed and leading to its final destruction as a power, though its
wider reference is perhaps to the persistence and reappearance of the
world‐power after any one of its forms has been overthrown, together with
the certainty of its final ruin. Most preterists interpret the Beast that
“was, and is not; and is about to come”, as a reference to Nero whose
return was generally expected (a superstitious phantasy of a _Nero
redivivus_), by a change of figure, the emperor previously referred to as
the fifth head of the Beast becoming the Beast itself—a questionable
interpretation, apparently wrought out by a keen fancy to fit the words of
the prophecy, but lacking efficient support in the text. The Beast in the
vision carries the Harlot, i. e. the world‐city rests upon and is upheld
by the world‐power, an unhallowed union in striking contrast with that of
the Lamb and the Bride. This symbolism indicates the near relation
existing between the world‐city and the world‐power exemplified in
history, the world in its social and irreligious form allying itself with
and relying upon the persecuting world‐power.

It should be noted here that the symbolism used in the chapter before us
is shown to be very wide in its application. The seven heads of the Beast
have first of all their proper symbolic meaning of full or universal
dominion, i. e. dominion over this present evil world; but they are
further interpreted to have other and different significance. We are told
in verse nine that they are “seven mountains”, evidently in the primary
meaning those of the city of Rome, which was seated on seven hills; but
symbolizing besides this all mountains and hills which are the seat of
world‐cities, in accordance with the common apocalyptic usage of seven
(cf. _II Esdr._ 2.19; and _Bk of Enoch_ 18.6). The seven heads are also in
a sense identified with the “many waters” on which the Woman sitteth (v.
15), which we are told, are “peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and
tongues”, the many dwellers in world‐cities—for she spreads her power over
all mountains and all waters.(518) They are also “seven kings” (v. 10),
the king representing the throne and all it stands for, i. e. seven
kingdoms, a complete number, the totality of kind, all the kingdoms of the
world throughout history, though probably, like the seven churches,
conceived of as individual kingdoms which are taken as representative of
all.(519) Perhaps in John’s thought they were Egypt, Assyria, Babylonia,
Persia, and Greece, the five known to him that were already fallen and
Rome, the one then existing—the nations connected with Israel’s past. The
past was history, but the future was seen only in outline, and John groups
it all under one great world‐power, completing the number seven, which was
yet to appear. This last “must continue a little while”, i. e. during the
remaining time of the world’s existence, the usual sense of “a little
while” in the Revelation, a period short in comparison with eternity. The
Beast is also “an eighth”, we are told, i. e. when it is regarded apart
from the seven heads,(520) for the world‐power may be conceived of as in
itself a unit, comprising all its different manifestations, and yet
separate from them and giving rise to them. The remark is, however,
parenthetic and incidental, and ought not to be regarded as creating any
special difficulty, for no reference is anywhere else made to an eighth,
and it is probably introduced here simply because eight is the symbol of
culmination (see App’x E). We are further told that the Beast is “of the
seven” (v. 11), i. e. he is formed—Gr. ἐκ—“out of seven”, or in other
words the Beast _is_ the seven kingdoms regarded as a unit, the world‐
power as it exists in all ages.(521) Also the ten horns (v. 12) which
symbolize complete earthly power, ten symbolizing completeness and usually
applying to the earthly, are representative of various subdivisions of the
world‐power, minor kingdoms with their kings, which are added to the seven
heads as an additional symbol of world‐wide empire. These are evidently
thought of as yet to rise after John’s day, for they are denominated
“kings, who have received no kingdom as yet, but they receive authority as
kings with the Beast for one hour”, i. e. each one for an hour, or for a
time that is relatively short,(522) an indefinite period, the ten kingdoms
reaching in this case, apparently, to the end of the world—not definitely
ten kingdoms or kings any more than one hour is a definite time limit, but
rather ten, the number of completeness of all the parts, representing all
kings and kingdoms yet to rise throughout succeeding time. “It seems
probable,” as has been well said, “that John foresees that the hostile
world‐power will not be always preëminently wielded by one nation as in
his time; but will be divided into many parts, here represented by the
number ten which is a complete number and not necessarily implying only
ten in all. This indeed exactly describes what has really been the case
since St. John’s time, and what, humanly speaking, seems likely to
continue to the end of the world.”(523) It may, also, be pointed out that
the ruin of the world‐city described by John has been the fate of every
such city known to history. Thus the ten horns would seem to be identical
with the seventh king or kingdom which is apparently the last, the world‐
power divided into many parts and continuing to the end of time. These
divisions of the world‐power, though originally hostile to Christ (v. 14),
shall yet under divine direction eventually destroy the world‐city in all
lands and make her desolate (v. 16 and 17), i. e. the corrupt society,
centered in cities, which opposes Christ and his kingdom. “And the Lamb
shall overcome them; for he is Lord of lords and King of kings”, i. e.
while God is seen to work through the multiple world‐power, the ten horns
or kingdoms, and eventually to destroy the Harlot, corrupt society in the
world, he yet finally overcomes the kingdoms of this world that war
against him, and makes them his own; he triumphs on the earth in the
fulness of time, for the kingdoms of the world, we are told, shall “become
the kingdom of our Lord, and of his Christ: and he shall reign forever and
ever” (ch. 11:15). “And they _also shall overcome_ that are with him,
called and chosen and faithful” (v. 14)—the promise of success for the
believing. In the preterist‐historical view the overthrow of the great
city, or the Harlot, by the ten subordinate rulers or kings, the ten
horns, is commonly interpreted as a reference to the current expectation
that Eastern nations, especially the Parthians, were likely to march
against the city of Rome and overthrow it, an application of the prophecy
quite possible in the minds of the generation which first received it, but
not reaching its deeper and essential meaning, and failing of any actual
realization. At this point it may be not inapt to remark that the wide
latitude with which the symbolism of the seven heads is interpreted by the
angel in this chapter, is a valuable guide to the general method of the
Apocalypse, and should put us on our guard against limiting the
significance of the symbols strictly to a single thought, where more than
one may properly be intended. At the same time this does not give us the
liberty of unlimited freedom, but prevents our being too positive in many
cases as to the exact limits of the symbolism.

Other interpretations make the Beast the Roman Empire, and the seven heads
seven different forms of Roman government known to history, or seven
individual kings, and the ten horns the various parts, subdivisions, or
subordinate rulers of the Empire. The current interpretation of the
preterist school accepts unqualifiedly the seven heads as seven kings of
the Roman Empire and identifies Nero with the fifth head or king who is
now “fallen”, i. e. is now dead, but is about to be restored again,
according to a wide‐spread expectation of that time, and to become the
eighth head or king. This view, though supported by many eminent
authorities, especially those of the later critical school, involves
serious difficulties. It is dependent upon the earlier date of the
Apocalypse, or at least this portion of it, i. e. just after the death of
Nero, the only time fitting such a prophecy—a matter by no means assured;
and the prophecy, if it had this meaning, was falsified by subsequent
events within a generation, a contingency which would necessarily have
discredited the book before the church, and would make its acceptance as a
genuine prophetic writing extremely difficult, if not impossible, to
account for. These considerations serve to nullify the surety and
positiveness with which this interpretation is generally urged by its
advocates, and late writers indicate a healthful reaction against the

Another similar view makes the emperors who are intended by the heads of
the Beast to be (1) Augustus, (2) Tiberius, (3) Caligula, (4) Claudius,
(5) Nero (now “fallen”, or dead—Galba, Otho, and Vitellius who succeeded
Nero for short periods being omitted as pretenders), (6) Vespasian (the
one who now “is”, i. e. now is on the throne), (7) Titus (who “must
continue a little while”, i. e. have a short reign), and (8) Domitian (a
second Nero—“an eighth” who “is of the seven”). This interpretation,
though quite possible from one point of view, necessarily limits the
vision to a narrow horizon; and while, like the former view, it tends to
bring the teaching of the book into closer harmony with Jewish
Apocalyptic, yet it obscures to some extent at least the wider and
universal teaching which seems to the average Christian mind to belong
essentially to the prophetic insight. It should be remembered, too, that
the seven heads and ten horns belong originally to the Dragon or Satan, as
symbols of his world‐wide power, and are here transferred to the Beast as
Satan’s representative; and therefore it is more likely that they have a
universal reference than that they apply to a single empire, for Satan’s
sphere of influence is confessedly world‐wide (cf. ch. 13:1, note).
Besides it is fruitless to attempt to interpret with any positiveness the
heads and horns as individual nations and kings, as the diverse results
have shown, each interpreter having his own application, and no one
interpretation being generally accepted.(525) But even if we cannot be so
positive as to the primary meaning, we should not allow the larger and
more important meaning to escape us, the meaning for us and for all time.
This is the fundamental principle of interpretation according to the
symbolical school, which should be kept in mind throughout; and it is
remarkable how often the general meaning is plain when the original
reference, as in this case, is obscure. For even if John had primarily in
mind certain phases of the Roman Empire, we must not lose sight of his
idealization of the symbolism. The numbers seven and ten are not to be
interpreted literally but symbolically as elsewhere throughout the book.
Whatever kings and kingdoms are in the first instance intended, they are
introduced as the type of all kings and kingdoms of this world throughout
all time, in accordance with the prevalent use of numbers in the
Apocalypse; so that in any case the chief thought established is
essentially the same, viz. that the anti‐christian world‐power attains its
fulness and completeness under the numbers seven and ten, and then wanes
and is eventually destroyed. If we interpret of Rome, then the ruin of the
one empire with its rulers and parts foreshadows that of every other
earth‐power that opposes the rule of Christ among men, and the overthrow
of the one city with its social and civic forces allied with evil,
prefigures that of the entire anti‐christian social and civic power
throughout the world.

2 The Fall of the City Proclaimed, Ch. 18:1‐24

The mystery of the Harlot and of the Beast having been revealed, another
angel now declares the doom which awaits them. The downfall of the city
and the destruction of her wealth is set forth as the type of the
overthrow of corrupt society with all pertaining to it, in order that the
fulness of Christ’s kingdom may be ushered in among men. In the vision of
the prophet the ruin is viewed as already complete; attention is centered
so fully upon the result attained that the method by which it is
accomplished is left quite out of view. But the closing verses of the
preceding chapter serve to indicate the source of her destruction, viz. in
the ten horns, or subdivisions of the world‐kingdom, which rise against
the Harlot and overthrow her (ch. 17:16‐17),—the historic fate of world‐
empires and world‐cities in revolution and ruin. It is here worthy of note
how clearly we find in this chapter reverberating echoes from Isaiah’s
Doom of Babylon and of Tyre (Isa. ch. 13:23, 47), and from Jeremiah’s Doom
of Babylon (Jer. chs. 50 and 51), as well as from Ezekiel’s Doom of Tyre
(Ezek. chs. 26‐28).(526) Though the fall of the heathen city of Rome was
doubtless foremost in John’s mind, let us not forget that it only formed
the basis of the wider thought of the ultimate fate and fall of the great
godless world which it so clearly foreshadowed, the foresight of which was
a part of the prophetic vision.(527)

(1) The Announcement of Her Overthrow, Ch. 18:1‐3

An angel—called here “another angel” in distinction from the one
designated as “one of the seven angels” in chapter seventeen (v. 1)—is
seen coming down out of heaven, having great authority, and crying with a
mighty voice, “Fallen! fallen is Babylon the great!” and recounting the
story of her crimes as the abundant cause of her ruin.

(2) The Warning to God’s People, Ch. 18:4‐8

Yet another voice from heaven bids the people of God come out of her
before the final retribution, that they be not made partakers of her sins
and receive not of her plagues, for her sins have reached even unto
heaven; and urges the executors of her judgment to reward her double, i.
e. to exact full legal retribution for her sins (Ex. 22:4‐7). And she
shall be utterly destroyed, shall be “burned with fire; for strong is the
Lord God who judged her”.

(3) The Lament of the Kings of the Earth over Her Doom, Ch. 18:9‐10

The rulers of the world‐powers who have shared in her sin are seen
standing afar off for fear of her torment, witnessing her fall; and their
cry is heard, “Woe, woe, the great city, Babylon, the strong city! for in
one hour [i. e. in a short time or suddenly] is thy judgment
come”,—mourning over her ruin which is sudden and complete.

(4) The Lament of the Merchants, Ch. 18:11‐17a

The merchants of the earth also weep and mourn over her, for no man buyeth
their merchandise or cargo any more. The articles of merchandise
enumerated are many, indicating her wealth, and seem to be arranged in a
progressive order of importance, and to fall naturally into six classes,
(Babylon’s number, the symbol of evil—ch. 13:18), which may be divided as
follows, viz. (1) those of personal adornment; (2) of furniture; (3) of
sensual gratification; (4) of food; (5) of animate forms; and (6) of souls
(i. e. persons) of men.(528) All have perished; and the merchants cry
aloud, “Woe, woe, the great city! ... for in one hour so great riches is
made desolate.”

(5) The Lament of the Seamen, Ch. 18. 17b‐19

All those who gained their living by the sea, ship‐masters, mariners, and
every one that saileth any whither, stood afar off and cried, “What _city_
is like the great city?” And they cast dust upon their heads, weeping and
mourning, the sign of their deep though worldly sorrow, saying, “Woe, woe,
the great city, wherein all that had their ships in the sea were made rich
by reason of her costliness! for in one hour is she made desolate.” In
this triple mourning of the kings of the earth, of the merchants, and of
the seamen, is shown the wide relations of Babylon, too wide in fact for
any single city. The darkly shadowed terms of poetic description used
throughout the chapter, set forth the completeness of her destruction, and
are an echo from the Fall of Tyre in Ezekiel’s prophecy (chs. 26‐28).

(6) A Call to Heaven and to the Church to Rejoice, Ch. 18:20

By a voice, evidently from above, the holy are bidden to rejoice, i. e.
heaven with its inhabitants, and the saints or the church, and her two
highest orders of ministers in the past, the apostles and the prophets,
are called upon to rejoice because God hath judged Babylon with the
judgment which is her due for her treatment of the saints. This invitation
to the “saints, the apostles, and the prophets”, to rejoice over the
judgment of Babylon, which to that age doubtless meant Rome, is regarded
by some as a possible allusion to the martyrdom of the Apostles Peter and
Paul who met death under Nero.(529)

(7) The Symbol of Her Irretrievable Ruin, Ch. 18:21‐24

A strong or mighty angel, taking up a stone like a great millstone, casts
it into the sea as the sign of her total extinction, and rehearses the
fate of the city in the ominous words of ancient prophecy, which are here
enlarged and made more terrible (cf. Jer. 51:61‐64). The symbolism used
throughout this chapter, it will be noted, is largely drawn from the Old
Testament prophecies concerning the ancient cities of Babylon and Tyre.
“And in her was found the blood of prophets and of saints, and of all that
have been slain upon the earth.” Thus in terms that are as wide as the
earth and as far‐reaching as history, is set forth the sin of the godless
and unbelieving world in all ages, which concludes the pronouncement of
the judgment upon Babylon; and the judgment seems to belong properly in
seven parts as a sign of its completeness.

B The Triumph of the Redeemed, Ch. 19:1‐10

A hymn of praise (the Hallelujah Chorus), such as follows each crisis in
the Apocalypse, and forms a relief to the sombreness of the visions, is
sung in heaven by a great voice of a great multitude as the sequel to the
fall of the city and the lament of the world—the seventh and last great
chorus in the Revelation (see App’x C): and then the marriage supper of
the Lamb is announced for the delight of the redeemed in heaven. The final
triumph, it will be seen, is here viewed as a whole, without distinction
of parts such as are found in the succeeding section which treats of the
last things.

1 The Choral Song of Hallelujahs, Ch. 19:1‐8

In response to the heavenly summons to rejoice (ch. 18:20), a thrice
repeated note of victory, the Hebrew “Hallelujah”, Praise ye Jehovah! is
heard in heaven; first from the voice of a great multitude, who say a
second time, “Hallelujah”, and then from the four and twenty elders, the
representatives of the redeemed church, together with the four living
creatures, the representatives of all created life, who reply, “Amen;
Hallelujah.” After this again, in response to a message from the throne
(v. 5), another “Hallelujah” is heard from the voice of another multitude
(v. 6‐8), as the sound of many waters, the voice of those who are praising
God in full and joyful chorus because he has avenged the blood of his
servants, and who are now rejoicing with exceeding gladness (v. 7) because
“the marriage of the Lamb is come”, i. e. the complete and final union of
Christ with the redeemed church, for his wife, the church, hath made
herself ready. The word “Hallelujah” occurs four times in this passage,
and is not found elsewhere in the New Testament: it should be noted, too,
that it is used here, as it is chiefly used in the Old Testament,(530) in
connection with the punishment of the wicked. The first voice in this
chorus of hallelujahs (v. 1f) is apparently that of the great multitude of
the angelic host in heaven, which is responded to by the four and twenty
elders, and the four living creatures; while the second voice (v. 6f) is
that of the multitude of the universal church who have been redeemed by
the blood of the Lamb. The description of the pure array of the Bride (v.
8), which is the symbol of her righteousness and is in such marked
contrast with the clothing of the Harlot, may be an explanation added by
the Apostle, as indicated in the text of the Revelation given in the
preceding part of this book by including the verse in a parenthesis,
though it was apparently regarded by the American Revisers as part of the
words of the redeemed church.

2 The Blessedness of the Marriage Supper, Ch. 19:9

John is directed by the angel to record a blessing upon those who are
bidden to the marriage supper, i. e. who are invited to share in the
nearer fellowship of the redeemed with Christ, and to partake of the rich
and abundant spiritual food that awaits them in the new relations of the
heavenly life—a further symbol of the spiritual union of the church with
Christ added to that of the bride and the marriage, setting forth the joys
of the heavenly life under the familiar figure of a marriage feast, the
great social event of the East, and the popular type of the highest
enjoyment, as well as the public acknowledgement of the consummation of
the union. The marriage of the Lamb is put in vivid contrast with the
fornication of the Harlot, in the usual method of the Apocalypse.

3 Worship Refused by the Angel, Ch. 19:10

The Apostle is so overwhelmed by the impression of the vision that he
falls at the feet of the angel to worship him—probably the interpreting
angel of the opening verse of the book, though some think identical with
the vial‐angel of chapter seventeen; but the worship is refused,(531)
because, as the angel declares, he is only a fellow‐servant with John, and
shares in “the testimony of Jesus” which “is the spirit of prophecy”. This
significant phrase is characteristic of the Revelation,(532) and we find
in it a key to the general interpretation, a principle to be applied
throughout, viz. that the mysteries of the Old Dispensation find their
only proper solution and fulfilment in the clearer teaching of the New.
“The testimony of Jesus” is the witness for the truth borne _by_ Christ in
the world, which gathers up into one and gives expression to the essential
and animating thought of all prophecy. Others interpret the passage as
applying to the witness borne _for_ Christ and the truth by his disciples
in the world; and it is possible that both meanings are included, for if
broadly interpreted they both merge into one.(533)

C The Last Things, Ch. 19:11‐20:15

A new phase of the vision of victory now opens, which presents the final
culmination and crisis of judgment and redemption, a rapid preview of the
closing events of human history, a forecast of the triumph and completion
of the gospel age. These events form a series of climaxes that are
progressive and catastrophic, and usher in the final consummation of God’s
world‐plan of the ages, a feature that is prominent in all apocalyptic

It is important for us to note afresh at this point, what should be
apparent to our minds in the study of the book throughout, viz. that the
element of climax, which enters so largely into the thought of the
Revelation, belongs essentially to the mood and temper of Apocalyptic; and
we should avoid emphasizing too much that which pertains chiefly to
literary form and spiritual mood, as though it were intended to set forth
the intimate nature of the divine method. Upon careful reflection it must
become more and more apparent that the emphasis here laid upon the
climactic side of the divine way of working, was only intended to be in
proportion to the apparent hopelessness of the historical outlook without
such manifest and repeated divine interpositions for human help, and was
not intended to indicate that the chief effects to be wrought out will be
accomplished by other than the method displayed in history, viz. by long
periods of quiet progress and patient waiting, broken now and then by
short and decisive periods of crisis. The apocalyptic writers followed the
general mode of conception prevalent in the Old Testament, according to
which “the final condition of men and the world is regarded less as the
perfect issue of a gradual ethical advancement ... than as the result of
an interposition or chain of interpositions on the part of God”,(534)
which is only one side of the truth—a view growing out of their idea of
God as the immediate author of all movements in nature and history, and
fitting in well with the increased emphasis laid upon climax in
Apocalyptic. There is also a distinct foreshortening of the future which
is very evident throughout this section, and this is a well known and
characteristic feature of all prophecy. The extreme brevity with which are
described and grouped together so many great events of the far future that
so deeply affect the Christian hope, serves to indicate that the chief aim
of the Revelation does not consist in fully manifesting these events which
lie hidden in the hand of God, but in preparing the church for what
precedes them, both of trial and of conflict. “Like a flash of lightning
in the darkness the vision lights up the whole line of God’s purposes to
the end”; but how much of the actual form and manner of the events it was
the divine purpose to disclose through this ideal and scenic presentation
must continue to be, pending the manifestation of the events themselves,
to some extent at least, a matter of diverse opinion.

1 The End of the Holy War, Ch. 19:11‐21

This part of the vision sets forth the final victory over all the powers
of this world which is eventually to be attained by the supreme power of
“The Word of God”, the ever conquering Christ, who is here described by
this transcendental name for our Lord which is a distinctive title with
the Apostle John.(535) Beginning with a view of the triumphant Word going
forth to conquer as under the first seal (ch. 6:2), Christ appears in the
opened heaven riding on a white horse; he is called “Faithful and True”,
and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. His eyes are a flame of
fire, the type of purity and judgment; upon his head are many diadems, the
crowns of conquered nations; he hath a name written which no man knoweth
but himself,—evidently the “new name” of chapter three (v. 12) which John
cannot interpret; and he is arrayed in a garment sprinkled with blood, the
token of his redemptive work. The armies of heaven, which apparently
include the redeemed, such as have already entered there, follow him on
white horses,(536) clothed in fine linen white and pure; out of his mouth
proceedeth a sharp sword that with it he should smite the nations,(537)
for he shall rule them then with a rod of iron; and he treadeth the
winepress of the wine of the fierceness of the wrath of God, the Almighty,
thereby bringing punishment upon the evil. His divine right is clearly
seen, for he hath on his garment and on his thigh (i. e. both on the
garment and on the thigh, or else on the garment covering the thigh), a
name written, “KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS”. And the Beast, and the
kings of the earth, and their armies, are gathered together to make war
against him that sat upon the horse and against his army, i. e. against
Christ and his kingdom to attempt to overcome them. Thus with sublime
imagery the vision leads up and on to the close of the great battle with
the world‐forces, which was briefly described before in chapter sixteen as
occurring at Har‐Magedon; the war is the same, the battle between the
sinful world and the hosts of God which is ever going on through the ages
to final victory in the end. Now, by a further view, the Beast, and the
False Prophet (or Second Beast) who misguides the people in spiritual
things, are seen to be taken, and they twain are cast alive into the lake
of fire, while all their followers are slain with the sword of him that
sat upon the horse, even the sword which came forth out of his mouth (v.
15); and all the birds that fly in mid‐heaven are called by an angel
standing in the sun to feed upon their flesh, as in Ezekiel’s prophecy of
the Judgment of Gog (ch. 39:17‐22), a judgment exceedingly repulsive to
the Hebrew mind. The lake of fire is only a more fully developed form of
the Jewish conception of Gehenna as a furnace of fire (Mat. 13:42, and
50). The symbolism here used may have been suggested to John’s mind by the
appearance of a sea or lake during the eruption of a volcano, a view not
unfamiliar to those resident in Asia.(538) This lake in the Revelation is
the place of final punishment of the wicked, and is clearly distinguished
from the pit of the abyss, the abode of Satan during the present world‐
period. Thus is signified the triumphant overthrow of the World‐Power and
of the World‐Religion as manifested in history. These together with the
World‐City are now broken and destroyed, while only the World‐Lord, or
Satan, remains to carry on the conflict, and the way is thereby prepared
for the great millennial victory.

This section is considered by many to refer to Christ’s second coming, the
Parousia, and, if that view were established, it would serve to support
the opinion of those who hold that the second advent will be
premillennial; but such an interpretation is beset with many difficulties
and cannot be sustained by what is said in these verses. The description
does not correspond with the account of Christ’s coming again which is
given in the Synoptic Gospels and the Epistles, nor with the passing
foregleams of it in the preceding chapters, but rather with the
delineation of Christ’s conflict with the world as it is set forth in this
book, which is depicted in its beginnings under the first seal where
Christ goes forth conquering and to conquer, and which is now seen to pass
through the thick of battle to the crowning of victory. For while the
second coming is manifestly the one great objective event ever retained in
the background of the visions, overshadowing and interpenetrating every
part of the Apocalypse, yet it is at no time definitely introduced or
particularly described; and the most accurate and impartial interpretation
throughout is that which regards both the time of its occurrence and the
position it occupies in relation to other events of the last days as
nowhere revealed in the Apocalyptic vision. With the present author this
view has grown through time from that of a possible solution of a much
vexed question into a settled conviction of its correctness.(539) And it
should be seen, that with this section (ch. 19:11‐21) in grave doubt, to
say the least, concerning its application to the advent, if indeed it
should not be regarded as entirely inapplicable, there is nothing
definitely taught in the Revelation in regard to the time of Christ’s
second coming; for whatever opinion we may entertain concerning the time
of that glorious event so dear to the Christian heart, we cannot regard
this passage as decisive in the matter unless we interpolate into it a
meaning which it does not necessarily contain.

2 Satan Bound, Ch. 20:1‐3a

The temporary destruction of Satan’s power is here indicated by his being
bound for a season; and this marks another advance in the triumphal march
of events. An angel coming down from heaven with the key of the abyss, and
a great chain in his hand, lays hold upon the Dragon, the Old Serpent,
Satan, and binds him for a thousand years, and then shuts him up in the
abyss, his present dwelling‐place, from which he can now emerge at will
during the period of conflict, and seals it over him that his power may be
restrained until the end of that time. The binding of Satan indicates the
limiting of his authority over the nations, with the subsequent ushering
in of the triumph of the gospel among men, when, according to the
announcement of the seventh trumpet, “The kingdom of the world is become
the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ” (ch. 11:15), a promise
partially fulfilled at this stage, but awaiting its complete fulfilment in
the final consummation. The limiting of Satan’s power is a preparatory
stage to the events that follow, and precedes the first resurrection, as
it also precedes the millennium.

