Wednesday, February 27, 2013

The Lamb Takes the Scroll


   And I saw in the right hand of Him who sat on the throne a scroll written inside and on the back, sealed with seven seals.
   Then I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, "Who is worthy to open the scroll and to loose its seals?"
   And no one in heaven or on the earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll, or to look at it.
  So I wept much, because no one was found worthy to open and read the scroll, or to look at it. 

   But one of the elders said to me, "Do not weep, Behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has prevailed to open the scroll and to loose its seven seals." 
   And I looked, and behold, in the midst of the throne and of the four living creatures, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as though it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth. 
   Then He came and took the scroll out of the right hand of Him who sat on the throne. 5:1-7 

   I saw...him who sat on the throne, refers to Jehovah, the Father, not to His Son, Christ.  This is made perfectly clear in 5:6, where we read, in the midst of the elders stood a Lamb as it had been slain.  If Christ, the Lamb, is standing among the elders, obviously He is not sitting on a throne.  There is no dispute that Christ is the Lamb of God, for, when John the Baptist met Jesus he said, Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world. John 1:29+36. 

   Some take the words of Scripture so literally that they have even suggested that Christ is in heaven as a four legged animal with wool as a covering.  That is not the way John saw Christ when he called Him the Lamb of God.  The Baptist was speaking symbolically.  In interpreting the Word of God, one must be careful that in being a literalist, one is not also being absurd.  Undoubtedly, John was thinking of the sacrificial lambs that were being killed in the temple as an atonement for the sins of the people.

   I saw in the right hand of Him who sat on the throne a scroll written inside and on the back, sealed with seven seals.  This is not the Book of Life, mentioned in 3:5. I see this as the scroll that contains a record of future events. 


   The fact that the scroll is said to be written on both sides suggests that the future holds much in the realms of punishment and blessings; so much, actually, that the scroll needed to be written on both sides.  In this reference to the future, it must be understood that it is future for John, but not necessarily future to us.  

   If one divides the Church era into the seven periods, as we have done in this study, John was living in the first Church age.  Everything after that would have been future for him.  Many Bible students believe that we are now living in the last church age.


   
Mr. Smith** states that the punctuation in the KJV is wrong.  According to him, it should not read, a scroll written inside and on the back, sealed with seven seals.  It should read, a scroll written inside, and on the back sealed with seven seals.  Interestingly, though, of eight other versions compared, none of them had it like Mr. Smith states that it should be.

   The scroll was sealed with seven seals.  When Daniel saw visions of future events he was told, But you, Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book until the time of the end. Dan. 12:4.  In the revelation to John, the time had come to undo the seals of the scrolls that Daniel had sealed up.

   Who is worthy to open the scroll and to loose its seals?  John sees this as a desperate situation.  In fact, he says, I wept much, because no one was found worthy to open and read the scroll.


   each of the seals had to be broken before John could open and read the scroll.  This statement was made in the April 1998 edition of The Signs magazine.  However, 5:3 clearly says, no one (not even John) was able to open the book, or to look at it.  

   Behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has prevailed to open the scroll.  Of course, Christ is not just a man, he is the conquering Son of God, and so He is worthy to open the book.  He proved Himself worthy on the cross and He prevailed over death at His resurrection.


   In the midst of the elders stood a Lamb as though it had been slain, is made much clearer with these words, On the Lamb were wounds that once had caused his death. The Living Bible.  

  Praise and worship belong to Jesus! He was willing to bear the imprints of the nails through His hands and feet and the wound of the spear in His side, into eternity, because of the Father’s love for His Church.

   In the midst of the living creatures, the twenty-four elders, and the throne, stood a Lamb. The Lamb had seven horns and seven eyes. We are not left wondering about what the seven eyes are, because 5:6 says plainly, they are the seven spirits of God sent forth into all the earth.  Remember that in Jewish literature and culture seven represents perfection.


