[Table of Contents]
[Previous] [Next]
Word Pictures in the New Testament
(Revelation: Chapter 1)

1:1 {The Revelation} (apokalupsis). Late and rare word outside of N.T. (once in Plutarch and so in the vernacular "Koin‚"), only once in the Gospels (Lu 2:32), but in LXX and common in the Epistles (2Th 1:7), though only here in this book besides the title, from apokalupt“, old verb, to uncover, to unveil. In the Epistles apokalupsis is used for insight into truth (Eph 1:17) or for the revelation of God or Christ at the second coming of Christ (2Th 1:7; 1Pe 1:7). It is interesting to compare apokalupsis with epiphaneia (2Th 2:8) and phaner“sis (1Co 12:7). The precise meaning here turns on the genitive following.
{Of Jesus Christ} (Iˆsou Christou). Hort takes it as objective genitive (revelation about Jesus Christ), but Swete rightly argues for the subjective genitive because of the next clause.
{Gave him} (ed“ken autoi). It is the Son who received the revelation from the Father, as is usual (Joh 5:20f.,26, etc.).
{To shew} (deixai). First aorist active infinitive of deiknumi, purpose of God in giving the revelation to Christ.
{Unto his servants} (tois doulois autou). Believers in general and not just to officials. Dative case. God's servants (or Christ's).
{Must shortly come to pass} (dei genesthai en tachei). Second aorist middle infinitive of ginomai with dei. See this same adjunct (en tachei) in Lu 18:8; Ro 16:20; Re 22:6. It is a relative term to be judged in the light of 2Pe 3:8 according to God's clock, not ours. And yet undoubtedly the hopes of the early Christians looked for a speedy return of the Lord Jesus. This vivid panorama must be read in the light of that glorious hope and of the blazing fires of persecution from Rome. {Sent and signified} (esˆmanen aposteilas). "Having sent (first aorist active participle of apostell“, Mt 10:16 and again in Re 22:6 of God sending his angel) signified" (first aorist active indicative of sˆmain“, from sˆma, sign or token, for which see Joh 12:33; Ac 11:28). See 12:1 for sˆmeion, though sˆmain“ (only here in the Apocalypse) suits admirably the symbolic character of the book.
{By his angel} (dia tou aggelou autou). Christ's angel as Christ is the subject of the verb esˆmanen, as in 22:16 Christ sends his angel, though in 22:6 God sends.
{Unto his servant John} (t“i doul“i autou I“anei). Dative case. John gives his name here, though not in Gospel or Epistles, because "prophecy requires the guarantee of the individual who is inspired to utter it" (Milligan). "The genesis of the Apocalypse has now been traced from its origin in the Mind of God to the moment when it reached its human interpreter" (Swete). "Jesus is the medium of all revelation" (Moffatt).

1:2 {Bare witness} (emarturˆsen). First aorist active indicative of marture“, which, along with martus and marturia, is common in all the Johannine books (cf. 22:18,20), usually with peri or hoti, but with cognate accusative as here in 22:16,20; 1Jo 5:10. Epistolary aorist here, referring to this book.
{The word of God} (ton logon tou theou). Subjective genitive, given by God. The prophetic word as in 1:9; 6:9; 20:4, not the personal Word as in 19:14.
{The testimony of Jesus Christ} (tˆn marturian Iˆsou Christou). Subjective genitive again, borne witness to by Jesus Christ. {Even of all the things that he saw} (hosa eiden). Relative clause in apposition with logon and marturian.

1:3 {Blessed} (makarios). As in Mt 5:3ff. This endorses the book as a whole.
{He that readeth} (ho anagin“sk“n). Present active singular articular participle of anagin“sk“ (as in Lu 4:16). Christians in their public worship followed the Jewish custom of public reading of the Scriptures (2Co 3:14f.). The church reader (anagn“stˆs, lector) gradually acquired an official position. John expects this book to be read in each of the seven churches mentioned (1:4) and elsewhere. Today the public reading of the Bible is an important part of worship that is often poorly done.
{They that hear} (hoi akouontes). Present active plural articular participle of akou“ (the audience). {And keep} (kai tˆrountes). Present active participle of tˆre“, a common Johannine word (1Jo 2:4, etc.). Cf. Mt 7:24. "The content of the Apocalypse is not merely prediction; moral counsel and religious instruction are the primary burdens of its pages" (Moffatt).
{Written} (gegrammena). Perfect passive participle of graph“.
{For the time is at hand} (ho gar kairos eggus). Reason for listening and keeping. On kairos see Mt 12:1, time of crisis as in 1Co 7:29. How near eggus (at hand) is we do not know any more than we do about en tachei (shortly) in 1:1.

