Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Prophetic Times To The End - Rev 2:19-29


Revelation 2-part 3

Rev. 2:19 Our Lord expresses even though much was wrong in the church at Thyatira, there was much good also. Love led the list of virtues. Where love was waning in Ephesus, it was gaining in Thyatira. Their “service” (diakonian- meaning ministry). Their love in action toward those in need. Their “faith” (pistos-faithfulness, fidelity, loyalty). The saints were dependable, and reliable. Their “patience” (hupomone-to abide). We are to be able to abide in Christ under tribulation (endurance of suffering) [Ref. Rom. 12:12] for it is through trials that patience grows [Ref. James 1:3] and this is acceptable with God [Ref. 1Pet. 2:20]. Moreover, patience perfects Christian character [Ref. James1:4], so let us run the race with patience [Ref. Heb. 12:1]. Their “works” (ergon -meaning to work, to toil, and act; of deeds, and doing). Our Lord mentions twice the “works” of Thyatira a highly commendable quality of continued growth and development. Their last works were more than the first. We are to be known for our continued progress and increased usefulness, to be advancing steadily in our Christian course.

Rev. 2:20-23 Our Lords major condemnation concerned that woman Jezebel, who claimed to be a prophetess and taught believers to take part in the sexual immorality that accompanied pagan religion and to eat food sacrificed to idols. What was acceptable to that local society was abhorred by our Lord. Christ told us that the church at Ephesus would not tolerate evil but was waning in love. Thyatira was gaining in love but tolerated evil. These two extremes are with us today. They have never departed from the churches. Rome professes to teach with authority. She claims to be the only church that cannot error in matters pertaining to faith and morals. The average Roman Catholic knows next to nothing about the meaning of scripture. Taught to “hear mother church” Rome and ignorance, Rome and superstition, as history abundantly testifies, go together. Rome never does change, and will meet with divine judgment when the sovereign Head of the church returns at the Second Advent. Christ promised sudden and immediate judgment, called Rome’s sin adultery and promised that all who followed after Rome’s teaching would suffer intensely. Christ say’s I will strike her children dead, meaning that suffering would extend also to her followers. Only Christ knows as He is the only one who searches hearts and minds.

Rev. 2:24-25 Our Lord extends the words of encouragement to the godly remnant that existed in the church at Thyatira, implying that the rest of the church was apostate. Christ tells us we are not to hold to teachings of Rome. Therefore, we have not succumbed to Satan’s lies and distractions. Christ has one simple instruction “hold on to what you have until I come.” We have the true word of God to carry us through to the end.

Rev. 2:26-27 Our Lord promises overcomers (believers) who are faithful to keep His deeds that they will join Him in His millennial rule [Ref. Psa. 2:8-9; 2Tim. 2:12; Rev. 20:4-6]. “Rule” (poimanei” means to “Shepard,”) Indicating that they will not simply be administering justice but will also, like a shepherd using his rod, be dealing with his sheep and protecting them as well. Believers will have authority just as Christ does [Ref. 1 Cor.6:1-2; 2 Tim. 2:12; Rev. 3:21; 20:3, 6]. Christ received this authority from His Father [Ref. John 5:22].

Rev. 2:28-29 Our Lord promises that, the faithful believers will receive the morning star, which appears just before dawn. Scripture tells us that Christ is the “Bright and Morning Star” [Rev. Rev. 22:16]. Christ’s coming for His Bride at the Rapture, is the hope of the church. “Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ [Ref. Tit. 2:13]. Our Lord closes with the familiar exhortation to hear what the Spirit says to the churches. We should note that this exhortation follows rather than precedes the promise to overcomers. We will see this in the next three letters as well. The Children of Jezebel (Rome) will not hear, but the true children of the Lord Jesus will hear, for the Holy Spirit opens the “blood-tipped ear.”

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Prophetic Times To The End - Rev 2:11-19


Revelation 2-part 2

Rev. 2:11 our Lord and Savior gives another promise to His own, (believers) to those who will listen. The promise to overcomers (believers), assuring them that they will not be hurt by the second death [Ref. Rev. 20:15]. The reassuring word of Christ to Smyrna is an assuring word to all suffering and persecuted Christians. “No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.” [Ref. Heb. 12:11].

Rev. 2:12 Our Lord and Savior addresses Pergamum as “The One who has the sharp two-edge sword.” The Sword is a symbolic representation of the Word of God’s twofold ability to separate believers from the world and to condemn the world for its sin. It is the sword of salvation as well as the sword of death and when Christ returns at the Second Advent to earth He will use the sword to smite the nations and to deal with all the false teachers of Christendom.
Pergamum like Ephesus and Smyrna was a wealthy city, but it was wicked. People in its pagan cults worshiped Athena, Asclepius, Dionysus and Zeus. Aesculapius was the god of medicine, who was worshiped under the form of a serpent (as used by the present medical profession).

