Footnotes By Thomas Perez. Copyright On This Chapter; 2014.
A. Greetings to the Seven Churches in Asia
1. The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew (show) unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John: (Cr1)
2. Who bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw. (Cr2)
3. Blessed is he that readeth (reads), and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand. (Cr3)
4. John to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace be unto you, and peace, from him which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from the seven Spirits which are before his throne; (Cr4)
5. And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, (Cr5)
6. And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen. (Cr6)
7. Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds (cultures/societies) of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen. (Cr7)
B. The Risen and Glorified Christ
8. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith (says) the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty. (Cr8)
9. I John, who also am your brother, and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was in the isle that is called Patmos, for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ. (Cr9)
10. I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet, (Cr10)
11. Saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: and, What thou (you) seest (saw), 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. (Cr11)
12. And I turned to see the voice that spake (spoke) with me. And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks; (Cr12)
13. And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps (chest) with a golden girdle. (Cr13)
14. His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire; (Cr14)
15. And his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters. (Cr15)
16. And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp two edged sword: and his countenance was as the sun shineth (shinning) in his strength. (Cr16)
17. And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last. (Cr17)
18. I am he that liveth (lives), and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death. (Cr18)
C. Write the Things You Have Seen, the Things Which Are, and the Things Which Shall Be Hereafter
19. Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter; (Cr19)
20. The mystery of the seven stars which thou (you) sawest (saw) in my right hand, and the seven golden candlesticks. The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches: and the seven candlesticks which thou (you) sawest (saw) are the seven churches. (Cr20)
Cr1. Jn 3:32, Rev 22:6. Cr2. I Cor 1:6, I Jn 1:1. Cr3. Lk 11:28, Jam 5:8. Cr4. Jn 1:1, Isa 11:2. Cr5. Jn 8:14, Isa 55:4, Col 1:18, Psa 89:27, Rev 17:4, Jn 13:34, He 9:14. Cr6. I Pet 2:5, 9, I Tim 6:16. Cr7. Matt 24:30, Zech 12:10-14. Cr8. Isa 41:4, Rev 4:8, 11:17, Isa 9:6, 7:14, Matt 1:23, I Tim 3:16. Cr9. Phil 1:17, II Tim 2:12. Cr10. Acts 10:10, 20:7, Rev 4:1. Cr11. Rev 1:8, 18, 22:12. Cr12. Ex 25:37. Cr13. Rev 2:1, Ezek 1:26, Dan 10:5, Rev 15:6. Cr14. Dan 7:9. 10:6. Cr15. Ezek 1:7, 24, 43:2. Cr16. Rev 1:20, 2:1, 3:1, Isa 49:2, Matt 17:2. Cr17. Ezek 1:28, Dan 8:18, 10:10-12, Isa 41:4, 44:6, 48:12, Rev 1:8, 11, 18, 22:12. Cr18. Rom 6:9, I Cor 15:3-4, Rev 4:9, Psa 68:20. Cr19. Rev 2:1-29, 3:1-22, Ch 4-22? 4:1. Cr20. Rev 2:1, Zech 4:2.
Vs. 1. The Revelation of Jesus Christ could be interpreted in three manners: objective genitive, meaning that the book of Revelation is about Jesus Christ, subjective genitive, meaning that the book of Revelation comes from Jesus Christ, or both; genitive and subjective. It is most likely both, since it is a book that speaks about Jesus Christ and it is a book given to John by His (Jesus’) angel. Nevertheless, it is a book given by God to Him (Jesus) and ultimately revealed by the angel. A Revelation of things that must happen and shortly come to pass. The Greek word (ταχέως – en tachei) for shortly in this instance denotes quickly, at once, without delay, swiftness, rapidly, promptly.
Vs. 2. In this verse we learn of the ultimate witness, “The Word of God” and the “testimony of Jesus Christ.” Borne and testified through the Apostolic hand of John, we learn that the eternal Word (Logos – Mind of God) speaks through Jesus Christ. One person, revealing Himself in and through two testimonies – as in the God-Man; Jesus Christ. For some, this is expressed as the 2nd person of the trinity; the Son who always existed as the “Mind of God/Word of God,” now incarnate in Jesus who is the Christ. For others, this is expressed as the One True Spirit revealing Himself/Herself (as in the non-gender Greek usage of the word “Spirit”) in two testimonial modes or roles; “the Word of God” (Mind of God) and Jesus, “The Humanity of the Incarnation” God became flesh and dwelt among us – Isa 7:14, 9:6, Matt 1;23, I John 5:7, Matt 18:16, II Cor 13:1, Deut 17:6 bearing validity pertaining to the historical Person; Jesus of Nazareth (Rev 1:8, 17-18 – as the One who lives, was dead, and is now alive forevermore; the Almighty). The testimony of Jesus Christ, albeit, His very witness is the very reason John was exiled to Patmos; an island southwest of Ephesus, some 50 to 60 miles away. See footnote on “The Word of God” in John 1.
