Revelation 1:16
Parallel Verses
English Standard Version
In his right hand he held seven stars, from his mouth came a sharp two-edged sword, and his face was like the sun shining in full strength.

King James Bible
And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp twoedged sword: and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength.

American Standard Version
And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth proceeded a sharp two-edged sword: and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength.

Douay-Rheims Bible
And he had in his right hand seven stars. And from his mouth came out a sharp two edged sword: and his face was as the sun shineth in his power.

English Revised Version
And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth proceeded a sharp two-edged sword: and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength.

Webster's Bible Translation
And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp two-edged sword: and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength.

Weymouth New Testament
In His right hand He held seven stars, and a sharp, two-edged sword was seen coming from His mouth; and His glance resembled the sun when it is shining with its full strength.

Revelation 1:16 Parallel
Commentary
Vincent's Word Studies

A sharp, two-edged sword (ῥομφαία δίστομος ὀξεῖα)

The (Greek order is a sword, two-edged, sharp. For the peculiar word for sword see on Luke 2:35. Two-edged is, literally, two-mouthed. See on edge, Luke 21:24. Homer speaks of poles for sea-fighting, "clad on the tip (στόμα, mouth) with brass."

Countenance (ὄψις)

Used by John only, and only three times: here, John 7:24; John 11:44. Not general appearance.

Shineth (φαίει)

See on John 1:5.

In his strength

With the full power of the eastern sun at noonday.

This picture of the Son of Man suggests some remarks on the general character of such symbols in Revelation. It may be at once said that they are not of a character which tolerates the sharper definitions of pictorial art. They must be held in the mind, not as clearly-cut symbols which translate themselves into appeals to the eye and which have their exact correspondences in visible facts, but rather in their totality, and with a dominant sense of their inner correspondences with moral and spiritual ideas. To translate them into picture is inevitably to run at some point into a grotesqueness which impairs and degrades their solemnity. This is shown in Albrecht Drer's sixteen wood-cuts illustrative of Revelation. Professor Milligan goes too far in saying that these are only grotesque. One must be always impressed with Drer's strong individuality, "lurking" as Lord Lindsay remarks, below a mind "like a lake, stirred by every breath of wind which descends on it through the circumjacent valleys;" with the fertility of his invention, the plenitude of his thought, his simplicity and fearlessness. But his very truthfulness to nature is his enemy in his dealing with such themes as the Apocalyptic visions; investing them as it does with a realism which is foreign to their spirit and intent. Take, for example, "the four riders" (Revelation 6). The power is at once felt of the onward movement of the three horsemen with bow, sword, and balances; the intense, inexorable purpose with which they drive on over the prostrste forms at their feet; but the fourth rider, Death on the pale horse, followed by Hell, portrayed as the wide-opened jaws of a rnonster into which a crowned head is sinking, degenerates into a ghastly caricature of the most offensive German type - a harlequin, far surpassing in hideousness the traditional skeleton with seythe and hour-glass.

Similarly, the angel with his feet like pillars of fire, the one upon the sea and the other upon the earth. If we are solemnly impressed by the awful face of the angel breaking forth from the sun, the solemnity degenerates into something akin to amusement, at the feet like solid columns, ending in flame at the knees, and at the Evangelist "who kneels on a promontory with the corner of the great book presented by the angel in his mouth, apparently in danger of choking."

In short, such symbols as the Lamb with seven horns and seven eyes; the four living creatures, each with six wings, and full of eyes before and behind; the beast rising out of the sea, having ten horns and seven heads, and on the horns ten diadems, - do not lend themselves to the pencil. An illustration of the sadly grotesque effect of such an attempt may be seen in Mr. Elliott's "Horae Apocalypticae," where is a picture of the locust of chapter 9, with a gold crown on the head, hair like women's, a breastplate of iron, and a tail like a scorpion's.

