The Agora
Bible Commentary

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Revelation 3

Rev 3:1

"Sardis was once a great and splendid city, the renowned capital of Croesus and the rich kings of Lydia. It was about 33 miles to the south of Thyatira. Today it is an ignoble village of low and wretched cottages of clay, with no other inhabitants than shepherds and herdsmen, who feed their flocks in the neighbouring plains" (ApEp). "Famous in earlier history. Capital of Lydia, the kingdom ruled by wealthy Croesus. At this time it was a declining city and had been ever since a destructive earthquake at the beginning of the century" (WRev). See Lesson, Sardis ecclesia (Rev 3:1-5).

Notice: Only dead Sardis and lukewarm Laodicea have no enemies, either inside or outside the ecclesia.

SEVEN SPIRITS... SEVEN STARS: Cp Rev 4:5; 5:6; 1:16,20. Thus "seven spirits" emphasizes angelic action among the ecclesias, or the operation of Holy Spirit powers in the ecclesias. "Seven stars" emphasizes responsibility of ecclesias to Christ their Head.

BUT YOU ARE DEAD: Ecclesia and city were alike -- both living on a splendid past. What was wrong? (a) Indulgence in pleasure: cp the similar language of 2Ti 3:5, 4; 1Ti 5:6; Tit 1:16,12. (b) Lack of prayer may be inferred from "Be watchful": prayer and "watching" are frequently associated together; eg Mat 26:38,41; Luke 21:36; Eph 6:18; Col 4:2. (e) Lack of faithful testimony to the Truth may be inferred from the allusion at the end of v 5. What a shock when these words were read out before the ecclesia!

Rev 3:2

WAKE UP: "Be watchful": ref prayer (Mat 26:38,41; Luk 21:36; Eph 6:18; Col 4:2). Cit Neh 7:3; Ezr 8:29.

Sardis seemed impregnable, sitting on a hill surrounded by high cliffs which no army could scale. Cocky and confident, the people of Sardis slept soundly while Cyrus, the Persian king, and his army climbed the steep cliffs. When the sun rose over Sardis on that day in 549 BC, its inhabitants discovered they should have been watching instead of sleeping. Did the people of Sardis learn a lesson? Perhaps -- but they failed to tell it to their children. In 214 BC Sardis again fell when Antiochus the Great surprised the sleeping city by scaling the cliffs at night.

Rev 3:3

WHAT YOU HAVE RECEIVED: Spirit gifts? (Rom 8:15; Gal 3:2; 1 Pet 4:10; 1Jo 2:27).

AND HEARD: The word of life preached.


A THIEF: Generally associated with 2nd coming: Mat 24:42,43; 1Th 5:2,4,6; cp Rev 16:15. A thief can be either silent (Mat 28:13) or open (Mat 6:19). But, most importantly, he does not make an appointment with the owner of the goods he covets.

Christ is portrayed often -- he even portrays himself -- as a "thief" in the New Testament, in connection with his Second Coming (Mat 24:42-44; Luk 12:39,40; 1Th 5:2,4,6; 2Pe 3:10; Rev 3:3; 16:15). This may seem extraordinary, since stealing is a sin, and a "thief" therefore must be a sinner -- and how could Christ be a sinner? (A similar question might be asked: how could Christ compare himself to a serpent: John 3:14; Num 21:7-9? But that's another story!) However, there is one instance when a "thief" is not committing a crime, and that is when he is simply reclaiming (by stealth or surprise) what is rightfully his (cp David and his men, who followed the Amalekites and retrieved their kidnapped families and stolen goods: 1Sa 30!). And that seems to be exactly the point in these NT instances also: Christ when he returns will be merely taking back what is rightfully his! The true "thieves" will be seen to be those servants who ate his bread and drank his wine and enjoyed themselves in leisurely consuming that which belonged to their Master (see the parable in Mat 24:48-51 and Luk 12:45-47). Their mistake -- and it was a crucial one -- was in forgetting they were mere stewards or caretakers, and instead supposing that all their Master's properties belonged to them, and acting accordingly! So, if we are to be sure that Christ does not come as a "thief" to us, we must not act as "thieves" ourselves now, stealing from him what is rightfully his. We must remember that all we possess really belongs to the One who is our true Lord and Master; that we merely hold it all in trust, to be used to serve him.

