About Jesus     Steve Sweetman

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ch. 3:1-6   ch. 3:7-13   ch. 3:14-22

Conclusion to the Seven Letters 

 

To The Church At Sardis  (ch. 3:1-10)

 

Those who believe these seven letters are addressed to seven churches throughout history suggest that this church be called the "Dead Church", which is the Reformation church, from about 1520 A D to the present day.  Even though this church movement stressed faith in Jesus alone for salvation, there was little life of the Holy Spirit in the movement, at least for the most part.  This church became state churches and depended on the state for life.  For example, the Lutheran Church became the state church of Germany.        

 

For those who believe this assembly represents a community of Jews at the end of this age parallel this community to Israel in the period when the ten northern tribes lost their nation. 

 

Sardis was a wealthy city with old money.  Old money means inherited money.  Sardis was on the way to decline but was not there yet.  Modern coins used for money were born in this city.  The first coins were minted there. 

 

The local temple had columns 60 feet high and 6 feet wide.  The god here was called the “mother god”, and once again, was sexually immoral.

 

Sardis was a city of decadence, luxury, and pleasure.  It was extremely hedonistic.    

 

Jesus’ description to these people of Himself is that He is the one who holds the seven spirits of God and the seven stars.  We’ve noted earlier that the seven stars are the seven angels or messengers.  Some interpret these as literal angels, and some view them as human messengers. 

 

The seven spirits of God are either seven spirits, or the seven fold Holy Spirit.  Isaiah 11:2 might give some understanding on this for it lists seven aspects of God’s spirit.  They are; the Spirit of the Lord, wisdom, understanding, counsel, might, knowledge and fear of the Lord.      

 

Jesus doesn’t have a lot of good to say about these people as He does the others.  He says that they have “a reputation of being alive”, but in fact they “are dead”.  Jesus is very straight forward.  He hasn’t been beating around the bush in any of these letters.

 

In verse 2 Jesus tells these people that their deeds are not complete in the eyes of the Lord.  He tells them to wake up and strengthen what little they have left.  These people had the good works, but the pure Biblical heart felt motivation wasn’t there.  Doing the good works is simply not good enough.       

 

Ephesians 2:8 to 10 tells us that we are saved by faith and not by works.  Evangelicals have stressed this point almost to the exclusion of something else this passage states.  Paul also tells his readers that they, us too, are ordained by God to do good works.  If this letter is addressed to Christians, they obviously aren't doing the good works they are called to do.  That being said, those who believe this letter is written to Jewish communities during the tribulation say that the emphasis on good works here tells us that this letter is written to Jews who God is bringing back to their vow to obey the Law of Moses.  They say that this letter is all about works and not grace.  

 

In verse 3 Jesus says to them to “remember” what they’ve received and heard and “obey it”.   Obedience is not something that God only required in the Old Testament.  He requires obedience today as well. 

 

Jesus says that if they don’t get back on track He will come to them as a thief and they will not be ready or prepared for His coming.  Whether this means His second coming or simply His coming in some way to this particular church is debatable.  Many futurists see this coming as the rapture of true Christians prior to the Great Tribulation.           

 

1 Thessalonians 5:1 and following tells us that the coming of the Lord will come like a thief in the night.  It will surprise everyone who is not expecting His coming.  That being said, Paul tells his readers that the coming of the Lord shouldn't surprise them.  He is not coming as a thief in the night because they are expecting Him and waiting patiently for Him.  

 

In verse 4 Jesus says that “there are a few in Sardis who have not soiled their clothes”.  This tells me that those who have soiled their clothes once had clean clothes.  Thus these people are heading in the direction of leaving their faith that they once had.   This tells me that they were once saved and now are in danger of losing their salvation.

 

Because these people haven’t soiled their clothes they will some day be “dressed in white”.  This would be in reference to their clothing worn in the next life that Jesus provides for them.

 

In verse 5 Jesus says that those who overcome will never have their names blotted out from the Book of Life, but will be acknowledged by Him to both His Father and the angels.  To me, just the mere mention of blotting names out of the Book of Life suggests its possibility. 