Vs. 3. An exclamation of blessing is revealed and given to all who reads and hears (understands) and obeys the book of Revelation. Other such blessings of exhortations are given in Rev 14:13, 16:15, 19:9, 20:6, 22:7, 14. The term “for the time is at hand” signifies a Gk adverb, ἐγγύς – engus; place or time, readiness. Perhaps indicating the destruction of Jerusalem in 70AD as foretold by Christ swiftly (Matt 24:15-34), and as Josephus describes in his Antiquities. See footnote in Matthew 24.
Vs. 4.“He who is and Who was, and Who is to come,” is a reference to the eternality of God. All faiths whether it be the Judaic faith, the Christian faith, the Islamic faith, or the Vedic faiths declare this absolute truth. The following passages reveal this to be so: Deut 5:7-9, 6:4, Isaiah 43:11, 45:5, 46:9, Mal 2:10, I Cor 8:6, Eph 4:5, I John 5:7, I Tim 2:5, Surah 3:2, 21:108, 40:62, 53:25, 59:22-24, 112:1-4. In Vedic traditions this Alpha and Omega is Brahma, not to be confused with Brahman. Brahman, according to Indian faiths is the first cause of all things. While Brahma is the indescribable or He that has no Name (Rev 3:12, 19:19).
The Seven Spirits may be in reference to the Holy Spirit or the fullness thereof, since the numerical sequence of events recorded in Chs 2-3 is Seven. It is probable that the Angels cited in Chs 2-3 are representatives or messengers that bear testimony to the Holy Spirit. This testimony brings conviction, correction, and righteousness unto the various church ages, as seen in the Historicist and Dispensationalist (Futurist) point of view, with each church representing a time in church history. The messages can also be seen as specific letters given to specific locations during Johns day – this view is favored by most Preterists. Futuristic camps are divided in opinion concerning the letters; some view them as both – letters to specific locations/groups and letters given to specific ages in church history – as in the term “write the things that are” (Vs 19). See footnote on Vs 19. Seven is often referred to as the number of God, perfection, and completion. The Seven angels found in Ch 8:2 are in all likely hood the same Seven Angels of Chs 2-3.
Vs. 5-6. The term “the faithful witness” validates Vs 2. The term “the firstborn from the dead” and “the ruler over the kings of the earth” may signify an event that will happen or has expired already. This verse can be interpreted two ways: The Futurist approach; Christ is seen as the rightful ruler, but not fully exercising that authority until His second coming (Matt 28:18, Rev 19:11-16). Or the Preterist approach; Christ is seen as the victor who has come (from our perspective) already and John is merely testifying Jesus’ immediate return during the tribulation of Israel/Jerusalem and the saints (Vs 9). Eusebius Pamphilius (265-339AD) Bishop of Caesarea, in his “Ecclesiastical History,” verifies this. Perhaps during the course of events, the Apostle John was citing the establishment of the New Covenant (as in the term “firstborn from the dead”) and the imminent destruction of the temple in 70AD (as in the term “ruler over the kings of the earth”). Israel, having a rich history of appointed kings, starting with David, now has One absolute King; the King of Kings and Lord of Lords (Rev 19:16). We will also note the term John uses in reference to “the washing away of sins, by the blood of Christ, and God having made us kings and priests forever (Vs 6). This proclamation seems to indicate an established fact – not something seen in some distant future.
