Sunday, June 2, 2024

Children of the Dragon, Children of the Lamb #9: The Seven Seals (Revelation 6-8:1)

As we enter another highly charged political year, I have been thinking how much the book of Revelation has to offer in terms of casting a discerning eye on how the forces of empires (symbolized by Rome/Babylon) challenge the faith and ethics of the Kingdom of God. To really understand the political broadside John offers in this apocalypse ("unveiling") will take some time. Here, finally, we arrive at the Seven Seals.

Previous post: http://empiresandmangers.blogspot.com/2024/05/children-of-dragon-children-of-lamb-8.html

We are going to read today about the opening of the 7 seals (the first in a series of visions of 7 seals, 7 trumpets, and 7 bowls). There are different ways people views the seals, trumpets, and bowls unfolding.  I have some opinions about timelines,[2] but I am for more interested in faithfulness until the finish line. 

What we do know about when things happen is this from Revelation 1: these “must happen soon,” and “what is and what will be.” That didn’t help, right? Let’s move on.

Monday, May 20, 2024

Children of the Dragon, Children of the Lamb #8: The Lukewarm Church Of Laodicea (Revelation 3:14-22)

As we enter another highly charged political year, I have been thinking how much the book of Revelation has to offer in terms of casting a discerning eye on how the forces of empires (symbolized by Rome/Babylon) challenge the faith and ethics of the Kingdom of God. To really understand the political broadside John offers in this apocalypse ("unveiling") will take some time. I am laying a foundation by going through each letter to the churches. Think of the letters as the frame; the rest of Revelation will paint stunning apocalyptic illustrations to hang on that frame. 

Two more letters to churches before we get to the illustrations: Philadelphia, then Laodicea. 

Previous Post:http://empiresandmangers.blogspot.com/2024/04/children-of-dragon-children-of-lamb-7.html

Tuesday, April 30, 2024

Children of the Dragon, Children of the Lamb #7: Philadelphia, The Church Where Challenges Opened Doors

As we enter another highly charged political year, I have been thinking how much the book of Revelation has to offer in terms of casting a discerning eye on how the forces of empires (symbolized by Rome/Babylon) challenge the faith and ethics of the Kingdom of God. To really understand the political broadside John offers in this apocalypse ("unveiling") will take some time. I am laying a foundation by going through each letter to the churches. Think of the letters as the frame; the rest of Revelation will paint stunning apocalyptic illustrations to hang on that frame. 

Two more letters to churches before we get to the illustrations: Philadelphia, then Laodicea. 

Previous Post: http://empiresandmangers.blogspot.com/2024/04/children-of-dragon-children-of-lamb-6.html

* * * * *

Philadelphia was founded around 190 B.C. by the king whose close relationship with his brother earned Philadelphia the meaning “brotherly love.” Philadelphia was called The Doorway to the East because you had to pass through it from a shipping port in the west if you wanted to get to the East, to India specifically – and a lot of people wanted to get to India. The main roads from nearby commercially rich regions converged in Philadelphia.


In the 2nd century BC, the Greeks had used it as a base to spread their culture into all the surrounding regions. It had an almost evangelistic fervor. Their religion, philosophy, government, art and language all spread throughout Asia Minor.[1] Philadelphia was a doorway to spread a worldview and a culture.
It was a flourishing town, at one point earning the nickname “Little Athens.” The one major drawback was earthquakes. These were such a problem that the residents of Philadelphia got used to leaving for a while and coming back. It was just kind of life in Philadelphia. It was shaky. One historian wrote that every wall had cracks; people were often injured or killed by falling bricks and stones.

Their temples, however, were built to withstand earthquake damage. They put the foundations on charcoal beds covered with fleeces, so the temple “floated.” For this reason, the temples would be among the most secure structures in the city. It was not unusual for the temple columns to be the only thing left standing after severe earthquakes. In AD 17, the same earthquake that leveled Sardis also leveled most of Philadelphia. People stayed outside the city for as long as three years after that one. When it was rebuilt, Philadelphia became Neocaesarea, the city of Caesar, thanks to the help from Rome. This brings us to our text.[2]

Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Children of the Dragon, Children of the Lamb #6: Sardis - Church Of The Living Dead (Revelation 3:1-6)

As we enter another highly charged political year, I have been thinking how much the book of Revelation has to offer in terms of casting a discerning eye on how the forces of empires (symbolized by Rome/Babylon) challenge the faith and ethics of the Kingdom of God. To really understand the political broadside John offers in this apocalypse ("unveiling") will take some time. I found the journey to be worth it. I hope you do too. 

