Hanserd Knollys – Revelation 2

It is difficult to select just a few quotations because the work is worth reading in its entirety. May this offer lure you in, where you can sit at the feet of this able commentator.

knollysrev

Rev. 2.1

The angel of this church, and the angels of the other six Asian Churches, were not of the holy elect celestial angels of God, those ministering spirits, (Heb 1:14) nor was this angel any one of the apostles of Christ, though there were some in this church at that time, who said they were apostles, but were not, as appears from Re 2:2. Nor was this angel any one individual man or minister, that had the superintendence over, or precedence above all the other ministers in this church, as being the Apostle John’s delegate or substitute in his absence; for we read not of any such in this prophecy of the Revelation. But by Angel in this and all the other epistles written to the seven churches in Asia, we are to understand the episcopacy, presbytery, and ministry in each particular church, unto whom the charge, oversight, care and government thereof was committed by the Holy Spirit

By holding ministers “in his right hand” is signifying Christ’s powerful and gracious protection over them for their safety and preservation: (see Re 1:16)…the powers of this world would soon cast down those stars from the ecclesiastical heaven, silence the ministers of the gospel, and exile them, and persecute them even unto death; as the Roman, pagan emperors did, and as the Roman powers and prelates did, when God suffered then so to do, but Christ hath these “Stars in his right hand” and none can pull them out of his hand: And when Christ sets before his faithful ministers an open door, none can shut it. (Re 3:7,8)

Rev. 2.2:

It is the duty of the ministers and members of Christ in the churches of saints, to exercise patience in all their trials of affliction and persecution.

Christ commended this church, her ministers or members, who would not bear with, nor forbear those ministers or members among them “that were evil,” that is to say, who were corrupted by evil manners, or wicked opinions, whereby others might be leavened and corrupted by their false doctrines or sinful practices; but did exercise the authority and power which the church had received from Christ; first, in admonishing them. Secondly, in withdrawing from them; and thirdly, in excommunicating them, according to the laws of Christ recorded. (2Th 3:6,15 Tit 3:10,11 1Co 5:4,5,12,13)

Rev. 2.3:

Christ’s faithful ministers, and sanctified members, are preserved from fainting under all their tribulations and burdens, which they suffer patiently in the course of their ministry, and in the way of Christianity. (2Co 1:8-10,15,16)

That which keeps them from fainting, is, first, the serious consideration of the contradictions of sinners, which Christ himself suffered. (Heb 12:3) Secondly, an open vision and spiritual fight of unseen glory. (2Co 4:18) Thirdly, That Divine Power, which God in Christ by the Holy Spirit doth suitably and seasonably communicate unto them. (Col 1:11 Isa 40:28,29,30,31)

Rev. 2.5:

To repent is to sorrow after a godly manner, as they did, {2Co 7:9,10,11} which worketh repentance to salvation: And to implies a performing with zeal and confidence those duties of love to Christ and his saints etc. which this church, her ministers and members did at their first conversion, and in the day of their first espousals.

A true, visible, constituted, particular church of Christ may sin away their church estate by their iniquity and impenitency. (Ho 2 1,2,3,4,5 Re 3:16) And a church of Christ may become a synagogue of Satan, God hath removed those and other golden candlesticks out of their places, for their impenitency added unto their Transgressions.

Rev. 2.7:

The Holy Spirit is not limited unto the preaching of the word; but he also speaketh and teacheth in the reading of the Holy Scriptures. So then, the Holy Scriptures ought to be read in the churches of saints.

“to him that overcometh” a metaphor taken from the athletes, who strive for victory by running or fighting, (1Co 9:26,27) that is to say, to every one that getteth the victory over all his soul enemies, his spiritual antagonists, to with, the world, (1Jo 5:4,5) the beast, (Re 15:2) Satan (1Jo 2:13,14) and sin. (Ro 12:21) That tree of life is Jesus Christ, (Re 22:2,14) who was typed out by that material tree of life in the Garden of Eden. (Ge 3:22,24) This spiritual tree of eternal life, yields all manner of fruit that is good for our soul’s food. (Joh 6:57)

Rev. 2.9:

By “tribulation” here, we may understand either their outward afflictions and persecutions, which they had or should endure, which Christ took notice of, (2Th 1:6) or their inward griefs and sorrows, their troubles of soul, (Ps 88:4 143:11) which Christ also looks upon, (Ps 102:2,17,19,20,21) and by “poverty” here we may understand the low and poor condition this church was in at this time in respect of temporal things, the wants and straits that some of her ministers or members were in, the church not having wherewith to supply them, which was the condition of the church at Jerusalem and the churches in Judea in the apostles days; Read 1Co 16:1,2,3 and 2Co 8:3,4,6,13,14,15. Though Christ knew her outward poverty, yet he acknowledged her spiritual riches; which God knows is the state and condition of very many of his precious saints in this world, (Jas 2:5) rich in spirituals, rich in grace, rich in faith, rich in good works, etc. but poor in temporals.

blasphemy, doth signify any evil works or speeches uttered against men with calumniation of their persons, or contumely of their gods; sacred writers, and the penmen of the Holy Scriptures do use this Greek word for any injurious, opprobrious, envious or slanderous words uttered by ungodly men, to the reproach of God, (Re 13:6) his Son Jesus Christ, (Ac 26:11) his name, (Ro 2:24) his written word, (Tit 2:5) his doctrine, (1Ti 6:1) his ministers, (1Co 4:13) his churches, (Re 13:6) or his saints. (Jas 2:7 1Pe 4:4)

“But are the synagogue of Satan” It is likely the Jews had a synagogue in this city of Smyrna, where they worshipped God according to the Mosaical administrations, mixed with the traditions of their fathers, which Christ testified against as vain and false worship,

The time when the churches, ministers, or saints shall suffer persecution and imprisonment, or any other kind of “tribulation” is appointed of God, and ordered and measured out by our Lord Jesus Christ.