 

There is some debate over what the book of life is.  We see this book in Revelation 20.  We also see what is called the Lambs book of life in Revelation 13.  Some people believe these are two separate and distinct books.  They say you can have your name blotted out of the book of life at death, but your name can't be blotted out of the Lamb's book of life.           

 

The words "blotted out" have been the centre of the debate over the doctrine of eternal security for years.  Some suggest this verse proves one can lose his salvation.   It all depends whether you believe in two books of life or one, as stated above.

 

Once again the admonition to hear what the Spirit of God is saying to the churches ends this letter.  This is an admonition to anyone who hears these words and thus applies to you and I.

 

I've recently pondered over these seven letters.  There are many references to works in these letters.  If you notice at the White Throne Judgment in chapter 20, those who are judged are judged according to their works.  The works they are judged for are works of sin, the biggest, although not mentioned in the list of sin in Revelation 20, is unbelief in Jesus.  This is how I see this.  Christians are saved by faith in God's grace.  Those who choose the way of faith and grace for their lives will not be judged for their works, neither good nor bad.  Those who reject the path of faith and grace are therefore judged for their works, including good and bad.   

 

For those who believe this letter concerns the Northern Kingdom of Israel that had fallen to their enemies in God's judgment will point out that what characterizes these people here line right up with the Northern Kingdom of Israel.  Most people in the north gave themselves to idolatry.   There were a few that didn't soil their clothes as this letter states.  Many of them moved to the southern kingdom known as Judah .

 

Again, we see that Jesus is interested in these people's deeds or works.  He says that they are not complete.  As I've said before in the other letters.  This is Old Testament language.  This is Law of Moses language that majors on works.  Those who hold to the view that these letters are written to Jews at the end of this age will tell you that this can't be written about the church because our deeds, or, our works, are complete in Jesus. 

 

What we can learn from this letter besides what has already been said is that even though our works are complete in Jesus, as Ephesians 2:8 - 10 states.  We are called to do good works.  These works are a product of our faith, our trust in Jesus.  They don't save us and they don't keep us saved, but we will be rewarded for them.  

 

        

 

To The Church At Philadelphia (ch. 3:7-13)

 

For those who believe the people to whom this letter was written represent churches throughout history call this church the "Church that Jesus Loves", from roughly 1750 A D to the present, or, to a pre-tribulation rapture.  It is associated with the Evangelical Movement.              

 

For those who believe this letter is written to Jewish communities at the end of this age, parallel this community to the Kings of Judah in the Old Testament.

 

The name Philadelphia means “brotherly love”.  This was very much a cultural city, with its arts and entertainment.  It was a very busy and active city, with many temples and worship of many gods.   This area also had many earthquakes and had been affected by them over the years. 

 

Verse 7 opens like the other letters describing Jesus in some fashion.  Jesus describes Himself as being holy and true. Being holy and true is part of the very nature of who Jesus is.  These two attributes must not be forgotten in our understanding of Jesus.  Yes, Jesus is love, but there is more to Jesus than love.

 

He says that he “holds the key to David”.  This phrase could possibly be in reference to Isaiah 22:22.   A man named Eliakim would replace another man who was in charge of the King of Juda’s household.  That being said, some would suggest the house of David applies to the church while others would say it applies to Israel.  It's my thinking that any mention to David would be in reference to Israel.  This is yet another reason why some see this letter directed to Jews, not church age Christians.

 

No matter how you view the keys of David, Jesus says that whatever door He opens, no man can shut, and what ever door He closes, no man can open.  Jesus has final authority over all things, and whatever He does cannot be undone unless He so desires.

 

Jesus says that He has set an open door before these people.  The term “open door” in other Scriptures suggests to us that an “open door” refers to evangelical opportunities to spread the gospel.  This thought is important to those who believe that these people are the Evangelical church that began in the 1800's.  Jesus used this church as a church of world wide evangelism.  More than any other part of the church throughout history, the Evangelical Church as spread itself and gospel throughout the whole world.  

