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Archive for the ‘Notes On Revelation’ Category

St Bede the Venerable’s Commentary on Revelation 11:4-12

Posted by Dim Bulb on September 18, 2016

Rev 11:4 These are the two olive trees and the two candlesticks that stand before the Lord of the earth.

olive trees. The Church is irradiated by the light of the two Testaments, and ever waits upon the commands of the Lord. So also the prophet Zechariah saw one candlestick with seven branchesu, and these two olive-trees, that is, testaments, pouring oil into the candlestick. This is the Church with its oil, which never fails, which makes it shine for the light of the world.

Rev 11:5 And if any man will hurt them, fire shall come out of their mouths and shall devour their enemies. And if any man will hurt them, in this manner must he be slain.

fire. If any one harms the Church, he is condemned by a retributive sentence of the same harm; and is consumed by fire. For “all they who take the sword shall perish with the swordv.” And so the Chaldean flame which was prepared for the children of God, slew the ministers of ungodliness themselves. Or: he who is to be changed for the better, is spiritually consumed in a good fire, by the prayers of the mouth of the Church. “Thou wilt heap,” he says, “coals of fire upon his headx.”

Rev 11:6 These have power to shut heaven, that it rain not in the days of their prophecy: And they have power over waters, to turn them into blood and to strike the earth with all plagues, as often as they will.

power. All power in heaven and earth is given to the Church in Christ, for the keys of binding and loosing are committed to it. But spiritually also, the heaven is shut, that it rain no rain, in order that blessing from the Church may not come down upon the barren earth. As the Lord saith of the Father to His vineyard, “I will command the clouds that they rain no rain upon ity.”

waters. Not only do they make to cease the waters, but they also render those which had come down useless; and this is, to turn the waters into blood. The sweet savour of Christ, which comes with fragrance from the Church, is “to some a savour of death unto death, to others a savour of life unto lifez.”

Rev 11:7 And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascendeth out of the abyss shall make war against them and shall overcome them and kill them.

testimony. He shews clearly, that all these things take place before the last persecution, by saying, “when they shall have finished their testimony;” namely, that which they give, until the revelation of the beast, who is to come forth from the hearts of the ungodly. It is not that they do not then strive boldly to resist the enemy by the same testimony, but that the Church, as is supposed, will then be left destitute of the gift of miracles, while the adversary is resplendent with them in the sight of all through lying wonders. For, as the Lord says, “Want shall go before his facea.”

kill. He will overcome in those who shall succumb, he will kill in those who, with laudable patience, shall be slain. Or: if he shall overcome and kill spiritually, we may take it of a part of the witnesses, as the Lord says in the Gospel, “They will deliver you up to affliction, and kill youb;” which Luke the Evangelist intimates to have been spoken of a part, saying, “Some of you they will killc.”

Rev 11:8 And their bodies shall lie in the streets of the great city which is called spiritually, Sodom and Egypt: where their Lord also was crucified.

bodies. “If they have persecuted Me,” He says, “they will also persecute youd.” It is no wonder, then, if the city of the ungodly, which feared not to crucify the Lord, has His servants also in derision, even when they are slain. And such things as these ecclesiastical history relates to have often occurred.

Sodom. That is, “silent and dark,” having forsooth neither the light of faith, nor the voice of confession. For “with the heart man believeth unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvatione.” These regions, for a sign of spiritual punishment, were visibly smitten with these plagues, that is, with devouring fire, and water turned into blood.

Rev 11:9 And they of the tribes and peoples and tongues and nations shall see their bodies for three days and a half: and they shall not suffer their bodies to be laid in sepulchres.

see. He said not the peoples and tribes will see, but, many from among the peoples who openly deride the saints, when others believe.

tombs. He has spoken of their wish and their opposition: not that they are able to effect that the Church should not be their memorial; as it is said, “Ye neither enter in, nor suffer others to enter inf,” seeing that some do enter in, although they oppose. But they will evidently effect, in respect of the bodies of the living and of the slain, that neither are the living suffered to meet together for their memory by the celebration of holy offices, nor the slain to have their names recited for their memory, nor to have their bodies buried for their memory as witnesses of God.

Rev 11:10 And they that dwell upon the earth shall rejoice over them and make merry: and shall send gifts one to another, because these two prophets tormented them that dwelt upon the earth.

rejoice. As often as the righteous are afflicted, the unrighteous exult and feastg, as, “while the ungodly is lifted up, the poor is consumedh.”

tormented. Because of the plagues with which the human race is vexed, because of their testimony to God, even the very sight of the righteous oppresses the unrighteous; as they themselves say, “He is grievous unto us even to beholdi.”

Rev 11:11 And after three days and a half, the spirit of life from God entered into them. And they stood upon their feet: and great fear fell upon them that saw them.

days. Thus far the angel has spoken of the future, and now he brings in, as accomplished, that which he hears is to come to pass, namely that, after the reign of Antichrist has been destroyed, the saints have risen to glory.

fear. He has spoken of all the living, because even the righteous who shall remain alive will greatly fear at the resurrection of those who sleep.

Rev 11:12 And they heard a great voice from heaven, saying to them: Come up hither. And they went up to heaven in a cloud: and their enemies saw them.

cloud. This is the same that the Apostle said, “We shall be caught up in the clouds into the air, to meet the Lordj.”

enemies. Here he has distinguished the unrighteous from those of whom he had said, that they feared in common with them.

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Victorinus’ Commentary on Revelation 10:8-11

Posted by Dim Bulb on September 18, 2016

Rev 10:8 And I heard a voice from heaven, again speaking to me and saying: Go and take the book that is open, from the hand of the angel who standeth upon the sea and upon the earth.
Rev 10:9 And I went to the angel, saying unto him that he should give me the book. And he said to me: Take the book and eat it up. And it shall make thy belly bitter: but in thy mouth it shall be sweet as honey.
Rev 10:10 And I took the book from the hand of the angel and ate it up: and it was in my mouth, sweet as honey. And when I had eaten it, my belly was bitter.
Rev 10:11 And he said to me: Thou must prophesy again to many nations and peoples and tongues and kings.

