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Word Pictures in the New Testament
(Revelation: Chapter 3)



3:1 {In Sardis} (en Sardesin). Some thirty miles south-east of Thyatira, old capital of Lydia, wealthy and the home of Croesus, conquered by Cyrus and then by Alexander the Great, in B.C. 214 by Antiochus the Great, at the crossing of Roman roads, in a plain watered by the river Pactolus, according to Pliny the place where the dyeing of wool was discovered, seat of the licentious worship of Cybele and the ruins of the temple still there, called by Ramsay ("op. cit.", p. 354) "the city of Death," city of softness and luxury, of apathy and immorality, "a contrast of past splendour and present unresting decline" (Charles). Along with Laodicea it was blamed most of all the seven churches.
{That hath the seven Spirits of God} (ho ech“n ta hepta pneumata tou theou). For which picture of the Holy Spirit see 1:4.
{And the seven stars} (kai tous hepta asteras). As in 1:16,20.
{A name that thou livest} (onoma hoti zˆis). A name in contrast with reality. The hoti clause in apposition with onoma.
{And thou art dead} (kai nekros ei). "The paradox of death under the name of life" (Swete). Not complete (a nucleus of life) death (verse 2), but rapidly dying. See the picture in Jas 2:17; 2Co 6:9; 2Ti 3:5.

3:2 {Be thou watchful} (ginou grˆgor“n). Periphrastic imperative with present middle of ginomai (keep on becoming) and present active participle of grˆgore“ (late present from perfect egrˆgora and that from egeir“, as in Mt 24:42) and see 16:15 for grˆgore“ also. He does not say "Arise from the dead" (Eph 5:14), for there are vestiges of life. Those still alive are addressed through the angel of the church.
{Stablish the things that remain} (stˆrison ta loipa). First aorist active imperative of stˆriz“, to make stable. Those not actually dead, but in grave peril. See a like command to Titus in Crete (Tit 1:5). Every new pastor faces such a problem.
{Which were ready to die} (ha emellon apothanein). Imperfect active plural because the individuals, though neuter plural, are regarded as living realities. The imperfect looking on the situation "with a delicate optimism" (Swete) as having passed the crisis, a sort of epistolary imperfect.
{For I have found no works of thine} (ou gar heurˆka sou erga). "For I have not found any works of thine." Perfect active indicative of heurisk“. The church as a whole represented by sou (thy). {Fulfilled} (peplˆr“mena). Perfect passive predicate participle of plˆro“. Their works have not measured up to God's standard (en“pion tou theou mou).

3:3 {Remember} (mnˆmoneue). "Keep in mind," as in 2:5. {Therefore} (oun). Resumptive and coordinating as in 1:19; 2:5.
{Thou hast received} (eilˆphas). Perfect active indicative of lamban“, "as a permanent deposit" (Vincent). {Didst hear} (ˆkousas). First aorist active indicative, the act of hearing at the time.
{And keep it} (kai tˆrei). Present active imperative of tˆre“, "hold on to what thou hast."
{And repent} (kai metanoˆson). First aorist active imperative of metanoe“, "Turn at once."
{If therefore thou shalt not watch} (ean oun mˆ grˆgorˆsˆis). Condition of third class with ean mˆ and the first aorist (ingressive) active subjunctive of grˆgore“, "if then thou do not wake up."
{I will come} (hˆx“). Certainly future active here, though probably aorist subjunctive in 2:25.
{As a thief} (h“s kleptˆs). As Jesus had already said (Mt 24:43; Lu 12:39), as Paul had said (1Th 5:2), as Peter had said (2Pe 3:10), as Jesus will say again (Re 16:15).
{Thou shalt not know} (ou mˆ gn“is). Strong double negative ou mˆ with second aorist active subjunctive of gin“sk“, though some MSS. have the future middle indicative gn“sˆi.
{What hour} (poian h“ran). A rare classical idiom (accusative) surviving in the "Koin‚" rather than the genitive of time, somewhat like Joh 4:52; Ac 20:16 (Robertson, "Grammar", p. 470f.). Indirect question with poian.

