The Book of Revelation is one of those books that many pastors avoid preaching from. After all, it's a book filled with horrible events that will happen on planet earth. Of course there's a happy ending, but it's really rough reading in some parts. However, I believe the most important part of the book lies in the first three chapters in which Jesus is addressing each of 7 main churches. Many scholars believe that, though each of these churches existed physically at the time, they also represent churches that will exist during periods of time from that moment and up until the Tribulation period. I am also of this opinion, but I don't want to go into that here.
Think about it. Here we have 7 Letters from Jesus Himself to 7 churches telling them the things they are doing that he approves of and the things they are doing that he hates. He gives warnings and then He gives instructions on what they need to do to correct their errors and make it into heaven. How often I have longed for Jesus to send me an email with instructions on what to do in certain situations, what decision to make or path to take. And here we have 7 letters! So, I thought I'd summarize for you the do's and don'ts from Jesus Himself, the praises, the warnings, and the blessings for overcomers, so that you can examine your own life and if you see something that Jesus hates, to correct it before it's too late!
First the things Jesus loves that we do
- Good works
- Patience (In waiting for him and in doing good works)
- Don't bear evil and don't stand for those who are evil
- Test those who say they are prophets to make sure
- Hate the deeds of the Nicolaitans (see below)
- Enduring and being faithful under persecution even unto death
- Holding fast to Jesus's name and not denying the faith
- Love, service, and faith growing daily
- Keep Jesus's Word and Commandments
Nicolaitans - You can look this up yourself but essentially the doctrine of the Nicolaitans is the same doctrine we see today in Hyper-Grace and Once Saved Always Saved, that once you are saved by Grace by faith in Jesus, it doesn't matter how you live. You can live a sinful life and still be saved.
Things Jesus hates and disapproves of
- Not putting Him first and making Him your first love (How many of us are guilty of that at least part of the time?)
- The doctrine of Balaam (greed, sexual immorality, idol worship, see below)
- Deeds of Nicolaitans (see above)
- Spirit of Jezebel tolerated (see below)
- Dead belief or unbelief
- Being lukewarm
Doctrine of Balaam. The Scripture in Revelation 2 describes this as "who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols, and to commit sexual immorality" but if we study Balaam's life we see that he was using his gift of prophecy for his own gain. You'll find Balaam's story in Numbers 22-24
Spirit of Jezebel - I believe this is exclusively a female issue. If we look into Jezebel in the Bible, we see a woman who is sexually immoral, an idol worshiper, and a hater of God She was a woman who dominated and controlled her husband and everyone else in the kingdom. She is a dominant woman who manipulates others and uses her sexuality to get what she wants. Modern feminism has some of these qualities. This is also akin to witchcraft. Hence, I would say that in a church this would manifest it as women taking control over men and introducing false doctrines. In a woman, this would manifest itself as a domineering feminist who manipulates others to do her will.
Consequences for the bad things
- Remove your lampstand from its place. Essentially I believe this means you lose your salvation.. the light of the Holy Spirit is gone.
- Jesus Himself will come and fight against you. ( not a pleasant prospect)
- Cast those who follow Jezebel into the Great Tribulation
- Death - spiritual and physical
- Jesus will return as a thief at an hour you do not know
Consequences for Overcomers
- Eat of the Tree of Life in the Paradise of God
- Not be hurt by the 2nd death ( Not thrown in hell!)
- Receive the Crown of Life
- Given hidden manna to eat
- A white stone with a new name written on it for you that no one knows
- Given power to rule over the nations
- The Morning Star
- Walk with Jesus
- Clothed in White garments
- Names NOT blotted out of the Book of Life
- Jesus will confess your name before God and the angels
- Kept from the hour of trial coming on the whole earth to test the world (rapture!)
- Become a pillar in the Temple of God
- Name of God and Name of City of God written on you
- Sit with Jesus on His throne
- You will know when Jesus is about to return for His bride!
I want to be an Overcomer!! How about you?
If I were to summarize these commands from the Lord, I would say this. Jesus wants us to love Him with all our heart, soul, mind, body and spirit and to follow His commands and live for Him no matter what happens in our lives. If we do, we get HUGE rewards and we will also not have to endure the Tribulation AND we will know the timing of Jesus's return.
If we don't do these things, but instead live for ourselves and for our own pleasure, we are in danger of losing our salvation AND/OR missing the Rapture and being cast into the Tribulation.
I encourage you to read Revelation Chapters 2-3 and see if you agree.