The presence of the temple of Artemis (Diana) added to the commercial importance of Ephesus, for two reasons. First, the temple was regarded as sacrosanct throughout the Mediterranean world and thus became the primary banking institution of Asia Minor. Second, pilgrims swelled the population and contributed substantially to Ephesian business, especially during the festivals of Artemis (March/April). So prominent was the city that during the early Christian period the population of Ephesus probably exceeded a quarter million.4The important place which Artemis held in the city, both religiously and commercially, can be seen by the riot which ensued in reaction to Paul’s ministry (Acts 19:24-41). One of the months of the calendar was named after Artemis and a yearly celebration was held in her honor.5 The ancient temple of the great goddess identified with Artemis stood less than a mile outside the walls of the city.6 Ephesus also participated in the imperial cult where temples were built to Claudius, Hadrian, and Severus.7 Magic was a thriving art at Ephesus. Scripture records the value of books burned by those who practiced magic as “fifty thousand pieces of silver” (Acts 19:19).8 Ephesus also had a reputation as a seat of learning. Paul is recorded as having taught at one such established school, the School of Tyrannus (Acts 19:9). Ephesus was the scene for Justin’s Dialogue with Trypho.9 Ephesus was probably listed as the first city of the seven to receive the letter from John due to its proximity to Patmos (see Seven Churches of Asia map) and its key location on major overland routes:
Ephesus lay at the intersection of two ancient major overland routes: the coastal road that ran north through Smyrna and Pergamum to Troas (near ancient Troy); and the western route to Colossae, Hierapolis, Laodicea, and regions of Phrygia and beyond. Ephesus can also be viewed as the starting-point of a type of postal route . . . running north to Pergamum and southwest through Sardis to Laodicea.10Although Paul ministered extensively at Ephesus: “The first arrival of the gospel in Ephesus is unrecorded. According to Acts 2:9 Jews resident in Asia were present in Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost. And we are told of ‘disciples’ in Ephesus before Paul’s arrival, though they are represented as imperfectly instructed [Acts 19:1ff; Acts 18:24ff].”11 Paul first visited Ephesus on his second missionary journey (Acts 18:19-28) and on his third missionary journey taught there for a period of almost three years (Acts 20:31). Paul wrote his first letter to the Corinthian church from there.12 It was at Ephesus that Apollos, a disciple of John the Baptist, was instructed by Aquila and Priscilla (Acts 18:24-26). When returning from his third missionary journey to Jerusalem, Paul passed by Ephesus, but stopped in Miletus. From there, he sent for and met with the elders of the church at Ephesus (Acts 20:17). The church at Ephesus had plural eldership well in advance of John’s writing this letter (which adds to the difficulties attending the identification of the angel of the church—see commentary on Revelation 1:20). Paul asked Timothy to remain in Ephesus in his absence (1Ti. 1:3) and wrote his epistle to the Ephesian church in A.D. 60-62 (after his third missionary journey, A.D. 53-57) which was delivered by Tychicus (Eph. 6:21).Tradition holds that the John left Jerusalem prior to its destruction and in about A.D. 66 relocated to Ephesus which was his main place of ministry during the closing years of his life. If Mary were still alive, she would have undoubtedly traveled with him (John 19:27).
About 5 km (3 mi) from Ephesus was constructed the Basilica of St. John. John is supposed to be buried there. But Meinardus asks which John, since according to Eusebius (HE iii.3) Papias, the famed second-century bishop of Hierapolis, “asserts there were also two tombs in Ephesus, and that both are called John’s even to this day.” This church erected to the memory of John is not to be confused with the Church of the Virgin Mary in which the Council of Ephesus was held in A.D. 431, when Nestorius was condemned in the Theotokos issue. . . . The stones and pillars [of the Temple of Artemis] were used in the construction of both the great Basilica of St. Sophia at Constantinople and the early Church of St. John at Ephesus. . . . Although Ephesus lies in ruins today, the railway station nearby is called Ayasoluk, a corruption of Gk hagios Theologos, “the holy theologian,” a well-known reference in Eastern Christendom to the beloved Evangelist.13holds the seven stars in His right hand
The sphere in which the Angel of Ephesus had the chief opportunity of manifesting this holy intolerance of evil-doers was, no doubt, that of Church-discipline, separating off from fellowship with the faithful those who named the name of Christ, yet would not depart from iniquity (2Ti. 2:19).15A letter written by Ignatius (A.D. 98-117) mentions this commendable characteristic of the Ephesian church:
But I have learned that certain people . . . have passed your way with evil doctrine, but you did not allow them to sow it among you. You covered up your ears in order to avoid receiving the things being sown by them—Ignatius, The Letter of Ignatius to the Ephesians16tested those
But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their destructive ways, because of whom the way of truth will be blasphemed. By covetousness they will exploit you with deceptive words; for a long time their judgment has not been idle, and their destruction does not slumber. (2Pe. 2:1)When the church accepts these false teachers, and fails to confront their error, then “the way of truth will be blasphemed.” A key attribute of such teachers is their deception—appearing to be what they are not. They are all the more effective in their convincing zeal since they themselves are deceived (2Ti. 3:13).It is a lamentable fact in our time that the Church seems unwilling to test its own. Application of the guidelines set forth by the NT writers is seen as judgmental or quenching the Spirit. Yet it was the Spirit Himself who inspired the writers who urge us through the pages of Scripture to proactively guard doctrine! The NT makes plain how essential this testing is to the health of the assemblies. Shouldn’t we expect that Satan will concentrate his greatest efforts at the very ‘ground zero’ of God’s work upon the earth—within the local Christian assembly? We cannot say that we have not been warned: “test the spirits, whether they are of God” (1Jn. 4:1)!say they are apostles
For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock. Also from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves. Therefore watch, and remember that for three years I did not cease to warn everyone night and day with tears. (Acts 20:29-31)Paul mentioned such false apostles when writing to the church at Corinth and was not hesitant to cut off their “ministry”:
But what I do, I will also continue to do, that I may cut off the opportunity from those who desire an opportunity to be regarded just as we are in the things of which they boast. For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works. (2Cor. 11:12-15)A key attribute of those who are not what they appear to be is their self proclamation. In the church of Thyatira, it was Jezebel who called herself a prophetess (Rev. 2:20+). Paul says that they transform themselves, patterning their deceit after Satan who transforms himself into an angel of light. This transformation would be entirely effective if the church did not have the Word of God and gifts of spiritual discernment to expose such imposters (1Cor. 12:10). Spiritual discernment is necessary because the natural mind is ineffective in the spiritual realm where the seduction takes place (Mat. 24:24; Mark 13:22; 2Th. 2:9-11; 1Ti. 4:1). The power of seduction by demonic spirits may be assessed by noting how easily deceiving spirits convince the kings of the earth to participate in the height of folly: going to war against God (Rev. 16:13-14+)!
Moreover the word of the LORD came to me, saying, “Go and cry in the hearing of Jerusalem, saying, ‘Thus says the LORD: “I remember you, the kindness of your youth, the love of your betrothal, when you went after Me in the wilderness, in a land not sown. Israel was holiness to the LORD, the firstfruits of His increase. All that devour him will offend; disaster will come upon them,” says the LORD.’ ”God reminds Israel of “the love of her betrothal,” when they sought after Him in the wilderness. Although the nation lacked many things in the wilderness, they had a zeal and hunger for the Lord. This is analogous to the zeal and hunger we had for God when He first calls us from the “wilderness” of the world. At that time, nothing else was as important as our relationship with Him!
Hear the word of the LORD, O house of Jacob and all the families of the house of Israel. Thus says the LORD: “What injustice have your fathers found in Me, that they have gone far from Me, have followed idols, and have become idolaters? Neither did they say, ‘Where is the LORD, Who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, Who led us through the wilderness, through a land of deserts and pits, through a land of drought and the shadow of death, through a land that no one crossed and where no one dwelt?’ ”God relates the next stage in Israel’s flagging relationship with Him. They have “gone far from” Him and have begun to follow idols. They have forgotten the wonders He did when they were rescued from a desperate situation and now other things have begun to eclipse the importance of intimacy with God. God specifically mentions Israel’s having “followed idols”—the nation is turning its attention elsewhere.
