Monday Night Bible Study



V-12: And to the church in Pergamos write, these thing says he who has the sharp two edged
V-13: “I know your works and where you dwell, where Satan’s throne is. And you hold fast to
My name and did not deny my faith even in the days when Antipas was My faithful
martyr, who was killed among you, where Satan dwells.
V-14: But I have a few things against you, because you have those who hold the doctrine of
Balaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the children of Israel, to eat
things sacrificed to idols, and to commit sexual immorality.
V-15: Thus you also have those who hold to the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate.
V-16: Repent, or else I will come to you quickly and will fight against them with the sword of
My mouth.
V-17: He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who
overcomes I will give some of the hidden manna to eat. And I will give him a white stone,
and on that stone a new name written which no one knows except him who receives it.”

Pergamos was the provincial capitol of Asia Minor. It had been the capitol for over 400 years, going back to the time of the break up of the kingdom of Alexander the great. This was the beginning of the Selecuid kingdom. After Attalus died in 133B.C., he willed Asia minor to Rome, where Pergamos remained the capitol.

Its geographical location made it an interesting site for a capitol city. The city was perched high on a cone-shaped hill overlooking the Caicus River Valley. It was not on any major trade routes and thus was not a major center of trade. From its location, one could see the Mediterranean Sea just 15 miles away, and any traveler coming through the river valley would certainly be impressed.

Instead of commercial greatness, Pergamos was the cultural center of Asia Minor. It had the second largest library in the ancient world, second only to the one in Alexandria, Egypt. A Pergamene king called Eumenes started a centuries-long feud with the Egyptians when he tried to hire the chief librarian away from Alexandria. Ptolemy, the ruler in Egypt at that time, promptly arrested the librarian and placed an embargo on papyrus to Pergamos. The people of Pergamos, not to be deterred, set about and developed parchment, which eventually replaced papyrus in the ancient world.

Pergamos was also a great religious center for Asia Minor, especially as the keeper of the Greek way of worship. Two of the most popular sites were the Temple of Athene and the Altar of Zeus. They both were 800 feet up on the mountain and could be seen by anyone approaching the city. Historians say that the Altar of Zeus stood 40 ft high on a large projection of rock and from a distance looked like a gigantic throne. Around its base was a majestic carving depicting the victory of the Greek gods over the barbarians’ giants. Smoke went up from the altar all day long from the continual sacrifices being made.

More important, Pregamos was the home to the god Asciepios. If there was any god who would be known as the god of Pergamos, it would have been Asciepios. He was the god of healing. People came from all over the ancient world to Pergamos for healing. It may have been the closest thing to a teaching hospital then known in the ancient world.

What probably caused Pergamos to be called the seat of Satan is that it was the capitol of Asia Minor. This made it not only the administrative center but also the center of emperor worship itself. While other cities jousted for position to build this temple or that temple to an emperor, Pergamos was the definite center for Emperor worship in Asia Minor, and they took that very seriously. Emperor worship was the only form of worship in the empire that could require punishment by death if one failed to concur. This wasn’t during all times and wasn’t always carried out in all places, but it was a fact.

This is pointed out in verse 12, where Jesus refers to Himself as ‘He who has the two edged-sword.’ Roman governors were divided into two classes – those who had the ius gladii and those who didn’t. The ius gladii would be one who had the power of the sword, thus having power over life and death. In Pergamos the governor had the ius gladii, and there was always a chance for the congregation to have that power wielded against them; but Jesus wants them to remember that HE is the one with the two-edged sword. Jesus has the final say. While the power of Rome might be satanically powerful, it would never be as powerful as the risen Christ.

This is not the first time the two-edged sword is mentioned in Revelation. It is also noted in Revelation 1:16. What I said there also applies to this scripture. It comes from Genesis 3:24, when God expels Adam and Eve out of the Garden. There is placed an angel with a two-edged sword, which turns every which way in order to keep them out. Also, in Hebrews 4:12, Paul talks about the two- edged sword as the word of God, “For the word of God is living and powerful and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” The Hebrews text speaks more clearly to verse 16, where Jesus says that He will come among them and slay them with the sword in His mouth. The “them” refers to the teachers of the doctrine of Balaam and the Nicolaitans. Piercing the division between the true believers and the heretics, the sword of His mouth is Christ’s word. It is with His word that He will defeat them – and it is the same with us! It is with Christ’s word that we will be able to defeat the heretics of our day. Not logic, not philosophy, not psychology, but with Christ’s word.

Jesus said, “I know where you stay.” Jesus uses an interesting word here, the Greek word katoikein, which means a permanent dwelling. In most cases when referring to where a Christian lives or stays, the New Testament writers use the Greek word paroikein, which means a traveler or sojourner. Why? The common thought is that we as Christians upon receiving Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior are no longer of this world. We are now seekers and citizens of the Kingdom of God, and we are not expecting to permanently dwell here. This world is not our kingdom and not our home – and often the world does not even want us here…. But in this passage, the word katoikein is used to denote that we also follow the Lord who overcame the world. As Christians we are called not to escape the slings and arrows that the world throws at us but to conquer. The work of the Christian is to stand firm even in the face of persecution and possible martyrdom and witness to the Gospel of Jesus. Regarding the man who was executed, Antipas, Jesus calls a faithful witness. Too often this Greek word gets translated as martyr, but the Greek is actually martus, which translates as witness. Unfortunately, for a true disciple a faithful witness can leads to martyrdom. It is one thing to proclaim Jesus in our Bible study group, Sunday school class, or worship service. It is another to stand firm in our faith where our faith is met with even violent opposition….

Let’s be real – this is happening more and more in our world today. There is opposition within the church against fellow believers. Those who believe in the authority of Scripture are being called names, denounced, and vilified because of holding to scriptural correctness above politics or whatever society says is correct at the moment. Their definition of correct continues to change with the wind. There is also a growing opposition to Christian faith in our local communities as well as officials all the way to the top tiers of the government.

Friedrich Nietzsche, the French philosopher, is best known for his writing in which he supposedly proclaimed, “ God is dead.” Nietzsche was taken out of context. He saw the world around him and all the changes that were happening which at the time seemed like a very quick pace. He saw the societal changes and said basically that the ways of the church and the worship of God at the time was not meeting the need of the people of that time. Now this is a discussion for another day, but there were a lot of changes in the study of theology, especially out of Germany, which had spread throughout Europe and also to the United States which made that true. However, Nietzsche also wrote that there would always be a god, because humanity would make one to put in His place. Imagine that insight….

We see this today with the fascist leftist medias attacks on the faith of those who believe in the authority of Scripture. The Bible itself is being jammed into the category of hate speech. It is being called exclusive. Laws are in the process of being passed which will cancel a Christian’s right to free speech if they disagree with the social justice culture. There are talks of indoctrinating people to believe as the government thinks one ought to believe. Some of the people in the 2021 president’s administration believe that those who will not bow should be imprisoned in special camps. Look at what is happening in China regarding the imprisonment of Islamic believers and the enforcing of slave labor. There has been even talk of holocaust-type murders of Islamic believers in China, where the Christian church is also persecuted. As the violence and deceptive speech of the cancel culture and social justice warriors are rammed down peoples’ throats – and all media is being controlled to the point where dissenting voices are canceled, censored, or silenced – who’s to say the same thing will not happen in the U.S. ? Jesus is telling the congregation at Pergamos, and the congregations of today, that He is proud of their witness in the face of deadly opposition. He is telling them – and us – to continue to stay where we are, stand, and witness, even if it means death. He reminds us that He has overcome the world, no matter what the happenings around us look like. (We shall see later that the death of Antipas will be revisited when we talk about the stone and the name written on it.)

Who are the heretics? Well, apparently there are two groups and not one, as in Ephesus. The first are those who hold the doctrine of Balaam. Balaam was a great sorcerer who was contracted by Balak, the king of Moab, to cast a curse on the Children of Israel as they were passing through Moab on their way to the Promise Land. Balaam tried three times, but the Lord God only gave him blessings to pronounce. Yet Balaam told Balak that while the Lord God would not allow him to curse Israel, Balak could get them to curse themselves by going in the back door and tempting the children of Israel to blaspheme through the women of Moab. Thus, the children of Israel sinned against God by doing the same things mentioned in verse 14, sacrificing and eating things sacrificed to idols and committing sexual immorality. We have already noted that Pergamemes saw themselves as the keepers of pure Greek culture, as well as taking pride in their support of the emperor cult; and most Greek temples and their worship included male and female prostitutes. Unless you knew of a good Jewish butcher, all meats sold in the marketplace had been sacrificed to idols. The meat was not a problem unless it was eaten at a pagan temple as part of a pagan celebration. This purchase location would also be the same time that a person might be seduced into sexual immorality with a temple prostitute. Now, one might say, “ OK, just stay away from pagan temple functions.” But the Christians had family that were not Christians, and temples were the places for birthday celebrations, weddings, and many other secular social events. Apparently the congregation at Pergamos had become lax in the scrutiny of some of the fellow believers. While not all were guilty of these sins – maybe not even the majority – the congregation was not holding each another accountable.

The second group of heretics was the Nicolaitans. Again, go to my writing on Ephesus and reread. These were the early form of gnosticism, which would become an even greater problem in about 50 years (the flesh was not important, only the spirit mattered). The Christian lifestyle was nonexistent for them. What one did, what one ate, and where one worshiped were not important. These folks evolved to believe that Jesus did not exist as a human but was only was spirit. He didn’t die on the cross. Sin was of the flesh, and Jesus was all spirit. Thus, He didn’t have to die, and the life lived in the flesh was not important – only the spirit was important. Again, these people were not in the majority, but they were also not being held accountable. What a false compassion – where the feelings and desires of persons takes precedence over the Sovereignty, Authority, Will, Holiness and Righteousness of God!

We can see this in the break- up of major Christian denominations today. Where Scriptural authority is set aside and sin is ignored or disclaimed to support a false compassion for the feelings of persons. Where is the real compassion, when we are willing to condemn a person to Hell because we are unwilling to confront their sin since we don’t want to hurt their feelings? We act like Luke telling Darth Vader, “I see the good in you.” But we fail to compare the good in them to the righteousness and holiness of God. The people of the congregation in Pergamos were willing sell their fellow members short because they did not want to ruffle feathers or hurt feelings.

Jesus tells the believers of Pergamos that if they are not willing to confront their fellow congregational members, then He will, by the sword in His mouth. Remember the words of Paul in Hebrews, “The word of is like a two edged sword.” Jesus says He is going to fight the heresy with His word; and because His word can sever between soul and spirit, joint and marrow, He can deal with the heretics without harming the faithful. Isn’t it interesting that while we try to handle things by political maneuvering, Jesus says, “I will handle it through My word.”