Rev 3:4

A FEW PEOPLE: Lit "a few names". The faithful remnant: Joh 10:3; Act 1:15; Rev 11:15; Num 26:63-65.

CLOTHES: Sym Christ-righteousness: Gal 3:27; Eph 4:24; 5:27; Rev 6:11; 7:9.

DRESSED IN WHITE: True saints are already clothed (Isa 61:10); their garments -- being pure and unstained -- must be kept in that state; then, in due time, their nature will correspond (2Co 5:2-3). Christ will acknowledge their status and they will walk with him. Cp Jer 5:22; Luk 9:29; Mat 13:43. Cp also Gen 5:22; Luke 9:29; Mat 13:43. Or, read as an allusion to Zec 3:3, the next verse becomes an appropriate reference to the Satan of Zec 3: : those in Ezra 2:62,63 whose names were blotted out of the book of the priesthood.

"We may understand this to refer to justification. 'They shall walk in white'; that is, they shall enjoy a constant sense of their own justification by faith; they shall understand that the righteousness of Christ is imputed to them, that they have all been washed and made whiter than the newly-fallen snow.

"Again, it refers to joy and gladness: for white robes were holiday dresses among the Jews. They who have not defiled their garments shall have their faces always bright; they shall understand what Solomon meant when he said, 'Go thy way, eat thy bread with joy, and drink thy wine with a merry heart. Let thy garments be always white, for God hath accepted thy works.' [Ecc 9:8] He who is accepted of God shall wear white garments of joy and gladness, while he walks in sweet communion with the Lord Jesus. Whence so many doubts, so much misery, and mourning? It is because so many believers defile their garments with sin and error, and hence they lose the joy of their salvation, and the comfortable fellowship of the Lord Jesus, and so they do no longer walk in white" (CHS).

Rev 3:5

DRESSED IN WHITE: Priestly attire: Mat 6:29; Zec 3:4. Priests who passed genealogical inspection (ie, who could prove their priestly ancestry) were dressed in white raiment and enrolled in temple register (Temple 95).

I WILL NEVER BLOT OUT HIS NAME: Exo 32:32; Psa 69:28; Ezr 2:62,63: A name once written may still be blotted out!

BOOK OF LIFE: 7 times in Rev: here; Rev 13:8; 17:8; 20:12,15; 21:27; 22:19. Also, Psa 69:28; 56:8; 87:6; Dan 12:1; Isa 4:3; Eze 13:9; Phi 4:3; Luk 10:20; Heb 12:23; Mal 3:16. No book of death, except Jer 17:23. If there were, all would be written in it (Rom 3:9,23).

Based upon the custom of the King recording the notable deeds of his subjects in a book of remembrance (cp Est 6:1-3). The Scriptures speak of "book" and "books" (Dan 12:1; Rev 20:12). The actions of saints from day to day are kept in what might be called the "day book", whilst the general account, if worthy of it, is found recorded in the Book of Life. There are no literal books, of course. The Spirit is the Remembrancer (John 14:26). When God says He will remember our sins no more, it is equivalent to saying they will be blotted out from the day book of records (cp Isa 43:25).

Rev 3:7

ANGEL... IN PHILADELPHIA: Demetrius, according to apostolic constitution (WRev 30): who was "shut out" by Diotrephes (3Jo).

PHILADELPHIA: "Commendation unmixed with censure is extended to this ecclesia. The city stood about 27 miles se of Sardis, in the plain of Hermus. In AD 17 it was destroyed by earthquake, but was soon rebuilt, and flourishes today" (ApEp).