3:4 {A few names} (oliga onomata). This use of onoma for persons is seen in the "Koin‚" (Deissmann, "Bible Studies", p. 196f.) as in Ac 1:15; Re 11:13.
{Did not defile} (ouk emolunan). First aorist active indicative of molun“ (1Co 8:7; 1Pe 1:4), pollution.
{They shall walk} (peripatˆsousin). Future active of peripate“, promise of fellowship with Christ (met' emou, with me) "in white" (en leukois), as symbols of purity (7:9,13) like the angel (Mt 28:3), with possibly a reference to Enoch (Ge 5:22). For they are worthy (hoti axioi eisin). To walk with Christ, not worthy in the same sense as God and Christ (4:11; 5:9), but in a relative sense. See Re 16:6 for bad sense of axios.

3:5 {Shall be arrayed} (peribaleitai). Future middle indicative of periball“, to fling around one, here and in 4:4 with en and the locative, but usually in this book with the accusative of the thing, retained in the passive or with the middle (7:9,13; 10:1; 11:3; 12:1; 17:4; 18:16; 19:8,13).
{In white garments} (en himatiois leukois). Apparently the spiritual bodies in the risen life as in 2Co 5:1,4 and often in Revelation (3:4,5; 6:11; 7:9,13f.; 19:8).
{I will in no wise blot out} (ou mˆ exaleips“). Strong double negative ou mˆ and the first aorist active (or future) of exaleiph“, old word, to wipe out (Ac 3:19).
{Of the book of life} (ek tˆs biblou tˆs z“ˆs). Ablative case with ek. This divine register first occurs in Ex 32:32f. and often in the O.T. See Lu 10:20; Php 4:3; Re 13:8; 20:15; 21:27. The book is in Christ's hands (13:8; 21:27). {His name} (to onoma autou). The name of the one who overcomes (ho nik“n). Clear reminiscence of the words of Christ about confessing to the Father those who confess him here (Mt 10:32; Mr 8:38; Lu 9:26; 12:8). Whether John knew the Synoptic Gospels (and why not?) he certainly knew such sayings of Jesus.

3:7 {In Philadelphia} (en Philadelphiƒi). Some twenty-eight miles south-east of Sardis, in Lydia, subject to earthquakes, rebuilt by Tiberius after the great earthquake of A.D. 17, for a time called in coins Neo-Caesarea, in wine-growing district with Bacchus (Dionysos) as the chief deity, on fine Roman roads and of commercial importance, though not a large city, called by Ramsay ("op. cit.", p. 392) "the Missionary City" to promote the spread of the Graeco-Roman civilization and then of Christianity, later offering stubborn resistance to the Turks (1379-90 A.D.) and now called Ala-Sheher (reddish city, Charles, from the red hills behind it). The chief opposition to the faithful little church is from the Jews (cf. Ro 9-11). There are some 1,000 Christians there today.
{The holy, he that is true} (ho hagios, ho alˆthinos). Separate articles (four in all) for each item in this description. "The holy, the genuine." Asyndeton in the Greek. Latin Vulgate, "Sanctus et Verus". Ho hagios is ascribed to God in 4:8; 6:10 (both hagios and alˆthinos as here), but to Christ in Mr 1:24; Lu 4:34; Joh 6:69; Ac 4:27,30; 1Jo 2:20, a recognized title of the Messiah as the consecrated one set apart. Swete notes that alˆthinos is "verus" as distinguished from "verax" (alˆthˆs). So it is applied to God in 6:10 and to Christ in 3:14; 19:11 as in Joh 1:9; 6:32; 15:1.
{He that hath the key of David} (ho ech“n tˆn klein Daueid). This epithet comes from Isa 22:22, where Eliakim as the chief steward of the royal household holds the keys of power. Christ as the Messiah (Re 5:5; 22:16) has exclusive power in heaven, on earth, and in Hades (Mt 16:19; 28:18; Ro 14:9; Php 2:9f.; Re 1:18). Christ has power to admit and exclude of his own will (Mt 25:10f.; Eph 1:22; Re 3:21; 19:11-16; 20:4; 22:16).
{And none shall shut} (kai oudeis kleisei). Charles calls the structure Hebrew (future active indicative of klei“), and not Greek because it does not correspond to the present articular participle just before ho anoig“n (the one opening), but it occurs often in this book as in the very next clause, "and none openeth" (kai oudeis anoigei) over against klei“n (present active participle, opening) though here some MSS. read kleiei (present active indicative, open).

