Revelation 2 and 3 Fulfilled

23 Dec

Kathryn Hauser’s Reflection for 4 Advent 23 December 2012
Revelation Chapters 2 and 3 Fulfilled

Micah 5:2 But you, O Bethlehem of Ephrathah, who are one of the little clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to rule in Israel, whose origin is from of old, from ancient days.

Bethlehem means “House of Bread.” (NIV Study Notes p 362.) The archetypal Church of “Ephesus” is also one of the “little clans of Judah” (aka of the conglomerate called the “Seven Churches.”) The Study Notes drew my attention to Ephrathah which is also mentioned in the Book of Ruth (Ruth 1:2). I was curious and allowed my mind to expand with the scholarly notes:
“Set in the dark and bloody days of the judges, the story of Ruth is silent about the underlying hostility and suspicion of the two peoples –Judahites [cf, Christians of today] and Moabites [cf, Muslims of today] –felt for each other. The original onslaught of the invading Israelite tribes against towns that were once Moabite had never been forgotten or forgiven, while the Hebrew [and Christian] prophets denounced Moab’s pride and arrogance for trying to bewitch, seduce and oppress Israel [and the Church] from the time of Balaam on [cf Rev 2:14]. The Mesha Stele (c 830 BC) boasts of the massacre of entire Israelite towns [which we also see repeated today.]
Moab encompassed the expansive, grain-filled plateau between the Dead Sea and the eastern desert on both sides of the enormous rift of the Arnon River gorge. Much of eastern Moab was steppeland—semi-arid wastes not profitable for cultivation, but excellent for grazing flocks of sheep and goats. The tribute Moab paid to Israel in the days of Ahab was 100,000 lambs and the wool of 100,000 rams.” (p 362)

Bethlehem of Ephrathah is more than a location or a GPS dot on the cell phone map. The “House of Bread” houses the little spark of love that leavens the whole loaf. The Book of Ruth is a love story. Love itself goes much farther back to the outer-most ancient of days; long, long ago in a distant galaxy far, far away…, long before hostility and suspicion and unforgiveness became the “bread” of the Moabites and Israelites, and of the Muslims and the Christians.

Micah 5:3 Therefore He shall give them up until the time when she who is in labor has brought forth; then the rest of his kindred shall return to the people of Israel.

Jesus did “give up” the Church to live into His own words. The Church has been “in labor” and has already “brought forth.” And blessed is the fruit of her “womb.” (Lk 1:42) And blessed is she who believed that there would be fulfillment of what was spoken to her by the Lord (v 45).

Luke 1:50 His mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation.

God has been merciful and has fulfilled His promises not only to Israel, but to the Seven Churches. The Spirit has “fed” the Churches with her own words, which she wanted to “hear.” I looked back this week over the timeline of the dance between the Churches and me. I was astonished to see how prophecy has evolved. To my amazement I “saw” that Revelation Chapters 2 and 3 are now fulfilled:
Revelation 2
To the church in Ephesus
1 “To the angel of the church in Ephesus write:
These are the words of him—who holds the seven stars in his right hand and walks among the seven golden lampstands: (Begun on 02 January 2010 and again cycled through on 29 August 2011)
2 I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked men, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false. (Fulfilled on 08 October 2010 and reinforced on 25 October 2010)
3 You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary. (Fulfilled on 02 October 2012)
4 Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love. (Fulfilled on 10 March 2011)
5 Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. (Remembered on 22 October 2012) If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place. (Fulfilled on both 19 June 2011 and on 20 October 2012.)
6 But you have this in your favor: You hate the practices of the Nicolaitans [a spirit of non-committal, whappy compromise with society,] which I also hate. (Fulfilled on 15 December 2012)
7 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.

To the Church in Smyrna
8 “To the angel of the church in Smyrna write:
These are the words of him who is the First and the Last, who died and came to life again. (Begun on 20 March 2011 with “life” meaning spiritual life, ie Spirit of Christ in us as in Romans 8:9 and Philippians 1:19. And again cycled through on 03 May 2012)
9 I know your afflictions and your poverty—yet you are rich! I know the slander of those who say they are “Jews” [ie, circumcised of heart; Romans 2:29] and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan [housing deception and judgment]. (Begun on 20 March 2011 and fulfilled on 18 September 2011)
10 Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you, the devil will put some of you in “prison” to test you, and you will suffer persecution for “ten days.” Be faithful, even to the point of “death,” and I will give you the crown of life. (Cycled through on 16 August 2010 and again completing the cycle on 03 May 2012)
11 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. He who overcomes will not be hurt at all by the second “death.”

