Nazarene Apocalypse ©2000
#97. Read chapter one and consider it as an introduction. This opening chapter introduces the key persons in the revelatory drama: God Almighty, the Son of man, and the Saints.
#98. The first verse mentions the main focus of the Apocalypse: ‘A revelation of Jesus Christ which The God gave to him to show His slaves the things to occur suddenly.223 And Jesus sent forth an angel, and through him Jesus showed by the use of signs to his slave, John.’ Here we have Jesus, God, the slaves of God and an angel. Some will notice two things about the opening phrase.
|223||SUDDENLY. Or, quickly.|
#99. a) God gave something to Jesus which Jesus did not possess before and this involved information or knowledge in “a revelation.” We might be reminded of the Nazarene’s admission at Matthew 24:36 that he did not know “the day and hour” of his parousia. Even the glorified Son of God does not know everything and on occasion God “reveals” matters to His Son. It may be noted by some that the Holy Spirit is missing224 here as it is in other remarkable spots in Revelation. The designation “holy spirit” (Holy Ghost) never occurs in the Apocalypse though the word “spirit” appears 17 times with a possible reference to God’s “spirit” in a half dozen verses. (Revelation 4:2; 14:13; 17:3; 21:10; 22:17)
|224||SPIRIT MISSING. Compare certain proclamations (Revelation 5:1-12; 7:10) Some may point to the phrase “seven spirits” as an apocalyptic reference to the Holy Spirit. However, this probably alludes to those seven Messianic “spirits” of Isaiah 11:1-4 (LXX; compare NJB footnote “d”). The word “spirit” (breath, wind) may mean the inspiration behind a saying. (John 6:63; 1John 4:1)|
#100. Jesus Christ is identified with several designations: Son of Man, Lamb, Word, and several used by Jesus himself in the introductions to his letters. It may be said that Jesus Christ is the main topic of Apocalypse with the word “Jesus” appearing 13 times. Also, it is the name “Jesus” which “is the spirit of prophesy” according to Revelation 19:10.
#101. b) “God,” or The God in literal Greek is, of course, the source of the revelatory inspiration. The designation “God” occurs about 100 times. He is called God Almighty 15 times, and Alpha and Omega 5 times. “Father” is used 5 times. In the Apocalypse there is a unique Greek form for the name of God ho on which is exactly the same as the translation of the Divine Name225 in the Jewish Greek LXX at Exodus 3:14. In other words, the Apocalypse takes the Hebrew characters for God’s Name at Exodus 3:14 hayah and in the manner of the LXX translates it as ho On which means roughly the same: The One (Who Is). The Hebrew has been translated into English as Yahweh or Jehovah for centuries. Judging from the KJV Scofield Reference Edition the Divine Name “Jehovah” might rightly appear several times at, for example, Revelation 4:8. Several Hebrew translations of the Apocalypse add YHWH (Jehovah) 12 (!) times at Revelation 1:8; 4:8, 11; 11:17; 15:3, 4; 16:7; 18:8; 19:6; 21:22; 22:5, 6) Of these, only one, which may be considered doubtful, comes from the mouth of a human being, John himself at Revelation 21:22. Otherwise, it could be stated that the Divine Name is only used by heavenly beings in the Apocalypse. If we deduct Revelation 21:22 then it would seem in harmony with the Jewish habit of not pronouncing YHWH but using Lord or God in its place.
|225||NAME. The meaning of hayah (YHWH) is disputed; however, BDBG Hebrew Lexicon states, “But most take it . . . the one who is,” which is exactly how the Jewish Greek translators rendered it in the LXX, ho On.|
#102. c) The “slaves” of God are highly featured in the Apocalypse, and a majority of chapters deal with them, particularly those “saints” which are the same as those in Daniel 7:22. That is, those “saints” alive at the exact moment the Lord returns in his foretold Parousia. The word “slaves” occurs 10 times, most with references to those Paul calls “we the living” (1 Thessalonians 4:16), or Daniel 7:22, the “saints of the Most High.” These particular “slaves” may be identified with those “slaves” in the Nazarene’s parables dealing with the parousia-Judgment. These apocalyptic “slaves” would also be “the chosen ones” of Matthew 24:21, 22, 30. From Revelation chapter 7 forward we find a reference to these End-Time226 Saints in every chapter to chapter 20.
|226||END-TIME. This phrase or term does not appear in Apocalypse, or in any of the Nazarene’s teachings, but the idea is present in his parables and in the Revelation.|
#103. d) The final character in the apocalyptic drama is “his Angel” who remains unnamed. This angel will appear from time to time, and the angel will speak for God and for Jesus Christ. The actual one he speaks for in the last chapter (22) is an interpretive matter and this needs to be noted carefully. This “angel” is something like the “Angel of Jehovah” in Exodus and Numbers. The “angel” speaks for either God or Jesus according to the context.
Nazarene Commentary 2000©
Mark Heber Miller
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