Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Revelation 3:5

He who overcomes will thus be clothed in white garments; and I will not erase his name from the book of life, and I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Book;   Colors;   Decision;   God;   Perseverance;   Righteous;   War;   Scofield Reference Index - Kingdom;   Thompson Chain Reference - Adorning;   Battle of Life;   Book;   Church;   Clothing;   Overcomers;   Promises, Divine;   Raiment, White;   White;   The Topic Concordance - Confession;   Name;   Undefilement;   Victory/overcoming;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Genealogies;   Judgment, the;   Roman Empire, the;   Warfare of Saints;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Feasts;   Sarids;   Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Book of life;   Sardis;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Book, Book of Life;   Color, Symbolic Meaning of;   Confess, Confession;   Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - Church;   Judgment, Last;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Banquet;   Book;   Sardis;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Book;   Dress;   Fuller;   High Priest;   Revelation of John, the;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Book of Life;   Confession;   Revelation, the Book of;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Asia;   Book of Life;   God;   Magi;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Adoption;   Angels;   Book of Life;   Cloke ;   Day of Judgment;   Enoch Book of;   Immortality;   Lamb;   Life and Death;   Mediator;   Revelation, Book of;   Sanctify, Sanctification;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Book of Life, the;   The Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary - Sepharvaim;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Sardis;   Smith Bible Dictionary - Sar'dis,;   Wilson's Dictionary of Bible Types - Raiment;   Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary - Gifts;  
Encyclopedias:
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Blot;   Book of Life;   Color;   Confession;   Revelation of John:;   Writing;   Kitto Biblical Cyclopedia - Banquets;   Book of life;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Book of Life;  
Devotionals:
Daily Light on the Daily Path - Devotion for April 21;   Faith's Checkbook - Devotion for July 24;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

I will not blot out his name - This may be an allusion to the custom of registering the names of those who were admitted into the Church in a book kept for that purpose, from which custom our baptismal registers in Churches are derived. These are properly books of life, as there those who were born unto God were registered; as in the latter those who were born in that parish were enrolled. Or there may be allusions to the white raiment worn by the priests, and the erasing of the name of any priest out of the sacerdotal list who had either sinned, or was found not to be of the seed of Aaron. In Middoth, fol. 37, 2: "The great council of Israel sat and judged the priests. If in a priest any vice was found they stripped of his white garments and clothed him in black, in which he wrapped himself, went out, and departed. Him in whom no vice was found they clothed in white, and he went and took his part in the ministry among his brother priests."

I will confess his name - I will acknowledge that this person is my true disciple, and a member of my mystical body. In all this there may also be an allusion to the custom of registering citizens. Their names were entered into books, according to their condition, tribes, family, etc.; and when they were dead, or had by unconstitutional acts forfeited their right of citizenship, the name was blotted out, or erased from the registers. See the note on Exodus 32:32.

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Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Revelation 3:5". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/revelation-3.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

He that overcometh - See the notes on Revelation 2:7.

The same shall be clothed in white raiment - Whosoever he may be that shall overcome sin and the temptations of this world, shall be admitted to this glorious reward. The promise is made not only to those in Sardis who should be victorious, but to all in every age and every land. The hope that is thus held out before us, is that of appearing with the Redeemer in his kingdom, clad in robes expressive of holiness and joy.

And I will not blot out his name out of the book of life - The book which contains the names of those who are to live with him forever. The names of his people are thus represented as enrolled in a book which he keeps - a register of those who are to live forever. The phrase “book of life” frequently occurs in the Bible, representing this idea. See the notes on Philippians 4:3. Compare Revelation 15:3; Revelation 20:12, Revelation 20:15; Revelation 21:27; Revelation 22:19. The expression “I will not blot out” means, that the names would be found there on the great day of final account, and would be found there forever. It may be remarked, that as no one can have access to that book but he who keeps it, there is the most positive assurance that it will never be done, and the salvation of the redeemed will be, therefore, secure. And let it be remembered that the period is coming when it will be felt to be a higher honor to have the name enrolled in that book than in the books of heraldry - in the most splendid catalogue of princes, poets, warriors, nobles, or statesmen that the world has produced.

But I will confess his name, … - I will acknowledge him to be my follower. See the notes on Matthew 10:32.

Copyright Statement
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Bibliographical Information
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Revelation 3:5". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/revelation-3.html. 1870.

The Biblical Illustrator

Revelation 3:5

He that overcometh … shall be clothed in white raiment.

The battle, the victory, and the reward

I. A conflict engaged in. The Christian has the peace of God, and is at peace with God; but just because he is so, he is at war with everything that wars with God.

1. The first of the Christian’s enemies is his own sinful nature. And I am not sure but that is the most dangerous of all his enemies. A foe in the citadel is a thousand times worse than an enemy without. The particular form which this warfare may assume in the individual depends very much upon the natural temperament and previous habits of the man. We have all some sin which most easily besets us. This is the key to the position, like the farmhouse on the field of Waterloo; and, therefore, each principle is anxious to secure it as its own. Nay, not only this; it is here that the new nature is weakest; for as, when one has had a severe inflammation, it leaves, on recovery, a local weakness, which makes itself felt on the least exposure to cold or damp; so, when a man has been addicted to some sin, then, even after his conversion, there, where he formerly was worst, is now his weakest point, and it is in connection with it that his sorest conflicts are. In the light of these things, we cannot wonder that our life is called a fight.

2. But there are other enemies without the fortress, cunningly seeking to tempt us to yield to their entreaties. I mention, therefore, secondly, among our adversaries, the evil men of the world, who approach us ever in a most insidious style. They come under colour of being our servants, and ministering to our pleasure; but alas! it is only that they may remain to be our lords.

3. I mention as another foe the great arch-enemy of God and man--Satan. His efforts, indeed, are inseparably connected with those other two of which I have spoken, He is the general by whom evil men are marshalled for the fight; and as a spiritual being, intimately acquainted with our spiritual nature, he knows how best to take advantage of our still remaining sin.

II. A victory won.

1. The agent by whom this victory is won. In one sense it is the believer who wins it; in another, it is won for him; and it is to the latter aspect of it that I would first look. This conquest is obtained for us by the Great Captain of our Salvation, Jesus Christ; and there are two ways in which He vanquishes our enemy. In the first place, He has already overcome him on the cross; so that we have not now to deal with a foe in his pristine strength, but rather with one crestfallen and defeated. Nor is this all; it was as our representative that Jesus vanquished him; and so he cannot really harm us, however much he may annoy and disturb. Then this death of Christ has also slain the enmity of our hearts; for, if we really believe in Him, “our old man is crucified with Him, that the body of sin should be destroyed.” Hence our union to Jesus Christ ensures our victory. But Jesus vanquishes our enemy for us, secondly, by the gift and gracious indwelling of His Holy Spirit. He so quickens our conscience, that we shrink from sins of which formerly we would have thought but little; and He works in us a kind of instinctive intuition, by which we know that we are in the presence of evil, and hasten away from its influence. Thus, in Christ for us, and Christ in us, the victory is won!

