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Notes on Revelation


"And unto the angel of the church in Sardis write; These things saith he that hath the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars; I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead. Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God. Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee. 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. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches."--Revelation 3:1-6

"...Sardis...was prominent...and obtained its wealth from textile manufacturing, jewelry trade, and the dye industry. Generally speaking, the city was pagan with many individual mystery cults. The temple of Artemis was one of the major points of interest."

(Prophecy Knowledge Handbook, John Walvoord)

"Five hundred years before John wrote this letter, Sardis was one of the richest and most powerful cities in the world. It became ethically complacent and morally degenerate, and was conquered by Cyrus of Persia, then by Alexander the Great, and then it was leveled by an earthquake in AD 17. Later it was rebuilt by Tiberius Caesar...was noted far and wide for its idolatrous worship of the goddess Cybele."

(There's A New World Coming, Hal Lindsey)

"Sardis...stood on one of the alluvial hills between Mount Tmolus and the sea, about 1500 feet above and south of the great plain of the river Hermus, and was inaccessible except by a neck of land on the south...As time advanced, extension was necessary and a lower city was built on the west and north sides of the original city...The older city now acted as acropolis, or citadel, for the later...The patron deity of the city was Cybele, but she is conceived as possessing different attributes from those usually associated with the name. A special characteristic was the power of restoring life to the dead...The greatness of the city under the Roman empire was due entirely to its past reputation.."

(Hasting's Dictionary of the Bible)

"In Sardis of the 170s, the Christian Church was a poor relation to the strong Jewish community..."

(Pagans and Christians, Robin Lane Fox)

"Herodotus, the historian, records that over the course of many years the Church in Sardis had acquired a reputation for lax moral standards."

(Escape the Coming Night)

"...there may be some allusion in the name of this church to the precious stone 'sarda,' which, Pliny says, was found about Sardis, and had its name from hence; the same with the Sardian stone in Revelation 4:3, 21:20. this stone, naturalists say, drives away fear, gives boldness, cheerfulness, and sharpness of wit, and frees from witchcrafts and sorceries...and perhaps some allusion may be in this name, as is thought by Coceeius, to the Hebrew word 'sarid,' which signifies a 'remnant,' since in this church state there was a remnant according to the election of grace, a few names, whose garments were undefiled; or to the word 'sered,' which signifies a carpenter's rule or line..."

(The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible)

See the book The Letters to the Seven Churches of Asia by W. M. Ramsay.

See also Seven Churches.
See also ' a jasper and a sardine stone...' .


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