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Revelation 3:14

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

These things saith the Amen - That is, He who is true or faithful; from אמן aman, he was tree; immediately interpreted, The faithful and true witness. See Revelation 1:5.

The beginning of the creation of God - That is, the head and governor of all creatures: the king of the creation. See on Colossians 1:15; (note). By his titles, here, he prepares them for the humiliating and awful truths which he was about to declare, and the authority on which the declaration was founded.

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write - See the notes on Revelation 1:20.

These things saith the Amen - Referring, as is the case in every epistle, to some attribute of the speaker adapted to impress their minds, or to give special force to what he was about to say to that particular church. Laodicea was characterized by lukewarmness, and the reference to the fact that he who was about to address them was the “Amen” - that is, was characterized by the simple earnestness and sincerity denoted by that word - was eminently suited to make an impression on the minds of such a people. The word “Amen” means “true,” “certain,” “faithful”; and, as used here, it means that he to whom it is applied is eminently true and faithful. What he affirms is true; what he promises or threatens is certain. Himself characterized by sincerity and truth (notes on 2 Corinthians 1:20), he can look with approbation only on the same thing in others: and hence he looks with displeasure on the lukewarmness which, from its very nature, always approximates insincerity. This was an attribute, therefore, every way appropriate to be referred to in addressing a lukewarm church.

The faithful and true witness - This is presenting the idea implied in the word “Amen” in a more complete form, but substantially the same thing is referred to. He is a witness for God and his truth, and he can approve of nothing which the God of truth would not approve. See the notes on Revelation 1:5.

The beginning of the creation of God - This expression is a very important one in regard to the rank and dignity of the Saviour, and, like all similar expressions respecting him, its meaning has been much controverted. Compare the notes on Colossians 1:15. The phrase used here is susceptible, properly, of only one of the following significations, namely, either:

(a)that he was the beginning of the creation in the sense that he caused the universe to begin to exist - that is, that he was the author of all things; or.

(b)that he was the first created being; or.

(c)that he holds the primacy over all, and is at the head of the universe.

It is not necessary to examine any other proposed interpretations, for the only other senses supposed to be conveyed by the words, that he is the beginning of the creation in the sense I that he rose from the dead as the first-fruits of them that sleep, or that he is the head of the spiritual creation of God, axe so foreign to the natural meaning of the words as to need no special refutation. As to the three significations suggested above, it may be observed, that the first one - that he is the author of the creation, and in that sense the beginning - though expressing a scriptural doctrine John 1:3; Ephesians 3:9; Colossians 1:16, is not in accordance with the proper meaning of the word used here - ἀρχὴ archēThe word properly refers to the “commencement” of a thing, not its “authorship,” and denotes properly primacy in time, and primacy in rank, but not primacy in the sense of causing anything to exist. The two ideas which run through the word as it is used in the New Testament are those just suggested. For the former - primacy in regard to time - that is properly the commencement of a thing, see the following passages where the word occurs: Matthew 19:4, Matthew 19:8; Matthew 24:8, Matthew 24:21; Mark 1:1; Mark 10:6; Mark 13:8, Mark 13:19; Luke 1:2; John 1:1-2; John 2:11; John 6:64; John 8:25, John 8:44; John 15:27; John 16:4; Acts 11:15; 1 John 1:1; 1 John 2:7, 1 John 2:13-14, 1 John 2:24; 1 John 3:8, 1 John 3:11; 2 John 1:5-6. For the latter signification, primacy of rank or authority, see the following places: Luke 12:11; Luke 20:20; Romans 8:38; 1 Corinthians 15:24; Ephesians 1:21; Ephesians 3:10; Ephesians 6:12; Colossians 1:16, Colossians 1:18; Colossians 2:10, Colossians 2:15; Titus 3:1. The word is not, therefore, found in the sense of authorship, as denoting that one is the beginning of anything in the sense that he caused it to have an existence. As to the second of the significations suggested, that it means that he was the first created being, it may be observed:

(a) that this is not a necessary signification of the phrase, since no one can show that this is the only proper meaning which could be given to the words, and therefore the phrase cannot be adduced to prove that he is himself a created being. If it were demonstrated from other sources that Christ was, in fact, a created being, and the first that God had made, it cannot be denied that this language would appropriately express that fact. But it cannot be made out from the mere use of the language here; and as the language is susceptible of other interpretations, it cannot be employed to prove that Christ is a created being.

