corner graphic   Hi,    
ver. 2.0.20.06.04
Finding the new version too difficult to understand? Go to classic.studylight.org/

Bible Commentaries

Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament
Revelation 2

 

 

Other Authors
Verse 1

Revelation 2:1. τῷ ἀγγέλῳ, to the angel) There is a most weighty reason for these seven epistles. When the people were about to receive the law at Sinai, they were first purified: the same people, when the kingdom of God was now at hand, were prepared for it through repentance, by the ministry of John the Baptist; and now the Christian Church is furnished with these epistles, in order that they may worthily receive so great a Revelation (just as the writer himself had previously been prepared to receive it by his banishment and alarm). For the object of the writing is, that the Church, putting away from the midst of itself evil men, after due admonition, and evil things, may be prepared rightly to embrace and preserve this most precious deposit, this Revelation of such great moment, which the heavenly beings themselves honour with such profound adorations, and also to behold great events, to receive the most abundant enjoyments, and to avoid woes; the epistles themselves being interspersed with glowing sparks from the remaining part of the Revelation, and those most fitted to arouse the attention and prepare the way for the understanding of what is revealed; and the renovation of the Church by repentance, as is befitting, is placed before the sight of the rainbow, ch. Revelation 4:3. Whosoever therefore wishes to be a suitable hearer of the Apocalypse, he ought to observe the admonitions of these seven epistles;(23) for then he will learn, from the pattern which they afford, how the Apocalypse is to be applied to all men and all ages. Some have attempted to show that the seven epistles, comprised in ch. 2 and 3, refer to seven periods of the Church, their historical sense being either preserved, or (which is worse) set aside. The celebrated D. Lange, in Comm. Apoc. f. 34, seq., preserving the historical sense, extends the prophetical sense from the time of John as far as to the destruction of the whore and the beast. But we have shown that the applying of the seven epistles to seven periods is the work of human subtilty. See Erkl. Offenb. pp. 285–295. The epistles then plainly had reference to the seven churches in Asia, and especially to their angels: and whether at that time, when the book was sent from Patmos to Asia, other churches were to be compared with these seven, or not, the subordination of these churches under John is here considered; and from this all hearers, of all places and times, whether good, bad, or varying in character, ought to apply to themselves the things which equally concern them. Each address to the angel of the church is concluded with a promise, which is given to him that overcometh.— τῆς) The Cod. Alex. τῷ,(24) and that not through carelessness. For it has it three times, τῷ ἐν ἐφέσῳ ἐκκλησίας· τῷ ἐν περγά΄ῳ ἐκκλησίας (in Latin you might say, angelo ecclesiastico, qui est Ephesi, Pergami: to the angel of the church, who is at Ephesus, and at Pergamos); and, τῷ ἐν θυατίροις. These are the very three angels who are partly praised and partly blamed: and the language is more directly aimed at these in the epistles, than at the other two pairs, who are without exception either praised or blamed.— ἐν ἐφέσῳ, at Ephesus) In that city Timothy both flourished for a long time, and died shortly after the giving of the Apocalypse. Polycrates, a bishop of Ephesus, described the martyrdom of Timothy: but this writing, as many others, has been interpolated by the diligence of the later Greeks, in such a manner, however, that the principal facts remained, and were preserved from interpolation in the more simple copies. This Polycrates therefore, in Ussher de Anno Solari, f. 96, says, that the festival of the Catagogia(25) celebrated by the unbelievers at Ephesus, took place on the 22d day of January; and that on the third day afterwards Timothy was put to death by them, while Nerva was Emperor, Nerva did not see the 22d and 24th of January, as Emperor, except in the year 97, when he reigned alone, and in the year 98, when he reigned together with Trajan; and died shortly afterwards, on the 27th of January. Therefore also the Apocalypse had been sent to Ephesus, a short time only before the death of Timothy. I do not, however, think that he is the person aimed at in the address of the Apocalypse. Timothy was an Evangelist, not an angel of one church; and he also, if at the close of his life he could have declined from his first love, he would assuredly have been admonished of his approaching death, as we may believe, no less than the angel of the church at Smyrna.


