Revelation 9:12-21

8 10 2009

Introduction 

“The Sixth Trumpet”  

The Sixth Angel now blows his trumpet, and brings about more judgment. On the surface, this looks like only doom and gloom, as it is for those who seek evil and refuse to repent. But, what many people choose not to see in this passage is that this is also the work of God’s patience and grace. Perhaps it is anticlimactic and our thirst for revenge outweighs our desire to see things set right. But God reveals His temperament by offering His forgiveness, thus allowing for humanity to repent and come to their senses. Nevertheless, they choose not the ways of God and life, nor do they choose the ways of goodness and virtue. Instead, they refuse His offer of grace and forgiveness and dig themselves further down in their sin and became entrenched in their debauchery. People from the past, present, and future (all of humanity) are bent on serving only the means and wants of self. They seek what is wrong¾naturally and deliberately. These acts are continual throughout human history and are contemporaneous, remaining now and in the future, a result of our fallen, sinful nature (Rom. 1: 18-32; 3:23; 6:23). 

The Roman Empire was experiencing greater and greater problems with the Parthians in the eastern border area of Asia Minor, where John’s readers were. This region greatly feared attacks and/or an all out invasion by them. These Parthians were depicted as the enemy and propaganda waged an early “cold war” between them and Rome. There was even mythology that Nero would arise from the dead and lead these Parthians in his blood lust revenge against Rome, the Jews, and the Christians. Some Jews believed the Parthians would come and save them from the Roman occupation, hence why the war of 66-70 started against a far superior force. However, they did not receive the help, and the Jewish revolt failed, abruptly ending the Temple, the city, and the Jewish way of life. The first century Jews put their trust in war and a fabled, non-convicting messiah instead of the Living Lord! 

This passage is as much about mercy as it is about judgment! The human desire is to remain in sin when we have in full view its destructive nature and how it hurts. It is not just mischief; it seriously maims us and all those around us. The idea of sin can confound the mind. Yet, it is our minds that are not conformed, neither is the soul of those who remain in sin. Sin is very, very powerful-not just a lure, but also a way of life that seems fulfilling, exciting, and desirable, even when it does not work and it kills us (Rom. 1:28-31).





What does Revelation 2: 18-29 mean to me?

27 03 2009

It is amazing how patient and longsuffering our Lord is!
He accommodates us to the point of giving us time to realize our wayward ways and giving us room to make mistakes, yet, still calls us back into His arms of love and care. Even to this evil person who was manipulating His children and causing them to sin heinously, God was giving time and grace. But, she is the one who refused to heed His Lordship and precepts. Such sin will pile up and compound, leaving us disillusioned and empty; then, if we still refuse to repent, all we will have is chastisement, and then, judgment. God is not calling us to repent to smite us, but to better us; He wants the best for us just as a good parent wants the best for his or her child. He does not want us to sin, because it destroys us and causes others to do so, too. It is like watching people you love do something really stupid like use drugs; you know it will harm them, but they refuse your counsel and treatment programs, and thus, end up destroying their lives, the lives of their children and friends, and then dying as a result. We do not say, I told you so; rather, we weep for them, as God weeps for us when we mess up. Try not to be the person for whom others and God weep; rather, take responsibility and initiative and be the person who builds his or her church and life on His Word and authority.

Questions to ponder:

1. In this church, if a Christian refused to participate in a guild (that also practiced cultism, sin, and godlessness) he was cut off from any social or economic participation in the city, and not even allowed to buy and sell food or support himself and his family. What would you have done, and why?

2. What does it mean that Jesus is the One who is to be in charge of your church? How does your leadership honor this fact? How should they honor Christ as Lord over the Church?

3. How do you feel that Jesus is looking at the way you are leading and governing His church? What gets in the way of good self-examination or accountability to see if you are doing it His way, the world’s way, or your way?

4. What happens when a church decides to weaken His Word for what they believe would be tolerated and received better so as to attract more people? (There is nothing wrong with using methods and programs to attract people, this is good. The wrong comes when we compromise His Word and Truth.) How does this defy Him as LORD?

5. What does it take for a church’s leadership, perhaps your church, to realize that Jesus holds us responsible to take the faith He gives us and personally grow it, and further, to lead with faithfulness and in truth, His Truth?

