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Revelation Bible Study #04 7 stars and 7 Lampstands part 2

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Revelation #4

7 Stars and 7 Lampstands - part 2

Rev 1:20 - 3

Last week we previewed all the towns and then began with the first two letters to Ephesus and Smyrna

Let’s Review

1.The Church at Ephesus - You Don't Bring Me Flowers Anymore?

Weirsbe calls this the "Backsliding Church"

Remember that JOHN had been the Pastor of this church from 69 AD to before his

A. Jesus Speaks on the Authority of - v1 - Him who holds the 7 stars in his right hand and walks among the 7 golden lampstands

B. Acknowledgment - I know your deeds

C. Accusation - I hold this against you – you don't bring me flowers anymore

D. Aspiration / Expectation -

Remember, Repent, and Return to Action - Do what you did First

E. Alternative - if you do not repent … remove your lampstand

F. Addendum - to him to "overcomes" - pleasure of eating from the tree of life

2. The Church of Smyrna: Suffering for A Little While

Wiersbe calls the Suffering Church

A. Authority - him who is the First and the Last, who died and came to life again

B. Acknowledgment- I know your afflictions and poverty

C. Accusation

Against the "false Jews" - they worship have a synagogue to Satan

D. Aspiration / Expectation - you are RICH; Do not Fear; Be Faithful

E. Alternative - giving up

F. Addendum - Overcomes - Not hurt by the 2nd Death

So then let’s move up the road a little way to the furthest northern church mentioned at Pergamos or Pergamum

3. The Church of Pergamos: The Worldly Church - The "OPEN Minded Church" 2:12-17; the Tempted Church;

Perhaps even a pre-modern / post-modern

Remember that this City was where parchment was first developed for printing on animal skins. It was built on a 1000 foot hill in a broad fertile plain. It had been the capital for Roman's province in Asia Minor for 250 years. IT was a center for Religious pagan cults to Athena, Asklepios, Dionysus, the god of drunkenness, and Zeus and was the capital of the cult of Caesar Worship

Remember it is the place of 250,000 book library and a great medical school. But the medical school was shrouded with mysticism and superstition. One prescription called for the patient to lie on the floor of the temple and allow snakes to slither all over their body

A. Authority

1. The Word of God - a double edged sword coming from his mouth

Isaiah 11:4 –

Isaiah 49:2 –

2 Thes 2:4

Heb 4:12

2. same authority Jesus used in the wilderness when faced with Satan

3. When dealing with error in the church the greatest tool is the truth of the Word of God

4. The Word will be its own weapon

it is the Sword of the Spirit.

5. Just faithfully wielded it and the Spirit will either use it to heal the one who would return in repentance or judge the one who would rebel in disobedience

6. Pergummum was a political capital and governors of Rome were said to have the "right of the sword" - license to kill - but Jesus was saying … I've got your sword right here! “That’s not a knife, THIS is a knife”

B. Acknowledgement

1. I know your works - before we start make sure you know that nothing has slipped by so don't try to "snow" me

I know what kind of place you live in

“ where Satan has his throne” … could refer to the Throne of Zeus that was there … or to the Temple of the “god of healing” Asclepios (symbol was a serpent)

2. you hold fast to my name - even under persecution – John 1:12 – “to as many as received him to those who believe in his name” – under harsh persecution it is easy to become a secret Christian. Many church members today are secret Christians and we aren’t even under harsh persecution

3. tradition says Antipas was burned inside a Brass Bull - would have been a horrible death of burns … skin cooked … until the pain or the suffocation of heat and fumes took his life. Jesus speaks of him surely and fondly simply as “my Faithful Witness” it reminds me of God speaking of Job to Satan, “have you seen my servant Job?”

4. Stood faithful in the midst of persecution and living in Satan's front yard

but while they may not have denied his name, and they had great martyrs among them, they had denied him in the true practice of Christianity

C. Accusation

1. friend of the world is an enemy of God – you dwell where satan’s throne is. Most often in the New Testament the word for dwell that is used is paoikeo – dwell as a stranger or foreigner … that is how we as Christians live in this world and are not OF this world. But Jesus said you DWELL – katoikeo – live as a permanent resident

