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REVELATION OF ST. JOHN THE DIVINE - Chapter 3 - Verse 12

Verse 12. Him that overcometh. See Barnes on "Re 2:7".

 

Will I make a pillar in the temple of my God. The promised reward of faithfulness here is, that he who was victorious would be honoured as if he were a pillar or column in the temple of God. Such a pillar or column was partly for ornament, and partly for support; and the idea here is, that in that temple he would contribute to its beauty and the justness of its proportions, and would at the same time be honoured as if he were a pillar which was necessary for the support of the temple. It is not uncommon in the New Testament to represent the church as a temple, and Christians as parts of it. See 1 Co 3:16-17; 6:19; 2 Co 6:16; 1 Pe 2:5.

 

And he shall go no more out. He shall be permanent as a part of that spiritual temple. The idea of "going out" does not properly belong to a pillar; but the speaker here has in his mind the man, though represented as a column. The description of some parts would be applicable more directly to a pillar; in others more properly to a man. Compare Joh 6:37; 10:28-29; 1 Jo 2:19, for an illustration of the sentiment here. The main truth here is, that if we reach heaven, our happiness will be secure for ever. We shall have the most absolute certainty that the welfare of the soul will no more be periled; that we shall never be in danger of falling into temptation; that no artful foe shall ever have power to alienate our affections from God; that we shall never die. Though we may change our place, and may roam from world to world till we shall have surveyed all the wonders of creation, yet we shall never "go out of the temple of God." See Barnes "Joh 14:2".

When we reach the heavenly world, our conflicts will be over, our doubts at an end. As soon as we cross the threshold, we shall be greeted with the assurance, "he shall go no more out for ever." That is to be our eternal abode, and whatever of joy or felicity or glory that bright world can furnish, is to be ours. Happy moment, when, emerging from a world of danger and of doubt, the soul shall settle down into the calmness and peace of that state where there is the assurance of God himself that world of bliss is to be its eternal abode!

And I will write upon him the name of my God. Considered as a pillar or column in the temple. The name of God would be conspicuously recorded on it to show that he belonged to God. The allusion is to a public edifice on the columns of which the names of distinguished and honoured persons were recorded; that is, where there was a public testimonial of the respect in which one whose name was thus recorded was held. The honour thus conferred on him "who should overcome" would be as great as if the name of that God whom he served, and whose favour and friendship he enjoyed, were inscribed on him in some conspicuous manner. The meaning is, that he would be known and recognised as belonging to God; the God of the Redeemer himself— indicated by the phrase "the name of my God."

And the name of the city of my God. That is, indicating that he belongs to that city, or that the New Jerusalem is the city of his habitation. The idea would seem to be, that in this world, and in all worlds wherever he goes and wherever he abides, he will be recognised as belonging to that holy city; as enjoying the rights and immunities of such a citizen.

Which is New Jerusalem. Jerusalem was the place where the temple was reared, and where the worship of God was celebrated. It thus came to be synonymous with the church—the dwelling-place of God on earth.

Which cometh down out of heaven from my God. See Barnes on "Re 21:2"

Of course, this must be a figurative representation, but the idea is plain. It is,

(1.) that the church is, in accordance with settled Scripture language, represented as a city—the abode of God on earth.

(2.) That this, instead of being built here, or having an earthly origin, has its origin in heaven. It is as if it had been constructed there, and then sent down to earth ready formed. The type, the form, the whole structure is heavenly. It is a departure from all proper laws of interpretation to explain this literally, as if a city should be actually let down from heaven; and equally so to infer from this passage, and the others of similar import in this book, that a city will be literally reared for the residence of the saints. If the passage proves anything on either of these points, it is, that a great and splendid city, such as that described in chapter 21, will literally come down from heaven. But who can believe that? Such an interpretation, however, is by no means necessary. The comparison of the church with a beautiful city, and the fact that it has its origin in heaven, is all that is fairly implied in the passage.

And I will write upon him my new name. See Barnes "Re 2:17".

The reward, therefore, promised here is, that he who by persevering fidelity showed that he was a real friend of the Saviour, would be honoured with a permanent abode in the holy city of his habitation. In the church redeemed and triumphant he would have a perpetual dwelling; and wherever he should be, there would be given him sure pledges that he belonged to him, and was recognised as a citizen of the heavenly world. To no higher honour could any man aspire; and yet that is an honour to which the most humble and lowly may attain by faith in the Son of God.

{c} "New Jerusalem" Re 22:2,10

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