Quotes from Hanserd Knollys Exposition of the Book of The Revelation, 1688.
The Visions and Prophecies of CHRIST
Are opened and Expounded,:
The great Counterfeits of our LORD Jesus Christ
for his Church over all His and Her Adversaries, PAGAN,
ARIAN and PAPAL and the glorious State of the
Church of God in the New Heavens and New Earth, in
these Latter Days.
Those seven churches in the lesser Asia, were the true visible constituted particular churches of Jesus Christ. And such were the churches in Judea, in Achaia, in Galatia, and all the churches of Christ that were in the apostles days, that we read of in the Holy Scripture of the New Testament
By the grace of God, we are to understand not only the love and favor of God, but also all grace, (1Pe 5:10) more and greater measure of every grace; (Jas 4:6) truth of grace; (Col 1:6) growth in grace; (2Pe 3:18) and perfection of grace at last. (Eph 4:13) And by peace, spiritual peace, which is peace with God; (Ro 5:1) peace in ourselves (Ro 15:13 1Th 5:13) among ourselves. By the seven spirits, which are before his throne, we are to understand the Holy Eternal Spirit with his diversity of gifts, operations, and administrations, (1Co 12:4,5,6,11) there called seven, which is a prophetical number in this prophecy, signifying both variety and perfection.
This blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth us from all sin; (1Jo 1:7,9) purgeth our conscience from dead works; (Heb 9:14) sanctifieth us; (Heb 13:12) justifieth us. (Ro 5:9) Thereby we are redeemed. (Eph 1:7 Heb 9:15)
They that are fellow heirs with the saints in the kingdom of glory, must be fellow sufferers in the kingdom of patience trough tribulation. (see Ac 14:22)
Patmos is an island in the Aegean Sea, near the coast of the lesser Asia, into which island John was banished in the reign of Domitian a Roman, pagan emperor; not for treason, nor rebellion, nor any other crime against civil government; but for the word of God, which he preached, and the testimony of Jesus Christ that John bare. Joh 21:24 This is the disciple who testified of those things, and we know that his testimony is true.
It is the liberty of the ministers of Christ, when they cannot edify the churches of God by preaching unto them, to endeavor their edification by writing unto them.
The whiteness of his Head and Hairs signify, that Christ is co-eternal with the Father, who is called the Ancient of Days. (Da 7:9-13) Because HE was from everlasting before the earth was. (Pr 8:22,23)
The prophet Daniel had such a representation of Christ in his vision. (Da 10:6) And his Eyes as lamps of Fire. So Re 19:12,13 hereby is described Christ’s omnisciency. (Heb 4:12,13) His Eyes are like a flame of Fire, which hath a piercing, purging, and purifying nature. (Mal 3:2,3,4 Re 2:18-23)
Rev. 1. 15:
By the “Feet” of Christ here, we may understand the paths or ways of his feet, called his footsteps, which the saints ought to follow, (1Pe 2:21) both in suffering and in doing the Father’s will. Christ’s active and passive obedience hath been tried, as “refined brass,” and all Christ’s proceedings in the world, against his, and his churches and peoples enemies and adversaries, are righteous, firm, and stable. (De 32:4 1Co 15:24,25)
who are called “Stars” metaphorically, as the church of God is called heaven (Mt 16:18,19) and Christ is called the Sun, (Mal 4:2) so his ministers are called stars (Da 12:3) for their shining both in doctrine and conversation. (Mt 5:14,15,16) And they are said to be in Christ right Hand to teach us, first, that Christ only hath authority and power to call, appoint, and send ministers to preach the gospel. (Mt 28:18,19,20 Ro 10:15) Secondly, that Christ is with his ministers in their work. (1Co 3:9 Ac 11:19-22) The Hand of the Lord was with them. (Re 3:7,8) Thirdly, that Christ preserves his faithful ministers, and keeps them safe from the rage of devils and wicked men. Their rage shall turn to his praise, and the remainder he will restrain. (Ac 26:17-22)
Christ’s kingly and priestly offices were signified by his robe and girdle, (Re 1:13) and his prophetical office is represented here by his “sword,” (Re 19:15-21)
Christ’s deity “I AM,” and his eternity “the First and the Last” revealed and believed, and by himself applied unto sanctified believers, will abate their fears, and remove them. (Ps 56:3,4 Isa 8:12,13-14 Mt 14:27 Mr 5:36 1Pe 3:14)
