Wednesday, April 30, 2014


The Organization of the Material in the Letters of Chs. 2 and 3

The Destination of this letter: This is always marked by a specific statement.

The Description of the author: This always fits the condition of the church.

The Dispensation to which the church belongs: This includes the name, its meaning, and the general conditions.

The Diagnosis of the church and its condition: Sometimes this is good and sometimes bad, and sometimes both.

The Demand laid upon the church: This is imposed by the Lord himself and it is Authoritative.

The Dynamic offered to the church: This is an incentive to do better, to overcome.

The Discrimination within the church: This is for the purpose of sifting out the wheat from the tares.

The Deterioration from one church to another: This marks the progress downward during the age.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014


The Explanation of the Letters to the Seven Churches

The Magnitude of Church History: Many volumes have been written on church history, but these have not exhausted the story. Special emphasis has been given to certain periods, and volumes have been multiplied to tell the story in full. But never has every aspect and period been given full and satisfac­tory emphasis. This is due to the fact that men are a part of the stream of history and are unable to see it in its true perspective. But we are about to follow the grand sweep of church history from its inception at Pentecost to its glorious consummation at the coming of Christ. All of this is seen from the heights of God through the eyes of Lord of the Churches. And remember that history is HIS STORY.

The Method of Church History: The method of recording church history that is so familiar to us is literary effort after the events have transpired. Recently or remotely after the events have happened, the historian laboriously gathers material, carefully sifts it, and painstakingly records it for future generations. But we are about to peruse seven volumes of church history that were written before the events transpired, and part of it still remains unexperienced by the Church. No laborious, sifting, painstaking process was necessary to arrange this for the generations of believers yet unborn, for the author was guest to this moving picture drama of the age and had a reserved seat to the events as the Lord caused His Story to pass before him.

The Material of Church History: Multiplied are the volumes on church-history. They are many, and they are very dry. But before us are seven volumes of church history, covering the entire church age, and so compact and concise is the story that they can be compressed within two chapters of the Word of God. These 51 verses do strike off in bold lines every important detail, so pregnant with meaning that no man has ever yet exhausted its information, yet progressively through the years men have discovered that every detail has been confirmed by the actual unfolding in the life of the Church. These seven volumes do more than record the dull and dusty facts of ages long since past. They provide light for the way that lies ahead.

The Manner of Church History: Ordinarily volumes on church history are the records of one who is separated by clime and time from the period and people of whom he writes. It could be no other way, for history is the record of events that are already past. But this is not true of the history we are about to study. These seven volumes of church history are really seven very personal and very private letters. These are the final love letters of the bridegroom to His bride. He is one who inhabits eternity, and so His letters are ever fresh and vital. He is everywhere present so that no church cannot but feel His presence. He walks in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks.

Monday, April 28, 2014


Arguments Supporting the Idea That These Churches do Have Prophetic Significance

The Designation of Each Church fits a Period in the History of the Church as we See it Today

Ephesus means desirable, a church with enthusiasm and ardor for the Lord. Apostolic Church.

Smyrna means myrrh, must be crushed for its fragrance to be recognized. Period of martyrdom.

Pergamos means married, the time of union of church and state. With the infiltration of the world, the church lost her holi­ness. Period of union of church and state.

Thyatira means continuous sacrifice. Descent into ritualism, paganism, ceremonialism, and sacramentalism. Period of Catholicism at its height.

Sardis means remnant, when some with a little life are rescued from the mass, but who hold the doctrine without purity of life. Reformation period.

Philadelphia means brotherly love, a period in which purity of
life and enthusiasm grows. Period of evangelization.

Laodicea means judgment of the people, a period in which the people determine the movement and order of things. Period of apostacy.

The Diagnosis of each Church fits a Certain Period in Church History
It is amazing how accurately each letter gives a description of a period in church history. This does not mean that every detail accounts for everything. For certainly other church types are also present in each period. Though it does seem that there is one church type that is dominant.

The Destination of These Letters Suggest the Prophetic Inter­pretation also
Seven historic churches are set forth as the immediate destina­tion (1:4, 11). But other churches are certainly in the mind of the Lord Jesus (22:16). And from the very outset of the book it seems evident that this Revelation was meant ultimately to reach every saint (1:1; 22:16).

