Day 359: John's Apocalypse

THE REVELATION TO JOHN (THE APOCALYPSE)

AUTHOR:

  • Revelation refers to "John" as the author four different times (cf. 1:1, 4, 9; 22:8), and it is mentioned that the author received the revelation while exiled on the island of Patmos (cf. 1:9).

  • This author has long been identified as St. John the Apostle, author of the fourth Gospel, and there is much support for that belief among the early Church Fathers and historians.

  • By the third century, discrepancies in the style of the Greek language employed in Revelation compared to St. John's Gospel led some to posit that the two works were not by the same author.

  • Such doubts led perhaps to Revelation becoming the last to receive universal acceptance as a canonical text, particularly among the Eastern Fathers.

  • No alternate theory, however, has provided enough evidence to definitively overcome the idea that St. John is indeed its visionary and writer.

DATE:

  • Most scholars, siding with St. Irenæus, date the writing of Revelation during St. John's exile on Patmos, about AD 95-96, an era when persecution of the Church under the Emperor Domitian was near its pinnacle.

  • A minority believes it is an earlier work written during the persecutions under Emperor Nero between AD 64 and 68.

  • A clue giving credence to the later date is the use of the term "the Lord's day" (1:10) to indicate Sunday, the day of Christian worship, as it was only after AD 70 that this term came into use.

AUDIENCE:

  • The Book of Revelation is addressed to the "seven churches that are in Asia" (1:4): Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea.

  • These are the churches of Asia Minor within the territory where St. John the Apostle is said to have ministered after he had left Jerusalem and again after his exile at Patmos.

  • Although these specific churches are named, scholars believe they are symbolic of the entire Church, as the number seven in Scripture symbolizes completion or perfection.

MAIN THEMES:

  • Revelation belongs to the category of apocalyptic literature, and its literary devices, symbolic language, and imagery make it difficult to interpret.

  • Directed toward a people suffering persecution, its message ultimately was one of hope and encouragement to persevere because the present trials and tribulations will pass, and justice and righteousness will prevail in the end.

  • This message is still applicable today since we know Christ will ultimately vanquish all evil and draw his faithful people into God's heavenly kingdom.

  • The complexity of the book lends itself to several layers of interpretation.

  • It can be seen as a reflection of the historical challenges facing the Church at the end of the first century and a reassurance to the persecuted Christians that their Roman persecutors and their emperor, who claimed divinity for himself, would not reign for long.

  • It can also be interpreted as taking a longer view of Church history, both in the past and the future, showing how the Church of the New Covenant will prosper in the wake of the definitive end of the Old Covenant.

  • It can be read as symbolic of all salvation history or simply of the struggles between good and evil that will face the Church in every age; and it can be viewed as a prophecy of the end of time, the Second Coming of Christ, and the events that must take place.

  • The Book of Revelation is a mystery that leads to still greater mysteries, and as always it is best to read it in light of the authoritative teachings of the Church and the totality of Scripture and Tradition.


Revelation 1:1-9 The Book of Revelation, or the Apocalypse of John, is a mysterious work whose canonicity was debated in the early centuries of Christianity. However, it was accepted as canonical in Western churches by the mid-second century and in Eastern churches a few centuries later. The initial objection was the book's difficulty of interpretation and its use by certain heretical groups such as the Montanists to support their errant beliefs. John the Apostle has long been recognized as its author, and most scholars date the book to around AD 94-95. The introduction, written in the first person, identifies the Apostle John and makes reference to his exile on Isle of Patmos, an island off the coast of Greece. Scholars over the years have variously interpreted this book as pertaining primarily to the persecutions of the early Church, to the future history of the Church, or even to the end of the world and the Last Judgment; the dominant view today is that it applies to all three in various ways. The literary structure resembles the Mass, or Divine Liturgy, and so provides an allegorical depiction of the heavenly liturgy, the wedding feast of the Lamb. (CCC 1137-1139)

Ch 1:3 He who reads... those who hear: This suggests that the book was intended for public reading.


