1 Jan 2002

God's anger against the churches in Revelation?

Submitted by theshovel
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How do you view the scriptures in Revelation that talk about God being angry with the different churches? Some say it was written before the cross and others just don’t know and can’t fit it into the grace message. I must say, there seems to be a lot of scriptures that don’t “fit” with the grace message but I’m just going to assume I’m not looking at them right and ask the Lord to show me because I’m not about to get myself back under law. (I did that in the charismatic movement for too many years.) anonymous

Hello again, my friend!

It wasn’t written before the cross, but instead The Revelation was probably one of the last letters written. John was an old man on the Island of Patmos where he was in exile (I have heard) in his latter years.

Consider the fact that the churches were spoken to as groups. Historically, you will notice that the lamps were removed from the lampstands. Those groups have been long gone as they eventually seemed to meld into the world. Each message to the churches ended with…

He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches Revelation 2:7

This assumes that this is only truly heard through the Spirit, which is a miracle. And also each one speaks of “he who overcomes”. Who is he that overcomes? He that believes. This is the one who is born of God.

But the churches had developed fleshly patterns that God was calling attention to. These same problems and patterns creep into many fellowships. Much of what is written has been so enmeshed into our minds in a legalistic context that it is difficult not to read it into the letters, but it is not how it came across originally. A quick look tells me this:

  • Attention can be given to discernment while forgetting the simplicity of Christ (Ephesus).
  • It is important to realize that suffering is all part of life in Christ (Smyrna).
  • When the stumbling block -law- is taught, sin is produced (Pergamum).
  • Be careful of those “ministers” who promote themselves (Thyatira).
  • “Form” can give the illusion of godliness but there is no life in it (Sardis).
  • Encouragement to hold fast is worthwhile (Philadelpia).
  • Looking at ourselves stimulates a self-righteousness (Laodicea).

There is much more in this. I do believe it gave much encouragement to the believers as they went through the great persecution that followed. It reminded them that the blessings of “the overcomers” (this only fits in the context of the miraculous work of Christ … see 1 John 5:4-5) would eventually be revealed.

Like I say, we have had these writings entangled within the framework of religion for so long that it takes a lot of study just to see what the words were actually saying. I still have much to understand of the actual writings. But if we see it in context with the rest of John’s stuff it takes on a totally different sense of the miraculous of being born of God. “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says …” The suggestion is mind-boggling! “To him who overcomes …” This is to the victors! The victory in Christ is ONLY in the miracle of the new life.

Love, Jim

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