Revelation - Lesson 6

The Seven Churches (Part 3)

Messages to the churches in Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis and Philadelphia.

Lesson 6
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The Seven Churches (Part 3)

  • There is a wide range of interpretation of the book of Revelation because of the nature of visions. When John writes Revelation, he uses a pool of images that are familiar to him and his readers and we need to take into account what the images meant to people at the time.
  • Apocalyptic literature is based on the idea that the natural order is set within a larger content of a spiritual reality and that the dynamics of the spiritual realm play themselves out in the physical realm.  Apocalypse is a message from God regarding what God is about and what he is going to do.

  • The occasion for writing Revelation was the vision John had and the situation of the seven churches. John is trying to describe a scene in which various scenes are being played out simultaneously. John emphasizes the importance of living out your theology, as opposed to only being doctrinally correct.

  • John had a vision of the Son of Man. He had a message for the church at Ephesus.

  • Messages for the churches at Ephesus, Smyrna and Pergamum.

  • Messages to the churches in Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis and Philadelphia.

  • A message to the church at Laodicea and a vision of Jesus as a Lamb who shares the throne with God.

  • A vision of God the creator and the redeemer Lamb.

  • A vision of the seven seals.

  • A vision of the seven trumpets.

  • This lesson dives into the idea of encountering God in the world, warns about the destructiveness of sin, and presents a powerful angelic figure symbolizing God and Jesus as triumphant over fallen Babylon, with a mysterious aspect of the vision.
  • A vision of the seven trumpets. Chronology of the origin and development of the teaching of the rapture and dispensationalism.

  • A vision of how the death of Jesus on the cross has made it possible for us to be in relationship to God.

  • The description of the nature of Satan's war against God's children and in contrast to a description of God's redeemed.

  • A vision of the seven bowls.

  • A vision of fallen Babylon.

  • In this lesson, you gain insights into the concept of Fallen Babylon and the transformative power of the cross. It emphasizes that accepting the cross liberates you from the world's illusions, allowing you to accept your own falsity as healed and yielding to the Holy Spirit's action. The lesson challenges the idea of choosing between the world and Christ, proposing that you can choose both simultaneously, seeking unity, wholeness, and love at the deepest level of your being.
  • Dr. Mulholland answering questions from the students.

  • A vision of the victory of the Lamb and discussion of the wrath of God.

  • A vision of the New Jerusalem.

  • Dr. Mulholland's lesson delves into God's love as the core of self-discovery. False self obstructs the truth. True self blooms in faith, openness, trust, and yielding to God, shifting focus from ego to divine presence. Embrace this shift, become citizens of a new Jerusalem in a fallen world.
  • A vision of the people of the New Jerusalem.

  • John wrote the book of Revelation as a call to radical discipleship as faithful citizens of God’s new Jerusalem in the midst of a fallen Babylon world. There is no video for this lecture.

Revelation is a vision of Jesus the Messiah. John focuses on the profound depths of what God has done, is doing, and will ultimately consummate in and through Jesus. A second central theme in Revelation is the role of the cross in what God has done and will accomplish. The contrast and interaction of the "New Jerusalem" and "fallen Babylon" is also a significant theme in Revelation. Videos for lectures 7, 8 and 9 are not avialable yet. Lecture 23 was recorded in audio only. 

We think that the title of the devotional book that Dr. Mulholland reads from at the beginning of some of the lectures might be Merton's Palace of Nowhere by James Finley. Unfortunately, Dr. Mulholland is deceased so we can't confirm this. 



Dr. Robert Mulholland


The Seven Churches (Part 3)

Lesson Transcript


I love that way. Oh, yeah, man. Yeah. So, I mean, there are other forms of energy. I'm worried about. Oh, my God. Oh, my God. Oh, yeah. Yeah, I think. I think he's going to touch your computer example, you know? And then at the end, I think that it's just one of many issues where they start with a judgment. Yeah, right, right. Yeah, that's right, That's right. Yeah. I didn't know. It's like, you know, I think when you're like, Oh, yeah, I said so. But how you and have nothing to do with me being a school principal, Richard. I think that you are right. But I agree with you that. 75 years was the best. It wasn't the first time ever. Ever. All right. You got me. I cut you off there of this. And then all of a sudden, I recognize thing. Good morning. Good morning. Prayer understood as the distilled awareness of our entire life before God is a journey forward, a response to a call from the Father to become perfectly like his son through the power of the Holy Spirit. In prayer, we sit before the Gates of Eden and the self the Father created us to be, appears freed from layer upon layer of falsity and distortion in which we had become entangled and lost in prayer. We experience this going back to our origins as a going into the center of our self, where God holds both our origin and end in one eternal moment. A life of prayer involves an integrated wholeness, a vision of our entire life before God. And that may help you to think a little bit about Paul's injunction to pray without ceasing. We just stumble on that because we think a prayer is something we do.


Whereas prayer and its essence is what we be in our relationship with God. Prayer is. Now, of course, that doesn't mean we don't have intercession and petition and things like that, but those those are sort of out in the surface that that's not what prayer is all about. Prayer is really the turning of our whole being to God at the center and finding our true self, as Paul says he had with Christ in God. Prayer is being still and knowing that God is God. You just sort of examine your prayer life during Lent. You know, someone said God gave us two years in one mouth. Does that tell us anything? That says a lot about prayer, I think. How much of our prayer is going this way and how much of it is coming this way? Prayer is entering ever more deeply into the life of God within us to become what God created us, to be persons in His own image. Pray with me. Help us, Lord. Be still. Who awaken to that. Center of stillness within us where you dwell. Help us learn how to abide in you. And to live out of that abiding into the world. He chose to become attentive to your presence within at every moment. That we may live in you and you in us. This we ask in your name, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen. You know, let me work a little more here. Let's see. I think I've got some. Andrea. Right. Yeah. And Elizabeth Brown, right? Hmm. And Daniel Dellinger right smack up in front of me this morning. Right. So you see me about know if you stay there, you'll see how some of you know I have a geographical memory. I remember where you sit it before.


