12 December 2017 Bible Reading
Today’s reading in Revelation concludes our study of the letters to the churches.
Jesus opens his message to the church in Philadelphia, calling himself the holy one and true one. However, He adds that he has the key of David. This is an addition to the symbols used in the first chapter of Revelation. This image comes from Isaiah 22:20-23 where the key represents authority over the kingdom:
Then it shall be in that Day, that I will call My servant Eliakim the son of Hilkiah; I will clothe him with your robe and strengthen him with your belt; I will commit your responsibility into his hand. He shall be a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem and to the house of Judah. The key of the house of David I will lay on his shoulder; so he shall open, and no one shall shut; and he shall shut, and no one shall open. I will fasten him as a peg in a secure place, and he will become a glorious throne to his father’s house.
As a symbol of authority, the key of David was laid on the shoulder of Eliakim. He controlled access to King Hezekiah and made decisions in his name. Jesus is the promised king Who will rule from the throne of David. The angel Gabriel confirmed this in Luke 1:32:
He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David.
Christ has complete authority concerning his kingdom. If he opens doors, then those doors stay open. If he closes doors, then those doors stay closed. Jesus holds power over salvation and judgment. This imagery will be important in Christ’s message to the church in Philadelphia.
The image of the pillar in the temple symbolizes security and permanence in God’s kingdom.
Jesus writing a new name on a follower symbolizes ownership.
7 Thus the Lord Yahweh showed me: and behold, he formed locusts in the beginning of the shooting up of the latter growth; and behold, it was the latter growth after the king’s harvest. 2 When they finished eating the grass of the land, then I said, “Lord Yahweh, forgive, I beg you! How could Jacob stand? For he is small.”
3 Yahweh relented concerning this. “It shall not be,” says Yahweh.
4 Thus the Lord Yahweh showed me and behold, the Lord Yahweh called for judgment by fire; and it dried up the great deep, and would have devoured the land. 5 Then I said, “Lord Yahweh, stop, I beg you! How could Jacob stand? For he is small.”
6 Yahweh relented concerning this. “This also shall not be,” says the Lord Yahweh.
7 Thus he showed me and behold, the Lord stood beside a wall made by a plumb line, with a plumb line in his hand. 8 Yahweh said to me, “Amos, what do you see?”
I said, “A plumb line.”
Then the Lord said, “Behold, I will set a plumb line in the middle of my people Israel. I will not again pass by them any more. 9 The high places of Isaac will be desolate, the sanctuaries of Israel will be laid waste; and I will rise against the house of Jeroboam with the sword.”
10 Then Amaziah the priest of Bethel sent to Jeroboam king of Israel, saying, “Amos has conspired against you in the middle of the house of Israel. The land is not able to bear all his words. 11 For Amos says, ‘Jeroboam will die by the sword, and Israel shall surely be led away captive out of his land.’”
12 Amaziah also said to Amos, “You seer, go, flee away into the land of Judah, and there eat bread, and prophesy there: 13 but don’t prophesy again any more at Bethel; for it is the king’s sanctuary, and it is a royal house!”
14 Then Amos answered Amaziah, “I was no prophet, neither was I a prophet’s son; but I was a herdsman, and a farmer of sycamore figs; 15 and Yahweh took me from following the flock, and Yahweh said to me, ‘Go, prophesy to my people Israel.’ 16 Now therefore listen to Yahweh’s word: ‘You say, Don’t prophesy against Israel, and don’t preach against the house of Isaac.’ 17 Therefore Yahweh says: ‘Your wife shall be a prostitute in the city, and your sons and your daughters shall fall by the sword, and your land shall be divided by line; and you yourself shall die in a land that is unclean, and Israel shall surely be led away captive out of his land.’”
8 Thus the Lord Yahweh showed me: behold, a basket of summer fruit.
2 He said, “Amos, what do you see?”
I said, “A basket of summer fruit.”
Then Yahweh said to me,
“The end has come on my people Israel.
I will not again pass by them any more.
3 The songs of the temple will be wailings in that day,” says the Lord Yahweh.
“The dead bodies will be many. In every place they will throw them out with silence.
4 Hear this, you who desire to swallow up the needy,
and cause the poor of the land to fail,
5 Saying, ‘When will the new moon be gone, that we may sell grain?
And the Sabbath, that we may market wheat,
making the ephah small, and the shekel large,
and dealing falsely with balances of deceit;
6 that we may buy the poor for silver,
and the needy for a pair of shoes,
and sell the sweepings with the wheat?’”
7 Yahweh has sworn by the pride of Jacob,
“Surely I will never forget any of their works.
8 Won’t the land tremble for this,
and everyone mourn who dwells in it?
Yes, it will rise up wholly like the River;
and it will be stirred up and sink again, like the River of Egypt.
9 It will happen in that day,” says the Lord Yahweh,
“that I will cause the sun to go down at noon,
and I will darken the earth in the clear day.
