Thursday, November 28, 2013


The sixth letter is to the church at Philadelphia, the city of brotherly love.  It got its name as a tribute from King Eumenes II who named it for his brother, Attalus, his successor.

Revelation 3:7–13 “And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write; These things saith he that is holy, he that is true, he that hath the key of David, he that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth; I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name. Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie; behold, I will make them to come and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee. Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth. Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown. Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.”

The Lord addresses this church as the Holy Mighty One in complete control, an important truth for this church that is pictured as very weak and struggling just to maintain its existence.  I think He is assuring this church that though weak in strength as to what they are able to do, their strong faith ensures that there is no power that can deprive them of His protection and provision.

There are many false teachers today who teach that God wants everyone to be wealthy, healthy and strong.  Throughout scripture we learn that men and women of faith often face great trials and suffering.  It is a very powerful witness to the lost world around us when our actions show tenacity of faith and exhibit peace of spirit due to the grace and faithfulness of Almighty God through the ministry of His Holy Spirit during the bad times.

It seems that these believers were suffering persecution from those pretending to be followers of God, but who were really followers of Satan.   Jesus assures the believers in Philadelphia that they will eventually get to witness the humbling of those that have persecuted them when they are made to bow the knee before Jesus.

Revelation 3:21 “To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.”

Isaiah 45:23 “I have sworn by myself, the word is gone out of my mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, That unto me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear.”

Romans 14:11 “For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.”

Because the believers in Philadelphia have held fast to and guarded the truth of the words of Jesus with steadfastness and cheerful endurance, Jesus will keep them from (“ek”—out of) the hour of temptation (putting to proof) which shall (future tense from John’s perspective) come upon ALL the world, to try (put to the test) them that dwell on earth.  Obviously, this time of testing will be appointed for a specific time, of specific duration, to a specific generation. 

Many refuse to accept that this affirms the teaching of the rapture on the grounds that there is no reason this generation of believers should escape the coming hard times any more than any other generation.  Henry Morris made a good point.  “The fact is, however, that Christians in every other generation have escaped the great tribulation, so there is no reason why the last should be singled out for participation in it.”
When Jesus returns, it will be quickly (suddenly).  He is encouraging the believers to hold on to their faith and not let any man deprive them of their crown.  This is not a reference to losing your salvation—just your reward.  Those who overcome will be “a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out.”  I think this is indicative of the position of security the believer has for eternity in the presence of God. 

The overcomer will also be publicly identified as belonging to God by being stamped/marked with “the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem.”  He will also be proudly identified with a stamp of the new name of Jesus—probably a name that we will only be able to appreciate in our glorified state.
This church, along with Smyrna, was given no words of rebuke. 
As with each one of the seven letters, the principles addressed are applicable to every body of believers.

(to be continued…)

Monday, November 25, 2013


The church at Sardis is identified as the recipient of the fifth letter from the Lord Jesus.  According to Wikipedia, “Sardis is famed in history as the place where modern currency was invented” because its metal workers developed the method of minting coins of pure gold and silver. 

Revelation 3:1–6 “And unto the angel of the church in Sardis write; These things saith he that hath the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars; I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead. Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God. Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee. Thou hast a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with me in white: for they are worthy. He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.”

Jesus identifies Himself as possessing the fullness of God’s Spirit, the source of spiritual life, to this church that is spiritually dead.  Evidently, there are still a few embers of life that could be fanned into an effective flame if its people would but repent and hold fast to the faith.  In fact, the Lord states that He knows that there are still a few true believers in Sardis that have maintained a testimony of separation from the world and are serving in the name of God with the heart of God.

This letter acknowledges that the church at Sardis gives the appearance of having great spiritual vitality because of the works they do.  I can’t help but think of the “great” churches today whose leaders are focused on providing humanitarian aid and services to the neglect of providing for the spiritual well-being of their members.  I can’t help it, but this thought again reminds me of the Lord’s words as recorded in Matthew.

Matthew 7:21–23 “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.”

Why would He say this in light of such works?