Prophecy: Like the Old Testament prophets, the author interpreted the "signs of the times" to reveal something about the future with the purpose of building up the faithful in the present. As is common in apocalyptic literature, this book uses symbolic language and imagery to give hope to the faithful in their present trials and to reveal God's glory and Providence. (CCC 101-104, 1100, 2642)

Ch 1:4-5 Seven churches: Seven is a number that represents perfection or completion. Although Revelation is addressed to seven particular communities, it is symbolically intended for the entire Church.


Him who is... to come: An elaboration of Yhwh, "I am who I am," that stresses God's eternal existence. The Church looks forward to and prays for Christ's return.


Seven spirits: This is a reference to the Holy Spirit and his seven gifts (wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety, fear of the Lord). Along with the subsequent mention of Christ, we see an affirmation of the Trinity.


first-born: Christ was the first to have his humanity glorified by Resurrection and his Ascension into Heaven. (CCC 206, 212, 1830-1831, 2854)

Ch 1:6 Made us a kingdom, priests: Every baptized person shares in Christ's high priesthood in the common priesthood of the faithful. This priesthood is exercised by taking part in Christ's mission as a priest, prophet, and king in accordance with each Christian's vocation and state in life. Additionally, some men are called to receive the Sacrament of Holy Orders by which they become part of the ministerial priesthood, whereby they act in the Person of Christ the Head (in persona Christi capitis). The ministerial priesthood and the common priesthood of the faithful although interrelated "differ from one another in essence and not only in degree" (LG 10). (CCC 786, 1548-1551, 1546-1547, 2855)

Ch 1:7 He is coming: A constant theme in this book is the exhortation to repentance in preparation for the return of Christ in glory not only in terms of the Last Judgment but also in the sense of rescuing the faithful from their tribulations. (CCC 2854)

Ch 1:8 Alpha... Omega: These first and last letters of the Greek alphabet indicate the eternity, sovereignty, and perfection of God. (CCC 198)


Ch 1:9-11 In the late first century, the Isle of Patmos was a place of exile, and John was sent there as punishment for preaching the Gospel. Although the letters are addressed to the seven churches, they are intended for every Christian community.


The Lord's day: Sunday, the day of Christian worship in commemoration of the Resurrection. (CCC 1166-1167)

Ch 1:12-20 The seven lampstands, which symbolize the prayers of the seven churches (i.e., the whole church), bring to mind the Jewish menorah, a candelabrum of seven candles used in the Temple. John's vision was of Christ, "one like a son of man" (cf. Dn 7:13), whose vestments symbolize his high priesthood. The lampstands and priestly vestments set the stage for Christ, the Eternal High Priest, whose priesthood is linked to our redemption. The seven stars in his right hand indicate the angels who watch over the seven churches. The angels may also refer to the seven bishops who were given charge over these churches. The living one: Christ, who was raised from the dead, lives forever. (CCC 612, 633, 662)

Ch 1:18 Keys of Death and Hades: Hades is a term for the underworld. Christ has full power over life and death—and has won victory over sin and the prince of darkness. We affirm this when we pray the final petition of the Lord's Prayer: "Deliver us from evil." (CCC 625, 633-635, 2854)

Ch 1:20 Angels: This may refer to the bishops of the seven churches who were to be the recipients of the seven letters. (CCC 334-336)

Ch 2:1-7 The letters to the seven churches reflect many of the same concerns addressed in other Epistles of the New Testament. Each of the churches experienced struggles to remain faithful to the Gospel and to resist the deceptive temptations of the pagan world. The first letter is addressed to the angel of the Church in Ephesus. Whether this referred to Timothy, the Bishop of Ephesus from AD 65 until his martyrdom in 80, or a bishop who succeeded him, the message was intended for all of the faithful in Ephesus as well as Christians in general. They were praised for their faithful endurance but were also urged to repent so as to recapture their original enthusiasm for the faith.