(b) Such an interpretation would be at variance with all those passages which speak of him as uncreated and eternal; which ascribe divine attributes to him; which speak of him as himself the Creator of all things. Compare John 1:1-3; Colossians 1:16; Hebrews 1:2, Hebrews 1:6, Hebrews 1:8, Hebrews 1:10-12. The third signification, therefore, remains, that he is “the beginning of the creation of God,” in the sense that he is the head or prince of the creation; that is, that he presides over it so far as the purposes of redemption are to be accomplished, and so far as is necessary for those purposes. This is:

(1)in accordance with the meaning of the word, Luke 12:11; Luke 20:20, et al. ut supra; and,

(2)in accordance with the uniform statements respecting the Redeemer, that “all power is given unto him in heaven and in earth” Matthew 28:18; that God has “given him power over all flesh” John 17:2; that all things are “put under his feet” the. John 2:8; 1 Corinthians 15:27); that he is exalted over all things, Ephesians 1:20-22. Having this rank, it was proper that he should speak with authority to the church at Laodicea.

Uriah Smith
Daniel and the Revelation, 370

Verse 14

Laodicea signifies the judging of the people, or, according to Cruden, a just people. The message to this church brings to view the closing scenes of probation. It reveals a period of judgment. It is the last stage of the church. It consequently applies to believers under the third message, the last message of mercy before the coming of Christ (see chapter 14:9-14), while the great day of atonement is transpiring, and the investigative Judgment is going forward upon the house of God, — a period during which the just and holy law of God is taken by the waiting church as their rule of life.DAR 371.1

These Things Saith the Amen. — This is, then, the final message to the churches ere the close of probation. And though the description of their condition which he gives to the indifferent Laodiceans is fearful and startling, nevertheless it cannot be denied; for the Witness is “faithful and true.” Moreover, he is “the beginning of the creation of God.” Some understand by this language that Christ was the first created being, dating his existence anterior to that of any other created being or thing, next to the self-existent and eternal God. But the language does not necessarily imply that he was created; for the words, “the beginning of the creation,” may simply signify that the work of creation, strictly speaking, was begun by him. “Without him was not anything made.” Others, however, and more properly we think, take the word ???? to mean the “agent” or “efficient cause,” which is one of the definitions of the word, understanding that Christ is the agent through whom God has created all things, but that he himself came into existence in a different manner, as he is called “the only begotten” of the Father. It would seem utterly inappropriate to apply this expression to any being created in the ordinary sense of that term. For “beginning,” read “beginner.”DAR 371.2

The charge he brings against the Laodiceans is that they are lukewarm, neither cold nor hot. They lack that religious fervency, zeal, and devotion, which their position in the world's closing history, with the light of prophecy beaming upon their pathway, demands that they should manifest; and this lukewarmness is shown by a lack of good works; for it is from a knowledge of their works that the faithful and true Witness brings this fearful charge against them.DAR 371.3

I Would Thou Wert Cold or Hot. — Three states are brought to view in this message, — the cold, the lukewarm, and the hot. It is important to determine what condition they each denote, in order to guard against wrong conclusions. Three conditions of spiritual life which pertain to the church, not to the world, are to be considered. What the term hot means it is not difficult to conceive. The mind at once calls Up a state of intense fervency and zeal, when all the affections, raised to the highest pitch, are drawn out for God and his cause, and manifest themselves in corresponding works. To be lukewarm is to lack this zeal, to be in a state in which heart and earnestness are wanting; in which there is no self-denial that costs anything, no cross-bearing that is felt, no determined witnessing for Christ, and no valiant aggression that keeps sinews strained and armor bright; and, worst of all, it implies entire satisfaction with that condition. But to be cold — what is that? Does it denote a state of corruption, wickedness, and sin, such as characterizes the world of unbelievers? We cannot so regard it, for the following reasons: —DAR 372.1

1. It would seem harsh and repulsive to represent Christ as wishing, under any circumstances, that persons should be in such a condition; but he says, “I would thou wert cold or hot.”DAR 372.2

2. No state can be more offensive to Christ than that of the sinner in open rebellion, and his heart filled with every evil. It would therefore be incorrect to represent him as preferring that state to any position which his people can occupy while they are still retained as his.DAR 372.3

