CHAPTER 10 – Revelation 2:18-29 權柄掛帥的教會 THE CHURCH WITH AUTHORITY


世人所追求的,表面上是名與利,但骨子裡卻是崇尚權力。不單歷代的帝王有權力的野心,就算今日以民主掛帥的國家,為了競選成為一國之元首,不惜花費天文數字的競選經費,以求達到目的。當一個人大權在手,就可以為所欲為,成為世界人目光的焦點,非常有吸引力。

Not only ancient emperors had the ambition for power, even today in the democratic countries, candidates who run for the office of the presidency do not hesitate to spend astronomical amounts of money to achieve their goal. When a person has power he can have his way and do whatever he likes; he becomes the focus point of the entire world, and this is very appealing.

推雅推喇教會代表第七到十叁世紀,是推崇權柄的教會時代。

The Church in Thyatira represents the church from the 8th to the 13th century, the time when authority was of great importance in the church.

26-27 我要賜給他權柄…… 像我從我父領受的權柄一樣。

26-27 I will give authority…just as I have received authority from my Father.

下面的「晨星」也跟權柄有關。其實18 節一開始,這封信就與給其他教會的信不一樣。你要寫信給推雅推喇教會的使者。那眼目如火焰、腳像光明銅的神之子。

These are the words of the Son of God, whose eyes are like blazing fire and whose feet are like burnished bronze.

這裡七封信之中,給這個教會的信最長,而且是唯一一封表明是由「神之子」所說的。其他信描寫祂都用形容詞,這裡卻指明祂是神子。一定是教會所犯的罪,非常嚴重。如果祂自稱人子,所強調是祂的人性,與我們相同,是要表達親切同情的關係。但神之子強調的,是祂的權能與審判資格。加上祂的眼目如同火燄,能洞察內心的審判官;腳像光明的銅,銅也是審判的金屬,告訴我們這審判的主,要帶著祂的權柄與威嚴來審判這個教會。整個信息所強調的,是審判與權柄。這時期的教會也是爭取權柄,以致受主的重責。暗示第八世紀時教皇制度正式登台。

Among the seven letters, this one is the only one that clearly says: “These are the words of the Son of God.” Undoubtedly, the sin committed by this church was extremely serious. When the Lord calls Himself the “Son of Man, ” He emphasizes His human nature and identifies with us. But when He calls Himself the “Son of God”, He emphasizes His power and His qualification to judge. In addition, His eyes are like blazing fire — He can see clearly through the inner parts of our souls. His feet are like burnished bronze — metal representing judgment. The emphasis of the entire message is judgment and authority. The Church during this era was struggling for authority and so the Lord strongly rebuked it. Hint, the Papal System started during the 8th century.

主的稱讚

THE LORD’S COMMENDATIONS 

19 我知道你的行為,愛心、信心、勤勞、忍耐,又知道你末後所行的善事,比起初所行的更多。

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.

羅馬教會傳下來最美好的事,就是行善。今日很多教會只關心人靈魂,不關心肉身需要。這不是主的教訓。他們的優點是多做善事。

The best thing passed down by the Roman Catholic Church was doing acts of charity. Today, many churches care only for the human soul, but do not care for the physical needs of a person. This is not what the Lord taught. Their strong point was to do a lot of good deeds.

「我知道你的行為」,跟著下面四個詞,有叁個與善事有關。愛心= 關心人的行動;信心= 忠心持久;勤勞diakonian 服務( 跟執事同一字根) ,表示他們是忠心努力行善的人,而且後來比以前做得更多。事實上天主教會能不斷擴展,就是因為他們針對窮人行善。他們沒有甚麽佈道大會或佈道團,但人數卻會不斷增加。很多所謂純正信仰的教會,不做善事,只管靈魂的需要,福音反而傳不開。

Four words follow the phrase“ I know your deeds”. Three of them are related to charity. Love = the action of being concerned about others. Faith = lasting loyalty. Service indicating that they were a group of people who served faithfully doing charity. And they were doing more than what they were doing at first. In fact, the Catholic Church continues to expand because they do charity work towards the poor. They do not hold evangelistic meetings, yet they keep growing in numbers. Many churches that hold fundamental beliefs care only for the needs of the soul and do not do any charity work. You would think that the Gospel would spread faster that way, but it doesn’t.

環視世界各差會,發現很多宣教士變了多馀的人手,他們頂多能做做策劃或推動植堂的工作,但傳福音,主要還是靠本地的傳道人去做。

Take a look at the different missionary organizations around the world and you will notice that many missionaries have become unessential, the most they can do is some planning work or promoting church-planting. Spreading the Gospel is mainly done by local preachers.

