And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write,
&c.] Of the city of Laodicea, (See Gill on Revelation 1:11); there was a church here in the times of the Apostle Paul; by whom it was founded is not known; mention is made of it in ( Colossians 2:1 Colossians 2:2 ) ( Colossians 4:13 Colossians 4:15 Colossians 4:16 ) , who was now the angel, or pastor of it, whether Epaphras, who is there named, or another, is not certain. According to the Apostolical Constitutions F20, Archippus was ordained bishop of it by the apostles; see ( Colossians 4:16 Colossians 4:17 ) . There was a church here in the second century, for Sagaris, bishop of it, suffered martyrdom in the times of Antoninus Verus F21; and in the "fourth" century, this church was famous for two eminent bishops, Theodorus and Gregory; and in the "fifth" century, it was the metropolitan church of Phrygia, as it was in the "seventh" century, in which age Tyberius, bishop of this place, was in the sixth synod at Constantinople F23; but now it is even without inhabitants F24. This church represents the state of the church, from the end of the spiritual reign of Christ, till the time of his personal appearing and kingdom, to judge the quick and dead; for after the spiritual reign is over, professors of religion will sink into a formality, and into a lukewarm frame of spirit, and into great spiritual sloth and security, ( Revelation 3:15 Revelation 3:16 ) , which will make those times like the times of Noah and of Lot; and such will be the days of the coming of the son of man to judge the world. Its name signifies either "the righteousness of the people"; and so may point at that popular and external righteousness, which the majority of the professors of religion in this period of time will be boasting of, and trusting in; being self-sufficient, and self-dependent, when at the same time they will be naked, as well as poor and blind, ( Revelation 3:17 Revelation 3:18 ) ; or it signifies "the judging of the people"; for this church state, at the end of it, will bring on the general judgment; the Judge will now be at the door indeed, standing and knocking; and they that are ready to meet the bridegroom, when he comes, will be admitted into the nuptial chamber, and sit down with him in his throne, in the thousand years' kingdom, at the close of which will be the second resurrection, when all the people, small and great, shall be judged, ( Revelation 3:19-21 ) .
These things saith the Amen;
see ( Isaiah 65:16 ) ; The word "Amen" is the name of a divine Person with the Jews, and it seems the second Person; for so on those words in ( Proverbs 8:30 ) ; "then was I by him as one brought up with him", they observe F25, do not read "Amon", the word there used, but "Amen"; and, a little after, "Amen", they say, is the "notaricon", or sign of (Nman Klm la) , "God the faithful King"; they make F26 "Amen" to be one of the names of the second "Sephira", or number in the Cabalistic tree, by whom the second Person in the Godhead seems to be designed: and they say F1, that the word "Amen", by gematry (or numerically) answers to the two names "Jehovah, Adonai". Christ may be so called, because he is the God of truth, and truth itself; and it may be expressive of his faithfulness, both to God his Father, and to his people, in whom all the promises he either made, or received, are yea and amen; and also of the firmness, constancy, and immutability of Christ, in his nature, person, and offices, in his love, fulness of grace, power, blood, and righteousness; and is very appropriately assumed by him now, when he was about to give the finishing stroke to all covenant engagements, and to all promises and prophesies; see ( Revelation 1:18 ) .
The faithful and true witness;
who as he was in the days of his flesh, (See Gill on Revelation 1:5); so he will be at the day of judgment, a swift witness against all ungodly men; and he may the rather take up this title, not only on that account, but to show that the description he gives of the state and condition of this church is just, ( Revelation 3:15 Revelation 3:16 ) ; and to engage it to take his advice the more readily, ( Revelation 3:18 ) ; and to assure it of the nearness of his coming, ( Revelation 3:20 ) ; and to strengthen the faith of his people, and quicken their hope and expectation of the happiness with him promised, ( Revelation 3:21 ) ; the same character is given to the Logos, or Word of the Lord, by the Targumist in ( Jeremiah 42:5 ) , let the Word of the Lord be to us (Nmyhmw jwvq Kyhol) , "for a true and faithful witness"; the very phrase here used.
The beginning of the creation of God;
not the first creature that God made, but the first cause of the creation; the first Parent, producer, and efficient cause of every creature; the author of the old creation, who made all things out of nothing in the beginning of time; and of the new creation, the everlasting Father of, everyone that is made a new creature; the Father of the world to come, or of the new age and Gospel dispensation; the Maker of the new heaven and new earth; and so a very fit person to be the Judge of the whole world, to summon all nations before him, and pass the final sentence on them. The phrase is Jewish, and it is a title the Jews give to Metatron, by whom they sometimes mean the Messiah; so those words in ( Genesis 24:2 ) , and Abraham said unto his eldest servant of his house, they paraphrase thus F2;
``"and Abraham said unto his servant", this is Metatron, (or the Mediator,) the servant of God, "the eldest of his house"; for he is (Mwqm lv wytwyrb tlxt) , "the beginning of the creation of God", who rules over all that he has; for to him the holy blessed God has given the government of all his hosts.''Christ is the (arch) , "the Prince", or Governor of all creatures.
F20 L. 7. c. 46.
F21 Euseb. Hist. Eccl. l. 4. c. 26. & l. 5. c. 24.
F23 Eccl. Hist. Magdeburg. cent. 4. c. 2. p. 3. cent. 5. c. 7. p. 418. cent. 7. c. 2. p. 3. c. 7. p. 112. c. 10. p. 254.
F24 Smith. Notitia, p. 150.
F25 Zohar in Deut. fol. 121. 4. so in T. Bab. Sabbat, fol. 119. 2. & Sanhedrin, fol. 111. 1. Yalkut Simeoni, par. 2. fol. 46. 1.
F26 Cabal. Denud. par. 2. p. 7.
F1 Lex. Cabal. p. 130. & Baal Hatturim in Deut. xxviii. 15.
F2 Zohar in Gen. fol. 77. 1.