Again, let those with an ear (singular) hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the overcomers, to those who are faithful to the end, Jesus promises three rewards: 1) I will give some of the hidden manna to eat. It is believed by Hebrew scholars that one of the signs of the Messiah will be that He will feed the remnant with the manna from heaven as God did the children of Israel in the wilderness. This was the sign Jesus used in His own ministry with the feedings of the 4000 and 5000. Here Jesus is telling them that they will not have to worry about food or meat sacrificed to idols because they will eat at His heavenly table and eat His heavenly food. 2) I will give them a white stone. In the ancient culture of the day, there were a couple of different thoughts about the white stone; but since we are talking about end time and judgment, I believe the correct thought is one based on the judicial practices of the day. In a court case, unlike today, there was usually more than one judge. The judges would hear all sides of the case and then would pronounce their judgment, not by speaking but by casting stones. Each judge would have a white stone and a black stone. The black stone was if they found against a person, and the white stone was for if they found for a person. Similar to this was that in the early priesthood of Israel, a priest sought the will of God through the urim and the thummin. While the color of the urim and the thummin are not known, it is greatly believed that they were stones. The urim and the thummin are not mentioned again after the 7th chapter of Nehemiah. Jesus is telling the overcomers, both in Pergamos and in today, that He has cast for us the white stone. We win!!
3) There will be a name on the stone, a name that no one knows but the one who receives it. Now, most people want to make a big deal about the secrecy of the name, that no one will know it except they who receive it. But I would like to share that the name is not the secret. The name is mentioned in Rev.2:13 of our present study and was mentioned earlier in our study in Rev. 1:5. It is the name given to Antipas and the name given by God the Father to Jesus in Rev. 1:5 – Faithful Witness. You may say, “But Dap, Jesus calls Antipas a faithful martyr.” Please remember the Greek word for martyr is literally witness. The secret is not the name. The secret is that only the one who overcomes can understand the meaning behind the name…..

Let’s review:
1.) Jesus is the one with the two-edged sword in His mouth. Jesus is the one who speaks the truth of
God. His word is truth. The power of His word is greater than the sword of Rome.
2.) Jesus knows their works, the hardship of where they dwell, and their faithfulness even in
persecution unto death.
3.) Jesus has one shortcoming against them, found in two areas: their failure to hold accountable those who are not constant in the faith (those who adhere to the doctrine of of Ballam) and those who refuse to adhere to the basic beliefs of the faith (the Nicolaitans).
4.) If they do not repent and do their duty as faithful believers, Jesus Himself will come and deal with
the unfaithful THROUGH HIS WORD.
5.) To the overcomers, Jesus will give three rewards: 1) They will be allowed to eat the bread of Heaven saved for those who overcome. 2) They will be judged righteous via the white stone.
3) They will be given the name that Jesus was given by the Father and which Jesus gave Antipas – that of Faithful Witness.


In Christ,

The Dap

Remember to pray Psalm 91 in the first person daily. If you want to be more empowered, pray Psalms 23, 27, and 121 as well.

Monday Night Bible Study

Revelation 2:8-11

Revelation 2:8-11

8) And to the angel of the church in Smyrna write, “These things says the First and the Last,
who was dead and came to life:
9) I know your works, tribulation and poverty (but you are rich); and I know the blasphemy
of those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan.
10) Do not fear any of those things you are about to suffer. Indeed the devil is about to throw
some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and you will have tribulation ten days. Be
faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.
11) He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. He who overcomes
shall not be hurt by the second death.”

Smyrna is second in line because it was second only to Ephesus in greatness among the cities of Asia Minor (although they never thought of themselves as second to anyone!). Unlike Ephesus. which basically does not exist today, Smyrna was the site of the present day city of Izmir. Smyrna was situated about 40 miles north of Ephesus and commanded the mouth of the Hermus River valley. This fed into a natural land-sided harbor which could easily be defended. It also stood at the end of the crossroads to Lydia and Phygia, which gave Smyrna command of all the trade through the rich Hermus valley.

Smyrna was a very wealthy city. It was also a very beautiful city. Originally founded by Greek colonists around 1000 B.C. it was destroyed by Lydians about 600 B.C. For almost 400 years it was nothing but a collection of small villages scattered about. Then in 200 B.C. a gentleman by the name of Lysimachus put together a project to reconstruct the city as a planned whole, and Smyrna thus became the first planned city. Its streets were set off in perfect squares with one main thoroughfare arising from the harbor and one crossing it around the Pagos ( the mountain that rose up from the harbor). All the temples and buildings were planned as they were built up the side of the Pagos. The city was aesthetically beautiful and was known as the Jewel of Asia Minor.

Not only was it aesthetically beautiful, but because of its position on the coast, it caught the westerly wind continuously from the sea, which made it a pleasant place to live – except for one problem. All the city’s waste was emptied from the river into the harbor, and at times the aroma was a little less than desirable. Well, I guess you can’t have everything…

Smyrna was similar to Ephesus in that it was also a free city, which meant it did not have to have Roman troops stationed there and had total self government. The City of Smyrna was very proud of their alliance with Rome. In fact, they were never conquered by Rome. They had thrown in their lot with Rome before Rome became a super power. They vied with other cities for the right to be the first to build temples to the emperors. This would be one of the areas of persecution for the church in Smyrna because of the city’s love of Rome and their desire to show it by emperor worship.

The other source of persecution came from the fact that there was a huge Jewish population in Smyrna. This was both a blessing and a curse. The blessing was that many Christian converts came from Gentiles who were interested in the belief in a one true God as opposed to polytheism. But they were not interested enough to become proselytes (namely, circumcision). Thus, the Christian faith which talked about the circumcision of the heart instead of the physical kind would seem more to their liking. The curse was that Judaism appealed a lot more to women than to men, and many of these women were wives of the wealthy and influential of the city as well as the wives of many of the government leaders. This made it especially easy to get the governing authorities involved in any persecution the Jews wanted to hand out upon the congregation, or cast a blind eye to whatever the Jews wanted to do to the believers. The Christians in Smyrna were under attack from two enemies in the city. Six slanders were often used to accuse the Christian in Smyrna

1) The taking of the sacrament of the Holy Eucharist used the words, ‘This is My body and My
blood.’ Thus, the Christians were often accused of being cannibals.
2) Because Christians called their common meal the Agape or love feast, they were accused of holding
3) Because not everyone within a family became believers, Christians were accused of splitting up
families and destroying family values.
4) Because Christians had no carved or molten images for worship, they were called heathen.
5) Because they would not swear loyalty to Caesar and burn incense and worship at his temple, they
were traitors.
6) Because Christians believed in the powerful return of Jesus and the Kingdom of Heaven this would
bring, they were insurrectionists.

Cannibalism, orgies, family destruction, heathen, traitorous, and insurrectionist….The congregation in Smyrna was really up against it.

Jesus begins in verse 8 by telling the Smyrna Christians that He is the First and the Last. If we will remember from chapter 1, verse 11, the Greek here is saying that Jesus is the foremost one who was before the beginning. And the last in the Greek means as far from the last as you can get. In this Jesus is reminding the congregation that He is the Eternal One, the One who was alive before there was any creation and the One who will be around after there is no creation. He also reminds them that He is the One who was dead (the Greek here actually means a corpse, lifeless), yet now He is alive (the Greek meaning alive eternally, a life without end). There is also a play of words on the history of Smyrna here. Remember, Smyrna was alive from 1000 B.C. until around 600 B.C. and then was destroyed. It was rebuilt around 200BC and was at this time thriving, vying to be the greatest city in Asia Minor, considered a leading city in the entire Roman Empire. They are totally full of themselves and do not suspect their end. Jesus is reminding the Christians in Smyrna that He is the only eternal One and that in the same way the city of Smyrna cast their lot with a temporary empire like Rome, if they continue with faith in Him, the truly Eternal One, they will be the true overcomers.

In verse 9 Jesus reveals three things He knows about them. 1) He knows of their works. They are true to their Gospel calling. Unlike the Ephesians, knew what their first work and their first love was. They even understood the distress in their lives and continued to proclaim the Gospel and call sinners unto repentance. They maintained a heart for the lost. 2) Jesus knows their tribulation. The Greek for tribulation is thlipsis, which means to crush, press, squeeze, to break in any way possible. This congregation was being attacked from two sides – the folks who condemned them for not worshiping the emperor and the Jews whose position was threatened by loss of possible proselytes from their synagogue to a gospel of a risen Lord who offers eternal life. 3) Jesus knows their poverty. In the Greek there are two words used for the poor. One is penia, referring to a person who is not wealthy, one who has to work for a living. This IS NOT the Greek word used here. The Greek used here is ptocheia, referring to a person who has absolutely nothing, totally destitute, without job or resources of any kind. Yet the Lord tells them they are rich. They are rich in faith. They are rich in love from Christ to them and from them to the lost. They are rich in works, the true works of the church of Christ.

Why would the Christians of Smyrna be so poor in such a wealthy city? Because they were suffering for their faith. In a city where emperor worship was not just practiced bur expected, a Christian who refused to bow to Caesar or pay tribute to Caesar suffered from the cancel culture of that day. They had no 4th Amendment. There was no such thing as illegal search and seizure. The mob could enter and destroy any Christians home or business (if they had one), take what they wanted, and make the remainder unusable. Kind of reminds you of the actions that took place this summer in the USA with no punitive action taken. It wasn’t something that was continuous, but the Christians living in Smyrna lived under this type of threat at all times. As an aside here, the exact same things happened to the early Methodist of the 1700’s in England. In early 18th century England, Methodist were dragged out of their home and beaten or thrown into jail. The men could be forced into the army to fight the wars that were happening at that time. Methodist homes and meeting houses could be (and were) destroyed or irreparably damaged. John and Charles Wesley were both arrested by authorities. They were both seized by mobs and beaten and dragged down streets and around towns. If you need proof, read the journals of both Charles and John Wesley. The Jews in Russia were subject to the same treatment. The Christians of Smyrna were subject to the same abuse.

Another reason the Christians in Smyrna were so poor is also found in verse 9. Jesus says He knows of the blasphemy of the Jews. The Greek for blasphemy is blasphemia, meaning to vilify someone, to slander them, to tell falsehoods about them, to lie and speak evil of them and against God. The Jews were the primary instigators against the congregation at Smyrna. They propagated the six slanders mentioned earlier in this writing. Jesus calls them the synagogue of Satan, the Greek literally meaning slanderer, adversary, and accuser. This is what the Jews of Smyrna did and in so doing got the whole city stirred up against the Christians.

