THE NEW TESTAMENT
Chapter One hundred-thirty-one
The REVELATION of Jesus Christ
The first point we need to notice is that this is not other
than the revelation of JESUS CHRIST, which He gave to the apostle
John to record, via an angel. John bears witness to the things he
SAW, to the WORD of God, and to the TESTIMONY of Jesus Christ.
There is a blessing to for those who read, and hear the Word of
God, and KEEP those things which are written herein (verse 1-3).
Another very important point to notice are the phrases
"things which must SHORTLY come to pass" and "for the time is at
Some, because of those phrases, teach that the things in
Revelation have taken place, shortly after John's time, or others
will say they have taken place up to and including the "middle
They do not understand how God writes at times, and that He
often views "time" with much different eyes and mind than we
humans do. Here, within the book of Revelation itself is the
example of what I've just stated. Turn to chapter 22 and read
verses 7, 12, and 20. After all that Jesus reveals in this book,
He says THREE TIMES in one chapter, that He is coming QUICKLY!!
Obviously, to God, the span of time is often no where near
how we look at time. To us our life time, and many life times, is
long. How many have lived in the last 200 years WANTING and
THINKING Jesus would come in their life time, many indeed. We saw
in the writings of Peter that a thousand years to the Lord can be
but a day. That is a way of saying God often does not view time
as we do. When these prophetic events unfold (which are mainly to
do with the last 42 months, 1260 days, of this age, the prophetic
"Lord's day," then yes, Jesus will come QUICKLY! What is 2,000
years or so to God, since John recorded the events in Revelation?
In the eternal ages of the past and the future, they are but the
blink of an eye.
Someone tried to tell me once that the message to the seven
churches of chapter 2 and 3, were all fulfilled in John's day,
and have nothing to do with the future or "church eras" per se.
They pointed to those phrases in verses 1-3 about things "shortly
coming to pass." It is first of all disproved by the phrases I
pointed to in chapter 22 - "come quickly." Secondly, the whole
main prophetic story is "on the Lord's day" (verse 10). Thirdly,
somewhat less, but still true, is that the seven churches are in
a "prophetic" book. If they have nothing really to do with
prophecy, but only for "spiritual" lessons, then why have them in
such a book as Revelation. Being in this book would I argue
strongly indicate that there is a "prophetic message" intended.
Add to that the fact that these seven churches are
"represented" in HEAVEN with seven candlesticks and Jesus walking
in the midst of them (verses 12-13,20). This should tell us the
seven churches have MORE to play that JUST being seven literal
churches in the time of John. If they were only for seven
churches in Asia Minor, why those churches, which were hardly
well known even in John's day. Why not the church at Corinth, or
Rome? And to have SEVEN candlesticks in heaven, one for each of
those relatively unknown churches. I think there is more to it
all than something in the now distant past. Yes, of course they
can stand for seven different spiritual attitudes (and certainly
that is to teach us that lesson). But with verse 10 and the
"Lord's day" vision, the seven churches I believe are prophetic
in nature also. More on that when we arrive at chapter 2 and 3,
and one MORE IMPORTANT fact that adds weight to the churches also
being prophetic church ages.
John does write to the seven churches which are in Asia
Minor, grace and peace he sends them from the One is was, and is,
and is to come (God in Jesus the Christ is the one to come) and
from the seven Spirits which are before His throne. Verse 20
gives us the interpretation of the seven Spirits - they are the
seven Spirit ANGELS, the seven stars in Jesus' right hand are
(represent) the seven angels, one angel for each of the seven
churches. It would seem that God put a special work of an angel
over each of the seven churches, which are the seven
candlesticks, among whom Jesus walks (verse 4).
This letter also comes from Jesus Christ, a faithful
witness, and the FIRST BEGOTTEN (should understand it as first
BORN - see Col.1:15-18). When you understand it, Jesus was the
FIRST human person to ever be born into eternal life. No person
EXCEPT Christ has ever be glorified into immortal life from flesh
and blood. Enoch was not, Moses was not, Elijah, was not. That
truth is covered in detail in various studies on this Website.
