Revelation 3:17
Because you say, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and know not that you are wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(17) I am rich.—The verse means, more literally, Because thou sayest, I am rich, and have grown rich, and in nothing have need, and knowest not that thou art the wretched (such is the emphasis) one, and the pitiable one, and beggarly, and blind, and naked. Thou art “the type, the embodiment of wretchedness.” The words should, I think, be taken as an amplification of the reason for their rejection. Christ was about to reject them for being in that tepid state which, beginning with self-satisfaction, led on to self- deception. They were rich in worldly goods (unlike the Church in Smyrna), but their very wealth led them into a quiet unaggressively kind of religion; they were proud also of their intellectual wealth; self- complacent because in comfortable worldly circumstances, and became puffed up with a vain philosophy, they learned to be satisfied with their spiritual state, and to believe the best of themselves, and then to believe in themselves. Hypocrites they were, who did not know they were hypocrites. They thought themselves good; and this self-deception was their danger. “For,” to use Prof. Mozley’s words, “why should a man repent of his goodness? He may well repent, indeed, of his falsehood; but unhappily the falsehood of it is just the thing he does not see, and which he cannot see by the very law of his character. The Pharisee did not know he was a Pharisee. If he had known it, he would not have been a Pharisee. The victim of passion, then, may be converted—the gay, the thoughtless, or the ambitious; he whom human glory has intoxicated; he whom the show of life has ensnared; he whom the pleasures of sense have captivated—they may be converted any one of these; but who is to convert the hypocrite? He does not know he is a hypocrite; he cannot upon the very basis of his character; he must think himself sincere; and the more he is in the shackles of his own character, i.e., the greater hypocrite he is, the more sincere he must think himself” (University Sermons, p. 34).

Revelation 3:17-19. Because thou sayest, I am rich — In gifts and grace, as well as worldly goods; and increased with goods — Greek, και πεπλουτηκα, literally, And have enriched myself, by my own wisdom and virtue; and have need of nothing — Imagining thy state in religion to be very prosperous and happy; and knowest not — Dost not so much as suspect that thy religion is at all defective: that thou art — In God’s account; wretched, miserable, &c. — In a most deplorable condition, destitute of every desirable blessing. I counsel thee — Who art poor, and blind, and naked; to buy of me — Without money or price; gold tried in the fire — Living faith, purified in the furnace of affliction; that thou mayest be rich — In the enjoyment of God’s favour, and communion with him, and all the blessings consequent thereon. And white raiment — True and genuine holiness; that thou mayest be clothed — With the divine image and nature. And anoint thine eyes with eye-salve — Spiritual illumination; the unction of the Holy One, which teacheth all things; that thou mayest see — Mayest possess that acquaintance with God and things divine which is essential to true religion. As many as I love — Even thee, thou poor Laodicean. As if he had said, Do not imagine that what may seem severe in this address, proceeds from any unkindness to thee: far from it: love, that is, a regard to thine immortal interests, dictates the whole. O how much has his unwearied love to do! From this principle, I rebuke — For what is past: and chasten — That men may amend for the time to come. Be zealous, therefore — More so than thou hast ever been, and deeply repent — Of thy prevailing lukewarmness and indolence.3:14-22 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.Because thou sayest, I am rich - So far as the language here is concerned, this may refer either to riches literally, or to spiritual riches; that is, to a boast of having religion enough. Prof. Stuart supposes that it refers to the former, and so do Wetstein, Vitringa, and others. Doddridge, Rosenmuller, and others, understand it in the latter sense. There is no doubt that there was much wealth in Laodicea, and that, as a people, they prided themselves on their riches. See the authorities in Wetstein on Colossians 2:1, and Vitringa, p. 160. It is not easy to determine which is the true sense; but may it not have been that there was an allusion to both, and that, in every respect, they boasted that they had enough? May it not have been so much the characteristic of that people to boast of their wealth, that they carried the spirit into everything, and manifested it even in regard to religion? Is it not true that they who have much of this world's goods, when they make a profession of religion, are very apt to suppose that they are well off in everything, and to feel self-complacent and happy? And is not the possession of much wealth by an individual Christian, or a Christian church, likely to produce just the lukewarmness which it is said existed in the church at Laodicea? If we thus understand it, there will be an accordance with the well-known fact that Laodicea was distinguished for its riches, and, at the same time, with another fact, so common as to be almost universal, that the possession of great wealth tends to make a professed Christian self-complacent and satisfied in every respect; to make him feel that, although he may not have much religion, yet he is on the whole well off; and to produce, in religion, a state of just such lukewarmness as the Saviour here says was loathsome and odious.

