Churches of Thyatira and Sardis (Rev 2:18-3:6)

Thyatira: The city of Thyatira was situated fifty-five kilometers southeast of Pergamos and eighty kilometers inland. Its proximity to Pergamos explains why the doctrines of the Nicolaitans also infiltrated this group. Christianity reached Thyatira at an early stage but the details of those distant events remain unknown.

The city produced a dye used in the production of a purple fabric highly prized around the Mediterranean. The woman Lydia converted by the Apostle Paul at Philippi was a dye merchant from Thyatira (Acts 16:14). Continue reading Churches of Thyatira and Sardis (Rev 2:18-3:6)

Ephesus, Smyrna and Pergamos (Rev 2:1-17)

The First Three Letters (2:1-17): The first three “letters” form a distinct unit, as indicated by the order of the concluding exhortation and promise at the end of each message (Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum).

Each letter ends with the exhortation to “heed what the Spirit is saying” followed by a promise to “the one who overcomes” (2:7; 2:11; 2:17). This order is reversed in the final four “letters” to Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea. Continue reading Ephesus, Smyrna and Pergamos (Rev 2:1-17)

Letters to the Seven Churches – Introduction

SYNOPSIS:  The visitation of Jesus to each of the Seven Churches prepares the reader to understand the visions that follow the letters to the churches of Asia.

The book of Revelation is addressed to first-century churches in seven cities in the province of Asia in western Asia Minor. John was commanded to send each one a copy of the entire book. The visitation of Jesus to each church prepares the reader to understand the visions that follow in the rest of the book.

Whether the seven churches shared one copy among themselves, or each received a separate copy, is not relevant. Someone was designated to read the book in its entirety to each assembly (“blessed be he who reads and they who hear”). Continue reading Letters to the Seven Churches – Introduction

FIRST VISION – SON OF MAN

SYNOPSIS – The visions begin with an image of one “like the Son of Man” walking among the seven churches of Asia – Revelation 1:9-20.

The opening vision centers on Jesus Christ and his care for the churches of Asia. At least one assembly was facing imminent persecution. John did not begin by holding up his apostolic credentials; instead, he identified himself with the plight of the seven churches – He was their “fellow-participant” with them in the “tribulation and the kingdom.

Continue reading FIRST VISION – SON OF MAN

REVELATION – PROLOGUE

SYNOPSIS – The Prologue presents the basic themes of the book and declares that the season of fulfillment has arrived – Revelation 1:1-3

The first paragraph of Revelation presents its purpose, key themes, main characters, and how it communicates. The purpose is to reveal. The protagonists are GodJesus, and the “his servants.”The book is “the prophecy” and its source is God. The contents of the book concern “what things must come to pass),” thus providing the chronological perspective (“soon”). And, last by not least, how Revelation communicates (“he signified”) and applies passages from the Hebrew Bible.

Continue reading REVELATION – PROLOGUE

Russia is NOT Rosh, Gog or Magog

Synopsis: The book of Revelation identifies “Gog and Magog” – The nations from the four corners of the Earth Revelation 20:7-10.

The prophet Ezekiel was commanded to prophesy against a coalition of nations intent on invading ancient Israel, a force led by, “Gog, of the land of Magog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal” (American Standard Version). In some popular interpretations, the figure named “Rosh” is identified with Russia, therefore, the book of Ezekiel predicted a Russian-led attack against the modern nation of Israel, or so it is assumed (Ezekiel 38:1-9). Continue reading Russia is NOT Rosh, Gog or Magog

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