The Book Of Revelation: Chapter #3

 

Revelation Chapter #3

Today in this article I would like to discuss the third chapter of the Book of Revelation, to discuss the words written so that we can understand their meanings. Chapter #3 is a lot like chapter #2 was in that it is directed at three particular Churches back at the end of the first century A.D.. In the last chapter of this Book, #22 in verse #10 the Lord told the Apostle John “Do not seal the sayings of the Prophecy’s of this book: for the time is at hand.” There are those who teach in today’s Churches that this Book is not meant to be understood, that it is just a bunch of signs and symbols. I grew up in a Church which taught this, yet such a belief is contrary to the teachings of Jesus Christ who dictated the contents of this Book to the Apostle John. Some of the teachings within this Book do go contrary to the teachings of the Church I grew up in, I wondered even back then if this is the reason they wanted to keep this a ‘closed’ book. This Book is like all books in the sense that you must slowly read it if you are to have any hope of understanding it. Yet, at least in my own personal opinion, I believe that a person needs to read all of the other 65 Books of the Bible first before you can grasp the understanding of some of the issues written here in the Bibles last Book. The Book of Revelation has 404 verses in it, of those 404 verses 278 contain references to the Old Testament. True understanding of the Scriptures of God are given to people through the eyes and heart of the Holy Spirit. If a person reads God’s Scriptures through ‘the eyes of the flesh’ there is very little chance that the person will understand what the Holy Spirit is actually saying.

After this third chapter ‘the Church’ will not be mentioned anymore here in this Book, the reason is that after this time ‘The Church” will no longer be here on the Earth, it will be in Heaven. Now I would like to get into these last three Churches of the seven the Lord was addressing in chapter number two, then we will be done talking about these seven Churches. These three Churches that this chapter are revolved around were located in Asia-Minor, they were located in Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea. Sardis is located in modern-day Greece, the other two are in modern-day Turkey. First let’s look at what The Lord had to say to the Church in Sardis. The Lord told John “To the Angel of the Church in Sardis write; these things saith He that has the Seven Spirits of God and the Seven Stars. I know your works, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are really dead.” “Be watchful and strengthen the things you still have that are about to die. For I have not found your works complete before God.” “Remember therefore how that you received and heard, hold fast to that, and repent. For if you do not pay attention, I will come unto you as a thief, and you shall not know what hour I come unto you.” “There are a few among you even there in Sardis which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with Me in White: for they are worthy.” “He that overcomes this world shall be clothed in White Raiment; and I will not blot out their name out of the Book of Life, but I will confess his name before My Father and before His Angels.” “He that has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit is saying to the Churches.”

Friends there is no great mystery what The Lord is saying to the people at the Church in Sardis, nor in what He is telling us. The Lord in this letter is pointing out these folks good and their bad points. On the things that they are doing that are good and pleasing to Him, He tells them to continue in these ways. Yet on the things they are doing which are displeasing to Him, He tells them to stop doing those things, to correct their ways. Now here is the ‘kicker’ to those who believe in the fallacy of “once saved always saved.” Chapter three verse number five where The Lord said “and I will not blot out their name out of the Book of Life.” After we die and go before God at our judgement our names must be in ‘The Book of Life”, or we will be cast into Hell at that time. This verse makes it rather plain that one’s name can be removed from this Book. Please do not fall for the Demonic teaching of once saved always saved, it simply is not true, that teaching is not the teaching of God.

