Revelation 1:1a: Revelation is Revelation

[96 AD]  Verse 1:[1]  The Revelation of Jesus Christ, (John 3:32; 8:26; 12:49) which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which (Rev. 4:1; 1:3) must shortly come to pass; and (Rev. 22:16) he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John…

[The Apocalypse, Ἀποκάλυψις] The revealing (Castalio, Piscator), that is, the oracle (Castalio); the Revelation (Erasmus, Vatablus,[2] Camerarius, Piscator, etc.), that is, of various events which were going to happen in the Church and World (Piscator), or of things previously hidden (Beza, similarly Pererius, Cotterius). It is the title or inscription of the book, after the fashion of the Prophets[3] (Beza, similarly Erasmus, Pererius). Afterwards he calls it a Prophecy,[4] then a book,[5] and in the last chapter a book of Prophecy.[6] Now, this Prophecy is called a Revelation, with respect to both, 1. the signs, that is, the visions and similitudes, which are here described and revealed: and, 2. the things signified, for the signification of the visions was revealed to John (Pererius). However, by Apocalypse he does not understand here the book (for the Son did not receive the book from the Father, nor is the book said to be signified), but the events or series of events written in the book; as εὐαγγέλιον, the Gospel, in Mark 1:1 is not the book, but the truth of those things that Christ did and said. Καλύπτειν is to hide; ἀποκαλύπτειν is to bring forth a hidden matter into the open (Cotterius): נִגְלָה/ἀποκαλύπτεσθαι, to be revealed, is often in Daniel[7] concerning those things, the knowledge of which is had by a Divine gift. Thence Ἀποκάλυψις, by which name that book of Enoch is called, concerning which we spoke on Jude. In Isaiah 25:7, בִּלַּע—הַלּוֹט , He will destroy…the covering,[8] is a circumluction ἀποκαλύψεως, for revelation. The Greeks translate it, παράδος ταῦτα πάντα τοῖς ἔθνεσιν, Impart thou all these things to the nations. The language ἀποκαλύψεως, of revelation, is used in this sense in 1 Corinthians 14:26;[9] 2 Corinthians 12:1,[10] 7;[11] Galatians 2:2[12] (Grotius). Now, revelation here is understood, not as common to all the faithful, as in Matthew 11:25 and Ephesians 1:17, but as singular, as in Numbers 24:4;[13] 1 Samuel 2:27[14] (Cluverus’ Apocalyptic Dawn 3), and extraordinary (Beza).

[Of Jesus Christ]  Either, 1.  Passively, which Christ received from the Father (Hammond).  Or, 2.  Actively (Pareus), received from Christ (Menochius), accomplished through Christ (Grotius, similarly Beza, Piscator, Durham), as the Church’s everlasting mediator (Beza), and great Prophet (Durham); through whom the Father treats (Cotterius), and reveals Himself to the Church (Beza), and exhibits to us knowledge and grace (Hammond).

[Which to Him God gave]  That is, the Father, for here He is set over against the Son (Cotterius).  For, just as power, so also the knowledge of such things, is in Christ by God the Father, Revelation 5:7; John 7:16; 14:10.  Consult Isaiah 8:18 (Grotius).  Thus he speaks, for the Father is the first author of all things, from whom also the Son draws, John 5:19, 30, and learns, John 8:28; but here He is only said to have received, for this agrees more closely with Christ glorified (Cotterius).  It denotes the order of the subsisting and working of the persons.  The Father works of Himself through the Son (Durham). He gave to Him, namely, as man (Piscator, similarly Pererius, Aquinas[15] in Ribera); or, as the Mediator (Durham, Pareus):  for as God He of Himself knew (Piscator, Durham).  Now, He gave, either, 1.  in His conception and incarnation, for with respect to that Christ is said to be full of all knowledge, grace, etc. (Lapide, similarly Ribera), but now is said to have received, for now it was known to men, as matters are said to be done at that time when they become known (Ribera).

The Revelation of Jesus Christ; the Apocalypse, (as this book is sometimes called,) that is, the discovering or unveiling of some hidden things; so the word revelation signifieth. The Greek word is often used in the New Testament, and is ordinarily translated so. It is called The Revelation of Jesus Christ because Christ received it from his Father, as the next words show. Which God gave unto him, as he was Mediator: by God, here, is to be understood the Father, not exclusively to the Son, as if he were not God, but to show the order of working in the Holy Trinity, John 7:16; 14:10. Christ in his state of humiliation is said to learn of the Father; in his state of exaltation, to receive from the Father.