Neither need we feel a sense of the grotesque in considering a lamb with seven horns or seven eyes.  Surely, we are speaking symbolically, because after all, this Lamb is human in form.  As the seven eyes are the seven spirits so it is that, the seven horns are seven predominant features of Christ.  Many times throughout the Bible, the word "horn" is used to signify strength or a prominent feature.  For example, The God of my strength, in whom I will trust; My shield and the horn of my salvation, My stronghold and my refuge; My Savior. 2 Sam. 22:3

   Then He (Christ) came and took the scroll out of the right hand of Him (the Father), who sat on the throne.  Just in passing, it can be mentioned that both the Father and the Son are right handed.  Each was holding the respective item in their right hand.  This characteristic of Christ is also portrayed in 1:20, the seven stars you saw in my right hand.  



   Admittedly, in ancient cultures, being left handed was deemed as “less than normal”; therefore, Jehovah or Christ could not be spoken of as being left-handed.  Conversely, why not believe that, as John says, both Jehovah and His Son are right handed, just as the bulk of humanity is.

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* A Commentary of Daniel and the Revelation by Uriah Smith, Seventh Day Adventist.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

And, Inside the Spaceship We Have ....


   And in the midst of the throne, and around the throne, were four living creatures full of eyes in front and in back. 
   The first living creature was like a lion, the second living creature like a calf, the third living creature had a face like a man, and the fourth living creature was like a flying eagle. 
   The four living creatures, each having six wings, were full of eyes around and within. And they do not rest day or night, saying: “Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, Who was and is and is to come!” 
   Whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to Him who sits on the throne, who lives forever and ever, 
   the twenty-four elders fall down before Him who sits on the throne and worship Him who lives forever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying: 
   “You are worthy, O Lord, To receive glory and honor and power; For You created all things, And by Your will they exist and were created. 4:6-11


Four Living Creatures


   Immediately, after seeing the screen with a scene of the Mediterranean Sea (noted in the previous post), John's attention turns back to the control panel.  He says, in the midst of the throne, and around the throne, were four living creatures full of eyes. The four living creatures had the appearance of a) a lion; b) a calf; c) the face of a man; and d) a flying eagle.  All four creatures have wings, but only the wings of the eagle, are spread, as if in flight.


    The four living creatures, each having six wings, were full of eyes around and within.  John does not say that the wings have eyes but that the living creatures, with the wings, have eyes.  

  Isaiah also saw some creatures with six wings, he called them seraphim.   Above it stood the seraphs; each one had six wings; with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. Isa. 6:2

  The song of these four living creatures is very similar to the songs of the seraphim.  “Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, Who was and is and is to come!” Rev.4:8

   And one cried to another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is Jehovah of Hosts; the whole earth full of His glory. Isa. 6:3
     
      they do not rest day or night because their function was to worship the Lord God.  The KJV Bible Commentary says: They rest not day and night. Untiringly and without interruption.  And yet, this worship cannot be a continual action because in 4:9-10 we read, Whenever the living creatures give glory ... the twenty-four elders fall down before Him who sits on the throne and worship Him

  The fact that the word, Whenever, is used, makes it plain that it is not an incessant action.  Furthermore, John saw the twenty-four elders sitting on their thrones, therefore they are not on their knees constantly.  

   The words, They do not rest day or night, indicate that at the place where John is seeing the living creatures worship God, day follows night.  Therefore, the point is made again, John is not in some mystical, spiritual realm we call heaven, but perhaps in a spaceship, positioned somewhere in earth’s time frame.  About this, and in contradiction to the Bible’s statement, Mr. Smith** writes, they repeat it “day and night”, or continually, these terms only denoting the manner in which time is reckoned here, for there can be no night where the throne of God is. 

   The four living creatures say: "Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, Who was and is and is to come!”  Some Bible teachers tell us that the fact that the word holy is used three times tells us that God is a triune being.  That assumption is pushing common sense way out of shape. Isaiah, a God-fearing Jew, a monotheist, like all Bible writers were, also recorded that the seraphim said Holy, holy, holy.  It is unthinkable that to Isaiah the three "holys" indicated a trinity.


