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p341 DEAREST -, - The objection* as to Thyatira is all a delusion, as to the principle of the addresses. The churches are addressed as churches and in the character of churches; that is, as standing on the principles on which Christ had placed the church, though noting to the church thus responsible the evils that were coming in. The address is not to Balaam or Jezebel, but to the church, and therein to such as had ears to hear - to the church in character, and in fact to those who had the consciousness of the responsibility in which a Christian stood in that character: the character then, not necessarily the extent of the evil or state, whatever it might be, is noticed. If that state was general deadness, that of course is noticed; if seduction of false doctrine, that is, not to what extent it has acted; the principle of the church being the birth-place of children to Jezebel, and of her adulteries - not the number of her children, but that true saints accepted this condition of things - all this leading to the Lord's coming. In the first church it had left its first love; it is not said how far: that remains true up to Laodicea, but does not characterise the evil which those who have ears to hear have to judge (at the beginning it did), it was the evil with Jezebel allowed: it would have been out of place to say so, though of course it was true. The churches give the distinction of the character of evil, and those in whom good is found, as specially manifested and directed in respect of the state described. No doubt it literally applied to Thyatira at the time, and was to be so received; while for him that has ears to hear it has a voice in all times - what voice? something not applying to a church state at all. For the direct proofs we must go over the general arguments and details, such as the promise to Philadelphia. (Rev. 3:10)

Lacking of love, tried faith, persecution, succeeded it - not how many were persecuted. Satan's seat. Then there was infidelity as regards evil in the professing church, and faith was called to look on to the Lord's coming and be faithful: given those who had not mixed themselves up with Jezebel, the rest would be chastened if not cut off. I do not think Protestants are the synagogue of Satan: they are much more Sardis - those who insist on traditional successional religion, religion of ordinances, the modern Judaizers - these are the synagogue of Satan as to the spirit of the thing; and that they thoroughly are, though saints, and Barnabases may be ensnared by them.

As to Revelation 17:12 - the question is a wider one than the texts cited can decide, not that they are not to the purpose: ὥραν in John 4:52 is the object of "inquired," as in the form 'inquired the hour at which' - as well as at what hour. So Revelation 3:3, οὐ μὴ γνᾶς ποίαν ὥραν. Whereas λαμβάνουσι has its object βασιλείαν: and in Acts 10:3 ὡσεὶ marks it as a point. But all this is somewhat beside the mark. I apprehend it is as used to be said, κατά left out, and the idea of period, a point, depends on the context in the nature of the word: κατὰ τὸ μεσονύκτιον [Acts 16:25] - a point evidently: κατὰ δὲ ἑορτὴν, during, at the time of [Matt. 27:15]: ὥραν ἑννάτην points to the epoch evidently [Acts 10:3], which ὥσεὶ confirms. But with μίαν [see Rev. 17:12] - not πρώτην - it is a period. Indeed ἑορτήν is not exactly time, but the time having that character. In general it is a known rule, the time at or in which a thing happens, genitive - during which, accusative. As to this I see no great difficulty: it would be merely technical. In Revelation 17:12 I do not see the smallest doubt. I have nothing to uphold here, for the kings receiving the kingdom at the same time with the beast is equally true: the other mode only determines the equal duration also. Acts 10:30, we have at the (ἐννάτην ὥραν - there also it is evident) ninth hour: with μίαν it is not so, it could have no such sense. See Matthew 20:12; Mark 14:37, Matthew 26:40. Whereas κατὰ μίαν σαββάτων, 1 Cor. 16:2, has necessarily the sense of the first, because it is after the sabbath. There is no μίαν ὥραν by itself but for during one hour.

The view of the temple is a mistake. The temple or house is always God's house and always the same house. "The latter glory of this house" is Haggai's (Hag. 2:9) word, not "the glory of the latter house;" and whoever sets up in it or has built it, it has never ceased to be God's house. So, 1 Kings 9:3, "I have hallowed this house which thou hast built to put my name there for ever; and mine eyes and mine heart shall be there perpetually." It will be built as God's house, much more truly than Herod did it. So Christ calls it "my Father's house;" not in reference to who built it (nor did God in fact dwell there - in that sense He was the temple), but because it was by God's original declaration, at all times, God's house. Further, I do not believe in the vast power of Antichrist, though I do in the vast mischief, spiritually speaking. I believe he is the second beast. (Rev. 13)

As to life, it is all captious (though true souls may be troubled by such) from using life in two senses. When I lay down my life I live still with the very same soul I had before. Now I may use life for the state of living, and as living in that state. I live in flesh and blood, and that could not go to heaven: I lose my life, but that only in the state in which I had it - I am just as much alive as ever, "for all live unto him:" "He is not a God of dead but of living." But if it was said that I had the life I had before, it would be wretched and false; because before, or laying down, refers to the state I had it in. Yet I have the life I had before if I speak of my soul, and of the life of Christ I have received. I use this to shew it is merely a false quibble by using life in two senses. I never die if I take what my life is - I do, if I take its status and condition; I die and take, or am given at least, my life again. I say this, not that there is no difference in Christ, but to shew the point of the fallacy. But Christ clearly never ceased to exist if we take Him in His human soul, to say nothing of His divine nature. But when He laid down His life and took it again, it is not taking again the existence of His soul or His divinity, but the fact of reuniting His soul and body as a living Man. What was essential to Him as His life, He could not take again. It was a living status of soul and body united; as in dying He had given up a living status: but the living status He took up was not the same living status He laid down. This last is distinguished as "the days of his flesh." He has now as risen a different condition in manhood than that He had, neither can He die any more.

But I have no wish to enter on these questions with objectors: [difficulties] produced in minds I may meet, but reasonings on them I am not disposed to meet, because I do not believe in the sincerity of the motives of those who do so. And there is no good in reasoning with such, unless to confound them personally where forced to do it. Half and much more of the cavillers I meet are best met by silence. It is the proof that you do not account that they really desire the truth. It is well to let some things die out, and not give importance to them by combating them. One may have to meet such in individual cases, and then may count on God's help, but positive truth fully taught best meets error. Heretics are generally unsound on something beneath, and deeper than their motives.

I am at this moment doubting about arousing Maurice by a tract on annihilation, and resuscitating one who is evidently to me dying out. Yet he has exposed himself by the greatest effrontery of blundering and done mischief. My conviction is - God has raised up a standard against it (annihilation), though mischief has been done, and it has got into the churches (so-called). . . . I should hardly think a person who took οὐ μὴ . . . εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα* for 'not for ever' worthy of replying to; it is evident perverseness. The Greek evidently would be . . . οὐκ εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα, etc., at any rate, not μή .


{*[John 8:51-52; 10:28; 11:26.]}