1:4 {To the seven churches which are in Asia} (tais hepta ekklˆsiais tais en tˆi Asiƒi). Dative case as in a letter (Ga 1:1). John is writing, but the revelation is from God and Christ through an angel. It is the Roman province of Asia which included the western part of Phrygia. There were churches also at Troas (Ac 20:5ff.) and at Colossal and Hierapolis (Col 1:1; 2:1; 4:13) and possibly at Magnesia and Tralles. But these seven were the best points of communication with seven districts (Ramsay) and, besides, seven is a favorite number of completion (like the full week) in the book (1:4,12,16; 4:5; 5:1,6; 8:2; 10:3; 11:13; 12:3; 13:1; 14:6f.).
{From him which is} (apo ho “n). This use of the articular nominative participle of eimi after apo instead of the ablative is not due to ignorance or a mere slip (lapsus pennae), for in the next line we have the regular idiom with apo t“n hepta pneumat“n. It is evidently on purpose to call attention to the eternity and unchangeableness of God. Used of God in Ex 3:14.
{And which was} (kai ho ˆn). Here again there is a deliberate change from the articular participle to the relative use of ho (used in place of hos to preserve identity of form in the three instances like Ionic relative and since no aorist participle of eimi existed). The oracle in Pausanias X. 12 has it: Zeus ˆn, Zeus esti, Zeus essetai (Zeus was, Zeus is, Zeus will be).
{Which is to come} (ho erchomenos). "The Coming One," futuristic use of the present participle instead of ho esomenos. See the same idiom in verse 8; 4:8 and (without ho erchomenos) in 11:17; 16:5.
{From the seven spirits} (apo t“n hepta pneumat“n). A difficult symbolic representation of the Holy Spirit here on a par with God and Christ, a conclusion borne out by the symbolic use of the seven spirits in 3:1; 4:5; 5:6 (from Zec 4:2-10). There is the one Holy Spirit with seven manifestations here to the seven churches (Swete, "The Holy Spirit in the N.T.", p. 374), unity in diversity (1Co 12:4). {Which are} (t“n article Aleph A, ha relative P)
{Before his throne} (en“pion tou thronou autou). As in 4:5f.

1:5 {Who is the faithful witness} (ho martus ho pistos). "The witness the faithful," nominative in apposition like pr“totokos and arch“n with the preceding ablative Iˆsou Christou with apo, a habit of John in this book (apparently on purpose) as in 2:13,20; 3:12, etc. See this same phrase in 2:13; 3:14. The use of martus of Jesus here is probably to the witness (1:1) in this book (22:16f.), not to the witness of Jesus before Pilate (1Ti 6:13).
{The first-born of the dead} (ho pr“totokos t“n nekr“n). A Jewish Messianic title (Ps 88:28) and as in Col 1:18 refers to priority in the resurrection to be followed by others. See Lu 2:7 for the word.
{The ruler of the kings of the earth} (ho arch“n t“n basile“n tˆs gˆs). Jesus by his resurrection won lordship over the kings of earth (17:14; 19:16), what the devil offered him by surrender (Mt 4:8f.). {Unto him that loveth us} (t“i agap“nti hˆmƒs). Dative of the articular present (not aorist agapˆsanti) active participle of agapa“ in a doxology to Christ, the first of many others to God and to Christ (1:6; 4:11; 5:9,12f.; 7:10,12, etc.). For the thought see Joh 3:16.
{Loosed} (lusanti). First aorist active participle of lu“ (Aleph A C), though some MSS. (P Q) read lousanti (washed), a manifest correction. Note the change of tense. Christ loosed us once for all, but loves us always.
{By his blood} (en t“i haimati autou). As in 5:9. John here as in the Gospel and Epistles states plainly and repeatedly the place of the blood of Christ in the work of redemption.

