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A Brief Commentary On The Apocalypse by Sylvester Bliss

The Title of the Book.

|The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave to him, to show to his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and sending, he signified them through his angel to his servant John: who testified the word of God, and the testimony of Jesus Christ, and whatever he saw.| -- Rev.1:1, 2. -- Prof. Whiting's Translation.

|The very title of John's predictions, Apocalypse, implies the unveiling or 'revelation' of the mystic and hidden sense of the prophetic oracles, previously uttered by his inspired predecessors.| -- PROF. BUSH.


The work of the apostles was |to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which, from the beginning of the world, hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ,| (Eph.3:9); |even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints,| Col.1:26. The entire record of the New Testament, is a revelation that God |hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son;| in distinction from the records of the Old Testament, which He, |at sundry times and in divers manners, spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets,| Heb.1:1. But the closing book of the new series is called, in distinction from the others, |THE REVELATION OF JESUS CHRIST.|

It contains the |many things| he had to say to his disciples, in addition to those recorded by the evangelists; but which they could not then bear, John 16:12. It is the revelation |which God gave unto him;| for |there is a God in heaven that revealeth secrets, and maketh known ... what shall be in the latter days,| Dan.2:28. God communicated by his servants the prophets what should |come to pass hereafter,| by visions which were |certain,| and by |the interpretation thereof| which was |sure,| Dan.2:46. But Daniel was commanded to |shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end,| when many should |run to and fro,| and knowledge should |be increased.| And it was added, |Go thy way, Daniel; for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end: Many shall be purified and made white, and tried; but the wicked shall do wickedly: and none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand.| Dan.12:4, 9, 10.

It will thus be seen, that provision had been made for the future unveiling of what was left obscure in the predictions of the Old Testament writers; and for the unsealing of what was then closed up and sealed. This revelation must come from God; for the Saviour has testified, that |of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.| Matt.24:36. |The secret things belong unto the Lord our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children forever.| Deut.29:29.

As God had provided for a more full |revelation| respecting the events of the future, it was necessary that it should be communicated through |the appointed Heir of all things,| by whom he was to speak in the last days, Heb.1:2. The BAPTIST said of Christ, that |what he hath seen and heard, this he testifieth,| John 3:22. And the Saviour said of him by whom he was sent, |I speak to the world those things which I have heard of him,| Ib. 8:2, 6. And again, he saith, |I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment; what I should say, and what I should speak,| Ib. 12:49. |The Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof,| Rev.5:5.

The design of God in giving this additional revelation, was that he might |show unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass;| for |surely the Lord God doeth nothing, but he revealeth his secrets unto his servants the prophets,| Amos 3:7. And he saith, |I have told you before it come to pass, that when it is come to pass ye might believe,| John 14:29. When the old world was to be destroyed by water, |Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, prepared an ark to the saving of his house,| Heb.11:7. And when the Lord had purposed the destruction of Sodom, he said, |Shall I hide from Abraham that thing which I do?| and angels were sent to Lot, that he might say to his children, |Up get ye out of this place; for the Lord will destroy this city,| Gen.18:17, and 19:14. So of the times and seasons of the second advent: while |the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night,| he has said to his chosen ones, |Ye brethren are not in darkness that that day should overtake you as a thief,| 1 Thess.5:1-4. He has condescended to give his people |a more sure word of prophecy: whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts,| 2 Pet.1:19. Therefore it was said to John, |I will show thee things which must be hereafter,| Rev.4:1; which things were shortly to begin to come to pass, -- they being a series of successive events, commencing near the time in which John wrote, and extending to the end of the world and the establishment of the everlasting kingdom.

These were shown to John by symbolic representations, in a series of visions, the import of which was signified to him by an angelic interpreter. Said the Saviour, |I, Jesus, have sent my angel to testify unto you these things in the churches,| 22:16. And these things were not to be sealed up, like the words of Daniel; for John was commanded to |seal not the sayings of the prophecy of this book: for the time is at hand,| 22:10. He recorded the words which God thus gave him, -- |the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw.| He has given us, in graphic language, such descriptions of the visions shown, that we can easily imagine the symbols which he saw; and we have the inspired explanations of those which were |signified| to him. Therefore we may read, and receive the blessings promised to those who keep this testimony of Jesus.

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