Vs. 7. There are four Greek words in relation to the Lords Coming. 1. παρουσίᾳ – Parousia – “presence” (II Cor 10:10, Phil 2:12), used of any person’s arrival (I Cor 16:17, II Cor 7:6-7; etc). Also used in reference to the return of Christ: Matt 24:3,27,37,39, 1 Cor 15:23, I Thess 2:19, 3:13, 4:15, 5:23, II Thess 2:1,8, James 5:7-8, II Pet 1:16, 1 John 2:28. 2. ἀποκαλύψει – Apokalupsis – apokalupsis (“revelation” or “manifestation” “an uncovering “) is used of the Advent in 1 Cor 1:7; II Thess 1:7; I Pet 1:7, 13. 3. ἀποκαλυφθήσεται – Epiphaneia – epiphaneia (“appearing” “to uncover“, “reveal“) occurs in II Thess 2:8 (brightness), I Tim 6:14, II Tim 1:10; 4:1, 8, Titus 2:13. 4. φανερωθέντος – phanerōthentos (“to appear” or “be manifested”) is used in Col 3:4; I Pet 5:4, 1 John 2:28, 3:2. The Judaic promise of an Advent is seen in the writings of the prophets (Isa 27:13, 34:4, Dan 2:34-35, 7:13-14, Zech 2:6, 12:11-14). Christians see the preceding verses as the Second Advent (the Second Coming of Christ) in addition to the First Advent of Christ. Both Advents are seen as predictions and fulfillments, with the First Advent prediction providing the fulfillment in the NT and the Second Advent in both the Old and New Testaments, providing a yet future Advent (Matt 24:30, 26:64, II Tim 4:1, I Tim 6:14, Titus 2;13, I Cor 1:7, 15:22-23, II Thess 1:7-10, I Pet 1;7, 13, II Thess 2:8). However let is be stated again, the timing of the Second Advent is debatable among Futurists and Preterists. See footnotes pertaining to these Biblical verse’s within their respective books.
The Islamic faith, in recognition of the Prophets, and the Gospels, also accept the doctrine of two separate Advents. “And (Jesus) shall be a Sign (for the coming of) the Hour (of Judgment): Therefore have no doubt about the (Hour) but follow ye Me: this is a Straight Way.” Surah 43.61. Hadith of Muslim, “The Messenger of Allah observed, “What will be your state when the Son of Mary descends amongst you, and there will be an Imam amongst you? What would you do when the son of Mary would descend and lead you?” Hadith of Abu Dawud “The Apostle of Allah said, “Were there remaining but one day of the duration of all time, God would send forth a man from the people of my house, who will fill the earth with equity as it has been filled with oppression.” Nahjul Balagha, Khutba 141, 187 “The Imam who will create a world state will make the ruling nations pay for their crimes against society. He will bring succor to humanity. He will take out the hidden wealth from the breast of the earth and will distribute it equitably amongst the needy deserving. He will teach you simple living and high thinking. He will make you understand that virtue is a state of character which is always a mean between the two extremes, and which is based upon equity and justice. He will revive the teaching of the Holy Qur’an and the traditions of the Holy Prophet after the world has ignored them as dead letters…He will protect and defend himself with resources of science and supreme knowledge. His control over these resources will be complete. He will know how supreme they are and how carefully they will have to be used. His mind will be free from desires of bringing harm and injury to humanity. Such a knowledge to him will be like the property which was wrongly possessed by others and for which he was waiting for the permission to repossess and use. He, in the beginning, will be like a poor stranger unknown and uncared for, and Islam then will be in the hopeless and helpless plight of an exhausted camel who has laid down its head and is wagging its tail. With such a start he will establish an empire of God in this world. He will be the final demonstration and proof of God’s merciful wish to acquaint man with the right ways of life.”
In the Vedic faiths the second Advent can be found in Hinduism; Bhagavad Gita 4.7-8, “Whenever the Law declines and the purpose of life is forgotten, I manifest myself on earth. I am born in every age to protect the good, to destroy evil, and to reestablish the Law”. Vishnu Purana 4.2, “When the practices taught by the Vedas and the institutes of law shall nearly have ceased, and the close of the Kali age shall be nigh, a portion of that divine being who exists of his own spiritual nature in the character of Brahma, and who is the beginning and the end, and who comprehends all things, shall descend upon the earth. He will be born as Kalki in the family of an eminent brahmin of Sambhala village, endowed with the eight superhuman faculties. By his irresistible might he will destroy all the barbarians and thieves, and all whose minds are devoted to iniquity. He will then reestablish righteousness upon earth; and the minds of those who live at the end of the Kali age shall be awakened, and shall be as pellucid as crystal. The men who are thus changed by virtue of that peculiar time shall be as the seeds of human beings, and shall give birth to a race who shall follow the laws of the Krita age, the Age of Purity. As it is said, “When the sun and moon, and the luner asterism Tishya, and the planet Jupiter, are in one mansion, the Krita age shall