3 The First Resurrection, Ch. 20:4‐6

The resurrection, which is the effective redemption of the body from
death, that is necessary for complete victory over sin and for the full
consummation of man’s life in eternity,(540) is at this point begun,(541)
and is marked in the Revelation by two successive stages, the first
accompanying the triumph of the messianic kingdom, and the second
preparatory to the final judgment. These two parts of the resurrection are
separated in the vision by the whole millennial period. The first
resurrection is special and compensative (scil. “the resurrection out of
the dead”—Gr. ἐκ νεκρῶν—Phil. 3:11), consisting of certain of the saints
and martyrs who by reason of their enduring resistance of the forces of
evil in their lives and deaths are adjudged worthy to attain unto this
resurrection, viz. “of them that had been beheaded for the testimony of
Jesus, and for the word of God, and such as worshipped not the Beast,
neither his image, and received not the mark upon their forehead and upon
their hand.” The first resurrection which is evidently limited to this
particular class, and is compensative in character for evils endured,
precedes the second or general resurrection by a thousand years, or the
whole duration of the millennium, which is not a definite, numerical
thousand years, but in accordance with the general use of numbers in the
Apocalypse is a period of vast but indefinite length. The cry of the
martyrs (ch. 6:9) has been heard, and they who have part in this
resurrection shall live and reign with Christ throughout the whole
millennial era, i. e. shall share in his presence and glory as a reward
for their superior faithfulness, shall be with him where he is, evidently
in heaven, for nothing is said of any new or different relation of Christ
or of the saints to those who dwell upon the earth as now begun, or as
entered upon at any time during this period. We are simply told that the
redeemed saints shall live and reign with Christ, i. e. they shall enter
upon the new and fuller life with Christ which follows the resurrection of
the body, and they shall share in the triumphant rulership of Christ in
heaven. The main thought in the phrase “with Christ”, it will be seen, is
not so much that of location, as of association with him in messianic
rule.(542) The statement here made that “they shall be priests of God and
of Christ” (v. 6) evidently does not mean that they are to exercise the
function of mediators for the rest of mankind during that intermediate
period,—for no such service in heaven is anywhere taught in Scripture—but
only that they are granted familiar access to and fellowship with God and
Christ such as the priests had who drew near under the old covenant; they
stand in his presence as the priests of old stood in the temple and waited
and served and worshipped.

4 The Millennium, Ch. 20.: 2b, 3b, 4b, 5a, 6b and 7a

The millennium is the Latin equivalent of the Greek phrase χίλια ἔιη or a
thousand years, which has now attained a permanent place in Christian
thought. In the prophetic view of the apocalyptic vision this is the
crowning period of the church upon earth so long looked for and foretold,
the triumphant realization of messianic prophecy, the _dénouement_ of
redemptive history in the world, a time of rest and victory when evil
shall be restrained though not extinguished, and righteousness shall rule
among men. The millennial reign of the saints with Christ, while Satan is
limited in his sphere, as is indicated by his being bound with a great
chain, is evidently intended to represent the period of the church’s
triumph. The length of time implied by the millennium is a period of
multiple completeness which is represented by a thousand, the cube of ten,
the symbol of a duration that is of great but indefinite extent, covering
a long period of time, stretching to untold generations, during which the
rule of Christ shall be triumphantly established upon the earth.(543) The
chief thought in the thousand years is doubtless that of great and
enduring victory. This period, as has been effectively said, “may well be
of such an indefinite length as to lead to the salvation of unnumbered
multitudes—multitudes so vast and countless that all the lost of all the
ages will be but an infinitesimal fraction in comparison.”(544) Such a
view serves to lighten in a measure the dark places of Scripture and
history with a vision of blessing and hope, though it cannot be said to
disperse to any great extent that impenetrable shadow which hangs over
God’s purpose in the world’s long deep night of sin and death.

No other passage in the New Testament has taken a deeper or more permanent
hold upon the minds of believing men than this pregnant prophecy of a
millennium, in which the thousand years is six times named in as many
verses. Unfortunately interpreters have not been agreed concerning the
meaning of the passage; in fact no part of the Word of God has, perhaps,
been so much in dispute as these verses in the Revelation. It may be worth
while, therefore, to say that in the interpretation we should clearly
recognize upon the one hand that the promise of a millennium was intended
to create in the minds of men a pervasive hope of ultimate divine triumph
in the world; while upon the other hand we should avoid making this
glorious promise the groundwork of purely human fancy. The blessings of
the millennial period here set forth evidently pertain both to the saints
in glory and to the kingdom of God in this world. The particular nature of
the reign of the saints with Christ during the thousand years is not
revealed; but we know assuredly that Christ and his kingdom have prevailed
upon the earth. The millennium manifestly presents a natural and complete
antithesis to the long period in which the church suffered oppression
under domination of the world‐powers. The part allotted to the saints in
the triumph of the kingdom in which they live and reign with Christ, is
set forth in terms of long prevailing and deeply cherished Jewish ideals.
To occupy “thrones of judgment” was part of the recognized hope of Israel
(Ps. 122:5), and is clearly a human way of conceiving of superhuman
relations. That this hope is to be realized in the final spiritual
supremacy of God’s children, specially promised to the twelve of the inner
circle (Mat. 19:28; and Lu. 22:30), and evidently to be shared in a
particular degree by all those who have part in the first resurrection,
though ultimately in some measure also by all the redeemed, does not admit
of serious doubt, but the exact form in which it will be realized is not
made plain.

According to the usual premillennial view the first resurrection is
interpreted as consisting of all believers who have died previous to that
time, and not of those only who share in it by reason of special service
and testimony; and the millennial reign of those who rise from their
graves in this resurrection is held to be upon the earth, and is to be
ushered in by the second coming of Christ who will establish a new
dispensation in which he will be personally manifest, and will rule in the
world, either from an earthly capital as Jerusalem, or from heaven in
close communication with the saints.(545) This view, it will be seen,
rests upon Jewish conceptions, and derives its support from a sternly
literal interpretation of Old Testament prophecies. But, notwithstanding
its natural attractiveness to the minds of men, it fails of adequate
confirmation in the text. Upon the other hand most of the symbolical
school interpret the first resurrection figuratively, as a resurrection to
spiritual life, and regard the millennium as now in progress. The
prevalence of this view seems to be largely due to the early influence of
Augustine,(546) who identified the millennium with the period of the
Christian church on earth, and held that for those who belong to the true
church the first resurrection is past already, making it the equivalent of
the resurrection to spiritual life spoken of in John’s Gospel (Jn.
5:25),—a passage which, though showing that a spiritual resurrection is a
distinct Johannine conception, does not serve to break the natural force
of these words in their present connection. The usual interpretation of
the thousand years given by the symbolical school cannot be considered as
satisfactory,(547) viz. that the phrase expresses a quality, i. e.
completeness, and not a period of time; and that the meaning of the phrase
“bound him for a thousand years” is that Satan was completely bound. The
symbolical use of the number one thousand is evident, but that does not
deprive it of all quantitative value, it only affects its literal
significance; and the denial that the word “years” has any reference to
time is without proper exegetical support and must be rejected.(548)
According to the current symbolical interpretation the entire passage (ch.
20:1‐10) is regarded as an episode which is descriptive of the complete
safety and spiritual deliverance of Christ’s people throughout the whole
period of the age‐long conflict;(549) and thus the millennium as a period
of triumph and blessedness for the saints on earth, preceding and distinct
from the final blessedness of the world to come, fades away into a figure
of speech, while the triumph of the gospel is obscured. But this view
cannot be sustained except by a sacrifice of the natural, if we may not
certainly say the correct exegesis; for the paragraph will not fit a
purely figurative interpretation.(550) This view would dispose of the
question of a pre‐ or post‐millennial coming by denying that there is any
millennium, in the historic sense of the term, taught in the Revelation.
But the expedient is a fallacious one, if John spoke as a prophet by the
inspiration of the Spirit, for his words incorporated the thought of his
time in which the millennium had a definite meaning; and that he foresaw
and described it as such is fairly evident, though he manifestly modified
its extravagances. The idea of a triumphal period of the Messiah’s reign
is too deeply inwrought in the Apocalyptic literature which preceded the
present Apocalypse to be put aside lightly as a symbol of
completeness.(551) The duration of this time was a frequent and favorite
subject of Jewish speculation;(552) and according to the general laws of
language, the phrase used in the text, “a thousand years”, necessarily
carries with it the conception of a period of time, but in accordance with
the usage of the author, it loses its definite numerical significance and
indicates a period of long but unmeasured duration; it becomes the symbol
of a period that is complete.

It will be recognized by the attentive student of the Word of God that
this passage and its connections form the _crux interpretum_ of the whole
book of Revelation; and it is well, perhaps, not to speak with too much
positiveness on a subject so differently understood by many of the most
eminent scholars and interpreters. The view presented above seems to be
the most natural meaning that can be given to the words of the vision, and
seems also to accord more fully than any other with the many promises of
God concerning the outcome of all that great and progressive movement
among men which we call the Kingdom of Heaven in the earth. For without
such a period of victory, the whole evolutionary movement in human life
and history, which so manifestly marks the purpose of God and the plan of
redemption, would somehow seem to fail of any proper consummation; while
in this view the millennium, marking the triumph of the gospel, would
vindicate the present method of history and redemption, just as the
premillennial view would abandon it and introduce a different order.
Indeed, it may be well here to say, what should be clearly seen by every
student of the Revelation, that the premillennial view introduces
practically three dispensations into the plan of redemption, viz. the
first, that of Moses which measurably failed; the second, that of Christ
which is also to fail of complete success; and the third, that of the Holy
Spirit which shall absolutely triumph. Whether, indeed, such a view is
justified by what the Gospels teach and the Epistles indicate, is a
question that each interpreter of Scripture must determine for himself;
though it must be said that the large majority of Christians in all ages
have not so understood the message of the Word. And it would certainly be
remarkable if Christ, who was so wonderful a teacher, had intended to
predict a premillennial coming to his own, and yet left it in such an
indefinite form that the majority of earnest Christians would forever fail
to apprehend it. But, in any case, to give up the expectation of the final
supremacy of the gospel in the world, whether we look for it to be
attained before or after the coming of the Lord, through the method of
history or contrary to it, is to empty of its richest content the
Christian hope for the world of men, and to contradict the deepest longing
of the pious heart.(553)

5 Satan Loosed Again and Overthrown, Ch. 20:3c, and 7‐10

A renewal of Satan’s activity is permitted by divine authority, as is
indicated by his being loosed again out of his prison, and seems to be of
the nature of a reaction in favor of evil, a sequence for which we are
scarcely prepared at this juncture, after the millennial period of
Christian ascendancy. We find described in these verses a recrudescence of
organized opposition to Christ and his kingdom, indicated by Satan coming
forth again out of the abyss, according to the prevailing method of the
Apocalypse by which evil comes in periodic onsets. In the elucidation of
the passage most interpreters, who regard the millennium as representing
the triumphal period of Christ’s kingdom upon earth, consider this
incident, together with Satan’s previous binding without the complete
destruction of his power until the end when he is cast into the lake of
fire, as showing conclusively that opposition to Christ has only been
subdued during the millennial period but not extinguished, so that like a
smouldering fire it bursts forth into flame again before the end.(554) It
can scarcely be denied that such is the underlying assumption of the
passage, as is generally conceded, though the usual symbolist view,
relying upon this, minimizes the character of the millennial triumph, and
regards the opposition to Christ as being subdued only so far as believers
are concerned, toward whom Satan is then completely bound, the millennium
and the conflict going on simultaneously—a view that is not adequately
sustained by the text. On the other hand the futurist view magnifies the
nature of the millennial triumph, and leaves no reasonable room for this
final outburst of sin; for the millennium with Christ dwelling among his
people upon earth is heaven already begun, and the Scriptures nowhere
teach either the continuance of evil after Christ’s second coming, or the
existence of an interval between Christ’s coming and the judgment. The
interpretation here given is accepted by many modern scholars and follows
a median line, regarding the millennium as a period of relative triumph
followed by a fresh outbreak of sin, as seems to be indicated in this
passage. If we compare these verses with that strange apocalyptic passage
in Paul’s Second Epistle to the Thessalonians (II Thess. 2:3f.), we find
that he there predicts a falling away from the faith and the coming of the
Man of Sin before the advent, which seems to refer in the figurative
language of Apocalyptic to this same period of final struggle preceding
the end. And the Man of Sin there foretold may perhaps be regarded as an
ideal personification of the sin of man then prevailing, “whom the Lord
shall consume with the spirit of his mouth”. This last struggle is,
however, only for a little time (v. 3), i. e. for a season that is short
in comparison with the millennial period, and is apparently permitted in
order to bring about the triumphal termination of the conflict that Satan
may be completely and forever overthrown and flung into the lake of fire
(v. 10), the final place of punishment, together with the Beast and the
False Prophet whose destruction has been already described.

Though the general idea of the paragraph is relatively plain, the
particular meaning of the prediction is involved in much obscurity, viz.
that of a war in which Satan deceives the nations of the earth, Gog and
Magog,(555) whose number is as the sand of the sea, and who go up under
his leadership to compass the camp of the saints and the beloved city, but
who are destroyed by divine intervention through fire from heaven. The
description is evidently symbolic, and Gog and Magog were doubtless not
intended to be identified as particular nations; nor can the fulfilment be
literally understood. Like many of the prophecies of the past it is
surrounded by a haze of indefiniteness that prevents its full
interpretation until its meaning is revealed by the course of events. The
source of the symbolism is found in the Old Testament invasion of Gog, a
passage in Ezekiel (ch. 38‐39), a prophetic scene of war, which becomes
here the formal type of the last struggle between the hosts of sin and
those of righteousness, and seems to refer to some new, national, and
world‐wide form of opposition to Christ and his kingdom in which all the
earth‐forces of evil are gathered together for their extinction—a final
stage of the conflict necessary for the completeness of the victory, which
is to be postmillennial, and in which all the powers of evil shall be
speedily and finally overthrown.(556) It may also be that the view of
battle here given is intended to be partly retrospective in its purpose,
and to link this struggle with the age‐long conflict which culminates when
the Beast and the False Prophet are taken, giving another view of Har‐
Magedon in which now, after a period of quiescence, Satan’s overthrow
forms the final part.

6 The Second Resurrection, Ch. 20:11‐12a, and 13a

This is the final and complete resurrection which occurs at the end of the
world, and comprises all those, whether believers or not, who failed to
participate in the first resurrection. The completeness of this
resurrection is specially emphasized. Even the sea gave up the bodies of
the dead that were in it; and death and Hades gave up the souls of the
dead that were in them (v. 13a), in preparation for the judgment. The
description here given of the second or general resurrection, it will be
seen, presents the ordinary view of Scripture, while that of the first
resurrection introduces a new and different conception, viz. that of a
special resurrection. The main distinction between the two resurrections
may be regarded as chiefly one of order rather than time, though the
precedence of the first in point of time is also included. In each case a
resurrection of the body is meant, but the first is partial in extent,
consisting of a particular class, while the second is universal,
comprising all classes.(557) The paragraph, when thus interpreted, affords
a clearer view of the resurrection as a whole, showing its proper order or
sequence, and separating into two main parts that which is mostly regarded
in the New Testament in its entirety as a single event occurring at the
last day. In fact the doctrine of two resurrections taught in this
passage, and the clearness with which the resurrection of the wicked for
judgment is set forth, together constitute the most notable contribution
of the Apocalypse to the eschatology of the New Testament;(558) for
“whatever may be the difficulties involved, and however they may be
solved, we must recognize that John here predicts an anticipative and
limited resurrection of the same character as the general resurrection
which is to follow.”(559) This was undoubtedly the thought presented to
John’s mind in the vision, whether we attach any didactive significance to
it or not, and it ought not to be overlooked in our interpretation.

At this point it may be not amiss to say, what must be apparent to every
careful student of Scripture, that it was not the divine purpose in the
book of Revelation to reveal the intimate nature or detail of the great
events which lie at the close of man’s history on the earth; but rather to
give a general outline of the divine order, which would serve to
invigorate our faith and stimulate our hope in the onward path of
Christian duty. And while it is for the most part fruitless to inquire
particularly concerning that which is not clearly revealed, at the same
time the general bearing of this passage should not be allowed to escape
our attention, for it is one of the most significant in the book of
Revelation, and we may well pause a moment to consider its proper meaning.
We have here, apparently,—if one may offer an opinion on so obscure a
subject,—a hint that the resurrection which has just been described as
occurring in two periods, first and second, is to be regarded as a
_process_ rather than as an _event_ that is single and separate in itself,
one which in its entirety covers a long period of time, and is to be
accomplished in progressive stages in which the righteous share first
according to their relative worth—a process which is apparently marked by
two principal periods that are specially in mind in the description before
us. In the light of this view it may be well to recall some of the events
in the Scripture record which seem to support it. The translation of Enoch
and Elijah in the Old Testament, the equivalent of an immediate
resurrection, which anticipated the victory of Christ over death, would
otherwise be an unexplained anomaly. But according to this interpretation
it forms a part of the divine order; their resurrection was not anomalous;
it was only one step in the ever progressive plan of the ages. The
mysterious hiding, too, of Moses’ grave in the valley of the land of Moab,
finds an adequate explanation if he was subsequently translated when the
divine purpose in his burial was accomplished—the burial vindicating the
divine honor, while his resurrection was immediate and triumphant. The
record, also, in the closing chapter of Daniel (Dan. 12:1‐3) though
obscure, points to a stage in the resurrection in which not all but many
shall rise, and includes as well those who rise to shame and everlasting
contempt, though no indication of the time when this will occur is given
by the prophet. But more particularly in Matthew’s account of the
crucifixion of our Lord (Mat. 27:52‐3), we find that his death was
followed not only by the rending of the veil in the temple, indicating the
departure of the divine glory, but that “the tombs were opened, and many
bodies of the saints which had fallen asleep were raised, and coming forth
out of the tombs after his resurrection, they entered into the holy city
and appeared unto many.” It is a weak exegesis that interprets their
resurrection as merely spectral, or as only temporary and transient, even
though it were for the purpose of witnessing to the divinity of our Lord.
The natural meaning is that they arose as a part of the victory of Christ,
and were ready to enter with him into the rest that remaineth for the
people of God. These passages all seem to point to a progressive
resurrection that is to be accomplished in successive stages, and they
cannot well be otherwise interpreted except by indirection. It is true
that the subject is only incidentally touched upon in the New Testament,
yet it seems to be here clearly implied that precedence in resurrection is
divinely accorded to those who are prepared for it, as a part of the
reward of righteousness, and that this belongs to the divine order.(560)
Beyond this we cannot safely go, for it is not well to be too confident in
maintaining any view that depends so largely upon the interpretation of
single passages, even though the inference, as in this case, seems to be
natural and conclusive.

7 The Last Judgment, Ch. 20:11‐15

The final divine inquiry into the sum and fruitage of each and every life,
which is retributive in its purpose, is entered into at the end of the
world when all the dead, small and great, stand before God to be judged,
after the resurrection is complete.(561) The great judgment throne in the
vision is white, the symbol of purity, and he that sat upon it is not
named, but throughout the book the judge is the Father as distinguished
from the Son. The two principles of the judgment given in this graphic
account, which is a reflection of the Vision of Judgment in the prophecy
of Daniel (Dan. 7 and 12), are _first_ “according to their works” which
are written in the books of record that are now open; and _second_
according to the divine purpose which is “written in the book of life”.
The “book of life” was originally the name used for the roll of Jewish
citizens kept from at least the ninth century before Christ (cf. Ezr.
2:62; Neh. 7:5, 64; and 12:22, 23) from which the names of the dead were
erased, that is now applied to the Lamb’s book of life (ch. 21:27), the
roll of living citizens of the New Jerusalem.(562) Those not found in the
book of life are cast into the lake of fire together with death and Hades,
both of which are now merged into this final and fitting retribution for
sin, i. e. physical death as experienced by men in this world, and Hades
the abode of the dead during the intermediate state, are both abolished as
temporary conditions in preparation for the new heaven and the new earth
of the righteous, and are succeeded by the lake of fire for the sinful.
This is the last event of time, the issue of the earthly life, the
End(563) foretold by prophecy, the crisis that marks the transition to
eternity, the closing scene in the great drama of human history. The view
now passes at once from this scene of terror and judgment to the sublime
vision of joy and triumph in the far and fadeless glory beyond.

VII The Vision of the New Jerusalem (A Vision of Triumph). Ch. 21:1‐22:5

The vision of the New Jerusalem is a crowning picture of redemption
consummated, a vision of triumph and peace after the conflict is over and
the victory won, portraying the eternal bliss of the redeemed in the
immediate presence of God, whose glory is realized in the intimate
fellowship and ultimate well‐being of his creatures that have been finally
recovered from sin and fully confirmed in righteousness. In this closing
vision of the Revelation we reach the goal of Christian hope in the future
life with God. Some future‐historical interpreters have, however, regarded
this section as describing the millennial glory upon earth, preceding the
final consummation of all things; but the view is involved in so many
difficulties that relatively few have accepted it. On the contrary the
Christian mind of all ages has instinctively found in the vision a
perspective view of the heavenly glory, an opinion that it may be
confidently said is not a mistaken one.(564) The New Jerusalem presents
the resultant condition of victory following the long struggle against
sin, “the world to come” already ushered in, which lies beyond the
millennium and the resurrection. At this point it may be well to call
attention to the fact that the millennium in Hebrew thought is the
culmination of “the _age_ to come”, i. e. the age which is the triumphing
period of the Messiah upon earth; whereas the New Jerusalem is the
realization of “the _world_ to come”, i. e. of the world that is future
and eternal. These ideas were quite distinct in Jewish thought, and they
ought also to be distinct with us. The wonderful account of the new heaven
and the new earth speaks of other conditions than those of the present
time; and the view of the glorious city in this closing vision (ch.
21:2‐22:5) is aptly divisible into eight parts, the symbol of culmination,
or of a new life or period begun, the division indicated in the comments
that follow.

1 The New Heaven and the New Earth, Ch. 21:1

In this verse we are presented with a view of the new creation which
environs the New Jerusalem, the sign of the changed and exalted conditions
of future existence which await those that are Christ’s, the creation
redeemed as well as the creature, “for the first heaven and the first
earth are passed away”, and all things have become new.(565) This idea,
which coincides with that of Paul in the Epistle to the Romans (ch.
8:19‐23), is not, however, further developed, but the view turns at once
to the heavenly city, for the vision has its proper center in the city,
and is designed to present a view of redeemed humanity in the presence of
God to which that of the redeemed creation is merely incidental.

2 The Holy City, Ch. 21:2‐22:5

Heaven, its joys and its inhabitants, is described under the type of a
city, the New Jerusalem, the counterpart of the Old whose warfare has been
accomplished, a civic and social dwelling‐place that is new, holy, and
glorious, an ideally perfect city in the midst of an ideally perfect
world;(566) the symbol of the glorious conditions of the redeemed and
purified church in the midst of the new life of eternity, and the
antithesis of Babylon, the type of the old sinful and polluted world. The
description is full of echoes from the Isaian rhapsody of Zion Redeemed
(Isa. 54, 60, and 65), and Ezekiel’s vision of Jerusalem Restored (Ezek.
40 and 48).(567)

(1) The Tabernacle of God with Men, Ch. 21:3‐4

The city in its entirety becomes the antitype of the tabernacle of Israel,
especially of the inner sanctuary or holy of holies, where God forever
dwells with men, and they shall be his peoples,(568) and sorrow, pain, and
death shall be no more, for the former things are passed away. This is
authoritatively declared by a voice out of the throne, a divine message,
possibly given by one of the Angels of the Presence, as a comforting and
assuring promise of the divine nearness and guardianship in the future
life of God’s people.

(2) The Bride, the Lamb’s Wife, Ch. 21:2, 9‐10

The city, the dwelling‐place of the redeemed, and the symbol of the new
conditions of the glorified church in the midst of eternity, becomes now
by metonymy the symbol of the redeemed church herself, the Bride of
Christ, the inhabitants being thought of to the exclusion of all else. The
great city, the holy Jerusalem, is seen coming down out of heaven from
God,(569) as a bride adorned for her husband on her marriage day,—a figure
of the intimate and tender relation of Christ with his people in the final
state of the blessed. The city in these verses (9‐10) is manifestly the
symbol of the church that dwells within it; but the view that makes the
New Jerusalem the symbol solely of the redeemed church, not only here but
throughout the entire passage,(570) fails to realize the flexibility of
prophetic usage. The idea of place and local surroundings in the general
description of the city undoubtedly stands first in the Apocalyptist’s
thought, and would seldom be questioned by the ordinary reader, though it
includes also the inhabitants as well, and may be used for the inhabitants
alone, as is done in this part of the passage, without invalidating the
general meaning. In the ninth verse, with the announcement of the angel,
“Come hither, I will show thee the bride, the wife of the Lamb”, the
account in verse second is resumed, and is wrought out in detail. One of
the vial‐angels carries John away in the Spirit into a mountain great and
high that he may see the vision more fully, an indication of its

(3) The City of New Things, Ch. 21:5‐8

All things are declared new and changed, and to be the inheritance of
those that shall overcome,(571) to whom also the fulness of divine sonship
is awarded; but the craven and unbelieving, the sinful and impure, shall
be cast into the lake of fire which is the second death. These words of
authority, promise, and threatening, are spoken by him who sitteth on the
throne, the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, who now
himself, when all is fulfilled, speaks openly instead of through those
mysterious voices that have hitherto issued from out the throne and
temple, another token of the nearer communion of the saints with God in
the new heaven and the new earth.(572) And John is again commanded to
write, for the words spoken are “faithful and true”, and “they are come to
pass”, i. e. all God’s promises and threatenings have been fulfilled, even
the things of the new creation have already come into being, and the
mystery of God is ended, according to the prediction of the angel with the
book (ch. 10:7), i. e. the mystery of the divine purpose in the great work
of creation and redemption has now been fully made known.