   “You are worthy, O Lord, To receive glory and honor and power; For You created all things, And by Your will they exist and were created.  I stated my point of view about this thought in my earlier posts:   
http://wwwthinkagai.blogspot.ca/2012/05/ot-teaching-about-various-gods.html
http://wwwthinkagai.blogspot.ca/2012/05/ot-teaching-about-various-gods.html
http://wwwthinkagai.blogspot.ca/2012/05/five-theosophic-viewpoints.html


   The short version of those posts is this.  The Akashic field is the origin of all things but Jehovah has been credited for the creation of the universe because the writers of the Bible did not know about the Akashic field.  They believed and wrote, that Jehovah is the supreme creator, because some of them had met Him.  However, a careful look at what the Bible teaches about Jehovah does not allow for us to believe that He is infinite in any sense.  Looking at theology in this light makes the Bible much more reasonable and much easier to accept.


   If the church would not be so insistent that the infinite source of creation is the same God that procured redemption for us perhaps there would be far fewer atheists in the world.  To combine those two forces into One Being creates unbelievable situations and so people would rather just refuse to believe in the existence of God altogether.

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* A Commentary of Daniel and the Revelation by Uriah Smith, Seventh Day Adventist.

Friday, February 22, 2013

John meets the crew of the spaceship



   Around the throne were twenty-four thrones, and on the thrones I saw twenty-four elders sitting, clothed in white robes; and they had crowns of gold on their heads.
   And from the throne proceeded lightnings, thunderings, and voices. Seven lamps of fire were burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God.
    Before the throne there was a sea of glass, like crystal.
 4:4-6 


The Throne Room 


   Around the throne were twenty-four thrones.  These are the chairs of the crew of the spaceship. Those who sit there conduct the missions in which the spaceship is involved.


   I saw twenty-four elders sitting, clothed in white robes; and they had crowns of gold on their heads.  Some say that these twenty-four elders might be representatives of the twelve patriarchs of Israel and the twelve Apostles of Christ.  It has also been suggested that they are the actual patriarchs and apostles, but that theory is impossible to maintain, because, at that time, one of the twelve apostles, is still busy writing The Apocalypse.  The KJV Bible study writes, Their number is important. The Levitical priesthood had twenty-four courses (shifts) in Israel (cf. I Chr. 24:7–19).  


   Is it not also possible that there is no symbolism involved at all.  Perhaps the spaceship simply needed a crew of 24 (plus the captain), and that is why there were 24 elders sitting on their thrones.  Let's not use symbolism when a simple statement of fact is possible!  In Bible College we learned this always applicable phrase, If plain sense makes common sense, seek no other sense.


  They were clothed in white robes; and they had crowns of gold on their heads. Here we need only to think of scenes from "Star Wars" or "Star Trek" and the whole picture falls into place.   The crowns of gold may well have housed their communication devices.  After all, the "Away" team must have a way to commune with the ship when they are scouting the planet they are visiting.

And from the throne proceeded lightnings, thunderings, and voices.  This set of events, with slight variations, is recorded four times, in different arrangements, in The Apocalypse

And out of the throne came lightnings and thunderings and voices. 4:5; 

And voices and thunderings and lightnings and an earthquake occurred. 8:5; 

and there occurred lightnings and voices, and thunders and an earthquake, and a great hail. 11:19, 

   And voices and thunders and lightnings occurred. And there was a great earthquake, such as has not been since men were on the earth, so mighty and so great an earthquake. 16:18.

   The fact that there would be voices coming from the throne is, of course, not surprising, the crew was probably conversing with each other over the speaker system.  However it is interesting to note that the thunders and lightnings also issued from the throne.

  Seven lamps of fire were burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God.  We ran across this phrase already in 1:4 where it simply said, and from the seven Spirits who are before His throne.  Even though modern Bible teachers insist that there is only one Spirit of God, yet they seem to agree that these seven refers to the Holy Spirit.  Unless you have found a way to do something weird to the rules of math, seven never equals one.  Such is the incongruity of the doctrine of the trinity.


