Revelation Chapters 2 & 3 - Tough Love Letters
Love letters are precious - just ask any woman!
Our Guide is the Lord Jesus Christ Himself - Ch.1 & 22 show this clearly, along with Daniel ch. 10. Here is unity and continuity. This Bible is one book.
Here again, within, is unity and continuity. Symbols and patterns are important! This is not a neat formal garden, rather more like a hedge maze; there is pattern and order, but its not so obvious when you are inside it! (I know - I found my way once to the centre of a garden maze, but couldn't get out again until the caretaker came to round up the lost sheep before locking up for the day.)
A table give a good overview of these 7 (tough) love letters to 7 churches in Asia. Letters to real churches (and like the other letters of the New Testament, they are sent to us in the 21st century too.) Some think the 7 churches are symbols for 7 ages of church history (and often presume we are in the last Laodicean, lukewarm, age). Is there even a hint of this within the chapters themselves? I cannot see it.
But if they are all to us, then it gels with my inner experience as a Christian; I grow cold, I need to press on, I am tempted (and I fall), and I need to open my door and welcome Him in.
Note the unities in the grid view:- it is a very helpful thing to fill in the blanks for yourself.
|Tough Love Letters|
|To:||"to the angel of the church in..."||"to the angel of the church in..."||"to the angel of the church in..."||"to the angel of the church in..."||"to the angel of the church in..."||"to the angel of the church in..."||"to the angel of the church in..."||"angel" literally means "messenger", probably the leaders of the churches. Angelic spirits would not need a written letter.|
|From:||7 stars, 7 lamps 1:20||1st & last, died & alive; 1:17,18||sharp sword 1:16||flaming eyes, strong feet; 1:14,15||7 spirits & 7 stars 1:4, 12||key-bearer 1:18||faithful witness 1:5||Clue: all tie back to the One revealed in chapter 1|
|"I know..." - the good, the bad, the ugly||good & bad||sufferings||sufferings; good & bad||sufferings; good & bad||bad & a little good||sufferings, good works||only bad||His eyes see all; Jeremiah.17:10 & Rev. 2:23|
|Command given||remember, repent||don't fear, be faithful||repent||repent, hang on||remember, repent||hang on, don't fear||repent, open the door to Him||"repent" means to change your mind, and head in a new direction, away from the kingdom of self, towards the kingdom of Jesus.|
|Consequences||dead church||a crown||conflict & correction||spiritual sickness & death||sudden ruin||kept safe||spat out, or welcomed in||-|
|"Pay attention"||"you're not listening"||->ditto||->ditto||->ditto||->ditto||->ditto||->ditto||you CAN hear without listening.|
|Promise to "stayers"||eat from tree of life||no fear in death||heavenly food ("manna") heavenly name (white stone, note 1)||reign with Christ, loved by Christ.| The "Morning Star" - see 22:16 and 2Peter 1:19 to find what this means.||safe forever; real lifetime guarantee. Note 2||home at last, happy forever.||share His throne||-|
Note 1; a white stone was given if a man was found not guilty in court. There was also the "tessera hospitalis", a white stone or tile with a friend's name on it, giving the holder the right to welcome in his friend's home at any time.!
Note 2 v5 "...I will never blot his name out of the book of life." has troubled many. It is not easy, but is consistent with Scripture, which gives us both warnings and absolute certainty together, eg, as in the book of Hebrews. 2 thoughts helped me; 1. what is said and NOT said, ie, it does not say "the one who doesn't conquer WILL be blotted out of the book of life"; it is not speaking about the one who stumbles, but the one who hangs on; "Hold on, no matter what happens, for I am you strength, and will carry you through". 2. The principle that the clear parts of Scripture interpret the less clear. I have in mind here John 10:27-29 and 1 Peter 1:3-9. Peter wept after Gethsemane, but was never blotted out.
Click here for the next Revelation article Revelation Ch 4 - The Control Room of Heaven - God as Ruler/Creator
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