CHAPTER 12 – Revelation 3:7-13 真實教會之出現 THE TRUE CHURCH APPEARS

非拉鐵非教會是一個蒙主稱讚,完全沒有受到責備的教會。代表十七世紀到十九世紀的教會,是教會最輝煌的時代。可以稱她為「真實的教會」,是天國真正在地上擴張的時代。

The Church in Philadelphia did not receive any words of rebuke from the Lord; it only received words of commendation and represents the churches from the 17th century to the 19th century. This was the most outstanding era of the Church. We can call this Church “ The True Church.” It was the time when the Kingdom of Heaven was really expanding.

這並不是說當時有許多巨型的教會。巨型教會在現在老底嘉時代可能有更多。非拉鐵非所重視的是差傳工作、海外傳福音工作。那時候有很多無名的傳道者,願意到落後蠻荒之處,忍耐幾十年,學語言、傳福音。不是開碩大的教會,乃是到沒有人去的角落,使福音傳遍世界。

This is not to say that there were many mega-churches at that time. Maybe there were more mega-churches during the time of the Church in Laodicea. The Church in Philadelphia was serious about doing mission’s work and spreading the Gospel overseas. At that time there were many unknown preachers who were willing to go to undeveloped places of the world, enduring patiently for decades and learning the language of the native people in order to preach the Gospel to them. They did not go to to big churches but to remote places where others were not willing to go so the Gospel would spread all over the world.

主的自稱

THE LORD ‘ S SELF-DESCRIPTION

7 那聖潔、真實,拿著大衛的鑰匙,開了就沒有人能關,關了就沒有人能開的… 

7 “These are the words of him who is holy and true, who holds the key of David . What he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open.”

主的自稱有叁點,跟這個教會有關:聖潔、真實、拿著大衛鑰匙。

The Lord’s self-description mentions three things that are related to this church: Holy, true, holds the key of David.

七個教會之中,這一個成為真正教會的代表。真教會出現在這個時期。第叁章所提到的叁個教會,都與真實有點關係。撒迪教會「名真實假」,名義上屬有生命的主,實際上是死的;老底嘉教會「半真半假」,有點生命,但不冷不熱;這個卻是「真實」的教會,「實至名歸」的教會。

Among the seven churches, this one proves to be the true representation of the Church. The true Church appears during this era. The three churches mentioned in Chapter 3 are somehow related to the truth. The Church in Sardis, “the name was real but actually they were not ,”they had the reputation of having the Lord of Life, but in reality, they were dead. The Church in Laodicea was “half true and half false,” they had a little bit of life, but they were neither hot nor cold. But this Church was the “true” Church; it had the reputation of being an excellent Church.

真教會是「聖潔」的,是「分別為聖」的。在這教會時代之前,有一千年之久,教會在羅馬帝國的影響之下,把世界的系統、世人的價值觀,全數搬進教會。他們講究權力、軍力、財力,外表上很榮耀輝煌,完全跟世人一樣。教會的聖潔慢慢失去了,變得骯髒、腐敗,充滿鬥爭、醜聞。像社團一樣,爭奪權力、地位、經濟、享受。

A true Church is a “holy” Church; it is “dedicated to the service of God”. Before the time of the Church in Philadelphia, the Church had a thousand years of being entirely influenced by the Roman Empire with its worldly values and systems . They only cared about authority, military power and financial resources. Their outward appearance was very glamorous, exactly like the people of the world. The holiness of the church disappeared little by little and it became unclean, corrupted, permeated with fights and scandals, similar to a social organization, fighting over power, status, wealth and pleasures.

真教會是「真實」的,有真實的生命,真摯地愛主,真誠的敬拜。把生命見證展示在世人面前,讓別人從信徒身上看見基督。

A real Church is a “true” Church; it really has life, truly loves the Lord and worships Him with since hearts. It witnesses to the world in such a way that people can see Christ in the life of the believers.

