The Revelation of John: Chapter Three

31 Jan

I have been doing some posts on various prophecies, but in the recent weeks my mind has not been very active on the subject. That is until I started reading the Book of Revelation again. So, I have decided to do a series of posts on that book. I will also be comparing it to other books with similar prophecies, such as Daniel, as well as section 77 of the Doctrine and Covenants, which gives interpretations to a selected portion of the images of the Revelation. I will also rely heavily on the Joseph Smith Translation (JST).

[I am sorry this took so long]

Revelation Three

This chapter is the message to Sardis, Philadelphia, and the Laodiceans. Again I give only a summary of each city, though I will also give a comparison of the seven cities at the end. Again note that in verses 1, 7, and 14 the word angel was changed to servant by Joseph Smith. Also, in verse one, the seven spirits were changed to the seven servants.

Sardis is the one city that gets the greatest condemnation. Christ tells them that they were once alive but are now dead, meaning they have fallen into great error. He tells the servant to keep a watch over those who are dieing but are not yet dead. This is a city that is in dire circumstances. But Christ does offer some hope to the servant when he says in verse four “Thou hast a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with me in white: for they are worthy.” So not all the city was wicked, but the vast majority were and they were being called to repentance.

In contrast, Philadelphia is the city that is commended the most. In the message to this city that is not a single word of rebuke or chastisement. they are praised for keeping the words of Christ and not denying his name. They are promised that that wicked would one day be made to acknowledge them as righteous servants of Christ.  It is also to Philadelphia that we read the first allusions to the prophecies that about to be given. “Him that overcomethI will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name.” These things will be mentioned again, and for the saints of Philadelphia the later explanation would have a greater meaning because of this promise.

Now, Sardis is the most condemned and Philadelphia the most commended. Laodicea is the one that is right in the middle “because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.” Apparently they were not very wicked, but they also did not really do anything. It was like they were going through the motions without actually engaging in the gospel. They were not tempted by any great wickedness, but neither were they moved to any great acts of righteousness either. They simply were.

After having gone through each message let us look at those things that were commended by Christ.

  1. Rejecting Evil
  2. Trying the doctrine to detect false teachers
  3. Remaining faithful, even unto death

Let us also look at those things that are condemned

  1. Not spreading the gospel
  2. Claiming license to sin through God’s grace
  3. Following false teachers (those who claim authority from God that don’t have any)
  4. Not being actively engaged in the work of the gospel

I first take note that the three in the first list have an almost exact opposite in the second.

  1. Rejecting evil vs. Claiming license to sin through God’s grace
  2. Trying the doctrine to detect false teachers vs. Following false teachers
  3. Remaining faithful, even unto death vs. Not being actively engaged in the work of the gospel / Not spreading the gospel.

As I said in my last post, I have seen all these things, even within the LDS church. Many have followed the false teachers of the Ordain Women movement or other such factions that have arisen from time to time. Many accept evil, claiming the love of God, when they oppose the church on issues such as abortion and homosexuality. I think the most common, however, is for people to simply be lukewarm members. They uphold the teachings of the church but refuse to engage in any effort to spread the gospel or defend those teachings against others.

As I said in my last post, I wonder what Christ would say to us today if He were to inspire a similar letter.

See also chapter one and two

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