Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Revelation 2:7

He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will grant to eat of the tree of life which is in the Paradise of God.'
New American Standard Version
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Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Decision;   Ephesus;   Heaven;   Holy Spirit;   Jesus Continued;   Life;   Paradise;   Perseverance;   Prophets;   Righteous;   War;   Word of God;   Scofield Reference Index - Life;   Satan;   Thompson Chain Reference - Battle of Life;   Churches, the Seven;   Food, Physical-Spiritual;   Food, Spiritual;   Life;   Overcomers;   Paradise;   Promises, Divine;   Seven;   Spiritual;   Tree of Life;   The Topic Concordance - Victory/overcoming;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Holy Spirit, the Teacher, the;   Life, Eternal;   Trees;   Warfare of Saints;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Paradise;   Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Apocalyptic literature;   Ephesus;   Paradise;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Hear, Hearing;   Life;   New Jerusalem;   Paradise;   Prophet, Prophetess, Prophecy;   Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - Patience of God;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Heaven;   Paradise;   Tree of Life;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Adam (1);   Cherub (1);   Eden;   Manna;   Mephibosheth;   Paradise;   Revelation of John, the;   Timothy;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Fall;   Paradise;   Revelation, the Book of;   Tree of Life;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Asia;   Ear;   Eden, Garden of;   Life;   Magi;   Nicolas;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Abomination of Desolation ;   Apocalypse;   Ear;   Fire;   Holy Spirit;   Life and Death;   Paradise;   Paradise (2);   Sanctify, Sanctification;   Tree (2);   Tree of Life;   Type;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Ear;   Ephesians, Epistle to the;   Paradise;   The Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary - Sepharvaim;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Ephesus;   Smith Bible Dictionary - Par'adise;   Tim'othy;   Wilson's Dictionary of Bible Types - Tree;   Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary - Paradise;  
Encyclopedias:
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Life;   Paradise;   Park;   Revelation of John:;   Tree of Life;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Paradise;  
Devotionals:
Daily Light on the Daily Path - Devotion for August 28;   Every Day Light - Devotion for March 25;   Faith's Checkbook - Devotion for January 20;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

He that hath an ear - Let every intelligent person, and every Christian man, attend carefully to what the Holy Spirit, in this and the following epistles, says to the Churches. See the note on Matthew 11:15, where the same form of speech occurs.

To him that overcometh - To him who continues steadfast in the faith, and uncorrupt in his life; who faithfully confesses Jesus, and neither imbibes the doctrines nor is led away by the error of the wicked; will I give to eat of the tree of life. As he who conquered his enemies had, generally, not only great honor, but also a reward; so here a great reward is promised τῳ νικωντι, to the conqueror: and as in the Grecian games, to which there may be an allusion, the conqueror was crowned with the leaves of some tree; here it is promised that they should eat of the fruit of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God; that is, that they should have a happy and glorious immortality. There is also here an allusion to Genesis 2:9, where it is said, God made the tree of life to grow out of the midst of the garden; and it is very likely that by eating the fruit of this tree the immortality of Adam was secured, and on this it was made dependent. When Adam transgressed, he was expelled from this garden, and no more permitted to eat of the tree of life; hence he became necessarily mortal. This tree, in all its sacramental effects, is secured and restored to man by the incarnation, death, and resurrection of Christ. The tree of life is frequently spoken of by the rabbins; and by it they generally mean the immortality of the soul, and a final state of blessedness. See many examples in Schoettgen. They talk also of a celestial and terrestrial paradise. The former, they say, "is for the reception of the souls of the just perfect; and differs as much from the earthly paradise as light from darkness."

The Epistle to the Church at Smyrna

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Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Revelation 2:7". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/revelation-2.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

He that hath an ear, let him hear … - This expression occurs at the close of each of the epistles addressed to the seven churches, and is substantially a mode of address often employed by the Saviour in his personal ministry, and quite characteristic of him. See Matthew 11:15; Mark 4:23; Mark 7:16. It is a form of expression designed to arrest the attention, and to denote that what was said was of special importance.

What the Spirit saith unto the churches - Evidently what the Holy Spirit says - for he is regarded in the Scriptures as the Source of inspiration, and as appointed to disclose truth to man. The “Spirit” may be regarded either as speaking through the Saviour (compare John 3:34), or as imparted to John, through whom he addressed the churches. In either case it is the same Spirit of inspiration, and in either case there would be a claim that his voice should be heard. The language used here is of a general character - “He that hath an ear”; that is, what was spoken was worthy of the attention not only of the members of these churches, but of all others. The truths were of so general a character as to deserve the attention of mankind at large.

To him that overcometh - Greek, “To him that gains the victory, or is a conqueror” - τῷ νικῶντι tō nikōntiThis may refer to any victory of a moral character, and the expression used would be applicable to one who should triumph in any of these respects:

(a)over his own easily-besetting sins;

(b)over the world and its temptations;

(c)over prevalent error;

(d)over the ills and trials of life, so as, in all these respects, to show that his Christian principles are firm and unshaken.

Life, and the Christian life especially, may be regarded as a warfare. Thousands fall in the conflict with evil; but they who maintain a steady warfare, and who achieve a victory, shall be received as conquerors in the end.

Will I give to eat of the tree of life - As the reward of his victory. The meaning is, that he would admit him to heaven, represented as paradise, and permit him to enjoy its pleasures - represented by being permitted to partake of its fruits. The phrase “the tree of life” refers undoubtedly to the language used respecting the Garden of Eden, Genesis 2:9; Genesis 3:22 - where the “tree of life” is spoken of as what was adapted to make the life of man perpetual. Of the nature of that tree nothing is known, though it would seem probable that, like the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, it was a mere emblem of life - or a tree that was set before man in connection with the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and that his destiny turned on the question whether he partook of the one or the other. That God should make the question of life or death depend on that, is no more absurd or improbable than that he should make it depend on what man does now - it being a matter of fact that life and death, happiness and misery, joy and sorrow, are often made to depend on things quite as arbitrary apparently, and quite as unimportant as an act of obedience or disobedience in partaking of the fruit of a designated tree.

Does it not appear probable that in Eden there were two trees designated to be of an emblematic character, of life and death, and that as man partook of the one or the other he would live or die? Of all the others he might freely partake without their affecting his condition; of one of these - the tree of life - he might have partaken before the fall, and lived forever. One was forbidden on pain of death. When the law forbidding that was violated, it was I still possible that he might partake of the other; but, since the sentence of death had been passed upon him, that would not now be proper, and he was driven from the garden, and the way was guarded by the flaming sword of the cherubim. The reference in the passage before us is to the celestial paradise - to heaven - spoken of under the beautiful image of a garden; meaning that the condition of man, in regard to life, will still be the same as if he had partaken of the tree of life in Eden. Compare the notes on Revelation 22:2.

Which is in the midst of the paradise of God - Heaven, represented as paradise. To be permitted to eat of that tree, that is, of the fruit of that tree, is but another expression implying the promise of eternal life, and of being happy forever. The word “paradise” is of Oriental derivation, and is found in several of the Eastern languages. In the Sanskrit the word “paradesha” and “paradisha” is used to denote a land elevated and cultivated; in the Armenian the word “pardes” denotes a garden around the house planted with grass, herbs, trees for use and ornament; and in the Hebrew form פרדס pardēcand Greek παράδεισος paradeisosit is applied to the pleasure gardens and parks, with wild animals, around the country residences of the Persian monarchs and princes, Nehemiah 2:8. Compare Ecclesiastes 2:5; Ca. Ecclesiastes 4:13; Xen. Cyro. i. 3,14 (Robinson‘s Lexicon). Here it is used to denote heaven - a world compared in beauty with a richly cultivated park or garden. Compare 2 Corinthians 12:4. The meaning of the Saviour is, that he would receive him that overcame to a world of happiness; that he would permit him to taste of the fruit that grows there, imparting immortal life, and to rest in an abode suited up in a manner that would contribute in every way to enjoyment. Man, when he fell, was not permitted to reach forth his hand and pluck of the fruit of the tree of life in the first Eden, as he might have done if he had not fallen; but he is now permitted to reach forth his hand and partake of the tree of life in the paradise above. He is thus restored to what he might have been if he had not transgressed by eating of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil; and in the Paradise Regained, the blessings of the Paradise Lost will be more than recovered - for man may now live forever in a far higher and more blessed state than his would have been in Eden.

The Epistle to the Church at Smyrna

The contents of the epistle to the church at Smyrna are these:

(1) A statement, as in the address to the church at Ephesus, of some of the attributes of the Saviour, Revelation 2:8. The attributes here referred to are, that he was “the first and the last,” that “he had been dead, but was alive” - attributes suited to impress the mind deeply with reverence for him who addressed them, and to comfort them in the trials which they endured.

(2) astatement Revelation 2:9, as in the former epistle, that he well knew their works and all that pertained to them - their tribulation, their poverty, and the opposition which they met with from wicked people.

(3) an exhortation not to be afraid of any of those things that were to come upon them, for, although they were to be persecuted, and some of them were to be imprisoned, yet, if they were faithful, they should have a crown of life, Revelation 2:10.

(4) acommand to hear what the Spirit said to the churches, as containing matter of interest to all persons, with an assurance that any who would “overcome” in these trials would not be hurt by the second death, Revelation 2:11. The language addressed to the church of Smyrna is throughout that of commiseration and comfort. There is no intimation that the Saviour disapproved of what they had done; there is no threat that he would remove the candle-stick out of its place. Smyrna was a celebrated commercial town of Ionia (Ptolem. v. 2), situated near the bottom of that gulf of the Aegean Sea which received its name from it (Mela, Revelation 1:17, Revelation 1:3), at the mouth of the small river Meles, 320 stadia, or about forty miles north of Ephesus (Strabo, 15, p. 632). It was a very ancient city; but having been destroyed by the Lydians, it lay waste four hundred years to the time of Alexander the Great, or, according to Strabo, to that of Antigonus. It was rebuilt at the distance of twenty stadia from the ancient city, and in the time of the first Roman emperor it was one of the most flourishing cities of Asia. It was destroyed by an earthquake, 177 a.d., but the emperor Marcus Aurelius caused it to be rebuilt with more than its former splendor.

It afterward, however, suffered greatly from earthquakes and conflagrations, and has declined from these causes, though, from its commercial advantages, it has always been a city of importance as the central emporium of the Levantine trade, and its relative rank among the cities of Asia Minor is probably greater than it formerly bore. The engraving in this vol. will give a representation of Smyrna. The Turks now call it Izmir. It is better built than Constantinople, and its population is computed at about 130,000, of which the Franks compose a greater proportion than in any other town in Turkey, and they are generally in good circumstances. Next to the Turks, the Greeks form the most numerous portion of the inhabitants, and they have a bishop and two churches. The unusually large portion of Christians in the city renders it especially unclean in the eyes of strict Moslems, and they call it Giaour Izmir, or the Infidel Smyrna. There are in it about 20,000 Greeks, 8,000 Armenians, 1,000 Europeans, and 9,000 Jews. It is now the seat of important missionary operations in the East, and much has been done there to spread the gospel in modern times.

Its history during the long tract of time since John wrote is not indeed minutely known, but there is no reason to suppose that the light of Christianity there has ever been wholly extinct. Polycarp suffered martyrdom there, and the place where he is supposed to have died is still shown. The Christians of Smyrna hold his memory in great veneration, and go annually on a visit to his supposed tomb, which is at a short distance from the place of his martyrdom. See the article “Smyrna” in Kitto‘s Cyclopedia, and the authorities referred to there.

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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Revelation 2:7". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/revelation-2.html. 1870.

Coffman Commentaries on the Bible

He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith to the churches. To him that overcometh, to him will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the Paradise of God.

He that hath an ear, let him hear ... So! People do not receive spiritual information regarding their salvation from any inner impulses, dreams, impressions, or inner strivings of the soul, but by listening to the words given by the Holy Spirit. "This shows that God's revelations are spoken to man, not put into his heart through some mysterious spiritual power."[28] Also notable in this paragraph and in this verse is the fact that, "God dictated these seven letters to John in the literal sense of the word. Therefore, the ancient prophets received verbatim messages: Thus saith the Lord."[29] Our Lord himself often used this expression, as in Matthew 11:15; 13:9,43, etc.

What the Spirit saith to the churches ... This is of great value in the interpretation of these passages, since it is clear here that the messages written by John were not: (1) to a supernatural being such as an angel; (2) to any human authority in the church; nor (3) to any single one of the congregations, but "to the churches." All that is written to any one of them applies to all. Even beyond this, all that is written is to the churches of all time.

To him that overcometh ... The verb in this phrase can be translated conquereth,[30] or conquers. It occurs only twice in the Gospels (Luke 11:22; John 16:33) and only once in the writings of Paul (Romans 12:21). However, it is found in all seven of these letters to the churches, and John also used it repeatedly in 2John (2 John 1:2:13,14, and 2 John 1:5:4,5).[31] Hendriksen was mightily impressed with the implications of this term and named his book on Revelation after it.[32] John seemed to have some kind of preference for the word. It may be properly applied to a battle or a trial; but the word is used here independently of reference to any particular contest. "It means a victory over all kinds of evil that would harm the church or prevent the salvation of the contender."[33]

I will give to eat of the tree of life ... These words regarding the "tree of life" are found in Genesis 2:9 and in Revelation 22:2,4,19, thus binding the beginning and the end of the Bible together, all of which, first to last, is concerned with the recovery of that which was lost in the Fall. As to just what the tree of life actually is, it is difficult to think of it as any kind of literal fruit. It undoubtedly has reference to Christ himself, as indicated by the following:

The Hebrew word in Genesis 2:9 was rendered by the Septuagint (LXX) translators with a Greek word which means, not tree, but wood; and the New Testament writers used that same word (wood) for all four passages where it occurs in Revelation, and in Acts 5:30; 10:39; 13:29; Galatians 3:13, and in 1 Peter 2:24 regarding the cross upon which Jesus died.[34]

Such blessed promises as this and all the others given in these passages seem to have been designed with a connection between them and the false superstitions of the people to whom they were addressed, in the sense of the good and the true being offered instead of the false. In this case, "Excavated coins of Ephesus show a date-palm, sacred to Artemis, and symbol of her life and beneficent activity."[35] It is not unlikely, therefore, that the tree of life is a holy symbol of the Son of God himself.

