In chapters 2 & 3 of Revelation we find seven letters that Jesus Himself writes to seven churches that existed in Asia Minor in the first century. As we noted last week, these letters were intended to have at least four levels of meaning and application.
- Local application – these were 7 real churches in Asia Minor (modern day Turkey)
- We are told they are for any that have ‘ears to hear’
- These 7 letters were all intended to be passed around, to mutually encourage, edify and strengthen the churches at that time – and so are applicable to all churches through the last 2000 years
- However, as we noted last week, these letters are prophetic, and tell – in advance – the history of the church.
Chapter 2: 12-17 The Letter to Pergamos ‘the church in the World’ 313 A.D–590 A.D.
Pergamos was situated about 50 miles north of Smyrna and about 15 miles inland off the Aegean Sea. The city was given over to idolatry and worshipped many pagan gods. There was an Acropolis on top of the hill along with an amphitheatre that could seat 10,000 people.
Pergamos was famous for the alter of Zeus – the Greek and Roman deity. The alter was huge, measuring 100ft on each side; and it had become a place of Cesar worship.
Asclepius (pronounced: sc-lay-pe-us) the serpent god was also worshipped and it was believed that he had power to heal. This idea was a distortion of the account recorded in Numbers 21 when God sent fiery serpents among the Children of Israel. When the people cried out to God, He commanded Moses to put a brass serpent on a pole. Whoever had been bitten then only needed to look at the pole and they would be healed. In John 3:14-15 Jesus explains that this was an anticipatory type of Himself dying on the cross and being judged for our sin (the pole represents the cross / the brass speaks of judgment / the serpent represents sin). On the cross, Jesus became sin for us and was judged in our place. Just as with the serpent on the pole in the wilderness, anyone who looks at Jesus will be saved. The worship of Asclepius was a distortion of this story that had been handed down through the generations.
NB: The medical profession still have the emblem of snakes on their belts / uniforms even today!
During this period of history, the Roman Empire was divided into two sections. Constantine, in a bid for total control entered into a war with Maximus. Just before a battle at Milvian Bridge, legend has it that Constantine looked up and saw a flaming cross in the sky and heard a voice saying ‘in this sign conquer’. He then went out and won the battle and was so impressed that he ‘converted’ to Christianity. This brought about a dramatic change that has affected the world ever since. One day the Christians are being fed to the lions, the next day Christians are given equal rights and even given their land and property back.
According to historians, Constantine then invited Christian Bishops form all over the area to come to Rome to talk about this new ‘faith’. One of these Bishops was a monk called Damasis. In an effort to please all the religious people of the day, Damasis had mixed some of the Babylon religious practices with Christianity. Constantine was impressed with Damasis’ ability to please ‘everybody’ (after all, what Emperor wouldn’t want all his subjects to get along?), and as a result he gave Damasis the position of ‘Bishop of Rome’ and the title of ‘Supreme Pontiff’ (which up until that point had only been used by Emperors). This title is still used today by the head of the Roman Catholic Church.
Constantine also set up a basilica (sacred Roman building) and had 13 sarcophaguses (tombs) placed within it. His intention was to bring the bodies of the 12 Apostles to Rome, and lay them to rest in this basilica. The 13th place was intended to be for himself when he died.
The Catholic Church, as it became known (catholic simply means ‘universal’) had 5 major centres. Antioch / Byzantium (later to be renamed Constantinople – and now known as Istanbul) / Jerusalem – These three were in the east of the empire. The other two were Alexandria, in Egypt, and Rome – both in the west of the empire.
Constantine, named the church in Rome the ‘Roman Catholic Church’.
However, being concerned that the church at Rome was going off on a tangent (supported very much by those within the church in Alexandria, Egypt), the churches in the east named their churches ‘Orthodox’ meaning the original, or authentic. This is where we get the Greek Orthodox, Eastern Orthodox and Russian Orthodox churches.
The rivalry grew and before long the Roman Catholic Church started to collect ‘relics’ in an attempt to prove that they were the most authentic. (Relics are artefacts, or things that belonged to, were worn, or had some connection with Jesus or the 12 Apostles or other key early church figures).
