Trouble and Distress :: By Daymond Duck

https://www.raptureready.com/2021/09/19/trouble-and-distress-by-daymond-duck/

One of the names of the Tribulation Period is a day of trouble and distress (Zeph. 1:15). Covid-19, mandatory vaccinations, threats to fire the unvaccinated, etc., are causing trouble and distress for millions of U.S. citizens.

Pres. Biden is even threatening to remove governors that oppose his mandates.

If he follows through, it will create more trouble and distress, further dividing the nation that Biden promised to “Build Back Better.”

 

Something must be torn down or destroyed before it can be built back, and it seems obvious that the unelected Deep State and Biden are deliberately tearing down the U.S.

On Sept. 13, 2021, Gary Bauer reported that the first 8 months of Biden’s administration have produced record illegal immigration, record debt and deficits, record inflation, surging crime, surging Covid cases, and the Taliban’s humiliating defeat of the U.S.

 

Understand that the Deep State and Biden are desperately trying to replace America’s leading role in the world with a godless world government by 2030, or sooner.

Know that:

  • The Bible clearly teaches that there will be a godless world government led by a Satanically inspired man called the Antichrist in the future (Dan. 7:23; Rev. 13:7).

  • God does not have to abide by the 2030 date. He can slow down world government, speed it up, or let the globalists have it on their time schedule.

  • On Sept. 25, 2015, the UN voted to establish a world government by 2030, and their vote went into effect on Jan. 1, 2016.

  • God is restraining the Antichrist and Satan’s godless world government, and it cannot take place before the Church is removed (II Thess. 2:6-7) by the Rapture. But when the Church is removed, sudden destruction will come upon this unbelieving world (I Thess. 5:3).

  • If God lets Satan and his followers establish their godless world government by 2030, the Rapture will be before 2030.

  • Many prophecy teachers, including this writer, believe there is a gap or a period of unknown length between the Rapture and the Tribulation Period.

  • If that gap is perhaps 1 to 8 years long, the Rapture could be 1 to 8 years before 2030 (2021-2029).

 

Here are more signs that the Tribulation Period is approaching.

One, concerning the New World Order (world government) and more, on Sept. 13, 2021, it was reported that UN Sec. Gen. Guterres released a document titled “Our Common Agenda” that calls for:

  • A new UN-led world order (a New World Order led by the UN).

  • A New Agenda for Peace (the Tribulation Period will begin with an agenda for peace (a covenant) in the Middle East).

  • A new financial system (a digital one-world currency that allows the tracking of all buying and selling is on the way).

  • Global vaccinations (mandating every nation on earth to obey a world government).

  • Guterres wants to strengthen global governance (world government) in our “troubled climate-change-suffering world” (our day of trouble and distress).

  • Guterres wants a new, more relevant UN (In his words, “multilateralism with teeth.” In Bible words, as this writer understands it, Guterres wants leaders from several nations, Ten Kings, to be given the power to force globalism on the whole world under the false teaching that the world is troubled and distressed by climate change).

  • Guterres wants world leaders to hold a “Global Summit of the Future” in 2023 to study ways to strengthen global governance (make world government more powerful) and make sure global policies are being enforced (could be controls on who buys and sells).

  • Guterres called this his “New Agenda for Peace” (the Antichrist will come on the scene as a man of peace).

  • Guterres wants the G-20 (leaders of the world’s 20 leading economies) to restructure the global financial system.

 

Two, concerning the Kings of the East, on Sept. 8, 2021, a Chines state-run newspaper (Global Times) published an op-ed suggesting that there will soon be a hostile military confrontation between the U.S. and China on America’s doorsteps, and the U.S. will lose.

 

Following the Taliban’s defeat of the U.S. in Afghanistan, America’s enemies are no longer afraid to challenge America’s military.

 

Three, concerning the Battle of Gog and Magog, lying and deception: on Sept. 9, 2021, it was reported that Ron Dermer, former Israeli ambassador to the U.S., said the U.S. and international community say they will prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon, but they will allow it to happen if Israel doesn’t act.

It is sad to realize that the UN, EU, and U.S. cannot be relied upon to keep their word, but it is true (recall America’s promises to Afghanistan, U.S. citizens there, etc.).

Update: On Sept. 13, 2021, it was reported that experts at the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) have concluded that Iran will have enough enriched uranium to produce one nuclear warhead in roughly one month.

 

Four, concerning lying, deceit, and the Mark of the Beast, despite promising that he would not mandate vaccinations: on Sept. 9, 2021, Pres. Biden issued an Executive Order (EO) mandating that all federal employees get vaccinated in 75 days or lose their job.

His Executive Order also requires every company with more than 100 employees that do business with the federal government to require their employees to be vaccinated or get tested for Covid on a weekly basis.

Several highly respected prophecy teachers believe mandatory vaccinations are a forerunner of mandatory requirements to take the Mark of the Beast, and the loss of one’s job, if they don’t comply, is a forerunner of denying people the right to buy and sell.

 

This writer believes the Deep State is telling Biden what to do, ignoring the Constitution of the U.S., and trying to control everyone on earth.

They are using immigrants at our southern border and from Afghanistan to spread Covid in the U.S., and blaming it on unvaccinated U.S. citizens.

The Deep State and Biden are the real “Domestic Terrorists.”

Think about it: The Deep State and Biden are threatening to cause U.S. citizens to lose their jobs, their homes, everything they have, the right to go to theaters, the right to travel, the means to feed their children, etc., for disagreeing with them.

As this writer understands it:

  • The Deep State and Biden are saying unvaccinated people must get vaccinated to protect the vaccinated people from Covid.

  • This is an admission that the vaccination doesn’t protect people from Covid.

  • If the vaccination protects people from Covid, unvaccinated people couldn’t give vaccinated people Covid.

  • Why should unvaccinated people lose their jobs, etc., to protect vaccinated people from Covid if the vaccination won’t protect unvaccinated people?

  • It looks like some in the Deep State and Biden are not being honest with people.

 

Update One: On Sept. 13, 2021, it was reported that a newly formed group of doctors called the Pandemic Health Alliance is saying the best way to stop people from dying and to stop the spread of Covid is to treat people early on with Ivermectin and/or hydroxychloroquine.

Update Two: On Sept. 14, 2021, it was reported that Israel’s Health Minister was caught on a hot microphone telling Israel’s Interior Minister that the purpose of requiring Vaccine Passports is to encourage the unvaccinated to get vaccinated, not to control Covid (restated in this writer’s words). Put another way, putting people out of work, confining people to their homes, etc., forces people to get vaccinated, but it will not stop Covid.

Update Three: On Sept. 14, 2021, it was reported that Cornell University (about 40,000 students) has 322 cases of Covid, and 95% were fully vaccinated.

Update Four: On Sept. 14, 2021, Archbishop Vigano was back in the news for calling the Covid pandemic “An epochal war that is a prelude to the end times.”

Five, concerning the coming global economic collapse: on Sept. 10, 2021, it was reported that wholesale food prices are up 12.7% in the past year (beef prices are up almost 60%), energy prices are up 32.3%, and the Biden administration is pushing another 3 ½ trillion-dollar stimulus package that will cause more inflation.

An economic collapse in the U.S. would probably trigger a global collapse.

Six, concerning the decline of America: on Sept. 8, 2021, it was reported that the National Archives Records Administration (NARA) has placed a “harmful content” warning label on the U.S. Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and the Declaration of Independence.

According to the NARA, some of the documents may reflect “outdated, biased, offensive, and possibly violent views and opinions.”

With the Pres. of the U.S. and others ignoring the Constitution, freedom of religion, freedom of speech, calling conservative Christians domestic terrorists, etc., why should we expect otherwise?

Seven, according to the Bible, Israel will be hated by all nations at the end of the age.

On Sept. 11, 2021, it was reported that a spokesman for the Taliban said the terrorist group that has taken over Afghanistan is willing to establish relations with every nation on earth, including the U.S., but one: the Jewish state of Israel.

The accuracy of God’s Word is amazing.

Eight, concerning population control: it is being reported that leaders want to bring in a world government and reduce the population of the earth because they are troubled and distressed that the world’s growing population will deplete the world’s resources.

 

Don’t be troubled and distressed by over-population.

God will protect the Church from over-population with the Rapture and greatly reduce the population of the earth during the Tribulation Period (Rev. 6:7-8; 8:11; 9:15).

Instead of the Church accepting a population reduction through abortion, same-sex marriages, euthanasia, Covid deaths, etc., the Church should get the gospel out to make the population reduction as big as possible when the Rapture takes place.

 

Finally, are you Rapture Ready?

If you want to be rapture ready and go to heaven, you must be born again (John 3:3). God loves you, and if you have not done so, sincerely admit that you are a sinner; believe that Jesus is the virgin-born, sinless Son of God who died for the sins of the world, was buried, and raised from the dead; ask Him to forgive your sins, cleanse you, come into your heart and be your Saviour; then tell someone that you have done this.

