Exegetical look into Revelation 17:1-2

31 07 2010

 

  • One of the seven angels, meaning a “tour guide.” This is a common image in apocalyptic writing—someone who guides the seer or reader to what these events mean (Rev. 1:4, 10; 14:8; 16:19; see Revelation 1:9-20 Study).
  • Prostitute/harlot/whore is from the Greek word, “porne,” from whence comes the English word “pornography.” It means promoting and/or partaking in the grievous sin of fornication that hurts, steals, and destroys. This is an image used in the Old Testament to mean the abandonment of one’s covenant to God or the unfaithfulness and faithlessness of Israel. Also, this means the seductions of the world and that we have to be on guard as Christians. It is people being allured into sin, yet knowing it is sin and being able to resist—as people seeking to disobey God and/or to serve evil. To choose sin is a deliberate choice, one that God hates passionately. This was also a term used by the early church for Rome (Lev. 17:7; Is. 1:21; 26:16-18;  57:3; Jer. 3:1-14; Ezek. Chaps 16 & 23; Hos. 4:15).
  • Who sits on many waters means confusion; this was also an early church “code word” for Rome, as Rome was a vast, Mediterranean empire mostly on the coast or near many bodies of water (Psalm 65:7; 137:1; Jer. 51:13).
  • Kings of the earth. This was an early church term that referred to the various states of Rome, such as Syria; each one had their own king, like Herod, who was over the Judea-Jerusalem province. This word also refers to “mortal men” and was a derogatory term for fornication and idolatry; it did not refer to angels or demons.
  • Committed adultery/sexual immorality means betraying God by committing acts of immorality. These people had no reservations or protests to following an evil empire and being used by them. Their belief was that one has a license to sin; thus, one does not need to be obedient to God, His precepts, civil law, or any moral standards, nor have a need to bear fruit. God says this is evil as it portrays evil as being good. This can also be a reference to the “Emperor cult” and the governors practicing and promoting it, using it as an excuse for extreme immorality and wickedness (Judges 17:6; Jer. 2:31-37; Rom. 6:1-2; 14-15; 13:8, 10; Gal. 5:14; 6:2; Gal. 5:22-25; James 2: 14-26; Jude 4; Rev. 2:20).   
  • Were intoxicated with the wine/Babylon’s wine refers to the evils of sin and how it corrupts and destroys, even for the people who use them thinking they are tools to get what they want (Jer. 51:7).




Revelation 17:1-5: What are the Contexts?

31 07 2010

 

The prostitute/harlot represents evil and the manipulations of forcing and tricking people to compromise—forsaking faith to embrace the devil. Such groups in the early church and throughout history sought to hide God and prevent people from knowing about true salvation. It is paganism, godlessness, false religions, and manipulating religion for personal gain and false teachings which are all extreme corruption and hiding of the real God in the shadow of man’s pride and corruption. Governments will seek this harlot so they can manipulate and dominate their people, such as totalitarian regimes and corruption. Corruption destroys everything as it prevents goodness, cooperation, and growth. It tears down rather than build up. People try to use it as an easy way to their goals, but it never works; rather, it causes breakdowns of self and society whereas Christ cleanses us with His blood and equips us with His Word to help build up the world. Thus, “building” is a primary theme of Christianity that creates community and cooperation with the goal of faith and the building of the Church. The devil destroys and tricks people to think that self destruction, the poverty of personal faith, and the breakdown of societal development are good things!           

            This passage is also referring to how the Emperor-worship cults were strangling the Church, tricking Christians away from Christ to its evils, saying it was OK and compatible with compromise, and not taking real, effectual faith seriously (1 Cor. 6:12-20; 1 Pet. 2:12; 4:3-4).

 





Revelation 17:1-5

31 07 2010

Introduction 

The Great Prostitute 

Then, one of the seven angels goes to John and shows him some more details of these judgments, particularly the great prostitute whose evils have influenced so many. Many rulers and governments have succumbed to evil manipulations and refused to heed godly ways. They have sought immorality rather than Christ, and have given themselves to the prostitute of evil as one would do to a regular prostitute while being drunk—a total disregard for responsibility or morality. The result is that godly people are being tricked and prevented from knowing the One True God—Christ as Savior and Lord.  

Then, the angel takes John to the wilderness to see all this in action—the ways of evil being seductive, attracting, and ever so alluring to so many people. This great harlot blasphemes God and puts her trust in materialism and immorality and leads others to do so, too. And, in so doing, she is not ashamed, but rather boisterous and proud of sin. 

