CHAPTER 9 – Revelation 2:12-17 主的話是靈、是生命 THE WORDS OF THE LORD ARE SPIRIT AND LIFE

別迦摩教會代表基督教成為羅馬國教的時代,從第四世紀到第七世紀的教會,那時教會享受平安的日子。不過有一個大問題, 就是缺少真道的傳講。新加入教會的人太多,有基礎的基督徒與工人不足。所以基督在這裡自稱說「有兩刃的劍」。

The Church in Pergamum represents the era when Christianity became the national religion in Rome, from the 4th century to the 7th century. The Church enjoyed a time of peace then—but there was a big problem, it lacked preaching of the truth; too many new believers were added to the Church but there were not enough workers with firm foundations.

兩刃的利劍

SHARP DOUBLE–EDGED SWORD

12 你要寫信給別迦摩教會的使者說,那有兩刃利劍的說。

12 “To the angel of the church in Pergamum write: These are the words of him who has the sharp, double-edged sword.”

對這教會最清晰的信息,就是他們需要真道。希伯來書四章十二節就曾經提過「兩刃的劍」:「神的道是活潑的,是有功效的,比一切兩刃的劍更快。甚至魂與靈,骨節與骨髓,都能刺入剖開,連心中的思念和主意都能辨明。」

The clear message to this Church is that they need the truth. Heb 4:12 mentions the “double-edged sword”: “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”

從主口中出來有兩刃的利劍,告訴我們這教會最大的失敗,就是缺少主的道。以弗所教會失去初愛,但懂得分辨真理,不讓異端得勢。示每拿教會受苦,但生命豐盛。但這教會的苦難時候已經過去,信徒卻餓得半死,因為沒有真道供應。

A sharp, double-edged sword was coming out of the Lord’s mouth. This tells us that the biggest failure of this church was the absence of the word. The Church in Ephesus lacked first love, yet they could distinguish the truth and did not let heresy arise in the church. The Church in Smyrna suffered greatly, but their life was abundant. Now, the time of suffering of the church had already passed yet the believers were starving to death spiritually because there were not supplied with the truth.

主對別的教會說話,都提祂有兩個特色:七靈、七星;首先與末後的、死過又活的等。只有這一個教會單提兩刃的劍。中文的「劍」字已指明是兩刃的,不過多數文字都沒有分刀劍,所以特別註明是兩刃的。表明主的道,有正反兩面作用。能剖開靈與魂,並心中的意念,使人歸服基督;又能審判作戰。羅馬官員如果能佩帶此種劍,等於上方寶劍,有生殺大權。原來主的道也能決定人之生死。

The double-edged sword represents the two functions of the Word of the God. It can penetrate even to dividing soul and spirit, to the inner parts of a person’s heart to bring him to Christ; and can judge the thoughts and attitudes of the heart . If Roman officials could gird themselves with these kinds of double-edged swords, they would be equipped with tremendous power to kill. God’s Word also has the power to

determine a person’s life or death.

教會如果沒有道傳講,問題很大。貴格會曾經是大宗派,現在有多派已經式微,原因是他們廢除了講道這一個項目。從古到今,神都使用傳講的方式。「神在古時藉著眾先知,多次多方曉諭列祖。」( 來1:1) 

If a church does not preach the truth of the Word, then it will have very serious problems. Quakers were once a large denomination but now they are in decline because they abolished preaching in their congregations. God has used preaching since ancient times until now. “In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways.” (Heb 1:1 )

基督教跟其他宗教不同。其他只要人誠心膜拜,有沒真理講解並不重要。但基督徒要經常吃屬靈的嗎哪。有很長日子,教會充斥禮節禱文,但很多人聽不明白,可以說是隱藏的嗎哪。主說:我要顯示給恆心追求者那隱藏的嗎哪。那既是我們的糧食,也是與魔鬼爭戰的武器。靈糧像肉身的糧食,是不能缺少的。基督徒要常吃真嗎哪。

Christianity is different than other religions. Other religions emphasize sincere worship and think that preaching and explaining the truth is not that important. But Christians often need to eat the spiritual manna. For a very long time the church was filled with ceremonial prayers, many people heard it but did not understand it, like having hidden manna. The Lord said: “To the one who is victorious, I will give some of the hidden manna .”That is not only our food but our weapon of war against the devil. The spiritual food is like the food for our bodies which we can not do without. Christians must eat often of the true manna.

主的稱讚- 堅守主的名

THE LORD ‘ S COMMENDATIONS – REMAINED TRUE TO THE NAME

13 我知道你的居所就是有撒但座位之處,當我忠心的見證人安提帕在你們中間,撒但所住的地方被殺之時,你還堅守我的名,沒有棄絕我的道。

13 I know where you live—where Satan has his throne. Yet you remain true to my name. You did not renounce your faith in me, not even in the days of Antipas, my faithful witness, who was put to death in your city —where Satan lives.

