Letters to the Seven Churches
Chapters 2:1-3:22

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  Chapter Two


Revelation 2:1-7 Class Discussions 3/3/2000
2:1 And to the Angel of the Church in Ephesus write. These things says the one holding the seven stars in the right hand of him, the one walking in the midst of the seven lamp stands the seven ones
. - Here the address is to the "Angel" while in 1:11 John is directed to write to the "churches")
- Who is the Angel? Is he equal to the church? cf 1:11
- Could it refer to a church guardian, an episcopal or prophetic leader? Cf John the Baptist. (Mt 11:10)
Or could it be a heavenly being? (Dan 10:2-14; 20-21)

Aune: recalls that poetic imagery is used throughout, so the reader should not take each image literally.

Question for consideration: Is the angel having to act as an intercessor? - Theophany too much for them to deal with.

Mounce: suggests that there is no apparent reason for the Spirit to be speaking, and refers to Aune's statement about not taking all images to literally.

Quesiton for consideration: What might it mean for the one speaking to have the seven stars in the right hand?

Beasley: Suggests that "the one walking in the midist of the seven lampstands." refers to the churches whose life derives from their fellowship in Jesus and that their conduct falls beneath his searching scrutiny.

Roloff: This alludes to the significance of Ephesus; through which the entire circle of the churches of Asia is addressed. "Walking" refers to the presence of Christ among the churches.

Vs 2. I know the work of you (sing) and the labor and the endurance of you and that you (sing) cannot bear evil ones, and having tested the ones calling themselves Apostles and are not and found them liars.
Beasley and Roloff say that "work" = the "measure" of the genuineness of faith. (cf. 2:22-23; 14:13; 15:3 etc)
"A labor" = Active missionary effort. (cf. 1 Thes. 2:9; 1 Cor 15:58). "endurance" = steadfast trial in the sufferings that were imposed on believers.

Beasley and Roloff: say that the "wicked people" could be "false prophets" or the "self styled apostles" refered to in Vs 2c; It could also refer to "Nicolaitans?" refered to Vs 6; "Gnostics" 2Cor. 11:5

Vs 3 And you (sing) have endurance and persevered because of the name of me and have not become weary.
"Because of my name." Refers to the person of Christ. (cf. Mat. 10:22; Mk 13:13;Lk 21:17)

Vs 4 But I have (this) against you that the first - love (you) abandoned.
Whose love has been abandoned? Love for God or for the people?
Roloff: This is a breakdown in obeying the love commandment for both God and fellow Christians. "Where love for God wanes, love for people diminishes." (cf. Mat. 24:12; 1 Tim. 5:12)

Vs 5 Remember therefore from where (you) have fallen and repent and the first work do. But if not, I am coming to you (sing) and I shall remove the lampstand of you from its place, not unless you repent.
"Fallen" This is a graphic image demonstrating the extent to which this church has moved from its first love.(cf Vs 4) "I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place": This does not refer to parousia, but rather that Christ was going to judge the church in Ephesus on the basis of what it had become.

Vs 6 But this thing you have, that you hate the works of the Nicolaitans which (thing) also I hate.
(cf Psalms 139:21)

Vs 7 The one having an ear let that one hear what the spirit says to the churches. The overcoming one I will give to him to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.
"The one having an ear let that one hear" is also equivalent to " let anyone who has an ear listen." Also found in the Synoptics. (cf. Mat 4:9; Lk 8:8; Mk 4:23; etc.) Refers to the peculiar character of the message.

"What the spirit says to the churches" Does "spirit " here equated with Christ? Roloff claims that the word of Christ is also the word of the spirit. Christ is not equal to spirit (cf 1:4-5), but he speakes to the churches through the spirit.

"One who overcomes" = martyr or = a committed believer? Compare also:
(A) "......., if anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come into him and eat with him and he with me." (3:20) (B) "He who conquers and who keeps my works until the end, I will give him power over nations, ......." (2:26)

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Revelation 2:8-11 Class Discussions 3/6 and 3/10, 2000


2:8 And to the angel of the church in Smyrna, write: These things says the first and the last who became dead and lived.
Smyrna was a prominent city north of Ephesus. The nickname "jewel of Asia" reflected the beauty of Smyrna. A prosperous commercial city due to its location in a sea harbor. This city claims the distinction of being one of the few planned cities of this time. During this time, the Temple to Tiberius was the center of Roman Religion. Other claims to fame include it as the birthplace of Homer and the place where Polycarp was martyred.

