« ElőzőTovább »
These things saith he that is holy, he that is true, he that hath the key of David, he that openeth, and no man shutteth ;
and shutteth, and no man openeth : S I know thy works; behold,
I have set before thee an open
called Ala-Shehr; and contains from a thousand to fifteen hundred Greeks and Christians, who have a bishop and several inferior ecclesiastics. TI He that is holy. — The reference here is unquestionably to the Son of God. He was the Holy One, whom the Father anointed, and set apart, for the great work of human redemption. See Acts iii. 14; iv. 27, 30. * He that is true. — This refers to the same personage. The phraseology is peculiarly that of the apostle John. See 1 Epis. v. 20: “And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true; and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ.” This is almost the precise language employed in the Apocalypse. Jesus called himself “the way, the truth, and the life; ” John xiv. 6; and one of John's favorite expressions in regard to him was, “He that is true.” See also Rev. xix. 11. "I Hath the key of David. – There seems to be a reference here to Isaiah xxii. 22. “And the key of the house of David will I lay upon his shoulder: so he shall open, and none shall shut ; and he shall shut, and none shall open.” The key was a mark of office, either sacred or civil. It is certainly an agent of power. With the key to a dungeon, men may open it, and discharge all the inmates. With the key of a coffer, or casket, they may have access to all the treasures therein contained. If a man be invested with a key, therefore, it is a sign that great confidence is reposed in him, and great power is conferred upon him. He can open, and none can shut, — he can shut, and none can open. The key, therefore, has been used metaphorically, as a sign of confidence and power, from long
antiquity. The gods and goddesses of the heathen had their key-bearers. But it is peculiarly an appropriate metaphor when applied to the Lord Jesus. He accused those who prevented men from entering the kingdom of heaven, of taking away “the key of knowledge;” Luke xi. 52. He had the key of knowledge, and hence he said to the people, “Knock, and it shall be opened unto you ;” Matt. vii. 7. Isaiah prophesied of him, “That he should bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house;” xlii. 7. And again, the same prophet says, speaking in the name of Jesus, “He hath sent me to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound;” lxi. 1. Such being one of the principal offices for which the Redeemer came into the world, how appropriate is the metaphor of the key. The Saviour, then, probably intended that, like the individual mentioned in Isa. xxii. 22, he had a key which conferred on him the power to shut, and no man could open, – to open, and no man could shut. The lock was supposed to be one which no other key would fit, and which could not be opened by any other means. Such was the power of the key mentioned in the passage referred to ; and Jesus intended to say that he had the same power. 8. I knon, thy morks. – This was said to all the churches. The meaning is, “I know what thou doest, and the motives by which thou art governed.” Or, as it is said in another place, “I the Lord search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings;” Jer. xvii. 10. And so again, Rev. ii. 23, “I door, and no man can shut it; for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name.
9 Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie ; behold, I
am he which searcheth the reins and hearts; and I will give unto every one of you according to your works.” TI An open door. —In the preceding verse it was said, that Jesus had the key of David; that he opened, and no man could shut; that he shut, and no man could open. After having asserted the possession of this power, he then iii. “I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it.” The meaning of this is, we think, “I will make thy way plain before thee; I will remove every obstacle; I, who alone can do this, will do it in thy behalf.” To open a door in the metaphorical sense, is to give a man liberty to pursue his proper vocation without hindrance; to give free course to him in his pursuits. When God took away the obstacles which had prevented the preaching of the gospel to the Gentiles, it is said, “he had opened the door of faith” to them; Acts xiv. 27. So when Paul met with much success at Ephesus, and was induced thereby to prolong his stay there, he said, “I will tarry at Ephesus until Pentecost; for a great door and effectual is opened unto me, and there are many adversaries;” 1 Cor. xvi. 8, 9. He had opportunity to preach the gospel; and notwithstanding the many adversaries, he met with much success. See, also, 2 Cor. ii. 12. When Paul prayed that a “door of utterance” might be opened to him, Col. iv. 3, he meant that he desired great liberty to preach the gospel. When, therefore, the Son of God promised to the Philadelphian church that he would set before them an open door, and no man could shut it, did it not mean, that he would give them full liberty in their proper Christian duties; that they should have free course and be glorified; and that their enemies should not
have the power to throw any insurmountable obstacles in their way? * A little strength. —Notwithstanding all this church had suffered, it had not been effectually crushed. It had some strength left. It had shown decisive signs of spiritual life, even in its worst condition, for it had been faithful,-more so, perhaps, than either of the other seven churches. T Hast kept my nord. — This is the proof of what we have said. They had held fast the gospel; they had not renounced the word of Christ. I Hast not denied my name. — This is a further proof of their steadfastness. From all that is said, we are clearly of the opinion, that this church had shown a firmer devotion to Christ than any other of the seven. 9. Synagogue of Satan. — We have once before been called on to notice this phrase. See the notes on ii. 9. A synagogue of Satan signifies a wicked synagogue, a synagogue of adversaries, the synagogue being put for the worshippers therein. To Which say they are Jen's. – There were certain persons at Philadelphia who claimed to be pious Jews, and were outwardly very devout. But they were not truly the children of Abraham. They were Jews outwardly, or by descent; but were not Jews in the dignified and noble sense of the expression. John had learned this distinction from his master. During the ministry of Christ certain Jews boasted to him that they were Abraham's seed; but Jesus said in reply, “If ye were Abraham's children, ye would do the works of Abraham;’ John viii. 39. He did not mean to deny that they were the posterity of Abraham; but they were not his children in character. “Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do: he was a