OPEN... SHUT... SHUT... OPEN... : Christ the "door" (Joh 10:7,9), who can open grave (Rev 1:18) and temple (Isa 22:22), but can also shut both upon his enemies.

"V 7 is largely quotation from Isa 22:22. Almost this entire letter is shot through with allusions to that chapter and its background, so a diversion to study it becomes almost, if not quite, essential: Isa 22:15-25: Throughout the reign of wicked Ahaz, the Temple had been shut up, and the Temple area given over to base idolatry imported from Assyria (2Ch 28:24,25; 2Ki 16:1-12). Shebna, along with Urijah the High Priest, was probably responsible to the king for the furtherance of this policy. With the accession of Hezekiah came drastic reformation. The Temple was re-opened (2Ch 29:3) and cleansed (2Ch 29:16-19). Shebna was first transferred to a new office (Isa 36:2; 22:15) and later thrust out altogether (Isa 22:17-19). Probably it was he that is denounced in Psa 49. A man of godliness -- Eliakim -- replaced the time-serving Urijah. Using Shebna as a type of the old order, Isaiah foretells the replacement of Jewish self-sufficiency by the acceptable approach to God through Christ" (WRev).

KEY OF DAVID: "Again, as in Isa 22:22,23 there is both kingship and priesthood here. On occasions Peter was deputed to use this key (Mat 16:19), but no intrinsic right was conferred on him. That remains Christ's. Alongside mention of false Jews in v 9 this figure is appropriate: see Luke 11:52, and note Gal 4:17 RV: same attitude shown by Judaisers in the ecclesia, seeking to shut out those not circumcised. John 10:7,9 is also a parallel with this verse; for by metonymy 'I am the door' probably means: 'I am the shepherd who shews the way through the door'; otherwise, the Lord's parable loses all coherence" (WRev).

WHAT HE OPENS NO ONE CAN SHUT: Not (a) the meaning of Scriptures; nor (b) the sealed Book of Life, but, as Isa 22 shows, (c) the way of approach to God (the temple doors); Col 1:13; and also (d) the way out of the tomb: Rev 1:18.

WHAT HE SHUTS NO ONE CAN OPEN: Again, apply to the way of approach to God. The Jewish means of access (v 9) is now shut by Christ. True also of the way out of the tomb; Christ will close the grave upon his enemies.

Rev 3:8

AN OPEN DOOR: A door for access to God (Rom 5:2) and thus for communion with Him; a door also by which to bring men into God's temple. (a) 2Ch 26:16; 27:2; 28:24; 29:3; Isa 22:22. (b) Acts 14:27; Col 4:3; 1Co 16:9; 2Co 2:12. Philadelphia had a vast opportunity-providing hinterland. It was to be before all else a missionary ecclesia.

THAT NO ONE CAN SHUT: Even stubborn Jews intent on stopping all preaching.

Open doors: for restored communion (2Ch 29:3); deliverance from prison (Act 5:19); surrender (Rev 3:20); service (1Co 16:9); and opportunity (Rev 3:8). Shut doors: for safety (Gen 7:16); privacy and communion (Mat 6:6); faith and prayer (2Ki 4:5,21,33); self-sufficiency (Rev 3:20); and separation and rejection (Mat 25:10).

LITTLE STRENGTH: The words about the "open door" may be a parenthesis, as though Jesus were eager to reassure this struggling but faithful ecclesia. "Little strength" probably means "few in number and resources." If taken as applying to lack of spiritual vigor, it seems in contrast to the rest of the commendation of this particular letter.

HAVE NOT DENIED MY NAME: Staunch loyalty in face of opposition.

Rev 3:9

SYNAGOGUE OF SATAN: Judaizers were attempting to shut the door (vv 7,8) in face of preaching efforts. The adversary synagogue of Jews rebelling against the light by rejecting the gospel. Contrast the synagogue of truth: Jam 2:2, RV. These Jews who boasted in their descent from Abraham were not Jews at all in the eyes of Abraham's Seed (John 8:39). The "works of Abraham" are "belief in Christ" (v 56).

