End Times · Eschatology · Letters to the Churches · Old Testament in New Testament · Revelation

History Letters – Revelation 2 & 3 – Laodicea

As considered in my introduction to this series, I would like to look at each of the letters to the churches of Revelation from a different viewpoint than I have had much of my life.

Much could be written on each of the churches, but my intent is to give an overview of Old Testament motifs and pictures that John may have drew on from the Old Testament when he was penning the letters through the Holy Spirit

Our seventh and final letter is to the Church of Laodicea

John reaches back into the last days of Israel for this church. At the risk of being too specific, this may refer to that last generation prior to the fall of Israel in 70 AD.

Lets read the passage to get our thoughts aligned.

Rev 3:14-22

“And to the angel of the church in Laodicea write: ‘The words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of God’s creation.
“‘I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot!
So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.
For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked.
I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, so that you may be rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself and the shame of your nakedness may not be seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, so that you may see.
Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent.
Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.
The one who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as I also conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne.
He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.'”

Consider the following

  • Wealth and self sufficiency was a fitting description for pharisaical Israel of the last days. (Luke 18:9-14)
  • The nation of Israel was about to be “spewed out” of the land in fulfillment of the curse (Lev 18:24-28, Luke 21:24)
  • Israel is urged to repent and accept Jesus as Messiah.
  • Overcomers are promised the blessing of ruling with the Messiah, as the New Covenant promise was originally given to the people of Israel

Give me your thoughts. Do you see parallels I have missed? Let me know in the comments. I would love to hear from you.


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End Times · Eschatology · Letters to the Churches · Old Testament in New Testament · Revelation

History Letters – Revelation 2 & 3 – Philadelphia

As considered in my introduction to this series, I would like to look at each of the letters to the churches of Revelation from a different viewpoint than I have had much of my life.

Much could be written on each of the churches, but my intent is to give an overview of Old Testament motifs and pictures that John may have drew on from the Old Testament when he was penning the letters through the Holy Spirit

Our sixth letter is to the Church of Philadelphia

John reaches back into the return from exile under Ezra and Nehemiah for this church. Lets read the passage to get our thoughts aligned.

Rev 3:7-13.

“And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write: ‘The words of the holy one, the true one, who has the key of David, who opens and no one will shut, who shuts and no one opens.
“‘I know your works. Behold, I have set before you an open door, which no one is able to shut. I know that you have but little power, and yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name.
Behold, I will make those of the synagogue of Satan who say that they are Jews and are not, but lie–behold, I will make them come and bow down before your feet, and they will learn that I have loved you.
Because you have kept my word about patient endurance, I will keep you from the hour of trial that is coming on the whole world, to try those who dwell on the earth.
I am coming soon. Hold fast what you have, so that no one may seize your crown.
The one who conquers, I will make him a pillar in the temple of my God. Never shall he go out of it, and I will write on him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down from my God out of heaven, and my own new name.
He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’

Consider the following

  • An imagery of a synagogue / temple is given in this passage
  • The Jews of this period had a “little power”, as the church is described.
  • The open door speaks of the opportunity granted the exilic Jews to follow, along with this churches opportunity.
  • The synagogue of Satan may speak of parallels with the false Jews referred to during the time of Nehemiah’s rebuilding program. (Nehemiah 4, 6 and 13)
  • A coming time of testing, to test those who dwell on the land, may speak of Daniel 8 and 11, and of the tribulation of Antiochus Epiphanes
  • The overcomer will be made a pillar in the temple
  • The overcomer will share the blessings of the New Jerusalem

Give me your thoughts. Do you see parallels I have missed? Let me know in the comments. I would love to hear from you


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End Times · Eschatology · Letters to the Churches · Old Testament in New Testament · Revelation

History Letters – Revelation 2 & 3 – Sardis

As considered in my introduction to this series, I would like to look at each of the letters to the churches of Revelation from a different viewpoint than I have had much of my life.

Much could be written on each of the churches, but my intent is to give an overview of Old Testament motifs and pictures that John may have drew on from the Old Testament when he was penning the letters through the Holy Spirit

Our fifth letter is to the Church of Sardis

John reaches back into the later prophetic period of Israel’s history for this church. Lets read the passage to get our thoughts aligned.