10. “I took the book from the hand of the angel, and ate it up.”] To take the book and eat it up, is, when exhibition of a thing is made to one, to commit it to memory.

“And it was in my mouth as sweet as honey.”] To be sweet in the mouth is the reward of the preaching of the speaker, and is most pleasant to the hearers; but it is most bitter both to those that announce it, and to those that persevere in its commandments through suffering.

11. “And He says unto me, Thou must again prophesy to the peoples, and to the tongues, and to the nations, and to many kings.”] He says this, because when John said these things he was in the island of Patmos, condemned to the labour of the mines by Cæsar Domitian. There, therefore, he saw the Apocalypse; and when grown old, he thought that he should at length receive his quittance by suffering, Domitian being killed, all his judgments were discharged. And John being dismissed from the mines, thus subsequently delivered the same Apocalypse which he had received from God. This, therefore, is what He says: Thou must again prophesy to all nations, because thou seest the crowds of Antichrist rise up; and against them other crowds shall stand, and they shall fall by the sword on the one side and on the other.

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St Bede the Venerable’s Commentary on Revelation 10:8-11

Posted by Dim Bulb on September 18, 2016

Rev 10:8 And I heard a voice from heaven, again speaking to me and saying: Go and take the book that is open, from the hand of the angel who standeth upon the sea and upon the earth.

voice. When the Lord lays open the mysteries of future time, and says, “For the kingdom of heaven is at handm,” the Church also is admonished to receive the same book of preaching. But these words may also be suitable to John himself, who is to return to preaching after his banishment.

Rev 10:9 And I went to the angel, saying unto him that he should give me the book. And he said to me: Take the book and eat it up. And it shall make thy belly bitter: but in thy mouth it shall be sweet as honey.
Rev 10:10 And I took the book from the hand of the angel and ate it up: and it was in my mouth, sweet as honey. And when I had eaten it, my belly was bitter.

Give. Let him come to the Lord who wishes to receive the sacraments of teaching.

Take. That is, place it in thy inward parts, and write it down in the breadth of thy heart.

bitter. When thou hast received it, thou wilt be delighted by the sweetness of the divine oracle; but thou wilt perceive a bitterness on beginning to preach, and to practise what thou hast learned, or, at least, it is to be so understood according to Ezekiel, who, when he said that he had eaten the book, added, “And I went away in bitterness, in the indignation of my spiritn.”

Rev 10:11 And he said to me: Thou must prophesy again to many nations and peoples and tongues and kings.

prophesy. He shews what was signified by the book eaten up, and the sweetness mingled with bitterness, namely, that he was to be delivered from banishment, and was to preach the Gospel to the nations, which is sweet indeed through love, but is bitter through the persecutions that are to be endured.

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Victorinus’ Commentary on Revelation 5:1-10

Posted by Dim Bulb on September 18, 2016

Rev 5:1 And I saw, in the right hand of him that sat on the throne, a book, written within and without, sealed with seven seals.

“And I saw in the right hand of Him that sate upon the throne, a book written within and without, sealed with seven seals.”] This book signifies the Old Testament, which has been given into the hands of our Lord Jesus Christ, who received from the Father judgment.

Rev 5:2 And I saw a strong angel, proclaiming with a loud voice: Who is worthy to open the book and to loose the seals thereof?
Rev 5:3 And no man was able, neither in heaven nor on earth nor under the earth, to open the book, nor to look on it.

“And I saw an angel full of strength proclaiming with a loud voice, Who is worthy to open the book, and to loose the seals thereof? And no one was found worthy, neither in the earth nor under the earth, to open the book.”] Now to open the book is to overcome death for man.

Rev 5:4 And I wept much, because no man was found worthy to open the book, nor to see it.

“There was none found worthy to do this.”] Neither among the angels of heaven, nor among men in earth, nor among the souls of the saints in rest, save Christ the Son of God alone, whom he says that he saw as a Lamb standing as it were slain, having seven horns. What had not been then announced, and what the law had contemplated for Him by its various oblations and sacrifices, it behoved Himself to fulfil. And because He Himself was the testator, who had overcome death, it was just that Himself should be appointed the Lord’s heir, that He should possess the substance of the dying man, that is, the human members.

Rev 5:5 And one of the ancients said to me: Weep not: behold the lion of the tribe of Juda, the root of David, hath prevailed to open the book and to loose the seven seals thereof.

“Lo, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the root of David, hath prevailed.”] We read in Genesis that this lion of the tribe of Judah hath conquered, when the patriarch Jacob says, “Judah, thy brethren shall praise thee; thou hast lain down and slept, and hast risen up again as a lion, and as a lion’s whelp.”1 For He is called a lion for the overcoming of death; but for the suffering for men He was led as a lamb to the slaughter. But because He overcame death, and anticipated the duty of the executioner, He was called as it were slain. He therefore opens and seals again the testament, which He Himself had sealed. The legislator Moses intimating this, that it behoved Him to be sealed and concealed, even to the advent of His passion, veiled his face, and so spoke to the people; showing that the words of his announcement were veiled even to the advent of His time. For he himself, when he had read to the people, having taken the wool purpled with the blood of the calf, with water sprinkled the whole people, saying, “This is the blood of His testament who hath purified you.”2 It should therefore be observed that the Man is accurately announced, and that all things combine into one. For it is not sufficient that that law is spoken of, but it is named as a testament. For no law is called a testament, nor is any thing else called a testament, save what persons make who are about to die. And whatever is within the testament is sealed, even to the day of the testator’s death. Therefore it is with reason that it is only sealed by the Lamb slain, who, as it were a lion, has broken death in pieces, and has fulfilled what had been foretold; and has delivered man, that is, the flesh, from death, and has received as a possession the substance of the dying person, that is, of the human members; that as by one body all men had fallen under the obligation of its death, also by one body all believers should be born again unto life, and rise again. Reasonably, therefore, His face is opened and unveiled to Moses; and therefore He is called Apocalypse, Revelation. For now His book is unsealed—now the offered victims are perceived—now the fabrication of the priestly chrism; moreover the testimonies are openly understood.