Yet in verse 10, Jesus tell the congregation in Smyrna not to fear. Then He follows it up with things that would make one fear. He tells them they are about to suffer. He doesn’t tell them what the total sum of their suffering is going to be, though probably a lot more of the same already mentioned. He specifically says that the devil will throw some of them in prison. The Greek for devil, diabolos, means the one who is full of falsehood and lies, one who slanders and whose main purpose is to lead people away from God and into sin. They will all suffer tribulation and will be tested. The good news is that it will be for a short time. The phrase “ten days” unfortunately does not mean a literal ten days. It does, however, refer to a short period of time. He tells them to be faithful until death, which indicates some will die under the persecution.

Here Jesus tells them of one of their two rewards: 1) Being faithful (Greek word pistos, meaning faithful in duty to oneself and to others, true fidelity) even unto even unto death results in Jesus’ giving them the crown of eternal Life, a life without end. The Greek here for life is zoie, which can either mean just life in general or, as in Scripture, eternal life without end. The interesting fact here is Jesus says the crown of eternal life. There are again two words for “crown” in the Greek. One is diadema, which means a royal crown worn by a king or emperor. The second word is the one found in our text, stephanos, which carries with it the joy of victory. Smyrna had an area where athletic events were held that were were prominent in the city. Victors in these events would receive a laurel crown. Smyrna was also called the crown of Asia Minor, thus one side of their coins would have a victors crown inscribed on it. City officials who left their jobs with great accomplishments, or others who had done great feats, would have coins fashioned with their wearing a crown of victory on one side. The crown was part of the strong imagery and tradition for the city of Smyrna. So it is interesting that Jesus promises a victor’s crown for the reward of the faithful believer. But His reward is not a laurel crown that will wilt, dry out, crumble, and disappear. Rather, it is an eternal crown that remains with the one who has been given eternal life.

Verse 11 begins with, “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” Then Jesus reveals the second reward for the faithful: 2) There is a promise that they who overcome will not be hurt, damaged, or harmed by the second death. Teachers of the Bible make a big deal about the Sadducees and their not believing in the resurrection of the dead, but most Jews believed in an eternal life. As a matter of fact, the term “second death” is only found a couple of times in the New Testament. The term is not Christian, it comes from Orthodox Judaism. The Orthodox Jews believed that when a person died, they went to a place where their spirits remained until they were judged. At the time of judgment is when they would go to their eternal home, Heaven or Hell. The Catholic concept of Purgatory actually derives from this Orthodox Judaism belief. Jesus promises the believers at Smyrna that they who are faithful till the end, until death, will not face the second death. Here the word for death is not the word for a corpse. It is thanatos, meaning destruction, perdition, misery, implying both physical death and exclusion from the presence and favor of God in consequence of sin and disobedience. The residents of Smyrna may be able to kill the Christian believers in this world, but the faithful will wear the eternal crown of eternal life in the next.

The sufferings of the Christians in Smyrna were not just historical suffering. Humanity has not really moved forward or grown past such atrocities. They are happening in Iran, Pakistan, China, North Korea, Argentina, Venezuela, and other countries in this world today. I really hate to say it, but the way things are going in Washington DC, they may be happening soon in this this country as well.

Let’s Sum it up:
1) Jesus is the First and the Last, He who was dead but now lives.
2) Jesus knows Smyrna’s condition, their works, their tribulation, and their poverty.
3) Jesus tells them that they are rich in what matters – their first work, their first love, their heart for
the unsaved.
4) He knows the false charges that have been brought against them and who brought them – Jews not
following God but following Satan
5) Do not fear the testing that is coming: more tribulation, imprisonment, even death. But it will be for
a short period of time.
6) Those who are faithful until death and those who overcome will receive the eternal crown of eternal life and freedom from the second death.

In Christ –
The Dap

Remember to pray the 91st Psalm in the first person daily. If you want to be even more empowered, pray the 23rd, the 27th, and the 121st in first person as well.

Monday Night Bible Study

REVELATION 2:1-7, Continued

Revelation 2:1-7 (cont’d)

While the letters to the seven churches are written to individual congregations, it is clear that Jesus’ intention was for all the congregations to have knowledge of each letter. The seven letters follow the exact same outline consisting of seven segments. While a couple of the churches may only have 6 segments, the outline is the same:
1) To which church the letter is written
2) The speaker of the words which are to be written
3) The intimate knowledge the speaker has about each church, the church’s accomplishments
4) The church’s actual condition, usually negative
5) The correction to their condition
6) The exhortation of, “he who has ears, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches”
7) The reward promised to the victor.

In actuality only three churches have the full seven. Two, Smyrna and Philadelphia, do not include item #4 and two, Sardis and Laodicea, do not include item #3.

Jesus commands John to write to the messenger of the congregation at Ephesus. Jesus defines Himself the speaker as, “He who holds the seven stars in His right hand, who walks in the midst of the seven golden lamp stands.” The first thing we must glean from this verse is He who holds. The Greek for ‘holds’ is kratein, and it carries with it a powerful meaning: to take hold with complete control. Jesus is telling the congregation at Ephesus that He has and is in complete control of the church. This has a positive meaning and a negative meaning, depending on how one handles it. If we recognize Jesus’ control and submit to it, then we can walk in His presence, strength, and power. The congregation can live in the security of Christ’s love, presence, and power. When we submit, we are under such protection that nothing Satan can do – and no one that Satin can send – can tear us from the protective hands of Christ. But if we rebel…..well, the answer is found in verse 5.

The imagery with kratein is Jesus has all seven stars in His hands. Jesus moves among the seven lamp stands. He holds all, moves among all. What John wants us to understand is Jesus has and is in total control of the WHOLE church. Remember, Jesus tells us the mystery of the stars and the lamp stands in verse 20 of the first chapter. The stars are the angels or the messengers, the lamp stands are the congregations. The messengers are firmly grasped in His hand and the congregations are in His immediate presence. Again, Jesus is in total control, not the messengers or the congregational leadership, not the congregation itself. Only Jesus. The stars are in His right hand. The right hand denotes authority and position. Their position is in His right hand. Their position is under His authority.

In verse 2, Jesus tell the Ephesus congregation what He sees as their accomplishments. He says He knows their works. The Greek for ‘works’ is ergon (pronounced er’-gon) and means the work of a group of people based on doing the right action according to a moral code. In this case, the moral code would be the Gospel of Jesus Christ. They labor for the Gospel, they persevere for the Gospel. They have done good works. They have cared for the sick, fed the hungry, clothed the naked, provided shelter for the homeless, and held true to the Gospel.

Their second accomplishment is that they cannot stand or endure those who are evil. The Greek for evil is kakos, (pronounced kak-os’) and is defined as wicked, viscous in conduct, heart, and character.

Their accomplishment was that they had heeded Paul’s warning 30 years earlier. Paul warned them that there would be wolves and liars and false teachers and false apostles who would come in and try to destroy the church – or at least lead them astray. Jesus said that the congregation at Ephesus had tested these teachers and self-appointed apostles to see if they were what they claimed to be. The Greek for tested is peirazo (pronounced pi-rad’-zo). It means to tempt, to prove and put to the test in order to ascertain the true character, views, or feelings of someone. They worked hard and labored long to test those teachers and apostles to make sure that they were true ambassadors of Christ. In verse 3, Jesus repeats that they have persevered and labored and bore up under pressure for the sake of His name, and that in the process of it all they had not become weary. The Greek for weary is kamno (pronounced kam’-no.) It means to be made sick by constant work. Jesus praises them that their continual battle against false teachers, false teachings, and false apostles has not made them weary or sick. They haven’t given up or quit under the pressure but are constant in this battle. I’m sure we all have battled against problems or issues in our lives for such a time that at one point we have seen no end in sight. We become weary, want to say, “Forget it!” And we sometimes do. Jesus praises the Ephesians for not becoming weary of the fight and for keeping on keeping on.

Verse 4 brings us to the charge against them. Jesus tells them they have forgot their first love. The Greek for love is agape – a word we followers of Christ know well. It means selfless love, sacrificial love. I will close tonight’s study with what the Lord means by this.

In verse 5, Jesus exhorts Ephesus to remember from where they were fallen – basically, to remember how they were in the beginning. It is interesting that the Lord is challenging them to remember what in their past it was that brought them unto salvation. What kind of love it was that enabled them to confess Jesus as their Lord. The love that enabled them to to live a life of assurance of forgiveness. Jesus calls on the congregation at Ephesus to repent. The Greek for repent is metanoeo (pronounced met-an-o-eh’-o). It is stated as showing a genuine sorrow for sin and a changing of the mind toward God with the intended action of returning to God. Jesus wants the Ephesians to stop standing on their accomplishments and return to grace, to stop depending on their good works and return to depending on the finished work of Christ on the cross. Jesus tells them that He wants them to return to their first work, their first ergon. That was proclaiming the Gospel unto salvation.

The Lord ends verse 5 with His punishment if they do not repent and return to their first work. He will remove their lamp stand. They will be cast out, no longer part of the kingdom, no longer under the power of His protection.

In verse 6 Jesus does what people in the business world call a ‘sandwich’. In verses 2 and 3 He praises them, in verses 4 and 5 He tells them what they are doing wrong, and in verse 6 He praises them again. Jesus tells them that, like Himself, they hate the works of the Nicolaitans. These were a group of gnostics who would become a bigger pain in another 50 years, but even at the turn of the first century, their diversive beliefs were rearing an ugly head. These Nicolaitans are identified with the followers of Nicolaus, the proselyte of Antioch, who was one of the seven deacons of that church. The idea is that he went astray and became a heretic. According to an early church father, Irenaeus, the Nicolaitans lived a life of unrestrained indulgence. Hippolytus says that they departed from correct doctrine and were in the habit of inculcating indifference to food and life. They confused Christian liberty with unchristian living. The Nicolaitans saw no reason for a Christian to be separated unto God. Like the church of today, the Nicolaitans believed the Christian should just blend in. There was no such thing as a Christian lifestyle. It was the spirit that mattered, not the body or a life separated unto Christ. Jesus praises the Ephesians that they hated this heresy as much as He did. We must understand that while the Ephesians may have hated the Nicolaitans, in reality Jesus did not. Jesus hated the heresy and what it did and could do to believers and His church. We will deal again with the Nicolaitans in the church at Pergamos, but it will come from less of a Greek viewpoint and more from an Old Testament Hebrew viewpoint.

In verse 7, we have the proclamation, “He who has ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” This proclamation is at the end of all seven letters. Many times this verse is misquoted because people say ears. But notice it is in the singular – ‘ear’. What the Lord is saying is let the one who has a heart after God hear, a heart after the truth of the Gospel, a heart to do Jesus’ work and rely upon His grace, His goodness, His righteousness, His mercy, His holiness, and His word. They will hear and repent and return to Christ. As Jesus puts it, they will be overcomers. They will receive the full promise of salvation. Eternal life, life with no end. They will be received into God Paradise and be allowed to do that which Adam and Eve were not allowed to do – that which their exile from the Garden of Eden prevented them from doing: eating from the tree of life. The Greek word for life is zoe (pronounced dzo-ay’). This carries a different meaning in the everyday Greek and Hebrew. To these languages, it just means a life which satisfies; but in Christian texts, it is used to mean life eternal, a life without end. Thus,we get to eat from the tree of eternal life!