I remember how the face goes with the name. So let me try the next group. Ashamed Haven. Okay, Shane, in ten hour. Ten. Tony Franklin. Okay. Brian HEFFNER. Amy Excuse me. And Laura Hill, Savannah, Ga. Okay. I see how much of that sticks over the weekend. Okay. We're we we were working on the church at Pergamon and we finished talking about the the negotiations. Although this doesn't give us for sure any idea who they are, but putting them together with this this group that are teaching people who commit adultery or idolatry and fornication and food idols, it may be that they're in the same ballpark, but we don't know for sure. And Jesus says, Repent. Then if not, I will come to you soon and make war against them with the sword of my mouth. Remember that the image from chapter one again, is a sharp two edged sword, which is is the word, to be sure. But the word is that which is ultimately true. It is ultimate reality. And when Jesus is indicating here is that their falsehood is going to crumble against that reality. Jesus does not have to go in there slashing back and forth, you know, in some sort of a military imagery. And when we when we think of this, you know, later on, we're going to see the the lamb making war with the beast and the false prophet. The nature of that war is not some sort of active engagement with the enemy where the outcome is in doubt. The war is the war of reality against falsehood and in reality does not have to fight against falsehood. Reality simply has to be reality and falsehood crumbles against it. So here again, I'm going have to keep putting that thing off all during the thing.


Upgrades are great if they ask you if you want them now or not. They just go ahead and put them on and they say you've got to restart the computer. Well, later. Then he says, let anyone who has any the same kind of confusion we've seen before. Listen to what the spirit is saying to the church as plural, to everyone who is conquering the Greeks as to the one who is conquering. Let me just stop here and say we've seen this three times now. The one who is conquering. We'll get we'll get a better picture of this as we move on through it since we keep seeing it. Let me sort of just sort of jump ahead and pull some meaning back into it here for you to conquer. In John's vision is to overcome Fall in Babylon. That is. It is. It is to conquer. Falling in Babylon's worldview following Babylon's value system, Babylon's lifestyle by living in a kingdom worldview, a kingdom value system, a kingdom lifestyle that this is what conquering is all about. Conquering is having the Word of God in the witness of Jesus. It is having your inner being shaped in Christ's likeness rather than shaped in the false caricatures of the world. And from out of that inner being comes a Christlike behavior, a Christlike lifestyle. This is what conquering is all about. Conquering as being a faithful citizen of God's New Jerusalem in the midst of a form Babylon world. So the one who is conquering our gift. Some of the hidden manna. And I will give a white stone on The white stone is written a new name that no one knows except the one who receives it. Now, a couple of different imagery images are going on here.


First of all, the hidden manner in the Jewish tradition of the first century. One of the adjuncts, you might say, of the restoration of the kingdom. And remember, the restoration of the kingdom is God is going to restore the geopolitical kingdom of Israel on the promised land. But one of the corollaries of that was not only the visit king, but also God's presence would return to the temple. Jews believe that God's presence left him. You go back to the Jeremiah Ezekiel, where God's presence leaves before the Babylonians come in. And the idea was that God's presence was going to return. Part of this was an understanding that Jeremiah had taken the the manna that was in the holy of holies, and he had hit it with the Ark of the Covenant or the Ark or Covenant had the man in it. And when God restored the kingdom that the Ark of the Covenant would be recovered and put back into the holy of holies, which means the hidden manna to the man which was now hidden, would then be back where it were belong. So the imagery that John is using here, you see, he's saying that to the one who is conquering, they are participating in the restored kingdom. They will have some of the hidden mana. And then John uses next a an image from the Roman Hellenistic world. In the Roman Hellenistic world, citizens voted by using white or black stones for the ballot. Citizenship was a small group, remember? And so when when you everyone had a white stone and a black stone, and when you voted, you would decide, you know, put your hand in your pocket and get the white stone out. And then you would put it into a box No one could see, you know, when you put it in.


And then if the Stones were majority white, the motion passed. If the stones from majority black, the ballot fail. This, by the way, is the origin. Have you ever heard the phrase to be blackballed? No. You heard that. This is where it comes from. To be blackballed is to have somebody put a black ball. And in fact, it comes an earlier period where they actually used marbles, black marbles and white marbles or black balls and white balls. And if you if you were blackballed, that meant when people were voting for your admission into a group or something. The majority voted with their blackballed. You were blackballed out. So it really goes back to this. So, too, to have a white stone is a symbol of citizenship so that they are citizens in this restored kingdom where the hidden man will be back. And then he says, a new on the white stone, a new name is written that no one knows except the one who receives it. And I think what John is seeing there and here is one of those one of those sort of inferential connections with the gospel of John, because in John's gospel, John understands perhaps better than the other three gospels, the the interior spirituality of life in Christ. Where Jesus first talked about Abide in me as I abide in you. And we can go through and look in the Gospel of John and see over and over and over how how John picks out of Jesus teachings, these dynamics that talk about that interior life, that life he had with Christ, in God, use Paul's phrase. So I have a name. Remember it name biblically has to do with nature. It has to do with a person's nature.


And so a new name means a new nature. But then he says that no one knows except the one who receives it. And I think what John is pointing us to there is what the mothers and fathers of our spiritual tradition have are acquainted with over 2000 years, and that is that our true life is a life hit with Christ. In God is a deep awareness of God being our life. And that is a unique reality for each one of us. We all participate in that same reality for each one of us. It is a unique manifestation because God has created us as unique children. God didn't create a bunch of clones. So I have a new name that no one knows except the person who has it. You see, he's talking about the very essence of our citizenship in New Jerusalem. Very essence of our life in God. Our life in Christ. Okay. Any questions on Pergamon? Yeah. I'm just wondering if you recognize this throughout these seven letters in terms of the promises that are made at the Tree of Life, the crown of life, the white stone. Is it is it is there any pattern that John, developing between these promises that are being made? I don't know. There there's this your project You working on seven? Well, sort of, yeah. Yeah. I don't know. It's something to look at. You know, Is there some sort of a pattern? I've. I've wrestled with these seven letter years and trying to figure out, really, is. Is there a classic pattern of some sort? It appears as though, at least in part, there is. I hadn't considered that idea, you know, of looking at those promises to see if there was any kind of connection there.


