The Revelation of Jesus Christ - The word Αποκαλυψις, from which we have our word Apocalypse, signifies literally, a revelation, or discovery of what was concealed or hidden. It is here said that this revelation, or discovery of hidden things, was given by God to Jesus Christ; that Christ gave it to his angel; that this angel showed it to John; and that John sent it to the Churches. Thus we find it came from God to Christ, from Christ to the angel, from the angel to John, and from John to the Church. It is properly, therefore, the Revelation of God, sent by these various agents to his servants at large; and this is the proper title of the book.
Things which must shortly come to pass - On the mode of interpretation devised by Wetstein, this is plain; for if the book were written before the destruction of Jerusalem, and the prophecies in it relate to that destruction, and the civil wars among the Romans, which lasted but three or four years, then it might be said the Revelation is of things which must shortly come to pass. But if we consider the book as referring to the state of the Church in all ages, the words here, and those in Revelation 1:3, must be understood of the commencement of the events predicted; as if he had said: In a short time the train of these visions will be put in motion: -
- et incipient magni procedere menses.
"And those times, pregnant with the most stupendous events, will begin to roll on."
The Revelation of Jesus Christ - This is evidently a title or caption of the whole book, and is designed to comprise the substance of the whole; for all that the book contains would be embraced in the general declaration that it is a revelation of Jesus Christ. The word rendered “Revelation” - Ἀποκάλυψις Apokalupsiswhence we have derived our word “Apocalypse” - means properly an that is, nakedness; from ἀποκαλύπτω apokaluptōto uncover. It would apply to anything which had been covered up so as to be bidden from the view, as by a veil, a darkness, in an ark or chest, and then made manifest by removing the covering. It comes then to be used in the sense of disclosing or revealing, by removing the veil of darkness or ignorance. “There is nothing covered that shall not be revealed.” It may be applied to the disclosing or manifesting of anything which was before obscure or unknown. This may be done:
(a) by instruction in regard to what was before obscure; that is, by statements of what was unknown before the statements were made; as in Luke 2:32, where it is said that Christ would be “a light to lighten the Gentiles” - φῶς εἰς ἀποκάλυψιν ἐθνῶν phōs eis apokalupsin ethnōnor when it is applied to the divine mysteries, purposes, or doctrines, before obscure or unknown, but made clear by light revealed in the gospel, Romans 16:25; 1 Corinthians 2:10; 1 Corinthians 14:6; Ephesians 3:5.
(b) by the event itself; as the manifestation of the wrath of God at the day of judgment will disclose the true nature of his wrath. “After thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and “revelation” of the righteous judgment of God,” Revelation 2:5. “For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation (Greek revelation) of the sons of God,” Romans 8:19; that is until it shall be manifest by the event what they who are the children of God are to be. In this sense the word is frequently applied to the second advent or appearing of the Lord Jesus Christ, as disclosing him in his glory, or showing what he truly is; “When the Lord Jesus shall be revealed,” 2 Thessalonians 1:7 - ἐν τῇ ἀποκαλυψει en tēn apokalupsei- in the revelation of Jesus Christ; “Waiting for the coming (the revelation - την ἀποκάλυψιν tēn apokalupsinof our Lord Jesus Christ,” 1 Corinthians 1:7; “At the appearing (Greek revelation) of Jesus Christ,” 1 Peter 1:7; “When his glory shall be revealed,” 1 Peter 4:13.
