Bible Lessons from James to Revelation
By Dr. Alice Stanback
New American Standard Bible
Testing Your Faith
1:1James, a bond-servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, To the twelve tribes who are dispersed (unto those dispersed among the Greeks; scattered abroad among the Gentiles. BKC: To persecuted Jewish believers scattered among pagan people.) abroad: Greetings (in a broader sense, to be well, to thrive, to rejoice, be glad).
2Consider (to consider, deem, account, think) it all joy (BKC: i.e. joy that is full or unmixed… James did not say that a believer should be joyous for the trials but in the trials.), my brethren, when you encounter various trials (adversity, affliction, trouble, sent by God and serving to test or prove one’s faith, holiness, character: plural; NASB: In vv. 2-3 the emphasis is on difficulties that come from outside; in vv. 13-15 it is on inner moral trials such as temptation to sin), 3knowing that the testing (the proving) of your faith produces endurance (in the N. T. the characteristic of a man who is unswerved from his deliberate purpose and his loyalty to faith and piety by even the greatest trials and sufferings. BKC: True faith… develops, or more literally “works,” perseverance or staying power. [Faith works]). 4And let endurance have its perfect (brought to its end, finished; lacking nothing necessary to completeness) result (used collectively of an aggregate of actions), so that you may be perfect and complete (“all that is included [apportioned] through divine lot.” /holóklēros [“divinely-allotted wholeness”] occurs twice in the NT, 1 Thes 5:23; Js 1:4; all that has fallen by lot, complete in all its parts, in no part lacking or unsound, complete, entire, whole), lacking (passive to be left behind [properly, by one’s rival in a race, hence], to lag, be inferior) in nothing.
5But if any of you lacks (to be destitute of, to lack) wisdom (the knowledge and practice of the requisites for godly and upright living. NASB: Wisdom enables one to face trials with “joy” [v 2]. Wisdom is not just acquired information but practical insight with spiritual implications [see Prov 1:2-4; 2:10-15; 4:5-9; 9:10-12].), let him ask of God, who gives to all generously (/haplṓs [“simply”], used only in Js 1:5, refers to God “generously” giving wisdom – which is better translated “giving undividedly, openly” [literally, “unfolded, holding nothing back”]; simply, openly, frankly, sincerely.) and without reproach (to upbraid, cast [favors received] in one’s teeth; to disgrace [insult], reproach; mock [curse]; insult, cast blame [create shame] – viewing someone [something] as culpably guilty and therefore deserving punishment; to defame, i.e. rail at, chide, taunt — cast in teeth, [suffer] revile, upbraid.), and it will be given to him. 6But he must ask in faith (with the predominant idea of trust [or confidence] whether in God or in Christ, springing from faith in the same; Js 1:5, 6: “5But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously [ /haplṓs] and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But he must [continuously, in process] ask in faith [/pistis] without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind”.) without any doubting (to be at variance with oneself, hesitate), for the one who doubts is like the surf (a dashing or surging wave, a surge, a violent agitation of the sea) of the sea, driven (to agitate or drive by the wind; present passive participle [“ing”]) and tossed by the wind (it is used of a person whose mind wavers in uncertainty between hope and fear, between doing and not doing a thing). 7For that man ought not to expect (to suppose, think) that he will receive (to get back) anything from the Lord, 8being a double-minded (“double-minded,” i.e. a person “split in half,” vacillating like a “spiritual schizophrenic.” This term may have been coined in the NT; wavering, uncertain, doubting) man, unstable (inconstant, restless) in all his ways (in all his purposes and actions).
9But the brother of humble (as to condition, lowly, of low degree) circumstances is to glory in his high position; 10and the rich man is to glory in his humiliation (low estate, humiliation) (NASB: Since James’s discussions of wisdom [vv. 5-8] and of the poor man and the rich man [vv. 9-11] appear between the two sections on trials [vv. 2-4 and v.12], vv. 5-11 may also have to do with trials. The Christian who suffers the trials of poverty is to take pride in his high position [v. 9] as a believer [see 2:5], and the wealthy Christian is to take pride [v. 10] in trials that bring him low, perhaps including the loss of his wealth.), because like flowering (a blossom — flower) grass he will pass away (perish). 11For the sun rises with a scorching wind and withers the grass; and its flower falls off and the beauty of its appearance is destroyed (to be blotted out, to vanish away); so too the rich man in the midst of his pursuits (a going i. e. purpose, pursuit, undertaking) will fade away.
12Blessed is a man who perseveres (to endure, bear bravely and calmly) under trial; for once he has been approved (in the N. T. one who is of tried faith and integrity) he will receive the crown (the eternal blessedness which will be given as a prize to the genuine servants of God and Christ) of life (life, both of physical [present] and of spiritual [particularly future] existence. NASB: Eternal life, as the future tense of the verb [“will receive”] indicates].) which the Lord has promised to those who love Him. 13Let no one say when he is tempted (to try or test one’s faith, virtue, character, by enticement to sin; hence, according to the context equivalent to to solicit to sin, to tempt:), “I am being tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone (NASB: Tempted: In vv. 13-14 the verb refers to temptation that test one’s moral strength to resist sin. God cannot be tempted: Because God in His very nature is holy, there is nothing in Him for sin to appeal to.). 14But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust (desire, craving, longing, specifically, desire for what is forbidden, lust). 15Then when lust has conceived (of ‘lust,’ whose impulses a man indulges), it gives birth (to bear, bring forth) to sin; and when sin is accomplished (to perfect; complete; to bring quite to an end, having come to maturity), it brings forth death (the loss of that life which alone is worthy of the name, i. e. “the misery of soul arising from sin, which begins on earth but lasts and increases after the death of the body. NASB: The three stages-desire, sin, death- are seen in the temptations of Eve [Gen 3:6-22 and David [2 Sam 11:12-17].). 16Do not be deceived (passive, to be led into error [led astray]), my beloved brethren. 17Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above (used of things which come from heaven, or from God as dwelling in heaven), coming down from the Father of lights (anything emitting light. NASB: God is the Creator of the heavenly bodies, which give light to the earth, but unlike them, He does not change.), with whom there is no variation (change) or shifting (a turning: of the heavenly bodies) shadow (shadow caused by revolution). 18In the exercise of His will (to will deliberately, have a purpose, be minded [βουληθείς ἀπεκύησεν ἡμᾶς of his own free will he brought us forth, with which will it ill accords to say, as some do, that they are tempted to sin by God]) He brought (NASB: Not a reference to creation but to regeneration [see John 3:3-8]) us forth by the word of truth (a word, speech, divine utterance; a word [as embodying an idea], a statement, a speech; [See John 17:17; Eph 1:13 [for the order of Salvation see Romans 8:29-30]; also see Gen 1:1ff. NASB: The proclamation of the gospel [see 1 Pet 1:23-25.]), so that we would be a kind of first fruits (of persons consecrated to God, leading the rest in time: with a reference to the moral creation effected by Christianity all the Christians of that age are called [a kind of first-fruits]. NASB: See Lev 23:9-14. Just as the first sheaf of the harvest was an indication that the whole harvest would eventually follow, so the early Christians were an indication that a great number of people would eventually be born again.) among His creatures.
19This you know, my beloved brethren. But everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger; 20for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness (righteousness, justice) of God. 21Therefore, putting aside all filthiness ( dirtiness [morally] — turpitude) and all that remains (residue; the wickedness remaining over in the Christian from his state prior to conversion) of wickedness (malignity, malice, ill-will, desire to injure), in humility (gentleness) receive (to receive favorably, give ear to, embrace, make one’s own, approve, not to reject) the word (of God) implanted (bring into living union like with a successfully engrafted shoot; what is “planted” and hence “inborn, congenital, natural” , i.e. placed in [“established”] which enables something to develop [used only in Js 1:21].), which is able (to have power,) to save (to save and transport into etc. [also see 2 Timothy 4:18]; to save, i.e. deliver or protect — heal, preserve, do well, be [make] whole; deliver out of danger and into safety; used principally of God rescuing believers from the penalty and power of sin – and into His provisions [safety].]) your souls (“the [human] soul in so far as it is so constituted that by the right use of the aids offered it by God it can attain its highest end and secure eternal blessedness, the soul regarded as a moral being designed for everlasting life”). 22But prove (gínomai – properly, to emerge, become, transitioning from one point [realm, condition] to another. [gínomai] fundamentally means “become” [becoming, became] so it is not an exact equivalent to the ordinary equative verb “to be” [is, was, will be]. [ginomai] means “to become, and signifies a change of condition, state or place” [Vine, Unger, White, NT, 109]. M. Vincent, “[gínomai] means to come into being/manifestation implying motion, movement, or growth” (at 2 Pet 1:4). Thus it is used for God’s actions as emerging from eternity and becoming [showing themselves] in time [physical space].) yourselves doers (performer) of the word, and not merely hearers who delude (to deceive, delude, circumvent) themselves. 23For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror; 24for once he has looked at himself and gone away, he has immediately forgotten what kind (of what sort or quality, what manner of) of person he was. 25But one who looks intently (to look carefully into, inspect curiously, of one who would become acquainted with something) at the perfect law (brought to its end, finished; lacking nothing necessary to completeness. NASB: The moral and ethical teaching of Christianity, which is based on the OT moral law, as embodied in the Ten Commandments [see Ps 19:7], but brought to completion [perfection] by Jesus Christ.), the law of liberty (freedom from the dominion of corrupt desires, so that we do by the free impulse of the soul what the will of God requires: i. e. the Christian religion, which furnishes that rule of right living by which the liberty just mentioned is attained. NASB: In contrast to the sinner, who is a slave to sin [John 8:34], obeying the moral law gives the Christians the joyous freedom to be what he was created for [see 2:12].), and abides (to remain beside, continue always near, and continues to do so, not departing till all stains are washed away) by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual (an act, deed, thing done: the idea of working is emphasized in opposed to that which is less than work) doer, this man will be blessed in what he does (blessed, happy).
26If anyone thinks himself to be religious (fearing or worshipping God; religious, ‘to adhere to,’ ‘be a votary of’. NASB: Refers to the outward acts of religion: giving to the needy, fasting and public acts of praying and worshiping.), and yet does not bridle (to lead by a bridle, to guide to bridle, hold in check, restrain) his tongue but deceives (to cheat, beguile) his own heart, this man’s religion is worthless (devoid of force, truth, success, result [uniformly vain]). 27Pure (clean, genuine) and undefiled (without defect) religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained (free from vice, unsullied) by the world (NASB: Not the world of nature but the world of people in their rebellion against alienation from God [see 1 John 2:15]).
New American Standard Bible
The Sin of Partiality
(Two things would be helpful to remember, (1) the Holy Spirit executes the “Power of God” in the believer’s life. (2) Faith is the instrument ordained by YHWH through which to save sinners (Eph 2:8a For by grace you have been saved through faith). Faith comes from God and goes back to Him; it is that which grabs hold of Yehoshua and returns back to God. See Rom 11:36 For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen.)
2:1My brethren, do not hold your faith in our glorious (the absolutely perfect inward or personal excellence of Christ:) Lord Jesus Christ with an attitude of personal favoritism. (respect of persons, partiality, the fault of one who when called on to requite or to give judgment has respect to the outward circumstances of men and not to their intrinsic merits, and so prefers, as the more worthy, one who is rich, high-born, or powerful, to another who is destitute of such gifts: plural (which relates to the various occasions and instances in which this fault shows itself) 2For if a man comes into your assembly with a gold ring and dressed in fine clothes, and there also comes in a poor man in dirty clothes, 3and you pay special attention to the one who is wearing the fine clothes, and say, “You sit here in a good place,” and you say to the poor man, “You stand over there, or sit down by my footstool,” ([figuratively] “[hypopódion] is a footstool used by a conquering king, to place his foot on the neck of the conquered” – i.e. those under his total dominion.) 4have you not made distinctions (“over-judging” [going too far, vacillating]; make distinctions among yourselves) among yourselves, and become judges with evil motives? (an opinion: judges with evil thoughts, i. e. who follow perverse opinions, reprehensible principles) 5Listen, my beloved brethren: did not God choose the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him? 6But you have dishonored (insult, treat with contumely,” whether in word, in deed, or in thought) the poor man. Is it not the rich who oppress (to exercise power over) you and personally drag (James 2:6: a person forcibly and against his will [our drag, drag off]) (Note: John 6:44: induce [draw in], focusing on the attraction-power involved with the drawing; to draw by inward power, lead, impel: “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day.”) you into court? 7Do they not blaspheme (to speak reproachfully, rail at, revile, calumniate) the fair (honorable, conferring honor) name by which you have been called? (“the name of one is named upon some one, i. e. he is called by his name or declared to be dedicated to him”): [the name referred to is the people of God])
8If, however, you are fulfilling the royal law (NASB: The law of love [Lev 19:18] is called “royal” because it is the supreme law that is the source of all other laws governing human relationships. It is the summation of all such laws [Matt 22:36-40; Rom 13:8-10].) according to the Scripture, “YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF,” you are doing well. 9But if you show partiality (to have respect of persons), you are committing sin and are convicted (generally with a suggestion of the shame of the person convicted) by the law as transgressors. 10For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles (i. e. sin against, one law) in one point, he has become guilty of all. 11For He who said, “DO NOT COMMIT ADULTERY,” also said, “DO NOT COMMIT MURDER.” Now if you do not commit adultery, but do commit murder, you have become a transgressor of the law. 12So speak and so act as those who are to be judged by the law of liberty (freedom from the dominion of corrupt desires, so that we do by the free impulse of the soul what the will of God requires: i. e. the Christian religion, which furnishes that rule of right living by which the liberty just mentioned is attained.)
13For judgment will be merciless to one who has shown no mercy; mercy triumphs (mercy boasts itself superior to judgment, i. e. full of glad confidence has no fear of judgment) over judgment (in a forensic judgment sense, of God or of Jesus the Messiah).
Faith and Works
14What use is it, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but he has no works? (ἔργα is applied to the conduct of men, measured by the standard of religion and righteousness — whether bad or good, James 2:14.) Can that faith save him? (the religious belief of Christians; subjectively: where in the sense of a mere acknowledgment of divine things and of the claims of Christianity) 15If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food, 16and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and be filled,” and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that? 17Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead (universally, destitute of force or power, inactive, inoperative: powerless and fruitless), being by itself (alone).
18But someone may well say, “You have faith and I have works; show me your faith without the works, and I will show you my faith by my works.” (See 2 Thes 1:11 Wherefore also we pray always for you, that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfill all the good pleasure of his goodness, and the work of faith with power [KJV] To this end also we pray for you always, that our God will count you worthy of your calling, and fulfill every desire for goodness and the work of faith with power [NASB] [“To this end (glorification) – indeed each time we pray about (peri) you for the purpose (hin) of our God counting you worthy of the call – even that He may fulfill (His) every good-pleasure that comes from (His) goodness and work of faith, in (His) ability.”].) 19You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder (it denotes the mere acknowledgment of his existence). 20But are you willing (to desire, to wish) to recognize (to understand), you foolish (destitute of spiritual wealth, of one who boasts of his faith as a transcendent possession, yet is without the fruits of faith) fellow, that faith without (separately, separate from, apart from) works is useless? (lazy, shunning the labor which one ought to perform) 21Was not Abraham our father justified (to show to be righteous, declare righteous) by works (an act, deed, thing done: the idea of working is emphasized in opposed to that which is less than work) when he offered up Isaac his son on the altar? 22You see that faith was working (with one: ἡ πίστις συνήργει τοῖς ἔργοις, faith [was not inactive, but by coworking] caused Abraham to produce works) with his works (is applied to the conduct of men, measured by the standard of religion and righteousness — whether bad or good [in this verse good.]), and as a result of the works, faith was perfected (to complete [perfect], i. e. add what is yet lacking in order to render a thing full: by works faith was perfected, made such as it ought to be); 23and the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “AND ABRAHAM BELIEVED GOD, AND IT WAS RECKONED TO HIM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS,” and he was called the friend of God. 24You see that a man is justified (to show to be righteous, declare righteous) by works and not by faith alone [which is dead faith, cf. v. 26]. 25In the same way, was not Rahab the (a Canaanite in the linage of Yehoshua, cf. Matt 5-6 Salmon was the father of Boaz by Rahab, Boaz was the father of Obed by Ruth, and Obed the father of Jesse. Jesse was the father of David the king. David was the father of Solomon by Bathsheba who had been the wife of Uriah.) harlot also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way? 26For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead.
4102 pístis (from 3982/peithô, “persuade, be persuaded”) – properly, persuasion (be persuaded, come to trust); faith.
Faith (4102/pistis) is always a gift from God, and never something that can be produced by people. In short, 4102/pistis (“faith”) for the believer is “God’s divine persuasion” – and therefore distinct from human belief (confidence), yet involving it. The Lord continuously births faith in the yielded believer so they can know what He prefers, i.e. the persuasion of His will (1 Jn 5:4).
[4102 (pistis) in secular antiquity referred to a guarantee (warranty). In Scripture, faith is God’s warranty, certifying that the revelation He inbirthed will come to pass (His way).
Faith (4102/pistis) is also used collectively – of all the times God has revealed (given the persuasion of) His will, which includes the full revelation of Scripture (Jude 3). Indeed, God the Lord guarantees that all of this revelation will come to pass! Compare Mt 5:18 with 2 Tim 3:16.]
The root of 4102/pistis (“faith”) is 3982/peithô (“to persuade, be persuaded”) which supplies the core-meaning of faith (“divine persuasion“). It is God’s warranty that guarantees the fulfillment of the revelation He births within the receptive believer (cf. 1 Jn 5:4 with Heb 11:1).
Faith (4102/pistis) is always received from God, and never generated by us.
Ro 12:3: “For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith (4102/pistis)” (NASU).
Eph 2:8, 9: ” For by grace you have been saved through faith (4102/pistis); and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9not as a result of works, so that no one may boast” (NASU).
Gal 5:22,23: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith (4102/pistis), gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.”
2 Thes 1:11: “To this end (glorification) – indeed each time we pray about (peri) you for the purpose (hin) of our God counting you worthy of the call – even that He may fulfill (His) every good-pleasure that comes from (His) goodness and work of faith, in (His) ability.”
Reflection: Faith is only (exclusively) given to the redeemed. It is not a virtue that can be worked up by human effort.
Faith (4102/pistis) enables the believer to know God’s preferred-will (cf. J. Calvin; see 2307/thelçma). Accordingly, faith (4102/pistis) and “God’s preferred-will (2307/thelçma)” are directly connected in Scripture.
Ro 12:2, 3: “And do not be conformed to this world, but betransformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will (2307/thelçma) of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. 3For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith (4102/pistis)” (NASU).
2 Cor 8:5, 7: ” And this, not as we had expected, but they first gave themselves to the Lord and to us by the will (2307/thelçma) of God” (NASU).
“But just as you abound in everything, in faith (4102/pistis) and utterance and knowledge and in all earnestness and in the love we inspired in you, see that you abound in this gracious work also” (NASU).
Heb 10:36, 38: “For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will (2307/thelçma) of God, you may receive what was promised” (NASU).
“BUT MY RIGHTEOUS ONE SHALL LIVE BY FAITH(4102/pistis); AND IF HE SHRINKS BACK, MY SOUL HAS NO PLEASURE IN HIM” (NASU).
1 Jn 5:4: “For whatever is born of God conquers the world; and this is the conquest that has conquered the world – our faith (4102/pistis).”
In sum, faith (4102/pistis) is a persuasion from God that we receive as He grants impulse (“divine spark”; cf. the Heb hiphil form of believe, *mn, in a later discussion). Faith is always the work of God and involves hearing His voice – whereby the believer lays hold of His preferred-will (cf. J. Calvin).
Hab 2:1: ” I will stand on my guard post And station myself on the rampart; And I will keep watch to see what He will speak in (Heb b) me” (NASU).
Hab 2:4: “Behold, as for the proud one, His soul is not right within him; But the righteous will live in his faith” (= 4102/pistis, “faith from the Lord”).
More on what faith is . . . and isn’t
- In Scripture, faith and belief are not exactly the same. Faith always comes from God and involves His revelation therefore faith is beyond belief!
- Faith is God’s work; faith is never the work of people. We cannot produce faith ourselves, nor can we “drum it up at will.” Rather, faith comes as Christ speaks His rhçma-word within (see Ro 10:17, Gk text).
- In all of Scripture, only the term faith is ever used in the following way: Ro 14:23: Whatever is not of faith (4102/pistis) is sin.” Heb 11:6: “And without faith (4102/pistis) it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him” (NASU).
Reflection: Nothing quite like this two-fold witness appears elsewhere in the Bible. These sweeping statements sober the heart and inspire the soul! The Lord offers to inbirth faith in each scene of life – so that each matters equally in eternity . . . no matter how insignificant they seem (Lk 16:10 with Lk 17:6 and 2 Pet 1:2).
“Faith always pre-supposes revelation” (W. H. Griffith Thomas, Genesis, 55). “Faith is always a response to a divine revelation” (W. H. Griffith Thomas, Hebrews, 143).
“Faith . . . both in its initiation and every step of the way, is Spirit given . . . faith is God given” (W. Hendriksen, Galatians, 197).
“Faith precedes works, and is not something merely deduced by reason of existing” (D. Edmond Hiebert, Thessalonians, 2 Thes 1:11).
“Faith is always a gift of God” (L. Morris, John, p 520).
“The basis of faith is God’s revelation of Himself . . . Christianity came to be seen as a faith event” (O. Michel, Dictionary of New Testament Theology).
“Faith is the divine response, wrought in man, by God” (from Berkof’s Systematic Theology, representing the views of Barth and Brunner).
“Faith always has the element of assurance, certainty and confidence . . . and evidential value substantiating the thing we hope for . . . with faith, there is no strain or tension; rather, it has the element of assurance and confidence in it . . . if there is strain or tension . . . trying to persuade yourself to keep from doubting, you can be quite sure that it is not faith . . . faith is not the law of mathematical probability, . . . faith is not natural . . .faith is spiritual, the gift of God . . . you cannot command faith at will, faith is always something that is given-inwrought by God; . . . therefore, if you want to be a man of faith, it will always be the result of becoming a certain type of person” (M. Lloyd Jones, Romans, Ro 4:18-25).
“Faith is the divinely given conviction of things unseen” (Homer Kent Jr., Hebrews, 217, quoting Theological Dictionary of the NT vol 2, 476).
“Faith is the organ which enables people to see the invisible order” (F. F. Bruce, Hebrews, 279).
“Faith is knowing what is His will toward us; therefore, we hold faith to be the knowledge of God’s will toward us” (John Calvin, as quoted by R. McAfee Brown in Is Faith Obsolete?).
“Right faith is a thing wrought in us by the Holy Spirit” (Wm. Tyndale).
“We have made faith a condition of mind, when it is a divinely imparted grace of the heart . . . we can receive faith only as he gives it . . . you cannot manufacture faith, you can not work it up . . . you can believe a promise, and at the same time not have the faith to appropriate it . . . genuine, Scriptural faith is not our ability to ‘count it done,’ but is the deep consciousness divinely imparted to the heart of man that it is done, . . . it is the faith that only God can give . . . do not struggle in the power of the will . . . what a mistake to take our belief in God and call of faith . . . Christ, the living word, is our sufficiency . . . (Charles Price, The Real Faith, Logos/publications).
Note: On the distinction between believing (belief), and faith in the Scriptures see Js 2:19; Jn 10:38; Ac 8:13, 26:27, 28; Ro 14:2; 2 Thes 2:11; 1 Jn 4:1; also Jn 2:23, 7:31, 12:42 and 4102/pisteuô (“believe”).
As in the Gospels, a person’s believing (belief) is vital (cf. Heb 11:6). But a personal encounter with Christ (a true connection with Him and His Word) is always necessary for believing (“man’s responsibility”) to be transformed into faith (which is always and only God’s word). See also Mt 8:10, 13, 9:22, 28, 29, 15:28; Ac 20:21; Ro 9:32; Gal 3:9,22.
Belief and faith are not exactly equivalent terms. When Jesus told people, “Your faith has made you well,” faith was still His gift (Eph 2:8, 9). Any gift however, once received, becomes the “possession” of the recipient. Faith however is always from God and is purely His work (2 Thes 1:11).
Note: The Greek definite article is uniformly used in the expressions “your faith,” “their faith” (which occur over 30 times in the Greek NT). This genitive construction with the article refers to “the principle of faith (operating in) you” – not “your faith” in the sense that faith is ever generated by the recipient.
[The meaning of the definite article in this construction is “the principle of faith at work in you,” “the operating-principle of faith in them,” etc. For examples see: Mt 9:2, 22, 29; Lk 17:19; Phil 2:17; 2 Pet 1:5, etc.]
Faith (4102/pistis) involves belief but it goes beyond human believing because it involves the personal revelation (inworking) of God. Faith is always God’s work. Our believing has eternal meaning when it becomes “faith-believing” by the transforming grace of God.
Reflection: Demons believe (and shudder) . . . but they do not have (experience) faith!
Js 2:19: “You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder” (NASU). Source: http://biblehub.com/greek/4102.htm “Up”
“Faith is positive willing.” “Faith makes the unseen real” (Dr. Robert, Bob, Saucy).
New American Standard Bible
The Tongue Is a Fire 3:1Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren, knowing that as such we will incur (to receive (what is given); to gain, get, obtain: of punishments) a stricter (great) judgment. 2For we all stumble (to err, to make a mistake; to sin) in many ways. If anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect (of mind and character, one who has reached the proper height of virtue and integrity) man, able to bridle (to lead by a bridle, to guide; to bridle, hold in check, restrain) the whole body as well (NASB: Since the tongue is so difficult to control, anyone who controls it perfectly gains control of himself in all other areas of life as well.). 3Now if we put the bits into the horses’ mouths so that they will obey us, we direct their entire body as well. 4Look at the ships also, though they are so great and are driven by strong winds, are still directed by a very small rudder wherever the inclination of the pilot desires. 5So also the tongue is a small part of the body, and yet it boasts of great things. See how great a forest is set aflame by such a small fire! 6And the tongue is a fire (the tongue is called πῦρ, as though both itself on fire and setting other things on fire, partly by reason of the fiery spirit which governs it, partly by reason of the destructive power it exercises), the very world (the sum of all iniquities) of iniquity (a phrase having reference to sins of the tongue. NASB: Like the world in its falleness); the tongue is set among our members as that which defiles (to spot, stain) the entire body, and sets on fire (to operate destructively, have a most pernicious power) the course (a wheel [moving on a circular track]; a circuit [circular course], representing the “moral axis” on which our lives turn; a “way of life” that follows an appointed course. [“cycle”] is only used in Js 3:6.) of our life (existence, life: the wheel [cf. English machinery] of life) and is set on fire by hell (Gehenna, the name of a valley on the south and east of Jerusalem, which was so called from the cries of the little children who were thrown into the fiery arms of Moloch (which see), i. e. of an idol having the form of a bull. The Jews so abhorred the place after these horrible sacrifices had been abolished by king Josiah, that they cast into it not only all manner of refuse, but even the dead bodies of animals and of unburied criminals who had been executed. And since fires were always needed to consume the dead bodies, that the air might not become tainted by the putrefaction, it came to pass that the place was called γηννα τοῦ πυρός: Gehenna, and originally the name of a valley or cavity near Jerusalem, a place underneath the earth, a place of punishment for evil. Some suppose the genitive to refer not to purifying fires but to the fires of Moloch; others regard it as the natural symbol of penalty; and then this name was transferred to that place in Hades where the wicked after death will suffer punishment; symbolic name for the final place of punishment of the ungodly. NASB: A figurative way of saying that the source of the tongue’s evil is the devil [see John 8:44]). 7For every species of beasts and birds, of reptiles and creatures of the sea, is tamed and has been tamed by the human race. 8But no one can tame the tongue; it is a restless (unstable, inconstant) evil (troublesome, injurious, pernicious, destructive, baneful: an evil, that which injures) and full of deadly (death-bringing) poison (the poison of asps is under their lips, spoken of men given to reviling and calumniating and thereby injuring others). 9With it we bless (to praise, celebrate with praises) our Lord and Father, and with it we curse (doom, imprecate evil on) men, who have been made in the likeness of God (likeness; particularly, the application of God’s likeness in all people by being created in His image [Gen 1:26, 27; Jn 1:4, 7, 9]. NASB: Since man has been made like God [Gen 1:26-27], to curse man is like cursing God [see Gen 9:6 Whoever sheds man’s blood, By man his blood shall be shed, For in the image of God He made man.]); 10from the same mouth come both blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be this way. 11Does a fountain send out from the same opening both fresh and bitter water? 12Can a fig tree, my brethren, produce olives, or a vine produce figs? Nor can salt water produce fresh.
Wisdom from Above 13Who among you is wise (wise in a practical sense, i. e. one who in action is governed by piety and integrity) and understanding? (epistḗmōn [an adjective] – thoroughly knowledgeable from gaining understanding over long-term, personal acquaintance [it is only used in Js 3:13]). It emphasizes understanding that results from building on previous knowledge, which supports the next stage of understanding; intelligent, experienced [especially one having the knowledge of an expert]) Let him show by his good (beautiful by reason of purity of heart and life, and hence praiseworthy; morally good, noble) behavior his deeds (is applied to the conduct of men, measured by the standard of religion and righteousness — whether bad, or good) in the gentleness of wisdom (the knowledge and practice of the requisites for godly and upright living). 14But if you have bitter (harsh, virulent) jealousy and selfish ambition (in the N. T. “a courting distinction, a desire to put oneself forward, a partisan and factious spirit which does not disdain low arts; partisanship, factiousness”:) in your heart, do not be arrogant (boast down, over-exalting one thing at the expense of another which results in wrong conclusions – i.e. that unjustifiably downgrade by boasting with a sense of false superiority [cf. Ro 11:18]; to glory against, to exult over, to boast oneself to the injury of [a person or a thing]) and so lie against the truth (what is true in any matter under consideration [opposed to what is feigned, fictitious, false]). 15This wisdom is not that which comes down from above (Often [also in Greek writings] used of things which come from heaven, or from God as dwelling in heaven. NASB: From God [see 1:5, 17; 1 Cor 2:6-16]), but is earthly (the wisdom of man, liable to error and misleading,), natural (a wisdom in harmony with the corrupt desires and affections, and springing from them), demonic (resembling or proceeding from an evil spirit, demon-like). 16For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder (instability, a state of disorder, disturbance, confusion. NASB: “God is not a God of confusion but of peace.” [1 Cor 14:33]) and every evil thing (what is doing or being accomplished). 17But the wisdom from above is first pure (pure from every fault, immaculate), then peaceable (pacific, loving peace), gentle (equitable, fair, mild), reasonable (ready to obey; good for persuasion, i.e. easy to be entreated.), full of mercy (“kindness or good will toward the miserable and afflicted, joined with a desire to relieve them”, of men toward men [human beings]) and good (corresponds to the figurative expression good ground, and denotes a soul inclined to goodness, and accordingly eager to learn saving truth and ready to bear the fruits of a Christian life) fruits (used of men’s deeds as exponents of their hearts), unwavering, without hypocrisy (unfeigned, undisguised). 18And the seed (benefit arising from righteousness which consists in righteousness) whose fruit is righteousness is sown (that seed which produces) in peace by those who make peace (NASB: Contrast v. 16. Discord cannot produce righteousness.).
New American Standard Bible
Things to Avoid 4:1What is the source of quarrels and conflicts among you? Is not the source your pleasures (desires for pleasure. NASB: The Greek for this term is the source of our word “hedonism.”) that wage war (of passions that disquiet the soul) in your members? (any function of human personality, such as “sanctified imagination”; members of the human body) 2You lust (“to keep the θυμός [an outburst of passion, wrath] turned upon a thing, hence [cf. “our” to set one’s heart upon] to have a desire for, long for; absolutely, to desire) and do not have; so you commit murder (NASB: Figurative [hyperbole] for “hate.”). You are envious (to be heated or to boil [to be moved] with envy, hatred, anger) and cannot obtain; so you fight and quarrel. You do not have because you do not ask. 3You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives (with bad intent), so that you may spend it on your pleasures. 4You adulteresses (faithless to God, unclean, apostate. NASB: Those who are spiritually unfaithful, who love the world rather than God. For spiritual adultery see, e.g., Jer 31:32.), do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility (enmity) toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy (actively, hostile, hating and opposing another) of God. 5Or do you think that the Scripture speaks to no purpose (for nothing; hence, empty [without content]; lacking [deficient]; [figuratively] without sense; foolish because vain [ineffective], i.e. to no purpose because hollow [worthless], used only in Js 4:5.): “He jealously (doth the Spirit which took up its abode within us [i. e. the Holy Spirit] long enviously?) desires (to pursue with love, to tong after) the Spirit (NASB: Or “spirit.” Then the meaning would be that God “jealously desires” our faithfulness and love [see v. 4]. In this case the “Scripture” referred to may be Ex 20:5.) which He has made (to cause) to dwell in us”? 6But He gives a greater grace. Therefore it says, “GOD IS OPPOSED ([middle] to oppose oneself, resist) TO THE PROUD (appearing above others [conspicuous], i.e. [figuratively] haughty — proud.), BUT GIVES GRACE TO THE HUMBLE (lowly in spirit).” (NASB: vv. 7-10: These verses contain ten commandments, each of which is so stated in Greek that it calls for immediate action in rooting out the sinful attitude of pride.) 7Submit (imperative obey, be subject) therefore to God. Resist (to set against; to set oneself against, to withstand resist, oppose, imperative) the devil and he will flee from you. 8Draw (to make near, refl. to come near) near to God and He will draw near to you (God draws near to one in the bestowment of his grace and help). Cleanse (to abstain in future from wrong-doing) your hands (NASB: Before the OT priests approached God at the tabernacle, they had to wash their hands and feet at the bronze basin as a symbol of spiritual cleansing (EX 30:17-21.), you sinners; and purify (morally) your hearts, you double-minded (divided in interest namely, between God and the world). 9Be miserable (intensely afflict, leaving someone in a wretched [miserable] condition – literally, showing callouses due to sustained affliction [used only at Js 4:9])) and mourn and weep (NASB: Repent); let your laughter be turned into mourning and your joy to gloom (a downcast look expressive of sorrow; hence, shame, dejection, gloom ([heaviness”]). 10Humble (to confess and deplore one’s spiritual littleness and unworthiness) yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt (to raise the spirits by the blessings of salvation) you.
11Do not speak against (to speak against one, to criminate, traduce) one another, brethren. He who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks against the law and judges the law (law [through the idea of prescriptive usage], genitive case [regulation], specially, [of Moses (including the volume); also of the Gospel.], or figuratively [a principle] — law. NASB: The law of love [Lev 19:18] is called “royal” because it is the supreme law that is the source of all other laws governing human relationships. It is the summation of all such laws [Matt 22:36-40; Rom 13:8-10].); but if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge of it. 12There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the One who is able to save (Since salvation begins in this life [in deliverance from error and corrupt notions, in moral purity, in pardon of sin, and in the blessed peace of a soul reconciled to God], but on the visible return of Christ from heaven will be perfected in the consummate blessings of ὁ αἰών ὁ μέλλων, we can understand why τό σῴζεσθαι is spoken of in some passages as a present possession, in others as a good yet future: — as a blessing beginning [or begun] on earth. Here in James — as a thing still future) and to destroy (to devote or give over to eternal misery); but who are you who judge your neighbor (near, nearby)?
13Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit.” 14Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor (mist) that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. 15Instead, you ought to say, “If the Lord wills (to be resolved or determined, to purpose), we will live and also do this or that.” 16But as it is, you boast (to glory [whether with reason or without]) in your arrogance (an impious and empty presumption which trusts in the stability of earthly things, [vaunting], where the plural has reference to the various occasions on which this presumption shows itself); all such boasting is evil (hurtful, i.e. evil; figuratively, calamitous; toilsome, bad; mischief, malice, or [plural] guilt). 17Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin.
New American Standard Bible
Misuse of Riches 5:1Come now, you rich, weep and howl for your miseries (hardship, trouble, calamity) which are coming upon you (NASB: These [as also in 2:2, 6] are not Christians, for James warns them to repent and weep because of the coming misery. Verses 1-6 are similar to OT declarations of judgment against pagan nations, interspersed in books otherwise addressed to God’s people [Is 13-23; Jer 46-51; Ezek 25-32; Amos 1:3-2:16; Zeph 2:4-15].). 2Your riches (abundance of external possessions) have rotted (has perished) and your garments (NASB: one of the main forms of wealth in the ancient world [see Acts 20:33]) have become moth-eaten. 3Your gold and your silver have rusted; and their rust (NASB: The result of hoarding. It both testify against and judge the selfish rich.) will be a witness (it will serve as a proof of your wickedness) against you and will consume your flesh like fire. It is in the last days (the last day [of all days], denotes that with which the present age which precedes the times of the Messiah or the glorious return of Christ from heaven will be closed; of the time nearest the return of Christ from heaven and the consummation of the divine kingdom) that you have stored up your treasure! 4Behold, the pay of the laborers who mowed your fields, and which has been withheld by you, cries out against you; and the outcry of those who did the harvesting has reached the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth. 5You have lived luxuriously (trypháō (from /tryphḗ, “breakdown of character from living in luxury”) – to live indulgently [luxuriously]. /trypháō [“indulging in dainty living”] is only used in Js 5:5. [“Dainty living” in NT times included going to the public baths [“wash houses”], typically decked out with ornate furnishings [e.g. decorated baths made of marble, etc. They eventually became huge recreation centers with an adjoining gymnasium and library.]) on the earth and led a life of wanton (to live luxuriously, lead a voluptuous life, [give oneself to pleasure]) pleasure; you have fattened (nourish) your hearts (denotes the seat and center of all physical and spiritual life; and the vigor and sense of physical life) in a day of slaughter (day of destruction. NASB: The day of judgment. The wicked rich are like cattle that continue to fatten themselves on the very day they are to be slaughtered, totally unaware of coming destruction.). 6You have condemned and put to death the righteous (universally, the meaning is, it was not consistent with his uprightness to expose his betrothed to public reproach [“Righteous” relates to conformity to God’s standard [justice]; [“righteous, just”] describes what is in conformity to God’s own being [His will, standard of rightness]; hence “upright.”) man; he does not resist (to oppose oneself) you.
Exhortation (NASB: V. 7: Therefore: Refers back to vv. 1-6. Since the believers are suffering at the hands of the wicked rich, they are to look for ward patiently to the Lord’s return.)
7Therefore be patient (to persevere patiently and bravely in enduring misfortunes and troubles: absolutely), brethren, until the coming of the Lord. The farmer waits for the precious produce (fruit of the tree) of the soil, being patient about it, until it gets the early and late rains ([In Israel] the latter or vernal rain, which falls chiefly in the months of March and April just before the harvest [see Deut 11:14; Jer 5:24; Hos 6:3; Joel 2:24]). 8You too be patient; strengthen (make firm; tropically to render constant, confirm, one’s mind [establish]) your hearts (of the cultivation of constancy and endurance), for the coming of the Lord is near. 9Do not complain (murmur. NASB: James calls for patience toward believers as well as unbelievers [vv. 7-8]), brethren, against one another, so that you yourselves may not be judged (the act of condemning and decreeing [or inflicting] penalty on one); behold, the Judge (of God passing judgment on the character and deeds of men, and rewarding accordingly) is standing right at the door (he whose advent is just at hand. NASB: A reference to Christ’s second coming [see vv. 7-8] and the judgment associated with it. The NT insistence on imminence [e.g., in Rom 13:12; Heb 10:25; 1 Pet 4:7; Rev 22:20] arises from the teaching that the “last days” began with the incarnation. We have been living in the “last days” [v. 3] ever since. The next great event in redemptive history is Christ’s second coming. The NT does not say when it will take place, but its certainty is never questioned and believers are consistently admonished to watch for it. It was the in this light that James expected the imminent return of Christ.). 10As an example, brethren, of suffering and patience, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. 11We count those blessed who endured (steadfastness, constancy; in the N. T. the characteristic of a man who is unswerved from his deliberate purpose and his loyalty to faith and piety by even the greatest trials and sufferings. NASB: Not “patience.” Job was not patient [Job 3; 12:1-3; 16:1-3; 21:4], but he persevered [Job 1:20-22; 2:9-10; 13:15]. This is the only place in the NT where Job is mentioned, though Job 5:13 is quoted in 1 Cor 3:19). You have heard of the endurance of Job and have seen the outcome of the Lord’s dealings, that the Lord is full of compassion (“many-boweled,” referring to full affection [intense, visceral feeling], used only in Js 5:11; very tender-hearted, extremely full of pity) and is merciful (compassionate — merciful, of tender mercy).
12But above all, my brethren, do not swear (in swearing to call a person or thing as witness, to invoke, swear by), either by heaven or by earth or with any other oath (NASB: James’s words are very close to Christ’s [Matt 5:33-37]. James is not condemning the taking of solemn oaths, such as God’s before Abraham [Heb 6:13] or Jesus’ before Caiaphas [Matt 26:63-64] or Paul’s [Rom 1:9; 9:1] or a man’s before the Lord [Ex 22:11]. Rather, he condemning the flippant use of God’s name or a sacred object to guarantee the truth of what is spoken.); but your yes (indeed, certainly) is to be yes, and your no (not), no, so that you may not fall under judgment.
13Is anyone among you suffering? (to suffer [endure] evils [hardship, troubles]; to be afflicted) Then he must pray. Is anyone cheerful? He is to sing praises. 14Is anyone among you sick? Then he must call for the elders (among Christians, those who presided over the assemblies [or churches]) of the church and they are to pray over him, anointing him with oil (NASB: One of the best-known ancient medicines… Some believe that James may be using the term medically in this passage, Others, however, regard its use here as an aid to faith, an outward sign of the healing to be brought about by God in response to “prayer offered in faith” [v. 15; see Mark 6:13].) in the name of the Lord (in the use of the name of Christ i. e. the power of his name being invoked for assistance); 15and the prayer offered in faith (that proceeds from faith) will restore (one [from injury or peril]; to save a suffering one [from perishing], e. g. one suffering from disease, to make well, heal, restore to health [others understand this as including spiritual healing]) the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise (will cause him to recover) him up, and if he has committed sins, they will be forgiven him. 16Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective (to display one’s activity, show oneself operative) prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much. 17Elijah was a man with a nature (suffering the like with another, of like feelings or affections) like ours, and he prayed earnestly (to pray fervently) that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the earth for three years and six months. 18Then he prayed again, and the sky poured rain and the earth produced its fruit.
19My brethren, if any among you strays (especially through ignorance to be led aside from the path of virtue, to go astray, sin. NASB: The wanderer is either a professing Christian, whose faith is not genuine [cf. Heb 6:4-8; 2 Pet 2:20-21], or a sinning Christian, who needs to be restored. For the former, the death spoken of in v. 20 is the “second death” [Rev 21:8]; for the latter, it is physical death [cf. 1 Cor 11:30].) from the truth (to exemplify truth in the life, to express the form of truth in one’s habits of thought and modes of living) and one turns him back (that they may be in [to walk in] the wisdom of the righteous), 20let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death (equivalent to the cause of death) and will cover (to procure pardon of them from God) a multitude of sins (NASB: The sins of the wanderer will be forgiven by God.).
New American Standard Bible 1 Peter
A Living Hope, and a Sure Salvation 1:1Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who reside as aliens (“one who comes from a foreign country into a city or land to reside there by the side of the natives; hence, stranger; sojourning in a strange place, a foreigner”; in the N. T. metaphorically, in reference to heaven as the native country, one who sojourns on earth: so of Christians), scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia (NASB: Jewish and Gentile Christians scattered through much of Asia Minor. People from this area were in Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost [see Acts 2:9-11]. Paul preached and taught in some of these provinces [see, e.g., Acts 16:6; 18:23; 19:10, 26]), who are chosen (chosen by God, and to obtain salvation through Christ (see ἐκλέγω); hence, Christians are called οἱ ἐκλεκτοί τοῦ Θεοῦ, the chosen or elect of God) 2according to the foreknowledge (forethought, prearrangement. [See second post for an in-depth definition of foreknowledge.]. NASB: All three persons of the trinity are involved in the redemption of the elect.) of God the Father, by the sanctifying work (sanctification wrought by the Holy Spirit. NASB: The order of the terms employed suggest that the sanctifying work of the Spirit referred to here is the influence of the Spirit that draws one from sin toward holiness. Peter says it is “to” [or “for”] obedience and sprinkling of Christ’s blood, i.e., the Spirit’s sanctifying leads to obedient saving faith and cleansing from sin.) of the Spirit, to obey ([hypakoḗ (from /akoúō, “to hear” and /hypó, “beneath”] – i.e. obedience – literally, “submission to what is heard“, i.e. obedience as the response to someone speaking. This refers both to an earthly voice and the Lord’s voice [see 2 Cor 10:5; 1 Pet 1:2]; obedience, compliance, submission. NASB: God’s choice or election is designed to bring this about.) Jesus Christ and be sprinkled with His blood (a sprinkling [purification]: αἷμα ῤαντισμοῦ, blood of sprinkling, i. e. appointed for sprinkling [serving to purify], that they may be purified [or cleansed from the guilt of their sins] by the blood of Christ. NASB: The benefits of Christ’s redemption are applied to His people [See Ex 24:4-8; Is 52:15; Heb 9:11-14, 18-28]): May grace and peace be yours in the fullest measure.
3Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy (especially the mercy and clemency of God in providing and offering to men salvation by Christ) has caused us to be born again (born-again or “born from on high”; /anagennáō [“born again, from above”] is used twice in the NT [1 Pet 1:3, 23] – both times referring to God regenerating a believer [giving a supernatural, new birth]. (anagennáō) “does not occur in classical or Septuagintal Greek. Any use elsewhere [i.e. outside the NT] is disputed [cf. Moulton-Milligan; Selwyn, First Epistle of St. Peter, 122]” [CBL]. This underlines the importance of its two occasions in the NT. to produce again, beget again, beget anew; thoroughly to change the mind of one, so that he lives a new life and one conformed to the will of God) to a living (having vital power in itself and exerting the same upon the soul) hope (always in the N. T., in a good sense: expectation of good, hope; and in the Christian sense, joyful and confident expectation of eternal salvation. NASB: In the Bible, hope is not wishful thinking but a firm conviction, much like faith that is directed toward the future.) through the resurrection of Jesus Christ (a standing up, i.e. a resurrection, a raising up, rising. NASB: [This] Secures for His people their new birth and the hope they will be resurrected just as He was.) from the dead, 4to obtain an inheritance (lifted to a loftier sense in the N. T., is used to denote a. “the eternal blessedness in the consummated kingdom of God which is to be expected after the visible return of Christ”. NASB: Believers are born again not only to a hope but also to the inheritance that is the substance of the hope. The inheritance is eternal-in its essence [it is not subject to decay] and in its preservation [it is divinely kept for us].) which is imperishable (undecaying) and undefiled (“not defiled, unsoiled; free from that by which the nature of a thing is deformed and debased, or its force and vigor impaired”: without defect) and will not fade away (perennial), reserved (a thing for one’s advantage) in heaven for you (or the salvation awaiting them is said to be laid up for them in heaven [see Col 1:5]), 5who are protected (to protect by guarding, to keep: i. e. in close connection with Christ, by watching and guarding to preserve one for the attainment of something [guarded unto etc.], passive) by the power of God (is used of the divine power considered as acting upon the minds of men) through faith (“the principle of faith at work in you,” “the operating-principle of faith in them,” etc.. NASB: There are two sides to the perseverance of the Christian. He is shielded (1) by God’s power and (2) by his own faith. Thus he is never kept contrary to his will nor apart from God’s activity.) for a salvation (future salvation, the sum of benefits and blessings which Christians, redeemed from all earthly ills, will enjoy after the visible return of Christ from heaven in the consummated and eternal kingdom of God. NASB: The Bible speaks of salvation as (1) past-when a person first believes [see, e.g., Titus 3:5], (2) present-the continuing process of salvation, or the sanctification [see v. 9; 1 Cor 1:18], and (3) future-when Christ returns and salvation, or sanctification, is completed through glorification [here; see also Rom 8:23; 30; 13:11].) ready (prepared) to be revealed in the last time (the last period of the present age, the time just before the return of Christ from heaven). 6In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary (that which is needful), you have been distressed (to make sorrowful; to affect with sadness, cause grief; to throw into sorrow) by various trials (adversity, affliction, trouble, sent by God and serving to test or prove one’s faith, holiness, character: plural), 7so that the proof (a testing) of your faith, being more precious (very valuable, of great price) than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire (to test, examine, prove, scrutinize [to see whether a thing be genuine or not], as metals), may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation (an uncovering) of Jesus Christ; 8and though you have not seen Him (cf. John 20:29), you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy (gladness, delight) inexpressible (aneklálētos [from /A “not” and /eklaléō, “fully tell”] – properly, unable to fully describe or report; impossible to communicate [convey] adequately by words; hence, unutterable, inexpressible [used only in 1 Pet 1:8].) and full of glory (surpassing i. e. heavenly, joy), 9obtaining as the outcome (an end, a toll; that by which a thing is finished, its close, final lot, fate, as if a recompense.) of your faith the salvation (deliverance; future salvation, the sum of benefits and blessings which Christians, redeemed from all earthly ills, will enjoy after the visible return of Christ from heaven in the consummated and eternal kingdom of God) of your souls (“the [human] soul in so far as it is so constituted that by the right use of the aids offered it by God it can attain its highest end and secure eternal blessedness, the soul regarded as a moral being designed for everlasting life”; from eternal death. NASB: Implies the whole person. Peter is not excluding the body from heaven.).
10As to this salvation, the prophets (“one who, moved by the Spirit of God and hence, his organ or spokesman, solemnly declares to men what he has received by inspiration, especially future events, and in particular such as relate to the cause and kingdom of God and to human salvation. The title is applied to the O. T. prophets” — and with allusion to their age, life, death, deeds, appeal is made to their utterances as having foretold the kingdom, deeds, death, of Jesus the Messiah. NASB: Inspiration [see 2 Peter 1:21] did not bestow omniscience. The prophets probably did not always understand the full significance of all the words they spoke.) who prophesied of the grace that would come to you made careful searches and inquiries, 11seeking to know what person or time the Spirit of Christ (NASB: The Holy Spirit is called this because Christ sent Him [see John 16:7] and ministered through Him [see Luke 4:14, 18].) within them was indicating as He predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories to follow (NASB: Those who are united to Christ will also, after suffering, enter into glory. And they will benefit in the midst of their present suffering from His having already entered into glory [vv. 3, 8, 21; 3:21-22].). 12It was revealed (is used of God revealing to men things unknown, especially those relating to salvation: — whether by deeds, by intimacy with Christ, by his words and acts, — or by the Holy Spirit) to them that they were not serving (to minister a thing unto one, to serve one with or by supplying anything) themselves, but you, in these things which now have been announced to you through those who preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven (NASB: [sent ]By Christ, on the day of Pentecost [see Acts 2:33], at which Peter was present. God the Father also sent the Spirit [see John 14:16, 26].)—things into which angels long (desire, lust after) to look (NASB: Their intense desire is highlighted by the Greek word rendered “to look into.” It means to stoop and look intently” [see John 20:5, 11].).
13Therefore, prepare (raise up a tunic [= “tighten the belt”], “girding oneself”; [figuratively] getting ready [prepared] to move quickly, i.e. where someone needs to go and arrive at without delay [used only in 1 Pet 1:13].) your minds for action (NASB: The first of a long series of exhortations [actually imperatives] that end at 5:11. This one is a graphic call for action. In the language of the first century it meant that the leader should literally gather up his long, flowing garments and be ready for physical action.), keep sober (to be sober; in the N. T. everywhere tropically, to be calm and collected in spirit; to be temperate, dispassionate, circumspect) in spirit, fix your hope (to hope to receive something) completely on the grace to be brought to you (NASB: The final state of complete blessedness and deliverance from sin. Peter later indicates that a major purpose of this letter is to encourage and testify regarding the true grace of God [5:12]) at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 14As obedient children, do not be conformed (to conform oneself [i. e. one’s mind and character] to another’s pattern [fashion oneself according to]) to the former lusts (desire for what is forbidden) which were yours in your ignorance (want of knowledge, ignorance, especially of divine things), 15but like the Holy One who called you, be holy (in a moral sense, pure, sinless, upright, holy: of God pre-eminently) yourselves also in all your behavior; 16because it is written, “YOU SHALL BE HOLY, FOR I AM HOLY.” (NASB: To be holy is to be set-apart from sin and impurity, and set apart to God, The complete moral perfection of God, whose eyes are too pure to look on evil with favor [Hab 1:13], should move His people to strive for moral purity.)
17If you address as Father the One who impartially judges according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves in fear (reverence, respect [for authority, rank, dignity]) during the time of your stay on earth; 18knowing that you were not redeemed (to redeem, liberate by payment of ransom, generally expressed by the middle; universally, to liberate: passive. NASB: Jesus redeems believers from the “curse of the Law” [Gal 3:13] and “every lawless deed” [Titus 2:14]. The ransom price… [was] His death [Matt 20:28; Mark 10:45; Heb 9:15] or Christ Himself [Gal 3:13]. The result is the “forgiveness of sin” [Col 1:14] and “being justified” [Rom 3:24] ] ) with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile (useless, to no purpose, given to vain things and leading away from salvation) way of life (properly, ‘walk,’ i. e. manner of life, behavior, conduct) inherited (handed down from one’s fathers) from your forefathers, 19but with precious (held as of great price) blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless (NASB: The OT sacrifices were types [foreshadows] of Christ, depicting the ultimate and only effective sacrifice. Thus Christ is the Passover lamb [1 Cor 5:7], who takes the sin of the world [John 1:29].), the blood of Christ. 20For He was foreknown (whose character he clearly saw beforehand; to predestinate [cf. Rom 11]; namely, ὑπό τοῦ Θεοῦ [foreknown by God, although not yet ‘made manifest’ to men]. NASB: God knew before creation that it would be necessary for Christ to redeem man [cf. Rev 13:8], but He has revealed Christ in these last times. Or the Greek for “foreknown” may also be rendered “chosen.” Then the meaning would be that in eternity past God “chose” Christ as Redeemer.) before the foundation (/katabolḗ [“foundation-plan”] typically relates to Christ’s incarnation, i.e. coming to earth in the flesh to be our Redeemer. This divine plan was set and sealed [guaranteed] before creation [Heb 9:26; 1 Pet 1:20; Rev 13:8].) of the world (the world, i. e. the universe), but has appeared (to be made manifest, to show oneself) in these last times for the sake of you 21who through ([dia] across [to the other side], back-and-forth to go all the way through, “successfully across” [“thoroughly”]. (diá) is also commonly used as a prefix and lend the same idea [“thoroughly,” literally, “successfully” across to the other side]. (diá) is a root of the English term diameter [“across to the other side, through“]. on account of, because of) Him are believers in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.
22Since you have in obedience (compliance, submission) to the truth (“the truth, as taught in the Christian religion, respecting God and the execution of his purposes through Christ, and respecting the duties of man,” opposed alike to the superstitions of the Gentiles and the inventions of the Jews, and to the corrupt opinions and precepts of false teachers even among Christian) purified (morally) your souls for a sincere love of the brethren, fervently (earnestly) love one another from the heart, 23for you have been born again (born-again or “born from on high.” /anagennáō [“born again, from above”] is used twice in the NT [1 Pet 1:3, 23] – both times referring to God regenerating a believer [giving a supernatural, new birth]. … This underlines the importance of its two occasions in the NT [1 Pet 1:3, 23].) not of seed which is perishable but imperishable, that is, through the living (having vital power in itself and exerting the same upon the soul) and enduring (of things, not to perish, to last, stand) word of God (NASB: The new birth comes about through the direct action of the Holy Spirit [Titus 3:5], but the word of God plays an important role [see James 1:18], for it presents the gospel to the sinner and calls on him to repent and believe in Christ [see v. 25].).
