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The 7 letters to the 7 churches certainly contain themes and morals that can be applied to all of us but that cannot take away from the fact that they were actually 7 actual letters written to the churches in 7 actual cities of John's mission route.

Source: Wikipedia

Not only could John have walked from one city to the next (and almost certainly did), the order of the 7 churches make sense from the standpoint of someone who had just been released from Patmos. This is true whether he delivered the letters or dispatched someone else.

Ephesus would be the logical first stop, followed by Smyrna and Pergamum. He would then reverse course back towards the starting point and hit Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea.

Lo and behold, that's the exact itinerary that has been laid out here.

The point is that it must be understood that these 7 letters must be read in the same context of the 14 letters attributed to Paul. They are current letters to current audiences, addressing current issues. The reason I cannot stress this enough is because there is such a tendency to far-futurize things contained in these letters when the context doesn't support it.

Why is God choosing to warn these specific 7 churches? The answer is seen in the warning and in the results. These churches were warned that they needed to correct some shortcomings, or they would suffer the consequences. As we will show, the consequences added up to God removing His blessing and Divine protection. In their future (but long before ours), all 7 of these churches would be conquered by Muslim invaders. This disproves the once-saved-always-saved ideology of some and that true faith is a constant and diligent battle, lest we fall prey to the enemy.

That the journey starts at Ephesus is appropriate for John. He lived in Ephesus with the Mother of Jesus until her death circa 44 AD. This would obviously be the church John was most familiar with.

1 “To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: ‘The words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand, who walks among the seven golden lampstands.
2 “‘I know your works, your toil and your patient endurance, and how you cannot bear evil men but have tested those who call themselves apostles but are not, and found them to be false; 3 I know you are enduring patiently and bearing up for my name’s sake, and you have not grown weary. 4 But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. 5 Remember then from what you have fallen, repent and do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent. 6 Yet this you have, you hate the works of the Nicola′itans, which I also hate. 7 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who conquers I will grant to eat of the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.’

First, the Angels cannot be understood as heavenly angels. Could a Heavenly Angel lose it's first love for God and repent of it? The word Angel means messenger and these messengers must be understood as the Bishops over the churches of the cities they represent. This makes even more special the words that Jesus walks among their churches (the lampstands) and holds them in His hand (the stars).


The Lampstand is the Menorah. It was one of the sacred articles that was placed in the temple for worship. The original Menorah was fashioned with 7 candle holders (lamps) as we have already discussed.

Later, the 7- lamp Menorah was replaced with the Hannukah Menorah which has 8 lamps in honor of the Hannukah miracle that took place when the temple was rededicated.

Interestingly enough, protestant Bibles omit the books that talk about the rededication of the temple, even though we know Jesus celebrated the anniversary of this dedication (John 10:22)

In verses 2 and 3, the Ephesians are commended for holding up in trial and hardship and for patient endurance and for testing the credentials of alleged apostles.

Let's deal with the last point first. How were they tested? by Scripture alone?

Not likely.

By 68 AD, quite a few of the New Testament books hadn't even been written yet. Those yet to be written would include all 4 of John's other books.

The word Apostle means 'one who is sent'. No one would have been recognized as an Apostle if they couldn't prove they were sent by another Apostle. Apostolic succession. We will deal with this more later but this is a strong argument against Protestantism. Being sent means being ordained. Do-it-yourself sending is not Biblical.

The Ephesians are commended for suffering toil, and bearing hardship and persevering. This is, of course, the first test of discipleship.

Luke 9: 23 Then he said to them all, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.

However, we must always be on guard that the toils and hardships of life cost us our first love.

Matthew 13: 20 As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is he who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; 21 yet he has no root in himself, but endures for a while, and when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately he falls away. 22 As for what was sown among thorns, this is he who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the delight in riches choke the word, and it proves unfruitful. 23 As for what was sown on good soil, this is he who hears the word and understands it; he indeed bears fruit, and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty.”