Rev 5:6 And I saw: and behold in the midst of the throne and of the four living creatures and in the midst of the ancients, a Lamb standing, as it were slain, having seven horns and seven eyes: which are the seven Spirits of God, sent forth into all the earth.
Rev 5:7 And he came and took the book out of the right hand of him that sat on the throne.

No comments.

Rev 5:8 And when he had opened the book, the four living creatures and the four and twenty ancients fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints.
Rev 5:9 And they sung a new canticle, saying: Thou art worthy, O Lord, to take the book and to open the seals thereof: because thou wast slain and hast redeemed us to God, in thy blood, out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation:

“Twenty-four elders and four living creatures, having harps and phials, and singing a new song.”] The proclamation of the Old Testament associated with the New, points out the Christian people singing a new song, that is, bearing their confession publicly. It is a new thing that the Son of God should become man. It is a new thing to ascend into the heavens with a body. It is a new thing to give remission of sins to men. It is a new thing for men to be sealed with the Holy Spirit. It is a new thing to receive the priesthood of sacred observance, and to look for a kingdom of unbounded promise. The harp, and the chord stretched on its wooden frame, signifies the flesh of Christ linked with the wood of the passion. The phial signifies the Confession,3 and the race of the new Priesthood. But it is the praise of many angels, yea, of all, the salvation of all, and the testimony of the universal creation, bringing to our Lord thanksgiving for the deliverance of men from the destruction of death. The unsealing of the seals, as we have said, is the opening of the Old Testament, and the foretelling of the preachers of things to come in the last times, which, although the prophetic Scripture speaks by single seals, yet by all the seals opened at once, prophecy takes its rank.

Rev 5:10 And hast made us to our God a kingdom and priests, and we shall reign on the earth.

No comments.

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Haydock Bible Commentary on Revelation 5:1-10

Posted by Dim Bulb on September 18, 2016

Ver. 1. A book written within and without.[1] Books were then skins, membranes, or parchments, and when written on both sides part of the writing appeared, though they were rolled up.—Sealed with seven seals, as containing mysteries and secrets of high importance. Wi.

Ver. 3. No man was able,[2] &c. As to the contents, some understand the prophecies and mysteries both of the Old and New Testament; others, the events that should afterwards happen to the Church of Christ, as various persecutions against Christians. Alcazar would have the sense of these words to be, that only Christ and his Spirit could open the book to others, and make them believe and know the punishments prepared for the wicked, and the reward reserved for God’s faithful servants. Wi.

Ver. 5. Behold the lion, of the tribe of Juda, &c. viz. Jesus Christ, who was descended from that tribe, denominated a lion on account of his great power, by which title we find him designated also in the prophecy of Jacob. Gen. 49:9. Calmet.—It is he who has merited by his triple victory over death, sin, and hell, the great honour of opening the book, and revealing the secrets therein contained.

Ver. 6. I saw.… a lamb standing as it were slain, with the prints and marks of its wounds. It was of this lamb (i.e. of our Saviour Jesus Christ) that S. John Baptist said: “Behold the Lamb of God, that taketh away the sins of the world.” Jo. 1:29. Wi.—Here again Jesus Christ is plainly marked out, the Lamb of God, the victim of expiation, who by his death has reconciled us with his Father; and who, even in heaven, bears the marks of his passion, and by the wounds therein received continually inclines his Father to shew us mercy. He has seven horns, as so many crowns and marks of his omnipotence; and seven eyes, to represent his infinite knowledge and wisdom. Calmet.—Having seven horns and seven eyes, (to signify his power and his knowledge,) which are the seven spirits subject to Christ. See C. 1:4. It is observed that in the Revelation of S. John, the number seven is divers times applied to signify a multitude, and a number implying perfection, and three and a half for a small number. Thus are represented the seven candlesticks, seven churches, seven spirits, seven seals, seven trumpets, seven vials, &c. Wi.

Ver. 7–8. He … took the book,[3].… and when he had opened it, or was about to open it, (in the Greek is only, he took it: which was a sign that he would open it) … the four and twenty ancients fell down before the Lamb, to adore him, as appears by what follows, v. 13.—Having every one of them harps to celebrate his praise, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of the saints: which shews that the saints in heaven offer up before the throne of the Divine Majesty the prayers of the faithful. Wi.—Harps, &c. These harps are symbols of the praise which good men render to God; and the vials full of odours, represent the prayers of the saints. In conformity with this idea, S. John wishes to represent these four and twenty ancients as so many senators, who present to the Almighty the prayers and homages of good men on earth. Estius. Clemens Alex.—This also is an imitation of what was practised in the temple, in which were always around the altar, in times of sacrifice, Levites with musical instruments, priests with vials to contain the wine and blood, and censers to hold the incense. Calmet.—The prayers of the saints. Here we see that the saints in heaven offer up to Christ the prayers of the faithful upon earth. Ch.

Ver. 9. They sung a new canticle, &c. called new, as belonging to the New Testament, or alliance of the new law of Christ. Wi.—Canticle; that is, excellent. The Scripture generally attaches the epithet new to canticles. New canticles are always more agreeable, says Pindar. Grotius.—And hast redeemed, &c. The twenty-four ancients here may well represent all, who are in possession of beatitude. They all acknowledge it is to Jesus Christ they are indebted for the felicity they enjoy; it is he that has assembled at the foot of God’s throne all the nations of the world, faithful souls from every tribe and tongue, and people and nation, by his blood. Calmet.

Ver. 10. And hast made us to our God, &c. See 1 Pet. 2:5, 9. Wi.—All Christians may justly be styled kings and priests of God, by the spiritual empire they possess over their passions and the world; and by the continual offering they make on the altar of their hearts, by means of the prayers they daily offer up to God. Origen.—Thus they say, we shall reign on the earth by the empire we shall exercise over our passions; and by the union we shall have with Jesus Christ and his Church, triumph over all who have persecuted us. Estius. Andræas.

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St Bede the Venerable’s Commentary on Revelation 5:1-10

Posted by Dim Bulb on September 18, 2016

Rev 5:1 And I saw, in the right hand of him that sat on the throne, a book, written within and without, sealed with seven seals.

book. This vision represents the mysteries of holy Scripture, as laid open to us through the Incarnation of the Lord. And its concordant unity contains, so to say, the Old Testament without, and the New within.

seals. That is, it was either covered by all the fulness of the hidden mysteries, or written as a roll by the direction of the sevenfold Spirit.