And increased with goods - πεπλουτηκα peploutēka - "am enriched." This is only a more emphatic and intensive way of saying the same thing. It has no reference to the kind of riches referred to, but merely denotes the confident manner in which they affirmed that they were rich.

And have need of nothing - Still an emphatic and intensive way of saying that they were rich. In all respects their needs were satisfied; they had enough of everything. They felt, therefore, no stimulus to effort; they sat down in contentment, self-complacency, and indifference. It is almost unavoidable that those who are rich in this world's goods should feel that they have need of nothing. There is no more common illusion among people than the feeling that if one has wealth he has everything; that there is no want of his nature which cannot be satisfied with that; and that he may now sit down in contentment and ease. Hence, the almost universal desire to be rich; hence the common feeling among those who are rich that there is no occasion for solicitude or care for anything else. Compare Luke 12:19.

And knowest not - There is no just impression in regard to the real poverty and wretchedness of your condition.

That thou art wretched - The word "wretched" we now use to denote the actual consciousness of being miserable, as applicable to one who is sunk into deep distress or affliction. The word here, however, refers rather, to the condition itself than to the consciousness of that condition, for it is said that they did not know it. Their state was, in fact, a miserable state, and was suited to produce actual distress if they had had any just sense of it, though they thought that it was otherwise.

And miserable - This word has, with us now, a similar signification; but the term used here - ἐληινὸς elēinos - rather means a pitiable state than one actually felt to be so. The meaning is, that their condition was one that was suited to excite pity or compassion; not that they were actually miserable. Compare the notes on 1 Corinthians 15:19.

And poor - Notwithstanding all their boast of having enough. They really had not what was necessary to meet the actual needs of their nature, and, therefore, they were poor. Their worldly property could not meet the needs of their souls; and, with all their pretensions to piety, they had not religion enough to meet the necessities of their nature when calamities should come, or when death should approach; and they were, therefore, in the strictest sense of the term, poor.

And blind - That is, in a spiritual respect. They did not see the reality of their condition; they had no just views of themselves, of the character of God, of the way of salvation. This seems to be said in connection with the boast which they made in their own minds - that they had everything; that they wanted nothing. One of the great blessings of life is clearness of vision, and their boast that they had everything must have included that; but the speaker here says that they lacked that indispensable thing to completeness of character and to full enjoyment. With all their boasting, they were actually blind - and how could one who was in that state say that he "had need of nothing?"

And naked - Of course, spiritually. Salvation is often represented as a garment Matthew 22:11-12; Revelation 6:11; Revelation 7:9, Revelation 7:13-14; and the declaration here is equivalent to saying that they had no religion. They had nothing to cover the nakedness of the soul, and in respect to the real needs of their nature they were like one who had no clothing in reference to cold, and heat, and storms, and to the shame of nakedness. How could such an one be regarded as rich? We may learn from this instructive verse:

(1) That people may think themselves to be rich, and yet, in fact, be miserably poor. They may have the wealth of this world in abundance, and yet have nothing that really will meet their needs in disappointment, bereavement, sickness, death; the needs of their never-dying soul; their needs in eternity. What had the "rich fool," as he is commonly termed, in the parable, when he came to die? Luke 12:16 ff. What had "Dives," as he is commonly termed, to meet the needs of his nature when he went down to hell? Luke 16:19 ff.