The Viewing Screen


   Before the throne there was a sea of glass like crystal.  What he saw next was not part of the throne room, but it was, before (in front of), the throne.  John's attention has shifted from the throne room to the viewing screen of the spaceship.  This sea of glass was the electronic screen through which the captain and crew could watch the surrounding area.  At the time John was in the spaceship, the screen was filled with a view of the Mediterranean Sea.  The combination of the screen and the view, caused John to say, before the throne there was a sea of glass like crystal; it was as clear as crystal, just as clear as a television screen portrays a scene.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

John meets the captain of the Spaceship

And He who sat there looked like a jasper stone and a sardius. And a rainbow was around the throne, looking like an emerald. Rev 4:3 

A Sighting of Jehovah


At this point of the book, John is in the presence of the Father of Jesus Christ.  That it was not Christ sitting on the throne will become evident shortly. The description that John gives is of God the Father, and the portrayal is in reference to position and colour.
  

John says God, the Father, was sitting and He who sat there was like a jasper and a sardius stone in appearance.  The dictionary says that a jasper is a coloured quartz usually red or brown and that the sardine or sardonyx is a brownish-red variety of chalcedony.  Therefore, isn't it possible to believe that the one sitting on the throne in The Apocalypse appeared to John to be wearing reddish-brown clothing because he is bathed in a green light and surrounded by a red fiery flame?  Green and red together appear brown.  I watched until the thrones were set in place, and the Ancient of Days sat ... His throne was like flames of fire, and His wheels like burning fire. Dan. 7:9.  


   In speaking of the physical appearance of Jehovah, Daniel said, the Ancient of Days was seated; His garment was white as snow, And the hair of His head was like pure wool. Dan. 7:9.  We cannot believe, as some Bible scholars tell us, that this refers to Christ because separate reference is made to Christ, in Daniel 7:13.  One like the Son of Man, Coming with the clouds of heaven! Christ is arriving in a spaceship!  He came to the Ancient of Days, And they brought Him near before Him.  Daniel sees Christ being ushered into the presence of His Father, the One whom Daniel had just seen.  There is nothing here to indicate that either of them (the Father and the Son) were not in physical form.  On the contrary, the argument stands firm that since Daniel saw them with his physical eyes they must both be physical.

Much has been written about Ezekiel and his association with spaceships, and a few words from Ezekiel add weight to John's description. And above the firmament over their heads was the likeness of a throne, in appearance like a sapphire stone; on the likeness of the throne was a likeness with the appearance of a man high above it. Also from the appearance of His waist and upward I saw, as it were, the color of amber with the appearance of fire all around within it; and from the appearance of His waist and downward I saw, as it were, the appearance of fire with brightness all around. 1:26-27.  Obviously, Ezekiel is describing the same scene as John did, only in reverse order.  If we read it carefully, we notice that Ezekiel said that in appearance Jehovah is like a man.

   In 4:3 the words, in the KJV, He who sat there, are omitted in "The Majority Texts".  Supposing, them to be the right translation, for now, verses 2-3 read like this, behold, a throne set in heaven, and one sat on the throne which was like a jasper and a sardius stone in appearance.  Some argue that, according to this text, even though the Father was sitting on the throne the text does not say that John saw Him; the description was about the throne.

   However, the statement that John saw the Father, with his physical eyes, must stand without challenge; in 20:11, John writes, I saw a great white throne and (I saw) Him who sat on it.  We remind ourselves again, that Abraham, Jacob, Moses, Ezekiel, Isaiah, Daniel and John all claim that they saw God, the Father, as a physical being.  

   These various Bible narratives force us to conclude that, the one whom Saint Paul called invisible, has been seen, in His physical nature, by certain “men of God”.  This does not at all imply that Paul contradicts the other scribes of the Bible.  Any one of us that have never seen God must admit that, to us, as to Paul, God is invisible.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Jehovah Rides a Spaceship

  

D)   John Visits Heaven



   After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter.
   And immediately I was in the spirit: and, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne.
   And he that sat was to look upon like a jasper and a sardine stone: and there was a rainbow round about the throne, in sight like unto an emerald.
 Rev 4:1-3

   What is Heaven Like?


