Revelation; The seven churches (have been promised)

page: 1
7
<<   2  3  4 >>

log in

join

posted on Sep, 12 2010 @ 04:36 PM
link   
I want to offer some thoughts on Revelation chs 2&3.

I looked at them before, when I was considering how the churches were being warned about the dangers facing them;
The seven churches (have been warned-pt1)
The seven churches (have been warned- pt2)

But now I'm going to be asking the question. what are the promises that are being given to the churches?

These letters are being sent to the churches in the name of the Christ who showed himself to John in the first chapter. Each time he introduces himself by referring to one of the details in the earlier vision (but I don't think there's much to be gained from trying to match the details to the individual churches).

Then he addresses each church according to their circumstances. Presumably they would have been relevant in the first instance to the named churches of John's own time, who should have been able to recognise themselves in the descriptions and apply the advice accordingly.
Some people try to understand the different letters in terms of the various stages in the history of the church- not easy, since they seem to have similar backgrounds, at any rate.
Ministers with oversight of congregations like to use them to preach on the theme "Which one do we most resemble?"- a series of seven sermons, inevitably finishing with the conveniently ambiguous verdict of Laodicea.

But Revelation is a book written for the benefit of a church under persecution. So these letters can be applied most usefully by a church in similar circumstances, facing a general persecution combined with the temptations of other religions. Different parts of the church would be responding to the troubles with different degrees of success, It would then be possible for them to look into the letters and apply to themselves whatever words of rebuke or encouragement would be most appropriate for the way they were dealing with the crisis.

But each of these letters concludes with a promise given by Christ to those who are able to "conquer" the difficulties, and those promises are going to be my main concern.

Ephesus

"to him I will give to eat of the tree of Life"

The theme of the tree of Life is familiar from Genesis.
The two threes in the Garden, the "tree of the Knowledge of good and evil" and the "tree of Life".
Adam and Eve were forbidden to eat from the tree of Knowledge.
But they were not forbidden to eat from the tree of Life.
The obvious implication is that they did eat from the tree of Life (what would have stopped them?).
Then, when they fell into sin, God removed them from the Garden with the express purpose that they should not [continue to] eat its fruit.
(This is not the usual understanding of the "tree of Life", but the usual understanding creates logical tangles which this one avoids)
So they were denied access to Life and became subject to death- they were demoted, as it were, from "Life" to "life".

So the promise of the fruit of the tree (which is fulfilled in ch22) is an offer to restore what was lost to them by sin.

So the promise given to the church in Ephesus is the promise of Life.

Smyrna

"he shall not be hurt by the second death"

This promise, like several of the others, can best be understood after reading Revelation through to the end (one wonders if these chapters were the last portion of the book to be written).

The explanation is given in ch20 that the "second death" is experienced by those whose names are not written in the "Book of Life". That is to say, they don't qualify to enjoy the new Jerusalem, Life in the presence of God, described in the following chapters. So clearly not being hurt by "the second death" means becoming part of the new city.

So the promise given to the church in Smyrna is the promise of Life.

Pergamum

"to him I will give to eat of the hidden manna"
"I will give him a white stone, with a new name written on the stone"

The original manna was the food God gave to the Israelites in the wilderness.
But this manna, as Jesus pointed out, was not "the true bread from heaven".
"Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness and they died... I am the living bread which comes down from heaven; if anyone eats of this bread, he will live for ever."- John ch6 49-51
The "hidden" (or spiritual) manna is clearly meant to indicate that same "bread from heaven".
So this is another version of the promise of the tree of Life, relating it to the Life which comes direct from Christ.

The "white stone" has been interpreted in a number of ways. I think the interpretation which best fits the developing theme of these promises is that it signifies the absence of guilt.
One explanation sometimes offered is that a white stone was used in trials to indicate a "not guilty verdict".
Alternatively- and not for the first time in Revelation- there may be a reference to Zechariah's vision about the High Priest Joshua;
"Upon the stone which I have set before Joshua...I will engrave its inscription, says the Lord of hosts, and I will remove the guilt of this land in a single day"- Zechariah ch3 v9
Whatever that white stone represents (commentators disagree), the significance is clearly the removal of guilt.

The "new name" is also about freedom from sin.
Having a "new name" means having a new identity, a new kind of character. More than once, in the prophets, God tells his people that he will give them a new name after the relationship has been healed. He has known them as "Not-pitied" or "Not-my-people" (Hosea ch1 vv8-9), and he has known them as "Forsaken" or "Desolate" (Isaiah ch62 v4), but he promises to give them different names. The new names he offers, like "Hephzibah" ("my delight-is-in-her") and "Beulah" ("married") are the symbol of forgiveness and reconciliation.
The new, spiritual, name mentioned here would have the same significance.