The Application of These Letters Further Strengthens the Point That These Churches Must be Far-Reaching in Their Significance
Every letter, although directed to one church, is applied to every church (2:7, 11, 17, 29; 3:6, 13, 22).
In every letter the application and encouragement is to the individual (2:7, 11, 17, 26; 3:5, 12, 21).

Sunday, April 27, 2014


The Conclusion Concerning This Method of Predicting and Interpreting the Future

None would ever have dreamed that Gen. 3:15 would have unfolded exactly in this way.
"And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel."
It must then be concluded that there was more in that simple statement of Gen. 3:15 than at first meets the eye.

Such we believe to be true of the seven letters to the seven churches. They are moral and spiritual in sense, and no one can ever put dates upon them from the begin­ning.

Only as the picture is unfolded is it possible to look back and see how much was wrapped up in those amazingly simple reconstructions of the future.

For those who are alert to the teachings of God's Word and sensitive to its warnings, these letters will keep them ever conscious to the times and conditions, and ever examining themselves to see whether they be ready for His coming.

The following men endorse this method of interpretation.
1.     L. Sale Harrison (page 41)
2.     Tatford (34)
3.     Walter Scott (54-56)
4.     Tenney (50)
5.     Morgan (Graded Bible 163; First Century 11-12)
6.     Seiss (142)
7.     Newell (47)
8.     Ironside (35-36)
9.     Ottman (20-22)
10.   Kelly (24-25)
11.   Theissen (199-200)
12.   Stanton (47-48)
13.   Pember (289)
14.   Pentecost (151)
15.   Larkin (1810
16.   Gaebelein (33)
17.   Rains (4-5)
18.   DeHaan (21)
19.   Norman Harrison (65)
20.   Blanchard (37)
21.   Talbot (39-40)
22.   Grant (5)
23.   Pettingill (13)
24. Adams (39-41)
25. Simpson (26)

Saturday, April 26, 2014


A Further Enlargement of the Prophetic Aspect is Resident Within This Scheme of Interpretation

Most theologians who believe in the imminent return of Christ are willing to go so far as to endorse the typical scheme persisting through the Christian era. Often they are not willing to endorse the prophetic aspect, lest we lost the teaching of imminence. But they have forgotten that they have already introduced the prophetic aspect in the very nature of the case,

Once the prophetic aspect appears, it is impossible to stop until the fullness of its import is unfolded. It appears in Revelation 1:1.
"The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to show unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John."

If the seven spiritual types persist through to the end, then it is also true that there are doubtless seven progressive stages in the development of these types.
Just as a majority of one type in a congregation consti­tutes that congregation as that type, so a majority of congregations of one type constitute a period of that type.
This does not need to frighten anyone into believing that this viewpoint will result in the loss of the teaching of the imminent return of Christ.

 The history of the church is living and dynamic. Sharp lines of demarcation can never be drawn between one period and another. There will be the gradual merging of one period into another, and this transition will be almost imperceptible.

 While there are definite types and each period is charac­terized by one more than any other, because all types exist it will always cause the church in any period to examine itself to see if it be the last type and stage. Not until Christ actually comes will it be possible to look back and see with some exactness the definite periods of spiritual deterioration. But even at this time, it is possible to look back and recognize some general lines of difference in the movement of the periods.
 This method of Scriptural teaching is very prominent within the Bible.

The promise of the redeemer was that the seed of the woman will bruise the serpent's head (Gen. 3:15).
"And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel."
This took more definite shape in a promise related to the tents of Shem (Gen. 9:18-27).
"And the sons of Noah, that went forth of the ark, were Shem, and Ham, and Japheth: and Ham is the father of Canaan." "These are the three sons of Noah: and of them was the whole earth overspread." "And Noah began to be an husbandman, and he planted a vineyard:" "And he drank of the wine, and was drunken; and he was uncovered within his tent." "And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father, and told his two brethren without." "And Shem and Japheth took a garment, and laid it upon both their shoulders, and went backward, and covered the nakedness of their father; and their faces were backward, and they saw not their father's nakedness." "And Noah awoke from his wine, and knew what his younger son had done unto him." "And he said, Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren." "And he said, Blessed be the LORD God of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant." "God shall enlarge Japheth, and he shall dwell in the tents of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant."
This was narrowed down later to a promise made to Abraham and to his seed (Gen. 12:1-4).
"Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will show thee:" "And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing:" "And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed." "So Abram departed, as the LORD had spoken unto him; and Lot went with him: and Abram was seventy and five years old when he departed out of Haran."

