Verse By Verse Study of Revelation Chapter 2
We come now to the second section of the Book of Revelation, which deals with 'the things which are,' (Revelation 1:19). As Jesus addresses the seven churches of which John was an overseer, he paints a portrait of church history in its entirety. Note that the seven messages have a four fold application.
FIRST, they are to be APPLIED LOCALLY. The cities of the seven churches are given in the order of an ancient Roman postal circuit. Thus, they could be easily circulated among the churches addressed.
SECOND, they APPLY ECCLESIASTICALLY. Anyone who cares about CHRIST'S ONE AND ONLY TRUE CHURCH needs to study these letters because every problem, difficulty, and challenge facing CHRIST'S CHURCH is addressed in these seven letters.
THIRD, they APPLY PERSONALLY. These letters apply to us individually. How do I know? Because each letter ends with, "Let he that hath an ear, hear what the Spirit saith." Thus, this applies to anyone who has an ear. If you have two ears, it's a double directive!
FOURTH, the letters apply prophetically. For us today, most of the events are history because we're approaching the end of the church age. But for John, at the beginning of the church age, the events of which he wrote had not yet transpired. In addition to a four fold application, there is also a four element pattern seen in each letter.
FIRST, there is positive affirmation, where Jesus finds something to affirm in the churches.
SECOND, there is corrective exhortation.
THIRD there is an eternal motivation.
And FINALLY, there is partial revelation AS EACH OF THE churches REVEALS SOMETHING OF THE NATURE OF CHRIST. You see, the only way we're going to see the complete picture is to embrace CHRIST'S ONE AND ONLY CHURCH in totality. That's what is so important about the Body. I see a part of Christ in Lee; I see another aspect in Dan; I see a third part in Sherry; and as I look at the Body, each one of you exhibits a unique aspect of Jesus Christ. IT TAKES THE WHOLE BODY TO TRULY MAGNIFY THE LORD. That's why the Psalmist said, "O magnify the Lord with me," (Psalm 34:3). May we be those who embrace other believers and other churches because they each reveal something of Him.
Unto the angel...
Meaning 'messenger', it is most likely that the word 'angelous' used here speaks of a pastor, or leader, although it could be an angelic overseer.
... of the church of Ephesus ...
The church of Ephesus speaks of the period of church history from 33 TO 100 AD. At 97 AD, when John recorded this Book the church was already a mess. The Book of Acts presents the model of the way the church was supposed to function. But Acts only covers a span of thirty years. By the time John penned Revelation a mere 60 years later, the purity of the church had been compromised to such a degree that they were in a position to hear the Lord say, "Unless you repent, I'm not going to stay in your midst," (Revelation 2:5).
Those caught up in some of the so called revivals of today say, we can't explain what is happening in our church from the Bible. But in earlier days, we hear of people barking and doing other strange things so they turn not to the Scriptures but to church history for justification of aberrant behavior. Let it be noted, precious people: You can't appeal to church history for practices of doctrine because public corporate churches, for profit or not for profit, have had problems from the very get go. I don't ever defend church history. But I do defend the church as seen in the Book of Acts. Appeal only to the Bible because that's where you find safety and sanity. You're always on solid ground if you stick with Scripture.
The word Ephesus means 'Darling', and refers to romantic love which is, as we will see, the area needing adjustment within the
... write; These things saith he that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand ...
WHO ARE THE SEVEN STARS? The leaders of the churches are the seven stars.
... who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks;
Where is Jesus walking? He is in the midst of the churches. You will meet Christians who say, "Well, I'm not into church." That's too bad, because Jesus is. "Yeah, but the churches around here are really hurting," they'll say. So were these. And yet Jesus was in their midst.
I know thy works, and thy labor, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars: And hast borne, and hast patience, and for my names sake hast labored, and hast not fainted.
Here, Jesus gives His affirmation. He says, "First of all, I affirm you for staying with the task. That is, you've worked hard; you haven't fainted. Secondly, you've stood with the truth. You've rooted out the deceivers who have come into your midst falsely claiming to be apostles."
On occasion, people will say to us as Christians, "Don't judge me, man. Didn't Jesus say to judge not lest ye be judge?" And I say, "You're right" But fifteen verses later, He said, "Beware of false
prophets who will come into your midst as wolves in sheep's clothing. By their fruit you shall know them," (Matthew 7:15 16).