Go back to verse 4. What does the Lord mean by the Ephesians leaving their first love (agape)? We read about their good works, their tirelessness, their willingness to protect the Gospel and the name of Jesus, their unwillingness to be fooled by false doctrine and false teachers by constantly testing them to see if they were true or not. Why is Jesus calling them to repent? Because they lost their first love, which was AGAPE LOVE! If we go to the 13th chapter of I Corinthians, verses 1-3 we read, “Though I speak with the tongue of men and of angel but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.” Have you ever gone to a church and heard a sermon that was so hell-fire and brimstone it scared you to death? Yet when the service was over, you thought if you went to the altar it wouldn’t really matter, because the people were about as friendly as a provoked rattle snake? They did their duty. Did they do anything wrong? No. Did you feel a need to repent? Yes. Did you feel love? Probably not. Have you ever encountered a person who could quote Scripture like they were reading it from the Bible? And if you mention a problem or make a mistake or ask for prayer, they just spout out a Scripture? These folks are great at quoting Scripture but not so good at living the life of love that Scripture talks about….

The Ephesians had become experts at testing the teachers and the teachings. They had become experts at protecting the name of Jesus. But they had stopped exhorting the name of Jesus. They could tell you what true doctrine was, but they had either forgotten how to proclaim or just ceased to do so. You see, the first love is the understanding of what the first work is. The first work is the conversion of the sinner. The Ephesians wouldn’t have a Gospel to protect if they hadn’t first been converted and brought into a new life in Christ. They had forgot that their first love was to love people and to love them to the point that they wanted to bring them into the kingdom with themselves. The first work was the saving of souls.

Now you are thinking, ‘Well, Dap, you said that they did good works. They fed the hungry, they clothed the naked, they helped find shelter for the homeless, they gave to or provided ministry to the poor. What more could they do?’ Listen here – they could love those people. They could act/behave in love. Be honest. How often do we do the same things merely out of obligation? How often do we do the same works for works’ sake? How often do we perform the same way, thinking, ‘OKAY! Now I have a bargaining chip with God’? How often do we do the same work in order to be seen and to garner praise for what a good person we are? The Ephesians had lost their heart for the sinner, their concern for the lost. You cannot offer salvation to someone you do not love. We need Revival in our world today more than anything else we could pray for. We give it lip service but not a lot of action. For us to be an agent of change, we first must be changed. We have to pray with David, “Create in me a new heart, O Lord.” A new heart that beats in unison with the heart of Christ. A heart which breaks over the same sins that breaks Christ’s heart. The Ephesians had lost that heart of love, that zeal to seek and offer salvation to the lost.

The Ephesians had gotten so caught up in testing the false teachings and teachers that they had become judges instead of evangelists. Remember how I said earlier that Jesus didn’t hate the Nicolaitans, he hated their heresy? The Ephesians had become so judgmental they hated both the Nicolaitans and their heresy. This doesn’t mean that we don’t test spirits, doctrine, teachings, actions, and teachers. These are a must to do. We are allowed and expected to judge and test those. But we are NOT allowed to judge people to the point we condemn them. We are called to love them, offer them the truth, pray for their salvation, and hope for their redemption. The congregation at Ephesus had forgotten that – THEY HAD FORGOTTEN THEIR FIRST LOVE!!


Let’s review:
1. Jesus is writing through John to the congregation at Ephesus.
2. Jesus’ power and Authority is demonstrated by His holding of the seven stars in His Right hand and
His position among the lamp stands.
3. Jesus praises the Ephesians’ works, laboring without growing weary, patience, perseverance, and
testing in order to protect the name of Jesus.
4. The charge against them is that they have lost their first love, agape.
5. They are called upon to repent and return to their first work and their first love.
6. They are told that the punishment if they do not repent and return to their first love is being removed from the kingdom.
7. They are praised again for their not being deceived by the Nicolaitans.
8. When they do repent and return, they will be overcomers and will receive their place in paradise
where they will receive everlasting life.

Be sure to pray the 91st Psalm in the first person. If you want to be even more empowered, pray the 23rd, the 27th, and the 121st Psalms in the first person as well.

Blessings –
The Dap

Monday Night Bible Study

Revelation 2:1-7

Revelation 2:1-7

1) To the angel of the church of Ephesus write, These things says He who holds the seven stars in
His right hand, who walks in the midst of the seven golden lamp stands.
2) I know your works, your labor, your patience, and that you cannot bear those who are evil.
And you have tested those who say they are apostles and are not, and have found them liars;
3) and you have persevered and have patience, and have labored for My name’s sake and have
not become weary.
4) Nevertheless, I have this against you, that you have left your first love.
5) Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will
come to you quickly and remove your lamp stand from its place unless you repent.
6) But this you have, that you hate the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.
7) He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes
I will give to eat from the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God.

There is a lot to know about the church at Ephesus. This will likely take more than one posting…

At the time John is writing this, Ephesus was considered the greatest city in Asia. It had the biggest and best harbor in Asia, and because it sat at the mouth of the Cayster River, it became a center for trade. Not only did the river provide a route of trade into the interior of Asia, but also the broad river valley provided routes of trade from other parts of the Empire. It was at Ephesus that the trade routes form the Euphrates and Mesopotamia reached the Mediterranean via Colosse and Laodicea. It was at Ephesus where the trade from the interior such as Galatia and produce from rich Maeander Valley reached the markets. For Asia, Ephesus was the Highway to Rome. In 50 to 60 years, when persecutions of Christians occurred daily and were wide-spread, it became known as the highway of the martyrs.

Ephesus was what they called a Free City. Because of special actions the city had afforded the Roman government, they received special benefits. They were totally self-governing within their city limits. They were a seat where the Roman Governor held court, and they did not require Roman troops to be garrisoned within the city. Ephesus was not the capital of the province of Asia, but it was where the governor lived most of the time. Much like Jerusalem was the capital of Palestine, yet the Roman Governors spent most of their time in Caesarea by the sea. Ephesus was also the host to the largest athletic games in Asia.

Ephesus was the center of worship for the goddess Artemis or as she is referred to in the scriptures, Diana. Her temple was considered one of the seven wonders of the world at the time. The temple measured 425 feet long and 220 feet wide. It had 120 columns, each 60 feet high, with 36 columns richly gilded and inlaid with gold and precious stones. One might remember in Acts 19 where Paul got in trouble with the gold, silver, and jewelry guilds of Ephesus, because they thought the young church was cutting into their profits. The cult of Diana was a fertility cult and employed over a 1000 male and female prostitutes.

There were also two large and extensive temples dedicated to emperor worship as well as pagan temples of many kinds in Ephesus. Pagan influence and worship were prevalent here. Ephesus was also know as a place where pagan superstition was very widespread. There was in John and Paul’s day a document called the Ephesian Letters. These included charms to do anything from making someone fall in love with you to healing any kind of illness or malady. People came from all over the empire to buy the charms and amulets.

The population of Ephesus was divided into 6 different groups: 1) those who descended from the original people in the area; 2) direct descendants from the original Greek colonist from Athens; 3-5) three groups consisting of Greeks from other areas of Greece; 6) Jews who had been there awhile since they were brought there by the Assyrians after the conquest of the Northern Kingdom of Israel. As a matter of fact, the Jews may have been the first refugees even before the Greeks ever appeared.

Because of the Temple of Artemis, Ephesus was not only a center of religion and a center of trade, it was also a center for crime. No matter how offensive the crime, a criminal could receive asylum in the temple. Thus, many criminal elements would operate out of the temple grounds.

Paul stayed in Ephesus longer than anywhere else during his missionary journeys. Paul’s apprentice, Timothy, was called the first Bishop of Ephesus. Apollos made his headquarters in Ephesus. Paul wrote some of his letters to other churches from Ephesus. (Both letters to the Corinthians) But Ephesus did not only belong to Paul, it was an important church in the life of the writer of Revelation.
John was as big an influence in Ephesus as Paul, maybe even bigger. While Paul visited no other cities in Asia than Ephesus, as mentioned earlier, John was the Apostle to Asia, going to the descendants of the lost tribes of Israel which had been exiled there by the Assyrians several hundred years prior. Ephesus was John’s base of operations in Asia Minor.

When Revelation was being written, Paul had been dead for over 30 years. The Temple in Jerusalem had been destroyed for 23 years. Because the Temple and the city of Jerusalem had been destroyed, there was no longer a Jerusalem church. It would be a little over 200 years before Rome, under the rule of Constantine, would begin to ascend as a center of the Christian faith. Therefore, believe it or not, the church in Ephesus along with the church in Alexandria Egypt became the centers of the Christian faith. When John is writing to Ephesus in this Revelation, he is writing to an authoritative center of the Christian faith.

We will stop here for today’s study. I thought it would be good to understand the importance of Ephesus to its world in its day as well as the importance of Ephesus to the church at the time of John’s writing. Both give us a better understanding of why Ephesus was the first of the seven letters.

In Christ,

The Dap

Remember to pray Psalm 91 daily in the first person. If you want to be more empowered, pray Psalm 23, Psalm 27, and Psalm 121 in the first person as well.

Monday Night Bible Study



17) And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead. But He laid His right hand on me, saying to

me, “Do not be afraid; I am the First and the Last.

18) I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the

keys of Hades and of Death.

19) Write the things you have seen, and the things which are, and the things which will take

place after this.

20) The mystery of the seven stars which you saw in my right hand and the seven golden lamp

stands: The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lamp stands

which you saw are the seven churches.”

John in the last verse has just finished describing the resurrected and ascended Jesus. John says that he fell at Jesus’ feet as if he was dead. This was not the first time John had seen Jesus in His glory. While Jesus was still in His earthly ministry, John was one of the three disciples Jesus took to the Mount of Transfiguration. While there Jesus was seen in His eternal Spiritual body; and there was such a cloud of glory around everything that the particulars of the preceding 4 verses were not visible. So when John sees Jesus in His eternal resurrected and ascended glory, he falls on his face at Jesus’ feet. This is an act of worship. Remember the difference between Martha and Mary when Jesus finally arrived to raise Lazarus from the dead? Their words were exactly the same, but their approach and actions were different. Martha wanted to argue and blame Jesus. Mary fell at His feet in worship.

John says he fell at Jesus’ feet as if he was dead. One of my favorite Christian songs, by Mercy Me, is “I Can Only Imagine.” In the song, the singer wonders what he will do when he actually sees Jesus face to face. Well, we know what John does – he falls flat on his face and prostrates himself before the Lord. He lies so motionless he appears to be dead.

