The Seven Churches – Part 2
This chapter is based upon Revelation, Chapter 2 and 3
Before we begin, Welcome to Revelation Speaks Lesson series. I am glad you have chosen to study the book of Revelation with us. If this is the first time you have seen this series, then I invite you to review the other lessons before completing this lesson. With each lesson building on what has been taught in previous lessons it is important to start at the beginning. You can click here and it will take you to the introduction page and previous lessons. At the end of this lesson I have my email listed so you can submit additional questions on this lesson or any previous lesson. Now let us begin!
In the previous chapter, we learned that the span of prophetic time covered by the seven churches began with John’s day and ends with the second coming of Christ. We also focused on the first three of the seven churches: Ephesus, Smyrna, and Pergamos.
In this chapter, we will explore the remaining four churches: Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea. A detailed chart on the seven churches will be found at the conclusion of this lesson.
To review, the first three churches cover the time period in history from the apostles to 538 A.D. As we have seen each church is given a commendation and the first and third were also counseled. For Ephesus this was a warning to remember, repent, and return. Why because they had lost their first love and have fallen.
To Pergamos was given the commendation to hold fast to Jesus’ name and do not deny His faith. Their rebuke was that false teachings were beginning to come into the church. This was equated to having the doctrine of Balaam. Balaam through the kings of Moab and Midian got the children of Israel to commit fornication.
We haven’t really used or defined the word fornication up to this point, so now is a good time to do so as it will be used quite frequently from this point forward in our lessons. Fornication means illicit connection between the church and world. Israel of old was God’s church in the ancient world and Balaam got the people to of Israel to compromise their beliefs and begin to take on the practices of Moab and Midian. A problem that continued to plague the Israelites for several centuries.
Smyrna was the only one of the three churches that did not receive a Rebuke. It is because this church was dead, and came to life. Because it had come to life it suffered terrible persecution at the hands of the Jews and the Romans. The church at Smyrna was told to “Hold Fast, be Faithful Unto Death”
Each of the three cities were promised a reward. For the Ephesians it was to eat of the three of life. For the church at Smyrna it was to remain faithful until death and receive the Crown of Life and to not be hurt by the second death. For the church of Pergamos, all those that repented would receive “manna to each, white stone, and a new name which no one knows.
Manna: Symbolic of spiritual life in Christ now, and eternal life in the hereafter
White Stone: The white stone and black stone were symbols of justice in the ancient world. When a person was brought before a court of justice and the ruling was handed down the person that was accused of a crime was handed a black or white stone. Black when the accused was found guilty and white when found innocent. But not only was the person handed a white stone that stone had his name engraved upon it. In this way he could prove his innocence.
New Name: In the Bible a person’s name often stands for his character, and a new name would indicate a new character
No Man Knoweth: The experience of spiritual rebirth, of the transformation of character, can be understood only by personal experience.
(The Church in the Wilderness) A.D. 538 – 1500s
The forth church was Thyatira. It was located some forty miles southeast of Pergamum. It was the smallest and least important of the seven cities. It had no special religious or political significance. However, it was an important commercial city, especially known for its dyeing industry and its manufacturing of the royal purple and woolen goods. Lydia, the seller of purple in Philippi who was the first Christian convert in Europe was from Thyatira (Acts 16:44). The citizens of the city were mainly poor laborers, as opposed to those living in Pergamum.
Thyatira was known for its trade guilds. Guild members were expected to attend the guild festival in the pagan temple and to share a common meal which would largely consist of meat offered to the guilds patron god; the festival often ended with drunkenness and immoral activities. Those who refused to participate in the meals would suffer ridicule and the hardship of social isolation and economic sanctions.
Read Revelation 2:18–29.
1. For what five things did Jesus commend the church of Thyatira? Revelation 2:18, 19
a. _____ Works ___________ d. _____ Faith _______________
b. _____ Love ____________ e. _____ Patience ____________
c._____ Service __________
2. At what time in their history were they most active in their good works? Revelation 2:19b (last part)
Answer: Your works, with the last that are more than the first.
NOTE: The “good works” of this church grew better, but they increasingly embraced tradition, substituting the human for the divine.
