He that hath an ear, let him hear - Mr. Wesley has a very judicious note on the conclusion of this chapter, and particularly on this last verse, He that hath an ear, etc. "This (counsel) stands in three former letters before the promise, in the four latter after it; clearly dividing the seven into two parts, the first containing three, the last four letters. The titles given our Lord in the three former letters peculiarly respect his power after his resurrection and ascension, particularly over his Church; those in the four latter, his Divine glory and unity with the Father and the Holy Spirit. Again, this word being placed before the promises in the three former letters excludes the false apostles at Ephesus, the false Jews at Smyrna, and the partakers with the heathens at Pergamos, from having any share therein. In the four latter, being placed after them, it leaves the promises immediately joined with Christ's address to the angel of the Church, to show that the fulfilling of these was near; whereas the others reach beyond the end of the world. It should be observed that the overcoming or victory (to which alone these peculiar promises are annexed) is not the ordinary victory obtained by every believer, but a special victory obtained over great and peculiar temptations, by those that are strong in faith."
The latest account we have of the state of the seven Asiatic Churches is in a letter from the Rev. Henry Lindsay, chaplain to the British embassy at Constantinople, to a member of the British and Foreign Bible Society, by which society Mr. Lindsay had been solicited to distribute some copies of the New Testament in modern Greek among the Christians in Asia Minor.
The following is his communication, dated: - "Constantinople, January 10, 1816.
"When I last wrote to you, I was on the point of setting out on a short excursion into Asia Minor. Travelling hastily, as I was constrained to do from the circumstances of my situation, the information I could procure was necessarily superficial and unsatisfactory. As, however, I distributed the few books of the society which I was able to carry with me, I think it necessary to give some account of the course I took:
"Thus, sir, I have left at least one copy of the unadulterated word of God at each of the seven Asiatic Churches of the Apocalypse, and I trust they are not utterly thrown away; but whoever may plant, it is God only who can give the increase, and from his goodness we may hope they will in due time bring forth fruit, 'some thirty, some sixty, and some a hundred fold.' "Henry Lindsay."
In my note on Acts 19:24; (note), I have given an account of the celebrated temple of Diana at Ephesus, to which building, called one of the seven wonders of the world, St. Paul is supposed to allude in his epistle to this Church, particularly at Ephesians 3:18; (note), where I have again given the measurement of this temple.
He that hath an ear - See the notes on Revelation 2:7.
This closes the epistolary part of this book, and the “visions” properly commence with the next chapter. Two remarks may be made in the conclusion of this exposition:
(1) The first relates to the truthfulness of the predictions in these epistles. is an illustration of that truthfulness, and of the present correspondence of the condition of those churches with what the Saviour said to John they would be, the following striking passage may be introduced from Mr. Gibbon. It occurs in his description of the conquests of the Turks (“Decline and Fall,” iv. 260,261). “Two Turkish chieftains, Sarukhan and Aidin left their names to their conquests, and their conquests to their posterity. The captivity or ruin of the seven churches of Asia was consummated; and the barbarous lords of Ionia and Lydia still trample on the monuments of classic and Christian antiquity. In the loss of Ephesus, the Christians deplored the fall of the first angel, the extinction of the first candlestick of the Revelations: the desolation is complete; and the temple of Diana, or the church of Mary, will equally elude the search of the curious traveler. The circus and three stately theaters of Laodicea are now populated with wolves and foxes; Sardis is reduced to a miserable village; the God of Muhammed, without a rival or a son, is invoked in the mosques of Thyatira and Pergamos; and the populousness of Smyrna is supported by the foreign trade of Franks and Armenians. Philadelphia alone has been saved by prophecy or courage. At a distance from the sea, forgotten by the emperors, encompassed on all sides by the Turks, her valiant citizens defended their religion and freedom above fourscore years, and at length capitulated with the proudest of the Ottomans. Among the Greek colonies and churches of Asia, Philadelphia is still erect, a column in a scene of ruins; a pleasing example that the paths of honor and safety may sometimes be the same.”
(2) the second remark relates to the applicability of these important truths to us. There is perhaps no part of the New Testament more searching than these brief epistles to the seven churches; and though those to whom they were addressed have long since passed away, and the churches have long since become extinct; though darkness, error, and desolation have come over the places where these churches once stood, yet the principles laid down in these epistles still live, and they are full of admonition to Christians in all ages and all lands. It is a consideration of as much importance to us as it was to these churches, that the Saviour now knows our works; that he sees in the church, and in any individual, all that there is to commend and all that there is to reprove; that he has power to reward or punish now as he had then; that the same rules in apportioning rewards and punishments will still be acted on; that he who overcomes the temptations of the world will find an appropriate reward; that those who live in sin must meet with the proper recompense, and that those who are lukewarm in his service will be spurned with unutterable loathing. His rebukes are awful; but his promises are full of tenderness and kindness. While they who have embraced error, and they who are living in sin, have occasion to tremble before him, they who are endeavoring to perform their duty may find in these epistles enough to cheer their hearts, and to animate them with the hope of final victory, and of the most ample and glorious reward.
(Hebrews 10:19, 20.) The Door of Communication—The true Witness has given us the assurance that He has set before us an open door, which no man can shut. Those who are seeking to be faithful to God may be denied many of the privileges of the world; their way may be hedged up and their work hindered by the enemies of truth; but there is no power that can close the door of communication between God and their souls. The Christian himself may close this door by indulgence in sin, or by rejection of heaven's light. He may turn away his ears from hearing the message of truth, and in this way sever the connection between God and his soul.... Neither man nor Satan can close the door which Christ has opened for us (The Review and Herald, March 26, 1889). 7BC 961.1
Light From the Threshold of Heaven—[Revelation 3:8, 9 quoted.] Whenever tempted, we have this open door to behold. No power can hide from us the light of the glory which shines from the threshold of heaven along the whole length of the ladder we are to climb; for the Lord has given us strength in His strength, courage in His courage, light in His light. When the powers of darkness are overcome, when the light of the glory of God floods the world, we shall see and understand more clearly than we do today. If we only realized that the glory of God is round about us, that heaven is nearer earth than we suppose, we should have a heaven in our homes while preparing for the heaven above (Manuscript 92, 1901). 7BC 961.2Read in context »
In the spring of 1857, I accompanied my husband on a tour East. His principal business was to purchase the Power Press. We held conferences on our way to Boston, and on our return. This was a discouraging tour. The testimony to the Laodicean church was generally received; but some in the East were making bad use of it. Instead of applying it to their own hearts, so as to be benefited by it themselves, they were using the testimony to oppress others. A few taught that the brethren must sell all out before they could be free, while some others dwelt much upon dress, carrying the subject to an extreme, and with a few others there was a narrowing up of the work of the third message, and following of impressions, and casting fear upon the conscientious. These things have had a blighting influence, and have caused us to lay down our testimony on the subject almost entirely. 2SG 222.1Read in context »
Dear Brethren and Sisters,Read in context »
Dear Brethren and Sisters,Read in context »