The Agora
Bible Commentary

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Revelation 2

Rev 2:1

Rev 2; 3: Rev, 7 letters of.

Rev 2; 3: Ease of interecclesial communication in first century: 1Th 1:8,9; Col 1:4,7,8; 2Pe 3:15,16: "Under the empire epistolary communication was as easy as now, though speed not quite so great. Poss... Peter received every one of Paul's letters within 1-2 mos of publication" (Begg, ICC on Peter, cit Xd 119:344).

Rev 2; 3 in the larger context:

(A) Each letter has its own OT context, sometimes extensive: (1) Ephesus: Eden (eg, the tree of life in the midst of the paradise); (2) Smyrna: Joseph (cast into prison... who was dead and is alive); (3) Pergamos: Balaam; (4) Thyatira: Jezebel; (5) Sardis: Joshua son of Josedech (eg, clothed in white raiment); Noah (eg, they shall walk with me, not blotted out); (6) Philadelphia: Eliakim (the key of David: Isa 22); and (7) Laodicea: the conquest of Canaan.

(B) Each letter has its own Mat 13 parable ("he that has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the ecclesias"): (1) Ephesus: Sower; (2) Smyrna: Tares (eg, false Jews); (3) Pergamos: Mustard seed (doctrine of the Nicolaitans; (4) Thyatira: Leaven (Jezebel corrupting the ecclesia); (5) Sardis: Hid treasure; (6) Philadelphia: Pearl (eg, new Jerusalem); (7) Laodicea: Dragnet (cast out what is offensive).

(C) The letters introduce prototypes of the major characters in the prophecy which follows: Satan (Rev 12:9, 20:2,7) in Rev 2:9,13,24; 3:9; that old serpent called the devil (Rev 12:12, 20:10) in Rev 2:10; the false prophet (Rev 16:13; 19:20; 20:19) Balaam in Rev 2:14; the great whore (Rev 17:1,15,16; 19:2) Jezebel in Rev 2:20; the beasts which terrorize the nations (Rev 6; 9; 13; 17) -- the Nicolaitans in Rev 2:6,15; liars, those who love lies (Rev 21:8,27; 22:15), ie false apostles / Jews in Rev 2:2; 3:9.

EPHESUS: Nearest of all to Patmos; John's own ecclesia. (The "angel" = Timothy?).

"Ephesus was the metropolis of the Lydian Asia, and was considered one of the best and most glorious cities of those times. It was the greatest emporium of Asia proper, and was styled one of the eyes of Asia, Smyrna being the other. It is called by the Turks Ajasaluk, or the Temple of the Moon, from the magnificent structure formerly dedicated to Diana, the goddess of the Ephesians. The whole town [now] is nothing but a habitation for herdsmen and farmers, living in low and humble cottages of dirt, sheltered from the extremities of weather by the mighty masses of ruinous walls, the pride and ostentation of former days, and the emblem in those of the frailty of the world, and the transient vanity of human glory" (Eur).

"Paul introduced the Truth to Ephesus (Acts 18:19). After he left, Apollos visited the city, proclaiming the doctrine of John the Baptist (Acts 18:24) But he was far behind the times. Paul's friends, Aquila and Priscilla, hearing him in the synagogue, formed an acquaintance with him and "expounded unto him the way of God more perfectly" (Acts 18:26). Having been thus set right by them, he went to work in the right direction, and mightily convinced the Jews in public, showing them by the Scriptures that Jesus was the Christ.

Paul later visited the city again (Acts 19) and the Ecclesia gradually grew under his ministration. On his last journey, he called for the elders of the Ecclesia, to give them final words of exhortation (Acts 20:17-32). Timothy was also sent to Ephesus (1Ti 1:3) to restrain certain brethren who were causing trouble and to put other matters in order. These references to Ephesus, together with the Epistle to the Ephesians, show how the Truth had flourished in that city" (ApEp).

HOLDS: Holds firmly: ie, has dominion over. All 7 include Sardis and Laodicea. Cp Joh 10:28: "None can pluck... "

WALKS: As God walks in midst of camp (cit Deu 23:14; Lev 26:11,12; 24:2-4).

Rev 2:2

I KNOW YOUR DEEDS: Cit Isa 66:18, ref to judgment (cp v 18 with Mat 25:32). Christ's intuitive knowledge of character.