Rev. 2:13 Our Lord and Savior tells us that He knows all about us. He praises those, who are dwelling in the shadow of Satan’s throne, for their faithfulness to His name. We are not to mingle with Satan’s crowd, we are to maintain a love for, and loyalty to, Christ’s name, and He will reward us for our stand [Ref. Mt. 19:29]. Antipas means ‘against all” was martyred as the faithful one for Christ among them. We do not have a record of the incident, just our Lords recognition as to Antipas being the faithful one, who was killed where Satan dwells.

Rev. 2:14 the Lord says the church is guilty of compromise by letting in false teaching (Balaam) (Balaam had been guilty of counseling King Balak to cause Israel to sin through intermarriage with heathen women and through idol-worship) [Ref. Num.22-25; 31:15-16], in the church. It is ever and always sinful to countenance evil among an assembly of believers. The guilty one must repent and forsake his evil way, and if there is no repentance, those who have oversight (authority) can take no other course than to expel the wrong. Pergamum failed to censure those who were guilty; they tolerated them when they should have tried them for the Lord’s name [Ref. 1Cor. 5:1-8]. Satan has a foothold in Christendom. His emissaries are working at the top level of the ecumenical church involved with the world council.

Rev. 2:15 The story of the church’s alliance with the world and her subsequent failure, is a matter of recorded history, The state church has become Satan’s head quarters, where his throne is; our Lord warned us, and now it is here to stay. Nicolaitanism is fully accepted. That which was mere “deeds” in Ephesus, became “doctrine” in Pergamum, and today is “dogma” meaning settled opinion. The first seeds of the Roman Catholic Church were sown as far back as the fourth century. Today the world is ready to accept the Roman Pope and be subject to him. The Roman Catholic Church claims to be of divine origin, but its “deeds” and “doctrines” are hated by our Lord. [Ref. Rev. 2:6]

Rev. 2:16 Our Lord sharply rebukes the church with the abrupt command repent therefore! Christ is warning the church He will fight with the sword of His mouth, His word. He promised that the judgment would come “soon.” “tachys” means suddenly. Christ would contend with them judging sharply all compromise and sin. Our Lord calls upon His own to accept His principle of separation, and they are refusing to compromise, with either moral evil or religious error.

Rev. 2:17 Our Lord gives us another promise addressed to believers who are willing to hear. Overcomers are promised hidden manna, which, refers to Christ our Lord as the bread of heaven, the unseen source of the believer’s nourishment and strength. Whereas Israel received physical food, manna, the church receives spiritual food [Ref. John 6:48-51]. Overcomers are promised a “White Stone” with a new name written on it, an inscription which gives the believer “a new name” this indicates acceptance by God and our title to glory with Christ. As a believer priest we receive a white stone of our own in contrast to the twelve stones the high priest of Israel wore on his breastplate with the names of the 12 tribes of Israel inscribed on them as he represented the nation, and was the only one (High Priest) allowed into the Holy of Holies one day a year. We the believer priest have complete access to God the Father in heaven all day everyday without fail as we the believer died on the cross with Christ once for all [Ref. Heb. 9:11-15].

Rev. 2:18 Our Lord addresses the church at Thyatira as “The Son of God, whose eyes are like blazing fire and whose feet are like burnished bronze.” Our Lord is expressing to us His affirmation of His deity, and then demonstrates His righteous indignation at their sins, with His piercing judgment of sin [Ref. Rev. 1:14] with the eyes like blazing fire, a penetrating discernment that searches the innermost depths of the church. The words “burnished bronze” “chalkolibano” a Greek word meaning judgment and our Lord will execute judgments infallibly. Thyatira is the church in respect to time runs from A.D. 600 to A.D. 1500 a period known as “The Dark Ages” when the papacy wielded her power malevolently, and our Lord declares Himself here to be “The Son of God.” We must see that our Lord is rebuking the church that degrades Him and keeps Him the Son of a human mother, while exalting her above Him as “the mother of God’ and “the queen of heaven.” Our Lord expresses that the church is dealing with Deity, with the divine Son of God Himself. Romanism (Papacy) teaches those under its power that they must pray to Mary in order to get through to God. This fallacy is nowhere hinted at in the Holy Scriptures. Our Lord taught that the Father was to be approached in the Son’s name [Ref. John 14:13-14; 16:23-24]. In Pergamum the church was holding fast our Lord’s name. In Thyatira conditions of the church allowed Rome’s efforts to lower the dignity of His name.