Let’s move onto the second Church, the one in Philadelphia that is in modern-day Turkey. The Lord said “To the Angel of the Church in Philadelphia write; these things says He that is Holy, He that is True, He that has the Key of David. He that opens and no man can shut, He that shuts and no man can open.” “I know your works: behold, I have set before you an open door, and no man can shut it. For you have a little power and have obeyed My Word and you have not denied My Name.” “Behold, I will make them of the Synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews and are not, for they do lie. Behold I will make them come and worship before your feet, then they will realize that I have loved you.” “Because you have kept the word of my patients, I will also keep you from the hour of temptation, which shall which shall come upon the whole world. To try them which dwell upon the Earth.” “Behold, I shall come quickly. Hold fast to that which you have so that no man can take your Crown.” “To he that overcomes I will make him a Pillar in the Temple of God. He shall no more go out, and I shall write upon him the name of God, and the name of the City of God which is the New Jerusalem which shall come down out of Heaven from God and I will write upon him My new name for him.” “He that has an ear let him hear what the Spirit is saying to the Churches.”

Philadelphia did not receive the rebuke that almost all of the other Churches received because God was pleased with the work that they were doing. Philadelphia was a Church that wasn’t just attending  a once a week service then sitting on their hands the rest of the week doing nothing to help save those that were living their lives around them, they were getting God’s Word out, outside of the Church walls. Yet if you will notice The Lord did warn them about becoming lazy, complacent in their work for Him. Just as with the other Churches we are shown the fact that we can ‘lose’ our Crown if we are not careful. Remember God’s teachings, there is no such thing as once saved always saved!

Now let’s go onto the seventh of the Seven Churches on the Lord’s list here at the beginning of the Book of Revelation, this last Church is the one that was at Laodicea. “To the Angel of the Church in Laodicea write; these things saith the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the beginning of the Creation of God. “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot: I wish that you were one or the other.” “So then because you are lukewarm and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth.” “Because you say you are rich, and increased in goods, and have need of nothing, you do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked.” “I advise you to buy from Me gold that is tried in the fire so that you may be rich and clothed in White Raiment so that you may be clothed so that the shame of your nakedness does not appear, and anoint your eyes with eye salve so that you might see.” “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefor and repent.” “Behold I stand at the door and knock, if any man hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will eat with him and he with Me.” “To him that overcomes this world I will grant him to sit with Me in My Throne, even as I also overcame and have sat down with My Father in His Throne.” “He that has an ear let him hear what the Spirit is saying to the Churches.”

My friends, is there really anything that is written in this letter that is too difficult to understand? The Church at Laodicea had become large and filled with people who were wealthy and they felt safe in their size and their wealth. You know, if there was no such thing as a ‘God’, if all that humans did was live and die and then, there was nothing, this loving the dollar thing might actually be of some value. But, there is a God, and that God is not a person’s bank account. Even if we are a person who goes to Church every week and call ourselves a Christian, if we do not do ‘the works’ of Jesus, we are nothing but lukewarm water. ‘Christians’ who live their lives like this are really nothing but dead men/women walking and they are to blind and self-absorbed to know that they are walking on a plank above an active volcano. These Churches are teaching what I call “feel good religion.” To many Churches here in America have become businesses first, if Preachers teaches things that are uncomfortable to the people sitting in the pews many of those people will quit going to that Church and when this happens the money they were putting in the ‘offering plate’ leaves with them. To many Churches ‘Leaders’ are afraid to teach messages that are uncomfortable to ‘the flock’ for this reason. I have a question for every one of us, which do we fear more, a reduction in our income, or the wrath of God? The Lord’s Church (His Bride) must be a House of Worship and a House of Prayer first for it to be a God-fearing and God-loving Church/Bride.

I am going to close this article tonight with the words that are inscribed on the wall of a Church in Lübeck Germany. It is only 13 sentences but I think it is an excellent way to close this article tonight. My question to you is, what do you think of them?

Thus Speaks Christ our Lord to us:

You call Me Master, but you do not obey Me.

You call Me Light, but you do not see Me.

You call Me The Way, but you do not walk with Me.

You call Me Life, but you do not choose Me.

You call Me Wise, but you do not follow Me.

You call Me Fair, but you do not love Me.

You call Me Rich, but you do not ask of Me.

You call Me Eternal, but you do not seek Me.

You call Me Noble, but you do not serve Me.

You call Me Gracious, but you do not trust Me.

