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The Explanation Of The Apocalypse

1. Sardis. He reproves this angel, that is, the bishop, as not sufficiently diligent in correcting the bad. He commends him, however, as having some who walk in white, and the name Sardis agrees with these, as that of a precious stone.

name. To thyself, indeed, thou seemest to be alive. But if thou art not watchful in the correction of the wicked, thou wilt henceforth be numbered among the dead.

2. works. If a ruler has not striven to incite others as well, although he may appear guiltless before men, his works are not perfect before God.

3. thief. Here also, as in the parable of the Gospel, he warns us to be watchful by the example of taking precaution against a thief.

4. few. He said not a “few,” but a “few names.” For “He calleth His own sheep by name,” Who knew Moses by name, and Who writes the names of His saints in heaven.

5. overcometh. He invites all men to imitate those who have kept the silken robe of baptism undefiled.

7. Philadelphia. Philadelphia is interpreted “brotherly love,” and to it is the door of the kingdom opened, and the promise made of being beloved by the Lord.

key. That is, royal power, either because He was born of the family of David, or because the prophecy of David was made manifest by the dispensation of Christ.

openeth. The secrets of the divine law are opened to the faithful, and shut to the unbelieving, by the power of Christ alone.

8. door. By no man’s power is the gate of heavenly knowledge, which Christ has opened to His Church, ever shut against it.

strength. He shews the reason on account of which the Church obtains these gifts, namely, that it does not trust in its own powers, but in the grace of Christ, the King. And it is the praise of God the protector, and of the devotion of the Church, that the gate of victory is opened to a little faith, and that a little power is strengthened by faith.

9. synagogue. He promises this to all the Church of that time, for it was not at Philadelphia alone that there were believers from the synagogue of the Jews, as we find in the Acts of the Apostles.

10. Kept. Because thou hast kept My example in suffering adversity, I also will keep thee from the impending afflictions, not, indeed, that thou mayest not be tempted, but that thou mayest not be overcome by adversity. And although the Church is always tried by adversity, yet, in this place, the hour of temptation, and the humiliation of the Jews in the time of antichrist, may be signified; that, as frequently happens in the course of this book at the sixth in order, so here also at the sixth angel, the last persecution may be designated. But as to this, it is believed that the wicked Jews will be deceived as well as deceive, but that others will understand the law spiritually through the instruction of the great prophet Elijah, and will be incorporated among the members of the Church, and bravely overcome the enemy.

11. hold fast. Do not grow weary in endurance, for I will help thee quickly, lest perhaps another, through thy failure, receive the reward which was decreed for thee. So it is impossible that the number of the saints which is fixed with God should be diminished by the faithlessness of the increasing tares. For if the lost crown is delivered to another, the place of him who has lost it is not vacant.

12. temple. He who has overcome adverse things for My sake shall be glorious in the temple of the Church, and shall no more fear any loss which adversity can bring. The pillars, that is, holy men, at one time strengthen the Church by their support, at another adorn it by their elevation, like the two pillars at the door of Solomon’s temple.

Name. That is, because we are called “the sons of God” by adoption.

city. He shall be joined to the unity of the Church, which, by heavenly grace, is born again to a new life.

new name. This is the Christian name, not that it is new to the Son of God, Who had this glory before the world was made, but new to the Son of Man, Who died and rose again, and sitteth on the right hand of God.

14. Laodicea. Laodicea means “the lovely tribe of the Lord,” or, “they were in vomiting.” For there were there both those to whom He said, “I will spew thee out of My mouth,” and those also to whom He said this, “Whom I love, I rebuke and chasten.” But, according to the Greek, it is interpreted, “a just people.”

Amen. Amen is interpreted, “truly,” or “faithfully.” Christ, therefore, Who in the essence of His divinity is truth, declared that, by the mystery of His Incarnation, He was made “the beginning of the creation of God,” that He may train the Church by these things for the endurance of sufferings.

16. lukewarm. Thou art neither fervent in faith, nor entirely unbelieving. But, if thou wert still unbelieving, there would yet remain to thee the hope of conversion, whereas now, in that thou doest not the will of the Lord which thou knowest, thou shalt be cast forth from the bosom of My Church.

17. rich. Thou art content with faith alone, and it is in vain that thou layest claim to the treasures of righteousness. But if thou desirest to be truly rich, forsake all things, and buy the fervour of love, proved in the flame of afflictions, and anoint the eyes of thy mind, not with the antimony of deceitful boasting, but with the eye-salve of divine knowledge. To anoint the eyes with eye-salve is to gain an understanding of holy Scripture by the performance of a good work.

19. chasten. Do not shrink from suffering adversity, seeing that this is an especial proof that thou art loved by the Lord.

repent. He shews that there had been there such as were emulated and followed.

20. knock. I knock, indeed, at the door of thy heart with the right hand of exhortation, and if thou receive it willingly, thou shalt be deemed worthy of My dwelling with thee, and being fellow-heir with thee.

21. sit. By “sitting with Him” He means, being a partner in power and judgment “Who has made us sit together,” he says, “in heavenly places in Christ.”

overcame. The Lord, as a Conqueror, sat down with the Father on the throne, in that, after the conflict of His passion, after the victory of His resurrection, He manifested Himself more clearly to all, as coequal with the Father in power. Observe, that in all the churches the Lord first declares His own power, then recounts the works of the Church as worthy either of praise or blame, but always with admonition intermixed, and that in the last place He assigns to either part the reward which is due, and which may be understood both of the present and the future. But when He subjoins, “Who hath ears, let him hear;” we are without doubt to understand the ears of the heart for obedience to the commands.








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