|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
2:18-29 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.
Verse 22. - Behold! The exclamation "arrests attention, and prepares the way for something unexpected and terrible." It is one of the many differences between the Fourth Gospel and the Apocalypse, that in the former ἴδε is the dominant form, while in the latter ἰδού is the invariable form (καὶ ἴδε in Revelation 6:l, 5, 7 is a spurious addition); ἰδού is very rare in the Gospel; ἴδε is found nowhere in the Apocalypse. In the Epistles neither form occurs. I do cast her into a bed. Βάλλω, not βαλῶ, is the true reading; the future has been substituted for the present to match the futures in ver. 23. Forbearance having failed, God tries severity; and, as so often in his dealings with man, the instrument of wrong doing is made the instrument of punishment. The bed of sin becomes a bed of suffering. Compare "In the place where dogs licked the blood of Naboth shall dogs lick thy blood, even thine;" and "I will requite thee in this plat, saith the Lord" (1 Kings 21:19; 2 Kings 9:26). Βάλλω is one of many words which has become weakened in meaning in late Greek: it often means no more than "place" or "put" (John 5:7; John 12:6; John 13:2; John 18:11; John 20:25). In the passive it is rather common of being laid up in sickness (Matthew 8:6, 14; Matthew 9:2; Mark 7:30). But perhaps we should rather compare such expressions as "cast into prison, into the sea, into the fire, into Gehenna" (Matthew 18:30; Matthew 21:21; Matthew 18:8, 9). It may be doubted whether there is any significance in the fact that her sin is spoken of as πορνείνα (ver. 21), whereas those who sin with her are said μοιχεύειν. Idolatry is spoken of both as whoredom and as adultery. In the one case it is a contrast to the marriage tie between God and his faithful worshippers; in the other it is a violation of it. Jezebel anticipates the harlot of Revelation 17, as Balaam anticipates the false prophet of Revelation 13. The remarkable construction, "repent out of" (μετανοῆσαι ἐκ), is peculiar to this book (vers. 21, 22; 9:20, 21; 16:11; but in Acts 8:22 we have μετανόησον ἀπό, and in Hebrews 6:1 we have μετανοία ἀπό (compare the converse, μετανοία εἰς, Acts 20:21). "Her works" is to be preferred to "their works." Αὐτῆς might easily be changed to αὐτῶν, either accidentally, owing to the preceding ἔργων, or deliberately, because it seems strange to talk of repenting from the works of another person. But the point is that those who have become partakers in her sins have abandoned their own works for hers; and it is therefore from her works that they are bidden to repent (compare "my works" in ver. 26).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Behold, I will cast her into a bed,.... Of sickness and languishing; and which denotes the sickly, pining, and languishing state of the church of Rome, as a just retaliation for her bed of luxury and deliciousness, adultery and idolatry, she had indulged herself in; this was threatened, and was yet to come, and began at the time of the Reformation, signified by the next church state; and, ever since, the whore of Rome has been visibly sickening and decaying. The Alexandrian copy reads, "into a prison":
and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation: the kings of the earth, and their subjects, who have joined in the idolatries and corruptions of the Romish church, Revelation 17:2, which may be understood either of that distress and uneasiness the Reformation in some countries gave them; or those outward troubles, wars, and desolations they have been since attended with, particularly the empire of Germany; which has been in great tribulation, formerly by the Turks, and of late by internal broils among themselves, and by the armies of other princes entering into it; or it may regard that eternal vengeance that will be recompensed to all such persons:
except they repent of their deeds; their spiritual fornication or idolatry, and all the abominations the members of that apostate church are guilty of. There seems to be an allusion in this verse to Ahaziah and Joram, sons of Ahab and Jezebel, who followed their mother's idolatrous practices, and were cast upon a bed of sickness, 2 Kings 1:2.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
22. Behold—calling attention to her awful doom to come.
I will—Greek present, "I cast her."
a bed—The place of her sin shall be the place of her punishment. The bed of her sin shall be her bed of sickness and anguish. Perhaps a pestilence was about to be sent. Or the bed of the grave, and of the hell beyond, where the worm dieth not.
them that commit adultery with her—spiritually; including both the eating of idol-meats and fornication. "With her," in the Greek, implies participation with her in her adulteries, namely, by suffering her (Re 2:20), or letting her alone, and so virtually encouraging her. Her punishment is distinct from theirs; she is to be cast into a bed, and her children to be killed; while those who make themselves partakers of her sin by tolerating her, are to be cast into great tribulation.
except they repent—Greek aorist, "repent" at once; shall have repented by the time limited in My purpose.
their deeds—Two of the oldest manuscripts and most ancient versions read "her." Thus, God's true servants, who by connivance, are incurring the guilt of her deeds, are distinguished from her. One oldest manuscript, Andreas, and Cyprian, support "their."
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