Heavenly Realms

Heavenly Realms

Eph 1:3
Col 3:1
John 3:16
Rev 21:2
Heb 1:14
Phil 3:20
John 2:24
Gen 1:1
Rev 20:1-3
Rev 11:15
Eph 2:10
Eph 1:13
Rev 21:4
Eph 1:11
John 14:2
luke 23:43
1 peter 1:13
heb 12:23
rev 10:13
john 14:6
rev 3:21
rev 2:7
titus 3:5
acts 8:9-13
ps 103:2-4
deut 18:9-12
rev 21:1
rev 16:3
eph 6:12
eph 3:10
james 4:7
col 3:2
1 john 4:1
eph 2:6
exodus 3:14
jude 1:6
heb 13:14
heb 3:17
heb 11:16
2 thess 2:9
1 corin 10:15-17
rom 8:29
rom 8:1
john 16:33
mark 4:11
matt 16:18
matt 6:33
matt 5:11
job 1:6
2 kings 2:11

Jesus Is In Every Book Of The Bible-Pastor’s Notes

In Genesis, Jesus is the seed of the Woman.In Exodus, He is the Passover Lamb.In Leviticus, He is the Priest, the Altar and the Lamb of Sacrifice.In Numbers, He is the pillar of cloud by day, and the pillar of fire by night.In Deuteronomy, Jesus is the Prophet like Moses.In Joshua, Jesus is the Captain of our salvation.In Judges, He is our Judge and Law-Giver.In Ruth, He is our Kinsman and Redeemer.In 1 & 2 Samuel, He is our trusted Prophet.In Kings & Chronicles, He is our reigning King.In Ezra, He is the rebuilder of the broken-down walls of human life.In Nehemiah, Jesus is our Restorer.In Esther, He is our Advocate.In Job, Jesus is our Ever-Living Redeemer.In Psalms, He is our Shepherd.In Proverbs, He is our Wisdom.In Ecclesiastes, He is our hope of resurrection.In the Song of Songs, He is our loving Bridegroom.In Isaiah, Jesus is the suffering Servant.In Jeremiah, He is the righteous wronged.In Lamentations, He is our weeping prophet.In Ezekiel, He is the one with the right to rule.In Daniel, Jesus is the fourth man in the fiery furnace.In Hosea, Jesus is the faithful husband forever married to the sinner.In Joel, He is the one who baptises with the Holy Spirit, fire.In Amos, He is the restorer of Justice.In Obadiah, He is mighty to save.In Jonah, He is our great foreign missionary.In Micah, Jesus is the feet of one who brings good news.In Nahum, Jesus is our stronghold in the day of trouble.In Habakkuk, He is God my Saviour.In Zephaniah, He is the King of Israel.In Haggai, He is the signet ring.In Zecharish, He is our humble King riding on a colt.In Malachi, Jesus is the son of righteousness.
In Matthew, Jesus is God-with-us.In Mark, He is the Son of God.In Luke, He is the Son of Mary, feeling what you feel.In John, He is the Bread of Life.In Acts, Jesus is the Savior of the world.In Romans, Jesus is the righteousness of God.In 1 Corinthians, He is the Resurrection.In 2 Corinthians, He is the God of all comfort.In Galatians, He is your liberty, He sets you free.In Ephesians, Jesus is the Head of the Church.In Philippians, Jesus is your joy.In Colossians, He is your completeness.In 1 & 2 Thessalonians, He is your hope.In 1 Timothy, He is your faith.In 2 Timothy, Jesus is your stability.In Titus, Jesus is Truth.In Philemon, He is your benefactor.In Hebrews, He is your perfection.In James, He is the power behind your faith.In 1 Peter, He is your example.In 2 Peter, Jesus is your purity.In 1 John, Jesus is your life.In 2 John, He is your pattern.In 3 John, He is your motivation.In Jude, He is the foundation of your faith.In Revelation, Jesus is your coming King.
He is the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.He is the Keeper of Creation and the Creator of all.He is the Architect of the Universe and the Manager of all Time.He always Was, He always Is and He always Will Be,Unmoved, Unchanged, Undefeated and never undone.
He was bruised and brought healing,He was pierced and eased pain,He was persecuted and brought freedom,He was dead and brought life.He is risen and brings power,He reigns and brings peace.The world can’t understand Him,Armies can’t defeat Him,Schools can’t explain HimAnd the leaders can’t ignore Him.
Herod couldn’t kill Him,The Pharisees couldn’t confuse Him,The people couldn’t hold Him,Nero couldn’t crush Him,Hitler couldn’t find Him,The New Age can’t replace HimAnd Oprah can’t explain Him away.He is Life, Love, Longevity and Law.He is goodness, kindness, gentleness and love.He is holy, righteous, mighty, powerful, good.His Way is Right, His Words Eternal.His rules unchanging, and His mind is on me.He is my Redeemer, His is my Savior, He is my God, He is my Priest,He is my Joy, He is my Comfort, He is my Law, and He rules my life.

