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is here designated as,
" that woman
bel; so—respecting the false proJezebel ;" so named after her, who, phetess of the church in Thyatira, being the daughter of an idolatrous her abettors and followers, here king, after her marriage with Ahab designated as those who commit retained her zeal for her own de- adultery with her,” and as her chilpraved worship, and, feeding at her dren,-our Lord declares that his table four hundred prophets of the forbearance should at length have groves, used every endeavour to an end, and that, except they should support and propagate it in Israel. repent of their “ deeds,” (or, as it is This name it appears most in ac in the original, “ works”) he would cordance with the literal character cast them into the bed of affliction of the admonitions contained in these and tribulation, and kill them with epistles to understand, not as desig- disease and death ; indicating pernating, like “ Babylon the Great,” haps the visitation of some temporal any organized society ; but rather punishment of their transgressions ; some single influential individual be as St. Paul decreed that the offender longing to this church ; whom, call of the church of Corinth should in ing herself a teacher or prophetess, such a way be delivered over to they suffered to seduce the real ser Satan : and then our Lord, in refervants of Christ into the commission ence to the characteristic under of fornication, and the eating of things which he reveals himself to this offered unto idols ; by which terms particular church, as having "his may be meant, either a literal par- eyes like unto a flame of fire,” adds, taking in the idolatrous and heathen and all the churches," (from this rites of the surrounding Gentiles; example,) “ shall know that I am or else the corrupting, by an ad- he which searcheth the reins and mixture of these, the purity, simpli the hearts ;” and, in reference to city, and spirituality of the Christian the second characteristic of his feet worship of this church.
being “ like unto fine brass” and to Verse 21. The mention of the those works of the church which he space for repentance which had been had either approved or condemned, given to those who had offended, farther adds, and I will give unto may refer to the patience with which ' every one of you according to your Christ endures the provocations of ' works.” his people, as being one of the Verses 24, 25. Christ then returns greatest of his labours and trials. to commendation making known his This was the only subject upon discrimination with respect to those which he ever uttered a complaint, who had approved themselves and yet this forced him once to exclaim, had kept themselves clear from these “O faithless and perverse genera- idolatrous practices and deep devices • tion, how long shall I be with you ? of Satan ; and they are assured, as • how long shall I suffer you !” Such a recompence for their faithfulness, also was his patience and forbear- that he would put upon them no other ance manifested amidst the provo- burden, or labour, than they had alcations of his ancient church in the ready experienced ; and they are exwilderness, whose manners the apos- horted, as followers of him and his tle says he there endured for the example, to a patient perseverance in space of forty years.
their present course of well doing ; Verse 22. As Elijah announced and to hold fast the beginning of before hand the judgments which their confidence stedfast unto the end, should fall upon the idolatrous Jeze or till his return and second coming ;
which event is always held forth to istering under him in the exercise the church as the subject of their of his regal office, and rendering continued expectation, and the pe- those services which during the anriod of their anticipated reward. cient dispensation were executed by
Verse 26. In the introduction to the unfallen angels: as when in a sinthe promise made to the faithful gle night one hundred and fourscore towards the close of this epistle, we and five thousand of the army of observe one of the most remarkable Sennacherib were thus destroyed. instances of a peculiar reference be. The promise is therefore similar to ing made to the characteristic un that made by Christ in the parader which Christ, at the opening of ble of the talents, that those who each epistle, reveals himself to that in this life have been faithful over particular church, combined with a few things, and who have well the strongest evidence, that in this executed the offices entrusted to instance it has reference to his own them, should, in a future life, be works performed in his human na made rulers over many things; as ture, and to those of his church. also in that of the nobleman, who, For whereas the address with which going into a far country, gave ten all the promises to the other churches pounds to his ten servants that they are introduced is simply " To him might occupy until he should come that overcometh will I give,” as at again ; who are represented as being chap 11. 7, 11, 17, and 111.5, 12, 21; each, on their Lord's return, rewe have here a varied form, He warded according to their works.
that overcometh and keepeth my Thus does our Lord through his ' works unto the end, to him will I servant John, in his last revelation,
give, &c. &c. ;" so that, including exhort his people to diligence in this remarkable introduction of the labouring in his cause, by promises mention of the works of this church, similar to, though more glorious we have them named, or referred to, and explicit than, those by which in this epistle, either in the way of he enforced his precepts when on commendation or reproof, no less earth ; and varied only in character than six times; besides the intro- from these, in reference to the fact duction of the synonymous terms of that the Church was now peculiarly charity,” service,” and “ pa- suffering from the hands of their
enemies. The reward promised is the In the concluding words, “even following : “ To him will I give as I received of my Father,” the
power over the nations, and he shall great promise made to Christ in the rule them with a rod of iron ; as second Psalm is referred to : “ yet • the vessels of a potter shall they be have I set my King upon my holy • broken to shivers, even as I received hill of Zion; I will declare the de.