You call Me Mighty, but you do not honor Me.

You call Me Just, but you do not fear Me.

If I condemn you, do not blame Me!

Lukewarm Christians turn away would be Christians by how they live their lives. When we say we are Christians but we walk after the ways of the Devil these would be Christians see this and they turn away from Christianity. These lukewarm actions cost more than just your own Soul to be condemned, it costs the Souls of those around us who see our ‘works’ and flee from the teachings of God because of our evil ways.

Yom Kippur Haftorah: Black Lives Matter

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CHANDRA PRESCOD’S WEBSITE)

 
The opening chapter of a handwritten Book of Esther. source: Wikipedia

Yom Kippur Haftorah: Black Lives Matter

You shall love people — including Black people — with all your heart

I shared this with my synagogue during Yom Kippur 5777 Shacharit services.

To grow up Black in America is to know that your humanity is always in question.

I have a lot of memories of this from my childhood, but one stands out in particular.

When I was 15, I was thrown out of a New Year’s Eve party because Black people — or as they repeatedly shouted at me, N-words — were not welcome.

Later, when I was an 18-year-old college sophomore, a white Jewish leader of Harvard Hillel yelled at me that I was an anti-Semite because I was at a peace rally organized by Arab students. She could not imagine that someone my color was an Ashkenazi Jew too.

Now at 34, every time my mother calls me, I think it’s to tell me one of my cousins is dead. Or in jail. A couple of weeks ago a phone call from a cousin was in fact about another one who was in jail, falsely accused by a white person who wanted to teach her a lesson.

In 2016, I assume that every conversation with one of my Black friends and family members may be our last one. My friends and family are located close to the places where Black people have been the victims of extrajudicial police murders. Whenever I hear the news, I wait — in complete terror — for a name. And I have given instructions to my husband about what to do if it’s me.

I find too often that white Jews hear stories like this and think, “That’s sad for them. I will act in solidarity when I can.” As we think about making the world whole, about Teshuvah and our commitment to Tikkun Olam and respecting and loving G-d, the G-d that we make together, I believe this approach should be questioned.

Why? Because Black people are People. What is happening is an affront to all of us, not just those of us who are Black. It is time to stop treating this like it is a grief that only Black people can feel and understand, as if Blacks are somehow a different species.

In fact, it is hard to be Black and Jewish in a community that does not see how alienating this approach can be. I have thought many times, in the last two months especially, about walking away from Judaism because I did not feel fully acknowledged as a fellow human.

I don’t believe this outcome is fated though. Albert Einstein — my theoretical physics hero — said that racism is a disease of white people, and he included himself in this grouping. He didn’t write this during the Days of Awe, but I think it is a good framing of what matters during this time.

As we end the days of awe, I want my fellow Jews who are not Black to consider that repentance means in part to take responsibility and repair what you can.

Part of this repair in my view is recognizing that Black Lives, Native Lives, Latinx lives are your people’s lives. Not just because there are Jews of all of those races but also because part of tikkun olam must be recreating the wholeness of humanity.

The message of Tikkun Olam is clear to me: Black Lives Matter can’t just be a movement you support. It has to be personal for you, like your family’s life depended on its success.

Think of the times you have imagined early Nazi Germany and the terror Jews felt walking down the street, Jews like my uncle’s family. We, your fellow Americans, your fellow human beings, are terrified, walking down the street. And we are, too often, terrorized in the name of whiteness, in the name of white safety.

It’s time to reject that and say: Black Lives Matter, like they are the lives of your family members.


Read more about Black Lives Matter Jewish mourning rituals.

Anti-Racism as a Sacred Jewish Value by Rabbi Brant Rosen

Jewish solidarity with Black Lives Matter by Rabbi Brant Rosen

“Let us not value property over people; let us not protect material objects while human lives hang in the balance.” — Dr. Yolanda Pierce, A Litany for Those Who Aren’t Ready for Healing