Revelation Explained

This site contains my personal views on Revelation. I will be teaching through the book verse by verse. My teachings will be from a conservative evangelical background.

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Sunday, November 27, 2005

The Lamb

"Then one of the elders said to me, 'Do not weep! See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed. He is able to open the scroll and its seven seals.' Then I saw a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain, standing in the center of the throne, encircled by the four living creatures and the elders. He had seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth. He came and took the scroll from the right hand of him who sat on the throne." (Revelation 5:5-7)

One of the elders now approaches John to comfort him, and to tell him that there is One Who can redeem the universe; there is One Who is worthy and Who has bought back mankind from slavery. This is the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the root of David, the One Who has won the victory.

The tribe of Judah is the kingly tribe. King Saul was from the tribe of Benjamin. However David and his descendants who ruled in Jerusalem were of the tribe of Judah. Jesus was a descendant of King David.

Jesus is also the creator of David. Jesus presented this paradox to the Pharisees during His ministry. Matthew chapter twenty two verses forty one to forty six read, “Now while the Pharisees were still assembled there, Jesus asked them a question, saying, 'What do you think of the Christ? Whose Son is He?' They said to Him, 'The Son of David.' He said to them, 'How is it then that David, under the influence of the (Holy) Spirit, calls Him Lord, saying, “The Lord said to My Lord, 'Sit at My right hand until I put Your enemies under Your feet?'” If then David thus calls Him, “Lord,” how is He His Son?' And no one was able to answer Him a word, nor from that day did any one venture or dare to question Him.” (Amplified Bible)

Jesus, being born of Mary, is the Son of David. Jesus, being God in the flesh, is the Creator and Lord of David.

Jesus won the victory over hell, sin, Satan and the grave through His death and resurrection. He is able to redeem man because He paid for the sin of the whole world. So, He is worthy and able to claim the Title Deed of the universe.

John, wiping the tears from his eyes, looks up and before the throne is the Lamb of God, representing Christ. The Lamb is an important figure in the book of Revelation. It is used twenty eight times.

This Lamb, although alive, carries on it the wounds of death. This symbolizes the sacrificial death and resurrection of Christ. It seems that for eternity, Christ will carry in His body, the marks of His death. When we see Jesus, there will still be nail prints in his hands and feet, and a spear wound on his side.

This lamb also has seven horns. Horns in the Bible represent power. So this Lamb has great power. In fact, He is the King of kings and the Lord of lords.

This Lamb has seven eyes, which we are told represent the seven Spirits of God, the Holy Spirit in His fullness. The Holy Spirit acts as the eyes and hands of Christ on this earth.

The Lamb takes the scroll from the hand of God. Jesus is ready to claim His inheritance, to take possession of that which is rightfully His. This will be fully accomplished when He opens all the seals.

Friday, November 25, 2005

A Scroll

"Then I saw in the right hand of him who sat on the throne a scroll with writing on both sides and sealed with seven seals. And I saw a mighty angel proclaiming in a loud voice, "Who is worthy to break the seals and open the scroll?" But no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth could open the scroll or even look inside it. I wept and wept because no one was found who was worthy to open the scroll or look inside." (Revelation 5:1-4 - New International Version)

John now notices that resting in the open hand of God is a scroll. There are different opinions on what this scroll represents.

Some suggest that it is a record of the events described in the rest of Revelation. This means that John wept when the scroll could not be opened simply because he wanted to know the future. To me this interpretation does not fit the context. It does not explain why John wept.

A better interpretation is that this scroll is the Title Deed to the physical universe. There is writing on both sides indicating that nothing can be added. It is the deed to all things.

The scroll is sealed with seven seals. A sealed document could only be opened by a person with the authority and right to open it. This Title Deed was given to Adam, but because of the fall, Satan gained possession of it. The only One who could open it is the One who paid for the redemption of the universe.

At the prompting of a great angel, the universe is searched for this One. No angel, no man, no animal, no demonic power was found who could redeem the universe, who could redeem mankind.

So, John wept because of the lost and hopeless condition of man. Mankind had sold himself to the devil and could not redeem himself. What an awful picture this presents of the hopeless state of man when he seeks to save himself. We are unable to rescue ourselves from the power and dominion of Lucifer.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Thunder, Lamps, Beasts and Worship

"And out of the throne proceeded lightnings and thunderings and voices: and there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God. And before the throne there was a sea of glass like unto crystal: and in the midst of the throne, and round about the throne, were four beasts full of eyes before and behind. And the first beast was like a lion, and the second beast like a calf, and the third beast had a face as a man, and the fourth beast was like a flying eagle. And the four beasts had each of them six wings about him; and they were full of eyes within: and they rest not day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, LORD God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come. And when those beasts give glory and honour and thanks to him that sat on the throne, who liveth for ever and ever, The four and twenty elders fall down before him that sat on the throne, and worship him that liveth for ever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying, Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created." (Revelation 4:5-11 - King James Version)

From God's throne, which would indicate that this is from God Himself, John saw flashes of lightning and hear thunder. These are symbolic of judgment. God is preparing to judge the earth for its wickedness.

Directly in front of the throne, John saw seven lamp stands burning. These, as we discussed in a previous blog are symbolic of the Holy Spirit.

Farther out from God's throne was a smooth surface that looked like crystal clear glass.

John's attention was then drawn to four angelic creatures who were flying around God's throne. These creatures are comparable to the angels Isaiah saw in Isaiah chapter six, and that Ezekiel saw in Ezekiel chapter one.

The first is like a lion symbolizing God's majesty. The second is like a calf or bull representing God's power. The third is like a man indicating intelligence and wisdom. The last is like an eagle which is swift in flight. This speaks to God being swift when He acts.

These angelic creatures were worshiping God, leading those in heaven's throne room in praise to their Creator. As John watches, the twenty four elders become caught up in the worship. They fall down before the Lord and throw their crowns at His feet and praise God as the Creator of the Universe.

Some day, we may see the worship of God in His throne room. Yet we should learn to worship Him now in spirit and in truth. He is our Creator and He deserves our reverence and praise.

This heavenly scene should give us comfort. Things are not out of control. The Ruler of the Universe sits upon His throne. He is attended by twenty four powerful angels who await His command and who are representatives for millions more. As well, the Holy Spirit in all His fullness is ready to act on behalf of the Trinity. Warnings of judgment go out from the throne.

The Day of the Lord approaches. God's plan has not been altered. God's plan has not changed.
Our lives are not accidents. We are included in God's plan. If we serve Him, we will benefit from it. If we serve ourselves, we will lose out on its blessings. Let us serve and worship the One Who sits on this heavenly throne.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Twenty Four Elders

"And round about the throne were four and twenty seats: and upon the seats I saw four and twenty elders sitting, clothed in white raiment; and they had on their heads crowns of gold." (Revelation 4:4 - King James Version)

Verse four describes twenty four individuals sitting on twenty four thrones. There are two main opinions on who these twenty four beings are. Some say that they are men; others that they are angels. We will consider these two views.

In order for these to be men, it would seem that they have already been judged, since they have thrones and crowns. When will the redeemed be judged? This judgment has been called the Judgment Seat of Christ. "For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad." (II Corinthians 5:10 - King James Version)

According to Matthew 16:27, Mark 8:38 and II Timothy 4:1, the Judgment Seat of Christ will occur at His second coming. This vision of John's was a revealing of things that will occur during the Tribulation. Chapter six begins the unveiling of these events.

For these to be men, the rapture must be pre-tribulation, which is questionable, and the Judgment Seat of Christ must occur immediately after the rapture, which is the first phase of the second coming, not after Christ actually returns to establish His earthly kingdom which does not occur until Revelation chapter nineteen.

Another problem with these twenty four elders being men is the location of their thrones: heaven. Will men have thrones in heaven?

The Bible teaches that we will rule with Christ during His thousand year reign. It also says that we will judge angels (I Corinthians 6:2,3). However, the thousand year reign will be upon the earth and then we will inhabit the new earth and the new Jerusalem. I do not believe that men will seat upon thrones in heaven.

One of the difficulties in determining who these are is a matter of textual criticism. In the King James Version, Revelation chapter five verse ten has the twenty four elders saying, “And hast made us unto God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.” The same verse in the New American Standard reads, “And Thou hast made them to be a kingdom and priests to our God; and they will reign upon the earth.”

The issue of what is the correct reading for verse and the one before it is somewhat complex. If the King James is correct then these are men. If the New American Standard is correct then these are angels. This is one of the very rare cases where a textual problem effects the interpretation of a passage of Scripture.

One argument used against the twenty four elders being angels can be summed up by two questions: Do any angels have thrones? Do any angels have crowns? I consider this two sides of the same coin. A throne and a crown both represent authority. If some angels have one, then the argument against them having the other becomes weak.

Colossians chapter one verse sixteen is generally believed to list different orders of angels. In Daniel chapter ten verse thirteen, the archangel Michael is called, “one of the chief princes.” Now, in my mind, princes sit on thrones and have crowns.

It seems to me that the correct interpretation is that the twenty four elders are angels. These angels form the cabinet of God's kingdom. They are here in God's throne room awaiting His orders; they are ready to execute the plan of God.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

The One Sitting on the Throne

"After this I looked, and there before me was a door standing open in heaven. And the voice I had first heard speaking to me like a trumpet said, 'Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this.' At once I was in the Spirit, and there before me was a throne in heaven with someone sitting on it. And the one who sat there had the appearance of jasper and carnelian. A rainbow, resembling an emerald, encircled the throne." (Revelation 4:1-3 - New International Version)

Chapters four and five of Revelation are designed as a pause. John is given a view of heaven. This prepares him and us for the terrible events which begin in chapter 6.

In studying this books, we must try to keep a divine perspective. To look at things only from a worldly viewpoint leads to despair. But when we approach things from a heavenly viewpoint we can see the final victory.

So let us slowly and reverently enter into God's Throne Room; where an eternal worship service is ever in progress.

Jesus invites John into heaven so that those things which must happen may be revealed to him. Notice, Jesus says that these things MUST happen. They are part of God's plan; they are designed to give God the final glory and victory; these things have been prophesied.

John's description of what he saw is full of symbolism and understatement. He did not intend to give us a complete picture of what he saw, but only an impression of it. We must be careful not to read into his words more than is appropriate.

The first sight that John sees as he enters into heaven is the throne of God. His description of God is subdued. He says that God was like a jasper and carnelian.

It is not as easy as we might wish to determine exactly to what precious stones John is referring. Later in Revelation, John refers to the crystal clear jasper (Revelation 21:11). This
leads to the possibility that he is referring to a diamond. The carnelian is a red stone.

It would seem then that John saw God as being a source of many colors and intensities of light with a strong element of red among these colors. Beyond that it is difficult to go. Two other Scriptures are worth considering in relation to this: Psalm 104:2 and I Timothy 6:16.

The Psalmist says that God uses light as a cloak to cover Himself. In Timothy, we are told that God dwells in light. So God clothes Himself in light.

The last part of verse three tells us that around the throne was a rainbow like an emerald, which is green. So it seems that this rainbow surrounding God's throne was of different shades of green.

The rainbow is a sign of God's covenant with Noah not to destroy the earth. This is an important promise when we begin to read of the coming destruction during the Tribulation. The covenant between God and Noah is found in Genesis 9:11-17.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Church at Laodicea: Promise, Prophetic, Application

"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. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches." (Revelation 3:21,22 - King James Version)

In verses twenty one and twenty two, we have the promise of a rich reward if we become Christ's disciples. We will rule with Him in His 1000 year reign. We will receive crowns and rewards.

Some believe that this letter prophetically describes modern Christianity. Among those who call themselves Christian in our Western society, being lukewarm is common. Christianity in the west has become a middle class religion. Too often we judge success by the world's standards: social position, an expensive home and car, a big bank account, a high paying job. This is what Christians want.

Sacrifice, servanthood, taking up the cross: these terms are no longer in fashion. Preaching the Gospel has been replaced by social programs and environmental issues. Sending Missionaries to plant churches has been replaced by feeding the hungry, building schools, hospitals and factories. People attending church services develop a social conscience, a love for nature, compassion for the third world and then die without Christ and face judgment without hope.
Looking at the outside Christianity has become rich, fashionable, acceptable. Inside Christians there is no hope, no Gospel and no obedience to God.

Christians today need to obey the command of Jesus in verse eighteen. Spiritual wealth, clothing and healing come from Jesus. These spiritual riches are available to everyone. The reason why so few Christians today own these riches is they are not willing to pay the price. Jesus should be your Saviour and your Lord. We should trust Him not just for our eternity but for each day. Salvation is not an eternal insurance policy, but a reality that is to be lived out every moment.

Even if being lukewarm is generally true of those who claim to be followers of Christ. This does not mean that it must describe you. You can rise above the mediocre level of the typical Christian today. Give your life to God and serve Him no matter what the cost.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Christ's Comments About the Church at Laodicea

"I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. 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: 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. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. 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." (Revelation 3:15-20 - King James Version)

Verse fifteen begins to describe the condition of this church. Jesus is very disappointed with this church. They are not burning with the fires of revival, evangelism and excitement. Neither is their fellowship a source of spiritual refreshment like a cool drink on a hot day.

They do not fire up Christians to accomplish great deeds for God. Neither do they offer shelter from the problems and troubles of the world. This church did not encourage and did not comfort. They were useless.

Verse sixteen describes Jesus reaction to the condition of this church. We enjoy a cup of hot tea or coffee. We also enjoy a cool glass of water or juice. A drink that is neither hot or cold, that is luke warm, most people do not like to drink. Instead they spit it out of their mouths with disgust.

That is what this church was like. Jesus found them to be disgusting. The problem with this church was that they had religion but no power. They were hypocrites. This church was acting like they served Jesus, but their service was insincere, ineffective and unacceptable.

Verse seventeen continues to describe their pitiful condition. The city of Laodicea was very wealthy. Their two chief products were clothes and a special eye ointment. These were sold all over the Roman Empire generating a huge income for this city.

It seems that the Christians in this city were physically well off. They thought that they had all that they needed. However, Jesus saw not their physical wealth but their spiritual poverty. Their relationship with God was superficial. They were in love with the world's goods not God's work.

This church needed to obey the command of Jesus in verse eighteen. Spiritual wealth, clothing and healing come from Jesus.

These spiritual blessings are only available to those who will trust Jesus as their Saviour. Jesus died on the cross to pay for our sin. When a person asks God's forgiveness for sin because Jesus died for them and that person makes Jesus Lord of their life, their sin debt is wiped out.

Verse nineteen of Revelation chapter three is Jesus' warning to this church. Jesus will punish any true Christian who refuses to obey Him. He is longsuffering and slow to punish but eventually He will punish.

Verse twenty presents a rather sad picture. Jesus stands outside this church. He no longer has any part in their worship and activities. They have settled for meaningless ritual and powerless worship. They are not ready to let Christ rule in their life. Jesus stands outside this church and offers to fellowship with any individual who will invite Him to be the focus of his or her life.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

The Letter to the Church at Laodicea: A Description of Christ

"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;" (Revelation 3:14 - King James Version)

The last of the seven letters to the churches of Asia is the letter to the church at Laodicea.

As with the first six letters, this one is addressed to the angel of the church. The word angel means messenger. The messenger of God to the local church is the pastor. Each of these letters is addressed to the pastor of the church.

Jesus calls Himself, Amen. Amen means truth. In John chapter fourteen verse six, Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth and the life.” (King James Version)

Jesus is the truth of God in flesh. He is the source of truth and the upholder of truth. He always tells the truth and always acts in truth. There is no false hood or lie in Him.

He also says that He is the beginning or source of all creation. In John's Gospel, we are told, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being by Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being.” (John 1:1-3 - New American Standard)

Jesus is our Creator. He is the source of all that is good and lovely. Our relationship with Him should be strong and close. Our feelings towards Him should be deep and sincere. Not like the people of the church at Laodicea.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Church at Philadelphia: Promise, Prophetic, Application

"He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he shall go out no more. I will write on him the name of My God and the name of the city of My God, the New Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God. And I will write on him My new name. 'He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.'" (Revelation 3:12,13 - New King James Version)

Those who are true Christians, having trusted Christ as their only hope of being saved, will be pillars in God's temple. This has the idea of permanence. We will forever be in God's presence. We will never be separated from the Lord.

God will write upon us His Name, the name of His city and His new name. All of these signify that we belong to God. It will be clear that we are His as we worship Him in eternity.

Some believe that this letter prophetically pictures the period of Church History called the Great Awakening. This period includes the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The Great Awakening grew out of the earlier Reformation period. This was a time of declining power among the State Churches, and growth of the free churches who were not State controlled or sponsored.

This was also a time of great evangelistic and missionary efforts. Christians got back to the spiritual battle that had so long been neglected. This was the time of John and Charles Wesley, George Whitefield, Charles Spurgeon, Dwight Moody, Jonathon Edwards, Hudson Taylor, and many others whom God used in great ways.

Christianity made great advances during this period. Yet this was not an effort based upon human strength but was one of weakness. The ministries during this time relied on God every day to meet their needs for that day. They knew not where the support would come for tomorrow or next week, but worked by faith and God supplied.

Christians today could learn much from those who served God so faithfully during this time. If we had the faith they had, the power in prayer they had, and the courage they had, we would accomplish more for God. What should encourage us is that we can have what they had. It is available if we will trust God's strength not our own. It is when we are weak that we are strong in the Lord.

This letter should be a source of encouragement for every Christian who is faithful in His service for the Lord. We should continue to do what we are doing. We should also look for more that we can do. We may be weak but the Lord is strong.

He is ready to equip us to use the doors of opportunity that are before us. We must recognize these doors and go through them trusting God to empower us. We need to learn to walk by faith not by sight and to step out of our comfort zone.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Christ's Comments About the Church at Philadelphia

"I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut. I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name. I will make those who are of the synagogue of Satan, who claim to be Jews though they are not, but are liars—I will make them come and fall down at your feet and acknowledge that I have loved you. Since you have kept my command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come upon the whole world to test those who live on the earth. I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take your crown." (Revelation 3:8-11 - New International Version)

Verse eight relates Christ's possession of the keys to the situation in Philadelphia. Jesus has used His keys to open a door for this church. This refers to some special opportunity.

Through out the New Testament, an open door refers to some opportunity of ministry. An example of this would be First Corinthians chapter sixteen verses eight and nine. The Apostle Paul wrote, “But I shall remain in Ephesus until Pentecost; for a wide door for effective service has opened to me, and there are many adversaries.” (New American Standard)

We do not know what opportunity Jesus had opened for this church in Philadelphia, however, what ever it was, they had a chance to do a great work for God.

In our own lives, we should be looking for these open doors that God brings to us. Many times an opportunity is only available for a short time and then the door closes. If we are not looking for these new areas of ministry, a door may open and close without us even being aware of it.

There may be a group of people in our community who at this moment are responsive to the Gospel. We need to reach them now, because in time they may become cold and hard towards the Gospel. We must look for open doors and walk through them.

Jesus says that this church was weak. Possibly the number of believers in this city was small or maybe they were all poor and destitute or maybe they were young spiritually and lacked strong leadership. Jesus assures them that in spite of their weakness, He wanted to use them in a great way.

They had already proved their faithfulness and this was more important than their own strength. They could rely on God's strength. They were following the teaching of Jesus. They had already faced persecution and had not denied their Christian Faith. Jesus encourages them to continue to serve and depend upon Him.

Verse nine reveals the major problem that this church faced. In this city, there was a group of Jews who were intent upon destroying the Christians. In the letter to the church at Smyrna, there was a similar reference.

The main point that Jesus is making is that the wicked actions of these Jews should not be taken as representing the true Jewish attitude. These men were under the influence of Satan not God.
We should never suppose that the evil deeds of a few within a group represent the entire group.

Many who have claimed to be Christian have done wicked and infamous deeds. These few do not represent the true spirit of Christianity.

Jesus assures this church that those who persecuted them would be punished and would recognize their sin. This may refer to some event during the lives of these men or it may refer to what will occur upon the day of judgment when all will stand before Christ. It would be wise for people to consider what will happen to them on judgment day.

Verse ten offers further encouragement for this church. Since this church had faithfully endured past persecution, Jesus assured them of His help to face future persecution. This verse does not necessarily mean they will be rescued out of the coming trouble. It could be translated, “I will keep you within the time of trouble.”

The idea is that He would sustain and support them even during the great persecution that they would soon face. In relation to this church, this trouble would be a reference to the Roman persecution.

However, it should remind Christians today of the Great Tribulation period that we may soon face. Jesus can sustain us within the coming persecution if we must go through it.

This letter is largely one of encouragement. Jesus concludes by assuring this church that if they remain faithful, they would receive a heavenly reward.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

The Letter to the Church at Philadelphia: A Description of Christ

"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;" (Revelation 3:7 - King James Version)

As in the other letters, Jesus begins by emphasizing some aspect of His character that is fitting to the message to the church. To this church, He first states that He is holy. This refers to His pure and sinless nature.

Then He says He is true. This means not only that He never lies but also that He is genuine; He is the One and only God, the true God. He is stressing to this church that He is dependable, able to sustain them even in their weak condition.

Jesus says that He has the keys of David. This seems to be a reference to Isaiah chapter twenty-two verse twenty-two. In that verse, God is speaking of Eliakim and He says, “I will put the key to the house of David around His neck. If he opens a door, no one will be able to close it. If he closes a door, no one will be able to open it.” (International Children's Bible)

Eliakim was given this position by God because He was trustworthy and faithful. He would use this position to help the people of God. Eliakim is a picture of Jesus Christ, a dependable administrator of the affairs of God's people. We can be sure that Jesus is directly involved in His spiritual kingdom.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Church at Sardis: Promise, Prophetic, Application

"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. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches." (Revelation 3:5,6 - King James Version)

Like each of the seven letters, Jesus ends with a promise to those who are truly His. They will wear white robes. Their names are written in the book of life. When they appear in heaven before the judgment throne, Jesus will claim them as belonging to Him.

Some believe that this letter represents the period in church history called the Protestant Reformation. This covers the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.

The State Church had declined completely into ritual and tradition. There was little true Christianity to be found within it. However, there were a few faithful born again believers both outside and inside the State Church. Those outside struggled under persecution. Those inside unsuccessfully sought reform. Many eventually came out and began their own movements. Many heard the command of Jesus to awake out of sleep.

This letter should encourage us to examine our heart. We can fool people into thinking we are righteous and godly. However, God cannot be fooled. Christ looks into your heart.

How is your relationship with God? Have you given Him your life? Are you truly seeking to obey Him day by day? Do you spend time with your Lord every day?

Often the best clue to our spiritual growth is our quiet time. If we do not find time on a regular basis to be with God and to think about Him, to listen to what He would say to us and to tell Him what we feel, then our relationship with Him is probably dying. We may go through all the motions but inside we need reviving.