How do the evils of sin corrupt and destroy? How do they destroy the people who use them, thinking they are a tool to get what one wants?





What does Revelation 12:7-12 mean to us now?

23 01 2010

 

This dragon, Satan, and his agents thereof seek to destroy and manipulate us. He wants others to be seduced to put their trust in him so their eyes are not on God or His ways. He wants his arrogance and pride to be contagious and be fuel for us, and for future Christians. When we seek what we want and forget God, or think we have a chance to do it better or on our own, he wins. There is nothing Satan desires more than for us Christians to run our lives our way, which are really his ways. He wants your church to be run by the will of people, governed by the trends of the day, and swayed by public opinion, where God’s Word is kept out of reach or in the dark by overt or just neglected ways. 

Take heart! The battle has been won, Satan score is zero; for God, the score is countless. The devil may have his anger and his bag of tricks, but He can’t have those who are in Christ. We are given the Blood of the Lamb; we have the backing and His authority to win over Satan’s ways and ideas. We can rejoice and live our Christian life fear-free because the devil can’t get what we do not give him. So, don’t give him anything—not your thoughts, plans, or agendas; let all of you be impressed in Christ and immersed in His Way. 

Questions to Ponder: 

  1. Why did war break out in Heaven? What do you think could be the motivations of the dragon and his evil minions? Why do you suppose that Satan thought he had or still has a chance? How do arrogance and pride versus the Way of God come into play here?
  1. What are some of the things that are taken away from us when we are seduced by evil ways? How does Satan’s influence still prevail in the world? How do his ways “snake” into you and your church?
  1. Satan can do only what God allows for His purpose. So, why does God use him? How do you feel about it? How can this strengthen you, knowing that no harm can come when you are in Christ, and if it does, it is for our benefit?
  1. What happens to you and your church when you seek what you want and forget God or think you have a chance to do it better or on your own? How does Satan win us over?
  1. Why does Satan desire that we Christians run our lives our way? Have you ever considered that when we run our church by our will, by the ideas of people separate from biblical precepts, by trends of the day and swayed by opinion, we may be leading as Satan does? What can be done to make sure we do not manipulate our will and rationalize it as God’s will when we make decisions?

© 2006 R. J. Krejcir Ph.D. Into Thy Word Ministries http://www.intothyword.org





The Four Main Views of Revelation 12:7-12

23 01 2010

 

The Preterist view: They see this passage as not in chronology with the previous and coming verses. Some see this as a literal war in heaven while others as a metaphor for something else. Some see this about Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection. Others in this camp see this as the woman’s flight into the wilderness. Some see Michael and Jesus as indistinguishable, which is what the Jehovah’s Witnesses believe, while others take what this passage says and believe they are representations or separate beings. The angels also receive varying meanings; some see them as the Apostles, others as demons, or a story to teach what is truth and what is false. Some see this as Satan’s fall and the conclusion to his power and influence on Christians, while others see that Satan is still active. Most see Satan as unable to go before God and accuse us because he has been thrown out of heaven. At the very least, most believe Satan is limited to what he can do because of the Cross. 

The Futurist view: They see this passage as the battle of angels and demons in heaven as portrayed in Daniel 12. Some see this as the beginning of the great tribulation, or in the middle, while others see this as just pertaining to spiritual warfare. Others see this as Satan being cast out of heaven while others see it as the war over the attempt to stop salvation and the work of Christ. Some see this as a template of how Satan operates and seeks to battle Christians and/or the defeat of Satan. Others in this camp see Satan nurtured by the blood of the Lamb and our victory over Christ. Others see this as a story to keep our faith in times of persecution from Satan or from men. A short time indicates that this passage is about Satan being bound during the millennial kingdom before he is let out for the final time. 

The Idealist view: They see this passage as a retelling of the spiritual conflict of the previous passage in verses 12:1-6. Some see this as a play, depicting spiritually the events of how Christ prevailed with the cross and with His resurrection and atonement, while others see it mainly as the focus of the defeat of Satan. Most see all of this together and the state of the new age of the Covenant we have with Christ. Satan’s role here is seen as the accuser who seeks to bring condemnation, which Christ stopped and thus neutered his role to trick us before God and activity, but still has the power to influence us. Apparently, Satan may have had the role to bring condemnation to humans before God, but the work of Christ stopped that. Now, only our rejection of Christ brings condemnation. In the meantime, Satan will do all he can to bring it on to believers as much as he can and as long as he can; however, we do not need to fear this with Christ in us. 