DEEDS... HARD WORK... PERSEVERENCE: Cp 1Th 1:3: "work of faith... labor of love... patience of hope".

YOU HAVE TESTED THOSE... : Ecclesial discipline (1Jo 4:1). Bear with weak bre, but not with false ones (Gal 6:2).

WHO CLAIM TO BE APOSTLES BUT ARE NOT: Prob travelling preachers (2Jo 1:7; 3Jo 1:3-5), claiming underserved authority: cp 2Co 8:23; 11:13-15; 2Pe 2:1; Act 20:30; 1Ti 1:20; 2Ti 2:17. These did not claim to be apostles of the Lord (since there were only 13 such), but they did claim to be apostles of the church (2Co 8:23 RV, Phi 2:25 RV). In those days it would be a simple matter to appear in an ecclesia, claiming to be fully accredited from some other unknown ecclesia. Such individuals made a lot of trouble for Paul. The same problem arose elsewhere also: 2Pe 2:1; 1Jo 3:6-11. Paul foretold it in Ephesus: Acts 20:30. According to Tertullian John rebuked an elder of an Asian church for writing an epistle in the name of Paul. Later, this kind of thing became a common phenomenon. But in this v the immediate reference may well be to Hymenaeus, Alexander, Philetus (1Ti 1:20; 2Ti 2:17), or the Nicolaitans.

FALSE: Sw Rev 21:8.

Rev 2:4

FIRST LOVE: = Wisdom (Pro 4:6,7), or earlier zeal (2Co 11:2,3), or Christ (Act 19:10; 20:30). Christ had predicted that the love of many would grow cold (Mat 24:11,12). Cp Jer 2:2; Eze 16:8-15.

Rev 2:5

REMEMBER: Similar messages to Ephesus: Eph 2:10,11; Act 20:31.

REMOVE... FROM ITS PLACE: This had happened to Jerusalem (Jer 52:19) and would happen again. The wild olive should not boast against the root (Rom 11:17).

This threat would have special force after AD 70, when the temple was destroyed and the seven-branched candlestick was "moved out of its place" to Rome. Cp the force of Jer 7:12. Cp also Mat 25:28, 29 and 21:41; Rom 11:17. These words are remarkably apt because (a) v 1; (b) Ephesus was known as "the Light of Asia" (Pliny); (c) the city had already been moved out of its place by the silting up of the river estuary and the consequent shift of the trading center.

Rev 2:6

NIKOLAITANS: Balaam planned to corrupt Israel, by idolatry and fornication (Num 25:1,2... ; 31:16). This danger was a normal part of Roman "civilization": Temple prostitution, banquets and orgies in temples with all foods offered to idols (cp Act 15:20; 1Co 6:12-20; 1Co 8; 10:14-33; Rev 14:4). The argument of Balaam: 'Since God has blessed, how can Moab poss curse?' The "Balaam-argument" to Christians: 'Since we have grace thru Christ, let us sin the more -- that grace might abound.' "Balaam" = "waster of the people". Cp "Nikolaitans" = "conquerors of the people". Both names for same class of people -- one Jewish, the other Greek in emphasis.

WHICH I ALSO HATE: Servants are praised for hating (Psa 101:3; 119:104; 139:21,22).

Rev 2:7

Note that each of the 7 promises (to the 7 ecclesias) is repeated later in the Book.

HE WHO HAS AN EAR, LET HIM HEAR: Used by Christ elsewhere (Mat 11:15; 13:9,43; Mar 4:23; 7:16; Luk 14:35; Rev 13:9).

THE SPIRIT: = Christ (Act 13:2).

THE CHURCHES: Plural: Thus each letter is for every church -- then and now!

TO HIM WHO OVERCOMES: "Overcomes" = "nikao" (cp Nikolaitans: vv 6,15,26). A common theme of all of John's writings: Joh 16:33; 1Jo 2:13,14; 4:4; 5:4,5; Rev 12:11; 17:14; 21:7.

