This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
(REVELATION CHAPTERS 1-3)
Disciples of Jesus Ministry © 2011
Outline of the seven churches
Introduction and Blessings.1:1-3 Christ’s message through his servant John for the church.1:4-8 John’s vision of the Son of Man.1:9-20. The future events of the church age.2:1-3:22 (a) An orthodox unloving church.2:1-7 (b) The persecution of Christ’s church.2:8-11 (c) The compromising church.2:12-17 (d) The church of corruption.2:18-29. (e) The lifeless church.3:1-6 (f) The faithful church of Philadelphia.3 :7-13. (g) The Apostate Church 3:14-22.
Introduction and Blessings.1:1-3 (1) The word Revelation comes from the New Testament Greek term, apokalypsis.It means a disclosure of things previously hidden by God from man. What had been shrouded in mystery was now to be revealed. The revelation comes from God who gives it to Jesus Christ our Lord. The revelation is of things that will happen in the future. We cannot put a chronological date on these things. However; Jesus said, we must keep our eyes on the signs around us and live accordingly. Our Lord then gives his servants the visions of future events through one of his angels sent to his servant John. Further on in the closing chapters of Revelation, we are commanded to praise God.( Rev.19;5) Then a voice came from the throne, saying, “ Praise our God, all you his servants and those who fear Him small and great!” Interestingly the word, servants, comes from the New Testament Greek, doulos. From the root, deo, meaning, “To bind.” The word can mean, a person being brought into bondage by being made captive. Bondage is self explanatory, speaks of slavery. I believe the New Testament writers used the word with both meanings on view. Servants in the worldly sense, paid help. Slaves got nothing. To clarify things, when the people of God describe themselves as slaves, it is purely on a voluntary basis. This speaks of people who offer absolute devotion, obedience, and unswerving loyalty to our Lord - allowing self to be subordinated to his will. “Things that must quickly take place...” I have no idea what is meant here. John the apostle chosen by our Lord to be the prophet of the end times must have thought, while looking around his own circumstances and that of the church, it was then. But with hindsight looking back on church history that was not the case. Measurement of time in God’s eyes is not the same as we see it. God has shown to us in his Son Jesus Christ through his past work and office that he is the Son of God. The book of the apocalypses is all about Jesus Christ our Lord. The past, present, and future work of our risen glorified Lord is in the contents of this revelation from God the Father. However; you and I must expect the Lord to arrive at any time. Between the First Coming of our Lord and his Second Coming. The whole message will be signified by one of Christ’s angel’s sent to his servant John revealed, meaning the whole of the book of Christ’s revelation from God to his servant John. (2) Had John kept the information our Lord had given to him for his church in the future we would have been blind to the future events in front of us. Praise God that he did not! Even although what he saw in his dreams and visions absolutely terrified him. I sometimes forget that this man was every bit as mortal as you and I. But we will read further on how God’s love cast the fear from him. How solemn the words of John sound in this verse. They are profoundly weighted in grave and serious undertones to the whole of the church age. A warning to heed what is being said here. I have to remind myself that what is coming from the pen of the prophet John is God the Father’s word revealed to John from Jesus Christ our Lord. The information John receives from the risen glorified Christ is for his church. You and I are members of that church which is the invisible, visible, universal, worldwide church of our Lord Jesus Christ. What a great privilege it is to belong to the church of Christ . However; with privilege comes responsibility. The apostle Paul while he was on earth kept reminding Christ’s disciples to continue to work out their salvation with fear, and trembling, the same holds good for all who belong to God. Let us apply the same exercise to our souls while we read what John the prophet has to say to us from the Lord Jesus Christ.
I like how the author diverts our focus and attention from himself to God. He witnessed what he saw in front of him, listened to every word of God, and wrote down what he was given for the sake of Christ’s church. There is a valuable lesson to be learnt from this for all of us. The main reason why you and I go to church on a Sunday is to listen to what God would have to say to us through his Spirit, and act accordingly. John listened and complied with what he had to do. Not for a minute do I believe he would have understood the entirety of Christ’s message for the end times. He knew the necessity of it to enable Christ’s church to go through the closing period of the present time. Do not neglect the reading of this book, because of it’s complex nature, read it to challenge you how you should live. There are so many practical warnings instructing us to pursue godly lives covering ourselves in the righteousness of Christ our Lord. Use your imagination, and for a moment step into the shoes of John, while he is in this vision receiving from God our Saviour Jesus Christ the final message, from God our Father, for his church upon earth. Frightening, because John is like you and me. He is only a man. When we read further on into the passage, we are told he fell down as one who was dead. The awe and reverence for one who is God. I have no idea how I would have reacted, probably, with tremendous fright, because of who my God is! Not in terror, but because he is beyond my earthly comprehension, far beyond anything I could imagine. The marvellous thing about all of this is that he continues to love me. He continues to love all of my brethren who are in Christ. He continues to love his world. Amazingly so! The same fear God’s love cast out of John while receiving the vision of the end times for Christ’s church. Perhaps the same godly fear John carried would challenge all of us to be more committed to our Saviour and Lord, the Lord Jesus Christ. We have to bear in mind that what the author writes of comes from God. In it is the testimony of Jesus Christ. Testimony speaks of what people have seen and heard gives an eyewitness account of. The apostle Paul adds his own considerable weight behind the testimony of Jesus Christ. The testimony of Christ our risen exalted glorious Lord was to be found in the life of Paul. After he had been radically changed from the person he had been to someone quite different through his meeting with our glorified Lord. The apostle often spoke on this. (1.Cor.1:6) “..Even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you,” The very same Christ that could be seen in Paul could also be seen in John and to those to whom he writes. Who can be seen in our lives, Jesus Christ or something else? Only you and I know the answer to that. Do we serve what we think is best for us or what is best for the church of Christ ? John is faithful to all that God revealed to him, he writes down all that he had seen and heard for our benefit. (1.Jn.1:1, 2) “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, concerning the Word of life-(2) the life was manifested, and we have seen, and bear witness, and declare to you that the eternal life which was with the Father and was manifested to us” I believe the verse speaks volumes to our precious faith in the risen glorified Christ. Praise the Lord our God! Hallelujah! (3) We find in the end of this passage, a blessing for those who read obeys, and keep the prophecy of this book. There is no such thing as a passive belief; it must be active at all times. “Blessed is he who reads...”Even if you and I only read the book, we will get a blessing from it. The imperative is to read. You have to read it. (Lk.11:28) Jesus commanded us to read his word. But he said, “More than that, blessed are those who hear the word of God and keep it!” Right at the end of the book, and at the last chapter Jesus Christ our Lord repeats these very same words to us. (Rev.22:7) “Behold, I am coming quickly! Blessed is he who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book.” Not only do we have to read it, we must listen to what God’s Spirit says, to us. Keep the things that have been revealed to us. Act upon it by being obedient to the voice of the Lord. Read, listen, and obey. We have to do this while living in the world, because the Lord of glory could arrive
at any time. John the prophet remarks upon these things quoting words from the Lord. “ ..For the time is near.” James the brother of Jesus spoke on this immense subject. (Js.5:8) “You also be patient, Establish your hearts for the coming of the Lord is at Hand.” The final word on his imminent return is to be found in the last chapter. (Rev.22:10) “And he said to me, “Do not seal the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is at hand.” The word, prophecy, as used in the context of this book, does not mean speaking of something that is going to happen in the future. Rather the interpretation of the purposes, will, and counsel of God for the future. Let us all glorify God in the manner in which we live. Christ’s Message through his servant John for the church. 1:4-8. (4) There are seven churches to which John sends the message of Christ. The message is altered in each case to meet the requirements of what state each of the churches finds themselves in, and is now indicative of the whole church age. The seven churches like ours were in a historical geographical area. A province of the Roman Empire called Asia . The churches spoken of here are representative of every local church for the whole of the church age. When you and I go for a medical, after the test the doctor gives us the results. Depending on these results, we take advice on how to correct what is wrong with us. Jesus does the same with you and me in regard to our own spiritual needs, commends us where we are strong rebukes us where we are wrong. He commands us to repent from any wrong doing in our lives, on our repentance, he shows mercy, and restores us back to himself. Terrific is the only description I can describe our God with. Superlatives are not even adequate to give a description of him. Our author goes on to pronounce blessings over Christ’s church which comes from the one triune God. You and I are the church of the Lord Jesus Christ. The blessings come directly from the triune God. We have described for us in this verse, God the Father. He is the Father of his Son Jesus Christ. John specifically writes here on God, our Father. He describes to us the eternal nature of one who is God. He is our Father, but he is also God. You and I need to look closely at how John describes our God. The clause, “...Who is...” speaks of perpetuity continuing to be. Unlike you and I there was never a time when God was not. The second clause of the verse speaks of his continuing historicity. “..and who was..” He will conclude human history as we know it. We can see that in the third clause. “.and who is to come..” My brothers and sisters do you believe he is coming? I do. The Old Testament gives us evidence of this. The eternal nature of God.( Ex.3:14) And God said to Moses, “ I AM WHO I AM.” And He said, “ Thus you shall say to the children of Israel , I AM has sent me to you.” He who is and continues to be. God is always here, even although we may not see him. There is a day coming when that will change. At the beginning of the verse God extends his grace towards the seven churches, and the peace of knowing his grace. God’s unmerited favour towards you and I. The very same grace, and peace that comes from the seven Spirits. Seven is the perfect number according to the New Testament authors. The idea of seven signifies completeness. When the number is looked at in relation to God, it symbolizes perfection. Seven speaks of the perfect dynamic work of the Holy Spirit in total completeness and perfection... We see in this the perfection of God in his Spirit. The third person of the trinity. Isaiah the prophet gives a tremendous description of the work of the Spirit.( Isa.11:2) “ The Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon Him, The Spirit of wisdom and understanding, The Spirit of counsel and might, The Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord.” I notice the prophet speaks of seven Spirits at work here. The Spirit of rest, of wisdom, of understanding, of counsel, of might, of knowledge, and of fear. There is only one Holy Spirit, but he makes Himself visible in the work of seven
Spirits. There is so much of the grandeur of God in this glorious portrait. I believe it is just a little too much for finite creatures to understand. Let us who know him, bask in his glory, and the love he sends to us. Zechariah spoke on the number seven. Seven eyes.( Zec.3:9)The number seven is spoken of again in the following chapters of Revelation. The seven Spirits are before the throne of the Most High. I would suggest that they are right in front of the throne. The throne of the Most High. What an incredible vision. The atmosphere charged with electricity. I can almost see the hairs standing up on John’s neck. So difficult to humanly visualize this extraordinary scene John depicts before us. You can almost feel the Holy Spirit whispering, and talking to us in regard to this exceptional event. The whole thing is alive.(5)The unmerited favour and peace that we receive from the one triune God comes at the same time from the second person of the trinity. Jesus Christ our Lord. The faithful witness. Faithfulness speaks of obedience. Our Lord is described as the faithful. Proverbs chapter fourteen and verse five speaks truly of him. “ A faithful witness does not lie, But a false witness will utter lies.” Jesus Christ because of his very nature, one who is God cannot lie. John in his narrative of the gospel of Jesus Christ commented upon this. (Jn.8:14) He recorded what Jesus himself said. Jesus answered and said to them, “ Even if I bear witness of Myself, My witness is true, for I know where I came from and where I am going; but you do not know where I come from and where I am going.” The point being they did not know him. But you and I who are in Christ know him. We then put the two words together, “…the faithful witness,” How can God be anything else to his Father God, intrinsically, part of his nature. He in his very nature is God. Isaiah saw this day when God would send his Son God. Now seated in heaven with his Father. Words escapes me to describe such divine magnificence.( Isa.55:4) “ Indeed I have given him as a witness to the people, A leader and commander for the people,” The author under the influence of God the Holy Spirit goes on to depict Jesus Christ as the first born from dead. The word John has been given from high condenses into one title everything you and I believe. The Lord of glory is the first born of the dead. ( Ps.89:27) “ Also I will make him My firstborn, The highest of the kings of the earth.” He is indeed! The great apostle Paul lends his considerable weight to this. Not that John needs any corroboration. ( 1.Cor.15:20) “ But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the first fruits of those who have died.” The miraculous has already taken place. More proof of this is found in another letter belonging to Paul. (Col.1:18) “And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the pre-eminence” Christ has been gloriously resurrected from the dead that is fact. Our faith is built upon that. The pre-eminence over all things is being established while we live and breathe. The book of Revelation informs us that it will happen. He is already the Ruler over the kings of the earth. The only problem is that they are still to realize it. The day is coming when they will. (Rev.17:14) “These will make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them, for He is Lord of lords and King of kings...” God through his servant John points to the necessity of the giving of his Son Jesus Christ to us as a sacrifice for our sins. Jesus Christ our Lord points this out through his servant John. The crucifixion and the resurrection of Jesus Christ were necessary in order to give to you and me our salvation from a lost eternity. The blood he shed for you, and me, was of the greatest necessity, because it was untainted by sin. The blood came from a man who is perfect in all things. Jesus Christ is both God and man. Do you know Jesus Christ as Lord? Time is running short, and only you know the answer to that. He loves you just as he does the whole of mankind. Love compelled him to do the things he did for a lost world. (Jn.13:34) “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, as I have loved you, that you also love one another.” I prefer the foot note in my version of the Bible. “..who loves us...”
