The Sharp Two-edged Sword

David Bast

Read: Revelation 2:12; Hebrews 4:11-13; Revelation 19:11-16 The words of him who has the sharp two-edged sword. (Rev. 2:12) In Revelation, as throughout the Bible, the two-edged sword is the Word of God. The key is that it issues from the mouth of the Lord Jesus. God does what he does by speaking. It’s how he made the creation (“By the word of the Lord the heavens were made”; Ps. 33:6). It’s how King Jesus will win the final victory (“From …

The Second Death

David Bast

Read: Revelation 2:11; 20:11-15 The one who conquers will not be hurt by the second death. (2:11) “Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life,” Jesus told the church of Smyrna (Rev. 2:10). Here the death is physical and the life is eternal. Jesus knew how these Christians would have their faith tested by the suffering they would have to endure for his sake. He knew it wouldn’t last forever. So he told them to hang …

Smyrna: Facing Suffering

David Bast

Read: Revelation 2:9-10 You will have tribulation. (v. 10) “I didn’t go to religion to make me happy. I always knew a bottle of Port would do that,” quipped C. S. Lewis. “If you want a religion to make you feel really comfortable, I certainly don’t recommend Christianity” (God in the Dock, p. 48). Jesus never said that following him would lead to a trouble-free life. In fact, he said just the opposite. Smyrna was a church under the cross, …

The Living One

David Bast

Read: Revelation 2:8; Mark 16:1-8 The words of the first and the last, who died and came to life. (Rev. 2:8) We have already heard God call himself the Alpha and Omega, the first and last (Rev. 1:8). Now Jesus does the same. His second letter, addressed to the church of Smyrna, is introduced as, “The words of the first and the last, who died and came to life.” The book of Revelation just can’t make this point often enough. …

The Tree of Life

David Bast

Read: Revelation 2:7; 22:1-5 To the one who conquers I will grant to eat of the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God. (2:7) The original Tree of Life was in the Garden of Eden, along with the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. After Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit, their innocence was lost; their relationship with God and his world was ruptured. Sin not only affected them; it affected the whole creation. …

Ephesus: Lost Love

David Bast

Read: Revelation 2:2-6; Luke 7:36-50 But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. (Rev. 2:4) In Fiddler on the Roof, Tevye, beset by the uncertainties swirling around his life and family, asks his wife, “Do you love me?” Golde replies, “Do I what? Look what I’ve been doing for you the past 25 years!” Love is best measured not by words but by actions. The measure of God’s love for us is …