Rev. 3 The Lord speaks to the seven churches in Asia
For good works, diligence, patience, longsuffering, and rejecting apostates, Nicolaitans, and false apostles
For forgetting their first love (God)
To eat of the tree of life in the paradise of God
For suffering tribulation and poverty
To receive a crown of life and avoid the second death
For remaining true to the faith
For tolerating the doctrine of Balaam and the Nicolaitans
To eat hidden manna, to receive a white stone and a new name
For works of charity, service, faith, and patience
For tolerating the false prophetess Jezebel and her teachings of idolatry and fornication
To receive power over the nations, to rule by the word of God, and receive the morning star
For the few righteous which have not defiled their garments
For forgetting the Lord, becoming spiritually dead, and for works of wickedness
To be clothed in white and have their names written in the book of life
For faithfulness in spite of little remaining strength
To triumph over their enemies, be made a pillar in the temple of God, and receive a new name
For being lukewarm and proud in their riches
To sit with the Lord in his thron
Most assuredly it is, however, that the ancients, though persecuted and afflicted by men, obtained from God promises of such weight and glory, that our hearts are often filled with gratitude that we are even permitted to look upon them. (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 65.)
Rev. 3:1 the church in Sardis
"Sardis today: Now a ruin, in the days of John this was an important city, located about 30 miles south of Thyatira." (Jay M. Todd, "The Seven Cities of Revelation," Ensign, Aug. 1976, 49)
Rev. 3:1 I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead
"This scripture jumped out at me as I was preparing a lesson on the book of Revelation. I thought that perhaps there were in the ancient Church in Sardis members who should have been carrying in their hearts the name of the One who lived but instead had become dead to his lifestyle. To me it meant that these people called themselves Christians but were, in fact, spiritually lifeless.
"I contemplated how essential worthiness is to those professing to be called Christian. A week earlier in Sunday School, our Gospel Doctrine teacher had touched on Alma's concept of receiving the image of God in our countenances (see Alma 5:14, 19). This had reminded me of an excerpt in Revelation I had been studying which spoke of those who overcome.
"'Him that overcometh will I ... write upon him the name of my God, ... and I will write upon him my new name' (Rev. 3:12).
"I realized that sincerely taking the name of Christ upon us should cause us to make significant changes in our lives. Alma described this as having a 'mighty change' in our hearts (see Alma 5:14)... Suddenly the significance of what I was contemplating filled me with astonishment... To take upon myself the name of Jesus Christ while not striving to make the necessary changes in my life through repentance was not only a misuse of the Savior's name but a grave sin. I saw it as mocking God." (Julie Cannon Markham, "Taking His Name Upon Us," Ensign, Apr. 1998, 39-40)
Rev. 3:2 I have not found thy works perfect before God
"Perhaps few chapters in scripture afford such insightful glimpses into the spirit of the Lord's judgment as do the first three chapters of Revelation. The Lord's appraisal of the members faithfulness, endurance, patience, charity, and service-and their inactivity, cooling of love, tolerance of wickedness and false doctrines, lukewarmness, self-satisfaction, worldliness, and lack of zeal in his cause-have served for generations to motivate thoughtful readers to evaluate thoroughly their life-style." (Jay M. Todd, "The Seven Cities of Revelation ," Ensign, August 1976)
Rev. 3:3 Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard
"Remembering our spiritual feelings draws us to our Heavenly Father and to His Son, Jesus Christ. It gives us a sense of our true identity. It reminds us of what the prophets have recently proclaimed to the entire world, that "each is a beloved spirit son or daughter of heavenly parents, and, as such, each has a divine nature and destiny" ("The Family: A Proclamation to the World," Ensign, Nov. 1995, 102). Recalling spiritual feelings reminds us of who we really are.
"It is no wonder that over and over in the scriptures we are instructed, counseled, and commanded "O remember, remember." This repeated invitation emphasizes the important connection between our recollection of spiritual feelings in our past and our faithfulness in the present. Through John the Apostle, the Lord gave this message: "Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard" (Rev. 3:3).