This was further narrowed down to be true of just one tribe coming out of the loins of Jacob (Gen. 49:8-10).
"Judah, thou art he whom thy brethren shall praise: thy hand shall be in the neck of thine enemies; thy father's children shall bow down before thee." "Judah is a lion's whelp: from the prey, my son, thou art gone up: he stooped down, he couched as a lion, and as an old lion; who shall rouse him up?" "The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be."

Emergence then was singled out and rested upon the family of Jesse (Isa. 11:1-5).
"And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots:" "And the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD;" "And shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the LORD: and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears:" "But with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked." "And righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins, and faithfulness the girdle of his reins."
From out of the family of Jesse, the line of David was selected in the course of the unfolding (2 Sam. 7:12-13).
"And when thy days be fulfilled, and thou shalt sleep with thy fathers, I will set up thy seed after thee, which shall proceed out of thy bowels, and I will establish his kingdom." "He shall build an house for my name, and I will stablish the throne of his kingdom for ever."
In the course of history the prophet finally made pre­diction of the town of Bethlehem (Mic. 5:2).
"But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting."

In this same way the prophecy finally came to rest upon a virgin who would bear a child (Isa. 7:14).
"Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel."

Friday, April 25, 2014


The Third Interpretation is That These Seven Spiritual Types  Were Also Prophetic in Their Significance

There are not only seven spiritual types of congregations existing in the time John wrote, but these seven types must extend to the very time the entire Church is translated.

This conclusion is demanded by the fact that the meaning  of 1:19, which must be taken as the key to the analysis of the book, suggests that 4:1 to the end of the book follows immediately after the seven churches.
"Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter."
"After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will show thee things which must be hereafter."
He is instructed to write the vision of things which shall be after these things. "And the things which shall be hereafter."
Literally this reads, "And the things which shall be after these things." This must of necessity refer to the future after the churches have run their course. This begins with chapter 4:1 and runs through 22:5. There is a definite verbal connection between 1:19 and 4:1. The first phrase of 4:1 and the last is the phrase of 4:19.
"after these things" (meta tauta). This surely is not accidental. Hence we may conclude:
This period begins with the rapture into the heavens (4:10). Then follows:
The introductory vision in heaven (4:3-5:14). The tribulation period (6:1-19:21).
The millennium (20:1).
The eternal state (21:1-22:5).
If these churches are historical only, then there is a gap of 1900 years between then and now, and how much longer we do not know. Hence it must be that the seven types persist through to the end, and are therefore prophetical to that extent. Otherwise there is a gap in analysis of time.

It would have been impossible to have written to specific congregations, other than the seven mentioned, for that would have undermined the truth of Christ's imminent return. But it was possible to write to seven congre­gations who within themselves were types and contained within themselves the unfolding of those types in history until the coming of the Lord.

Thursday, April 24, 2014


The Second Interpretation is That These Seven Churches are not only Historical, but also Typical

The number of churches listed as the recipients of these letters is clearly indicated as seven. To these seven selected churches the Lord directs this revelation so far as its immediate destination is concerned.

But there were more churches than seven even in the province of Asia. Hieropolis and Colossae also were located in the province of Asia (Col. 1:2; 4:13, 15-16). There were doubtless others of which we have no record beyond the nine. But it is true that outside the province of Asia there may have been hundreds.

"To the saints and faithful brethren in Christ which are at Colosse: Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ."
"For I bear him record, that he hath a great zeal for you, and them that are in Laodicea and them in Hierapolis."
"Salute the brethren which are in Laodicea, and Nymphas, and the church which is in his house." "And when this epistle is read among you, cause that it be read also in the church of the Laodiceans; and that ye likewise read the epistle from Laodicea."
The number seven, then, must be used in some ideal sense such as the number of perfection which pervades the book of Revelation. This particular sense must be that of type.

Seven spiritual types of individual Christians constitute the complete number of spiritual breadth.

This number of spiritual types or kinds can be found in every congregation. When any one spiritual type increases until the number is decidedly in the majority, that congregation may be said to be of that type. Since there were just seven different types of congregations, there was no need to write letters to more than the seven churches listed.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014


The Various Interpretation of the Letters to the Seven Churches

At least three interpretations have been advanced as to the explana­tion of the churches. Sometimes these interpretations are set forth as mutually exclusive, but this need not necessarily be true. The best solution seems to be that these three merge into a threefold meaning in order to bring out the fullness of message, and this alone is an adequate view.