Rev. 2:19 Our Lord expresses even though much was wrong in the church at Thyatira, there was much good. Love led the list of virtues. Where love was waning in Ephesus, it was gaining in Thyatira. Their “service” diakonian” “meaning ministry” their love in action toward those in need. Their “faith” “pistos” faithfulness, fidelity, loyalty. The saints were dependable, reliable. Their “patience” “hupomone” “to abide”. We are to be able to abide in Christ under tribulation (endurance of suffering in our lives) [Ref. Rom.12:12], for it is through trial that patience grows [Ref. James 1:3] and this is acceptable with God [Ref. 1Pet. 2:20]. Moreover, patience perfects Christian character [Ref. James 1:4], so let us run the race with patience [Ref. Heb. 12:1]. Their “works” “ergon” meaning to work, toil, an act, deeds, doing. Our Lord mentions twice the “works” of Thyatira a highly commendable quality of continued growth and development, their last works were more than the first. We are to be known for our continued progress and increased usefulness, to be advancing steadily in our Christian course.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Prophetic Times To The End - Rev 2:1-10

Revelations 2 part 1

Rev. 2: 1 In each of the seven letters Christ is described differently, to Ephesus He is set forth as: “He that holdeth the seven stars in His right hand who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks.” The name Ephesus means desirable end. This was indeed the desirable church. The “Stars” which are the messengers, are held in His right hand, the place of power and authority, and the only place where His servants can be sustained and strengthened. Christ walks in the midst of His church as the head of the church, and men take their instructions from Him [Ref. Eph. 1:22-23]. Christ’s true believers are safe in His hand and are led by Him. [Ref. John 10:27:30]. The “Stars” are His light-bearers (pastors); He holds them. They derive their light and power from Him. In every assembly of believers where Christ is honored, as its Head, He walks among His own and takes a watchful interest in them. The assembly does not need to be a large number to have the blessings of the Divine Overseer, for He will honor two or Three who honor Him [Ref. Mt. 18:20]. Men may admire the fanciful buildings, but Christ is concerned with the “living stones.” [Ref. 1Pet. 2:5]

Rev. 2:2-3 having all-seeing and discerning eyes, He knows and is therefore qualified to approve or disapprove. He approved Ephesus for their sacrificial service, their works and labor. The Greek word for “labor” “kopos” toil, and means diligent labor even unto weariness and exhaustion. We see here the Lord is receiving great joy for the veritable beehive of the Holy Spirit directed activity at Ephesus. Ephesus weathered the storms against Judaism, legalism, paganism; their church life did not consist of the folding of hands and a listlessness of sitting through a sermon. This was a working church which pushed forward with anguish of soul for the salvation of lost men and women.
Ephesus saw to it that sinful and corrupt men did not hold office in the assembly. Christ approved them for their spiritual discernment. They knew what they believed and why they believed it and they were loyal to the truth. Being grounded in the truth they tested every traveling preacher that came their way. Christ commended Ephesus for ending hardships and not growing weary in serving God.

Rev. 2:4 Ephesus maintained a spirit of sacrifice, steadfastness, separation, and a keenness for detecting heresy, but they were guilty of a sin that only the Lord could detect. They had left their first love. Our Lord told His disciples, concerning the last days, “The Love of many shall wax cold” [Ref. Mt. 24:12]. First love is the love of espousals [Ref. Jer. 2:2]; the tender love of a bridegroom for His virgin bride [Ref. 2Cor. 11:2]; honeymoon love. It is the one thing our Lord wants more than anything else and the one thing He asked of Peter before He went away [Ref. John 21:15-17]. It is not in doctrinal errors, but in the loss of first love, that we find the root cause of the falling away in the Church.

Rev. 2:5 the first step for the Church toward rescue that has left her first love is in acknowledgment of the deed. The individuals pride may hurt to compare a victorious and joyous past with a sad and failing present, but there is no other way back to the first love. Do Christians need to repent, confess, and turn back to God? Yes [Ref. 1Jn. 1:9]! The only proof that the heart is sincere is that the believer returns to “do the first works.” No individual Christian or local assembly can isolate the Holy Spirit and escape disaster. Christ pleads to His Church to give the Holy Spirit His rightful place, as Christ is not here in person. He said He was going away [Ref. Jn. 14:2]. We are to continue in our service not simply because it is right but because we love our first love. Christ warns us that if we do not respond, (repent, change our minds) the light of our witness to the community we serve will be extinguished; the lamp stand will be removed.

Rev. 2:6 The Nicolaitanes were an early heretical sect. The origin of this sect, and precisely what it believed and taught, will probably never be known by us, as scripture does not tells us other than the Lord had no use for them. The believers in Ephesus had no use for them either. We do know from the name given the sect (Nicolaitanes) what they did. They caused a division in the Church of Jesus Christ. Two words 1.”nikao,” meaning “to conquer,” and “laos” meaning “the people or “laity,” the clergy and the laity. When we come to the study of the situation existing in the churches of Pergamos and Thyatira, we shall find this system in full bloom, with bishops, archbishops, and other religious dignitaries who were dominating the people.

