Revelation - Lesson 7

The Seven Churches (Part 4)

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

Lesson 7
Watching Now
The Seven Churches (Part 4)

  • 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 4)

Lesson Transcript


God calling us out of nothingness, breathes into us his own divine life and makes it our own. With a divine meekness, he invites us to respond to his power by giving ourselves to him with that same abandonment with which he gives himself to us. It is our love for God that makes us most like God. The crux of the matter is that we cannot be like God without God. We cannot take our deepest self, which is a gift from God and wrench it from God's hands to claim it as a coveted possession. The spiritual life is a journey in which we discover ourselves in discovering God and discovering God and discovering our true self. Hidden in God. I think one of the great difficulties. With the spiritual life is that we we can't get away from the from the false selves thinking that our true self is something to possess. Our true self is not something we possess and the true self is. I've come up with this image the last week or so. The true self is sort of like our I. I am seeing all of you with my eye, but I can't see my eye and the true self of Christ Self is that kind of self. It is not a self reflective identity in any way at all. It is a radically Christ referenced identity which sees only Christ and others, but not itself. And I think that is part of what Jesus is pointing out. He talks about denying ourself and losing ourself for his sake. So losing this, the self reference possessive thing we call our self, which is not our true self, not the self we were created to be self we were created to be is hid with Christ in God and hidden from us.


You know, we see with our eye, but we don't see our. I pray with me. Gracious, loving God. We we stand in amazement and are. That you give yourself to us. Would you call us unto yourself? But you desire to be our life. And we might might find our true self here with Christ in you. Where do we pray that you would help us by your grace? Who let go of this compulsive need to possess ourselves. And abandoned ourselves to you in love. That you make us. In your name, We pray. Father, Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen. Hmm. Okay, let me work a little bit here again. Daniel, we're Daniel this morning. Okay. All right. Here. Now you're close to the same place. Listen, Andrea, I know there's a place. Shane Haven, DreamWorks. Okay? And Ted Eller. Tony Franklin coming. Brian after. Amy Goodman and Laura. You'll see her. Okay. Okay. We come to the last of the seven churches they this year, which is the second of the what I call the bad church. The good, the bad and the ugly. The second of the bad churches, let's see, it was was located sort of up on a high plateau inland from Ephesus, about 50 miles or so. And the circuit were completely circled in seven churches. You know, you can do that complete circle to start to allow to see it and then head back to Ephesus and end up there. Just a few pictures here. This is a view from from another direction showing you and the ruins of later this year. But this gives you some idea of that. That's the theater. But you can see how the city has built up on this plateau. And one of the interesting features of later this year is, again, you can get an idea of its heights here or the view from here on Atlas.


Now, if you can see this white. Over here. These are our mineral hot springs. Oh, and you get a better picture of them here. One of the interesting things about land to see it is that we did not have its own fresh water supply. It had to go down into the valley below where there was a stream or a river that flowed. Plus there were springs down there to bring drinking water up. But no city in the Roman world could exist without utility water. Cities had public toilets and the way they were flushes, they just kept water running through them all the time. Also, they flushed out their streets. People did not have unless you were very, very wealthy, you didn't have indoor plumbing. And so in the morning, everybody would empty their chamber pots out into the street and then they would flush the streets. And you had to have water to do that with. And of course, there were industries that required water so no city could get along without utility water. So what they had to see I had done is that they had built a pipeline over to these hot springs near here, Propolis. And piped this this hot mineral water through that. It's about a seven mile pipeline to land to see if for their utility water. And of course, by the time that hot water had gotten to land and sea, it was lukewarm. And because of its high mineral content, you couldn't drink it. Well, I mean, you could it wouldn't kill you. But if you if you drank it, you come right back up again. In fact, it was used as an emetic to help people vomit out something that was in their stomach. Here's the reconstruction of a gate.


Now, this is this is later. This was built during the reign of Domitian, which was 81 to 96. And if we're correct in dating Revelation, sometime in the toward the latter end of the sixties, that would not have been there at that time. But you can see something of the the colonnade of the street behind that gate. This is the street to hear Apple's hit to hear yeah. That's here is. But here. Here is the. That's a street in here. Apple is. I don't know why they're showing us here. Apple is related to salmon. They were very close. It's a theater in Indianapolis that isn't all good. This is one of the local deities, men Karu And this is just a little carving of this deity. That was one of the primary deities in the area around Laodicea. And here's some more of the traditional de Jesus and Apollo. We mentioned Apollo the other day. The imperial cult again. And this that was that was a picture of Titus. And of course, mentioned Judaism. Is obviously present in later this year, and we're studying Christianity there. Now. A couple of other interesting features about later this year is that. It was noted for a luxurious black wool garment. They through selective breeding, they had developed a strain of sheep that had this wonderfully luxurious wool black wool from which this garment was made, and in some manuscripts and inscriptions, glad to see it is known by the name of this garment. It was one of its claims to fame. Also, it was a major banking center in the Roman world. It was on a north, both on north, south and east west trade routes, which meant that duties and taxes and things like that were being collected there.


So it was a very wealthy city. In fact, in the early sixties, later to see it had been destroyed by an earthquake. And Nero offered, you know, low cost federal loans, empire loans for them to rebuild. And they said, no thanks, we can do it ourselves. And they did. They rebuilt the city to a greater magnificence than before. Also, it was the home of a famous medical school. And the claim to fame on this medical school was what we call the Phrygian powders, which was a mixture of medicinal herbs that you would then mix with olive oil to make a salve that was very, very effective in treating an eye disease that was prevalent in that area. So these are some of the dynamics of Landseer which help us get a handle on why Jesus addresses this church the way he does. He begins as all the others letters to the messenger of the church and Laodicea write the words of the Amen. The faithful and true witness the origin of God's creation. Now here you get a you do not have any of this. In the first chapter we've seen that every other church has some attribute. Jesus describes some attribute of himself in introducing himself to that church through the letter. This one does not. Jesus introduces himself as the amen. And of course, Amin is a Hebrew word that means verily, truly. And then the faithful and true witness. So it's as though Jesus is establishing himself as the reality. That against which the falsity of this church is revealed. And we'll see how that plays itself out. I know your works. We've seen it. All the letters begin that way. And all of the letters begin with Jesus knowing their works.


