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frequently personified in Scripture*; and both are addressed in that apimated apostrophe, “ () Death, “ where is thy sting! O Grave (@dy), where is thy victory ť!” The gates of death, which are opened by these keys, are frequently mentioned in Scripture ; and the gates of Hell (@unci ads) by our Saviour ý. And the same metaphorical expression is used by heathen authors ||. The keys of these gates are in the possession of the Captain of our Salvation, who, by suffering death, triumphed over Death I ; under his banner, “ Death is swallowed up in victory.” This conquest is represented as complete in i Cor. xv. and in the sequel of this book **. By this, Christ has obtained for his faithful followers a safe passage through the gates of Death, and through the terrors of Hell, to that kingdom of glory which he has prepared for them. Under no consideration can our Redeemer be felt of greater importance to us, than as possessing the keys of Death, and of our future state of everlasting existence.
Ver. 19. Write, &c.] The Apostle is commanded to write for the information of the Church; and the subject matter which he is to write is here divided (as indeed it naturally divides) into two parts ; 1st, the scene then before him, with the address to the seven Churches, revealing to them their then internal and real state ; 2dly, the events which were to happen to che Church in future. This same division occurs again in ch. iv. 1, where, the first part being dispatched, the Prophet is invited to behold “the things which are “ about to happen after these.” Both are revealed by the spirit of prophecy, which was equally necessary to
* Is. v. 14. Hab. ii. 5.
ti Cor. xv, 55.
Matt. xvi, 13.
discover the real internal state of the Church then existing, as the events which were to happen to it in future. We may instance in the Church of Sardis", which enjoyed the reputation of a living Church, a Church flourishing in faith, doctrine, and practice; but she is discovered, by the spirit of prophecy, to be “ dead t."
Ver. 20. The mystery.] Musugios, in the scriptural language, generally signifies hidden and recondite. knowledge; such as is accessible only by the peculiar favour and revelation of God I. In prophetic language, as in this passage, and in ch. xvii. 7, it is used to sig. nify the meaning concealed under figurative resem
X Х blances. So the stars are angels, and the lamp-bearers churches : for the explanation of which, as relating to the lamp-bearers, see the note, ver. 12, and as relating to the stars, ver. 16; in which latter note will be seen some of the reasons why the bishops or presidents of
Ch. iii. 1. + Some commentators have supposed three divisions, as arising from these words of Jesus Christ; namely, à sides, to express the things which John bad already seen ; á 110s, the things which he was seeing, the present state of the Churches; é usadas yaveoban, the things to come. But it will appear that John had already seen nothing but the beginning old of a vision, which was then disclosing the á vor, the present state of the thesiz? Churches. The vision is one and the same; the Son of Man, clothed, duetan with the same symbols, delivers the whole of it. And the word sides, being used in an indefinite tense, may be understood as having relation to the whole scenery of vision which was then passing, and about to pass, before the Apostle; and thus it may be fitly translated, “ that " which thou seest," and, with the ó Ghemus of the eleventh verse (which has also an indefinite signification), understood to comprehend the two subsequent divisions, It is to be observed also, that the word sides is applied in the next verse to the appearance of the Son of Man, with the symbols of the stars, &c. which John was at that present instant beholding; and that in the verse next following (ch. ii. 1.) Jesus is described continuing to hold the stars, by the present participle, xgatwy. 1 1 Cor, ji. 7. xiii, 2. xv. 51. Eph. iii. 3. v. 32,
the primitive Church were called angels or messengers; and why, consistently with the usage of the symbolic language in Scripture, they are represented under the emblem of stars. In Malachi ji. 7, the Priest of the Lord is styled Angel or Messenger of the Lord, And it appears from the accounts of the ancient Jewish synagogue (the forms of which were followed in the first Christian Churches), that the ruler of the synagogue, or at least the chief minister, was styled Sheliach Zibbor, The Angel of the Copgregation *; and what the Sheliach Zibbor did in the synagogue, that the Bishop appears to have done in the primitive Christian Church t. The terın angel, or messenger, instead of bishop, seems to have been in use principally, if not exclusively, in the eastern Churches.
* Buxtorf, Synag. Jud. Vitringa de Syn. Vet. Prideaux, Con,
part, i. book vi,
+ Introd, to N. T. by Beausobre and L'Enfant.
CHAP. ii. VER. 1-7.
