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same Greek word, 2 Thess. iii. 5. Not that the apostle affected to share in the endurance of Christ literally, but that there is a patience or endurance which every Christian is called to exercise for Christ's sake, and which on this account is called the patience of Christ.
To these particulars of himself, the apostle adds the name of the island in which he was residing at the time of receiving the vision, and of committing it to writing, and the cause of his being a resident of that secluded spot. Thus furnishing a geographical and an historical criterion for testing. the reality of the circumstances, and for identifying the period of this remarkable revelation.
The Island of Patmos, one of the Sporades, is mentioned by Pliny and Strabo; and the apostle's account of his confinement in the island, corresponds with the tradition of his banishment to it by order of the Emperor Domitian, (see Leusden's Onomas. Sac.) From what is said of the familiar terms upon which this disciple stood with some of the Jewish authorities, it appears probable, that the regard in which he was held by many of his country men, instrumentally procured for him this commutation of banishment for death, at a time when his life might otherwise have been scarcely spared. The name of the island signifying something deadly, (lethalis vel mortifere, according to Leusden,) may have been derived from its barrenness, or want of salubrity, rendering it so much the more probable that such would be the place of confinement of a persecuted disciple. So, as the providence of God overruled the circumstance of the apostle's intimacy with the high priest, to enable him to witness the trial of his master, similar circumstances were overruled to place him in a position favourable for writing his vision, and for promulgating it with these evidences of its authenticity.
Perhaps without these coincidences, from the highly figurative language and imagery employed throughout the Apocalypse, the book would not have commanded that respect for its authority which has been so universally rendered to it for nearly 1800 years.
It required, more than any other portion of the New Testament, peculiar evidence of its having been written by an apostle; and even evidence pointing out the particular apostle. Some specification of circumstances was necessary to connect it with what was known of the writer's life, as a kind of preliminary proof to entitle it to attention, and to procure for it the critical and laborious investigation of pious and learned commentators; an investigation bestowed upon it in a very remarkable degree, notwithstanding its apparent extravagance of diction. The book properly understood, will, no doubt, maintain its own authority; but, in the mean time, had it not been for this announcement of the time when, the place where, and the individual by whom it was reduced to writing, its contents might have been taken.
for the wild vagaries of some visionary enthusiast. The Isle of Patmos, then-standing as it still does, a rock in the midst of a well-known Seaperforms the important part of a voucher for the authority and genuineness of this revelation, or unveiling of himself, made by Jesus to his beloved disciple. This testimony becomes still more important, if we consider the peculiar manner in which John is here favoured, as the distinction implied in the words, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? John xxi. 22, 23.
Vs. 10, 11. I was in the spirit on the
Lord's day, and heard behind me a great voice as of a trumpet, saying, I am Alpha
and Omega, the first and the last and what thou seest write in a book, and send
it unto the seven churches which are
in Asia ; unto Ephesus, and unto Smyrna, and unto Pergamos, and unto Thyatira, and unto Sardis, and unto Philadelphia, and unto Laodicea.
Εγενόμην ἐν πνεύματι ἐν τῇ κυριακῇ ἡμέpᾳ, καὶ ἤκουσα ὀπίσω μου φωνὴν μεγάλην ὡς σάλπιγγος, λεγούσης· ὃ βλέπεις γράψον εἰς βιβλίον, καὶ πέμψον ταῖς ἑπτὰ ἐκκλησίαις, εἰς Ἔφεσον καὶ εἰς Σμύρναν καὶ εἰς Πέργαμον καὶ εὶς Θυάτειρα καὶ εἰς Σάρδεις καὶ εἰς Φιλαδέλφειαν καὶ εἰς Λαοδίκειαν.
24. I was in the spirit on the Lord's day.'-There is no article in the original preceding the word translated spirit, and the form of expression is the same as that employed in Matt. xvii. 23, "How then doth David in spirit" (εv avεvμarı) "call him" (Christ) "Lord?" that is, how does David, speaking in a spiritual sense, or having his mind translated into that state which presents a spiritual view of the subject, call Christ, Lord?