Ellul: Each letter refers back to one of the titles given to Jesus in Chapter 1. Ellul connects this verse with 1:17-18. The church is seen as the presence of Jesus Christ in the world. It is the Risen One who dictates these letters, is present in his churches, and acts through his churches

Roloff: The allusion here (the first and the last) probably refers to the controversy that the Christians had with the Jews about the "resurrection of the crucified Jesus from the dead"(48).

2:9 I know of your oppression and poverty, but you are rich, and [I know] the blasphemy out of the ones speaking themselves to be Jews and they are not but a synagogue of the satan (adversary).
Ellul: This church is distinguished for its true poverty and persecution before God. This church is one of two that are not warned or condemned. The Jews have taken up sides against the Christians and have become accusers of Christians. They are therefore referred to as the synagogue of Satan. Yet, this church is declared rich before God.

Roloff: The refusal of the Jews to recognize Jesus Christ as Lord removes the Jews as the people of God and replaces them with the Christian church. The dualism of these Christians resulted in seeing the Jews as being under Satan's power, since they refused to acknowledge Christ's lordship.

The Church in Smyrna, like the church of Philadelphia, does not receive condemnation. Also note similar language in reference to the Synagogue of Satan. Kittle indicates that there is no difference in meaning between the words "Satana" and "diabolos" .

--- Question interjected for research (possibly with TLG) --- What other uses have there been in Greek literature to "Satana" and "diabolos"?


2:10 In no way fear which (things) you are about (destined) to suffer. Behold, the devil (diabolos) is about (destined) to throw (cast) out of you (plural) into a prison in order that you may be tested (tempted) and you shall have oppression (suffering) of some ten days. Be faithful until death and I will give to you the crown of life.

---Question interjected for consideration--- "What is that which is to be thown out of you?" (The remaining verbs show that 'it' is plural.)

Ellul: God exhorts the church twice: "In no way fear" and "Be faithful". The church, in risking herself even unto death, finds herself renewed and with stronger faith. The devil is stopped at death's doors and can longer persecute.

Roloff: "This affliction serves to test the steadfastness of faith, and it stands indirectly under the permission of God (Job 1-2)" (48). The time span of ten days symbolizes a relatively short length of time (Dan 1:12,14). For those who have remained faithful even under the threat of death, Jesus
Christ bestows the crown of life, i.e. eternal life. The second death, i.e. resurrection of the body, has no claim over those who remain faithful

Mounce: one thing after another could show an expectation for imprisonment by the Romans for their beliefs.

Prigent: gives multiple possibilites for the meaning of the "Crown of Life"

  • the victory crown given in the stadium games of the Hellenistic period
  • an association to the Mithras cult, and thus maybe to baptism
  • an eschatalogical symbol for baptism in Christ
  • the marriage "crown" used in Eastern rite


2:11 The one having ear listen (hear) something the Spirit says to the churches: The one conquering will not be wronged (harmed) out of (by) the second death.
Ellul: Each letter is both the testimony of Jesus Christ and the prophecy of the Holy Spirit. Jesus speaks the word and the Holy Spirit helps the individual to comprehend it. The Risen One conquers death and those who have died from persecution are assured of rising again. See also 20:6.

Ford: states that the crown of life has to do with Smyrna's buildings which were "arrayed like a crown of the city."

---Interjected for considerations---

  • Is the "second death" connected to John 5:13-17?
  • This "second death" introduces a concept that will agian be seen in ch. 19, 20, and 21.
  • Notice how "the one triumphing" imagery is used from church to church in the letters to the churches.
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Revelation 2:12-17 Class Discussions 3/10, 2000
2:12 And to the angel of the-in-Pergamum-church write! These things says the One having the sharp two-edged sword,
Harper's Bible Dictionary: Pergamum: the capital of the Roman province of Asia. In the NT it is only mentioned here and in 1:11. It was known for its great library and its sculpture school.
Pergamum is the current town of Bergama, Turkey.

The sword: Pergamum was the city that the governor held court in and only the governor had the right of capital punishment. Some think therefore the mention of the sword is in contrast to that. Compare to 1:16 where the sharp two-edged sword is also described as coming out of the mouth of the one holding the seven stars.