既然皇帝成為基督徒,怎麽仍然有逼迫呢?當我們留心這經文所說的,這逼迫不像示每拿教會所遭受的,卻有點像司提反所受的,是地區性,是在撒但所住之處發生的。把各教會所說的作比較時,發現這教會是用「有人」,是部份的不是所有人。別的地方用「你」字,是全面性的。

Even the emperor became a Christian, how come there was still persecution? If we take a closer look at this passage, we will notice that this persecution was different from the persecution of the Church in Smyrna. This was more a regional persecution like during the time of Stephen; it only happened where Satan lived. When we compare the other churches, we find that here it uses the phrase “there are some among you” which means that they were only persecuted by some people, not by every one . Other places used the word “you” which means in its entirety.

為甚麽成了國教之後仍然有迫害?君士坦丁是英明的皇帝,他重新統一了羅馬。但他的版圖中有波斯帝國的地與人民。波斯人卻會迫害基督徒。羅馬與波斯前後經過六次的戰爭,最後羅馬輸了,歸還了大片地土給波斯。由於當時的版圖太大,裡面就有一些地方撒但勢力很強。一些殉道者是在撒但所在地方被殺,並非全國性的,也不是政府迫害。

How come there was still persecution even after Christianity became the national religion? Constantine was a wise emperor, he reunified Rome. But his territory included the Persian Empire and its people. Persians persecuted Christians. Rome and Persia fought against each other six times; finally Rome lost the war and had to return a large piece of land to Persia. Because the territory of the Roman Empire was too vast at that time, there were some places where Satan’s forces were extremely strong. Some martyrs were put to death in places where Satan lived; it was not a persecution in the entire territory or by the government.

根據天主教傳統,安提帕是一位牙醫,約92 年在別迦摩受害。天主教後來封他為聖人,是牙聖。約翰寫書的時候,安提帕事件已經發生了。主用他的事蹟預言後來的事。

Catholic traditions believe Antipas was a dentist and died a martyr’s death around the year 92. The Catholic Church canonized him as a saint and prays to him for relief from toothaches, and diseases of the teeth. When John wrote the book, Antipas had already been killed. The Lord used his accomplishment to tell of the things to come.

整體上,這教會還算是堅持真理的。最有名的事件,是325 年在尼西亞Nicaea 舉行的普世教會會議,目的為解決兩派之爭。Arius 阿流派與Athanasius 阿他拿修派關於叁位一體神的爭論。結果阿流派被判為異端,他們遠走他鄉,甚至到中國來傳道。在唐朝時稱為景教。後來在中國也消失了。凡不接受基督為神的信仰,必定破產。

Overall, this church is considered to hold fast to the truth. The most famous event was the First Council of Nicaea in the year 325, which was aimed to resolve doctrinal disputes between two groups, Arius and Athanasius, regarding controversies about the Trinity. Arianism was condemned as heresy, yet their teachings traveled to distant parts of the world, even as far as China. During the Tang dynasty that doctrine was called Nestorianism but later on those teachings disintegrated. Any belief that does not recognize Jesus Christ as God will surely fall apart.

主的責備- 服從巴蘭教訓

THE LORD ‘ S REBUKE – HOLD THE TEACHING OF BALAAM

14 有幾件事[ 不只一件] 我要責備你,因為在你那裡,有人服從了巴蘭的教訓。這巴蘭曾教導巴勒將絆腳石放在以色列人面前,叫他們吃祭偶像之物,行姦淫的事。

14 Nevertheless, I have a few things against you: There are some among you who hold to the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to entice the Israelites to sin so that they ate food, sacrificed to idols and committed sexual immorality.

他們的兩個錯誤都與不認識真理有關。真道的根基不穩,不能分辨真假,很容易就會跟隨異端。當時有兩個教訓在滋長,成了羅馬大公教與希臘東正教世世代代的歪風。後來羅馬再加上崇拜耶洗別,就是崇拜教皇( 下一時期的教會就看到這毒瘤出現) ,奪取了神的權柄。這種種敗壞人心的教導,影響教會超過一千年。

The two mistakes they made were related to not being able to recognize the truth. Their foundation on the true Word of God was unsound; they could not distinguish between true and false doctrines which made it easy to fall into the dangers of heresy. At that time there were two unhealthy heretic teachings that were passed from generation to generation by the Roman Catholic Church and the Greek Orthodox Church. Later on, Rome added another heresy which was the worshiping of Jezebel that is, worshiping the Pope (this malignant tumor would appear in the next church era), snatching away God’s authority. These different kinds of teachings that corrode the hearts of people influenced the church for more than a thousand years.