Rev. 2:7 We see here our Lord addresses to individuals in the church a promise to those who will hear. The promise is the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God. We will see that the tree of life reappears for the believer and is resident in the New Jerusalem [Ref. Rev. 22:2]. We know from Genesis 3:22 that those who eat of it will never die. The New Jerusalem is seen to appear in the eternal kingdom for all believers who dwell with God the Father forever when Christ hands over the kingdom to God the Father at the end of the 1,000 year reign of the Millennium Kingdom on earth. [Ref. Rev. 21:3,10,22].

Rev. 8 Our Lord Jesus Christ addresses Smyrna as “the First and the Last, who died and came to life again.” Our Lord tells us that He is the Eternal One, who suffered death at the hands of the people of the prince to come (anti-christ) and then was resurrected from the grave. Smyrna could relate to Christ’s message as the church there was the most afflicted and persecuted of all the churches. Prophetically, Smyrna sets forth the age in church history when the church was persecuted beneath the iron heel of pagan Rome. The name of the city, Smyrna, means “myrrh” an ordinary perfume, used in the anointing oil of the tabernacle, and in embalming the dead bodies. While the Christians of the church at Smyrna were experiencing the bitterness of suffering, their “faithfulness” in testimony of our Lord was like myrrh or sweet perfume to God.

Rev. 2:9 What a comfort it was to the Christians in Smyrna to know that Christ knew of their sufferings. Besides suffering persecution, they were also enduring extreme poverty, “ptocheian”meaning,poverty and destitution, destitute. Though they were extremely poor, they were rich in the wonderful promises Christ had given them [Ref. 2Cor. 6:10; James 2:5). They were being persecuted not only by pagan gentiles but also by hostile Jews and by Satan himself. We see that our Lord refers to the Jewish Synagogue as the synagogue of Satan. [Ref. Rev. 3:9]. Notable is the fact that there was no rebuke whatever for these faithful, suffering Christians. This is in striking contrast with our Lord’s evaluation of five of the other six churches, which He rebuked. Smyrna’s sufferings, though extremely difficult, had helped keep them pure in faith and life.

Rev. 2:10 The words of Christ here to these suffering Christians were, an exhortation to have courage: Their severe trials were to continue by imprisonment and additional suffering for 10 days. We know that the church here from history suffered under the 10 pagan Roman rulers through A.D. 313. Christ tells these Christians and us to depend on Him, to be convinced of Him, to let Him be their strength and courage, for He became dead and is alive.
The “crown of life” is one of five crowns promised to the faithful believers when Christ returns, They are: 1. the incorruptible crown [Ref. 1 Cor. 9:25); 2. the soul-winners crown [Ref. Phil. 4:1; 1Thess. 2:19]. 3. the crown of righteousness [Ref. 2Tim. 4:8]; 4. the crown of glory [Ref. 1Pet. 5:4]; 5. the crown of life [Ref. James 1:12; Rev. 2:10). These are not to be worn on our heads in heaven, but rather to be presented to our blessed Lord [Ref. Rev. 4:10]. Our suffering for Christ is that out of tribulation (endurance of suffering) comes triumph; out of persecution, the prize, out of death we come to reigning life with our Lord and Savior with eternal life.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Prophetic Times To The End- Rev 1:9-20

Revelations 1 part 2
Patmos Vision of Christ Glorified

Rev. 1:9 The location of the dramatic revelation of Christ recorded in this book was the Island of Patmos, John was sent to this Island as a prisoner following his effective pastorate at Ephesus, because of the Word of God and the testimony of Jesus put forth by John. John tells us He is a brother who is patient in his endurance of suffering “thlipsis” a Greek word meaning “afflicted, anguish, burdened, troubled.” Because of his commitment to the true God, so John is telling us that he was enduring these troubles because he was committed to God in testifying to the Roman world that Christ Jesus is the Son of God and that Christ died on the cross to save the world.

Rev. 1:10 John was given the revelation and the revelation occurred on the Lords day while he was in the Spirit. John was then projected forward in his inner self in a vision, not bodily, to that future day of the Lord when God will pour out His judgments on the earth. Hearing a loud voice like a trumpet, John was instructed to write on a scroll what he saw, and heard. Then he was to send it to seven churches located in Asia Minor (a province of Rome). This is the first of 12 commands in this book for John to write what he saw, which seems related to each preceding vision shown to John. One vision however, was not to be recorded [Ref Rev. 10:4]. Each of these churches was a self supported and pastored local church and the order of mention is geographical in a half moon circle, beginning with Ephesus on the coast, proceeding north to Smyrna and Pergamum, then swinging east and south to Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea.

Rev. 1:12 John turns to see the source of the loud voice that was speaking to him. What he saw was seven golden lamp stands.