6. What would your church look like if the leadership took more responsibility and initiative to build the church and their lives on His Word and authority?

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





Exegetical look into Revelation 2: 24-29

27 03 2009

This church had the same problem as did Pergamos with compromising as well as rationalizing their actions as OK. They sought both sin and Christ, not caring or realizing that the two cannot co-exist. We are called to overcome; and when we do, because we are capable of overcoming with His empowerment, we will be blessed and powerfully used for Christ’s glory.

· Her teaching…Satan’s so-called deep secrets possibly refers to an early Gnostic teaching, that says that for us to defeat evil, we have to physically fight with Satan and steal back a secret word of knowledge that unlocks a higher level of being. And, also to defeat evil, we have to experience evil deeply. This is a very twisted mindset (Acts 15:28-29)!

· I will not impose any other burden on you. We do not need to add works to our faith for salvation; rather, we are called to be faithful in response to what He has done for us.

· Hold on…I will give authority is a quote from various Psalms that teaches the promise God gives us, the promise of a Messiah Who was fulfilled in Christ, and that He is in control. This also refers to putting on God’s armor so we can fight temptations and flee from evil; we evade the lusts of our heart and world by running from it, not toward it (Eph. 6:11-18; James. 3:15, 17; 4:4, 7-10)!

· Until I come refers to God’s impeding judgment to this church, not necessarily to His “second coming.” This is used to argue a position that Christ has already come, the “Full Preterist” view. However, it more likely means you will not bear the judgment, as “when I come” refers to the judgment of chastisement, not final judgment. This is also a commendation to those who remained faithful and were not drawn to the lure of Jezebel.

· I will give authority over the nations, a quote from Psalm 2:8-9, refers that we partake in His authority and rule as His representatives and holders of His promise. This also means that Jesus is Sovereign and greater than any nation, government, power, or authority (Matt. 25:21-23; Luke 19:17; 1 Cor. 15:41; Col. 1).

· Morning star referred to the planet Venus, and was a depiction in Judaism meaning the advent of dawn or a new day or age. This is also a name for Jesus‘ first coming, messiahship, and, in this passage, His radiance and glory. It also alludes to the kingship of Israel and refers to His Second Coming. The pagans believed that people’s lives were ruled by the stars. This testifies that Jesus is the Ruler, not the stars. Jesus is giving Himself to us (Num. 24:17; Psalm 84:11; Mal. 4:2; 2 Peter 1:12-21; Rev. 2:28; 22:16; 22:16)!

· He will rule them refers to being a caring shepherd, and at the same time, God’s strength, authority, and right to rule (Rev. 12:5; 19:15).





Exegetical look into Revelation 2: 18-23

27 03 2009

· Thyatira, which is now modern Akhisar, then hosted a major Apollo cult. (Apollo was a son of Zeus and eventually took Zeus’ place as the supreme Roman god.) This was a city known for its rich economy, prosperity, and its trade guilds, including a rich Bronze Guild, hence Jesus’ play on words. These guilds were similar to unions today, but with a cult-like theme. Thus, this city valued wealth above all things. The Christians were being pressured to join a guild, which was a tight-knit group, a “commune” almost, that worshiped pagan idols and participated in the pagan festivals. If a Christian refused to participate in a guild, he was cut off from any social or economic participation in the city, and not even allowed to buy and sell food or support himself and his family—a shadow of one of the roles of the anti-Christ (Rev. 13:17). Such isolation would make it a great temptation to indulge or compromise and allow false teachers to come in and mislead people, which is just what had happened. They had a small, inconsequential Jewish community. Lydia, who was a dealer in purple cloth, was from Thyatira (Acts 16:14).

· Like blazing fire refers to God’s Sovereignty, strength, and ability and right to judge, and indicated that if they did not repent, they would be judged. (See Rev. 1:14 study and Isaiah 63:1-4; Dan. 10:6 Rev. 14:19).

· Burnished bronze is a refined alloy of bronze, copper, and zinc.

