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church in Thyatira write; These things saith the Son of God, who hath his eyes like unto a flame of fire, and his feet are like fine brass; 19 I know thy works, and charity, and service, and faith,
and thy patience, and thy works; and the last to be more than the first : - 20 Notwithstanding, I have a few things against thee, because thou sufferest that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a
belonged to Thyatira. The modern name of it is Akhissar. Smith and Dwight, the American missionaries at Armenia, state that its aspect is poor and mean, that it has of late been built up of wood, and that it probably has not more than five thousand inhabitants, of whom fifteen hundred may be Greeks. Mr. Elliott, in his Travels, gives a more favorable account, and represents the inhabitants to be nearly double the number given above. Perhaps, says McCulloch, the truth may lie between these conflicting statements. T Son of God. — This is the only instance of this phrase in the Apocalypse. We find i. expression in all the New Testament; but no writer employs it so often as John ; see Gos. i. 34; iii. 18; v. 25; ix. 35; x. 36; xi. 4; xix. 7; xx. 31; 1 Epis. iii. 8; iv. 15; v.
5, 10, 13, 20. By the use of this h
phrase in the case before us, we are distinctly told that the glorious personage mentioned in chapter i. as being “like the Son of man,” was the Lord Jesus Christ. Compare i. 14, 15, with ii. 18. This will verify the fact completely. In both cases his eyes are said to be as flames of fire, and his feet as fine brass. 19. I know thy norks. – It will be seen that norks are twice referred to in this verse. We think the sense of the verse is this: “I know thy works in general, - thy charity, thine administering to others, thy faith, thy patience,—these are thy works. * And the last more than the first.— Two seasons are here referred to, viz., the season before, and the season during, tribulation. In the last, the church at Thyatira appeared to more advantage than in the first. This
was an excellent commendation, and was the reverse of what was said to the church at Ephesus, verses 4, 5. Still the church at Thyatira was not perfect. Their last state, on the whole, was better than the first, but it was not wholly without fault. 20. That roman Jezebel. — The Jezebel, by way of distinction, was the wife of Ahab, mentioned in the 1st and 2d books of Kings. She led her husband into idolatry, slew the prophets of the true God, entertained the prophets of Baal, in great numbers, at her own table, and at last came to a miserable death. She was a woman of great impurities. The name Jezebel occurs only once in the Apocalypse. It is not probable there was a person at Thyatira by that name; but it is used metaphorically, either for some corrupt woman who ad so great an influence in the church that she could not be expelled, or for a body of false teachers. As the Jezebel mentioned by the revelator is said to have claimed to be “a prophetess,” she was probably some influential female, called by that name, because her character and influence were like those of Jezebel of olden time, exceedingly bad. She seduced God's servants to commit fornication, which may be understood literally or metaphorically, for unfaithfulness to God, and impurity in the matter of faith. T Eat things sacrificed unto idols. – Among other vices she seduced God's servants to eat things sacrificed unto idols. This has been before mentioned as one of the errors of Balaam; see ver, 14. When the early Christians became convinced that it was the purpose of God to receive the Gentiles into the
prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols. 21 And I gave her space to repent of her fornication, and she repented not. 22 Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great
tribulation, except they repent of their deeds. p y repe 23 And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works. 24 But unto you I say, and
church, the first among the duties impressed upon them seems to have been, that they should “abstain from meats offered to idols;” Acts xv. 20, 29. This prohibition was not given, probably, because the church sup
Osed the food was in itself rendered injurious, but because the reception and constant use of it would lessen the horror of idolatry, which all the holy men of old had sedulously sought to preserve in God's people. The hope of redeeming the world from idolatry was vested in them. Every barrier, therefore, to the ingress of that species of false religion was kept up. The influence of the Gentiles, at their admission into the church, was feared on these accounts. They were required, therefore, as a matter of great importance, that they should not eat the food that had been connected with idolatrous sacrifices; see Acts xxi. 25. Paul did not regard the eating of this food as vicious in itself, but the influence of it was decidedly bad; see the whole eighth chapter of the 1st Epistle to the Corinthians; see also same Epis. x., 19, 28. The influence of Jezebel, then, was decidedly heathenish. The fornication mentioned was perhaps that which was metaphorically so called; for when the Jews worshipped the idols of the heathen, they were said to go a whoring after other gods; Exod. xxxiv. 15, 16; Lev. xx. 5, 6; Deut. xxxi. 16; Psa. lxxiii. 27; Ezek. vi. 9. We are inclined to think this is the sense in which fornication is to be understood in the case before us,
being coupled as it is with eating “things sacrificed unto idols.” 21. She repented not.—She was forborne with, but she reformed not her life; and she deserved, therefore, severe punishment. 22. Will cast her into a bed. — A bed of affliction is intended, as the parallellism shows, to wit, “ into great tribulation.” The style of the metaphor is kept up. Fornication was used metaphorically for heathenish practices, and casting into a bed is put for being thrown into great tribulation. Nothing would save her from this but a thorough reformation of life. 23. And I will kill her children orith death. — Children seems here put for followers. To kill with death is a Hebraism, signifying utter, thorough death. Her name shall rot; her fol. lowers shall die; and her punishment shall be so signal and remarkable that “all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts; and I will give unto every one of you according to your works.” Such was to be her fate. T According to her n:orks. – This is the principle on which divine retribution is inflicted, as we shall take occasion to show in another place, if our limits will allow ; see, for our present purpose, Psa. lxii. 12; Jer, 1.29; Hos. xii. 2; Matt. xvi. 27; Rom. ii. 6; 2 Cor. xi. 15; Rev. xx. 12. Thus we see that the principle referred to is recognized both in the Old Testament and the New. 24. This doctrine. —Wiz., the doc
unto the rest in Thyatira, As many as have not this doctrine, and which have not known the depths of Satan, as they speak; I will put upon you none other burden: 25 But that which ye have already, hold fast till I come.
26 And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations:
27 (And he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers :) even as I
trine of Jezebel, which she had taught. They had suffered her to teach her errors, ver. 20, by which she had seduced God's servants to spiritual fornication, and led them to eat things sacrificed to idols. Upon those in Thyatira who had not this doctrine, God would put no other burden than that which he had already enjoined upon them, viz., that of rooting the influence of Jezebel out of the church. * Depths of Satan, as they speak. — They, of course, did not acknowledge them to be depths of Satan; but they called them depths, i. e., profound matters. The Greek word for depths is not of very frequent occurrence in the New Testament. It may be found, Matt. xiii. 5; Mark iv. 5; Luke v. 4; Rom. viii. 39; xi. 33. In 1 Cor. ii. 10, it is put for “the deep things of God.” See also 2 Cor. viii. 2; Eph. iii. 18. The heathen boasted much of their deep mysteries, which were connected with their idolatrous practices, and to this boasting it seems probable the revelator refers.
25. But that nihich ye have already. — Viz., those things which had been commended in them, - their works, their charity, their service, faith and patience; ver, 19. They were directed to hold these fast until the coming of the Son of man. "I Till I come. — This is the language Christ employed to denote his coming at the destruction of Jerusalem; John xxi. 22, 23. “The time was not far distant when they might expect this.” - *. Stuart.) See also the long and valuable note of Dr. Hammond on this place, who defines the end, (ver. 26,) and the coming, (ver. 25,)
as referring to the coming of Christ for the destruction of the Jews, and the judging of the nations according to their works. 26. He that overcometh, to him mill I give poner over the nations.—You shall go out and propagate the gospel, and reign spiritually in the hearts of men. 27. Rod of iron. — The power of the gospel shall break them in pieces, like a potter's vessel. This is evidently a quotation from the 2d Psalm, where it is said of Jesus that he shall break the nations with a rod of iron, (or iron sceptre,) and dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel; and hence it is said in Revelation, “He shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers.” I Even as I received of my Father. —Is not this a direct reference to the authority given him in that Psalm ? Wherein does Jesus rule the nations and dash them in pieces? Not as an earthly monarch, but as a spiritual ruler. How are the kingdoms of this world to become the kingdoms of our Lord and his Christ Ž In what sense is Jesus to reign forever and ever? Not as an outward prince. He reigned when in his flesh, in all his humility; he reigned even on the cross; yes, when dying, he reigned with greater power than at any other time. His followers shall reign with him; the saints shall judge the world, and overturn the ancient order of things, until Jesus shall be everywhere acknowledged. 28. The morning-star. — To get the sense here, observe that the Son of God was encouraging the faithful
give thee a crown of life.
