Good morning! Are you as excited as I am to be embarking on this series? I pray you will be blessed and that it gets you excited to share its content with those who do not know Christ as their Saviour.
After reading the last post, which gives us the names for Jesus in Revelation 1:1-18, we learned about the One who qualifies to reveal these truths to us! We can rely on His words because He was there at the beginning of all things, He created all things, and He can accurately give an account of what occurred since the beginning of this earth all the way to the end! I imagine God’s view is similar to a very long train. If I were standing on a hill looking down at the train below, I could easily see the engine all the way to the caboose. But as a passenger of that same train, I can only view the car I’m in and a few cars ahead as we go around a bend. God sees the whole span of time: past, present and future.
John was instructed to record what he heard and saw. Can you just imagine what this was like to him? Just to give you an idea how his senses were bombarded, here’s what I found:
John records the word “heard” 33 times in Revelation; the word “saw” 42 times; the word “beheld” 8 times; the word “see” 16 times and the word “hear” 11 times; “like a” 7 times; “as it were” 12 times; “like unto” 15 times; “as a” 10 times.
You can see that each time the above words and phrases were used, John was attempting to reach into the future, from 2,000 years ago to today, through a culture, language and time frame. He’s to describe events from a time which no man had ever seen! It’s no wonder that some things seemed like they were right out of Star Wars! 😂 As well, he is seeing things like the one world government and the one world church which he had to describe in such a way that it would make sense – you’ll find that many of his descriptions match up with Old Testament prophecies. As you read Revelation (or any of the prophetic books of the Old Testament), a good rule of thumb to use is: if a passage appears symbolic, it must be symbolic. Check the Old Testament for a clearer understanding if they are referenced.
We see that Jesus is the One speaking with John and He instructs John to write down what he saw, what he currently sees, and what he’s about to see. Jesus will be giving John letters to the different churches of that time, (which we will see in Chapter 2) found in Asia Minor. The verses above refer to the angels of the seven churches. The word angel is defined as:
From ἀγγέλλω aggellō (probably derived from G71; compare G34; to bring tidings); a messenger; especially an “angel”; by implication a pastor: – angel, messenger.
The letters will be written to the Pastors of these seven churches, all located in modern day Turkey. The first of the churches is Ephesus. As we read this letter, keep in mind that these have spiritual and historical relevance. Each church was in existance at the time John wrote about them. We can actually see spiritual truths pertaining not just to that specific church, but to all the future ages as well. We see the way Jesus deals with each one: He has a specific “title” which ties in with that particular church, He commends them for what they are doing well, He tells them what they are doing wrong, and He closes the letters.
Here’s a little history behind this church located in Ephesus. It existed from the time of Pentecost in 33 AD to 100 AD. This time period is known as the end of the Apostolic Age as John (the last living Apostle) died during this time. Jesus began his letter to them telling them that He holds the churches in His right hand and that He is in the midst of the churches. I praise the Lord that our Saviour is in our midst.
Before Jesus shares what He has against them, He commends them for their hard work, perseverance and their discernment in spotting error and false doctrine. They were well taught, obviously. Remember, these churches were built on the Rock and the Apostles were the ones actually teaching them. There’s nothing better than having someone tell you about Jesus when they were personally with Him, amen?
Then Jesus tells the church at Ephesus that they left their first love. This definitely applies to all churches today, amen? Sometimes we get busy with life and lose that fervent desire to serve Him. Can you remember when you first came to salvation? The excitement of knowing the Saviour personally is the first thing on your mind when your eyes open in the morning!
One of the positive comments Jesus made was:
When the Lord says He hates something, every Christian should perk up and listen carefully. We, too, should hate what He hates. But exactly what are the “deeds of the Nicolaitans”? The name “Nicolaitans” is derived from the Greek word nikolaos, comprised of the words nikos and laos. The word nikos is the Greek word meaning to conquer or to subdue and laos is for the people. It is also where we get the word laity. When these two words are combined, they literally mean one who conquers and subdues the people. It appears the Nicolaitans were conquering and subduing the people. We see this practice clearly in the Roman Catholic Church, from its infancy and today. Not only did the church at Ephesus hate their deeds, but Jesus said He also hated their deeds. Their deeds also included sacrificing to idols. If you recall, Jesus didn’t teach the Apostles to lord over people.
There is one Lord over the church and that is Jesus! Jesus ends His letter to Ephesus by telling them to hear what the Spirit says to the church. Those who are born again will get to eat of the tree of life in the midst of the paradise of God!! It’s God’s Word that pierces the heart of man. Jesus wants to build our faith through His word. As we go through this Book, I pray that the reader will come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ!
Friend, it is no coincidence that God has placed you here for such a time as this so that you may be saved if you are not already. Please click here and the link will open up in a separate tab to You Can Be Born Again and Know It!