Rev. 1:13 among the lamp stands John saw someone “like a son of man” (Jesus Christ) an expression used in Daniel 7:13. The description was that of a priest dressed in a long robe with a golden sash around His chest. Jesus Christ is our High Priest resident at the heavenly tabernacle at the right hand of God the Father [Ref. Heb. 9: 11-15].

Rev. 1:14 John expresses in these next verses a description of “His (Jesus Christ) head, hairs, eyes, feet, voice, right hand, mouth, and His countenance.” Of His head and His hairs this description of our Lord compares with that of Daniel 7:9. The “Ancient of days” is none other than the Jehovah of the Old Testament, “God manifest in the flesh” [Ref. 1 Tim. 3:16]. God the Son has the same purity and eternity as God the Father, as signified by the whiteness of His head and hair. The vision here is that of the judge. He is seen wearing the tribunal garments befitting His royal office. He has arisen from His throne, and He is seen here standing to judge. The eyes like blazing fire, describes His piercing judgment of sin [Ref Rev. 2:18]. Here is a penetrating discernment that searches the innermost depths. John had seen His eyes filled with tears when He wept at the grave of Lazarus [Ref. John 11:35], but these eyes are the eyes of the judge before whom all things are laid bare. [Ref. Heb.4:13]. This speaks of His omniscience.

Rev. 1:15 The concept of the judge is further enhanced by, His feet were like burnished bronze glowing in a furnace. The brass speaks of righteous judgment for which He firmly stands. It is upon those feet of beauty that He came preaching the gospel of peace, the glad tidings [Ref. Isa. 52:7; Rom. 10:15]. But when He comes again He shall tread down all abominations and crush those who hate Him. The time of grace will have come to its end. Christ’s voice was compared to the sound the roar of rushing waters. This is the voice of power and authority that shall roar from on high upon His habitation [Ref. Jer. 25:30]. It is the voice that is full of majesty [Ref. Psa. 29:4]. When He comes again all that are in the graves shall hear His voice of final judgment for the unbeliever. But to His own His voice will give confidence and joy [Ref. 1 Thess. 4:16-18].

Rev. 1:16 John noticed that in His right hand He held seven stars. Significantly Christ held them in His right hand, indicating sovereign possession. The seven stars are the “angels” “angelos” a messenger a pastor, minister of the seven churches [Ref. Rev. 1:20]. The world has its stars in the fields of sports, and entertainment, but they that turn many to righteousness shall shine as the stars forever and ever [Ref. Dan. 12:3]. Every minister is under divine authority and receives his orders from Christ. Here the faithful messenger is securely held in the hand of his all-glorious Lord and head of the church.
Speaking of Christ’s role as a judge, John saw a sharp two-edge sword coming out of His mouth. Jesus Christ is no longer a baby in Bethlehem or a man of sorrows crowned with thorns. He is now the Lord of Glory. This is the Word of God [Ref. Heb. 4:12]. Men are trifling with that blessed blade, but they will learn one day that His Word-sword will be all that is needed to judge them [Ref. John 12:48].
John saw that His face glowed with brilliance like the sun shining in its strength. This countenance was seen by John also, when, with Peter and James, our Lord was transfigured before them. [Ref. Mt. 17:2]. The churches are lamps, but Christ is the sun and we but reflect His glory. Paul saw that countenance the day Christ saved him [Ref. Acts 9: 1-5), and thereafter he reflected his Lords glory. Thus we have seen the dignity, deity, and description of the Person (Jesus Christ) of this book.

Rev. 1:17-18 John states, when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as though dead. Paul was struck to the ground in a similar way when he saw Christ in His glory [Ref. Acts 9:4]. Previously John had put his head on Jesus breast [Ref. John 13:25]. But now John could not be this familiar with the Christ in Glory.
John received reassurance from Christ in the words, do not be afraid. Christ states He is the eternal One, the First and the Last [Ref. Rev. 1:8; 2:8; 21:6; 22:13), resurrected One, the Living One, who though once dead is now alive forever and ever! Christ affirms to us that He alone has the keys of death and the place of the dead [Ref. John 5:21-26; 1Cor. 15:54-57; Heb. 2:14; Rev. 20:12-14]. Though the glorified Christ is to be reverenced, faithful believers can be assured they are accepted by the Son of God. The Christian’s death and resurrection are both in His hands.