   After these things I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven. 4:1 Strong says that the word heaven, in this instance, means, an elevated place. With that in mind, it is easy to picture a UFO, parked on the ground, standing on its four legs, with a ladder reaching from the ground to the spaceship, heaven.  Furthermore, the voice invited him to, come up here.  Was there a ladder for John to climb up into heaven?  

   Jacob had seen the UFO that way  Jacob went out ... And he lighted upon a certain place, and tarried there all night, because the sun was set; and he took of the stones of that place, and put them for his pillows, and lay down in that place to sleep ... And he dreamed, and behold a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven. Genesis 28:10-17.

     Ezekiel had seen that it had four legs; Also out of its midst came the likeness of four living creatures (they had active components). And this was how they looked; they had the likeness of a man, (cylindrical, as a human is). Eze. 1:5  

   Heaven, our future home, does not have doors; it has gates.  He showed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, ... it had a wall great and high, and had twelve gates, ... On the east three gates; on the north three gates; on the south three gates; and on the west three gates. Rev. 21:12-13.  But John specifically says that a door was opened in this elevated place (as a door in a spaceship might be).   

  The words John uses here are easy to interpret to mean that he saw a spaceship; if only we will let the Bible mean what it says, and not try to force, into the Bible, the single faceted ideas that have been fed to us.

   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". 4:1  John is careful to reiterate a former statement, the first voice which I heard was like a trumpet speaking with me. 1:10.  Again, we observe that John says that the trumpet was talking.  The word "talking" means "to talk, that is, utter words: - preach, say, speak (after), talk, tell, utter." Strong#2980

  Concerning this topic, Dr. McGee* states his viewpoint very directly. This introduces us to one of the simple symbols which occurs frequently from here on in the Revelation. That it is a symbol is evident—a trumpet never talks.  If he is keen on contradicting the Bible, that, apparently, is an option, he has.  I believe that since John wrote that the trumpet talked, he meant that it spoke words.  Later on, when he speaks of the seven trumpets, he says "they sounded", those trumpets did not talk, this one did!

   Maybe John did not need to climb a ladder after all; perhaps he was beamed up into the spaceship, he says, Immediately I was in the Spirit.

  behold, a throne set in heaven, and One sat on the throne. And He who sat there was like a jasper and a sardius stone in appearance; and there was a rainbow around the throne, in appearance like an emerald. 
4:3

   The Contemporary English Version puts it very plainly.  The one who was sitting there sparkled like precious stones of jasper and carnelian. A rainbow that looked like an emerald surrounded the throne. Rev 4:3  

   I worded it like this; I saw an awesome captains seat in the spaceship and someone was sitting in the captain's seat.  Above the Captain's seat was a soft glow which bathed the captain in its light.  There was also an arc of light; a light for the interior of the spaceship.  



   The word, rainbow, certainly refers only to the arc of light, not to the various colors of a rainbow, because John says it was green; Emerald. A precious stone of a rich green color. Smith's Bible dictionary.  He does not say that it was an emerald; he said that in appearance it was like an emerald.


We learn more about John's meeting with Jehovah in the next post!   


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* Thru the Bible with Dr. J Vernon McGee

Friday, February 15, 2013

To the Church in Laodecea



   And to the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write, ‘These things says the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God: 
   “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. 
   “So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth. 
  “Because you say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’—and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked— 
   “I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see. 
   “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent.
  “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me. 
  “To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne. 
   “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.3:14-22  



7. The Church in Laodicea (A.D.1884-the end of time)

   Christ had something for which to praise each of the first six churches.  The seventh, the last, church receives nothing but condemnation and a chance to repent.