"Satan wants us to be slow to remember what we have received and heard. He wants us to minimize and even forget the quiet witnesses of the Spirit that have told us who we really are." (Susan L. Warner, "Remember How Thou Hast Received and Heard," Ensign, May 1996, 78)
Rev. 3:3 If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief
While no one knows the day nor the hour of the Second Coming, the saints should not be surprised. The scriptures which say He shall come as "thief in the night" refer to those who are not watching for Him. For those who are watchful, he will not come as a thief. "If the good man of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to have been broken up, but would have been ready. Therefore be ye also ready, for in such an hour as ye think not, the Son of Man cometh." (JS-Matt. 1:47-48)
Paul reminded the Thessalonians, "ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief." (1 Thes. 5:4, see also D&C 106:4-5) The day should not overtake us "as a thief." We must be ready. The prepared and watchful are told, "Blessed are those servants, whom the lord when he cometh shall find watching: verily I say unto you, that he shall gird himself, and make them to sit down to meat, and will come forth and serve them." (Lu. 12:37)
Neal A. Maxwell
[The wicked will] be unaware of events which foretell Christ's coming. One who is wise, however, will take time both to smell the flowers and to check the leaves on the fig tree (see Matthew 24:32)." (That Ye May Believe [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1992], 171.)
Rev. 3:4 a few... have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with me in white
Carlos E. Asay
I like to think of the garment as the Lord's way of letting us take part of the temple with us when we leave. It is true that we carry from the Lord's house inspired teachings and sacred covenants written in our minds and hearts. However, the one tangible remembrance we carry with us back into the world is the garment. And though we cannot always be in the temple, a part of it can always be with us to bless our lives.
Don't forget that the word garment is used symbolically in the scriptures and gives expanded meaning to other words such as white, clean, pure, righteous, modesty, covering, ceremonial, holy, priesthood, beautiful, perfection, salvation, undefiled, worthy, white raiment, shield, protection, spotless, blameless, armor, covenants, promises, blessings, respect, eternal life, and so forth. All of these words occupy special places in the vocabularies of people sincerely essaying to become Saints.
Of one choice group of believers, it is written, "Thou hast a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with me in white: for they are worthy.
"He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels" (Rev. 3:4-5).
How wonderful it would be if all Church members walked with God in white and were numbered with the Saints in Sardis.
Remember always that our very salvation depends, symbolically, upon the condition of our garments. The prophet Alma told the members of the Church in his day that they could not be saved unless their garments were symbolically washed, cleansed, and made white through the blood of Jesus Christ. He taught:
"No man [can] be saved except his garments are washed white; yea, his garments must be purified until they are cleansed from all stain, through the blood of him of whom it has been spoken by our fathers, who should come to redeem his people from their sins. ...
Have ye walked, keeping yourselves blameless before God? Could ye say, if ye were called to die at this time, within yourselves, that ye have been sufficiently humble? That your garments have been cleansed and made white through the blood of Christ, who will come to redeem his people from their sins?" (Alma 5:21, 27).
It is my prayer that our garments will be cleansed through the blood of Christ and that we will reaffirm in our minds and hearts the declaration "Zion must increase in beauty, and in holiness, ... and put on her beautiful garments" (D&C 82:14). ("The Temple Garment: 'An Outward Expression of an Inward Commitment,' " Ensign, Aug. 1997, 22-23)
Rev. 3:5 I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father
My doctrine is-that there never was a son and daughter of Adam and Eve born on this earth whose names were not already written in the Lamb's book of life, and there they will remain until their conduct is such that the angel who keeps the record is authorized to blot them out and record them elsewhere. (Journal of Discourses, 26 vols. [London: Latter-day Saints' Book Depot, 1854-1886], 12: 101 - 102.)
Bruce R. McConkie
Who is there among us who does not desire to keep his name forever in the Lamb's book of life and to hear the Lord Jesus confess it before his Father's throne? So shall it be with all those who overcome the world. (Sermons and Writings of Bruce R. McConkie [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1998], 367.)