巴蘭先知是舊約中有名的先知,他說的話都會應驗,可說是金口先知。以色列人出埃及經過曠野,有幾個民族非常害怕他們。先是以東人不讓以色列經過,要繞道而行。經過南邊迦南人的地,他們來攻擊以色列,結果反被以色列所滅。亞摩利人,照樣不讓他們過去,結果也是敗給以色列( 民22-23) 。摩押人、米甸人就聯合請了巴蘭來咒詛以色列。

Balaam was a well-known prophet from the Old Testament. Whatever he prophesied came true. When the Israelites came out of Egypt and passed through the wilderness, there were a few groups of people who were very afraid of them. First, the Edomites did not let the Israelites go through their territory so they had to make a detour. When the Israelites went through the land of Canaan, the Canaanites attacked the Israelites but the Israelites fought back and destroyed them. The Amorites also did not let the Israelites pass through their territory, and they were also defeated (Numbers Chapters 22-23). The Moabites and the Midianites joined together to asked Balaam to curse the Israelites.

結果巴蘭看見以色列人安營的方式,知道無法加害他們,因為他們包圍著神的寶座安營。凡以神為中心的生活方式,「住在至高者隱密處的,必住在全能者的蔭下。」( 詩91:1) 巴蘭因為貪財,所以想出一個毒計,就是叫摩押人派美女進去以色列營,迷惑他們、引誘他們拜偶像,把以色列人陷在拜摩押偶像的風氣中,而受咒詛,破壞了蒙保守的籬笆( 民22-25 章) 。當他們失去忠於主的心,也失去了主的保守。敬畏主的家庭,事奉主的教會,雖然有人想破壞、攻擊,也不能得手,因為有主恩典包圍著。巴蘭的教訓,就是拜偶像的教訓,把神的子民陷在罪裡。

As a result, when Balaam saw the way the Israelites were encamping, he knew he could not curse them because they were camping around the throne of God. Whoever has God as the center of his life, “whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.” (Psalm 91:1). Because Balaam was greedy for riches, he thought of an evil scheme, which was to send beautiful women into the camp of the Israelites to bewilder them and entice them to worship idols, deceiving the Israelites into adopting the culture of the Moabites which was to worship idols and thus becoming cursed, destroying God’s protective barrier (Numbers Chapters 22-25). When the Israelites lost their loyalty towards the Lord, they also lost God’s protection. The household that worships God, the church that serves the Lord, though some people might want to attack and destroy it, will not succeed because God’s grace surrounds it. The teachings of Balaam were the teachings to worship idols, luring God’s people to sin.

主的責備- 接受尼哥拉教訓

THE LORD ‘ S REBUKE–HOLDING THE TEACHING OF THE NICOLAITANS

15 你那裡也有人照樣服從了尼哥拉一黨人的教訓。

15 Likewise, you also have those who hold to the teaching of the Nicolaitans.

尼哥拉黨的教訓在以弗所教會時代,就是第一世紀已經出現,但不被接受。到別迦摩時代,他們就接受了這種人本教訓。他們認為神創造人,給人有人的天性,人想做甚麽事,是身不由己的。從這個「想做就去做」的想法中得到樂趣,也是神的旨意。神叫人享受生活情趣。如果因此犯了罪,告解一下就全被赦免了,照樣可以進天國、得獎賞。

The teachings of the Nicolaitans had already appeared during the first century, which was during the time of the Church in Ephesus, but their ideas were not accepted until the time of the Church in Pergamum. The Nicolaitans believed that when God created human beings they were given a human nature which made them do things beyond their control. Therefore, they led lives of unrestrained indulgence and assumed that it was God’s will. If while enjoying life, someone committed a sin, the only thing that person had to do was to confess his sin and he would be forgiven and still be able to go to heaven and enjoy his reward.

以色列人犯罪之後,得不到恩典保守。基督徒也是一樣。保羅說:「體貼肉體的是死,體貼聖靈的是生命平安。」我們沒有必要跟隨肉體。

After the Israelites sinned, they lost God’s grace and protection. The same goes for Christians. Paul said: “The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace.”

這邪惡教訓在他們中間滋長。「有人」的意思,只是部份人,不是全部人。但教會已經給魔鬼邪惡教訓留了活動範圍。到今天天主教徒比較注重享受生活。美酒、派對,看為是生活上必須有的東西。

This evil teaching developed in their midst. “Some among you” meant that not everyone followed those teachings. But Satan’s malevolent ideas had already infiltrated the church. Today Catholics are still very focused on enjoying a lifestyle of pleasures. They look at fine wine and parties as things that they must have in their lives.