                                                            * * * * * *

When John was writing Revelation, Sardis was a city that had seen better days. Remember Bruce Springsteen’s song “Glory Days”? Something like that.

It was once a capital city under the Persian government. Aesop reportedly came from Sardis. It was kind of a big deal. The Hebrews referred to the first Lydian king, Gyges[1], as “Gog”; he was followed by the next king, Magog.[2] Eventually, Sardis was ruled by Croesus, famed for his wealth. Sardis had a river in which to pan for gold where (according to legends) King Midas dipped his finger to lose that pesky golden touch. Gold and silver coins were apparently made for the first time in Sardis;[3] some historians credit that with the beginning of money as we know it.

Sardis was famous for having been built on an acropolis. It had cliffs on three sides and only one major access to protect. Armies never pulled off a frontal assault in the history of the city. Sardis engaged heavily in the worship of Cybele, who was said to be able to restore the dead to life. Maybe that’s why its necropolis (graveyard) was as well known as the acropolis on which the city was first built. However…. those cliffs and wealth and gods and goddesses didn’t guarantee their safety as much as they thought.

  • Croesus’ army was destroyed by the Persian king Cyrus after Croesus misread the Oracle of Delphi’s prediction about a great empire falling if Croesus attacked them. It was Croesus’s empire.
  • In 546 the city fell to Cyrus when Cyrus’s army spotted a weakness in the cliff walls.
  • In 214 BC the city itself was taken by surprise attacks from Antiochus the Great (the father of the “little horn” in Daniel 7), once again literally by a thief in the night sneaking up the walls.

Given to the Romans in 133 BC, it flourished. By this time it had lost political prestige and power, but not wealth. It was still a major town on trade routes, famous for gold, silver, and precious stones. It did not lead to the moral betterment of the people.
“Even on pagan lips, Sardis was a name of contempt. Its people were notoriously loose living, notoriously pleasure-and luxury loving. Sardis was a city of the decadence.”[4]
In 17 AD, it was leveled by an earthquake. Tiberius helped rebuild, and that’s when the cult of emperor worship kicked Cybele out. However, Sardis also had a large Jewish community with which they lived in apparent harmony. The Jews would later build a synagogue the length of a football field, one of the largest in ancient times. Apparently, Sardis got along with Christians just fine also.[5] With this background in mind, let’s read Revelation 3:1-6 (The Voice).

The One: Write down My words, and send them to the messenger of the church in Sardis. “These are the words of the One who has the seven Spirits of God[6] and the One who holds the seven stars[7]: “I know the things you do—you’ve claimed a reputation of life, but you are actually dead.[8] Wake up from your death-sleep, and strengthen what remains of the life you have been given that is in danger of death. I have judged your deeds as far from complete in the sight of My God. Therefore, remember what you have received and heard; it’s time to keep these instructions and turn back from your ways. If you do not wake up from this sleep, I will come in judgment. I will creep up on you like a thief—you will have no way of knowing when I will come.[9]
But there are a few names[10] in Sardis who don’t have the stain of evil works on their clothes. These people will walk alongside Me in white, spotless garments because they have been proven worthy. “The one who conquers through faithfulness even unto death will be clothed in white garments,[11] and I will certainly not erase that person’s name from the book of life.[12] I will acknowledge this person’s name before My Father and before His heavenly messengers.[13] 6 “Let the person who is able to hear, listen to and follow what the Spirit proclaims to all the churches.”


It would appear that Sardis was unique among the seven churches in that it was not facing any of the persecution of the other congregations. They were apparently active,[14] but, much like the city, they were coasting of past achievements, indulging in pleasure and luxury, thinking they had built the church on a spiritually safe acropolis when actually they were living in the necropolis.[15]

The Church of Sardis was busy, but not alive. There’s no “seat” or “temple” of Satan here; Satan didn’t need to attack. The church wasn't alive enough for the culture to care that it was there; their neighbors weren’t excited or offended. A lack of being counter-cultural, a lack of recognizing threats, and a lack of seeing the need to be salt and light had left it at peace, but it was “the peace of the dead.”[16]

Think of starlight. When you see the Big Dipper, you are looking at light that began its journey earthward over a century ago. It is possible that some of those stars no longer exist. A star might be dead while the light we see makes it look alive. This was the church in Sardis. [17] For the Christians in Sardis, the call to overcome and remain faithful to the end was not a call to resist a harsh attack from outside the church. It was a call to resist something far more subtle: the spiritual complacency and self-righteousness that too easily follows luxury, comfort, ease. They had become what Jesus applied to the Scribes and Pharisees in Matthew 23:27-28:

“You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside, are full of dead men’s bones and everything unclean….on the outside you appear to people as righteous, but inside, you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.”

