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  • VINCENT'S NEW TESTAMENT WORD STUDIES - REVELATION 2

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    CHAPTER II

    Each of the epistles to the seven churches contains: 1. A command to write to the angel of the particular Church. 2. A sublime title of our Lord, taken, for the most part, from the imagery of the preceding vision. 3. An address to the angel of the Church, always commencing with I know, introducing a statement of its present circumstances: continuing with an exhortation either to repentance or to constancy; and ending with a prophetic announcement, mostly respecting what shall be at the Lord's coming. 4. A promise to him that overcometh, generally accompanied with a solemn call to earnest attention: "He that hath an ear," etc. (Alford). In two churches, Smyrna and Philadelphia, the Lord finds matter for praise only. In two, Sardis and Laodicea, with a very slight exception in the former, for rebuke only. In Ephesus, Pergamum, and Thyatira the condition is a mixed one, calling for mingled praise and rebuke.

    1. Ephesus. Ephesus was built near the sea, in the valley of the Cayster, under the shadows of Coressus and Prion. In the time of Paul it was the metropolis of the province of Asia. It was styled by Pliny the Light of Asia. Its harbor, though partly filled up, was crowded with vessels, and it lay at the junction of roads which gave it access to the whole interior continent. Its markets were the "Vanity Fair" of Asia. Herodotus says:

    "The Ionians of Asia have built their cities in a region where the air and climate are the most beautiful in the whole world; for no other region is equally blessed with Ionia. For in other countries, either the climate is over-cold and damp, or else the heat and drought are sorely oppressive" (i., 142).

    In Paul's time it was the residence of the Roman proconsul; and the degenerate inhabitants descended to every species of flattery in order to maintain the favor of Rome. The civilization of the city was mingled Greek and Oriental. It was the head-quarters of the magical art, and various superstitions were represented by different priestly bodies. The great temple of Diana, the Oriental, not the Greek divinity, was ranked among the seven wonders of the world, and Ephesus called herself its sacristan (see on Acts xix. 27). To it attached the right of asylum. Legend related that when the temple was finished, Mithridates stood on its summit and declared that the right of asylum should extend in a circle round it, as far as he could shoot an arrow; and the arrow miraculously flew a furlong. This fact encouraged moral contagion. The temple is thus described by Canon Farrar: "It had been built with ungrudging magnificence out of contributions furnished by all Asia - the very women contributing to it their jewels, as the Jewish women had done of old for the Tabernacle of the Wilderness. To avoid the danger of earthquakes, its foundations were built at vast cost on artificial foundations of skin and charcoal laid over the marsh. It gleamed far off with a star-like radiance. Its peristyle consisted of one hundred and twenty pillars of the Ionic order, hewn out of Parian marble. Its doors of carved cypress wood were surmounted by transoms so vast and solid that the aid of miracles was invoked to account for their elevation. The staircase, which led to the roof, was said to have been cut out of a single vine of Cyprus. Some of the pillars were carved with designs of exquisite beauty. Within were the masterpieces of Praxiteles and Phidias and Scopas and Polycletus. Paintings by the greatest of Greek artists, of which one - the likeness of Alexander the Great by Apelles - had been bought for a sum equal in value to 5,000 of modern money, adorned the inner walls. The roof of the temple itself was of cedar-wood, supported by columns of jasper on bases of Parian marble. On these pillars hung gifts of priceless value, the votive offerings of grateful superstition. At the end of it stood the great altar adorned by the bas-relief of Praxiteles, behind which fell the vast folds of a purple curtain. Behind this curtain was the dark and awful shrine in which stood the most sacred idol of classic heathendom; and again, behind the shrine, was the room which, inviolable under divine protection, was regarded as the wealthiest and securest bank in the ancient world "("Life and Work of St. Paul," ii., 12).

    Next to Rome, Ephesus was the principal seat of Paul's labors. He devoted three years to that city. The commonly received tradition represents John as closing his apostolic career there. Nothing in early Church history is better attested than his residence and work in Ephesus, the center of the circle of churches established by Paul in Ionia and Phrygia.

