Who are we?

In this blog, there will be a variety of material: thoughts on Bible books, book reviews, historical characters, aspects of Scottish church history and other things.

Sunday, 22 January 2017

The consolation of Jesus (Rev. 2:7)

Jesus provides the church in Ephesus with comfort. The comfort is not connected to anything on earth. Instead he tells them about life in heaven and that it is possible for them to participate in it. This is the power of future grace, how what we are going to get causes us to focus on it. We all know that the prospect of a future event, such as a holiday, can make the discomforts of the present bearable.

The participants in the heavenly experience are said to be conquerors or overcomers on earth. The description points to the reality of spiritual conflict, and it is not difficult for us to see here a reference to the spiritual foes of believers – the world, the flesh and the devil. It also points to the possibility of victory, even as Paul says in Romans 8 that believers can be more than conquerors through him who loved them.

On that great future day, the King of kings will grant something. What ideas come to mind through the word ‘grant’? Obviously, it refers to something that is freely given – one does not purchase a grant. In addition, when something is granted, it is usually permanent unless there is a reason for specifying a shorter period. So here Jesus is stating that he will freely give something for ever.

The benefit that will be granted to the overcomer is to eat of the tree of life. This is a reference to what used to happen in the Garden of Eden. There the tree of life was the way to live forever. So Jesus is promising eternal life to every overcomer.

But what is eternal life, which is illustrated here by the illustration of eating? Eternal life is to know God the Father and Jesus (John 17:3). In heaven, we will go to the source of infinite supplies and experience what he provides. We can imagine how the believers in Ephesus, who left their first love, but who recalled, repented and repeated their lives of love, have been feeding there for almost two thousand years.

Jesus also mentions the position of the tree of life – it is in the middle of Paradise. If something is in the middle, there is equal access to it. In addition, it points to the fact that the source of life will be central in the eternal world. And we can also see who the garden belongs to – God. 

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