BUT ARE LIARS: "When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies" (John 8:44).

FALL DOWN AT YOUR FEET: Poss AD 70's events provoked much Jewish and/or Judaizing repentance among the synagogue of Satan!

"[This] continues the figure of a re-opened Temple and worshippers prostrating themselves in the temple court before the entrance of the Holy Place, flanked by Jachin and Boaz (v 12). Is this a promise of conversion of hostile Jews in Philadelphia? This would be an utterly unexpected meaning to the 'open door.' The fulness of the promise can only be at the Second Coming: Zec 8:20-23 ('him that is a Jew' = Christ and the spiritual seed of Abraham: Rom 2:29); Zec 12:10" (WRev).

Rev 3:10

THE HOUR OF TRIAL: A phrase full of meaning for Philadelphians. Philadelphia was the most earthquake-stricken city in the whole world of that day. What hour of trial? (a) The spreading Neronic persecution afflicting "all the world" of Christians. This persecution died suddenly with Nero, so it might never have reached Philadelphia. (b) The earthquake of Rev 16:14,18. The promise then assures the faithful remnant of safety in the divine visitation: Isa 26:20,21. (c) The impending Jewish war and destruction of Jerusalem would not only "try them that dwell in the Land," but would also be an "hour of trial" to the millions of Jews already scattered throughout "all the world." For all Jews, in Palestine and out of it, AD 70 was to mean the utter abolition of all that their religion stood for. But whilst Philadelphia's Jewish adversaries were to suffer in this way, these same events would be a consolidation of faith to faithful Christians at Philadelphia. In fact the fall of Jerusalem may have been the Lord's means of bringing these Jewish adversaries to "worship before thy feet," by accepting the faith they had hitherto reviled.

(CH) "A period of intense persecution broke out against Christians in the year 248 under the emperor Decius, and it could have been the period mentioned here. By that time those referred to in this verse had passed to their rest, and the synagogue of satan had temporarily prevailed" (ApEp).

Rev 3:11

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

SO THAT NO ONE WILL TAKE YOUR CROWN: As Zedekiah lost crown (Eze 21:25-27). Also, Saul/David; Judas/Matthias; Jews/Gentiles; etc. See Lesson, Olympics -- ancient, modern, and "Christian".

There is a crown of pride (Isa 28:3), which no one should wear. A crown of thorns (Mat 27:29), which no one can wear. And a crown of life (Jam 1:12), which everyone may wear. Also, an incorruptible crown (1Co 9:25), a crown of rejoicing (1Th 2:19), a crown of glory (1Pe 5:4), and a crown to be kept until Christ's coming (Rev 3:11).

Rev 3:12


A PILLAR IN THE TEMPLE OF MY GOD: "In the temple (sanctuary)" may now allude to one of the pillars supporting the Veil (Exo 26:32; 1Ki 6:31,33). Such a conclusion would harmonize well with the rest of the verse. Gal 2:9 speaks of Apostles as pillars in God's spiritual house: 1Co 3:16,17; 2Co 6:16; 1Pe 2:5. The new Jerusalem has no temple in it: Rev 21:22, 23. It is all temple. City and temple are one and the same.

Philadelphia was prone to earthquakes, but these "pillars" would never fall!

NEVER AGAIN WILL HE LEAVE IT: The words appear almost unnecessary until the fate of Jachin and Boaz is recalled. And following Gal 2:9 it is to be remembered that Cephas was crucified in Rome, James the Lord's brother was battered to death in Jerusalem, the other James was slain by Herod, and John was banished to Patmos. Nevertheless: John 6:37; 10:28,29. Ct 1Jo 2:19.

Both these phrases would be specially eloquent to the earthquake-prone Philadelphians. To be a "pillar" must mean ability to withstand unmoved the worst shocks that life can administer. To "go no more out" would provide startling and satisfying contrast with the masses of panic-stricken populace camping in the open fields in time of earth tremors.

