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Ver. 18. Thyatira.] This was a considerable city in the road from Pergamos to Sardis". Lydia, who at Philippi received the Apostles Paul and Silas, was of this place; and being a person of consequence, and divinely called to receive the Christian Religions, probably became the cause of establishing a Church here. So that, on this account, as well as because this address of our Lord is directed to the Church of Thyatira, we can give no credence to the notion which was holden by some persons in Epiphanius's time, (300 years after the date of this epistle,) that the church in this city was founded after the time of Saint John's seeing this vision. No Christians are at this time reported to be found in the remains of this city. Ib. Eyes as a flame of fire, &c.] Thus the Son of God appeared in ch. i. 14, where see the note, and the meaning of the word x2Awoxièavov. Ver. 19. Thy last works to be more than the first.] This is great commendation, and the reverse of the fault for which the Ephesians are reproved, (v. 4.) and of that lamentable state, described in Saint Luke, xi. 26. 2 Pet. ii. 20. Tz saxolz ×sigova rāv woolöv, the last state worse than the first. Wer. 20. Jezebel.] This might be literally, a wo
* Strabo and Pliny. + Acts xvi. 14, 7??(172
man of great rank and influence at Thyatira, who seduced the Christians to intermix idolatry and heathen impurities with their religion. Such seducers were in the church in Saint Paul's time *. And the history of Queen Jezebel, that eminent patroness of idolatry, as delivered in the Books of Kings, shews that such a woman would be fitly represented under that name. But there is another sense in which it also may be applied; for, in symbolical language, by a woman is signified a city, a nation, a community, a church f. This passage is so understood by Venerable Bede, who explains the term Jezebel to meant a synagogue of false apostles pretending to be Christian; and it may signify a sect of seducers, like that described in verses 14 and 15 of this chapter; for the same doctrines are ascribed to both. In the comment of Andreas Bishop of Caesarea, written about the year 500, and containing the matter, as the writer professes, of more ancient commentators on the Apocalypse, of Irenaeus, Papias, Methodius, &c. it is said, that the Nicolaitan heresy is here called Jezebel figuratively $, on account of its impiety and intemperance. See also the note below, ver. 24. Ver. 20. Fornication.] The edict of the Apostles, (Acts xv.) forbids to the Gentile converts that which is here mentioned: 1. IIogysia, fornication, under which word are comprehended all those carnal impurities, which were common among the heathens, and even made a part of their sacred rites. 2. Eiðw×209ta, Axlaywuara row eiðwawv, meats offered unto idols; to partake of which, when declared to be such, was to partake of the worship. The two sins were nearly connected together in the heathen institutions, and introduced each other.
* 2 Cor. vi. 14, &c. + See note below, v. 22.
f Synagogam pseudo-apostolicam, qua se Christianam fingit.
$ Tootixws wouzon, Isozo, 3.2 ray ovaziosia, zzi agoyuzy. worship.
Ver. 22. Adultery.] In scriptural language, nations and cities, and communities are frequently expressed under the emblems of women, virgins, &c.; nor has this mode of representation been confined to the ancient or Eastern nations. In our times and country, Britannia is personified, and is seen, as a woman upon our coins; as are Judaea, Rome, &c. &c. oil those of ancient days *. The nation of Israel, or the church of God under the Old Testament, is constantly represented under this symbol. In the times of her purity, she is a virgin; in her happy prospects, a bride; in her impure connections, a harlot. And, conformably to this figure, the great Being who especially protects her, was pleased to represent himself, as the husband who espouseth her, and who, for her wickedness, divorces her f. For, by a continuance of the metaphor, she is described as “treacherously departing from her husband,” committing adultery with stocks, stones, and idolst; but after chastisement and repentance, she is restored to favour and matrimonial distinction, and becomes fruitful in children, the multitudes of the Gentiles S. The reader may see this imagery produced into allegory, in the xvith chapter of Ezekiel. Agreeably to this, in the New Testament, our Lord, the head
* See the plates in Montfaucon, or in Calmet's Dictionary.