Thyatira was the church of the wilderness. The church at that time accepted so many of the pagan practices that the truths of God’s Word were forgotten or ignored. The Roman church now influenced the state to persecute those who remained loyal to God and His teachings. Many of God’s true followers fled into the wilderness. In order to escape this terrible persecution, groups such as the Waldenses, the Huguenots, and the Albigenses left their homes for the mountain retreats of Southern France and Northern Italy. Near the close of the Dark Ages, the Reformation brought a renewed interest in the bible. Truths forgotten for centuries were brought to light.
To bring this more into focus: in the last church, the church of Pergamum, we saw that false teachings had begun to creep into the church. This is brought out in Revelation 2:14 where it talks about the teachings of Balaam who taught Balak to cast a stumbling block before the sons of Israel (see Numbers chapters 22-25 with chapter 25 showing what happened to the people). Earlier we used the word Fornication to describe this relationship that was building between the Israel, the Church, and the practices, traditions, and teachings of the world. This same compromise between the church and world was taking place again. The practices of false prophets which Balaam represents and the Nicolaitans which are the practices of the world were merging together within the church.
Now a new entity is being introduced. Let go to our next question to see what is happening.
3. Whom did God say had corrupted the church of Thyatira? Revelation 2:20
Answer: That women Jezebel who calls herself a prophetess.
NOTE: The text says that Jezebel “calleth herself a prophetess.” But she was not speaking for God! Jezebel was a heathen Phoenician princess whom King Ahab of Israel married.
“As a priestess of Baal, Jezebel set herself to introduce sun worship to Israel, and she succeeded. Almost the whole nation went into idolatry (see I Kings 16:31-33). . . . This marriage of Ahab to Jezebel, and the subsequent apostasy of Israel, was a type of the time when paganism would come into the church and the head of the church became the head of the state. Sun worship, the foundation of pagan worship, came with all its trappings into Christian church and is still perpetuated among certain groups.” – Unfolding the Revelation p. 31
4. What were the sins that Jezebel brought into Israel which god felt were so heinous? Revelation 2:20; I Kings 21:25, 26; I Kings 16:31 – 33.
Answer: To commit sexual immorality and eat things sacrificed to idols.
NOTE: The pagan practices of the Nicolaitans and the Balaamites and Jezebel were being brought into the Christian church to please the pagan converts and disassociate Christians from the Jews. The basic concept of some of these pagan groups was the abandonment of all laws, thus allowing complete self-expression. They viewed the law as restrictions limiting freedom. Idol worship, eating meat offered to idols, immorality of the most degrading kind, sun worship, and obeying man – made traditions instead of obeying god were often practiced. Mixing religion and paganism brought spiritual corruption into the church.
It is interesting that with each successive change in the church, the church moved from the stumbling blocks of Balaam to the complete disregard of God’s law with Jezebel. Much the same way as it had been in ancient Israel.
Yet something very important is mentioned in I Kings 19:18. Yet I have reserved seven thousand in Israel, all whose knees have not bowed to Baal, and every mouth that has not kissed him.
Elijah had thought he was the only person left in all of Israel, yet God pointed out to him that He had preserved seven thousand. A remnant people that remained faithful.
This might be a good time to bring the term remnant into focus. We think of remnant as something which is left over. Perhaps a truer idea of what a remnant is this. That which still resembles the original. In ancient Israel, 7000 had been preserved, and in the church of Thyatira there were those that were still like the original. They remained true to teachings of God and refused to compromise their beliefs.
5. What will happen to those who are guilty of these crimes against God if they do not repent? Revelation 2:22, 23
Answer: Cast her in a sickbed with great tribulation, Kill her children with death.
NOTE: God does not say that everyone in the Thyatira church will be punished, He says that He will search the mind and heart of each person and give to each of you as your work deserve. There was a group in Thyatira who remained faithful to God. But those who refused to repent were to be punished.
6. What comforting message did God give to those in Thyatira who had remained faithful to Him? Revelation 2:24 – 28
- I will put upon you none ___ Other burdens _____________________________
- Hold _______ Fast what you have till I come. _____________________________
- To the overcomer He will give ____ Power over the nations ________________
- And I will give him _______ The Morning Star ______ see verse 28
Note these words of comfort God has given to His faithful followers.
