This is the sort of resort
That provides a view
And an escape
Where your needs
are met by the staff
A star for the location
A star for peace
A star for the food
A star for the staff
A star because it does it all
You are safe from the residents
And unsightly poverty
That could ruin your time.
How this resort elevates this place!
This is the sort of church
That gives you a view
And an escape
Where you needs
Are met by the staff
A star for the campus
A star for the speaker
A star for the music
A star for the programs
A star to make a difference.
You are safe from the world
And its strife
And those who have fallen
Into poverty, addiction and despair.
How this church elevates this place?
After this I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands.
There was a time when church growth consultants were saying that it is necessary for churches to be mono-cultural so people will feel comfortable, so the church can grow. We also were supposed to need one parking place for every 1.75 attenders. This whole “homogenous unit principle” has been largely debunked by the evidence. But well before the bean counters got into the fray, we should have read the book to see what the church is supposed to be.
I take Revelation 7 as a picture of the church in the struggle (the 144,000 is to me a symbolic number – 12 x 12 x 10 cubed. ) followed by a picture of the church after the battle before the throne of God. the tribulation includes the times of the church that have seen all the distress of the Four Horsemen (Rev 6:1ff). but it also includes the “Great Tribulation” of the last days, when evil flows undiluted through the earth.
At any rate, the church is not a euro-centric entity, nor is it mono-cultural, nor is it made up of one social class, nor of one education level. So if we want to have a little taste of heaven when we worship, we should eschew homogeneity.
There is a lot of deep Christology in Revelation, and particularly in the first chapter. Some thoughts:
- the Revelation of Jesus Christ – this book certainly reveals much about Jesus, is it also a revelation from him (and I can never remember the subjective from the objective genitive). v.1
- A summary of his life and work – v. 4-7: witness (teacher), savior/victor (firstborn of the dead), king to come (ruler of kings); sacrifice (freed us from our sins by his blood), lord of church (made us a kingdom of priests), departed to return again (he is coming…).
- His “physical description” is taken up in parts in the later letters, to wit
- Ephesus – lampstand (1:12)
- Smyrna – life (1:17)
- Pergamum – sword/truth (1:16)
- Thyatira – eyes/feet (1:15) – the judge who sees all, are bronze feet swift? strong?
- Sardis – seven spirits and seven stars (1:16,20)
- Philadelphia – key (1:16)
- Laodicea – beginning/firstborn (1:5)
- Since the letters to the churches are issued individually, but they are given the tag: ‘…hear what the Spirit says to the churches”. The message to the church is unified in Christ and relevent to all by our union with Christ.
- the value of the above is that 1. The letters are relevant to us bc the Lord is the source of the messages and he does not change. 2. They are more about Christ than a supposed history of the church (dividing the church age into 7 periods that correspond to the strengths and weaknesses of the 7 churches.)
- Laodicea seems to point forward to Chapter 4,5 more than backward to Chapter 1 (door, throne(s))
- The works of God are undivided – He who sits on the Throne (the Father), and the Lord/Lamb/he who walks among the lamp stands and the Spirit/7 spirits work seamlessly and undividedly.
- Jesus has the keys to the kingdom and we are all priests – looks like the Lutheran/reformed view here.