3. The threat of rejection in verse 16 is because they are neither cold nor hot. As much as to say that if they were either cold or hot, they would not be rejected. But if by cold is meant a state of open worldly wickedness, they would be rejected therefor very speedily. Hence such cannot be its meaning.DAR 372.4

We are consequently forced to the conclusion that by this language our Lord has no reference whatever to those outside of his church, but that he refers to three degrees of spiritual affections, two of which are more acceptable to him than the third. Heat and cold are preferable to lukewarmness. But what kind of a spiritual state is denoted by the term cold? We may remark first that it is a state of feeling. In this respect it is superior to lukewarmness, which is a state of comparative insensibility, indifference, and supreme self-satisfaction. To be hot is also to be in a state of feeling. And as hot denotes joyous fervency, and a lively exercise of all the affections, with a heart buoyant with the sensible presence and love of God, so by cold would seem to be denoted a spiritual condition characterized by a destitution of these traits, yet one in which the individual feels such destitution, and longs to recover his lost treasures. This state is well expressed by the language of Job, “O that I knew where I might find him!” Job 23:3. In this state there is not indifference, nor is there content; but there is a sense of coldness, unfitness, and discomfort, and a groping and seeking after something better. There is hope of a person in this condition. What a man feels that he lacks and wants, he will earnestly strive to obtain. The most discouraging feature of the lukewarm is that they are conscious of no lack, and feel that they have need of nothing. Hence it is easy to see why our Lord should prefer to behold his church in a state of comfortless coldness, rather than in a state of comfortable, easy, indifferent lukewarmness. Cold, a person will not long remain. His efforts will soon lead him to the fervid state. But lukewarm, there is danger of his remaining till the faithful and true Witness is obliged to reject him as a nauseous and loathsome thing.DAR 373.1

I Will Spue Thee out of My Mouth. — Here the figure is still further carried out, and the rejection of the lukewarm expressed by the nauseating effects of tepid water. And this denotes a final rejection, an utter separation from his church.DAR 373.2

Rich, and Increased with Goods. — Such the Laodiceans think is their condition. They are not hypocrites, because they “know not” that they are poor, miserable, blind, and naked.DAR 374.1

The Counsel Given Them. — Buy of me, says the true Witness, gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich, and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and anoint thine eyes with eye-salve, that thou mayest see. This shows at once to the deceived Laodiceans the objects they lack, and the extent of their destitution. It shows, too, where they can obtain those things in which they are so fearfully poor; it brings before them the necessity of speedily obtaining them. The case is so urgent that our great Advocate in the court above sends us special counsel on the point; and the fact that he who has condescended to point out our lack, and counsel us to buy, is the one who has these things to bestow, and invites us to come to him for them, is the best possible guarantee that our application will be respected, and our requests granted.DAR 374.2

But by what means can we buy these things? — Just as we buy all other gospel graces. “Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.” Isaiah 55:1. We thus buy by the asking; buy by throwing away the worthless baubles of earth, and receiving priceless treasures in their stead; buy by simply coming and receiving; buy, giving nothing in return. And what do we buy on these gracious terms? — Bread that perishes not, spotless raiment that soils not, riches that corrupt not, and an inheritance that fadeth not. Strange traffic, this! yet thus the Lord condescends to deal with his people. He might compel us to come in the manner and with the mien of beggars; but instead of this he gives us the treasures of his grace, and in return receives our worthlessness, that we may take the blessings he has to bestow, not as pittances dealt out to mendicants, but as the legitimate possessions of honorable purchase.DAR 374.3

The things to be obtained demand especial notice. They are enumerated as follows: —DAR 374.4

1. Gold Tried in the Fire. — Gold, literally considered, is the comprehensive name for all worldly wealth and riches. Figuratively, it must denote that which constitutes spiritual riches. What grace, then, is represented by the gold, or, rather, what graces? for doubtless no one single grace can be said to answer to the full import of that term. The Lord said to the church of Smyrna that he knew their poverty, but they were rich; and the testimony shows that their riches consisted of that which was finally to put them in possession of a crown of life. Says James, “Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith; and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him?” “Faith,” says Paul, “is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” To be “rich toward God,” — rich in the spiritual sense, — is to have a clear title to the promises, — to be an heir of that inheritance which is incorruptible, undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for us. “If ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.” Galatians 3:29. And how do we obtain this heirship? — In the same way that Abraham obtained the promise; that is, through faith. Romans 4:13, 14. No wonder, then, that Paul should devote an entire chapter in Hebrews (chapter 11) to this important subject, setting forth the mighty achievements that have been accomplished, and the precious promises that have been obtained, through faith; and that he should, in the first verse of the next chapter, as the grand conclusion to his argument, exhort Christians to lay aside every weight, and the sin (of unbelief) that so easily besets them. Nothing will sooner dry up the springs of spirituality, and sink us into utter poverty in reference to the things of the kingdom of God, than to let faith go out and unbelief come in. For faith must enter into every action that is pleasing in his sight; and in coming to him, the first thing is to believe that he is; and it is through faith, as the chief agent under the grace which is the gift of God, that we are to be saved. Hebrews 11:6; Ephesians 2:8.DAR 375.1