“I brought you into a bountiful country, to eat its fruit and its goodness. But when you entered, you defiled My land and made My heritage an abomination. The priests did not say, ‘Where is the LORD?’ And those who handle the law did not know Me; the rulers also transgressed against Me; the prophets prophesied by Baal, and walked after things that do not profit. Therefore I will yet bring charges against you,” says the LORD, “And against your children’s children I will bring charges.”The nation has now drifted so far apart from God that “those who handle the law did not know Me.” This is a very serious state of affairs! The very people who should know God and accurately represent Him, no longer “know Me.” How similar this sounds to the sobering words of Jesus:
Many will say to Me in that Day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’ (Mat. 7:22-23) [emphasis added]If Jesus never knew them then they could not have truly known Him. Yet they are actively ministering in His name—attributing their activities to His character! The disturbing reality is that it is possible to think one is actively “serving God,” but without a true relationship with Him. Even in the case where we begin following after Him, time and circumstances often turn our hearts aside. When Solomon grew old, “his wives turned his heart after other gods; and his heart was not loyal to the LORD his God, as was the heart of his father David” (1K. 11:4).Our priority must ever be relationship over service (works). This is the essential message of the incident involving Mary and her sister Martha related by Luke. Martha’s priority was serving whereas “Mary . . . sat at Jesus’ feet and heard His word” (Luke 10:39). Martha was so focused on serving that she missed a golden opportunity to listen to her Lord. Jesus summarized the actions of the two sisters: “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her” (Luke 10:41-42).Time spent sitting at the Master’s feet will never be taken away from us. Although some fret that such time reduces our ability to serve, the result is actually the opposite. Our devotion, motivation, and understanding of God are deepened causing an increase in the fruit of God’s ministry through us. Our ministry and service must be grounded in and out of our love for Him (Heb. 6:10-12). We are “priests to His God,” our primary focus is God-ward, only then man-ward. Instead of waning, our love for Him is to be continually increasing (Php. 1:9).The Ephesian church had lost its focus. They had taken their eyes off of Jesus and were now focusing on their works done for His name. This is the essence of idolatry.The condition of the Ephesian church at the time of John appears considerably different to that when Paul wrote his epistle. “See the Ephesians’ first love, Eph. 1:15. This epistle was written under Domitian, when thirty years had elapsed since Paul had written his Epistle to them.”21 This is evidence for a late date for the writing of the book of Revelation.
Properly speaking, metanoein is “to know after” as pronoein is “to know before”; metanoia is “afterknowledge” . . . The next step that metanoia signifies is the change of mind that results from this afterknowledge. Thus Tertullian wrote: “In the Greek language the word for repentance is not derived from the admission of a fault but from a change of mind.” . . . Last of all metanoia signifies a resulting change of conduct. . . . Only in Scripture and in the works of those who were dependent on Scripture does metanoia predominantly refer to a change of mind, to taking a wiser view of the past, to “the soul’s perception of the wicked things it has done.”22Repentance includes a recognition of wrong-doing together with a decision to move in a different direction: “Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord” (Acts 3:19).from where you have fallen
But recall the former days in which, after you were illuminated, you endured a great struggle with sufferings: partly while you were made a spectacle both by reproaches and tribulations, and partly while you became companions of those who were so treated; for you had compassion on me in my chains, and joyfully accepted the plundering of your goods, knowing that you have a better and an enduring possession for yourselves in heaven. Therefore do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward. (Heb. 10:32-35) [emphasis added]
Instantly, let us say, this is not a call to “Christian service” or “renewed activity.” Ephesus had toil, patience, intolerance toward evil, patience in suffering,—everything. But the “first works” are the goings forth of affection to Christ, freely, devotedly, as in our first love.24I will come
Gibbon (Decline and Fall, c. lxiv.), . . . writes like one who almost believed that the threatenings and promises of God did fulfill themselves in history: In the loss of Ephesus the Christians deplored the fall of the first Angel, the extinction of the first candlestick, of the Revelations; the desolation is complete; and the temple of Diana or the church of Mary will equally elude the search of the curious traveller. The circus and three stately theatres of Laodicea are now peopled with wolves and foxes; Sardis is reduced to a miserable village; the God of Mahomet, without a rival or a son, is invoked in the mosques of Thyatira and Pergamus, and the populousness of Smyrna is supported by the foreign trade of the Franks and Armenians. Philadelphia alone has been saved by prophecy, or courage. . . . Among the Greek colonies and Churches of Asia, Philadelphia is still erect—a column in a scene of ruins,—a pleasing example that the paths of honour and safety may sometimes be the same.28The lampstand at Ephesus was indeed removed. “I have before me a picture of the Ephesus of today—a ruined archway, a Moslem dwelling, and a forbidding castle, ’midst desolate hills. No lampstand for Christ where once Paul labored three years, night and day with tears!”29
[The seven letters] are also accompanied with a seven times repeated entreaty and command to hear what is said in them. And yet there is not another portion of Scripture, of equal extent and conspicuity, to which so little attention has been paid.33what the Spirit says
It is a term describing the abode of the righteous ones, no matter where that above may be at any point in time.... from Adam until the Ascension of Jesus, Paradise was in Abraham’s Bosom. From the Ascension of Jesus until the end of the Millennium, Paradise is in Heaven. Then, after the Millennium and for all eternity, Paradise will be in the New Jerusalem on the new earth.41
Knowing as we do that at a period only a little later than this, Polycarp was bishop there, a very interesting question presents itself to us, namely, whether he might not have been bishop now; whether he may not be the Angel of whom this epistle is addrest [sic]. There is much to make this probable. . . . It is true indeed that we have thus to assume an episcopate of his, which lasted for more than seventy years; for the “good confession” of Polycarp did not take place till the year 168, while the Apocalypse was probably written in 96. . . . As early as AD 108 Ignatius . . . found Polycarp the bishop . . . of the Church of Smyrna . . . We have only to extend his episcopate twelve years a parte ante, and he will have been Angel of Smyrna when this Epistle was addrest [sic] to that Church. Is there any great unlikelihood in this? His reply to the Roman Governor who tempted him to save his life by denying his Lord, is well known . . . that he could not thus renounce a Lord whom for eighty and six years he had served . . . [These eighty-six years] represent no doubt the years since his conversion. Counting back eighty-six years from the year 168, being that of his martyrdom, we have AD 82 as the year when he was first in Christ. This will give us fourteen years as the period which will have elapsed from his conversion to that when this present Epistle was written, during which time he may very well have attained the post of chiefest honour and toil and peril in the Church of Smyrna. Tertullian indeed distinctly tells us that he was consecrated bishop of Smyrna by St. John . . . and Irenaeus, who affirms that he had himself in his youth often talked with Polycarp, declares the same42the church of Smyrna
Many writers of that time referred to it as the loveliest city of Asia. Smyrna had a magnificent natural situation and setting at the end of a long, protected inlet of the Mediterranean which gave it a natural harbor well sheltered from the elements. The harbor was compact and easily defended in time of war by simply drawing a chain across its entrance. The city itself began at the harbor and covered the undulating ground between the harbor and the Pagos, a hill covered by temples and public buildings. These noble buildings encircled this hill, and the locals proudly called these the crown of Smyrna (see Rev. 2:10+).48The meaning of the name Smyrna, myrrh or bitter, “Smyrna means ‘bitter,’ certainly an appropriate description for the lot of Christians who lived there.”49 is associated with death:
In the New Testament the word σμύπˊα [smypa] occurs only twice (Mat. 2:11 and John 19:39) and a derivative form once (Mark 15:23). Commentators note the enormous quantity of myrrh and aloes brought by Nicodemus for the burial of Jesus. Use of these spices evidently accorded with normal Jewish practice (cf. John 11:44), except that their quantity in this case represented a costly act of devotion to Jesus, resembling that of Mary (John 12:2-11), Jesus there applied the lesson of her gift to his forthcoming burial (John 12:7; cf. Mark 14:8; Mat. 26:12).50
So much has been idly written upon names, not a little most idly on the names of these seven Churches, and the mystical meanings which they contain, that one shrinks from any seeming fellowship in such foolish and unprofitable fancies; and yet it is difficult not to remember here that σμύρνα [smyrna] , the name of this suffering Church which should give out its sweetness in persecution and in death, is a subform of μύῤῥα [myrhra] . . . [which] . . . served for embalming the dead (John 19:39) . . ., went up as incense before the Lord (Ex. 30:23), was one of the perfumes of the bridegroom (Ps. 45:8), and of the bride (Sos. 3:6)51Significantly, this is the church of tribulation and martyrdom. Ignatius, in his Epistle to the Smyrnaeans recognized the ongoing zeal of the church at Smyrna: “I observed that you are established in an unshakable faith, having been nailed, as it were, to the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ in both body and spirit and firmly established in love by the blood of Christ.”52 This is one of only two churches (Philadelphia being the other) for which Christ gives no word of criticism.the First and the Last
For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh; but he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the Spirit, not in the letter; whose praise is not from men but from God. (Rom. 2:28-29)Such Jews relied upon their physical decent from Abraham, but denied him as father by their actions. John the Baptist warned the Pharisees and Sadducees, “and do not think to say to yourselves, “We have Abraham as our father.” For I say to you that God is able to raise up children to Abraham from these stones” (Mat. 3:9).