What characterizes the Living Dead? I confess I’m pulling from zombie tropes now, but I think they actually make some sense. For centuries, entire cultures have told stories about what the Living Dead are like. They understand the horror of it.

  • They follow their bodily appetites above all else. A fruit of the Spirit is self-control.[18] This is not present for those who are full of death and not life. In an indulgent town like Sardis, that would be a common problem in line with the Nicolaitan problem we’ve seen already that plagued almost all the churches in Revelation so far. “How do I meet my needs?” is the #1 question.
  • They are the ultimate consumers. It is all take and no give. There is no sense in which they live for others – and when it appears that they are, you can be sure it’s going to benefit them. What feeds me? What satisfies me? What will I get out of this? You scratch by back and…then scratch it again. It’s the exact opposite of the covenantal approach to life a Christian should have.
  • They are never satisfied. Spiritually, it’s “always learning but never able to come to the truth.” (2 Timothy 3:7) It’s always hungry and thirsty without Jesus (John 6:35) C.S. Lewis described it this way in The Screwtape Letters: “An ever increasing craving for and ever diminishing pleasure is the formula...to get a man's soul and give him nothing in return.” And the dissatisfaction is never seen as a sign that might be asking too much of material pleasures; it’s seen as a sign they just aren’t trying hard enough.
  • They are totally unaware of their impact on others. They have no idea the chaos and pain their relentless self-centeredness leave behind them. They never look in the rearview mirror. They never ask how others experience them. They never enter into biblical accountability. They never speculate about the ripple effect of what they have done. 
  • They fit in with the crowd. The culture doesn’t attack them because they fit in. And this was the problem in Sardis. They fit in. They had traded the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped the creature side of the world more than the Creator.[19] They loved the Beast more than the Lamb.

However, there is Good News (as there always is):

You were dead because of your sins and because your sinful nature was not yet cut away. Then God made you alive with Christ, for he forgave all our sins.” (Colossians 2:13)

“Even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved! (Ephesians 2:5)

We see this at work as the history of Sardis unfolded. We have sermons from Melito, bishop of Sardis in the second century; representatives from Sardis attended the First Council of Nicaea (325), Council of Ephesus (431).[20] So the church did not wither away.

How did those embers of life fan into flame? Well, the work of Jesus, of course. That’s the foundation. Unless he builds the house, we labor in vain.[21] But Sardis receives some clear instruction on what God expects of them as well.

Wake up and keep watching. Scott Daniels,[22] when asked by a friend how he was doing spiritually, responded, “I'm doing okay. I mean, I think God and I are just fine, I would say we are just coasting along through life together.” His friend replied, “I will really be praying for you, Scott, because I'm sure you are aware, there is only one direction a person will coast."

It is too easy to think we have built unassailable spiritual fortresses when we don’t. It can be too easy to only resist the frontal assaults and miss the thief sneaking in to kill and destroy. I am far less concerned about the times culture blatantly promotes sin than I am about the times it just subtly blends into the background and becomes part of the moral ecosystem that nurtures us. Here’s how subtle sins work:[23]