Rev 5:2 And I saw a strong angel, proclaiming with a loud voice: Who is worthy to open the book and to loose the seals thereof?

angel. He indicates the promulgation of the Law. For “manyl” prophets and wise men “desired to see the things which the Apostles saw;” and, “of this salvation,” as Peter saysm, “the prophets inquired diligently, and searched.” This is the book which is closed both to the learned and unlearned in Isaiahn, but of which even there the opening is thus announced, “In that day the deaf shall hear the words of the booko.” And of this Ezekiel also saysp, “And I saw, and behold a hand was sent unto me, in which was the roll of a book, and He opened it before me, and it was written within and without;” when he also added that which John concealed, namely, that which was written in the book, saying, “And there was written therein lamentations, and a dirge, and woe.” For the whole course of the Old and New Testament forewarns, that sins are to be repented of, the kingdom of heaven to be sought, and the wailings of hell to be escaped.

Rev 5:3 And no man was able, neither in heaven nor on earth nor under the earth, to open the book, nor to look on it.

able. Neither an angel, nor any one of the just, although delivered from the bond of the flesh, was able to reveal, nor to search into the mysteries of the divine law, nor to look into the book, that is, to contemplate the brightness of the grace of the New Testament, even as the children of Israel could not look upon the face of the lawgiver of the Old Testament, which contains the New.

Rev 5:4 And I wept much, because no man was found worthy to open the book, nor to see it.

wept. He was grieved, as recognising the common misery of the human race.

Rev 5:5 And one of the ancients said to me: Weep not: behold the lion of the tribe of Juda, the root of David, hath prevailed to open the book and to loose the seven seals thereof.

Weep not. He is forbidden to weep, because even then had been fulfilled in the Passion of Christ the mystery which long lay hidden, when, as He yielded up His spirit, the veil of the temple was rent For to Him it is saidq, “Judah is a lion’s whelp: to the prey, my son, thou art gone up: resting, thou couchedst as a lion, and as a lioness; who shall raise him up?” He proceeds to describe how, and when, the Lion of the tribe of Judah prevailed.

Rev 5:6 And I saw: and behold in the midst of the throne and of the four living creatures and in the midst of the ancients, a Lamb standing, as it were slain, having seven horns and seven eyes: which are the seven Spirits of God, sent forth into all the earth.

a Lamb. The same Lord, Who is a Lamb in dying innocently, became also a Lion in boldly conquering death. Tichonius says that the Lamb is the Church, which has received all power in Christ.

seven. The sevenfold Spirit in Christ is compared with horns, because of the excellency of power; and with eyes, because of the illumination of grace.

Rev 5:7 And he came and took the book out of the right hand of him that sat on the throne.

took. The Son of Man is said to have taken the book from the right hand of God, namely, the economy of the Incarnation, appointed by the Father and by Himself, in that He is God; because both dwell with the Holy Spirit upon the throne. For Christ, Who in His humanity is a Lamb, is also in His deity the right hand of the Father.

Rev 5:8 And when he had opened the book, the four living creatures and the four and twenty ancients fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints.

opened. For that the Lord, by His Passion, proved that the announcements of both Testaments were fulfilled in Himself, the Church gives thanks, and offers herself to suffering, that, as the Apostle saysr, “She may fill up that which is wanting of the sufferings of Christ in her flesh.” For by “harps,” in which strings are stretched on wood, are represented bodies prepared to die, and by “bowlss” hearts expanded in breadth of love.

Rev 5:9 And they sung a new canticle, saying: Thou art worthy, O Lord, to take the book and to open the seals thereof: because thou wast slain and hast redeemed us to God, in thy blood, out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation:

sang. They laud the sacraments of the New Testament, which are complete in Christ, while they extol with praise that same dispensation of it which they confess to belong to Christ alone.

redeemed. Here is further declared, that the living creatures and the elders are the Church, which is redeemed by the blood of Christ, and gathered out of the nations. For he shews in what heaven they are by saying, “And they shall reign upon the earth.”

Rev 5:10 And hast made us to our God a kingdom and priests, and we shall reign on the earth.

No comment.

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Victorinus of Pettau’s Commentary on Revelation 4:1-11

Posted by Dim Bulb on September 18, 2016

Concerning Victorinus, see here.

1. “After this, I beheld, and, lo, a door was opened in heaven.”] The new testament is announced as an open door in heaven.

“And the first voice which I heard was, as it were, of a trumpet talking with me, saying, Come up hither.”] Since the door is shown to be opened, it is manifest that previously it had been closed to men. And it was sufficiently and fully laid open when Christ ascended with His body to the Father into heaven. Moreover, the first voice which he had heard when he says that it spoke with him, without contradiction condemns those who say that one spoke in the prophets, another in the Gospel; since it is rather He Himself who comes, that is the same who spoke in the prophets. For John was of the circumcision, and all that people which had heard the announcement of the Old Testament was edified with his word.

“That very same voice,” said he, “that I had heard, that said unto me, Come up hither.”] That is the Spirit, whom a little before he confesses that he had seen walking as the Son of man in the midst of the golden candlesticks. And he now gathers from Him what had been foretold in similitudes by the law, and associates with this scripture all the former prophets, and opens up the Scriptures. And because our Lord invited in His own name all believers into heaven, He forthwith poured out the Holy Spirit, who should bring them to heaven. He says:—

2. “Immediately I was in the Spirit.”] And since the mind of the faithful is opened by the Holy Spirit, and that is manifested to them which was also foretold to the fathers, he distinctly says:—

“And, behold, a throne was set in heaven.”] The throne set: what is it but the throne of judgment and of the King?

3. “And He that sate upon the throne was, to look upon, like a jasper and a sardine stone.”] Upon the throne he says that he saw the likeness of a jasper and a sardine stone. The jasper is of the colour of water, the sardine of fire. These two are thence manifested to be placed as judgments upon God’s tribunal until the consummation of the world, of which judgments one is already completed in the deluge of water, and the other shall be completed by fire.

