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SARDIS

We have had four references to Israel's history in the Old Testament, and as four is the number connected with the earth, so these four have been connected with Israel in the earth and the Land; and with the culminating sin of departure from the love of God manifested to the Nation. Israel had "left her first love," forsaken God, and joined herself to idols in the most abominable form.

This is the climax of Israel's sin. All else in this history is judgment, until Israel is removed from the Land and taken away out of God's sight. His name is practically blotted out, never again to be a separate ten-tribed kingdom. So blotted out, in fact, that men speak today of the lost4848    Not that they are "lost" in the proper sense of the word: but the proverbial expression is significant. ten tribes.

Indeed, the prophecy of Deut. xxix. 20 is fulfilled, not only as to the individual and to the Tribe; but there is an application to the whole nation. In Deut. xxix. 18, 20 (17, 19) there is the threat to blot out the name of the "man" or "tribe" who shall introduce idolatry. As a matter of fact, the Tribes of Dan and Ephraim were the first to introduce it; and their names are blotted out from the tribes of those who are to be sealed in Rev. vii.

It is in this Epistle, next in order (to the assembly at Sardis) that we have the reference to this silence, in the promise to the few names of such as have not defiled their garments: "He that overcometh... I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father and before his Angels" (Rev. iii. 5).


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