Nicolaitans: This heretical sect taught that Christ's salvation freed them from the moral law. They had a reputation for idolatry and sexual immorality. (CCC 401, 1429)

Ch 2:8-11 The message would have been received by St. Polycarp, a disciple of John, who was martyred around AD 155, or a bishop who preceded him. No reprimand is made, only a warning that the faithful of Smyrna would soon face persecution from some of the Jews whom he called the "synagogue of Satan." If they persevered to the end, however, they would gain Heaven ("the crown of life") and not face eternal damnation ("the second death"). (CCC 1014)

Ch 2:12-17 Pergamum was the site of a strong pagan cult of Zeus, and it seems that some Christians had accepted elements of pagan worship, which included eating food sacrificed to idols and the practice of sexual immorality as a form of religious worship. Others had become Nicolaitans. Both of these errors are rejected, and they are called to repentance.


Balaam: This Old Testament pagan prophet encouraged the sin of idolatry (cf. Nm 25:1-3).


The hidden manna: Christ, the Bread from Heaven, gives us his Body in the Eucharist.


A white stone... new name: White stones were a sign of acquittal in a trial and were also used to gain entrance to private gatherings.


A new name: This indicates a new identity in Christ. In later centuries, it became customary to receive a Christian name at the time of Baptism. (CCC 1025, 1429, 2159)

Ch 2:18-29 The Church in Thyatira had tolerated some who lived immorally; the Lord chastised the Church there for tolerating such offenses against the moral law. God had been patient in giving these individuals time to repent, but the time of judgment was close at hand.


Jezebel: This wife of King Ahab led the Israelites into sins of idolatry (cf. 1 Kgs 16:31).


As your works deserve: Christ will judge every human person according to what he or she has done.


Deep things of Satan: This is possibly a reference to the occult. Rod of iron: This is a reference to Psalm 2:9.


Morning star: The planet Venus is a symbol of victory; its mention here indicates the victory of Christ over death. The name is also popularly applied to Christ and to Mary. (CCC 631, 682)

Ch 3:1-6 In Sardis, some claimed to be Christian but did not live according to the teachings of Christ: "You have the name of being alive, and you are dead." Christ called them to repentance and warned that he would come to judge them unexpectedly.


Soiled their garments: Worn by the saints in Heaven (cf. Rev 6:11), the white garments symbolize purity. From the earliest days of the Church, it has been customary to robe the newly baptized in white garments; in this metaphor, the white robes of many in Sardis had become soiled due to their regression to their former, sinful ways.


Book of life: This is a list of the names of those who will be saved. (CCC 2706)

Ch 3:7-13 Because the Church in Philadelphia had remained faithful, the Jewish false teachers would be vanquished and the faithful rewarded. The "open door" refers both to the success of their efforts to spread the Gospel and of their accessible path to eternal life; it is controlled only by Christ and always in harmony with the will of God. Key of David: This is a symbol of power over the kingdom. (CCC 303, 2614)


2 Timothy 3:1-14 Paul warned of a coming time when some, who live without virtue and morals, would attempt to entice weaker believers into their own self-destructive ways, sometimes even in the name of religion. The errors and misdeeds of those who have fallen for these false teachers will be made apparent. (CCC 852, 1852, 2847)

Ch 3:15-17 In dealing with these issues, Paul encouraged Timothy to rely on the inspired books of Scripture in his teaching and pastoral work. At this point in time in the early Church, Sacred Scripture was comprised of the Old Testament. These books point the way to Christ and remain of great value to the Christian community. Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition form the basis of all Church teaching, and both are necessary for the fullest understanding of the Christian message. (CCC 105-108, 120-123, 128-130)

Ch 3:14-22 The relative affluence in Laodicea and a sense of self-sufficiency and comfort that comes from material wealth had made them "lukewarm," or indifferent toward the Faith. Christ knocks on the door, desiring to be invited in so as to achieve a close intimacy with his faithful. Christ promises that we who remain faithful will share in his everlasting reign over his kingdom.


Hour of trial: Persecutions and difficulties will test the faith of Christians; this refers at least in part to the persecutions of the late first century under the Emperor Domitian.