  • “Who wants to join me in a murder?” Hard pass. The spiritual fortress is solid. “Who want to join me in expressing how much we loathe Person X on social media?” I’m in! The spiritual fortress is breached.[24] 
  • “I can’t sleep with you; I’m married.” Spiritual fortress is solid. “Listen, porn is just not a big deal. It’s normal, and nobody gets hurt.” Spiritual fortress breached.[25] 
  • “I won’t take revenge on you even though you hurt me; vengeance belongs to God.” Spiritual fortress is solid. “But I sure hope somebody does and I hope it hurts you like it hurt me!” Spiritual fortress is breached. (Matthew 5:38)
  • A healthy sense of self-worth… subtly becomes pride. 
  • Enjoying the material luxuries around us… becomes materialism.
  • Righteous discernment… morphs into unrighteous judgment.
  • A good track record of not stealing physical things… blinds us to our theft of intangible things (like purity or innocence).
  • Being a good steward of money… becomes greed. 
  • A desire for seeing people held accountable/responsible… becomes unforgiveness.
  • Wishing you could have some of the success people around you have (which can be a good motivator)… becomes envy (they actually don’t deserve it and I do.)
  • Trying to connect the dots to better understand the actions and motivations of a public figure… becomes slander based on rumor and innuendo, 
  • The gift of persuasion… turns into the art of manipulation.
  • A love of direct honesty… becomes an excuse for harshness.
  • Being responsible with what you have been given… being selfish with what you have been given. 

It’s subtle. We have to wake up and keep watching to see the thief sneaking into our city. This is what we pray for – revival, a renewing of our hearts and minds that begin with Holy Spirit clarity.

Strengthen what remains.  How many movies have a boxer or a policeman or doctor who made a terrible error, and they become just a shell of themselves. Then somebody swoops in and revives what’s left, usually to a montage of scenes while “Eye Of The Tiger” plays in the background. Or “My Heart Will Go On.” That’s the idea here. This is what we pray for: the embers of our righteousness fanned to life by the Holy Spirit.

Remember what you received and heard. The teaching of the gospel message and apostles is a point of reference for past, present, and future faith. The fundamental foundations of the gospel of Jesus Christ cannot be forgotten. There is no replacement for orthodoxy (right belief) with a foundation of biblical truth on which we build our lives. This is what we pray for: that we not only learn but long to learn, and that we always remember Gospel truth.

Repent and keep the instructions. From orthodoxy (right teaching) comes orthopraxy (right action) and orthopathy (right emotions). The church is the chosen instrument of God to expand his kingdom through the person and work of Jesus, by the power of the Holy Spirit, on the foundation of biblical truth, represented by His ambassadors, His children. This is what we pray for: faithful and consistent endurance. When we are faithful to endure until the end, a reward awaits: full fellowship with God, purified and renewed in ways we can’t imagine, with our name secured for eternity. 

NEXT POST: http://empiresandmangers.blogspot.com/2024/04/children-of-dragon-children-of-lamb-7.html