Christian Character-Pastors Notes


Daniel 3:16-18
INTRODUCTION:
Daniel, whose name means “God is my judge,” was a statesman in the court of heathen monarchs. Taken captive as a youth to Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar in 605, he spent the rest of his long life there as a governmental official and as a prophet of the true God. He claimed to have written this book (12:4), and Jesus identified him as the prophet in Matt.24:15 and Mark 13:14.Since he did not occupy the prophetic office, the book is found in the third division of the Hebrew Bible, the “Writings,” rather than in the second, the Prophets. Throughout his life he was uncompromising and faithful to his God.Because of the events recorded in chapter 2 (Daniel interprets the King’s dream), Daniel was given a place of prominence and responsibility in Nebuchadnezzar’s kingdom. After the king’s death, Daniel apparently fell from favor, but was recalled to interpret the writing that appeared at Belshazzar’s feast (5:13). He was made one of three presidents under Darius (6:1) and lived until the third year of Cyrus (536).His ministry was to testify, in his personal life and in his prophecies, to the power of God. Though in exile, the people of Israel were not deserted by God, and Daniel revealed many details about His plan for their future, including the prophecy of the seventy weeks of years (9:24-27) and the activities of Antichrist (11:36-45). He also traced the course of Gentile world powers from his own day to the second coming of Christ (Ryrie).Most of us already know the story in chapter 3. This is one of the favorite stories in the book along with that of Daniel in the lion’s den. We know about the three Hebrew children. We have heard and read about their demonstration of faith in the fiery furnace. Even though they were very young, they were believers who had some character.If these young teenagers had this kind of character, facing what they were facing, it seems like some of us older believers should have even more character. We have been at it a lot longer. No doubt we need more Christians with character like that of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.What was it that gave them this kind of character? I think it was their faith in God. Christian character comes by trusting God. The three Hebrew children trusted God. This becomes obvious as we observe how they responded to the king’s insistence that they bow down to false gods.What would you have said to the king? Notice the ingredients of their Godly character. If we trust in God, we will have Christian character with the same ingredients.
I. FAITH GAVE THEM CONVICTIONS (v.18)They said, “We will not….” A person with Christian character will have convictions based on the Word of God. There are certain things he will not do and he has already made up his mind about those things.To have Biblical convictions is to find out what God’s opinion is (from the Bible) and to make His opinion our opinion. A conviction is not based on personal preference, but is solidly based on what God has said in His Word and our determination to follow it.Charles Spurgeon tells how a boy, reading aloud the account about Daniel in chapter 6, mistakenly rendered verse 3 as follows: “Then this Daniel was preferred above the presidents and princes, because an excellent SPINE (should have been spirit) was in him.”Spurgeon commented that it undoubtedly was bad reading but good theology. Christian character comes by trusting God. This faith in God will give you Biblical convictions.
II. FAITH GAVE THEM CONSECRATION (v.17)They said, “God whom we serve….” We need some Christians who are totally devoted to the Lord. These Hebrew boys knew that God would deliver them out of the king’s hand, whether God delivered them out of the fire or not. Dead or alive they would be delivered.They knew who they served. They knew who their master was and their devotion was 100% toward the Lord. We need some Christians with this kind of consecration. We need some Christians who have given themselves totally to the Lord and His wish has become their command.Christian character comes by trusting God. This faith in God will give you Biblical consecration and devotion to God first of all.III. FAITH GAVE THEM COURAGE (vv.17-18)They said, “If it be so, our God…is able to deliver…but if not…we will not serve thy gods.” These young people had some courage. They said that they believed God could deliver them if He wanted to, but if He decided not to deliver them, they were not going to serve the king’s false gods anyway.And they knew what they were facing too, for they had already been warned about the fiery furnace prepared for those who would not bow.These young men had character. I have heard people say, “Lord if you will get me out of this problem, I’ll get back in church, but if you don’t get me out of this problem, don’t expect to see me in church.” That’s real character, isn’t it?Many Christians today say for example, “Lord, I’ll tithe if you will bless me.” But will they go on to say, “If you do not bless me, I’ll tithe anyway”? The last statement takes courage and character.Abraham Lincoln showed the quality of his courage and character, when, against the advice of Congress, he made the call for an additional 500,000 recruits. He was told it would prevent his re-election.With flashing eye, he replied: “It is not necessary for me to be re-elected, but it is necessary for the soldiers at the front to be re-enforced by 500,000 men, and I shall call for them; and if I go down under the act, I will go down, like the Cumberland, with my colors flying.” Christian character comes by trusting God. This faith in God will give you Biblical courage.IV. FAITH GAVE THEM CONSISTENCY (v.16)They said, “We are not careful to answer thee in this matter.” What they were saying was, “this is always the way we answer this kind of temptation.” Do you remember in chapter 1 when they refused to defile themselves by eating the kings meat?Their answer is still the same. They didn’t even have to think about their answer. They already knew what they were going to say because their trust was in God and they consistently put Him first.If you will make the right decision long enough you won’t have to think about what to answer. I don’t have to think twice about saying “no” to going to a bar. Some people do. I don’t have to think about whether or not I am going to church.Some people do. The reason some people waver is because they haven’t made the right choices long enough. If you will trust God and His Word, you won’t have to be inconsistent in answering temptation.Have you ever wondered why the king chose them to work for him in the first place? It was because he saw their character. He saw that they were hard and honest workers who were loyal and upright. Now, the king gives them chance after chance to do wrong and it makes him mad when they choose right.It will make the devil mad too, but it will make the Lord happy. Just keep on choosing right. That’s Christian character. Christian character comes by trusting God. This faith in God will give you Biblical consistency. (1Cor.15:58).V. FAITH GAVE THEM COMPANIONSHIP (vv.16-18)All through the first chapters of this book we see “they”, “them”, “we”, and “our” in relation to the Hebrew children. You will travel with the kind of people that you want to be. Charactered people attract other charactered people. The opposite is true as well.Do you want to have friends that are honest and hard working and loyal? Then be that kind of person.Be a person of character and you will attract people of character. You will also choose your friends from those who are charactered people. You may not have many friends, but the friends you have will be good friends and good people. Thank the Lord for the friendship of quality people. Christian character comes by trusting God. This faith in God will give us Biblical companionship.CONCLUSION:Famous men of the past have bequeathed us statements that have become mottoes. History declares that Henry Clay was about to introduce a certain bill in Congress when a friend said, “If you do, Clay, it will kill your chance for the presidency.” “But is the measure right?” Clay asked, and on being assured it was right said, “I would rather be right than be president.”Emerson said, “A change in geography never changes character.” Someone else has said “character is what you do when no one else is watching.”