Rev. 3:7 the church in Philadelphia
"Philadelphia today: Located about twenty-eight miles southeast of Sardis, Philadelphia was a rich and powerful city in its time. It is still inhabited today." (Jay M. Todd, "The Seven Cities of Revelation," Ensign, Aug. 1976, 48)
Rev. 3:7 he that hath the key of David
The key of David is a priesthood key held by the Savior. What does it mean? King David's life was a type for the Savior's, especially with reference to the Lord's Millennial mission. David's accomplishments: "(1) he united the tribes into one nation, (2) he secured undisputed possession of the country, (3) the whole government rested upon a religious basis, and the will of God was the law of Israel." (Bible Dictionary: David) When the Savior exercises this priesthood key, he will destroy the enemies of Israel, reign as King of the Jews, and establish the government in righteousness. Then will be fulfilled the words of Isaiah:
...the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this. (Isa. 9:6-7)
And I will clothe him with thy robe, and strengthen him with thy girdle, and I will commit thy government into his hand: and he shall be a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and to the house of Judah.
And the key of the house of David will I lay upon his shoulder; so he shall open, and none shall shut; and he shall shut, and none shall open. (Isa. 22:21-22)
The scriptures seem to teach that the Lord will commit the key of David to a righteous servant to reign in Jerusalem during the Millennium. Then shall they have a king named David and a prince named David. The former refers to the Messiah; the latter refers to this righteous prince whose mission will be according to "the key of the house of David."
And David my servant shall be king over them; and they all shall have one shepherd: they shall also walk in my judgments, and observe my statutes, and do them.
And they shall dwell in the land that I have given unto Jacob my servant, wherein your fathers have dwelt; and they shall dwell therein, even they, and their children, and their children's children for ever: and my servant David shall be their prince for ever.
Moreover I will make a covenant of peace with them; it shall be an everlasting covenant with them: and I will place them, and multiply them, and will set my sanctuary in the midst of them for evermore.
My tabernacle also shall be with them: yea, I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
And the heathen shall know that I the LORD do sanctify Israel, when my sanctuary shall be in the midst of them for evermore. (Ezek. 37:24-28, see also Ezek. 34:23-25)
Rev. 3:8 I know thy works: behold I have set before thee an open door
Chieko N. Okazaki
Usually when someone says, "I know your works. I know what you're doing," don't we usually think, "Oh, no! You know what I'm doing?" and begin to feel guilty or self-conscious! There's a tendency to assume we're doing something wrong, isn't there? Yet in this instance, there's not a shadow of accusation or blame or guilt in the words of Jesus. He is speaking in comfort, in promise, in assurance, in might: "I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name." (V. 8.) Isn't there a feeling of triumph in what he's saying? He sets before us an open door that we are completely free to walk in and out of, as we choose. No one can close that door between us and the Savior. In fact, he himself is that door. We have total, complete access. (Lighten Up! [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1993], 169 - 170.)
Rev. 3:9 the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie
See commentary for Rev. 2:9. These members of the synagogue of Satan say they are Jews but are not. How is it that they are lying by saying they are Jews? Are they really Gentiles pretending to have a Jewish lineage? No. They are descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob who reject the Holy One of Israel. Spiritually speaking, they are not the covenant people of the Lord. They are liars who think they will inherit the blessings of the Fathers but really serve Satan and will receive wages of him.
Is there a modern day corollary? There are members of the Church who think they are in good standing by virtue of their membership alone-not realizing that the Lord doesn't consider them members of his church, "whosoever repenteth and cometh unto me, the same is my church. Whosoever declareth more or less than this, the same is not of me, but is against me; therefore he is not of my church." (D&C 10:67-68)
Rev. 3:10 I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation
Joseph Fielding Smith
If we go into the temple, we raise our hands and covenant that we will serve the Lord and observe his commandments and keep ourselves unspotted from the world. If we realize what we are doing, then the endowment will be a protection to us all our lives-a protection which a man who does not go to the temple does not have.
I have heard my father say that in the hour of trial, in the hour of temptation, he would think of the promises, the covenants that he had made in the house of the Lord, and they were a protection to him. He was but 15 years of age when he received his endowments and went forth into the mission field. This is exceptional, I know, and I do not recommend that our sons and our daughters go to the temple as young as that, but that they go as soon as they are prepared.
This protection is what these ceremonies are for, in part. They save us now, and they exalt us hereafter, if we will honor them. I know that this protection is given for I, too, have realized it, as have thousands of others who have remembered their obligations. (Doctrines of Salvation, 3 vols., edited by Bruce R. McConkie [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1954-1956], 2: 253.)