The word rendered Lord's, is the adjective form of Kúgios; it occurs but in one other place of the New Testament, 1 Cor. xi. 20, xvqiaxòv deavor, where it is rendered the Lord's supper, in contradistinction to every one his own supper, and is not found at all in the Septuagint. In Latin it is correctly rendered by the word dominicus, and strictly speaking we should either say the Lord-Day, the Lord-Supper, or render the passages by a græcism or latinism, the kyriacal or dominical day. If we choose, however, to render the term by a noun in the possessive case, we have the same right to translate zvqiazòv dɛinvor, by the supper of the Lord, as we have by the Lord's supper; and we should render xviaxŋ quéqa as justly by the day of the Lord, as by the Lord's day. This distinction would not be so important, were it not that we are accustomed to associate with the term the Lord's day, the first day of the week; and with the term the day of the Lord, something equivalent to the second coming of our Saviour. Accordingly, it is usually supposed that the apostle in this passage represents himself to have been in a peculiarly devotional frame of mind, on a certain first day of the week; a construction apparently far short of the real meaning.
The verb yiroua, from which the word rendered I was is derived, is susceptible of a variety of modifications of meaning, conveying, for the most part, an idea of generation, transition, or change of state, something more than is signified by the English verb I am, or the Greek uì, to be, (Rob. Lex. 125.) So Rev. viii. 8, the third part of the sea became (éyéveto) blood; and Rev. iv. 2, and immediately I became in spirit—evvéws ¿yevóμrv ἐν πνεύματι.
Taking these particulars into view, we seem to be warranted in the conclusion that the apostle's meaning here is, that upon the occasion referred to, he was brought into such a state of mind that he was, in a spiritual sense, present in the day of the Lord-he was enabled to witness that day. In spirit, or by the spirit, he was brought to see this day, which he calls the dominical (kyriacal) day; not in the sense in which our almanac makers employ the term, but in the sense in which it was understood by the apostles-the day of the Lord being peculiarly the Dominical Day. So Jesus says to the Jews, "Your father Abraham (in spirit) saw my day; he saw it, and was glad." As Paul also was, we may suppose, in spirit, "whether in the body or out," enabled to hear unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for man to utter. So we may suppose the apostle John to have been in spirit enjoying in vision the coming of his Lord; with this difference, however, between the two cases: that the beloved disciple was directed to commit to writing what it was not lawful for Paul to utter, 2 Cor. xii. 1–4.
If we suppose the kyriacal day to be merely a first day of the week, there seems to be no sufficient reason why it should be mentioned, and we are obliged to suppose the whole vision of the apostle to have been witnessed, if not committed to writing, on one particular first day of the week; but if we consider the term as designating the day of Christ, the mention of it throws light upon the whole contents of the book; while we may easily. suppose the witnessing and recording of the revelation to have occupied the apostle's thoughts and time during a large portion of his banishment.t
* el dè ¿yò ¿v ærevμatı 9ɛoũ. If I by the Spirit of God, it is said, Matt. xii. 28.-So it may be said here, I was by the Spirit in the day of the Lord-or verbatim, I was in the Spirit in the kyriacal day. The only question will then be, what did John understand by the kyriacal day? We suppose it to be the day of the Lord. How far this reading is consistent with the whole tenor of the vision will appear in the sequel.
The term, the Lord's day, is not to be met with in any other place or passage of Scripture; and even as it occurs here in our common version, we find it classed in Cruden's Concordance, with the day of the Lord. The day we call Sunday is uniformly designated in the New Testament as the first day of the week. In the Old Testament, its typical equivalent appears to be that spoken of as the eighth day, (Lev. xxiii. 36-39.)