The Amen: This Hebrew word signals affirmation of what has been said. Here, it refers to Christ, through whom the New Covenant with God is fulfilled. Isaiah refers to "the God of truth [Amen]" (cf. Is 65:16). (CCC 1063-1065)


Ch 4:1-5 Because the threat of false or empty teaching was very real, Paul strongly urged Timothy to work tirelessly and confidently in catechizing his people, regardless of the setbacks or obstacles. (CCC 679, 854, 861)

Ch 4:6-8 Paul sensed the proximity of his own death. Therefore, he eagerly looked forward to his eternal reward.


On the point of being sacrificed: Another translation reads that he is "being poured out like a libation"; he saw his approaching death as a sacrifice.


Crown of righteousness: The prize for those who reach Heaven through the grace of God. "The way of perfection passes by way of the Cross," says the Catechism. "There is no holiness without renunciation and spiritual battle. . . . Spiritual progress entails the asceticism and mortification that gradually lead to living in the peace and joy of the Beatitudes." (CCC 162, 2015-2016, 2473)


Ch 4:9-22 Not all of Paul's disciples stayed true to the Faith, and it seems that no one testified on Paul's behalf at his first trial. The Lord was present there, however, and empowered Paul to speak in his own defense and the defense of the Gospel.


Linus: The first successor of Peter as head of the Church, or Pope, was a man named Linus; it is not clear if this is the same man. (CCC 2044-2045, 2466-2473, 2577)

Ch 4:17 Paul was grateful that his trial enabled him to bear witness to Christ in a pagan court, possibly touching a few hearts along the way. (CCC 2472)

(*The Didache Bible RSV-CE Ignatius Edition, 2006)

Key Event 68c: John's Apocalypse (Revelation)

The risen Jesus appears to John and directs him to write down seven prophetic messages to the churches of Asia Minor, along with a series of visions that reveal the present and future of God's people. Like other apocalyptic passages in the New Testament (e.g., Lk 21; 2 Thess 2), the visions foretell times of great trial for the Church and the world (see CCC 675-677) before Christ returns and establishes his kingdom. The book of Revelation concludes with a glorious vision of the Church, the Bride of the Lamb, the New Jerusalem, descending from heaven to dwell forever in the presence of God and the Lamb in a new creation.

  • Shall we go in reverse today?

  • It’s been a while since we’ve done that…

  • Let’s talk first about 2 Timothy

  • They’re just beautiful, these couple of things

  • Paul is encouraging his spiritual son, Timothy

  • He is reminding Timothy of the fact that suffering is going to be part of this

  • There are those who are going to OPPOSE YOU

  • And there are those who are going to FALL AWAY

  • He already wrote to Timothy about this and is now reminding him

  • IN FACT…

  • Even those HARD words, those SAD words in the middle of Ch 4 where St. Paul says, “Do your best to come to me soon.”

  • You can hear the ACHE in his voice

  • 2 Timothy 4:9-17, “Do your best to come to me soon. For Demas, in love with this present world, has deserted me and gone to Thessalonica; Crescens has gone to Galatia, Titus to Dalmatia. Luke alone is with me. Get Mark and bring him with you; for he is very useful in serving me…Alexander the coppersmith did me great harm…At my first defense no one took my part; all deserted me. May it not be charged against them! But the Lord stood by me and gave me strength…”

  • THAT IS SO IMPORTANT!!

  • We have to recognize that THIS IS OUR LOT

  • Right?

  • This is going to be our story AS WELL

  • There are people we are going to trust

  • There are people who are going to be our comrades in arms when it comes to following after the Lord

  • So we pray that we are not the ones who fall away

  • We pray that we are not the ones who betray

  • We just ask the Lord, “Please Lord God, help me not betray. But also when those friends, when those family, when those people in my life do fail me, help me also, like Paul, to be able to pray, ‘May it not be charged against them!’ Help me to forgive, to let it go.”

  • St. Paul also…two things to highlight

  • There are REALLY POWERFUL lines in Ch 3

  • St. Paul is writing to Timothy

  • 2 Timothy 3:14-15, “But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the Sacred Writings which are able to instruct you for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.”

  • Now, as St. Paul is writing about the Sacred Writings, he is talking about the Old Testament

  • THAT IS SO GOOD FOR US!!

