William Henry Simcox.

The Revelation of S. John the Divine online

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Camljritrjje #reefe Ce«tament Cor
^tj^oohi antr ColUj^eis




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aonOott: C. J. CLAY and SONS,




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Camlirilrjje #ree]fe Cestament (or
K'boobi antr ColUj^eis

General Editor: — J. Armitage Robinson B.D.















[All Rights reserved.]

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10 At '94



The Greek Text upon which the Commentaries in
this Series axe based has been formed on the following
principles: Wherever the texts of Tischendorf and
Tregelles agree, their readings are followed: wherever
they diflfer from each other, but neither of them agrees
with the Received Text as printed by Scrivener, the
consensus of Lachmann with either is taken in pre-
ference to the Received Text : in all other cases the
Received Text as printed by Scrivener is followed. It
must be added, however, that in the Gospels those
alternative readings of Tregelles, which subsequently
proved to have the support of the Sinaitic Codex,
have been considered as of the same authority as
readings which Tregelles has adopted in his text.

In the Commentaries an endeavour has been made
to explain the uses of words and the methods of con-


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struction, as well as to give substantial aid to the
student in the interpretation and illustration of the

The General Editor does not hold himself re-
sponsible except in the most general sense for the
statements made and the interpretations oflFered by
the various contributors to this Series. He has not
felt that it would be right for him to place any check
upon the expression of individual opinion, imless at
any point matter were introduced which seemed to
be out of harmony with the character and scope of
the Seriea


Christ's Golleob,
February, 1893.

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^^HE text of this edition was formed by my
-*- brother on the same principles as in the pre-
vious volumes of the Series. The Introduction and
Commentary are based upon those in the English
Series, but both have been carefully revised and ex-
panded. My brother's minute study of the Language
of the Book was of the greatest use to me in adapting
the Commentary to the Greek Text. Professor Weiss'
edition {Texte v/nd Untermchungen, Vii. 1) was also
very helpful.

I am indebted to Prof. W. Robertson Smith for the
details of famine prices in the note on vi 6, which
were communicated to me through the General Editor,
whom I also have to thank for many valuable sug-
gestions and criticisms.



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Analysis of thb Intboduotion, p. ix— xL
List ov Abbbsyutions, p. xii

L Intboduotion. paobs

Chapter I. Authorship and Oanonioity of the

Bevelation xiii — xli

Chapter II. Date and Place of Oomposition ... xli— li

Chapter III. Principles of Interpretation li — ^Ixxiii

Chapter IV. Analysis of the Book Ixxiii— Ixxiy

Chapter V. Greek Text Ixxv— Ixxxi

n. Text 1— S8

m. Notes 89—206

IV. Appendix.

Exeumu I. The Angels of the Ohnrches: Elemental

Angels: the LiyingOreatnres 207

Excurnu II. On the Heresies controverted in the

Bevelation 211

Excurtus m. On the supposed Jewish origin of the

Bevelation of St John 215

Excurnu IV, On the Millennium and the First Be-

surrection 236

Indices :

I. Greek 238

11. General 241

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Mitch he aiVd in loving wonder,

On Tky bosom leaning. Lord I
Jn that secret place of thunder,

Answer kind didst thou accord,
Wisdom for Thy Church to ponder

TiU the day of dread award,

Lo ! Heaven's doors lift up, revealing
How Thy judgments earthward move;

Scrolls unfoldedy trumpets pealing,
Wine-cups from the wrath above.

Yet o*er all a soft Voice stealing —
** Little children^ trust and love!"


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Authorship and Canonieity of the Revelation^ p. ziii.