到底哪些宣教事工是有價值的呢?宣教士應該到貧窮落後,本土沒有幾個傳道人的地方,盡力關心窮人需要,關心窮傳道的需要。不用理會人家諷刺奶粉信徒、麵包信徒,照顧窮人的教會,必有窮人尋求主。

In the end, what kind of missionary work is important? Missionaries should go to places that are poor and undeveloped; they should go to the countries where there are not too many pastors and do their best to care for the needs of the poor and the needs of the local pastor. It doesn’t matter if the people who come are only looking for milk and bread, eventually these poor people will come to seek for the Lord.

北美教會只見中產人士到教會,富人不願來,窮人被輕視。曾有一華人教會在70 年代擔保越南難民到美國,當許多越南難民來到教會之後,其他會眾差不多全跑光,歧視難民,實在是與主的教訓相違背。信徒行善,最好不是捐錢給機構,如果能夠親自幫助有需要的人,或幫助個別的家庭,關心自己的親人或自己周圍的病人,是很好的服事工作。

In North America, most of the people who come to church are middle class, the rich are not willing to come and the poor are neglected. In the 70’s there was a Chinese Church that sponsored some Vietnamese refugees to come to America. After the Vietnamese refugees started coming to church, most of the members of the congregation decided to leave the church; they were bias against the refugees. This is actually contrary to the teachings of our Lord. The best way to help people who are in need is not giving money through a non-profit organization but looking for ways to personally help those who are in need, helping a particular family, caring for a family member who is sick or helping someone who is in need. This is a very good way to serve the Lord.

主的責備

THE LORD ‘ S REBUKE

20 然而有一件事我要責備你,就是你容讓那自稱先知的婦人耶洗別來教導我的僕人,引誘他們行姦淫、喫祭偶像之物。

20 Nevertheless, I have this against you: You tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophet. By her teaching she misleads my servants into sexual immorality and the eating of food sacrificed to idols.

很多解經的人對「耶洗別」這角色傷透腦筋。在以前的時代,怎可能有女先知、女傳道,怎可能有這麽大的權力與影響力?到今天很多教會還不容姊妹上講台,不准許她們做領袖或教導弟兄,古代的教會,當然更不可能。到底這裡說的耶洗別是誰?

Many Bible commentators have been scratching their heads over this vexing character named “Jezebel”. How could a prophetess, woman preacher, have such great power and influence in the old times? Many churches today still do not allow women to preach at the pulpit, they are not even allowed to be leaders or to teach men; of course, this would have been impossible in the church in ancient times. So, who on earth is this Jezebel?

耶洗別本來是一位皇后,但她的權柄,超越了皇帝亞哈,她領導整個民族變質,帶領子民拜偶像。後來以利亞先知獨自在迦密山上證明她所拜的是假神,立刻殺掉所有巴力先知。那時她還不認輸,還要追殺以利亞。這裡強調她權力超越丈夫,事實是指教皇超越基督的權柄。

Jezebel was a queen, but her authority surpassed King Ahab’s. She led astray an entire nation by having them worship idols. Later on, the prophet Elijah alone proved to her on Mt. Carmel that the idols she worshiped were false gods, and killed all the prophets of Baal at once. At that time, she did not admit defeat and wanted to kill Elijah. Here it emphasizes that her authority was above her husband’s; actually, this suggests that the Pope’s authority is over Christ’s authority.

天國的王應該是基督,但教皇越權做了教會的王,不管是男是女,皇后不該有帝王權柄。他們還發明教皇無誤論,實在是最大的錯誤,使人崇拜教皇多過主。又使人拜偶像、聖人、馬利亞,是屬靈的姦淫。

Christ should be the King of the Kingdom of Heaven, but the Pope has stolen that authority and has become the king of the church. Regardless if it’s a man or a woman, the queen should not have imperial authority. They also invented the theory that the Pope is errorless, which is a big mistake, deceiving the people to worship the Pope more than worshiping the Lord. They also lured people to commit spiritual adultery by worshiping idols, the saints and Mary.

為甚麽有教皇?因為他們追求政治權力,歐洲各國皇帝都要聽話,皇帝的廢立由教皇決定,可說是皇上皇,比現在美國總統風光得多。主的教會追求屬世權力,容讓教皇制度產生,所以受到主嚴厲的責備。

Why is there a Pope? There is a Pope because the people crave political power. The Pope can decide on the depositions of emperors and all the kings of the European countries had to listen to him. He is more flamboyant than the president of the US The Lord’s Church was pursuing worldly power and so they developed the Papal system, thus they were severely rebuked by the Lord.

