On his vesture and on his thigh a name written - Dr. Dodd has well observed on this passage, that "it appears to have been an ancient custom among several nations to adorn the images of their deities, princes, victors at public games, and other eminent persons, with inscriptions, expressing either the character of the persons, their names, or some other circumstance which might contribute to their honor; and to that custom the description here given of Christ may possibly have some allusion.
"There are several such images yet extant, with an inscription written either on the garment, or on one of the thighs, or on that part of the garment which was over the thigh; and probably this is the meaning of the apostle. And as these inscriptions are placed on the upper garment, Grotius seems very justly to have explained the words επι το ἱματιον, by his imperial robe, that his power in this victory might be conspicuous to all. But as a farther confirmation of this sense of the passage it may not be improper here to describe briefly several remarkable figures of this sort, which are still extant." This description I shall give from my own examination.
The second is a small figure of brass, about six inches long, with a loose tunic, which is suspended from the left shoulder down to the calf of the legs. On this tunic, over the left thigh, is an inscription (perhaps) in very ancient Latin characters, but in the Etruscan language, as the learned author conjectures. It is in one line, but what it means is equally unknown.
A. Poblicius. D. L. Antioc.
Ti. Barbius. Q. P. L. Tiber.
In the latter tract, sec. 16, fol. 232, 3, and in Rab. Tanchum, fol. 66, mention is made of the guardian angels of the Israelites, who were clothed with purple vestments, on which was inscribed המפורש שם shem hammephorash, the ineffable name. See more in Schoettgen.
As these kinds of inscriptions on the thigh, the garments, and different parts of the body, were in use among different nations, to express character, conduct, qualities, and conquests, we may rest assured that to them St. John alludes when he represents our sovereign Lord with an inscription upon his vesture and upon his thigh; and had we not found it a custom among other nations, we should have been at a loss to account for its introduction and meaning here.
And he hath on his vesture - That is, this name was conspicuously written on his garment - probably his military robe.
And on his thigh - The robe or military cloak may be conceived of as open and flowing, so as to expose the limbs of the rider; and the idea is, that the name was conspicuously written not only on the flowing robe, but on the other parts of his dress, so that it must be conspicuous whether his military cloak were wrapped closely around him, or whether it was open to the breeze. Grotius supposes that this name was on the edge or hilt of the sword which depended from his thigh.
A name written - Or a title descriptive of his character.
King of kings, and Lord of lords - As in Revelation 17:5, so here, there is nothing in the original to denote that this should be distinguished, as it is, by capital letters. As a conspicuous title, however, it is not improper. It means that he is, in fact, the sovereign over the kings of the earth, and that all nobles and princes are under his control - a rank that properly belongs to the Son of God. Compare the notes on Ephesians 1:20-22. See also Revelation 19:12 of this chapter. The custom here alluded to of inscribing the name or rank of distinguished individuals on their garments, so that they might be readily recognized, was not uncommon in ancient times. For full proof of this, see Rosenmuller, Morgenland, vol. iii. pp. 232-236. The authorities quoted there are, Thevenot‘s Travels, vol. i. p. 149; Gruter, p. 989; Dempster‘s Etruria Regalis, t. ii. tab. 93; Montfaucon, Antiq. Expliq. t. iii. tab. 39. Thus Herodotus (vol. ii. p. 196), speaking of the figures of Sesostris in Ionia, says that, “Across his breast, from shoulder to shoulder, there is this inscription in the sacred characters of Egypt, ‹I conquered this country by the force of my arms.‘” Compare Cic. Verr. iv. 23; LeMoyne a.d. Jeremiah 23:6; Munter, Diss. a.d. Revelation 17:5, as referred to by Prof. Stuart, in loco.