The Historicist view: They see this passage as metaphor of the struggle of the Church and its conflict with heathenism outwardly and apostasy inwardly, and the victory of the Church. They set the dates as during the Emperor Julian in 361 to 363; the casting out of the dragon was the expulsion of pagan Rome being replaced with Christianity, and the Church’s growth and spread. Yet, the troubles don’t stop for the Church; the struggles continue both inwardly and outwardly, but the Church will prevail!





Exegetical look into Revelation 12:7-12

23 01 2010

 

There was war in heaven. The ultimate spiritual warfare (John 1:5).

  • Michael. As the agent of Christ, he is depicted as God’s messenger and the Archangel, the advocate, and guardian angel of Israel. Here, he is the agent of Christ who vanquishes Satan. Many Jews at the time of Christ believed that Michael would save then from harm in the last days (Dan. 10:13-21; 12:1; Jude 9).
  • His angels. Those who are God’s messengers and agents, who are loyal, serve and worship Him.
  • Fought. The battle has been waged and has been won by our Lord. The language imagery is both an epic violent conflict and a judicial ruling. In Jewish thinking, all of humanity was divided up between those who follow the “Prince of Light” or those who follow the “Angel of Darkness.” The ultimate battle is portrayed that of classic good versus evil—God versus Satan. Although popular lore says these are equal powers, the Bible clearly shows us that only God is sovereign and Satan’s thinking he can take on God shows his depravity, stupidity, and desperateness.
  • Dragon. A representative of Satan or actually Satan. The context shows us it is Satan. This is a reference to the serpent in the Garden of Eden. It is also a description of Satan’s ways and strategies to lead the whole world astray, and a destructive beast who seeks the total devastation of God’s people (Gen. 3; Rev. 12:3; 20:2).
  • And his angels. Those who follow Satan and evil, demons, and other evil spiritual entities are in view here (Rom. 8:37-39).
  • Hurled down means exclusion or expulsion. This, in context, is referring to the battle to prevent the finished work of Christ; it does not necessarily refer to the original pre-human casting of Satan out of heaven (2 Cor. 11:3).
  • Ancient Serpent means sharpness of vision, cunning, and being malicious. It was also a Jewish term meaning hostility against God’s people. Satan’s fate was to be crushed by the woman’s seed, who is Christ. This term refers to his “crookedness”, “craftiness”, and “deceitfulness.” This name reveals the first reference to Satan in the Bible, as he stalked and deceived Eve. His intention is malice, fury, and cruelty, all directed toward God’s truth and God’s people (Gen. 3:1; Is. 27:1; Rev. 12:9; 20:2).  
  • Devil. This term occurs in the New Testament only; it is a name for Satan that comes from the Greek word “diabolos” meaning a “traducer” and “false accuser.” It is also used for a person who throws things at other people. It means to accuse, slander, and lead astray (Matt. 13:39; Luke 22:31; John 13:2; Eph. 6:11; Rev. 12:10). 
  • Satan means “the accuser” in contrast to Michael being “an advocate.” Satan is the accuser of those who are righteous. He acts like a prosecuting attorney before God’s court to those he knows are innocent. In contrast, Jesus is the Defense Attorney. This term means “adversary;” he is the Chief Adversary both to God and to humans (1 Chron. 21:1; Job 1:2f; Job 16; Zech. 3:1-2; Matt. 4:10). 
  • Leads the whole world astray. This is the character of Satan and evil; his chief goal is to seduce us away from God by any means, such as tricking or tempting us with what we want so he can distract us away from Christ. 
  • Salvation… authority of his Christ implies that the Work of Christ on the Cross is finished; He came to do the work He did, it is done and completed, and He is the victor. He is the One who delvers and rescues us, versus Satan who does the opposite (John 19:30; Rom. 8:33-34; Col. 2:15; Heb. 2:14-15).
  • Accuser is Satan’s name in Hebrew. It is how he operates as our slanderer; he accuses and slanders those who are God’s children, and whose faith is in Him. Most likely, Satan no longer is able to go before God and accuse us because he has been thrown out of heaven. At any result or rule, he does not have sway over a person of faith (Job 1:9-11; Zech 3:1-5; John 16:11). 
  • They overcame. We have atonement by Christ’s blood for our sins, so Satan cannot use our sins against us although he still tries to by creating self-doubt and other tools of manipulation to deceive and seduce us. A wise Christian can stand against Satan’s accusations by faith and knowledge and by knowing and trusting in who and what Christ has done; Satan’s accusations have no power or merit and thus are no reason for us to be anxious about (Rom. 8:31-39).
  • Blood of the Lamb. This contains the essential, Christian salvation message. This is an image of how Israel was redeemed out of Egypt and led into the Promised Land. It was the blood of the Passover Lamb that protected them; now, Christ is the ultimate depiction and application of this¾Jesus Saves (Mark 10:45; 1 Cor. 6:20; Rev. 1:5; 5: 9; 7:14)!
  • Word of their testimony. This infers that we have a legal right, by what Christ has given, to be represented by Christ; His work covers and protects us from Satan’s accusations.
  • Did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death. This was Jewish saying to mean “valor” and a willingness to be martyred and to profess faith and victory to overcome fear before going to war. This was recited before a battle to show allegiance and courage (Judges 5:18).
  • The devil has gone down to you. We have the opportunity and ability to either be influenced by Satan and evil or to turn our hearts to Christ alone. In Jewish lore, it was believed that Satan would be unleashed to fight against the people of faith during the End of Days.
  • He knows that his time is short. Satan’s authority and dominion are still under God’s sovereignty; he can do only what God allows for His purpose. Satan has lost and fights like a cornered animal as well as using all the weapons at his disposal to oppose God’s people and goodness. In the last days, he will become more intensely and hostile toward the people of God.