2. But a word or two as to the means on our part by which the agency of Christ and His Spirit is secured on our behalf. That means on our part is faith. This may be illustrated by the case of one travelling in a foreign land. He is a British subject, and as such he has the weight and influence of the whole British empire at his back, so that he is safe from injury or insult, and sure, if any such be offered to him, that it will be promptly and efficiently checked. But if he cannot plead that he is a citizen of this favoured land, and has to stand alone, he is sure, in a despotic country, to be very cavalierly and even cruelly dealt with, if he should have the misfortune to fall out with its authorities. Now it is just so here; by faith the believer is connected with Christ--one with Him--and a citizen of heaven. Hence, in his warfare, he has all the power of heaven behind him; and the man who has God on his side is sure to be victorious. But in yet another aspect, faith is seen as the means of victory; for it is the eye of the soul, by which the things of the spiritual world are beheld; and by bringing the soul under the influence of “the powers of the world to come,” it encourages it in the battle, and determines it not to yield. It shows him the recompense of the reward: the white raiment; the victor’s palm; the hero’s crown; and the throne of royal honour. And thus it raises him above the sphere of earth’s temptations, and makes him proof against the voice of the charmer, charming never so wisely.

3. But now let us look at the time when this victory is obtained. In one sense, the believer is daily winning victories. Israel, of old, crossed the Jordan to fight; but we cross it to reign; and from the moment of our dissolution we have no more to do with temptation.

III. The blessing here promised.

1. The victor shall be “clothed in white raiment.” This, then, imports that the conqueror’s condition will be one of pure joy, and joyful purity.

2. “I will not blot his name out of the book of life.” The allusion of this phrase is supposed to be to the genealogical tables of the Jews, out of which a man’s name was blotted when he died; and the meaning is, that Jesus will not blot such a victor’s name out of the register of His redeemed ones. Now this phrase speaks of many things comforting to the Christian. It tells of salvation assured to him; and it declares, moreover, that Jesus has a care for him as an individual, and has his name enrolled among the denizens of bliss.

3. “I will confess his name before my Father and His angels”; that is, He will own the conqueror as His, and claim salvation in His name. Nay, it is more than this; it is a public introduction of the believer to heaven, and a proclamation there of the victory which he has obtained. Compared with this, what are earthly decorations for valour? (W. M. Taylor, D. D.)

The blessedness of overcoming

I. What are we to overcome?

1. Self.

2. World.

3. Death.

II. How are we to overcome?

1. By thought. “I thought on my ways.”

2. By purpose.

3. By faith.

4. By effort.

III. The results of overcoming.

1. A pure and spotless nature.

2. An enduring name.

3. A public honour. (C. L. Burdick.)

Earnestness in religion

Such a topic has great difficulty to lay any hold on the mind-almost even to engage the attention. We all know the effect of perfect familiarity and endless reiteration. But more than so;--this great familiar truth seems to suffer in its power of interesting men by the very fulness of its evidence, and of the conviction with which it is admitted. Whatever be the explanation, the fact is evident, that the actual power of this great principle of truth (namely, the absolute necessity of being in earnest about our highest interest) seems to be repressed, in consequence of the ready and complete acknowledgment it obtains in the mind. It seems to go to sleep there, because it holds its place certainly--is not contradicted-and cannot be expelled. If some serious doubts could be raised upon it, they might make the matter interesting--they might turn and fix thought upon it. Perhaps another thing that causes this general solemn admonition (to be in earnest about our highest interests) to come with less force, is the circumstance that it is applicable and pertinent to all. It concerns me, not more than all these millions. Again, there is far too little of the serious practice of bringing as near together in view as thought can do it, the two orders of things which both belong to us--so belong to us that they must both be taken into our practical adjustment. There is the world we are in, the object of our senses; and a world to which we are to go, the object of our faith. There is this short life--and an endless one. There are the pains and delights of mortality--and the joys or woes of eternity. Now unless a man really will set himself, in serious thought, to the comparative estimate of these, and that too as an estimate to be made on his own account, how powerless on him must be the call that tells him he must be “in earnest!” Another thing may be added to this account of causes tending to frustrate the injunction to be in earnest about our highest concerns; namely, that the mind willingly takes a perverse advantage of the obscurity of the objects of our faith, and for the incompetence of our faculties for apprehending them. There is a willingness even to make the veil still more thick, and reduce the glimmering to utter darkness, as strengthening the excuse. “We do not know how to carry our thoughts from this scene into that. It is like entering a mysterious and visionary wilderness. It is evidently implied to us, by the fact as it stands, that the opening of that scene upon us now would confound us in all our business here. Were it not best to be content to mind chiefly our duty here; and when it shall be God’s will and time, He will show us what there is yonder!” Partial truth thus perversely applied, tends to cherish and excuse an indisposition to look forward in contemplations of hereafter’; and this indisposition, excused or protected by this allegation, defeats the force of the call, the summons, to be in earnest about our highest interests. There is another pernicious practical deception, through which the force of this call to earnestness is defeated, and the strong necessity which it urges is evaded: that is, the not recognising in the parts of life, the grand duty and interest which yet is acknowledged to belong to it as a whole. “This day is not much,” a man thinks, “nor this week--a particle only in so ample a thing as all life.” We add only one more description of delusive feeling tending to frustrate the admonitions to an earnest intentness on the great object--namely, a soothing self-assurance, founded the man can hardly explain on what, that some way or other, a thing which is so essentially important, will be effected, surely must be effected, because it is so indispensable. A man says, “I am not mad. I surely--surely--shall not lose my soul.” As if there must be something in the very order of nature to prevent anything going so far wrong as that. Sometimes particular circumstances in a man’s history are suffered to excite in him a kind of superstitious hope. Perhaps, for instance, in his childhood or since, he was saved from peril or death in some very remarkable manner. His friends thought that this must surely be a propitious omen; and he, too, is willing to persuade himself so. Perhaps very pious persons have taken a particular interest about him; he knows he has been the subject of many prayers. So many deceptive notions may contribute to a vague sort of assurance that a man will not alway neglect religion, though he is doing so now, and is in no serious disposition to do otherwise. And, in addition to all, there is that unthinking and unscriptural manner of considering and carelessly throwing ourselves upon the infinite goodness of God. (J. Foster.)

I will not blot out his name out of the Book of Life.