Rev. 1:19 John has his second command to write. The subject of this record has three tenses: 1) write what he had already experienced, expresses as what you have seen; 2) write these present experiences, expressed as what is now; 3) write the future that I (Christ) will relate to you, expressed as what will take place later. This reveals to us the divine outline of the book of Revelation. John was told to write of “the things which he had seen,” this is what chapter one of the book of Revelation is about. This is telling us of the glorified Christ which was shown to John. Then John was to write the present message of Christ, “the things which are,” these words refer to the letters to the seven churches. We know this to be the prewritten history of the church age from Pentecost to the Rapture as expressed to us by Christ in the letters. The “things which are” compose chapters two and three of the book of Revelation, which have to do with the present age we live in. All present day churches are represented in the depiction of the seven churches Christ is writing too! And finally, the main purpose of the book of Revelation being prophetic, John was to introduce the events future. They comprise chapters four to Twenty-two. Chapter four commences with our Lord’s words to John, “come up hither, and I will show you things which must be hereafter. “Everything in the book from chapter four on to the end will occur after the church is taken out of the earth. The three divisions are clear and do not overlap. Each division is complete within itself and distinct from the other two. This is God’s own division of the book. Hold fast to it, and you cannot go astray in understanding its meaning. Do not at any time lift events from one division and attempt to place them in another [Ref. Rev. 22:18-19].
Rev. 1:20 In Revelation a symbol in vision is often presented first, and then its interpretation is given. We read of, in verse 12 & 16 the lamp stands and stars as symbols of, we have now in verse 20 the interpretation of the symbols. So here the seven stars were declared to be the angels “angelos” (see note vs. 16) or messengers to the seven churches, and the seven lamp stands are the seven churches themselves. The book of Revelation, instead of being a hopeless jumble of symbolic vision, is a carefully written record of what John saw and heard from our Lord, with frequent explanations of its theological and practical meanings.

Things Present-Seven Churches: “The things which are”

The messages to the churches have a threefold meaning. First, each letter has a primary association, having a local and direct bearing upon the church to which it was written. Certainly the letters were intended to be meaningful and helpful to those Christians in each church who first received the message. Each letter was a measuring rod by which each church could know its standing in the sight of the risen Lord.
Secondly, each letter has a personal application. In addition to being historical and local as regards an assembly in each city named, the message applies to each and every individual Christian. To each church Christ says, “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.” It should also be noted that as Christ addresses each church as a whole, Christ has a message to overcome addressed to each individual of the local church.
Thirdly, each church individually, and the seven churches combined, set forth prophetic understanding. We see in them seven ages or stages in the life of the church on earth, commencing with Pentecost and concluding with the rapture of the church, as the Lord dictated the letters to John.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Prophetic Times To The End- Rev 1:1-8


The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him.

Rev. 1:1 Revelation is a translation of the Greek word “apokalypsis” meaning an unveiling or a disclosure. The revelation was given to John to communicate to others, His servants (Jesus Christ’s) and tells us what must soon take place. The word soon “en tachei” means that the action will be sudden when it comes, not necessarily that it will occur immediately. But that once the end-times events begin, they will occur in rapid succession [Ref. Luke 18:8; Acts 12:7; 22:18; 25:4; Rom. 16:20). The words, He made known (Jesus Christ), are from the Greek verb “esemanen,” meaning to make known by signs or symbols, the verb also includes communication by words. We do not have the name of the angel messenger given to us here, we do know from other scriptures that Gabriel has been the chosen messenger [Reg. Dan. 8:16; 9:21-22; Luke 1: 26-31). John a bond-servant “doulos” means slave is the term also used by Paul, James, Peter and Jude in speaking of their positions as God’s servants [Ref. Rom. 1:1; Phil. 1:1; Titus 1:1; James 1:1; 2Pet. 1:1; Jude 1]

Rev. 1:3 God the Father provides [*] a blessing on each individual who reads the book as well as on those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it. This applies to all of us as the implication is that a reader will read this message aloud to an audience. Not only is there a blessing for the reader and the hearers, but there is also a blessing for those who respond in obedience.
John concluded this verse with “the time is near.” The word time “kairos” refers to a period of time, that is, the time of the end [Ref. Dan. 8:17; 11:35, 40; 12:4,9). The “end time,” as a time period, is mentioned in Revelation 11:18 and 12:12. In Revelation 12:14 the word “time” means a year [Ref. Dan. 7:25] and the phrase “time, times and half a time,” to explain the meaning one year “time” plus two years “times” plus six months “half a time,” totaling three and one-half years; the length of the time of “the end.” Revelation 1:3 includes the first of seven beatitudes in the book of Revelation. Ref. [*] For the time is near or at hand; the biblical term “at hand” is never a positive affirmation that the person or thing said to be near will immediately appear, but only that the person or thing has the quality of immanency. When Christ appeared to the Jewish people (first advent), the next thing, in the order of revelation as they understood it, should have been the setting up of the Davidic Kingdom. Yet God had predicted the rejection and crucifixion of the king (Jesus Christ) [Ref Psm. 22; Isa.53]. The long period of the secret form of the kingdom, the world wide preaching of the cross, and the out-calling of the church was as yet locked up in the secret counsels of God [Ref. Eph. 3:3-12; Mt. 13:11-17]

Rev. 1:4 John specifies the destination of this book, to the seven churches in Asia Minor a Roman province. The words grace and peace concisely summarize both a Christian’s standing before God and his experience. Grace “charis” and peace “eirene;” grace speaks of God’s attitude toward believers and peace speaks both of their standing with God and their experience of divine peace. John gives us a clue to the nature of the book or outline of the book as grace and peace is from the one who is, and who was and who is to come [Ref. Rev 1:8]; remember in vs. 1 we were told that He made it known by means: of making known by signs or symbols, this last phrase falls into this category which we will get into more a little later. The seven spirits refers to the Holy Spirit and His attributes to the believer [Ref Isa. 11:2-3].