So go with it. Yeah. Let us know what you discover. Okay. Anything else? Okay, let's. Let's move on to. What happened? I. Move on to the side here. What's. Far. Okay. And let's, uh. Let's look at C.I.A.. There's a picture of the. Territory where it is. It exists in a fertile valley. As you can see, it's quite an extensive. Valley that they live in science here and now we're moving inland. Remember Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamon what happens in Smyrna, Our coastal cities? Pergamon was somewhat inland, but still you could see the Aegean from there. But now with high terror, we're making the the bend to the east and moving inland. It was a center of trade, which means you have a lot of different dynamics coming through. Centers of trade tended to be very cosmopolitan, as in the world today, which means multiple the presence of multiple deities, among other things, movements of people in that diverse population. You don't have a bunch of natives living there, but they're a very diverse population. Textiles were one of the industries there, and we'll see. The same thing is true in Leo to see a. In when Paul comes to Philip II. One of the person the only person has mentioned by name is Lydia, who is a seller of purple from Clive here. So here is a woman who is a merchant seller of purple who I guess has pottery for a business, has moved to Philippi to carry on the trade, which makes sense because Philip buys Roman Colony. You see, we have people at the senatorial level or even at the imperial level who wore purple, could wear the purple garments. So. So Lydia is a person, obviously, that is engaged in business with the uppermost caste of the Roman system, which is an interesting feature.


This is. Just a corner of the of the forum. They don't watch. They turn the whole picture around. But they didn't. Here we go again. Oh, no. I hit the wrong one. Oh. Okay, Now we're going to back up here. All right. Well, that that'll teach me, because when I when I went to log off last night. Instead of saying shut down, it said install updates and close and I was in a hurry to get away. So I just, you know, flipped it over to shut down. So it's it's getting its revenge. Okay, let's start it again here. The time you usually get more of them takes time. Hanging from the ceiling. Yeah. Know, I got really excited. Let's just get James to see you. Just like us. I know it seems like it's installing the update now. I'm thinking it's going to take this long. Usually it's only here in New Jersey. Yeah, well. Well, you know, that's because there's this brand new Mac laptop, and he was just like. I don't know where it really started, though. He's like, Yes, they broke down. Okay. Like, I was going to give you d gravitas just like, like that, because we're talking about how we're wrong about the phrase. He's like I said, around in my head, search on 300 plus, plus a cashier's check for another two grand. I'm sure that's what the girl is going to get. You know, I can't believe you go, Oh, do you? If I didn't know the school 758 supply chain and gave me the above does that, Nancy, She's caused me to spend more money than you want. Whenever you show me something cool, you should. You should just immediately follow. Because I know you think too great you don't have the money and you shouldn't have to show it to.


You know, people can have these someday, Chris. Someday. I really appreciate. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. My wife's too late. Oh, I think. Yeah, yeah. They'll pay it all, but I just couldn't as I showed it to you. Oh, and they just take it out of your not index and pay for it and I think you know, and it'll be here in a week but. Well you don't put everything in that one. Yeah. Yeah. You know, but you know, you put everything in that now I don't pay something, I want my hard, you know. Then your personal life started getting drew started like the one where no doctor mow the lawn. Is that your backyard? Yeah, before the ice storm. You. No, no, it's not. That's a that's a a Catholic retreat center in Burlingame, California. Well, I wasn't there, and I saw. Oh, okay. Oh okay. Yeah. Yeah. Oh yeah. Yeah, yeah. Yeah. They enjoyed the volume of. It was a good performance. You know, we had some names, you would think. Oh, well, it's part of Europe and has crossed all over me. I mean, you might as well you might as well be Bill Gates. Oh, carry around. This is the rest of us are like peanut butter beans again. Yeah. Oh, I see. You bet. Okay, now back to the thigh up here. The the principal deity was Apollo, known as Apollo. Tremendous. Apollo was a sun god. And so you have the presence of Apollo all over. Another aspect of Apollo is that the Delphic oracle in Greece was an oracle of Apollo. According to mythology, it had originally been a an oracle or a site for the Earth goddess Gaya. And but in the course of the battles between the Titans, etc., Apollo defeats and takes control of the site at Adelphi and of that becomes an Apollo oracle.


The this the symbol of Apollo was the python. The snake which he had taken over from Gaya in the Philip II. We're talking about Philip II. Nice connection here, because remember the story, Philip II, a pall casting the demon out of the slave girl. And if you look at the Greek, it says she has a spirit of persona, she has a spirit of Python. She is a wandering Delphic oracle or a wandering oracle of Apollo. So Apollo was one of the same one of the major deities in the Roman world. You find a power worship all over the place. And right here, that was their primary deity, the imperial cult, of course, as we've seen in most of these cities. And remember, in this part of the world in Asia, minor the worship of the of the emperor or the king or whoever as a deity was long something of long standing. This was not something new. So when the Rome when Rome comes in and takes over, they just transfer the same worship to the emperors that they had to the kings. Again, Judaism in theater, as in all of these cities, was fairly strong. And Christianity is what we're looking at. So we'll go to Sardis next. What's. Okay, I'm now coming back to tie it here to the angel, the church, and tie it here at the messenger. Right. These are the words of the Son of God who has eyes like a flame of fire whose feet are like, burnished bronze. Any clue as to why Jesus picks that aspect of his appearance in chapter one, four or five here? Apollo is the sun God. Apollo is the God of light. So here is the one who is the son of God.