They answered and said to Him, “Abraham is our father.” Jesus said to them, “If you were Abraham’s children, you would do the works of Abraham. But now you seek to kill Me, a Man who has told you the truth which I heard from God. Abraham did not do this. You do the deeds of your father.” Then they said to Him, “We were not born of fornication; we have one Father—God.” (John 8:39-41)Paul noted that only a subset of the Jews were “the Israel of God” (Gal. 6:16). This believing remnant within Israel were the true Jews:58
But it is not that the word of God has taken no effect. For they are not all Israel who are of Israel, nor are they all children because they are the seed of Abraham; but, “In Isaac your seed shall be called.” That is, those who are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God; but the children of the promise are counted as the seed. (Rom. 9:6-8)He warned the Philippian church to beware of the “mutilation” (a euphemism for the physically circumcised unbelieving Jews, Gal. 5:12):
Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the mutilation! For we are the circumcision, who worship God in the Spirit, rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh, though I also might have confidence in the flesh. If anyone else thinks he may have confidence in the flesh, I more so: (Php. 3:2-4)The unbelieving Jews were the major threat to the early church (Acts 13:50; 14:2, 5, 19; 17:5). This threat was compounded because Christians initially enjoyed protection from Rome by being considered a sect within Judaism. Since Judaism enjoyed protection as a recognized religion by Rome, so long as Christianity was seen as a sect within Judaism, persecution was minimal. But the fundamental rift between Judaism and Christianity eventually brought persecution, not only by the Jews, but also from Rome.synagogue of Satan
The measure of their former nearness to God was the measure of their present distance from Him. In the height to which they were lifted up was involved the depth to which, if they did not continue at that height, they must inevitably fall; and this, true for them, is true also for all62This persecution by Judaism was especially troubling because it meant the loss of the protection Christianity initially enjoyed while considered a sect within Judaism:
The letters in Revelation suggest that Jewish Christians were tempted to escape persecution by seeking some form of identification with Jewish synagogues, which were exempted from emperor worship, and that Gentile Christians were tempted to compromise with trade guild cults and even the emperor cult in order to escape persecution. Such a situation is more likely to have been present toward the end of the first century rather than earlier.63
According to Roman law, religions were considered illegal outside their country of origin, . . . The only exception to this law was Judaism, the practice of which was allowed throughout the Empire. Christians were probably considered a sect of Judaism until 70 A.D., though they likely would not have been completely disassociated from Judaism in the minds of pagans in the years following 70 A.D. After that date, Judaism made formal attempts to dissociate itself from Christianity.64
Judaism had a special privilege that the Romans allowed only them, freedom from worshiping the Roman gods and participating in the Greco-Roman cults. Christianity was considered part of Judaism at least through the Jewish War (A.D. 66-70) and also benefited from this privilege. However, Judaism tried more and more to separate itself from Christianity and get the Roman Empire to recognize that Christianity was not exempt. . . . the Romans imposed on Jews [the Judean tax] that allowed the Jews freedom from participation in the imperial cult. Christians refused to pay this tax; thus the Jews denounced Christians as not being true Judeans and as being troublemakers.65The intensity of the hatred of the Smyrnaean Jews for Christians was illustrated in the burning of Polycarp some years later: “[The martyrdom of Polycarp] was in the year 165, but the attitude of the Asian Jew towards Christianity had been determined at least seventy years before.”66 “The most striking instance [of persecution by Jews] actually relates to Smyrna: the Jews gathered fuel on the Sabbath for the burning of Polycarp (Mart. Pion. 4; Cadoux, pp. 378-79).”67 “These things happened with such swiftness, quicker than words can tell, the crowd swiftly collecting wood and kindling from the workshops and baths, the Jews being especially eager to assist in this, as is their custom.”68 Although it seems best to understand the text as describing unbelieving Jews (true physical offspring of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob), some have noted the trend among cults (e.g., Jehovah’s Witnesses, British Israel) of claiming to be “Jews,” “One common element among cults is to claim to be the ‘real’ Jews by declaring themselves to be the 144,000 Jews or the ten lost Tribes of Israel.”69 If the Jews had recognized their Messiah, what is here described as a synagogue of Satan could have been described as the “church of the living God.”
There is nothing more remarkable in the records which have come down to us of the early persecutions, and in this point they singularly illustrate the Scripture before us, 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, and no mere result of the offended passions, prejudices, or interests of men. The enemies of flesh and blood, as mere tools and instruments, are nearly lost sight of by them in a constant reference to satan as the invisible but real author of all.70When members of the church at Smyrna found themselves in prison, they were to understand that it was spiritual powers which had placed them there. This would make it easier to bear the Tribulation and especially to pray for those who persecuted them (Mat. 5:44).that you may be tested
God sifting and winnowing the man to separate his chaff from his wheat, the devil sifting and winnowing him in the hope that nothing else but chaff will be found in him (Luke 22:31).71Scripture is full of God’s testing of men. He already knows what is in a man, but does the man? Usually not. Testing makes it self-evident (Gen. 22:1; Ex. 15:25; 16:4; 20:20; Deu. 8:2, 16; 13:3; Jdg. 2:22; 3:1, 4; 2Chr. 32:31; Job 23:10; Ps. 11:4-5; 105:19; Isa. 48:10; Jer. 12:3; 20:12; Luke 4:1; 22:31; Jas. 1:12; Rev. 2:10+).ten days
[To] those who interpret here [an] allusion to the ten persecutions which the Church is often said to have passed through, during the three hundred years of its conflict with heathen Rome . . . it has been objected that this enumeration of exactly ten persecutions is altogether arbitrary; that, if we include in our list only those which had some right to be called general, as extending over the whole Roman empire, the persecutions would not be so many; if all those which reached any one city or province, they would be many more.74It seems best to take this time period as representing ten literal days: “The ten days are literal and refer to an unknown persecution within a definite period of time during the generation to which this message was addressed,”75 “In the book of Revelation, time zones, be they days, months, or years, are always quite literal, and it is best to take these ten days as being the same.”76 For a survey of different views regarding the meaning of the ten days see [Thomas, Revelation 1-7, 168-170].until death
We learn from that precious document, the Epistle of the Church of Smyrna recording the martyrdom of Polycarp, that Jews [those of the synagogue of Satan] joined with heathens in crying out in the amphitheatre that the Christian bishop should be cast to the lions; and when there was a difficulty about this, that he should be burned alive; which being granted, the Jews, as was their wont . . . were forwardest in bringing logs for the pile; they, too, doing all that lay in their power to hinder the remains of the martyr from being delivered to his followers for burial.78The death of His saints throughout history stands as the ultimate witness to the belief in eternal life provided to those who have believed upon His name (Rev. 12:11+).crown of life
But in accordance with your hardness and your impenitent heart you are treasuring up for yourself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, who “will render to each one according to his deeds”: eternal life to those who by patient continuance in doing good seek for glory, honor, and immortality; but to those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness—indignation and wrath. (Rom 2:5-8). [emphasis added]The church at Smyrna was told to be faithful to receive the crown, for temptation and weariness are ever near along the Christian path (Rev. 3:11+). See Crowns.
Pergamos, now Bergamo, the ancient metropolis of Mysia, and the residence of the Attalian kings, is situated on the river Ciacus, about sixty miles north of Smyrna, in long. 27 degrees East lat. 39 degrees 11 minutes North. It still retains some measure of its ancient importance; containing a population of about 15,000 souls, and having nine or ten mosques, two churches, and one synagogue.82Pergamos served as the capital of Alexander’s successor, Lysimachus and was bequeathed to Rome by Attalus III. At one time “it had a vast library of 200,000 volumes, which was moved by Antony to Egypt and presented to Cleopatra.”83
Pergamum was a university city, famous for its library of 200,000 parchment scrolls, second only in size to the library of Alexandria in Egypt. Indeed, parchment was invented in Pergamum, for when its king decided to establish a library and enticed Alexandria’s librarian to head up his library, the Egyptian king banned the export of papyrus to Pergamum. This forced Pergamum’s scholars to find an alternate writing material, and they invented parchment. Parchment lasts much better than papyrus, so this invention played a big part in preserving the Bible for us.84
It used to be common to credit Eumenes II, king of Pergamum shortly after 200 B.C., with the invention of parchment. Eumenes was building up his library to rival the great library of King Ptolemy in Alexandria. The king of Egypt moved to cut off the supply of papyrus to Pergamum, and in response Eumenes was forced to develop “parchment.” This story is true if taken in the sense that Eumenes was the first to make use of parchment or leather; for long before the second century, animal skins for writing were unquestionably in use. In Egypt, for example, mention is made of leather documents as far back as 2500 B.C. . . . So Eumenes was by no means the first to use animal skins for writing, although he may have developed and perfected a better process for treating the skins. Whatever the case, Pergaumum and parchment are indisputably connected, the word “parchment” being derived from the Greek term pergamene.85