3:8 {I have set} (ded“ka). Perfect active indicative of did“mi, "I have given" (a gift of Christ, this open door). See Lu 12:51 for a like use of did“mi.
{A door opened} (thuran ˆne“igmenˆn). Perfect (triple reduplication) passive predicate participle of anoig“ (verse 7) accusative feminine singular. The metaphor of the open door was a common one (Joh 10:7-9; Ac 14:27; 1Co 16:9; 2Co 2:12; Col 4:3; Re 3:20; 4:1). Probably it means here a good opportunity for missionary effort in spite of the Jewish hostility.
{Which} (hˆn--autˆn). Pleonastic vernacular and Hebrew repetition of the personal pronoun autˆn (it) after the relative hˆn (which). Direct reference to the statement in verse 7.
{That} (hoti). This conjunction resumes the construction of oida sou ta erga (I know thy works) after the parenthesis (idou--autˆn, Behold--shut).
{A little power} (mikran dunamin). Probably "little power," little influence or weight in Philadelphia, the members probably from the lower classes (1Co 1:26f.).
{And didst keep} (kai etˆrˆsas). "And yet (adversative use of kai) didst keep" (first aorist active indicative of tˆre“) my word in some crisis of trial. See Joh 17:6 for the phrase "keeping the word."
{Didst not deny} (ouk ˆrnˆs“). First aorist middle indicative second person singular of arneomai. The issue was probably forced by the Jews (cf. 2:9), but they stood true.

3:9 {I give} (did“). Late omega form for did“mi, but the -mi form in 17:13 (didoasin). These Jewish converts are a gift from Christ. For this use of did“mi see Ac 2:27; 10:40; 14:3. There is ellipse of tinas before ek as in 2:10 (ex hum“n) and see 2:9 for "the synagogue of Satan."
{Of them which say} (t“n legont“n). Ablative plural in apposition with sunag“gˆs. On the construction of heautous Ioudaious einai see on 2:9 (Ioudaious einai heautous, the order of words being immaterial).
{But do lie} (alla pseudontai). Present middle indicative of pseudomai, explanatory positive, addition here to kai ouk eisin of 2:9, in contrast also with ho alˆthinos of verse 7 and in Johannine style (Joh 8:44; 1Jo 1:10; 2:4).
{I will make them} (poiˆs“ autous). Future active indicative of poie“, resuming the prophecy after the parenthesis (t“n--pseudontai, which say--but do lie).
{To come and worship} (hina hˆxousin kai proskunˆsousin). "That they come and worship" (final clause, like "facio ut" in Latin, with hina and the future active of hˆk“ and proskune“). The language is based on Isa 45:14; 60:14. The Jews expected homage (not worship in the strict sense) from the Gentiles, but it will come to the Christians at last (1Co 14:24). Later Ignatius ("Philad". 6) warns this church against Judaizing Christians, perhaps one result of an influx of Jews.
{And to know} (kai gn“sin). Continuation of the purpose clause with hina, but with the second aorist active subjunctive rather than the less usual future indicative. See both constructions also with hina in 22:14. Probably a reminiscence of Isa 43:4 in eg“ ˆgapˆsa se (I loved thee), first aorist active indicative.