   In writing about the Philadelphian Church, in the previous post, Dr. McGee* states that the rapture happened in that time period; the second to the last church period in world history.  He continues by saying that the church that would be left on the earth, after the rapture, would be just an organization…and we are finally going to hear it called a great harlot.  As I pointed out in that post, his take on this idea just does not seem supportable, and so we will move on from here.


Nero offered financial aid when an earthquake destroyed Laodicea, but the citizens turned his offer down, saying that they had sufficient financial resources to handle the situation themselves. One of the reasons for this prosperity was their commerce in the fine woolen garments for which their area was renowned. And a famous school of medicine ... kept the citizens supplied with eyesalve. Signs of the Times^^ 

   It is interesting that these things that Nero offered the city of Laodecea are exactly the things Christ referred to in His address to the church. I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see.


The Tepid Church


   In view of what Christ said about this church, here in The Apocalypse, the words of Paul in Col. 2:1 sound prophetic, For I want you to know what a great conflict I have for you and those in Laodicea.  The state of the Laodicean church was a matter of great concern to Paul; according to our study this church represents the last church period in history.  

   As I see it the churches of our era are that church; the fact that we are so lukewarm to Christ should cause each of us much concern.  So much concern, in fact, that we would do something about it.  Christ has no words of praise for this church.  Surely, this must tell us something about the level of spirituality of today’s church.  Hype, banging drums and loud choruses do not constitute spirituality.

   The faithful and true witness sent this message to the church of the 20th and 21st centuries.  It is fitting that the faithful and true witness in 1:5 is speaking to the church that has lost the truth to higher education.  He is speaking to the church that says, I am rich, I have goods and I have knowledge.  He speaks to the church that does not know that it is, bankrupt, miserable, poor, blind and naked.  

   There is little effective prayer in North American churches.  There are no more revivals.  Sunday evening services have succumbed to Sunday evening TV.   The modern day church is blind to the truth and the shamefulness of its immoral teachings is nakedly evident.  

   So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth.  Is the last church in the history of the world going to be vomited out by Christ because it is lukewarm? 

  Divorce and remarriage, condemned in the Bible, are prevalent in modern churches. The whole "gay/lesbian" scene is eagerly accepted in today's churches, because the church does not want to seem prudish.  Church leaders and members in today's churches do not care what the Bible says, they would rather have the approval of society than the approval of the Lord. 

  However, it is not too late! be zealous, shake off you apathetic spirit and repent of your lackadaisical attitude toward spiritual matters.  It is not too late to repent of spiritual carelessness.  The Lord is still waiting. 

  Several years ago I read that in China alone, every time we take a breath another person is born again.  To the bulk of the Chinese people Christianity is new.  They are excited about it.  They come to North America as missionaries.  To the North American people the Bible says But he is waiting, for the good reason that he is not willing that any should perish, and he is giving more time for sinners to repent. 2 Peter 3:9 The Living Bible.

   As many as I love I rebuke and chasten.  Wuest# has translated this verse into these beautiful words, as many as I am fond of, I reprove so as to bring out conviction and confession, and I discipline, correct and guide.

  I am well aware that till now, whenever anyone has predicted the time of Christ's return, they have been wrong.  In spite of that I venture to say that world events are shaping up to the Battle of Armageddon in the Near East, and the Bible does say that, in order to end that battle Christ will return.

To end the introductions



Chapters 2-3 are divided into seven sections.  If each of the seven churches  would receive, only its appropriate introductory letter, it would be easy to see that these words to individual churches are only introductions to the real body of the message, which begins in 4:1.  It has been suggested that The Revelation was written out seven times and that the appropriate introduction was sent with their copy of The Revelation.  

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* Through the Bible with Dr. J Vernon McGee.

^^ Signs of the Times Magaizines: What the Revelation says about. March 1998. David C. James
# An Expanded Translation, K.W. Wuest.