I. Thb ooimexion of the two qaestions: three possible answers,
p. ziy. External attestation of St John's authorship, p. ziy. Jnstin
Martyr (a.d. 186? 160), p. xiy. Papias (o. 150 a.d.), p. zy. Martyrs
of Vienne (177 ▲.!>.), p. zyi. Irenssas (o. 180 a.d.), p. xyii. Tertullian
(o. 199 A.D.), p. zylii. Clement of Alexandria (c. 202 a.d.)> p. xyiii.
Moratorian Fragment (190... 210 a.d.), p. xix. Ancient versions,
p. xix. Origen (f 258 A.D.), p. xx. Hippolytas (f 234 A.i>.)y p. xx.
YiotorinoB (f 803), p. xx.

XX. Andent objections to Authenticity: Alogi, p. xxi. Gains,
p. xxi.

m. Dionysins of Alexandria (250 a.i>.), p. xxiii. Subsequent
history of opinion, p. xxvii. Eusebius (f ? 339 a.d.) to Epiphanius,
(t402 A.i>.), p. xxix. Lingering objections: Epiphanius to Charles
the Great, 793, p. xxix. Beyiyed doubts at the time of the Befor-
mation, p. xxx.

lY. The final decision of the Church in favour of the Canonieity
of the Book to be tested rather by the fulfilment of its predictions
than by fixing the personality of the author, p. xxx.

y«. Are the Johannine writings by a single author? p. xxxii.
Alleged unlikeness of (a) style and grammar, p. xxxiii ; (&) theological
QonceptionB; (c) tone and temper. Beasons for laying little weight on
(c)y p. xxxiii. Comparison of theological conceptions in the different

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Johannine writings, p. xxxiv. Oompariflon of oharacteristio diction,
p. XXXV. Comparison of style and language, p. xxxviii. Possible
reconciliation of difficulties, p. xli.


Date and Place of CompositioUy p. xli.

Evidence of the Book itself, p. xli. Evidence of Irenaens, p. xlii.
Clement of Alexandria, p. xlii, TertuUian, p. xliv. Origen, p. xliv.
Epiphanius, p. xlv. Yictorinus, p. xlvi. Further consideration of
internal evidence, p. xlvii. Apparent conflict of external and internal
evidence as to date, p. 1.

Principles of Interpretation^ p. li

Difficulty of the subject, p. li Reaction from over-confident
theories, p. lii. No reason for treating the book as unintelligible
p. liii. Clues to interpretation, p. liii. (1) Old Testament Prophecy,
p. liii. (2) Oral teaching of Apostles and earlier writings of New
Testament, p. liii. (8) Events of past or contemporary history,
p. liii. (1) The coincidences with Daniel, p. liii. (2) The Man of
Sin at Rome and Jerusalem, p. liv. Sketch of the patristic theory,
p. liv. The millennium and the Eternal Kingdom, p. Iv. (3) Diffi-
culties of this view and subsequent theories, p. Iviii. Mystical
theory, Tyconius, Andreas, Arethas, Oeoumenius, p. Ux. The Con-
tinuous Historical Theory, p. Ix. Its mediaeval beginning, p. Ix.
Its Protestant development, p. Ix. The strong point of this view is
that it gives a meaning to the succession of Visions, p. Ix. The
difficulty : the earlier Visions seem to embrace the end of all things,
p. Ixi. The Preterist and Futurist theories : a reaction against the
Continuous Historical, p. Ixii. Each a partial revival of one aspect
of the Traditional, p. Ixii The Preterist Theory inadequate, p. Ixii.
The Futurist apparently arbitrary, p. Ixii. (4) Elements of truth in
the different theories, p. Ixii. Partial and gradual fidfilment, p. Ixiii.
Nero as a type of Antichrist, resemblances and contrasts, p. Ixiii.
The expectation of his return, p. Ixv. The Seven Heads of the
Beast, p. Ixv. The veracity of the Seer depends upon the recognition