return.” Zoroastrianism. Avesta, Farvardin Yast 13.129, “shall be the victorious Benefactor (Saoshyant) by name and Worldrenovator [Astavat-ereta] by name. He is Benefactor because he will benefit the entire physical world; he is the Worldrenovator because he will establish the physical living existence indestructible. He will oppose the evil of the progeny of the biped and withstand the enmity produced by the faithful”. Buddhism. Anagata-vamsa, “The Hero that shall follow you, The Buddha – of what sort will he be? I want to hear of him in full. Let the Visioned One describe him. I will tell you, Sariputta; listen to my speech. In this auspicious aeon. Three leaders there have been: Kakusandha, Konagamana, and the leader Kassapa too. I am now the perfect Buddha; and there will be Maitreya too before this same auspicious aeon runs to the end of its years.” It is interesting to note; the Anagata-vamsa calls the present Buddha, “perfect,” as in Jesus being the perfect One. Yet the indication of “another Messiah is given to the Buddha who shall be called Maitreya. Is this a another Christ, with another name? Or is it the same Christ with a different name? Or is this an allegory of a greater truth? And while it is written that “There is no other name given under Heaven, whereby we must be saved,“ namely Jesus Christ, we are also reminded of He who has a name that “nobody knows but Himself“ (Rev 19:19). Buddhism. Sutra of the Great Accomplishment of the Maitreya, “Listen attentively with one heart. A man whose spirit shines brightly, a man whose mind is completely unified, a man whose virtue excels everyone – such a man will truly appear in this world. When he preaches precious laws, all the people will totally be satisfied as if the thirsty drink sweet drops of rain from heaven. And each and every one will attain the path of liberation from struggles.” Sekai Kyusei Kyo. Inori-no-Shu; Miroku, the Great God, comes forth, endowed with the great strength of the three in one – Fire, Water, Earth. Miroku, the Great God, from of old has planted heaven upon earth. Miroku, the Great God, even as comes a thief, has secretly been born below. Leaving behind the highly exalted throne to bring salvation, Miroku has been born below – Baha’i Faith. Tablets of Baha’u’llah revealed after the Kitab-i-Aqdas, 231-32; “O peoples of the earth! By the righteousness of God! Whatever you have been promised in the Books of your Lord, the Ruler of the Day of Return has appeared and been made manifest. Beware lest the changes and chances of the world hold you back from Him Who is the Sovereign Truth.” Similar beliefs are found in Confucianism. Analects 13.12, Confucianism. Doctrine of the Mean 31-32.
Vs. 8. “The Alpha and Omega” – the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet – shows sovereignty over all human events. This descriptor of God is used many times through out the Bible (Isa 41:4, 44:6, 48:12, Rev 1:8, 11, 17-18, 22:12-13). It is used often in this book, perhaps to indicate “Control” and “Victory” even during turbulent and troublesome times. The terms, control and victory are not exclusive to that of Christianity or the Scriptures. God, the Father of ALL, is the Victor and Ultimate Reconciler of ALL Men.
Vs. 9-10. Here John equates his suffering with others who are also suffering for the cause of Christ. John identifies himself with them. There are also strong indications that it is not the faith or patience of John that is being tested on behalf of the Kingdom; but it is the testing of Christ Jesus who lives and dwells in and with John. Only then can the Christ overcome; even as we are told to be victorious. Here we see both; The Preterist position – the positional victory of Jesus Christ and His faith, patience, and religion being put to the fire in John’s day. Or the Historicist/Futurist position – our faith is put through the fire in this day and age. For Ultimate Reconciliationists (UR believers), this testing is accomplished in this age and/or in the age to come. It is part of our growth in Christ (excluding salvation). For it is believed within UR camps that salvation is an accomplished fact for all men everywhere. We need to only grow in righteousness. To obtain the knowledge of Christ/God. To obey or disobey. The tree is known by its fruit. The term “in the Spirit on the Lord’s day” may imply a vision, trance, or a transcendence of some sort. Perhaps a transformation or transfiguration. The wording indicates that John was IN the Spirit, not his spirit, but in the Holy Spirit, perhaps gazing through the eyes of the Spirit.
Vs. 11-13. The Churches in Asia received two books, the specific letter written to them (Chs 2-3) and the book of Revelation itself. Again the title’s “Alpha and Omega” is given along with the emphasis of “The First and Last,” Cr Vs 8. The seven golden lamp stands are the Churches. Each Church was to receive a word of acknowledgement, condemnation, or both. “One like onto the Son of Man” is in reference to Dan 7:13. This Son of Man is revealed to John not only as the Alpha and Omega but also like unto a High Priest ;compare Exodus 28:4, Hebrews 7:20-28, and I John 1:9 , 2:1-2.