24For, “ALL FLESH IS LIKE GRASS, AND ALL ITS GLORY LIKE THE FLOWER OF GRASS. THE GRASS WITHERS, AND THE FLOWER FALLS OFF,
25BUT THE WORD OF THE LORD ENDURES FOREVER.” (NASB: The main point of the quotation here.) And this is the word which was preached to you.
Excerpts from the work of Dr. Robert Saucy
I heard a minister say yesterday that before God can regenerate a person, that person must first repent of his sins (see 2 Timothy 2:25; Jeremiah 31:18), believe the gospel (see John 3:3; John 8:47; Philippians 1:29; John 10:26; 2 Thessalonians 3:2), and accept Yehoshua into his heart (see John 14:17). He said that man’s fallen condition does not prevent him for doing this. The problem with this doctrine is that it is found nowhere in Scripture, i.e., there is no verse, passages, or teaching in Scripture that supports it. Please note: “In all of Scripture, only the term faith (pístis [from 3982/peithô, “persuade, be persuaded”] – properly, persuasion [be persuaded, come to trust]; faith) is ever used in the following way: Ro 14:23: Whatever is not of faith (/pistis) is sin.” Heb 11:6: “And without faith (/pistis) it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him” (NASU). If these verses are true, and they are, then the following must be true as well: (1) to repent, believe the gospel, and accept Yehoshua into one’s heart without faith is sin (see Heb 4:2 For indeed we have had good news preached to us, just as they also; but the word they heard did not profit them, because it was not united by faith in those who heard.). (2) One must have faith prior to believing the gospel because the one drawing neat to God must believe that (a.) God exist and (b.) that He is a rewarder of those who draw near to Him. (3) Believing in Yehoshua pleases God (John 6:29 Therefore they said to Him, “What shall we do, so that we may work the works of God?” Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent.”). See Heb 11:6 And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe ( pisteúō [from /pístis, “faith,” derived from /peíthō, “persuade, be persuaded”] – believe [affirm, have confidence]; used of persuading oneself [= human believing] and with the sacred significance of being persuaded by the Lord [= faith-believing]. Only the context indicates whether /pisteúō [“believe”] is self-serving [without sacred meaning], or the believing that leads to/proceeds from God’s inbirthing of faith.) that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him. The Greek: Without moreover faith [it is] impossible to please [him] to believe indeed it behoves the one drawing near to God that he exists and [that] to those seeking him a reward he becomes. (Alice: YHWH is the reward.) If one has (saving) faith, one must have received grace and faith from God. See Eph 2:8-9 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.
Regeneration encompasses all of creation, not just man. Man is a part of God’s plan; when the “Eternal Order” is ushered in, all of creation will have been regenerated. See Rev 21:5 And He who sits on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” And He said, “Write, for these words are faithful and true.” Regeneration is the work of God alone; it is not based on anything that man does. YHVH is the Almighty God (Gen 17:1) who survived the fall. To (spiritually) see Yehoshua today, one must enter the spiritual kingdom of God on earth. How can one believe in what one cannot see or perceive”? John 3:3 Jesus answered and said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” John 3:36 “He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.” John 3:5 Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. Finally, John 9:31 “We know that God does not hear sinners; but if anyone is God-fearing and does His will, He hears him. God responds positively to the godly (hears the God-fearing), but He does not hear (grant the requests of) those who sin (Job 27:8-9; 35:13; Ps. 34:15-16; 66:18; 145:19; Prov. 15:29; 28:9; Isa. 1:15). Please see the following verses, things that a sinner cannot do: Isaiah 55:8-9; Psalm 50:21; Job 11:7-8; John 3:3, 5; Jeremiah 17:9; Jeremiah 10:23; Proverbs 14:12; Galatians 3:10; John 14:17; John 8:47; 1Corinthians 2:14; John 1:13; Romans 9:15-16; 2 Thessalonians 3:2; Philippians 1:29; 2 Timothy 2:25; 2 Peter 1:1; John 6:44, 65; John 10:26; Romans 8:5, 8, 9; Acts 17:30; 1 Timothy 1:8; Romans 8:3; Romans 3:20; Romans 7:18; Psalm 88:8; Psalm 85:4; Jeremiah 31:18; Mark 9:24; Jonah 2:9.
The Doctrine of Regeneration
Dr. Robert, Bob, Saucy
The Concept of Regeneration
The various terms used to express this doctrine:
- Palingenesia – “regeneration” (from palin “again” and genesis “birth,” “origin”)
- Tit. 3:5 – Regeneration of person in salvation. This talks about the believer personally; it talks about the believer personally being renewed.
- Matt. 19:28 – Regeneration of the world in messianic age. The parallel in Luke 22:30 is “in my kingdom.” Büchsel points out that in Mark 10:30 and Luke 18:30 the phrase, “in the coming age,” has the same meaning (TDNT, I, 688). This talks about a regeneration that is coming cosmically. In the regeneration is when the Lord comes to establish his kingdom on earth and the Day of the Lord takes over from the day of man, and things are done now righteously.
- Anagennao – “to beget again” (from ana “anew” and gennao “to beget,” or “to bear”). I Pet. 1:3, 23 “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,” “Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.”
- Apokueo – “to bring forth, give birth to” “the medical word for birth as the close of pregnancy” (Hort, Ja. 26f.). Ja. 1:18 – Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.
- Gennao anothen – “to be born again,” or “to be born from above” (from gennao “to beget,” or “to bear” and anothen “again” or more likely “from above” (cf. the other uses of this term in John 3:31; 19:11, 23). Jn. 3:3,7 – “Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” “Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.
- Other terminology expressing regeneration.
- Spiritual resurrection
- Rom. 6:13 – Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.
- Eph. 2:5 – Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)
- New Creation
- Eph. 2:10 – For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
- Eph. 4:24 – And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.
- 2 Cor. 5:17 – Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
- 2 Cor. 5:17 – new creation. Believers have a new creation.
- Spiritual resurrection
- The definition of regeneration is the re-creating of one who is spiritually dead through the life-giving power of the Holy Spirit.
The Result of Regeneration
The result of regeneration is a new creature with a new relationship to God. Believers are new persons, but like immature infants designed to grow in the true characteristics of the new person—love, the fruit of the Spirit (may be outwardly (morally) good). Believers are created to grow.
- 2 Cor. 5:17 – new creation. Believers have a new creation.
- Jn. 1:12 – new relation, that is, believers are children of God.
- Ez. 36:26 – new heart and new spirit. Believers have a new heart. Heart is what the person really is. So that indicates a new person. Believers have a new spirit. Spirit is the enlivening power. Believers have a new kind of spirit that drives them.
- 2 Pet. 1:4 – partakers of the divine nature – means either partakers of the Spirit (e.g., Paul’s teaching in 2 Cor. 13:14; Phil. 2:1, cf. Bigg, ICC), or partakers of God’s moral character.
Regeneration and Salvation
It starts here with believers and expands out to a whole creation of a New Heaven and a New Earth.
New Heaven and New Earth
The real answer is in the “proof”. Have you experienced the following since you believed? I am not asking if your spiritual leader etc. told you this is what happened to you; I am asking you if you have literally experienced the following since you believed. Many people have never heard the term Soteriology, but the saved identify with this doctrine when they do because that is exactly what happened to them experientially.
A New Orientation of Life with New Prevailing Dispositions
Believers have a new heart, and the verse for them to continually remember is Proverbs 4:23 “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.” Ezek. 36:27 says the new heart and presence of the Spirit will cause the regenerate to behave according to God’s nature and will, “And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.” Characteristics of this new life are:
- Love for God (Deut. 30:6; John 8:42; cf. Rom. 8:16, there is an inner witness of one’s relationship to God).
- Deut. 30:6 And the LORD thy God will circumcise thine heart, and the heart of thy seed, to love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, that thou mayest live.
- Jn. 8:42 Jesus said unto them, If God were your Father, ye would love me: for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me. (Love in relationship to Yehoshua)
- Rom. 8:16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God.
- Faith (and love) for Christ, the Son and revelation of God (1 Jn. 5:1).
- 1Jn 5:1 Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him.
- Love for God’s people (sons and daughters in the family of God) (1 Jn. 3:14; 4:7).
- 1Jn 3:14 We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death.
- 1Jn 4:7 Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.
- Love for righteousness (or God’s law) (1 Jn. 2:29; 3:9; 5:18).
- 1Jn. 2:29 If ye know that he is righteous, ye know that every one that doeth righteousness is born of him.
- 1Jn. 3:9 Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. (These are both present tenses, so the best way to understand this is first, that no one who is born of God can habitually practice sin. A person cannot live in sin and have a new heart. It is impossible. Second, a believer cannot habitually practice sin.)
- 1Jn. 5:18 We know that whosoever is born of God sinneth not; but he that is begotten of God keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not. (In a continual sense or habitual characteristic: no one who is born of God can habitually practice sin. People go to hell by habitually practicing sin, but the believe cannot habitually practice sin because there is a seed in him; he has changes.)
- Victory over the world (1 Jn. 5:4).
- 1Jn. 5:4 For whatsoever is born of God overcometh (present tense) the world: and this is the victory that overcometh (aorist tense, has overcome) the world, even our faith. (When believers came to Christ, they joined one who had overcome the world; therefore, they are overcomes. This does not mean that they will never be overcome by the world, but it means a habitual life. A believer cannot continually live worldly, after the pattern of the world.
- A living hope (1 Pet. 1:3).
1Pet 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, (Believers are born into a state, a realm, of hope.)
These characteristics of the regenerate person provide the evidence for one’s new birth. Note that the characteristics are both internal (examples: faith and love for God as well as the witness of the Spirit, and external in the behavior of life). There is a pattern in the Bible, that is, it all comes down to love. The Bible says that if a person loves God, he will obey and keep His commandments. He will obey His righteousness. Obedience to God and love should characterize a believer’s life.
Saucy expounds, believers need to realize that God is making everything a new. Christ is the first born of the new creation – and believers are the next thing to be made a part of that new creation. Presently believers have been made new only inwardly, their bodies are still a part of this old: 2 Cor. 5:1 “For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.”
In the regeneration there will be a new heaven and a new earth finally. The recreating of one that is primarily dead through the life giving power of the Spirit of God. God does not annihilate believers, nor does He reform them, He recreates them. It is not an ex nihilo creation (fiat, creating something out of nothing). He does something so radically new it is called a new creation. He did not annihilate the believer’s old heart. The Bible says that He gave the believer a new heart. So what He did was create something in the believer’s heart. The word create, bara’, is only used with God because only God can do these things. Therefore it is actually a new creation.
2 Pet. 1:4 says “Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.” Believers are partakers of the divine nature (cf. 3 under The Results of Regeneration above.). They are created after the image of God, and therefore they are created in the likeness of God in the sense that they are created now as loving people, righteous people, holy people, and all the things that God is. They obviously are finite in all of those compared to God, but it is true. Believers are brand new people with a brand new propensity. The Bible does not identify them any longer as sinners but as saints, although it acknowledges that they still sin and need to confess. This is significant because they tend to live according to what they believe they are (example, a sinner saved by grace). Believers need to know who they are in Christ and live accordingly.
New American Standard Bible
As Newborn Babes 2:1Therefore, putting aside all malice (malignity, malice, ill-will, desire to injure) and all deceit (bait, a lure, snare; hence, craft, deceit, guile) and hypocrisy (dissimulation) and envy and all slander (defamation, evil-speaking), 2like newborn babies, long for (NASB: The unrestrained hunger for a healthy baby provides an example of the kind of eager desire for spiritual food that ought to mark the believer [see 1:23, 25].) the pure milk (guileless; of things, unadulterated, pure: of milk. NASB: Milk is not to be understood here as in 1 Cor 3:2; Heb 5:12-14-in unfavorable contrast to solid food-but as an appropriate nourishment for babies.) of the word (The believer grasps “divine reasonableness” [ /logikós] by the Lord’s inbirthings [gift] of faith – hence the close connection between [logikós] and faith [ /písti]) in Ro 12:1-3 [cf. 1 Pet 1:21, 2:2]; rational; agreeable to reason, following reason, reasonable: the milk which nourishes the soul), so that by it you may grow (NASB: The Greek for this phrase is the standard term for the desirable growth of children. Passive to grow [Tense: Aorist: The aorist is said to be “simple occurrence” or “summary occurrence”, without regard for the amount of time taken to accomplish the action. This tense is also often referred to as the ‘punctiliar’ tense. ‘Punctiliar’ in this sense means ‘viewed as a single, collective whole,’ a “one-point-in-time” action, although it may actually take place over a period of time. In the indicative mood the aorist tense denotes action that occurred in the past time, often translated like the English simple past tense. Mood: Subjunctive: The subjunctive mood indicates probability or objective possibility. The action of the verb will possibly happen, depending on certain objective factors or circumstances. It is oftentimes used in conditional statements (i.e. ‘If…then…’ clauses) or in purpose clauses. However if the subjunctive mood is used in a purpose or result clause, then the action should not be thought of as a possible result, but should be viewed as a definite outcome that will happen as a result of another stated action. Voice: Passive: Grammatical voice indicates whether the subject is the performer of the action of the verb (active voice), or the subject is the recipient of the action (passive voice). If the subject of the sentence is executing the action, then the verb is referred to as being in the active voice.], increase, become greater: to the attaining of salvation) in respect to salvation (unto [the attainment of]) salvation. BKC: … [lit “unto salvation”] recall the ultimate fulfillment of salvation spoken of in 1:5, 7, 9, 13. ), 3if you have tasted (to taste, i. e. perceive the flavor of, partake of, enjoy: equivalent to to feel, make trial of, experience) the kindness (gracious, kind, benevolent: of God) of the Lord.
As Living Stones 4And coming to Him as to a living stone (Living: having vital power in itself and exerting the same upon the soul: Hebrew 10:20 (this phrase describing that characteristic of divine grace, in granting the pardon of sin and fellowship with God, which likens it to a way leading to the heavenly sanctuary). In the same manner the predicate ὁ ζῶν [live, alive] is applied to those things to which persons are compared who possess real life, in the expressions λίθοι ζῶντες [a stone; met: of Jesus as the chief stone in a building], 1 Peter 2:4. Stone: metaphorically of Christ. NASB: The stone is living in that it is personal. Furthermore He is a life-giving stone. Christ as the Son of God has life in Himself [John 1:4; 5:26]. See also “living water” [John 4:10-14; 7:38], “living bread” [John 6:51]) and “living way” [Heb 10:20.]) which has been rejected by men, but is choice (choice, select, i. e. the best of its kind or class, excellent, preeminent: of things) and precious (held in honor, prized; hence, precious) in the sight (with one i. e. in his judgment, he being judge; near; i.e. from beside, at [or in] the vicinity of, to the proximity with) of God, 5you also, as living stones (living stones, of which the temple of God is built. NASB: Believers are not literal pieces of rock, but are persons. In addition, they derive their life from Christ, who is the original living Stone to whom they have come [v. 4], the “life-giving spirit” [1 Cor 15:45].), are being built up as a spiritual (in reference to things; emanating from the Divine Spirit, or exhibiting its effects and so its character: θυσίαι, tropically, the acts of a life dedicated to God and approved by him, due to the influence of the Holy Spirit [tacitly opposed to the sacrifices of an external worship]) house (a body of Christians [a church], as pervaded by the Spirit and power of God) or a holy priesthood (so Christians are called, because they have access to God and offer not external but ‘spiritual’ sacrifices. NASB: The whole body of believers. As priests, believers are to (1) reflect the holiness of God and that of their high priest, (2) offer spiritual sacrifices, (3) intercede for man before God and (4) represent God before man.), to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable (well-received, accepted. NASB: Through the work of our Mediator, Jesus Christ [cf. John 14:6]. Believers are living stones that make up a spiritual temple in which, as a holy priesthood, they offer up spiritual sacrifices) to God through Jesus Christ.
6For this is contained in Scripture: “BEHOLD, I LAY IN ZION A CHOICE STONE, A PRECIOUS CORNER stone, AND HE WHO BELIEVES IN HIM WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED.”
7This precious value, then, is for you who believe; but for those who disbelieve, “THE STONE WHICH THE BUILDERS REJECTED, THIS BECAME THE VERY CORNER stone,”
8and, “A STONE OF STUMBLING AND A ROCK OF OFFENSE”; for they stumble because they are disobedient to the word, and to this doom they were also appointed (τιθέναι τινα εἰς τί, to appoint one to [destine one to be] anything, passive.).
9But you are A CHOSEN RACE (chosen by God, and to obtain salvation through Christ (see ἐκλέγω); hence, Christians are called οἱ ἐκλεκτοί τοῦ Θεοῦ, the chosen or elect of God, (יְהוָה בְּחִירֵי, said of pious Israelites [Isaiah 65:9, 15, 23; Psalms 104:43]: γένος ἐκλεκτόν, 1 Peter 2:9 [from Isaiah 43:20]. ἐκλεκτοί, those who have become true partakers of the Christian salvation are contrasted with κλητοί, those who have been invited but who have not shown themselves fitted to obtain it [others regard the ‘called’ and the ‘chosen’ here as alike partakers of salvation, but the latter as the ‘choice ones’ (see 2 below), distinguished above the former. Finally, those are called ἐκλεκτοί who are destined for salvation but have not yet been brought to it, 2 Timothy 2:10.), A royal (kingly, regal) PRIESTHOOD, A HOLY (set apart for God, to be, as it were, exclusively his: Just as the Israelites claimed for themselves the title οἱ ἅγιοι [set apart by (or for) God, holy, sacred], because God selected them from the other nations to lead a life acceptable to him and rejoice in his favor and protection [Daniel 7:18, 22], so this appellation is very often in the N. T. transferred to Christians, as those whom God has selected, that under the influence of the Holy Spirit they may be rendered, through holiness, partakers of salvation in the kingdom of God: 1 Peter 2:9) NATION, A PEOPLE FOR God’s OWN POSSESSION (one’s own property), so that you may proclaim (to tell out or forth, to declare abroad, divulge, publish: to make known by praising or proclaiming, to celebrate [show forth]: 1 Peter 2:9) the excellencies (in the plural his excellences, perfections, ‘which shine forth in our gratuitous calling and in the whole work of our salvation’) of Him who has called you out of darkness (of ignorance respecting divine things and human duties, and the accompanying ungodliness and immorality, together with their consequent misery) into His marvelous (wonderful, marvellous; i. e., a. worthy of pious admiration, admirable, excellent) light (By a figure frequently in the N. T., φῶς is used to denote truth and its knowledge, together with the spiritual purity congruous with it); 10for you once were NOT A PEOPLE, but now you are THE PEOPLE OF GOD; you had NOT RECEIVED MERCY, but now you have RECEIVED MERCY (Specifically, of God granting even to the unworthy favor, benefits, opportunities, and particularly salvation by Christ, passive.).
11Beloved, I urge you as aliens and strangers to abstain (to hold back, keep off, to be away, be distant) from fleshly (having the nature of flesh, i. e. under the control of the animal appetites, having its seat in the animal nature or roused by the animal nature) lusts which wage (to fight [war]: of passions that disquiet the soul) war against the soul. 12Keep your behavior excellent among the Gentiles, so that in the thing in which they slander (καταλάλω; to speak against one, to criminate, traduce: [wherein ye are spoken against]) you as evildoers (malefactor), they may because of your good deeds (NASB: Deeds that can be seen to be good [cf. Matt 5:16]. The Greek word translated “observe” refers to a careful watching, over a period of time. The pagans’ evaluation is not a “a snap judgment.”), as they observe them, glorify (on to praise, extol, magnify, celebrate) God in the day of visitation (in biblical Greek, after the Hebrew פְּקֻדָּה, that act by which God looks into and searches out the ways, deeds, character, of men, in order to adjudge them their lot accordingly, whether joyous or sad; inspection, investigation, visitation (Vulg. Usuallyvisitatio): so universally, when he shall search the souls of men, i. e. in the time of divine judgment; so perhaps [1 Peter 2:12]. NASB: Perhaps the day of judgment and ensuing punishment, or possibly the day when God visits a person with salvation. The believer’s good life may then influence the unbeliever to repent and believe.).
(NASB: vv. 13-16: Peter urges that Christians submit to all legitimate authorities, whether or not the persons exercising authority are believers. The recognition of properly constituted authority is necessary for the greatest good of the largest number of people, and it is necessary to best fulfill the will of God in the world.)
13Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether to a king as the one in authority, 14or to governors as sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and the praise of those who do right (NASB: Authorities established among men depend on God for its existence [Rom 13:1-2]. Indirectly, when one disobeys a human ruler he disobeys God, who ordained the system of human government [cf. Rom 13:2]. [Alice: that is, unless it is in direct opposition to God’s Word [see Acts 5:29But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men.]). 15For such is the will of God that by doing right you may silence the ignorance (want of knowledge. NASB: Good citizenship counters false charges made against Christians and thus commends the gospel to unbelievers.) of foolish (without reason, senseless, foolish, stupid; without refection or intelligence, acting rashly.) men. 16Act as free men (in an ethical sense: free from the yoke of the Mosaic law. NASB: Act as free men: Does not authorize rebellion against constituted authority, but urges believers freely to submit to God and to earthly authorities [as long as such submission does not conflict with the law of God].), and do not use your freedom (liberty to do or to omit things having no relation to salvation; from the yoke of the Mosaic law) as a covering (a pretext, cloak) for evil, but use it as bondslaves (doúlos someone who belongs to another; a bond-slave, without any ownership rights of their own. /doúlos [“bond-slave”] is used with the highest dignity in the NT – namely, of believers who willingly live under Christ’s authority as His devoted followers.) of God. 17Honor (to have in honor, to revere, venerate) all people (NASB: Because every human being bears the image of God.), love the brotherhood (the abstract for the concrete, a band of brothers, i. e. of Christians, Christian brethren), fear (to reverence, venerate, to treat with deference or reverential obedience, used of his devout worshippers) God, honor the king.
18Servants, be submissive to your masters with all respect (respect [for authority, rank, dignity]), not only to those who are good and gentle, but also to those who are unreasonable (unfair, surly, froward). 19For this finds favor (this wins for us (God’s) favor [is acceptable]), if for the sake of conscience toward God a person bears up under sorrows when suffering unjustly. 20For what credit is there if, when you sin and are harshly treated, you endure it with patience? But if when you do what is right and suffer for it you patiently endure it, this finds favor with God. (NASB: Servants: Household servants, whatever their particular training and functions. The context indicates that Peter is addressing Christian slaves. NT writers do not attack slavery as an institution, but the NT contains the principles that ultimately uprooted slavery. Peter’s basic teaching on the subject may apply to employer-employee relations today [see Eph 6:5-8; Col 3:22-25; 1 Tim 6:1-2; Titus 2:9-10].)
Christ Is Our Example 21For you have been called for this purpose (NASB: The patient endurance of injustice is part of God’s plan for the Christian. It was an important feature of the true grace of God experienced by the readers [5:12].), since Christ also suffered for you (NASB: Cf. Is 52:13-53:12. Christ is the supreme example of suffering evil for doing good. His experience as the suffering Servant-Savior transforms the suffering of His followers from misery into privilege.), leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps, 22WHO COMMITTED NO SIN, NOR WAS ANY DECEIT (craft, guile) FOUND IN HIS MOUTH; 23and while being reviled (to reproach, rail at, revile, heap abuse upon, passive), He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting (to commit, to commend his cause) Himself to Him who judges righteously; 24and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed (tropically, to make whole i. e. to free from errors and sins, to bring about [one’s] salvation). 25For you were continually straying (to go astray, wander, roam about) like sheep, but now you have returned (to turn, to turn oneself: of Gentiles passing over to the religion of Christ) to the Shepherd (the presiding officer, manager, director, of any assembly: so of Christ the Head of the church. NASB: Sheep: A concept raised here in connection with the allusion to the wandering sheep of Is 53. The sheep had wandered from their Shepherd, and to their Shepherd [Christ] they have now returned.) and Guardian (in the N. T., guardian of souls, one who watches over their welfare. NASB: Guardian: Christ [cf. 5:2, 4; Acts 20:28]. Elders are to be both shepherds and guardians, i.e., they are to look out for the welfare of the flock. These are not two separate offices or function; the second term is a further explanation of the first.) of your souls.
New American Standard Bible
Godly Living 3:1In the same way (NASB: As believers are to submit to government authorities [2:13-17], and as slaves are to submit to masters [2:18-25]), you wives, be submissive (to subject oneself, to obey; to submit to one’s control; to yield to one’s admonition or advice. NASB: The same Greek verb as is used in 2:13, 18, a term that calls for submission to recognized authority. Inferiority is not implied by this passage. The submission is one of role or function necessary for the orderly operation of the home.) to your own husbands so that even if any of them are disobedient to the word (NASB: The gospel message), they may be won (to gain one to faith in Christ [this is not guaranteeing salvation to an unbeliever, see 1 Cor 7: 12-16 But to the rest I say, not the Lord, that if any brother has a wife who is an unbeliever, and she consents to live with him, he must not divorce her. And a woman who has an unbelieving husband, and he consents to live with her, she must not send her husband away. For the unbelieving husband is sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified through her believing husband; for otherwise your children are unclean, but now they are holy. Yet if the unbelieving one leaves, let him leave; the brother or the sister is not under bondage in such cases, but God has called us to peace. For how do you know, O wife, whether you will save your husband? Or how do you know, O husband, whether you will save your wife?]) without a word (NASB: Believing wives are not to rely on argumentation to win their unbelieving husbands, but on the quality of their lives. “Actions speak louder than words.”) by the behavior (‘walk,’ i. e. manner of life, conduct) of their wives, 2as they observe your chaste (pure from every fault, immaculate) and respectful (reverence, respect [for authority, rank, dignity]: behavior coupled with reverence for one’s husband) behavior (NASB: Their lives are to be marked by a moral purity that springs from reverence toward God.). 3Your adornment (ornament, decoration) must not be merely external—braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses; 4but let it be the hidden (the inner part of man, the soul) person (with a reference to the twofold nature of man, soul and body) of the heart (the center and seat of spiritual life, “the soul or mind, as it is the fountain and seat of the thoughts, passions, desires, appetites, affections, purposes, endeavors” [so in English heart, inner man, etc.]), with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious (excellent, of surpassing value [of great price]) in the sight (before one i. e. he looking on and judging, in one’s judgment) of God (NASB: Hair… jewelry: Extreme coiffure and gaudy exhibits of jewelry. Christian women should not rely on such extremes of adornment for beauty. Dresses: The Greek for this word simply means “garment,” but in this context expensive garments are meant). 5For in this way in former times the holy (worthies of the O. T. accepted by God for their piety. NASB: The standards stated by Peter are not limited to any particular time or culture.) women also, who hoped (in whom you have put your hope, and rely upon it) in God, used to adorn themselves, being submissive to their own husbands; 6just as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord (master), and you have become her children if you do what is right without being frightened (to fear, be afraid; to be struck with fear, to be seized with alarm: of those who fear harm or injury) by any fear (to be afraid with terror, to be put in fear by any terror).
7You husbands in the same way, live with your wives in an understanding way (moral wisdom, such as is seen in right living, and in contact with others: wisely, as with someone weaker (in order to commend to husbands the obligations of kindness toward their wives [for the weaker the vessels, the greater must be the care lest they be broken]. NASB: Not a reference to moral stamina, strength of character or mental capacity, but most likely to sheer physical strength.), since she is a woman (female); and show her honor (a valuing) as a fellow heir of the grace of life (the grace of God evident in the life obtained. NASB: Women experience the saving grace of God on equal terms with men [see Gal 3:28]), so that your prayers will not be hindered (that ye be not hindered from praying [together. NASB: Spiritual fellowship, with God and with one another, may be hindered by disregarding God’s instruction concerning husband-wife relationships]).
(NASB: vv. 8-12: In 2:11-17 Peter addressed all his readers, and in 2:18-25 he spoke directly to slaves; in 3:1-6 he addressed wives, and in 3:7 husbands. Now he encourages all his readers to develop virtues appropriate in their relations with others [see “all of you” v. 8])
8To sum up, all of you be harmonious (/homóphrōn [“of the same perspective”] is used only in 1 Pet 3:8: “To sum up, all of you be harmonious [‘of one mind,’ /homóphrōn]), sympathetic (suffering or feeling the like with another), brotherly ([philádelphos (from /phílos, “affectionate friend” and /adelphós, “brother”] – “brotherly,” referring to the love between fellow family-members – i.e. [redeemed] people in God’s family [used only in 1 Pet 3:8]; of a Christian loving Christians [loving as brethren]), kindhearted (compassionate, tender-hearted), and humble (humble-minded) in spirit, 9not returning evil for evil or insult (abuse, railing, reviling) for insult, but giving a blessing instead; for you were called for the very purpose (to partake of eternal salvation in the Messiah’s kingdom) that you might inherit a blessing.
10For, “THE ONE WHO DESIRES LIFE, TO LOVE AND SEE GOOD DAYS, MUST KEEP HIS TONGUE FROM EVIL AND HIS LIPS FROM SPEAKING DECEIT.
11“HE MUST TURN AWAY FROM EVIL AND DO GOOD; HE MUST SEEK PEACE AND PURSUE IT.
12“FOR THE EYES OF THE LORD ARE TOWARD THE RIGHTEOUS, AND HIS EARS ATTEND TO THEIR PRAYER, BUT THE FACE OF THE LORD IS AGAINST THOSE WHO DO EVIL.”
13Who is there to harm you if you prove zealous for what is good? (NASB: As a general rule, people are not harmed for acts of kindness. This is especially true if one is an enthusiast [“eager”] for doing good) 14But even if you should suffer for the sake of righteousness, you are blessed (happy). AND DO NOT FEAR THEIR INTIMIDATION (fear, dread, terror; in a subjective sense), AND DO NOT BE TROUBLED (tropically, “to cause one inward commotion, take away his calmness of mind, disturb his equanimity; to disquiet, make restless”, to be stirred up, irritated); to trouble: to strike one’s spirit with fear or dread, passive), 15but sanctify (to render or acknowledge to be venerable, to hallow) Christ as Lord in your hearts (NASB: An exhortation to the reader to make an inner commitment to Christ. Then they need not be speechless when called on to defend their faith. Instead, there will be a readiness to answer.), always being ready to make a defense (verbal defense, speech in defense: with a dative [the dative is the case of the indirect object, or may also indicate the means by which something is done etc.] of the person who is to hear the defense, to whom one labors to excuse or to make good his cause) to everyone who asks you to give an account (i. e. answer or explanation in reference to judgment) for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence (respect); 16and keep a good conscience (free from guilt, consciousness of rectitude, of right conduct) so that in the thing in which you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ will be put to shame (to disgrace). 17For it is better, if God should will it so, that you suffer (in a bad sense, of misfortunes, to suffer, to undergo evils, to be afflicted) for doing what is right rather than for doing what is wrong. 18For Christ also died for sins (failure; hamartía [derived from /A “not” and /méros, “a part, share of”], no-share [“no part of”]; loss [forfeiture] because not hitting the target; sin [missing the mark]. /hamartía [“sin, forfeiture because missing the mark”] is the brand of sin that emphasizes its self-originated [self-empowered] nature – i.e. it is not originated or empowered by God [i.e. not of faith, His inworked persuasion, cf. Ro 14:23 But he who doubts is condemned if he eats, because his eating is not from faith; and whatever is not from faith is sin.]) once for all, the just (preeminently, of him whose way of thinking, feeling, and acting is wholly conformed to the will of God, and who therefore needs no rectification in heart or life; in this sense Christ alone can be called δίκαιος, just; especially, just in the eyes of God) for the unjust, so that He might bring us (the chosen [elect]) to God, having been put to death in the flesh (sarki, “flesh”: body), but made alive in the spirit (BKC: “By the Spirit” translates one word, pneumatic, which could refer to the third Person of the Trinity as the agent of Christ’s resurrection. Or it may refer to Christ’s human spirit in contrast with His human body [cf. 1Peter 4:6 For the gospel has for this purpose been preached even to those who are dead, that though they are judged in the flesh as men, they may live in the spirit according to the will of God.]. [Note Alice: all three persons were involved in the resurrection of Yehoshua. Cf. Acts 2:32 “This Jesus God raised up again, to which we are all witnesses. Rom 8:11 But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you. John 10:18 “No one has taken it away from Me, but I lay it down on My own initiative. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This commandment [a charge, injunction] I received from My Father.”. NASB: Made alive in the spirit: Referring to Christ’s own spirit, through which “He went and made proclamation to the spirits now in prison” [v. 9]); 19in which also He went and made proclamation (specifically used of the public proclamation of the gospel and matters pertaining to it, made by John the Baptist, by Jesus, by the apostles and other Christian teachers) to the spirits now in prison (of the place where captives are kept, imprisonment, a guarding, guard, watch), 20who once were disobedient, when the patience (patience, forbearance, long-suffering, slowness in avenging wrongs) of God kept waiting in the days of Noah, during the construction of the ark, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through the water. (NASB: Three main interpretations of this passage have been suggested: (1) some hold that in His preincarnate state Christ went and preached through Noah to the wicked generation of that time. (2) Others argue that between His death and resurrection Christ went to the prison where fallen angels are incarcerated and there preached to the angels who are said to have left their proper state and married human women during Noah’s time [cf. Gen 6:1-4; 2 Peter 2:4; Jude 6]. The “Sons of God” in Gen 6:2, 4 are said to have been angels, as they are in Job 1:6; 2:1. The message He preached to these evil angels was probably a declaration of victory. (3) Sill others say that between death and resurrection Christ went to the place of the dead and preached to the spirits of Noah’s wicked contemporaries. What He proclaimed may have been the gospel, or it may have been a declaration of victory for Christ and doom for His hearers. The weakness of the first view is that it does not relate the event to Christ’s death and resurrection, as the context seems to do. The main problem with the second view is that it assumes sexual relations between angels and women, and such physical relations may not be possible for angels since they are spirits. A major difficulty with the third view is that the term “spirit” is only used of human beings when qualifying terms are added. Otherwise the term seems restricted to supernatural beings.) 21Corresponding to that, baptism now saves (Since salvation begins in this life [in deliverance from error and corrupt notions, in moral purity, in pardon of sin, and in the blessed peace of a soul reconciled to God], but on the visible return of Christ from heaven will he perfected in the consummate blessings of ὁ αἰών ὁ μέλλων [an age, a cycle (of time), especially of the present age as contrasted with the future age, and of one of a series of ages stretching to infinity.], we can understand why τό σῴζεσθαι [save, heal, preserve, rescue] is spoken of in some passages as a present possession, in others as a good yet future: — as a blessing beginning [or begun on earth]) you—not the removal (putting away) of dirt (filth) from the flesh (flesh, body, human nature), but an appeal (As the terms of inquiry and demand often include the idea of desire, the word thus gets the signification of earnest seeking, i. e. a craving, an intense desire (so ἐπερωτᾶν εἰς τί, to long for something, 2 Samuel 11:7 — (but surely the phrase here (like לְ שָׁאַל) means simply to ask in reference to, ask about)). If this use of the word is conceded, it affords us the easiest and most congruous explanation of that vexed passage 1 Peter 3:21: “which (baptism) now saves us (you) not because in receiving it we (ye) have put away the filth of the flesh, but because we (ye) have earnestly sought a conscience reconciled to God” (συνειδήσεως ἀγαθῆς genitive of the object, as opposed to σαρκός ῤύπου). It is doubtful, indeed, whether εἰς Θεόν is to be joined with ἐπερώτημα, and signifies a craving directed unto God (Winer’s Grammar, 194 (182) — yet less fully and decidedly than in edition 5, p. 216f), or with συνείδησις, and denotes the attitude of the conscience toward (in relation to) God.) to God for a good conscience (a conscience reconciled to God)—through the resurrection of Jesus Christ (see Rom 6:4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. Col 2:12 Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead. Gal 2:20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. [Alice: Believers are chosen “in Christ”, see Eph 1:4 just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love. When He died, we died. When He rose, we rose. The believer experiences this in time and space.]), 22who is at the right hand of God, having gone into heaven, after angels and authorities and powers had been subjected (passive, to arrange under, to subordinate; to subject, put in subjection) to Him.
New American Standard Bible
Keep Fervent in Your Love 4:1Therefore, since Christ has suffered in the flesh, arm (take on the same mind) yourselves also with the same purpose (mind, understanding, will; manner of thinking and feeling), because he who has suffered in the flesh (the physical nature of man as subject to suffering) has ceased from sin (NASB: Such suffering enables one to straighten out his priorities. Sinful desires and practices that once seemed important now seem insignificant when one’s life is in jeopardy. Serious suffering for Christ advances the progress of sanctification. [Some see a parallel between this passage and Rom 6:1-14, but Peter is not referring to being dead to sin in Paul’s sense].), 2so as to live the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for the lusts (desire for what is forbidden, lust) of men (with the added notion of weakness, by which man is led into mistake or prompted to sin), but for the will (what one wishes or has determined shall be done [i. e. objectively, thing willed], of what God wishes to be done by us. NASB: Now that Christ’s attitude prevails, God’s will is the determining factor in life.) of God. 3For the time already past is sufficient (it is enough for the disciple i. e. NASB: The time before conversion.) let him be content etc.) for you to have carried out the desire (a pre-set, fully-resolved plan, only occurs three times; will, counsel, purpose [critical text, Ac 27:43; Ro 9:19; 1 Pet 4:3]) of the Gentiles, having pursued a course of sensuality ([equivalent to θέλγω [outrageous conduct, conduct shocking to public decency, a wanton violence, wantonness, lewdness.], not affecting pleasantly, exciting disgust], “unbridled lust, excess, licentiousness, lasciviousness, wantonness, outrageousness, shamelessness, insolence”: plural), lusts, drunkenness, carousing (a revel, carousal, i. e. in the Greek writings properly, a nocturnal and riotous procession of half-drunken and frolicsome fellows who after supper parade through the streets with torches and music in honor of Bacchus or some other deity, and sing and play before the houses of their male and female friends; hence, used generally, of feasts and drinking-parties that are protracted till late at night and indulge in revelry; plural [revellings]), drinking parties and abominable (not acceptable based on the prevailing custom or ordinary practice [used only in Ac 10:28; 1 Pet 4:3]) idolatries (the worship of false gods: in plural, the vices springing from idolatry and peculiar to it). 4In all this, they are surprised that you do not run with them into the same excesses of dissipation ([incorrigibleness], an abandoned, dissolute, life; profligacy, prodigality [riot]), and they malign (to speak reproachfully, rail at, revile, calumniate) you; 5but they will give account (see Acts 17:31; Rom 2:5, 16.) to Him who is ready to judge (NASB: In the NT both the Father and the Son are said to be judge on the great, final judgment day. The father is the ultimate source of judgment, but He will delegate judgment to the Son (cf. John 5:27and He gave Him authority to execute judgment, because He is the Son of Man; Acts 17:31because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead.”) the living and the dead (NASB: Those alive and those dead when the final judgment day dawns). 6For the gospel has for this purpose (NASB: The reason referred to is expressed in the latter part of the verse [in the “that” clause], not in the preceding verse.) been preached even to those who are dead (NASB: That is, to those who are now dead: This preaching was a past event. The word “now” does not occur in the Greek, but it is necessary to make it clear that the preaching was done not after these people had died, but while they were still alive. [There will be no opportunity for people to be saved after death; see Heb 9:27.] ), that though they are judged (contextually, used specifically of the act of condemning and decreeing [or inflicting] penalty on one) in the flesh (body) as men (NASB: The first reason that the gospel was preached to those now dead. Some say that this judgment is that to which all people must submit, either in this life [see John 5:24] or in the life to come [see v. 5]. The gospel is preached to people in this life so that in Christ’s death they may receive judgment now and avoid judgment to come [see Heb 11:40 God having provided some better thing for us, that they [OT believers who died before Christ’s resurrection] without us should not be made perfect. See notes on Heb 11:40.]. Others hold that these people are judged according to human standards by the pagan world, which does not understand why God’s people no longer follow its sinful way of life [see vv. 2-4]. So also the world misunderstood Christ [see Acts 2:22-24, 36; 3:13-15; 5:30-32; 7:51-53].), they may live in the spirit (the rational spirit, the power by which a human being feels, thinks, wills, decides; the soul) according to the will of God (NASB: The second reason that the gospel was preached to those now dead: Some believe this means that all gospel preaching has as its goal that the hearers may live as God lives-eternally-and that this life is given by the Holy Spirit. Others maintain that it means that the ultimate reason for the preaching of the gospel is that God’s people, even though the wicked world may abuse them and put them to death, will have eternal life, which the Holy Spirit imparts.).
7The end (i. e. of the present order of things) of all things is near (NASB: Anticipating the end times, particularly Christ’s return, should influence believers’ attitudes, actions and relationships [see 2 Peter 3:11-14].); therefore, be of sound judgment (to curb one’s passions. NASB: Christians are to be characterized by reason; are to make wise, mature decisions; and are to have a clearly defined, decisive purpose in life.) and sober (in the N. T. everywhere tropically, to be calm and collected in spirit; to be temperate, dispassionate, circumspect: unto [the offering of] prayer) spirit for the purpose of prayer. 8Above all, keep fervent (properly, stretched out; figuratively, intent, earnest, assiduous) in your love for one another, because love covers (tropically, to hide, veil, i. e. to hinder the knowledge of a thing: not to regard or impute them, i. e. to pardon them) a multitude of sins (NASB: Love forgives again and again [see Matt 18:21-22].). 9Be hospitable (generous to guests [given to hospitality]) to one another without complaint. 10As each one has received (to receive [what is given]; to gain, get, obtain) a special gift (a gift of grace; a favor which one receives without any merit of his own; in the N. T. [where (except 1 Peter 4:10) used only by Paul] the gift of divine grace [see Rom 12:4-8; 1 Cor 12:7-11]), employ (to minister a thing unto one, to serve one with or by supplying anything: to one another, for mutual use) it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold (of divers sorts) grace of God. 11Whoever speaks, is to do so as one who is speaking the utterances of God; whoever serves is to do so as one who is serving by the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified (to make renowned, render illustrious, i. e. to cause the dignity and worth of some person or thing to become manifest and acknowledged) through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion (– properly, dominion, exerted power [in the doxologies]) forever and ever. Amen.
Share the Sufferings of Christ 12Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal (calamities or trials that test character) among you, which comes upon you for your testing (the trial of man’s fidelity, integrity, virtue, constancy, etc), as though some strange thing were happening to you; 13but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ (the afflictions which Christians must undergo in behalf of the same cause for which Christ patiently endured), keep on rejoicing (be glad), so that also at the revelation of His glory you may rejoice with exultation (rejoice exceedingly). 14If you are reviled for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God (BKC: [cf. Isa 11:2; Matt 3:16] refers to the Holy Spirit’s indwelling presence within all who are identified by “the name of Christ” and thus suffer persecution [cf. 1 Peter 4:16].) rests (rests upon you, to actuate you) on you. 15Make sure that none of you suffers as a murderer, or thief, or evildoer, or a troublesome meddler; 16but if anyone suffers as a Christian, he is not to be ashamed, but is to glorify God in this name (the cause or reason named: in this cause, i. e. on this account, namely, because he suffers as a Christian). 17For it is time for judgment (the execution of judgment as displayed in the infliction of punishment) to begin with the household of God (the family of God, of the Christian church. NASB: The persecutions that believers were undergoing were divinely sent judgment intended to purify God’s people.); and if it begins with us first, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God? 18AND IF IT IS WITH DIFFICULTY (hardly) THAT THE RIGHTEOUS IS SAVED (to preserve one who is in danger of destruction, to save [i. e. rescue, passive), WHAT WILL BECOME OF THE GODLESS MAN AND THE SINNER? (NASB: If God brings judgment on His own people, how much more serious will the judgment be that He will bring on unbelievers!) 19Therefore, those also who suffer according to the will of God shall entrust (to commend one to another for protection, safety, etc, to God) their souls to a faithful (of God, abiding by his promises) Creator in doing what is right (well-doing; what is constitutionally [inherently] good, i.e. what originates from faith [/pístis, “God’s inworked persuasion“] and therefore is His work [used only in 1 Pet 4:19]; a course of right action).
New American Standard Bible
Serve God Willingly 5:1Therefore, I exhort (to encourage, encourage) the elders (among Christians, those who presided over the assemblies [or churches].) among you, as your fellow elder (NASB: Peter, who identified himself as an apostle at the beginning of his letter [1:1], chooses now to identify himself with the elders of the churches [cf. 2 John 1; 3 John 2]. This would be heartening to them in light of their great responsibilities and the difficult situation faced by the churches. The churches for which these elders were responsible were scattered across much of Asia Minor [see 1:1], so if Peter was a local church officer, he must have been officially related to one of them) and witness of the sufferings of Christ (NASB: Peter had been with Jesus from the early days of His ministry and was a witness of all its phases and aspects, including the climactic events of His suffering [cf. Matt 26:58; Mark 14:54; Luke 22:60-62; John 18:10-11, 15-16]. In this letter he bears notable witness to Christ’s suffering [see 2:21-24] and obeys His command in Acts 1:8), and a partaker also of the glory (that which belongs to God; and the kingly majesty which belongs to him as the supreme ruler; so in passages where it is joined with [especially in] doxologies.) that is to be revealed (NASB: Peter witnessed Christ’s glory in His ministry in general [see John 1:14; 2:11], and as one present at the transfiguration [see Matt 16:27; 17:8], he had already seen the glory of Christ’s coming kingdom. In God’s appointed time, just as Christ suffered and entered into glory, so all His people, after their suffering, will participate in His future glory.), 2shepherd (to tend as a shepherd of [figuratively, supervisor] — feed [cattle], rule; govern, of the overseers [pastors] of the church. NASB: Peter is fulfilling Christ’s command to feed His sheep as he writes this letter. What he writes to the elders is reminiscent of Paul’s farewell address to the Ephesian elders [especially Acts 20:28]. The term “Shepherd” is an OT metaphor as well [see Ezek 34:1-10, where the Lord holds the leaders of Israel responsible for failing to care for the flock].) the flock of God among you, exercising oversight (to look upon, inspect, oversee, look after, care for: spoken of the care of the church which rested upon the presbyters. NASB: The same term is used in Acts 20:28; Phil 1:1; 1 Tim 3:2; Titus 1:7. It is clear from this passage, as well as from Acts 20:17, 28, that the three terms “elder,” “overseer,” and “shepherd” all apply to one office.) not under compulsion (by force or constraint), but voluntarily, according to the will of God; and not for sordid gain(from eagerness for base gain [for filthy lucre]) , but with eagerness (willingly, with alacrity); 3nor yet as lording it over (to lord against, i.e. control, subjugate — exercise dominion over [lordship], be lord over, overcome. NASB: Although Peter has full apostolic authority [see v. 1], he does not lord it over his readers in this letter, but exemplifies the virtues he recommends.) those allotted to your charge (those whose care and oversight has been assigned to one [allotted charge], used of Christian churches, the administration of which falls to the lot of the presbyters), but proving to be examples to the flock. 4And when the Chief Shepherd (NASB: Christ. When He returns, He will reward those who have served as shepherds under Him.) appears, you will receive the unfading crown (the eternal blessedness which will be given as a prize to the genuine servants of God and Christ) of glory (in the sacred writings always, good opinion concerning one, and as resulting from that, praise, honor, glory [see Col 3:3-4For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory.]). 5You younger men, likewise, be subject to (to subject oneself, to obey; to submit to one’s control; to yield to one’s admonition or advice; to place or rank under, to subject, middle voice [The Greek middle voice shows the subject acting in his own interest or on his own behalf, or participating in the results of the verbal action. In overly simplistic terms, sometimes the middle form of the verb could be translated as “the performer of the action actually acting upon himself” (reflexive action).]. to obey. NASB: The theme that runs throughout 2:13-3:6. Here it applies to church leaders.) your elders; and all of you, clothe (to put on oneself [as a garment]; and to knot, tie, band by which two things are fastened together, to fasten or gird on oneself; the ἐγκομβωμα was the white scarf or apron of slaves, which was fastened to the girdle of the vest, and distinguished slaves from freemen) yourselves with humility toward one another, for GOD IS OPPOSED TO THE PROUD (appearing above others [conspicuous], i.e. [figuratively] haughty), BUT GIVES GRACE (the aid or succor of divine grace) TO THE HUMBLE (lowly in spirit).
6Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty (krataiós (from /krátos) – dominating [manifested] power, referring to God’s supreme mastery [unrivaled dominion]. [krataiós] is only used in 1 Pet 5:6.) hand of God, that He may exalt (to exalt, to raise to dignity, honor, and happiness: to raise the spirits by the blessings of salvation) you at the proper time (NASB: His help will come at just the right time.), 7casting (to cast upon, give up to, God) all your anxiety (care) on Him, because He cares (have regard for, a person or a thing) for you. 8Be of sober spirit, be on the alert (to watch i. e. give strict attention to, be cautious, active: — to take heed lest through remissness and indolence some destructive calamity suddenly overtake one). Your adversary (an adversavy, enemy; /antídikos [“an accuser, adversary”] brings formal charges, i.e. as they are binding to exact penalty. Satan acts as such an adversary, bringing the “[law]suit” of darkness against believers for their eternal damnation [cf. 1 Pet 5:8]. Offsetting this is the perfect sacrifice of Christ [Jn 19:30 Therefore when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” And He bowed His head and gave up His spirit.]!), the devil, prowls (to walk) around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. 9But resist (to to set oneself against, to withstand resist, oppose, imperative [a command or instruction given to the hearer, charging the hearer to carry out or perform a certain action]) him, firm (steadfast) in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished (to appoint to, impose upon, passive) by your brethren (NASB: They are not isolated; they belong to a fellowship of suffers.) who are in the world. 10After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called (metaphorically: to invite one, εἰς τί, to something i. e. to participate in it, enjoy it; used thus in the Epistles of Paul and Peter of God as inviting men by the preaching of the gospel) you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect (to strengthen, complete, make one what he ought to be; exactly fit [adjust] to be in good working order, i.e. adjusted exactly “down” to fully function.), confirm (to render constant, confirm, one’s mind [establish]), strengthen (to make strong, to strengthen: one’s soul) and establish (to make stable, establish [ground]: of the soul) you. 11To Him be dominion forever and ever. Amen.
12Through Silvanus, our faithful brother (for so I regard him), I have written to you briefly, exhorting and testifying that this is the true (grace which can be trusted) grace of God. Stand firm in it! 13She who is in Babylon, chosen ([syneklektós [from /sýn, “identity with” and /eklektós, “chosen”]) – properly, fellow-elect, i.e. believers who belong to each other because each belongs to the Lord [used only in 1 Pet 5:13]. /syneklektós [“chosen together”] refers to believers as divinely-chosen [selected] – a theme elaborated on earlier in the epistle [1 Pet 1:1, 2]. 1 Pet 5:13: “She who is in Babylon, chosen together [ /syneklektós] with you, sends you greetings, and so does my son, Mark”. 1 Pet 1:1,2: “To those who reside as aliens, scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, who are chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, by the sanctifying work of the Spirit, to obey Jesus Christ and be sprinkled with His blood: May grace and peace be yours in the fullest measure”. See [eklektos: chosen out, elect, choice, select, sometimes as subst: of those chosen out by God for the rendering of special service to Him (of the Hebrew race, particular Hebrews, the Messiah, and the Christians)]; eklektós ([selected (chosen) from, out of], especially as a deeply personal choice – literally “chosen, out of a personal preference [intention].”) together with you, sends you greetings, and so does my son, Mark. 14Greet one another with a kiss of love (a kiss as a sign among Christians of mutual affection; goodwill). Peace be to you all who are in Christ.
New American Standard Bible 2 Peter
Growth in Christian Virtue 1:1Simon Peter, a bond-servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who have received (to receive by divine allotment, obtain. NASB: God in His justice [“righteousness”] imparts to people the ability to believe) a faith (NASB: Not here a body of truth to be believed-the faith-but the act of believing, or the God-given capacity to trust in Christ for salvation.) of the same kind as ours (isótimos (from /ísos, “equivalent, equal” and /timḗ, “assigned price, value”) – properly, having the same [equal] value; “equally privileged, held in equal honor“; of consistent value [preciousness, make-up] and therefore deserving equal respect [recognition]. [isótimos] is only used in 2 Pet 1:1 of “like precious faith” [isotimos pistis], conveying that every faith-decision [action] has equal, eternal value; a like-precious faith with us.), by the righteousness (in a closer sense, justice, or the virtue which gives each one his due; it is said to belong to God and Christ, as bestowing ἰσότιμον πίστιν [equally privileged, equal in honor] upon all Christians impartially, 2 Peter 1:1) of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ (NASB: Assumes that Jesus is both God and Savior): 2Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge (of God, especially the knowledge of his holy will and of the blessings which he has bestowed and constantly bestows on men through Christ) of God and of Jesus our Lord; 3seeing that His divine power has granted (to present, bestow, Perfect: The basic thought of the perfect tense is that the progress of an action has been completed and the results of the action are continuing on, in full effect. In other words, the progress of the action has reached its culmination and the finished results are now in existence. Unlike the English perfect, which indicates a completed past action, the Greek perfect tense indicates the continuation and present state of a completed past action.) to us everything pertaining to life (life real and genuine, “a life active and vigorous, devoted to God, blessed, the portion even in this world of those who put their trust in Christ, but after the resurrection to be consummated by new accessions [among them a more perfect body], and to last forever” [the writers of the O. T. have anticipated the conception, in their way, by employing חַיִּים to denote a happy life and every kind of blessing]) and godliness (reverence, respect; in the Bible everywhere piety toward God, godliness. NASB: God has made available all that we need spiritually through our knowledge of Him. If indeed 2 Peter was written to combat an incipient Gnosticism, the apostle may be insisting that the knowledge possessed by those in apostolic circles was entirely adequate to meet their spiritual needs. No secret, esoteric knowledge is necessary for salvation.), through the true knowledge (same as above) of Him who called (the caller) us by His own glory (of the majesty of his saving grace) and excellence (Used of God, it denotes his power. NASB: The excellence of God: “Glory” expresses the excellence of His being-His attributes and essence; “excellence” depicts excellence expressed in deeds-virtue in action.). 4For by these (NASB: Through God’s excellence-internal and external–He has given us great promises. Their nature is suggested in the words that follow: participation in the divine nature and escape from worldly corruption.) He has granted (to present, bestow) to us His precious (held in honor, esteemed, especially dear) and magnificent (mégistos –the superlative [“-est form”] of [mégas] meaning [the] “very greatest” [ultimate]) promises, so that by them you may become partakers (sharer) of the divine nature (the sum of innate properties and powers by which one person differs from others, distinctive native peculiarities, natural characteristics: [in this verse] the holiness distinctive of the divine nature is specially referred to. NASB: Does not indicate that Christians become divine in any sense, but only that we are indwelt by God through His Holy Spirit [see John 14:16-17]. Our humanity and His deity, as well as the human personality and the divine, remain distinct and separate.), having escaped (to flee from) the corruption (moral decay) that is in the world by lust.
(NASB: vv. 5-9 The virtues that will produce a well-rounded, fruitful Christian life.)