You are neither cold nor hot. And see, this is another one where you have no no praise. Remember, we saw in those ugly churches the ones that are sort of being half, half. Jesus begins with some words of affirmation for them and then says, But I have this against you, and then describes their their accommodation to their fallen Babylon world. But in Smyrna, I mean, in Sardis and in Glad to see you. You don't get any of that. In Sardis, you have the name of being alive, but you're dead and you go downhill from there. Here, I know your works. You are neither cold nor hot. I wish that you were either cold or hot. So because you are lukewarm and neither cold nor hot, I'm about to vomit you out of my mouth. They translate that spit. The Greek word is, is vomit. That's a good way to do it. And that's what would happen if you drank that lukewarm water. Glad to see you. Burn Notice. Notice the latter two seasons. Self evaluation here. Oh. For you say I'm rich, I've prospered. I need nothing. Very reflective of their desire, this wealthy, prosperous city. And so we're seeing here that the church glad to see you. You see is is accommodating itself to the value system of the fallen Babylon world around it and live to see it. We're rich, we've prospered. We need nothing. Now, here's Jesus evaluation. You do not realize that you are a wretched, pitiable, poor, blind and naked. What a contrast. What a contrast. And you often wonder, you know, that so often our our churches and we ourselves will evaluate ourselves as well. You know, we're getting along pretty good in the Christian life. Never stopped to wonder what Jesus evaluation might be.


Hopefully not as bad as this. Therefore, he says, I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire so that you may be rich. White robes to clothe you in contrast to their black robes, you keep the shame of your nakedness from being seen and saved to anoint your eyes so that you may see. And then Jesus says, I reprove. And now that the if you look across to the Greek, those, you know, Greek, it says those those whom I love, I reprove and I nurture pride you all. We get pedagogy from this. Yeah. I those whomever I love, I reprove and I nurture. They put discipline here. Discipline is part of Pride Europe duo was the whole process by which an infant. Was fed, nursed, nourished, educated, trained, guided and grown up into mature adulthood. Is the whole process part of that process? Of course, is discipline. But. But to translate paid you or discipline alone really is not a good idea, particularly when Jesus begins by saying those whom I love, I reprove. You see, reproof is more of the discipline aspect and then nurture. What Jesus is saying here is he points out those things in their life and in our life that are inconsistent with God's will for our wholeness in the image of Christ. He proves those things, those habits, those attitudes, those dynamics of relationship, those those are those structures of our being, those ways of reacting and responding to the world around us. You know, the spirit of God reprove those in us, because these have these have no place. But at the same point that God re proves he offers nurture. It's not just, you know, Oh, you're bad, you're bad, your bad, your bad, you know.


He points out. Our failures and our fault in order to nurture us to wholeness. And remember, we're dealing with a love hate relationship with those whom I love. He still loves this church. I mean, here is a church that is so bad. Jesus says, I'm about to vomit you out of my mouth. But he still loves them and offers them nurture to wholeness. Tommy had a question. When I first read that. So how much of it do you think relates to this alternative or the Lord loves those? Is that just an indirect quote we think or. Or do you think Jesus is, you know, using the word of God to remind them, hey, don't forget the Lord? Yeah. To be sure, those steeped in the Jewish context here would remember those passages. You know, we're that we're the Lord. You know, God with whom he lives. He disciplines, you know, He trains, He nurtures. So, yeah, all of that is being pulled in here, sort of an echo. So you get this sort of this this this dual dynamic play here. Reproof on the one hand, but with the other hand nurture at that very point where there is something in our life that has been re proved right. So it is not just a matter of, you know, you better get your life together here. You know, get rid of these things in your life. No, you better let me nurture you. Into wholeness at that point of your brokenness, to heal you at the point of your woundedness, you know, to liberate you from those destructive bondage is. Raise you to life out of your deadness. All of these are the dynamics of both reproof and and nurture. He says, be earnest, therefore be zealous, that they lose these allies, therefore, and repent.


Now. To be zealous, you see, is is the response that is called for. Mm hmm. With the offer of nurture. Reason, as you see, is to is to yearn and desire and a hunger and thirst for God to do that transforming work in us. You see, you sort of have a an AB kind of structure here. You know, I reprove and I nurture be zealous, which is the response to the offer of nurture and repent, which is the response to reproof. So bizarre desire this. I mean, this wouldn't work. Well, might. Might work in this audience, I don't know, but it shouldn't. But if I pulled a lot of bills out of my pockets, I got $1,000,000 here. The first person up here gets it. You know, I probably would be trampled in the zeal and a lot of you ought to be trampled to death. Should we not be more zealous? For God to do his work of transforming grace in our lives. Shooting. I'll be zealous for this offer of nurture. God offers to to meet us in our deadness, our darkness, our brokenness, our woundedness, our bondage, and nurture us to wholeness. Should we not? Hunger and thirst for that, not desire that. More than anything else. The zealots, therefore for and repent and repentance is our response to the reproof. Now, I don't know how What comes to your mind when you hear the word repent? Most people link repentance in some way with being sorry. You know, repentance is being sorry for something you did, being sorry for your sin. But I suspect you've you've probably experienced in your own life that that being sorry doesn't do it. I suspect that all of us in this room have done something at some point in our life for which we were really sorry.