(4) The City of Glory(573), Ch. 21:11‐21

“Having the glory of God”, i. e. the glory of his abiding presence, which
is reflected in the glory of gate and wall and street, yet the city is
described for our better understanding in terms of the earthly creation.
Its light is like unto a stone most precious, and the materials of its
structure are most costly; the building of the wall is of jasper, the city
and the street of pure gold, and the foundations of the wall adorned with
all manner of precious stones,(574) while the several gates are each of a
single pearl,—the mingled symbols of brilliancy, glory, costliness, and
beauty. The city lies foursquare, a perfect figure, the distinctive number
of the earthly creation still, though new, with twelve foundations, gates,
and angels, the church number, reflecting the number of the tribes of
Israel and of the apostles of the Lamb, and with walls one hundred and
forty‐four cubits high, the square of the church number, and twelve
thousand furlongs in length on each of the four sides,(575) the church
number multiplied by a thousand, and the number of the sealed in each
tribe (ch. 7:5f.),—pertinent symbols, all of these, of the perfect home of
the redeemed, as well as of the symmetry of the perfect church. The city
is further described as a perfect cube like the holy of holies in the
sanctuary, the length and breadth and the height of it being equal (v. 16)
which perhaps means that in the height is included the eminence on which
it stands, though others think that there is an intentional absence of all
verisimilitude.(576) The symbolical meaning of the cubical dimensions is
evidently that of a symmetrical and ideal perfection which is proportional
in all its parts, and like to the holy of holies in the earthly
temple.(577) The circuit of the walls is forty‐eight thousand stadia, i.
e. four times twelve thousand furlongs or stadia, and seems to be a
designed reference to the city of Babylon, the greatest city of the
ancient world, the circuit of which was four hundred and eighty stadia, i.
e. four times one hundred and twenty furlongs or stadia, while that of the
New Jerusalem is greater a hundredfold, which is evidently the language of
symbolism.(578) The city which is first seen from afar, coming down out of
heaven (v. 11‐14), is afterward measured, and its glories pointed out by
the angel (see the divisions indicated by paragraphs in the text of the
Revelation given in the first part of the volume).

(5) The City of Many Nations, Ch. 21:24, and 26

The nations walk amidst the light thereof, and the kings of the earth
bring their glory into it, a description which seems to reflect the
thought of a new earth that will be peopled as well as the holy city, as
implied in the first verse of the chapter, and perhaps designed to show
the cosmopolitan character of the New Jerusalem.

(6) The City of Exclusions, Ch. 21:1, 4, 22, 23, 25, 27; and 22:3, 5

The city has no more sea, i. e. the old, earthly, turbulent sea of
conflict and unrest (v. 1); no more death, neither mourning, crying, nor
pain any more (v. 4); no separate temple or inner sanctuary of partial
access to God, for the city is all temple, and God forever dwells among
his people (v. 22); no sun, nor moon, nor night, for the Lamb is the light
thereof, his spiritual light superseding the physical (v. 23, 25, and ch.
22:5); no shut gates of defence or hindrance, for there is no longer
either night or enemy abroad (v. 25); and no more curse, nor any unholy to
renew the conflict, nor anything unclean or that maketh an abomination and
a lie, for Christ is throned as victor (v. 27, and ch. 22:3). In this
final view of heaven not only has the temple disappeared, but also the
elders, and the four living creatures, and all that accessory symbolism of
the earlier visions which was appropriate to the church‐historic period.
These are no longer needed, for the conditions which they served to
symbolize have passed away. Even the angels are no longer seen within, for
this is a vision of redeemed men who look upon the face of their Redeemer.

(7) The City of Life, Ch. 22:1‐2

As the antidote of death the eternal city is seen to possess a “river of
water of life” that flows out from the throne of God and of the Lamb in
the midst of the street thereof, the source of enduring life to all the
holy (Ps. 46:4‐5). The city is, also, seen to have the “tree of
life”,(579) the seal of God’s first covenant in Eden (Gen. 2:9; 3:22),
bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month, and with
leaves for the healing of the nations, which has at last wrought its
beneficent results and forever removed the curse. The word tree is in the
singular, but the context shows that it is to be understood generically,
i. e. a tree of life which is found on this side of the river and on that,
or trees of life growing by the river‐side.(580) We notice, also, that the
river, which in the earthly Paradise was parted and became four heads when
traced to its source, is now replaced by a single river of water of life
in the heavenly; and the Scripture story of man, viewed from its beginning
to its close, is seen to finally lead up from the lost Paradise of
creation to the Paradise regained by redemption. And in that city forever
dwell only those “that are written in the Lamb’s book of life”.

(8) The City of God, Ch. 22:3‐5

The crowning glory of the holy city is the abiding presence of Jehovah,
for the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be therein, and the redeemed
shall see his face(581) in the beatific vision, and his name shall be upon
their foreheads, and they shall reign for ever and ever. Then and there
man redeemed, who has so long been separated from the face of God by the
ruinous results of sin, shall be at last restored to the fulness of the
divine presence to abide throughout eternity.(582) Whether, indeed, God in
his essential being can ever be directly apprehended by the finite spirit,
is a question that with our present light we cannot definitely determine.
It may well be in eternity as in time, there as well as here, that for us
to see the Son is to see the Father, and that the beatific vision for
which men have so often longed and hoped and prayed in the past, is to be
realized in a way quite different from the common thought, by the blessed
vision of the glorified and exalted Christ in the fadeless life of the
perfected kingdom of God in heaven. The name which shall be upon the
foreheads of the redeemed is evidently the “new name” of chapter three (v.
12) which sums up in itself all the fulness of the future revelation of
God to the glorified, the transcendental and ineffable name to men upon
earth “which no one knoweth but he that receiveth it”, i. e. in the future
life of the heavenly kingdom.

It is surely worthy of our attention here to note in closing, how all
God’s revelations of himself have not only tended to grow in intensity and
clearness, but also to center in the name by which he is made known.
Beginning with the announcement of his sacred name Jehovah, as distinct
from his former name Elohim, in connection with the great events of
Israel’s redemptive history, there is a manifest movement in the
historical self‐revelation of God to men that is marked by progressive
steps which lead on through all the promise and mystery of the incarnate
Christ to this final revelation of himself, lying beyond history, that
shall be made to the redeemed under the “new name” when redemption is
complete. He who was first promised to men, to be born “of the seed of the
woman”, and “of the seed of Abraham”, and was afterward more clearly
revealed to Israel as “the son of David”, “the servant of Jehovah”,
“Immanuel”, “the Son of Man”, and “the Messiah”, and who was made known to
men in his incarnation as “Jesus”, “the Christ”, and “our Lord”, was
finally recognized by the church under his full redemptive title as “the
Lord Jesus Christ”, by which name he shall be known throughout all the
centuries to the end of time. But the vision of the city of God reaches
far beyond this, and tells of his name to be then written upon the
foreheads of the redeemed, manifestly his “own new name” (ch. 3:12) that
is to be revealed to the glorified when redemption is complete, which
stands for the full, final, and complete revelation of God in Christ in
the new relations of the great future life in heaven.

Thus, with the redeemed enthroned in power, and dwelling in the unveiled
presence of God revealed, there is completely fulfilled the ultimate
divine purpose of man’s creation and redemption. This, in John’s view, is
the consummation of all things, that

    “One far‐off divine event,
    To which the whole creation moves.”

The transition to the closing part of the book is now made, but it is not
very definitely marked, and in the division into chapters it was
overlooked entirely, for the twenty‐second chapter should begin at this
point. Some would make the break at the close of verse seven, but it more
properly belongs at the close of verse five, where the description of the
New Jerusalem ends.


The epilogue consists of a recapitulation of the authority and contents of
the book, instructions for its use, and an enforcement of its lessons. It
is a brief but impressive conclusion, giving the final words of the angel,
with the promise of Christ to the victors, and the closing testimony of

A The Final Words of the Angel, with the Promise of Christ, Ch. 22:6‐16

These words should be regarded as spoken for Christ, and the promise to
the victors as made in his name, by the angel that he sent to testify
these things unto John, the interpreting angel of chapter one (v. 1), who
now looks back over the entire revelation that has been given, returning
from the series of visions revealing the future to the standpoint of the
introductory vision.(583)

1 The Message Reaffirmed, Ch. 22:6‐9

The importance of the message is recognized and its trustworthiness
emphasized by repeated affirmation. An effort is thereby made to impress
indelibly its lessons upon the heart of the church.

(1) The Witness of the Angel, Ch. 22:6‐7

The sayings of the book are declared to be true and faithful, and of
divine authority; the speedy coming of Christ is announced,(584) i. e.
“quickly” in the divine view which covers all eternity, but not to be
understood as at once or soon from the ordinary or human point of view;
and a blessing is pronounced upon those who keep the words of the prophecy
of this book in anticipation of their complete fulfilment.

(2) The Witness Confirmed by John, Ch. 22:8a

To the declaration of the angel is added the direct testimony of John that
he saw and heard these things, a parenthetical remark, strengthening the
statement of the angel and confirming the words of the book.

(3) Worship from John again Refused, Ch. 22:8b‐9

The form and presence and message of the angel overwhelm John with awe,
and he tenders his worship; but the angel, as before (ch. 19:10),
acknowledges himself a fellow‐servant with John, and bids the Apostle
worship God—probably a protest against angel worship which may already
have begun.

2 The Book Not to be Sealed, Ch. 22:10‐11

The words of the prophecy are not to be sealed, i. e. they are not to be
kept secret, evidently not even their deeper meaning, so far as it was
known, was to be veiled in secrecy, but was to be openly communicated to
the churches, for the time of inevitable reward is declared to be at hand
(v. 10‐11) both for the righteous and the wicked, when the present
opportunity shall be ended.(585) The opposite direction, it will be
noticed, was given concerning the Book of Daniel (ch. 12:4, 9), which was
commanded to be “shut up and sealed till the time of the end”, because as
had been previously explained, “it belongeth to many days to come” (Dan.
8:26). But this book is to be given at once to men, an evident indication
that its contents were not regarded as secret or veiled, but were intended
to be read and understood by all.

3 The Promise of Christ to the Victors, Ch. 22:12‐16

“Behold, I come quickly;(586) and my reward is with me,” is the gracious
promise of recompense to be given to the faithful, for he will “render to
each man according as his work is”—a fundamental principle of the final
judgment that is everywhere emphasized throughout the book. “I am the
Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End”,
is a recapitulation of these three comprehensive titles descriptive of
Christ which have hitherto been used separately (chs. 1:8, 17; 2:8; 21:6),
but are now massed together in impressive solemnity. It is the equivalent
of saying, “I am the Source, and through me will be the Consummation, of
all that which is and was and shall be the ages through”—an affirmation of
absolute supremacy in the universe.(587) The declaration of the next verse
(v. 14), “Blessed are they that wash their robes, that they may have the
right _to come_ to the tree of life, and may enter in by the gates into
the city”, is the seventh and last of the wonderful Benedictions of the
book (see App’x C). In contrast with these that are blessed, are all the
wicked of every class who are left without, including “every one that
loveth and maketh a lie”. He who sent his angel to testify to these things
is Jesus (v. 16), once born of the family of David, the bright and morning
star, the glorious harbinger of the day of redemption.(588) The words are
in the form of direct address, and are undoubtedly from Christ himself,
though as there is no apparent indication of a change of speaker from
verse six, where the voice is clearly that of the angel, we may regard
them either as given by the angel who repeats what Christ has said, or as
personally spoken by Christ himself.(589) It is well for us at this point
to remember the interesting fact, generally known by students of the Greek
Testament, that in verse sixteen, “at the word ‘David’, the manuscript 1,
from which Erasmus compiled the Textus Receptus, ends. In order to supply
the remainder, which is deficient, Erasmus retranslated the Vulgate
Version into Greek. The Greek, therefore, of the Textus Receptus from this
point onwards is the Greek of Erasmus”,(590) and hence lacks the authority
of the original text.

B The Closing Testimony of John, Ch. 22:17‐20

These verses contain the final witness, warning, and exhortation of the
Apostle, which is given to the churches before the book is closed,
concerning all the things which are written therein.

1 A Last Universal Invitation of Grace, Ch. 22:17

“Come!” “Come!” “Come!” A thrice repeated call to all men to come to
Christ for the free gift of life eternal, is fervently uttered before the
book is closed forever. The beloved disciple with ardent zeal sends out
this final call to the unsaved, and thus the message of judgment
throughout the book reaches a fitting close in a full, free, and urgent
invitation to all men of every class to accept the offer of salvation.
This certainly appears to be the natural meaning of the passage, as is
made clear by the appeal in the latter part of the verse, which would
otherwise lack coherence, viz. “And he that is athirst let him come: he
that will, let him take of the water of life freely.” The verse is,
however, regarded by many as belonging to the words of Christ just
preceding (v. 12‐16), though it is more likely, but we cannot say
certainly, spoken by John. Either connection is possible, and does not
materially affect the sense. Another, perhaps the more common though less
likely interpretation, makes the word “Come”, repeated in the first half
of the verse, a call to Christ to come again, referring to his promise in
the twelfth verse; and regards the passage either as the words of Christ
affirming the witness of the Spirit and the Bride who entreat him to come,
or as an answering cry from John on behalf of the church.(591)

2 A Last Impressive Warning of Exhortation, Ch. 22:18‐19

“If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the
plagues which are written in this book: and if any man shall take away ...
God shall take away his part from the tree of life, and out of the holy
city.” These are the authoritative words of a messenger conscious of
divine authority, and are intended to preserve the integrity of his
message.(592) They are similar in form to the warning given in Deuteronomy
(Deut. 4:2; 12:32), guarding against the deliberate falsification, or
misinterpretation, of a divine message.

3 A Last Assuring Promise of Hope, Ch. 22:20a

“Yea: I come quickly” is the final and repeated assurance of Christ to the
church of his personal coming. The promise of the Lord Jesus that he will
come again quickly, which was introduced almost at the beginning of the
book, and which recurs at intervals throughout, is thus solemnly
emphasized and repeated once more at the close, a clear indication of the
place which it occupied in the mind of the Apostle. As before it is not
“quickly” in the earthly sense, else Christ would have come long since,
but from the divine point of view, for God’s plan is never slow in its

4 A last Ecstatic Prayer of Yearning, Ch. 22:20b

“Amen: come, Lord Jesus”, is the Apostle’s closing rejoinder of rapturous
faith and hope. “In this final assurance of the Lord, ‘I come quickly’,
the Book of Revelation finds its keynote again, and so sinks to rest with
the acquiescent [and triumphant] reply of faith, ‘Amen: come, Lord
Jesus.’ ”(594)

C The Author’s Benediction, Ch. 22:21

The apostolic blessing of the human author of the Apocalypse is added as a
final word to the message of the book, invoking the grace or favor of the
Lord Jesus, the divine Saviour, upon all the saints, the usual closing
words of the New Testament Epistles. The benediction, though unusual in
apocalypses, is here no doubt added because the book was intended to be
read in the churches. And thus in words familiar to every believer is
brought to a close the great Apocalyptic writing of the Christian church,
the last message of the glorified Christ to his faithful disciples upon
earth, a deep and soul‐inspiring view of the past, the present, and the
future, beheld in the light of Apocalyptic vision. Moved by its manifold
lessons of faith and hope, we surely cannot but join with fervent accord
and repetition in its last word of appeal and blessing,



(The Conditions of the Present Age)

I A Duality of Forces in the Moral World

The Good ... vs... The Evil;
... or ...
The Kingdom of God ... vs... The Counter‐Kingdom of Satan.

II A Triple Antagonism of Moral Life

1 Between God and Satan, the Evil Angels, and The Men of the Earth.
2 Between Good Angels and Satan, Evil Angels, and The Men of the Earth.
3 Between The Saints and Satan, Evil Angels, and The Men of the Earth.

III A Trinal Antithesis of Moral Character

1 Of the Lamb and the Dragon, i. e. of Christ and Satan, or in the Greek
Ἀρνίον and δρακων. The same antithesis is implied between the Lamb and the
two Beasts to whom the Dragon gives his power, as shown by the Greek names
Ἀρνίον and θηρίον.

2 Of the Bride and the Harlot, i. e. of the True Church and the Faithless
World, or in the Greek Νύμφη and Πόρνη.

A like antithesis also exists between the Woman (cf. ch. 12) and the
Harlot, Γυνὴ and Πόρνη.

3 Of Jerusalem and Babylon, i. e. of the Holy City and the Unholy or the
Great City, Ἱερουσαλὴμ and Βαβυλὼν.

The full antithesis is found in the final contrast between the New
Jerusalem and the Old Babylon, the City of God and the City of Sin, or the
Redeemed Church and the Godless World.

IV A Threefold Theocratic Method in Man’s Redemptive History

1 By Moral Conflict—the Evil against the Good;

2 Through Divine Preservation—God Caring for his Own;

3 Unto Christian Triumph—the Victory of the Redeemed.


I The Four Schools of Interpretation

1 The Preterist, or Contemporaneous‐Historical School;

2 The Progressivist, or Continuous‐Historical School;

3 The Futurist, or Future‐Historical School;

4 The Symbolist, or Spiritual School.

The wide diversity of prevailing opinion is well indicated by the
existence of four separate schools of interpreters, who represent as many
different viewpoints that are currently attributed to the prophecy, and
that are based upon two fundamentally different methods of regarding its
purpose, viz. the Historical which _specializes_, and the Symbolical which
_idealizes_ the message of the book, conveniently referred to as the
Historical and Symbolical Schools.

II The Seven Shibboleths of Interpreters

1 The Personal Anti‐Christ;
2 The Emperor Nero;
3 The Roman Church;
4 The Mohammedan Power;
5 The Restoration of the Jews to Palestine;
6 The Time, Purpose, and Circumstances of Christ’s Second Coming;
7 The Personal Millennial Reign of Christ on the Earth.

These are the main subjects of disagreement among interpreters, and mark
the dividing lines of opinion. The Historical School, in its various
forms, usually makes one or more of these central to the thought of the
book; while the Symbolical School, for the most part, does not regard any
of them as either distinctly indicated, or certainly implied. It is
fortunate, however, that the main teaching is not materially affected by
the view we may take concerning these subjects of disagreement.


I The Seven Choral Symphonies of the Revelation

1 The Creation Chorus                             Ch. 4:8b‐11
2 The Redemption Chorus                           Ch. 5:9‐14
3 The Salvation Chorus                            Ch. 7:10‐12
4 The Victory Chorus                              Ch. 11:17‐18
5 The New and Incommunicable Chorus               Ch. 14:2‐3
6 The Adoration Chorus (of Moses and the Lamb)    Ch.  15:3‐4
7 The Hallelujah Chorus                           Ch. 19:1‐7

II The Seven Benedictions of the Revelation

1 The Benediction upon the Receivers of the Book                 Ch. 1:3
2 The Benediction upon the Holy Dead                             Ch. 14:13
3 The Benediction upon the Watchers for their Lord               Ch. 16:15
4 The Benediction upon the Guests at the Marriage Supper         Ch. 19:9
5 The Benediction upon the Sharers in the First Resurrection     Ch. 20:6
6 The Benediction upon the Keepers of the Prophecy               Ch. 22:7
7 The Benediction upon the Purified                              Ch. 22:14


I The Initial Series of Seven

(Messages of Christ to the Church Universal)

1 A Message to the Church when Declining, as in Ephesus:—“Remember ... and

2 A Message to the Church when Suffering, as in Smyrna:—“Fear not ... Be

3 A Message to the Church when Impure, as in Pergamus:—“Repent, or I Come
with the Sword.”

4 A Message to the Church when Struggling, as in Thyatira:—“Hold Fast till
I Come.”

5 A Message to the Church when Dying, as in Sardis:—“Stablish the Things
that Remain.”

6 A Message to the Church when Steadfast, as in Philadelphia:—“Hold Fast
... That No One Take thy Crown.”

7 A Message to the Church when Self‐Deceived, as in Laodicea:—“Be Zealous
... and Repent.”


(A Key to Scripture Interpretation)

The value of the symbolism of numbers in the general interpretation of
Scripture is variously estimated, but its importance in interpreting the
Revelation is almost universally conceded, for without it we cannot
understand aright the symbolic teaching of the book. The attentive student
will not fail to notice the wide use of numbers throughout, and the effect
of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division, upon the symbolism
of the simpler numbers. The author believes that a cautious use can often
be made of numbers in the interpretation not only of the Revelation where
their use is so manifest, but of many other parts of Scripture, if not too
much stress be laid on the symbolic meaning, for the Hebrew mind delighted
itself in symbols. The value of this knowledge lies in the fact that an
additional thought may often be caught in this way that would otherwise
escape our attention, though it is usually subordinate and does not occupy
so prominent a place as in the Revelation. The symbolism of the numbers
used in the book is concisely stated in this appendix for the convenience
of the reader.

ONE (a unit), the Primary Number. The symbol of that which is single,
alone, or representative. One hour, and one day, in the Revelation stand
for a relatively short time, and a half‐hour for a clearly limited period,
even though these may not be actually short from the human point of view.
The fractions one‐half, one‐third, and one‐fourth do not represent
definite parts, but in a general way portions less than the whole, that
which is of limited extent in relation to the whole.

TWO (a pair), the Lowest Plural Number. The symbol of confirmation, of
added strength and surety, especially the number of confirmation in
witness‐bearing. The Two Witnesses in chapter eleven, and the Two Beasts
in chapter thirteen, it will be seen, serve to strengthen each other.

THREE (a triad), the Divine Number. The symbol of the Trinity; of the
spiritual as contrasted with the material; of blessing in the Old
Testament. A small total that is deemed sufficient; a limited plurality;
spiritual completeness. The smallest number with a beginning, a middle,
and an end—a fact that impressed the Jewish mind.

THREE AND ONE‐HALF (one‐half of seven), a Broken Number, the half of the
Perfect Number. The symbol of the finite or undetermined; a broken and
uncertain period without a fixed limit; a shortened period of time when
applied to duration, and usually one of tribulation; a period of trial and
judgment. Three and a half years is the period of the church’s conflict in
the Revelation, the age of the church militant, the church‐eon; and three
and a half days is the short and indefinite period of world‐triumph in
which the church suffers oppression—the equivalent of the half‐week in
Daniel. Three and a half years, the period of drought in Elijah’s time, of
the little horn in Daniel, and of Christ’s public ministry, is introduced
four times in the Revelation, viz. it is the period of the Two Witnesses
(ch. 11:3), of the Woman in the wilderness (ch. 12:6, 14), of the Dragon’s
rage (ch. 12:14), and of the power of the Beast (ch. 13:5), each of which
is a time of tribulation.

FOUR (the four corners or sides of a square), the Earth Number. The symbol
of the physical creation, having relation to this present world which is
usually thought of as evil; also used of world‐wideness, universality of
extent, as all parts of the earth without any moral significance.

FIVE (one‐half of ten), an Incomplete Number. The symbol of the
indefinite, the uncertain, with the suggestion of smallness; as a measure
of time an incomplete period.

SIX (one less than seven; and one‐half of twelve), an Imperfect Number.
The symbol of evil, of incompleteness of quality, or of imperfection;
Satan’s number, the signature of non‐perfection; the representative of
that which is earthly as opposed to that which is heavenly; falling short
of the fulness of seven, the perfect number, and but the half of twelve,
the church number.

SEVEN (the number of days in a week; also four plus three), the Perfect
Number. The symbol of perfection, or completeness of quality; of totality
of kind, fulness, or universality. A sacred number with the Jews; the
number of the covenant in the Old Testament; the ethical number, for it
often has a moral significance, and, as will be seen, is composed of the
earth number (four) added to the divine number (three). The number seven
occurs _fifty‐four_ times in the Revelation, indicating that it occupied
an important place in the mind of the writer, and should receive special

EIGHT (seven plus one), a Reinforced Number. The symbol of culmination, of
resurrection, or of a new life or period begun.

TEN (the ten digits; the ten commandments), the Complete Number. The
symbol of completeness of all the parts, of totality of portions,
entirety, and absoluteness; a finite number as contrasted with infinity;
in its larger multiples implying indefiniteness and magnitude. Ordinarily
used of things that are earthly, though not necessarily implying any moral
significance. It is a relevant fact, however, that nothing which is
described in heaven is ten in number, though its multiples are constantly
introduced. The combination of seven with ten in the seven heads and ten
horns of the Dragon and the Beast, is unusual and has an evil significance
throughout, which is probably intended to indicate that that which was
originally designed for moral perfection (seven) has been prostituted for
earthly ends (ten), as is signified by joining one to the other.

TWELVE (the twelve sons of Jacob; four multiplied by three), the National
Number of Israel. The symbol of the covenant nation, the church number—the
number of the earth (four) multiplied by the number of the divine (three)
becoming the sign of God’s people divinely chosen out of the earth. By
some it is interpreted as the number of world‐witness for divine truth, as
the twelve tribes and the twelve apostles, putting the purpose of the
church first.

TWENTY‐FOUR (twelve multiplied by two), the National Number Doubled. The
symbol in the Revelation of the church of both Dispensations united, the
Jewish and Christian, the church of all the ages. The glorified church in
heaven is ideally represented by the four and twenty elders that are
before the throne, i. e. the elders represent one phase of that life.

FORTY (ten multiplied by four), the Probational Number. The symbol of
temptation, or of the power of the earthly; often connected with the
divine test of character, the earth number (four) multiplied by the
complete number (ten) signifying the complete power of the earthly which
is ever testing men. Also, as forty years was regarded as the period of
intellectual maturity in man, it sometimes stood for a full period, a
complete epoch, especially a complete period of stress or trial.

FORTY‐TWO (twelve multiplied by three and a half; or seven multiplied by
six), a Broken Number. The symbol of the church‐historic period of trial,
the world‐age, the duration of the rule of wickedness. Three and a half
years in months,—the source from which this number is derived in the
Revelation,—serves to indicate the incomplete period of the church (twelve
multiplied by three and a half), and also the full or complete period of
evil (six multiplied by seven).

SEVENTY (ten multiplied by seven), the Cosmopolitan Number. The symbol of
world‐wideness; of a two‐fold completeness that is all embracing and
comprehensive, comprising both seven and ten; the number of the nations.
[The numbers forty and seventy, strange to say, do not occur in the
Revelation, though forty is common in the Old Testament, and occurs also
in the New, and the square of forty (1600) is found in chapter fourteen
(v. 20); seventy also had a well‐known meaning to the Hebrew mind,
especially from the period of the Captivity which lasted seventy years,
and was also the number of disciples sent forth by our Lord for wider
service during his Perean ministry. It is quite probable, however, that
these numbers are not used in the Revelation, where so much stress is laid
on the symbolism of numbers, simply because their symbolism was not
needed, just as one hundred is not used except in combination with other

ONE HUNDRED (ten multiplied by ten), the Complete Number Squared; ten
multiplied by itself. The symbol of a multiple completeness that is
usually applied to the earthly.

ONE HUNDRED AND FORTY‐FOUR (twelve multiplied by twelve), the National
Number of Israel Squared. The symbol of the completeness of the redeemed
church—the multiplying of a number by itself conveying the idea of a
multiple fulness or completeness; Israel, God’s people, made complete.

Six Hundred and Sixty‐six (six hundred, plus sixty, plus six), the Number
of the Beast. The symbol of the threefold form of the world’s evil which
culminates in the Second Beast. Six, the number of imperfection (one short
of the mystic seven), thrice repeated, six, six, six, (666), represents
the combined force of the Dragon, the First Beast, and the Second; or,
differently stated, six hundred may be taken as the symbol of the Dragon,
sixty as the symbol of the First Beast, and six as the symbol of the
second, which gives a total of six hundred, and sixty, and six,
representing the combined power of evil incarnated in the Second Beast. In
this symbolism there may also be included the thought of a triune power in
antagonism to the divine Trinity—a trinity of sin.

