Footnotes By Thomas Perez. Copyright On This Chapter; 2014.
III The Message to the Seven Churches Continued
E. Letter to Sardis
1. And unto the angel of the church in Sardis write; These things saith (says) he that hath (has) the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars; I know thy (your) works, that thou (you) hast (have) a name that thou (you) livest (live), and art (are) dead. (Cr1)
2. Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy (your) works perfect before God.
3. Remember therefore how thou (you) hast (have) received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore thou (you) shalt (shall) not watch, I will come on thee (you) as a thief, and thou (you) shalt (will) not know what hour I will come upon thee (you). (Cr3)
4. Thou (You) hast (have) a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with me in white: for they are worthy. (Cr4)
5. He that overcometh (overcomes), 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. (Cr5)
6. He that hath (has) an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith (says) unto the churches. (Cr6)
F. Letter to Philadelphia
7. And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write; These things saith (says) he that is holy, he that is true, he that hath (has) the key of David, he that openeth (opens), and no man shutteth (shuts); and shutteth (shuts), and no man openeth (opens); (Cr7)
8. I know thy (your) works: behold, I have set before thee (you) an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou (you) hast (have) a little strength, and hast (have) kept my word, and hast (have) not denied my name. (Cr8)
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 (you). (Cr9)
10. Because thou (you) hast (have) kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee (you) from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth. (Cr10)
11. Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou (you) hast (have), that no man take thy (your) crown. (Cr11)
12. Him that overcometh (overcomes) 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 (comes) down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name. (Cr12)
13. He that hath (has) an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith (says) unto the churches. (Cr13)
G. Letter to Laodicea
14. And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith (says) the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God; (Cr14)
15. I know thy (your) works, that thou (you) art (are) neither cold nor hot: I would (wish) thou (you) wert (were) cold or hot. (Cr15)
16. So then because thou (you) art (are) lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue (spit) thee (you) out of my mouth.
17. Because thou (you) sayest (said), I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest (know) not that thou (you) art (are) wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: (Cr17)
18. I counsel thee (you) to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou (you) mayest (may) be rich; and white raiment, that thou (you) mayest (may) be clothed, and that the shame of thy (your) nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine (your) eyes with eyesalve, that thou (you) mayest (may) see. (Cr18)
19. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. (Cr19)
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 (eat) with him, and he with me. (Cr20)
21. To him that overcometh (overcomes) 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. (Cr21)
22. He that hath (has) an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith (says) unto the churches. (Cr22)
Cr1. Rev 1:4, 16. Cr3. I Tim 6:20, Rev 3:19, Matt 24:42-43, Rev 16:15. Cr4. Acts 1:15 Jude 23, Rev 4:4, 6:11. Cr5. Rev 19:8, Ex 32:32, Phil 4:3, Lk 12:8. Cr6. Rev 2:7. Cr7. Acts 3:14, I Jn 5:20, Isa 9:7, 22:22, Matt 16:19, Job 12:14. Cr8. Rev 3:1, I Cor 16:9. Cr9. Rev 2:9, Isa 45:14, 49:23, 60:14. Cr10. II Pet 2:9, Lk 2:1, Isa 24:17. Cr11. Phil 4:5, Rev 2:25, 2:10. Cr12. I Kgs 7:21, Psa 23:6, Rev 14:1, 22:4, Heb 12:22, Rev 21:2, 2:17, 22:4. Cr13. Rev 2:7. Cr14. II Cor 1:20, Rev 1:5, 3:7, 19:11, Col 1:15. Cr15. Rev 3:1. Cr17. Hos 12:8. Cr18. Isa 55:1, II Cor 5:3. Cr19. Job 5:17, Heb 12:6. Cr20. Song 5:2, Luke 12:36-37, Jn 14:23. Cr21. Matt 19:28. Cr22. Rev 2:7.