Vs. 14-16. The hair of Christ is parallel to the “Ancient of Days” found in Dan 7:9 and the transfiguration – Matt 17:2. The description of Christ being clothed with “white garments” indicate “purity.” As in His purifying the “sons of Levi” and the Gentiles alike (Mal 3:3, Isa 42:6, 49:6). “His eyes were like fire,” symbolizes His desire to save as through the fire (I Cor 3:13-15) and His attribute of righteousness as well. “His feet of fine brass” indicates His threshing floor, His victory over all powers that be in this age. Everything is under His foot (I Cor 15:25). It also represents a refinement (as refined in a furnace) Thus we to, as children of the Most High, must undergo some refinement; for we must suffer as He did – thus proving, not our salvation (that is provided already) but our faith in Him. Proving His faith and victory over this empirical world.
Vs. 17-18. The descriptor, “The First and Last” is used again – going into Vs 18 “I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore.” Jesus is thus revealing and spreading or advancing Himself very plainly that He is the Eternal God – thus the usage of the Greek alphabets, “Alpha & Omega.” I believe He is the God of ALL religions. He is the principle cause of all that is (whether it be religious or political). Though many faiths have different creeds and ideologies; Man, taking baby steps (I Pet 2:2), having now eaten of the meat of the Word (I Cor 3:1-2) must now have his/her full (Lk 6:38, I Cor 4:7-8, Heb 5:14) Man must realize the Christ that is within himself (as in God’s election of ALL men) and the Christ without (Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith). He is the Christ of all faiths and kingdoms. This is revealed in Gen 12:1-3, 16:7-15, 22:15-18, 49:10, Num 24:17, I Chron 17:11-14, 28:7, Psa 7:9, 105:12-15, Jere 31:33, Dan 2:37, 44, 4:3, 17, 5:26-28, 7:13-14, Matt 4:8, Heb 1:1-2, 11:33, Rev 11:15. For He knoweth (knows) the hearts of ALL the children of Men – I Kings 8:39.Vs. 19-20. The term “the things which you have seen” “the things which are” and “the things which shall be hereafter” indicate a time structure. However, the exact meaning of the time structure is debated among Christians. Many view this sequence differently.
Christian Futurists, namely the Christian Dispensationalist; view the sequence’s as follows: The things that John saw is that which has transpired, “namely the risen Christ.” “The things which are” is considered to be what Dispensationalists would call, “The Church Age” (33AD – Present. See footnotes in Chs 2-3). “The things which shall be hereafter”, is considered to be in the future tense – ergo Chs 4-22. Most Dispensationalists/Futurists place a rapture of the church in Ch 4:1-2; thus insinuating that the “the things which are” is no more, while other futurists (as mentioned in our Introduction) place the event during the middle of the tribulation in Ch 11:5-19. Futurists often use II Thess 2:6-12 to justify their supposition. According to them, the rapture is pre-succeeded by, “the things which shall be hereafter” – the future state of prophecies not yet fulfilled.
Historicists view the sequence as an un-folding of events. Thus the man of sin (II Thess 2:6-12) is believed to be either a religious figure or a political one. Some Protestant circles Identify the “the man of sin,” “the beast” as the Pope and his state Church as this religious and political system (see footnote in Ch 17 and 18 ). Some identify the 2nd beast as such, with the first beast of Ch 13:1-10 being strictly political. For more on this and his false prophet (or 2nd beast – Rev 13:11), see footnote in Ch 13. Historicist do away with a sequence of time. To them the church (33AD – to the Present) remains until the second coming of Christ who will then destroy the man of sin. Many early Protestant Reformers held to this view, excluding a rapture theory. For more on the Rapture theory, see I Thess 4:16-18 footnote.
The Preterist, similar to the Historicist, sees no sequential time of events as being unfolded or as being futuristic (dispensational). Instead the Preterist sees the sequence as having been all fulfilled during Johns day. They view Revelation as pointing to imminent events which fit the description of Jerusalem’s destruction from Matthew 24:1-2, 15-21, Mark 13:1-19, Luke 17:20-37, 21:6-28. They view II Thess 2:6-12 as being fulfilled by the likes of the infamous Roman Emperor Nero. However this is questionable. Since the date of the book is debatable, one can place such events that are recorded in Matthew, Mark, & Luke in any eschatological preference. And many do today. For more on the Emperors of Rome and/or of Vatican State, see footnote in Rev Ch 13.
The Spiritualist/Idealist sees Revelation’s time sequence as allegorical – representing all stages of human history. Vs 20 – The seven stars in Jesus’ right hand are the angels that oversee the seven Candlesticks – which are the seven Churches. The seven churches, though literal and specifically protected, can be viewed as a panorama of all Church history. Each age (I.e., the Early Church, the Middle Ages, the Reformation, etc) are protected/guarded by such angels. Again, this is debatable, but highly plausible. The Messenger of Allah observes, “What will be your state when the Son of Mary descends amongst you” – Islamic Hadith.