So what is Jesus saying? In Matthew 7:1, He says WE'RE NOT TO JUDGE FOR CONDEMNATION. In Matthew 7:15, however, WE ARE INSTRUCTED TO JUDGE FOR IDENTIFICATION. If we only teach the Word, but don't warn the flock about liars and deceivers, then we simply fatten people up for the kill. Part of the job of parenting, part of the job of pastoring, part of the responsibility of any believer is to be careful about false doctrine and false teachers.
Nevertheless I have some what: against thee, because thou hast left thy first love.
Here's the corrective exhortation: You labor; you're not fainting; you're showing discernment theologically. But although you have abundant motion, you have little emotion. You've left your first love. Notice HE DOESN'T SAY THEY LOST THEIR FIRST LOVE. HE SAYS THEY LEFT IT.
Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen ...
Remember how it felt to have the cutting edge, when you were passionate, when your walk was vibrant. Remember how it used to be when you had it last.
... and repent ...
'Repent' simply means 'CHANGE DIRECTION'. 'Re' means 'RETURN', 'pent', think of 'PENTHOUSE SUITE'. So 'RETURN' to your 'HIGHEST' walk in Christ and let the Holy Spirit continue to unfold you.
... and do the first works ...
What were you doing when you were ON FIRE for the Lord?
I was going to church.
...then go again!
I was in the scriptures daily.
...then do it again!
I sang praise to the Lord as I drove down the highway.
...then sing again!
I would share the gospel and fellowship with other believers every opportunity I got.
...then do it again!
Remember how it used to be when you were amazed by the Lord's goodness and do again what you were doing then?
THE INJUNCTION OF JESUS IS SIMPLE: REMEMBER, REPENT, AND RETURN
... or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of its place, except thou repent.
You may have lots of programs, and lots of activities. You may even have doctrinal purity. But Jesus will not stay in a church where there is not true love because without love, nothing else matters (1 Corinthians 13:2).
But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.
SOMETIMES PEOPLE SAY, "PASTOR JON, I WANT YOU TO KNOW I'M SUBMITTED TO YOU." WHILE I HEAR THEIR HEART, I SAY, "DON'T SUBMIT TO ME. I'VE GOT A TOUGH ENOUGH TIME TRYING TO FIGURE OUT WHAT I SHOULD DO! I'D LOVE TO SHARE WITH YOU FROM THE WORD AND PRAY FOR YOU EACH DAY. BUT IT'S JESUS ALONE TO WHOM YOU MUST SUBMIT."
'Nicos' meaning 'conquest' and 'laity' means 'people of the church', so the Nicolaitans were those who came on the scene, saying, "I will tell you who to date, where to live, and what to do because I am your spiritual leader." What did Paul say? "We do not seek to have dominion over you but we are helpers of your joy," (2 Corinthians 1:24)
He that hath an ear, let him hear what. the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that over cometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst. of the paradise of God.
What did the Ephesians lack? LOVE. What would they get if they changed their ways? The fruit of the tree of life, the fruit of the Spirit: LOVE. Thus, the eternal motivation for the Ephesian church perfectly answered their greatest need.
And unto the angel of the church in Smyrna write; These things saith the first and the last, which was dead, and is alive; I know thy works, and tribulation and poverty, (but thou art rich) ...
The church in Smyrna represents the period in church history from 100 TO 312 AD. The word 'smyrna' means myrrh, a fragrance which is only released when crushed. AT HIS BIRTH, JESUS WAS PRESENTED WITH GOLD, FRANKINCENSE, AND MYRRH. GOLD WAS FOR KINGS, FRANKINCENSE FOR PRIESTS. BUT MYRRH WAS A BURIAL SPICE. JESUS IS A KING, YES. HE IS A PRIEST, INDEED. BUT HE'S ALSO THE PROPHET WHO SAID, 'DESTROY THIS BODY AND IN THREE DAYS, I WILL RISE AGAIN.' On the Cross, Jesus was presented with myrrh, as a soldier took a spear and, with a sponge, offered it to Him to deaden His pain. Myrrh was offered to Jesus a third time when the women came Easter Sunday to put burial spices on His Body. But He wasn't there. He had risen. So too, when Jesus returns in His second coming, Isaiah writes that "all they from Sheba shall come: they shall bring gold and incense; and they shall shew forth the praises of the Lord." GOLD FOR THE KING; FRANKINCENSE FOR THE PRIEST. BUT GUESS WHAT. THEY WON'T BRING MYRRH, BECAUSE WHEN JESUS COMES BACK, HE'S NOT COMING TO DIE. HE'S COMING TO RULE AND REIGN.