1:6 {And he made} (kai epoiˆsen). Change from the participle construction, which would be kai poiˆsanti (first aorist active of poie“) like lusanti just before, a Hebraism Charles calls it, but certainly an anacoluthon of which John is very fond, as in 1:18; 2:2,9,20; 3:9; 7:14; 14:2f.; 15:3.
{Kingdom} (basileian). So correctly Aleph A C, not basileis (P cursives). Perhaps a reminiscence of Ex 19:6, a kingdom of priests. In 5:10 we have again "a kingdom and priests." The idea here is that Christians are the true spiritual Israel in God's promise to Abraham as explained by Paul in Ga 3; Ro 9. {To be priests} (hiereis). In apposition with basileian, but with kai (and) in 5:10. Each member of this true kingdom is a priest unto God, with direct access to him at all times.
{Unto his God and Father} (t“i the“i kai patri autou). Dative case and autou (Christ) applies to both the“i and patri. Jesus spoke of the Father as his God (Mt 27:46; Joh 20:17) and Paul uses like language (Eph 1:17), as does Peter (1Pe 1:3).
{To him} (aut“i). Another doxology to Christ. "The adoration of Christ which vibrates in this doxology is one of the most impressive features of the book" (Moffatt). Like doxologies to Christ appear in 5:13; 7:10; 1Pe 4:11; 2Pe 3:18; 2Ti 4:18; He 13:21. These same words (hˆ doxa kai to kratos) in 1Pe 4:11, only hˆ doxa in 2Pe 3:18; 2Ti 4:18, but with several others in Re 5:13; 7:10.

1:7 {Behold, he cometh with the clouds} (idou erchetai meta t“n nephel“n). Futuristic present middle indicative of erchomai, a reminiscence of Da 7:13 (Theodotion). "It becomes a common eschatological refrain" (Beckwith) as in Mr 13:26; 14:62; Mt 24:30; 26:64; Lu 21:27. Compare the manifestation of God in the clouds at Sinai, in the cloudy pillar, the Shekinah, at the transfiguration" (Vincent).
{Shall see} (opsetai). Future middle of hora“, a reminiscence of Zec 12:10 according to the text of Theodotion (Aquila and Symmachus) rather than the LXX and like that of Mt 24:30 (similar combination of Daniel and Zechariah) and 26:64. This picture of the victorious Christ in his return occurs also in 14:14, 18-20; 19:11-21; 20:7-10.
{And they which} (kai hoitines). "And the very ones who," Romans and Jews, all who shared in this act.
{Pierced} (exekentˆsan). First aorist active indicative of ekkente“, late compound (Aristotle, Polybius, LXX), from ek and kente“ (to stab, to pierce), in N.T., only here and Joh 19:37, in both cases from Zec 12:10, but not the LXX text (apparently proof that John used the original Hebrew or the translation of Theodotion and Aquila).
{Shall mourn} (kopsontai). Future middle (direct) of kopt“, old verb, to cut, "they shall cut themselves," as was common for mourners (Mt 11:17; Lu 8:52; 23:27). From Zec 12:12. See also Re 18:9.
{Tribes} (phulai). Not just the Jewish tribes, but the spiritual Israel of Jews and Gentiles as in 7:4-8. No nation had then accepted Christ as Lord and Saviour, nor has any yet done so.

1:8 {The Alpha and the Omega} (to Alpha kai to O). The first and the last letters of the Greek alphabet, each with its own neuter (grammatical gender) article. This description of the eternity of God recurs in 21:6 with the added explanation hˆ archˆ kai to telos (the Beginning and the End) and of Christ in 22:13 with the still further explanation ho pr“tos kai ho eschatos (the First and the Last). This last phrase appears also in 1:17; 2:8 without to Alpha kai to O. The change of speaker here is unannounced, as in 16:15; 18:20. Only here and 21:5f. is God introduced as the speaker. The eternity of God guarantees the prophecy just made.
{The Lord God} (Kurios ho theos). "The Lord the God." Common phrase in Ezekiel (Eze 6:3,11; 7:2, etc.) and in this book (4:8; 11:17; 15:3; 16:7; 19:6; 21:22). See 1:4; 4:8 for the triple use of ho, etc. to express the eternity of God.
{The Almighty} (ho pantokrat“r). Late compound (pƒs and krate“), in Cretan inscription and a legal papyrus, common in LXX and Christian papyri, in N.T. only in 2Co 6:18 (from Jer 38:35) and Re 1:8; 4:8; 11:17; 15:3; 16:7,14; 19:6,15; 21:22.