    Who walketh (o peripatwn). More than standeth. The word expresses Christ's activity on behalf of His Church.

    2. Thy works (ta erga sou). See on John iv. 47.

    Labor (kopon). Originally suffering, weariness; hence exhausting labor. The kindred verb kopiaw is often used of apostolic and ministerial labor (Rom. xvi. 12; 1 Cor. xv. 10; Gal. iv. 11).

    Patience (upomonhn). See on 2 Pet. i. 6; Jas. v. 1. Compare Paul's exhortation to Timothy in Ephesus, 2 Tim. ii. 25, 26.

    Bear (bastasai). See on John x. 31; xii. 6. Compare Gal. vi. 2, where the word is used of Christians bearing each others' burdens.

    Them which are evil (kakouv). Trench observes that "it is not a little remarkable that the grace or virtue here ascribed to the angel of the Ephesian Church (compare verse 6) should have a name in classical Greek: misoponhria hatred of evil; the person of whom the grace is predicated being misoponhrov hater of evil; while neither of these words, nor yet any equivalent to them occurs in the New Testament. It is the stranger, as this hatred of evil, purely as evil, however little thought of or admired now, is eminently a Christian grace."

    Hast tried (epeirasw) Rev., didst try. See on tried, 1 Pet. i. 7; and compare 1 John iv. 1; 1 Cor. xii. 10.

    3. The best texts omit ouj kekmhkav hast not grown weary, and read kai ouj kekopiakev hast not grown weary. The transcribers supposed the verb kopiaw to mean only to labor; whereas it includes the sense of weariness from labor.

    4. Somewhat. Not in the text, and unnecessary. The following clause is the object of I have. "I have against thee that thou hast left," etc. "It is indeed a somewhat which the Lord has against the Ephesian Church; it threatens to grow to be an everything; for see the verse following" (Trench). For the phrase have against, see Matt. v. 23; Mark xi. 25; Col. iii. :13.

    Hast left (afhkav) Rev., more correctly, rendering the aorist, didst leave. The verb originally means to send, away or dismiss. See on John iv. 3. First love. Compare Jer. ii. 2. The first enthusiastic devotion of the Church to her Lord, under the figure of conjugal love.

    5. Thou art fallen (ekpeptwkav) Lit., hast fallen out.

    Repent (metanohson). See on Matt. iii. 2; xxi. 29.

    l will come (ercomai). Rev., correctly, I come.

    Quickly. Omit.

    Will remove thy candlestick. "Its candlestick has been for centuries removed out of his place; the squalid Mohammedan village which is nearest to its site does not count one Christian in its insignificant population; its temple is a mass of shapeless ruins; its harbor is a reedy pool; the bittern booms amid its pestilent and stagnant marshes; and malaria and oblivion reign supreme over the place where the wealth of ancient civilization gathered around the scenes of its grossest superstitions and its most degraded sins" (Farrar, "Life and Work of Paul," ii., 43, 44). John employs the verb kinew remove (Rev., move) only in Revelation, and only once besides the present instance, in chapter vi. 14, where, as here, it signifies moving in judgment.

    The Nicolaitans. From nikan to conquer, and laov the people. There are two principal explanations of the term. The first and better one historical. A sect springing, according to credible tradition, from Nicholas a proselyte of Antioch, one of the seven deacons of Jerusalem (Acts vi. 5), who apostatized from the truth, and became the founder of an Antinomian Gnostic sect. They appear to have been characterized by sensuality, seducing Christians to participate in the idolatrous feasts of pagans, and to unchastity. Hence they are denoted by the names of Balaam and Jezebel, two leading agents of moral contamination under the Old Testament dispensation. Balaam enticed the Israelites, through the daughters of Moab and Midian, to idolatry and fornication (Numbers 25; xxxi. 16). Jezebel murdered the Lord's prophets, and set up idolatry in Israel. The Nicolaitans taught that, in order to master sensuality, one must know the whole range of it by experience; and that he should therefore abandon himself without reserve to the lusts of the body, since they concerned only the body and did not touch the spirit. These heretics were hated and expelled by the Church of Ephesus (Apoc. ii. 6), but were tolerated by the Church of Pergamum (Apoc. ii. 15). The other view regards the name as symbolic, and Nicholas as the Greek rendering of Balaam, whose name signifies destroyer or corrupter of the people. This view is adopted by Trench ("Seven Churches"), who says: "The Nicolaitans are the Balaamites; no sect bearing the one name or the other; but those who, in the new dispensation, repeated the sin of Balaam in the old, and sought to overcome or destroy the people of God by the same temptations whereby Balaam had sought to overcome them before." The names, however, are by no means parallel: Conqueror of the people not being the same as corrupter of the people. Besides, in verse 14, the Balaamites are evidently distinguished from the Nicolaitans.