13 (2 Timothy 4:7, 8). God Honors the Faithful Aged—There are living upon our earth men who have passed the age of fourscore and ten. The natural results of old age are seen in their feebleness. But they believe God, and God loves them. The seal of God is upon them, and they will be among the number of whom the Lord has said, “Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord.” With Paul they can say, “I have fought a good fight, I have finished by course, I have kept the faith: henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also which love his appearing.” There are many whose grey hairs God honors because they have fought a good fight and kept the faith (Letter 207, 1899). 7BC 982.1
2, 3 (Exodus 15:1-19; Deuteronomy 31:30 to 32:44; Isaiah 26:2). The Final Song of Victory—What a song that will be when the ransomed of the Lord meet at the gate of the Holy City, which is thrown back on its glittering hinges and the nations that have kept His word—His commandments—enter into the city, the crown of the overcomer is placed upon their heads, and the golden harps are placed in their hands! All heaven is filled with rich music, and with songs of praise to the Lamb. Saved, everlastingly saved, in the kingdom of glory! To have a life that measures with the life of God—that is the reward (Manuscript 92, 1908). 7BC 982.2Read in context »
Looking upon the smitten Lamb of God, the Jews had cried, “His blood be on us, and on our children.” That awful cry ascended to the throne of God. That sentence, pronounced upon themselves, was written in heaven. That prayer was heard. The blood of the Son of God was upon their children and their children's children, a perpetual curse. DA 739.1
Terribly was it realized in the destruction of Jerusalem. Terribly has it been manifested in the condition of the Jewish nation for eighteen hundred years,—a branch severed from the vine, a dead, fruitless branch, to be gathered up and burned. From land to land throughout the world, from century to century, dead, dead in trespasses and sins! DA 739.2
Terribly will that prayer be fulfilled in the great judgment day. When Christ shall come to the earth again, not as a prisoner surrounded by a rabble will men see Him. They will see Him then as heaven's King. Christ will come in His own glory, in the glory of His Father, and the glory of the holy angels. Ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands of angels, the beautiful and triumphant sons of God, possessing surpassing loveliness and glory, will escort Him on His way. Then shall He sit upon the throne of His glory, and before Him shall be gathered all nations. Then every eye shall see Him, and they also that pierced Him. In the place of a crown of thorns, He will wear a crown of glory,—a crown within a crown. In place of that old purple kingly robe, He will be clothed in raiment of whitest white, “so as no fuller on earth can white them.” Mark 9:3. And on His vesture and on His thigh a name will be written, “King of kings, and Lord of lords.” Revelation 19:16. Those who mocked and smote Him will be there. The priests and rulers will behold again the scene in the judgment hall. Every circumstance will appear before them, as if written in letters of fire. Then those who prayed, “His blood be on us, and on our children,” will receive the answer to their prayer. Then the whole world will know and understand. They will realize who and what they, poor, feeble, finite beings, have been warring against. In awful agony and horror they will cry to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us, and hide us from the face of Him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: for the great day of His wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?” Revelation 6:16, 17. DA 739.3Read in context »
Poor, weak, miserable man spat in the face of the King of glory, while a shout of brutal triumph arose from the mob at the degrading insult. They marred with blows and cruelty that face which filled all heaven with admiration. They will again behold that face, bright as the noonday sun, and will seek to flee from before it. Instead of that shout of brutal triumph, they will wail because of Him. EW 179.1
Jesus will present His hands with the marks of His crucifixion. The marks of this cruelty He will ever bear. Every print of the nails will tell the story of man's wonderful redemption and the dear price by which it was purchased. The very men who thrust the spear into the side of the Lord of life will behold the print of the spear and will lament with deep anguish the part which they acted in marring His body. EW 179.2
His murderers were greatly annoyed by the superscription, “The King of the Jews,” placed upon the cross above His head. But then they will be obliged to see Him in all His glory and kingly power. They will behold on His vesture and on His thigh, written in living characters, “King of kings, and Lord of lords.” They cried to Him mockingly, as He hung upon the cross, “Let Christ, the King of Israel, descend from the cross, that we may see and believe.” They will behold Him then with kingly power and authority. They will demand no evidence of His being King of Israel; but overwhelmed with a sense of His majesty and exceeding glory, they will be compelled to acknowledge, “Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord.” EW 179.3Read in context »
Then commenced the jubilee, when the land should rest. I saw the pious slave rise in victory and triumph, and shake off the chains that bound him, while his wicked master was in confusion and knew not what to do; for the wicked could not understand the words of the voice of God. EW 286.1
Soon appeared the great white cloud, upon which sat the Son of man. When it first appeared in the distance, this cloud looked very small. The angel said that it was the sign of the Son of man. As it drew nearer the earth, we could behold the excellent glory and majesty of Jesus as He rode forth to conquer. A retinue of holy angels, with bright, glittering crowns upon their heads, escorted Him on His way. No language can describe the glory of the scene. The living cloud of majesty and unsurpassed glory came still nearer, and we could clearly behold the lovely person of Jesus. He did not wear a crown of thorns, but a crown of glory rested upon His holy brow. Upon His vesture and thigh was a name written, King of kings, and Lord of lords. His countenance was as bright as the noonday sun, His eyes were as a flame of fire, and His feet had the appearance of fine brass. His voice sounded like many musical instruments. The earth trembled before Him, the heavens departed as a scroll when it is rolled together, and every mountain and island were moved out of their places. “And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every freeman, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; and said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of Him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: for the great day of His wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?” Those who a short time before would have destroyed God's faithful children from the earth, now witnessed the glory of God which rested upon them. And amid all their terror they heard the voices of the saints in joyful strains, saying, “Lo, this is our God; we have waited for Him, and He will save us.” EW 286.2Read in context »