I mean, practically the minute after we did it, you know. Oh, why did I do that? I wish I hadn't done that. And we were so sorry we did it. But then the next day or the next week or the next month, we do it again. You see, being sorry didn't make any difference. Repentance is is much more than being sorry. Let me let me give you a sort of a silly illustration that to me illustrates what repentance is When when I was a student at the Naval Academy all too many years ago during the summer between our sophomore and our junior year, we had what was called Aviation Summer because in those days there was no Air Force Academy. And so the Air Force was dependent upon Annapolis and West Point for a part of their officer corps. And also the Navy had those aircraft carriers and they needed somebody to fly planes on and off the carriers. So we had Aviation Summer, we were taught to fly and we were taught to fly in old Barnstormer type airplanes, two wings, you know, with the struts in between. And propeller was up in the front. There was an open cockpit in the front, an open cockpit in the back. The instructor sat in the front, student sat in the back, and there was little windscreen. They're supposed to keep the slipstream off of you. I was a little too tall. It hit me right about here. And it was these were amphibious planes. We took off and landed on the Seven River. And when we got into these planes, you know, the only place you can see one of these now is in the Smithsonian Institution. You know, if you go to the Smithsonian, you see this biplane with with pontoons on it, and it's yellow.


We call them yellow perils. And because you might get killed in one of these things, we thought they should have been in the Smithsonian then, but they weren't. And when we flew, they we had these World War One flying helmets and peanuts cartoons, fans here. And, you know, when Snoopy flies his doghouse, you know, that helmet he wears. That's exactly what we had. Exactly what we had had these two rubber cups that came over years. We put it on the rubber cups, came over your ears, and then when you fastened your your thing under your chin, there was another rubber cup here right in front of your mouth. And all of these connected in to a little rubber to wear. When you got into your seat in the fuselage beside you, there was a somewhat larger rubber tube and you take the little rubber tube from your helmet, plug it into the tube in the fuselage, and if you shouted loud enough, you and the instructor could hear each other. I mean, this is high tech communications, right? Well, this particular day, my instructor was teaching me how to stall the plane. And when you start to stall a plane, you pull back on the stick, which puts the plane into a climb. But at the same time, you push off the power. Well, what happens when you do that? Well, of course, when it goes into a climb, it's going to go slower unless you give it more power. So if you give it less power, you go slower and slower and it drops below flying speed. And when it drops below flying speed, it sort of shudders and noses over. And then, you know, you put your stick back in the middle, put the power back on.


Theoretically, you should be flying along level. Well, my instructor did it a couple of times. You know, I just went along for the ride. And then he said, Now you put your hand lightly on the stick with your feet, lightly on the pedals, put your hand lightly on the throttle because his instruments did the same thing. Mind it, you know, sort of like a driver training where the instructor has has brakes and and that sort of stuff. So I did, I just and he needed a couple more time so I could feel how he how he moved the stick and the throttle and the pedals says, okay, now you try it. So I took the stick and put my hand pedal, you know, pedals on the throttle and pull back on the stick. Plane went into a climb, pushed off the power went slower and slower and shook just like it had for him and nosed over. When it nosed over, I put the stick back in the middle and pulled the power back on. I looked up and there was the horizon right there where it should be. And through the little pipe, I heard him saying, That was great. Good. Do it again. Well, obviously, I'm an ace, you know. I mean, I did it perfectly the same the first time Born to Fly. So I pulled back on the stick on the plane. We were kind of pushed off the power just like before it went up and, you know, sort of slowed and shuddered, nosed over. As far as I know. I did everything exactly the same way that second time that I did the first. But this time when I looked up there was Chesapeake Bay going around and around and around and getting closer and an alarming rate of speed.


I was in a tailspin. I didn't have a clue. Now, let me tell your friends I was sorry. I was really sorry, but sorry didn't cut it. I could have been sorry all the way to my watery grave. Some of the most comforting words I've ever heard were the words of the instructor coming through that little tube. Let go. I've got it. I've been frozen to the controls. I had to take my hand off the stick, my hand off the throttle, my feet off the pedals I had to abandon. All of my control of that plane. And I had to put my life in the hands of my instructor. That's what repentance is. Repentance is letting go of that thing that God removes in your life. It's not just, Oh, well, I'm sorry. It's letting it go. It's abandoning that thing and entrusting yourself to God to bring you out of that tailspin, to nurture you to wholeness at that point of your deadness, your brokenness, your woundedness, whatever it is. So those whom I love, I reprove and I nurture and remember who he's talking to. He's talking to a church that's just about ready to, you know, lose it, salvation to be violent and out of his mouth. Then he says, listen, I'm standing at the door knocking. And it's interesting the way John does this. You know, I S.T.A.R. it's a perfect tense verb, but it means it's a present condition as a result of a past actions where Jesus is constantly standing at the door and knocking. If anyone here is my voice and opens a door, I will come in to you and eat with you. And you with me. Now, where's that door? How how are you going to open that door if you don't know where it is? How many of you lost your cell phone? Had to call on the landline or somebody else have had them call you.


And then you run around the house listening for the ring, trying to find the door. You know, if you don't know where the door is, you can open. Play with the imagery Jesus was using here. The door is obviously anywhere in our life. Where we have shut Jesus out and we are imprisoned with him. He is on the outside. We are on the inside. And the knock. Is a knock of love. You know, it's a nail scarred hand that knocks on the door, but it is a knock of reproof. You see, it is reproof at the point of that thing that has shut Jesus out and imprisoned us within that destructive habit. That mode of relationships with others that is destructive to them and to us. That that value there is not a Christlike value. Whatever that thing is. You see, that is what Jesus outside and in prison does in there is where the the knock of love, the knock of reproof comes in our life. And there is where we open the door. Repentance is opening the door. And notice what Jesus says. And I think this is pretty significant. He doesn't say if you clean up your act and come out. He says if you you're open the door. I will come in. He will come into our deadness. With his resurrection life. He will come into our darkness with his light. He will come into our woundedness with his healing. He will come into our brokenness with his wholeness. You will come into those destructive bondage days of our lives with his liberating grace. He will come in, you see, with his transforming presence. And he says, I will eat with you and you with me. The word that John uses for eat here.