The Sabbath, or Sabbath-day, as we commonly use the appellation, is a term uniformly applied both in the Old and New Testament to the seventh day of the
25. And I heard behind me a great voice as of a trumpet.'-A voice we may suppose like the sound of a trumpet.
Of the coming of the Son of Man it is said, (Matt. xxiv. 31,) " And he shall send forth his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other." So, 1 Cor. xv. 51, 52, "Behold, I show you a mystery; we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet-for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed;" and 1 Thess. iv. 16, "For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet of God." Here are three several predictions of the coming or manifestation of Christ, attended with the voice, or sound of a trumpet. The first is that of a great sound of a trumpet, such as the sound which John now hears behind him. The second speaks of the last trumpet; we have no account of a last trumpet, so called, in Revelations; but, besides the sound of this great trumpet, we have seven trumpets spoken of; concerning the seventh or last of which, it is said, (Rev. x. 7,) that in its sounding, the mystery of God should be finished. The third prediction is that of the voice of the archangel, and of the trumpet of God. We know that the trumpet of God is not the trumpet of man ; and we may judge that it signifies not a material trumpet, but some revelation, or instrument of revelation from God, analogous to the voice of a trumpet. So the voice of the archangel must be the voice of one who is the ruler, the chief of the angels; and we have, at the commencement, and at the close of this book of Revelation, the assurance that it is a communication by the mouth, or voice, as we may say, especially of the angel of Jesus; that is, Jesus himself speaking through his angel; and may not this be equivalent to what Paul denominates the voice of the archangel? At least, may there not be some intimate relation between the trumpets alluded to by Matthew and Paul, and the trumpets described in the Apocalypse?
The trumpet was generally employed amongst the Hebrews for public proclamations and for martial preparations, and even the walls of the city of Jericho were overthrown by the sound of trumpets, Joshua vi. 4-20. The victory of Gideon was obtained instrumentally by the sound of trumpets, Judges vii. 19–22; and the ark of the Lord was brought up to the city of David, with trumpets, and cymbals, and shoutings. With these references. we cannot but believe that there is something of more than an ordinary importance to be attached to the employment of the apocalyptic trumpets. The
week. Consequently we may say, the term Lord's day, as applied to a particular day of the week, although such use of it may be sanctioned by very early authority in the church, cannot strictly speaking be considered a Scripture term.
trumpet is peculiarly the instrument of a herald, indicative of a proclamation by sovereign authority; any revelation of the divine will may be spoken of as such a proclamation, and may be thus figuratively termed the voice of a trumpet, or the trump of God. The Greek verb κηρύσσω, translated preach, and applied particularly to the preaching of the gospel, is a term primarily signifying the action of a herald in proclaiming the will of the sovereign as with the voice of a trumpet. The promulgation of the legal dispensation is spoken of, Hebrews xii. 19, as the voice of a trumpet; and may be said to be a trumpet of God. So the preaching of the gospel may be called the sound of a great trumpet, or the trumpet of a god. Several developments of gospel truth may be each of them termed the voice of a trumpet, and the last of these, the final revelation which God may make of his will, may be equally spoken of as the sound of the last trumpet, the trump of God, the last proclamation of the will of the Divine Sovereign, as by a divinely commissioned herald. To these suggestions we may add, that the universally admitted extreme old age to which the apostle John was permitted to live, and the probability that the revelation he committed to writing was received towards the close of his life, (as supposed about A. D. 96,) warrants us in the assumption that this revelation is the last promulgation of the will of God, made directly to man—the last divinely inspired communication by a commissioned herald; and as such it may be appropriately spoken of as the last trumpet, or the great trumpet. The sound of this trumpet is its meaning. This sound has not yet reached us, or we have yet heard it only indistinctly, as we hear the distant thunder; and even, if that exhibition which the Apocalypse affords us of the true character and offices of Christ, constitutes what is called his parousia, or coming-something compared to the lightning which lighteth from one part of heaven to the other— the brightness of this exhibition may precede, in some degree, the full understanding of the truths presented by it, as the dazzling brilliancy of the electric fluid bursts upon our sight while we wait, as it were, the sound of the distant explosion for an interpretation of the cause of our astonishment.
§ 26. 'Saying,' [I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last :] 'what thou seest write in a book.'-The words within brackets are not to be met with in all editions of the Greek, and are excluded from that from which we copy. They do not appear necessary here, but whether omitted or retained, the sense of the passage is not affected, and their limitation, when used, to the economy of salvation, has been already noticed, (§ 22.)
( And send it to the seven churches which are in Asia.'-Here follow the names of these seven churches. The apostle addressed his epistle to them in the first instance; he now gives the reason why he did this, viz., that he was so directed. He is to send, too, an account apparently of all that he sees to these seven churches; although, as we afterwards find, he