1 Samuel 16:7 “…for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart.”

God can see right through to the motives for which we serve.  Obviously, we cannot judge the motives of others—but God can.  Many good things can be done in the name of the Lord that are actually done with selfish agendas.

It truly is amazing that most people seem to prefer investing time in their own works rather than investing time in fellowship with and worship of God and resting in the work of His Son.  Our works should be an outworking of our fellowship with and worship of the Lord.  It is through fellowship and worship that we are attuned to the leading of the Spirit to serve others according to God’s will and not our own.  That leading assures us God’s empowerment and provision through the Holy Spirit and will always glorify the Savior—not the servant.

The Lord encourages this body of believers to be spiritual overcomers so that their names will not be blotted out of the Book of Life.  This indicates to me that all names are written in the book of life until they have chosen once and for all to reject Jesus.  There are so many verses that speak to God’s desire that ALL should be saved.

2 Peter 3:9 “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”

Ezekiel 18:23 “Have I any pleasure at all that the wicked should die? saith the Lord GOD: and not that he should return from his ways, and live?”

1 Timothy 2:3–4 “For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.”

To say that God has “chosen” some people to suffer eternal condemnation is to call God a liar.

(to be continued…)

Friday, November 22, 2013


The Lord’s fourth letter is addressed to the church in Thyatira, currently known as Akhisar, Turkey.  It was a commercial city and was widely known for developing a better way of making purple dye. 

Revelation 2:18–29 “And unto the angel of the church in Thyatira write; These things saith the Son of God, who hath his eyes like unto a flame of fire, and his feet are like fine brass; I know thy works, and charity, and service, and faith, and thy patience, and thy works; and the last to be more than the first. Notwithstanding I have a few things against thee, because thou sufferest that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols. And I gave her space to repent of her fornication; and she repented not. Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds. And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works. But unto you I say, and unto the rest in Thyatira, as many as have not this doctrine, and which have not known the depths of Satan, as they speak; I will put upon you none other burden. But that which ye have already hold fast till I come. And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations: And he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father. And I will give him the morning star. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.”

Jesus identifies Himself to this church as “the Son of God” with authority in judgment.  As with every church, He declares that He knows what they are doing and that they have continued to grow their ministry.  The Lord commends them for being diligent to show love as they served others in evidence of their faith as well as their growth in ministry.

The Lord’s biggest concern for this church was that they were allowing a false prophetess to lead others into practices associated with idols.  It seems she was encouraging others in the church to compromise the integrity of their worship.  That is another area of great concern in the church today.  There are many in Christian circles who are embracing rituals and practices associated with eastern religions, e.g., walking labrynths, making use of incense, ikons, candles and atmosphere to excite the senses, etc.  The emphasis is being given to promoting a sensual experience rather than a Spirit-filled and led worship experience. My guess is that this “Jezebel” gradually began to share her personal experience with others and presented her way as the better way.  False teaching always takes the focus off of Jesus and turns it to other directions.

God warns that those who had chosen to consort with her in her immoral activity would experience great tribulation unless they repented (change of heart/mind/purpose).  Implied—Those who do not consort with her will not experience great tribulation.  People seem to ignore the fact that the Lord sees what is in our hearts and minds.  They seem to think that if they can fool the people with their hypocrisy and lies, they can fool God. 

Note that every person is held accountable for his/her own actions, but the effectiveness of the church as a whole is affected when its leaders lack discernment or the will to exercise needed judgment.  Practices that don’t align with the word of God should not be allowed in the church.

Those in the church at Thyatira who have not followed Jezebel, who have stood firm and avoided involvement in her false doctrines and intimate contact with the things of Satan, are admonished to continue holding fast the faith until Jesus returns.  This seems to indicate that this body of believers was up against serious spiritual warfare from the “principalities, powers, rulers of the darkness of this world, and spiritual wickedness in high places” (Ephesians 6:12).  Their fight to hold onto their faith would not leave them with the energy to accomplish much else.  God was not going to burden them with any other demands.  God knows our human limits.  He will never expect more from us than we are able to do or give.

