on Revelation 2 :24
But unto you I say, and unto the rest - "But unto the rest, etc. This is the reading of the Complutensian, and seems preferable to the common one, as it evidently shows that the rest of the epistle wholly concerns the faithful, who have not received the former doctrine of error. I will put upon you none other burden is a commendation of the sound part of the Church, that they have no need of any new exhortation or charge to be given them, no new advice but to persevere as usual. See Romans 15:14, Romans 15:15. The expression of burden is taken from the history of Ahab, 2 Kings 9:25 : The Lord laid this burden on him; a word often used by the prophets to signify a prophecy threatening heavy things to be suffered. See on Isaiah 13:1 (note), and Numbers 4:19 (note)." See Dodd's Notes.
It is worthy of remark that the Gnostics called their doctrine the depths of God, and the depths of Bythos, intimating that they contained the most profound secrets of Divine wisdom. Christ here calls them the depths of Satan, being master pieces of his subtlety. Perhaps they thought them to be of God, while all the time they were deceived by the devil.
on Revelation 2 :24
But unto you I say, and unto the rest in Thyatira - The word - "and" - καὶ kai - is omitted in many mss. and versions, and in the critical editions of Griesbach, Tittmann, and Hahn, and the connection demands that it should be omitted. As it stands in the received text, it would seem that what he here says was addressed to those who had received that doctrine, and to all others as well as to them; whereas the declaration here made pertains manifestly to those who had not received the doctrine. With that particle omitted the passage will read, as rendered by Prof. Stuart, "But I say unto you, the remainder in Thyatira, so many as hold not this doctrine," etc. That is, he addresses now all the members of the church who were not involved in the charges already made. He does not say how large a portion of the church had escaped the contaminating influence of those opinions, but to that portion, whether great or small, he addresses only words of exhortation and comfort.
As many as have not this doctrine - To all who have not embraced it, or been contaminated with it. It may be presumed that there was a considerable portion of the church which had not.
And which have not known the depths of Satan - The deep art and designs of Satan. Deep things are those which are hidden from view - as of things which are far underground; and hence the word is used to denote mysteries, or profound designs and purposes. The allusion here is not to any trials or sufferings that Satan might bring upon anyone, or to any temptations of which he might be the author, but to his profound art in inculcating error and leading people astray. There are doctrines of error, and arguments for sin, to originate which seems to lie beyond the power of people, and which would appear almost to have exhausted the talent of Satan himself. They evince such a profound knowledge of man; of the divine government; of the course of events on earth; and of what our race needs; and they are defended with so much eloquence, skill, learning, and subtlety of argumentation, that they appear to lie beyond the compass of the human powers.
As they speak - This cannot mean that the defenders of these errors themselves called their doctrines "the depths of Satan," for no teachers would choose so to designate their opinions; but it must mean, either that they who were opposed to those errors characterized them as "the depths of Satan," or that they who opposed them said that they had not known "the depths of Satan." Prof. Stuart understands it in the latter sense. A somewhat more natural interpretation, it seems to me, however, is to refer it to what the opposers of these heretics said of these errors. They called them "the depths of Satan," and they professed not to have known anything of them. The meaning, perhaps, would be expressed by the familiar words, "as they say," or "as they call them," in the following manner: "As many as have not known the depths of Satan, as they say," or, "to use their own language." Doddridge paraphrases it, "as they proverbially speak." Tyndale encloses it in a parenthesis.
I will put upon you none other burden - That is, no other than that which you now experience from having these persons with you, and that which must attend the effort to purify the church. He had not approved their conduct for suffering these persons to remain in the church, and he threatens to punish all those who had become contaminated with these pernicious doctrines. He evidently designed to say that there was some token of his displeasure proper in the case, but he was not disposed to bring upon them any other expression of his displeasure than what grew naturally and necessarily out of the fact that they had been tolerated among them, and those troubles and toils which must attend the effort to deliver the church from these errors. Under any circumstances the church must suffer. It would suffer in reputation. It would suffer in respect to its internal tranquility. Perhaps, also, there were those who were implicated in these errors, and who would be implicated in the punishment, who had friends and kindred in the church; and the judgments which were to come upon the advocates of these errors must, therefore, come in a measure upon the church.
A kind Saviour says, that he would bring upon them no other and no weightier burden, than must arise from his purpose to inflict appropriate vengeance on the guilty themselves. The trouble which would grow out of that would be a sufficient expression of his displeasure. This is, in fact, often now all that is necessary as a punishment on a church for harboring the advocates of error and of sin. The church has trouble enough ultimately in getting rid of them; and the injury which such persons do to its piety, peace, and reputation, and the disorders of which they are the cause, constitute a sufficient punishment for having tolerated them in its bosom. Often the most severe punishment that God can bring upon people is to "lay upon them no other burden" than to leave them to the inevitable consequences of their own folly, or to the trouble and vexation incident to the effort to free themselves from what they had for a long time tolerated or practiced.
on Revelation 2 :24
2:24 But I say to you who do not hold this doctrine - Of Jezebel. Who have not known the depths of Satan - O happy ignorance! As they speak - That were continually boasting of the deep things which they taught. Our Lord owns they were deep, even deep as hell: for they were the very depths of Satan. Were these the same of which Martin Luther speaks? It is well if there are not some of his countrymen now in England who know them too well! I will lay upon you no other burden - Than that you have already suffered from Jezebel and her adherents.