Wednesday, February 13, 2013

To the Church in Philadelphia


And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write, ‘These things says He who is holy, He who is true, “He who has the key of David, He who opens and no one shuts, and shuts and no one opens”: 
“I know your works. See, I have set before you an open door, and no one can shut it; for you have a little strength, have kept My word, and have not denied My name. 
“Indeed I will make those of the synagogue of Satan, who say they are Jews and are not, but lie—indeed I will make them come and worship before your feet, and to know that I have loved you. 
“Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth. 
“Behold, I am coming quickly! Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown. 
“He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he shall go out no more. And I will write on him the name of My God and the name of the city of My God, the New Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God. And I will write on him My new name. 
“He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. 3:7-13


6. The Church in Philadelphia (AD 1750-1884)

   He who has the key of David and the keys of hell and of death in 1:18 sends this message to the church which is facing an open door; a door, which no man could shut.

   Of course, we know that, Philadelphia means, "love of the brethren".  For the Church of that period that was a fitting name.  Christ has only words of praise for this church.  Surely, this represents the church during the missionary age of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.  I have set before you an open door; it was then that The Church had an open door to spread the word into the entire world.  



   Christ says that those who are of the synagogue (church) of Satan, will when they are converted to Christianity, come and worship God before your feet, (at the feet of the missionaries).   They will not worship the missionaries, but down on their knees, they will worship Jehovah.  Then the converts will know that Jesus loves His church. They will know that I have loved you.

   I also will keep you from the hour of trial.  Dr. McGee* writes, The Rapture takes place during the Philadelphian period, and the so-called church which continues on the earth is just an organization. That “so-called church” would be a reference to the Laodicean Church which is also written about in chapter 3.    

A statement like his raises questions: 

   What does Dr. McGee* do with the statements in The Revelation that refer to the church, on earth, after the rapture in chapter three since he believes that The Apocalypse must remain in the order in which we have it?

   What does he do with the story of the birth of the Church as it is found in the first few verses of chapter 12? 

    What does he do with a statement like this; Come out of her, my people, lest you share in her sins, and lest you receive of her plagues. 18:4, if the church was already moved to heaven in chapter 3. 

    What does he do with Paul’s teaching that Christ is coming back at the sound of the seventh trumpet, which in the Apocalypse, is not recorded till the end of chapter eleven? 

   It seems like an implausible interpretation to have the rapture of the church take place even before the last church is named!

   About the words, I also will keep you from the hour of trial, which shall come upon the whole world Dr. McGee* writes, Christ’s final word of encouragement to His church is that it will not pass through the Great Tribulation.  By any stretch of the imagination, you could not say that this church is going through the Great Tribulation period. I believe that the period of the Philadelphian church continues right on through to the rapture of the church. This is the church which will go out at the time of the Rapture.  

   His statement is in direct opposition to Christ’s statement; Immediately after the tribulation of those days…the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. Matthew 24:29,   


   According to Matthew, Christ distinctly said that He is coming after the tribulation – not before!  What Christ is saying to the Philadelphian church, here in the Apocalypse, is that the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world will not arrive until the Laodecian church is on the scene.                


  After the Philadelphian church, has run its course and the lackadaisical Laodecian church, which I believe is the church of our time, has taken its place, the church will pass through the hour of trial, and when that is over Christ will return.  

   For a fuller treatment of this subject see my posts,            http://wwwthinkagai.blogspot.ca/2012/07/return-of-christ.html  AND http://wwwthinkagai.blogspot.ca/2012/07/saint-pauls-view-of-return-of-christ.html

   Behold, I am coming quickly!  For many, many years the church has translated this as, Behold, I am coming soon.  That is not what Christ said.  He said that when He does come, He will come quickly; so quickly that sinners will not have time to repent and cold hearted Christians will not have time to mend their ways.  That is why Christ urged his followers to watch and pray. Mark 13:33

Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown.  If you are asleep you can be easily robbed by those who deny that Christ is not mandatory for our salvation.  Paul said, I have kept the faith, no one has talked me into giving up my crown, and so there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day. 2 Timothy 4:8

      I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God.  Matthew Henry writes: He shall be a monumental pillar in the temple of God; ... a monument of the free and powerful grace of God, a monument that shall never be defaced nor removed, as many stately pillars erected in honour to the Roman emperors and generals have been.