(c) It is used in the sense of making known what is to come, whether by words, signs, or symbols, as if a veil were lifted from what is hidden from human vision, or which is covered by the darkness of the unknown future. This is called a revelation, because the knowledge of the event is in fact made known to the world by Him who alone can see it, and in such a manner as he pleases to employ; though many of the terms or the symbols may be, from the necessity of the case, obscure, and though their full meaning may be disclosed only by the event. It is in this sense, evidently, that the word is used here: and in this sense that it is more commonly employed when we speak of a revelation. Thus, the word גּלה gaalaahis used in Amos 3:7, “Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants.” So Job 33:16, “Then he openeth (margin, revealeth or uncovereth; Heb. יגלה yiglehthe ears of men”; that is, in a dream, he discloses to their ears his truth before concealed or unknown. Compare Daniel 2:22, Daniel 2:28-29; Daniel 10:1; Deuteronomy 29:29. These ideas enter into the word as used in the passage before us. The idea is that of a disclosure of an extraordinary character, beyond the mere ability of man, by a special communication from heaven. This is manifest, not only from the usual meaning of this word, but by the word “prophecy,” in Revelation 1:3, and by all the arrangements by which these things were made known. The ideas which would be naturally conveyed by the use of this word in this connection are two:
(1)that there was something which was before hidden, obscure, or unknown; and,
(2)that this was so disclosed by these communications as to be seen or known.
The things hidden or unknown were those which pertained to the future; the method of disclosing them was mainly by symbols. In the Greek, in this passage, the article is missing - ἀποκάλυψις apokalupsis- a Revelation, not ἡ hēthe Revelation. This is omitted because it is the title of a book, and because the use of the article might imply that this was the only revelation, excluding other books claiming to be a revelation; or it might imply some previous mention of the book, or knowledge of it in the reader. The simple meaning is, that this was “a Revelation”; it was only a part of the revelation which God has given to mankind.
The phrase, “the Revelation of Jesus Christ,” might, so far as the construction of the language is concerned, refer either to Christ as the subject or object. It might either mean that Christ is the object revealed in this book, and that its great purpose is to make him known, and so the phrase is understood in the commentary called Hyponoia (New York, 1844); or it may mean that this is a revelation which Christ makes to mankind, that is, it is his in the sense that he communicates it to the world. That this latter is the meaning here is clear:
(1)because it is expressly said in this verse that it was a revelation which God gave to him;
(2)because it is said that it pertains to things which must shortly come to pass; and,
(3)because, in fact, the revelation is a disclosure of eyelets which were to happen, and not of the person or work of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Which God gave unto him - Which God imparted or communicated to Jesus Christ. This is in accordance with the representations everywhere made in the Scriptures, that God is the original fountain of truth and knowledge, and that, whatever was the original dignity of the Son of God, there was a mediatorial dependence on the Father. See John 5:19-20, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, the Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for whatsoever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise. For the Father loveth the Son, and showeth him ( δεικνυσιν αὐτῷ deiknusin autō) all things that himself doeth.” “My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me,” John 7:16. “As my Father hath taught me ἐδιδάξεν με edidaxen meI speak these things,” John 8:28. “For I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak,” John 12:49. See also John 14:10; John 17:7-8; Matthew 11:27; Mark 13:32. The same mediatorial dependence the apostle teaches us still subsists in heaven in his glorified state, and will continue until he has subdued all things 1 Corinthians 15:24-28; and hence, even in that state, he is represented as receiving the Revelation from the Father to communicate it to people.
To show unto his servants - That is, to his people, to Christians, often represented as the servants of God or of Christ, 1 Peter 2:16; Revelation 2:20; Revelation 7:3; Revelation 19:2; Revelation 22:3. It is true that the word is sometimes applied, by way of eminence, to the prophets 1 Chronicles 6:49; Daniel 6:20, and to the apostles Romans 1:1; Galatians 1:10; Philemon 1:1; Titus 1:1; James 1:1; but it is also applied to the mass of Christians, and there is no reason why it should not be so understood here. The book was sent to the churches of Asia, and was clearly designed for general use; and the contents of the book were evidently intended for the churches of the Redeemer in all ages and lands. Compare Revelation 1:3. The word rendered “to show” ( δεῖξαι deixai) commonly denotes to point out, to cause to see, to present to the sight, and is a word eminently appropriate here, as what was to be revealed was, in general, to be presented to the sight by sensible tokens or symbols.