3:10 {Patience} (hupomenˆs). "Endurance" as in 13:10; 14:12 as also in 2Th 3:5.
{Thou didst keep} (etˆrˆsas) {--I also will keep} (kag“ tˆrˆs“). Aorist active indicative and future active corresponding to each other. For a like play on the tenses of this verb by Christ see Joh 17:6 (tetˆrˆkan), Joh 17:11 (tˆrˆson), Joh 17:12 (etˆroun).
{From the hour of trial} (ek tˆs h“ras tou peirasmou). This use of ek after tˆre“ in Joh 17:15, apo in Jas 1:27. Trial brings temptation often (Jas 1:2,13). Jesus endured (Heb 12:1f.) and he will help them. There is still a church in Philadelphia in spite of the Turks.
{Which is to come} (tˆs mellousˆs erchesthai). Agreeing with h“ras (feminine), not with peirasmou (masculine).
{Upon the whole world} (epi tˆs epoikoumenˆs holˆs). The inhabited earth (gˆs) as in Re 12:19; Lu 2:1; Ac 16:6, etc.), not the physical earth, but the world of men as explained by the next clause.
{To try} (peirasai). First aorist active infinitive of purpose from peiraz“, probably to tempt (cf. the demons in 9:1-21), not merely to afflict (2:10).
{That dwell upon the earth} (tous katoikountas epi tˆs gˆs). Present active articular participle of katoike“, explaining "the whole world" just before.

3:11 {I come quickly} (erchomai tachu). As in 2:16; 22:7,12,20. "The keynote of the book" (Beckwith). But allow the author's own meaning of "quickly."
{Hold fast that which thou hast} (kratei ho echeis). Sort of motto for each church (2:25).
{That no one take} (hina mˆdeis labˆi). Purpose clause with hina and second aorist active subjunctive of lamban“. Here to take away "thy crown" (2:10) which will be thine if really won and not forfeited by failure (2Ti 4:8). In that case it will go to another (Mt 25:28; Ro 11:17f.).

3:12 {He that overcometh} (ho nik“n). Nominative absolute as in 2:26, resumed by the accusative auton (him).
{A pillar} (stulon). Old word for column, in N.T. only here, 10:1; Ga 2:9; 1Ti 3:15. Metaphorical and personal use with a double significance of being firmly fixed and giving stability to the building. Philadelphia was a city of earthquakes. "Temple" (naos) here is also metaphorical (7:15), as in 1Ti 3:15 for the people of God. In 21:22 we read that there is no temple in the heavenly Jerusalem (21:10-22:5) descending as the new Jerusalem with God himself as the temple, though the metaphorical temple is mentioned in 7:15.
{He shall go out thence no more} (ex“ ou mˆ elthˆi). Strong double negative ou mˆ with the second aorist active subjunctive of erchomai. The subject is ho nik“n (the one overcoming). "Fixity of character is at last achieved" (Charles). He, like the stulos (pillar), remains in place.
{Upon him} (ep' auton). Upon ho nik“n (the victor), not upon the pillar (stulos). He receives this triple name (of God, of the city of God, of Christ) on his forehead (14:1; 7:3; 17:5; 22:4) just as the high-priest wore the name of Jehovah upon his forehead (Ex 28:36,38), the new name (2:17), without any magical or talismanic power, but as proof of ownership by God, as a citizen of the New Jerusalem, with the new symbol of the glorious personality of Christ (Re 19:12), in contrast with the mark of the beast on others (13:17; 14:17). For citizenship in God's city see Ga 4:26; Php 3:20; Heb 11:10; 12:22; 13:14. {The new Jerusalem} (tˆs kainˆs Ierousalˆm). Not neas (young), but kainˆs (fresh). See also 21:2,10 and already Ga 4:26; Heb 12:22. Charles distinguishes between the Jerusalem before the final judgment and this new Jerusalem after that event. Perhaps so! In the Apocalypse always this form Ierousalˆm (3:12; 21:2,10), but in John's Gospel Hierosoluma (1:19, etc.).
{Which cometh down} (hˆ katabainousa). Nominative case in apposition with the preceding genitive pole“s as in 1:5; 2:20, etc.
{Mine own new name} (to onoma mou to kainon). For which see 2:17; 19:12,16. Christ himself will receive a new name along with all else in the future world (Gressmann).