Verse 2

Revelation 2:2. οἶδα τὰ ἔργά σου, I know thy works) This word οἶδα, I know, occurs seven times:

I know thy works: Revelation 3:1; Revelation 3:8; Revelation 3:15.

I know where thou dwellest: Revelation 2:13.

I know thy tribulation: Revelation 2:9.

I know thy love: Revelation 2:19.

καὶ ὅτι) καὶ was formerly omitted by some: but it is to be retained.(26) For endurance and sternness against the evil are different virtues, [though they are united in this Man.—V. g.]— ἐπείρασας) Erasmus, without any MS. authority, edits ἐπειράσω:(27) all the MSS. have ἐπείρασας. See App. Crit. Ed. ii. on this passage. The Middle, πειράο΄αι, occurs only with an infinitive, and that but rarely, as ἐπειρᾶτο κολλᾶσθαι, Acts 9:26. πειρῶ΄αί σε, with an accusative, is never used: πειράζω is employed for all purposes. [There must have been a remarkable talent of discernment in this church-president.—V. g.]— ἀποστόλους, Apostles) In this passage false apostles are repulsed: false Jews, Revelation 2:9; those given up to Heathenism, Revelation 2:13-14.

A Memph. omit καί; but BCh Vulg. support it.—E.


Verse 3

Revelation 2:3. οὐ κεκοπίακας) Thus the Alex. MS. reads. The others also, with great agreement, οὐκ ἐκοπίασας: there is only the change of σ for κ made by the latter, from the rhythm ἐβάστασας.(28) See App. Ed. ii. on this passage.— κοπιᾷν is used for κά΄νειν, Matthew 11:28, 1 Corinthians 4:12; also John 4:6. Whence in the Septuagint it answers to the words חשׁל כאל לאה עיף חלה, and especially to יגע. Hesychius, κεκ΄ηκὼς, κεκοπιακώς. The Antanaclasis [See Append. Technical Terms], praised by Wolf, is this: I know thy labour; and yet thou dost not labour, that is, thou art not wearied with labour.


Verse 5

Revelation 2:5. (29) εἰ δὲ μὴ) This is spoken absolutely without a verb, Revelation 2:16; ἐὰν μὴ, with a verb, presently after in this verse, and Revelation 2:22, ch. Revelation 3:3; Revelation 3:20.— ἔρχομαί σοι καὶ κινήσω) The coming of the Lord was about to take place at one time; and the denunciation of His coming was made first at Ephesus, etc., lastly at Laodicea. [In these denunciations the idea of nearness of approach increases: Revelation 2:16; Revelation 2:25, ch. Revelation 3:3; Revelation 3:11; Revelation 3:20.—Not. Crit.] The verb ἔρχομαι is used so constantly in the present, that it remains so even when followed by a future: ἔρχομαι καὶ κινήσω· ἔρχομαι καὶ πολεμήσω, Revelation 2:16. See also John 14:3. The angel ought to effect much, on account of his close tie of connection with his own church.


Verse 7

Revelation 2:7. οὖς) The singular is the more to be remarked, because the plural is more usual. πίστις, ὦτα ψυχῆς, says Clement of Alexandria, Stromb. v. at the beginning; although in the Hebrew the [singular] ear is often used.— ταῖς ἐκκλησίαις) The Ablative case: as ch. Revelation 22:16 [“saith to him by the churches:” not as Engl. “unto the churches”]. In like manner there is said, ταῖς προσευχαῖς, ch. Revelation 8:3-4. Compare the passages which Heupel has collected in his Notes on Mark 5:2.— τῷ νικῶντι) The seven promises have a variety of construction.