... and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan.
In Smyrna, as in other places, Jews would sometimes take the heat of persecution off themselves by inciting the Romans against the Christians. In other words, although they may have been Jewish ethnically, they caused division in the Body. Thus, in God's economy they were no more His people in reality than were the Christians who, in the Name of Christ, slaughtered Jews by hundreds of thousands during the Crusades.
In 155 AD, the pastor of the church at Smyrna was a man named Polycarp, the last man personally discipled by John. At 86 years of age, amidst one of the numerous waves of persecution, Polycarp was ordered to burn incense at the altar of Caesar. "How can I deny Him Who has been faithful to me these six and eighty years," replied Polycarp. Consequently, he was sentenced to burn at the stake. When the fire failed to come near him, however, a frustrated guard pierced Polycarp's shoulder with his sword, inadvertently drawing blood which put out the flame.
At times, the only substance powerful enough to extinguish persecution was the blood of the saints.
Fear none of those things which thou shalt, suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days ...
In the years 100 thru 313 AD, there were ten Roman Emperors who correspond to the ten days spoken of here. They launched such massive attacks against the believers that between 5 and 7 million Christians were killed during their rule.
... be thou faithful unto death, and I wilt give thee a crown of life.
Notice that for this group, JESUS DOESN'T HAVE A CORRECTIVE EXHORTATION. PERHAPS THIS IS BECAUSE BY ENDURING PERSECUTION, THEY REMAINED PURE. But notice Jesus makes no promise to lighten their affliction. On the contrary, He says, "Go through the pain and crushing. Be faithful unto death."
He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches;
He that over cometh shalt not be hurt of the second death. What is the second death? At the end of the Millennium, the unbeliever will be resurrected to stand before the Lord at the Great White Throne Judgment. There, his failure to believe on the Lord, and his refusal to accept God's payment for his sins will condemn him to outer darkness (Revelation 20:6). But for those who stay true, like the church at Smyrna, the second death will have no effect.
And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write;
The Greek prefix, 'per', from which we get the word 'pervert', means opposition. The suffix, 'gamos', from which we get words like MONOGAMOUS or BIGAMOUS means 'marriage'.
'Pergamos', then, means 'objectionable marriage' which is a fitting description of the next phase of church history.
The year is 312 AD. The last of the ten Roman emperors who had persecuted the church is dead, ushering in a power play for the reins of the Empire. To this end, one young hopeful prepared to engage in a huge battle. According to legend, he saw a cross in the heavens and heard a voice saying, "In this sign conquer." So young Constantine fell to his knees and possibly became a born again believer, although he did not get baptized until he was on his death bed.
According to history, however, what really happened was this: Substantially outnumbered, Constantine noticed a large segment of the population was not enlisting in anyone's army. They were called Christians. Realizing if he converted to Christianity, he would have access to a potential infusion of new troops, he became a Christian. The Christians, in turn, said, "Far out! We're on your side. Let's go." And they did. They won the House; they won the Senate; they took the whole thing. But it was an unmitigated disaster because following Constantine's Edict of Toleration, which forbade persecution of Christians, Christianity become the official religion of Rome. In fact, soon all Roman babies would be legally required to be baptized into the Christian faith. Yes, the Christians were in power, but, understanding the political expediency of concession, Constantine compromised with the pagan priests and traditions which permeated Rome. "I feel your pain," he said. "Let's find common ground. Let's meet halfway." So a marriage took place clearly illustrated by the coin issued shortly thereafter. Christian symbols were stamped on one side of the coin, and pagan symbols on the other. From 313 TO 600 AD, church AND STATE WORKED TOGETHER AS A POLITICAL POWER and as a result the church began a downward spiral from which it has yet to recover, as we shall see.
