Revelation is in three parts.
- introduction of author and Jesus (Prologue)
- Letters to the churches
- Revelation of end times and elimination of evil
Why does it start with a letter to the churches?
God holds his church responsible for the inroads of evil. We have seen an example of this in Ezekiel; God’s called watchmen , “Son of man I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel” (3: 17; 33: 7)
1 Peter 4: 17 For the time (is come) that judgment must begin at the house of God and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?
Judgement = condemnation of wrong. A decree.
If evil comes into the church, the watchmen must have fallen asleep.
So God is cleansing his church before he begins to bring judgment on all evil in the world. There is a pattern in each letter for each church
- A command to write to the pastor (angel) of each church.
- A title which belongs to The Lord
- The I know….portion.
- A promise for overcomers.
The Overcomer (2: 7, 11, 17, 26 3: 5, 12, 21)
Luke 11: 22 when a stronger than he shall come upon him, and OVERCOME him. To overcome and to bind are synonyms.
Matthew 12: 29 “How can anyone enter a strong man’s house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man and then plunder his house”
It is ours as we rely on the victory of Christ–we cannot do it on our own. It is not a one time thing but a daily exercise. (See 1 Corinthians 9: 24 – 27) Hebrews 12: 2 Run with endurance We can overcome because Jesus has overcome. (John 16: 33 I have overcome the world) Hebrews 12: 2 Run with endurance
Revelation 11: 7 Here the beast overcomes the two witnesses.
There are battles that are encountered in the Christian walk. OUR INHERITANCE HAS A DIRECT CORRELATION TO OVERCOMING.
2: 7 2:11 2: 17 2: 17 2: 26 2: 27 2: 28 3: 5 3: 5 3: 12 3: 12 3: 12 name 3: 21
He will eat of the tree of life
He will not be hurt by the second death
He will be given hidden manna
He will be given a white stone with a new name written on it.
He will be given authority over the nations
He shall rule the nations with a rod of iron
He will be given the morning star
He shall be clothed in white garments
Christ will not erase his name from the book of life.
He will be made a pillar in the temple of God
He will not go out of the temple
Christ will write on him: The name of His God, the name of the city of His God, His new
He will be granted to sit down with Christ on His throne.
Revelation 21: 7 He who overcomes shall inherit these things, and I will be his God and he will be my son.
Incredible promises to the overcomers.
1 John 5: 4 “for every child of God defeats(overcomes) this evil world and we achieve this victory through our faith. It ends with us not loving our lives even to the point of dying (Revelation 12: 11)
Challenge to be an overcomer in the areas challenged in these letters. 1. Ephesus 2: 1 – 7 The Church without Love
The letters are all written to the angel (pastor) of the churches. They are written to the whole church, but it is the responsibility of the leader to let his people know what is happening.
REVELATION OF JESUS
Already given in Revelation 1. Jesus holds the leaders (They belong to God) He walks among the lamp stands. He is the central focus of the churches.
- labor and toil, patience; steadfastness
- hate for those who do evil
- a ready detection of false teachers;
- Patience under suffering
B. INDICTMENT Vs 4 spiritual apathy See the difference of one generation of Ephesians 1: 15, 16
When a heart for God cools we quickly degenerate.
C. THE CORRECTION for spiritual coolness 5a
Remember the earlier days when love abounded (Prodigal son remembered the relationship he had with his father)
Have a decisive break with your present attitude (Repent means to change your direction) Do act of love for each other (Not just warm fuzzies) They were already working hard, they have lost love for each other.
IF YOU FAIL expect sudden judgment and removal 5b
E. COMMENDATION for hating enemies of the truth Vs 6
Nicolaitans = idolatry and sexual immorality (See Revelation 2: 14,1 5)
F. The invitation and promise of verse 7
1. Tree of Life Eat from Jesus who is the tree of Life.
2. Paradise is understood as the place where God lives. (Heaven is where God lives) 2. Smyrna 2: 8 – 11 Church in the Midst of Suffering
REVELATION OF JESUS
1. First and the last Vs 8 Yahweh
- Smyrna won the privilege of building the first temple to worship the dead emperors in
- Small step from worshipping dead emperors to worshipping living ones.
- Domitian (AD 81 – 96 first emperor to demand the term LORD used for him. he also put
John on the island of Patmos.
2. First to rise from the dead. Place where they were worshipping dead emperors.
- Poverty because of their faith in Jesus. Livelihood taken from them (See Hebrews 10: 34)
- Persecution is coming from the Jewish people who hate them, not from the Romans. They
are called as coming from the Synagogue of satan. (Compare this to the true Jew who has a
relationship with Jesus Philippians 3: 3)
- They are rich. (Pastor of church is Polycarp who is a disciple of John’s disciple and one of
the proof that the gifts did not stop with the disciples)
B. INDICTMENT None
C. PROMISE OF A MORE INTENSE PERSECUTION. 10a 10 day trial is coming upon them.
D. COMMENDATION 10B – 11
reward is eternal life. They can terminate life here on earth but never eternal life. Deny Christ here and you die eternally.
Crown = stephanos is given as a trophy to a winning athlete and also worn at marriages and special celebrations.
3. Pergamos 2: 12 – 17 The Church in compromise. REVELATION OF JESUS VS 12
The one who has the sharp double edged sword. Pergamos had three temples dedicated to Roman emperors. It was also the political capital of the province of Asia. Jesus is showing them who really has authority.
They live where satan has his throne. Intensely hard place to live. Held onto Jesus even when Antipas was killed.
B. INDICTMENT 14 – 15
They are holding on to the teaching of Balaam.
Even in a difficult environment, they are called to be pure.
There are two attacks against the church. Persecution and compromise.
Repent = given to five of the seven churches.
Here judgment begins in the house of God comes forth. I (Jesus) will come and fight against us with the sword of his mouth. (to compromise truth is to incur wrath)
D. COMMENDATION Vs 17
Christ’s invitation and threefold promise
1. 2. 3.
Hidden manna (John 6: 41 bread from heaven that the world knows nothing about.) God showing himself through every experience
White stone. acquittal, invitation to a banquet, sign of friendship. Whatever it is it is a sign of something good
name written on it. Name between God and you.