  • All of us who have gone through the ENTIRE Old Testament-except for those last few verses in Proverbs Ch 31-we recognize that the ENTIRE Old Testament is pointing to the New

  • The New Testament is HIDDEN in the Old and the Old is REVEALED in the New

  • So Paul is writing to Timothy saying, “Yeah, you’ve been familiar with those. They have instructed you.”

  • 2 Timothy 3:16-17, “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.”

  • THAT IS JUST…

  • That’s one of the reasons why maybe, just maybe, in EIGHT DAYS, we are going to start BACK AT DAY 1 and take ONE MORE LAP AROUND the Bible in ANOTHER YEAR!! (I know I’m starting again, one more trip around the sun!! Who’s with meeeeeee???? CHHHHAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGGEEEEEEEE!!!!!! 🎺🏇🏇🏇😉)

  • BUT…

  • We also recognize that we PRAY that God doesn’t just help us to START WELL

  • BUT…

  • That he also helps us to FINISH WELL

  • 2 Timothy 4:7, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”

  • There is something so….Fr. Mike doesn't know if he even has words for it (Which is kinda shocking considering his rather extensive lexicon with all these Greek and Hebrew and Aramaic words he drops on us 🤔)

  • IT IS JUST SO POWERFUL

  • So we say, “God please let that be me. Let me not fall away from you. Let me not abandon you ever. EVER. And if I do, bring me back.”

  • WE KNOW THIS!!!

  • The Lord’s love for us NEVER FAILS

  • Even if we walk away from him, HE IS FAITHFUL

  • We heard that yesterday or the day before

  • Even if we are unfaithful, GOD IS ALWAYS FAITHFUL

  • Even if we don’t care about him, GOD CARES FOR US

  • Even if we say, “I reject your love,” that love of his for us NEVER WAIVERS EVER EVER

  • “So Lord, if we have walked away, if we have fallen away, bring us back. Bring us Home.”

  • So…

  • REVELATION!!!

  • A couple things…

  • This is maybe the one EVERYONE has been waiting for

  • Fr. Mike doesn't know if that is

  • Fr. Mike doesn’t know if you’ve been AFRAID of Revelation or EXCITED for Revelation

  • BUT…

  • A couple things about The Book of Revelation is that it is going to be a GREAT BOOK

  • It is A LOT like Daniel

  • It is A LOT like the other books of the prophets’ apocalyptic literature

  • There is A LOT of symbolism

  • FOR EXAMPLE…

  • It talks about the Number 10

  • When you hear the Number 10 in The Book of Revelation”there are 10 horns”

  • “There’s 10 days”

  • “For 10 years this is going to happen”

  • So just know that the Number 12 is a NUMBER OF FULLNESS

  • The Number 7 is a NUMBER OF SABBATH, THE NUMBER OF COVENANT

  • The Number 12 is also a NUMBER OF POWER and a NUMBER OF COMPLETENESS

  • The Number 10 is powerful but NOT ALL-POWERFUL

  • The Number 10 would be powerful BUT LIMITED

  • So that is some insight and a little clue that when we read the word 10 in The Book of Revelation that is what oftentimes, maybe even every time it is referencing

  • There is power there, it’s longlasting

  • BUT…

  • It is NOT lasting forever

  • It is NOT all-powerful

  • So it is LIMITED power

  • It is LIMITED time

  • Hopefully that makes sense!!

  • So let’s look at the DATING

  • So John says that he writes the book and the traditional belief is that John the Beloved Apostle wrote the Book of Revelation

  • This is a Revelation FROM Jesus Christ TO John so that he can pass it on to the Churches

  • We talked about SEVEN CHURCHES

  • The addressees of John’s Book of Revelation are these SEVEN CHURCHES in Asia

  • In these first three chapters we get to hear what is going on in those Churches

  • BUT…

  • Let’s back up and figure out the DATING of the Book of Revelation

  • There are two theories essentially

  • One theory is that the DATING of this book is from AD 90s

  • It is the end of John’s life

  • He is an old man at this point

  • He is writing The Book of Revelation during the era or age of the emperor Domitian