Clouds Without Water -Pastor’s Notes

A Biblical Critique of the Word of Faith Movement(more commonly known as the Health and Wealth or Prosperity Gospel).

In this post, I will be exposing the false teachers that are plastered all over the “Christian Television” today. 

“Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offenses contrary to the doctrine which you have learned; and avoid them. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the unsuspecting.” (Romans 16:17-18).

Here is a brief history of the Word-Faith Movement.

1Dangerous Doctrines
  • Phineas P Quimby (1802-1866) – The great grandfather of the Word-Faith movement. He was the father of new thought (a metaphysical cult) who believed whatever you think about you bring it upon your (good or bad). He was a student of occultism, hypnosis, and parapsychology. His theoretical formulations served as the basis for mind (Christian science) cult formed by Mary Baker Eddy and later formed theology word of faith movement. 

Essek W. Kenyon (1867-1948) was the grandfather of the word of faith movement. He has ties to the metaphysical cults (new age, new thought). He attended Emerson College of Oratory. He taught God created something out of nothing by speaking faithful words and we can do the same. That humans took on the nature of Satan in the fall fore fitting to him the divine dominion and made him the legal god of the earth. He taught that Jesus not only died a physical death but also a spiritual death as well. That health and wealth are obtainable by the believer’s positive confession.

Kenneth Hagin (1917-2003) was the father of the modern word of faith movement. 

All word of faith preachers claims to get divine revelations from God. 

1Postive Confession

Positive confession preachers teach that we can speak things into existence just like God. They teach faith is the object of our faith, not God. 

List of Postive Confession False Teachers

  • Benny Hinn
  • Kenneth and Gloria Copeland
  • Creflo Dollar
  • T.D. Jakes
  • Paul and Jan Crouch
  • Jesse Duplantis
  • Rod Parsley
  • John Hagee
  • Joel Osteen 
  • Joyce Myer
  • Paula White Cain
  • Joseph Prince
  • Todd White
  • Larry Huch
  • Seth Dahl
  • Bill Johnson
  • Roberts Liardan 
  • Don Piper
  • Colton Burpo
  • Bill Weiss
  • Mary Baxter
  • Todd Bentley
  • Fredrick Price

What the Word of Faith Teaches on the Fall

  • Adam was an exact duplicate of God
  • Adam sinned and lost is Godhood to Satan who became the god of earth overthrowing God.
  • Satan is now the legal god of earth 
  • When a person gets saved they get their Godhood

The dangerous lure of the health and wealth gospel is the appealing aspect that if you come to Jesus he will make you rich and he will heal your body. (The real gospel says come to Jesus because I am a sinner in need of a savior).

Softing of Sin

The prosperity gospel says God can only do what we give him permission to do. That he can only do what he wants in heaven, not on earth. 

The bible says “Our God is in the heavens, He does whatever he pleases (Psalm 115:3). Whatever the Lord pleases he does, in heaven and in the earth. (Psalm 135:6)

Be aware that if they preach a different Jesus they preach a different gospel. The prosperity gospel also denies that Jesus is the only son of God. (Jesus is the only begotten son of God read John 3:16).

Things False Teachers Say:

Bill Johnson says “Jesus laid his divinity aside as he sought to fulfill the assignment given to him by his father (No he did Not)

Rod Parsley said ” I perceive virtues going out of me, I feel your faith tugging on me 

Todd White says “The Godhead is not comprised of “parts”. That Jesus did not live on earth as God ( Yes he did). Said Jesus did not atone our sins on the cross (Yes he did). He says that Jesus made an atonement in
Hell after dying on the cross. 

Spiritual Death of Jesus

The false teachers say that Jesus died a spiritual death. My friends if it was true that Jesus died a spiritual death then he would cease to be God. 

God is a Spirit, therefore he cannot lie, he cannot sin, cannot deny himself, cannot act outside of his character or nature. God cannot cease to be God!

The false teachers claim that when Jesus said ” My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me” on the cross the relationship between God and Jesus was broken. The use verses Psalm 22:1, Psalm 22:19-24. to support their claims. However, they cant the passages out context like most health and wealth like to do a lot of. 

Jesus was however separated from God but it was humanity, not the deity. Read CCol 1:19-20, Rom 5:9, I Peter 3:18, Eph 1:7.

1Papacy

The Roman Catholics blaspheme against God. By giving the Pope titles such as Holy father, head of the church, Vicar (substitute) for Christ. They do not believe we are saved by grace alone or faith in Christ without works. 

Session 2: Mangled Manifestations

Continuism vs. Cessationism

Beth Moore is ecumenical she teaches and believes that Catholics are Christians when they are not. She has poor hermeneutics and applies old testament promises to the believers under the new testament law. She is mystical and extra-biblical claims in divine revelation from God. That he speaks to her outside of scripture. She is known to associate with known false teachers. 

Question: Which theological group does the following?

  • Erratic jerking and shaking.
  • Uncontrollable laughter 
  • Slain in Spirit
  • Prophesy 
  • Healing
  • Speak in tongues
    Answer: Hindus!

The teachings of the word-faith and the Hindus are almost identical. 

1Tongues

Talking in tongues is not unique to Christianity since other religions claim to be able to do the same thing. Tongues can be practiced arrogance, ungodly manner (see 1 cor 13:1, 14:4-9). 