I. τῷ νικῶντι δώσω αὐτῷ, κ. τ. λ.

II. νικῶν οὐ μὴ ἀδιχηθῇ, κ. τ. λ.

III. τῷ νικῶντι δώσω αὐτῷ, κ. τ. λ.

IV. καὶ νικῶν,— δώσω αὐτῷ, κ. τ. λ.

V. νικῶν, οὗτος περιβαλεῖται, κ. τ. λ.

VI. νικῶν, ποιήσω αὐτὸν, κ. τ. λ.

VII. νικῶν, δώσω αὐτῷ, κ. τ. λ.

In the four latter, νικῶν is marked with greater emphasis, as though it had the distinctive Hebrew accent: in the three former, there is a closer connection between τῷ νικῶντι (to which νικῶν, without οὗτος, in the second is equivalent) and the following verb.— ἐκ τοῦ ξύλου τῆς ζωῆς, ἐστιν ἐν τῷ παραδείσῳ τοῦ θεοῦ μου) The Septuagint, Genesis 2:9, has τὸ ξύλον τῆς ζωῆς ἐν μέσῳ τοῦ παραδείσου· where comp. Genesis 3:3. The ἐν μέσῳ is used with great propriety, because the rest of the trees were in the garden, but not in the midst of the garden. In this passage, according to the better copies,(30) the tree of life is simply said to be in the paradise of God: nor is mention made of any other tree, except the tree of life. The tree of life, indeed, is in the midst of the street of Jerusalem: ch. Revelation 22:2. From that passage, or from Genesis, some have here written, ἐν μέσῳ τοῦ παραδείσου.


Verse 10

Revelation 2:10. (31) βαλεῖν, to cast) Understand, some one, or rather some persons.

Rec. Text has τὰ ἔργα καὶ τὴν θλ. with B and Syr. But ACh Vulg. Memph. omit τὰ ἔργα καί.—E.


Verse 11

Revelation 2:11. τοῦ θανάτου τοῦ δευτέρου) The Chaldee Paraphrase has this phrase, מותא תנינא, Deuteronomy 33:6; Isaiah 22:14. [Comp. Revelation 20:6.—V. g.]


Verse 13

Revelation 2:13. πίστιν) To this the cognate word πιστὸς presently afterwards answers.— ἐν ταῖς ἠμέραις) See App. on this passage.(32)αἷς ἀντίπας) that is, οὐκ ἠρνήσατο. The Menologia say, that Antipas was slain under Domitian: the Martyrologia, that he was cast into a heated brazen bull.


Verse 14

Revelation 2:14. τῷ βαλὰκ) This is the reading of the Alex. Cod.,(33) and indeed, as I have mentioned in the Apparatus, in the first edition of Mill. See App. Ed. ii.: The changes which the Edition of Kuster was the first to make for the worse, or even for the better, are everywhere ascribed by philologists on this side of the sea to Mill himself. I indeed corrected with great labour, from the first edition of Mill, the errors of the second, especially in the Apocalypse: therefore where my Apparatus differs from the second edition, I again and again assert, that the difference is not the result of carelessness. In this phrase, who taught τῷ Balak, the Dative of advantage [for Balak] is the sense which holds good, which Wolf does not deny, p. 463; nor is that case more to be met with anywhere than in the history of Balaam: κατάρασαί μοι τὸν λαὸν τοῦτου, κ. τ. λ., Numbers 22, 23. Josephus, l. 4, Ant. ch. vi. § 6, makes Balaam speak thus: βάλακε καὶ τῶν ΄αδιανιτῶν οἱ παρόντες· χρὴ γάρ ΄ε καὶ παρὰ βούλησιν τοῦ θεοῦ χαρίσαθαι υ΄ιν, κ. τ. λ With the same meaning the Apocalypse has, ἐδίασκεν τῷ βαλάκ: for Balaam did not teach Balak, but he taught the people of Balak, for the sake of Balak, by whom Balaam had been hired. See Numbers 24:14; Numbers 25:1-2; Numbers 31:8; Numbers 31:16.


Verse 15-16

Revelation 2:15-16. ὁμοίως μετανόησον οὖν) The angel at Pergamos is ordered to repent in like manner with the angel at Ephesus: καὶ, also, corresponds, Revelation 2:15. The reading ὁμοίως, for which others have written μισῶ from Revelation 2:6, is defended by almost all(34) the authorities. Yet οὖν, therefore, remains with great emphasis. Comp. Revelation 2:5, ch. Revelation 3:3; Revelation 3:19.

ABC Vulg. Memph. Syr. read ὁμοίως: Rec. Text, μισῶ, without good authority.—E.