will make them to come and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee. 10 Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also
will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth. 11 Behold, I come quickly :
murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth; because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it;” Idem, 44. Possibly John had these facts in his mind when he wrote the passage in the Apocalypse which we are considering, — “Which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie.” T Worship before thy feet. — I will make them do thee homage. They are now thine oppressors; they persecute thee; they cause thee to be cast into prison; thus proving, by their works, that they are not possessed of true religion, but are in fact the synagogue of Satan. They shall be humbled; and shall come and bow before thee. I Knon, that I have loved thee. — They shall see so many proofs of the protection of Heaven extended out in thy behalf, that when I come in my glory, and they are cast down, they shall see that I have loved thee. 10. The nord of my patience. —We think the meaning here is, the word in which I have enjoined the duty of patience, illustrated by my example. It was necessary for Christ and his apostles to enjoin the duty of patience on their fainting followers. Jesus said to them, in his memorable discourse concerning the destruction of Jerusalem, “And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake. But there shall not a hair of your head perish. In your patience possess ye your souls. And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh;” Luke xxi. 17–20. The persecution would be so ardent, and the hope of escape from it at the coming of Christ would be so strong, that Jesus feared his disciples would become
impatient. Paul said to the Thessalonians, that he gloried in them, “for their patience and faith in all their persecutions and tribulations;” 2 Epis. i. 4. And again, “The Lord direct your hearts into the love of God, and into the patient waiting for Christ;” Idem, iii. 5. See also Jas. v. 7, 8. T Hour of temptation. — This was to be the reward of their patience; and it was certainly a very natural one. They were to be preserved from the hour, or season, of temptation. Their severest trials, perhaps, had not then fallen upon them. But Jesus promised them help to bear them safely through. The troubles to which he referred were doubtless those that were to attend his coming. I All the norld. — The troubles were to come on all the world, to try them that dwelt on the earth. The word here (oikoumene) signified the inhabited world, – the Roman empire; to try them that dwelt in the earth, or land to which the judgment was confined. This was not a judgment in the immortal state; but here on the earth. It was a judgment simultaneous with the coming of Christ; and it was said it would “try them that dwelt upon the earth.” 11. Behold, I come quickly. —This shows that the troubles mentioned in the preceding verse were the troubles attending the coming of the Lord Jesus. The ‘invariable language which our Lord used concerning his coming showed that it was near when he was on the earth. It was still nearer when the Apocalypse was written. Again and again, we are told in that book, it was to transpire quickly See i. 1, 3, and the notes on those passages. See also xxii. 6, 7, 10, 12, 20. How unwise do those
hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown. 12 Him that overcometh, will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God,
which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name. 13 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches. 14 And unto the angel of the
appear who are still looking for the second coming of Christ. "I Hold that fast. — Be tenacious of thy good name, of thy patience, faith, and love. Part not from them. "I Thy cronyn. —These are thy crown, – thy virtues, thy regard for my word, thy love of my cause, – these things cover thee with glory and honor, and are a crown upon thy head. Hold fast, that no man take thy crown. See the notes on the phrase “crown of life,” ii. 10. 12. Overcometh. — We have before proved that this is in the style of John. See the notes on iii. 5, and other places. " A pillar in the temple of my God. — This was the reward of the faithful, - not a far distant reward in the future world; but a reward in this world; he shall be a pillar in the temple of my God. To be a pillar is to be a support and an ornament, for a pillar supports and ornaments the building. We read that “the church of the living God is the pillar and ground of the truth;” 1 Tim. iii. 15. That men are made pillars in the temple of God in the present life, who can deny 2 James, Cephas and John were said to be pillars; Gal. ii. 9. "I He shall go no more out. — For the pillar is a fixture, and cannot be taken away without great detriment to the building. "I I mill n:rite upon him. — That is, I will inscribe upon the pillar the name of the city of my God. And this city is the New Jerusalem. Not the old Jerusalem, the earthly city; but the New Jerusalem, the heavenly city, the spiritual city, the city which John saw coming down from God out of
o heaven; Rev. xxi. 2. When we come to consider chaps. xxi. and xxii., we shall have occasion to contemplate a very full description of the New Jerusalem, to which the revelator merely refers in the passage now before us. * My new name. — This figure of the men, name is borrowed from Isa. lxii. 2, and hath been before mentioned, Rev. ii. 17. 13. He that hath an ear. — See the remarks on Rev. ii. 7, 11, 17.