Rev. 3. 12 Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God
"Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God," &c. Do we ever wish to see the time when we can retire from the scenes of every day life, to the temple of God, and go no more out? Are we looking for a period of this kind? Yes, when we shall be made pillars in the temple of our God. We know when a pillar is placed in a building, it is placed there to remain, pillars are not often removed. All pillars are considered permanent; they are not to be taken away, because the removing of them endangers the safety of the building. In order to be made pillars in the temple of our God, what are we to do? WE MUST OVERCOME.
...If there is any thing in this world my soul desires the most, it is that I may overcome, and be made a pillar in the Temple of my God, and remain at home in the society that is continually warming my spirit, encouraging my feeling, with that which is congenial with every principle of my nature; let me bask in their goodly presence, live in their affections, dwell forever in the midst of their society, and go no more out. And may God in His mercy help us all to overcome every obstacle, and endure hardships like good soldiers of the Lamb, and dwell eternally in the mansions of light; which may God grant for Christ's sake. Amen. (Journal of Discourses, 26 vols. [London: Latter-day Saints' Book Depot, 1854-1886], 1: 127, 130.)
Rev. 3:12 I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God
Parley P. Pratt
I had the following dream or vision: I thought I saw myself dressed in a clean and beautiful linen robe, white as snow, and extending from the neck downward in beautiful folds. On either breast were lines of golden writing, in large Roman letters, about a third of an inch in length, and the lines extending from the center of the breast on each side six or eight inches long. The upper line on each side appeared larger and more beautiful or conspicuous than the others; one of these lines was: "HOLY PROPHET," and the other was: "NEW JERUSALEM."
On awaking from this dream I immediately called to mind the words of the Saviour to John the Revelator: "He that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out; and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the City of my God, which is New Jerusalem. "
This dream certainly encouraged me, and enabled me to bear my sickness, privation and long absence from my wife and former friends more patiently. (Autobiography of Parley P. Pratt, edited by his son, Parley P. Pratt [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1985], 57.)
Rev. 3:12 new Jerusalem... cometh down out of heaven from my God
Enoch and his people were so righteous that they were taken from the earth. They have been dwelling in a more exalted, terrestrial sphere as translated individuals for the last several millennia. As part of the restitution of all things (Acts 3:21), Enoch and his people will return from their heaven to meet the New Jerusalem yet to be built in Jackson County, Missouri. Then will Zion be brought up from below, and Zion will be brought down from above (D&C 84:99, see also Ether 13:3). When they meet, tearful embraces will overwhelm inhabitants of both Zions:
...righteousness will I send down out of heaven; and truth will I send forth out of the earth, to bear testimony of mine Only Begotten; his resurrection from the dead; yea, and also the resurrection of all men; and righteousness and truth will I cause to sweep the earth as with a flood, to gather out mine elect from the four quarters of the earth, unto a place which I shall prepare, an Holy City, that my people may gird up their loins, and be looking forth for the time of my coming; for there shall be my tabernacle, and it shall be called Zion, a New Jerusalem.
And the Lord said unto Enoch: Then shalt thou and all thy city meet them there, and we will receive them into our bosom, and they shall see us; and we will fall upon their necks, and they shall fall upon our necks, and we will kiss each other;
And there shall be mine abode, and it shall be Zion, which shall come forth out of all the creations which I have made; and for the space of a thousand years the earth shall rest. (Moses 7:62-64)
James E. Talmage
The Church in this day teaches that the New Jerusalem seen by John and by the prophet Ether, as descending from the heavens in glory, is the return of exalted Enoch and his righteous people; and that the people or Zion of Enoch, and the modern Zion, or the gathered saints on the western continent, will become one people. (Articles of Faith, 318)
When Zion descends from above, Zion will also ascend from beneath and be prepared to associate with those from above. The people will be so perfected and purified, ennobled, exalted, and dignified in their feelings and so truly humble and most worthy, virtuous and intelligent that they will be fit, when caught up, to associate with that Zion that shall come down from God out of heaven. (Journal of Discourses, 10:147)
Rev. 3:12 I will write upon him my new name
The importance of taking upon us the name of Christ cannot be overstated. When we are baptized, we take upon us the name of Christ. Every time we take the sacrament, we show God that we are still willing to bear this Holy Name. When we are endowed, we are given a new name. This name will be with us through the eternities according to the scripture, "A white stone is given to each of those who come into the celestial kingdom, whereon is a new name written, which no man knoweth save he that receiveth it. The new name is the key word." (D&C 130:11)
In verse 12, we find out that we will take upon us the name of Christ in a very literal way. Our garments will be holy not just because they are robes of the Holy Priesthood, but also because the name of God shall be written thereon. We read of three names, 1) the name of the my God-meaning Christ, 2) the name of the city of my God, and 3) a new name. According to Parley P. Pratt, the first name is "HOLY PROPHET" (see commentary above). The second name is given by John, "NEW JERUSALEM." The third name "no man knoweth save he that receiveth it."