These things saith he which hath the sharp sword with two edges; I know thy works, and where thou dwellest, even where Satan's seat is ...
According to Greek mythology, Pergamos was the birthplace of Zeus. 'Satan's seat' is in reference to the 150 foot high structure dedicated to Zeus in the middle of the city of Pergamos.
... and thou holdest fast my name, and hast not denied my faith, even in those days wherein Antipas was my faithful martyr, who was slain among you, where Satan dwelleth.
The historian Tertullian tells us that, because Antipas, a physician in the city of Pergamos, wouldn't renounce his faith, he was fried to death.
But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balak to cast a stumbling block before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication.
You remember the story of Balaam ... he was asked by Moabite King Balak to pronounce a curse on the people of Israel and God forbade the prophet Balaam to go. But Balaam went anyway and after a short discussion with a donkey, wound up on a mountain overlooking the encamped Israelites upon whom he was to issue a curse. After three failed attempts, Balaam realized he couldn't curse them, and resorted to an alternate plan. "If your women seduce the Israelite men," he said to Balak, "they can introduce idol worship to them and Israel will thereby bring a curse upon itself," (Numbers 22).
What, then, is the doctrine of Balaam? Per gamos: objectionable marriage with the world.
So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate.
Not only had the church in Pergamos embraced the marriage of church and state, but they embraced the Nicolaitans the priests and pontiffs and people who say, "I am infallible."
Repent; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight: against them with the sword of my mouth.
How do you know who's who or what's what in a world so prone to the Pergamos tendency? Stick with the Word. It divides sin's mindset from that which is right eternally (Hebrews 4:12).
He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that over cometh ...
Since the Pergamos mindset was a mixture of political religious mystery, it is interesting to note the three things promised to those who overcome this tendency ... power and Lord.
... will I give to eat of the hidden manna ...
A young man in a hotel on the corner of Chicago's 6th and Broadway prayed, "Lord, I'm not going to leave this room until you empower me." Four days later, the Holy Spirit came upon him, and D.L. Moody was empowered in such a way that he said, "Lord, if You don't back off, I'm going to die of ecstasy."
... and will give him a white stone ...
The secret ballot of John's day was a stone. A black stone was 'no' or 'not acceptable', a white stone 'yes' or 'acceptable'. We still refer to this practice when we say someone was 'blackballed'. Thus, Jesus was saying, "If you turn away from paganism, compromise, and the Pergamos mentality, I'll give you a white stone which means you're not guilty; you're righteous; you're free."
... and in the stone, a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it.
"If you're looking for mystery," says the Lord, "don't look to worldly traditions. Look to Me, and I will give you hidden manna, a white, stone, and a secret, pet name." Watch out for the Pergamos mentality. It's tempting to seek political change to make our voice heard, to get our candidates in, to make our agenda happen. But history proves that strange things happen when church and politics get in bed together. If we think the key is to engage ourselves in political activism in the Name of Jesus Christ, we are in danger of committing the same historic error. Watch out. Keep your focus on the Kingdom. Keep your passion for Jesus. Keep true to the Word, and God will bless you with the manna of salvation, the white stone of acquittal and approval, a new name and a real special affection.
On the island of Patmos, the Lord told John to write seven letters which were to be delivered to seven churches in Asia Minor. But evidently these churches did not receive or respond to the messages, for if you look at Asia Minor, or present day Turkey, you see one of the most spiritually dark regions in the world. May the Lord help us and be merciful to us that we don't simply take in these messages without personally embracing them.
We now come to the fourth period which begins in 600 AD and goes through the present. THE FOLLOWING FOUR churches: THYATIRA, SARDIS, PHILADELPHIA, AND LAODICEA ALL REPRESENT churches ON THE EARTH TODAY. How do we know this? Because Jesus talks about His coming and about the Tribulation to these four churches. THE PREVIOUS THREE churches SPOKEN OF HAD SPECIFIC TIME PERIODS IN WHICH THEY WENT EXTINCT.
And unto the angel of the church in Thyatira write;
At Thyatira we see a church emerge in the year 600 AD which will exert major influence on Martin Luther and the Reformers through 1500 A.D. This church still exists presently.
