Revelation of John 2Unto the angel of the church. This expression, which is used in reference to each of the seven churches, has been generally understood to refer to the several presiding officers, upon whom would devolve the duty of receiving and communicating such epistles. It is, however, perhaps, not certain that any actual office is intended. The term may be used, in accordance with the general style and manner of this book, symbolically, that is, as a personification of the spirit and influence by which the several churches were characterized; for it does not appear to be elsewhere used to signify presiding officers over the church; and besides, from other allusions to these churches, it would seem that there was no one officer who had them particularly in charge. (Acts 14:23, 20:17, James 5:14, Tit. 1:5.) However this may be, it is plain that the instructions and warnings contained in these epistles, thus addressed in form to the angels of the churches, are plainly intended for the members in general. See 10, 11, and other similar modes of expression.
Thy first love. The passage (Eph. 1:15, 16) addressed to the same church at an earlier day, by the apostle Paul, contains a striking allusion to the strength of their early love for the Savior and his cause. As is very often the case with Christians, it would seem that their zeal (v. 2, 3) had somewhat outlasted their love.
And will remove thy candlestick; that is, take away from them the religious privileges which they would not rightly improve.
The Nicolaitanes. There is another allusion to this class in v. 15. Various traditions and conjectures have come down to us in respect to this sect, whose deeds and whose doctrines, it seems, were alike hateful to God. All that is important, however, for our purpose, is clear, namely, that God is pleased when the church is decided and firm in withstanding every corruption, in sentiment and practice within her pale.
The paradise of God; the garden of God,—heaven.
But thou art rich; rich in faith and in good works.
The devil, that is, wicked men under the influence of the devil.—Some of you. This and similar expressions show clearly that it was the members of these churches, and not the several presiding officers, who were really addressed in these epistles.—That ye may he tried; that your faith, and patience may be tried.—Ten days; for a short time.
As sharp sword; spoken of particularly 1:16.
Where Satan's seat is. This expression implies that idolatry or corruption, or the spirit of persecution, held unusual sway at Pergamos. The allusion at the close of the verse seems to refer to the latter of these sins.—Who was slain among you, &c. No information in respect to this case, excepting what is contained in this allusion to it, has been preserved.
The account of Balak's enticing the children of Israel to sin is contained in Num. 25: Allusions to Balaam's influence in the instigation of this design are found in other places. (2 Pet. 2:15, Jude 11.)—A stumbling-block; an enticement to sin.
The hidden manna; the spiritual life and sustenance which God bestows.—A white stone. Precious stones, upon which figures and inscriptions were cut, were often used, by ancient princes, as gifts and badges of honor.
Sufferest that woman Jezebel—to teach; that is, the spirit of Jezebel (1 Kings 18:4) to prevail.
Into a bed; a bed of sickness and sufferings.
Her children; her votaries.
The rest in Thyatira; that is, those who had not fallen before the temptations spoken of above.—As they speak; that is, those referred to in the preceding verses.
This language closely corresponds with the passage, Ps. 2:8, 9. Considered in its connection here, it seems to imply that the tried and faithful servants of God were to become, in some sense, the instruments of executing judgment upon his enemies.
The morning-star. The morning-star is the symbol of approaching light, life, and joy.
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