John says that Jesus lays His right hand on him, the hand in which he holds seven stars. The right hand is the hand of position. Jesus sits at the right hand of the Father. In the Gospel of Luke, Jesus sent Peter and John to prepare for the Passover feast, and at that last supper, John sat or reclined at the right hand of Jesus. The Leonardo Da Vinci painting of The Last Supper is really not an accurate depiction of how Passover meals were celebrated. In reality the table was shaped like a backwards c in our language (really like the Hebrew Letter kaph). At the top of the table sat 3 people and at the bottom of the table sat 3 people. The other six sat down the long side. At the top of the table sat one of the preparers (John, on the outside), the master of the feast (Jesus, in the middle), and another disciple (Judas Iscariot, next to Jesus). At the bottom of the table on the very end sat the other person who helped to prepare the feast – Peter. This seating plan was the tradition by which all Jews celebrated Passover (preparers at either end, master of the feast, invited guests or family in between).

John tells us here in Revelation that Jesus just touched him. Jesus did not help to pick him up. Jesus tells John not to be afraid. This was a typical statement of Jesus throughout His earthly ministry. He often said, “Do not be afraid” or “Fear Not!” The Greek here is phobeo (pronounced, fob-eh’-o). It means being fearful enough to run away. Jesus is saying to John, “Be still. Don’t go anywhere.” Then Jesus repeats Himself from verse 11. He says He is protos, the foremost One, the One who was before the beginning, and the eschatos, the One who is as far from the beginning as you can get. Again, creation has a beginning and an end – but the Son of Man does not!

Jesus says in verse 18 that He is the One who lives. The Greek here is the word zao (pronounced dzah’- olt), meaning to live in the absolute sense, a life which has no end. He was dead, nekros, (pronounced nek-ros’), which literally means dead/corpse, whether laid out for viewing or in a tomb.

He was without life. But that was then, right after the crucifixion, and this is now. Now, He is alive forevermore. The English term “forevermore” is made up of two Greek words: 1) aion (pronounced ahee-ohn’) and 2) eis pronounced ice). Together they mean “without end”, to which Jesus says “Amen” or “so be it.” Jesus goes on to say that He has the keys to Hell and Death. Having the keys means Jesus has all authority and power over Hell and Death. Jesus is now the final judge for Heaven and Hell. The Greek for Hell or Hades is haides (pronounced hah’-dace). It is the place of eternal punishment, the final place of the wicked, the abyss or bottomless pit. Notice both Hades and Death are capitalized. This denotes not the importance of the place but of Jesus’ power and authority! The Greek for Death is thanatos (pronounced than’-at-os). Does this sound familiar? If you saw the last two Avengers movies, the villain in both was named a derivative of this, Thanos. It means the extinction of life, naturally or by violence. It carries with it the sense of destruction, perdition, and misery – implying both physical death and total separation from God as a consequence to sin and disobedience. Jesus is saying He has the authority and power over death and the eternal punishment that goes with it. This is good news for the Christian! Jesus is saying that those who have placed their faith in Him, in His position as the Son of God, in Him as the Lamb of God who has come to take away the sins of the world, in His precious name, in His Redeeming blood, in His finished work on the cross, in His resurrection and in His position at the right hand of the Father – NO LONGER HAVE TO FEAR DEATH. Paul said in his first letter to the Corinthians that the last enemy to be put under Jesus’ feet would be death. Jesus is telling John here that this has now been accomplished. Death and the judgment of death have not only been placed under His feet but now are also totally under His power and control.

In verse 19 John is commanded again not to just write but to engrave. The Greek means to engrave in stone, to keep forever, to make permanent – not to be antiquated, done away with, or repealed. Engraving in stone makes permanent and eternal all that he has seen, all that he is seeing, all that he will see. Jesus wants the church for eternity to know this revelation (to use our common phrase, it is written in stone!)

Jesus reveals to John in verse 20 a mystery. This is an unusual term because the Greek word is musterion (pronounced moos-tay’-ree-on). It literally means something into which one must be initiated and instructed. One would think that by using this term Jesus will make John work for it. But no. He explains it simply. The seven stars are the angels of the before-mentioned seven churches. The angels are very important, for here the Greek translates angels as messengers. Each church has a messenger. Thus, the message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ has been given to the churches. There is no excuse for unfaithfulness! The seven lamp stands are the seven churches themselves.

Remember, these seven churches are representative of all churches. There are seven churches because in Hebrew numerology seven represents completeness and is the holiest of numbers.

Let’s review:

1) After John saw the Jesus he described in the previous verses, he fell in worship at Jesus’ feet.

a) He did not move till Jesus touched him.

b) Jesus touched him with His right hand, reinforcing John’s position as a disciple.

c) Jesus tells John to not be afraid.

2) Jesus restates that He is the one who has no beginning and no end.

3) Jesus proclaims that the life He now lives has no end.

a) Yes, He had died – was totally dead, a corpse.

b) He now lives a never-ending life unto all eternity.

4) He has been given the authority of final judgment and ultimate power over death.

5) Everything that John sees from this point on must be engraved in stone and kept for all eternity.

6) Jesus reveals the mystery of the angels and the lamp stands. The angels are the messengers to the

seven churches. The lamp stands are the seven churches themselves.

In Christ –

The Dap

Remember to pray the 91st psalm daily in the first person.

Monday Night Bible Study


Revelation 1:12-16

12) Then I turned to see the voice that spoke with me. And having turned I saw seven golden lamp


13) and in the midst of the seven lamp stands One like the Son of Man, clothed with a garment down

to the feet and girded about the chest with a golden band.

14) His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and His eyes like a flame of fire;

15) His feet were like fine brass, as if refined in a furnace, and His voice as the sound of many


16) He had in His right hand seven stars, out of His mouth went a sharp two edged sword, and His

countenance was like the sun shining in its strength.

John has heard the loud voice that in verse 10 he says sounded like the trumpet which blew from the temple to call everyone to prayer. John turns in the direction of the voice to see who or what it is. We must remember that this voice was very loud. The first thing he sees is not the speaker but seven golden lamp stands. No one is quite sure what kind of lamps these were. Some people think it was a menorah, the lamp that was in the holy place (not in the Holy of Holys, where the ark was located, but in the outer room where the table for the show bread and the bronze incense altar were). One conflict with this thought is that John said he was in the Spirit, not that he had been transported to the temple. Conflict number two is that the temple had been destroyed for about 20 years. A third discrepancy is that the person he saw was in the midst of the lamp stands. The menorah is a single piece, and John says that there are seven lamp stands. The menorah is a single stand with eight lamps spreading out like limbs, four on each side of a center lamp. The four lamps on each side are shifted toward the center lamp to acknowledge their dependence upon the central lamp as the source of their light. As you may, guess the center lamp represents God. Some have said that this vision was of a menorah, and Jesus was the central light. The problem is that the menorah has eight lamps not seven. Could it have been seven menorahs? Most definitely, because when we read the description of Jesus in the next verse, they had to have been very bright to have been noticed before the Lord.

John says that in the midst of the seven lamp stands is one like the Son of Man. This is a term Jesus uses to speak about Himself in the Gospels. Jesus refers to Himself as the Son of Man 34 times in the Gospels – 19 times in the Gospel of Matthew, 2 times in the Gospel of Mark, 5 times in the Gospel of Luke, and 8 times in the Gospel of John. It takes on Messianic significance in the Old Testament in Daniel 7:13&14, where Daniel says: “I was watching in the night visions, And behold, ‘One like the Son of Man, coming with the clouds of heaven!’ He came to the Ancient of Days (God), and they brought Him near before Him. Then to Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away. And His Kingdom the one which shall not be destroyed.”

‘Son’ in the Greek, is the word uihos, pronounced hwee-os’. It means a true son, not adopted or illegitimate. The Greek word for man is anthropos, pronounced anth’-ro-pos. It means a true human being, an individual of the human race. We have heard it said that Jesus was totally human and totally divine. This may be hard to perceive, but both parts are necessary for the plan of salvation. As Paul tells us that Jesus is the second Adam, He came to put right and reclaim what Adam lost to Satan in the Garden of Eden. Since Adam was 100% human, Jesus had to be 100% human to accomplish the task: when He was tempted in the wilderness, when He was tempted and tested by the scribes and pharisees,

when He was tested by the Sadducees, when He was tested by His disciples’ little faith and in the Garden of Gethsemane., when he was beaten and being scourged, and with His death, resurrection and ascension. If Jesus wasn’t 100% human it would have all been for naught.

You may think – okay, so what about the 100% God part? It is really not important to the understanding of this part of scripture. Jesus has paid the price, He has been resurrected and ascended

to the right hand of the Father. The 100% God part is significance for salvation. Throughout both the Old and New Testament, from the Garden of Eden where Adam and Eve sinned to the Cross of Christ, THERE IS NO FORGIVENESS WITHOUT BLOOD. What was the first thing God did after He found Adam and Eve in the garden after their sin? They had covered themselves with leaves. That represents humanity’s attempt to cover their own sinfulness. God killed an animal and covered them with its skin. I am sure that God did not cure and tan the hide before giving it to them. Thus, the skin was covered in what? The animals blood!

Link this idea this with the offerings of Cain and Able, and you can understand why Cain’s offering was not pleasing in the eyes of God.

But you say Mary was the mother. Yes, but God was the Father. It shouldn’t be too hard to understand. Today there is a medical process where a doctor can take a healthy egg from a woman who cannot successfully carry a child, impregnate it with the sperm of the father, and place it in a healthy woman who can carry a child. After the surrogate has carried the baby full tern, it is born. When it is born, it carries the blood and the DNA of the egg and sperm donor, not the surrogate mother. Also, did you know that oftentimes a natural mother and her baby can have different blood types, and that the blood type can be that of the father? This could cause problems if through the umbilical cord the baby and the mother share blood. But it has been scientifically proven that the baby and mother do not share blood through the umbilical cord. The mother shares nutrients with the baby and the baby shares its waste with the mother. So what does all of this mean? God the Father created in Mary’s womb Jesus Christ, the Son. The most important part is that the blood of Jesus was not the blood of bulls or goats or human, but God’s blood! Blood that is able to completely cleanse and take away sin. If a doctor today can take the egg from one woman and impregnate it with the sperm of her male counterpart, place it into the womb of a surrogate mother, and successfully deliver a baby 9 months later, why can’t the Creator of the universe create a baby in the womb of a woman that has His blood? (This rabbit hole was not necessary for this portion of scripture, but I felt it was necessary for us to move beyond Son of Man.)

Through Daniel and Ezekiel, the title “Son of Man” became the proper title for the Messiah. God, Who comes from heaven in human form. Thus you can see why the religious leaders would get upset when Jesus referred to Himself in this way. John is telling us that in the midst of the lamps is the Messiah, Jesus Christ, the risen resurrected and enthroned Lord.