Speaking in tongues is not the incoherent gibberish you here the prosperity preachers use. The word tongues are actually referring to different languages that were spoken. 

If different languages are being spoken then it should be one person at a time with someone there to interpret the words (1 Cor 14:28) not the all talking at once gibberish that Sid Roth does who claims he can speak in tongues. 

It is false that all believers should talk in tongues. ( I Cor 12:29-30, 14-23)Yet the prosperity gospel says it is a sign of faith. He says that.

The Bible says tongues were a sign of judgment for those who did not believe (I Cor 14:20-22) and that tongues were known languages (Acts 2:5-12).

Question: Are there Apostle Today:
Answer: No!

There were 3 requirements one had to meet in order to be an apostle of Jesus Christ.

  • A first-person eye witness of Jesus (Acts 1:27, 10:38-41, I Cor 9:1, I John 1:1
  • Directly appointed by Christ (Mark 3:14, Luke 6:13, Acts 1:2, 10:41, Gal 1:1
  • Ability to work (signs) of the Apostles (Matt 10:1-2, Acts 1:5-8, 2:43, 4:33, 5:12, 2 Cor 12:12. 
    There is not a person on earth that can meet any or all of those requirements so all the teachers that titled themselves as Apostles are false teachers.

Session 3: The Hurt Of Healing

The prosperity preachers teach that its always Gods will for us to be healed an if we arent it is our fault and lack of faith. The text they use to support this is (Eph 5:23) but they have taken it out of context. The verse is talking about the body of the church, not the fleshly earthy body.

They also use (Jeremiah 29:11) as their primary reason to suggest that God wants us wealthy. But again they are taking the true meaning of the verse away since it was written to the Jews in Babylonian exile and not us. They were in exile because they failed Gods instruction to leave the land to follow every 7th year. But they failed to follow these instructions for 490 years. God sent them into exile for 70 years (490 divided by 7 = 70).

God does have great plans for us. He uses us to glorify him. He had plans for:

  • Stephen – was stoned (Acts 7)
  • Peter – was crucified upside down (John 21:18)
  • Paul – was stoned, imprisoned, shipwrecked, and then beheaded. (Acts 14,16, 27, 28.

Other favorite verses they like to use to support their teachings are (3 John 2, Matt 18). 

Joseph Prince teaches that if your sick then you just need to bind your sickness. He gets that from Matt 18. But this verse has absolutely nothing to do with binding sickness or disease. This verse is talking about church discipline.

If you see someone doing wrong then you are supposed to take these steps in helping that person overcome there sinning ways.

  • Go talk to the person about there sin (if they refuse to listen and change)
  • Take more people with you and talk to them. (if that doesn’t help)
  • Tell the church (if they still refuse to do anything about it)
  • Treat them as an outcast to the church because they are a false convert. Healing In The Atonement

The word-faith teachers say that Jesus paid for our healing on the cross 2,000 years ago, they use (Isaiah 53:4-5). But this verse isn’t talking about physical health, it’s talking about sin and being healed from it. 

There is physical healing in the atonement. But the faith preachers get it very wrong. They say not all of the benefits of the atonement are promised to be fully realized this side of heaven!

The prosperity preachers have no understanding of the true gospel of Christ none. They say if you don’t get your healing then you just don’t have enough faith. 

Following these false teachers will lead you down a path that doesn’t lead you to the God of the Bible.

In conclusion if you or someone you know is apart of this health and wealth prosperity gospel break all ties with them, whether it be Catholic, Javoha Witness, Scientology, whatever it may be and come to know the real God of the Bible and the truths of his words and you will find a much happier fulfilled life that will lead you straight to Heaven.

Rev 1 of Rev 1-3 Pastor’s Note

Revelation Chapters 1-3

Imagine what it would have been like, to live at the end of the first century. Your city is a part of the *Roman *Empire. You are a Christian. You are a member of a local church. There is only one church in your city. Your nearest church neighbour is over 40 miles away. There are good *Roman roads. You could travel on your horse. You might reach your nearest neighbour in less than a day. Your leader is John the *apostle. But the rulers have sent him away to another country. The reason was that he was a Christian. There are no large meetings where Christians *worship together. There are no Christian books to encourage you. There is no *New Testament to give you hope.

There have been many *earthquakes in your country. There have been many local wars. You are afraid about many things. You wonder what will happen next.

Your neighbours do not like you. You are different from them. You have a different religion. Every day you are in danger. You turn to other *religious groups for help. But there is no help from them. They do not agree with your religion. They even report you to the authorities. They say that you do not believe in God.

The rulers of the nations do not feel confident. They think that other people want to become leaders. They fear that another will take their place. They are jealous of any new religion. They see other people as a danger to their authority. They bring in new laws. The nation has become their religion. Their leader has become their god. Moreover he is the only one that you may *worship. You ask yourself whether you may one day bow down to a strange god. It would be easy to do this. Some of your Christian brothers and sisters have already given up. They have turned away from Jesus Christ, their *Lord.

This is how it was with the 7 churches in Asia. The description of their situation is in the book of Revelation chapters 1 to 3. There was then a period of much *persecution of Christians. The period was at the end of the first century.

Hear what the Spirit says to the Churches. This request appears 7 times. It is in the second and third chapters of the book of Revelation. These letters went to 7 churches in Asia. The period is in the first century. Maybe the Spirit speaks to Christians in churches today about other matters. But the church in the 21st century still has the same problems. So these three chapters are still very important today.