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[1] Plato recorded that Gyges gained power with the help of a magical ring that made him invisible. #Lordoftherings
[2] “The word of Yahweh came to me: ‘Mortal, set your face toward Gog, of the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal. Prophesy against him and say: Thus says the Lord God: I am against you, O Gog, chief prince of Meshech and Tubal.’” (Ezekiel 38:1–3)
[3] “It is of interest to note that the first coinage ever to be minted in Asia Minor was minted in Sardis in the days of Croesus. These roughly formed electrum staters were the beginning of money in the modern sense of the term. Sardis was the place where modern money was born.” (Barclay)
[4] Biblical Sites In Turkey: Sardis. https://www.meandertravel.com/biblical_asia_minor/biblical_asia_minor.php?details=sardis
[5] Hat tip to NIV Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible for good background info.
[6] A repetition of Revelation 1:4. See also Revelation 4:5 and 5:6. Note the 7-fold Spirit in Isaiah 11:2 and compare the seven lamps and seven eyes of Zechariah (Zechariah 3:9; Zechariah 4:2; Zechariah 4:10), “the symbols of eternal light and all embracing knowledge” (Ellicott’s Commentary For English Readers). 7 Is a symbol for completion.
[7] A repetition of Revelation 1:20 in which they are identified as angels.
[8] From nekros, which is also the root word for Sardis’s famous necropolis.
[9] “Here the reference is not to Christ’s second coming (cf. 16:15; 1 Thess. 5:2; 2 Pet. 3:10), but to His sudden and unexpected coming to His unrepentant, dead church to inflict harm and destruction.” (NKJV MacArthur Study Bible) I think I would rephrase the reason as purification.
[10] “3686 ónoma – name; (figuratively) the manifestation or revelation of someone's character, i.e. as distinguishing them from all others.” (HELPS Word Studies)
[11] White clothing stood for purity, righteousness, and sanctification (Ps. 51:7; Is. 1:18; Rev. 7:14; 19:14). “This image is rooted in Old Testament purity laws. The priests and the people wore white robes on the Day of Atonement according to Jewish tradition….God also wears a white robe in Da 7:9. The “soiled” clothing of those in Sardis is likely rooted in the imagery of Zechariah (see Zec 3:1–3). In a Greco-Roman context, white robes were often worn by the emperor and by athletic victors.” (NIV First Century Study Bible)
[12] Cities in Asia Minor had citizen-registers; in an earlier period Sardis was known for its royal archives. In some cities, names of errant citizens were deleted from the register immediately prior to their execution. (NIV Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible) A divine ledger is first mentioned in Ex 32:32–33 (see note on Ps 69:28; cf. Da 12:1). It was a register of all citizens in the kingdom community. To have one’s name erased from this book would indicate loss of citizenship (see 13:8; 17:8; 20:12, 15; 21:27; Philippians 4:3). (NIV Case For Christ Study Bible) See also Revelation 20:12–15; 21:27. “The names of sinners are also blotted out of the book of life in…1 Enoch 108:3.” (NIV First Century Study Bible)
[13] This resembles what Jesus said in Matthew 10:32: “Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven.” Luke 12:8 substituted “the angels of God” for “my Father in heaven.”
[14] “We are not to get the impression that Sardis was a defunct affair with the building a wreck, the members scattered, the pastor ready to resign. It was a busy church with meetings every night, committees galore, wheels within wheels, promotion and publicity, something going on all the time.” (Vance Havner)
[15] Hat Tip Seven Deadly Spirits: The Message of Revelation’s Letters for Today's Church, by T. Scott Daniels, for offering good perspective on which I have built.
[16] William Barclay
[17] HT to “Sardis: Warning To A Dead Church” by Andrew Davis for this illustration.
https://twojourneys.org/sermon/sardis-warning-to-a-dead-church-revelation-sermon-6-of-49/
[18] Galatians 5:22-23
[19] Romans 1:25
[20] Biblical Sites In Turkey: Sardis. https://www.meandertravel.com/biblical_asia_minor/biblical_asia_minor.php?details=sardis
[21] Psalm 127:1
[22] Seven Deadly Spirits: The Message of Revelation’s Letters for Today's Church, T. Scott Daniels
[23] “What Exactly Are Subtle Sins? ”http://www.amyfound.org/a_discipled_nation/downloads/oss.pdf
[24] See how Jesus connects murder and hatred in Matthew 5:21-22.
[25] See how Jesus connects adultery and lust in Matthew 5:27-28.

Saturday, April 20, 2024

Children of the Dragon, Children of the Lamb #5: Thyatira's 'Buy In To Fit In.' (Revelation 2:18-23)

As we enter another highly charged political year, I have been thinking how much the book of Revelation has to offer in terms of casting a discerning eye on how the forces of empires (symbolized by Rome/Babylon) challenge the faith and ethics of the Kingdom of God. To really understand the political broadside John offers in this apocalypse ("unveiling") will take some time. I found the journey to be worth it. I hope you do too. 

Previous Post: http://empiresandmangers.blogspot.com/2024/04/children-of-dragon-children-of-lamb_15.html

* * * * * *
Write down My words, and send them to the messenger of the church in Thyatira. “These are the words of the Son of God,[1] the One whose eyes blaze like flames of fire[2] and whose feet gleam like brightly polished bronze: “I know your deeds: love, faithfulness, service, and endurance. Your labors greatly increase in quality as you travel along this journey.
A period of great prosperity was beginning for Thyatira. There were more trade-guilds in Thyatira than in any other Asian city at that time: wool and linen workers, garment manufacturers, tanners, potters, bakers, slave dealers, and bronze smiths.[3]

In a town known for its work, the church was known for its deeds: love that expresses itself in serving others, and faithfulness that has expressed itself in endurance. That’s a fantastic reputation. They are nailing the orthopraxy (righteous actions). The problem is their foundational orthodoxy (righteous teaching/belief). That’s going to need to stabilize, because a shaky foundation cannot sustain even the best deeds. John is going to make this point by referencing the presence of a Jezebel (likely not her real name) in their church. Here’s the backstory of Jezebel.