John begins to describe how Jesus looks. John tells us that he is clothed in a single-piece garment from His neck to the top of His feet. Remember Jesus on the cross? His garment was a single piece, woven without a seam, such work that the soldiers didn’t want to rip it apart, but instead they cast lots for it. Do you see the similarities? He has a gold band around His chest. Gold represented truth, honor, integrity, faithfulness. It is wrapped around His chest. What is in our chest? Our heart! This signifies that Jesus had proven Himself to be faithful and true to God’s calling, to God’s will, by paying the price for salvation. His skin and hair is white as snow. There is not much in this world that is as bright and clean white as new-fallen snow. This represents His purity, His victory over sin, the blameless unblemished Lamb of God.

John tells us His eyes were like a flame of fire. When Jesus was walking the earth during His earthly ministry, can you conceive of His eyes as being like a flame of fire? Remember the Jesus who told the woman caught in adultery, “Neither do I condemn you – go and sin no more.” Think of the Jesus who met the leper after the sermon on the mount and hugged him and healed him. Recall the Jesus who wept when Mary met Him before He raised Lazarus from the grave, or the Jesus who looked down from the cross and prayed, “Father, forgive them, for they know what they do.” See the Jesus looking into the eyes of Peter by the sea of Galilee and saying. “Feed my sheep” I don’t think any of us see

Jesus with eyes like a flame of fire.… But this Revelation is not that Jesus. This is the second-coming Jesus, the time-of-judgment Jesus, the end-times Jesus. That is what the “eyes of fire” description tells us.

His feet were like fine brass refined in the furnace. The imagery of the bronzed feet comes from two Old Testament scriptures. The first is Ezekiel I:7, here Ezekiel is sharing his vision from God about the four-headed creatures that God has sent to survey the world at the end time. The creatures had the appearance of a man, even though they had four heads, and legs of burnished or refined bronze. The second reference comes from Daniel 10:6. Here, Daniel gives His description of the Messiah and says, “His body was like beryl, His face like the appearance of lightning, His eyes like torches of fire,(there are the eyes again!), His arms and feet like burnished bronze.” The feet and legs are what? Our foundation. Burnished and refined mean that they are purified and strengthened. This is direct contradiction of the image in Daniel 2:33-34, where he says, “Its legs of iron and partly of clay. You watched while a stone was cut out without hands, which struck the image on its feet of iron and clay, and broke them into pieces.” Unlike that image, the Son of Man is the solid foundation.

Again John talks about the voice, saying it was as the sound of many waters. John has already told us how loud it was before he turned around to see. But here John returns to the imagery of Daniel and Ezekiel. Daniel 10:7c, “And the sound of His words were like the voice of the multitude.” Then in Ezekiel 1:24, “When they went, I heard the noise of their wings, like the noise of many waters, like the voice of the Almighty, a tumult like the noise of an army.” The voice is not only very loud but also powerful.

He had in His right hand seven stars. I won’t go into the seven stars at this time, but if you want to read ahead to verse 20, John tells what they are. Then John tells us that in His mouth was a sharp two-edged sword. This represents the word and judgment of God. The two edges means that it cuts in all directions – sharp enough to cut away all falsehood, able to cleanly separate muscle from cartilage and cartilage from bone. Nothing that is false, untrue, unholy, or unrighteous can escape the power of God’s word or God’s judgment.

Finally, His countenance was like the sun shining in its strength. In the Greek, the word shining is phaino, pronounced fah’ee-no. It means to be surrounded physically by the illumination of the Spirit, the Almighty energy, the power and strength of God. The word for strength in the Greek is hedraioma, pronounced hed-rah’-yo-mah. It is derived from the Greek word hedraios, pronounced hed-eah’-yos. It means a support that is immovable and steadfast. To sum up the last four verses, the might, power, strength, and authority of God, His word and His will, are so exemplified in the person of Jesus that it cannot be held just inside but pours out to envelope His entire being. In his vision, John sees the One who is faithful. The One to whom every knee shall bow and to which every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. In this vision, John sees the truth of Jesus’ words in Matthew 28:18, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.”

Let’s review:

1. The voice which spoke was very loud, very powerful, the sound of many waters.

2. He was seen among seven lamp stands whose brightness hides Him at first.

3. All the features by which He is described speak to His power, strength, authority and position.

Until next time.

In Christ

The Dap

Remember to pray Psalm 91 in the first person.

Monday Night Bible Study

Revelation 1:9-11

Monday Night Bible Study Uncategorized


Revelation 1:5-8

5) and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler over the kings

of the earth. To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His blood,

6) and has made us kings and priests to His God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and

ever. Amen

7) Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him, even they who pierced Him. And

all the tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him. Even so, Amen.

8) I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End says the Lord, “who is and who was and

who is to come, the Almighty.”

John continues his blessing in verse 5. restating that it is from Jesus Christ, with three more statements about His position in the throne room. First, He is the faithful witness. The Greek word for “faithful” is pistos (pronounced Pis-toes) and is rendered as someone who is worthy to be trusted. It means that Jesus, through His life and passion, His obedience to the work and will of the Father, has earned the right to be trusted. The Greek for “witness” is martus, (pronounced mar’-toos). It is defined as one who bears witness for God and testifies to the world what God is revealing through him. Thus, John is telling us that this blessing and this revelation is to be received because the One Who is revealing it has proven He can be trusted due to His obedience to the Father throughout His life, even unto death. As His life was a witness to the love and power of the Father, and as the Father trusted Jesus to reveal His true nature to the world, Jesus is also trusted by the Father to reveal this final word and work for His creation!

The second position statement is “the firstborn from the dead.” The Greek for “firstborn” is prototokos (pronounced pro-tot-ok’-os). It defines as the firstborn from a mother and father, a preeminent one who is highly distinguished from all others. Here, John is designating the promise of the resurrection of all believers exemplified through the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Because God resurrected Jesus from the dead – which then means that Jesus is the one WHO IS – all who are His disciples have secure claim to that same promise. The Greek for “dead” is nekros (pronounced nek-ros’) and literally means dead, a corpse. John again is reiterating that Jesus’s passion and death was real – literal – and that His resurrection was just as real and literal.

The third position statement is “the ruler over the kings of the earth.” John is proclaiming that Jesus is the true ruler over the earth. The Greek for “earth” is ghay, and Strong’s commentary tells us that in this case it is defined as that which is opposite to Heaven. Jesus Christ is ruler, the archon (pronounced ar’-k’home), which means first in power, authority, and dominion. He is over the kings, the basileus (bas-il-yooce’) meaning one who exercises royal sovereignty and authority. Therefore, Jesus is the real power, the true sovereignty. Notice the difference: Jesus IS first in power, authority and dominion. The kings only exercise royal sovereignty and authority. The word exercise tells us plainly that the authority is not theirs, it does not begin with them nor spring from them; rather, it is given to them by someone higher than they. They can only exercise what has been given to them. That Jesus has total authority and dominion over the entire earth, even over those who think they are the ones in control. These kings may believe they are the ones in control, but their position is upon the earth. Christ’s position is at the right hand of the Father. His obedience unto death, His faithfulness in His ministry and witness for the Father, His presence in the very beginning of creation with the Father and His position as the firstborn of the Father’s recreation or new creation – all give Jesus dominion over all earthly kings.

John continues to lift up Jesus by referring to Him as the One who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood, the Greek for love here being agapao (pronounced ag-ap-ah’-o). We all are familiar with the Greek word agape, we understand it to mean a sacrificial type of love, the love that God the Father has for us and that Jesus exemplified for us through the cross. Many times in the New Testament, agape will be mentioned but the word actually used is agapao. Agape is of course derived from agapao. In the Greek translation of the Old Testament, you will not find the word agape, but in a few places you will find agapao. John wants us to keep clearly in our minds Christ’s sacrificial love for us, that He loved even unto the cross where He cleansed us from our sins by His redeeming blood. John is proclaiming that through the precious atoning blood of Jesus Christ, the price for our salvation has been fully paid, that we have been washed clean from all our sins: past present, and future. The word translated sin here is not used very much in the New Testament. The word normally translated sin is an archers term, which means missing the mark. But here John uses hamartia (pronounced ham-ar-tee’-ah), meaning the guilt, punishment, and consequences of our sinful actions. In other words, Christ, through the shedding of His precious blood on the cross, has delivered us from the imputation and consequences of our sins and from the guilt and punishment of those sins!

Next, we read, “and has made us kings and priests to His God and Father.” John carries this thought further into verse 6 by explaining what this means to us. Because of Christ’s love, His faithfulness to the Father’s plan for salvation, the shedding of His blood, and His death on the cross (redeeming and atoning us from all our sins), we now have a position in the kingdom of God. Through Jesus’ finished work on the cross, we have been made basileus (kings) and hiereus (priests), pronounced hee-er-yooce’. We have been given the authority to exercise royal sovereignty and authority and the privilege to serve before God, the privilege to live, work, and stand in His presence.

Brothers and sisters, do you understand the depth of the meaning of this? Through the precious blood and atoning action of Christ’s death upon the cross, we have gone from sinners condemned to eternal death and punishment, sentenced to eternal separation from a holy and righteous God, to being kings living under and exercising His authority and to being priests able to come into the Fathers very presence and serve Him. So for this, we are to give Jesus all the glory and recognize His dominion for all of eternity. The Greek for “glory” is doxa (pronounced dox’-ah). It means to ascribe admonition and honor. The Greek for dominion is kratos (pronounced krat’-os), meaning power, dominion, absolute ruling control. John finishes verse 6 by telling us that because of Jesus’ finished work on the cross, we are to eternally ascribe glory and honor to Jesus. We are to also understand that because of His finished work on the cross, Jesus has dominion over the earth and His church. Our positions as kings and priests has nothing to do with anything we have accomplished. Our positions as kings and priests is all about what Jesus has done. John ends the verse with Amen, which literally stamps it as being trustworthy. You can “take it to the bank”, or totally depend upon it.

In verse 7 John moves from his greeting and talks about the “who is to come.” He’s saying that Jesus is coming back, and when He does, it will not be a secret. His second coming will not be hidden. Everybody will see it, even those who pierced Him. In today’s world, that means those whose are against Christ and enemies or non-believers today. John says Jesus will be coming on a cloud, indicating He will be coming from on high – from His position of power, from His position at the right hand of the Father. Jesus will come from the place of His ascension, not the place of His death. The place of glory, not the place of His passion. John says Jesus will be descending on a cloud. Here, John is repeating what Jesus Himself said about His second coming (reference John 19:37, Matthew 24:30, Zechariah 12:10-14). The literal Greek for the earth mourning is that they will beat their breasts, for the world will then realize that they have blown it, that the time for reconciliation has ended. Their failure to believe has come back to condemn them, because Christ’s second coming means judgment, not forgiveness. Their response in the rest of this book will be that of a condemned people desperate to stave off the judgment and punishment to come. John again ends this verse with Amen. And it means the same thing that it meant at the end of verse 6: this verse is also trustworthy. You can take this judgment to the bank as well. Depend on it.