There is an extra blessing. Those who read these letters will be happy people (Revelation 1:3). Those who hear them will be even happier. They will be even happier if they obey the words in the letters. There is a warning at the end of the book. It warns about anyone who might change the message. They must not add to it or take anything away from it (22:18-19).

chapter 1 

There is a description of John’s work in the first five verses in this chapter. He uses three different words. The first is *revelation (apocalypse). It takes the cover off what was secret earlier. The second word is *prophecy. This is in verse 3. Then, in verse 4, he refers to his work as a letter. We find all three descriptions in the book of Revelation

The early chapters help the reader to understand the *prophecies that follow. In them we have the *revelation of Jesus Christ. This could mean the *revelation that Jesus Christ made. It could mean the *revelation that God made about him. It could mean the *revelation that belongs to Jesus Christ. In one way or another, all three are true. The *revelation came from God the Father. It did not come from *angels. It is not a human *revelation. It looks at the questions of history. It brings God’s truth to these questions. Men and women do not create truth. God is the source of all truth. Any truth that we receive comes from God.

God did not make the *revelation directly to John. He sent it through his *angel. This gives the teaching of this book an extraordinary authority. John told everything that he saw. Jesus Christ told him the truth. This truth is the word of God. This means that it is the message from God (verse 2). It is a witness to the truth from Jesus Christ.

Verses 1-3 This book is the *revelation of Jesus Christ. It takes the cover off God’s truth. Otherwise, it would have remained hidden. God gave Jesus these *revelations. He gave them to show his servants what must happen soon. Christ sent this message through his *angel. He sent him to show these *revelations to his servant (slave) John.

God sends his *angel to show the *revelation to John. It is the *revelation of the person of Jesus Christ. He is the one who rose from the dead. The *revelation is that Jesus Christ is *Lord of all. It is a *revelation of God’s *glory and power. John must show God’s servants what must happen soon. ‘Soon’ could mean that it will happen in the very near future. It could mean that it is sure to happen. God has said that it will happen. It could happen quickly. But God’s time is different from ours. One day to God is like a thousand years. A thousand years are like one day to God (2 Peter 3:8).

The blessing in verse 3 is the first of 7 in this book. The message is from God. God will bless (make happy) the person who reads the words of this message. The reader here is not just any person. An official would read a part of the *Old Testament aloud in the *Jewish *synagogue. They did this in the first churches too. A man would read a message to the *congregation. It became part of Christian *worship. A reader became an official in the church.

Next, the people who hear this message will also be happy.

Then there are those who do these things. They practise the things that they hear. They will be happy also. To hear God’s word is a blessing. To obey it is a duty. Here is a warning to anyone that hears but then forgets. It is also a warning to those who take no notice of the message.

John warns that there is not much time left. The first Christians expected the early coming of Jesus Christ. They lived in times of great trouble. So this promise gave them great hope. One day God will take each one of us from the earth. No one knows when this will be. If we have obeyed, we will meet God with confidence.

Verse 4 John sends the message to the 7 churches. They are in the region called Asia (verse 4). He prays for God’s *grace and peace. God is the only God. He is the God who is. He is the God who always was. He is the God who is coming. This refers to the coming of Jesus at the end of the age.

*Grace and peace

The *apostle Paul often starts his letters with a prayer for *grace and peace. He changes the common *Greek word for ‘greetings’ to another word, ‘grace’. The common *Hebrew greeting was ‘*shalom’ or ‘peace’. Paul brings the two greetings together. They form a blessing and a prayer. He prays that his readers may know God’s free help. We do not need to earn this. He also prays that they may know God’s peace. The peace (*shalom) of God is more than just no trouble. ‘Shalom’ has many meanings. It means to be well. It means to have enough for your needs. It means safety and health. Life may be difficult. But we can still know God’s peace.

The message also comes from the 7 *spirits in front of God’s *throne. The 7 *spirits might refer to a group of *angels. There are references here, however, to Father and Son. The words ‘7 *spirits’ appear between these two names. So this probably refers to the Holy Spirit. Seven is a sign of something perfect or complete.

Verse 5 Jesus has three grand titles:

1.         He is the *faithful witness. He witnessed to the truth (John 18:37). It was because of his witness that people killed him.

2.         He was the first one that God raised from death. He rose from death and is alive for ever and ever. He has won the *victory over death. He is the first person in the *kingdom of God. This is an important truth for Christians who suffer *persecution. They need to know this.

3.         He is the ruler of the kings of the earth. Christians who are having *persecution need to know this. The kings of this earth may work against us. But Christ is the King of kings. He controls the history of nations. He rules the kings of earth. His *empire is larger than the *Roman *empire. He rules over the whole world.

Then follow words that praise Jesus. He is the one who loves us. We love Christ because he first loved us. More than that, he has made us free. He has made us free from our *sin. He did this through his blood (death). He died for us on the *cross. The wages for *sin is death. But God gives his people a free gift. It is life for ever in Christ Jesus our *Lord (Romans 6:23). He has also made us free from *sin’s power over us.

Verse 6 There is more. He has made us to be a *kingdom and priests. The *kingdom of God belongs to the people of God. They are the people of the *kingdom. It is not like the *kingdoms of the earth. The people of the *kingdom are those whom God has made free. He has made them free from their *sins. He did this through Jesus Christ. Their purpose is to serve ‘his God and Father’ (verse 6). They are kings. They should rule over *sin. The people of the *kingdom are also priests. This means ordinary Christians. A priest speaks to God on behalf of men. He speaks also to men on behalf of God. Priests pray to God for the world. They tell the world what God has done. They help sad people in the world. They introduce people to God. They pray to the Father for them. To him be *glory and power for ever and ever! *Amen.