(2) people may have much property, and think that they have all they want, and yet be wretched. In the sense that their condition is a wretched condition, this is always true; and in the sense that they are consciously wretched, this may be, and often is, true also.

(3) people may have great property, and yet be miserable. This is true in the sense that their condition is a pitiable one, and in the sense that they are actually unhappy. There is no more pitiable condition than that where one has great property, and is self-complacent and proud, and who has nevertheless no God, no Saviour, no hope of heaven, and who perhaps that very day may "lift up his eyes in hell, being in torments"; and it need not be added that there is no greater actual misery in this world than what sometimes finds its way into the palaces of the rich. He greatly errs who thinks that misery is confined to the cottages of the poor.

(4) people may be rich, and think they have all that they want, and yet be blind to their condition. They really have no distinct vision of anything. They have no just views of God, of themselves, of their duty, of this world, or of the next. In most important respects they are in a worse condition than the inmates of an asylum for the blind, for they may have clear views of God and of heaven. Mental darkness is a greater calamity than the loss of natural vision; and there is many an one who is surrounded by all that affluence can give, who never yet had one correct view of his own character, of his God, or of the reality of his condition, and whose condition might have been far better if he had actually been born blind.

(5) there may be gorgeous robes of adorning, and yet real nakedness. With all the decorations that wealth can impart, there may be a nakedness of the soul as real as that of the body would be if, without a rag to cover it, it were exposed to cold, and storm, and shame. The soul destitute of the robes of salvation, is in a worse condition than the body without raiment; for how can it bear the storms of wrath that shall beat upon it forever, and the shame of its exposure in the last dread day?

17. Self-sufficiency is the fatal danger of a lukewarm state (see on [2685]Re 3:15).

thou sayest—virtually and mentally, if not in so many words.

increased with goods—Greek, "have become enriched," implying self-praise in self-acquired riches. The Lord alludes to Ho 12:8. The riches on which they prided themselves were spiritual riches; though, doubtless, their spiritual self-sufficiency ("I have need of nothing") was much fostered by their worldly wealth; as, on the other hand, poverty of spirit is fostered by poverty in respect to worldly riches.

knowest not that thou—in particular above all others. The "THOU" in the Greek is emphatic.

art wretched—Greek, "art the wretched one."

miserable—So one oldest manuscripts reads. But two oldest manuscripts prefix "the." Translate, "the pitiable"; "the one especially to be pitied." How different Christ's estimate of men, from their own estimate of themselves, "I have need of nothing!"

blind—whereas Laodicea boasted of a deeper than common insight into divine things. They were not absolutely blind, else eye-salve would have been of no avail to them; but short-sighted.

Because thou sayest, I am rich: it was said before, that one reason why the condition of a formalist is worse than that of an atheist, or more openly profane person, is, because the former is ordinarily proud and self-conceited, and hath something to stop the mouth of his natural conscience with, which the other wanteth. This is made good in the instance of this lukewarm angel; he said he was rich in a spiritual sense, in his state as a Christian, in spiritual gifts and endowments.

And increased with goods; and every day increasing and growing richer.

And have need of nothing; and needed nothing to make him happy and blessed.

And knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked; in the mean time he was as miserable as one could be. These words used, are several words signifying persons under various bodily afflictions, and applied to signify this angel’s forlorn spiritual state, which, in the general, was wretched and miserable, and such as had need of mercy, wanting the true righteousness, wherein any could appear before God not naked, and wanting all true riches; and to complete his misery, he was spiritually blind, and knew not the sad circumstances he was under. Because thou sayest, I am rich,.... In worldly goods, which occasioned her lukewarmness, as riches often do, and her vanity, pride, and arrogance, afterwards expressed. Laodicea was a very rich city, and so will be this church state, through the accession of kings and princes, and great men of the earth unto it, in the former period: riches seldom do any good to the churches of Christ, they did not in Constantine's time; and it seems that even at the close of the spiritual reign of Christ they will be of bad consequence, since they will usher in the Laodicean church state: or her meaning is, that she was rich in spiritual things; not in grace, but in external gifts, which still remained, upon the very great pouring forth of the Spirit in the last church state; and in good works, on which she too much trusted for salvation, placing her righteousness in them: she is one whom the Jews (c) call , "rich in the law":

and increased with goods: with outward peace and prosperity, with much natural and divine light and knowledge, with the purity of Gospel ordinances, even beyond the former church state in her own imagination:

and have need of nothing: contenting herself with these external things: true believers, as considered in Christ, stand in need of nothing indeed, they are complete in him, and have everything in him; but, as considered in themselves, they are daily in need of daily food for their souls, as for their bodies, of fresh light and life, strength and comfort, and of new supplies of grace; wherefore this church shows great ignorance of herself, as well as great pride and arrogance to express herself in this manner:

and knowest not that thou art wretched; as all men are in a state of nature and unregeneracy; which may be the case of many professors, and they be ignorant of it; as to be under a sentence of wrath, obnoxious to the curses of the law, in danger of hell and destruction, lost and undone, and unable to extricate themselves out of such a state: true believers account themselves wretched, as the Apostle Paul did, on account of indwelling sin, and the plague of their own hearts, which the members of this church, the greater part of them, were ignorant of:

and miserable; a miserable man is one that is attended with outward afflictions, but this was not the case of this church; and with spiritual poverty, blindness, and nakedness, and this was her case; some persons neither know their misery, nor their need of mercy:

and poor; not in purse, nor in spirit, nor with respect to outward afflictions, nor as to her church state, but in a spiritual sense; one whom the Jews call a (d) , "poor in the law"; as such may be said to be who have nothing to eat that is fit to eat; nothing to wear but rags, and have no money to buy either; who are in debt, and not able to pay, nor to help themselves on any account; and this may be the case of professors, and yet not known and considered by them:

and blind; natural men are blind as to a saving knowledge of God in Christ, as to the way of salvation by Christ, as to the plague of their own hearts, as to the work of the Spirit of God upon the soul, and as to the truths of the Gospel, in the power of them; but here it regards blindness with respect to her church state, and its imperfection:

and naked; sin has stripped man of his moral clothing; man's own righteousness will not cover his nakedness; and whoever is destitute of the righteousness of Christ is a naked person,

(c) Yalkut Simeoni, par. 2. fol. 106. 2.((d) Vajikra Rabba, sect. 34. fol. 173. 4. vid. Targum in Cant. viii. 9.

Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, {13} and poor, and blind, and naked:

(13) The spiritual misery of men is metaphorically expressed in three points which are matched as corresponds to those remedies offered in Re 3:18.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Revelation 3:17-18. Ὅτι λέγεις gives the foundation for the συμβουλεύω following in the second part of the sentence, Revelation 3:18.[1579] Hengstenb. incorrectly finds the reproach of lukewarmness grounded in Revelation 3:17; this has occurred already in Revelation 3:15.[1580] The construction is like that of Revelation 18:7-8.

ὃτι recitative.