The fame of Pergamum rested chiefly on its religious preeminence. A tetrad of local deities, Zeus Soter, Athena Nicephoros, Dionysius, Kathegemon, Asklepios Soter, presided over the city; the temple of Athena almost crowned the acropolis, and beneath it, on the slope of the hill and visible from the agora, stood a great al fresco altar of the Pergamene Zeus. Still more celebrated was the Pergamene cult of Asklepios, to whose temple there was attached a school of medicine which attracted sufferers from all quarters. . . . What Artemis was to Ephesus, such was Asklepios to Pergamum.86Asklepios was the deity of medicine: “Aesculapius (whence our word ‘scalpel’) being worshiped, commonly under the sign of a coiled snake on a pole (note Numbers 21:8-9).”87 the sharp two-edged sword
Most commentators see the principal or only background in the position of Pergamum as the centre of emperor worship. This was the present threat to the church, and the reminder that Christ has the ‘sharp two-edged ῤομφαία [romphaia] ’ is then set against the proconsul’s ius gladii. It was on this ground that the Christian faced the actual threat of Roman execution. . . . It is well known that Domitian required to be addressed as dominus et deus [“Lord and God”].93
Inscriptions proclaim the dignity of the city as the first in Asia to erect a temple to Augustus; and as it was the first, so it continued to be the chief Asian set of the emperor-cult.94
The major threat to Christians in Pergamum came from its role as a center of emperor worship in Asia, a function that went with it being the capital city. Caesar worship required each citizen, once a year, to offer a pinch of incense to Caesar on his altar and profess him as Lord. The citizen was then given a certificate valid for one year which allowed him to worship whatever god or gods he preferred with impunity.95Satan’s throne may also denote the activities of the secret mystery religions at Pergamum:
Alexander Hislop, in his famous book Two Babylons, gave much documentation to show that Pergamos had inherited the religious mantle of ancient Babylon when Babylon fell in the days of Belshazzar. The priests, who had kept the secrets of the ancient mystery religious centered at Babylon ever since the days of Nimrod, were forced to migrate at that time, transferring what amounted to the headquarters of Satan’s religious system away from Babylon north and west to Pergamos.96Antipas
The teaching of Balaam was encouragement of corruption by intermarriage resulting in fornication and idolatry. No doubt in the city of Pergamum intermarriage with the pagan world was a real problem. Because civil and religious life were so intertwined, for believers to accept social engagements probably meant some involvement with paganism.102stumbling block
[Christians] were expected to pay their “dues” to trade guilds by attending annual dinners held in honor of the guilds’ patron deities. Homage to the emperor as divine was included along with worship of such local deities.105The dietary restrictions imposed upon Gentiles by the Jerusalem Council (Acts 15:20, 15:29) were out of concern for retaining Gentile fellowship with Jewish believers. Paul allows such meat sacrificed to idols to be eaten (1Cor. 8:7; 10:18-33), but only when it does not cause offense to brothers. Here the issue was one of compromising the witness of the church within the pagan culture and partaking of pagan practices which were associated with such banquets. These dinners included the eating of meat sacrificed to idols as well as licentious behavior. See Worldly Churches.to commit sexual immorality
“Our fathers ate the manna in the desert; as it is written, ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’ ” Then Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, Moses did not give you the bread from heaven, but My Father gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is He who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” Then they said to Him, “Lord, give us this bread always.” And Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.” (John 6:31-35)Jesus is the true manna which gives eternal life. The manna in the wilderness sustained the Israelites for a time, but they still died in the wilderness:
“I am the bread of life. Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and are dead. This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that one may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world.” (John 6:48-51)The overcomer has faith in Christ and is a partaker of His flesh given on our behalf. Thus he has eternal life:
“As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who feeds on Me will live because of Me. This is the bread which came down from heaven—not as your fathers ate the manna, and are dead. He who eats this bread will live forever.” (John 6:57-58)This manna is said to be hidden. “There can, I think, be no doubt that allusion is here to the manna which at God’s express command Moses caused to be laid up before the Lord in the Sanctuary (Ex. 16:32-34; cf. Heb. 9:4). This manna, as being thus laid up in the Holy Place, obtained the name of ‘hidden.’ ”110
The allusion is ultimately traceable to Ex. 16:32-34, where the Lord commanded a sample of manna to be preserved as a memorial for future generations. Tradition was quick to explain its subsequent disappearance. It was taken to have been originally kept in the ark of the covenant (cf. Heb. 9:4), and on the destruction of Solomon’s temple Jeremiah, according to 2 Macc. 2:4-7, was warned to take the tabernacle, the ark and its contents to Sinai and there hide them underground. There they would remain until the coming of the Messiah, when Jeremiah would reappear and deposit them in the new Messianic temple in Jerusalem. A variant in 2 Baruch 6:7-10, ascribing their concealment to an angel, is almost contemporary with the Revelation. neither of these passages mentions manna, but its inclusion in this tradition is inferred from Heb. 9:4 and explicit in the Rabbinic sources (so Yoma 52b).111Christ Himself may be considered hidden manna, being no longer visible since His ascension:
Life eternal commences on this side of the grave, and not first on the other; and here in the wilderness Christ is the bread from heaven, the bread of God, the true manna, of which those that eat shall never die (John 6:31-33, 48-51). Nay, more than this; since his Ascension he is in some sort a “hidden manna” for them now.112
The fact that the manna is described as “hidden,” points to the mystery of eternal life, a mystery that is only perceived through faith. The hidden (or secret) manna seems to be the bread of life which is a secret from all who have not experienced the saving grace of Jesus Christ.113Eating the manna may also be an allusion to participation in the marriage supper of the Lamb (Rev. 19:9+).114 Bullinger sees a literal fulfillment in the nourishment of Israel in the future wilderness (Rev. 12:14+).115 From the perspective of the saints at Pergamum, the hidden manna was a reminder of God’s provision in spite of deprivation. “The person leaving the state church might be deprived of his job and welfare. But in spite of what he may be deprived of, God will provide his sustenance.”116 white stone
And it shall be, on the day when you cross over the Jordan to the land which the LORD your God is giving you, that you shall set up for yourselves large stones, and whitewash them with lime. You shall write on them all the words of this law, when you have crossed over, that you may enter the land which the LORD your God is giving you, ‘a land flowing with milk and honey,’ just as the LORD God of your fathers promised you. Therefore it shall be, when you have crossed over the Jordan, that on Mount Ebal you shall set up these stones, which I command you today, and you shall whitewash them with lime. And there you shall build an altar to the LORD your God, an altar of stones; you shall not use an iron tool on them. You shall build with whole stones the altar of the LORD your God, and offer burnt offerings on it to the LORD your God. You shall offer peace offerings, and shall eat there, and rejoice before the LORD your God. And you shall write very plainly on the stones all the words of this law. (Deu. 27:2-8) [emphasis added]This command was later fulfilled by Joshua (Jos. 8:32). The written law upon the tablets of stone was a picture of how one day God would write the law upon tablets of flesh:
You are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read by all men; clearly you are an epistle of Christ, ministered by us, written not with ink but by the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of flesh, that is, of the heart. (2Cor. 2:2)The white stone may be a memorial to the law in that it records a new name which expresses the character of God to which the believer is being conformed (Rom. 8:29; 1Cor. 15:49; 2Cor. 3:18; Php. 3:21; Col. 3:10).There is a textual variant at Revelation 15:6+ which mentions a white stone, but is generally thought to be a transcriptional error. See commentary on Revelation 15:6.new name written
This may indicate one or more of three main ideas. First, the name might be a new name Christ will give to each believer. It will be appropriately different for each overcomer and no one except the one who receives it will know the name. Second, the name might be the same for all believers. It will be known to all victors (all believers) just as the things of God are known (in different degree) to all believers (1Jn. 2:20, 27; 1Cor. 2:15-16). This view also fits with the Lord’s promises in Isaiah that He will give to His people—all of them in common—a “new name” (Isa. 62:2; cf. 56:5; 65:15). Third, the name might be that of God the Father or of Christ Himself, a common heritage for all overcomers. In favor of this view is the parallel passage in Revelation 3:12+, which says the name Christ will give is God’s own name. (Further support is in Revelation 14:1+ and 22:4+, which refer to God’s name on the foreheads of the 144,000 and all believers in the New Jerusalem.) This name could be a name of God that He deems appropriate for His own as an expression of the fact that they belong to Him (cf. Isa. 56:5; 62:2; 65:15). Also, as already noted, the white stone may allude to the stones of the Law on which God wrote His name (Ex. 20).131The name is new: “Gr. kainos, new in quality, use, application, or character, as opposed to being new in time; see Mat. 9:17 where contrasting terms occur together, kainos being second, applied to wineskins which were not brand new (as was the wine), but simply not having been used before, unused. See the use of kainos at John 13:34.”132 Isaiah described how God would give a name to those who follow after Him—even to those who were not Jews:
