A White Stone

David Bast

Read: Revelation 2:17; Isaiah 43:1-7 I will give him a white stone, with a new name written on the stone that no one knows except the one who receives it. (Rev. 2:17) My older sister told me that my parents thought about naming me James. It’s weird to think that I might have gone through life as Jimmy rather than Dave. Dave is my name, it’s who I am. This version of me is flawed—don’t I know it! But the …

Pergamum: Where Satan Has His Throne

David Bast

Read: Revelation 2:13-16 I know where you dwell. (v. 13) On the acropolis of ancient Pergamum stood the magnificent Temple of Zeus. Alongside it was another temple dedicated to Caesar—the first-ever building formally built for the worship of the Roman emperor. That hill and its temples dominated the skyline of Pergamum; you couldn’t escape the sight of it. Wherever you went, a sort of visual propaganda proclaimed: “Rome rules! Caesar is Lord!” It was as if Satan had settled in …

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. …