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of many Antichrists, p. Izv. Antiochus in his measure a type of
Antichrist, p. Ixvii. Nero as a new Antiochus, p. Izvii Domitian
as a new Nero, p. Ixviii Contrast between Domitian and Anti-
christ, p. IzYiii. The Preterist theory applicable to the types;
the Fntorist to the antitypes of the Bevelation, p. hdx. Plan and
method of the Book, p. Iziz. A series of signs apparently leading
np to the end followed by a new beginning, p. Izix. This corre-
sponds to the historical crises which from time to time have seemed
to foreshadow the End of all things, p. Ixix. The parallel gives
support to the Continuous Historical Theory if not held exclusively,
p. Izx. The Book providentially intended to be applied to current
events, p. Ixz. But only to be folly understood in the end of the
days, p. Ixx. One element of Truth in the Continuous Historical
Theoiy is the recognition of the perpetual significance of Bome, p.
Ixxi. Yet neither the Mediaeval Empire nor the Papacy in any
proper sense Antichristian, p. Izzii. The latter especially has always
witnessed to the Trinity and the Incarnation, p. Izzii. How far
Papal Bome is to be identified with the Apocalyptic Babylon, p. Izzii.

AnalysUf p. Izxiii.


Text, p. Izxv.

Peculiarities of Teztus Beceptus in this Book, p. Izzv. Due to the
circumstances and action of Erasmus, ib. Materials for a Critical
Tezt, pp. Izxv — Izziz. Uncials: Codez Sinaiticus, p. Izxv. Codez
Alezandrinus, p. IzzvL Codez Ephraemi Bescriptus, ib. Codez
Porphyrianus Bescriptus, ib, Codez Yaticanus ib. Cursives, ib.
Ancient Versions — Syriac, Old Latin, Armenian, Coptic, Aethiopic,
pp. Izzvi— Ixxviii. Fathers, pp. Izzviii — ^Izziz. Groups into which
the evidence falls, pp. Izziz — Izxzi.

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Lip8.« J
Cod. Flor.


English Version.

Authorised Version.

Revised Version.

Aethiopic Version.

Aethiopic, Roman edition 1548 A.D.


Armenian, Zohnb'i Edition (Venice, 1789).




Codex Amiatinus 6th century in Laurentlan Library at Floroioe.

Codex Fuldensis 6th century at Fulda.

Codex Toletanus 10th centtury at Madrid.

MBS. of ReTeUtion at Leipzig collated by Matthiae.

Codex Floriacensis, a palimpsest 7th century from the abbey of
Pleury, now at Faris.

Amb. Aut


And. Comm.









Tyc. ap. Aug. Ap.





Iren. Or.

Text Rec.



Ambrosius Autpertus or Ansbertus.
Andreas Archbishop of Caesarea.
Andreas' Commentai^ : the text of the MSB. differs.
Andreas' Augsbuiv MB. 12th century.
Andreas' Munich MS.

Andreas' MS. from Coislin library, 10th century.
Andreas MB. from Palatine library, 12th century.
Arethas, Archbishop of Caesarea.
Beatus, quoted bv Haussldter.
Primafous, edited by Haussleiter.

Tyoonius reproduced in the homilies in the Appendix to St Au-



St Cyprian as quoted by Haussleiter.

Enlarged edition of Testimonia Haussleiter.

Bt Epiphanius.

St Hippolytus. The readings not given by Tischendorf are from

the newly published 4th book ofhis commentary on DanieL
St Jerome.

St Irenaeus in the old Latin Version.
Bt Irenaeus where the Greek is extant
Auctor libri de promissionibus dimidii temporis.
TertulUan as quoted by Haussleiter.


Textus Receptus as printed by Scrivener.

Lachmann's larger edition.


Tis<mendorf: eighth edition; where the text and notes differ the

latter are cited.
Westcott and Hort

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In the case of some of the books of Scripture, the questions
of their authorship and of their canonical authority are quite
independent of one another. Many books are anonymous^, many
have their authors known only by a post-canoni(^ tradition^;
and the rejection, in any case where it may be called for, of
this tradition need not and ought not to involve a denial of the
divine authority of the book. Even in cases where the sup-
posed author is named or immistakeably indicated in the book
itself it does not always follow that the book either must be
written by him, or can owe none of its inspiration to the Spirit
of truth : the person of the professed author may have been
assumed dramatically without any maXa Jides\ On the other
hand, there are books which plainly exclude any such hypo-
thesis, and either must be forgeries, more or less excusable but
hardly consistent with divine direction, or else must be the
genuine and inspired works of their professed authors.

