Left Behind: Love

“You cannot endure evil men, and you put to the test those who call themselves apostles, and they are not, and you found them to be false;”

“A lie, no matter how beautifully told, is still a lie” -Russell P

“To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: The One who holds the seven stars in His right hand, the One who walks among the seven golden lampstands, says this: ‘I know your deeds and your toil and perseverance, and that you cannot endure evil men, and you put to the test those who call themselves apostles, and they are not, and you found them to be false; and you have perseverance and have endured for My name’s sake, and have not grown weary. ‘But I have this against you, that you have left your first love. ‘Remember therefore from where you have fallen, and repent and do the deeds you did at first; or else I am coming to you, and will remove your lampstand out of its place—unless you repent. ‘Yet this you do have, that you hate the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. ‘He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will grant to eat of the tree of life, which is in the Paradise of God.’”

Paul has written to them, “As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves, and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming…”

It seems that the church in Ephesus adhered to Paul’s admonition concerning false teachers. Most pastors and preachers, theologians and teachers, reflect on the Ephesian church’s “lost love,” which we will do. Actully, the strange thing is that every other word in Paul’s letter to them is, love (hyperbole). Yet Christ does praise them for being good lie detectors. I chose to highlight this because most do not, and I wonder why?

Yes, I do believe that Paul’s letter was written before John’s, by about 5 or 6 years, not 50 or 60. The content is close–it’s similar, like a simile. Honestly, Paul says do this, they do it, Christ says, nice. But other things, such as love, not so much.

Ok, I am getting lazy and going blah, blah, blah but no one is listening now because of the elephant in the metaphorical room. The Date of Revelation. I believe that like the imagery, it is best to read all of Revelation before debating its date. Why? Because the most important document we have, with the aspect of Revelation’s date, is the book itself. In other words, we must see all that Revelation reveals and even what it doesn’t reveal to best guess at its date… We’ll never know exactly. We look internally first, then we’ll seek external source. Again, why? Because internally it is reliable, it’s God’s word and externally is not. A point which I intend to slam the proverbial gavel on soon; or later, it depends on our definition of soon.

Irenaeus, who heard Polycarp, who heard John, wrote in Against Heresies, something about John and Domitian. Honestly because of the ambiguous grammar Irenaeus used, we really don’t know what he meant. And he ​was 3 times removed from the apostle. Now, calling his account ambiguous at best, let’s look to most modern scholars. They agree on a late first– early second century writing of Revelation. To me, that’s the nail in the coffin. They’re the same scholars who claim John the apostle wasn’t the writer of Revelation because he wasn’t an eye-witness. “John, who bore witness to the word of God and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, even to all that he saw.” How about we dispense with the external evidence and look at the internal, or lack thereof. Oh, and in Against Heresies, Irenaeus claims Jesus was 50 at the time of his death​.

The temple and Jerusalem were destroyed in the year 70, are we agreed? Literally destroyed. Desolate, destruction, done. Gone, wiped out. Not just a little bit but without hyperbole, utter devastation. Flavio Giuseppe, who was much less removed from John than Irenaeus, and closer to a contemporary; though clearly not a believer, wrote in The War of the Jews: “Now as soon as the army had no more people to slay or to plunder, because there remained none to be the objects of their fury, (for they would not have spared any, had there remained any other work to be done,) Caesar gave orders that they should now demolish the entire city and temple, but should leave as many of the towers standing as were of the greatest eminency; that is, Phasaelus, and Hippicus, and Mariamne; and so much of the wall as enclosed the city on the west side. This wall was spared, in order to afford a camp for such as were to lie in garrison, as were the towers also spared, in order to demonstrate to posterity what kind of city it was, and how well fortified, which the Roman valor had subdued; but for all the rest of the wall, it was so thoroughly laid even with the ground by those that dug it up to the foundation, that there was left nothing to make those that came thither believe it had ever been.”

Now let’s look at the lack of internal evidence. In Matthew 23, Jesus is recorded as saying: “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling. “Behold, your house is being left to you adesolate!'” And; “Therefore, behold, I am sending you prophets and wise men and scribes; some of them you will kill and crucify, and some of them you will scourge in your synagogues, and persecute from city to city, that upon you may fall the guilt of all the righteous blood shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah, the son of Berechiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar. “Truly I say to you, all these things shall come upon this generation.” And in chapter 24, “And Jesus came out from the temple and was going away when His disciples came up to point out the temple buildings to Him. And He answered and said to them, “Do you not see all these things? Truly I say to you, not one stone here shall be left upon another, which will not be torn down.”

For time’s sake, as always, we’ll stop here. But it should be enough. Matthew and the other New Testament writings are repleate with fufilled prophecy. In fact, they’re full of it. A common line is, “that what was written may be fufilled.” Yet John doesn’t remark on possibly the greatest fufillment of prophecy? It’s because it hasn’t happened yet.

Just because you have been told something, doesn’t make it so. Which brings us back to the church at Ephesus. They were apparently sold a bad bill of goods by false apostles. Yet they tested what was said and found it to false. It’s not as heavy as leaving one’s first love but it shows some Spiritual discernment.

I think we could all use some of that right now, based on what I wrote.  Search the Scripture, remember your first love. Who knows maybe we’ll be in agreement…soon.

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