 

Revelation Series Part One - Chapters 1-6

Monkey Werx US w/ Tom Hughes & James Kaddis

Revelation Series Part 2 - Chapters 7-10

Monkey Werx US w/ Tom Hughes & James Kaddis

Revelation Series Part 3 - Chapters 11 & 12

Monkey Werx US w/ Tom Hughes & James Kaddis

Revelation Series Part 4 - Chapter 13

Monkey Werx US w/ Tom Hughes & James Kaddis

Revelation Series Part 5 - Chapters 14 & 15

Monkey Werx US w/ Tom Hughes & James Kaddis

Revelation Series Part 6 Chapters 16 & 17

Monkey Werx US w/ Tom Hughes & James Kaddis

Revelation Series Part 7 Chapter 18

Monkey Werx US w/ Tom Hughes & James Kaddis

Revelation Series Part 8 Chapter 19-20

Monkey Werx US w/ Tom Hughes & James Kaddis

Revelation Series Part 9 Chapters 21 & 22

Monkey Werx US w/ Tom Hughes & James Kaddis

Understanding Revelation by Prophecy Update (these are excellent videos!)

INTRODUCTION

Understanding Revelation

Revelation is the easiest book in the Bible to read and to teach—providing you have read all the books in the Bible that precede it!  We noted at the very start of our study together that the Bible—in its final, finished form—is a unified literary work:  the curtain rises in Genesis and it falls in Revelation.  In between we have a linear narrative:  God is the main character; sin is the conflict; redemption is the theme.  Thus, reading Revelation is like reading the final chapter in a 2,000-page novel.  How could one expect to understand the final chapter without having read the chapters that precede it?  Obviously, one could not.

Just so in the book of Revelation.  In Revelation ten great biblical themes merge, like ten great trunk lines coming together in Grand Central Station.  Nearly all the extravagant imagery and events we witness in Revelation is introduced earlier in such books as Ezekiel, Daniel, Zechariah, Matthew, 1 & 2 Thessalonians, and 2 Peter.

Revelation (Apocalypse) = Unveiling

Revelation = ἀποκάλυψις [ah-po-kah’-lip-ses]

  • Greek word apokalupsis literally means “unveiling, to take off the cover, to make naked”

    • Most translations render it “revelation”

    • Isaiah 46:9 Remember the former things of old, For I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like Me,
      10 Declaring the end from the beginning, And from ancient times things that are not yet done,
      Saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, And I will do all My pleasure,’

 

  • That is key to the genre.

    • A “revelation” is the “unveiling” of a subject previously hidden, things that could not be known apart from the “unveiling.”

    • Typically, such an unveiling reveals a vision of the “end times,” most often provided by a messenger or “angel” sent from God.

 

  • The book of Revelation is the unveiling of Jesus Christ

    • Revelation – not revelations

    • Revelation unveils Jesus’ relationship to the church, to judgement, and to the things to come in the future

 

  • Daniel

    • Daniel 12:9 And he said, “Go your way, Daniel, for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end. 10 Many shall be purified, made white, and refined, but the wicked shall do wickedly; and none of the wicked shall understand, but the wise shall understand.

      • Daniel did not understand – The truth will be unveiled at the time of the end

      • The wise – who are looking at the prophetic Word – it will be unveiled to them

        • They will be able to connect the dots – they will get it

        • If you look at prophecy literally, it all makes sense – everything that’s happening now

 

  • We live in a generation in which Daniel’s and John’s visions make sense

    • At the time of the end, the cover will come off, the truth will be revealed, and the wise will understand

    • Technology – Rev 13,

      • Daniel 12:4 “But you, Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book until the time of the end; many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase.”

      • Revelation 13:16 He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads, 17 and that no one may buy or sell except one who has [g]the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.

    • Wars and rumors of wars – Rev 6

      • Luke 21:10 Then He said to them, “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. 

Blessings Promised in Revelation

  • Revelation 1:3 Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written in it; for the time is near.

  • Revelation 14:13 Then I heard a voice from heaven saying to me, “Write: ‘Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.’ ”

  • Revelation 16:15 “Behold, I am coming as a thief. Blessed is he who watches, and keeps his garments, lest he walk naked and they see his shame.”

  • Revelation 19:9 Then he said to me, “Write: ‘Blessed are those who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb!’ ” And he said to me, “These are the true sayings of God.” 

  • Revelation 20:6 Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years.

  • Revelation 22:7 “Behold, I am coming quickly! Blessed is he who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book.”

  • Revelation 22:14 Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city. 

Parallels Between Revelation and Exodus

Revelation & Exodus.jpg
Revelation & Exodus - Plagues.jpg
 
 
 
 

The Issue of Preterism - Doesn’t the book infer that its prophecies were to be fulfilled in the time it was written?  By Dr. David R. Reagan

https://christinprophecy.org/articles/the-issue-of-preterism/

 

It would be easy to get this impression because the very first verse speaks of “the things which must shortly take place” (Revelation 1:1). Also, two times the text states that “the time is near” for the fulfillment of the prophecies (Revelation 1:3 and 22:10).

But in view of the fact that the prophecies have not been literally fulfilled in history, it appears that these statements point to imminence rather than nearness in time. Imminence is the concept that an event can occur at any time, and the creation of that sense seems to be the purpose of these statements.

The principle is one that Jesus stressed in His teachings about the end times. Over and over He told His disciples to be ready for His return at any moment. “Be ready,” He warned, “for the Son of Man is coming at an hour when you do not think He will” (Matthew 24:44). Jesus used the parable of the ten virgins to illustrate His point. Five were unready when the bridegroom came and were thus left behind. “Be on the alert, then,” Jesus warned, “for you do not know the day nor the hour” (Matthew 25:1-13). On another occasion, He put it this way, “Be dressed in readiness, and keep your lamps alight… for the Son of Man is coming at an hour that you do not expect” (Luke 12:3540).

The apostolic writers make it clear that living in a state of suspense, expecting the Lord to return shortly, at any moment, will have a purifying effect, because it will motivate holiness. Paul urges us to “deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus” (Titus 2:12-13). Peter tells each of us to “keep sober in spirit,” and he says the way to do it is to “fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 1:13). John says we are to focus on the Lord’s return because “everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself just as He is” (1 John 3:3).

Words must always be interpreted in terms of context, and context is often shaped by historical setting. In the First Century setting, the references to “soon,” “shortly,” and “near” seemed to indicate a quick fulfillment. But as time has passed without any literal fulfillment, history has shaped the context to indicate imminence — that is, the events prophesied can happen any moment.

A similar phenomenon can be found in statements used in other portions of the Scriptures. For example, James wrote that we are to be patient until the coming of the Lord, and then he stated, “the coming of the Lord is at hand… behold, the Judge is standing right at the door” (James 5:7-9). In like manner, Peter wrote, “The end of all things is at hand” (1 Peter 4:7). The fact of the matter is that we have been living in the end times ever since the Day of Pentecost when the Gospel was first preached, and the end times could be consummated any moment with the fulfillment of Revelation’s prophecies.

The generalized time references in Revelation are not indicators of nearness in time. Instead, they are warnings of imminence — that the events prophesied could start unfolding at any moment.

The Fallacy of Preterism - Were the Second Coming Prophecies fulfilled in the First Century?  By Dr. David R. Reagan

https://christinprophecy.org/articles/the-fallacy-of-preterism/

 

Preterism is a system for the interpretation of the book of Revelation. Its strange name comes from a Latin word meaning past tense. The word is appropriate because this view holds that either all or most of the book of Revelation was fulfilled in the First Century!

The Origin of the Viewpoint

The view was developed in the 17th Century by a Jesuit priest named Luis de Alcazar (1554-1613). His purpose was to defend the Catholic Church against the attacks of the Reformers. He denied the Reformers’ charge that the book of Revelation was a prophecy about the apostasy of the Roman Church. Instead, he argued that the book was a prophecy about the Church’s struggles during its early years. Chapters 4 through 11 were interpreted as depicting the Church’s fight against Judaism, culminating in the fall of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. Chapters 12 through 19 were viewed as the Church’s struggle against paganism, ending with the fall of Rome in 476. Chapters 20 through 22 were interpreted to be a symbolic description of the glories of papal Rome. Using this clever approach, Alcazar was able to limit the range of Revelation’s prophecies to the first 500 years of the Christian Era.

Alcazar was a mild Preterist. A more radical form of Preterism gained popularity in the latter part of the 20th Century and is today the most widely held version of this interpretive approach. It sees nearly all the prophecies of Revelation as fulfilled in the 70 A.D.

destruction of Jerusalem, except for the resurrection of believers and the Second Coming of Jesus. It assigns the Tribulation to the fall of Israel, the great apostasy to the First Century Church, and the last days to the period between Jesus’ ascension and the destruction of Jerusalem. The beast is viewed as a symbol of Nero in particular and the Roman Empire in general. The False Prophet is equated with the leadership of apostate Israel. Needless to say, many of the spokesmen for this viewpoint are anti-Semitic.

