In Amos 7 we heard of how the priest of Israel’s pagan shrine, Amaziah, told Amos to go away, and Amaziah even tried to get king Jeroboam the 2nd to move against Amos.
There were sad words at the end of chapter 8, which indeed happened during the 400 year inter-testamental period:
Amo. 8:11 NLT “The time is surely coming,” says the Sovereign LORD,
“when I will send a famine on the land—
not a famine of bread or water
but of hearing the words of the LORD.
12 People will stagger from sea to sea
and wander from border to border
searching for the word of the LORD,
but they will not find it.
In Isaiah 48 God said,
Is. 48:3 Long ago I told you what was going to happen.
Then suddenly I took action, (past tense)
and all my predictions came true.
Such words may be hard to understand. There is a trait of some prophetic writings where the past tense is used instead of the future tense. Since Cyrus had not yet come, this section may well have meant in Isaiah’s time “suddenly I will take action.” Remember that all times are alike to God, and it is natural for Him to speak of future things (from our perspective) as already happening (in the present or past from HIS perspective). We see this trait also in Revelation.
The first chapter ended with Jesus’ explanation of what John saw:
Rev. 1:20 NLT This is the meaning of the mystery of the seven stars you saw in my right hand and the seven gold lampstands: The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches.
The word ‘angel’ in Greek can also mean ‘messenger’. It could be that the angel for each church is the pastor, but at this time, churches did not have just one pastor. So this can be translated as the messenger (probably one of the elders) to whom the Lord gave the responsibility of conveying His message.
We now come to a very special section: the letters to the seven churches in Asia. Some have tried to see church ages in these letters. It is better to see them as representative of churches at any age. Each letter has the same form. First there is a highlighting of one of the characteristics of Jesus as seen in chapter 1. Then Jesus shows that He sees and knows each church intimately. He gives whatever rebuke or commendation that is deserved. Then the Lord exhorts each church appropriately according to their condition. Finally there is a repeated warning, and a special promise appropriate to each church.
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