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Bible Commentaries
Revelation 2

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New TestamentRobertson's Word Pictures

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Verse 1

In Ephesus (εν Εφεσω). Near the sea on the river Cayster, the foremost city of Asia Minor, the temple-keeper of Artemis and her wonderful temple (Acts 19:35), the home of the magic arts (Ephesian letters, Acts 19:19) and of the mystery-cults, place of Paul's three years' stay (Acts 19:1-10; Acts 20:17-38), where Aquila and Priscilla and Apollos laboured (Acts 18:24-28), where Timothy wrought (I and II Tim.), where the Apostle John preached in his old age. Surely it was a place of great privilege, of great preaching. It was about sixty miles from Patmos and the messenger would reach Ephesus first. It is a free city, a seat of proconsular government (Acts 19:38), the end of the great road from the Euphrates. The port was a place of shifting sands, due to the silting up of the mouth of the Cayster. Ramsay (Letters to the Seven Churches, p. 210) calls it "the City of Change."

These things (ταδε). This demonstrative seven times here, once with the message to each church (Revelation 2:1; Revelation 2:8; Revelation 2:12; Revelation 2:18; Revelation 2:1; Revelation 2:7; Revelation 2:14), only once elsewhere in N.T. (Acts 21:11).

He that holdeth (ο κρατων). Present active articular participle of κρατεω, a stronger word than εχων in Revelation 1:16, to which it refers.

He that walketh (ο περιπατων). Present active articular participle of περιπατεω, an allusion to Revelation 1:13. These two epithets are drawn from the picture of Christ in Revelation 1:13-18, and appropriately to conditions in Ephesus describe Christ's power over the churches as he moves among them.

Verse 2

I know (οιδα). Rather than γινωσκω and so "emphasizes better the absolute clearness of mental vision which photographs all the facts of life as they pass" (Swete). So also in Revelation 2:9; Revelation 2:13; Revelation 2:19; Revelation 3:1; Revelation 3:8; Revelation 3:15. For the distinction see John 21:17, "where the universal knowledge passes into the field of special observation."

Works (εργα). The whole life and conduct as in John 6:29.

And thy toil and patience (κα τον κοπον κα την υπομονην σου). "Both thy toil and patience," in explanation of εργα, and see 1 Thessalonians 1:3, where all three words (εργον, κοποσ, υπομονη) occur together as here. See Revelation 14:13 for sharp distinction between εργα (activities) and κοπο (toils, with weariness). Endurance (υπομονη) in hard toil (κοπος).

And that (κα οτ). Further explanation of κοπος (hard toil).

Not able (ου δυνη). This Koine form for the Attic δυνασα (second person singular indicative middle) occurs also in Mark 9:22; Luke 16:2.

Bear (βαστασα). First aorist active infinitive of βασταζω, for which verb see John 10:31; John 12:6; Galatians 6:2. These evil men were indeed a heavy burden.

And didst try (κα επειρασας). First aorist active indicative of πειραζω, to test, a reference to a recent crisis when these Nicolaitans (verse Revelation 2:6) were condemned. The present tenses (δυνηι, εχεις) indicate the continuance of this attitude. Cf. 1 John 4:1.

Which call themselves apostles (τους λεγοντας εαυτους αποστολους). Perhaps itinerant missionaries of these Nicolaitans who posed as equal to or even superior to the original apostles, like the Judaizers so described by Paul (2 Corinthians 11:5; 2 Corinthians 11:13; 2 Corinthians 12:11). Paul had foretold such false teachers (Gnostics), grievous wolves, in Acts 20:29; in sheep's clothing, Jesus had said (Matthew 7:15).

And they are not (κα ουκ εισιν). A parenthesis in Johannine style (John 2:9; John 3:9; 1 John 3:1) for κα ουκ οντας to correspond to λεγοντας.

And didst find (κα ευρες). Second aorist active indicative of ευρισκω. Dropping back to the regular structure parallel with επειρασας.

False (ψευδεις). Predicate accusative plural of ψευδης, self-deceived deceivers as in Revelation 21:8.

Verse 3

Thou hast (εχεις). Continued possession of patience.

Didst bear (εβαστασας). First aorist indicative of βασταζω, repeated reference to the crisis in verse Revelation 2:2.