ONE THOUSAND (ten multiplied by ten multiplied by ten), the Cube of Ten.
The symbol of multi‐completeness; a number that is great but indefinite in
its symbolism, and often used of the heavenly. The thousand years of
chapter twenty is a great period of time of unknown length, stretching out
to untold generations, the millennium of the church’s history, the period
of the church’s triumph and victory.

TWELVE HUNDRED AND SIXTY (forty‐two multiplied by thirty; or twelve
multiplied by three and a half and this again by thirty), the Time Number.
The symbol of the indefinite period of present‐world duration; the age of
persecution. Twelve hundred and sixty days are equivalent to forty‐two
months of thirty days each, or three and a half years of three hundred and
sixty days each, the symbol of the incomplete period of trial during which
the church suffers oppression. To this may perhaps be added the
combination of twelve multiplied by five, representing the incompleteness
of the church as one factor, and seven multiplied by three, representing
the completeness of the divine as the other factor, these multiplied
together equalling twelve hundred and sixty and symbolizing God working
out perfect results through the incomplete period of the church.

SIXTEEN HUNDRED (forty multiplied by forty; or one hundred multiplied by
sixteen), the Square of Forty; or the Square of Ten multiplied by the
Square of Four. The symbol of that which is coextensive with the created
world. Forty is composed of four, the earth number, multiplied by ten, the
number of completeness; and sixteen hundred, the square of forty, is the
sign of completeness so far as this world is concerned. The square of four
multiplied by the square of ten gives the same result, and conveys the
same idea of world‐completeness.

SEVEN THOUSAND (one thousand multiplied by seven), the Number of Multi‐
Completeness, one thousand, multiplied by seven, the Number of Fulness or
Perfection. The symbol of a great number that is fully complete; the
number of those put to death in the fall of the great city (ch. 11:13).

TEN THOUSAND (one thousand multiplied by ten; the square of one hundred),
the Superlative Number. The symbol of innumerability, or of an innumerable
multitude. This is the highest _single_ number in the system of notation
used in the New Testament; ten raised to the fourth power, a myriad

TWELVE THOUSAND (one thousand multiplied by twelve), the Number of Multi‐
Completeness (one thousand) multiplied by the Number of the Tribes of
Israel (twelve). The symbol of the complete number saved out of Israel
from each tribe; or, as others interpret it, the complete number saved out
of all the nations, included here under the twelve tribes, twelve thousand
from each tribe; also the measure of one side of the wall of the New
Jerusalem which is multi‐complete and encircles the redeemed of Israel.

ONE HUNDRED AND FORTY‐FOUR THOUSAND (one thousand multiplied by one
hundred and forty‐four; or twelve thousand multiplied by twelve; or the
cube of ten multiplied by the square of twelve), the Number of Redemption.
The symbol of the multiple completeness of the redeemed church, whether
applied to the redeemed from the Old Dispensation, or by synecdoche to
those from all ages and nations.

TEN THOUSAND TIMES TEN THOUSAND (ten thousand multiplied by ten thousand),
the Number of Multi‐Completeness (one thousand) multiplied by the Number
of Completeness of Parts (ten), and this again multiplied by itself; the
Square of a Myriad, one hundred millions in number. The symbol of an
innumerable multitude which is made more intense by squaring it; the
multiple and innumerable number of the angels in heaven.

TWICE TEN THOUSAND TIMES TEN THOUSAND (ten thousand multiplied by ten
thousand, and this again doubled), the Double Square of a Myriad, two
hundred millions in number—the largest multiple number in the book of
Revelation, and the largest number mentioned in the Bible. The symbol of
an innumerable multitude made more intense by multiplication, becoming
thereby an _innumerably_ innumerable multitude, and this again doubled.
The countless number of the vast invading army of horsemen under the sixth
trumpet which destroy a third part of men from the earth; the world‐forces
which under direction of the world‐rulers of the darkness work world‐ruin
among men—a significant figure of the mighty power and destructive agency
of the heathen world as it appeared to John’s mind in the great
Apocalyptic vision.


A Diagram showing the relation of its several parts.


                 The Literary Structure of the Apocalypse


The Apocalyptic Literature is a characteristic product of Jewish national
and religious thought. It was a favorite literary method of a particular
age, and was born of a travail of soul which strove to find expression for
those new currents of thought and feeling that came to the surface in
later Judaism. Following the decadence of prophecy it belonged to the
period of Jewish oppression, and voiced the heart‐cry of a people true to
God in the midst of national distress. Though anticipated in fragmentary
parts of earlier prophecies, as in Ezekiel and Zechariah, the style of
Apocalyptic first found definite form in the book of Daniel, which became
the type of all subsequent Writings of this class that flourished so
abundantly in the two centuries preceding and the century following the
beginning of the Christian era. Couched in language that is
characteristically figurative and symbolical the literary form is at once
marked and significant, and reached its highest development in the
canonical Apocalypse which has given name to the whole class. The
essential limitations of this class of literature are clearly
recognizable; its ideas move within a narrow range, its point of view is
sombre and unequal, and its center of interest is mainly eschatological.
It occupies a sphere peculiarly its own, a world of pious and often
fantastic dreams—“for prophecy as it lost its footing on the solid earth
took refuge in the clouds”;(596) it wrote the word mystery large across
its page, and revelled in the weird and shadowy; but beneath its peculiar
phantasy lay a profound religious motive—it sought to stay the troubled
souls of men in time of storm, and in its deeper purpose strove to
reconcile the righteousness of God with the sufferings of his people. In
the form of strange and sometimes even grotesque symbolic visions—thought
couched in symbols burning and vivid, which no other figure of speech
could so well convey—and under the name of some hero of the past, it
sketched in outline a history of the world, the origin of evil, the future
victory of righteousness, and the final consummation of all things through
which alone, according to the Apocalyptic view, the providential rule of
God could be vindicated.

There still exists a not inconsiderable remnant of this very interesting
literature, though the greater portion has perished in the wreckage of
time. The principal books still extant are the _Apocalypse of Baruch_; the
_Ethiopic_ and _Slavonic Books of Enoch_; the _Ascension of Isaiah_; the
_Book of Jubilees_; the _Assumption of Moses_; the _Testaments of the XII
Patriarchs_; _Second Esdras_ (known also as _Fourth Ezra_); the _Psalms of
Solomon_; and the _Sibylline Oracles_. The late recovery of some of these
from apparent oblivion is a matter of history, and their recension and
translation by European and American scholars is not without interest to
the general student. The study of this literature as a distinct class is
one of the notable contributions to knowledge by the modern critical
school. These Jewish Apocalypses were widely read in their day, and they
both partook of and leavened the thought of their time, for they
incorporated and expressed the current mysterious hopes and beliefs of the
people. Their influence is distinctly traceable in the diction of the New
Testament, and the _Book of Enoch_ is obviously quoted in the Epistle of
Jude. These works ranked very high with the primitive Christians, and this
led to their being reedited by early Christian writers, and, it is
generally thought, to the interpolation of later ideas. There is, however,
a very wide variation of opinion concerning the extent to which changes
have been introduced, and this is one of the puzzling questions that
confronts the textual critic. Then, also, beside these changes in the
older books, a new series of Christian Apocalypses sprang up, influenced
no doubt by the _Apocalypse of John_. A considerable number of these have
survived, such as the _Apocalypse of Peter_, _of Paul_, _Thomas_,
_Stephen_, _Cerinthus_ and others, but the greater portion have been lost,
and those we have are decidedly inferior both in style and conception to
the earlier Jewish works of which they are a feeble imitation.

It is difficult for us to conceive the conditions of mind and thought that
gave rise to such a literature. In itself it affords an interesting
psychological study. The Oriental is a mystic by nature, and many of his
ways of thinking can never be quite clear to the Western mind. The Jew in
times past was the great figure of the Orient, as he has also been well
named “the most commanding figure in history”; for whatever he may now be,
the Hebrew which we find in his literature is enveloped in the atmosphere
of the East. The Hebrew writers as a class are unique. Although devoid in
a large measure of the humanistic idea of literature for its own sake,
they yet subserved the truest aim in that they brought to the surface and
made verbal those deeper tides of thought and feeling which move and flow
in the universal heart, those wide‐spread and enduring currents which they
instinctively felt were shared by the men of their own generation. Writing
only for a religious purpose, and because they had a message for life, the
development of their thought‐forms was more or less incidental, and was
the product alike of the man, his religion, and his environment. So that
while we especially emphasize the national conditions which contributed so
largely to the birth of this literary form, we should not forget that
behind all that which was temporary and passing lay the Semitic mind and
the Mosaic cult.

The rise of Apocalyptic marks a transition stage in the development of
Hebrew thought that is of momentous significance, for it led to clearer
views of immortality, and truer conceptions of God’s relation to the world
of men, as well as to a distinct clarifying of the Messianic hope. Its
deeper roots are found in the failure of prophecy. No living voice was
heard among the people speaking for God as in former days. Prophecy had
grown senile and was in decay; it had become a thing of the past, and in
its place had followed the scholastic work of the scribes, mechanically
interpreting the messages of old. But, as is pointed out by Charles,
“Scribism could not satisfy the aspirations of the nation: it represented
an unproductive age of criticism, following a productive age of prophetic
genius.” And Apocalyptic was the spontaneous outcry of a heart‐hunger
which refused to be fed on the barren husks of labored interpretation
served up by the scribes. It was in the true line of succession to
prophecy, and though it fell far behind the prophetic message both in its
form and content, and was even feeble in comparison, yet, as Charles has
said, “It attested beyond doubt the reappearance of spiritual genius in
the field of thought and action.” There is assuredly something that is
profoundly pathetic in this deep heart‐cry of the Jewish people which
rings mournfully out of the far past; for even at this remote distance of
time and space we cannot read without emotion their enduring record of
sorrow and suffering, of longing and hope, if we share at all in the wider
world of religious experience.(597)

The apocalyptists were evidently conscious that they had no new message
for their generation, and this conviction led to certain well‐defined
results. First of all they fell back upon the old message for most of
their ideas; but with singular skill they contrived to present them in new
form. The essential elements of their thought were taken from the Old
Testament prophecies, while the material framework was drawn from without.
They attempted in their own way to develop an esoteric meaning in the
prophecies of the past, and for this purpose called to their aid the bold
and striking imagery of the Eastern mind. They laid under contribution the
luxuriant symbols of Babylon, Persia, and the surrounding nations; they
gathered the rarest figures from the accumulated stores of poetry, art,
and religion; and then with a fertile fancy they interwove these all in
the fantastic fabric of their dreams. Then, again, they hid their own
personality, and masked under the name of some great religious hero of the
past. Enoch and Moses, Isaiah and Baruch, served as a thin disguise for
the real authors who remained unknown,—for the Apocalyptic writings are
all pseudonymous so far as known, with the apparent exception of the
_Apocalypse of John_, and the _Shepherd of Hermas_,—and yet we cannot say
that there was any real motive of deception in this, if we take into
account the views of authorship which then prevailed, for “the ethical
notion of literary property is a plant of modern growth”.(598)

The fashioning of Apocalyptic was influenced by many different causes, but
the most marked and significant of them all is to be found in the existing
national conditions of the time. By the captivity in Babylon Judah had
been brought within the sweep of the great tide of history; the world
became vaster; prophecy had a new and broader outlook, and its thought was
forever after interpenetrated by an element of Apocalyptic. The strange
figures of Babylonian imagery were absorbed by the Hebrew mind, and
enshrined in their subsequent literature. On the other hand the nation
itself was in decay; the power of the past had been broken and destroyed;
and “it was terror and oppression”, in good part at least, as Stevens has
well said, “that gave this new trend to their thought”. They had drunk
deeply of the bitter cup of national distress; the encroachment of the
world‐empires had envenomed the past, embittered the present, and
overshadowed the future; the glorious promises of God had thus far failed
of any substantial realization, and the contrast between promise and
fulfilment was too wide to be overlooked. But the Hebrew with sublime
courage did not lose faith in God because of the delay. Apocalyptic voiced
his answer to the problems of the time, and it, like Prophecy and the
Wisdom Literature, was rooted in certain ethical conceptions which are
fundamental to its thought, such as that God is holy, that the world in
which we live is a moral world, and that righteousness must win.(599) And
this gave to the apocalyptist his theme:—the Fortunes of the Kingdom of
God, and how they are to be reconciled with all that God has said; for God
must be vindicated, he is forever true, and his word cannot fail. This
thesis was maintained in two ways. _First_, by attempting a wider view of
the problem of sin and righteousness. That became the question no longer
of a single nation, but of the whole race—for under the stimulus of new
and wider conditions, a great enlargement of the Hebrew spirit took place.
There must be a providential and moral order in the universe which if
sought out will give the true meaning of history. The divine purpose must
be interpreted through the broader sphere of the world’s life. This
standpoint had now become possible through the wider world‐view produced
in later Judaism by contact and intercourse with other nations. And thus
Apocalyptic came to express both a deeply wrought theodicy and a Semitic
philosophy of history. _Second_, the apocalyptist completed his
vindication of God by shifting the center of attention from the present to
the future. The more certain it became that no present realization of his
hopes was possible, the more surely he turned to a future age that would
abundantly recompense all the pain and disappointment of the past. It was
this that made the outlook of Apocalyptic essentially eschatological.
Beginning with the history of the past veiled under the form of prophecy,
the apocalyptist rushes on to predict the future, for there he finds the
victory. The End! The End! is his cry,—the End that victory may come—for
God is to be vindicated only by the consummation of all things, and
history can only be read aright in the light of its finality. The answer
of the End is the key that Apocalyptic offers to the mystery of all that
“which was and is and is to come”; and it is this persistent effort to
read the mind of God concerning the future that gives to Apocalyptic an
element of peculiar interest. For though it is often like the voice of “an
infant crying in the night * * * * and with no language but a cry”, it has
yet a deep significance all its own; it was a form of thought by which God
led his people into clearer views of truth, and to new and larger
vision.(600) Upon the other hand the shifting‐point in every apocalypse
from history to prediction can usually be made out without essential
effort; for beneath the form of symbols and symbolic actions can
ordinarily be discovered the chief actors and principal events of the past
and present which correspond to history; while the things of the future
which are predicted, reach out at once to extravagant proportions. Thus
each Jewish apocalypse by its content and movement, serves to mark out its
own horizon and reveal its own environment.

The general prevalence of the Apocalyptic form in the period in which it
was used may be accounted for partly by its suitability to the theme which
it treated, and partly by the prevailing conditions of national
surveillance. Its visions and symbols and dream‐movement were peculiarly
adapted to meet the conditions of a writing which did not dare to make
plain its bitter reproaches of the foes of Israel. Its hidden meaning,
also, answered well to hint darkly what lay in the future; and its
fantastic imagery appealed to the imagination.(601) The pervasive element
of mystery served to invest these writings with a subtle charm that all
the intervening lapse of centuries and even the present temper of a
scientific age have wholly failed to dissipate. The effort of most modern
Jewish scholars to attribute the Apocalyptic Literature to Essenism cannot
be sustained; neither can we accept the gratuitous assertion of
Montefiore, that “the Apocalyptic writings lie for the most part outside
the line of the purest Jewish development”. Schürer and Charles reflect
the opinion of the majority of Christian scholars in maintaining its
nearer relation to Phariseeism, though admitting it to be “a product of
free religious thought following older models”, and showing distinctive
marks of Phariseeism in some of its parts and of Sadduceeism in others. At
the same time most authorities are willing to grant the probability of
Wellhausen’s suggestion, that “the secret literature of the Essenes was
perhaps in no small degree made use of in the Pseudepigrapha, and has
through them been indirectly handed down to us”.

The value of Apocalyptic is increasingly recognized as a storehouse of
Jewish and Jewish‐Christian thought in the age preceding and in the early
part of the Christian era. It forms the necessary connecting link between
the Old Testament and the New, and is especially rich in messianic and
eschatological conceptions. It is the chief source of information through
which we can trace the changes that occurred in Jewish belief, and the
later development of Jewish thought, in the period immediately preceding
the time of Christ. It carries us back, in effect, to the thought‐world of
the first century, and enables us, as Schürer aptly says, “to reconstruct
the thought, the aspiration, and the hopes of pious Jews in the generation
that first heard the gospel, and even of the Apostles themselves; for
however Christ’s thought transcended the thought of his time, that of the
Apostles did not, except so far as the Holy Spirit illumined them for
special ends.” And, as Charles remarks, “If the Apocalypses were edited
later they only reflect more fully the thought of that age, and they
exhibit what is subsumed throughout in Christ’s teachings.” We can see in
these writings not only a transition stage in Judaism preparatory to the
gospel, but how this modified Jewish thought fits in with the gospel
teaching. They show, for example, how the Old Testament idea of the future
life grew in depth and compass in those centuries which precede the
Christian era; and how this advance was retained and enlarged, modified
and exalted, by Christ himself and by the Apostles; and how, also, the
expansive growth of the messianic hope, which was sometimes almost wholly
submerged, but which always contrived to reappear with increasing
clearness, contributed to that popular expectancy, though in some degree
also to that general misapprehension, of the Messiah’s mission which the
New Testament everywhere reveals. And they enable us to appreciate how the
divine method of gradual advance in spiritual knowledge was operating
during those prevening centuries which have so often been regarded as
barren and fruitless; and how this advance contributed its due proportion
to the marvellous results attained in the life of our blessed Lord and in
the period of the apostolic church. The force of this conclusion is, of
course, partially annulled if we assume, as has been done by some, that
many of the clearer messianic references in the Apocalyptic writings are
Christian interpolations. But the present tendency of critics is toward a
less destructive view than formerly prevailed. Charles, for example,
maintains that the possibilities of Jewish thought should be given full
scope, and nothing attributed to Christian interpolation, or to Persian or
other external origin, except that which cannot be reasonably accounted
for from Jewish sources. The general independence of Israel’s religious
development has certainly come out more clearly from the investigation. As
has been pointed out by Fairweather, “With the exception of certain modes
of thought and expression, including the visionary style so much employed
by Ezekiel, the patriotic Jew apparently brought back with him from
Babylon no new literary possession.... Many scholars explain the
eschatological development of the Apocryphal period on the theory of the
contact of Judaism with foreign systems of thought.... But, as Nicolas has
said, ‘Ideas do not pass ready made and complete from one nation to
another like the fruits of industry which are transported in caravans.’...
There may be, however, stimulus without transference, and this appears to
be what really happened in the case before us.”(602)

The Apocalyptic Literature undoubtedly served a splendid purpose, for its
effects were both wide‐spread and in many respects beneficial. It served
to rebuke sin, to maintain righteousness without any present prospect of
reward, to keep alive the rich hopes of the future, to comfort God’s
children in the midst of distress, and to cultivate a patriotic spirit
that cherished the nobler ideals of the past; while at the same time it
formed a secure depository for those new concepts of truth that sprang up
during the long era of preparation for the Messiah, and it thereby
contributed a rich quota of thought and phrase to that greater future
which was then drawing near to its birth. “In general Apocalyptic
furnishes the atmosphere of the New Testament. Its form, its language, and
its material are extensively used.... The simplest way to describe the
relation is to say that Jesus and the writers of the New Testament found
the forms of thought made use of in Apocalyptic Literature convenient
vehicles, and have cast the gospel of God’s redemptive love into these as
into moulds. The Messianism of the apocalyptists has thus become unfolded
into the Christology of the New Testament.”(603) But upon the other hand
Apocalyptic reveals a type of thought that can scarcely be regarded as
healthful. It had no deep or abiding sympathy with the great overshadowing
world‐sorrow which it measurably apprehended, and it proposed no present
remedy for the unhappy fortunes of Judaism. It dealt too largely with the
future hopes of the nation, and did not like prophecy address itself to
the immediate possibilities of the present; and it thereby robbed life of
one of its chief incentives to action, viz. the hope of present success.
For it gave up hope of the world as it was, and thereby produced a world‐
despair that could not be counteracted by the prospective world‐joy which
glowed in the messianic promise. According to Apocalyptic perspective,
“the present served mainly as a back‐ground of shadow for developing the
richer light of the coming age;” and, “the proper design of the world was
to be found in its ending and not in its longer continuance.” Even with
the wider world‐view which the apocalyptists possessed, history lost its
value; for they at least partially misread the providential order of the
world. As Stevens has forcibly said, they “viewed the method of God as
ictic and sudden, and not detailed and patient”,—the very opposite of the
divine method in history. And such an interpretation of life produced its
inevitable results in dreams of an hallucinary but impossible future. It
developed and cultured a form of mysticism that has left a permanent
impression upon the Christian church—a mysticism that takes refuge from
present evils, and from worse that are deemed impending, in the hope of an
ultimate and protracted future of blessing wrought by cataclysmic
revolutions, and leading up to a new manifestation of the divine Person
upon earth, and to new conditions of life in the world of nature.(604) For
it is in Apocalyptic rather than in Scripture that we find the source of
that pessimistic view which has prevailed in various circles of the church
in all ages, that looks for the world to grow continually worse as the
centuries go on, until by a great climax of the future a new order of
things shall be introduced that is essentially different in its divine
manifestations and in its spiritual ordering from all the past. But
notwithstanding the many defects of this class of writings, and their
manifest extravagancies, they were yet divinely used, and evidently filled
an exceptionally large place in the far‐reaching providential plan of God
for the education of the Jewish nation, and through them of the world,
just as God is ever using human and imperfect means for wise and
beneficent ends.

The importance of some knowledge of Apocalyptic to the student of John’s
Revelation cannot well be overestimated, for it is only in the light of
Apocalyptic Literature that it can be rightly interpreted. It reproduces
the author’s native horizon, and reveals the sources of his mode of
thought; it provides the key to the method of vision and symbol and dream‐
movement; and it makes clear the inevitable limitations as well as the
recognized possibilities of this unique style when it becomes the vehicle
of a true instead of an assumed revelation. For although the source of
much of the imagery of the Apocalypse is to be found in the Old Testament,
yet it is often materially changed by passing through the medium of later
Jewish thought as reflected in the Pseudepigrapha; and although New
Testament ideas everywhere prevail in, through, and above, those of the
Old, yet the whole spirit and movement of the Apocalypse is moulded by
certain underlying pre‐Christian conceptions that belong to Jewish
Apocalyptic. We find, for example, that the divine method in history is
uniformly viewed as in the Apocalyptic Literature, and contrary to general
experience, as chiefly one of crisis and catastrophe rather than of
gradual development—the sudden and striking hiding from view the continued
and ordinary. And we cannot but inquire how far this conception is with
John the result of literary form and spiritual mood, rather than intended
to set forth the intimate nature of the divine method; and how far it is
designed to portray vividly the effects to be accomplished, rather than to
signify the manner of their accomplishment. We find, too, that John, in
common with the apocalyptists, dwells more upon the future hopes of the
kingdom than upon its present possibilities, keeping his eye ever fixed
above the conflict upon the far future of promise. And we cannot but
inquire how far this aspect of his world‐view was divinely designed as a
message of comfort to a people in distress, rather than as a comprehensive
presentation of the progressive world‐plan of the ages; and how far it is
given only as one point of view, rather than as designed to express the
fulness of the divine purpose. To these inquiries there can properly be
but one answer, the view‐point is characteristic of and peculiar to
Apocalyptic. It does not present the normal aspect of life; it is the
product of adverse conditions and breathes the spirit of pain; its vision
is forever saddened by the overwhelming world‐sorrow that darkens the
horizon of thought. And while all Hebrew literature is essentially grave,
and devoid of the element of humor, yet Apocalyptic is abidingly
overshadowed by a weight of world‐woe from which men seek to escape into
another sphere and into new and better conditions of life.

The larger study of Apocalyptic Literature must continue to have its
effect upon the interpretation of the Apocalypse which is indisputably its
greatest masterpiece. For by attentive consideration of the peculiarities
of this form of composition we are gradually led to perceive that only in
so far as we invest ourselves with the atmosphere which produced so
strange a coloring of thought, can we hope to interpret aright that
peculiar view of the world, growing out of the conditions of Jewish
depression, which regards it as the arena of an all‐pervasive conflict,
and involved in prevailing sin and suffering, in order that through these
seemingly adverse experiences it may by sovereign control be divinely made
ready for the future glory of the Messiah’s kingdom. And we are thus amply
assured that a correct apprehension of the form and fashion of Apocalyptic
thought will undoubtedly guide us in all that pertains to the material
framework of the Apocalypse, though certainly we should not forget that we
must always go to the Old Testament and to the New when we would reach its
inner heart. The present general consensus of opinion among modern
scholars, therefore, seems to be, that having measurably exhausted inquiry
concerning the Old Testament references, whatever progress we are to make
in the immediate future in unfolding the thought of the Revelation must be
through a further study of the thought‐forms of the century that gave it
birth, which so richly abound in the Apocalyptic writings, but which so
long escaped the scholarly and attentive consideration of Christian

[Transcriber’s Note: Obvious printer’s errors have been corrected.]


    1 The principal thought in each quotation has been _italicized_ for
      the sake of emphasis.

    2 “To pretend to have found an answer to every question raised by the
      Apocalypse is the opposite of science.” Jülicher, _Intr. to New
      Test._, p. 291; also cf. Warfield, art. “Revelation,” _Schaff‐Herzog

    3 That meaning for the most part, as Farrar has forcibly said
      concerning the portion of the book which relates to the earthly and
      historic future, “is irrevocably lost for us, and in point of fact
      has never been known to any age of the church—not even to the
      earliest, not even, so far as our records go, to Irenæus the hearer
      of Polycarp, or to Polycarp the hearer of St. John.” _Early Days of
      Christianity_, p. 528.

    4 Moulton, _Mod. Read. Bib._, vol. Rev., notes, p. 192; also cf. Rev.
      ch. 19. 10, “The testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.”

    5 “In interpreting symbolism, as in all the higher forms of allegory,
      the first critical requirement is restraint. Even with such a poet
      as Spenser it is only a rude exegesis which identifies a particular
      personage with a definite idea: in the more mystic symbolism of the
      present poem (Revelation) it is a violation of true literary taste
      to seek a meaning for every detail of complex presentation.”
      Moulton, _Mod. Read. Bib._ Rev., p. 192, notes.

    6 Plummer, _Pulp. Com._, Rev., p. 2.

    7 Moulton, _Mod. Read. Bib._, Rev., Intr. p. xx.

    8 Cf. Davidson, art. “Prophecy”, Hastings’ _Dict. of Bib._; also see
      Scott, on the distinction between “Prophecy” and “Apocalyptic,” _New
      Cent. Bib._, Intr. to Rev., p. 26.