Christ’s love for you, and me, always continues. Never stops. I love the end of this particular verse. “ …who loves us and washed us from our sins in His own blood.” Nobody would die for a stranger. But Christ died for a world of strangers. You and I were once strangers to God. He knew that, but still chose to come and die in the place where we should have been. The Immortal God became a mortal for the sake of the world. He who made us became sin on the cross on our behalf. The rebellion against God, you and I were part of that. For which the penalty is death. The death is two -fold physical and spiritual. When we die not knowing God we are cut off from him, forever. We will not be with him in eternity. Death is the penalty of our rebellion against God. Christ’s death on the cross was, and is to take the penalty of our rebellion away from us. It is only for those who repent from their rebellion against God by accepting his Son Jesus Christ as Lord. He does not force you to do this. But because he loves you, he holds out his hands to you. Why not ask him into your heart now? This is why there are so many emphases on his blood. Washed us, means he keeps cleansing us with his precious blood in a symbolic sense. He forgives us when we confess our wrongs before him ( Heb.9:14) “…how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?” Our God is alive, dwells with his Father in heaven. I look forward to going to be with him. Do you? (6) Our risen glorified Lord is a wonderful God. His bounty knows no ends. He gives of it freely to his people, because of his love. Every man,woman and child who belongs to Christ he has made kings and priests to God his Father. He who is the Son of God is more than generous, remember, it is also the will of God our Father that he should do this. Praise God! Bless his holy name. He is the one triune God. Hallelujah! The Godhead breathes Spiritual life into each member of the body. The sacrifice of our beloved Lord has provided all of the saints the privilege that had belonged to Israel of the Old Testament. (Ex.19:6) “And you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.” “These are the words you shall speak to the kingdom of Israel ” (Ex.29.1-9.I.Pet.2:9, 10.) “But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvellous light; (10) who were once not a people but are now the people of God who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy.” The fact that you and I have been made into a royal priesthood is not a status symbol completely functional in order to praise his name now in witness, and worship. You and I are called to witness to the world the good news of our Lord Jesus Christ that he loves the nations. We are to do that now. Worship our Lord at all times. ( 5:10 ) “And have made us kings and priests to our God; And we shall reign on the earth.” (7) The voice of the Lord thunders through to John. “Behold, He is coming with clouds.” What a terrifying picture for those who do not know God. Our risen Lord’s return will be very real, and personal, he will be visibly seen. Have no doubt about that! Clouds signify the presence of God his leadership, and protection. (Dan.7:13) “I was watching in the night visions, And behold, One like the Son of Man, Coming with the clouds of heaven! He came to the Ancient of Days, And they brought Him near before Him.” But that is not what is on view here. The context of the passage is of judgment. Our Lord is coming in judgment. Jesus warned that this event would take place sometime in the future. It is not as if they did not know.( Mtt.24:30) “ Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.” What a terrible predicament they find themselves in that is why they mourn. I believe this will be cries of great anguish that will come from all of the tribes of the earth. As soon as they see the Son of man riding towards them upon the clouds, in an instant they know who he is. There is no escape. He is the victorious conqueror, King of kings and Lord of lords coming to execute judgment upon them. Christ speaks of his own people who pierced him. But even although they did that to him, he has provided a window of grace for them to enter
into. Zechariah prophesied of this. (Zec.12:10) “And I will pour on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and supplication; then they will look on Me whom they pierced. Yes, they will mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son, and grieve for Him as one grieves for a firstborn.” What wonderful love, no man or creature can plumb the depths of it, measure the width of it, nor scale the heights of such divine love. Let us bow before him who is our God with thanksgiving, and deep gratitude towards the Lord of glory, and God his Father (8) Now the Lord of glory announces that he is the Alpha and Omega sealing the prophecy with this title and name. The first and last letters of the Greek alphabet, declare that God is everything from A to Z, thus in control of all history.( Isa44:6) (a) “ Thus says the Lord, the King of Israel , And his Redeemer, the Lord of hosts: I am the First and I am the Last; Besides Me there is no God.” Absolute authority over all things he is the Almighty One. (a) The New Spirit Filled Life Bible, NKJV Page P1817. John’s Vision of the Son of Man 1.9-20. (9) After delivering the message of Christ our Lord to the seven churches, indicative for the whole of the church age, John writes of his own experiences. He speaks of his relationship with fellow brothers and sisters of our risen Lord. “Your brother and companion,” is how he describes his relationship with those to whom he writes. Each of us who belong to Christ are companions, brothers, and sisters joined together in and through Jesus Christ our Lord. We are family united together as the members of the one body of Jesus Christ the church. To his brethren he speaks of sharing his tribulation with them. Obviously he is not alone in suffering for his faith in Christ. The Devil is not going to sit back and watch God use us for the furtherance of his kingdom on earth. We see that in the work, and public ministry of our Lord, when he had been on earth. He will put as many obstacles as possible in front of us to stop us from doing the work of the Lord. But like John faithful to the end, Christ through his Spirit will enable you, and I to overcome these things. Hallelujah! Listen to the words of the apostle Paul, not to frighten you, to give you encouragement. (Phl.1:7) “ …just as it is right for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart, inasmuch as both in my chains and in the defence and confirmation of the gospel, you are all partakers with me of grace.” Regardless of what is in front of you, the grace of God is sufficient to overcome every obstacle, in the proclamation of the gospel of Christ our Lord. On the account of the prophet’s trials and persecution, including his brethren, because of their faith in our risen glorified Lord, each has been provided with patient endurance. I believe this came about, because of their active witness and testimony to the love of the risen glorified Lord, for those of the lost. There are many as we can still see living in a lost world. Who is the source of our patient endurance and suffering, giving us boldness to speak boldly of the kingdom with grace? Jesus Christ. The author points out to his readers that Jesus Christ has given him his patience. The same patience the Lord has given to them. They could not live the Christian life under such persecution and adversary without the help of God the Holy Spirit. The same applies to all of God’s people. I do not know whether John the prophet and the brothers to whom he addressed this document were aware of the fact, that they, because of belonging to the risen glorified Lord are his kingdom on earth. The visible and invisible Kingdom of God . Trials, murder, imprisonment, glorified the kingdom of God . You and I when we are being persecuted for our faith, as long as it is done in grace and truth, glorify our Lord. Truly sublime. (II Tim.2:12) “If we endure, We shall reign with Him. If we deny Him, He also will deny us,” Now look at the end of the verse John speaking of himself. “I was on the island that is called Patmos for the word of God and for the testimony of Jesus Christ.”