So the white stone with the new name indicates freedom from sin.
But sin was the obstacle which prevented access to the tree of Life.

So the combined promises made to the church in Pergamum add up to the promise of Life.

Thyatira

"I will give him power over the nations; and he shall rule them with a rod of iron...
I will give him the morning star"

These things are part of the description of the glory that belongs to Christ himself.
The Lord says to "my son" in the Psalms;
"You shall break them with a rod of iron,
and dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel"- psalm 2 v9
And this is quoted as the destiny of the "male child" born in Revelation ch12 v5.
While "the morning star" is a title which Christ claims for himself in ch22 v16.
So receiving these things means being closely identified with Christ.
It means belonging to Christ, being part of him- even "ruling" together with him.
And the consequence of belonging to Christ is freedom from sin;
"There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ"- Romans ch8 v1

So belonging to Christ implies freedom from sin
And freedom from sin implies renewed access to the tree of Life.

So the promise given to the church in Thyatira is the promise of Life.

Sardis

"shall be clad in white garments"
"I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life"
"I will confess his name before my Father"

These are alternative ways of describing the promises we've already seen.

When Jesus is "confessing" his followers before his father, that means he is claiming them as his own.
"So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my father who is in heaven"- Matthew ch10 v32
But belonging to Christ, as Paul showed us, is the precondition for freedom from sin.

Being clad in white garments, like having a new name, is the symbol of that new freedom from sin.
Just as the filthy garments were taken away from the High Priet Joshua, in the Zechariah vision already mentioned, and replaced by clean ones.
And similarly white robes are given to the saints in heaven in the later chapters of Revelation.
But freedom from sin, as we've already observed, is the precondition for access to Life.

Finally, we know from the previous reference to ch20 that not being blotted out of the Book of Life is the same thing as not suffering the "second death". It means entering a new Life in the new Jerusalem.

So the promises being given to the church in Sardis add up to the promise of Life.

Philadelphia

"I will make him a pillar in the Temple"
"I will write on him the name of God and the name of the city of my God...and my own new name"

The meaning of "pillar" is fully explained by the following phrase- "never shall he go out of it". A pillar is a permanent fixture. This is someone who will never leave the presence of God.

To have the "name" of someone is to be closely identified with them, to belong to them.
So to have the name of God means to belong to God.
The "city of God" is the new Jerusalem described at the end of Revelation, representing God's people and the place where they dwell.
So to have the name of that city means to belong to God's people.
And to have the name of Christ means to belong to Christ.

All these things belong together, follow on from one another.
He remains in the presence of God because he belongs to God.
He belongs to God because he belongs to God's people.
And he belongs to God's people because he belongs to Christ.
That is the key to his permanent presence in the Temple.

So the promise given to the church in Philadelphia is the promise of Life.

Laodicea

"I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as I myself conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne"

In other words, Christ carries him into the presence of the Father, so that he might live (and reign) in the company of both of them.
This is the summary and completion of everything said in the previous promises.
And, of course, the implication is eternal Life in the presence of God.

So the promise given to the church in Laodicea is the promise of Life.


And this promise of Life is the promise that is fulfilled in the final chapters of Revelation.
















edit on 12-9-2010 by DISRAELI because: (no reason given)




posted on Sep, 12 2010 @ 04:40 PM
link   
reply to post by DISRAELI
 


You had better read the greeting to those letters again. Those letters were written to the ANGELS of the churches. A warning was being given to the messenger angel of each church because they have misbehaved and caus the churches they guide to follow false doctrine and commit fornication with false religion.



posted on Sep, 12 2010 @ 04:45 PM
link   
reply to post by jennybee35
 

I know about the warnings relating to false doctrine etc. I did a whole thread on that subject.
I've simply taken the view, which I think is fairly standard, that the "angels" are receiving the letters on behalf of the churches they represent.
The "promises" are given to "those who conquer"- that's the main point. surely? That's the topic of the discussion.



posted on Sep, 12 2010 @ 05:06 PM
link   
reply to post by DISRAELI
 


Fairly standard is the problem. So many of the things that we are taught to believe about Revelation are wrong. Those messages to those angels were a specific warning to those angels. They have lost sight of their first job, which is to guide the churches. Instead, they have been swayed by worldly things and let evil creep in amongst their congregations. Reread those letters, letting the Spirit guide you. You might be surprised.



posted on Sep, 12 2010 @ 05:20 PM
link   
reply to post by jennybee35
 

The letters are actually addressing groups of people as though they were one person.
This is a classic Old Testament usage, and I'm willing to look up some examples in a moment.
The fact that they are being addressed as groups becomes more clear when the writer slips into phrases like "some of you will be put into prison"- ch2 v10
or "Antipas was slain amongst you" (ie "you" in the plural") in ch2 v13
"You people will be put into prison" addressing an angel?
No, "you people will be put into prison" addressing a group of people.