“And there was a rainbow about the throne.”] Moreover, the rainbow round about the throne has the same colours. The rainbow is called a bow from what the Lord spake to Noah and to his sons,1 that they should not fear any further deluge in the generation of God, but fire. For thus He says: I will place my bow in the clouds, that ye may now no longer fear water, but fire.

5. “And from the throne proceeded lightnings, and voices, and thunders, and seven torches of fire burning.”] And the lightnings, and voices, and thunders proceeding from the throne of God, and the seven torches of fire burning, signify announcements, and promises of adoption, and threatenings. For lightnings signify the Lord’s advent, and the voices the announcements of the New Testament, and the thunders, that the words are from heaven. The burning torches of fire signify the gift of the Holy Spirit, that it is given by the wood of the passion. And when these things were doing, he says that all the elders fell down and adored the Lord; while the living creatures—that is, of course, the actions recorded in the Gospels and the teaching of the Lord—gave Him glory and honour.3 In that they had fulfilled the word that had been previously foretold by them, they worthily and with reason exult, feeling that they have ministered the mysteries and the word of the Lord. Finally, also, because He had come who should remove death, and who alone was worthy to take the crown of immortality, all for the glory of His most excellent doing had crowns.

6. “And before the throne there was, as it were, a sea of glass like to crystal.”] That is the gift of baptism which He sheds forth through His Son in time of repentance, before He executes judgment. It is therefore before the throne, that is, the judgment. And when he says a sea of glass like to crystal, he shows that it is pure water, smooth, not agitated by the wind, not flowing down as on a slope, but given to be immoveable as the house of God.

“And round about the throne were four living creatures.”] The four living creatures are the four Gospels.

7–10. “The first living creature was like to a lion, and the second was like to a calf, and the third had a face like to a man, and the fourth was like to a flying eagle; and they had six wings, and round about and within they were full of eyes; and they had no rest, saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord Omnipotent. And the four and twenty elders, failing down before the throne, adored God.”] The four and twenty elders are the twenty-four books of the prophets and of the law, which give testimonies of the judgment. Moreover, also, they are the twenty-four fathers—twelve apostles and twelve patriarchs. And in that the living creatures are different in appearance, this is the reason: the living creature like to a lion designates Mark, in whom is heard the voice of the lion roaring in the desert. And in the figure of a man, Matthew strives to declare to us the genealogy of Mary, from whom Christ took flesh. Therefore, in enumerating from Abraham to David, and thence to Joseph, he spoke of Him as if of a man: therefore his announcement sets forth the image of a man. Luke, in narrating the priesthood of Zacharias as he offers a sacrifice for the people, and the angel that appears to him with respect of the priesthood, and the victim in the same description bore the likeness of a calf. John the evangelist, like to an eagle hastening on uplifted wings to greater heights, argues about the Word of God. Mark, therefore, as an evangelist thus beginning, “The beginning of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, as it is written in Isaiah the prophet;”2 “The voice of one crying in the wilderness,”3—has the effigy of a lion. And Matthew, “The hook of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham:”4 this is the form of a man. But Luke said, “There was a priest, by name Zachariah, of the course of Abia, and his wife was of the daughters of Aaron:”5 this is the likeness of a calf. But John, when he begins, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God,”6 sets forth the likeness of a flying eagle. Moreover, not only do the evangelists express their four similitudes in their respective openings of the Gospels, but also the Word itself of God the Father Omnipotent, which is His Son our Lord Jesus Christ, bears the same likeness in the time of His advent. When He preaches to us, He is, as it were, a lion and a lion’s whelp. And when for man’s salvation He was made man to overcome death, and to set all men free, and that He offered Himself a victim to the Father on our behalf, He was called a calf. And that He overcame death and ascended into the heavens, extending His wings and protecting His people, He was named a flying eagle. Therefore these announcements, although they are four, yet are one, because it proceeded from one mouth. Even as the river in paradise, although it is one, was divided into four heads. Moreover, that for the announcement of the New Testament those living creatures had eyes within and without, shows the spiritual providence which both looks into the secrets of the heart, and beholds the things which are coming after that are within and without.

8. “Six wings.”] These are the testimonies of the books of the Old Testament. Thus, twenty and four make as many as there are elders sitting upon the thrones. But as an animal cannot fly unless it have wings, so, too, the announcement of the New Testament gains no faith unless it have the fore-announced testimonies of the Old Testament, by which it is lifted from the earth, and flies. For in every case, what has been told before, and is afterwards found to have happened, that begets an undoubting faith. Again, also, if wings be not attached to the living creatures, they have nothing whence they may draw their life. For unless what the prophets foretold had been consummated in Christ, their preaching was vain. For the Catholic Church holds those things which were both before predicted and afterwards accomplished. And it flies, because the living animal is reasonably lifted up from the earth. But to heretics who do not avail themselves of the prophetic testimony, to them also there are present living creatures; but they do not fly, because they are of the earth. And to the Jews who do not receive the announcement of the New Testament there are present wings; but they do not fly, that is, they bring a vain prophesying to men, not adjusting facts to their words. And the books of the Old Testament that are received are twenty-four, which you will find in the epitomes of Theodore. But, moreover (as we have said), four and twenty elders, patriarchs and apostles, are to judge His people. For to the apostles, when they asked, saying, “We have forsaken all that we had, and followed Thee: what shall we have?” our Lord replied, “When the Son of man shall sit upon the throne of His glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.”1 But of the fathers also who should judge, says the patriarch Jacob, “Dan also himself shall judge his people among his brethren, even as one of the tribes in Israel.”2

10. “And they cast their crowns under His feet.”] That is, on account of the eminent glory of Christ’s victory, they cast all their victories under His feet. This is what in the Gospel the Holy Spirit consummated by showing, For when about finally to suffer, our Lord had come to Jerusalem, and the people had gone forth to meet Him, some strewed the road with palm branches cut down, others threw down their garments, doubtless these were setting forth two peoples—the one of the patriarchs, the other of the prophets; that is to say, of the great men who had any kind of palms of their victories against sin, and cast them under the feet of Christ, the victor of all. And the palm and the crown signify the same things, and these are not given save to the victor.