From this it would seem that faith is a principal element of spiritual wealth. But if, as already remarked, no one grace can answer to the full import of the term gold, so, doubtless, other things are included with faith. “Faith is the substance of things hoped for,” says Paul. Hence hope is an inseparable accompaniment of faith. Hebrews 11:1; Romans 8:24, 25. And again Paul tells us that faith works by love, and speaks in another place of being “rich in good works.” Galatians 5:6; 1 Timothy 6:18. Hence love cannot be separated from faith. We then have before us the three objects associated together by Paul in 1 Corinthians 13, — faith, hope, and charity, or love; and the greatest of these is charity. Such is the gold tried by fire which we are counseled to buy.DAR 375.2

2. White Raiment. — On this point there would not seem to be much room for controversy. A few texts will furnish a key to the understanding of this expression. Says the prophet, Isaiah 64:6, “All our righteousnesses are as filthy rags.” We are counseled to buy the opposite of filthy rags, which would be complete and spotless raiment. The same figure is used in Zechariah 3:3, 4. And John, in the 19th chapter of the Revelation, verse 8, says plainly that “the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.”DAR 376.1

3. The Eye-salve. — On this there is as little room for a diversity of opinion as upon the white raiment. The anointing of the eyes is certainly not to be taken in a literal sense; and, reference being made to spiritual things, the eye-salve must denote that by which our spiritual discernment is quickened. There is but one agent revealed to us in the word of God by which this is accomplished, and that is the Holy Spirit. In Acts 10:38 we read that “God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost.” And the same writer through whom came this Revelation from Jesus Christ, wrote to the church in his first epistle (chapter 2:20) as follows: “But ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things.” In verse 27 he enlarges upon this point thus: “But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.” By referring to his Gospel, it is found that the work which he here sets forth as accomplished by the anointing is exactly the same that he there attributes to the Holy Spirit. John 14:26: “But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.” (See also John 16:13.)DAR 376.2

Thus in a formal and solemn manner are we counseled by the faithful and true witness, under the figures of gold, white raiment, and eye-salve, to seek from him, speedily and earnestly, an increase of the heavenly graces of faith, hope, charity, that righteousness which he alone can furnish, and an unction from the Holy Spirit. But how is it possible that a people lacking these things should think themselves rich and increased with goods? A plausible inference may here be drawn, which is perhaps also a necessary one, as there is room for no other. It will be observed that no fault is found with the Laodiceans on account of the doctrines they hold. They are not accused of harboring any Jezebel in their midst, or of countenancing the doctrines of Balaam or the Nicolaitanes. So far as we can learn from the address to them, their belief is correct, and their theory sound. The inference therefore is that having a correct theory, therewith they are content. They are satisfied with a correct form of doctrine without its power. Having received light concerning the closing events of this dispensation, and having a correct theoretical knowledge of the truths that pertain to the last generation of men, they are inclined to rest in this to the neglect of the spiritual part of religion. It is by their actions, doubtless, not by their words, that they say they are rich, and increased with goods. Having so much light and so much truth, what can they want besides? And if, with a commendable tenacity, they defend the theory, and in the letter, so far as their outward life is concerned, conform to the increasing light upon the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus, is not their righteousness complete? Rich, and increased with goods, and needing nothing! Here is their failure. Their whole being should cry out for the spirit, the zeal, the fervency, the life, the power, of a living Christianity, and their righteousness should consist in a swallowing up of self and all its works in the merits of their Redeemer.DAR 377.1