The Book of Life

I. The book. There is a great deal in the Apocalypse about this book of the living, or “of life.” And, like the rest of its imagery, the symbol finally reposes upon the Old Testament cycle of metaphor (Exodus 32:32; Psalms 69:28; Psalms 87:6; Isaiah 4:3; Daniel 12:1). Coming to the New Testament, we find, outside of the Apocalypse, comparatively few references. But see Luke 10:20; Philippians 4:3; Hebrews 12:23). So then, to be “written in the Book of Life” is to be included amongst those who truly live. St. John, in his Gospel and Epistle, dwells with even more emphasis than the other writers of the New Testament on the great central thought that the deepest conception of Christ’s work to men is that He is the Source of life. “He that hath the Son hath life; he that hath not the Son hath not life.” This symbol implies, too, that they who truly live, live by Jesus Christ, and by Him alone. It is “the Lamb’s Book of Life.” In His character of the Lamb--that is, of the Sacrifice for the sins of the world--slain for us all, He has made it possible that any names should be written on that page. Then, again, note how this symbol suggests to us that to be enrolled in the Book is to be a citizen of heaven. The name being “written in heaven” implies that the true native soil of the man is where his name is written. He is inscribed on the register of the community to which He belongs. He lives in a far-away colony, but he is a native of the metropolis. Again, let me remind you that to be written in that Book implies being the objects of Divine energy and Divine love. “I know thee by name” said the Divine voice, through the prophet, to the Great Conqueror before He was born. “I know thee by name,” saith the Lord, to each of us, if our hearts are humbly trusting in His Divine power.

II. The inscription of the names. Now there are two passages in this Book of the Revelation which seem to say that the names are written “before the foundation of the world.” I am not going to plunge into discussions far beyond our reach, but I may remind you that such a statement says nothing about the inscription of the names which is not true about all events in time. So, leaving that ideal and eternal inscription of the names in the obscurity which cannot be dispelled, we shall be more usefully employed in asking what, so far as concerns us, are the conditions on which we may become possessors of that Divine life from Jesus Christ, and citizens of the heavens? Faith in Christ brings us into the possession of eternal life from Him, makes us citizens of His kingdom, and objects of His care. Jesus calls us all to Himself. Do like the man in the “Pilgrim’s Progress,” who went up to the writer at the table, with the ink-horn before him, and said to him, “Set down my name,” and so subscribed with his hand to the mighty God of Jacob.

III. The purging of the roll. It seems to me that the fair implication of the words of my text is that the victor’s name remains, and the name of the vanquished is blotted out. Why should we be exhorted to “hold fast our crown, that no man may take it,” if it is impossible for the crown ever to drop from the brow upon which it was once laid? No man can take it unless we “let” him, but our letting him is a conceivable alternative. And therefore the exhortations and appeals and warnings of Scripture come to us with eminent force. And how is that apostasy to be prevented, and that retention of the name on the roll-call to be secured? The answer is a very plain one--“To him that overcometh.” The only way by which a man may keep his name on the effective muster-roll of Christ’s army is by continual contest and conquest.

IV. The confession of the names. There comes a time of blessed certainty, when Christ’s confession will transform all our hesitations into peaceful assurance, when He shall stoop from His throne, and Himself shall say, in the day when He makes up His jewels, “This, and that, and that man belong indeed to Me.” Men have thrown away their lives to get a word in a despatch, or from a commanding officer; and men have lived long years stimulated to efforts and sacrifices by the hope of having a line in the chronicles of their country. But what is all other fame to Christ’s recognising me for His? (A. Maclaren, D. D.)

The Book of Life

I. As its name implies, this is the roll of the living members of His Church. Very much as in some of our ancient cities there is a register kept of the freemen, from which their names are struck off at death, so the true citizens of the heavenly city, the New Jerusalem, are registered on high. There is only this important difference between the two cases. Christ’s freed men never die. They shall not be hurt by the second death.

II. Perhaps we long to obtain one glance at its contents, and think it would afford us exceeding comfort if we might read our own name, and the names of those dear to us, inscribed on its pages. But this may not be. The discovery would probably lead to self-confidence and presumption as regards ourselves, and a fatal indifference to the eternal welfare of others. We might cease to watch and pray, and might neglect the appointed means of grace. Is, then, that Book so high above our present reach that we have practically nothing to do with it at all? If so, why should it be so often mentioned, and what is the value of this promise? Assuredly there is one way in which we may obtain some insight into its contents. The Lord, as it were, writes a duplicate of them on the hearts and lives of His people.

III. This now mysterious record will be referred to by the Judge of quick and dead, and read out before the assembled myriads of mankind. What astounding disclosures will then be model (W. Burnett, M. A.)

Written in heaven

I. There are names written in heaven which are unknown on earth. Who are the world’s greatest men? Those who are doing the noblest acts, living the purest lives, suffering the most for righteousness’ sake, making the greatest sacrifices for the common good; the greatest men are not necessarily notorious politicians, vocalists, tragedians, capitalists, orators, and soldiers. Now of these really greatest men we know little or nothing; they live in simplicity, obscurity, and poverty; the world is not aware of them, bestowing upon them neither titles nor rewards. But they are known by Him whose eye seeth every precious thing. A hue art critic entering a second-hand shop will detect a master piece when it is nearly buried in confusion and rubbish. It may be covered with dust, the colours blackened by neglect, boasting no gold frame, and the crowd pass it by with contempt, as not worth sixpence, but the true critic discerns it at a glance. So God recognises merit before it gets into a gold frame; He knows the glorious work of His own hand when found in obscurity, want, suffering, and deepest obloquy and humiliation. Thousands of names are written in heaven as heroes which are not found on Fame’s eternal bead-roll.

II. If our names are written in heaven, we need care little whether they are written elsewhere. We have a name. That is a grand thing, it means much. We are not numbered, we are all called by our names. We have a distinct and an immortal personality, we are not merely links in a series. We require that our name shall be written somewhere; we are not content to drop out of the universe, and be lost; we must be registered, recognised, remembered. To be written in heaven is supreme fame. It is high above all earthly peerages as the stars are above the mountain tops. To be written in heaven is immortal fame. By strange accidents a man’s name once written in great bead-rolls may get obliterated.

III. If our names are written is heaven, they ought to be written there as labourers.

IV. If our names are written in heaven, let us take care that they are not blotted out. Let us watch lest our name should be struck from the roll of honour.

V. If our names are not written in heaven, let us at once get them written there. How near many people come to the kingdom, and yet never get into it! Some of these are written in the reports of the Church, and yet do not get their names inscribed in the book of life. (W. L. Watkinson.)

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Bibliographical Information
Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "Revelation 3:5". The Biblical Illustrator. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tbi/revelation-3.html. 1905-1909. New York.

Coffman Commentaries on the Bible

He that overcometh shall thus be arrayed in white garments; and I will in no wise blot his name out of the book of life, and I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.