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Haydock’s Bible Commentary on Revelation 4:1-11

Posted by Dim Bulb on September 18, 2016

Ver. 1. No sooner had S. John received in the preceding vision the documents he was to transmit to the seven Churches of Asia, when, behold, a new scene displays itself. Heaven opens, and S. John is invited up thither by the voice which had spoken to him before, and is told he shall see what is to happen in future ages. On a sudden appears a throne, and the Almighty himself seated upon it. The rainbow which surrounds the throne, denotes the covenant of reconciliation and peace between God and man. Walmesley.—Behold a door open. Here begins what may be looked upon as the second part of the Apocalypse, and from hence to the two last chapters are contained wars and victories of the Church over all its enemies, the devil, Jews, heathens, and heretics. These visions are so differently expounded, when applied to different events, that this alone may convince us how uncertain are those various interpretations. The servants of God are taught that they must expect to meet with many trials, afflictions, and persecutions; but this ought to be a great subject of consolation to the faithful, that they are assured of victory if they fight manfully, and of a recompense of endless happiness for their short labours. Such visions and majestic descriptions shew that S. John was inspired by the same spirit of God, as the ancient patriarchs and prophets.—I will shew thee the things which must come to pass hereafter; i.e. after the things already revealed concerning the seven Churches, and therefore after the destruction of Jerusalem, which was about twenty years before S. John wrote this Apocalypse. Wi.

Ver. 2. I was in the spirit, rapt as it were in an ecstacy into heaven, and saw a throne, and one sitting, representing God the Father. Wi.

Ver. 3. And he … was to the sight like the jasper,[1] or had the appearance of jaspers, as to the colours with which he appeared, &c. Wi.

Ver. 4. About the throne were four and twenty seats, or lesser thrones, with twenty-four seniors or senators upon them, representing the illustrious saints both of the Old and New Testament, clothed in white garments, in token of their innocence, and crowns of gold, signifying the glory of the heavenly inhabitants. Wi.—These four and twenty elders sitting round the throne of God, represent the judgment which the Almighty was about to pass upon the enemies of his Church. Thus in Daniel, when he was about to pronounce sentence against Antiochus Epiphanes, “thrones were placed, and the ancient of days sat, … the judgment sat, and the books were opened.” Dan. 7:9, 10. They represent kings and priests who attend on the Sovereign Judge. It appears as if God intended to designate by the number the ancient patriarchs and the twelve apostles, who judge with the Lord, and condemn the injustice of their persecutors. Calmet.

Ver. 5. Lightnings, a symbol of God’s majesty and power.—Seven lamps burning, which signified the seven spirits of God, the chief spirits that attend his throne. See C. 1:4. Wi.—The lightnings, loud voices, and thunders, which come from the throne of God, announce alarms and severe hardships, such as persecutions, heresies, calamities, &c. by which he tries the fidelity of his servants on earth. And the seven spirits of God, who appear under the form of burning lamps, are seven Angels, as before mention, (C. 1:4) standing ready to execute the divine commands. Walmesley.

Ver. 6. A sea of glass, like crystal, calm and transparent, and may signify that the saints had passed a boisterous sea of troubles in this world, which is now changed into everlasting tranquillity.—Four living creatures, or animals. Alcazar (p. 364) takes notice of thirty different expositions of these animals. He understands the apostles, bishops, and preachers of the Christian faith: others, four of the chief Angels or celestial spirits. Several others expound them of the four evangelists: yet this was before S. John himself had written his gospel. Wi.—The extensive sea of glass, here described transparent as crystal, represents what may be called the floor of heaven. Before the throne and round it stand four living creatures, of an extraordinary shape, which denote the four great prophets, Isaias, Jeremias, Ezechiel, and Daniel. Their bodies are described full of eyes, both before and behind, an emblem of their prophetic sight, that penetrates into all ages past, present, and to come. And their being also full of eyes within, indicates that their extensive knowledge arises from an interior divine inspiration. They have each six wings, in the same manner as the seraphim appeared to the prophet Isaias. C. 6:2. Some have imagined these four symbolical animals to represent the four evangelists; but we think improperly, as S. John was still living and there present in person. The first animal is here said to resemble a lion, the king of beasts, because the prophet Isaias, represented by it, was descended of the royal race of David. The second animal resembles a calf, and represents the prophet Jeremias in his character of priest; the calf, which was the principal victim in Jewish sacrifices, being on that account the emblem of the priesthood. The third animal, exhibiting Ezechiel, has the countenance of a man; because God, in speaking to that prophet, always addresses him by the name of son of man. The fourth animal, denoting Daniel, resembles a flying eagle, on account of the sublime oracles of this prophet, who soars to the highest objects, and views the succession of all the great empires that were to rise up in the world to the end of time. Probably these four principal prophets are to be understood to represent all the prophets of the old law. Walmesley.

Ver. 7. Like a lion, &c. The qualities in these animals are observed to be courage and strength in the lion; profit to human life, by the calf; reason and wisdom, by the face of man: soaring high, and rapidity or swiftness, by the eagle: whether we understand those spiritual perfections to belong to blessed spirits, or to the apostles in general, or to the four evangelists. Wi.

Ver. 8. Each of them six wings. See the like visions, Ezech. 1:4, Isai. 6:2. These signify their swiftness in executing God’s just commands.—Full of eyes: a symbol of knowledge and watchfulness.—They rested not day and night. There is no night in heaven; but hereby is signified, that they praised God without intermission for all eternity, saying: Thou art worthy, O Lord, our[2] God, &c. Wi.—They repeat the word holy three times, probably in honour of the blessed trinity. And the four and twenty elders prostrate before the throne, in token of their acknowledging all their happiness and pre-eminence to be his gift. Walmesley.

Ver. 10. Nothing is so well adapted to give us an idea of the infinite majesty of God, and of the sovereign respect which is due to him, as this description. How ought Christians to appear in the presence of the God of armies, if what is most august and most elevated in heaven acknowledges its lowness and nothing before this tremendous Majesty? Calmet.