真正教會「要擴展」,要傳到地極。「大衛的鑰匙」,就是「天國的鑰匙」,指各種機會。新約中五次提到「打開的門」,都與傳福音有關。

The true Church “needs to expand” to the ends of the earth. “The key of David” is the “The key of the Kingdom of Heaven” and it refers to all kinds of opportunities. The phrase “open doors” appears in the New Testament five times and every time is related to spreading the Gospel.

怎樣的教會是真正的教會?七個教會之中,只有兩個教會是全受稱讚,沒有一句責備的話,就是「示每拿」與「非拉鐵非」。

What kind of church is a true Church? From all seven churches, only two received words of commendation without any words of rebuke. They were the Church in Smyrna and the Church in Philadelphia.

示每拿教會因為受苦,生命豐盛,他們雖然沒有敞開的門,但他們是開山劈石的建造者,是開國功臣。他們雖然距離天國之實現還遠,但卻是把天國的根基紮穩了。她後面幾個時期的教會,雖然有很多機會,卻沒有大力把教會推展到全世界。

The Church in Smyrna had an abundant life because of their sufferings. Although they did not open doors, they were the breakthrough pioneer builders, the founding fathers. Even though they were far from the realization of the Kingdom of Heaven, they made firm its foundation . The other church eras that followed, though they had a lot of opportunities, were not able to vigorously further the expansion of the Church to the whole world.

到了非拉鐵非教會時代,她抓著每個打開的門,把福音傳遍世界,把天國的版圖推到地球上每一個角落。天國真的出現了。基督既然是聖潔、真實、掌機會之門的主,教會也應該是這樣的。

During the time of the Church in Philadelphia they took hold of every open door to spread the Gospel all over the world, extending the territory of the Kingdom of Heaven to every corner of this earth. The Kingdom of Heaven had truly appeared. Christ is indeed holy, true and the Lord who holds the door to opportunities. The Church should also do likewise.

主的稱讚

THE LORD ‘ S COMMENDATIONS

8 我知道你的行動,你只有一點力量,卻守護我的道,沒有棄絕我名。看哪,我給你一個敞開的門,是無人能關的。

8 I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut. I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name.

所有機會都是主給的,祂控制一切機會的出現或消失。祂開了無人能關,關了無人能開。在這教會時期,神只開門,沒有關門,也不讓門關上。為甚麽前面幾個教會沒有敞開的門?為甚麽主不打開福音大門?但我們要問,不傳福音的教會要機會何用?機會是神所給的,但人的反應,也有重要影響因素。人不動,機會也必定會消失。

All opportunities are given by the Lord. He controls when the opportunity arises and when it fades away. When He opens doors, no one can close them and when He closes a door, no one can open it. During this Church era, God opened many doors; He did not close any doors. Why were the doors not opened for the previous churches? Why did the Lord no open wide the doors of the Gospel? We should ask, how would a Church that does not preach the Gospel make use of an opportunity? The opportunity is given by the Lord, but the reaction of the people is also an important factor. If people do not want to take action, the opportunity will disappear.

主耶穌所說「按才授銀」的比喻,各人所得的銀子,不是代表才幹,不是主給不同的人有不同才幹。銀子是指「機會」。主耶穌不是說,按他的才幹給他才幹,乃是按他的才幹給他機會。有屬靈才能的人,機會就多,就應該好好利用這些機會。In the “Parable of the Talents” that Jesus spoke about, the talents that each person received did not represent the abilities that the Lord gave to each person. The talents represented“ opportunities ”. Jesus did not say that each person was given talents according to his own ability; instead, opportunities were given to each according to their talents. Those with spiritual gifts will be given more opportunities. You should make good use of those opportunities.

