2 “To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: ‘The words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand, who walks among the seven golden lampstands.
2 “‘I know your works, your toil and your patient endurance, and how you cannot bear with those who are evil, but have tested those who call themselves apostles and are not, and found them to be false. 3 I know you are enduring patiently and bearing up for my name's sake, and you have not grown weary. 4 But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. 5 Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent. 6 Yet this you have: you hate the works of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. 7 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who conquers I will grant to eat of the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.’
To the Church in Smyrna
8 “And to the angel of the church in Smyrna write: ‘The words of the first and the last, who died and came to life.
9 “‘I know your tribulation and your poverty (but you are rich) and the slander of those who say that they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan. 10 Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and for ten days you will have tribulation. Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life. 11 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. The one who conquers will not be hurt by the second death.’
To the Church in Pergamum
12 “And to the angel of the church in Pergamum write: ‘The words of him who has the sharp two-edged sword.
13 “‘I know where you dwell, where Satan's throne is. Yet you hold fast my name, and you did not deny my faitheven in the days of Antipas my faithful witness, who was killed among you, where Satan dwells. 14 But I have a few things against you: you have some there who hold the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the sons of Israel, so that they might eat food sacrificed to idols and practice sexual immorality. 15 So also you have some who hold the teaching of the Nicolaitans. 16 Therefore repent. If not, I will come to you soon and war against them with the sword of my mouth. 17 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who conquers I will give some of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, with a new name written on the stone that no one knows except the one who receives it.’
To the Church in Thyatira
18 “And to the angel of the church in Thyatira write: ‘The words of the Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire, and whose feet are like burnished bronze.
19 “‘I know your works, your love and faith and service and patient endurance, and that your latter works exceed the first. 20 But I have this against you, that you tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess and is teaching and seducing my servants to practice sexual immorality and to eat food sacrificed to idols. 21 I gave her time to repent, but she refuses to repent of her sexual immorality. 22 Behold, I will throw her onto a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her I will throw into great tribulation, unless they repent of her works, 23 and I will strike her children dead. And all the churches will know that I am he who searches mind and heart, and I will give to each of you according to your works. 24 But to the rest of you in Thyatira, who do not hold this teaching, who have not learned what some call the deep things of Satan, to you I say, I do not lay on you any other burden. 25 Only hold fast what you have until I come. 26 The one who conquers and who keeps my works until the end, to him I will give authority over the nations, 27 and he will rule them with a rod of iron, as when earthen pots are broken in pieces, even as I myself have received authority from my Father. 28 And I will give him the morning star. 29
He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’
Revelation is serious. And everyone knew what Isaiah said and interpreted that correctly. Except the mistaken ones include - all the readers of Isaiah - including the magi. Knock,Knock Herod, we want to see the Prince.
And some people say Revelation is a drug or hallucination experience. Except Isaiah, Daniel and Ezekiel. They echo going to see this God experience.
And if you start at Revelation Chapter 1, you see - John passed out.
I think you almost have to have what John had to approach Revelation.
Let's start with the obvious. There are Churches when Jesus is going to return! That Is Good News and half of the population is going right away. Jesus said so.
Daniel sees quite a lot and Daniel tells us Angels are present in regions. John tells us they are present in Churches.
Then I looked, and I heard around the throne and the living creatures and the elders the voice of many angels, numbering myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands
Who said that we would have a guardian angel? Jesus.
“See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that in heaven their angels always see the face of my Father who is in heaven"
The Bible really has to be examined to find information on angels.Angels are not everywhere in the Word of God.
Let no one disqualify you, insisting on asceticism and worship of angels, going on in detail about visions, puffed up without reason by his sensuous mind
John absolutely does not qualify in Colossians 2:18, he is living in a cave. But when we get to the point where we are discussing angels - we have to understand. We are above our station in life.
2 Chronicles 20:15
He said: "Listen, King Jehoshaphat and all who live in Judah and Jerusalem! This is what the LORD says to you: 'Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God's."