5Now for this very reason also, applying (“bring deeply into,” i.e.from very close beside. /pareisphérō [“personally carry-through”] is only used in 2 Pet 1:5 referring to carrying through with real personal involvement [energy]. This strongly stresses the need of the believer’s deep, personal involvement in the faith-life.) all diligence (haste; earnestness), in your faith ()NASB: The root of the Christian life (see v. 1; cf. v. 3) supply moral excellence (a virtuous course of thought, feeling and action; virtue, moral goodness), and in your moral excellence, knowledge (moral wisdom, such as is seen in right living), 6and in your knowledge, self-control (the virtue of one who masters his desires and passions, especially his sensual appetites. NASB: According to many of the false teachers, knowledge made self-control unnecessary; according to Peter, Christian knowledge leads to self-control.), and in your self-control, perseverance (steadfastness, constancy, endurance; in the N. T. the characteristic of a man who is unswerved from his deliberate purpose and his loyalty to faith and piety by even the greatest trials and sufferings), and in your perseverance, godliness (reverence, respect; in the Bible everywhere piety toward God, godliness. NASB: A genuine reverence toward God that governs one’s attitude toward every aspect of life.), 7and in your godliness, brotherly kindness (love of the brethren), and in your brotherly kindness (NASB: Warmhearted affection toward all in the family of faith), love (In the NT, [agápē] typically refers to divine love [= what God prefers]; love, benevolence, good will, esteem; plur: love-feasts. NASB: The kind of outgoing, selfless attitude that leads one to sacrifice for the good of others.). 8For if these qualities are yours (NASB: Peter does not mean to imply that the believer is to cultivate each listed quality in turn, one after the other until all have been perfected. Instead, they are all to be cultivated simultaneously.) and are increasing (NASB: Peter has continuing spiritual growth in mind.), they render you neither useless (lazy, shunning the labor which one ought to perform) nor unfruitful (destitute of good deeds) in the true knowledge (NASB: The Christian’s knowledge should affect the way he lives. It does not set him free from moral restraints, as the heretics taught. Rather, it produces holiness and all such virtues.) of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9For he who lacks these qualities is blind (mentally blind. NASB: Peter may have in mind a possible alternative meaning for “blind,” namely, “to shut the eyes.” Such a person is blind because he has closed his eyes to the truth.) or short-sighted (to see dimly, see only what is near), having forgotten his purification (wrought now by baptism) from his former sins. 10Therefore, brethren, be all the more diligent to make certain (sure, trusty) about His (YHWH) calling (/kaléō, “to call, summon” – calling; used of God inviting all people to receive His gift of salvation – with all His blessings that go with it [Ro 11:29; Eph 4:4; 2 Pet 1:10]) and choosing (ἐκλογή, ἐκλογῆς, ἡ (ἐκλέγω), election, choice; the act of picking out, choosing: equivalent to ἐκλεκτόν, namely, τοῦ Θεοῦ, Acts 9:15; specifically used of that act of God’s free will by which before the foundation of the world he decreed his blessings to certain persons; — ἡ κατ’ ἐκλογήν προφεσις, the decree made from choice (the purpose according to election), Romans 9:11;— particularly that by which he determined to bless certain persons through Christ, Romans 11:28; κατ’ ἐκλογήν χάριτος, according to an election which is due to grace, or a gracious election, Romans 11:5; with the genitive of the person elected, 1 Thessalonians 1:4; 2 Peter 1:10. NASB: By cultivating the qualities listed in vv. 5-7, they and others can be assured that God has chosen them and called them [cf. Matt 7:20]. The genuineness of their profession will be demonstrated as they express these virtues [cf. Gal 5:6; James 2:18]. When God elects and calls, it is to obedience and holiness [1 Peter 1:2; Eph 1:3-6], and these fruits confirm their divine source.) you; for as long as you practice these things, you will never stumble (to fall into misery, become wretched: of the loss of salvation. NASB: Those who in this way give evidence of their faith will never cease to persevere); 11for in this way the entrance (an entrance, i. e. both the place or way leading into a place [as, a gate], and the act of entering; only in the latter sense in the N. T. With the genitive of place, τῶν ἁγίων, entrance into the holy place, i. e. reception into heaven) into the eternal (without end, never to cease, everlasting) kingdom (NASB: Eternal life [cf. Matt 25:46 “These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”]) of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be abundantly supplied (furnished, provided. NASB: By producing the fruits Peter is commending to them (see vv. 5-10]) to you.
12Therefore, I will always be ready to remind you of these things, even though you already know them, and have been established (to render constant, confirm, one’s mind) in the truth which is present with you. 13I consider it right, as long as I am in this earthly dwelling (a tent; of life on earth; a pitched tent [“tabernacle,” Ac 7:46]; [figuratively] the physical body, serving as God’s vehicle [dwelling place] – i.e. as believers live as sojourner-travelers [“pilgrims”] with the Lord in this life, through faith [2 Pet 1:13,14].), to stir (to arouse the mind; stir up, render active) you up by way of reminder, 14knowing that the laying aside of my earthly dwelling is imminent (swift, quick: of events soon to come or just impending), as also our Lord Jesus Christ has made clear (to give one to understand, to indicate, signify) to me. 15And I will also be diligent that at any time after my departure you will be able to call these things to mind (NASB: An aim was realized, whether intentionally or unintentionally, through the Gospel of Mark, which early tradition connected with Peter.).
Eyewitnesses 16For we did not follow (to follow one’s authority) cleverly devised (to invent, play the sophist; to devise cleverly or cunningly) tales (a fiction, a fable; universally, an invention, falsehood. NASB: Peter’s message was based on his eyewitness account of the supernatural events that marked the life of Jesus. It was not made up of myths and imaginative stories as was the message of the heretics of 2:3.) when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ (NASB: In Christ’s transfiguration the disciples received a foretaste of what of what His coming will be like when He returns to establish His eternal kingdom [Matt 16:28]), but we were eyewitnesses of His majesty (greatness, magnificence of the visible splendor of the divine majesty as it appeared in the transfiguration of Christ [see vv. 17-18; Matt 16:28-17:8].). 17For when He received honor and glory from God the Father, such an utterance as this was made to Him by the Majestic (megaloprepḗs (from /méthē, “great by comparison” and /prépō, “make becoming, appropriate”) – properly, fitting (“befitting“) what is magnificent and splendid [full of majesty]; “sublime”; “unusually attractive and beautiful – ‘very wonderful, sublime‘ “. /megaloprepḗs [“awesomely majestic”] only occurs in 2 Pet 1:17.) Glory (in the sacred writings always, good opinion concerning one, and as resulting from that, praise, honor, glory), “This is My beloved Son with whom I am well-pleased”— 18and we ourselves heard this utterance made from heaven when we were with Him on the holy (reverend, worthy of veneration because Christ’s transfiguration occurred there) mountain.
(NASB: vv. 19-21: Peter’s message rests on two solid foundations: (1) the voice from God at the transfiguration [vv. 16-18] and (2) the still more significant testimony of Scripture [vv. 19-21]. An alternative, but less probable, view is that the apostles’ testimony to the transfiguration fulfills and thus confirms the Scripture that predicted such things.)
19So we have the prophetic (proceeding from a prophet; prophetic) word (the prophetic promise, collectively of the sum of the O. T. prophecies, particularly the Messianic) made more sure (NASB: Or, “very certain.”), to which you do well to pay attention (to turn the mind to) as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day (of the light of knowledge) dawns and the morning star (ρον (φῶς and φέρω), light-bringing, giving light: 2 Peter 1:19, on the meaning of this passage, see λύχνος: the prophecies of the O. T., inasmuch as they afforded at least some knowledge relative to the glorious return of Jesus from heaven down even to the time when by the Holy Spirit that same light, like the day and the daystar, shone upon the hearts of men, the light by which the prophets themselves had been enlightened and which was necessary to the full perception of the true meaning of their prophecies, 2 Peter 1:19.) arises in your hearts. 20But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own (an interpretation which one thinks out for himself, opposed to that which the Holy Spirit teaches) interpretation (/epílysis [“sound interpretation“] only occurs in 2 Pet 1:20 and refers to “untying interpretation knots” to discern the true meaning of future Bible prophecy. NASB: Two major views of this verse are: (1) No prophecy is to be privately or independently interpreted [cf. the false teachers in 3:16]. The Holy Spirit, Scripture itself and the church should be included in the interpretive process. (2) No prophecy originated through the prophet’s own interpretation. The preceding and following contexts indicate that this view is probably to be preferred. In vv. 16-19 the subject discussed is the origin of the apostolic message. Did it come from human imaginations, or was it from God? In v. 21 again the subject is origin. No prophecy of Scripture arose from a merely human interpretation of things. This understanding of v. 20 is further supported by the explanatory “for” with which v. 21 begins. Verse 21 explains v. 20 by restating its content and them affirming God as the origin of prophecy. [Note: Both views are presented.), 21for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit (NASB: In the production of Scripture both God and man were active participants. God was the source of the content of Scripture, so that what it says is what God has said. But the human author also actively spoke; he was more than a recorder. Yet what he said came from God. Although actively speaking, he was carried along by the Holy Spirit.) spoke from God.
New American Standard Bible
The Rise of False Prophets 2:1But false prophets also arose among the people (aós [the root of the English term, “laity“] – a people, particularly used of “the people of the Lord” [= Heb ʽam]. [laos] is the usual term for “the people of God” and thus typically used in the LXX (OT) and the Gospels, for believing Israel [Jews]. Example: Heb 4:9: “So there remains a Sabbath rest for the people [/laós] of God“; a people, characteristically of God’s chosen people, first the Jews, then the Christians, (b) sometimes, but rarely, the people, the crowd.), just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive (destructive opinions) heresies (that which is chosen, a chosen course of thought and action; hence one’s chosen opinion, tenet; according to the context, an opinion varying from the true exposition of the Christian faith; haíresis [a feminine noun derived from /hairéomai, “personally select, choose”] – properly, a personal [decisive] choice. /haíresis [“a strong, distinctive opinion”] is used in the NT of individual “parties [sects]” that operated within Judaism. The term stresses the personal aspect of choice – and hence how being a Sadducee [Ac 5:17] was sharply distinguished from being a Pharisee [Ac 15:5; 26:5]. [As a feminine noun, (haíresis) highlights the subjective (individual) nature of a specific ([divisive) opinion.].), even denying the Master (Christ is so called, as one who has bought his servants) who bought (Christ is said to have purchased his disciples i. e. made them, as it were, his private property. NASB: Does not necessarily mean that the false teachers were believers. Christ’s death paid the penalty for their sin, but it would not become effective for their salvation unless they trusted in Christ as Savior. [However, see vv. 20-22, where it is obvious that the heretics had at least professed knowing the Lord].) them, bringing swift destruction (destructive opinions. NASB: Not immediate physical calamity, but sudden doom, whether at death or at the Lord’s second coming [cf. Matt 24:50-51; 2 Thess 1:9].) upon themselves.
(NASB: vv. 2-9: States the point made in vv. 4-8 – the wicked whose coming Peter predict will surely be punished.)
2Many will follow their sensuality (not affecting pleasantly, exciting disgust. NASB: The Christian faith is not only correct doctrine but also correct living.), “unbridled lust, excess, licentiousness, lasciviousness, wantonness, outrageousness, shamelessness, insolence”: plural, licentiousness, wantonness; iolent spite which rejects restraint and indulges in lawless insolence [wanton caprice]), and because of them the way of the truth (“the truth, as taught in the Christian religion, respecting God and the execution of his purposes through Christ, and respecting the duties of man,” opposed alike to the superstitions of the Gentiles and the inventions of the Jews, and to the corrupt opinions and precepts of false teachers even among Christians) will be maligned (to be evil spoken of, reviled, railed at); 3and in their greed (greedy desire to have more, covetousness, avarice) they will exploit (to deal in; to use a thing or a person for gain [make merchandise of]) you with false (/plastós [“plastic, fabricated”], used only in 2 Pet 2:3, refers to “words molded at will to suit their vain imaginations.” That is, “fabricated words from [plássō], ‘to mould,’ as in clay or wax. The idea is, therefore, of words moulded at will to suit their vain imaginations.” These are spun by a “pretender” [i.e. someone not authentic]; feigned.) words; their judgment (condemnatory sentence, penal judgment, sentence) from long ago is not idle (to linger, delay. NASB: Long ago, OT times, their condemnation was declared [see vv. 4-9 for OT examples of the fact that judgment is coming on the wicked].), and their destruction (passively, a perishing, ruin, destruction) is not asleep (to linger, delay. NASB: Although delay makes it seem that they have escaped God’s judgment, destruction is a reality that is sure to come upon them.).
4For if God did not spare angels when they sinned (NASB: ….The sin referred to in this verse probably occurred before the fall of Adam and Eve.), but cast them into hell (to hold captive in Tartarus ; tartaróō – properly, send to Tartarus [“Tartaros“]. The NT uses [tartaróō] for the netherworld – the place of punishment fit only for demons. Later, Tartaros came to represent eternal punishment for wicked people. “[tartaróō] is a Greek name for the under-world, especially the abode of the damned – hence to cast into hell“; to send into the subterranean abyss reserved for demons and the dead. NASB: The Greek word for “hell” is “Tartarus,” the term used by the Greeks to designate the place where the most wicked spirits were sent to be punished. Why some evil angels are imprisoned and others are free to serve Satan as demons is not explained in Scripture.) and committed them to pits of darkness (blackness, used of the darkness of the nether world), reserved for judgment (Specifically, sentence of condemnation, damnatory judgment, condemnation and punishment. NASB: The final judgment, probably associated with the great white throne judgment of Rev 20:11-15.); 5and did not spare the ancient world, but preserved Noah, a preacher of righteousness, with seven others, when He brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly; 6and if He condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to destruction by reducing them to ashes, having made them an example to those who would live ungodly (to be ungodly, act impiously) lives thereafter; 7and if He rescued righteous Lot, oppressed (to tire down with toil, exhaust with labor; hence, to afflict or oppress with evils; to make trouble for; to treat roughly [sore distressed]: in passive. NASB: How lot could be so distressed, how he could be called a “righteous man,” and yet offer to turn his two daughters over to the wicked townsmen to be sexually abused is difficult to understand apart from a knowledge of the code of honor characteristic of that day.) by the sensual (of carnality, lasciviousness) conduct (manner of life, behavior) of unprincipled (lawless [wicked]; of one who breaks through the restraints of law and gratifies his lusts) men 8(for by what he saw and heard that righteous man, while living among them, felt his righteous soul tormented [to vex with grievous pains (of body or mind), to torment] day after day by their lawless deeds), 9then the Lord knows how to rescue (to draft, to oneself, to deliver) the godly from temptation (adversity, affliction, trouble), and to keep the unrighteous under punishment (to chastise, correct, punish: so in the N. T.; passive, to cause to be punished) for the day of judgment (the last judgment), 10and especially those who indulge (to seek [cf. English run after] anything) the flesh in its corrupt (the act of defiling, defilement, pollution: ἐπιθυμία μιασμοῦ, defiling lust) desires (for unclean contact) and despise (to contemn, despise, disdain, think little or nothing of) authority (mastery, i.e. [concretely and collectively] rulers — dominion, government). (NASB: Especially those: The heretics of Peter’s day are certain to come under judgment for two main reasons: (1) They follow the corrupt desires of the sinful nature, perhaps referring to homosexuality, the sin of the Sodomites [see Gen 19:5]. At least author has in mind a similar inordinate sexual practice. (2) They despised authority.) Daring (a daring [audacious] man – presumptuous; tolmētḗs – literally, darers, very bold people who foolishly ignore what should make them afraid, i.e. as they blatantly [boldly] practice their vile, disrespectful acts.), self-willed (self-pleasing, self-willed, arrogant), they do not tremble when they revile (to be evil spoken of, reviled, railed at) angelic majesties (in a wider sense, in which angels are called δόξαι as being spiritual beings of preeminent dignity. NASB: A specific example of despising authority. This could refer to the slander of earthly dignitaries such as church leaders, which might well be expected from such shameless peddlers of error. On the other hand, it could refer to the blaspheming of angels, as the NASB text indicates. This view seems more likely since the parallel passage in Jude 8-10 is speaking of angels.), 11whereas angels who are greater in might and power do not bring a reviling judgment against them before the Lord. 12But these, like unreasoning (destitute of reason, brute: ζῷα, brute animals) animals, born as creatures of instinct to be captured and killed (corruption, destruction, perishing, to destroy. NASB: A scathing denunciation. They are like irrational animals, whose lives are guided by mere instinct and who are born merely to be slaughtered. Destruction is their final lot.), reviling where they have no knowledge (NASB: The heresy to which Peter refers may have been an early form of second-century Gnosticism that claimed to possess special, esoteric knowledge. If so, it is ironic that those who professed special knowledge acted out of abysmal ignorance, and the result was arrogant blasphemy.), will in the destruction of those creatures also be destroyed (passive, to be destroyed, to perish), 13suffering wrong (suffering wrong as the hire of wrong-doing) as the wages of doing wrong. They count it a pleasure to revel in the daytime (the reveling of a day, i. e. ephemeral, very brief. NASB: See 1 Thess 5:7. Even the pagan world carried on their corrupt practices under cover of darkness, but these heretics were utterly shameless.). They are stains (a spot: tropically, a fault, moral blemish, Ephesians 5:27; plural of base and gluttonous men, 2 Peter 2:13) and blemishes (insult: of men who are a disgrace to a society), reveling in their deceptions, as they carouse (to entertain together; passive, to feast sumptuously with one) with you (NASB: For “deceptions” Jude 12 without a doubt reads “love feast,” which may well have been the intended reading here. These false teachers seem to have been involved in the sacred feast of brotherly love that, in the early church, accompanied the Lord’s Supper. In fact, it appears that they injected their carousing into these holy observances and delighted in their shameless acts.), 14having eyes full of adultery (eyes always on the watch for an adulteress, or from which adulterous desire beams forth) that never cease from sin, enticing unstable (unsteadfast) souls, having a heart trained (exercised: a soul that covetousness or the love of gain has trained in its crafty ways) in greed, accursed (men worthy of execration) children; 15forsaking the right (the straight, the right way, is figuratively used of true religion as a rule of life leading to its goal, i. e. to salvation) way (according to the familiar figure of speech, especially frequent in Hebrew and not unknown to the Greeks, by which an action is spoken of as a proceeding, ὁδός denotes a course of conduct, a way [i. e. manner] of thinking, feeling, deciding), they have gone astray (to wander or fall away from the true faith, of heretics), having followed the way of Balaam, the son of Beor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness; 16but he received a rebuke for his own transgression, for a mute donkey, speaking with a voice of a man, restrained the madness of the prophet (NASB: See Num 22-24. Balaam was bent on cursing Israel, though God had forbidden it. He wanted the money Balak offered him. Similarly these false teachers apparently were guilty of attempting to extract money from naive listeners. For a donkey to rebuke the prophet’s madness reflects not only on the foolishness of Balaam but also on that of the false teachers of Peter’s day.).
17These are springs (a fountain) without water (waterless. NASB: A picture of cruel deception. The thirsty traveler comes to the spring expecting cool, refreshing water but finds it dry. So the false teachers promise satisfying truth but in reality have nothing to offer.) and mists (fog) driven by a storm (to drive or push [as wind, oars, or demoniacal power]. NASB: Gone before a drop of moisture falls.), for whom the black (deep gloom) darkness (the blackness of [i. e. the densest] darkness. NASB; Their destiny is hell.) has been reserved (to reserve: for rewarding or punishing one, passive). 18For speaking out arrogant (oversollen; metaphorically, immoderate, extravagant: [great swelling words]) words of vanity (what is devoid of truth and appropriateness. NASB: Words that sound impressive to the new convert but in reality have nothing to offer.) they entice (deleázō to bait a hook or set a trap with bait; [figuratively] entice a victim into a moral trap, luring them in through their own selfish impulses) by fleshly (the animal nature with cravings which incite to sin, plural) desires (desire for what is forbidden, lust), by sensuality (violent spite which rejects restraint and indulges in lawless insolence [wanton caprice]), those who barely escape (NASB: New converts who have just broken away from pagan friends. Thus the depraved false teachers prey on new converts, who have not yet had a chance to develop spiritual resistance.) from the ones who live in error (a wandering, a straying about, whereby one, led astray from the right way, roams hither and thither. In the N. T. metaphorically, mental straying, i. e. error, wrong opinion relative to morals or religion:), 19promising them freedom (fancied liberty, i. e. license, the liberty to do as one pleases) while they themselves are slaves (one who gives himself up wholly to another’s will) of corruption (in the N. T. in an ethical sense, corruption i. e. moral decay [some take the word here actively (in their destroying)]); for by what a man is overcome (to be conquered by one, forced to yield to one), by this he is enslaved. 20For if, after they have escaped (apopheúgō (from [/apó, “away from” and /pheúgō, “flee”] – properly, flee from [escape]. [apopheúgō] underlines the previous [undesirable] connection – hence, also the need to move on [“escaping by flight”]. [apopheúgō] then emphasizes separation – a full breaking away from the previous situation) the defilements (vices the foulness of which contaminates one in his contact with the ungodly mass of mankind; míasma(from /miaínō) – pollution [spiritual stain] that results from vice, i.e. spiritually contaminating a person [used only in 2 Pet 2:20]) of the world by the knowledge (used in the N. T. of the knowledge of things ethical and divine: of Christ, i. e. the true knowledge of Christ’s nature, dignity, benefits) of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again (it denotes renewal or repetition of the action) entangled (to inweave; tropically, in passive, with the dative of thing, to entangle, involve in [Tense: Aorist, Mood: Participle, Voice: Passive: having been entangled. (Note: Active Voice Grammatical voice indicates whether the subject is the performer of the action of the verb [active voice], or the subject is the recipient of the action [passive voice]. If the subject of the sentence is executing the action, then the verb is referred to as being in the active voice. For example: “Jesus was baptizing the people” [paraphrase of John 3:22; 4:1, 2]. “Jesus” is the subject of the sentence and is the one that is performing the action of the verb; therefore the verb is said to be in the “Active Voice”. Passive Voice Grammatical voice indicates whether the subject is the performer of the action of the verb [active voice], or the subject is the recipient of the action [passive voice]. If the subject of the sentence is being acted upon, then the verb is referred to as being in the passive voice. For example: “Jesus … was baptized by John in the Jordan” (Mark 1:9). “Jesus” is the subject of the sentence, but in this case He is being acted upon (i.e. He is the recipient of the action), therefore the verb is said to be in the “Passive Voice”.)]) in them and are overcome (they are subdued: Tense: Perfect, Mood: Indicative [short definition: The indicative mood is the only mood conceived of as actual], Voice: Middle or Passive [Middle short definition: The Greek middle voice shows the subject acting in his own interest or on his own behalf, or participating in the results of the verbal action. In overly simplistic terms, sometimes the middle form of the verb could be translated as “the performer of the action actually acting upon himself” (reflexive action). For example: “I am washing myself.” “I” is the subject of the sentence (performing the action of the verb) and yet “I” am also receiving the action of the verb. This is said to be in the “Middle Voice”. Many instances in the Greek are not this obvious and cannot be translated this literally.]), the last state has become worse for them than the first. 21For it would be better for them not to have known (to become thoroughly acquainted with, to know thoroughly; to know accurately, know well [see references under the word ἐπίγνωσις [knowledge of a particular point (directed towards a particular object); perception, discernment, recognition, intuition], at the beginning]) the way of righteousness (NASB: Knowledge of the way increases one’s responsibility and his hardness of heart if he then rejects it. In its early days, Christianity was known as “the Way” [Acts 9:2; 18:25; 19:9, 23; 22:4; 24:14, 22]), than having known it, to turn away (to turn back i. e. to return: of those who after embracing Christianity apostatize) from the holy commandment (NASB: The whole Christian message that people are commanded to receive) handed on to them. (BKC: vv. 20-21: Whether they in verse 20 refers to the teachers or their victims, both groups had available to them knowledge about Jesus Christ, which could produce liberty and life. But when that knowledge was rejected, their end was deeper corruption [again entangled in it and overcome] and presumably a more severe degree of punishment. Indeed, they would have been better off never to have known the gospel, the way of righteousness, and the sacred [holy] commandments [i.e., the apostolic message] than to have known the truth and have deliberately violated it.) 22It has happened to them according to the true proverb, “A DOG RETURNS TO ITS OWN VOMIT,” and, “A sow, after washing, returns to wallowing in the mire.” (Note: See the addition post for excerpts on vv. 20-22.)
Dr. Robert, Bob, Saucy’s Comments on 2 Peter 2:20-22
Excerpts from: Passages which refer to profession of faith but not true possession of eternal life. The possibility of individuals making a profession of faith in Christ which is not saving faith is clear in Scripture. Jesus spoke of some who would profess Him as their “Lord” and minister in His name even performing miracles. But they would not be genuine believers (Matt. 7:21-23). The parable of the wheat and tares likewise refers to those closely related to believers who nevertheless are “sons of the evil one” (Matt. 13:24-30, 36-43). One of the clearest examples in the early church is taught by John when he describes those who had gone out of the church. Although they had been in the church, John makes it plain that they were never genuine believers (1 Jn. 2:18-19). (cf. also, 2 Cor 13:5; 2 Tim. 18-19; 1 John 3:7-8).
2 Pet. 2:20-22
The reference is to false teachers who by their description are not saved.
- 1-3 — their actions will bring on them “swift destruction”; cf. also 10b-19, esp. v. 17.
- 4-10a — the examples of previous judgment on like people (the fallen angels; the unbelievers at the flood; and, Sodom and Gomorrah) indicate that Peter is not referring to saved people who lost salvation.
Verse 22 indicates that they had merely reformed themselves.
“washing” is aorist middle participle, lit. “washed itself.” They had made a “religious” profession or outward change. There is no language throughout the passage that indicates that they were genuinely born again or regenerated.
The illustration of the dog and sow are unclean animals whose nature is not changed. Not only were “dogs” and “pigs” unclean to Jews, but Jesus uses both in speaking of those that opposed God and his Word.
New American Standard Bible
Purpose of This Letter 3:1This is now, beloved, the second letter I am writing to you in which I am stirring (to arouse the mind; stir up, render active) up your sincere (/eilikrinḗs [“sincere because transparent”] describes something proven because well-examined [totally scrutinized] – therefore, certified as sincere [inwardly pure]. [eilikrinḗs] naturally refers to something completely clear, free from hypocrisy [deceit, wickedness] which stands in the full light of God’s approval. This term is used twice in the NT [Phil 1:10; 2 Pet 3:1].) mind by way of reminder, 2that you should remember the words spoken beforehand by the holy prophets (appeal is made to their utterances as having foretold the kingdom, deeds, death, of Jesus the Messiah. NASB: OT personages.) and the commandment (collectively, of the whole body of the moral precepts of Christianity) of the Lord and Savior spoken by your apostles (NASB: Peter places the OT prophets and the NT apostles on an equal plane. Both are vehicles of God’s sacred truth. Peter, being one of the apostles, can speak with knowledge and authority as a representative of the apostolic group.).
The Coming Day of the Lord 3Know this first of all (NASB: This expression is used in 1:20 to call attention to a matter of great importance), that in the last days (in phrases, of the time immediately preceding Christ’s return from heaven and the consummation of the divine kingdom. NASB: An expression that refers to the whole period introduced by Christ’s first coming. These days are last in comparison to OT days, which were preliminary and preparatory. Also, the Christian era is the time of the beginnings of prophetic fulfillment.) mockers (a scoffer. NASB: Perhaps the same false teachers described in ch. 2 [e.g., they follow their own evil desires; cf. 2:10, 18-19]. In ch. 3, however, the emphasis is on Christ’s return. These people may have been early Gnostics who resisted the idea of a time of judgment and moral accountability.]) will come with their mocking, following after their own lusts (desire for what is forbidden), 4and saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? (In the N. T. especially of the advent, i. e. the future, visible, return from heaven of Jesus, the Messiah, to raise the dead, hold the last judgment, and set up formally and gloriously the kingdom of God) For ever since the fathers (a father [literally or figuratively, near or more remote]; father; one who imparts life and is committed to it; a progenitor, bringing into being to pass on the potential for likeness. NASB: Either the first Christians to die after Christ’s death and resurrection [e.g., Stephen, James the brother of John, and other early Christian leaders who had died; cf. Heb 13:7] or OT patriarchs.) fell asleep (to die), all continues just as it was (NASB: Their argument against Christ’s return was: Since it has not occurred up to this time, it will never occur. That nature is not subject to divine intervention, they say, has been proved by observation (1) of the period since the fathers died-perhaps 30 years-and (2) of the period since creation.) from the beginning of creation.” 5For when they maintain (by implication, to wish, i.e. be inclined to [sometimes adverbially, gladly]; escapes them of their own will, i. e. they are purposely, wilfully, ignorant, 2 Peter 3:5 2, where others interpret as follows: this [viz. (Viz is defined as an abbreviation for videlicet which means namely.) what has been said previously] desiring [i. e. holding as their opinion], they are ignorant etc.) this, it escapes their notice (NASB: Ignoring the flood as a divine intervention was not an oversight; it was deliberate. They did not want to face up to the fallacy in their argument.) that by the word of God (a word [as embodying an idea], a statement, a speech; of the sayings of God; equivalent to decree, mandate, order. NASB: Of commands such as “Let there be light” [Gen. 1:3]) the heavens (the vaulted expanse of the Sky with all the things visible in it; generally: as opposed to the earth) existed long ago and the earth was formed (to put together [i. e. unite parts into one whole], to be composed of, consist) out of water (of water as a primary element, out of and through which the world that was before the deluge arose and was compacted) and by water (same as previous. NASB: See Gen 1:6-10, where the waters on earth were separated from the atmospheric waters of the heavens, and the mountains then appeared, causing the earthly waters to be gathered into oceans.), 6through which the world (the circle of the earth, the earth; order) at that time was destroyed (apóllymi fully destroy, cutting off entirely. /apóllymi [“violently/completely perish”] implies permanent [absolute] destruction, i.e. to cancel out [remove]; “to die, with the implication of ruin and destruction“; cause to be lost [utterly perish] by experiencing a miserable end; of persons), being flooded with water (NASB: Peter points out the fallacy of the scoffer’s argument. There has been a divine intervention since the time of creation, namely, the flood…. All the people except Noah and his family were overcome by the flood and perished. This does not necessarily mean that the flood was universal, It may simply have extended to all the inhabited areas of earth [see Gen 6:17 “Behold, I, even I am bringing the flood of water upon the earth, to destroy all flesh in which is the breath of life, from under heaven; everything that is on the earth shall perish.]. ). 7But by His word (same as above. NASB: The Word of God brought the world into existence [v. 5] and that watery destruction on the wicked of Noah’s day will bring fiery destruction on the world that exist today and on its wicked people.) the present heavens and earth are being reserved (to to keep in store, store up) for fire, kept for the day of judgment (in the prophecies of the O. T. the day of Jehovah is spoken of, in which Jehovah will execute terrible judgment (in a forensic judgment sense, of God or of Jesus the Messiah: universally, of the last judgment upon his adversaries) and destruction (in particular, the destruction which consists in the loss of eternal life, eternal misery, perdition, the lot of those excluded from the kingdom of God; a man doomed to eternal misery (a Hebraism) of ungodly (destitute of reverential awe toward God, contemning God, impious) men.
8But do not let this one fact escape your notice, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day (NASB: Cf. Ps 90:4. God does not view time as humans do. He stands above time, with the results that when time is seen in the light of eternity, an age appears no longer than one short day, and a day seems no shorter than a long age. Since time is purely relative with God, He waits patiently while human beings stew with impatience.). 9The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count (to consider, deem, account, think) slowness, but is patient (“to be patient in bearing the offences and injuries of others; to be mild and slow in avenging; to be long-suffering, slow to anger, slow to punish” [to defer anger]: hence, spoken of God deferring the punishment of sin: toward one) toward you, not wishing (to will, i.e. [reflexively] be willing — be disposed, minded, intend, list, [be, of own] will [-ing]; to will deliberately, have a purpose, be minded) for any to perish (tropically, to incur the loss of true or eternal life; to be delivered up to eternal misery: John 3:15; [it must be borne in mind, that according to John’s conception eternal life begins on earth, just as soon as one becomes united to Christ by faith]. Hence, οἱ σῳζόμενοι they to whom it belongs to partake of salvation, and οἱ ἀπολλύμενοι those to whom it belongs to perish or to be consigned to eternal misery, are contrasted by Paul: 1 Corinthians 1:18For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.; 2 Corinthians 2:15For we are a fragrance of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing; 2 Corinthians 4:8we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; 2 Thessalonians 2:10and with all the deception of wickedness for those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved.) but for all to come (metaphorically, to betake oneself, turn oneself: εἰς μετνοιαν , 2 Peter 3:9 [come]; xōréō – properly, make space [place, room]; [figuratively] to live with an open heart – i.e. with “available space” that embraces the “more important” . . . not just the “urgent”! BKC: Why should the Lord be so long in coming? Peter offered two answers. First, God counts time differently than does man…. The second reason the Lord’s return seems to be long in coming is that God wants as many people to be saved as possible [2 Peter 3:9] …. The words “not wanting” [mē boulomenos] “anyone to perish” do not express a decree, as if God has willed everyone to be saved. Universal salvation is not taught in the Bible. Instead those words describe God’s wishes or desires; He longs that all would be saved [cf. 1 Tim 2:4who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.] but knows that many will reject Him.). NASB: God’s seeming delay in bringing about the consummation of all things is a result not of indifference but of patience in waiting for all who will come to repentance. Thus the scoffers are wrong on two points: (1) They fail to recognize that all things have not continued without divine intervention since creation [the flood was an intervention, vv. 4-6. (2) They misunderstood the reason for apparent divine delay [God is a long-suffering God].) to repentance (to come to the point of repenting, or be brought to repentance).
A New Heaven and Earth 10But the day (of the last day of the present age, the day in which Christ will return from heaven, raise the dead, hold the final judgment, and perfect his kingdom) of the Lord (to Jesus as the Messiah, since by his death he acquired a special ownership in mankind, and after his resurrection was exalted to a partnership in the divine administration) will come like a thief (unexpectedly), in which the heavens will pass away (perish) with a roar (‘with a loud noise’) and the elements (the elements from which all things have come, the material causes of the universe; something orderly in arrangement, i.e. [by implication] a serial [basal, fundamental, initial] constituent [literally], proposition [figuratively] — element, principle, rudiment.) will be destroyed (to loose what is compacted or built together, to break up, demolish, destroy: to dissolve something coherent into parts, to destroy: passive; to loosen — break (up), destroy, dissolve, (un-)loose, melt, put off.) with intense heat, and the earth and its works (any product whatever, anything accomplished by hand, art, industry, mind; the works of nature and of art) will be burned up (NASB: Either the earth and its contents will disappear and not be seen anymore, or the earth and all man’s works will appear before God’s judgment seat.).
11Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct (‘walk,’ i. e. manner of life, behavior, conduct; plural, the ways in which holy living shows itself) and godliness, 12looking (denotes mental direction; to expect [whether in thought, in hope, or in fear]; to look for, wait for) for and hastening (to speed [study], i.e. urge on [diligently or earnestly]) the coming of the day (same as v. 10) of God (NASB: Apparently synonymous with “the day of the Lord” [v. 10] since it is characterized by the same kind of events. Cf. Rev 16:14.), because of which the heavens will be destroyed by burning, and the elements will melt with intense heat (See Is 34:4)! 13But according to His promise we are looking for new (new, which as recently made is superior to what it succeeds) heavens and a new (new, which as recently made is superior to what it succeeds) earth, in which righteousness dwells (to inhabit, to settle; divine powers, influences, etc., is said to dwell where righteousness prevails, is practiced).
14Therefore, beloved, since you look for these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace (according to a conception distinctly peculiar to Christianity, “the tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ, and so fearing nothing from God and content with its earthly lot, of whatsoever sort that is”: is used of those who, assured of salvation, tranquilly await the return of Christ and the transformation of all things which will accompany that event), spotless (free from vice, unsullied) and blameless (without blame – literally, without mōmos [“blemish“], used only in 2 Pet 3:14; that cannot be censured), 15and regard (to consider, deem, account, think) the patience (patience, forbearance, long-suffering, slowness in avenging wrongs) of our Lord as salvation (in an ethical sense, that which conduces to the soul’s safety or salvation); just as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given him, wrote to you, 16as also in all his letters, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which the untaught (unlearned, ignorant) and unstable (unstable, unsteadfast) distort (/streblóō [‘to wrest, twist’] is applied to perverting [twisting] Scripture” [used only in 2 Pet 3:16]; [to twist, turn awry; to torture, put to the rack]; metaphorically, to pervert, of one who wrests or tortures language to a false sense), as they do also the rest of the Scriptures, to their own destruction (in particular, the destruction which consists in the loss of eternal life, eternal misery, perdition, the lot of those excluded from the kingdom of God). 17You therefore, beloved (divinely-loved; beloved [“loved by God”], i.e. personally experiencing God’s “agapē-love.”; as “divinely-loved-ones” [Jude 17].), knowing this beforehand (NASB: That false teachers are coming [cf. ch. 2]), be on your guard (to observe for oneself something to escape, i. e. to avoid, shun, flee from: to keep oneself from a thing) so that you are not carried away (to be carried away with: [with the dative of the thing, i. e. by a thing], so as to experience with others the force of that which carries away, to follow the impulse of a thing to what harmonizes with it) by the error (In the N. T. metaphorically, mental straying, i. e. error, wrong opinion relative to morals or religion) of unprincipled (lawless [wicked]; of one who breaks through the restraints of law and gratifies his lusts) men and fall (to drop away, fig. to lose, become inefficient) from your own steadfastness, 18but grow (increase) in the grace (The apostles and N. T. writers at the beginning and end of their Epistles crave for their readers the favor [`grace’] of God or of Christ, to which all blessings, especially spiritual, are due.) and knowledge (of Christ as a saviour) of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory, both now and to the day (for all time, forever; age, + alway) of eternity. Amen.
New American Standard Bible 1 John
Introduction, The Incarnate Word 1:1What was from the beginning (beginning, origin: used absolutely, of the beginning of all things [i.e., before anything was created the Word existed as “I AM.”], NASB: He always existed), what we (NASB: John and the other apostles) have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands (NASB: The apostles had made a careful examination of the Word of Life. He testifies that the one who has existed from eternity “became flesh” [John 1:14]-i.e., a flesh-and-blood man. He was true God and true man. At the outset, John contradicts the heresy of the Gnostics.), concerning the Word (lógos [from /légō, “speaking to a conclusion”] – a word, being the expression of a thought; a saying. /lógos [“word”] is preeminently used of Christ [Jn 1:1], expressing the thoughts of the Father through the Spirit; In several passages in the writings of John ὁ λόγος denotes the essential Word of God, i. e. the personal [hypostatic] wisdom and power in union with God, his minister in the creation and government of the universe, the cause of all the world’s life both physical and ethical, which for the procurement of man’s salvation put on human nature in the person of Jesus the Messiah and shone forth conspicuously from his words and deeds.) of Life (the Logos having life in itself [Himself] and communicating it to others. NASB: The one who is life and reveals life [see v. 2]. “Word” here speaks of revelation [see John 1:1 [The] Greeks used this term not only of the spoken word but also of the unspoken word, the word still in the mind-the reason. When they applied it o the universe, they meant the rational principle that governs all things. Jews, on the other hand, used it as a way of referring to God. Thus John used a term that was meaningful to both Jews and Gentiles.].)— 2and the life was manifested (to show oneself, appear: the life embodied in Christ; the centre and source of life), and we have seen and testify and proclaim (to make known openly, declare) to you the eternal (without beginning or end, that which always has been and always will be) life (NASB: Christ. He is called “the life” because He is the living one who has life in Himself [see John 11:25; 14:6]. He is also the source of life and sovereign over life [5:11]. The letter begins and ends [5:20] with the theme of eternal life.), which was with the Father (YHVH) and was manifested to us— 3what we have seen and heard we proclaim to you also, so that you too may have fellowship (used of the intimate bond of fellowship which unites Christians) with us (NASB: Participation with us [vicariously] in our experience of hearing, seeing, and touching the incarnate Christ [v. 1]. Fellowship [Greek koinonia] is the spiritual union of the believer with Christ-as described in the figures of the vine branches [John 15:1-5] and the body and the head [1 Cor 12:12; Col 1:18]-as well as communion with the Father and with fellow believers); and indeed our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ (Jesus; the Greek form of Joshua; Iēsoús – Jesus, the transliteration of the Hebrew term, /Lṓt [“Yehoshua”/Jehoshua, contracted to “Joshua”] which means “Yahweh saves” [or “Yahweh is salvation”]. “Jesus Christ” is properly “Jesus the Christ.” “Jesus” [/Iēsoús] is His human name, as the incarnate, eternal Son of God [Mt 1:21,25, see also Lk 1:31] – the Christ, the divine Messiah [the second Person of the holy Trinity]. [Christ [His title] means “the Anointed One” [the eternal pre-incarnate, Logos, Jn 1:1-18]). 4These things we write, so that our joy (gladness) may be made complete (to make complete in every particular; to render perfect. NASB: John’s joy in the Lord could not be complete unless his readers shared the true knowledge of Christ [see 2 John 12].). God Is Light 5This is the message we have heard from Him (NASB: From Christ) and announce to you, that God is Light (light [especially in terms of its results, what it manifests]; in the NT, the manifestation of God’s self-existent life; divine illumination to reveal and impart life, through Christ; the extremely delicate, subtile, pure, brilliant quality of light has led to the use of φῶς as an appellation of God, i. e. as by nature incorporeal, spotless, holy), and in Him there is no darkness (metaphorically, used of ignorance of divine things, and its associated wickedness, and the resultant misery. NASB: Light represents what is good, true and holy, while darkness represents what is evil and false [see John 3:19-21“This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil. “For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. “But he who practices the truth comes to the Light, so that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God.”].) at all.
(NASB: vv. 6-7: Walk in darkness… in Light: Two life-styles-one characterized by wickedness and error, the other by holiness and truth.)
6If we (NASB: John and his readers) say that we have fellowship with Him (NASB: We are in living, spiritual union with God.) and yet walk (to be subject to error and sin; to live, living) in the darkness (to be given up to the power of darkness), we lie (to show oneself deceitful, to play false; to lie, to speak deliberate falsehoods) and do not practice (do) the truth (to exemplify truth in the life, to express the form of truth in one’s habits of thought and modes of living. NASB: John uses this word, the Greek aletheia, 25b times and links it closely with Jesus, who is the truth [John 14:6].); 7but if we walk in the Light (in a state of supreme sanctity) as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood (by which believers are purified and are cleansed from the guilt of sin) of Jesus His Son cleanses (to free from the guilt of sin, to purify) us from all sin. 8If we say that we have no sin (to have sin as though it were one’s odious private property, or to have done something needing expiation, equivalent to to have committed sin), we are deceiving (metaphorically, to lead away from the truth, to lead into error, to deceive) ourselves and the truth (“the truth, as taught in the Christian religion, respecting God and the execution of his purposes through Christ, and respecting the duties of man,” opposed alike to the superstitions of the Gentiles and the inventions of the Jews, and to the corrupt opinions and precepts of false teachers even among Christians: ἡ ἀλήθεια τοῦ εὐαγγελίου the truth which is the gospel or which the gospel presents) is not in us. 9If we confess (to confess, i. e. to admit or declare oneself guilty of what one is accused of) our sins, He is faithful and righteous (In a narrower sense, rendering to each his due; and that in a judicial sense, passing just judgment on others, whether expressed in words or shown by the manner of dealing with them: [who executes the laws of his government, and therefore also the law concerning the pardon of sins]. NASB: Here the phrase is virtually a single concept [faithful-and-righteous]. It indicates that God’s response toward those who confess their sins will be in accordance with His nature and His gracious commitment to His people [see Ps 143:1; Zech 8:8]. Faithful: To His promise to forgive [see Jer 31:34; Mic 7:18-20; Heb 10:22-23]) to forgive us (to remit. NASB: To provide the forgiveness that restores the communion with God that has been interrupted by sin [as requested in the Lord’s Prayer, Matt 16:12].) our sins and to cleanse (to free from the guilt of sin, to purify) us from all unrighteousness (the guilt of unrighteousness). 10If we say that we have not sinned (NASB: Gnostics denied that their immoral actions were sinful.), we make Him a liar and His word (in an objective sense, what is communicated by instruction, doctrine: specifically, the doctrine concerning the attainment through Christ of salvation in the kingdom of God) is not in us.
New American Standard Bible
Christ Is Our Advocate 2:1My little children (in the N. T. used as a term of kindly address by teachers to their disciples (always in the plural little children), I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate (universally, one who pleads another’s cause with one, an intercessor: so of Christ, in his exaltation at God’s right hand, pleading with God the Father for the pardon of our sins, [in the same sense, of the divine Logos…]. NASB: The Greek word refers to someone who speaks in court in behalf of a defendant.) with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous (preeminently, of him whose way of thinking, feeling, and acting is wholly conformed to the will of God, and who therefore needs no rectification in heart or life; in this sense Christ alone can be called δίκαιος, [righteous]. NASB: In God’s court the defender must be, and is, sinless.); 2and He Himself is the propitiation (hilasmós – properly, propitiation; an offering to appease [satisfy] an angry, offended party. [hilasmós] is only used twice [1 Jn 2:2, 4:10] – both times of Christ’s atoning blood that appeases God’s wrath, on all confessed sin. By the sacrifice of Himself, Jesus Christ provided the ultimate /hilasmós [“propitiation”]. NASB: Propitiation refers to turning away God’s wrath [see also 4:10]. God’s holiness demands punishment for man’s sin. God, therefore, out of love [4:10; John 3:16], sent His Son to make substitutionary atonement for the believer’s sin. In this way the Father’s wrath is propitiated [satisfied, appeased]; His wrath against the Christian’s sin has been turned away and directed toward Christ.) for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world (in Greek writings from Homer down, an apt and harmonious arrangement or constitution, order: ornament, decoration, adornment [Christ paid the “sin debt.”]. NASB: Forgiveness through Christ’s atoning sacrifice is not limited to one particular group only; it has worldwide application [See John 1:29 The next day he saw Jesus coming to him and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!]. It must, however, be received by faith [John 3:16]. Thus this verse does not teach universalism [that all people ultimately will be saved], but that God is an impartial God.).
3By this we know that we have come to know (the nature of God the Father, especially the holy will and affection by which he aims to sanctify and redeem men through Christ) Him, if we keep His commandments (universally, of the commandments of God, especially as promulgated in the Christian religion. NASB: Does not mean that only those who never obey [1:8-9] know God, but simply refers to those whose lives are generally characterized by obedience.). 4The one who says, “I have come to know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth (“the truth, as taught in the Christian religion, respecting God and the execution of his purposes through Christ, and respecting the duties of man,” opposed alike to the superstitions of the Gentiles and the inventions of the Jews, and to the corrupt opinions and precepts of false teachers even among Christians: and absolutely ἡ ἀλήθεια and ἀλήθεια [truth, but not merely truth as spoken; truth of idea, reality, sincerity, truth in the moral sphere, divine truth revealed to man, straightforwardness].) is not in him; 5but whoever keeps His word (either of Christ or of God [the Father]: tēréō – properly, maintain [preserve]; [figuratively] spiritually guard [watch], keep intact.), in him the love of God has truly been perfected (to complete [perfect], i. e. add what is yet lacking in order to render a thing full. NASB: Means either that God’s love for the believer is made complete when it moves the believer to acts of obedience [see 4:12], or that our love for God becomes complete when it exercises itself in acts of obedience [see 16-18].). By this we know that we are in Him (NASB: Spiritual union with God [see John 17:21 that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me.]): 6the one who says he abides (Christians are said μένειν ἐν τῷ Θεῷ, to be rooted as it were in him, knit to him by the spirit they have received from him, 1 John 2:6, 24, 27; 1 John 3:6; hence, one is said μένειν in Christ or in God, and conversely Christ or God is said μένειν in one: John 6:56 “He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him. John 15:4 “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. 1 John 3:24 The one who keeps His commandments abides in Him, and He in him. We know by this that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us. 1 John 4:13 By this we know that we abide in Him and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit. 1 John 4:16 We have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.) in Him ought himself to walk (to live: to regulate one’s life, to conduct oneself) in the same manner (same way) as He walked.
7Beloved, I am not writing a new commandment (an injunction, order, command. NASB: See John 13:34-35. NASB: The Biblical command to love was old [see Lev 19:18, also Matt 22:39-40]. But its newness is seen in: (1) the new and dramatic illustration of divine love on the cross; (2) Christ’s exposition of the OT law [see Matt 5], which seemed new to Christ’s hears; and (3) the daily experience of believers as they grow in love for each other.) to you, but an old commandment which you have had from the beginning (as soon as instruction was imparted); the old commandment is the word (specifically, the doctrine concerning the attainment through Christ of salvation in the kingdom of God) which you have heard. 8On the other hand (in turn), I am writing a new commandment to you, which is true in Him and in you, because the darkness (used of ignorance of divine things, and its associated wickedness, and the resultant misery) is passing away (to disappear) and the true Light (especially the saving truth embodied in Christ and by his love and effort imparted to mankind. NASB: Used in the NT only here and in John 1:9, this phrase refers to the gospel of Jesus Christ, who is the light of the world [John 8:12], and to its saving effects in the lives of believers.) is already shining (shed light). 9The one who says he is in the Light (See above: to continue devoted to it, to persevere in keeping it) and yet hates (pursue with hatred, detest. NASB: Hates…loves: In the Bible hatred and love as moral qualities are not primarily emotions, but attitudes expressed in actions [see 3:15-16].) his brother (a fellow-believer, united to another by the bond of affection; so most frequently of Christians, constituting as it were but a single family: yet in the phraseology of John it has reference to the new life unto which men are begotten again by the efficiency of a common father, even God) is in the darkness (used of ignorance of divine things, and its associated wickedness, and the resultant misery) until now. 10The one who loves his brother abides (to be held, or kept, continually) in the Light and there is no cause for stumbling (of things: to put a stumbling-block in one’s way, i. e. to do that by which another is led to sin) in him. 11But the one who hates his brother is in the darkness and walks (to live) in the darkness, and does not know where he is going because the darkness has blinded (to blunt the mental discernment, darken the mind) his eyes (hidden from thine eyes, i. e. concealed from thee).
(NASB: vv 12-14: By extended repetition in these verses, John assures his readers that, in spite of the rigorous tests contained in the letter, he is confident of their salvation. Little children… fathers… young men: As elsewhere in this letter, “little children” probably refers to all John’s readers, including fathers and young men. The term “fathers” and “young men” may, however, describe two different levels of spiritual maturity. Some hold that all three terms refer to levels of spiritual maturity.)
12I am writing to you, little children ([figuratively] someone deeply loved [endeared]; which see; (in the N. T. used as a term of kindly address by teachers to their disciples [always in the plural little children]), because your sins have been forgiven you for His name’s sake (on account of professing my name). 13I am writing to you, fathers (one advanced in years, a senior), because you know (denotes to come to know, to know, his Messianic dignity; his divinity) Him who has been from the beginning (of the beginning of all things). I am writing to you, young men (a young man, youth), because you have overcome (is used of one who by Christian constancy and courage keeps himself unharmed and spotless from his adversary’s devices, solicitations, assaults: the devil) the evil one (s used pre-eminently of the devil). I have written to you, children (paidíon a child under training; the diminutive form of /país [“child”]. /paidíon [“a little child in training”] implies a younger child [perhaps seven years old or younger]. Some scholars apply [país] to a son or daughter up to 20 years old [the age of “complete adulthood” in Scripture].), because you know the Father. 14I have written to you, fathers, because you know Him who has been from the beginning. I have written to you, young men, because you are strong (of one who has strength of soul to sustain the assaults of Satan), and the word of God abides in you, and you have overcome the evil one.
Do Not Love the World 15Do not love the world (“worldly affairs; the aggregate of things earthly; the whole circle of earthly goods, endowments, riches, advantages, pleasures, etc., which, although hollow and frail and fleeting, stir desire, seduce from God and are obstacles to the cause of Christ”. NASB: Not the world of people [John 3:16] or the created world [John 17:24], but the world, or realm, of sin [v. 16; James 4:4], which is controlled by Satan and organized against God and righteousness.) nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of (NASB: for) the Father is not in him. 16For all that is in the world, the lust (desire for what is forbidden, lust) of the flesh (the animal nature with cravings which incite to sin) and the lust of the eyes (desire excited by seeing) and the boastful pride (display in one’s style of living, [vainglory]) of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. 17The world is passing away (to disappear), and also its lusts; but the one who does the will (choice) of God lives (hence, one is said μένειν [to stay, abide, remain] in Christ or in God, and conversely Christ or God is said μένειν [to stay, abide, remain] in one: cf. Rückert, Abendmahl, p. 268f μένει τί ἐν ἐμοί, something has established itself permanently within my soul, and always exerts its power in me: the Holy Spirit) forever.
18Children, it is the last hour (of the time nearest the return of Christ from heaven and the consummation of the divine kingdom. NASB: With other NT writers, John viewed the whole period beginning with Christ’s first coming as the last days. They understood this to be the “last” of the days because neither former prophecy nor new revelation concerning the history of salvation indicated the coming of another era before the return of Christ, The word “last” in “last days,” “last times” and “last hour” also expresses a sense of urgency and imminence. The Christian is to be on alert, waiting for the return of Christ [Matt 25:1-13].) and just as you heard that antichrist (opposing God, the adversary of the Messiah, a most pestilent being, to appear just before the Messiah’s advent, concerning whom the Jews had conceived diverse opinions, derived partly from Daniel 11:36ff; partly from Ezekiel 38; Ezekiel 39. For Paul teaches that Antichrist will be an individual man, of the very worst character (τόν ἄνθρωπον τῆς ἁμαρτίας (antichrist, either one who puts himself in the place of, or the enemy (opponent) of the Messiah. antíxristos (from /antí, “opposite to, in place of” and /Xristós, “Christ”) – properly, opposite to Christ; someone acting in place of (against) Christ; “Antichrist.”) [or, ἀνομίας (lawlessness, iniquity, disobedience, sin; anomía (from 1 /A “not” and /nómos, “law”) – properly, without law; lawlessness; the utter disregard for God’s law [His written and living Word]. /anomía [“lawlessness”] includes the end-impact of law breaking – i.e. its negative influence on a person’s soul [status before God].)]; see ἁμαρτία, 1), instigated by the devil to try to pawn himself off as God.) is coming, even now many antichrists (NASB: John assumed his readers knew that a great enemy of God and His people would arise before Christ’s return… But prior to him, there will be many antichrists… The antichrists referred to in John’s letter were the Gnostics.) have appeared (have arisen and now exist); from this we know that it is the last hour. 19They went out from us, but they were not really of us; for if they had been of us, they would have remained (to stay, abide) with us; but they went out, so that it would be shown (to make visible, make clear) that they all are not of us. 20But you have an anointing (is used of the gift of the Holy Spirit, as the efficient aid in getting a knowledge of the truth) from the Holy One (NASB: Either Jesus Christ [Mark 1:24; John 6:69; Acts 2:27; 3:14; 22:14] or the Father [2 Kings 19:22; Job 6:10]), and you all know. 21I have not written to you because you do not know the truth, but because you do know it, and because no lie (whatever is not what it professes to be: so of perverse, impious, deceitful precepts) is of the truth. 22Who is the liar but the one who denies (contradict) that Jesus is the Christ (NASB: The man Jesus is the divine Christ [see the parallel confession in 5:5])? This is the antichrist, the one who denies the Father and the Son. 23Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father; the one who confesses (homologéō [from /homoú, “together” and /légō, “speak to a conclusion”] – properly, to voice the same conclusion, i.e. agree [“confess“]; to profess [confess] because in full agreement; to align with [endorse]. [/homologéō (“confess”) means to speak the same thing, i.e. “assent, agree with, confess, declare, admit”]) the Son has the Father also. 24As for you, let that abide in you which you heard from the beginning. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, you also will abide in the Son and in the Father.
The Promise Is Eternal Life 25This is the promise which He Himself made to us: eternal life.
