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
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
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!!!!!! 🎺🏇🏇🏇😉)
We also recognize that we PRAY that God doesn’t just help us to START WELL
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.”
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
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
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
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
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 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
The Temple was EVERYTHING
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
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!!
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
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
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!!
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.”
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!”
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
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
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
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!!
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
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