Wk6 Revelation 2 3
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Wk6 Revelation 2 3



This is a slide show from week 6 of Jon Kohler's Revelation Class for Amarillo College.

This is a slide show from week 6 of Jon Kohler's Revelation Class for Amarillo College.



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    Wk6 Revelation 2 3 Wk6 Revelation 2 3 Presentation Transcript

    • Revelation 2-3
    • The Letters Relation to the Rest of the Book.
      The phrases and concepts in the letters are related to the introductory vision (1:12-20) as well as to the visions of 4-22:5. The Son of Man vision is developed in the introduction of each letter, and the end of the letters foreshadow the end of the book and the new creation. The main point of each letter then is the charge to overcome which leads to the promise of inheriting eternal life.
    • Form.
      There are four parts to every letter.
      (1) Presentation of the qualities of Christ (drawn from the first chapter), which are chosen to combat the situation of each church.
      (2) Praise for the church’s good record
      (3) Reproach for the church’s deficiency
      (4) Promises, to the conquerors
    • The church’s current situation in Rev 2-3 is contrasted to the church’s perfected condition in Rev 21:1-22:5.
      The churches number seven which stands symbolically for completeness and thus corresponds to the church of all time and in every place. “In fact, the triumphs, failures, and struggles of these churches are a kind of miniature catalogue of the sorts of things that we can expect to find in other churches throughout history.” Poythress, The Returning King, 83.
    • Closing remarks:
      All of the letters deal generally with the issue of witnessing for Christ in the midst of a pagan culture.
      The order in which the churches are addressed could highlight the circular nature of the Letter.
    • Ephesus 2:1-7
    • Port city on the cayster river.
      Roman capital of Asia minor.
      Leading port city of Asia minor.
      Temple of Artemis
      Emperor worship
    • Rev 2:1
      The Ephesians majored on doctrine and minored on love, for this they are both commended and rebuked.
      “These are the words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand and walks among the seven golden lampstands”- Christ knows the problem of the Ephesian church because he is among them.
    • Rev 2:2-3
      “I know your deeds”
      The word “deeds” highlights the reward and punishment that associated with them in Revelation (9:20; 14:13; 16:11; 20:12, 13; 22:12).
      Their deeds are described as “hardwork and your perseverance.”
    • “I know that you cannot tolerate wicked men, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false.”
      These false teachers were probably claiming to be a part of the broader circle of Jesus’ followers than that of the twelve.
      Ignatius writes of this church in the 2nd century, “no sect could win a foothold in Ephesus, when anyone tried to introduce any harmful teaching, the people closed their ears and would not allow it to be disseminated.” Ignatius, Eph 7:1; 9:1
    • Rev 2:4
      “You have forsaken your first love”
      What does it mean that they have lost their “first love?” (1) They have lost their love for one another, (2) they have lost their love for Christ in general, (3) they no longer express their love for Jesus by witnessing.
    • Rev 2:5
      “Remember the height from which you have fallen”
      Christ is encouraging the church to live up to a spiritual standard that they once had.
      Reminding someone of a teaching is a device used to encourage someone to live up to a former way of life (see Rom 15:15; 1 Cor 15:1; Gal 1:6-9; 3:2-3; 5:7; 1 Thess 1:5-10; 2:13-14; 4:1-2, 9; 2 Pet 1:12-13; 3:1-2).
    • “Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent”
      ” The coming judgment of Christ is conditional based upon their repentance.
      “I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place”
      The removal of the lampstand relates to the churches activity of being a light to the nations. This church is in danger of loosing its status as a church.
    • Rev 2:6
      “You hate the practices of the Nicolaitans”
      This group held similar beliefs to that of the “Balaam” and “Jezebel” (2:14-15, 20).
      Balaam is Hebrew for “he has consumed the people.”
      Nicolaitan is its Grk counterpart “conquer the people.”
      More than likely, the Nicolatians taught that the Ephesians could participate in the Church while at the same time be involved either in the imperial cult or in the worship of Artemis (temple prostitution).