Things which must shortly come to pass - Not all the things that will occur, but such as it was deemed of importance for his people to be made acquainted with. Nor is it certainly implied that all the things that are communicated would shortly come to pass, or would soon occur. Some of them might perhaps he in the distant future, and still it might be true that there were those which were revealed in connection with them, which soon would occur. The word rendered “things” ( ἅ ha) is a pronoun, and might be rendered “what”; “he showed to his servants what things were about to occur,” not implying that he showed all the things that would happen, but such as he judged to be needful that his people should know. The word would naturally embrace those things which, in the circumstances, were most desirable to be known. The phrase rendered “must come to pass” ( δεῖ γενέσθαι dei genesthai), would imply more than mere futurity; The word used ( δεῖ dei) means “it needs, there is need of,” and implies that there is some kind of necessity that the event should occur.
That necessity may either arise from the felt waist of anything, as where it is absent or missing, Xen. Cyr. iv., 10; ib. Revelation 7:5, Revelation 7:9; or from the nature of the case, or from a sense of duty, as Matthew 16:21, “Jesus began to show to his disciples that he must go ( δεῖ ἀπελθεῖν dei apelthein) to Jerusalem” (compare Matthew 26:35; Mark 14:31; Luke 2:49); or the necessity may exist, because a thing is right and just, meaning that it ought to be done, as Luke 13:14, “There are six days in which men ought to work” δεῖ ἐργάζεσθαι dei ergazesthaiAnd ought not this woman οὐκ ἔδει ouk edeiwhom Satan hath bound, etc., be loosed from this bond,” Luke 13:16 (compare Mark 13:14; John 4:20; Acts 5:11, Acts 5:29; 2 Timothy 2:6; Matthew 18:33; Matthew 25:27); or the necessity may be that it is conformable to the divine arrangement, or is made necessary by divine appointment, as in John 3:14, “As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must ( δεῖ dei) the Son of man be lifted up.” “For as yet they knew not the Scriptures, that he must ( δεῖ dei) rise again from the dead,” John 20:9; compare Acts 4:12; Acts 14:22, et al.
In the passage before us, it is implied that there was some necessity that the things referred to should occur. They were not the result of chance, they were not fortuitous. It is not, however, stated what was the ground of the necessity; whether because there was a want of something to complete a great arrangement, or because it was fight and proper in existing circumstances, or because such was the divine appointment. They were events which, on some account, must certainly occur, and which, therefore, it was important should be made known. The real ground of the necessity, probably, was founded in the design of God in redemption. He intended to carry out his great plans in reference to his church, and the things revealed here must necessarily occur in the completion of that design. The phrase rendered “shortly” ( ἐν τάχει en tachei) is one whose meaning has been much controverted, and on which much has been made to depend in the interpretation of the whole book.
The question has been whether the phrase necessarily implies that the events referred to were soon to occur, or whether it may have such an extent of meaning as to admit the supposition that the events referred to, though beginning soon, would embrace in their development far distant years, and would reach the end of all things. Those who maintain, as Prof. Stuart, that the book was written before the destruction of Jerusalem, and that the portion in 1 Corinthians 4:19, “But I will come to you shortly, if the Lord will.” “Go out quickly into the streets,” Luke 14:21. “Sit down quickly, and write fifty,” Luke 16:6. “She rose up hastily ( ταχέως tacheōs) and went out,” John 11:31. “That ye are so soon removed ( ταχέως tacheōs) from him that called you,” Galatians 1:6. “Lay hands suddenly on no man,” 1 Timothy 5:22. See also Philemon 2:19, Philemon 2:24; 2 Thessalonians 2:2; 2 Timothy 4:9. The phrase used here ἐν τάχει en tacheioccurs in Luke 18:8, “He will avenge them speedily” (literally with speed). “Arise up quickly,” Acts 12:7. “Get time quickly out of Jerusalem,” Acts 22:18. “Would depart shortly,” Acts 25:4. “Bruise Satan under your feet shortly,” Romans 16:20; and Revelation 1:1; Revelation 22:6. The essential idea is, that the thing which is spoken of was soon to occur, or it was not a remote and distant event. There is the notion of rapidity, of haste, of suddenness. It is such a phrase as is used when the thing is on the point of happening, and could not be applied to an event which was in the remote future, considered as an independent event standing by itself. The same idea is expressed, in regard to the same thing, in Revelation 1:3, “The time is at hand” - ὁ γὰρ καιρὸς ἐγγύς ho gar kairos engusthat is, it is near, it is soon to occur. Yet.