The First Interpretation is That the Seven Letters Were Written to Seven Historical Churches

           The Statement of the Scriptures Support This Conclusion
              Rev. 1:4 "The seven churches which are in Asia"
              Rev. 1:11 "The seven churches which are in Asia'
              Rev. 1:12 "Seven golden candlesticks. . ." (13)
              Rev. 1:20 "The seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches."

These Seven Churches are Already in Existence as John Writes
           These churches are said to exist ("are" 4, 11).
         They are located in the province of Asia in Asia Minor ("in Asia" 4, 11).
       They consist of congregations located in seven cities
(Chs. 1:1, 8, 12, 18; 3:1, 7, 14).
        The letters are therefore sent to these cities (1:11).

Some of These Congregations are Named in Other Scriptures
The church in Ephesus is clearly set forth in the book of Ephesians.
The church in Laodicea is referred to in Colossians 4:16.

Early church history bears witness to the existence of these churches, and archeology confirms this testimony.
The writings of the church fathers contain references to all these churches, and archeology has been able to confirm this testimony at every point along the way.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014


The Revelation of Christ as the Lord of the Churches
(Chs. 2-3)

The Ideas Men Have Concerning the Supreme Authority For The Church
            That pastors are the overlords.
            That this authority is vested in a board of elders.
            That this authority resides in the official board.
            That this authority is in the hands of the congregation.
            That congregations banded together have this authority.
            That denominations are thus vested with this authority.
            That great church councils possessed and do possess this
            That civil governments possess this authority.

The Christ Alone is the Sovereign of the Church as Set Forth in These Chapters
Key words appear in the very first verse of chapter two which indicate this.
"Holdeth" (kraton): He exercises mastery and control over the seven stars, who in turn do the same over the churches.
"Walketh" (peripaton): He proceeds constantly about his tasks and makes progress toward a goal.
"In the midst" (en mesoi): He stands in the central position where he can always be seen and from which point he can give directions. No other church can ever come between the Lord and a Church.

Key Ideas Appear in the Description of the Speaker, Which Further Strengthen the Idea of Lordship
2:1 "That holdeth the seven stars in his right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks."
2:8 "The first and the last, which was dead and is alive."
2:12 "Which hath the sharp sword with two edges."
2:18 "The Son of God, who hath his eyes like unto a flame of fire, and his feet are like fine brass."
3:1 "He that hath the seven spirits of God, and the seven stars."
3:7 "He that is holy, he that is true, he that hath the key of David; he that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth."
3:14 "Saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God."

In every case the description carries one back to the vision in chapter one, especially verses 12-16. Other details can be found in the chapter. In each case the description fits the need of the congregation. And always Christ speaks with absolute and supreme authority.
"And I turned to see the voice that spake with me. And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks;" "And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle." "His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire;" "And his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters." "And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp two-edged sword: and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength."

Monday, April 21, 2014


The Identity of the Stars in Relation to the Right Hand

Three Classes of Interpretations Have Characterized the Attempts of Men to Identify the Stars

Natural beings or men
            Messengers sent to Patmos from the seven churches.
                 Held by Ebrard.
            Presiding elder or bishop over a diocese. But there was none such at this time.
            Pastor of the local church. But no such difference between clergy and laity existed at this time.

Impersonal things or abstractions
Composite personality of church representing the church in heaven. Abstract spirit or character of the churches.
The ideal embodiment of the Church, the spiritual personification of the church.

Supernatural beings or angelic beings
Stars in the Bible often stand for spirit beings (Job 38:7; Isa. 14:12 ff).
"When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?"
"How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!"

Angels or spirit beings are used to minister to God's people (Acts 7:53; Gal. 3:19; Heb. 2:2; 1 Cor. 4:9; Heb. 1:13-14).
"Who have received the law by the disposition of angels, and have not kept it."
"Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator."
"For if the word spoken by angels was stedfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompense of reward."
"For I think that God hath set forth us the apostles last, as it were appointed to death: for we are made a spectacle unto the world, and to angels, and to men."
"But to which of the angels said he at any time, Sit on my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool?"
"Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?"