To the Church in Pergamum
12 “To the angel of the church in Pergamum write:
These are the words of him who has the sharp, double-edged sword. (Begun on 06 March 2011)
13 I know where you live—where Satan has his throne. Yet you remain true to my name. You did not renounce your faith in me, even in the days of Antipas [ie, anti-pope in the days of the Reformation,] my faithful witness, who was put to death in your city—where Satan lives. (Fulfilled on 25 December 2011)
14 Nevertheless, I have a few things against you: You have people there who hold to the teaching of Balaam [to bless, not curse, in itself a good thing] who taught Balak to entice the Israelites to sin by eating food sacrificed to idols [ie, getting spiritually “fat” from not sharing the blessing] and by committing sexual immorality. (Fulfilled on 11 January 2012)
15 Likewise you also have those who hold to the teaching of the Nicolaitans [a spirit of non-committal, whappy compromise with society]. (Fulfilled on 19 September 2012)
16 Repent therefore! Otherwise, I will soon come to you and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth.
17 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will give some of the hidden manna. I will also give him a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to him who receives it. (Fulfilled on 19 February 2012)

To the Church in Thyatira
18 “To the angel of the church in Thyatira write:
These are the words of the Son of God, whose eyes are like blazing fire and whose feet are like burnished bronze. (Begun on 18 September 2011)
19 I know your deeds, your love and faith, your service and perseverance, and that you are now doing more than you did at first. (Fulfilled on Sunday, 21 October 2012)
20 Nevertheless, I have this against you: You tolerate that woman Jezebel [manipulative spirit,] who calls herself a prophetess. By her teaching she misleads my servants into sexual immorality (Fulfilled on Friday, 05 October 2012), and the eating of food sacrificed to idols. (Fulfilled on Friday, 19 October 2012)
21 I have given her time to repent of her immorality, but she is unwilling. (Fulfilled on Holy Cross Day on the Church Calendar, 14 September 2012; and on Friday, 02 November 2012, and again on Tuesday, 11 December 2012)
22 So I will cast her on a bed of suffering, and I will make those who commit adultery with her suffer intensely, unless they repent of her ways. (Begun on Sunday, 21 October 2012)
23 I will strike her children dead. (Tragically Fulfilled on Friday, 14 December 2012) Then all the churches will know that I am He who searches hearts and minds, and I will repay each of you according to your deeds. [I’m just the reporter here. Don’t kill the messenger. ~KH]
24 Now I say to the rest of you in Thyatira, to you who do not hold to her teaching and have not learned Satan’s so-called deep secrets [ie the lie of: “be careful what you wish/pray for…”] (I will not impose any other burden on you): (Fulfilled on 04 March 2012)
25 Only hold on to what you have until I come. (Begun on Good Friday, 06 April 2012 but not done, because Jesus Christ hasn’t come back yet.)
26 To him who overcomes and does my will to the end, I will give authority over the nations— (Authority Fulfilled on Saturday, 10 November 2012)
27 ‘He will rule them with an iron scepter;
he will dash them to pieces like pottery’— just as I have received authority from my Father. (Fulfilled on Sunday, 11 November 2012)
28 I will also give him the morning star. (Fulfilled on Sunday, 18 November 2012)
29 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.

Revelation 3
To the Church in Sardis
1 “To the angel of the church in Sardis write:
These are the words of him who holds the seven spirits of God and the seven stars. I know your deeds; you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead. (Begun on 03 October 2010)
2 Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your deeds complete in the sight of my God. (Fulfilled on Friday, 19 October 2012)
3 Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; obey it, and repent. But if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what time I will come to you.
4 Yet you have a few people in Sardis who have not soiled their clothes. They will walk with me, dressed in white, for they are worthy. (Fulfilled on 22 October 2012)
5 He who overcomes will, like them, be dressed in white. I will never blot out his name from the book of life, but will acknowledge his name before my Father and his angels.
6 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.

To the Church in Philadelphia
7 “To the angel of the church in Philadelphia write:
These are the words of him who is holy and true, who holds the key of David [honesty.] What he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open. (Begun on 20 February 2011)
8 I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut. I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name. (Fulfilled on 28 July 2011)
9 I will make those who are of the synagogue of Satan, who claim to be “Jews” [ie, circumcised of heart; Romans 2:29] though they are not, but are liars—I will make them come and fall down at your feet and acknowledge that I have loved you.
10 Since you have kept my command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come upon the whole world to test those who live on the earth. (Fulfilled on Sunday, 14 August 2011)
11 I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take your crown.
12 Him who overcomes I will make a pillar in the temple of my God. Never again will he leave it. I will write on him the name of my God and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which is coming down out of heaven from my God; and I will also write on him my new name.
13 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.