John says Jesus is THE PRINCE of the kings of the earth, and
the one who LOVED US, and washed us from sins in His own blood
In Jesus so doing He has made us also into kings and priests
unto God and His Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever
(verse 6). The saints will rule with Jesus for 1,000 years
(chapter 20) on this earth. The saints born into the very Family
of God will function as a king - leadership; and priest -
spiritual guides, to the people living in that 1,000 year period.
Jesus will come with clouds (He said He would - Mat.24:30;
and so was Paul inspired to say the same in 2 Thes.4:13-16). You
may remember the angels saying He would come again in like manner
as He went, with clouds (Acts 1:9-11). Every eye will see Him.
This could certainly be possible as the earth turns. It could
also be a "general statement" - the majority will see Him when He
comes again in glory and power. They which pierced Him? Could
mean the Jews, will see Him and mourn for Him with repentance
(see Zech.12 through 13). It will eventually include even the
very persons that hammered the nails into His hands and feet, and
plunged the spear into His side. They will also one day be
resurrected and see Jesus, in that White Throne Judgment period,
spoken about at the end of chapter 20. All nations will wail
because of him, some with tears of joy, that He as finally come
back to earth, and others because the evil way of life with be
destroyed by Him, and the merchants will wail at the destruction
of there wealthy trading Empire as it is crushed and brought low
Jesus proclaims He is the ALPHA and the OMEGA (the first and
last letters of the old Greek alphabet) - the beginning and the
ending. In other words from past eternity to future eternity. He
was the One which is now, was in the past, and will come again.
He is the ALMIGHTY!
ALL THE NAMES THAT THE FATHER HAS ARE ALSO THE NAMES THAT
THE SON HAS.
Once more there is no mention of the Holy Spirit as another
third separate personal being in heaven along side the Father and
THE LORD'S DAY - THE 7 CANDLESTICKS -
WE SEE THE GLORIFIED CHRIST - WE ARE TOLD
WHAT THE SEVEN STARS ARE
John was as many of them were, partaking in tribulation, and
in the Kingdom and patience of Christ Jesus. He was exiled to the
isle of Patmos, because of the word of the God and the testimony
of Jesus Christ (verse 9).
He say he "was in the Spirit on the Lord's day" and hears a
voice, like as a trumpet. The "Lord's day" here in a prophetic
book was NOT a particular day of the week, but the prophetic
"Lord's day" mentioned in many places in the prophetic books of
the Old Testament. It may well be that as some prophetic passages
give, a day for a year in fulfilment. If so then this "Lord's
day" would be the LAST year of this age before Jesus comes again
The voice John hears says:
"I am the Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: What you see,
write in a book, and send it unto the seven churches which are in
Asia; unto Ephesus, and unto Smyrna, and unto Pergamos, and unto
Thyatira, and unto Sardis, and unto Philadelphia, and unto
John turns and sees seven candlesticks and the One in the
midst, like unto the Son of man. This indicates that the
candlesticks were INDIVIDUAL and Jesus can walk among them. As we
see in chapter 2 and 3 each candlestick can be removed, which
also indicates they are individual candlesticks.
Jesus says again He is the first and the last. He lives, and
was dead; but is alive now forever more. He has the keys to hell
and of death. Yes, Jesus said in the Gospels that He was the
resurrection and the life. He also said that all judgment had
been given to Him from the Father. It is only through Him that
death can be overcome with life. He does, He has, He IS, the key
for unlocking the grave of death.
John was to write the things he saw, the things which are,
and the things to be hereafter.
The seven stars in Jesus hand represents the angels of the
seven churches. The seven candlesticks represent the seven
churches (verses 11,12, 17-20).
THE GLORIFIED CHRIST!
If you want to know what Jesus looks like NOW, in His
glorified state of being, you will find it in verses 13-16.
He is clothed with a garment down to His feet. He is girt
about the chest with a GOLDEN girdle. His HEAD and His HAIR are
WHITE like wool, as white as snow. His EYES are like a FLAME of
FIRE. And His FEET like unto BRASS, as if burned in a furnace;
and His VOICE like as the sound of MANY WATERS. He held in His
RIGHT HAND seven stars, out of His MOUTH went a sharp TWO EDGED
SWORD; and His face was as the SUN shines in its full strength
(verses 13- 16).
