Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 3 * PART 4 * BOOK 59
REVELATION 2:11 – 3:22 – PART 2
Okay, let’s go back where we left off in Revelation chapter 3, and we’re dealing with the letter to the Philadelphian church, which doesn’t have any real condemnation like all the others and consequently I kind of like to tie it in with Paul’s letter to the Philippians. The same way, Paul never has one word of condemnation to the Philippian church. It was a letter that just spoke of their faith and of their joy, and so I like to kind of draw a parallel between these two. The church at Philadelphia was much the same as the church of Philippians in Paul’s letters. In the last lesson we left off with a unique verse, so let’s just pick it up there.
“Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews, and are not, but they do lie: behold, (now here’s the prophecy) I will make them (these liars) to come and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee.” Come back with me to Isaiah chapter 49, and I think this is probably the prophecy that would be fulfilled in that.
“Thus saith the Lord GOD, Behold I will lift up my hand to the Gentiles, set up my standard to the people, and they shall bring thy sons in their arms and thy daughters shall be carried upon their shoulders. 23. And kings shall be their nursing fathers, and their queens thy nursing mothers: they shall bow down to thee with their face to the earth, and lick up the dust of thy feet and thou shalt know that I am the LORD: for they shall not be ashamed that wait for me.” And this is exactly, I think, what the Lord is referring to. Now, if you’ll come back with me a minute to Revelation chapter 3 and we’ll go on. And so to those that have loved Him and stayed true to Him they are going to be exalted.
“Because thou has kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from (or like I said in the last half-hour, I will keep thee out of – or at least not that it’s going to be totally untouched, but they are going to be spared through it and they’re going to survive it) the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world to try (or test) them that dwell upon the earth.” Now, you see, that’s a promise of the coming Tribulation, that it’s going to be worldwide.
Now, I’m going to take a chance and repeat something that I’ve used over and over. Come back with me to Jeremiah chapter 25. Now this, of course, is graphic language, but in light of our television news lately, we’re getting accustomed to the things that are graphic. And it’s just all a little foretaste of what the world has coming at them. Now this is the testing that will come upon all the world. Now, there are scads of these references throughout the Old Testament, but this one is probably the most clearly understood and it’s the easiest for me to remember where it is, so I’m going to use it. Jeremiah 25 dropping down to verse 29. This is prophecy. Now, this is written about 600 years before Christ but it is just as appropriate today as it was when it was written.
“For lo, I begin to bring evil on the city which is called of my name, (that is Jerusalem) and should ye be utterly unpunished? Ye shall not be unpunished; for I will call for a sword(now a sword speaks of death) upon all the inhabitants (not just of Jerusalem, but what?) of the earth, saith the LORD of hosts.” The whole earth is going to come under this wrath and vexation.
“Therefore prophesy thou against them all these words, and say unto them, (that is the people of the world) The LORD shall roar from on high, (Now, this is at the end of the Tribulation; this is accompanying His Second Coming and following that He will set up the Kingdom.) and utter his voice from his holy habitation; he shall mightily roar upon his habitation; he shall give a shout, as they that tread the grapes against all the inhabitants of the earth.” I think we used these verses in our last taping, three or four programs back.
“A noise shall come even to the ends of the earth, for the LORD has a controversy with the nations, he will plead with all flesh; (not just Israel, now, we’re talking about the nations of the world) he will give them that are wicked to the sword saith the LORD. 32. Thus saith the LORD of hosts, Behold, this evil shall go forth from nation to nation, and a great whirlwind shall be raised up from the borders of the earth. 33. And the slain of the LORD, (those that shall be put to death) shall be at that day from one end of the earth even to the other end of the earth: they shall not be lamented, neither gathered, nor buried; they shall be as dung upon the ground.” And so that’s just one of the many prophecies that speak of this coming holocaust on the whole planet.
Now, come back to Revelation if you will and we’ll just jump ahead a few chapters and go to chapter 6. This is in the first half of the Tribulation; this is the opening three and a half years. What we just read in Jeremiah is the finality of it. But, look what happens in the meantime, verse 8.