Angels certainly look after nations and direct them in some sense (Dan. 10:13; 12:1).
"But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me one and twenty days: but, lo, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me; and I remained there with the kings of Persia."
"And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book."

Angels are said to have a definite relation to churches (Eph. 3:10; 1 Tim. 5:21; 1 Cor. 11:10).
"To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God,"
"I charge thee before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, and the elect angels, that thou observe these things without preferring one before another, doing nothing by partiality."
"For this cause ought the woman to have power on her head because of the angels."

From the book of Revelation itself there is no reason to conclude otherwise. In this verse stars are said to be angels (1:20). Elsewhere this same symbolism is carried out (12:4, 9; note carefully 9:1 with 20:1). To argue that the stars are angels and then insist that the angels must yet be something else is to destroy the meaning of this verse. Certainly a star is not a symbol of a symbol.
"The mystery of the seven stars which thou sawest in my right hand, and the seven golden candlesticks. The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches: and the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches."
"And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born."
"And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him."
"And the fifth angel sounded, and I saw a star fall from heaven unto the earth: and to him was given the key of the bottomless pit."
"And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand."

These angels are the heavenly custodians of the churches and the channels of the message to these churches. That is the reason these angels are included in the warnings and the promises made to the churches.
The Stands are Seven in Number and Represent the Seven Churches
The number seven marks completeness
They are separate and yet there is organic unity
Cf. Zech. 4. They all burn the same oil

The value of these stands is indicated by the material of which they are made. They are golden. This metal indi­cates preciousness. They are sacred. The church is the apple of God's eye. It is more than that; to the Son it is bone of his bone and flesh of his flesh (Eph. 5:25-33). He bought it with his own righteousness and transferred that righteousness to the church.
"Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;" "That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word," "That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish." "So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself." "For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church:" "For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones." "For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh." "This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church." "Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband."

The purpose of the stands is to bear light. Upon the stands is placed the light. This light is the individual believer. Upon the stand the believer gives light to all in the house. And all the believers together cast light out into the darkness round about (Matt. 5:14-16).
"Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid." "Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house." "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven."

Fair is the Sunshine, fairer still the moonlight,
For all the twinkling starry host;
Jesus shines brighter, Jesus shines purer,
Than all the angels in heaven can boast.
Sun of my soul thou Savior dear;
It is not night if thou be near;
Oh, may no earthborn cloud arise,
To hide thee from thy servant's eyes.

Sunday, April 20, 2014


Certain Conclusions Need to be Drawn Right Here

These are Principles of Interpretation for the Book

Mystery must be explained in order to revelation.
And here the secret of the stars and the candlesticks is made plain.

Plain things are to be taken in the same way and require no explanation. The vision of Christ requires no explanation.

Symbols not explained in the book of Revelation have their explanation elsewhere in the Bible. That is why they are not explained in the book of Revelation. Robe and Girdle (Isa. 22:21-22). "And I will clothe him with thy robe, and strengthen him with thy girdle, and I will commit thy government into his hand: and he shall be a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and to the house of Judah." "And the key of the house of David will I lay upon his shoulder; so he shall open, and none shall shut; and he shall shut, and none shall open."

Unless there is good reason in the book of Revelation or elsewhere in Scripture to regard as symbolical, then the words should be taken literally.

Note: More in this book is literal than people are willing to admit.

The Stars in the Hand of the Son of Man are Angels
The place of the stars in relation to the right hand.

In verse 16 these stars and said to be "in" his right hand. This marks the place of refuge, rest, and regu­lation. "And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp twoedged sword: and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength."

But in verse 20 these stars are said to be "upon" (epi) his right hand. This preposition marks direct contact with the hand. This may then indicate that there are those who have oversight of the church who are in direct contact with the Lord of the Church, namely, Christ. This is true even though the church itself may be like that one in Laodicea, where Christ is actually knocking for entrance. "The mystery of the seven stars which thou sawest upon my right hand, and the seven golden candlesticks. The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches: and the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches."

The Purpose of the Stars in the Relation to the Right Hand
So far as divine operations are concerned, it may indicate that the Lord not only brought the church into existence, but is also building his church and caring for it and now administers affairs through servants who can be depended upon without doubt that they will perform the tasks that are left to them.

Refuge, rest, and regulation is therefore sure.