    • Rev 2:7
      He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. (2:7, 11, 17, 29; 3:6, 13, 22)
      This formula has its background in the synoptics and in the OT. In the OT it was used in the context of prophetic preaching. The main role of the prophets was to warn Israel of its imminent doom and divine judgment. They did this by sermons; however, the people soon grew too dull to listen to the message, so the prophets turned to using symbolic parables. Whenever ordinary warnings are not listened to, parables are employed (cf. Matt 13:10), and no warning will ever be effective by a people who have hardened their hearts in continual disobedience.
      It functions the same way in Isa 6 and Ezek 3.
      In the light of this parabolic indicator, how should we understand the images of Revelation 4-21.
    • Notice that the trumpets and bowls are modeled after the (2 fold purpose of the) exodus plagues.
      Isaiah 6:9-10 is rooted in the context of idolatry (so also Pss. 115:4-8; 135:15-18).
      Question: “Why does John use such grand images in Revelation?”
      Answer: two-fold effect of parables, and because his community had stopped listening to the propositional Word.
    • “To him who overcomes”
      All of the letters close in this same way (2:7, 11, 17, 26; 3:5, 12, 21; cf. 21:1-22:5). This element proves to be the main point of each of the letters. They highlight covenant faithfulness to the one who is who was and who is to come.
      Overcoming or conquering is modeled after Christ’s own overcoming through the cross event (see 3:21; 5:5; cf. 17:12-14 and 15:2)
    • “I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God”
      Both the tree of life and the lampstand are symbolic of God’s presence with his people.
      That the temple was designed like the Garden of Eden is apparent by the fact that its imagery was closely associated in botanical images to the Garden (the place where mankind experienced God’s presence). See Rev 22:2
    • The Letter to the church of Smyrna 2:8-11
    • Original city built in 600 B.C. by Lydians
      Seaport that rivaled Ephesus
      Planned by Alexander the great and built by his successors.
      Old ally of Rome; 195 B.C. had a temple to goddess Roma.
      A.D. 26 it won the competition to build a temple to Tiberius
      She had some claim to the title “first city of Asia”
    • Rev 2:8
      “him who is the First and the Last, who died and came to life again”
      Christ is sovereign over history. He proved this by his resurrection from the dead. This should encourage the suffering church.
      Christianity fell under the umbrella of Judaism until Jews pointed out the difference which led to persicution (e.g., Acts 13:45, 50; 14:2-7, 19; 17:5-9; 1 Thess. 2:14-16; Martyrdom of Polycarp 12:1-2; 13:1; Tertullian, Scorpiace 10)
    • Rev 2:9
      “I know your afflictions and your poverty-- yet you are rich!”
      Citizens of a Roman province could gain more political and economic prosperity if they aligned themselves with the Roman imperial cult. All citizens were required to sacrifice to the emperor on various occasions.
    • “I know the slander of those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan.”
      Those who are disrupting the Christians call themselves Jews but they are neglecting the faith that they should embrace.
      The church is the true “Jew” in this context. Notice the contextual indicators to this fact in Revelation (1:6, 7, 9, 12; 2:17; 3:9, 12; 5:9-10; 7:4-9, 15-17; 11:1-4). The fact that the church is the new Israel is also collaborated by Paul (e.g., Rom 2; Gal 3).
    • Rev 2:10
      “Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer.”
      “tests” prove or disprove of genuine faith
      “I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution for ten days.”
      The testing will be for a relatively brief period “10 days.” This is similar to the ten days in which Daniel and his three friends were tested by the Babylonians (Dan 1:12-15).
      They refused to eat at the kings table (food dedicated to idols), which in the ancient Near East was symbolic for giving your complete allegiance to someone. The king considered himself divine (Dan 3:2 and 4:37 LXX), and the three true Jews could not blaspheme God. Daniel was thus their model of someone who would rather face persecution than backslide or turn his back on God
    • Polycarp’s martyrdom illustrates that the church must not compromise with the world. He had the opportunity to recant the faith, but instead he was burned alive at the age of 86.