πλούσιος

ἔχω. The decision as to whether wealth in earthly money and property,[1581] or the fancied[1582] wealth in spiritual blessings,[1583] be meant,—in no event both at the same time,[1584]—depends not upon the (doubtful) prefiguration of Hosea 12:9,[1585] nor upon the fact that the speech put into the mouth of the church must refer to possessions of the same kind, as the reply of the Lord (ΚΑῚ ΟὐΚ ΟἸΔΑς, Κ.Τ.Λ.) manifestly referring to spiritual treasures,[1586] but upon the fact that the self-witness of the church (ὍΤΙ ΠΛΟΎΣΙΟς ΕἸΜΊ, Κ.Τ.Λ.) must harmonize inwardly with the reproach of lukewarmness (Revelation 3:15-16), and with the entire discourse of the Lord that follows. But this would not be the case, had the church fallen into the grossest mammon-worship, and entirely forgotten any higher need beyond that of their earthly riches. A church, on the contrary, which trusts in its spiritual riches, and still has the consciousness of having obtained these riches, will not be entirely without them,[1587] but is, of course, implicated in an arrogant self-deception concerning its spiritual wealth. The church is in reality not rich;[1588] for, if it were, it would not say so, as in Revelation 3:17. [See Note XL., p. 184.] The three expressions ΠΛΟΎΣΙΟς ΕἸΜΊ

ΠΕΠΛΟΎΤΗΚΑ

ΟὐΔῈΝ ΧΡΕΊΑΝ ἜΧΩ
, designate a gradation:[1589] the riches have so increased, that now at last there is no longer any need, but satiety has entered.[1590]

ΚΑῚ ΟὐΚ ΟἸΔΑς. Therefore a self-deception of the church, for the Lord’s knowledge[1591] is decisive.

ὍΤΙ ΣῪ ΕΊ. The ΣῪ has an emphatic position: just thou, thou who regardest thyself so rich.

Ὁ ΤΑΛΑΊΠΩΡΟς. This adjective occurs in the N. T., besides here, only in Romans 7:24. Because of his ΤΑΛΑΙΠΩΡΊΑ,[1592] one is ἘΛΕΕΙΝΌς, i.e., ἘΛΈΟΥς ἌΞΙΟς (worthy of pity).[1593] The article before ΤΑΛ. notes with similar emphasis as the ΣΎ before ΕἸ, that just the one thinking himself rich and elevated above all want is he to whom the ΤΑΛΑΙΠ. applies. First of all, the ΤΑΛΑΙΠ. and ἘΛΛΕΕΙΝ. stand in sharp opposition to the final words of boasting, ΟὐΔ. ΧΡΕΊΑΝ ἜΧΩ; then the ΚΑῚ ΠΤΩΧΌς to the ΠΛΟΥΣ. ΕἸΜῚ Κ. ΠΕΠΛΟΎΤ.; while the ideas of the ΤΥΦΛΌς and ΓΥΜΝΌς are combined with that of the ΠΤΩΧΌς, since spiritual poverty essentially identical with spiritual misery may be considered spiritual blindness and nakedness. Thus what the Lord judges concerning the true character of the church appears most definitely expressed in the three items ΠΤΩΧΌς, ΤΥΦΛΌς, and ΓΥΜΝΌς; hence the advice which now follows (Revelation 3:18) revolves about the same, as the ΧΡΥΣΊΟΝ

ΠΛΟΥΤΉΣῌς
applies to the ΠΤΩΧΌς, the ἹΜΆΤΙΑ

ΓΥΜΝΌΤΗΤΟς ΣΟΥ
to the ΓΥΜΝΌς, and the ΚΟΛΛΟΎΡΙΟΝ

ἽΝΑ ΒΛΈΠῌς
to the ΤΥΦΛΌς.

ΣΥΜΒΟΥΛΕΎΩ
. Not without a certain irony,[1594] provoked by the arrogant imagination of the one so miserable and poor. Beng. finds in the expression an indication of estrangement, since it is only to strangers that advice, while to those who are one’s own, a command, is given;—inapplicable.

