Revelation Week 4 (June 26)

Continuing the messages to the churches:

  • Thyatira (2:18-29)
  • Copper mines, bronze producers
  • Opposite of Ephesus – they’re so loving that they’re letting anything go
    • Guild heavy city, the need good relationships with those merchants and workers
      • “Sleeping with the Economy” – becoming so tied up to the things needed for wealth and power that we lose our faith
  • Jezebel – sexual imorality = spiritual adultery, worshipping idols
    • She’s preaching a more lax response to culture
      • “Deep Secrets of Satan” – two options for the meaning
        1. John is calling them that – whatever she claims to know comes from Satan
        2. She’s calling them that – by going into the temples she’s finding out ways to resist/defeat Satan
          • Either way, she’s leading people in the wrong direction
      • “Dead Children” – Jezebel’s children all died (the line of Ahab was wiped out)
        • Bigger lesson – she’s preaching that they can compromise their holiness and principles and be alright. She’s wrong. “Sleeping with the Economy” will lead to death because their children will see what is most important and will make the choice of what to value when faith and wealth are up against each other.
  • Verse 26 and Following – its faithfulness that will lead to reward, not some kind of secret teaching. The iron scepter will smash bronze

Chapter 3

  • Sardis (3:1-6)
    • Seems alive but isn’t
    • Haven’t fulfilled their calling as the people of God – isn’t clear what they’ve failed to do
      • When the day of judgment comes half measures won’t be enough
        • The city had never fallen to a direct siege. It was only conquered twice and that was because the defenders weren’t paying attention and let someone sneak in. The son of man comes like a thief in the night, will they be taken by surprise again or be ready for his coming?

  • Philadelphia (3:7-13)
    • Like Smyrna they receive no criticism
      • Philadelphia is described as weak, Smyrna as poor
        • The weak and poor seem have an easier time being faithful in the face of persecution than the rich and powerful – Why? Perhaps because they don’t need the Empire as much
    • Also like Smyrna – they’re facing issues caused by Jewish rejection and are told to persevere through it
    • God will write a new name – contrast to the mark the beast will put on them – this one is permanent

  • Laodicea (3:14-21)
    • Rich city – center of banking, textiles, and medicine (more to come)
      • Only real issue – they didn’t have a natural water source, water came from the hot springs of Hephestia or the cold streams of Collossae
        • By the time water got to Laodicea it was lukewarm at best, not worth drinking, the kind of thing you’d spit out if you weren’t used to it
      • Back to their wealth – suffered a damage from an earthquake in 60 AD and refused any aid from Rome
        • Proud of their self-sufficiency, they don’t need anything, not even Christ
          • In reality they’re naked and blind – the city was known for cloth and an ancient eye doctor. The message to them is that their self-reliance will fail them.
            • If we don’t start trusting God when things are easy we won’t be able to do it when things get hart
    • Standing at the door – Roman soldiers could bust down your door and take your stuff. The son of man won’t do that, he’ll wait on you to answer. And he’ll give you something, not take it away

Overarching message to all the churches – whether things are good or bad right now they’re about to get worse. If you aren’t ready for it you won’t survive. Build up your faith during good times, that way you’ll be able to turn to it in the difficult times.


Chapter 4

  • John see’s the heavenly throne room
  • Surrounding the throne – 24 smaller thrones
    • Twelve tribes of Israel, twelve disciples
  • Sea of glass – from heaven the view is always crystal clear, there’s nothing God can’t see
    • To get to heaven you go through the sea (ancient idea of waters above and below). Haven’t we heard stories of God clearing a path through the water for his people
  • 4 living creatures – seen in Ezekiel’s vision of the throne room as well
    • In Jewish understanding – 4 mighty beasts of earth hold up the throne of God
    • Early Christians – relate them to the 4 gospel writers
    • Eyes all over – they’re always looking down to earth and they see everything. And no matter what they see down here their only reaction is to give glory to God
      • From that vantage point, no matter how bad things are down here, all the can say is how amazing God’s creation is.
  • Verse 11 – Domitian had a choir who followed him around proclaiming a very similar hymn
    • Once again we’re seeing comparison of the emperor, who claims divine status, and God and being called on to decide where our loyalties lie
    • What is the best way for the forces of evil to tempt us? By claiming to be good. How do beasts/anti-christ tempt people? By being a knock off version of God

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