THE TREE OF LIFE: This granted life eternal (Gen 3:22). It was denied the posterity of Adam, but will be made available to the "seed" of the second Adam (cp Isa 53:10; 1Co 15:45). Thus the first and the last books of the Bible are joined as a bridge, the former showing how things happened, the latter showing how it will end. Eden will be restored. The 2nd Adam will be united in marriage to the 2nd) Eve (2Co 11:2; Rev 19:7) and they will be "as one" in the paradise of God (Gen 2:23; John 17: 21). "To eat of the Tree of Life is to be an unfading leaf, an immortal possessor of the glory, honour and incorruptibility of the Kingdom which the God of heaven will set up in the Age to come" (Eur). The saints are likened to trees in Paradise: cp Psa 1; Rev 22:2.

PARADISE: This is a Persian word for a garden which the Holy Land -- the special inheritance of the saints -- will become -- cp Isa 51:3.

Rev 2:8

"Forty-five miles north of Ephesus, Smyrna was an influential city of Ionia, and is still a place of some importance. It is situated on the Archipelago in Asia Minor, and has a very fine harbour; it is also of prominence in Greek Catholicism, which has established it as a metropolitan see.

"There is no special notice of Smyrna in the NT apart from the reference in the Apocalypse. The gospel was probably introduced to the city by Paul during his tree years' residence in Ephesus. The ecclesia must have been a healthy community spiritually, for Christ speaks of it in terms of commendation and encouragement. The celebrated Polycarp (c AD 167) was associated with the Smyrnean Ecclesia, and it was visited by Ignatius in the year 107 on his way to Rome, whither he was sent by order of Trajan, 'to be thrown to the wild beasts for the entertainment of the people'. While at Smyrna, he wrote a letter of advice to the ecclesia at Ephesus.

"Time made its inroads into the Ecclesia in Smyrna, and gradually apostasy asserted itself, until the Truth faded from view. But that unhappy condition was not the state of the Ecclesia when Christ directed this message" (ApEp).

WHO DIED AND CAME BACK TO LIFE AGAIN: The city practically died out for 400 years, and then revived remarkably. A prominent feature of local religion was death and resurrection of "god" Dionysius.

Rev 2:9

AFFLICTIONS: Persecutions (v 10).

POVERTY: Expropriation of property.

YET YOU ARE RICH: Ct Rev 3:17. See Jam 2:5; Mat 6:19,20; Luk 12:21; 2Co 6:10; 8:9.

SLANDER: Gr "blasphemia".

THOSE WHO SAY THEY ARE JEWS: The Jews in Smyrna even broke the Sabbath to help in the burning of Polycarp -- AD 147 (WRev 20).

AND ARE NOT: Rom 2:28,29; Phi 3:2,4; Mat 3:9; Rom 9:6.

A SYNAGOGUE OF SATAN: The use of the word "synagogue" strongly suggests a Jewish character to this "satan"/adversary. Jewish believers who still held a strong allegiance to the LM; Judaizers? Whereas "Satan" (Hebrew word) suggests Jewish opposition to the believers, "diabolos/devil" of v 10 (Greek word) suggests Gentile opposition.

Rev 2:10

THE DEVIL: The Jews (Satan: v 9), thru false accusations before the Roman civil authorities (devil!) (Act 17:6,7; 24:5,6), succeeded in having Christians cast into prison.

"Devil" sig false accusers: who would cast true believers into prison and who were persecuting the Ecclesia. The civil authorities of Rome (cp 2Ti 2:26; Eph 6: 11).

TEN DAYS: Period of testing for Daniel and 3 companions, during which they were deprived of king's meat (related to idolatry): Dan 1:12,14. Perhaps a ref here to separation from general society and commerce of "world". Or... 10 days = a very short while (as Gen 24:55).

(CH) "A period of intense persecution broke out against the Christians during the years 110-120 AD under the direction of the Emperor Trajan. He tried to stamp out the growing Christian communities, and ordered his officers to repress them with every severity. The celebrated letter of Pliny, in which he records the hopelessness of diverting Christians from their beliefs no matter how severe he persecuted them, was written at this time" (ApEp).

BE FAITHFUL, EVEN TO THE POINT OF DEATH: A persecuting, violent death. Smyrna took its name from the local trade in myrrh -- used to embalm dead!

AND I WILL GIVE YOU THE CROWN OF LIFE: "Round the crest of the hill at the back of the city was a line of fine buildings known as 'the crown' of Smyrna. Christ promised something more majestic, more enduring. It was also a Smyrnean practice to present a crown to the high priest of Dionysus at the end of his term of office. Several epitaphs include the title 'crownbearer.' But what a flimsy honour compared with what Christ offers here!" (WRev).