Verse 16

Revelation 2:16. ἔρχομαί σοι καὶ πολεμήσω μετʼ αὐτῶν) Many, from parallel passages, have inserted ταχύ(35) after σοί. But the Italian Version, which is nearest to the hand of John, did not contain the word quickly. To the writers who followed that reading, Ansbert is added with considerable regularity, and Bede and Ambrose, also, in Psalms 118. Serm. 19; nor has Apringius the word quickly in his paraphrase on this passage. It will be worth while to have turned over the Latin MSS. of the Apocalypse in this place. Sometimes the fuller reading is the genuine one, but generally the shorter. I will say under what circumstances each holds good. The fuller reading is sometimes to be preferred. For I. in the case of words having a similar ending, or in the recurrence of words or syllables, the copyists have easily passed over the intermediate text, which is to be restored from the more ancient authorities. II. Conjunctions, which are less frequent in other languages than in Greek, are often omitted in the Versions, which it is useless to follow too closely in this particular. III. The Greeks frequently removed something from the public reading, to which many copies were accommodated: and in such cases the fuller reading ought to be retained, if supported by the other authorities of greatest antiquity, and especially the Latin Version. Examples are of constant occurrence. If we except these three causes, brevity is an all but invariable characteristic of a genuine reading. For since the Greek copies, and the translators and fathers who have followed them, are to be divided into two classes, namely, into those of Asia and of Africa, as I have copiously explained in my Apparatus, you will seldom find that manuscripts of both classes endeavoured to fill up short passages by certain explanations of their own, though you will find in some places that many of the one class, and in some that many of the other, have done so. Hence the fuller reading, which now is too scrupulously defended by many, is almost always a counterfeit; whereas the shorter reading is genuine. In such passages the witnesses, however few they are, provided that they have sufficient antiquity, ought to have weight: in which particular the Latin witnesses are again conspicuous, as we have remarked, a little while ago, at ch. Revelation 1:11. Where such crumbs are treated of, it is indeed better in such an abundance of bread to pass over something genuine, than eagerly to catch at anything heterogeneous and infected by human feeling. That is undoubtedly to be preferred in every place, which is required by reasons peculiar to the passage under consideration. Here no critic can compel others to agree with him; but, on the other hand, others can have no control over him. We return to the particle quickly. The Lord repeatedly announces His coming in the Apocalypse, and chiefly so from ch. Revelation 2:5 to ch. Revelation 3:20 : and that in such a manner, that He may make His coming gradually nearer. The particle quickly is used at last, ch. Revelation 3:11; and therefore in the passage now before us, ch. Revelation 2:16, it has not yet a place.


Verse 17

Revelation 2:17. ψῆφον λευκὴν, καὶ ἐπί τὴν ψῆφον ὄνομα καινὸν γεγραμμένον) The ancients used to write many things on stones (see Not. on Gregory of Neocæsarea, Paneg. p. 139), and especially votes. Sam. Petit, var. lect. c. 8, shows that the white stone was a ticket for receiving food ( σιτήσεως), and he compares that with this passage. But in this place, the white stone and the new name is a reward by itself, and therefore it is placed after the hidden manna.


Verse 18

Revelation 2:18. τῆς ἐν θυατείροις ἐκκλησίας) The Alex. cod., and also Tertullian, read τῷ ἐν θυατίροις, without the addition of the word ἐκκλησίας.(36) Where the angels of the seven churches are mentioned together, ch. Revelation 1:20, the name of the church at Thyatira is not excepted. Now, where the series comes separately to the angel in Thyatira, the omission of the word church (for some in ancient times said that there was no church there at that time) certainly agrees with the small number of Christians in that town. An address is made to them separately in Revelation 2:24. Among the Hebrews, ten persons at least were required to constitute a holy assembly: again, when there were seventeen Christians at Neocæsarea, Gregory was given to them as bishop. Therefore the flock at Thyatira might have been small and unknown, which could scarcely support the name of a church, and yet had an angel. St Carpus is reported to have been here.


Verse 19

Revelation 2:19. τὰ ἔσχατα πλείονα τῶν πρώτων) There is a similar expression, τὸ ἔσχατον ὑπὲρ τὸ πρῶτον, Ruth 3:10. On the other hand, τὰ ἔσχατα χείρονα τῶν πρώτων, Matthew 12:45.