Shall be arrayed with me in white ... This, of course, is to be taken in close connection with Revelation 3:4. Rather than finding some reference in this to customs of pagan worshippers, it is better to understand the figurative meaning of it as similar to that mentioned by Adam Clarke:

The great council of Israel sat and judged the priests. If in a priest any vice was found, they stripped off his white garments and clothed him in black, in which he wrapped himself, went out, and departed. Him in whom no vice was found they clothed in white; and he went and took his part in the ministry with his brother priests.[21]

I will in no wise blot his name out of the book of life ... For fuller comment on "The Book of Life," see in my Commentary on Hebrews, pp. 381,382. It is significant that Christ's confession of the faithful is, in some manner, connected with enrollment in the book of life, not only upon the occasion of the initial inscription, but upon the final entry into heaven. A verse like this is inevitably associated with the study of predestination; and sharply divergent views of it are taken. Bruce, for example, has this:

The "book of life" appears here ... to include at first all whose names are on the membership roll of a local church; but those whose membership is but nominal have their names deleted, the Lord declares he never knew them (Luke 13:25,27).[22]

The significance of such an interpretation is that it means that some who are enrolled in the book of life were never saved at all. "The Lord never knew them." It is difficult to understand how anyone could believe that heaven itself endorses the earthly enrollment of wicked people whom the Lord "never knew" by inscribing their names in the book of life. It is impossible, therefore, for us to accept the notion that any reference whatever to the membership rolls of any local church is to be found here. Any true conception of the "Book of Life," which belongs to the Lamb of God, makes it inconceivable that any unsaved, unredeemed persons would ever be inscribed in such a list unless they were entitled to be so recognized. Whatever this passage may seem to say to others, this writer sees in it the positive and certain declaration that born-again, redeemed Christians, whose names, upon the occasion of their conversion, are indeed written in the book of life, are still subject to probation. If they should fail to continue in faithfulness to the Lord, their names will be blotted out of the book of life; and we fully agree with Roberts who wrote, "Christ had already had to blot out the names of most of the Sardis Christians from the heavenly register."[23] The predestination in which John believes is a conditional predestination. A man cannot earn the right to have his name on the citizen roll, but he can forfeit it."[24]

And I will confess his name ... This is an echo of Matthew 10:32,33. For the connection between this confession and inscription in the book of life, see in my Commentary on Hebrews, pp. 381,382. From this place, it seems that Christ not only confesses the redeemed upon the occasion of their conversion, but again, upon the occasion of their entry into heaven.

[21] Adam Clarke, Commentary on the Holy Bible, Vol. VI (London: Carlton and Porter, 1829), p. 984.

[22] F. F. Bruce, A New Testament Commentary (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan Publishing House, 1969), p. 640.

[23] J. W. Roberts, The Revelation of John (Austin, Texas: R. B. Sweet Company, 1974), p. 47.

[24] G. B. Caird, op. cit., p. 49.

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Bibliographical Information
Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on Revelation 3:5". "Coffman Commentaries on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/revelation-3.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

He that overcometh,.... The deadness, formality, and imperfection of this church state; gets over these things, and is among the few names in it:

the same shall be clothed in white raiment; the Vulgate Latin, Syriac, Arabic, and Ethiopic versions, read, "thus shall he be clothed in white raiment"; he shall have abundance of spiritual peace and joy, great success and prosperity, both inward and outward, in himself, and in the church; and triumph over all his enemies, sin, Satan, the world, death, and every other enemy; and not only be clothed with change of raiment, the pure and spotless righteousness of Christ, but shall enjoy eternal glory and happiness! the allusion seems to be to the custom of the Jewish sanhedrim in judging of priests fit for serviceF12Maimon. Biath Hamikdash, c. 6. sect. 11, Misn. Middot, c. 5. sect. 3. T. Bab. Yoma, fol. 19. 1. ,

"they examined the priests concerning their genealogies and blemishes; every priest in whom was found anything faulty in his genealogy, he was clothed in black and veiled in black, and went out of the court; but everyone that was found perfect and right, לובש לבנים, "he was clothed in white", and went in and ministered with his brethren the priests.

And I will not blot out his name out of the book of life; by which is meant the choice of persons to everlasting life and salvation; and this being signified by a book, and by writing names in it, shows the exact knowledge God has of his elect, the value he has for them, his remembrance of them, his love to them, and care for them; and that this election is of particular persons by name, and is sure and certain; for those whose names are written in it shall never be blotted out, they will always remain in the number of God's elect, and can never become reprobates, or shall ever perish; because of the unchangeableness of the nature and love of God, the firmness of his purposes, the omnipotence of his arm, the death and intercession of Christ for them, their union to him, and being in him, the impossibility of their seduction by false teachers, and the security of their persons, grace, and glory in Christ, and in whose keeping this book of life is; which respects not this temporal life, that belongs to the book of providence, but a spiritual and eternal life, from whence it has its name,

But I will confess his name before my Father and before his angels; which shows that Christ has an exact and perfect knowledge of all the chosen ones, he knows them by name; and that he has a strong and affectionate love for them, and is not ashamed of them, of their cause, of their persons, and of their relation to him; and that he does and will own, acknowledge, and approve of them, both here and hereafter: and the confession he will make of them will be in their praise; in praise of their persons and the comeliness of them, which he has put upon them; and of their graces, though they are his own; and of their good works as the fruits of grace: and this will be made before his Father, who chose these persons, and gave them to him to preserve and save; and before the angels, who rejoice at their salvation and happiness; and this will be at the last day; see Gill on Matthew 10:32.

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Bibliographical Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on Revelation 3:5". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/revelation-3.html. 1999.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

white — not a dull white, but glittering, dazzling white [Grotius]. Compare Matthew 13:43. The body transfigured into the likeness of Christ‘s body, and emitting beams of light reflected from Him, is probably the “white raiment” promised here.

the sameGreek, “THIS man”; he and he alone. So one oldest manuscript reads. But two oldest manuscripts, and most of the ancient versions, “shall THUS be clothed,” etc.

raimentGreek, “garments.” “He that overcometh” shall receive the same reward as they who “have not defiled their garments” (Revelation 3:4); therefore the two are identical.

I will notGreek, “I will not by any means.”

blot out  …  name out of  …  book of life — of the heavenly city. A register was kept in ancient cities of their citizens: the names of the dead were of course erased. So those who have a name that they live and are dead (Revelation 3:1), are blotted out of God‘s roll of the heavenly citizens and heirs of eternal life; not that in God‘s electing decree they ever were in His book of life. But, according to human conceptions, those who had a high name for piety would be supposed to be in it, and were, in respect to privileges, actually among those in the way of salvation; but these privileges, and the fact that they once might have been saved, shall be of no avail to them. As to the book of life, compare Revelation 13:8; Revelation 17:8; Revelation 20:12, Revelation 20:15; Revelation 21:27; Exodus 32:32; Psalm 69:28; Daniel 12:1. In the sense of the “call,” many are enrolled among the called to salvation, who shall not be found among the chosen at last. The pale of salvation is wider than that of election. Election is fixed. Salvation is open to all and is pending (humanly speaking) in the case of those mentioned here. But Revelation 20:15; Revelation 21:27, exhibit the book of the elect alone in the narrower sense, after the erasure of the others.

before  …  beforeGreek, “in the presence of.” Compare the same promise of Christ‘s confessing before His Father those who confessed Him, Matthew 10:32, Matthew 10:33; Luke 12:8, Luke 12:9. He omits “in heaven” after “My Father,” because there is, now that He is in heaven, no contrast between the Father in heaven and the Son on earth. He now sets His seal from heaven upon many of His words uttered on earth [Trench]. An undesigned coincidence, proving that these epistles are, as they profess, in their words, as well as substance, Christ‘s own addresses; not even tinged with the color of John‘s style, such as it appears in his Gospel and Epistles. The coincidence is mainly with the three other Gospels, and not with John‘s, which makes the coincidence more markedly undesigned. So also the clause, “He that hath an ear, let him hear,” is not repeated from John‘s Gospel, but from the Lord‘s own words in the three synoptic Gospels (Matthew 11:15; Matthew 13:9; Mark 4:9, Mark 4:23; Mark 7:16; Luke 8:8; Luke 14:35).

