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ATN 4 - "Of White Stones and Hidden Manna"

Review: “All Things New”

  • John is in exile on the island of Patmos, a Roman mining colony (He will be later released under Emperor Nerva, and was “in the Spirit” on the “Lord’s Day” and had a vision

  • The Book of Revelation is the conclusion of the epic story of God’s redemption of humanity, where we are fully reunited with our Creator and are present with Him as we were in the Garden

  • The Kingdom of God is fully realized: all sickness, pain, sorrow and death – and all those who cause it – are removed from the universe

  • There is universal restoration – all things are made new

  • This book is an apokalypsis (a figurative narrative which reveals) and prophecy (the speaking of God’s will) and a letter (to real people for life-application)

  • It’s a manifesto for the Kingdom of God – a public declaration of God’s intentions; things which “are” and “are to come”

  • A blessing on those who “hear” and “keep” what is revealed here – think, the “Shema.” Update: there is no word for “obedience” in Hebrew)

    • shema levot: Hb.“hearing hearts” vs. obedience (Western view)

    • NOT a mental evaluation with obedience upon agreement, put an open and willing heart which responds to God

    • To hear is to obey, belief takes form ONLY in action

  • The tribulation and the Kingdom and the patient endurance. Yet, it is all “in Jesus” – making it possible and hope-filled

  • “Seven lampstands” are the seven churches/the all churches and Jesus identifies Himself as present with them and engaged

  • “Seven stars” – the leaders of the churches, firmly in His grip

  • “Sharp two-edged sword”

  • Things that are and are to come later: present and future application of the revelation

The Message to the Third Church: Pergamum

  • Pergamum is about 100 miles due north of Ephesus, the farthest north of the seven churches in Revelation

    • First temple of the imperial cult (Augustus)

    • Temples for Zeus, Athena, Dionysius and Asclepius Soter (“savior/healer”)

    • Major healing shine in Asia, first ever mental hospital

    • Major library with 200,000 books – “parchment” Lt. pergamēna charta

  • V.12 – this angel is confront with the sword right away!

  • V.13 a – “Satan’s throne” – the Empower cult and other temples

  • V.13b – Held fast His Name and “did not deny His faithfulness” and held to trusting Christ

  • V.13c – Antipas, someone John knew there who was martyred. They have been faithful in the face of lethal persecution

  • V.14-15 Balaam, Balak, stumbling block, the teachings of the Nicolatians

    • “Food sacrificed to idols” = pagan covenant meal. The disciples had Communion as a covenant meal with Christ, and so were forbidden to eat such things: Acts 15:29

    • “Practice sexual immorality” – non-covenantal sex, sex outside of marriage, often associated with pagan rituals

    • “Nicolatians” – again, a teaching of Nicolas, in the church with permitted extra-marital sexual relationships. Again, a violation of covenant

    • Both in individual lives and in the church itself, there is compromise, unfaithfulness to God – whom they have testified as having been faithful (v.13)!

  • V.16 – Jesus threatens war! Repent, or the sword of judgement will come. There is a way of escape! 1 Corinthians 10:13; 7:2

  • V.17 – The blessings of shema for the “one who conquers”:

    • The hidden manna – Jesus, the Bread of Life and the immortality that is in him – another covenant meal reference: John 6:35-51

    • The white stone with the secret name: token of admittance, reward for victory or other honor, safe from pagan magic

Why This Matters

  • Like Pergamum, we face a culture which has a different value set from ours a disciples of Jesus.

  • The Church as a whole and individual Christians in our country have been influenced by these non-Christian values

  • Many Christians today think shema to God’s word and Spirit is optional – a choice, a decision. But, to believe is to obey

    • "I submit my life to The Holy Scriptures - The Word of God"

  • There is a call here for us to faithfulness and covenant keeping, with God and each other. Our relationships are defined by covenants

  • We need to confess and realign with God if we have not been faithful

  • The promise that flows from our obedience – the fruit of “conquering” in Christ:

    • Being spiritually “fed” and satisfied with the “hidden manna,” Jesus

    • Gaining honor in the Father’s eyes

    • Being granted access to eternity

    • Given protection from all occult activities and demonic powers - forever

Your Next Steps

  • What did the Holy Spirit point out to you today?

  • What does He need to conquer in you so that you can conquer in life?

  • How is He calling you to shema His way of life?

  • Read next week’s passage: Revelation 2:18-29

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