Blog, Blogging, Book, Book of Revelation, Christianity, church, Culture, dreams and visions, element of doubt, eternal redemption, evil, Faith, Family, God, Heart, hebrews, human-rights, Jesus Christ, lord jesus christ, Religion, resurrection of christ, Seven Spirits of God, spirit of god, Spirituality, the Book of Revelation, Thoughts, thoughts in your mind, Trinity, visions and dreams, voice of god
The word angel stands for both the visible and invisible leadership of the Church. God and humans rule the Church. Angels and Ministers have been called to do the will of God, both in heaven and on earth. God needs us here.
When God writes to the Churches, He sends the letter to the leaders and not the led or the congregation. The leaders of the Church are directly accountable to the Lord. The Owner of the Church, Jesus Christ, gave His life for His bride. The Lord Jesus has the Seven Spirits of God and the Seven Angels of the Seven Churches in His hand. (Rev.1:20) From Rev.1:4b, 2:1, 4:5, and 5:6, the Seven Spirits of God represent the All–Seeing Eyes and Light of God. Light and the Eyes are directly connected.
The gift of sight works only in light, and the Lord sees everything going on in His Churches. (Heb.4:12) This signifies that the Lord is supreme with authority and power. He is second only to His Father in heaven. What is written for one is also written for all to see and understand. The description of Jesus here sets the stage for the heart of the message to the Churches.
The Twenty–First Century:
Then and Now
We live in a world today where it is not easy to live for God, because of the information, the computer, the science, the television era, and the condition of the heart of man. The pressure from the TV, newspapers, radio, magazines, video games, the Internet, and friends is powerful. Only the tough gets going, and this is the story of our faith in God. We have a friend in both Jesus and the Spirit of God to help us. When believers find it hard to live for God, it shows the weakness of their inner being. The spirit of a man is the foundation of human physical existence, and when the spirit is weak, it can easily fall victim to the pressures of life. Just as the body needs to be fed with food and made strong through exercise and various forms of activities, so does the human spirit need daily tender loving care, even more than the physical body.
The spirit of man does not need physical food, but it needs spiritual food to grow. (Matt.4:4) God’s people must not exist only on the physical plane. The word says, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every Word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.” (Matt.4:4) They must add the spiritual level to their existence here on earth, in order to triumph over the forces of evil, through the power of the Spirit of the Living God. Be encouraged! God is on your side, and He made you a promise never to leave you alone by yourself. (Heb.13:5–6)
In human experience, when lovers or friends write to one another, they write about things and events that are relevant, current, and understandable. They do not write for creatures that may live 4,000 years to come, although it can be applicable to their generations or age.
The first thing we must come to terms with in the Book of Revelation, particularly in chapters 2 to 3, is the audience of the letters, and that is the first-century believers, who were the Seven Churches. They were within an area of about 150 miles from the first to the seventh. The contents of the letters were contemporary, and were understood by the believers. They did not see the faces of the twenty-first-century believers in the letters.
Whenever you read the Book of Revelation, you ought to see it as a first–century book for the saints who lived then, and try to go back to their time, culture, government, and social norms. We must read the letter through their eyes and minds. You need to step into their shoes and feel the impact of the pressure from the godless environment they lived in, in order to reveal God’s love and power.
This is the only place where the Lord Jesus Christ speaks directly to His Bride without a middle person. He writes Seven Letters to Seven Local Churches, collectively known as the Bride. Although these are individual letters to individual congregations, they were meant to be seen as one for all the believers to read and accept.
God gives Jeremiah a message to Judah declaring that a nation from the north will invade the land if they do not repent. (Jer. 46) Why did God give this message to Judah? Why this prediction? God wants them to mend their ways and repent by turning to Him, and away from idol worshipping, evil, and wickedness.
