Dressed in White

David Bast

Read: Revelation 3:5-7; 7:9-17 The one who conquers will be clothed thus in white garments. (3:5) Revelation 7 describes the church in two different but equally dramatic ways. First is a carefully numbered community of 144,000, drawn equally from the twelve tribes of Israel. This does not mean that only those descended from the original children of Israel are saved, or that the population of heaven is capped at the size of a small city. Revelation’s numbers are symbolic. The church …

Sardis: Wake Up!

David Bast

Read: Revelation 3:1-4; Luke 13:1-5 . . . but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. (Luke 13:5) I was driving along and noticed a billboard that had been put up by a local atheists’ group. “Millions of Americans are living happily without religion,” the sign said. “Of course they are,” I thought. When you have plenty of money, and good health, and can travel all over, it’s hard not to be happy. But what happens when those things …

The Seven Spirits

David Bast

Read: Revelation 3:1; 4:1-11 The words of him who has the seven spirits of God. (3:1) In the book of Revelation, seven is the number of fullness or completeness. When Revelation speaks of the seven spirits of God as here (or in 4:5 or 1:4), it doesn’t mean that God has seven different spirits or that the Holy Spirit has somehow multiplied. It’s simply a reference to the Holy Spirit in all his fullness. Throughout his earthly life, Jesus was …

The Morning Star

David Bast

Read: Revelation 2:26-29; Psalm 2 And I will give him the morning star. (Rev. 2:28) Before we leave Thyatira, give a last thought to Jezebel, because what’s said about her is remarkably relevant to our church situation today. Jezebel called herself a prophetess, meaning she claimed the inspiration and authority of the Spirit for her teaching. That teaching urged the Christians of Thyatira to join in what their society approved. It probably went something like this: “You don’t have to …

Thyatira: Hold Fast

David Bast

Read: Revelation 2:18-25 Hold fast what you have until I come. (v. 25) Thyatira didn’t have great cultural importance, like Ephesus; it wasn’t a significant religious center, like Pergamum; it didn’t occupy a strategic site, like Laodicea. All Thyatira had was trade. The business of Thyatira was business. But that presented a problem for the church there. Working in business meant belonging to the trade guilds, quasi-religious organizations that controlled all employment. Their gatherings involved sacrifices to the gods, with …

Eyes like Flame

David Bast

Read: Revelation 2:18; Matthew 17:1-8 . . . the Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire. (Rev. 2:18) When I was a pastor, my church had to fill out an annual report to our classis. In Reformed churches, the classis is the local assembly to which each congregation is accountable. So the classis needed to know what was going on with our church: how we were doing, whether we needed help—or perhaps correction. Jesus didn’t need …