 

In verse 8 Jesus acknowledges the fact that these people “have little strength”, yet even with little strength they have not given up.  They have kept the Word of the Lord.  Anyone who knows about the Evangelical church in the past will tell you that it has appeared to be not a very strong looking church.  They had small congregations, met in small unimpressive buildings, and weren't very wealthy.  That has changed in recent years due to the fact that many Evangelicals are now embracing unscriptural doctrines such as the Prosperity Gospel, Hyper Faith, Seeker Sensitive church structure, and more.  

 

Verse 10 tells us where some of the persecution had been coming from.  Jesus speaks again of the “synagogue of satan who claim to be Jews but are liars”.  It is thought by some that the synagogue of satan is Jews who have not turned to Jesus.  Jesus says that some day these people will bow at these people’s feet.  The Jews in the arrogance who claim to be God’s people will realize some day that God’s people are those who have given their lives to Jesus, God’s Son.  The synagogue of satan is a highly debatable subject.

 

One thing to note here is that if Jesus viewed the Jews in those days as being the synagogue of satan, how He views them today.  It they are still rejecting Jesus, would He still not call them the synagogue of satan.      

 

You might recall Jesus in John 8 telling the Jewish leadership that their father was not Abraham as they claimed.  In fact, Jesus told them that their father was the devil.  At the moment I see this synagogue of satan as being apostate Jews whose father is satan and not Abraham.       

 

Jesus tells the real Jews that some day the false Jews
will bow at their feet.  This is a clear reference to the redeemed and repentant Jewish remnant that is seen at the end of the tribulation.  They will rule with Jesus during the thousand year rule of Christ on earth, and these false Jews will then be subject to the real Jews

 

In verse 10 Jesus tells these people that since they have endured hardship He will keep them from the trials that will come upon the whole world. Those who claim that these letters have secondary meaning and that each church symbolizes a church throughout history claim that this is in reference to the rapture before the Great Tribulation, and that the Philadelphia church, otherwise known as the Evangelical church, is the church that will be alive at that time.

 

Others make mention that the verb tense of this verse does
not suggest that these people are going anywhere, as in the rapture,
but the tense suggests that these people will be preserved through the trials.  Some believe the English word “keep” suggests preservation, not escape. These people also suggest that even after many centuries, there is still a Christian church in this area of modern Turkey that survived the last 1900 years.

 

Jesus says that this trial will “test” men on earth.  It will be a time of testing for those on the earth. People who believe in a pre-tribulation rapture say that the “people on earth” in the Bible always refers to non-Christians.  

 

If we are to believe Revelation 3:10 to speak of a pre-tribulation rapture then I believe we have to consider what the whole verse is telling us.  Jesus says that those who patiently endure will not go through the trials that will befall the whole earth.  Therefore, you can't get all excited about escaping the tribulation period without also understanding that there will be much suffering to endure prior to the period of the tribulation that must be patiently endured.     

 

This verse clearly tells us that the ones to whom this letter is directed will live at the end of this age.  When Jesus speaks of trials over all the earth, we must see these trials as taking place just prior to, or during, the tribulation period, depending on whether you believe in a pre-trib rapture or a mid-trib rapture.   

 

Verse 11 says, “I am coming soon”, yet another phrase why some believe this letter is to a church that exists at the end of the age.   Of course, coming soon is a relative term.  It means something different from person to person and might well mean something different in the mind of Jesus.  Remember, Jesus lives outside of our time and space domain.  Time is irrelevant to Him.  He only uses time related phraseology because He is speaking to time and space humans.   

 

Because Jesus is coming quickly He tells these people to hold on to what they have.  Don’t give up.  You’ve made it this far.  You can make it to the end because I will soon come to you.        

 

In verse 12 Jesus says that those who overcome will become a pillar in the temple of God .  This appears to be symbolic.  People aren’t going to turn into brick and mortar. These people will become permanent residence of the New Jerusalem, as this verse states.  There is no temple in the New Jerusalem according to Revelation 21:22 because both God and Jesus are its temple.  So, when this passage speaks of those who overcome as being pillars in the temple of God , it's simply saying that these people will live in the New Jerusalem and will be united with their God.  This might well tell us that this letter is written to Jews, especially if you believe that the remnant of saved Jews will live in the New Jerusalem while Christians from the church age live in the rest of the new earth.                 