Verse 7 Jesus is coming again to this earth. Every eye will see him. This reference comes from the *Old Testament. It is in the book of Zechariah. People will look upon the one whom they have pierced (Jesus). To pierce means to make a hole in something with a pointed object. They will be very sad. It will be like one who cries about the death of a first son. This refers to *David’s family and the people living in *Jerusalem (Zechariah 12:10-13:1). Now all the peoples of the earth will be sad because of Jesus. We are all responsible for the death of Christ. Our *sin has made us responsible.

This is how it will be! ‘So shall it be!’ ‘*Amen’ puts together *Greek and *Hebrew words of agreement. *Amen is a word of agreement. It is not glad about the defeat of the people of the world. The wicked will suffer defeat. The *Amen is glad about the *victory of goodness over evilness. There will be final *victory for Christians who have suffered so much.

Verse 8 God introduces himself as ‘the *Alpha and *Omega’. *Alpha is the first letter of the *Greek alphabet. ‘*Omega’ is the last letter. In English it would be, ‘I am A and Z’. God created all things. He is the one who will end everything. He is the beginning of history. He is the end of history. He is the *Lord of all that comes in between. He is the *Lord King of all the ages. No person, no ruler, no country can oppose the *Lord King. A person who opposes him will never win. Nine times in this book, God has the name ‘Almighty’. This means that nobody can oppose God’s power. His power is very great. He can use his power in any way that he chooses.

The next chapters tell us what Christ thinks about his church. First, he has a right to do this. It is his church. He started it. He set it upon a rock. He promised that the powers of death would not win against it (Matthew 16:8). Second, he knows his church very well. Each of the 7 letters starts with the words ‘I know’.

He knows:

·           the things that they do

·           about their hard work

·           that they suffer

·           that they are patient

·           that they will continue in the *faith to the end

·           about their troubles and that they are poor

·           where they live

·           about their love and *faith

·           about their service and that they will continue to the end.

We shall discover in the next chapters what Christ does think about his church. Sometimes he praises it. Sometimes he blames it. In these letters, we see what an ideal church should be like.

1:9-20 God tells John to *prophesy

The writer of Revelation describes himself just as ‘John’. Some people ask who this might be. The usual view is that he is John the *apostle. He is the son of Zebedee and brother of James. Probably he lived longer than the other *apostles. He was a leader of the church at Ephesus. The authorities had put him in prison on the island called Patmos. He had relations with the 7 churches in Asia. He knew the Christians in these churches.

Verse 9 John says, ‘I was on the island called Patmos’. This means ‘I came to be on the island called Patmos’. He would probably be there for the rest of his life. He was there because of the word of God. He had been a brave *preacher. He was also there for the witness to Jesus. He had been *faithful in *preaching God’s message. He had been *faithful about the truth about Jesus. He suffered for his *faith. The authorities would see him as a poor Christian *preacher. They would make him do very hard and heavy work.

John encourages the Christians in Asia. He describes himself as their brother and companion in suffering. He writes, ‘I am your brother in Christ. We are together in Jesus. We suffer together as members of Christ’s *kingdom.’ Here are three things that we share. We share suffering. We share the *kingdom. We share patience. We mean to carry on until the end.

Verse 10 John was in the Spirit on the *Lord’s Day (verse 10). ‘In the Spirit’ appears several times in the *New Testament. In Revelation, it is in chapter 4 verse 2, chapter 17 verse 3 and chapter 21 verse 10. It may mean some kind of dream. John is especially open to the Holy Spirit. He is prepared to have dreams and to see *visions.

The *vision took place on the *Lord’s Day. This is the only time that this expression appears in the *New Testament. John does not explain it. The *Lord’s Day has its origin in *Caesar’s Day. This might have happened once a week. It was a special day to honour the *emperor. To Christians, however, this day belonged to the *Lord. Jesus is their *Lord. He is the *Lord of this world. He rose from the dead on the first day of the week. So Christians considered this day as the *Lord’s Day. It was right for them to do this.

As John prayed, he had a *vision. First, he heard a voice. It came from behind him. It was a loud voice like a *trumpet. The word ‘*trumpet’ appears quite often in Revelation. It appears more often there than in all the other books in the *New Testament. Usually we associate *trumpets with events that happen in the last days.

Verse 11 The voice said, ‘Write in a book all these things that you see. Send it to the 7 churches. They are Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea.’ If a postman had gone to these churches, he would have gone to them in that order. There was a road that connected the 7 churches. It started at Ephesus. It went north to Smyrna and Pergamum. Then it went south through Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea.

Verses 12-13 The voice came from behind John. So he turned to see who was there. When he turned, he saw 7 *golden *lampstands. There are descriptions of *lampstands in the *Old Testament. John would know about these. They are:

1.         The *lampstand of pure gold in the Tabernacle. (The Tabernacle was the special tent that the *Jews moved from place to place in the desert. They used it as a *temple.) The *lampstand had 6 parts, like the branches of a tree. There were 3 on one side and 3 on the other. There were 7 lamps (including one in the centre) to give light (Exodus 25:31-37).

2.         The *lampstands in Solomon’s *Temple. There were 10 *lampstands of pure gold. There were 5 on the right and 5 on the left (1 Kings 7:49).

3.         In the *vision of Zechariah. Zechariah saw a *lampstand all of gold. It had a bowl on top of it. It had 7 lamps on it (Zechariah 4:2).

But none of these verses describes 7 separate *lampstands. This is what John saw. Each had a lamp that had a light. Jesus Christ was among the *lampstands. Jesus explained that the 7 *lampstands represented the 7 churches (verse 20).