1:9 {I John} (Eg“ I“anˆs). So 22:8. In apocalyptic literature the personality of the writer is always prominent to guarantee the visions (Da 8:1; 10:2).
{Partaker with you} (sunkoin“nos). See already 1Co 9:23. "Co-partner with you" (Ro 11:17). One article with adelphos and sunkoin“nos unifying the picture. The absence of apostolos here does not show that he is not an apostle, but merely his self-effacement, as in the Fourth Gospel, and still more his oneness with his readers. So there is only one article (tˆi) with thlipsei (tribulation), basileiƒi (kingdom), hupomonˆi (patience), ideas running all through the book. Both the tribulation (see Mt 13:21 for thlipsis) and the kingdom (see Mt 3:2 for basileia) were present realities and called for patience (hupomonˆ being "the spiritual alchemy" according to Charles for those in the kingdom, for which see Lu 8:15; Jas 5:7). All this is possible only "in Jesus" (en Iˆsou), a phrase on a par with Paul's common en Christ“i (in Christ), repeated in 14:13. Cf. 3:20; 2Th 3:5.
{Was} (egenomˆn). Rather, "I came to be," second aorist middle indicative of ginomai.
{In the isle that is called Patmos} (en tˆi nˆs“i tˆi kaloumenˆi Patm“i). Patmos is a rocky sparsely settled island some ten miles long and half that wide, one of the Sporades group in the Aegean Sea, south of Miletus. The present condition of the island is well described by W. E. Geil in "The Isle That Is Called Patmos" (1905). Here John saw the visions described in the book, apparently written while still a prisoner there in exile.
{For the word of God and the testimony of Jesus} (dia ton logon tou theou kai tˆn marturian Iˆsou). The reason for (dia and the accusative)
John's presence in Patmos, naturally as a result of persecution already alluded to, not for the purpose of preaching there or of receiving the visions. See verse 2 for the phrase.

1:10 {I was in the Spirit} (egenomˆn en pneumati). Rather, "I came to be (as in 1:9) in the Spirit," came into an ecstatic condition as in Ac 10:10f.; 22:17, not the normal spiritual condition (einai en pneumati, Ro 8:9).
{On the Lord's Day} (en tˆi kuriakˆi hˆmerƒi). Deissmann has proven ("Bible Studies", p. 217f.; "Light", etc., p. 357ff.) from inscriptions and papyri that the word kuriakos was in common use for the sense "imperial" as imperial finance and imperial treasury and from papyri and ostraca that hˆmera Sebastˆ (Augustus Day) was the first day of each month, Emperor's Day on which money payments were made (cf. 1Co 16:1f.). It was easy, therefore, for the Christians to take this term, already in use, and apply it to the first day of the week in honour of the Lord Jesus Christ's resurrection on that day ("Didache" 14, Ignatius "Magn". 9). In the N.T. the word occurs only here and 1Co 11:20 (kuriakon deipnon the Lord's Supper). It has no reference to hˆmera kuriou (the day of judgment, 2Pe 3:10).
{Behind me} (opis“ mou). "The unexpected, overpowering entrance of the divine voice" (Vincent). Cf. Eze 3:12.
{Voice} (ph“nˆn). Of Christ, as is plain in verses 12f.
{As of a trumpet} (h“s salpiggos). So in 4:1 referring to this.
{Saying} (legousˆs). Present active participle genitive case agreeing with salpiggos rather than legousan, accusative agreeing with ph“nˆn. So on purpose, as is clear from 4:1, where lalousˆs also agrees with salpiggos.

1:11 {Write in a book} (grapson eis biblion). First aorist active imperative of graph“ for instantaneous action. The commission covers the whole series of visions which all grow out of this first vision of the Risen Christ.
{Send} (pempson). First aorist active imperative of pemp“. Part of the commission from Christ. The names of the seven churches of 1:4 are now given, and the particular message to each church comes in chapters 2 and 3 and in the same order, the geographical order going north from Ephesus, then east and south to Laodicea. But apparently the whole book was to be read to each of the seven churches. It would probably also be copied at each church.

1:12 {To see the voice} (blepein tˆn ph“nˆn). The voice put for the person speaking.
{Having turned} (epistrepsas). First aorist active participle of epistreph“, from which also epestrepsa, just before, for which verb see Ac 15:36; 16:18. {Seven golden candlesticks} (hepta luchnias chrusas). See Mt 5:15 for luchnia (lampstand). Symbols of the seven churches as explained in verse 20. See Ex 25:35ff. for description of a seven-branched candlestick, but here the lampstands are separate.