Even to them I will give in My house and within My walls a place and a name better than that of sons and daughters; I will give them an everlasting name that shall not be cut off. Also the sons of the foreigner who join themselves to the LORD, to serve Him, and to love the name of the LORD, to be His servants-everyone who keeps from defiling the Sabbath, and holds fast My covenant—even them I will bring to My holy mountain, and make them joyful in My house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and their sacrifices Will be accepted on My altar; for My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations. The Lord GOD, who gathers the outcasts of Israel, says, yet I will gather to him Others besides those who are gathered to him. (Isa. 56:5-8)Whether the name is that of God or a new name given the believer, it describes the new character and inheritance of the believer (2Cor. 5:17; Eph. 4:24) who has been adopted into the family of God. “The new name is the name of adoption: adopted persons took the name of the family into which they were adopted.”133 no one knows except him
Thyatira is very rarely mentioned in ancient literature, and its site is covered by the modern town of Akhisar, which betrays few outward signs of its past and whose presence has prevented excavation. . . . Thyatira is first know to us as a Seleucid colony, whose foundation is ascribed to Seleucus Nicator at the time of his war with Lysimachus. . . . The increasing abundance of later inscriptions suggests that Thyatira, still of limited importance at the time of the Revelation, reached a peak of prosperity in the second and third centuries. The words of Rev. 2:19+ were addressed to a growing church in a growing city.138
The most outstanding feature in Thyatiran life was probably the institution of trade-guilds. . . . At Thyatira there were guilds of bakers, potters, workers in brass, tanners, leather-cutters, workers in wool and flax, clothiers, dyers; the workers in wool and the dyers were probably the most numerous, for the manufacture and dyeing of woollen goods was a Lydian speciality, in which Thyatira excelled.139
Not surprisingly, religion played no major role in Thyatira’s way of life, for it was not a major center of Caesar worship or Greek worship; its local god was Tyrimnus, a horse mounted god, armed with a battle-ax and a club. The only notable thing about Thyatira religiously was that it was home to the oracle Sambethe, an oracle presided over by a female fortune teller.140This church may have been established from Paul’s ministry to Lydia (Acts 16:14). “At the riverside at Philippa Lydia, a seller of purple of Thyatira became the first recorded Christian convert in Macedonia (Acts 16:14).”141
Thyatira was famous for a purple or crimson dye manufactured from the madder root, which was a cheap rival for the expensive Phoenician murex dye made from a particular marine shellfish. Acts 16:14 attests to this specialty, for the Philippian convert, Lydia, was a seller of purple fabrics who hailed from Thyatira (she was 300 miles from her home city).142Son of God
Likewise, son of man, set your face against the daughters of your people, who prophesy out of their own heart; prophesy against them, and say, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD: “Woe to the women who sew magic charms on their sleeves and make veils for the heads of people of every height to hunt souls! Will you hunt the souls of My people, and keep yourselves alive? And will you profane Me among My people for handfuls of barley and for pieces of bread, killing people who should not die, and keeping people alive who should not live, by your lying to My people who listen to lies?” ’Therefore thus says the Lord GOD: “Behold, I am against your magic charms by which you hunt souls there like birds. I will tear them from your arms, and let the souls go, the souls you hunt like birds. I will also tear off your veils and deliver My people out of your hand, and they shall no longer be as prey in your hand. Then you shall know that I am the LORD. Because with lies you have made the heart of the righteous sad, whom I have not made sad; and you have strengthened the hands of the wicked, so that he does not turn from his wicked way to save his life. Therefore you shall no longer envision futility nor practice divination; for I will deliver My people out of your hand, and you shall know that I am the LORD.” ’ (Eze. 13:17-23) [emphasis added]How similar this sounds to the modern church which has no shortage of self-proclaimed “prophetesses” who frequent various conferences, peddling their ministries as being inspired by the Holy Spirit while teaching concepts which contradict God’s Word.to teach
The sin, apparently involving the majority of the Thyatira church’s members, was twofold. First, they violated the biblical teaching that women are not to be teachers or preachers in the church (1Ti. 2:12). That led them to tolerate the woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess. They compounded their error of permitting her to teach by allowing her to teach error.154In our own day, this Scriptural restriction on the teaching role of women has been twisted by the feminist agenda which distorts the Scriptures using techniques not unlike that of “Christian homosexuals” who deny the plain meaning of the text. As a result, the Christian church is reaping the whirlwind with self-proclaimed prophetesses as well as female “bishops” and pastors usurping roles which God has ordained strictly for men. If a woman believes “God is calling her to be a pastor,” she should think again! God does not contravene His own word.seduce
Satan seems to have used commerce to undercut the church in Thyatira, for unless one was a member of a trade guild, one had little hope of commercial prosperity; indeed, one’s commercial existence was in jeopardy. Two characteristics of these guilds were incompatible with Christianity: first, they held banquets, often in a temple, and these banquets would begin and end with a formal sacrifice to the gods, so the meat eaten at these affairs was meat offered to idols (Acts 15:29). Second, these functions were, as would be expected, occasions of drunken revelry and slack morality.156
Pagan worship was associated with trade guilds in that each guild had its guarding god. Guilds for wool workers, linen workers, manufacturers of outer garments, dyers, leather workers, tanners, potters, bakers, slave dealers, and bronze smiths were known. Membership in a guild was compulsory if one wanted to hold a position. . . . Guild members were expected to attend the guild festivals and to eat food, part of which had been offered to the tutelary deity and which was acknowledged as being on the table as a gift from god. At the end of the feast grossly immoral activities would commence.157See Worldly Churches. See commentary on Revelation 2:14.
Since the encouragement to the faithful in Rev. 2:25-26+ refers to His second advent, the case for a technical eschatological meaning . . . is still stronger. In consideration that the main body of the Apocalypse (Revelation 4+-19+) includes a detailed description of this future period, it is exegetically sound to conclude that the threat to the followers of Jezebel is that of being thrust into this period of unparalleled misery.164Even if the Tribulation relates specifically to the woman Jezebel in the church at Thyatira, it does not preclude understanding the passage as a type denoting the fate of the apostate church. The apostate church of the last days, which does not participate in the Rapture, remains on earth to enter the Great Tribulation.165 See Jacob’s Trouble and the Great Tribulation.unless they repent
And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. (Rev. 20:12+)At the resurrection of the unsaved dead, the dead are judged according to their works as recorded in “the books.” These books will reveal their lack of perfection. Then, another book, the “Book of Life” will be consulted to verify that they have not availed themselves of the blood of Christ to obtain the righteousness provided by God (Rom. 3:5, 21-26; 10:3; 2Cor. 5:21; Php. 3:9; Jas. 1:20). Lacking both perfection and a relationship with the Perfect One, they will find their destiny in the Lake of Fire (Rev. 20:15+).Believers too will be judged for their works. But the judgment they face is infinitely different than that of the nonbeliever for it is a judgment for rewards. Even if the believer is devoid of works, he himself escapes the wrath of Almighty God (1Cor. 3:13-15), for his righteousness is provided by God Himself (Jer. 23:6).170 Biblical faith is to bring forth the fruit of the Spirit and the works thereof which are an indication of true faith:
It is indeed one of the gravest mischiefs which Rome has bequeathed to us, that in a reaction and protest, itself absolutely necessary, against the false emphasis which she puts on works, unduly thrusting them in to share with Christ’s merits in our justification, we often fear to place upon them the true; being as they are, to speak with St. Bernard, the “via regni” [way of royalty], however little the “causa regnandi” [cause of royalty].171
Two explanations of ‘the deep things of Satan’ are widely held: (1) that the phrase is an ironical retort to the claims of Jezebel’s followers to esoteric knowledge of ‘the deep things of God’; (2) that the opposition actually boasted of a knowledge of ‘the deep things of Satan’, saying that the spiritual man should experience all evil to demonstrate his superiority over it.172
He ventures into Satan’s strongholds to demonstrate the powerlessness of the enemy over him, or else to learn the real nature of sin in this firsthand way.173
Some may have felt that they could attend trade guild festivities honoring patron gods or acknowledge Caesar as god if called to, since close association with idolatry would enable a Christian to “know the deep things of Satan” (Rev. 2:24+) and his inner council. Such knowledge purportedly would allow Christians to know the satanic opponents’ deceptive methods so well that they could all the better defeat Satan in the future.174A trademark of all mystery religious and secret societies is the teaching that true knowledge lies below the surface, only attainable by the initiate. By mysterious activities, they purport to know “the deep things of God” (1Cor. 2:10). These “deep mysteries” stand in stark contrast to the simple gospel of Jesus Christ which is hidden from those who purport to be wise, but revealed to babes (Ps. 8:2; Mat. 11:25; Luke 10:21; 2Cor. 11:3).
