"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" (Revelation 3:5).
The reference is to "the last words of David" in II Samuel 23. They follow "the words of this
song" in the previous chapter.
These "last words of David" were uttered as he was about to give up the throne and the kingdom
to Solomon; when the confl ict was to end, and issue in dominion, and in a glorious reign of peace:
foreshadowing the time when this promise (Revelation 3:5) is about to be fulfilled, and the Apocalyptic
judgments are about to issue in millennial glories.
I will not blot out his name.
I will confess his name.
So runs the double promise, and it is exactly what we see in the history to which is thus referred.
David is confessing the names of his overcomers, and the confessing of them begins, "These be the
names of the mighty men whom David had" (II Samuel 23:8).
They had "gathered themselves to him" in the day of his rejection. For, though he had been anointed
as king, he was not as yet sitting on his own throne, but was in the cave Adullam, or the place of
They had gone to him in their distress and debt and bitterness of soul (I Samuel 22:1-2), and David
"became a captain over them." They had followed him through all of his conflicts, and now, on the
eve of the era of glory and peace, their names are confessed before all.
Their deeds are announced, and their exploits are recorded; but there are some who are "blotted
Joab is not there, though "Abishai, the brother of Joab," is there (II Samuel 23:18); "Asahel, the brother
of Joab," is there (:24); "Nahari … armor-bearer to Joab," is there (:37); but not Joab himself. He was
a "mighty man." He had been the commander-in-chief of David's forces, a valiant soldier, a great
statesman and wise counselor; but, while he was all of this and more, he was not an overcomer, for
his heart was not right with David. He remained loyal when Absalom rebelled; but he took part in
the treason of Adonijah.
Ahithophel is not there; though we read of "Eliam the son of Ahithophel" (:34). He was David's
greatest counselor; so wise that, when he spoke, "it was as if a man had enquired at the oracle [or
word] of God" (II Samuel 16:23). Yet he was not an overcomer, and he is not "confessed" even before
men. He took sides with Absalom in his rebellion, and he is blotted out from this list of names.
Abiathar, too, is blotted out, for not even is his name here. He was David's beloved friend (see I
Samuel 22:20-23), but he was not an overcomer. He remained loyal in the treason of Absalom, but
joined in that of Adonijah.
The other names are duly confessed.
The scene is unspeakably solemn, and has, by application, a warning voice for all. Yet, by interpretation,
it comes with special force in this promise to the Assembly at Sardis, and refers to the
fulfillment of Matthew 10:32-33 and Luke 12:8-9.
Whosoever therefore shall confess Me before men, him will I confess also before My Father Who
is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny Me before men, him will I also deny before My Father
Who is in heaven.
Thus this promise refers not only to that solemn past scene in Israel's history, but is shown to be
closely connected with the Four Gospels, and points on to the scenes of final judgment and glory
in connection with David's Lord, and "a greater than Solomon."
Daniel 12:1 prophesies of this "book of life," and Revelation 13 tells us that the time for its fulfi llment
shall have then come.
I will confess his name in the presence of My Father, and in the presence of His angels (Revelation
Here is the association of Christ, the Father, and the angels (as in chapter 1:4-5). See Matthew 16:27.
This promise, as we have seen, refers to the later scene in the life of David when he confesses the
names of his worthy ones, just before the glory of the kingdom is set up by Solomon ( II Samuel:23). Some of the names are "blotted out." The others are "confessed." This is the scene alluded to here; and this is what is promised by the Lord in Matthew 10:32, Luke 12:8 and Mark 8:38. These words refer, as the Lord Himself explains, to the time when He comes to send the sword upon the earth ( Matthew 10:33-42).
Commentary on Revelation, pp. 94-96, 196
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