(b) it is not necessary to suppose that the meaning is that all that there is in the book was soon to happen. It may mean that the series of events which were to follow on in their proper order was soon to commence, though it might be that the sequel would be remote. The first in the series of events was soon to begin, and the others would follow on in their train, though a portion of them, in the regular order, might be in a remote futurity. If we suppose that there was such an order, that a series of transactions was about to commence, involving along train of momentous developments, and that the beginning of this was to occur soon, the language used by John would be what would be naturally employed to express it. Thus, in case of a revolution in a government, when a reigning prince should be driven from his kingdom, to be succeeded by a new dynasty, which would long occupy the throne, and involving, as the consequence of the revolution, important events extending far into the future, we would naturally say that these things were shortly to occur, or that the time was near. It is customary to speak of a succession of events or periods as near, however vast or interminable the series may be, when the commencement is at hand. Thus, we say that the great events of the eternal world are near; that is, the beginning of them is soon to occur. So Christians now speak often of the millennium as near, or as about to occur, though it is the belief of many that it will be protracted for many ages.
(c) That this is the true idea hem is clear, whatever general view of interpretation in regard to the book is adopted. Even Prof. Stuart, who contends that the greater portion of the book refers to the destruction of Jerusalem, and the persecutions of pagan Rome, admits that “the closing part of the Revelation relates beyond all doubt to a distant period, and some of it to a future eternity” (ii., p. 5); and, if this be so, then there is no impropriety in supposing that a part of the series of predictions preceding this may lie also in a somewhat remote futurity. The true idea seems to be that the writer contemplated a series of events that were to occur, and that this series was about to commence. How far into the future it was to extend, is to be learned by the proper interpretation of all the parts of the series.
And he sent - Greek: “Sending by his angel, signified it to his servant John.” The idea is not precisely that he sent his angel to communicate the message, but that he sent by him, or employed him as an agent in doing it. The thing sent was rather the message than the angel.
And signified it - Ἐσήμανεν EsēmanenHe indicated it by signs and symbols. The word occurs in the New Testament only in John 12:33; John 18:32; John 21:19; Acts 11:28; Acts 25:27, and in the passage before us, in all which places it is rendered “signify, signifying, or signified.” It properly refers to some sign, signal, or token by which anything is made known (compare Matthew 26:28; Romans 4:11; Genesis 9:12-13; Genesis 17:11; Luke 2:12; 2 Corinthians 12:12; 1 Corinthians 14:22), and is a word most happily chosen to denote the manner in which the events referred to were to be communicated to John, for nearly the whole book is made up of signs and symbols. If it be asked what was signified to John, it may be replied that either the word “it” may be understood, as in our translation, to refer to the Apocalypse (Revelation), or refer to what he saw ( ὅσα εἶδε hosa eide), as Prof. Stuart supposes; or it may be absolute, without any object following, as Prof. Robinson (Lexicon) supposes. The general sense is, that, sending by his angel, he made to John a communication by expressive signs or symbols.
By his angel - That is, an angel was employed to cause these scenic representations to pass before the mind of the apostle. The communication was not made directly to him, but was through the medium of a heavenly messenger employed for this purpose. Thus, in Revelation 22:6, it is said, “And the Lord God of the holy prophets sent his angel to show unto his servants the things which must shortly be done.” Compare Revelation 1:8-9 of that chapter. There is frequent allusion in the Scriptures to the fact that angels have been employed as agents in making known the divine will, or in the revelations which have been made to people. Thus, in Acts 7:53, it is said, “Who have received the law by the disposition of angels.” “For if the word spoken by angels was stedfast,” etc., Hebrews 2:2; “and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator,” Galatians 3:19. Compare the notes on Acts 7:38, Acts 7:53. There is almost no further reference to the agency of the angel employed for this service in the book, and there is no distinct specification of what he did, or of his great agency in the case.