1 Τα αγέλη της εν
'Εφέσω εκκλησίας γράψον Τάδε λέγει ο κρατών της επα αςέρας εν τη δεξια αυτά, ο σεριπαιων εν μέσω των
επα λυχνιών των 2 χρυσών: Οίδα τα
έρα σε, και τον κόπον σε, και TN ERO μονήν σε, και ότι ο δύνη βασάσαι κα
1 Unto the Angel of the 1 Unto the Angel of the Church in Ephesus,
Church of Ephesus, write; Thus saith he write, These things who holdeth the seven saith be that holdeth stars in his right hand, the seven stars in his who walketh in the right hand, who walk. midst of the seven eth in the midst of the
golden lamp-bearers ; seven golden candle2 I know tly works, and 2 sticks; I know thy
thy labour, and thy works, and thy labour, paticnce, and that thou and thy patience, and canst not endure evil how thou canst not nen, And thou hast bear them which are
xéso rij interpágas
evil: and thou hast
tried them which say απογόλος, και εκ are not; and thou hast
they are Apostles, and εισί και ευρες αυτές 3 found thein false. And are not; and hast found 3 sudzīs. Kui TO
thou hast patience, | 3 them liars : And hast Mornixusnjicao and hast endured on
borne, and hast paδια το όνομά account of my name,
tience, and for my με και εκ εκοπίand hast not been
name's sake hast la4 ασας. 'Αλλ' έχω
4 wearied out. But I boured, and hast not κατά σε, ότι την άhave against thee that
4 fainted. Nevertheless, γάπης σε την πρώ thou hast left thy for
I have somewhat aκαι την αφήκας. Μνη5 mer love. Be mindful,
gainst thee, because μόνευε όν, πόθεν then, whence thou art
thou hast left thy wirlwas, xj pilote fallen, and repent, and 5 first love. Remember, νόησον, και τα πρώ do the former works ;
therefore, from whence τα έρία ποίησον: ει or else I am coming
thou art fallen, and δε μή, έρχομαι σοι to thee (soon), and I
repent, and do the first [ταχύ], και κινήσω will remove thy lamp
works; or else I will την λυχνίαν σε εκ
bearer out of its place, come unto thee quickτο τόπο αυτής, εαν unless
ly, and will remove thy 6 μή μελανοήσης. 'Αλ6 But this thou hast,
candlestick out of his λά τέτο έχεις, ότι
that thou hatest the place, except thou reμισείς τα έργα των
works of the Nico-6 pent. But this thou Νικολαϊτών, ακάÝ ya wow. 'o iyan 7 hate.
laitans, which I also hast, that thou hatest
He that hath the deeds of the Nico ές, ακασάτω τί το
an ear, let him hear laitanes, which I also συνεύμα λέγει ταϊς what the Spirit saith
7 hate. He that hath εκκλησίαις: Το
unto the Churches, To an ear, let himn hear κώντι δώσω αυτω him that overcometh,
what the Spirit saith φαγείν έκ τα ξύλα to him will I grant to
unto the Churches, añs Gwns, ő ismer eat of the tree of life,
To him that overτα παραδείσο το
which is in the Para cometh, will I give to dise of my God.
eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God.
Ver. 1. Unto the angel of the Church.] The address of our Lord is not unto the angels, or presidents of the churches, on their own behalf, but on account
of the churches over which they preside. This will appear in many instances, but particularly in that of the Church of Thyatira", where juiv de deyw, (I say to you, not to thee) plainly shews it. Some of the commentators, overlooking this, have understood the words of Christ as addressed to the Presidents on their own individual account. They are addressed to the seven Churches in particular, and through them to the universal church in all times and in all places; such is the figurative import of the number seven t. Some commentators have proceeded farther. They have imagined that under the description of the seven churches, seven successive periods of the church are prophetically delineated. But this does not agree with the division made by the Divine Giver of this Revelation I, whereby he points out the second and third chapters as containing á 6151, " the things which “now are,” and the remaining chapters as unfolding & μελλει γενέσθαι μετα ταυλα, “ the things which are about
to be after these." And without entering into farther particulars, it must appear, that no description of any of the seven Churches is sufficiently dark, to express the corrupt state of religion in the middle ages as described in history; or as prophetically delineated in the subsequent parts of this revelation : Nor can we here find any representation of that triumphant state of the church, which, from the concluding chapters of this book, and from other prophecies, we have reason to respect. Another yet more fanciful exposition has been added to this; under the Greek name of each of the seven churches, the successive
* Ch. ii, 24.
+ See note, chap. i. 4. Ch, i. 19. wirich compare with ch. iv. 1. and see the note on the former passage