The Ephesians have lost the diligent exercise of the faith because of the toils of the world and unless they return to these works and repent of their worldliness, they will lose the lampstand that stands before Jesus. To repent means to turn away from. Notice Jesus is directly conditioning His presence among them to their diligent work in the exercise of their faith. Of these, certainly are the works of worship including Mass, the sacraments, prayer but also those acts of love toward neighbor that Christ counts as acts of love unto Himself (Matthew 25:31-46). These are conditions of salvation.

The Ephesian church fell, like the others. We should all be warned here.

The Nicoliatans were one of the many early cults. Nicolas was one of the chosen disciples mentioned in Acts 6:5. They fell away into a heresy that promoted sexual impurity among other vices. This is just another example that even the chosen can fall away if they do not stay on their guard.

In his 2nd letter (chapter 2), Peter pounds this home.

 But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction. 2 And many will follow their licentiousness, and because of them the way of truth will be reviled. 3 And in their greed they will exploit you with false words; from of old their condemnation has not been idle, and their destruction has not been asleep.

4 For if God did not spare the angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to pits of nether gloom to be kept until the judgment; 5 if he did not spare the ancient world, but preserved Noah, a herald of righteousness, with seven other persons, when he brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly; 6 if by turning the cities of Sodom and Gomor′rah to ashes he condemned them to extinction and made them an example to those who were to be ungodly; 7 and if he rescued righteous Lot, greatly distressed by the licentiousness of the wicked 8 (for by what that righteous man saw and heard as he lived among them, he was vexed in his righteous soul day after day with their lawless deeds), 9 then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trial, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment until the day of judgment, 10 and especially those who indulge in the lust of defiling passion and despise authority.

Bold and wilful, they are not afraid to revile the glorious ones, 11 whereas angels, though greater in might and power, do not pronounce a reviling judgment upon them before the Lord. 12 But these, like irrational animals, creatures of instinct, born to be caught and killed, reviling in matters of which they are ignorant, will be destroyed in the same destruction with them, 13 suffering wrong for their wrongdoing. They count it pleasure to revel in the daytime. They are blots and blemishes, reveling in their dissipation, carousing with you. 14 They have eyes full of adultery, insatiable for sin. They entice unsteady souls. They have hearts trained in greed. Accursed children!

15 Forsaking the right way they have gone astray; they have followed the way of Balaam, the son of Be′or, who loved gain from wrongdoing, 16 but was rebuked for his own transgression; a dumb ass spoke with human voice and restrained the prophet’s madness.

17 These are waterless springs and mists driven by a storm; for them the nether gloom of darkness has been reserved. 18 For, uttering loud boasts of folly, they entice with licentious passions of the flesh men who have barely escaped from those who live in error.

19 They promise them freedom, but they themselves are slaves of corruption; for whatever overcomes a man, to that he is enslaved. 20 For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world through the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overpowered, the last state has become worse for them than the first. 21 For it would have been better for them never to have known the way of righteousness than after knowing it to turn back from the holy commandment delivered to them. 22 It has happened to them according to the true proverb, The dog turns back to his own vomit, and the sow is washed only to wallow in the mire.

Notice that the Ephesians rejected the wicked works of the Nicoliatans and they rejected the false apostles. Notice that they persevered through hard work and toil and endured and persevered. Yet, Jesus was still displeased with them to the point of threatening to remove their candle stand from before Him. Why?

When one becomes slack in his devotions and prayers, works of mercy and other religious works, he cuts himself off from the lifeline of grace. This spiritual starvation grows slowly, often unnoticed until a cataclysmic fall occurs. He who prays much can be saved. He who prays little is in danger. He who ceases praying is teetering on the edge of damnation.

To eat of the Tree of life is promised to he who overcomes. This is the first of many allusions to the bread of life- the Eucharist. The true Tree of Life was the Tree of the cross. Tradition holds that it stood in the same place as that that stood in Eden. Without the eating of the fruit of this tree, there is no life.

John 6: 52 The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” 53 So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you; 54 he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. 55 For my flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. 56 He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him. 57 As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats me will live because of me. 58 This is the bread which came down from heaven, not such as the fathers ate and died; he who eats this bread will live for ever.”

This becomes clearer as we go.