+ Jer. xxxi. 32. Is. xlix. 20, &c. liv. 5. lxii. 1, 5. Hos. ii. 2. Hs. liv. 7.
t Jer. iii. 8, 9. 20. Ezek. xvi. 22. xxiii. 37.
$ Hos. ii. 7. 16. 19. Is. liv. 6.
of the church, is represented as the bridegroom, and her apostacy from him is called adultery". Now, in the passage before us, adultery may be taken either in a literal, or in this its figurative sense; accordingly as we understand Jezebel to represent, either literally a woman, or figuratively a sect. If taken in the figurative meaning, (which seems most probable,) then her sons, to be slain, are the followers of her religious institutions; and they, who commit adultery with her, are the Christians, who are seduced' to her doctrines and practices, from the duty they owe to their Lord. Ver. 22. Bed.] The place which had been the scene of her transgression, is to be that of her punishment. Taken literally, it will imply the pains of a sick-bed ; and to be tormented in bed, where men seek rest, is peculiarly grievous f. Or, in a figurative sense, to adopt blasphemous and impure doctrines and practices, may, and probably will, occasion great tribulation to an apostatizing church. Ver. 23. I will slay with death.] This is a Hebraism, denoting, by its repetition, the certainty of the event denounced. The equivalent expression in Genesis ii. 17, is translated, “thou shalt surely die.” Sickness and death are represented by Saint Paul, as punishments inflicted on the perverters of holy ordinances in the apostolical times :: or, Qavato, may here signify, as it does evidently in ch. vi. 8, pestilence; and thus express the mode of death by which these rebellious servants of God were to be slain.
* Matt. xxv. 2 Cor. xi. 2. Rom. vii. 4. Eph. v. 23, &c. Gal. iv.
26, &c. + Daubuz. See Psalm vi. 3. xli. 3. Job xxxii. 19. Is. xxviii. 20. ; 1 Cor. xi. 30.
Ver. 24. The depths of Satan.] Our interpretation of the word Jezebel in a figurative sense, seems to be confirmed. She had a doctrine, and taught deep mysterious knowledge, calling it perhaps with Saint Paul, Ta Saba rs Oss, the deep things of God", but it is declared to be ra €284 r8 Xarava, the depths of Satan. Traces of such philosophizing sects are to be seen in the writings of the apostles, and of the apostolical fathers. And the Gnostics, who dealt eminently in these €ahn, thus afterwards entered and corrupted the church.
Ver. 25. Until I come.] See note, ch. i. 3. s
Ver. 27. Power over the Nations.] The expres- ...// sions in this passage have near resemblance to those “ of the second Psalm, which are undoubtedly pro- (*** yo phetic of Christ f. He is there declared, “a king 4-c. 4 “over the nations, even unto the ends of the earth.” co He shall “rule over the nations with an iron rod,” 2. or sceptre, “and break them to pieces, as a pot-o so ter's vesself.” But our Lord informed his disciples, / , , , that “he appoints unto them a kingdom, even as /... . . “his Father had appointed unto him $;” and the pro- ", , . .
mise is continued by them to their successors in the Z o -".
* I Cor. ii. 10. + See Acts iv. 24.
t In this passage in the Septuagint, the word wouziya is used, as well as in the Apocalypse. And the ancient Hebrew text probably agreed with it. (See Reeves's Collation of Hebrew and Greek texts, Ps. ii. 9.) This character, of shepherd of the people, was anciently attributed to good kings. Such was the wouny Azaw of Homer. By such a character, did the great Cyrus desire to be distinguished. (Xenoph. Cyrop. lib. i.) It is frequently applied in Scripture to the Messiah, and occurs in that sense four times in the Apocalypse. So ‘P2C3os is properly translated sceptre, as in Heb. i. 8. See Schleusner, in voc.
§ Luke xxii. 29. John xxi. 16. Acts xx. S. 1 Pet. iii. 2.