Some of us mistakenly think that John had been imprisoned alone upon this island. I was one of them. Nothing could have been further from the truth. An island that was quite small in diameter.roughly 10 miles by 6. It was to be found 60 miles from Ephesus in the Aegean Sea . At this period in John’s life the Roman Empire used it as a penal colony. The terrain was volcanic mostly rocks, no trees, with the sun burning down mercilessly upon those who were held prisoner upon the island. The Roman guard forced them to work in quarries bringing out granite for their elaborate building plans. The prisoners would have little food and only enough water to enable them to work for the Roman Garrison, worked until they were no longer able to, killed on the spot. Sometimes beaten and tortured. Barbaric! Not an idyllic scene, far from it. A harsh reality for the genuine disciples and apostles of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is far too easy to be glib about something like this. I have no idea how this man John must have felt when he was dragged away by the Roman Authorities, made prisoner, sent to an island, forced to work for them. He thought the end of the world had come. Unbelievable terror and physical torture had come upon him. Hardly surprising that he thought our risen Lord was coming to take him, and his brethren into paradise. The suffering you and I go through in the West pales into insignificance compared with this. The author, apostle, and Prophet John does not mention any of this, only that he was on the island of Patmos . Nevertheless; it must have been the same for him as the other prisoners. What was his crime as the Roman authorities saw it? He openly defied the Emperor by not recognizing him as God. The penalty was death by execution or sometimes captivity, banished to an island to work until you died. The second sentence applying to our author John. God, s word has indeed been soaked in the blood of the martyrs. He actively spoke about believing in the word of God, confessing publicly that his God was the one and only true God. Imprisoned, and banished to a remote island, because he dared to make such a public statement. He offended the Roman Emperor. Can you not see the similarities here in the United Kingdom ? Political correctness, allowing false religions, and an atheistic government to dictate to us what we should say, and do. We need the fire of the Holy Spirit, as we can see in the case of John, to do what God commands of us, stand up for the faith, he has placed deep within you and me. Give permission to the Holy Spirit to let the testimony of Jesus Christ be seen in us for the furtherance of his kingdom upon the earth. You and I belong to this kingdom. The end is looming large. (10) Despite all that has turned against John, he remains focused upon Jesus Christ his Lord. Speaking to the seven churches, he begins the next part of the message from the glorified Lord. “I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day,” Breathtaking, exhilarating, at one and the same time. He is in captivity and suddenly the Holy Spirit comes upon him. I know from experience that this can happen. You are walking down the street, and suddenly the Holy Spirit propels you forward to go and meet someone you have never met in your life. He then uses you to sow seed into the person’s heart. You cannot do the work of God without the Holy Spirit. When John speaks of being in the Spirit, the words that will come from him, are not his own, they come from God. He is in control of what is going to be said. Perhaps he went into a trance when God was speaking to him. Peter did. (Acts. 10:10) (Then he became very hungry and wanted to eat; but while they made ready, he fell into a trance.) The experience John is going through at this period of his life, his spirit, is being engulfed by the Holy Spirit, which has all the hallmarks of a Biblical prophet. My own opinion would be is that John while receiving this extraordinary vision was in a trance like state. I was watching one of the Benny Hinn crusades on his usual television spot late last night. The thing that caught my attention was the fact that he said, God speaks to
you through visions, and it is through this media you can converse with him. I have had a few experiences of this phenomenon I am not alone in this experience. Many in the church of Christ experience this, when God points out his plans and purposes for the future of his people. I remember, perhaps three years ago while on my lunch break studying God’ word concerning the crucifixion of his Son in the Book of Matthew or I was just about to do that while looking after an empty building. I believe the latter was the case. I was transported by God’s Spirit to the foot of the cross. I looked up and saw my Lord hanging there. I have no idea whether it was only my spirit that had been taken through time, and not my body, perhaps both? I was taken to the foot of the cross. I looked up and saw my Lord nailed to a cross. His Father spoke to me though his Spirit. “I have sacrificed my Son for you, because my Son and I love you.” I have no idea how long this took, whether I was in a trance or not, or had been removed physically and spiritually? I only know that I found myself at the foot of my Lord’s cross, and before God spoke, I heard in an audible voice my Lord say, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” (Mtt27:46) I leave it in the language he spoke it in. I know what it means. I felt that the time it took, for to take place, seemed forever. Yet when I came back to the world I live in now, the time was relatively short. The reality of it has stayed with me. God though his grace and mercy through this vision has given me a greater resolve, strength, and stamina to press on. I believe dreams and visions are for all of God’s people who want to step up to the mark. The very same principle applies to the prophet John in his resolve to serve God... Specially chosen to record the words of the Revelation Christ revealed to him for the seven churches. Each church is representative of the one church of our Lord Jesus Christ. Let us turn to the vision the prophet John finds himself in and we will see great and wonderful things around him. Can you not feel the excitement bubbling up in your soul as we enter into heaven? A loud voice erupts behind him. I have no idea of the emotions that were running through John’s earthly frame. The tension of his nerves must have been unbelievable. He may have jumped because of the blast of sound directly behind. A voice as loud as a trumpet. Not a human voice. The sound of a trumpet can be heard for miles. The same can be said for the voice that the prophet hears. At the sound of the trumpet John is summoned, and then is prepared to receive this momentous message for the seven churches. You and I need to focus on what is been said here. Eat the Spiritual meat and make our souls totally alert for what is to happen in the future. Take careful note of what is said in the next verse, including the passage. (11) Always keep in mind the author the apostle John, now the Prophet of the end times, continues to be in the vision the Lord has given. The Lord of glory speaks to John describing himself as the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I have tremendous difficulty trying to envisage the actions, and the words spoken here in front of me. All of this is taking place in heaven. John is still a mortal being like you and I. But here he stands with the glorified Lord. The drama unfolds before us. Can you imagine Jesus Christ standing right in front of you, talking to you at the same time? In the location of heaven. I simply can’t get my earthly thinking around it. Nevertheless, still a reality. Praise our glorious Lord. I want you to write a book of all you see and hear and send it to the seven churches. Our Lord directs John. Why not send an angel? Jesus the glorified Lord and Son of man uses John, because he loves him, believing this was the best way forward to communicate to the seven churches. Seven churches are the human beings who are the members of the body of Christ his church. John the author is also a member of this body. Hallelujah! The seven churches mentioned are in fact church buildings for the faithful to come and worship under. Just in the same manner as we have a building. Real buildings and real people like you and me. The city of Ephesus , of Smyrna , of Pergamos, of Thyatira, of Sardis , of Philadelphia , and lastly of Laodicea . Like Glasgow . All of them are cities with a church.
There is more to be said on this, but it continues in the next chapter. (12) John has not been immobilized while in this vision from God, we are told he is able to turn and see the voice of who had spoken to him. The author speaks of seeing seven golden lampstands. They represent the light of Christ who makes himself visible through his seven churches, the glorious light of the risen Lord, overthrows the darkness. Seven in Biblical Theology is the perfect number. Light is always at war with darkness, the darkness never wins. The spiritual war against darkness is being won by God. Never let the enemy throw any doubt on that fact. Keep your heart fixed upon the risen glorified Lord. God continues to give us light right from the beginning. The book of Exodus illustrates this point from one of its many chapters. (Ex.25:37) “You shall make seven lamps for it, and they shall arrange its lamps so that they give light in front of it.” The light of the world is in us, and walks before you and I. (13) I said earlier, we have no idea the effect the vision John finds himself in has had upon him. At this juncture, he writes down what he sees, continues to write. We cannot forget John’s humanity. He is a man standing right before God. He represents the seven churches. The seven churches represent the one church of our Lord Jesus Christ. John the Apostle is not only representative for the seven churches; he represents the church for the whole of this age. He was standing there before the Son of Man on our behalf. Incredible as that may seem. The apostle and prophet gazes into the middle of the seven golden lampstands. What he sees in front of him is beyond his wildest imaginations. He could never have imagined it in his earthly intellect. The whole thing is of divine origin. The habitation he finds himself in while in the vision is of the deity. We need to draw out breath as our earthly eyes look upon a scene of divine activity realizing like John we are mere mortals. I would like you to ponder upon this, even although you and I are mortal, because the Father loves us, we have been washed in the blood of the Lamb. The scene that is being afforded to us here is of one who is immortal, conversing with one who is mortal. An ordinary human being talking to God. The whole point being, our God loves his church. He loves you and me. Let us return his love with honest and pure hearts full of appreciation and gratitude. “One like the Son of Man,” John would have remembered Jesus using this title for himself in the narratives of the gospel. But perhaps he knew the origin of the title was to be found in the Old Testament. Ezekiel spoke of it. (Ez.1:26) “And above the firmament over their heads was the likeness of a throne, in appearance like a sapphire stone; on the likeness of the throne was a likeness of the appearance of a man high above it.” The glory of God illuminating the whole of the universe from above in the likeness of a man. I believe that man is Jesus Christ whom John sees here. The author describes the apparel of the Son of Man of being clothed right down to his feet. Clothing that symbolizes his royal priesthood. He is our great High Priest forever and ever. (14) John continues to describe our Lord, “One like the Son of Man” His head and hair was white with eyes of flaming fire, which speaks of our Lord’s eternal existence paralleled with his wisdom, and omniscience. Daniel spoke on this. (Dan.7:9) “I watched till thrones were put in place, And the Ancient of Days was seated; His garment was white as snow, And the hair of his head was like pure wool, His throne was a fiery flame, Its wheels burning fire.” The prophet Daniel saw an even more vivid vision of our Lord as one like the Son of Man. ( Dan.10:6) “ His body was like beryl, his face like the appearance of lightning, his eyes like torches of fire, his arms and feet like burnished bronze in colour, and the sound of his voice like the voice of a multitude” Precisely the vision unfolding before John’s eyes. Daniel saw this happening in the future hundreds of years before the birth of John. The predictions of the prophets of God seen in the Old Testament find their Amen in Him. Here we see the partial fulfilment of the vision that had been unfolded by God to the Prophet Daniel.
