Today we completed reading in Revelation the letters to the seven ecclesias: they are quite diverse from one another, but we see them as being representative of the spirituality within different communities of believers down through all ages. We cannot help put sense that the last named (Laodicea) is representative of all too many of the communities of believers in these last days when the world around us threatens to overwhelm us with its attitudes.
Jesus said to Laodicea,
“… because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth” (3:16).
But then he adds,
“Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent” (verse 19).
There is a statement made at the end of each letter that should inspire us;
“to the one who conquers I will …”.
What wonders await all who conquer! We notice how Paul expressed this in his final letter to Timothy,
“if we have died with him, we will also live with him, if we endure, we will also reign with him” (2:11,12).
“The one who conquers, I will make him a pillar in the temple of my God … and I will write on him the name of my God … and my own new name” (3:12).
Chapter 4 climaxes with a vision of the ultimate ‘picture’, the climax to the kingdom and the praises raised to him who is seated on the throne and (those who) worship him who lives for ever and ever,
“saying, ‘Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honour and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created’” (verse 11).
We will begin January by reading that wondrous account of God’s creative work.
Zechariah’s prophecy also gives us an inspiring look into the future when those who “endure” will “reign with him”. We read how people will say,
“Let us go at once to entreat the favour of the LORD. Many peoples and strong nations shall come to seek the LORD of hosts in Jerusalem and to entreat the favour of the LORD … saying (to us?), ‘Let us go with you, for we have heard that God is with you’” (8:21-23).
This will be the time when those who have conquered will witness how, to quote Paul’s words to the Romans,
May we be worthy, by his grace, to be among those children and witness how the one who “created all things” completes his work and the age of “everlasting life” (Daniel 12:2) becomes a reality – far beyond our present imagination.