Sometimes we need to take off the literalistic blinkers and understand when God is speaking symbolically.






edit on 12-9-2010 by DISRAELI because: (no reason given)



posted on Sep, 12 2010 @ 05:28 PM
link   
a long overdue topic that rarely gets attention is the analogy between the 7 churches and the 7 chakras of the endocrine glands nerve ganglions.

the emotional centers which rule the psyche.

there is much deeper levels here in discovering the real mysteries of the churches.
some of which you've brought to bear through the parallels you've drawn...



posted on Sep, 12 2010 @ 05:29 PM
link   
reply to post by DISRAELI
 


Yeah, of course parts of the letters were a warning for the church itself. The main message was for those angels. I have already heard all the old standard explanations for these. I had to learn to listen to Father to get the truth. You don't have to go to the trouble of posting old testament reference, it's not necessary.



posted on Sep, 12 2010 @ 05:32 PM
link   
reply to post by prevenge
 

Thank you for that suggestion, but I wouldn't be interested in any interpretation involving the chakras.
The reason is that my approach is Biblical (this being a Biblical book), and the teaching about the chakras belongs to a completely different religion.



posted on Sep, 12 2010 @ 05:42 PM
link   

Originally posted by jennybee35
Yeah, of course parts of the letters were a warning for the church itself. The main message was for those angels.

Thre's no indication that the message is being switched from one addressee to another, and I don't think it is being switched.
Let me use an analogy, if you don't want Old Testament examples (I was going to draw your attention to the number of times God addresses his people as "Jacob").
Instead, let's take "Uncle Sam". I think everybody who hears that expression knows that "Uncle Sam" is not a real individual person. If somebody in a foreign country publishes an open letter to "Uncle Sam", eveybody would understand that he was writing to the American people as a whole, addressing them as though they were one person. That's exactly what's happening here. It's part of the way God talks, when he speaks through the prophets.




edit on 12-9-2010 by DISRAELI because: (no reason given)



posted on Sep, 12 2010 @ 05:46 PM
link   
reply to post by DISRAELI
 


Let me ask, who, or what do you believe the churches are? You have probably stated this somewhere before, but I am gonna ask you now.



posted on Sep, 12 2010 @ 06:01 PM
link   
reply to post by jennybee35
 

My approach to Revelation is based on the belief that the book is addressed to the church of John's own time in the first instance, and then to the church of a later time suffering a similar persecution (ie under the Beast).

On that basis, the letters in chs 2&3 are addressed in the first instance to the literal churches named, who were experiencing these things at the time that John was writing. So I would assume that what John says about the church of Ephesus was true about the literal church of Ephesus in whatever date it was, and so on.

Then I suggested, in about the second large paragraph of the OP, that the church suffering under the Beast would be able to look into these letters, recognise its own condition in what was being described, and apply the comments accordingly. Thus many thousands of Christian groups could take encouragement from the words to Pergamum, and many others could be humble enough to recognise themselves in Laodicea, and so on.

So I think the churches in these letters are the real churches of John's time, whose experiences might be models for the experience of the Tribulation.



posted on Sep, 12 2010 @ 06:31 PM
link   
reply to post by DISRAELI
 


Thanks for stating your position.



posted on Sep, 12 2010 @ 06:45 PM
link   
reply to post by jennybee35
 

You're welcome.
Since this thread is about the promises made to "those who conquer", perhaps I should add, hastily, that I wasn't intending to limit those promises to the members of the persecuted church.
Obviously the promise of Life belongs to the Christian church at large.



posted on Sep, 12 2010 @ 11:01 PM
link   
reply to post by DISRAELI
 





These letters are being sent to the churches in the name of the Christ who showed himself to John in the first chapter. Each time he introduces himself by referring to one of the details in the earlier vision (but I don't think there's much to be gained from trying to match the details to the individual churches).


