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Bible Commentaries

Gary H. Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures
Revelation 3

 

 

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Verses 1-6

The Epistle to the Church of Sardis - Revelation 3:1-6 records John's epistle to the church of Sardis.

Revelation 3:1 And unto the angel of the church in Sardis write; These things saith he that hath the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars; I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead.

Revelation 3:1 — "These things saith he that hath the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars" - Comment- The different titles that Jesus gives to each of the seven churches of Asia Minor were chosen because they relate to each of His messages.

Revelation 3:1"I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead" - Scripture References- Note:

Luke 11:44, "Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are as graves which appear not, and the men that walk over them are not aware of them."

Ephesians 2:1, "And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;"

Ephesians 2:5, "Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)"

1 Timothy 5:6, "But she that liveth in pleasure is dead while she liveth."

Revelation 3:2 Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God.

Revelation 3:2"Be watchful" - Comment- Revelation 3:2 says "Be watchful." Jesus is literally telling them to wake up, because they were dead, or asleep, regarding their salvation ( Revelation 3:1). They are to pay full attention to God's Word. They are to wake up and be alert in order to fulfill their sanctification.

Illustration- It is like a class when the teacher leaves. Those who are watchful will work on their assignment given to them. Those who are not watchful will joke and run around the classroom.

Illustration- When my brother was in the first grade, he ran to the door of the classroom to see if teacher was returning yet. As he stuck his head around the door, the teacher met him on her return. He was punished for not being busy doing what he had been instructed to do.

Scripture Reference- Matthew 24:42-51.

Matthew 24:42, "Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come."

Revelation 3:2"and strengthen the things which remain" - Comment- The inner man is strengthened by the Holy Spirit ( Ephesians 3:16). The spirit of a believer lives off the Word of God.

Ephesians 3:16, "That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man;"

Note Job 6:5. Words of encouragement can be of great strength.

Job 16:5,"But I would strengthen you with my mouth, and the moving of my lips should asswage your grief."

Revelation 3:2"I have not found thy works perfect before God" - Comment- King Solomon"s heart was not perfect. He went after other gods ( 1 Kings 11:1-13). We as Christians can love this world. Song of Solomon , we are to come out from this world ( 2 Corinthians 6:11-18).

2 Corinthians 6:17, "Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you,"

Revelation 3:3 Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee.

Revelation 3:3Scripture References - There are a number of Scriptures that refer to Jesus Christ coming as a thief in the night ( Matthew 24:43-44, 1 Thessalonians 5:2, 2 Peter 3:10, Revelation 3:3; Revelation 16:15).

Matthew 24:43-44, "But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up. Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh."

1 Thessalonians 5:2, "For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night."

2 Peter 3:10, "But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up."

Revelation 3:3, "Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee."

Revelation 16:15, "Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame."

Revelation 3:4 Thou hast a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with me in white: for they are worthy.

Revelation 3:4 — "Thou hast a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments" - Comment - Defiled garments refer to people with sin and worldliness in their lives. Note:

Mark 7:23, "All these evil things come from within, and defile the man."

Revelation 3:4 — "and they shall walk with me in white" - Scripture Reference- Note:

Revelation 7:14, "And I said unto him, Sirach , thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb."

Revelation 3:4"for they are worthy" - Scripture Reference- Note:

Hebrews 12:14, "Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord:"

Revelation 3:5 He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.

Revelation 3:5"He that overcometh" - Comment - They overcome complacency in order to do God's Word fully.

Revelation 3:5"the same shall be clothed in white raiment" - Scripture Reference- Note:

Revelation 19:8, "And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints."

Revelation 3:5 — "but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels" - Scripture Reference- Note:

Matthew 10:32, "Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven."

Revelation 3:5Comment - Revelation 3:5 contradicts anyone who believes in the doctrine of "Once saved, always saved." Jesus Christ tells this church at Sardis that He could blot out the names of church members who had already been written in the book of life. This means that they were saved at one time, but would be eternally lost if their names were removed.


Verses 7-13

The Epistle to the Church of Philadelphia - Revelation 3:7-13 records for us John's epistle to the church of Philadelphia.

Revelation 3:7 And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write; These things saith he that is holy, he that is true, he that hath the key of David, he that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth;

Revelation 3:7 — "These things saith he that is holy, he that is true, he that hath the key of David, he that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth" - Comment - The different titles that Jesus gives to each of the seven churches of Asia Minor were chosen because they relate to each of His messages.

Revelation 3:8 I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name.

Revelation 3:9 Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie; behold, I will make them to come and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee.

Revelation 3:10 Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.

Revelation 3:10 — "Because thou hast kept the word of my patience" - Comment - Patience within this context does not mean to put up with something unpleasant, but rather, to continue in the word of God that was initially taught to a believer.

Revelation 3:10 — "I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth" - Comment - Revelation 3:10 tells us that the true born-again believers that make up the world-wide Church will not have to go through the seven-year tribulation period. They will be taken out in the rapture prior to this terrible "hour of temptation." The Greek text reads, "… κἀγώ σε τηρήσω ἐκ τῆς ὥρας τοῦ πειρασμοῦ τῆς μελλούσης…" Jack van Impe notes that this verse does not say that the Lord will take His saints through ( διὰ) the great tribulation period, but out of ( ἐκ) it. 53] In other words, God will deliver us out from this period of trial on the earth.

53] Jack van Impe, interviewed by Paul Crouch, Sr. Praise the Lord (Trinity Broadcasting Network, Santa Ana, California), television program, 20 May 2010.

