The word for church in the NT Scriptures is “ecclesia” which many of you have become familiar with because that’s what we call our small groups. Why is this word so important?
This word literally means, “out call” or called out. In the times before this word was used in the New Testament it meant (and I’m quoting from Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament), “The term ἐκκλησία was in common usage for several hundred years before the Christian era and was used to refer to an assembly of persons constituted by well- defined membership. In general Greek usage it was normally a socio-political entity based upon citizenship in a city-state.” What would happen was that a messenger would be sent out to the houses of those who were part of the membership of this entity and call them to come and assemble.
The passage that we’re going to read through seems to have two primary elements to it and that is the glory of Jesus Christ and the power that he gives to local churches.
In the west, we often times have problems when someone says the word, “church” because we immediately think of a building with a cross on top and maybe even a bell that rings every hour. There’s nothing wrong with that, some of the old churches that dot our countryside are quite beautiful. But what should enter our mind? Click to read the rest of this post >>
To whom was the letter written? What was the occasion?
In this part of the book of Revelation, we’re going to gain a bit of understanding as to what John was experiencing, what day it was, from where the letter originated, and finally who his target audience was. John does all this to ensure that this letter reaches who Christ has intended it to reach.
In my senior year, my mom used to work for UPS and I needed a job during the holidays. Every year, you can imagine the amount of deliveries needing to be made during the holiday season. I would run back and forth from the truck to the front door step, then drive to the next house and repeat the process.
The really long deliveries were the ones where someone had to sign for the package. Now it’s winter, I’ve been running back and forth so I’ve managed to keep warm…but then I’ve also been sweating. So you’d go to the front door, ring the doorbell, stand in the winter wind, and wait.
If it was an elderly person that the package was sent to (which happened quite a bit) you can imagine how cold you got from the time they heard the doorbell ring to the time that they had finally received the package and had signed for it. But you couldn’t leave until you got that signature.
How can we know we can be confident in this “Jesus?”
The first thing I need to say about this passage is that it’s as if it’s a mosaic of independent pieces from each other that are combined together to make one large picture. Some of the most famous of these forms of art are easily recognized in many churches as “stained glass windows.”
As early back as 675, church buildings in Britain had stained glass in their window frames. It’s remarkable what the artists of that day intended for the stained glass however in that they used these windows, not as decoration, but as a way to teach others the stories of the bible. Even the windows acted as a mosaic inside the church to teach the larger truths of the Bible.
This entire passage that we’re going to go through is almost as if it’s a resume or the truths of what Jesus’ qualifications are: that is what he’s done, what he’s doing currently, and what his plans are for the future. Wouldn’t these be important for us as believers to know especially if we’re entrusting ourselves and others that we care about to this man? Fathers are more careful in who date their daughters than in who many “Christians” claim they have as their Messiah! Click to read the rest of this post >>
Who should be permitted to take communion? Why should we care? What does communion mean? These are all questions that I have asked myself repeatedly and it’s a question that many theologians, denominations, councils, and Christians down through the ages have asked themselves. Is this bread and wine the actual body and blood of Christ? Is it merely a symbol; a mere memorial of Christ’s death; or is there more to it than that? Click to read the rest of this post >>
Revelation in Greek is named, “ApokaluyiV Iwannou” or “Revelation of John.” Apocalypse is derived from this word which simply means “to reveal” or “unveiling.”
I can remember when we were looking at renting a facility about a year or more ago and there was one building that we looked at that had a martial arts studio in it called “Apocalypse Martial Arts.” I think that the person who named it that thought of the end of the world, just as many in our culture would. But I couldn’t help thinking, knowing the proper understanding of this word, of how non-threatening or non-intimidating, “Unveiling Martial Arts” truly sounded.
When we look at the book of Revelation, we see in it the church of today many of the same issues that each generation faces with this book. For example:
Every generation has forced its histories into the apocalyptic symbols in order to predict Christ’s coming; everyone has been wrong so far. Every generation has said “we’re in the last days” or “it’s a sign of the times” and the last day still hasn’t happened.
Whenever heavy persecution has happened to the church at a certain place or time, they interpret Revelation in such a way to say that the church will be present for the tribulation because it means that they are enduring because Christ is returning soon. (Other countries such as Iraq with the issues they’re facing from ISIS right now is probably thinking that Christ must certainly be coming soon).