The Roman Catholic Church then started telling people that they had the ‘best’ relics, so they must be the true church. To counter this the Greek and Eastern Orthodox churches started doing the same, thus it became a treasure hunt to find the best relics.
To underline the madness of this, until recently the Roman Catholic Church had the body of James but the Eastern Orthodox had his head! In a ‘gesture of good will’ the Eastern Orthodox church gave the head to the Roman Catholic Church – James can now be put back together again!
The Roman Catholic Church then started saying that people had been healed from touching the bones and relics, so the Orthodox did the same.
Now, on the positive side it was probably good for new Christians to see the tombs of the Apostles and the things that one belonged to them. This would help them to realise that they had an historic faith – that it was real, and unlike the pagan religions that were based in mythology and superstition; but the problem was that this soon turned to idolatry as people started to worship these relics.
One of the other major problems at this time was that the whole theology of the church shifted. For years the church had been persecuted and in fear of death, eagerly looking for the return of the Lord, holding to the blessed hope. Now, overnight, the persecution had stopped and some Christians started thinking that maybe all the persecution had been the tribulation. If that was so, then this must now be the Millennium. This idea went hand in hand with another idea that began to surface saying that you don’t have to take the Bible seriously, that it doesn’t mean what it says, but rather it’s just stories to illustrate good and bad. This idea was largely promoted by a man call Origen, and later by one of his pupils called Augustine of Hippo. Augustine became so influential in the church that even people like John Calvin during the reformation over 1000 years later leaned heavily on his teaching.
This is now a matter of history and can be easily verified (www.hallofchurchhistory.com is a good place to start)
Irenaeus, a pupil of Polycarp (who in turn was a disciple of John the Apostle), became the Bishop of Lyons in France. Irenaeus, like Justin Martyr (an early Christian historian), believed that Christ will reign on earth for a thousand years, and he vehemently protested against attempts to allegorize away the millenarian proof texts. Irenaeus also argued against the Gnostic doctrine of a secret teaching by appealing to apostolic succession — if there had been such a teaching, the apostles would have passed it on to their successors. The apostles, he claimed, taught the Rule of Faith (very similar to our Apostles’ Creed).
Irenaeus wrote, “The tradition of the Apostles is manifest throughout the whole world; and we are in a position to reckon up those who were, by the Apostles, ordained bishops in the churches, and the succession of those men to our own time. If the Apostles had known hidden mysteries, they would have delivered them, especially to those to whom they were committing the churches themselves. For they were desirous those men should be very perfect and blameless in all things, whom also they were leaving behind as their successors, delivering up their own place of government to these men.”
However, people like Augustine, realising that it was unpopular to teach that Jesus was coming back to usurp the rulers of this world, (the same rulers that had just ‘legalised’ Christianity) popularised the Gnostic teachings from the 2nd century that scripture, and particularly the Book of Revelation, were to be taken symbolically, not literally.
Hence the church shifted form looking for the imminent return of the Lord to deliver them, to believing that the kingdom had now come and was being manifested on earth through the church. This is still the view taught in most Roman Catholic and Anglican churches today.
The name ‘Pergamos’ means mixed or elevated marriage.
Pergos – berg (German) = castle or something that is lifted up.
Gammos – marriage (as in polygamy, monogamy etc.)
The church had become elevated through its marriage to Rome, and now the influences of the pagan religions had come under its roof.
One day, the pagan priests were worshipping their idols in their temples, the next, they are told that they must convert to Christianity or die. The church, which for so long had been oppressed, suddenly became the oppressor with its newly found poitical power.
The Christians then started to use the lavish pagan temples and turn them into ‘churches’. As more churches began to be built, they were modelled on the existing pagan temples, but also began to become even more elaborate. This was a good move for architecture but bad for true Christianity. Now the buildings themselves became the focus; a practice that persists even to this day. It is because of this that so many people associate ‘church’ with a building and not with the people who have left all to follow Jesus Christ.
All in all, this was one of the worst times in the history of the Church, far from setting their minds on heavenly things, the Church had embraced the world and allowed countless compromises, including the watering down of the Word of God.