Rev 2:11


THE SECOND DEATH: A judicial death, after the first or natural death. The death of the rejected, at the Judgment seat of Christ.

Appropriate after v 8. "The Smyrnean persecutors will pass through death to death, but these faithful will pass through death to life."

Rev 2:12

PERGAMUM: "Pergamos was the name of a kingdom as well as of a city. The kingdom was one of the four that developed out of Alexander's Empire, referred to in Dan 8:8,22. We read that 'out of one of them came forth a little horn' (v 9) which the angel's subsequent explanation identifies with the Roman power. Pergamum was the one through which Rome came to power in the east.

"Attalus, king of Pergamos, died in 138 BC and was succeeded by his nephew Philometer who governed the kingdom in a most pernicious and extravagant manner. He was scarcely seated upon the throne before he stained it with the blood of his nearest relations, and the best friend of his family. Throughout his reign he vented his ferocity and barbarity in all directions.

"Previous to his death in 133 BC, he made a will, by which he appointed the Roman people his heirs. The principle article was expressed in these terms, 'Let the Roman people inherit all my effects.' They were not slow to take possession, and by the sword compelled the people to submit, reducing the one-time kingdom of Attalus into a province of Rome called Asia, in which were found the seven ecclesias. Pergamos was the former capital of the kingdom, and played an important part in the fulfillment of Dan 8.

"Little is known of the ecclesia apart from what we read here, but it was apparently the headquarters of a developing apostasy" (ApEp).

"An intellectual city, with a huge library. It gave its name to 'parchment.' Centre of Roman administration for the province and of the state religion (Emperor worship), hence v 13. Centre also of worship of Aesculapius, god of healing -- his symbol a serpent. Temple prostitution was rampant here, more even than at other centres of idolatry" (WRev).

Rev 2:13

YOU REMAIN TRUE TO MY NAME: Cp 1Pe 4:14,16 -- written in reign of Nero.

ANTIPAS: Or "Antipanton" = the one set over against the many. One who followed the example of Christ, "the faithful witness" (Rev 1:5). Possibly some prominent Christian who had already suffered at the hands of the Romans.

MY FAITHFUL WITNESS: Examples of faithfulness in service: Samuel (1Sa 3:20); David (1Sa 22:14); the temple overseers (2Ki 12:15); the workers (2Ch 34:12); Hananiah (Neh 7:2); Abraham (Neh 9:8); the treasurers (Neh 13:13); Daniel (Dan 6:4); Timothy (1Co 4:17); Epaphras (Col 1:7); Tychicus (Col 4:7); Onesimus (Col 4:9); Paul (1Ti 1:12); Moses (Heb 3:2,5); Gaius (3Jo 1:5); Jesus Christ (Rev 1:5); Antipas (Rev 2:13).

Cp Luk 16:10; 2Ch 31:12.

Rev 2:14

THE TEACHINGS OF BALAAM: "The doctrine of Balaam involves a careful study of Num 25 and related Scriptures. Its essence is in Num 25:1. The plan to corrupt Israel by idolatry and its associated unholy alliances was Balaam's (Num 31:16). It involved not only the worship of Baal-Peor (a form of sun-worship; hence v 4), but also ritual fornication (vv 2,3 RV mg, 8 and Hos 9:10), belief in the immortality of the soul (Psa 106:28) and spiritualism (Deu 32:16,17), and orgiastic feasting in the presence of the 'god'. The situation demanded drastic discipline, calling for loyalty to God even at the expense of severity to one's own kith and kin (vv 5,7). Eli in later years failed to supply this discipline when the same evil flourished and thus his line lost the high-priesthood (1Sa 2:22; 3:13). Because the earlier Phinehas was prompt to apply discipline in similar circumstances, God made with his house an everlasting covenant. This danger was a normal part of the 'civilization' of the Roman Empire in NT times. Temple 'virgins' were recruited in hundreds. Temple prostitution was as respectable as going to church or political meetings today. Public banquets and special celebrations such as birthdays were commonly arranged in the pagan temples, so that each course of the meal was a kind of votive offering to the god. These facts explain the tremendous emphasis in the NT against fornication and eating food offered to idols -- the two outstanding features of the Baal-Peor transgression (Acts 15:20; 1Co 6:12-20; 10:14-33; all of 1Co 8; Col 3:5 -- this word 'covetousness' is used several times in the NT for coveting a woman; 1Pe 4:3,4; 2Pe 2... 1Jo 5:21). Rev 14:4 makes utter nonsense until it is read as a reference to temple prostitution. Paraphrase: 'they have not indulged in temple fornication because they are lifelong servants of another god, the holy God of heaven, and must serve Him in His temple'.