· Your love and faith…service and perseverance. God honors such things, but we always have to be aware of our weaknesses and things that may cause us to compromise or slip in our faith. In contrast, the Church of Ephesus did not tolerate false teaching, but they were not loving toward God and one another, while this church tolerated false teaching, yet exercised love and faithfulness.

· You are now doing more than you did at first. For the most part, many people in this church were fearful and serving the Lord. There may have been a splinter group of people engaged in these sins, but no discipline or censor was taking place.

· I have this against you. They were tolerating paganism and even participating in it, thus compromising their faith to external social pressures and internal false teachings. This led to credibility problems with non-Christians and gave God a bad reputation (1 Cor. 2:10; 2 Cor. 5:20).

· Jezebel refers to an influential person who was teaching and causing people to sin by “seducing” them in order to cause them to compromise their faith and indulge in fornication. This person was mimicking the appalling character of Jezebel in the O.T. who was the most wicked woman depicted in the Bible. Jezebel personifies evil, greed, manipulation, and opposition to God without fear of Him or consequences. She was a harlot to God, as in betraying Him with occult practices and monstrous evil. She also led the false prophets who fought against God’s ways while saying they were God’s representatives and falsely claiming His authority, as she led the people into idolatry and sin (1 Kings 16:29; 31;19:1-2 to 21:24; 2 Kings 9:22; 30-37; Neh. 6:14; Ezek. 13:17-19).

· Prophetess. This was a female who declared or interpreted oracles from dreams or visions, either from God or from self delusions.

· Bed of suffering, as opposed to a bed of fornication. Sickness can be caused by sin as a form of punishment (1 Cor. 11:29-30).

· Commit adultery means betraying God, as to say, Jesus is my Savior, but I do not need to trust in Him, and I do not need to obey His precepts and morals. I am saved by Christ alone, by faith alone. However, I will not it allow to touch my daily life. I can do as I see fit (Judges 17:6; James 2: 14-26). This is called antinomianism in theology, meaning anti-law. It is an unbiblical belief that denies the righteousness of God and sees our grace as allowing total freedom in all that we do or can do, and using it as a license to sin. Thus, we do not need to be obedient to God, His precepts, civil law, or any moral standards, nor do we need to bear fruit. God says this is evil as it portrays evil as being good (Rom. 6:1-2; 14-15; 13:8, 10; Gal. 5:14; 6:2; Gal. 5:22-25; Jude 4).

· Suffer intensely/tribulations. Some commentators mistake this phrase’s meaning, as it says “they will suffer,” as pertaining to the great tribulation. The two are unrelated because the word meanings and context do not correspond.

· Unless they repent. God gives us ample provision and time to turn from our evil and wayward ways to His True Word, His best Way (Jer. 23:22-23).

· Strike her children. “Children” refers to her followers, not literal kin, as Jezebel was a spiritual mother to spiritual corruption (Psalm 7:9; Pr 24:12; Isa. 57:3-8; Jer. 11:20; 17:10).

· I am he who searches hearts and minds refers to God’s omnipotence and omniscience. Hearts denotes the center of our rational thoughts; minds, in the Greek, literally means “kidneys,” and denotes our will and trust in Him.

· Repay each of you refers to judgment that is based on how we lead our lives with responsibility (Matt. 16:27; Rom. 2:6; Rev 18:6; 20:12-13; 22:12).

Busyness to God does not always denote faithfulness to God!




Revelation 2: 18-29

27 03 2009

Introduction

“The Church of Thyatira”

Jesus again makes His point that He is the One who is to be in charge of the church. He is looking at the way we are leading and governing our church, and if we are doing it His way, the world’s way, or our way. He sees us when we do it right, acting on faith, and in His Spirit and Truth, and He also sees us when we mess up. He doesn’t want us to stray from doing His Church right, because there is no other person, trend, or guide (other than His Word and instruction) that is to direct His Church. It is not our church; it is His Church. He does not want us to lead others astray, be apathetic and do little, chase a fad that is wrong and destructive, teach what is in error, weaken His Word by substituting what we believe would be tolerated and received better, nor does He want us to defy Him, as He is LORD.

This church at Thyatira was struggling to improve and seeking to be better in how they ran His Church. They were seeking to be faithful and diligent, yet, this church had a faction that was defying Him in a big way by allowing debauchery and heinous sin in the midst of His Bride, His Church! On one hand, they were being faithful in their faith. On the other, they were sinning by committing adultery with one another and with God.