前面幾個教會,有權力、組織、經濟力量、人手,但沒有向外傳,白白蹧蹋主給他們的機會。這個教會,只有很小的力量,「你只有一點力量」,因為他們再沒有大公會的支持,沒有政治勢力,也沒有經濟力量。沒有人看得起這種無人力、無財力、無勢力、無聲望的小教會。誰知就是這些默默無聞的人,把福音傳遍天下。人間最弱小一群,隨便哪一個有財有勢的人,都可把他捏死,但他們卻成了天國的棟樑。

The earlier churches had authority, economic strength, and manpower and were well organized, but failed to spread the Gospel to the outside world, they wasted precious opportunities that the Lord had given them. This Church was not very strong, “you have little strength ” it says, because they did not have the support of a big organization, political influence or economic strength. People tend to look down on these kinds of small churches that have no manpower, no financial resources and no popularity. Who would have thought that this unrecognized group of people would spread the Gospel throughout the world? The weakest group of people in the world; any wealthy or powerful person could crush them with one finger, yet they became a pillar in the Kingdom of Heaven.

主給今世的應許

THE LORD ‘ S PROMISE FOR THIS LIFE

9 那撒但一會的,自稱是猶太人,其實不是猶太人,是假的( 說謊話的) 。10 你既忍耐守護著我的道,我必在普天下人受試煉的時候,守護你,免去你的試煉。

9 I will make those who are of the synagogue of Satan, who claim to be Jews though they are not, but are liars—10 Since you have kept my command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come on the whole world to test the inhabitants of the earth.

主特別給這非拉鐵非教會有兩方面的應許。第一方面是今生的,第二方面是來世的。可以看見這教會是特別蒙主喜愛的。來世的應許到後面纔看見,先看今生的應許。

The promise that the Lord gives to the Church in Philadelphia has two aspects. The first aspect is for this life and the second aspect is for the afterlife. We can see that this Church is particularly loved by the Lord. We will take a look at the promise for the afterlife a little later; first, let us a look at the promise for this life.

( 一) 那些假弟兄要倒在你腳前:他們自命是正宗教會,天國代表,但最後必看見都落後失敗了。自從教會從羅馬教分出來後,遵守主道的都越來越興旺。死守傳統的,好像倒在這些守道的教會面前一樣。

(1) The false brothers will fall down at your feet: They call themselves the true church, the representatives of the Kingdom of Heaven, but in the end they will fall behind as failures. Ever since the Church separated from the Roman Catholic Church, those who follow God’s Word have become more and more prosperous. It is as if those who obstinately cling to traditions had fallen down before the believers who follow the Word of God.

( 二) 你既守護我的道,我必守護你免去末日大災難。他們將在大災難前被提,這大災難的目的,是為把真假信徒分別,既然是真的,就不需要考驗。那災難是全世界要受的,天災、地震、強風、海嘯、大雪、洪水、戰爭、恐怖暴力、大屠殺、核子戰爭、空難、疾病瘟疫,及不知名的病,全部湧出來。加上雞瘟、牛瘟等各種動物都傳播瘟疫。還有車禍、橋禍、樓禍、機器禍,各種災禍。這類災禍現在都見過了,所以末期不遠了。主說,這些積極傳福音的教會,都要免去末日的大災難。

(2) Since you have kept my command, I will also keep you from the great tribulation that will come at the end of times. They will be raptured before the great tribulation. The purpose of the rapture is to differentiate true believers from false believers and because they were true believers they would not need to go through the test. The calamities will come to the whole world, natural disasters, earthquakes, strong storms, tsunamis, snow storms, floods, wars, terrorist attacks, massacres, nuclear wars, plane crashes, diseases, epidemics, unknown incurable diseases, all these will appear at the same time. There will also be epidemics and plagues spread by chickens, cattle and other animals. In addition, there will be car accidents, bridge accidents, building accidents , machinery accidents, and all kinds of disasters. Many of these disasters are already appearing at the present time which is a sign that the end is near. The Lord said that the churches that actively spread the Gospel wil l be spared from the great tribulation of the end times.