There is a more extreme form of Preterism whose advocates consider themselves to be “consistent Preterists.” They take the position that all so-called “end time prophecy” was fulfilled in the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. — including the Second Coming and the resurrection of believers! They do not look forward to any future resurrection or any end of history. They believe we are currently living in the eternal state.

The Cornerstone of the Viewpoint

The cornerstone of the Preterist position is a belief that the book of Revelation was written before the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD. This belief flies in the face of strong evidence to the contrary.

The internal evidence of the book regarding the Roman Empire and the external testimony of the Church Fathers both point to a date of authorship around 95 A.D., 25 years after the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D.

The type of widespread Roman persecution of the Church that is pictured in Revelation did not occur until the reign of Domitian (81-96 A.D.). The persecutions of Nero were limited to the area of Rome. One of the Church Fathers, Iranaeus (c. 130-c. 202), wrote that the book of Revelation was authored by the apostle John “toward the end of Domitian’s reign.” Irenaeus was discipled by Polycarp (c. 70-c. 155 A.D.) who, in turn, had been discipled directly by John himself.

References to the Temple

One of the arguments for an earlier date is based on a reference to the Temple in Revelation 11:1-2. John is told to measure the Temple, which in this case seems to be a command to assess the Temple’s spiritual condition. This reference to the Temple, it is argued, must mean that the book was written before the Temple was destroyed in 70 A.D.

But this argument ignores the fact that the Scriptures teach there are going to be two future Temples, one during the Tribulation which the Antichrist will desecrate (Daniel 9:27 and 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4), and another during the Millennium which Jesus Christ will consecrate (Ezekiel 40-46).

The Temple mentioned in Revelation 11 must be the Tribulation Temple since the passage says it will be trampled down by the Gentiles for 42 months (the last half of the Tribulation). It also says this will be immediately preceded by the testimony of the two witnesses for 1,260 days (the first half of the Tribulation).

An Eclectic Observation

I can agree with the Preterists when they insist that the book of Revelation contained a message of encouragement to First Century Christians, assuring them that the Church would ultimately triumph over the Roman Empire. I can also relate to the Reformation Historicists when they argue that the prophecies of Revelation relate to the corruption of the Roman Church and its persecution of true believers.

In other words, I believe the book of Revelation has always had a continuing relevance as a source of encouragement to suffering Christians throughout the history of the Church. It has always served as a reminder that the Church will ultimately triumph over all its oppressors.

That’s why I can even agree with the liberal, Idealist viewpoint when it argues that the ultimate message of the book is that good will triumph over evil. How can anyone argue with that conclusion when the book clearly teaches that Satan will be crushed and Jesus will emerge totally triumphant?

But I also believe in the Futurist view that most of the book of Revelation is yet to be fulfilled and is to be fulfilled in its plain sense meaning. In other words, I believe there’s going to be a real Antichrist and not just a symbolic Antichrist. Yes, there have been symbolic antichrists in the past, but there is going to be a fulfillment in a literal Antichrist in the future. I also believe the Tribulation, Millennium and Eternal State are all yet future.

Relating the Views to Each Other

As I look at these four systems of interpretation (Historicist, Preterist, Idealist, and Futurist) and consider their relationship to each other, I am reminded of how an overhead projector works. You can put a transparency on the projector that shows the land of Israel in the time of Joshua. Then you can lay on top of that transparency another one that shows the boundaries of the land at the time of Jesus. Another overlay could show the land’s boundaries during the time of the Crusaders. A final overlay could outline the boundaries as they exist today. Each transparency contains an element of truth about the land. The light shines through all the transparencies to give you the full picture, showing you how the boundaries have changed over the years.

I think that’s the way these schools of interpretation relate to each other. Each one of the four contains an element of truth. The problem comes when you accept only one and reject all the others. We must never forget that the book of Revelation contained a very relevant message to First Century Christians. It assured them of their ultimate victory over the Roman Empire. We must also remember that the book has been given relevant application to the struggles of the Church throughout history.

Looking to the Future

But we must also keep in mind that the Futurist view is correct when it says that the ultimate fulfillment of the book’s prophecies is yet future.

There really is going to be a seven year period of Tribulation. A Jewish temple is going to be rebuilt in Jerusalem. A real person empowered by Satan will march into that temple, blaspheme God, and declare himself to be a god. This Antichrist will become the scourge of the earth. He will attempt to exterminate the Jewish people. Just as he appears to be on the verge of victory in accomplishing this satanic goal, the Lord Jesus will break from the heavens with all His holy ones, returning to the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem from which He ascended into Heaven. The Lord will crush the Antichrist and inaugurate the greatest kingdom the world has ever known. The earth will be flooded with peace, righteousness and justice — as the waters cover the sea.

Revelation Study Resources

  1. An Overview of Revelation multimedia training kit covers the book of Revelation verse by verse.

  2. Dr. Reagan’s book, Wrath and Glory, covers the book of Revelation chapter by chapter.

  3. Dr. Reagan’s video program, Revelation Revealed, presents a sweeping overview of the entire book of Revelation.

Theme of Revelation and Preterism (Lamb & Lion Ministries)

What is the theme of Revelation? And, did Jesus return in 70 AD?

 
 

The Perilous Beliefs of Preterism :: By Jonathan Brentner

https://www.raptureready.com/2020/06/28/the-perilous-beliefs-of-preterism-by-jonathan-brentner/

A glance at the title of this article may cause you to wonder why I am writing about this matter. Isn’t this just inflaming disagreement on something that doesn’t matter? Am I not just stirring up divisions?

Before I answer these questions, let me share with you what preterists believe. Most preterists teach that the Lord has already fulfilled all of biblical prophecy; this includes all of Matthew 24 as well as the entire book of Revelation including chapters 21-22. They believe Jesus returned to earth in AD 70 when Titus and the Romans destroyed Jerusalem. Many of them believe we already live in the eternal state.

 

So why am I writing about preterism? It’s my passion to warn believers about false teachings related to future things, and as such, preterism requires our full attention because it distorts our Gospel hope.

And because of the widespread acceptance and popularity of preterism, it’s necessary to address key perils wrapped up in its false teaching.

Preterism Repeats the Errors of Amillennialism

Preterists start with the errant beliefs of the amillennialists and then proceed further away from the truth of God’s Word. Whereas most amillennialists stop allegorizing the book of Revelation with chapter 20, preterists regard chapters 21-22 as also symbolic of prophecies already fulfilled or of past history.

The extreme version of preterism tells us we already live in the eternal state while other milder forms of it still look forward to a second coming of Jesus and a future eternal state.

During a Sunday school class that I taught on prophecy, I encountered a preterist who objected to my teaching that Matthew 24 represented the future. He believed that since Jesus returned in 70 AD, He had fulfilled all the words of this chapter.

I can assure you that Jesus’ return to earth as set forth in Matthew 24:29-31 has not yet happened. And if His glorious second coming remains future, then of necessity all the signs Jesus gave us that point to it must also be still future (Matt. 24:3-28). Preterism errs by placing Jesus’ return to earth in the distant past.

Preterism Diminishes the Glory of Jesus

In Revelation 1:7, John describes Jesus’ glorious return as a time when “every eye will see him.” The apostle gives us a more detailed description of the dazzling power and magnificence of this event in Revelation 19:11-20:6.

To assert that an obscure vision of chariots clashing in the sky in 70 AD fulfilled the prophecies of Jesus’ breathtaking return to earth, as do the preterists, makes no sense whatsoever. How can they claim this localized vision fulfilled Jesus’ triumphant return in which every person alive on earth will see Him? Such teaching is not only false, but it demeans the picture of Jesus’ majestic future return to earth.

Preterism demeans Jesus’ glorious future in another key way. Listen to what the Father promises the Son in Psalm 2:8-9, “Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage; and the ends of the earth your possession. You shall break them with a rod of iron and dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.” It’s clear from the context that these are physical nations with governing kings. The promise of Psalm 2 as well as that of Isaiah 9:6-7 relate to a time when Jesus will physically govern the nations of the world seated upon the throne of David.

Can you even for a moment imagine the Father reneging on His promise to the Son regarding the nations? Yet this is precisely what preterists ask us to do through their denial of a future physical kingdom with Jesus ruling over the nations of the world.

Preterism Negates the Biblical Hope of Believers

Although mild preterists still believe in a future return of Jesus, most believe in the fulfillment of all biblical prophecy including the entire book of Revelation. They believe that the apocalypse consists of an historical account of the first three centuries of the church. Mild preterists maintain a belief in a future resurrection of the saints, but believe the Bible remains silent about our lives in eternity.

These beliefs contradict the clear teaching of Scripture, and in doing so, negate our biblical hope. The apostle Peter told his readers to “set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (1 Pet. 1:13). By proclaiming that Jesus has already fulfilled the prophecies of Scripture, preterists shift the hope of believers to the church and to this world. They negate many wonderful promises of the New Testament that exalt Jesus as our ultimate hope.