Balaam is a key word in this Chapter. Balaam was a prophet who really wanted to be in power and in knowledge. Remember with me, Balaam wanted so badly to change God's mind and curse the Children of the Exile and yet Balaam knew he could not speak Words God would not honor and God would honor the Children of Israel. He went back to the money and told King Balak; informing the king on how to get the Israelites to "curse themselves" by enticing them. Numbers 31.This isn't unusual really! Abraham was going to "fix" up God's Word. And when Abraham broke this, Abraham wanted God to fix this. God generally is upfront and works on His own time.
The message is - let God solve God's Will and Word. When we work for God, we have to TRUST Him. We've seen in our time, people decided in the 60's God's Church was for Social Reform. Works instead of Love. We always are seeking a balance to please Him.
Messing around with something far greater than we are tells us, John knew what he was doing when he passed out.
John was about to point fingers. Pointing a biblical finger is intense, as well as death.
Revelation can be read in several ways. One, Jesus has to be the center. Or the Light that guides us.
More likely than not - Revelation is telling you, the reader, what your personal downfalls can be as you get to the point where we are weary, older or ill. Revelation is relevant to your life as guidance for yourself.
For your own life - Confessing the sins of others is pointless.
Sometimes not even realizing where you are. It's helpful the Light of God shines in believers; We can read the Passage and pray to Him for help in areas of weakness.
Revelation can be a road map. A personal road map. If something rings a bell, time to look at what we have made into our Church, our idol.
What is interesting God always uses parables of our lives to understand the flavor of His message.
John is actually saying, because this was explained to him as his life stories, the beginning downfalls of Churches John witnessed, and read letters about, will repeat.
Epistles of the New Testament admonish their readers to "guard what has been entrusted to you" (1 Timothy 6:20) and to "contend for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints" (Jude 3).
The problems of the early Church bring down the Church again. This time the doctrine is so weak, the liturgy so repetitive, no one has the energy or the Relationship with Jesus to try again. Actually, when you look at Church history for 2 millenniums, you see this is a pendulum that grows tired. And renews again.
Nicolaitans - followers of Nicolas who was one of the seven first ordained to the diaconate by the Apostles. They lead lives of unrestrained indulgence. Some of the Churches were like Balaam, they were purely involved for the power and money of influence. Other Churches fell into existing to spite the Jews, offer offense, practice immorality. Motives beyond the worship of Jesus Christ.
When you read the New Testament, you see the Churches are struggling.
Churches exist to worship God. His Love overflows and spills beyond the doors.
During the Jew-led Bar Kochba revolt in 135 A.D. leaders began to persecute Jewish Christians. Soon after the revolt ALL racial Jews (whether they practiced Judaism or whether they were Jewish converts to Christianity) were forbidden, by the Romans, to live in Jerusalem. This left the Church in the city governed by Gentiles. Around this same time Jewish Christians began to be branded as heretics. Without the presence of Jews who had converted to Christianity and who knew the Old Testament, the Jerusalem church began to weaken doctrinally. Divisions of Faith. Labeling. God used this time to move His Church away from Jerusalem. The pendulum was moving.
Now that is Jesus. Teaching John by his own experiences. When Samson's parents were completely confused, they cried out to the Angel Messenger to return. And God Wonderfully did. John was to explain the end of the growing Church. The downfall of the world.
And truly. Revelation will occur. Probably, like Isaiah, we will not see Revelation unfold - until it does. However this is a useful tool for those who have the ears and are willing to hear. Jesus likes to say - he who has ears - be willing to hear.
And he told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart.
He said, “In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor respected man. 3 And there was a widow in that city who kept coming to him and saying, ‘Give me justice against my adversary.’ 4 For a while he refused, but afterward he said to himself, ‘Though I neither fear God nor respect man, 5 yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will give her justice, so that she will not beat me down by her continual coming.’” 6 And the Lord said, “Hear what the unrighteous judge says. 7 And will not God give justice to his elect, who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long over them? 8 I tell you, he will give justice to them speedily.
Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”
Father God, help us each day, to be centered on You. Bless and strengthen the Angels of Christ Honoring Churches who believe Your Word. And Bless the Angels of these Regions. And Nations. Offer us, please, a life of challenges, rewards and opportunities for you. In Jesus. Amen.
♔ Lord Jesus Saves †