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Volume 4 & 5 - Page 126 of 161 Index | Zoom | |
Studies in the Book of the Revelation.
Introductory message to the seven churches (1: 4-20).
Passing from the deeply interesting introduction of verses 1-3, we commence the book
proper in the fourth verse.
We find no warrant for making the prophetic section of the book commence at
chapter 4: One would imagine that the words of 4: 2, "I was in spirit," occur here for
the first time by the way this passage is treated by many commentators. They occur for
the first time in the Revelation in chapter 1: 10, "I was in spirit in the Lord's day." Let us
first of all, however, consider the scope of the chapter before us. It is evident that
chapter 2: commences a new section, so that the chapter division here is a true one. We
do not feel satisfied with any structure of this opening chapter that we have yet seen, and
although realizing the imperfection of the following suggestion, we think that by
adhering to the terms of the Scriptures themselves, rather than by inventing headings, we
approach nearer to the true arrangement.
Rev. 1: 4-20.
A | 4. The seven assemblies and seven spirits.
B | a | 5-. Christ the first begotten from the dead.
b | -5, 6. Result of that death. Redemption.
C | c | 7. His coming. Effect on tribes when they see Him.
d | 8. Title. Alpha and Omega. I AM.
D | 9, 10. John in Lord's day for testimony.
E | 11. Seven assemblies particularized.
D | 12-17-. Son of man in glory testifying.
C | c | -17-. His glory. Effect upon John when He saw Him.
d | -17. Title. First and Last. I AM.
B | a | 18-. Christ. I am He that liveth and was dead.
b | -18. Result of that death. Power.
A | 20. The seven assemblies and seven angels.
It will be observed that a fair balance of thought is indicated by the above
arrangement, and one or two important aids to interpretation are educed. Let us consider
John to the seven assemblies which are in Asia.--First we must spare a moment to
look at the word "assembly," translated "church" in A.V. We have no objection to the
word church; it is only because so many have limited the meaning of it that we prefer the
wider and more open word "assembly." The word ekklesia is composed of two words,
ek, meaning "out of," and kalein, "to call, or summon." The LXX uses the word ekklesia
to translate the Hebrew word Qahal, "to call together, or assemble," seventy times. Qahal
is variously rendered "congregation," "assembly," "company," and "multitude." The first