And of course, Apollo is a son of God. Who's. Who has eyes like a flame of fire. His feet are like burnished brown. Burnished bronze would be flaming bronze, fiery. So Jesus uses imagery, you see, to contrast himself to Apollo, the primary deity hired here. A letter starts as we saw the others start. I know your works. Your love, your faith, your service, your patient endurance. I know that your last works are greater than your first. Sounds pretty good, you know. But we've learned from ethicists not to get too complacent. But I have this against you. You tolerate that woman, Jezebel, who calls herself a prophet and is teaching and be guiding my servants to practice fornication, to eat food sacrificed to idols. There we are again. The same problem we saw in Pergamon. Remember, fornication Here is spiritual fornication. That is it is. It is breaking our marriage bond with God and joining ourselves two other deities. It is committing spiritual adultery. And then the food offered to idols. We've talked about that. Most likely it is dealing with want number one meat sold in the marketplace that came from pagan temples. And number two, participating in the sacred meals in the Guild, if not in in temples themselves. Now, of course, we all know Jezebel, the queen of Israel, many centuries earlier, who persecuted the prophets and the priests of Yahweh and instituted the worship of Baal in the temple. And you remember the story of Eli during this contest with the prophets of all. So this is an image that John, this is not a woman name. Jezebel is using Jezebel, you see, to to play off of the Jewish imagery, which they would remember very well. And of course, Jezebel, you see, led Israel astray and.


I gave her time to repent. But she refuses to repent of her fornication. Now, it would be nice if we knew the details of this. Obviously, the Church of T.A. knows. They know what's going on. We don't have that advantage. Beware where Jesus says I'm throwing her on a bed or on a sick bed would be a better translation. And those who commit adultery with her, I am throwing into great distress unless they repent of her doings. And there's still the the option here, you see. And I will strike her children that now when it says in the Greek is and her children I will strike with death. And is we'll see from later on. You come back when you see some of the later images of death. Is is Jesus saying that he's going to literally physically strike them dead or is he saying that they will go back into that spiritual death out of which they had been redeemed? Yeah, I think it's most likely we're talking about the latter, that they that they will. We saw the church in Ephesus that if they didn't repent, Jesus are going to take their lamp, remove their lamp stand, they would no longer be spiritually alive. They would become dead. We'll see later on with the lay of the sea. He's about to vomit them out of his mouth. So here I think what he's what he's speaking of is not physical death, the spiritual death going back into that state. Paul uses the same not the same imagery, but deals with the same reality in Romans eight when he when he says, if Christ is in you, your spirit is alive because of righteousness or the spirit is life within you because of righteousness, your body is dead because of sin.


And if the spirit of the one who raised Jesus from the dead was in you, the one who raised Christ, Jesus from the dead will make a live your dead body also through the spirit that was within you. Therefore, Paul says, we're no longer debtors to the flesh, you see, to the to the the deadly life of of self-reference ness. The flashlight for he says. And Paul says, for if you continue to live according to the flesh, you're about to die. It's very clear there. He's not talking about physical, that he's talking about spiritual. That is. Then he goes on. But if by the spirit you put to death the needs of the body, you will live. So Paul is talking about spiritual realities here. And I think that this is what we're seeing here. And we'll see other examples of this further on. Again, it's one of those cases where you get something here and along along the way you discover, oh yeah, yeah, yeah, that gives a better picture what we're dealing with. So I think we're dealing with spiritual death here. Isn't zapping them, you know, when they fall down that. But rather they're going to go back into that spiritual death out of which they had had been redeemed. And then this is interesting. And all the churches will know that I am the one who searches minds and hearts. And I'll give to each of you as your works deserve. Here's that works thing again. We'll just keep it in the back of your mind. Now terror is the central letter you got three on. We've seen three before. There are three more to come. This is the central letter. And you get this little sort of this little aside.


At this point, all the churches will know that I am the one who searches minds and hearts. It's not a matter of the outward appearance you see, but rather of the inward condition, the inward state of of our being. Then to the rest of you in fire Tierra, who do not hold this teaching, who have not learned what some call the things of Satan to you, I say I do not lay on you any other burden only hold fast what you have come. And here we see an interesting dynamic, if you will. Let me let me back it up a minute to pick up the verse. Yeah. You tolerate that woman Jezebel. That seems to indicate that this is a church that is divided into three parts. There is Jezebel and her followers. Okay. Those who are following her teaching. Those are the ones that are going to going to spiritual death unless they repent. Then there are those who do not participate in that activity but tolerate it. You know, they're tolerant. You know, they're pluralistic. Well, you know, you do that and I'll do my thing. They tolerate it. Then there is this third group. The rest of you. Who do not hold this teaching. Which means they don't tolerate it. Okay. So you got you have three different groups apparently here. So the rest of you who do not hold this teaching, who have not learned what some call the deep things of Satan. That's a puzzle, too. Of course, Satan has to do with fall in Babylon. So is this some kind of, you know, libertine ism continue to say in the grace manner about or deals with enrollments that they understand. You see, they they they go of the whole spiritual realm.


They've got it all figured out. And think they're okay. Well, we don't know for sure. Mm hmm. But anyway, these people do not tolerate going on hold to the teaching of Jezebel. They have not learned what it was she's teaching. And to you, I say, I do not lay on your any other burden. Only hold fast to what you have until I come. And you sort of wonder if this isn't the group that he is praising back at the beginning. Know they're their faith and their love and their service, etc.. And then again to the one who is conquering and say and continues to do to do my works to the end, I will give authority over the nations. Who rule them with an iron rod as when clay pots are shattered. Even as I also received authority from my father to the one who is conquering, I will also give it the morning star. Now notice here you have a very compounded section again in the previous one. The one who is conquering wrongs don't notice how this one is expanded. Again, this is the central letter, and I think that has something to do with his expansion, the war, everyone who conquers and continues to do my work. You see that living as a new Jerusalem citizen in the midst of the fall of Babylon world. I will give authority over the nations. Now, you got to remember that the church in the first century exists within a Roman Empire that looks absolutely invincible. I mean, Rome is at her heyday. We're talking about the golden age of Rome's history. You know, from the second century on the ad, things just went downhill. But in the first century, Rome was at the height of her power.


