Monday, June 1, 2015

The Seven Churches of Revelation

This is not an in-depth study, just my random thoughts on how this is studied by others.

First clearly every message applies perfectly to each Church at that time.

Clearly they go beyond that or they wouldn't be put here, every Church needs to try and see which one of these they most resemble.

All Seven are congregations of Saved individuals, Jesus would not be writing to them if they weren't.  Revelation is defined as a Revelation for His servants.

Two have nothing good said about them and two nothing bad said about them.  That doesn't mean either of those were flawless or without objectively redeeming qualities.

One important observation I feel is that neither the two best or the two worst have their positions on doctrine mentioned.  Jesus is judging how good they are at being Christians, not so much how good they are at believing Christian doctrine.

I talk about The Doctrine of The Nicolatians elsewhere.

I was in the past on board for the seeing them also in the order they are listed as representing a summery of Church History.  But I've grown more critical of that.

First of all it has a largely western bias to see only the second period of Church history as defined by persecution.  Right now the majority of the Body of Christ is under threat of being killed for their Faith, in countries like China, North Korea, Islamic nations and other Third World countries.  Meanwhile the French Revolution also gets overlooked.

Not to mention that perspective also ignores Christians being persecuted by other Christians, like the reformation period which has Catholics persecuting Protestants, Protestants persecuting Catholics, Henry VIII persecuting both and everyone persecuting Baptists.

Meanwhile in Matthew 24 Jesus warned us the end of the Church Age will see our greatest persecution ever.

The desire to see Thyatira as the medieval Catholic church causes people to want to see the Jezebel reference there as to the Catholic view of Mary.  But the context to me is clearly about a false prophet who happens to be female.

I talk about Laodicea here.

For Pergamos, better known as Pergamon, most people assume "Satan's Seat" there refers to the Altar of Pergamon, now housed as the Museum in Berlin.  But that doesn't have a Throne of any kind.

There are a number of other structures at Pergamon that could work better.  The Heroon where the kings of the by then defunct Hellenistic Kingdom of Pergamon were worshiped.  The Temple of Athena, The Temple of Dionysus.  The Diodorus Pasporos Heroon.

Two structures on the lower Acropolis involved Serpent themed deities.  One was the Temple of Asklepius (the Asclepium), a son of Apollo affiliated with healing.

The key however I think is that the Satan's Seat references are both before and after the reference to the Martyrdom of Antipas.  According to tradition Anipas was killed in the Temple of Serapis, known today as the Red Basillica.
At this temple in the year 92 Saint Antipas, the first bishop of Pergamum ordained by John the Apostle, was a victim of an early clash between Serapis worshipers and Christians. An angry mob is said to have burned Saint Antipas alive inside a Brazen Bull incense burner, which represented the bull god Apis.  
The name Serapis similarity to our word serpent is somewhat debatable if it's a coincidence or not. Supposedly the name came from a Hellenized combing of the Egyptian deities Osiris and Apis.  Apis was probably the Egyptian deity the Golden Calf was modeled after. Serapis also took on aspects of Dionysus and Hades.

The statues of Serapis tend to take a very basically Human and Hellenic form, but with a Serpent like base modeled after the Egyptian Uraeus symbol of ruler-ship.

Serapis is another deity that gets brought up in those ridiculous Christ-Myth theories.

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