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This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.
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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Revelation 3:5". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/revelation-3.html. 1871-8.

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament

Shall be arrayed (περιβαλειταιperibaleitai). Future middle indicative of περιβαλλωperiballō to fling around one, here and in Revelation 4:4 with ενen and the locative, but usually in this book with the accusative of the thing, retained in the passive or with the middle (Revelation 7:9, Revelation 7:13; Revelation 10:1; Revelation 11:3; Revelation 12:1; Revelation 17:4; Revelation 18:16; Revelation 19:8, Revelation 19:13).

In white garments (εν ιματιοις λευκοιςen himatiois leukois). Apparently the spiritual bodies in the risen life as in 2 Corinthians 5:1, 2 Corinthians 5:4 and often in Revelation (Revelation 3:4, Revelation 3:5; Revelation 6:11; Revelation 7:9, Revelation 7:13.; Revelation 19:8).

I will in no wise blot out (ου μη εχαλειπσωou mē exaleipsō). Strong double negative ου μηou mē and the first aorist active (or future) of εχαλειπωexaleiphō old word, to wipe out (Acts 3:19).

Of the book of life (εκ της βιβλου της ζωηςek tēs biblou tēs zōēs). Ablative case with εκek This divine register first occurs in Exodus 32:32. and often in the O.T. See Luke 10:20; Philippians 4:3; Revelation 13:8; Revelation 20:15; Revelation 21:27. The book is in Christ‘s hands (Revelation 13:8; Revelation 21:27).

His name (το ονομα αυτουto onoma autou). The name of the one who overcomes (ο νικωνho nikōn). Clear reminiscence of the words of Christ about confessing to the Father those who confess him here (Matthew 10:32; Mark 8:38; Luke 9:26; Luke 12:8). Whether John knew the Synoptic Gospels (and why not?) he certainly knew such sayings of Jesus.

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The Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament. Copyright Broadman Press 1932,33, Renewal 1960. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman Press (Southern Baptist Sunday School Board)
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Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on Revelation 3:5". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rwp/revelation-3.html. Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.

Vincent's Word Studies

Book of life

Lit., the book of the life. For the figure, see Exodus 32:32; Psalm 69:28; Daniel 12:1; Philippians 4:3. Compare Luke 10:20; Hebrews 12:23.

I will confess ( ἐξομλογήσομαι )

Openly confess ( ἐξ ). See on Matthew 11:25; see on Acts 19:18; see on James 5:16.

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Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on Revelation 3:5". "Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/vnt/revelation-3.html. Charles Schribner's Sons. New York, USA. 1887.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

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

He shall be clothed in white raiment — The colour of victory, joy, and triumph.

And I will not blot his name out of the book of life — Like that of the angel of the church at Sardis: but he shall live for ever.

I will confess his name — As one of my faithful servants and soldiers.

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Wesley, John. "Commentary on Revelation 3:5". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/revelation-3.html. 1765.

Abbott's Illustrated New Testament

Clothed in white raiment; the symbol, in ancient times, of official honor.

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Abbott, John S. C. & Abbott, Jacob. "Commentary on Revelation 3:5". "Abbott's Illustrated New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ain/revelation-3.html. 1878.

Scofield's Reference Notes

angels

(See Scofield "Hebrews 1:4").

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Scofield, C. I. "Scofield Reference Notes on Revelation 3:5". "Scofield Reference Notes (1917 Edition)". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/srn/revelation-3.html. 1917.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

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

Ver. 5. Clothed in white] {See Trapp on "Revelation 3:4"}

The book of life] Wherein the just that live by faith are written.

But I will confess his name] His well-tried faith shall be found to praise, honour, and glory, at the appearing of Jesus Christ, 1 Peter 1:7. {See Trapp on "1 Peter 1:7"}

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Revelation 3:5". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/revelation-3.html. 1865-1868.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Revelation 3:5. And I will not blot out his name The same allegory is pursued. This is elsewhere stiled to cast out the name (Luke 6:22.)—to reject, to excommunicate, by blotting the name out of the matricula, or catalogue of Christ's saints, which is here called the book of life; none but saints who are in it being to expect eternal life. See ch. Revelation 20:12, Revelation 21:27.

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Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Revelation 3:5". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/revelation-3.html. 1801-1803.

Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament

Observe, Christ doth not say, he that conflicteth, but he that vanquisheth; not he that conquereth once or twice in the spiritual combat, but he that overcomes at last the temptations and persecutions from without, the lusts and corruptions from within: he shall be clothed with white raiment, that is, with robes of glory, as the reward of his eminency of his innocency and virtue, and as a mark of dignity and honour: and farther, I will not blot his name out of the book of life; that is, they shall be enrolled in it, and certainly saved, and I will present them to my Father, yea, I will publicly own them and confess them before God, angels, and men.

Lord, what an honour is this, to know thy people by name, and to call them by name before thy throne, and there publicly to acknowledge them, and proclaim the good done by them! O let it be our care to get first the white garment of grace on earth, and then we shall not miss of the white robes of glory in heaven.

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Burkitt, William. "Commentary on Revelation 3:5". Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wbc/revelation-3.html. 1700-1703.

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

Revelation 3:5. νικῶν. This designation recurring uniformly at the close of every epistle, and therefore not of a conception to be united by means of οὕτως, results from what precedes. Here is meant the energetic manifestation of the life received in faith, which cannot occur without a victorious conflict with the world and one’s own flesh. An express pointing backward to what precedes is made by the οὕτως, which makes the promise here bestowed upon the victor ( οὕτ. περιβ. ἐν. ἱμ. λευκ.)(1382) appear to coincide with that which (Revelation 3:4) was given to the one whose garments were not defiled.(1383)