The case of the Revelation may be regarded as intermediate
between the two last-named classes. The author gives his name
as ''John," but gives no unmistakeable token, in this book

1 e.g. Judges, Kings, and Chronicles; and in the N.T., Hebrews.

* e.g. the Synoptical Gospels.

' As is certainly the case with the apocryphal Wisdom of Solomon,
and almost certainly with Ecclesiastes. It is conceivable that the case
of the Pastoral Epistles of St Paul might be similar.

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itself to identify him with St John the Apostle : and hence the
opinion is rationally tenable, that the Revelation is the work of
a person named John, writing what he honA fide regarded as a
supernatural vision, but not having more claim on the reverence
of the Church than his work can command on its own merits.
On the other hand, we shall find that the book was so early and
so widely received as the work of the Apostle, that it may well
be suspected that, if not really his, it was falsely put forward as
his, and intended by the real author to be received as his: so
that those who reject the Apostolic authorship of the book may
be pardoned if they regard it as a fraudulent forgery.

It thus will be convenient to discuss the two questions of
author ihi^ and of canomcaL authority in connexion with one
another, though remembering that the determination of one
does not (except in the first of the cases now to be mentioned)
necessarily involve that of the other. The book may be either

(1) the genuine and inspired work of St John the Apostle; or

(2) a forgery in the name of St John the Apostle; or (3) it may
be the genuine and inspired work of another John; or (4) a bond
fide but uninspired work of another John. We may fairly set
aside the logically conceivable cases, of the Apostle writing not
under divine inspiration, and of a person writing indeed fraud-
ulently, but not intending to personate the Apostle. Let us
examine the evidence, external and internal, for each of these
views : —

I. The external attestation of St John's authorship is strong.
Only three books of the New Testament at most (St Paul's First
Epistle to the Corinthians, perhaps those to the Ephesians and
Philippians) are known to be cited with the author's name as
early as the Apocalypse. Justin Mabttb (whose First Apology ,
written not later than a. d. 160, attests the authority if not the
authorship of the book by a clear reference to Rev. xiL 9 or
XX. 2) quotes the substance of Rev. xx. 3 — 6 as part of the
Revelation made *to a man named John, one of the Apostles of
Christ* — ^in the Dialogue with Trypho the Jew, This testimony
may be very early, for the Dialoguey though written Irfter the
Apology, professes to reproduce a conference the date of which

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is variously fixed from a.d. 135 to 148, while the scene is laid at
Ephesus, where surely, if anywhere, the true authorship of the
Revelation must have been known. There is of course the
possibility that a writer who identified 8emo Samms with Simo
Sanctus may have hastily identified the John of whom he heard
at Ephesus as the Seer of the Apocalypse with John the Apostle
of whom he must have heard from the beginning of his conversion
in Palestine. But if he really appealed to the authority of St
John as early as a.d. 135, it is probable that he would have been
corrected if mistaken.

"We may regard as practically contemporary with this the
evidence afforded by Papias, bishop of Hierapolis near Laodicea,
who acknowledged the Apocalypse, as is stated by Andrew,
bishop (in the fifth century?) of Caesarea in Cappadocia, in
the prologue to his Commentary on the book. Papias's evidence,
if we had it at first hand, would be even more convincing than
Justin's: for not only did he belong to the district where the
Revelation was first circulated^, but he is said to have been a
hearer of St John himself— he certainly was a zealous collector
of traditions relating to him. But Papias's own works are lost,
and though Andrew was doubtless acquainted with them, his
testimony is not quite decisive. Eusebius professes {H. E. iii.
iii 2), in his account of early divines, to state whenever they quote
as Scripture books of which the canonicity was disputed : and
he does thus note the passage of Justin's Trypho already cited.
In his accoimt of Papias (t&. xxxix. 13), he tells us that he quoted
the First Epistle of St Peter, and that of St John, though, as
the canonicity of these books was not disputed, he was not
bound to note the fact. If then Papias had quoted the book
about which there was the keenest dispute of all, Eusebius
would surely have told us so; especially as he actually founded
a conjecture as to its authorship (see p. xxvii) on a passage in
Papias. Thus the argument from the silence of Eusebius, which

