C. Revelation Chap. 3

Chapter 3

Rev. 3.1 “To the angel of the church in Sardis write:

These are the words of him who holds the seven spirits of God and the seven stars. I know your deeds; you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead.

  • The speaker identifies himself as “him who holds the seven spirits of God and the seven stars” (cf. comments on 1:4, 16, 20; 2:1). Christ is the one who controls the seven spirits of God. If the Sardian church is strong, it is because Christ has sent his Spirit to encourage and quicken the Sardian believers; if they are dead like Sardis, it is because in judgment he has withdrawn his Spirit from them. Yet the faithful minority at Sardis (v. 4) can count on the divine power of Christ to sustain them, give life, and mobilize them to do his will even though the majority are dead.
  • The speaker’s knowledge of the church in Sardis reveals their true condition. He knows their “deeds.” This may allude to their past accomplishments, which gave them their reputation of being alive, but more likely it refers to their present deeds, which were not those Christ sought from them (cf. v. 2). He also knows that though they claim to be a healthy Christian church, in reality they are “dead.”
  • How does a church die? Why does Christ use this expression for Sardis, even though the churches in Thyatira and Laodicea also had serious problems? Sardis had had significant fame as a royal city, but now it was nothing. The citizens were living off past fame. Apparently the same spirit had affected the church. Their loyalty and service to Christ were in the past; now they were nothing. Perhaps they had so made peace with the surrounding society that the offense of the Cross had ceased, and they were no longer in jeopardy of life or vulnerable to suffering. Further facts emerge when we consider the series of commands in vv. 2-3. Death was a special preoccupation of the Sardians, as witnessed by the impressive necropolis. What had been a part of the pagan rites had also crept into the church, but through deception. The Sardian church was for the most part a duped church.

2 Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your deeds complete in the sight of my God.

  • The command “Wake up!” (lit., “Be watchful”; GK G1213) is a call to reverse their attitudes radically. The congregation must be alerted to the seriousness of the situation. Their complacency led them to give up their identification with Christ and their mission for him. The situation is dire but not totally hopeless. Immediate steps must be taken to “strengthen [GK G5114] what remains.” Some persons and things are salvageable if quick and decisive action is taken. Otherwise, death will follow.
  • The church in Sardis is in a deep spiritual coma, approaching death but not beyond Christ’s summons to wake up, to strengthen what is about to die, to remember and keep the message of grace that the church had received and heard, and to pursue the holiness that flows from grace. like a thief. A frequent NT simile (Luke 12:39–40; 1 Thess. 5:2–4; 2 Pet. 3:10; Rev. 16:15); humans cannot predict the timing of Christ’s return. The command to “wake up” is a reminder that twice in its history Sardis had been sacked (in 547/546 B.C. by Cyrus II, and in 214 B.C. by Antiochus III) when the watchmen on the walls failed to detect an enemy army sneaking up its supposedly impregnable cliffs and walls.
  • The Sardians’ deeds are in danger of judgment because Christ has not found them “complete [GK G4444] in the sight of my God.” Though this could refer to incompleteness in the number of their deeds, more likely it describes the quality of their deeds—they do not measure up to the standard Christ sets. In the other letters, works acceptable to Christ are love, faithfulness, perseverance, keeping Christ’s words, and not denying his name.

3 Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; obey it, and repent. But if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what time I will come to you.

  • Like those in Ephesus, the Sardians must remember what they “have received and heard.”
    • What they “received” was the apostolic tradition of the gospel;
    • what they “heard” probably were the teachings of the apostles and prophets who brought the gospel to them.
  • Unlike the church at Philadelphia (v. 8), the Sardians were not holding to the word of Christ. For them repentance was the only way out of certain and final death. So they were to repent by restoring the gospel and the apostolic doctrine to its authority over their lives. This would mean they would once more start to “obey” (lit., “keep”; GK G5498) the truth of Christ’s word. Today’s church needs to hear this challenge to take the word of Christ seriously. If the church at Sardis does not repent, Christ will come to them in judgment “as a thief”—i.e., by surprise. This phrase should probably not be taken as referring to the Second Coming but to Christ’s opposing them in judgment (cf. his threat to the church in Ephesus in 2:5).