Psalm 55:22, Cast your burden on the Lord, for He shall sustain you; He shall never permit the righteous to be moved.
I Thessalonians 5:21, 22 Test all things, hold fast what is good. 22 Abstain from every form of evil.
Revelation 22:16 I, Jesus have sent My angel to testify to you these things in the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, the Bright and Morning Star.
Christ is that Morning Star. He is shining brighter and brighter until He fills our entire heart.
II Peter 1:19, And so we have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in the dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.
Job 38:7 When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?
ADDITIONAL NOTE: Lucifer Means Light Bearer and according to Job 38:7 Lucifer and the pre-incarnate Christ used to sing together in heaven.
NOTE: To those who refuse at any cost to compromise their obedience to God with worldly culture, Jesus gives the promise that they will reign with Him, “the Morning Star.” Here we find the King of kings and Lord of lords inviting us to be His friend and companion and to rule with Him throughout all eternity! What an invitation!
(The Church of Reformation) A.D. 1500s -1790s
The fifth church is Sardis, meaning “that which remains.” The city of Sardis lay halfway between Philadelphia and Thyatira on the main highway. It rose sharply 1,000 feet from the valley below and seemed impregnable. But Cyrus the great in 547 B.C. conquered the city by sending a volunteer to scale the high rock walls of the mountain and open the gates from inside, while everyone was sound asleep! Then, in 218 B.C. Antiochus the Great conquered the city again, in the same way! The inhabitant – again – were sleeping!
7. In what interesting way did Jesus describe the church at Sardis?
Answer: Alive but Dead – (Asleep)
NOTE: What a succinct illustration for the church of this era! Sardis had been a dynamic congregation when the disciples were alive, but as time passed, things became “ho-hum,” and finally Jesus said, “You have the reputation that you are alive, but you’re dead, and you don’t know it. You are like the people in Sardis; you are all sleeping and no guard is on duty, and no one is working.
What does it mean to be asleep spiritually? Read II Timothy 3:1-5; Ezekiel 37:1-14; and Matthew 23:13
II Timothy 3:1-5 gives the character traits of those professing to be Christians that are dead spiritually. Matthew 23:13 describes what the religious leaders in the time of Christ were doing to the people. These religious leaders were not about to enter heaven with the attitude they possessed, but they were also preventing others from entering heaven as well.
This typifies the attitude of the people and religious leaders during the time of the church of Sardis. Yet there were still a few, they were dead, spiritually dead and like Ezekiel preaching to the dry bones, suddenly there was life among the people.
The prophet Ezekiel gives us a vivid portrait of a valley full of dry bones. Ezekiel is instructed to prophecy to these dry bones. And while prophesying the bone begin to move, sinew and flesh begins to grow on the bones and finally breath signifying life comes back to these dry bones. This signified what needed to happen and actually began to happen when the reformation began to take hold. There was an awakening in Christendom.
On the night before Jesus’ crucifixion Jesus instructed his disciples to watch and pray (see Matthew 26:36-46) Yet, the disciples were sleeping.
Twice the city of Sardis had fallen to their enemies. They had fallen because they failed to remain vigilant and were found sleeping. Each time the city fell because the people were sleeping. Now the message to the church of Sardis is that the church will fall as the city fell because the people are sleeping. God does not want us to be the sleeping church. He wants us to awake and be watchful.
So, what does it mean to be asleep? To be alive but dead. Similar to the way it is when we get a good night sleep. We fall asleep and the next thing we know the alarm goes off and it is morning. We were alive, but asleep. Often referred to as being dead tired.
8. What advice did Jesus give to his sleeping congregation? Revelation 3:2, 3
Answer: Be watchful and strengthening the things which remain, that which is ready to die
NOTE: Their condition was serious, but correctable. Jesus said, “Come alive! Get to work! Be alert!” It was while Sardis slept that the enemy came and overthrew them. Don’t be like that, Jesus warned – Be watchful! Hold fasts what you know to be right and repent of your sinful, sleepy, do-nothing condition! In today’s vernacular, we might say, “Get with it!”