2:13 "I know where you (s) dwell, there where the throne of satan (is), and you (s) did not deny (denied not) the faith of me, even in the days of Antipas, the witness of me, the faithful (one) of me, who was killed among you, here where the satan dwells.
Talbert: The throne of satan: There are several theories about this. A shrine to Asclepius (the Greek god of healing) was located there and it was a major site of worship of the Roman emperor. Pergamum was a beautiful city built on terraces on a steep mountain; at the top of the mountain stood a great altar of Zeus, chief of the gods. Any of these could have earned the label "throne of satan."

One author believed it to be the sanctuary of Asclepius because Asclepius had the serpent as his symbol. Antipas: proper names often retain the nominative case. If the description of him as "witness" is translated as "martyr" this could have been one of the earliest usages of the word in that sense. Antipas is the only "witness/martyr" mentioned in the seven letters. This is also the only mention of him in early Christian literature therefore we do not know how or for what reason he was killed. Compare this to 1:5 where Jesus is described with the same terms, except for "of me."
2:14 But I have against you (s) a few things that you (s) have there ones holding fast the teaching of Balaam, who was teaching Balak to throw/to place a stumbling block before the sons (children?) of Israel to eat things/food sacrificed to idols and to fornicate/commit fornication.
The teaching of Balaam: (see Numbers 22-24, 31:8, 16). The teaching of Balaam was considered the cause of the sins of the sons of Israel. The Jews believed Balaam to be a false prophet who seduced the people with false teachings. He encouraged them to take part in the sacrifices made to other gods to be able to participate in pagan society.

2:15 Thus you hve also you ones holding fast the teaching of the Nicolaitans likewise.
also: may be a reference to the Ephesians in 2:6. The teaching of the Nicolaitans = the teaching of Balaam. The Nicolaitans were a religious sect in Ephesus and in Pergamum. They may have been followers of Nicolaus of Antioch (Acts 6:5) and founders of libertine Gnosticism. Not much is actually known about them. (Harper's)

2:16 Repent! therefore, but if not, I am coming to you (s) quickly and I will make war/battle with them in (by?) the sword of the mouth of me.
Repent! just like the church at Ephesus who experienced similar sins. 2:5
Sword of the mouth: 1:16

2:17 The one having an ear, let him hear! what the (S)spirit is saying to the churches. To the overcoming/conquering one I will give him (a share/some?) of the secret/hidden/having been concealed manna, and I will give him a white small stone/pebble, and on the stone a new name having been written which no one knows except the receiving one.
Talbert: Overcoming one: Those who "resist assimilation."

manna: Some consider this to be a metaphor for eternal life. Others think that it is a reference to 2 Maccabees 2:4-8 refers to the ark (which contains manna) being hidden until the end times. Prigent : sees this as the eucharistic bread. He notes that on their (French) communion utensils is written the phrase "Eat the manna." He makes parallels between Moses "giving" of the manna in the wilderness and Jesus being the bread of life in John 6. He also references 1 Cor 10:3ff in which Paul compares Moses and Jesus. This manna will be our final nourishment.

Talbert: states that the white stone is a symbol of a new identity given by a deity. (Reference to the Hymn of Asclepius in which a devotee of the god has a vision in which the deity gives him a token bearing his new name.)

Prigent: the new name was "Christ" or "Lord". It refers to the name that believers bear indicating that we belong to Christ. This is especially differentiated from belonging the Caesar or (later in the book) belonging to the beast (13:17, 14:11)

(DM) In my opinion many of the numerous oval or circular magical gemstones could fit this description. I think that "psephos" could be only generally descriptive and not necessarily indicating a pebble in the strict sense. Have a look at the plates and descriptions of some of the basic corporal of these objects and see if you agree with me:

Campbell Bonner, Studies in Magical Amulets
A. Delatte, P. Derdchain, Les intailles magiques greco-egyptiennes
Hannah Philipp, Mira et Magica

The size and shape of these gemstones certainly fit a general description of "pebble." The stones are frequently inscribed with various magical names of power, such as IAO (the Greek spelling of the Tetragrammaton) Abrasax, Adonai, Ablanathanalba, etc. The color "white" is a bit of a problem. Most of them in fact are not white, but green or red jasper or hematite. A fair number, however, are crystalline, and this could fit the description white. For a few examples of the crystalline type see, Bonner's collection #234, 235, 237.