(15) John describes in detail the colour of our exalted Lord’s feet, like fine brass. Brass has a bronze type colour signifying the immutability that belongs to our risen glorified Lord. Immutability is something that cannot change. On that understanding the Son of Man in nature and character will not change because He is God. He cannot be false to himself. True brass is a copper with no impurities, gleams in the sunlight, speaks highly of the true nature of One like the Son of Man, His unchanging nature, the Lord of glory. The Son of Man’s voice is described as that of many waters. Ezekiel uses the same description in the book entitled with his own name.( Ezk.1:24) “ ..like the noise of many waters, like the voice of the Almighty,” God’s wide ranging authority seen in his Son Jesus Christ who is the King of kings and Lord of lords. He is our King and Lord. We listen to his voice and obey. (16) Seven stars seen here in our Lord’s hands are I believe an angel for each church who stands guard over them. Not the church in the physical sense, but each local church that makes up the one universal spiritual church of our Lord Jesus Christ. You and I who are members of the local church are also members of the body of Christ, and as such are part of his worldwide invisible, visible church ,of which he is the head, and has sent angels to guard over us. Awesome, Christ’s church is protected while in his hands. Our Lord loves and cherishes us he keeps us firmly grasped in his hands. John the prophet speaks of seeing a two edged sword proceeding from the mouth of the Lord. The sword is his word. There is a reference in one of the gospels of the sword of the Lord being used to cut the darkness from the light. Anything of the flesh that clings to us, God will use his sword to cut it off from us. The word of the Lord like a two edged sword will cut the carnal from the spirit. A vividness that is so bright, that it outshines the sun on a day when there are no clouds. When we look into it we are blinded by it... The brightness is even more so. Perhaps takes a few minutes to get our sight back. I believe when John looked upon the Son of Man he was blinded by the great indescribable majestic glory of our exalted Lord. Greater than any sun that can be found in the galaxies of the universe. The apostle Matthew, the author of the gospel under his own name, spoke upon this precious divine truth. (Mtt.17:2) “And He was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became white as the light”. The indescribable majesty and glory of our risen exalted Lord... Praise his wonderful name. Hallelujah! (17) I had already spoken on not to forget that the prophet John is an ordinary mortal such as you and me. John is made of the same substance; you and I are made of skin, bones, and blood. The whole thing he sees before his eyes overwhelms his consciousness. So much so that he falls to the ground like one who has died. Jesus saw this happen to his servant John, and with love, compassion, and mercy he laid his right hand upon him. My belief is that the words our Lord used to address John were used ever so gently, “Do not be afraid;” In a world that seems to have gone mad he uses the very same words to you and I. “Do not be afraid;” Our Lord speaks words of great encouragement, not only to John ,to all of us who love him. Listen to what he says, next, “I am the First and the Last.” He as God was before us, now as man and God he is last. There is nobody peculiarly like him. He is human and divine. It is exactly because of his human nature he can sympathize with our every weakness. We see that in how he speaks to John. God his Father did not become a man. Neither did the Holy Spirit, he did. (Isa.41:4) “Who has performed and done it, Calling the generations from the beginning? “ I, the Lord, am the first; And with the last I am He”. (18) Our Lord has conquered death and now lives as a man, forever. He controls life and death holds the keys to the unseen realm of heaven and hell. He is man and God. If you do not know Jesus Christ as your Lord? It does not mean you need to head towards a lost eternity. Why not accept his love and mercy into your heart, asking him to forgive you of your sin, and make him Lord. When there is still time to do so. (19-20)
The prophet not only writes of the things that are in his vision of Christ of which he is a witness, but looks ahead to the visions still to come. Things that will be in the history of John. Many of these future events will repeat themselves until the climax of the age, when our Lord will ride in as the victorious conquering King upon a white horse. The Future Events of the Church Age.2:1-3:22 (a) An orthodox unloving church.2:1-7 The unloving church spoken of here is located in the city of Ephesus of Asia Minor . (1) John is instructed to write to the church of Ephesus. The instructions come from our risen glorified Lord. However; he uses the title, the First and the Last, to describe himself. This can be seen from the end of the previous chapter. Furthermore; the description our Lord uses here is to remind the church at Ephesus of his omnipotence, power, love, and mercy. The seven stars represent the seven churches that he holds in his hand. Real churches, but symbolic of the one church age we find ourselves living through. Each local church is representative of Christ’s church in every shape and form. We have in the church of Ephesus a representative of Christ’s church of the late first century. (2) Jesus commends them for what they have done, and are doing. The focus is on the believers at Ephesus . However; you and I are on view, because what can be seen in them can be seen in us. He names their strong points: their works, labour, perseverance, and the fact that they do not like the company of those who are evil. This is quite an impressive list. More is added to the list; because they have found through experience those who call themselves apostles are by the way they live are not. Jesus says, of them, that the Ephesian church has found these apostles to be liars. (4)Everything seems to be going quite smoothly, but is it? Jesus then brings a complaint against them, “You have left your first love...” The vitality of God’s Spirit to enable them to love the risen Lord had disappeared over the horizon, and now they were doing things just for the sake of it. There are many churches that closely follow that mould, who do things ritualistically, not from love. You can do nothing when your love for the risen Lord has grown cold. To be able to love the unlovely, you have got to love Jesus Christ with all of your heart. Doing things out of mere obligation and duty will not cut it with our Lord as we can see here. The spontaneity of the Holy Spirit should be able to interrupt a church service, and bring the vitality of God’s presence, that otherwise would be missing. When the Holy Spirit is not allowed to intervene at any point in the service the whole thing becomes dull and routine. He then decides not to turn up while the situation continues. Unless the situation is addressed the church will die. I wonder if you can imagine such a terrible thing happening? The remedy is to love Jesus Christ our Lord and serve Him with gladness. I believe we all need to look at how our Lord lived while on earth, align our lives with his right down to the smallest detail. I have to realize the stark truth that it is not about me, which will beg the question, who is it about? Jesus Christ the Lord of glory whose second coming is getting nearer. I have to love him more than my earthly life. This is the kind of love he looks for from every member of his church. (5) Our Lord is merciful, compassionate, and loves his people, but he is also righteous. He loves his people, but he hates their sin. Endeavour to love him more than anything. When you and I do that his love will flow through us to others resulting in the miraculous exploding all over the place . We see him here in his mercy towards us in the warning he gives the believers at
Ephesus . The warning is not only for them it is also for us. Listen to our risen Lord as he speaks to us, “Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works,” The first time when we heard the voice of the Lord, and we were saved by him, we would have done anything he asked of us. However time has passed since that day, and perhaps like the believers at Ephesus our hearts have grown cold. Only you and I, and the Lord will know. While there is still time, any rubbish that has come into our hearts, we must get rid of it. Christ can see it in similar manner as he sees it in the believers at Ephesus . My dear brothers and sisters there is nothing in us that is hid from God. If we are not loving our risen glorified Lord in the way he has commanded of us? The time to repent is now. Jesus is not talking to the lost; he is talking to his church. Unpalatable as it may sound, the words come from the risen glorified Christ. But it is urgent that we do the right thing by doing what God would have us do. It is imperative that we do not let the darkness settle into our hearts. If that is indeed, the case, we have never known God. If we are disobedient this is what the risen glorified Christ would say to us, “or else I will come to you quickly...” This is not the second coming, but the coming of the Spirit in blessing or judgment. We are warned by God to repent from whatever has taken over our hearts, get rid of it, and replace it with his love. If we do not repent Christ will remove the lampstand from us, and we will cease to be the light in the darkness. I believe the implications of finding ourselves in this state are horrendous, and terrifying, because without repenting from our sin, we continue to do more of the same, heading to a lost eternity. If the light has been taken away from us, and we do not repent, Christ is not in us. Let us ask Christ our Lord to fill our hearts with his love, and mercy, repenting from our sin, and loving only him.(6) After exhorting them to come back to their first love, Christ speaks of something that they have in common, the believers hate the Nicolatains as he does. The term is symbolic, expresses the meaning, conquering the laity. The laity is the body of Christ which the Nicolations are trying to make submit to their views of how things should be - a view of doctrinal error. They claimed for themselves a superior attitude of mind and spirit totally opposed to Christ’s teaching, in that they permitted idolatry, and immorality against what Christ taught. This is explicitly spoken of in verses 14 and 15 of the same chapter. “But I have a few things against you, because you have there, those who hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols, and to commit sexual immorality. Thus you also have those who hold the doctrine of the Nicolatians which thing I hate.” We will look at that further down the passage. (7) To be able to show Christ to the world we have to sacrifice our self interests, which are equally applied to how we love our brothers, and sisters, because like us they belong to the body of Christ. The body is the church of Christ . We as a part of that body of Christ belong to his church. Therefore; individually, and collectively we must obey the Spirit of God, and put it into action. We must show the love of Christ to others. The glorified Christ continues to challenge us. “To him who overcomes...” It is not enough to be born again, you have to affirm, and confirm your faith every day. We need to work out our faith or salvation in fear and trembling doing what pleases the Lord. You cannot please God by merely doing what you think is right, we will perish if we do that. No! It goes deeper than that. We need to have a personal and intimate knowledge of our God .You cannot sacrifice your lives for him without that. Christianity in its purest form is a way of life. But that is what it is meant to be. When Christ chose you to be his disciples,
it means your lives belong to him. He is Lord over us, and no longer can you serve your own interests. We must listen, and be obedient to whatever he has to say to us. To die for Christ is what you and I have signed up for. Impossible if you do not know the Christ, the Lord of glory! John speaks of the Spirit of God. It is He who will help you to overcome all the impossible obstacles. You certainly cannot do it in the flesh. Jesus Christ said, love your enemies, and forgive them. Now you see how impossible it is to do this without God the Holy Spirit, to enable, and help you. All believers are overcomers, but they must continue to overcome the world with the help of the Spirit of God. There are those overcomers who overcome persecution, doctrinal error, and murder, by being dependant on God’s Spirit to help them to overcome such impossible odds, illustrating the proof of faith. We must ask the Spirit of God to help us to show the love of Christ to the whole of mankind. When you and I do this, we will receive a tremendous reward at the end of the journey of life. Jesus Christ says, to you, and me, “To him who overcomes I will give to eat from the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God.” As I have said, earlier, for this to happen, we must affirm, and confirm our salvation in the Lord of Glory. Wonderful words of encouragement for you and I to press on in our Christian faith. The fruit of the tree of life will sustain and nourish the eternal life which is ours in heaven. (Rev.22:2) “In the middle of its street, and on either side of the river, was the tree of life, which bore twelve fruits, each tree yielding its fruit every month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.” There is nobody who can love us like this only God our Saviour! We can never repay him for this love of his just accepts it. The tree of life spoken of here is the very same tree spoken of in the earlier chapters of Genesis. (Gen, 2:9) “And out of the ground the Lord God made every tree grow that was pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was also in the midst of the garden,” This is the prize set before us let us march onwards towards it. Hallelujah! Praise God! The persecution of Christ’s church. 2:8-11 (8) The emphases of our Lord at the beginning of the passage are as follows, he is the First and the Last. He ushered in the beginning of mankind, and will see in the end of the beginning. (We have on view here the Church at Smyrna representing the church at the beginning of the second century. Dating from then, until the beginning of the fourth century, when Constantine began to rule. Always keep in mind the true historicity of the early church.) Of himself Jesus Christ says, “who was dead, and came to life:” Reaffirming his death by crucifixion upon a cross, and his glorious resurrection, when his Father raised him to life. He is now the perfect man. Although our Lord has always been God, when he came to earth, it was as a man. To be truly man he gave up his power. He came to earth as God, and man, without the power of being God. He illustrated to us, through his earthly life that it was totally possible, as a human being to please his Father in heaven, by allowing the Holy Spirit to operate through him. When Jesus speaks of being dead, he is speaking of himself as that of a man who died, and came back to life. Just as he relied on God the Holy Spirit to enable him to live a life pleasing to his Father, You and I can do the same by relying on God the Spirit to do likewise. Without the birth, the life, the death, and the resurrection of our Lord as a man, none of us would have received salvation from God his Father, and from Himself. The love of Christ for you and I is established upon these foundations. Let us grow close to our Lord. Amen! Hallelujah! Serve the Lord our God with joyful hearts.