4 Yet you have a few people in Sardis who have not soiled their clothes. They will walk with me, dressed in white, for they are worthy.

  • Hope for revival is in the fact that a few names—alert and unstained disciples—can still be found in this church. Their unsoiled garments symbolize consistent obedience and courageous faith. Christ promises them the conqueror’s reward: communion with himself (walk with me) and the white raiment of victory (cf. note on 2:17; also 7:14). Their name is secure in his book of life (20:15), and he will confess their name before the Father, since they have confessed Jesus in hostile circumstances (Matt. 10:32).
  • While the majority had departed from faithful obedience to Christ, a few at Sardis remained true. Here an allusion to the woolen industry at Sardis intensifies the image of soiled and defiled garments. Those with soiled garments were removed from the public lists of citizens in Sardis. In the pagan religions it was forbidden to approach the gods in garments that were soiled or stained. Soiling seems to be a symbol for mingling with pagan life and thus defiling the purity of one’s relation to Christ (14:4; 1Co 8:7; 2Co 7:1; 11:2; Jude 23). To “walk with Christ” symbolizes salvation and fellowship with him—something the others at Sardis had forfeited through their sin (1Jn 1:6-7). “White” garments are symbolic of the righteousness, victory, and glory of God (Rev 3:18; 6:11; 7:9, 13-14; 19:14). This passage shows that not all faithful Christians were martyrs, nor can we make emperor worship the sole source of the problems of the early Christians. Ironically, the Sardians were occupied with their outward appearance, but they were not concerned with inner purity toward Christ and their outward moral life in a pagan society.

5 He who overcomes will, like them, be dressed in white. I will never blot out his name from the book of life, but will acknowledge his name before my Father and his angels.

  • The overcomer’s promise is threefold and grows out of the reference to white clothing.
    • (1) “Like” the faithful Sardian Christians who will receive white clothes from Christ, the others who overcome the stains of pagan society will similarly be dressed in white.
    • (2) The pure relationship to Christ is permanently guaranteed: “I will never erase his name from the book of life.” In ancient cities the names of citizens were recorded in a register till their death; then their names were marked out of that book. This same idea appears in the OT (Ex 32:32-33; Ps 69:28; Isa 4:3). From the idea of being recorded in God’s book of the living (or the righteous) comes the sense of belonging to God’s eternal kingdom or possessing eternal life (Da 12:1; Lk 10:20; Php 4:3; Heb 12:23; Rev 13:8; 20:15; et al.). For Christ to say that he will never “blot out [the overcomer’s] name from the book of life” is the strongest affirmation that death can never separate us from Christ and the life he offers (Ro 8:38-39). A person enrolled in the book of life by faith remains in it by faithfulness and can be erased only by disloyalty. There is some evidence that one’s name could be removed from the city register before death if one were convicted of a crime. In the first century, Christians who were loyal to Christ were under constant threat of being branded political and social rebels and then stripped of their citizenship. But Christ offers them an eternal, safe citizenship in his everlasting kingdom if they remain loyal to him.
    • (3) Finally, to the overcomer Christ promises to “acknowledge his name before [the] Father and his angels.” “Acknowledge” (GK G3933) is a strong word for confession before the courts. It is Christ’s confession of our name before the Father and his angels (implying our fellowship with him) that assures our heavenly citizenship (Mt 10:32; Lk 12:8).
  • What ultimately counts, then, is not our acceptance by this world’s societies but that our relationship to Christ is genuine and hence will merit his approbation in the coming kingdom.

6 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.  7 “To the angel of the church in Philadelphia write:

These are the words of him who is holy and true, who holds the key of David. What he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open.

