Presentation on theme: "As we move into Chapter two, and then three, it is necessary to look into the history and circumstances of each city, Verse 1."— Presentation transcript:
As we move into Chapter two, and then three, it is necessary to look into the history and circumstances of each city, Verse 1
as a whole, so that we may better understand the circumstances of each church and the message that they are receiving.
It will become evident that the cities were largely pagan and that the churches consisted of converted Jews and pagans.
The Epistles tell us that there was much dissension between the formerly Jewish Christians and the formerly pagan Christians and that both were persecuted by both the pagans, who usually held the positions of authority, and also by the unconverted Jews.
A study of relativistic pagan society reveals a life of brutal drudgery and a hopelessness for any thing better - EVER!
This was the only relief in a life devoid of hope for purpose, fulfillment and joy. This was/is the empty space in anyone's soul that can only be filled by the Spirit of God, the Father, the Almighty.
In what is to come, Christ lays bare the true state of each individual church and this state can be seen in the churches of history and in the state of the churches of today.
We gain this understanding from the fact that only seven churches were selected from the multitude that existed in John's time and by the fact that, at the close of each letter, there is a statement that the Holy Spirit is speaking to the churches.
As we encounter the number seven applied to these churches we tend to focus on the fact that seven is symbolic of perfection, yet we will find that these churches are far from perfect.
In our day this means that if repentance isn't accomplished by us, Revelation will be accomplished by Yehovah.
We might also consider how many of these sins fall into the unpardonable category because they stem from unbelief.
In each of these epistles we will observe:
(A) That Christ always describes himself by a characteristic suited to the circumstances of each particular church regardless of whether the message promises encouragement or terror.
(B) each epistle is directed to the angel or messenger of the church. These would likely be the pastors because they are the mouth of God for the congregation. Once again we see that revelation was written to be understood by all and to be declared publically.
(C) each epistle is concluded with a promise of eternal glory and happiness for victorious believers and a solemn call to every reader and hearer to seriously learn and apply the contents of these letters to their lives.
Under Caesar Augustus, Ephesus became the capitol of the Roman province of Asia, which is presently the western portion of Turkey.
It was known to be the residence of John both before and after his internments on Patmos.
After this, the church became the responsibility of John, upon his release from Patmos.
The Revelation context of the warning is about its character of being a loveless church.
Is a clear indication that it is Jesus who is talking and taking action. Verse 1
Is an indication that the faith formerly held by this church, and the evangelism and works that faith had generated, have been judged and approved by Christ. Verse 2
Jesus commends them for carefully discerning the lies and evil deeds of false teachers and rejecting them.
This would indicate that this congregation had turned inward, not only against society but also against each other.
In doing this, they have turned away from the Great Commission and it author.
Similarly, this could also mean that this congregation had been distracted by the busyness of the activities of the world around them to the point that their ardent love for Jesus had cooled due to neglect.
In our lives, we need to consider if our own love for the Lord has lost its initial passion, if we too have been distracted by the busyness of the world
perhaps a busyness that Satan has strewn in our path for just that reason perhaps a busyness that Satan has strewn in our path for just that reason.
Is a call to remember who they were those 30 years ago and to return to that state of affairs quickly before Jesus removes their candlestick #, extinguishing their light unto the world. Verse 5
Now that we know what the candlestick represents, we can see the seriousness of the error and the warning.
This denunciation began to unfold during the persecutions of the emperors Decius Gallus and Valerian and was completed to the letter by the Saracens and the Turks.
The place has long been an uninhabited ruin.
(see commentary on Nicolaitans) (See Acts 6:5) Verse 6
This hearing admonition is repeated seven times in Revelation. Verse 7
The future tense indicates the rewards still available for adequate repentance.
This tree of life is the one in Eden and which will be found anew in the New Jerusalem.
In this we see a direct challenge to the temple of Artemis, which was a refuge for criminals, because Jesus is saying that He is the only effective refuge from our sinfulness.
Of particular note is the observation that Jesus is speaking yet He is saying that the Holy Spirit is speaking.
Just as the Bible repeatedly states that God the Heavenly Father and Jesus are One, here we are finding that Jesus and the Holy Spirit are One. We have confirmation from the mouth of our Lord and Saviour that the Holy Trinity is a reality.
We might want to give substantial reflection to what we are encountering in this because God the Father Almighty does nothing by chance - including choosing this particular church as an example to all, for every day, given what we now know.