26These things I have written to you concerning those who are trying to deceive you. 27As for you, the anointing which you received from Him abides in you, and you have no need for anyone to teach (used of those who enjoin [to direct or order (someone) to do something] upon others to observe some ordinance, to embrace some opinion, or to obey some precept: with especially reference to the addition which the teacher makes to the knowledge of the one he teaches, to impart instruction, instill doctrine into one. NASB: Since the Bible constantly advocates teaching [Matt 28:20; 1 Cor 12:28; Eph 4:11; Col 3:16; 1 Tim 4:11; 2 Tim 2:2, 24], John is not ruling out human teachers. At the time when he wrote, however, Gnostic teachers were insisting that the teaching of the apostles was to be supplemented with the “higher knowledge” that they [the Gnostics] claimed to possess. John’s response was that what the readers were taught under the Spirit’s ministry through the apostles not only was adequate but was the only reliable truth.) you; but as His anointing teaches you (NASB: The teaching ministry of the Holy Spirit [what is commonly called illumination] does not involve revelation of new truth or the explanation of all difficult passages to our satisfaction. Rather, it is the development of the capacity to appreciate and appropriate God’s truth already revealed-making the Bible meaningful in thought and daily living.) about all things (NASB: All things necessary to know for salvation and Christian living.), and is true and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you abide in Him.
28Now, little children, abide in Him, so that when He appears, we may have confidence (free and fearless confidence, cheerful courage, boldness, assurance) and not shrink away from Him in shame (to be suffused with shame) at His coming. 29If you know that He is righteous, you know that everyone also who practices righteousness (NASB: Members of God’s family are marked by holy living.) is born of Him (NASB: He… Him: God the Father.
New American Standard Bible
Children of God Love One Another 3:1See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God; and such we are. For this reason the world (“the ungodly multitude; the whole mass of men alienated from God, and therefore hostile to the cause of Christ”) does not know us, because it did not know Him. 2Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared (to make visible, make clear; “become manifest”) as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him ([Christ] in nature and condition), because we will see Him (of the knowledge of God that may be looked for in his future kingdom) just as He is. 3And everyone who has this hope (expectation. NASB: Not a mere wish, but unshakable confidence concerning the future.) fixed on Him (Christ) purifies himself (morally. NASB: But turning from sin), just as He is pure (pure from every fault, immaculate).
4Everyone who practices (Tense: Present, Mood: Participle(ing), Voice: Active) (to commit) sin also practices lawlessness (contempt and violation of law, iniquity, wickedness); and sin is lawlessness. 5You know that He appeared in order to take away (to cause our sins to cease, i. e., that we no longer sin, while we enter into fellowship with Christ, who is free from sin, and abide in that fellowship, cf. 1 John 3:6.) sins; and in Him there is no sin. 6No one who abides (Christians are said to be rooted as it were in him, knit to him by the spirit they have received from him, hence, one is said μένειν [to abide] in Christ or in God, and conversely Christ or God is said μένειν [abide] in one) in Him sins (NASB: John is not asserting sinless perfection [see 1:8-10; 2:1], but explaining that the believer’s life is characterized not by sin but by doing what is right.); no one who sins has seen Him or knows (to come to know, to know, his sinless holiness) Him. 7Little children, make sure no one deceives you; the one who practices (Tense: Present, Mood: Participle(ing), Voice: Active) (to perform, accomplish) righteousness (to do righteousness, to live uprightly) is righteous, just as He is righteous; 8the one who practices sin is of the devil (to be of the devil, properly, to derive their origin from the devil, tropically, to depend upon the devil in thought and action, to be prompted and governed by him); for the devil has sinned from the beginning (of the beginning of all things. NASB: [Here] i.e., from the time he first rebelled against God, before the fall of Adam and Eve [John 8:44]. He is the instigator of human sin, and those who continue to sin belong to him [vv. 8, 12] and are his children [v. 10]. He is in the world [4:3] and has “the whole world” of unbelievers under his control [5:19]. But he cannot lay hold of the believer to harm him [5:18]. On the contrary, the Christian will overcome him [2:13-14; 4:4], and Christ will destroy his work.). The Son of God appeared for this purpose, to destroy (to overthrow, do away with) the works (any product whatever, anything accomplished by hand, art, industry, mind: sins and all the misery that springs from them) of the devil. 9No one who is born (beget [procreate a descendant], produce offspring; [passive] be born, “begotten.”) of God practices (Tense: Present, Mood: Indicative (is the only mood conceived of as actual), Voice: Active) sin, because His seed (the Holy Spirit, the divine energy operating within the soul by which we are regenerated or made the τέκνα τοῦ Θεοῦ [téknon – properly, a child; [figuratively] anyone living in full dependence on the heavenly Father, i.e. fully [willingly] relying upon the Lord in glad submission. This prompts God to transform them into His likeness. /téknon [“a child living in willing dependence“] illustrates how we must all live in utter dependence upon the Lord [moment-by-moment], drawing guidance [care, nurture] from our heavenly Father. [téknon] emphasizes the childlike [not childish] attitude of heart that willingly [gladly] submits to the Father’s plan. We profoundly learn this as we are receptive to Christ speaking His rhēma-word within to impart faith [cf. Ro 8:16, 17 with Ro 10:17, Gk text]. NASB: The picture is of human reproduction, in which the sperm [the Greek for “seed” is sperma] bears the life principle and transfers the paternal characteristics.); have been begotten of God) abides in him; and he cannot sin (NASB: Not a complete cessation of sin, but a life that is not characterized by sin.), because he is born of God. 10By this the children of God and the children of the devil are obvious (manifest i. e. to be plainly recognized or known): anyone who does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor the one who does not love his brother.
11For this is the message which you have heard from the beginning (as soon as instruction was imparted), that we should love one another; 12not as Cain, who was of the evil one (is used pre-eminently of the devil) and slew (to put to death by violence) his brother. And for what reason did he slay him? Because his deeds were evil, and his brother’s were righteous.
13Do not be surprised, brethren, if the world hates (detest) you. 14We know that we have passed out (to be removed) of death (metaphorically, the loss of that life which alone is worthy of the name, i. e. “the misery of soul arising from sin, which begins on earth but lasts and increases after the death of the body”: [Clement of Rome, 2 Cor. 1, 6 [ET] says of life before conversion to Christ]) into life (life real and genuine, vita quae sola vita nominanda, “a life active and vigorous, devoted to God, blessed, the portion even in this world of those who put their trust in Christ, but after the resurrection to be consummated by new accessions [among them a more perfect body], and to last forever” [the writers of the O. T. have anticipated the conception, in their way, by employing חַיִּים [life, alive] to denote a happy life and every kind of blessing]), because we love the brethren (NASB: Fellow believers). He who does not love abides in death (same as above). 15Everyone who hates (pursue with hatred, detest. NASB: Hates…loves: In the Bible hatred and love as moral qualities are not primarily emotions, but attitudes expressed in actions [see 3:15-16].) his brother is a murderer ([a manslayer] contextually, to be deemed equal to a murderer); and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him. 16We know love by this, that He laid down (give up, one’s life) His life for us; and we ought to lay down (give up, one’s life) our lives for the brethren. 17But whoever has the world’s goods (that by which life is sustained, resources, wealth), and sees his brother in need and closes (to shut up compassion so that it is like a thing inaccessible to one, to be devoid of pity toward one) his heart ([thought of] by the Hebrews as the seat of the tenderer affections, especially kindness, benevolence, compassion; hence, equivalent to our heart [tender mercies, affections, etc.] [Alice: intellect, emotion, and will are in the heart.]) against him, how does the love of God (NASB: God’s kind of love, which He pours out in the believer’s heart [Rom 5:5] and which in turn enables the Christian to love fellow believers. Or it may speak of the believer’s love for God.) abide in him? 18Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue (the act of speaking, speech; a word [as embodying an idea], a statement, a speech), but in deed (an act, deed, thing done) and truth (in accordance with fact, i. e. [according to the context] justly, without partiality [vv. 17-18 see James 2:14-17]). 19We will know by this that we are of the truth (to be prompted and controlled by the truth,), and will assure (to tranquillize) our heart (kardía – heart; “the affective center of our being” and the capacity of moral preference [volitional desire, choice); “desire-producer that makes us tick”, i.e our “desire-decisions” that establish who we really are. [Heart [/kardía] is mentioned over 800 times in Scripture, but never referring to the literal physical pump that drives the blood. That is, “heart” is only used figuratively [both in the OT and NT.]; lit: the heart; mind, character, inner self, will, intention, center.) before Him 20in whatever our heart condemns (to accuse) us; for God is greater (contextually equivalent to strict in condemning, of God) than our heart and knows all things (NASB: An oversensitive conscience can be quieted by the knowledge that God Himself has declared active love to be an evidence of salvation. He knows the hearts of all-whether, in spite of shortcomings, they have been born of Him.). 21Beloved, if our heart does not condemn (to accuse) us, we have confidence (free and fearless confidence, cheerful courage) before God; 22and whatever we ask (request, petition) we receive (to receive [what is given]; to gain, get, obtain; substantially equivalent to to receive, get back [Note: John was writing to believers, and note the conditions for receiving whatever one requests]) from Him, because we keep (observe) His commandments and do the things that are pleasing (agreeable) in His sight (before one i. e. he looking on and judging, in one’s judgment).
23This is His commandment (universally, of the commandments of God, especially as promulgated in the Christian religion. NASB: This command has two parts: (1) Believe in Christ [see John 6:29Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent.”], and (2) love each other [see John 13:34-35“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. “By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”]. The first part is developed in 4:1-6 and the second part in 4:7-12.), that we believe (to commit oneself trustfully to the name [see ὄνομα: used in the N. T. of all those things which, in hearing or recalling that name, we are bidden to recognize in Jesus and to profess; accordingly, of “his Messianic dignity, divine authority, memorable sufferings, in a word the peculiar services and blessings conferred by him on men,” so far forth as these are believed, confessed, commemorated.]) in the name of His Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, just as He commanded us. 24The one who keeps (tēréō [from tēros, “a guard”] – properly, maintain [preserve]; [figuratively] spiritually guard [watch], keep intact; keep, guard, observe, watch over) His commandments abides in Him, and He in him. We know by this that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us.
New American Standard Bible
Testing the Spirits 4:1Beloved, do not believe (to credit, have confidence, to believe one’s words) every spirit (“one in whom a spirit (πνεῦμα) is manifest or embodied; hence, equivalent to actuated by a spirit, whether divine or demoniacal; one who either is truly moved by God’s Spirit or falsely boasts that he is”. NASB: A person moved by a spirit, whether by the Holy Spirit or an evil one.), but test (by implication to approve. NASB: Test does not refer to such testing or judgment; it speaks of self-righteous moral judgment of others.) the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets (“one who, acting the part of a divinely inspired prophet, utters falsehoods under the name of divine prophecies, a false prophet”. NASB: A true prophet speaks from God, being “moved by the Holy Spirit [2 Peter 1:21]. False prophets, such as the Gnostics of John’s day, speak under the influence of spirits alienated from God. Christ warned against false prophets [Matt 7:15; 24:11], as did Paul [1 Tim 4:1] and Peter [2 Pet 2:1].) have gone out into the world. 2By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses (to speak the same, to agree [with God]; to profess [to declare openly and voluntarily’] and [`to declare fully,’ implying the yielding or change of one’s conviction], i. e. to declare openly, speak out freely. NASB: Not only knows intellectually-for demons know, and shudder [James 2:19; cf. Mark 1:24]-but also confesses publically.) that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh (/sárks [“flesh”] is not always evil in Scripture. Indeed, it is used positively in relation to sexual intercourse in marriage [Eph 5:31] – as well as for the sinless human body of Jesus [Jn 1:14; 1 Jn 4:2, 3]. Indeed, flesh [what is physical] is necessary for the body to live out the faith the Lord works in [Gal 2:20].]). Indeed, flesh [what is physical] is necessary for the body to live out the faith the Lord works in (Gal 2:20).]; universally, human nature, the soul included [human spirit and body = human soul]: ἐν σαρκί ἔρχεσθαι, to appear [on earth in space and time] clothed in human nature) is from God; 3and every spirit that does not confess (to profess oneself the worshipper of one. NASB: The incarnate Jesus Christ of 1:2…) Jesus is not from God (NASB: An abbreviation form of the expression “born of God” [2:29; 3:9-10]); this is the spirit of the antichrist (one who opposes Christ), of which you have heard that it is coming, and now it is already in the world. 4You are from God, little children, and have overcome (by the force which resides in goodness, i. e. in kindness, to cause an enemy to repent of the wrong he has done one,) them (NASB: The false prophets [v. 1]), who were inspired by the spirit of the antichrist [v.3].); because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world (NASB: The devil [John 12:31; 16:11]. In v. 3 “world” means the inhabited earth; in vv. 4-5 it means the community, or system, of those not born of God-including the antichrist.). 5They are from the world (“the ungodly multitude; the whole mass of men alienated from God, and therefore hostile to the cause of Christ”); therefore they speak as from the world, and the world listens to them. 6We are from God; he who knows God listens to us; he who is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the spirit of truth (the Spirit [of God] which is truth [1 John 5:6] and imbues men with the knowledge of the truth) and the spirit of error (in the N. T. metaphorically, mental straying, i. e. error, wrong opinion relative to morals or religion). God Is Love 7Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. 8The one who does not love does not know God (NASB: Only those who are to some degree like Him truly know Him.), for God is love (God is wholly love, his nature is summed up in love. NASB: In His essential nature and in all His actions, God is loving. John similarly affirms that God is spirit [John 4:24] and light [1:5], as well as holy, powerful, faithful, true and just. [K. Erik Thoennes says God’s attributes are interdependent, not one attribute functions independently of another, and they are always functioning concurrently. God does not diminish one attribute to express another, example, love and wrath. God is omnipotent; therefore he does not have to choose between love and wrath. Moreover, the attributes of love and wrath are not dichotomous, they are instead complementary, that is, they complete each other. To realize the unity of God is to realize that love necessitates wrath, and wrath necessitates love. They are not two ends of a spectrum, on the contrary, they are in close proximity. An example is that if a person loves children, he hates child abuse. He is wrathful towards it. It is irrational for a person to say that he loves children and is okay with child abuse. God’s attributes are impossible to understand without comprehending their interdependence. It is important for a believer to become a whole Bible Christian, that is, to be taking in the whole picture. A correct understanding of the unity of God facilitates this process. It also sheds light on the knowability of God. An example is that one understands the crucifixion of Christ better when one realizes that on the cross God’s attributes of love, justice, holiness, and wrath were exhibited openly.] [Alice: When one asks, if God is love, then why is He letting all this evil take place in the world? My reply is read the Bible, He is doing something about it. (Cf. Rev 19-22)]). 9By this the love of God was manifested (passive, to become manifest, be made known) in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live (emphatically, and in the Messianic sense, to enjoy real life, i. e. to have true life and worthy of the name — active, blessed, endless in the kingdom of God, by the gift and power of Christ it is shared in by the faithful, who accordingly are said ζήσειν δἰ αὐτόν [záō – to live, experience God’s gift of life.]) through Him. 10In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation (for our sins; hilasmós – properly, propitiation; an offering to appease [satisfy] an angry, offended party. [hilasmós] is only used twice [1 Jn 2:2, 4:10] – both times of Christ’s atoning blood that appeases God’s wrath, on all confessed sin. By the sacrifice of Himself, Jesus Christ provided the ultimate /hilasmós [“propitiation”].) for our sins. 11Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another (believers, brethren). 12No one has seen God at any time; if we love one another, God abides (to stay, abide, remain) in us, and His love is perfected (to complete [perfect], i. e. add what is yet lacking in order to render a thing full: passive. NASB: Since our love has its source in God’s love, His love reaches full expression [is made complete] when we love fellow Christians. Thus the God whom “no one has seen” is seen in those who love, because God lives in them.) in us. 13By this we know that we abide in Him and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit (Cf. Gal 5:6 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything, but faith working through love. Gal 6:15 For neither is circumcision anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation.). 14We have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son to be the Savior of the world (kósmos [literally, “something ordered“] – properly, an “ordered system” [like the universe, creation]; the world. particularly the inhabitants of the earth, men, the human race [this is not teaching universal salvation, universalism.])
15Whoever confesses (to speak the same, to agree [with God]) that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. 16We have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. 17By this, love is perfected with us, so that we may have confidence (free and fearless confidence, cheerful courage, boldness, assurance, before the judge) in the day of judgment (in a forensic judgment sense, of the of God or of Jesus the Messiah: universally of the last judgment: the day appointed for the judgment [Alice: In this judgment unbelievers will be judged by their own works; believers will also be judged by their works, but these are the works that James spoke of, the works produced by faith (James 2:18 But someone may well say, “You have faith and I have works; show me your faith without the works, and I will show you my faith by my works.” James 2:20But are you willing to recognize, you foolish fellow, that faith without works is useless? James 2:24 You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone.), and the ones spoken of in Eph 2:10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.]. These are the works the believer will have on the day of judgement. Cf. Rom 14:10 But you, why do you judge your brother? Or you again, why do you regard your brother with contempt? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God. 1 Cor 3:10-15According to the grace of God which was given to me, like a wise master builder I laid a foundation, and another is building on it. But each man must be careful how he builds on it. For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each man’s work will become evident; for the day will show it because it is to be revealed with fire, and the fire itself will test the quality of each man’s work. If any man’s work which he has built on it remains, he will receive a reward. If any man’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire. NASB: All Christians will be judged, and the judgment will be based on works [see 2 Cor 5:10; cf. 1 Cor 3:10-15]. Gal 5:6 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything, but faith working through love.); because as He is, so also are we (NASB: Like Christ. The fact that we are like Christ in love is a sign that God, who is love, lives in us; therefore we may have confidence on the day of judgment that we are saved.) in this world. 18There is no fear (fear, dread, terror; in a subjective sense) in love (NASB: There is no fear of God’s judgment because genuine love confirms salvation.); but perfect (brought to its end, finished; lacking nothing necessary to completeness; perfect [see v 12]) love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment (kólasis [from kolaphos, “a buffeting, a blow”] – properly, punishment that “fits” [matches] the one punished; torment from living in the dread of upcoming judgment from shirking one’s duty; correction, punishment, penalty: brings with it or has connected with it the thought of punishment), and the one who fears is not perfected (to complete (perfect), i. e. add what is yet lacking in order to render a thing full; [not] one has been made perfect in love, his love lacks nothing) in love. 19We love, because He first loved us. 20If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar (a person who falsifies, misrepresents [distorts, misleads].); for the one who does not love his brother (believer) whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen. 21And this commandment (see John 13:34) we have from Him, that the one who loves God should love his brother also.
New American Standard Bible
Overcoming the World 5:1Whoever believes (to have a faith directed unto, believing or in faith to give oneself up to, Jesus, etc. [pisteúō [from /pístis, “faith,” derived from /peíthō, “persuade, be persuaded” – believe (affirm, have confidence); used of persuading oneself (= human believing) and with the sacred significance of being persuaded by the Lord (= faith-believing). Only the context indicates whether /pisteúō (“believe”) is self-serving (without sacred meaning), or the believing that leads to/proceeds from God’s inbirthing of faith. (Alice: In this context the first meaning is applicable.)] Cf. Heb 11:1 Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. [Faith produces hearing of the word of God, and it makes the unseen real: a conviction of the truth of anything, belief; in the NT of a conviction or belief respecting man’s relationship to God and divine things, generally with the included idea of trust and holy fervour born of faith and joined with it]. Cf. Gal 3: 2I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by believing what you heard? Gal 3:5 So again I ask, does God give you his Spirit and work miracles among you by the works of the law, or by your believing what you heard?) that Jesus is the Christ is born (peculiarly, in the Gospel and First Epistle of John, of God conferring upon men the nature and disposition of his sons, imparting to them spiritual life, i. e. by his own holy power prompting and persuading souls to put faith in Christ and live a new life consecrated to himself; absolutely) of God (NASB: Faith in Jesus as the Christ is a sign of being born again, just as love is [4:7].), and whoever loves the Father loves the child born of Him (NASB: John wrote at a time when members of a family were closely associated as a unit under the headship of the father. He could therefore use the family as an illustration to show that anyone who loves God the Father will naturally love God’s children.). 2By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and observe (to carry out, to execute) His commandments. 3For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments (Excerpts from Saucy: There are two basic practices involved in abiding in Christ which are (a) abide in Christ and (b) abide in His love. Abiding in His love involves obeying His commandments, but love does not simply mean obey the commandments. Obey the commandment is love because to obey the commandments allows the believer to walk close to Christ. To obey the commandment is to be inviting Christ and receiving the life of God through the Spirit (cf. Lk. 7:13; I Jn. 4:16). Amos 3:3 “Can two walk together, except they be agreed?” To the extent that the believer does not obey the commandments, he and Christ are not walking together; they are walking in different directions, that is, the believer is walking in a different direction than Christ. So obeying the commandments is to be abiding in Christ and receiving the life of God through the Spirit. Therefore, the two basic practices of abiding in Christ are to (a) receive by faith all that Christ is for the believer. Abiding in Christ means a believer has to lay hold of Christ and become joined to Him, and (b) obey His commandments. Christ never commands the believer to bear fruit. He commands him to abide in Him and to abide in His love, and apparently obeying these two commandments will produce fruit.); and His commandments are not burdensome (properly, heavy [weighty]; [figuratively] what is grievous [burdensome], pressing down on a person with oppressive force. Such a grievous burden makes a person unable to function [enjoy free movement]. NASB: Not because the commands themselves are light or easy to obey but, as John explains in v. 4, because of the new birth. The one born of God by faith is enabled by the Holy Spirit to obey.). 4For whatever is born of God overcomes (is used of one who by Christian constancy and courage keeps himself unharmed and spotless from his adversary’s devices, solicitations, assaults: the devil) the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world (the incentives to sin proceeding from the world. NASB: Has overcome: To overcome the world is to gain victory over its sinful pattern of life, which is another way of describing obedience to God [v. 3]. Such obedience is not impossible for the believer because he has been born again and the Holy Spirit dwells within him and gives him strength. John speaks of two aspects of victory: (1) the initial victory of turning in faith from the world to God [“has overcome”]; (2) the continuing day-by-day victory of Christian living [“overcomes”].)—our faith.
5Who is the one who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? 6This is the One who came by water (NASB: Water symbolizes Jesus’ baptism, and blood symbolizes His death. These are mentioned because Jesus’ ministry began at His baptism and ended at His death. John is reacting to the heretics of his day [Gnostics] who said that Jesus was born only a man and remained so until His baptism. At that time, they maintained, the Christ [the Son of God] descended on the human Jesus, but left him before his suffering on the cross-so that it was only the man Jesus who died. Throughout his letter John has been insisting that Jesus Christ is God as well as man [1:1-4; 4:2; 5:5]. He now asserts that it was this God-man Jesus Christ who came into our world, was baptized and died. Jesus was the Son of God not only at His baptism but also at his death [v. 6b]. This truth is extremely important, because, if Jesus died only as a man, His sacrificial atonement [2:2; 4:10] would not have been sufficient to take away the guilt [culpability] of man’s sin. BKC: John’s insistence that He did not come by water only, but by water and blood, suggests that he was refuting a false notion of the type held by Cerinthus. Cerinthus taught that the divine Christ descended on the man Jesus at His baptism and left Him before His crucifixion. Thus he denied that one Person, Jesus Christ, came by both water and blood. Cerinthus was doubtless not alone in such views, which John regarded as utterly false and contrary to the true testimony of the Holy Spirit [see Matt 3:13-17Then Jesus arrived from Galilee at the Jordan coming to John, to be baptized by him. But John tried to prevent Him, saying, “I have need to be baptized by You, and do You come to me?” But Jesus answering said to him, “Permit it at this time; for in this way it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he permitted Him. After being baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending as a dove and lighting on Him, and behold, a voice out of the heavens said, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased.” Mark 1:9-11In those days Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. Immediately coming up out of the water, He saw the heavens opening, and the Spirit like a dove descending upon Him; and a voice came out of the heavens: “You are My beloved Son, in You I am well-pleased.” Luke 3:21-22Now when all the people were baptized, Jesus was also baptized, and while He was praying, heaven was opened, and the Holy Spirit descended upon Him in bodily form like a dove, and a voice came out of heaven, “You are My beloved Son, in You I am well-pleased.”].) and blood, Jesus Christ; not with the water only, but with the water and with the blood. It is the Spirit who testifies (to prove or confirm by testimony), because the Spirit is the truth (the Spirit [of God] which is truth and imbues men with the knowledge of the truth). 7For there are three (NASB: The OT law required “two or three witnesses” [Deut 17:6; 19:15; see 1 Tim 5:19].) that testify: 8the Spirit and the water and the blood; and the three are in agreement (Cf. Deut. 19:15; Matt. 18:16; John 8:17-18. These witnesses are: the Holy “Spirit”, teaching through the apostles and prophets, the “water” of Jesus’ baptism, and the “blood” of His crucifixion. BKC: The Spirit’s witness may be thought of as coming through the prophet’s [including John the Baptist]. The Spirit’s witness, then, was augmented by the historic realities involved in “the water” and the “blood.” Both the baptism and the crucifixion of Jesus are strongly attested historical facts [cf. John 1:32-34John testified saying, “I have seen the Spirit descending as a dove out of heaven, and He remained upon Him. “I did not recognize Him, but He who sent me to baptize in water said to me, ‘He upon whom you see the Spirit descending and remaining upon Him, this is the One who baptizes in the Holy Spirit.’ “I myself have seen, and have testified that this is the Son of God.” 19:33-37but coming to Jesus, when they saw that He was already dead, they did not break His legs. But one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately blood and water came out. And he who has seen has testified, and his testimony is true; and he knows that he is telling the truth, so that you also may believe. For these things came to pass to fulfill the Scripture, “NOT A BONE OF HIM SHALL BE BROKEN.” And again another Scripture says, “THEY SHALL LOOK ON HIM WHOM THEY PIERCED.”]. All three witnesses [“water” and “blood” are personified] “are in agreement” that a single divine Person, Jesus Christ, was involved in these events.). 9If we receive the testimony of men, the testimony of God (NASB: The Holy Spirit’s testimony, mentioned in vv. 6-8) is greater; for the testimony of God is this, that He has testified concerning His Son. 10The one who believes in the Son of God has the testimony (evidence given [judicially or genitive case] — record, report, testimony, witness) in himself; the one who does not believe God has made Him a liar, because he has not believed in the testimony that God has given concerning His Son. 11And the testimony is this, that God has given us eternal (perpetual [also used of past time, or past and future as well] — eternal, for ever, everlasting, world [began]; aiṓnios [an adjective, derived from /aiṓn [“an age, having a particular character and quality“] – properly, “age-like” [“like-an-age“], i.e. an “age-characteristic” [the quality describing a particular age]; [figuratively] the unique quality [reality] of God’s life at work in the believer, i.e. as the Lord manifests His self-existent life [as it is in His sinless abode of heaven]. “Eternal [ /aiṓnios] life operates simultaneously outside of time, inside of time, and beyond time – i.e. what gives time its everlasting meaning for the believer through faith, yet is also time-independent. [aiōn]. [aiṓnios] does not focus on the future per se, but rather on the quality of the age [ /aiṓn)] it relates to. Thus believers live in “eternal [ /aiṓnios] life” right now, experiencing this quality of God’s life now as a present possession. [Note the Gk present tense of having eternal life in Jn 3:36, 5:24, 6:47; cf. Ro 6:23.)]. [Eph 1:4 just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love. [Please read: Eph 1:3-15Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved. In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace which He lavished on us. In all wisdom and insight He made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His kind intention which He purposed in Him with a view to an administration suitable to the fullness of the times, that is, the summing up of all things in Christ, things in the heavens and things on the earth. In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will, to the end that we who were the first to hope in Christ would be to the praise of His glory. In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation—having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of His glory.] [Alice: He that hath and ear (metaph. the faculty of perceiving with the mind, the faculty of understanding and knowing), let him hear.]) life (life real and genuine, vita quae sola vita nominanda, “a life active and vigorous, devoted to God, blessed, the portion even in this world of those who put their trust in Christ, but after the resurrection to be consummated by new accessions [among them a more perfect body], and to last forever” [the writers of the O. T. have anticipated the conception, in their way, by employing חַיִּים to denote a happy life and every kind of blessing]. NASB: As a present possession. NASB: An infinitely high quality of life in living fellowship with God-both now and forever.… not something the believer will only obtain later.), and this life is in His Son. 12He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life.
This Is Written That You May Know 13These things I have written to (Note) you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life. 14This is the confidence (free and fearless confidence, cheerful courage, boldness, assurance) which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will (Note the condition; the first one was to keep His commandments, cf. 4:22), He hears (to listen to, have regard to, of God answering the prayers of men) us. 15And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked from Him.
(NASB: vv. 16-17 illustrate the kind of petition we can be sure God will answer [see vv. 14-15].)
16If anyone sees his brother committing a sin not leading to death (metaphorically, the loss of that life which alone is worthy of the name, i. e. “the misery of soul arising from sin, which begins on earth but lasts and increases after the death of the body”; properly, an adjective used as a noun) death — deadly, [be…] death; thánatos [derived from /thnḗskō, “to die”] – physical or spiritual death; [figuratively] separation from the life [salvation] of God forever by dying without first experiencing death to self to receive His gift of salvation.), he shall ask and God will for him give life (same as above) to those who commit sin not leading to death. There is a sin leading to death (same as above. NASB: In the context of this letter directed against Gnostic teaching, which denied the incarnation and threw off all moral restraints, it is probable that the “sin leading to death” refers to Gnostics’ adamant and persistent denial of the truth and to their shameless immorality. This kind of unrepentant sin leads to spiritual death. Another view is that this is sin that results in physical death. It is held that, because a believer continues to sin, God in judgment takes his life [cf. 1 Cor 11:30]. In either case, “sin not leading to death” is of a less serious nature.); I do not say that he should make request for this. 17All unrighteousness is sin, and there is a sin not leading to death.
18We know that no one who is born of God (Jesus, the Son of God) sins (positionally [forensically/Judicially] the believer’s sins are forgiven; practically see 1 John 1:9ff); but He (Jesus Christ) who was born of God keeps (himself such as he is, i. e. begotten of God) him, and the evil one does not touch (i. e. assail) him. 19We know that we are of God, and that the whole world lies in the power of the evil one. 20And we know (NASB: The letter ends with three striking statements, affirming the truths that “we know” and summarizing some of the letter’s major themes.) that the Son of God has come, and has given us understanding (diánoia [from /diá, “thoroughly, from side-to-side,” which intensifies /noiéō, “to use the mind,” from /noús, “mind”] – properly, movement from one side [of an issue] to the other to reach balanced-conclusions; full-orbed reasoning [= critical thinking], i.e. dialectical thinking that literally reaches “across to the other side” [of a matter]. /diánoia [“critical thinking”], literally “thorough reasoning,” incorporates both sides of a matter to reach a meaningful [personal] conclusion. Such “full-breadth reasoning” is essential to loving [ /agapáō] the Lord and our neighbor [see Mk 12:30]. It is also the instrument of self-destruction when exercised without God’s light and power [Lk 1:51; Eph 2:3, 4:18; Col 1:21]. [/diánoia (dianoia) is also used of “reasoning and speech between characters in ancient dramas”. But (diánoia) works to a person’s own undoing when it operates apart from the light of God’s word (Eph 4:18)]; understanding, intellect, mind, insight.) so that we may know (the one, true God, in contrast with the polytheism of the Gentiles) Him who is true (God the Father.); and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God (NASB: Could refer to either God the father or God the Son.) and eternal life.
21Little children, guard yourselves from idols (NASB: False gods, as opposed to the one true God [v. 20].).
New American Standard Bible 2 John
Walk According to His Commandments 1:1The elder to the chosen (choice, select, i. e. the best of its kind or class, excellent, preeminent: applied to certain individual Christians. NASB: Either an unknown Christian woman in the province of Asia or a figurative designation of a local church there. Her children: Children of that Christian lady or members of that local church.) lady and her children, whom I love in truth (subjectively. NASB: John uses this word, the Greek aletheia, 25 times and links it closely with Jesus, who is the truth [14:6]) “truth as a personal excellence; that candor of mind which is free from affectation, pretense, simulation, falsehood, deceit”: sincerely and truthfully); and not only I, but also all who know the truth (“the truth, as taught in the Christian religion, respecting God and the execution of his purposes through Christ, and respecting the duties of man,” opposed alike to the superstitions of the Gentiles and the inventions of the Jews, and to the corrupt opinions and precepts of false teachers even among Christians), 2for the sake of the truth which abides (not to depart, not to leave, to continue to be present) in us and will be with us forever: 3Grace, mercy and peace will be with us, from God the Father and from Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, in truth and love (agápē – properly, love which centers in moral preference. So too in secular ancient Greek, [agápē] focuses on preference; likewise the verb form [ /agapáō] in antiquity meant “to prefer” [TDNT, 7]. In the NT, [agápē] typically refers to divine love [= what God prefers]; love, i.e. affection or benevolence; specially (plural) a love-feast – [feast of] charity [-ably], dear, love.).
4I was very glad to find some of your children walking (Hebraistically, to live, i. e. α. to regulate one’s life, to conduct oneself) in truth, just as we have received commandment to do from the Father. 5Now I ask you, lady, not as though I were writing to you a new commandment (of the moral precepts of Christ and his apostles), but the one which we have had from the beginning (as soon as instruction was imparted), that we love one another. 6And this is love, that we walk (to live, i. e. α. to regulate one’s life, to conduct oneself) according to His commandments. This is the commandment, just as you have heard from the beginning, that you should walk in it.
(NASB: vv. 7-11: This section deals with the basic Gnostic heresy attacked in 1 John, namely, that the Son of God did not become flesh [John 1:14], but that He temporarily came upon the man Jesus between his baptism and crucifixion.)
7For many deceivers (a corrupter) have gone out into the world, those who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh (to appear clothed in human nature [see 1 John 4:2-3].). This is the deceiver and the antichrist (antichrist, either one who puts himself in the place of, or the enemy [opponent] of the Messiah; antíxristos [from /antí, “opposite to, in place of” and /Xristós, “Christ”] – properly, opposite to Christ; someone acting in place of [against] Christ; “Antichrist.” [See 1 John 2:18]). 8Watch yourselves, that you do not lose (to destroy) what we have accomplished (to work, labor), but that you may receive a full (i. e. complete; lacking nothing, perfect) reward (is used of those for whom a reward is reserved by God, whom a divine reward awaits. NASB: Work faithfully accomplished on earth brings future reward [see mark 9:41; 10:29-30; Luke 19:16-19; Heb 11:26].). 9Anyone who goes too far (to transgress the limits of true doctrine [cf. our colloquial, ‘advanced’ (views, etc.) in a disparaging sense]. NASB: A reference to the Gnostics, who believe that they had advance beyond the teaching of the apostles.) and does not abide (of him who cleaves, holds fast, to a thing) in the teaching of Christ (NASB: The similarity of the letter to 1 John, the nature of the heresy combated and the immediate context suggested that John is not referring to teaching given by Christ, but to true teaching about Christ as the incarnate God-man.), does not have God; the one who abides in the teaching, he has both the Father and the Son. 10If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house (NASB: A reference to housing and feeding of traveling teachers. The instruction does not prohibit greeting or even inviting a person into one’s home for conversation. John was warning against providing food and shelter, since this would be an investment in “evil deeds” of false teachers and would give public approval [see v. 11].), and do not give him a greeting; 11for the one who gives him a greeting participates in his evil deeds.
12Though I have many things to write to you, I do not want to do so with paper and ink; but I hope to come to you and speak face to face, so that your joy (gladness) may be made full (to make complete in every particular; to render perfect).
13The children of your chosen sister (NASB: May be taken literally to designate another Christian woman or figuratively to refer to another local church) greet you.
New American Standard Bible 3 John
You Walk in the Truth 1The elder (among Christians, those who presided over the assemblies [or churches]) to the beloved Gaius (NASB: A Christian in one of the churches of the province of Asia. Gaius was a common Roman name.), whom I love in truth.
2Beloved, I pray that in all respects you may prosper (prosper, be successful) and be in good health, just as your soul (“the [human] soul in so far as it is so constituted that by the right use of the aids offered it by God it can attain its highest end and secure eternal blessedness, the soul regarded as a moral being designed for everlasting life) prospers. 3For I was very glad when brethren came and testified to your truth, that is, how you are walking (to live, i. e. α. to regulate one’s life, to conduct oneself) in truth. 4I have no greater joy than this, to hear of my children (in the N. T., pupils or disciples are called children of their teachers, because the latter by their instruction nourish the minds of their pupils and mould their characters. NASB: Perhaps John’s converts, or believers currently under his spiritual guidance.) walking in the truth.
5Beloved, you are acting faithfully in whatever you accomplish for the brethren (NASB: The early church provided hospitality and support for missionaries.), and especially when they are strangers (a foreigner); 6and they have testified to your love before the church. You will do well to send them on their way in a manner worthy of God. 7For they went out for the sake of the Name (relying or resting on the name of Christ, rooted [so to speak] in his name, i. e. mindful of Chris, for defending, spreading, strengthening, the authority of Christ. NASB: Today Orthodox Jews often address God by the title Ha-Shem [“The Name”].), accepting nothing from the Gentiles (in the N. T. savoring of the nature of pagans, alien to the worship of the true God, heathenish; substantively, ὁ ἐθνικός, the pagan, the Gentile). 8Therefore we ought to support (to receive hospitably, welcome; to take or bear up, to receive, to assume) such men, so that we may be fellow workers with the truth (“the truth, as taught in the Christian religion, respecting God and the execution of his purposes through Christ, and respecting the duties of man,” opposed alike to the superstitions of the Gentiles and the inventions of the Jews, and to the corrupt opinions and precepts of false teachers even among Christians).
9I wrote something to the church; but Diotrephes (a Christian man, but proud and arrogant), who loves to be first (to aspire after pre-eminence. NASB: A church leader who was exercising dictatorial power in the church. He must have had considerable influence since he was able to exclude people from the church fellowship [v. 10].) among them, does not accept what we say. 10For this reason, if I come, I will call attention (bring to remembrance, recall to mind: with implied censure) to his deeds which he does, unjustly accusing us with wicked words; and not satisfied with this, he himself does not receive the brethren, either, and he forbids those who desire to do so and puts them out of the church (an assembly, a (religious) congregation).
11Beloved, do not imitate what is evil (what is contrary to law, either divine or human, wrong, crime), but what is good (what is upright, honorable, and acceptable to God). The one who does good is of God (NASB: The continual practice of good, not merely doing occasional good deeds.); the one who does evil has not seen (horáō – properly, see, often with metaphorical meaning: “to see with the mind” [i.e. spiritually see], i.e. perceive [with inward spiritual perception; to know God’s will].) God. 12Demetrius (Demetrius, the name of a silversmith and of a Christian) has received a good testimony (to bear witness, testify) from everyone, and from the truth (truth [true to fact], reality.) itself; and we add our testimony, and you know that our testimony is true.
13I had many things to write to you, but I am not willing to write them to you with pen and ink;
14but I hope to see you shortly, and we will speak face to face. 15 Peace be to you (NASB: Not a prayer or wish but a benedictory pronouncement). The friends greet you. Greet the friends by name.
New American Standard Bible Jude
The Warnings of History to the Ungodly 1Jude, a bond-servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, To those who are the called (“invited [by God in the proclamation of the gospel] to obtain eternal salvation in the kingdom of God through Christ”; from John MacArthur’s Study notes in the “Study Bible” [hitherto SB] As always in the epistles, this refers not to a general invitation to salvation, but to God’s irresistible, elective call to salvation [cf. Rom 1:7; 1 Cor 1:23-24; 1 Thess 5:24; 2 Thess 2:13-14]. This call yields: (1) fellowship with Christ [1 Cor 1:9]; (2) peace [1 Cor 7:15]; (3) freedom [Gal 5:13]; (4) a worthy walk [Eph 4:1]; (5) hope [Eph 4:4]; (6) holiness [1 Pet 1:15; (7) blessing [1 Pet 3:9]; and (8) eternal glory [1 Pet 5:10]. Cf. “grace of our God” Jude 4.), beloved (to have a preference for, wish well to, regard the welfare of: and elsewhere; used often in the First Epistle of John of the love of Christians toward one another; of the benevolence which God, in providing salvation for men, has exhibited by sending his Son to them and giving him up to death. SB: Cf. John 13:1; 14:23; 16:27; 17:20; 23; Rom 5:8; 1 John 3:1, which expand on the idea of unconditional, thus unending, love from God to the believer in Christ. It is because of that love that believers are set apart from sin to God by the transformation of conversion.) in God the Father (SB: The plan of salvation and its fulfillment come from God, who is not only Father in the sense of creation and origin of all that exist, but is also “God, our Savior” [Jude 25; cf. 1 Tim 2:3; Titus 1:3; 2:10; 3:4]… God not only initiates salvation but he also completes it through Christ, thus preserving or keeping the believer secure for eternal life [John 6:37-44; 10:28-30; 17:11; 15; Rom 8:31-19; 2 Tim 4:18; Heb 7:25; 9:24; 1 Pet 1:3-3].), and kept (to watch over, to guard.) for Jesus Christ (NASB: He who holds the whole universe together [see Col 1:17; Heb 1:3] will see that God’s children are kept in the faith and that they reach their eternal inheritance [see John 6:37-40; 17:11-12; 1 Pet 1:3-5].): 2May mercy and peace (NASB: The profound well-being of soul that flows from the experience of God’s grace.) and love be multiplied to you (SB: Only here in the NT do these three qualities appear so close together. Where law and works prevail, there is failure and death. Where grace prevails, there is mercy [Eph 2:4; Heb 4:16], peace [Rom 5:1], and love [Rom 5:5] in abundance.).
3Beloved (to have a preference for, wish well to, regard the welfare of: and elsewhere; used often in the First Epistle of John of the love of Christians toward one another; of the benevolence which God, in providing salvation for men, has exhibited by sending his Son to them and giving him up to death), while I was making every effort to write you about our common (/koinós [“defiled because treated as common“] is always used negatively, i.e. for what is profaned – except in Jude 1:3 where it refers to the gift of salvation shared [held in common] by all true believers.) salvation, I felt the necessity to write to you appealing that you contend (epagōnízomai [from /epí, “focused on” and /agṓn, “a contest, competition”] – properly, to contend [literally, “struggle upon, appropriately“], i.e. with skill and commitment in opposing whatever is not of faith [God’s persuasion]. SB: While the salvation of those to whom he wrote was not in jeopardy, false teachers preaching and living out a counterfeit gospel were misleading those who needed to hear the true gospel. Jude wrote this urgent imperative for Christians to wage war against error in all forms and fight strenuously for the truth, like a soldier who has been entrusted with a sacred task of guarding a holy treasure [cf. 1 Tim 6:12; 2 Tim 4:7].) earnestly for the faith (objectively, the substance of Christian faith or what is believed by Christians. SB: This is the whole body of revealed salvation truth contained in the Scriptures [cf. Gal 1:23; Eph 4:5; 13; Phil 1:27; 1 Tim 4:1]. Cf. Jude 20. Here is a call to know sound doctrine [Eph 4:14; Col 3:16; 1 Pet 2:2; 1 John 2:12-24], to be discerning in sorting out truth from error [1 Thess 5:20-22]], and to be willing to confront and attack error.]) which was once for all handed (SB: God’s revelation was delivered once as a unit, at the completion of the Scripture, and is not to be edited by either deletion or addition [cf. Deut. 4:2; 12:32; Prov 30:6; Rev 22:18-19]. Scripture is complete, sufficient, and finished; therefore it is fixed for all time. Nothing is to be added to the body of the inspired word because nothing else is needed. It is the responsibility of believers now to study the word [2 Tim 2:15], preach the word [2 Tim 4:2], and fight for its preservation.) down to the saints (hágios – properly, different [unlike], other [“otherness“], holy; for the believer, [hágios] means “likeness of nature with the Lord” because “different from the world.”; set apart for God, to be, as it were, exclusively his. Just as the Israelites claimed for themselves the title οἱ ἅγιοι [set apart by [or for] God, holy, sacred.], because God selected them from the other nations to lead a life acceptable to him and rejoice in his favor and protection [Daniel 7:18, 22], so this appellation is very often in the N. T. transferred to Christians, as those whom God has selected ἐκ τοῦ κόσμου [out of, from, by, away from; I pick out for myself, choose, elect, select; eklégomai [from /ek, “out of” and /légō, “speaking to a conclusion”] – properly, to select [choose] out of, by a highly deliberate choice [i.e. real heart-preference] with a definite outcome [as with the destination of divine selection for salvation].] [John 17:14, 16], that under the influence of the Holy Spirit they may be rendered, through holiness, partakers of salvation in the kingdom of God. SB: Believers are identified as holy, since they are set apart from sin to God.).
(NASB: v. 3: Our common salvation: Jude’s original intention was to write a general treatment of the doctrine of salvation. The faith: Here used of the body of truth held by believers everywhere-the gospel and all its implications. This truth was under attack and had to be defended. Once for all handed down: The truth has finality and is not subject to change. For: Introduces the reason Jude felt impelled to change the subject of his letter.)
4For certain persons have crept (to enter secretly, slip in stealthily; to steal in) in unnoticed (SB: These were infiltrating, false teachers pretending to be true, who on the surface looked like the real thing, but whose intentions were to lead God’s people astray [cf. Matt 7:15; Acts 20:29; Gal 2:4-5; 1 Tim 4:1-2; 2 Pet 2:1; 20; 1 John 2:18-23]. These apostates were Satan’s counterfeits, most likely posing as itinerant teachers. [cf. 2 Cor 11:13-15; 2 Pet 2:1-2; 2 John 7-11]. Their stealth made them dangerous. They were characterized by three features: (1) they were ungodly; (2) they perverted grace; (3) they denied Christ.), those who were long beforehand marked (of old set forth or designated beforehand [in the Scriptures of the O. T. and the prophecies of Enoch] unto this condemnation. NASB: The reference may be to OT denunciations of ungodly men or to Enoch’s prophecy [vv. 14-15]. Or Jude may mean that judgment has long been about to fall on them because of their sin [see 2 Pet 2:3, which may be a clarification of this clause]). SB: Apostasy and apostates in general were written about and condemned many centuries before, such as illustrated in Jude 5-7 and spoken of as Enoch did in vv.14-16. Cf. Isa 8:19-21; 47:9-15; Hos 9:9; Zep 3:1-8. Their doom was “pre-written” in Scripture as a warning to all who would come later. Jesus had warned about them in Matt 7:15-20 [cf. Acts 20:29]. The most recent warning has been 2 Pet 2:3; 17; 3:7.]) out for this condemnation (denotes condemnatory sentence, penal judgment, sentence. SB: This refers to the judgment spoken of by others “long ago.” Jude’s present expośe of apostates placed them in the path of the very judgment of God, written previously.) , ungodly (destitute of reverential awe toward God, contemning God, impious. SB: Lit., “impious” or “without worship.” Their lack of reverence for God was demonstrated by the fact that they infiltrated the church of God to corrupt it and gain riches from the people. Cf. vv. 15-16; 18-19.) persons who turn the grace (the N. T. writers use χάρις pre-eminently of that kindness by which God bestow: favors even upon the ill-deserving, and grants to sinners the pardon of their offences, and bids them accept of eternal salvation through Christ) of our God into licentiousness (the conduct and character of one who is ἀσελγής [outrageous conduct, conduct shocking to public decency, a wanton violence. asélgeia (from aselgēs/“brutal”) – properly, violent spite which rejects restraint and indulges in lawless insolence (wanton caprice)], wantonness, lewdness.] [“unbridled lust, excess, licentiousness, lasciviousness, wantonness, outrageousness, shamelessness, insolence”: of gluttony and venery]. SB: Lit., “unrestrained vice” or “gross immorality,” which describes the shameless lifestyle of one who irreverently flaunts God’s grace by indulging in unchecked and open immorality [cf. Rom 6:15]) and deny (God and Christ, is used of those who by cherishing and disseminating pernicious opinions and immorality are adjudged to have apostatized from God and Christ.) our only Master (rules over his church) and Lord (this title is given to God, the ruler of the universe; Jesus Christ; kýrios – properly, a person exercising absolute ownership rights; lord [Lord]; SB: Two Greek words for Jesus are used here. The apostates disowned Christ as sovereign Lord [despotes] and disdained any recognition of Christ as honorable Lord [kurios] by their wicked behavior…. It is always true of apostates, false teachers, and false religions that they pervert what Scripture declares is true about the Lord Jesus Christ.).
(NASB: vv. 5-7 Three examples of divine judgment. SB vv. 5-7: Jude provides three well known acts of apostasy from the OT as brief reminders [v. 5] to illustrate their dimmable outcome as declared in v. 4.)
5Now I desire to remind you, though you know all things (pás – each, every; each “part(s) of a totality”; /pás [“each, every”] means “all” in the sense of “each [every] part that applies.” The emphasis of the total picture then is on “one piece at a time.” [ananeóō] then focuses on the part(s) making up the whole – viewing the whole in terms of the individual parts.) once for all (used of what is so done as to be of perpetual validity and never need repetition), that the Lord, after saving a people out of the land of Egypt, subsequently (used adverbially in the second place, a second time) destroyed (to destroy i. e. to put out of the way entirely, abolish, put an end to, ruin) those who did not believe (acknowledgment joined to appropriate trust, absolutely). (SB: God miraculously delivered the nation of Israel out of Egyptian bondage, only to have them respond in unbelief, doubting, and defecting from faith in God that he could bring them into the Promised Land, even to the extent of worshiping an idol of their own making, as well as, murmuring against God instead of adoring him. That apostate generation died during 38 years of wilderness wanderings.) 6And angels who did not keep (to keep: one in that state in which he is) their own domain (the first place, principality, rule, magistracy (cf. English ‘authorities’): office given in charge. NASB: God had assigned differing areas of responsibility and authority to each of the angles [see Daniel 10:20-21], where the various princes may be angels assigned to various nations… Angels apparently were assigned specific locations as well as responsibilities.), but abandoned (to desert, forsake: a place) their proper (harmonizing with, or suitable or assigned to, one’s nature, character, aims, acts; appropriate) abode (a dwelling-place, habitation), He has kept in eternal (everlasting) bonds under (to be done, effected) darkness (blackness: used of the darkness of the nether world) for the judgment (of the day of the final judgment. SB: This refers to the final judgment when all demons and Satan are forever consigned to the “lake of fire” prepared for them [Matt 25:41; Rev 20:10] and all the ungodly [Rev 20:15].) of the great day (SB: This apostasy of fallen angels is described in Gen 6:1-4 as possessing men who then cohabited with women. The transition to Sodom and Gomorrah in Jude 7 points to the similitude of the sin of homosexuality and what these angels did in Gen 6.), 7just as (NASB: Does not mean that the sin of Sodom and Gomorrah was the same as that of the angels or vice versa. This phrase is used to introduce the third illustration of the fact that God will see to it the unrighteous will be consigned to eternal punishment on judgment day. SB: This refers to both the heterosexual [Gen 19:8] and the homosexual lusts [Gen 19:4-5] of the residents [cf. Lev 18:22; 20:13; Rom 1:27; 1 Cor 6:9; 1 Tim 1:10 for the absolute condemnation of homosexual activity.) Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities around them, since they in the same way as (same as) these indulged in gross immorality ([the prefix ἐκ seems to indicate a lust that gluts itself, satisfies itself completely]; the Sept. often for זָנָה; “to go a whoring, ‘give oneself over to fornication'”) and went after strange (another i. e. one not of the same nature, form, class, kind; different) flesh (to follow after the flesh, is used of those who are on the search for persons with whom they can gratify their lust), are exhibited (to be set before, i. e., a. to be placed before the eyes, to lie in sight; to stand forth: as an example) as an example in undergoing (to suffer punishment) the punishment (execution of the sentence) of eternal fire (of the fire of hell we find the following expressions — which are to be taken either tropically [f the extreme penal torments which the wicked are to undergo after their life on earth; so in the discourses of Jesus], or literally [so apparently in the Apocalypse]. SB: Sodom and Gomorrah illustrate God’s fire of earthly judgment [Rev 16:8-9; 20:9], which was only a preview of the fire that can never be quenched in eternal hell [Matt 3:12; 18:8; 25:41; Mark 9:43-44; 46; 48; Luke 3:17; Rev 19:20; 20:14-15; 21:8]).
8Yet in the same way these men, also by dreaming (in connection with the wrong kind of dreaming. This hoping [desiring] opposes God’s kingdom – and then expects such personal aspirations to be granted by Him! This shows someone is completely out of touch with the principles of God’s kingdom [see also Mt 6:33].]. NASB: The reference to “dreaming” is either (1) because they claimed to receive revelations, or more likely, (2) because in their passion they were out of touch with truth and reality.), defile (to defile, pollute, sully, contaminate, soil: in a physical and a moral sense, σάρκα [of licentiousness]) the flesh (to follow after the flesh, is used of those who are on the search for persons with whom they can gratify their lust. NASB: Probably a reference to the homosexuality in Sodom and Gomorrah [see vv. 4, 7; 1 Cor 6:18]), and reject authority (dominion, power, lordship; in the N. T. one who possesses dominion), and revile (to speak reproachfully, rail at, calumniate) angelic majesties (that which belongs to God; and the kingly majesty which belongs to him as the supreme ruler; so in passages where it is joined with βασιλεία [Short definition: kingship, sovereignty, authority, rule, kingdom Definition: kingship, sovereignty, authority, rule, especially of God, both in the world, and in the hearts of men; hence: kingdom, in the concrete sense.]). 9But Michael the archangel (a Biblical and ecclesiastical word, archangel, i. e. chief of the angels (Hebrew שַׂר chief, prince, Daniel 10:20 Then he said, “Do you understand why I came to you? But I shall now return to fight against the prince of Persia; so I am going forth, and behold, the prince of Greece is about to come. Daniel 12:1 “Now at that time Michael, the great prince who stands guard over the sons of your people, will arise. And there will be a time of distress such as never occurred since there was a nation until that time; and at that time your people, everyone who is found written in the book, will be rescued.), or one of the princes and leaders of the angels), when he disputed (to separate oneself in a hostile spirit, to oppose, strive with, contend) with the devil and argued about the body of Moses, did not dare pronounce against him a railing (universally, slander, detraction, speech injurious to another’s good name) judgment (judgment; i. e. opinion or decision given concerning anything, especially concerning justice and injustice, right and wrong), but said, “The Lord rebuke (to tax with fault, rate, chide, reprove, censure severely: absolutely, to rebuke — in order to curb one’s ferocity or violence [hence, many formerly gave the word the meaning to restrain]) you!” 10But these men revile the things which they do not understand; and the things which they know by instinct (physikṓs [an adverb] – properly, naturally, i.e. acting by mere instinct [used only in Jude 1:10]; in a natural manner, by nature, under the guidance of nature: by the aid of the bodily senses), like unreasoning (/álogos [“unreasonable”] refers to irrational behavior [thinking] from God’s point of view, i.e. what is completely against divine reason. [álogos] means “acting like a brute beast“, i.e. utterly unreasonable [absurd]; destitute of reason, brute) animals, by these things they are destroyed (passive, to be destroyed, to perish).
(NASB: Three OT examples of the kind of persons Jude warns his readers bout.)
11Woe to them (NASB: a warning that judgment is coming [see Matt 23:13; 15-16, 23, 25, 27, 29])! For they have gone the way of Cain (NASB: The way of selfishness and greed and the way of hatred and murder [see 1 John 3:12].), and for pay they have rushed headlong into the error (In the N. T. metaphorically, mental straying, i. e. error, wrong opinion relative to morals or religion) of Balaam (NASB: The error of consuming greed), and perished (to destroy i. e. to put out of the way entirely, abolish, put an end to, ruin) in the rebellion of Korah (NASB: Korah rose up against God’s appointed leadership [see Num 16]. Jude may be suggesting that the false teachers of his day were rebelling against church leadership [cf. 3 John 9-10].). 12These are the men who are hidden reefs (a rock in the sea, ledge or reef; plural, tropically, of men who by their conduct damage others morally, wreck them as it were, equivalent to σκάνδαλα [a snare, stumbling-block, cause for error. skándalon – properly, the trigger of a trap [the mechanism closing a trap down on the unsuspecting victim]; [figuratively] an offense, putting a negative cause-and-effect relationship into motion.] [hidden rocks]) in your love feasts (plural, agapae, love-feasts, feasts expressing and fostering mutual love which used to be held by Christians before the celebration of the Lord’s supper, and at which the poorer Christians mingled with the wealthier and partook in common with the rest of food provided at the expense of the wealthy.) when they feast with you without fear (to entertain together; passive, to feast sumptuously with), caring for themselves; clouds without water (waterless clouds, which promise rain but yield none), carried along (to lead aside from the right course or path, to carry away) by winds; autumn trees (i. e. trees such as they are at the close of autumn, dry, leafless and without fruit, hence, used of unfruitful, worthless men) without fruit (barren), doubly dead (of trees which dry up), uprooted (to root out, pluck up by the roots); 13wild waves (fierce, untamed) of the sea, casting (to foam up; to cast out as foam, foam out) up their own shame like foam; wandering stars, for whom the black darkness (used of the darkness of the nether world) has been reserved (to keep: one in that state in which he is) forever.