The second promise, καὶ οὐ μὴ ἐξαλείψω τὸ ὄν. αὐτ. ἐκ τ. βίβλ. τ. ζωῆς has likewise reference to what precedes, because not only he who has the name that he lives, but he who besides actually lives,(1384) can remain written in the book of life. The figure of the book of life(1385) is not derived from “the genealogical records of the priests,”(1386) but from lists such as, e.g., the magistrates kept, and from which the names of deceased citizens were stricken.(1387) A man is not written in the book of life(1388) when he becomes participant of new spiritual life (cf. Revelation 3:1), when he receives the quickening truth (cf. Revelation 3:3), or becomes a child and heir of God through faith in Christ.(1389) This ethical accommodation referring to the temporal conduct of man is actually not present. In the book of life, which according to its nature is eternal, there is from the beginning of the world(1390) God’s attestation of the eternal salvation which those written in the book are to experience. The rejection of what is deterministic, and the maintenance of what is ethical, lie in the further declaration whereby the of course not to be realized possibility of the erasure of the name from the book of life is stated. Yet it is in reality by the free conduct of the believer, that his name may remain in the book. The name of the victor remaining faithful and walking worthily, will not be blotted out of the book of life; the victor, therefore, will receive hereafter the heavenly gracious reward of eternal life with the Lord, while those not written in the book of life will be rejected by the Lord.(1391) [See Note XXXVI., p. 183.] Still, in a third way, is the promise given the victor expressed: καὶ ὁμολογήσω κ. τ. λ. This stands, of course, as the recurrence of τὸ ὄνομα αὐτοῦ already signifies, in connection with what immediately precedes, yet not as Eichh. states: “And as often as recitation is made from it, I will declare his praises.” With the idea of the book of life, that of the frequent reading of the name is not in itself consistent;(1392) and the ὁμολ., κ. τ. λ., can only(1393) have the sense that the Lord, speaking as Judge, expressly testifies that he knows the name of the victor (written in the book of life) as the name of one of his own, and, therefore, that the one named belongs to him, the Lord, and on this account shall have part in the glory of his kingdom.(1394)

NOTES BY THE AMERICAN EDITOR

XXXVI. Revelation 3:5. τῆς βίβλου τῆς ζωῆς

If an erasure from the book of life be regarded possible, the inscription cannot refer to election, as this is indefectible. But it seems to be pressing the passage too far, to derive from it such meaning; as the expression is, in fact, simply a litotes whereby to emphasize the certainty of salvation, i.e., an assumed, but not a real, possibility.

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Meyer, Heinrich. "Commentary on Revelation 3:5". Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hmc/revelation-3.html. 1832.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; he that overcometh in the spiritual fight, shall be honoured as a triumpher.

And I will not blot out his name out of the book of life; that is, I will give him everlasting life: the phrase is an allusion to men who use to keep books, and in them the names of persons to whom they will show kindness. The book of life; applied to God, signifieth his eternal predestination, or purpose to bring some to heaven; out of which book, though none can be blotted out whose name is once wrote in, yet those whose names are in this book may be under some fears and apprehensions to the contrary. Christ assures them to the contrary, that they shall certainly be saved, but lets them know that this assurance depends upon their perseverance; of which also some make this phrase a promise.

But I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels; in the day of judgment I will own them, and acknowledge them as mine before my Father and all the angels, Matthew 10:32 Luke 12:8.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Revelation 3:5". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/revelation-3.html. 1685.

Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture

Побеждающий Все истинные христиане (см. пояснение к 2:7).

книги жизни Божий памятный журнал, в котором записаны имена всех избранных для спасения и должных обрести вечную жизнь (13:8; 17:8; 20:12, 15; 21:27; 22:19; ср. Дан.12:1; Лк.10:20).

не изглажу имени его из книги жизни См. пояснения к Исх. 32:33; Пс. 68:29; 138:16; Евр. 12:23; Флп. 4:3. Такие подчистки в канцелярских книгах часто делали городские чиновники по отношению к неугодным для них людям.

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MacLaren, Alexander. "Commentary on Revelation 3:5". Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mac/revelation-3.html.

Justin Edwards' Family Bible New Testament

I will not blot out his name-I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels; Matthew 10:32-33; Matthew 25:34-40. Character is personal; and amid great and abounding iniquity individuals may faithfully serve God and be ripening for glory.

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Edwards, Justin. "Commentary on Revelation 3:5". "Family Bible New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/fam/revelation-3.html. American Tract Society. 1851.

Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible

‘But I will confess his name before my Father and before His angels.’

Rather than their names being blotted out, the names of the overcomers will be announced and honoured before the Father and His angels. They will not be shamed but will receive honour from God (compare Matthew 10:32).

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Pett, Peter. "Commentary on Revelation 3:5". "Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pet/revelation-3.html. 2013.

Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament

Revelation 3:5. He that overcometh shall thus be clothed in white garments. He shall be clothed about, shall be wrapped round and round with the glistering glory of Revelation 3:4.

And I will in no wise blot out his name out of the book of life. The ‘book of life’ is a book conceived of as a register, containing the names of the true citizens of Zion (cp. Exodus 32:32; Daniel 12:1; Luke 10:20; Revelation 13:8; Revelation 17:8; Revelation 20:12; Revelation 21:27, 12:19. There is no statement here that there is such a process of erasure of names from the book of life as may warrant us in saying that names once admitted to that book are being continually blotted out. Nor is such a thought in harmony with the general teaching of the Apocalypse, which looks rather at the number of the saved and of the lost as being from the first complete. What we are told is, not that some names shall be blotted out, but that certain names shall in no wise be so.

And I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels (cp. Matthew 10:32-33). He who has sought no name before men (comp. Revelation 3:1) shall have his ‘name’ con-fessed by his Lord in the great day.

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Schaff, Philip. "Commentary on Revelation 3:5". "Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/scn/revelation-3.html. 1879-90.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

overcometh. See Revelation 2:7.

the same. The texts read "thus".

blot out. Occurances: Revelation 7:17; Revelation 21:4 (wipe away). Acts 3:19. Colossians 2:14.

book, &c. See Philippians 4:3.

life. App-170.

but = and.

confess, &c. See Matthew 10:32.

Father. App-98.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Revelation 3:5". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/revelation-3.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

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

The same - `THIS man;' he alone. So B but 'Aleph (') A C, Vulgate, Coptic, Syriac, 'shall THUS be clothed,' etc.

White - glittering, dazzling white. Compare Matthew 13:43. The body transfigured into the likeness of Christ's, and emitting light reflected from Him, is probably the "white raiment."

Raiment - `garments.' "He that overcometh" shall receive the same reward as they who "have not defiled their garments" (Revelation 3:4): the two are identical.

I will not, [ ou-mee (Greek #3364)] - 'I will not by any means.'

Blot out his name out of the book of life - of the heavenly city. A register of citizens was kept in ancient states: the names of the dead were erased. So those who have a name that they live and are dead (Revelation 3:1), are blotted out of God's roll of the heavenly citizens; not that in God's electing decree they ever were there. But those having a high name for piety would be supposed to be in it, and were, as to privileges, actually among those in the way of salvation; these privileges, however, and the fact that they once might have been saved, shall not avail them. As to the book of life, cf. Exodus 32:32; Psalms 69:28; Daniel 12:1; Revelation 13:8; Revelation 17:8. Many are enrolled among the called to salvation, who shall not be among the chosen at last. The pale of salvation is wider than that of election. Election is fixed. Salvation is open to all, and is pending (humanly speaking) in the case of those mentioned here. Revelation 20:15; Revelation 21:27, exhibit the book of the elect alone, after the erasure of the others.