God gives Isaiah, the prophet, a message regarding a new heaven and earth. God does this because He wants to encourage His people and comfort them in their sufferings. The revelation is not for amazement and speculation. It’s not for us to be wowed, and try to figure out the W5. The Lord does not give comprehensive details of the message or revelations, because that is not the point. The point is repentance right now, and not for history in advance. You can correctly analyze all the symbols and imagery in charts and colors, without touching what God is saying to His people.
In positive or negative prophecies, there is still a message for the people. The Lord wants us to accept the message and change our ways. Don’t try to figure it out. Biblical prophecy is always vague. You know a nation is coming in Jeremiah’s prophecy, but the W5 is not given, because the technical details are not important.
The Lord wants us to take to heart the spiritual dynamics of His message to us. Therefore, when you read the Book of Revelation, read it like Isaiah and Jeremiah. Do not think of what will happen, how it will happen, or when it will take place. Just look for the message of God to the human heart, and let it change your life. You will be ready for heaven if you do this. Prophecy is always given for a change of heart: for repentance, edification, comfort, and encouragement to God’s people in times of trouble and hardship. It comes to those who have strayed to help them step right back to the right path. It is never for fascination, amazement, and speculations! In Rev.1:3, we see that those who read and take to heart what is written are blessed. The prophecy of Revelation was given to be kept and obeyed.
The letters from the Bridegroom are for the Seven Churches in Asia Minor at that time, and they were about 150 miles from the first Church to the seventh. It is not the continent of Asia as we know it today.
In Isaiah’s new heaven and earth, the message comes to those who have returned to Jerusalem from Babylon. God gives this message for encouragement. The message of the book is for Seven Local Churches and the entire world. All that the book contained had not been completely fulfilled. The primary audience, however, experienced over seventy-five percent of the book’s content. The letters were circulated among the Churches, and they were God’s words to them directly at the close of the first century.
The letters have encouragement and rebukes, with commands to change and repent. They are assessments of their roles and place in His kingdom from birth to the time of their death. It is a day of reckoning for the period of time before the letters arrived. Some of them scored high and had no rebukes, while others scored very low, and had both rebukes and indictment with commands to repent, if they want to keep their place in Him.
Even those who scored high and had much praise were told to hold on to what they had and guard it closely until the end. Others had no encouragement spoken to them, but God’s love was manifested in the corrective measures He took to restore them to fellowship. They were admonished to repent and heed the commands in some specific area of their personal and Church lives. Obedience and repentance are the keys that will open the door, and the Lord will come in to have table fellowship with them as they share meals together.
The Churches who failed to repent would lose their places, and both their stars, (angels and ministers) and their candlesticks (Churches) would be history. They would be dissolved and made no part of His family. This admonition is also applicable to us today. What the Spirit said then, He is also saying today to us.
The Book of Revelation is poetic in nature, and has many weird, awkward, and grotesque pictures and imagery. They are meant to be felt and not to be analyzed. Think of the description of Jesus in chapters 1 and 5: white hair, sword in mouth, glowing feet, flaming eyes, voice like the sound of many waters, Jesus as a Lamb, with Seven Horns and Seven Eyes etc. Which one of the above is the real Jesus? A sheep, one with seven horns and eyes? It is simply bizarre, and you get the point!
John is explaining things that have no human analogy or comparison. How do you explain red to someone born blind and had never seen colors? The things John saw are not on the planet Earth, and he is not playing photographer with the readers of his letters. He is trying to give them the impact, the force, and the feelings of what he saw. John is an impressionistic artist.
If you like modern art, you will jell with the Book of Revelation. He is not giving you a photograph of his visions, but passing on to his audience the sense, feeling, and emotional impact of the revelation. He has a pen and a paper and he has to convey to his readers what he saw. It was a huge task! The power, force, impression, feeling, and impact of what he saw could be better imagined. This is why John, in one breath, can tell us that Jesus is like a sun, and then turns around and calls Him a Lamb.
