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refers again to the times of David — not the beginning of his reign, but to the end of it.
It is a double promise, negative and positive, and both have to do with the names of individuals.
"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" (iii. 5).
The reference is to "the last words of David" in 2 Sam. xxiii. They follow "the words of this song" in the previous chapter.
These "last words of David" were uttered as he was about to give up the throne and the kingdom to Solomon; when the conflict was to end, and issue in dominion, and in a glorious reign of peace: foreshadowing the time when this promise of Rev. iii. 5 is about to be fulfilled, and the Apocalyptic judgments are about to issue in millennial glories.
"I will not blot out his name."
"I will confess his name."
So runs the double promise, and it is exactly what we see in the history which is thus referred to.
David is confessing the names of his overcomers, and the confessing of them begins, "These be the names of the mighty men whom David had" (2 Sam.xxiii. 8).
They had "gathered themselves to him" in the day of his rejection. For, though he had been anointed as king, he was not as yet sitting on his own throne, but was in the cave Adullam, or the place of testimony.5252 Adullam means their testimony.
They had gone to him in their distress and debt and bitterness of soul (I Sam. xxii. 1,2), and David "became a captain over them." They had followed him through all his conflicts: and now, on the eve of the era of glory and peace, their names are confessed before all.
Their deeds are announced, and their exploits are recorded. But there are some who are "blotted out."
Joab is not there, though "Abishai, the brother of Joab," is there (2 Sam. xxiii. 18); "Asahel, the brother of Joab," is there (verse 24); "Nahari...armour-bearer to Joab," is there (verse 37); but not Joab himself. He was a "mighty man." He had been the commander-in-chief of David's forces, a valiant soldier, a great statesman and wise counsellor; but, while he was all this and more, he was not an overcomer, for his heart was not right with David. He remained loyal when Absalom rebelled; but he took part in the treason of Adonijah.
Ahithophel is not there; though we read of "Eliam the son of Ahithophel" (verse 34). He was David's greatest counsellor; so wise, that when he spoke "it was as if a man had enquired at the oracle (or word) of God" (2 Sam. xvi. 23). But he was not an overcomer, and he is not "confessed" even before men. He took sides with Absalom in his rebellion; and he is blotted out from this list of names.
Abiathar, too, is blotted out, for not even is his name here. He was David's beloved friend (see 1 Sam. xxii. 20-23), but he was not an overcomer. He remained loyal in the treason of Absalom, but joined in that of Adonijah.
The other names are duly confessed.
The scene is unspeakably solemn; and has, by application, a warning voice for all. But, by interpretation, it comes with special force in this promise to the Assembly at Sardis, and refers to the fulfilment of Matt. x. 32, 33 and Luke xii. 8, 9. "Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven." Thus this promise refers not only to that solemn past scene in Israel's history, but is shown to be closely connected with the Four Gospels, and points on to the scenes of final judgment and glory in connection with David's Lord, and "a greater than Solomon."
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