Before ... before - `in the presence of.' Compare the same promise, Matthew 10:32-33; Luke 12:8-9. He omits 'in heaven,' because there is, now that He is in heaven, no contrast between the Father in heaven and the Son on earth. He sets His seal from heaven upon many of His words uttered on earth (Trench). An undesigned coincidence, proving that these letters are, in words as well as substance, Christ's own; not even tinged with John's style, such as it appears in his gospel and letters. The coincidence is mainly with the three other gospels, not John's, which makes it more markedly undesigned. So also "He that hath an ear, let him hear," is not repeated from John's gospel, but from the Lord's own words in the three synoptic gospels (Matthew 11:15; Matthew 13:9; Mark 4:9; Mark 4:23; Mark 7:16; Luke 8:8; Luke 14:35).

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Revelation 3:5". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/revelation-3.html. 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(5) He that overcometh.—The promise is repeated to all who overcome; all, not who have never fallen, or failed, but who conquer, shall be clothed in glistening white raiment. On this glistering appearance comp. Dante’s words, “robed in hue of living flame,” and the description so frequent in the Pilgrim’s Progress—“the shining ones.” Trench, who reminds us that this glistening white is found in the symbolism of heathen antiquity, says: “The glorified body, defecated of all its dregs and impurities, whatever remained of those having been precipitated in death, and now transformed and transfigured into the likeness of Christ’s body (Philippians 3:21), this, with its robe, atmosphere, and effluence of lights, is itself, I believe, the white raiment which Christ here promises to His redeemed.” Professor Lightfoot thinks (see his Epistle to Col. p. 22) that there may be a reference to the purple dyes for which Sardis, as well as Thyatira, was celebrated.

I will not blot out . . .—The negative is emphatic, “I will in no wise blot out.” This figure of speech—a book and the blotting out—was ancient. (See Deuteronomy 32:32; Psalms 69:21; Daniel 12:1; comp. also Luke 10:20; Philippians 4:3.) The name shall not be erased from the roll or register of the citizens of heaven. “A process of erasure is ever going on, besides the process of entering. When the soul has finally taken its choice for evil, when Christ is utterly denied on earth and trodden under foot, when the defilement of sin has become inveterate and indelible, then the pen is drawn through the guilty name, then the inverted style smears the wax over the unworthy characters; and when the owner of that name applies afterwards for admittance, the answer is, ‘I know thee not; depart hence, thou willing worker and lover of iniquity’” (Dr. Vaughan).

But I will confess his name.—Another echo of Christ’s words on earth (Matthew 10:32-33; Luke 12:8-9).

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Revelation 3:5". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/revelation-3.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.
that
2:7; 1 Samuel 17:25
the same
4; 19:8
blot
Exodus 32:32,33; Deuteronomy 9:14; Psalms 69:28; 109:13
the book
13:8; 17:8; 20:12,15; 21:27; 22:19; Philippians 4:3
confess
Malachi 3:17; Matthew 10:32; Luke 12:8; Jude 1:24
Reciprocal: Genesis 7:4 - destroy;  Numbers 3:40 - GeneralDeuteronomy 29:20 - blot out;  2 Kings 14:27 - blot out;  Nehemiah 13:14 - Remember me;  Ecclesiastes 9:8 - thy garments;  Isaiah 4:3 - written;  Isaiah 56:5 - that shall;  Daniel 12:1 - written;  Zechariah 3:7 - places;  Matthew 7:21 - my;  Matthew 22:11 - which;  Matthew 28:3 - his raiment;  Luke 6:23 - your;  Luke 9:26 - whosoever;  Luke 10:20 - your;  Luke 15:22 - the best;  Galatians 6:9 - if;  Philippians 2:11 - every;  1 John 5:4 - overcometh;  Revelation 2:26 - he;  Revelation 3:18 - white;  Revelation 4:4 - clothed;  Revelation 6:11 - white;  Revelation 7:9 - clothed;  Revelation 12:11 - they overcame

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Revelation 3:5". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/revelation-3.html.

Walter Scott's Commentary on Revelation

REWARDS TO THE OVERCOMER.

Revelation 3:5. — "He that overcomes, he shall be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot his name out of the book of life, and will confess his name before My Father and before His angels." Here are three promises. (1) The overcomer who walked here in purity, in personal uprightness before God, shall be amply justified in the glorious scene outside this world. He shall be clothed in garments of white on which no speck or stain shall rest. (2) He who persevered in the path of life to the end would not have his name blotted out of the register of Christian profession. Many standing high in the Church, whose names are as "household words," may be erased in the day when life's records shall be scanned by the all-searching eye of the Lord of the churches. (3) He who shrank not from the confession of the Name of Christ — always unpopular in merely religious society, and, of course, ever so in the world — shall be singled out in the august presence of the Father and His angels and have his name confessed before that grand assembly.

5. — "The book of life" here is not the same as that of Revelation 13:8. In Revelation 3:5 it is profession which may or may not be real. The end would show. Some names would stand, others be erased. But in that of chapter 13: 8 every name recorded was that of a true believer, because the names were written from the foundation of the world,{*The alternative reading in the margin of the Revised Version of chapter 13: 8 reads thus: "Shall worship……whose names hath not been written from the foundation of the world in the book of life of the slain Lamb." So also Tregelles, Darby, Kelly, etc.} and hence before the course of human responsibility commenced. God knows the end from the beginning, and so in indelible letters wrote each name. In chapter 3: 5 "the book of life" is the record of Christian profession; in chapter 13: 8 "the book of life" is the record of reality. In the former the true and false are found; in the latter the true only.

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Scott, Walter. "Commentary on Revelation 3:5". "Walter Scott's Commentary on Revelation". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/sor/revelation-3.html.

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

He that overcometh is the same as being faithful until death. Clothed in white raiment is explained at the preceding verse ( Revelation 3:4). Not blot out his name out of the book of life. It is a universal practice for institutions that consist of individual membership to keep a record of its names in a book. The fact is a basis for the figurative idea of a book of life in which the Lord keeps a list of his people ( Malachi 3:16; Luke 10:20; Hebrews 12:23; Revelation 20:15). The point is that all whose names are there may be considered as those who are in good standing with the Lord. But their names are not put there with "indelible ink" but they may and will be blotted out if they are not faithful. Will confess his name is the same promise that Jesus made while on earth ( Matthew 10:32).

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Zerr, E.M. "Commentary on Revelation 3:5". E.M. Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/znt/revelation-3.html. 1952.

Hanserd Knollys' Commentary on Revelation

Revelation 3:5

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

"He that overcometh," etc.