NEW NAME: Philadelphia had also been known as Neo-Caesarea, as well as Flavia.

Those who bear in their foreheads the name of the Lamb and of his Father have the "mark" of the Lamb (Rev 14:1). They are deliberately contrasted with the people who bear, on the right arm or the forehead, the "mark of the beast" (Rev 13:16-18). The Lamb is of course Christ. In an especially poignant scene of the Apocalypse, he is pictured as "a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain" (Rev 5:6; cp Rev 5:12; 13:8). The "Lamb" Jesus is the Passover Lamb, slain for the sins of the world (Joh 1:29; 1Co 5:7), bearing ever after in his body the marks of his sacrifice (Joh 20:25-28).

The original Passover lamb was slain in Egypt, and its blood used to mark the lintels and doorposts of the houses of the believing Israelites. Succeeding generations of Israel would readily recognize such a mark (ie, resembling a doorway) as approximating the Hebrew letter He , which almost by itself spells the name of God: Yod He, or YAH. It is no great stretch of the imagination, therefore, to see that every faithful house in Egypt had the name of the Father marked over its doorway, written in the blood of the Lamb! And the name of the Father, "Yah", is -- of course -- the name of the Lamb too: "Yah-shua", or Jesus!

Now, in the Book of Revelation, there are marked out, not houses, but individual men and women, each sealed, not upon the door, but in the forehead (the "door" of the mind) with the "mark" of the Lamb. These are the individuals who have opened their minds to the message of God, who have directed their thoughts into the ways of His Laws. These are they who have been touched by the blood of Christ, who have been baptized into his name and the name of his Father. These are they who, wherever they are -- even in the grave itself -- will be protected in the Last Days from the "Angel of Death" and will be delivered from the "Egypt" of slavery and sin and death.

Listen to what the Lord and King Jesus promised to those who keep his word and do not deny his name: "Since you have kept my command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come upon the whole world to test those who live on the earth. I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take your crown. Him who overcomes I will make a pillar in the temple of my God. Never again will he leave it. I will write on him the name of my God and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which is coming down out of heaven from my God; and I will also write on him my new name" (Rev 3:10-12).


"Jer 33:16; 23:6 put it beyond all doubt that the name is The Lord our Righteousness (ct the name of the Beast). Righteousness is essentially a personal quality, and yet -- amazing fact -- here is one who is the Righteousness of others. How so? Because besides being a King (Jer 23: 5) he is also an altar -- for every other example of a compounded Jehovah name in the Old Testament applies to an altar: Jdg 6 :24; Gen 22:14; Exo 17:15; Ezek 48:35 (and see also Exo 20:24,25). Thus the allusions in this letter have taken the steadfast believer from the Temple door into the very Holy of Holies, where the Mercy Seat was the altar, or propitiatory, on the Day of Atonement" (WRev).

Rev 3:14

THE ANGEL OF THE CHURCH IN LAODICEA: "Almost certainly the 'bishop' of this ecclesia was Archippus, son of Philemon; Col 4:16,17; Phm 1:2. It would seem that Archippus was slack in his service and the ecclesia took its tone from him -- a warning to ecclesial elders in this generation! Also Nymphas (Col 4:15) was prominent at Laodicea. The name is probably a shortened form of the word for 'the one who leads the bride.' Now note the contacts of this letter with the Song of Songs: Song 5:2, knock; Song 5:1, sup; Song 5:3, raiment; Song 5:17, naked; Song 5:11, fine gold; Song 3:10,11, throne; Song 1: 3; 4:10, ointment" (WRev).

LAODICEA: "A very wealthy city in the Lycus valley near Hierapolis and Colosse. Big trade in woolen manufactures (fine black wool). Banking centre. Famous also for a local eye-ointment. There were hot springs in the vicinity. Utterly destroyed by earthquake in Nero's reign (not long before this letter) and, unlike other cities, was completely and magnificently rebuilt without any Imperial aid" (WRev).