Rev. 2.14:

You may read the doctrine of Balaam, Nu 31:16 to wit, the wicked counsel he gave to the Midianitish women, which occasioned the people of Israel to commit whoredom with the daughters of Moab, and to commit idolatry also etc., (Nu 25:1,2,3) for which wicked counsel Balaam was killed. (Nu 31:8) And Moses was wroth with the commanders and captains of the host of Israel, because they saved those Midianitish women alive who followed Balaam’s counsel, and caused them to be put to death. (Nu 31:14,15,16,17) Some teachers in this church, by their false doctrines and opinions, did (like Balaam) “cast a stumbling block” before the members of this church, which became a sin and a snare unto them, as Balaam’s doctrine and counsel did unto the people of Israel.

Rev. 2.15:

Touching “the doctrine of the Nicolaitans,” and their deeds, See KNOLLYS on “Re 2:6”. It’s probable their doctrine allowed of spiritual and corporal whoredom, both which Christ hateth; and that which Christ chargeth upon this church and her angel, as their sin, which he was offended with them for, was because they were suffered in the, and not cast out, and put away as wicked and ungodly persons. It is a sinful fault in any church to suffer those ministers or members to continue in their society, and to have communion with them who teach such doctrines, or practice such deeds as Christ hateth.

Rev. 2.17:

There was among the Romans a two-fold use of “a white stone.” First, he that was victor, and overcame in their Olympic games and wrestlings, had “a white stone” given him, which he did bear as a badge of honor and victory. Secondly, he that being accused of any crime in their civil courts and judicatories was found innocent, and so was acquitted of that crime, had “a white stone” given to him as a sign of absolution: Both these uses of the “white stone” will fitly quadrate with Christ’s act of grace here, where Christ doth promise “him that overcometh” by wrestling against sin and Satan, (Eph 6:11,12) that he will give him a crown of glory, (2Ti 4:7,8) and also a full and open absolution before men and angels at the day of judgment. (Re 20:11,12)

Rev. 2.20:

“Notwithstanding I have a few things against thee,” etc. Christ in this verse, and in the three following verses, doth reprove this church and her ministers for suffering corrupt and false doctrine to be preached amongst them, whereby his servants were seduced, that is, drawn away from the truth, and led into errors both of judgment and in conversation. See Exposition on Re 2:14 2:15.

“to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols,” which was the doctrine of Balaam and of the Nicolaitans, and their deeds also which Christ hated and here reproved sharply; which opinion I rather cleave unto, because that false teachers and false prophets in the church of Rome are called a woman, and the great whore. {Re 17:1,3,5,7 19:20}

Rev. 2.23:

And I will kill her children with death, etc.

“Her children” were the children of whoredoms, begotten by corrupt doctrine, and in the sense, born of fornications; not that there was such a woman in the church, not that these “her children” were begotten by corporal fornication: But as the mother is a mystical woman, so “her children” are those that she seduced by her doctrine to commit fornication. And by children here, we are to understand some members of this church, who being seduced by Jezebel’s doctrine, did commit fornication, that is, both spiritual and corporal whoredom, which is called by Christ “their deeds.” As the Nicolaitans had their doctrine and their deeds, so Jezebel had her doctrine and her deeds. By “killing her children with death” is meant, that they shall be destroyed by God’s just and righteous judgments. (Jer 18:21) Therefore deliver up her children to the famine, and pour out their blood by the force of the sword.

Rev. 2.27:

“And he shall rule them with a rod of iron,” etc.

He, that is Christ, (Ps 2:9) and, he that overcometh by Christ, (Re 2:26) to whom God will give power or kingly dominion over the nations, to wit, Christ and the righteousness, who shall have the dominion in the morning. (Ps 49:14) He shall rule them and govern them with an iron rod, that is to say, according to the laws of God, with the kingly power of Christ, which is signified by his “rod of iron,” (Ps 2:9 Re 19:15) and that kingly power is given unto the saints. (Re 12:5) And she brought forth a Man-Child who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron; which is Christ and his saints, as one mystical Body.

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4 thoughts on “Hanserd Knollys – Revelation 2

  1. Interesting for sure! Btw, see Mounce’s book on Revelation, pages 64 and 66, on the Letters To The Seven Churches… he sees generally that these “letters are an integral part of the Apocalypse.” I would side with Walvoord, that here are real letters to historical churches, but also as a preview of church history in its downward course toward Laodicean lukewarmness. “Walvoord says that to interpret such a remarkable progression as pure accident would be incredible. “The order of the messages to the churches seems to be divinely selected to give prophetically the main movement of history.” I would surely agree! But here too is much more than some idea of the mere so-called agency of the church, but of the whole eschatological Salvation History, and Covenant/covenants of Israel, of which the Gentiles only too come to receive from them, “to the Jew first, and also to the Greek/Gentile.” (Rom. 1: 16)

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