8 “And to the angel of the church in Smyrna write: ‘The words of the first and the last, who died and came to life.
9 “‘I know your tribulation and your poverty (but you are rich) and the slander of those who say that they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan. 10 Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and for ten days you will have tribulation. Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life. 11 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. He who conquers shall not be hurt by the second death.’

The Synagogue of Satan?

They say they are Jews and are not and are a synagogue of Satan. This term appears again, later in this book. Who is John talking about and what would separate a true Jew from a false one?

Many zealous anti-Catholics search diligently in the Book of Revelation for clues they hope to use to tie Catholicism in general, and the Pope in particular, to the identity of the antichrist. However, the author of the Book of Revelation identifies the antichrists in a couple of his other New Testament Books.

1 John 2: 18 Children, it is the last hour; and as you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come; therefore we know that it is the last hour. 19 They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us; but they went out, that it might be plain that they all are not of us. 20 But you have been anointed by the Holy One, and you all know. 21 I write to you, not because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and know that no lie is of the truth. 22 Who is the liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, he who denies the Father and the Son.

2 John: 7 For many deceivers have gone out into the world, men who will not acknowledge the coming of Jesus Christ in the flesh; such a one is the deceiver and the antichrist.

As every serious Bible believer knows, the antichrist is the offspring of the devil, foretold in Genesis 3:15. Here, John is saying that anyone who denies Christ is an antichrist. In other words, they are of Satan. They are members of his synagogue, so to speak.

Many people will react in horror and revulsion to this assertion and they will protest that Jesus and the Apostles were Jews. They are correct. Jesus and the Apostles were Jews but they are no longer.

In his famous prophecy to Daniel, the Angel Gabriel predicted the end of the Jewish religion with the coming of the Messiah.

Daniel 9:

24 “Seventy weeks of years are decreed concerning your people and your holy city, to finish the transgression, to put an end to sin, and to atone for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal both vision and prophet, and to anoint a most holy place. 25 Know therefore and understand that from the going forth of the word to restore and build Jerusalem to the coming of an anointed one, a prince, there shall be seven weeks. Then for sixty-two weeks it shall be built again with squares and moat, but in a troubled time. 26 And after the sixty-two weeks, an anointed one shall be cut off, and shall have nothing; and the people of the prince who is to come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary. Its[d] end shall come with a flood, and to the end there shall be war; desolations are decreed. 27 And he shall make a strong covenant with many for one week; and for half of the week he shall cause sacrifice and offering to cease; and upon the wing of abominations shall come one who makes desolate, until the decreed end is poured out on the desolator.”

Without getting into some of the current bizarre speculations such as the 'stopped stop watch' theory, I will make it simple. When the anointed one (literally, 'the Christ' in the Douay version) is cut off, the end of the Jewish religion is decreed. When Jesus died on the cross, the veil in the temple was torn in two, signifying the end of the Old Covenant.

Many people call this "replacement theology" and declare it false.

It's not "replacement theology", it's "fulfillment theology" and it is exactly what Scripture presents- both as prediction and realization. As I said before, the Old Testament is the New Testament concealed and the New Testament is the Old Testament revealed. The Old Covenant must give way to the new because that was it's entire purpose.

Hebrews 9: 11 But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things that have come, then through the greater and more perfect tent (not made with hands, that is, not of this creation) 12 he entered once for all into the Holy Place, taking not the blood of goats and calves but his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption. 13 For if the sprinkling of defiled persons with the blood of goats and bulls and with the ashes of a heifer sanctifies for the purification of the flesh, 14 how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify your conscience from dead works to serve the living God.

15 Therefore he is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance, since a death has occurred which redeems them from the transgressions under the first covenant.

Since the entire purpose of the Jewish faith is to prepare the way of the Messiah, the fulfillment of the Jewish faith is manifested in Him.

Matthew 5:17

“Think not that I have come to abolish the law and the prophets; I have come not to abolish them but to fulfil them.

In this context, anyone in 68 AD, claiming to be a Jew, is actually an imposter (though he may not realize it). Anyone who was truly of Abraham, accepted Christ. (Matthew 3:9, John 8:39-59)

Those who were the fulfilment of Judaism were actually being victimized and persecuted by people acting as Satan's agents in the respect that they were carrying out his work in the name of Judaism, all while the back story was building which would be the final exclamation point to the end of the old covenant. That event would happen 2 years later.