Jesus Christ is the first fruits of being the first man who is perfect, only to be executed by crucifixion, and die. Albeit, he continued to be the Son of God. For a time while on earth he gave up his power as one who is God. I said, earlier, he had to show to you, and I through his own life, as a man, that it is indeed, possible to serve God his Father by God’s Spirit, who dwells in the heart of each believer. We should never forget our heavenly Father’s part in all of this. He because of His love for you, and me, sent his Son to die for our sins. Although God loves us, He hates sin. Even now the wrath of God is being poured out against those who will not bow the knee before his Son Jesus Christ. The whole point of Christ coming to earth was to die for the world, crucified upon a cross, receiving the anger of God his Father upon Himself. The anger the Father poured out upon His Son was meant to be poured out upon us. Had that been the case, we would have been lost from God, forever. We need to appreciate, and be grateful to God for what He has done for us. Let us rise to the challenge, love our God, do what pleases Him in these last days. I believe the reason why the glorified Lord is addressing the church at Smyrna in this fashion is because persecution has fallen upon them. The believers already know Jesus Christ as Lord. They have an intimate experiential relationship with him. We can see this in verse, (9) unless you seek to know the Lord, while you and I breathe, and do what pleases him, despite what we say, if we do not do that, we will never get to know him like the saints at Smyrna. We will see in the next line of the verse, how much Christ meant to them. Furthermore; the reason behind why, he again spoke of his death, and resurrection. Jesus speaks to them on three key areas of faith: works, tribulation, and facing poverty. Works that are done, led by the Spirit, often leads to tribulation. We live in a battle situation down here. The enemy who is the Devil will use human forces opposed towards the Son of God to weaken our faith. There are those who hold on to everything God has given with no sign of pity or remorse towards their poorer brethren. They have the wherewithal to stop some of the suffering of their brothers, and sisters in the faith, but stand idly by, and do nothing. Jesus warned those who are rich, that if they did this, they would not see the Kingdom. (Lk.12:21) “So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.” I believe to get the mood of this you need to read the previous verses. (Lk.12:16-20) The city of Smyrna was mostly populated with rich and prosperous Jews, who had boycotted the church, probably refusing to sell them anything in order that they may live. The cost of discipleship is never easy. We who are the disciples of our Lord must be prepared to carry our cross, as he did. The church of Smyrna was certainly doing that. It is because of the cost of their discipleship that they have become spiritually rich. Easy to be a Christian when you have all the comforts the world brings when you compromise in order to attain these things. God can give you all that you need without compromise. There is nothing against being rich until it replaces Jesus Christ in your heart. I would like us to closely focus on the next part of the verse, addressing it to ourselves, “; and I know the blasphemy of those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan” Persecution of the saints in Smyrna was rife, it came from unbelieving Jews. Persecution can come from any unbelieving race of people, but at this time it is the Jews. The unbelieving Jews had at one time been the Synagogue of the Lord, or the congregation of the Lord. Now because of unbelief the risen Lord calls them a synagogue of Satan. They still clung on to their Old Testament belief at the expense of our Lord. There are many people who call themselves Christian but have no idea who Jesus Christ is. Do you? I do, and so do my brothers and sisters who know Christ is Lord. Would you like to know Jesus Christ as Lord? It is relatively quite simple. Go to a place of privacy, asks Jesus to forgive you of your sin, tell him you want him to be the Lord of your life. Accept his love and mercy. Do what pleases him, and your life will be
radically changed forever. You will wonder why you have not done it before. But God‘s timing is perfect. (10) When you give your life to Jesus Christ the hardest thing to overcome is our natural fear. The hardest thing to do, for some of us, is to trust Jesus Christ fully, for everything pertaining to the Christian life. I mean everything. Jesus says, to you and me, “Therefore do not fear them. For there is nothing covered that will not be revealed, and hidden that will not be known” You and I must develop a reverential awe of God. (Mtt.10:26) Look at Proverbs.29:25. “The fear of man brings a snare, But whoever trusts in the Lord shall be safe.” The New Testament authors take it a substantial degree higher. The apostle John in his first letter says this to us, “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear,” How do we go about doing this? Our answer is to be found in Paul’s Second Letter to Timothy. (II.Tim, 1:7) For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. Jesus Christ our Lord and God his Father who love us has given to each believer a sound mind. The challenge for you and I is to renew our hearts and minds with the help of God the Holy Spirit each day. He will through this method keep changing us into the image of our risen glorified Lord. When you and I do this, physical death, no matter what shape it comes in will have no fear for us. The risen Lord knows of their witness and testimony, how they have vocally declared his Lordship over them... They are fearless, because of being full of the Holy Spirit. To trust God completely that is all he asks of us. Replicate what we see here in the saints at Smyrna . Some of them are going to be thrown into prison. We know that happened then, but we also know it happens now in some of the countries in Asia and the far East... It is nothing new. Who is behind all of these persecutions? Satan himself is behind those things. Our risen Lord instructs them to continue to be faithful to him until death, to be able to do that they must seek and desire a closer walk with God. Keep building their relationship with him in love and intimacy. The same holds good for you and me. Therefore, let us seek God’s guidance in all that we say and do. When we do that, you and I will receive the crown of life just as the saints of Smyrna will. (11) How do we overcome the enemy when he throws everything against us? It could include a bloody physical death? We have to trust in his Son the Lord Jesus Christ. Eternal separation from our God is a dreadful prospect for anyone. The prophet Daniel gives us some idea of what death will be like without God. (Dan.12:2) “And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, some to shame and everlasting contempt” The second death is total separation from God. (Rev.20: 13-15) “The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works. (14) Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death (15) And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.” Can you imagine living a life without end with nobody? That is exactly what life will be like without God. Your spirit will continue to roam, with no peace, nor rest in the cold and the dark.
The compromising church. 2:12-17. (12) Again the prophet is told to write of the two edged sword that protrudes from the mouth of one like the Son of man. I believe the sword symbolizes the word of God able to cut off any carnal flesh from the believer, what continues to linger in our old nature.
We need to come before God through his Son Jesus Christ our risen Lord, and ask the Holy Spirit to search us to see whether there is any unrepentant sin hidden in us? If there is we need to repent of it. I cannot communicate with God, and neither can you, when there is hidden sin in our hearts. When that is the case God cannot communicate with us. Let us be honest, sin is sin, no matter how small. (Historically the church of Pergamos represents the church of the fourth century running right through to the end of the seventh century.) (13) Jesus knows of their circumstances of the persecution that had come upon them. We must never forget that the one who stands before us in this passage is Jesus Christ the Lord of glory Son of God. He is God, we must never forget that. Precisely because of his foreknowledge he sees all, visible and invisible. Nobody told him of the throne of Satan he could see it. Even despite that he has already seen their works. What does the risen Lord say? “I know your works, and where you dwell,” Nothing is unseen in our lives and it was the same for the believers in Pergamos. Not actually a throne, but it symbolizes great evil of the wicked one Satan. The throne was an alter 200 ft high in honour of the god Zeus. The city was also the centre of emperor worship. You then had the false god of healing Aesclepius whose symbol was a serpent. No wonder the believers symbolized it as Satan. All of this great wickedness was going on in the midst of them. Yet our Lord commends them. They have steadfastly refused to be tempted into the evil of the world. The believers have held fast to the name of our Lord. Not only that they have held his faith, each of them, despite seeing Antipas being murdered for his faith. He was the first Christian in Asia to be martyred for his faith. It would seem that as a persecuted church they were responding in the right manner. Not really! They had succumbed to the pressures of a hostile world against them. We see this in the next verse. (14) Amongst them was those who believed in a false doctrine, and the church had not challenged them, upon this matter. The Lord of glory is holding this against them, because they have not repented of it. Our Lord names this false doctrine as belonging to the teachings of Balaam. We need to be aware of the fact that in certain churches of this age the latter is more prevalent, sexual immorality. Not so much as eating food sacrificed to idols, certainly not in our Western Culture. The evidence of this can be found in the book of Acts at chapter 15, and verse29.A letter given to Paul and Barnabas from the church at Jerusalem to take to the church at Antioch . “ ..that you abstain from things offered to idols, from blood, from things strangled, and from sexual immorality. If you keep yourselves from these, you do well. Farewell.” Paul also speaks of food being sacrificed to demons by the Gentiles. So perhaps there is a case when you think of the sorcery and witchcraft that exists in this country. You only need to see the commercial for the car manufacturer Volvo. They use tarot cards depicting lovers to sell their products. The Devil has really done a number on the lost. We therefore must accept witchcraft is practiced here in the United Kingdom . Pray against it. We need to ask God for his Spirit to be sent to those who have been beguiled in this manner, and open their eyes to how they have been deceived by the enemy. Notice the words of the risen Lord to you and me. The responsibility of what we do lies with us. We must keep ourselves from falling into temptation the choice lies with us. Whether we ask God the Holy Spirit to help us to overcome all that the enemy brings against us or rely on ourselves and fail miserably. Clearly we need the help of God’s Spirit to enable us all to overcome all that Satan would bring against us. (15) The teachings of Balaam and the Nicolaitans are the exact same. They seduced God’s people into idolatry, and sexual immorality. (16) If any of God’s people continue in idolatry and sexual immorality Christ will come and fight against you with the sword of his mouth as well as those who teach such things.
Listen to what Isaiah the prophet had to say on this very serious matter.( Isa.11:4) “ But with righteousness He shall judge the poor, And decide with equity for the meek of the earth; He shall strike the earth with the rod of His mouth, And with the breath of His lips He shall slay the wicked.” The answer to overcome all that the devil would bring against you is to have an intimate and personal relationship with our risen Lord without that we will sadly fail. To love Jesus Christ our Lord and do what he asks of us. Only through this method will we be able to show the fruits of the Spirit. To fall away from that the consequences for them who do so are quite dreadful. (II.Thess.2:8) “And then the lawless one will be revealed whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of his coming.” The sword is the word of the Lord. He is already cutting off the dead branches of his church with his righteous judgment that is upon us. (17) There is another tremendous prize for those who overcome. Jesus says, to you and I who overcome the world that we live in, that he will give to us some of the hidden manna to eat of it... I know this is promised to the believers at Pergamos, but it is for all the believers who love the Lord. The first time we hear of manna being mentioned is in the Old Testament. There is no coincidence that it is mentioned here. Let us have a look at the Old Testament references. (Ex.16:33) And Moses said to Aaron, “Take a pot and put an omer of manna in it, and lay it up before the Lord, to be kept for your generations.” The manna mentioned here gave life to the tribe of Israel for forty years. You could say it symbolizes the body of Christ, when he broke bread at the Last Supper, as a sign of his broken body for us, and a memorial to us, as we eat of the bread of the gift of eternal life to those of us who believe in Him, and love Him, our risen glorified Lord Unlike the manna of the Old Testament it could only give physical life. The manna spoken of here gives spiritual life to us for eternity. Amen! Hallelujah! Praise God! Again our Lord through his apostle and the prophet John speaks of the people of God being able to cultivate a discerning ear within their spirits. To be able to hear and interpret within their soul what God the Holy Spirit would communicate to them from God our Father through Jesus Christ our risen Lord. However, these promises hinge on the fact of being able to overcome the enemy. How do we do that? By asking God the Holy Spirit to strengthen and help us to overcome the temptations that come before us. We in ourselves do not have the resources. There are no other means available to enable us to do this only God. The risen Lord gives another promise to those of us who overcome the temptations of this world. We will each receive a white stone, and on it a new name. Nobody will know this new name only those who receive it, and the person who gives it, our risen glorified Lord Isaiah the prophet spoke on these very precious promises that our risen glorified Lord gives to us in this passage of revelatory history. Read and drink in his precious word to us. (Isa.56:5) “Even to them I will give My house And within My walls a place and a name Better than sons and daughters; I will give them an everlasting name that will not be cut off.” We will all have the name of Jesus Christ, because he has imputed his holy and righteous character to us. He amazingly shares his glory with us when we allow his Spirit to change us into his nature, and character. The glory he now sits in radiates from us as we gladly obey his voice with love, and rejoicing, all he asks of us. No wonder he is the King of kings and Lord of lords. The evidence of having his name is found in the closing chapters of this book... (22:4) They shall see His face, and His name shall be on their foreheads. My brothers and sisters who know and love the Lord Jesus Christ who will follow him to the ends of the earth will continue to be faithful until death. You and I are written into the Lamb’s book of life, our glorious Saviour Jesus Christ.