  • The letter to the church in Philadelphia begins with the speaker’s identifying himself as “him who is holy and true, who holds the key of David. What he opens, no one can shut; and what he shuts, no one can open.” Each of these identifications calls attention to Jesus as the true Messiah. “Holy and true” relates to God himself and describes aspects of his presence among us (cf. 6:10; cf. Hos 11:9; Jn 14:6). Holiness is the attribute of God whereby we sense the presence of the “Wholly Other,” and truth means that he is wholly trustworthy and reliable in his words and actions.
  • The reference to the “key of David” alludes to Isa 22:20ff. and the incident of transferring the post of secretary of state in Judah from the unfaithful Shebna to the faithful Eliakim. The “key” (GK G3090) signifies the power of the keys that were normally held by the king himself, unless delegated to another. The use of the name “David” points to Christ as the Messiah, who alone determines who will participate in his kingdom and who will be turned away. This may allude to the false claims of certain Jews at Philadelphia who argued that they, not the heretical Nazarenes, would inherit the kingdom of David (v. 9) and thus excluded the followers of Jesus. But the true Messiah, Jesus, will exclude them instead!

8 I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut. I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name.

  • an open door. For Paul, open doors were opportunities for ministry (1 Cor. 16:9; 2 Cor. 2:12; Col. 4:3). That sense is possible here; but since these Christians, excluded by the synagogue, would become pillars in God’s temple (Rev. 3:12), probably Jesus sets before them the “door standing open” into God’s heavenly sanctuary (4:1).
  • little power. As Christians in Smyrna were physically poor yet spiritually rich, so those in Philadelphia were weak yet holding fast to Jesus’ word (3:10–11).

9 I will make those who are of the synagogue of Satan, who claim to be Jews though they are not, but are liars — I will make them come and fall down at your feet and acknowledge that I have loved you.

  • Those opposing the witness of the congregation are called “those who are of the synagogue of Satan, who claim to be Jews though they are not, but are liars.” These words are like those spoken to the church in Smyrna (cf. comment on 2:9). A “synagogue of Satan” appears to describe a Jewish element that vehemently denied Jesus as the Messiah and that actively persecuted others who made this claim. In the view of Jews like John and Paul, a true Jew is one who has found forgiveness and life in Jesus the Messiah, while a false Jew is one who rejects those who believe in Jesus and openly persecutes them; such a one is an antichrist (1Jn 2:22). But Christ will make those who have persecuted the followers of Jesus as heretics “acknowledge” (lit., “know”; GK G1182) that God is indeed with the church in Philadelphia and that they are not heretics but are God’s people.
  • We catch a glimpse here of the ever-widening gap between Judaism and Christianity toward the end of the first century. The church is the true people of God, loved by Christ, and in a real sense inheritors of the covenant promises in the OT made to the people of God (Isa 43:4; 45:14; 49:23; 60:14). In these OT passages it is the Gentiles, or heathen nations, who bow before Israel and acknowledge that God is with them. In this letter Christ reverses these roles: his followers are now the people of God and Jewish unbelievers are the pagans who come and acknowledge the love of the Messiah for the church! There is, however, no indication as to when such acknowledgment will come. Underlying this verse is the truth Paul expressed in Php 2:10-11: “At the name of Jesus every knee should bow . . . and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Some will do this joyfully and some remorsefully (cf. Rev 6:12-17).

10 Since you have kept my command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come upon the whole world to test those who live on the earth.