    Alford remarks: "There is no sort of reason for interpreting the name otherwise than historically. It occurs in a passage indicating simple matters of historical fact, just as the name Antipas does in verse 13."

    7. He that hath an ear, etc. Compare Matt. xi. 15; Mark iv. 9. The phrase is not found in John's Gospel. It is used always of radical truths, great principles and promises.

    To him that overcometh (tw nikwnti) A formula common to all these Epistles. The verb is used absolutely without any object expressed. It is characteristic of John, occurring once in the Gospel, six times in the First Epistle, sixteen times in Revelation, and elsewhere only Luke xi. 22; Rom. iii. 4; xii. 21.

    Will I give. This phrase has a place in every one of these Epistles. The verb is John's habitual word for the privileges and functions of the Son, whether as bestowed upon Him by the Father, or dispensed by Him. to His followers. See John iii. 35; v. 22, 27, 36; vi. 65; xiii. 3; xvii. 6. Compare Apoc. ii. 23; iii. 8; vi. 4; xi. 3.

    Of the tree (ek xulou). The preposition ejk out of occurs one hundred and twenty-seven times in Revelation, and its proper signification is almost universally out of; but this rendering in many of the passages would be so strange and unidiomatic, that the New Testament Revisers have felt themselves able to adopt it only forty-one times out of all that number, and employ of, from, by, with, on, at, because of, by reason of, from among. See, for instance, chapter ii. 7, 21, 22; vi. 4, 10; viii. 11; ix. 18; xiv. 13; xv. 2; xvi. 21. Compare John iii. 31; iv. 13, vi. 13, 39, 51; viii. 23, 44; ix. 6; xi. 1; xii. 3, 27, 32; xvii. 5.

    Tree, lit., wood. See on Luke xxiii. 31; 1 Pet. iii. 24. Dean Plumptre notes the fact that, prominent as this symbol had been in the primeval history, it had remained unnoticed in the teaching where we should most have looked for its presence - in that of the Psalmist and Prophets of the Old Testament. Only in the Proverbs of Solomon had it been used, in a sense half allegorical and half mystical (Proverbs. iii. 18; xiii. 12; xi. 30; xv. 4). The revival of the symbol in Apoc. is in accordance with the theme of the restitution of all things. "The tree which disappeared with the disappearance of the earthly Paradise, reappears with the reappearance of the heavenly." To eat of the tree of life expresses participation in the life eternal. The figure of the tree of life appears in all mythologies from India to Scandinavia. The Rabbins and Mohammedans called the vine the probation tree. The Zend Avesta has its tree of life called the Death-Destroyer. It grows by the waters of life, and the drinking of its sap confers immortality. The Hindu tree of life is pictured as growing out of a great seed in the midst of an expanse of water. It has three branches, each crowned with a sun, denoting the three powers of creation, preservation, and renovation after destruction. In another representation Budha sits in meditation under a tree with three branches, each branch having three stems. One of the Babylonian cylinders discovered by Layard, represents three priestesses gathering the fruit of what seems to be a palm-tree with three branches on each side. Athor, the Venus of the Egyptians, appears half-concealed in the branches of the sacred peach-tree, giving to the departed soul the fruit, and the drink of heaven from a vial from which the streams of life descend upon the spirit, a figure at the foot of the tree, like a hawk, with a human head and with hands outstretched.