主的警告

THE LORD ‘ S WARNINGS

21 我曾給他悔改的機會,她卻不肯悔改她的淫行。

21 I have given her time to repent of her immorality, but she is unwilling.

第八世紀教會通過成立教皇制度,但不承認是那時候纔開始,所以把第一任教皇推給使徒彼得。當時很多反對聲音,積極反對的與羅馬教會分家,成為希臘東正教。消極反對的自己成立家庭教會,就是後來的弟兄會。這種爭辯,其實是神給他們悔改的機會,但他們不肯悔改。

The Church established the Papal system during the 8th century but they did not recognized this time as the start of it. They said that the first Pope was the apostle Peter. At that time, there were many actively opposing voices against the Roman Catholic Church resulting in the split and establishment of the Greek Orthodox Church. Those who passively opposed them formed house churches which later became the Church of the Brethren. These disputes were actually a chance that God gave them to repent, but they refused to repent.

22 看哪,我要叫她病臥在床,那些與她行淫的人,若不悔改所行的,我也要叫他們同受大患難。

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.

人病臥在床或病得要死,常因為有罪( 林前11:29-30) 。病與死有可能從罪來的。但這裡說,教會要病臥在床,似乎指教會在屬靈上,將會像沉重的病人一樣無能,教會中信徒將有很多災難性的痛苦無法處理。

Often people are ill in bed or sick unto death because of sin (1 Corinthians 11:29-30). Sickness and death could be due to sin. But here it says that the Church will be cast on a bed of suffering which seems to point out that the Church will become extremely weak spiritually like a person who is seriously ill. The Church will have to face and deal with many sufferings that are disastrous in nature.

有人想過預防勝於治療,平日多花時間輔導信徒家庭,是否比等出了狀況,纔去排解好得多?聽起來很理想,事實上達不到。如果教會走歪,信仰有了偏差,她像生病一樣,沒有能力做好屬靈供應,下面的信徒一定問題叢生,無論教會或信徒各家庭,都必定受盡疾病的折磨。

Some people think that prevention is better than treatment. Spending time counseling a believer’s family every day, wouldn’t this be much better than to wait until a problem occurs and then intervene? This sounds ideal but in fact it cannot be achieved. If the church goes astray and they deviate from the truth, it will be as if they were sick, they would not have the strength to provide for the spiritual needs of others. The church and the believers will be affected by the agony of the disease.

23 我又要殺死她的黨類( 原文是兒女) ,叫眾教會知道,我是那察看肺腑心腸的,並要照你們的行為報應你們各人。

23 I will strike her children dead. 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.

耶洗別教導神子民拜偶像,自己也要受沉重的審判。但主的審判是公平公義的,祂按各人不同的情況審斷。祂對不同的人有不同的審斷。祂呼喚在他們之下的群眾悔改所行的,免得受同樣的懲罰。

Jezebel taught God’s people to worship idols; therefore, she herself will suffer severe judgment. But God’s judgment is just and right. He will judge each person according to their doings. He will judge each person differently. He is calling to the multitudes that are under them to repent from their deeds otherwise they will be punished in the same way.

我們看不見人的內心,只能憑表面判斷說:「所有天主教徒都不能得救。」或用簡單的方程式說:「信耶穌、悔改、認罪,就得救。」所以當某人作了認罪的禱告,我們就會說他得救了,他到底有沒有得救?只有神纔知道,因為神察看人的心腸肺腑,沒有隱藏的意念祂不知道。

We cannot see through a person’s heart, we can only see outwardly and so might say: “All Catholics are not saved.” Or use a simple formula and say: “Believe in Jesus, repent, confess your sins, then you will be saved .” So, when a person prays and confesses his sins, we say that the person is saved. But is he really saved? Only God can know that. There is no other person who can actually look into a person’s heart but Him. No thoughts can be hidden from Him.

追求政權的人,總有詭詐狡滑的手段,人說「所有政客要下地獄」的話,因為做政治家,就要玩政治手段,用任何骯髒辦法,達到目的。

Those who seek absolute authority will use means that are deceitful and cunning. People say: “All politicians will go to hell,” because politicians use sneaky and dishonest ways to obtain what they want.

細讀這幾封信,發現壞的影響會延續到末世。主說拜偶像的會「同受大患難」。又說:「25 你們已經有的,總要持守,直等我來。」雖然每個教會只代表一個時期,但對幾個教會的講話內容可以看見,壞影響會存在到末日,錯誤的教義,會污染教會到末世。不只是兩叁百年的事。

By reading carefully these letters we realize that bad influence can continue until the end times. The Lord said that those who worship idols will “suffer intensely.” He also said: “Hold on to what you have until I come.” Even though each church only represents one era, we can see from the words that the Lord spoke to the churches that a bad influence will continue to exist until the end last days. False teachings can pollute the church until the end of the world. It is not a matter of just a few hundred years.

