Page images
PDF
EPUB

prophetess, to teach and to seduce tribulation, except they repent my servants to commit fornica-l of their deeds. tion, and to eat things sacrificed 23 And I will kill her chilunto idols.

dren with death; and all the 21 And I gave her space to churches shall know that I am repent of her fornication, and he which searcheth the reins she repented not.

and hearts: and I will give 22 Behold, I will cast her unto every one of you accordinto a bed, and them that com- ing to your works. mit adultery with her into great

24 But unto you

I
say,

and church, the first among the duties being coupled as it is with eating impressed upon them seems to have " things sacrificed unto idols.” been, that they should abstain from 21. She repented not.

She was for. meats offered to idols;" Acts xv. 20, borne with, but she reformed not her 29. This prohibition was not given, life ; and she deserved, therefore, seprobably, because the church sup- vere punishment. posed the food was in itself rendered 22. Will cast her into a bed. - A injurious, but because the reception bed of affliction is intended, as the and constant use of it would lessen parallellism shows, to wit, “into the horror of idolatry, which all the great tribulation.” The style of the holy men of old had sedulously sought metaphor is kept up. Fornication to preserve in God's people. The was used metaphorically for heathenhope of redeeming the world from ish practices, and casting into a bed idolatry was vested in them. Every is put for being thrown into great barrier, therefore, to the ingress of tribulation. Nothing would save her that species of false religion was kept from this but a thorough reformation up. The influence of the Gentiles, at of life. their admission into the church, was 23. And I will kill her children with feared on these accounts. They were death. – Children seems here put for required, therefore, as a matter of followers. To kill with death is a great importance, that they should Hebraism, signifying utter, thorough not eat the food that had been con- death. Her name shall rot; her fol. nected with idolatrous sacrifices; see lowers shall die; and her punishment Acts xxi. 25. Paul did not regard shall be so signal and remarkable the eating of this food as vicious in that “all the churches shall know itself, but the influence of it was deci. that I am he which searcheth the dedly bad ; see the whole eighth chap- reins and hearts; and I will give ter of the 1st Epistle to the Corin- unto every one of you according to thians; see also same Epis. x. 19, your works.” Such was to be her 28. The influence of Jezebel, then, fate. | According to her rorks. was decidedly heathenish. The for- This is the principle on which divine nication mentioned was perhaps that retribution is inflicted, as we shall which was metaphorically so called ; take occasion to show in another for when the Jews worshipped the place, if our limits will allow ; see, idols of the heathen, they were said for our present purpose, Psa. Ixii. 12, to go a whoring after other gods; Jer. I. 29; Hos. xii. 2; Matt. xvi. 27; Exod. xxxiv. 15, 16; Lev. xx. 5, 6; Rom. ii. 6; 2 Cor. xi. 15; Rev. xx. Deut. xxxi. 16 ; Psa. Ixxiii. 27; Ezek. 12. Thus we see that the principle vi. 9. We are inclined to think this referred to is recognized both in the is the sense in which fornication is to Old Testament and the New. be understood in the case before us, 24. This doctrine. — Viz., the doc

unto the rest in Thyatira, As 26. And he that overcometh, many as have not this doctrine, and keepeth my works unto the and which have not known the end, to him will I give power depths of Satan, as they speak; over the nations : I will put upon you none other 27 (And he shall rule them burden :

with a rod of iron; as the ves25 But that which ye have sels of a potter shall they be already, hold fast till I come. broken to shivers :) even as I

matters.

trine of Jezebel, which she had taught. as referring to the coming of Christ They had suffered her to teach her for the destruction of the Jews, and errors, ver. 20, by which she had the judging of the nations according seduced God's servants to spiritual to their works. fornication, and led them to eat things 26. He that overcometh, to him will sacrificed to idols. Upon those in I give power over the nations. — You Thyatira who had not this doctrine, shall go out and propagate the gosGod would put no other burden than pel, and reign spiritually in the hearts that which he had already enjoined of men. upon them, viz., that of rooting the 27. Rod of iron.— The power of iniuence of Jezebel out of the church. the gospel shall break them in pieces, | Depths of Satan, as they speak. like a potter's vessel. This is eviThey, of course, did not acknowledge dently a quotation from the 21 Psalm, them to be depths of Satan; but they where it is said of Jesus that he shall called them depths, i. e., profound break the nations with a rod of iron,

The Greek word for depths (or iron sceptre,) and dash them in is not of very frequent occurrence pieces like a potter's vessel; and in the New Testament. It may be hence it is said in Revelation, “He found, Matt. xiii. 5; Mark iv. 5; shall rule them with a rod of iron; Luke v. 4; Rom. viii. 39 ; xi. 33. as the vessels of a potter shall they In 1 Cor. ii. 10, it is put for “the be broken to shivers.” | Even as I deep things of God.” See also 2 Cor. received of my Father. — Is not this a viii. 2; Eph. iii. 18. The heathen direct reference to the authority given boasted much of their deep mysteries, him in that Psalm? Wherein does which were connected with their idol- Jesus rule the nations and dash them atrous practices, and to this boasting in pieces? Not as an earthly monit seems probable the revelator refers. arch, but as a spiritual ruler. How