    9 “The term apocalypse signifies in the first place the act of
      uncovering, and thus bringing into sight that which was before
      unseen, hence a revelation.... An apocalypse is thus primarily the
      act of revelation: in the second place it is the subject‐matter
      revealed; and in the third place a book or literary production which
      gives an account of revelation whether real or alleged.... The term
      apocalypse is sometimes used, with an effort at greater precision,
      to designate the pictorial portraiture of the future as foreshadowed
      by the seer. (In this sense it denotes the literary style in which
      the writing is couched).... Thus an apocalypse becomes a form of
      literature precisely in the same manner as an epistle.” Zenos, art.
      “Apoc. Lit.,” Hastings’ _Dict. of Chr. and Gosp._

   10 Chs. 1.4; 4.8; and 22.8. We may omit ch. 21.2 (following the
      Revisers) as without sufficient authority.

   11 “The Divine” as a title for St. John ... is certainly as old as
      Eusebius: (_Praep. Evan._ xi 18), Plummer, _Pulp. Com._, Rev., p. 1.

   12 So Lücke, Bleek, Düsterdieck, Jülicher, and others.

   13 Dods’ _Intr. to New Test._, pp. 244‐47: Salmon’s _Intr._, p. 2O3f;
      Bacon’s _Intr. to New Test._, p. 23Of; Swete, _Apoc. St. John_,
      Intr., p. clxxf; and Milligan’s _Discuss. on Apoc._, ch’s. II and
      IV. Also, see Simcox on Rev., _Cambr. Gr. Test._, “Excur. III,” for
      a brief analysis of the theories of composite authorship advanced by
      Vischer and Volter; Warfield, _Presb. Review_, Ap. ’84, p. 228, in
      reply to Volter; Moffatt, _Expositor_, Mar. ’09, “Wellhausen and
      Others on Apoc”; and same author, “Intr. to Rev.”, _Exp. Gr. Test._,
      vol. V. pp. 292‐94:.

   14 The theory current among modern critics of two Johns in Asia, or
      else of identifying the traditional John of Ephesus with the
      hypothetical John the Presbyter, has a very slender foundation. “The
      existence of this second John, the Presbyter, if he really did
      exist, rests upon a single line of an extract from Papias, a writer
      of the second century.” Sanday’s _Criticism of the Fourth Gospel_,
      p. 16. “Either John (the Apostle) wrote it (the Revelation), or John
      was never at Ephesus.” Holtzman, quoted in “Intr. to Rev.”, _New
      Cent. Bib._, p. 36. For an interesting discussion of “the two
      Johns,” see “Excur. XIV” in Farrar’s _Early Days of Christianity_;
      also Smith, “Intr. to Ep’s of John”, _Exp. Gr. Test._, vol. V, pp.
      158‐62; and Strong, art. “John, Apostle,” Hastings’ _Dict. of Bib._

   15 This view that the Apocalypse is pseudonymous is now, however, for
      the most part being given up. With the revival of prophecy under the
      influence of the life and teachings of Christ, “it is only what we
      would expect when the primitive Christian prophet, a John, or a
      Hermas, disdains the pseudonymity of his Jewish rivals.” Bacon’s
      _Intr. to New Test._, p. 234; also see _New Cent. Bib._, Rev.,
      Intr., p. 32.

   16 Charles points out the many Hebraisms of the Apocalypse, and says of
      the author, “While he writes in Greek he thinks in Hebrew, and the
      thought has naturally affected the vehicle of expression.... He
      never mastered Greek idiomatically ... to him many of its particles
      were apparently unknown.” _Studies in Apoc._, p. 82.

   17 Bp. Wescott, “Intr. to John’s Gospel”, _Bib. Com._, pp. lxxxiv‐vii;
      cf. Swete’s discussion of this view, “_Apoc. St. John_”,
      “Authorship”, pp. clxxviii‐i.

   18 Prof. M. B. Riddle, unpublished _Class‐room Lects. on Rev._

   19 Reynolds, “Intr. to Gosp. of John,” _Pulp. Com._, p. lxvii.

   20 See Bacon’s _Intr. to New Test._, pp. 136‐38; Briggs’ _Messiah of
      the Apostles_, p. 301; and tentatively, Swete, _Apoc. St. John_,
      “Authorship,” pp. clxxx‐xxxi.

   21 Cf. Jülicher’s _Intr. to New Test._, chapter on the “Johannine

   22 “More than any other class of writings they show signs of having
      been edited and modified.” Zenos, art. “Apoc. Lit.,” Hastings’
      _Dict. of Chr. and Gosp._

   23 Holtzmann, quoted in _New Cent. Bib._; “Substantially it bears the
      marks of composition by a single pen; the blend of original writing
      and editorial re‐setting does not impair the impression of a
      literary unity.” Moffatt, _Exp. Gr. Test._, Rev., Intr., p. 288.

   24 As by Vischer, Harnack, and others.

   25 As by Volter, Spitta, Pfleiderer, Briggs, and others.

   26 As by Weizsäcker, Jülicher, Bousset, Moffatt, and others. For a
      short consensus of modern theories see _Exp. Gr. Test._, Rev.,
      Intr., pp. 292‐94, which affords a good illustration of wide and
      extravagant guessing.

   27 This objection to the modern critical view is one of evident force,
      and deserves thoughtful consideration, Cf. Swete’s _Apoc. of St.
      John_, Intr., pp. xlix and cliii, which maintains the literary unity
      of the book.

   28 As Porter, Scott, and others.

   29 See Porter’s article “Revelation,” Hastings’ _Dict. of Bib._; and
      Scott’s Intr. to Rev., _New Cent. Bib._

   30 Cf. Reynolds, Intr. to John’s Gosp., _Pulpit Com._, p. lxvii;
      Riddle, _S. S. Times_, Jun. 1, 1901; and Burton, in _Records and
      Letters of the Apost. Age_, notes, p. 229.

   31 “The common opinion has returned to the traditional date, the
      closing years of Domitian’s reign (81‐96).” Votaw, “Apoc. of John,”
      _Biblical World_, Nov. 1908.

   32 See Weizsäcker’s _Apostolic Age_, vol. ii. pp. 173‐205; also
      _Moffatt’s Hist. New Test._, p. 45f.

   33 Cf. Farrar, _Early Days of Christianity_, pp. 510‐13f.

   34 “Nero’s massacre was a freak of personal violence,” and “had nothing
      whatever to do with the imperial cultus.” Moffatt, _Exp. Gr. Test._,
      Rev., Intr., p. 310. Mommsen’s view (_Prov. Rom. Emp._, vol. ii, pp.
      214‐17 note) is that the historical situation reflected in the
      Apocalypse indicates that it was written after Nero’s fall, and the
      destruction of Jerusalem; and that the references to persecution
      imply a regular judicial procedure on account of refusal to worship
      the emperor’s image, a feature quite different from the Neronian
      period in which the executions on the ground of alleged incendiarism
      &c., do not formally belong to the class of religious processes at
      all. He would not, however, date it so late as Domitian, preferring
      a date somewhere between A. D. 69 and 79, toward the end of the
      reign of Vespasian. Bartlett puts the probable date about A. D.
      75‐80 (see his _Apost. Age_, p. 404). Such views of the date are
      interesting but exceptional.

   35 The book seems to mark a transition in the Roman Empire from
      tolerance to hostility, when it began to insist upon idolatrous
      worship, and that more properly belongs to a period later than the
      time of Nero. Cf. Mommsen’s view in the preceding note.

   36 See “Rev. and Johan. Epist.,” by A. Ramsay, _Westmin. New Test._, p.

   37 See map at the beginning of this volume.

   38 Cf. Dean Stanley’s “Sermons in the East,” p. 230, quoted in _Bib.
      Com._, Intr., sec. 4.

   39 “The extreme skepticism which denies even the presence of the
      Apostle in Ephesus (as Keim and others), is purely modern. The
      tradition of the survival of ‘the beloved disciple’ in Ephesus ‘down
      to the times of Trajan’ is widespread, uncontradicted,
      circumstantial ... the counter evidence is trivial” (Bacon’s _Intr.
      to New Test._, p. 231). “The proof given by Irenæus from Polycarp
      ... is more than tradition, it is direct documentary evidence”
      (Weizsäcker, _Apost. Age_, vol. ii, p. 168).

   40 Cf. Reynolds, art. “John, the Gospel of”, Hastings’ _Dict. of Bib._;
      also Lee Intr. to Rev., _Bib. Com._

   41 For a discussion of this literature see App’x G, also art. “Apoc.
      Lit.” by Charles, Hastings’ _Dict. of Bib._; Drummond, _The Jewish
      Messiah_, pp. 3‐132; Schürer, _The Jewish People in Time of Christ_,
      Div. II, vol. iii, p. 44 sqq; Stuart _Com. on Rev._, Intr. pp.
      20‐98; Driver, “Bk. of Daniel”, in _Camb. Bib._, Intr., pp. lxxvi‐
      lxxxv; Scott, _New Cent. Bib._, Rev., Intr., pp. 13‐34; also art.
      “Apocalypse” in _Jewish Encyc._

   42 For a good statement of the present use of the term, see art.
      “Apocalyptic,” _Jewish Encyc._, vol. I; also art. “Apoc. Lit.”,
      Hastings’ _Dict. of Chr. and Gosp._

   43 See König, art. “Symbol” in Hastings’ _Dict. of Bib._, vol. v, p.
      169f., who says, “What the metaphor is in the sphere of speech, the
      symbol is in the sphere of things.” Also see remarks by Milligan in
      _Lect’s. on Apoc._, ch. I, under the head of “Visions and Symbols,”
      p. 13f. For a fine discriminative view of the place of symbols in
      Oriental poetry, see Moulton’s _Mod. Read. Bib._, “Bib. Idyls,”
      Intr., pp. xx‐xxif.

   44 It is not meant by this to imply that symbols as a class can
      ordinarily be presented to the eye, or effectively depicted upon
      canvas. In fact no symbol in the Apocalypse can be reproduced in
      scenic form without doing manifest injustice to the thought and
      purpose of the writer.

   45 Milligan identifies the Apocalypse of John too closely with that
      discourse, making it mainly a development of its principal ideas.
      See his _Lect’s. on Apoc._, p. 42f.

   46 Moulton uses the term “rhapsody” in a technical sense to describe
      the literary form of Hebrew dramatic prophecy, which affords a
      helpful and convenient nomenclature. See _Mod. Read. Bib._, vol.
      John, notes, p. 191, also vol. Isa., Intr., pp. vii‐xii.

   47 The Greek words μυστήριον and ἀποκάλυψις are commonly used in the
      New Testament as correlative terms, signifying the once secret or
      hidden in contrast with the now discovered or partially revealed.
      See art. “Mystery,” Hastings’ _Dict. of Bib._

   48 Moulton’s _Intr. to Litr. of Bib._, p. 326.

   49 See Append. G, on Apocalyptic Literature.

   50 It belongs to the innermost purpose of Jewish Apocalyptic “to
      attempt to answer the question how and when the dominion of the
      world possessed so long by heathen nations, will finally be
      delivered to the people of God.”, Hilgenfeld, quoted by Düsterdieck,
      Meyer’s _Com. on Rev._, p. 34.

   51 As Renan, and others.

   52 Purves, art. “Rev.”, Davis’ _Dict. of Bib._; Milligan, _Lect. on
      Apoc._, p. 153f.; and Lee, _Bib. Com._, Intr. to Rev., pp. 491‐2.

   53 With correct insight, it has been well said, that “the ancient
      commentators beheld in the visions of the Apocalypse not a prophetic
      history of the Christian church, so much as a figurative
      representation of the contest going on in the world between the evil
      and the good. And the moral of the book, the end for which it was
      given, (according to the spirit of these interpretations), was to
      assure the righteous of their ultimate triumph, notwithstanding the
      apparent or temporary success of the powers of darkness.” Todd’s
      “Discourses on Prophecy”, quoted in T. L. Scott’s _Paragraph Version
      of Revelation_, opening page.

   54 As Milligan, Plummer, Lee, Riddle, Purves, Warfield, and others.

   55 Dods’ _Intr. to New Test._, p. 244.

   56 Harnack, art. “Rev.”, _Encyc. Brit._; also McGiffert, _Apos. Age_,
      p. 624; and Porter, art. “Rev.”, Hastings’ _Dict. of Bib._

   57 See “Analytical Conspectus” by Randell on p. xxvii of vol. on Rev.
      in _Pulp. Com._

   58 Moulton, vol. St. John, notes, p. 195, _Mod. Read. Bib._

   59 “Most of the prophetic books (in the Old Testament) lend themselves
      to a seven‐fold arrangement.... All that is implied in such a
      feature of style is an extreme sense of orderly arrangement; and to
      the Hebrew mind order suggests the number seven” (the number of
      fulness or completeness of quality), _Mod. Read. Bib._, Mat., Intr.
      p. xi.

   60 See also App’x F., diagram.

   61 See Moulton, _Mod. Read. Bib._, vol. St. John, Intr. p. xxii.

   62 See Foreword, p. 9.

   63 “The influence of the _Bk. of Enoch_ on the New Testament has been
      greater than that of all the other apocryphal and pseudepigraphical
      books taken together.” _Book of Enoch_ (Charles). Gen. Intr., p. 41.

   M1 The Book Described

   64 Or, _gave unto him, to show unto his servants the things_ &c.

   65 Gr. _bondservants_.

   66 Or, _them_.

   M2 A Blessing Pronounced
   M3 The Address and Greeting

   67 Or, _who cometh_.

   68 Many authorities, some ancient, read _washed_. Heb. 9.14; comp. ch.

   69 Gr. _in_.

   70 Or, _God and his Father_.

   71 Gr. _unto the ages of the ages_. Many ancient authorities omit _of
      the ages_.

   M4 The Coming Christ
   M5 The Responsive Message

   72 Or, _he who_.

   M6 The Trumpet Voice

   73 Or, _stedfastness_.

   M7 The Glorious King‐Priest

   74 Gr. _lampstands_.

   75 Gr. _lampstands_.

   M8 A Message of Reassurance

   76 Gr. _became_.

   77 Gr. _unto the ages of the ages_.

   78 Gr. _upon_.

   79 Gr. _lampstands_.

   80 Gr. _lampstands_.

   M9 The Epistle to Ephesus

   81 Gr. _lampstands_.

   82 Or, _stedfastness_.

   83 Or, _stedfastness_.

   84 Gr. _lampstand_.

   85 Or, _garden_: as in Gen. 2.8.

  M10 The Epistle to Smyrna

   86 Gr. _became_.

   87 Or, _reviling_.

   88 Some ancient authorities read _and may have_.

   89 Gr. _a tribulation of ten days_.

  M11 The Epistle to Pergamum

   90 The Greek text here is somewhat uncertain.

  M12 The Epistle to Thyatira

   91 Or, _stedfastness_.

   92 Many authorities, some ancient, read _thy wife_.

   93 Gr. _bondservants_.

   94 Many ancient authorities read _their_.

   95 Or, _pestilence_. Sept., Ex. 5.3, &c.

   96 Or, _Gentiles_.

   97 Or, _iron; as vessels of the potter, are they broken_.

  M13 The Epistle to Sardis

   98 Many ancient authorities read _not found thy works_.

  M14 The Epistle to Philadelphia

   99 Gr. _given_.

  100 The Greek word denotes an act of reverence, whether paid to a
      creature or to the Creator.

  101 Or, _stedfastness_.

  102 Or, _temptation_.

  103 Gr. _inhabited earth_.

  104 Or, _tempt_.

  105 Or, _sanctuary_.

  M15 The Epistle to Laodicea
  M16 A Door Opened in Heaven

  106 Or, _come to pass. After these things straightway_, &c.

  M17 The Throne and the King
  M18 The Four and Twenty Elders
  M19 The Seven Lamps of Fire
  M20 The Four Living Creatures

  107 Or, _glassy sea_.

  108 Or, _before_. See ch. 7.17. comp. 5.6.

  109 Or, _who cometh_.

  M21 The Creation Chorus

  110 Gr. _unto the ages of the ages_.

  111 The Greek word denotes an act of reverence, whether paid to a
      creature or to the Creator.

  112 Gr. _unto the ages of the ages_.

  M22 The Sealed Book

  113 Gr. _on_.

  M23 The Lamb

  114 Or, _between the throne with the four living creatures, and the

  115 Some ancient authorities omit _seven_.

  M24 The Book Taken and Worship Rendered

  116 Gr. _hath taken_.

  M25 The Redemption Chorus

  117 Gr. _unto the ages of the ages_.

  118 See marginal note on ch. 3.9.

  M26 The First Seal

  119 Some ancient authorities add _and see_.

  M27 The Second Seal

  120 Some ancient authorities read _the peace of the earth_.

  M28 The Third Seal

  121 Or, _A choenix_ (_i. e._ about a quart,) _of wheat for a
      shilling_—implying great scarcity. Comp. Ezek. 4.16 f.; 5.16.

  122 See marginal note on Mt. 18.28.

  M29 The Fourth Seal

  123 Or, _pestilence_. Comp. ch. 2.23 marg.

  M30 The Fifth Seal

  124 Some ancient authorities read _be fulfilled_ in number. _II Esdr._

  M31 The Sixth Seal

  125 Or, _military tribunes_. Gr. _chiliarchs_.

  M32 The Angels Holding the Winds

  126 Gr. _bondservants_.

  M33 The Number Sealed from the Tribes
  M34 The Countless Multitude
  M35 The Salvation Chorus

  127 See marginal note on ch. 3.9.

  128 Gr. _The blessing, and the glory_, &c.

  129 Gr. _unto the ages of the ages_.

  M36 The Great Reward

  130 Gr. _have said_.

  131 Or, _sanctuary_.

  132 Or, _before_. See ch. 4.6; comp. 5.6.

  M37 The Seventh Seal
  M38 Seven Angels Given Seven Trumpets
  M39 The Angel with the Incense

  133 Or, _at_.

  134 Gr. _give_.

  135 Or, _for_.

  136 Gr. _hath taken_.

  137 Or, _into_.

  M40 The Trumpets Made Ready to Sound
  M41 The First Trumpet
  M42 The Second Trumpet
  M43 The Third Trumpet
  M44 The Fourth Trumpet
  M45 The Eagle‐Cry

  138 Gr. _one eagle_.

  M46 The Fifth Trumpet

  139 Gr. _likenesses_.

  140 That is, _Destroyer_.

  M47 The First Woe Ended
  M48 The Sixth Trumpet

  141 Gr. _one voice_.

  142 See marginal note on ch. 3.9.

  M49 The Angel Coming Down Out of Heaven
  M50 The Thunder‐Voices
  M51 The Mystery of God to End

  143 Gr. _unto the ages of the ages_.

  144 Some ancient authorities omit _and the sea and the things that are

  145 Or, _time_.

  146 Gr. _bondservants_.

  M52 The Book Eaten

  147 Or, _concerning_. Comp. Jn. 12.16.

  M53 The Temple Measured

  148 Gr. _saying_.

  149 Or, _sanctuary_.

  150 See marginal note on ch. 3.9.

  151 Or, _sanctuary_.

  152 Gr. _cast without_.

  153 Or, _Gentiles_.

  M54 The Two Witnesses with Power

  154 Gr. _lampstands_.

  M55 Their Testimony Finished

  155 Gr. _carcase_.

  M56 Their Resurrection and Ascension

  156 Gr. _names of men, seven thousand_. Comp. ch. 3‐4.

  M57 The Second Woe Ended
  M58 The Seventh Trumpet

  157 Gr. _unto the ages of the ages_.

  M59 The Victory Chorus

  158 See marginal note on ch. 3.9.

  159 Gr. _bondservants_.

  M60 Tokens of Judgment

  160 Or, _sanctuary_.

  161 Or, _sanctuary_.

  M61 The Woman’s Glory and the Dragon’s Power
  M62 The All‐Ruling Man‐Child

  162 Or, _Gentiles_.

  M63 The Woman’s Escape
  M64 Michael Warring with the Dragon

  163 Gr. _inhabited earth_.

  M65 Satan’s Downfall Proclaimed

  164 Or, _Now is the salvation, and the power, and the kingdom, become
      our God’s, and the authority is become his Christ’s_.

  165 Gr. _tabernacle_.

  M66 Persecution of the Woman and Her Seed

  166 Some ancient authorities read _I stood_, &c. connecting the clause
      with what follows.

  M67 First Beast—the Beast from the Sea

  167 Gr. _slain_.

  168 See marginal note on ch. 3.9.

  169 See marginal note on ch. 3.9.

  170 Or, _to do_ his works _during_. See Dan. 11.28.

  171 Gr. _tabernacle_.

  172 Some ancient authorities omit _And it was given ... overcome them_.

  173 See marginal note on ch. 3.9.

  174 Or, _written in the book ... slain from the foundation of the

  M68 An Admonition to Patience

  175 The Greek text in this verse is somewhat uncertain.

  176 Or, _leadethinto captivity_.

  177 Or, _stedfastness_.

  M69 The Second Beast—the Beast from the Land

  178 See marginal note on ch. 3.9.

  179 Some ancient authorities read _that even the image of the beast
      should speak; and he shall cause_ &c.

  180 See marginal note on ch. 3.9.

  M70 An Admonition to Wisdom

  181 Some ancient authorities read _Six hundred and sixteen_.

  M71 The Lamb and His Company
  M72 The Incommunicable Chorus
  M73 The Purity of the Redeemed
  M74 The Message of the Eternal Gospel

  182 Or, _an eternal gospel_.

  183 Gr. _sit_.

  184 See marginal note on ch. 3.9.

  M75 The Message of Babylon’s Fall
  M76 The Message of Doom for the Beast and His Followers

  185 See marginal note on ch. 3.9.

  186 Gr. _mingled_.

  187 Gr. _unto ages of ages_.

  188 See marginal note on ch. 3.9.

  M77 The Test of Patience

  189 Or, _stedfastness_.

  M78 The Blessedness of the Holy Dead

  190 Or, _in the Lord. From henceforth, yea saith the Spirit_.

  M79 The Harvest of the Elect

  191 Or, _sanctuary_.

  192 Gr. _become dry_.

  M80 The Vintage of Wrath

  193 Or, _sanctuary_.

  194 Gr. _vine_.

  M81 The Angels with the Plagues
  M82 The Victors by the Sea

  195 Or, _glassy sea_.

  196 Or, _upon_.

  197 Or, _glassy sea_.

  M83 The Chorus of Moses and the Lamb

  198 Gr. _bondservant_.

  199 Many ancient authorities read _nations_. Jer. 10.7.

  200 See marginal note on ch. 3.9.

  M84 The Temple in Heaven Opened

  201 Or, _sanctuary_.

  202 Or, _sanctuary_.

  203 Many ancient authorities read _in linen_, ch. 19.8.

  204 Gr. _unto the ages of the ages_.

  205 Or, _sanctuary_.

  206 Or, _sanctuary_.

  M85 The Command to Pour Out the Vials

  207 Or, _sanctuary_.

  M86 The First Vial

  208 Or, _there came_.

  209 See marginal note on ch. 3.9.

  M87 The Second Vial

  210 Gr. _soul of life_.

  M88 The Third Vial

  211 Some ancient authorities read _and they became_.

  212 Or, _judge. Because they ... prophets, thou hast given them blood
      also to drink_.

  M89 The Fourth Vial

  213 Or, _him_.

  M90 The Fifth Vial
  M91 The Sixth Vial
  M92 The Three Unclean Spirits

  214 Or, _upon_.

  215 Gr. _inhabited earth_.

  M93 The Warning Voice

  216 Or, _Ar‐Magedon_.

  M94 The Seventh Vial

  217 Or, _sanctuary_.

  218 Some ancient authorities read _there was a man_.

  219 Or, _Gentiles_.

  M95 The Judgment of the Great Harlot
  M96 Babylon the Harlot City

  220 Or, _names full of blasphemy_.

  221 Gr. _gilded_.

  222 Or, _and of the unclean things_.

  223 Or, _a mystery, Babylon the Great_.

  224 Or, _witnesses_. See ch. 2.13.

  M97 The Mystery of the Woman and the Beast is Told

  225 Some ancient authorities read _and he goeth_.

  226 Gr. _on_.

  227 Gr. _shall be present_.

  M98 The Kings that War against the Lamb

  228 Or, _meaning_.

  229 Or, _there are_.

  M99 The Harlot Made Desolate

  230 Gr. _hath a kingdom_.

 M100 The Fall of the Great City Proclaimed

  231 Or, _prison_.

  232 Some authorities read _of the wine_ ... _have drunk_.

  233 Some ancient authorities omit _the wine of_.

  234 Or, _luxury_.

 M101 God’s People Called Out of Her

  235 Or, _clave together_.

  236 Or, _luxurious_.

  237 Some ancient authorities omit _the Lord_.

 M102 The Lament of the Kings of the Earth over Her Doom

  238 Or, _luxuriously_.

 M103 The Lament of the Merchants of the Earth

  239 Gr. _cargo_.

  240 Gr. _amomum_.

  241 Gr. _bodies_. Gen. 36.6 (Sept.).

  242 Or, _lives_.

  243 Gr. _gilded_.

 M104 The Lament of the Seamen from Afar

  244 Gr. _work the sea_.

 M105 The Holy Bidden to Rejoice
 M106 The Ruin Complete

  245 Gr. _one_.

  246 Some ancient authorities omit _of whatsoever craft_.

 M107 The Voice of a Great Multitude

  247 Gr. _bondservants_.

 M108 The Hallelujah Chorus

  248 Gr. _have said_.

  249 Gr. _unto the ages of the ages_.

  250 See marginal note on ch. 3.9.

 M109 The Array of the Bride
 M110 The Blessedness of the Marriage Supper
 M111 Worship Refused by the Angel

  251 See marginal note on ch. 3.9.

  252 See marginal note on ch. 3.9.

 M112 The Conqueror on the White Horse (The Beginning of the End)

  253 Some ancient authorities omit _called_.

  254 Some ancient authorities read _dipped in_.

  255 Gr. _winepress of the wine of the fierceness_.

 M113 The Call to the Birds of Mid Heaven

  256 Gr. _one_.

  257 Or, _military tribunes_ Gr. _chiliarchs_.

 M114 The Beast and the False Prophet Taken

  258 See marginal note on ch. 3.9.

 M115 Satan Bound

  259 Gr. _upon_.

 M116 The First Resurrection and the Millennial Reign

  260 See marginal note on ch. 3.9.

 M117 The Blessedness of the Millennial Period

  261 Or, _authority_.

  262 Some ancient authorities read _the_.

 M118 Satan Loosed Again and Overthrown (The War of Gog and Magog)

  263 Some ancient authorities insert _from God_.

  264 Gr. _unto the ages of the ages_.

 M119 The Second Resurrection and the Final Judgment
 M120 The New Creation
 M121 The Holy City

  265 Or, the _holy city Jerusalem coming down new out of heaven_.

 M122 A Great Voice Out of the Throne

  266 Gr. _tabernacle_.

  267 Some ancient authorities omit, and be _their God_.

 M123 All Things Made New

  268 Or, _Write, These words are faithful and true_.

 M124 The City the Bride of Christ
 M125 The Glory of the New Jerusalem from Afar

  269 Gr. _luminary_.

  270 Gr. _portals_.

  271 Gr. _portals_.

 M126 The Measure of the City
 M127 The Materials of Her Building

  272 Or, _lapis lazuli_.

  273 Or, _sapphire_.

  274 Or, _transparent as glass_.

 M128 The Glory Within

  275 Or, _sanctuary_.

  276 Or, _sanctuary_.

  277 Or, _and the Lamb, the lamp thereof_.

  278 Or, _by_.

  279 Gr. _common_.

  280 Or, _doeth_.

 M129 The River and Tree of Life

  281 Or, _the Lamb. In the midst of the street thereof, and on either
      side of the river, was the tree of life_, &c.

  282 Or, _a tree_.

  283 Or, _crops of fruit_.

 M130 The Beatific Vision

  284 Or, _no more anything accursed_.

  285 Gr. _bondservants_.

  286 Gr. _unto the ages of the ages_.

 M131 The Message Reaffirmed
 M132 Worship Again Refused by the Angel

  287 See marginal note on ch. 3.9.

  288 See marginal note on ch. 3.9.

 M133 The Book Not to Be Sealed

  289 Or, _yet more_.

 M134 Christ’s Promise to the Victors

  290 Or, _wages_.

  291 Or, the _authority over_ Comp. ch. 6.8.

  292 Gr. _portals_.

  293 Or, _doeth_ Comp. ch. 21.27.

 M135 Christ the Morning Star

  294 Gr. _over_.

 M136 A Universal Invitation

  295 Or, _Both_.

 M137 John’s Witness and Warning

  296 Gr. _upon_.

  297 Or, even from _the things which are written_.

 M138 A Last Promise of Hope and Prayer of Yearning
 M139 The Blessing on the Saints

  298 Some ancient authorities add _Christ_.

  299 Two ancient authorities read _with all_.

  300 Bacon, _Intr. to New Test._, p. 235; and _New Cent. Bib._, Rev., p.

  301 As held by Seiss and others, following Heinrich, who make the topic
      of the Revelation Christ in his Second Advent, contrary to the
      generally accepted exegesis.