Rev 3:1-6

“And to the angel of the church in Sardis write: ‘The words of him who has the seven spirits of God and the seven stars. “‘I know your works. You have the reputation of being alive, but you are dead.
Wake up, and strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your works complete in the sight of my God.
Remember, then, what you received and heard. Keep it, and repent. If you will not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come against you.
Yet you have still a few names in Sardis, people who have not soiled their garments, and they will walk with me in white, for they are worthy.
The one who conquers will be clothed thus in white garments, and I will never blot his name out of the book of life. I will confess his name before my Father and before his angels.
He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’

Consider the following

  • The Angel speaks of the seven spirits and seven stars, reaching back to a witness by the prophets speaking by the Spirit of God
  • A remnant is referred to often in the prophets writing during this time (Isaiah 1:5-23, 6:9-13, 65:8-16, Jeremiah 7:1-7, 8:11-12)
  • Imminent judgement on this church is declared, as with the pre-exilic prophets message (Isaiah 1:24-31, 2:12-21, 26:20-21, Jeremiah 4:5-31, 7:12-15, 11:9-13.)

Give me your thoughts. Do you see parallels I have missed? Let me know in the comments. I would love to hear from you.


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End Times · Eschatology · Letters to the Churches · Old Testament in New Testament · Revelation

History Letters – Revelation 2 & 3 – Thyatira

As considered in my introduction to this series, I would like to look at each of the letters to the churches of Revelation from a different viewpoint than I have had much of my life.

Much could be written on each of the churches, but my intent is to give an overview of Old Testament motifs and pictures that John may have drew on from the Old Testament when he was penning the letters through the Holy Spirit

Our fourth letter is to the Church of Thyatira

John reaches back into period of Israelite monarchy for this church. Lets read the passage to get our thoughts aligned.

Rev 2:18-29

“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.
“‘I know your works, your love and faith and service and patient endurance, and that your latter works exceed the first.
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.
I gave her time to repent, but she refuses to repent of her sexual immorality.
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,
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.
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.
Only hold fast what you have until I come.
The one who conquers and who keeps my works until the end, to him I will give authority over the nations,
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.
And I will give him the morning star.
He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’

Consider the following

  • Christ is introduced as the Son of God (Ps 2:7, 89:19-37, Jer 30:9, Ezek 34:23-24, 37:24-28, Hos 3:5)
  • Jezebel is referred to and rebuked in both this period and this church (1 Kings 16:29-34, 21:25-26)
  • Tribulation is threated upon both Jezebels (1 Kings 17:1, James 5:17)
  • Both will loose their lives and their offspring (2 Kings 9:22-37)
  • Overcomers, like David, will be granted authority over nations (2 Sam 7:19, 8:14)
  • The final promise for overcomers reaches back to Ps 2:9

Give me your thoughts. Do you see parallels I have missed? Let me know in the comments. I would love to hear from you.


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End Times · Eschatology · Letters to the Churches · Old Testament in New Testament · Revelation

History Letters – Revelation 2 & 3 – Pergamum

As considered in my introduction to this series, I would like to look at each of the letters to the churches of Revelation from a different viewpoint than I have had much of my life.

Much could be written on each of the churches, but my intent is to give an overview of Old Testament motifs and pictures that John may have drew on from the Old Testament when he was penning the letters through the Holy Spirit

Our third letter is to the Church of Pergamum

John reaches back into the travails of Israel in the wilderness for this church. Lets read the passage to get our thoughts aligned.

Rev 2:12-17
“And to the angel of the church in Pergamum write: ‘The words of him who has the sharp two-edged sword.
“‘I know where you dwell, where Satan’s throne is. Yet you hold fast my name, and you did not deny my faith even in the days of Antipas my faithful witness, who was killed among you, where Satan dwells.
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.
So also you have some who hold the teaching of the Nicolaitans.
Therefore repent. If not, I will come to you soon and war against them with the sword of my mouth.
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.’

Consider the following

  • Pergamum dwells amongst demons, reminding us of Israel’s travels passing through the abode of demons (Lev. 16:10, 17:7, Deut 8:15)
  • Pergamum’s enemies are described as Balak and Balaam. (Num 25:1-3, 31:16)
  • Christ will make war against Balaamites with a sword in like manner as the angel of the Lord and Phineas (Numbers 22:31, 24:7-8)
  • To the overcomers, a promise of hidden manna (Heb 9:4) and a new name on a white stone, speaking of the redeemed people represented on the High Priest clothing (Ex 28:9-12). Note the stone for Pergamum is white, speaking of purity.

Give me your thoughts. Do you see parallels I have missed? Let me know in the comments. I would love to hear from you


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End Times · Eschatology · Letters to the Churches · Old Testament in New Testament · Revelation

History Letters – Revelation 2 & 3 – Smyrna

As considered in my introduction to this series, I would like to look at each of the letters to the churches of Revelation from a different viewpoint than I have had much of my life.