Archbishop Trench very aptly draws the comparison between the modes in which the Greek and the Hebrew mind respectively dealt with symbolism. With the Greek, the aesthetic element is dominant, so that the first necessity of the symbol is that it shall satisfy the sense of beauty, form, and proportion. With the Hebrew, the first necessity is "that the symbol should set forth truly and fully the religious idea of which it is intended to be the vehicle. How it would appear when it clothed itself in an outward form and shape; whether it would find favor and allowance at the bar of taste, was quite a secondary consideration; may be confidently affirmed not to have been a consideration at all."

The imagery of Revelation is Hebrew and not Greek. It is doubtful if there is any symbol taken from heathenism, so that the symbols of Revelation are to be read from the Jewish and not from the Heathen stand-point.

But to say that these symbols jar upon the aesthetic sense is not to detract from their value as symbols, nor to decry them as violations of the fitness of things. It may be fairly asked if, with all their apparent incongruity, and even monstrousness, they may not, after all, be true to a higher canon of congruity. Certain it is that the great visible divine economy, both of nature and of man, distinctly includes the grotesque, the monstrous, the ridiculous (or what we style such). We recognize the fact in the phrase "freaks of Nature." But are they freaks? Are they incongruous? Until we shall have grasped in mind the whole kosmos, it will not be safe for us to answer that question too positively. The apparent incongruity, viewed from a higher plane, may merge into beautiful congruity. Tested by a more subtle sense; brought into connection and relation with the whole region of mental and spiritual phenomena; regarded as a factor of that larger realm which embraces ideas and spiritual verities along with external phenomena; the outwardly grotesque may resolve itself into the spiritually beautiful; the superficial incongruity into essential and profound harmony.

continued...

Revelation 1:16 Parallel Commentaries

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

he had.

Revelation 1:20 The mystery of the seven stars which you saw in my right hand, and the seven golden candlesticks...

Revelation 2:1 To the angel of the church of Ephesus write; These things said he that holds the seven stars in his right hand...

Revelation 3:1 And to the angel of the church in Sardis write; These things said he that has the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars...

Revelation 12:1 And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet...

Job 38:7 When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?

Daniel 8:10 And it waxed great, even to the host of heaven; and it cast down some of the host and of the stars to the ground, and stamped on them.

Daniel 12:3 And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament...

out.

Revelation 2:12,16 And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write; These things said he which has the sharp sword with two edges...

Revelation 19:15,21 And out of his mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron...

Isaiah 11:4 But with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and he shall smite the earth...

Isaiah 49:2 And he has made my mouth like a sharp sword; in the shadow of his hand has he hid me, and made me a polished shaft...

Ephesians 6:17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:

Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two edged sword...

and his.

Revelation 10:1 And I saw another mighty angel come down from heaven, clothed with a cloud: and a rainbow was on his head...

Isaiah 24:23 Then the moon shall be confounded, and the sun ashamed, when the LORD of hosts shall reign in mount Zion, and in Jerusalem...

Isaiah 60:19,20 The sun shall be no more your light by day; neither for brightness shall the moon give light to you...

Malachi 4:2 But to you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and you shall go forth...

Acts 26:13 At midday, O king, I saw in the way a light from heaven, above the brightness of the sun...

Cross References
Judges 5:31
"So may all your enemies perish, O LORD! But your friends be like the sun as he rises in his might." And the land had rest for forty years.

Psalm 45:3
Gird your sword on your thigh, O mighty one, in your splendor and majesty!

Song of Solomon 6:10
"Who is this who looks down like the dawn, beautiful as the moon, bright as the sun, awesome as an army with banners?"

Isaiah 49:2
He made my mouth like a sharp sword; in the shadow of his hand he hid me; he made me a polished arrow; in his quiver he hid me away.

Matthew 17:2
And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became white as light.

Hebrews 4:12
For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

Revelation 1:20
As for the mystery of the seven stars that you saw in my right hand, and the seven golden lampstands, the seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches.

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