And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write; These things saith he which hath the sharp sword with two edges;
As we have already noted, the letter is addressed to the pastor of the church – Jesus holds him accountable for the sheep entrusted to his care. The pastor’s role is to feed the sheep and bring them to spiritual maturity. Sadly, in Pergamos, as with so many churches today, the pastor had let the influence of the world permeate the church. It is therefore no surprise that the characteristic of Jesus drawn from chapter one that Jesus uses in the introduction to this letter is the image of Himself with the two-edged. The two-edged sword is symbol of the word of God (Heb 4:12). This was the very thing this church were moving away from.
I know thy works, and where thou dwellest……………………,
“Where thou dwellest.” The Lord commends this church for three very definite things. First, He takes note of their circumstances. He knew that these believers were living in a very difficult place. And, my friend, the Lord takes note of our circumstances. Sometimes we are inclined to condemn someone who is caught in a certain set of circumstances, but if we were in the same position, we might act in an even worse way than he is acting. (J V McGee)
…………………………..…….even where Satan’s seat is:
Satan had persecuted the Church from the outside, but this had only made the Church stronger. So now he switches tactics and introduces the world into the church. Pergamos was overflowing with idolatry and pagan religious practices. So this place became the center of Satan’s operations.
……………..and thou holdest fast my name, and hast not denied my faith,
In the midst of all of this compromise, the Church at Pergamos are commended for holding fast Jesus’ name and not denying the faith. Although much of the so-called church was shifting away from the truth, the true church was still standing.
However, it was during this time that Arius, a theologian, built on the teaching of the Gnostics and taught that Jesus was not God, he was the son of God, but not God. Alexander of Alexandria led the move to depose Arius and those who had joined him.
This led to the council of Nicaea (Nicaea is a town in northern Turkey) where Christian leaders from all over the Roman empire were called together to establish a creed, that would constitute a basis of Christian faith. The creed that they produced is still used in many churches today as a statement of faith:
“We believe in One God, the Father Almighty, Maker of all things visible and invisible:”- “And in One Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, begotten of the Father, Only-begotten, that is, from the essence of the Father; God from God, Light from Light, Very God from Very God, begotten not made, One in essence with the Father, by Whom all things were made, both things in heaven and things in earth; Who for us men and for our salvation came down and was made flesh, was made man, suffered, and rose again the third day, ascended into heaven, and cometh to judge quick and dead.” “And in the Holy Ghost.”
“And those who say, `Once He was not,’ and `Before His generation He was not,’ and `He came to be from nothing,’ or those who pretend that the Son of God is `Of other subsistence or essence ,’ or `created’ or `alterable,’ or `mutable,’ the Catholic Church anathematizes.”
Even though Arius had taught that Jesus was not God, the council ‘held fast Jesus’ name’ and did not deny the faith.
……………….even in those days wherein Antipas was my faithful martyr, who was slain among you, where Satan dwelleth.
Very little is known about Antipas except that apparently he was slowly roasted alive inside a hollow bronze calf.
Antipas means ‘against-all’ – he stood against all heresy.
But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the “doctrine”……..
A boy was in Sunday school and was having a quiz. The teacher asked, “What is false doctrine?” The boy’s hand shot up. “Yes” said the teacher. ‘I know’ said the boy. ‘It’s when a Doctor gives the wrong thing to someone who is sick’
This is exactly what false doctrine is! As with the physical body where the wrong medicine prescribed to a patient could kill them, or at least have harmful effects; so can false doctrine to the spirit. Jesus mentions doctrine twice in this letter.
Doctrine is mentioned 45 times in the New Testament. Anything mentioned that many times is worthy of our attention. Some people say that we should not insist on doctrine because it causes division. But this is exactly why we must ‘hold fast’ to the apostles doctrine (1 Tim 4:16 / 2 John 1:9). In fact we are even told to divide over doctrine. (See: Romans 16:17 / 1 Tim 6 / 2 John 1:10)
– It is a healthy body that purges itself of poison – Joe Focht
Well-meaning individuals within the church have suggested that we should lay aside our doctrine for the sake of love. After all is not love the most important thing –
“A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.” (John 13:34)
And it’s true that doctrine without love is hard and legalistic. Doctrine needs love to soften it, but love needs truth.– speak the truth in love
“That we [henceforth] be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, [and] cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, [even] Christ (Eph 4:14
Without love doctrine becomes hard, but without doctrine love has no strength
……………..of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumbling block before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication. (See Numbers 22.)