Verse 20

Revelation 2:20. ἔχω κατὰ σοῦ) Not only some MSS., but by far the most witnesses, exhibit this reading,(37) which the others, by supplying of themselves πολλὰ, or πολὺ, or by inserting ὀλίγα from Revelation 2:14, confirm by this very separation into the extremes. In such places the shorter reading is almost always genuine. See App. Crit. Ed. ii. on this passage. In the 19th verse the comparative πλείονα prefers the last works to the first, but it is not opposed to ὀλίγα. The Lord had neither many nor few things against the angel at Thyatira, but that one thing only which is expressly mentioned, as against the angel of the church at Ephesus, ch. Revelation 2:4, where Andreas writes that ἕν, one thing, only is blamed. Wherefore the denunciations against these two are more gentle than those against the angel of the church at Pergamos, against whom the Lord had a few things.— ὅτι ἀφεῖς τὴν γυναῖκα ἰεζάβελ, λέγουσα ἑαυτὴν προφῆτιν, καὶ διδάσκει καὶ πλανᾷ τοὺς ἐμοὺς δούλους) Wolf says, that he does not understand how ἀφεῖς can be said in Greek. But ἀφεῖς is read Exodus 32:32, in the most approved editions: Chrys. hom. 3, ad Pox. Ant. in the notes of Ducæus, quotes ἀφεῖς, Exodus 32; and in the Apocalypse it is supported by the agreement of all the MSS.,(38) if you except the silence of one or two which are more carelessly collated. Comp. Marck. on Ap. ii. § 46, 53. From ἕω (Ion. ἕημι, in the common dialects ἵημι) is formed ἀφέω, ἀφέεις, ἀφέει, although ἀφεῖς only, and that contracted, is in use. However it is, there was no reason why John himself should not write ἀφεῖς, equally with the Greek copyists, the meaning being free from doubt. Arethas, who substitutes ἀφίης, in other places used Greek forms better than those employed by John, as they appeared to himself to be suitable. See below on ch. Revelation 16:13. The same reasoning applies to the following words,(39) as far as relates to the MSS., καὶ διδάσκει καὶ πλανᾷ, the meaning of which also is obvious. For first the verb ἀφίημι is also put absolutely in Matthew 3:15 : next, the defining of its object is here subjoined: thou permittest that woman, namely, to teach, and she does actually teach, etc. So ch. Revelation 11:3, I will give to My two witnesses that they prophesy, and they shall prophesy. Comp. also Revelation 13:16. See App. Crit. Ed. ii. We have given λέγουσα for τὴν λέγουσαν, which is otherwise free from difficulty.(40)τὴν γυναῖκα) Many long ago read, τὴν γυναῖκά σου. Certainly she had a husband, for she had adulterers, Revelation 2:22. The word σοῦ appears to be a gloss,(41) but it is suitable to the subject itself. But it is elegantly said, woman, for thy wife; either because such an ellipsis is of frequent occurrence, Acts 7:20, or because the person spoken of here was an adulteress: comp. John 4:18; Acts 24:24 : and, the woman Jezebel; though the very name of Jezebel would indicate a woman: for she usurped the office of teaching, contrary to that which is becoming to a woman.


Verse 22

Revelation 2:22. βαλῶ(42)) Thus Hunt. Æth. Arab. Lat. and many others, who read I will send, and Tertullian, who has I will give. The others read βάλλω. For the copyists frequently put λλ for λ in the use of this verb; and ἰδοὺ is usually construed with a present, though sometimes also with a future: Luke 1:20; Luke 1:31; Luke 1:48. And the future agrees with this passage, because the condition, unless they shall repent, gives an interval of time: and ἀποκτενῶ accords with βαλῶ: and lastly, in all these denunciations, the sense of the future prevails: ch. Revelation 2:5, κινήσω; Revelation 2:16, πολε΄ήσω; Revelation 2:24, βαλῶ, where also many read βάλλω; ch. Revelation 3:4, περιπατησουσι; Revelation 2:9, ποιήσω, with ἰδού; Revelation 2:20, εἰσελεύσο΄αι, κ. τ. λ.


