1 The phrase ajpokavluyi" *Ihsou' Cristou' (ajpokaluyi" Ihsou Cristou, "the revelation of Jesus Christ") could be interpreted as either an objective genitive ("the revelation about Jesus Christ"), subjective genitive ("the revelation from Jesus Christ"), or both. In 1:1 and 22:16 it is clear that Jesus has sent his angel to proclaim the message to John; thus the message is from Christ, and this would be a subjective genitive. On a broader scale, though, the revelation is about Christ, so this would be an objective genitive. One important point to note is that the phrase under consideration is best regarded as the title of the book and therefore refers to the whole of the work in all its aspects. This fact favors considering this as a plenary genitive.

2 Grk "slaves." Although this translation frequently renders dou'lo" (doulos) as "slave," the connotation is often of one who has sold himself into slavery; in a spiritual sense, the idea is that of becoming a slave of God or of Jesus Christ voluntarily. The voluntary notion is not conspicuous here; hence, the translation "servants." In any case, the word does not bear the connotation of a free individual serving another. BDAG notes that "'servant' for 'slave' is largely confined to Biblical transl. and early American times ... in normal usage at the present time the two words are carefully distinguished". The most accurate translation is "bondservant" (sometimes found in the ASV for dou'lo"), in that it often indicates one who sells himself into slavery to another. But as this is archaic, few today understand its force.

3 tavco" has "quickly, at once, without delay Ac 10:33; 12:7; 17:15; 22:18 ... soon, in a short time ... Rv 1:1; 22:6 ... shortly Ac 25:4."

4 Or "He indicated it clearly".

5 See the note on the word "servants" earlier in this verse.

6 "Then" is not in the Greek text.

7 The genitive phrase "about Jesus Christ" is taken as an objective genitive.

8 The word "this" is used to translate the Greek article th'" (ths), bringing out its demonstrative force.

9 The word "aloud" has been supplied to indicate that in the original historical setting, reading would usually refer to reading out loud in public rather than silently to oneself.

10 The words "blessed are" are repeated from the beginning of this verse for stylistic reasons and for clarity.

11 Grk "keep." "To continue to obey orders or commandments - 'to obey, to keep commandments, obedience.'"

12 The time refers to the time when the things prophesied would happen.

13 Grk "John." The word "From" is not in the Greek text.

14 Grk "Asia"; in the NT this always refers to the Roman province of Asia, made up of about one-third of the west and southwest end of modern Asia Minor. Asia lay to the west of the region of Phrygia and Galatia. The words "the province of" are supplied to indicate to the modern reader that this does not refer to the continent of Asia.

15 It is probable that the uJmi'n (Jumin) applies to both elements of the greeting, i.e., to both grace and peace.

16 The earliest and best mss lack the term "God" (qeou', qeou) between "from" (ajpov, apo) and "he who is" (oJ w[n, Jo wn). Its inclusion, as supported by the bulk of the Byzantine witnesses, is clearly secondary and a scribal attempt to achieve two things: (1) to make explicit the referent in the passage, namely, God, and (2) to smooth out the grammar. The preposition "from" in Greek required a noun in the genitive case. But here in Rev 1:4 the words following the preposition "from" (ajpov) are in another case, i.e., the nominative. There are two principal ways in which to deal with this grammatical anomaly. First, it could be a mistake arising from someone who just did not know Greek very well, or as a Jew, was heavily influenced by a Semitic form of Greek. Both of these unintentional errors are unlikely here. Some argue: "Either of these is doubtful here because (1) such a flagrant misunderstanding of the rudiments of Greek would almost surely mean that the author could not compose in Greek, yet the Apocalypse itself argues against this; (2) nowhere else does the Seer [i.e., John] use a nom. immediately after a preposition (in fact, he uses ajpov 32 times with the gen. immediately following)." The passage appears to be an allusion to Exod 3:14 (in the LXX) where God refers to himself as "he who is" (oJ w[n), the same wording in Greek as here in Rev 1:4. Thus, it appears that John is wanting to leave the divine name untouched (perhaps to allude to God's immutability, or as a pointer to the Old Testament as the key to unlocking the meaning of this book), irrespective of what it "looks" like grammatically. The translation has placed the "he who is" in quotation marks to indicate to the reader that the syntactical awkwardness is intentional.