  • Another theory is that this is happening in AD 60-70s

  • So thirty plus years ahead of that time would be another theory and that would be under the time of Nero

  • A couple reasons that Fr. Mike prefers that it would come from the AD 60s, before the year AD 70

  • One is because when we get to the Number 666, everyone is afraid of the number 666, that is in HEBREW NUMEROLOGY a number indicating the name of Caesar Nero

  • All the letters have a number value so if you add those up, later on we are going to hear this and John said, “This is code, but if you’re smart enough you can figure this out. Because if I’m writing this during the time of Nero, it makes sense that I keep this a code so they don’t see me lambasting the emperor who wants to kill all these Christians in Rome.”

  • SO IT WOULD MAKE SENSE!!

  • There are also some variations that have the Number 616 and that still spells NERO, just in Latin

  • It makes a lot of sense that if it is happening during the persecution of Nero versus the persecution of Domitian

  • Also what makes sense is that Jesus said, “I’m coming soon. The end of the world is happening soon.”

  • IN FACT…

  • In the Gospels, Jesus prophesied that, “I’ll come back before all these things take place.”

  • Essentially the world will end

  • Before this generation ends, all these things will take place

  • So since Jesus prophesied this we’d say, “Wait a second! When did that happen?”

  • And if you remember in the year AD 70 Rome DESTROYED Jerusalem and the Temple

  • We have to understand HOW IMPORTANT the Temple was

  • Fr. Mike has emphasized this over the last 359 DAYS

  • BUT…

  • The Temple was EVERYTHING

  • IN FACT…

  • Remember when God showed Moses on the mountain the dimensions and building of the Temple, it was meant to be a little microcosm of the COSMOS

  • A microcosm of the WORLD

  • A microcosm of the UNIVERSE

  • THAT IS WHAT IT IS!!

  • So in the year AD 70 when the Romans came into Jerusalem and destroyed the Temple, what this is a prophecy is of is DESTROYING THE WORLD

  • Because the Temple is the EPICENTER not only of FINANCE or POLITICS of the Jewish people

  • It is the EPICENTER OF WORSHIP

  • It is the CENTER OF THE WORLD

  • It is a MICROCOSM OF THE WORLD

  • So Jesus is prophesying in Revelation and the Gospels, “Yeah the end of the world will happen in this generation.”

  • It makes sense that we would say that this would be written in the year AD 60 so John is prophesying and getting the people ready for the destruction of the Temple and the ransacking of Jerusalem in AD 70

  • That is Fr. Mike’s OPINION

  • Other people have different informed opinions

  • BUT…

  • It is also going to inform us A LOT about what is going on for the next number of chapters

  • So just FYI

  • With all of that in mind, one of the things we know is that regardless of who was the emperor, this was a time of PERSECUTION FOR CHRISTIANS

  • Regardless of what year this was, this was a time for GREAT PERSECUTION OF CHRISTIANS

  • So what is God doing?

  • God is saying, “Ok, I want you to get prepared. I want you to get prepared for this persecution and just know that there is a battle happening that is going on in this world between the evil in the world and between God.”

  • Not that evil and God are equal

  • NOT AT ALL!!

  • NOT EVEN CLOSE!!

  • BUT…

  • Because we live in this WORLD…

  • Because we live on this PLANET…

  • Because we live in this TIME…

  • THAT IS BROKEN…

  • There is this BATTLE that is waging

  • So shall we begin?

  • So in Ch 1 we have this revelation

  • You can’t even begin…

  • Fr. Mike is so glad we have read the Old Testament

  • Because we know that when John says something like in Revelation 1:5, “Jesus Christ the faithful witness, the first-born of the dead, and the ruler of kings on earth…”

  • Or when it says, “Here is Jesus, I saw one like the Son of Man come.”

  • Wait a second, we’ve heard those terms before like in The Book of Daniel

  • THAT IS A REALLY BIG DEAL!!

  • Jesus even says, “You will see the Son of Man coming in power and glory…”

  • So we know the background of all this

  • BUT…

  • The CONTEXT of all this is Revelation 1:9, “I John, your brother, who share with you in Jesus the tribulation and the kingdom and the patient endurance, was on the island called Patmos on account of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus.”