We touched on this a moment ago in Matthew 26:36 – 41, What did Christ tell His disciples? Be watchful and pray lest you enter into temptation.
9. What were they to remember? Revelation 3:3
Answer: How you have received and heard; hold fast and repent. Watch for I come as a thief and you will not know what hour.
Perhaps Jesus when he gave the disciples the parable of the ten Virgins in Matthew 25:1-10 had Sardis in mind for they were prepared, but they all fell asleep and by falling asleep some became unprepared.
NOTE: The Reformation was an act of the Lord. It is doubtful that biblical Christianity could have survived without it. However, like Israel of old, the people quickly forgot God’s leadings and settled for the forms of truth without the power of it. Hence, later reformers found many reformation churches in almost as great a condition of apostasy as the medieval church from which it had been reformed.
10. What word describes those who refuse to defile their garments? Revelation 3:4
Answer: for they are “Worthy”
11. What do you think “the garments” represent? Revelation 3:18
Answer: Wedding Garments or Christ’s Righteousness:
To NOT have Christ’s righteousness is being dressed in filthy rages and filthy rages is iniquity
Matthew 22:11-22; The Wedding garment
Revelation 16:15; Blessed is he who watches and keeps his garments lest he wake naked and see his shame.
Revelation 19:8; Fine Linen is the righteous acts of the Saints.
Revelation 7:13–14; Those that came out of great tribulation and washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
Psalm 104:1 – 2; 1 Bless the Lord, O my soul! O Lord my God, You are very great: You are clothed with honor and majesty, 2 Who cover Yourself with light as with a garment, Who stretch out the heavens like a curtain.
Genesis 3:8-11, The fall;
Speaking about the fall of Adam and Eve, Genesis 3:7 has this startling description. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings.
As long as they remained faithful to God, they were covered with this covering of Christ’s righteousness. Christ righteousness was a pure white covering of light. We see this with Jesus when upon the mount of Transfiguration, (see the texts listed below). Our first couple suddenly saw they were naked and attempted to sew fig leaves together.
Have you ever thought, “Why fig leaves?” Because fig leaves have a natural glow about them and they hoped by covering themselves with the leaves that they might convince God that nothing was wrong. God saw through these man made rags. Mankind had traded in their robes of righteousness for nakedness that they attempted to cover with leaves that thought would cover them, but off course they didn’t.
When Christ died upon the cross, He gave us the right to exchange our rags for robes, robes that have been washed in the blood of the lamb.
ADDITIONAL NOTES: Mark 9:2-3 Mount of Transfiguration. Matthew 16:28 – 17:13, Luke 9:27 – 36; and II Peter 1:16 – 18 Their very being was shining with God’s glory.
NOTE: “Being clothed with white raiment is explained in other scriptures to be a symbol of exchanging iniquity for righteousness. (See Zechariah 3:4, 5). Take away the filthy garments from him,’ is explained by the language that follows, “Behold I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee.” ‘The fine linen,’ or the white raiment, ‘is the righteousness of the saints.’” – Daniel and the Revelation pp. 384, 385
12. Whose name will remain in the Book of Life? Revelation 3:5
Answer: He who overcomes
ADDITIONAL NOTE: Rev. 20:12; Exodus 32:33; Luke 10:20; Phil 4:3
NOTE: There is only one Being who can keep us from falling, and that person is Jesus Christ. We can’t do it on our own! Read Jude 24, 25
Not only does he keep you from falling, Christ also presents you as faultless before the Father. For this we should give to God our Saviour all glory and majesty for he has Dominion and power from the father forever.
(The Missionary Church of the Judgment Hour) A.D. 1790’s – 1840s
Philadelphia, Modern Alasehir is the youngest of the seven cities. It is located some twenty-five miles southeast of Sardis. It was situated on a high volcanic plateau, making it a strong fortress city. It was founded by Pergamenian king Attalus II (159 – 138 B.C.), whose love for his brother Eumenes II gave him the epithet Pheladelphus; it was after him that Philadelphia (“brotherly love”) was named. This prosperous city on the imperial post road. From its inception Philadelphia was intended to serve as a missionary city for the promotion of the Greek language and culture to the area of Lydia and Phrygia. Its geographical location, however, made it the subject to occasional earthquakes; in particular, the severe earthquake of A.D. 17 devastated Philadelphia together with Sardis and other surrounding cities.
