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Bible Pathways 12/23/04

December 23

Read Revelation 1 - 2

In Today's Reading:

Greetings to the seven churches; a vision of the Son of Man; His messages to the churches

The seven churches of Asia Minor each received a letter dictated by Christ and recorded by John while he was on the island of Patmos. Since the character and conduct of churches and Christians is the same in every generation, the messages are just as vital and valid for us today.

Words of praise were given to the church at Ephesus for its sound doctrine. However, Christ said: You have left your first love (Revelation 2:4). Losing devotion to Christ usually happens gradually. Some Christians become so involved in business, leisure activities, or even church responsibilities that the worship of Christ becomes mechanical and a mere formality. This charge is most serious: Remember therefore from where you are fallen, and repent . . . or else I will come . . . and will remove your candlestick (lampstand) . . . except you repent (2:5). Twice in one verse Jesus warned them to repent.

The letter sent to the church at Smyrna acknowledged that they were suffering: I know your works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but you are rich) (2:9). This church appeared destitute of the comforts of life. Some would be cast into prison, others would suffer persecution. But, because of their loyal devotion, the Lord promised: Remain faithful to death, and I will give you a crown of life. . . . He that overcomes shall not be hurt by the second death (2:10-11).

The letter sent to the church at Pergamos said that they lived where Satan's seat is: Hold fast (remain true to) My Name (2:13). However, some hold the doctrine (teaching) of Balaam, who taught Balak to cast a stumbling block before the children of Israel . . . to commit fornication (2:14). Jesus warned: Repent: or else I will come quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of My mouth (2:16).

False prophets like Balaam seem to have one thing in common; they are motivated by greed and popularity. Others today say they have a "special revelation of the truth" that must be the guide to biblical interpretation in the Church. In Paul's letter to the Galatians, we are warned of such dangers: If any man preach any other Gospel to you than that you have received, let him be accursed (condemned) (Galatians 1:8-9).

Cross References:

For Revelation 1:5: See Psalm 89:27. Revelation 1:6: See Exodus 19:6. Revelation 1:7: See Daniel 7:13; Zechariah 12:10. Revelation 2:7: See Genesis 2:9. Revelation 2:23: See Jeremiah 17:10. Revelation 2:27: See Psalm 2:9.

Word Studies:

1:8 Alpha and Omega = the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet. Christ is saying He is everything and knows all things A to Z; 1:13 girt = wrapped around; paps = chest; 2:19 charity = love; 2:23 reins = minds, inmost thoughts.

Prayer Needs:

Pray for The International Shortwave Radio Broadcast in honor of Rick Hash · BP Staff: George Kopchak · Government Official: Rep. Michael Burgess (TX) · Country: Egypt (67 million) in northeastern Africa · Major languages: Arabic and English · Christians are not permitted to evangelize Muslims · 82% Muslim; 16% Coptic; .6% Protestant; .6% Roman Catholic · Prayer Suggestion: Sing praises to God, for He hears your prayers and delivers you (Psalm 40:1-3).

Memory Verse for the Week: II Corinthians 9:8


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