ἈΓΟΡΆΣΑΙ. The Roman-Catholic idea of a meritum de congruo can be derived from the ἀγράσαι only when by pressing the expression, and in opposition to the context (Revelation 3:17, ΠΤΩΧΌς), an equivalent purchase price is in some way stated; and this is defined as “good works,”[1595] or as “prayer, tears, repentance, good works.”[1596] But if the spiritual good to be obtained from the Lord be once regarded as ΧΡΥΣΊΟΝ, the result is,—especially according to the type of Isaiah 55:1,—that the corresponding concrete idea of the ἈΓΟΡΆΣΑΙ is as readily designated as the purity of the ΧΡΥΣΊΟΝ by the metaphorical statement ΠΕΠΥΡΩΜΈΝΟΝ ἘΚ ΠΥΡΌς; and it is just as incorrect in the latter expression to think of a confirmation of faith in trouble,[1597] etc.,[1598] as to treat the ἈΓΟΡΆΣΑΙ in an unevangelical sense. In accord with the sense, Beng. explains: “It costs no more than the surrender of the idea of one’s own wealth.”[1599]

ΠΑΡʼ ἘΜΟῦ: As the only Saviour. Cf. especially Revelation 1:5; in regard to the white garments which are to be purchased of the Lord, cf. Revelation 7:14.

ΧΡΥΣΊΟΝ. Spiritual good as that which actually makes rich (ἽΝΑ ΠΛΟΥΤῆΣῇς), in contradistinction to the poverty of the church. To interpret the ΧΡΥΣΊΟΝ as “love,”[1600] or as “faith,”[1601] is too special.

ΠΕΠΥΡΩΜΈΝΟΝ ἘΚ ΠΥΡΌς. ΠΥΡΎΩ = צָרַף, Zechariah 13:9. The ἘΚ represents the ΠῦΡ as the cause whence the ΠΥΡΟῦΣΘΑΙ proceeds;[1602] according to the sense, it is therefore correctly rendered “purified by fire.”[1603] The entire expression designates not “wisdom inflamed with love,”[1604] or “tested faith;”[1605] as, on the contrary, the exposition must be made, that it is only through faith that the ΧΡΥΣ. ΠΕΠΥΡ. ἘΚ ΠΥΡ. is won: but as the purified gold is completely pure and truly precious, so is the spiritual good to be obtained of the Lord unconditionally holy and true, and eternally enriching.

ΚΑῚ ἹΜΑΤΊΑ ΛΕΥΚΆ, Κ.Τ.Λ. Cf. Revelation 3:4; Revelation 7:14; Revelation 19:8. Only in the figurative mode of presentation, and not in the proper sense, are the “white garments” to be distinguished from the “gold,” just as nakedness is in reality nothing but poverty. The remark of Ebrard is arbitrary, that “the command is to be executed in the reverse order from that in which it is given. The ultimate end, to become rich, viz., in good fruits that have some value before God, is first named; for this, gold must be bought. But before gold can be considered, garments must first be purchased in order to cover the nakedness; and as the covering of the nakedness cannot be accomplished before the eyes are open, eyesalve must first of all be applied.” But the “gold” is mentioned first only because, with respect to fancied riches and actual poverty (Revelation 3:17), this is the nearest thought; but the succession of the particular items neither in Revelation 3:17 nor Revelation 3:18 is to be urged, since the ΤΥΦΛΌς and ΓΥΜΝΌς are connected with the ΠΤΩΧΌς, in Revelation 3:17, in a different order from the corresponding members in Revelation 3:18. Only the chief idea ΠΤΩΧΌς, and the corresponding clause in Revelation 3:18, naturally precede.

ΚΑῚ ΜῊ ΦΑΝΕΡΩΘῇ. N. de Lyra: “Before God and the holy angels.” Beng.: “Before God.” But no such restriction is needed.

