"The Day of the Lord"
Introduction to the Book of Revelation
The titles used of the Lord Jesus Christ in the Revelation afford further evidence as to the Church of god not being the subject of that Book. We propose to consider seven of these, all used in the Introduction (chap. 1). The most important of these is that given in connection with his vision in chap. 1:13-16. In ver. 13, He is called
This is a title connected with the Lord Jesus in relation to the earth. Its first occurrence in Psa. 8 fixes its peculiar signification. That Psalm begins and ends with a reference to the "earth," and, after speaking of "the Son of Man," it adds: "Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of Thy hands."
It will be found, therefore, that wherever this title occurs, it always refers to the Lord Jesus in connection with His dominion in the earth.* And, when used of His second coming, it refers to the judgment which He is then and there to exercise.
It is most remarkable, and so remarkable as to make it practically conclusive, that this title, while it occurs eighty-four times in the New Testament, is never once used in the Pauline epistles addressed to Churches; thus proving that this title has nothing whatever to do with the Church. But while it has no connection with the Church, in the Epistles, it occurs no less than eighty times in the four Gospels and Acts, because there we have Christ on the earth, and the presentation of the King and the Kingdom. But, when again he reveals Himself by this title, it is in the Book of Revelation (1:13 and 14:14).*
Thus we are pointed to the fact, and told (if we have ears to hear), that the Apocalypse relates to the coming of "the Son of Man" to exercise judgment in and assume dominion over the earth.
It is remarkable that the first use of the title in the New Testament is in Matt. 8:20, where it is said: "The Son of Man hath no where to lay His head": and the last is in Rev. 14:14, where the Son of Man is seen "having on His head a golden crown." Both are connected with his "head," and with the earth; while in the latter there is associated both judgment and dominion.
The significance of this title is further proved by its contrast with the title "Son of God" in John 5:25-27: "Verily, I say unto you, the hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of THE SON OF GOD, and they that hear shall live. For as the Father hath life in Himself, so hath He given to the Son to have life in Himself; and hath given Him authority to execute judgment also; because He is THE SON OF MAN."
It is thus clear that the use of this title twice in Revelation (1:13 and
14:14), and not once in the Church Epistles, is a further proof that the Church
is not the subject of the Apocalypse.
We ought to add that this fact is a key to all the passages where this title is used: and shows that Matt. 14 and 25 have nothing whatever to do with the Church of God, because of the use of this title in 24:30, and 25:31. Both refer to His coming in clouds to the earth in judgment, after the Church has been taken up, and after the Great Tribulation.
(2) "The Almighty" (1:8, etc).
This title is used nine times* in the Apocalypse, and only once elsewhere in the rest of the New Testament (2 Cor. 6:18).**
It is (...) (pantokrator) and means having dominion over all, and
is used in the Old Testament as the Septuagint translation of "Lord of
Hosts" (Heb., Jehovah, Sabaioth; see 2 Sam. 5:10; 7:25, 27).
"The Lord of Hosts" means Jehovah of the hosts in heaven above, and on the earth beneath; and especially of the hosts of Israel. Its first occurrence is (as usual) most significant (see 1 Sam. 1:3, 11; and 4:4), when Israel was reduced to a low estate - oppressed by the Philistines. All had failed. The Judges had failed. The priests (witness Eli) had failed: there was "no king in Israel:" and God's sanctuary was defiled.
But the revelation of this title at this juncture, and here used for the first time, told of the blessed fact that there was going to be a king; and a judge too; as well as a Priest upon His throne; that the sanctuary was going to be cleansed (Rev. 11.), and the oppressors of Israel destroyed. Israel is, conversely, called "The Lord's Host" (see Exod. 12:42), when, at the moment of the formation of the nation at the end of the 430 years of sojourning and servitude, and the birth of the new nation at the Exodus, we read these most significant words: "and it came to pass at the end of the 430 years, even the self-same day it came to pass, that all the hosts of the Lord went out of the land of Egypt."
And further, we may note that, in Joshua 5:14, 15, we have the real connection between "the Lord of Hosts" and "The Hosts of the Lord." Jehovah-Jesus announces His coming as "the Captain of the Lord's Host," to lead them on, to fight their battles, to judge the nations, and give them rest, and settle them in their own land.
Now, we ask, Is it not most significant that this is the title used here in the Apocalypse, nine times? Does not the fact speak to us and say that, when that book opens Israel is in low estate? That Priests and people alike have failed, and there is "no king." Does it not say that "the Captain of the Lord's host" is coming down as their judge and vindicator, to deliver them from their oppressors, to fight for them, and give them rest, and to bring them into their own land?