“The doctrine of Balaam” is different from the error of Balaam (see Jude 11), which revealed that Balaam thought that God would curse Israel because they were sinners. It is also different from the way of Balaam (see 2 Pet. 2:15), which was covetousness. But here in the verse before us, it is the doctrine or teaching of Balaam. He taught Balac the way to corrupt Israel by intermarriage with the Moabite women. This introduced into the nation of Israel both idolatry and fornication. And during the historical period that the church at Pergamum represents, the unconverted world came into the church. (J Vernon McGee)
The Devil could not bring Israel down from the outside, so he did from the inside. He could not bring the church down through persecution, so he did it from within by infiltrating the church with pagan and Gnostic teaching.
So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate.
See notes on Rev 2:6 – This has now become a doctrine. Notice that Jesus hates this because it puts people (Priests / Religious leaders) between Himself and his children. We all have direct access to God through Jesus Christ.
“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Gal 3:28)
“But ye [are] a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:” (1 Peter 2:9)
“But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant.
And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.” (Matt 23:11)
Repent; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth.
Fight against ‘them’. Who were the ‘them’? The ones teaching heresy. Jesus will fight against them with the Word of God.
What a mistake we make if we think that the church has the authority to decide what is right and what is wrong. – Chuck Missler
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………
“Our fathers did eat manna in the desert; as it is written, He gave them bread from heaven to eat. Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Moses gave you not that bread from heaven; but my Father giveth you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world. Then said they unto him, Lord, evermore give us this bread. And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst. (John 6:32-35)
…………..and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it.
A white stone was a mark of acceptance in the Jewish council.
Those who overcome will receive a personal acceptance from Jesus.
We will be given a new name – the ‘old’ will finally have passed away! All of the regrets of the past will be gone – they are identified to our present name.
Chapter 2: 12-17 The Letter to Thyarira ‘the church of the dark ages’ 600 A.D–Tribulation
The historical application has been lost in the sands of time, although many commentators believe that there was a woman – probably labelled ‘Jezebel’ – who had set herself up in the church at Thyatira as a prophetess, and probably bring many Babylonian ideas and teachings into the church. However, that is all just speculation. What we do know is that when looked at in the light of prophecy, this church fits like a glove the medieval church from about 600 to 1520 (which was when the reformation began – which we will look at in the next chapter).
The name Thyatira means ‘continual sacrifice’ – and is again very apt.
All we know about Thyatira from the scripture is recorded in Acts 16 (and Rev of course!)
And a certain woman named Lydia, a seller of purple, of the city of Thyatira, which worshipped God, heard us: whose heart the Lord opened, that she attended unto the things which were spoken of Paul. And when she was baptized, and her household, she besought us, saying, If ye have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come into my house, and abide there. And she constrained us. And it came to pass, as we went to prayer, a certain damsel possessed with a spirit of divination met us, which brought her masters much gain by soothsaying: The same followed Paul and us, and cried, saying, These men are the servants of the most high God, which shew unto us the way of salvation. And this did she many days. But Paul, being grieved, turned and said to the spirit, I command thee in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her. And he came out the same hour. Acts 16:14-18
The ‘purple’ mentioned is rather significant. It was a dye that was extracted from a plant and/or a salt-water snail, used for dying material. It is therefore interesting to note that it is the colour worn by the woman in Rev 17:4 – and is the colour worn by the priests of the Roman Catholic Church.
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;
‘the Son of God’ is a title always used in reference to His authority. It is used here to remind the Church who is in charge. This is then backed by the idiom of ‘eyes like unto a flame of fire, and feet like fine brass – always speaking of judgment.
Jesus presents Himself as the Judge to this church.
People get scared about some silly things sometimes – this however is the time to be afraid when the Creator presents Himself to you in this way.
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.
From a prophetic standpoint, all of the churches so far have had their own period of history. However the last four churches all appear to last up until the Tribulation (or Rapture in the case of Philadelphia).