She looked absolutely invincible. It's sort of like, well, one time years ago I was back in 1985, I was teaching revelation in Soviet Estonia. And I tried to tell them I use as an illustration, Now, your fall in Babylon is the Soviet Union. You know all their heads now. Yeah, yeah, yeah. They knew it, you know, all past Akuma sitting about where Jeremiah is. He's spent six years in the Gulag in Siberia because he refused to stop evangelizing. My. My translator standing beside me, had been arrested by the KGB over 60 times. After I left, he was arrested, interrogated for three days. Many of the people in the room had had loved ones taken away in the middle of the night and never saw again. They knew the Soviet Union was their fall in Babylon world. Well, as we'll see when we get over into Chapter 17, we see that the fall in Babylon carries within it the seeds of its own destruction. And I and I said to them, Now, now the Soviet Union is going to crumble. No, no way. Know It's never going to happen. Too powerful, maybe. Maybe our great grandchildren might see something like that. It's hard to know. It's never going to happen. They didn't. They saw the Soviet Union as this huge, monolithic, imperial, you know, impervious thing that was there for in Babylon. And they just had to live in it. And it was never going to change. This is the way it was for for the Johns readers. And the Roman world that they lived in. So when when Jesus says, I will give authority over the nations. You see that? That that would that would really. How do you get your mind around that? You mean authority over Rome, You know, over this fallen Babylon world? Well, Jesus saying, Yeah, because that world will crumble.


But here we are, 2000 years later. Where's the Roman Empire now? History books. Where's the church? Alive and well, maybe not too well in some place, but it's alive and it still exists. It's still exists. The gates of hell have not rebelled against it. You know, all every series of form in Babylon from 2000 years has not been able to overcome the church. I think this is what Jesus is, is pointing them to and then to rule them with an iron rod as when clay pots are shattered. Matt That's a good illustration. An iron iron was the hardest thing. They knew an iron rod didn't mean. It's another image of this reality of God is truth of God against which all that is false crumbles. And here you got the idea of shattering clay pots. You know, if a clay pot meets an iron rod, what's going to happen? Who's going to win? You know, obviously, the iron rod is going to win. And so the reality and remember, Jesus is one of the sharp two edged sword. He's going to war with them, you know, with the sword of his mouth. This this reality is that against which every incarnation of fallen Babylon is going to crumble. Like a shattered pot. And then I would I would give you authority, even as I also received authority from my father. So you see, what he's saying is that the church is saying to the church here and to the church as and to us that we are part of his authority. That we are a part of that which is ultimately real. And even though the world around us seems to be more real, it's not. It is an illusion. It's a falsehood. I don't know how many of you saw the movie The Matrix? The first one.


It went downhill after that. The first one. The first one is a wonderful parable of what it is to be a Christian, you know? And you see, the world was an illusion. Brian Babylon is an illusion. It's a value system. It's it's it's worldview. It's lifestyle will crumble. No fall in Babylon of Western capitalism will crumble, maybe crumbling right before our eyes, you know. But it's not the kingdom. It's not the kingdom. Then then Jesus comes back to two or closes off this letter with the same brief kind of statement to the ones who are conquering. I will also give the morning star. And of course, Morningstar's messianic image basically saying, I will give you myself. And then where? Yeah. And then the same ending that we've seen in the others. Whoever has an ear to hear, let them hear what the spirit is saying to the churches. But notice how this one has been expanded. And I think that the reason for that is this. If there is a classic structure, this certainly shows an aspect of being the central piece because you get this expansion, you see that draws all the other churches in. You know, at this point the any any questions on thatthere. Okay, let's, uh. Let's look at Sardis. Literally. We're moving further inland now and actually from fire tear, we're starting to move a little bit to the south as well as to the east. Geographically, at one point, Sardis had been the capital of Lydia, a very wealthy nation. It says here gold was found in the river near Sardis, which was part of its wealth. Here's the Acropolis. And this is the interesting piece. I wish that picture was clearer, but I think you can get an idea of how steep the sides of this Acropolis are and that and that access to that.


See here, here, here's where the city itself was. But here was the fortified Acropolis up here. It basically was impervious. One of the interesting aspects of Sirius history is that twice in its history it was conquered. When the enemy came. Everybody, of course, went up to the Citadel on the on the heights of the fortification and closed the gates, figured they were perfectly safe. There was no way the enemy could get up there. It was too high for Catapult to throw stuff up there. You know, they didn't have planes to drop bombs or anything like that. They just thought they were perfectly secure. And so one night, everybody went to sleep. And while they were sleeping, the general of the opposing armies got from a couple of soldiers that were good rock climbers. He sent them climbing the scale. This precipice went over the walls, open the gates. The army marched in. The people woke up. In the morning, they were captured. Now, you think you'd learned your lesson, right? You know, once is a mistake. Twice is stupidity. Instant replay, not instant replay. A couple of centuries later, you get another replay of the same thing. They go into their Acropolis, they close the gates. They think they're secure. The general sends a couple of rock climbers up off the wall, over the wall, open the gates and they're captured. You think they would have learned their lesson? Well, obviously they did. And we'll see how that plays into to the letter what Jesus says to this church. There. There is I might call that plaza. Looks to me as though it would be the agora. What are they saying here? Or seriously devastated by an earthquake in A.D. 17. We're going to see John using the earthquake image throughout his vision.