Christ is in the middle of his people (see Matthew 28:20; John 14:18). He is ‘like a son of man’. This refers to Daniel 7:13. Here we read about a person from heaven. He comes with the clouds. He receives great power. People from every nation and language will *worship him. His rule will last for ever. His *kingdom will last for ever. This person looks like a human person.

The Ancient of Days is a name for God. It shows that he has always been a great king. God gave power and all authority to this Son of Man. Jesus used these words about himself. It is the title of the *Messiah. John is giving Christ the most important place. He is head over all people, countries and rulers.

The Son of Man wears a coat. It reaches down to his feet. This means that he is a very important person. He wears a *golden belt. It is round the upper part of his body.

Verse 14 Jesus’ hair is white like wool. Pure wool is white and like snow. ‘The Ancient of Days’ (God) is like this in Daniel 7:9. White hair gives the idea of wisdom. It gives honour to age. It speaks about Christ who is without beginning or end. He has always been. Snow and white wool give the idea of something that is pure. These words express that Christ is *eternal. Also, he is pure. He is without *sin. You look at a person with white hair. You see him as one who is calm and at peace.

We might compare this with the next description of Jesus. ‘His eyes were like flames of fire’. Again we look at the description of God in the *vision of Daniel. It is, ‘his eyes were like flames of torches’ (Daniel 10:6). Sometimes the eyes of Jesus showed anger (Mark 3:5). Sometimes they looked at someone with love (Mark 10:21). Sometimes they looked at his friends with pain (Luke 22:61).

Verse 15 The next description of Jesus refers to a metal. No one knows what kind of metal it really is. They used to have a special kind of metal. It was a mixture of silver and gold. This would be more precious than either metal. It would shine with a very bright light. The metal is hot and shines in the fire. Here again John would see a reference to the books of Daniel and Ezekiel. ‘The man’s arms and feet shone like polished *brass’ (Daniel 10:6). ‘The animal’s feet shone like polished *brass’ (Ezekiel 1:7). It is possible to see two things here. The *brass in Daniel represents strength. God is sure and strong. The animal’s feet in Ezekiel shone with a bright light. This represents speed. God’s feet move fast. They are quick to help his people. They are quick to punish *sin.

Next John says that his voice was like the sound of rushing water. John would be near the sea. Patmos was a small island. He would always hear the sound of the rushing waves. Again, in Ezekiel, the voice was the voice of God. God’s voice was loud like the sound of the sea (Ezekiel 43:2). God’s voice can be ‘a quiet small voice’ or a gentle wind (1 Kings 19:12). But God’s voice can also be like *thunder. It shows great power and greatness. We should fear this voice.

Verses 16-17 The 7 stars are ‘the *angels of the 7 churches’ (verse 20). These churches are in Jesus’ right hand. This is a sign of God’s help and protection. In the letters that follow, Jesus has some hard things to say to his churches. But he has not left them. He still holds them in his hand.

John, in his *vision, saw Jesus. He is Jesus to whom God had given life after death. John fell at Jesus’ feet. It seemed that John was dead. It was the custom then to fall down in front of an important person. This was to show respect and honour. Here, John fell down through the power of Christ. It was the physical effect of this great *vision. The *apostle Peter had the same experience. When he realised who Jesus was, he fell down on his knees. He was aware only that he was a *sinful man (Luke 5:1-11). We often have fears. Jesus still says to us, ‘I am here; do not be afraid.’

Jesus put his hand on John. He told him not to be afraid (verse 17). At any time, Christ has the whole church in his hands. At any time, he can look after any particular person. God’s hand is strong enough to hold the heavens. It is gentle enough to wipe away our tears.

The sharp sword had two edges. It came out of Jesus’ mouth. The sword is a tool in war for attack. It takes strong action against its enemies. The *Roman sword was short and in the shape of a tongue. There is this description of the sword of God in the *Old Testament. ‘He made my mouth like a sharp sword’ (Isaiah 49:2). The word of God is like a sword. It cuts in deep. It shows our *sins. We cannot hide from God. ‘The word of God is alive. It is active. It is sharper than any sword with two edges’ (Hebrews 4:12). It is a word (sword) of judgement. In his right hand, however, Jesus holds the 7 stars (churches). He holds them to protect them. See verse 20.

John now speaks about the face of Jesus. It shines like the sun. This same reference is in Matthew 17:2. The appearance of the *Lord is strong. It is like a shining light. It is bright and splendid. But to his enemies it is terrible.

The words ‘the first and the last’ are very much the same as ‘*Alpha and *Omega’. In verse 8, it is another term for Jesus Christ. It is a description of God. We find it in Isaiah 44:6 and 48:12. It is the promise that Jesus is there at the beginning and at the end. He is the same yesterday, today and for ever (Hebrews 7:3; 13:8). He is there the moment we are born. He is there when we die.

Verse 18 This verse emphasises the *resurrection. Christ won the *victory over death. Here is the promise that he is alive. He is alive now. He will always be alive. We have the same thoughts about the Father in Revelation 4:10 and 10:6. There is the same truth about God in Daniel 12:7. He is with his people now. He will always be with his people. This would have been a great comfort to the Christians in Asia.

*Hades is the place of souls who have left this earth. Jesus puts *Hades and death together. They are an enemy. Christians believe that Christ has beaten death. He has brought life into the open. He has achieved this through the *gospel (2 Timothy 1:10). Because he lives, we shall live also (John 14:19). Death has its gates (Psalm 9:13; 107:18; Isaiah 38:10). There are keys that will open these gates. Keys represent authority. Christ holds the keys of death and *Hades. He has power to send people to death and to *Hades. He has power to rescue them. He rules over the world of *spirits. He rules over death. The *Roman *emperor has no such authority. Neither does any other ruler. This truth gave great hope to the early Christians. It gives great hope to us too.