  • This is another promise given the church in Philadelphia. Though not part of the promise to the overcomers in Philadelphia (v. 12), like the special promises to Smyrna and Sardis (2:10; 3:4), it may be taken as a promise to all the churches. The words “since you have kept my command to endure patiently” (lit., “kept the word of my patience”) refer to the condition under which the promise is valid. Some translate the phrase as in NIV, inferring that the “word of my patience” means the command of Christ to endure suffering until he returns (Lk 21:19; cf. Heb 10:36). Others translate it as “the word enjoining Christ’s patient endurance,” which would refer to an apostolic teaching (such as Paul’s) encouraging Christians to endure the contrariness of a sinful world after the pattern of Christ’s own endurance (2Th 3:5; cf. Heb 12:3). Either is possible, though the Greek text slightly favors the latter.
  • Related to the promise, “I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come upon the whole world to test those who live on the earth” are two problems: the identification of the “hour of trial” and the sense of the phrase “keep you from the hour of trial.” Both involve the ongoing debate among evangelicals over the Tribulation-Rapture question.
    • We can dismiss the view that the “hour of trial” refers to some general or personal distress that will come only upon the Philadelphian community and from which that church will be delivered. Not only does the Lord refer to “the whole world,” but the phrase “those who live on the earth” is repeated in Revelation a number of times and refers not to believers but to unbelievers who are the objects of God’s wrath (6:10; 8:13; 11:10; 12:12; 13:8, 12, 14; cf. Isa 24; Jer 13:12-14). According to many interpreters, the “hour of trial” is best understood as the time known to the Jews as the “messianic woes,” a time of intense trouble to fall on the world before the coming of Christ and known as the eschatological “day of the Lord” or the “Great Tribulation” (Da 12:1, Joel 2:31; Mk 13:14; 2Th 2:1-12; Rev 14:7). This “hour of trial,” then, will be the one described in great detail in the following chapters of this book.
    • If that is the proper meaning of “hour of trial,” what does promise mean, “I will also keep you from the hour of trial”? There are two possibilities. (1) Some, comparing the expression “keep from” in Jn 17:15, argue that the sense is preservation while in the trial (to be kept from evil or the evil one does not mean to be removed from his presence but simply to be kept from his harmful power). Thus, the universal church will experience preservation from harm in the trial of persecution and suffering and will not be raptured till the end of the period (cf. 1Th 4:13ff.).
    • (2) Other writers object to this interpretation: (a) The “hour of trial” is a judgment from God on the unbelieving inhabitants of the world, not a form of persecution. (b) It is not true that the saints of the Tribulation period are exempt from harm during this period; a great group of them will be martyred (6:9-11; 7:9-14, etc.). (c) In the Gospel of John, preservation is from the devil; in Revelation, from a time period—the “hour” of trial.
  • In our opinion, we must identify “the hour of trial” as the wrath of God, deliverance from which is promised to every one of Christ’s overcomers. The key phrase is “to keep from” (GK G5498 & G608; synonymous with “to keep out of,” GK G5498 & G1666). This latter phrase is used in the LXX of Pr 7:5, where the wise man talks about delivering a man from contact with or the presence of the harlot. In Jas 1:27 the same expression means to be kept from the pollution of the world. In both instances the sense is that of exemption from something. Can one, then, be exempt from the “hour of trial” that will try the whole world by famines, earthquakes, wars, floods, etc., and still be present on the earth? Yes, but removal is one possible method of protection. The above discussion shows that v. 10 does not settle the question of the time of the Rapture in relation to the Tribulation. Rather, it remains ambiguous. One might be on the earth and yet be exempt from the “hour of trial” if the “hour of trial” is directed only at the unbelievers in the world while the believers are divinely immune from the specific type of trial (God’s wrath) aimed at the rebellious on the earth. In any event, we have here a marvelous promise of Christ to protect those who have kept his word by their loving obedience.

11 I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take your crown.

  • Here the words of Christ “I am coming soon” (cf. 22:7, 12, 20) are not a threat of judgment but a promise of Christ’s second coming, such as the promise the faithful Christians in Thyatira received (2:25). The testing that faced the Philadelphians was not the same as that facing the unbelieving earth dwellers (v. 10). Loyal disciples must face one type of conflict, the world with its earth dwellers quite another. Some such conflict is envisioned when Christ says, “Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take your crown.” They had kept his word and had not denied his name in the face of persecution. Either Satan or other people could rob them of their crown by diverting them from exclusive loyalty to Jesus (on crown, see comment on 2:10).

12 Him who overcomes I will make a pillar in the temple of my God. Never again will he leave it. I will write on him the name of my God and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which is coming down out of heaven from my God; and I will also write on him my new name.

