Rev 2; 3: Ease of interecclesial communication in first
century: 1Th 1:8,9; Col 1:4,7,8; 2Pe 3:15,16: "Under the empire epistolary
communication was as easy as now, though speed not quite so great. Poss... Peter
received every one of Paul's letters within 1-2 mos of publication" (Begg, ICC
on Peter, cit Xd 119:344).
Rev 2; 3 in the larger context:
(A) Each letter has its own OT context, sometimes extensive:
(1) Ephesus: Eden (eg, the tree of life in the midst of the paradise); (2)
Smyrna: Joseph (cast into prison... who was dead and is alive); (3) Pergamos:
Balaam; (4) Thyatira: Jezebel; (5) Sardis: Joshua son of Josedech (eg, clothed
in white raiment); Noah (eg, they shall walk with me, not blotted out); (6)
Philadelphia: Eliakim (the key of David: Isa 22); and (7) Laodicea: the conquest
(B) Each letter has its own Mat 13 parable ("he that has an
ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the ecclesias"): (1) Ephesus: Sower;
(2) Smyrna: Tares (eg, false Jews); (3) Pergamos: Mustard seed (doctrine of the
Nicolaitans; (4) Thyatira: Leaven (Jezebel corrupting the ecclesia); (5) Sardis:
Hid treasure; (6) Philadelphia: Pearl (eg, new Jerusalem); (7) Laodicea: Dragnet
(cast out what is offensive).
(C) The letters introduce prototypes of the major characters
in the prophecy which follows: Satan (Rev 12:9, 20:2,7) in Rev 2:9,13,24; 3:9;
that old serpent called the devil (Rev 12:12, 20:10) in Rev 2:10; the false
prophet (Rev 16:13; 19:20; 20:19) Balaam in Rev 2:14; the great whore (Rev
17:1,15,16; 19:2) Jezebel in Rev 2:20; the beasts which terrorize the nations
(Rev 6; 9; 13; 17) -- the Nicolaitans in Rev 2:6,15; liars, those who love lies
(Rev 21:8,27; 22:15), ie false apostles / Jews in Rev 2:2; 3:9.
EPHESUS: Nearest of all to Patmos; John's own ecclesia.
(The "angel" = Timothy?).
"Ephesus was the metropolis of the Lydian Asia, and was
considered one of the best and most glorious cities of those times. It was the
greatest emporium of Asia proper, and was styled one of the eyes of Asia, Smyrna
being the other. It is called by the Turks Ajasaluk, or the Temple of the Moon,
from the magnificent structure formerly dedicated to Diana, the goddess of the
Ephesians. The whole town [now] is nothing but a habitation for herdsmen and
farmers, living in low and humble cottages of dirt, sheltered from the
extremities of weather by the mighty masses of ruinous walls, the pride and
ostentation of former days, and the emblem in those of the frailty of the world,
and the transient vanity of human glory" (Eur).
"Paul introduced the Truth to Ephesus (Acts 18:19). After he
left, Apollos visited the city, proclaiming the doctrine of John the Baptist
(Acts 18:24) But he was far behind the times. Paul's friends, Aquila and
Priscilla, hearing him in the synagogue, formed an acquaintance with him and
"expounded unto him the way of God more perfectly" (Acts 18:26). Having been
thus set right by them, he went to work in the right direction, and mightily
convinced the Jews in public, showing them by the Scriptures that Jesus was the
Paul later visited the city again (Acts 19) and the Ecclesia
gradually grew under his ministration. On his last journey, he called for the
elders of the Ecclesia, to give them final words of exhortation (Acts 20:17-32).
Timothy was also sent to Ephesus (1Ti 1:3) to restrain certain brethren who were
causing trouble and to put other matters in order. These references to Ephesus,
together with the Epistle to the Ephesians, show how the Truth had flourished in
that city" (ApEp).
HOLDS: Holds firmly: ie, has dominion over. All 7
include Sardis and Laodicea. Cp Joh 10:28: "None can pluck... "
WALKS: As God walks in midst of camp (cit Deu 23:14;
Lev 26:11,12; 24:2-4).
I KNOW YOUR DEEDS: Cit Isa 66:18, ref to judgment (cp v
18 with Mat 25:32). Christ's intuitive knowledge of character.
