The Calling (Revelations Visited Book 5)
Life and death are both under the control of Jesus. He is able to take his people through death to new life. This again shows that Jesus is God. Verse 19 Jesus then repeats the command to write. John must write all that he has already seen. That is, what is in chapter 1. Then he must write about what is now. And then he must write about those things that are still in the future. And it is for the end period of history, which is yet to begin. I am Jesus. I hold the seven stars in my right hand. And I walk in the middle of the seven gold lamp holders. This is what I say to you.
I know how hard you have worked. You have been patient and you have not grown tired. I know that you will not accept bad people. But you tested them. You found that they were telling lies. However, you have continued and you have not grown tired. You do not love as you did at the start. When you first believed you did well. Live like that again. You hate what the Nicolaitans do. I also hate what they do. To those who overcome, I will give the fruit from the tree of life. That tree is in the garden of God.
Ephesus was the chief city in the region called Asia Minor. It was a major city for commerce and trade. Three great trade routes came through Ephesus. It was one of the greatest buildings in the ancient world. Here, it is from verses 13 and The letter comes from Jesus, who holds the seven stars. They are safe in his hand.
Nobody can take them from Jesus. He walks in the middle of the gold lamp holders. Jesus is present with them. He knows their situation. This should both encourage and warn us. They had almost worked too hard. The situation that they were in was not easy. Some of these people were false teachers.
They had suffered much trouble. They were patient as they suffered for Jesus. They had troubles because they lived for Jesus. Through all the problems, they remained true to Jesus. They did not turn away from him. They were careful to teach the truth. They would not believe what was wrong or false. All this was good but it was not enough. They had lost the most important thing. These Christians did not love as they used to. They did not love God as much as when they first became Christians.
Their love for each other was not as strong as it had been. But a hot object becomes cool. And their love for God and for other people had become less. They had fallen from that high place. Their love was not now as strong as it was then. Also, they loved each other. And they worked for each other. Now it was not the same. They had lost something of that first love. They must turn again. They must do as they used to. Love must again be very important in their lives.
Love for God must be the reason for their actions. Their actions must show love for each other. Actions without love have no worth at all. Jesus will come and remove the lamp holder. But the most important thing was their love. Love is more important than good actions. But love will always produce good actions. Verse 6 There was a group of people called the Nicolaitans.
We do not know much about this group. But they did things that were not right for the Christians. They ate the food that people gave to false gods. And their ideas about sex were not what Christians should believe. He also hated what they did. There are many such strange groups. Christians must be careful to obey what the Bible teaches. They must refuse the actions of those who teach against the truth. They should hate all that is false. The Spirit of Christ gives a promise to those who overcome.
They are those who obey God. Adam and Eve were in the Garden of Eden. In that garden, there was the tree of life. He put a guard there so that they could not eat the fruit of it Genesis Then they would not be able to live with God. They can eat the fruit of the tree of life. I came to life again. I know that you are poor. However, you are rich. And I know the evil things that some people say about you. I tell you, the devil will throw some of you into prison to test you. And you will suffer much trouble for ten days. And I will give you life as a crown.
The second death will not hurt those who overcome. Verse 8 On the route north from Ephesus, the next city was Smyrna. Its modern name is Izmir. It is about 35 miles from Ephesus. It is on the sea and it had a good, safe harbour. In trade, it was second only to Ephesus. Jesus writes to Smyrna as the first and the last. He defeated death. He was now alive Jesus suffered much. He knows what it is to suffer. Jesus died and came to life again. So, they too can be brave even to die.
They can be sure of the life beyond death. He saw all the troubles that they had. They were very poor and they struggled to live. Life was very hard for these Christians. They were poor. But Jesus said that they were rich. But they were rich toward God.
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They caused a lot of trouble. They spoke lies and said evil things about the Christians. Perhaps they thought that they were serving God. But by their actions, they were against God. They would suffer much. Ten is a whole number. Some would die because of their trust in Jesus. In all of this, they must remain strong. They must continue to trust in Jesus through it all. They must not deny Jesus. People will do these evil things but the real cause is the devil. He uses people to do his work. So, the devil will put them in prison. Rather we should be afraid of God who can punish the whole person, both body and spirit Matthew To those who overcome, Jesus will give life as a crown.
The reward, like a crown, is life itself. This crown is the sort that the winner in a race receives. They had races in Smyrna. This life is like a race. Those who win the race will receive the prize.