The church of brotherly love. The sixth church we will study is Philadelphia. Philadelphia lay due north of Antioch and on the roman highway between Laodicea and Sardis. It was built on a hill overlooking two valleys. Its name means, “Brotherly Love” a name given to it be King Attalus II of Pergamos in memory of his older brother, King Eumenes II. The city remains to this day on the same spot. This church received commendations from Jesus, but surprisingly no rebukes!
12. What key is Jesus holding when He speaks to the Philadelphia church? Revelation 3:7
Answer: The key of David
NOTE: The Son of Man (Jesus Christ) is the rightful heir of David’s throne; since He is about to take great power and reign, He is represented as having the key of David.
13. How does Jesus use this key of David? Revelation 3:7
Answer: He (Jesus) opens and no one shuts, and shuts and no one opens.
NOTE: The heavenly sanctuary has two compartments called the “Holy” and “Most Holy.” The key is a symbol of access. As the living, divine Christ, Jesus has access to both the Holy place of the sanctuary and the inner apartment – the Most Holy place. The last work of Jesus before He returns to Earth is a work of judgment before the “Mercy Seat,” which sits above the ark of the covenant in the Most Holy Place
Before we continue with the study, please read Revelation 6:10 and Isaiah 22:20-22.
We will explain these two scripture passages after answering the question below. But as you read the next question and its scripture reference keep what you have just read in mind.
14. What did Jesus say He had set before the Philadelphia church? Revelation 3:8
Answer: He (Jesus) opens and no one shuts, and shuts and no one opens.
NOTE: Remembering that this is taking place in the heavenly sanctuary which leads to only one conclusion. The door opened by Christ’s kingly key is the door to the last compartment of the heavenly sanctuary. The Philadelphia church is the church that discovers the great truth about Christ’s final ministry in the heavenly sanctuary – the church that begins announcing to the world, “God’s judgment hour has arrived!” We will study much more about this heavenly judgment in future studies
Revelation 6:10 and Isaiah 22:20-22 give us insight into this door. We have not studied in depth the Sanctuary that was built by the Israelites while encamped at mount Saini. We will be looking at this is greater detail in future lessons. But to give us a glimpse at what is happening in verse 8 of Revelation 3, we need to carefully look at Isaiah 22-20-22
King Hezekiah is faithful to the God of heaven and the king has a faithful servant Eliakim. So trusted was this servant that Hezekiah entrusted him with the Keys of David. This gave Eliakim total controls over the affairs of the kingdom. He had as much power as the King himself. He was even in control of the king’s storehouse
We will come back to this in just a moment, but first we need to look at Revelation 6:10 and then tie things together. Revelation 6:10 reads: “And they cried with a loud voice, saying, ‘How long, O Lord holy and true, until You Judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?’”
It is clear by Revelation 6:10 that the judgment period has not started yet. Before the church of Philadelphia stands an open door. This door has been opened before them and they stand gazing into the Most Holy Place and upon the Storehouse of God.
I can hear some of you say, “Wait just a second, I have read ahead and realize that within the Most Holy Place there is only one piece of furniture and that is the Ark of the Covenant which is covered by the Mercy Seat.” You are indeed correct, for the Ark of the Covenant along with the Mercy seat that sits upon the Ark is indeed in the Most Holy Place.
Jesus and God coexist along with the Holy Spirit as supreme rulers of the Universe. Yet the Holy Spirit defers to Christ’s authority and Christ defers to God the Father’s authority. Yet Christ, came and died for our sins and for this he has been called the faithful servant. God the Father being King of the universe gives his authority to His faithful servant, Jesus, who now opens the door to the storehouse of God’s mercy which is illustrated by the Mercy seat sitting upon the Ark of the Covenant. Isaiah 22:20-22 beautifully illustrates this passing of the key of David from King (God the Father) to Faithful Servant (which is Christ).