Rev. 1:5 And from Jesus Christ as the source of the revelation to be given. He is the faithful witness the first born from the dead [Ref. Col.1:], referring to His historic resurrection at His first advent; and the ruler of the kings of the earth, indicating His prophetic role after His second coming. We see here that Christ’s resurrection was from out of the dead. As the “firstborn.” He is the first to be resurrected with an everlasting body, there will also be those after; those resurrected at the end of the church age [Ref. Philp. 3:10-12]. The tribulation holy ones [Ref. Rev. 20:5-6], and the wicked dead of all ages [Ref. Rev. 20:12-13] encompass the resurrections. In His dying on the cross Christ who loves us is the One who freed us from our sins by His shed blood.

Rev. 1:6 John is telling us here that believers are now a kingdom of priests with the purpose now and forever of serving God. As John shows us here he demonstrates that we should always be expressing praise and worship to God the Father forever and ever. Amen (literally meaning “so be it”).

Rev. 1:7 Readers of these scriptures are being told to look for His coming in the clouds which will be at His second advent to the earth, this will be during the tribulation period as told to His disciples [Ref. Acts 1:9-11]. We know that the literal executioners and rejecters of Christ are now dead and will not be resurrected until after the Millennium, but the godly remnant of Israel “will look on Him, the One they have pierced [Ref. Zech. 12:10]. This godly remnant will represent the nation Israel during the Tribulation period.
Christ’s second advent, however, will be visible to the entire world including unbelievers, in contrast to His first advent at His birth and in contrast with the future rapture “caught up” “harpazo” Greek word meaning “to siege”, catch away”, “pluck”, “pull”, “take by force” [Ref. 1Thess. 4:14-18; 1Cor. 15:51-53] of the church, which probably will not be visible to the earth as a whole. John expresses “so be it” (amen).

Rev. 1:8 John here tells us that Christ says that He is the “Alpha and the Omega” the eternal One. He is the One who is, and who was, and who is to come, the “Almighty”, “pantokrator” “the all powerful One”. Here in Revelation the all-bountiful and all-sufficient God is none other than our Lord Jesus Christ.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Prophetic Times To The End - Daniel - Part 14

End Times – Daniel 11, pt 2

Prophetic Times to the End

Second World Empire Down to the Man of Sin

Dan. 11:11-13 Gabriel describes to Daniel that the king of the south will be enraged and go forth and fight with the king of the north. (King of the south at this time is Ptolomey IV Philopator 221-204 B.C.) Then Ptolomy IV will raise a great army that army is successful at first and slays many thousands, but will be given over to the king of the north Antiochus III.

Dan 11:14 Gabriel tells Daniel that in this period of time that many will rise up against the king of the south (at this period of time this is Ptolomy V Epiphanes, 203-181 B.C.) there will be violent ones among your people Daniel, who will also lift themselves up (Jewish Zelots) in order to fulfill the vision, but they also will be taken down. Gabriel is telling us here that man will not be allowed to interfere with the divine plan and the vision will be fulfilled as set forth in scripture, the “times of the Gentiles” will run its course.

Dan. 11:15 Gabriel explains that the king of the north will come (at his time period Seleucus IV Philopator is king 187-175 B.C.) he will build up a siege mount; a cutting of non fruit trees for fortifications, [Ref. Deut. 20:19,20]. He will capture a well-fortified city; for the forces of the south will not stand, not even their choicest troops, for there will be no-strength to stand against anyone.

Dan. 11:16 Gabriel tells Daniel that the king of the north who comes against the king of the south will do as he pleases, (this king of the north is Antiochus III the Great 273-187 B.C.) and no one will withstand him; he will stay for a period of time in the beautiful land (Palestine), with desolation in his hand.

Dan. 11:17 Gabriel tells us that Antiocdus III south will arrange peace between Egypt and Syria by giving his daughter to marry Ptolemy V Epiphanes of Egypt. Gabriel says she will not stand by him and the two nations will not ally.

Dan. 11:18 Gabriel describes Antiochus III turn toward the coast lands of Israel and has some success until a commander (this is Cornelieus Scipio of the Roman Army) stops Antiochus scorn against Rome by repaying Antiochus with Roman scorn. Cornelieus actually is demanding that Antiochus turn his Army back toward home, is told by Antiochus that he will think about it and let him know. Cornelieus draws a circle around Antiochus in the dirt and says decide before you leave the circle.