The “church” in America has made great headway in becoming like the church in Thyatira.  There seem to be more and more pastors of very large churches with national influence who are more interested in leading their congregations into practicing a social gospel than in teaching the word of God and providing for the spiritual growth of the body of believers.  I believe God’s word teaches that the church is supposed to strengthen and edify believers first and foremost.  Scripture is clear that the teaching of the word is the primary source of providing the spiritual food necessary for that growth. 

1 Peter 2:2 “As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby….”

Christians who are nourished through the word and edified through the Spirit working through the body of the believers to minister to one another will naturally produce Christians who will then go out and win others to Christ through sharing the gospel and showing the love of Christ in service to those in need.

It struck me that the Ephesian church had gotten so busy in ministry that it had become focused on what it was accomplishing and was investing little time in fellowship with and worship of the God in whose name they were serving.  They were not, however, spiritually malnourished; they were still showing spiritual discernment and evidencing an understanding of God’s word since they were able to identify false apostles and hated the deeds of the Nicolaitans.  The church at Thyatira is a mirror of the Ephesian church in their focus on serving others, but they evidence no spiritual discernment or understanding of God’s word.  The Ephesians are called to repent from leaving their first love; in other words, they had given definite evidence of their salvation.  In Thyatira, however, most of the church is caught up in the false teaching and adulterous ways of the prophetess.  They too are called to repent, but that repentance is from a way of life that is leading to death.  The amazing thing is that there are evidently some true believers in the church who are encouraged to hold fast to their faith in spite of the false teaching surrounding them.

(to be continued…)

Tuesday, November 19, 2013


The Lord’s third letter is addressed to the church in Pergamos.  This city was located on top of a steep cliff about 70 miles north of Smyrna.  It boasted an altar to Zeus that was 40 feet high and a library containing 200,000 scrolls, and it was here that parchment was first made.

Revelation 2:12–17 “And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write; These things saith he which hath the sharp sword with two edges; I know thy works, and where thou dwellest, even where Satan’s seat is: and thou holdest fast my name, and hast not denied my faith, even in those days wherein Antipas was my faithful martyr, who was slain among you, where Satan dwelleth. But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication. So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate. Repent; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it.”

As in every letter, the Lord emphasizes that he is aware of what the believers in Pergamos are doing.  He commends them for standing strong in their faith in light of persecution that even resulted in the martyrdom of Antipas, evidently a believer of prominence among them. 

In his book, The Two Babylons, Alexander Hislop states that, “Pergamos had inherited the religious mantle of ancient Babylon….  The priests who had kept the secrets of the ancient mystery religions centered at Babylon ever since the days of Nimrod, were forced to migrate, transferring what amounted to the headquarters of Satan’s religious system away from Babylon north and west to Pergamos where it endured for several centuries in that great center of evolutionary pantheistic paganism.”  I think the great altar to Zeus testifies to the truth of this observation.  Zeus was recognized as the greatest of the gods of Olympus; Homer called him “the father of gods and men” according to Eerdman’s Dictionary.

Sadly, they had not exercised great discernment and were embracing false teachers.  Ephesus was noted for hating the deeds of the Nicolaitans.  In Pergamos they were some in the church that were following the doctrine of the Nicolaitans—a doctrine God hates.  Again, I grieve over those in the church today that also give public support to things that God hates, e.g., false doctrine, the murder of the unborn, sexual immorality, anti-Semitism, etc.

God is loving but firm and insistent; He warns His people to repent or face the consequences of their sin.  The sword of His mouth is a reference to the word of God. 

Ephesians 6:17 “And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God….”

It is in God’s word that we have many examples of how God has judged His people in the past, and that establish a precedence for how God can and will use similar judgments to bring those who claim Him as Lord and Savior to repentance.  The writer to the Hebrews tells us that God’s word is so effective that it reveals intents of the heart and can even separate soul from spirit.