Dave Nestle is used elsewhere in the New Testament only for the Lord's Supper is the sacrament of his presence. It's an image of nurture. You see here, here is where the nurture part of the reason the knock is the reproof. And if we repent, if we open the door, then he comes in and eats with us. He nurtures us into wholeness. But this is the sacrament of his present, you see. So what Jesus has given the church and let us see is is really a profound. Insight into the nature of the Christian life. This isn't just for the church to this is I think you can see is for for all of us. You know, unless. Is there anybody here that's gotten fully conformed the image of Christ yet? Okay. And then we got some closed doors. There are some doors in our life where Jesus is knocking, where we've put him outside. We're in prison with him. Then? Yeah. Huh. So, um, I can't remember. You had already mentioned this, but when John wrote these seven letters, as far as we know, did he as he wrote each letter to the seven churches, did he have the the address, the address of the other six churches in all seven letters? You know, like the church, the Lord. I see the letter and all. As far as we know. Or do we know at all? Did it also include the other six churches that he wrote into? Because my question for you is this. As I'm trying to. I found it coincidental that here he is talking to what is it? Sadr's not Sadr's the church right before loud HCA Philadelphia. Because he uses the and an image of a door also, but in a different way because they're a faithful church.


Sort of a contrast going on here. And I was just wondering. If Jesus Origen wrote his his revelation or Jesus revelation. Including all six. What I'm saying, all six or why would I see a solid door not just for themselves, but also through the eyes of Philadelphia? Well, no. Remember what we see it at the end of each of these letters, verse 22 here. Okay. They let anyone who has an ear listen to what the spirit is saying to the church as plural. Okay, so all all seven churches are reading all seven letter, having all seven letters read to remember in chapter one three. Blessed is the one who reads and those who hear. Okay, so the understanding is, is that someone is going to stand up before each of these seven chairs and read the entire. Letter, the entire revelation. So they're all they're all getting it. I was looking at the level of the contrast of the door. Yeah. Okay. Okay. Thank you, then. Now, just before that, of course. You have the other. Yes. At the end of the letter. Is that is that a promise for each church or is it for anyone who conquers? No, I think it is for anyone who is conquering. Remember, the conquering here is present tense. It's the one who is conquering. And yeah, those are, you know, apply to everybody. And remember, conquering in the context here. Of course, we don't have the whole context yet in typical rhetorical fashion. You know, you get something, introduce, you know, find out what it's all about later. But in the context of of being called to live as faithful citizen of Jerusalem in a fall Babylon world conquering is living as that faithful citizen of Jerusalem, you know, with with the worldview, value system and lifestyle of New Jerusalem, in a world whose worldview, value, system and lifestyle is contrary to that conquering, is that overcoming? And here to the one who is conquering, I will give a place with me on my throne just as I myself conquered and sat down with my father on his throne.


Amazing promise. We're going to sit on the throne with Jesus who is sitting on the throne with God. I think part of what's going on here is what we're reading in our devotional in the morning. And when Paul talks about our true self, our life is hid with Christ in God. That's almost, you know, a little summary of this verse. Everyone who is conquering. I will give a place with me on my throne to head with Christ. Just as I myself have conquered and sat down with my father and his throne in God. So these these. Yeah. Very. Just applies to individuality in you. Right. You would you would have communally to them. But he's also talking individually. Yeah. Terry's question is he's talking both corporately and individually. And yes, he is. I mean, obviously he's talking corporately to each of these churches and to all of them. Who has an ear? Let him here what the spirit says to the church as. But in each of the churches you see, the one who is conquering is singular. Ha. Nicole The one who is conquering. So, yes, you're getting this. You know, you're not you're not just dealing with with a corporate entity, but also with the individual persons within that corporate entity. Yeah. So it speaks to us. You know, we can see throughout church history, you can see churches who are mirrored in these seven churches. And in our own day, you can see churches that are mirrored, mirrored in these churches. But you can also see your own discipleship mirrored in those seven churches. Hopefully, you see your discipleship mirrored in Smyrna and Philadelphia, the good churches. But probably since we've already admitted to one another that none of us are fully conform to the image of Christ.


Then maybe there's a little bit of emphasis and and Smyrna effortless emphasis and pergamon and type here in this hopefully not land to see you in Sardis. Yeah, hopefully. Yeah you're talking about verse 319 is a little silly, but you've got to give it to the context of that verse itself. And I was just wondering, I guess, a strategic passage, it seems like John saying in this letter, it's like I'm reproving the lukewarm. It's like, Jesus, I guess he's saying you're lukewarm, you're cold. And this is what reflects that, like your self-reliant, your own go when you're on this stuff. And in this verse, it's like it's like Christ, then I'm reproving that be zealous and and and like before that's what he was reproving in. That when he says repent is like, what follows says, this is how you open the door and let me come in. And you can see that stretched out like a strategic passage for the whole letter. Well, certainly it is good to hear hear his like in each of the letter, each of the letters that are to the to the ugly in the back churches, there is a call to repent. Which which relates directly to, you know, to their situation, whatever it is. And here to. But also, remember, all seven churches are reading this. So what Jesus says here in 19. Although it's pointedly directed to Landseer in the context of each letter, will certainly be speaking to the other six churches as well, or at least in, you know, four of the other six churches. Wouldn't apply as much to the two good churches. Okay. Okay, let's move on to chapter four. And before we do that, let's go back to our slideshow. What I'm trying to illustrate here is, is how Chapter 4 to 22 relate in chapters 1 to 7.


