NUN: Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. (Psalms 119:105)
Serving YHWH thru Service to Others
Revelation 3:19 - The Law, Repentance, and Works
Sad as it is to say I must start by pointing out that the verse we are looking at was spoken by the risen Yahshua and cannot be claimed to have no bearing on us. In Revelation Yahshua makes it quite clear he is speaking to ALL believers - Hebrew and Gentile alike - in this age. Those that follow the words of Paul instead of Yahshua do so at their own peril. Do not let any man convince you that the words of Paul are above those of the Son of YHWH!
I, as many as I love, I rebuke and I chasten. Be zealous, then, and repent.
This statement reference Proverbs 3:12:
That whom Yahweh loves, he is correcting, even as a father the son he is pleased with.
A further breakdown of the words in Revelation 3:19 is important. First, the Greek word translated as love is not “agapao” - transliterated in English as “agape” - which is the word most Christians associate with love in the Bible. This is not the same love as in “love YHWH”, or “love your neighbor”, or even “love your enemy”. The word here is “philO”. ISA (Interlinear Scripture Analyzer) defines it as “I may be bein fond of”. Strong uses “phileo” and assigns it's variations #G5368 and defines it as: to be a friend to. Thayer says: to love, approve of, sanction. G5368 is only used about a couple of dozen times, compared to “agapao” which is used almost a hundred and fifty times. The importance is that “philO” itself has its own special meaning.
In John 21:15-17 Yahshua asked Peter three times if he loved him. The English language is inadequate to really convey the differences here. The first two times Yahshua used “agapao”; but, the last time he used “philO”. Peter, for his part, used “philO” every time he told Yahshua that he loved him. Yahshua in essence was pressing Peter beyond the point most readers and writers assign to this exchange - that being that Yahshua asked three times because Peter denied him three times. Yahshua pressed Peter to reveal a love that went beyond feeling. “PhilO” is a love that is as much action as it is feeling.
Even the variations show this is a different kind of love. This is the love that Yahshua said we must not have more of for our own parents or children than for him (Matthew 10:37). This is the kind of love between YHWH and Yahshua (John 5:20). This is the kind of love between Yahshua and his Apostles (e.g. John 20:2, 21:17), between Yahshua and Lazarus (e.g. John 11:3), from YHWH to us for the same love toward Yahshua (e.g. John 16:27). If you have this kind of love for your life you will lose your life (John 12:25).
I have focused on John’s use of this wording because he is the writer of the verse we are studying and so his usage is the most relevant. We see that this kind of love, in addition to “agape”, is a love we must have for YHWH and Yahshua (again reference the verses cited above). Keep this in mind when we start discussing repentance.
Next, to continue our breakdown of Revelation 3:19 we look at the Greek word translated as “rebuke”. It is “elegchO”. ISA defines it as “I am exposing”. Strong uses “elegcho”, assigning #G1651 to its variations, and says: to confute, admonish, convict, convince, tell a fault, rebuke, reprove. Thayer repeats Strong’s and adds: by conviction to bring to the light, to expose, to call to account, show one his fault, demand an explanation. If we look at John’s use of this wording elsewhere we see he intends exposure (e.g. John 3:20).
Keep all this in mind as we look at the word translated as “chasten”. It is “paideuO”. ISA defines it as “I am disciplining”. Strong uses “paideuo”, assigning #G3811 to its variations, and says: to train up a child, that is to educate, or discipline, chasten, instruct, learn, teach. Thayer repeats Strong and adds: to chasten by the affliction of evils and calamities.
What we see then in Revelation 3:19 is that for those that Yahshua loves - in a very action orientated way - he will expose their sin and discipline them. When he does this he expects them to be zealous in turning away from sin.
This demand for repentance is vital to understand. It shows that the repentance needed by a follower of Yahshua is not the one-time event that the once saved always saved crowd loves to preach. Consider the following:
and saying, the time has been fulfilled, and the kingdom of YHWH draws near. Repent and believe in the gospel.
The word translated as repent is “metanoeite”. ISA defines it as “be repenting”. Strong uses “metanoeo” and as usual, assigns a single number, in this case G3340, for all the variations of a word. This fails to show the proper meaning. The intent is not a one-time act but a continual on-going action.
“Be repenting” is also the proper translation for the following, first from John the Baptist and then from Yahshua:
and saying, Repent! For the kingdom of Heaven has drawn near.
From that time Yahshua began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.
This also shows why knowing and keeping the Law (YHWH's Torah) is so vital. It is by the Law that we know what sin is and so know what we must turn away from doing. When we fail Yahshua will expose the failing and discipline us to get us back on track - to get us back to being obedient to YHWH. Paul was a liar - all things are not lawful for us! If they were we would have nothing to “turn away” from doing. In Revelation 3:19 the risen Yahshua is speaking to those that are already believing members of the church.
Revelation 3:19 also says to be zealous. We are to turn away from disobedience with enthusiasm and energy. This means more than wishing we had not failed and asking for forgiveness. Regretting is not the same as repenting. Repenting means actively avoiding future disobedience and actively, continually striving for obedience. We know what not to do because YHWH told us His Torah - His Law, His Commandments - and Yahshua reiterated all this with His own commands as well.
When we repent - turn away from disobedience - we are to be zealous. Turning away from disobedience to obedience entails more than just complying with the “do not’s”. It also entails the “do’s” that both YHWH and Yahshua gave us. It is not enough to avoid working evil. In our zeal we must do good works. Yahshua warns us that lukewarm is not an acceptable condition:
So, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I am about to vomit you out of my mouth.
What a difference we would make as followers of Yahshua if Revelation 3:16 was preached and believed as sincerely as John 3:16!
For a believer who has “agape” AND “philO” for YHWH and His Son Yahshua doing good works is as natural as drawing a breath. No, we cannot be saved by our good works; but, we are required to do them. Many of Yahshua’s parables reflect this requirement (e.g. read Matthew 25:32 - 46). His parables were meant for all who would follow him - not just his Apostles.
And when he was alone, those around him, with the twelve, asked him of the parable.
If you truly accept Yahshua as your Savior you must accept him as your Lord/Master and YHWH as your God. It means constantly loving them and continually repenting from evil - which means obedience to YHWH’s Torah. It means obeying Yahshua and doing good works. It mean the difference between life and death!
Thank you for joining me on The Path to Light.
In Brotherly Love,