This is one of the promises which Christ made to him that overcometh, whether he was any one of the ministers or members of this church, or of any other church of saints, or any particular Christian whosoever, that did or shall repent of his cooling, decaying, and backsliding condition, and be watchful, and so recover and overcome the world, Satan, and sin; and also overcome the beast, and get victory over his image, his name, his Mark, and the number of his name,

"the same shall be clothed in white raiment",

that is as before, he shall have communion with Christ; and be arrayed like the bride in fine linen, clean and white. { Revelation 19:8} Though they had defiled their garments with their defection and decaying, being ready to die, yet they should recover and wash their robes, and make them white in the blood of the Lamb, and so shall walk with him in white, or shall be clothed in white raiment;

"and I will not blot out his name out of the book of Life"

By "the book of life," is meant, First, the decree of Gods election. { Philippians 4:3} Whole names are in the book of life, that Isaiah, in the record or decree of election. Secondly, Christ's record or memorial of those that the Father hath given to him before the foundation of the world, which is called the Lamb's Book of Life. { Revelation 21:17} Thirdly, the gospel and new covenant of grace, according to which, every one that liveth under that dispensation, shall be judged at the last day (Compare Romans 2:16 with Revelation 20:12). Now Christ promising him that overcomes, that he "will not blot out his name out of the book of life," doth mean, that he will not put his name out of his memorial, but bear his name upon his breast-plate among the names of all the Israel of God, as a perpetual memorial before the Father, as one of the election of grace, whom the Father gave unto him before the foundation of the world; and he shall be judged at the last day according to the gospel, and new covenant of the grace of God, whose name is written in the book of life.

"But I will confess his name before my Father, and before his Angels".

To wit, in the day of judgment Jesus Christ will own him that overcometh, and acknowledge him before God his Father, and before all his holy angels: That he is one of the election of grace, whom God the Father gave unto his Son Jesus Christ, for whom Christ laid down his life; and hath promised him eternal life. { Titus 1:2} In hope of eternal life, which God that cannot lie, promised before the world began. { 1 John 2:25} And this is the promise which he hath promised us, even eternal life;{also 1 John 5:11-12} And this is the Record, that is to say, The Holy Scripture is the book of record that God hath given us, (namely, who believe) eternal Life; and this life is in his Song of Solomon, and that he that hath the Son hath this life.

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Knollys, Hanserd. "Commentary on Revelation 3:5". "Hanserd Knollys' Commentary on Revelation". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hkc/revelation-3.html.

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

Revelation 3:5. He that overcomes, the same shall be invested with white garments; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life; and I will confess his name before my Father and before his angels. The promise here is threefold. The few names that had not defiled their garments in the midst of a merely nominal-Christian society, whose corrupting influence flowed in upon them from every side, needed a particularly strong encouragement. The whole of the three promises run into that of 2 Thessalonians 1:5, he will be deemed worthy of the kingdom of God, for which he has suffered, or of Acts 13:48, he shall be of the number of those who are ordained to eternal life. The second promise rests upon Psalms 69:28, "They shall be blotted out of the book of life, and shall not be written with the righteous;" on which I remarked in my commentary, "To be blotted out of the book of life, of which mention is made for the first time in Exodus 32:32, is as much as to be devoted to death, with reference to the untimely and sudden death threatened against the wicked in the law. As here, in regard to a temporal existence, so in the New Testament with regard to an eternal one, we read of the book of life, Philippians 4:3, Revelation 20:15. To be written with the righteous is a parallel expression. For it is just in the book of life that the righteous are written, they are ordained to life." According to ch. Revelation 20:15, those who are not found written in the book of life shall be thrown into the lake of fire. The third promise has the faithfulness of the few chosen ones in confessing the truth for its foundation, whose light shone all the brighter on account of the surrounding unfaithfulness that inseparably attends lukewarmness and worldly-mindedness. It rests especially on Matthew 10:32-33, "Whosoever confesses me before men, him will I confess before my Father in heaven; but whosoever denies me before men, him will I also deny before my Father in heaven;" and Luke 12:8-9, "Whosoever confesses me before men, him will also the Son of man confess before the angels of God. But whosoever denies me before men, he shall be denied before the angels of God." Matthew mentions only the Father in heaven, Luke only the angels, but here both are found. We shall the less think of ascribing this to accident, if we keep in view the undeniable reference to the words of Christ in Revelation 3:2-3. Herder already remarks, "The whole epistle is in the words of Christ, which he spake while yet upon the earth."[Note: There is an allusion also to the same declaration of Christ in John 12:42, bearing respect to the failure of its object; so also, perhaps, in John 1:20, where there is the same contrast between confessing and not denying. The ὁ μολογεῖ ν is here used with the accusative of that, to which one confesses, as in John 9:22; Matt. and Luke have ἐ ν.]

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Hengstenberg, Ernst. "Commentary on Revelation 3:5". Ernst Hengstenberg on John, Revelation, Ecclesiastes, Ezekiel & Psalms. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/heg/revelation-3.html.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

5.White raiment—A full and joyous expansion of the promise hinted in Revelation 3:4. On the brilliant white here implied—the whiteness of glory, the celestial coruscation—see note on Revelation 3:18. On this Trench beautifully remarks: “As we cannot conceive of any room in heaven for raiment, in the literal sense of the word, we must understand by this that vesture of light, that clothing with light as with a garment, which shall be theirs who shall then ‘shine out ( Matthew 13:43) as the sun in the kingdom of their Father;’ their ‘raiment,’ and yet for all this, not something external to them, but the outward utterance of all which now, inwardly, they are who have left all sin behind them forever. The glorified body, defecated of all its dregs and all its impurities, transformed and transfigured into the likeness of Christ’s body, (Philippians 3:21,)— this, with its robe and atmosphere of light, is itself, I believe, the ‘white raiment,’ which Christ here promises to his redeemed.” Compare our note on 1 Corinthians 15:43-44.

Blot out his name—When the glorious vestments of the resurrection are put on, the citizenship in the New Jerusalem is sure, and the name in its city census, the book of life, can never be blotted out. For this image of blotting, see our note on Luke 10:20.

Will confess his name—When the man presents himself in resurrection array there is his record in the book, and the Lord will confess that blessed owner of the name, will remember how unspotted was his vestment in the Church below, and will acknowledge his “title clear to mansions in the skies.”

Before my Father’ angels—In presence of the celestial court shall he be introduced and recognised as belonging to the holy society of God, angels, and heaven. Such was the prospect of, alas! but few in this great city, the once rich capital of Lydia. The many, both in the Church and out, were facing toward a reverse future.

 

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Revelation 3:5". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/revelation-3.html. 1874-1909.

The Bible Study New Testament

5. Those who win. Those who are spiritually dead will have their names erased from the book of the living. Those who win will receive everything the Lord has promised them! [Book of the living: ancient cities wrote the names of their citizens in a book. Criminals had their names erased, also the dead.] I will declare openly. See Matthew 10:32-33. Christ will cite those who cite him! [CITE: to single out and call special attention to.]

 

 

 

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Ice, Rhoderick D. "Commentary on Revelation 3:5". "The Bible Study New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ice/revelation-3.html. College Press, Joplin, MO. 1974.