The early church father Polycarp, a disciple of John, was martyred here.
This church is commended for being a persecuted church and this would make it a metaphor for the church of Jesus Christ in the times of AD.
This church is notable for the fact that there is no reproof in the letter.
Is an unmistakeable indication that it is Jesus who is speaking. Verse 8
Tells us that Jesus has judged# the faith, and the works that faith has generated, and found them acceptable. Verse 9
While they were poor in outward circumstances and in spirit, they were rich in faith and thus were heirs to God's kingdom and glory.
Obviously, they would/do gather in the synagogues of Satan as they were not God's people and thus the house is not Yehovah's either.
The fact that Jesus calls the Jews this is also a foreshadowing of the upcoming permanent split between the Jews and Christians.
Tells the people of this church not to fear the upcoming tribulations as Jesus would be with them. Chapters 10 & 11
There were specifics given as to these tribulations and the time frame of 10 prophetic days (years) and that there would be great reward for all who stood- fast to Him.
Salvation is a free gift to the worthy, those who accept Jesus as Lord, Master and Saviour,
It was located about 45 miles north of Smyrna.
It had one of the finest libraries of antiquity and was the place where parchment (writing material made of animal skins) was first used.
At one time, it was the capitol of the Roman province of Asia. It was the location of the Temple of Zeus and the Babylonian Priesthood.
This priesthood was driven out of Babylon by the Medo- Persians and they took with them the Palladium Stone, the Dagon vestments, the title Pontifex Maximus (the bridge between Heaven and Earth),
the keys (subsequently claimed by the popes to be Peter's keys to the leadership of the church) and miter of office.
The last pontiff king of Pergamum, Attalus III, bequeathed the title and vestments to Rome in 133BC.
In 378AD, the Emperor Gratian refused the title and office and it was subsequently seized by Damascus, the Bishop of Rome.
Metaphorically, this would place events like those described here of Pergamum, between AD in church history, a period of compromise and corruption.
Consider again that the foundation of all unpardonable sin is unbelief in the known nature of Yehovah.
In knowing and believing Yehovah, there is NO possibility of denying or compromising one's faith. A knowing person just wouldn't have the nerve.
This meant that the civic leaders could sentence criminals to death by the sword and carry out the sentence.
Christians who refused to compromise with paganism often met this fate.
Jesus showing up with a sword would be a direct challenge to the authorities and their presumed right to judge Christians.
Jesus is clearly stating that only He has the authority to judge# Christians.
Jesus makes positive mention of a martyr named An'tipas (the name means anti-pontiff and we need to think about that) who died either at the imperial cult temple or the temple of Zeus. Verse 13
Given the relativistic flexibility of the pagans, the one temple may have served both deities.
again refers to the deeds of the Nicolaitans and Baalamites. Verse 14-15
Jesus condemns the church as a whole for its acceptance of the teachings of Balaam and the corruption prevalent in the church because of it.
This is the spiritual fornication that God condemns# so severely.
We have had a look at the massive pollution of Christianity, at the hands of Constantine and the CC, when pagan traditions were adopted/blended in to the reality of Jesus Christ and His ministry.
We need to carefully study the full context of this event to understand the power of its condemnation of adopting pagan practices into the worship Yehovah Almighty.
We need to carefully consider how totally unacceptable this is to Him. We are not looking at a trivial sin, this is a major offense to Our Heavenly Father.
I don't think I would care for Jesus to be hating what I was up to, yet, just as in that time, people today don't seem to be considering the consequences.
They lack adequate fear of the LORD God Almighty.
is a call for sincere repentance to occur quickly, the rewards of accomplishing this and the consequences of not doing so. Verse 16-17
Jesus warns the Baalamites that He will wage war against them with the sword of God's Holy Word.
as it is spoken of here refers to the sufficiency of Jesus Christ for all of a believers needs, just as manna was sufficient for the needs of the Hebrews in the desert.
In many societies, then and now, voting is often done with coloured stones.
A black one signified death and/or rejection while a white stone reflected innocence and/or acceptance.
Coloured amulets worn around the wrist or neck signified belonging to a particular group or person.
Those fortunate enough to receive a white stone from Christ receive a reward beyond measure.
The city was noted for its many trade guilds and for its wool cloth and dyeing industries, in particular the royal colours of purple and crimson
(the official colours of the Catholic Church through the Middle Ages) made from madder roots.