The letter to Smyrna ends with an echo of Matthew 24:12 and a refrain we will hear often. He who conquers will be saved from the second death (hell).

Once again, faith alone ideology is abolished. Notice also, the promise of a crown. This is a theme we will see a lot.

12 “And to the angel of the church in Per′gamum write: ‘The words of him who has the sharp two-edged sword.
13 “‘I know where you dwell, where Satan’s throne is; you hold fast my name and you did not deny my faith even in the days of An′tipas my witness, my faithful one, who was killed among you, where Satan dwells. 14 But I have a few things against you: you have some there who hold the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the sons of Israel, that they might eat food sacrificed to idols and practice immorality. 15 So you also have some who hold the teaching of the Nicola′itans. 16 Repent then. If not, I will come to you soon and war against them with the sword of my mouth. 17 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who conquers I will give some of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, with a new name written on the stone which no one knows except him who receives it.’

There is a great temptation amongst sensationalists to focus on the references to the throne of Satan and where Satan dwells as some sort of insider information that we need to solve. There are very plausible archeological cases being made for the throne of Satan reference and this is just one I found. The rest of scripture does not support a case of Pergamum being a place where Satan dwells exclusively or even predominantly, as opposed to others. The best way to interpret this is to look at Pergamum as a place where Satan dwells rather than the place. The church there is dealing with the same kinds of groups, such as the Nicoliatans, as the others.

What is very important is to focus on what amounts to an even more strongly enunciated promise to he who overcome. In the letter to the church at Ephesus, the promise is made that those who overcome will eat of the tree of life. This is an allusion to the Eucharist but not as clear as the one to the church at Pergamum.

Jesus description of eating of the hidden manna is clearly reminiscent of the words recorded by the same writer in the 6th chapter of His gospel. It is impossible that John did not make the connection.

John 6: 28 Then they said to him, “What must we do, to be doing the works of God?” 29 Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.” 30 So they said to him, “Then what sign do you do, that we may see, and believe you? What work do you perform? 31 Our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’” 32 Jesus then said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven; my Father gives you the true bread from heaven. 33 For the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven, and gives life to the world.” 34 They said to him, “Lord, give us this bread always.”

35 Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; he who comes to me shall not hunger, and he who believes in me shall never thirst. 36 But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe. 37 All that the Father gives me will come to me; and him who comes to me I will not cast out. 38 For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of him who sent me; 39 and this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up at the last day. 40 For this is the will of my Father, that every one who sees the Son and believes in him should have eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.”

41 The Jews then murmured at him, because he said, “I am the bread which came down from heaven.” 42 They said, “Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How does he now say, ‘I have come down from heaven’?” 43 Jesus answered them, “Do not murmur among yourselves. 44 No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day. 45 It is written in the prophets, ‘And they shall all be taught by God.’ Every one who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me. 46 Not that any one has seen the Father except him who is from God; he has seen the Father. 47 Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes has eternal life. 48 I am the bread of life. 49 Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. 50 This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that a man may eat of it and not die. 51 I am the living bread which came down from heaven; if any one eats of this bread, he will live for ever; and the bread which I shall give for the life of the world is my flesh.”

52 The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” 53 So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you; 54 he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. 55 For my flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. 56 He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him. 57 As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats me will live because of me. 58 This is the bread which came down from heaven, not such as the fathers ate and died; he who eats this bread will live for ever.”

To fail to see that the real Prescence of Jesus in the Eucharist is being shown here would be to purposely defy the text. As Jesus says, "He who has an ear, let him hear".

Some have pointed out that the white stone was a token presented to someone who has been found innocent of a crime, that the new name hearkens to the soul made new and that the fact that only you will know it refers to the fact that no one else can understand your life story.

This is a beautiful interpretation that is certainly plausible if we focus on one detail. God cannot declare someone innocent if they are, in fact, guilty. God is just and He is not a liar. This exposes the lie of imputed righteousness. God does not ignore the guilt, He removes it. Whether or not this interpretation of the white stone is correct, we will see in time.