If you remember when we were talking about the four basic approaches to Revelation that particularly the futurist approach usually sees chapters 4 to 22 as all being in the future. The first three chapters are in some way bring us up to the present time so that one of the standard characteristics, not all the time, but. Much of the time. One of the standard characteristics of the futurist view is that we're living in the lay of the sea an age. And so you see, we're on the cusp of chapters 4 to 22, which are all out there in the future. I think there's there's another way to look at this. First of all, because this must have meant something to John and his readers. It's not that revelation isn't meaningless for 2000 years. And now suddenly, you know, in our day, chapter 4 to 22, it become meaningful. This must have meant something to John and his readers. And so what I'm trying to illustrate here, Yuval, I'm sure seeing I think I use this illustration, we're talking about the futurist, but that where a television or movie begins with a close up and then backs off. You see the large reality within that which within which that close up is taking place. I think this is the same thing is happening here. We've had our close up the seven churches. Now you might say the the camera or the vision is backing off and giving the larger context of reality within which these seven churches are existing. And so chapters 4 to 22, you see, then expand out to this larger frame of reference to inform each of these seven churches of the big picture within which their little picture takes place. That what they are experiencing in their life as a church, in their community, you see, is a microcosm of this macro cosmic perspective.


Here is the big picture. Now, one of the interesting things that. And let's see, Chapter four is an image of God the Creator. And chapter five is the vision of God the Redeemer. So that's a brief summary of these two chapters. God the Creator, God the Redeemer, the LAMB. And we'll see how that works itself out. Those are the seals. We won't get to those till next week or something. Okay, let's. Come back and look at chapter four. John begins after this. And here we get one of those things I mentioned before. How is metaphor to be understood here? Remember, John never uses the word the preposition soon in Revelation, but soon means with he doesn't use that preposition. He's the only alternative in Greek is metaphor. Now, usually it's not in the top with the accusative as it is here. But we'll see. And I'll point these out to you as we go on through. There are some of these places where John uses metaphor, where the contexts make it unmistakably clear this to be translated with. And that raises the question, particularly without his use of the normal preposition for with it raises a question about all the other uses of metaphor. Is John saying after or John saying with? And in a number of those cases, it really could go either way. Now, of course, the futurist would say, oh, it's after you know, after the after the first three chapters you see, which are now almost to their end, then this is going to happen. But it can also be along with these things. And one of the things I think that supports this contextually here is notice what John says. After this, I looked and there a door stood open in heaven, not listen to the first voice which I had heard speaking to me like a trumpet said.


You see what's going on here? We're connecting back to chapter one. The vision begins with John. I was in the spirit on the walls, and I heard behind me a loud voice, like a trumpet. And now he's. He's coming back. To where he started. It's almost as though that the seven letters, the seven churches are sort of a. Sideline, so to speak. And now we're coming back to the center. He was coming back to where he started. And then notice in in verse two at once I was in the spirit, the same phrase John uses in chapter one. And notice what you've got here is sort of another AB kind of structure. In chapter one, I was in the spirit, a voice like a trumpet here. I heard a lot more like I heard a loud voice, like a trumpet. I was in the spirit. You with me? A. B. B. A. So. So John is is linking together the beginning of his vision AMI in chapter one to this point, the almost as if we're returning to where we started. And if that's the case, then it would seem that what John is saying is something like this. Okay, you know, I had this visionary experience and on the one hand, you know, I was given these letters, these seven churches. But along with that, I was given all the rest of this stuff as well. But the these go together in that kind of way. And that's what has led me to suggest that what we have here in 4022 is the big picture within which the little picture of each church takes place. I'm guessing a hand somewhere around you pretty much clarify it. Okay. I mean, there's no place that John says, you know, Then I came out of the spirit and wrote these things, and it was just sort of like what you discovered when you read in John Wesley that it's the same event described twice with you.


I think, you know, I think we're dealing with a unity of experience here. So we've sort of been led to think that, you know, maybe on on Sunday, John, you know, had chapter one. And then on Monday, you know, Jesus gave him, you know, the of seven churches. And then on Tuesday, you know, he comes to chapter four that, you know, that kind of thing. I think we're dealing with a unity of experience. You know, the cyclorama picture that I used and John is having to break it out into pieces to manifest the vision to us because he he can't there's no way in human language that he can give us the all at once ness of this vision. And so we have to break it out into these pieces. And I think that's part of what we're seeing here. You see that? That right. You might say one scene in the Cyclorama was the letters of the seven churches. But in the same cyclorama, you'll see there's all this stuff going on at the same time. And he signals that to us by taking us back to the same voice and being in the spirit, the same indicators he gives us at the beginning. He picks up again here. Which is is to me is sort of saying, okay, the starting point for the letter of the seven churches is I was in the spirit. I heard the voice. Now, the starting point for what comes now is I was in the spirit and I heard the voice back at the beginning again. It's another aspect of the psyche of RAM, of the same unit of reality that John is seeing here. And then another feature of this. Remember when we looked at the diagram of revelation or that sort of a map that I sketched out for you, that there's that central core of open openness.