     We sometimes hear someone say, He is a pillar in the church, or, she is a pillar of the organization.  That is the way the word is used here. 

1. On that pillar will be written, "Jehovah".  That is the name of Christ's God.

2. also, written on the pillar will be the name of the city of God, the New Jerusalem, which came down from heaven.

3. On the pillar also will be written his permanent address, the New Jerusalem.



4. I will write on him My new name.    Matthew Henry states that Christ's new name is, the Mediator, the Redeemer, the captain of our salvation. That is His new name since His resurrection.


   Notice that four times, in verse 12, Christ, the Son of Jehovah, speaks of His Father and He calls Him "my God".  This would not be the right term for Christ to use if Christ is also God and an equal with the Father.  The Bible does not allow for the doctrine of the Trinity.

___________________________________________
* Thru the Bible with Dr. J Vernon McGee

Sunday, February 10, 2013

To the Church at Sardis

And to the angel of the church in Sardis write, ‘These things says He who has the seven Spirits of God and the seven stars: “I know your works, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead. 
“Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die, for I have not found your works perfect before God. 
“Remember therefore how you have received and heard; hold fast and repent. Therefore if you will not watch, I will come upon you as a thief, and you will not know what hour I will come upon you. 
“You have a few names even in Sardis who have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with Me in white, for they are worthy. 
“He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life; but I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels. 
“He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. 3:1-6



5. The Church in Sardis (AD 1565-1750)


Smyrna and Philadelphia, the most afflicted, alone receive unmixed praise. Sardis and Laodicea, the most wealthy, receive little besides censure.  Easton

Now there are but very few Christians to be found here, and who have not a place to worship in, nor any to minister to them. Gill

   This message is given by the one who has the seven spirits of God (1:16) to the church that has lost the spirit of life and is dead. 3:1


The Dead Church


   To the church at Sardis, Christ says, you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead.  If we suppose that each of these seven churches represents a certain church age this one surely represents the Roman church just prior to the time of the Reformation. It was a dead church with nothing more than vice and ritual. The lack of morality and the wickedness that some of the popes and bishops were involved in is absolutely staggering.

Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die.  If there is any life left in your church, watch over it, strengthen those who still believe and live Christlike lives.   If you do not they will lose their faith and die.

    I have not found your works perfect, is better understood as, I have not found your works completely finished. The New American Bible

     Think back, Remember how excited you were when you first received and heard the Gospel; hold fast to that and repent of your cold attitude toward Me.  Therefore if you will not watch, if you insist on sleeping, I will come upon you as a thief comes unexpectedly, and you will not know what hour I will come upon you.

It is Not to Late to Repent



   You have a few names even in Sardis who have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with Me in white, for they are worthy.  The "men of God" were forced to leave the old Roman church in order to serve God.  Perhaps we could name a few of those: Ulrich Zwingle, George Blaurock, Martin Luther, Micheal Servetis, Conrad Grebel, Hugh Latimer, John Hooper, William Tyndale.


   But He who repents and wakes from his stupor will overcome and shall be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life.  Even though the church situation looked hopeless, Christ did not give up on her; after all, He died for her and is now interceding for her.   There is hope, the spirit of God moved in the hearts of some men and women and the Church came back to life.   

   I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life.  This statement sounds like a good argument against the doctrine of unconditional eternal security which many modern churches teach but which the early church distinctly did not believe.  The set rule for unconditional eternal security is that one must overcome.  (For a fuller treatment of this subject, from my point of view, go to:  http://wwwthinkagai.blogspot.ca/2012/07/conditional-eternal-security.html

    but I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels.   While Christ was still teaching on earth He also said,  Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven. But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven. Matthew 10:32-33.  In the 16th and 17th century millions were killed by the Calvanist (Huguenots) and by the Catholic (Jesuits) because the Christians did not deny their faith in Christ even though their steadfastness meant death.


He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.  If you have any hearing left at all, listen; listen to the spirit of Jehovah, the spirit is still speaking to the churches.