THE APOCALYPSE OF ST. JOHN THE APOSTLE
In the first, second, and third chapters of this Book are contained instructions and admonitions which St. John was commanded to write to the seven bishops of the churches in Asia. And in the following chapters, to the end, are contained prophecies of things that are to come to pass in the Church of Christ, particularly towards the end of the world, in the time of Antichrist. It was written in Greek, in the island of Patmos, where St. John was in banishment by order of the cruel emperor Domitian, about sixty-four years after our Lord's Ascension.
Apocalypse Chapter 1
St. John is ordered to write to the seven churches in Asia. The manner of Christ's appearing to him.
1:1. The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to make known to his servants the things which must shortly come to pass: and signified, sending by his angel to his servant John,
The things which must shortly come;. . .and again it is said, ver. 3, The time is at hand. . .This can not be meant of all the things prophesied in the Apocalypse, where mention is made also of the day of judgment, and of the glory of heaven at the end of the world. That some things were to come to pass shortly, is evident, by what is said to the Seven Churches, chap. 2 and 3, Or that the persecutions foretold should begin shortly. Or that these words signified, that all time is short, and that from the coming of Christ, we are now in the last age or last hour. See 1 John 2.18.
1:2. Who hath given testimony to the word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ, what things soever he hath seen.
1:3. Blessed is he that readeth and heareth the words of this prophecy: and keepeth those things which are written in it. For the time is at hand.
1:4. John to the seven churches which are in Asia. Grace be unto you and peace, from him that is and that was and that is to come: and from the seven spirits which are before his throne:
1:5. And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, the first begotten of the dead and the prince of the kings of the earth, who hath loved us and washed us from our sins in his own blood
1:6. And hath made us a kingdom, and priests to God and his Father. To him be glory and empire for ever and ever. Amen.
1:7. Behold, he cometh with the clouds, and every eye shall see him: and they also that pierced him. And all the tribes of the earth shall bewail themselves because of him. Even so. Amen.
1:8. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, saith the Lord God, who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.
I am Alpha and Omega. . .These are the names of the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet, and signify the same as what follows: The beginning and the end: the first cause and last end of all beings: who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty. . .These words signify the true God only, and are here applied to our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, who is to come again to judge the living and the dead.
1:9. I, John, your brother and your partner in tribulation and in the kingdom and patience in Christ Jesus, was in the island which is called Patmos, for the word of God and for the testimony of Jesus.
1:10. I was in the spirit on the Lord's day and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet,
1:11. Saying: What thou seest, write in a book and send to the seven churches which are in Asia: to Ephesus and to Smyrna and to Pergamus and to Thyatira and to Sardis and to Philadelphia and to Laodicea.
1:12. And I turned to see the voice that spoke with me. And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks:
1:13. And in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks, one like to the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the feet, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle.
1:14. And his head and his hairs were white as white wool and as snow. And his eyes were as a flame of fire:
1:15. And his feet like unto fine brass, as in a burning furnace. And his voice as the sound of many waters.
1:16. And he had in his right hand seven stars. And from his mouth came out a sharp two-edged sword. And his face was as the sun shineth in his power.
1:17. And when I had seen him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying: Fear not. I am the First and the Last,
1:18. And alive, and was dead. And behold I am living for ever and ever and have the keys of death and of hell.
1:19. Write therefore the things which thou hast seen: and which are: and which must be done hereafter.
1:20. The mystery of the seven stars, which thou sawest in my right hand and the seven golden candlesticks. The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches. And the seven candlesticks are the seven churches.