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Revelation 2:18-29 Class Discussions 3/24/2000

In the Harper Collins Study Bible, David Aune brings up an interesting observation about the letters to the angels of the seven churches. He states:
"The messages to the seven churches are not in the form of ancient letters but rather resemble the edicts and decrees issued by Persian kings and Roman emperors. Each proclamation consists of eight stereotypical features"

1. Destination
2. The command to write
3. The archaic "thus says" formula (these are the words of)
4. Titles (here, of Christ)
5. The I know narrative
6. Admonitions and exhortations
7. The proclamation formula (let anyone who has ears…)
8. The victory formula (whoever conquers…)

What difference would this make regarding the function of the letters? Is it important?

Comments for consideration This could reflect a sub-genre of the more general epistolary genre. The fifth feature above would be seen in the text to be written in the indicative mood, whereas the sixth feature would be seen in imperative mood.

Throughout this letter to Thyatira, there is a shift to whom this letter is written. Verses 19 and 20 are addressed to 2nd person singular, and verses 23 and 24 are addressed to 2nd person plural. Why the shift? To whom is this letter being written? (This goes back to our discussion on Friday the 3rd).


v. 18 And to the angel of the Thyatira church write: These things says the Son of God the One having the eyes as flame of fire and his feet like polished copper.

Note: this verse is the only reference to the term "Son of God" in Revelation.

-- "flame of fire" reference to Revelation 1.14 and Daniel 10.6
- The god, Tyrimnos, had been identified with the Greek sun-god, Apollo, and appears on the city's coins grasping the hand of the Roman emperor. Caird states that this comment is in direct opposition to the local imperial religion.
Roloff states that this phrase is a reference to Jesus' destructive powers against destroyers of the Church.


v. 19 I know your (sing) works and the love and the trust and the service and your (sing) patience, and your (sing) works the last things greater [than] the first things.
v. 20 But I have against you (sing) that you (sing) allow (tolerate, forgive?) the woman Jezabel, the one speaking of herself as a prophetess and teaches and deceives my slaves to commit sexual morality and to eat idol sacrifices.

Bousset sees this reference for the community as "my slaves" to be very odd.

Caird states that this woman was accepted on the grounds of her charismatic gifts as leader of the community; and since the charge against her so closely resembles that against the Nicolaitans of Pergamum, she may have been the leader of that movement also. He believes that this Jezebel figure was promoting polytheism, which at the time, would have meant that maybe her followers were worshiping both Christ and Caesar (or Tyrimnos). By calling her Jezebel, John is attempting to undermine her influence. The use of sexual morality (fornication- in some texts) means religious infidelity.

Interestingly, Roloff disputes Caird. He claims that there were no temples for the cult of Caesar in Thyatira.

v. 21 And I gave her time that she might change [her] mind, and she wants not to change her mind from her sexual immorality.
v. 22 Look, I throw her into bed and the ones committing adultery with her into great affliction, that they may change [their] mind from her works,
v. 23 and her children I will kill in death. And all the churches shall know I am the one searching kidneys and hearts, and I will give to you all each by the works of you (plural).
-- kidneys??? I could find nothing on this in my commentaries.

Comment for consideration: A possible explantion for the use of the term "kidneys" may be the Jewish tradition of relating the deeply felt commitments to be those from the visceral level --what today might be referred to as a "gut" level feeling.


v. 24 But, I say to you all, the ones remaining in Thyatira, as many as not have this teaching, whosoever did not know the deep things of the adversary, as they say, I throw not on you all another burden,
Caird suggests two possibilities:

-- Jezebel and followers became so confident in their baptisms that they believed they were protected from the onslaughts of Satan, so that they could touch pitch without being defiled and handle fire without being hurt. Caird claims that this belief was leading the church of Thyatira into impurity. Could this resemble the church at Corinth?
-- (There are scholars that believe they had problems believing in the resurrection because they argued that if one believes in immortality of the soul, then one does not need a resurrection. Immorality was acceptable in their viewpoint because the soul would not be harmed…)
-- The other possibility is that Jezebel and followers claimed to know the deep secrets of God (Gnosticism?) and that it is John who contemptuously retorts that their deep secrets are in fact the secrets of Satan; they claim that their policy of conformity introduces them into the secret places of the Most High, but in fact only gives them a deeper acquaintance with Satan.

v. 25 except, what you all have, hold until which I might come.
v. 26 And the One conquering and the One keeping until [the] completion [of] my works, I will give to him authority on the nations
v. 27 and he will shepherd them in rod iron as the ceramic pots are broken,
This phrasing is reminiscent of Psalm 2.9, Song of Solomon 17:23 & ff, and Rev 5:10.