And hast not grown weary (κα ου κεκοπιακες). Perfect active indicative of κοπιαω, old verb, to grow weary (Matthew 6:28), play on the word κοπος, late form in -ες, for the regular -ας (λελυκας). like αφηκες (verse Revelation 2:4) and πεπτωκες (verse Revelation 2:5). "Tired in loyalty, not of it. The Ephesian church can bear anything except the presence of impostors in her membership" (Moffatt).

Verse 4

This against thee, that (κατα σου οτ). For the phrase "have against" see Matthew 5:23. The οτ clause is the object of εχω.

Thou didst leave (αφηκες). First aorist active (kappa aorist, but with -ες instead of -ας) of αφιημ, a definite and sad departure.

Thy first love (την αγαπην σου την πρωτην). "Thy love the first." This early love, proof of the new life in Christ (1 John 3:13), had cooled off in spite of their doctrinal purity. They had remained orthodox, but had become unloving partly because of the controversies with the Nicolaitans.

Verse 5

Remember (μνημονευε). Present active imperative of μνημονευω, "continue mindful" (from μνημων).

Thou art fallen (πεπτωκες). Perfect active indicative of πιπτω, state of completion. Down in the valley, look up to the cliff where pure love is and whence thou hast fallen down.

And repent (κα μετανοησον). First aorist active imperative of μετανοεω, urgent appeal for instant change of attitude and conduct before it is too late.

And do (κα ποιησον). First aorist active imperative of ποιεω, "Do at once."

The first works (τα πρωτα εργα). Including the first love (Acts 19:20; Acts 20:37; Ephesians 1:3) which has now grown cold (Matthew 24:12).

Or else (ε δε μη). Elliptical condition, the verb not expressed (μετανοεις), a common idiom, seen again in verse Revelation 2:16, the condition expressed in full by εαν μη in this verse and verse Revelation 2:22.

I come (ερχομα). Futuristic present middle (John 14:2).

To thee (σο). Dative, as in Revelation 2:16 also.

Will move (κινησω). Future active of κινεω. In Ignatius' Epistle to Ephesus it appears that the church heeded this warning.

Except thou repent (εαν μη μετανοησηις). Condition of third class with εαν μη instead of ε μη above, with the first aorist active subjunctive of μετανοεω.

Verse 6

That thou hatest (οτ μισεις). Accusative object clause in apposition with τουτο (this). Trench tells of the words used in ancient Greek for hatred of evil (μισοπονηρια) and μισοπονηρος (hater of evil), neither of which occurs in the N.T., but which accurately describe the angel of the church in Ephesus.

Of the Nicolaitans (των Νικολαιτων). Mentioned again in verse Revelation 2:15 and really meant in verse Revelation 2:2. Irenaeus and Hippolytus take this sect to be followers of Nicolaus of Antioch, one of the seven deacons (Acts 6:5), a Jewish proselyte, who is said to have apostatized. There was such a sect in the second century (Tertullian), but whether descended from Nicolaus of Antioch is not certain, though possible (Lightfoot). It is even possible that the Balaamites of verse Revelation 2:14 were a variety of this same sect (verse Revelation 2:15).

Which I also hate (α καγω μισω). Christ himself hates the teachings and deeds of the Nicolaitans (α, not ους, deeds, not people), but the church in Pergamum tolerated them.

Verse 7

He that hath an ear (ο εχων ους). An individualizing note calling on each of the hearers (Revelation 1:3) to listen (Revelation 2:7; Revelation 2:11; Revelation 2:17; Revelation 2:28; Revelation 3:3; Revelation 3:6; Revelation 3:13; Revelation 3:22) and a reminiscence of the words of Jesus in the Synoptics (Matthew 11:15; Matthew 13:9; Matthew 13:43; Mark 4:9; Mark 4:23; Luke 8:8; Luke 14:35), but not in John's Gospel.

The spirit (το πνευμα). The Holy Spirit as in Revelation 14:13; Revelation 22:17. Both Christ and the Holy Spirit deliver this message. "The Spirit of Christ in the prophet is the interpreter of Christ's voice" (Swete).

To him that overcometh (τω νικωντ). Dative of the present (continuous victory) active articular participle of νικαω, a common Johannine verb (John 16:33; 1 John 2:13; 1 John 4:4; 1 John 5:4; Revelation 2:7; Revelation 2:11; Revelation 2:17; Revelation 2:26; Revelation 3:5; Revelation 3:12; Revelation 3:21; Revelation 5:5; Revelation 12:11; Revelation 15:2; Revelation 17:14; Revelation 21:7). Faith is dominant in Paul, victory in John, faith is victory (1 John 5:4). So in each promise to these churches.