主的鼓勵

THE LORD ‘ S ENCOURAGEMENT

11 我必快來,你要持守你所有的,免別人拿到你的冠冕。

11 I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take your crown.

主說:「我必快來」。因為天國版圖已達到全世界,是成熟的時候。主耶穌曾說:「這天國的福音要傳遍天下,對萬民作見證,然後末期纔來到。」( 太24:14) 現在是時候了,堅持一會,就可以得可誇的冠冕。

The Lord said: “I am coming soon.” The time is at hand, the territory of the Kingdom of Heaven has reached the whole world. The Lord Jesus once said: “And this Gospel of the Kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.” (Matthew 24:14) Now is the time, endure patiently and you will receive the glorious crown

冠冕是榮耀。人人在追求榮耀。不過世界的榮耀,都是虛榮。拿破崙打過很多勝仗,之後發給士兵一個徽章,上面只有一句話:「某某戰役,我在其中。」這位士兵就會覺得很光榮。但這些只是虛榮,是短暫的。今是國君,明是囚犯;今受尊敬,明被判刑。這些事都常見。

A royal crown is glory. Everyone is in the pursuit of glory but the glory of the world is vanity. After each war that Napoleon won, he would issue his soldiers a badge that said: “I was in such and such war .”  His soldiers felt very proud about it. That kind of glory is vanity, it is only temporary. Today he is a ruler, tomorrow he is a prisoner; today he is honored, tomorrow he is condemned. These things are seen every day.

主給的冠冕卻是永遠的。「免得人奪去你的冠冕」,聽起來好像冠冕可以被人搶去。其實這是翻譯上的誤導。正確的翻譯是:「免得別人拿到冠冕,你卻沒有得到。」保羅說過,奧運場上賽跑得獎的人,只有一個,但信徒不像奧運的參賽者,不是跟別人競爭,是自己忠心跑完當跑的路。凡是忠心到底的人,就會得到獎賞。

The crown that the Lord gives is eternal. “So that no one will take your crown” sounds like the crown could be snatched away. Actually this translation is misleading. The correct translation should be: “Lest others get the crown and you do not get it.”Paul once said: “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize?”The believers are not like contestants in the Olympic Games, they are not competing against someone else; they are running faithfully the road set before them. Those who persevere to the end will receive their reward.

基督徒有多種榮耀。七個教會中有兩個集體得到冠冕。示每拿為義受逼迫,生命豐盛榮耀,得著「生命的冠冕」,或稱「豐盛生命的冠冕」。非拉鐵非得到人靈魂歸主,這種榮耀,稱為「可誇的冠冕」( 帖前2:19) 。保羅說:「我們的盼望和喜樂,並所誇冠冕是甚麽呢?豈不是主來的時候,你們站立得住麽?因為你們就是我們的榮耀、我們的喜樂。」

Christians have different kinds of glory. From the seven churches, only two groups received crowns. The Church in Smyrna received the “crown of life” or “the crown of abundant life” because they suffered persecution; their life was abundant and glorious. The Church in Philadelphia led people’s souls back to God; this kind of glory is called “a crown in which to glory.” 1 Thessalonians 2:19 says, “For what is our hope, our joy, or the crown in which we will glory in the presence of our Lord Jesus when he comes? Is it not you?”

使徒保羅告訴我們,服事主的工人最快樂的事,就是所帶領信主的人,受得起考驗,是真實的果子。所帶領的每一個靈魂,都像是冠冕上的一顆鑽石。你有幾顆果子可以數呢?有幾顆可以誇耀呢?周圍很多人沒有聽過福音,你願否作福音的戰士呢?

The apostle Paul tells us that the joyous time for a servant of the Lord is when the people they had led to Christ stand firm when put to the test; that is the real fruit. Every soul that has been led to Christ is like a diamond that adorns the crown. How many fruits can you count? How many of those fruits can you glory in? There are many people around you that have not heard of the good news of Jesus Christ, are you willing to be a warrior for the Gospel ?

