Hold Fast Till I Come

Revelation 2:25  •  7 min. read  •  grade level: 9
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EV 2:25 {
There is a great difference between a ship steaming along on a peaceful sea, or even bearing up against an adverse wind, and a ship at anchor in a storm, where all depends upon good anchorage ground and strength of cable. In the one case, headway is being made, and a distant port is in view. In the other case safety is alone in question, and all depends upon the " holdfast" until the storm is passed. In the former, all is energy to propel forward; intelligence and strength combine to make advances. In the latter, all is passive endurance and tenacity. The strain is entirely on the cable, on that which holds the ship in position in spite of rolling waves and raging winds.
To apply our simile: It is the difference between the earlier and later day of the church's history, and it is to the principle of passive endurance in the church that the Lord appeals, when in Thyatira, in immediate connection with His coming, He says, " Hold fast till I come." It is no longer " Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature," and, " be witnesses unto Me, both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and unto the uttermost parts of the earth." The period for the extension of His kingdom in the world, hi its present character, was over, and even the time for the exhortation, " That thou mayest know how to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth," was gone by.
The candlestick has been removed, and the church's history has closed in complete failure. Recovery is out of the question; rebuilding the church, not to be thought of even. All is hopeless, irremediable ruin. Not merely had there been failure in first love, but spiritual adultery, and children born of it, characterized that which had been " espoused as a chaste virgin to Christ."
In the midst of this wide-spread scene of desolation, where the power of evil was paramount, and " Satan's depths," though "not known," were carrying all before them, " the Son of God " appears, and, to the sorely pressed remnant of "His own," exposed to Satan's pitiless malice and opposition, like a ship at anchor in a stormy sea, says, " I will put upon you none other burden; but that which ye have, Hold fast till I come." They had something to " hold fast " to-something of His on earth to keep for Him until He came. Amid all the surging of the angry waves around, in spite of all the coldness and insincerity of others, the word was " Hold fast till I come." As to all their own interests, " An anchor of the soul sure and steadfast, and which entereth into that within the veil," made all secure above, but the " hold-fast" was down here, for His interests on the earth.
As they bent all their energies to " hold fast," His coming was to be the one and only outlook of their faith. The storm and the difficulties would only increase till He came; but the trial and the sorrow would all end then, and He Himself, as " the Morning Star," with a share in the kingdom He was coming to establish, should be their reward.
Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea are not successive phases of the church, but collateral ones, flowing out of Thyatira, and running down with her to the end. From Thyatira on, the coming of the Lord, in view of the kingdom about to be established on earth in the church's place, with this principle of " holdfast," or " patience of hope," characterize true christian position.
In Sardis it is " strengthen the things that remain," and " hold fast;" with His coming brought in as a warning, rather than an encouragement. Completely worldly, save a " few names," He would judge her like the world, coming " as a thief "-when least expected.
In Philadelphia, though words of approval take the place of those of warning and rebuke, the word still is, " Behold I come quickly: hold fast that thou hast, that no man take thy crown;" with His coming, so to speak, brought nearer, as more encouragement was required, and even, in some sense, deserved. It is as if He would say to His people's strained and yearning hearts, " Hold fast just a little bit longer, I am coming in a minute; I see the strain is almost more than you can bear. You have kept my word, and not denied my name.' I know it all. I see your little strength,' and that you are keeping the word of my patience,' enduring much while you hold fast.' Yes, the storm is increasing, but do not be downhearted, I will take you away to be with Myself before its last and final blasts break over the dwellers upon the earth,' and sweep all before it. Behold I come quickly:' look up, look up; see the crown I have in My hand; do not lose it, just hold fast till I come.' "
In Laodicea there is nothing to "hold fast" to-nothing of His He cares to have retained. Even the knowledge of Himself, as poor sinners needing salvation and a righteousness better than their own, is not possessed. No sense of need that He alone can meet. "Wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked," as they really are, and possessing nothing for eternity, they feel it not. Interests of His they have none, and hence no need of comfort and encouragement; nothing to which His word "hold fast" could have an application. For what they possessed Satan would leave them in the undisturbed possession of. No opposition, from a hostile world, that had crucified their Lord, knew they, for no faith to be tried had they, and worst of all, no heart.
His coming is not alluded to, save by implication; as it were, He says, " I am coming, but rich and increased with goods, you know nothing about it, or, at least, if you know, you care nothing about it. You have no need of Me, and I am about to spue you out of My mouth;' already am I outside you, though in grace I do, for the moment, stand at the door and knock,' to see if any will hear My voice, let Me in, and thus be saved to have part with Me in My kingdom."
Such is the closing phase of the professing church-a scene without one redeeming feature, or one bright spot in it, save the grace that bears with it up to the last moment. Gladly the heart turns away from it even to.
Thyatira to hear again those soul-stirring, soul-sustaining words, "Hold fast till I come."
If, while waiting for God's Son from heaven, we at all realize what it is to be in a world of which Satan is the god and prince; if we are awake, in any measure, to the apostasy that is setting in on every hand, and that we are living at the very end of the dispensation, amid the ruin of the church; if, by grace, we are in any little degree standing for Christ's name, truth, and interests on the earth, in spite of opposition and misinterpretation, not to speak of coldness and indifference; if, in lowliness of soul, and according to God, we feel the pressure of evil and Satanic working that would corrupt God's house, rob Christ of His glory, and souls of their blessing; and if while following " righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call upon the Lord out of a pure heart," we are seeking, at the same time, to care for all the " poor of the flock," we shall surely feel the need of all the help and comfort that can be supplied by these blessed words, that come from Him who sits at the right hand of God, " Behold I come quickly!" " HOLD FAST till I come!" C. W.