I will give (δωσω). Future active of διδωμ as in Revelation 2:10; Revelation 2:17; Revelation 2:23; Revelation 2:26; Revelation 2:28; Revelation 3:8; Revelation 3:21; Revelation 6:4; Revelation 11:3; Revelation 21:6.

To eat (φαγειν). Second aorist active infinitive of εσθιω.

Of the tree of life (εκ του ξυλου της ζωης). Note εκ with the ablative with φαγειν, like our "eat of" (from or part of). From Genesis 2:9; Genesis 3:22. Again in Revelation 22:2; Revelation 22:14 as here for immortality. This tree is now in the Garden of God. For the water of life see Revelation 21:6; Revelation 22:17 (Cf. John 4:10; John 4:13).

Which (ο). The ξυλον (tree).

In the Paradise of God (εν τω παραδεισω του θεου). Persian word, for which see Luke 23:43; 2 Corinthians 12:4. The abode of God and the home of the redeemed with Christ, not a mere intermediate state. It was originally a garden of delight and finally heaven itself (Trench), as here.

Verse 8

In Smyrna (εν Σμυρνη). North of Ephesus, on a gulf of the Aegean, one of the great cities of Asia (province), a seat of emperor-worship with temple to Tiberius, with many Jews hostile to Christianity who later join in the martyrdom of Polycarp, poor church (rich in grace) which receives only praise from Christ, scene of the recent massacre of Greeks by the Turks. Ramsay (op. cit., p. 251) terms Smyrna "the City of Life." Christianity has held on here better than in any city of Asia.

The first and the last (ο πρωτος κα ο εσχατος). Repeating the language of Revelation 1:17.

Which was dead (ος εγενετο νεκρος). Rather, "who became dead" (second aorist middle indicative of γινομα) as in Revelation 1:18.

And lived again (κα εζησεν). First aorist (ingressive, came to life) active of ζαω (ο ζων in Revelation 1:18). Emphasis on the resurrection of Christ.

Verse 9

Thy tribulation and thy poverty (σου την θλιψιν κα πτωχειαν). Separate articles of same gender, emphasizing each item. The tribulation was probably persecution, which helped to intensify the poverty of the Christians (James 2:5; 1 Corinthians 1:26; 2 Corinthians 6:10; 2 Corinthians 8:2). In contrast with the wealthy church in Laodicea (Revelation 3:17).

But thou art rich (αλλα πλουσιος ε). Parenthesis to show the spiritual riches of this church in contrast with the spiritual poverty in Laodicea (Revelation 3:17), this a rich poor church, that a poor rich church. Rich in grace toward God (Luke 12:21) and in good deeds (1 Timothy 6:18). Perhaps Jews and pagans had pillaged their property (Hebrews 10:34), poor as they already were.

Blasphemy (βλασφημιαν). Reviling believers in Christ. See Mark 7:22. The precise charge by these Jews is not indicated, but see Acts 13:45.

Of them which say (εκ των λεγοντων). "From those saying" (εκ with the ablative plural of the present active articular participle of λεγω).

They are Jews (Ιουδαιους εινα εαυτους). This is the accusative of general reference and the infinitive in indirect discourse after λεγω (Acts 5:36; Acts 8:9) even though λεγοντων is here ablative (cf. Revelation 3:9), common idiom. These are actual Jews and only Jews, not Christians.

And they are not (κα ουκ εισιν). Another parenthesis like that in Revelation 2:2. These are Jews in name only, not spiritual Jews (Galatians 6:15; Romans 2:28).

A synagogue of Satan (συναγωγη του Σατανα). In Revelation 3:9 again and note Revelation 2:13; Revelation 2:24, serving the devil (John 8:44) instead of the Lord (Numbers 16:3; Numbers 20:4).

Verse 10

Fear not (μη φοβου). As in Revelation 1:17. Worse things are about to come than poverty and blasphemy, perhaps prison and death, for the devil "is about to cast" (μελλε βαλλειν), "is going to cast."

Some of you (εξ υμων). Without τινας (some) before εξ υμων, a common idiom as in Revelation 3:9; Revelation 11:19; Luke 11:49.

That ye may be tried (ινα πειρασθητε). Purpose clause with ινα and the first aorist passive subjunctive of πειραζω. John himself is in exile. Peter and John had often been in prison together. James the brother of John, Paul, and Peter had all suffered martyrdom. In Revelation 3:10 a general persecution is outlined by πειρασμος.

Ye shall have (εξετε). Future active, but some MSS. read εχητε (present active subjunctive with hina, "that ye may have").

Tribulation ten days (θλιψιν ημερων δεκα). "Tribulation of ten days" (or "within ten days"). It is unwise to seek a literal meaning for ten days. Even ten days of suffering might seem an eternity while they lasted.

Be thou faithful (γινου πιστος). "Keep on becoming faithful" (present middle imperative of γινομα), "keep on proving faithful unto death" (Hebrews 12:4) as the martyrs have done (Jesus most of all).

The crown of life (τον στεφανον της ζωης). See this very image in James 1:12, a familiar metaphor in the games at Smyrna and elsewhere in which the prize was a garland. See also Revelation 3:11. The crown consists in life (Revelation 2:7). See Paul's use of στεφανος in 1 Corinthians 9:25; 2 Timothy 4:8.

Verse 11

Shall not be hurt (ου μη αδικηθη). Strong double negative with first aorist passive subjunctive of αδικεω, old verb, to act unjustly (from αδικος), here to do harm or wrong to one, old usage as in Revelation 6:6; Revelation 7:2; Revelation 9:4; Revelation 9:10; Revelation 11:5.

Of the second death (εκ του θανατου του δευτερου). Εκ here used for the agent or instrument as often (Revelation 3:18; Revelation 9:2; Revelation 18:1). See Revelation 20:6; Revelation 20:14; Revelation 21:8 where "the second death" is explained as "the lake of fire." The idea is present in Daniel 12:3; John 5:29 and is current in Jewish circles as in the Jerusalem Targum on Deuteronomy 33:6 and in Philo. It is not annihilation. The Christians put to death in the persecution will at least escape this second death (eternal punishment).

Verse 12

In Pergamum (εν Περγαμω). In a north-easterly direction from Smyrna in the Caicus Valley, some fifty-five miles away, in Mysia, on a lofty hill, a great political and religious centre. Ramsay (Op. cit., p. 281) calls it "the royal city, the city of authority." Eumenes II (B.C. 197-159) extended it and embellished it with many great buildings, including a library with 200,000 volumes, second only to Alexandria. The Kingdom of Pergamum became a Roman province B.C. 130. Pliny termed it the most illustrious city of Asia. Parchment (χαρτα Περγαμενα) derived its name from Pergamum. It was a rival of Ephesus in the temples to Zeus, Athena, Dionysos, in the great grove Nicephorium (the glory of the city). Next to this was the grove and temple of Asklepios, the god of healing, called the god of Pergamum, with a university for medical study. Pergamum was the first city in Asia (A.D. 29) with a temple for the worship of Augustus (Octavius Caesar). Hence in the Apocalypse Pergamum is a very centre of emperor-worship "where Satan dwells" (Revelation 2:13). Here also the Nicolaitans flourished (Revelation 2:15) as in Ephesus (Revelation 2:6) and in Thyatira (Revelation 2:20). Like Ephesus this city is called temple-sweeper (νεωκορος) for the gods.

The sharp two-edged sword (την ρομφαιαν την διστομον την οξειαν). This item repeated from Revelation 1:16 in the same order of words with the article three times (the sword the two-mouthed the sharp) singling out each point.

Verse 13

Where (που--οπου). Που is interrogative adverb used here in an indirect question as in John 1:39. Hοπου is relative adverb referring to που. Satan's throne (ο θρονος του Σατανα). Satan not simply resided in Pergamum, but his "throne" or seat of power of king or judge (Matthew 19:28; Luke 1:32; Luke 1:52). The symbol of Asklepios was the serpent as it is of Satan (Revelation 12:9; Revelation 20:2). There was, besides, a great throne altar to Zeus cut on the Acropolis rock, symbol of "rampant paganism" (Swete) and the new Caesar-worship with the recent martyrdom of Antipas made Pergamum indeed a very throne of Satan.

Holdest fast my name (κρατεις το ονομα σου). Present active indicative of κρατεω, "dost keep on holding," as in Revelation 2:25; Revelation 3:11. This church refused to say Κυριος Καισαρ (Martyrd. Polyc. 8f.) and continued to say Κυριος Ιησους (1 Corinthians 12:3). They stood true against the emperor-worship.

Didst not deny (ουκ ηρνησω). First aorist middle second person singular of αρνεομα. Reference to a specific incident not known to us.

My faith (την πιστιν μου). Objective genitive, "thy faith in me."

Of Antipas (Αντιπας). Indeclinable in this form. It is possible that Αντιπα (genitive) was really written, though unimportant as the nominative follows in apposition. Nothing is really known of this early martyr in Pergamum before the writing of the Apocalypse. One legend is that he was burnt to death in a brazen bull. Other martyrs followed him at Pergamum (Agathonice, Attalus, Carpus, Polybus).

My witness (ο μαρτυς μου). Nominative in apposition with a genitive as in Revelation 1:5 (with ablative), common solecism in the Apocalypse. "Witness" as Jesus had said they should be (Acts 1:8) and Stephen was (Acts 22:20) and others were (Revelation 17:6). The word later (by third century) took on the modern meaning of martyr.

My faithful one (ο πιστος μου). Nominative also, with μου also. Jesus gives Antipas his own title (Swete) as in Revelation 1:5; Revelation 3:14. Faithful unto death.

Was killed (απεκτανθη). First aorist passive indicative of αποκτεινω, this passive form common in the Apocalypse (?2:13; 6:11; 5:9,13; 13:10,15; 18, 20; 19:21?).

Among you (παρ υμιν). By your side. Proof of the throne of Satan, "where Satan dwells" (οπου ο Σατανας κατοικε), repeated for emphasis.

Verse 14

There (εκε). That is παρ' υμιν (among you). A party in the church that resisted emperor-worship, to the death in the case of Antipas, yet were caught in the insidious wiles of the Nicolaitans which the church in Ephesus withstood.

Some that hold (κρατουντας). "Men holding" (present active participle of κρατεω).

The teaching of Balaam (την διδαχην Βαλααμ). Indeclinable substantive Balaam (Numbers 25:1-9; Numbers 31:15). The point of likeness of these heretics with Balaam is here explained.

Taught Balak (εδιδασκεν τω Βαλακ). Imperfect indicative of διδασκω, Balaam's habit, "as the prototype of all corrupt teachers" (Charles). These early Gnostics practised licentiousness as a principle since they were not under law, but under grace (Romans 6:15). The use of the dative with διδασκω is a colloquialism rather than a Hebraism. Two accusatives often occur with διδασκω.

To cast a stumbling-block (βαλειν σκανδαλον). Second aorist active infinitive (accusative case after εδιδασκεν) of βαλλω, regular use with σκανδαλον (trap) like τιθημ σκανδαλον in Romans 14:13. Balaam, as Josephus and Philo also say, showed Balak how to set a trap for the Israelites by beguiling them into the double sin of idolatry and fornication, which often went together (and do so still).

To eat things sacrificed to idols (φαγειν ειδωλοθυτα). Second aorist active infinitive of εσθιω and the verbal adjective (from ειδωλον and θυω), quoted here from Numbers 25:1, but in inverse order, repeated in other order in verse Revelation 2:20. See Acts 15:29; Acts 21:25; 1 Corinthians 8:1 for the controversy over the temptation to Gentile Christians to do what in itself was harmless, but which led to evil if it led to participation in the pagan feasts. Perhaps both ideas are involved here. Balaam taught Balak how to lead the Israelites into sin in both ways.

Verse 15

So thou also (ουτως κα συ). Thou and the church at Pergamum as Israel had the wiles of Balaam.

The teaching of the Nicolaitans likewise (την διδαχην των Νικολαιτων ομοιως). See on Revelation 1:6 for the Nicolaitans. The use of ομοιως (likewise) here shows that they followed Balaam in not obeying the decision of the Conference at Jerusalem (Acts 15:20; Acts 15:29) about idolatry and fornication, with the result that they encouraged a return to pagan laxity of morals (Swete). Some wrongly hold that these Nicolaitans were Pauline Christians in the face of Colossians 3:5-8; Ephesians 5:3-6.

Verse 16

Repent therefore (μετανοησον ουν). First aorist (tense of urgency) active imperative of μετανοεω with the inferential particle ουν (as a result of their sin).

I come (ερχομα). Futuristic present middle indicative, "I am coming" (imminent), as in Revelation 2:5 with ταχυ as in Revelation 3:11; Revelation 11:14; Revelation 22:7; Revelation 22:12; Revelation 22:20. As with εν ταχε (Revelation 1:1), we do not know how soon "quickly" is meant to be understood. But it is a real threat.

Against them (μετ' αυτων). This proposition with πολεμεω rather than κατα (against) is common in the LXX, but in the N.T. only in Revelation 2:16; Revelation 12:7; Revelation 13:4; Revelation 17:14 and the verb itself nowhere else in N.T. except James 4:2. "An eternal roll of thunder from the throne" (Renan). "The glorified Christ is in this book a Warrior, who fights with the sharp sword of the word" (Swete).

With (εν). Instrumental use of εν. For the language see Revelation 1:16; Revelation 2:12; Revelation 19:15.

Verse 17

Of the hidden manna (του μαννα του κεκρυμμενου). "Of the manna the hidden" (perfect passive articular participle of κρυπτω). The partitive genitive, the only N.T. example with διδωμ, though Q reads το (accusative) here. For examples of the ablative with απο and εκ see Robertson, Grammar, p. 519. See John 6:31; John 6:49 for the indeclinable word μαννα. The golden pot of manna was "laid up before God in the ark" (Exodus 16:23). It was believed that Jeremiah hid the ark, before the destruction of Jerusalem, where it would not be discovered till Israel was restored (II Macc. 2:5ff.). Christ is the true bread from heaven (John 6:31-33; John 6:48-51) and that may be the idea here. Those faithful to Christ will have transcendent fellowship with him. Swete takes it to be "the life-sustaining power of the Sacred Humanity now hid with Christ in God."

A white stone (ψηφον λευκην). This old word for pebble (from ψαω, to rub) was used in courts of justice, black pebbles for condemning, white pebbles for acquitting. The only other use of the word in the N.T. is in Acts 26:10, where Paul speaks of "depositing his pebble" (κατηνεγκα ψηφον) or casting his vote. The white stone with one's name on it was used to admit one to entertainments and also as an amulet or charm.

A new name written (ονομα καινον γεγραμμενον). Perfect passive predicate participle of γραφω. Not the man's own name, but that of Christ (Heitmuller, Im Namen Jˆsu, p. 128-265). See Revelation 3:12 for the name of God so written on one. The man himself may be the ψηφος on which the new name is written. "The true Christian has a charmed life" (Moffatt).

But he that receiveth it (ε μη ο λαμβανων). "Except the one receiving it." See Matthew 11:27 for like intimate and secret knowledge between the Father and the Son and the one to whom the Son wills to reveal the Father. See also Revelation 19:12.

Verse 18

In Thyatira (εν Θυατειροις). Some forty miles south-east of Pergamum, a Lydian city on the edge of Mysia, under Rome since B.C. 190, a centre of trade, especially for the royal purple, home of Lydia of Philippi (Acts 16:14), shown by inscriptions to be full of trade guilds, Apollo the chief deity with no emperor-worship, centre of activity by the Nicolaitans with their idolatry and licentiousness under a "prophetess" who defied the church there. Ramsay calls it "Weakness Made Strong" (op. cit., p. 316).

The Son of God (ο υιος του θεου). Here Jesus is represented as calling himself by this title as in John 11:4 and as he affirms on oath in Matthew 26:63. "The Word of God" occurs in Revelation 19:13.

His eyes like a flame of fire (τους οφθαλμους αυτου ως φλογα πυρος). As in Revelation 1:14.

His feet like burnished brass (ο ποδες αυτου ομοιο χαλκολιβανω). As in Revelation 1:15.

Verse 19

Thy works (σου τα εργα) . As in Revelation 2:2 and explained (explanatory use of κα =namely) by what follows. Four items are given, with separate feminine article for each (την αγαπην, την πιστιν, την διακονιαν, την υπομονην), a longer list of graces than in Revelation 2:2 for Ephesus. More praise is given in the case of Ephesus and Thyatira when blame follows than in the case of Smyrna and Philadelphia when no fault is found. Love comes first in this list in true Johannine fashion. Faith (πιστιν) here may be "faithfulness," and ministry (διακονιαν) is ministration to needs of others (Acts 11:29; 1 Corinthians 16:15).

And that (κα). Only κα (and) in the Greek, but doubtless οτ (that) is understood.

Than the first (των πρωτων). Ablative after the comparative πλειονα (more).

Verse 20

Thou sufferest (αφεις). Late vernacular present active indicative second person singular as if from a form αφεω instead of the usual αφιημ forms.

The woman Jezebel (την γυναικα Ιεζαβελ). Symbolical name for some prominent woman in the church in Thyatira, like the infamous wife of Ahab who was guilty of whoredom and witchcraft (1 Kings 16:31; 2 Kings 9:22) and who sought to drive out the worship of God from Israel. Some MSS. here (A Q 40 min.s) have σου (thy wife, thy woman Ramsay makes it), but surely Aleph C P rightly reject σου. Otherwise she is the pastor's wife!

Which calleth herself a prophetess (η λεγουσα εαυτην προφητιν). Nominative articular participle of λεγω in apposition with the accusative γυναικα like ο μαρτυς in apposition with Αντιπας in Revelation 2:13. Προφητις is an old word, feminine form for προφητης, in N.T. only here and Luke 2:36 (Anna), two extremes surely. See Acts 21:9 for the daughters of Philip who prophesied.

And she teacheth and seduceth (κα διδασκε κα πλανα). A resolution of the participles (διδασκουσα κα πλανωσα) into finite verbs (present active indicatives) as in Revelation 1:5. This woman was not a real prophetess, but a false one with loud claims and loose living. One is puzzled to know how such a woman had so much shrewdness and sex-appeal as to lead astray the servants of God in that church. The church tolerated the Nicolaitans and this leader whose primary object was sexual immorality (Charles) and became too much involved with her to handle the heresy.

Verse 21

I gave her time (εδωκα αυτη χρονον). First aorist active indicative of διδωμ, allusion to a definite visit or message of warning to this woman.

That she should repent (ινα μετανοηση). Sub-final use of ινα with first aorist active subjunctive of μετανοεω.

And she willeth not (κα ου θελε). "And she is not willing." Blunt and final like Matthew 23:37.

To repent of (μετανοησα εκ). First aorist (ingressive) active infinitive with εκ, "to make a change out of," the usual construction with μετανοεω in this book (Revelation 2:22; Revelation 9:20; Revelation 16:11), with απο in Acts 8:22. Πορνεια (fornication) here, but μοιχευω (to commit adultery) in verse Revelation 2:22.

Verse 22

I do cast (βαλλω). Futuristic present active indicative rather than the future βαλω, since judgment is imminent.

Into a bed (εις κλινην). "A bed of sickness in contrast with the bed of adultery" (Beckwith).

Them that commit adultery with her (τους μοιχευοντας μετ' αυτης). Present active articular participle accusative plural of μοιχευω. The actual paramours of the woman Jezebel, guilty of both πορνεια (fornication, verse Revelation 2:21) and μοιχεια (adultery), works of Jezebel of old and of this Jezebel. There may be also an allusion to the spiritual adultery (2 Corinthians 11:2) towards God and Christ as of old (Jeremiah 3:8; Jeremiah 5:7; Ezekiel 16:22).

Except they repent (εαν μη μετανοησουσιν). Condition of first class with εαν μη and the future active indicative of μετανοεω, put in this vivid form rather than the aorist subjunctive (-ωσιν) third-class condition.

Of her works (εκ των εργων αυτης). Αυτης (her) correct rather than αυτων (their). Jezebel was chiefly responsible.

Verse 23

I will kill with death (αποκτενω εν θανατω). Future (volitive) active of αποκτεινω with the tautological (cognate) εν θανατω (in the sense of pestilence) as in Ezekiel 33:27.

Her children (τα τεκνα αυτης). Either her actual children, like the fate of Ahab's sons (2 Kings 10:7) or "her spiritual progeny" (Swete) who have completely accepted her Nicolaitan practices.

Shall know (γνωσοντα). Future (ingressive punctiliar) middle of γινωσκω, "shall come to know." "The doom of the offenders was to be known as widely as the scandal had been" (Charles).

Searcheth (εραυνων). Present active articular participle of εραυναω, to follow up, to track out, late form for ερευναω, from Jeremiah 17:10.

Reins (νεφρους). Old word for kidneys, here only in N.T., quoted also with καρδιας from Jeremiah 17:10. See Revelation 22:17 for the reward of punishment.

Verse 24

To you the rest (υμιν τοις λοιποις). Dative case. Those who hold out against Jezebel, not necessarily a minority (Revelation 9:20; Revelation 19:21; 1 Thessalonians 4:13).

As many as (οσο). Inclusive of all "the rest."

This teaching (την διδαχην ταυτην). That of Jezebel.

Which (οιτινες). "Which very ones," generic of the class, explanatory definition as in Revelation 1:7.

Know not (ουκ εγνωσαν). Second aorist (ingressive) active of γινωσκω, "did not come to know by experience."

The deep things of Satan (τα βαθεα του Σατανα). The Ophites (worshippers of the serpent) and other later Gnostics (Cainites, Carpocratians, Naassenes) boasted of their knowledge of "the deep things," some claiming this very language about Satan (the serpent) as Paul did of God (1 Corinthians 2:10). It is not clear whether the words here quoted are a boast of the Nicolaitans or a reproach on the other Christians for not knowing the depths of sin. Some even claimed that they could indulge in immorality without sinning (1 John 1:10; 1 John 3:10). Perhaps both ideas are involved.

As they say (ως λεγουσιν). Probably referring to the heretics who ridicule the piety of the other Christians.

None other burden (ου--αλλο βαρος). Βαρος refers to weight (Matthew 20:12), φορτιον, from φερω, to bear, refers to load (Galatians 6:5), ογκος to bulk (Hebrews 12:1). Apparently a reference to the decision of the Jerusalem Conference (Acts 15:28) where the very word βαρος is used and mention is made about the two items in verse Revelation 2:20 (fornication and idolatry) without mentioning the others about things strangled, etc. See the Pharisaic narrowness in Matthew 23:4.

Verse 25

Howbeit (πλην). Common after ουκ αλλο as a preposition with the ablative (Mark 12:32), but here a conjunction as in Philippians 1:18.

Hold fast (κρατησατε). First aorist active imperative of κρατεω, either ingressive (get a grip on) or constative (hold on as a single decisive effort). See present imperative κρατε in Revelation 3:11 (keep on holding).

Till I come (αχρ ου αν ηξω). Indefinite temporal clause with αχρ ου (until which time) with modal αν and either the future active indicative or the first aorist active subjunctive of ηκω (usual idiom with αχρ in Revelation as in Revelation 7:3; Revelation 15:8; Revelation 20:3; Revelation 20:5).

Verse 26

He that overcometh and he that keepeth (ο νικων κα ο τηρων). Present active articular participles of νικαω and τηρεω in the nominative absolute (nominativus pendens) as in Revelation 3:12; Revelation 3:21, resumed by the dative αυτω (to him), as in verses Revelation 2:7; Revelation 2:17.

Unto the end (αχρ τελους). That is, αχρ ου αν ηξο above.

Authority over the nations (εξουσιαν επ των εθνων). From Psalms 2:8. The followers of the Messiah will share in his victory over his enemies (Revelation 1:6; Revelation 12:5; Revelation 19:15).

Verse 27

He shall rule (ποιμανε). Future active of ποιμαινω, to shepherd (from ποιμην, shepherd), also from Psalms 2:8. See again Revelation 7:17; Revelation 12:5; Revelation 19:15.

With a rod of iron (εν ραβδω σιδηρα). Continuing the quotation. Instrumental use of εν. Ραβδος (feminine) is the royal sceptre and indicates rigorous rule.

The vessels of the potter (τα σκευη τα κεραμικα). Old adjective, belonging to a potter (κεραμευσ, κεραμος), here only in N.T.

Are broken to shivers (συντριβετα). Present passive indicative of συντριβω, old verb, to rub together, to break in pieces (Mark 14:3).

Verse 28

As I also have received (ως καγω ειληφα). Perfect active indicative of λαμβανω. Christ still possesses the power from the Father (Acts 2:33; Psalms 2:7).

The morning star (τον αστερα τον πρωινον). "The star the morning one." In Revelation 22:16 Christ is the bright morning star. The victor will have Christ himself.

Bibliographical Information
Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on Revelation 2". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/rwp/revelation-2.html. Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.
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