The Token of Love. — This, strange as it may seem, is chastisement. “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten.” If we are without chastisement, we are not sons. Hebrews 12. “A general law,” says Thompson, “of his gracious economy is here set forth. As all need chastisement in some measure, they in some measure receive it, and thus have proof of the Saviour's attachment. This is a hard lesson to learn, and believers are dull scholars; yet here and throughout God's word and providence it stands, that trials are his benedictions, and that no child escapes the rod. The incorrigibly misshapen and coarse-grained blocks are rejected, while those chosen for the glorious structure are subjected to the chisel and the hammer. There is no cluster on the true vine but must pass through the winepress. ‘For myself,' said an old divine under affliction, ‘for myself, I bless God I have observed and felt so much mercy in this angry dispensation of God that I am almost transported. I am, sure, highly pleased with thinking how infinitely sweet his mercies are, when his judgments are so gracious.' In view, then, of the origin and design of the chastisements you receive, ‘Be zealous and repent.' Lose no time; lose not a blow of the rod, but repent at once. Be fervent in spirit. Such is the first appliance of encouragement.”DAR 378.1

Be Zealous and Repent. — Although, as we have seen, the state represented by coldness is preferable to one of lukewarmness, yet that is not a state in which our Lord ever desires to find us. We are never exhorted to seek that state. There is a far better one which we are counseled to attain; and that is to be zealous, to be fervent, and to have our hearts all aglow in the service of our Master.DAR 378.2

Christ Knocking at the Door. — Let us listen again to the author above quoted: “Here is the heart of hearts. Notwithstanding their offensive attitude, their unlovely character, such is his love to their souls that he humbles himself to solicit the privilege of making them blessed. ‘Behold, I stand at the door, and knock.' Why does he? Not because he is without home elsewhere. Among the mansions in his Father's house there is not one entrance closed to him. He is the life of every heart, the light in every eye, the song on every tongue, in glory. But he goes round from door to door in Laodicea. He stands at each, and knocks, because he came to seek and to save that which is lost, because he cannot give up the purpose of communicating eternal life to as many as the Father has given him, and because he cannot become known to the inmate unless the door be opened and a welcome given him. Have you bought a piece of ground? have you bought five yoke of oxen? is your hat in your hand, and do you pray to be excused? He knocks and knocks. But you cannot receive company at present; you are worn out with labor; you have wheeled round the sofa; you are making yourself comfortable, and send word that you are engaged. He knocks and knocks. ... It is the hour for church prayer-meeting or for monthly concert; there is opportunity to pay a Christian visit to an individual or a family; but you move not. ... Oh, nauseous lukewarmness! Oh, fatal worldliness! The Lord of glory comes all the way from his celestial palace — comes in poverty, in sweat, in blood — comes to the door of a professed friend, who owes all to him, and cannot get in! — comes to rescue a man whose house is on fire, and he will not admit him! Oh, the hight, the depth, of Jesus Christ's forbearance! Even the heathen Publius received Paul, and lodged him three days courteously. Shall nominal Christians tell the Lord of apostles that they have no room for him?”DAR 378.3

If Any Man Hear My Voice. — The Lord entreats, then, as well as knocks. And the word if implies that some will not hear. Though he stands and knocks and entreats till his locks are wet with the dews of night, yet some will close their ears to his tender entreaties. But it is not enough simply to hear. We must hear, and open the door. And many who at first hear the voice, and for a time feel inclined to heed, will doubtless, alas! fail in the end to do that which is necessary to secure to themselves the communion of the heavenly Guest. Reader, are your ears open to the entreaties which the Saviour directs to you? Is the sound of his voice a welcome sound? Will you heed it? Will you open the door and let him in? Or is the door of your heart held fast by heaps of this world's rubbish, which you are unwilling to remove? Remember that the Lord of life never forces an entrance. He condescends to come and knock, and seek admittance; but he takes up his abode in those hearts only where he is then a welcome and invited guest.DAR 379.1

And then the promise! “I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.” How forcible and touching the figure! Friend with friend, partaking of the cheerful and social meal! Mind with mind, holding free and intimate converse! And what a festal scene must that be where the King of glory is a guest! No common degree of union, no ordinary blessing, no usual privilege, is denoted by this language. Who, under such tender entreaty and so gracious a promise, can remain indifferent? Nor are we required to furnish the table for this exalted Guest. This he does himself, not with the gross nutriment of earth, but with viands from his own heavenly storehouse. Here he sets before us foretastes of the glory soon to be revealed. Here he gives us earnests of our future inheritance, which is incorruptible, undefiled, and fadeth not away. Verily, when we shall comply with the conditions, and receive this promise, we shall experience the rising of the day star in our hearts, and behold the dawn of a glorious morning for the church of God.DAR 380.1