主對下個教會說「祂來像賊一樣」,對再下一個說,「他們會免去普天下人受的大試煉」,告訴我們,愛主、傳福音的非拉鐵非教會是個儆醒教會,他們會免受七年大災難。得勝的將在災難之前被提。同樣,崇拜教皇、跪拜偶像的教義,影響千多年後到末世,得不到主的生命。

The Lord tells the Church in Sardis: “I will come like a thief”, and to the Church in Philadelphia He says: “I will keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come on the whole world.” This tells us that the Church in Philadelphia, which was a church that loved the Lord and preached the Gospel, was a vigilant church. They will be spared from the seven years of great tribulation. Those who are victorious will be raptured before the great tribulation. In the same manner, those who have been influenced for more than a thousand years with false teachings to bow down to idols and worship the Pope will not receive the eternal abundant life that the Lord gives.

主的鼓勵

THE LORD ‘ S ENCOURAGEMENT

24 至於你們推雅推喇其馀的人,就是一切不從那教訓,不曉得他們素常所說撒但深奧之理的人,我告訴你們:我不將別的擔子放在你們身上,25 但你們已經有的總要持守直等到我來。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, ‘I will not impose any other burden on you, 25 except to hold on to what you have until I come.’

不將別的擔子放在他們身上,表示他們已經有擔子在身。因為有些真誠追求主的人,在他們權力之下必受到壓制,他們是受苦的一群。這些在苦難壓力下忠心生活的人,就必有豐盛的生命。主吩咐他們總要持守,直等到祂來。所以第十九節的第四個詞「忍耐」必然是指這些人,因為默默受苦與忍耐,顯出是真基督徒。

When the Lord said He will not impose any other burden on them, it showed that they already had burdens. The people who were suffering were those who sincerely sought the Lord, they were oppressed by the ones in authority. Those who are faithful in spite of suffering hardships will surely have an abundant life. The Lord told them to hold on to what they have until He comes. Therefore, the word “perseverance” on verse 19 definitely refers to this group of people, because suffering silently and persevering showed they were true Christians.

一個回教徒受迫害,全球回教徒會起來攻擊那逼迫者;法輪功的人受苦,大家一起示威,擺地攤罵政府。只有基督徒默默受苦,被抓去坐牢、被抄家,他們在獄中充滿喜樂,唱詩讚美講見證。放出來,照樣開聚會。二千年來沒有改變過。主裡的喜樂不根據外面的條件。外邦人因婆婆不好,或老闆不欣賞,就不快樂,他們的快樂掌握在別人手上。

When a Muslim suffers persecution, the whole Muslim world rises up against the attacker; when a member of the Falun Gong suffers, his supporters will gather to hold a protest rally against the government. Only Christians suffer silently while they are taken to jail and let people search their houses and confiscate their possessions but they are filled with joy while in prison, singing hymns, praising God and testifying for the Lord. After they are released from prison, they will continue to meet together to worship God. This has not changed in 2000 years. The joy in the Lord does not change even under adverse conditions. Unbelievers become unhappy when their mother-in-law does not treat them well, or their boss does not appreciate them; their happiness lies on the hands of others.

對外面的困難情況,基督徒的特色是忍耐。沒有甚麽能奪去我們的喜樂,主不會把過重的擔子放在我們身上,祂知道我們能承當多少。

The characteristic of a Christian is to persevere regardless of how difficult the circumstances are outside. Nothing can take away our joy. The Lord will not put on us a burden we cannot bear; He knows how much we can take.

主的應許

THE LORD ‘ S PROMISE

26 那得勝又遵守我命令到底的,我要賜給他權柄制伏列國。

26 To the one who is victorious and does my will to the end, I will give authority over the nations.

追求政治權柄的教會,是失敗的教會,遵守主命令的教會,基督要給他真正的權柄,就是屬靈權柄。不單羅馬教會求政治權力,今天很多教會也因為爭權出問題。長老像董事般擁有權力,以為這是屬靈權柄。

The church that seeks political power is a church that is a failure. To the church that follows the commands of the Lord, Christ will give true authority, which is spiritual authority. The Roman Catholic Church sought political power; today, many churches have problems because of political power struggles. Some elders of the church have authority like the director of a company, mistakenly thinking that is spiritual authority.