Hebrews 4:12 “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”

It continues to be important to note that God’s message to this church is a message to every church—“churches” plural.  Those identified as overcomers, true men and women of faith, will be fed hidden manna and will receive a white stone engraved with a new name that is private between he/she and God.  Manna is representative of supernatural nourishment from God and, I think, in this case represents eternal spiritual nourishment.  The white stone represents both a verdict of acquittal and a ticket of admission—acquittal regarding their sin that is covered by the blood of the Lamb and admission to the presence of God forever.  Personally, I think the new name will be a special term of endearment between the Father and His child that has no taint of connection to his/her former sinful self. 

(to be continued…)

Saturday, November 16, 2013


The second letter is addressed to the church at Smyrna; the city today known as Izmir, Turkey. 

Revelation 2:8–11 “And unto the angel of the church in Smyrna write; These things saith the first and the last, which was dead, and is alive; I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich) and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan. Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death.”

The Lord begins His letter to Smyrna again declaring that He knows what they are doing; however, He also immediately lets them know that He is aware that they are suffering tribulation/persecution.  They are being slandered with vicious verbal abuse by those who claim to be “Jews,” followers of God, but are actually followers of Satan, God’s greatest enemy.  I think this is an important truth for believers to understand today; labels such as Jew, Christian, etc., are not always—in fact, today often are not—true indicators of one’s belief.  There are many who claim the name “Christian” today that do not accept God’s word as true and that deny or misuse the scripture to support sin and harmful attitudes toward others, e.g., the murder of unborn babies, sexual immorality, and anti-Semitism.  These actions very often result in the persecution of those who stand for the truth of God’s word in opposition to these actions.

The Lord also lets the believers in Smyrna know that He is aware of their poverty while emphasizing that in His eyes they are spiritually rich.  Again, that is a truth that the prosperity preachers in the professing church today ignore.  It is not God’s will that all believers enjoy material wealth.  It is God’s will that every believer be laying up treasure in heaven and become spiritually rich.

Matthew 6:19–21 “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”

In fact, it is God’s desire that we love Him so much that we are willing to sacrifice all that we possess to follow Him.  We are even to love Him more than our father, mother, son or daughter.

Luke 18:22–25 “Now when Jesus heard these things, he said unto him, Yet lackest thou one thing: sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me. And when he heard this, he was very sorrowful: for he was very rich. And when Jesus saw that he was very sorrowful, he said, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God! For it is easier for a camel to go through a needle’s eye, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.”

Matthew 10:37–38 “He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me.”

To take up one’s cross is a statement of denying self in submission to His will.

Jesus is always truthful with those He loves, even when that truth is not something we want to hear.  He tells this group of believers that they will suffer a time of spiritual testing that will result in some of them being thrown into prison.  The Greek for “days” allows for the phrase “ten days” to be representative of a period of time—even years.  The important point being made is that those who remain faithful to Him (whose faith is proven genuine through the time of testing)—even to the point of death—will receive a crown of life.  In other words, death will not mark the end of their lives, but a new beginning.

Jesus affirms this conclusion by declaring that true men and women of faith will not suffer the second death—death that condemns one to eternal separation from God.  The future of every believer is declared to be more wonderful than we can even imagine.

1 Corinthians 2:9 “But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.”

Ephesians 3:17–20 “That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God. Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think….”

(to be continued…)

Wednesday, November 13, 2013


With this post we begin a look at the letters to the seven churches.  I am only going to focus on the primary points in the letters; for a more detailed look, please go to my website (  The first letter is addressed to the church at Ephesus.  This city was noted for its great temple dedicated to Diana and for its open theatre, which was the largest in the world at that time; it could hold up to 50,000 people.  I actually visited the ruins of that city and stood in awe while imagining what it must have been like in its glory.

Revelation 2:1–7 “Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write; These things saith he that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks; I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars: And hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name’s sake hast laboured, and hast not fainted. Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent. But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.”