of my Father:"-or, in other words, • cree, the Lord hath said unto me, they who shall occupy themselves thou art my Son, this day have I faithfully and diligently in the ser begotten thee. Ask of me and I vice of Christ in this life, will be • shall give thee the heathen for employed by him in another life thine inheritance, and the utterand a future dispensation in more ' most parts of the earth for thy exalted and extensive services ; and possession; thou shalt break them shall vindicate both his cause and · with a rod of iron, thou shalt dash their own by the entire destruction • them in pieces like a potter's resof his and their enemies ; thus min- 'sel.” And we are thus informed
in direct terms of the great and of which we find that “the armies consoling truth, which is every of the saints)" which are in “ heawhere incidentally made manifest ven” follow Christ seated on white throughout the Apocalypse, viz. horses, and clothed in fine linen that our Lord makes his people par white and clean,—which is the takers of all those privileges and all righteousness of saints,” and are those honours which in his mediato thus (according to his promise, as rial character, as the Son of God” contained in this epistle) associated and “ the Son of man,” he himself with him when he smites the nations, receives from his Father. This we and rules them with a rod of iron, also find declared in the passage and treadeth the wine press of the which closes the principal book of fierceness and wrath of Almighty the Apocalypse,—"He that over God. (Rev. xix. 15.) And though cometh shall inherit all things.” the temporal reign of Christ and his
The promise made to the saints saints hitherto, during the period of in general, through the saints of the thirty years, and the first 14 the Church in Thyatira, began to be which have already expired of the fulfilled on the expiration of the forty five years of Dan. xii. 11, 12, 1260 years of the afflicted state of has been an invisible reign, or has the Church, when, Anno Domini been visible only in its effects; the 1792, the seventh Apocalyptic trum- last great act of wrath, now rapidly pet sounded: for then the time approaching, may be expected to be came that the glorified spirits of the attended with some more open mani. martyred saints began to assert festation of his power and glory; their right to the kingdom, and to and perhaps also of the ten thousand avenge their cause upon their pa. saints, whom, according to the ancient pal adversaries; destroying, by the prophecy of Enoch, he will bring pouring out of the vials of wrath with him; as formerly the giving of upon the papal nations, those who the law from Mount Sinai (to which had destroyed the meek of the earth. this future manifestation of Christ, These vials it appears from Rev. xv. as the personal Word or Law of 7, are poured out by the Cherubim God corresponds) was rendered more or Church in heaven ; for one of glorious by the ministry of hosts of these deliver them to the seven an
angels. gels, who are with them in the ho. This battle-or revelation from ly of holies, and equally with them. heaven of Jesus Christ as King of selves represent the Church in hea. kings and Lord of lords,” taking venven; acting only as their delegates, geance upon his enemies,-is a. on account of their being seven vi- gain mentioned in chap. xvii, 14; als of judgment to pour out, and and the glorified saints who will only four Cherubim. Of which se attend - his triumph, (there spoken ven last plagues upon the Roman of as “they that are with him,") empire we have to observe, that are designated as “called and chosen six (as far as they effect its west- and faithful,” thus partaking of the ern branch) are already exhausted. character of Christ himself, who The judgment however, which is when he appears on this occasion as more particularly referred to in this the revealed word of God takes the promise, is that of the battle of Ar- title of " faithful and true;” (Rev. mageddon, which takes place in the xix. 11) like as the two books of period of the seventh vial of con his revealed and written word, (viz. summation ; in the description given that which is sealed, and that which
is open,) as contained in this Apo- forerunner of the married state ; calypse, end each with a similar de- and as the morning star ushers in claration, viz. “ These words are the universal day; so the first resurtrue and faithful,” (Rev. XXI. 5,) rection, and the glory of the millen" These words are faithful and true.” nial period of light and joy, is but (Rev. XXII. 6.)