It begins here with a door open in heaven, and this begins in chapters four and five are. A heavenly vision. John is seeing things in heaven. Okay, we're going over to to Chapter 11 1119, which introduces the second heavenly vision. 1119 through 55 is the second Heavenly vision. And He introduces that with I saw the Temple in Heaven open. Then you come to 1911, which introduces the third Heavenly vision, and John says, I saw heaven open. So it's sort of here we start with the door. Then we move to the temple and then we move to all of heaven. So so John is sort of indicating that as we move through this, we're moving deeper and deeper and deeper and deeper into this greater reality within which the seven churches are experiencing their life in Christ in the world. Okay. Yeah. Could a futurist not argue, though, that the reason he used after is because it was after? And if he had a perfectly good reason for using with or a perfectly good word for width, why not use it? See, that's the question. He does have a perfectly good word for with it's a Greek word soon, you know, Sigma Epsilon Newt. Why doesn't John use it? That we don't know. But the fact that he doesn't use it then is going to require him to use something else in his place. And in in the Greek language, there's really only one alternative, and that's Matar. Now on its own. If we didn't have any other connections here, it'd be very difficult, I think, to argue that this should be with. But when John is connecting us back to the beginning of his visionary experience, you see the voice. I heard it like a trumpet, and I was in the spirit.


I think we're pretty much pushed toward this side of things here because you see that. What's the first part? The letter, the seven churches that that comes out of being in the spirit on the first day and hearing this voice? Also, being in the spirit of the Lord's Day comes along with that. What we're now going to see. I mean, it's not proof positive, but it seems to me it points us in that direction. Ryan quickly. It is John's other usage he uses in the pistol and he uses it in the gospel and he uses the matter in its proper accusative. So why would he make that mistake? Well, I'm not sure it's a mistake for what we're said. John does use in the gospel in the letters. It's not that John does not know Susan exists. And I can't I don't know. Anyone can answer the reason. Why doesn't he use it in Revelation? You don't know. I think I did mention to you that Septuagint doesn't use. Is that some sort of a connection? I don't know. Know, it could also be a brilliance of ambiguity. If he's going where if we're going with this cyclorama visual vision, even though it's going on the same time. But you can only look at one thing. So he's looking at Jesus telling him these things to the churches. After I'm done looking at this, I look and I see the temple, even though they're going on at the same time. And so metaphor meaning with and after really makes sense here. And so instead of one or the other, he's using both, which would explain. Well, that's that's a good point. That's a good idea. Yeah. Well, because, you know, if you use a cyclorama when you talk, it means you write about it.


You know, you do this, and then after that you do this and after that you do this, that you do this. But all of an hour with one another. Yeah, there's another handler there. Yeah, he kind of covered it. I was just going to ask. Even if it is after is that necessitate a chronological view. But I think you kind of hit the point. Yeah, that's, that's, that's a good insight. I think that probably you're dealing with both in some in some level here. And then the voice he hears says to him, Come up here. I will show you what must take place at the town Con I see here you sort of got an enthusiasm metatarsal coming at the beginning of the beginning of the verse and the end of the verse. You've got these bookends of Matthew Potok. And again, you see. Probably the suggestion that we were both here in some ways. What's going on? Also, notice how they going to stay. If you go back to chapter one. You find that same phrase again? Think it's in verse, verse two. You show to his servant, John, Huh? They get inside the things necessary to take place or come to be. So again, you get another connection. You see back here to the beginning. It's, you know, we've left chapters one, two, three behind, and we're we're moving on down the road. So John's giving us several signals here that this what I'm doing now is part of what I was doing here in those earlier chapters. So he was in the spirit, as he said, June and behold, a throne stood in heaven and one seated upon the throne. Yes. Thank you. I know the wireless network is connected and one seeded upon the throne.


And this is his vision of God. And he doesn't. He just says one seeded. You're going to say God was seated, but it's obvious who it is when you describe the one seated there. He says in verse three, The one Sydney seated there looked like Jasper and Carnelian. And now here you get another interesting connection when when we come over to the end of the cyclorama, you know, when we come the full circuit of the vision and come back, you know, to the last segment. John sees the new Jerusalem. And its appearance is like Jasper and Carnelian. The same. Thing he uses to describe God here. His appearance was like Jasper and Carnelian. And around the throne is a rainbow that looks like an emerald. Now in that we're still working with our with our temple imagery, our temple priest, the imagery here, the breastplate of a high priest had 12 jewels on it, representing the 12 tribes of Israel. The first and the last jewel are the are the Jasper and the Carnelian. So you're sort of getting, you know, a summary here by taking the first and the last. But then the emerald. Is the jewel that represents Judah. And the Davidic Messiah's from what tribe to the tribe of Judah. So here is this. This rainbow around the throne. That represents Judah is this is this Jon's way of seeing Jesus is the revelation of God that Jesus is the manifestation of God. And the rainbow, you see, is, in a sense, Jesus, the tribe of Judah. And we'll see how John plays with these these jewels as we move on through. And then around the throne and our 24 thrones you. Around the thrones are 24 thrones and on the thrones are 24 elders dressed in white robes with golden crowns on their heads.


And of course, the question is, who are these? Well in in the Hebrew pool of imagery. 24 is a significant number. It is the number of the priesthood. If you go back to see. We got it right here quickly in my notes. It's in it's in First Chronicles 24. You have the listing of the 24 orders of Priests. If you go look in the beginning of Luke's gospel, where it tells a story about Zachariah and his vision. It says Zachariah was in his division, which was the division of a major it says was on duty in the temple. Abhijit is one of those 24 courses of priests. So the 24 you see, 24 elders represent the priesthood. But in John's vision, who are the priests? Chapter one, verse six and seven. Who has loved us, cleansed us from our sins by blood, and has made us what a kingdom and priests who His God and Father. We are the priests and we'll see this repeated. We're three more times in addition to the 24 hours. This week. We are the 24 hours. They represent us. Notice that they have they're dressed in white robes. We've already seen in one of the letters, you know, you will walk with me in white. And we're going to see later on that the redeemed are those who have washed their robes in the blood of the lamb and made them white. So that that fits Christians. And then they have golden crowns on their head. And this is the Stefanos Crown. And remember back in was it? One of the churches. Jesus says, I don't let anyone take your crown from you. In another place. I will give you the crown of life. So the imagery that's associated with these 24 people is imagery that elsewhere in the vision is associated with believers.