3:14 {In Laodicea} (en Laodikiƒi). Forty miles south-east of Philadelphia and some forty miles east of Ephesus, the last of the seven churches addressed with special messages, on the river Lycus on the border of Phrygia, near Colossae and Hierapolis, recipient of two letters by Paul (Col 4:16), on the great trade-route from Ephesus to the east and seat of large manufacturing and banking operations (especially of woollen carpets and clothing, Ramsay, "Cities and Bishoprics of Phrygia", p. 40ff.), centre of the worship of Asklepios and seat of a medical school and also of a provincial court where Cicero lived and wrote many of his letters, home of many Jews, called by Ramsay ("op. cit.", p. 413) "the City of Compromise," the church here founded apparently by Epaphras (Col 1:7; 4:12f.), now a deserted ruin, one of six cities with this name (meaning justice of the people). No praise is bestowed on this church, but only blame for its lukewarmness.
{The Amen} (ho Amˆn). Personal (masculine article) name here alone, though in Isa 65:16 we have "the God of Amen" understood in the LXX as "the God of truth" (ton theon ton alˆthinon). Here applied to Christ. See 1:5 for ho martus ho pistos (the faithful witness) and 3:7 for ho alˆthinos (the genuine), "whose testimony never falls short of the truth" (Swete).
{The beginning of the creation of God} (hˆ archˆ tˆs ktise“s tou theou). Not the first of creatures as the Arians held and Unitarians do now, but the originating source of creation through whom God works (Col 1:15,18, a passage probably known to the Laodiceans, Joh 1:3; Heb 1:2, as is made clear by 1:18; 2:8; 3:21; 5:13).

3:15 {Neither cold} (oute psuchros). Old word from psuch“, to grow cold (Mt 24:12), in N.T. only Mt 10:42 and this passage. {Nor hot} (oute zestos). Late verbal from ze“, to boil, (Ro 12:11), boiling hot, here only in N.T.
{I would thou wert} (ophelon ˆs). Wish about the present with ophelon (really “phelon, second aorist active indicative of opheil“, without augment) with the imperfect ˆs (instead of the infinitive) as in 2Co 11:1, when the old Greek used eithe or ei gar. See 1Co 4:8 for the aorist indicative and Ga 5:12 for the future.

3:16 {Lukewarm} (chliaros). Tepid. Old adjective from chli“, to liquefy, to melt, here alone in N.T.
{I will} (mell“). "I am about to," on the point of.
{Spew thee} (se emesai). First aorist active infinitive of eme“, old verb to vomit, to reject with extreme disgust, here alone in N.T.

3:17 {I am rich} (hoti plousios eimi). Recitative hoti like quotation marks before direct quotation. Old adjective from ploutos, riches, wealth. Laodicea was a wealthy city and the church "carried the pride of wealth into its spiritual life" (Swete).
{Have gotten riches} (peploutˆka). Perfect active indicative of ploute“, old verb from ploutos, used here of imagined spiritual riches which the church did not possess, just the opposite of church in Smyrna (poor in wealth, rich in grace). This church was in a rich city and was rich in pride and conceit, but poor in grace and ignorant of its spiritual poverty (ouk oidas, knowest not).
{The wretched one} (ho talaip“ros). Old adjective from tla“, to endure, and p“ros, a callus, afflicted, in N.T. only here and Ro 7:24. Note the one article in the predicate with all these five adjectives unifying the picture of sharp emphasis on "thou" (su), "thou that boastest." {Miserable} (eleeinos). Pitiable as in 1Co 15:19.
{Poor} (pt“chos). See 2:9 for spiritual poverty. Perhaps some local example of self-complacency is in mind.
{Blind} (tuphlos). Spiritual blindness as often (Mt 23:17), and note "eye-salve" in verse 18.
{Naked} (gumnos). "The figure completes the picture of actual poverty" (Beckwith). See 15,16.