Viewed in this light, it is a matter of fact that Christians within the Roman Catholic church have done marvellous works of charity. As we look around the world we see hospitals and care homes started by the church – Buddhists do not start hospitals, Muslims do not establish care homes. People like Mother Theresa etc. have worked tirelessly to tackle social and political injustices.
In recent years, these works have been considerable – Jesus says He knows this.
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.
But Jesus is absolutely clear; He is against these Christians’ acceptance and toleration of the false religious system taught by this woman.
As we have noted, not only were these letters to be sent to real churches in the first century, with the clear intention that there would also be an application to all churches and all individuals, but we also find that in the order they are given, they lay out – in advance – the history of the church! That being so, we find that the church of Thyatira depicts the era that saw the birth and subsequent future of the Roman Catholic Church. It is no surprise therefore to see some incredible parallels between the character and nature of this woman Jezebel and the Roman Catholic Church.
- Firstly, this woman is called ‘Jezebel’.
From the Old Testament we know that Jezebel was the daughter of Ethbaal, king of the Zidonians, and was given to King Ahab of Israel, in marriage. Ethbaal was the high priest of Ashtaroth “goddess of sensuality and fertility” and Jezebel brought with her the pagan rituals and idolatry that ending up corrupting God’s people. She was also responsible for an inquisition (see 1 Kings 21), when she had a righteous man falsely accused in order to gain property for the ‘state’.
The Roman Catholic Church also merged pagan rituals and idolatry with true Christianity, which ended up corrupting the ‘church’. The Roman Catholic Church was also responsible for the famous ‘Inquisition’, where people were burned alive, tortured and their lands given to the ‘church’. There are historical records of people being tortured to death for owning their own copy of the scriptures – something that the Roman Catholic Church could not allow for fear of people finding out the truth for themselves. Even today Catholics are not encouraged to read the Bible; apparently only the specially trained theologians of the Roman Catholic Church are able to interpret it correctly!
(For more on this see Dave Hunt’s book – “A Woman Rides the Beast” ISBN-13: 978-1565071995 )
- Secondly, this woman Jezebel is self-appointed, “she calleth herself a prophetess”
This is also the case with the Roman Catholic Church. They profess to be in the office of St Peter – the first Pope – so they say! (This is easily disproved).
It is dubious weather Peter ever went to Rome, and even if he did, he did not establish a ‘throne’ to be inherited by his offspring, ruling over the Christian world.
And yet assuming this authority, subsequent Popes declared themselves the ‘Vicar of Christ’, ‘Pontifas Maximus’ – the title once held by Caesar.
- Thirdly, she teaches and leads God’s servants into fornication – The history of RC church is unbelievably shocking – again, see Dave Hunt’s book if you really want to know!
- Finally, she teaches and leads God’s servants into eating things sacrificed to idols. This is exactly what is done through the Roman Catholic doctrine of ‘Transubstantiation’.
And I gave her space to repent of her fornication; and she repented not.
God’s longsuffering – even in view of all that this ‘woman’ has done, God sill offered a way back – but she rejected it for worldly gain. Therefore…….
Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds.
It is no accident that the great tribulation is referred to here. This wicked woman, prophetically depicting the Roman Catholic Church, will be subject to God’s wrath – a theme we will explore in more detail in Chapter 17 & 18.
However, what is significant here is that it is not just this woman who will go into the great tribulation, but those who ‘commit adultery’ with. That is, those who, rather than seek after God alone, are seduced by this woman and come under her power and authority.
The Reformation in Europe saw many give their lives to come out of the spiritual corruption in the Roman Catholic Church, yet today those fundamental differences are being eroded. Anglicans, Baptists, Methodists, Lutherans and many other Protestant group are gradually coming back under the sway of the Church of Rome, all for the sake of ‘unity’. But possibly even more significant is the fact that in January 2016 the Pope put online a prayer request, effectively calling for all religions to come together under one umbrella. The Pope made the outrageous claim that Muslims, Hindus, Jews, Christians, etc. are all worshiping the same God! This is not true, and the Bible repeatedly affirms that the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is unique and that there is none like Him.