Rev. 3:14 the church of the Laodiceans
"Laodicea today: About 100 miles east of Ephesus, this ancient city was a banking center before being destroyed by an earthquake." (Jay M. Todd, "The Seven Cities of Revelation," Ensign, Aug. 1976, 49)
Rev. 3:15 thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot
Sterling W. Sill
One of our most unfortunate situations comes about when we become holdouts on life, for when we hold out on life, life holds out on us. And by holding back in our faith, we become holdouts on God and members of the unfortunate group that someone called "life's half-believers." They are those who believe just a part of the time, or they believe in just some of the issues. This makes us guilty of those great sins of fractional devotion and marginal morals, which produces a minimal performance.
Jesus said that he came that we might have life and have it more abundantly. But it is impossible to live at one's best when he is only a half-believer. The agnostic says, "I don't believe, and I don't disbelieve." With enough lethargy and indifference, one gets to where he just doesn't care. There are some who are impartial about right and wrong. There was a group of fractional believers living at Laodicea to whom the resurrected Jesus instructed John the Revelator to write as follows:
I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.
So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.
Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked. (Revelation 3:15-17.)
This reminds us of the psychiatrist who once said to a mental patient, "Do you ever have any trouble making up your mind?" The mental patient said, "Well, yes and no." There are many people whose convictions are caught on dead center. What miserable lives we lead when we can't make up our minds between right and wrong, good and bad, obedience and disobedience, success and failure. Then much of the time we remain as if we were wallowing in the slime of the low tide. We are left straddling the fence, and our dim understanding leaves us uncertain as to which way we should go. (Principles, Promises, and Powers [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1973], 138.)
Carlos E. Asay
We must also remember full salvation does not come by giving 50 percent and withholding 50 percent, on the pretext of living a balanced Christian life. God, through his divine grace, gave us his all-even his Beloved Son. In return, we are expected to give our all, not just a part or token performance of goodness.
There is a story about a man who was asked, "Are you a Christian?" He replied, "I is in spots." What an awful admission of inconsistency and hypocrisy!
Christ had little patience for hypocrites or part-time Christians who "pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law" (Matthew 23:23). (In the Lord's Service: A Guide to Spiritual Development [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1990], 52.)
Bruce R. McConkie
We are either for the Church or we are against it. We either take its part or we take the consequences. We cannot survive spiritually with one foot in the Church and the other in the world. We must make the choice. It is either the Church or the world. There is no middle ground. And the Lord loves a courageous man who fights openly and boldly in his army. (Sermons and Writings of Bruce R. McConkie [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1998], 361.)
Rev. 3:16 because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth
Dallin H. Oaks
The Savior said that if we are "lukewarm," he "will spue [us] out of [his] mouth" (Rev. 3:16). Moderation in all things is not a virtue, because it would seem to justify moderation in commitment. That is not moderation, but indifference. That kind of moderation runs counter to the divine commands to serve with all of our "heart, might, mind and strength" (D&C 4:2), to "seek ... earnestly the riches of eternity" (D&C 68:31), and to be "valiant in the testimony of Jesus" (D&C 76:79). Moderation is not the answer. ("Our Strengths Can Become Our Downfall," Ensign, Oct. 1994, 19)
Gordon B. Hinckley
To those who vacillate, who equivocate, who qualify their assertions with uncertainty when speaking of the things of God, these words from the book of Revelation are appropriate:
I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.
So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth (Rev. 3:15-16).