14It was also about these men that Enoch, in the seventh generation from Adam, prophesied, saying, “Behold, the Lord came with many thousands (used simply, of innumerable hosts of angels) of His holy ones (ἁγιωτάτῃ πίστις, faith [quae creditur i. e. the object of faith] which came from God and is therefore to be heeded most sacredly), 15to execute judgment (SB: The sentence will be eternal hell [see Rev 20:11-15]. Cf. Matt 5:22; 7:19; 8:12; 10:28; 13:40-42; 25:41; 46.) upon all, and to convict all the ungodly of all their ungodly deeds which they have done in an ungodly way (NASB: This thunderous repetition and the awesome judgment scene that is depicted emphasizes the condemnation of the false teacher in v. 4.), and of all the harsh (to speak hard and bitter things against one) things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him.” 16These are grumblers, finding fault (mempsímoiros [derived from /mémphomai, “blame, find fault,” and moira, “an apportioned amount, allotment”] – properly, a complaint over the allotted portion [used only in Jude 16]; complaining of one’s lot, querulous, discontented), following after their own lusts; they speak arrogantly (oversollen; metaphorically, immoderate, extravagant [great swelling words]), flattering people for the sake of gaining an advantage (usefulness, profit: [yet in the sense of ‘booty’. NASB: The ungodly men first mentioned in v. 4 and subsequently referred to repeatedly as “these men” [vv. 10, 12, 14, 19; cf. v. 8]. They are the libertine false teachers who pervert the grace of God.).
Keep Yourselves in the Love of God 17But you, beloved, ought to remember the words that were spoken beforehand by the apostles (apóstolos [from /apostéllō, “to commission, send forth”] – properly, someone sent [commissioned], focusing back on the authority [commissioning] of the sender.) of our Lord Jesus Christ (NASB: The coming of these godless men should not take believers by surprise, for it had been predicted by the apostles [Acts 20:29; 1 Tim 4:1; 2 Tim 3:1-5].), 18that they were saying (NASB: The Greek for this phrase indicates that the apostles continually or repeatedly warned that such godless apostates would come.) to you, “In the last time there will be mockers (scoffer), following after their own ungodly lusts.” 19These are the ones who cause divisions (NASB: At the very least this phrase means that they were divisive, creating factions in the church-the usual practice of heretics. Or Jude may refer to the later Gnostic’s division of men into the spiritual [the Gnostics] and the sensual [those for whom there is no hope].), worldly-minded (“governed by the ψυχή i. e. the sensuous nature with its subjection to appetite and passion [as though made up of nothing but ψυχή] [‘Or natural, Or animal’]), devoid of the Spirit (the Holy Spirit [august, full of majesty, adorable, utterly opposed to all impurity]). 20But you, beloved, building (where the sense is, ‘resting on your most holy faith as a foundation, make progress, rise like an edifice higher and higher.’) yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying (proseúxomai [from /prós, “towards, exchange” and /euxomai, “to wish, pray”] – properly, to exchange wishes; pray – literally, to interact with the Lord by switching human wishes [ideas] for His wishes as He imparts faith [“divine persuasion“]. Accordingly, praying [/proseuxomai] is closely inter-connected with /pístis [“faith”] in the NT. See: Ac 6:5, 6, 14:22, 23; Eph 6:16-18; Col 1:3, 4; 2 Thes 3:1, 2; Js 5:13-15; Jude 20.) in the Holy Spirit (NASB: According to the Spirit’s promptings and with the power of the Spirit [see Rom 8:26-27; Gal 4:6; Eph 6:18].), 21keep (SB: Cf. Acts 13:43. This imperative establishes the believer’s responsibility to be obedient and faithful by living out his salvation [Phil 2:12], while God works out his will [Phil 2:13]. It means to remain in the place of obedience where God’s love is poured out on his children, as opposed to being disobedient and incurring his chastening [cf. 1 Cor 11:27-31; Heb 12:5-11]. Thus it refers to the perseverance of the saint, the counterbalance of God’s sovereign preservation of believers in Christ [Jude 1].) yourselves in the love of God (NASB: God keeps believers in His love [see Rom 8:35-39], and enables them to keep themselves in His love.), waiting anxiously for the mercy (“mercy; kindness or good will toward the miserable and afflicted, joined with a desire to relieve them”; pity, compassion) of our Lord Jesus Christ to eternal life. 22And have mercy on some, who are doubting (to withdraw from one, desert him; of heretics withdrawing from the society of true Christians: Jude 1:22 according to the [preferable] reading… those who separate themselves from you, i. e. who apostatize…); 23save (to save in the technical biblical sense; — negatively, to deliver from the penalties of the Messianic judgment, [Joel 2:32]; to save from the evils which obstruct the reception of the Messianic deliverance) others, snatching (proverbial, to rescue from the danger of destruction) them out of the fire (to snatch from danger of destruction); and on some have mercy with fear (with anxious heed lest ye be defiled by the wickedness of those whom ye are rescuing), hating even the garment (a tunic, an undergarment, usually worn next the skin) polluted (to defile, spot) by the flesh (the animal nature with cravings which incite to sin). (SB: There are several textual variants here that could result in either two or three groups being indicated. They are: (1) sincere doubters who deserve compassion [v. 22]; (2) those who are deeper in unbelief and urgently need to be pulled from the fire [v. 23]; and (3) those declared disciples of apostasy who still deserve mercy, but are to be handled with much fear [v. 23], least the would-be rescuer also be spiritually sullied. Given the manuscripts evidence and Jude’s pattern of writing in triads, three groups is the more likely scenario.)
24Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy (Alice: This God’s revealed will for believers, therefore, we should ask God to do this to us.), 25to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.
New American Standard Bible Revelation
The Revelation of Jesus Christ
FYI: My positions: I am a Futurist, a hold a premillennial view of the rapture, but if I am pressed, I will admit that all three arguments have validity, especially the midtribulation view. Some Jews teach that the deliverance of Israel in the OT is a foreshadower of the Church’s deliverance during the tribulation period in Revelation, and that because Israel experienced some of the plagues that God brought upon Pharaoh, the Church (ekklēsia) will experience some of the same plagues brought about during the tribulation period, but not the great tribulation. I will say like all levelheaded theologians, if the great tribulation begins and we are still here, I will change my view. LOL! I hold to a literal interpretation of Revelation, see Constable’s notes on Revelation, pages 3ff. I also hold the literal Millennial Kingdom view in which Yehoshua will reign for a 1,000 years, and that the Jews are still God’s chosen people and the Church has not replaced them. Israel is still God’s chosen nation, and at Yehoshua’s return, all the elect of Israel will be saved, see Romans 11. Lastly, in my opinion, if the gospel preached to the church in the OT (in types and shadows, e.g. the Passover) was literally fulfilled at Yehoshua’s first coming approximately 6,000 years later, it is just reasonable to hold to a literal fulfillment view of Revelations. Israel was chosen by YHWH. The people were in bondage in Egypt (Pharaoh a type of Satan) and needed a deliver (Moses a type of Christ). YHWH sent them a deliverer. They were saved by grace and not by works (just as we are, Eph 2:8-10). They were saved from death through the blood of a sacrificial lamb (Yehoshua is the Lamb of God) and a deliver (Deut 18:15; Acts 3:22; Yehoshua). They entered the promise land by faith (just as we did). All of this points to a literal interpretation view of Revelation to me. 1:1The Revelation (tropically, in N. T. and ecclesiastical language (see end), a. a disclosure of truth, instruction, concerning divine things before unknown — especially those relating to the Christian salvation — given to the soul by God himself, or by the ascended Christ, especially through the operation of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 2:10), and so to be distinguished from other methods of instruction, here, revelation of future things relating to the consummation of the divine kingdom. SB: The Greek word for which the English word “apocalypse” comes lit. means “to uncover, or to reveal.” When it refers to a person, it means that person becomes clearly visible [cf. Luke 2:30-32; Rom 8:19; 1 Cor 1:7; 1 Pet 1:7].) of Jesus Christ, which God (the Father) gave Him to show to His bond-servants, the things which must soon take place; and He sent and communicated (to indicate – signify; to give a sign) it by His angel to His bond-servant (are those whose agency God employs in executing his purposes: used of apostles [also of Moses and prophets]) John, 2who testified (ὅς ἐμαρτύρησε … Χριστοῦ, who has borne witness of [viz., in this book, i. e. the Apocalypse] what God has spoken and Jesus Christ testified [namely, concerning future events]) to the word of God and to the testimony (ἡ μαρτυρία Ἰησοῦ, that testimony which he gave concerning future events relating to the consummation of the kingdom of God) of Jesus Christ, even to all that he saw. 3Blessed (NASB: The first of seven beatitudes in the book [see 14:13; 16:15; 19:9; 20:6; 22:7, 14]. “Blessed” means much more than “happy.” It describes the favorable circumstances God has put a person in [see Matt 5:3].) is he who reads and those who hear the words of the prophecy (the spirit of prophecy, the divine mind, to which the prophetic faculty is due. NASB: Includes not only foretelling the future but also proclaiming any word from God-whether command, instruction, history or prediction.), and heed (to watch over, to guard) the things which are written in it; for the time is near (of Time; concerning things imminent and soon to come to pass).
Message to the Seven Churches 4John to the seven churches (a company of Christians, or of those who, hoping for eternal Salvation through Jesus Christ, observe their own religious rites, hold their own religious meetings, and manage their own affairs according to regulations prescribed for the body for order’s sake; those who anywhere, in city or village, constitute such a company and are united into one body. NASB: Apparently the entire book of Revelation [including the seven letters] was sent to each church [see v. 11].) that are in Asia (Asia proper, ἡ ἰδίως καλουμένῃ Ἀσία [Ptolemy, 5, 2], or proconsular Asia [often so called from the 16th century down; but correctly speaking it was apvoeinciaconsularis, although the ruler of it was vested with ‘proconsular power.’ The ‘Asia’ of the N. T. must not be confounded with the ‘Asia proconsularis’ of the 4th century], embracing Mysia, Lydia, Phrygia and Caria [cf. Cicero, pro Flac c. 27]. NASB: A Roman province lying in modern Western Turkey): Grace (The apostles and N. T. writers at the beginning and end of their Epistles crave for their readers the favor (`grace’) of God or of Christ, to which all blessings, especially spiritual, are due) to you and peace (in the salutations at the beginning and the close of the apostolic Epistles), from Him who is and who was and who is to come (NASB: A paraphrase of the divine name from Ex 3:14-15God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM”; and He said, “Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’” God, furthermore, said to Moses, “Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, ‘The LORD, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you.’ This is My name forever, and this is My memorial-name to all generations. Cf. Heb 13:8Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.), and from the seven (heptá – seven. The number seven in Scripture often has the figurative meaning, “God’s perfect, finished work.” Indeed, this symbolic sense is often key to interpreting texts that use the number seven, both in the OT and NT.) Spirits (which are said to be ἐνώπιον τοῦ θρόνου τοῦ Θεοῦ are not seven angels, but one and the same divine Spirit manifesting itself in seven energies or operations (which are rhetorically personified, Zechariah 3:9‘For behold, the stone that I have set before Joshua; on one stone are seven eyes. Behold, I will engrave an inscription on it,’ declares the LORD of hosts, ‘and I will remove the iniquity of that land in one day. Zechariah 4:6Then he said to me, “This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel saying, ‘Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ says the LORD of hosts. Zechariah 4:10 “For who has despised the day of small things? But these seven will be glad when they see the plumb line in the hand of Zerubbabel—these are the eyes of the LORD which range to and fro throughout the earth.” NASB: The sevenfold Spirit [see Zech 4:2 He said to me, “What do you see?” And I said, “I see, and behold, a lampstand all of gold with its bowl on the top of it, and its seven lamps on it with seven spouts belonging to each of the lamps which are on the top of it (Note from Zech 4:2… In any event, the bowl represents an abundant supply of oil, symbolizing the fullness of God’s power through His Spirit, and the “seven… seven” represents the abundant light shining from the lamps [seven being the number of fullness or completeness])]) who are before His throne, 5and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead (who was the first that returned to life from among the dead), and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To Him who loves us and released (to release one bound by the chains of sin) us from our sins by His blood— 6and He has made us to be a kingdom (of the royal power and dignity conferred on Christians in the Messiah’s kingdom), priests (metaphorically, of Christians, because, purified by the blood of Christ and brought into close contact with God, they devote their life to him alone [and to Christ]. SB: All who believe live in the sphere of God’s rule, a kingdom entered by faith in Jesus Christ. And as priests, believers have the right enter God’s presence.) to His God and Father—to Him be the glory (that which belongs to God; and the kingly majesty which belongs to him as the supreme ruler, so in passages where it is joined with βασιλεία [kingship, sovereignty, authority, rule, especially of God, both in the world, and in the hearts of men; hence: kingdom, in the concrete sense], and the likes.) and the dominion (dominion, exerted power [in the doxologies]) forever and ever. Amen. 7BEHOLD, HE IS COMING WITH THE CLOUDS (the Sept. especially for עָנָן, but also for עָב and שַׁחַק; a cloud: (νεφέλη φωτεινή; of that cloud in which Jehovah is said [Exodus 13:21f, etc] to have gone before the Israelites on their march through the wilderness, and which Paul represents as spread over them (ὑπό τῇ νεφέλην ἦσαν. SB: This echoes the promise of Daniel: the Son of Man will come with the clouds of heaven [Daniel 7:13]-not ordinary clouds but clouds of glory. In the OT, God often manifested himself in an energized, blazing light, called the Shekinah or glory cloud. No one could see it fully and live [Ex 33:20], so it had to be veiled. But when Christ returns, the glory will be completely visible. Cf. Matt 24:29-30; 25:31), and every eye will see Him, even those who pierced Him; and all the tribes ( an offshoot, i.e. race or clan — kindred, tribe.) of the earth will mourn over Him. So it is to be. Amen (NASB: A double affirmation).
8“I am (I exist, I am; eimí [the basic Greek verb which expresses being, i.e. “to be“] – am, is. [eimí], and its counterparts, [properly] convey “straight-forward” being [existence, i.e. without explicit limits]) the Alpha (the first letter of the Greek alphabet which represents the Lord as the unoriginated originator of all life and all that is eternal.) and the Omega (the final letter of the Greek alphabet; [figuratively] God’s infinity [endlessness]; In the NT, [“Ōmega“] is always used of the glorified Christ [Rev 1:8, 21; 6, 22:13], referring to His absolute limitlessness to meet all the needs of finite [limited] people. NASB: God is the beginning and the end [see 21:6]. He sovereignty rules over all human history. In 22:13 Jesus applies the same title to Himself.),” says the Lord God, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty (he who holds sway over all things; the ruler of all; almighty: of God, YHVH).”
New American Standard Bible
Message to Ephesus
2:1“To the angel of the church in Ephesus write:
The One who holds the seven stars in His right hand, the One who walks among the seven golden lampstands, says this:
2‘I know your deeds (works) and your toil and perseverance (in the N. T. the characteristic of a man who is unswerved from his deliberate purpose and his loyalty to faith and piety by even the greatest trials and sufferings), and that you cannot tolerate evil men, and you put to the test (in a good sense. NASB: The necessity of testing for correct doctrine and dependable advice was widely recognized in the early church [see 1 Cor 14:29; 1 Thes 5:21; 1 John 4:1].) those who call themselves apostles, and they are not, and you found them to be false; 3and you have perseverance and have endured (to bear) for My name’s sake (ónoma – name; (figuratively) the manifestation or revelation of someone’s character, i.e. as distinguishing them from all others. Thus “praying in the name of Christ” means to pray as directed (authorized) by Him, bringing revelation that flows out of being in His presence. “Praying in Jesus’ name” therefore is not a “religious formula” just to end prayers (or get what we want)! [“According to Hebrew notions, a name is inseparable from the person to whom it belongs, i.e. it is something of his essence. Therefore, in the case of the God, it is specially sacred”.]), and have not grown weary. 4‘But I have this against you, that you have left (to give up, keep no longer) your first love (Of the love of men to men; especially of that love of Christians toward Christians which is enjoined and prompted by their religion, whether the love be viewed as in the soul or as expressed). 5‘Therefore remember from where you have fallen (from what a height of Christian knowledge and attainment thou hast declined), and repent (“think differently after,” “after a change of mind”; to repent [literally, “think differently afterwards”].) and do the deeds you did at first; or else I am coming to you and will remove your lampstand (to move a church out of the place which it has hitherto held among the churches; to take it out of the number of churches, remove it altogether. NASB: Immediate judgement.) out of its place—unless you repent. 6‘Yet this you do have, that you hate the deeds of the Nicolaitans (a follower of Nicolaus, a Nicolaitan: plural, Revelation 2:6, 15 — a name which, it can scarcely be doubted, refers symbolically to the same persons who in Revelation 2:14 are charged with holding τήν διδαχήν Βαλαάμ, i. e. after the example of Balaam, casting a stumblingblock before the church of God [Numbers 24:1-3] by upholding the liberty of eating things sacrificed unto idols as well as of committing fornication; for the Greek name Νικόλαος (Nicolas = “victor of the people” was a proselyte of Antioch and one of the seven deacons of the church at Jerusalem.) coincides with the Hebrew בִּלְעָם (Balaam) according to the interpretation of the latter which regards it as signifying destruction of the people) which I also hate (to hate, pursue with hatred, detest; passive to be hated, detested). 7‘He who has an ear (metaphorically equivalent to: the faculty of perceiving with the mind, the faculty of understanding and knowing: whoever has the faculty of attending and understanding, let him use it), let him hear (to attend to [use the faculty of hearing], consider what is or has been said. So in exhortations) what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes (of Christians, that hold fast their faith even unto death against the power of their foes, and their temptations and persecutions), I will grant to eat of the tree of life (the tree whose fruit gives and maintains eternal life) which is in the Paradise (an ancient Persian word meaning “enclosure, garden, park.” NASB: Originally a Persian word for a pleasure garden. In Revelation it symbolizes the eschatological state in which God and man are restored to perfect fellowship that existed before sin entered the world.) of God.’
Message to Smyrna
8“And to the angel of the church in Smyrna write:
The first and the last, who was dead, and has come to life, says this:
9‘I know your tribulation (properly, a pressing, pressing together, pressure; in Biblical and ecclesiastical writings, a Greek metaphor, oppression, affliction, tribulation, distress, straits) and your poverty (but you are rich), and the blasphemy (a judgment pronounced in reproachful terms) by those who say they are Jews (See Rom 2:28-29) and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan (an assembly of men: τοῦ Σατανᾶ, whom Satan governs. NASB: Hebrew for “accuser” [see Zech 3:1; cf. Job 1:6-12; 2:1-7].). 10‘Do not fear (to put to flight, to terrify, frighten) what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to cast some of you into prison, so that you will be tested (to try or test one’s faith, virtue, character, by enticement to sin; hence, according to the context equivalent to to solicit to sin, to tempt), and you will have tribulation (persecution, affliction, distress; thlípsis – properly, pressure [what constricts or rubs together], used of a narrow place that “hems someone in”; tribulation, especially internal pressure that causes someone to feel confined (restricted, “without options”). /thlípsis [“compression, tribulation”] carries the challenge of coping with the internal pressure of a tribulation, especially when feeling there is “no way of escape” [“hemmed in”].) for ten days (déka – ten. The number “ten” commonly occurs in Scripture with symbolic [as well as literal] meaning – i.e. with double entendre [conveying both levels of meaning at once]; i.e. to last a short time). Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown (the eternal blessedness which will be given as a prize to the genuine servants of God and Christ) of life (without epithet, are used of the blessing of real life after the resurrection. zōḗ – life [physical and spiritual]. NASB: The crown that is eternal life. “Crown” does not refer to royal crown [12:3; 13:1; 19:2] but to the garland or wreath awarded to the winner in athletic contests [3:11; 4:4, 10; 6:2; 9:7; 12:1; 14:14]. BKC: is one of several crowns promised to Christians [cf. 1 Cor 9:25, 1 Thes 2:19; 2 Tim 4:6-8; 1 Pet 5:4; Rev 4:4]). 11‘He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. He who overcomes will not be hurt by the second death (the miserable state of the wicked dead in hell. NASB: The lake of fire [20:14; see 20:6; 21:8]).’
Message to Pergamum
12“And to the angel of the church in Pergamum write:
The One who has the sharp two-edged sword (NASB: The sword symbolizes divine judgement [see Is 49:2; Heb 4:12]) says this:
13‘I know where you dwell, where Satan’s (an adversary) throne (NASB: Satan “ruled” from Pergamum in that it was the official center of emperor worship in Asia.) is; and you hold fast (i. e. tropically, not to discard or let go; to keep carefully and faithfully) My name (to hold fast i. e. persevere in professing), and did not deny My faith even in the days of Antipas (NASB: First martyr of Asia. According to tradition he was slowly roasted to death in a bronze kettle during the reign of Domitian.), My witness, My faithful one (NASB; The Lord’s title in 1:5), who was killed among you, where Satan dwells. 14‘But I have a few things against you, because you have there some who hold the teaching of Balaam ([according to Jo. Simonis equivalent to עָם בֶּלַע a swallowing up of the people], Balaam [or Bileam], a native of Pethor a city of Mesopotamia, endued by Jehovah with prophetic power. He was hired by Balak [see Βαλάκ] to curse the Israelites; and influenced by the love of reward, he wished to gratify Balak; but he was compelled by Jehovah’s power to bless them [Numbers 22-24; Deuteronomy 23:5; Joshua 13:22; Joshua 24:9; Micah 6:5]. Hence, the later Jews saw in him a most abandoned deceiver), who kept teaching Balak (Βαλάκ, ὁ, indeclinable (בָּלַק empty, an active sense ‘one who makes empty,’ ‘a devastator,’ ‘spoiler’; Balak, king of the Moabites [Numbers 22:2f and elsewhere]: Revelation 2:14.) to put a stumbling block before the sons of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols and to commit acts of immorality. 15‘So you also have some who in the same way hold the teaching of the Nicolaitans (a follower of Nicolaus, a Nicolaitan: plural, Revelation 2:6, 15 — a name which, it can scarcely be doubted, refers symbolically to the same persons who in Revelation 2:14 are charged with holding τήν διδαχήν Βαλαάμ, i. e. after the example of Balaam, casting a stumblingblock before the church of God [Numbers 24:1-3] by upholding the liberty of eating things sacrificed unto idols as well as of committing fornication; for the Greek name Νικόλαος coincides with the Hebrew בִּלְעָם according to the interpretation of the latter which regards it as signifying destruction of the people.). 16‘Therefore repent; or else I am coming to you quickly, and I will make war (to war, carry on war; to fight) against them with the sword of My mouth. 17‘He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, to him I will give some of the hidden manna (that which in the symbolic language of Revelation 2:17 is spoken of as kept in the heavenly temple for the food of angels and the blessed. NASB: The heavenly food available to the believer who overcomes [cf. Ps 78:24], in contrast to the unclean food of the Balaamites.), and I will give him a white stone, and a new (of a new kind; unprecedented, novel, uncommon, unheard of. NASB: The name of the victor [see Is 62:2; 65:15]) name written on the stone which no one knows but he who receives it.’
Message to Thyatira
18“And to the angel of the church in Thyatira write:
The Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire, and His feet are like burnished bronze, says this:
19‘I know your deeds, and your love and faith and service and perseverance (in the N. T. the characteristic of a man who is unswerved from his deliberate purpose and his loyalty to faith and piety by even the greatest trials and sufferings), and that your deeds of late are greater than at first. 20‘But I have this against you, that you tolerate (permit it just now) the woman Jezebel (Jezebel [modern: Isabel], wife of Ahab (circa; 1 Kings 16:29), an impious and cruel queen, who protected idolatry and persecuted the prophets [1 Kings 16:31 — 2 Kings 9:30]; in Revelation 2:20 equivalent to a second Jezebel, the symbolic name of a woman who pretended to be a prophetess, and who, addicted to antinomianism [The word, antinomianism, comes from the Greek anti, against, and nomos, law. It is the unbiblical practice of living without regard to the righteousness of God, using God’s grace as a license to sin, and trusting grace to cleanse of sin. In other words, since grace is infinite and we are saved by grace, then we can sin all we want and still be saved. It is wrong because even though as Christians we are not under the Law (Rom. 6:14), we still fulfill the Law in the Law of love (Rom. 13:8, 10, Gal. 5:14, 6:2). We are to love God with all our heart, soul, strength, and mind, and our neighbor as ourselves (Luke 10:27), and thereby avoid the offense of sin which cost God His only begotten Son. Paul speaks against the concept of antinomianism in Rom. 6:1-2: “Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it?” We are not to use the grace of God as a means of sin. Instead, we are to be controlled by the love of God and in that way bear the fruit of the Holy Spirit (Gal. 5:22-25).], claimed for Christians the liberty of eating things sacrificed to idols.) who calls herself a prophetess, and she teaches and leads My bond-servants astray so that they commit acts of immorality (to give oneself to unlawful sexual intercourse; to commit fornication. [See v. 14]) and eat things sacrificed to idols. 21‘I gave her time to repent, and she does not want to repent of her immorality. 22‘Behold, I will throw her on a bed of sickness (NASB: Disease was often considered as appropriate punishment for sins [cf. 1 Cor 11:29-30].), and those who commit adultery (is used of those who at a woman’s solicitation are drawn away to idolatry, i. e. to the eating of things sacrificed to idols) with her into great tribulation, unless they repent of her deeds. 23‘And I will kill her children (MASB: Jezebel is the spatial mother of all who pursue antinomian [libertine] doctrines) with pestilence (death), and all the churches will know that I am He who searches (examine into) the minds and hearts (NASB: Cf. Ps 7:9; Prov 24:12; Jer 11:20; 17:10. “Mind” [lit. “kidney”] probably refers here to the will and the affections; “heart” may designate the center of rational life.); and I will give to each one of you according to your deeds (NASB: Judgement based on work is taught by Jesus [Matt 16:27] and Paul [Rom 2:6] as well as John [Rev 18:6; 20:12-13; 22:12 (see Eph 2:10)]). 24‘But I say to you, the rest who are in Thyatira, who do not hold this teaching, who have not known the deep things of Satan (NASB: Later Gnosticism taught that in order to defeat Satan one had to enter his stronghold, i.e., experience evil deeply.), as they call them—I place no other burden (weight) on you. 25‘Nevertheless what you have, hold fast until I come. 26‘He who overcomes, and he who keeps (to watch over, to guard, the works that I command) My deeds (the works required and approved by God, John 6:28 [Jeremiah 31:10], in the same sense ἔργα μου i. e. of Christ) until the end, TO HIM I WILL GIVE AUTHORITY (power to act) OVER THE NATIONS (a race, a nation, pl. the nations [as distinct from Israel]); 27AND HE SHALL RULE (NASB: Lit. “Shepherd” [a common metaphor for “rule.]) THEM WITH A ROD (to act as a shepherd) OF IRON (NASB: Symbolic of the strength of his rule [see 12:5; 19:15]), AS THE VESSELS (in the Bible made of clay, earthen) OF THE POTTER ARE BROKEN TO PIECES, as I also have received authority from My Father; 28and I will give him the morning star (I will give to him the morning star, that he may be irradiated with its splendor and outshine all others, i. e. I will cause his heavenly glory to excel that of others. See Dr. Constable’s notes, p 44). 29‘He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’
New American Standard Bible
Message to Sardis
3:1“To the angel of the church in Sardis write:
He who has the seven Spirits of God and the seven stars, says this: ‘I know your deeds, that you have a name that you are alive (thou art said to have life [i. e. vigorous spiritual life bringing forth good fruit] and [yet] thou art dead [ethically]), but you are dead ([spiritually dead, i. e.] “destitute of a life that recognizes and is devoted to God, because given up to trespasses and sins; inactive as respects doing right”). 2‘Wake (to watch i. e. give strict attention to, be cautious, active: — to take heed lest through remissness and indolence some destructive calamity suddenly overtake one) up, and strengthen (to strengthen, make firm; tropically to render constant, confirm, one’s mind [establish]) the things that remain, which were about to die (of the spiritual torpor of those who have fallen from the fellowship of Christ, the fountain of true life. [See Ps 36:9 For with thee is the fountain of life: in thy light shall we see light.]); for I have not found your deeds completed (to make complete in every particular; to render perfect) in the sight of My God. 3‘So remember what you have received (how thou hast received by instruction in the gospel, i. e. hast learned) and heard; and keep (to watch over, to guard) it, and repent. Therefore if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief (to come unexpectedly. NASB: Not a reference to the second coming of Christ, because here His coming depends on the church’s refusal to repent. Elsewhere in the NT the clause refers to the second advent [16:15; Matt 24:42-44; 1 Thes 5:2; 2 Pet 3:10].), and you will not know at what hour I will come (to come upon one [unexpectedly]) to you. 4‘But you have a few people in Sardis who have not soiled (of those who have kept themselves pure from the defilement of sin) their garments; and they will walk (to make one’s way, make progress, in figurative discourse equivalent to to make a due use of opportunities) with Me in white (light, bright, brilliant: especially bright or brilliant from whiteness, [dazzling] white: spoken of the garments of angels, and of those exalted to the splendor of the heavenly state. NASB: Description of the redeemed [3:18; 6:11; 7:9, 13; cf. 4:4; 19:14]), for they are worthy (namely, to walk with me, clothed in white). 5‘He who overcomes will thus be clothed in white garments; and I will not erase (to obliterate, erase, wipe out, blot out) his name from the book of life (the book in which the names of those are recorded to whom eternal life has been decreed. NASB: A divine ledger is first mentioned in Ex 32:32-33 “But now, if You will, forgive their sin—and if not, please blot me out from Your book which You have written!” The LORD said to Moses, “Whoever has sinned against Me, I will blot him out of My book.” It was a register of all citizens in the kingdom community. To have one’s name erased from this book would indicate loss of citizenship [see 13:8 All who dwell on the earth will worship him, everyone whose name has not been written from the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who has been slain. 17:8 “The beast that you saw was, and is not, and is about to come up out of the abyss and go to destruction. And those who dwell on the earth, whose name has not been written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, will wonder when they see the beast, that he was and is not and will come.” 20:12 And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds. 20:15 15And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire. 21:27 and nothing unclean, and no one who practices abomination and lying, shall ever come into it, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life. Phil 4:3 Indeed, true companion, I ask you also to help these women who have shared my struggle in the cause of the gospel, together with Clement also and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life.].), and I will confess (to declare the name [written in the book of life] to be the name of a follower of me) his name before My Father and before His angels. 6‘He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’
Message to Philadelphia
7“And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write:
He who is holy (in a moral sense, pure, sinless, upright, holy, distinctly Him), who is true (used without adjunct of Jesus as the true Messiah), who has the key of David (the power of David [who is a type of the Messiah, the second David], i. e. of receiving into the Messiah’s kingdom and of excluding from it), who opens (parabolically, to give access to the blessings of God’s kingdom) and no one will shut (to obstruct the entrance into the kingdom of heaven, so used that τήν βασιλείαν τοῦ Θεοῦ [kingship, sovereignty, authority, rule, especially of God, both in the world, and in the hearts of men; hence: kingdom, in the concrete sense; basileía (from /basileús, “king”) – properly, kingdom; the realm in which a king sovereignly rules. A kingdom (932 /basileía) always requires a king – as the kingdom (/basileía) of God does with King Jesus! (basileía) especially refers to the rule of Christ in believers’ hearts – which is a rule that “one day will be universal on the physical earth in the Millennium”. (The kingdom [/basileía] is constantly used in connection with the rule of Christ in the hearts of believers – which also extends in various stages.)]) must be understood), and who shuts (to obstruct the entrance into the kingdom of heaven) and no one opens (to give access to the blessings of God’s kingdom), says this:
8‘I know your deeds. Behold, I have put before you an open door (passive, of an opportunity offered. NASB: Either the door of opportunity or the door to the kingdom. The context favors the latter.) which no one can shut, because you have a little power (power and resources arising from numbers), and have kept My word, and have not denied (is used of followers of Jesus who, for fear of death or persecution, deny that Jesus is their master, and desert his cause [to disown] My name. 9‘Behold, I will cause those of the synagogue (an assembly of men) of Satan (NASB: A bold metaphor directed against unbelieving and hostile Jews. Cf. Jesus’ scathing rebuke in John 8:44; see also 2 Cor 11:14-15. The Jewish synagogue was a gathering place for worship, study and communal activities.), who say that they are Jews (Jewish as respects birth, race, religion; a Jew) and are not (see Rom 2:28-29), but lie (‘to deceive’, ‘cheat’; hence, properly, to show oneself deceitful, to play false; to lie, to speak deliberate falsehoods)—I will make them come and bow down at your feet (NASB: An appropriate act of worship in the Near East [see Is 45:14; 60:14; cf. Acts 10:25; Phil 2:10]), and make them know that I have loved you. 10‘Because you have kept the word of My perseverance (steadfastness, constancy, endurance; in the N. T. the characteristic of a man who is unswerved from his deliberate purpose and his loyalty to faith and piety by even the greatest trials and sufferings), I also will keep you from (NASB: The Greek for this phrase can mean either “keep you from undergoing” or “keep you through.”) the hour (any definite time, point of time, moment) of testing (adversity, affliction, trouble [cf. our trial], sent by God and serving to test or prove one’s faith, holiness, character. NASB: The period of testing that precedes the consummation of the kingdom [see 13:5-10; Matt 24:4-28; cf. Dan 12:1; Mark 13:19; 2 Thes 2:1-12]), that hour which is about to come upon the whole (complete) world (the inhabitants of the earth, men, all mankind), to test those who dwell on the earth. 11‘I am coming quickly (Cf. 1:1; 22:7, 12, 20); hold fast what you have, so that no one will take your crown. 12‘He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar (i. e. [dropping the figure] I will assign him a firm and abiding place in the everlasting kingdom of God) in the temple of My God, and he will not go out from it anymore; and I will write on him the name of My God (see 14:1 Then I looked, and behold, the Lamb was standing on Mount Zion, and with Him one hundred and forty-four thousand, having His name and the name of His Father written on their foreheads. 22:4 they will see His face, and His name will be on their foreheads.), and the name of the city of My God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven (finally, the seer of the Apocalypse expects a new Jerusalem to come down out of heaven as the metropolis of the perfectly established Messianic kingdom) from My God, and My new name (NASB: Names revealed character. Christ’s new name symbolizes all that He is by virtue of His redemptive work for mankind. This awaits the second advent.). 13‘He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’
Message to Laodicea
14“To the angel of the church in Laodicea write:
The Amen (NASB: Is 65:16 speaks of “the God of the Amen,” i.e., “the God of the truth.” As a personal designation it describes one who is perfectly trustworthy or faithful.), the faithful and true Witness (See 1:5; 19:11), the Beginning (NASB: The Greek word can mean first in point of time [“beginning”] or first in rank [“ruler”].) of the creation of God, says this:
15‘I know your deeds, that you are neither cold (metaphorically, cold, i. e. sluggish, inert, in mind (ψυχρός τήν ὀυργην): of one destitute of warm Christian faith and the desire for holiness) nor hot (metaphorically, of fervor of mind and zeal. NASB: “Hot” may refer to the hot, medicinal waters of nearby Hierapolis. The church in Laodicea supplied neither healing for the spiritually sick nor refreshment for the spiritually weary.); I wish that you were cold or hot. 16‘So because you are lukewarm ([to become warm, liquefy, melt], tepid, lukewarm: metaphorically, of the condition of a soul wretchedly fluctuating between a torpor and a fervor of love), and neither hot nor cold, I will spit (to vomit, vomit forth, throw up: i. e. to reject with extreme disgust) you out of My mouth. 17‘Because you say, “I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing,” and you do not know that you are wretched (enduring toils and troubles; afflicted, wretched”) and miserable (to be pitied) and poor (tropically, destitute of the Christian virtues and the eternal riches) and blind (mentally blind) and naked (unclad, without clothing [see Luke 24:49 And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued (to sink into [clothing], put on, clothe one’s self) with power from on high.]), 18I advise you to buy from Me gold refined (melted by fire and purged of dross) by fire so that you may become rich (absolutely, I became rich, i.e. obtained the eternal spiritual possessions), and white (used of white garments as the sign of innocence and purity of soul) garments so that you may clothe (middle to put on) yourself, and that the shame (nakedness to be ashamed of) of your nakedness (nakedness: of the body [see Gen 2:15-3:11]) will not be revealed (to make visible, make clear); and eye salve to anoint your eyes so that you may see (to be possessed of sight, have the power of seeing) (NASB: This verse refers to three items in which Laodicea took great pride: financial wealth, an extensive textile industry and a famous eye salve.). 19‘Those whom I love, I reprove (by deed; to chasten, punish) and discipline (in Biblical and ecclesiastical use employed of God, to chasten by the infliction of evils and calamities); therefore be zealous (to have warmth of feeling for or against, to be zealous or jealous) and repent. 20‘Behold, I stand at the door (he whose advent is just at hand is said: of Christ seeking entrance into souls, and they who comply with his entreaty are said ἀνοίγειν τήν θύραν [a door]) and knock (to knock with a heavy blow, κρούειν [to knock with the knuckles]; without. NASB: Usually taken as a picture of Christ’s knocking on the door of the individual unbeliever’s heart. In context, however, the self-deluded members of the congregation are being addressed.); if anyone hears (to yield obedience to the voice) My voice and opens (to give entrance into the soul) the door, I will come in to (enter; to one, i. e. into his house, visit) him and will dine (I will make him to share in my most intimate and blissful contact) with him, and he with Me. 21‘He who overcomes, I will grant to him to sit down with Me on My throne (see 20:4, 6; Matt 19:28; 2 Tim 2:12), as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne (see 20:4, 6: 4Then I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was given to them. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony of Jesus and because of the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received the mark on their forehead and on their hand; and they came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. 6Blessed and holy is the one who has a part in the first resurrection; over these the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with Him for a thousand years.). 22‘He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’”
New American Standard Bible
Scene in Heaven
4:1After these things I looked, and behold, a door (power of entering, access into, God’s eternal kingdom) standing open in heaven (“the region above the sidereal heavens, the seat of an order of things eternal and consummately perfect, where God dwells and the other heavenly beings”: this heaven Paul, in 2 Corinthians 12:2, seems to designate by the name of ὁ τρίτος οὐρανός, but certainly not the third of the seven distinct heavens described by the author of the Test xii. Patr., Levi § 3, and by the rabbis …. Several distinct heavens are spoken of also in Ephesians 4:10 (ὑπεράνω πάντων τῶν οὐρανῶν); cf. Hebrews 7:26, if it be not preferable here to understand the numerous regions or parts of the one and the same heaven where God dwells as referred to. The highest heaven is the dwelling-place of God: Matthew 5:34; Matthew 23:22; Acts 7:49; Revelation 4:1ff.), and the first voice which I had heard, like the sound of a trumpet speaking with me, said, “Come up here (NASB: Similarly, Moses was called up on Mount Sini to receive divine directions [Ex 19:20, 24]. Cf. also the heavenly ascent of the two witnesses [11:12].), and I will show you what must take place after these things.” 2Immediately I was in the Spirit (to come to be in the Spirit, under the power of the Spirit, i. e. in a state of inspiration or ecstasy. NASB: In a state of heightened spiritual awareness [see 17:3; 21:10]); and behold, a throne (assigned in the N. T. to kings, hence, by metonymy, for kingly power, royalty: metaphorically, to God, the governor of the world) was standing in heaven (NASB: The depiction of God ruling from His throne in heaven is a regular feature of the OT [e.g., Ps 47:8]), and One sitting on the throne. 3And He who was sitting was like a jasper (jasper; a precious stone of divers colors [for some are purple, others blue, others green, and others of the color of brass]) stone and a sardius (a precious stone, of which there are two kinds, the former of which is called carnelian (because flesh-colored, the latter sard.) in appearance; and there was a rainbow around the throne, like an emerald (emerald green, NASB: since God dwells in “unapproachable light” and is one “whom no man has seen or can see” [1 Tim 6:16], He is described in terms of the reflected brilliance of precious stones-an emerald rainbow around the throne [cf. Ez 1:26-28].) in appearance. 4Around the throne were twenty-four thrones; and upon the thrones I saw twenty-four elders (NASB: Representative of either the whole company of believers in heaven or an exalted angelic order worshiping and serving God there [see vv. 9-11; 5:5-14; 7:11-17; 11:16-18; 14:3; 19:4]. The number 24 is often understood to reflect the 12 Israelite tribes of the OT and the 12 apostles of the NT.) sitting, clothed in white (especially bright or brilliant from whiteness, (dazzling) white: spoken of the garments of angels, and of those exalted to the splendor of the heavenly state) garments, and golden crowns on their heads.
The Throne and Worship of the Creator
5Out from the throne come flashes of lightning and sounds and peals of thunder. And there were seven lamps (a torch) of fire burning (NASB: Symbolic of the awesome majesty and power of God [cf. the manifestation of God at Sinai, Ex 19:16-19; cf. also the conventional OT depiction of God’s coming in mighty power to deliver His people, Ps 18:12-15; 77:18]. In Revelation, thunder and lightning always mark an important event connected with the heavily temple [8:5; 11:19; 16:18].) before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God (are not seven angels, but one and the same divine Spirit manifesting itself in seven energies or operations [which are rhetorically personified, Zechariah 3:9See, the stone I have set in front of Joshua! There are seven eyes on that one stone, and I will engrave an inscription on it,’ says the Lord Almighty, ‘and I will remove the sin of this land in a single day. Zechariah 4:6So he said to me, “This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: ‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the Lord Almighty. Zechariah 10 Who dares despise the day of small things, since the seven eyes of the Lord that range throughout the earth will rejoice when they see the chosen capstonea in the hand of Zerubbabel?”]. NASB: Seven symbolizes fullness, completeness or perfection.); 6and before the throne there was something like a sea of glass (hyálinos [an adjective, derived from /hýalos, “glass”] – made of glass [“glassy”]; “transparent as glass”. In Scripture, transparency is a greatly valued virtue, representing the Lord’s glory shining through [reflecting Himself!]. For example, “the glassy sea” surrounding the throne of God in heaven [Rev 4:6, 15:2] is apparently what reflects the Lord Himself, as manifested [reflected by] His saints. By God’s light, their sanctification-glorification has a spiritual transparency that reflects the image of Jesus Himself. This projects [reflects] the glory He invested in them as transformed [“transparent”] saints. In this way, the Lord gets all the glory – and believers have the incredible privilege of sharing [reflecting] it! NASB: See 15:2. The source of the imagery may be Ez 1:22 [cf. Ex 24:10], but it is also possible that is the basin in the heavenly temple [cf. 11:19; 14:15, 17; 15:5-6, 8; 16:17], whose counterpart in the earthly temple was referred to as the Sea [1 Kin 7:23-25; 2 Kin 16:17; 2 Chr 4:2, 4, 10, 15; Jer 27:19]. Other features of the temple in heaven are: the lamps [v. 5], the altar [6:9], the altar of incense [8:3], and the ark of the covenant [11:19].), like crystal; and in the center and around the throne, four living creatures (an animal, brute, beast. NASB: An exalted order of angelic beings whose task is to guard the heavenly throne and lead in worship and adoration of God.) full of eyes (NASB: Nothing escapes their attention.) in front and behind. 7The first creature was like a lion, and the second creature like a calf, and the third creature had a face like that of a man, and the fourth creature was like a flying eagle. (NASB: Ezekiel in a vision also saw four living creatures, each of which had four faces -human in front, lion on the right, ox on the left, and eagle behind [Ez 1:6, 10]. In Joh’s vision the creatures were in the form of a lion, an ox, and a flying eagle, and one had a face like a man.) 8And the four living creatures, each one of them having six wings, are full of eyes around and within; and day and night they do not cease to say,
“HOLY, HOLY, HOLY is THE LORD GOD, THE ALMIGHTY, WHO WAS AND WHO IS AND WHO IS TO COME.” (NASB: An expansion of the divine name in Ez 3:14-15. God’s power and holiness extend from eternity past to eternity yet to come [cf. Is 41:4].)
9And when the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to Him who sits on the throne, to Him who lives forever and ever, 10the twenty-four elders will fall down before Him who sits on the throne, and will worship Him who lives forever and ever, and will cast their crowns (NASB: Acknowledge that God alone is worthy of ultimate praise and worship.) before the throne, saying, 11“Worthy are You, our Lord and our God, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things (see Gen 1), and because of Your will (what one wishes or has determined shall be done [i. e. objectively, thing willed]) they existed, and were created.”
New American Standard Bib
The Book with Seven Seals
5:1I saw in the right hand of Him who sat on the throne a book written inside and on the back (NASB: Like the stone tablets of the OT covenant law [Ex 32:15; see Ezek 2:9-10. The fibers of a papyrus scroll run horizontally on the inside, which makes writing easier than on the reverse side [where the fibers are vertical]), sealed up with seven seals (NASB: Indicating absolute inviolability). 2And I saw a strong angel (cf. 18:21) proclaiming (specifically. used of the public proclamation of the gospel and matters pertaining to it, made by John the Baptist, by Jesus, by the apostles and other Christian teachers: absolutely) with a loud voice, “Who is worthy (of one who has merited anything) to open the book and to break its seals?” 3And no one in heaven or on the earth or under the earth (NASB: A conventional phrase used to express the universality of the proclamation-no creature was worthy. It is not intended to teach a threefold division of the universe [cf. Ex 20:4; Phil 2:10].) was able to open the book or to look into it. 4Then I began to weep greatly because no one was found worthy to open the book or to look into it; 5and one of the elders said to me, “Stop weeping; behold, the Lion (a brave and mighty hero) that is from the tribe (in the N. T. all the persons descended from one of the twelve sons of the patriarch Jacob) of Judah, the Root (after the use of the Hebrew שֹׁרֶשׁ, that which like a root springs from a root, a sprout, shoot; metaphorically, offspring, progeny) of David, has overcome (absolutely, to carry off the victory, come off victorious, hath so conquered that he now has the right and power to open etc.) so as to open the book and its seven seals.”
6And I saw between the throne (with the four living creatures) and the elders a Lamb (NASB: Pictured as the sacrifice for sin [“slain”; cf. Is 53:7; John 1:29] and as the mighty conquer [17:14]. Revelation uses a special word for “lamb” [29 times in Revelations and only once elsewhere in the NT-John 21:15]. The idea of the lamb as a victorious military leader seems to come from the apocalyptic tradition…) standing, as if slain (NASB: Bearing the marks of its slaughter-He has come to power through His death.), having seven horns (NASB: The horn is an ancient Jewish symbol for power or strength [cf. Deut 33:17]. The four beast of Dan 7:7, 20 had ten horns [cf. Dan 8:3, 5]. Seven horns would symbolize full strength.) and seven eyes, which are the seven Spir17:14its of God (which are said to be ἐνώπιον τοῦ θρόνου τοῦ Θεοῦ [Revelation 1:4] are not seven angels, but one and the same divine Spirit manifesting itself in seven energies or operations [which are rhetorically personified, Zechariah 3:9; Zechariah 4:6, 10]), sent out into all the earth. 7And He came and took the book out of the right hand of Him who sat on the throne. 8When He had taken the book, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each one holding a harp (NASB: An ancient stringed instrument [not the large modern harp] used especially to accompany songs [cf. Ps 33:2].) and golden bowls full of incense (NASB: The bowl was a flat, shallow cup. Incense was a normal feature of Hebrew ritual [see Dan 33:10; cf. Ps 11:2; Rev 8:3-4].), which are the prayers of the saints (prayer addressed to God. NASB: In later Jewish thought, angels often present the prayers of saints to God…). 9And they sang a new (of a new kind; unprecedented, novel, uncommon, unheard of, given now for the first time. NASB: Cf. 14:3; Ps 33:3; 96:1; 144:9; Is 42:10. In the OT a new song celebrated a new act of divine deliverance or blessing. That is also its sense here; notice the theme of the song.) song, saying,
“Worthy are You to take the book and to break its seals; for You were slain (to slay, slaughter, butcher: properly, ἀρνίον, Revelation 5:6, 12; Revelation 13:8; τινα, to put to death by violence [often so in Greek…]), and purchased (figuratively: Christ is said to have purchased his disciples i. e. made them, as it were, his private property, 1 Corinthians 6:20 [this is commonly understood of God; but cf. John 17:9, 10]; 1 Corinthians 7:23; 2 Peter 2:1. He is also said to have bought them for God ἐν τῷ αἵματι αὐτοῦ, by shedding his blood) for God with Your blood (Frequent mention is made in the N. T. of the blood of Christ with which Christ purchased for himself the church, Acts 20:28, and gathered it for God) men (NASB: The sacrificial death of Christ is central to NT teaching [see Mark 10:45; 1 Cor 6:20].) from every tribe and tongue and people and nation.
10“You have made them to be a kingdom and priests (metaphorically, of Christians, because, purified by the blood of Christ and brought into close contact with God, they devote their life to him alone [and to Christ].) to our God; and they will reign (to be king, to exercise kingly power, to reign: universally, of the reign of Christians in the millennium) upon the earth” (see 2:26-27; 20:4, 6; 22:5).
Angels Exalt the Lamb
11Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne and the living creatures and the elders; and the number of them was myriads of myriads, and thousands of thousands (NASB: A rhetorical phrase for an indefinitely large number [see Dan 7:10; cf. Heb 12:22].), 12saying with a loud voice,
“Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive (to receive [what is given]; to gain, get, obtain) power (the kingly power of the Messiah is his) and riches (universally, fullness, abundance, plenitude, πλοῦτος is attributed to Christ, exalted at the right hand of God) and wisdom (supreme intelligence, such as belongs to God: Revelation 7:12, also to Christ, exalted to God’s right hand, Revelation 5:12) and might (ability, force, strength) and honor (honor which belongs or is shown to one: veneration) and glory (opinion, estimate, in the sacred writings always, good opinion concerning one, and as resulting from that, praise, honor, glory) and blessing” (praise, laudation, panegyric: of God or Christ. NASB: See David’s farewell prayer in 1 Chr 29:10-19. The attributes increase from three in 4:11 to four in 5:13 to seven in 5:12; 7:12.).
13And every created thing which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all things in them, I heard saying, “To Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, be blessing and honor and glory and dominion (in the doxologies) forever and ever.”
14And the four living creatures kept saying, “Amen.” And the elders fell down and worshiped.
New American Standard Bible
The First Seal—Rider on White Horse
(NASB: The first of three sevenfold numbered series of judgements [cf. the seven trumpets in chs. 8-9 and the seven bowls in ch. 16].)
6:1Then I saw when the Lamb broke one of the seven seals, and I heard one of the four living creatures saying as with a voice of thunder, “Come” (As one who is about to do something in a place must necessarily come thither, in the popular narrative style the phrases). 2I looked, and behold, a white horse (NASB: The imagery of the four horsemen comes from Zech 1:8-17; 6:1-8, The colors in Revelation correspond to the character of the rider; white symbolizes conquest. Major interpretations of the rider on the white horse are: (1) Christ [cf. 19:11, (2) the antichrist and (3) the spirit of conquest. The latter establishes a more natural sequence with the other three riders [which symbolize bloodshed, famine, and death]), and he who sat on it had a bow (NASB: A battle weapon); and a crown (stéphanos – properly, a wreath [garland], awarded to a victor in the ancient athletic games [like the Greek Olympics]; the crown of victory [versus /diádēma, “a royal crown”]; properly, as a mark of royal or (in general) exalted rank) was given to him, and he went out conquering (to carry off the victory, come off victorious: of Christ, victorious over all his foes) and to conquer (same as “conquering”). (BKC: Because Christ in His second coming is pictured [19:11] as riding a white horse, some have taken it that this rider in 6:2, also must refer to Christ, as the white horse is a symbol of victory. Roman generals after a victory in battle would ride a white horse in triumph with their captives following. The chronology, however, is wrong, as Christ returns to the earth as a conqueror not at the beginning of the Tribulation but at the end of the Tribulation. Also the riders on the other horses obviously relate to destruction and judgement which precede the second coming of Christ by some period of time. A better interpretation is that the conqueror mentioned her is the future Antichrist though revelation does not use this term. He is probably the same person as the ruler of the people mentioned in Daniel 9:26. This ruler has a bow without an arrow, indicating that the world government which he establishes is accomplished without warfare. The future world government begins with a time of peace but is soon followed by destruction [1 Thes 5:3]. In general, the seals, trumpets, and bowls of divine wrath signal the terrible judgements of God on the world at the end of the Age, climaxing in the second coming of Christ.)
The Second Seal—War
3When He broke the second seal, I heard the second living creature saying, “Come.” 4And another, a red horse (NASB: Symbolizes bloodshed and war [cf. Zech 1:8; 6:2].), went out; and to him who sat on it, it was granted to take peace (a state of national tranquility; exemption from the rage and havoc of war) from the earth (cf. “the red dragon,” 12:3; the “scarlet beast,” 17:3), and that men would slay (slaughter) one another (NSB: If the white horse in conquest from without, the red horse may be internal revolution.); and a great sword (as a weapon for making or repelling an attack. BKC: In contrast with the first rider who has a bow without an arrow this second rider carries a large sword.) was given to him.
The Third Seal—Famine
5When He broke the third seal, I heard the third living creature saying, “Come.” I looked, and behold, a black horse (NASB: Symbolizes famine [cf. Zech 6:2, 6]. The sequence is thus conquest, bloodshed, famine.); and he who sat on it had a pair of scales (a balance. NASB: A balance beam with scales hung from either end. Weights were originally stones.) in his hand. 6And I heard something like a voice in the center of the four living creatures saying, “A quart of wheat for a denarius (a denarius, a silver coin, originally consisting of ten; about [3.898 grams, i. e. 8 1/2 pence or 16 2/3 cents), and three quarts of barley for a denarius (NASB: One quart of wheat would be enough for only one person. Three quarts of the less nutritious barley would be barely enough for a small family. Famine had inflated prices to at least ten times their normal level.); and do not damage the oil and the wine” (a vine. NASB: Sets limits on the destruction by the rider of the black horse. The toots of the olive and vine go deeper and would not be immediately affected by a limited drought.).
The Fourth Seal—Death
7When the Lamb broke the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature saying, “Come.” 8I looked, and behold, an ashen (pale green, pale) horse (NASB: Describes the ashen appearance of the dead; it symbolizes death.); and he who sat on it had the name Death (properly, the death of the body, i. e. that separation [whether natural or violent] of the soul from the body by which the life on earth is ended); and Hades (the nether world, the realm of the dead. NASB: Equivalent to Hebrew Sheol [see 1:18; 20:13-14]) was following with him. Authority (power over one, so as to be able to subdue, drive out, destroy) was given to them over a fourth of the earth, to kill with sword and with famine and with pestilence and by the wild beasts of the earth. (BKC: Here is the aftermath of war, famine, and death. With war and famine people fall prey to a plague and the wild beasts of the earth. The startling fact is revealed that a fourth of the earth, or approximately a billion people by today’s population figures [Alice: Today this number is probably larger], will be killed by these means. I t should be obvious that this is not a trivial judgment but a major factor in the Great Tribulation, thus supporting the conclusion that the Great Tribulation has begun. The first four seals may be considered as a unit and a general description of the Great Tribulation as an unprecedented time of trouble [cf. Jer 30:7; Dan 12:1; Matt 24:21-22].)
