Poole on Revelation 3:2: Remedy for Spiritual Deadness, Part 2

Verse 2:[1] Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God.


[Be vigilant] In the inspection of thy defects and thy flock (Lapide, Lyra). Awake from the sleep of thy negligence and torpor (Ribera, Menochius). Look to thyself; beware of all sins: for it is not sufficient to be immune to some. See Matthew 24:42 (Grotius).


Be watchful, against sin, and unto thy duty, to perform it in a better manner than formerly.



[And, etc., καὶ στήριξον,[2] etc.] And confirm (namely, in faith and virtue [Menochius, thus Pareus]: encourage, that is, with pious admonitions and examples recall into the way [Pareus]) the remaining things (that is, either, 1. the remaining men [Camerarius, thus Menochius], besides thyself [Pareus]; the members of the Church committed to thy trust [Pareus, similarly Drusius]: or, 2. the good works that survive [Ribera]: or, 3. the remains of the work of God in some of the faithful, or some good motions and fruits of thy ministry in the people [Durham]) dying (Piscator, Beza), that is, near to death (Pareus, similarly Ribera), as in Luke 7:2,[3] very sick in faith and piety (Pareus); infirm (Piscator), soon about to die (Ribera), unless they be confirmed (Beza, Ribera). The virtues rejoice in mutual company: for, if one is wanting, the rest easily perish, with God hardening men and drawing them into evil frames.[4] Every vice stands on a steep slope….[5] Therefore, He means this, watch out, lest by neglecting one sin thou become completely dissolute, and repentance be rendered to thee so much the more difficult. Preserve the remnants of a good mind, by expelling the venom which is wont by degrees to kill those (Grotius).


And strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die; improve those gifts and good habits which are left thee as yet, but are faint and ready to die, if thou dost not look after the improvement and strengthening of them.


[For I have not found (or, discovered [Beza, Piscator], in the examination undertaken by me [Durham]) thy works (understand works here as τὴν ὁμάδα, the whole, of those works which are required in the Gospel [Grotius]) full (or, perfect [Syriac, Arabic], complete [Piscator], filled up [Cluverus], that is, sincere [Pareus, Durham], proceeding from a sincere heart and proper zeal [Piscator]; but feigned and empty [Cluverus], devoid of spirit and charity [Tirinus, similarly Cluverus]: that is to say, Thou dost not live entirely as thou shouldst [Menochius]; thy works correspond not to thy person and office [Menochius out of Ribera]: thou art variegated: Thou dost certain things well, other thing poorly: Now, God delights only in those completely His own, Matthew 6:24: The Christian in his warfare, just like Cæsar in arms, ought to think nothing done while anything remains to be done:[6] See James 2:10 and what things are there said [Grotius]) before my God[7]] He speaks as Christ is wont to speak as man, as in John 20:17 (Ribera). Thus in Revelation 3:12 and 2:7[8] (Grotius). But μου/my here appears to have crept in out of verse 12. [For] all the [Greek] exemplars read absolutely, ἐνώπιον τοῦ Θεοῦ, before God (Pareus); that is, with God as witness and judge (Grotius), who looks more deeply into the spirit than men (Cluverus, similarly Pareus), Proverbs 16:2; 21:12; 1 John 3:20 (Cluverus).


For I have not found thy works perfect before God; for I have not found thy works before God (whether thy works in thy ministry, or in thy conversation) such as they ought to be; thou mightest have done me more service, and thou mightest have done what thou hast done with more uprightness and sincerity.

[1] Greek: γίνου γρηγορῶν καὶ στήρισον τὰ λοιπὰ ἃ ἔμελλον ἀποθανεῖν, οὐ γὰρ εὕρηκά σου τὰ ἔργα πεπληρωμένα ἐνώπιον τοῦ Θεοῦ μου. [2] Thus the Textus Receptus, and a number of other Byzantine manuscipts. [3] Luke 7:2: “And a certain centurion’s servant, who was dear unto him, was sick, and ready to die (κακῶς ἔχων ἤμελλε τελευτᾷν).” [4] See Psalm 81:12; Romans 1:24-28; 2 Thessalonians 2:11. [5] Juvenal’s Satire 1:149. [6] Lucan’s Pharsalia 2:657. Marcus Annæus Lucanus (39-65) was a Roman poet. [7] The Textus Receptus and some other Byzantine manuscripts read, ἐνώπιον τοῦ Θεοῦ, before God; the weight of the Byzantine textual tradition supports, ἐνώπιον τοῦ Θεοῦ μου, before my God. [8] Revelation 2:7b: “…To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God (τοῦ Θεοῦ, the reading in the Textus Receptus; τοῦ Θεοῦ μου, of my God, the reading in the majority of Byzantine manuscripts).

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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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