Revelation 12:7-12

23 01 2010

Introduction 

The War and Victory of Christ 

John now sees a great war between Michael and the angels of God and the dragon and his evil minions. They fought as if this evil dragon had a chance. It was the universe’s greatest mismatch, omnipotence versus arrogance, and pride versus the Way of God. The dragon, Satan himself, seeks to destroy by deceiving us to do his bidding, tricking us to think it is the best, most fun option, when in fact, all it does is devastate us, taking us away from family, opportunities, fullness, and Christ’s ever abundant love. Christ is triumphant; His blood and sacrifice prevails and is too much for Satan to handle. He can’t stand against the goodness of Christ. Thus, the dragon and his minion lost are defeated and thrown out of the Heaven. 

Mainly, this passage shows us the defeat of Satan and the victory of Christ! This can be applied to sin, disease, pride, spiritualism, or as it evidently means, spiritual warfare—a template on how Satan and evil seek to operate, a plan of the enemy. But, the bottom line is this; Christ is the Victor! His win has continual outcomes of triumph for the Christian, and judgment and consequences for Satan and those who follow him. This passage may be a depiction of the fall of Satan, the application of how he works, the battle of the Cross, or how he sought to steal the show and defeat Christ to prevent the salvation of the elect. Perhaps it is all of the above; but, the context clearly shows the prime meaning to be the battle of the Cross. Satan was just using the same old game plan as he did before, and Christ again proved victorious by His redemptive blood and resurrection. The point God has for us is this: the devil has his ways and plan and God has His; the devil has his facts and God has His Truth, The question is what will reign in you (Isaiah 14:12-14; John 12:31-33; Col. 2:15)? 

How do you handle a great crisis? Do you panic, come alive and take charge, or what? How is the way we handle a crisis like the way we handle Satan’s temptations?





What does Revelation 2: 8-11 mean to me?

28 02 2009

The troubles we face can cause us to fear so we seek to cover them up with our pride and/or bitterness. We try to go it alone when Christ is beckoning us to trust in Him, go His Way, and give our fears to Him. When we refuse to heed His call, it will just be a short time until we are thrown away, given to the devil, since we are working for him anyway. Ironically, our sufferings are far less of a venture and sentence than our poor choices. When we work our lives and church with our corrupt personal power we are in fact abandoning His power and Fruit. Consider this: when we are independent from Christ in our personal lives and in running our churches, we are forsaking and opposing Him. Thus, it is not that much of a stretch or even a job relocation to be a church of Satan, since we are already such a place. But, when we trust in Him, He will give us the strength to endure. When we are faithful, we become beacons of hope and encouragement to others, too. We will become lifesavers, thrown to those who are drowning. Christ will use us in the plights of others as hands to grab on to and pull others up when they are sinking. But, if we are not faithful, there is no outstretched hand, only missed opportunities and an infamy to a community, a life wasted, a church of dysfunction, and a crown of shame instead of a crown of life. God asks us to be conquerors and faithful witnesses to whom and what He is! We cannot do that as a church of Satan!