("Faith: The Essence of True Religion," Ensign, Oct. 1995, 5)
Spencer W. Kimball
There are many people in this Church today who think they live, but they are dead to the spiritual things. And I believe even many who are making pretenses of being active are also spiritually dead. Their service is much of the letter and less of the spirit. Again I notice he speaks to another group, the Laodiceans, and says:
I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.
So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. (Rev. 3:15-16.)
Those were Saints who had been baptized into the kingdom, received the Holy Ghost, we would assume, and were supposed to be on their way to exaltation. But they weren't faithful, they weren't valiant. (Conference Report, April 1951, Morning Session 105.)
Rev. 3:17 thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing
Spencer W. Kimball
As we look about, we see many who are greedy for excessive wealth, and especially that which comes with sharp practices and at the expense of strict honesty and complete integrity. It is hard to satisfy us. The more we have, the more we want.
Paul seemed to understand human nature and fully endorsed the statement of the Master: "...a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven." (See Matt. 19:24.) He says:
For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.
And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.
But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition.
For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. (1 Tim. 6:7-10.)
"Having food and raiment let us be therewith content."-Why another farm, another herd of sheep, another bunch of cattle, another ranch? Why another hotel, another cafe, another store, another shop? Why another plant, another office, another service, another business? Why another of anything if one has that already which provides the necessities and reasonable luxuries? Why continue to expand and increase holdings, especially when those increased responsibilities draw one's interests away from proper family and spiritual commitments, and from those things to which the Lord would have us give precedence in our lives? Why must we always be expanding to the point where our interests are divided and our attentions and thoughts are upon the things of the world? Certainly when one's temporal possessions become great, it is very difficult for one to give proper attention to the spiritual things.
Better is the poor that walketh in his uprightness, than he that is perverse in his ways, though he be rich. (Prov. 28:6.)
And then this from Proverbs struck me:
A faithful man shall abound with blessings: but he that maketh haste to be rich shall not be innocent. (Ibid., 28:20.)
And I wonder if many of us are not hasting to be rich. Are we making compromises in order to accumulate? (Conference Report, October 1953, Second Day-Morning Meeting 54 - 55.)
Gordon B. Hinckley
Greed is an insidious trap that has the power to destroy those whose eager search for success becomes the driving force of their lives. Greed is the devious, sinister, evil influence that makes people say, "What I have is not enough. I must have more. And I will do whatever it takes to get it." (Latter-day Commentary on the New Testament: The Four Gospels, by Pinegar, Bassett, and Earl, p. 236-237)
Rev. 3:17 thou... knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked
Spencer W. Kimball
Prosperous John was concerned with his earthly kingdom and he seemed to be a Midas, every venture turning into wealth. His family, including the three growing boys, concerned themselves with acquisition and social life and the things of this world. His sons, now in their teens, were growing up out of the Church, without auxiliary programs, seminary, or priesthood. This family golfed and skied, swam, hunted and fished on the Sabbath. Cocktails were on every social program. John was unrepentant and was moving farther and farther from his throne-it was so vague and misty, so dim and unreal to him now. It was as though he were moving into a fog and could see only those things immediately in front of him.
...In hot pursuit of pleasure, wealth, distinction, and the applause of men, these eternal things meant little to him now. Building his temporary, short-lived earthly kingdom, he had overlooked this important fact, that:
. . . they . . . whose names are not found written in the book of the law, or that are found to have apostatized, or to have been cut off from the church, in that day shall not find an inheritance among the saints of the Most High. (D&C 85:11.)
...John... had... lost his way. Once he was a prince and heir to greater dominions than an earthly empire, but it was evidently too vague and far away and demanding for him. He lived for the present and lost his way to the distant, glorious future. Against all the efforts of many people, he abdicated his future throne and relinquished his right to eternal royalty and kingship. He traded his birthright, as did Esau, for a mess of pottage, a mere few decades of fun and pleasure, public applause, comforts.
Last year he died. The funeral was spectacular. Many of the community folks were there. Mountains of flowers decorated the church which he had not entered many times in a half century. His body was finally back in the chapel of the Church he had abandoned. His wife had finally yielded to the pleadings of his aging, faithful parents.