 

The next phrase says, “Never again will he leave it”.  The pronoun "he" refers to those people who will reside in the New Jerusalem.  The word "it" refers to the New Jerusalem.  This new city will be an eternal dwelling place for its residence, who I believe at the moment are the saved remnant of Israel .   

 

Jesus says that to the one who overcomes, He will write these new names on him.  We will have new names.  There will be a New Jerusalem that comes down from Heaven.  Even Jesus Himself will have a new name.  When the Bible speaks of “all things becoming new”, that’s exactly what will take place. 

 

The word "overcomes" clearly suggests that there will be trials and sufferings to overcome prior to the tribulation period.  Again, as verse 3 states, those who patiently endure will escape the tribulation period. 

 

For those who believe this letter relates to Jews at the end of this age and represents the southern Kingdom of Judah they will say that Judah was much more obedient to the Lord than the northern kingdom, and that they were.  That being said, they did eventually fall in judgment.

 

When this letter speaks of an open door those holding to the Jewish view do not see this as an open door to spread the gospel but a door that opens to Israel 's deliverance.

 

The number one thing I learn from this letter is that we should endure hardship. These are the daily trials that we all face from day to day.  As time goes on in the western world, Christians will experience many trials because of our trust in Jesus.  We must learn to endure the trials now if we are ever to survive the days ahead.          

 

 

To The  Church Of Laodicea (ch. 3:14-22)

 

For those who believe these seven churches represent seven particular church ages or churches within history, this church is known as the "Apostate Church".  It began in the late 1800's when liberalism influenced the church by taking out all supernatural elements out of the Bible.  This is the present day liberal church, sometimes known as the mainline denominations. These denominations go as far as denying the Deity of Christ.      

 

Those who view this letter as Jewish in nature, referring to Jewish communities at the end of this age, parallel this assemble to Jews at the time of the fall of Judah .

Before I begin a verse by verse commentary on this section I will now insert an article I recently wrote.  The article is from the perspective that this letter is written to a church, and, especially the apostate church that exists at the end of this age.  That being said, I'm not convinced that this letter actually does represent that church, although I do see many parallels.  

The church in the western world is being pressured into conforming to a secular doctrine of tolerance.  The Bible does teach a form of tolerance; however, Biblical tolerance does not come at the expense of Biblical truth.  For this reason conflict historically arises between culture and church, Caesar and Christ.  The demand to conform is intensifying.  Church will eventually be forced to conform or cease to exist in its present format.  So we must ask; "where do we go from here"? 

 

To begin to answer this question I refer you to Revelation 3:14 – 22 where in a letter Jesus blasted the Laodicean church that exhibited all the outward appearances of being a successful church.  This passage shows us that Jesus defines a successful church differently than most of us.

 

Jesus addressed His criticism to this church's messenger who I believe represented the church as a whole.  He ended His criticism by addressing individuals within the church.  As we will see, this is important. 

 

Jesus' anger towards this luke-warm church was seen when He said, "I am about to spit you out of my mouth". (Revelation 3:16)  The words "I am about to spit" are translated from the present active indicative Greek verb "mello".  Present means that the saliva was already swirling around in Jesus' mouth as He criticized this church.  Active means that He alone would spit.  Indicative means that Jesus' mind was made up.  He would spit this church out of his mouth.  

 

The problem with this spiritually spineless church was that it was consumed by its wealth instead of Jesus as seen in verse 17.  It thought very highly of its self-sufficiency, but Jesus thought differently.  Despite the church's wealth that could have funded all kinds of humanitarian efforts, Jesus said it was wretched, poor, pitiful, blind, and naked.  It's funny how Jesus views church differently than us, but that's usually the case.       

 

In verse 18 Jesus advised this church to find its wealth in Him.  The word "advised" is translated from the Greek present active indicative verb "symbouleuo".  This means that Jesus' advice was a command that demanded an immediate positive response.        