  • He was exiled to the island of Patmos and he was there on the Lord’s Day

  • This is going to be REALLY CRITICAL

  • This will set the stage for EVERYTHING that happens after this

  • This is NOT a Book of Revelation that is JUST about future stuff

  • It is NOT about the rapture

  • It is NOT about ANYTHING LIKE THAT

  • It is about STRENGTHENING THE BODY OF CHRIST

  • STRENGTHENING THE CHURCH

  • VIA THE WORSHIP THAT HAPPENS AT THE MASS!!

  • This is going to be SO IMPORTANT!!

  • That is what the Book of Revelation is LARGELY ABOUT!!

  • So they are there on the Lord’s Day

  • What is the Lord’s Day?

  • The Lord’s Day is the day that Christians celebrate the Mass

  • EVERY CHRISTIAN at this point celebrated Mass on Sunday

  • And he hears these words, “Write what you see. Write what you see.”

  • Revelation 1:12-13, “Then I turned to see the voice that was speaking to me, and on turning I saw seven golden lampstands, and in the midst of the lampstands one like a Son of man, clothed with a long robe and with a golden sash across his chest…”

  • What are those?

  • THOSE ARE PRIESTLY ROBES!!

  • So you have Jesus, one like a SON OF MAN, the HIGH PRIEST, with PRIESTLY ROBES

  • He turns and sees him ON THE LORD’S DAY

  • THIS IS SO SO CRITICAL

  • And what happens?

  • Revelation 1:17, “When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead.”

  • MAN!! (OH MAN!!)

  • How often…you know…of course, Jesus does not want us to be AFRAID of him

  • BUT…

  • We have this thing called the FEAR OF THE LORD when we know HERE IS GOD HIMSELF and here I am NOT GOD

  • Here is the CREATOR OF EVERYTHING and I am a MEASLY CREATION

  • Sometimes we can have this cavalier attitude where we approach God however we want

  • Come as you are (Hmmm should I? 🤔 I should!! 😉Nirvana - Come As You Are (Live On MTV Unplugged, 1993 / Unedited) )

  • There is a sense of this and of course God loves us AS WE ARE

  • BUT MAN!! (OH MAN!!)

  • If I turned around and saw GOD HIMSELF standing right in front of me, I would do…

  • This was JOHN THE BELOVED!!

  • He did not even run away at the Crucifixion!!

  • This is John who was FAITHFUL!!

  • This is John who SUFFERED!!

  • John was BOILED ALIVE and DID NOT DIE!!

  • Here he is, and if anyone could boast it would be JOHN!!

  • If anyone could just run up to Jesus and say, “Hey, Jesus! We were best friends when you walked on this earth in the Incarnation!” it would be JOHN!!

  • BUT…

  • Revelation 1:17, “When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead.”

  • The next time you go to Eucharistic Adoration, just realize HERE IS THE TRUTH!!

  • The next time you go to Mass and see the Eucharist elevated, realize THAT IS JESUS!!

  • Sometimes we just get so DISTRACTED

  • Sometimes we are so BLAH

  • Sometimes we are so DEAD INSIDE about this

  • What does Jesus say to the Church in Laodicea?

  • He says, “The thing I hold against you is that you are neither cold nor hot. You just show up. And you show up. It’s great. You’re there. But I would rather that you would be cold OR hot. But because you are lukewarm, I will vomit you out of my mouth.”

  • How many of us when we approach the Lord’s Presence in the Mass or in Eucharistic Adoration and call upon the name of the Lord and are just MEH, LUKEWARM about it?

  • When Fr. Mike is like that Jesus says, “Hey, listen. Either get FIERY HOT for me or COLDLY REJECT ME because this LUKEWARM approach is NOT WORKING.”

  • AND YET…

  • What does Jesus say?

  • Revelation 1:17-18, “But he laid his right hand upon me, saying, ‘Fear not, I am the first and the last, and the living one; I died, and behold I am alive forevermore…”

  • And basically, “Get up!”

  • You know?