The Magians from Babylon continually spoke of their “deep things,” their “inner knowledge,” just as the Theosophists, Christian Scientists, Spiritualists, and “Unity” devotees do today (simply ancient Gnosticism revived!). The Lord sees through all the enemy’s delusions and “mysteries”; they are not “deep” to Him. . . . It is no sign of spirituality to be familiar with Satanic psychic or demonic “depths.”175
They taught, as we know, that it was a small thing for a man to despise pleasure and to show himself superior to it, while at the same time he fled from it. The true, the glorious victory was, to remain superior to it even while tasting it to the full; to give the body to all the lusts of the flesh, and yet with all this to maintain the spirit in a region of its own, uninjured by them; and thus, as it were, to fight against pleasure with the arms of pleasure itself; to mock and defy Satan even in his own kingdom and domain.176The fatal error of such cultish systems is overconfidence in the ability of man and a woeful underestimate of the appetite of the flesh and the schemes of the devil. Weaving webs of sophistry, the resulting philosophy often exchanges truth for error:
The veneration of the serpent was but the logical development of a theory, the germ of which is common to many of the Gnostic sects. Proceeding on the assumption that the creator of the world is to be regarded as an evil power, a thing in hostility to the supreme God, it follows as a natural consequence that the fall of man through disobedience to the command of his maker must be regarded, not as a transgression against the will of the supreme God, but as an emancipation from the authority of an evil being. The serpent, therefore, who tempted mankind to sin, is no longer their destroyer but their benefactor. He is the symbol of intellect, by whose means the first human pair were raised to the knowledge of the existence of higher beings than their creator. This conception, consistently carried out, would have resulted in a direct inversion of the whole teaching of Scripture; in calling evil good and good evil; in converting Satan into God and God into Satan.177Scripture makes plain we are not called to focus on the darkness, but to focus on the light (Php. 4:8). Paul warned the Colossians against such worldly philosophy which stands opposed to the simplicity which is in Christ:
Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ. For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power. (Col. 2:8-10) [emphasis added]The pattern of those who purport to plumb the depths of Satan is one of bondage, not liberty. “Promising liberty to others, being themselves servants of corruption.”178
I have chosen the way of truth; Your judgments I have laid before me. I cling to Your testimonies; O LORD, do not put me to shame! I will run the course of Your commandments, for You shall enlarge my heart. Teach me, O LORD, the way of Your statutes, and I shall keep it to the end. Give me understanding, and I shall keep Your law; indeed, I shall observe it with my whole heart. Make me walk in the path of Your commandments, for I delight in it. (Ps. 119:30-35) [emphasis added]The Christian life is like a greased pole that we are either actively climbing up or passively sliding down. There is no opportunity to remain stationary.until I come
Ask of Me, and I will give You the nations for Your inheritance, and the ends of the earth for Your possession. You shall break them with a rod of iron; You shall dash them to pieces like a potter’s vessel. (Ps 2:8-9)
The Hebrew word for “Thou shalt break,” and that for “Thou shalt rule,” only differ in their vowels; their consonants are identical; at the same time the parallelism of the latter half of the verse, “Thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel,” leaves no doubt that “Thou shalt break” was the intention of the Psalmist.184
Christ shall rule them with a sceptre of iron to make them capable of being ruled with a scepter of gold; severity first, that grace may come after.185During the millennial reign, the saints are destined to execute vengeance on the nations and judge according to the written judgment of God (Ps. 149:5-9).like potter’s vessels
I wait for the LORD, my soul waits, and in His word I do hope. My soul waits for the Lord more than those who watch for the morning-Yes, more than those who watch for the morning. (Ps. 130:5-6)
And so we have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts (2Pe. 1:19)Isaiah 24 sets forth the Day of the Lord and the awful destruction and judgment which attend it. (See Trouble Ahead.) In the middle of the passage, Isaiah mentions the “dawn.” “Therefore glorify the LORD in the dawning light, the name of the LORD God of Israel in the coastlands of the sea” (Isa. 24:15).Yet, the destruction which attends the Day of the Lord is itself an indicator that the long night is nearly over and that the sun will soon rise:
“For behold, the day is coming, burning like an oven, and all the proud, yes, all who do wickedly will be stubble. And the day which is coming shall burn them up,” says the LORD of hosts, “That will leave them neither root nor branch. But to you who fear My name the Sun of Righteousness shall arise with healing in His wings; and you shall go out and grow fat like stall-fed calves.” (Mal. 4:1-2)Psalm 46 indicates a time of great upheaval upon the earth, at which God intervenes to rescue Jerusalem “at the break of dawn” (see Zec. 12). His intervention is followed by a time of universal peace (Isa. 2:4; 9:5, 7; 14:7; Hos. 2:18; Zec. 9:10):
God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, Even though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; Though its waters roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with its swelling. Selah There is a river whose streams shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacle of the Most High. God is in the midst of her, she shall not be moved; God shall help her, just at the break of dawn. The nations raged, the kingdoms were moved; He uttered His voice, the earth melted. The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah. Come, behold the works of the LORD, Who has made desolations in the earth. He makes wars cease to the end of the earth; He breaks the bow and cuts the spear in two; He burns the chariot in the fire. Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth! The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah (Ps. 46:1-11) [emphasis added]When the Millennial Kingdom arrives, it will be a glorious day upon the earth during which the sun shall shine:
Arise, shine; for your light has come! And the glory of the LORD is risen upon you. For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and deep darkness the people; but the LORD will arise over you, and His glory will be seen upon you. The Gentiles shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising. (Isa. 60:1-3)You in this passage is the earthly Jerusalem which will be the center of Christ’s reign during the thousand years (Rev. 20:4-6+).188 The morning star rises prior to the dawn:
The “morning star” comes before “the day” dawns; the “sun” shines during “the day”; Jesus is both. As the morning star, He is seen by few: as the sun, He is seen by all. Those who watch not merely for the sun, but for the morning star, properly heed the cautions and injunctions relating to the posture of watching.189
We have in the “Morning Star” an implied reference to the first stage of the Advent, the thief-like coming for the saints, and to obtain it indicates that we are worthy of the better resurrection, or (if living) of the translation. The mention of this in such a connection is also exceedingly significant of the exaltation of the saints to coheirship with the Christ when the morning breaks.190Christ has just mentioned a scepter and now mentions a star, both elements of the prophecy of Balaam (Num. 24:17). In Balaam’s prophecy, the star is seen first followed by the scepter. This accords with the view that the morning star will rise prior to the reign of Messiah on the earth.
Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all things take place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away. But take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that Day come on you unexpectedly. For it will come as a snare on all those who dwell on the face of the whole earth. Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man. (Luke 21:32-36)The morning star given to the overcomer in Thyatira may be the promise of a visitation prior to the dawn—participation in the Rapture of the church by all true believers and thus avoiding the last part of the night, the Great Tribulation, immediately before the dawn of the Millennial Kingdom. “Perhaps it also refers again to His second coming—this time in its very first aspect, when He comes to catch up into His presence those who believe on Him (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17).”191 See Rapture.At the very least it denotes the blessing of the continual expectancy of His coming:
Into the heart of the faithful believer comes that wondrous expectancy of His coming , which John elsewhere describes as having our “hope set on him” (1 John 3:3). This is the experience of the believer who awakes out of sleep (Romans 13:11), who by the grace of God hears His voice when He says, “Awake, thou that sleepest, and arise from among the dead (ones), and Christ shall shine upon thee” (Ephesians 5:13). . . . so these spiritually awakened or aroused find Christ’s coming arising as the day-star in their hearts (2 Peter 1:19).192
1 Colin J. Hemer, The Letters to the Seven Churches of Asia in Their Local Setting (Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1989), 35.
2 Robert L. Thomas, Revelation 1-7 (Chicago, IL: Moody Press, 1992), 129.
3 Copyright © 2003 www.BiblePlaces.com. This image appears by special permission and may not be duplicated for use in derivative works.
4 G. L. Borchert, “Ephesus,” in Geoffrey W. Bromiley, ed., International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1979, 1915), 115.
5 “In the Ephesian calendar the month of the spring equinox was named after Artemis . . . and during that month the city celebrated a yearly festival in honour of the goddess.”—Henry Barclay Swete, The Apocalypse of St. John (Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock Publishers, 1998, 1906), lvii.
6 Hemer, The Letters to the Seven Churches of Asia in Their Local Setting, 35.
7 Robert H. Mounce, The Book of Revelation (Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1977), 86.
8 “Acts 19:19 hints that the church in Ephesus was very large indeed, for 50,000 pieces of silver represents 50,000 days’ wages, which, at a daily wage of $100, was equivalent to $5,000,000. Now, if each person burned an average of $250 worth of books on magic, that value would represent 20,000 people; and even if every second person in the church was involved in magic this would require a church of, very conservatively, 40,000 members. (Do four-member Christian families on average own $1,000 worth of Christian books?) This, too, is simply an estimate of the size of the Ephesian church before three years of Paul’s ministry was completed (Acts 20:31—church history claims an Ephesian church of 100,000 members in John Chrysostom’s day).”—Monty S. Mills, Revelations: An Exegetical Study of the Revelation to John (Dallas, TX: 3E Ministries, 1987).
9 “[Ephesus had a] reputation as a seat of learning. . . . according to Eusebius Ephesus is the scene of Justin’s Dialogue with Trypho.”—Swete, The Apocalypse of St. John, lvi.
10 Borchert, Ephesus, 115.
11 Hemer, The Letters to the Seven Churches of Asia in Their Local Setting, 39.
12 J. A. Seiss, The Apocalypse: Lectures on the Book of Revelation (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1966), 56.
13 Borchert, Ephesus, 116-117.
14 “[The perfect tense] describes an event that, completed in the past . . . has results existing in the present time (i.e., in relation to the time of the speaker). ... the perfect tense is used for ‘indicating not the past action as such but the present state of affairs resulting from the past action.’ ”—Daniel B. Wallace, Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics - Exegetical Syntax of the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House and Galaxie Software, 1999, 2002), 572.
15 Richard Chenevix Trench, Commentary on the Epistles to the Seven Churches in Asia (Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock Publishers, 1861), 72.
16 J. B. Lightfoot and J. R. Harmer, The Apostolic Fathers, 2nd ed. (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1989), 89.
17 “A wider group of authoritative apostles existed [then those which had seen the Lord]. James the Just, Barnabas, Paul, Silas, Andronicus, and Junias were also apostles (Acts 14:14; Rom. 16:7; 1Cor. 15:7; Gal. 1:18; 1Th. 2:6).”—Thomas, Revelation 1-7, 137.
18 James Strong, The Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible (Ontario: Woodside Bible Fellowship, 1996), G863.
19 Frederick William Danker and Walter Bauer, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 2000).
20 William R. Newell, Revelation: Chapter by Chapter (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, 1994,c1935), 38-39.
