Revelation 2:24, 25: The Depths of Satan

Verse 24:[1] But unto you I say, and unto the rest in Thyatira, as many as have not this doctrine, and which have not known the depths of Satan, as they speak; (Acts 15:28) I will put upon you none other burden.

[To you, etc., ὑμῖν δὲ λέγω, καὶ λοιποῖς, etc.] That καὶ/and is omitted in many manuscripts (Grotius, Ribera, Beza), both in the Greek of the Complutensian Codex, and of the Royal Codex (Ribera), and that rightly (Grotius, similarly Ribera). For Christ designs two classes of Thyatirians (Grotius). But other Greek codices read καὶ/and[2] (Pareus, thus Ribera), as also Arethas (Beza). [Thus they translate it:] But to you (namely, to the Pastors of the Church in Thyatira [More, thus Beza, Pareus]), I say, and to the rest in Thyatira (Beza, similarly Erasmus, Montanus, etc.). That is, who are entrusted to your faith (More); that is, to the rest of the flock (Beza, thus Pareus), who have continued in sound doctrine (Beza). And is here put in the place of that is (Menochius out of Lapide).

[As many as, etc., ὅσοι οὐκ ἔχουσι, etc.] Here it is a verb of the third person, rather than of the second, which is common among the Hebrews after a relative Pronoun (Grotius). As many as have not (that is, receive not, hold not [Lapide, Menochius], approve not [Durham]: Ἔχειν, to have, here, which is κρατεῖν, to hold fast [Grotius, thus Beza] as above[3] [Grotius], and in the following verse[4] [Beza], to adhere to it [Grotius]) this doctrine (Montanus) of that Pseudo-prophetess (Grotius, similarly Ribera, Lapide, Menochius, Pareus).

[Who have not, etc., οὐκ ἔγνωσαν τὰ βάθη—ὡς λέγουσιν] They have not known (or, approved [Piscator, Lapide, Menochius, Gomar, etc.], as in Matthew 7:23 [Gomar]) the depths (that is, the ingenious counsels [Grotius], the profound mysteries [Pareus]) of Satan (for God has His depths, 1 Corinthians 2:10: Satan loves for profundity to be attributed to his impieties [Cotterius]), just so they speak (Montanus), or, as they say (Piscator, Beza, etc.), that is, just as they are wont to speak and to boast (Lapide): that is to say, Thus they call their errors and inventions (Ribera). Now, that ὡς λέγουσιν, as they say, is not to be referred to the name of Satan (Beza), but to τὰ βαθέα, the depths (Grotius, Beza). They themselves call those things τὰ βαθέα τῆς γνώσεως, the depths of knowledge (Grotius): that is, the profound mysteries of religion and true blessedness (Piscator), subtle and wonderfully profound doctrine (Menochius, Ribera, thus Lapide), the knowledge of the most abstruse divine things (Beza), comprehensible to themselves alone (Lapide), abstruse wisdom by far more excellent than the Apostolic wisdom (Pareus); thinking themselves to see clearly what others do not see clearly, that to commit adultery and to eat things offered to idols are ἀδιάφορα/indifferent. But Christ says that they are the depths of Satan; to which are opposed the deep things of God, 1 Corinthians 2:10; Romans 11:33. In Isaiah 31:9 and 44:19 you have a similar sort of speech, where, in an alien speech, words agreeing to the matter, not to that person, are put (Grotius).

But unto you I say; you that are the ministers, for they are distinguished from the rest in Thyatira. The word again is plural, which lets us know these epistles were directed to no single persons. And unto the rest in Thyatira, as many as have not this doctrine; the rest of the members of the church in Thyatira, who have not embraced this doctrine of the Nicolaitans published by Jezebel, etc. As they speak; those seducers call their doctrine deep things, great mysteries revealed to them; as there are the deep things of God, 1 Corinthians 2:10, so these seducers would pretend their doctrines also were deep things: Christ calls them the devil’s mysteries, deep things of Satan.

[I will not put upon you another weight] Or, burden (Beza, Piscator), either, 1. of punishment (certain interpreters in Pareus), whether of threat or denunciation (certain interpreters in Durham, Cluverus), as burden is taken in Jeremiah 23:33 (Durham). Thus we read of the burden of Babylon, of Edom, etc., that is to say, other tribulations (Lapide out of Tichonius). Against you I will denounce nothing heavier, content to have signified to you what I require of you (Beza). I am not going to send against you any other tribulation than ye have had hitherto (Zegers). Or, 2. of arduous and difficult temptation. It suffices for you that ye have conflicted with those scandals, heresies, deceits and enticements (Cluverus). Or, 3. of command (Gomar, thus Durham, Cluverus), as in Acts 15:28, 29 (Gomar); that is to say, I will not command to you laws of living other than those which were delivered by the Apostles (Piscator, similarly Durham). I will not impose upon you heavier mandates (Cluverus), like the observation of the Law (Pererius), or of any ceremony (Menochius, Ribera), which the Pseudo-apostles impose upon you (Pererius); but that burden only, concerning which Acts 15:28 treats (Ribera, Lapide, Menochius, Tirinus), which is indeed a weight to Gentiles accustomed to liberty with respect to meat (Lapide), but a weight less and easier by far than would be either of the Gentiles, or of the Jews (Tirinus, similarly Lapide). They boast of knowledge of many things: I do not require it of you. Βάλλειν βάρος ἐπὶ τίνας, to cast a burden upon someone, is the same as ἐπιτίθεσθαι βάρος, to require something as necessary for salvation, Acts 15:28[5] (Grotius). This will be sufficient for you for salvation, to hold faithfully to the doctrine delivered by the Apostles (Pareus).