As we will see in future lessons, those that have been slain because of their faith in God are asking how long till the earth will be judged and they are given the answer, in just a little while. Wait just a little longer because the faithful servant is about to receive the Keys of David and He will open the door that no one can shut and once opened the world will be judged.
What does this door represent? I Corinthians 16:9; Colossians 4:2-3
Answer: The opening of the scriptures, especially the Old Testament. But there are also adversaries to the truth.
I Corinthians 16:9; For a great and effective door has opened to me, and there are many adversaries.
Colossians 4:2-3; 2 Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving; 3 meanwhile praying also for us, that God would open to us a door for the word, to speak the mystery of Christ for which I am also in chains.
The church of Philadelphia had the opportunity to study the Bible for the first time in what had been several centuries. The Bible had been cut off or taken away from the common people and all teachings, weather true or false came from the religious leaders. But now the truths of the Bible lay open before the common person. As the doors of the New and Old Testaments were opened before them, they began to understand the prophecies of Daniel and the other prophets that had been hidden away for centuries.
This gave them a glimpse of the heavenly sanctuary that had been shrouded in mystery by earthly teachers. They now looked through the open door that had been opened by the Jesus, the Faithful Servant of God the Father. As they studied, they saw that Jesus opened before them the door to storehouse of Mercies.
What a spectacular opportunity the church of Philadelphia had. Let’s see in lessons to come if they had the ability to walk through this door that had been opened before them.
16. Even with “little strength,” what two things had the Philadelphia church done? Revelation 3:8
Answer: Kept My word and have not denied My name
17. Because they followed Christ’s command to preserve what was the church spared? Revelation 3:10 – 12
Answer: From the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world.
Please Read Revelation 7:14-17; Matthew 24:21; and Daniel 12:1
As we have seen in these texts there was a great tribulation coming upon the world, unlike anything which had been before. The Church at Philadelphia was faithful and performed what has become known in history as the great awakening. Yet as we will see in future lessons, when bitter disappointment comes upon this little band of people, they grew faint and many lost their way. It was because of this that the church of Philadelphia was spared the final tribulation that would come upon this world.
Yet out of the church of Philadelphia, these few that remained faithful discovered some of the greatest Bible truths.
As we will discover in lessons to come why this church failed, and why so many lost their way. Why was there such a bitter disappointment?
Rest assured, God was happy with the little band of people that sparked the great awakening. The Church of Sardis was alive but asleep, so the church of Philadelphia was alive but weak, and as the middle 1800’s approached, another church emerged.
As we have said before the number seven in scriptures denotes perfection or completeness. But at first you would think there was nothing completed or little in the way of perfection found in this seventh church. Yet only seven churches are mentioned, and as we will soon see earth’s history is completed with this church and as there has always been throughout the history of this world, there is a remnant.
A remnant is that which has the qualities and characteristics of the original for it is part of the original yet little remains of the original. As we shall see, God has His faithful remnant, a people that have the qualities and characteristics of the original and it is these that will suffer through until Christ returns.
As Matthew 24:31 states, For then there will be great tribulation such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no nor ever shall be.
(The Lukewarm End-time Church) A.D. 1840s – second coming of Christ)
Laodicea, the seventh and final city on Christ’s correspondence list, was a business person’s paradise. It was enormously wealthy and was very proud of that fact. When an earthquake laid the city low around A.D. 60, Laodicea did not, like other towns accept disaster relief from Rome. Instead it rebuilt itself at its own expense.
Much of Laodicea’s wealth came from commercial and banking interests. Significantly, an expensive black wool, soft and glossy, was marketed there and processed into prized garments and rugs. Laodicea was also famous for a medical school and for an eye ointment made from local ingredients. It was a resort town too. Hot springs bubbled out of the hills a few miles to the south. By the time the hot water reached the city by-way-of an aqueduct, it had become lukewarm, sickening to drink but just right to bathe in.
18. How does the faithful and true witness describe the Laodicean church? Revelation 3:14 – 16
Answer: Neither hot or cold instead lukewarm
What words does Jesus use to describe how He feels about the Laodicean Church? Vs.16;
Answer: I will vomit you out of My mouth
Although God says I will vomit you out, there is still time. There is still time for this church to become colder or hotter.
