Revelation part 1 - God’s Letters

As the church takes over the leadership of God’s people, the armies of Satan march to knock us down. John sees a vision of Christ with messages bracing His armies to face the enemy.

Presentation Overview

  • Timeline
  • Times of the Gentiles
  • Introduction
  • Messages to  churches
  • Recap
  • Discussion

 

Background of Revelation

  • In the second great wave of persecution emperor Domitan demanded public worship to him as god.
  • John was banished to Patmos to do hard labour under lash of military overseer.
  • It is most probably at this time, that while worshipping God on Lord’s day he sees a vision of the risen Christ with messages to Churches.

The Church takes over

As the church takes over the leadership of God’s people, the armies of Satan march on to destroy the church. One by one, they start knocking down the ranks of God’s kingdom.

The Letters to the Churches

In the letters, Christ prepares His armies to face the enemy – Revelation 1-3

  • Author: God the Father, Son, Holy Spirit ( Revelation 1:4-5).
  • Recipient: Angel of a church (i.e. pastor), with dual referencing to everyone in many churches through ages (Revelation 2:7)
  • The number 7, the 7 churches, stars, candlesticks, etc.  represent perfection, completion.

Churches characterise

  • Several fake believers bringing in sex, religion, politics, wealth, power, etc.
  • Individual conquerors in every church though the church may be destroyed.
  • Prophetic revelations have and are coming true.

Ephesus: “The Desired One”

Christ’s characteristics: Holds seven stars and walks among seven lampstands.

Church characteristics: Toil, patient endurance, cannot bear those who are evil, tests false apostles.

Complaints: Abandoned first love

Conquerors’ reward:  tree of life

Smyrna: “Myrrh – Death”

Christ’s characteristics: First and last who died and came to life

Church characteristics: Poor (yet rich), facing slander, Testing, tribulation, death, crown of life

Complaints: None

Conquerors’ reward: Not hurt by second death

Smyrna: “Myrrh – Death” Death of Polycarp, Bishop of Smyrna

  • Fed and provided for his arrestors.
  • Asked for one hour with the Lord.
  • Was offered to curse Christ and say “Caesar is Lord” to live
  • Responded: “86 years I have served Him and He has done me no wrong. How can I blaspheme my King who loved me and saved me”.
  • Burnt at the stake.

Pergamos: “Mixed marriage”

  • Christ’s characteristics: Has sharp two edged sword
  • Church characteristics: Dwells where Satan’s throne is, hold fast name in spite of Antipas’ martyrdom.
  • Complaints: hold teachings of Balaam, Nicolaitans, practice sexual immorality.
  • Conquerors’ reward: hidden manna, white stone, new name

Thyatira: “Continual sacrifice”

  • Christ’s characteristics: Son of God, eyes are flame of fire, feet burnished bronze:
  • Church characteristics:  Love, faith, service, patient endurance, latter works exceed first, have not learned deep things of Satan
  • Complaints: Tolerate Jezebel – sexual immorality, food offered to idols
  • Conquerors’ reward: Authority over nations, rule with rod of iron, break to pieces, morning star

Sardis: “Remnant”

  • Christ’s characteristics: Seven spirits, seven stars
  • Church characteristics: Few have not soiled garments, will walk in white
  • Complaints: Reputation of life but are dead, works not complete
  • Conquerors’ reward: White garments, name never blotted out of book of life, acknowledged before Father

Philadelphia: “Brotherly Love”

  • Christ’s characteristics: Holy, true one, holding key of David, opens door that no one can shut, shuts doors, no one can open
  • Church characteristics: Little power, kept word, not denied name. Jews from synagogue of Satan will bow down before them.
  • Complaints: None
  • Conquerors’ reward: Keep from hour of trial, make pillar in temple, write name of God, city of God, new Jerusalem, new name of Jesus.

Laodicea: “Power of the Laity”

  • Christ’s characteristics: Faithful true witness, beginning of God’s creation
  • Church characteristics: Nothing good.
  • Complaints: Neither cold not hot, lukewarm. Say: rich, prosperous, need nothing, whereas: wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, naked.
  • Conquerors’ reward: Sit with Jesus on His throne

Final Victory

“As it was in the days of Noah”, there are few righteous people defending God’s kingdom. As Satan’s control, dominates the church of God, and  God’s faithful few await the second coming of Christ which will finally demonstrate the final victory of Christ leading his people to destroy Satan.

Recap  – The Church of God

Name Church Characteristics Complaints
Ephesus: The Desired One Toil, patient endurance, cannot bear evil, tested false apostles, Abandoned first love
Smyrna: Myrrh – Death Poor (yet rich), facing slander, testing, tribulation, death, crown of life None
Pergamos: Mixed Marriage Dwells where Satan’s throne is, hold fast name in spite of Antipas’ martyrdom. Hold teachings of Balaam, Nicolaitans, practice sexual immorality
Thyatira: Continual Sacrifice love, faith, service, patient endurance, latter works exceed first, not learned deep things of Satan Tolerate Jezebel – sexual immorality, food offered to idols
Sardis: Remnantworks not complete Few have not soiled garments Reputation of life but are dead,
Philadelphia: Brotherly Love Little power, kept word, patient endurance, not denied name. Jews from synagogue of Satan will bow before them. None
Laodicea: Power of the Laity Nothing good Neither cold nor hot, lukewarm, Say: rich, prosperous, need nothing, whereas: wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, naked.

Discussion

  • All churches were eventually destroyed implying they did not heed God’s warning. Given the dual relevance, what does this imply to the global church?
  • Rev 3:20 shows Jesus outside a door, knocking, in a letter to a church. Reflect and discuss this picture. While this refers to individuals could this refer to the church?
  • In what ways do we see similarities with our churches today to Laodicea?
  • How can we be a “conqueror”?

References

  • @ Dr. Heinz Lycklama

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