11 He that hath an ear, let
crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye |. crown] in the presence of our
ord Jesus Christ at his coming 2* He then answers, “Ye ARE our glory and joy.” See 1 Thess. ii. 19, 20. The converts made to Christ through Paul's instrumentality were an honor and glory and joy to him — they were His crowN. When he drew towards the end of life, he reflected more deeply upon this crown. , Christ, he thought, would confirm it to him ; and sanction his claim to honor in the church. “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth, there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, shall give me at that day, and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing;” 2 Tim. iv. 7, 8. His crown was his faithfulness and the success of his labors in the church — these were glory and honor to him. He could not be deprived of that crown. True, it was not then so generally acknowledged an honor to be a faithful Christian as it was afterwards, when Christ came to exalt his church, and cast down his foes; —and hence it is said, the Lord would give it to him at that day. Peter said to the elders, “When the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.” This was certainly on the earth, where the chief Shepherd appeared; and when he came, the merits of his followers were made manifest. The term “crown of life” is to be explained on the principles here laid down : it was the dignity, glory, honor of the Christian life; which would be made to appear to be truly glorious and honorable at the coming of the Lord, when every man should be rewarded according to his works. And if any man died before the coming of Christ, he would not lose the crown, provided he remained faithful unto death. Paul, Peter, and the
rest of the apostles, Stephen, and many others, wear this crown of life now. We see it on their heads; it is radiant with glory, like a crown of stars; it can never fade away. Paul tells us explicitly when he expected to have this crown. “Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, shall give me (when 2) at that day; and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.” Here are two circumstances which assist us to a right understanding of the subject, viz., the phrase that day, and the appearing of Christ. He says, in another place, that God shall judge the quick and the dead (i.e., those who were dead in sins and those who had been quickened out of their sins; see Eph. ii. 1) “at his appearing and his kingdom;” 2 Tim. iv. 1. Does not this language evidently apply to Christ's appearing in power to set up his kingdom at the end of the law? It was then that Christ was to judge men; see Matt. xvi. 27; Mark viii. 38; ix. 1. And that event certainly was to take place during the lifetime of some who were on the earth when the Saviour spake; Matt. xvi. 28. His appearing then took place. “Then shall appear the sign of the Son of
man in heaven;” Matt. xxiv. 30. And in order to impress on those who listened, the solemn fact that the appearing would take place in that generation, Jesus adds, ver. 34, “Verily, I say unto you, this generation shall
not pass till all these things be ful. filled.” Peter connects the crown with Christ's appearing, in the same manner with Paul. “When the chief
Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away;” 1 Peter v. 4. We have now put these facts into a form in which they will, we think, be understood. The crown was certainly to be conferred at the appearing of Christ;
and the appearing of Christ was at
him hear what the Spirit saith
unto the churches; He that
the full establishment of his kingdom, at the end of the Mosaic law. It is not supposed that all the Christians were then personally present before the Son of God. He was not personally present himself on earth at that time. It was not an outward, visible, tangible crown which the faithful Christians were to receive; but it was then to be made manifest to the world, by the establishment of the gospel and the overthrow of the Jewish nation and religion, that the Christians mere right; that they had labored in a just cause; that they had fought a Good fight; that their steadfastness was not in vain. This was a crown, full of brilliant gems. They had been cast down and trodden under foot. Their enemies had triumphed over them. They desired no other crown than to be fully vindicated before the world, – their course approved, - their doctrine established, – the faith they had kept made triumphant. That was a crown indeed! What a bright halo of glory has encircled the head of Paul (to make him the representative of many others) ever since the appearing and kingdom of the Lord Jesus. He has been honored, and forever will be honored, by the church of God. His name has been written on her banners in letters of light. Although so great a persecutor before his conversion, although born out of due time, yet he has been associated with Jesus and the apostles in the affections of the church universal. His cronyn was not personal aggrandizement, for that his soul did not desire ; but it was the high satisfaction of standing vindicated before the world as having kept the true faith, as having defended a righteous cause, as having fought a good fight, as having labored for the advantage of the world. 11. He that hath an ear. — This shows that what the revelator had uttered was worthy of deep consideration. It was not for the un
thinking multitude; they would not discern its import; it was for those who had ears to hear, – i. e., ears that were open to hear. Such were called upon particularly to take notice of what was said. Dr. Campbell says “that Jesus Christ never employs the words, “He that hath ears to hear,’ &c., in the introduction or conclusion of any plain moral instructions, but always after some parable, or prophetic declarations figuratively expressed.” — Dis. II., part iii., Sec. 5. T What the Spirit saith. — John spoke by the spirit. The spirit of the risen Son of God was with him to guide him into all truth; Rev. i. 10. This spirit was “the spirit of truth,” “whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him ;” John xiv. 17. TOvercometh. — The style here, as we have had occasion to show before, is peculiarly that of the apostle John ; 1 Epis. v. 4, 5. TI Second death. — This phrase occurs nowhere except in the book of Revelation; see ii. 11; xx. 6, 14; xxi. 8; and these are all the instances of its occurrence. And what is the “second death 2'' We shall give a direct answer, in the language of Scripture. Rev. xx. 14: “And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This Is THE SEcond DEATH.” And again, in Rev. xxi. 8: “But the fearful and unbelieving, &c., . . . shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone, which Is The second DEATH.” Here we feel confident, that to be cast into the lake of fire and brimstone was the second death. The revelator, at the time he mentioned the “second death,” in the case before us, had been speaking of the rebellious and persecuting Jews, “the synagogue of Satan.” That the Jews as a nation were cast into the lake of fire when their city was destroyed the second time, will be evident to every one who will read Ezek. xxii. 18–22. See also Isa.