DEEDS... HARD WORK... PERSEVERENCE: Cp 1Th 1:3: "work
of faith... labor of love... patience of hope".
YOU HAVE TESTED THOSE... : Ecclesial discipline (1Jo
4:1). Bear with weak bre, but not with false ones (Gal 6:2).
WHO CLAIM TO BE APOSTLES BUT ARE NOT: Prob travelling
preachers (2Jo 1:7; 3Jo 1:3-5), claiming underserved authority: cp 2Co 8:23;
11:13-15; 2Pe 2:1; Act 20:30; 1Ti 1:20; 2Ti 2:17. These did not claim to be
apostles of the Lord (since there were only 13 such), but they did claim to be
apostles of the church (2Co 8:23 RV, Phi 2:25 RV). In those days it would be a
simple matter to appear in an ecclesia, claiming to be fully accredited from
some other unknown ecclesia. Such individuals made a lot of trouble for Paul.
The same problem arose elsewhere also: 2Pe 2:1; 1Jo 3:6-11. Paul foretold it in
Ephesus: Acts 20:30. According to Tertullian John rebuked an elder of an Asian
church for writing an epistle in the name of Paul. Later, this kind of thing
became a common phenomenon. But in this v the immediate reference may well be to
Hymenaeus, Alexander, Philetus (1Ti 1:20; 2Ti 2:17), or the
FALSE: Sw Rev 21:8.
FIRST LOVE: = Wisdom (Pro 4:6,7), or earlier zeal (2Co
11:2,3), or Christ (Act 19:10; 20:30). Christ had predicted that the love of
many would grow cold (Mat 24:11,12). Cp Jer 2:2; Eze 16:8-15.
REMEMBER: Similar messages to Ephesus: Eph 2:10,11; Act
REMOVE... FROM ITS PLACE: This had happened to
Jerusalem (Jer 52:19) and would happen again. The wild olive should not boast
against the root (Rom 11:17).
This threat would have special force after AD 70, when the
temple was destroyed and the seven-branched candlestick was "moved out of its
place" to Rome. Cp the force of Jer 7:12. Cp also Mat 25:28, 29 and 21:41; Rom
11:17. These words are remarkably apt because (a) v 1; (b) Ephesus was known as
"the Light of Asia" (Pliny); (c) the city had already been moved out of its
place by the silting up of the river estuary and the consequent shift of the
NIKOLAITANS: Balaam planned to corrupt Israel, by
idolatry and fornication (Num 25:1,2... ; 31:16). This danger was a normal part
of Roman "civilization": Temple prostitution, banquets and orgies in temples
with all foods offered to idols (cp Act 15:20; 1Co 6:12-20; 1Co 8; 10:14-33; Rev
14:4). The argument of Balaam: 'Since God has blessed, how can Moab poss curse?'
The "Balaam-argument" to Christians: 'Since we have grace thru Christ, let us
sin the more -- that grace might abound.' "Balaam" = "waster of the people". Cp
"Nikolaitans" = "conquerors of the people". Both names for same class of people
-- one Jewish, the other Greek in emphasis.
WHICH I ALSO HATE: Servants are praised for hating (Psa
101:3; 119:104; 139:21,22).
Note that each of the 7 promises (to the 7 ecclesias) is
repeated later in the Book.
HE WHO HAS AN EAR, LET HIM HEAR: Used by Christ
elsewhere (Mat 11:15; 13:9,43; Mar 4:23; 7:16; Luk 14:35; Rev 13:9).
THE SPIRIT: = Christ (Act 13:2).
THE CHURCHES: Plural: Thus each letter is for every
church -- then and now!
TO HIM WHO OVERCOMES: "Overcomes" = "nikao" (cp
Nikolaitans: vv 6,15,26). A common theme of all of John's writings: Joh 16:33;
1Jo 2:13,14; 4:4; 5:4,5; Rev 12:11; 17:14; 21:7.
THE TREE OF LIFE: This granted life eternal (Gen 3:22).
