Him that overcometh - See the notes on Revelation 2:7.
Will make a pillar in the temple of my God - See the introductory remarks to this epistle. The promised reward of faithfulness here is, that he who was victorious would be honored as if he were a pillar or column in the temple of God. Such a pillar or column was partly for ornament, and partly for support; and the idea here is, that in that temple he would contribute to its beauty and the justness of its proportions, and would see the same time be honored as if he were a pillar which was necessary for the support of the temple. It is not uncommon in the New Testament to represent the church as a temple, and Christians as parts of it. See I Corinthians 3:16-17; I Corinthians 6:19; II Corinthians 6:16; I Peter 2:5.
And he shall go no more out - He shall be permanent as a part of that spiritual temple. The idea of "going out" does not properly belong to a pillar; but the speaker here has in his mind the man, though represented as a column. The description of some parts would be applicable more directly to a pillar; in others more properly to a man. Compare John 6:37; John 10:28-29; I John 2:19, for an illustration of the sentiment here. The main truth here is, that if we reach heaven, our happiness will be secure forever. We shall have the most absolute certainty that the welfare of the soul will no more be perilled; that we shall never be in danger of falling into temptation; that no artful foe shall ever have power to alienate our affections from God; that we shall never die. Though we may change our place, and may roam from world to world until we shall have surveyed all the wonders of creation, yet we shall never "go out of the temple of God." Compare the notes on John 14:2. When we reach the heavenly world our conflicts will be over, our doubts at an end. As soon as we cross the threshold we shall be greeted with the assurance, "he shall go no more out forever." That is to be our eternal abode, and whatever of joy, or felicity, or glory, that bright world can furnish, is to be ours. Happy moment I when, emerging from a world of danger and of doubt, the soul shall settle down into the calmness and peace of that state where there is the assurance of God himself that that world of bliss is to be its eternal abode!
And I will write upon him the name of my God - Considered as a pillar or column in the temple. The name of God would be conspicuously recorded on it to show that he belonged to God. The allusion is to a public edifice, on the columns of which the names of distinguished and honored persons were recorded; that is, where there is a public testimonial of the respect in which one whose name was thus recorded was held. The honor thus conferred on him "who should overcome" would be as great as if the name of that God whom he served, and whose favor and friendship he enjoyed, were inscribed on him in some conspicuous manner. The meaning is, that he would be known and recognized as belonging to God; the God of the Redeemer himself - indicated by the phrase, "the name of my God."
And the name of the city of my God - That is, indicating that he belongs to that city, or that the New Jerusalem is the city of his habitation. The idea would seem to be, that in this world, and in. all worlds wherever he goes and wherever he abides, he will be recognized as belonging to that holy city; as enjoying the rights and immunities of such a citizen.
Which is New Jerusalem - Jerusalem was the place where the temple was reared, and where the worship of God was celebrated. It thus came to be synonymous with the church - the dwelling-place of God on earth.
Which cometh down out of heaven from my God - See this explained in the notes on Revelation 21:2 ff. Of course this must be a figurative representation, but the idea is plain. It is:
(1)That the church is, in accordance with settled Scripture language, represented as a city - the abode of God on earth.
(2)That is, instead of being built here, or having an earthly origin, it has its origin in heaven.
It is as if it had been constructed there, and then sent down to earth ready formed. The type, the form, the whole structure is heavenly. It is a departure from all proper laws of interpretation to explain this literally, as if a city should be actually let down from heaven; and equally so to infer from this passage, and the others of similar import in this book, that a city will be literally reared for the residence of the saints. If the passage proves anything on either of these points, it is, that a great and splendid city, such as that described in Rev. 21, will literally come down from heavens. But who can believe that? Such an interpretation, however, is by no means necessary. The comparison of the church with a beautiful city, and the fact that it has its origin in heaven, is all that is fairly implied in the passage.
