“According to Your Works” – Revelation 2:18-29

So, let us expel the false teachings of the world that would seduce us. Let us not delve into those deeper things of Satan (in whatever form that might take). Rather, let us embrace Jesus and his works. Let us seek to be pure for our Lord, our bridegroom, who gave himself for us, even his own purity, in which we find our justification by grace that we receive through faith. Because the bridegroom is one with the bride, Christians must express fidelity by our works.

 


[1] Richard D. Phillips, Revelation, Reformed Expository Commentary (Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing, 2017), 127, quoting from unpublished notes of James Boice.

[2] G. K. Beale, The Book of Revelation: A Commentary on the Greek Text, New International Greek Testament Commentary (Grand Rapids, MI: W.B. Eerdmans, 1999), 259.

[3] Cf. Tom Wright, Revelation for Everyone, For Everyone Bible Study Guides (London; Louisville, KY: SPCK; Westminster John Knox, 2011), 25.

[4] In Rev. 1:15 and 2:18 the dative singular neutral form of the noun χαλκολίβανον (chalkolibanon) is translated as “brass” in the KJV, but “bronze” in the ESV, NASB, and NIV. Either term is really just a best guess at the alloy to which the Greek term used here actually might be. As it is, “burnished bronze” is close, considering the local context and the similar description Ezek. 1:7 and Dan. 10:6. However in Ezekiel and Daniel the term used in the LXX (Septuagint) is χαλκός (bronze), where Rev. 1:15 and 2:18 it is χαλκολιβάνῳ. Cf. Colin J. Hemer, The Letters to the Seven Churches of Asia in Their Local Setting (Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2001), 111ff, for a discussion of the term.

[5] Beale, 209, states: “‘His eyes as a flame of fire’ is a metaphor of judgment [cf. Rev. 2:18–23]). Jesus’ constant presence with the churches means that he always knows their spiritual condition, which results either in blessing or judgment.” Also cf. Robert H. Mounce, The Book of Revelation, The New International Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1997), 59, who suggests the symbolism speaks to “the penetrating insight of the one who is sovereign, not only over the seven churches but over the entire course of history as well.”

[6] Col. 1:8.

[7] Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr., The Book of Revelation Made Easy (Powder Springs, GA: American Vision Press, 2019), 52-53.

[8] Hemer, 106.

[9] W. M. Ramsay, The Letters to the Seven Churches of Asia and Their Place in the Plan of the Apocalypse (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1904), 324–325.

[10] Ibid., 325.

[11] Grant R. Osborne, Revelation, Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2002), 151–152.

[12] Mounce, 86.

[13] Ibid., 89.

[14] There are two senses to the authority (rule) Christ has given his people—how we reign with Christ. One is as mentioned above, which is what Jesus is specifically talking about in the context of Rev. 2:18-29 (also Rev. 20:4, 6). The other is more of an immediate sense while Christians are on earth enduring faithfully, conquering, doing the works of Christ until the end. Until the end, in this life, Christians (united with Christ in the heavenly realms – Eph. 2:6; Phil 3:20) have authority given to us by Christ. He delegated this authority to us in the great commission in Matt. 28:18-20. That authority is exercised as we go into the nations proclaiming the gospel, pushing back the darkness with the light, gathering the elect of the nations to Christ and his Kingdom, smashing the enemy’s strongholds with each and every new disciple, and then discipling them according to God’s Word (2 Cor. 10:4). It is doing the work of the body of Christ. If anyone asks, “On what authority do you do this?” The answer is we do this on the authority of Christ, who has commanded us, delegating to us the authority to do his works. As an extension of the “make and equip” disciple mandate, as “a Kingdom, priests to God the Father” (Rev. 1:6; 5:10), we faithfully exercise the authority Christ has given to us, as we faithfully do his works of loving service until the end.