  302 Alford, Plummer, Lee, Milligan, and others, as against Düsterdieck,
      Stuart, and the preterists generally.

  303 “It means the revelation which Jesus makes, not that which reveals
      him.... Revelation ἀποκάλυψις is a word reserved for the Gospel; no
      Old Testament prophecy is called a revelation.” Plummer, _Pulp.
      Com._, Rev., p. 1; also cf. Düsterdieck, Meyer’s _Com. on Rev._, pp.

  304 “The testimony of Jesus Christ, like the revelation of Jesus Christ,
      means that which he gave, not that which tells about him.” Plummer,
      _Pulp. Com._, Rev., p. 2.

  305 Simcox, _Camb. Gr. Test._, Rev., p. 41; Plummer, _Pulp. Com._, Rev.,
      p. 2; also cf. Moulton, _Intr. to Litr. of Bib._, p. 312, who says,
      “A careful reading will show that these words are to be understood,
      not as a part of the revelation, but as the writer’s (or editor’s)
      comment upon the book.” This view, it will be seen, does not affect
      the sense of the verses, but only their origin.

  306 “Understanding can only know what is, has been, or will be. It is
      impossible for anything to exist for understanding otherwise than as
      a matter of fact it does exist in those three relations of time.”
      (Kant, _Critique of Pure Reason_, Watson’s “Selections,” p. 186; or,
      in a slightly different translation, Edition of Meiklejohn, p. 307).
      It is important for us to note that God is thus presented as
      comprehending in himself all the possibilities of existence in human

  307 For the view that the origin of this conception is to be found in
      the later Jewish literature rather than in the Old Testament, see
      Scott in _New Cent. Bib._, Rev., p. 126. Swete interprets, “Here the
      spirits are seven, because the churches in which they operate are
      seven.” _Apoc. of St. John_, p. 6.

  308 R. V. “loosed us from our sins by his blood.” “The insertion or
      omission of a single letter (in the Greek word) makes the difference
      between the A. V. ‘washed’ and the R. V. ‘loosed.’ The manuscript
      evidence for each is very evenly balanced; the other evidence
      likewise. On the whole, the old reading, ‘washed,’ seems more in
      harmony with the thought of the book and with Johannine diction in
      general.” _New Cent. Bib._, Rev., p. 127.

  309 “The continuous return (the coming of the Lord in the power of the
      Spirit) prefacing, heralding the full manifestation of his might and
      glory, is the grand theme of the Apocalypse.” Reynolds, _Pulp.
      Com._, John’s Gospel, Intr., p. lxxxvi.

  310 This title, Παντοκράτωρ “the Almighty,” is used nine times in
      Revelation, and only once elsewhere in the New Testament (II Cor.

  311 Tribulation is the pervading undertone of the whole book. “The
      moving spirit of the vision in the Apocalypse is the sufferings of
      the church” (Ramsay, _The Church in the Roman Empire_, p. 295). “The
      ethical keynote is patience” (_New Cent. Bib._, Rev., p. 129).

  312 See notes on “The Place” in the Introduction to this volume.

  313 “The earliest use of the name (the Lord’s day) is in this passage,”
      Scott, _New Cent. Bib._, Rev., p. 130; Plummer, _Pulp. Com._, Rev.,
      p. 5.

  314 See Scott, art. “Rev.,” Hastings’ _Dict. of Chr. and Gosp._

  315 “The vision of the Divine Christ in Rev. 1 dominates every
      subsequent paragraph in the Apocalypse.” Reynolds, art. “Gosp. of
      John,” Hastings’ _Dict. of Bib._

  316 Plummer, _Pulp. Com._, Rev., p. 7; also see Thayer’s _Gr. Lex. of
      New Test._

  317 “The association of angels with stars was a common Semitic idea.”
      (Moulton). Each star was conceived of by the Jews as having its
      angel, as also every force and phenomenon of nature had its separate
      angel. It is not strange, therefore, that John grouped them in his

  318 Milligan, _Internat. Com._, vol. iv, Rev., p. 36; also Plummer,
      _Pulp. Com._, Rev. p. 8. For the other view see Faussett, J. F. & B.
      _Com. on Rev._, p. 589; Stuart, _Com. on Apoc._, pp. 460‐1; and
      Trench, _Ep’s to Seven Ch’s_, p. 75f.

  319 “This last image is not so strange as it appears at first sight, for
      the short Roman sword was tongue‐like in shape.” Hastings’ _Dict. of
      Bib._, art. “Sword.”

  320 An indication of divine power as well as victory; for “it was part
      of the teaching of the Rabbinic schools that the key of death was
      one of four (the keys of life, the grave, food, and rain) which were
      in the hand of God alone.” _New Cent. Bib._, Rev., p. 133.

  321 “The word mystery is not used in the Bible in the modern sense of
      ‘something that cannot be fathomed or understood,’ but on the
      contrary it indicates either something which is waiting to be
      revealed or that which when explained conveys understanding. In the
      latter sense it comes near to our word ‘Symbol.’ And this is the
      sense in which it is to be taken here and in ch. xxii. 7.” (_New
      Cent. Bib._, Rev., pp. 133‐4). In the general and broader sense,
      however, “The term μυστήριον in the New Testament means truths once
      hidden now revealed, made generally known, and in their own nature
      perfectly intelligible.” Bruce, _Exp. Gr. Test._, vol. I, p. 196.

  322 See art. “Rev.”, Hastings’ _Dict. of Bib._; also “_New Test. Doctr.
      of Rev._” in the same work, vol. V. p. 334e.

  323 Milligan, _Lect. on Apoc._, p. 16.

  324 Asia in the New Testament (with the possible exception of Acts 2:9)
      always means the Roman province of that name, which embraced only
      the western part of what we now call Asia Minor, and consisted of
      Mysia, Lydia, Caria, and part of Phrygia, with the islands of the
      coast,—see the map in the beginning of this volume. “Asia was one of
      the most wealthy and populous and intellectually active of the Roman
      provinces,” Ramsay, art. “Asia.” Hastings’ _Dict. of Bib._

  325 Ramsay, _Letters to Seven Ch’s._, p. 35.

  326 Plummer, _Pulp. Com._, Rev., p. 3; Swete, _Apoc. of St. John_,
      Intr., p. liv, and p. 4.

  327 Milligan, _Lect. on Apoc._, p. 38; _Stuart_, _Com. on Apoc._, pp.
      101‐16, and Excur. II, p. 747 in same volume; also see App’x E in
      this volume on the “Symbolism of Numbers.”

  328 Sayce, Hibbert Lect’s on _Origin and Growth of Religion_, p. 82.

  329 So Milligan, Plummer, and others—see notes in Ch. 20:2f.

  330 “Probably the most striking feature of the Seven Letters is the tone
      of unhesitating and unlimited authority which inspires them from
      beginning to end.” Ramsay, _Letters to Seven Churches_, p. 75.

  331 See Ramsay’s _Letters to the Seven Churches_, where there will be
      found much accurate information concerning the seven cities that is
      based upon an extended residence in those cities, and careful
      personal investigation. A more concise account by the same author is
      given in Hastings’ _Dict. of Bib._, in the separate articles upon
      each city.

  332 Moulton’s _Mod. Read. Bib._, Rev., p. 196.

  333 The exhortation to “hear what the Spirit saith to the churches”
      applies not only to what is contained in the seven epistles, but to
      the entire Apocalypse which follows. See Ramsay’s _Letters to Seven
      Ch’s_, p. 38.

  334 Paradise is the word used in the Septuagint for Eden. It occurs but
      three times in the New Testament. It originally signified a park or
      garden such as was used by Oriental monarchs for a pleasure‐ground,
      but in Christian usage it becomes a name for the scene of rest and
      recompense for the righteous after death. See art. “Paradise” by
      Salmond, Hastings’ _Dict. of Bib._

  335 Plummer, _Pulp. Com._, Rev., pp. 59‐60.

  336 Swete, _Apoc. of St. John_, p. 30.

  337 Pergamus, though a rarer form, is preferable to Pergamos (A. V.), or
      Pergamum (R. V.) as the designation of the city, owing to its softer
      sound for the English ear, though the form is otherwise indifferent.
      See Ramsay’s art. “Pergamus,” Hastings’ _Dict. of Bib._ “Ἡ Πέργαμος
      is found in Xenophon, Pausanius, and Dion Cassius, but τὸ Πέργαμον
      in Strabo, and Polybius, and most other writers, and in the
      inscriptions; the termination is left uncertain in Apoc. i.11 and
      ii.12.” Swete, _Apoc. of St. John_, p. 33.

  338 “Pergamum was the first place in Asia where as early as the reign of
      Augustus was erected a temple to Rome and the Emperor,” Salmon,
      _Hist. Intr. to New Test._, p. 239. “An allusion to the rampant
      paganism of Pergamum ... but chiefly perhaps to the new Caesar
      worship in which Pergamum was preeminent and which above all other
      pagan rites menaced the existence of the Church,” Swete, _Apoc. of
      St. John_, p. 34.

  339 “The name Balaam does not indicate a sect, but a set of principles.”
      Briggs, _Mess. of Gospels_, p. 451; also see _New Cent. Bib._, Rev.,
      p. 143.

  340 This identification is suggested by the present author as a probable
      one, for jade is the most notable white stone that was in use in
      ancient times, and it is still highly prized for seals, charms, and
      kindred purposes in China and the Far East. Dr. Schlieman found
      implements made from the coarser kinds of it in the immediate region
      of Pergamus among the relics of the oldest of the cities in the
      excavations at Hissarlik, the mound of ancient Ilium, near Troas;
      and a jade celt engraved with Gnostic formulæ in Greek characters is
      preserved in the Christy collection. See art. “Jade,” _Encyc. Brit._

  341 Trench, _Ep’s to Seven Churches_, pp. 178‐80. Trench’s view,
      however, that the Urim and Thummim consisted of a single stone is
      not correct, though his interpretation of this passage is as usual
      very suggestive. See art. “Urim and Thummim” in Hastings’ _Dict. of

  342 See Trench, Stuart, Plummer, Lee, Scott, and others. Lange says
      concisely, “Two meanings attached to the white stone among the
      Greeks, viz. acquittal in judgment, and the award of some rank or
      dignity.” Lange’s (_Com. on Rev._, p. 121). Swete says “The white
      stone is the pledge of the divine favor which carries with it such
      intimate knowledge of God and Christ as only the possessor can
      comprehend.” (_Apoc. of St. John_, p. 40).

  343 See art. “Signet,” Hastings’ _Dict. of Bib._

  344 Hilprecht, _S. S. Times_, Sept. 10, 1904, art. “Babylonian Life in
      the Time of Ezra and Nehemiah.”

  345 Weizsäcker thinks the new name is “the λόγος of John’s Gospel”
      (_Apost. Age_, vol. II p. 171); but by “new” is more likely meant a
      hitherto unknown name. Stevens interprets it as “a symbol for the
      Messiah,” (_Theol. of New Test._, p. 540). On the other hand Scott
      says, “A new name stands for a new character.” (_New Cent. Bib._,
      Rev., p. 143); and Ramsay regards it as “perhaps an allusion to the
      custom of taking new and secret baptismal names,” (art. “Pergamus,”
      Hastings’ _Dict. of Bib._); also Düsterdieck thinks that the name
      applies to the Christian (_Com. on Rev._, p. 148); and Swete holds
      the same view (_Apoc. of St. John_, p. 40). “White” and “new” as
      Trench points out, are “key‐words” in the Apocalypse (_Ep’s to Seven
      Ch’s_, p. 172).

  346 Ramsay explains, “There had been a Jewish colony planted in
      Thyatira, and a hybrid sort of worship had been developed, half
      Jewish, half pagan, which is called in Revelation the woman
      Jezebel,” (_Paul the Trav. and Rom. Cit._, p. 215). Scott thinks it
      “most probable that the reference is to some well‐known and
      influential woman within the church at Thyatira, whose influence on
      the Christian community was parallel to that of Jezebel upon Ahab—a
      self‐styled prophetess, whose teaching and example were alike
      destructive of Christian morality,” (_New Cent. Bib._, Rev., p.
      147). Schürer also holds that Jezebel denoted a definite woman,
      (Hastings’ _Dict. of Bib._, art. “Thyatira”). Plummer finds in the
      name a unity of symbolism with other parts of the book, thus,
      “Jezebel anticipates the harlot of ch. 17, as Balaam anticipates the
      false prophet of ch. 13” (_Pulp. Com._, Rev., p. 66).

  347 Swete, _Apoc. of St. John_, p. 42.

  348 “To become acquainted with ‘the depths,’ (i. e. the deep things of
      divinity, as they would say—called here ‘the deep things of Satan’
      in irony) was an essential pretense of the Gnostics.” Düsterdieck,
      Meyer’s _Com. on Rev._, p. 152.

  349 “I will grant him to see the Morning‐star”. Moffatt, _New Trans. of
      New Test._

  350 “The word used is κλέπτης a ‘thief,’ and not ληστὴς a ‘robber,’
      showing that secrecy, not violence, is the point of the similitude.”
      Plummer, _Pulp. Com._, Rev., p. 108.

  351 “The word ‘white’ (λευκὸς), excepting in Mat. 5.36 and Jn. 4.35, is
      in the New Testament always used of _heavenly_ purity and
      brightness,” Plummer, _Pulp. Com._, Rev., p. 109.

  352 The “book of life” is mentioned seven times in the Revelation, an
      indication of the place it occupied in the writer’s thought.

  353 Ramsay, _Letters to Seven Ch’s_, pp. 377‐78.

  354 Milligan, _Internat. Com._, Rev., p. 48.

  355 Scott, _New Cent. Bib._, Rev., p. 136.

  356 Ramsay, art. “Sardis,” Hastings’ _Dict. of Bib._

  357 Swete, _Apoc. of St. John_, p. 53; and Ramsay, art. “Philadelphia,”
      Hastings’ _Dict. of Bib._

  358 Bousset’s inference is scarcely justifiable:—“It is the tone of
      immediate expectation of the end; the last great struggle throughout
      the whole inhabited world is at hand; the storm is drawing near;
      already the seer beholds the lightning flash”. (_New Cent. Bib._,
      Rev., pp. 153‐4). Swete also interprets similarly, as referring to
      “the troublous times which precede the Parousia,” and adds, “This
      final sifting of mankind was near at hand.” (_Apoc. of St. John_, p.

  359 Plummer, _Pulp. Com._, Rev., p. 113; Wordsworth, quoted in _Bib.
      Com._, Rev., p. 547.

  360 Ramsay, art. “Philadelphia,” Hastings’ _Dict. of Bib._; and his
      _Letters to Seven Ch’s._, p. 400.

  361 “The word ‘Amen’ is here used as a proper name of our Lord; and this
      is the only instance of such an application.... The ‘faithful and
      true witness’ is an amplification of the Amen”. Plummer, _Pulp.
      Com._, Rev., pp. 114‐15.

  362 “The origin of God’s creation.” Moffatt, _New Translation of New

  363 “Laodicea was the one famous medical centre in Phrygia.... The
      description of the medicine here mentioned is obscured by a
      mistranslation. It was not an ointment but a kollyrium, which had
      the form of small cylinders compounded of various ingredients, and
      was used either by simple application or by reduction to a powder to
      be smeared on the part.” Ramsay, _Letters to Seven Ch’s._, p. 429.

  364 See art. “Laodicea” by Ramsay, Hastings’ _Dict. of Bib._; and Swete,
      _Apoc. of St. John_, pp. 61‐2.

  365 See App’x F, “The Literary Structure of the Apocalypse.”

  366 See Hastings’ _Dict. of Bib._, art. “Stones, Precious;” also the
      separate arts. in the same work on the names of precious stones
      which we find in the Revelation. Plummer regards the jasper, which
      is further described in ch. 21:11 as being “clear as crystal,” to be
      the modern diamond, while Cheyne thinks it the opal, and Scott
      identifies the sardius with our carnelian.

  367 The A. V. reads, “_there was_ a sea of glass”; the R. V. renders,
      “as it were a glassy sea”; and the Am. R. V. gives, “as it were a
      sea of glass.” The Revisers evidently regarded the phrase as a
      figurative way of describing the quiet of the sea. Alford, however,
      and Swete interpret literally as “a sea of glass.”

  368 Cf. Faussett, J. F. & B. _Com. on Rev._, p. 625.

  369 See _New Cent. Bib._, Rev., p. 164.

  370 Plummer, _Pulp. Com._, Rev., p. 145; Swete, _Apoc. of St. John_, p.

  371 “Throughout the vision no past tense is used. The vision represents
      the worship of heaven (so far as it can be presented to human
      understanding) as it continues eternally.” Plummer, _Pulp. Com._,
      Rev., p. 145.

  372 Bleek, _Lect. on Apoc._, p. 199; Plummer, _Pulp. Com._, Rev., p.

  373 _New Cent. Bib._, Rev., p. 163.

  374 _New Cent. Bib._, Rev., p. 163.

  375 For Bleek’s view of the arrangement see notes on “The Lamb in the
      Midst of the Throne,” under ch. 5:6‐8a.

  376 “No one can authoritatively affirm that created beings of a lower
      order than man will not in some sense share in the future life.” A.
      A. Hodge, unpublished _Classroom Lectures_.

  377 See in Am. R. V., I Sam. 4:4; II Sam. 6:2; II Ki. 1:9‐15; I Chr.
      13:6; Ps. 80:1, 99:1; Isa. 37:16; Ezek. 10:1‐20.

  378 Fairbairn regards the cherubim as typifying “Earth’s living
      creaturehood, especially man, its rational and immortal head”. See
      his _Typology_, vol. 1, pp. 125‐208. Plummer similarly interprets
      the living beings as symbolical of all animal life, and suggests
      that the human face of the cherubim represents “humanity as distinct
      from the church (which is represented by the four and twenty
      elders), and appears to indicate the power of God to use for his
      purposes and his glory that part of mankind which has not been
      received into the church.” _Pulp. Com._, Rev., p. 146. Also see art.
      “Cherubim,” Hastings’ _Dict. of Bib._; and for an apocalyptic
      description of the cherubim, _Bk. of Enoch_ (ed. Charles), 14:11,
      18; 20:7; 61:10; 76:7.

  379 Stuart, _Com. on Apoc._, p. 515; also cf. Düsterdieck, and Plummer.
      Other definitions, though differing in statement, have a general
      similarity. For example, “The Book of Destiny” (Bacon, _Intr. to New
      Test._, p. 284); “The Book of Doom” (Moffatt, _Exp. Gr. Test._, Rev.
      p. 382); “The Book of History” (_Temple Bib._, Intr. to Rev., p.
      xxxvii); or, better still, “The Book of God’s Counsels” (Lee, _Bib.
      Com._, Rev., p. 563). Faussett, following De Burgh, makes the book
      “The Title‐deed of Man’s Inheritance Redeemed by Christ” (J. F. & B.
      _Com. on Rev._, p. 602). Seiss accepts this interpretation and
      explains further by reference to Jewish customs of land tenure
      (_Lects. on Apoc._, vol. i, p. 266f.). The definition preferred in
      the present volume is “The Book of God’s Plan for the Ages.”

  380 “A Roman will, when written, had to be sealed seven times in order
      to authenticate it, and some have argued that this explains the
      symbolism here” (_Exp. Gr. Test._, Rev. p. 383); but this suggestion
      is of doubtful value when the Hebrew use of seven was so well

  381 See Düsterdieck, Meyer’s _Com. on Rev._, p. 207.

  382 “The ability to open was a consequence of a former act of victory,
      viz. the redemption.” Plummer, _Pulp. Com._, Rev., p. 164.

  383 “The kingship of Christ is more clearly set forth in the Revelation
      than in any other part of the New Testament, though not in any
      single text, but by the representations of the book throughout,”
      Riddle, unpublished _Classroom Lectures on Revelation_. Also see
      Pfleiderer, _Influence of Paul on Christianity_ (Hibbert Lect.,
      1885), p. 130.

  384 “John looked to see a lion and beheld a Lamb,” the change of symbol
      seeming to indicate that “the might of Christ is the power of love.”
      See Stevens, _New Test. Theol._, p. 542. “The name which most
      expresses what Christ is to the Christian is the ‘Lamb.’ ” “This is
      used twenty‐nine times in the book.” Porter, art. Rev., Hastings’
      _Dict. of Bib._ “This is a dramatic way of expressing the truth that
      the efficient factor of history is gentleness.” Dean, _Book of
      Revelation_, p. 103.

  385 See Bleek’s _Lect. on Apoc._, p. 200f.

  386 Cf. Bisping, quoted by Plummer, _Pulp. Com._, Rev., p. 167.

  387 “This description of the glorified Lord, sublime as a purely mental
      conception, becomes intolerable if we give it outward form and
      expression.” (Trench, _Ep’s to Seven Ch’s_, p. 64). In fact, “No
      scene in the great Christian Apocalypse can be successfully
      reproduced upon canvas; the imagery ... is symbolic and not
      pictorial,” (Swete, _Apoc. of St. John_, Intr., p. cxxxiv.)
      “Symbolism does not appeal to the pictorial sense at all, but rather
      to some analytic faculty, or conventional association of ideas.”
      (Moulton, _Bib. Idyls_, Intr. p. xx). The incongruity of many of
      their symbols from the aesthetic point of view does not seem to have
      occurred to the Hebrew mind, for with them the religious idea was
      predominant. Many of the events recorded in the Revelation are
      manifestly impossible except in a vision.

  388 “Here we have the ideas of ch. 1. 5 repeated (i. e. of the love and
      redemption of Christ) with the further thought that love like that
      displayed in Christ’s death for man’s redemption is worthy not only
      of all praise, but of having all the future committed to its care.
      It is really a pictorial way of saying that redeeming love is the
      last reality in the universe which all praise must exalt and to
      which everything else must be subordinate.” Denney, _Death of
      Christ_, p. 246.

  389 Moulton’s _Mod. Read. Bib._, Psa. vol. i, Intr., p. xxxiif.

  390 The call is most naturally understood as a call for the vision to
      appear. Simcox so interprets: “Each of the living creatures by turns
      summons one of the horsemen.” (_Cambr. Gr. Test._, Rev., p. 85);
      Scott, also, holds the same view (_New Cent. Bib._, Rev., p. 176);
      and Moffatt, prefers it (_New Trans. New Test._, footnote). Plummer,
      however, says the call is addressed to John,—perhaps a more common
      view; on the other hand Alford, Milligan, and Swete, say the call is
      to Christ to come. The view that the call is addressed to the rider
      is more likely correct, though the interpretation of the seals is
      not materially affected by the view we may take of this part of the
      symbolism. In any case, “Each living being invites attention to the
      revelation of the future of that creation of which they are all
      representatives.” _Pulp. Com._, Rev., p. 185.

  391 “_Conquering, and that he may conquer._ This is the key to the whole
      vision. Only of Christ and his kingdom can it be said that it is to
      conquer ... only of Christ’s kingdom shall there be no end.”
      Plummer, _Pulp. Com._, Rev., p. 184.

  392 _New Cent. Bib._, Rev., p. 179; also see Mommsen’s _Provinces of
      Rom. Emp._, vol. ii, p. 1 (note), Swete regards the first seal as “a
      picture of triumphant militarism.” _Apoc. St. John_, p. 84.

  393 “White is always typical in the Revelation of heavenly things,”
      Plummer, (_Pulp. Com._, Rev., p. 183). “If any other than our Lord
      is he that goes forth conquering and to conquer, then, though the
      subsequent interpretation may have occasional points of contact with
      truth ... the true key of the book is lost.” (_Alford, Gr. Test._,
      vol. iv, p. 249).

  394 Plummer, _Pulp. Com._, Rev., p. 185. For a different interpretation
      see Milligan, _Expos. Bib._, Rev., p. 91.

  395 “_A choenix of wheat for a denarius_ &c. The choenix appears to have
      been the food allotted to one man for a day; while the denarius was
      the pay of a soldier or of a common laborer for one day.” Plummer,
      _Pulp. Com._, Rev., p. 185.

  396 The oil and the wine are interpreted by some (as Wordsworth, and
      Milligan) to mean spiritual food which will not be lacking in time
      of famine; but this opinion is not sustained by anything in the
      text. Swete understands the vision to forbid famine prices, and to
      refer only to relative hardships—an unusual view.