 

As I noted earlier, Jesus began His criticism by addressing the church as a whole.  He concluded it by addressing individuals within this church as seen in verse 19.  "Those (individuals) whom I love I rebuke and discipline". 

 

Jesus is then pictured standing outside the church knocking on its door.  It's not that He wanted to come in and save the church because He didn't.  Remember, He was about to spit it out of His mouth.  His intention is seen in verse 20.  "If anyone (any individual) hears my voice and opens the door I will come in and eat with him".  Jesus wasn't intending on having a meal with the whole church in its fellowship hall.  He wanted to eat with individuals within the church.  In Jewish terms, eating a meal with others was a matter of personal relationships.  Jesus was inviting individuals into His life.  He wanted a workable personal relationship with them, which I might add, was what Christian Evangelicalism was founded upon.  This brings me to the point of this article.  

 

The first step in where church goes from here is a step that the individual must take. Church can't take this step for us. 

The Apostle Paul told us to examine ourselves to see if we're really in the faith. (2 Corinthians 13:5)  If our devotion to Jesus has died; if our love for Him has become lackadaisical; if our commitment to Him has become casual; we must repent and return to the heart felt love we had when we first met Him.  Jesus told the Ephesian Christians this very thing in Revelation 2:4.  They worked hard for Jesus but their work had become routine.  Repenting from this casual, hoe hum, routine faith, and returning to our first love for Jesus is the next step we must take.  This will keep us from forsaking our faith and caving into our anti-Christ culture as Jesus said would happen to some in Matthew 24:10.      

 

Watchman Nee was a Christian who didn't fall from faith despite his imprisonment in Chinese prisons and labour camps for the last 20 years of his life.  He was executed and cremated in 1972 without his family knowing.  When his family was informed of his death they discovered a note he had written with large letters and shaky hand writing.  "Christ is the Son of God who died for the redemption of sinners and resurrected after three days.  This is the greatest truth in the universe.  I die because of my belief in Christ". (from "A Seer Of The Divine Revelation Of The Present Age", by Witness Lee, 1991, Living Stream Ministry)  Watchman Nee loved Jesus through all of his suffering, right up to his dying day.  If not for His heart felt love and devotion for Jesus and Jesus' heart felt love and devotion for him, he would have caved into the Chinese anti-Christ regime. 

 

There are countless Christians imprisoned, beaten, raped, and executed, in places like Iran today.  They don't cave into an anti-Christ's culture either.  They join those seen in Revelation 12:11 who "loved not their lives so much as to shrink from death".  They love Jesus more than life itself.  It's this devotion that will keep us in Jesus in the days to come.  It's this devotion that will keep us from joining a soon to be culturally correct church.  I'd prefer to be among those whom Jesus called out of the Laodicean culturally correct church to be with Him.  We definitely need our brothers and sisters in Jesus for support but in the final analysis such devotion and commitment is a matter of the heart of the individual Christian.  Others can't be devoted on our behalf. 

 

I now return to my commentary.  Laodicea was devastated by an earthquake in 60 A D.  The city did not want any government help and it restored itself on their own.  The city was a rich city.  One important thing they exported was a special eye salve that came from the temple. 

 

This city had a running water problem.  They had to import their water from hot springs outside the city to the west.  They also had to import cold water from the east of town.  They built aqueducts to transport the water into the city, but by the time the hot water from the west got into the city it was luke-warm.  By the time the cold water got into the city from the east, it was luke-warm.      

 

With the above hot water and cold water understanding we should understand what Jesus says here.  He says that He'd rather have these people either cold or hot.  He didn't like them being luke-warm.  We should not interpret this to mean that Jesus would prefer these people to be outright horrible pagan sinners.  He's simply using an analogy based on their water system to explain that He is not impressed with their casual attitude toward their faith   

 

In verse 14 we see how Jesus describes Himself to these people.  He says that He is the “amen”. When spoken by God or Jesus in the Bible “amen” means, "it is so".  When spoken by man it means “let it be so”. 

 

Jesus is the truth and therefore He Himself can be called the Amen.
(amen – it is so)  In other words, whatever Jesus says, it is so.  You can trust what He says.