17 The expr. eijrhvnh ajpoV 'oJ w]n kaiV oJ h\n kaiV oJ ejrcovmeno"' Rv 1:4 is quite extraordinary. It may be an interpretation of the name Yahweh already current, or an attempt to show reverence for the divine name by preserving it unchanged, or simply one more of the grammatical peculiarities so frequent in Rv.

18 Or "Jesus Christ - the faithful one, the witness ..." Some take oJ pistov" (Jo pistos) as a second substantive in relation to oJ mavrtu" (Jo martus). In the present translation, however, oJ pistov" was taken as an adjective in attributive position to oJ mavrtu". The idea of martyrdom and faithfulness are intimately connected. oJ mavrtu" mou oJ pistov" mou Rv 2:13; in this "book of martyrs" Christ is oJ mavrtu" oJ pistoV" 1:5; 3:14; cp. 19:11. Cp. Rv 17:14.

19 The Greek term translated witness can mean both "witness" and "martyr."

20 The reading "set free" (luvsanti, lusanti) has better ms support than its rival, louvsanti (lousanti, "washed"). Internally, it seems that the reading "washed" could have arisen in at least one of three ways: (1) as an error of hearing (both "released" and "washed" are pronounced similarly in Greek); (2) an error of sight (both "released" and "washed" look very similar - a difference of only one letter - which could have resulted in a simple error during the copying of a ms); (3) through scribal inability to appreciate that the Hebrew preposition b can be used with a noun to indicate the price paid for something. Since the author of Revelation is influenced significantly by a Semitic form of Greek (e.g., 13:10), and since the Hebrew preposition "in" (b) can indicate the price paid for something, and is often translated with the preposition "in" (ejn, en) in the LXX, the author may have tried to communicate by the use of ejn the idea of a price paid for something. That is, John was trying to say that Christ delivered us at the price of his own blood. This whole process, however, may have been lost on a later scribe, who being unfamiliar with Hebrew, found the expression "delivered in his blood" too difficult, and noticing the obvious similarities between luvsanti and louvsanti, assumed an error and then proceeded to change the text to "washed in his blood" - a thought more tolerable in his mind. Both readings, of course, are true to scripture; the current question is what the author wrote in this verse.

Or "and released us".

21 The style here is somewhat Semitic, with the use of the ejn (en) + the dative to mean "at the price of." The addition of "own" in the English is stylistic and is an attempt to bring out the personal nature of the statement and the sacrificial aspect of Jesus' death - a frequent refrain in the Apocalypse.

22 The verb poievw (poiew) can indicate appointment or assignment rather than simply "make" or "do." See Mark 3:14.

23 "he made us a kingdom" which was translated as "he appointed us (to be or function) as a kingdom" (see the note on the word "appointed" earlier in the verse).

24 Grk "a kingdom, priests." The term iJerei'" (Jiereis) is either in apposition to basileivan (basileian) or as a second complement to the object "us" (hJma'", Jhmas). The translation retains this ambiguity.

25 Both the longer reading tw'n aijwvnwn (twn aiwnwn, "to the ages of the ages" or, more idiomatically, "for ever and ever") and the shorter ("for ever") have good ms support. The author uses the longer expression (eij" [touV"] aijw'na" [tw'n] aijwvnwn, ei" [tou"] aiwna" [twn] aiwnwn) in every other instance of aijwvn in Revelation, twelve passages in all (1:18; 4:9-10; 5:13; 7:12; 10:6; 11:15; 14:11; 15:7; 19:3; 20:10; 22:5). Thus, on the one hand, the style of the author is consistent, while on the other hand, the scribes may have been familiar with such a stylistic feature, causing them to add the words here. The issues are complex; the longer reading, however, is probably original (the shorter reading arising from accidental omission of the genitive phrase due to similarity with the preceding words).

