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REVELATION OF ST. JOHN THE DIVINE - Chapter 2 - Verse 23

Verse 23. And I will kill her children with death. A strong Hebraistic mode of expression, meaning that he would certainly destroy It them. has been made a question whether the word children here is to be taken literally or figuratively. The word itself would admit of either interpretation; and there is nothing in the connexion by which its meaning here can be determined. If it is to be taken literally, it is in accordance with what is often threatened in the Scriptures, that children shall be visited with calamity for the sins of parents, and with what often occurs in fact that they do thus suffer. For, it is no uncommon thing that whole families are made desolate on account of the sin and folly of the parent. See Barnes "Ro 5:19".

If it is to be taken figuratively, then it refers to those who had imbibed her doctrines, and who, of course, would suffer in the punishment which would follow from the propagation of such doctrines. The reference in the word death here would seem to be to some heavy judgment, by plague, famine, or sword, by which they would be cut off. And all the churches shall know, etc. That is, the design of this judgment will be so apparent, that it will convince all that I know what is in the hearts of men, even the secret acts of wickedness that are concealed from human view.

I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts. This is clearly a claim to omniscience; and as it is the Lord Jesus who speaks in all these epistles, it is a full proof that he claims this for himself. There is nothing which more clearly appertains to God than the power of searching the heart, and nothing that is more constantly claimed by him as his peculiar prerogative, 1 Ch 28:19; Ps 7:9; 11:4; 44:21

Ps 139:2; Pr 15:3; Jer 11:20; 17:10; 20:12; 32:19; Heb 4:13.

The word reinsnefrouv—means, literally, the kidney, and is commonly used in the plural to denote the kidneys, or the loins. In the Scriptures, it is used to denote the inmost mind, the secrets of the soul; probably because the parts referred to by the word are as hidden as any other part of the frame, and would seem to be the repository of the more secret affections of the mind. It is not to be supposed that it is taught in the Scriptures that the reins are the real seat of any of the affections or passions; but there is no more impropriety in using the term in a popular signification than there is in using the word heart, which all continue to use, to denote the seat of love.

And I will give unto every one of you according to your works. To every one of you; not only to those who have embraced these opinions, but to all the church. This is the uniform rule laid down in the Bible by which God will judge men.

{a} "kill" Re 6:8 {b} "churches" Zep 1:11 {c} "I am" 1 Ch 28:9; 2 Ch 6:30; Ps 7:9; Jer 17:10

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