the harbinger of the more blessed From the above description it period of the general resurrection clearly appears, that it is at this and the eternal day, when, in the time, and upon this occasion, that new Jerusalem, the glory of God the promise made by Christ to the shall lighten it, and the Lamb shall faithful of the church in Thyatira be the light thereof. will receive its fulfilment. Verse 28. Our Lord further pro
The Church in Sardis. mises that, to him that overcometh, CHAP. 111. 1. In the next epistle he will give "the morning star.' addressed to the Church in Sardis, He says of himself in Rev. xxii. 16, the city of Cræsus, and the ancient “I am the root and the offspring of seat of the Lydian kings, our Lord David, the bright and morning star,' reveals himself in his priestly charac-a beautiful symbol of Christ, as ter, as “ he that hath the seven spirits being the chiefest among ten thou- of God and the seven stars.” It has sand of all the hosts of heaven and been already explained, on chap.1.4, altogether lovely; and its connexion that the expression, “ the seven spiin this passage with the character rits of God,” designates the Holy of Christ, as the root and offspring Spirit as manifested in the covenant of David,” evidences that it relates of grace, or sent forth into the seven to his regal office ; and that the churches of the earth,-i. e. into saints in Thyatira are thus promised the universal church of God. Christ that they shall share with Christ therefore, in the same manner as in the glories of the millennial reign the high priest was under the Law which follow their triumphs at Ar consecrated to his office by the holy mageddon ; being the same promise anointing oil, is here revealed as that was made to those of the church possessing the fulness of the Spirit, of Smyrna under the assurance that as his qualification for the priestly they should “not be hurt of the mediatorial office. second death.” And we thus find, The names either of " the Mes—corresponding to the literal de- siah,” or of the Christ,” (the one scription of the millennial reign of signifying in Hebrew, and the other the saints with Christ, as contained in Greek, “the anointed one” of God,) in Rev. xx. 4, and of their subse. are those by which he was known quent “reign with him for ever and to all, who, taught by the ancient ever,” mentioned in Rev. xxII. 5, Jewish prophets, waited for the re-two pairs of synıbols : viz. first, demption and consolation of Israel. “the marriage supper of the Lamb,” Thus Andrew declared to Philip followed by the “ New Jerusalem"' “ we have found the Messiah ;” and or married state ; and again the light the woman of Samaria says,
when of “the morning star," opening the the Messiah cometh”—and again, way for the brighter and more glo- “is not this the Christ ?" And so rious light of the sun ;-alike beau- also in other instances ; for it was tiful sets of symbols, and equally by this name that he was prophesied appropriate to the subject : for as of in the second Psalm :
Why do the marriage supper is the joyful the heathen so furiously rage to
gether, against the Lord and against ings, atoning death, and triumphant his anointed ?" or (as it is rendered resurrection ; and that which made Acts iv. 26) “ against his Christ” it expedient that he should be taken him whom God had anointed.” away from the earth ; as he assured (v. 27.) See also Psalm xlv. 7, and his sorrowing disciples. (John xvi. Isaiah xlii. 1. Agreeably to these 7; see also xiv. 16 and 26.) When predictions it is testified in the gos- therefore he first met his assembled pels, that Jesus Christ was first disciples after his resurrection," he formed, in the womb of the virgin breathed on them, saying, Receive ye Mary, by the power of the Holy the Holy Ghost ;'a and when the day Ghost; and the token given to John of Pentecost was fully come, he im. the Baptist by which he might re parted, in more abundant measure, cognise him as the expected Messiah and in all the plentitude of his gifts was, that the spirit of God should and operations, the Holy SPIRIT, be seen descending and remaining as the great promise of the Father. upon him; for in this he was dism Thus he fulfilled the promise of God tinguished from all others of the made to his ancient church, which sons of men, that God gave not the had been for ages, i. e. throughout Spirit by measure unto him. After the whole period of the legal dispenthis manifest and open anointing sation, annually anticipated ; and by the Holy Spirit, all the impor- had been more recently and extant acts of his life and ministry plicitly promised by Christ to the are described as having been done apostles; and in expectation of the through the Spirit's influence. He reception of which gift they had began his arduous course, and stood farther been commanded to tarry forth as the champion of his church, for a time in Jerusalem. Thus were in the power of the Spirit; for we they anointed for their public minisare told that immediately after his try by him, who, when pointed out baptism,“ being full of the Holy to the Baptist as he upon whom the Ghost,” he returned from Jordan, Holy Spirit should be seen resting, and was
led” (or as it is otherwise was described, at the same time, as more forcibly expressed, "driven,") he that anointeth with the Holy by the spirit into the wilderness, to Ghost." And he now qualified and be tempted of the devil. Leaving gave, and throughout every period then the scene of his successful con will continue so to do, “to some test with the great enemy of man apostles, and some prophets, and kind," he returned, in the power
'some evangelists, and some pastors the spirit, into Galilee;" and there and teachers; for the perfecting of opened his public ministration by the saints, for the work of the applying to himself, and to the then ministry, for the edifying of the present time, the prophecy of Isaiah body of Christ.”b
· The Spirit of the Lord is upon That Christ possesses the fulness me, because he hath anointed me of the Spirit, in order that he
may 'to preach good tidings to the impart it to his churches as their • meek.” (Lxi. 1.)
occasions require, and send forth at To obtain the gift of the Holy his pleasure qualified and faithful Ghost for his church, and renew the labourers into his vineyard, is indiintercourse between God and man, cated in the opening of this epistle broken off by sin, was also the final by his revealing himself as he that and crowning object of his suffer hath-not“the seven spirits of God" a John xx. 22.
b Ephes. iv. 11, 12.