19. How did this church feel about itself? Revelation 3:17
Answer: I am rich and in need of nothing
Read Psalms 49:6; Revelation 18:11-19.
The Laodicea was a very wealthy community. As we saw earlier when the community was devastated by an earthquake they did not require outside help to rebuilt, instead they financed it themselves.
Yet, for all their wealth they are unable to redeem themselves. Nor can anyone redeem another. Conversion is a personal things and no amount of corporate or personal wealth will gain us a spot in the Lamb’s Book of Life.
Eventually the merchants of the earth will weep and mourn for their riches and their merchandise will be no more. They have accumulated and sold gold, silver and precious stones of all kinds, and prospered at the works of their own hands. What they had longed for is gone and in its place weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth for in one hour all this will pass away and those that have clung to their riches and been a seller of these false riches will find that they are all worthless.
We will learn more about what causes this economic collapse in future lessons and how spiritual Babylon is found wanting.
20. What prescription does God give this church to correct its ills? Revelation 3:18
- to buy from me gold refined in the fire.
- to buy White Garments to cover your nakedness.
- and to apply eye salve that you may see.
Buy from Me Gold refined in the fire: Christ councils the church to buy from Him gold. Even in the face of being vomited out of Christ’s mouth there is still time for this church to give up their pride and self-deceptive condition. Buy from me gold refined in fire that you may be rich.
Psalms 112:1-3 tells us; “Blessed is the man who fears (loves) the Lord, who delight greatly in His commandment.” These verses continue to by promising the descendants of those who follow the commandments of God will be mighty on the earth. The generation of the upright will be blessed. They will be blessed and will have riches in his or her house and his righteousness endures forever.
James 2:5 Reinforces the fact that it seems easier for the people that are poor in material things to be rich in spiritual faith. By being spiritually rich because of their faith, they are heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who Love him.
Finally in I Peter 1:7 explains that the genuineness of your faith is much more precious than earthly gold which parishes, because your faith like gold has been purified in the fire of affliction so that you may be found to praise, honor and glorify the revelation of Jesus Christ.
WHITE GARMENTS: Isaiah 1:18; “Come now, and let us reason together,” says the LORD, “Though your sins are like scarlet, They shall be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They shall be as wool.
The Laotians were famous for their black wool which they wore proudly to signify their wealth and importance. Yet Christ says of this church, Buy from me a White Garments in order to cover the shame of your nakedness. Nakedness is the symbol of idolatry or iniquity, while Robes of White garment or linen is frequently use as the symbols of purity or of salvation and Christ’s righteousness. Christ is asking that the people shed their robes of black wool which are used in an attempt to cover their own nakedness. This nakedness is a symbol of their unrighteous character. Their inability to attain righteousness of their own doing. It is only when we exchange our rages for the robe of Christ’s righteousness, robes that have been washed in the blood of the lamb that we can possibly achieve the glories of heaven.
Revelation 16:15 and Matthew 22:11-14 all talk about our need to put on or keep our robes of Christ’s saving righteousness to cover our wretched and miserable condition of spiritual nakedness.
Eye Salve: What this church needs above all, however, is eyesalve to anoint their eyes, so that they may see and understand their true spiritual condition. This is evidently what the church in Laodicea needs the most. Only when their eyes are opened will the Laodiceans be able to see that they are not what they claim to be. The author of Psalm 119 prayed: “Open my eyes that I may behold” (119:18). In the same way, Paul prayed for the Christians in Ephesus that God would give them “a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints” (Eph. 1:17–18). What the Laodiceans need is the discerning and working influence of the Holy Spirit in their lives.
The Laodiceans are not left in a hopeless situation; they are still given an opportunity to repent. As many as I love, I discipline and reprove; therefore, be zealous and repent. This is a direct allusion to Proverbs 3:12: “For whom God loves He reproves, even as a father, the son in whom he delights” (Job 5:17). Christ loves the Laodiceans, and in his love he disciplines and corrects them. Paul says that we are “disciplined by the Lord in order that we may not be condemned along with the world” (1 Cor. 11:32). The purpose of divine discipline is further explained by the author of Hebrews:
My Son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor faint when you are reproved by Him. For those whom the Lord loves He disciplines, and He scourges every son whom He receives. It is for discipline that you endure; God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline? But if you are without discipline, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate children and not sons.… All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness. (Heb. 12:5b–11
I Corinthians 2:14; But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
I Corinthians 12:4 – 11; 4 There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. 5 There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord. 6 And there are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all. 7 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all: 8 for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit, 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit, 10 to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. 11 But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills.