Which is in the Paradise of God ... The Greek word here rendered Paradise is Oriental, being first used by the historian Xenophon, denoting the parks of Persian kings and nobles.[36] The thought of a garden is in it. Jesus used the word in his promise to the thief (Luke 23:43), and Paul was caught up into it (2 Corinthians 12:4), apparently identifying it as "the third heaven." Vine states that 2 Corinthians 12:3 does not introduce a different vision.[37] Paradise is most certainly an extraterrestrial location, because the tree of life is positively not found anywhere on earth. Heaven is perhaps as good a synonym for it as we have. However, such conclusions should not be applied to the use of "Paradise" in Luke 23:43, where a slightly different sense is evident. The usage of it there would appear to be equivalent in meaning to "Abraham's bosom" (Luke 16:22). See further comment on this in my Commentary on Matthew, p. 501.

[28] John T. Hinds, op. cit., p. 39.

[29] R. C. H. Lenski, op. cit., p. 92.

[30] W. Boyd Carpenter, op. cit., p. 541.

[31] Ibid.

[32] William Hendriksen, More than Conquerors (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Book House, 1956).

[33] John T. Hinds, op. cit., p. 39.

[34] R. C. H. Lenski, op. cit., p. 94.

[35] E. M. Blaiklock, op. cit., p. 67.

[36] W. E. Vine, Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words (Old Tappan, New Jersey: Fleming H. Revell Company, 1940), 3p. 158.

[37] Ibid.

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Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.
Bibliographical Information
Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on Revelation 2:7". "Coffman Commentaries on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/revelation-2.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

He that hath an ear,.... Such who have new ears given them, as all have who are made new creatures; such who have their ears circumcised, and opened by the Spirit of God; who hear with understanding, affection, and faith; who try what they hear, and approve, embrace, and retain that which is good,

Let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; let such hearken, and listen with attention to what is said by the Spirit, in what goes before, and follows after, in this epistle, designed for the use of all the churches; from whence it appears, that this epistle was endited by the Spirit of God, and is of divine inspiration; that it was not intended for the single use of the church at Ephesus, but of all the churches; and not of the seven churches only, though the Alexandrian copy reads, "to the seven churches": but of all the churches in that period of time, which the Ephesine church represents; and which may also be useful to the churches of Christ in all other ages and periods of time. And moreover, it may be concluded from hence, that there are in this epistle, and so in all the rest, for the same words are subjoined to them all, some things which are parabolical and prophetic, and not obvious to everyone's understanding and view; for a like expression is used by our Lord, when he had delivered anything in a parabolical way, or was obscure; see Matthew 11:15.

To him that overcometh: the false apostles, false teachers, and their doctrines; coldness, lukewarmness, and remissness in love; the impure tenets and practices of the Nicolaitans:

will I give to eat of the tree of life; by which is meant Jesus Christ himself, in allusion to the tree of life in the garden of Eden; and is so called, because he is the author of life, natural, spiritual, and eternal; and because of his fruit, the blessings of life and grace, that are in him, of which believers may eat by faith, and which they find to be soul quickening, comforting, strengthening, and satisfying; and which are Christ's gift to them, even both the food they eat, and the faith by which they eat, are his gifts. So Christ, under the name of Wisdom, is called the Tree of life, in Proverbs 3:18; and this is a name which is sometimes given by the Jews to the MessiahF5Zohar in Gen. fol. 33. 3. :

which is in the midst of the paradise of God; as the tree of life was in the garden of Eden, Genesis 2:9. The Vulgate Latin, Syriac, and Ethiopic versions read, "the paradise of my God"; the God of Christ, as well as of his people; and by which may be meant, either the church on earth, which is as a paradise, Song of Solomon 4:12; in the midst of which Christ is, affording his gracious presence, and reaching forth his grace, and the benefits of it, to his people; or heaven; see Gill on 2 Corinthians 12:4, said to be of God, because it is of his preparing, and where he dwells, and in the midst of which Christ, the Tree of life, is; and this shows, that he is to be come at by faith, and his fruit to be eaten, and lived upon; and he is to be beheld and enjoyed by all his saints, as he is now, and will be more perfectly hereafter,

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The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rights Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855
Bibliographical Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on Revelation 2:7". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/revelation-2.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

4 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in 5 the midst of the b paradise of God.

(4) The conclusion containing a commandment of attention, and a promise of everlasting life, shown in a figure; (Genesis 2:9). {(5)} That is, in paradise after the manner of the Hebrew phrase.

(b) Thus Christ speaks as he is mediator.

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Bibliographical Information
Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Revelation 2:7". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/revelation-2.html. 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

He that hath an ear — This clause precedes the promise in the first three addresses, succeeds it in the last four. Thus the promises are enclosed on both sides with the precept urging the deepest attention as to the most momentous truths. Every man “hath an ear” naturally, but he alone will be able to hear spiritually to whom God has given “the hearing ear”; whose “ear God hath wakened” and “opened.” Compare “Faith, the ears of the soul” [Clement of Alexandria].

the Spirit saith — What Christ saith, the Spirit saith; so one are the Second and Third Persons.

unto the churches — not merely to the particular, but to the universal Church.

overcometh — In John‘s Gospel (John 16:33) and First Epistle (1 John 2:13, 1 John 2:14; 1 John 5:4, 1 John 5:5) an object follows, namely, “the world,” “the wicked one.” Here, where the final issue is spoken of, the conqueror is named absolutely. Paul uses a similar image (1 Corinthians 9:24, 1 Corinthians 9:25; 2 Timothy 2:5; but not the same as John‘s phrase, except Romans 12:21).

will I give — as the Judge. The tree of life in Paradise, lost by the fall, is restored by the Redeemer. Allusions to it occur in Proverbs 3:18; Proverbs 11:30; Proverbs 13:12; Proverbs 15:4, and prophetically, Revelation 22:2, Revelation 22:14; Ezekiel 47:12; compare John 6:51. It is interesting to note how closely these introductory addresses are linked to the body of Revelation. Thus, the tree of life here, with Revelation 22:1; deliverance from the second death (Revelation 2:11), with Revelation 20:14; Revelation 21:8; the new name (Revelation 2:17), with Revelation 14:1; power over the nations, with Revelation 20:4; the morning star (Revelation 2:28), with Revelation 22:16; the white raiment (Revelation 3:5), with Revelation 4:4; Revelation 16:15; the name in the book of life (Revelation 3:5), with Revelation 13:8; Revelation 20:15; the new Jerusalem and its citizenship (Revelation 3:12), with Revelation 21:10.

give  …  tree of life — The thing promised corresponds to the kind of faithfulness manifested. They who refrain from Nicolaitane indulgences (Revelation 2:6) and idol-meats (Revelation 2:14, Revelation 2:15), shall eat of meat infinitely superior, namely, the fruit of the tree of life, and the hidden manna (Revelation 2:17).

in the midst of the paradise — The oldest manuscripts omit “the midst of.” In Genesis 2:9 these words are appropriate, for there were other trees in the garden, but not in the midst of it. Here the tree of life is simply in the paradise, for no other tree is mentioned in it; in Revelation 22:2 the tree of life is “in the midst of the street of Jerusalem”; from this the clause was inserted here. Paradise (a Persian, or else Semitic word), originally used of any garden of delight; then specially of Eden; then the temporary abode of separate souls in bliss; then “the Paradise of God,” the third heaven, the immediate presence of God.

of God — (Ezekiel 28:13). One oldest manuscript, with Vulgate, Syriac, and Coptic, and Cyprian, read, “MY God,” as in Revelation 3:12. So Christ calls God, “My God and your God” (John 20:17; compare Ephesians 1:17). God is our God, in virtue of being peculiarly Christ‘s God. The main bliss of Paradise is that it is the Paradise of God; God Himself dwelling there (Revelation 21:3).

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Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Revelation 2:7". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/revelation-2.html. 1871-8.

William Godbey's Commentary on the New Testament

7. Here is a divine invocation to hear what the Spirit says to the Churches. It sounds superfluous, because all have ears; but remember, the Bible is a spiritual book, and only apprehensible by spiritual people. The soul has eyes, ears, olfactories, tastes, and nerves. Though a dead man have all these senses, yet he can neither see, hear, smell, touch, nor feel, till the Holy Ghost raises him from the dead. The unregenerate world are spiritually dead, and utterly destitute of spiritual sensibility, till the resurrection power comes on them. You may read the Bible all your life, and die as ignorant as a Hottentot, if the Holy Ghost does not open your spiritual eyes. You may hear the most powerful preaching, and get nothing out of it, unless the Omnipotent Savior speaks the Ephthatha to your spiritual ears.

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Godbey, William. "Commentary on Revelation 2:7". "William Godbey's Commentary on the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ges/revelation-2.html.

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament

He that hath an ear (ο εχων ουςho echōn ous). 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 πνευμαto pneuma). 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 (τωι νικωντιtōi nikōnti). Dative of the present (continuous victory) active articular participle of νικαωnikaō 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 (δωσωdōsō). Future active of διδωμιdidōmi 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 (παγεινphagein). Second aorist active infinitive of εστιωesthiō the tree of life (εκ του χυλου της ζωηςek tou xulou tēs zōēs). Note εκek with the ablative with παγεινphagein 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 (οho). The χυλονxulon (tree).

In the Paradise of God (εν τωι παραδεισωι του τεουen tōi paradeisōi tou theou). 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.

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Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on Revelation 2:7". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rwp/revelation-2.html. Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.

Vincent's Word Studies

He that hath an ear, etc.

Compare Matthew 11:15; Mark 4:9. The phrase is not found in John's Gospel. It is used always of radical truths, great principles and promises.

To him that overcometh ( τῷ νικῶντι )

A formula common to all these Epistles. The verb is used absolutely without any object expressed. It is characteristic of John, occurring once in the Gospel, six times in the First Epistle, sixteen times in Revelation, and elsewhere only Luke 11:22; Romans 3:4; Romans 12:21.

Will I give

This phrase has a place in every one of these Epistles. The verb is John's habitual word for the privileges and functions of the Son, whether as bestowed upon Him by the Father, or dispensed by Him to His followers. See John 3:35; John 5:22, John 5:27, John 5:36; John 6:65; John 13:3; John 17:6. Compare Revelation 2:23; Revelation 3:8; Revelation 6:4; Revelation 11:3.

Of the tree ( ἐκ ξύλου )

The preposition ἐκ outof occurs one hundred and twenty-seven times in Revelation, and its proper signification is almost universally out of; but this rendering in many of the passages would be so strange and unidiomatic, that the New Testament Revisers have felt themselves able to adopt it only forty-one times out of all that number, and employ of, from, by, with, on, at, because of, by reason of, from among. See, for instance, Revelation 2:7, Revelation 2:21, Revelation 2:22; Revelation 6:4, Revelation 6:10; Revelation 8:11; Revelation 9:18; Revelation 14:13; Revelation 15:2; Revelation 16:21. Compare John 3:31; John 4:13, John 6:13, John 6:39, John 6:51; John 8:23, John 8:44; John 9:6; John 11:1; John 12:3, John 12:27, John 12:32; John 17:5.

Tree, lit., wood. See on Luke 23:31; see on 1 Peter 2:24. Dean Plumptre notes the fact that, prominent as this symbol had been in the primeval history, it had remained unnoticed in the teaching where we should most have looked for its presence - in that of the Psalmist and Prophets of the Old Testament. Only in the Proverbs of Solomon had it been used, in a sense half allegorical and half mystical (Proverbs 3:18; Proverbs 13:12; Proverbs 11:30; Proverbs 15:4). The revival of the symbol in Revelation is in accordance with the theme of the restitution of all things. “The tree which disappeared with the disappearance of the earthly Paradise, reappears with the reappearance of the heavenly.” To eat of the tree of life expresses participation in the life eternal. The figure of the tree of life appears in all mythologies from India to Scandinavia. The Rabbins and Mohammedans called the vine the probation tree. The Zend Avesta has its tree of life called the Death-Destroyer. It grows by the waters of life, and the drinking of its sap confers immortality. The Hindu tree of life is pictured as growing out of a great seed in the midst of an expanse of water. It has three branches, each crowned with a sun, denoting the three powers of creation, preservation, and renovation after destruction. In another representation Budha sits in meditation under a tree with three branches, each branch having three stems. One of the Babylonian cylinders discovered by Layard, represents three priestesses gathering the fruit of what seems to be a palm-tree with three branches on each side. Athor, the Venus of the Egyptians, appears half-concealed in the branches of the sacred peach-tree, giving to the departed soul the fruit, and the drink of heaven from a vial from which the streams of life descend upon the spirit, a figure at the foot of the tree, like a hawk, with a human head and with hands outstretched.

In the Norse mythology a prominent figure is Igdrasil, the Ash-tree of Existence; its roots in the kingdom of Eels or Death, its trunk reaching to heaven, and its boughs spread over the whole universe. At its foot, in the kingdom of Death, sit three Nornas or Fates, the Past, the Present, and the Future, watering its roots from the sacred well. Compare Revelation 22:2, Revelation 22:14, Revelation 22:19. Virgil, addressing Dante at the completion of the ascent of the Purgatorial Mount, says:

“That apple sweet, which through so many branches

The care of mortals goeth in pursuit of,

Today shall put in peace thy hungerings.”