10 I will turn your feasts into mourning,
and all your songs into lamentation;
and I will make you wear sackcloth on all your bodies,
and baldness on every head.
I will make it like the mourning for an only son,
and its end like a bitter day.
11 Behold, the days come,” says the Lord Yahweh,
“that I will send a famine in the land,
not a famine of bread,
nor a thirst for water,
but of hearing Yahweh’s words.
12 They will wander from sea to sea,
and from the north even to the east;
they will run back and forth to seek Yahweh’s word,
and will not find it.
13 In that day the beautiful virgins
and the young men will faint for thirst.
14 Those who swear by the sin of Samaria,
and say, ‘As your god, Dan, lives;’
and, ‘As the way of Beersheba lives;’
they will fall, and never rise up again.”
9 I saw the Lord standing beside the altar, and he said, “Strike the tops of the pillars, that the thresholds may shake; and break them in pieces on the head of all of them; and I will kill the last of them with the sword: there shall not one of them flee away, and there shall not one of them escape. 2 Though they dig into Sheol, there my hand will take them; and though they climb up to heaven, there I will bring them down. 3 Though they hide themselves in the top of Carmel, I will search and take them out there; and though they be hidden from my sight in the bottom of the sea, there I will command the serpent, and it will bite them. 4 Though they go into captivity before their enemies, there I will command the sword, and it will kill them. I will set my eyes on them for evil, and not for good. 5 For the Lord, Yahweh of Armies, is he who touches the land and it melts, and all who dwell in it will mourn; and it will rise up wholly like the River, and will sink again, like the River of Egypt. 6 It is he who builds his rooms in the heavens, and has founded his vault on the earth; he who calls for the waters of the sea, and pours them out on the surface of the earth; Yahweh is his name. 7 Are you not like the children of the Ethiopians to me, children of Israel?” says Yahweh. “Haven’t I brought up Israel out of the land of Egypt, and the Philistines from Caphtor, and the Syrians from Kir? 8 Behold, the eyes of the Lord Yahweh are on the sinful kingdom, and I will destroy it from off the surface of the earth; except that I will not utterly destroy the house of Jacob,” says Yahweh. 9 “For, behold, I will command, and I will sift the house of Israel among all the nations, as grain is sifted in a sieve, yet not the least kernel will fall on the earth. 10 All the sinners of my people will die by the sword, who say, ‘Evil won’t overtake nor meet us.’ 11 In that day I will raise up the tent of David who is fallen, and close up its breaches, and I will raise up its ruins, and I will build it as in the days of old; 12 that they may possess the remnant of Edom, and all the nations who are called by my name,” says Yahweh who does this.
13 “Behold, the days come,” says Yahweh,
“that the plowman shall overtake the reaper,
and the one treading grapes him who sows seed;
and sweet wine will drip from the mountains,
and flow from the hills.
14 I will bring my people Israel back from captivity,
and they will rebuild the ruined cities, and inhabit them;
and they will plant vineyards, and drink wine from them.
They shall also make gardens,
and eat their fruit.
15 I will plant them on their land,
and they will no more be plucked up out of their land which I have given them,”
says Yahweh your God.
7 “To the angel of the assembly in Philadelphia write:
“He who is holy, he who is true, he who has the key of David, he who opens and no one can shut, and who shuts and no one opens, says these things:
8 “I know your works (behold, I have set before you an open door, which no one can shut), that you have a little power, and kept my word, and didn’t deny my name. 9 Behold, I give some of the synagogue of Satan, of those who say they are Jews, and they are not, but lie. Behold, I will make them to come and worship before your feet, and to know that I have loved you. 10 Because you kept my command to endure, I also will keep you from the hour of testing, which is to come on the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth. 11 I am coming quickly! Hold firmly that which you have, so that no one takes your crown. 12 He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of my God, and he will go out from there no more. I will write on him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from my God, and my own new name. 13 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the assemblies.
14 “To the angel of the assembly in Laodicea write:
“The Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Head of God’s creation, says these things:
15 “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were cold or hot. 16 So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will vomit you out of my mouth. 17 Because you say, ‘I am rich, and have gotten riches, and have need of nothing;’ and don’t know that you are the wretched one, miserable, poor, blind, and naked; 18 I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, that you may become rich; and white garments, that you may clothe yourself, and that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and eye salve to anoint your eyes, that you may see. 19 As many as I love, I reprove and chasten. Be zealous therefore, and repent. 20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, then I will come in to him, and will dine with him, and he with me. 21 He who overcomes, I will give to him to sit down with me on my throne, as I also overcame, and sat down with my Father on his throne. 22 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the assemblies.”
131 Yahweh, my heart isn’t haughty, nor my eyes lofty;
nor do I concern myself with great matters,
or things too wonderful for me.
2 Surely I have stilled and quieted my soul,
like a weaned child with his mother,
like a weaned child is my soul within me.
3 Israel, hope in Yahweh,
from this time forward and forever more.
23 A man’s pride brings him low,
but one of lowly spirit gains honor.