1:13 {One like unto a son of man} (homoion huion anthr“pou). Note accusative here with homoion (object of eidon) as in 14:14 and not the associative-instrumental as is usual (1:15; 4:3,6). Charles holds that homoion here has the sense of h“s (as) and compares 4:6; 22:1 for proof. The absence of the article here shows also (Charles) that the idea is not "like the Son of man" for Christ is the Son of man. He is like "a son of man," but not a man.
{Clothed} (endedumenon). Perfect passive participle of endu“, accusative case agreeing with homoion. {A garment down to the foot} (podˆrˆ). Old adjective podˆrˆs (from pous, foot, and air“), here only in N.T., accusative singular retained with the passive participle as often with verbs of clothing. Supply chit“na or esthˆta (garment).
{Girt about} (periez“smenon). Perfect passive participle of periz“nnumi, accusative singular agreeing with homoion.
{At the breasts} (pros tois mastois). Old word for breasts of a woman (Lu 11:27; 23:29) and nipples of a man, as here. High girding like this was a mark of dignity as of the high priest (Josephus, "Ant". III. 7. 2). For pros with the locative see Mr 5:11.
{With a golden girdle} (z“nˆn chrusƒn). Accusative case again retained with the passive participle (verb of clothing). Note also chrusƒn (vernacular "Koin‚") rather than the old form, chrusˆn.

1:14 {As white wool} (h“s erion leukon). Erion (wool) in N.T. only here and Heb 9:19, though old word. The person of the Lord Jesus is here described in language largely from Da 7:9 (the Ancient of Days).
{White as snow} (h“s chi“n). Just "as snow," also in Da 7:9. In N.T. only here and Mt 28:3.
{As a flame of fire} (h“s phlox puros). In Da 7:9 the throne of the Ancient of Days is phlox puros, while in Da 10:6 the eyes of the Ancient of Days are lampades puros (lamps of fire). See also 2:18; 19:12 for this bold metaphor (like Heb 1:7).

1:15 {Burnished brass} (chalkoliban“i). Associative-instrumental case after homoioi. This word has so far been found nowhere else save here and 2:18. Suidas defines it as an ˆlecktron (amber) or a compound of copper and gold and silver ("aurichalcum" in the Latin Vulgate). It is in reality an unknown metal.
{As if it had been refined} (h“s pepuromenˆs). Perfect passive participle of puro“, old verb, to set on fire, to glow, as in Eph 6:16; Re 3:18. The feminine gender shows that hˆ chalkolibanos is referred to with tˆs chalkolibanou understood, for it does not agree in case with the associative-instrumental chalkoliban“i just before. Some would call it a slip for pepuromen“i as Aleph, and some cursives have it (taking chalkoliban“i to be neuter, not feminine). But P Q read pepur“menoi (masculine plural), a correction, making it agree in number and gender with podes (feet).
{In a furnace} (en kamin“i). Old word, in N.T. also 9:2; Mt 13:42,50.
{As the voice of many waters} (h“s ph“nˆ hudat“n poll“n). So the voice of God in the Hebrew (not the LXX) of Eze 43:2. Repeated in 14:2; 19:6.

1:16 {And he had} (kai ech“n). "And having," present active participle of ech“, loose use of the participle (almost like eiche, imperfect) and not in agreement with autou, genitive case. This is a common idiom in the book; a Hebraism, Charles calls it.
{In his right hand} (en tˆi dexiƒi cheiri). For safe keeping as in Joh 10:28.
{Seven stars} (asteras hepta). Symbols of the seven churches (verse 20), seven planets rather than Pleiades or any other constellation like the bear. {Proceeded} (ekporeuomenˆ). Present middle participle of ekporeuomai, old compound (Mt 3:5) used loosely again like ech“n.
{A sharp two-edged sword} (romphaia distomos oxeia). "A sword two-mouthed sharp." Romphaia (as distinct from machaira) is a long sword, properly a Thracian javelin, in N.T. only Lu 2:35; Re 1:16; 2:12; Heb 4:12. See stoma used with machairˆs in Lu 21:24 (by the mouth of the sword). {Countenance} (opsis). Old word (from opt“), in N.T. only here, Joh 7:24; 11:44.
{As the sun shineth} (h“s ho hˆlios phainei). Brachylogy, "as the sun when it shines." For phainei see Joh 1:5.

1:17 {I fell} (epesa). Late form for the old epeson (second aorist active indicative of pipt“, to fall). Under the over-powering influence of the vision as in 19:10.
{He laid} (ethˆken). First aorist active indicative of tithˆmi. The act restored John's confidence.
{Fear not} (mˆ phobou). Cf. Lu 1:13 to Zacharias to give comfort.
{I am the first and the last} (eg“ eimi ho pr“tos kai ho eschatos). Used in Isa 44:6; 48:12 of God, but here, 2:8; 22:13 of Christ.
{And the Living One} (kai ho z“n). Present active articular participle of za“, another epithet of God common in the O.T. (De 32:40; Isa 49:18, etc.) and applied purposely to Jesus, with which see Joh 5:26 for Christ's own words about it.