    In the Norse mythology a prominent figure is Igdrasil, the Ash-tree of Existence; its roots in the kingdom of Eels or Death, its trunk reaching to heaven, and its boughs spread over the whole universe. At its foot, in the kingdom of Death, sit three Nornas or Fates, the Past, the Present, and the Future, watering its roots from the sacred well. Compare chapter xxii. 2, 14,19. Virgil, addressing Dante at the completion of the ascent of the Purgatorial Mount, says:

    "That apple sweet, which through so many branches The care of mortals goeth in pursuit of, Today shall put in peace thy hungerings." "Purgatorio," xxvii., 115-117.

    Paradise. See on Luke xxiii. 43. Omit in the midst of. Paradeisov Paradise "passes through a series of meanings, each one higher than the last. From any garden of delight, which is its first meaning, it comes to be predominantly applied to the garden of Eden, then to the resting-place of separate souls in joy and felicity, and lastly to the very heaven itself; and we see eminently in it, what we see indeed in so many words, how revealed religion assumes them into her service, and makes them vehicles of far higher truth than any which they knew at first, transforming and transfiguring them, as in this case, from glory to glory" (Trench).

    8. Smyrna. Lying a little north of Ephesus, on a gulf of the same name. The original city was destroyed about B.C. 627, and was deserted and in ruins for four hundred years. Alexander the Great contemplated its restoration, and his design was carried out after his death. The new city was built a short distance south of the ancient one, and became the finest in Asia Minor, being known as the glory of Asia. It was one of the cities which claimed the honor of being Homer's birthplace. A splendid temple was erected by the Smyrnaeans to his memory, and a cave in the neighborhood of the city was shown where he was said to have composed his poems. Smyrna's fine harbor made it a commercial center; but it was also distinguished for its schools of rhetoric and philosophy. Polycarp was the first bishop of its church, which suffered much from persecution, and he was said to have suffered martyrdom in the stadium of the city, A.D. 166. It is argued with some plausibility that Polycarp was bishop of Smyrna at the time of the composition of Revelation, and was the person addressed here. This question, however, is bound up with that of the date of composition (see Trench, "Epistles to the Seven Churches"). The city was a seat of the worship of Cybele the Mother of the gods, and of Dionysus or Bacchus.

    Was dead (egeneto nekrov). Lit., became dead.

    Is alive (ezhsen). Lit., lived. Rev., properly, lived again; the word being used of restoration to life. See, for a similar usage, Matt. ix. 18; John v. 25.

    9. Thy works and. Omit.

    Tribulation (qliyin). See on Matt. xiii. 21. Referring to the persecutions of Jewish and heathen oppressors. See on Smyrna, verse 8. Poverty (ptwceian). Because, like all the other early Christian churches, the majority of its members were of the poorer classes, and also, perhaps, with reference to their robbery by persecutors. See on poor, Matt. v. 3. Rich. In faith and grace. Compare Jas. ii. 6, 7; 1 Tim. vi. 17, 18; Luke xii. 21; Matt. xix. 21.

    Blasphemy (blasfhmian). See on Mark vii. 22. Not primarily direct blasphemy against God, but reviling at believers.

    Jews. Literally. Not Christians, as in Philip. iii. 3; Rom. ii. 28, 29. Actually Jews by birth, but not spiritually. The title is not given them by the Spirit, nor by the seer, but by themselves; and none would use that title except such as were Jews by birth and by religion. The enmity of the Jews against Christians is a familiar fact to all readers of the book of Acts; and it is a matter of history that their malignity was especially displayed toward the Church of Smyrna. In the circular letter addressed by the Church of Smyrna to the churches in the Christian world, it is related that Jews joined with heathen in clamoring that Polycarp should be cast to the lions or burned alive, and were foremost wJv eqov aujtoiv (as was their wont) in bringing logs for the pile, and in the endeavor to prevent the remains of the martyr from being delivered to his Christian associates for burial.

    Synagogue of Satan. For synagogue, see on assembly, Jas. ii. 2, the only passage in which the word is used for a Christian assembly. This fact goes to support the literal explanation of the term Jews. For Satan, see on Luke x. 18. For John's use of the expression the Jews, see on John i. 19. The use of the word here in an honorable sense, so different from John's custom, has been urged against his authorship of Revelation. But John here only quotes the word, and, further, employs it without the article.

