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seen, generally refers to martyrdom in this Book. 'Evianoa, the historical aorist “ I have overcome” refers back to our Lord's death on the cross. “To him that shall overcome" in that sense is, to him who dies for the faith, or at least who suffers violence for the faith. Apparently a period of persecution is indicated, see TW vik@VTI, R. ii. 7, iii. 5, notes.
The promised reward is "to sit with me in my throne as I ... have sat with my Father in his throne.” In describing the New Jerusalem, the reward of the just, at the end of Revelation, we are told “the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it” (R. xxii. 3). The throne of God and of His saints, (O vik@v), comes into view in the next Chapter.
22. “Ο έχων ούς ακουσάτω τί το Πνεύμα λέγει ταϊς εκκλησίαις. .
22. He that hath an ear let him hear what the Spirit saith to the Churches.
The name of Laodicea has passed into bye-word. It is extremely interesting to note, therefore, that the local Church of Laodicea, in Asia Minor, so far from being the worst of the local Churches, was one of the best, if not the best of the seven. Here we are on historic ground. Something is known of the Church of Laodicea.
S. Paul in his Epistle to the Colossians, iv. 15, 16, puts that Church and the Church of Laodicea on a par, as regards religious zeal, in the year 62. The two Churches were only eleven miles apart. He was well pleased with the Colossians. Apparently he was equally pleased with the Laodiceans. So far from censuring the latter_Church, he encourages intercourse with it, and says that Epaphras had much labour for Laodicea.
In later years Laodicea rose to a high position amongst the Churches of Asia Minor. In Hastings's “Dictionary of the Bible” we read of Laodicea that “it was the leading bishopric of Phrygia throughout the Christian period.”
Melito, Bishop of Sardis about A.D. 170, relates that when Servius Paulus was proconsul of Asia, Sagaris suffered martyrdom. Polycrates, Bishop of Ephesus, calls him “Sagaris, bishop and martyr, who rests at Laodicea" (Euseb. iv. 26, and v. 24). The Church of Laodicea is frequently mentioned by Eusebius, Bishop of Cæsarea A.D. 310, in his “Ecclesiastical History.” Thelymidus was Bishop of Laodicea, A.D. 251-254, and Eusebius 254-260. He says that the Church of Laodicea was governed by
(another) Eusebius, an Alexandrian. “He was also an amiable instance of religion among our contemporaries, as may be. readily seen in those extracts from Dionysius, which we have inserted above. ...” “Anatolius was appointed his successor, a good man, as they say, in the place of the good” (H. E. vii. 32).
Heliodorus of Laodicea is also mentioned as one of “the more distinguished Bishops of the third century" (H. E. vii. 5).
Laodicea was represented at the Council of Nicea by its bishop, Nounechios, A.D. 325. Later in the fourth century, A.D. 360, a council was held at Laodicea, showing it to have been, at that time, the leading Church of the province. The canons of this council, or synod, are still quoted by theologians with great respect.
The city of Eumenia, one of the Laodicean group, was so thoroughly Christian at the beginning of the fourth century that the great body of the people and magistrates alike took refuge in the Church in Diocletian's persecution, and were burnt alive. Apameia, another city of the Laodicean circuit, according to Ramsay, had a like fate.
All the warnings addressed to the Angels of the Churches, in each age, conclude with an exhortation to hear what the Spirit saith to the Churches, tais ekranoiais-plural. Showing that the Spirit warns not the Bishop of a single Church, but of the Catholic or Universal Church.
Reviewing these Letters we may note (1) that the Churches they are nominally addressed to do not correspond with them ; (2) that the first six Letters correspond accurately with the six ages of the Catholic Church, whose history we know; (3) that the dead Churches of Asia cannot be those in whose midst our Lord keeps guard, and whose Bishops He holds in His right hand. It follows that these Letters, in the ipsissima verba of God, were symbolically addressed by Him to the Chief Bishops of His Universal Church, through His chosen Prophet of the New Law-S. John. Hence, “Behold I come quickly” is written on the wall as "a sign” to us.
It is not for us to venture an opinion as to whether the Laodicean age has begun, or not. One age glides insensibly into the next, and though they are distinct enough, viewed in perspective, they are not generally recognised by those living on the stage of life. It is not given to man to know when the last age will end. “But of that day and hour no one knoweth, no not the angels of heaven, but the Father alone" (Matt. xxiv. 36). See 1 Thess. V. 1-3, 1 Cor. xv. 52. The prophet Daniel foretold of the last days, “ Many shall pass over and knowledge shall be manifold.” “Many shall be chosen, and made white, and shall be tried by fire: and the wicked shall deal wickedly : and none of the wicked shall understand, but the learned shall understand” (xii, 1, 4, 10).
S. Paul says, “ Now the Spirit manifestly saith that in the last times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to spirits of error and doctrines of devils” (1 Tim. iv. I). S. Peter says, “In the last days there shall come deceitful scoffers, walking after their own lusts, saying: Where is his promise, or his coming ? for since the time that the fathers slept, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation” (2 Pet. iii. 3, 4). Again, our Lord said, “ And as it came to pass in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man. They did eat and drink, they married wives, and were given in marriage. ..." “ Likewise as it came to pass in the days of Lot: They did eat and drink, they bought and sold, they planted and built. And in the day that Lot went out of Sodom, it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all. Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man shall be revealed " (Luke xvii. 26-30).