ΚΟΛΛΟΎΡΙΟΝ. In classical writers, ΚΟΛΛΎΡΙΟΝ. The word designates a substance brought to the long round form of a ΚΟΛΛΎΡΑ, roll (e.g., breadcake), which being mixed with various drugs was used for anointing the eyes.[1606] The Jewish designation (קילורית) קולורין agrees with the form ΚΟΛΛΟΎΡΙΟΝ. Here is meant, not the word of God itself,[1607] but the gift of the Holy Ghost which enlightens,[1608] offered indeed by means of the word, and that, too,[1609] already by the present word with its reproof[1610] and grace.[1611] Cf. 1 John 2:27. Even here the prefixed ΠΑΡʼ ἘΜΟῦ applies,[1612] for the Holy Ghost is the Spirit of Christ, sent by him.[1613] The correct knowledge attained by such enlightening (ἽΝΑ ΒΛΈΠῌς) is, however, in fact, at the same time the true treasure, spiritual riches. Upon this depends the inner harmony in the co-ordination of the three points ΧΡΥΣΊΟΥ, Κ.Τ.Λ, ἹΜΆΤΙΑ ΛΕΥΚΆ, Κ.Τ.Λ., and ΚΟΛΛΟΎΡΙΟΝ Κ.Τ.Λ., as in Revelation 3:17 ΠΤΩΧΌς, ΤΥΦΛΌς, and ΓΥΜΝΌς.

[1579] Beng., De Wette, Ebrard.

[1580] Cf. the connection of Revelation 3:16 with οὕτως.

[1581] Andr., Areth., Aretius, C. a Lap., Beng., Ewald, Züll., etc.

[1582] λέγεις. Cf. Revelation 3:9.

[1583] Beda, N. de Lyra, Rib., Alcas., Grot., Calov., Vitr., Eichh., De Wette, Hengstenb., Ebrard, Ew. ii., etc.

[1584] Stern.

[1585] Cf. Zechariah 11:5.

[1586] For a striking antithesis between earthly and heavenly riches is suggested (Revelation 2:9).

[1587] As “not being cold,” it will not reject the Lord, the source of riches.

[1588] As it is not “hot,” and therefore does not have full fellowship with the Lord.

[1589] Cf. N. de Lyra, Grot., Beng., De Wette.

[1590] Cf. 1 Corinthians 4:8.Revelation 3:17. Priding herself not merely on the fact but (as is implied) on the means by which it had been secured (viz., personal skill, merit) and finally on the independent self-reliant position thus attained: a profuse certificate of merit, selfassigned. To conceit and self-deception the prophet wrathfully ascribes the religious indifference at Laodicea. “No one,” says Philo (Fragm. p. 649, Mang.), “is enriched by secular things, even though he possessed all the mines in the world; the witless are all paupers.” The reference is to spiritual possessions and advantages. It is irrelevant to connect the saying with the material wealth and resources of Laodicea, as exemplified in the fact that it was rebuilt by its citizens after the earthquake in 60–61 A.D. without help from the imperial authorities (Tacit. Ann. xiv. 27). For one thing, the incident is too far back; for another, the Apocalypse is concerned not with the cities but with the Christian churches. Such an allusion may have been in the writer’s mind, especially if the church included in its membership prosperous and influential citizens, since complacency and self-satisfaction are fostered by material comfort. “If wealthily then happily,” in Laodicea as in Padua. Still, these weeds spring from other soils as well. An inefficient ministry (cf. Colossians 4:17) and absence of persecution or of special difficulties at Laodicea probably helped to account for the church’s languid state. As John suggests, the church which is truly rich in spiritual and moral qualities does not plume itself upon them (Revelation 2:9). οὐκ οἶδας, cf. the echo of this in Oxyrhynchite Logia, i. 3: τυφλοί εἰσιν τῇ καρδίᾳ αὐτῶν καὶ οὐ βλέπ[ουσιν, πτωχοὶ καὶ οὐκ οἴδασιν τ]ὴν πτωχιαν (?), where blindness and poverty and unconsciousness of both occur. σύ, emphatic; ἐλεεινός, “needing pity” rather than (as Daniel 9:23; Daniel 10:11, LXX) “finding pity”; ταλ. (cf. with Revelation 3:19, Sap. iii. 11: σοφίαν γὰρ καὶ παιδείαν ὁ ἐξουθενῶν ταλαίπωρος), only here and Romans 7:24 in N. T., two passages representing the extremes of misery—unconscious and conscious. ὁ κ.τ.λ. = “the embodiment of”.17. I am rich, and increased with goods] The words in the original are cognate, as it were, “I am rich, and have gotten riches.” If there be any distinction of sense between them, the second expresses pride in the riches being his own acquisition, in addition to self-complacency in the enjoyment.