Hebrews 5:14; But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.
The Holy Spirit is the eye Salve pointing us in the direction to go and distributing spiritual gifts. And it is when we allow the Holy Spirit to work in our lives that we will be able to eat solid food and discern both that which is good and that which is evil.
NOTE: “To people who thought they were rich, He (Christ) presented Himself as a source of true riches. To people who thought they had the remedy for all sorts of eye trouble, He offered the only effective eye ointment. To people who thought they made some of the finest garments in the world, He offered the White, not black, robes of His own righteousness.” – God Cares Vol. 2 p. 114
21. What precious promise is made to the last church? Revelation 3:20 – 22
Answer: Come in and dine with Him and to those that overcome, I will grant them to sit with Me on My throne.
NOTE: Yes, even this “lukewarm, insipid” church can come alive! It can overcome! It will shine . . . like the stars forever” (Daniel 12:3). There is good news! It will become totally committed. It will catch on fire for the Lord! Don’t you want to be a part of this church that comes alive?
REVELATION 3:20 – 22; Behold I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me. To him who overcomes, I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.
The church of Laodicea starts out with the distinction of being a lukewarm church. Neither hot nor cold. One the Christ wants to vomit out of his mouth because of all the impurities he can taste in the church.
God is asking, buy refined gold from me. To those that keep His commandments. Spread the Good News of the Gospel and put on the robe of Christ’s righteousness and allows the Holly Spirit to lead them, he has promised that they will have the same characteristics as the church that was before them. They will not only have the same characteristics but they will have the power the earlier church did not have. They will become like the Church of Philadelphia yet better for they shall become like the Apostolic Church. A church that can cause mountains to be moved and the world to be turned upside down.
ð I want Jesus to come into my heart so I can become a radiant, loving Christian who’s on fire for the Lord.
ð I choose to be a true, vibrant Christian spending time each day studying about Jesus and witnessing for Him.
SUPPLEMENTARY READING: God Cares, vol. 2 pp. 89 – 106
Hope you both enjoyed and learned from this and past lessons. If you should have any question regarding this lesson or pervious lessons, please email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Please put in the subject line Revelation Speaks and in the email from what lesson your question from. I will do my best to answer in a timely manner. I hope you will continue to enjoy this series.
|The Seven Churches of Revelation|
|Church||Date (Approx.)||Meaning of Name||Complaint||Compliment||Promised Reward|
|1||Ephesus||A.D. 31 – 100||Desirable Lovely||Lost first love||Hate deeds of Nicolaitans||Tree of life|
|2||Smyrna||A.D. 100 – 313||Sweet fragrance, Myrrh||None||Rich in Good works||Crown of Life, Escape second death|
|3||Pergamos||A.D. 313 – 538||Height, elevation “by Marriage”||Tolerance of Balaamism, Idolatry and Immorality||Not denied Christ’s name or faith||Hidden manna, White stone, New Name|
|4||Thyatira||A.D. 538 – 1500s||Perfume of labor, Sweet savor of Sacrifice||Tolerance of Jezebel, Idolatry and Immorality||Good works, love, faith and patience||Power over the Nations|
|5||Sardis||A.D. 1500s – 1790s||Those escaping or remaining||Dead Works||A few are not defiled||White raiment, Book of Life|
|6||Philadelphia||A.D. 1790s – 1840s||Brotherly Love||Little Strength||Kept Christ’s Word; Not denied Him||Kept from the hour of trial, Pillar in temple, Name of God|
|7||Laodicea||A.D. 1840s – Second Coming||Judging of the people, or, A just people||Lukewarm experience, Spiritually poor, blind, and naked||None||Sit with Christ on His throne. Sup with Christ|