Actually I think the way he addresses himself is very important. That specific church is going to share a particular suffering with Christ and that is why he addresses himself a certain way.

For instance the church of smyrna, who will be thrown in jail 10 days. They must be faithful unto the death. He reminds them that he suffered the same and overcame, and he reminds himself in the way he addresses himself. In that way, he reminds them of their promise of life.

to smyrna, These things saith the first and the last, which was dead, and is alive;

The churches are bodies and Jesus Christ is ultimately the head of all seven churches. But the angels are like the level of consciousness of a church. The mind that controls the body. It's hard to say who the angels are exactly but I am certain Michael is the angel of the 6th church.

I also believe these angels and their messages correlate to the 7 trumpets. The trumpets describe in particular what type of fallen message that church needs to overcome. Should they remain in that particular mindset of that church, they need to overcome the trumpet plague assigned to that church.

1st church ephesus, left their first love
rev 8: 7The first angel sounded, and there followed hail and fire mingled with blood, and they were cast upon the earth:

2nd church, smyrna, true jews that live in poverty and tribulation (they had life)
rev 8:8And the second angel sounded, and as it were a great mountain burning with fire was cast into the sea: and the third part of the sea became blood;
9And the third part of the creatures which were in the sea, and had life, died


the 3rd church, pergamos, where satans seat is
Rev 8:10And the third angel sounded, and there fell a great star from heaven, burning as it were a lamp, and it fell upon the third part of the rivers, and upon the fountains of waters;
11And the name of the star is called Wormwood: and the third part of the waters became wormwood; and many men died of the waters, because they were made bitter

4th church, sufferest that woman Jezebel
fourth angel sounded, and the third part of the sun was 'smitten' and the light shone not for the third part

the 5th church, sardis, has a name that they live but are dead
And the fifth angel sounded, and I saw a star fall from heaven unto the earth: and to him was given the key of the bottomless pit


6th church philadelphia, little strength, open door, kept from the hour of temptation
sixth angel looses the four angels in euphrates river and the army of 200 000 000

7th church laodicea, lukewarm spit out
7th angel, the kingdom of the world becomes the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ



posted on Sep, 13 2010 @ 01:58 AM
link   

Originally posted by DISRAELI
reply to post by prevenge
 

Thank you for that suggestion, but I wouldn't be interested in any interpretation involving the chakras.
The reason is that my approach is Biblical (this being a Biblical book), and the teaching about the chakras belongs to a completely different religion.




Well could you then invert that proposition and try to look at the 7 Hindu, Buddhist and Taoist Chakras as the same as the 7 churches?

I think it's unfortunate when someone with an obviously bright mind becomes entirely literalistic when it comes to Theology.
Most the entire bible is written as allegory and parable. I don't understand why it's so difficult for some people to absorb all the richness the exists in Gnosis, and apply it directly to the Bible. I guess when you spend your whole life looking at something in a certain light and fear punishment for looking at it in any other perspective, you begin to become trapped in a certain mindset.

In Gnosticism, it is viewed that many of the Bible's passages refer not to geographic areas.. but metaphorical locations in the human body, and their counterpart aggregates in the psyche....
"The Kingdom of God is Within" ... there's where you can be literal.. "within" .. inside your body is the kingdom.. with all the features of a kingdom represented in the body.
ie: the two witnesses being the kidneys,
the river in new jerusalem being the spinal column flowing with cerebro spinal fluid...
the tree in new jerusalem being a new nervous system developed to percieve god directly..

it's a world of wonder and beauty.. envisioning the intended data that lies within the mysteries I'm sharing..

IMO your efforts are complex, yet fruitless... since there is no real practical application for the wisdom when we charter who did what in history or what stone and brick church was where at what time...
doesn't really matter now does it?
only thing that matters is the here and now..
and what is here and now?
your psyche.. and the temple it inhabits... which is your physical body.... solomon's temple... in which at the holiest of holies (your skull) .. is held the Ark of the Covanent... when this is unlocked and activated via the pineal gland... through '___' (found in all acacia trees which the ark's rods are made of.. through '___' we experience the spirit realm...
when the ark is activated.. the human changes into a divine being and experiences god and man in one.

these mysteries of revelation are going over your head..