Jesus is warning them and us to come around to Him and His ways or suffer the consequences! We have to realize that Jesus holds us responsible for taking the faith He gives us and growing it. Then, we who are in leadership roles have further responsibility to lead with faithfulness and in truth—His Truth. He wants us to hold His Truth from His Word and Spirit tightly in our minds and hearts so it flows through our bodies, and how we are in Christ becomes how we are to others. He will reward us greatly for our faithfulness in the management of His Church and He will chastise and judge us if we are not faithful. If you can’t take that responsibility, then do not be in leadership, because we will all be held to account for what we do! And, others could suffer because of our pride and wayward ways.

This church at Thyatira seems to be doing good and being healthy as Jesus praises them for their authenticity and staying close to Him as they held on through tough persecution. But, this church was being very hypocritical, saying one thing while doing another. Perhaps, it was the various factions or the hypocrisy in “saying” faith, yet at the same time participating in sin with sexual promiscuity and engaging in pagan traditions and idol worship. Perhaps, some of the people were engaged in being faithful while sleeping around and justifying it, as some Christians still do today. Others could have been pure and faithful while allowing the sin to go unnoticed, either by not caring or by being afraid to confront and do something about it. Then, there were people like this Jezebel, who personifies evil, purposely leading people into sin without care for virtue, reprisal, consequences, or God’s call.




The Four Main Views of Revelation 2: 1-7

13 02 2009

Preterist view: Sees this passage as addressing actual historical churches.

Futurist view: Believes as the Preterist and Historicist, too. Many theologians of all these views hold that they are historical and point to all churches, and that there is no hidden meaning in these chapters.

Idealist view: Sees these churches as symbolic with no specific reference in history, place, or time, but rather as a template for church history and the seven ages of the Church. Both Idealists and Historicists see Ephesus as the Apostolic Age to 100 A.D.; Smyrna is the church under persecution 100 to 300 A.D.; Pergamum is the church after Constantine and the Dark Ages of corruption 313 to 500 A.D., false teaching, and carnality. Thyatira is the Middle Ages of the power of the Papacy and corruption, 500 to 1500. Sardis is the Reformation 1500 to 1700 (Reformed denominations attack this position because Sardis is described as actually being dead). Philadelphia is the church with evangelism and missionary movements,1700 to the present. Laodicea represents the liberal churches from 1900 to the End of Days.

Historicist view: Sees this passage as parallels to all churches, which every church that ever was or will be will fall in one of those seven “categories.”

Questions to Ponder:

1. How would you appraise your church from this letter? What is your church doing right as listed here, and what is it doing wrong?

2. This church of Ephesus is being praised for its good and is also threatened with judgment if they do not start to love. Why would Jesus use such strong language with them?

3. Why do you suppose this church had trouble with loving? Do you think people could become victims of the ugly that happens when a key component of doing Church is left out?

4. Why would someone think that are “improving” Christianity by teaching people to compromise their faith so they can join in the culture?

5. What happens when we run our churches to please ourselves or for our comforts and ideas? Do you believe that if we refuse love then we are refusing Christ and we will be judged for it?

6. What is the condition of your church? What can you do to implement the prime purpose of glorifying Christ as a purpose statement or active slogan that is understood and applied?

7. What can you do to carefully and seriously examine your own church so you are all doing your best for His highest? What would it take to make the needed improvements? How would the people in your church handle some examination?

© 1992-2009, R. J. Krejcir Ph.D. Into Thy Word Ministries http://www.intothyword.org





What does Revelation 2: 1-7 mean to me?

13 02 2009

Revelation was written to the Seven Churches of Asia Minor, which is now modern Turkey (Rev. 1:4, 11). The principle purpose for the writing is to encourage and chastise them for how they were running their churches (Rev. 2:1-3:22). John was fully convinced that Christ would triumph over the forces of Satan and his work in the world. He then exhorted them to be faithful and discerning between what is false and what is truth, and warned them not to worship the Emperor or to comply with evil, apathy, or compromise. He restated the importance of discipleship and Christian formation so they (we) could be authentic Christians of excellence and distinction, bringing no disrepute to Christ or His Church.