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All who trust Jesus to the end will win the prize. There is a second death. We all live and die. Then he will be the judge of all people. He will decide their fate by what they have done. But those who overcome will not die a second time. I have the sharp sword. It cuts with both edges. But you remain true to my name. He was my loyal servant. He spoke the truth about me. The people in your city killed him. Some among you follow what Balaam taught Balak. He tempted them to eat food from the table of false gods. He tempted them to have wrong sex.
I will fight against them with the sword that comes out of my mouth. I will also give to each person who overcomes a white stone with a new name on it. Nobody knows this new name except the person who receives it. Verse 12 The road north from Smyrna follows the coast for about 40 miles.
Then it turns away from the sea up a river valley. Ten miles from the sea is the capital city, called Pergamum. Here they had a large and famous library. The city was on a hill. Zeus was their chief god. The people in Pergamum had four main gods that they served. These were Zeus, Athene a special female god , Dionysos and Asklepios. The local rulers had the power of life and death. They could arrest and kill any person. But Jesus has the sharp sword. His sword cuts with both edges The power of life and death belongs to Jesus and not to the rulers. They can only kill the body.
But Jesus has the power of life and death of the whole person. Verse 13 Jesus spoke to them. There were so many false gods. People did so many evil things in that town. It was very hard to be a Christian there. The Christians lived in constant danger. They killed Antipas because he trusted in Jesus. They were brave. They were even willing to die for Jesus. Some members did not live as they should. Some people there did what Balaam taught Balak. The story of Balaam and Balak is in Numbers chapters 22 to These members did not want to be different from the other people in Pergamum.
They were happy to eat the food of false gods. They did the same things as other people. They even had sex with those who did not trust in Jesus. They may have had sex with more than one partner. This is against what Jesus taught. Some also followed what the Nicolaitans taught. Perhaps they belonged to the same group because they did the same things.
Christians ought to be different from those who do not trust in Jesus. They should do what he taught. They should not live to the standards of the world. They ought not to have members like these. If they do not then Jesus will come. Verse 17 What other people do tempts us. We may want to live as they do. But God calls us to live for him. Jesus taught us how we should live.
They were in the desert and he gave them this for food Exodus chapter Those who overcome will have the food of heaven to eat. This may mean food for the spirit while on earth. It may be a promise of heaven. On that stone, there is a name. It is a new name and nobody else knows it. Jesus died for all people. In the races at Pergamum, those who win receive a white stone.
Those who overcome have won the race of life. The new name on the stone may be the name of the person who overcomes. That new name is a prize and an honour. This will be the name of that person in the new age. In chapter , Jesus has a name on him, but nobody except Jesus himself knows it.
He gives his name to his own people. Those who know the name will be close friends of Jesus. I am the Son of God. My eyes are like a flame of fire. You are doing more now than you did at the start. You let that woman called Jezebel remain among you. She encourages them to have wrong sex. She causes them to eat food from the table of false gods. However, she does not want to change.
And whoever has sex with her will suffer greatly. They must turn from the wicked things that they did with her. And I will give to each of you whatever your works deserve. You have not believed what Jezebel taught. So, I will not make life any more difficult for you. Hold on to it until I come.
The Beginning of the Revelation (Part 4)
To them, I will give power. They shall rule the nations. And they will break the nations as if they were dried mud. This is what I also have received from my Father. Verse 18 This is the longest letter and it is the most difficult. We know less about Thyatira than the other cities. It is south and east of Pergamum at a distance of 40 miles. It was famous for its trade. There were many trade unions in Thyatira. Each one of these was for a particular trade.
This caused real problems for the Christians. They had to belong to the union in order to get work in their trade. Jesus describes himself as the Son of God. This is very different from the local god. His name was Apollo Tyrimnos. People thought that he was the son of a god called Zeus. But Jesus really is the Son of the real God. The eyes of Jesus were like a flame of fire.
He could see all the problems of the Christians. He could see through all that Jezebel taught. He sees all things. He is able to deal with all the problems. This shows that Jesus is more magnificent than any false gods, or even the king of Rome. So, the church in Thyatira should give honour to Jesus and not to these false gods. He knew all about the Christians in Thyatira.