The commission which Jesus Christ gave his servant John, (Re 1:11) is here repeated and enlarged; wherein also we have a summary division of this whole Book of the Revelation into three parts. First, the then present state and condition of the church of God, and particularly of the seven churches in Asia; as then they were represented unto John in the first three chapters of this book. (Re 1, Re 2, Re 3) Secondly, which were not yet come to pass, touching the Roman pagan state, and, the condition of the church of God under those heathen powers, and their persecutions and revolutions, as they were represented unto John in the 4, 5, 6, Chapters of this Book. (Re 4, Re 5, Re 6) Thirdly, That is, to say, the Roman, Asian, and papal state, and the condition of the church of God under those anti-Christian powers, and their persecutions, together with all the great revolutions which shall be in states, kingdoms and churches, from the apostles days unto the end of this present evil world, in order unto the setting up the everlasting kingdom of the LORD Jesus Christ, and the coming down of the New Jerusalem from God out of heaven, which shall be hereafter in that world which is to come; together with Christ’s coming to Judgment, (called the eternal judgment; Heb 6:1,2), which things John had revealed unto him by Jesus Christ, in the other chapters of this book; especially (Re 13, Re 16, Re 18, Re 19, Re 20, Re 21, Re 22) of this prophecy of the Revelation.
Why the ministers of the gospel are called “stars” see Re 1:16. The ministry of the law was cloudy and dark, in comparison of the ministry of the gospel (2Co 3:6,11) This excelled it in glory, therefore the ministers of the gospel are called “stars,” and they are also called angels, because they are the special messengers of God, whom He sendeth to preach the glad tidings of salvation by Jesus Christ unto the people. (Mr 16:15 Lu 9:52) And the Churches received the Ministers of Christ as Angels. (Ga 4:14)
Christ puts this name of dignity upon his ministers, that the churches and people to whom they preach, should count them worthy of double honor, (1Ti 5:17) therefore called and diligent labor: The churches and saints should have such ministers in reputation, and esteem them highly in love for their works sake. (Php 2:19 1Th 5:13) These names of dignity should put the ministers of Christ in mind of their duty, to wit, to let their light shine before men, for they are called stars (Mt 5:16) and to wait on their ministry, (Ro 6,7,8,11) not slothful in business, but fervent in Spirit, serving the Lord, for they are called angels (who are God’s ministers and his ministering spirits; Heb 1:7,14), such ought Christ’s ministers to be, his and his churches ministering servants.
The candlestick in God’s tabernacle, (Ex 25:31,37,40) was pure gold, with seven lamps lighted, according to the pattern which God shewed Moses in the mount. The church of God under the first and old covenant, and Mosaical dispensation of the law, being national and but one church, tabernacle and temple was represented by a golden candlestick. (Zec 4:2) The church of God under the second and new covenant and apostolical dispensation of the gospel, being congregational, were represented unto John by two candlesticks (Re 11:4) and hereby seven. (Re 1:12,20)
The churches of saints under the gospel and new covenant of grace, are fitly resembled unto candlesticks, because the shinning and glorious light, first, of the knowledge of salvation to sinners; Secondly, of the pure spiritual worship of god by his saints; Thirdly, of the manifold wisdom of God and his glory, is to be made known by the churches throughout all ages, (Eph 3,9,10,11,21) and therefore the church of God, under the dispensation of the gospel, is called the Pillar of Truth, (1Ti 3:15) for the truth, as it is in Jesus, is born forth and declared thereby. As the edicts, and laws, and proclamations of the potentates, kings and princes of this world, are fixed upon pillars to be know and read of all men; so God’s truth, Christ’s laws, and all his holy ordinances, are given unto the churches, and are to be declared and administered in his churches visibly and publicly, to the glory and praise of God.