  397 It is doubtless true, as pointed out by Ramsay, that according to
      the usual custom in celebrating a triumph “the Roman generals were
      borne in a four‐horse car” (_Letters to Seven Churches_, p. 58).
      This, however, does not seem to have been necessarily or always the
      case, and even when so, the horses were white. Cf. Swete, _Apoc. of
      St. John_, p. 84; and Scott, _New Cent. Bib._, Rev., p. 177.

  398 It is interesting to note that God is here described (v. 10) as ὁ
      δεσπότης an absolute ruler, a word implying the divine might and
      authority, which occurs but once in the Apocalypse, and which is
      translated “Lord” in the A. V., and “Master” in the R. V. This term,
      it should be understood, is “strictly the correlative of slave,
      δοῦλος, and hence denotes absolute ownership and uncontrolled
      power.” (Thayer’s _Gr.‐Eng. Lex. New Test._) In its present use “it
      would seem to convey the idea of personal relationship, as Paul
      speaks of himself as the _slave_ of Christ (δοῦλος).” (Strong, art.
      “John, Apostle,” Hastings’ _Dict. of Bib._)

  399 For an interesting parallel passage in Apocalyptic literature see
      _Ascension of Isaiah_, 9.7‐18, where the saints, as here, receive a
      preliminary reward; also, _Bk of Enoch_, 22:5f, where the voice of
      the spirits of the children of men who were dead “penetrated to
      heaven and complained.”

  400 “The day of the Lord” is a notable phrase in the New Testament, and
      should receive our careful attention, though it only occurs twice in
      the Apocalypse (ch. 6:14; 16:14). As Davidson interprets it, “The
      day of the Lord is an eschatological idea; the phrase therefore
      cannot be rendered ‘a day of the Lord,’ as if any great calamity or
      judgment felt to be impending might be so named: the day is that of
      final and universal judgment.” (See art. “Eschatol. of Old Test.”;
      Hastings’ _Dict. of Bib._). This view, however, must not be applied
      too strictly; for while it is clear that the final day is usually
      the thought in mind, yet through long and continuous use the phrase
      “the day of the Lord” seems to have acquired a wider application,
      and to have been applied to any striking crisis in the history of
      the world, each day of the Lord being, however, a type of the final
      and great day. (See Rawlinson, _Pulp. Com._, Isa., p. 228).

  401 Cf. _New Cent. Bib._, Rev., p. 124.

  402 See App’x G, “Apoc. Lit.”

  403 The view here given, limiting the contents of the seventh seal to
      the first verse of the eighth chapter, is upon the whole the
      preferable one (Plummer, _Pulp. Com._, Rev., p. 229; Wordsworth,
      _The Apoc._, p. 155; and Vaughan, _Lect. on Rev._, pp. 204‐5),
      though it is disputed on exegetical grounds by Düsterdieck and
      others (Meyer’s _Com. on Rev._ p. 261f.). It will be found, however,
      that it is amply sustained by a broad view of the context. This
      verse (ch. 8:1) might well have been included in chapter seven, at
      the close of the episode of the sealed ones where it properly

  404 Lee, _Bib. Com._, Rev., p. 595.

  405 Riddle, unpublished _Classroom Lect. on Rev._

  406 “Three kinds of significance appear to be attached to sealing in the
      Scriptures, viz. (1) to authenticate; (2) to assert ownership; and
      (3) to assure safety. The significance of sealing in Revelation
      seems to combine both the latter ideas.” (_New Cent. Bib._, Rev., p.
      191). Possibly all senses of the term may be here included, which
      gives a very forcible meaning. In Charles’ view the sealing in
      Revelation is to secure the servants of God against the attacks of
      demonic powers, or against the Antichrist. See his _Studies in
      Apoc._, p. 130.

  407 The omission of the tribe of Dan in the enumeration of the twelve
      tribes of Israel has been accounted for in various ways; but most
      likely it occurred as suggested by Ewald by an error of
      transcription, MAN, (the abbreviated form of Manasses) being
      substituted for ΔΑΝ, the correct reading. In favor of this
      suggestion is the fact that the correct order of birth of the sons
      of Jacob would thereby be followed, except that Joseph is placed
      before Reuben because of the prominent place he occupies as the
      ancestor of our Lord. See Plummer, _Pulp. Com._, Rev., pp. 207‐8.

  408 Moffatt, _Exp. Gr. Test._, vol. V, pp. 394‐6; Jülicher, _New Test._,
      _Intr._, pp. 287‐8; and Scott, _New Cent. Bib._, Rev., p. 192.

  409 “Perhaps no passage in the Apocalypse has had so wide an influence
      on popular eschatology.” Swete, _Apoc. of St. John_, p. 98.

  410 For a like passage where the sealed wear white garments, see _II
      Esdr._ 2.34‐42.

  411 As Trench, followed by Milligan.

  412 Faussett, J. F. & B. _Com. on Rev._, p. 605; also Düsterdieck,
      Meyer’s _Com. on Rev._, pp. 242‐50, who aptly says, “The number
      144,000 there (v. 1‐8) although not literal but schematic, furnishes
      the idea of _numerability_, while here (v. 9) the _innumerability_
      of the great multitude is especially emphasized.”

  413 As Plummer, _Pulp. Com._, Rev. p. 207, who says, “Here, as
      elsewhere, it is the spiritual Israel which is signified.”

  414 “Saved by our God, who is seated on the throne, and by the Lamb!”
      Moffatt, _New Trans. of New Test._

  415 “Where an explanation is made of visions which refer to the church,
      the active part is taken by the elders, while angels introduce
      visions of which the signification is unexplained.” Plummer, _Pulp.
      Com._, Rev., p. 209.

  416 “These verses (v. 16, 17) are full of reminiscences of the O. T.
      Perhaps there is no passage in the whole of literature that so
      combines simplicity of language and sublimity of thought as these
      two verses.” Dean, _Book of Revelation_, p. 119.

  417 Swete, _Apoc. of St. John_, p. 100; Scott, _New Cent. Bib._, Rev.,
      p. 195.

  418 Plummer, _Pulp. Com._, Rev., p. 230.

  419 For the first view see Plummer, _Pulp. Com._, Rev., p. 238; for the
      second view see Düsterdieck, Meyer’s _Com. on Rev._, pp. 264‐5; also
      Lange, _Com. on Rev._, p. 204.

  420 Vaughan, _Lect. on Rev._, p. 207; and Stuart, _Com. on Rev._, p.
      564, where they are described as “presence‐angels;” also cf.
      _Tobit_, 12:15, “I am Raphael, one of the seven holy angels who
      present the prayers of the saints, and who go in and out before the
      glory of the Holy One”; and _Bk of Enoch_, 91:21, “And the Lord
      called those seven first white ones, etc.” These instances serve to
      show how the Apocalypse of John reflects the current usage of
      Apocalyptic literature in his time.

  421 Cf. I Thess. 4:16; I Cor. 15:52; and _II Esdr._ 6.20, 25.

  422 Plummer, _Pulp. Com._, Rev., p. 398; also compare with ch. 14:7,
      where these terms are apparently used as the sum of creation.

  423 Cf. Alford, _Gr. Test._, vol. 4, Rev., p. 638.

  424 Cf. Hos. 8:1; Hab. 1:8; and _Apoc. of Bar._ 77.19‐22.

  425 Cf. ch. 20:1‐2; also see arts. “Abyss”, and “Pit”, Hastings’ _Dict.
      of Bib._; and _Bk of Enoch_, 21:10; and 18:11.

  426 Some find in this name a reference to Apollo, the pagan deity, and
      point out that the locust was one of the symbols of his cult,
      certainly a curious coincidence, but apparently not anything more
      than a coincidence. See _New Cent. Bib._, Rev., p. 208.

  427 “The balance of authority seems in favor of retaining τεσσάρων
      ‘four,’ although the Revisers omit it. The altar of incense had four
      horns projecting at the corners.” Plummer, _Pulp. Com._, Rev., p.

  428 Light is thrown upon these perplexing figures by a passage in the
      _Apocalypse of Ezra_ quoted by Bousset: “And a voice was heard: let
      these four kings be loosed which are bound beside the great river
      Euphrates, which shall destroy a third part of mankind. And they
      were loosed, and there was a great commotion.” Also in the _Bk of
      Enoch_ (56:5), “The angels gather themselves together, and turn
      eastward to the Parthians and Medes, and stir up their kings,” as
      the four angels do here. John’s conception is thus seen to be a
      reflection of existing apocalyptic material. See _New Cent. Bib._,
      Rev., p. 208.

  429 See _Bible Com._, Rev., p. 617.

  430 “The master thought of the whole Revelation.” Moulton, _Mod. Read.
      Bib._, Rev., Intr. p. xxvi. “The realization of the kingdom of God
      ... is the end in the light of which God’s purpose in Christ is to
      be read.” Orr, art. “Kingdom of God”. Hastings’ _Dict. of Bib._

  431 Scott, _New Cent. Bib._, Rev., p. 226; also cf. _II Macc._, 2.1‐8;
      and _Apoc. Bar._, 6.7‐10.

  432 “The episodes are interposed to give us an insight into the inner
      aspects of the life of the church in the midst of persecution and
      distress.” Ballentine, _Mod. Am. Bib._, Rev., p. 275.

  433 Cf. Plummer and Alford.

  434 _New Cent. Bib._, Rev., p. 216.

  435 Some, as Milligan, take this angel for Christ himself; but
      “throughout the book angels are everywhere distinct from the divine
      persons”, (Alford, _Gr. Test._, vol. iv, p. 649)—a general rule that
      is never deviated from and should not be forgotten. “In no passage
      of the book is our Lord represented under the form of an angel”,
      (Plummer, _Pulp. Com._, Rev., p. 231).

  436 “The Jews were accustomed to call thunder the seven voices, and to
      regard it as the voice of the Lord.” Plummer, _Pulp. Com._, Rev., p.
      274; also cf. Ps. 29:3f; 77:18; and 104:7.

  437 Humphries, accepting the modern composite view, says, “The eating of
      the little book recounted in ch x. 10 suggests that borrowing from a
      previous source is to be looked for in what immediately follows.”
      _St John and Other New Test. Teachers_, p. 96.

  438 See commentaries of Westcott, Reynolds, and others on the Gospel of

  439 See Thayer’s _Lex. New Test. Greek_ for the distinction between the
      use of ναὸς and ἱερὸν; also art. “Temple”, Hastings’ _Dict. of
      Bib._, at the beginning. The word ἱερὸν, it will be noticed, is
      never used in the Apocalypse.

  440 Plummer thinks that the heavenly temple is indicated, because
      “nowhere else in the book do Jerusalem and the temple signify the
      earthly places”,—a view that deserves weighty consideration.

  441 “The outer court of the temple was the addition of Herod.... The
      Gentiles might come there, though they might not pass into what was
      especially the temple, and which was sacred to Israelites only. And
      so it represents here all those outer‐court worshippers, those mixed
      multitudes which are found associated with God’s true people
      everywhere—of them, but not truly belonging to them.” _Pulp. Com._,
      Rev., pp. 300‐01.

  442 Stuart, _Com. on Apoc._, p. 590; and Lange, _Com. on Rev._, p. 223,
      who somewhat differently regards this as a picture of “the inner and
      outer church”, a thought that may perhaps be included; also see
      Plummer, _Pulp. Com._, Rev., p. 288, who says, “The temple is here
      used figuratively of the faithful portion of the church of Christ
      ... placed in antithesis to the outer court, the faithless portion
      of the visible church, which is given over to the Gentiles—the type
      of all that is worldly.” Scott, _Par. Ver. of Rev._, p. 33 says,
      “The inner shrine alone of the house of God is truly his, and abides
      forever”; and Ballentine, _Mod. Am. Bib._, following Bp. Carpenter,
      says, “As Jerusalem and Babylon ... so here the Temple and the court
      of the Temple are symbols. The gospel has elevated the history and
      places of the past into a grand allegory. It has breathed into their
      dead names the life of an ever‐present symbolism.”

  443 See Mommsen’s _Prov. of Rom. Emp._, vol. ii, pp. 214‐17, note.

  444 On the return of the Jews to Palestine, expected by many as a
      fulfilment of prophecy, see the very satisfactory remarks of
      Davidson, art. “Eschatology”, Hastings’ _Dict. of Bib._, vol. i, pp.

  445 Plummer, _Pulp. Com._, Rev., p. 289; Faussett, J. F. & B., _Com. on
      Rev._, p. 613; Wordsworth, _The Apoc._, lect. viii; and others.

  446 Cf. ch. 1:12f, where the seven candlesticks are the seven churches.

  447 See Plummer, _Pulp. Com._, Rev., p. 289f, who is remarkably clear on
      this passage.

  448 “The two martyrs represent the martyr church as sharing the royal
      priesthood of the Messiah, and as endowed with the gifts of prophecy
      and miracle‐working like the prophets of old,” Briggs, _Mess. of
      Apost._, p. 318.

  449 _Pulp. Com._, Rev., p. 291; _Bib. Com._, Rev., p. 639; Vincent,
      _Word Stud. in New Test._, 1 c.; also Alford, _Gr. Test._, vol. iv,
      p. 661.

  450 Scott, _New Cent. Bib._, Rev., p. 234.

  451 Plummer, _Pulp. Com._, Rev., p. 310.

  452 In a footnote of the Revised Douay Version, however, the
      interpretation there given is, “The church of God. It may also, by
      allusion, be applied to our blessed Lady”—an interpretation to which
      no objection can properly be made.

  453 “This threefold description (i. e. ‘the Old Serpent, he that is
      called the Devil, and Satan’) gathers up the primitive, the
      prophetic, and the New Testament conception of the supreme Power of
      Evil.” _New Cent. Bib._, Rev., p. 230.

  454 See Thayer’s _Gr. Lex. of New Test._

  455 See Farrar, _Early Days of Christianity_, p. 527; and Stuart, _Com.
      on Apoc._, pp. 627‐8.

  456 Faussett, J. F. & B. _Com. on Rev._, p. 619; and Maurice, _The
      Apoc._, p. 181.

  457 Plummer, _Pulp. Com._, Rev., p. 312; Wordsworth, _Lect. on Apoc._,
      p. 200, “St John now reverts to an earlier period.”

  458 Lee says, “Verses ten and eleven commemorate by anticipation the
      victory of believers.” _Bib. Com._, Rev., p. 662; Plummer, favoring
      a similar view, suggests that, “The song of the heavenly voices may
      be intended to end with the word ‘Christ’ (v. 10), and the following
      passages may be the words of the writer of the Apocalypse, and may
      refer to the earthly martyrs.” _Pulp. Com._, Rev., p. 312.

  459 Bleek, _Lect. on Apoc._, p. 268; Stuart, _Com. on Apoc._, p. 623.

  460 Plummer, _Pulp. Com._, Rev., p. 312.

  461 Charles, art. “Bk of Secrets of Enoch”, Hastings’ _Dict. of Bib._
      “The underlying conception here probably is that the Dragon and his
      angels attempted to storm the highest heaven, and in the end were
      cast out of heaven altogether.” _New Cent. Bib._, Rev., p. 230.

  462 Sayce, _Hibbert Lect’s._, (1887), p. 102.

  463 Gunkel, _Schopfung und Chaos_, 1895.

  464 Porter, art. “Rev., Book of”, Hastings’ _Dict. of Bib._

  465 “To read the ideas of Rev. xii into the scattered Babylonian
      allusions, in order to get the Marduk myth, is too fragmentary to be
      relied upon as a basis for such a theory;” Moffatt, _The Expositor_,
      Mar., ’09, art. “Wellhausen and Others on the Apoc.” For a statement
      of Gunkel’s tradition‐historical view see art. “Rev.” in Hastings’
      _Dict. of Bib._; also art. “Apoc. and Recent Criticism”, Barton,
      _Am. Journ. of Theol._, Oct. ’98. Delitzsch in his first lecture on
      _Babel and the Bible_ (1902) regards all references to the Dragon in
      Scriptures as echoes of Babylonian mythology. Davidson in art.
      “Angel”, Hastings’ _Dict. of Bib._, regards such passages containing
      accounts of conflicts between God and other powerful beings as
      “reminiscences of Cosmic or Creation myths.”

  466 Moffatt supports the reading, “I stood” (A. V.), and in this view he
      is supported by Ramsay.

  467 See _Apoc. of Baruch_, 29.4 and _II Esdr._ 6.49.

  468 Scott, _New Cent. Bib._, Rev., p. 221.

  469 Düsterdieck, Plummer, Faussett, and many others. Milligan is
      especially clear in his exposition of this passage, _Internat.
      Com._, vol. iv, p. 105.

  470 Plummer, _Pulp. Com._, Rev., p. 331.

  471 Plummer, _Pulp. Com._, Rev., pp. 331‐2.

  472 Scott makes the sea out of which the first Beast emerges to be “the
      Mediterranean, from beyond which the empire of Rome rose before the
      eyes of the Jews”; and the earth to be the domain of “the Roman
      empire, from which came the priests of Caesar‐worship—a priesthood
      native born”, which constituted the second Beast. (_New Cent. Bib._,
      Rev., pp. 235 and 239). Plummer says, “The sea is the type of
      instability, confusion, and commotion, frequently signifying the
      ungovernable nations of the world in opposition to the church of
      God.... The other beast pertains to the earth, thus dividing the
      whole world between them.” (_Pulp. Com._, Rev., pp. 330 and 334).

  473 Cf. _Pulp. Com._, Rev., pp. 341‐43; Faussett, J. F. & B. _Com. on
      Rev._, pp. 621; and Vaughan, _Lect. on Rev._, p. 342; also Bp. of
      Ripon’s “Excur. on Rev.”, _Pulp. Com._, Rev., pp. 582‐85.

  474 The identity of the Second Beast with the False Prophet of chs.
      16:13, and 19:20, can scarcely be doubted when both contexts are
      considered, though some historical interpreters have identified the
      False Prophet with Mohammed, the false prophet of Islam, apparently
      without any special reason except that Mohammed is the most noted of
      all the false prophets of history, whereas the False Prophet in
      Revelation is the representative of all false religions in all time,
      an admirable symbol.

  475 We should not forget the great lesson of history here emphasized,
      that the natural religions of men are always intertwined with the
      civil power in heathen lands; and, also, how often in the past, even
      in Christian nations, the professed faith in Christ has been
      inwrought to its great undoing with the authority of the nation.

  476 Salmond, _Hist. Intr. to New Test._, p. 245; Bousset, _Bib. Encyc._,
      art. “Apoc”.; also Scott, _New Cent. Bib._, Rev., p. 239.

  477 The first is Alford’s view, _Gr. Test._, vol. iv, pp. 675‐79; the
      second is Moulton’s _Mod. Read. Bib._, Rev., pp. 207‐09.

  478 For a further discussion of the symbolism of the Second Beast see
      notes on ch 17.

  479 Plummer, _Pulp. Com._, Rev., p. 336.

  480 “Philo reproached Jewish apostates for allowing themselves to be
      branded with the signs of idols” (_New Cent. Bib._, Rev., p. 191),
      an allusion evidently to the same practice as that referred to here
      in Revelation, and showing that the language used is something more
      than merely a figure of speech.

  481 “In apocalyptic writings the interpretation, if added, is only a
      less obscure form of the enigma, and not a solution of it”. Schürer,
      _Hist. Jewish Peop._, part II, vol. iii, p. 47.

  482 “It is difficult to understand why all this mystery should be about
      the name of a dead emperor who was no favorite with Jew or Roman, or
      why the name should be written in Hebrew for the Christians of Asia,
      or how so prominent a name should so soon be forgotten, especially
      in view of the expectation of his return, which obtained so long.”
      (Dean, _Book of Revelation_, p. 151.).

  483 See Salmon, _Hist. Intr. to New Test._, p. 23Of.; also Milligan,
      _Expos. Bib._, Rev., p. 235; and Plummer, _Pulp. Com._, Rev., p.
      337. Farrar’s interpretation (following Reuss, Hitzig, and others)
      is _Neron Kesar_, using Hebrew letters in the spelling and omitting
      most of the vowels, as follows (see _Early Days of Christianity_, p.
      540), viz:—




      This interpretation is the one now generally accepted by the
      advanced school of commentators in the present day. On the other
      hand if the last letter of the name (N) be dropped we have the value
      of 616, which is the alternate reading in some manuscripts. Moulton,
      however, says the number contains “probably a temporary allusion of
      which the point is now lost” that gave a clue to the general
      significance, viz. “world‐religion and superstition in
      contradistinction to world‐force.” (_Mod. Read. Bib._, Rev., p.
      209). “The non‐identification of Nero with the 666 by any early
      writer is significant.” (Cowan, art. “Nero”, Hastings’ _Dict. of
      Bib._). “Surely not ‘Nero Kaisar,’ but ‘Ashhur‐Ramman’!” Cheyne,
      _Fresh Voyages on Unfrequented Waters_, p. 171—1914).

  484 Porter, art. “Rev., Bk. of,” Hastings’ _Dict. of Bib._

  485 Following the Hebrew custom of offering the first fruits to God, the
      term is probably used in this figure as the symbol of that which is
      given to God, though it may possibly refer to those who share in the
      first resurrection.

  486 “Παρθένοι ‘virgins,’ is a word equally applicable to men or women,”
      Plummer, _Pulp. Com., Rev._, p. 347; also Swete regards the word
      “virgins” as a metaphor for purity, as most interpreters; cf.
      Thayer’s _Gr. Lex. of New Test._, for the secondary use of the term.
      It is evident that the phrase “These are they that were not defiled
      with women”—or “among women”—may properly be interpreted as applying
      to men who were not so defiled, though it here apparently represents
      a class, whether men or women, who are declared to be free from
      impurity, a phrase that in such a book as the Apocalypse is more
      likely to refer to that which is spiritual than to that which is
      physical. Alford, however, (_Gr. Test._, vol. iv, p. 685), and
      Moffatt, also, (_Exp. Gr. Test._, vol. v, p. 436), both interpret
      literally as “virgins.”

  487 “The writer is controverting a fear that at the advent of the
      Messiah those who survived on earth would have some advantage over
      those who had already died.... John, however, does not share the
      current pessimistic belief that death was preferable to life ... but
      affirms that if death came in the line of religious duty it involved
      no deprivation.” Moffatt, _Exp. Gr. Test._, Rev., pp. 439‐40.

  488 “In Jewish Apocalyptic writings ever since Daniel, a Son of Man had
      been spoken of who would come to judge the world in the clouds of
      heaven,” (Pfleiderer, _Hibbert Lect._ (1885), p. 34. An early
      messianic interpretation was given to the term, apparently because
      of its fitness, though in Daniel’s vision “the son of man,” a figure
      in human form, is understood by most late interpreters to be used as
      a symbol of Israel, whose higher qualities are set in contrast with
      the four beasts, and its messianic use is believed to have arisen
      later, though, perhaps, soon after that period. For an instructive
      discussion of this familiar title, “the Son of Man”, so difficult to
      adequately interpret, see Charles’ edition of the _Bk. of Enoch_,
      app’x B; also art. “Son of Man” in Hastings’ _Dict. of Bib._; and
      Sanday’s art. “Jesus Christ” in the same; together with art. “Son of
      Man” in Hastings’ _Dict. of Chr. and Gosp._

  489 “_Another angel_; i. e. in addition to those already mentioned, and
      not implying that he who sat on the cloud was an angel”, Plummer,
      _Pulp. Com._, Rev., p. 350.

  490 For the first view see Plummer, _Pulp. Com._, Rev., p. 350; Alford,
      _Gr. Test._, vol. iv, p. 691f; and Swete, _Apoc. of St. John_, p.
      187. For the second view see Scott, _New Cent. Bib._, Rev., p. 250;
      and Moffatt, _Exp. Gr. Test._, Rev., pp. 441‐42.

  491 Cf. _Bk. of Enoch_, 100.3.

  492 Moulton’s _Mod. Read. Bib._, Rev., p. 210.

  493 See Intr. to Johan. B’ks., _Temple Bib._

  494 Plummer, _Pulp. Com._, Rev., p. 3.

  495 “The whole of God’s wrath in final judgment is not exhausted by
      these vials, but only the whole of his wrath in sending plagues on
      the earth previous to the judgment.” Alford, _Gr. Test._, vol. iv,
      p. 693.

  496 Moulton, _Mod. Read. Bib._, Rev., p. 198. Lange suggests that “the
      crystal sea may appear as though illuminated and reddened by the
      fiery glare of the Anger Vials.” (_Com. on Rev._, p. 290); Alford
      thinks the fire in the sea is significant of judgment, (_Gr. Test._,
      vol iv, p. 693); and Swete says, “The red glow of the sea spoke of
      the fire through which the martyrs had passed, and yet more of the
      wrath about to fall on the world which had condemned them.” (_Apoc.
      of St John_, p. 191).

  497 So Düsterdieck, Faussett, Plummer, Alford, and others; for the Greek
      preposition ἐπὶ with the accusative, see Thayer’s _Gr. Lex. of New
      Test._ Swete, however, regarding the sea to be of glass, interprets
      “on the sea itself, which forms the solid pavement of the final
      approach to the throne,” (_Apoc. of St John_, p. 192), a view which
      scarcely accords with our idea of a sea.

  498 Scott, _New Cent. Bib._, Rev., pp. 253‐4. Also see Westcott and Hort
      in _App’x to Gr. Test._, “Notes on Select Readings,” p. 139, who
      favor the Revisers’ view (λίθον); and Swete, _Apoc. of St. John_, p.
      195, who supports the former reading (λίνον).

  499 Scott, _New Cent. Bib._, Rev., p. 254; Plummer says, “The reason of
      the employment of the term ‘vial,’ or ‘bowl,’ is most likely to be
      found in the expression ‘cup of God’s anger,’ in ch. 14.10.” _Pulp.
      Com._, Rev., p. 392.

  500 The term “the angel of the waters” reflects the apocalyptic style of
      thought, for it is not unusual in apocalyptic writings to assign a
      presiding spirit to natural phenomena. Cf. _Bk. of Enoch_ (ed.
      Charles), 60.16‐21; also Intr. to same, p. 34. In the Apocalypse of
      John, just as in other writings of the same class, we find that
      “angels are associated with cosmic or elemental forces as fire and
      water which they direct.” Davidson, art. “Angel,” Hastings’ _Dict.
      of Bib._ Also cf. chs. 7:1; 9:11; and 14:18; in connection with

  501 “A figure possibly drawn from the action of Cyrus in diverting the
      waters of the river when he took the city of Babylon.” _Bib. Com._,
      Rev., p. 721.

  502 Düsterdieck, Meyer’s _Com. on Rev._, p. 419; also Alford, _Gr.
      Test._, vol. iv, p. 700. For a different view see Milligan,
      _Internat. Com._, Rev., p. 122; and Plummer, _Pulp. Com._, p. 395.