“And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him. And power (now watch this) was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth, (that is population-wise) to kill with the sword, with hunger, with death and with the beasts of the earth.” In other words, even those first three and a half years are going to bring in a devastation that will take out one fourth of the world’s population. Right now that would be over 2 billion people, so even the first half will be terrible. Judgment is coming and as we said in our last program, the way that wickedness is coming across the planet and the rebellion, the hatefulness, it’s no wonder.
“Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation which shall come upon all the world, to test them that dwell upon the earth. 11. Behold, I come quickly: hold fast that which thou hast, that no man take thy crown.” See now, there’s no condemnation here; this is all a commending from the Lord for this particular congregation.
“Him that overcometh I will make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is the new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from God: and I will write upon him my new name.” All right, now let’s go all the way back to Ezekiel and, if I’m not mistaken, it’s the last verse of the last chapter of the book of Ezekiel, chapter 48. Here we have the city described back here in the Old Testament prophet and then we come down to the verse 35.
“It was round about eighteen thousand measures: and (here we come now, this is the part that I wanted you to compare with Revelation) the name of the city from that day shall be The LORD is there.’” Now, in the original Hebrew its Jehovah-Shammah, for the Lord is there. And that will be the name of God. It will be the name of the city. And it is the finality of God’s dealing with the earth as we know it even today.
“He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches” (or these assemblies). All right now, hopefully, we can wind up book 59 with this lesson, and hopefully I can finish these first three chapters of Revelation because I checked on our book 11 this morning and we started back in Revelation at that time in chapter 4. So, if I can finish chapter 3, then I’ve got the book of Revelation taught from start to finish.
“And unto the angel (or the leader or the minister) of the church (assembly) of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, (which is another one of the terms associated with God the Son) the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God.” In other words, He’s the Alpha and the Omega, He is without beginning, He is without end, He’s from eternity past, He is the Creator of everything. All right, now we’ve all heard about the Laodicean church haven’t we? And it’s always associated with the “lukewarm” or the end-time church. Well, I’m not going to throw that out completely because it certainly has some application. But, I prefer to leave it where we’ve got all the other six; its part of these seven Jewish congregations, but it is a congregation that is so parallel with the church in our present day.
All right, now let’s read verse 15. Again, the Lord speaks of knowing their works. So, in that regard it’s no different. They were active, they were busy. And he says:
“I know your works that thou art neither cold or hot: (they were lukewarm.) I would thou were cold or hot.” Now, you’ve all heard sermons on this Laodicean church; how that since they’re lukewarm and lukewarm water cannot slake the thirst, nor is it hot. It’s just putrid. And so it’s something that can rather be spit out.
“So then because thou art lukewarm and neither hot, I will spew thee out of my mouth. (Now, here was their condition.) 17. Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods,…” In other words, they were the epitome of materialism. They were probably more concerned with the beauty of their synagogue than they were with the spiritual condition of their members. And so they had ample funds in the treasury. “Increased with goods,” the need of nothing – that is materially. The Lord continues:
“…and knowest thou not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked.” Spiritually. Oh, materially they probably dressed in the finest clothes available. They had all kinds of material wealth, but they were destitute spiritually. And again, that certainly is the church today.
“I counsel thee (or I advise thee) to buy of me gold, tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich: and a white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear: (That is the spiritual; this is what Jesus is talking about. They were spiritually poor. They were spiritually without a clothing and because of their spiritual nakedness, the Lord says) anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. 19. And as many as I love, I rebuke, and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.”
Now, let’s go back and see how Paul uses comparative language for the end-time church. The Christendom, I’m not talking about the true church necessarily, but how he can speak of the so-called Christian community. Come with me to II Timothy chapter 3 and just make the comparisons; the same description of the Laodicean Jewish congregation just before the Tribulation was to come, just before their opportunity for service would come to an end. Now, look how Paul makes the same kind of comparison with the Church Age, and how we, too, are just as destitute, for the most part, as the Laodiceans were.
II Timothy 3:1a
“This know also, that in the last days…” Now, again, we’ve got to keep remembering where we are. Here’s where the Lord Jesus is writing through Peter, James, and John and these letters to these 7 assemblies, probably in the late 50’s or 60 AD. They thought, and everything in Scripture indicated, that the wrath, the Tribulation, would be coming and the Second Coming would follow it. And they knew not that God’s timeline was going to be opened up, and we now have had 1900 and some years of the Church Age. They absolutely knew nothing of the Age of Grace.