21 A. R. Fausset, “The Revelation of St. John the Divine,” in Robert Jamieson, A. R. Fausset, and David Brown, A Commentary, Critical and Explanatory, on the Old and New Testaments (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1997, 1877), Rev. 2:4.
22 Richard Chenevix Trench, Synonyms of the New Testament (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, 1989), 270-272.
23 Trench, Commentary on the Epistles to the Seven Churches in Asia, 80.
24 Newell, Revelation: Chapter by Chapter, 39-40.
25 “The present tense may be used to describe a future event, . . . it typically adds the connotations of immediacy and certainty.”—Wallace, Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics - Exegetical Syntax of the New Testament, 535.
26 Fausset, The Revelation of St. John the Divine, Rev. 2:5.
27 Thomas, Revelation 1-7, 147.
28 Trench, Commentary on the Epistles to the Seven Churches in Asia, 187-188.
29 Newell, Revelation: Chapter by Chapter, 40.
30 Thomas, Revelation 1-7, 147.
31 Fausset, The Revelation of St. John the Divine, Rev. 2:7.
32 A. T. Robertson, Robertson’s Word Pictures in Six Volumes (Escondido, CA: Ephesians Four Group, 2003).
33 Seiss, The Apocalypse: Lectures on the Book of Revelation, 67.
34 M. R. Vincent, Vincent’s Word Studies (Escondido, CA: Ephesians Four Group, 2002), Rev. 2:7.
35 Israel My Glory, May/June 2001, 23.
36 “It is suggested that the phrase ‘tree of life’ may have carried the connotation of the cross of Christ to the original readers of Rev. 2:7+.”—Hemer, The Letters to the Seven Churches of Asia in Their Local Setting, 55.
37 Ibid., 50.
38 Strong, The Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, G3857.
39 Trench, Commentary on the Epistles to the Seven Churches in Asia, 95.
40 Thomas, Revelation 1-7, 153.
41 Arnold G. Fruchtenbaum, The Footsteps of Messiah, rev ed. (Tustin, CA: Ariel Ministries, 2003), 755-756.
42 Trench, Commentary on the Epistles to the Seven Churches in Asia, 97-98.
43 Copyright © 2003 www.BiblePlaces.com. This image appears by special permission and may not be duplicated for use in derivative works.
44 “The countries bordering on the eastern Mediterranean Sea from Turkey to Egypt.”—American Heritage Online Dictionary, Ver. 3.0A, 3rd ed. (Houghton Mifflin, 1993), s.v. “Levant.”
45 Thomas, Revelation 1-7, 159.
46 “[Polycarp] may have been a young man in the church which first received the present letter. He evidently came much under its influence.”—Hemer, The Letters to the Seven Churches of Asia in Their Local Setting, 65.
47 Ibid., 60.
48 Mills, Revelations: An Exegetical Study of the Revelation to John, Rev. 2:8.
49 Thomas, Revelation 1-7, 158.
50 Hemer, The Letters to the Seven Churches of Asia in Their Local Setting, 64.
51 Trench, Commentary on the Epistles to the Seven Churches in Asia, 111-112.
52 Lightfoot, The Apostolic Fathers, 110.
53 Vincent, Vincent’s Word Studies.
54 Mills, Revelations: An Exegetical Study of the Revelation to John, Rev. 2:9.
55 Trench, Commentary on the Epistles to the Seven Churches in Asia, 100.
56 Thomas, Revelation 1-7, 164-165.
57 The term συναγωγὴ [synagōgē] is used only once for a Christian place of assembly. (Jas. 2:2).
58 For more on the believing remnant, see 1K. 19:18; 2K. 19:4, 30; 21:14; 25:22; Isa. 1:9; 6:13; 7:3; 10:20-22; 28:5; 37:4, 31-32; 46:3; 59:21; 65:8; Jer. 5:10, 18; 23:3; 50:20; Eze. 5:3; 6:8-10; 9:8; 9:11; 11:13; Joel 2:32; Zec. 11:10; Mic. 2:12; 7:18; Zec. 13:8-9; Rom. 9:6, 27; Rom. 11:5, 17, 25.
59 “Has Christ a Church, then Satan has his ‘synagogue’ (Rev. 2:9+).”—Arthur Walkington Pink, The Antichrist (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, 1999, 1923), s.v. “The Antichrist will be the Son of Satan.” See Master Imitator.
60 “This method of identifying Jews is hard-pressed to produce any exegetical support either within the Apocalypse or in the rest of the NT. Besides this, if they had called themselves Jews in this mystical sense, why would they be named as the principle source of calumny against the church? . . . It is inexplicable why a person who was not a physical descendant of Abraham would claim to be so and then turn to persecuting fellow-Christians without recanting this claim. The context demands that the offenders be of the physical descent of Abraham.”—Thomas, Revelation 1-7, 165.
61 John MacArthur, Revelation 1-11 : The MacArthur New Testament Commentary (Chicago, IL: Moody Press, 1999), 71.
62 Trench, Commentary on the Epistles to the Seven Churches in Asia, 102.
63 Gregory K. Beale, The Book of Revelation: A Commentary on the Greek Text (Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1999), 13.
64 Ibid., 30-31.
65 Grant R. Osborne, Revelation (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2002), 11.
66 Swete, The Apocalypse of St. John, lxxxix.
67 Hemer, The Letters to the Seven Churches of Asia in Their Local Setting, 67.
68 Lightfoot, The Apostolic Fathers, 140.
69 Fruchtenbaum, The Footsteps of Messiah, 64.
70 Trench, Commentary on the Epistles to the Seven Churches in Asia, 104.
71 Ibid., 105.
73 “We have thus at least the attestation of this form of expression at Smyrna. . . . there is reason to think that John’s words may have recalled to the Christian the language of the arena. An appearance at some great festival there might well await those who were ‘faithful unto death’.”—Hemer, The Letters to the Seven Churches of Asia in Their Local Setting, 69.
74 Trench, Commentary on the Epistles to the Seven Churches in Asia, 107.
75 Thomas, Revelation 1-7, 170.
76 Fruchtenbaum, The Footsteps of Messiah, 53-54.
77 Trench, Commentary on the Epistles to the Seven Churches in Asia, 108.
78 Ibid., s.v. “Martyrdom of Polycarp.”
79 Hemer, The Letters to the Seven Churches of Asia in Their Local Setting, 71.
80 Thomas, Revelation 1-7, 174.
81 Copyright © 2003 www.BiblePlaces.com. This image appears by special permission and may not be duplicated for use in derivative works.
82 Jerome Smith, The New Treasury of Scripture Knowledge (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1992), Rev. 2:12.
83 Merrill Frederick Unger, R. K. Harrison, Frederic F Vos, and Cyril J. Barber, The New Unger’s Bible Dictionary (Chicago, IL: Moody Press, 1988), s.v. “Pergamum.”
84 Mills, Revelations: An Exegetical Study of the Revelation to John, Rev. 2:12.
85 Neil R. Lightfoot, How We Got the Bible, 3nd ed. (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2003), 18-19.
86 Swete, The Apocalypse of St. John, lviii-lix,lxiii.
87 Henry Morris, The Revelation Record (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 1983), 57.
88 MacArthur, Revelation 1-11 : The MacArthur New Testament Commentary, 83.
89 “Asklepios . . . was also designated ‘Soter’, and was closely identified with the serpent. Though he had celebrated shrines elsewhere he was preeminently the Pergameus deus [God of Pergamus].”—Hemer, The Letters to the Seven Churches of Asia in Their Local Setting, 85.
90 “The designation of Pergamum as the place where ‘Satan’s throne’ is (Rev. 2:13+) probably refers to Pergamum’s being the official Asian center for the imperial cult.”—R. North, “Pergamum,” in Geoffrey W. Bromiley, ed., International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1979, 1915), 3:768.
91 Hemer, The Letters to the Seven Churches of Asia in Their Local Setting, 85.
92 North, Pergamum, 3:768.
93 Hemer, The Letters to the Seven Churches of Asia in Their Local Setting, 85-86.
94 Swete, The Apocalypse of St. John, lix.
95 Mills, Revelations: An Exegetical Study of the Revelation to John, Rev. 2:13.
96 Morris, The Revelation Record, 57.
97 “Probably short for Ἀντίπατρος [Antipatros] , ‘like the Father.’ ”—Danker, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature.
98 “Antipas. i.e. against all.”—Smith, The New Treasury of Scripture Knowledge, Rev. 2:13.
99 Mal Couch, “Ecclesiology in the Book of Revelation,” in Mal Couch, ed., A Bible Handbook to Revelation (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, 2001), 138.
100 Thomas, Revelation 1-7, 184.
101 “What is the point of the emphatic comparison (ου῝τως . . . καὶ σύ . . . ὁμοίως [houtōs . . . kai sy . . . homoiōs] ) between Balaam and the Nicolaitans?”—Hemer, The Letters to the Seven Churches of Asia in Their Local Setting, 88.