Saturday, April 19, 2014


The Information for the Interpretation of the Book
Vs. 20 "The mystery of the seven stars which thou sawest in my right hand, and the seven golden candlesticks. The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches: and the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches."

The Secret Before the Seer is Described by the Word Mystery

The Nature of a Mystery
The Greek word "mystery" does mean that which is secret or hidden, until such time as it is revealed and made clear. But it is still called a mystery.
Cf. 1 Cor. 2:6-10. "Howbeit we speak wisdom among them that are perfect: yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world, that come to nought:" "But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory:" "Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory." "But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him." "But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God."

Take for instance the mysteries of the Kingdom of heaven. Matt. 13. But they are utterly dark to some except they are revealed (9-13). Having eyes and ears but they do not see nor do they hear.

The Recipients of the Mystery
Even after mysteries are made clear, they are still hidden except to the proper people
Cf. Matt. 13:9-13 and 1 Cor. 2:7, 10. Probably the best evidence of this fact is Leaven and what it signifies. Leaven denotes evil (Matt. 13:33 cf. 1 Cor. 5:8; Gal. 5:9; Matt. 16:6). Yet the uninitiated call it good. It is indeed a mystery and Paul calls it such in 2 Thess. 2:7.
"Who hath ears to hear, let him hear."
10  "And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables?"
11 "He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given."
12  "For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath."
13 "Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand."
"But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory:"
10 "But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God."
33 "Another parable spake he unto them; The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven, which a woman took, and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened."
"Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth."
9 "A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump."
"Then Jesus said unto them, Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees."
"For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way."
The Content of This Mystery
This mystery very clearly relates to the stars and the candlesticks. This shall be discussed in the next article.

Friday, April 18, 2014


The Instruction is Then Given to the Seer John
Vs. 19 "Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter;"

He is Instructed to Write the Vision of Christ
"Write the things which thou hast seen."

This is the opening vision of Christ and the way He will appear throughout the remainder of the book. He is in the midst of His seven churches as the Godman, holding in His right hand the seven stars of these seven churches, both controlling and protecting them. He is in the midst of His churches, the object of their adoring gaze and the illumination for their walk through the world.

"Write therefore." This word is omitted in the A.V. although included in the R.V. and Greek text. It carries one back to verse 11 where John is commanded to write what he sees, and now therefore commanded to write what he has seen as recorded in verses 12-16.

Bullinger, Alford, and Moses Stuart translate 19:

"Write therefore what things thou sawest and what they are (mean), even what things are about to happen hereafter." Alford and Stuart make chapters 2-19 to refer to the Church. Bullinger makes these chapters refer to Israel. This explains why they translate as they do.

He is Instructed to Write the Things Which Are
"And the things which are." These things are embodied in the letters to the seven churches comprising chapters 2 and 3.

Whereas the vision of Christ is that which belongs to the past, the things which are has to do with the present. These are not seen but are described in the letters. These seven churches were in existence when John was writing. They were historical churches in the province of Asia in Western Asia Minor. They were not all the churches even of that vicinity. So it is evident that they were selected for some special reason, doubtless, because they were typical of all others. There is reason to believe that they become typical of churches through­out the entire Church age. This is especially evident because the next division points to the future which comes after these things.

He is Instructed to Write the Vision of Things Which Shall be After These Things
"And the things which shall be hereafter."

Literally this reads, "And the things which shall be after these things." This must of necessity refer to the future after the churches have run their course. This begins with chapter 4:1 and runs through 22:5. There is a definite verbal connection between 1:19 and 4:1. The first phrase of 4:1 and the last is the phrase of verse 19.

"after these things" (meta tauta). This surely is not accidental. Hence we may conclude:

This period begins with the rapture into the heavens (4:10). Then follows:
The introductory vision in heaven (4:3-5:14).
The tribulation period (6:1-19:21).
The millennium (20).
The eternal state (21:1-22:5).

Wednesday, April 16, 2014


The Sovereign Control of the King of Terrors is Affirmed
"And have the keys of hell and of death."