    10. Fear not (uhden fobou). Lit., fear nothing. For the verb, see on Luke i. 50.

    Behold (idou dh). The particle dh for certain, which is not rendered, gives a quality of assurance to the prediction.

    The Devil (diabolov). See on Matt. iv. 1. The persecution of the Christians is thus traced to the direct agency of Satan, and not to the offended passions or prejudices of men. Trench observes: "There is nothing more remarkable in the records which have come down to us of the early persecutions, than the sense which the confessors and martyrs and those who afterwards narrate their sufferings and their triumphs entertain and utter, that these great fights of affliction through which they were called to pass, were the immediate work of the Devil."

    Shall cast (mellei balein). Rev., rightly, is about to cast.

    Prison (fulakhn). See on Acts v. 21.

    May be tried (peirasqhte). Tempted. See on 1 Pet. i. 7.

    Tribulation ten days (qliyin hmerwn deka). Lit., a tribulation of ten days.

    Be thou (ginon). The exact force of the word cannot be given by a corresponding word in English. Lit., "become thou." There is to be a succession of trials demanding an increase in the power and a variety in the direction of faith. With reference to these trials, faithfulness is to be not only existent but becoming, developing with new strength and into new applications.

    Unto death (acri qanatou). Not faithful until the time of death, but faithful up to a measure which will endure death for Christ's sake. "It is an intensive, not an extensive term."

    A crown (ton stefanon). Rev., rightly, "the crown." See on 1 Pet. v. 4; Jas. i. 12. Crown is used with a variety of words: crown of righteousness (2 Tim. iv. 8); glory (1 Pet. v. 4); beauty Isa. lxii. 3, Sept., A.V., glory); pride (Isa. xxviii. 1); rejoicing (1 Thess. ii. 19). Of life (thv zwhv). The full phrase is the crown of the life: i.e., the crown which consists in life eternal. The image is not taken from the Greek games, although Smyrna contained a temple of Olympian Jupiter, and Olympian games were celebrated there. It is the diadem of royalty rather than the garland of victory, though more commonly used in the latter sense. It is not likely that John would use an image from the games, since there was the most violent prejudice against them on the part of Jewish Christians; a prejudice which, on occasions of their celebration, provoked the special ferocity of the pagans against what they regarded as the unpatriotic and unsocial character of Christ's disciples. It was at the demand of the people assembled in the stadium that Polycarp was given up to death. Moreover, it is doubtful whether any symbol in Apoc. is taken from heathenism. The imagery is Jewish.

    11. Be hurt (adikhqh). Strictly, wronged.

    Second death. An expression peculiar to the Revelation. See xx. 6, 14; xxi. 8. In those two passages it is defined as the lake of fire. The death awaiting the wicked after judgment.

    12. Pergamos. The proper form of the name is Pergamum. It was situated in Teuthrania in Mysia, in a district watered by three rivers, by one of which it communicated with the sea. The original city was built on a lofty hill, which afterward became the citadel as houses sprang up around its base. The local legends attached a sacred character to the place, which, together with its natural strength, made it a place of deposit for royal treasure. The city was mainly indebted to Eumenes II. (B.C.197-159) for its embellishment and extension. In addition to walks and public buildings, he founded the library, which contained two-hundred-thousand volumes, and was second only to that of Alexandria. The kingdom of Pergamum became a Roman province B.C. 130; but the city continued to flourish, so that Pliny styled it by far the most illustrious of Asia. All the main roads of Western Asia converged there. Pergamum was celebrated for the manufacture of ointments, pottery, tapestries, and parchment, which derives its name (charta Pergamena) from the city. It contained a celebrated and much-frequented temple of Aesculapius, who was worshipped in the form of a living serpent fed in the temple. Hence Aesculapius was called the God of Pergamum, and on the coins struck by the town he often appears with a rod encircled by a serpent. The great glory of the city was the Nicephorium, a grove of great beauty containing an assemblage of temples. The city has been described as a sort of union of a pagan cathedral-city, a university-town, and a royal residence, embellished during a succession of years by kings who all had a passion for expenditure and ample means of gratifying it. The streams which embraced the town irrigated the groves of Nicephorium and of Aesculapius, in which flourished the licentious rites of pagan antiquity. The sacred character of the city appears in coins and inscriptions which described the Pergamenes by the title claimed by the worshippers of Diana at Ephesus, newkoroi temple-sweepers or sacristans.