The Fifth Seal—Martyrs
9When the Lamb broke the fifth seal, I saw underneath the altar (the altar of incense, which stood in the sanctuary or Holy place. NASB: In OT ritual the blood of the slaughtered animal was poured out at the base of the altar [Ex 29:12; Lev 4:7].) the souls (the soul freed from the body, a disembodied soul [If you have been following this post, this is why Dr. Saucy says the “I” is more related to the soul or human spirit than the body in death because the body goes back to the ground and the soul or spirit goes to heaven with Christ or is separated from him (remember Saucy is a dichotomist and he puts soul and spirit in the same category, “spirit,” regardless to whether one is a dichotomists or trichotomists.)]) of those who had been slain because of the word of God, and because of the testimony which they had maintained (to hold fast, keep); 10and they cried out with a loud voice, saying, “How long, O Lord, holy and true, will You refrain (not) from judging and avenging (to demand in punishment the blood of one from another, i. e. to exact of the murderer the penalty of his crime [avenge one’s blood on or at the hand of]) our blood on those who dwell on the earth?” (NASB: A regular designation in Revelation for mankind in its hostility to God [see 3:10; 8:13; 11:10; 13:8, 12; 17:2, 8]) 11And there was given to each of them a white (especially bright or brilliant from whiteness, [dazzling] white: spoken of the garments of angels, and of those exalted to the splendor of the heavenly state) robe (an equipment in clothes, clothing; specifically, a loose outer garment for men which extended to the feet, worn by kings [Jonah 3:6], priests, and persons of rank. NASB: Symbol of blessedness and purity [see 3:5, 18; 4:4; 7:9, 13; 19:14]); and they were told that they should rest (to keep quiet, of calm and patient expectation) for a little while longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brethren who were to be killed even as they had been, would be completed also. (NASB: Jewish thought held that God rules the world according to a predetermined time schedule and that the end awaits the death of a certain number of the righteous. BKC: For under the altar see Ex 29:12; Lev 4:7. These are obviously martyrs, mentioned in more detail in Revelation 7. This make it clear that souls will be saved in the Great Tribulation, but many of them will be martyred.)
The Sixth Seal—Terror
12I looked when He broke the sixth seal, and there was a great earthquake (NASB: A regular feature of divine visitation [see EX 19:18; Is 2:19; Hag 2:6].); and the sun became black as sackcloth made of hair, and the whole moon became like blood (NASB: See Joel 2:31, quoted by Peter in his Pentecost sermon [Acts 2:20]); 13and the stars of the sky fell (NASB: One of the signs immediately preceding the coming of the Son of Man [Mark 13:25-26].) to the earth, as a fig tree casts its unripe figs (NASB: Green figs appearing in winter and easily blow from the tree, which at that season has no leaves.) when shaken by a great wind. 14The sky was split apart like a scroll when it is rolled up (fold together. See Is 34:4. BKC: The heavens appeared like a scroll being rolled up.), and every mountain and island were moved (NASB: Perhaps suggested by Jer 4:24 or Nah 1:5; see 16:20; 20:11.) out of their places. 15Then the kings of the earth and the great men and the commanders (NASB: A commander was a Roman officer who commanded a cohort, i.e.,, about 1,000 men.) and the rich and the strong and every slave and free man hid themselves in the caves (see Jer 4:29) and among the rocks of the mountains; 16and they said to the mountains and to the rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the presence of Him who sits on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb (NASB: God’s wrath is a theme that permeates NT theology. It is both present [see Rom 1:18] and future [see 19:15]. It is prophesied in the OT [Zeph 1:14-18; Nah 1:6; Mal 3:2].); 17for the great day of their wrath (the day on which the wrath of God will be made manifest in the punishment of the wicked) has come, and who is able to stand?” (to escape in safety) (BKC: Here again in the sequence of events, the end had not been reached as there was still another seal. But this was the most dramatic judgement thus far in this time of great distress before the Second Coming… The practical effect of the judgement was fear in unbelievers from all walks of life. They called on the mountains and rocks to fall on them and to hide them from God’s wrath. Their fear was so great that they would rather be killed by a falling mountain than to face the wrath of the Lamb and Their wrath, referring to the anger of the Triune God. Again this is not a picture of ordinary trouble but the period of greatest distress in world history.) (Alice: To believers: 1 Thes 1:10and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, that is Jesus, who rescues us from the wrath to come.)
New American Standard Bible
(NASB: A parenthesis separating the final seal from the preceding six [the same feature is found in the trumpet sequence; see 10:1-13]. It contains two visions: (1) the sealing of the 144,000 [vv. 1-8] and (2) the innumerable multitude [vv. 9-17].)
7:1After this I saw four angels standing at the four corners (the head of the corner, i. e. the cornerstone) of the earth, holding back the four winds (ánemos – properly, a gust of air [wind]; [figuratively] something with gusting, storm-like force, like someone bent in a particular direction [cf. Eph 4:14; Rev 7:1. NASB: Destructive agents of God [see Jer 49:36]; the four principal or cardinal winds [Jeremiah 25:15], Revelation 7:16, hence, the four quarters of the heavens [whence the cardinal winds blow].) of the earth, so that no wind would blow on the earth or on the sea or on any tree. 2And I saw another angel ascending from the rising of the sun (east, sun, light. From hele (a ray; perhaps akin to the alternate of haireomai); the sun; by implication, light — + east, sun.), having the seal (a signet-ring) of the living God (NASB: Ancient documents were folded and tied, and a lump of clay was pressed over the knot. The sender would then stamp the hardening clay with his signet ring or roll it with a cylinder seal, which authenticated and protected the contents. The sealing in ch. 7 results in the name of the Lord being stamped on the forehead of His followers [see 9:4; 14:1; cf. 22:4]. Its primary purpose is to protect the people of God in the coming judgments. For the background see Ezek 9:4, where the mark was the Hebrew letter Taw, made like X or +.); and he cried out with a loud voice to the four angels to whom it was granted to harm the earth and the sea, 3saying, “Do not harm the earth or the sea or the trees until we have sealed (in order to mark a person or thing; hence, to set a mark upon by the impress of a seal, to stamp: angels are said σφραγίζειν τινας ἐπί τῶν μετώπων, i. e. with the seal of God (see σφραγίς, c.) to stamp his servants on their foreheads as destined for eternal salvation, and by this means to confirm their hopes, Revelation 7:3. BKC: The seal on their forehead symbolizes protection and ownership and God’s intention to protect the 12 tribes that are mentioned, much as He protected Noah from the Flood, Israel from the plagues of Egypt, and Rahab and her household in Jericho.) the bond-servants of our God on their foreheads.”
4And I heard the number of those who were sealed, one hundred and forty-four thousand (NASB: Some find here reference to members of actual Jewish tribes, the faithful Jewish remnant of the “great tribulation” [v 14]. Others take the passage as symbolic of all the faithful believers who live during period of tribulation [see Dr. Constable’s Notes for the four types of interpretation of the book of Revelation, p. 2ff].) sealed from every tribe of the sons of Israel (Israel, a name given to the patriarch Jacob [and borne by him in addition to his former name from Genesis 32:28 on]: ὁ οἶκος Ἰσραήλ, the family or descendants of Israel, the race of Israel [the house of Israel]; Israḗl [transliterated from the OT term /Nazaréth, “Israel”] – Israel; the elect-nation of God in the OT “consummated by the inclusion of Gentile believers in the NT to form the body of Christ” [cf. 1 Cor 12:13 with Gal 6:16]. BKC: John heard the names of 12 tribes with 12,000 from each tribe… sealed and thus protected. The 12 tribes are not “lost” as some contend.)5from the tribe of Judah (NASB: Perhaps listed before Reuben, his older brother, because the Messiah belongs to the tribe of Judah.), twelve thousand were sealed, from the tribe of Reuben twelve thousand, from the tribe of Gad twelve thousand, 6from the tribe of Asher twelve thousand, from the tribe of Naphtali twelve thousand, from the tribe of Manasseh (NASB: One of the two Joseph tribes [Ephraim and Manasseh], yet mentioned separately, probably to make up 12 tribes since Dan is omitted. This omission is due perhaps to Dan’s early connection with idolatry [Judg 18:30], or to a tradition that the antichrist was to come from that tribe.) twelve thousand, 7from the tribe of Simeon twelve thousand, from the tribe of Levi twelve thousand, from the tribe of Issachar twelve thousand, 8from the tribe of Zebulun twelve thousand, from the tribe of Joseph twelve thousand, from the tribe of Benjamin, twelve thousand were sealed.
A Multitude from the Tribulation
9After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude (see v. 14) which no one could count, from every nation (éthnos [from ethō, “forming a custom, culture”] – properly, people joined by practicing similar customs or common culture; nation(s), usually referring to unbelieving Gentiles (non-Jews).) and all tribes (a clan) and peoples and tongues (it serves to designate people of various languages), standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white (light, bright, brilliant: τά ἱμάτια … λευκά ὡς τό φῶς, Matthew 17:2; especially bright or brilliant from whiteness, [dazzling] white: spoken of the garments of angels, and of those exalted to the splendor of the heavenly state) robes (an equipment in clothes, clothing; specifically, a loose outer garment for men which extended to the feet, worn by kings [Jonah 3:6], priests, and persons of rank), and palm branches were in their hands (BKC: … apparently signifying righteous triumph. As this multitude ascribed salvation to God and to the Lamb… Though the chapters of Revelation are not all in chronological sequence, chapter 7 depicts a scene in heaven which precedes the second coming of Christ to the earth. Those seen in heaven were said to “come out of the Great Tribulation” [v. 4]. The chapter accordingly indicates how they will be marvelously blessed in heaven after their trials on earth. The 144,000 will appear again [14:1-5], and the multitude of martyrs who were killed for refusing to worship the beast appear again at the time of the resurrection in 20:4. That they are not millennial saints should be evident from the fact that they will be in heaven before God’s throne, and will have been resurrected.); 10and they cry out with a loud voice, saying,
“Salvation to our God (NASB: See Gen 49:18 [“deliverance”]; Jon 2:9) who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.” 11And all the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures; and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, 12saying,
“Amen (amḗn (the counterpart of the Hebrew OT term, /apeítheia, “steadfast”) – properly, sure [certain]. [amḗn] is usually translated “amen,” and sometimes “verily,” “of a truth,” “most assuredly,” “so let it be.” /amḗn [“amen”], as an “emphasis marker,” introduces a statement of pivotal importance – i.e. that is essential in interpreting the over-all passage.), blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might (NASB: The sevenfold list of attributes expresses complete or perfect praise. See David’s farewell prayer in 1 Chr 29:10-19. The attributes increase from three in 4:11 to four in 5:13 to seven in 5:12; 7:12.), be to our God forever and ever. Amen.”
13Then one of the elders answered, saying to me, “These who are clothed in the white robes (NASB: Symbol of blessedness and purity [see 3:5, 18; 4:4; 7:9, 13; 19:14]), who are they, and where have they come from?” 14I said to him, “My lord, you know.” And he said to me, “These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation (persecution, affliction, distress; thlípsis – properly, pressure [what constricts or rubs together], used of a narrow place that “hems someone in”; tribulation, especially internal pressure that causes someone to feel confined [restricted, “without options”]. /thlípsis [“compression, tribulation”] carries the challenge of coping with the internal pressure of a tribulation, especially when feeling there is “no way of escape” [“hemmed in”]; properly, a pressing, pressing together, pressure; in Biblical and ecclesiastical writings, a Greek metaphor, oppression, affliction, tribulation, distress, straits. (NASB: The period of final hostility prior to Christ’s return. Some hold that the beginning of this hostility was already being experienced by the church of John’s day (See Dr. Constable’s Notes on the preterist view p. 2ff).), and they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. 15“For this reason, they are before the throne of God; and they serve Him day and night in His temple (NASB: All 16 references to the temple in Revelation use the word that designates the inner shrine rather than the larger precincts. It is the place where God’s presence dwells.); and He who sits on the throne will spread His tabernacle (will spread his tabernacle over them, so that they may dwell in safety and security under its cover and protection. NASB: The imagery would evoke memories of the tabernacle in the wilderness [Lev 26:11-13].) over them. 16“They will hunger no longer, nor thirst anymore; nor will the sun beat down on them, nor any heat; 17for the Lamb in the center of the throne will be their shepherd (to supply the requisites for the soul’s needs. NASB: Ancient kings often referred to themselves as the shepherds of their people.), and will guide them to springs (fountain) of the water of life (cf. Ps 36:9; Rev 21:6); and God will wipe every tear from their eyes.”
New American Standard Bible
The Seventh Seal—the Trumpets
8:1When the Lamb broke the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour (NASB: A dramatic pause before the next series of plagues-the final act of the drama is left undisclosed here, reserved to present later. In the OT times the trumpet served to announce important events and give signals in time of war. The seven trumpets of Rev 8-9; 11:15-19 announce a series of plagues more severe than the seals but not as completely devastating as the bowls [ch. 16]. BKC: The opening of the seventh seal is a most important event, confirmed by the fact that there was silence in heaven for about half an hour after it was opened. W Graham Scroggie states “The trumpets, therefore, do not double back over all or some of the seals, but lie under the sixth seal, and proceed from it” …. He also holds that the bowls of the wrath of God [chap. 16] “do not double back over the seal and trumpet judgements” … The fact that these are angles’ trumpets distinguishes them from the trumpet of God [1 Cor 15:52; 1 Thes 4:16] and from other New Testament trumpets [Heb 12:19; Rev 1:10; 4:1]). 2And I saw the seven angels who stand before God, and seven trumpets were given to them.
3Another angel came and stood at the altar, holding a golden censer (frankincense, by ext. a censer. NASB: A firepan used to hold live charcoal for the burning of incense [cf. Ex 27:3; 1 Kin 7:5].); and much incense was given to him, so that he might add it to the prayers (prayer addressed to God, in aid of. NASB: Most translations consider the incense to be mingled with “with” prayers. The Greek for this phrase also allows a translation that takes the incense “to be” the prayers [“incense… consisting of the prayers”].) of all the saints on the golden altar which was before the throne. 4And the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, went up before God out of the angel’s hand (NASB: Although the angle is involved in presenting the prayers of the saints to God, he does not make them acceptable. He Jewish apocalyptic concept of angels as mediators finds no place in the NT.). 5Then the angel took the censer and filled it with the fire of the altar, and threw it to the earth; and there followed peals of thunder and sounds and flashes of lightning and an earthquake. (BKC: This offering in heaven corresponds to the custom of offering incense on the altar of incense in both the tabernacle and the temple. The censer would hold the coals, and a separate vessel would carry the incense which was to be poured on the coals once the altar was reached. The resulting smoke was typical of prayer ascending before God.)
6And the seven angels who had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound them.
7The first sounded, and there came hail and fire, mixed with blood (NASB: Cf. the imagery of the seventh plague on Egypt [Ex 9:13-25; cf. Ezek 38:22]), and they were thrown to the earth; and a third of the earth was burned up (NASB: This fraction indicated that the punishment announced by the trumpets is not yet complete and final [the same fraction appears in each of the next three plagues: vv. 8-9, 10-11, 12]. A smaller fraction [a fourth] of devastation accompanied the opening of the fourth seal [6:8]), and a third of the trees were burned up, and all the green grass was burned up.
8The second angel sounded, and something like a great mountain burning with fire was thrown into the sea; and a third of the sea became blood (NASB: reminiscent of the plague on Egypt [Ex 7:20-21]. This is an eschatological judgement rather than natural pollution resulting from widespread volcanic upheaval.), 9and a third of the creatures which were in the sea and had life, died; and a third of the ships were destroyed. (BKC: It is best to interpret these events literally though the description of the sea being turned into blood may be the language of appearance as in the mention of blood after the first trumpet blast. Reference to blood as a divine judgment is found in the plagues of Egypt [cf. Ex 7:14-22].)
10The third angel sounded, and a great star fell from heaven, burning like a torch, and it fell on a third of the rivers and on the springs of waters. 11The name of the star is called Wormwood (Absinthe: is given as a proper name to the star which fell into the waters and made them bitter); and a third of the waters became wormwood (NASB: The reverse of the miracle at Marah, where bitter waters were made sweet [Ex 15:25].), and many men died from the waters, because they were made bitter. (NASB: A plant with a strong, bitter taste. It is used here as a metaphor for calamity and sorrow [see Prov 5:3-4; Jer 9:15; Lam 3:19]. It is not poisonous, but its bitterness suggests death. BKC: The judgment following the third …trumpet was similar to that of the second. But here the mass falling from heaven to earth was a great star, blazing like a torch. This fell on a third of the rivers and on the springs of water; in other words, waters other than the oceans.)
12The fourth angel sounded, and a third of the sun and a third of the moon and a third of the stars were struck (to strike, to smite: passive [of the heavenly bodies smitten by God that they may be deprived of light and shrouded in darkness]. NASB: In the ninth plague on Egypt, thick darkness covered the land for three days [Ex 10:21-23]. References to the Egypt plagues suggests that in Revelation we have the final exodus of God’s people from the bondage of a world controlled by hostile powers.), so that a third of them would be darkened (of the heavenly bodies, as deprived of light) and the day would not shine for a third of it, and the night in the same way. (BKC: Without a third of the sun a third of the day was lacking normal light, and a third of the night was without light from the moon and the stars. Again the best interpretation is literal. Just as the first three trumpets dealt with a third of the earth, so the fourth trumpet dealt with a third of the havens. 13Then I looked, and I heard an eagle flying in midheaven, saying with a loud voice, “Woe (an interjection of grief or of denunciation. NASB: These three woes correspond to the three final trumpet plagues [see 9:12; 11:14 (10:1-11:13 is a parenthesis); the seven bowl judgments of chs. 15-16 apparently constitute the third woe.] The woes fall on the unbelieving world [the phrase “those who dwell on the earth” refers to the wicked, not on the righteous [see 9:4]), woe, woe to those who dwell on the earth, because of the remaining blasts of the trumpet of the three angels who are about to sound!” (BKC: Warning was given that the next three trumpets would be more severe and devastating than those which preceded them. The triple woe announced by an eagle warns of coming judgement, Eagles are also mentioned in 4:7 and 12:14.)
New American Standard Bible
The Fifth Trumpet—the Bottomless Pit
(The reader should have noticed by now that Bland holds the preterist view, and Constable holds the futurist view. See pages 2ff in Constable’s notes on Revelation.)
9:1Then the fifth angel sounded, and I saw a star from heaven (BKC: Even in modern terminology it is customary to speak of an unusual athlete or performer as a star. This star, probably representing Satan cast out of heaven at the beginning of the Great Tribulation [Rev 12:9], was given the key to the shaft of the “Abyss” [abyssos] is the home of demons [cf. Luke 8:31; Rev 9:11; 11:7; 17:8; 20:1, 3; in Rom 10:7 it is translated “deep.”] Here the star [Satan] used his key to allow demons in the Abyss to come out and afflict the earth.) which had fallen (NASB: The star in 8:10 was part of a cosmic disturbance; here the star is a divine agent, probably an angel [cf. 20:1].) to the earth; and the key of the bottomless pit (unbounded; the pit, the immeasurable depth, the abyss; of the dragon, both as the common receptacle of the dead, Romans 10:7, and especially as the abode of demons, Luke 8:31; Revelation 9:1; Revelation 9:11; Revelation 11:7; Revelation 17:8; Revelation 20:1, 3. Pit: the pit of the abyss [because the nether world is thought to increase in size the further it extends from the surface of the earth and so to resemble a cistern, the orifice of which is narrow], Revelation 9:1f. NASB: Conceived of as the subterranean abode of demonic hordes [see 20:1; Like 8:31]. The Greek word means “very deep” or “bottomless,” and is used in the Septuagint [the Greek translation of the OT] to translate the Hebrew word for primeval deep [see Gen 1:22The earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters. 7:11In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, on the seventeenth day of the month, on the same day all the fountains of the great deep burst open, and the floodgates of the sky were opened. Prov 8:28When He made firm the skies above. When the springs of the deep became fixed]. Seven of the nine NT occurrences of the Greek word for “bottomless pit” are in Revelation.) was given to him. 2He opened the bottomless pit, and smoke went up out of the pit, like the smoke of a great furnace; and the sun and the air were darkened by the smoke of the pit. 3Then out of the smoke came locusts (a locust, particularly that species which especially infests oriental countries, stripping fields and trees. Numberless swarms of them almost every spring are carried by the wind from Arabia into Palestine, and having devastated that country migrate to regions farther north, until they perish by falling into the sea. The Orientals are accustomed to feed upon locusts, either raw or roasted and seasoned with salt [or prepared in other ways], and the Israelites also [according to Leviticus 11:22] were permitted to eat them: a marvelous and infernal kind of locusts is described in Revelation 9:3, 7, cf. Revelation 9:2, 5f, 8-12. NASB: For background see the plague of locusts in Ex 10:1-20. Joel 1:2-2:11 interprets the locust plague as a foreshadow of the devastations that accompany the day of the Lord. Locusts traveled in enormous swarms and could strip a land of all vegetation. In 1866, 200,000 people died in a famine in Algiers following a locust plague.) upon the earth, and power was given them, as the scorpions (a scorpion, the name of a little animal, somewhat resembling a lobster, which in warm regions lurks especially in stone walls; it has a poisonous sting in its tail. NASB: Large spider-like organisms that injure or kill by means of a poisonous barb in the tail.) of the earth have power. 4They were told not to hurt the grass of the earth, nor any green thing, nor any tree, but only the men who do not have the seal (the inscription or impression made by a seal. NASB: The first woe does not affect the “bond-servant of God” [see 7:3]. Cf. the Israelites, who were protected from the Egyptians plagues [Ex 8:22; 9:4, 26; 10:23; 11:7].) of God on their foreheads. 5And they were not permitted to kill anyone, but to torment (passively, universally, to vex with grievous pains [of body or mind]) for five months (NASB: A limited period of time suggested by the life cycle of the locust or the dry season [spring through late summer, about five months], in which the danger of a locust invasion is always present.); and their torment was like the torment of a scorpion when it stings a man. 6And in those days men will seek death and will not find it (NASB: Cf. Hos 10:8 [quoted in Luke 23:30]. Cf. Paul’s attitude toward death in Phil 1:23-24.); they will long to die, and death flees from them.
(BKC: vv. 7-11: Obviously John was describing what he saw but did not interpret each characteristic. The picture is one of Satan’s awesome supernatural power and the demon world especially in relation to unbelievers. Unlike the previous judgments which apparently were short in time this judgement extended for five months [v. 10; cf. v. 5]. This is important as it refutes clearly the notion that all these judgements will occur in a brief span of time immediately before the second coming of Christ.)
7The appearance of the locusts was like horses prepared for battle; and on their heads appeared to be crowns like gold, and their faces were like the faces of men (NASB: The locust appear to have the cunning of intelligent beings. They do not simply use brute force.). 8They had hair like the hair of women (NASB: Perhaps a reference to long antennae), and their teeth were like the teeth of lions (Cruel, inhumane). 9They had breastplates (consisting of two parts and protecting the body on both sides from the neck to the middle. NASB: The breastplate was a coat of nail that protected the front.) like breastplates of iron (NASB: Probably thin iron pieces riveted to leather base.); and the sound of their wings was like the sound of chariots, of many horses rushing to battle. 10They have tails like scorpions, and stings; and in their tails is their power to hurt men for five months. 11They have as king over them, the angel of the abyss (the bottomless pit, unbounded, the immeasurable depth, and especially as the abode of demons); his name in Hebrew is Abaddon (Destroyer [i.e. Destroying Angel] or place of destruction [personified]. NASB: A personification of destruction [cf. Prov 15:11Sheol and Abaddon lie open before the LORD,
How much more the hearts of men! ].), and in the Greek he has the name Apollyon (Apollýōn (from /apóllymi, “cause to perish, be ruined” – properly, “the destroyer” [from the Abyss], i.e. Satan [used only in Rev 9:11]).
12The first woe is past; behold, two woes are still coming after these things.
The Sixth Trumpet—Army from the East
13Then the sixth angel sounded, and I heard a voice from the four horns of the golden altar (NASB: See 8:3-5. The horns were projections at the four corners of the altar [Ex 27:2]. Those fleeing judgement could seek mercy by taking hold of the horns [1 Kin 1:50-51; 2:28].) which is before God, 14one saying to the sixth angel who had the trumpet, “Release (loose [unleash] let go; release [unbind] so something no longer holds together; [figuratively] release what has been held back (like Christ “releasing” the seven seals in the scroll in Revelation); to loose any person or thing] tied or fastened, bad angels) the four angels (NASB: Apparently in charge of the demonic horsemen [vv. 15-19].) who are bound (to bind, to fasten with chains, to throw into chains) at the great river Euphrates.” (Euphrates, a large and celebrated river, which rises in the mountains of Armenia Major, flows through Assyria, Syria, Mesopotamia and the city of Babylon, and empties into the Persian Gulf (Hebrew פְּרָת [i. e. (probably) ‘the great stream’ (Genesis 1:18)]. NASB: The longest river in western Asia [about 1,700 miles]. It marked the boundary between Israel and her historic enemies [Assyria and Babylon] to the east [cf. Is 8:5-8].) 15And the four angels (BKC: Not the same as the four angels of 7:1]), who had been prepared (to make ready, prepare: absolutely, to make the necessary preparations, get everything ready: prepared i. e. kept in readiness, εἰς τήν ὥραν καί ἡμέραν etc., for the hour and day namely, predetermined) for the hour and day and month and year (NASB: Apocalyptic thought views God as acting according to an exact timetable.), were released, so that they would kill a third of mankind (BKC: The fourth seal [Rev 6:7-8] resulted in a fourth of the earth’s people being killed. Here a third of the remainder were put to death. These two judgements alone, disregarding all intervening judgements, would account for the death of half the earth’s population. This fact is to be taken literally as it confirms the statement by Daniel [Dan 12:1] and the words of Christ [Matt 24:21] that the Great Tribulation will be without precedent and would end in the death pf all mankind if it were not stopped by His second coming [Matt 24:22].). 16The number of the armies of the horsemen (cavalry) was two hundred million (NASB: The reference is most likely general, intending an incalculable host rather than a specific number [cf. Ps 68:17; Dan 7:10; Rev 5:11]. BKC: Most interpreters do not take the number literally, though there is good evidence that all other numbers in Revelation are literal. Even if taken symbolically, this figure clearly represents an overwhelming military force. Years ago Red China claimed to have an army of 200 million [cf. Times, May 21, 1965, p. 35]. Some interpreters say these millions are demons, but demons are not normally marshalled as a military force. The fact that John heard the number, as obviously he could not visually count 200 million men, seems to lend credence to the concept that this is literal and predicts that an army will come from the East crossing the dried-up Euphrates River [16:12] … A large invasion from the East and North in the end times is predicted in Daniel 11:44.); I heard the number of them. 17And this is how I saw in the vision the horses and those who sat on them: the riders had breastplates the color of fire (fiery: θώρακες πυρίνους, i. e. shining like fire) and of hyacinth (of the color of hyacinth, i. e. of a red color bordering on black) and of brimstone (sulphurous); and the heads of the horses are like the heads of lions; and out of their mouths proceed fire (NASB: Cf. the two witnesses in 11:5) and smoke and brimstone (BKC: Some have taken this as a picture of modern warfare including the use of armed vehicles such as tanks. Whether symbolic or literal. The passage certainly implies terrible destruction and an awesome invading force. The results are twice stated and include the death of a third of mankind [vv. 15, 18].). 18A third of mankind was killed by these three plagues (a public calamity, heavy affliction [now tormenting now destroying the bodies of men, and sent by God as a punishment]), by the fire and the smoke and the brimstone (theíon – properly, sulfur [“brimstone,” i.e. smoky, burning rocks], i.e. sulphurous, named for the sulphur-smell left by lightning; [figuratively] the fire of heaven, bringing down God’s judgment to display His awesome, unstoppable power; equivalent to divine incense, because burning brimstone was regarded as having power to purify, and to ward off contagion) which proceeded out of their mouths. 19For the power of the horses is in their mouths and in their tails; for their tails are like serpents and have heads (NASB: Emphasizes the demonic origin of the horses [cf. 12:9]), and with them they do harm.
20The rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent (to change one’s mind for the better, heartily to amend with abhorrence of one’s past sins: expresses mental direction, the termini from which and to which may be specified: ἀπό τῆς κακίας, to withdraw or turn one’s soul from, etc. BKC: The trumpet judgments clearly grew in a crescendo, becoming worse and more devastating. In spite of the clear evidence of God’s power to judge the world, no evidence was given John that there would be any change of heart on the part of the great mass of humanity. Though the sixth judgment produced fear, it did not produce repentance. [Alice: The new birth is the birth that comes from above, from YHWH. Man cannot change himself because he is dead in trespasses and sin and he cannot rectify his situation. Eph 2:5 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened (the new birth; made us spiritually alive) us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved). Titus 3:5He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration (the new birth) and renewing by the Holy Spirit. John 1:13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.]) of the works of their hands, so as not to worship demons (NASB: Spiritual beings in league with Satan and exerting evil influence on human affairs [cf. Deut 4:28“There you will serve gods, the work of man’s hands, wood and stone, which neither see nor hear nor eat nor smell. Ps 115:5-7They have mouths, but they cannot speak; They have eyes, but they cannot see; They have ears, but they cannot hear; They have noses, but they cannot smell; They have hands, but they cannot feel; They have feet, but they cannot walk; They cannot make a sound with their throat. 1 Cor 10:20No, but I say that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to demons and not to God; and I do not want you to become sharers in demons.]), and the idols of gold and of silver and of brass and of stone and of wood, which can neither see nor hear nor walk; 21and they did not repent (NASB: See 16:9, 11. Even physical pain will not change the rebellious heart.) of their murders nor of their sorceries (b. poisoning: Revelation 9:21 [many interpretations refer the passage to the next entry]. c. sorcery, magical arts, often found in connection with idolatry and fostered by it: Galatians 5:20 [for כְּשָׁפִים, Isaiah 47:9; for לָטִים, Exodus 7:22; Exodus 8:18; for לְהָטִים, Exodus 7:11]; tropically, of the deceptions and seductions of idolatry, Revelation 18:23. NASB: Involved the mixing of various ingredients [the Greek fro this is pharmakon, from which comes the English “pharmacy”] for magical purposes. Believers at Ephesus publicly burned their books of magic, valued at 50,000 drachmas [Acts 19:19]. [A drachma was a silver coin worth about a day’s wages]) nor of their immorality (used properly, of illicit sexual intercourse in general) nor of their thefts.
New American Standard Bible
The Angel and the Little Book
10:1I saw another strong (mighty; of living beings: strong either in body or in mind) angel coming down out of heaven, clothed with a cloud; and the rainbow (NASB: Cf. Ezek 1:26-28. The rainbow became a sign of God’s pledge never to destroy the earth again by a flood [Gen 9:8-17].) was upon his head, and his face was like the sun, and his feet like pillars of fire (flames rising like columns. NASB: Since the exodus supplies background for this central part of Revelation [References to the Egyptian plagues suggest that in Revelation we have the final exodus of God’s people from the bondage of a world controlled by hostile powers.], this feature may recall the pillars of fire and cloud that guided [Ex 13:21-22] and protected [Ex 14:19, 24] the Israelites during their wilderness journey.); 2and he had in his hand a little book (NASB: Not the same as the book of destiny in ch. 5, since that book was intended to reveal its content and this book was to be eaten. Furthermore, the term “little book” sets this particular book off from all others. BKC: In contrast with the seven-sealed scroll held by the Lamb [5:1], this angel held a small scroll. This scroll apparently contained the angel’s written order for the mission be was about to fulfill.) which was open. He placed his right foot on the sea and his left on the land (NASB: Indicates his tremendous size and symbolizes that his coming has to do with the destiny of all creation [cf. v. 6]); 3and he cried out with a loud voice, as when a lion roars; and when he had cried out, the seven peals of thunder uttered (to utter a voice, emit a sound: of things inanimate. NASB: In 8:5; 11:19; 16:18 thunder is connected with divine punishment. Here, too, it anticipates the judgement to fall on those who refuse God’s love and grace.) their voices. 4When the seven peals of thunder had spoken, I was about to write; and I heard a voice from heaven saying, “Seal up (Since things sealed up are concealed (as, the contents of a letter), (σφραγίζω means, tropically, to hide [Deuteronomy 32:34], keep in silence, keep secret. NASB: In Dan 8:26; 12:4, 9 the prophecies are sealed until the last times, when they will be opened. What the seven thunders said will not be revealed until their proper time. Cf. the angel’s instructions in 22:10 not to seal the prophecies of Revelation.) the things which the seven peals of thunder have spoken and do not write them.” 5Then the angel whom I saw standing on the sea and on the land lifted up his right hand (NASB: A part of oath taking [see Gen 14:22-23; Deut 32:40]) to heaven, 6and swore (in swearing to call a person or thing as witness, to invoke, swear by) by Him who lives forever and ever (NASB: Of special encouragement in a context of impending martyrdom [cf. 1:18; 4:9-10; 15:7].), WHO CREATED HEAVEN AND THE THINGS IN IT, AND THE EARTH AND THE THINGS IN IT, AND THE SEA AND THE THINGS IN IT, that there will be delay no longer (NASB: The martyrs in 6:9-11 were told to rest for a while, but now the end has come [cf. Dan 12:1; Mark 13:19]. BKC: The clear reference to God as Creator [cf. 4:11; 14:7] answers evolutionary speculation as to the origin of the earth, and it also affirms the omnipresence of God in dealing with the world in judgement when the time is ripe.), 7but in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he is about to sound, then the mystery (a hidden purpose or counsel; secret will of God: μυστήρια Θεοῦ, the secret counsels which govern God in dealing with the righteous, which are hidden from ungodly and wicked men but plain to the godly, In the N. T., God’s plan of providing salvation for men through Christ, which was once hidden but now is revealed: said of the consummation of this purpose, to be looked for when Christ returns. NASB: In apocalyptic thought mysteries were secrets preserved in heaven and revealed to the apocalyptist. Here the mystery is that God has won the victory over the forces of evil and will reign for ever and ever [cf. 11:15Then the seventh angel sounded; and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ; and He will reign forever and ever.”]. BKC: This mystery had been previously announced to God’s prophets. The reference, therefore, is not to hidden truth but to the fulfillment of many Old Testament passages which refer to the glorious return of the Son of God and the establishment of His Kingdom of righteousness and peace on the earth. While God’s purposes are not necessarily revealed in current events where Satan is allowed power and manifestation, the time will come when Satan no longer will be in power and the predictions of the Old Testament prophets will be fulfilled. Then all will know the Lord and the truth about Him [Jer 31:34]. Here again is evidence that the seventh trumpet introduces the seven bowl judgements of God’s wrath described in Revelation 16.) of God is finished, as He preached (to bring good news, to announce glad tidings) to His servants the prophets.
8Then the voice which I heard from heaven, I heard again speaking with me, and saying, “Go, take the book which is open in the hand of the angel who stands on the sea and on the land.” 9So I went to the angel, telling him to give me the little book. And he said to me, “Take it and eat it (NASB: Grasp and digest fully the content of the scroll [cf. Ps 119:103].); it will make your stomach bitter (to produce a bitter taste in the stomach. NASB: The message of the little scroll [11:1-13] will involve suffering-the “bad news”), but in your mouth it will be sweet as honey.” (NASB: God’s eternal purposes will experience no further delay-the “good news.”) 10I took the little book out of the angel’s hand and ate it, and in my mouth it was sweet as honey; and when I had eaten it, my stomach was made bitter. 11And they said to me, “You must prophesy again (with the idea of foretelling future events pertaining especially to the kingdom of God. NASB: The prophecies following the sounding of the seventh trumpet in 11:15. BKC: Though no interpretation was given John, it is evident that in partaking of the book he was appropriating what the book states [cf. Jer 15:16]. The scroll seems to symbolize the Word of God and divine revelation in general, for John was told to deliver the Word faithfully… Though the Word is sweet to believers, it will be bitter to unbelievers when it brings divine judgement on them.) concerning many peoples and nations and tongues and kings.”
New American Standard Bible
The Two Witnesses
11:1Then there was given me a measuring rod (NASB: A bamboo-like cane of that often reached a height of 20 feet and grew in abundance in the water along the banks of the Jordan. Straight and light, the reef was a convenient measuring rod [see Ezek 40:3; Zech 2:1-2].) like a staff; and someone said, “Get up and measure the temple of God and the altar, and those who worship in it. 2“Leave out the court (the uncovered court-yard of the house. In the O. T. particularly of the courts of the tabernacle and of the temple (NASB: The context of worship suggests that this is the great altar.) at Jerusalem; so in the N. T. BKC: … meaning he was to measure the holy place and the holy of holies. While others came into the outer court, only priests could enter into those two temple rooms. The explanation was given that this would be under the control of the Gentiles who would trample on the holy city for 42 months.) which is outside (NASB: The court of the Gentiles approximately 26 acres.) the temple and do not measure it, for it has been given to the nations (éthnos [from ethō, “forming a custom, culture”] – properly, people joined by practicing similar customs or common culture; nation(s), usually referring to unbelieving Gentiles [non-Jews].); and they will tread under foot the holy city (Cf. Psalms 79:1; Is 63:18; Luke 21:24) for forty-two months (NASB: Three and a half years. Some find the background for this period in the time of Jewish suffering under the Syrian tyrant, Antiochus, Epiphanes [168-165 B.C.]. Others point out that, whereas the temple was desolated for three years under Antiochus, the figure used in Revelation is three and a half years, which no doubt looks back to the dividing of the 70th “seven” [Dan 9:27] into two equal parts. The same time period is also designated as 1,260 days [v. 3; 12:6] and as “a time and times and half a time” [12:14; cf. Dan 7:25; 12:7]. This period of time evidently became a conventional symbol for a limited period unrestrained wickedness. BKC: In a similar way the temple of Ezekiel 40 was measured and the New Jerusalem was measured [Rev. 21:15-17]. The temple here will be constructed so that orthodox Jews can offer sacrifices according to the Mosaic Law in the period in the first half of the seven-year period known as Daniel’s 70th week. At the beginning of the 42-month Great Tribulation, however, the sacrifices will stop and the temple will be desecrated and become a shrine for the world ruler of the Great Tribulation who will put an idol in it and proclaim himself to be God [cf. Dan 9:27“And he will make a firm covenant with the many for one week, but in the middle of the week he will put a stop to sacrifice and grain offering; and on the wing of abominations will come one who makes desolate, even until a complete destruction, one that is decreed, is poured out on the one who makes desolate.” Dan 12:11“From the time that the regular sacrifice is abolished and the abomination of desolation is set up, there will be 1,290 days. 2 Thes 2:4who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God. Rev 13:14-15And he deceives those who dwell on the earth because of the signs which it was given him to perform in the presence of the beast, telling those who dwell on the earth to make an image to the beast who had the wound of the sword and has come to life. And it was given to him to give breath to the image of the beast, so that the image of the beast would even speak and cause as many as do not worship the image of the beast to be killed.] The tendency of some is to spiritualize the 42-month length of the Great Tribulation, but this should be taken as a literal period, as confirmed by the 1,260 days in 11:3 which are 42 months of 30 days each. From this it is also clear that “the times of the Gentiles” [Luke 21:24] will not end until the second coming of Christ to the earth to set up His kingdom. Though Jews may possess Jerusalem temporarily, as they have in this century, they will lose possession in the Great Tribulation. Some believe that the 42 months refer to the first half of Daniel’s 70th week [Dan 9:27]. While it is not clear, the evidence surrounding this passage in Revelation seems to refer to the final three and one-half years. This also seems to be confirmed by the fact that in the first half of the last seven years the Jews will actually possess the city of Jerusalem and worship in their temple, whereas here the context indicates that this is the period when Gentiles will tread down the Holy City, implying ill treatment of the Jews and desecration of the temple.). 3“And I will grant authority to my two witnesses (the faithful interpreters of God’s counsels are called God’s witnesses. NASB: Modeled after Moses and Elijah. They symbolize testifying believers in the final period before Christ returns. Or they may be two actual individuals who will be martyred for the proclamation of the truth. BKC: …. While there is room for considerable discussion of these various views, the fact is that the passage does not identify the two witnesses, and they probably do not have historic identification… Like prophets of old the two witnesses will be able to do supernatural miracles, and fire will destroy those who will try to harm them [Rev 11:5]. Like Elijah they will have power to stop rain, and will have power like Moses to turn water into blood and to bring on plagues [v. 6]. In the midst of the unbelief, apostasy, and satanic power of the Great Tribulation these two witnesses will be a threat to the entire wicked world for a literal period of 1,260 days.), and they will prophesy for twelve hundred (5507 xílioi – properly, a thousand; the product of 10 x 10 x 10 [103, ten cubed]; [figuratively] emphatic, total inclusiveness, showing no one [nothing] is left out. See also “the Millennium” in the HELPS prophecy-guide. [“Ten” in Scripture can already express the symbolic meaning “completely” [inclusively] so [xílioi] as the cube of 10 [“a thousand”] powerfully stresses the meaning “full/inclusive” [totality]; twelve hundred. NASB: These are months of 30days [42 months x 30 days = 1,260 days].) and sixty days, clothed in sackcloth.” (a coarse cloth, a dark coarse stuff made especially of the hair of animals: Revelation 6:12; a garment of the like material, and clinging to the person like a sack, which was usually worn [or drawn on over the tunic instead of the cloak or mantle] by mourners, penitents, suppliants, Matthew 11:21; Luke 10:13, and also by those who, like the Hebrew prophets, led an austere life, Revelation 11:3 [cf. what is said of the dress of John the Baptist, Matthew 3:4; of Elijah, 2 Kings 1:8]. NASB: A coarse, dark cloth woven from the hair of goats or camels. It was worn as a sign of mourning and penitence [Joel 1:13; Jon 3:5-6; Matt 11:21].) 4These are the two olive trees and the two lampstands (the two eminent prophets who will precede Christ’s return from heaven in glory are likened to ‘candlesticks’) that stand before the Lord of the earth (NASB: The imagery emphasizes that the power of effective testimony is supplied by the Spirit of God.). 5And if anyone wants to harm them, fire flows out of their mouth and devours (NASB: Cf. Elijah’s encounters with the messengers of Ahaziah [2 Kin 1:10, 12].) their enemies; so if anyone wants to harm them, he must be killed in this way. 6These have the power to shut (i. e. to cause the heavens to withhold rain) up the sky (NASB: Cf. the drought in the days of Elijah [1 Kin 17:1; see also Luke 4:25; James 5:17].), so that rain will not fall during the days of their prophesying; and they have power over the waters to turn them into blood (NASB: God used Moses to bring the same plague on the Egyptians [Ex 7:17-21].), and to strike the earth with every plague, as often as they desire.
7When they have finished their testimony, the beast (in Revelation 11:7 and Revelation 13-20, under the figurative of a ‘beast’ is depicted Antichrist, both his person and his kingdom and power. NASB: First mention of the major opponent of God’s people in the final days [see chs. 13; 17]. That he comes up from the abyss indicates his demonic character.) that comes up out of the abyss (of the dragon), both as the common receptacle of the dead, Romans 10:7, and especially as the abode of demons, Luke 8:31; Revelation 9:1; Revelation 9:11; Revelation 11:7; Revelation 17:8; Revelation 20:1, 3) will make war with them, and overcome them and kill them (NASB: They will suffer the same fate as their Lord [see v. 8].). 8And their dead bodies will lie in the street (NASB: In the Near East the denial of burial was a flagrant violation of decency.) of the great city (NASB: Possibly Jerusalem, though some say Rome, Babylon or some other city. It may be symbolic of the world opposed to God [see 16:19; 17:18; 10, 16, 18-19, 21].) which mystically (in a sense apprehended only by the aid of the Divine Spirit, i. e. in a hidden or mystical sense) is called Sodom (NASB: [see similarly Is 1:10] refers to its low level of morality [cf. Gen 19:4-11], and Egypt emphasizes oppression and slavery. Some say that Jesus could have been crucified in Rome in the sense that her power extended throughout the known world and was immediately responsible for Christ’s execution. BKC: After the witnesses were killed, their bodies were left unburied in Jerusalem, figuratively called Sodom and Egypt, because of the people’s apostasy and rejection of God.) and Egypt, where also their Lord was crucified. 9Those from the peoples and tribes (a clan or tribe) and tongues (it serves to designate people of various languages) and nations (a race, a nation, pl. the nations [as distinct from Isr.]) will look at their dead bodies for three and a half days (NASB: A short time when compared with the three and a half years of their ministry. BKC: This implies some worldwide display, now made possible by television. Their deaths were considered a great victory for the world ruler and Satan, and were celebrated by people sending each other gifts.), and will not permit their dead bodies to be laid in a tomb. 10And those who dwell on the earth will rejoice over them and celebrate; and they will send gifts to one another, because these two prophets tormented (to vex with grievous pains [of body or mind]) those who dwell on the earth.
11But after the three and a half days, the breath (breath of the nostrils or mouth) of life (life, i. e. the state of one who is possessed of vitality or is animate, the vital spirit, the breath of [i. e. imparting] life.) from God came into them (NASB: A dramatic validation of the true faith [cf. Ezek 37:5, 10].), and they stood on their feet; and great fear fell upon those who were watching them. 12And they heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them, “Come up here.” Then they went up into heaven in the cloud (Cf. 1 Thess 4:17), and their enemies watched them (Cf. 1:7). 13And in that hour there was a great earthquake, and a tenth of the city fell; seven thousand people were killed in the earthquake, and the rest were terrified and gave glory to the God of heaven (NASB: Not an act of repentance but the terrified realization that Christ, no the antichrist, is the true Lord of all).
14The second woe (calamity [cf. 9:12]) is past; behold, the third woe is coming quickly.
The Seventh Trumpet—Christ’s Reign Foreseen
15Then the seventh angel sounded (NASB: The series of trumpet blasts is now continued [see 9:13] and completed.); and there were loud voices in heaven, saying,
“The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord (NASB: Cf. Ex 15:18“The LORD shall reign forever and ever.” Ps 10: 16The LORD is King forever and ever; Nations have perished from His land. Zech 14:9And the LORD will be king over all the earth; in that day the LORD will be the only one, and His name the only one. BKC: Cf. predictions of the earthly kingdom of Christ in Ezek 21:26-27thus says the Lord GOD, ‘Remove the turban and take off the crown; this will no longer be the same. Exalt that which is low and abase that which is high. ‘A ruin, a ruin, a ruin, I will make it. This also will be no more until He comes whose right it is, and I will give it to Him.’ Dan 2:35“Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver and the gold were crushed all at the same time and became like chaff from the summer threshing floors; and the wind carried them away so that not a trace of them was found. But the stone that struck the statue became a great mountain and filled the whole earth. Dan 2:44“In the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which will never be destroyed, and that kingdom will not be left for another people; it will crush and put an end to all these kingdoms, but it will itself endure forever. Dan 4:3“How great are His signs And how mighty are His wonders! His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom And His dominion is from generation to generation. Dan 6:26“I make a decree that in all the dominion of my kingdom men are to fear and tremble before the God of Daniel; For He is the living God and enduring forever, And His kingdom is one which will not be destroyed, And His dominion will be forever. Dan 7:14“And to Him was given dominion, Glory and a kingdom, That all the peoples, nations and men of every language Might serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion Which will not pass away; And His kingdom is one Which will not be destroyed. Dan7: 26-27‘But the court will sit for judgment, and his dominion will be taken away, annihilated and destroyed forever. ‘Then the sovereignty, the dominion and the greatness of all the kingdoms under the whole heaven will be given to the people of the saints of the Highest One; His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom, and all the dominions will serve and obey Him.’ Zech 14:9And the LORD will be king over all the earth; in that day the LORD will be the only one, and His name the only one. The fact that this will be fulfilled at the Second Coming makes it clear that the period of the seventh trumpet chronologically reaches to Christ’s return.) and of His Christ (NASB: Cf. Ps 2:2The kings of the earth take their stand And the rulers take counsel together Against the LORD and against His Anointed, saying); and He will reign forever and ever.” 16And the twenty-four elders ([Note three different views:] the twenty-four members of the heavenly Sanhedrin or court, seated on thrones around the throne of God. NASB: Representative of either the whole company of believers in heaven or an exalted angelic order worshiping and serving God there [see vv. 9-11; 5:5-14; 7:11-7; 11:16-18; 14:3; 19:4]. The number 24 is often understood to reflect the 12 Israelite tribes of the OT and the 12 apostles of the NT. BKC: This is another reminder that the 24 elders, representing the church of the present Age, are distinguished from the Tribulation saints, described in verse 1 as “a great multitude.”), who sit on their thrones before God, fell on their faces and worshiped God, 17saying,
“We give You thanks, O Lord God, the Almighty, who are and who were (NASB: In 1:4, 8; 4:8 He is also the one “who is to come.” This is now omitted because His reign is here pictured as having begun.), because You have taken Your great power and have begun to reign (BKC: Their song of praise indicates that the time has come for God to judge the nations, to judge the dead, and to reward God’s servants.). 18“And the nations were enraged (to provoke, arouse to anger; passive to be provoked to anger, be angry, be wroth. NASB: See Ps 48:4For, lo, the kings assembled themselves, They passed by together.), and Your wrath (vessels into which wrath will be poured [at the last day], passes over into the notion of retribution and punishment. God’s wrath triumphs in 14:10-11; 16:15-21; 20:8-9.) came, and the time came for the dead to be judged (passive to be judged, i. e. summoned to trial that one’s case may be examined and judgment passed upon it. NASB: Anticipated in 6:10, carried out in 20:11-15.) and those who fear (to reverence, venerate, to treat with deference or reverential obedience), and the time to reward Your bond-servants the prophets (NASB: See Dan 9:6 “Moreover, we have not listened to Your servants the prophets, who spoke in Your name to our kings, our princes, our fathers and all the people of the land. Dan 9:10 nor have we obeyed the voice of the LORD our God, to walk in His teachings which He set before us through His servants the prophets. Amos 3:7 7Surely the Lord GOD does nothing Unless He reveals His secret counsel To His servants the prophets. Zech 1:6 “But did not My words and My statutes, which I commanded My servants the prophets, overtake your fathers? Then they repented and said, ‘As the LORD of hosts purposed to do to us in accordance with our ways and our deeds, so He has dealt with us.’”’”) and the saints (hágios – properly, different [unlike], other [“otherness”], holy; for the believer, [hágios] means “likeness of nature with the Lord” because “different from the world.”) Your name, the small and the great, and to destroy (to change for the worse, to corrupt) those who destroy the earth.”
19And the temple of God which is in heaven was opened; and the ark (in the heavenly temple) of His covenant (the ark of the covenant or law, in which those tables were deposited. NASB: The OT ark was a chest of acacia wood [Deut 10:1-2.] It symbolized the throne or presence of God among His people. It was probably destroyed when Nebuzaradan destroyed the temple in Jerusalem [2 Kin 25:8-10]. In the NT it symbolizes God’s faithfulness in keeping covenant with His people.]) appeared in His temple, and there were flashes of lightning and sounds and peals of thunder and an earthquake and a great hailstorm.
“These things you have done and I kept silence;
You thought that I was just like you;
I will reprove you and state the case in order before your eyes.
New American Standard Bible Ps 2
The Reign of the LORD’S Anointed.
1Why are the nations in an uproar
And the peoples devising a vain thing?
2The kings of the earth take their stand
And the rulers take counsel together
Against the LORD and against His Anointed, saying,
3“Let us tear their fetters apart
And cast away their cords from us!”
4He who sits in the heavens laughs,
The Lord scoffs at them.
5Then He will speak to them in His anger
And terrify them in His fury, saying,
6“But as for Me, I have installed My King
Upon Zion, My holy mountain.”
7“I will surely tell of the decree of the LORD:
He said to Me, ‘You are My Son,
Today I have begotten You.
8‘Ask of Me, and I will surely give the nations as Your inheritance,
And the very ends of the earth as Your possession.
9‘You shall break them with a rod of iron,
You shall shatter them like earthenware.’”
10Now therefore, O kings, show discernment;
Take warning, O judges of the earth.
11Worship the LORD with reverence
And rejoice with trembling.
12Do homage to the Son, that He not become angry, and you perish in the way,
For His wrath may soon be kindled.
How blessed are all who take refuge in Him!
New American Standard Bible
The Woman, Israel
12:1A great sign (of signs portending remarkable events soon to happen. NASB: An extraordinary spectacle or event that points beyond itself [cf. Luke 21:11, 25; Acts 2:19].) appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun (NASB: Probably symbolic reference to the believing Messianic community [see v. 5]), and the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars (NASB: Cf. the 12 tribes of Israel.); 2and she was with child; and she cried out, being in labor and in pain (NASB: Cf. the similar language describing the rebirth of Jerusalem in Is 66:7 [see Mic 4:10]. ) to give birth (BKC: The woman was said to be pregnant and about to give birth [12:2]. While in some sense this may be fulfilled in the birth of Christ to the Virgin Mary, the context seems to refer to the emerging nation of Israel in its suffering prior to the second coming of Christ. This is further supported by the verses which follow.).
The Red Dragon, Satan
3Then another sign appeared in heaven: and behold, a great red dragon (a dragon, a great serpent, a fabulous animal. From it, after Genesis 3:1ff, is derived the figurative description of the devil in Revelation 12:3-17; Revelation 13:2, 4, 11; Revelation 16:13; Revelation 20:2. NASB: Identified in v. 9 [cf. 20:2]. Dragons abound in the mythology of ancient people [Leviathan in Canaanite lore and Set-Typhon, the red crocodile, in Egypt.] In the OT they are normally used metaphorically to depict the enemies of God and of Israel [see Ps 74:14; Is 27:1; Ezek 29:3].) having seven heads (NASB: Symbolizing universal wisdom [cf. 13:1]) and ten horns (NASB: Symbolizing great power. BKC: From similar descriptions in Daniel 7:7-8, 24 and Revelation 13:1, this beast represented Satan’s control over world empires in the Great Tribulation. Revelation 12:9 identifies the dragon as Satan. The color red might indicate the bloodshed related to this period. The 10 horns presented symbolically the 10 kings [see Dan 7:24] who reigned simultaneously with the coming world ruler and who were mentioned both in Daniel 7:7 and Revelation 13:1.), and on his heads were seven diadems ([to bind round], a diadem, i. e. the blue band marked with white with which Persian kings used to bind on the turban or tiara; the kingly ornament for the head; /diádēma [“a royal crown”] is used three times in the NT – referring to: a) the pagan empires of ancient history which opposed God [Rev 12:3]; b) the end-times coalition led by Antichrist [Rev 13:1]; and c) the infinite majesty [kingship] of Christ [Rev 19:12].). 4And his tail swept away a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth (BKC: The casting down of a third of the stars out of the sky seemed to imply satanic power which extended to the heavens and the earth. Satan was seen here to extend his power over those who opposed him spiritually or politically. The dragon’s attempt to devour the newborn Child [12:4] seemed to point to Satan’s attempts to destroy the Infant Jesus. Satanic opposition to Israel and especially to the messianic line is clear in both Testaments.). And the dragon stood before the woman who was about to give birth, so that when she gave birth he might devour (properly, to consume by eating, to eat up, devour: of a dragon) her child.
The Male Child, Christ
5And she gave birth to a son, a male child, who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron; and her child was caught up (used of divine power transferring a person marvelously and swiftly from one place to another, to snatch or catch away. NASB: The ascension of Christ.) to God and to His throne. 6Then the woman fled into the wilderness (a desert; solitary, desolate. NASB: Not a wasteland but a place of spiritual refuge [cf. Hos 2:14]. BKC: In her desert hideout Israel was cared for perhaps as miraculously as Israel was in her wilderness journey from Egypt to the Promised Land.) where she had a place prepared by God, so that there she would be nourished (support; to feed) for one thousand two hundred and sixty days (NASB: The time of spiritual protection corresponds to the time of persecution).