"But what was the doctrine of Balaam? It was the argument: 'These wonderful prophecies of blessing which I have been guided to pronounce concerning Israel (Num 22, 23, 24) are bound to come true. How then can anything which you do interfere with what is the plan of the Almighty? Therefore by all means indulge yourselves in all kinds of illicit enjoyment. Since God has blessed, what curse can come to Israel from Moab?'

"This Antinomianism [the doctrine that salvation is on the basis of 'faith' alone, with no regard to morality!] was a serious danger in the early church In Corinth; 'meats for the belly and the belly for meats' was the slogan (caustically quoted by Paul), meaning: 'God has made the body with certain functional powers. Then can it be wrong to use the body in these ways?' But 1Co 6:12,13 shows that it was fornication which was being justified. Cp also the emphasis in Rom 6:1,15; 3:8; 1Jo 3:3,7; Jude 4, which show that the argument sometimes took the form: 'Since we have forgiveness (grace) through the blood of Christ, the more we sin the more sin will be forgiven, and thus the more God will be magnified!' Obviously this argument is wrong..." (WRev).

TO ENTICE... TO SIN: To put a stumblingblock (skandalon). Lit "that part of trap on which bait is laid" (Joss 22:17; 23:13).

Rev 2:15

... As in Ephesus (v 6) and Thyatira (v 20). Cp v 14 also.

Rev 2:16

Balaam was withstood by the sword of angel (Num 22:31) and slain by sword of Israel (Num 31:8).

Rev 2:17


HIDDEN MANNA: Christ is the bread of life (Joh 6); believers are all part of the one body, or the one bread, which is Christ. See Exo 16:15,32-34: " 'Take an omer of manna and keep it for the generations to come, so they can see the bread I gave you to eat in the desert when I brought you out of Egypt.' So Moses said to Aaron, 'Take a jar and put an omer of manna in it. Then place it before the LORD to be kept for the generations to come.' As the LORD commanded Moses, Aaron put the manna in front of the Testimony, that it might be kept." To be kept, or preserved, forever in the presence of God sym immortality for Christ and his saints. Cp Psa 78:24.

But if it were always in the Holy of Holies "before the Lord," the manna would never be seen at all. So perhaps on the Day of Atonement the High Priest brought forth the golden pot (Heb 9:4) of manna at the time when he blessed the people in the name of the Lord, and showed them the manna. Jesus refers to this in John 6:49,50. The other manna corrupted, but the hidden manna did not, and so becomes a fit symbol of eternal life in Christ. And as this manna was brought forth on the Day of Atonement, so the fullness of eternal life will be bestowed in the Day when sin is done away, when the High Priest Jesus returns from the Divine Presence to bless the people in the name of the Lord (Heb 9:28; cp Col 3:3, Rev 11:19).

A WHITE STONE: "It was the custom, in the days of the Apostles, to vote in judicial trials with either a white or black pebble; the former for acquittal and the latter for condemnation, From this ancient custom there has arisen the saying that one has been 'black-balled'... A white stone was also the symbol of victory in the Grecian games. Thus, in the Apocalypse the white stone represents victory and acquittal at the Judgement Seat" (ApEp).

Additionally, "an allusion to Urim and Thummim. These were small objects (stones of some kind -- diamonds?) hidden in the pouch formed by the breastplate of the High Priest (the idea that the Urim and Thummim were the 12 jewels upon the breastplate is entirely without supporting evidence). Procedure when asking counsel of the Lord was to come before the High Priest and put a question to be answered Yes, or No. The High Priest drew the divine lot and thus gave decision" (WRev).