    The sharp sword with two edges. See on chapter i. 16.

    13. Dwellest (katoikeiv). See on Luke xi. 26; Acts ii. 5.

    Seat (qronov). Rev., rightly, throne, which is a transcript of the Greek word. Better than seat, because it is intended to represent Satan as exercising dominion there. The word is used in the New Testament of a kingly throne (Luke i. 32, 52; Acts ii. 30): of the judicial tribunal or bench (Matt. xxix. 28; Luke xxii. 30): of the seats of the elders (Apoc. iv. 4; xi. 16). Also, by metonymy, of one who exercises authority, so, in the plural, of angels (Col. i. 16), thrones belonging to the highest grade of angelic beings whose place is in the immediate presence of God.

    Holdest fast (krateiv). See on Matt. vii. 3; Acts iii. 11.

    My name. See on 1 John i. 7.

    My faith. See on Acts vi. 7.

    Antipas. There is no other record of this martyr.

    14. Doctrine (didachn). Rev., better, teaching.

    Balaam. See Num. xxv. 1-9; xxxi. 15, 16. Compare 2 Pet. ii. 15; Jude 11. A stumbling-block (skandalon). See on offend, Matt. v. 29, and offense, Matt. xvi. 23.

    Before (enwpion). Lit., in the sight of. See on Luke xxiv. 11.

    Things sacrificed to idols (eidwloquta). In the A.V. the word is rendered in four different ways: meats offered to idols (Acts xv. 29): things offered to idols (Acts xxi. 25): things that are offered in sacrifice unto idols (1 Cor. viii. 4); and as here Rev., uniformly, things sacrificed to idols. The eating of idol meats, which was no temptation to the Jewish Christian, was quite otherwise to the Gentile. The act of sacrifice, among all ancient nations, was a social no less than a religious act. Commonly only a part of the victim was consumed as an offering, and the rest became the portion of the priests, was given to the poor, or was sold again in the markets. Hence sacrifice and feast were identified. The word originally used for killing in sacrifice (quein) obtained the general sense of killing (Acts x. 13). Among the Greeks this identification was carried to the highest pitch. Thucydides enumerates sacrifices among popular entertainments. "We have not forgotten," he says, "to provide for our weary spirits many relaxations from toil. We have regular games and sacrifices throughout the year" (ii. 38). So Aristotle: "And some fellowships seem to be for the sake of pleasure; those of the followers of Love, and those of club-diners; for these are for the sake of sacrifice and social intercourse "("Ethics," viii., 9, 5). Suetonius relates of Claudius, the Roman Emperor, that, on one occasion, while in the Forum of Augustus, smelling the odor of the banquet which was being prepared for the priests in the neighboring temple of Mars, he left the tribunal and placed himself at the table with the priests ("Claudius," 33). Also how Vitellius would snatch from the altar-fire the entrails of victims and the corn, and consume them ("Vitellius," 13). Thus, for the Gentile, "refusal to partake of the idol-meats involved absence from public and private festivity, a withdrawal, in great part, from the social life of his time." The subject is discussed by Paul in Rom. xiv. 2-21, and 1 Cor. viii. l-11. 1. The council of Jerusalem (Acts 15) forbade the eating of meat offered to idols, not as esteeming it forbidden by the Mosaic law, but as becoming a possible occasion of sin to weak Christians. In his letter to the Corinthians, among whom the Jewish and more scrupulous party was the weaker, Paul, in arguing with the stronger and more independent party, never alludes to the decree of the Jerusalem council, but discusses the matter from the stand-point of the rights of conscience. While he admits the possibility of a blameless participation in a banquet, even in the idol-temple, he dissuades from it on the ground of its dangerous consequences to weak consciences, and as involving a formal recognition of the false worship which they had renounced at their baptism. "In the Epistle to the Romans we see the excess to which the scruples of the weaker brethren were carried, even to the pitch of abstaining altogether from animal food; as, ill the Nicolaitans of the Apocalyptic churches, we see the excess of the indifferentist party, who plunged without restraint into all the pollutions, moral as well as ceremonial, with which the heathen rites were accompanied" (Stanley, "On Corinthians"). "It may be noted as accounting for the stronger and more vehement language of the Apocalypse, considered even as a simply Human book, that the conditions of the case had altered. Christians and heathen were no longer dwelling together, as at Corinth, with comparatively slight interruption to their social intercourse, but were divided by a sharp line of demarcation. The eating of things sacrificed to idols was more and more a crucial test, involving a cowardly shrinking from the open confession of a Christian's faith. Disciples who sat at meat in the idol's temple were making merry with those whose hands were red with the blood of their fellow-worshippers, and whose lips had uttered blaspheming scoffs against the Holy Name "(Plumptre).