The Final Promise. — The promise of supping with his disciples is made by the Lord before the final promise to the overcomer is given. This shows that the blessings included in that promise are to be enjoyed in this probationary state. And now, superadded to all these, is the promise to the overcomer: “To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.” Here the promises of the Lord culminate. From being at first rebellious, and then fallen, degraded, and polluted, man is brought by the work of the Redeemer back into reconciliation with God, cleansed from his pollutions, redeemed from the fall, made immortal, and finally raised to a seat upon the very throne of his Saviour. Honor and exaltation could go no farther. Human minds cannot conceive that state, human language cannot describe it. We can only labor on till, if overcomers at last, we shall “know what it is to be there.”DAR 380.2

In this verse there is not only a glorious promise, but there is also an important doctrine. We learn by this that Christ reigns consecutively upon two thrones. One is the throne of his Father, the other is his own throne. He declares in this verse that he has overcome, and is now set down with his Father in his throne. He is now associated with the Father in the throne of universal dominion, placed at his right hand, far above all principality, power, might, and dominion. Ephesians 1:20-22, etc. While in this position, he is a priest-king. He is a priest, “a minister of the sanctuary;” but at the same time he is “on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens.” Hebrews 8:1, 2. This position and work of our Lord was thus predicted by the prophet Zechariah: “And speak unto him, saying, Thus speaketh the Lord of hosts [God], saying, Behold the man whose name is the Branch [Christ]; and he shall grow up out of his place, and he shall build the temple of the Lord. ... And he [Christ] shall sit and rule upon his [God's] throne; and he [Christ] shall be a priest upon his [God's] throne; and the counsel of peace [in the sacrifice and priestly work of Christ in behalf of repenting man] shall be between them both.” Zechariah 6:12, 13. But the time is coming when he is to change his position, and, leaving the throne of his Father, take his own throne; and this must be when the time comes for the reward of the overcomers; for when they enter upon their reward, they are to sit with Christ on his throne, as he has overcome, and is now seated with the Father upon his throne. This change in the position of Christ is set forth by Paul in 1 Corinthians 15:24-28, as follows: —DAR 381.1

“Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death. For he hath put all things under his feet. But when he saith all things are put under him, it is manifest that he is excepted, which did put all things under him. And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all.”DAR 382.1

The truths taught in this portion of Scripture may perhaps be most briefly expressed by a slight paraphrase, and by giving, in every instance, instead of the pronouns, the nouns to which they respectively refer. Thus: —DAR 382.2

“Then cometh the end (of the present dispensation), when Christ shall have delivered up the kingdom (which he now holds conjointly with the Father) to God, even the Father; when God shall have put down all rule and all authority and power (that is opposed to the work of the Son). For Christ must reign (on the throne of his Father) till the Father hath put all enemies under Christ's feet. [See Psalms 110:1.] The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death. For God (then) hath put all things under Christ's feet. But when God saith, All things are put under Christ (and he commences his reign upon his own throne), it is manifest that God is excepted, who did put all things under Christ. And when all things shall be subdued unto Christ, then shall Christ also himself be subject unto God that put all things under him, that God may be all in all.”DAR 382.3

That this is a correct version of this scripture may be easily verified. The only question that can be raised is concerning the persons to whom the pronouns refer; and any attempt to make the pronouns refer to Christ which in the foregoing paraphrase are referred to God, will be found, when traced through the quotation, to make poor sense of Paul's language.DAR 382.4

From this it will be seen that the kingdom which Christ delivers up to the Father is that which he holds at the present time upon his Father's throne, where he tells us he is now seated. He delivers up this kingdom at the end of this dispensation, when the time comes for him to take his own throne. After this, he reigns on the throne of his father David, and is subject only to God, who still retains his position upon the throne of universal dominion. In this reign of Christ the saints participate. “To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne.” “And they lived,” says John, dating from the first resurrection (chapter 20:4), “and reigned with Christ a thousand years.” This we understand to be a special reign, or for a special purpose, as will be noticed in that chapter; for the actual reign of the saints is to be “forever and ever.” Daniel 7:18, 27. How can any earthly object divert our gaze from this durable and heavenly prospect?DAR 382.5