102 Fruchtenbaum, The Footsteps of Messiah, 56.
103 Trench, Commentary on the Epistles to the Seven Churches in Asia, 118.
104 Danker, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature.
105 Beale, The Book of Revelation: A Commentary on the Greek Text, 30.
106 Strong, The Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, G4203.
107 Mills, Revelations: An Exegetical Study of the Revelation to John, Rev. 2:15.
108 Newell, Revelation: Chapter by Chapter, 51.
109 Trench, Commentary on the Epistles to the Seven Churches in Asia.
110 Ibid., 124.
111 Hemer, The Letters to the Seven Churches of Asia in Their Local Setting, 94-95.
112 Trench, Commentary on the Epistles to the Seven Churches in Asia, 125.
113 Mills, Revelations: An Exegetical Study of the Revelation to John, Rev. 2:17.
114 “Eating the ‘hidden manna’ is but another way of picturing what can also be represented as the joyous boon of feasting at the Messianic banquet (cf. Rev. 19:9+).”—James E. Rosscup, “The Overcomer of the Apocalypse,” in Grace Theological Journal, vol. 3 no. 1 (Grace Seminary, Spring 1982), 279.
115 E. W. Bullinger, Commentary On Revelation (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, 1984, 1935), 91.
116 Fruchtenbaum, The Footsteps of Messiah, 56.
117 Interpreters frequently look to pagan sources when they mistakenly believe Scripture offers no clues: “The ‘white stone’ (Rev. 2:17+) has no precedent in the Old Testament.”—Merrill C. Tenney, Interpreting Revelation (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, 1957), 190.
118 Mills, Revelations: An Exegetical Study of the Revelation to John, Rev. 2:17.
120 Matthew Henry, Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible : Complete and Unabridged in One Volume (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 1996, c1991), Rev. 2:17.
121 Hemer, The Letters to the Seven Churches of Asia in Their Local Setting, 99.
122 Ibid., 100.
123 Daniel Wong, “The Hidden Manna and the White Stone,” in Bibliotheca Sacra, vol. 155 no. 617 (Dallas, TX: Dallas Theological Seminary, January-March 1998), 351.
125 Trench, Commentary on the Epistles to the Seven Churches in Asia, 132.
126 New Electronic Translation : NET Bible, electronic edition (Dallas, TX: Biblical Studies Press, 1998), Rev. 2:17.
127 Fausset, The Revelation of St. John the Divine, Rev. 2:17.
128 Wong, The Hidden Manna and the White Stone, 352.
129 Morris, The Revelation Record, 59.
130 Wong, The Hidden Manna and the White Stone, 353.
132 Smith, The New Treasury of Scripture Knowledge, 2Jn. 1:5.
133 Henry, Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible : Complete and Unabridged in One Volume, Rev. 2:17.
134 “Clearly the new name is the recipient’s own name, a new one, reflecting his status as belonging to Christ. This is verified in its being a secret name given to the man himself.”—Thomas, Revelation 1-7, 202.
135 Trench, Commentary on the Epistles to the Seven Churches in Asia, Rev. 2:17.
136 Smith, The New Treasury of Scripture Knowledge, Rev. 2:18.
137 Copyright © 2003 www.BiblePlaces.com. This image appears by special permission and may not be duplicated for use in derivative works.
138 Hemer, The Letters to the Seven Churches of Asia in Their Local Setting, 106-107.
139 Swete, The Apocalypse of St. John, lix-lx.
140 Mills, Revelations: An Exegetical Study of the Revelation to John, Rev. 2:18.
141 Hemer, The Letters to the Seven Churches of Asia in Their Local Setting, 109.
142 Mills, Revelations: An Exegetical Study of the Revelation to John, Rev. 2:18.
143 Trench, Commentary on the Epistles to the Seven Churches in Asia.
144 Bullinger, Commentary On Revelation, 186.
145 Thomas, Revelation 1-7, 211.
146 Ibid., 213.
147 “The textual question may be summarily treated. Two uncial manuscripts (A and 046 == Q, of the 10th century) and many cursives and versions insert σοῦ [sou] [your] after τὴν γυναῖκα [tēn gynaika] [the woman/wife]. The decisive weight of textual authority however appears against this (א, C, etc.), and the addition is readily explained by dittography.”—Hemer, The Letters to the Seven Churches of Asia in Their Local Setting, 117.
148 Noadiah opposed Nehemiah in his work of reconstruction.
149 “Isaiah’s wife was called a prophetess because the son to whom she gave birth was prophetic of the Assyrian conquest.”—John MacArthur, ed., The MacArthur Study Bible (Nashville, TN: Word Publishing, 1997), Isa. 8:3.
150 Although the daughters are not called prophetesses, they are said to prophesy.
151 Trench, Commentary on the Epistles to the Seven Churches in Asia, 140.
152 “Now to do this was to take the place of the Spirit, who indeed spake ‘not from Himself,’ but ‘what He heard’ from the Lord in glory.”—Newell, Revelation: Chapter by Chapter, 54.
153 Thomas, Revelation 1-7, 215.
154 MacArthur, Revelation 1-11 : The MacArthur New Testament Commentary, 100.
155 Strong, The Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, G4105.
156 Mills, Revelations: An Exegetical Study of the Revelation to John, Rev. 2:20.
157 Thomas, Revelation 1-7, 207-208.
158 Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott, and Henry Stuart Jones, A Greek-English Lexicon. With a revised supplement, 1996., With a revised supplement, 1996 (Oxford, England: Oxford University Press, 1996).
159 The word may refer to dining or a dining couch: “Dining Eze. 23:41; Mark 4:21; 7:30; Luke 8:16; 17:34; dining couch Mark 7:4.”—Danker, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature, 436.
160 Hemer, The Letters to the Seven Churches of Asia in Their Local Setting, 121.
161 Newell, Revelation: Chapter by Chapter, 57.
162 Strong, The Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, G3431.
163 A technical phrase has the same or similar meaning regardless of context. The meaning of a non-technical phrase varies with context.
164 Thomas, Revelation 1-7, 221.
165 “This means that unlike the true Church, the Roman Catholic Church will go into the Great Tribulation and will play a role during that time.”—Fruchtenbaum, The Footsteps of Messiah, 60.
166 Trench, Commentary on the Epistles to the Seven Churches in Asia, 141.
167 Fausset, The Revelation of St. John the Divine, Rev. 2:23.
168 Morris, The Revelation Record, 62.
169 “The only things left in the body cavity by the Egyptian embalmers.”—Danker, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature, s.v. “nephras.”
170 If the life of a professing believer is truly devoid of all good works, then Scripture indicates the profession is suspect (Jas. 2:14-26).
171 Trench, Commentary on the Epistles to the Seven Churches in Asia, 144.
172 Hemer, The Letters to the Seven Churches of Asia in Their Local Setting, 122.
173 Thomas, Revelation 1-7, 228.
174 Beale, The Book of Revelation: A Commentary on the Greek Text, 32.
175 Newell, Revelation: Chapter by Chapter, 59.
176 Trench, Commentary on the Epistles to the Seven Churches in Asia, 145.
177 Vincent, Vincent’s Word Studies, Rev. 2:24.
178 Trench, Commentary on the Epistles to the Seven Churches in Asia, 145.
179 Here is an example of a verb in an aorist tense which implies continuous action.
180 Danker, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature, s.v. “meno.”
181 Rabbinic interpretation associated the title Shiloh with the Messiah: a midrash takes “Shiloh” to refer to “King Messiah” (Genesis R. 98.13), the Babylonian Talmud lists “Shi’loh” as one of the names of the Messiah (Sanhedrin 98b), and Medieval Jewish Biblical expositor Rashi makes the following comment: “Shiloh - i.e. King Messiah whose is the Kingdom.” Note that Eze. 21:25-27 was given to Zedekiah, the last king of the Davidic dynasty. Shiloh means “to he whose it is” or “to he who it belongs” or “he whose right it is” or “to whom kingship belongs” (Midrash Rabbah 98).
182 Danker, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature, s.v. “exousian.”
183 “It would appear that this section is eschatological in nature and looks 1) to the Millennium when all nations and peoples will acknowledge Christ as king and 2) to Jerusalem as His royal capital (cf. Eze. 28:25, 26; Joel 3:9-17; Mic. 5:4-15).”—MacArthur, The MacArthur Study Bible, Ps. 149:6-9.
184 Trench, Commentary on the Epistles to the Seven Churches in Asia, 148.
185 Ibid., 149.
186 Hemer, The Letters to the Seven Churches of Asia in Their Local Setting, 125.
187 Elsewhere, Satan is called הֵילֵל בֵן־שָׁחַר [hêlēl ḇēn–šāḥar] , “shining one [or Lucifer], son of the morning,” (Isa. 14:12).
188 Those who take this passage as describing the New Jerusalem have difficulty explaining this verse: “Whereas you have been forsaken and hated, so that no one went through you, I will make you an eternal excellence, a joy of many generations” (Isa. 60:15). When was the New Jerusalem forsaken and hated? See also Isa. 62.
189 George H. N. Peters, The Theocratic Kingdom (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, 1978, 1884), 2:317.
190 Ibid., 2:418.
191 Morris, The Revelation Record, 63.
192 Newell, Revelation: Chapter by Chapter, 61.