"Laodicea, the city of the seventh ecclesia addressed by the Spirit, lay south of Philadelphia, in the way to return to Ephesus. It will be found, therefore, upon an inspection of the map of Asia Minor, that the seven ecclesias lay in a kind of circular form, so that the natural progress was from one to another.

The ruins of Laodicea show it to have been very large, situated in a volcanic region upon seven hills, and encompassing a large space of ground. Some notion may be formed of its former greatness and glory from three theatres and a circus, the ruins of which remain, and one of which is very fine, as it was capable of containing above 30,000 men. In its apostasy, the ecclesia in this city became the metropolitan, or Mother Church, of sixteen bishopricks, yet it is now desolate, and not so much as inhabited by shepherds, but is become an habitation only for wolves, foxes, and jackals, a den of dragons, snakes and vipers. Thus we have in the ecclesia of the Laodiceans, in the fullness of its apostasy, a Mother of Harlots sitting upon seven hills; and because of its spiritual misery; poverty, blindness, and nakedness, reduced, with the city of its habitation, to utter desolation and irrecoverable ruin.

Laodicea was often damaged by earthquakes, and restored by its own opulence, or the munificence of the Roman Emperors. These resources finally failed, however, and the city became a scene of ruin" (ApEp).

Allusions here to Song of Songs: Song 5:2 (knock); Song 5:1 (sup); Song 5:3 (raiment); Song 5:17 (naked); Song 5:11 (gold); Song 3:10,11 (throne); Song 1:3; 4:10 (ointment).

AMEN: "The word solemnly confirms that which went before; and Jesus is the great Confirmer; immutable and forever is 'the Amen' in all his promises. He was a Priest to pardon and cleanse once; he is Amen as Priest still. He was a King to rule and reign for his people, and to defend them with his mighty arm; he is an Amen as king, the same still. He was a prophet, to foretell good things to come; his lips are most sweet, and drop with honey still -- he is an Amen Prophet... He is Amen in every single title which he bears; your Husband, never seeking a divorce; your Friend, sticking closer than a brother; your Shepherd, with you in death's dark vale; your Help and your Deliverer; your Castle and your High Tower; the Horn of your strength, your confidence, your joy, your all in all, and your Yea and Amen in all" (CHS).

The word "amen" is a most remarkable word. It was transliterated directly from the Hebrew into the Greek of the NT, then into Latin and into English and many other languages, so that it is practically a universal word. It has been called the best-known word in human speech. The word is directly related -- in fact, almost identical -- to the Hebrew word for "believe" (aman), or "faithful." Thus, it came to mean "sure" or truly," an expression of absolute trust and confidence. When one believes God, he indicates his faith by an "amen". When God makes a promise, the believer's response is "amen" -- "so it will be!" In the NT; it is often translated "verily" or "truly." When we pray according to His Word and His will, we know God will answer, so we close with an "amen," and so also do we conclude a great hymn or anthem of praise and faith.

The word is even a title of Christ Himself. The last of his letters to the seven churches begins with a remarkable salutation by the glorified Lord: "These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God" (Rev 3:14).

We can be preeminently certain that his word is always faithful and true, because He is none other than the beginning of his Father's new creation, and thus he is our eternal "Amen." As 2Co 1:20 reminds us, every promise of God in Christ is "yea and amen," as strong an affirmation of truth as can be expressed in the Greek language.

It is, therefore, profoundly meaningful that the entire Bible closes with an "amen". "The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen" (Rev 22:21), assuring everyone who reads these words that the whole Book is absolutely true and trustworthy.


FAITHFUL AND TRUE WITNESS: Psa 89:35,36; Isa 55:4.

THE RULER OF GOD'S CREATION: "Archee" = lit, beginning. Firstborn from dead (Col 1:15-18; Rev 1:5). Or, actively, the beginner of God's spiritual "creation" (Joh 1:1-3).

Rev 3:15

COLD: Refreshing: Mat 10:42; Pro 25:13,25.