The church of corruption .2:18-29. The church in Thyatira was a church that was always morally compromising herself with the people of the city. It had many trade guilds, each having its own patron deity. A city that was always sponsoring great feasts of an idolatrous fashion accompanied with huge orgies. This represents the church of the middle ages. I suggest also some of the churches of today, and the future. (18) I believe this is a stern warning to those of us who through over familiarization forget that our Lord is also the Son of God. Some of us think that because we call God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Father, or Abba, Dad, we can do anything we like, and expect God to forgive us. Nothing can be further from the truth. I am not distracting from the fact that the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ does not have a heart of love and mercy towards his children. Of course he does. But he hates sin; compromise is exactly that. When our risen glorified Lord addresses the fellowship in Thyatira in such a fashion by having to remind them he is God, does it not show his great displeasure against them, because of their compromise with the world on morality? I think it does. You cannot trifle with the Son of God’s affections for you and me. He loves us, and expects us to love him. When Jesus Christ describes himself as the Son of God, he reminds those of Thyatira, and us, that not only is he God, he is also coequal with God his Father in heaven. Both are of the same substance the only distinguishing mark between them is the relationship of Father and Son. We have to keep in mind that with God the Holy Spirit both Father and Son equal one God. However; what is on view here is the Son of God our risen glorified Lord coequal with God his Father in heaven. It illustrates the relationship and fellowship of one who is God with his Father God, equal in deity, in nature, and identity of being one God. There are three individual persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit each of them makes one God. The phrase, “...eyes like a flame of fire.” are addressed to those who continually commit the same sin over, and over again knowingly. I believe the problem of sin is that we like doing certain types, because they bring us pleasure, even when we know it is wrong to do it. You and I must repent of doing the same sin over, and over again. While we keep doing it, we have not repented of it. You need to want to stop doing it, because it can end up being habitual sin. When that keeps occuring you need to ask the question are you saved? Ask God the Holy Spirit to help you to overcome whatever temptation you keep falling into. You have to be honest, and sincere with Him, and He will help you to overcome that particular temptation, as He does with all temptations. Hallelujah! I believe you and I have to understand how our risen glorified Lord the Son of God views sin. From his perspective, not ours, and perhaps it will give us a little understanding on the attitude of the Godhead towards sin. The simplest understanding of sin is that it means being disobedient towards God, while we continue in this fashion towards him, his anger is directed against us, until we stop and repent, while we have breath. Why does the Son of God describe himself as having eyes like a flame of fire? Steel, when it is being made is put through a fiery furnace, the fire purifies it of any blemishes, and the finished object is perfect. Like our spirit within us it needs to be purified of all that is flesh. We need to give the Holy Spirit permission in our lives to help to conform us into the image of Christ, our Lord. If we do not, then our former way of life will descend upon us. Like a flame thrower of the Second World War because of sin or rebellion against God the flame from the Son of God’s eyes will reach out and destroy us
We have refused to stop rebelling against God in this life by accepting his Son Jesus Christ as Lord, that includes, the mercy, and peace that comes with it. Therefore we suffer the consequences...There is a need to get back to God’s holiness. The urgency of doing this cannot be stressed enough as we are in the end times. (19) Similarly as in the last three messages to three different geographical churches our Lord commends them for what they have done. He knows of their works, love, service, faith, and patience. He is impressed because the works they do now are greater than the first works of theirs. But, and it is a greater but, even that is not enough, as we will see further down the passage in the next verse. (20) There is no use in doing anything if you tolerate something that is going on in the midst of the church, and it is clearly wrong in the eyes of God, bad enough that it is being allowed to happen. But even worse when you know it is wrong and you permit it to continue. Now we come to the Jezebel spirit, a spirit totally opposed towards God. Much has been said about the Jezebel spirit, we need to carefully analyze what has been said, and ask the Holy Spirit for his understanding of it. How God the Father and the Son see it. The name Jezebel comes from the queen of that name and is found in the Old Testament. (…for the queen of that name tried to establish an idolatrous cult in place of the worship of Yahweh and was herself accused of whoredom and witchcraft.)P1285 of the New Bible Commentary Revised.Inter-Varsity Press. See 2nd Ki.9:22. “Now it happened, when Joram saw Jehu, that he said, “Is it peace, Jehu?” So he answered, “What peace, as long as the harlotries of your mother Jezebel and her witchcraft are so many?” Hundreds of years later the very same things are occurring after our Lords death and resurrection in the church of Thyatira . The woman is a false prophetess and is symbolized by being called a Jezebel. She is leading them into an idolatrous relationship against God, and into literal and spiritual fornication. Some manuscripts have the translation your wife, that being the case the angel would be the leading elder or bishop over the church. The woman acts against the Lord by teaching the church a false doctrine of eating food sacrificed to idols, as well as sexual immorality, and leading them into such acts. I may be wrong, but I believe the church of the new age goes along with these erroneous ideas. This false prophetess has already seduced God’s servants to live in this manner, as we will see in the next verse of the passage. (21) From this verse we learn that this false prophetess has already been warned about her conduct, but has not heeded it. When you and I are warned about our conduct by godly men we need to take heed. This will stop us from falling any further. (22) Because this woman has not heeded the warnings of John or other Christian leaders she will be cast into her sickbed. I believe this is the chastisement of the Lord upon those who refuse to repent of their wrong doing. Not only her, included are those who commit adultery with her. Beware of the fact that if you are doing the very same things depicted here the same destiny awaits you. Repent of it now. Accept the mercy and grace of God. If you continue to do these things like the believers at Thyatira you will be thrown into terrible suffering. This is to lead them into repentance while under such discipline, and chastisement. The Lord chastises and disciplines those whom he loves. The means thereby he brings them back into the fold. What will happen to those who have compromised themselves? Unless they repent, the children of Jezebel, those who follow her will experience the second death. No life with the Lord in eternity. What a dreadful prospect lies in store for those who refuse to repent from sexual immorality. He will kill them physically and spiritually.
Be warned it is by these judgments of our Lord upon the churches for doing these things that we know that he searches the mind, in Hebrew kidneys, and hearts, Hebrew, the intellect. The centre of our intellect. There is nothing he does not know. Be warned! I would like to include an article on this very important issue from my New Spirit Life Bible p1821. (“ 2:23 ) “I am He who searches the minds and hearts.” “ The physical organ of the body, the centre of physical life, the seat of one’s personal life ( both physical and spiritual), the centre of one’s personality, the seat of one’s entire mental and moral activity, containing both rational and emotional elements. It is the seat of feelings, desires, joy, pain, and love. It is also the centre of thought, understanding, and will. The human heart is the dwelling place of the Lord and the Holy Spirit. In v 23, the omniscient Lord sees into the innermost being where all decisions concerning Him are made.) End of quote. Not as far as I know, although there could be? No Christian scholar or theologian has seen parallel accounts in the Old Testament of what is happening here, although there are many such passages including books. Such a book belongs to the prophet Hosea who suffered much for his faith in God. We really need to understand God’s love for you and me. How He hates and loathes the slightest rebellious thought that comes into our intellect against Him. What has just been said, one of his characteristics of being God is his omniscience, and he is able to see everything in our hearts. Quite a frightening idea if you do not live in the manner he expects of you...But against that is his forgiveness and mercy that can be found in his Son Jesus Christ our Lord and Advocate. We cannot continually rebel against him the punishment for that is death. (Hos.1:2) (When the Lord began to speak by Hosea, the Lord said to Hosea: “Go, take yourself a wife of harlotry And children of harlotry, For the land has committed great Spiritual adultery By departing from the Lord.” (Hos.1:6) (And she conceived again and bore a daughter. Then God said to him. “Call her name Lo -Ruhamah, For I will no longer have mercy on the house of Israel , But I will utterly take them away.” You can see the comparisons with the church of Thyatira, tremendous Spiritual debauchery lusting after other gods. They have departed from the Lord. Anything that takes the place of God in our hearts is Spiritual adultery that is how he sees it. Like the children of Israel in this passage and in the passage of the New Testament in which those who hold the false doctrines in the church of Thyatira, they have departed from the Lord. Nothing must come between our relationships with God. He must come first in our lives. He will continue to search us out, but there will come a point when our hearts become so cold, we will never again hear from Him, a perilous path to follow on. I marvel at such a godly man as Hosea. What a difficult task God gave him to do. To show his divine love through his servant to his people Israel. To marry a woman who would be unfaithful to him continuing in the marriage with her. Showing the tact, sensitivity, and the love of God to the sinful condition of his countrymen, because of his sensitivity to the loving heart of God towards him which equipped him for this very hard and difficult ministry. My suggestion to you, brothers and sisters in Christ, that there can be no better accolade to describe the attitude and actions of the prophet Hosea than to think of him, as, and was a type of the Bridegroom to come, Jesus Christ our glorified Lord. Unlike Jezebel the false prophetess Hosea remained faithful to the Lord until he was called home to glory. Despite the fact that he knew Gomer was a prostitute he loved her in the same manner God loved him. You and I are to love the people of this world with no exceptions; of course those who commit crimes against others have to take the repercussions of their actions physically, morally, and ethically. They have a responsibility for the safety of themselves, and of each other. Those of us who come under the Lordship of our Lord Jesus Christ have a heightened awareness of this responsibility. You and I know what we must do.