Monday, April 15, 2024

Children of the Dragon, Children of the Lamb #4: The Rotunda In Washington DC Looks A Lot Like Rome (Lessons From Smyrna)

As we enter another highly charged political year, I have been thinking how much the book of Revelation has to offer in terms of casting a discerning eye on how the forces of empires (symbolized by Rome/Babylon) challenge the faith and ethics of the Kingdom of God. To really understand the political broadside John offers in this apocalypse ("unveiling") will take some time. I found the journey to be worth it. I hope you do too. 

Previous Post 
http://empiresandmangers.blogspot.com/2024/04/children-of-dragon-children-of-lamb_12.html

* * * * *

When John was recording his revelation, Smyrna had a reputation as the “Glory of Asia.” That was not always the case. The Lydians destroyed Smyrna in 600 BC; for four hundred years there was no “city,” just scattered villages in the area, yet records show people still talked about Smyrna as a place. The city was restored in 290 BC. Some ancient writers compared the city with the mythical phoenix, a symbol of resurrection. Others literally recorded Smyrna as a city that was dead and yet lived.[1]

Smyrna was famous for (among other things) fantastic architecture and town planning. You can still walk on spectacular streets that ran from one end of the city to the other. The most famous was called the Golden Street.[2] Apollonius referred to a “crown of porticoes,” a circle of beautiful public buildings that ringed the summit of Mount Pagos.[3] Smyrna was often depicted on coins as a seated woman, with a crown patterned after the buildings on the mountain[4] and a necklace representing the Golden Street.[5]

Because Rome had helped them so much in coming back to life, Smyrna proved to be incredibly loyal. At one point, the citizens literally stripped down and shipped their clothes to a desperate Roman army. When their request to build a temple to the Roman Emperor Tiberius was granted, Smyrna became a notable “temple-warden” of the imperial cult.

By the time of Domitian, emperor worship was mandatory. Burning incense and saying “Caesar is Lord” earned a certificate such as this one: “We, the representatives of the Emperor, Serenos and Hermas, have seen you sacrificing.” Then, you could go worship any god you wanted. This also gave you a “mark” that opened up the economy for you. If you did not do this, you were a disloyal citizen at best and a traitorous outlaw at worst.[6]

Friday, April 12, 2024

Children of the Dragon, Children of the Lamb #3: Bullied by Power and Seduced by Pleasure In Ephesus (Part Three)

As we enter another highly charged political year, I have been thinking how much the book of Revelation has to offer in terms of casting a discerning eye on how the forces of empires (symbolized by Rome/Babylon) challenge the faith and ethics of the Kingdom of God. To really understand the political broadside John offers in this apocalypse ("unveiling") will take some time. I found the journey to be worth it. I hope you do too. 


* * * * *

EPHESUS: Bullied by Power and Seduced by Pleasure

We are told to obey the prophecy of Revelation (1:3) – and how do you obey a prophecy? Well, prophecy in the Bible is usually (like, 85% of the time) a revelation of who God is, what God desires, and what God demands of us rather than a discussion of the future. So think of Revelation primarily (though not exclusively) as a handbook for Christian living in challenging times, with an ending to human history in which the supremacy of Christ is made clear.[1] Revelation is meant to strengthen our faith that God is with us now in our trials, and that He will one day end the groaning of a sin-soaked world and usher in a New Heaven and a New Earth.

I think we typically focus on the apocalyptic stuff in Revelation when we think of the book, but that’s not how it starts. It starts with personal letters to churches acknowledging their hardship, commending or correcting them as needed, and pointing them toward the goodness of what God offers them in His Kingdom. Then, John gives an artist’s illustration of all the dynamics referenced in the letter.

If you have seen or read A Monster Calls or I Kill Giants,[2] you know how this works. They are stories about grief. Part of the movie is ‘real world’ conflict, but the story quickly bumps into an imaginative fantasy world with giants and monsters in which the same story unfolds in a way that captures our imaginations along with our hearts.

So we are going to move through the letters, but I will try to bring in the artist’s illustrations as we go along.

Thursday, April 11, 2024

Children of the Dragon, Children of the Lamb #2: The City Where Satan Has His Throne (Revelation 2:12-17)

As we enter another highly charged political year, I have been thinking how much the book of Revelation has to offer in terms of casting a discerning eye on how the forces of empires (symbolized by Rome/Babylon) challenge the faith and ethics of the Kingdom of God. To really understand the political broadside John offers in this apocalypse ("unveiling") will take some time. I found the journey to be worth it. I hope you do too.