Caird maintains that the Psalmist had looked forward to the day when God's Messiah would smash all resistance to God's kingly rule and assume authority over the nations. John sees this ancient hope transfigured in the light of the Cross. Pagan resistance will indeed be smashed, but God will use no other iron bar than the death of his Son…

v. 28 as also I have received from the Father of me, also I will give to him the star of the morning.

This phrase received a lot of attention by commentators, with quite a few variations in understanding:

  • Aune: a reference to the Babylonian "Ishtar"
  • Caird & Roloff: see this as a reference to Christ.
  • Prigent sees it as a reference to Venus, and God's domination over satan, and ties this back to John, giving it a Eucharistic allusion.
  • Metzger sees it as a metaphor for a gift.
  • Bousset sees this as a reference not to Christ, but from the ANE (not further specified).
  • Mounce sees this as a reference to Lucifer, and cites Isa 16:12.
  • Ford sees this as an OT reference connecting to Numbers 24:27.

v. 29 The one having ear let that one hear what the spirit says to the churches.

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Chapter Three


Revelation 3:1-6 Class Discussions 3/24/2000
3:1 And to the angel of the church in Sardesin write: These things says the one holding the seven spirits of God and the seven stars. I know your works that you have a name that you live but you are dead.
Roloff: "The Christian community, about whose origins we know nothing, appears to
have been in existence for some time because the same indications of second-generation
fatigue with respect to the life of faith, like those in Ephesus, are noticeable. The letter is
wholly one of rebuke." (p 57)

Roloff: "The church in Sardis presents the external image of being completely intact,
which explains its reputation as a vibrant church. But the gaze of the Lord goes deeper.
He examines its works, that is, the whole picture of its conduct as it emerges from the
various aspects of the church's life, and comes to the harsh judgment that the church, in
truth, is dead. (p 58)

3:2 Become being awake (vigilant) and strengthen the remains which were about to die, for I do not find your works having been completed before my God.
Boring: "Repentance is not a once-and-for-all act that brings one into the Christian
community but is the constant challenge to the community. It is not a matter of feeling
sorry in a religious mood about past misdeeds but reorientation to a new model of life
based on the gospel, the good news that God has already acted in Jesus for our salvation.
The call to repentance is thus not chiding but opportunity." (p 96)

Talbert (in "The Apocalypse") wrote that this is an historical reference to Sardis' past, when the Persians came in, attacked them and conquered the city while they slept.

3:3 Remember therefore how you have received and heard and keep and repent. If therefore you do not stay awake (vigilant), I will come like a thief and not you will know what hour I will come upon you.
Roloff: "The call to repentance makes such frequent allusion to the parable of the thief in
the night (Luke 12:39-40, Matt 24:43-44; cf. 1 Thess 5:2, 4), which originates from the
sayings source, that one could actually speak here of a paraphrase. The call to vigilance forms the climax of the parable." (p 58)

Class comment: This almost seems like a case of inter-Christian New Testament Midrash. Another reference could be Mark 13:34-37, with the call to stay awake. What other examples of a similar nature might we look at?

3:4 But you (singular) have a few names in Sardesin who did not defile their garments, and they will walk with me in white because worthy they are.
Roloff: "If the reference here is to a white baptismal cloth - a view with much in its favor
it would be quite concretely an allusion to the salvation received in baptism. Whoever is
lacking in the works that correspond to this new saving condition defiles the robe." (p 58)

Beale: links the soiling of garments to talk of idolatry.

Yarbro Collins:It is likely that the persons who "have not soiled their garments" is meant to be taken symbolically to mean those who have not fallen from their baptismal purity.

Mounce: sees this passage as not to be taken further than an allusion to the cloth of the city, as Sardis was known for making and dying of wool garments.

Ford: ties this in with Zechariah 3:3-5, and further states that the Essenes and Therapeutae were always clothed in white garments.

Comment in class:
In a source that MY had read, "people who were in soiled garments were removed from the list of citizens in Sardis."