聖經不是提到屬靈權柄嗎?主耶穌曾兩次差派門徒出去傳道,先給他們權柄,就是治病、趕鬼之權,讓他們傳福音時帶著能力。但當教會追求政權,渴求指揮別人的權,出兵打仗之權,使用金錢叫人聽話,趕逐人離開教會之權,那時,真正屬靈的權卻不見了。

Doesn’t the Bible mention spiritual authority? Twice, before the Lord Jesus sent His disciples out to preach the Gospel, He gave them authority to heal the sick and to cast out demons so that they would have power when preaching the Gospel. But, when the church craves absolute authority over others, sends out troops to fight, uses money to make people obey them, and have the power to excommunicate people from the church, then, their real spiritual authority is gone.

主說要給遵守主命令的人制伏列國的權柄?誰有權柄能製伏列國?美國是世界第一強國都不能,誰能呢?主說的,是天國要征服世界,福音要征服世界,福音的使者要征服世界,從魔鬼的手下搶出人的靈魂。

The Lord said He will give authority over the nations to those who do His will. Who has authority over the nations? Even the United States that is the most powerful country in the world does not have that authority, who then has it? What the Lord is saying is that the Kingdom of Heaven will conquer the world; the Gospel will conquer the world, it will snatch human souls out of Satan’s hands.

27 他必用鐵杖轄管( 牧養) 他們,將他們如同窯戶的瓦器打得粉碎,像我從我父領受的權柄一樣。28 我又要把晨星賜給他。

27 That one ‘will rule them with an iron scepter and will dash them to pieces like pottery’ —just as I have received authority from my Father. 28 I will also give that one the morning star.

得勝的將會得到屬靈的權能,像主耶穌從父神領受的權柄一樣。他們領受到怎樣的權柄呢?這裡有幾種權能:

The one who is victorious will receive spiritual authority, just like the authority that the Lord Jesus received from God the Father. What kind of authority will they receive? Here, there are several kinds of authorities:

1. exousia epi-authority over 有權柄在世界各國之上。這是主真道的權柄。耶穌在世上傳道的時候,人們覺得祂所傳的有權柄,不像法利賽、文士們只有空洞的話。

1. exousia epi-authority 

AUTHORITY OVER THE NATIONS. 

It is the authority of the true Word of God. When Jesus was preaching the Word of God in the world, people felt that He preached with authority, not like the Pharisees or the Scribes who spoke empty words.

2. 鐵杖出鞘。脫穎而出之能,這瓦器不是別人是我們,「我們有這寶貝放在瓦器裡。」古人用瓦器來盛裝不常用,卻是重要的物品。像皇帝的杖,不是常用。不用之時,就用瓦器把它裝起來,要用之時,就打碎瓦器,讓寶貝放出來使用。現代的人可能用盒子盛裝。

2. IRON SCEPTER UNSHEATHED. 

The power to rise above the rest; the pottery does not refer to others but to ourselves, “we have this treasure in jars of clay.” In the old times, people would keep important things inside jars of clay , like the scepter of an emperor which was rarely used. When the scepter was not needed, it was put inside the pottery and when it needed to be used, the jar of clay would be broken into pieces to retrieve the treasure. Nowadays, people might use a special box to keep their treasures.

當人願意破碎自己,放下自己,讓裡面的聖靈出來,就會看見聖靈的大能作為,治病、趕鬼、捆綁魔鬼、得勝黑暗的權能,就發揮出來。

When people are willing to be broken and lay down their own self before the Lord, the Holy Spirit that is inside them will emerge and manifest its power, the sick will be healed, demons will be cast out, the devil will be bound and the evil powers of darkness will be overcome.

3. 屬靈恩賜。「晨星」是指那些有特別屬靈才能的領袖,古人用這天亮前最亮之晨星,表示是眾望所歸,人所擁戴的君王。神要賜給得勝的教會,有屬靈才能的領袖,遠遠超越那掌握大權的教皇。

3. SPIRITUAL GIFTS. “Morning Star” indicates those leaders with special spiritual gifts. The people from ancient times used this very bright star that appears at dawn to express the hope that they have for the emperor that people support. The Lord wants to give the victorious church a leader with spiritual gifts far greater than the authority of the Pope.

這叁種權能,都是教皇及教會的領袖們所渴望得到的,但最後他們所得的,只是地上之權,並非屬靈的權柄,或天上的權柄。教會應該重視的是屬靈的權柄。

These three kinds of authority are the ones that the Pope and the leaders of the church long for; but at the end, what they obtained was only earthly authority, not spiritual authority or authority from heaven. The Church ought to attach great importance to spiritual authority.