Viewers had passed by the casket in the mortuary and noted that his head was still covered with curly locks of hair, now gray. The white shirt, the black tie, and the black suit in which his body lay gave him immaculate grooming, as throughout his lifetime. He could have been dressed in fine linen of pure white like the clothing spoken of by John the Revelator, who said of the bride of the Lamb, that
. . . to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints. (Rev. 19:8.)
John could have been clothed in "white raiment" promised to all who are faithful and true, "that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear" (Rev. 3:18.)
Many of his acquaintances returned to their offices, saddened with broken hearts, not for his death, but for the condition of his life and death. The family dutifully followed the remains to the grave. Great as were his wealth, his mansion on the hill, his Cadillacs, his stocks and bonds, his cattle, and his oil wells in Oklahoma, his casket, though elegant, like that of poor paupers, was only about seven feet long, two feet wide, and of shallow depth; and old Mother Earth who gave him his body-dear Mother Earth, which he had exploited for half a century; precious Mother Earth, which he might have had for an eternal inheritance-opened her mouth and loaned him her bosom for his body's resting place, perhaps willingly, perhaps grudgingly, the little space of about two cubic yards. Her bosom ached as her eyes watered at so promising a man having missed the mark so far. His extensive possessions and accumulations were soon in the courts with relatives quarreling over them. His spiritual destiny was not much to be coveted.
John had lost his way. He had abdicated his throne, his princehood, his kingship, his godhood, for who knows what? Let him now, today, as he looks down upon it all with sight no longer limited by poor physical eyes-let him now appraise his positions of prominence, his directorship, his managerships, his influence, his high honors. Let him now count his friends whom he may never see again. Let him now evaluate his influence. How many can he now employ? How much weight can he now throw around? To how many can he dictate? Let him now, today, clip his bond coupons, deposit his dividends, count his cattle, harvest his acres, balance his bank account. He failed to invest real capital. He spent it. It is not available to him now. The courts have it. In the vernacular of the street, he has had it. The good things of the earth he has lost. He has used them up. He has spent his capital. (February 15, 1966, BYU Speeches of the Year, 1966. pp. 7-14.)
Rev. 3:19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten
Ezra Taft Benson
May God bless us to be grateful, even in times of trouble and reverses. We all have our reverses: "Whom the Lord loveth, he chasteneth" (Hebrews 12:6). It is in the depths where men and women learn the lessons which help them gain strength-not at the pinnacle of success. The hour of man's success is his greatest danger. It sometimes takes reverses to make us appreciate our blessings and to develop us into strong, courageous characters. We can meet every reverse that can possibly come with the help of the Lord. The Lord taught the Prophet Joseph Smith that every reverse can be turned to our benefit and blessing and can make us stronger, more courageous, more godlike (see D&C 122). (The Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1988], 465.)
Joseph Fielding Smith
Moreover, those who stand before the throne dressed in white are they who have "come out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb." There is great experience in tribulation that brings to pass much good. The person who goes through life without pain or sorrow, and who is not called upon to sacrifice comforts and partake of hardships, never receives the full value of life. We came here for experience, the benefits of which are not to be limited to this mortal life, but to be of value to those who receive the exaltation in the Kingdom of God. (Church History and Modern Revelation, 4 vols. [Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1946-1949], 3: 202.)
Rev. 3:20 Behold, I stand at the door, and knock
Ezra Taft Benson
No one is more anxious to see us change our lives than the Father and the Savior. In the book of Revelation is a powerful and profound invitation from the Savior. He says, "I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him." (Rev. 3:20.) Note that He does not say, "I stand at the door and wait for you to knock." He is calling, beckoning, asking that we simply open our hearts and let Him in. ("A Mighty Change of Heart," Ensign, Oct. 1989, 4)
Spencer W. Kimball
The promise is made to everyone. There is no discrimination, no favored few, but the Lord has not promised to crash the door. He stands and knocks. If we do not listen, he will not sup with us nor give answer to our prayers. We must learn how to listen, grasp, interpret, understand. The Lord stands knocking. He never retreats. But he will never force himself upon us. If our distance from him increases, it is we who have moved and not the Lord. And should we ever fail to get an answer to our prayers, we must look into our lives for a reason. We have failed to do what we should do, or we have done something we should not have done. We have dulled our hearing or impaired our eyesight. (Faith Precedes the Miracle [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1972], 208.)