18 “And to the angel of the church in Thyati′ra write: ‘The words of the Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire, and whose feet are like burnished bronze.
19 “‘I know your works, your love and faith and service and patient endurance, and that your latter works exceed the first. 20 But I have this against you, that you tolerate the woman Jez′ebel, who calls herself a prophetess and is teaching and beguiling my servants to practice immorality and to eat food sacrificed to idols. 21 I gave her time to repent, but she refuses to repent of her immorality. 22 Behold, I will throw her on a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her I will throw into great tribulation, unless they repent of her doings;
23 and I will strike her children dead. And all the churches shall know that I am he who searches mind and heart, and I will give to each of you as your works deserve. 24 But to the rest of you in Thyati′ra, who do not hold this teaching, who have not learned what some call the deep things of Satan, to you I say, I do not lay upon you any other burden; 25 only hold fast what you have, until I come. 26 He who conquers and who keeps my works until the end, I will give him power over the nations, 27 and he shall rule them with a rod of iron, as when earthen pots are broken in pieces, even as I myself have received power from my Father; 28 and I will give him the morning star. 29 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’

Jezebel is not to be understood as a literal name here but someone whose actions are analogous to the wife of Ahab (1 Kings 21). The issue of sexual immorality has been addressed ad nauseum so there is no need to revisit it here, but I want to address the other issue which has now been brought up several times and I want to draw a contrast with a few false accusations made against Catholics.

The issue being brought up here is the issue of food sacrificed to idols. This was raised as an issue to the church at Pergamum and now, again, at Thyatira. It is a serious issue and one dealt with by the very first church council, the Council of Jerusalem. (Acts 15:19-20)

We have been shown a clear contrast between the food of God, called the food of the tree of life and the hidden manna, and food sacrificed to idols. This is not the only place where Scripture recounts that you cannot partake of both and live.

1 Corinthians 10:14 Therefore, my beloved, shun the worship of idols. 15 I speak as to sensible men; judge for yourselves what I say. 16 The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ? 17 Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread. 18 Consider the practice of Israel; are not those who eat the sacrifices partners in the altar? 19 What do I imply then? That food offered to idols is anything, or that an idol is anything? 20 No, I imply that what pagans sacrifice they offer to demons and not to God. I do not want you to be partners with demons. 21 You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons. You cannot partake of the table of the Lord and the table of demons. 22 Shall we provoke the Lord to jealousy? Are we stronger than he?

1 Corinthians 11:23 For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, 24 and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, “This is my body which is for[c] you. Do this in remembrance of me.” 25 In the same way also the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” 26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.

27 Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord. 28 Let a man examine himself, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. 29 For any one who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment upon himself.

Here is shown an essential component of worship and, conversely, an essential component of idolatry. The sacrifice.

The Mass is the pure, one-time, sacrifice made by Jesus at Calvary, being made perpetually offered and made present as such. Among the churches that John and Paul ministered to, this sacrifice was being made to compete with the sacrifice to idols. As Paul put it, people wanted to eat both from the table of God and the table of demons.

This is idolatry because the sacrifice is an act of worship.

Some people make the mistake of thinking that prayer- in and of itself- constitutes worship and thus, prayer to Mary and the Saints constitutes worship of them. Nothing could be further from the truth. We will deal with this in depth as we go, but I will touch on one of their frequent accusations to prove the case.

Anti-Catholics assert that referring to Mary as the Queen of Heaven proves that we worship her because this title has been condemned by the prophet Jeremiah.

Catholics would assert that this only proves the contrast from the one who is rightfully called the Queen of Heaven, in proper context (we will make that case later) and from the false diety given that title improperly.

Dealing with only the 2nd half of the argument at this time, lets read what Jeremiah has to say about her.

Jeremiah 7: 16 “As for you, do not pray for this people, or lift up cry or prayer for them, and do not intercede with me, for I do not hear you. 17 Do you not see what they are doing in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem? 18 The children gather wood, the fathers kindle fire, and the women knead dough, to make cakes for the queen of heaven; and they pour out drink offerings to other gods, to provoke me to anger.