S. John says, “ Little children, it is the last hour : and as you have heard that Antichrist cometh, even now there are become many Antichrists: whereby we know that it is the last hour” (1 Jhn. ii. 18). He explains further what he means by Antichrist. “And every spirit that dissolveth Jesus is not of God, and this is Antichrist, of whom you have heard that he cometh” (1 Jhn. iv. 3). One of the surest signs of the seventh and last age of the Church will be a wide-spread denial of the Divinity of Jesus Christ, and that, too, apparently, by persons calling themselves Christians. Even now there are ominous signs that the work of " dissolving Jesus” has begun.
It is a remarkable fact that the present Angel of the Churches, Pope Pius X., has taken for his motto, “Restore all things to Christ."
THE JEWISH THEME
Ι. Μετά ταύτα είδον, και ιδού θύρα ήνεωγμένη εν τω ουρανώ, και η φωνή η πρώτη ήν ήκουσα ως σάλπιγγος λαλούσης μετ' εμού, λέγων Ανάβα ώδε, και δείξω σοι και δει γενέσθαι μετά ταύτα. .
1. After these things I saw and behold, a door open in heaven ; and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet, speaking with me, saying : Come up hither, and I will show thee the things which must be done hereafter.
“ After these things," that is, after writing the warnings to the Seven Churches, s. John saw a door opened in heaven. How long after he does not say. But yetà taūta signifies an interval of time, and marks a new departure in the Book, as at R. vii. 1, xv. 5, and xviii. 1. The imagery of the opening in heaven is Hebraic. So Ezechiel begins his vision of the throne of God, “The heavens were opened and I saw the visions of God” (Ezech. i. I). A“ door” is opened in heaven for S. John because it is said to him “Come up hither." He heard the first voice, “as of a trumpet," the same trumpet voice which told him, “What thou seest write in a book and send to the seven Churches ” (R. i. 10, 11). The voice adds, “I will show thee the things which must be done.” “After these things," metà tauta, again. S. John was commissioned to write these things in a Book, at Ř. i. 11. Must be done predicts certainties. “Was” in the English version obscures the connection between this passage and R. i. 10. It is not in the Greek, nor in the Vulgate, which runs, Vox prima quam audivi, tanquam tubæ loquentis mecum. This connection shows that Parts III. and IV. of the Book were, equally with the Letters, intended for the Seven Churches of Asia. “Hereafter" has a wide range. It is limited only in point of time by the Revelation visions, which extend to the day of Judgment.
2. Και ευθέως εγενόμην εν πνεύματι και ιδού θρόνος έκειτο έν τω ουρανώ, και επί του θρόνου καθήμενος.
2. And immediately I was in the spirit, and behold there was a throne set in heaven, and upon the throne one sitting.
(S. omits the first Każ, and writes tòv Opóvov.)
“And immediately I was in the Spirit" marks a second rapture. Apparently the warnings to the Seven Churches were written in manuscript in the interval between the trances. Το be wrapt in a trance in the Spirit precludes the idea of sitting down with pen, ink, and paper. In the second ecstasy the Seer was called up to heaven. He received a fresh inspiration, and relates the vision of God and of His throne. This magnificent vision is the prelude to the prophecies relating to the Church and the world, contained in the rest of the Book. The Seer now begins to employ symbolic language of his own, derived in part from Ezechiel. “The likeness of the throne was a likeness as of the appearance of a man above upon it" (Ezech. i. 26). The heavens and the throne are connected by Isaias, “Thus saith the Lord, Heaven is my throne" (lxvi. I). See also Matt., “Neither by heaven, for it is the throne of God" (v. 34). “One sitting" the omnipotent God (ó eòs ó Tavtokpátwp=R. iv. 8), whose ineffable name we know not.
3. Και ο καθήμενος όμοιος οράσει λίθω ιάσπιδι και σαρδίω, και τρις κυκλόθεν του θρόνου όμοιος οράσει σμαραγδίνω. .
3. And he that sat was to the sight like the jasper and the sardine stone ; and there was a rainbow round about the throne, in sight like unto an emerald.
This revelation of the Godhead by S. John to his fellow servants in the first century is naturally couched in Hebraic symbolism. The jasper, the sardine stone and the emerald were worn in the breastplate of the high priest of the Temple (Exod. xxviii. 17, 20). They may have had some special Hebrew significance. In the vision of heaven at the end of the Book we have its light as of jasper stone, Its first foundation jasper, the fourth an emerald, the sixth a sardius (R. xxi. II, 19, 20).
The jasper of the Apocalypse is not the opaque crystalline silica called jasper now. It seems to have been a translucent rock crystal. Semper translucens Pliny calls it (H. N. xxxvii, 115). The cápôrov, or "sardine stone,” according to Dr. Swete,