These things saith the Son of God, who hath his eyes like unto a flame of fire, and his feet are like fine brass;
This is the only time in the entire Book of Revelation that Jesus identifies Himself as the Son of God, and not as the Son of Man. He chooses this reference because fire and brass speak of judgment.
I know thy works, and charity, and service, and faith, and thy patience, and thy works; and the last to be more than the first.
Although Jesus is about to give a heavy word of judgment to the church at Thyatira, He first finds six areas in which to commend them.
Notwithstanding I have a few things against thee, because thou suffereth that, woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and, to seduce my servants to commit fornication, and to eat. things sacrificed unto idols.
Based on the account in Acts 16, wherein we read that Paul encountered a group of women worshiping by a river side, it is very possible that the church at Thyatira was founded by a woman. But the church at Thyatira was floundering because of a woman who called herself a prophetess and persuaded people to eat food sacrificed to idols. Her influence upon the church was reminiscent of one of the most ungodly women in Israel's history.
Jezebel, daughter of Ethbaal, king of the Zidonians, was given to King Ahab of Israel, in marriage. Since Ethbaal was the high priest of Ashtaroth, goddess of sensuality and fertility, Jezebel's background adversely influenced God's people. Finding Ahab weeping one day, Jezebel asked the reason. "Our power is growing and our influence is increasing," answered Ahab. "But, a man named Naboth won't sell me his property." "If you're the king, you should have it,' answered Jezebel. "Leave it to me." So saying, she hired some men to falsely accuse Naboth of cursing God. And, following an inquisition and mock trial, Naboth was put to death (1 Kings 21). Thus, Ahab and Jezebel inherited the land in a power play and Inquisition a microcosm of the grander scale we will see as the story of church history unfolds.
And I gave her space to repent of her fornication; and she repented not.
Keep in mind that fornication does not refer exclusively to physical relationships. It can refer, as it often does in the Old Testament, to a spiritual relationship with idolatry. This New Testament woman, following in the footsteps of her predecessor of old, was encouraging idolatry in the church at Thyatira.
Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation ...
If the Jezebel spirit which is prone to idolatry is not rejected and turned from, this church, representing not only a local congregation at that time but an epoch in church history, will go into the Tribulation period.
And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works.
Not only Thyatira, but her offspring will also go through judgment and death as well.
But unto you I say, and unto the rest in Thyatira, as many as have not this doctrine and which have not known the depths of Satan, as they speak; I will put upon you none other burden.
'Bathos' is the Greek word which means 'depths of Satan' and specifically relates to the esoteric mystery of the false, cultic Babylonian religion. 'We alone know the mysteries, the bathos, the deep things,' said by the Babylonian priests. But those who didn't buy their line were exempt from God's judgment.
But that which ye have already hold fast till I come.
'Till I come' is the first promise of Jesus' return found in these letters to the seven churches. That's how we know this church goes until Jesus returns.
And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations: And he shall rule them with a rod of iron, as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father
'Those in Thyatira,' says Jesus, 'who have not bought into the seductive teachings of Jezebel will be given nations to rule.' What was Jezebel's goal? Ahab and Jezebel united in marriage to increase their power by merging countries and joining religions. The result? They wielded power and gobbled up land, as seen in the story of Naboth's vineyard. 'If you're not a part of this Jezebel stuff you will rule and reign with Me,' Jesus says. 'But if you try and do it in the spirit of Jezebel, through inquisition and manipulation, you'll be cast into a bed with other harlots in the great Tribulation.'
And I will give him the morning star.
The Old Testament Image of Jesus is as the Sun of Righteousness (Malachi 4:2). Here in the New Testament, He's seen as the Morning Star.
He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.
I believe the church at Thyatira refers to the Catholic church because 'Thyatira' means 'continual sacrifice'. You see, the Catholic church traditionally, historically, and presently embraces the idea that in Communion, the elements are transformed into the literal, physical body of Christ in a process called transubstantiation. Thus, Catholic priests ensure that during the Mass, all of the wine is drunk and all of the bread eaten because they believe the elements are the actual Body of Christ and, therefore, cannot be poured down the drain or thrown out. They think that the continual sacrifice of Christ is what really brings grace, or salvation, which is in direct contrast to what Jesus declared from the Cross when He cried, 'It is Finished.' The price is paid. The work is done.