Dan. 11:19 Gabriel shows us that Antiochus III returns to his home land, and he dies one year later. Antiochus dreams of reuniting Alexanders Empire under his authority never is realized.

Dan. 11:20 Gabriel tells us of Antiochus III son Seleucus IV Philopator 187-176 B.C. Gabriel says he is one who will heavily tax his people to pay Rome, he is poisoned by his treasurer Heliodorus. Here we see he dies neither in anger or in battle.

Dan. 11: 21 Gabriel tells Daniel that in his place will arise a despicable person, (This is Antiochus IV Epiphanes 175-164 B.C) on whom the honor of kingship has not been conferred. The throne rightly belonged to Demetrius Sator, but Antiochus IV Epiphanes seized the throne and had himself proclaimed king. He did not come to the throne by rightful succession but he seized it through intrigue.

Dan. 11:22 We are told by Gabriel that this king of the north gains acceptance by turning aside an invading army, he also deposed Onias III, the high priest, called here the prince of the covenant.

Dan. 11:23 Gabriel goes on to further relate how despicable a person Antiochus IV Epiphanes is with his practice of deception. He actually gains power with the help of a very small number of people.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Prophetic Times To The End - Daniel - Part 13

End Times – Daniel 11, pt 1

Prophetic Times to the End

Second World Empire Down to the Man of Sin

Dan. 11:1 Daniel again gives us the date of his writing by the hand of the Holy Spirit: Daniel tells us that Darius the Mede was in his first year of reign 539 B.C. in Babylon. Darius ruled this region under the authority of Cyrus the Persian [Ref. Dan 9:1]. Daniel say’s he stood up and was of a source of strength and a protection for Darius.

Dan. 11:2 Daniel tells us that Gabriel relates the truth to him. He tells us that three more kings are going to arise for Persia. Then a fourth will gain far more riches, and will stir up the whole realm of Greece.

Dan. 11:3 Gabriel says that a mighty king will arise, he will rule with great authority and do as he pleases. The mighty king here refers to Alexander the Great who died in 323 B.C. [Ref. Dan. 7:6; 8:4-8; 8:21-22].

Dan. 11:4 Gabriel relates to us that shortly after this mighty king arises to power, his kingdom is divided up into four realms, (after Alexander’s death), (in the Hebrew/Chaldean text this is the same as or actually refers to “the four winds of heaven” which tells us that the hand of God has taken down and set up new kingdoms to propel His (God’s divine plan for man). Gabriel goes on to say that none of Alexander’s descendants will reign, nor will any of these kingdoms have the authority with which Alexander exhibited; Gabriel goes on to say that Alexander’s sovereignty will be uprooted to others instead of Alexander’s descendants.

Dan. 11:5 Gabriel goes on to explain to Daniel and us that the king of the south will grow strong; this king is Ptolemy 1 Soter and will rule Egypt. The explanation goes on to say that one of his princes which will gain ascendancy over him and obtain dominion; Gabriel tells Daniel and us this prince dominion will be a great dominion. The prince is Seleucus 1 Nicator ruled in Babylon in 321 B.C.

Dan. 11:6 Gabriel tells Daniel that after some years an alliance will be formed, with the daughter of the king of the south, (Berenice). This king of the south at this time is Ptolemy II Philadelphus, (ruled 285-246 B.C). This king will come to the king of the north to carry out an equitable agreement. Gabriel says Berenice will not retain her strength of arm or power, (berenice was murdered by Antiochus’s II ex-wife Laodice) nor will the king of the north Antiochus II remain with his arm or power, (Antiochus II is poisoned by Laodice). Gabriel goes on to say she (Berenice) was handed over along with those who brought her in, and the one who sired her, as well as he who supported her. This all refers to her death and means those who brought her in, left or were run out of prominence or power.

Dan. 11:7 Gabriel tells Daniel that one of Berenice descendants will arise in her fathers place. This would be Ptolemy III Euergetes, (he rules from 246-222 B.C.) and he will bring his army against the Syrian army and the king of the north Seleucus II Callinicus is defeated and Laodice is put to death. Euergetes king of the south returns to Egypt with many riches.

Dan. 11:8 Gabriel informs Daniel that Euergetes will also take out of Syria their gods with their precious vessels of silver and gold back to Egypt. Euergetes on his part will refrain from standing against the king of the north for some years.

Dan. 11:9 Gabriel then explains that the king of the north will wage war against the king of the south, but is unsuccessful and returns to Babylon in Syria.

Dan. 11:10 Gabriel tells Daniel that the king of the north sons will wage war with great forces; (these are Seleucus III Ceraunus, and Antiochus III the Great). Antiochus III is successful in driving the Egyptians who had occupied a good portion of Syria back to a location at the southern borders of Israel in a campaign between 219-217 B.C.