(23) An ominous warning comes against the false prophetess with the spirit of Jezebel and her children. The children are those who have accepted her heretical doctrine. I will kill them says, the Son of God. You have read what I have said on this issue in previous passages of this study on the book of Revelation, that you cannot use as a license the love God showers upon us to continue living a dissolute life style. Not only will he kill us physically, we who all accept false doctrines in the way that we live will also suffer the second death. You may say, but that is for the world. Not so, look at the verse again. “And all the churches shall know that I am He who searches the minds and hearts. And I will give to you according to your works.” None of us actually can say with conviction who is born again and who is not, that is for our Lord to decide. There is a mix, we cannot deny that, which can be seen in the last clause of the verse. “ ..And I will give to you according to your works.” Against that we must follow through our Lord’s second greatest commandment, we are to love one another just as he loves us. (24) A positive response of our Lord to those who do not accept the false doctrine taught by the false prophetess, no other burden will fall upon them. There are serious implications for the church age that we live in today. Politicians who do not know God, some who are avowed atheists are more and more trying to assert their authority upon the church of Christ by laying down secular laws that break God’s law which is a total abomination to him. God loves the world, and gave his Son’s earthly life for it, but hates sin, and rebellion against Him, we must never forget the fact. The Spirit of the living God who abides in us will more than help us to overcome all that the satanic regime will throw at us when we allow him help us.(25) Through John the apostle and prophet of our Lord Jesus Christ the believers are told to hold on. To hold on to the belief that Jesus Christ the Lord has deposited into the hearts of these believers. You cannot build your faith on great godly men and women; it must always be on our risen glorified Lord. I believe each of them would tell you, that they, are only earthen vessels chosen by God the Father and his Son Jesus Christ our Lord to make visible to the world his glory. Like you and I they have their frailties and weaknesses. However; they do not let that hinder them, but concentrate on God. You and I must do the same if we want to finish the race with them who have gone on before. (26) We must always look at the historical perspective and understand what it meant for the saints of that era. Then with the guidance of the Holy Spirit learn what it means for us in this century. The instruction given to the saints of Thyatira is for the whole of the church age. While men and women have breath it is timeless. The question we have to ask ourselves, as did the saints of that era, how do we overcome all that Satan and his hordes throw at us while living in the world? There is really quite a simple answer to believe in the works and person of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, and in whom he says, he is, the Son of God. (Jn.6:29) Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom He sent,” There are two key thoughts to our Christian faith mentioned here, you could say, three. Without a shred of doubt the work of the Spirit of God is being indirectly spoken of. God our Father sends His Spirit to work, and soften our hearts towards His Son Jesus Christ, so that we are able to accept Him as the Son of God, and Saviour, who is also the Lord. You must always accept that the trinity is always at work within you. Without the Father’s love made visible to us, through Jesus Christ our Lord, and the continuing work of God the Holy Spirit within us, we would be a people undone like the ungodly of this world. When faced with tremendous difficulties and sheer opposition as these first century saints were experiencing to overcome it they had a personal knowledge of our Lord. We need to have the same personal relationship with our Saviour and Lord, the risen glorified Christ. To experience a continuing relationship with Abba Father, which includes his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, we need the help of the Holy Spirit who communicates to us the love of
God, our Father, and His Son Jesus Christ, our Lord. Filled with the love, and the Spirit of God, nothing will be too difficult for us. To know Jesus Christ our Lord, and God his Father in the same manner as a husband knows his wife. He is not some abstract idea that we give our intellectual consent to, he is more than a husband knowing his wife, and vice-versa. He is God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, the living God. He wants to talk to you, and for you to speak to him, give you dreams, visions, and revelations of Himself in regard to his purposes, and will for your life, but you and I have to seek his face. The prizes that await those who are overcomers are of immense quality. Although our Lord is speaking to the saints of Thyatira, I believe this promise is for all who overcome the enemy’s attacks. A great promise to you and I who overcome all that the Devil would throw at us through the help of God the Blessed Holy Spirit. Jesus Christ our risen exalted and glorified Lord along with his Spirit is going to give us power over the nations. (Mtt.19:28) So Jesus said to them, “Assuredly I say to you, that in the regeneration, when the Son of Man sits on the throne of His glory, you who have followed Me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel .” I believe that promise is for the twelve disciples here. But there is a role for Gentile believers in the judgment of the nations. We will share in our glorified risen Lord’s triumph and victorious rule. (Ps.2:8, 9) “Ask of me, and I will give you the nations for your inheritance, and the ends of the earth for Your possession (9) You shall rule them with a rod of iron; You shall dash them to pieces like a potter’s vessel.” The great tragedy and regret is that millions of men and women will take this path, refusing to bow the knee to our Saviour and Lord. That is their prerogative. This is what the Lord said, concerning their end, echoing Psalm.2:8, 9. (28-29) “He shall rule them with a rod of iron; They shall be dashed to pieces like the potter’s vessels.” As I also have received from My Father;” (28) Jesus Christ, Son of man, of God, and Lord of glory is the morning star. He has given himself to those resolute believers who have overcome impossible odds with the help of God’s Spirit. The same Spirit of God whom dwells within us. The Morning Star as Jesus describes Himself, the second person of the trinity, abides in the overcomers, here in this passage, and we who overcome the enemy in the present, and in the future. I love the Apostle Simon Peter’s description of this which can be found in his second letter to the pilgrims of the Dispersion. (2.Pet.1:19) “ And so we have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts” (29) Let us look at this quotation from page 1847 of the New Spirit Filled Life Bible, Thomson Nelson Bibles, New King James Version. Truth in Action articles through Revelation. (5) Keys to wise living. “The wise believer takes the time to listen with his spiritual hearing to what the Spirit is saying to the church. This is as needed today as it was in the first century. One who hears and follows the voice of the Holy Spirit does not need to fear the deception that leads to apostasy. Rather, he will walk where Jesus requires and will grow in the things of the Spirit of God, which produce healthy, vibrant, Spirit filled churches capable of preaching the gospel to all the world.” The Lifeless Church. 3:1-6. Sardis was the capital city of the ancient country of Lydia once the seat of King Croesus (560-546.B.C).He was the first to issue gold coins in his reign. A city in the first century of the primitive church known for its decadence, luxury, apathy, and licentious religiosity. This church represents the church age up until the Protestant Reformation.
(1) What a chilling comment, we see here at the end of the verse. “You have a name that you are alive, but you are dead.” Licentiousness had befallen them, so much so, that you could not pick them out from those who were lost. Seduced by the world we live in. If you adopt the beliefs of the New Age church, live them out, believing on these precepts to get you into heaven, you are sadly mistaken, as we can see here. Read and listen to the glorified Lord as he speaks to you. If you are continually living as you formerly lived before meeting the risen Lord. “ .. You are dead.” There are a few believers who have remained faithful, not many, so the whole of the church is characterized as being dead. A terrible state and condition for one to find themselves in. Repent, when there is still time. Accept the mercy and love of God our Saviour. (2) My own personal belief as convicted by God’s Spirit that the believers on view here are the few. The rest have given up on following the risen Christ. He encourages them, by asking them, to be watchful; strengthening the faith they still have by his energy, and power, that still remains intact, so that it will not die. What a great and merciful God that we all have in the Lord. Praise God! Not only does this tiny number of believers need to be always watchful and vigalent, we all do. (Mtt.24:42) “Watch therefore, for you do not know what day your Lord is coming.” Judgment tempered with mercy, love, and compassion. We see this in the next clause of the verse that brings it to a close. “I have not found your works perfect before my God.” Still time for a reality check, come before Him, repenting from your transgressions or sin in sincerity and truth, and He will forgive you, trusting God the Holy Spirit to help you to mend your ways. Take heed to the judgment that the Lord pronounced against the second king of the Babylonians. (Dan.5:27) “TEKEL: You have been weighed in the balances, and found wanting.” Never turn your back on the Lord, and walk away, without even the slightest of looks, looking back. He loves you. (3) The saints spoken of here are told to hold on to the precious faith God had given to them through his Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Human knowledge is no substitute for the wisdom of God, of which, when we ask him to impart it to us, for his glory, he freely gives of it. The saints in this passage are being reminded of the faith that was given to them was freely provided as a free gift from heaven and cannot be bought with money or with good works. I believe we need to understand properly what the Protestant Reformation accomplished, and why it took place? There is no mention of Roman Catholics or Protestants in the early church of the New Testament. Only the church, but as the church grew older historically, corruption increased more and more, instead of being saved by grace, you had to earn it by good works, or pay for it. Nothing could have been further from the truth of God which can only be found in His Word. The church had swallowed the lie of the Devil. Until the birth of Martin Luther Christian theologian and Augustinian monk, who while reading a passage of Scripture in the Book of Galatians, came upon the verse that spoke of being justified by faith. At that moment he had a Damascus Road experience such as the Apostle Paul. The Holy Spirit totally, and radically revolutionized his spirit. He alone stood against the doctrines of his own church, because he knew they had got it wrong in the light of the Scripture. From the quill of such a man filled with the Spirit of God, we have the tremendous doctrines of great and precious truths, such as the teachings on justification by faith, the authority of the Word of God, and the total depravity of man. It is with regret the church has slipped away from these tremendous truths, which is meat and drink to our soul, by accepting the counterfeit mode of the Devil. We urgently need to get back to the truth of the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. Let us not be like this dead church in Sardis , because if we are in such a state, the Lord could come at any time with his judgment upon us, casting us into the pit of hell. Something that could happen before the rapture, and the second coming. Make sure he does not find us in this state and condition. Repent before it is too late (4) Only a few have been found faithful