In the letter to each church the Lord emphasizes that He knows what they are doing.  The believers at Ephesus were very busy serving the Lord, but it seems that they had gotten so busy that they no longer had time for fellowship with the Lord—“left thy first love.”  I think Satan loves to encourage this kind of attitude in the hearts of believers.  Believers who no longer spend time in fellowship with the Lord will be stunted in their spiritual growth and much less effective in the spread of the love of Jesus through the gospel.  This church is commended, however, for their discernment and taking a stand against evil and false teachers.  They are also commended for hating what God hates.  In this letter, specific address is against the Nicolaitans.  Scripture is clear in identifying what God hates.

Proverbs 6:16–19 “These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.”

I think these Nicolaitans were offenders in several of these categories—lying and sowing discord among the brethren being predominant.  In think it is significant to note that God hates the “deeds” of the Nicolaitans; however, He loves the sinner.

Romans 5:8 “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”

The Lord urges His people to repent and return to their “first works.”  What always characterizes the heart and actions of a new believer?  A desire to spend time in fellowship with God through His word and a desire to please Him in all that he/she says and does.  They are eager to share the truth they have found with others. 

Note that the Lord makes a point of saying that this letter is a word from the Holy Spirit for the churches (plural)—not just the believers in Ephesus.   Every believer needs to guard his/her time of personal fellowship with the Savior.  We need to serve as an outpouring of our love for the Lord, not just from a sense of duty or in seeking to please others.  We need to continually exercise discernment and guard against falling for the deceit of false teachers. 

Who is an “overcomer?”  One who has been born of God—born again spiritually through the transforming power of the Holy Spirit. 

John 3:3–5 “Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born? Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.”

1 John 5:4 “For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.”

To be able to eat of the tree of life in the midst of the paradise of God is to experience eternal life in the presence of God—abundant life that never ends.

(to be continued…)

Sunday, November 10, 2013


Revelation 1:12–20 “And I turned to see the voice that spake with me. And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks; And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle. His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire; And his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters. And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp twoedged sword: and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength.  And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last:  I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.  Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter; The mystery of the seven stars which thou sawest in my right hand, and the seven golden candlesticks. The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches: and the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches.”

When John turned around to identify the voice that spoke to him, he first saw seven golden candlesticks.  Then, in the middle of the candlesticks stood a figure that looked like the “Son of man.”  I believe John recognized his Lord since this phrase is one that Jesus used often in reference to Himself.  

Matthew 16:13 “When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?”

Mark 8:38 “Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”

Luke 22:48 “But Jesus said unto him, Judas, betrayest thou the Son of man with a kiss?”

John 8:28 “Then said Jesus unto them, When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am he….”

He is holding seven stars in His right hand.  His garments are indicative of both royal and priestly authority.  He presents a shining picture of purity and power.  His flaming eyes and burning feet of brass mark Him as the Supreme Judge.  His voice exudes great power and authority.  His words are full of meaning, effectiveness and power; they cut through to the truth. I am reminded of the words of the letter to the Hebrews.

Hebrews 4:12 “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”

When John saw His Savior, he fell as dead at His feet.  Jesus put His right hand on John and told him not to be afraid.  I think He is basically affirming John’s faith.  John knew Jesus as a man; but as he is so careful to convey in his gospel, Jesus is also God.  He is affirming this truth to John by again identifying Himself as “the first and the last” and “He that liveth and was dead.”  Jesus is assuring John that He is the risen Savior.  Because of His resurrection, all who place their faith in Him as Lord and Savior will never suffer spiritual death.  Jesus is in control of man’s eternal future; He holds “the keys of hell and death.”

John 11:25–26 “Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die.”

John 6:51 “I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.”

1 Corinthians 15:20–22 “But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.”

Once again John is told to write down what he has seen; however, this time he is also told to include “the things which are,” the letters regarding the current spiritual status of the seven churches (that represent the whole church), and “the things which shall be hereafter,” things that will occur at the end of the church age.

Jesus then explains the imagery that John has seen.  The seven stars in His right hand are the “angels,” messengers/pastors, of the seven churches; and the seven golden candlesticks represent the churches.

(to be continued…)