2. chosen those who hold to the Doctrine of Balaam (Nu 31)

a. used his God given prophetic ability to encourage Israel to intermarry with idolaters and ungodly people watering down God's people with wickedness

b. actively engaged in leading God's people into disobedience

c. consumption of things consecrated to other gods

d. church endorsed immorality

3. Doctrine of Nicolaitans - a current day, for them, Balaamite

a. the word means to rise above or be victorious “conqueror of the people” – it is believed that “Balaam” meant the same thing. So in both cases, an Old Testament Prophet and a New Testament Deacon used their influence and God given position to conquer people and pull them away from God not toward him

b. laos – people – and Nike – conquerors or elite ones … give us together “Nicolaitans”

b. per = objectionable

c. gamos - marriage

d. Pergamos - so the two together give a picture of self exalted church married to the world in an objectionable fashion - a picture of an elitist church married to God and to the World

4. How does the Church or can the church become wedded to the world?

D. Aspiration / Expectation

1. Repent - Stop it – it is an imperative command … meaning keep on turning back toward me


3. Worship me Alone;

4. Be My Bride Alone

5. Be Faithful to Me

6. Lead people toward me and not away from Me

E. Alternative

1. Otherwise …if you force me

2. I will come

3. I will fight against - he won't just ignore or leave them alone - he will aggressively war against them as they marry the world and lead others astray

4. They will not reach those truly seeking Christ, though they may reach those with like desires but he will be fighting against them

5. with the Sword of my mouth - the Word of God

F. Addendum

1. have an ear? … everyone … HEAR … Make a Choice - yes God is Sovereign but he has given you a choice … If you don't have a choice then forgiveness, repentance, and mercy are cheap nothings

2. hidden manna - no need to satisfy your hunger with substitutes

a. junk food provides a burst and a crash but God's manna fills now and sustains

b. may not be flashy, but it filling, and perfectly enough … indescribable (what is it)

c. remember Jesus is the Bread of Heaven and he will keep on giving us himself

3. White Stone ??? Many different meanings offered -

a. Victors in games were often given a stone with an inscription to indicate valor / victory and could be cashed in later for actual prizes – victors’ token

b. 1st century person who was seriously ill who recovered could often take a new name to signify the complete recovery - so just because they had been sick didn't mean it was the last word, they could receive the healing of Christ and come to a new identity and new life

c. The stone given could grant them admission to the circus or to a winner would grant them admission into the victor's celebration

d. the name was secret and between them and Christ for God's rewards are personal and between us and Christ

4. There is ONE other possible explanation offered by Dr. WA Criswell.

a. he says not a "white rock" of a victor, or pass to the party, but a beautiful gem, a Diamond

b. The OT Priest had a mystical thing called the Urim and Thummim with which he could seek God's direction. The Urim bore the mystic name of God and was worn over the heart on his breastplate.

c. Dr. Criswell says the white stone refers to a diamond, the Urim, with the precious mystic name of God given to those who love him. There is wisdom to know the way, and direction for all we face and the love and presence, the comfort of God.

d. the Lord gives it to us. He gives us HIMSELF, his Spirit, his own presence as he says "I will go before you, I will help you, I will see you through"

e. the faithful promise to the overcomer who has the Stone of God … Remember that the Holy Spirit is given to us as a deposit or a down payment, guaranteeing what is to come … It IS given to victors, a pass to the precious celebration and reward of life but it isn't a stone it is the gem of the Holy Spirit of God the 3rd Person of the Trinity

4. The Church OF Thyatira: The Church Dressed Like the World, Dressed to Impress, Jezebel in the Chapel, the Unrepentant Church

Remember this was a TRADE GUILD / a union Town and you unioners know the pressure to conform … so the pressure to stay true to the church and NOT follow the worship of the guild's recognized gods would have been great

A. Authority

1. Son of God - only place used in Revelation

2. Eyes like Blazing Fire --- sees all and judges what he sees

3. Feet like burnished bronze - bronze like the brazen altar and feet that Judge like the Lord judges and tramples as in winepress

a. UNDER God's Judgment

b. I want to be ON the wagon of God's Judgment not UNDER it

c. I want to return WITH Christ NOT to See him coming against me

B. Acknowledgment

1. I KNOW your deeds

2. love

3. faith --- BOTH are Activities of Compassion

4. Service

5. Perseverance - BOTH activities of Piety

6. You do MORE now than you did at the Start - Good Progression

C. Accusation

1. I have THIS against - remember he was holding a legal claim in his hand

2. you tolerate … "Jezebel" – who was she? Jezebel was a pagan Moabite wife of Judah’s King Ahab. Could this then have been the Pastor’s wife? Or was it the local high Priestess … we are not sure … but someone had leadership, a voice, and was being tolerated with leading the people astray

a. you may not agree with her but you are afraid or unwilling to take a stand against her as she claims to be a Prophetess

b. Jezebel in the OT 1 K 16-2 K 10 - Wife of Ahab - daughter of a Baal Priest was powerful, wicked, seductive, oppressive

c. committed murder, idolatry, harlotry, witchcraft, deceit, etc. etc.