25. But that which ye have already. are the kingdoms of this world to – Viz., those things which had been become the kingdoms of our Lord and commended in them, — their works, his Christ? In what sense is Jesus their charity, their service, faith and to reign forever and ever? Not as an patience; ver. 19. They were di- outward prince. He reigned when in rected to hold these fast until the his flesh, in all his humility; he coming of the Son of man. Till I reigned even on the cross; yes, when

- This is the language Christ dying, he reigned with greater power employed to denote his coming at the than at any other time. His followdestruction of Jerusalem ; John xxi. ers shall reign with him; the saints 22, 23. “ The time was not far dis- shall judge the world, and overturn tant when they might expect this.” the ancient order of things, until Jesus -(Prof. Stuart.) See also the long shall be everywhere acknowledged. and valuable note of Dr. Hammond 28. The morning-star. - To get the on this place, who defines the end, sense here, observe that the Son of (ver. 26,) and the coming, (ver. 25,) God was encouraging the faithful

come.

received of my Father.

CHAPTER III. 28 And I will give him the morning-star. 29 He that hath an ear, let| A burunto the angel of the

write ; him hear what the Spirit saith These things saith he that hath unto the churches.

the seven Spirits of God, and Christians at Thyatira with the prom- xxi. 16. But even this glory he was ise that they should share the glories willing to share with his followers. and honors belonging to himself. He “I will give him that overcometh and shared the glories and honors of the keepeth my works unto the end,” i. e., Father, and they should share the unto the time when I come, “the glories and honors of the Son. Jesus morning-star.” “He shall share my said, when on earth, “And now, full glory, the glory which I had with O Father, glorify thou me with thine thee before the world was. I will own self, with the glory which I had clothe him with radiance like that of with thée before the world was ;” the morning-star.” John xvii. 5. This primitive glory 29. He that hath an ear. -See the might be called the glory of the morn- notes on verses 7, 11, 17. ing-stars, because it was when the foundations of the earth were laid,

CHAPTER III. that “the morning-stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for

EPISTLE TO THE CHURCH IN SARDIS. joy ;' Job xxxviii. 6, 7. The same 1. Angel.— The angel of the church glory was to be shared by Christ's was its minister, or presiding officer. faithful followers. “Father, I will see the notes on ii. 1, 8, 12, 18. Paul that they also whom thou hast given was an angel of God; Gal. iv. 14. me be with me where I am; that | Sardis. - In the Scriptures we find they may behold my glory which thou Sardis mentioned only by the revehast given me: for thou lovedst me lator ; i. 11; iii. 1, 4. It was an before the foundation of the world;" ancient city of Lydia, the capital of John xvii. 24. And the glory which the monarch of the country. It was thou gavest me, I have given them; situated at the foot of Mt. Tmolus, that they may be one, even as we are on the river Pactolus, which run one;" Idem. 22. Hence Jesus prom. through the place. It was a city of ised to his followers, that they should great wealth, Cræsus the rich being reign with him in his kingdom, and one of the Lydian kings; and the like him sway the nations with an influences which were exerted here iron sceptre. Their glory should be were almost altogether unfavorable like his glory. Daniel, whose style to the prosperity of Christianity. A the revelator closely imitates, had miserable village called Sart is now said, “They that be wise, shall shine found on the site of this once famous as the brightness of the firmament; city. The seat of royalty, of wealth, and they that turn many to righteous- of human greatness, we ought not to ness, as the stars forever and ever;" be surprised to learn that the gospel xii. 3. In chap. i. 16, it had been declined more rapidly here than in said of the Son of man, “his coun- either of the seven churches. | Seven tenance was as the sun shineth in spirits of God. — We have largely his strength.” The Christians were considered this form of expression called “the light of the world ;” Matt. under ch. i. 4, to which we refer. It v. 14. Jesus, being preëminently the is not designed to represent God as light of the church, called himself septiform; but the figure is drawn “the bright and morning-star;" Rev. I from the customs of ancient mon

the seven stars; I know thy are ready to die; for I have not works, that thou hast a name, found thy works perfect before that thou livest, and art dead. God.

2 Be watchful and strengthen 3 Remember therefore how the things which remain, that thou hast received and heard,

archs, who kept seven confidential lost its first love. To this Paul seems ministers or agents continually near to refer, when he says to the same their persons. Seven stars. — The church, " Awake, thou that sleepest, Son of God held the seven stars in his and rise from the dead ;" Eph. vi. right hand. See the notes on i. 16. | 14. This is the same figure; but the This description is intended to show church at Ephesus was not so thorthat it is the same glorious personage oughly paralyzed as that at Sardis. who addresses this church that had 2. Strengthen the things which readdressed John, as described in chap. main. - As though he had said, i. He is scarcely described to either “ Your case is not utterly desperate. two of the churches under the same You may yet recover from your fallsimilitude ; but yet the description is en state. Be watchful, strengthen such to every one, that it is evident the things that remain, and those that the same personage was intended in are ready to die. I have not found all the cases. I know thy works. - thy works what they ought to have I know what thou hast done, and been in the sight of God; but thou what thou art doing; I know fully mayest with diligence recover thy thy character. [Livest and art dead. former estate."