John is everywhere represented as seeing the symbols himself, and it would seem that the agency of the angel was, either to cause those symbols to pass before the apostle, or to convey their meaning to his mind. How far John himself understood the meaning of these symbols, we have not the means of knowing with certainty. The most probable supposition is, that the angel was employed to cause these visions or symbols to pass before his mind, rather than to interpret them. If an interpretation had been given, it is inconceivable that it should not have been recorded, and there is no more probability that their meaning should have been disclosed to John himself, for his private use, than that it should have been disclosed and recorded for the use of others. It would seem probable, therefore, that John had only that view of the meaning of what he saw which anyone else might obtain from the record of the visions. Compare the notes on 1 Peter 1:10-12.
Unto his servant John - Nothing could be learned from this expression as to what John was the author of the book, whether the apostle of that name or some other. Compare the introduction, section 1. It cannot be inferred from the use of the word “servant,” rather than apostle, that the apostle John was not the author, for it was not uncommon for the apostles to designate themselves merely by the words “servants,” or “servants of God.” Compare the notes on Romans 1:1.
The Title. â The translators of our common version of the Bible have given this book the title of âThe Revelation of St. John the Divine.â In this they contradict the very first words of the book itself, which declare it to be âThe Revelation of Jesus Christ.â Jesus Christ is the Revelator, not John. John is but the penman employed by Christ to write out this Revelation for the benefit of his church. There is no doubt that the John here mentioned is the person of that name who was the beloved and highly favored one among the twelve apostles. He was evangelist and apostle, and the writer of the Gospel and epistles which bear his name. (See Clarke, Barnes, Kitto, Fond, and others.) To his previous titles he now adds that of prophet; for the Revelation is a prophecy. But the matter of this book is traced back to a still higher source. It is not only the Revelation of Jesus Christ, but it is the Revelation which God gave unto him. It comes, then, first, from the great fountain of all wisdom and truth, God the Father; by him it was communicated to Jesus Christ, the Son; and Christ sent and signified it by his angel to his servant John.DAR 323.3
The Character of the Book. â This is expressed in one word, âRevelation.â A revelation is something revealed, something clearly made known, not something hidden and concealed. Moses, in Deuteronomy 29:29, tells us that âthe secret things belong unto the Lord our God; but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children forever.â The very title of the book, then, is a sufficient refutation of the popular opinion of to-day, that this book is among the hidden mysteries of God, and cannot be understood. Were this the case, it should bear some such title as âThe Mystery,â or âThe Hidden Book;â certainly not that of âThe Revelation.âDAR 324.1
Its Object. â âTo show unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass.â His servants â who are they? Is there any limit? For whose benefit was the Revelation given? Was it given for any specified persons? for any particular churches? for any special period of time? â No; it is for all the church in all time, so long as any of the events therein predicted remain to be accomplished. It is for all those who can claim the appellation of âhis servants,â wherever or whenever they may live.DAR 324.2
But this language brings up again the common view that the Revelation is not to be understood. God says that it was given to show something to his servants; and yet many of the expounders of his word tell us that it does not show anything, because no man can understand it! as though God would undertake to make known to mankind some important truths, and yet fall into the worse than earthly folly of clothing them in language or in figures which human minds could not comprehend! as though he would command a person to behold some distant object, and then erect an impenetrable barrier between him and the object specified! or as though he would give his servants a light to guide them through the gloom of night, and yet throw over that light a pall so thick and heavy that not a ray of its brightness could penetrate the obscuring folds! How do they dishonor God who thus trifle with his word! No; the Revelation will accomplish the object for which it was given, and âhis servantsâ will learn therefrom âthe things which must shortly come to pass,â and which concern their eternal salvation.DAR 324.3
