If you’re new to this series, catch up @
https://polination.wordpress.com/2013/01/03/the-seven-churches-of-revelation-part-thirteen/ (and prev)
I’m back with more gleanings from the opening chapters of Revelation.
I still feel comfortable with what I wrote about the First Fours (see Parts 14 and 15). In Scripture, four is for the created, three is for the Creator, and seven is everything. Based on this, I have been pondering the possibility that, if the first four Letters are about our relationship with earthly powers, the last three are likely to be about our relationship with God.
One thing I’ve noticed is that the urgency about Jesus’ return and Judgment increases as I read through the Letters.
- Ephesus: I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent.
- Smyrna: Remain faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.
- Pergamum: Therefore, repent. Otherwise, I will come to you quickly.
- Thyatira: I have given her time to repent, but she refuses. [Earthly punishments.]
- Sardis: If you are not watchful, I will come like a thief.
- Philadelphia: I am coming quickly.
- Laodicea: Behold, I stand at the door and knock.
The urgency was even more striking when I noticed that Ephesus and Sardis are matchers:
1. Ephesus: The one who holds the seven stars in his right hand says
5. Sardis: “The one who has … the seven stars says
1. Ephesus: I know your works, … that you cannot tolerate the wicked.
5. Sardis: I know your works, that you have the reputation of being alive, but you are dead.
1. Ephesus: You have endurance … and you have not grown weary.
5. Sardis: I have not found your works complete in the sight of my God.
1. Ephesus: You have lost the love you had at first.
5. Sardis: Remember then how you accepted and heard; keep it, and repent.
1. Ephesus: I will come and remove your lampstand.
5. Sardis: I will come like a thief.
Similarly, Pergamum and Philadelphia have remarkable similarities:
3. Pergamum: I know that you live where Satan’s throne is, and yet you hold fast to my name and have not denied your faith in me.
6. Philadelphia: Behold, I will make those of the assembly of Satan … come and fall prostrate at your feet, and they will realize that I love you.
3. Pergamum: You have some people there who hold to false teachings. Repent or I will wage war against them.
6. Philadelphia: Because you have kept my message of endurance, I will keep you safe in the time of trial.
3. Pergamum: To the victor I shall give a white amulet upon which is inscribed a new name, which no one knows except the one who receives it.
6. Philadelphia: I will inscribe on the victor the name of my God and the name of the city of my God as well as my new name.
3. Pergamum: I will come quickly.
6. Philadelphia: I am coming quickly.
Note: This could be, but doesn’t necessarily have to be about the Apocalyptic End Times. Every human not still alive today has already faced his/her personal “end time” and been called before God’s throne.
There’s something else about these warnings that bears mentioning. I’ve come across some who seem quite complacent about their eternal reward, as if belonging to a particular congregation or denomination or having once said certain words and performed certain rituals gave a person a “once for all” ticket to Heaven.
I don’t see Scripture supporting any such assumption.
- In Phillipians 2:12, it says we must each work out our own salvation with fear and trembling.
- And in John 8:31, Jesus says to Jews who believed in him that only IF they remained in His word would they truly be His.
- 2 Peter 2:20 says that if those who have escaped the defilements of the world through the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, again become entangled and overcome by them, then their last condition will be worse than their first.
- In 1 Cor 9:27, Paul says he drives himself hard for fear that, after having preached to others, he himself should be disqualified at the end.
- Paul repeats this warning in the next chapter, verse 12: “Therefore let any one who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall.”
Similarly, in the Letter to Ephesus, Jesus warns if we don’t repent, he might remove our lampstand (the symbol of belonging to Him).
In the letter to Thyatira, He sends horrible suffering in an effort to wake up sinners before it’s too late for them to repent.
In the letter to Sardis, the warning gets even more ominous. Jesus says “I will never erase [the victors] name from the book of life”, which suggests getting erased is possible. He also says He might sneak in like a thief and take our lampstand when we’re not paying attention.
Not paying attention? I’m reminded here of my sil who did not want a dog. Her dh and the kids swore themselves blue that they would love and cherish and honor that dog and that she would never have to do a single thing to care for it. After months of nagging the three of them, but getting stuck with doing everything for the dog anyway, she finally got fed up and gave it away. It was days before the rest of them noticed the dog was gone.
Dunno about you … but I don’t want to find myself facing the Throne of Judgment without the proper credentials lodged securely in my heart!
New American Bible online @ http://www.usccb.org/bible/