I will put upon you none other burden; I will lay no other burden of trials and afflictions.

Verse 25:[6] But (Rev. 3:11) that which ye have already hold fast till I come.

[Nevertheless, etc., πλὴν,[7] etc.] Nevertheless (or, only: Thus πλὴν is taken in Luke 11:41;[8] 12:31;[9] Acts 20:23:[10] It corresponds to the Hebrew אַךְ, but or only [Grotius]) that which ye have (that is, the Evangelical Dogma [Grotius, thus Lyra], which ye have rightly learned [Grotius], or, sound doctrine [Piscator], or, the commandments that ye received [Durham]) hold (or, hold fast without any change [Grotius]) until I come (Piscator, thus Beza). Either, 1. for judgment against Jezebel (More). Or, 2. for a fuller reformation of the world (Brightman), and disclosure of Evangelical doctrine; that is to say, until Jews and Gentiles come together into one people: for that in Acts 15:28, 29 was not commanded for all time, but, with the cause ceasing [the offense of the Jews], the effect ceased, and what at that time was not lawful to be eaten, afterwards was lawful (Ribera). Or, 3. For the destruction of the Jewish and Gnostic persecutors of Christians (Hammond). Or, 4. in my body, in the clouds, from heaven (Pareus), for judgment (Pareus, Lyra, Grotius, Gomar, Durham): which, because it was promised on an uncertain day, always ought to be expected by Christians (Grotius). He mentions the second coming of Christ so that He might teach that He is certainly going to return, and is going to undertake an examination of His Churches; and that the faithful ought to fix this alone as the terminus of their perseverance (Durham). In the place of ἄχρις οὗ, until the time when, in a manuscript it is ἕως οὗ, until,[11] as in Matthew 1:25.[12] and often elsewhere (Grotius).

But that which ye have already; than you already groan under. Or, no other precepts than what you have had from the apostles: the precepts of God are called burdens, Matthew 11:30; Acts 15:28. Hold fast till I come; hold fast your profession, your faith and holiness, till I come to judgment.

[1] Greek: ὑμῖν δὲ λέγω καὶ λοιποῖς τοῖς ἐν Θυατείροις, ὅσοι οὐκ ἔχουσι τὴν διδαχὴν ταύτην, καὶ οἵτινες οὐκ ἔγνωσαν τὰ βάθη τοῦ Σατανᾶ, ὡς λέγουσιν, Οὐ βαλῶ ἐφ᾽ ὑμᾶς ἄλλο βάρος.

[2] This is the reading of the Textus Receptus.

[3] Revelation 2:13-15: “I know thy works, and where thou dwellest, even where Satan’s seat is: and thou holdest fast (κρατεῖς) my name, and hast not denied my faith, even in those days wherein Antipas was my faithful martyr, who was slain among you, where Satan dwelleth. But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold (κρατοῦντας) the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication. So hast thou also them that hold (κρατοῦντας) the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate.”

[4] Revelation 2:25: “But that which ye have already hold fast (κρατήσατε) till I come.”

[5] Acts 15:28: “For it seemed good to the Holy Ghost, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden (ἐπιτίθεσθαι ὑμῖν βάρος) than these necessary things…”

[6] Greek: πλὴν ὃ ἔχετε κρατήσατε, ἄχρις οὗ ἂν ἥξω.

[7] Revelation 2:25: “But (πλὴν) that which ye have already hold fast till I come.”

[8] Luke 11:41: “But rather (πλὴν, or only) give alms of such things as ye have; and, behold, all things are clean unto you.”

[9] Luke 12:31: “But rather (πλὴν, or only) seek ye the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto you.”

[10] Acts 20:22, 23: “And now, behold, I go bound in the spirit unto Jerusalem, not knowing the things that shall befall me there: Save (πλὴν) that the Holy Ghost witnesseth in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions abide me.”

[11] Thus Codex Alexandrinus.

[12] Matthew 1:25: “And knew her not till (ἕως οὗ) she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name Jesus.”

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Dr. Steven Dilday holds a BA in Religion and Philosophy from Campbell University, a Master of Arts in Religion from Westminster Theological Seminary (Philadelphia), and both a Master of Divinity and a  Ph.D. in Puritan History and Literature from Whitefield Theological Seminary.  He is also the translator of Matthew Poole's Synopsis of Biblical Interpreters and Bernardinus De Moor’s Didactico-Elenctic Theology.




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