God intends our future expectation to be on Jesus’ return for His church at which time we will receive glorified bodies (Phil. 3:20-21; 1 Cor. 15:50-54), experience eternal victory over death (1 Cor. 15:54-56; 1 Thess. 1:9-10, 4:13-5:11), and be caught up to forever be with the Lord (1 Thess. 4:13-18). Where is our hope if the Lord has already fulfilled all these future promises? Does it feel as though we have already obtained the immortality of 1 Corinthians 15:53 as many preterists believe?

In Acts 20:29, Paul warned the Ephesian elders of “fierce wolves,” false teachers, who would come into their church “not sparing the flock.” I believe the apostle would use even stronger words of warning regarding the preterists who negate the many precious promises of Scripture regarding our hope and replace them with them with a false hope in what the church can do.

Preterism Gravely Distorts Church History

Preterists maintain that John wrote the book of Revelation in about AD 65-67. If the apostle wrote the book after AD 70, then preterism cannot be true since John would be writing about the future return of the Lord after it took place. Preterism depends entirely on an early date for the writing of Revelation.

It’s impossible, however, to maintain that John wrote the book before AD 70. Many writers in the early centuries of the church place John’s banishment to the Isle of Patmos and the writing of Revelation late in the reign of the Emperor Domitian, who ruled over Rome from AD 81-96. Irenaeus, who grew up in the church at Smyrna and later became a prominent writer in the early church, stated that John wrote Revelation during this time. Would not someone who attended the church where the book was first read surely know when it was written? He said John wrote Revelation late in the reign of Domitian.

Furthermore, if Jesus returned in AD 70 as Preterists claim, why is it that so many prominent church fathers still looked for it as a future event in the early centuries of the church? Leaders such as Papias (70-163), Irenaeus (130-202), Justyn Martyr (100-165), and Tertullian (155-240) all wrote about Jesus’ future return to rule over the world. How could the entire church have missed Jesus’ glorious Second Coming in AD 70?

The testimony of church history totally and absolutely destroys the key claim of preterism. Besides its almost unanimous witness to a later date for the writing of Revelation, all the prominent writers of the second and third centuries placed Jesus’ Second Coming in the future. How could they all have missed it?

Preterism Demeans the Gospel

Mild preterists believe in a future return of Jesus where he resurrects the bodies of dead believers. Although not as bad as those who claim we already live in the eternal state, this belief by itself does not encompass the true hope of the Gospel as Paul writes about in Phil. 3:20-21 and in Romans 8:23-25.

Extreme preterists, however, distort the Gospel with their denial of the future bodily resurrection of the saints. While I believe all the various forms of preterism represent false teaching because of their view regarding Jesus’ second coming, the denial of a future resurrection for the saints makes the Gospel message totally irrelevant. What’s the purpose of the good news if we already live in the eternal state or cannot look forward to a bodily resurrection?

The apostle wrote this in 1 Corinthians 15:19, “If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied.” This is how Paul viewed our faith with no bodily resurrection.

The essence of our hope is a bodily resurrection; it’s the future tense of the Gospel. Any teaching that excludes our future hope of immortal bodies misrepresents the Gospel by denying the hope promised to us in it. The Gospel loses all relevance if we cannot trust the hope of our promised bodily resurrection.

By dismissing all prophecy as something the Lord already fulfilled, preterists cause considerable harm in the church by taking the eyes of the faithful off the wondrous joy ahead for them.

I regard preterism as a heresy because its teachings demean the message of hope contained in the Gospel and exalt the church over its head, the Lord Jesus. The more extreme versions of it represent a grave distortion of the Gospel by stripping it of all its good news for the saints.

The Gospel hope of the New Testament is Jesus’ return to take us to His Father’s house in heaven, to the place He is now preparing for us!

Don’t let anyone take your eyes off Jesus; He’s the prize and your only refuge in a troubled world. He’s coming soon!

Jonathan C. Brentner

Jonathanbrentner@yahoo.com

https://jonathanbrentner.com/

 
 
 

Narrative framework of 3s and 7s

John builds his narrative on a framework of 3s and 7s – Prime numbers, complete and indivisible.

Overall structure as well as specific structure within the text.

 

Part One:  What Was (Rev 1)

  1. Prologue (1:1-3) – The revelation of Jesus Christ . . . to John, “unveiling” what must soon take place

  2. Introduction (1:4-8) – The message is addressed specifically to “the 7 churches in the province of Asia”

  3. The Commission (1:9-20)

 

Part Two:  What Is (Rev 2-3) - The seven letters to the seven churches in Asia Minor 

  1. Ephesus (2:1-7)

  2. Smyrna (2:8-11)

  3. Pergamum (2:12-17)

  4. Thyatira (2:18-29)

  5. Sardis (3:1-6)

  6. Philadelphia (3:7-13)

  7. Laodicea (3:14-22)

 

Part Three:  What is to come (Rev 4-22)

  1. 7 Seals (6-8:5)

  2. 7 Trumpets (8:6-11)

Interlude    1. The woman clothed with the sun (12:1-12:6)

2. The war in Heaven (12:7-12:17)

3. Preparing for Armageddon (13-14)

   3. 7 Bowls (15-16)

Profile:       Rome, the “whore of Babylon” (17-18)

 

  1. All creation praises God (19:1-10)

  2. Armageddon (19:11-21)

  3. The aftermath (20-22)

  1. Millennial kingdom (20:1-20:10)

  2. Last judgement (20:11-20:15)

  3. New Jerusalem (21-22)

Revelation Outline

Part One: What Was (Revelation, Chapter 1)

  • Prologue (1: 1-3)

    • The revelation of Jesus Christ . . . to John, “unveiling” what must  soon take place.

      • Audience is the general reader

      • The “unveiling” is by Jesus Christ

  • Introduction (1: 4-8)

    • The message is addressed specifically to “the seven churches in the province of Asia.”

  • The Commission (1: 9-20)

    • John is on the island of Patmos “because of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus.”

    • “One like a Son of Man” speaks to him (parallel figure to Daniel 7: 13-14 and 10: 4-6)

    • The commission is: “Write, therefore, what you have seen, what is now and what will take place later” (Revelation 1:19)

 

Part Two: What Is (Revelation, Chapters 2 & 3)

  • The seven letters to the seven churches in Asia Minor 

    • Ephesus (2: 1-7)

    • Smyrna (2: 8-11)

    • Pergamum (2: 12-17)

    • Thyatira (2: 18-29)

    • Sardis (3: 1-6)

    • Philadelphia (3: 7-13)

    • Laodicea (3: 14-22)

 

Part Three: What Will Be (Revelation, Chapters 4-22)

  • Prologue, “The Throne in Heaven” (4: 1-11)

  • Opening the Scroll (5: 1-14)

    • The Seven Seals

      1. White Horse, enforced peace (6: 1-2)

      2. Red Horse, war (6: 3-4)

      3. Black Horse, famine (6: 5-6)

      4. Pale Horse, sword, famine, plague and wild beasts (6: 7-8)

      5. Souls of the Slain (6: 9-11)

      6. Earthquake (6: 12-17)

      7. Interlude (7: 1-17)

        • 144,000 Sealed (7: 1-8)

        • Great multitude in white robes praising God (7: 9-17)

      8. Silence (8: 1-5)

    • The Seven Trumpets

      1. Hail and fire, mixed with blood (8: 6-7)

      2. Huge mountain, all ablaze (8: 8-9)

      3. Blazing star (8: 10-11)

      4. Sun, moon and stars turned dark (8: 12-13)

      5. Star, fallen the earth (9: 1-12)

      6. Four angels, released (9: 13-21)

      7. Interlude (10:1-11:14)

        • Little scroll (10: 1-11)

        • Two witnesses (11: 1-14)

      8. Temple in heaven, opened (11: 15-19)

  • Flashback (back story of Revelation) (12: 1-17)

    • Woman clothed with the sun (12: 1-6)

    • War in heaven (12: 7-17)

  • Setting the Stage for Armageddon (13: 1-14: 20)

    • The Enemy (13: 1-18)

      • Satan’s grotesque parody of the Trinity (13: 1-18)

        • Dragon (Satan/God the Father) (13: 1a)

        • Beast 1 (Antichrist/God the Son) (13: 1b-10)

        • Beast 2 (False Prophet/God the Holy Spirit) (13: 11-18)

    • The Heroes (14: 1-20)

      • The Lamb and the 144,000 (14: 1-5)

      • The Three Angels (14: 6-13)

      • The Son of Man (14: 14-20)

  • The Seven Bowls (15: 1-16: 21)

    • Prologue (15: 1-16: 1)

    • Ugly and painful sores (16: 2)

    • Blood, like that of a dead man (16: 3)

    • Rivers and springs of water turned to blood (16: 47)

    • Sun, scorching people with fire (16: 8-9) 

    • Satan’s kingdom plunged into darkness (16: 10-11)

    • Euphrates River dried up (16: 12-16)

    • Massive earthquake—“It is done!” (16: 17-21)

    • Profile:  Rome, “The Whore of Babylon” (17: 1-18: 24)

  • All Creation Praises God (19: 1-10)

  • Armageddon! (19: 11-21)

  • The Aftermath (20: 1-22: 21)

    • The Millennial Kingdom (20: 1-10)

    • The Last Judgment (20: 11-15)

    • The New Jerusalem (21: 1-22: 21)

History and Culture

These - and the videos for the 7 churches - are my videos made for a private Bible Study using Bill Creasy (Logos Bible Study) teachings

https://www.logosbiblestudy.com/

 

WHAT WAS

Revelation 1

Introduction and Benediction

1 The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show His servants—things which must shortly take place. And He sent and signified it by His angel to His servant John, 2 who bore witness to the word of God, and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, to all things that he saw. 3 Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written in it; for the time is near.