Yeah, I've I've heard that Caesar had 24 elders that were seated around him giving him counsel. If that's the case, I don't I don't know. I can't verify that. But would that be like a huge, like double meaning to is that were the case? It could be double meaning. I've never run across that. Would that be something that could happen that you'd be using Jewish imagery and Roman imagery intertwined in the book? That's certainly not impossible. That's certainly conceivable. But, you know, see if you can track that down. Yeah, I've never run across that. Okay. No, the Caesar had 24 counselors around him. Would be interesting if he did, because then John and the vision would be something very similar to what Paul got. Because Paul again and again and again uses language that puts Jesus in the place of Caesar. Yeah. You know, like in Philippians when he says, you know, Paul to staff worthy of the gospel of Christ. Well, Paul, to us as a political term, it means live your life in perfect harmony with the polity. TMA which you mean of the Roman world and in the Roman world are you on DeLeon Gospel is associated with the Emperor. You know that there's an empire wide you Angeli on on the anniversary of his birth, on the anniversaries of Accession to the throne on the anniversary of the great victories of his armies. So you on Galleon in the political context, you know, when Paul uses us that that establishes a political context for the rest of the sentence so that you on Galleon is seen and understood within that political context and in in the fell in the Roman colony of Philip II. You say you would play to ensnare worthily of the gospel of Caesar.


And when you get to that point, Paul puts in Christ. He is substituting Jesus for Caesar. And there's a lot of places where Paul does that. So, you know, if there is that imagery, if if, if indeed Caesar has 24 councilors, then you see John would be saying and it would fit perfectly into the way he's describing his vision, because we're citizens of New Jerusalem. You see, Jesus is the emperor. And, you know, we other 24 elders, not Caesar, with his 24. But check that out. And anybody in your project having to run across that, let me know. I've never run across it. What about the count, the idea of representatives of the 12 tribes of Israel and 12 members of the new church? That would be 24, wouldn't it? But I don't know that we need to go that far because John has already established the context for priests in his vision where he's using Temple Priestly imagery throughout. And we are the priests. And the first thing that comes to mind without having to cobble together two groups of 12 is the 24 courses of priests. Who of course, one of the 24, of course, is a priest doing in the temple in Jerusalem. You know, they're basically surrounding the throne of God, you know, on the mercy seat in the holy of holies and worshiping. And we'll see what the 24 others are doing here. I have a question about the crown. Does that represent kingship or does that represent the idea of the high priest because the priests did not wear crowns, right? Priest The High Priest Well, yeah, we that's good question. But John answers it for us in a couple of verses. So we'll we'll look at that in a moment here.


So then coming from the throne, our flashes of lightning rumblings, peals of thunder. Now if you go back to to see often is in the Old Testament. Especially Sinai. These are symbols of the presence of God. So this is where we become sure that the person sitting on the throne is God. You see, because from the throne where this being is sitting come these attributes that signal the ofany manifestation of God. So it is God and in front of the throne, burning seven flaming torches, which are the seven spirits of God. We've already seen those in chapter one, you know, graced you in peace from the one who is who was and is to come from the seventh Spirit before the throne, from Jesus, the Messiah, etc.. So there we had, you know, father, son, father, spirit, son. Now we've got the seven spirits and the sevenfold spirit before the throne. And in the next chapter, we're going to see the sevenfold spirit associated with the lamb. So. So John's Trinitarian understanding of God is very tightly woven together here. And in front of the throne. There is something like a sea of glass, like crystal. It's not a sea of glass and it's not crystal. Remember, John used the like in the ads I told you about because the imagery he's using cannot fully contain the reality is experiencing. And one of the ways he keeps showing us that is by like an ad. So in front of the throne, there is something like a sea of glass, like crystal. Now, of course, the question is, what's this? Well, at this point, we really don't know. And I think it's one of those rhetorical features again, because when you get down to John's vision of the new creation in chapter 21.


John sees a new creation, a new sky, a new earth. And he says, And the sea was no more. And that begins to raise a question why is there no C in in the creation? But then you go back into the Jewish pool of image. You go back to the Old Testament and look at the role of the sea in the Old Testament. And the role of the sea in the Old Testament is the antagonist to God. God is pictured as the one who conquers the sea and the demonic forces of chaos that are represented by the sea. Again and again and again. You see this. What John is seeing here is there is no metaphysical dualism. You don't have a good order over here and a bad or over here that are, you know, equal and opposite. Orders that the realm of rebellion is under God's feet. It's an image of God's sovereignty. Now, another another aspect of that from the temple imagery is that. In out in front of the temple. The altar was a median in front of the temple. But to one side was what was called the Golden Sea. And what that was is the place where the priests cleansed themselves before. Engaging in their priestly rituals. So if the priests cleanse themselves in that sea, what's in the sea? Unclean. Unclean this because the priest's unclean. This is left in that water. So either way, you come at it, you see, the sea is representing that which is unclean, that which is unholy, or in the larger context of the Jewish imagery, the realm of the demon in the realm of rebellion. So here is a picture of God's sovereignty over this realm of rebellion. Yeah. If you wanted it tied in with believers, if the place where the priests cleansed themselves no more, that may also mean that there is no more need for it.