Surely the association of this title, Pantokrator, with the Lord of
Hosts in the Old Testament, and with Israel; its frequent use in Revelation,
and its practical absence in the Church Epistles, shuts us up to the fact that
we have in this book, not the Church, but that which concerns the Jew and the
And it is the object of the Apocalypse to show how this comes about, and how He becomes the King of kings and Lord of lords (19:16). And how all "the kingdoms of the world are become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ" (11:15). Then, too, will Israel fulfil the forty-sixth Psalm, and say:
(3) "Lord God" (1:8).
In 1:8 the title "god" must be added to the word "Lord," according to all the Critical Greek Texts* and the R.V.
In chap. 22:6 we have the same title. Thus at the end of the book and at
the beginning we have this peculiar title, which seems to enclose all that the
book contains, and stamp it all with that which the title signifies. What is
signifies is clear from the place where we first find it, vix., in the second
of the twelve divisions of Genesis (chap. 2:4 - 4:26). This division is
called "the generations of the heavens and of the earth."
The title "Lord God" is the title used in this division, which treats of the settlement of man in Paradise, or garden of the Lord. In the New Testament it first appears in the Apocalypse; where it has reference to the undoing of the effects of the curse (describe in that section of Genesis), and to the making of the earth again into the Paradise* of God - the garden of the Lord.
The title implies all this: viz., that God is about to do all that Jehovah has revealed. For Elohim is the God of creation and the commencement of life, while Jehovah is the God of revelation and the development and sustainer of life with regard to His covenant People. Elohim (God) expresses the power which accomplishes; Jehovah (Lord) the grace which provides.
Hence in Gen. 2:4 - 4:26, and in Rev. 1:8, and 22:5 we meet with this
title; which links the two books together in a most remarkable manner, and gives
the pledge that Paradise lost will become Paradise regained; and that the curse
which drove man out shall no longer keep him out, but shall be "no more"
The fact that this title is never used in connection with the Church of God, affords us one more great and important proof of our proposition that [the] Church is not the subject of the Apocalypse, but that it has to do with the Jew and the Gentile.
This title is used in Rev. 1:11. It is used again in 1:17, 2:8, and 22:13, but is never found in connection with "the Church of God." On the other hand, it is a title closely associated with "the Jew and the Gentile," as the following Scriptures will testify.
Is it not clear, almost to certainty, that when the Lord Jesus specially reveals Himself by this title, never using it again till He claims it in the book of Revelation four * times, He means to teach us that He is come to act on behalf of Israel and in connection with that People with which this title is thus peculiarly associated?
The connection of Isaiah with Revelation in the use of this title is eloquent to all who have "ears to hear."
This is a title used only in this book (1:5). Many kings are mentioned and referred to in the book: but the Lord Jesus comes as their "Prince;" "King of kings and Lord of lords."
The word is (...) (archon), and occurs in the New Testament 37 times. It is used of earthly rulers, and spirit rulers of this age; also of Christ (only of Christ) in relation to the earth; but never in relation to or in connection with the Church. He it is of whom His God and Father has declared, "I will make Him my first-born, higher than the kings of the earth" (Ps. 89:27). It is in connection with the earth that He comes, in Revelation, and hence this title is used. Another testimony to the truth of our proposition.
This also is a definite title of Christ; (...) (ho erchomenos), THE COMING ONE. It is not, who is "about to come,"* as though it were announcing a fact or an act, as being near at hand: but, it describes a person who has this for His special title, by which He came to be known. He has borne that title ever since the great prophecy and promise of Gen. 3:15. From that time the coming "seed of the woman" has always been the hope of God's People, and hence He is "The Coming One."
True, He was rejected; therefore that coming is now in abeyance. The book of Revelation is a prophecy giving further details concerning that same coming. The Church of God waits for the Saviour, not as the coming one to the earth. It is as going ones we wait for Him, looking to be caught up to meet Him in the air.
"The Coming One" is His special title, which connects Him with the Old Testament prophecies. The title is never once used in any of the Church epistles. We have it variously rendered: -
S9teen times we have the title in the Gospels and Acts and Heb. 10: 37; and then, not again until Revelation; when it is used three times of Him who was about to fulfil the hope of His People. This again stamps this prophecy as having to do with Christ as God, who "is" (essential being), and "was" (in eternity past), and is "the coming one" (time future).
"I am He that liveth, and was dead" (1:18). (...) (ho zon), THE LIVING ONE. Like the previous title, it is used as a special designation of the One whose unveiling is about to be shewn to John. Its use is peculiar to Daniel and Revelation. The two books thus linked together by it are linked as to their character and subject matter in a very special manner. It is used twice in Daniel:- Dan. 4:34 (31*) and 12:7; and six time in Revelation:- Rev. 1:18**; 4:9,10; 5:14; 10:6; and 15:7.**
In Dan. 4:34 (the first occurrence), we read of Nebuchadnezzer, "I praised and honoured HIM THAT LIVETH for ever; whose dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom is from generation to generation; and all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing; and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth."