  503 “All is over”. Moffatt, _New Trans. of New Test._

  504 See _Ascension of Isaiah_, ch. 7, where the firmament is the abode
      of evil spirits; also cf. Eph. 2:2, in which Satan is called “the
      prince of the power of the air,” apparently reflecting the thought
      of the time, which regarded the air as the abiding place of evil

  505 “Every Apocalyptic writer painted the final catastrophe after the
      model of the catastrophes of his day, only on a vaster scale and
      with deepened shadows.” Harnack, art. “Rev.,” _Encyc. Brit._; also
      see _Assumption of Moses_, 10.8.

  506 _Twentieth Cent. New Test. in Modern English_, ch. 15.1; the Am. R.
      V. reads, “In them is finished the wrath of God”.

  507 Frogs which were unclean to the Hebrews become here a fitting type
      of unclean spirits.

  508 See art. “Har‐Magedon,” Hastings’ _Dict. of Bib._

  509 Plummer, _Pulp. Com._, Rev., p. 396. “The final world‐combat.”
      Moulton, _Mod. Read. Bib._, Rev., p. 212. See note on ch. 19:11‐21,
      where this same event is again referred to.

  510 See division made by Purvis in art. “Rev.”, Davis’ _Dict. of Bib._;
      also the analysis given in the introductory part of _Twent. Cent.
      New Test._, vol. iii, Rev., “Table of Contents.”

  511 “The comparison of Rome to Babylon underlies much of Jewish
      apocalyptic literature.” Chase, art. “Babylon, in New Test.”,
      Hastings’ _Dict. of Bib._

  512 Plummer gives a different idea of Babylon, interpreting it as “The
      degenerate portion of the church of God ... all the faithless of
      God’s church in all time”, an interpretation that is not accepted by
      most commentators. _Pulp. Com._, Rev., p. 413.

  513 See App’x A, Division V; also “Excur. on Rev.” by Bp. of Ripon,
      _Pulp. Com._, Rev., p. 582.

  514 “This practice was customary with harlots” (Juv., “Sat.”, vi. 123;
      Seneca, “Controv.”, 1, 2). _Pulp. Com._, Rev., p. 415.

  515 “The City of the World, the ideal concentration of all this world’s
      splendor and wealth and might.... The Evil‐World‐Metropolis.” Scott,
      _Paragraph. Ver. of Rev._, pp. 1‐2. For a convincing presentation of
      this view, see Lee, _Bib. Com._, Rev., pp. 734‐45. “The Anti‐
      Church”,—i. e. the world in antithesis to the church, Seiss, _Lect.
      on Apoc._, vol. iii, p. 112. “By Babylon the whole ungodly, anti‐
      christianized world is intended ... an ideal city, embracing all of
      anti‐christianity.” Lange, _Com. on Rev._, pp. 278‐303. “Under this
      one name (Babylon) ... the whole adverse force is concentrated.”
      Moulton, _Mod. Read. Bib._, Rev., p. 212. In this view of the
      interpretation which is adopted in the present volume, the Harlot is
      the anti‐christian world, the perpetual Babylon.

  516 For other views see _Pulp. Com._, J. F. & B., _Com. on Rev._, and
      _Internat. Com. in loco_.

  517 As with Milligan and others.

  518 This description of the Woman as “the great Harlot that sitteth upon
      many waters” is evidently taken from the Prophecy of Jeremiah (Jer.
      51:13), where the many waters refer to the many canals of Babylon.
      Here the phrase is used figuratively, referring to the “many
      peoples” (v. 15) that are subject to Babylon in the Apocalypse, and
      affords a good example of the Apocalyptic use of Old Testament
      symbols in a sense that is somewhat different from their original

  519 Plummer, _Pulp. Com._, Rev., p. 417; Faussett, J. F. & B., _Com. on
      Rev._, p. 630; and many others. This is the common view with the
      symbolist interpreters. It should be remembered that the
      identification of the particular kings or kingdoms that were first
      in mind in this symbolism,—for there probably were such,—is not
      important; the special thought is that of _all kingdoms in all

  520 “The absence of the article before ὃγδοος ‘eighth,’ shows that this
      is not the eighth in a successive series, in which the kings already
      mentioned form the first seven.” Plummer, _Pulp. Com._, Rev., p.

  521 “The Beast is the sum total of what has been described under the
      form of five kings, then one king, and then one king again.”
      Plummer, _Pulp. Com._, Rev., p. 416f. “This eighth is the Beast
      himself in actual embodiment. He is ἐκ τῶν ἑπτᾶ—not ‘one of the
      seven’, but the successor and result of the seven, following and
      springing out of them.” Alford, _Gr. Test._, vol. iv. p. 711. Also,
      see Milligan, _Internat. Com._, Rev., pp. 127‐8. To regard the Beast
      that is “an eighth,” and, of the seven, as a reference to Nero is an
      anomalous interpretation that is without parallel in the book, and
      cannot, therefore, be sustained.

  522 “_One hour_ denotes ‘a short time’ (i. e. a time that is relatively
      short in the measure of eternity). The Bible in this way constantly
      describes the period of the world’s existence, especially that
      period which intervenes between the time of the writer and the
      judgment‐day (cf. Rom. 16:20; I Cor. 7:29; and Rev. 6:11; 12:12;
      22:20, etc.).” Plummer, _Pulp. Com._, Rev., p. 417.

  523 Plummer, _Pulp. Com._, Rev., p. 417.

  524 See art. “Rev.”, Hastings’ _Dict. of Bib._ vol. iv. pp. 257‐8.

  525 Cf. Plummer, _Pulp. Com._, Rev., p. 333.

  526 Moulton, _Mod. Read. Bib._, Rev., p. 212.

  527 “Rome never has been, and from its very position never could be a
      great commercial city.” Alford, _Gr. Test._, vol. iv, p. 718. By the
      universal nature of the figures employed it is evident to most
      readers, that “the whole passage points not to any single city, at
      any one single period, but to the World‐City throughout all time.”
      Lee, _Bib. Com._, Rev., p. 770.

  528 Plummer, _Pulp. Com._, Rev., p. 432.

  529 See Chase, art. “Peter (Simon)”, Hastings’ _Dict. of Bib._

  530 It is to be regretted that the Hebrew word “Hallelujah” is not used
      in our Revised Version of the Old Testament as it is used in the
      New, instead of the translation “Praise ye Jehovah,” especially as
      it occurs in the Book of Psalms where its use is so fitting. It is
      now a well‐known English word, and is entitled to a place in our
      Scriptures, like the Hebrew word “Jehovah” which is recognized by

  531 “It has been supposed by some that we have in this incident (which
      is repeated in ch. 22.8) a protest against the incipient worship of
      angels which was creeping into the church.” Scott, _New Cent. Bib._,
      Rev., p. 275.

  532 “The book is filled with echoes of prophecy—mystic words through
      which break memories of the past—that only attain their full
      significance through the more perfect teachings of Christ.” Moulton,
      _Mod. Read. Bib._

  533 “The testimony of Jesus is the sum of the revelation made by him,
      the holding of which is so often in this book the sign‐manual of the
      saints.... That deposit of truth rather than deny which Christians
      were prepared to die.... The testimony of Jesus thus becomes in turn
      the burden of his servants’ testimony.” Scott, _New Cent. Bib._,
      Rev., p. 275f.

  534 Davidson, Hastings’ _Dict. of Bib._, art. “Eschatology.”

  535 “The Word” as a name for Jesus here introduced, though it occurs but
      once in the book, is used elsewhere in the New Testament only by
      John (Jn. 1:1 and 1:14; I Jn. 1:1), and seems to point to the
      Johannine authorship of the Apocalypse. The Jews in the time of
      Christ used the Greek term λόγος “The Word”, as a name for a class
      of phantasmal beings whom they regarded as existing between God and
      man, and through whom God was supposed to speak; for to their
      thought, God was so exalted and transcendent that he could not speak
      directly to men. But John uses “The Word” as a personal name for
      Jesus who is both God and man, and through whom God has indeed
      spoken, thus bringing God near to men and revealing his truth and
      love. John took their own term and gave it a new application and a
      real meaning, and thereby furnished a new thought of Christ as the
      revealer of God. Cf. Thayer’s _Gr. Lex. of New Test._; and Burton
      and Mathews’ _Life of Christ_, pp. 17‐18.

  536 “John takes us to the unseen and heavenly side of things, and we see
      the hosts of God marshalling themselves in defence of His weak and
      persecuted people, God Himself standing within the shadow, ‘Keeping
      watch above His own’.” Humphries, _St. John and Other Teachers_, p.

  537 “The word of Messiah’s mouth is the sole weapon of his victory.”
      Moffatt, _Exp. Gr. Test._, Rev., p. 468.

  538 _Bib. Com._, p. 607.

  539 For a strong confirmation of this opinion see Stevens, _New Test.
      Theol._, p. 555; also, supporting the same view, R. D. Wilson in
      unpublished _Princeton Classroom Lectures_.

  540 The fact of the resurrection is constantly emphasized in the New
      Testament, but it is entirely unnecessary for us to inquire into the
      manner of the resurrection for that is nowhere revealed. It is quite
      enough for us to know that there will be a resurrection, and that
      the new body will be a spiritual body.

  541 “Those who reject the idea of a physical resurrection are obliged
      therefore to think of a resurrection from hades to heaven, taking
      place at the close of the martyr age, and introducing those who are
      thus specially honored into a state of heavenly blessedness, which
      continues till the close of human history.” Brown, art.
      “Millennium”, Hastings’ _Dict. of Bib._, referring to Briggs’ view
      in _Mess. of Apost._, p. 357.

  542 For the use of μετᾶ with the genitive, see Thayer’s _Greek‐English
      Lex. of New Test._

  543 “If the twelve hundred and sixty days symbolize the duration of the
      triumph of heathenism, the thousand years as clearly symbolize the
      duration of the triumph of Christianity”, Swete, _Apoc. of St.
      John_, p. 263.

  544 A. A. Hodge in unpublished _Classroom Lectures_.

  545 For a more complete statement of the premillennial view see
      Faussett, J. F. & B. _Com. on Rev._; Seiss, _Lect. on Apoc._; and
      Alford’s _Gr. Test._, _in loco_.

  546 _De Civ. Dei_, xx, 7‐9. For the prevalent symbolist view see
      Milligan, _Expos. Bib._, and _Internat. Com._; Plummer, _Pulp.
      Com._; and Lee, _Bib. Com._ Against this view it is ably contended
      that “the interpretation of a symbolic resurrection (as that of
      Israel in Ezekiel), or of a spiritual resurrection (as in
      regeneration), is rendered untenable by the explicit reference to
      the martyrs (cf. ch. 6.9‐11, and 19.9).” Brown art. “Millennium,”
      Hastings’ _Dict. of Bib._

  547 A careful study of this view, even when presented by so eminent a
      commentator as Plummer, will convince most readers that it fails to
      properly satisfy the statements of the text.

  548 See Düsterdieck, Meyer’s _Com. on Rev._, pp. 463‐4; and Brown art.
      “Millennium”, Hastings’ _Dict. of Bib._; also, most late

  549 Purves, art. “Rev.”, Davis’ _Dict. of Bib._

  550 Salmond, art. “Eschatol. of New Test.”, Hastings’ _Dict. of Bib._

  551 Cf. _II Esdr._ 7.28‐32; and _Bk. of Enoch_, 91‐104; also the
      _Slavonic Enoch_, “in which occurs the first mention of the
      millennium”, (Charles).

  552 “The Talmud has no fixed doctrine on this point, but the view most
      frequently expressed there is that the messianic kingdom will last
      for a thousand years: e. g. ‘In six days God created the world, on
      the seventh he rested. But the day of God is equal to a thousand
      years (Ps. 90:4). Hence the world will last for six thousand years
      of toil and labor; then will come a thousand years of Sabbath rest
      for the people of God in the kingdom of the Messiah.’ This idea must
      have already been very common in the first century before Christ.”
      Harnack, art. “Millennium”, _Encyc. Britan._

  553 Fairbairn _On Prophecy_, p. 45Of.; also Gloag’s _Intr. to Johan.
      Writings_, ch. on “Millennium”; Stuart, _Com. on Apoc._, pp. 702‐03;
      and many other authorities.

  554 “That the world’s history will terminate in the culmination of evil,
      becomes from the time of Daniel a permanent factor in Jewish
      Apocalyptic.” Charles, _Eschatology_, p. 121.

  555 “Jewish tradition makes use of these names to indicate those nations
      which are expected to war against Jerusalem in the last days and to
      be overthrown by the Messiah.” Plummer, _Pulp. Com._, p. 473. “In
      later Apocalyptic literature these are conventional symbols for the
      world hostile to Israel, or to the people of God.” _New Cent. Bib._,
      Rev., p. 284.

  556 “The whole delineation is symbolic, and embodies spiritual truths
      under material emblems.” Plumptre, _Pulp. Com._, Ezek., vol. ii, p.
      306. “The Invasion of Gog, a discourse of Ezekiel which stands by
      itself, is not to be interpreted as a specific prediction of an
      historical event, nor on the other hand as merely a parable; but
      under the typical names of Gog, Meshech, and Tubal,—suggestive of
      the dimly known confines of the earth—are suggested hostile forces
      however distinct, which after the many days of a future however
      prolonged, may be massed in opposition to a purified people only to
      fall in the holy soil by a destruction from on high, and to trouble
      Israel with no more than a notable burying.” Moulton, _Mod. Read.
      Bib._, Ezek., Intr., p. xiii. Also cf. Plumptre, _Pulp. Com._,
      Ezek., chs. 38‐39; and Fairbairn, _Ezek. and Book of his Prophecy_.

  557 See Bleek, _Lect. on Apoc._, p. 339: also Alford, _Gr. Test._, vol.
      iv, Rev., p. 732, who is very clear and convincing as to the literal
      nature of both resurrections; and Stuart, _Com. on Apoc._, pp.
      704‐10, with Excur. vi in same volume.

  558 See Salmond, art. “Eschatology of New Test.”; Hastings’ _Dict. of
      Bib._; and Bernard, art. “Resurrection” in same work.

  559 Scott, _New Cent. Bib._, Rev., p. 282. In fact this view, in some
      form, finds a place with many modern interpreters who do not accept
      the usual symbolic interpretation of the book. Alford with his
      accustomed vigor has well said, “If in such a passage the first
      resurrection may be understood to mean _spiritual_ rising with
      Christ, while the second means _literal_ rising from the grave, then
      there is an end to all significance in language, and Scripture is
      wiped out as a definite testimony to anything.” _Gr. Test._, vol.
      iv. p. 732.

  560 “No part of the doctrine of the New Testament has been so
      inadequately developed by the church as that pertaining to
      Eschatology.” A. A. Hodge in unpublished _Classroom Lectures_.

  561 “There is a stern simplicity about the whole description, and just
      enough pictorial detail is given to make the passage morally
      suggestive.” Moffatt, _Exp. Gr. Test._, Rev., p. 477. For
      Apocalyptic conceptions of the judgment, see _Bk. of Enoch_, 51.1f.;
      91.15f.; _II Esdr._ 7.32f.; and _Test. of XII Patriarchs_, Judah 25,
      Benjamin 10.

  562 See Düsterdieck, Meyer’s _Com. on Rev._, p. 165; also Scott, _New
      Cent. Bib._, Rev., p. 151, who says, “This idea of a book kept in
      heaven plays a great part in Jewish Apocalyptic literature, in which
      it is developed to include the deeds as well as the names of God’s
      people in the heavenly record.” The passage before us, however,
      evidently keeps the two separate, for the book of life is
      distinguished from the books of record, and is mentioned seven times
      in the Revelation, indicating that it held an important place in the
      Apocalyptist’s thought.

  563 The time of the End is God’s secret, but the fact of the End is
      clearly revealed as the point toward which all history tends.

  564 Alford places ch. 21:1‐22:5 subsequent to the millennium and the
      final judgment, _Gr. Test._, vol. iv, p. 736; and Faussett, who also
      holds the premillennial view, aptly says, “Now is the church: in the
      millennium will be the kingdom; and after that the new world wherein
      God shall be all in all”. J. F. & B. _Com. on Rev._, p. 640.

  565 “The biblical doctrine of salvation reaches its climax in the
      conception of the redemption of the universe.” Brown, art.
      “Salvation,” Hastings’ _Dict. of Bib._ “The fact that the heavens
      and the earth here spoken of are new, does not imply that they are
      now first brought into being. They may be the old heavens and the
      old earth; but they have a new aspect and a new character adapted to
      a new end.” Milligan, _Expos. Bib._, Rev., p. 362; also _Internat.
      Com._, Rev., p. 151.

  566 “The description of the heavenly city is probably the most
      magnificent passage in all Apocalyptic literature.... It is an ideal
      pictorially described, a symbolic picture of the better day seen in
      prophetic vision, and cherished with persistent hope and trust.”
      Stevens, _New Test. Theol._, p. 562. “The Revelator used a redeemed
      city to symbolize heaven—the Kingdom fully come.” Strong, _Challenge
      of the City_, p. 199. That heaven as an actual city is, of course,
      only a dream of the baldest realism.

  567 Moulton, _Mod. Read. Bib._, Rev., p. 215.

  568 “The plural ‘peoples’ seems to point to the catholic nature of the
      New Jerusalem, which embraces many nations (cf. v. 24).” Plummer,
      _Pulp. Com._, Rev., p. 510.

  569 The idea of a New Jerusalem coming down from heaven is a familiar
      one in Jewish Apocalypses. Cf. _Bk. of Enoch_, 90.28, and 29, note
      by Charles; also _II Esdr._ 7.26; and _Apoc. of Bar._ 32.2.

  570 As Milligan, _Expos. Bib._, Rev., p. 368; Scott, however, says,
      “Though described as a city, it is really the figure of a people,
      and the ‘condition localized’ in which they dwell.” _New Cent.
      Bib._, Rev., p. 287.

  571 “_He that overcometh shall inherit these things_ (v. 6), i. e. the
      promises just enumerated. These words show the reason for the words
      of ver. 6; and may be called the text on which the Apocalypse is
      based; for though the words themselves do not often recur, yet the
      spirit of them is constantly appearing.” Plummer, _Pulp. Com._,
      Rev., p. 511.

  572 See Reynolds, art. “John the Apost.,” Hastings’ _Dict. of Bib._, who
      says, “The speaker is now, probably for the first time in the book,
      God himself;” also see Swete, _Apoc. of St. John_, p. 275.

  573 Verses 11‐21 describe the _exterior_, and verses 22‐27 describe the
      _interior_ of the city, while verse 22f.‐ch. 22:5 further describe
      the _life_ of the city.

  574 “These stones are not arranged in the same order as in the
      breastplate of the highpriest. Instead of this St. John has most
      ingeniously disposed them according to the various shades of the
      same color ... showing a technical knowledge and a minute
      acquaintance with the nicest shades of color of precious stones only
      possessed by persons with a practical knowledge of their nature.”
      King’s _Nat. Hist. of Prec. Stones_, quoted in _Bib. Com._, Rev., p.

  575 “12,000 furlongs or stadia amounting to 1378 English miles”. Dean,
      _Book of Rev._, p. 185.

  576 For the first view see Alford, _Gr. Test._, vol. iv, p. 741, for the
      second view Milligan, _Internat. Com._, Rev., p. 154.

  577 “A cube was symbolical of perfection to a Jew as a circle is to
      ourselves.” Moffatt, _Expos. Gr. Test._, Rev., p. 483.

  578 See Smith’s _Dict. of Bib._, art. “Babylon”; and Swete, _Apoc. of
      St. John_, p. 285.

  579 “Life in each case is ζωή, the vital principle which man shares with
      God. not Βίος, the life which he shares with his fellowmen.”
      Plummer, _Pulp. Com._, Rev., p. 52.

  580 “In the old Paradise there was but one such tree, in the new one
      there are many.” _New Cent. Bib._, Rev., p. 297. For a similar idea,
      not of twelve crops of fruit but of twelve trees with divers fruits
      for Israel, see _II Esdr._ 2.18.

  581 “By oriental usage, no condemned or criminal person was allowed to
      look on the king’s face” (Esth. 7:8). Moffatt, _Exp. Gr. Test._,
      Rev., p. 488.

  582 “The whole meaning and value of the New Jerusalem lies in the
      presence of God with men which it guarantees.” Moffatt, _Exp. Gr.
      Test._, Rev., p. 480.

  583 Düsterdieck, Meyer’s _Com. on Rev._, p. 490; and Plummer, _Pulp.
      Com._, Rev., p. 546. “The Revelation is begun (ch. 1.17‐20) and
      ended (ch. 22.16) by Christ himself; but the main portion is
      conducted by means of his angel.” _Pulp. Com._, Rev., p. 2.

  584 “In the seventh verse, with the affirmation _Behold, I come
      quickly_, the narration passes into the words of Christ himself,
      just as in ver. 12 and ch. xi. 3.” Plummer, _Pulp. Com._, Rev., p.

  585 “The present era, which is ‘a day of salvation’, is so nearly at an
      end that there is hardly room for change.... The principle which
      underlies the whole verse (v. 11) applies only to the moment before
      the Judgment breaks, the point when the Bridegroom comes and the
      door is shut, when choice is sealed and opportunity ends,” Scott,
      _New Cent. Bib._, Rev., p. 300f.

  586 “All history from the redemptive point of view is summed up in the
      three sentences, He is coming, He has come, He will come again.”
      Ottley, art. “Incarnation.” Hastings’ _Dict. of Bib._

  587 “When Christ claims this title for himself, it is plainly announced
      that the revelation of God in Christ, in what he was and what he
      did, is the key to the issues of human life. Christianity is final.”
      Ross, art. “First and Last.” Hastings’ _Dict. of Chr. and Gosp._
      “The first title is symbolical; the second is borrowed from the Old
      Testament; the third is philosophical. The sense is, ‘I am He from
      whom all Being has proceeded, and to whom it will return;—the primal
      Cause and final Aim of all history;—Who have created the world, and
      Who will perfect it.’ ” Lee, _Bib. Com._ Rev., p. 840. Also cf. the
      view of Bacon, art. “Alpha and Omega,” Hastings’ _Dict. of Chr. and

  588 “The Apocalypse thus closes, as it began (ch. 1.5‐6), with a note of
      ringing emphasis upon the eternal significance of Christ in the
      divine plan and purpose.” Moffatt, _Exp. Gr. Test._, Rev., p. 491.

  589 Alford says, “The speech passes into the words of Christ reported by
      the angel.” (_Gr. Test._, vol. iv, p. 746). Scott however, may be
      right in his comment on verse sixteen (_New Cent. Bib._, Rev., p.
      302), when he says, “The figure which has been behind the angel from
      the beginning of the visions (ch. 1.13‐17) ... now steps forth, as
      it were, to authenticate the angel’s testimony.” Swete says, “Now at
      length Christ speaks in his human personal name” (_Apoc. of St.
      John_, p. 305). Plummer’s comment is made with apparent reserve,
      “The words are spoken as by Christ himself” (_Pulp. Com._, Rev., p.
      547), though elsewhere he says more definitely, “The Revelation is
      begun and ended by Christ himself” (_Pulp. Com._, Rev., p. 2).

  590 Plummer, _Pulp. Com._, Rev., p. 547.

  591 Plummer says, “These words are best understood as uttered by the
      writer.” _Pulp. Com._, Rev., p. 547; in Swete’s opinion “It is the
      answer of the church to the voice of John in verse twelve.” _Apoc.
      of St. John._, p. 306; Milligan suggests that the first clause is
      the answer of the church moved by the Spirit, the second is the
      words of John, and the latter half is Christ himself speaking—“an
      interchange of thought and feeling between Jesus and his church”
      _Internat. Com._, Rev., pp. 160‐161. There is, however, nothing in
      the context that implies a change of speaker.

  592 “This is the fulfilment of the duty laid upon St. John in ch. 1.1,
      not an announcement of our Lord himself”, Plummer, _Pulp. Com._,
      Rev., p. 548. Swete, however, regards these as the words of Jesus
      himself, _Apoc. of St. John_, p. 307.

  593 “It becomes a serious evil when the magnificent confidence and
      certainty of St John as to the speedy accomplishment of all these
      things is distorted into a declaration of the immediate coming of
      the Lord and the end of the world. Time was not an element in his
      anticipation. He was gazing upon the eternal, in which time has no
      existence.” Ramsay, _Letters to Seven Ch’s_, p. 113.

  594 _New Cent. Bib._, Rev., p. 304.

  595 For a list of authorities on Apocalyptic see note under heading of
      “The Form,” in the Introduction to this volume. At this point the
      author feels constrained to say that the account of Apocalyptic
      Literature here given reflects so largely the opinions of others
      that it must be regarded, like much else in the book, as an effort
      to present concisely and in his own way the best that has been said
      upon the subject by many others who are more qualified to speak.

  596 Bacon, _Intr. to New Test._, p. 232.

  597 “It has been too readily assumed that these books are wholly without
      ‘evidences of the Divine Spirit leading on to Christ.’ ”
      Fairweather, art. “Development of Doctr. in Apoc. Period.,”
      Hastings’ _Dict. of Bib._, vol. 5.

  598 Jülicher, _Intr. to New Test._, p. 52.

  599 “The fundamental idea is the moral one ... the basis of the
      religious is ethical.” See art. “Eschatol.” by Davidson. Hastings’
      _Dict. of Bib._

  600 “If we could grasp the underlying faiths that have clothed
      themselves in these strange forms, faith in the kingship of God, and
      the sure triumph of good over evil, and the heavenly blessedness of
      those who hold to God’s side amid whatever shame and abuse and in
      the face of death; if through the peculiar imagery and obscure
      symbolism of the books we could feel the power of the unseen world
      and gain a fresh sense of its reality, then this use, call it
      literary, or call it devotional, would be the best use to which the
      books could be put, and even most in accordance with the highest
      mood and real purpose of their writers.” Porter, _Mess. of Apoc.
      Writers_, Pref., p. xiii.

  601 “In this weird world of fantasy, peopled by a rich Oriental
      imagination with spectral shapes and uncouth figures, where angels
      flit, eagles and altars speak, and monsters rise from sea and
      land—in a world of this kind many Asiatic Christians of that age
      evidently were at home, and there the prophet’s message had to find
      them.” Moffatt, _Exp. Gr. Test._, Rev., Intr., p. 301.

  602 See art. “Development of Doctrine in the Apocryphal Period,”
      Hastings’ _Dict. of Bib._, vol. 5; also art. “Zoroasterism” by
      Moulton, Hastings’ _Dict. of Bib._

  603 Zenos, art. “Apoc. Lit.,” Hastings’ _Dict. of Christ and the

  604 “The _deus ex machina_, an abnormal and effectual interposition of
      God, is an essential feature of an apocalypse.” Humphries, _St John
      and Other Teachers_, p. 92.

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