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St Bede the Venerable’s Commentary on Revelation 4:1-11

Posted by Dim Bulb on September 18, 2016

Rev 4:1 AFTER these things I looked, and behold a door was opened in heaven, and the first voice which I heard, as it were, of a trumpet speaking with me, said: Come up hither, and I will shew the the things which must be done hereafter.

door. After describing the works of the Church and its future condition, he recapitulates from the birth of Christ, with an intention to repeat the same things in a different manner, for in this book he repeats under various figures the whole period of the Church’s history. “Behold,” he says, “a door opened in heaven.” He fitly sees a door in heaven, as he is about to ascend, for that it is promised that the heavenly mysteries are to be opened to him, or, because Christ is the door. He who believes that He was born, and suffered, mounts up to heaven, that is, the light of the Church, and so is made spiritual, and beholds the things which shall be, as he says.

voice. That is, it was like the former voice which had saidy “What thou seest, write in a book.”

Rev 4:2 And immediately I was in the spirit. And behold, there was a throne set in heaven, and upon the throne one sitting.

a throne. The Lord dwells within the Church, which is fixed in a heavenly abode. Pope Gregoryzinterprets the throne of God in the vision of Micaiaha of the angelic powers, “over whose minds presiding on high, He disposeth all things below.”

Rev 4:3 And he that sat was to the sight like the jasper and the sardine stone. And there was a rainbow round about the throne, in sight like unto an emerald.

jasper. The colour of the jasper signifiesb water, of the sard fire, and we know that judgment is represented by these two. For “as it was,” He says, “in the days of Noah, so shall also the coming of the Son of Man bec.”

rainbow. The rainbow, which is caused by the rays of the sun shining upon the clouds, and which was first produced after the deluge for a sign of propitiation, denotes that the Church is protected by the intercession of the saints whom the Lord enlightens, and these are well compared with an emerald, a stone of a deep green. For as they wait with a more perfect faith for an inheritance that fadeth not away, so do they by their prayer more powerfully protect the rest.

Rev 4:4 And round about the throne were four and twenty seats: and upon the seats, four and twenty ancients sitting, clothed in white garments. And on their heads were crowns of gold.

seats. The same Church which because of its fellowship in faith he had seen on one throne, he beholds, as sprung by a twofold testament from patriarchs and Apostles, on twenty-four seats, and it is seated because of its judicial dignity in Christ. So all the members will sit and judge, but in one and by one Head. For how will saints be able to sit in the judgment, while they are standing at the right hand of the Judge? The twenty-four elders may also be understood of those who, by their loud preaching of the gospel, complete the perfection of work, which is represented in the number six for four times six make twenty-four.

crowns. That is, clothed with good works, seeking with an unfailing recollection of the mind the joys which are above. For frequently, under the name of the head, the mind is wont to be understood.

Rev 4:5 And from the throne proceeded lightnings and voices and thunders. And there were seven lamps burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God.

proceed. This is the same that Mark saysd, “But they went forth preaching everywhere, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word by signs following.”

lamps. He means the one sevenfold Spirit, for “there is one Spirite,” and to be sevenfold implies perfection and fulness. But when the Holy Spirit has been mentioned, there fitly follows the water of baptism. For in it the same Spirit is believed to be received.

Rev 4:6 And in the sight of the throne was, as it were, a sea of glass like to crystal: and in the midst of the throne, and round about the throne, were four living creatures, full of eyes before and behind.

glass. Because of our faith in the true baptism, this is compared to glass, in which nothing else appears on the outside than that which it has within. The grace of baptism is also represented by crystal, which is formed from water, congealed into a precious stone.

eyes. All the parts of the throne of God, that is, of the Church, are filled by the light of the gospel, with the knowledge of the past and of the future.

Rev 4:7 And the first living creature was like a lion: and the second living creature like a calf: and the third living creature, having the face, as it were, of a man: and the fourth living creature was like an eagle flying.

living creature. The living creatures are interpreted in various ways. But the blessed Augustinef, to follow the order in this book, says, that Matthew is intended in the lion, in that he describes the ancestral line of regal dignity in Christ, Who also has conquered as the lion of the tribe of Judah, for “Judah is a lion’s whelpg;” and in his gospel, as a king, he is feared by a king, is worshipped by the Magi, in which also the king takes account of his servants, the king makes a marriage-feast for his son, and at the last the king separates the sheep from the goats;—that Luke is intended in the calf, which was the great victim under the Law, for that not only does his gospel at the commencement begin about the temple and the sacrifices, but it thus concludesh, “and they were continually in the Temple praising and blessing God.” But the face of a man, he says, signifies Mark, who says nothing of the regal, or of the sacerdotal power of the Lord, and only relates simply the actions of the man Christ; and the eagle is John, for with keen sight he beholds the nativity of the Word, as the risen Sun. The living creatures, again, at one time denote the Evangelists, at another the whole Church; for its fortitude is represented in the lion, its sacrificial offering in the calf, its humility in the man, and its sublimity in the flying eagle.

Rev 4:8 And the four living creatures had each of them six wings: and round about and within they are full of eyes. And they rested not day and night, saying: Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty, who was and who is and who is to come.

wings. They raise the Church on high by the perfection of their doctrine. For the number six is called perfect, because it is the first which is made complete by its several parts, in that one which is the sixth part of six, and two which are the third, and three which are the half, make up the number six. Otherwise: the six wings of the four living creatures, which are twenty-four in number, intimate as many books of the Old Testament, by which the authority of the Evangelists is supported, and their truth proved.

eyes. The holy Church observes itself with vigilance, both before God and before men. The Psalmist had beheld its eyes within, when he saysi, “All the glory of that daughter of kings is within;” and its eyes without, when he adds immediately, “clothed around with golden fringes in variety.” Otherwise: whether thou shalt attend to the letter, or seek for. an allegory, in the Gospel thou wilt always find light. Another translationk has: “Full of eyes before and behind;” because the light of the Gospel both illumines the dark sayings of the Law, and pours upon it the brightness of a new grace.

rest. The holy living creatures for all the time of the age proclaim the sole dominion of the Godhead, the omnipotence and eternity of the Holy Trinity. For there abides in the heavenly places the continual praise of the intelligent creation.

Rev 4:9 And when those living creatures gave glory and honour and benediction to him that sitteth on the throne, who liveth for ever and ever:

No comments.