To the Church in Laodicea
14 “To the angel of the church in Laodicea write:
These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God’s creation. (Begun on Epiphany Sunday, 06 January 2008. The Feast of the Annunciation announced it again on 25 March 2012; and addressed it again on 09 December 2012)
15 I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! (Fulfilled on 25 October 2010)
16 So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. (Fulfilled on 25 January 2011)
17 You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. (Fulfilled on 01 July 2011)
18 I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see. (Fulfilled on Wednesday, 12 December 2012)
19 Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest, and repent. (Accentuated on Tuesday, 11 December 2012)
20 Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me. (Enjoyed on Sunday, 28 October 2012)
21 To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I 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 churches.”

The good news is that the Churches have already gone through their tribulation period. It’s done, over, finis. On this Fourth Sunday of Advent, the gift of the Holy Spirit is to let this good news sink into our souls and beings. Lord, by the sword of Your Spirit, let all who have ears “hear” what good news You are saying to the Churches.
Prayer: O God of Breakthrough, please break through and penetrate the oppressive silence of Your Churches. By Your mercy and intervention please end our old worldview and bring Your transformational courage and accountability by Your grace, and thereby shattering our assumptions. Bring Your forward movement of Your kingdom on earth as it is in heaven (Mt 6:10). We believe that there is fulfillment of what You have spoken to us by Your Word (Lk 1:45). You are our God of the Word; You keep Your Word, and make good on Your Word. We magnify You, Lord (v 46) and our spirit rejoices in You, God our Savior (v 47). For You have looked upon the lowliness of Your servants and surely from now on all generations shall call us blessed (v 48), for You, O Mighty One, have done great things for us and holy is Your Name (v 49). Your mercy is for those who fear You from generation to generation (v 50). You have shown strength with Your arm and have scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts (v 51). You are bringing down the powerful from their “thrones” and are lifting up the lowly (v 52). You are filling the hungry with good things and sending contempt away (v 53). You are helping Your servants to remember Your mercy (v 54) according to the promises You made to our ancestors (Rev 18:20). We thank You that You stand and feed Your flock in Your strength, and in the majesty of Your own Name. God, You are good! (Man, not so much.) We praise You for Your mercy and forgiveness that allows us to live secure, for now You shall be great to the ends of the earth (Micah 5:4) for You are the One of Peace (v 5). Amen.

4 Advent 23 Dec 2012 Gospel Luke 1:39-55
Micah 5:2-5a
5:2 But you, O Bethlehem of Ephrathah, who are one of the little clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to rule in Israel, whose origin is from of old, from ancient days.

5:3 Therefore he shall give them up until the time when she who is in labor has brought forth; then the rest of his kindred shall return to the people of Israel.

5:4 And he shall stand and feed his flock in the strength of the LORD, in the majesty of the name of the LORD his God. And they shall live secure, for now he shall be great to the ends of the earth;

5:5 and he shall be the one of peace.

Psalm 80:1-7
80:1 Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel, you who lead Joseph like a flock! You who are enthroned upon the cherubim, shine forth

80:2 before Ephraim and Benjamin and Manasseh. Stir up your might, and come to save us!

80:3 Restore us, O God; let your face shine, that we may be saved.

80:4 O LORD God of hosts, how long will you be angry with your people’s prayers?

80:5 You have fed them with the bread of tears, and given them tears to drink in full measure.

80:6 You make us the scorn of our neighbors; our enemies laugh among themselves.

80:7 Restore us, O God of hosts; let your face shine, that we may be saved.

Hebrews 10:5-10
10:5 Consequently, when Christ came into the world, he said, “Sacrifices and offerings you have not desired, but a body you have prepared for me;

10:6 in burnt offerings and sin offerings you have taken no pleasure.

10:7 Then I said, ‘See, God, I have come to do your will, O God’ (in the scroll of the book it is written of me).”

10:8 When he said above, “You have neither desired nor taken pleasure in sacrifices and offerings and burnt offerings and sin offerings” (these are offered according to the law),

10:9 then he added, “See, I have come to do your will.” He abolishes the first in order to establish the second.

10:10 And it is by God’s will that we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

Luke 1:39-45, (46-55)
1:39 In those days Mary set out and went with haste to a Judean town in the hill country,

1:40 where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth.

1:41 When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the child leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit

1:42 and exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb.

1:43 And why has this happened to me, that the mother of my Lord comes to me?

1:44 For as soon as I heard the sound of your greeting, the child in my womb leaped for joy.

1:45 And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her by the Lord.”

1:46 And Mary said, “My soul magnifies the Lord,

1:47 and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,

1:48 for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant. Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed;

1:49 for the Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name.

1:50 His mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation.

1:51 He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts.

1:52 He has brought down the powerful from their thrones, and lifted up the lowly;

1:53 he has filled the hungry with good things, and sent the rich away empty.

1:54 He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy,

1:55 according to the promise he made to our ancestors, to Abraham and to his descendants forever.”

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