The Angel, Michael
7And there was war in heaven (the abode of the angels), Michael ([מִיכָאֵל, i. e. ‘who like God?’], Michael, the name of an archangel, who was supposed to be the guardian angel of the Israelites [Daniel 12:1; Daniel 10:13, 21: Jude 1:9; Revelation 12:7]. NASB: An archangel who defeats Satan in heavenly warfare. In Daniel 12:1 he is the protector of Israel who will deliver her from tribulation in the last days.) and his angels waging war with the dragon (BKC [with] demons; drákōn [from derkomai, “to see,” the root of the English term, “dragon”] – properly “seeing one,” used of mythical dragons [huge serpents] seeing their prey from far away; [figuratively] Satan (Rev 12:7,9) exercising his subtle [indirect] impact on heathen governments [powers] – i.e. accomplishing his hellish agenda from “behind the scenes). The dragon and his angels waged war, 8and they were not strong enough, and there was no longer a place found for them in heaven. 9And the great dragon was thrown down, the serpent of old who is called the devil (prone to slander, slanderous, accusing falsely; a calumniator, false accuser, slanderer; viz.[ namely; in other words (used especially to introduce a gloss or explanation)], Satan, the prince of demons, the author of evil, persecuting good men [Job 1; Zechariah 3:1ff, cf. Revelation 12:10], estranging mankind from God and enticing them to sin, and afflicting them with diseases by means of demons who take possession of their bodies at his bidding; the malignant enemy of God and the Messiah) and Satan (the adversary), who deceives the whole world; he was thrown down to the earth (NASB: Not the original casting of Satan out of heaven, but his final exclusion-an explanation of his intense hostility against God’s people in the last days. [vv. 12-17]), and his angels were thrown down with him (BKC: Though Satan was defeated at the first coming of Christ [John 16:11], his execution was delayed and is in stages. Here [Rev 12:8-9 he will be cast out of heaven in the middle of the Tribulation. Later he will be bound for the duration of the millennial kingdom [20:1-3]. The devil will finally be thrown into the lake of burning sulfur [20:10] where the world ruler [Antichrist] and the false prophet will have been cast a thousand years earlier. Satan and his activities in heaven and earth opposed Christ as Priest in heaven, as King in Satan’s world rule in the Great Tribulation, and as the true Prophet by advancing the beast out of the earth [13:11Then I saw another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb and he spoke as a dragon.], who identified as that ancient serpent, alias the devil or Satan, and was declared to be the one who led the whole world astray]. When he will be cast out of the earth, all the fallen angles or demons will be cast out with him.). 10Then I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying,
“Now the salvation (future salvation, the sum of benefits and blessings which Christians, redeemed from all earthly ills, will enjoy after the visible return of Christ from heaven in the consummated and eternal kingdom of God), and the power (the power of God), and the kingdom (royal power, kingship, dominion, rule: the royal power and dignity belonging to God, YHVH) of our God and the authority (power to act) of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren has been thrown (absolutely and in the passive to be violently displaced from a position gained) down, he who accuses (of an extra-judicial accusation: absolutely, Revelation 12:10 solecistically [an impolite or improper way of behaving]) them before our God day and night. 11“And they overcame (νικαν τινα or τί is used of one who by Christian constancy and courage keeps himself unharmed and spotless from his adversary’s devices, solicitations, assaults: the devil) him because of the blood of the Lamb (Frequent mention is made in the N. T. of the blood of Christ.) and because of the word of their testimony (what one testifies, testimony: in a predominantly dogmatic sense respecting matters relating to the truth of Christianity: of the testimony establishing the Messiahship and the divinity of Jesus, given by — John the Baptist: John 1:7; John 5:32; John 1:19; Jesus himself, with a genitive of the subjunctive, John 5:31; John 8:13f; God, in the prophecies of Scripture concerning Jesus tile Messiah, in the endowments conferred upon him, in the works done by him, John 5:36; through the Holy Spirit, in the Christian’s blessed consciousness of eternal life and of reconciliation with God, obtained by baptism [not baptismal regeneration] and the expiatory death of Christ, …), and they did not love their life even when faced with death. 12“For this reason, rejoice, O heavens and you who dwell in them (BKC: Not only did Christ provide the victory, but also those who were martyred took part in that victory.). Woe to the earth and the sea, because the devil has come down to you, having great wrath (to be in a passion), knowing that he has only a short time.” (NASB: The period of final, intense hostility of Satan toward the people of God. BKC: The devil knew that his time was limited to 1,260 days, the period of the Great Tribulation. By no stretch of the imagination can these prophecies be spread to cover the whole Interadvent Age as some attempt to do.)
(NASB: vv. 13-16 Cf. the similarity to the exodus.)
13And when the dragon saw that he was thrown down to the earth, he persecuted (to pursue [in a hostile manner]) the woman who gave birth to the male child. 14But the two wings of the great eagle (BKC: … supernatural help symbolized by the two wings of a great eagle. The two wings probably do not refer to modern airplanes but rather to God’s delivering power, and are a figure of speech taken from such Old Testament passages as Exodus 19:4 and Deuteronomy 32:11-12. The fight of Israel to a place of safety was also indicated in Matthew 24:16; Mark 13:14; and Luke 21:21.) were given to the woman, so that she could fly into the wilderness (NASB: One year plus two years plus half a year.) to her place (BKC: The hiding place was not clearly identified.), where she was nourished for a time and times and half a time (BKC: References to these specific time periods show that the Great Tribulation is not the entire present Age but the three and one-half years preceding the second coming of Christ.), from the presence of the serpent. 15And the serpent poured water like a river out of his mouth after the woman, so that he might cause her to be swept away with the flood (carried away by a stream (i. e. whelmed, drowned in the waters. BKC: Probably the flood represents Satan’s effort to exterminate Israel. This is thwarted by the rough terrain which provides hiding places. In some was God assists the Israelites so that they are no completely destroyed, though Zechariah 13:8 [“It will come about in all the land,” Declares the LORD, “That two parts in it will be cut off and perish; But the third will be left in it.] indicates that “two-thirds will be struck down and perish.” Though only one-third of Israel in the land is thus preserved…, Satan the dragon continues to war against the rest.). 16But the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened its mouth (NASB: In Num 16:30-33 the earth opened and swallowed Korah’s men.) and drank up the river which the dragon poured out of his mouth. 17So the dragon was enraged (to provoke, arouse to anger; passive to be provoked to anger, be angry, be wroth) with the woman, and went off to make war with the rest of her children (similarly, Christians are called, in Revelation 12:17, the σπέρμα [those who are called Abraham’s posterity on account of the faith by which they are akin to him] of the church [which is likened to a mother, Galatians 4:26]. NASB: Believers in general as contrasted with Christ, the male child of vv. 5, 13.), who keep the commandments of God and hold (keep) to the testimony of Jesus (NASB: The testimony that Jesus bore [cf. 1:2, 9; 19:10].).
New American Standard Bible
The Beast from the Sea
(The Study Bible [SB] is John MacArthur’s new Bible with his personal notes.)
13:1And the dragon stood on the sand of the seashore.
Then I saw a beast coming up out of the sea (SB: Satan takes a position in the midst of the nations of his world, represented by the sand of the sea. A beast: Lit., “a monster” [cf. 11:7], which describes a vicious killing animal. In this context, the term represents both a person (Antichrist) and his system (the world). The final satanic world empire will be inseparable from the demon-possessed man who leads it. Rising out of the sea: The sea represents the abyss or pit, the haunt of demons [cf. Rev 11:7; 17:8; 20:1; Luke 8:31]. The picture is of Satan summoning a powerful demon from the abyss, who then activates and controls the beast [Antichrist] and his empire.), having ten horns and seven heads (BKC: … depict the revived Roman Empire, which was also represented by the fourth beast of Daniel, which also had 10 horns [Dan 7:7-8; cf. Rev 13:3; 17:3, 7]. In Revelation 13 and 17 the beast is the world ruler, whereas in Daniel 7 the little horn on the beast was the world ruler. The fact that the beast comes out from the sea indicates that he is a Gentile, for the sea of humanity is involved as his source [cf. Rev 17:15] … Under the control of this central ruler in the Middle East during the Great Tribulation will be 10 nations [cf. Dan 7:24, “The 10 horns are 10 kings.”] [For discussion of various alternative views, see Walvoord, Revelation, pp. 198-99. In Revelation 13:2 the beat was seen to gather in the symbolism of the three preceding empires-Greece [a leopard, cf. Dan 7:6], Medo-Persia [a bear, cf. Dan 7:5], and Babylon [a lion, cf. Dan 7:4]. The power of the beast was derived from Satan himself… This accords with Paul [2 Thes 2:9] wo referred to “the lawless one” [i.e., the Antichrist, this first beast of Rev 13] as working “all kinds of counterfeit miracles, signs, and wonders… The important point is that the final world ruler comes into power obviously supported by a supernatural and miraculous deliverance by Satan himself. SB: This description is like that of Satan in Rev 12:3. The heads may represent successive world empires-Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, Rome, and the final kingdom of Antichrist. The final one is made up of all the kingdoms represented by the horns. Ten is a number that symbolizes the totality of human military and political power assisting the beast [Antichrist] as he controls the world. Horns always represent power, as in the animal kingdom-both offensive power [attack] and defensive power [protection]. Daniel shows that the human Antichrist will rise up from the 10 kings [Daniel 7:16-24]. John picks up the numerical imagery of Daniel 2:41-42, which refers to the 10 toes on the statue’s clay and iron feet. The apostle sees the beast as the final world government-the anti-Christ, anti-God coalition-headed by a revived Roman Empire, having the strengths of various world powers, yet mixed with weakness and ultimately crushed [cf. Dan 2:32-45; 7:7-8; 19-25.]), and on his horns were ten diadems (/diádēma [“a royal crown”] is used three times in the NT – referring to: a) the pagan empires of ancient history which opposed God [Rev 12:3]; b) the end-times coalition led by Antichrist [Rev 13:1]; and c) the infinite majesty [kingship] of Christ [Rev 19:12]; a diadem, i. e. the blue band marked with white with which Persian kings used to bind on the turban or tiara; the kingly ornament for the head), and on his heads were blasphemous (specifically, impious and reproachful speech injurious to the divine majesty) names. 2And the beast which I saw was like a leopard, and his feet were like those of a bear, and his mouth like the mouth of a lion (NASB: John’s beast combined characteristics of Daniel’s four beast [Dan 7:4-6]). And the dragon (the devil) gave him his power (i. e. of the devil; [miraculous] power, might, strength) and his throne and great authority (“physical and mental power; the ability or strength with which one is endued, which he either possesses or exercises”). 3I saw one of his heads as if it had been slain (mortally wounded), and his fatal (a deadly wound [death-stroke]) wound was healed (NASB: Emphasizes the tremendous recuperative power of the beast). And the whole earth was amazed (followed the beast in wonder) and followed after the beast; 4they worshiped (of homage rendered to God and the ascended Christ, to heavenly beings, and to demons) the dragon because he gave his authority to the beast; and they worshiped the beast, saying, “Who is like the beast, and who is able to wage war with him?” 5There was given (NASB: Four times in the Greek text of vv. 5-7 the passive “was given” occurs, emphasizing the subordinate role of the beast [see vv. 2, 4].) to him a mouth speaking arrogant (great things: of things which overstep the province of a created being, proud [presumptuous] things, full of arrogance, derogatory to the majesty of God) words and blasphemies, and authority to act for forty-two months (NASB: Three and a half years. Some find the background for this period in the time of Jewish suffering under the Syrian tyrant, Antiochus, Epiphanes [168-165 B.C.]. Others point out that, whereas the temple was desolated for three years under Antiochus, the figure used in Revelation is three and a half years, which no doubt looks back to the dividing of the 70th “seven” [Dan 9:27] into two equal parts. The same time period is also designated as 1,260 days [v. 3; 12:6] and as “a time and times and half a time” [12:14; cf. Dan 7:25; 12:7].) was given to him. 6And he opened his mouth in blasphemies against God, to blaspheme (blasphēméō [from blax, “sluggish, slow” and /phḗmē, “reputation, fame”] – properly, refusing to acknowledge good [worthy of respect, veneration]; hence, to blaspheme which reverses moral values; to be evil spoken of, reviled, railed at: Specifically, of those who by contemptuous speech intentionally come short of the reverence due to God or to sacred things.) His name and His tabernacle (tent; the name is transferred to heaven, as the true dwelling-place of God and the prototype of the earthly ‘tabernacle’ or sanctuary), that is, those who dwell in heaven.
7It was also given to him to make war (See 12:17 So the dragon was enraged with the woman, and went off to make war with the rest of her children, who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus. See also Dan 7:7 “After this I kept looking in the night visions, and behold, a fourth beast, dreadful and terrifying and extremely strong; and it had large iron teeth. It devoured and crushed and trampled down the remainder with its feet; and it was different from all the beasts that were before it, and it had ten horns.) with the saints (hágios – properly, different [unlike], other [“otherness”], holy; for the believer, [hágios] means “likeness of nature with the Lord” because “different from the world.”) and to overcome (when one is arraigned or goes to law, to win the case, maintain one’s cause: by force) them, and authority over every tribe and people and tongue and nation was given to him. 8All who dwell on the earth will worship him (BKC: In addition to achieving political domination over the entire world, he also abolishes all other religions and demands that everyone worship him [cf. 2 Thes 2:4]), everyone whose name has not been written from the foundation (/katabolḗ [“foundation-plan”] typically relates to Christ’s incarnation, i.e. coming to earth in the flesh to be our Redeemer. This divine plan was set and sealed [guaranteed] before creation [Heb 9:26; 1 Pet 1:20; Rev 13:8]. In general, [katabolḗ] refers to the basis God has established, upon which all people can know Him. This was laid down before the first ray of sunshine or drop of water touched the earth [Alice: e.g. Romans 1]. BKC: … to relate to the time in eternity past when the names were written in the book of life… As Paul wrote, those who were saved were foreordained to salvation before Creation [cf. Eph 1:4]… Taken together, verses 7 and 8 indicate the universal extent of the beast’s political government as well as the final form of satanic religion in the Great Tribulation. Only those who come to Christ will be delivered from the condemnation that is involved. SB: According to God’s eternal, electing purpose before creation, the death of Christ seals the redemption of the elect forever [cf. Acts 2:23this Man, delivered over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death. 4:27-28“For truly in this city there were gathered together against Your holy servant Jesus, whom You anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, 28to do whatever Your hand and Your purpose predestined to occur.]. Antichrist can never take away the salvation of the elect. The eternal registry of the elect will never be altered, nor will the saved in the Antichrist’s day worship him… The Lord Jesus who died to purchase the salvation of those whom God had chosen was fulfilling an eternal plan.) of the world in the book (the list of those whom God has appointed to eternal salvation) of life (the book in which the names of those are recorded to whom eternal life has been decreed) of the Lamb (Yehoshua) who has been slain. 9If anyone has an ear, let him hear. 10If anyone is destined for captivity, to captivity he goes; if anyone kills with the sword, with the sword he must be killed. Here is the perseverance (steadfastness, constancy, endurance; in the N. T. the characteristic of a man who is unswerved from his deliberate purpose and his loyalty to faith and piety by even the greatest trials and sufferings) and the faith (in reference to Christ, it denotes “a strong and welcome conviction or belief that Jesus is the Messiah, through whom we obtain eternal salvation in the kingdom of God”) of the saints (BKC: Those who are willing to listen are reminded that their obedience to the Word of God may result in their captivity or martyrdom [Rev 13:10]).
The Beast from the Earth
11Then I saw another beast coming up out of the earth (NASB: According to some, he symbolizes religious power in the service of secular authorities. According to other, he is the personal false prophet [see 16:13; 19:20; 20:10]. BKC: … in the context as the word for “earth” is the general word referring to the entire world. Actually his nationality and geographic origin are not indicated, and he is apparently the one referred to as “the false prophet” in 19:20 and 20:10.); and he had two horns like a lamb (NASB: He attempts to appear gentle and harmless.) and he spoke as a dragon (NASB: See Jesus’ warning in Matt 7:15 about ravenous wolves who come in sheep’s clothing). 12He exercises all the authority of the first beast (NASB: The trinity of evil is now complete. The beast from the earth is under the authority of the beast from the sea. The latter is subject to the dragon. Satan, secular power and religious compromise [or Satan, the antichrist and the false prophet] join against the cause of God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.) in his presence (at the instance of anyone, by his power and authority). And he makes the earth and those who dwell in it to worship the first beast, whose fatal wound was healed. 13He performs great signs (… time power διδόναι σημεῖα, by which men are deceived, is ascribed also to false teachers, false prophets, and to demons. NASB: See the warning in Deut 13:1-3 “If a prophet or a dreamer of dreams arises among you and gives you a sign or a wonder, and the sign or the wonder comes true, concerning which he spoke to you, saying, ‘Let us go after other gods [whom you have not known] and let us serve them,’ you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams; for the LORD your God is testing you to find out if you love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul. See also Matt 24:24 “For false Christs and false prophets will arise and will show great signs and wonders, so as to mislead, if possible, even the elect. 2 Thess 2:9 that is, the one whose coming is in accord with the activity of Satan, with all power and signs and false wonders. Cf. Rev 19:20And I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies assembled to make war against Him who sat on the horse and against His army.), so that he even makes fire come down out of heaven (See 1 Kin 18:24-39) to the earth in the presence of men (BKC: The false religious system, which was supported in this way imitated the divine Trinity. Satan seeks to take the place of God the Father; the first beast assumes the place of Jesus Christ, the Son, the King of Kings; and the second beast, the false prophet, has a role similar to the Holy Spirit who causes Christians to worship God. This is Satan’s final attempt to substitute a false religion for true faith in Christ.). 14And he deceives those who dwell on the earth because of the signs which it was given him to perform in the presence of the beast, telling those who dwell on the earth to make an image to the beast who had the wound of the sword and has come to life. 15And it was given to him to give breath to the image of the beast, so that the image of the beast would even speak (NASB: Belief in statues that could speak is widely attested in ancient literature. Ventriloquism and other forms of deception were common.) and cause as many as do not worship the image of the beast to be killed. 16And he causes all, the small and the great, and the rich and the poor, and the free men and the slaves, to be given a mark (a stamp, an imprinted mark: of the mark stamped on the forehead or the right hand as the badge of the followers of Antichrist. NASB: Whatever its origin-possibly the branding of slaves or enemy soldiers, the sealing and stamping of official documents, or the sign of the cross on the forehead of a new Christian-he mark of the beast apparently symbolized allegiance to the demands of the imperial cult. In the final days of the antichrist it will be the ultimate test of loyalty [cf. v. 17; 14:9, 11; 15:2; 16:2; 19:20; 20:4]. It imitates the sealing of the servants of God in ch. 7) on their right hand or on their forehead, 17and he provides that no one will be able to buy or to sell (NASB: Economic boycott against all faithful believers.), except the one who has the mark, either the name of the beast or the number of his name (NASB: In ancient times the letters of the alphabet served for numbers. Riddles using numerical equivalents for names were popular.). 18Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for the number is that of a man; and his number is six hundred and sixty-six (NASB: Various schemes for decoding these numbers result in such names as Euanthas, Lateinos, and Nero Cesar. Others take 666 as a symbol for the trinity of evil and imperfection-each digit falls short of the perfect number 7. BKC: The practice of gematria, the attempt to find hidden meaning in numbers in Scripture, was prominent in the ancient world… Literature from the early church fathers, however, reveals the same confusion and variety of meanings that exist today, so probably it is best to leave this puzzle unsolved. Probably the safest conclusion is that of Thomas F. Torrance, “This evil trinity 666 apes the Holy Trinity 777, but always falls short and fails” [The Apocalypse Today, 86].).
New American Standard Bible
The Lamb and the 144,000 on Mount Zion
14:1Then I looked, and behold, the Lamb was standing on Mount Zion (Since Jerusalem, because the temple stood there, was called the dwelling-place of God, the expression τό Σιών ὄρος [Zion] is transferred to heaven, as the true dwelling-place of God and heavenly beings, the antitype of the earthly Zion: Hebrews 12:22; Revelation 14:1. NASB: In the OT it was first the fortress of the pre-Israelite city of Jerusalem [2 Sam 5:7], captured by David and established as his capital. Later it became a virtual synonym for Jerusalem, the eternal dwelling place of God and His people [cf. Gal 4:26]. It comes down to the new earth in 21:2-3.), and with Him one hundred and forty-four thousand (NASB: Some find here reference to members of actual Jewish tribes, the faithful Jewish remnant of the “great tribulation” [v 14]. Others take the passage as symbolic of all the faithful believers who live during period of tribulation [see Bland and Constable’s notes]. BKC: It is reasonable to conclude that this is the same group mentioned in 7:4-8, except that here they are in a later period of the Tribulation. Chronologically the vision anticipates the triumph of the 144,000 still intact at the time of Jesus Christ’s return from heaven to earth… But they are not the only ones to survive, as many Gentiles and Jews will turn to Christ in the end time and somehow escape martyrdom and be honored to welcome Christ at His return.), having His name and the name of His Father written on their foreheads (literally, the space between the eyes). 2And I heard a voice from heaven, like the sound of many waters (of the waves of the sea) and like the sound of loud thunder, and the voice which I heard was like the sound of harpists playing on their harps. 3And they sang a new (of a new kind; unprecedented, novel, uncommon, unheard of) song before the throne and before the four living creatures and the elders ([Note three different views:] the twenty-four members of the heavenly Sanhedrin or court, seated on thrones around the throne of God. NASB: Representative of either the whole company of believers in heaven or an exalted angelic order worshiping and serving God there [see vv. 9-11; 5:5-14; 7:11-7; 11:16-18; 14:3; 19:4]. The number 24 is often understood to reflect the 12 Israelite tribes of the OT and the 12 apostles of the NT. BKC: This is another reminder that the 24 elders, representing the church of the present Age, are distinguished from the Tribulation saints, described in verse 1 as “a great multitude.”); and no one could learn the song except the one hundred and forty-four thousand who had been purchased from the earth. 4These are the ones who have not been defiled (who have not soiled themselves by fornication and adultery) with women, for they have kept themselves chaste (parthénos – properly, a virgin; a woman who has never had sexual relations; a female (virgin), beyond puberty but not yet married; [figuratively] believers when they are pure (chaste), i.e. faithful to Christ their heavenly Bridegroom [2 Cor 11:2; Rev 14:4]; “a man who has abstained from all uncleanness and whoredom attendant on idolatry, and so has kept his chastity”. NASB: Probably a symbolic description of believers who kept themselves from defiling relationships with the pagan world system.). These are the ones who follow the Lamb (NASB: As His disciples [see Matt 8:34].) wherever He goes. These have been purchased (Christ is said to have purchased his disciples i. e. made them, as it were, his private property, they, too, are spoken of as purchased, so that they are withdrawn from the earth [and its miseries] and from [wicked] men.) from among men as first fruits (of persons superior in excellence to others of the same class: so in Revelation 14:4 of a certain class of Christians sacred and dear to God and Christ beyond all others. NASB: See Lev 23:9-14. The word is used figuratively in the NT for the first converts in an area [Rom 16:5] and the first to rise from the dead [1 Cor 15:20] In Revelation believers are considered as a choice offering to God and the Lamb. BKC: The word “firstfruits” suggest that these converted Israelites precede many others who at the Lord’s second coming will turn to Him [Zech 12:10; Rom 11:15, 26-27].) to God and to the Lamb. 5And no lie was found in their mouth; they are blameless.
Vision of the Angel with the Gospel
6And I saw another angel flying in midheaven (the zenith), having an eternal (a gospel whose subject-matter is eternal, i. e., the saving purpose of God adopted from eternity. NASB: The content of this “good news” is perhaps found in v. 7. BKC: Because of the word “gospel,” some have felt that this was a message of salvation or the good news of the coming kingdom. The context, however, seems to indicate otherwise, for the message is one of judgment and condemnation… So the “eternal” message seems to be a message of God’s righteousness and judgment rather than a message of salvation.) gospel to preach to those who live on the earth, and to every nation and tribe and tongue and people; 7and he said with a loud voice, “Fear God, and give Him glory, because the hour of His judgment (of the last judgment, the day appointed for the judgment) has come; worship Him who made the heaven (See Ex 20:11; Ps 146:6) and the earth and sea and springs of waters.”
8And another angel, a second one, followed, saying, “Fallen (has been overthrown, destroyed), fallen is Babylon the great (Babylon, formerly a very celebrated and large city, the residence of the Babylonian kings, situated on both banks of the Euphrates. Cyrus had formerly captured it, but Darius Hystaspis threw down its gates and walls, and Xerxes destroyed (?) the temple of Belus. At length the city was reduced almost to a solitude, the population having been drawn off by the neighboring Seleucia, built on the Tigris by Seleucus Nicanor. The name is used in the N. T. allegorically, of Rome as the most corrupt seat of idolatry and the enemy of Christianity. NASB: Ancient Babylon in Mesopotamia was the political, commercial and religious center of a world empire. It was noted for its luxury and moral decadence. The title “Babylon the Great” is taken from Dan 4:30. According to some, it is used in Revelation [e.g., here and in 16:19; 17:5; 18:2, 10, 21] for Rome as the center of opposition to God and His people. According to others, it represents the whole political and religious system of the world in general. According to still others, it is to be understood as literal Babylon-rebuilt and restored. Babylon’s fall is proclaimed in Is 21:9; Jer 51:8.), she who has made all the nations drink of the wine of the passion (glow, ardor: the wine of passion, inflaming wine, German Glutwein [which either drives the drinker mad or kills him with its deadly heat]) of her immorality.” (is used metaphorically of the worship of idols. NASB: Here Babylon [Rome?] is pictured as a prostitute whose illicit relations are achieved by intoxication.)
Doom for Worshipers of the Beast
9Then another angel, a third one, followed them, saying with a loud voice, “If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives a mark on his forehead or on his hand, 10he also will drink of the wine of the wrath (/thymós [“expressed passion”] is used of people it indicates rage [personal venting of anger, worth]. This flaw is completely absent of the Lord expressing [inspiring] intense anger. Accordingly, 2372 [thymós] is used of God’s perfect, holy wrath in Revelation [Rev 14:10,19,15:1, etc.]. This anger is directed against sin with intense opposition and without sin; [which God gives the drinker, Revelation 14:10; with added (fierceness)]) of God, which is mixed in full strength (unmixed, pure) in the cup of His anger (attributed to God in the N. T. is that in God which stands opposed to man’s disobedience, obduracy [especially in resisting the gospel] and sin, and manifests itself in punishing the same. NASB: In the OT God’s wrath is commonly pictured as a cup of wine to be drunk [Ps 75:8; Is 51:17; Jer 25:15]. It is not the outworking of impersonal laws of retribution, but the response of a righteous God to those who refuse His love and grace.); and he will be tormented (universally, to vex with grievous pains [of body or mind]) with fire (of the fire of hell we find the following expressions — which are to be taken either tropically (of the extreme penal torments which the wicked are to undergo after their life on earth; so in the discourses of Jesus), or literally (so apparently in the Apocalypse) and brimstone (NASB: Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed by a rain of fire and brimstone [Gen 19:24]. Ps 11:6 speaks of a similar fate for the wicked. The figure occurs elsewhere in the OT and the Apocrypha [not to imply that the Apocrypha is canonical]. It is used several times in the final chapters of Revelation [19:20; 20:10; 21:8].) in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. 11“And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever (NASB: Revelation offers no support for the doctrine of the annihilation of the wicked [also compare 19:20 with 20:10]. BKC: The doctrine of eternal punishment, though unpopular with liberal scholars and difficult to accept, is nevertheless clearly taught in the Bible. Jesus and the Apostle John say more on this subject than does all the rest of the Bible.); they have no rest day and night, those who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name.” 12Here is the perseverance (steadfastness, constancy, endurance; in the N. T. the characteristic of a man who is unswerved from his deliberate purpose and his loyalty to faith and piety by even the greatest trials and sufferings) of the saints who keep the commandments of God and their faith in Jesus. (Alice: Cf. 1 Pet 1:5 Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time [KJV].)
13And I heard a voice from heaven, saying, “Write, ‘Blessed (NASB: The second beatitude.) are the dead who die in the Lord from now on!’” “Yes,” says the Spirit, “so that they may rest (of the blessed rest of the dead [exempt from toils]. BKC: This passage is often quoted in regard to God’s general blessings on all Christians, but the context indicates that the blessing is especially for those who die in the Great Tribulation. For them it is a blessed release from persecution, torture, and trial and a deliverance into the glorious presence of the Lord.) from their labors, for their deeds follow with them.”
14Then I looked, and behold, a white cloud, and sitting on the cloud was one like a son of man (NASB: This is the first reference to the Messiah as the Son of Man, a title that Jesus applied to Himself. He will be enthroned as ruler over the whole earth [previously misruled by the four kingdoms of men)], and His kingdom “will not be destroyed” [v. 14], whether on earth or in heaven.), having a golden crown (NASB: A victory wreath of gold.) on His head and a sharp sickle ([to pluck, pluck off], a sickle, a pruning-hook, a hooked vine-knife, such as reapers and vine-dressers use. NASB: The Israelite sickle used for cutting grain was normally a flint or iron blade attached to a curved shaft of wood or bone.) in His hand. 15And another angel came out of the temple, crying out with a loud voice to Him who sat on the cloud, “Put in your sickle and reap (As the crops are cut down with the sickle, is figuratively used for to destroy, cut off), for the hour to reap has come, because the harvest of the earth (NASB: Symbolizes in a general way the coming judgement [see Matt 13:30, 40-42]. Some interpreters think it refers to the ingathering of the righteous at the return of Christ.) is ripe.” 16Then He who sat on the cloud swung His sickle over the earth, and the earth was reaped.
17And another angel came out of the temple which is in heaven, and he also had a sharp sickle. 18Then another angel, the one who has power (to preside, have control, over fire, to hold it subject to his will) over fire (NASB: The angle of 8:3-5. Fire is commonly associated with judgement [see Matt 18:8; Luke 9:54; 2 Thess 1:7].), came out from the altar; and he called with a loud voice to him who had the sharp sickle (NASB: The context suggests [in contrast to the sickle of v. 14] the smaller grape-knife with which the farmer cut the clusters of grapes from the vine.), saying, “Put in your sharp sickle and gather the clusters from the vine of the earth, because her grapes are ripe.” (to flourish, come to maturity) 19So the angel swung his sickle to the earth and gathered the clusters from the vine of the earth, and threw them into the great wine press (NASB: A rock-hewn trough about eight feet square with a channel leading to a lower and smaller trough. Grapes were thrown into the upper vat and trampled with bare feet. The juice was collected in the lower vat. At times mechanical pressure was added. The treading of grapes was a common OT figure for the execution of divine wrath [see Is 63:3; Lam 1:15; Joel 3:13].) of the wrath of God. 20And the wine press was trodden outside the city (NASB: Bloodshed would defile the city [see Joel 3:12-14; Zech 14:1-4; cf. Heb 13:12].), and blood came out from the wine press, up to the horses’ bridles, for a distance of two hundred miles (NASB: The approximate length of the Holy Land from north to south.). (BKC: Taken as a whole, Revelation 14 on the one hand refers to the preservation of the 144,000 through the Great Tribulation. And on the other hand it graphically declares some of the terrible judgments that will be inflicted on the world which rejects Christ and follows Satan’s substitute for the Lord.)
New American Standard Bible
A Scene of Heaven
(NASB: vv. 1-8: Introduces the last of the three sevenfold series of judgements-the bowls of wrath.)
15:1Then I saw another sign (of signs portending remarkable events soon to happen) in heaven, great and marvelous, seven angels who had seven plagues (a blow, wound), which are the last, because in them the wrath of God is finished (in the infliction of calamities, BKC: The final “sign” relates to the preceding great signs of the woman in 12:1 and the red dragon in 12:3. These seven angels should not be confused with the two groups of three angels in the preceding chapters [14:6-20] or with any other previous group of angels.).
2And I saw something like a sea of glass (hyálinos [an adjective, derived from /hýalos, “glass”] – made of glass [“glassy”]; “transparent as glass”. In Scripture, transparency is a greatly valued virtue, representing the Lord’s glory shining through [reflecting Himself!]. For example, “the glassy sea” surrounding the throne of God in heaven [Rev 4:6, 15:2] is apparently what reflects the Lord Himself, as manifested [reflected by] His saints. By God’s light, their sanctification-glorification has a spiritual transparency that reflects the image of Jesus Himself. This projects [reflects] the glory He invested in them as transformed [“transparent”] saints. In this way, the Lord gets all the glory – and believers have the incredible privilege of sharing [reflecting] it!) mixed with fire, and those who had been victorious over the beast (NASB: Cf. the saint’s victory over the devil in 12:11.) and his image and the number of his name, standing on the sea of glass, holding harps of God.
3And they sang the song of Moses (NASB: See Ex 15; Deut 32. Ex 15:1-8 was sung on Sabbath evenings in the synagogue to celebrate Israel’s great deliverance from Egypt.), the bond-servant (Slave; one who gives himself up wholly to another’s will) of God, and the song of the Lamb (NASB: The risen Lord triumphed over His enemies in securing spiritual deliverance for His followers [cf. Ps 22].), saying,
“Great and marvelous are Your works (See Ex 15:11; Ps 92:5; 111:2.),
O Lord God, the Almighty (he who holds sway over all things; the ruler of all. See Jer 10:10; cf. 1 Tim 1:17.);
Righteous and true (opposed to what is imperfect, defective, frail, uncertain) are Your ways,
King of the nations!
4“Who will not fear (to reverence, venerate, to treat with deference or reverential obedience), O Lord, and glorify (to praise, extol, magnify, celebrate) Your name?
For You alone are holy;
For ALL THE NATIONS WILL COME AND WORSHIP BEFORE YOU,
FOR YOUR RIGHTEOUS ACTS (sentence of condemnation, punishment) HAVE BEEN REVEALED.” (NASB: Universal recognition of God is taught in both OT [Ps 86:9; Is 45:22-23; Mal 1:11] and the NT [Phil 2:9-11].) (BKC: This description of praise to God and prediction of universal worship is in keeping with many other Scriptures and relates, of course, to the second coming of Christ and worship of God by the entire world in the Millennial kingdom…The awful hour of wickedness and blasphemy against God, which will characterize the period leading up to the Second Coming, will be followed by a full vindication of God’s judgement and holiness in the next period.)
5After these things I looked, and the temple (in the visions of the Revelation used of the temple of the ‘New Jerusalem’) of the tabernacle (a tent; [at the end], the heavenly temple, in which was the tabernacle of the covenant, i. e. the inmost sanctuary oradytum. NASB: The dwelling place of God during the wilderness wandering of the Israelites [see Ex 40:34-35 Then the cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle. Moses was not able to enter the tent of meeting because the cloud had settled on it, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle.]. It was so named because the ancient tent contained the two tablets of the Testimony brought down from Mount Sinai [Ex 32:15; 38:21; Deut 10:5].) of testimony (for a testimony unto them, that they may have testimony, i. e. evidence, in proof of this or that) in heaven was opened, 6and the seven angels who had the seven plagues (NASB: The last series of plagues [see v. 1]) came out of the temple, clothed in linen, clean (physically) and bright (splendid, magnificent [gorgeous]), and girded around their chests with golden sashes (NASB: Symbolic of royal and priestly functions). 7Then one of the four living creatures gave to the seven angels seven golden bowls full of the wrath of God (NASB: Cf. 2 Thess 1:7-9 and to give relief to you who are afflicted and to us as well when the Lord Jesus will be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire, dealing out retribution to those who do not know God and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. These will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power), who lives forever and ever. 8And the temple was filled with smoke (in the Sept. equivalent to יְהוָה כְּבוד, in the Targum and Talmud שְׁכִינָה, Shekinah or Shechinah, the glory of the Lord, and simply ἡ δόξα, a bright cloud by which God made manifest to men his presence and power on earth. NASB: Cf. Ex 40:34; 1 Kin 8:10-11; Ezek 44:4. Smoke symbolizes the power and glory of God.) from the glory of God and from His power; and no one was able to enter the temple until the seven plagues of the seven angels were finished. (BKC: Taken as a whole, Revelation 15:5-8 present a fearful picture of impending divine judgement on a wicked world. The judgements which are to be poured out [chap. 16] fully justify this ominous introduction.)
8“Remember this, and be assured;
Recall it to mind, you transgressors.
9“Remember the former things long past,
For I am God, and there is no other;
I am God, and there is no one like Me,
10Declaring the end from the beginning,
And from ancient times things which have not been done,
Saying, ‘My purpose will be established,
And I will accomplish all My good pleasure’
The Song of Moses
1“Give ear, O heavens, and let me speak;
And let the earth hear the words of my mouth.
2“Let my teaching drop as the rain,
My speech distill as the dew,
As the droplets on the fresh grass
And as the showers on the herb.
3“For I proclaim the name of the LORD;
Ascribe greatness to our God!
4“The Rock! His work is perfect,
For all His ways are just;
A God of faithfulness and without injustice,
Righteous and upright is He.
5“They have acted corruptly toward Him,
They are not His children, because of their defect;
But are a perverse and crooked generation.
6“Do you thus repay the LORD,
O foolish and unwise people?
Is not He your Father who has bought you?
He has made you and established you.
7“Remember the days of old,
Consider the years of all generations.
Ask your father, and he will inform you,
Your elders, and they will tell you.
8“When the Most High gave the nations their inheritance,
When He separated the sons of man,
He set the boundaries of the peoples
According to the number of the sons of Israel.
9“For the LORD’S portion is His people;
Jacob is the allotment of His inheritance.
10“He found him in a desert land,
And in the howling waste of a wilderness;
He encircled him, He cared for him,
He guarded him as the pupil of His eye.
11“Like an eagle that stirs up its nest,
That hovers over its young,
He spread His wings and caught them,
He carried them on His pinions.
12“The LORD alone guided him,
And there was no foreign god with him.
13“He made him ride on the high places of the earth,
And he ate the produce of the field;
And He made him suck honey from the rock,
And oil from the flinty rock,
14Curds of cows, and milk of the flock,
With fat of lambs,
And rams, the breed of Bashan, and goats,
With the finest of the wheat—
And of the blood of grapes you drank wine.
15“But Jeshurun (NASB: Means “the upright one,” i.e., Israel) grew fat and kicked—
You are grown fat, thick, and sleek—
Then he forsook God who made him,
And scorned the Rock of his salvation.
16“They made Him jealous with strange gods;
With abominations they provoked Him to anger.
17“They sacrificed to demons who were not God,
To gods whom they have not known,
New gods who came lately,
Whom your fathers did not dread.
18“You neglected the Rock who begot you,
And forgot the God who gave you birth.
19“The LORD saw this, and spurned them
Because of the provocation of His sons and daughters.
20“Then He said, ‘I will hide My face from them,
I will see what their end shall be;
For they are a perverse generation,
Sons in whom is no faithfulness.
21‘They have made Me jealous with what is not God;
They have provoked Me to anger with their idols.
So I will make them jealous with those who are not a people;
I will provoke them to anger with a foolish nation,
22For a fire is kindled in My anger,
And burns to the lowest part of Sheol,
And consumes the earth with its yield,
And sets on fire the foundations of the mountains.
23‘I will heap misfortunes on them;
I will use My arrows on them.
24‘They will be wasted by famine, and consumed by plague
And bitter destruction;
And the teeth of beasts I will send upon them,
With the venom of crawling things of the dust.
25‘Outside the sword will bereave,
And inside terror—
Both young man and virgin,
The nursling with the man of gray hair.
26‘I would have said, “I will cut them to pieces,
I will remove the memory of them from men,”
27Had I not feared the provocation by the enemy,
That their adversaries would misjudge,
That they would say, “Our hand is triumphant,
And the LORD has not done all this.”’
28“For they are a nation lacking in counsel,
And there is no understanding in them.
29“Would that they were wise, that they understood this,
That they would discern their future!
30“How could one chase a thousand,
And two put ten thousand to flight,
Unless their Rock (NASB: Israel’s God, YHVH) had sold them,
And the LORD had given them up?
31“Indeed their rock (NASB: The god of Israel’s enemy) is not like our Rock,
Even our enemies themselves judge this.
32“For their vine is from the vine of Sodom,
And from the fields of Gomorrah;
Their grapes are grapes of poison,
Their clusters, bitter.
33“Their wine is the venom of serpents,
And the deadly poison of cobras.
34‘Is it not laid up in store with Me,
Sealed up in My treasuries? (NASB: The Lord’s plans for the future are fixed and certain. Sin will be punished in due time.)
35‘Vengeance is Mine, and retribution,
In due time their foot will slip;
For the day of their calamity is near,
And the impending things are hastening upon them.’
36“For the LORD will vindicate His people,
And will have compassion on His servants,
When He sees that their strength is gone,
And there is none remaining, bond or free.
37“And He will say, ‘Where are their gods,
The rock in which they sought refuge?
38‘Who ate the fat of their sacrifices,
And drank the wine of their drink offering?
Let them rise up and help you,
Let them be your hiding place!
39‘See now that I, I am He,
And there is no god besides Me;
It is I who put to death and give life.
I have wounded and it is I who heal,
And there is no one who can deliver from My hand.
40‘Indeed, I lift up My hand to heaven,
And say, as I live forever,
41If I sharpen My flashing sword,
And My hand takes hold on justice,
I will render vengeance on My adversaries,
And I will repay those who hate Me.
42‘I will make My arrows drunk with blood,
And My sword will devour flesh,
With the blood of the slain and the captives,
From the long-haired leaders of the enemy.’
43“Rejoice, O nations, with His people;
For He will avenge the blood of His servants,
And will render vengeance on His adversaries,
And will atone for His land and His people.”
New American Standard Bible
Six Bowls of Wrath
16:1Then I heard a loud voice from the temple, saying to the seven angels, “Go and pour out on the earth the seven bowls of the wrath of God.”
2So the first angel went and poured out his bowl on the earth (NASB: Compare the first four bowls [vv. 2-9] with the first four trumpets [vv. 8:7-12] .); and it became a loathsome (troublesome, injurious, pernicious, destructive, baneful: an evil, that which injures; with the suggestion of wildness and ferocity; substantially equivalent to bad, i. e. distressing, whether to mind or to body: a noisome and grievous sore) and malignant (bringing toils, annoyances, perils, causing pain and trouble [grievous]) sore (NASB: Cf. the boils and abscesses of the sixth Egyptian plague [Ex 9:9-11; see also Job 2:7-8, 13].) on the people who had the mark of the beast and who worshiped his image. (BKC: The order is climactic and the judgements become more intensive and extensive as the time of the second coming of Christ approaches. All indications are that the bowl judgements fall with trip-hammer rapidity on a world that is reeling under previous judgements and a gigantic world war. Some bowl judgements are selective and extend only to the wicked [16:2, 8-11], and several affect parts of nature [sea, rivers, sun, etc.])
3The second angel poured out his bowl into the sea, and it became blood like that of a dead man; and every living thing in the sea died.
4Then the third angel poured out his bowl into the rivers and the springs of waters (NASB: Cf. 8:10-11; see also Ps 78:44.); and they became blood (blood, literally [of men or animals]. BKC: For God’s work in turning the waters to blood is in response to the shedding of the blood of… saints and prophets [v. 6]. This is echoed by a word for the altar declaring the judgement just [v. 7; cf. 15:3]). 5And I heard the angel of the waters saying, “Righteous are You, who are and who were (Cf. Ex 3:14God said to Moses, “I AM [I exist] WHO I AM”; and He said, “Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’”), O Holy One, because You judged these things; 6for they poured out the blood of saints and prophets, and You have given them blood to drink (NASB: Punishment is tailored to fit the crime [see Is 49:26“I will feed your oppressors with their own flesh, And they will become drunk with their own blood as with sweet wine; And all flesh will know that I, the LORD, am your Savior And your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob.”]. BKC: Just as in the second trumpet, the blood here is analogous to the first plague in Egypt [Ex 7:20-25]. As most of the earth’s surface is covered by the seas, this is a worldwide, tremendous judgement.). They deserve it.” 7And I heard the altar (the altar of incense, which stood in the sanctuary or Holy place) saying, “Yes, O Lord God, the Almighty, true and righteous are Your judgments.”
8The fourth angel poured out his bowl upon the sun, and it was given to it to scorch (to burn with heat: to be tortured with intense heat) men with fire (NASB: Often connected with judgment in Scripture [see Deut 28:22“The LORD will smite you with consumption and with fever and with inflammation and with fiery heat and with the sword and with blight and with mildew, and they will pursue you until you perish. 1 Cor 3:13each man’s work will become evident; for the day will show it because it is to be revealed with fire, and the fire itself will test the quality of each man’s work. 2 Pet 3:7But by His word the present heavens and earth are being reserved for fire, kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men.]). 9Men were scorched with fierce heat (BKC: It is clear from this and other prophecies that dramatic changes in climate will occur in the Great Tribulation.); and they blasphemed (specifically, of those who by contemptuous speech intentionally come short of the reverence due to God or to sacred things) the name of God who has the power over these plagues, and they did not repent (expresses mental direction, the termini from which and to which may be specified: ἀπό τῆς κακίας, to withdraw or turn one’s soul from, etc. NASB: In 11:13 the nations were dazzled into homage by the great earthquake. Here they curse the name of God.) so as to give Him glory.
10Then the fifth angel poured out his bowl on the throne (equivalent to tribunal or bench: to Satan) of the beast (NASB: Cf. Satan in 2: ‘I know where you dwell, where Satan’s throne is; and you hold fast My name, and did not deny My faith even in the days of Antipas, My witness, My faithful one, who was killed among you, where Satan dwells. [message to the church in Pergamum, modern day Turkey] “Throne” occurs 42 times in Revelation. The other 40 references are to the throne of God.), and his kingdom became darkened (to obscure or blind — be full of darkness); and they gnawed (to chew) their tongues (NASB: CF. the scene in 6:15-17.) because of pain, 11and they blasphemed the God of heaven (NASB: Used in Dan 2:44 of the sovereign God, who destroys the kingdoms of the world and establishes His universal and eternal reign) because of their pains and their sores; and they did not repent (expresses mental direction, the termini from which and to which may be specified: ἀπό τῆς κακίας, to withdraw or turn one’s soul from, etc. BKC: This is last reference in Revelation to a failure to repent [cf. 2:21; 9:21; 16:9; cf., however, 16:21].) of their deeds.
12The sixth angel poured out his bowl on the great river, the Euphrates (Euphrates, a large and celebrated river, which rises in the mountains of Armenia Major, flows through Assyria, Syria, Mesopotamia and the city of Babylon, and empties into the Persian Gulf.); and its water was dried up, so that the way would be prepared for the kings from the east (NASB: Evidently Parthian rulers [17:15-18:24], to be distinguished from the “kings of the whole world” [v. 14], who wage the final war against Christ and the armies of heaven [19:11-12]. BKC: There has been endless speculation about “the kings from the East,” with many expositors trying to relate them to some contemporary leader or their generation. As survey of 100 commentaries of the Book of Revelation reveals at least 50 interpretations of the identity of the kings of the East. The simplest and best explanation, however, is that this refers to kings or rulers from the Orient or East who will participate in the final world war.
13And I saw coming out of the mouth of the dragon (is derived the figurative description of the devil in Revelation 12:3-17; Revelation 13:2, 4, 11; Revelation 16:13; Revelation 20:2; drákōn [from derkomai, “to see,” the root of the English term, “dragon”] – properly “seeing one,” used of mythical dragons [huge serpents] seeing their prey from far away; [figuratively] Satan [Rev 12:7,9] exercising his subtle [indirect] impact on heathen governments [powers] – i.e. accomplishing his hellish agenda from “behind the scenes.”) and out of the mouth of the beast (under the figurative of a ‘beast’ is depicted Antichrist, both his person and his kingdom and power) and out of the mouth of the false prophet (“one who, acting the part of a divinely inspired prophet, utters falsehoods under the name of divine prophecies, a false prophet”), three unclean (demons, bad angels [in twenty-three passages of the Gospels, Acts, and Revelation: Matthew 10:1; Matthew 12:43; Mark 1:23, 26; Mark 3:11, etc.; Luke 4:33, 36; Luke 6:18, etc.; Acts 5:16; Acts 8:7; Revelation 16:13; Revelation 18:2 (πνεύματα πονηρά in Matthew 12:45; Luke 7:21; Luke 8:2; Luke 11:26; Acts 19:12f, 15f).]) spirits like frogs (NASB: Lev 11:10 classified the frog as an unclean animal. The imagery suggests the deceptive propaganda that will, in the last days, lead people to accept and support the cause of evil.); 14for they are spirits of demons, performing signs (cf. 13:13), which go out to the kings of the whole world (see 6:15), to gather them together (to gather together by convoking) for the war of the great day of God (NASB: See 19:11-21 for this battle.), the Almighty (pantokrátōr [from /pás, “all” and /kratéō, “prevail”] – properly, almighty; unrestricted power exercising absolute dominion. he who holds sway over all things; the ruler of all; almighty: of God, YHVH, God Most High [Gen 14:18-20, 22], Most High God [Heb 7:1]). 15(“Behold, I am coming like a thief [equivalent to to come unexpectedly]. Blessed (NASB: The third beatitude [notes from 1:3: The first of seven beatitudes in the book (see 14:13; 16:15; 19:9; 20:6; 22:7, 14). “Blessed” means much more than “happy.” It describes the favorable circumstances God has put a person in (see Matt 5:3)].) is the one who stays awake [to watch i. e. give strict attention to, be cautious, active: — to take heed lest through remissness and indolence some destructive calamity suddenly overtake one] and keeps [not to throw away] his clothes (BKC: Blessing is promised to the one who is prepared for the coming of the Lord by being attired in the righteousness or clothing which God Himself supplies.), so that he will not walk about naked [unclad] and men will not see his shame.” [unseemliness, an unseemly deed]) 16And they gathered them together to the place which in Hebrew is called Har-Magedon (NASB: Or “Armageddon”; probably stands for “Har Mageddon,” the mountain of Megiddo. Many see no specific geographical reference in the designation and take it to be a symbol of the final overthrow of evil by God. BKC: Satan, knowing that the second coming of Christ is near, will gather all the military might of the world into the Holy Land to resist the coming of the Son of Man who will return to the Mount of Olives [Zech 14:4 In that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, which is in front of Jerusalem on the east; and the Mount of Olives will be split in its middle from east to west by a very large valley, so that half of the mountain will move toward the north and the other half toward the south.]. Though the nations may be deceived in entering into the war in hopes of gaining world political power, the satanic purpose is to combat the armies from heaven [introduced in chap. 19] at the second coming of Christ. The war is said to continue right up to the day of the Second Coming and involves house-to-house fighting in Jerusalem itself on the day of the Lord’s return [Zech 14:1-3 1Behold, a day is coming for the LORD when the spoil taken from you will be divided among you. For I will gather all the nations against Jerusalem to battle, and the city will be captured, the houses plundered, the women ravished and half of the city exiled, but the rest of the people will not be cut off from the city. Then the LORD will go forth and fight against those nations, as when He fights on a day of battle.]. … The war will be going on for some time, but the climax will come at Christ’s second coming. “Armageddon” comes from the Greek Harmagedōn, which transliterates the Hebrew words for Mount [har] of Megiddo. That mountain near the city of Megiddo and the plain of Esdraelon, the scene of many Old Testament battles.).
Seventh Bowl of Wrath
17Then the seventh angel poured out his bowl upon the air, and a loud voice came out of the temple from the throne, saying, “It is done.” 18And there were flashes of lightning and sounds and peals of thunder; and there was a great earthquake, such as there had not been since man came to be upon the earth, so great an earthquake was it, and so mighty. 19The great city (the city in which one lives) was split into three parts, and the cities of the nations (éthnos [from ethō, “forming a custom, culture”] – properly, people joined by practicing similar customs or common culture; nation(s), usually referring to unbelieving Gentiles [non-Jews].) fell. Babylon (Babylṓn – Babylon, the wicked, godless city in ancient Mesopotamia, was the most powerful city in the world in OT times [especially from 605 bc to 539 bc]; hence allegorically of Rome, from the point of view of the Christian people; “gate of god(s),” Babylon, a large city situated astride the Euphrates river. Literal Babylon is referred to in Mt 1:11,12 and Ac 7:19. BKC: The great city which split into three parts refers to the destruction of Babylon. The most important event, however, is that the cities of the nations collapsed. The huge earthquake will reduce to rubble all the cities of the nations [Gentiles]. The stage is thus being set for the second coming of Christ. Obviously in the collapse of the world’s cities there will be tremendous loss of life and destruction of what is left of the world empire.) the great was remembered before God, to give her the cup of the wine of His fierce (glow, ardor: the wine of passion, inflaming wine [which either drives the drinker mad or kills him with its deadly heat; cf. Isaiah 51:17, 22; Jeremiah 32:1 [ff]: Revelation 14:8; Revelation 18:3; with τοῦ Θεοῦ added, which God gives the drinker, Revelation 14:10; with τῆς ὀργῆς τοῦ Θεοῦ added [fierceness], Revelation 16:19; Revelation 19:15) wrath (i. e. because disobedience is visited with punishment, Romans 13:5. The ὀργή [wrath] attributed to God in the N. T. is that in God which stands opposed to man’s disobedience, obduracy [especially in resisting the gospel] and sin, and manifests itself in punishing the same BKC: … “the great city” here is specifically Babylon, as indicated in 16:19 The great city was split into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell. Babylon the great was remembered before God, to give her the cup of the wine of His fierce wrath. God will give Babylon the cup filled with the wine of the fury of His wrath, that is, she will experience a terrible outpouring of His judgment.). 20And every island fled away (to flee altar equivalent to vanish), and the mountains were not found (BKC: … if taken literally, indicate topographical changes in the earth which eventually will also include great changes in the Holy Land in preparation for Christ’s millennial kingdom.). 21And huge hailstones, about one hundred pounds each, came down from heaven upon men; and men blasphemed (specifically, of those who by contemptuous speech intentionally come short of the reverence due to God or to sacred things. [Alice cf. Rom 1: the depths of the depravity of man. This is a good example of it.]) God because of the plague of the hail, because its plague was extremely severe. (BKC: The question is sometimes raised why eternal punishment is eternal. The answer is that people in the hardness of their hearts will not change; they deserve eternal punishment because they are eternally unrepentant. With the final destruction coming from the seventh bowl of the wrath of God, the stage will then be set for the dramatic and climactic second coming of Christ, revealed in chapter 19. Before this event, however, a future detailed description is given of Babylon in chapters 17-18.)
(Compare the first four bowls [vv. 2-9] with the first four trumpets [8:7-12]: Rev 8:7-12 The first sounded, and there came hail and fire, mixed with blood, and they were thrown to the earth; and a third of the earth was burned up, and a third of the trees were burned up, and all the green grass was burned up. The second angel sounded, and something like a great mountain burning with fire was thrown into the sea; and a third of the sea became blood, and a third of the creatures which were in the sea and had life, died; and a third of the ships were destroyed. The third angel sounded, and a great star fell from heaven, burning like a torch, and it fell on a third of the rivers and on the springs of waters. The name of the star is called Wormwood; and a third of the waters became wormwood, and many men died from the waters, because they were made bitter. The fourth angel sounded, and a third of the sun and a third of the moon and a third of the stars were struck, so that a third of them would be darkened and the day would not shine for a third of it, and the night in the same way.)
New American Standard Bible
The Doom of Babylon
(There are at least two or more views recorded in this post, but primarily those of NASB and BKC. Hopefully this will be helpful. Also consult Bland and Constable’s notes on this chapter. Thanks.)