3:5 The conquering one thus will be clothed in garments of white and not I will wipe out the name of him out of the Book of Life and I will declare the name of him before my father and before his angels
Roloff: "The names of all church members are recorded in the Book of Life, which,
according to Jewish thought (Dan. 12:1), contains the names of the righteous who are
destined for eternal life. However, only those who overcome, those who have been
obedient, will remain listed in this book; the names of the rest are expunged, so that they
fall under judgment (cf. 19:12, 15)." (p 59)

Boring: "This insistence on the importance of Christian action shows that even in his situation of persecution, threat, and expectation of the near end, John does not understand the Christian life to be simply passive waiting. The reference to ‘service' in 2:19 is more than incidental. John calls his churches to do more than endure; there is a ministry to be
performed in the meantime." (p 95)

3:6 The one having an ear let him hear what the spirit says to the churches.
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Revelation 3:7-13 Class Discussions 3/27/2000
3:7 And to the angel of the in Philadelphia Church write these things says the Holy One, the True One, the One holding the Key of David, the One opening and no one will shut and shutting and no one will open.

: The letter to Philadelphia also resembles that to Smyrna in that it is characterized exclusively with praise. The church neither requires reproach nor a summons to repent; it receives that which it alone needs--encouragement and support in conflict with the Jews. The message formula addresses directly the theme of this conflict. When Jesus calls Himself holy and true, He thereby claims for Himself attributes that in the OT are reserved for God (Isa 65:16). In the mouth of Jesus, this phrases takes on new meaning; it describes his full authority to decided irrevocably membership in Israel--the "house" of David--and thus, at the same time, membership in the kingdom of God. This description offers a complementary addition to 1:18--Jesus not only has the keys of death and Hades...but he also has the power of the key that provides entry into God's kingdom (cf. Matt. 16:19).

(Class comments) Note that the epithets point to grace.Also, why might the author have used "having" instead of "being", when the one being referred to is Jesus Christ? - Is the "key" the promise? Was this possibly written as a confrontation to gnosticism?

3:8 I know your works. Behold, I have given before you a door having been opened which no one is able to shut it because you have so little power and kept my word and did not deny the name of me.
Roloff The description of the situation here, characterized entirely by comforting encouragement, immediately takes up this new image of the power of the key. Jesus has opened the door to the kingdom of God to this church, which has been faithful to him with its limited powers. The image of the open door here is completely different than in 1 Cor 16:9; 2 Cor 2:12 or Acts 14:27 where it denotes a missionary possibility.

3:9 Behold, I may give the synagogue of Satan--the declaring themselves Jews and are not but lying ones. Behold I will make them come and they will worship before the feet of you and they will know that I loved you.
Roloff: With the same words that are in 2:9, the claim of the Jews to be the assembly (synagogue) of God and the people of God is rejected as false... When mention is made of "worship" before the feet of the church, this assumes full participation of the church in the kingdom of Christ, and sitting with him on his throne (v21)

3:10 becasue you have kept the word concerning the endurance of me, I also will keep you from the hour of trial being about to come upon the inhabited world to try the ones dwelling on the earth.
Roloff: Because the church remained faithful to the word of Jesus that challenged it to endure (cf. 1:9), it is not promised that in the end-time trials imposed on the whole world, it is to remain protected--not in the sense of an external exemption, but of an ability to stand firm in the faith (cf. Matt 6).

3:11 I am coming quickly. Hold what you have that no one takes the crown of you.
Roloff: In spite of this promise, the church remains called in the brief time until the coming of the Lord to constant vigilance and alertness: but it is not to forfeit what it has received, namely the present salvation of communion with Christ (1:6), which is depicted in the crown of victory.

3:12 The one overcoming I will make him a pillar in the temple of the God of me and out never may he go any more. I will write upon him the name of the God of me and the name of the city of the God of me the new Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from the God of me and the name of me the new one.
Ford: Sees this as a reference back to the King's Pillars in the Temple of Solomon. Note: the connection and rationale for that connection is not at all clear - it would appear that Ford has a tendency to try to find an OT reference to everything in Revelation, whether or not she can justify any significance in doing so.

Krodel sees this as a reference to joining Peter, James and John as the pillars of the temple (Gal 2:9).

3:13 the one having an ear let him hear what the spirit says to the churches.
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Revelation 3:14-22 Class Discussions 3/27 2000
One overall item of note, grammatically, is that there is no shift from singular "you" to plural "you all" in this letter as in some of the other letters.