EPISTLE TO THE CHURCH IN LAODICEA.
14. Laodiceans. – This is the only place in which the Laodiceans, or their city, is mentioned in the Apocalypse; but we find mention made of them repeatedly in Paul's epistle to the Colossians. He seemed to have an earnest regard for them, mingled with no small degree of anxiety. “For I would that ye knew what great conflict I have for you, and for them at Laodicea, and for as many as have not seen my face in the flesh; that their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgment of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ; in whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. And this I say, lest any man should beguile you with enticing words;” Col. ii. 1–4. See also Col. iv. 13, 15, 16. Laodicea was situated on the confines of Phrygia and Lydia. Previous to assuming the name here given, it had borne others. It was long an inconsiderable place, but increased toward the time of Augustus Caesar; and though an in
church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen,
the faithful and true Witness, the beginning of the creation of God;
land town, it grew more potent than the cities on the coast, and became one of the largest towns in Phrygia, as its present ruins prove. It was terribly ravaged in the wars between the Turks and Romans, and afterwards by the Tartars. It was a place of consequence at the time of the writing of the Apocalypse. The Christians there were represented as being infected with pride, and also as having lost the love that they ought to bear to Christ. It is probable that the prosperity of their city, and the increase of its wealth, had lifted them up. The site is now utterly desolate. Not a trace of a house, church or mosque. T Angel of the church. — See the notes on ii. 1, 8, 12, 18; iii. 1, 7. T The Amen. — The word amen imports truth and certainty. Hence, the phrase, “verily, verily, I say unto you,” which we meet with so frequently in the gospels, (where the Greek for verily is Amen,) signifies, truly, - a solemn affirmation of the truth of the declaration. As a substantive, the word occurs with the article but once, “the Amen,” viz., in the verse before us. We suspect that in some Greek copies it is also preserved in Rev. i. 18, as Schmidt, in his Greek Concordance, gives the article as being found in that place. The amen signifies, the true, the certain. See Spear's Titles of Christ, under that word. T The faithful and true. — This is the exact sense of the amen, and follows in apposition. The amen, i.e., the faithful and true. "I Witness. – Jesus was prečminently a witness, and so he often described himself. The evangelist John called the Baptist a witness; John i. 8, 15, 32, 34. Jesus is described himself as a witness; John iii. 11, 44; iv. 44; v. 31, 32, 33, 36, 37; vii. 7; viii. 13, 14, 18; x. 25; xiii. 21; xv. 26, 27; xviii. 23, 37. This is abundantly sufficient to show the style of John. He speaks of Christ very fre
quently as a witness, and his preaching is represented as the bearing of testimony, or bearing record. This is to be reckoned among the instances which show a similarity between the style of the Apocalypse and that of the undisputed writings of John. T Beginning of the creation of God. — We have already learned that Jesus was the “Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end;” i. 8. He is now called “the beginning of the creation of God.” Does this mean that Jesus was the beginning in the order of time 2 or the head, or chief, of all God's works in point of honor and degree ? The phrase “beginning of the creation,” is used adverbially for the time of the commencement of the works of creation. “But from the beginning of the creation, God made them male and female ;” Mark x. 6; xiii. 19. The apostle John seems to have had the idea that Jesus existed before all created things, and was the agent of the Father in the creation, and acted for him; and hence was the chief, or prince of the creation. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made;” John i. 1–3. Here is a manifest reference to the beginning of the creation; for it was of the creation that John was speaking, Jesus was the chief, or the head of this creation. “All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made ;” 3. Look now at the first Epistle of John. Here we have the same train of thought; and, as in the gospel, it breaks out at the very opening. “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the word of life.”