A NEW NAME: Names of 12 tribes were written in 2 stones of breastplate (Exo 28:9,21). Apostles were sometimes given new names: Simon/Peter, James and John/Boanerges, Saul/Paul. Zion/Jerusalem receives a new name in Isa 62:2,4: "Hephzibah", "my delight is in her". The new name of Isa 65:15,16 is "Amen" (cp Rev 3:14) -- ie, the Truth.

Rev 2:18

See Lesson, Thyatira ecclesia (Rev 2:18-25) .

THYATIRA: Formed, perh, by Lydia (Act 16:14).

"The dramatic circumstances which led to the formation of the ecclesia in Thyatira are revealed in Acts 16. Paul, at Philippi, met Lydia, who was from Thyatira, and perceiving that she was a devout woman, engaged her in conversation upon the Truth. Shortly afterwards she was baptised. Lydia doubtless took the gospel back to Thyatira, and, 'with her household', formed the nucleus of the ecclesia that was established in that city.

Further impetus was given to the work of the Truth in this place when Paul visited Ephesus, for he continued disputing in the school of one Tyrannus for some two years, so that 'all they which dwelt in Asia hear the word of the Lord Jesus' (Acts 19:8-10). Among these must have been many from Thyatira, a town lying between Pergamos and Sardis" (ApEp).

SON OF GOD: Not "son of man", as in 1:13. Anticipating an allusion to Psa 2 in v 27.

BURNISHED BRONZE: Brass smelting and processing were prominent among local trades.

Rev 2:19

May sig (1) secretarial work (2Ti 4:11; 2Co 3:3; Act 13:5); (2) succor in time of need (Act 11:29; 1Co 16:15; 2Co 9:12); and (3) ministry of word (Rom 11:13; 12:7; 2Co 3:7-9).

YOU ARE DOING MORE THAN YOU DID AT FIRST: Cp 1Th 4:1; Mat 12:43-45; 2Pe 2:20.

Rev 2:20

JEZEBEL: Daughter of Ethbaal king of Zidon; wife of Ahab. Her father was king-priest. She became queen-priestess of the same religion, which she introduced to Israel (1Ki 16:31-33; 21:25,26; 2Ki 9:22,30). Sig here a real woman (perh wife of the "angel": cp RV mg: "thy wife Jezebel") -- who, like Balaamites (v 14) and Nicolaitans (vv 6,15), encouraged participation in rites of local idolatry.

TEACHING: Drastic action commanded against false teachers (2Jo 10; 1Jo 4:1; Tit 1:10,11; 1Ti 1:3; Gal 1:8), but less so against their misguided followers (Rom 14:1; Gal 3:1; 1Co 15:12,35,36).

MY SERVANTS: Ct her "children" (v 23).

Rev 2:21

I HAVE GIVEN HER TIME TO REPENT: A poss warning by John before his exile to Patmos.

Rev 2:22

I WILL CAST HER: The real Jezebel was cast, or thrown, down from a window and trampled by horses.

Rev 2:23

HER CHILDREN: ie, disciples (Mat 12:27). Cp fate of Jezebel's priests: 1Ki 18:40; 2Ki 9:7-9.

HE WHO SEARCHES MIND AND HEART: Used of God (Psa 62:12; Jer 17:10) and of Christ (Rom 8:27).

Rev 2:24

THE REST OF YOU: The 7,000 who have not bowed knee to Baal (1Ki 19:18).

SATAN: Vv 9,13.

DEEP SECRETS: "Depths of hell" (Pro 9:18) -- so-called "deep" thinking which proves that "sin is not sin" and paves the way to the grave.

I WILL NOT IMPOSE ANY OTHER BURDEN: Cp Mat 23:4: commandments to be observed. Christ is quoting his own apostles in Act 15:28,29.

Rev 2:25

HOLD ON: Hold fast: Heb 3:6; 4:14; 10:23; 1Th 5:21; Rev 2:25; 3:11; 1Co 15:2.

UNTIL I COME: The Greek impl uncertainty as to exact time (cp Mar 13:32). See Lesson, AN, Conditional deferment.

"Until I come": put this money to work (Luk 19:13); judge nothing (1Co 4:5); proclaim Lord's death (1Co 11:26); be sincere, without offence (Phi 1:6,10); listen to word (2Pe 1:19); hold fast (Rev 2:25).

Rev 2:26


TO HIM WHO OVERCOMES... I WILL GIVE AUTHORITY OVER THE NATIONS: In a book of humorous definitions by children, one small child said "a hole is to dig." We were in high school when the war broke out, and the first change that took place on our campus was the erection of an obstacle course which included "a wall that was to climb."

The good athletes could run right at this wall almost full speed and with a running jump hit the wall about half-way up with one foot, while grabbing the top with both hands, and seemingly in one smooth motion vault and land on the other side. Most of us ran at the wall, hitting it with a thud that nearly knocked the wind out of us while we grabbed to get one arm over the top. Then with a series of wiggles, squirms and kicks we laboriously struggled to get both arms over, then one leg and finally straddling the wall, pulled the other leg over and jumped down the back side. There were a few who simply hit the wall, dangled helplessly for a while and finally fell back with disgust, unable to scale it at all.

The wall did not change; it was the same height for everyone. For some it was fun, for it was a challenge to be conquered. For others it was a real struggle but eventually climbed, while for a few it was an impossible obstacle where they met certain defeat.

So it is with the obstacles of life. God wants us to overcome. Jesus actually promises us that we will have tribulation but that we should be of good cheer because he had overcome the world. In Rev 2:26 he promises us that "he that overcometh... will I give power over the nations." Now there has to be something to overcome or we cannot overcome. The wall was to climb, our trials and tribulations are to overcome and are sent to us by a loving Father who wants us to climb over the adversities that He has placed before us for our everlasting benefit.

Understanding this principle, Paul cries out with joy "we glory in tribulation also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; and patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts" (Rom 5:3-5).

When Paul was given a "thorn in the flesh" he thanked God for it after he understood that God had given it to him for a purpose. Paul said that he took pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ's sake: for when he was weak, then was he strong.

This is the attitude we should take towards the problem we face. They are allowed by God, else we would not have them. The very hairs on our head are numbered, so He knows the most intimate details of our lives. This being true, we can take what comes, for we are positive that "all things are working together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose."

Believing that God is in control of our lives, we take comfort that He will never give us a wall to climb that is beyond our ability to scale. In school this was not so, for some simply could not master the obstacle course. But God has promised us that we will never have a temptation beyond that which we are able to bear and He will always provide a way of escape that we may be able to bear it. This is a great comfort and should fill us with hope as we look at the walls in our lives. They all can be scaled and we can overcome. Instead of complaining about them, let us thank God for His love in providing them for us to climb.

Paul cried out that "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me" and so can we. Let us run at the walls in our lives with enthusiasm believing that through Christ we can overcome. Let us say with Paul, "I do concentrate on this: I leave the past behind and with hands outstretched to whatever lies ahead I go straight for the goal -- my reward, the honour of being called by God in Christ."

DOES MY WILL: Ct "their works" (v 22) with "your works" (v 19). Joh 6:29; 1Jo 3:23.

TO THE END: Mat 24:13,14: "He who endures unto the end shall be saved." Also cp with... "I am with you unto the end": Mat 28:20.
''He loved them unto the end": John 13:1.
"Who shall confirm you unto the end": 1Co 1:8.
"The rejoicing of hope firm unto the end": Heb 3:6.
"Beginning of our confidence steadfast unto the end": Heb 3:14.
"Full assurance of hope unto the end": Heb 6:11.
"Keepeth my works unto the end": Rev 2:26.

Rev 2:27

HE WILL RULE: This confirms LXX of Psa 2:9: "rule" instead of "break". "Poimanei" = "rule as a shepherd".

SCEPTER: "Rabdos" (cp Heb 1:8).

DASH THEM TO PIECES LIKE POTTERY: When it is unclean (Lev 15:12; Jer 19:10,11).

I HAVE RECEIVED: Past tense: Mat 28:18. Cp Psa 2:7.

Rev 2:28

THE MORNING STAR: The Lord Jesus (Rev 22: 16). The appearance of the Lord will be as the appearance of the "morning star" in the heavens -- the herald of a new dawn. [Cp Isa 14:12, where the same morning, star, called "Lucifer" (KJV), refers to the king of Babylon, ie Sennacherib -- who in his vast presumption wanted to rule of God's own high place!] Those who overcome will become "morning stars" themselves, a new race of "heavenly bodies", which shall shine in the "heavens" of God's Kingdom (Dan 12:3).

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