|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 23. - And her children (placed first, in emphatic distinction from those who have been seduced into temporary connexion with her) I will kill with death. With ἀποκτενῶ ἐν θανάτῳ comp. LXX. in Ezekiel 33:27 and Leviticus 20:10; and θανάτῳ τελευτάτω, Matthew 15:4 and Mark 7:10; the phrase recurs in Revelation 6:8. Those who have not merely been beguiled into sin by her, but are united to her in a permanent moral relationship (John 8:44), shall perish in some signal manner by the visitation of God. Thus we have three parties marked off:
(1) Jezebel herself, the source of all the mischief;
(2) her children, who are even such as herself;
(3) her victims, who have been led astray by her.
She and her children are to be visited with sickness and death, because they will not repent, and the others with tribulation, if they do not repent. Her doom and that of her children is certain; that of her victims may yet be averted. Moreover, the one seems to be final, the other remedial. And all the Churches shall know; literally, shall come to know, shall learn by experience. This statement seems conclusive with regard to the purpose of these epistles. Although addressed to local Churches at a particular crisis, they are for the instruction of "all the Churches" throughout the world, and throughout all time. He which searcheth the reins and the heart (comp. Romans 8:27; Psalm 7:9; Jeremiah 11:20; Jeremiah 20:12). But ἐρευνᾷν in this connexion is a New Testament word; the LXX. do not use it, but ἐτάζειν, a word which is not found in the New Testament, or δοκιμάζειν, etc. Αρευνᾷν occurs thrice in St. John's writings (John 5:39; John 7:52), and thrice elsewhere (Romans 8:27; 1 Corinthians 2:10; 1 Peter 1:11). We need not attempt to make any sharp distinction between the reins, which were believed to be the seat of the desires, and the heart, which sometimes represents the affections and sometimes the conscience. Put together they are equivalent to "the devices and desires of our own hearts." And I will give to each of you. From the angel of the Church the Lord turns abruptly to the individuals in the Church (comp. Matthew 16:27; Romans 2:6).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And I will kill her children with death,.... Her popes, cardinals, priests, Jesuits, monks, friars, and all that join in the Romish apostasy, they shall be killed with death; there shall be an utter extirpation of them in God's own time; or they shall be killed with the second death: when used alone, or as distinct from any other kind of death, signifies the plague; compare with this 2 Kings 9:24,
and all the churches: that shall be in being at the time of Rome's destruction:
shall know that I am he that searcheth the reins and heart; or am the omniscient God; which will be known by inflicting punishment on the followers of antichrist; when their hidden things of darkness will be brought to light, and exposed by him; and they shall receive the righteous reward of their evil practices, which they have coloured over, and glossed with specious pretences of religion and holiness, and a zeal for God and his glory, when they only meant themselves, the gratifying their carnal lusts, and securing their worldly interests, and amassing riches and honours to themselves:
and I will give unto everyone of you according to your works; who have connived at, and joined with them in their evil deeds; as many as were seduced by the false prophetess to commit spiritual fornication with her: as Christ is omniscient, and does not judge according to the outward appearance of things, but knows the principles and ends of all actions, however covert they may be; so he is righteous in judging and in punishing, which will be according as men's works are; and not one shall escape his righteous judgment, nor the due desert of their sins, though the punishment of some may be greater than that of others.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
23. her children—(Isa 57:3; Eze 23:45, 47). Her proper adherents; not those who suffer her, but those who are begotten of her. A distinct class from the last in Re 2:22 (compare Note, see on Re 2:22), whose sin was less direct, being that only of connivance.
kill … with death—Compare the disaster that overtook the literal Jezebel's votaries of Baal, and Ahab's sons, 1Ki 18:40; 2Ki 10:6, 7, 24, 25. Kill with death is a Hebraism for slay with most sure and awful death; so "dying thou shalt die" (Ge 2:17). Not "die the common death of men" (Nu 16:29).
all the churches shall know—implying that these addresses are designed for the catholic Church of all ages and places. So palpably shall God's hand be seen in the judgment on Thyatira, that the whole Church shall recognize it as God's doing.
I am he—the "I" is strongly emphatical: "that it is I am He who," &c.
searcheth … hearts—God's peculiar attribute is given to Christ. The "reins" are the seat of the desires; the "heart," that of the thoughts. The Greek for "searcheth" expresses an accurate following up of all tracks and windings.
unto every one of you—literally, "unto you, to each."
according to your works—to be judged not according to the mere act as it appears to man, but with reference to the motive, faith and love being the only motives which God recognizes as sound.
Revelation 2:23 Parallel Commentaries
Revelation 2:23 NIV
Revelation 2:23 NLT
Revelation 2:23 ESV
Revelation 2:23 NASB
Revelation 2:23 KJV
Bible Hub: Online Parallel Bible