Much could be written on each of the churches, but my intent is to give an overview of Old Testament motifs and pictures that John may have drew on from the Old Testament when he was penning the letters through the Holy Spirit

Our second letter is to the Church of Smyrna

John reaches back into the patriarchs (Abraham – Joseph and the children of Israel) for this church. Lets read the passage to get our thoughts aligned.

Rev 2:8-11

“And to the angel of the church in Smyrna write: ‘The words of the first and the last, who died and came to life.
“‘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.
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.
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.’

Consider the following

  • Jesus is as one who was dead and is alive, with the foreshadowing of a number of stories
    • Isaac’s picture of the resurrection (Gen 22:1-14)
    • Joseph’s picture of the resurrection (Gen 37:18-36, 39:20 – 41:45, 45:4-8, 50:20, Heb 11:17-19)
    • Israel’s salvation from bondage of Egypt
  • The church is described as poor yet being rich is similar to Abraham and his family as they lived as aliens in the land of promise
  • Persecution of true Jews by false Jews as Isaac was persecuted by Ismael (Gen 21:9)
  • The threat of imprisonment via slander mirrors Joseph’s experience in the house of Potiphar (Gen 39:13-20)
  • The blessing of the crown of life for the faithful is pictured (Gen 41:40-44)
  • Aaron wore a crown of life, (Ex 28:36-38) picturing the fully redeemed man
  • Israel’s victory through ten plagues echoes the tribulation of ten days before Israel’s deliverance

Give me your thoughts. Do you see parallels I have missed? Let me know in the comments. I would love to hear from you


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End Times · Eschatology · Letters to the Churches · Old Testament in New Testament · Revelation

History Letters – Revelation 2 & 3 – Ephesus

As considered in my introduction to this series, I would like to look at each of the letters to the churches of Revelation from a different viewpoint than I have had much of my life.

Much could be written on each of the churches, but my intent is to give an overview of Old Testament motifs and pictures that John may have drew on from the Old Testament when he was penning the letters through the Holy Spirit

Our first letter is to the Church of the Ephesians.

John reaches back into the garden for this church. Lets read the passage to get our thoughts aligned.

Rev 2:1-7

“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.
“‘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.
I know you are enduring patiently and bearing up for my name’s sake, and you have not grown weary.
But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first.
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.
Yet this you have: you hate the works of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.
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.’

Consider the following

  • Christ is announced as the Creator.
  • Adam was granted privilege of labor in the garden, and this church has an emphasis on labor in its description
  • Christ walked amongst the lampstands to judge the church, as God had walked amongst His original creation in judgement (Gen 3:8).
  • The angel was commanded to guard the church, in similar fashion to Adam guarding the garden (Gen 2:15)
  • Both Adam and the angel of the church had fallen, failing in their duties.
  • Both Adam and the angel of the church left their first love
  • Christ threatens to remove the lamp from the church, even as God removed the Tree of Life from Adam and Eve’s through restricting their access to the garden
  • The Tree of Life was available to Adam, and now available to all who overcome.

Give me your thoughts. Do you see parallels I have missed? Let me know in the comments. I would love to hear from you


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End Times · Eschatology · Letters to the Churches · Old Testament in New Testament · Revelation

History Letters – Revelation 2 & 3 – Introduction

The book of Revelation in a surprising book.

For the first 20 yrs of my life, I shied away from it due to my upbringing and the mind numbing fears I lived through as a child and young adult. (Check out My Testimony for an explanation)

After I became a believer, I hunted and pecked through the book for key verses that would comfort me. But still the memories haunted me and I generally steered away from it. To my loss!

Occasionally I would hear some preaching on the letters to the churches of Revelation, and was introduced to the teaching that each church in the second and third chapter of the book represented a church age. Some teachers split the ages up into specific dates, identifying each age with a predominant characteristic. Initially this appealed to me, since it was presented in a spreadsheet, and most anything in a spreadsheet is super cool for me!

But after thinking about the breakout, I began to struggle with accepting it. It didn’t ring true, at least in this last few hundred years, where the teaching is that we are in the period of the church of Laodicea. I don’t know if those believers in persecuted lands would identify with this designation of being a lukewarm church.

There may be some general truth to this teaching. After all, it is the book of Revelation, and such a mysterious book, full of layers and meanings.

Ok, with that said, let’s move forward many years in my pilgrimage, and stop at a time during a different study topic.

I have found, much to my utter shock, that the book of Revelation depends on Old Testament teaching more than any other book of the New Testament. This floored me. And it opened up an interest in the Book that I hadn’t expected.

Combining both of these topics never occurred to me until I picked up a book by David Chilton.