Purgatorio,” xxvii., 115-117.

Paradise

See on Luke 23:43. Omit in the midst of. Παράδεισος Paradise“passes through a series of meanings, each one higher than the last. From any garden of delight, which is its first meaning, it comes to be predominantly applied to the garden of Eden, then to the resting-place of separate souls in joy and felicity, and lastly to the very heaven itself; and we see eminently in it, what we see indeed in so many words, how revealed religion assumes them into her service, and makes them vehicles of far higher truth than any which they knew at first, transforming and transfiguring them, as in this case, from glory to glory” (Trench).

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Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on Revelation 2:7". "Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/vnt/revelation-2.html. Charles Schribner's Sons. New York, USA. 1887.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.

He that hath an ear, let him hear — Every man, whoever can hear at all, ought carefully to hear this.

What the Spirit saith — In these great and precious promises.

To the churches — And in them to every one that overcometh; that goeth on from faith and by faith to full victory over the world, and the flesh, and the devil. In these seven letters twelve promises are contained, which are an extract of all the promises of God. Some of them are not expressly mentioned again in this book, as "the hidden manna," the inscription of "the name of the new Jerusalem," the "sitting upon the throne." Some resemble what is afterwards mentioned, as "the hidden name," Revelation 19:12; "the ruling the nations," Revelation 19:15; "the morning star," Revelation 22:16. And some are expressly mentioned, as "the tree of life," Revelation 22:2; freedom from "the second death," Revelation 20:6; the name in "the book of life," Revelation 20:12; 21:27; the remaining "in the temple of God," Revelation 7:15; the inscription of "the name of God and of the Lamb," Revelation 14:1; 22:4. In these promises sometimes the enjoyment of the highest goods, sometimes deliverance from the greatest evils, is mentioned. And each implies the other, so that where either part is expressed, the whole is to be understood. That part is expressed which has most resemblance to the virtues or works of him that was spoken to in the letter preceding.

To eat of the tree of life — The first thing promised in these letters is the last and highest in the accomplishment, Revelation 22:2,14,19. The tree of life and the water of life go together, Revelation 22:1,2; both implying the living with God eternally.

In the paradise of my God — The word paradise means a garden of pleasure. In the earthly paradise there was one tree of life: there are no other trees in the paradise of God.

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Wesley, John. "Commentary on Revelation 2:7". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/revelation-2.html. 1765.

Abbott's Illustrated New Testament

The paradise of God; the garden of God,--heaven.

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Abbott, John S. C. & Abbott, Jacob. "Commentary on Revelation 2:7". "Abbott's Illustrated New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ain/revelation-2.html. 1878.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

7 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.

Ver. 7. Let him hear] Not with that gristle only that grows upon his head, but with the ear of his heart. Let him draw up the ear of his heart to the ear on his head, that one sound may pierce both. Or, Let him hear what, &c., that is, Let him hear for himself, hear and know that (each member for his own good) that was delivered to the whole Church.

To eat of the tree of life] This tree is Christ. The devil also (as he loves to be God’s ape) hath prompted Mahomet to promise to such as die in war for the Mahometan faith, delicious fare in Paradise, pleasant walks, and other sensual delights eternally to be enjoyed, notwithstanding any former sins.

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Revelation 2:7". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/revelation-2.html. 1865-1868.

Sermon Bible Commentary

Revelation 2:7

The Promise to the Overcomer.

I. In Ephesus the special evil to be contended against was the waning of first love. The overcomer, therefore, in Ephesus, would be the man who rose above the tendencies to waning love, the man in whose heart love continued, not merely to abide, but to deepen and intensify. Health and strength might fail, inducing physical languor; age might come stealing on, with its feebleness and loss of enjoyment; but even unto death would love continue, profounder, and more ardent, and more fit for service and sacrifice in the end than the beginning, able to take up the glorious challenge, "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?"

II. To this victor, loving on in spite of deadening and benumbing influences, a very great promise is given. The promise is announced with the utmost solemnity, in the hearing of the whole Church, in order that all might be inspired for the conflict, the promise of blissful and glorious, if yet mysterious reward, not as bribe, but as hope set before them. The doctrine of reward is really a further disclosure of the infinite generosity of Christ, and is fitted to captivate the heart. In suspecting the doctrine, we are really mistrusting, if not blaming, Christ Himself.

III. The Christian victor shall eat of fruit that grows in the paradise of God; the overcomer shall enjoy a Divinely sustained and everlasting life. While the life eternal in its beginnings is a present possession of the believer in Jesus, yet in its glorious fulness, or what Jesus calls its abundance, it shall be also the future reward of him that overcometh. What we are sure of is that body, soul, and spirit shall all share in the perfectness of the redemption; and that the perfected and triumphant life of love shall have suitable nourishment, Divinely provided and supplied, in the fruit of the tree of life. The very mystery of the promise enkindles desire, and gives intensity to the prayer, "Even so come, Lord Jesus."

J. Culross, Thy First Love, p. 103.


The Tree of Life.

We always look with great interest on any representation of a future state of things which borrows its imagery from the paradise wherein our first parents were placed. There is nothing which more assures us how complete will be the final triumph of the Redeemer than sketches of the thorough restoration of what sin hath destroyed or defaced, so that the garden of Eden shall again blossom in all its loveliness, and be once more filled with its sacramental mysteries. The question is not whether these sketches are accurate delineations of what is yet to occur. They may be only employed as parables, and not to be literally interpreted. But the mere fact that representations of the future are given in what may be called the language of paradise does always seem to us a most striking proof that the effects of redemption shall at last be commensurate with those of apostacy; so that there is nothing of what the one hath lost which shall not be finally recovered through the other. Let this globe resume its lost place among the morning stars of the universe, let its first verdure return, and everything like discord and unhappiness be banished from its habitations, and then will there be a demonstration such as can hardly be given on any other supposition that Christ Jesus hath effected the very purpose for which He was "manifested"—namely, "that He might destroy the works of the devil."

I. Our text is a beautiful instance of the employment of what we call the imagery of paradise. Our Lord Himself is the Speaker. He is addressing the Church of Ephesus, which, though still presenting many things for which it gains commendation, had somewhat declined from its first love, and needed, therefore, to be bidden to remember from whence it had fallen—to "repent and do the first works." And Christ would encourage the Ephesians to the attempting of the recovery of the ground which has been lost by speaking to them of the recompense which is laid up for the righteous: "He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the Churches." The Christian life must be a warfare: a constant battle has to be maintained with "the world, the flesh, and the devil"; but "to him that overcometh"—to him who perseveres to the end, "fighting the good fight of faith"—to him "will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God."

II. We must not forget that our text refers to the heavenly state. The paradise in the midst of which is the tree of life is the final dwelling-place of those who shall overcome in the "good fight of faith." Therefore we must not illustrate the matter under review by reference to what belongs only to our present condition. Yet who shall say that what is figuratively set forth by the combination of the river and the tree will not equally hold good in our eternal inheritance? Rather, since it is in our eternal inheritance that the combination is represented as subsisting, we are bound to believe that the river, whose streams shall "make glad the city of our God," will be bordered hereafter, as it is now, by the tree of life; in other words, that Christ and the Spirit will never be separated from the experience and the happiness of the Church. The occupation and gladness of eternity shall greatly consist, we may believe, in the searching more deeply into the mysteries of redemption and comprehending more and more that love which will always pass knowledge. Now we see only through a glass, darkly; and dim and feeble are our apprehensions of that magnificent scheme which perhaps includes the whole universe of animated beings in that unlimited mercy which held nothing too costly that this scheme might be perfected. But hereafter, in the manhood of our faculties and in possession of eternal life, we shall be admitted into acquaintance with the height, and depth, and breadth of the Atonement; and we shall be able at last so to climb, and penetrate, and explore, as vastly to outstrip our present feeble progress, though the result of every advance may be that untravelled immensity is still stretching beyond. And why may we not suppose that in these our lofty and glorious researches we shall be aided by the Spirit who now "takes of the things of Christ and shows them" to the soul?

III. But the Evangelist John tells us yet more of this tree of life—more by which he encourages us in the endeavour to overcome all the enemies of our salvation. It may be that wherever the river rolls only one species of tree is found on its banks; nevertheless there is no sameness, for we are told of this tree that it bears twelve manner of fruits, and yields fruit every month. It is not, surely, for us to suppose the number of twelve is the exact number of fruits which are produced. The number is evidently given with reference to the length of the year, that we may know that the tree, unlike every other tree, yields fruit at all seasons, and is at no time barren—a beautiful emblem of the Lord our Redeemer! He is represented as the tree of life, inasmuch as He is the root whence every order of being derives its animation. But He is also the tree of life to sinners who have banished themselves from paradise, where that tree was first planted. The grand thing for us to be satisfied of in reference to the Redeemer is that there is in Him a supply for our every necessity. If He be the tree of life, we must be able to obtain from Him whatever we require as candidates for immortality. And what can more admirably affirm that He is such a tree than the saying that it bears twelve manner of fruits and yieldeth fruit every month? This is certainly a description, if any can be, of the largeness and fulness of the Mediator's office. This sets before us the Mediator as offering to every individual case exactly what is suited to its circumstances. We do not believe that the variety and sufficiency which we can now find in the Mediator shall have ceased in another state of being. There will not, indeed, be precisely the same wants to satisfy, nor the same desires to appease; and therefore neither do we suppose that precisely the same fruits will hang on the branches of the tree. But this is only saying that the fruits change with the season. Why should they be the same beneath the cloudless shinings of eternity as amid the bleak winds of time? Nevertheless there may be a great variety, and yet there may still be the twelve manner of fruits. There are to be degrees in heaven hereafter, each being happy up to the full measure of his capacity, but the capacity of one differing from that of another, as "one star differeth from another star in glory." Why may not this be represented by the twelve manner of fruits? Why may we not think that when the tree of life grows in the midst of the celestial paradise—for we read of no other tree, though every species were found in the terrestrial—and when this is represented as yielding varieties of produce, why may we not think that it is a figurative declaration that Christ will hereafter fill the capacities of the whole company of the redeemed, giving Himself to each individual exactly in that measure in which there is power to receive Him? Every one who enters heaven shall find himself made perfectly happy. Eating of that tree which is in the midst of the paradise of God, he will enjoy in full measure the highest felicity of which he is capable. But there must be warfare, struggle, endurance, beforehand. "To him that overcometh," to no other, is the promise made. Fight, then, as those who strive for the mastery. The prize is worth the conflict. Yet a little while, and the battle shall be ended; and they who have "overcome," by the aid of that Spirit "which speaketh unto the Churches," shall sit down beneath the shadow of "the tree of life," and its fruits shall be "sweet to their taste."

H. Melvill, Penny Pulpit, No. 1807.

References: Revelation 2:7.—G. T. Coster, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xii., p. 206; J. Oswald Dykes, Ibid., vol. xxix., p. 248. Revelation 2:8-10.—T. Hammond, Ibid., vol. xv., p. 204. Revelation 2:8-11.—Expositor, 1st series, vol. ii., p. 374.

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Nicoll, William R. "Commentary on Revelation 2:7". "Sermon Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/sbc/revelation-2.html.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Revelation 2:7. He that hath an ear, &c.— See on Matthew 11:15. By him that overcometh, is here meant, him who lives in the spirit of holiness, who, through grace, conquers everyevil temper, and publicly confesses the name of Jesus Christbefore his enemies to the end, and even unto martyrdom, if called thereunto. The word which we render to give, implies, throughout this book, a power granted to act or do something very remarkable, which depended not before upon, and was not in the power of the receiver. The phrase Ξυλον ζωης, the word, or tree of life, is a Hebraism, to signify animmortal tree,and symbolically, immortality itself. So wisdom is said to be a tree of life,Proverbs 3:18 that is, bringing to man long life and immortality; and Proverbs 11:30 the fruit of the righteous is said to be a tree of life; that is, "Immortality is the reward or effect of his following wisdom." See ch. Revelation 22:2.

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Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Revelation 2:7". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/revelation-2.html. 1801-1803.

Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary

7.] Solemn conclusion of the Epistle. He that hath an ear (no fanciful distinction must be imagined between the singular, and the plural which is found in the Gospels (reff.): nor must we imagine with Hengst. that οὖς denotes the spiritual hearing or apprehension. We have precisely the same use of the sing. in Matthew 10:27, ὃ εἰς τὸ οὖς ἀκούετε κηρύξατε ἐπὶ τῶν δωμάτων: where the distinction will hardly be maintained), let him hear what the Spirit ( τὸ πνεῦμα, speaking in its fulness, through Him to whom it is given without measure, to John who was ἐν πνεύματι, in a state of spiritual ecstasy and receptivity: cf. John 16:13) saith to the churches (Ebrard well notices that not a colon, but a full stop must be put here, as indeed might be shewn from the way in which the proclamation is repeated in Revelation 2:29 and in ch. Revelation 3:6; Revelation 3:13; Revelation 3:22. It directs attention, not to that which follows only, but to the whole contents of the seven Epistles). To him that conquereth (the verb is absolute, without any object expressed as in reff. John and 1 John. So of Christ Himself in ch. Revelation 3:21), I will give to him (the personal pronoun is repeated both idiomatically and for emphasis) to eat (i. e. I will permit him to eat: not in the ordinary sense of giving to eat: see ch. Revelation 3:21, δώσω αὐτῷ.… καθίσαι of (the fruit of) the tree (see ref. Gen., from which the words come: and to suit which apparently the words μέσῳ τοῦ have been substituted for τῷ) of life, which is in the paradise of (my) God (the way to which tree was closed up after man’s sin, Genesis 3:24. The promise, and its expression, are in the closest connexion with our Lord’s discourse in John 6, as will be seen by comparing Genesis 3:22, μή ποτε ἐκτείνῃ τὴν χεῖρα αὐτοῦ, καὶ λάβῃ ἀπὸ τοῦ ξύλου τῆς ζωῆς, καὶ φάγῃ, καὶ ζήσεται εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα,—with John 6:51, ἐάν τις φάγῃ ἐκ τούτου τοῦ ἄρτου, ζήσεται εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα. But we need not therefore say (as Ebrard: so also Calov.) that Christ is the tree of life here, nor confuse the figure by introducing one which in its character is distinct from it. Still less, as Grot., is the tree to be interpreted as being the Holy Spirit. See, for the imagery, ch. Revelation 22:2; Revelation 22:14; Revelation 22:19.