  • THAT IS SO GOOD!!

  • Here is Jesus who LOVES US

  • And YES our proper response is, “I’m dead!”

  • And HIS response is, “I LOVE YOU”

  • BOTH responses can be EQUALLY TRUE at the same time

  • BUT…

  • Here is The Message to Ephesus

  • We have the lampstands and the angels (or “spirits” in other translations)

  • Sometimes we’re like, “Wait, what are the seven spirits? What are the seven angels?”

  • There are some who say the SEVEN ANGELS are the BISHOPS who were over the churches in those cities

  • Sure, a person could make that argument

  • BUT…

  • The interesting thing is for the REST of The Book of Revelation, whenever it uses the term “angel” it means ANGEL

  • So ok that’s kind of problematic

  • You don’t want to just twist it to make it mean what you think it means, or what it might mean in this case

  • It could also be ANGELS

  • There could be angels assigned to those churches

  • Another could be the Holy Spirit

  • 7 is the NUMBER OF COVENANT

  • Here is the Holy Spirit who is given in different ways to these seven different churches

  • That could be a thing

  • The seven lampstands ARE the seven churches as Jesus himself says at the end of Ch 1

  • ALL of these churches have things they need to be corrected on

  • Laodicea are lukewarm, they are neither hot nor cold

  • Let’s highlight the Church at Ephesus, the very FIRST church

  • Revelation 2:2-3, “‘I know your works, your toil and your patient endurance, and how you cannot bear evil men but have tested those who call themselves apostles but are not, and found them to be false; I know you are enduring patiently and bearing up for my name’s sake, and you have not grown weary…’”

  • All of these things are SO GOOD

  • They are ORTHODOX

  • Right?

  • They are believing the RIGHT THINGS

  • They are ORTHOPRAXY

  • They are LIVING THE RIGHT WAY

  • And they are even SUFFERING for the sake of the Lord

  • They are doing GREAT!!

  • BUT…

  • Revelation 2:4, “But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first.”

  • THIS IS SO KEY!!

  • We can BELIEVE the right things

  • We can DO the right things

  • THAT IS GOOD!!

  • Jesus even PRAISES them for that

  • BUT…

  • We’re not JUST about doing the right things or believing the right things

  • It is about LOVING THE ONE WHO LIVED, SUFFERED, DIED, AND ROSE FROM THE DEAD FOR US

  • IT IS ABOUT LOVE!!

  • So whenever Fr. Mike reads this, and he reads it quite often throughout the course of every year, he hears those words of Jesus to Ephesus and he thinks, “I don’t want that to be me.”

  • Revelation 2:4-5, “But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love that you had at first. Remember then from what you have fallen, repent and do the works you did at first…”

  • THAT IS SO IMPORTANT!!

  • “Lord, I think I am believing the right things. I am trying to do the right things. But I want to be in love with you.”

  • That’s the thing, right?

  • “I JUST WANT TO BE IN LOVE WITH YOU!!”

  • That’s what he is calling YOU to

  • TO FALL BACK IN LOVE WITH JESUS

  • It is EASY to fall in love

  • It is HARD to stay in love

  • BUT…

  • Jesus is calling us BACK to that

  • Ok last thing…

  • You know, Jesus also has other words for the churches

  • Revelation 2:7, “...To him who conquers I will grant to eat of the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.”

  • One of the reasons Fr. Mike is telling us that this whole Book of Revelation is going to be pointing back to the Mass again and again

  • “I grant to eat of the tree of life…”

  • Here it is, THE EUCHARIST

  • Not only that

  • But later on in Revelation 2:17, “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who conquers I will give him some of the hidden manna…”

  • AGAIN!!

  • THE EUCHARIST!!

  • Once again this piece of this

  • There are more references

  • BUT…

  • This has been long already and Fr. Mike apologizes (And we all say no need for that!! 😁)

  • There is a line that always strikes with the intimacy Jesus wants us to live with him

  • Revelation 2:17, “...and I will give him a white stone, with a new name written on the stone which no one knows except him who receives it.”

  • Here in ETERNITY

  • Here in HEAVEN