1:18 {And I was dead} (kai egenomˆn nekros). "And I be came dead" (aorist middle participle of ginomai as in 1:9,10, definite reference to the Cross).
{I am alive} (z“n eimi). Periphrastic present active indicative, "I am living," as the words ho z“n just used mean.
{Forevermore} (eis tous ai“nas t“n ai“n“n). "Unto the ages of the ages," a stronger expression of eternity even than in 1:6.
{The keys} (tas kleis). One of the forms for the accusative plural along with kleidas, the usual one (Mt 16:19).
{Of death and of Hades} (tou thanatou kai tou hƒidou). Conceived as in Mt 16:18 as a prison house or walled city. The keys are the symbol of authority, as we speak of honouring one by giving him the keys of the city. Hades here means the unseen world to which death is the portal. Jesus has the keys because of his victory over death. See this same graphic picture in 6:8; 20:13f. For the key of David see 3:7, for the key of the abyss see 9:1; 20:1.

1:19 {Therefore} (oun). In view of Christ's words about himself in verse 18 and the command in verse 11.
{Which thou sawest} (ha eides). The vision of the Glorified Christ in verses 13-18.
{The things which are} (ha eisin). Plural verb (individualising the items) though ha is neuter plural, certainly the messages to the seven churches (1:20-3:22) in relation to the world in general, possibly also partly epexegetic or explanatory of ha eides.
{The things which shall come to pass hereafter} (ha mellei ginesthai meta tauta). Present middle infinitive with mellei, though both aorist and future are also used. Singular verb here (mellei) blending in a single view the future. In a rough outline this part begins in 4:1 and goes to end of chapter 22, though the future appears also in chapters 2 and 3 and the present occurs in 4 to 22 and the elements in the vision of Christ (1:13-18) reappear repeatedly.

1:20 {The mystery of the seven stars} (to mustˆrion t“n hepta aster“n). On the word mustˆrion see on »Mt 13:11; 2Th 2:7; Col 1:26. Here it means the inner meaning (the secret symbol) of a symbolic vision (Swete) as in 10:7; 13:18; 17:7,9; Da 2:47. Probably the accusative absolute (Charles), "as for the mystery" (Robertson, "Grammar", pp. 490, 1130), as in Ro 8:3. This item is picked out of the previous vision (1:16) as needing explanation at once and as affording a clue to what follows (2:1,5).
{Which} (hous). Masculine accusative retained without attraction to case of aster“n (genitive, h“n).
{In my right hand} (epi tˆs dexias mou). Or "upon," but en tˆi, etc., in verse 16.
{And the seven golden candlesticks} (kai tas hepta luchnias tas chrusƒs). "The seven lampstands the golden," identifying the stars of verse 16 with the lampstands of verse 12. The accusative case here is even more peculiar than the accusative absolute mustˆrion, since the genitive luchni“n after mustˆrion is what one would expect. Charles suggests that John did not revise his work.
{The angels of the seven churches} (aggeloi t“n hepta ekklˆsi“n). Anarthrous in the predicate (angels of, etc.). "The seven churches" mentioned in 1:4,11. Various views of aggelos here exist. The simplest is the etymological meaning of the word as messenger from aggell“ (Mt 11:10) as messengers from the seven churches to Patmos or by John from Patmos to the churches (or both). Another view is that aggelos is the pastor of the church, the reading tˆn gunaika sou (thy wife) in 2:20 (if genuine) confirming this view. Some would even take it to be the bishop over the elders as episcopos in Ignatius, but a separate aggelos in each church is against this idea. Some take it to be a symbol for the church itself or the spirit and genius of the church, though distinguished in this very verse from the churches themselves (the lampstands). Others take it to be the guardian angel of each church assuming angelic patrons to be taught in Mt 18:10; Ac 12:15. Each view is encompassed with difficulties, perhaps fewer belonging to the view that the "angel" is the pastor.
{Are seven churches} (hepta ekklˆsiai eisin). These seven churches (1:4,11) are themselves lampstands (1:12) reflecting the light of Christ to the world (Mt 5:14-16; Joh 8:12) in the midst of which Christ walks (1:13).

[Table of Contents]
[Previous] [Next]
Word Pictures in the New Testament
(Revelation: Chapter 1)

| About LW | Site Map | LW Publications | Search
Developed by © Levend Water All rights reserved