1 It has been observed that, while the Ghurohes of Laodicea and
Sardis must have known the facts about the origin of the Apocalypse,
they had every interest in discrediting its authority, if they honestly

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is worth very little as evidence that Papias did not know St
John's Gospel, is, as regards the Revelation, as strong as an
argument from silence can be.

Moreover, he enables ns to account for Andrew's asstmiing
that Papias knew the book, without his having expressly cited
it. Papias certainly held the doctrine of a Millennium, which
is not, even apparently, taught in any canonical book but the
Apocalypse. Andrew may therefore have taken for granted
that he derived the doctrine from it, while in reality he may
have had no authority but the general belief of the Church.
The only passage in the extant fragments of Papias bearing on
the subject seems to be derived by tradition from the Book
of Enoch. If he had actually read the passage of that book,
which he seems to be reproducing, he could not have put the
rather silly description of the ideal bliss which it contains into
the mouth of our Lord.

But, even if Papias did not expressly quote the Revelation,
it does not follow that he was not acquainted with it: and in
fact we find it imhesitatingly received by the Churches of Asia
during the second century. Of the many Christian writers of
that age and country almost all the works are lost : but we have
catalogues of those of Melito, bishop of Sardis, the ablest, most
learned, and most critical among them, who flourished in the
reign of M. Aurelius, a.d. 161 — 180. He not only acknowledged
"the Revelation of John," but wrote a commentary upon it.
His testimony would be the weightier if as is probable his work
on * Prophecy ' was directed like Clement's against Montanism.

A colony from the Churches of Asia appears to have been
established about this time, or earlier, at Lyons in Gaul. In
A.D. 177 they and their neighbours of Vienne were exposed to
a savage persecution, of which a detailed account, addressed
to their Asiatic kinsmen, was written by a surviving brother:
and considerable fragments of this are preserved by Eusebius
{H, E, V. i — ^iii.). In this the Revelation (xxii. 11) is expressly
quoted as "the Scripture." Besides this, we have constant
evidence of the writer's familiarity with the book : he speaks of
Christ as "the faithful and true Witness" (Rev. iii 14), and of

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"the heavenly fountain of the water of life" (vii. 17, xxii. 1).
The C5hurch is personified as a Virgin Mother (c. xii.): the
Martyrs in their spiritual beauty are compared to a "bride
adorned in embroidered robes of gold" (xxi. 2): one of them
"follows the Lamb whithersoever He goeth" (xiv. 4) and through-
out we have references, not only to the expected persecution of
Antichrist, but to the imagery of the Dragon and the Beast.

Pothinus, the aged bishop of Lyons, who died in this
persecution, was succeeded by Ibbnabus. The latter was cer-
tainly a native of Asia, probably of Smyrna : and, though his
wor]j» belong to a later date than Justin or the other writers
we have named, he is not practically more remote from
the source of authentic tradition. For in his boyhood he had
known and heard St Polycarp, bishop of Smyrna, and he re-
membered the accoimt he gave of his personal intercourse with
St John {Ep. ad Flor., cup. Eus. H. E. v. xx. 8, 9). Now St
Polycarp was burnt A.D. 155, and had then been a Christian
86 years: his conversion therefore, or birth in a Christian
family, must have taken place a. d. 69 or 70. And St Irenaeus
states {Adv. Haer. in. iii. 3) that both his conversion and

Online LibraryWilliam Henry SimcoxThe Revelation of S. John the Divine → online text (page 1 of 34)