Thomas S. Monson
Shall we listen for his voice? Shall we open the doorway of our lives to his exalted presence? Each must answer for himself. ("Hands," Ensign, Aug. 1990, 5)
Boyd K. Packer
Prayer is your personal key to heaven. The lock is on your side of the veil. ("Personal Revelation: The Gift, the Test, and the Promise," Ensign, Nov. 1994, 59)
Rev. 3:20 if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him
Boyd K. Packer
There are several paintings depicting Christ at the door, illustrating a New Testament scripture: "Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: If any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me." (Revelation 3:20.) In the more famous paintings He is shown holding a lantern as he knocks at the door.
The story is told that a little girl once remarked to one painter that his painting of Jesus at the door was not finished. "You have left something out," she said. "You have left out the door latch." The artist replied, "The painting is complete. That door represents the door of the human heart. It opens only from within." (Teach Ye Diligently [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1975], 19.)
Howard W. Hunter
Doors are not different today. We knock on the outside, but the door is unlocked and opened from the inside. This simple portrayal demonstrates a great principle. Isn't it true that the door to one's heart is opened from within? No one forces his way into the affections or love of another person. God does not force us to do right, and Satan does not have the power to force us to do wrong. They may stand at the door and knock, but we have the power to open it to whomsoever we wish. (The Teachings of Howard W. Hunter, edited by Clyde J. Williams [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1997], 80.)
Rev. 3:20 I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me
See commentary for John 14:23.
Rev. 3:21 To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame
I remember an incident which occurred in Kirtland when I received my first patriarchal blessing from Father Smith. A better man never existed, nor was there a man better-loved than he. I was introduced by my sister Eliza R., though at that time I was not a Latter-day Saint and had no idea of becoming one. He said to me: "Don't worry, take it calmly and the Lord will show you, and you will want to be baptized," He told me another thing that greatly surprised me. He said, "You will be great, and as great as you want to be, as great as God Himself, and you will not wish to be greater." I could not understand this...
Now, I have told you what Father Smith said to me, that I should become as great as I could want to be, even as great as God Himself. About two years and a half after, in Nauvoo, I asked Elder Sherwood to explain a certain passage of scripture; and while he was endeavoring to give an explanation, the Spirit of God fell upon me to a marked extent, and the Lord revealed to me, just as plainly as the sun at noon-day, this principle, which I put in a couplet: "As man now is, God once was; As God now is, man may be." That fulfilled Father Smith's declaration. Nothing was ever revealed more distinctly than that was to me. Of course, now that it is so well known it may not appear such a wonderful manifestation; but when I received it, the knowledge was marvelous to me. This principle, in substance, is found also in the scriptures. The Lord said to John, as recorded in the third chapter of his Revelation: "To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne." (20 July 1901, JH, p. 4.)
......Now, how is it that God proposes to confer this mighty honor upon us and to raise us to this condition of glory and exaltation? Who are we that God should do all this for us? Why, we are just beginning to find out that we are the offspring of God, born with the same faculties and powers as He possesses, capable of enlargement through the experience that we are now passing through in our second estate. Let me illustrate. Here is an emperor sitting upon his throne, governing and controlling his empire wisely and properly. He has an infant son that sits upon the knee of its mother. That son he proposes to one day set upon his throne, to govern and control his empire. Here is that infant, perfectly helpless, not knowing how to sustain its own life, not able to walk alone, without any knowledge; and here is this mighty emperor sitting upon his throne and governing his vast empire. Who would believe that he could raise that infant up to such a condition as to make it suitable to be placed on his throne? No one would, unless he had seen such things accomplished in his experience; seen the infant develop into boyhood, and then to manhood, possessing all the powers, faculties and possibilities of its father. Now, we are the sons and daughters of God. He has begotten us in His own image. He has given us faculties and powers that are capable of enlargement until His fulness is reached which He has promised-until we shall sit upon thrones, governing and controlling our posterity from eternity to eternity, and increasing eternally. That is the fact in regard to these matters. (The Teachings of Lorenzo Snow, edited by Clyde J. Williams [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1984], 2.)