In verse 8 John shares a direct quote from Jesus,”I am the Alpha and the Omega.” Alpha is the first letter of the Greek alphabet. Omega is the last letter of the Greek alphabet. Jesus is literally saying, “I am the first and the last.” We may think He repeats Himself with the next statement, “the Beginning and the End,” but actually this is carrying it a little bit deeper. The Greek for “beginning” is arche (pronounced ar-khay’) and is defined as “from the commencement of creation”. This confirms what John says in the beginning of his gospel, “In the beginning was the word…..” The Greek for end is telos (pronounced tel’-os), for “final purpose.” Through these specific words, Jesus is saying, “I was there before this whole thing began. and I am the finality of this creation.” Jesus is not just proclaiming that He is the Beginning and the End but that He was the purpose of all creation. The purpose of creation was for the Father to have a relationship and fellowship with His creation. Because of sin, beginning with Adam’s disobedience, this relationship and fellowship was severely altered. Jesus’ life, ministry, and finished work on the cross enabled the restoration of that fellowship and relationship. But when the appropriate time arrives, the time of judgment, that is Jesus’ final purpose. The savior of the world becomes the judge of the world. Then, Jesus repeats what John calls Him in verse 4, “who is and who was and who is to come.” (If you need to, go back to verse 4 and reread what what written about this trinity. Jesus just repeats it here.) Jesus ends verse 8 with a proclamation of Himself as Almighty. The Greek here is pantokrator (pronounced pan-tok-rat’-ore). It is defined as “absolute, universal sovereign”. I think this is a good place to end our study today – Jesus restating that He is the Who Is, the Who Was and the Who Is To Come. And He will fulfill His purpose, because He is the absolute, universal sovereign. As Jesus said in Matthew 28:18b, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.”


The Dap

Let’s recap:

1) The second of three titles or trinity in reference to Jesus. The faithful witness, the firstborn from

the dead, and the ruler over the kings of the earth.

2) Because Christ loved us, through His atoning and redeeming blood, He cleansed us from all

imputation, consequence, guilt, and punishment of our sins.

3) Christ’s finished work on the cross has raised us to the positions of kings and priests and has

opened up our access to the very presence of God the Father.

4) Because of the finished work of Christ on the cross, He is worthy of all glory and dominion


5) Christ is coming again, and the whole world will see it and dread it. His second coming will mean

the time of reconciliation has ended, and the time of Judgment is at hand.

6) Jesus is the all in all, from the beginning of beginnings to the very end of endings.

7) Jesus has all dominion, power, purpose, and sovereignty.

Monday Night Bible Study



4) John, to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace to you and peace from Him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven Spirits who are before His throne. (NKJV)

John sort of does a reverse in his Revelation. Most writer first greet their readers and then explain the intent of their writing. This is what John does in his own letters. Yet in Revelation, John gives us the intent first, and now in verse four is his greeting. He says he is writing this to the seven churches in Asia. Well, first, there were more than seven churches in Asia, and second, not all of these churches are Pauline churches.

If there were more than seven churches in Asia, then why did John choose these particular seven? First, John did not choose them – Jesus did. (Remember from verse #1, Jesus is revealing to us through John what the Father has revealed to Him.) Secondly, seven (7) is the number of completeness. Third, the virtues and sins of each congregation will correspond with the seven sins and virtues inherent in the Church. Not the seven deadly sins, but failures of missing the mark within the Church. We do not know the founding fathers of all these churches. We do know Paul started the congregations at Ephesus and that John was heavily involved with them there. We do know from Acts that John was involved with Paul and Barnabas very early in their first missionary journey. He did not complete the journey, but other than these, we do not know very much about John’s evangelism. That said, whoever the founding fathers of these congregations were, Jesus has chosen them for His Reveal.

The word “church” in the Greek is ekklesia (pronounced ek-klay-see’-ah). While it can be translated church, it really means a group of people or congregation that has been called out or set apart. If we pay attention to the writers of the epistles – whether Paul, Peter, John, or Jude – that is how they wanted it to be understood. There is one church under one Lord, Jesus the Christ. In all the New Testament Scriptures, ekklesia is translated church; but it should be understood as the group of persons or congregation of persons set apart who are meeting in a particular location. This may be hard for us to wrap our heads around today with a so-called church around every bend, with not only different denominations but also those claiming to be non-denominational; but in reality there is only one Church under one Lord. If you are reading this and you attend or belong to what we today term a “church”, you are actually a member or part of a congregation. From this point on, I will use congregation where it refers to a single congregation, such as the congregation in Ephesus. I will use the English word church for the collective bride of Christ.

In the Bible study I attend, one of the gentlemen shared with us that it is hard to understand sometimes what Christians believe. He pointed out that you could go to two or three different congregations of the same denomination, and hear two or three different belief systems. This mindset of each congregation thinking of itself as a church and in some cases as THE CHURCH, creates the rationale of being self redeeming. This is what we believe, or this is where we stand, or this is what we think….. This makes it easy to forget that we are a group of people, set apart, called to DENY OURSELVES, TAKE UP OUR CROSS, and FOLLOW HIM, Jesus Christ THE ONE LORD. Read the last chapter of Paul’s letter to the Romans. How many times did he say to greet a certain person and the congregation that met in their house? To the congregations that will be named beginning in Revelation, chapter 2, just remember there was more than just one congregation in each of those cities. Not because there was a worship center on every corner but because there were no worship centers at all, and the people met in each other’s houses.

Continuing in verse 4, we see the beginning of what looks like a typical greeting. Grace to you and peace. But instead of grace and peace, John says,”Grace to you and peace from Him.” In the other letters, the authors of the epistles greeted the congregations with the blessings of grace and peace of Jesus and the Father. In other words they (the apostles) were coming to them or writing to them in the grace and peace of Christ and pronouncing upon them a blessing of Christ’s grace and peace. Here, John is pronouncing Christ’s grace and peace directly to them from Christ! Important difference. It is not the grace and peace of Christ but the grace and peace from Christ. In this case, John is the conduit not for just the blessing of but the direct reception by the readers (which include you and me) of Christ’s grace and peace.

To grasp the power of what is being said here, let us look more closely at the words translated “grace” and “peace”. Grace in the Greek is charis, a word that most of us who have been in church a while have heard from time to time. It is pronounced khar’-ece. It is defined as every kind of unearned and unmerited favor, blessing, and good, that proceeds from the Father and the Son. Receive from Christ all that His finished work on the cross has purchased for them. Reminding them and us that through the death of Jesus on the cross, the debt for redemption was paid in total, in full. That the punishment for total and complete forgiveness has been served by Christ’s death on the cross. That justification, meaning being made righteous in the Father’s eyes, has been completed by Christ’s resurrection. That the work is done, complete, finished through Christ’s ascension, where He now SITS at the right hand of the Father. Hebrews tells us that Jesus is our High Priest in the order of Melchizedek – a priest forever and that He is sitting at the right hand of the Father. None of the Old Testament priests sat, because their work was never done. Jesus is sitting, signifying that His and the Father’s work, the work of salvation for the world, is completely done. That is the grace that comes to us from the Father and from our Lord Jesus!

The word translated “peace” is eirene (pronounced i-rah’-nay) and carries with it the same definition as the Hebrew word shalom. They both mean peace, but not just peace as opposed to violence or war, not just peace or nonviolence between two people. It means a completeness of harmony, wholeness, prosperity, welfare and tranquility. When a Greek-speaking person or a Hebrew came up to someone and greeted them with eirene or shalom, they were wishing them peace in their relationships, prosperity in their businesses or work, wellness and wholeness in their health and life, and peace or tranquility of mind. In our reading this, Jesus through John’s writing is giving us both His grace and His peace….

Still in verse four, we have one of the first statements of a trinity. Not the Trinity that we normally think of; Father, Son and Holy Spirit, but,”Him who is and who was and who is to come,”. These three statements are very important statements. They are also very Johannian – Jesus is the one who IS. This means that He is alive today, in the here and now. This is proof of both the resurrection and the promise of eternal life. This is also important from the standpoint of this vision that John is revealing is from Christ now, at this point in history. It doesn’t matter if it is 1935 years ago when this was revealed directly to John for believers of that day, or if it is today. The Holy Spirit re-reveals John’s vision to us. It means that Jesus is the great I AM. He is always with us in our present.

Who was. John begins his Gospel with, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.” Jesus is the eternal second person of the Godhead. Remember as we shared last week that God is not limited by time. He is outside time, and so is Christ. But this statement, who was, also speaks to Christ’s human life on the earth. We need to keep in mind that though the gnostics are not as prevalent at this time as they would be in another 50 years, there were the beginning stages of a non-belief in the actual physical existence of Jesus, a belief that it was all spiritual and that there was no cross at all. John is saying He was, He was with God in the beginning, and He was here on earth as a human man. Christ’s life was real, Christ’s teachings were real, Christ’s acts of healing were real, Christ’s miracles were real, Christ’s passion was real, Christ’s resurrection was real, and Christ’s position at the right hand of the Father is real!

Who is to come. This is the promise of our place with Him, of the second coming of Christ, the promise that we will not always be separated physically from Him. This is a promise I think should be more important to all believers than it is. Unfortunately, fire insurance (being saved from eternal damnation) is more important to most believers than eternal life in the presence of Christ and the Father. Most people are brought to Christ by being saved from something than by being saved to something. The fear of hell and all the dastardly events forecasted for its occupants tend to lead more people to seek salvation through Christ than the thought of sitting around playing their harp in Heaven. The issue is that most people see Christianity as a religion and not a relationship. A religion based on a guy who lived a good life and tried to tell everyone else how to live a good life. Yes, he died an undeserved death and because He lived a good life, if you believe the right things about Him, He promises you eternal life somewhere besides hell. But there are still rules and regulation one must follow!! And you perform these rules and regulations to the best of your ability, then you can avoid being skewered over hell’s flames for eternity. What a train of thought…..Unfortunately, not only does the secular world see Christianity in this way, but also many professing Christians view it this way as well.

