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institutions, and tended to introduce and foster each other.
Ver. 22. I will cast her into a bed.] A bed of sickness, say the ancient expositors, followed by Vitringa, Daubuz, &c. I will change her adulterous bed, or state, to one of sickness. (Schleusner.)
Adultery.] It is worthy of remark, that the crime, which, in the verses preceding, had been called fornication, is now denominated adultery. In the woman Jezebel it is no more than fornication, because she is an alien, a seducer, and false prophetess, whom the Lord does not acknowledge as belonging to the true Christian Church his spouse. But the same crime, committed by any of the body acknowledged by him in that relation, amounts to adultery. And it becomes so on this ground: the nation of Israel, the Church of God under the Old Testament, is represented in scriptural allegory as a wornan : in the days of her purity as a virgin, in her happy prospects as a bride; in her impure connections with the gods of the nations, as an harlot. And whereas the Great Being, who had taken her under his peculiar care, was pleased to represent himself to her as the Husband who had espoused her; so, by the continuance of the metaphor, she is described in her sinful state, as “treacherously departing from her
, husband, and committing adultery with stocks and stones ;" but, after chastisement producing repentance, she is restored to favour and matrimonial distinction, and becomes fruitful in children, even the multitudes of the Gentile Churches. This imagery occurs frequently in the prophetical parts of the Old Testament, in Isaiah, Jeremiah, Hosea, Ezekiel; in the 16th chapter of the last of these prophets may be seen the whole of these figurative ideas drawn forth into a complete and most affecting allegory. It is in conformity with this, that our Lord, the head of the Christian Church, is represented in the New Testament as the bridegroom and husband to his Church, the bride and spouse; and her apostacy from him is denominated, as in this passage, adultery. (2 Cor. xi. 2; Rom. vii. 4; Eph. v. 23, &c.) Yet as we advance farther in the prophecies of this book, we shall find, that although the crime is adultery, the criminal Church which thus apostatizes is stigmatized, not as an adulteress, but as an harlot. The reason of this seems to be, hat as the Church has deserted her God, so he forsakes her. He gives her a bill of divorce, and she is no longer distinguished as a married woman, but becomes a degraded castaway, and an harlot.
Ver. 23. I will kill her children with death.] An hebraism, denoting, by its repetition of the term, the certainty of the event. So Ezekiel xxx. 27, where the Septuagint translation has θανατω απομκτενω. (Bengel.) Sickness and death are represented by St. Paul as punishments inflicted on those who abused divine ordinances in apostolic times, (1 Cor. xi. 30.) Oavatoç may signify in this passage, as it evidently does in ch. vi. 8, pestilence, and thus express the mode of death inflicted. We have here an additional reason, as Vitringa observes, for supposing the name Jezebel to be applied figuratively to a sect of false teachers, and not to a certain individual; because the disciples of such seducers, figuratively their children, would, by their own perverse conduct, merit and draw down upon themselves such punishment, when the innocent children of a bad woman might justly be spared.
Ver. 24. This doctrine—the depths of Satan.] Here is additional reason, why the woman Jezebel is to be understood in the figurative sense, as a sect.
had a doctrine, and dealt in deep mysteries, calling them perhaps, with St. Paul, ta Baon 78 Oes, the deep things of God, (1 Cor. ii. 10,) but our Lord pronounces them to be the depths of Satan. The existence of such sects, seducing the primitive Christians, by philosophy and vain deceit,” is evident from the writings of the apostles and apostolic fathers; and the Gnostics, who dealt eminently in these Bain, thus entered and corrupted the Church.
Ver. 25. Till I come.] · Ad judicium, quod quia incerto die promissum est, semper expectari debet. (Grotius.)
Ver. 26. He that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations.] To perseverance in the faith of Christ, and in the works arising therefrom, is promised power over the nations : that is, over the yet unconverted Gentiles. And this, in the verse following, is explained to be the same power which the Saviour himself had received over them, and which is expressed in words nearly resembling those prophetical of Christ, in the second Psalm. He is there pronounced to be the Son of God, and a King over kings and nations, to the utmost parts of the earth. “He shall feed his flock like a shepherd,” (Isa. xl. 11,) and all worldly and abused power shall fall before him. His iron rod, or sceptre, (for Paseos should be thus translated, see Schleusner,) is of that strength which nothing can withstand. It is as the stone of Daniel's vision, (ch. vii. 27,) which, cut out of the mountain without hands, breaks to pieces the kingdoms established in worldly and oppressive power, and thus increaseth until it fills the whole earth. And they of his servants who teach his Gospel by their word ; and example, as did the good l'hyatirans, will be
favoured by being selected as the instruments of this saving Power.
66 He was
Ver. 28. The morning star.] A star is a teacher, (ch. i. 16;) our Lord is eminently such, and such he entitles himself, (ch. xxii. 16,)
“ The shining and morning star. As such he was foretold, Numb. xxiv. 17; and a star, in the eastern or morning quarter, preceded his birth. the true light (John i.9) to lighten the Gentiles,” (Luke ii. 32;) and of this light which was in him, he imparted a share to the first preachers of his Gospel for converting the nations." Taken in this sense, the gift, of the morning star, is in “ connection with the
power over the nations,” which is mentioned before it. To some of the commentators it has seemed
probable, that the gift of the morning star has particular reference to a future life; because, to obtain it, the Christian must keep his Lord's works “even unto the end.” But all the prospects of a Christian will have reference to eternal life, as promised to the faithful; and the dawnings and first light of such splendid blessings, taking possession of his mind, even during his abode here, will be a source of infinite delight, “ shining more and more unto perfect day.” (Prov. iv. 18.)
Address to the Church in Sardis.
CHAP. iii. ver. 1—6.
1 And unto the angel of the church in Sardis write; These things saith he that hath the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars;
I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead.
2 Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God.
3 Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will
thee. 4 Thou hast a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with me in white : for they are worthy.
5 He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.
6 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.
Ver. 1. Sardis.] Sardis, situated on the river Pactolus, the seat of Cræsus, and of the Lydian kings, was proverbially the seat of riches. This city had suffered grievously by an earthquake, some years before the date of this vision, but had recovered her splendour, assisted by the bounty of Tiberius Cæsar, (Strabo, ii. p. 931.) Sardis possessed, in its natural situation, extraordinary means of acquiring riches. But riches are corruptive, and