Greeting the Seven Churches

4 John, to the seven churches which are in Asia:

Grace to you and peace from Him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven Spirits who are before His throne, 5 and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler over the kings of the earth.

To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood, 6 and has made us kings and priests to His God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.

7 Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him, even they who pierced Him. And all the tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him. Even so, Amen.

8 “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End,” says the Lord, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.”

 

Vision of the Son of Man

9 I, John, both your brother and companion in the tribulation and kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was on the island that is called Patmos for the word of God and for the testimony of Jesus Christ. 10 I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day, and I heard behind me a loud voice, as of a trumpet, 11 saying,  “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last,” and, “What you see, write in a book and send it to the seven churches which are in Asia: to Ephesus, to Smyrna, to Pergamos, to Thyatira, to Sardis, to Philadelphia, and to Laodicea.”

 

12 Then I turned to see the voice that spoke with me. And having turned I saw seven golden lampstands, 13 and in the midst of the seven lampstands One like the Son of Man, clothed with a garment down to the feet and girded about the chest with a golden band. 14 His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and His eyes like a flame of fire; 15 His feet were like fine brass, as if refined in a furnace, and His voice as the sound of many waters; 16 He had in His right hand seven stars, out of His mouth went a sharp two-edged sword, and His countenance was like the sun shining in its strength. 17 And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead. But He laid His right hand on me, saying to me, “Do not be afraid; I am the First and the Last. 18 I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death. 19 Write the things which you have seen, and the things which are, and the things which will take place after this. 20 The mystery of the seven stars which you saw in My right hand, and the seven golden lampstands: The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands which you saw are the seven churches.

This is my video made for a private Bible Study using Bill Creasy teachings

Here we lay out a method for reading Revelation.  When the risen and glorified Christ says to John, “Write down, therefore, what you have seen, and what is happening, and what will happen afterwards” (1:19), he lays out the basic 3-part structure of Revelation: 

1) what was (past) (1) – Age of the Gentiles (Creation to the Cross)

2) what is (present) (2-3) – Church Age (Pentecost to Rapture)

3) what will be (future) (4-22) – Age to Come, Tribulation and Millennium (Future)

Part One: What Was (Revelation, Chapter 1)

  • Prologue (1: 1-3)

    • The revelation of Jesus Christ . . . to John, “unveiling” what must soon take place.

      • Audience is the general reader

      • The “unveiling” is by Jesus Christ

  • Introduction (1: 4-8)

    • The message is addressed specifically to “the seven churches in the province of Asia.”

  • The Commission (1: 9-20)

    • John is on the island of Patmos “because of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus.”

    • “One like a Son of Man” speaks to him (parallel figure to Daniel 7: 13-14 and 10: 4-6)

    • The commission is: “Write, therefore, what you have seen, what is now and what will take place later” (Revelation 1:19)

 

  • Sets of 3

    • The Prologue consists of 3 verses

      • The 3-verse Prologue addresses John’s general audience, telling us that what we are about to read is a “revelation” (apokalepsis, “unveiling”) of events that “must soon take place,” an “unveiling” by Jesus Christ himself, as it was revealed to him by God.

    • The message involves 3 persons

      • Notice that the message is:

1) from God

2) through Christ

3) to the reader

  • The benediction elicits a 3-part response

    • John concludes his 3-verse Prologue with a 3-part benediction: “Blessed is the one who

1) reads the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who

2) hear it and

3) take it to heart,” noting that “the time is near”

Prologue (1:1-3)

1 The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show His servants—things which must shortly take place. And He sent and signified it by His angel to His servant John, 2 who bore witness to the word of God, and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, to all things that he saw. 3 Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written in it; for the time is near.

1 The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show his servants what must soon take place.

He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John,

  • Purpose of the book

    • Rev 1:1 … to show his servants what must soon take place

      • Originated with God

--> who gave it to His Son (Jesus)

--> who gave it to us (His servants) via an angel 

--> so that we (His people) would be prepared for the events that would happen soon.

  • To give encouragement and hope for all Christians to continue watching for the return and triumph of the Lord Jesus Christ

  • It also is to warn of the Final Judgment that nonbelievers will endure on that Last Day.

 

  • John testifies to the supernatural origin of the book

    • 2 who testifies to everything he saw—that is, the word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ.

 

  • Revelation reveals the majestic and glorified person of Christ

    • The gospels revealed Jesus’ purpose

Rev 1 1.png
  • Revelation 

    • Greek word ἀποκάλυψις [apokalypsis, ah-po-kah’-lip-ses]

    • Translated literally as “to make naked” or “to unveil”

      • Most translations render it “revelation”

      • A “revelation” is the “unveiling” of a subject previously unknown or hidden – things that could not be known apart from the “unveiling.”

      • The book of Revelation is not meant to be mysterious, cryptic, or confusing. It’s meant to be a clear revealing of what must soon take place.

 

  • Servant

    • Greek word δούλοις [doúlos]

      • Someone who is utterly, totally, completely, with every fiber of their being, devoted to another person

      • doúlos (a masculine noun of uncertain derivation) – Someone who belongs to another; a bond-slave, without any ownership rights of their own

        • A bond-slave became a slave of their own volition – it is by their own choice because of their love of their master

        • Doesn’t carry the pejorative sense of a slave that we have in English

      • The servant often acted as an agent of his master – representing his authority and doing his will

    • Title of honor

      • Ironically, doúlos ("bond-slave") is used with the highest dignity in the NT

        • Namely, of believers who willingly live under Christ's authority as His devoted followers.

        • Before God can set us apart, and send us out to further the Gospel, we must first, because of our love for Him, become a slave for life.

    • Used 14 times in the book of Revelation

 

  • Soon take place

    • Greek word τάχει [tachei, ta’-khos] – literally means “must come to pass with rapidity”

      • Emphasis is on immediacy

    • Same Greek word that we get the word ‘tachometer’ – an instrument used to determine the speed of an engine

    • 1Th 5:3 While people are saying, "Peace and safety," destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape.

      • Increase in frequency and intensity – especially at the end

      • When it gets started, it will happen super fast

        • Like driving – when you are far away, the signs are distant.  But as you get closer, the signs appear faster and faster and faster until you arrive

          • LA 500 miles, LA 300 m, LA 150 m, LA 50 m, LA 40 m, LA 30 m, LA 20 m, LA 15 mLA 10 m, LA 8 m, LA 6 m, LA 5 m, LA 4 m, LA 3 m, LA 2 m, LA 1 m, LA ½ m, LA ¼ m

He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John, 2 who testifies to everything he saw—that is, the word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ.

  • Made it known

    • Greek word ἐσήμανεν [esēmanen] – literally means with ‘signs or symbols’

    • There will be many signs and symbols in Revelation.  It conveys the teaching that there are signs that signify the return of Jesus.

      • Mt 24:3 As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately. "Tell us," they said, "when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?"

      • Jesus then gave them many signs

    • We are told to watch for these signs

      • Mk 13:33 Be on guard! Be alert! You do not know when that time will come. … 37 What I say to you, I say to everyone: 'Watch!'

      • Lk 21:36 Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man.

      • Mt 24:44 So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.

    • Revelation was not given to us so it would be misunderstood

      • The idea that it is confusing is Satanic – Satan does not want you to know the end of the story

 

  • Angel 

    • Greek word ἀγγέλου [angelou, an’-gel-os]

    • Jesus conveyed the message to John through his “angel” – Literally means a “messenger”

    • We’ll actually see this angel face-to-face in Rev 10:9 and 22:1

 

  • John

    • John was the last disciple of Jesus that remained alive. He was the only disciple that was not martyred for Jesus

    • John wrote Revelation while a prisoner on the Island of Patmos, approximately 85-95 A.D.

    • John was elderly and imprisoned on the Island of Patmos when he received an apocalyptic vision from an angel.

    • He received visions and had to write – based on his own knowledge-base and understanding – about things that were to happen thousands of years later.

    • John face martyrdom when he was boiled in a huge basin of boiling oil during a wave of persecution in Rome. However, he was miraculously delivered from death. John was then sentenced of the mines on the prison island of Patmos. He wrote his prophetic book of Revelation on Patmos. John was later freed and returned to serve as Bishop of Adicia in modern Turkey. He died as an old man – the only apostle to die peacefully.

