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This book, arranged according to the manner of an epistle to the congregations, is the last book of the New Testament, and as a sealing up of the same. It was written by the apostle John, according to the testimony of the ancient writers, about 64 years after CHRIST’S ascension, towards the end of the reign of Emperor Domitian, by whom, besides many other persecutions of the Christians under him, John himself was also banished to the island Patmos, where this revelation was made to him, for the comfort and warning of the christian congregation, as he himself testifies in Rev. 1:9. And though some of the ancient teachers are of the opinion that John wrote his Gospel after his deliverance out of Patmos at the request of the churches of Asia, yet it seems more probable from the second verse of the first chapter, and otherwise that this revelation was penned by him last of all, and in regard of the matters therein contained, both John himself and the christian church after him, found good, to end and to conclude with this book the whole New Testament, as also the sharp warnings towards the, do imply. This writing, though, as a prophetical book, treating much of prophetical matters, it abounds with many passages difficult to be understood, yet it is full of Divine instructions, serving to confute many heresies, which has been mentioned already, and serves especially to instruct the church of CHRIST what troubles she was to expect in after-times from the devil and his instruments, and mainly from antichrist and his ministers, as also of the heavy punishments which from time to time, especially in the last judgment, should light upon the enemies of the congregation; together with the wonderful deliverances which God likewise from time to time would show to His congregation, and principally the happy deliverance and victory over all their adversities and adversaries, and the unspeakable glory and blessedness, which after the coming of CHRIST to judgment, they would forever enjoy in the heavenly Jerusalem. This book may be properly divided into three parts. The first is the preface, contained in the first eight verses in the beginning of the first chapter. The second is an account of prophetical visions and predictions of things that were to happen to the congregation of CHRIST, from that time forward unto the end of the world, continuing unto the sixth verse of the last chapter. From this forward is related unto the end of the chapter the sealing up of the book and the conclusion of the book, as also of the entire New Testament. As for the predictions, beginning at chapter 1, verse 9 and ending at chapter 22 verse 6, they are held forth by several representations and prophetical visions, of which some of the same nature are to be found likewise in some of the prophets of the Old Testament, namely, Isaiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, Zechariah and others, as shall be shown in the annotations. As it has pleased God to hold forth things to come, sometimes in plain terms, but also under obscure shadows and visions, to stir up the more our diligence in searching after it as well as also the better to show forth the greatness and weight of them, so does He likewise especially here through John, because that in this prophesy there are many things found, concerning the plagues and changes of the Roman Empire, which might have taken occasion from them to have persecuted the Christians more grievously. Which was the reason also that Paul, handling the same matter in 2 Thessalonians 2, makes use of some covert expressions. The visions contained in this revelation are principally seven. The first vision begins from Rev. 1:9, and ends with the third chapter, holding forth CHRIST unto us in His Kingly and Priestly state, walking among the seven candlesticks or congregations; together with His commands which He gives to be written unto the seven congregations of Asia, among which John had mostly associated, with the aforementioned letters to those congregations. The second vision is a vision of the glory of God, sitting on His throne, and of the Lamb, standing upon the throne, encompassed with the 24 elders and 4 beasts, together with the book sealed with seven seals, and the wonderful things which happened after the opening of every seal in the world; which vision extends to the end of the seventh chapter. The third vision is the appearance of the seven angels, with their trumpets, succeeding one another, ending with chapter 11. The fourth vision is that of the woman in travail, and is persecuted by the dragon into the wilderness, and of the two beasts that persecute the saints, and are withstood by the Lamb, standing on Mount Sion with its company of 144.000, which follow Him, contained in chapter 12; 13; 14. The fifth vision is that of the seven vials, and of so many plagues poured forth thence upon the throne of the beast, described in chapter 15; 16. Upon which follows in the sixth vision the description of the whore of Babel, sitting upon a beast with seven heads, that is to say, upon the city built on seven hills, and the heavy judgment of God upon her and upon the beast, together with the song of triumph sung by the heavenly host, accompanied with CHRIST, their Head, upon their victory, in chapter, 17; 18; 19. The seventh vision sets forth the binding of Satan for a thousand years, together with his being let loose again for a short time, and the fulfillment of all things ensuing upon this, by the last judgment of God passed upon the devil, death, and all the wicked persons, and by the coming down of the heavenly Jerusalem, to be a glorious and everlasting habitation of all the elect, contained in chapter 20; 21, and in the first part of chapter 22.


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