Presently I am involved in a study of the seven churches of Revelation 2 & 3, specifically at this time with the church of Thyatira (Revelation 2:29). Thyatira was the smallest of the seven cities, but it received the largest of Jesus’ letters. The church there was commended for several good things it had been doing, and Jesus even mentioned they were doing more or greater works in their latter ministry than they had been doing in the beginning (Revelation 2:19-20). Nevertheless, they were guilty of permitting a false prophetess, Jezebel (the Jerusalem authorities), to seduce his disciples, removing them from his protection and authority. Read the rest of this entry »
Tag Archives: Jerusalem
In Revelation 2:21 the Lord is still speaking to the leader of the church at Thyatira, and he is speaking about that Jezebel he mentioned in the previous verse. Jezebel is a name for those who claim to be Jews, but are not. That is, they claim to be the people of God, but they don’t obey him. They are the Jews who crucified the Lord. She was given time to repent, probably the time between Jesus’ resurrection and Stephen’s death (cir. 3 1/2 years), but they didn’t. This period was a period of relative safety granted the elect believers, as mentioned in Revelation 12:14. It culminated in spilling righteous blood, so the Jerusalem authorities simply wouldn’t repent. Read the rest of this entry »
It doesn’t seem that expelling false teachers was an option in the church of God during the first century AD. The Jewish authorities considered Jesus a false teacher, but he wasn’t expelled from the synagogues until late in his public ministry. The threat against folks who confessed Jesus as the Messiah in John 12:42 seems to indicate that Jesus must have been excommunicated late in his ministry. Luke 13:14 is the last time Jesus is mentioned teaching in a synagogue, and this occurred sometime in the third year of his ministry. The fact that the ruler of the synagogue didn’t rebuke Jesus, but did rebuke the people, seems to indicate that Jesus was being shunned by the authorities, except when it was absolutely necessary to speak to him. Read the rest of this entry »
If Jesus told the churches in Asia, especially those in Smyrna, that they were about to undergo a season of persecution (Revelation 2:10), how did he expect them to act? I find it interesting how Paul reacted to the persecution that he endured after he became a believer. He didn’t face it the same way when he found himself experiencing the wrath of the enemy. Not long after Paul became a believer, he found his life in danger, but instead of demanding his rights and going toe to toe with his enemies, he simply escaped their wrath by running away (Acts 9:20). Simply put, it may not be necessary to endure persecution every time it rears its ugly head. Paul fled his persecutors in Damascus, just as Jesus said believers should do (Matthew 10:23), and not only did Paul do so in Damascus, but he also fled his persecutors in Jerusalem (Acts 9:29-30), and again in Thessalonica (Acts 17:2-5), Berea (Acts 17:13-15), Ephesus (Acts 19:26-30; 20:1), Corinth (Acts 20:2-3), and Jerusalem a second time (Acts 23:12-23, 31), and a third time he sought to prevent being forced to go there (Acts 25:7-12). Read the rest of this entry »
Just as he had often told his disciples (Matthew 14:27; 17:6-7; 28:10), the very first thing Jesus told the church in Smyrna was don’t be afraid of anything they were about to face in his name (Revelation 2:10). There was no need for fear, because Jesus revealed himself as “the first and the last” (Revelation 2:8), so their enemies cannot do anything to them that Jesus doesn’t first allow (Isaiah 41:1-4). Moreover, he intends to show them he is with them and will help them, and, not only so, but even in their tribulation they will be successful in preaching the Gospel (Isaiah 44:1-6). No weapon formed against them will prevail, and in the end, they will judge those who judge them (Isaiah 54:17). Read the rest of this entry »
The Apocalypse never directly quotes a passage from the Old Covenant. However, according to several scholars the book’s 404 verses contain from nearly 300 to nearly 600 allusions and echoes of Old Covenant passages. For example, we are told in Revelation 1:1 that God revealed a secret that would shortly come to pass to Jesus who in turn gave it to his angel who then gave it to Jesus’ disciple, John to disclose to the Church. Under the Old Covenant, we are told that it is God who reveals secrets that would come to pass (Daniel 2:28-29), but the Lord wouldn’t do anything before he revealed his secret to his servants, the prophets (Amos 3:7). So, in the very first verse of the Apocalypse we have an allusion to at least two Old Covenant passages.
Not long ago I had believed Matthew 25:31-46 depicted a time when Jesus would judge the whole world, i.e. every man and woman who ever lived. The problem with this understanding is, it removes it from the context of the rest of the Olivet Discourse. The Olivet Discourse concerns events that would transpire in the Apostles’ expected lifetimes. Remember, the Apostles were troubled over Jesus’ prediction that the Temple would be destroyed (Matthew 23:37-39; 24:1-2). Therefore, later, four of them approached Jesus privately and asked: when these things would take place, and what would be the sign of his coming and the end of the age (Matthew 24:3). For Jesus at this point to then speak of universal judgment, i.e. every man and woman who ever lived, snatches this parable out of the context of the first century AD. Read the rest of this entry »