Vs. 1-6. The church of Sardis. Sardis, located 50 miles North East of Smyma. Rich in jewelry industrializations and textile development, the church at Sardis had similar spiritual riches in Christ – or so it seemed. The church is judged as spiritually dead. They are warned of impending erasure from the book of life – “I will not blot out his name out of the book of life.” This phrase is also found in Ch 20:15, 21:27. Psalms 69:10 records, “Let them be blotted out of the Book of the Living, and not be written with the righteous.” However, a paradox comes to mind. If one were to assume perseverance of the saints as doctrinal, then how can an individuals name be blotted out at the same time? Wouldn’t that require an individuals name to be recorded therein first, be elected, and chosen, in order to be blotted out in the first place? Perhaps one can indeed fall from grace, as in the case of Judas losing his ministry (Acts 1), and perhaps one can lose his salvation. But can a name be truly blotted out of the book of life thus causing one to lose his salvation? Even the likes of John Calvin does not explain this properly or perhaps I’m overseeing a concept. Perhaps a definition of the phrase is warranted (see footnote Matthew 27:3-4). While it is recorded that the true saints of God are adopted, sealed, and kept unto the day of redemption, many can indeed fall away as the Scriptures reveal. Does this mean that one can lose their salvation as asked before? The answer to that question appears to be a resounding “yes.” For such a salvation can be lost in this lifetime, but one is never truly ultimately lost in reference to ultimate reconciliation, other wise we would have a Gospel contingent upon works, and not faith (Eph 2:8-9, Titus 3:5). For it is written in the Scriptures that Christ died for all men, especially those that believe – (it would appear that all are written in the book of life – the Elect – all men are elected, but not all are able to maintain, believe at accountability, or even advance). Moreover, it is the faith of Jesus Christ that saves us. Our faith that is generated through the convicting power of the Holy Spirit, signifies faith already established in the work of Christ – His faith, not ours. As a result men act upon this faith by producing fruit worthy of repentance – thus proving or preserving their faith and thus their election. When one falls away, a loss is incurred. Such truth is found in the parable of the True Vine (John 15:1-8). But above all this, is the ultimate Love of Christ for this church. The few who Christ has found to be worthy have not defiled their garments by reputation (as in name, rank, and election) or dead works (as in righteous acts of freewill, repentance, or penance). But instead trusted solely upon confession of Name, namely the name of Christ (Vs. 5). Most Universalists or Ultimate Reconciliationists hold to this position, solely resting upon the name that is Christ Jesus. But far to often there are many that include other names or ideologies. A sort of toleration. Is this safe? Is this accurate? That is a question that can not be answered. However, toleration, understanding, and love as opposed to deletion, anathemas, or excommunications are far more profitable for all. You will often find this in various free world societies. If structural political harmony can work within the kingdoms of the Earth, can God do any less in His Kingdom? In the panoramic scheme of events, Sardis is seen as the church representing (circa 1517-1648). Dispensationalists call this period “The Reformation.” Though some would acquaint this period with that of the “Middle Ages,” while citing Pergamos and Thyatira with that of the “Age of Constantine” – beginning with the early kingdom of Constantine and ending with the latter divided kingdoms of Western and Eastern Rome until the fall of Constantinople (1453), during Sardis – during the days of the pre-Reformation. Thus identifying those who Jesus commended as those “which have not defiled their garments.” Those who did not compromise are seen as the forerunners of the Reformation. This view places the church of Philadelphia as the “Age of the Reformation.” Sardis is warned to be watchful and strengthen what it has – for it is ready to die. To the displeasure of most Dispensationalists, Protestantism, having escaped the perils of the papacy, have now become the perpetrators of dogmatism and hypocrisy themselves. This is evident in the Calvinistic doctrines of John Calvin‘s (1509-1564) “Tulip” – emphasizing the sovereignty of God as contingent upon that which is established already, “Is the pious loved by God because it is pious, or is it pious because it is loved by God?” On the other side of this emphasis, we have the doctrines of Jacobus Arminius (1560-1609), emphasizing the will of Man rather than God concerning the area of Soteriology (salvation). Moreover, the dogmatisms of Roman Catholicism persecuted Protestants, Jews, and others, alike – a fact well documented in ‘Foxes Book of Martyrs’ – but only in reference to Protestantism, while the enlightened Protestants (after gaining a political and religious footing) persecuted Catholics, Baptists, and others – this included wayward Christians by name and the infamous Salem Witch hunts, trials, and burnings, etc.