God’s purpose for John in Revelation is not that he be condescending or judgmental. Rather, it is so he could offer hope and encouragement to the Church. At the same time, it points out the issues and problems so we can address them and move from our ways to His Ways. If we just sit and point fingers at problems, ignore them, rationalize they are OK, or worry we might offend people and do nothing about fixing them, we do the Church, God, and ourselves a disservice. We are called to know what we are doing and His precepts so we can be better for His glory. Let’s take a hard look at our church and see where we are with what He has called us to, and have the courage and fortitude to fix what we are not doing right so we can seek being our best for His glory.

Jesus ends this letter with the importance of listening and heeding His precepts. We are to allow the flow of the Spirit, and to be Sprit-led, not self-led, especially with how we lead the Church. A church can only be successful as long as love is penetrating and being modeled from its leadership and members. When love is lost, so is the church (1 Cor. 13)!






Exegetical look into Revelation 2: 4-7

13 02 2009

Key word analysis:

· I hold this against you…first love. They had forgotten the most important aspect of a church! This may also mean they had bad attitudes, too, that they were once enthusiastic but now are apathetic. They stopped the love that they had for Christ and for one another.

· Forsaken is a very harsh term meaning abandon, as in abandoning a child. There, love was left out. Sound doctrine without love and care is like salt poured in dirt; it is useless (Jer. 2:2; 1 John 4; Rev. 2:19).

· Repent. Jesus is calling them back to His love. He asks them to remember who they are and Who He is, to hold on to Him and to dwell in Him. When we slip, it is gradual and we do not notice; sometimes, we do not care or see this as a problem. Thus, to call us back, Jesus sometimes must threaten judgment unless we start running our churches as they and we have been called to do. This is serious business! If an unloving church repents, it can be saved and rebooted to serve and glorify Christ. If not, it will close and be a rotten memory to the community and to Christ!

· Remove your lampstand. Judgment will be at hand soon, unless they repent! Jesus threatens them with judgment if they do not start to love again! This is also a parody of words since the city of Ephesus had to be removed and then moved.

· Nicolaitans was a heretical group that venerated Jezebel and Balaam with their horrible demeanor, false teachers, and manipulators. They also were experimenting with Gnosticism, believing that their Christian liberty gave them the freedom to practice sin, idolatry, immorality, and engage fully the pagan culture while remaining Christians (Acts 6:5). What angered Jesus further is that they taught they were “improving” Christianity by teaching people to compromise their faith so they could join in the culture and avoid persecution. “Nicolaitan” means conquer the people. Apparently, this church also micromanaged and lorded over its people just as a cult does today, which is also very bad and ugly (Matt. 21:20-27; 23:1-12; Acts 6:5).

· The Spirit means hear the Word of God. It refers to the vision of the prophecy and perhaps the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, too (Amos 3:1; 4:1; 5:1; Rev. 1:10; 14:13).

· Him who overcomes/one who conquers means to win an athletic event or military campaign. It refers to persevering in the face of adversity and being better for it. This does not mean we earn our salvation nor have any effect regarding it; rather, it means to be faithful. Our growth in Him demonstrates our faith; it is our growth in Christ that keeps us here on this earth. No matter what is facing us and no matter what we have experienced, what we go through in life is meant to form our character and maturity. What we learn is what we carry into eternity. When we fail and do not overcome, it is disappointing in our Lord’s sight. Being faithful is the key that opens to us the door to living in the New Jerusalem (John 13:34; 16:33; Phil. 1; 1 John 4:20; 5:4-5; Rev. 2:11, 17, 26; 3:5, 12, 21; 21:1-22:5).

· Tree of life means access to God’s blessings. The tree of life was in the Garden of Eden from which humanity was locked out after the Fall. The promise here is the restoration of Paradise, and that this tree will grow again (Gen. 2:9; 3:22-24; Ezek. 47:12; 2 Cor. 12:2-4; Rev. 2: 14, 19; chaps 21 -22)!

· Paradise means, “pleasure garden.” This points to our restored, sinless state and/or the millennial kingdom (Gen. 2:8; Ezek. 28:13; Luke 23:43; 2 Cor. 12:4).