Verse 23

Revelation 2:23. ἀποκτενῶ ἐν θανάτῳ) Ezekiel 33:27, בדבר ימותו. The Septuagint has θανάτῳ ἀποκτενῶ.


Verse 24

Revelation 2:24. (43) ὅσοι οὐκ ἔχουσιοὐκ ἔγνωσαν) The third person for the second. See Vorst. de Hebraism, c. 26.— οὐκ ἔγνωσαν) they were not Gnostics.— τὰ βάθεα) In Daniel 2:22, it is used in a good sense, αὐτὸς ἀποκαλύπτει βαθέα καὶ ἀπόκρυφα.


Verse 25

Revelation 2:25. πλὴν) Amos 3:2, רק. Septuagint, πλὴν.— ἄχρις οὗ ἂν ἥξω) ἤκω, derived from the preterite of the verb ἵημι, already in the present involves the preterite [I am come, I am present]. And so the future, ἥξω, I will be present, ch. Revelation 3:3, is nearer than the present ἔρχομαι itself, when taken alone. Thus, ἥκω, ἥκει, ἥκουσι, John 8:42; John 2:4; John 4:47; 1 John 5:20; Luke 15:27; Mark 8:3, note. Whence, Hebrews 10:7; Hebrews 10:9, ἥκω is used for the preterite באתי, Psalms 40:7; and thus the Septuagint everywhere: Numbers 23:1 (or Numbers 22:36); Deuteronomy 33:2; Joshua 23:14-15; Judges 16:2; 1 Samuel 16:2; 1 Samuel 29:6; 1 Samuel 29:10; 2 Samuel 3:23. There is a remarkable instance in Ecclesiastes 5:14, ἐπιστρέψει, ὡς ἥκει.


Verse 26

Revelation 2:26. νικῶιδώσω αὐτῷ) The things which you may suppose not to sound so well in Greek, will sound well when cast in Hebrew mould of thought. See instances, ch. Revelation 6:8, Revelation 7:2, Revelation 9:12 (where the feminine is put for the neuter), 14, Revelation 20:8. There is a very similar construction, κύριος, ἐν οὐρανῷ θρόνος αὐτοῦ, Psalms 11:4; and so Psalms 57:5 (4), Psalms 103:15.— ἐπὶ τῶν ἐθνῶν) Psalms 2:8-9, αἴτησαι παρʼ ἐμοῦ, καὶ δώσω σοὶ ἔθνη τὴν κληρονομίαν σου, καὶ τὴν κατάσχεσίν σου τὰ πέρατα τῆς γῆς· ποιμανεῖς αὐτοὺς ἐν ῥάβδῳ σιδηρᾷ, ὡς σκεύη κεραμέως συντρίψεις αὐτούς.


Verse 27

Revelation 2:27. ποιμανεῖ) In the Hebrew it is תרועם, Thou shalt break them in pieces, Psalms 2:9, from רעע he broke in pieces, the verb of cognate meaning following, תנפצם Thou shalt scatter them, συντρίψεις αὐτούς. The Septuagint, as though they had read in the former passage תרעם from רעה he fed, have rendered it ποιμανεῖς (Thou shalt feed). The Apocalypse, not through imitation of the Septuagint translators, but on its own authority, uses that word, which is peculiarly appropriate. And in other places, when it refers to ancient prophecy, it most befittingly preserves the peculiarity of the Hebrew text: ch. Revelation 6:16, Revelation 7:17, Revelation 11:4. τοῦ πατρός μον, from My Father) Jesus, when He was living on the earth, somewhat more frequently said, My Father which is in heaven; but now, simply, My Father; for He Himself is set in the heaven with His Father—V. g.">(44)

 


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography Information
Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on Revelation 2:4". Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jab/revelation-2.html. 1897.

Lectionary Calendar
Thursday, June 4th, 2020
the Week of Proper 4 / Ordinary 9
ADVERTISEMENT
Commentary Navigator
Search This Commentary
Enter query in the box below
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
To report dead links, typos, or html errors or suggestions about making these resources more useful use our convenient contact form
Powered by Lightspeed Technology