Rev 4:10 The four and twenty ancients fell down before him that sitteth on the throne and adored him that liveth for ever and ever and cast their crowns before the throne, saying:

fall. When the living creatures utter the sound of praise, that is, when the Evangelists preach the dispensation of Christ, the whole Church, which is composed of rulers and people, for so much is signified by the number twelve being doubled, falls at once upon its face, and adores Him “Who liveth for ever and ever.”*

cast. They assign, that is, to God whatever power, whatever dignity they have, for that He created all things out of nothing.

Rev 4:11 Thou art worthy, O Lord our God, to receive glory and honour and power. Because thou hast created all things: and for thy will they were and have been created.

No comment.

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St Bede the Venerable’s Commentary on Revelation 12:7-12

Posted by Dim Bulb on September 21, 2014

 

Bede wrote this work circa A.D. 710. “The chief characteristics of Bede’s method of exposition may be thus stated. The several visions are considered not to be successive, but contemporaneous, with occasional recapitulations, and to represent the condition of the Church in all ages, under different aspects. The thousand years, in the twentieth chapter, are interpreted of the present period of the Church’s existence, in accordance with the opinion of St. Augustine, in the second part of his De Civitate Dei. The attention is closely directed to the text, and to corresponding passages of Holy Scripture, that the meaning of the symbolic language may be elicited. The previous exposition of Tichonius is mainly, but not exclusively followed. Beda appears, for example, to have adopted several opinions from St. Gregory the Great, and Primasius, as well as St. Augustine” (from the Preface of the 1878 English edition). Fro the sake of modern readers I’ve included a brief list of works on Revelation at the end of this post.

Rev 12:7 And there was a great battle in heaven: Michael and his angels fought with the dragon, and the dragon fought, and his angels.

heaven. The heaven signifies the Church, in which he says that Michael, with his angels, fights against the devil, for that, according to the will of God, he contends for the Church in her sojourning, by praying and ministering help; of whom Danieli also said, that he would come to the aid of the Church in the last and most grievous affliction; from which they suppose that Antichrist is to be slain by him. And they are said to be his angels in the same way that our angels also are. For the Lord says, “Their angels do always behold the face of My Father” (Mt 18:10), the angels, that is, of those whose citizens they are.

fought. The angels of Satan are not those alone who are like him in nature and will, but men who are entangled in their snares are also to be understood.

Rev 12:8 And they prevailed not: neither was their place found any more in heaven.

prevailed not. That is, they prevailed not through all time.

found. It was not found, that is, in holy men, who, by his expulsion from them, have already become a heaven themselves, and who through faith no more receive him back, who has once been expelled.

Rev 12:9 And that great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, who seduceth the whole world. And he was cast unto the earth: and his angels were thrown down with him.

earth. The old enemy, who is expelled from the spiritual, is more closely shut up in the earthly. This is to be hurled down from heaven, and sent into the earth. For to him it is said, “Earth shalt thou eat all the days” (Gen 3:14); and in this earth he is bruised by the feet of the saints, as it is written, “Thou shalt tread upon the asp and the basilisk” (Ps 91:13)

Rev 12:10 And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying: Now is come salvation and strength and the kingdom of our God and the power of his Christ: because the accuser of our brethren is cast forth, who accused them before our God day and night.

salvation. It is clearly shewn in what heaven these things take place, for we know that in the Church salvation is procured by the victory of Christ, and because of this He says, “All power is given to Me in heaven and in earth” (Mt 28:18); not that power which He Himself always had, but that which He began to have in the Church, as the Head in the members, from the time that He Himself willed.

brethren. The angels express joy at the salvation of their brethren, that is, of those who will become citizens, but who now are strangers.

accused. For he suggests, that they both make an ill-use of prosperity, and have not patience in adversity.

Rev 12:11 And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of the testimony: and they loved not their lives unto death.

lives. With good reason do they despise their lives for Christ’s sake, who have overcome so great an adversary by the blood of Christ.

Rev 12:12 Therefore, rejoice, O heavens, and you that dwell therein. Woe to the earth and to the sea, because the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, knowing that he hath but a short time.

rejoice. Here, by dwellers in heaven, must be understood both angels and holy men, and it belongs to both to rejoice in the Lord, since both men are joined with angels, and angels minister to man’s nature in Christ.

Woe. As he has shewn that joy is to be the expectation of the redeemed, so, also, is lamentation of those who perish. And a great woe is impending over those of whom the most wicked enemy has possession in his wrath.

Suggested Resources: This is a list of suggestions, not endorsements. A uppercase “C” indicates a Catholic resource. An uppercase “P” indicates a Protestant author and a question mark (?) indicates uncertainty on my part regarding the theological affiliation of the author.

The Cities of Revelation. P Nicely done website providing information on the Seven cities mentioned in Rev 2-3.

Revelation: A Catholic Commentary on Sacred Scripture Series. C Peter Williamson. THIS BOOK IS NOT YET PUBLISHED. Pre-orders are being accepted. It is scheduled for release in mid-November.

Revelation: Sacra Pagina Series. C Wilfred J. Harrington, O.P. A commentary.

Vol 1. Revelation 1-5: Word Biblical Commentary Series. ? David Aune. This and the next two volumes are exhaustive and theologically dense. His academic affiliation is Notre Dame University, but his educational background suggests he is Protestant.

Vol 2. Revelation 6-16: Word Biblical Commentary Series. ?

Vol 3. Revelation 17-22: Word Biblical Commentary Series. ?

The Apocalypse: New Testament Message Series. C Adela Yarbro Collins. A commentary

Crisis and Catharsis: The Power of the Apocalypse. C Adela Yarbro Collins.

The Combat Myth in the Book of Revelation. C Adela Yarbro Collins.

Coming Soon: Unlocking the Book of Revelation. C Michael Barber. Good non-technical commentary designed for personal or group study.

Fallen is Babylon: The Revelation to John: NT in Context Series. C Fredrick J. Murphy.

Unveilling the Mystery: A Catholic Study of the Book of Revelation. C Karlo Broussard. Video. Six lessons each divided into two parts.

 

 

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