The Bride At Ephesus
This is a personal letter and the Lord Jesus speaks to you face to face without a middle person. He reveals the mystery of the Seven Stars. The Seven Lampstands are the Seven Churches that represent God’s people on earth then, and they represent God’s people now. He said, “I hold the Seven Stars in my right hand and I am right in the midst of them. I walk among the Seven Churches.” (lampstands)
Jesus is speaking to you directly here, and He said, “I know your deeds and how loyal you are or have been. I see your endurance, persistence, faithfulness, and discernment. You know what it takes to be a solid and strong Church. You have tested and rejected the false Jews. You hated the deeds of the Nicolatans. You are strong and have truth, strength, and courage. But you do not have love. You have no compassion like you used to have for each other. You do not do this anymore, and this makes me sad. You used to love strangers and visitors in your midst and all around you. You do not do it anymore and this makes me unhappy. Please repent and start loving again. If you do not, I will come and take away my light from you. Both your angels (leaders) and your Church Leaders will be history, including yourselves. You will have no part in me anymore.”
The doctrine of the Nicolatans stands for antinomianism and libertines. The heart of this doctrine is sexual perversion, pleasure, idolatry, and lawlessness. It is identical to the doctrines of Balaam and Jazebel. The name Nicolatan means lord or the destroyer of the people. What a name for the messenger of the devil in the Church!
The heart of the problem of the bride of Christ at Ephesus is the problem of the heart. There is a natural human tendency in all of us to be cold, indifferent, and apathetic when we face a prolonged situation of hardship, pain, hurt, and suffering, even though we are the saints and children of God. We tend to shut down our emotions and feelings for people. Our husbands, wives, children, people, and lovers can easily do this because of their pain and anguish.
Suffering, hurts, and hardship do erase human emotion, feelings, and the ability to love, if we do not make them out focus, and strive to obey the Lord. The will is involved here and has been bent toward the negative. In suffering, if there is a will to reach out to others, the Lord will supply the grace to produce love and care.
Those who are sorrowing, grieving, and in severe hardships, like the bride at Ephesus, should not stop loving God’s people and His creation. Life goes on in the midst of pain and hurts; therefore, we should allow the milk of human kindness to flow through us to meet the needs of humans whenever they are present. God will give us the Spirit of love and kindness, and it will be less difficult to meet the needs of others. Always, the Lord will give the grace to stand in the face of evil and man’s inhumanity to man.
We make Christ sad when we stop loving one another, strangers, and visitors. The Lord did not stop loving and caring for us even at the height of His suffering on the cross. His love still reached out to a fellow companion of crucifixion. In the dying minutes of His life, He gave salvation to a murderer on another cross by His side. Love and care are the grease that lubricate the machinery of Christianity by God’s Spirit. The bride at Ephesus had allowed weeds of hurts, hardships, and pain to cover her up.
No Season for Love
It is easier to love and care for people when the going is good and our plans are falling into place. God does not have season for when to show us love. God’s love comes to us in both good and bad times. The sun shines upon the just and unjust.
The Church at Ephesus was growing cold and becoming weary toward one another, visitors, and strangers. They had fallen from warm love and care, to the cold and emotionless routine of serving God every day. They became cold defenders of the faith, without emotions, love, and care. The Lord said that His Father will always have mercy beyond sacrifice and religious observation, like going to fellowship, praying, reading the Bible, giving, and living godly lives. People are more important to God than mere religious observation. Read Jesus’ commentary in Matt.12:7–8. The Good Samaritan is a good example here.
This message from the Spirit of Christ is not just for the Bride at Ephesus, but also for the other six Brides. You are one of them, if you are His disciple. You are the Bride of Christ today. Those who show warmth, feelings of love and care in the midst of hardship, pain, hurts, and grief will be overcomers. (v.7) The Lord will give them access to the Tree of Life in the paradise of His Father. They will eat freely of its leaves and fruits, unlike Adam and Eve who were driven away from it. They will never be sick or die again.