  • The promise to the overcomer is again twofold and related to the experience and memory of the inhabitants of the city.
    • (1) Christ will make the overcomer a “pillar in the temple of my God.” As has already been noted, Philadelphia was constantly threatened with earthquakes. Often the only parts of a city left standing after a severe quake were the huge stone temple columns. Christ promises to set believers in his temple (the future kingdom?) in such a secure fashion that no disturbance can ever force them out.
    • (2) A faithful municipal servant or a distinguished priest was sometimes honored by having a special pillar added to one of the temples and inscribed with his name. This may well be the sense of the second promise, “I will write on him the name of my God and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, . . . and . . . my new name.” The inscribed name signifies identification and ownership. To those who have little influence because of being ostracized, Christ promises recognition in his kingdom worthy of the most noble hero of any society.
  • Remembering in days past the changes of name that their city received (e.g., Neocaesarea; see comment on vv. 7-13), the Philadelphians would be impressed that God himself (not the emperor) had chosen to identify himself with them and to ensure their citizenship in the New Jerusalem (cf. 21:2ff.; Eze 48:35). Christ’s “new name” could be either the unknown name that he alone knows, or the new name of Christ given to the believer through redemption (cf. Isa 62:2; 65:15).
  • ESV-As a pillar in God’s temple, inscribed with the name of God, the one who conquers can never be excluded from God’s presence, for he will dwell in God’s new Jerusalem (21:2) as David’s royal heir (3:7).

13 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.  14 “To the angel of the church in Laodicea write:

These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God’s creation.

  • Laodicea was about forty-five miles southeast of Philadelphia and about one hundred miles due east of Ephesus. Along with Colosse and Hierapolis, it was one of the cities in the fertile Lycus valley. The great Roman road stretching to the inland of Asia from the coast at Ephesus ran straight through its center, making Laodicea an important center of trade and communication. In addition, its wealth came from the production of a fine quality of famous glossy black wool. The city also had a huge banking industry. So wealthy was Laodicea that after a great earthquake in A.D. 17, the people refused imperial help in rebuilding the city, choosing rather to do it entirely by themselves.
  • Laodicea had a famous school of medicine; and a special ointment known as “Phrygian powder,” famous for its cure of eye defects, was either manufactured or distributed there, as were ear ointments. Near the temple of the special god associated with healing (Men Karou) was a market for trading all sorts of goods. Zeus, the supreme god, was also worshiped in the city.
  • Laodicea is difficult to describe because no one thing stands out. It was a city with a people who had learned to compromise and accommodate themselves to the needs and wishes of others; they did not zealously stand for anything. For all its wealth, the city had poor water. A six-mile-long aqueduct brought Laodicea its supply of water from the south. The water came either from hot springs and was cooled to lukewarm or came from a cooler source and warmed up in the aqueduct on the way.
  • The “ruler” (GK G794; also means “source,” “origin”) further amplifies the Amen statement. Paul used this word in Col 1:18 to describe Christ as the source or origin of all creation (cf. Pr 8:22; John 1:3), no doubt to correct a heresy. Since Colosse was a neighboring city of Laodicea, it is not improbable that the same heresy was affecting the sister church at Laodicea. When Christ addresses a church that is failing in loyalty and obedience, he is to them the “Amen” of God in faithfulness and in true witness, and he is the only one who has absolute power over the world because he is the source of all creation (1:17; 2:8; 22:13).

15 I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! 16 So, because you are lukewarm — neither hot nor cold — I am about to spit you out of my mouth.

  • Sadly, the speaker’s knowledge reveals an unqualified condemnation of the Laodicean church—a verdict that is the exact opposite of the church’s own evaluation (v. 17). Their deeds were “neither cold nor hot.” This expression may refer to their lack of zeal (v. 19) or their uselessness, for Christ says, “I wish you were either one or the other” (lit., “either cold or hot”). There is good reason not to understand this expression as if Christ meant, “I wish you were either spiritually cold (i.e., unsaved or hostile) or spiritually hot (i.e., alive and fervent).” It is inconceivable that Christ would wish that people were spiritually cold in this sense. Furthermore, the application of “hot” and “cold” to spiritual temperature, though familiar to us, would have been foreign to first-century Christians. The two adjectives in “neither hot nor cold” should be understood together as equivalent to “lukewarmness” (v. 16). That is to say, they were useless to Christ because they were complacent, self-satisfied, and indifferent to the real issues of faith in him and of discipleship.
  • “I am about to spit you out of my mouth” alludes to the “lukewarm” water that was a part of the situation in Laodicea (see comment on 3:14-22). “Cold” could refer to the useful cool water located at Colosse, less than ten miles away. “Hot” would remind the Laodiceans of the beneficial “hot springs” to the north of Hierapolis. Christ detests their attitude of compromise, one that seeks easy accommodation and peace at any cost. With such a condition, he must deal harshly. To be a Christian means to be useful to Christ.