3:14 And to the heavenly messenger of the church in Laodiceia write: These things says the Amen, the Witness, the Faithful and True One, the Beginning of the Creation of God.
Roloff : Associates the "the Amen" in the message formula as the same OT designation of God in Isa. 65:16, which the RSV translates as "the God of Truth, also referred to in 3:7. The remaining two parts (the Faithful and True One, the Beginning of the Creation of God) refer back to 1:5. Roloff also goes on to say that it resembles the tone in Colossians (Col. 1:15-20), and therefore apparently is attempting to counter the separation of Christ from the created world. (This supports Roloff's contention that Laodiceia is also involved in some sort of Gnosticism, even though no heretical references are made with respect to this church.) He also points out that Laodiceia and Colossae are only 9 miles apart. (64)

Yarbro Collins: Notes that the letter to Laodiceia most closely resembles that to Sardis. She also makes note of the reference back to 1:5 of "Faithful and True One."(30)

Beale: suggests that John is using Old Testament references in revelations, specifically relating to three Septuagint versions.

3:15 "I know your works(,) that you[are] neither cold nor hot; would that you were [in A Grammatical Analysis of the Greek New Testament p748, the verbal particle "ophelon" is described as introducing a wish not likely to be realized] cold or hot
! Roloff: Notes that this lack of cold or hot shows by indirect inference that the church here is not grasping the significance of Christian message.(64)

3:16 Thus, because you are lukewarm (Gr. "chliaros") and neither hot nor cold I am about to cough you up (Gr. "emesai" [to cough or vomit up as when ill] not "ptuo" [to spit]), out of my mouth
, While neither Roloff nor Yarbro Collins make note of the "cough/vomit" as opposed to "spit", it seems significant to me. It brings to mind being sickened, as opposed to being angry. (JPM)

3:17 because you say 'I am rich and have become wealthy (verb, not adjective) and have need with respect to nothing,' and you do not know that you are the wretched-and-miserable-and-begging-and-blind-and-naked-one.
Roloff: Contrasts this last series of adjectives at the end with the satisfied self image of the Laodiceians, suggesting that they are wretched, etc. before the Lord.(64)

3:18 I counsel you to purchase from (alongside? - Liddell-Scott indicates that "para" plus the genitive can be thought of as "from") me gold having been fired out of fire in order that you may become rich, and white garments in order that the shame of your (singular) nakedness may be clothed and may not be manifest, and to anoint (Gr. "egchrisai" - rub/smear/apply?) with respect to eye-salve your eyes in order that you may see.
Roloff: Sees this call to repentance as being couched in terms of things to be purchased as an allusion to the commercial mentality of the Laodiceians. He describes the things to be gained as gold–true wealth which only he can give; white garments–salvation which only comes form him; and eye-salve–which grants spiritual sight.(65)

Yarbro Collins: Differs in that she considers the gold refined by fire as indicating a call to bear witness to the truth as Jesus did, knowing full well that such testimony leads to suffering. Further, the white garments and eye-salve are fruits of suffering in God's cause. (30,31)

3:19 I reprove (Gr. "elegcho" ) and discipline (Gr. "paideuo") as many as if I love. Be eager (pres. sing. imp. hapax form [occurs only once in the entire body of Greek texts], "zeleue"), therefore, and repent (aor. imp.)!
Question: What other term is used in Greek for "to be eager"?

Roloff: Points out that the church receives a rebuke that comes of love as opposed to judgement. He refers to Prov. 3:12 and Heb. 12:6 as other examples of God teaching and punishing those whom he loves.(65)

3:20 Behold, I have stood ("and am standing" perf. for present?) upon the door and I knock (Gr. "krouo"); if anyone hears my voice and opens the door [also] I shall enter into toward that one and I shall dine with that one and that one with me.
Roloff: Refers us to the parable of the servants awaiting their master (Luke 12:35-38) and points out how the Laodiceians are being told they CAN anticipate the coming of the Lord not in fear of judgement, but in expectation of participating in the feast.(65)

Yarbro Collins: Notes that the highly metaphorical message here can and has been treated in a variety of ways by Christians, from a call to be prepared for the immanent return of Christ to a reference to the Eucharist and the variety of forms in which Christ's presence is made known to us. (31)

3:21 The One Triumphing I shall give to that one to sit with me in (on?) my throne, as I have triumphed and sat (down) with my Father in (on?) his throne"
. Roloff: Notes that this final letter to the churches ends with a summarization of the central promise of salvation, using an expression of Christ from Luke 22:30b and Matt. 19:28.

Yarbro Collins: In contrast, says that there is no conclusion to the letter! (How she can read that in, when verses 21 and 22 seem to be conclusions.)

3:22 The one having an ear let that one hear what the s(S)pirit says to the churches!

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