Vs. 7-13. The church of Philadelphia. Philadelphia, located 25 miles South East of Sardis, is interpreted as “brotherly love.” This church receives no condemnation or rebuke. But Philadelphia has little power. But while weak in certain areas, it has remained strong by keeping the Word and the name of Christ. Ironically Universalists/Ultimate Reconciliationists are huge on toleration, acceptance, and love for our fellow man. In the panoramic scheme of events, Philadelphia is seen as the church representing (circa 1648-1900). Dispensationalists call this period “The Missionary Movement.” Or it can be seen as noted above, as the Reformation. However, the citations “I have set before thee (you) an open door,” (Vs 8) “Because thou (you) have kept the word of my patience, I will keep thee (you) from the hour of temptation which shall come upon the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth,” (Vs 10), “and I will write upon him my new name” (Vs 12), can also be easily seen as Universal concept. If was to identify myself with such a view, I would impose “The Universal Movement” or “The Apocatastasical Age,” instead of the “Missionary Movement.” This pre-supposition is plausible due to the keeping of the “word of patience.” It is a common belief among Reconciliationists that God will endure all saints and sinners alike by the word of His patience. The patience of the Lord was truly exercised during “the hour of temptation.” The French Revolution, the American Revolution, the founding of a unified country called the United States, two world wars, and the sub-sequential understanding of Universal Salvation – a doctrine truly adherent to the original Christian faith and hope, truly tried during this hour. “An open door” may signify the methods of atonement – as there was once many ways in the OT to atone for sin, there may be many ways graciously provided by Christ as to its means. It is rather interesting to note, that although Jesus is called The Door in John 10:7, 9, He is also cited as having the Keys 1:18, 3:7. He is the House or temple and He is Landlord simultaneously. However, we to are given a pair of keys as recorded in Matt 16:17-19, 18:18-19. We are His tenants, and as such we have the authority to bind – that is to make exclusive – to shut door. Or to loose – that is to make inclusive – to leave the door opened. In Vs 7, we read that, “He that opens and no man shuts, and shuts and no man opens.” In Vs 8, we read that there is an opened door that no one can shut – but there is no mention of a key. In Reconciliation, this is no need for a key, there is no particular combination of doctrines or creeds, for our Christ Jesus is Universal – this is classic Reconciliation. But alas, in 3:20, we read that the door has been shut by the shepherds. Indications of this is found John 10:2, where it is stated that “he that enters in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep” – this is US, the believer. We have become the shepherds and overseer’s. But in Vs 7 and 10 of John Ch 10 we read that Jesus Christ is the actual first original door. His door is always opened, as opposed to his shepherds and overseer’s who have now shut all doors (3:20). Christ who is the Door has now become the door knocker, a shut door in the heart of mainstream Christianity – we need to open what we already have as tenants, and this includes opening the doors of that temple. For the door is a part of that temple (house/apartment/dwelling). We need to give the door (Jesus Christ) open access to all, while protecting what we have, as in our belief systems inside. Because many would come to usurp what is faithful and true inside. That is the risk Reconciliationists take everyday. The citation, “and I will write upon him my new name,” may indicate a name unheard of before or perhaps a name attaining unto all things.
Vs. 14-22. The church of Laodicea. Laodicea, located near the city of Colossae. Laodicea receives no praise or honor. It is a church that is nauseating to Christ Jesus. Jesus would prefer that they should be hot or cold. The state of being hot has its advantages – for it is at high temperatures that we can produce fire, warm our bodies, or cook a hearty meal. While the state of being cold offers; perseverance, the quenching a thirst, and keeping bacteria dormant and/or inactive. But the state of being lukewarm offers no advantages per se. Thus the state is useless in many cases. In the panoramic scheme of events, Laodicea is seen as the church representing (circa 1900-Present). Dispensationalists call this period “The Lukewarm Age.” They see it as Protestantism gone warm (Vs 16), though not dead. If we were to apply our Universalistic way of thinking into the mix, and Judging by the fair amount of shut doors in 3:20, it is of little or no wonder that so many Universalists are becoming more and more tolerable toward every single wind of doctrine. Though its beginnings were not as such. Origen 185-254, Clement 150-215, Gregory 335-390, and many after them, even up until the hay-days of Universalism – taking place in the 19th century; all attested to Jesus Christ as being the Faithful and True Witness. Today we say we are rich (not by materialistic riches, but by knowledgeable riches that we have at our disposal everyday). But in reality we are poor in spirit. Today we have an abundance of knowledge – via the many universities, books, and the ever growing popular “World Wide Web” (the internet), but the overall consensus today is one of complacency in reference to the person of Jesus Christ. If we were to take this view, and reflect it upon ourselves; we must then begin to take note, that Christ is asking us to “buy of me gold tried in fire.” But what is gold in this instance? “Gold tried in the fire” is an analogy for growing in faith and truth. Since we need to give an open door to all, we must be careful as to what door we are attesting is faith and truth (Job 23:8-10, Isa 1:25, I Pet 1:7-9, 22-23, I John 3:1-3, Matt 5:8). Faith and truth is to be found in the Faithful and True Witness; Jesus Christ (Vs 14). We must be careful as to what we purchase in our “learning knowledge.” Can this knowledge be tried and stand the test of time? Can various methods of salvation outside of Christ be tried and stand the test of time? Salvation is not a method, it is a means by that which exists already in Christ. Even our clothing are to be purchased (Vs 18). For it would appear that many have exchanged their salvation for nakedness. But the garments must have been ours to begin with, since He (Jesus) is talking to the church. Therefore, in a sense, we are to buy back our own garments of which we attained for nothing at the beginning. But this can only be done through repentance and zeal. Many Universalists are neither hot or cold (Vs 15), they are lukewarm. Unfortunately, this is also true within the camps of Catholicism and mainstream Protestant Christianity.