Exegetical look into Revelation 2: 1-3

12 02 2009

Key word analysis:

· To the/Say this is a royal edict, as The King Says!

· Angel. The context here indicates this may be a human messenger, as people are used by God to convey His message.

· Church of Ephesus. Ephesus was the Roman capital of Asia Minor. It was located near modern Istanbul, Turkey. Its ruins are still visible today. It was once a jewel of a city with a population of 250,000. It had to move many times due to the rising of the ocean levels and near by river silts, which have since receded. Ephesus means “Cayster” the god of the river. John himself may have planted this church, and Paul lived there for three years ministering to them while he wrote the Epistle of Ephesians. Now, it is only a small village where the ruins remain in sight (Acts 18:19-20, 26; 19:8-9, 8-38; Eph. 1:1-3, 15; 1 Tim. 1:3).

· Golden lampstands refers to God’s Light, as the Church is the light to the world for God’s Glory. Christ is the destiny and pattern we follow and emulate.

· I know shows His care, that Jesus is God and omniscient (all knowing and all seeing), and the One who is to inspire us (1 Thess. 1:3).

· Perseverance means having confidence in God so we trust Him in difficult situations and still see His grace and love. Perseverance is not being faint with relationships or within situations, but being able to persist in dealing with stress so we can accomplish what God calls us to. We can do this by being encouraging with Christ-like temperament (2 Chron. 32:1-8; Esther 7; Luke 16:22-31; 18:9; Acts 19:8-10; 26:19-23; Rom. 15:14-16; Gal. 6:9; Phil. 1:6; 12-14, 25; 2 Tim. 2:25; James 5:7-12).

· Endured means God shows patience by tolerating our misdeeds for a time for the sake of others who will benefit from it by their faith being strengthened. Our endurance will communicate encouragement for our staying power; it is contagious as in “you can do it, too!” When God seems far away and no one seems to care about injustice or your concerns, God is still there caring! He will vindicate and care for you, turning your suffering into His glory and a benefit to others, too (Prov. 6:9; Rom. 9:14-29; 2 Pet. 3:9)!

· Tested infers that we are called to test for correct doctrine, and the importance for any church to be giving real, dependable, true teaching (1 Cor. 14:29; 1 Thess. 5:21; 2 Peter 3; 1 John 4:1).

· Have not grown weary means not to give up our hard work and ethics.





Revelation 2: 1-7

12 02 2009

“The Church of Ephesus”

Introduction

John is asked to write a letter to seven churches, giving them encouragements, blessings, and condemnations. These are areas we all must carefully and seriously examine in our own church to see if we are doing our best for His highest! The letter is a clear proclamation of the sovereignty and eminence of Christ who stands in authority and judgment to show that He is in charge, that He does care, and that we need to get aligned with His will or else suffer the consequences. His Church is His Church; it does not belong to us even though we are the Church in unity and being. We belong to Him with a distinction and a purpose we must heed, take to heart, and practice to the best of our abilities and endeavors.

The church in Ephesus was both good and bad. They were doing some good because of their endurance in persecution. They did not tolerate false teaching or those with bad agendas that were contrary to God’s precepts. They were doing so well, most people in their busy-ness who would go to a church like this might not have noticed anything was missing. Or, perhaps they would be the victim of the ugly that happens when a key component of doing Church is left out. They had discernment, but had trouble with loving. They lost the most important thing about being in Christ—the Fruit of His Love flowing through us so it touches others. No amount of sacrifice or good teaching can make up for a lack of love! People see Christ by how we exhibit character and love, and this church was not doing that. Then, Jesus passionately challenged them to get back to Him, get back to loving. To solidify His point and the importance of love, He warned them that if they refused to love, they would be refusing Him, and that they would be judged for it.

Context

The purpose here in these two chapters of Revelation is to show us how the leadership of these churches function from God’s view, so to give us a heads up where and what we are to focus on. Jesus reprimands what we do wrong and compliments what we do right. Revelation also gives instructions to the seven churches. How to lean and mange a church in the good times and in crises and Who or what will we be loyal too?






Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 761 other followers