Friday, October 16, 2009

Seven Letters for Seven Churches

Our church recently started going through Revelation, and we should be in there for a year or more. It's truly fascinating stuff, a book that we are truly blessed to read and take to heart (1:3). As the title says, it is the revelation of Jesus Christ.

To go along with this study, my small group is memorizing the first three chapters. These chapters contain the introduction where John encounters the resurrected, glorified Christ, who is seen walking amongst seven golden lampstands which represent seven churches. As sovereign ruler of the universe and particularly of the churches, Jesus has a few words for them - some of commendation, some of condemnation. While all the messages are different, each begins and ends the same way. First Jesus declares something about himself and the authority behind his words to the churches. Then each letter closes with a promise "to the one who conquers". It's worth taking some time to reflect on these statements of Christ's glory and the incredible promises he holds out to those who persevere in the faith.

Jesus is:
  • Him who holds the seven stars in his right hand, who walks among the seven lampstands;
  • The first and the last, who died and came to life;
  • Him who has the sharp two-edged sword;
  • The Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire, and whose feet are like burnished bronze;
  • Him who has the seven spirits of God and the seven stars;
  • The holy one, the true one, who has the key of David, who opens and no one will shut, who shuts and no one will open;
  • The Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of God's creation.
The one who conquers:
  • Jesus will grant to eat of the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God;
  • Will not be hurt by the second death;
  • Jesus will give some of the hidden manna, and Jesus will give him a white stone, with a new name written on the stone that no one knows except the one who receives it;
  • Jesus will give him authority over the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron, as when earthen pots are broken in pieces, even as Jesus has received authority from his Father. And Jesus will give him the morning star;
  • Will be clothed thus in white garments, and Jesus will never blot his name out of the book of life. Jesus will confess his name before his Father and before his angels;
  • Jesus will make him a pillar in the temple of his God. Never shall he go out of it, and Jesus will write on him the name of his God, and the name of the city of his God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down from his God out of heaven, and Christ's own new name;
  • Jesus will grant him to sit with him on him throne, as Jesus also conquered and sat down with his Father on his throne.
Reflect and consider how great and awesome our Lord is, and how wonderful the inheritance of those who remain faithful to him.

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