17 You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked.

  • The deeper problem in the Laodicean church was not simply their indifference. It was their ignorance of their real condition: “You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’” This indictment is related to the general condition of the populace at large—rich in material possessions and self-sufficient. The spirit of the surrounding culture had crept into the congregation and had paralyzed their spiritual life. But did they claim to be materially rich or spiritually rich? Most likely both were involved; the Laodiceans probably interpreted their material wealth as a blessing from God and thus were self-deceived as to their true spiritual state.
  • Christ’s revelation of the Laodiceans’ actual situation shatters their illusions and calls them to repentance: “But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked.” Note the contrast with Jesus’ evaluation of the church at Smyrna, “I know . . . your poverty—yet you are rich!” (2:9). Probably the first two characteristics—“wretched” (GK G5417) and “pitiful” (GK G1795)—are to be linked together, while the latter three explain this twofold condition in more detail (cf. v. 18). To be “wretched” physically describes life when everything one owns has been destroyed or plundered by war. Here it refers to the Laodiceans’ spiritual destitution and pitiableness before God. “Poor, blind and naked” refers to the three sources of their miserable condition (see comment on v. 18). “Lukewarmness,” then, does not refer to the laxity of Christians but the condition of not really knowing Christ as Savior and Lord and thus being useless to him.

18 I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see.

  • The commands of Christ correspond exactly to the self-deceptions of the Laodiceans. Gold, a source of the wealth of the city, was to be bought from Christ and to become the spiritually poverty-stricken’s true wealth. Their shameful nakedness was to be clothed, not by purchasing the sleek, black wool of Laodicea, but by buying from Christ the white clothing that alone can cover shameful nakedness (16:15). For those who were blind to their true condition, the “Phrygian powder” was useless (cf. comment on v. 14). The three figures together point to the Laodiceans’ need of authentic salvation through Christ.
  • The spiritually blind, bankrupt, naked Laodiceans obviously had no resources to buy from Jesus gold or garments or salve for their eyes. They could “purchase” these necessities only by his grace, as the Lord had once invited thirsty spiritual paupers to “buy wine and milk without money” (Isa. 55:1–4).

19 Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest, and repent.  20 Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.

  • Even though the state of a church verges on disaster, all is not lost if there are those in it who will receive Christ’s loving rebuke and come back to him. Christ’s statement “I rebuke and discipline” speaks of his love (Pr 3:12; 1Co 11:32; Heb 12:6). He spits out those he does not love and “rebukes” (GK G1794) and “disciplines” (GK G4084) those who hear his voice. The difference between the expelled and the disciplined lies in their response: “So be earnest [lit., zealous; GK G2418] and repent.” The Laodiceans’ repentance would come from a rekindling of their loyalty to Christ.
  • To those who hear the words of rebuke, Christ extends an invitation to dine with him. This figure represents Christ standing at the door to the hearts of the members of the congregation at Laodicea. Christ will come and have fellowship with all those who hear his voice of rebuke and thus prove themselves as Christ’s friends by zeal and repentance. The “eating” (GK G1268) refers to the main meal of the day, which in Oriental fashion was a significant occasion for having intimate fellowship with the closest of friends. It is through the Holy Spirit that Christ and the Father come to have fellowship with us (Jn 14:23).
  • While most commentators have taken this invitation as addressed to lapsed, half-hearted Christians, the terminology and context (v. 18) suggest that these Laodiceans were for the most part mere professing Christians who lacked authentic conversion to Christ in the first place, which is the essential prerequisite for true discipleship. Verse 20 is, therefore, more evangelistic than admonitory. Those who find in it an allusion to the Lord’s Supper may be right.

21 To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I overcame and sat down with my Father on his throne.  22 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”

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