There is meaning in τοῦ θεοῦ ( μου). The two former words as following παραδείσῳ, come from Ezekiel 28:13, and set forth the holiness and glory of that paradise as consisting in God’s dwelling and delighting in it: and the adjunct μου (John 20:17), if read, connects this holiness and glory with Him who is ours, and who has every right to make the promise in virtue of his own peculiar part in God.

On the whole image and expression, see Schöttgen, h. 1., who adduces many parallels from the rabbinical writings).

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Alford, Henry. "Commentary on Revelation 2:7". Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hac/revelation-2.html. 1863-1878.

Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament

That is, "Let all that hear and read these words unto the churches, which the Holy Spirit has uttered, consider them, and set their hearts to regard them as matters of great importance, and which nearly concern them."

Observe, That this form of speech, He that hath an ear to hear, let him hear, Christ often used at the end of his parables, when he would stir up the people to more than ordinary attention; and he uses it here in this and the next chapter, at the end of every one of these epistles to the several churches.

As if Christ had said, "Let all such as fall away from their holy profession for fear of persecution consider what they lose, even eternal life, which I only will give to such as persevere; for to him that overcometh trials and temptations, will I give a share of my merits, and thereby a title to eternal happiness, signified by the tree of life in paradise."

Note here, 1. It is not said, to him that striveth or resisteth will I give the crown of Life, but to him that overcometh. Lazy wishes are so far from saving men, that endeavours, yea, striving against temptation, without conquering and overcoming, will not save. It is not enough that we resist, but we must conquer; not sufficient that we strive, but we must overcome: To him that overcometh.

Note, 2. From the promise that Christ makes of eternal life, I will give, a clear argument for Christ's being God, essentially God; how is it else that he assumes to himself a power of dispensing eternal life? I will give to eat of the tree of life.

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Burkitt, William. "Commentary on Revelation 2:7". Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wbc/revelation-2.html. 1700-1703.

Charles Simeon's Horae Homileticae

DISCOURSE: 2483

EPISTLE TO EPHESUS

Revelation 2:7. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the Churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.

THOUGH all the seven Churches of Asia Minor are separately addressed in a way suited to their respective states, yet what is spoken to them may fitly be applied to all other Churches, so far as their states agree with those which are here portrayed. And we the rather say this, because at the close of every epistle the same admonition is repeated; “He that hath ears to hear, let him hear”—not what the Spirit saith unto this or that particular Church, but “what the Spirit saith unto the Churches.” And here you cannot but perceive, that, though the Lord Jesus is represented as dictating all the epistles, it is by his Holy Spirit that he dictates them: for, in every one of them you are called to receive “what the Holy Spirit saith unto the Churches.” Nor can you fail to notice, that, in every one of the epistles, the promises are made to those only who overcome. It will be proper, therefore, especially in this first epistle, that we distinctly consider,

I. The character to whom the promise is made—

The whole of the Christian life is a state of conflict—

[This appears most strongly marked in this address to the Church of Ephesus. The very terms “labour and patience” clearly shew that they had had much to do, and much to suffer, and much to maintain in continued exercise. And who needs be told how great a labour it is to “mortify the flesh with the affections and lusts,” and to “run with patience the race that is set before us?” or, who needs to be informed, that persecution is hard to bear, even though we be not “called to resist unto blood?” The hatred and contempt of the world, and, above all, of our own friends and relatives, are far from pleasing to flesh and blood: and yet there is no child of God that can escape this minor sacrifice, even though he be not exposed to suffer loss in respect of his life or liberty. A person floating down the stream is unconscious of the rapidity of a current; but if he have to swim against the stream, he finds it no easy matter to proceed. So the persons who are content to move with the world, find little difficulty in their way; but those who will resist the world, and the flesh, and the devil, shall find that they have a continual conflict to maintain; and more especially when they attempt to “keep themselves in the love of God [Note: Jude, ver. 21.].” One would think, that, considering what mercies we experience every day and hour at the Lord’s hands, it would be no difficult matter to preserve upon our souls a becoming sense of his love. But the heart is sadly prone to backslide from God. To avoid any thing grossly evil, and to persevere in the observance of outward duties, is comparatively easy: but to walk with God, to set ourselves as in his immediate presence, to preserve throughout the day habitual fellowship with him, to have our souls so filled with love to him as to regard nothing but his approbation, and to do nothing but for his glory, this is a state of mind which it is extremely difficult to maintain. But]

To those only who overcome in this conflict are the promises made—

[To “run well for a season” only, will avail us nothing: on the contrary, if at any time we cease to press forward, “our latter end will be worse than our beginning.” The same occasion for conflict will exist as long as we continue in the body; and every victory should encourage our efforts for still further conquests. We must “never be weary in welldoing: for then only shall we reap, if,” during the season appointed for our labour, “we faint not.” “We must endure unto the end,” if ever we would be saved.]

Nor will this appear a hard condition, if we duly consider,

II. The promise itself—

From the tree of life in Paradise were our first parents, and all their posterity, shut out—

[Our first parents were permitted to eat of the tree of life: and it was to them a pledge of eternal life, as long as they should retain their innocence, and live obedient to their God. But, when they had sinned, this was no longer a pledge of life to them: and they, in going to it any longer under that character, would only have deceived their own souls. Hence God drove them out of Paradise; and set cherubims, with a flaming sword, at the entrance of the garden, to prevent their return to it, and to keep them especially from the tree of life [Note: Genesis 3:22-24.]. Not that God intended wholly and eternally to cut them off from all hopes of life. On the contrary, he revealed to them, that One should in due time spring from the woman, and effect, both for them and their posterity, a deliverance from the evils in which they were involved. He told them, that “the Seed of the woman should enter the lists with their great adversary, and bruise the serpent’s head.” True, indeed, he should himself die in the conflict; but “through death he should destroy him who had the power of death, and deliver those” whom that powerful adversary had enslaved.]

Through that adorable Saviour is there a way of access once more opened to the tree of life—

[The tree of life now grows in the paradise that is above. It is “a tree that bears twelve manner of fruits [Note: Revelation 22:2.],” suited to every appetite, and sufficient for us under every state and condition of life. Even “the very leaves of it are effectual for the healing of all the nations of the world [Note: Revelation 22:2.].” To that, even in this world, may every valiant soldier have access; and from it shall he derive all that support to his soul which it afforded to our first parents in their state of innocence: and every fruit that he gathers from it shall be to him a pledge that he shall eternally enjoy all the blessings of salvation: yes, even here shall it be to him “an earnest of his everlasting inheritance.” My dear brethren, this privilege is ours, if we fight a good fight; and when we have finally vanquished our spiritual enemies, we shall go and sit under the shadow of this tree to all eternity. O! who can conceive the exquisiteness of the flavour of its fruits, when we shall gather them in the immediate presence of our God? Who shall say what it is to see our God face to face; what, to hear and taste the expressions of his love; what, to behold and participate his glory? And who can conceive what a zest it will give to all our joys, to know that they are secured to us for ever; and that, when once we are in that paradise, we shall go no more out? Well: this, believer, is held forth to thee as the reward of victory: and it shall surely be accorded to thee, if thou hold out unto the end. Only “be faithful unto death, and God will give thee the crown of life.”]

Application—

Let me, however, offer to thee a salutary caution:

1. Learn to have just views of your reward—

[The reward is held forth to those who overcome. But you must not overlook the terms in which the promise is made: “To him that overcometh will I give.” Eternal life is the gift of God, from first to last. “Death is the wages of sin; but eternal life is the gift of God, through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Our being called to maintain a conflict does not render it at all the less a free gift: our conflicts can never merit it; they can only prepare us for it, even as a medicinal process may prepare the body for the enjoyment of perfect health. When our Lord said, “Labour for the meat which endureth unto everlasting life,” he added, “which the Son of man shall give unto you.” The gift will not be the less free because we labour for it; but, by the imposing of that condition, a distinction is made which to all eternity will justify God in the bestowment of his gifts. Never, then, imagine that your conflicts, however arduous, will deserve life: they will only “render you meet for” the enjoyment of heaven; and evince, that, in the communication of his blessings, God does put a difference between the evil and the good. If it be said, that “they who do God’s commandments are said to have a right to the tree of life [Note: Revelation 22:14.],” I grant it: but it is a right founded only on the promise of your God. Your merit, in your best estate, is found only in hell: it is the grace of God alone that exalts any soul of man to heaven.]

2. Never relax your efforts for the obtaining of it—

[Unhappily, many are but little aware what enemies they have to contend with. Men are extremely blind to their besetting sins. All of us discover this in others: but few are conscious of it in themselves. This, then, I would say to you: Learn, from the very weaknesses of others, to distrust yourselves: and beg of God to shew you what are those peculiar lusts which you are most concerned to discover and withstand in your own hearts. It is very painful to see how grievously persons, on the whole pious, often fail in some particular disposition or habit. We all take too partial a view of our duty: and not a few remain so much under the power of some unsubdued corruption, that we are constrained to doubt what their state will be in the eternal world. I must, therefore, entreat you all to search out your besetting sin; and to “fight, as it were, neither with small nor great, but with the king of Israel.” If you overcome your enemy on that point, there will be little doubt of your vanquishing him on every other. But remember, the conflict must be maintained even to the end; and then only must you put off your armour, when God calls you from this field of battle, to the full enjoyment of your reward.

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Simeon, Charles. "Commentary on Revelation 2:7". Charles Simeon's Horae Homileticae. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/shh/revelation-2.html. 1832.

Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament

Revelation 2:7. ἕχων οὐς ἀκουσάτω, κ. τ. λ. Formula for exciting attention.(1000) The singular οὐς by no means points, in distinction from the plural,(1001) to “the spiritual sense of understanding,”(1002) but designates with entire simplicity the organ of hearing without respect to its being double. In like manner, in Luke 11:34. The reference made in the summons is altogether general;(1003) even to those who still are outside the churches, belongs what is said to the churches, because the entire book of Revelation, no less than the seven epistles which form an entire part thereof, proclaims the coming of the Lord as something final to the whole world. John himself, as a true prophet, makes prominent the universal reference of his prophecy.(1004)

τὸ πνεῦ΄α is neither this “divine vision,”(1005) nor Christ who has the Spirit,(1006) but the Holy Ghost,(1007) who inspires John, and thus makes him a prophet.(1008) The revelation of Christ(1009) can therefore be designated also as an address of the Spirit, because the Spirit is the Spirit of Christ,(1010) and speaks in Christ’s name.(1011) Yet this is conceivable only if we regard(1012) neither the seven epistles as merely a dictation of Christ, which John had only to write down, nor the entire book of Revelation as a mere report prepared by John of a series of pictures represented to him; but rather recognize the specific prophetic activity whereby he, as a man taught of Christ himself through his Spirit, thought and wrote not under a suppression, but a glorification, of his entire moral individuality.

The promise belongs, in its universality, to the victors; as the preceding summons to hear, to every one who has an ear. The hearer is through the prophecy to learn to be victor, and thus to be saved.(1013) νικῶν,(1014) as well as δίκαιος,(1015) is impossible. According to Revelation 3:21(1016) and Revelation 12:11,(1017) the νικᾶν at the close of all seven epistles(1018) designates nothing else than the faithful perseverance of believers, as maintained in the struggle with all godless and antichristian powers. So, also, the sacred reward of blessedness is promised the “victor,” who is represented in many forms, abiding faithful to him patiently and to the end, maintaining and adhering to the words and commands of the Lord, etc. Cf. especially the concluding promises of the epistles, with the descriptions in chs. 19, 21, 22

The δώσω αὐτῳ with the inf. φαγεὶν has a somewhat different meaning from when (as, e.g., Revelation 2:17; Revelation 2:28) a definite object follows: it means, “I will grant him to eat;”(1019) not, “I will give him to eat.”

The ξύλον τῆς ζωῆς, κ. τ. λ., is not the gospel whose fruit is blessedness,(1020) nor the Holy Ghost who assures of eternal life,(1021) nor Christ himself whose fruits are all spiritual blessings,(1022) and who in the holy supper gives his flesh to be eaten;(1023) but the antitype of the tree of life that was in the midst of the original earthly paradise,(1024) the tree of life which is to refresh the blessed citizens of the new Jerusalem.(1025) In accordance with Genesis 2:3, as also this passage, the place of blessedness where the tree of life is to be found is called paradise.(1026) The addition τοῦ θεοῦ ΄ου is not without meaning, since God is the Lord of paradise, the one from whom the new Jerusalem descends, who will dwell with men, from whose throne and that of the Lamb proceeds life,(1027) upon communion with whom, therefore, the future blessedness and glory of believers depend. Besides, the mediatorship of Christ is intimated by τ. θ. ΄ου, since Christ who himself rewards the victor ( δώσω), and himself sits with God upon the throne, in whom is the source of life, nevertheless speaks of his God and the God of believers;(1028) both being in accordance with the indivisible fundamental view of the entire N. T., that Christ through his obedience is exalted, through his conflict has conquered, and through his sufferings has entered into the glory which was his own from eternity, and whereof he now makes his believers partakers, since he as Priest, King, and Victor makes them priests, kings, and victors.(1029) As to the Apocalyptic statement of the thought, Revelation 2:7 b, cf. the Book of Enoch, xxxi. 1–5, xxiv. 1–11; Text. XII. Patr., p. 586; Schöttgen on this passage.