 

Jesus also says that He is the faithful and true witness, ruler of God’s creation.  God has placed Jesus as the Lord and Ruler of all things.  There is no one like Jesus and His people needs to learn this.          

 

I should comment on the word "ruler".  It's translated from the Greek word "arche" which in its basic form means origin or beginning.  What I believe Jesus to say there is that He is the origin of all things.  In some circles "arch" did mean "first' and was applied to someone in charge, which, might be why the NIV uses the word "ruler" here.  At the moment I prefer the word "origin".   

 

In verse 15 we see Jesus telling these people that “He knows their works”.  Their works are neither cold nor hot.  They’re doing good works simply out of routine, something that is not much different than many church people today.  The surprising thing that Jesus says is that He wished they were either cold or hot, not luke-warm. He’d rather have them cold instead of luke-warm.  You’d think luke-warm would be better than cold, but it appears that Jesus wants all or nothing, something I think we really don’t understand.

 

In verse 16 we see Jesus’ response to these people being luke-warm.  He is ready to spit them out of His mouth.  Once again we see Jesus in light of the present person that He is, that is the Lord of all things.         

 

Because of the Greek verb tense of the words "I will spit", we should know that this spitting is a present and ongoing certainty.  It's not maybe I will spit.  It's I will certainly spit.  

 

Again we see the emphasis on works here.  For those who believe this letter is written to Jews and not the church they point out this emphasis on Old Testament style works.      

 

In verse 17 we see this group of people  being very rich and needing nothing.  They are self sufficient.  But this is not the way it should be.  We should not be self sufficient or self propitiating.  Many churches do well these days surviving on their own.  They can grow and do things that are good without Jesus.  This is the way it was with those in Laodicea, but this is not what Jesus wants. The acquiring of things doesn’t impress Jesus.

 

Jesus has a fix for these people if they care to use it.  He says that they should buy from  Him.  This means that these people should think less of the things they buy from the world in their material acquiring of things and think of what they can buy from Jesus.  Of course Jesus doesn’t want our money.  He wants us.  We pay with our lives.  In Malachi 3:3, the prophet speaks of such refining of His people by fire as gold is refined by fire.  Again, we see allusions of Israel here.  

 

Jesus goes on to give examples of what we can buy from Him with our lives.  One thing is gold refined in fire.  I believe this is speaking of true faith.  We see Peter in his first letter and first chapter speak of faith being refined by fire.  The Laodiceans have a false faith.  They need a true faith that can stand the tests. 

 

Also in verse 18 Jesus says, “so that you can be rich”.  This richness is in the gold refined by fire, that is a true faith.  Jesus does not care about worldly riches that belong to a church.  He cares about our faith.

 

He also says that we can buy “white clothes” which I believe symbolizes “righteousness”.  With true faith comes “white clothes”.  We become righteous in the eyes of God when we have true faith.  Another great export from Laodicea was this black shiny clothe that was made into expensive clothing.  The black robes were a status symbol, but Jesus likes white, and it is white robes Jesus will give these people. 

 

One other thing that Jesus says these people can buy and that is “salve” for their eyes so they can see.  They don’t presently see through the eyes of the Holy Spirit as they should.  These people see through carnal and earthly eyes because that is what they are.  Their lives need to be transformed by the Holy Spirit. 

 

In verse 19 Jesus says, “those I love, I rebuke and discipline”.  The fact of the matter is that many don’t respond to Jesus’ discipline so after a while He let’s us go our own way.  Paul says this very clearly in his first two chapters of his book to the Romans. Therefore we don’t experience any discipline by Him any more.              

 

Christians don't think in terms of being disciplined by God these days, but we are.  The sad fact of the matter is that some of the trials we go through are in fact God's way of disciplining us.  If we don't know this, we won't learn from His discipline.  If we don't believe He disciplines us we won't even recognize the discipline.

 

In verse 20 Jesus tells these people to repent.  He also says that He is outside the door of their assembly and He is knocking.  This tells you something about this group of people.  It has left Jesus out of its life.  They’re living a humanistic life. If the door is opened to Him, He’ll come in and commune with them.   I believe the reference to eating implies fellowship and relationship.  