For the sense, cf. Hosea 12:8, where apparently the self-complacency in material prosperity lends itself to and combines with religious self-satisfaction. Hence it is not necessary to interpret these words either of material wealth, or of fancied spiritual wealth, to the exclusion of the other. St James 2:1-6 shews that in the first century, as in the nineteenth, the “respectable” classes found it easiest to be religious, to their own satisfaction.

that thou art wretched] Inadequate: read that thou art the wretched and miserable one, &c.: the one person truly to be called so, above all others—at least, above all the other six Churches.Revelation 3:17. Ὅσι λέγεις) This ὅτι is not connected with the preceding words, in which their own ὅτι is inserted, ὅτι χλιαρὸς εἶ; but with the following words, as the thing speaks for itself. Thus, ch. Revelation 18:7, followed by ὅτιδιὰ τοῦτο.—πλούσιος) A few read ὅτι πλούσιος. Such a use of the particle ὅτι, for quoting the language of any one, is of frequent occurrence, but not in the Apocalypse.[55] See ch. Revelation 5:12, Revelation 18:7, etc.—πεπλούτηκα) I have used my riches, and with my gold I have provided for myself many things; for instance, garments. So the Septuagint, πεπλούτηκα, Hosea 12:8.

[55] AC Vulg. retain ὅτι before πλούσιος. Bh Cypr. 241, omit it—E.Verse 17. - Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing. The Epistle is still addressed indirectly to the Laodicean Church, directly to the angel. No doubt spiritual riches are immediately referred to; but spiritual pride and lukewarmness are frequently produced by worldly prosperity, such as that which Archippus (if he be the angel addressed; see on ver. 14) and the Church over which he presided enjoyed. It is not enough for the wealthy Christian to contribute a portion of his wealth, and then to consider his task done and his reward sure. Greater zeal than this is requisite before he can deem his duty discharged. Moreover, the greater the zeal that exists, the less will be the inclination to rely upon what has been accomplished, or to think it sufficient; for when all has been done we are still to call ourselves unprofitable servants (Luke 17:10; cf. Hosea 12:8, "I am become rich, I have found me out substance: in all my labours they shall find none iniquity in me that were sin"). And knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked; and knowest not that thou, even thou thyself, art the wretched one. The self-satisfied spiritual pride of the Pharisee caused him to regard with complacent pity the condition of the publican. But he was mistaken; he himself was the wretched one, who was to be pitied. So with the Laodicean Church. How different the conduct of St. Paul, who recognized his own wretchedness (Romans 7:24, where the same word ταλαίπωρος is used)! The following words are adjectives. These Christians, in their spiritual pride, were miserable - deserving of pity; poor in the wealth accumulated by zeal in God's service; blind as to their real condition and their fancied spiritual safety; and naked of the cloak with which charity - fervent love of God - would have covered them. Because thou sayest

Connect, as A.V. and Rev., with what follows, not with what precedes. Some interpret I will spue thee out of my mouth because thou sayest, etc.

Increased with goods (πεπλούτηκα)

Rev., have gotten riches. The reference is to imagined spiritual riches, not to worldly possessions.

Thou

Emphatic.

Wretched (ὁ ταλαίπωρος)

Rev., better, giving the force of the article, the wretched one. From τλάω to endure, and πειρά a trial.

Miserable (ἐλεεινός)

Only here and 1 Corinthians 15:19. An object of pity (ἔλεος).

Poor (πτωχός)

See on Matthew 5:3.

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