Priest don't have to clean themselves because they're no longer unclean. No. Hmm. Yeah. And, of course, we'll see that The white robes, those. We have washed our robes in the blood of the lamb and made them clean. Mm hmm. You see? So there's no need for cleansing. We've been cleansed. Yeah, Good point. And then around the throne and on each side of the throne. He's for living creatures now. If you look at the Greek, those of you that know Greek, it doesn't say around the throne. It doesn't say on around it, says Kai and meso. In the midst of the throng. MeSo it doesn't mean around. It means minced. What is Mesopotamia? It is the land between the two port Hamas, the two rivers, Tigris and Euphrates. That's how means in the midst of here, in the midst of a throne, that's where God is. And in a circle around the throne, you see the guy Cucolo telling Thrawn. And in a circle around the throne, John sees these four living creatures. In a Jewish pool of images that John is using for is the number of creation. There are the four corners of the earth. There are the four winds that blow upon the earth. Four represents the created order. And what John is seeing here, we've already seen that there's no metaphysical dualism between good and evil as equal and opposite forces, but that evil is under God sovereignty. Now we're seeing there is no material dualism. The creation is not something apart from God. And of course in the emerging Gnosticism in the first century, the Gnosticism was was a very dualistic worldview, that there was a spiritual realm that was good. And in that material realm, the created realm is evil and bad.


And John is seeing here, the creation emerges out of God himself in the midst of the throng in a circle around the throne. Are these four living creatures? Now, these four creatures in some way are archetypes, you might say, of. Creation you have first of all, the first one is is like a lion, which would represent the wild animals. And of course, then you got to about the lion of the tribe of Judah. You see, you get mixed mixtures of images here that John uses. But here in the context of for the lion probably represents wild animals. The ox represents what you mean domesticated animals, the third living creature as a face, like a human face. That's humanity. And the fourth is like a flying eagle. The. Animals or birds that live in the air. Now notice also they have they're full of eyes in front and behind, and then in verse six and verse eight, rather, and the four living creatures, each of them with six wings, are full of eyes all around and inside. The imagery here. And of course, John is drawing on some of this imagery from from Ezekiel's vision. Of the chair. The Seraphim Chair? You mean with the six wings and Isaiah's vision? You know, the. The Seraphim have six wings, you know, with two. They. They cover their face with two, their feet and with two they fly. So you need six wings to do all those things. So you hear the six wing creatures. But the eyes. And what's. What's this? I think John is trying to portray God's omniscience in creation, that God didn't start the bowling ball down the alley and then go sit down. The not only does creation emerge out of God in the midst of the throne and in a circle around the throne, but God is present in creation.


God is all seeing in creation itself. And we're not talking that creation is gone. But that God is present in creation. And then these these four living creatures, we're told they never cease. Day or night. Now, that's redundant. If you say never cease, that covers the waterfront. Right. But John is emphasizing something here. They never ceased day or night. Singing. Holy, holy, Holy Lord, God Almighty. It sounds like a hymn, doesn't it? Who was and is and is to come. There it is again, this is the third time we've seen that. Now, remember, that's the phrase back in chapter one that John introduces by using a preposition the wrong way. You're calling attention to it. So here it is again. Holy, holy, holy. The Lord God Almighty, who was, is and is to come that whenever the living creatures give glory and honor, and thanks to the one who is seated on the throne, who live forever and ever, the 24 elders bow before the one seated on the throne worship the one who lives forever and ever and cast their crowns before the throne. And what John is seeing here is the essential dynamics. Of the Christian life. Now we're not about in culture. You know, every morning when I come in the room here, nobody bothers to me. Now, when I taught in Korea, when I came into the room, every student stood up and bowed to him. Or if they got to the room after I got there, they stop in the door and they would before they would come in the room. But I don't. You guys don't get with it, you know? Come on. Boeing is the acknowledgment of the position or the authority or the significance of the person to whom you vow.


To bow before the one seat up on the throne is to acknowledge God is God. So that's the first movement of discipleship, is to acknowledge God is God. And the second thing they do is that they worship. Now, we have a little difficulty with this because we tend to think of worship as praising God. You know, acknowledging God is God. Let me suggest to you that there's something more to worship than that. That worship is allowing God to be God. Not just praising God and, you know, God your God, but it's allowing God to be God in our life. But then they cast the crowds. Now the image of the crown should not be too difficult for us because a crown represents rule. It represents authority. It represents control. And what we see in the casting of the crown. Is that the elders who represent us. Remember? Our surrendering the control of their relationship with God to God. The question that it raises for us here is who's in control of your relationship with God? I'm presuming everybody in this room vows we all acknowledge God to be God. And I'm presuming that to a certain degree, all of us in this room worship that is, we are allowing God to be God, but are we allowing God to be gone on God's terms or are we allowing God to be God on our terms? You see, to cast the crown is to allow God to be God on God's terms. Is to allow God to be in control of the relationship, not me. One of the interesting things here is that not those know. We know no notice how John does this. And they are casting present tense. This isn't a one time deal.


They are continually casting the ground. Well, are these on a bungee cord? Know, buoying those back and start out buoyant comes back. You know what I mean? Well, that's really the question you see. And I think what this reflects is that John knows that our relationship with God is a love relationship. And a love relationship requires that the beloved be free to say no so that in every situation, in every relationship and every circumstance, we have a choice. We can let God be God in our life on God's terms, or we can we think we can have God as God in our life on our terms, so that in every situation we either fasten the chinstrap on that crown and hold it on our head, or we cast the crown before the throne. It's the core dynamic of the Christian life, believing and worshiping our sort of, you know, you might say companion pieces to this, but the real center is what we do with our crown. Are we letting God be God on God's terms? Well, we'll pick up there on Thursday and see what they do after they've done those three things they sing and what they sing is important to pick up there on Thursday. And whoever has the attendance list, you bring it to me. Appreciate it, huh? I don't think so. We don't.