17:1Then one of the seven angels (Cf. 15:1;16) who had the seven bowls came and spoke with me, saying, “Come here, I will show you the judgment of the great harlot (NASB: See v. 18 for the angel’s own identification of this symbol. In 17:5 the harlot is named “Babylon the Great.”) who sits on many waters (figuratively used of many peoples, Revelation 17:1, as the seer himself explains it in Revelation 17:15 And he said to me, “The waters which you saw where the harlot sits, are peoples and multitudes and nations and tongues. Cf. Nahum 2:8Though Nineveh was like a pool of water throughout her days, Now they are fleeing; “Stop, stop,” But no one turns back. NASB: Cf. Ps 137:1By the rivers of Babylon, There we sat down and wept, When we remembered Zion. Jer 51:13“Your wealth and your treasures I will give for booty without cost, Even for all your sins And within all your borders. BKC: This evil woman symbolizes the religious system of Babylon… in other words, they [kings of the earth] had become a part of the religious system which she symbolized [cf. 14:8]) 2with whom the kings of the earth committed acts of immorality, and those who dwell on the earth were made drunk with the wine of her immorality.” (to permit oneself to be drawn away by another into idolatry) 3And he carried me away in the Spirit (NASB: In a state of spiritual ecstasy) into a wilderness (solitary, desolate, a desert); and I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet (crimson) beast (NASB: The beast that rose out of the sea in ch. 13.), full of blasphemous names, having seven heads and ten horns (BKC: The beast is an obvious reference to the world government [13:1]. The 10 horns are later defined [17:12] as 10 kings who had “not yet received a kingdom.” The 7 heads seem to refer to prominent rulers of the yet-future Roman Empire.). 4The woman was clothed in purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and precious stones and pearls, having in her hand a gold cup full of abominations (in the O. T. often used of idols and things pertaining to idolatry, to be held in abomination by the Israelites; hence, in the N. T. in Revelation 17:4f of idol-worship and its impurities) and of the unclean (in a moral sense, unclean in thought and life) things of her immorality, 5and on her forehead a name was written, a mystery (Like רָזָא and סוד in rabbinic writers, it denotes the mystic or hidden sense: of a name), “BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.” (BKC: This [the cup in the woman’s hand] confirms previous indications that her character and life are symbolic of false religion, confirmed by the [writing on her forehead]. The Bible is full of information about Babylon as the source of false religion, the record beginning with the building of the tower of Babel [Gen 10-11]. The name “Babel” suggests “confusion” [Gen 11:9]. Later the name was applied to the city of Babylon which itself has a long history dating back to as early as 3,000 years before Christ. One of its famous rulers was Hammurabi [1728-1686 B.C.]. After a period of decline Babylon again rose to great heights under Nebuchadnezzar about 600 years before Christ. Nebuchadnezzar’s reign [605-562 B.C.] and the subsequent history of Babylon is the background of the Book of Daniel. Babylon was important not only politically but also religiously. Nimrod, who founded Babylon [Gen 10:8-12], had a wife known as Semiramis who founded the secret religious rites of the Babylonian mysteries, according to accounts outside the Bible. Semiramis had a son with an alleged miraculous conception who was given the name Tammuz and in effect was a false fulfillment of the promise of the seed of the woman given to Eve [Gen 3:15]. Various religious practices were observed in connection with this false Babylonian religion, including recognition of the mother and child as God and of creating an order of virgins who became religious prostitutes. Tammuz, according to the tradition, was killed by a wild animal and then restored to life, a satanic anticipation and counterfeit of Christ’s resurrection. Scripture condemns this false religion repeatedly [Jer 7:18; 44:17-19, 25; Ezek 8:14.] The worship of Baal is related to the worship of Tammuz… When the teachers of the Babylonian mystery religions later moved from Pergamum to Rome, they were influential in paganizing Christianity and were the source of many so-called religious rites which have crept into ritualistic churches. Babylon then is the symbol of apostasy and blasphemous substitution of idol-worship for the worship of God in Christ. In this passage Babylon comes to its final judgement.) 6And I saw the woman drunk (of one who has shed blood profusely) with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the witnesses (See 6:9When the Lamb broke the fifth seal, I saw underneath the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God, and because of the testimony which they had maintained) of Jesus. When I saw her, I wondered (to marvel) greatly. 7And the angel said to me, “Why do you wonder? I will tell you the mystery of the woman and of the beast that carries her, which has the seven heads and the ten horns.
8“The beast that you saw was, and is not, and is about (of what is sure to happen) to come (NASB: An obvious imitation of the description of the Lamb [1:18“I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.” 2:8“And to the angel of the church in Smyrna write: The first and the last, who was dead, and has come to life, says this]. Cf. the description of God in [1:4John to the seven churches that are in Asia: Grace to you and peace, from Him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven Spirits who are before His throne. Rev 1:8“I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.” 4:8And the four living creatures, each one of them having six wings, are full of eyes around and within; and day and night they do not cease to say, “HOLY, HOLY, HOLY is THE LORD GOD, THE ALMIGHTY, WHO WAS AND WHO IS AND WHO IS TO COME.”] Here the phrase seems to mean that the beast appeared once, is not presently evident, but will in the future again make his presence known, Evil is persistent.) up out of the abyss (of the dragon, both as the common receptacle of the dead, Romans 10:7, and especially as the abode of demons) and go to destruction (in particular, the destruction which consists in the loss of eternal life, eternal misery, perdition, the lot of those excluded from the kingdom of God. NASB: Although evil is real and persistent, there is no uncertainty about its ultimate fate.). And those who dwell on the earth, whose name has not been written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, will wonder when they see the beast, that he was and is not and will come (to be present, to have come). 9“Here is the mind (the intellective faculty, the understanding) which has wisdom (the intelligence evinced in discovering the meaning of some mysterious number or vision). The seven heads are seven mountains (NASB: It is perhaps significant that Rome began as a network of seven hill settlements on the left bank of the Tiber. Her designation as the city on seven hills is commonplace among Roman writers [e.g. Virgil, Martial, Cicero].) on which the woman sits, 10and they are seven kings (NASB: That seven heads symbolize both seven hills and seven kings illustrates the fluidity of apocalyptic symbolism, unless the hills are figurative for royal [or political] power.); five have fallen (equivalent to to be removed from power by death), one is, the other (another of the same kind; another of a similar type; another [of more than two], different. NASB: Taken (1) as seven actual Roman emperors, (2) as seven secular empires or (3) symbolically as the power of the Roman empire as a whole. BKC: A close study of the passage does not support the conclusion that this refers to the city of Rome. Seiss, for instance, offers extensive evidence that the reference is to rulers rather than to physical mountains [The Apocalypse, pp. 391-94]. This is supported by the text which explains, They are also seven kings [lit, “the seven heads are seven kings”]. If the mountains represent kings, then obviously they are not literal mountains and refer not to a literal Rome but to persons.) has not yet come; and when he comes, he must remain a little while. 11“The beast which was and is not (NASB: Cf. 13:3I saw one of his heads as if it had been slain, and his fatal wound was healed. And the whole earth was amazed and followed after the beast), is himself also an eighth (NASB: The antichrist, who plays the role of a king [“is one of the seven”] but is in reality part of the cosmic struggle between God and Satan.) and is one of the seven, and he goes to destruction (/apṓleia (“perdition”) does not imply “annihilation” (see the meaning of the root-verb, 622 /apóllymi, “cut off”) but instead “loss of well-being” rather than being (Vine’s Expository Dictionary, 165; cf. Jn 11:50; Ac 5:37; 1 Cor 10:9-10; Jude 11); ruin, loss, perishing; eternal ruin). 12“The ten horns which you saw are ten kings who have not yet received a kingdom, but they receive authority as kings with the beast for one hour (NASB: A short time). 13“These have one purpose, and they give their power and authority to the beast.
Victory for the Lamb
14“These will wage war against the Lamb (Yehoshua), and the Lamb will overcome (of Christ the conqueror of his foes) them, because He is Lord of lords and King of kings (NASB: Emphasizes the supreme sovereignty of the Lamb [cf. Deut 10:17“For the LORD your God is the God of gods and the Lord of lords, the great, the mighty, and the awesome God who does not show partiality nor take a bribe. Ps 136:2-3 Give thanks to the God of gods, For His lovingkindness is everlasting. Give thanks to the Lord of lords, For His lovingkindness is everlasting. Dan 2:47The king answered Daniel and said, “Surely your God is a God of gods and a Lord of kings and a revealer of mysteries, since you have been able to reveal this mystery.” 1 Tim 6:15He will bring about at the proper time—He who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords]), and those who are with Him are the called (Adjective) (“invited (by God in the proclamation of the gospel) to obtain eternal salvation in the kingdom of God through Christ”) and chosen (Adjective) (chosen by God, and to obtain salvation through Christ (see ἐκλέγω); hence, Christians are called οἱ ἐκλεκτοί τοῦ Θεοῦ, the chosen or elect of God; chosen out, elect, choice, select, sometimes as substantive/noun: of those chosen out by God for the rendering of special service to Him [of the Hebrew race, particular Hebrews, the Messiah, and the Christians (believers)]; eklektós [an adjective, derived from /eklégomai, “to select, choose,” also used as a substantive/noun] – properly, selected [chosen from, out of], especially as a deeply personal choice – literally “chosen, out of a personal preference [intention].”) and faithful.” (Adjective) (one who has become convinced that Jesus is the Messiah and the author of salvation [a believer])
15And he said to me, “The waters which you saw where the harlot sits, are peoples and multitudes and nations and tongues (BKC: Verse 1stated that the woman “sits on many waters.” These waters are now interpreted as peoples, multitudes, nations, and languages. This indicates that there will be one ecumenical world religious system, embracing all nations and languages.). 16“And the ten horns which you saw, and the beast, these will hate the harlot (metaphorically, an idolatress; so of ‘Babylon’ i. e. Rome, the chief seat of idolatry) and will make her desolate (to make desolate, lay waste; in the N. T. only in the passive, to despoil one, strip her of her treasures Revelation 17:16) and naked (unclad, without clothing), and will eat her flesh and will burn her up with fire. 17“For God has put it in their hearts (to put into one’s mind the design of doing a thing) to execute (to carry out, to do) His purpose (decree) by having a common (one and the same) purpose, and by giving their kingdom to the beast, until the words of God will be fulfilled (to accomplish; to bring to an end, complete). 18“The woman whom you saw is the great city (See notes on v. 1.), which reigns over the kings of the earth.”
New American Standard Bible
Babylon Is Fallen
18:1After these things I saw another angel coming down from heaven, having great authority (“physical and mental power; the ability or strength with which one is endued, which he either possesses or exercises”; power to act), and the earth was illumined (to enlighten, light up: shone with his glory) with his glory (CF. Ex 34:29-35; Ps 104:2; Ezek 43:1-5; 1 Tim 6:16). 2And he cried out with a mighty voice, saying, “Fallen, fallen (i. e. has been overthrown, destroyed) is Babylon (Cf. Is 21:9“Now behold, here comes a troop of riders, horsemen in pairs.” And one said, “Fallen, fallen is Babylon; And all the images of her gods are shattered on the ground.” Jer 51:8Suddenly Babylon has fallen and been broken; Wail over her! Bring balm for her pain; Perhaps she may be healed.) the great! She has become a dwelling place of demons and a prison of every unclean spirit, and a prison of every unclean and hateful bird (BKC: A comparison of chapters 17 and 18 reveals that these are different events. The woman in chapter 17 was associated with the political power but was not the political power itself, and her destruction apparently brought no mourning from the earth. By contrast the destruction of Babylon in chapter 18 brings loud lamentation from the earth’s political and economic powers. Instead of being destroyed and consumed by the 10 kings, here the destruction seems to come from an earthquake, and it is probable that this is an enlarged explanation of what was described in 16:19-21. What is pictured here is a large prosperous city, the center of political and economic life… The description in verses 12-13 indicates the great luxury and wealth of the city. This obviously refers to an economic and political situation rather than a religious one.). 3“For all the nations have drunk of the wine of the passion of her immorality (In accordance with a form of speech common in the O. T. and among the Jews which represents the close relationship existing between Jehovah and his people under the figure of a marriage, πορνεία is used metaphorically of the worship of idols.), and the kings of the earth have committed acts of immorality (to permit oneself to be drawn away by another into idolatry) with her, and the merchants (a passenger on shipboard) of the earth have become rich by the wealth of her sensuality.” (strḗnos [from strēnēs, “rough, grating”] – properly, excessive, strong desire that “longs to break forth” [J. Thayer], i.e. in self-indulgent luxury [used only in Rev 18:3]. BKC: This false religion is like a drug that drives men to madness. While it brought riches to merchants, it is now doomed for destruction.)
4I heard another voice from heaven, saying, “Come out of her (NASB: A common prophetic warning [cf. Is 52:11; Jer 51:45; 2 Cor 6:17]), my people ([Hebrew יְהוָה עַם, הָאֱלֹהִים עַם], the people whom God has chosen for himself, selected as peculiarly his own: Hebrews 11:25; Matthew 2:6; Luke 1:68; Luke 7:16; without the article Jude 1:5; the name is transferred to the community of Christians, as that which by the blessing of Christ has come to take the place of the theocratic people of Israel, Hebrews 4:9; Revelation 18:4), so that you will not participate (to become a partaker together with others, or to have fellowship with a thing) in her sins (hamartía– properly, no-share [“no part of”]; loss [forfeiture] because not hitting the target; sin [missing the mark]. 266 /hamartía [“sin, forfeiture because missing the mark”] is the brand of sin that emphasizes its self-originated [self-empowered] nature – i.e. it is not originated or empowered by God [i.e. not of faith, His inworked persuasion, cf. Ro 14:23 23But he who doubts is condemned if he eats, because his eating is not from faith; and whatever is not from faith is sin.]; to have sin as though it were one’s odious private property, or to have done something needing expiation, equivalent to to have committed sin) and receive of her plagues; 5for her sins have piled up as high as heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities (adíkēma [a neuter noun derived from /adikía, “unrighteousness”] – unrighteousness; a violation of God’s justice/judgments with emphasis on its results – i.e. wrongdoing as it brings certain divine retribution.). 6“Pay her back (to give up, give back, return, restore; to requite, recompense, in a good or a bad sense) even as she has paid, and give back to her double according to her deeds; in the cup which she has mixed (to pour out for drinking [cf. 17:4]), mix twice as much for her. 7“To the degree that she glorified (praise, extol, magnify, celebrate) herself and lived sensuously (to be wanton, to live luxuriously), to the same degree give her torment and mourning; for she says in her heart, ‘I SIT as A QUEEN AND I AM NOT A WIDOW (a city stripped of inhabitants and riches is represented under the figure of a widow. NASB: A claim that the men of Babylon have not died on the battlefield.), and will never see mourning.’ 8“For this reason in one day her plagues will come, pestilence (properly, the death of the body, i. e. that separation [whether natural or violent] of the soul from the body by which the life on earth is ended; thánatos [derived from /thnḗskō, “to die”] – physical or spiritual death; [figuratively] separation from the life [salvation] of God forever by dying without first experiencing death to self to receive His gift of salvation.) and mourning and famine (scarcity of harvest), and she will be burned up with fire; for the Lord God who judges her is strong (mighty).
Lament for Babylon
(NASB: Three groups lament: (1) kings [v. 9], (2) merchants [v. 11] and (3) seamen [v. 17]. The passage is modeled after Ezekiel’s lament over Tyre [Ezek 27]. Fifteen of the 29 commodities in vv. 12-13 are also listed in Ezek 27:12-22.)
9“And the kings of the earth, who committed acts of immorality and lived sensuously with her, will weep and lament (to mourn or bewail one) over her (NASB: Probably because of their own great financial loss [see v. 11]) when they see the smoke of her burning, 10standing at a distance because of the fear (panic flight, fear, the causing of fear, terror; /phóbos [“fear”] means withdraw [separate from], i.e. flee [remove oneself] and hence to avoid because of dread [fright]) of her torment, saying, ‘Woe, woe, the great city, Babylon, the strong city! For in one hour your judgment (Specifically, sentence of condemnation, damnatory judgment, condemnation and punishment) has come.’
11“And the merchants of the earth weep and mourn over her, because no one buys their cargoes (a ship’s freight) any more— 12cargoes of gold and silver and precious stones and pearls and fine linen and purple (NASB: An expensive dye since it must be extracted a drop at a time from the murex shellfish.) and silk and scarlet, and every kind of citron wood (NASB: An expensive dark wood from north Arica-used for inlay work in costly furniture.) and every article of ivory and every article made from very costly wood and bronze and iron and marble (NASB: Used to decorate public buildings and the homes of the very rich.), 13and cinnamon and spice and incense and perfume and frankincense (NASB: Brought by the magi as gifts for the infant Jesus [Matt 2:11].) and wine and olive oil and fine flour and wheat and cattle and sheep, and cargoes of horses and chariots and slaves and human lives (NASB: Slave trade). 14“The fruit (ripe fruit) you long for has gone from you, and all things that were luxurious and splendid have passed away from you and men will no longer find them. 15“The merchants of these things, who became rich from her, will stand at a distance because of the fear of her torment, weeping and mourning, 16saying, ‘Woe, woe, the great city, she who was clothed in fine linen and purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and precious stones and pearls; 17for in one hour such great wealth has been laid waste!’(to reduce to naught) And every shipmaster (steersman, helmsman, sailing-master. NASB: The pilot of the ship rather than the owner. Both are mentioned in Acts 27:11.) and every passenger and sailor, and as many as make their living by the sea, stood at a distance, 18and were crying out as they saw the smoke of her burning, saying, ‘What city is like the great city?’ 19“And they threw dust on their heads (NASB: An act of sorrow and dismay [see Ezek 27:30].) and were crying out, weeping and mourning, saying, ‘Woe, woe, the great city, in which all who had ships at sea became rich by her wealth (preciousness, costliness; an abundance of costly things; timiótēs [a feminine noun, derived from the feminine noun /timḗ, “perceived value, worth”] – that brand of wealth which has overwhelming value in the eyes of the beholder [incredibly, personally esteemed]. This emphatic term is used only in Rev 18:19.), for in one hour she has been laid waste!’ 20“Rejoice over her, O heaven, and you saints and apostles and prophets, because God has pronounced judgment for you against her.”
21Then a strong angel took up a stone like a great millstone (NASB: Similar to the large millstone of Mark 9:42, which was actually a “donkey millstone” [one large enough to require a donkey to turn it.]) and threw it into the sea (BKC: The final and violent destruction of the city is compared to throwing a large millstone… into the sea.), saying, “So will Babylon, the great city, be thrown down with violence, and will not be found any longer. 22“And the sound of harpists and musicians and flute-players and trumpeters will not be heard in you any longer; and no craftsman of any craft will be found in you any longer; and the sound of a mill will not be heard in you any longer; 23and the light of a lamp will not shine in you any longer; and the voice of the bridegroom and bride will not be heard in you any longer; for your merchants were the great men of the earth, because all the nations were deceived (to be led away into error and sin) by your sorcery (tropically, of the deceptions and seductions of idolatry). 24“And in her was found the blood of prophets (See 6:10; 17:6; 19:2; cf. Ezek 24:7.) and of saints and of all who have been slain on the earth.” (BKC: The question remains as to what city is in view here. A common view is that it refers to the city of Rome, because of the prominence of Rome as the seat of the Roman Catholic Church and the capital of the ancient Roman Empire. Some find confirmation of this in the fact that the kings and sea merchants will be able to see the smoke of the burning of the city [18:9, 18]. Other evidence seems to point to the fact that it is Babylon itself, located on the Euphrates River, which in the end time will be converted into a ship-bearing river. When all the evidence is studied, the conclusion seems to point to Babylon being rebuilt as the capital of the world empire in the end time rather to Rome in Italy. Bible expositors, however, continue to be divided on this question…. The destruction of the city of Babylon is the final blow to the times of the Gentiles, which began when the Babylonian army attacked Jerusalem in 605 B.C. [cf. Luke 21:24]. With chapters 17 and 18 giving additional insight and information concerning the earth’s major religious and political movements during that final seven years, the stage is now set for the climax of the Book of Revelation-the second coming of Christ [chap. 19].)
New American Standard Bible
The Fourfold Hallelujah
19:1After these things I heard something like a loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, saying,
“Hallelujah! (praise ye the Lord. NASB: Occurs four times in vv. 1-6 but nowhere else in the NT. It is derived from two Hebrew words meaning “Praise the Lord.”) Salvation and glory and power belong to our God; 2BECAUSE HIS JUDGMENTS ARE TRUE AND RIGHTEOUS; for He has judged the great harlot who was corrupting (the character of the inhabitants of the earth) the earth with her immorality (the worship of idols), and HE HAS AVENGED THE BLOOD OF HIS BOND-SERVANTS ON HER.” 3And a second time they said, “Hallelujah! HER SMOKE RISES UP FOREVER AND EVER.” 4And the twenty-four elders ([Note three different views:] the twenty-four members of the heavenly Sanhedrin or court, seated on thrones around the throne of God. NASB: Representative of either the whole company of believers in heaven or an exalted angelic order worshiping and serving God there [see vv. 9-11; 5:5-14; 7:11-7; 11:16-18; 14:3; 19:4]. The number 24 is often understood to reflect the 12 Israelite tribes of the OT and the 12 apostles of the NT. BKC: This is another reminder that the 24 elders, representing the church of the present Age, are distinguished from the Tribulation saints, described in verse 1 as “a great multitude.”) and the four living creatures fell down and worshiped God (Yehoshua) who sits on the throne saying, “Amen. Hallelujah!” 5And a voice came from the throne, saying,
“Give praise to our God, all you His bond-servants, you who fear (to reverence, venerate, to treat with deference or reverential obedience) Him, the small and the great.” 6Then I heard something like the voice of a great multitude and like the sound of many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder, saying,
“Hallelujah! For the Lord our God, the Almighty, reigns (I obtained royal power, became king, have come to reign).
Marriage of the Lamb
7“Let us rejoice and be glad and give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb (NASB: The imagery of a wedding to express the intimate relationship between God and His people has its roots in the prophetic literature of the OT [e.g. Is 54:5-7; Hos 2:19]. Cf. the NT usage [Matt 22:2-14; Eph 5:32]. BKC: In the New Testament, marriage is also used to describe the relationship between Christ and the church, but the illustration contrasts with the Old Testament, for the church is regarded as a virgin bride waiting the coming of her heavenly bridegroom [2 Cor 11:2].) has come and His bride has made herself ready.” 8It was given to her to clothe (to put on or clothe oneself) herself in fine linen (Rev 19:8: “It was given to her to clothe herself in fine linen [/býssinos], bright and clean; for the fine linen [/býssinos] is the righteous acts of the saints”.), bright and clean; for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints (/dikaíōma [“an act which is right according to the Lord”] is “an act of righteousness, a concrete expression of righteousness” which correlates to its profound [eternal] effect. For the believer, this particularly relates to their unique glorification awarded at Christ’s return. BKC: While some think this refers to that fact that the saints are justified by faith, the plural expression “the righteous acts” seems to refer to the righteous deeds wrought by the saints through the grace of God. Though all this has been made possible by the grace of God, the emphasis here seems to be on the works of the bride rather than on her standing as one who has been justified by faith. [Alice: See Eph 2:10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.]).
9Then he said to me, “Write, ‘Blessed (NASB: The fourth beatitude) are those who are invited (to give some name to one, call his name: passive; to call) to the marriage supper (wedding dinner) of the Lamb.’” And he said to me, “These are true (lit., made of truth) words of God.” 10Then I fell at his feet to worship (to do reverence to) him. But he said to me, “Do not do that; I am a fellow servant of yours and your brethren who hold the testimony of Jesus; worship God. For the testimony of Jesus (God, in the prophecies of Scripture concerning Jesus title Messiah, in the endowments conferred upon him, in the works done by him, John 5:36; through the Holy Spirit (NASB: Essence), in the Christian’s blessed consciousness of eternal life and of reconciliation with God, obtained by baptism [Alice: Not baptismal regeneration. See 1 Peter 3:21 The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us [not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,] by the resurrection of Jesus Christ.] and the expiatory death of Christ, with a subject. genitive) is the spirit of prophecy.” (the spirit of prophecy, the divine mind, to which the prophetic faculty is due. BKC: … the very nature or purpose of prophecy is to testify of Jesus Christ and to bring glory to Him.)
The Coming of Christ
11And I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse (NASB: Probably not the white horse of 6:2. The context here indicates that the rider is Christ returning as Warrior-Messiah-King.), and He who sat on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and wages war. 12His eyes are a flame of fire (BKC: His piercing judgement of sin is indicted in these words.), and on His head are many diadems (/diádēma [“a royal crown”] is used three times in the NT – referring to: a) the pagan empires of ancient history which opposed God [Rev 12:3]; b) the end-times coalition led by Antichrist (Rev 13:1); and c) the infinite majesty [kingship] of Christ [Rev 19:12]; a diadem, i. e. the blue band marked with white with which Persian kings used to bind on the turban or tiara; the kingly ornament for the head.); and He has a name written (NASB: A secret name whose meaning is veiled from all created beings. BKC: … suggesting that Christ is the ineffable, indescribable One.) on Him which no one knows except Himself. 13He is clothed with a robe dipped in blood (NASB: Either the blood of the enemy shed in conflict [cf. 14:14-20; Is 63:1-3], or the blood of Christ shed to atone for sin. BKC: That He is coming to judge [19:13; cf. Isa 63:2-3; Rev 14:20]), and His name is called The Word (In several passages in the writings of John ὁ λόγος denotes the essential Word of God, i. e. the personal [hypostatic] wisdom and power in union with God, his minister in the creation and government of the universe, the cause of all the world’s life both physical and ethical, which for the procurement of man’s salvation put on human nature in the person of Jesus the Messiah and shone forth conspicuously from his words and deeds; [with the article in John] the Divine Expression [i.e. Christ]) of God. 14And the armies which are in heaven (NASB: Angelic beings [cf. Deut 33:2; Ps 68:17]; possibly also believers [cf. 17:14]), clothed in fine linen, white and clean, were following Him on white horses. 15From His mouth comes a sharp sword, so that with it He may strike down the nations, and He will rule them with a rod of iron (NASB: Symbolic of the strength of his rule [see 12:5]); and He treads (to trample, crush with the feet) the wine press (NASB: A rock-hewn trough about eight feet square with a channel leading to a lower and smaller trough. Grapes were thrown into the upper vat and trampled with bare feet. The juice was collected in the lower vat. At times mechanical pressure was added. The treading of grapes was a common OT figure for the execution of divine wrath [see Is 63:3; Lam 1:15; Joel 3:13].) of the fierce wrath (attributed to God in the N. T. is that in God which stands opposed to man’s disobedience, obduracy [especially in resisting the gospel] and sin, and manifests itself in punishing the same) of God, the Almighty (BKC: This scene is a dramatic indication of the awfulness of the impending judgement. Matthew 24:30 indicates that those on earth will be witnesses of this impressive scene.). 16And on His robe and on His thigh He has a name written, “KING OF KINGS (basileús – a king [sovereign]; often referring to Christ who is “the King of kings” [Rev 19:16], i.e. the King over the Kingdom of the heavens [God]. As the King, Jesus Christ has unqualified jurisdiction over all creation – also being God the Creator. [cf. Jn 1:1-3,49].), AND LORD OF LORDS.” (Supreme Lord. NASB: Emphasizes the supreme sovereignty of the Lamb [cf. Deut 10:17; Ps 136:2-3; Dan 2:47; 1 Tim 6:15.])
(SB: vv. 19:17-21 These verses depict the frightening holocaust unparalleled in human history-the battle of Armageddon, the pinnacle of the day of the Lord. It is not so much a battle as an execution, as the remaining rebels are killed by the Lord Jesus Rev 19:21. This day of the Lord was seen by Isaiah [Is 66:15-16, Joel [Joel: 3:12-21], Ezekiel [Ezek 39:1-4; 17-20], Paul [2 Thess 1:6ff.; and our Lord [Matt 25:31-46]. BKC: The scene on earth is the final stage of the great world war that will be under way for many weeks. With armies battling up and down the Holy Land for victory, on the very day of the return of Christ there will be house-to-house fighting in Jerusalem itself [Zech 14:2]. Combatants will have been lured to the battle site by demons sent by Satan to assemble the armies of the world to fight the armies of heaven [cf. Rev 16:12-16].)
17Then I saw an angel standing in the sun, and he cried out with a loud voice, saying to all the birds which fly in midheaven, “Come, assemble for the great supper of God (NASB: A grim contrast to the “marriage supper of the Lamb” [v. 9; Ezek 39:17-20].), 18so that you may eat the flesh of kings and the flesh of commanders and the flesh of mighty men and the flesh of horses and of those who sit on them and the flesh of all men, both free men and slaves, and small and great.”
19And I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies assembled to make war against Him who sat on the horse and against His army.
Doom of the Beast and False Prophet
20And the beast (SB: In this instant, the world’s armies are without their leaders. The beast is Antichrist; the false prophet is his religious cohort) was seized (to take, capture), and with him the false prophet who performed the signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image; these two were thrown alive into the lake of fire which burns with brimstone (NASB: Punishment by fire is prominent in both Biblical and non-Biblical Jewish writing. Although the designation “gehenna” is not used here, this is what John referred to. Originally the site of a cultic shrine where human sacrifices were offered [2 King 16:3; 23:10; Jer 7:31], it came to be equated with the “hell” of final judgement in apocalyptic literature. SB: See … [Dan 7:11]- the first of countless millions of unregenerate men [20:15] and fallen angels [cf. Matt 25:41] to arrive in that dreadful place…]). 21And the rest were killed with the sword which came from the mouth of Him who sat on the horse, and all the birds were filled with their flesh (SB: All remaining sinners in the world will have been executed, and the birds will gorge themselves on their corpse. BKC: The world rulers-the beast and the false prophet-will both be captured. Their former miraculous demonic power will no longer be sufficient to save them… The wicked who have died throughout the history of the world up to this point are in hades [Luke 16:23]. The fiery lake, a different place, was prepared for the devil and his angels [Matt 25:41], and will not be occupied by human beings until later [Rev 20:14-15] … The defeat of the earth’s wicked will then be complete, and will be finalized as later judgements search out the unsaved in other parts of the earth and also kill them [cf. Matt 25:31-45] … The Bible is clear that judgment awaits the wicked, and the second coming of Christ is the occasion for a worldwide judgement unparalleled in Scripture since the time of Noah’s flood.).
New American Standard Bible
(NASB: vv. 20:1-22:21: These last three chapters reflect many of the subjects and themes of the first three chapters in Genesis.)
20:1Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, holding the key of the abyss (both as the common receptacle of the dead, Romans 10:7, and especially as the abode of demons) and a great chain in his hand. 2And he laid hold of the dragon (a dragon, a great serpent, a fabulous animal. From it, after Genesis 3:1ff, is derived the figurative description of the devil in), the serpent (a snake; The serpent narrated to have deceived Eve was regarded by the later Jews as the devil.) of old, who is the devil (prone to slander, slanderous, accusing falsely; Satan, the prince of demons, the author of evil, persecuting good men (Job 1; Zechariah 3:1ff, cf. Revelation 12:10), estranging mankind from God and enticing them to sin, and afflicting them with diseases by means of demons who take possession of their bodies at his bidding; the malignant enemy of God and the Messiah.) and Satan (the adversary), and bound him for a thousand years; 3and he threw him into the abyss, and shut it and sealed (closed and then sealed) it over him, so that he would not deceive the nations any longer, until the thousand years. Cf. Constable’s Notes, p 214ff; he points out that although Satan was bound during the Millennium, unbeliever’s hearts still did not change, they did not repent, and they rebelled against God [p. 215]. (NASB: The millennium (from the Latin mille, “thousand,” and annus, “year”]. It is taken literally by some as 1,000 actual years, while others interpret it metaphorically as a long but undetermined period of time. There are three basic approaches to the subject of the millennium; 1. Amillennialism: The millennium describes the present reign of the souls of deceased believers with Christ in heaven. The present form of God’s kingdom will be followed by Christ’s return, the general resurrection, the final judgement and Christ’s continuing reign over the perfect kingdom on the new earth in the eternal state. 2. Premillennialism: The present form of God’s kingdom is moving toward a grand climax when Christ will return, the first resurrection will occur and His kingdom will find expression in a literal, visible reign of peace and righteousness on the earth in space-time history. After the final resurrection, the last judgement and the renewal of the heavens and the earth, this future, temporal kingdom will merge into the eternal kingdom, and the Lord will reign forever on the new earth. 3. Postmillennialism: The world will eventually be Christianized, resulting in a long period of peace and prosperity called the millennium. This future period will close with Christ’s second coming, the resurrection of the dead, the final judgement and the eternal state.) were completed; after these things he must be released for a short time (See vv. 7-10).
4Then I saw thrones, and they sat on them (BKC: The fact that John could see them implies that they had received intermediate bodies in heaven and were awaiting their resurrections [Constable holds that those sitting on the throne were raptures saints that had returned to earth with Christ, see pp. 125-126] … A distinction should be made between what John saw and what he received as revelation [a pretribulation view: the church (Jew, Gentile, and OT saints, cf. Heb 11:39-40) will have been raptured and changed before the Great Tribulation. (Constable holds that OT saints and Great Tribulation martyrs will be resurrected at the second coming of Christ, see p. 217. He also holds that saints that died during the Millennium will be resurrected at the final judgment, but their names are written in the Lambs Book of Life, see vv. 12-13, p. 218. Alice: I hold that the elect died and rose “in Christ;” when He died, they died; when He rose, they rose. Therefore, OT saints and NT saints are “in Christ,” cf. Heb 11:39-40. When NT saints receive their glorified bodies, OT saints will receive theirs as well. NT saints’ works will be judged, cf. 1 Cor 3:12-15. Saints that died during the Millennium will be raised at the final judgment and receive their glorified bodies; those that did not die during this period will receive theirs also because their names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.).], and judgment (kríma [derived from /krínō, “to distinguish, judge”] – judgment, emphasizing its result. This is everlasting damnation [torment] for the unredeemed– or the eternal benefits that come from the Lord’s judgment in favor of the redeemed; the power and business of judging.) was given to them. And I saw the souls (Cf. Rev 6:9-10When the Lamb broke the fifth seal, I saw underneath the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God, and because of the testimony which they had maintained; and they cried out with a loud voice, saying, “How long, O Lord, holy and true, will You refrain from judging and avenging our blood on those who dwell on the earth?”) of those who had been beheaded (See 6:9-11) because of their testimony of Jesus and because of the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received the mark on their forehead and on their hand; and they came to life (to be no longer dead, to recover life, be restored to life. NASB: The “first resurrection” [v. 5]) and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. 5The rest of the dead (NASB: Either the wicked or everyone [OT unbelievers and the wicked that died in the Great Tribulation] except the martyrs [see v. 4].) did not come to life until the thousand years were completed. This is the first resurrection. 6Blessed (NASB: The fifth beatitude) and holy is the one who has a part in the first resurrection; over these the second death (Man is a “living soul” [cf. Gen 2:7], i.e., material and immaterial, i.e., body and spirt. All that unbelievers are will spend eternity in the lake of fire. NASB: Defined in v. 14 as the “’lake of fire” [cf. 21:8].) has no power (to destroy one), but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with Him for a thousand years.
Satan Freed, Doomed
7When the thousand years are completed, Satan will be released from his prison, 8and will come out to deceive the nations (BKC: Who are these who will follow Satan? Those who survive the Tribulation will enter the Millennium in their natural bodies, and they will bear children and repopulate the earth [Is 65:18-25]. Under ideal circumstances in which all know about Jesus Christ [cf. Jer 31:33-34], many will outwardly profess faith in Christ without actually placing faith in Him for salvation. The shallowness of their professions will become apparent when Satan is released. The multitude who follows Satan are evidently those who have never been born again in the millennial kingdom.) which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog (Gog, in Ezekiel a king of Magog, a land of the remote north; hence, in Revelation, of a people far remote from Palestine. ; indeclinable proper name, Gog, king of the land of Magog, who it is said in Ezekiel 38f will come from the remote north, with innumerable hosts of his own nation as well as of allies, and will attack the people of Israel, re-established after the exile; but by divine interposition he will be utterly destroyed. Hence, in Revelation 20:8f ὁ Γώγ and ὁ Μαγώγ are used collectively to designate the nations that at the close of the millennial reign, instigated by Satan, will break forth from the four quarters of the earth against the Messiah’s kingdom, but will be destroyed by fire from heaven. NASB: Symbolize the nations of the world as they band together for a final assault on God. The OT background is Ezek 38-39.) and Magog ([Hebrew], Magog, sometimes as name of a people, sometimes as name of a country in the Old Testament, probably the Scythians; hence: used in apocalyptic literature; Of Hebrew origin [Magowg]; Magog, a foreign nation, i.e. [figuratively] an Antichristian party — Magog.), to gather them together for the war; the number of them is like the sand of the seashore. 9And they came up on the broad plain of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city (Jerusalem is called, on account of the temple erected there, πόλις τοῦ μεγάλου βασιλέως, i. e. in which the great King of Israel, Jehovah, has his abode, Matthew 5:35; Psalm 47:2; the beloved of God,), and fire came down from heaven and devoured (to devour i. e. utterly consume, destroy) them. 10And the devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are also; and they will be tormented day and night (Cf. 14:10) forever and ever.
Judgment at the Throne of God
11Then I saw a great white (of the heavenly throne) throne and Him (Yehoshua) who sat upon it, from whose presence (to flee in terror from the face of one enraged) earth and heaven fled away, and no place was found for them. 12And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne (second resurrection. BKC: The purpose of establishing the great white throne is to judge the dead. From other Scriptures it seems that all the righteous dead have been raised, including Old Testament saints, the dead of the Great Tribulation, and the church saints, the body of Christ. Thus it may be assumed that verses 11-15 refer to judgement of the wicked dead, who according to verse 5 would not be resurrected until after the thousand years and will have no part in what is called “the first resurrection.” Alice: In this view I am assuming the author is implying that no one will die during the Millennium unless it is an unbeliever, [in context] particularly not a saint, and that no one born will be saved either.), and books were opened (recorded deeds of the unsaved); and another book was opened, which is the book of life (the book in which the names of those are recorded to whom eternal life has been decreed); and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds (NASB: The principle of judgment on the basis of works is taught in Ps 62:12; Jer 17:10; Rom 2:6; 1 Peter 1:17 and elsewhere). 13And the sea gave up the dead which were in it, and death and Hades (the unseen world; properly, the “unseen place,” referring to the [invisible] realm in which all the dead reside, i.e. the present dwelling place of all the departed [deceased]; the nether world, the realm of the dead; it denotes, therefore, in Biblical Greek Orcus, the infernal regions, a dark [Job 10:21] and dismal place in the very depths of the earth [Job 11:8; Isaiah 57:9; Amos 9:2, etc.], the common receptacle of disembodied spirits: Hades as a power is personified, Revelation 6:8; Revelation 20:13f.) gave up the dead which were in them; and they were judged, every one of them according to their deeds. 14Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death (Alice: First [spiritual] death: see Rom 5:12Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned— 1 Co 15:22For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive [BKC: All who are “in Adam”-i.e., his descendants-suffer death. All who are “in Christ”-i.e., who are related to Him by faith-will be made alive at the resurrection [cf. John 5:25; 1 Thess 4:16-17; Rev 20:6].), the lake of fire. 15And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.
Please review Constable’s chart of “Resurrections,” “Dr. Constable’s Notes,” page 219: http://www.soniclight.com/constable/notes.htm (There are other resources by Constable which can be accessed by doing a “search” on Dr. Constable’s Notes). Dr. Bland’s chapter 21 is the second post today.
New American Standard Bible
The New Heaven and Earth
(NASB: vv. 21:2-22:5: The “holy city” combines elements of Jerusalem, the temple and the Garden of Eden.)
21:1Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away (of an evanescent state of things), and there is no longer any sea. 2And I saw the holy (on account of the temple there) city, new (new, which as recently made is superior to what it succeeds) Jerusalem (BKC: The New Jerusalem is called “the Holy City,” in contrast with the earthly Jerusalem [which spiritually was compared to Sodom in 11:8] … BKC: The New Jerusalem is described as it will be in the eternal state, and it is said to be “a bride beautifully dressed for her husband.” Because the church is pictured in Scripture as a bride [2 Cor 11:2], some have tried to identify the New Jerusalem’s inhabitants as specifically the church saints, excluding saints of other dispensations. However, the use of marriage as an illustration is common in Scripture, not only to relate Christ to the church but also Yahweh to Israel. Though the city is compared to a beautifully dressed bride, it actually is a city, not a person or group of people.), coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband. 3And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “Behold, the tabernacle (tent; with a reference to this use of the word, it is declared that when the kingdom of God is perfectly established will be analogous to tent) of God (Cf. Lev 26:11-12; Ezek 37:27; 2 Cor 6:16.) is among men, and He will dwell (to have one’s tent) among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them (BKC: In eternity saints will enjoy a new intimacy with God which is impossible in a world where sin and death are sill present.), 4and He will wipe away every tear (Cf. 7:17; Is 25:8) from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things (the first order of things) have passed away.”
5And He who sits on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” And He said, “Write, for these words are faithful (of things, that can be relied on) and true” (lit: made of truth). 6Then He said to me, “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give to the one who thirsts (figuratively, those are said to thirst who painfully feel their want of, and eagerly long for, those things by which the soul is refreshed, supported, strengthened) from the spring (a fountain) of the water of life (water the use of which serves to maintain eternal life [Cf. Ps 36:9 For with You is the fountain of life; In Your light we see light.]) without cost. 7“He who overcomes (of Christians, that hold fast their faith even unto death against the power of their foes, and their temptations and persecutions. Dr. Essex at The Master’s Seminary: The one who overcomes is the one who trusts the word of God, exercises faith, and is willing to repent) will inherit (to partake of eternal salvation in the Messiah’s kingdom) these things, and I will be his God and he will be My son (Dr. Robert Saucy: Adoption is the ultimate fruit and goal of redemption. The ultimate goal of God’s covenants with his people is that He may be their God and they His people [Jer. 31:33; 2 Cor. 6:16, 18; cf. Rev. 21:7— “He who overcomes will inherit these things, and I will be his God and he will be My son”]. BKC: This expresses the intimate relationship between the saints and God in the eternal state.). 8“But for the cowardly (in Revelation 21:8 of Christians who through cowardice give way under persecutions and apostatize.) and unbelieving (without faith or trust, unfaithful, faithless) and abominable (to defile, pollute) and murderers and immoral persons (a man who prostitutes his body to another’s lust for hire, a male prostitute; universally, a man who indulges in unlawful sexual intercourse, a fornicator) and sorcerers (pertaining to magical arts [substantive]; cf. NASB: Acts 19:19. The magical tradition in ancient times called for the mixing of various herbs to ward off evil.) and idolaters (a worshipper of false gods, an idolater) and all liars (deceitful, false), their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.” (Alice: The body of unbelievers will be resurrected, their material and immaterial will be reunited, and they [living souls] will spend eternity in the lake of fire with Satan, the Antichrist, the false prophet. The first death was a spiritual death [the physical death is a result of the spiritual death], “in Adam.” Cf. 1 Cor 15:22.)
9Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues came and spoke with me, saying, “Come here, I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb.”
The New Jerusalem
10And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me the holy city, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, 11having the glory (the glory of the Lord [שְׁכִינָה, Shekinah or Shechinah], a bright cloud by which God made manifest to men his presence and power on earth (Exodus 24:17; Exodus 40:28 [34ff], etc.) of God. Her brilliance (light, brightness) was like a very costly stone, as a stone of crystal-clear jasper (jasper; a precious stone of divers colors (for some are purple, others blue, others green, and others of the color of brass). 12It had a great and high wall, with twelve gates (NASB: See [Ezek 48:30-35 “These are the exits of the city: on the north side, 4,500 cubits by measurement, shall be the gates of the city, named for the tribes of Israel, three gates toward the north: the gate of Reuben, one; the gate of Judah, one; the gate of Levi, one. “On the east side, 4,500 cubits, shall be three gates: the gate of Joseph, one; the gate of Benjamin, one; the gate of Dan, one. “On the south side, 4,500 cubits by measurement, shall be three gates: the gate of Simeon, one; the gate of Issachar, one; the gate of Zebulun, one. “On the west side, 4,500 cubits, shall be three gates: the gate of Gad, one; the gate of Asher, one; the gate of Naphtali, one. “The city shall be 18,000 cubits round about; and the name of the city from that day shall be, ‘The LORD is there.’”] The number 12 probably emphasizes the continuity of the NT church and the OT people of God. See v. 14, where the 12 foundations bear the names of the 12 apostles.), and at the gates twelve angels; and names were written on them, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the sons of Israel. 13There were three gates on the east and three gates on the north and three gates on the south and three gates on the west. 14And the wall of the city had twelve foundation stones, and on them were the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.
15The one who spoke with me had a gold measuring rod to measure the city (NASB: Cf. Ezek 40-41, In Rev 11 the measuring was to ensure protection; here it serves to show the size and symmetry of the eternal dwelling place of the faithful.), and its gates and its wall. 16The city is laid out as a square, and its length is as great as the width; and he measured the city with the rod, fifteen hundred miles (a stadium [a Gr. measure of length], by impl. a racecourse; a measure of length comprising 600 Greek feet, or 625 Roman feet, or 125 Roman paces, hence, one-eighth of a Roman mile [i. e. 606 3/4 English feet (about 15 miles less than one-fifth of a kilometer)]); its length and width and height are equal (NASB: Thus a perfect cube, as was the Holy of Holies of the tabernacle and the temple). 17And he measured its wall, seventy-two yards (the forearm, i.e. a cubit; a measure of length equal to the distance from the joint of the elbow to the tip of the middle finger) according to human measurements, which are also angelic measurements. 18The material of the wall was jasper; and the city was pure gold, like clear glass. 19The foundation stones of the city wall were adorned with every kind of precious stone. The first foundation stone was jasper; the second, sapphire; the third, chalcedony; the fourth, emerald; 20the fifth, sardonyx; the sixth, sardius; the seventh, chrysolite; the eighth, beryl; the ninth, topaz; the tenth, chrysoprase; the eleventh, jacinth; the twelfth, amethyst (NASB: The precise identification of some of these precious stones is uncertain.). 21And the twelve gates were twelve pearls; each one of the gates was a single pearl. And the street of the city was pure gold, like transparent glass.
22I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb are its temple (takes the place of a temple in it). 23And the city has no need of the sun or of the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God has illumined (to enlighten, light up) it, and its lamp is the Lamb. 24The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory (magnificence, excellence, preeminence, dignity, grace: i. e. their resources, wealth, the magnificence and greatness of their cities, their fertile lands, their thronging population) into it. 25In the daytime (for there will be no night there) its gates will never be closed; 26and they will bring the glory and the honor of the nations into it; 27and nothing unclean (unhallowed, common), and no one who practices abomination (of idol-worship and its impurities) and lying (to act in accordance with the precepts and principles of idolatry), shall ever come into it, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life (the book in which the names of those are recorded to whom eternal life has been decreed).
New American Standard Bible
The River and the Tree of Life
22:1Then he showed me a river of the water of life (life, i. e. the state of one who is possessed of vitality or is animate; zōḗ – life [physical and spiritual]. All life [/zōḗ], throughout the universe, is derived – i.e. it always [only] comes from and is sustained by God’s self-existent life. The Lord intimately shares His gift of life with people, creating each in His image which gives all the capacity to know His eternal life. BKC: While this may be a literal river, its symbolism is clear. Out of the throne of God will flow pure water, symbolic of the holiness and purity of God and the city.), clear as crystal, coming from the throne of God and of the Lamb, 2in the middle of its street. On either side of the river was the tree of life (See Gen 2:9; 3:22; Ezek 47:12), bearing twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit every month; and the leaves of the tree were for the healing (BKC: The word “healing” [therapeian] can be understood as “health-giving.” The English “therapeutic” is derived from this Greek word. Even though there is no sickness in the eternal state, the tree’s fruit and leaves seem to contribute to the physical well-being of those in the eternal state.) of the nations. 3There will no longer be any curse (BKC: As the curse of Adam’s sin led to illness requiring healing and death, so in the eternal state there will be no curse; therefore no healing of illness is necessary.); and the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it (BKC: … God and the Lamb are in the new city [21:22-23; 22:1]. The New Jerusalem will be the temple of God [21:22], and the throne of God, YHVH, will also be in it.), and His bond-servants will serve Him (BKC: The highest joy and privilege of the saint’s in eternity will be to serve their blessed Lord, even though it is true that they will also reign with Him [2 Tim 2:12; Rev 5:10; 20:4-6].); 4they will see His face (NASB: In ancient times criminals were banished from the presence of the king [Esth 7:8; cf. 2 Sam 14:24]. One blessing of eternity will be to see the Lord face to face [cf. 1 Cor 13:12].), and His name will be on their foreheads. 5And there will no longer be any night; and they will not have need of the light of a lamp nor the light of the sun, because the Lord God will illumine (to give light, to shine) them; and they will reign (to be king, to exercise kingly power, to reign. NASB: See 5:10; 20:6; Dan 7:18, 27) forever and ever.
6And he said to me, “These words are faithful and true” (BKC: The purpose of these communications is not to bewilder and confuse but to reveal many of the things that must soon take place…. The Word of God was not given to be obscure. It was given to be understood by those taught by the Spirit…. Accordingly a special blessing is pronounced on those who believe and heed the prophecy of the book.); and the Lord, the God of the spirits of the prophets, sent His angel to show to His bond-servants (doúlos [a masculine noun of uncertain derivation] – properly, someone who belongs to another; a bond-slave, without any ownership rights of their own. Ironically, /doúlos [“bond-slave”] is used with the highest dignity in the NT – namely, of believers who willingly live under Christ’s authority as His devoted followers; one who gives himself up wholly to another’s will, of all who obey God’s commands, his true worshippers [see v. 3].) the things which must soon take place (see 1:1, 19).
7“And behold, I am coming quickly (see vv. 12, 20; 2:16; 3:11). Blessed (The sixth beatitude) is he who heeds (tēréō [from tēros, “a guard”] – properly, maintain [preserve]; [figuratively] spiritually guard [watch], keep intact; the works that I command) the words of the prophecy of this book.”
8I, John, am the one who heard and saw these things. And when I heard and saw, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who showed me these things. 9But he said to me, “Do not do that. I am a fellow servant of yours and of your brethren the prophets and of those who heed (tēréō [from tēros, “a guard”] – properly, maintain [preserve]; [figuratively] spiritually guard [watch], keep intact; the works that I command) the words of this book. Worship (to do reverence to; I go down on my knees to, do obeisance to; proskynéō [from /prós, “towards” and kyneo, “to kiss”] – properly, to kiss the ground when prostrating before a superior; to worship, ready “to fall down/prostrate oneself to adore on one’s knees” [DNTT]; to “do obeisance”; “The basic meaning of [proskynéō], in the opinion of most scholars, is to kiss. . .. [Cf. Ps 2:12]) God.”
The Final Message
10And he said to me, “Do not seal up the words (NASB: Contrast Dan 12:4 “But as for you, Daniel, conceal these words and seal up the book until the end of time; many will go back and forth, and knowledge will increase.”) of the prophecy of this book, for the time is near. 11“Let the one who does wrong (to act unjustly or wickedly, to sin), still do wrong; and the one who is filthy (defiled with iniquity, base), still be filthy; and let the one who is righteous (upright, righteous, virtuous, keeping the commands of God), still practice righteousness (to do righteousness, to live uprightly); and the one who is holy (properly, different [unlike], other [“otherness”], holy; for the believer, [hágios] means “likeness of nature with the Lord” because “different from the world.”), still keep himself holy.” (BKC: The point here is not to condone what is evil, but to point out that if people do not heed this prophecy, they will continue in their wickedness. On the other hand those who do heed the prophecy will continue to do what is right. Relatively speaking, the time of the Lord’s return is near and no major changes in mankind’s conduct can be expected.)
12“Behold, I am coming quickly (see vv. 7, 20; 2:16; 3:11), and My reward (in both senses, rewards and punishments) is with Me, to render to every man according to what he has done (his whole way of feeling and acting, his aims and endeavors). 13“I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.” (BKC: Christ is before all Creation and He will continue to exist after the present creation is destroyed. He is the Eternal One [cf. 1:4, 8, 17; 2:8; 21:6])
14Blessed (NASB: The last of the seven beatitudes. BKC: The other six beatitudes are in 1:3; 14:13; 16:15; 19:9; 20:6; 22:7.) are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right (permission to use the tree of life) to the tree of life, and may enter by the gates into the city (the heavenly Jerusalem; in the visions of the Apocalypse it is used of the visible capital of the heavenly kingdom, to come down to earth after the renovation of the world). 15Outside are the dogs (a man of impure mind, an impudent man. NASB: A term applied to all types of ceremonially impure persons. In Deut 23:18 it designates a male prostitute.) and the sorcerers (pertaining to magical arts [substantive]; cf. NASB: Acts 19:19. The magical tradition in ancient times called for the mixing of various herbs to ward off evil.) and the immoral (a man who prostitutes his body to another’s lust for hire, a male prostitute; universally, a man who indulges in unlawful sexual intercourse, a fornicator) persons and the murderers (a murderer, committing unjustified, intentional homicide) and the idolaters (a worshipper of false gods), and everyone who loves and practices lying (to act in accordance with the precepts and principles of idolatry). (BKC: Though some saints have been guilty of these same practices, they have been washed in the blood of the Lamb and are acceptable to God. But those who refuse to come to the Lord receive the just reward for their sins. Though the world is excessively wicked, God will bring every sin into judgement. And the time for Christ’s return may be drawing near, when this will be effected.)
16“I, Jesus, have sent My angel (Cf. 1:1) to testify to you these things for the churches (ekklēsía [from /ek, “out from and to” and /kaléō, “to call”] – properly, people called out from the world and to God, the outcome being the Church [the mystical body of Christ] – i.e. the universal [total] body of believers whom God calls out from the world and into His eternal kingdom. [The English word “church” comes from the Greek word kyriakos, “belonging to the Lord” (kyrios). /ekklēsía (“church”) is the root of the terms “ecclesiology” and “ecclesiastical.”]). I am the root (offspring, progeny) and the descendant (offspring) of David, the bright morning star.” (See Num 24:17 “I see him, but not now; I behold him, but not near; A star shall come forth from Jacob, A scepter shall rise from Israel, And shall crush through the forehead of Moab, And tear down all the sons of Sheth. BKC: Historically Christ comes from David [Matt 1:1; cf. Isa 11:11; Rev 5:5]. Prophetically His coming is like the morning star, the beginning of a bright new day… This will find its clearest revelation in the new heavens and new earth. For those who believe that Christ in His first coming provided salvation, there is the wonderful promise of His coming again to bring full and final deliverance… God’s people who understand and appreciate these wonderful promises can join with John in his prayer, “Come, Lord Jesus.”)
17The Spirit and the bride (a betrothed woman) say, “Come.” And let the one who hears (akoúō – properly, to hear [listen]; [figuratively] to hear God’s voice which prompts Him to birth faith within [cf. Ro 10:17 (Alice: faith produces hearing [in the human heart: the center and seat of spiritual life, “the soul or mind, as it is the fountain and seat of the thoughts, passions, desires, appetites, affections, purposes, endeavors” (so in English heart, inner man, etc. and the Holy Spirit brings it about. Cf. Heb 4:2)]) say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty (figuratively, those are said to thirst who painfully feel their want of, and eagerly long for, those things by which the soul is refreshed, supported, strengthened) come; let the one who wishes (i.e. be inclined to) take the water of life without cost.
(NASB: vv. 18-19: Cf. the commands in Deut 4:2; 12:32. The warning here relates specifically to the book of Revelation.)
18I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues which are written in this book; 19and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his part from the tree of life and from the holy city, which are written in this book.
20He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming quickly.” (See vv. 7, 12; 2:16; 3:11) Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.
21The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all. Amen.