- Thou hast the credit of having life, 3. How thou hast received and heard. but thou art dead. This was a deeper - That is, remember the manner in abasement than was ascribed to either which thou hast received and heard of the other of the seven churches. the gospel; remember what advan. This church maintained the form of tages thou hast enjoyed; the effect religion, and professed to adhere to which the preaching of the gospel Christ, but its spiritual life was near- had upon thee, when first thou didst ly extinct. Life and death are used hear it. | Hold fast. — Hold fast by the sacred writers metaphorically. that which remains. Let thy Chris. There is no figure more common in tian character no further die. Hold the Scriptures. We meet with it in fast to the profession of thy faith, and the account of the transgression of let thy works honor the name of our first parents, and it is continued, Christ. | Repent. Repentance is with more or less frequency, through put here for a change of habits, a the entire Bible. “She that liveth in reformation of life. Too many suppleasure is dead while she liveth ;” pose that repentance is an act to be 1 Tim. v. 6. See, also, John xi. 25, performed once for all, in a man's 26; 1 John iii. 14 ; Jude 12. The life, - a change of views and feel. fact here stated is so generally known, ings. But we are persuaded it sig. that we need not make further refer- nifies here a reformation of life,

The church in Sardis had a turning away from what had been name to live, i. e., it professed to have condemned in the church in Sardis, spiritual life, and perhaps was re- and a change to newness of life. garded by the world as possessing it; As a thief. – But if thou wilt not but in the sight of Him who knew watch, I will come in judgment upon what was in man,” there was little thee; thou shalt be recompensed acor no life in that church. It was cording to thy works. The comparidead. The church at Ephesus was son, to come as a thief,” was one charged by the revelator as having / which our Lord and his apostles fre

-a

ences.

come.

and hold fast, and repent. If sand thou shalt not know what therefore thou shalt not watch, hour I will come upon thee. I will come on thee as a thief, 4 Thou hast a few names quently used to show the manner of trivial. For instance, in interpreting his coming. This is the first time the parable of the good Samaritan, we have met with it in the Apoca-|(Luke x.,) which was designed merely lypse. It is a very striking one, if to show that our benevolence should we understand it with due limitations, not be confined to our friends, our and obtain the precise idea which the countrymen, or the professors of the revelator intended to convey. The same religion, the interpreters referthief comes at night, when men are red to must have a spiritual meaning asleep, and are off their watch. He for Jerusalem ; for Jericho; for the is more likely to come, too, at an thieves; for stripping the wounded hour when he is not expected. It man; for leaving him half dead; was for these reasons that our Lord for the priest; for the Levite; for compared his own coming to that of their passing by on the other side ; a thief.

6 Watch, therefore; for ye for the oil, and wine, with which the know not what hour your Lord doth Samaritan bathed the wounds; for

But know this, that if the the inn; and for the beast on which good man of the house had known in he bore the sufferer thereto. There what watch the thief would come, he can scarcely be anything more fatal would have watched, and would not to truth, than such a manner of inhave suffered his house to be broken terpreting the symbolical language up. Therefore, be ye also ready: for in of the Scriptures. In the case before such an hour as ye think not, the Son us, the point to be illustrated was, of man cometh ;' Matt. xxiv. 42– that our Lord would come in an hour 44. Paul uses the same comparison, when he was not looked for, and 1 Thess. v. 2, 4; and Peter uses it, 2 when men 'were asleep. This was Epis. iii. 10. It will appear still sufficient to justify the comparison, more striking, if we consider the state and to lead him to represent himself of the church at Sardis at this time. as being about to come like a thief in They were not watchful. They had the night. But, if we push the apfallen into a state like profound sleep, plication to all points, we could proor spiritual death; they were expos- ceed to show that our Lord came to ed, therefore, to be taken unawares steal, to kill, and to destroy, (for this by the approaching judgment; or, as is the purpose for which thieves genit is said in the verse, “ Thou shalt erally come,) than which nothing not know what hour I will come upon could be further from the truth. We thee.” We see, by the figure before see, then, that much discretion is to us, the utter folly of pushing the be used in the application of scripScripture metaphors and comparisons tural similitudes; and that there is too far. When we have ascertained more need of sound judgment to aid the one object which the writer had us in that matter, than of a vivid in view in using the figure, that is fancy. sufficient. We are not to push the 4. A few names. - Names are put comparison to every point. Readers for persons. Nothing is more comof the Bible, ay, and preachers too, mon in the Old Testament than the sometimes carry out a comparison at use of the word name for Jehovah, all points. They think their duty is his person, his nature, his statutes. to get as much truth as possible out To praise, or call on the name of the of the Bible. Hence, in the parables Lord, was to praise, or call on God of the New Testament, they must find himself. To trust in the name of the a meaning for everything, however | Lord was to trust in Him. So, the

« PreviousContinue »