The very proof that these people are committing idolatry is that they recognize this false queen of heaven as a goddess and offer sacrifices to her. That is worship. Catholics do not recognize Mary as Divine and they offer no sacrifices to her. We simply ask her to pray for us. Not only is this not worship, it is exactly what Scripture shows us we should be doing.

We will get more into that later.

The second accusation I want to deal with is this issue of tolerance. There is a view among religious liberals that love, and tolerance are synonymous and thus, tolerance is the highest virtue.

Tolerance of persons can be an act of love in the sense that we are patient with them. Patient teaching of a frustrated person would be a perfect example of this. This would be an example of tolerance that is an act of love.

Tolerance of a person's self-destructive actions, however, are the antithesis of love. Worse yet is tolerance of the actions that are destructive to others. By no means, should society be tolerant of the actions of murderers, rapists, child predators, swindlers and arsonists.

For years we have been told the lie that pagan and occult practices, gay marriage, abortion, pornography, contraception and promiscuity are victimless crimes that we have no right to criticize. Many believe that if we are not direct partakers in these kinds of things, that is enough.

Live and let live, they say.

The folks in Thyiatira found out different and we would be well advised to pay attention. Jesus is not rebuking the church for partaking in sexual immorality and idol worship but for even tolerating it happening in their midst.

The protestant revolt shattered the image of a church called to rule on these things and to be a tower of authority. The phenomenon of ever fractioning denominations, sub denominations and non-denominations, has placed the individual's own biblical interpretation as the only authority he is subject to.

Jesus paints a very different picture.

Notice that Jesus says to the church at Thyatira, "I have this against you". After warning of the very dire consequences facing this woman and her bed-mates- including the deaths of their children- Jesus says I will give to each of you as your works deserve. He is commanding the church at Thyatira to confront and counter those engaging in these acts and teaching others to do so. He is promising consequences if they don't.

Is this intolerance? Is this an act of love?

What could be more unloving than to know that someone's actions could lead to their death and /or the deaths of their children, and not warn them?

Of course, this non-toleration of evil in our churches does not end with a simple admonition. Responsibility denotes authority and authority denotes action and consequences and this is a very different model of what the church looks like when we compare it to the faith-alone, scripture-alone, autonomous model.

Here we have yet another example of God wielding His authority through His church.

I do not think any reader or listener here would argue that Psalm 2 is a Messianic Psalm.

2 Why do the nations conspire, and the peoples plot in vain? 2 The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord and his anointed, saying,3 “Let us burst their bonds asunder, and cast their cords from us.”

4 He who sits in the heavens laughs; the Lord has them in derision.5 Then he will speak to them in his wrath, and terrify them in his fury, saying,6 “I have set my king on Zion, my holy hill.”

7 I will tell of the decree of the Lord: He said to me, “You are my son, today I have begotten you.8 Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage, and the ends of the earth your possession.9 You shall break them with a rod of iron, and dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.”

10 Now therefore, O kings, be wise;  be warned, O rulers of the earth.11 Serve the Lord with fear, with trembling 12 kiss his feet, lest he be angry, and you perish in the way; for his wrath is quickly kindled.

Blessed are all who take refuge in him.

Have you noticed that the "kings of the earth" are not merely at war against the Lord but also against His anointed. Who are they?

Let me repeat these 2 crucial verses.

26 He who conquers and who keeps my works until the end, I will give him power over the nations, 27 and he shall rule them with a rod of iron, as when earthen pots are broken in pieces, even as I myself have received power from my Father;

Here, Jesus is saying- explicitly- to the church in Thyatira, that they will exercise the very authority to rule that Jesus received from His Father, as shown in Psalm 2.

I cannot count the times in which I have been told that it is blasphemy for the Catholic church to assert that it speaks and acts with the authority of Jesus yet here, you have Jesus saying it Himself!

He then makes another very curious statement.

I will give him the morning star. What does this mean? It means that Jesus is promising to give them His very self.

Peek ahead to 22:16 and see for yourself.

We will pick up with Chapter 3 in the next episode.


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