 

For those who believe this letter is  written to Jews and not the church, they suggest that the eating that Jesus speaks of here is in fact the marriage supper of the Lamb that is spoken of in Revelation 19.   

 

If these people don’t open the door Jesus will do as He has already said, that is, spit these people out of His mouth.  This means He will stop knocking and walk away, and wash His hands clean of them. 

 

In the last two paragraphs I've used the pronoun "they" because Jesus is speaking an assebmly of His people.  That being said, you will notice who verse 20 is actually directed to.  It is not directed to the assembly as a whole.  It is directed to individuals.  It is directed to anyone, as in any person.  It appears this assembly has gotten so bad that Jesus says that if anyone, any one person, just opens the door to "him", He will come in and dine with him.  If this is a picture of the last day church, as many think, this shows you how bad things will get at the end, even in the church.  Even so, Jesus is still at the door waiting for individuals to repent. 

 

In verse 21 Jesus says that for those who overcome, that is, for those who do repent and do as He says, He will let them sit by Him on thrones. He says that He has overcome and sits on a throne by God His Father, and the same can be so with these people if they truly repent and overcome. This might well be in reference to Revelation 20:4 where we see saints ruling and judging with Jesus.

 

Jesus ends this letter as He does the other letters.  “He that has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches”, that is to all the churches.  All of us have ears.  We need to hear and take note and do as Jesus says.  If not, Jesus will treat us in the same way He treats these seven assebmlies we see in Revelation 2 and 3.

 

It seems the higher one is the greater the fall.  Judah lasted longer and was more spiritually minded than the tribes in the northern part of Israel proper.  Therefore, when they fell, they fall farther, as seems to be the case in this letter.  This is one way in which those who believe this letter represents Judah prior to her fall.

 

There are many things to learn here.  One is the need for repentance, even among God's people.  Another is the fact that God does not like luke-warmess.  That being said, we can still open the door to let Jesus into our lives.   

 

We also should take note of worldly riches.  They mean very little in the eyes of the Lord, and we should certainly take note of that.  Jesus encouraged us to lay up treasures in heaven and not on earth.  We certainly see that is the message in this letter.   

 

 

Conclusion To The Seven Letters

 

As I write these words in the summer of 2014 there is much I am not sure of when it comes to these letters.  That being said, there is also much I am sure of. 

 

One thing I'm sure of is that translating the Greek word "ekklesia" as church in these letters is a mistake.  It is pure interpretation.  If it were up to me, I'd translated "ekklesia" as "the community of God's people".  Then, the reader is given the opportunity to determine for himself what community of God's people Jesus is addressing.  When you translate "ekklesia" as church, you do not give the reader that opportunity.  You make them think that Jesus is speaking to the church in what many have called the age of grace, and I'm no longer sure that is the case. Translating the word "ekklesia" as church is interpretation.  It's not translation.

 

Another thing I am sure of is that we cannot rule out that Jesus is talking to Jews in the last seven years of this age.  I would suggest that best book to read on this issue is E. W. Bullinger's 1909 book entitled  "The Apocalypse".  He does a much better job than me to explain this position, and, for me, his book has been a real eye opener.

 

One thing I have always questioned is making these seven letters represent seven stages in church history.  I have never been convinced of this and I'm still not.  One reason is that the text does not say this.  Another reason is that most who believe this seem to leave out the eastern church in their thinking.  Bullinger in his book says these seven letters represent seven stages in Old Testament Jewish history.  I question that too.

 

I would suggest that maybe these letters speak to seven different aspects of God's people who are alive during the time of the tribulation period. 

 

I would also point out that if you study these letters closely you'll note that that they are very Jewish and Old Testament in their content.  Once you see this, you will have to decide if such content really should be directed to the church of Jesus Christ . 

 

My bottom line to prophecy, including this section of Revelation, is that when this Revelation is being fulfilled, then we will know exactly what is meant in Revelation, chapters 2 and 3.                

 

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