For John's readers, this image is a real life image. If you know anything about the tectonics of the Earth, this part of the world, Asia minor or Turkey is sort of like a watermelon seed squeezed between your fingers and squeezed between the Eurasian plate and the African plate, which is moving north. And that's why you've got this constant earthquakes there. In our own lifetime, we've seen massive earthquakes, horribly destructive earthquakes. That was part of their world. It was part of their world. So the earthquake image is something that touches them where they live. When John uses that imagery and. It says here Rome helped them to rebuild. We'll talk about later to see in that regard shortly here. Here are the bands that are part of the gymnasium. It's a section that has been restored which gives you an idea public baths were were important. Unless you were extremely wealthy, you did not have plumbing and running water in your house. The wealthy would, but most people did not. So the public baths were a necessity. But the public baths were a major center of activities where people networked. It's where you found out what was going on. You know, it's where news was circulated as well as gossip. It's where business was conducted. This is where where you would meet persons that with whom you were going to do business. So So the baths were more than just simply a a hygienic facility. They were really very much a center of of the Roman world. And in some parts of the world, they're still there. I've taught in Kazakhstan a number of times. And the first three times I taught there, I stayed in the house of the president of the seminary, which was right across the street from the Banya Ersin Romance Republic Baths and 2424 seven.


That place was always crowded, you know. And again. Now, here is a is a culture where almost everybody had running water. You know, they they could they could bathe at home. Why did they come to the public? That's again, because of the networking, because of carrying on business. And it was really great because, you know, if we were trying to get anywhere in the city, if we were off somewhere and they did have taxis, but they were exorbitant. So what you did, you just took the side of the road, you know, hold your hand up and somebody would stop and you dicker with them as to how much. But all we had to say was Bonnie Ericsson. They knew exactly where we were going and then tell us how much. And we agreed. We get in and go, and if not, we wait for the next car to come by. So a public man's not we're not only significant in Roman world and parts of the world, they're still significant today. We talk about the gymnasium as not only the place of exercise, but also where the school was here. Here's a picture of the synagogue in Sardis. I think this is the only city where we have remains of the Jewish synagogue. Now, this is this is from a later period. This is from the third century. But we know that there are Jewish presence there earlier than that. So it could well be that this third century synagogue is simply, you know, a rebuilding of an earlier synagogue that had been on the same site. The temple of Artemus Hartman is also worshiped. And we've seen it. The major temple is in emphasis, but Artemus is worshiped in other places as well. Fourth century BCE is the date of this.


You see some of the Acropolis again in the background. Another view of the. Worship of Artemus. Saad has had a temple to Hara was the queen of the gods. Harrow was with Zeus's wife, and Saad has had the temple too, to Hara the imperial cult, again as we've seen in all of the cities. Judaism was there, and of course we're looking at the beginnings of Christianity in Sardis. Now let's look at the letter to the messenger of the church in Sardis. Right. These are the words of him who has the seven spirits of God and the seven stars. Now, we saw in John's introduction, Your Grace to you in peace with the one who is who was and is to come in from the sevenfold spirit of the seven spirits before his throne. And from Jesus the Messiah. And of course, we saw Jesus standing on the lamb stand with the seven stars in his right hand. So the imagery again, comes from that, from the first chapter. But when Jesus says. The one who has the seven spirits of God. You're getting a linkage here, and I've suggested that probably a better way to translate that would be this, the fullness of the Spirit, the Holy Spirit. So John here is linking now Jesus with the Spirit. Later on in chapter four, we're going to see him linking God with the Spirit. And I note in chapter one, remember, you have God, the one who is who was in his account, the seventh Holy Spirit and Jesus the Messiah. An unusual order. Usually it's God, Jesus spirit. But here we have God, Spirit. Jesus. Then you have this, you see, linking Jesus to the Spirit in chapter four, linking God to the Spirit. And you almost wonder if part of the the problem that may be arising here at an early stage later on in the second century, we see that Montanez, who is an early charismatic movement, a heretical movement, whether maybe already in these churches, the Holy Spirit was beginning to take precedence over the Father and the Son.


And that this, you know, John, may be seen as vision, a corrective to that dynamic. We can't be sure of that. But if anybody runs across anything along that line in your in your project, let us know. And Jesus says, and of course, that and the seven stars are the seven churches. And again, an emphasis that the seven churches, you know, are in his presence and he is in their presence. I know your works. Now we we this is the first of the bad churches. We see it in the good churches. He knows their works and it's just praise. We saw that in Smyrna. No, no critique in the ugly churches. We've seen all three of the ugly churches now. I know your works, but. Now here is a bad church. Notice me says I know your works. And there's no praise at all. You have a name of being alive, but you are dead. And is. They have the facade of being a church, but they're not really. They're dead. Wake up, strengthen what remains and is on the point of death. For I've not found your works perfect in the sight of my God. The wake up. See, this is the city twice got captured because they went to sleep. Wake up. You know, I don't imagine this was lost on the church. Its artists wake up and strengthen what remains. Remember then what you received and heard. Obey it and repent. If you do not wake up, I will come like a thief and you will not know at what hour I come to you. Another allusion to their capture twice in their history. And then you still have a few persons in Sardis who have not soiled their garments. They will walk with me, dressed in white, where they are worthy.


So, you know, he says they're at the point of death. But apparently you have a small cell of life that is still extant here in this church. Now, here is the first place where we start talking about clothes, about garments. And those who are clothed in white robes here. Walk with me, dressed in white. I think I mentioned earlier you could tell who a person was by the clothing they wore, you know, the purple stripe, the scarlet stripe, etc.. So a person's clothing in some sense is an outer manifestation of who they are. So the idea of of a person's garment. Is the outer manifestation of who they are. So being dressed in white, you see, is a manifestation of an inward purity, of an inward wholeness. For they are worthy. Jesus says. That is, they are faithful citizens of New Jerusalem. And then. You're the one who is not. If you can't, that's not what it says. Of you can read. Look. Ha! Nicole. The one conquering bus will be clothes like them in white robes. And I will not let your name out of the book of life. Here's the first where we get to the book of Life idea. Paul talks about the book of Life. I was not the only one. We're going to see it back in chapter 20. And in the center, we're going to see The Lamb's Book of Life. The book is The Life of a LAMB that was slain before the Foundation of the World in 1380, which is sort of the archetypal description of what this book of life is. You see, at this point, you just drop in the book of life. And of course, the Jewish readers would have an idea of that.