It was the site of the temple of Apollo, which also had an altar to many female goddesses, who was a sun god
the round communion wafers of the Catholic Church are identical to those used by pagans when communing with the Egyptian sun god Osiris,
but all sun gods are the same sun god and worshiped basically the same way, pointing to the common origin of Nimrod.
The city was located about 35 miles south east of Pergamum.
is confirmation that our Trinitarian God is all knowing - omniscient. Verse 19
Their former faith was judged and found to be sound but that no longer matters because a serious fault has been found. Salvation possibly lost.
indicates that even false teachers are given a limited time to repent. Verse 21
The false teacher and her followers are in the same trouble and under the same condemnation. The only escape is immediate repentance.
The children spoken of are those who follow this Jezebel (in this context - a mother harlot). Verse 23
In the context of the historical church, the children are the apostate denominations of the apostate mother church (RCC).
Jesus is going to punish those who follow false teachers such as Jezebel, just as He will punish her.
speaks of a split in this church which is essentially a battle within the church between God and Satan. Verse 24
This is a battle that is going on within churches even today.
These deep things of Satan are the depths of occultism in practice. Jesus promises those who reject such things that there will be no additional burdens (tribulations) placed upon them, which is an indication of the Rapture.
speaks of the second coming and the need to hold fast to the true doctrine of Christianity until then, as well as the rewards for doing so. Verse
To the members of the church who do persevere in the face of temptation and persecution, and who judge all according to their works and act accordingly,
The imitation churches might want to meditate on this.
This is an action similar to Jesus clearing the temple during His ministry on earth.
is most probably a reference to Jesus being the light of the world, as this is often a reference to Jesus Himself. Verse 28-29
When we evangelize and live lives that reflect Christ, we become a light unto the world as well.
Often this compromise was not necessarily willing but was more an indication of the weakness of their faith.
They lacked the understanding of the Gospel required to be strong and stand fast and so they compromised to stop the congregational infighting and the persecution from without.
We continue to see this in this day when people who know that false teaching is occurring yet they refuse to stand up and be counted for Christ - just to avoid the controversy.
We can never lose sight of the FACT that God pre- existed Mary. Her role, while magnificent, was only as the mother of the human incarnation of the Son of God, our Emanuel, Jesus Christ.
No church on earth is without its flaws, errors and weaknesses. Far too many have glaring iniquities and false teachers.
Perfection commences in Heaven but the striving for perfection should be a life long vocation.
It is a wondrous state of affairs, and a greater mercy, that Jesus Christ communicates His warnings, directions, and encouragements to all who call themselves Christian, whether pastor or congregant.
We have just seen this in Revelation and the warnings remain just as valid in this day. We have just seen this in Revelation and the warnings remain just as valid in this day.
Jesus' own characteristics, which we are to emulate, and His parables, teachings and commandments of the Gospels and Revelation, which we are to learn from and adapt to, answer exactly every question a seeker will encounter.
Jesus has a critical and divine acquaintance with each seeker and their concerns.
Jesus immediately takes kind and loving notice of the graces, services and sufferings for His sake and how diligently His followers oppose what is evil and perform what is good.
Graciously, Jesus dwells among those who are truly His and those who are diligently seeking Him; and He supports, furnishes and directs those who are His ministers;
He begins and assists all that concerns them in time and eternity; and He lives for them as their risen and exalted Redeemer.
With tender compassion Jesus reminds us of the deviations and irregularities in our beliefs and faith and He unfailingly calls each of us to repentance and reformation.
May God grant to all the wisdom and determination to heed the call!
The multitude of promises Jesus has made to all who would but listen, encourages all to faithfully wrestle against every known sin in themselves and in others.
Spiritual and Heavenly are the delights He bestows upon those who heed and sure is their security from eternal damnation.
If only we remain faithful to Christ, infinite is the glory, acceptance, pleasure, excellence in endeavour, and power over evil opposers, that will be our reward.
For those who refuse to heed the warnings of Jesus, awful are the threats He has made and tremendous are His judgements upon imposters, hypocritical professors and obstinate sinners!
No boast of deep and devilish understanding, no power in deceiving His people nor in the persecution of His people - no power at all -
can screen the perpetrators of these things from the righteous and destructive judgement of Jesus Christ.