When we go through the troubles of life, we can either take shelter in Him or seek to go it alone in our fears and pride. When we seek to do His church on our own, we turn it into a church of evil, as diametrically opposed to Christ, as Satan is opposed to Him. We may not be worshipping Satan, but when we run the church by our ways and agendas, we are, in fact, worshipping Satan, because Christ is not only ignored, He is being opposed! Smyrna was a church where people’s agendas were in opposition to Christ‘s. They had sufferings to overcome and learn from, but most chose to run the course their way and tarnish His Way.

Questions to Ponder:

1. Why is Smyrna being praised? Why are they treading on dangerous ground? What caused them to turn out to be a church of bitterness and strife?

2. Jesus is passionately concerned with how and what we do in our churches, and wants to be intimately involved. So, how is He involved in your church? What can be done to invite Him further into your church?

3. How does the fact that Jesus knows your pain and feels your pain help you persevere in times of trials and confusion?

4. How do you demonstrate faithfulness? When we suffer, we may think that Christ is absent, but He is not. He is with us fully. How does this fact strengthen your faithfulness?

5. If this was your church, what could be done to make sure it did not die but be revived to its formerly healthy and vibrant ways?

6. What causes a Christian to become belligerent against Christ and a church to turn on one another, forsaking their call and duty? How does this ruin a church? How can such a church be turned around?

The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. 2 Corinthians 4:4

© 2006 R. J. Krejcir Ph.D. Into Thy Word Ministries www.intothyword.org





Exegetical look into Revelation 2: 8-10

27 02 2009

· Church means a body of believers who come together for worship, instructions, and to serve. This does not refer to a building. Many churches have many different types of people, liturgies, and government. Many are not always true Christians or have God’s interests at heart; rather, they are driven by personal agendas or trends that are contrary to the precepts of our Lord. Jesus is attacking our placing personal agendas and power struggles over His lead!

· Smyrna, now called Izmir in Turkey, was a beautiful, large, prosperous, and loyal city and the center of the Emperor worship practice. Furthermore, there was a tough, antagonistic Jewish Synagogue there, giving the Christians a squeeze in the middle of persecution and hostility. The city officials were betraying and falsely accusing the Christians. The Jews kicked them out of their fellowship, a scandalous act for a Jew. This Smyrna church was composed of people who were burnt out and were starting to lose their faithfulness. Thus, instead of continuing to fight the ravages of persecution with trust and obedience to Christ, they decided to ignore His precepts and do their own thing. Even though they professed to worship and honor Christ, they did not do so fully in their deeds and attitudes (2 Cor. 4:4). They were once a vibrant, healthy church but were starting to die. This city of Smyrna was destroyed and laid in ruins, then rebuilt, as in resurrected (800-300 BC). The application is that a dead or dying church with faithful, Christ–empowered people can be turned around and resurrected! John’s disciple, Polycarp, became the Bishop there and did resurrect it until he was martyred 30 or so years later (or at this time, depending how you date Revelation–another proof for a late date for Revelation if he is the “Angel”).

· I know your afflictions. In times of suffering, we may think that Christ is absent, but He is not. He is fully with us!

· Poverty has two meanings: being physically poor and helpless, and being rich in faith (2 Cor. 8:6; James 1:9). It may, perhaps, mean the financial sufferings they were going through. It also refers to a hunger for righteousness and seeking the depths of God’s love and virtue, and in so doing, being committed to continue allowing yourself to grow in maturity, to be transformed, and to be renewed. At the same time, it is not allowing personal circumstances to disrupt your faith (Matt. 5:3-6; Rom. 12:1-3; 2 Cor. 8:8-12; Phil. 2:5-9).

· Rich. John reminds them that they are rich when they are the elect/chosen in Him (Luke 6:20; James 2:5). In contrast, the Laodicean church thought they were rich when they were actually poor, as bankrupted in faith (Rev. 3:17).

· Who say they are Jews. A public profession of faith or a genetic legacy must always be backed up with real, authentic faith and deeds (Rom. 2:28-29).

· Synagogue of Satan, meaning being apostate is referring to the local Synagogue and of Jews who were very antagonistic to the Christians as they refused to acknowledge Christ as the Messiah and who called the Christians a Synagogue of Satan. This does not refer to an actual Christian “church;” rather, it is a metaphor meaning to oppose Christ, as in refusing to heed the precepts of God’s Word and call, and doing the opposite, which is one’s own will and agenda. The Church of Smyrna was starting to doubt that Christ was coming back so they taught the opposite of His instructions. This is a parody of who Satan is and how he operates. The question we have to ask ourselves is are we operating to the opposite tune from what Jesus commands, as this Synagogue and the church of Smyrna were starting to? If so, we are being a church of Satan!