On the surface, this seems like the ultimate in acceptance and tolerance – all people of all faiths, religions and creeds working together for a common cause. This is seen as a good thing. But just stop and think about this for a moment: What kind of God would allow people to approach Him in any way they choose? What God would allow people to call Him by any name that suited them? What kind of God would establish a multitude of religions with contradictory beliefs and practices, see countless numbers of believers give their lives to maintain their religious freedoms and right to be different, and then reveal that actually they are all leading to the same place anyway!(?) Surely this would reveal a ruthless tyrant of a god on a par with the Roman Emperors who watched subjects in their empire fight to the death in the Coliseum? Although those that promote the ‘all roads lead to God’ philosophy hail themselves as tolerant and accepting, they are in actual fact nothing of the sort. Consider what they are saying: ‘Regardless of what you believe, regardless of your heritage, we all have to go to the same place’; they are telling us that there is only one destination for all (whether you want to go or not!). That is more narrow-minded and dogmatic than anything Jesus ever said. Jesus said there are two destinations and we each get to choose: ‘smoking’ or ‘non-smoking’! Nevertheless, the Roman Catholic Church is doing just this.
This verse also tells us that she (Jezebel/The Roman Catholic Church) and ‘they’ are not truly born again believers, for no born-again believer will go into the Tribulation. Matthew 13 tells that there are wheat and tares, each looking almost identical, yet at the time of the harvest there will be a separation, when the wheat will be gather into Christ’s barn (a beautiful picture of the Rapture) whereas the tares will be gathered into bundles – just as we are seeing – and then their destiny is to be burned – Again, the subject of Revelation 17 & 18.
Yet even in the mist of this great spiritual adultery we see God’s great Grace as He offers a way out…. ‘except they repent of what they have done’. God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9).
Another thing we can deduce from this verse is that this woman and her teaching will carry on up until (and into) the Great Tribulation. Hence we know that the scope is not intended to be just the 1st century church at Thyatira, but a prophetic fulfilment is also in view.
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.
Notice that it is her children (not God’s) that will be killed.
Revelation 17:5 refers to the woman as ‘Mother of Harlots’. Who are her children? The churches that came out of the Roman Catholic Church – that is all of the reformation churches and any others that she adopts – which may will include Muslims whom the Pope has declared are all saved!
God searches the ‘reins’ – the controlling influence. Are your works out of a sense of duty to your controlling influence, or are they out of a deep, personal, love for God?
It is not the works that count, but the attitude of heart behind the 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.
Not all Christians were caught up in this satanic deceit. Not all in the Roman Catholic Church or the denominational churches will be swept away with this Satanic deception. God has His own and knows each one by name, and not one shall perish who is saved by the blood of the Lamb!
Jesus doesn’t ask for anything else – no other burden – than to………
But that which ye have already hold fast till I come.
This is a staggering situation. They are not told to preach more, or evangelise, or do works of charity, but simply to hold on to what (and who) they had until Jesus comes – (the Rapture).
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.
This is one of many rewards for all true Christians.
“Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life?” 1 Cor 6:3
“He said therefore, A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom, and to return. And he called his ten servants, and delivered them ten pounds, and said unto them, Occupy till I come. But his citizens hated him, and sent a message after him, saying, We will not have this man to reign over us. And it came to pass, that when he was returned, having received the kingdom, then he commanded these servants to be called unto him, to whom he had given the money, that he might know how much every man had gained by trading. Then came the first, saying, Lord, thy pound hath gained ten pounds. And he said unto him, Well, thou good servant: because thou hast been faithful in a very little, have thou authority over ten cities. And the second came, saying, Lord, thy pound hath gained five pounds. And he said likewise to him, Be thou also over five cities.” Luke 19:12-19
And I will give him the morning star.
Rev 22:16 says: “I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star.”
The morning star is Jesus. Here we are told that Jesus will give us Himself (in marriage) to those who overcome, occupy, hold fast until He comes.
He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.
We need to hear what each of these letters are saying, but as we go on through the letters they get more intense and therefore the call to hear becomes stronger.
“Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober.”
1 Thess 5:5-6
Next week will move into Revelation chapter 3 and look at the final three churches, Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea.