Nazarene Apocalypse ©2000
#115. In chapters two and three you will read seven letters from the glorified celestial Lord Jesus Christ. These Christine epistles are sent primarily to the seven “angels”232 or presiding presbyters (overseers, elders) of seven different ecclesia or churches (congregations) in what is today Turkey or Macedonia.
|232||ANGELS. There seems some evidence the term “angel” or “messenger” was used of a presiding officer of the synagogue. These seven angels here are individuals and not some composite body. Each “angel” is addressed by the singular “you” in Greek. Most of the counsel and warning is directed to these individuals though some of the directives from Christ may be applied to the whole ecclesia. (Acts 18:8, 17)|
#116. Some commentators have judged these letters to all be apocalyptic descriptions of various Ages of the Church of Christ. In other words, they see within these letters all kinds of prophecies about the true Church in our day, or some other generation, called “the day of the Lord.” (Revelation 1:10) You may read these letters carefully as we have. We do not interpret these beyond what they seem to be: letters from the glorified Christ by the hand of his beloved John to real historical churches of the First Century.
#117. There is much to personally learn from each of these letters. Counsel about love, strong faith, endurance, toleration of evil, and the dangers of materialism. Any Christian, in any historical period, could acquire much good direction by reading these letters as from the mind of the Master. They give good insight into the character of Christ. They also teach us much about the general condition of the Church at the end of the First Century. Five-sevenths, or about 85%, of these were in serious spiritual danger. Only two come in for a clean bill of health and contain upbuilding words of love and counsel.
#118. If the view were taken that these letters are also apocalyptic prophecies about the condition of the Church “in the Lord’s day” then it is serious indeed. For it means a large majority of Christian bishops, presbyters, or elders are worthy of Christ’s scathing denunciation! Is that the condition of your “church” or religious organization?
#119. While there is much to benefit from in these seven letters it is beyond our immediate purpose. However, there are several particular verses we wish to draw attention to.
‘I know your works.’
#120. The Celestial Christ is very much aware of a Christian’s life. The Glorified Nazarene is also very much concerned about a Christian’s “works.” This is the Greek ergon and the word occurs 22 times in the Apocalypse. Here “works” are associated with “love.” (vs 4) The Lord’s advice is do “the first works” and thus return to “the first love.” No one can disassociate “works” from the Christian life for they are a natural result of love.
‘For if you do not wake up, I shall arrive as a thief and you will not know the hour of my Arriving.’
#121. The words are right out of the Nazarene’s answer to his disciples’ question in Matthew 24:43; Mark 13:33, 35; Luke 12:39. He has not changed his view that neither he nor one of his future disciples can calculate the time of his Arrival.
#122. The word here translated “arrive” and “Arriving” is the Greek hexo (heko Strong’s # 2240) and may be rendered “arrive” or “to be present” and, therefore, is very similar to parousia.
‘I will make the victorious a pillar in my God’s Temple and he will never leave it. I will write on him my God’s Name and the Name of my God’s City, New Jerusalem, the City descending down out of Heaven from my God. And my new Name.’
#123. Five times in the Apocalypse the Nazarene uses the phrase “my God.” (Revelation 3:2, 12) Jesus did this in “the days of his flesh.” (Hebrews 5:7; John 20:17) Paul agrees and several times uses the expression, “the God of our Lord.” (Ephesians 1:3, 17) Peter does the same. (1 Peter 1:3) Deuteronomy 10:17 has Moses describing Yahweh or Jehovah as “the God of gods.” Jesus, both the Man (Romans 5:15) and the Spirit (1 Corinthians 15:45), state he has a God and this is his Father. It is never stated the other way around, that the Father ever addresses Jesus as “my God.”
#124. In this verse the Celestial Nazarene refers to God’s “name” as he does in his prayer in John chapter 17 four times without ever using what Exodus 3:14 identifies as God’s eternal Name, YHWH, generally rendered Yahweh or Jehovah. Never in the Apocalypse does Jesus utter this Name.
#125. The introduction of the “New Jerusalem” is one of several examples in the Apocalypse where a subject is mentioned before the actual thing is really introduced. The object is brought up in passing before the real subject makes its appearance in the context of the book.
#126. There are three “names” inscribed on the victorious Saint: God’s, New Jerusalem, and the Celestial Nazarene’s “new name.”
‘These are the sayings of . . . the Beginning233 of God’s Creation. ‘
|233||THE BEGINNING. he arche tes is regularly rendered “the beginning of.” (Matthew 19:4, 8; 24:21; Mark 10:6; John 1:1, 2; 2 Peter 3:5; 1 John 3:8. Compare arche at Genesis 1:1 (LXX); Proverbs 8:22; Micah 5:2. Thayer’s, pages 76, 77: “1. beginning, origin ... 3. that by which anything begins to be, the origin ... Rev iii. 14 ... “ Compare proto-tokos panses ktiseos at Colossians 1:15; and, he arche at Colossians 1:18.|
#127. Much dispute is made of this phrase with Trinitarians insisting it means Jesus Christ is the Beginner or Originator rather than the “beginning” of God’s creation. We trust to the Nazarene’s own convictions: ‘The Son is unable to do anything of himself.’ (John 5:19) We read this to mean the Son could never be a Beginner or an Originator. The Son is always described as the Agent of Creation and never the Source. (1 Corinthians 8:6; John 1:3; Hebrews 1:2) In three other texts the Son is given an “origin” or described as “created.” Proverbs 8:22, note kyrios ektise me arkhen LXX; RSV, NJB, NEB. Micah 5:2 and mowtsaah (Strong’s # 4163) means “origin” according to Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament page 393, Volume 1. With this Gesenius agrees. Colossians 1:15, “the firstborn of every creature” (KJV). Note, proto’tokos pases ktiseos = “firstborn of all creation.”
‘To the Victorious I will grant to sit with me on my Throne as I was victorious and sat down with my Father on His Throne.’
#128. Revelation 1:5 calls Jesus “the Ruler of earth’s kings” not just King over his own Church. (Colossians 1:13; Ephesians 1:20-23) This is a promise the Nazarene made the evening of the last Passover. (Luke 22:16, 18, 29) The Apocalypse makes it clear Jesus was King by the time of its composition. This is in harmony with the context of Daniel 2:44 and 7:13 as well as apostolic commentaries on Psalms 2:1-7 and 110:1. (Acts 4:24; 13:33; Romans 1:4; 1 Corinthians 15:24; Hebrews 10:12, 13)
Nazarene Commentary 2000©
Mark Heber Miller
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