So if you're if you are in God's covenant community, then your name is in the Book of Life. This is different from the books, you know, the ledger that's kept on your on your good and bad deeds. Okay. We'll see how John unpacks this as we go on. Okay. So but also note, if you are the one who is conquering, I will not blot out their name from the Book of Life. Again. Jesus is very Wesleyan. Mm hmm. You can get your name erased. There's no internal security here. There's not one saved. Always saved. Your name can be expunged from the Book of Life. And for the one who is conquering, I will confess your name before my father and before his angels. And of course, the name of a believer is also Jesus name, because our true nature is Christ likeness. We have to grow up in every way, Paul says, and he moves ahead into Christ, and then it closes the same as the others. Let anyone who has an ear hear what the spirit is saying to the churches, plural again. So this this is the first of the bad church. The churches almost totally accommodated the fall of Babylon. Although it has a few who have not soiled their gums. What do you mean by soiling your garment, Jose? It means becoming enmeshed in the dynamics of the former Babylon world. Three questions on targets. Okay, let's let's go to Philadelphia. Not the one in Pennsylvania, by the way. Philadelphia is now with Philadelphia. We're moving south on our on our circuit. It was on a large plane. And one of the interesting things about Philadelphia. Is it was susceptible to the earthquakes. And. People probably did not generally live in the city itself.


They lived on the outskirts in one story houses so that when not if, but when the earthquakes came, the city wouldn't fall on. Because they knew there would be earthquakes. That was their history. Growing vineyards were very. The soil here was very amenable to growing grapes. And so vineyards and winemaking were one of the chief characteristics of Philadelphia. And of course, planes like these, they always had sheep which could be turned into clothing. And that becomes a significant piece at large to see, as we'll see shortly, traditional deities, zoos again, in order to notice the similarity of the picture. And Hestia, the goddess of the hearth and home. Imperial call it again. You've seen it everywhere, Judaism. There's evidences of a synagogue in the late first century in Philadelphia. And of course they were going to see the Jews have a part to play in this letter as well. And then, of course, Christianity. As we've seen. Oops. Here we go. So Jesus says to the messenger of the church in Philadelphia. Right. These are the words of the Holy one, the true one who has the key of David who opens. And no one was shot, who shot and no one opens. Now, here you get a modulation from the imagery of the first chapter. Every letter to this point, some aspect of what John experienced with Jesus in the first chapter is used to introduce Jesus to the churches. This one varies it somewhat. First of all, the words of the Holy One. Now, that does not appear in the first chapter here. Here's a new element. But then the one who has the key of David now in chapter one, Jesus has a key. What is it? Remember, he took the key of death in Hades.


The key of death and Hades. Now, the key of David, obviously, is playing into the Jewish idea of the restored kingdom, which is going to be a very kingdom. The God it promised David they would never cease to be a ruler from their descendants upon upon the throne. So it may be that what we're seeing here is sort of a modulation. If the key of death in Hades performed in Babylon is the key of David for New Jerusalem. You see that the same the same reality cuts to wait for fall in Babylon. You see, it is their undoing. And for New Jerusalem, it is their opening to it. It is their entrance into it. Then Jesus says, I know your works. Look, I have set before you an open door which no one is able to shut. I know that you have little power, and yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name. This is the second of the good churches. Notice there's no negatives here. You have kept my word and have not denied my name. And they have little power. They are marginalized. They are minimized. Then notice this. I will make those. Oops. Sorry. I won't make those of the synagogue of Satan who say they are Jews and are not, but are lying. I will make them comment about them before your feet and they will learn that I have loved you. Now, here's again that synagogue of Satan. We saw that with the other good church, Smyrna. And undoubtedly what we're dealing with is the dynamic I sketched out for you there. Here is the Jewish synagogue allying itself with the Roman authorities against the Christians so that the Jews will not lose their special privileges because as the Christians evangelize, Gentiles would say, the Roman authorities cannot make any distinction between Jew and Christian.


Therefore, the Jewish community is liable to be in trouble over Christian proselytizing. And so they join themselves with the local authorities against the Christians. So they are becoming a synagogue of Satan. They're joining themselves on Avalon. And of course, they say their Jews are not here. Here's one of the first places where you see this clear indication of Jews and Christians arguing over who is the true Israel. They say they're Jews, but they're not. They're lying. Implication is you are the true Jews. You are the true Israel. You are the restored kingdom. We've seen that in chapter one. He understands that the kingdom Jesus has restored the kingdom, but we've seen a very different way. I'll make them comment about now before your feet. They will learn that I have loved you. Of course, part part of the Jewish understanding. Not Jewish Christian, but Jewish understanding is that God loves Israel, but God hates everybody else. You know, it's one of the weird twists that they put to it. They lost sight of the fact they're supposed to be like Gentiles, you see, And they see this as their privilege status. You know, we are God's pampered pets and everybody else is just going down the tubes. So you've love them. You love them that God has loved you. You're included. I'm just going to. This is getting way ahead of myself for this question. So does this begin to contrast the the dispensation or perspective of the remnant of Israel? How God is going to use the remnant of Israel. He's got this special love or whatever. I'm not an expert on dispensation wisdom. I've read some of the Left Behind books, so I know that there's this. Does this begin to contrast? I know.


