letters

The Seven Churches (Part 3) – The letter to Smyrna


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The city of Smyrna was about thirty-five miles north of Ephesus. It too was a wealthy city, second only to the afore mentioned city south of it. Today though Smyrna still exists yet under a new name. It is the third largest city in Turkey and is called Izmir. It was a commercial center at that the end of the first century since it had a good harbor.

Revelation 2:8 – and to the angel of the church in Smyrna write: “The words of the first and the last, who died and came to life.”

CHRIST THE ETERNAL ONE. When the Glorified Christ called Himself “the first and the last” He identified Himself with God, who in the first chapter of Revelation was referred to as “the Alpha and the Omega.” This statement showed that not only was He the Son of God, but was as well God even though He has taken human form as is denoted in the next part of the salutation. He was the one “who died and came to life.” This shows that even though He took human form He has always been and always will exist since he rose from the dead upon the third day.
By Him dying and rising also shows God’s love for all, by the fact that Christ came down and suffered for our sins and became our replacement for the death we all so deserve. However, He rose from the dead as we are promised to stand a live before His Father the Lord God, clean and unblemished by the sacrifice of His blood.

Revelation 2:9 – “I know your tribulation and your poverty (but you are rich) and the lander of those who say that they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan”

Those that followed Christ in the city of Smyrna were under persecution. To the point that they had been denied the ability to possible work within the city making them destitute. They most likely resorted to menial tasks to get by and survived, but still stayed loyal to their belief in God and His Son the Lord Jesus Christ.
Amongst those that were against them were those that were once of Jacob, but had abandoned their belief in God to a belief in the world and all that includes and so they embraced their new master Satan.

Revelation 2:10-11 – “Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and for ten days you will have tribulation. Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. The one who conquers will not be hurt by the second death.”

This persecution they were experiencing was only the beginning of their trials. They would strife and hold onto their faith and become strong in their belief that God and His Son are both real.
It is recorded that approximately sixty years later the bishop of Smyrna named Polycarp was burned alive on a Saturday, for the historian and commentator Ryrie states that the wood gathered was in part was provided by the fallen away Jews that gathered this wood on the Sabbath.
Even though under persecution Jesus exhorts them to stand fast to their faith and belief in Him. For by doing so even though it may last their entire life upon this planet it is remember that this life here is like the blink of an eye to what the rest of our true life will be like in length. For Jesus promise them the “crown of life” another reference to eternal life. All life that will last billions of years.
The persecution the church as a whole was also in the process as it was for those at Smyrna. It continued until Constantine granted Christians the freedom of worshiping within the Rome Empire in the early part of the fourth century.

The Seven Churches (Part 2) – The letter to Ephesus


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The letters to the churches begins in chapter 2 of the book of Revelation. Now to understand the letters we must understand the cities themselves and the time period. The book of Revelation was written in the last decade of the first century A.D. Sixty years after Jesus walked upon the earth. John is an old man now and exiled to the isle of Patmos by the Roman Emperor Domitian. Most that has actually seen Christ are old like John or have gone on to be with Christ if they called Him their Savior.
Ephesus at the end of the first century was the most prominent city in Asia Minor. In fact all seven of these cities, either ruin or still standing in some form, are found within the boundaries of Turkey.
Of the seven churches Ephesus is the only one of the seven churches mentioned in the book of Acts, as well as having a letter sent to them that become a part of the Bible, the book of Ephesians. Evidence supports that pastor at large for Ephesus was Timothy of first and second Timothy, but as mentioned before most that actually had walked or met Christ were gone now.
The state of the church in the 90s A.D. were the next generation of people that chose to become Christian. Most were raised from birth on the tales and stories of the miracle worker know as Jesus Christ that rose from the dead, but they had never actually seen Him.

Revelation 2:1 – To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: “The words of Him who holds the seven stars in His right hand, who walks among the seven golden lampstands.”