Thus close the messages to the seven churches. How pointed and searching their testimony! What lessons do they contain for all Christians in all ages! It is as true with the last church as with the first, that all their works are known to Him who walks in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks. From his scrutinizing gaze nothing can be hidden. And while his threatenings to the hypocrites and evil workers, as in justice they may be, are awful, how ample, how comforting, how gracious, how glorious, his promises to those who love and follow him with singleness of heart!DAR 383.1

Gracious words of counsel, messages of love,DAR 383.2

Sent to all his children from the Lord on high;DAR 383.3

Precious are these warnings from the throne above,DAR 383.4

As the world's last crisis swiftly draweth nigh.DAR 383.5

Weak and all unworthy we, his children, are —DAR 383.6

Pure and perfect must be ere we see his face;DAR 383.7

Now for us the Saviour shows his tender care,DAR 383.8

Offering for our purchase every heavenly grace.DAR 383.9

Let each boundless promise every bosom thrill,DAR 383.10

Bear us through sad ills this world has ever known,DAR 383.11

Till we reach the mansions on God's holy hill,DAR 383.12

Till we sit with Jesus on his glorious throne.DAR 383.13

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
Laodicea was the last and worst of the seven churches of Asia. Here our Lord Jesus styles himself, "The Amen;" one steady and unchangeable in all his purposes and promises. If religion is worth anything, it is worth every thing. Christ expects men should be in earnest. How many professors of gospel doctrine are neither hot nor cold; except as they are indifferent in needful matters, and hot and fiery in disputes about things of lesser moment! A severe punishment is threatened. They would give a false opinion of Christianity, as if it were an unholy religion; while others would conclude it could afford no real satisfaction, otherwise its professors would not have been heartless in it, or so ready to seek pleasure or happiness from the world. One cause of this indifference and inconsistency in religion is, self-conceit and self-delusion; "Because thou sayest." What a difference between their thoughts of themselves, and the thoughts Christ had of them! How careful should we be not to cheat our owns souls! There are many in hell, who once thought themselves far in the way to heaven. Let us beg of God that we may not be left to flatter and deceive ourselves. Professors grow proud, as they become carnal and formal. Their state was wretched in itself. They were poor; really poor, when they said and thought they were rich. They could not see their state, nor their way, nor their danger, yet they thought they saw it. They had not the garment of justification, nor sanctification: they were exposed to sin and shame; their rags that would defile them. They were naked, without house or harbour, for they were without God, in whom alone the soul of man can find rest and safety. Good counsel was given by Christ to this sinful people. Happy those who take his counsel, for all others must perish in their sins. Christ lets them know where they might have true riches, and how they might have them. Some things must be parted with, but nothing valuable; and it is only to make room for receiving true riches. Part with sin and self-confidence, that you may be filled with his hidden treasure. They must receive from Christ the white raiment he purchased and provided for them; his own imputed righteousness for justification, and the garments of holiness and sanctification. Let them give themselves up to his word and Spirit, and their eyes shall be opened to see their way and their end. Let us examine ourselves by the rule of his word, and pray earnestly for the teaching of his Holy Spirit, to take away our pride, prejudices, and worldly lusts. Sinners ought to take the rebukes of God's word and rod, as tokens of his love to their souls. Christ stood without; knocking, by the dealings of his providence, the warnings and teaching of his word, and the influences of his Spirit. Christ still graciously, by his word and Spirit, comes to the door of the hearts of sinners. Those who open to him shall enjoy his presence. If what he finds would make but a poor feast, what he brings will supply a rich one. He will give fresh supplies of graces and comforts. In the conclusion is a promise to the overcoming believer. Christ himself had temptations and conflicts; he overcame them all, and was more than a conqueror. Those made like to Christ in his trials, shall be made like to him in glory. All is closed with the general demand of attention. And these counsels, while suited to the churches to which they were addressed, are deeply interesting to all men.
Ellen G. White
Testimonies on Sexual Behavior, Adultery, and Divorce, 247.2

