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Revelation 2:11: Victory over the Second Death

Updated: Mar 21, 2020

Verse 11:[1] (Rev. 2:7; 13:9) He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; He that overcometh shall not be hurt of (Rev. 20:14; 21:8) the second death.

[He that hath, etc.] See Revelation 2:7 (Grotius).

[To the Churches] Namely, of Smyrna, and to others of the same ἐπισκοπῆς/bishopric (Grotius). They each ought to hear the word of God as if it had been spoken to them alone (Durham).

[He that overcometh] He that will suffer himself to be overcome neither by poverty, nor by prison, nor by a more oppressive fear (Grotius): not he that indulges himself, yields to temptations of all sorts, appears to be diligent for a time (Durham).

He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; He that overcometh: for the opening of these passages, see the notes on Revelation 2:7.

[Not, etc., οὐ μὴ ἀδικηθῇ, etc.] He shall not be hurt (or, he shall suffer the loss of nothing [Syriac]: For he that suffers injury is injured by them; therefore, the Chaldean נָזַק, Ezra 4:13;[2] Daniel 6:2,[3] and the Greek ἀδικεῖν, to wrong, are taken for to hurt by μετάληψιν/metalepsis[4] [Grotius]) by the second death (Pagnine, Illyricus, Tigurinus, Castalio, etc.). The first death is of the body; the second, of the soul, when it is condemned to eternal damnation (Ribera, Menochius, Drusius, Piscator, etc.). Death is twofold, both of the body and of the soul: the first death of the soul is sin; the second, the casting out of the presence of God forever: the first death, that of the body, is the separation of the soul; the second, of eternal torment (Estius). You have mention of the second death in Revelation 20:6, 14, and in the Chaldean Paraphrase of Deuteronomy 33:6[5] and Isaiah 22:14,[6] where Kimchi explains it as death of the soul in the future age (Grotius).

Shall not be hurt of the second death; we read of the second death, Revelation 20:6, 14: the meaning is, that he shall escape the eternal damnation of soul and body in the day of judgment.

Those that make these epistles prophetical say, that the church of Smyrna was a type of all the churches of Christ to the year 325, (when Constantine overcame Lycinius, and gave rest and peace to the churches of Christ,) which was all a time of severe persecution under the Roman emperors, who to that time were all heathens. It is very observable, that Christ blameth nothing in this church; the church of God keeps always its purity best in the fire; but doubtless there were in this time many apostasies, and other errors, but God allows much to his people’s temptations; hence, though Job showed much impatience, yet we are called to behold him as a pattern of patience.

[1] Greek: ὁ ἔχων οὖς ἀκουσάτω τί τὸ Πνεῦμα λέγει ταῖς ἐκκλησίαις. ὁ νικῶν οὐ μὴ ἀδικηθῇ ἐκ τοῦ θανάτου τοῦ δευτέρου.

[2] Ezra 4:13: “Be it known now unto the king, that, if this city be builded, and the walls set up again, then will they not pay toll, tribute, and custom, and so thou shalt endamage (תְּהַנְזִק) the revenue of the kings.”

[3] Daniel 6:2: “And over these three presidents; of whom Daniel was first: that the princes might give accounts unto them, and the king should have no damage (נָזִק).”

[4] A metalepsis is a figure of speech: here, one thing, to wrong, is referred to by means of its consequence, to harm.

[5] Targum Onkelos of Deuteronomy 33:6: יֵיחֵי רְאֻובֵן בְחַיֵי עָלְמָא וּמוֹתָא תִניָנָא לָא יְמֻות וִיקַבְלֻון בְנוֹהִי אַחסָנַתהוֹן בְמִניָנֵיהוֹן׃, Let Reuben live in life eternal, and not die the second death; and let his children receive their inheritance according to their numbers.

[6] Targum Jonathan of Isaiah 22:14: אְמַר נְבִיָא בְאֻודנַי הְוֵיתִי שָׁמַע כַד אִתגְזַרַת דָא מִן קְֹדָם יויֵ צְבָאוֹתֵ אִם יִשׁתְבֵיק חֻובָא הָדֵין לְכוֹן עַד דִתמֻותֻון מוֹתָא תִניָנָא אְמַר יוי אְלֹהִימֵ צְבָאוֹתֵ׃, The prophet said, with mine ears I was hearing when this was decreed from before the Lord of hosts, namely, that this your iniquity shall not be forgiven you till you die the second death, said the Lord, the God, the God of hosts.

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