主給來世國度的應許

THE LORD ‘ S PROMISE FOR THE KINGDOM IN THE COMING AGE

12 得勝的,我要叫他在神殿中作柱子,他也必不再從那裡出去。我要將我神的名和我神城的名- 這城就是從天上,從我神那裡降下來的新耶路撒冷,並我的新名,都寫在他的上面。

在前面,主應許要守護他們,使他們免去普世的大災難。在這裡,主應許給那些得勝的人,這些本來是無名的傳道者,將會成為神家裡的重要人物。

In the previous verse, the Lord promises to keep them from the great tribulation that is going to come on the whole world. Here the Lord promises to those who are victorious, to those unknown preachers of the Gospel, that in the future they will become very important figures in the House of God.

聖經用聖殿預表天國。我們每個信徒都像是一塊石頭、磚頭,一起把殿建造起來。

The Bible uses the Sanctuary to represent the Kingdom of God. Each one of us, believers in the Lord, are like a piece of stone, a brick, when put together will help build the Sanctuary.

這殿有兩大重要部份我們沒有希望在其中有份。第一是「房角石」,是基督自己,祂是最大的磐石。安妥之後,聖殿定好,無法更改。第二是「根基」,是使徒、先知的根基( 弗2:20-21) 。「並且被建造在使徒和先知的根基上,有基督耶穌自己為房角石…… 聯絡得合式,漸漸成為主的聖殿。」

This Sanctuary has two important sections which we can no longer be part of. The first section is “the cornerstone”, who is Christ Himself. He is the greatest Rock. Once the corner stone is in place, the Sanctuary will be firmly established, it can never be moved. The second section is “the foundation”, which are the apostles and the prophets. Ephesians 2:20-21 says, “Built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord.”

但第叁重要的,是成為聖殿的「柱子」,這是謹次於根基的人物,這是後世基督徒可以追求得到的榮耀。他們也將是天國里的重要人物,是永遠不會被裁員的。這永遠的位份與榮耀,是特別給在行動上傳揚主名的人。傳福音、建造天國的人,纔是神家裡最重要的人物。不是甚麽會長、專家。魔鬼不怕人成為教會中的名人,也不怕人流淚立志,只怕人有所行動。因人的行動能夠叫牠從天上墬落。

The third important section is being a “pillar” in the Sanctuary of God, this position is second to being part of the foundation, and this is the glory that Christians from later generations can pursue. They will become very important figures in the Kingdom of Heaven. They will never be laid off. This unique glorious position is reserved for the believers who actively proclaim the name of the Lord. Leaders of organizations or experts are not the important people in the Kingdom of Heaven. Those who spread the Gospel, who take part in the construction of the Kingdom of Heaven, those are the ones that are very important part of the God’s house. Satan is not afraid of famous people in the church, neither is he afraid of people who shed tears and make a decision; but he is afraid of any kind of action because when people start being active in spreading the Gospel, it will hurl down Satan from heaven.

所羅門王建造聖殿時,裝了兩條巨大的柱子,一條叫作「雅斤」,意為「穩固」;一條叫「波阿斯」,意「有力」。這一群穩固有力的基督徒,在永世裡,將會成為天國的大人物,神家裡的台柱,永遠不會被挪走,有永遠的榮耀。

When King Solomon built the temple, he installed two huge pillars; one was called “ Jachin ”, which means “stable”; the other one was called “Boaz”, which means “strong”. This group of stable and strong Christians will become great individuals in the Kingdom of Heaven, pillars in the House of God, will never be moved and will have eternal glory.

柱子上寫上叁個名字:「神的名」、「神城的名」、「基督的新名」。他們百分之百是神家的要人,是新耶路撒冷,是在基督國度裡與基督一同作王的人。

Three names will be written on the pillars: “The name of God”, “the name of the city of God”, and “Christ’s new name”. They are 100% important people who are part of God’s house, the New Jerusalem. They will reign together with Christ in the Kingdom of Heaven.