You see, he has suggested that the letters to the churches are historical, and represent ages of believers, but not from the standpoint of the apostle John’s future, but of Israel’s past.

Yes – of Israel’s past!

Get out!

Join me as I seek to explain an additional viewpoint of the letters to the churches, and of the wonders of this incredible book.


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Doctrinal · End Times · Hell · Judge

Judge Judge Judge – δίκη – Verse List for Study 10

Because of the Cross

This word is found 3 times in 3 verses within the New Testament. 

The previous study dealt with each occurrence of this word in the New Testament.

 

I look forward to comments and discussion.

May the Lord give you an understanding heart and a willing spirit to consider the Bible and all it’s wealth.


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Doctrinal · End Times · Hell · Judge

Judge Judge Judge – δίκη – Study 10

Because of the Cross

Thanks for returning to this series on “Judge Judge Judge” and my feeble attempt to understand a believers responsibility and right to make judgments.

Another purpose of this series hopefully is to understand the believers restriction on judgement. 

What can a Christian judge?  How is he to judge?  What is prohibited in the Christian life to judge.  So many questions and concerns. 

Our tenth greek word related to judging is…

dikē

δίκη – dikē – vengeance, judgment, punish

This word is found 3 times in 3 verses within the New Testament.  A full listing of all verses will be included in this study.  

This word (along with some of our following studies) carries the meaning that most in our society associate with the term judge.  Synonyms for this word include vengeance, judgment and punish.

Acts 28:4

When the native people saw the creature hanging from his hand, they said to one another, “No doubt this man is a murderer. Though he has escaped from the sea, Justice has not allowed him to live.”

This verse is a recounting of the natives of Malta, as Paul and Barnabas were seeking to minister to the people.  The Maltan’s were a kind people, having begun a fire for Paul and Barnabas.  As Paul helped with the fire, a venomous snake bit him.

First he was a murderer, deserving the justice of death at the teeth of a venomous snake.  Moments later, he was considered a god, escaping the death of the snake bite!

Each of these responses showed the Maltans understanding of the rightful demands of justice.  These folk, like us, had an innate sense of justice, that this is a world that cries out for justice.  Yet how often are injustices and wrongs allowed to exist in this world, causing us a yearning for a world of righteousness and truth.  And yet…

James 2:13

For judgment is without mercy to one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment.

Since God has judged us with mercy, we also, following the character of the Master, should also express mercy to those we meet and associate with.  Let us display the mercy of God in our relationships, walking humbly, seeking to be a blessing and not a curse.

2 Thessalonians 1:9

They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might,

Who will suffer? Who is Paul referring to in this passage, that will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction?

I am going to leave this as a self study for the reader, but will assist by directing you to Acts 17:1-9, and 1 Thessalonians 2:13-16.  Let me know what you find out, or if there are additional passages that bring light to this particular topic.

The punishment of eternal destruction.  Justice that results in eternal destruction.  It is interesting that my initial assumption of this judgement is the lake of fire, the burning of hell.  I am not arguing for or against the teaching of eternal torment in this study, but regarding this verse, the passage does not say

“They will suffer the punishment of eternal suffering

So what is this verse trying to say?  In regards to the term we are studying, the justice declared results in an eternal condition.  I have supplied a post on the Greek term Apollumi, sometimes translated as “perish” in the New Testament, and may assist you in considering the intent of the Apostle Paul’s message in 1 Thessalonians.

Jude 1:7

just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding cities, which likewise indulged in sexual immorality and pursued unnatural desire, serve as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire.

This verse also defines an eternal state of judgment / punishment.

When Jude wrote this passage, I assume the actual physical(?) fires of Sodom and Gomorrah, along with the surrounding cities had been extinguished.  The question I have is with the term “eternal” fire.

Since the punishment is eternal, does that imply eternal suffering? Or might the effects of this judgement be eternal.  Notice that the phrase is “punishment of eternal fire”, not “eternal punishing/suffering in fire”.

As may be obvious by now for those paying attention, I am unsure how to understand the New Testament teaching on hell.  One thing is for sure – Judgment and a day of reckoning is coming, and we all need to prepare.

Flee to the Savior for He is the only place of refuge available.

Thanks for joining me in this study.  Hope to visit with you in our next post as we look at the Greek term κρίμα which is commonly translated judgment, damnation, condemnation, be condemned, go to law, avenge in the New Testament.

Be Blessed.

I look forward to comments and discussion.  May the Lord give you an understanding heart and a willing spirit to consider the Bible and all it’s wealth.


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Thanks again for coming to visit. I hope you found something of interest in this post and would appreciate a comment, to begin a discussion.