That exactly expresses what He who reveals Himself by the title, "He that
liveth," in Rev. 1:18, has there come to do.
Dan. 12:7 and Rev. 10:6 are so similar that we put them side by side. Both refer to and contrast Christ's relation to eternity and to time:
Who can doubt that Daniel and Revelation are identical as to their scope; and that they relate, not to this present church period at all, but to the time when "he that liveth," or the Living One, shall come to exercise dominion in the earth, and this in connection, not with the grace of God, but with "the wrath of God" (Rev. 15:7)? The double testimony of two witnesses, in Daniel and Revelation, bespeak the fact that this title relates entirely to the earth, and to man.*
The church is heavenly in its calling, its standing, its hope, and its destiny. But here, everything relates to the execution of judgment on the earth, and upon man.
There is a related title which is also very significant, "the living God." This is used in both Testaments, and indiscriminately, because it has no special reference either to Israel or to the church; but because of a latent reference it always has, to idols, and to judgment on idolaters. This is often expressed in the context; but where it is not actually expressed in words, the thought of idols and idolatry and idolaters has to be supplied mentally.
The title ("the living God") occurs 13 times in the Old Testament (Hebrew), and twice in the Chaldee (Dan. 6:20,26), fifteen times in all. It begins in connection with apostasy (13), but ends in grace and blessing (15=3X5). In the New Testament it occurs sixteen times (4X4), the square of four, four being the number specially associated with the earth. The whole matter is so important and full of interest, that we venture to give all the references.
The first, Deut. 5:26 (23) gives the key (as usual) to the whole. It is in connection with the giving of the Ten Commandments (with special reference to the second, 4:19), when they "heard the voice of the living God (Elohim) speaking out of the midst of the fire."
We say that the title here used is in connection with idolatry; and especially in its most ancient and universal form, sun-worship. A few verses before (Deut. 4:19), we read, "Lest thou lift up thine eyes to heaven, and when thou seest the sun, and the moon, and the stars, even all the host of heaven, shouldest be driven to worship them, and to serve them," etc.
The whole heathen world worshipped the sun and the host of heaven; because they "associated with them certain human characters who had really performed the actions which were thence ascribed to the celestial bodies.* The sun had various attributes; and one was "the living one."** The sun has a conspicuous place in freemasonry; and sun-worship has its ramifications throughout the whole world. We cannot impede our argument by giving further details here. We have put them together in an Appendix, where our readers may see the evidence for themselves.
Our point is this; that the first use of the title "the living God" has to do with the voice out of the midst of the fire; and the last use of it (in Rev. 7:2) is where God's servants are sealed with "the seal of the living God," so as to be kept from the then coming most awful phase of idolatry the world has ever seen, even the worship of the Beast; and to be preserved from and through the consequent judgments which shall come on those worshippers.
In Deut. 22:40,41, we have (not the title, but) words which connect the
thought contained in it with that time of judgment.
The title also has to do with Israel's restoration and deliverance. See Jer. 16:14,15; 23:7,8. The judgment on those who use this title of idols is described in Amos 8: 14. If our readers will compare all the occurrences which we now give of this title, "the living God," they will see how (as a whole) they refer to Israel, to Gentiles, to the earth, to idolaters, and to idols.
Deut. 5:26 (23). Josh. 3:10. I Sam. 17:26,36, where David uses it against the defiance of Goliath. 2 Kings 19:4,16. Isa. 37:4,17, where it is used against the reproach of Sennacherib. Ps. 42:2 (3); 84:2 (3), where it is used with a latent reference to the false gods which others worship and seek. So Jer. 10:10; 23:36, and Hos. 1:10 (2:1).
In the New Testament the usage is the same. Matt. 16:16; 26:63. John 6:69. Acts 14:15. Rom. 9:26. 2 Cor. 3:3; 6:16; 1 Thess. 1:9 (idols). 1 Tim. 3:15; 4:10; 6:17. Heb. 3:12; 9:14; 10:31; 12:22; and Rev. 7:2. S9teen in all (4 in the Gospels and Acts, 4 in the Church Epistles, 3 in the Pastoral Epistles, 4 in Hebrews, and once in Revelation).
Enough has been said on this particular title, and upon the seven as a whole, to show that they all link on the book of Revelation to the Old Testament and the Gospels, and not to the Church; and that their cumulative testimony is that Christ is revealed in this book, not in the character in which He is presented to the Church of God, but in that character in which He is revealed in the Old Testament in relation to Israel and the Earth, which is again taken up in the Apocalypse.
There are other titles of Christ in this book which all add their own testimony; but these we can leave for the present, till we come to them in their own place. Enough has been said to show that these titles assumed by the Lord Jesus in the first chapter of this book shut it entirely off, by way of interpretation, from the Church, which is His Body.