BUT.. in due time.. will become too much for you to reject.. as it will manifest in all it's glory.

could you maybe try to read this thread here? specifically this post...
and maybe your understanding will broaden...
because all men are in the same bodies.. all men share reality.. all men and all religions are all the same at the very root of their meaning.. which is how to live virtuously in human bodies.. and how to ascend to a divine level of experience and divine body...
link
www.abovetopsecret.com...





edit on 9/13/2010 by prevenge because: added link



posted on Sep, 13 2010 @ 07:36 AM
link   
I could see how Hinduism and Buddhism is the church of Pergamos and Thyatira respectively. Christianity being the church of Philadelphia and Gnostics being the church of Laodicea.

The emphasis is entirely on the works of the church and so it's not possible to label the church to any one religion completely. There are sects of Christianity that could also belong to any one of the seven churches but even Satanism could belong to Sardis or Laodicea.

Clearly the name of your religion is not important, what you believe and the works you put forth are.



posted on Sep, 13 2010 @ 07:46 AM
link   

Originally posted by iamnot
reply to post by DISRAELI
 

Actually I think the way he addresses himself is very important. That specific church is going to share a particular suffering with Christ and that is why he addresses himself a certain way.

For instance the church of smyrna, who will be thrown in jail 10 days. They must be faithful unto the death. He reminds them that he suffered the same and overcame, and he reminds himself in the way he addresses himself. In that way, he reminds them of their promise of life.

My main reason for not looking into these connections was that it was always the intention to make the "promises" the main theme.
But also because I couldn't actually see any convincing ones.
Think of it as a blind spot.

Perhaps you would like to fill in the gap and extend the connections beyond Smyrna.



posted on Sep, 13 2010 @ 07:50 AM
link   

Originally posted by iamnot
I could see how Hinduism and Buddhism is the church of Pergamos and Thyatira respectively. Christianity being the church of Philadelphia and Gnostics being the church of Laodicea.

This being a Christian book, and specifically addressed to the Christian community, surely all the churches being mentioned must be part of the Christian church, one way or another. Some are faithful, some are less faithful and need to be prompted.



posted on Sep, 13 2010 @ 07:56 AM
link   
The letters are representative of the 7 "ages" of the church.. It is commonly believed that this is the seventh church age. The Laodician age where the church says they are rich and need of nothing but are indeed naked.. Luke warm to the point of being vomitted out... This can be seen in a great number of churches today that have grown fat, push false prosperity doctrine and matirialism, false prohecies and the weekly feel good sermon that tickles the ears and keeps those offerings comming in.. Luke warm indeed.. In that letter to the Laodician age God addresses the individual rather than the whole as He says that "I stand at the door and knock, he (the individual) who opens I will come in" thus is not addressed to unbelievers but to the individual believer.. The church then in this time is given over to the tribulation as a means to refine them ; "buy from Me gold refined in the fire" therefore stating that through the tribulation the church will be made white by suffering..

Daniel puts it another way "many of those of UNDERSTANDING will FALL, to REFINE THEM, be made white, for the end is for an appointed time"..

I cant post the links as i am on my android phone.



posted on Sep, 13 2010 @ 12:13 PM
link   

Originally posted by prevenge
Well could you then invert that proposition and try to look at the 7 Hindu, Buddhist and Taoist Chakras as the same as the 7 churches?

This would be an appropriate task for someone with Hindu, Buddhist, or Taoist beliefs


I think it's unfortunate when someone with an obviously bright mind becomes entirely literalistic when it comes to Theology.

Entirely literalistic? Didn't you notice another contributor on this thread objecting to my non-literal understanding of the "angels of the churches"? Or if you go to my thread on the "Two Witnesses", you'll be able to see somebody else chastising me for not understanding them as two literal individuals.
But I do take literally the statement that the Biblical God is a Creator God, who has instructed his followers (in the first commandment) not to worship other gods or follow other religions.

It's richly ironic that you should invite me to visit one of that gentleman's posts. Are you aware that he and I are old acquaintances? I can direct you to another post in which he gives his frank asessment of me;
Very, very, very, very, clever. Has no knowledge.
I do love that grudging endorsement, I might put some of it into my signature.
You see, you're not the first ATS Gnostic to take issue with my approach, and you won't be the last.
The Biblical God and the Gnostic God are two very different kinds of God belonging to two very different, and incompatible, kinds of religion, so the clash is inevitable.

Finally, I take issue with the suggestion that this work has no practical application.
The promise of eternal Life, which is the theme of this thread, is a very practical issue.
The war with "evil", in general, is a practical issue.
And the most practical advice for a Christian involved in this war is contained in the title of this thread;
Revelation; Fear Not











edit on 13-9-2010 by DISRAELI because: (no reason given)





top topics
 
7
<<   2  3  4 >>

log in

join