      “Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you the crown of life.”
      The crown symbolizes eternal life: note also John’s description of second death associated with this crown.
      In addition, Christ links his claims with the life of the city as a whole. Smyrna’s goddess Cybele is pictured in coins with a crown consisting of a city battlement. The Smyrnan buildings on Mt. Pagos were said to look like a crown. Over against these claims, Jesus offers to impart the true crown” (Poythress, The Returning King, 87).
    • Rev 2:11
      “He who overcomes will not be hurt at all by the second death”
      The second death is associated with the final judgment (Rev 20:11-15; 21:8). The crown is given in its fullness at death, but it is a crown that Christians already obtain (see 2 Tim 4:8: Paul talks about his “crown” in the same context of his imminent death).
    • Pergamum 2:12-17
      After Alexander it rose to power
      Given to Rome in 133B.C.
      Seat of Roman government
      Temple of emperorial cult built in A.D. 29
      “Satan’s throne”
      the cult of Asclepius
      Zeus, Athene, Demeter, and Dionysus
    • Rev 2:17
      “These are the words of him who has the sharp, double-edged sword.”
      See 1:16; Christ’s action of standing over the church as a threatening judge permeates the entire letter
    • Rev 2:13
      “I know where you live—where Satan has his throne.”
      Satan’s throne probably refers to the pagan influence at Pergamum
      “Yet you remain true to my name. You did not renounce your faith in me, even in the days of Antipas, my faithful witness, who was put to death in your city-- where Satan lives.”
      Persecution led to the death of Antipas
    • Rev 2:14
      “You have people there who hold to the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to entice the Israelites to sin by eating food sacrificed to idols and by committing sexual immorality.”
      The compromise of the church is associated to the actions of Balaam (Nu. 22:5-25:3; 31:8, 16). Balaam was the father of religious syncretism.
      The type of sexual sin that Pergamum is practicing is labeled porneusai. This is used in the OT and the NT to mean sexual license or religious infidelity. Pagan religions typically involved some form of sexual immorality (in association with temple prostitutes).
    • Jezebel (Rev. 2:20) in the church of Thyatira; which would be an obvious connection to sexual immorality.
    • Rev 2:15
      “Likewise you also have those who hold to the teaching of the Nicolaitans.”
      The Balaam group is similar in the content to that of the Nicolaitans. This group was doing the same thing that the Balaam group did; namely they taught Christians that it was acceptable to participate in pagan feasts.
    • Rev 2:16
      “Repent therefore! Otherwise, I will soon come to you and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth.”
      It is an interesting verbal parallel to note that Balaam was threatened by the “sword” of the Lord in Num 22:23, 31 and that the church is being warned with the sword in Rev. 2:16. The church is in need of discipline, if it does not discipline those within then it will face the sword of the great judge.
      What does John mean by “I will soon come”?
    • Rev 2:17
      “I will give some of the hidden manna.”
      Hidden manna is a metaphor for the end-time fellowship that takes places with the believers and Christ, which will be completed in an escalated form at the wedding supper of the lamb. Notice that Christ calls himself “manna” in John 6:31-35.
      “I will also give him a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to him who receives it.”
      A white stone was commonly associated with a vote of acquittal (Acts 26:10) or a favorable vote.
      The white stones intensifies the picture of the manna as a heavenly reward because it was white and actually looked like stones on the ground (Ex. 16:31 and Nu 11:7). The white stones could also represent the purity of the saints who have not become corrupted (cf. 3:14).
    • The church of Thyatira (2:18-29)
      Founded by Seleucus I
      Frontier outpost
      Large number of trade guilds
      Purple cloth (Acts 16:14)
      Tyrimnos (Apollo)
    • Rev 2:18
      “These are the words of the Son of God, whose eyes are like blazing fire and whose feet are like burnished bronze.”