· Devil. Here, his name “diabolos” means accuser and slanderer (Zech 3:1; Job 1:6-12; 2:1-7; John 15:20; 2 Tim. 3:12; Rev. 12:10).

· Prison refers to a place of detention until a trial or execution took place, much like a city jail today.

· Test you/testingten days refers to Daniel 1:12 and the trials he faced. This means our trails will be limited and temporary (Matt. 5:11-12; James 1:2; 1 Pet. 1:7; 3:14). To say that this means ten waves of future persecutions or the ten emperors is a stretch, and does not take into account O.T. understandings.

· Persecution refers to the many Christians who were martyred for their faith.

· Faithful. Ironically, the city of Smyrna was known for their faithfulness to Rome, but its church started to withdraw their faithfulness to our Lord!

· Crown of life is not an actual crown. Rather, it represents our victory, a symbol of eternal life, and our reward in Christ for our faithfulness (Psalm 103:4; James 1:12; Rev. 3:11; 4:4, 10; 6:2; 9:7; 12:1-3; 13:1; 14:14; 19:12). The physical layout of the city of Smyrna was in the pattern of a crown, in conjunction with the Greek patron goddess “Cybele” of Smyrna who wore a crown incrusted with coins. This also referred to the “olive garland,” an athlete’s reward for victory. Jesus wants us to seek the real, true Crown, which is worn in our hearts and minds and affects our will and deeds. This is demonstrated when we seek to please Him and not our plans or profits. “Doing” church is all about glorying Christ, not satisfying its leadership or attendees!





Revelation 2: 8-11

27 02 2009

Introduction

“The Church of Smyrna”

Smyrna is a Greek word for myrrh, a bitter herb used both as an anointing oil and for embalming, and was one of the gifts the wise men brought to Jesus as a young child (Ex. 30:23; Esth. 2:12; Psalm 45:8; Prov. 7:17; Matt. 2:11; John 19:39). The churches of Smyrna and Philadelphia were the only two of the seven that were fully praised by Christ. Even though Smyrna was praised, they were treading on dangerous ground. They were starting to be bitter as their name applies. After facing much persecution, they became belligerent against Christ and turned against one another, forsaking their call and duty. They had the opportunity to learn and grow from their situation, but instead, they chose bitterness and strife. They embraced fearfulness instead of faithfulness.

Like the church of Smyrna, we will all face sufferings and trials. It is not the questioning of them to help us cope, but how we learn and deal with them that help shape our spiritual formation. The trials we face will be used to enrich our own lives and make us a beacon to help others in their trials, too. When we cave in to our fears, we will only be insolvent in real poverty, bankrupted spiritually because of our opposition to Christ as our Lord and Sustainer.

John is grabbing their attention by reminding them (and us) who Christ is and what He has done. He is not just a Savior and/or best Friend; He gives us life, holds our lives, and will judge our lives. He is the One who overcame life and death for our benefit, and when we seek to run His church our way, we embarrass and dishonor Him and His Way. Jesus lived life in purity and sinlessness for our benefit, to enable us to have eternal life and partake in His fellowship. He knows us more intimately that we can imagine and desires that we be in Him and glorify Him fully. Yet, we tend to fill His call with the void of our stubbornness, recklessness, and selfishness. Yet, He is there, guiding us with a beacon that says I know your pain, I felt your pain, I have experienced your pain and I feel your pain now, too. He has taken our pain away. The tribulations we face are not the things that can derail us from Him; rather, they can form us more in Him in maturity and character.

These letters to the seven churches echo the good, the bad, and the ugly in all churches. They are styled similarly to O.T. Prophets and their oracles against the corrupt and the call to repentance, as in “let’s get it right” (Isa. 13-23; Jer. 46-51; Ezek. 25-32; Amos 2-4). Jesus directly challenges them, and us, in how we operate our church, what we doing right, where we are straying, what is heinous about us, and what we can do to get back on track. Christ is here, caring, and is present in our church! He is passionately concerned with what we do and how we do it, and wants to be intimately involved (Matt. 7:20; 10:16; 2 Tim. 2:15; 1 John 4:1).






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