d. Thyatira was following her ancient steps through this REAL woman in leadership

e. this is NOT to say that women can't be in some leadership and can't have prophesy or teaching … but … they are judged as every other … AND the Men in Pastoral Leadership were responsible to the church and before God to stand up and take away her leadership, her voice, and opportunity to lead people astray

3. It is said of Ahab in 1K 21:25 there was NONE who sold himself to do what was evil in the sight of the Lord like Ahab, who his wife, Jezebel incited"

4. HERE She ---

a. misleads in false teaching

b. into sexual sin

c. eating things or consuming things consecrated to idols, (ingesting)

d. Repentance has been offered and rejected

e. TIME has been given for repentance

f. she taught "deep secrets" - Be careful of those who teach the HIDDEN STUFF - Hidden Spirituality … Hidden Christianity …

D. Aspiration / Expectation

1. Don't Buy what She is Selling

2. Don't Chase after Secret Wisdom

3. Be Children of the Light

4. If you've been suckered in --- Repent ---

5. Hold to the Truth till I COME --- Look to Me - Love Me --- Seek Me --- Search ME for the "undiscovered things" There is more about Jesus that you have yet to discover through personal experience you don't need to go chase the secret things this person would tell you

E. Alternative

1. She will go to bed of suffering … if this is the church during the Dark Ages … well look at the church then … Some would say that as Jezebel led people into worship of Ashtorah, that the Church in that time lead people into worship of Mary …

2. Those who go after her longing for her like they should be longing for me will suffer the same fate as she

3. The Spiritual Offspring will be killed

4. SO THAT the faithful churches and those on the edge will see this Revelation of the Truth of God and be warned against the same thing

5. Historists / Futurists - who see this as also depicting the Middle Ages church would see the Offspring suffering as the Black Plaques and other diseases that affected the people of that period

6. She will go to a bed of suffering and the faithful will not receive a further burden may also be a reference to the False Church and those who don't know Christ going into the Tribulation and the True Church being saved from it so as not to be burdened further …

F. Addendum

1. Overcomers - authority over nations

a. they have ruled you in wickedness

b. you will rule them in righteousness

2. they will be broken to pieces like pottery with an iron shepherds rod - Ps2:9

3. Authority will pass from Father to Son to "him" (who overcomes)

4. How? Why? Because we have Jesus the Morning Star within us

2 Peter 1:19 and we have the word of the prophets made more certain, and you will do well to apy attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.

5. Got EARS? Hear

We should be always be mindful that this IS a book of prophesy and so even when portraying actual events there are prophetic things to see

I was reading today and Dr. Criswell brought out something quite interesting.

Of course there was something and someone referred to by Criswell in this reference to Jezebel.

But could it also be as we look back at it that the SHE referred to would a be church that dresses herself fine, calls herself of Christ but instead leads people AWAY from the truth and exalts herself above all that is God?

There are churches today that say ‘you can’t believe the Word of God, let us explain it” Or “figure it out for yourselves.” “It doesn’t really matter what you believe”

And there are those who want to hear that and want to follow that

And if Jesus is prophetically referring to a church like that could he then be saying that a time is coming … when that false church that sets itself up against the Truth will be cast into Tribulation / A Bed of Suffering? Could it be that that church will have to suffering the Tribulation? But would it be right then for the faithful children of God to be subject to the same bed?

No look at verse 24 again, “now to the rest of you … who do not hold to her teachings and have not learned satan’s so called deep secrets (I will not impose any other burden on you) 25 only hold on to what you have until I come

Oh we will see more of this in the words to come, but There is great hope in this book for the follow of Jesus Christ in the midst of the dreadful revelation of wrath to come.

This would have been a tough city to serve Jesus the pressure would have been great

You had to trust the guild, the leaders, the rulers, the religious and culturally elite

What do we learn … we learn that our trust our hope our light our strength is in the Son of God

That the one whom we should fear is not the one who signs our check or seems to hold our livelihood but the ONE who holds our lives and our eternity

Don't trust Your IRA

Don't trust your Annuity

Don't trust AFLAC

Don't trust your Union Leaders

Don't Blindly trust Religious Leaders

It may seem like the Dark Middle of the Night … but that is Just really the Early Hours of a New Day

And Look to the Horizon … From Where comes our Help, Our Gift, Our Portion

The Son … The Morning Star is about to Rise … can't you feel him in your hearts … can't you feel him on the verge … Look Within … Look Up … Look to Him

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