His Angel. â Christ sent and made known the Revelation to John by âhis angel.â A particular angel seems here to be brought to view. What angel could appropriately be called Christ's angel? May we not find an answer to this question in a significant passage in the prophecy of Daniel? In Daniel 10:21, an angel, which was doubtless Gabriel (see Daniel, chapters 9, 10, and 11:1), in making known some important truths to Daniel, said, âThere is none that holdeth with me in these things, but Michael your prince.â Who Michael is we easily learn. Jude (verse 9) calls him the âarchangel.â And Paul tells us that when the Lord descends from heaven, and the dead in Christ are raised, the voice of the archangel shall be heard. 1 Thessalonians 4:16. And whose voice will be heard at that amazing hour when the dead are called to life? The Lord himself replies, âMarvel not at this; for the hour is coming in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voiceâ (John 5:28); and the previous verse shows that the one here referred to, whose voice will then be heard, is the Son of man, or Christ. It is the voice of Christ, then, that calls the dead from their graves. That voice, Paul declares, is the voice of the archangel; and Jude says that the archangel is called Michael, the very personage mentioned in Daniel, and all referring to Christ. The statement in Daniel, then, is, that the truths to be revealed to Daniel were committed to Christ, and confined exclusively to him, and to an angel whose name was Gabriel. Similar to the work of communicating important truth to the âbeloved prophetâ is the work of Christ in the Revelation of communicating important truth to the âbeloved disciple;â and who, in this work, can be his angel but he who was engaged with him in the former work, that is, the angel Gabriel? This fact will throw light on some points in this book, while it would also seem most appropriate that the same being who was employed to carry messages to the âbelovedâ prophet of the former dispensation, should perform the same office for him who corresponds to that prophet in the gospel age. (See on chapter 19:10.)DAR 325.1
The Benediction. â âBlessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy.â Is there so direct and formal a blessing pronounced upon the reading and observance of any other portion of the word of God? What encouragement, then, have we for its study! And shall we say that it cannot be understood? Is a blessing offered for the study of a book which it can do us no good to study? Men may assert, with more pertness than piety, that âevery age of declension is marked by an increase of commentaries on the Apocalypse,â or that âthe study of the Revelation either finds or leaves a man mad;â but God has pronounced his blessing upon it, he has set the seal of his approbation to an earnest study of its marvelous pages; and with such encouragement from such a source, the child of God will be unmoved by a thousand feeble counterblasts from men.DAR 326.1
Every fulfillment of prophecy brings its duties; hence there are things in the Revelation to be kept, or performed; practical duties to be entered upon as the result of the accomplishment of the prophecy. A notable instance of this kind may be seen in chapter 14:12, where it is said, âHere are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.âDAR 326.2
But says John, âThe time is at hand,â â another motive offered for the study of this book. It becomes more and more important, as we draw near the great consummation. On this point we offer the impressive thoughts of another: âThe importance of studying the Apocalypse increases with the lapse of time. Here are âthings which must shortly come to pass.' Even when John bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw, the long period within which those successive scenes were to be realized was at hand. If proximity then constituted a motive for heeding those contents, how much more does it now! Every revolving century, every closing year, adds to the urgency with which attention is challenged to the concluding portion of Holy Writ. And does not that intensity of devotion to the present, which characterizes our times and our country, enhance the reasonableness of this claim? Never, surely, was there a period when some mighty counteracting power was more needed. The Revelation of Jesus Christ, duly studied, supplies an appropriate corrective influence. Would that all Christians might, in fullest measure, receive the blessing of âthem that hear the words of this prophecy, and that keep the things which are written therein; for the time is at hand.'â â Thompson's Patmos, pp. 28, 29.DAR 326.3
The Dedication. â Following the benediction, we have the dedication, in these words: âDAR 327.1
This revelation was given for the guidance and comfort of the church throughout the Christian dispensation. Yet religious teachers have declared that it is a sealed book and its secrets cannot be explained. Therefore many have turned from the prophetic record, refusing to devote time and study to its mysteries. But God does not wish His people to regard the book thus. It is “the revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto Him, to show unto His servants things which must shortly come to pass.” “Blessed is he that readeth,” the Lord declares, “and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.” Verses 1, 3. “I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: and if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the Holy City, and from the things which are written in this book. He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly.” Revelation 22:18-20. AA 583.1