            [Openly, etc., δεῖξαι, etc.[16]] An expression of the Greeks, of which sort is in Luke 1:72, ποιῆσαι, for the purpose of doing.[17] Thus Matthew 5:17, I have not come to destroy, etc.[18] (Ribera). Δεῖξαι is in the place of εἰς τὸ δεῖξαι, for the purpose of showing. There is a similar sort of speaking in John 6:52[19] and elsewhere (Grotius). So that He might point out (or, represent [Erasmus, Zegers[20]], openly produce, or, exhibit [Vatablus], not plainly, but by enigmas and symbols [Menochius]: or, show [Erasmus, Vatablus, thus Valla,[21] Cotterius], that is, as if He would place events, clothed in figures, before their eyes: it indicates the force and splendor of the figures [Cotterius]: or, reveal, that is, that He, the Christ, might reveal, in accordance with the promise, John 16:12 [Grotius]) to the servants of Him (Beza, Piscator), that is, either, of God the Father (Cotterius): or, of Christ, as the reciprocal αὐτοῦ/His indicates (Pareus out of Beza). To His servants, that is, to John, namely, so that he might write (Pareus): or, to the teachers and pastors of the Churches (Piscator): or, to the principal men of the Christians (Grotius): or, to Christians (Menochius, Piscator), or to all the faithful (Pareus, Durham), so that every one might from thence draw out what according to his own time and capacity would be sufficient for his education in the faith and fear of the Lord (Cotterius).

To show unto his servants; to John, and by him to all saints that will be studious of things revealed.

[1] Greek: Ἀποκάλυψις Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ, ἣν ἔδωκεν αὐτῷ ὁ Θεὸς δεῖξαι τοῖς δούλοις αὐτοῦ, ἃ δεῖ γενέσθαι ἐν τάχει, καὶ ἐσήμανεν ἀποστείλας διὰ τοῦ ἀγγέλου αὐτοῦ τῷ δούλῳ αὐτοῦ Ἰωάννῃ…

[2] Francis Vatablus (c. 1485-1547) was a prominent Hebrew scholar, doing much to stimulate Hebraic studies in France.  He was appointed to the chair of Hebrew in Paris (1531).  Because of some consonance with Lutheran doctrine, his annotations (Annotationes in Vetus et Novum Testamentum), compiled by his auditors, were regarded with the utmost esteem among Protestants, but with a measure of suspicion and concern by Roman Catholics.  Consequently, the theologians of Salamanca produced their own edition of Vatablus’ annotations for their revision of the Latin Bible (1584).

[3] For example, Obadiah 1.

[4] Revelation 1:3.

[5] For example, Revelation 1:11.

[6] Verses 7, 10, 18, 19.

[7] For example, Daniel 10:1a:  “In the third year of Cyrus king of Persia a thing was revealed (נִגְלָה; ἀπεκαλύφθη in the Theodotion) unto Daniel…”

[8] Isaiah 25:7:  “And he will destroy (וּבִלַּע) in this mountain the face of the covering cast (פְּנֵֽי־הַלּ֥וֹט׀ הַלּ֖וֹט) over all people, and the vail that is spread over all nations.”

[9] 1 Corinthians 14:26a:  “How is it then, brethren? when ye come together, every one of you hath a psalm, hath a doctrine, hath a tongue, hath a revelation (ἀποκάλυψιν), hath an interpretation….”

[10] 2 Corinthians 12:1:  “It is not expedient for me doubtless to glory. I will come to visions and revelations (ἀποκαλύψεις) of the Lord.”

[11] 2 Corinthians 12:7a:  “And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations (τῶν ἀποκαλύψεων), there was given to me a thorn in the flesh…”

[12] Galatians 2:2a:  “And I went up by revelation (ἀποκάλυψιν), and communicated unto them that gospel which I preach among the Gentiles…”

[13] Numbers 24:4:  “He hath said, which heard the words of God, which saw the vision of the Almighty, falling into a trance, but having his eyes open (וּגְל֥וּי עֵינָֽיִם׃; ἀποκεκαλυμμένοι οἱ ὀφθαλμοὶ αὐτοῦ, in the Septuagint)…”

[14] 1 Samuel 2:27:  “And there came a man of God unto Eli, and said unto him, Thus saith the Lord, Did I plainly appear (הֲנִגְלֹ֤ה נִגְלֵ֙יתִי֙; ἀποκαλυφθεὶς ἀπεκαλύφθην, in the Septuagint) unto the house of thy father, when they were in Egypt in Pharaoh’s house?”

[15] Thomas Aquinas (c. 1224-1274) was perhaps the greatest of the mediæval scholastic theologians.  He wrote on much of the Bible, gathering together the comments, observations, and interpretations of the Fathers.

[16] Revelation 1:1a:  “The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew (δεῖξαι) unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass…”

[17] Luke 1:72:  “To perform (ποιῆσαι) the mercy promised to our fathers, and to remember his holy covenant…”  Here, the infinitive is used to express purpose.

[18] Matthew 5:17:  “Think not that I am come to destroy (katalu=sai) the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy (katalu=sai), but to fulfil (plhrw~sai).”

[19] John 6:52:  “The Jews therefore strove among themselves, saying, How can this man give us his flesh to eat (φαγεῖν)?”

[20] Nicholas Tacitus Zegers (died 1559) was a Flemish Franciscan exegete.  He wrote Scholion in Omnes Novi Testamenti Libros (1553), Epanorthotes, sive Castigationes Novi Testamenti (1555), and Inventorium in Testamentum Novum, a concordance (1558).

[21] Laurentius Valla (1406-1457) was one of the great Latin scholars of his age.  He was Professor of Eloquence at Parvia, then at Milan.  Later he served as Canon of St. John the Lateran.  He wrote In Novum Testamentum Annotationes and De Collationibus Novi Testamenti.

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