And I will write upon him my new name - See the notes on Revelation 2:17. The reward, therefore, promised here is, that he who, by persevering fidelity, showed that he was a real friend of the Saviour, would be honored with a permanent abode in the holy city of his habitation, In the church redeemed and triumphant he would have a perpetual dwelling; and wherever he should be, there would be given him sure pledges that he belonged to him, and was recognized as a citizen of the heavenly world. To no higher honor could any man aspire; and yet that is an honor to which the most humble and lowly may attain by faith in the Son of God.
The Epistle to the Church at Laodicea
The contents of the epistle to the church at Laodicea Revelation 3:14-22 are as follows:
(1)The usual salutation to the angel of the church, Revelation 3:14,
(2)The reference to the attributes of the speaker - the one here referred to being that he was the "Amen," "the faithful and true witness," and "the beginning of the creation of God," Revelation 3:14.
(3)The claim that he knew all their works, Revelation 3:15.
(4)The characteristic of the church: it was "lukewarm" - neither "cold nor hot," Revelation 3:15.
(5)The punishment threatened, that he would "spue them out of his mouth," Revelation 3:16.
(6)A solemn reproof of their self-confidence, of their ignorance of themselves, an of their pride, when they were in fact poor, and blind, and naked; and a solemn counsel to them to apply to him for those things which would make them truly rich - which would cover up the shame of their nakedness, and which would give them clear spiritual vision, Revelation 3:17-18.
(7)A command to repent, in view of the fact that he rebukes and chastens those whom he loves.
(8)An assurance that an opportunity is still offered for repentance, represented by his standing at the door and praying for admittance, Revelation 3:20.
(9)A promise to him that should be victorious - in this case, that he should sit down with him on his throne, Revelation 3:21; and,
(10)The usual call on those who had ears to hear, to attend to what the Spirit said to the churches.
Laodicea was situated in the southern part of Phrygia, near the junction of the small rivers Asopus and Carpus, on a plain washed at its edges by each. It was about 40 miles from Ephesus, and not far from Colosse and Hierapolis. In the time of Strabo it was a large city; but the frequency of earthquakes, to which this district has been always liable, demolished, long since, a large part of the city, and destroyed many of the inhabitants, and the place was abandoned, and now lies in ruins. It is now a deserted place, called by the Turks Eski-hissar, or Old Castle. From its ruins, ' which are numerous, consisting of the remains of temples, theaters, etc., it seems to have been situated on six or seven hills, taking up a large space of ground. The whole rising ground on which the city stood is one vast tumulus of ruins, abandoned entirely to the owl and the fox. Col. Leake says, "There are few ancient sites more likely than Laodicea to preserve many curious remains of antiquity beneath the surface of the soil; its opulence, and the earthquakes to which it was subject, rendering it probable that valuable works of art were there buried beneath the ruins of the public and private edifices."
The neighboring village contains some 50 or 60 people, among whom, on a visit of a recent traveler there, there were only two nominal Christians (circa the mid-19th century). "The name of Christianity," says Emerson (p. 101), "is forgotten, and the only sounds that disturb the silence of its desertion are the tones of the Muezzin, whose voice from the distant village (Eski-hissar) proclaims the ascendency of Muhammed. Laodicea is even more solitary than Ephesus; for the latter has the prospect of the rolling sea or of a whitening sail to enliven its decay; while the former sits in widowed loneliness, its walls are grass-grown, its temples desolate, its very name has perished." A thunderstorm gathered on the mountains at a distance while this traveler was examining the ruins of Laodicea. He returned to Eski-hissar, and waited until the fury of the storm had abated, but set off on his journey again before it had entirely ceased to blow and to rain. "We preferred," says he, "hastening on, to a further delay in that melancholy spot, where everything whispered desolation, and where the very wind that swept impetuously through the valley sounded like the fiendish laugh of time exulting over the destruction of man and his proudest monuments." See Prof. Stuart, vol. ii. pp. 44, 45; Kitto' s Encyclopedia; "Smith' s Journey to the Seven Churches," 1671; Leake, Arundell, Hartley, MacFarlane, Pococke, etc. The engraving in this vol. will furnish a representation of the ruins of Laodicea.
Other Barnes' Notes entries containing Revelation 3:12:
2 Thessalonians 2:4
1 Timothy 3:15
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