In the Revelation are portrayed the deep things of God. The very name given to its inspired pages, “the Revelation,” contradicts the statement that this is a sealed book. A revelation is something revealed. The Lord Himself revealed to His servant the mysteries contained in this book, and He designs that they shall be open to the study of all. Its truths are addressed to those living in the last days of this earth's history, as well as to those living in the days of John. Some of the scenes depicted in this prophecy are in the past, some are now taking place; some bring to view the close of the great conflict between the powers of darkness and the Prince of heaven, and some reveal the triumphs and joys of the redeemed in the earth made new. AA 584.1
Let none think, because they cannot explain the meaning of every symbol in the Revelation, that it is useless for them to search this book in an effort to know the meaning of the truth it contains. The One who revealed these mysteries to John will give to the diligent searcher for truth a foretaste of heavenly things. Those whose hearts are open to the reception of truth will be enabled to understand its teachings, and will be granted the blessing promised to those who “hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein.” AA 584.2Read in context »
Let the truths that are the foundation of our faith be kept before the people. Some will depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils. They talk science, and the enemy comes in and gives them an abundance of science; but it is not the science of salvation. It is not the science of humility, of consecration, or of the sanctification of the Spirit. We are now to understand what the pillars of our faith are,—the truths that have made us as a people what we are, leading us on step by step.—The Review and Herald, May 25, 1905. CW 29.1
The Message to Present—Our lesson for the present time is, How may we most clearly comprehend and present the gospel that Christ came in person to present to John on the Isle of Patmos,—the gospel that is termed “the revelation of Jesus Christ”? We are to present to our people a clear explanation of Revelation. We are to give them the word of God just as it is, with as few of our own explanations as possible. No one mind can do this work alone. Although we have in trust the grandest and most important truth ever presented to the world, we are only babes, as far as understanding truth in all its bearings is concerned. Christ is the great teacher, and that which He revealed to John, we are to tax our minds to understand and clearly to define. We are facing the most important issues that men have ever been called upon to meet. CW 29.2
The theme of greatest importance is the third angel's message, embracing the messages of the first and second angels. All should understand the truths contained in these messages and demonstrate them in daily life, for this is essential to salvation. We shall have to study earnestly, prayerfully, in order to understand these grand truths.—Letter 97, 1902. CW 29.3Read in context »
The words of the angel, “I am Gabriel, that stand in the presence of God,” show that he holds a position of high honor in the heavenly courts. When he came with a message to Daniel, he said, “There is none that holdeth with me in these things, but Michael [Christ] your Prince.” Daniel 10:21. Of Gabriel the Saviour speaks in the Revelation, saying that “He sent and signified it by His angel unto His servant John.” Revelation 1:1. And to John the angel declared, “I am a fellow servant with thee and with thy brethren the prophets.” Revelation 22:9, R. V. Wonderful thought—that the angel who stands next in honor to the Son of God is the one chosen to open the purposes of God to sinful men. DA 99.1
Zacharias had expressed doubt of the angel's words. He was not to speak again until they were fulfilled. “Behold,” said the angel, “thou shalt be dumb, ... until the day that these things shall be performed, because thou believest not my words, which shall be fulfilled in their season.” It was the duty of the priest in this service to pray for the pardon of public and national sins, and for the coming of the Messiah; but when Zacharias attempted to do this, he could not utter a word. DA 99.2
Coming forth to bless the people, “he beckoned unto them, and remained speechless.” They had waited long, and had begun to fear, lest he had been cut down by the judgment of God. But as he came forth from the holy place, his face was shining with the glory of God, “and they perceived that he had seen a vision in the temple.” Zacharias communicated to them what he had seen and heard; and “as soon as the days of his ministration were accomplished, he departed to his own house.” DA 99.3Read in context »