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Meyer, Heinrich. "Commentary on Revelation 2:7". Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hmc/revelation-2.html. 1832.

Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament

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.

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Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on Revelation 2:7". Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jab/revelation-2.html. 1897.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

He that hath an ear, let him hear; to whom God hath given an ability and power to understand what I say. It is a form of speech which Christ often used, when he would quicken up people’s attention, Matthew 11:15 13:9,43 Mr 4:9,23 7:16: we shall find it again in these two chapters six times; from which some would conclude, that in these epistles there is something mysterious, parabolical, and prophetical, it being a form of speech prefixed to many parables.

What the Spirit saith; the Holy Spirit of God, from whose inspiration all Scripture is.

Unto the churches; not only at Ephesus, but elsewhere in Asia, or any other part of the world.

To him that overcometh; that is, a conqueror in fighting the good fight of faith, against the world, the flesh, and the devil.

Will I give to eat of the tree of life; I will give him a share in my merits, and eternal life; which blessed enjoyments are set out unto us under the notion of eating, Luke 12:37 22:28, &c.; John 10:28.

This is the promise that he hath promised us, 1 John 2:25. Heaven is expressed to us under this notion, with reference to the tree of life, mentioned Genesis 2:9, which was in the old Paradise; for it is added,

which is in the midst of the paradise of God; or, which is the same, Christ himself is here intended, who is the free of life, mentioned Revelation 22:2; and the happiness of heaven is thus expressed, 1 Thessalonians 4:17, We shall be ever with the Lord. This is the sum of the epistle to the first mentioned church, by which those that judge these epistles prophetical, understand all the primitive churches during the apostles’ age, or the most of their ages, for John himself lived under the second persecution.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Revelation 2:7". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/revelation-2.html. 1685.

Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture

побеждающему Согласно определению самого Иоанна, быть победителем – значит быть христианином (см. пояснение к 1Ин. 5:5, ср. ст. 11, 17, 26; 3:5, 12, 21).

от древа жизни Настоящие верующие любят обещание небес (см. пояснения к 22:2, Быт. 2:9).

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MacLaren, Alexander. "Commentary on Revelation 2:7". Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mac/revelation-2.html.

Justin Edwards' Family Bible New Testament

Overcometh; in the conflict with sin. Compare Matthew 24:13; Ephesians 6:13.

The tree of life; compare chap Revelation 22:2. To eat of the tree of life in the earthly paradise was to our first parents the token. By sin they lost the right to eat of it, and fell under the sentence of death. But Christ restores what was lost in Adam in a higher and nobler form.

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Edwards, Justin. "Commentary on Revelation 2:7". "Family Bible New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/fam/revelation-2.html. American Tract Society. 1851.

Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible

‘To him who overcomes, to him will I give to eat the fruit of the tree of life which is in the Paradise of God.’

Every Christian is to be an overcomer, overcoming sins, patiently enduring temptation and tribulation, serving Christ, loving Him, being faithful to Him. As Paul says, ‘we are more than overcomers through Him that loved us’ (Romans 8:37). They hear His voice and follow Him (John 10:27-28). Without these a person is not a Christian.

This arises from our oneness in Christ. In John 16:33 Jesus declared that His people need not fear tribulation as He has ‘overcome the world’. He has rejected its power and conquered it and therefore has final control over it. Thus it is powerless to hurt them more than He allows. He also declared that He had overcome Satan (Luke 11:22). Once we are united with Him we therefore also become ‘overcomers’ in Him. As John tells us in 1 John 5:4, ‘whatever is begotten of God overcomes the world, and this is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith’. For they ‘are of God -- and have overcome them (false teachers with the spirit of antichrist)’ (1 John 4:4). Those who are in Him overcome the world and overcome Satan through Him.

These are the ones who have ‘heard His voice’. It is noteworthy that overcoming is a theme of the whole of Revelation (e.g. Revelation 11:7; Revelation 12:11; Revelation 13:7; Revelation 21:7), something which directly connects these churches with the events that occur later on. And to those who are overcomers He ‘will give to eat of the tree of life’ (compare Revelation 22:14). To eat of the tree of life was to live for ever (Genesis 3:22). Thus the promise is that, whatever experiences they have to go through, they will enjoy eternal life and have their share in God’s glorious Heaven, the Paradise of God (2 Corinthians 12:4).

(It is often argued that many Christians cannot be described as ‘overcomers’ because of worldly lives, or because they even backslide and appear for a time to reject Him. But then they can hardly be described as ‘righteous’ either. Yet if they really are His they are ‘righteous in Him’ and are therefore overcomers in Him. It is not for us finally to determine who are Christians and who are not but there are plenty of warnings in the New Testament that such people should beware lest at the last their ‘faith’ (or lack of it) proves in vain. But in the end all is of grace. And if such are truly His, they are ever ‘righteous’ in Him and are therefore ‘overcomers’ in Him, and will reveal it in their lives. No one stresses more than John does that salvation is of faith, but no one is more severe in his requirement that it be revealed in their lives - 1 John 2:1-5; 1 John 2:9-11; 1 John 2:19).

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Pett, Peter. "Commentary on Revelation 2:7". "Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pet/revelation-2.html. 2013.

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

5. Promise2:7

An invitation preceded the promise, as in all the letters to follow (cf. Revelation 1:3). Jesus was the only person to issue this invitation in Scripture. The Gospels also record Him doing so seven times ( Matthew 11:15; Matthew 13:9; Matthew 13:43; Mark 4:9; Mark 4:23; Luke 8:8; Luke 14:35). This invitation always occurs where Jesus appealed to His hearers to make a significant change.

In addition to the implied promise of the whole church"s continuance if obedient ( Revelation 2:5), Jesus Christ gave a promise to the individuals in the church. "Him who overcomes" probably refers to all Christians (cf. Revelation 2:2-3; Revelation 2:10 c, 13, 19, 25; Revelation 3:3; Revelation 3:8; Revelation 3:10; 1 John 5:4-5). [Note: L. S. Chafer, Systematic Theology, 3:306; W. Robert Cook, The Theology of John, pp173-83; R. E. Manahan, ""Overcomes the World"- 1 John 5:4" (M.Div. Thesis, Grace Theological Seminary, 1970), pp38-39; William Newell, pp42, 52, 339; James E. Rosscup, "The Overcomer of the Apocalypse," Grace Theological Journal3:2 (Fall1982:261-86; Ryrie, Revelation, pp22-23; Smith, p65; Stott, pp97-98, 118-25; Lehman Strauss, The Book of the Revelation, pp108; Walvoord, The Revelation ..., pp59, 98-99; Ladd, pp41, 69; Thomas, Revelation 1-7, pp151-53; and Beale, pp234, 269-72.] The promises given to overcomers in all seven letters and in Revelation 21:7 bear this interpretation out. Some interpreters who hold this view appeal to 1 John 2:13; 1 John 4:4; and 1 John 5:4-5, where John referred to his readers as overcomers. However, in 1 John 2:13; 1 John 4:4 John said his readers had overcome the world, not that all Christians are overcomers. In 1 John 5:4-5 he wrote that only believers in Christ can overcome the world, not that every believer in Christ does overcome the world. Some students of Revelation have concluded that the overcomers are not all Christians but only faithful Christians. [Note: E.g, Donald G. Barnhouse, Messages to the Seven Churches, pp38, 43-44, 47, 56-57, 74-75, 84, 94-95; J. Sidlow Baxter, Awake My Heart, p323; R. R. Benedict, "The Use of Nikao in the Letters to the Seven Churches of Revelation" (Th.M. Thesis, Dallas Theological Seminary, 1966), p13; Harlan D. Betz, "The Nature of Rewards at the Judgment Seat of Christ" (Th.M. Thesis, Dallas Theological Seminary, 1974), pp36-45; Zane C. Hodges, Grace in Eclipse, pp107-11; Ralph D. Richardson, "The Johannine Doctrine of Victory" (Th.M. Thesis, Dallas Theological Seminary, 1955), pp20-29; William R. Ross Jeremiah, "An Analysis of the Rewards and Judgments in Revelation 2, 3" (Th.M. Thesis, Dallas Theological Seminary, 1971), p20; Mounce, pp90, 106, 256; Joseph C. Dillow, The Reign of the Servant Kings, pp37, 470, 474; Chitwood, p48; and J. William Fuller, ""I Will Not Erase His Name from the Book of Life" ( Revelation 3:5)," Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society26 (1983):299.] The Lord held out a reminder of what would inevitably be the Ephesians" in the future to motivate them to follow Him faithfully in the present. Similarly other New Testament writers wrote of our blessings in Christ to motivate us to live in harmony with our calling.

". . . the promises to the conquerors are fundamentally assurances to the faithful of the benefits of Christ"s redemption, expressed in the language of apocalyptic. In the nature of the case the promises afford inspiration for faith and fortitude in all who may be called to lay down their lives for Christ, and they are intended to do so." [Note: Beasley-Murray, p78.]

John prefaced the promise with a special exhortation to give attention.

"These promises pertain to Christians alone, and their realization awaits the future Messianic Era. The time when Christians will enter into these promises must follow the time set forth in chapter one-Christ appearing as Judge in the midst of the seven Churches. The Church must first be brought into judgment, and then overcoming Christians will realize that which has been promised." [Note: Chitwood, p45. Cf. Thomas, Revelation 1-7, p153.]

The promise itself seems to be that those who remember, repent, and repeat the first works ( Revelation 2:5) will partake of the tree of life. There is a connection between the tree of life and man"s rule over the earth. Adam in his unfallen state had access to this tree, but when he fell God kept him from it ( Genesis 1:26-28; Genesis 3:22). In the future, believers will have access to it again (cf. Revelation 22:14).

"A number of other Jewish texts use the eating of the fruit of the tree of life as a metaphor for salvation (1Enoch 25:5; 3Enoch 23:18; T. Levi 18:11; Apoc. Mos. 28:4; Apoc. Elijah 5:6), and this metaphor continues to be used by Christian authors (T. Jacob 7:24)... The tree of life is not simply a symbol for eternal life alone but also represents the cosmic center of reality where eternal life is present and available, and where God dwells...

"One tradition often used in apocalyptic literature originated in Genesis 2:9; Genesis 3:23-24 and involved eschatological access to the tree of life in the heavenly paradise, clearly a metaphor for the enjoyment of eternal life." [Note: Aune, p152.]

Paradise is a Persian loan word meaning a walling around, hence a walled park or garden (cf. Genesis 2:8-10 in LXX Revelation 22:1-4; Revelation 22:14).

"To eat of the Tree is to enjoy all that the life of the world to come has in store for redeemed humanity." [Note: Swete, p30.]

The tree of life appears four times in the Book of Proverbs and its use there helps us understand its presence in Genesis and Revelation. Solomon referred to wisdom ( Proverbs 3:18), righteousness ( Proverbs 11:30), satisfied hope ( Proverbs 13:12), and controlled speech ( Proverbs 15:4) as a tree of life. These are all the fruits that would have provided Adam and will provide the overcomers with what they will need to flourish in the millennial kingdom and beyond. The tree of life in Eden and the tree of life in the New Jerusalem ( Revelation 22:2; Revelation 22:14; Revelation 22:19) appear to be literal trees. [Note: See Daniel K. K. Wong, "The Tree of Life in Revelation 2:7," Bibliotheca Sacra155:618 (April-June1998):211-26.]

In church history, conditions described in this letter characterized the apostolic age especially.

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Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Revelation 2:7". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dcc/revelation-2.html. 2012.

Foy E. Wallace's Commentary on the Book of Revelation

9. "He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith to the churches"--2:7.

Let him hear: As the eye is the organ of light to lighten the body (Matthew 5:1-48), the ear is the organ of spiritual discernment.

What the Spirit saith: The Spirit is here identified with Christ, since the phrase these things saith he represents Christ as the speaker.

To the churches: What Jesus Christ said to each of the seven churches, he said in substance to all of the churches, and to every church of his own thereafter and now.

10. "To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life"--2:7.

To him that overcometh: This condition attached to the promise that followed was a specific reference to the impending persecutions, thus adding evidence that the book belongs to the period of their own experiences; they were expected to be the overcomers of these persecutions and the conquerers of the persecutors.

To eat of the tree of life: The expression give to eat, had reference to distribution and reward, and it meant that the promise was as sure as the One who gave it was true. The phrase to eat meant to participate in the life that is the fruit of the tree of life. The tree of life is an allusion to the tree that disappeared in Eden, but did not perish; it is now in the paradise of God, instead of the paradise of man where it once was enjoyed by the first man and his mate; it consists, in this symbolic presentation, in the reward given to the overcomers of the persecutions, which comes only from above--from God.

The warnings to the Ephesian church surround the two elements--the false apostles and the Nicolaitanes. The first formed a parallel with the warning of Christ in Matthew 24:1-51 concerning the false prophets that should arise to disturb the disciples after the establishment of the church and before and during the siege of Jerusalem; and the latter was parallel to the warnings of Paul against the parties of Judaism that would develop within the churches.

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Bibliographical Information
Wallace, Foy E. "Commentary on Revelation 2:7". "Foy E. Wallace's Commentary on the Book of Revelation". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/foy/revelation-2.html. 1966.

Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament

Revelation 2:7. A promise is to be added to the main body of the Epistle, but before it is given we have a general exhortation to men to listen. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches. These words are found in all the seven Epistles, but with a different position in some of them as compared with others. In the first three they occur in the body of the letter, immediately before the promise to him that over-cometh: in the last four they are introduced at the end. No student of the Apocalypse will doubt that this difference is designed, and that although he may be unable to say what the design is. In the case of the seals, the trumpets, and the bowls, we meet the same division of seven into its constituent parts three and four, only that in each of these the line of demarcation is at the close of the first four, not, as in the present instance, at the close of the first three. Nor does it seem difficult to understand this division, for four is the number of the earth, and the judgments relating to it are thus naturally four. It is not so easy to see why in the seven Epistles the number three should take precedence. Perhaps it may be because three is the number or God; and because, by the arrangement adopted, the Divine aspect of the Church in her existence considered in itself is brought out with a force which would otherwise have been wanting (see closing remarks on chap. 3). Jewish feeling, so much appealed to by numbers and their arrangement, may have been alive to this in a manner mat we can hardly understand. Whether the above explanation be satisfactory or not, the fact itself is both interesting and important. It throws light upon the measure of artificiality which appears in the structure of the Apocalypse, and is thus a help in its interpretation.

To him that overcometh. The expression is a characteristic one with St. John. It occurs in each of the seven Epistles, as also in chap. Revelation 21:7. In chap. Revelation 3:21 it is used of Christ Himself (cp. also Revelation 12:11; John 16:33; 1 John 2:13; 1 John 5:4-5).

I will give to him to eat out of the tree of fife, which is in the paradise of God. For the tree of life cp. chap. Revelation 22:2; Revelation 14:19. What victorious believers eat is out or the tree of life, not something that grows upon it, its branches, or leaves, or flowers, or fruit. The particular preposition used in the original carries us to the thought of what is most intimately connected with the tree, to the thought of its very heart and substance. For the idea of eating, op. John 6:51. The question is naturally asked, What are we to understand by this ‘tree of life’? and different answers have been given. By some it is supposed to be the Gospel, by others the Holy Spirit; while several of the later commentators on this book suppose it to be that eternal life, with all the means of sustaining it, which comes from Christ. The true answer seems to be that it is Christ Himself. Nor is it any reply to this to say that in chap. Revelation 22:2 we have not one tree but many, for the tree of life there spoken of is really one; or that the Giver must be different from the gift, for the highest gift of the Lord is the Incarnate Lord Himself, ‘in whom,’ says St. Paul, ‘dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily’ (Colossians 2:9); ‘in’ whom, says St. John, ‘is life,’ and ‘out of’ whom His people have received their life and ‘grace for grace’ (John 1:16). (Cp. on Revelation 2:28.) At the same time this view is confirmed by the use of the preposition ‘out of.’ Who but the Lord Jesus Christ is that fulness ‘out of’ which all believers eat and live?

There may be a correspondence intended between the promise of ‘eating’ and the victory over the Nicolaitans, one of whose characteristics was that they ‘ate things sacrificed to idols’ (Revelation 2:14). Those who cat of the table of devils cannot cat of the Lord’s table (1 Corinthians 10:21). They must share the exclusion from the tree of life of fallen Adam and his fallen seed. But the faithful who, like the Second Adam, and in His might, refuse the devil’s dainties (Psalms 16:4; Matthew 4:3), obtain in deepest truth the privilege from which our first parent was excluded (Genesis 3:24).

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Schaff, Philip. "Commentary on Revelation 2:7". "Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/scn/revelation-2.html. 1879-90.

Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

Revelation 2:7. He that hath an ear, let him hear — Every man, whoever can hear at all, ought carefully to hear this; what the Spirit saith — In these great and awful threatenings, and in these encouraging and precious promises; to the churches — And in them to all in a similar state, in every age and nation. To him that overcometh — His spiritual enemies, visible and invisible, that resists the devil, overcomes the world, crucifies the flesh, and conquers every besetting sin, and the fear of death; that goes on from faith to faith, and by faith to full victory over all opposing power; will I give to eat of the tree of life — This first thing promised in these letters is the last and highest in the accomplishment, Revelation 22:2; Revelation 22:14; Revelation 22:19; which is in the midst of the paradise of God — Namely, the paradise above, and the fruit of which tree gives immortality; so that he who resides within its reach, is possessed of such felicities and delights as are far superior to those which Adam enjoyed in an earthly paradise, though in a state of uncorrupted and perfect innocence. The tree of life and water of life go together, Revelation 22:1-2, both implying the living with God eternally. In these seven letters twelve promises are contained, which are an extract of all the promises of God. Some of them are expressly mentioned again in this book, as the hidden manna, the inscription of the name of the New Jerusalem, the sitting upon the throne. Some resemble what is afterward mentioned, as the hidden name, (Revelation 19:12,) the ruling the nations, (Revelation 19:15,) the morning star, Revelation 22:16. And some are expressly mentioned, as the tree of life, (Revelation 22:2,) freedom from the second death, (Revelation 20:6,) the name in the book of life, (Revelation 20:12; Revelation 21:27,) the remaining in the temple of God, (Revelation 7:15,) the inscription of the name of God and of the Lamb, Revelation 14:1; Revelation 22:4. In these promises, sometimes the enjoyment of the highest good, sometimes deliverance from the greatest evils, is intended. And each implies the other, so that where either part is expressed, the whole is to be understood. That part is expressed which has most resemblance to the virtues or works of him that was spoken to in the letter preceding.

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Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Revelation 2:7". Joseph Benson's Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/revelation-2.html. 1857.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

He, &c. A formula used by the Lord alone. See App-142.

Spirit App-101.

saith = is saying.

overcometh. See John 16:33. The verb nikao, to conquer or overcome, occurs seventeen times in Rev.

the tree, &c. the tree of the life. Promise fulfilled Revelation 22:14, where also the articles differentiate from Ezekiel 47:12.

tree. Literally wood. Greek. xulon, as used frequently in Septuagint, e.g. Exodus 7:25.

life. App-170.

Paradise of God. See reference in App-173. Paradise is always used in Scripture for a definite place; is described in Gen 2; lost in Gen 3; its restoration spoken of by the Lord in Luke 23:43; seen in vision by Paul, 2 Corinthians 12:2, 2 Corinthians 12:4; promised here, Revelation 2:7; restored, Revelation 22:1-5, Revelation 22:14-17.

God. App-98.

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Bibliographical Information
Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Revelation 2:7". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/revelation-2.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.

He that hath an ear. This clause precedes the promise in the first three addresses, succeeds to it in the last four. Thus, the promises are enclosed on both sides with the precept urging the deepest attention to most momentous truths. Every man "hath an ear" naturally; he alone will be able to hear spiritually to whom God has given "the hearing ear;" whose 'ear God hath wakened' and "opened" (Isaiah 50:4). Compare 'faith, the ears of the soul' (Clemens Alexandrinus).

The Spirit saith - what Christ saith; so one are the Second and Third Persons.

Unto the churches - not merely to the particular, but to the universal, Church.

Give ... the tree of life. The promise corresponds to the faithfulness. They who refrain from Nicolaitane indulgences (Revelation 2:6) and idol meats (Revelation 2:14-15) shall eat of meat infinitely superior-namely, the fruit of the tree of life, and the hidden manna (Revelation 2:17).

Overcometh - in John's gospel (Rev. ) and first letter, (Revelation 2:13-14; Revelation 5:4-5) an object follows-namely, 'the world,' 'the wicked one.' Here, where the final issue is spoken of, the conqueror is named absolutely. Paul uses a similar image, 1 Corinthians 9:24-25; 2 Timothy 2:5; not the same as John's, except Romans 12:21.

Will I give - as Judge. The tree of life in Paradise, lost by the fall, is restored by the Redeemer. Compare Proverbs 3:18; Proverbs 11:30; Proverbs 13:12; Proverbs 15:4; prophetically, Revelation 22:2; Revelation 22:14; Ezekiel 47:12 : cf. John 6:51. These introductory addresses are linked closely to the body of Revelation. Thus, the tree of life here, with Revelation 22:2; deliverance from the second death (Revelation 2:11), with Revelation 20:14; Revelation 21:8; the new name (Revelation 2:17), with Revelation 14:1; power over the nations (Revelation 2:26), with Revelation 20:4; the morning star (Revelation 2:28), with Revelation 22:16; the white raiment (Revelation 3:5), with Revelation 4:4; Revelation 16:15; the name in the book of life (Revelation 3:5), with Revelation 13:8; Revelation 20:15; the new Jerusalem and its citizenship (Revelation 3:12), with Revelation 21:10.

In the midst of the paradise. 'Aleph (') A B C h, Vulgate, omit "the midst of." In Genesis 2:9, appropriate; for there were other trees in the garden, but not in the midst of it. Here the tree of life is simply in the paradise; for no other tree is mentioned in it. In Rev. 29:2, the tree of life is 'in the midst of the street of Jerusalem;' from this the clause was inserted here. Paradise (Persian), originally any garden of delight: then specially Eden: then the temporary abode of pious souls: then "the paradise of God," the third heaven, the immediate presence of God (2 Corinthians 12:4).

Of God - (Ezekiel 28:13) 'Aleph (') A C but B, Vulgate, Syriac, Coptic, and Cyprian, 'MY God,' as Revelation 3:12. So Christ calls God " My God and your God" (John 20:17 : cf. Ephesians 1:17). God is our God, as being peculiarly Christ's God. The main bliss of Paradise is, it is the Paradise of God: God dwells there (Revelation 21:3). We lost in Adam the paradise of man; we gain in Christ the paradise of God. We were driven out of that: we 'go no more out' of this.

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Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Revelation 2:7". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/revelation-2.html. 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(7) He that hath an ear . . .—Or. Let him that hath an ear, hear. These words—an echo from the Gospels—recur in all the seven epistles. In the first three, however, they are placed before the promise; in the remaining four they follow it. The heart which is hardened is the precursor of the ear that is deaf (Jeremiah 6:10, and John 12:37-40). The “spiritual truth” needs a spiritual organ for its discernment. These are truths, then, only heard

“When the soul seeks to hear; when all is hushed,

And the heart listens.”—Coleridge, Reflection.

To him that overcometh (or, conquereth) will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.—The reference to conquering is a prominent feature of St. John’s other writings. The word—used but once in the three Gospels (Luke 11:22), and but once by St. Paul (Romans 12:21)—is found in John 16:33; 1 John 2:13-14; 1 John 5:4-5; and occurs in all these epistles to the churches. The promise of the tree of life is appropriate (1) to the virtue commended: those who had not indulged in the license of Nicolaitanes shall eat of the tree of life; (2) to the special weakness of the Ephesians: to those who had fallen, and lost the paradise of first loving communion and fellowship with God (comp. Genesis 3:8, and 1 John 1:3), is held out the promise of a restored paradise and participation in the tree of life. (Comp. Revelation 22:2; Revelation 22:14; Genesis 3:22.) This boon of immortality is the gift of Christ—I will give. It is tasted in knowledge of God and of His Son (John 17:3); it is enjoyed in their presence (Revelation 22:3-4).

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Revelation 2:7". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/revelation-2.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.
that hath
11,17,29; 3:6,13,22; 13:9; Matthew 11:15; 13:9,43; Mark 7:16
let him
14:13; 22:17; 1 Corinthians 2:10; 12:4-12
To him
11,17,26-28; 3:5,12,21; 12:10,11; 15:2; 21:7; John 16:33; 1 John 5:4,5
the tree
22:2,14; Genesis 2:9; 3:22-24; Proverbs 3:18; 11:30; 13:12; 15:4
the paradise
Luke 23:43; 2 Corinthians 12:4
Reciprocal: 1 Samuel 17:25 - the king;  2 Chronicles 15:2 - Hear ye me;  Psalm 49:1 - Hear;  Proverbs 5:1 - attend;  Isaiah 28:23 - GeneralIsaiah 34:1 - Come;  Jeremiah 7:2 - Hear;  Ezekiel 28:13 - in Eden;  Joel 1:2 - Hear;  Micah 1:2 - hearken;  Matthew 10:22 - but;  Mark 4:3 - Hearken;  Mark 4:23 - GeneralLuke 6:23 - your;  Luke 8:8 - He that;  Luke 14:35 - He;  John 6:53 - eat;  Acts 1:2 - through;  Acts 13:16 - give;  Galatians 6:9 - if;  Colossians 3:4 - our;  1 Timothy 4:1 - the Spirit;  2 Timothy 1:10 - and hath;  Hebrews 1:9 - hated;  Hebrews 10:15 - General1 John 2:14 - ye have overcome;  Revelation 2:23 - and all;  Revelation 22:16 - GeneralRevelation 22:19 - and from

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Bibliographical Information
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Revelation 2:7". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/revelation-2.html.

Light & Truth: Bible Thoughts and Themes on Revelation

Paradise And The Tree Of Life.

Revelation 2:7.

The promise here is to the Ephesian conqueror. It is the first of the seven promises, and, like the rest, very glorious—carrying us on to the return of the second Adam, and to paradise regained. It comes from Him who holds the seven stars in His right hand, and walks in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks. Here, as in several other places, Christ is at once the promiser, the promise, and the thing promised.

Of the promise He is the center and its circumference, its body and its soul, its first and its last, the yes and the amen, the eternal yes and the eternal amen. It is out of His varied fullness that the promise is composed, and in each we are presented with some portion of His exceeding riches, His boundless excellency. Christ Himself—in closest intimacy, in most endearing fellowship, in fullest love, and in brightest glory—is presented to us. The rewards connected with the kingdom and the throne are glorious, and in these there are vast and various differences and degrees; but the rewards which hold out Christ Himself to us as our possession are more glorious still, and in these there are equally varying degrees—to some being given more, to others less, of Him and His riches—some being brought nearer Him than others—brought into the very bosom of Him who is in the bosom of the Father!