While some of the description is somewhat visionary in
nature, like the two edged sword coming out of Jesus' mouth. Some
what like the "word of God" is depicted as a "two edged sword" in
other writings of the New Testament. There is still enough
description here to prove that Jesus (and hence the Father) are
NOT JUST UNSHAPED NOTHINGS, as, believe it or not, some Christian
religions actually teach. I do not know about you, but I
certainly do not worship ETERNAL BEINGS (God and Christ) that
have NO FORM or SHAPE, that have NO BODIES, but are just
NOTHINGNESS! This teaching by some, must be one of the craziest
theological teaching in all of Christendom.
I have proved elsewhere in other studies that Jesus and the
Father DO HAVE BODIES, do have FORM AND SHAPE. Moses we are told
actually saw the BACK-FORM of God in His GLORIFIED body. He was
not allowed to see His front form and face, because God told him
that no human man can look upon God's face and live.
THE SCENE IS SET IN HEAVEN
THE SEVEN CHURCHES OF THE BODY OF CHRIST
Let me say this immediately. On this Website you will find
an in-depth study concerning the SEVEN CHURCHES. It is called
"The SEVEN Churches of REVELATION." It is either under the
"Prophecy" or the "End Time" categories. As the writer of that
study shows, of course these seven churches can present seven
attitudes of mind for all Christians, for all ages. All the
examples in the Bible can have spiritual meaning for all of us,
lessons can be learnt from any passage or passages in the Bible.
And yes, as this book of Revelation was written by John, it was
to be sent to those literal seven churches in Asia Minor. It did
have a lesson for each of them at that time in history.
With all that said, there is still evidence that the message
to the seven churches is PROPHETIC. That it was to address SEVEN
time ages from the start of the church in 30 A.D. to the very
coming of Christ.
The other very strong point to prove that is in chapter
2:10, and the second time age of the true church. The people of
the Smyrna time frame, were to have 10 days of tribulation. Would
this really have been ten literal days for a literal church in
Asia Minor, that was so very close by the other churches, and not
have tribulation in any of the other nearby churches, but only in
Smyrna? I think it is a little hard to accept that teaching.
I was reading through a "church history" book some years
back. It was one of the famous "classic" books of church history
that is still obtainable today, written by Philip Schaff (8
volume set). He had no "axe" to grind, he was not even dealing
with the book of Revelation. He was just stating what Christian
history has recorded. There were many persecution times for the
Christian church as a whole, but the GREATEST persecution was
from 303 to 313, exactly 10 years! Yes, that is a fact recorded
in the history of the Christian church. As I was reading this, I
immediately remembered Revelation 2:10. It all added up as we
say. The first age of Ephesus was well on its way out, and the
second church age of Smyrna had arrived and was under way by 300
A.D. That church time frame experienced the greatest Christian
persecution in the history of "Christian" (used in the widest
To me that is prove enough that there is a THIRD way to
understand the churches of Revelation 2 and 3. The third way
being general time frame ages for the Church of God.
My view of this time frame is NOT AS the Worldwide Church of
God taught it. I will explain as we proceed. Nobody should try to
set dates in time ages with Church of God history. Those who do
(as some have in the past) are going to find they are barking up
the wrong tree, they are out on a limb that is going to come
crashing down, and they are going to have mud all over their
face. Then, what most, who can see that the "churches" of
Revelation do have time ages in them, have not seen is that time
ages can and do OVERLAP each other. Jesus preached the New
Testament covenant and Kingdom of God, WHILE the old covenant was
still in operation. The "overlapping" of church ages can be a
period of hundreds of years.
The city of Ephesus, was capital of proconsular Asia; an
opulent city on the West coast of asia Minor, located on the
banks of the Cayster and about forty miles SE of Smyrna. Its
harbor was ample. It was an ancient city. It came into the Roman
Empire in 133 B.C. Paul conducted the longest of his ministries
(two years and nine months, Acts 19:8,10). The city's importance
lay in its political prominence, its economical clout derived
from its position on major trade routes, and its religious
leadership as a center for the worship of Diana, or Artemis. The
temple of this godess was one of the wonders of the seven wonders
of the world. It was 180 feet wide and 377 feet long, and the
roof was supported by 117 60-foot columns. These were 6 feet in
diameter and 36 of them were sculptured at the base with
life-size figures. There were many Jews in the city who were more
or less influenced by Christianity (Acts 2:9; 6:9). Timothy was
the bishop of the church founded by Paul. According to Eusebius
John spent his last years in Ephesus. John opposed the doctrines
of Nestorius, and Paul opposed the idolatry of those who made or
worshipped shrines or practiced magic (19:13). His opposition
resulted in a serious riot. A small Turkish town today represents
the once noted city, which is called Ayasaluk (The New Unger's
Bible Dictionary, 1988, pp.366-367).
