Kingdom of Priests

Christ’s present reign is based on his past death and resurrection, and his disciples participate in his rule. And like him, their position is paradoxical since it is characterized by self-sacrificial service. The shedding of his lifeblood is what consecrated them as “priests” for God. And priestly service IS what it means to reign with him, and this is in fulfillment of the mission given to Israel at Sinai – “You will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.”

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The salutations from the throne to the churches highlight key themes of the book, especially the present reign of Jesus – Revelation 1:4-8

Next, the book presents greetings to the “churches” from the “throne,” from God, Jesus, and the “Seven Spirits.” It stresses Christ’s present over the political powers of the earth, and his sovereignty is based on his Death and Resurrection. The recipients of the book are identified, the “seven churches” in Asia .

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The church at Laodicea receives no commendation, only corrections, and ominous warnings – Revelation 3:14-22.

Laodicea was founded in approximately 260 B.C. on the site of an older village named Diospolis, meaning the “city of Zeus.” It was sixty-five kilometers southeast of Philadelphia and one hundred and sixty kilometers east of Ephesus. Because of its location at the confluence of three major trade routes, the city depended heavily on regional trade.

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The “hour of trial” will come upon the whole habitable earth, but overcoming saints will not experience this final judicial act – Revelation 3:10

Jesus promised to “keep” the faithful church of Philadelphia “from the hour of trial” that was coming upon the “inhabitants of the earth.” A comparison with similar passages demonstrates this “hour of trial” refers to the time of final judgment when those whose names “are not written in the Lamb’s book of life” experience the “second death,” the “lake of fire that burns with brimstone.”

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Philadelphia receives no correction, for she has remained faithful, and therefore, she will be kept from the “hour of trial”Revelation 3:7-13.

Philadelphia lay fifty kilometers southeast of Sardis, where it straddled a major road into the interior, making trade with the other cities of Asia vital to its economy. The city was established in 189 B.C. by the king of Pergamos, and later, came under Roman provincial government when the last king bequeathed his realm to Rome in 133 B.C.

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