Ephesus was once a noble Church, and the Epistle to the Ephesians shows us how high in spirituality she stood at first. But she had left her first love, and come down very low. She did run well, but had been hindered. Her lamp was low and dim. Her Lord was troubled about her declension, and gently upbraids her because of it. Yet He is far from throwing her off. He speaks lovingly, and holds up the reward before her eyes, to incite her to rouse herself and return to her early love. He woos her still—that He may win back her wavering love.

One balancing feature in her character is her "hatred of the deeds of the Nicolaitanes, which, the Lord adds, "I also hate" (verse 6). Hatred of evil—hatred of false doctrine (verse 15)—these are things which the Lord looks for in His Churches. Indifference to error, tolerance of evil, smoothing down the ridge between true and false teaching, whether by the press or the pulpit—these are things very common in our day, as proofs of liberality and large-mindedness. But the Lord says, "these things I hate." To be "broad" and "wide" is the universal boast; to be "narrow" and "strait" the worst of reproaches—as if "broad" and "wide" were not the words of the Mater"s condemnation—as if He had not been said, "Enter in at the strait gate—for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leads to death; and strait is the gate, and narrow the way, leads to life."

Awake, you who sleep! Oh, Ephesian backslider, arise and shine, for your light has come! You are not yet a castaway. See from whence you have fallen, what is your present low estate; see especially the bright recompense which may yet be yours, and let these things quicken you. Up, shake yourself from the dust; gird on your sword; put on the whole armor of God; fight the good fight—it is not too late, even yet you may overcome! The tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God, may still be yours! For such a blessedness and brightness, who would not fight and suffer—and deny self—and toil to the end?

1. Entrance into the paradise of God.The "heavenly" is the pattern of the "earthly" in all things. The model of earth, and all that is good on earth—is to be found in heaven. Adam"s paradise below was but the image and shadow of the paradise above, as the tabernacle in the wilderness was but the "example" or image of the better tabernacle above, showed to Moses on the mount. From the lower paradise (or garden) man was cast out, and it is into the upper paradise that he is brought. He gets the earthly back again, or the new earth—but he gets far more; he gets the heavenly as well as the earthly. "Paradise regained" is his; and in addition to it the paradise of God. From both was man shut out. Both were barred against the sinner. The flaming sword confronted each child of Adam, and forbade his entrance. Sin made him an outcast, an exile, a condemned man—with no home but the waste howling wilderness, the land of darkness.

"So He drove out the man" was the doom not of one—but of all. Expulsion from the presence and the paradise of God and from the tree of life was the sentence. We all went out of paradise with the first Adam, and became, like him, banished men. The second Adam entered in for us, and took possession of it in our name. He quenched the flaming sword; He sprinkled these heavenly places and heavenly things with His own blood (Hebrews 9:23), so that now the entrance lies open for the sinner. In believing, we get the title to all this just now; and as those who have believed and overcome, we shall enter in hereafter. Entrance into the paradise of God, through Him who is the gate, is the reward of the overcomer.

No slumber, then, no ease, no sheathed swords at present! Forward is our battle-word. Forward to the celestial city, to the paradise of God, "that so an entrance may be opened to us abundantly" (2 Peter 1:2) into this everlasting glory. "Today shall you be with me in paradise" may not be the promise; but it will not be long, for He who shall come will come, and will not delay.

2. Access to the tree of life.In that paradise is the tree of life; and the promise is of free access to it, the reverse of that refusal to man of access to the earthly tree (Genesis 3:22-23). Free entrance, free access, and free liberty to eat of the tree of life.

Everything connected with life is comprised in Jesus Christ—"In Him was life; and the life was the light of men" (John 1:4). He is the bread of life; the water of life; He is life itself; He is "eternal life" (1 John 5:20). The tree of life may or may not be an actual tree; but whether figurative or real, it represents Christ Himself, or something connected with Him, as the food of our immortal life, of our risen and glorified life.

Just as He says, "I will give him the morning star" (that is, I will give him myself in the character of the morning star), so here He means, I will give him myself as the nourishment of his glorified being, and this in such a near and full way as he cannot have on earth. Christ, as the tree of life, the food of the new life, the glorified life, is to be given to the conqueror in a special way, such as even faith cannot conceive of here. There will be different degrees of glory, and knowledge, and love—different degrees of intimacy and fellowship with the Lord Jesus. He shall bring us into His banqueting house in a new way then—under His shadow we shall sit down with great delight, and His fruit shall be sweet to our taste.

Ezekiel"s tree of life, and gushing stream, represent the earthly blessedness restored (more than restored), as in Adam"s paradise. John" tree of life and crystal river represent the heavenly splendor and gladness; for the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another—both of them together making up the heritage of the redeemed. "Blessed are those who keep His commandments" (or "have washed their robe") "that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city" (Revelation 22:14).

The prospect of such things is greatly influential upon us here. It tells on our daily life. It quickens us, it nerves us, it purified us, it comforts us, it makes us brave and resolute.

Nor is that prospect separate from the cross of Christ in which we glory here. That tree of life represents the fullness of a dying, risen, and glorified Christ. It is what it is for life and nourishment, by reason of its connection with the great atonement; so that even in the kingdom we shall eat of that of which atonement has been made—priestly or sacrificial bread—bread which is connected with blood, and has passed through the fire—that flesh which is meat indeed, and that blood which is drink indeed (Exodus 29:33).

The garden of Gethsemane and eternal Paradise can never be far asunder. They are inseparably linked to each other. The tree of death and the tree of life are after all but one; the glory of the latter can never be disjoined from the shame of the former.

As we fell in the first Adam—we rose in the second. No more. Not only shall we have restoration of all that the first Adam lost, but partnership in all that the second Adam has won; in all that He has and is. As one with Him, as represented by Him, we enter into the second paradise, and eat of the tree of life; not only unbarred—but welcomed; as the very tree to which we are entitled as conquerors—Ephesian conquerors—in a Church of Ephesian backsliders. For beauty, for food, for shade, for health, is that tree renowned! And all these we shall share with Him in whom, and by whom we are introduced into the garden, and made welcome to the heavenly fruit.

And does not this tree send out its invitation to all the sons of the first Adam? Does it not bid welcome to all? "Whoever will" is the invitation to the water of life; "whoever" is the equally wide invitation to the tree of life.

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Bonar, Horatius. "Commentary on Revelation 2:7". "Light & Truth: Bible Thoughts and Themes on Revelation". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bch/revelation-2.html.

Walter Scott's Commentary on Revelation

THE CALL TO HEAR.

Revelation 2:7. — "He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith to the churches." This exhortation occurs seven times. In the addresses to the first three churches it immediately precedes the promise to the overcomer; whereas in the last four the exhortation forms the closing words of the address in each case. The Church as a whole is in view in the first group, and is called to repent.{*The word repent occurs twelve times in the Apocalypse, but not in any other of St. John's writings.} But in the second group the hopeless condition of the Church is but too apparent, and hence a remnant company is marked off from the mass, whose one and only hope is centred on the personal Return of the Lord from Heaven. Now from the fact of the call to hear being placed after the words of cheer to the overcomers in the last four churches, we gather that none save overcomers or conquerors hear the voice of the Spirit.

Individual and direct responsibility to God is a cardinal truth in Christianity. In popery individual conscience is ignored. "Hear the Church" is the very essence of the papal system. But in truth the voice of the Church is never heard in Roman Catholicism. The higher orders of the clergy usurp the place of the Church; it is their voice which is declared to be the voice of the Church, a voice which the inferior orders of clergy and the mass must hear and obey under threat of Anathema, while the people are deceived with a semblance of truth. The favourite and oft-repeated formula from Matthew 18:17, "Hear the Church," is employed to cover and defend the most cruel, superstitious, and soul-enslaving system which ever disgraced the earth; it is, indeed, Satan's masterpiece. How can the Church, itself threatened with judgment (Revelation 2:5; Revelation 3:16), become a source and ground of authority to any? Hence in these addresses to the churches the individual hearer is called upon to listen to the voice of the Spirit. It is He Who speaks, His voice alone to be heard. Thus we have linked together in this exhortation corporate and individual responsibility. Both exist. If the Church has become so utterly corrupt that the voice of God in Holy Scripture awakens no response there is the greater need for each one to open the ear of the soul to "Thus saith the Lord." The Lord when on earth repeatedly called attention to His teaching in the familiar words, "Who hath ears to hear, let him hear" (Matthew 13:9; Matthew 13:43; Matthew 11:15, etc.). Here the same Lord utters His voice, bespeaking earnest and devout attention to the new testimony and in almost the same verbal formula.{*"Ears" in the Gospel; "ear" in the Apocalypse.}

THE OVERCOMER.

7. — "To him that overcomes I will give to him to eat of the tree of life which is in the Paradise of God." We have already referred to certain distinguishing features of the two broadly marked divisions of these seven churches — the first three and the last four. Each of these groups forms a separate unity of its own; while, of course, there are characteristics common to both. The divine element predominates in the first set of three churches, as that numeral signifies; while the human element enters largely into the composition of the second group of four churches, its numerical value.

But another distinction of interest meets us in the consideration of these promises and rewards to the overcomer. Those in the first group are not so full, nor of such a public character, as those in the second group. These latter are exceedingly grand in combining personal intimacies with Christ and scenes of public glory. We account for the difference in the fulness and character of these rewards, as respectively shown in the first and second group of epistles, by the fact that in the latter, overcoming is a matter of greater difficulty. The storm rages more fiercely, the adverse elements are more numerous, so the promises are proportionate to the severer character of the conflict. From Thyatira to Laodicea the Church is regarded as hopelessly corrupt. To swim against the tide, therefore, requires an energy of faith not called for to the same extent as when the Church was publicly owned — Ephesus to Pergamos. Not only are all these rewards and promises given to cheer the pilgrim band, and nerve each for the ever-deepening and narrowing conflict, but Christ Himself personally pledges His Word for their certain accomplishment, "I will give." His own hand crowns the victor. His own voice acclaims the overcomer, as he exultantly steps over the threshold of the heavenly portals.

In all cases the witnessing is individual, and of course the overcomer is one who in the energy of faith surmounts those special difficulties in which he finds himself. The overcomer in Laodicea has a more serious task before him than the overcomer in Ephesus. The position, circumstances, and character of the conflict are different in each Church.

This, the first promise to the overcomer, contains an evident allusion to the garden of Eden, with the tree of life in its midst (Genesis 2:1-25). Adam had not to overcome in the garden, he had simply to obey and keep his innocence, and the test of an innocent creature's obedience was the prohibition against eating of the symbolical tree of knowledge of good and evil. We have no ground to suppose that Adam ate of the tree of life although not forbidden to do so. But the scene presented to the gaze of the Christian overcomer is one of a far more glorious character than that of Genesis 2:1-25. Here we have the Paradise of God with its tree of life, of which one may freely eat, and no tree of good and evil, the symbol of creature responsibility. The life of innocence (Genesis 2:1-25) was dependent on obedience. But here the tree of life, eternal life in its full character of blessedness, is enjoyed without alloy, without fear of failure. Eternal life becomes the everlasting feast of the conqueror in the Paradise of God. The word Paradise occurs three times in the New Testament (Luke 23:43; 2 Corinthians 12:4 : and Revelation 2:7). It is of Oriental derivation, meaning a pleasure garden. It is three times used in this sense in the Old Testament.{*The word Paradise is not used of the garden of Eden. There are six occurrences of the word in the Holy Scriptures: Nehemiah 2:8, translated forest; Ecclesiastes 2:5; Song of Solomon 4:13, orchard; Luke 23:43; Revelation 2:7; 2 Corinthians 12:4 Paradise is an actual place existing now and in the risen state. Moses never employs the word. Solomon is the first to do so.} To an Oriental mind "Paradise" is the expression and sum of blessedness. The Paradise of God is the expression of Heaven's blessedness. It is an actual place, of which the earthly garden (Genesis 2:1-25) was but a shadow. Here the blessedness is fixed and eternal. Paradise is the sum of all enjoyment, the aggregate of all pleasure, promised to the converted dying robber, and "into" it Paul was caught. It is the special and unique promise held out to the overcomer in the Ephesian state of the Church.

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Scott, Walter. "Commentary on Revelation 2:7". "Walter Scott's Commentary on Revelation". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/sor/revelation-2.html.

E.M. Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament

He that hath an ear does not imply that some people are without ears literally, but this is a solemn call upon all to give profound attention to what is being said to the churches. What the Spirit saith is the same as what the Lord says for He uses the Spirit to direct John in writing the letters. To the churches. There is no indication that the seven letters were to be circulated generally among the seven churches. Instead in each separate instance the instruction is to write a certain letter to a particular church. Therefore the phrase to the churches signifies that what the Spirit says to any certain church that may be named among the seven, the Lord intends to be for the instruction of the churches of Christ everywhere. This "call to attention" is made in connection with each of the seven letters and will not be commented upon after this one. But the promises that are made are different each time, hence that part of the letters will be commented upon as we come to them. Tree of life . . . paradise of God. The phrasing about the tree is based on the one that was in the garden of Eden. Man lost that tree by sinning, but it may be regained in a spiritual form by proper conduct, namely, by overcoming his sins while in this life. Paradise comes from a word that may mean any place of bliss or happiness. That is why it is used in reference to the abode of the righteous after death ( Luke 23:43), and to the place where God dwells and will be the abode of the righteous after the judgment. Paul calls it both by "paradise" and "third heaven" in 2 Corinthians 12:2; 2 Corinthians 12:4. John had a vision of the tree of life as he describes it in Revelation 22:2. The reader may see a fuller description of the original word for paradise at Nehemiah 2:8 in Volume2of Bible Commentary.

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Zerr, E.M. "Commentary on Revelation 2:7". E.M. Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/znt/revelation-2.html. 1952.

Hanserd Knollys' Commentary on Revelation

Revelation 2:7

Revelation 2:7 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.

