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Poole on Revelation 3:21, 22: Reigning with Christ

Verse 21:[1] To him that overcometh (Matt. 19:28; Luke 22:30; 1 Cor. 6:2; 2 Tim. 2:12; Rev. 2:26, 27) will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.

[Him that overcometh] Namely, the habit of sin. See Revelation 3:12 (Grotius).

[To sit with me on my throne] That is, He shall be a sharer in my reign (Ribera, Menochius, Tirinus, similarly Piscator, Pareus), glory, honor (Tirinus); he shall be a co-heir of heavenly blessedness (Ribera, Menochius): For he shall not sit with equal honor on the same throne (Ribera), but the head, Christ, shall always be preeminent (Beza). The throne of the King among the peoples of the East is large and broad, to such an extent that, in addition to the seat proper to the King, others also, whom the King wishes to treat with honor, are able to have seats on the same Throne (Dieu). Others: on my throne, as triumphal and judicial, where, sitting with me, he will judge the nations, the princes of the earth, Angels, etc. (Cluverus). Others: on my throne, that is, on the throne that I shall give to him. See on Revelation 2:26 and John 17:24 (Grotius). This reward is fitting, that he, that labored and fought, afterwards, with his enemies overcome, should sit secure, and reign prosperously, with Christ (Ribera).

To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne; I will give him great honour, dignity, and power; he shall judge the world in the day of judgment, 1 Corinthians 6:2, the twelve, tribes of Israel, Matthew 19:28; he shall be made partaker of my glory, John 17:22, 24.

[Just as I also overcame] That is, I endured all things for the glory of God and salvation of men (Ribera, Menochius): I overcame all trials. Concerning this victory there is a mystical prediction in Isaiah 63 (Grotius).

[I sat…on His throne] That is, at the right hand of the Father (Pareus, Ribera, Menochius, Mede). Having Divine power and majesty, of which sort the Father possesses, which no creature is capable of holding (Mede’s Works 5:1108). Others: On that throne which the Father gave to me: Psalm 110; Daniel 7:9, 14; Matthew 22:44; Revelation 22:1 (Grotius).

Even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne; but they must come to my throne as I came to it. I overcame the world, sin, death, the devil, and then ascended, and sat down with my Father in his throne: so they that will sit down with me in my throne of glory, must fight the same fight, and overcome, and then be crowned, sitting with me in my throne.

Verse 22:[2] (Rev. 2:7) He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.

[To the Churches] Namely, of Laodicea, and others near to it (Grotius). After the Vision containing the salutary admonitions to the seven Bishops and Churches was completed, under the example of which other Bishops and Churches are also understood, follow other Visions, which occurred to the Apostle at diverse times, and afterwards were redacted into one volume: which happens also in the case of the other Prophets, often also with the difference of time not noted, but given to be understood from those things which are contained in the passage. Now, these Visions pertain to the things of the Jews, even unto the end of chapter 11, then unto the most flourishing state of the Christian Church, even unto the end. But thus the old Prophets did not touch Assyrian, Babylonian, Egyptian affairs, except so far as they were connected with Jewish affairs, that is, for predicting the evils that the Jews were going to endure from them, and in turn the punishments that God was going to visit upon those nations, so that the pious might be fortified against the foreseen evils, and in the midst of those very evils receive comfort from the foreseen vengeance; so also here the Apostle predicts in the first place the injuries of the Jews and Romans against the Christians, then the severe judgments of God against the Jews, and then against Roman idolaters, so that Christians might understand that evils do not come upon them except by the singular appointment of God, and that they are not neglected in those evils by God, who predetermined definite times for those evils, and is going to exact the most bitter punishments to vindicate the blood of the martyrs. Now, just as Isaiah, in Isaiah 6, and Ezekiel, in Ezekiel 8, being about to foresignify the judgments of God, see the Divine Majesty and the Angelic service appearing in the Jerusalem Temple; so also John on Patmos sees ἐν ἐκστάσει, in ecstasy, the Majesty of God and Christ, and the Angelic service shining forth in heaven itself, and that there the Governors of the Jerusalemite Church are added, so that future things might be contemplated in that context; and so that they might know that, not only are they cared for in the highest degree by God, but also they are made one family with the Angels of God and Christ, and that they are citizens of that heavenly country by hope and right, Ephesians 2:6; Philippians 3:20; Hebrews 12:22 (Grotius). Let this be the scheme of the following Visions, so that there is a description of, 1. the Proceeding of God with the Jews, Revelation 4-11: 2. The infancy and growth of the Church, while it was overtaking the entire Roman Empire, by the overturning of some, the converting of others, Revelation 12-19: 3. The flourishing state of the Church for a thousand years, and afterwards the sally and assault of the Turks against the Eastern Churches, together with their destruction and the end of the world, Revelation 20:1-22:5 (Hammond in A Paraphrase and Annotations “Premonition concerning the Interpretation of the Apocalypse”).

He that hath an ear, etc.: We have had this in the conclusion of every epistle before: see Revelation 2:7, 11, 17, 29, and in Revelation 3:6, 13.

Those who make these churches typical of all Christian churches, from the time John had this Revelation, and prophetical of the complexion of the Christian churches in all ages, say, that the church of Laodicea typifieth the churches towards the end of the world till Christ cometh; but this necessitateth them to think there shall be no such pure and glorious state of the church just before the end of the world, as many believe there shall be, but that the state thereof shall grow yet worse and worse, of a Laodicean temper, so as when Christ cometh he shall hardly find faith on the earth.[3]

For my part, I could allow the seven epistles to be typical and prophetical, but can by no means judge them to be purely prophetical; believing there were such churches when John wrote, and that their complexion is in the first place described in these epistles; though possibly, as face answers face in a glass,[4] so succeeding churches have answered, and shall answer, the face of these churches, even to the last day.

This chapter concludes John’s first vision. In the following chapters we have a representation in visions of what was to happen in the world more remarkably, with reference to the church of God, from the year AD 95, to the end of the world.

There are very different opinions about the epoch, or the time, when the visions began to be fulfilled. My opinion is, it began soon after John had the vision; for it is twice said, Revelation 1:1; 22:6, that the visions were to be about things that shall come to pass, (not that were come to pass,) and that shortly; but we cannot fix the certain year, which maketh the interpretation difficult.

There are also divers opinions how far in this book the revelations go that concern the state of the church under Rome pagan, and where they begin that foretell the state of the church under antichrist. But of these we shall speak more particularly as we go along with the several chapters.

[1] Greek: ὁ νικῶν, δώσω αὐτῷ καθίσαι μετ᾽ ἐμοῦ ἐν τῷ θρόνῳ μου, ὡς κἀγὼ ἐνίκησα, καὶ ἐκάθισα μετὰ τοῦ πατρός μου ἐν τῷ θρόνῳ αὐτοῦ. [2] Greek: ὁ ἔχων οὖς ἀκουσάτω τί τὸ Πνεῦμα λέγει ταῖς ἐκκλησίαις. [3] Luke 18:8. [4] See Proverbs 27:19; James 1:23.

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