It was denied the posterity of Adam, but will be made available to the "seed" of
the second Adam (cp Isa 53:10; 1Co 15:45). Thus the first and the last books of
the Bible are joined as a bridge, the former showing how things happened, the
latter showing how it will end. Eden will be restored. The 2nd Adam will be
united in marriage to the 2nd) Eve (2Co 11:2; Rev 19:7) and they will be "as
one" in the paradise of God (Gen 2:23; John 17: 21). "To eat of the Tree of Life
is to be an unfading leaf, an immortal possessor of the glory, honour and
incorruptibility of the Kingdom which the God of heaven will set up in the Age
to come" (Eur). The saints are likened to trees in Paradise: cp Psa 1; Rev
PARADISE: This is a Persian word for a garden which the
Holy Land -- the special inheritance of the saints -- will become -- cp Isa
"Forty-five miles north of Ephesus, Smyrna was an influential
city of Ionia, and is still a place of some importance. It is situated on the
Archipelago in Asia Minor, and has a very fine harbour; it is also of prominence
in Greek Catholicism, which has established it as a metropolitan see.
"There is no special notice of Smyrna in the NT apart from the
reference in the Apocalypse. The gospel was probably introduced to the city by
Paul during his tree years' residence in Ephesus. The ecclesia must have been a
healthy community spiritually, for Christ speaks of it in terms of commendation
and encouragement. The celebrated Polycarp (c AD 167) was associated with the
Smyrnean Ecclesia, and it was visited by Ignatius in the year 107 on his way to
Rome, whither he was sent by order of Trajan, 'to be thrown to the wild beasts
for the entertainment of the people'. While at Smyrna, he wrote a letter of
advice to the ecclesia at Ephesus.
"Time made its inroads into the Ecclesia in Smyrna, and
gradually apostasy asserted itself, until the Truth faded from view. But that
unhappy condition was not the state of the Ecclesia when Christ directed this
WHO DIED AND CAME BACK TO LIFE AGAIN: The city
practically died out for 400 years, and then revived remarkably. A prominent
feature of local religion was death and resurrection of "god"
AFFLICTIONS: Persecutions (v 10).
POVERTY: Expropriation of property.
YET YOU ARE RICH: Ct Rev 3:17. See Jam 2:5; Mat
6:19,20; Luk 12:21; 2Co 6:10; 8:9.
SLANDER: Gr "blasphemia".
THOSE WHO SAY THEY ARE JEWS: The Jews in Smyrna even
broke the Sabbath to help in the burning of Polycarp -- AD 147 (WRev
AND ARE NOT: Rom 2:28,29; Phi 3:2,4; Mat 3:9; Rom
A SYNAGOGUE OF SATAN: The use of the word "synagogue"
strongly suggests a Jewish character to this "satan"/adversary. Jewish believers
who still held a strong allegiance to the LM; Judaizers? Whereas "Satan" (Hebrew
word) suggests Jewish opposition to the believers, "diabolos/devil" of v 10
(Greek word) suggests Gentile opposition.
THE DEVIL: The Jews (Satan: v 9), thru false
accusations before the Roman civil authorities (devil!) (Act 17:6,7; 24:5,6),
succeeded in having Christians cast into prison.
"Devil" sig false accusers: who would cast true believers into
prison and who were persecuting the Ecclesia. The civil authorities of Rome (cp
2Ti 2:26; Eph 6: 11).
TEN DAYS: Period of testing for Daniel and 3
companions, during which they were deprived of king's meat (related to
idolatry): Dan 1:12,14. Perhaps a ref here to separation from general society
and commerce of "world". Or... 10 days = a very short while (as Gen
(CH) "A period of intense persecution broke out against the
Christians during the years 110-120 AD under the direction of the Emperor
Trajan. He tried to stamp out the growing Christian communities, and ordered his
officers to repress them with every severity. The celebrated letter of Pliny, in
which he records the hopelessness of diverting Christians from their beliefs no
matter how severe he persecuted them, was written at this time"
BE FAITHFUL, EVEN TO THE POINT OF DEATH: A persecuting,
violent death. Smyrna took its name from the local trade in myrrh -- used to
AND I WILL GIVE YOU THE CROWN OF LIFE: "Round the crest
of the hill at the back of the city was a line of fine buildings known as 'the
crown' of Smyrna. Christ promised something more majestic, more enduring. It was
also a Smyrnean practice to present a crown to the high priest of Dionysus at
the end of his term of office. Several epitaphs include the title 'crownbearer.'
But what a flimsy honour compared with what Christ offers here!"
HE WHO OVERCOMES: See Rev 2:7n.
THE SECOND DEATH: A judicial death, after the first or
natural death. The death of the rejected, at the Judgment seat of
Appropriate after v 8. "The Smyrnean persecutors will pass
through death to death, but these faithful will pass through death to
PERGAMUM: "Pergamos was the name of a kingdom as well
as of a city. The kingdom was one of the four that developed out of Alexander's
Empire, referred to in Dan 8:8,22. We read that 'out of one of them came forth a
little horn' (v 9) which the angel's subsequent explanation identifies with the
Roman power. Pergamum was the one through which Rome came to power in the
"Attalus, king of Pergamos, died in 138 BC and was succeeded
by his nephew Philometer who governed the kingdom in a most pernicious and
extravagant manner. He was scarcely seated upon the throne before he stained it
with the blood of his nearest relations, and the best friend of his family.
Throughout his reign he vented his ferocity and barbarity in all
"Previous to his death in 133 BC, he made a will, by which he
appointed the Roman people his heirs. The principle article was expressed in
these terms, 'Let the Roman people inherit all my effects.' They were not slow
to take possession, and by the sword compelled the people to submit, reducing
the one-time kingdom of Attalus into a province of Rome called Asia, in which
were found the seven ecclesias. Pergamos was the former capital of the kingdom,
and played an important part in the fulfillment of Dan 8.
"Little is known of the ecclesia apart from what we read here,
but it was apparently the headquarters of a developing apostasy"
"An intellectual city, with a huge library. It gave its name
to 'parchment.' Centre of Roman administration for the province and of the state
religion (Emperor worship), hence v 13. Centre also of worship of Aesculapius,
god of healing -- his symbol a serpent. Temple prostitution was rampant here,
more even than at other centres of idolatry" (WRev).
YOU REMAIN TRUE TO MY NAME: Cp 1Pe 4:14,16 -- written
in reign of Nero.
ANTIPAS: Or "Antipanton" = the one set over against the
many. One who followed the example of Christ, "the faithful witness" (Rev 1:5).
Possibly some prominent Christian who had already suffered at the hands of the
MY FAITHFUL WITNESS: Examples of faithfulness in
service: Samuel (1Sa 3:20); David (1Sa 22:14); the temple overseers (2Ki 12:15);
the workers (2Ch 34:12); Hananiah (Neh 7:2); Abraham (Neh 9:8); the treasurers
(Neh 13:13); Daniel (Dan 6:4); Timothy (1Co 4:17); Epaphras (Col 1:7); Tychicus
(Col 4:7); Onesimus (Col 4:9); Paul (1Ti 1:12); Moses (Heb 3:2,5); Gaius (3Jo
1:5); Jesus Christ (Rev 1:5); Antipas (Rev 2:13).
Cp Luk 16:10; 2Ch 31:12.
THE TEACHINGS OF BALAAM: "The doctrine of Balaam
involves a careful study of Num 25 and related Scriptures. Its essence is in Num
25:1. The plan to corrupt Israel by idolatry and its associated unholy alliances
was Balaam's (Num 31:16). It involved not only the worship of Baal-Peor (a form
of sun-worship; hence v 4), but also ritual fornication (vv 2,3 RV mg, 8 and Hos
9:10), belief in the immortality of the soul (Psa 106:28) and spiritualism (Deu
32:16,17), and orgiastic feasting in the presence of the 'god'. The situation
demanded drastic discipline, calling for loyalty to God even at the expense of
severity to one's own kith and kin (vv 5,7). Eli in later years failed to supply
this discipline when the same evil flourished and thus his line lost the
high-priesthood (1Sa 2:22; 3:13). Because the earlier Phinehas was prompt to
apply discipline in similar circumstances, God made with his house an
everlasting covenant. This danger was a normal part of the 'civilization' of the
Roman Empire in NT times. Temple 'virgins' were recruited in hundreds. Temple
prostitution was as respectable as going to church or political meetings today.
Public banquets and special celebrations such as birthdays were commonly
arranged in the pagan temples, so that each course of the meal was a kind of
votive offering to the god. These facts explain the tremendous emphasis in the
NT against fornication and eating food offered to idols -- the two outstanding
features of the Baal-Peor transgression (Acts 15:20; 1Co 6:12-20; 10:14-33; all
of 1Co 8; Col 3:5 -- this word 'covetousness' is used several times in the NT
for coveting a woman; 1Pe 4:3,4; 2Pe 2... 1Jo 5:21). Rev 14:4 makes utter
nonsense until it is read as a reference to temple prostitution. Paraphrase:
'they have not indulged in temple fornication because they are lifelong servants
of another god, the holy God of heaven, and must serve Him in His
"But what was the doctrine of Balaam? It was the argument:
'These wonderful prophecies of blessing which I have been guided to pronounce
concerning Israel (Num 22, 23, 24) are bound to come true. How then can anything
which you do interfere with what is the plan of the Almighty? Therefore by all
means indulge yourselves in all kinds of illicit enjoyment. Since God has
blessed, what curse can come to Israel from Moab?'
"This Antinomianism [the doctrine that salvation is on the
basis of 'faith' alone, with no regard to morality!] was a serious danger in the
early church In Corinth; 'meats for the belly and the belly for meats' was the
slogan (caustically quoted by Paul), meaning: 'God has made the body with
certain functional powers. Then can it be wrong to use the body in these ways?'
But 1Co 6:12,13 shows that it was fornication which was being justified. Cp also
the emphasis in Rom 6:1,15; 3:8; 1Jo 3:3,7; Jude 4, which show that the argument
sometimes took the form: 'Since we have forgiveness (grace) through the blood of
Christ, the more we sin the more sin will be forgiven, and thus the more God
will be magnified!' Obviously this argument is wrong..." (WRev).
TO ENTICE... TO SIN: To put a stumblingblock
(skandalon). Lit "that part of trap on which bait is laid" (Joss 22:17;
... As in Ephesus (v 6) and Thyatira (v 20). Cp v 14
Balaam was withstood by the sword of angel (Num 22:31) and
slain by sword of Israel (Num 31:8).
TO HIM WHO OVERCOMES: See Rev 2:7n.
HIDDEN MANNA: Christ is the bread of life (Joh 6);
believers are all part of the one body, or the one bread, which is Christ. See
Exo 16:15,32-34: " 'Take an omer of manna and keep it for the generations to
come, so they can see the bread I gave you to eat in the desert when I brought
you out of Egypt.' So Moses said to Aaron, 'Take a jar and put an omer of manna
in it. Then place it before the LORD to be kept for the generations to come.' As
the LORD commanded Moses, Aaron put the manna in front of the Testimony, that it
might be kept." To be kept, or preserved, forever in the presence of God sym
immortality for Christ and his saints. Cp Psa 78:24.
But if it were always in the Holy of Holies "before the Lord,"
the manna would never be seen at all. So perhaps on the Day of Atonement the
High Priest brought forth the golden pot (Heb 9:4) of manna at the time when he
blessed the people in the name of the Lord, and showed them the manna. Jesus
refers to this in John 6:49,50. The other manna corrupted, but the hidden manna
did not, and so becomes a fit symbol of eternal life in Christ. And as this
manna was brought forth on the Day of Atonement, so the fullness of eternal life
will be bestowed in the Day when sin is done away, when the High Priest Jesus
returns from the Divine Presence to bless the people in the name of the Lord
(Heb 9:28; cp Col 3:3, Rev 11:19).
A WHITE STONE: "It was the custom, in the days of the
Apostles, to vote in judicial trials with either a white or black pebble; the
former for acquittal and the latter for condemnation, From this ancient custom
there has arisen the saying that one has been 'black-balled'... A white stone
was also the symbol of victory in the Grecian games. Thus, in the Apocalypse the
white stone represents victory and acquittal at the Judgement Seat"
Additionally, "an allusion to Urim and Thummim. These were
small objects (stones of some kind -- diamonds?) hidden in the pouch formed by
the breastplate of the High Priest (the idea that the Urim and Thummim were the
12 jewels upon the breastplate is entirely without supporting evidence).
Procedure when asking counsel of the Lord was to come before the High Priest and
put a question to be answered Yes, or No. The High Priest drew the divine lot
and thus gave decision" (WRev).
A NEW NAME: Names of 12 tribes were written in 2 stones
of breastplate (Exo 28:9,21). Apostles were sometimes given new names:
Simon/Peter, James and John/Boanerges, Saul/Paul. Zion/Jerusalem receives a new
name in Isa 62:2,4: "Hephzibah", "my delight is in her". The new name of Isa
65:15,16 is "Amen" (cp Rev 3:14) -- ie, the Truth.
"The dramatic circumstances which led to the formation of the
ecclesia in Thyatira are revealed in Acts 16. Paul, at Philippi, met Lydia, who
was from Thyatira, and perceiving that she was a devout woman, engaged her in
conversation upon the Truth. Shortly afterwards she was baptised. Lydia
doubtless took the gospel back to Thyatira, and, 'with her household', formed
the nucleus of the ecclesia that was established in that city.
Further impetus was given to the work of the Truth in this
place when Paul visited Ephesus, for he continued disputing in the school of one
Tyrannus for some two years, so that 'all they which dwelt in Asia hear the word
of the Lord Jesus' (Acts 19:8-10). Among these must have been many from
Thyatira, a town lying between Pergamos and Sardis" (ApEp).
SON OF GOD: Not "son of man", as in 1:13. Anticipating
an allusion to Psa 2 in v 27.
BURNISHED BRONZE: Brass smelting and processing were
prominent among local trades.
May sig (1) secretarial work (2Ti 4:11; 2Co 3:3; Act 13:5);
(2) succor in time of need (Act 11:29; 1Co 16:15; 2Co 9:12); and (3) ministry of
word (Rom 11:13; 12:7; 2Co 3:7-9).
YOU ARE DOING MORE THAN YOU DID AT FIRST: Cp 1Th 4:1;
Mat 12:43-45; 2Pe 2:20.
JEZEBEL: Daughter of Ethbaal king of Zidon; wife of
Ahab. Her father was king-priest. She became queen-priestess of the same
religion, which she introduced to Israel (1Ki 16:31-33; 21:25,26; 2Ki 9:22,30).
Sig here a real woman (perh wife of the "angel": cp RV mg: "thy wife Jezebel")
-- who, like Balaamites (v 14) and Nicolaitans (vv 6,15), encouraged
participation in rites of local idolatry.
TEACHING: Drastic action commanded against false
teachers (2Jo 10; 1Jo 4:1; Tit 1:10,11; 1Ti 1:3; Gal 1:8), but less so against
their misguided followers (Rom 14:1; Gal 3:1; 1Co 15:12,35,36).
MY SERVANTS: Ct her "children" (v 23).
I HAVE GIVEN HER TIME TO REPENT: A poss warning by John
before his exile to Patmos.
I WILL CAST HER: The real Jezebel was cast, or thrown,
down from a window and trampled by horses.
HER CHILDREN: ie, disciples (Mat 12:27). Cp fate of
Jezebel's priests: 1Ki 18:40; 2Ki 9:7-9.
HE WHO SEARCHES MIND AND HEART: Used of God (Psa 62:12;
Jer 17:10) and of Christ (Rom 8:27).
THE REST OF YOU: The 7,000 who have not bowed knee to
Baal (1Ki 19:18).
SATAN: Vv 9,13.
DEEP SECRETS: "Depths of hell" (Pro 9:18) -- so-called
"deep" thinking which proves that "sin is not sin" and paves the way to the
I WILL NOT IMPOSE ANY OTHER BURDEN: Cp Mat 23:4:
commandments to be observed. Christ is quoting his own apostles in Act
HOLD ON: Hold fast: Heb 3:6; 4:14; 10:23; 1Th 5:21; Rev
2:25; 3:11; 1Co 15:2.
"Until I come": put this money to work (Luk 19:13); judge
nothing (1Co 4:5); proclaim Lord's death (1Co 11:26); be sincere, without
offence (Phi 1:6,10); listen to word (2Pe 1:19); hold fast (Rev 2:25).
TO HIM WHO OVERCOMES: See Rev 2:7n.
TO HIM WHO OVERCOMES... I WILL GIVE AUTHORITY OVER THE
NATIONS: In a book of humorous definitions by children, one small child said
"a hole is to dig." We were in high school when the war broke out, and the first
change that took place on our campus was the erection of an obstacle course
which included "a wall that was to climb."
The good athletes could run right at this wall almost full
speed and with a running jump hit the wall about half-way up with one foot,
while grabbing the top with both hands, and seemingly in one smooth motion vault
and land on the other side. Most of us ran at the wall, hitting it with a thud
that nearly knocked the wind out of us while we grabbed to get one arm over the
top. Then with a series of wiggles, squirms and kicks we laboriously struggled
to get both arms over, then one leg and finally straddling the wall, pulled the
other leg over and jumped down the back side. There were a few who simply hit
the wall, dangled helplessly for a while and finally fell back with disgust,
unable to scale it at all.
The wall did not change; it was the same height for everyone.
For some it was fun, for it was a challenge to be conquered. For others it was a
real struggle but eventually climbed, while for a few it was an impossible
obstacle where they met certain defeat.
So it is with the obstacles of life. God wants us to overcome.
Jesus actually promises us that we will have tribulation but that we should be
of good cheer because he had overcome the world. In Rev 2:26 he promises us that
"he that overcometh... will I give power over the nations." Now there has to be
something to overcome or we cannot overcome. The wall was to climb, our trials
and tribulations are to overcome and are sent to us by a loving Father who wants
us to climb over the adversities that He has placed before us for our
Understanding this principle, Paul cries out with joy "we
glory in tribulation also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; and
patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because
the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts" (Rom 5:3-5).
When Paul was given a "thorn in the flesh" he thanked God for
it after he understood that God had given it to him for a purpose. Paul said
that he took pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in
persecutions, in distresses, for Christ's sake: for when he was weak, then was
This is the attitude we should take towards the problem we
face. They are allowed by God, else we would not have them. The very hairs on
our head are numbered, so He knows the most intimate details of our lives. This
being true, we can take what comes, for we are positive that "all things are
working together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called
according to his purpose."
Believing that God is in control of our lives, we take comfort
that He will never give us a wall to climb that is beyond our ability to scale.
In school this was not so, for some simply could not master the obstacle course.
But God has promised us that we will never have a temptation beyond that which
we are able to bear and He will always provide a way of escape that we may be
able to bear it. This is a great comfort and should fill us with hope as we look
at the walls in our lives. They all can be scaled and we can overcome. Instead
of complaining about them, let us thank God for His love in providing them for
us to climb.
Paul cried out that "I can do all things through Christ which
strengtheneth me" and so can we. Let us run at the walls in our lives with
enthusiasm believing that through Christ we can overcome. Let us say with Paul,
"I do concentrate on this: I leave the past behind and with hands outstretched
to whatever lies ahead I go straight for the goal -- my reward, the honour of
being called by God in Christ."
DOES MY WILL: Ct "their works" (v 22) with "your works"
(v 19). Joh 6:29; 1Jo 3:23.
TO THE END: Mat 24:13,14: "He who endures unto the end
shall be saved." Also cp with... "I am with you unto the end": Mat 28:20.
''He loved them unto the end": John 13:1.
"Who shall confirm you unto the end": 1Co 1:8.
"The rejoicing of hope firm unto the end": Heb 3:6.
"Beginning of our confidence steadfast unto the end": Heb
"Full assurance of hope unto the end": Heb 6:11.
"Keepeth my works unto the end": Rev 2:26.
HE WILL RULE: This confirms LXX of Psa 2:9: "rule"
instead of "break". "Poimanei" = "rule as a shepherd".
SCEPTER: "Rabdos" (cp Heb 1:8).
DASH THEM TO PIECES LIKE POTTERY: When it is unclean
(Lev 15:12; Jer 19:10,11).
I HAVE RECEIVED: Past tense: Mat 28:18. Cp Psa
THE MORNING STAR: The Lord Jesus (Rev 22: 16). The
appearance of the Lord will be as the appearance of the "morning star" in the
heavens -- the herald of a new dawn. [Cp Isa 14:12, where the same morning,
star, called "Lucifer" (KJV), refers to the king of Babylon, ie Sennacherib --
who in his vast presumption wanted to rule of God's own high place!] Those who
overcome will become "morning stars" themselves, a new race of "heavenly
bodies", which shall shine in the "heavens" of God's Kingdom (Dan