"He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches"

This verse contains the conclusion of this epistle, which consists of two general parts; first, an exhortation. Secondly, a promise. In the exhortation, Christ, first, requires ever one to hear. { Isaiah 55:3} Incline your ear, come unto me, hear and your soul shall live. Secondly, he exhorts them to hear what the Spirit speaketh in the word written and read in the churches, unto which a promise of blessing is annexed. { Proverbs 8:34-35} Blessed is the Man that heareth me, waiting at the Posts of my doors. { Revelation 1:3} Those epistles were not preached, but written to the seven churches, and the promise of blessing is annexed to the reading and hearing of them read. { Revelation 1:3} Likewise, the epistles of Paul and other of the apostles were not preached, but written unto and read in the churches of saints. { Colossians 4:16} And when this epistle is read among you, cause that it be read in the Church of the Laodiceans; and that ye likewise read the epistle from Laodicea.

The Holy Spirit is not limited unto the preaching of the word; but he also speaketh and teacheth in the reading of the Holy Scriptures. So then, the Holy Scriptures ought to be read in the churches of saints. KNOLLYS: Revelation 1:3 "To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God"

In these words we have, first, the qualification of the person unto whom the promise is made,

"to him that overcometh"

a metaphor taken from the athletes, who strive for victory by running or fighting, { 1 Corinthians 9:26-27} that is to say, to every one that getteth the victory over all his soul enemies, his spiritual antagonists, to with, the world, { 1 John 5:4-5} the beast, { Revelation 15:2} Satan { 1 John 2:13-14} and sin. { Romans 12:21} That tree of life is Jesus Christ, { Revelation 22:2; Revelation 22:14} who was typed out by that material tree of life in the Garden of Eden. { Genesis 3:22; Genesis 3:24} This spiritual tree of eternal life, yields all manner of fruit that is good for our soul's food. { John 6:57}

"Which is in the midst of the paradise of God"

Eden had in it, an earthly paradise, to wit, the garden that God planted there. { Genesis 2:8} In Heaven there is a celestial paradise, { 2 Corinthians 12:2; 2 Corinthians 12:4; Luke 23:43} where Christ is. Paradise, is originally a Persian word, which the Hebrews and the Greeks have by use made theirs, {see Ecclesiastes 2:5; Revelation 2:7} and so have the Latins, and we also in English: It signifies a place of pleasure called the paradise of God by way of excellency, as, the city of God, the temple of God, the people of God, etc.

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Knollys, Hanserd. "Commentary on Revelation 2:7". "Hanserd Knollys' Commentary on Revelation". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hkc/revelation-2.html.

Ernst Hengstenberg on John, Revelation, Ecclesiastes, Ezekiel & Psalms

Revelation 2:7. He that has an ear let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches: he that overcomes, to him will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the paradise of my God. Bengel: "There is a remarkable difference between the address and the promise. The address has immediate respect to the seven churches in Asia and their angels, and consequently also to all churches and pastors, who might be similarly circumstanced with them in good and evil, in all times and places; the promise, on the other hand, is given forth to all spiritual conquerors, though not excluding such in Asia." In this promise, as the close of the epistle, the churches must be reminded, that they came into consideration only as a part of the whole, that they were but churches, and must not imagine themselves to be the church, notwithstanding that the last of the apostles stood in a peculiar relation to them.

The words, "He that has an ear let him hear," form a striking point of connection between the Apocalypse and the three first gospels, more especially the first of the three. There, in the discourses of our Lord, who also speaks here, the words" He that has an ear to hear let him hear," and" He that reads let him understand" (comp. also the quite corresponding expression, "He that can hold, let him hold," in Matthew 19:12), are not a mere call to attention, but they also intimate, that to the apprehension of what had been delivered, more was necessary than the outward ear; it was a demand for the deeper spiritual understanding (see the proof in my Beitrge I. p. 261.) In this sense the call here stands very suitably in connection with promises made to the church, which were in themselves mysterious, and required a spiritual exposition.

In place of the ears in Matthew 11:15, Matthew 13:9, Matthew 13:43, we have here, and again in ch. Revelation 13:9, the ear. The spiritual sense of the mind can be denoted by the singular, because it is only one, and by the plural, because of the corresponding bodily organ. And in repetitions of this sort such a change is perhaps occasionally introduced to show, that the appropriation of the language is fresh and independent.

That the expression, "What the Spirit says," is as much as, what I through the Spirit say to you, is clear from this, that in what follows the address is spoken from the person of Christ: I will give; and then: which is in the paradise of my God. (The omission of the my in some critical helps, which Luther follows, arose from people considering the address of Christ and of the Spirit as standing in contrast). John was in the Spirit, ch. Revelation 1:9, and only through the medium of the Spirit could Christ after his departure communicate himself, and his admonitions and promises. In the Gospel of John" the Spirit is promised as a new principle, which was to go between Jesus and the church" (Kstlin, p. 198.) The Lord had spoken of the Holy Spirit to his disciples as of one that should teach them all things, John 14:26.

Of the victory John speaks very frequently in his Gospel, his Epistles, and the Apocalypse. The victory must be won against all opponents, of whom there are many, and in particular against the Nicolaitans, whose desire of sensual enjoyment is met by the promise of eating spiritual, heavenly food. The angel of Ephesus still wanted a good deal to obtain the true victory over these. The victory hitherto won was in good part only an apparent one, since it was purchased with the heavy loss of the first love. By the construction: "he that overcomes, to him," the overcoming being detached from any immediate connection with the following words, comes prominently out, and appears as an indispensable condition to participation in the promise. Bengel: "A Christian must overcome as Jesus Christ has overcome, ch. Revelation 3:21, Revelation 5:5. He that overcomes is found in all the seven epistles, and afterwards is only repeated once, ch. Revelation 21:7." The prosaic expression for, "I will give him to eat of the tree of life, which is in the paradise of my God," we have in 1 John 2:25, "And this is the promise, which he has given us, eternal life." For, that here a participation in eternal life, eternal blessedness, eternal salvation is what is promised, is evident alone from the analogy of the other promises. The figurative expression alludes to Genesis 2:9, Genesis 3:22, according to which in the primeval world the tree of life stood in the midst of paradise, the fruit of which was designed to secure to man the possession of eternal life, if he continued faithful to God. "The first thing promised," says Bengel, "in the seven epistles, is the last and highest in the fulfilment, ch. Revelation 22:2; Revelation 22:14; Revelation 22:19." No precise locality is denoted by the paradise. According to ch. 22 the tree of life belongs to the glorified earth. In ch. Revelation 7:17 it is already said of the provisional heavenly blessedness of the elect, "And he will lead them to fountains of waters of life." According to Ezekiel 47:6 ss. (where on both sides of a stream of life many trees grew, which bore their fruit every month, and the fruit of which served for food, and their leaves for medicine), and according to ch. 22 the tree of life is inseparable from the waters of life. We everywhere find the image of the earthly paradise, where the blessedness is spoken of that belongs to the elect of God when actually enjoyed by them. Three times mention is made of paradise in the New Testament, Luke 23:43, 2 Corinthians 12:4, and here. "Of my God," says Jesus Christ here and in ch. Revelation 3:2; Revelation 3:12, but elsewhere he calls him in these promises his Father. Both are a very glorious designation, John 20:17." Bengel.

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Hengstenberg, Ernst. "Commentary on Revelation 2:7". Ernst Hengstenberg on John, Revelation, Ecclesiastes, Ezekiel & Psalms. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/heg/revelation-2.html.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

7.Hath an ear—This summons to every human ear to listen, preludes the glorious promise to the conqueror in the battle of faith through which Ephesus is struggling. Let every ear hear, for there can be no more thrilling announcement than this. It is seven times uttered; each utterance connected with the closing promise; the first thrice preceding the final promise, the other four times succeeding it, until in the last it gives a ringing close to the seven epistles.

The Spirit saith—For the utterance of the Son is with the concurrent inspiration of the Spirit.

Unto the Churches—For what he saith to one he saith for all; and what he saith for the Churches he saith for every individual ear in the Churches.

To him that overcometh—The seven promises are each made to the conqueror in the struggle, suggested by the characterization preceding. The Christian life is a battle, and the crown awaits the victor. Wordsworth attempts, with little success, to show that the seven promises succeed each other in ascending degrees. They are: 1. To eat of the tree of life in paradise. 2. Exemption from second death. 3. The secret white stone with the secret name. 4. Rule with Christ over the nations. 5. The white raiment, the name unblotted from the book of life, and confessed before God and angels. 6. To be a pillar in the temple of my God. 7. To be co-assessor on the throne.

Will I give the privilege to eat of’ tree’ paradise—This refers to Revelation 22:2, which is not (as Wordsworth) in the spirit world, but in the paradise merged in the eternal heaven, and, therefore, is the highest final award. See notes on 1 Thessalonians 4:17.

 

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Revelation 2:7". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/revelation-2.html. 1874-1909.

The Expositor's Greek Testament

Revelation 2:7. A stringent demand for attention ( , : Clem. Alex.) to the utterances of prophets who were inspired by the Spirit (of prophecy, cf. on Revelation 19:10). These as usual are ejaculatory, positive and brief— . scattered local communities, and not a Catholic organisation, being the conception of the Apocalypse, it is for use in their public worship that this book is written (Revelation 1:3). It is a subordinate and literary question whether the seer means in such phrases as this to designate himself (Weinel, 84 f.) liturgically as the speaker, or whether (as the synoptic parallels suggest) they form an integral part of the whole menage. In any case the prophet represents himself simply as the medium for receiving and recording (cf.Revelation 1:19) these oracles of the Spirit (cf.Revelation 14:13, Revelation 19:9, Rev 20:17). Unlike other writers such as Paul and the authors of Hebrew and 1 John, he occupies a passive rôle, throwing his personal rebuke and counsels into the form Thus saith the Spirit: but this really denotes the confidence felt by the prophet in his own inspiration and authority. The Spirit here, though less definitely than in Hermas, is identified with Jesus speaking through his prophets: it represents sudden counsels and semi-oracular utterances (cf. on Revelation 1:10), not a continuous power in the normal moral life of the saints in general. The seven promises denote security of immortal life (positively as here and Revelation 2:28 or negatively as Revelation 2:11), privilege (personal, Revelation 2:17, or official, Revelation 2:27), honour (Revelation 3:5; Revelation 3:21), or increased intimacy (Revelation 3:12). As usual, (cf.1 Corinthians 2:9 f.), the higher Christian is connected with eschatology.

Observe the singling out for encouragement and praise of each soldier in the host of the loyal. The effect resembles that produced by Pericles in his panegyric over the Athenians who had fallen in the Peloponnesian war: “together they gave up their lives, yet individually they won this deathless praise” (Thuc. ii. 43, 2). (a quasi-perfect), in Herm. Mand.Revelation 12:2; Revelation 12:4 f., Revelation 5:2; Revelation 5:4, Revelation 6:2; Revelation 6:4 (over sin and devil), might have its usual Johannine sense, the struggle being obedience in face of the seductions and hardships which beset people aiming to keep the divine commandments (cf. on John 16:33). For a special application of the term, see Revelation 15:2. But behind the general usage lies the combination of “to be pure or just” and “to conquer or triumph” in the Hebrew ṣédeḳ and the Syriac zedhâ. Furthermore, throughout is equivalent to the Egyptian eschatological term “victorious,” applied to those who passed successfully through life’s temptations and the judgment after death. Its generic sense is illustrated by 4 Ezra 7:[128]: “here is the intent of the battle to be fought by man born upon earth: if he be overcome, he shall suffer as thou hast said; but if he conquer, he shall receive the thing of which I speak” (i.e., paradise and its glories). The Essenes according to Josephus (Ant. xviii. 1, 5), held the soul was immortal, —eternal life the reward of an untiring, unsoiled fight against evil. The imagery of the metaphor is drawn from Jewish eschatology which anticipated the reversal of the doom incurred in Eden; cf. Test. Levi, 18, , also En. xxiv. 1–11, 25., xxxi. 1–3, etc., and (for Egyptian ideas) below on Revelation 3:21. The garden-park of God ( . = a garden with fruit-trees, Wilcken’s Griech. Ostraka, i. 157) is one of the intermediate abodes, possibly (as in Slav. En. viii. 1, and Paul) the third heaven where the favoured saints live after death in seclusion and bliss, So Iren. ver 5. 1 (abode of translated) and ver 36, 1–2, where heaven is for the Christians of the hundredfold fruit, paradise for the sixty-fold, and the heavenly city for the thirty-fold (a very ancient Christian tradition). The tree of life blooms in most of the apocalypses (cf. on Revelation 22:2). Philo had already allegorised it into . But the allusion corresponds to the general eschatological principle (borrowed from Babylonia, where cosmological myths passed into eschatological) that the end was to be a transcendently fine renovation of the original state (Barn. vi. 8). a deliberate addition to the O.T. phrase; Christ’s relation to God guarantees his promise of such a privilege (Revelation 3:12). God’s gift (Romans 6:23) is Christ’s gift. He is no fair promiser like Antigonus II., whom men dubbed for his large and unfulfilled undertakings (Plut. Coriol. xi.).

 

 

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Nicol, W. Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on Revelation 2:7". The Expositor's Greek Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/egt/revelation-2.html. 1897-1910.

The Bible Study New Testament

7. If you have ears. A grim warning to listen carefully. To those who have won the victory. God’s promise! Christian life is a battle. Tree of life. Note the stress on LIFE. [See Genesis 2:9; Genesis 3:22; Revelation 22:2. ]Garden of God. Paradise (2 Corinthians 12:2-4) the home of God’s people.

 

 

 

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Ice, Rhoderick D. "Commentary on Revelation 2:7". "The Bible Study New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ice/revelation-2.html. College Press, Joplin, MO. 1974.