He liked so many of the things that he saw. They had not lost their love. It had not grown weak as it had in Ephesus. They believed in him. They trusted him completely. They served God and not the local gods. They were doing more now than they did before. Life in Thyatira was difficult for them. What we do for each other shows our love. As the love of the Christians in Thyatira increased, they did more. There had been a queen, also called Jezebel. She was the wife of king Ahab. She was a wicked woman. Jezebel encouraged Ahab to do all kinds of wicked deeds 1 Kings This woman was probably very clever.
She was able to convince people that she was right. She said that she had special knowledge from God. She taught the Christians to live as the people in Thyatira did. She said that it was right to join the trade unions. They would even think that it was not wrong to have sex with different partners. This is an important question for Christians of all times. They have to decide how much they can join in with the local activities. They must not deny what the Bible teaches.
But they are members of the society in which they live.
How to read the Book of Revelation
What she was doing was evil. She knew it. He had warned her and he had given her time to change. The bed here is a place of illness and pain. She will suffer much for the evil things that she had done. They too will suffer illness and pain. But they still have the chance to avoid the punishment. They must not do those things that they knew to be wrong. Verse 23 These are not her children by natural birth. She was like a mother to them. They believed all that she taught. He sees all that we do. He knows all about us. He will be the judge of every person.
He will punish or reward them. They will get what they deserve. We know that none of us deserves a reward. We all deserve death. However, he will be the judge of what Christians do. And he will give rewards to some Christians. Verses Jezebel argued that Christians should join in the things of the false gods.
She probably said that the false gods were not really bad. Therefore, there would be no problem for the Christians. What she taught was false. Most Christians in Thyatira did not follow Jezebel. They must continue in love and service to God. His people must continue to love him and to trust him. And they must continue until he comes. They continue to the end.
Jesus will give power to his people when he comes to rule on earth. They will share with Jesus as he rules. They will lead the nations as those who lead sheep. They will be able to encourage the people. A man who makes pots uses an iron bar to break any bad pots. Jesus has this power which God the Father gave to him. Jesus will share this power with his people. Verse 28 We do not know what the morning star means. But this is a description of Jesus.
He is like the bright morning star I hold the 7 spirits of God and the 7 stars. I know what you are doing. Everyone may think that you are alive. But you are dead. Give strength to those things that have almost died. I have looked at what you are doing. Your actions do not satisfy what God wants. Obey what you heard. So, if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief. And you will not know at what time I will come to you.
They will walk with me in white clothes because they deserve it. I will not remove their names from the book of life. Verse 1 Sardis was about 30 miles south of Thyatira and 50 miles east of Ephesus. It was on the side of a mountain. Below it there was a large plain. It was in a good position for an army to defend.
It had been a powerful and rich city. But it was not still as strong as it had been. The letter comes from Jesus, who holds the 7 spirits of God and the 7 stars. Christ has the Spirit who alone can give life. Jesus holds the 7 stars in his right hand But by this time, it had lost its life. This process was slow. They did not see it happen. So, they did not live as they should. In the past, armies had twice defeated Sardis.
They were able to do this because nobody watched. In other words, the Christians need to be aware of what is happening. But some things there did not seem to be dead. A sleeper may seem dead until he wakes. But, unlike a dead body, a sleeper is not hopeless. He is still alive. But perhaps it was more like a sleeper. Perhaps it could recover, like a man who wakes. It must turn from its wrong actions. The Christians in Sardis were doing a lot. Much of the activity seemed to be for God. But God saw the reality. Their actions did not satisfy what God wanted. Verse 3 Christ tells the Christians to remember what they had received.
They received new life from God. They must obey his word and live for him. It is as if they must wake out of their present sleep. Or, as if they must come alive again. He will come when they do not expect it. He will not announce when he is coming. He will deal with them and he will be their judge. Their belief made no difference to their lives. They were behaving like people who make their own clothes dirty. In Sardis, the people coloured wool and they made clothes.
If the wool was dirty, it was not useful. This means that they did not live by the standards of the local people. Instead, they lived by what they had learned from the word of God. This means that they will be holy. They will walk with him. This means that their lives will please him. He gives to them the reward that he earned. They do not deserve it because of anything that they have done. They obtain it because they believe in Christ. What they believed changed their lives. Verse 5 There are three parts to the promise for those who overcome. They will wear white clothes.
Their names will be in the book of life. Many people died because they were Christians. In heaven, they have white clothes All the people in heaven have white clothes The clothes are white to show that they are not dirty. So, the clothes of Christians in heaven are white because Jesus made them clean. He gives the white clothes to those who believe. This means that he gives his own goodness to them. He makes them perfect. The idea is that God has a book. In it, he wrote the names of all those who would be his people. Those whose names are in the book would go to heaven.
