Revelation Bible Study #3: The Letters of the Son of Man to the 7 Churches of the Apocalypse ; chap 3

Revelation (Apocalypse) #3: The Letters of the Son of Man to the 7 Churches of the Apocalypse (Part 2), Revelation Chapter 3

sermon Revelation 3 : Pierre Constant, 2022_10_04, AB Lausanne church

title : Revelation Bible Study #3: The Letters of the Son of Man to the 7 Churches of the Apocalypse ; chap 3

The ancient city of Thyatira

located about 65 km inland, at the crossroads of the roads leading to Pergamon (50 km NW), Sardis (50 km SE), and Smyrna (60 km SW)
in Roman times, worship of Apollo combined with that of the emperor
commercial and manufacturing center in the first century (several craft guilds,
to which membership was compulsory in order to practice a trade, under the protection
of a god or goddess)
Lydia, merchant of purple, was from Thyatira (Acts 16.14)
the smallest of the 7 cities of the Apocalypse, very little excavated (Turkish city of Ashishar –
white castle – built on top)
among the first cities to use coins.

First Century Church of Ephesus

receives the longest letter
a strong, faithful, God-loving church
but she lets “Jezebel” the prophetess (self-proclaimed) seduce Christians, to compromising spiritually (for reasons of financial sustenance?)
triple mention of repentance in 2 verses
no other burden but to hold firm
allusion to Dan 10.5-6 (“a man clothed in linen, his face like lightning, his eyes
like flames of fire, arms and feet like polished bronze”).

The ancient city of Sardis

ancient capital of the Kingdom of Lydia
50 km south of Thyatira, 28 km west of Philadelphia
very rich city (Croesus was the last king of Thyatira)
beginning of the royal road (1,600 km of “highway”, going from Sardis to Babylon)
during the great earthquake in the year 17 AD, which destroyed 12 cities in one night, Sardes was the most affected.
Few remains have survived (climate and earthquakes)
temple of Artemis, twice as large as the Parthenon in Athens, built on the remains of the temple of Cybele (Artemis, daughter of Zeus, twin of Apollo, goddess of hunting, the moon and fertility)
very prosperous Jewish community in Roman times (the largest synagogue in Asia minor).

Sardis first century church
no encouragement at first
fame to be alive, but she is dead. . .
in a rich and perverse city, easy to follow the lifestyle of worldliness we must remember how she heard and received the word of God, keep it, and repentance
still has a few devotees.

The ancient city of Philadelphia

km east of Sardis
at the crossroads of the royal road to Babylon and the north-south road (Pergamon-Anatolia)
thrives on agriculture (vineyards)
center of worship to Dionysus (god of wine and fertility)
completely destroyed during the earthquake of the year 17
other tremors (over the next 20 years) overcame the city walls
(Historian Strabo [64 BC to 21 AD] writes that the walls of Philadelphia were unreliable) little undertaken archeology (modern city of Alasehir – “City of Allah”): ancient
acropolis, and 7th century church the city could have had up to 5 names: Philadelphia, Neocaesarea (when Caesar Augustus
financed the reconstruction of the city after the great earthquake of the year 17), Philadelphia Flavia (surname of Emperor Vespasian [69–79]), Decapolis (“10 cities”), or even Little Athens (because of the magnificence of its temples)
the “new name” promised to the overcomer (Revelation 3.12) now takes on its full meaning.

Philadelphia’s First Century Church

key [of the house] of David refers to Isa 22.22
no complaints (just like Smyrna)
little power, but faithful
“synagogue of Satan” does not refer to all Jews, but to those who opposed openly to the Christian faith (“call themselves Jews but are not” – Rev 3.9; cf. Jn
kept the word of perseverance
“I will keep you on time” (3.10): not by being removed, but protected within this hour (same construction [twice] in Greek in John 17.15 ) also called to stand firm the true people of God, contrary to the claims of the Jews.

The ancient city of Laodicea

70 km southwest of Philadelphia, 160 km east of Ephesus, 15 km from Colosse.
ruins began to be cleared since 2003 (the authorities aimed to finish in 2015 and make of it a new touristic Ephesus)
recognized for its sandals, its fabrics, its medicine (balm for the eyes), its banks.

Jews from this city often sent large sums of money to Jerusalem
destroyed by an earthquake in the year 60 according to the Roman historian Tacitus (2nd c.), the city was rebuilt without any financial help from Rome did not have a local water source (hard water pipes from the south, from springs near the modern town of Denezli) when cooled by the aqueduct and the pipes, the water was cool like that of the springs near Colosse, and not hot like that of the thermal springs of Hierapolis (6 km to the south)
renowned for the black wool of its sheep medical school producing eye drops, the “Phrygian powder” fabricated from a local stone.

First Century Church of Laodicea

the only one to receive no positive points
neither cold (thirst-quenching) nor hot (therapeutic), but lukewarm (inducing vomiting)
does not see his own state: “I am rich, enriched, do not need anything”
you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind and naked (all allusions to his
the Lord offers her hope again by knocking at her door.

Key Bible Passages

Revelation 3 / KJV Bible

1. And unto the angel of the church in Sardis write; These things saith he that hath the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars; I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead.
2. Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God.
3. Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee.
4. Thou hast a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with me in white: for they are worthy.
5. He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.
6. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.
7. And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write; These things saith he that is holy, he that is true, he that hath the key of David, he that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth;
8. I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name.
9. Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie; behold, I will make them to come and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee.
10. 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 try them that dwell upon the earth.
11. Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown.
12. Him that overcometh will I 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 new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name.
13. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.
14. And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God;
15. I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.
16. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.
17. Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:
18. I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.
19. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.
20. 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 will sup with him, and he with me.
21. To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.
22. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.

Related Links / Notes

Revelation (Apocalypse) Bible Study

Study Notes are translated from the original French version prepared by Pierre Constant who has been Associate Professor of the New Testament at the Toronto Baptist Seminary since 2003. The orginal French notes are in “note” form, and are not a direct transcription of the video. The notes provided here follow that form, but are detailed enough to help provide a deep understanding of the texts in the book of revelation.

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