Every Health Institution a Missionary Field—Men should be chosen to stand at the head of our institutions who have not only good, sound judgment, but who have a high moral tone, who will be circumspect in their deportment, pure in speech, remembering their high and holy calling and that there is a Watcher, a true witness to every word and act. If men in our institutions exhibit a low grade of thought, if their conversation tends to corrupt rather than elevate, let them be removed at once from any connection with the institution, for they will surely demoralize others. The well-being of the entire institution is to be maintained. Ever bear in mind that each of our health institutions is a missionary field. God's eye is upon it day and night. No one should feel at liberty to allow even the appearance of evil.—Special Testimonies, Series B 16:7. TSB 247.2

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Ellen G. White
Testimonies for the Church, vol. 4, 336

Falsehood and deception of every cast is sin against the God of truth and verity. The word of God is plain upon these points. Ye shall not “deal falsely, neither lie one to another.” “All liars shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.” God is a God of sincerity and truth. The word of God is a book of truth. Jesus is a faithful and true witness. The church is the witness and ground of the truth. All the precepts of the Most High are true and righteous altogether. How, then, must prevarication and any exaggeration or deception appear in His sight? For the falsehood he uttered because he coveted the gifts which the prophet refused, the servant of Elisha was struck with leprosy, which ended only with death. 4T 336.1

Even life itself should not be purchased with the price of falsehood. By a word or a nod the martyrs might have denied the truth and saved their lives. By consenting to cast a single grain of incense upon the idol altar they might have been saved from the rack, the scaffold, or the cross. But they refused to be false in word or deed, though life was the boon they would receive by so doing. Imprisonment, torture, and death, with a clear conscience, were welcomed by them, rather than deliverance on condition of deception, falsehood, and apostasy. By fidelity and faith in Christ they earned spotless robes and jeweled crowns. Their lives were ennobled and elevated in the sight of God because they stood firmly for the truth under the most aggravated circumstances. 4T 336.2

Men are mortals. They may be sincerely pious and yet have many errors of understanding and many defects of character, but they cannot be Christ's followers and yet be in league with him who “loveth and maketh a lie.” Such a life is a fraud, a perpetual falsehood, a fatal deception. It is a close test upon the courage of men and women to be brought to face their own sins and to frankly acknowledge them. To say, “That mistake must be charged to my account,” requires a strength of inward principle that the world possesses in but a limited degree. But he who has the courage to say this in sincerity gains a decided victory over self and effectually closes the door against the enemy. 4T 336.3

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Ellen G. White
Selected Messages Book 1, 387

The remnant church is called to go through an experience similar to that of the Jews; and the True Witness, who walks up and down in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks, has a solemn message to bear to His people. He says, “I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent” (Revelation 2:4, 5). The love of God has been waning in the church, and as a result, the love of self has sprung up into new activity. With the loss of love for God there has come the loss of love for the brethren. The church may meet all the description that is given of the Ephesian church, and yet fail in vital godliness. Of them Jesus said, “I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars: and hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name's sake hast laboured, and hast not fainted. Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love” (Revelation 2:2-4). 1SM 387.1

A legal religion has been thought quite the correct religion for this time. But it is a mistake. The rebuke of Christ to the Pharisees is applicable to those who have lost from the heart their first love. A cold, legal religion can never lead souls to Christ; for it is a loveless, Christless religion. When fastings and prayers are practiced in a self-justifying spirit, they are abominable to God. The solemn assembly for worship, the round of religious ceremonies, the external humiliation, the imposed sacrifice—all proclaim to the world the testimony that the doer of these things considers himself righteous. These things call attention to the observer of rigorous duties, saying, This man is entitled to heaven. But it is all a deception. Works will not buy for us an entrance into heaven. The one great Offering that has been made is ample for all who will believe. The love of Christ will animate the believer with new life. He who drinks from the water of the fountain of life, will be filled with the new wine of the kingdom. Faith in Christ will be the means whereby the right spirit and motive will actuate the believer, and all goodness and heavenly-mindedness will proceed from him who looks unto Jesus, the author and finisher of his faith. Look up to God, look not to men. God is your heavenly Father who is willing patiently to bear with your infirmities, and to forgive and heal them. “This is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent” (John 17:3). By beholding Christ, you will become changed, until you will hate your former pride, your former vanity and self-esteem, your self-righteousness and unbelief. You will cast these sins aside as a worthless burden, and walk humbly, meekly, trustfully, before God. You will practice love, patience, gentleness, goodness, mercy, and every grace that dwells in the child of God, and will at last find a place among the sanctified and holy. 1SM 388.1

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