The thing is, Christianity is not a religion. It is a relationship with the risen and resurrected Lord, Jesus Christ. It is also, through one’s faith in Christ, a relationship with God the Father. This is the difference between a believer and a disciple. For the disciple, the second greatest promise of Jesus besides that of salvation was the promise of His second coming, the promise of His return. The disciples lived the whole three years of Jesus’ ministry with Him. They heard every sermon and every teaching. They witnessed every healing, every miracle, and every resurrection. They saw His every moment, even when there was no one else around. They witnessed His relationship with the Father. They walked with Him, they talked with Him, they ate what and where He ate, they slept where He slept. (However, they didn’t understand the difference between the carnal world view of the Messiah and what was Jesus’ and the Father’s view.) They were lost when the passion occurred. Their greatest excitement was when He appeared to them after His resurrection, and Promise 1a for them was the promise that He would return and take them to where He was. I believe that after His resurrection, one of their favorite promises of His came from John 14:1-3, “Let not your heart be troubled, you believe in God, believe also in Me. In my Father’s house are many mansions, if it were not so, I would have told you, I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.”

You see, the promise of the second coming was not to escape the trials and persecutions of this world. No. It was because the disciples wanted to be back in His very physical presence again. Why? Because they had a relationship!! They had been raised in a religion and they knew the difference…. It’s the same today: the disciple has a relationship. Unlike those living 2000 years ago, we haven’t experienced Jesus in the physical, for ours is purely spiritual; but we long for that time when we will see Him face to face. The second coming is so important that the Church has a whole season dedicated to it. It is called Advent. Unfortunately, we tend to spend most of that season preparing for Christmas than focusing on Christ’s return…..I guess it is easier to focus on what we believe has happened than to focus on something we are not as sure of. For the early church, the second coming of Christ was of the greatest focus, promise, and teaching.

Still in verse 4: “and from the seven Spirits who are before His throne.” Again the number seven (7). which signifies completeness. John is very clear here. The word is “Spirit” – not “angel” – and it is capitalized. The Greek here is another word familiar to people who have been around the faith for a little while. It is pneuma (pronounced nyoo’-mah). Its literal meaning is the vital breath of life. But Strong’s Concordance says that here it means,”the spiritual presence of God that comes to and acts upon Christians, illuminating and empowering them, and remaining with them, imparting to them spiritual knowledge, aid, consolation, sanctification, and making intercession with and for them.” What a mouth full!! Strong says that this is the gift that each every believer has from Jesus – the presence and power of the Holy Spirit that is given to us to illuminate, to help us to understand the Father’s will and word. The presence of the Holy Spirit that is given to us to empower us, give us strength to move ahead, strength in our faith. Power to have victory not only over the obstacles of everyday life, but also over the principalities and powers of darkness not of this world. The promise that the Holy Spirit is always with us and never leaves us. The presence of God’s Holy Spirit which helps us to understand the deep mysteries of God, whose presence is there to aid us in times of trouble, to console us in times of loss. To possess the Holy Spirit of God which consecrates us and sets us apart form the world. His gift is that we possess the Holy Spirit of God who intercedes with us for God and intercedes for us with God.

Here in Revelation, John tells us that each the congregations has their own very same gift of the Holy Spirit, which when listened to will do the same for their congregations. Yet when we get into chapters two and three, Jesus will end each statement to each congregation with, “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” Apparently, congregations have the very same struggle we as individual Christians have. We are not always open to listening, following, abiding, relying on, or living under the direction of the Holy Spirit. It seems to be something we do only in times of extreme need or when we want to impress others with our spirituality. It looks like congregation have much the same struggle.

John ends verse 4 with,”who (Spirits) are before His throne.” The question is, whose throne? This is the Revelation of John from Jesus, so this identifies as Jesus’ throne. Now Jesus is sitting at the right hand of the Father, so yes the Spirits are before the Fathers throne also, but the important thing to remember is that in this verse, Jesus is the Him who is, and that the Him who is present in the world is manifested through the work of the Holy Spirit. Thus, it is through the Holy Spirit that Jesus is present with us, comes to us, acts upon us, illuminates and empowers us, lives with us, imparts spiritual knowledge to us, aids/consoles/sanctifies us, and makes intercession with and for us. It is the same with the seven Spirits that represent the seven congregations. How often do we neglect the gift and power that John says has been given to us and our congregations??

I can’t believe I have to end this week’s study here. Can you believe how much information was in this one verse?

Let’s sum it up:

1. The number seven (7) stands for completeness.

2. Seven congregations are chosen to represent the seven virtues and failing of the Christian Church.

3. The blessings of Grace and Peace are much more than the English words imply.

4. Jesus was in the beginning, Jesus became human, Jesus is always present, Jesus is returning.

5. Christianity is a relationship, not a religion

6. The promise and power of the Holy Spirit is for us as individual Christians and to our congregations.

7. Jesus manifests Himself to us as individuals and to our congregations through the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives.


Next week we’ll pick up with Revelation 1:5. Until then.

The Dap

Monday Night Bible Study

Revelation 1:1-3

Revelation 1:1-3

Verse 1) The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show His servants things which must

shortly take place. And He sent and signified it by His angel to His servant John,

Verse 2) Who bore witness to the word of God, and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, to all things that

he saw.

Verse 3) Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those

things which are written in it; for the time is near. (NKJV)

We start off with the second word of the first verse, the word Revelation. I’m sorry, but at this time I do not have a program where I can give you the word in the Greek letters. The English spelling is apokalupsis (pronounced ap-ok-al’-oop-sis). It literally means the uncovering of something. Here in this verse it is used metaphorically to mean “the removal of the veil of ignorance and darkness by the communication of light and knowledge.” Right there in the second word, we learn the intention for the entire book: that is, to unveil the glory of Christ and His finished work on the cross beyond our salvation unto the future of His creation. This first verse also tells us these revelations are from Jesus, the Anointed One. (While the NKJV says “of Jesus”, the Greek actually infers “from Jesus”).

Yet it is not just from Jesus. It was given to Him by God the Father. This supports the Gospels where Jesus always said that only the Father knew the when of the end time and the final judgment. God the Father revealed this to Jesus so He could reveal this to us – the Scripture says, “to show His servants.” There are many words in the Greek which are translated “servant” in the English. Some are literally defined as slave. some as hired servant, and some as bond servant. These Greek words also differentiate between a house and a field servant. The Greek at these verses is doulos (pronounced doo’-los) and literally translates as slave. According to Strong (exhaustive concordance). the word is used metaphorically. It speaks of voluntary service. It defines as persons of voluntary obedience and devotion in the following of God’s Word and the worship of God and His Christ. Thus, the Father reveals to Christ so that Christ can reveal to us. Have you ever heard the statement, “You’ll hear as soon as I do”? Jesus could have said that to His disciples in the Gospels, and that is exactly what happens in this book called Revelation.

John tells us that what is about to happen will happen quickly, swiftly. Now we can say this book was written in 95 A.D., almost 1,935 years ago. I think it is safe to say that for most of us this does not sound very swift. We have to keep in mind that our view of time and God’s view of time is not the same. While we are trapped and limited by chronological time, the Father moves and exists outside of time. A day for God is not limited to 24 hours. Our day may be limited, but not God’s. In the Genesis story, people get all bent out of shape about God’s creating the world in seven days. That’s because they always interpret it as 24-hour days. The Scripture never says 24-hour days. The first chapter of Genesis, verses 3-5, says, “Then God said let there be light, and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good; and God divided the light from the darkness. God called the light Day and the darkness He called Night. So the evening and the morning were the first day.” If we follow the process of creation all the way through the 7 days, we see that each day separates the events of creation, but nowhere do they claim to be in only 24-hour increments.

God dwells outside of time. I love the example Pastor Joseph Prince uses, when he talks about standing on the side of the road watching a parade. What we see are the floats that are passing in front of us. We watch the parade in chronological time. After each float passes. we can no longer see it. And what is to come we must wait to see. God is watching the parade from a helicopter. He is high enough up where He can see the staging area and everything that is going on all the way to the finish. What the Father thinks is swift is usually not swift to us, but what John tells us is about to take place is coming very shortly for God.

John says that this message is certified by the one presenting it. As we read the scripture, we get the idea that Jesus himself did not send this message but instead sent it through His angel. About 99% of the time, the Greek for this word translates as “celestial messenger,” but 1% can be defined as the spiritual body of the one represented. John is telling us that Jesus in His spiritual self appeared to him and told him (John) these things!

In verse 2, John tells us that he bore witness to the Word of God. Again, the Greek and the English do not completely line up. The Greek is not an uncommon word for us. It is one that we as Christians are very acquainted with. It is the word logos (pronounced log’-os.) It means a word as uttered by the living voice, to witness both the act of speaking and the thing spoken. John is saying that he bore witness not only to the word spoken but also to the speaker. John wants us to know that his witness recorded in this writing is of the logos of God – Jesus Christ, and that this writing is the testimony (the truth given) of all things revealed by the Father to Jesus Christ.

Verse 3 is where today’s study really gets exciting! John opens with the word “blessing”. In the Greek, this word is makarios (pronounced mak-ar’-ee-os). It means freely receiving God’s favor in spite of circumstances. Now think about that definition….think about the book we are studying, a book that will reveal terrible times, persecution, destruction, death, punishment, and eternal damnation for some. Yet in the 3rd verse John pronounces a blessing. Not just any blessing, but a makarios blessing. A blessing for us to freely receive God’s favor in spite of the circumstances. To really understand the power of this word, it should really end the sentence rather than beginning it.

John goes on to tell us that those of us who hear and read the words of this prophecy, and live out our lives in faith, believing these things that he (John) is writing, will be markarios blessed. What does John mean by prophecy? The Greek here is propheteia (pronounced prof-ay-ti’-ah) and translates as the prediction and foretelling of future events under the influence of God.

How this verse might be constructed for better understanding is this: “He who reads and hears the words of God’s predictions and foretelling of future events – and keeps mindful of those things which are written – will freely receive God’s favor in spite of the circumstances.” Folks, this is a great promise to those who are faithful (truly seek to believe). God’s promises and blessings are not dependent on our circumstance or the circumstances of the world around us. They are only dependent on placing our faith, hope, and trust in His Word and the mighty truth of that Word. This should bring great comfort as we experience today’s world….. John also intended this to be a great comfort to those who at the time of his writing were undergoing trials, persecutions, and loss.

John ends the verse with “for the time is near.” The Greek for time is kairos (pronounced kahee-ros’) and defines as a set time, a time in the chronological order of things set for a specific purpose. In this case, the “set time” is for the second coming of Christ and the physical appearance of His Kingdom. All these things that Jesus is revealing to John happens so that John can reveal them to the Church, to help prepare for Christ’s second coming.

Let’s sum it up:

1) The purpose of this writing is to remove the veil from the Church for the second coming of Christ.

2) This unveiling is from Christ and about Christ.

3) This unveiling came to Christ from God the Father for the express purpose of being revealed to us.

4) In God’s time, it will happen quickly.

5) John’s witness is not only to the word uttered but also to the speaker of that word.

6) Hearing and keeping this word promises God’s favor on those who do in spite of the circumstances.

7) The set time of Jesus’ return is near.


The Dap