    • John testifies to the supernatural origin of the book – He confirms that the author is Jesus

3 Blessed is the one who reads the words of this prophecy and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it, because the time is near.

 

  • Prophecy

    • The “prophetic message” – Literally “words of the prophecy”

    • Like an epistle addressed to a group of people, is meant to be read aloud to the audience by a lector

      • So John says “Blessed is the one who reads aloud and blessed are those who listen” acknowledging the means by which the “revelation” will be delivered

 

  • Blessings to those that read and believe

    • Means the “fullness of blessing”

    • This book opens and closes with a blessing to those that read, take to heart and keep the words written here

      • Also closes with a threat

        • Rev 22:18 I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book. 19 And if anyone takes words away from this book of prophecy, God will take away from him his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book.

    •  The book of Revelation is the only book of the Bible that offers a blessing to those who read, hear & keep

    • This is the same word used by Matthew in the “beatitudes” of the “Sermon on the Mount” (Mat 5: 3-11)

    • There are 7 beatitudes (blessings) found throughout the book of Revelation

      1. Rev 1:3 Blessed is the one who reads the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it, because the time is near.

      2. Rev 14:13 Then I heard a voice from heaven say, "Write: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on." "Yes," says the Spirit, "they will rest from their labor, for their deeds will follow them."

      3. Rev 16:15 "Behold, I come like a thief! Blessed is he who stays awake and keeps his clothes with him, so that he may not go naked and be shamefully exposed."

      4. Rev 19:9 Then the angel said to me, "Write: 'Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!'

      5. Rev 20:6 Blessed and holy are those who have part in the first resurrection. The second death has no power over them, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with him for a thousand years.

      6. Rev 22:7 "Behold, I am coming soon! Blessed is he who keeps the words of the prophecy in this book."

      7. Rev 22:14 "Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city.

 

  • Take to heart

    • Greek word τηροῦντες [tērountes]

    • Literally means “to guard as treasure and to watch over”, “heed,” “attend to,” or “keep”

    • It is important that those who read and listen also “to guard as treasure and to watch over”, “heed,” “attend to,” or “keep” what the prophecy says. Those who do will be “blessed”

  • Time is near

    • Greek words γὰρ καιρὸς ἐγγύς – Urgency

    • The prologue is framed with the sense of immediacy

    • Rev 1:1 The revelation from Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show his servants what must soon take place. He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John, 2 who testifies to everything he saw—that is, the word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ. 3 Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it, because the time is near.

Introduction (1:4-8)

Greeting the Seven Churches

4 John, to the seven churches which are in Asia:

Grace to you and peace from Him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven Spirits who are before His throne, 5 and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler over the kings of the earth.

To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood, 6 and has made us kings and priests to His God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.

7 Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him, even they who pierced Him. And all the tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him. Even so, Amen.

8 “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End,” says the Lord, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.”

 

This is a general introduction to the 7 churches of Asia Minor, John’s immediate audience to whom he is writing.

4 John, To the seven churches in the province of Asia:

 

  • John is the leader of the church at Ephesus and the author of Revelation

    • All of the other churches are within John’s geographical sphere of influence

    • The letters are to serve as “cover letters” for the vision that John will receive and that he will transmit in writing to the churches

 

  • These letters were the only direct communication from Jesus to the church

  • These 7 churches also represent the history of the church

    • The church of that day

    • The church as it went through different periods

    • The church as it was to come

7 Churches map.png

Grace and peace to you from him who is, and who was, and who is to come, and from the seven spirits before his throne, 5 and from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth.

 

  • “Grace to you and peace” from the trinity:

1. God the Father

  1. who is

  2. who was

  3. who is to come

 

2. God the Holy Spirit (the “seven-fold spirit”)

  • the seven spirits before his throne

  • Is 11:2 The Spirit of the Lord will rest on him—
       the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of might,
       the Spirit of the knowledge and fear of the Lord 
    and he will delight in the fear of the Lord.

 

  • 7 = completion.  In Revelation, there are:

7 Churches          7 Spirits          7 Golden candlesticks

7 Stars                  7 Lamps         7 Horns

7 Eyes                  7 Angels         7 Seals

7 Trumpets          7 Bowls          7 Thunders

7 Heads               7 Crowns        7000 Slain in the great earthquake

7 Mountains        7 Kings

  • Zec 4:2 …I see a solid gold lampstand with a bowl at the top and seven lights on it, with seven channels to the lights. 3 Also there are two olive trees by it, one on the right of the bowl and the other on its left. … 10 These seven are the eyes of the LORD, which range throughout the earth.

 

  • Rev 4:5 From the throne came flashes of lightning, rumblings and peals of thunder. Before the throne, seven lamps were blazing. These are the seven spirits of God.

 

  • Rev 5:6 Then I saw a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain, standing in the center of the throne, encircled by the four living creatures and the elders. He had seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth.

 

3. God the Son (Jesus Christ) who himself is three things:

1. The faithful witness

  • Witness - Greek word μάρτυς [martys]

    • We get the word martyr from this word

    • Now means one that has died for his faith

    • Original idea is one that has a faith so strong that he would be willing to die for it

    • While He was on the earth He was a witness of God.

 

2. The firstborn from the dead

  • Firstborn is the Greek word πρωτότοκος [prōtotokos]

  • prōtotokos – literally signifies priority – He is the 1st risen from the grave

  • 1st person to be resurrected from the dead

  • 1st in importance or prominence – He is to be the most important person in our lives

 

3. The ruler of the kings of the earth.

  • Rev 19:16 … On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.

To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood, 6 and has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve his God and Father—to him be glory and power for ever and ever! Amen.

  • To him who

  1. loves us

  2. has freed us from our sins by his blood

  3. has made us to be a kingdom of priests to serve his God and Father

       to him be glory and power for ever and ever! Amen.

 

  • Jesus loved us enough to suffer and die for us – that through his blood, our sins have been washed away and we have been given eternal life with Him

 

  • Believers will reign with Christ in the Kingdom age to come

7 Look, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him; and all the peoples of the earth will mourn because of him. So shall it be! Amen.

  • Look, he is coming with the clouds and

  1. every eye will see him,

  2. even those who pierced him; and

  3. all peoples of the earth will mourn because of him.

      So shall it be! Amen”

 

  • Reference back to the Old Testament

    • Daniel 7:13: I was watching in the night visions, and behold, One like the Son of Man, coming with the clouds of heaven!

    • Zec 12:10 “And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and supplication. They will look on me, the one they have pierced, and they will mourn for him as one mourns for an only child, and grieve bitterly for him as one grieves for a firstborn son.

  • Acts 1:6 So when they met together, they asked him, "Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?" 7 He said to them: "It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth." 9 After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight. 10 They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. 11 "Men of Galilee," they said, "why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven."

    • Jesus does not say that he isn’t going to restore Israel – He says that we are not to know the time – argument against replacement theology

    • 11…This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.

 

  •  “Pierced Him” refers to the crucifixion of Christ.

 

  • Those who didn’t believe in Christ will “mourn” with regret over their disbelief.

    • All will mourn because of what we did to Jesus

    • Why will they mourn?

 

  • What an awesome sight it will be to see Jesus descending from the clouds!

    • Not the lowly servant, the humble shepherd, or the rejected prophet

    • Now He is rightfully returning as the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords – and the whole world will know it!

    • Everyone will see it – you will not be able to miss it

 

8 "I am the Alpha and the Omega," says the Lord God, "who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty."

 

  •  “I am the Alpha and the Omega” says the Lord God,

  1. who is,

  2. and who was,

  3. and who is to come,

        the Almighty."

 

  • Alpha and the Omega

    • The first and last letters of the Greek alphabet – Signifies completion, as is the numbers 3

    • He was there at the beginning during creation and He will be there at the end at the Second Coming

    • He always was, always is, and always will be

Commission (1:9-20)

Vision of the Son of Man

9 I, John, both your brother and companion in the tribulation and kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was on the island that is called Patmos for the word of God and for the testimony of Jesus Christ. 10 I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day, and I heard behind me a loud voice, as of a trumpet, 11 saying,  “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last,” and, “What you see, write in a book and send it to the seven churches which are in Asia: to Ephesus, to Smyrna, to Pergamos, to Thyatira, to Sardis, to Philadelphia, and to Laodicea.”

 

12 Then I turned to see the voice that spoke with me. And having turned I saw seven golden lampstands, 13 and in the midst of the seven lampstands One like the Son of Man, clothed with a garment down to the feet and girded about the chest with a golden band. 14 His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and His eyes like a flame of fire; 15 His feet were like fine brass, as if refined in a furnace, and His voice as the sound of many waters; 16 He had in His right hand seven stars, out of His mouth went a sharp two-edged sword, and His countenance was like the sun shining in its strength. 17 And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead. But He laid His right hand on me, saying to me, “Do not be afraid; I am the First and the Last. 18 I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death. 19 Write the things which you have seen, and the things which are, and the things which will take place after this. 20 The mystery of the seven stars which you saw in My right hand, and the seven golden lampstands: The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands which you saw are the seven churches.

