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Revelation 2:23

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

And I will kill her children with death - "That is, I will certainly destroy her offspring and memory, and thereby ruin her designs. Jezebel's two sons, being both kings were both slain; and after that, all the seventy sons of Ahab; ( 2 Kings 10:1;); in all which the hand of God was very visible. In the same manner God predicts the destruction of the heretics and heresies referred to; see Revelation 2:16. It should seem by the expression, I am he which searcheth the reins and the hearts, that these heretics lurked about, and sowed their pernicious doctrines secretly. But our Savior tells them that it was in vain, for he had power to bring their deeds to light, having that Divine power of searching into the Evilly and affections of men; and hereby he would show both them and us that he is, according to his title, The Son of God; and hath such eyes to pry into their actions, that, like a fire, they will search into every thing, and burn up the chaff which cannot stand his trial; so that the depths of Satan, mentioned in the next verse, to which this alludes, (Christ assuming here this title purposely) shall avail nothing to those who think by their secret craft to undermine the Christian religion; he will not only bring to light, but baffle all their evil intentions. See Revelation 17:9.

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

And I will kill her children with death - A strong Hebraistic mode of expression, meaning that he would certainly destroy them. It has been made a question whether the word “children” here is to be taken literally or figuratively. The word itself would admit of either interpretation; and there is nothing in the connection by which its meaning here can be determined. If it is to be taken literally, it is in accordance with what is often threatened in the Scriptures, that children shall be visited with calamity for the sins of parents, and with what often occurs in fact, that they do thus suffer. For it is no uncommon thing that whole families are made desolate on account of the sin and folly of the parent. See the notes on Romans 5:19. If it is to be taken figuratively, then it refers to those who had imbibed her doctrines, and who, of course, would suffer in the punishment which would follow from the propagation of such doctrines. The reference in the word “death” here would seem to be to some heavy judgment, by plague, famine, or sword, by which they would be cut off.

And all the churches shall know, … - That is, the design of this judgment will be so apparent that it will convince all that I know what is in the hearts of people, even the secret acts of wickedness that are concealed from human view.

I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts - This is clearly a claim to omniscience; and as it is the Lord Jesus who speaks in all these epistles, it is a full proof that he claims this for himself. There is nothing which more clearly pertains to God than the power of searching the heart, and nothing that is more constantly claimed by him as his special prerogative, 1 Chronicles 28:9; Psalm 7:9; Psalm 11:4; Psalm 44:21; Psalm 139:2; Proverbs 15:3; Jeremiah 11:20; Jeremiah 17:10; Jeremiah 20:12; Jeremiah 32:19; Hebrews 4:13. The word “reins” - νεφροὺς nephrous- means, literally, “the kidney,” and is commonly used in the plural to denote the kidneys, or the loins. In the Scriptures it is used to denote the inmost mind, the secrets of the soul; probably because the parts referred to by the word are as hidden as any other part of the frame, and would seem to be the repository of the more secret affections of the mind. It is not to be supposed that it is taught in the Scriptures that the reins are the real seat of any of the affections or passions; but there is no more impropriety in using the term in a popular signification than there is in using the word “heart,” which all continue to use, to denote the seat of love.

And I will give unto every one of you according to your works - To every one of you; not only to those who have embraced these opinions, but to all the church. This is the uniform rule laid down in the Bible by which God will judge people.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
Even when the Lord knows the works of his people to be wrought in love, faith, zeal, and patience; yet if his eyes, which are as a flame of fire, observe them committing or allowing what is evil, he will rebuke, correct, or punish them. Here is praise of the ministry and people of Thyatira, by One who knew the principles from which they acted. They grew wiser and better. All Christians should earnestly desire that their last works may be their best works. Yet this church connived at some wicked seducers. God is known by the judgments he executes; and by this upon seducers, he shows his certain knowledge of the hearts of men, of their principles, designs, frame, and temper. Encouragement is given to those who kept themselves pure and undefiled. It is dangerous to despise the mystery of God, and as dangerous to receive the mysteries of Satan. Let us beware of the depths of Satan, of which those who know the least are the most happy. How tender Christ is of his faithful servants! He lays nothing upon his servants but what is for their good. There is promise of an ample reward to the persevering, victorious believer; also knowledge and wisdom, suitable to their power and dominion. Christ brings day with him into the soul, the light of grace and of glory, in the presence and enjoyment of him their Lord and Saviour. After every victory let us follow up our advantage against the enemy, that we may overcome and keep the works of Christ to the end.
Ellen G. White
Testimonies for the Church, vol. 4, 512

Some who have located in Battle Creek in order to have a more favorable opportunity to benefit themselves, are guilty of selfishness and even fraud in dealing with our brethren who have come from abroad. If there are any advantages to be gained, our institutions should receive them, and not those individuals who have done nothing toward building them up and who have only a selfish interest in them. Many who come to Battle Creek are no strength, religiously, to the cause. At heart they are like Korah, Dathan, and Abiram; and if a favorable opportunity were presented, they would follow the example of these wicked men. True, their fraudulent transactions may be concealed from the eyes of their brethren generally; but God marks their course and will finally reward them according to their works. 4T 512.1

Some who have been long in Battle Creek, and who ought to be responsible men, are occupying positions of trust in name only. They have been made guardians of our institutions; but their course of action shows that they have no special interest in them nor burden for them. Their thoughts center upon themselves. If we were to judge them by their works we should decide that they consider their own energies too precious to be exercised for these instrumentalities of God, unless they can secure temporal advantages to themselves. These are neglecting to keep the fort, not because they cannot do it, but because they are self-caring, and are content to rock themselves to sleep in the cradle of carnal security. 4T 512.2

Men who make it their aim and object in life to please and benefit themselves ought not to remain at this important post. They have no right to be here; for they stand directly in the way of the work of God. Those who neglect the Lord's poor, and who feel no burden for the widow and the fatherless, not making these cases their own and laboring to see justice and equity between man and man, are guilty of neglecting Christ in the person of His saints, because the cause that they know not they do not search out. They have no burdens, and make no effort to sustain the right. If most earnest vigilance is not manifested at the great heart of the work to protect the interests of the cause, the church will become as corrupt as the churches of other denominations. 4T 512.3

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Ellen G. White
Testimonies for the Church, vol. 3, 191

How few earnest prayers have been sent up to God in faith for those who worked in the office who were not fully in the truth! Who has felt the worth of the soul for whom Christ died? Who have been laborers in the vineyard of the Lord? I saw that angels were grieved with the trifling frivolities of the professed followers of Christ who were handling sacred things in the office. Some have no more sense of the sacredness of the work than if they were engaged in common labor. God now calls for the fruitless cumberers of the ground to consecrate themselves to Him and center their affections and hopes in Him. 3T 191.1

The Lord would have all connected with the office become caretakers and burden bearers. If they are pleasure seekers, if they do not practice self-denial, they are not fit for a place in the office. The workers at the office should feel when they enter it that it is a sacred place, a place where the work of God is being done in the publication of a truth which will decide the destiny of souls. This is not felt or realized as it should be. There is conversation in the typesetting department which diverts the mind from the work. The office is no place for visiting, for a courting spirit, or for amusement or selfishness. All should feel that they are doing work for God. He who sifts all motives and reads all hearts is proving, and trying, and sifting His people, especially those who have light and knowledge, and who are engaged in His sacred work. God is a searcher of hearts and a trier of the reins, and will accept nothing less than entire devotion to the work and consecration to Himself. All in the office should take up their daily duties as if in the presence of God. They should not be satisfied with doing just enough to pass along, and receive their wages; but all should work in any place where they can help the most. In Brother White's absence there are some faithful ones; there are others who are eyeservants. If all in the office who profess to be followers of Christ had been faithful in the performance of duty in the office, there would have been a great change for the better. Young men and young women have been too much engrossed in each other's society, talking, jesting, and joking, and angels of God have been driven from the office. 3T 191.2

Marcus Lichtenstein was a God-fearing youth; but he saw so little true religious principle in those in the church and those working in the office that he was perplexed, distressed, disgusted. He stumbled over the lack of conscientiousness in keeping the Sabbath manifested by some who yet professed to be commandment keepers. Marcus had an exalted regard for the work in the office; but the vanity, the trifling, and the lack of principle stumbled him. God had raised him up and in His providence connected him with His work in the office. But there is so little known of the mind and will of God by some who work in the office that they looked upon this great work of the conversion of Marcus from Judaism as of no great importance. His worth was not appreciated. He was frequently pained with the deportment of F and of others in the office; and when he attempted to reprove them, his words were received with contempt that he should venture to instruct them. His defective language was an occasion of jest and amusement with some. 3T 192.1

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Ellen G. White
SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 1 (EGW), 1110

29-33 (2 Corinthians 3:13-15). Moses Saw the Day of Christ—In the mount, when the law was given to Moses, the Coming One was shown to him also. He saw Christ's work, and His mission to earth, when the Son of God should take upon Himself humanity, and become a teacher and a guide to the world, and at last give Himself a ransom for their sins. When the perfect Offering should be made for the sins of men, the sacrificial offerings typifying the work of the Messiah were to cease. With the advent of Christ, the veil of uncertainty was to be lifted, and a flood of light shed upon the darkened understanding of His people. 1BC 1110.1

As Moses saw the day of Christ, and the new and living way of salvation that was to be opened through His blood, he was captivated and entranced. The praise of God was in his heart, and the divine glory that attended the giving of the law was so strikingly revealed in his countenance when he came down from the mount to walk with Israel, that the brightness was painful. Because of their transgressions, the people were unable to look upon his face, and he wore a veil that he might not terrify them.... 1BC 1110.2

Had the Israelites discerned the gospel light that was opened to Moses, had they been able by faith to look steadfastly to the end of that which was abolished, they could have endured the light which was reflected from the countenance of Moses. “But their minds were blinded; for until this day remaineth the same veil untaken away in the reading of the Old Testament; which veil is done away in Christ.” The Jews as a people did not discern that the Messiah whom they rejected, was the Angel who guided their fathers in their travels in the wilderness. To this day the veil is upon their hearts, and its darkness hides from them the good news of salvation through the merits of a crucified Redeemer (The Signs of the Times, August 25, 1887). 1BC 1110.3

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Ellen G. White
The Publishing Ministry, 381.3

He who searches the heart desires to win His people from every species of idolatry. Let the Word of God, the blessed book of life, occupy the tables now filled with useless ornaments. Spend your money in buying books that will be the means of enlightening the mind in regard to present truth. The time you waste in moving and dusting the multitudinous ornaments in your house, spend in writing a few lines to your friends, in sending papers or leaflets or little books to someone who knows not the truth. Grasp the word of the Lord as the treasure of infinite wisdom and love; this is the guidebook that points out the path to heaven.—The Review and Herald, June 6, 1907. PM 381.3

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