26 An allusion to Dan 7:13. 27 Here kaiv (kai) was translated as ascensive. 28 An allusion to Zech 12:10. 29 In this context, tribes (fulaiv, fulai) could also be translated as "nations" or "peoples" (L&N 11.56). 30 The conjunction ejpiv (epi) is most likely causal here. The people who crucified him are those of every tribe on the earth and they will mourn because he comes as judge. 31 Grk "Yes, Amen." The expression "This will certainly come to pass" is an attempt to capture the force of the juxtaposition of the Greek naiv (nai) and the Hebrew ajmhvn (amhn). See L&N 69.1. 32 These lines are placed in parentheses because they form an aside to the main argument. 33 The shorter reading "Omega" (w\, w) has superior ms evidence ({Í1 A C 1611}) to the longer reading which includes "the beginning and the end" (ajrchV kaiV tevlo" or hJ ajrchV kaiV toV tevlo", arch kai telo" or Jh arch kai to telo"), found in Í*,2 1854 2050 2329 2351 ÏA lat bo. There is little reason why a scribe would have deleted the words, but their clarifying value and the fact that they harmonize with 21:6 indicate that they are a secondary addition to the text. 34 On this word BDAG 755 s.v. pantokravtwr states, "the Almighty, All-Powerful, Omnipotent (One) only of God ... (oJ) kuvrio" oJ qeoV" oJ p. ... Rv 1:8; 4:8; 11:17; 15:3; 16:7; 21:22." 35 The translation attempts to bring out the verbal idea in sugkoinwnov" (sunkoinwno", "co-sharer"); John was suffering for his faith at the time he wrote this. 36 The prepositional phrase ejn *Ihsou' (en Ihsou) could be taken with uJpomonh'/ (Jupomonh) as the translation does or with the more distant sugkoinwnov" (sunkoinwno"), in which case the translation would read "your brother and the one who shares with you in Jesus in the persecution, kingdom, and endurance." 37 The phrase "about Jesus" has been translated as an objective genitive. 38 Or "in the spirit." "Spirit" could refer either to the Holy Spirit or the human spirit, but in either case John was in "a state of spiritual exaltation best described as a trance" (R. H. Mounce, Revelation [NICNT], 75). 39 Concerning the phrase kuriakh'/ hJmevra/ (kuriakh Jhmera) BDAG 576 s.v. kuriakov" states: "pert. to belonging to the Lord, the Lord's ... k. hJmevra/ the Lord's day (Kephal. I 192, 1; 193, 31 ... ) i.e. certainly Sunday (so in Mod. Gk ... .) Rv 1:10 (WStott, NTS 12, '65, 70-75)." 40 The conjunction kaiv (kai) is not introducing a coordinate thought, but one that is logically subordinate to the main verb ejgenovmhn (egenomhn). 41map For location see JP1-D2; JP2-D2; JP3-D2; JP4-D2. 42 Grk "and to Smyrna." For stylistic reasons the conjunction kaiv (kai) and the preposition eij" (eis) have not been translated before the remaining elements of the list. In lists with more than two elements contemporary English generally does not repeat the conjunction except between the next to last and last elements. 43 Throughout the translation John's use of kaiv (kai) often reflects the varied usage of the Hebrew conjunction w (vav). A clause which kaiv introduces has been translated in terms of its semantic relationship to the clause that preceded it. If the kaiv seemed redundant, however, it was left untranslated; that is the case in this verse. 44 Grk "with me." The translation "with me" implies that John was engaged in a dialogue with the one speaking to him (e.g., Jesus or an angel) when in reality it was a one-sided conversation, with John doing all the listening. For this reason, met= ejmou' (met' emou, "with me") was translated as "to me." 45 Grk "and turning I saw." The repetition of ejpistrevfw (epistrefw) is somewhat redundant in contemporary English and has been translated generally. 46 This phrase constitutes an allusion to Dan 7:13. Concerning uiJoV" tou' ajnqrwvpou (Juio" tou anqrwpou), BDAG 1026 s.v. uiJov" 2.d.g says: "oJ uiJoV" tou' ajnqrwvpou lit. 'the son of the man' ... 