9 I, John, both your brother and companion in the tribulation and kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was on the island that is called Patmos for the word of God and for the testimony of Jesus Christ.

 

  • John introduces himself as “your brother and companion in:

    • the tribulation (suffering)

    • and kingdom

    • and patience (patient endurance)

       that are ours in Jesus” (1:9a)

 

  • He is on the island of Patmos “because of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus” 

    • Patmos – similar to our modern-day Alcatraz

    • He was imprisoned for teaching and preaching the Word of God

      • Would we be willing to be imprisoned for Christ? Are we undercover Christians? Or faith servants?

 

10 On the Lord's Day I was in the Spirit, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet,

  • “On the Lord’s Day” – Sabbath

  • John is deep in prayer, when suddenly he hears a voice behind him, startling him:

    • John was more than just tuned into the Holy Spirit.  This was a special anointing – He was picked as the deliverer of a special message from the Almighty Lord Himself.

  • loud voice like a trumpet

    • Rev 4:1 After these things I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven, and the first voice which I had heard, like the sound of a trumpet speaking with me, said, "Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after these things."

    • 1Th 4:16 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.

    • 1Co 15:51 Behold, I show you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. 53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.

    • Rev 11:15 ESV Then the seventh angel blew his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, ‘The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign forever and ever!’

 

11 which said: "Write on a scroll what you see and send it to the seven churches: to Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea."

  • John is told to write down all that he sees and send it to the 7 churches

  • 7 churches – those in the province of Asia:

    • There were a lot more than 7 churches. These 7 churches were chosen because they represent

      • The history of the church

        • The church of that day

        • The church as it went through different periods

        • The church as it was to come

      • The life of the believer

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12 I turned around to see the voice that was speaking to me. And when I turned I saw seven golden lampstands, 13 and among the lampstands was someone "like a son of man," dressed in a robe reaching down to his feet and with a golden sash around his chest. 14 His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and his eyes were like blazing fire. 15 His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of rushing waters.

 

  • As we have been working with sets of 3, now we move to sets of 7

    • Prefigured by the “seven-fold Spirit” of God in the introduction (1:4).

 

  • John looks behind him to see “seven golden lampstands” (1:12)

    • 7 golden lampstands – 1 for each of the churches

    • Rev 1:20 The mystery of the seven stars that you saw in my right hand and of the seven golden lampstands is this: The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches.

    • The light of the world is Jesus

      • The purpose of the church is to be a light in this world of darkness

      • The teaching of the Word of Jesus is the source of light for the church to shine

      • How bright does your church shine?

 

  • Jesus was standing among the seven lampstands

    • This is the only description of Jesus in the New Testament

      • A robe fit for a king – clear down to his feet – showing righteousness and honor

      • A golden brass plate or girdle across his chest – with the names of his people engraved, ready to fulfill his role as a redeemer

      • His hair as white as snow – pure and tried, as the Ancient of Days

      • His flaming, penetrating eyes that pierce even the hardest of hearts

      • His feet sturdy and strong

      • His voice commanding, full of knowledge and wisdom

 

  • “son of man”

    • Used generically for “human beings” in both Ezekiel and the Psalms

    • In Daniel and Revelation, it refers specifically to a unique figure who approaches the “Ancient of Days” (God the Father)

      • Given “dominion, splendor, and kingship,”

      • “all nations, peoples and tongues” will serve and worship him

    • In the synoptic gospels, Jesus uses the term “Son of Man” in reference to himself, alluding directly to the figure in Daniel’s vision

      • It is a self-referential term used by Jesus – no one else calls him “Son of Man,” only he does.

 

  • When John observes that the one to whom the voice belongs is someone “like a Son of Man,” he makes a direct allusion to “one like a son of man,” the figure in Daniel’s vision (Daniel 7:13), prompting the reader to draw a direct correspondence between the two, which John then makes explicit in the seven-part comparison

 

  • The figure is startlingly similar to the figure Daniel sees in Daniel 7:13-14 and who speaks to him in Daniel 10:4-6. Also similar to the figure that Ezekiel sees in Ezekiel 8:2

    • Eze 8:2 I looked, and I saw a figure like that of a man. From what appeared to be his waist down he was like fire, and from there up his appearance was as bright as glowing metal.

    • Dan 10:4 On the twenty-fourth day of the first month, as I was standing on the bank of the great river, the Tigris, 5 I looked up and there before me was a man dressed in linen, with a belt of the finest gold around his waist. 6 His body was like chrysolite, his face like lightning, his eyes like flaming torches, his arms and legs like the gleam of burnished bronze, and his voice like the sound of a multitude.

    • Rev 1:12 I turned around to see the voice that was speaking to me. And when I turned I saw seven golden lampstands, 13 and among the lampstands was someone "like a son of man," dressed in a robe reaching down to his feet and with a golden sash around his chest. 14 His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and his eyes were like blazing fire. 15 His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of rushing waters. 16 In his right hand he held seven stars, and out of his mouth came a sharp double-edged sword. His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance.

 

  • Here is a point-by-point comparison of the figures, each consisting of seven elements:

    • These are the very same person

    • In Daniel, it is the pre-incarnate Christ who ‘unveils’ the future to Daniel and then has Daniel seal up the scroll ‘until the time of the end’ (Dan 12:4)

    • In Revelation, it is the risen and glorified Christ who unseal the scroll to reveal to John ‘what must happen soon’ (Rev 1:1)

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16 In his right hand he held seven stars, and out of his mouth came a sharp double-edged sword. …

20 The mystery of the seven stars that you saw in my right hand and of the seven golden lampstands is this: The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches.

  • 7 Stars = 7 angels

    • Rev 1:20 The mystery of the seven stars that you saw in my right hand and of the seven golden lampstands is this: The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches.

    • Angel literally means a “messenger”

    • Leadership of the 7 churches

    • Could refer to the pastors or the churches or the angels that are assigned to watch over each church

 

  • Right hand – Hand of righteousness

 

  • Double-edged sword

    • The Word of the Lord is a 2-edged sword – It can wound or heal

      • The Word of the Lord spoke the world into existence, and the Word of the Lord will defeat the antichrist and slay his armies

    • Format of the letters to the churches

      • Greeting

      • Words of commendation – what the church is doing right

      • Words of condemnation – what the church is doing wrong

      • Closes with an admonition

    •  Jesus’ words themselves form the “sharp two-edged sword” in these letters

 

His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance.

  • Reinforces the comparison (item 4 in Daniel 10:6a above).

 

17 When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead.

  • Another reference to Daniel

    • Daniel 10:7 I, Daniel, was the only one who saw the vision; those who were with me did not see it, but such terror overwhelmed them that they fled and hid themselves. 8 So I was left alone, gazing at this great vision; I had no strength left, my face turned deathly pale and I was helpless. 9 Then I heard him speaking, and as I listened to him, I fell into a deep sleep, my face to the ground.

Then he placed his right hand on me and said: "Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. 18 I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades.

  • Confirmation that the figure John sees is, indeed, the “Son of Man,” the risen and glorified Christ.

  • When He descended into hell, he freed the slaves of Hades. Now He wants to set us free from death.

 

19 "Write, therefore, what you have seen, what is now and what will take place later.

  • Revelation 1:19, describes a basic outline of the entire letter written by John.  When the risen and glorified Christ says to John, “Write down, therefore, what you have seen, and what is happening, and what will happen afterwards”, he lays out the basic 3-part structure of Revelation: 

Revelation Structure.jpg

  • We are currently living in the Church Age – Specifically the age of Laodicea (Chapter 3)

 

  • Chapter 4 starts with the words “meta autos” which means “after these things”

    • 4 After these things I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven. And the first voice which I heard was like a trumpet speaking with me, saying, “Come up here, and I will show you things which must take place after this.”

 

  • It is important to understand the structure of the book

 

20 The mystery of the seven stars which you saw in My right hand, and the seven golden lampstands: The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands which you saw are the seven churches.

  • The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches

    • Pastors, messengers

 

  • The seven lampstands which you saw are the seven churches

    • Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea

 
 
 
 

WHAT IS – The Seven Churches (Revelation 2-3)

The risen and glorified Christ commands John to write a letter to each of seven churches in Asia Minor: Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea – all in modern-day Turkey.

The churches in Asia Minor were the engine powering the early church

  • Paul’s three missionary journeys

  • the church of Syrian Antioch (home church of Paul and Barnabas)

  • the Council of Nicaea 

  • Each church was situated along a major highway in the Roman Empire. The distance from one church to the next closest church was anywhere from 20 – 50 miles away.