HOT: Fervent; as hot springs near Laodicea (for hot in general, cp Psa 39:3).

Why would Jesus prefer cold to lukewarmness? If we understand the term cold to mean hostility toward the gospel, we must conclude that Jesus would rather see a person an antagonist than a halfhearted follower. But that explanation seems doubtful.

It is not likely that Jesus preferred hostility to half-heartedness. Some scholars suggest that he may have been thinking about two springs near Laodicea -- the hot mineral springs at Hierapolis and the pure cold water springs in Colossae. The hot springs were seen as possessing healing powers. The cold, invigorating springs provided refreshment. The Christians in the church at Laodicea brought neither healing to the spiritually ill nor refreshment to the weary. They were lukewarm, and therefore of no help to anyone.

Rev 3:16

SPIT YOU OUT OF MOUTH: As the land vomits out inhabitants because of their abominations (Lev 18:24-28).

Rev 3:17

YOU SAY, 'I AM RICH': Cp Paul's irony in 1Co 4:8. Ct Rev 2:9. It is not literal riches of Laodicean bankers that is referred to here though doubtless it was their literal wealth that fostered this self-sufficiency (there is no more potent cause). Cp Hos 12:8, alluded to here. Laodicea was another faithless Israel, the grounds for whose complacency are in v 8b,11 (where "heaps" = dung-heaps).

AND DO NOT NEED A THING: Allusions to Laodicea's self-sufficiency after recent earthquake: v 14n. Apparently Laodicea knew better than its Lord: Mat 6:8.

Rev 3:18

TO BUY: Notice that the things symbolized ( a tried faith -- gold; righteousness -- linen; spiritual discernment -- eye salve), must be purchased. Yet from Isa 55:1 we learn that money is not needed. They can be purchased by expending our time, energy and effort to understand and lay hold of them.

GOLD: "More probably reference to the gold of the Holy Place and the Holy of Holies (Rev 1:12,13; 8:3; 15:7); ie you may think of yourself as sharing divine fellowship, but you don't; yours is worldly wealth only; Zec 13:9 -- a figure for the discipleship of the faithful remnant" (WRev).

RICH: Col 2:2,3; Rev 2:9; Eph 1:18; 3:8.

WHITE CLOTHES: Col 3:10,12,14. Laodicea was known for a peculiar, glossy BLACK cloth.

SHAMEFUL NAKEDNESS: Ref sexual sins, as Lev 18 (see v 16n).

Rev 3:19

THOSE WHOM I LOVE I REBUKE AND DISCIPLINE: See the exhortation of Heb 12:5-12. Such discipline is necessary and helpful for the development of an acceptable character. As parents find a need to rebuke and chasten their children, so also does God. But this is done "in love" and with the ultimate benefit of the chastened in view.

EARNEST: "Zelos" = hot (vv 15,16).

Rev 3:20

I STAND AT THE DOOR AND KNOCK: Song 5:2. In the elaborate type of the Song of Songs this refers to a literal (not mystical) coming of the Beloved deferred because his "sister-spouse" is unprepared for him. Note also that v 3d here = Rev 3:18b.

Christ will not break down the door to get to us! But if we invite Christ in, he will become the host (Luk 12:36,37).

Open doors: for restored communion (2Ch 29:3); deliverance from prison (Act 5:19); surrender (Rev 3:20); service (1Co 16:9); and opportunity (Rev 3:8). Shut doors: for safety (Gen 7:16); privacy and communion (Mat 6:6); faith and prayer (2Ki 4:5,21,33); self-sufficiency (Rev 3:20); and separation and rejection (Mat 25:10).

Rev 3:21


Sitting: for rest (Luk 8:35); for communion (Song 2:3), as disciples (Deu 33:3), in worship (2Sa 7:18-27), in resurrection (Eph 2:6), in glory (Rev 3:21).

MY THRONE: In Jerusalem.

HIS THRONE: In heaven.

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