      There are two possible backgrounds to the allusion to Christ in this verse. First would be the context of Daniel 3:25 and the delivery of Daniel and his friends by one like the “Son of God.”
      Second is Daniel 10:6; 16 eyes like fire
      “Son of God” would combat the local deities Apollo Tyrimnaeus and the divine emperor who consider themselves to be the son of Zeus.
    • Rev 2:19
      “I know your deeds, your love and faith, your service and perseverance, and that you are now doing more than you did at first.”
      This church is contrasted with the church of Ephesus both in the fact that it has love while Ephesus did not, and that its last works are greater than it had at first.
    • Rev 2:20
      “Nevertheless, I have this against you: You tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess.”
      Like Pergamum, Thyratira has given free rein to a group of false teachers who influence God’s servants to compromise with idolatrous aspects of pagan society.
      Like the Old Testament Jezebel, this woman seduced people into sexual immorality and idolatry, two major forms of indulgence in pagan Asia Minor
    • “By her teaching she misleads my servants into sexual immorality and the eating of food sacrificed to idols”
      The prophetess teaches and deceives
      Lead astray is also used in 2:20; 13:14; 19:20
      In 2:20 and 18:23 illicit intercourse is a metaphor for economic dealings involving trades that had numerous guilds throughout Asia Minor (cf. 18:3, 11-22)
    • Rev 2:22
      “So I will cast her on a bed of suffering, and I will make those who commit adultery with her suffer intensely, unless they repent of her ways.”
      The phrase, “throw her onto a bed of suffering” is a Hebrew idiom that means to “punish someone with various forms of sickness” (Ex 21:18)
      Suffering or tribulation is “hour of testing” (3:10), and the great tribulation (7:14)
      Those who fornicate with Jezebel are urged to repent; however, repentance does not seem to be a possibility for Jezebel herself.
    • Rev 2:23
      Jezebeel’s followers are “children”
      The death of 70 children was the punishment that Jezebel and Ahab went through when Ahab sinned against Naboth ( 1 Ki. 21:17-29; 2 Ki 9:30-37; 10:1-11).
      “He who searches minds and hearts” draws the reader back to verse 18 which describes Christ as having eyes of flaming fire. God has special knowledge of the “kidneys and the heart.”
      Judgment in Revelation and the rest of the Bible is always based upon works (2:23; 18:6; 20:12, 13)
    • Rev 2:24
      Now I say to the rest of you in Thyatira, to you who do not hold to her teaching and have not learned Satan's so-called deep secrets (I will not impose any other burden on you)
      Remnant do not hold to Jezebel.
      “Deep Secrets” (1) Some thought that their faith in Christ made them impregnable to the forces of evil in this world; this is in some sense an over-realized spirituality (much like the problem in Corinth), and (2) that the secrets are actually the deep things of God (1 Cor. ii. 10), and it is then John who does not know the true way to follow Christ.
      John will play the role of Elijah with Jezebel
    • Rev 2:26-27
      I will give authority over the nations-- ‘He will rule them with an iron scepter; he will dash them to pieces like pottery' just as I have received authority from my Father.
      The followers of Christ must endure until the end. This condition must be met before Christ offers them authority over the nations.
      “End”: of their earthly lives, 2nd coming
      They share in the messianic kingdom (Ps 2)
      The question of “when” in relation to this text must be in the present time and not in a millennial kingdom, because all of Christ’s enemies are destroyed in Rev 19, and there is no one left to defeat. This must refer to the present ironic conquering of the saints.
    • Rev 2:28
      I will also give him the morning star.
      Christ in Revelation is the “Morning Star” (22:16). See also Num. 24:14-20 where the ruler of Israel is described as a “rising star” and “scepter” who will crush the princes of the nations.
      Morning probably highlights the inaugurated aspect of Christ’s present Messianic reign, which is set in motion by Jesus’ death and resurrection.
      Morning star (Venus) was a symbol of sovereignty in the ancient world.
      Roman temples were built to the star, and it was on the standards of the Roman legion.