Have you ever read a passage and been so struck by the words and pondering the meaning that you burst into tears at the beauty of it? and the promises? and the gift that is that passage?
I was visiting my daughter-in-law's and studying the churches of Revelation because I think we are responsible for what is there.. Revelation 1:3 says: Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of the prophecy, and heed the things which are written in it; for the time is near.
How can we read and hear and heed unless we study these verses?
Spending a few mornings studying the churches, I wondered, are these actual churches? The first one, Ephesus, was a real place. And I wondered who the Nicolaitans were---and just last Sunday in Sunday School, the teacher went over that without my raising my hand! (that always amazes me how God will answer a questions within days or weeks of it coming up in personal Bible study)
And it is interesting to compare the different facets of heaven from each of the churchs, as well as the different rewards for perseverence, faithfulness, and overcoming.
The church in Thyatira has a scary Jezebel reference---they were tolerating her, as she was teaching and leading My bond servants astray, committing acts of immorality and eating things sacrificed to idols. Interesting how this Jezebel compared to the queen of the same name in the Old Testament not only has loose morals, and was a sceemer, but came to a bad end. Instead of the Old Testament way of the earth opening up and swallowing these baddies, the church in Thyatira was in trouble for tolerating her. In this age of "tolerance" there are certain things that we as Christians are NOT to tolerate. Jesus said He gave her time to repent, and she does not want to repent of her immorality, so He will throw her upon a bed of sickness and those who follow her are going to receive great tribulation "unless they repent of her deeds." Rev. 2:18-29 Wow. So, can I repent of the deeds of my nation? my city? my family?
Sardis is next with all the white clothing---and "you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead."
Isn't that the ultimate sad thing---thinking you are alive, but you are dead?
But, read through the message to the church in Philadelphia: (Jesus is saying:)
"And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write: He who is holy, who is true, who has the key of David, who opens and no one will shut, and who shuts and no one opens says this: I know your deeds. Behold, I have put before you an open door which no one can shut, because you have a little power, and have kept My word, and have not denied My name, Behold, I will cause those of the synagogue of Satan, who say that they are Jews, and are not, but lie---behold, I will make th em to coma dn bow down at your feet, and to know that I have loved you. Because you have kept the word of My persevereance, I also will keep you from the hour of testing, that hour which is about to come upon the whole earth. I am coming quickly; hold fast what you have, in order that no one take your crown. He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he will not go out from it anymore; and I will write upon him the name of My God, and the name of the city of My God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God, and My new name. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches." Rev. 3:7-13
All those words about "an open door" and the Jews helping---reminds me of the USA. Our history, steeped in the values of the Bible, our founding documents, and open door to the world longing to be free... doesn't it you?
And I love the promise that Jesus will keep us from the hour of testing, and come back quick to get us, being the weenie that I am. wow.
Maybe the Message to Philadelphia was not lost on our founding fathers...in the city of Brotherly Love.
Maybe it is us!