And so here we are now, and Paul is speaking at the end of the Church Age, this Age of Grace, just like it compared with this up here. And so, as we’ve pointed out in previous programs, everything has just come full circle, and we find ourselves today in the same political and geographical set of circumstances that was evident when those seven letters were written.
II Timothy 3:1-2a
“This know also, that in the last days (that is in the closing days of the Church Age) perilous times shall come. 2. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, (how was it described in Laodicea? You say you’re rich, but you have nothing.) covetous, (well, what makes people covetous? Materialism. You don’t covet something unless you really want it, and you don’t want something unless it had a valid value. And so it all speaks of materialism) boasters, proud, blasphemers,…” You know, in our listening audience of course, we have folks from every walk of life, including some who are in the corporate boardrooms of our various corporations. And one young man told me, “In the last few years the profanity and the filthy language in the boardroom has just compounded.” He said, “We never used to hear foul language. We’d have our board meeting and there was never profanity.” But he says, “Now it is just saturated with it.” Well, it’s all a sign of what Paul calls right here, the end-time, perilous times – blasphemers. They have no compunction about using the name of God in blasphemy and profanity.
II Timothy 3:2b-3a
“…disobedient to parents, (that’s all part of the breakdown when folks get so materialistic that they haven’t even got time to raise their kids) unthankful (they’ve got it so good, they’ve got such big income that they never stop to thank anybody) unholy. 3. Without natural affection,…” Now, I read in the paper again the other day where they found a little infant wrapped in a bath towel and thrown in the garbage can. Whoever heard of such a thing twenty years ago? But, they have no natural affection.
II Timothy 3:3b-5a
“…trucebreakers, (nobody’s word is worth a plug nickel) false accusers, (my, you see that constantly) incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good. 4. Traitors, heady, high minded, lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God; (Isn’t that true? My, if this isn’t it exactly tonight.) 5. Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof:…” Where are a lot of these people on Sunday morning at eleven o’clock? Oh, they’re in church. One hour a week. And the rest of the week they have no concern whatsoever. Well, “a form of godliness but no power thereof.”
II Timothy 3:5b-8
“…from such turn away. 6. For of this sort are they which creep into houses and lead captive silly women laden with sins, (Jezebels, see?) led away with diverse lusts. 7. Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. (It’s beyond them.) 8. Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, (that goes clear back to the death of Moses) so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith.” They have no idea of the truth of God. All right, now let’s come back to Revelation chapter 3, for the last three or four minutes. So, the admonition was even to these Laodiceans who were careless, they were indifferent, they were materialistic, they had precious little spiritual life, but see, God is still willing to deal with them. He is still willing to accept them if they would change their mind. So he says:
“As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore and repent.” Take to heart the things that He’s reminding them of.
All right now, in the last three verses, they, again, are usually pertained to as a salvation message, and of course that is certainly true up to a point, but on the other hand I think it’s more or less a warning of coming judgment than it is an invitation to salvation.
“Behold I stand at the door and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and sup with him and he with me. 21. To him that overcometh I will grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am sat down with my Father in his throne. 21. He that hath an ear let him hear what the Spirit saith to these churches.” (assemblies) Now, what has been the theme of these seven letters? Judgment, chastisement, warning! Wake up and set things straight because the end of this normal lifestyle is about to come, and they would be going into the Tribulation and the wrath and the judgment.
Now, as Christ stands at the door of these seven assemblies, don’t forget that the number one criteria was repent or else. And yet God’s mercy is always available. You know, let’s go back and look at a verse that we have in this Age of Grace in Romans chapter 5, and with this we’ll wind it up. Even to these careless Jews in these congregations there in Asia Minor, the God of Grace is still the same.
“Moreover the law entered, that the offence (that is sin, for what it is) might abound. (That is, it might be well known what is right and what’s wrong. That’s why the Law was given. But, here it comes no.,) But where sin abounded, (no matter how vile the sin, no matter how much it’s being propagated) grace did much more abound.”
Now that’s a promise. There is no sin so vile that God cannot go beneath it with the grace of God and bring them out. And that’s the joy of this Book. Yes, it’s got condemnation. Yes, it has judgment. But far above all of that is the grace of God. And I think it carries off into the life of the believer. We may fail. We may be miserable, but God’s grace never stops operating.