Keys Mark Control Over Some Area or Some Realm

In the very literal sense, a key would mark control or authority to open a material door to a house, yard, or such like. But the word is used of authority to open up entrance to the kingdom of heaven (Matt. 16:19). This is used of the authority of the king in exercising ruler ship over a people (Isa. 22:22). "And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven."
"And the key of the house of David will I lay upon his shoulder; so he shall open, and none shall shut; and he shall shut, and none shall open."
In this place it has to do with two things:
The Control Over the Place of Departed Spirits
"Hell" A.V.; "Hades" R.V.

This is the unseen region where both the souls of the righteous and the wicked went at death. There were two compartments (Luke 16:19-31). The righteous were taken out when Christ rose from the dead and they were trans­ferred to paradise above (Eph. 4:8-10). So that now no righteous person ever goes to this place. The gates of Hades never close again over a righteous soul.

(Matt. 16:18; Acts 7:55-58; Phil. 1:22-23; 2 Cor. 5:1-9)
"And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it."
"But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up steadfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God," "And said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God." "Then they cried out with a loud voice, and stopped their ears, and ran upon him with one accord," "And cast him out of the city, and stoned him: and the witnesses laid down their clothes at a young man's feet, whose name was Saul."
"But if I live in the flesh, this is the fruit of my labor: yet what I shall choose I wot not." "For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better."
"For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens." "For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven:" "If so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked." "For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life." "Now he that hath wrought us for the selfsame thing is God, who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit." "Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord:" "(For we walk by faith, not by sight:)" "We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord." "Wherefore we labor, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him."

The opposite is also true. The wicked are kept in this place until the time for the white throne judgment (Rev. 20:11-15).
11 "And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them."
12  "And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works."
13  "And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works."
14  "And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death."
15  "And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire."

And The Control Over the Experience of Death

Death is an experience which means separation. Physically it is the separation of the body from the soul and the spirit. Spiritually it is the separation of the soul from God. Christ has absolute control over this. He permits his own to suffer physical death until he comes at the rapture (1 Cor. 15:51). But he does not permit his own to suffer spiritual death, nor the second physical death.
"Behold, I show you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,"


The Divine Saviorhood of This Person is Declared
Vs. 18 "I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death."

He claims to be the Living One. (o zwn)

This is claim to deity like no other phrase that could be used. This distinguishes him from all other gods and identifies him with the God of the Old Testament (cf. Jer. 10:10; 1 Tim. 3:15).
"But the LORD is the true God, he is the living God, and an everlasting king: at his wrath the earth shall tremble, and the nations shall not be able to abide his indignation."
"But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth."

There is no limitation placed upon this title. Eternity is in the title; self—existence is there. Perhaps no more absolute title could be used. Since he is the living one he has power and is therefore able to do things. And he did do something as the next claim asserts.

He Claims that He Became Dead. (egenomhn nekroV)

This is indeed a paradox that outdistances all others. The living One becomes dead. The One Who is active becomes inactive. The One Who is life and the source of life is separated from life. And this statement is a clear claim to the fact that He wrought this upon Himself (Middle Voice in the Grk.). It could have been effected by no other.
And the Jehovah Witness has to answer when did the Lord Jehovah die.
In that this change from life to death took place in Him and upon Him and was wrought by Himself, some supreme cause alone will explain this. This cause must have been sin, but not sin in Himself, but sin in His creation.

Christ declared that man did not take his life (John 10:17-18).
17 "Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again."18 "No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father."
"He sent away the spirit" (ajhken) Mt. 27:50
"He breathed out his spirit" (exepneusen) Mk. 15:37
"I deposit my spirit" (eiV ceiraV sou paratiqemai) Lk. 23:46
"He breathed out his spirit" (Lk. 23:46)
"He delivered over his spirit" (John 19:30). (paredwken to pneuma)

He Claims to be Alive into the Ages of the Ages.
(kai idou zwn eimi eiV touV aiwnaV twn aiwnwn)
Death was an event in the timelessness of the living one. For behold he is living, and this extends into the ages of the ages.

In this statement, he does not affirm that he became alive, though surely this was an event which took place at the tomb. But it is rather the effect from the event, rather than the event herein expressed. He is living, and this will be true through the ceaseless movement of the ages. Death was in relation to sin. But once that was dealt with there can be no other effect than the ceaseless movement of life. This means that the death was supremely efficacious.

Hence, these three things proclaim him to be a Savior of men. In that he died, he died for men; and now that he lives, he lives for the men for whom he died.

The "Amen" does not appear in the better texts. But if it did, it would only confirm what has been said.