3:18 {I counsel} (sumbouleu“). Present active indicative, old compound from sumboulos, counsellor (Ro 11:34), as in Joh 18:14. Almost ironical in tone.
{To buy} (agorasai). First aorist active infinitive of agoraz“ (from agora, market-place), rich as they think themselves to be.
{From me} (par' emou). From my side, emphatic.
{Refined by fire} (pepur“menon ek puros). Perfect passive participle of puro“ (as in 1:15) and the metaphor carried on by ek puros, "fired by fire." Purity by removing dross (Ps 66:10) like 1Pe 1:7. {That thou mayest become rich} (hina ploutˆsˆis). Purpose clause with hina and the ingressive first aorist active of ploute“, spiritual riches.
{That thou mayest clothe thyself} (hina peribalˆi). Purpose clause with hina and second aorist middle (direct) subjunctive of periball“, to fling round one as in 3:5.
{Be not made manifest} (mˆ phaner“thˆi). Continued purpose clause with negative and first aorist passive subjunctive of phanero“.
{Nakedness} (gumnotˆtos). Late and rare word from gumnos, naked, in N.T. only here, 2Co 11:27; Ro 8:35. Cf. Re 16:15; 20:13; 2Co 5:2f.
{Eye-salve} (kollourion). Diminutive of kollura (coarse bread of cylindrical shape), object of agorasai, name for a famous Phrygian powder for the eyes made in Laodicea (Charles), Latin "collyrium" (used for eye-salve by Horace and Juvenal).
{To anoint} (egchrisai). First aorist active infinitive (epexegetic) of egchri“, late compound (en, chri“, Strabo, Epictetus), to rub in, here only in N.T.
{That thou mayest see} (hina blepˆis). Another purpose clause with hina and the present active subjunctive (keep on seeing).

3:19 Free rendering of Pr 3:12 (in Heb 12:6), but with hous ean (indefinite relative plural) for hon (definite relative singular), with phil“ instead of agapƒi and with the first person paideu“ for paideuei (the Lord chastens, from pais, child, training a child) and with elegch“ (reprove) added.
{Be zealous} (zˆleue). Present active imperative of zˆleu“, in good sense (from zˆlos, ze“, to boil), in opposition to their lukewarmness, here only in N.T. (elsewhere zˆlo“), "keep on being zealous."
{Repent} (metanoˆson). Ingressive first aorist active imperative of metanoe“.

3:20 {I stand at the door} (hestˆka epi tˆn thuran). Perfect active of histˆmi (intransitive). Picture of the Lord's advent as in Mt 24:33; Jas 5:9, but true also of the individual response to Christ's call (Lu 12:36) as shown in Holman Hunt's great picture. Some see a use also of So 5:2.
{If any man hear--and open} (ean tis akousˆi kai anoixˆi). Condition of third class with ean and first aorist (ingressive) active subjunctive of akou“ and anoig“. See Joh 10:3; 18:37. See the picture reversed (Swete) in Lu 13:25; Mt 25:10.
{I will come in to him} (eiseleusomai). Future middle of eiserchomai. See Mr 15:43; Ac 11:3 for eiserchomai pros, to go into a man's house. Cf. Joh 14:23.
{Will sup} (deipnˆs“). Future active of deipne“, old verb, from deipnon (supper), as in Lu 17:8. Fellowship in the Messianic kingdom (Lu 22:30; Mr 14:25; Mt 26:29). Purely metaphorical, as is plain from 1Co 6:13.

3:21 {He that overcometh} (ho nik“n). Absolute nominative again as in 3:12, but resumed this time by the dative aut“i as in 2:26.
{To sit} (kathisai). First aorist active infinitive of kathiz“. This promise grows out of the prophecy that the saints will share in the Messiah's rule, made to the twelve (Mt 19:28; Lu 22:29f.), repeated by Paul (1Co 6:2f.), enlarged in Re 22:1-5 (to last forever, 2Ti 2:11f.). James and John took this hope and promise literally (Mr 10:40) not metaphorically.
{As I also overcame} (h“s kag“ enikˆsa). First aorist active indicative of nika“, looking back on the victory as over in the past. In Joh 16:33 before the Cross Jesus says Eg“ nenikˆka ton kosmon (perfect active), emphasizing the abiding effect of the victory.
{Sat down} (ekathisa). "I took my seat" (Heb 1:3) where Christ is now (Re 22:3; Col 3:1). Cf. 1Jo 5:4; Re 2:27f. Each of these seven messages begins alike and ends alike. Each is the message of the Christ and of the Holy Spirit to the angel of the church. Each has a special message suited to the actual condition of each church. In each case the individual who overcomes has a promise of blessing. Christ the Shepherd knows his sheep and lays bare the particular peril in each case.


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