in the eyes of the Lord. The few will be robed in white garments, because they have proved themselves to be worthy of the King. Christianity in its purest form is not popular with the world, and like these few, we must press on into our most holy faith. (5)When we pursue Christ’s righteousness with the help of the Spirit of God then success will come our way. You and I will be clothed in white garments the robes of the righteousness of Jesus Christ. Hallelujah! “I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life.” Here we have the surety of our Lord’s promise to us his flock. The Book of Life is God our Father’s record of the redeemed. He bought us back though the blood sacrifice of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord. The price paid was blood not money. The precious blood of the Lamb of God. You and I who know Jesus Christ as Lord are named in the Book of Life. We have done nothing for it. All the work was his. He will confess our names before God his glorious Father and his angels. Rejoice in the sight of heaven with gladness, praising God. Father and Son. The first two persons of the glorious trinity. Hallelujah! Amen! There are many references in the Bible that speaks of the Book of Life. I will provide a couple. (Ex.32:32) “Yet now, if you will forgive their sin –but if not, I pray, blot me out of Your book which You have written.” (Phil.4:3) “And I urge you also, true companion, help these women who labored with me in the gospel, with Clement also, and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the Book of Life.” (6) See note on v 29 of previous chapter. The Faithful Church of Philadelphia . 3:7-13. Philadelphia was quite a small town with a very faithful church. Sometimes big is not best. It had been established as the centre of all that is Greek culture. The town was well known for its vineyards. Unfortunately it had quite a lot of earthquakes. This church represents the whole of the church age past, present, and future. The true church of our Lord Jesus Christ for the whole period of earth’s history. Having the hallmarks of revival before entering into the apostasy of the last days. (7) The Son of man, and God personifies in his August Person all that is truly holy before God. He like his Father God is like him in substance, identity, and character holy. John the Apostle, as well as a prophet, dictates what the glorified Lord instructs him to write. The glorified Christ speaks of himself as being true. He cannot be anything else. John stated the truthfulness of our Lord in his first letter. (1.Jn.5:20) “And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us an understanding that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ .This is the true God and eternal life.” We now come to the divine authority of our risen glorified Lord. He holds the key of David, a sign, and symbol of authority. You cannot look into the truth, and the divine authority of our glorious risen exalted Lord, when sin remains hidden in your heart. We need to repent of it. Of his authority, Isaiah the prophet saw this happening in the future, a prophecy yet to be fulfilled. (Isa.9:7) “Of the increase of His government and peace There will be no end, Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, To order it and establish it with judgment and justice From that time forward, even forever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.” (Isa.22: 22.) Very significant proof of what has already been said. “The key of the house of David I will lay on His shoulder; So He shall open, and no one shall shut; And He shall shut, and no one shall open.” The door will remain firm whatever position it is in (8). But I would like to concentrate on the open door, because that is the season; you and I are in. Opportunities for evangelism, and service or an entrance into the consummated Kingdom of God . While we still breathe, let us continue to obey the great commission of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ continuing to love him. Doors open to those who passionately seek the face of God, in order to please him, regarding the path in life he would have them take. A
great illustration of this can be found in the life of Paul the Apostle. (1.Cor.16:9) “ For a great and effective door has opened to me,” To make your calling true, you have to press in against all the obstacles, trusting the Spirit of God who is in you to remove them, whatever they are. Our risen Lord commends them for their faithfulness towards him. He has seen their strength, although it is small, and they have kept his word, continued vociferously to claim, he is the Lord. No one can be passive concerning their faith in God. You may feel all alone, perhaps given the cold shoulder, because of your vocal testimony, and witness to the fact that Jesus Christ is Lord. Those of the world reject Christ. Take courage, Jesus can see it, and as in the case before us, he has set an open door for you, as he had done for the saints in Philadelphia . Our Lord still continues to be the good shepherd, keep looking to him. (9) See 2: 9 (10) We now come to what I believe is a piece of evidence that points to the coming of the glorious rapture which gives proof, that it will occur before the Great Tribulation, not all my brothers, and sisters will agree. But for the sake of Christian unity, we will agree to disagree. Many will find this disposition hard. It is precisely, because the saints have kept being faithful to God, that they find favour with him. God’s Son, our Lord. It is difficult enough when our flesh comes against us, harder still when the enemy finds a toe hold in our brethren to come against Christ’s church... Like the saints of Philadelphia , we need to continue looking upwards to the Lord, for his help, to enable us to live lives that please him. Not only does the Spirit of God keep us from falling into sin, he gives us the victory over the enemy. The enemy is the Devil. Like the saints of Philadelphia , we all have a little strength, enough to show the love of Christ, and keep his name in the world of darkness, until we are called home. He gives a word of tremendous assurance to the believers in Philadelphia , that because he sees their faith in action against the powers of darkness, he promises to keep them from the great tribulation that is to follow. The very same tribulation he will keep from us. Speaking of his early disciples Jesus prayed to his Father God, but we must remember the prayer includes all of his disciples, you, and me. We find this in the gospel of John. (Jn.17:15) “I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one” Show a little strength in the Lord when the enemy comes calling, and he will give you a triumphant victory over him. The Devil is already a beaten foe. When our Lord rose victoriously from the grave, he defeated Satan. We who are in Christ have no reason to fear the evil one. I think it is very important to look at the words of this verse, because it looks back to events that have already taken place. What is happening now? How the future will relate to these things? To the believers in Philadelphia , whom Jesus addresses in this message through John, the reality of keeping them from the hour of trial has passed. The faithful of that particular era have all been called home, but the hour of trial is still to come. The trials and testing of our faith is not that trial mentioned here. Historically; the church has been though many trials, and is going through one at the present time. Many more will come. Until the wonderful day of the Rapture when the glorified risen exalted Lord comes with the clouds to take her home. Glory, glory, Hallelujah! Praise God. Afterwards the great tribulation will fall upon the earth, the faithful saints of Christ have already been rewarded because of their faith in the Lord. They are in heaven with him. It presupposes the question, if we have been justified by faith in God who is merciful towards us, because of that state of grace we stand in and he has given us, why then put us through the great tribulation? Would that not be hypocritical of what God has said to us in his word? God cannot lie he is true to himself in nature, and character. Those of humanity, who are still on
the earth, after the rapture, continue in their rebellion against Him. (Rev.8:13) “ And I looked, and I heard an angel flying through the midst of heaven, saying with a loud voice, Woe, woe, woe to the inhabitants of the earth, because of the remaining blasts of the trumpet of the three angels who are about to sound!” (11) “I am coming quickly,” is a note of encouragement to those who are being oppressed. When you and I are sorely pressed by the opposition in spiritual warfare, we ask God for the victory, and he will give it to us. A severe warning to those involved in the oppression against us. We must allow the Holy Spirit a free hand in controlling our lives, only through this method; it will stop the enemy from taking our crowns. This the saints of Philadelphia knew from their own experiential theology. Christ living in them, and them living in Christ. When you received Jesus Christ as Lord, he entered into your spirit. Therefore; he lives in you and you in him. Hallelujah! (12) A city will often honour those citizens who are noted for their tremendous achievements by building them a monument with their names engraved upon it. The same can be applied to pillars in the time of the Roman Empire . However; through time, they would be buried under the soil, and be eroded. Not like the pillars our risen Lord speaks of here. They will last into eternity. You and I, who are faithful, are to become pillars in the temple of our God, and Father. Furthermore; we will not need to leave. Note that when our risen Lord speaks of my God, he is speaking of his Father. His Father is our Father. You and I like the faithful believers of Philadelphia will have the name of God marked upon us, as well as the name of the New Jerusalem. Add to that, the name of our risen glorified Lord who is the Christ. A glorious future awaits you and me in eternity. Hallelujah! Praise God! These are still the things to come our glorious inheritance. We are identified with, and are the possession of God. The spiritual citizenship of God in his eternal realm. The mirror image of the character of Christ our risen glorified Lord. (13) See note: 2 verses 29.
The Apostate Church 3:14-22. The church of Christ in the end times will largely fall away, because the hearts of the people will grow cold. There will be a hardening of hearts against the gospel of Jesus Christ. We see this in the church of Laodicea , but as time goes by the situation will increase reaching a pinnacle, prior to the glorious rapture, and then the great tribulation. (14) Our glorified Lord uses another peculiar title to describe himself to the saints of Laodicea , he is the Amen. The title stands for the God of Truth. Our risen glorified Lord is the God of Truth. (Isa.65:16) “So that he who blesses himself in the earth shall bless himself in the God of truth; And he who swears in the earth shall swear by the God of truth Because the former troubles are forgotten, And because they are hidden from my eyes.” Read the words of Paul who corroborates what our Lord is saying to John. (2.Cor.1:20) “For all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us,” God will keep his promises to us. The Lord is the guarantor of all God’s promises to the saints who have gone home to glory, and we who remain. We will now try to delve deeper into the next part of the verse, look at what the risen Lord reveals to John, he says to him, at the end of the clause, “the beginning of the creation of God” Our Lord is reminding the saints of Laodicea, and us, of a very pertinent fact, that he is the source, and the cause of creation, without him there would be neither. A very sobering point. (Jn.1:3) “All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made...” See the Book of Hebrews. (Heb.1:2) “ ..has in these
last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds;” (15-16) When you vomit physical sickness out of your mouth it is gone forever. When our risen Lord speaks of them as being vomit, it certainly is not flattering. I believe it is a final warning to repent from getting into that state. If they do not? Then they will be lost to the Kingdom of God I have no idea what spiritual state you are in today? Believe what God has to say to you in his Word. Ask the Spirit of the living God to search for any unrepentant sin deep within you, repent of it, and with the same Spirit overcome all that the world will throw at you. (17) We now need to remind ourselves that these words are addressed to the church of Laodicea not the world. The words come from our glorious exalted risen Lord for the whole of the church age, and we must take them on board. When you have riches, they can bring hidden hindrances. Like your dependency on God to supply your needs disappears. We see that in this verse, “ I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing,” The key is in the last clause of the verse, “ I have need of nothing,” You are in fact testifying that you have no need of God in your physical world. You are then valuing worldly success more than spiritual godliness. This person has sold out for worldly wealth paying only lip service to God. None of the brethren may know of this deceit, but God knows. The time is now to repent from having done these transactions. Nothing you and I possess in material wealth, and possessions will have any spiritual value. You and I have to recognize that... The fellowship in Laodicea had become spiritually destitute by selling their spiritual birthright for the wealth, and riches of the world. There is nothing against being prosperous and rich as long as it does not replace God in your heart. This would seem to be the case here. Jesus rebukes them for being spiritually wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked... Astonishingly! The church of Laodicea is not aware of the great peril she is facing. We find the proof of this in the middle of the verse. “…and do not know...” (18) The church desperately needs spiritual help from the Lord. She needs the divine favour of God to regenerate the garments she wears into the righteousness of Christ our Lord and also illuminate the heart with the eyes of the Spirit. The next verse is for all of those who find themselves in a similar condition, and state, that the church of Laodicea found themselves under. (19) “As many as I love, I rebuke and discipline. Therefore be eager and repent.” (20) Apostasy is rife in the church of Laodicea , and this will continue to be the case through out the church age, apart from a few notable exceptions. Jesus will not force himself upon anyone, not even to believers of a complacent church. He says, “Behold I stand at the door and knock...” If we are in such a perilous position as the church of Laodicea , then, we must open the door of our heart to him. The time is now; we have the responsibility of opening it. Paradoxically the risen glorified Lord manifests His grace to us, by continuing to wait for us to open the door to him, taking on board our responsibility towards Him by opening the door. (21) You and I have the means to be overcomers, the Blessed Holy Spirit who abides in each of us, with Him to guide, and energize us into doing the things that please God, let us do so. We will then be given the great prize of sitting on his throne with him. Praise God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Hallelujah! (22) I encourage you to listen to what the Spirit of God has to say to you, because He will energize your physical, and spiritual needs, give you boldness in proclaiming the Good News of the gospel of Jesus Christ our Lord in these last days.
Bibliography The New Spirit Filled Life Bible. New King James Version. The New Bible Commentary Revised. Inter- Varsity Press. Final edited edition
Disciples of Jesus Ministry © 2011
This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?