CHRIST THE SOVEREIGN JUDGE: The Glorified Christ is shown here to be holding the seven stars or angels of the seven churches, as well as He walks amongst the seven golden lampstands which are the churches themselves. This to me means Christ Himself as toured the churches first hand and is fully prepared to comment upon their state and what He thinks needs to be done in each to correct any issues that are found. The holding of the stars means that not only that He has authority over the churches, but they are in fact sanctioned to exist under His blessing. So those within it have stated they wish to be a child of Christ and have bowed before Him and asked Him into their lives.

Revelation 2:2-3 – “I know your works, your toil and your patient endurance, and how you cannot bear with those who are evil, but have tested those who call themselves apostles and are not, and found them to be false. I know you are enduring patiently and bearing up for my name’s sake, and you have not grown weary.

COMMENDATION: Christ as seen that those in Ephesus have been diligent in their faith and have even tested those that paraded themselves to be messengers of Christ, but were found to be false. So here Jesus finds things happening within this church that please Him and so it states has such.

Revelation 2:4-5 – “But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent.”

INDICTMENT: The word “love” used here is “Agapen” is the deepest most meaningful type of love and because they have fallen from this first love they were seen by Christ Himself as of having a major problem because he used the word “repent” meaning to turn around, do a 180.
When Christ walked amongst us He added two commandments to the ten we already had. The first and most important of these was to Love God with all our heart, mind and soul. To love God with the human trinity to show love to the Holy Trinity. To love God though His the Son the Lord Jesus Christ so completely means we are to place God first and foremost in all that we do. Every single action that we do must be done thinking of: “How would Jesus do this?” “How would God want me to do this?” Every single action we do in our lives and every single day of our lives.
These were teaches that this church knew for the gospels had been in their possession at this time, and they had heard these very words spoken of from within them.
This re-emphasizes just how important it is to live like an image of Christ 365 days a year not just on Sunday or when it is convenient. For Christ Himself says to “repent” for they had strayed away from their love for Christ. They hearts had cooled for God and thus opened the door for a falling away and due to this falling away Jesus threatened to remove their lampstand. The lampstand was removed in 431 when the last inhabitants of Ephesus were forcibly removed by the Turks.

Revelation 2:6 – “Yet this you have: you hate the works of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.”

Who the “Nicolaitans” were no one knows. The mere fact that any true history of them has ceased to exist shows just how much Jesus Christ despised them, for all we have left of them is a meager mention of their name twice in this book and both times it is not in a flattering light.

Revelation 2:7 – “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who conquers I will grant at eat of the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.”

Here we see that not all will hear the words and understand them and that this message is given through the Holy Spirit. Those that do hear and overcome are promised to eat of the “tree of life,” in other word granted eternal life in the service of God.
Here we see how as a church as a whole at the end of the first century was starting to drift away from Christ. For they had not seen Him. They did not know Him as a person, but a tale told to them by their elders. This is true now as well in many. They see God and Jesus as a story, a fairy tale. Not realizing Jesus was real and there is evidence that still exists that say yes Jesus is real and what He did was real as will and what He offers to all is just as real.

When writing letters to those out there in the world


As one who in essence is writing letters, I come to understand what made those that wrote the letters to the churches do what they did. Mainly they were separated by distance. In at least two cases the one writing the letters was imprisoned and unable to go to those they were writing these letters that later become the New Testament.
In my case I am unable to travel to those that have read my post due to obligations that require me to stay where I am. In several cases I am incapable of travel to them since at this time I have reached fifty two nations; one or two of them I never thought I would ever see that they have bothered to read that I have written but they have. Some come back time to time and look once again at what has been added. Most likely, many never return, but that is ok. At least once they read something that may have impressed upon them something that will come back to them in some other way. This is how God works at times. Planting little tidbits here and there, within their minds, till one day one of these seeds sprout and spread the love and joy of God throughout them. They realize that if not me than someone or something made them understand and accept God. Then they turn to His Son Jesus Christ and become saved.
I encourage and challenge those that are reading at this very moment to go pick up and Bible and read it. Learn the teaching of Jesus. Try to understand that they are still as relevant as they were when He first spoke them. Yes start with the New Testament but then turn to the Old and read it as well. For everything within the Old points to the New and to Christ.
2 Timothy 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 17 That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.