Here is the mention of the NICOLAITANS. A sect or party that
arose in the apostolic period of the church, they is mentioned
again in verse 15. The "nicolaitans" are compared to those who
"hold the teaching of Balaam." They were practicers of idolatry,
and the community of women was another doctrine which they are
said to have adopted, and their conduct seems to have been in the
highest degree licentious (Imperial Bible Dictionary, S.V.).
The word "nicolas" in Greek means "victor over the people."
The word "Ephesus" can mean "desirable."
Jesus, who holds the seven stars in His right hand, and who
"walks in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks, speaks. He
knows they have good works, they have labor, and patience, and He
knows how they can not bear those who do evil; and they have
tried, tested them who were saying they were apostles, but were
not as far as God was concerned. They had found those individuals
to be liars.
The way to test any man who claims to be a minister of God
is by the Scriptures. Our wonderful example is Acts 17, when Paul
was tested to see if he was speaking according to the Scriptures.
Anyone can claim "anything." Words are cheap as they say. The
acid test is do their words aline with the words of God in the
Scriptures of the whole Bible, and does their life correspond
with their teaching.
Jesus knew what they had borne, what patience they had, and
for His name they worked hard, and did not faint. BUT, in time,
they had left their first love, their zeal for Christ's truth and
Gospel got colder. They are told to REPENT! If they do not, their
candlestick will be removed.
They did hate the ways and doctrines of the Nicolaitans,
which Jesus also hated. They are to listen to what the Spirit
says, "To him that overcomes will I (Jesus) give to eat of the
tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God."
The paradise of God is explained to us in Revelation chapter
22:2,14. No private interpretation is needed, the Scriptures
interpret themselves. The paradise of God is to dwell at the
throne of God. It is to have enteral life in the very presence of
the Most Holy One.
The personal application and lesson of this church is very
obvious. Keep working hard for Christ's work of salvation and the
Kingdom. Stay with the faith once delivered to the saints. Do not
allow yourself to get complacent and having your love of God in
you starting to get cold. Continue to hate anything that is a
This church of Ephesus fits right in with the time age of
the first few centuries of the Church of God, into the late
second century. We have seen in the letters of Peter and John,
that before they died, the faith once delivered was being
corrupted. Many anti-christs had come on the scene, some came out
from within the very Church of God, just as the apostle Paul had
predicted (Acts 20).
Many had remained faithful and had tested the spirits to see
if they were truly from God. In the second century, Polycarp (a
disciples of John the apostle) took the time and energy to travel
to Rome to debate with the bishop of Rome, the practice of
observing Passover and NOT Easter, as the Roman church was then
already adopting. Then later in the second century, Polycrates (a
disciple of Polycarp) also went to Rome to debate with the Roman
bishop the same truth. But the Roman church was adopting false
doctrines and would not repent or admit the truth of the matter.
By the time the Church of God was into the third century
A.D. it was getting a cold heart, and was beginning to get
apostatized. They did in the most part hate the teachings of the
If we take the word "nicolas" as it means "to rule over
people" we see that the doctrine of the church government of
Rome, and what finally came to be called the "Roman Catholic
church" was swinging along into domineering the people. We saw
that back in John's day, before he died, in his third epistle, we
had one man taking over with dictatorial power one of the
churches of God.
The Church of God continued maybe for a couple of centuries
to get colder in heart and mind, to depart from the first love
zeal. They did not as a whole, REPENT. It was now time for faithful
people to move OUT and congregate as a body of people, that would
be the time age of Smyrna.
The candle-stick of Ephesus was removed, just as Jesus said
it would be if they did not repent!
To be continued
Entered on this Website November 2007