  • 7 is the number of completion and fulfillment

    • These are all speaking to the complete church, not just the 7 congregations

    • Jesus (via John) addresses 7 churches in his letters:

      • Ephesus

      • Smyrna

      • Pergamum

      • Thyatira

      • Sardis

      • Philadelphia

      • Laodicea

    • Paul addresses 7 churches in his epistles:

      • Rome

      • Corinth

      • Galatia

      • Ephesus

      • Colosse

      • Philippi

      • Thessalonica

    • Jesus give 7 kingdom parables

      • The Sower (Matthew 13:3-9; 18-23)

      • The Tares (Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43)

      • The Mustard Seed (Matthew 13:31, 32)

      • The Leaven (Matthew 13:33)

      • The Hidden Treasure (Matthew 13:44)

      • The Pearl of Great Price (Matthew 13:45, 46)

      • The Net (Matthew 13:47-50)

Part Two: What Is (Revelation, Chapters 2 & 3) - The seven letters to the seven churches in Asia Minor 

  1. Ephesus (Revelation 2:1-7) - the church that had forsaken its first love (2:4)

  2. Smyrna (Revelation 2:8-11) - the church that would suffer persecution (2:10)

  3. Pergamum (Revelation 2:12-17) - the church that needed to repent (2:16)

  4. Thyatira (Revelation 2:18-29) - the church that had a false prophetess (2:20)

  5. Sardis (Revelation 3:1-6) - the church that had fallen asleep (3:2)

  6. Philadelphia (Revelation 3:7-13) - the church that had endured patiently (3:10)

  7. Laodicea (Revelation 3:14-22) - the church with the lukewarm faith (3:16)

Letter Structure

Greetings

  • The greeting to all the churches references the attributes of the risen and glorified Christ from the commission (Rev 1:13-15)

 

  • “To the angel of the church in …

    • ἀγγέλου [angelou, an’-gel-os]

    • Greek translation is “angel”

    • Literally means a “messenger”

    • “angels” – messengers sent by God to speak to or to interact with humanity

      • It’s nice to think that God has assigned an “angel” to watch over each church

      • But more likely, the “angel” of the church is the leader of that Christian community, the one who reads the gospel, the messenger (pastor or priest)

 

  • We should recognize the intimacy of this greeting. The risen and glorified Christ walks among us. He knows every detail of our lives, commending us for our successes and admonishing us for our faults. He holds us in the very palm of his hand as both our protector and our guide.

 

Commendation / Praise

  • In most cases, the Lord starts with the good

 

Condemnation / Criticism

  • In most cases, the Lord tells them what they need to improve

 

Admonition / Command

  • They all end with a call to pay attention and there will be a reward for your perseverance

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Of the seven church cities:

  • The two good ones, Philadelphia & Smyrna, now the modern-day Alasehir and Izmir in Turkey, continue to thrive

  • The two bad ones, Sardis & Laodicea, are now desolate, uninhabited locations

  • Ephesus the great political center

  • Smyrna was the great commercial center

  • Pergamos the great religious center

Church History Through Time

Each letter speaks to the current state of each church at the end of the 1st century.

The sequence of the seven churches may also reflect the history of the church, from its apostolic beginnings until today:

  • Ephesus—the apostolic church, Pentecost A.D. 32-63, the church at the time of the Apostles.

  • Smyrna—the martyr church, A.D. 64-313, from Nero’s persecution until the Edict of Milan.

  • Pergamum—The emerging church, A.D. 313-590, the official religion of the Roman Empire.

  • Thyatira—the church of the Middle Ages, A.D. 590-1517, the church as a world political and economic power.

  • Sardis—the reformed church, A.D. 1517-1800, the church of the Reformation and counter-Reformation.

  • Philadelphia—the revived church A.D. 1800-1960, the great age of the missionary church.

  • Laodicea—today’s church, 1960-present, the lukewarm, self-congratulatory church of a post-Christian era.

 

From a different perspective, we might well understand that all of today’s parishes and Christian congregations can fit into one of the seven categories represented by the seven churches of Revelation

  • Those whose faith and works are stellar

  • Those many Christian communities in the Middle East who are martyr churches

  • Those who have accommodated themselves to the dominant secular culture

  • Those who are so tepid as to be irrelevant

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Ephesus (2:1-7) – The Loveless (Preoccupied) Church

Ephesus

The Loveless Church

1 “To the angel of the church of Ephesus write,

‘These things says He who holds the seven stars in His right hand, who walks in the midst of the seven golden lampstands: 2 “I know your works, your labor, your patience, and that you cannot bear those who are evil. And you have tested those who say they are apostles and are not, and have found them liars; 3 and you have persevered and have patience, and have labored for My name’s sake and have not become weary. 4 Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love. 5 Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place—unless you repent. 6 But this you have, that you hate the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.

7 “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give to eat from the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God.” ’

  • Name Ephesus means: Maiden of choice; darling; desirable

  • History

    • Founded in 1400 BC

      • Attic-Ionian colonists from Athens settled there around 1000 B.C.

      • 1 of 12 cities in the Ionian League

    • Lydians – The Lydians captured the city in the middle of the 6th century BC

    • Persians – 541 BC – Fell to the Persians

    • Macedonians – 334 BC – Fell to the Macedonians under Alexander the Great

    • Eventually became the Roman capital of the Province of Asia and home to the Roman governor

 

  • Geography

    • Called the ‘Queen of Asia’ – an extremely wealthy and beautiful city

    • Located near the mouth of the Cayster River (now Lower Meander River) on the Aegean Sea

      • A natural deep-water port

      • Provided a major harbor and caravan gateway for trade to all of Asia Minor and beyond

    • One of the major roads ran through Ephesus

      • It was the main line of communication between Rome and its Eastern Provinces

    • Today, Ephesus has the appearance of an inland city because of the natural changes in the coastline

 

  • Roman rule

    • Ephesus was the 2nd largest city in the Roman Empire

      • Population of around 250,000

      • Only Rome surpassed its size and grandeur

    • 1 of only 3 cities in the Empire with street lighting at night

      • Rome and Syrian Antioch were the other ones

 

  • Pagan Religions

    • Temple of Diana (Artemis)

      • Roman goddess of nature and fertility, identified with the Greek goddess Artemis

      • Around 550 B.C. the Temple of Artemis (or Diana) was completed in Ephesus.

        • Around 550 B.C. the Temple of Artemis (or Diana) was completed in Ephesus.

        • The temple was 4 times larger than the Parthenon at Athens

        • It stood on a platform 425' by 225'

        • The building itself was 340’ by 165'

        • 120 ionic columns, each 60' high

      • One of the Seven Wonders of the ancient world

        • Antipater of Sidon compiled the Seven Wonders.

Here is what he had to say of the Temple of Artemis:

“I have set eyes on the wall of lofty Babylon on which is a road for chariots, and the statue of Zeus by Alpheus, and the hanging gardens, and the colossus of the sun, and the labor of the great pyramids, and the vast tomb of Mausolus, but when I saw the house of Artemis [in Ephesus] that mounted to the clouds, those other marvels lost their brilliance, and I said, ‘Lo, apart from Olympus, the sun never looked on anything so grand.”

  • The rise and fall of the Temple of Diana

    • 550 BC – The Temple of Artemis was completed

    • 313 AD – Edict of Milan – Christianity was tolerated in the Roman Empire

    • 380 AD – Theodosius I made Christianity the official religion of the Roman Empire

    • 401 AD – The Temple of Artemis was destroyed in by a mob led by St. John Chrysostom, who was then Bishop of Ephesus

 

  • Church at Ephesus

    • Founded by Paul

 

  • Decline of Ephesus:

    • Destruction of the Temple of Artemis

    • Deep water port was silted in by the Cayster River

    • 614 AD Catastrophic earthquake

Greeting

1 "To the angel of the church in Ephesus write:
     These are the words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand and walks among the seven golden lampstands:

  • If our Apostle John is the leader of the church in Ephesus, then the 1st letter in Revelation is addressed to him!

  • Rev 1:12 Then I turned to see the voice that spoke with me. And having turned I saw seven golden lampstands, 13 and in the midst of the seven lampstands One like the Son of Man …  16 He had in His right hand seven stars

    • Jesus is the one who:

      • Holds the 7 stars [angels] in his right hand

        • the 7 leaders of the 7 churches

      • Walks among the 7 lamp stands [churches]

        • the 7 churches themselves

 

  • We should recognize the intimacy of this greeting:

    • The risen and glorified Christ walks among us

    • He knows every detail of our lives, commending us for our successes and admonishing us for our faults

    • He holds us in the very palm of his hand as both our protector and our guide

 

Commendation 😊

2 I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked men, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false. 3 You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary.

 

  • Your

    • Jesus addresses not only the “angel” of the church at Ephesus, but the entire community

 

  • The Christian community at Ephesus not only has copious works to show for their faith, but they also labor hard and they don’t give up.

    • Jesus said: “If you love me, you will keep my commands” (John 14:15)

      • Emphatically, “we are saved by grace through faith,” but a genuine saving faith will always manifest itself in a life of active love, a life of good works

      • As James said: “What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works” (3:14); such a faith is shallow at best, self-delusion at worst

 

  • Wicked men

    • Refers to false the teachers that John so opposes in his three letters

      • Men such as Diotrophese (3John1:9)

      • There were man