Revelation 3:10Comments - The fact that God will keep the church of Philadelphia from the Great Tribulation period ( Revelation 3:10), which scholars believe is a reference to the rapture, and this is not promised to every church ( Revelation 2:22; Revelation 3:3) suggests that not every believer will go in the Rapture, only those who are ready. The others will be left behind and endure the Tribulation.


Verses 14-22

The Epistle to the Church of the Laodiceans - Comments - Revelation 3:14-22 records for us John's epistle to the church of the Laodiceans.

Historical Setting- The ancient city of Laodicea, along with its immediate neighbours of Colossi and Herapolis, were situated within the ethnic region of southern Phrygia, but politically, it lay within the boundaries of the province of proconsular Asia during Roman times. The city of Laodicea was named in commemoration of a Greco-Syrian dynasty that ruled this area of Asia Minor in times past, was the chief city of this region in the Lycus river valley under the Roman system of dividing the Empire into smaller administrative regions. 54]

54] E. J. Banks, "Laodicea," in International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, ed. James Orr (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co, c 1915, 1939), in The Sword Project, v 1511 [CD-ROM] (Temple, AZ: CrossWire Bible Society, 1990-2008).

We find from Paul's letter to the Colossians that not only was there a church in Colossi, but we read within the epistle of Colossians ( Colossians 2:1, Colossians 4:13) that there were churches in these two neighbouring cities of Laodicea and Herapolis.

Colossians 2:1, "For I would that ye knew what great conflict I have for you, and for them at Laodicea, and for as many as have not seen my face in the flesh;"

Colossians 4:13, "For I bear him record, that he hath a great zeal for you, and them that are in Laodicea, and them in Hierapolis."

The church established in Laodicea is addressed in John's Apocalypse and described as rich, proud and lukewarm, which reflects the wealth of this city. We know that this church continued for centuries because it hosted a major church council in A.D 344. The church of Hierapolis is mentioned by Eusebius as the bishopric of Papias (A.D 60-130) 55] (a friend of Polycarp) and Apollinaris (2nd c.). 56]

55] Eusebius writes, "And at the same time Papias, bishop of the parish of Hierapolis, became well known." (Ecclesiastical History 3362)

56] Eusebius writes, "I have sent you writings of the most blessed Claudius Apolinarius, bishop of Hierapolis in Asia." (Ecclesiastical History 5192)

Comparison to the Epistle of Colossians - John's epistle to the church of Laodicea in Revelation 3:14-22 contains similar phrases found in Paul's epistle to the Colossians. Paul had instructed the Laodiceans to read the Colossian letter and vise verse ( Colossians 4:16).

Colossians 4:16, "And when this epistle is read among you, cause that it be read also in the church of the Laodiceans; and that ye likewise read the epistle from Laodicea."

Therefore, John uses similar phrases found in Colossians. For example, he refers to Jesus Christ as "the firstborn from the dead" (compare Revelation 1:5 to Colossians 1:18).

Revelation 1:5, "And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood,"

Colossians 1:18, "And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence."

John describes Jesus as "the beginning of the creation of God" (compare Revelation 3:14 to Colossians 1:15).

Colossians 1:15, "Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature:"

Revelation 3:14 And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God;

Revelation 3:14 — "These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God" - Comments - The different titles that Jesus gives to each of the seven churches of Asia Minor were chosen because they relate to each of His messages.

Revelation 3:15 I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.

Revelation 3:15Comments - If they were hot God could use them to advance the Kingdom of God upon the earth. If they were cold, which means to be backslidden and in sin, the Lord could chastise them and produce repentance. Because they were lukewarm God could not work either way in their lives. He could do nothing with them, except simply reject them as unqualified for His blessings and service.

Revelation 3:16 So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.

Revelation 3:16Comments - William MacDonald suggests that the term "lukewarm" may have been used in this verse because of the fact that it was at the city of Laodicea that the water from the hot springs of nearby Hierapolis joined the cold waters from Colosse, producing a "lukewarm" condition. 57]

57] William MacDonald, The Revelation of Jesus Christ, in Believer's Bible Commentary, ed. Arthur Farstad (Nashville: Thomas Nelson Pub, 1995), in Libronix Digital Library System, v 21c [CD-ROM] (Bellingham, WA: Libronix Corp, 2000-2004), Introduction: IV: Background and Theme.

Revelation 3:17 Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:

Revelation 3:17Comments - The Laodiceans had become rich material, but poor spiritually ( Revelation 3:17). In contrast, the church at Smyrna were poor materially, but rich spiritually ( Revelation 2:9).

Revelation 3:18 I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.

Revelation 3:19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.

Revelation 3:20 Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.

Revelation 3:20"Behold, I stand at the door, and knock" - Comments - For some of us, this knock may be those who are naked, sick or in prison. When we take care of those whom God brings into our lives, we are opening the door to this knock.

Note the use of the word door in Genesis 4:7.

Genesis 4:7, "If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him."

Each day, we face the decision of who to open the door of our heart to Jesus, or to sin.

 


Copyright Statement
These files are copyrighted by the author, Gary Everett. Used by Permission.
No distribution beyond personal use without permission.

Bibliography Information
Everett, Gary H. "Commentary on Revelation 3:4". Gary H. Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ghe/revelation-3.html. 2013.

Lectionary Calendar
Wednesday, December 11th, 2019
the Second Week of Advent
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