Verse 19 Jesus repeats the command to write (verse 11). John must include:

1.         what he has seen. This is the *vision of Christ.

2.         what is now. The next two chapters describe the events that are now happening. In these chapters, we see the situation of the 7 churches. The letters tell us about their different situations.

3.         what will take place later. This is in the *visions in chapters 4 to 22. The Christians had many troubles. They needed to have some idea about future events. This was important to them.

‘What is’ and ‘what will be’, apply to the whole book. There is a connection between past, present and future. We find this in the *visions.

Verse 20 ‘Mystery’ here means something that people could not understand. But God has now made the meaning known to them. The meaning is secret.

The 7 stars are the *angels of the 7 churches. The word *angel means ‘*messenger’. This can mean a human *messenger (Luke 7:24; 9:52). But it is more likely to be someone from heaven. He would be God’s *messenger. There are *angels who guard people or nations. They are responsible to protect a person or nation. *Israel had an *angel, Michael. He looked after the national interests (Daniel 10: 13, 20, 21). *Angels may mean the leaders or ministers of the churches. They are the *Lord’s *messengers to the churches. God would speak through them. A ‘*messenger’ may be someone whom the Christians appointed. He would represent them. They had someone like this in the *synagogue. He would be the one who led the prayers.

Each of the above explanations has its difficulty. The Christians in these churches are different from their neighbours. The Christians are God’s people. They are ‘in Christ’ (verse 9). They are God’s holy people. They are priests and kings to God with Christ. They are like lights in the world. Jesus, the true Light, shines through them. John refers to them as *angels of the churches. This is a possible explanation. Their lives on earth match what their lives will be in heaven.

The stars are in Christ’s right hand. In those days the 7 *planets were a sign for authority. The Romans believed that the *planets were gods. They had power over the lives of men and women. They represented the political power of the *Roman *emperors. They ruled the world. The 7 stars often appear on *Roman coins.

The rule over this world is not in the hands of the *Caesars of *Rome. It is Jesus who rules. He is the *Lord of the church. John says that the Christians are kings and priests to God (Revelation 1:6; 5:10; 20:6). They have this position by God’s *grace. The rule of the world does not belong to men. They would only damage the Christian church. The church belongs to Christ and to God and to his people. This is probably the best way to understand the stars in Christ’s hands.

The 7 *lampstands represent the 7 churches. The 7 churches are no more important than *lampstands. The churches are just the lamps that hold the light. The light is Christ. The churches must show his light to the world.

Jesus Words Of His Return

Revelation 3:14-15 New Living Translation (NLT)

The Message to the Church in Laodicea

14 “Write this letter to the angel of the church in Laodicea. This is the message from the one who is the Amen—the faithful and true witness, the beginning of God’s new creation:

15 “I know all the things you do, that you are neither hot nor cold. I wish that you were one or the other!

“14“ And to the angel of the church 10of the Laodiceans write, ‘These things says the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, lthe Beginning of the creation of God: 15m“ I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot.”

— NKJV Study Bible, Full-Color, eBook: The Complete Resource for Studying God’s Word by Thomas Nelson

https://a.co/fomvd2I

Written to the church of Laodicea this is my writing from the Amen, the faithful and true witness. He who is the beginning of all that God has created. I know of what you have done; I know that you are neither hot nor cold. Though I wish that you would be either one or the other!

Revelation 3:20 New Living Translation (NLT)

20 “Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends.

“Behold, I stand at the door and knock. tIf anyone hears My voice and opens the door, i will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.”

— NKJV Study Bible, Full-Color, eBook: The Complete Resource for Studying God’s Word by Thomas Nelson

https://a.co/6EQ9SUB

Jesus promised he’d come back for us in the time of his return to take us with him to our place in heaven. Revelations 3:20 reminds us that when the time of his return comes he shall come expecting his people to be awaiting his return that he shall knock on the door and if they open it they were ready and waiting for him that he will go in and have a meal with them calling them his friend and they shall in return dine with him. For they were ready and accepting of his return.

Jesus Words Of His Return

Revelation 3:14-15 New Living Translation (NLT)

The Message to the Church in Laodicea

14 “Write this letter to the angel of the church in Laodicea. This is the message from the one who is the Amen—the faithful and true witness, the beginning of God’s new creation:

15 “I know all the things you do, that you are neither hot nor cold. I wish that you were one or the other!

“14“ And to the angel of the church 10of the Laodiceans write, ‘These things says the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, lthe Beginning of the creation of God: 15m“ I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot.”

— NKJV Study Bible, Full-Color, eBook: The Complete Resource for Studying God’s Word by Thomas Nelson

https://a.co/fomvd2I

Written to the church of Laodicea this is my writing from the Amen, the faithful and true witness. He who is the beginning of all that God has created. I know of what you have done; I know that you are neither hot nor cold. Though I wish that you would be either one or the other!

Revelation 3:20 New Living Translation (NLT)

20 “Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends.

“Behold, I stand at the door and knock. tIf anyone hears My voice and opens the door, i will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.”

— NKJV Study Bible, Full-Color, eBook: The Complete Resource for Studying God’s Word by Thomas Nelson

https://a.co/6EQ9SUB

Jesus promised he’d come back for us in the time of his return to take us with him to our place in heaven. Revelations 3:20 reminds us that when the time of his return comes he shall come expecting his people to be awaiting his return that he shall knock on the door and if they open it they were ready and waiting for him that he will go in and have a meal with them calling them his friend and they shall in return dine with him. For they were ready and accepting of his return.