    In times of persecution, tasting the wine of the libations or eating meat offered to idols, was understood to signify recantation of Christianity.

    15. So. Even as Balak had Balaam for a false teacher, so hast thou the Nicolaitan teachers.

    Nicolaitans. See on verse 6.

    Which thing I hate. Omit.

    16. I will make war (polemhsw). The words war and make war occur oftener in Revelation than in any other book of the New Testament. "An eternal roll of thunder from the throne" (Renan).

    17. To eat. Omit.

    Of the hidden manna (tou manna tou kekrummenou). The allusion may be partly to the pot of manna which was laid up in the ark in the sanctuary. See Exod. xvi. 32-34; compare Heb. ix. 4. That the imagery of the ark was familiar to John appears from chapter xi. 19. This allusion however is indirect, for the manna laid up in the ark was not for food, but was a memorial of food once enjoyed. Two ideas seem to be combined in the figure:

    1. Christ as the bread from heaven, the nourishment of the life of believers, the true manna, of which those who eat shall never die (John vi. 31-43; 48-51); hidden, in that He is withdrawn from sight, and the Christian's life is hid with Him in God (Col. iii. 3). 2. The satisfaction of the believer's desire when Christ shall be revealed. The hidden manna shall not remain for ever hidden. We shall see Christ as He is, and be like Him (1 John iii. 2). Christ gives the manna in giving Himself "The seeing of Christ as He is, and, through this beatific vision, being made like to Him, is identical with the eating of the hidden manna, which shall, as it were, be then brought forth from the sanctuary, the holy of holies of God's immediate presence where it was withdrawn from sight so long, that all may partake of it; the glory of Christ, now shrouded and concealed, being then revealed to His people" (Trench).

    This is one of numerous illustrations of the dependence of Revelation upon Old Testament history and prophecy. "To such an extent is this the case," says Professor Milligan, "that it may be doubted whether it contains a single figure not drawn from the Old Testament, or a single complete sentence not more or less built up of materials brought from the same source." See, for instance, Balaam (ii. 14); Jezebel (ii. 20); Michael (xii. 7, compare Dan. x. 13; xii. 1); Abaddon (ix. 11); Jerusalem, Mt. Zion, Babylon, the Euphrates, Sodom, Egypt (xxi. 2; 14.:1; xvi. 19; ix. 14; xi. 8); Gog and Magog (xx. 8, compare Ezekiel 38, 39.). Similarly, the tree of life, the sceptre of iron, the potter's vessels, the morning-star (ii. 7,17, 27, 28). Heaven is described under the figure of the tabernacle in the wilderness (xi. 1, 19; vi. 9; viii. 3; xi. 19; iv. 6). The song of the redeemed is the song of Moses (xv. 3). The plagues of Egypt appear in the blood, fire, thunder, darkness and locusts (chapter 8). "The great earthquake of chapter 6. is taken from Haggai; the sun becoming black as sackcloth of hair and the moon becoming blood (chapter 8) from Joel: the stars of h

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