Those whose names are not in the book cannot go to heaven. Jesus will take those who overcome to be at home with him. He will introduce them to God the Father. What he said to them, he says to Christians in every age. I am holy and true. I hold the key of David. What I open nobody can shut. And what I shut nobody can open. Look, I have given you an open door. Nobody is able to shut that door. I know that you have just a little power. However, you have obeyed my word and you have not denied my name. I will make them come. They will fall down at your feet. They shall know that I have loved you.
You have been patient even in troubles and you have not turned away. So, I will protect you from the time of trouble. This time of trouble will come to the whole world. That time will test all who live on the earth. Hold on to what you have. Let nobody take your crown from you. They will never leave it again. I will write on them the name of my God and the name of the city of my God.
That is the new Jerusalem, which will come down out of heaven from my God. I will also write on them my own new name. Verse 7 Philadelphia was at the east end of a broad valley. The soil in the valley was good for agriculture. Philadelphia was on the main road from Sardis to the port near Smyrna.
So, there was much trade in the city. The inhabitants of Philadelphia had many parties for their gods. One of them first built this city. Attalus so loved his brother that they called him Philadelphus lover of his brother. The name of the city came from this name for Attalus.
Jesus says that he is holy and true. And they would understand that this phrase described the Christ. They expected that Christ would come. But they did not recognise Jesus as that Christ. Jesus writes as God and as the true Christ. The person who holds the key has the power. David was a great king. God chose David to be king over his people. One of the names for the Christ was the son of David. The Christ will be king in heaven and on the earth.
He will rule over all people and things. Jesus is that king and he has that power. A person with a key has the power to open or to close a door. And the door means the events that Jesus controls. So, with that key, Jesus can open or shut any door. No person can open a door that Jesus has shut. No person can shut a door that Jesus has opened. Jesus is in control of all that happens. Verse 8 Jesus has opened a door for the Christians in Philadelphia. Nobody can shut this door on them. Those who belong to Christ can go in there. It did not have a major effect on the city. They believed the word of God and they obeyed it.
People tried to force them to deny the name of Christ. But they would not. They were loyal to Jesus at all times. That was not true. They were lying. Then they will come. They will fall down at the feet of the Christians. They will know that they were wrong.
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Verse 10 The Christians in Philadelphia had obeyed what Jesus taught. They had been loyal to him. They were strong in their belief. But immediately before that, there will be a terrible time. It will last for three and a half years. There will be a strong and evil king. He will rule for this period. Then Jesus will come and punish him. This period is the time of trouble. Starting in chapter 6, we read about the things that will happen in those three and a half years.
But it might mean that he will protect them from damage during the time of trouble. God the Father has fixed the date. Nobody knows that date except the Father. When that day comes, Jesus will come. Until Jesus comes, the Christians must continue to believe in him. And when Jesus comes, he will come with great power. He will take his people from the earth. The crown is the prize for the winner in a race. All who remain firm to the end are winners.
Christians must be careful so that nobody will cause them to fail. Sometimes it was dangerous to remain in Philadelphia. The people had to leave the city and live in temporary homes. They will be safe from all dangers. These are the name of God, the name of the city of God and his own new name.
They will belong to God. They will be citizens of the New Jerusalem chapter And they will always be with Christ himself. I am the loyal and the true witness. I rule over all that God has created. You are like water that is neither cold nor hot. I wish that you were either cold or hot. You declare that you are wealthy. You say that you need nothing.
But you do not know that you need help. You do not know that you are miserable, poor, blind and naked. Fire has made this gold pure. Buy it so that you can become rich. Also, buy white clothing from me so that you can dress yourself. Then you will cover up your shame and you will not be naked. And I give them strict discipline. I am knocking on it. If you hear my voice, then open the door.
I will come in to you. I will eat with you. And you will eat with me. Verse 14 Laodicea was about 40 miles south and east of Philadelphia. It was the richest city in the region. The people there had sheep with soft black wool. The city was famous for this wool. With it, the people made clothes, which they sold. There are options set in 'Advanced Options'. Search verses, phrases, and topics e. John , Jesus faith love.
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A Revelation in Autumn
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According to the Book of Revelation, there will be a future ministry of angels.