[Editor's Note; Molecular testing of the bread and wine after it has been blessed, shows that the elements do not change into human DNA but remain bread and wine. Once they have convinced you it does change and that they are the only priesthood that can do it you are left with a difficult decision. They will tell you to accept Jesus Christ and become a Catholic so you can fully embrace the voice of Jesus Christ's Priesthood on earth today. Many have embraced this with their whole heart. Look to the Word of God so that you are not deceived by the teachings and precepts of Man.]
During the Inquisition Period from 600 1500, THE CATHOLIC church AMASSED GREAT AMOUNTS OF WEALTH THROUGH POLITICAL POWER PLAYS. CONSEQUENTLY, THE CATHOLIC church IS EXTREMELY WEALTHY due to their land holdings and banking system. Please hear my heart, I'm not Catholic bashing. This is history. Vast amounts of money, property, treasures were ACCUMULATED FOR 900 YEARS THROUGH KEEPING PEOPLE IN SPIRITUAL DARKNESS. FOR EXAMPLE, IF YOU WERE GOING TO A PARTY ON SATURDAY EVENING, YOU COULD BUY AN INDULGENCE FROM A PRIEST, AND THUS BE 'PRE FORGIVEN' OF ANY ENSUING SIN. During this time, the doctrine of purgatory was also developed which stated one could speed up the process of the purging of a deceased loved one's soul by buying candles and lighting them on his behalf.
AND EVEN AS NABOTH WAS KILLED, SO WERE TENS OF MILLIONS OF BELIEVERS, INCLUDING HUGH LATIMER AND JOHN HUS, FOLLOWERS OF JOHN WYCLIFFE. WHAT DID WYCLIFFE WANT TO DO? HE SAID IT WASN'T RIGHT THAT ONE HAD TO GO THROUGH A PRIEST TO GET HIS SINS FORGIVEN. HE SAID PURGATORY AND THE SELLING OF INDULGENCES WERE AN ABOMINATION. HE SAID THE MASS BEING HELD IN LATIN, A LANGUAGE PEOPLE COULDN'T UNDERSTAND, WAS NOTHING OF WHAT JESUS WAS ABOUT. AS THE FIRE WHICH WOULD BURN THEM AT THE STAKE WAS LIT, JOHN HUS TURNED TO HUGH LATIMER AND SAID, 'TODAY THEY ARE IGNITING A CANDLE THAT WILL NEVER GO OUT.'
Presently there are excellent Catholic churches and wonderful Catholic pastors. There are those who have not bought into the deception of Jezebel. There are substantial segments of the church who love Jesus Christ and are not into the hocus pocus imagery and idolatry which keep people away from knowing the Lord personally. On the other hand, much of the Catholic church still has the Thyatira mentality just as much of the Protestant church is deader than a doornail, as we'll see in the chapter three of Revelation's verse by verse commentary.
WHAT DOES THIS HAVE TO DO WITH US? I think a whole lot, because the error of Thyatira is possible at Applegate Fellowship. WE CAN ALSO HAVE IDOLS. WE CAN LOOK TO A church, A PERSON, A PROGRAM AND SAY, 'I'M GOING TO PUT ALL MY HOPE IN THAT STRUCTURE, OR THOSE GUYS', NO LONGER JUST LOVING THE LORD, STAYING CLOSE TO THE LORD, GETTING OUR CUES AND DIRECTIONS FROM THE LORD, BUT LEANING ON IDOLS AND STRUCTURES AND PEOPLE.
Likewise, there can be those who imply that the common people can't understand the Bible because they have not attended seminary and therefore cannot grasp the intricacies of theology. Not true. While Greek and Hebrew can indeed help give illumination, the Book we hold in our hands was written for you and me, for the man and woman on the street.
DON'T LET ANYONE TELL YOU THAT YOU CAN'T KNOW GOD'S WILL, GOD'S HEART, OR GOD'S WAY. WE MUST MAKE SURE WE SAY NO TO IDOLATRY, TO SYSTEMS OF RELIGION, TO SPIRITUAL HIERARCHIES. May God give us wisdom. May God help us to keep the focus on Jesus. May God give us the grace to keep it simple.
The above information is an edited version of
'Tree of Life Bible Commentary, Revelation - Volumn 1', by Jon Coursen.