'the human being, the human one, the man' ... On Israelite thought contemporary w. Jesus and alleged knowledge of a heavenly being looked upon as a 'Son of Man' or 'Man', who exercises Messianic functions such as judging the world (metaph., pictorial passages in En 46-48; 4 Esdr 13:3, 51f) ... Outside the gospels: Ac 7:56 ... Rv 1:13; 14:14 (both after Da 7:13 ... )." The term "son" here in this expression is anarthrous and as such lacks specificity. Some commentators and translations take the expression as an allusion to Daniel 7:13 and not to "the son of man" found in gospel traditions (e.g., Mark 8:31; 9:12; cf. D. E. Aune, Revelation [WBC], 2:800-801; cf. also NIV). Other commentators and versions, however, take the phrase "son of man" as definite, involving allusions to Dan 7:13 and "the son of man" gospel traditions (see G. K. Beale, Revelation [NIGTC], 771-72; NRSV). 47 Or "a wide golden sash," but this would not be diagonal, as some modern sashes are, but horizontal. The Greek term can refer to a wide band of cloth or leather worn on the outside of one's clothing (L&N 6.178). 48 Here dev (de) has not been translated. 49 The clause, "even as white as snow" seems to heighten the preceding clause and is so understood in this ascensive sense ("even") in the translation. 50 The genitive noun purov" (puros) has been translated as an attributive genitive. 51 The precise meaning of the term translated "polished bronze" (calkolibavnw/, calkolibanw), which appears no where else in Greek literature outside of the book of Revelation (see 2:18), is uncertain. Without question it is some sort of metal. BDAG 1076 s.v. calkolivbanon suggests "fine brass/bronze." L&N 2.57 takes the word to refer to particularly valuable or fine bronze, but notes that the emphasis here and in Rev 2:18 is more on the lustrous quality of the metal. 52 Or "that has been heated in a furnace until it glows." 53 Grk "sound," but the idea is closer to the roar of a waterfall or rapids. 54 Grk "and having." In the Greek text this is a continuation of the previous sentence, but because contemporary English style employs much shorter sentences, a new sentence was started here in the translation by supplying the pronoun "he." 55 This is a continuation of the previous sentence in the Greek text, but a new sentence was started here in the translation. 56 Grk "And when." Because of the difference between Greek style, which often begins sentences or clauses with "and," and English style, which generally does not, kaiv (kai) has not been translated here. 57 Here the Greek conjunction kaiv (kai) has been translated as a contrastive ("but") due to the contrast between the two clauses. 58 Here kaiv (kai) has not been translated because of differences between Greek and English style. 59 Concerning "Hades" BDAG 19 s.v. a{/dh" 1 and 2 states: "Orig. proper noun, god of the nether world, 'Hades', then the nether world, Hades as place of the dead, Ac 2:27, 31 (Ps 15:10; Eccl 9:10; PGM 1, 179; 16, 8; Philo, Mos. 1, 195; Jos., Bell. 1, 596, Ant. 6, 332). Of Jonah's fish ejk tou' katwtavtou a{/dou. In the depths, contrasted w. heaven e{w" (tou') a{/dou Mt 11:23; Lk 10:15 (PsSol 15:10; cp.; Is 14:11, 15); ejn tw'/ a{/dh/ 16:23; ejn $Aidou ApcPt Rainer. Accessible by gates (but the pl. is also used [e.g. Hom., X., Ael. Aristid. 47, 20 K.=23 p. 450 D.] when only one gate is meant), hence puvlai a{/dou (Il. 5, 646; Is 38:10; Wsd 16:13; 3 Macc 5:51; Pss. Sol. 16:2. - Lucian, Menipp. 6 the magicians can open tou' $Aidou taV" puvla" and conduct people in and out safely) Mt 16:18 ... locked e[cw taV" klei'" tou' qanavtou kaiV tou' a{/dou Rv 1:18 (the genitives are either obj. [Ps.-Apollod. 3, 12, 6, 10 Aeacus, the son of Zeus holds the klei'" tou' $Aidou; SEG VIII, 574, 3 (III ad) tw'/ taV" klei'da" e[conti tw'n kaq* $Aidou (restored)] or possess.; in the latter case death and Hades are personif.; s. 2) ... Hades personif. ... w. qavnato" (cp. Is 28:15; Job 38:17 ... ) Rv 6:8; 20:13f."
In the OT, Hades was known as Sheol. It is the place where the unrighteous will reside (Matt 11:23; Luke 16:23; Rev 20:13-14).
60 Grk "Therefore write the things that you saw, and the things that are, and the things that will take place after these things." Verse 19 could also be translated (taking kaiv ... kaiv [kai ... kai] as "both ... and"): "Therefore write what you have seen, both what things currently are and what is going to happen after these things." The structure of this verse is debated. 61 The words "is this" are supplied to make a complete sentence in English. 62 Or perhaps "the messengers."