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Poole on Revelation 7:2: Angel Ascending from the East

Verse 2:[1] And I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God: and he cried with a loud voice to the four angels, to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea…

[I saw the other, etc., ἄλλον, etc.] Another Angel (Beza, Piscator), namely, a good one, for those in verse 1 were evil (Piscator on verse 1). He was, either, 1. Elijah, who ascends from the east, for he was to be sent by God and Christ, the sun of righteousness, Malachi 4 (Gagnæus); or, 2. Constantine the Great (Aureolus[2] and Lyra in Beza, Brightman), who, made Emperor by the appointment of the sun of righteousness, conquered tyrants, and gave peace to the Church (Lyra in Cluverus). Or, 3. an Angel, greater and of the first rank (Pererius, Grotius), one of those seven, concerning which it has often been spoken (Ribera). Or, 4. Christ Himself (Zegers, Pareus, Forbes, Cluverus, Durham, Gravius, Ambrose and Primasius and Bede and others in Pererius), the Angel of the covenant, Malachi 3:1, 2 (Cluverus, thus Forbes, Durham), who is simply called the Angel, as in Exodus 23:20 compared with 1 Corinthians 10:4, 9; Acts 7:30, 31; Revelation 8:3 (Cluverus), who also is Michael, Revelation 12 (Durham). This is clear from His distinctive qualities and activity, as we shall see (Forbes). His it is to protect the elect, that they might not perish, John 10:28 (Durham). He alone prevails to be the keeper and administrator of the Seal of God (Cotterius, similarly Durham, Forbes): He alone also was sealed by the Father, John 6:27, and seals others, giving life to whom He will, John 5:21 (Forbes): He alone accurately knows the servants of God, proving the hearts and reins of them: in Him alone we are sealed by the Spirit, etc., 2 Corinthians 1:22; Ephesians 1:13, 14 (Cluverus). But to this opinion is objected, 1. the duty of sealing, which appears to be unworthy of the highest majesty of Christ: 2. that expression, let us seal,[3] which shows that companions were given to him in this ministry of sealing: 3. that expression, of our God: for Christ would have said, of my God, as in John 20:17 (Pererius): 4. that Christ is the lamb opening the Seal (certain interpreters). Response: We showed in Revelation 5:2 that there is nothing unusual in that diverse persons by a diverse rationale in this Dramatic revelation represent one and the same person. Moreover, that sealer in Ezekiel 9, by the consent of all, was Christ (Pareus). [Therefore, this is not unworthy of Christ.] Whether this was Christ, or His angel, comes to the same thing (Pareus).

[Ascending (why not rather descending from heaven unto the four angels that were over the four corners of the earth [Ribera]? Response: He is said to ascend, either, 1. because he was rising, as it were, with the sun, and he appears to ascend unto the horizon, in which was John [Menochius]: Or, 2. because He was in the earth with men, whose care He was managing; and He was raised unto a height, so that He might be seen and heard by the four Angels, as well as by men: Which appears to be nothing other than that at that time it was going to be known to all the elect that they were going to be preserved by the providence of God, lest they should perish with the rest who are to be damned [Ribera]) from the rising of the sun] Thence He ascends, for He brings and conveys light and prosperity to men (Ribera, similarly Menochius); He dawns upon all, Titus 2:11, sitting in darkness, etc., Luke 1:78; like the rising sun, He vivifies and brightens all things, 2 Samuel 23:4; Isaiah 60:1, 2 (Cluverus); accordingly, through His advent they are preserved unto eternal life, unto which at that time they are most certainly called and sealed (Ribera). Others: from the rising,[4] that is, from Christ, who is called ἀνατολὴ, the dayspring, Luke 1:78.[5] For that reason Christians were praying toward the East (Grotius). Those that were baptized were standing turned toward the East, and thence they were receiving the Seal of God (Mede’s Works 563). Others: from the rising, etc., that is, proceeding from the first Origin of the entire day (Zegers). This is a symbol of a favorable event, namely, of the protection of the elect (Piscator). Inasmuch as Christ ascended, this denotes His coming into His Temple. Now, He comes from the East (Forbes), either, 1. because from Judea and Jerusalem He dawns upon the world, Psalm 50:2; Isaiah 41:25 (Cluverus); or, 2. as our Morning Star and Sun of righteousness, from whom is all light and life and consolation (Forbes, Durham). Or, 3. so that He might be declared to be the Prince (Forbes), and the King of the Church (Durham); since He alone was entering and exiting the Temple through the East gate, Ezekiel 44:2, 3 (Forbes, Durham), whence also waters were flowing,[6] etc. Neither was it lawful for the people to enter the Temple without the Prince, etc. All which signify that no light ought to be brought into the Temple, that no doctrine ought to flow from the Temple, except that of the Prince alone. Now, in those final chapters of Ezekiel, the magnificent state of the Church is delineated in legal types (Forbes).

