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If You Love Me . . .
Why Won’t You Believe My Words?
"Behold, I come as a thief ! Be awake …”
Why another book about the Book of Revelation, has not there already been an overabundance? Probably so, however, none of the books that I have read, give clear-cut, definitive answers and insight to the overall picture of final events leading to the return and ‘harvest’ of our Lord Jesus, Christ. Therefore, what I have done, is to take this last book of the Bible and to give common understanding to each chapter, and each event, using only the other books of the Bible as reference and documentation for the positions taken in this book.
This work is not concerned with the discussions, from the experts, of issues such as the proof of Jesus' existence, or of Him being God on earth; my belief is that the Bible is the inspired word of God, and therefore, the ultimate basis for all truth and knowledge as we are able to comprehend it from a spiritual and/or scientific perspective. As such, every word of the Bible is from God to inform, to inspire, to encourage, and to instruct the children of God, Jehovah, as to their proper obedience to His laws and commands. While concordances, cross language dictionaries, books of interpretation (such as this one), all help our understanding of this miraculous book, they are not necessary; and to some people, they serve to confuse, rather than clarify important truths, especially when applied to eschatology (events of the end-times).
I believe that any apparent differences within the Bible are not due to actual contradictions of God's thought, or of His writers; but are merely and simply our limited, finite minds attempting to decipher the infinite mind of Almighty God. Our security is anchored on the immutable fact that God's truths remain constant, it is only man's mind that changes as man earnestly attempts to comprehend an omniscient God. Probably the most readily identifiable example of man's shortsightedness was the realization that the earth was round, not flat, as the majority of man had reasoned. As this example demonstrates, even if the entire world should believe something to be true, if it contradicts God's truths, then it is only man's folly and vanity. This is an important point to bear in mind while reading this book, or other books that proclaim to explain God's written word. The reader should always be on guard as to whether God's truths are being accurately reflected from the Bible, and as to the reader's own preconceptions and biases that could filter or convolute an obvious truth of God. By observation, we know this is true, which explains why there are so many denominations that all proclaim their truths as being the ultimate Truth. Since many denominations contradict one another, they all therefore cannot be founded in the same truth. This is painfully true when we consider some of the popular teachings regarding the Rapture, the Church, and the Millennial reign of our Christ and Redeemer, Jesus of Nazareth.
Scholars, who think that they must go to the original Greek or Hebrew words in the Bible, inherently think that God is incapable of having His servants make an accurate translation of His word, the Bible, into English, German, Arabic, French, Spanish, Russian, etc. It would seem that if we believe that the Bible is the ‘inspired, holy’ work of God, rather than man, then it would follow that all factually transcribed Bibles will lead the reader, whether young or old, to God's intended message, His truth of the redemption of mankind, through His only Son.
The first three chapters of the Book of Revelation are letters to the 'Seven Churches' of the following cities: Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea. Each of these seven Churches actually existed, and each had their own particular problem that Jesus was addressing to them. Each problem that Jesus announces to each of the Churches is specific to that Church, and Jesus warns each Church to overcome their problem in order that they should be able to receive their reward when He returns. While these problems, that Jesus warns about, are specific to that particular Church, at that historical time, these problems are also suggested to be specific to a certain Church during any era subsequent to the first century. Also, it may be that, at any point in time, one of the seven problems that Jesus warns of, would be more predominant than any of the others. Also, it can be seen that these Churches represent the total body of Believers throughout the period of time from the beginning of the Church, until our Lord returns and gathers His Church (the Bride) unto Himself. The warnings, and blessings, given to each specific Church, also pertain to each of the other Churches as well; this was true at the time for each warning to predominate, and it is true until all of these warnings and blessings are fulfilled. The important point to recognize in these chapters is that each Church is to persevere, and overcome their specific problem, and to not give-in to their predisposed natures until Jesus, Christ returns to establish all things new again. It is also recorded by the apostles that Jesus had told them that they must overcome the world, and that He would bring with Him each person's reward when He returned.
We are told that the seven Churches represent the seven spirits (angels) of God/Jesus, and are represented by seven golden lamp-stands. Also, John tells us of seven stars that he sees in the right hand of Jesus, "… the seven stars are the angels of the seven Churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven Churches." We know for sure that it is Jesus who is making this Revelation unto John by the following statement that only Jesus could possibly make, "… I am the first and the last. I am the living one; I was dead, and I am alive forever and ever! I hold the keys of death and Hades. Write therefore what you have seen, what is now and what will take place later." Jesus now addresses each of the seven Churches. With each Church Jesus commends His saints for their strengths, admonishes them for their weaknesses, and promises them victory if they overcome and do His will to the end.
"To the angel of the Church in Ephesus: these are the words of Him who holds the seven stars (angels) and walks among the seven golden lampstands (Churches). I know your deeds, your hard work, and your perseverance; I know that you cannot tolerate wicked men yet I hold this against you: you have forsaken your first love. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand ... To him who overcomes, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.”
Jesus identifies Himself so uniquely that no one will mistake who is speaking to the Apostle John; only Jesus holds the seven stars, and can walk among the seven churches. He tells John that the Church in Ephesus, although they have worked diligently and have shown perseverance, that they have lost their first love for Him. And that if they do not repent, He will come and remove their lampstand (the Holy Spirit) from them.
When we feel that we are in danger of losing our ‘first love’, it is good to remember, repent, and regenerate. Remember where we have come from, how did we used to live when we were experiencing agape love for God. Repent of (turn back from) our falling-away from God. And regenerate those things that we did when we were first in love with God and with His word.
How very sad for those Believers who have lost their first-love, yet many (if not most) of Christ’s churches in America are filled with Believers who have lost their first-love. Hearts of Believers in foreign countries are on fire for the Lord, even under severe persecution and hardships in communist and Muslim countries.
"To the angel of the Church in Smyrna: these are the words of Him who is the first and the last, who died and came alive again. I know your afflictions and your poverty - yet you are rich ... do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you ... be faithful even to the point of death, and I will give you the crown of life ... He who overcomes will not be hurt at all by the second death."
Only Jesus has the power to die and come alive again, proof that He alone is the Author of life eternal. This Church represents those who suffer afflictions and poverty during their lives on earth; however, Jesus says to this group of Believers that they are ‘rich.’ They are rich because their afflictions and poverty (for Christ’s sake) are viewed by God a riches in His eternal heaven, ‘… where moth and decay cannot destroy His treasures.
Jesus assures His children not to be afraid of what they are going to suffer from the devil for His name’s sake. Jesus promises that for those who are faithful, even to the point of death, that He will give them eternal life, which cannot be affected whatsoever by the ‘second-death’. The first-death is our physical bodies, everyone will suffer a first-death; however only those who are chosen to enter into eternal life will not suffer a second-death, which is represented as the eternal death of the spiritual self.
To be continued; there is more covered (65 pages) than has been put online
Last Updated: 08/22/2012