I'm getting ahead of my question. Well, you know, this is certainly can can be bent in that direction for or against. And I'm confused by your answer either way. Either way. Okay. Yeah. I mean, dispensations can see this as well. You could you could see this as and you might see this as superstition. You know, the church now is Israel. The Jews are out of the picture. Totally. And see, Paul Paul deals with that in Romans 911. You know, that's not the way it is. But here, notice the Jews and I'll make them come about down and they'll learn. And I've loved you. They're not being wiped off. Oh, man. You see. But we don't get any indication as to. Well, you know, I was just going to work out and you're like my Paul says it's a mystery. I think it's more of a mystery here, perhaps. Okay. Now, you have kept my word because now this is because you have kept my word of patience, Endurance. I will keep you from the hour of trial. That's coming up on the whole world to test the inhabitants of the earth now. There's a there's a phrase we the first time we've seen this now. Remember in the introduction, I told you that the basic identifier for the citizens of farming families, those who develop on the earth that say the inhabitants of the earth. You look at your grief. You see, it's those who dwell upon the earth. That is John's way. That's the vision's way of John's way of portraying what he experiences in his vision related to the Citizen. The Fall of Babylon. Well, at this point, he just introduces the phrase. Later on. We'll see how he clarifies what it is when we get to Chapter 13.


We'll see that that those who worship, those those who worship the beast and its imagery see this mark, are those who grow up on the earth. There's there's what you get one of the primary identifiers of this group. He's not talking about human beings living on the third Rock from the Sun. Those who live on the Earth are the citizens of Babylon, and we'll see shortly the redeemed who have been redeemed out of those who grow upon the earth. So every citizen New Jerusalem begins as a citizen upon a Babylon, but then is redeemed out of that into New Jerusalem. And of course, the you know, the time, the hour of trial is coming upon the whole world. It has the inhabitants of the earth. You know, is that ultimate reality against which fallen Babylon is humble. Falcon Babylon is, quote, tested, unquote, against that reality. I'm coming soon. And here the word here is Taku, rather than the intake that we saw or fast or what you have so that no one may see your crown. Now we have an advantage over John's original readers. However, they would have understood soon. We have to understand it somewhat differently 2000 years later. And if we take Taku, as I suggest in chapter one as. You know, God's sequence of things, God's ordering of things that when Jesus says, I am coming, Taku, it means I'm coming exactly at the right moment, whenever that is. You know, I won't I won't be. I mean, early. I won't be a minute late, you know? Exactly. At the proper time, it will happen. And then. So no one sees your crown. This is the first time we've seen Crown here as well. And if you know Greek, you'll see this word, Stefanos.


Now, drawings are two different words here. Uses Stefanos, and he uses the demigod. We get a word diadem from Dimitrov. Stefanos is the crown, but the king wears the damn heart. Is the crown princess and the princesses where it is a lesser crown. And it's an important distinction, as we'll see when we get further on. And often translations have not made any distinction here. They translate both of them by Crown, which is very, very misleading. But here that no one sees your crown or what is the crown? We don't know at this point. We're going to see later on it is the crown of life. That is it is it is the way we speak of the crowning moment, you know, as the as the the pulling together everything into what it is intended to be. The crown of life is being restored to wholeness in the image of Christ, what we were created for. So no one makes your crown fast. You see it in your your citizenship live as faithful citizens in a Jerusalem so that no one will take your crown, which you will not again very wisely, and so you will not lose your salvation. The one who is conquering. And again, this translation, this is the new revised. You know, if you conquer, that's not what it says. You read the Greeks in panic on the one who is conquering. I will make you a pillar in the temple of my God. You will never go out of it. I will write on you the name of my God and the name of the city of my God. The New Jerusalem. That look at the Greek is coming down from my God out of heaven and my own new name.


So all this imagery, you see. Good. Remember, Name. Name has to do with nature. So to write on you the name of my God, you see, that's being restored in the image of God. I will write on you the name of the city of my God, the New Jerusalem. That is your citizenship. That that is the community of the redeemed. Those who are in God's image and my own new name, Christ likeness. And then again, the same we've seen all along that anyone who has an ear listen to what the spirit is saying to the church adds to all of them. So this is the second of the two good churches. Living their lives as faithful to the New Jerusalem. And we're being exhorted to hang in there to be faithful. The question is on Philadelphia. Yeah. Just briefly on the pillar in the temple. Oh, yeah. I didn't mention it. I make you a pillar in the temple of My God. One of the. And here. Here is where we. John is. Is at least picking up part of his temple imagery. Remember, we are the priests. Chapter one. We saw that he has made us a kingdom and priests. And of course, priests function in the temple. Right? So to be a pillar of the temple is to be. And a what? A significant piece of the temple. You're not insignificant. Pillars hold things up. Okay. But we're going to see more tempered imagery. And one of the things that we're going to see when we get all the way over to chapter 21 with New Jerusalem, that there is no temple there. And that's interesting because in 1119, John sees the temple in heaven open. And in 15, one or two, he sees the temple in heaven over there, sort of the bookends of that unit.


And they say there's no temple in heaven. For God in the land or in their midst. And as he describes New Jerusalem, you discover the reason he sees no temple in the city is because New Jerusalem is the holy of holies. It's hard to see the temple when you're inside it. Okay. And we'll discover that that new Jerusalem is the citizenship. We are New Jerusalem. We are already now participants in this reality. And Paul uses the same imagery. We are dwelling place of God in the spirit of a well-known Jewish context. Where does God dwell in the holy of holies? Paul says, We are built into a holy structure, Holy temple. So John is using very similar imagery here in use of chemical imagery. So to be a pillar and I is emphasizing you will never go out of it if you are conquering it as long as you continue living your life as a citizen. New Jerusalem, faithful citizen of Jerusalem as the conquering. You'll never go out of the temple. But as we've already seen, if you don't keep on conquering, then you're going to be out of the town. I mean, by implication that that help ran. Okay. Thank you. Okay. Well, our time is about up, so we'll have to leave it there to see you for Tuesday and pick up there then. And then we'll move on into chapter four. Have a good weekend. There's still a couple of you, and I don't have your proposed project. Please get back to me and whoever has the attendance sheet, if you'd bring it up and appreciate it.