[Having the seal, etc., σφραγῖδα, etc.] The Signet, or Seal (by which seals are impressed [Ribera]: a Symbol of election [Piscator]) of the living God (Beza, Piscator, Zegers, etc.), that is, upon which the name of God was engraved: see Revelation 14:1 (Piscator). God is here called living, both, so that His power might be shown; and, because at that time He will give the life of grace to a great many (Ribera). He is said to have the seal, etc., that is, to carry commissions from the King, as the highest ministers of Kings are wont to do: [for] σφραγὶς, a seal, through Synecdoche denotes a Royal decree, for such decrees are wont to be sealed (Grotius). It shows that He immediately and most nearly under God has the power of exempting men from calamities. This corresponds to the keys of the house of David, which were committed to Him[7] (Durham). This designates the inviolable authority of the Christian faith, by which Christ fortifies His own against all harmful Angels (Zegers). It denotes the power that Christ has to select the Elect and to raise them glorious unto eternal life. For that life-giving glory will distinguish the Impious from the Pious, just as an impressed Seal distinguishes things (Cotterius). Others: This Seal is, both, internal, namely, the spirit of adoption, which Christ both has, Galatians 4:6; 1 Peter 1:11, and grants to us, Acts 2:33, which is given only to the faithful servants of Christ, Romans 8:9, 14, 15; 2 Corinthians 1:22; 1 John 4:13; and, external, that is, the profession of the name of God, and the seal of the righteousness of faith,[8] etc. (Cluverus). This Seal is explained in 2 Timothy 2:19 (Pareus, similarly Piscator, Cluverus). He has this seal, both, essentially (Forbes), for He is the image of the invisible God, etc., Hebrews 1:3 (Forbes, Pareus), having life in Himself, etc., John 5:26; and, so that He might seal others with the Spirit of promise, Ephesians 1:13, and of sanctification, 2 Timothy 2:19 (Forbes). Now, He seals the elect, both, because they were chosen in Him, Ephesians 1:4, and, because by faith He forgives them by faith, justifies, regenerates, sanctifies, and seals with the earnest of the Spirit. Now, these things are not proper to a created Angel, but to God. Therefore, the Angel here is Christ the Mediator (Pareus).

[He cried with a great voice] This shows, 1. His authority (Cluverus, Durham), and His efficacious rule (Cotterius): 2. His solicitude (Forbes, Durham), and the zeal of love for His people (Cluverus); or, His great passion for the salvation of men, and that what He was crying was made known to the elect, with God inspiring them internally (Ribera). 3. The magnitude of the danger (Durham), or of the calamity (Forbes), which He wished to be prevented (Forbes, Durham).

[To the Angels] To the same four that were previously indicated (Grotius).

[To whom it was given (namely, by releasing the winds which they had restrained [Mede’s Works 563]) to wrong/harm (namely, with injury, as ἀδικεῖν is everywhere used [Cluverus]: Others: the word ἀδικεῖν is taken improperly, concerning which see Revelation 2:11;[9] 6:6[10] [Grotius]) the earth and the sea] Here, the trees come under the earth, for, with the latter hurt, the former are also hurt (Cotterius). God is also wont to make use of the work of Angels in the punishing of the impious, Genesis 19:21; 2 Samuel 24:16; 2 Kings 19:35 (Grotius).

Another angel: By this other angel, some understand an angel by nature; some, a man, Elijah, or Constantine; others, Christ himself, called an Angel, Exodus 23:20. It is not much material whether we by this angel understand Christ, or some angel which he made his instrument. He gives a command to those four angels, whom God had made the ministers or executioners of his wrath and justice in the world.

[1] Greek: καὶ εἶδον ἄλλον ἄγγελον ἀναβαίνοντα ἀπὸ ἀνατολῆς ἡλίου, ἔχοντα σφραγῖδα Θεοῦ ζῶντος· καὶ ἔκραξε φωνῇ μεγάλῃ τοῖς τέσσαρσιν ἀγγέλοις, οἷς ἐδόθη αὐτοῖς ἀδικῆσαι τὴν γῆν καὶ τὴν θάλασσαν. [2] Peter Auriol (c. 1280-1322) was a Franciscan philosopher and theologian; he served as Archbishop of Aix-en-Provence. He is best known for his Scriptum super Primum Sententiarum, a massive commentary on Sentences of Peter Lombard. [3] Verse 3. [4] Greek: ἀπὸ ἀνατολῆς ἡλίου. [5] Luke 1:78: “Through the tender mercy of our God; whereby the dayspring (ἀνατολὴ) from on high hath visited us…” [6] Ezekiel 47. [7] Revelation 3:7. [8] Romans 4:11. [9] Revelation 2:11: “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; He that overcometh shall not be hurt (οὐ μὴ ἀδικηθῇ) of the second death.” [10] Revelation 6:6: “And I heard a voice in the midst of the four beasts say, A measure of wheat for a penny, and three measures of barley for a penny; and seethou hurt not (μὴ ἀδικήσῃς) the oil and the wine.”

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