主的警告- 不悔改的將被主道所懲罰

THE LORD ‘ S WARNING – REPENT, OTHERWISE THEY WILL BE PUNISHED BY GOD ‘ S WORD

16 所以你當悔改,若不悔改,我就快臨到你那裡,用我口中的劍攻擊他們。

16 Repent therefore! Otherwise, I will soon come to you and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth.

主的話語是兩刃的劍,主的道可以成我們生命的糧,使靈命成長。但如果行事與神的道遠離,自稱擁有神的道,卻像法利賽人行事違反神的旨意,也就會遭主道的審判。主的道也有另一面的刃對付詭詐的人。像摩西對以色列人所說的,遵行主道的有福氣,違反主道的遭遇災禍。

The Word of God is a double-edged sword. His Word is our daily bread which can help us grow spiritually mature. But, if we do things that are not in accordance with God’s Word, yet we claim to have His Word in us, like the Pharisees, then we will have to face God’s judgment. God’s Word also has another side to it which deals with deceitful people. Moses said to the Israelites, obey God’s Word and you will be blessed but if you do not obey the Lord, curses will come to you.

主的應許- 尋主道的將得隱藏的嗎哪

THE LORD ‘ S PROMISE – THOSE WHO SEARCH GOD ‘ S WORD WILL RECEIVE THE HIDDEN MANNA

17 聖靈向眾教會所說的話,凡有耳的,就應當聽。得勝的我必將那隱藏的嗎哪賜給他。

17 Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who is victorious, I will give some of the hidden manna.

以色列在曠野得到顯明的嗎哪,繞著曠野幾十年,就靠神所賜的嗎哪為生。嗎哪後來放在金罐裡,藏在約櫃中,在至聖所裡成了隱藏的嗎哪。別迦摩教會最嚴重缺乏的,就是主的道,也影響了後面兩個時代的教會。他們的彌撒全用拉丁文,那真是百分之百的隱藏嗎哪。把主的道隱藏起來,饑餓的人無法得到。

When the Israelites were wandering in the dessert for forty years, God gave them manna to eat so they could stay alive; that manna was visible. Later on, manna was put in a golden can and placed inside the Ark of the Covenant which was in the Holy of Holies and so it became hidden manna. What the Church in Pergamum lack the most was God’s Word, which was detrimental to the churches of the next two eras. Their liturgies were all performed in Latin, which was one hundred percent hidden manna . Keeping God’s Word hidden will not satisfy the spiritual hunger of the people.

阿摩司書八章形容末世的饑荒,可用在他們身上,他們饑餓不是因為缺糧,口渴不是因為缺水,乃是缺少神的話,他們東西南北、海洋陸地,到處尋找主的話,卻尋不到,那些少女、少男因饑渴而發神經,作出傷殘自己的事。因為他們缺乏主的道。

The description of the famine at the end of the world in the book of Amos chapter 8 depicts the situation these people were in. Their famine was not due to the lack of food nor their thirst to the lack of water but to the lack for God’s Word. People staggered from sea to sea and wandered from north to east, searching for the Word of the Lord, but they did not find it. Young men and women were so thirsty that they became mentally deranged and hurt their own bodies, because they lack the Word.

從歷史看,多次的複興都由讀聖經而來。約西亞王偶然找到遺失多年的律法書,念給百姓聽,民眾就悔改。

Throughout history, we can see that a number of spiritual revivals started with the reading of God’s Word. When King Josiah accidentally found the long lost Book of the Law, he read it to his people. After the people heard God’s Word, they repented.

美國早期的移民稱為清教徒,英國清教徒怎樣興起?十六世紀初,英國教會腐敗,牧師不講道,主日只重狂歡喝酒。他們穿舞衣做禮拜,念完禱文就去跳舞、喝酒。一位青年 Tindale 在牛津Oxford 與劍橋Cambridge 唸大學,成了希臘文學者,後來進猶太學校學希伯來文,之後跟幾位信徒一同翻譯聖經,出版了幾本新約聖經,放在一些教堂門口。教堂把聖經鎖在門前,每天有好多人好奇地來翻讀。到後來,想讀的人多,就找聲音洪亮的,當眾的朗讀出來。不久之後,全國流行這方式來讀經。人聽見主的話大受感動,一邊聽一邊流淚,清教徒的複興就這樣開始了。有真道纔有新生命。

The early American settlers were called Puritans. How did the Puritans from England come about? Early in the sixteenth century there was a lot of corruption in the church in England, the pastors did not preach the Word of God. On Sundays, the people had drinking parties, they would wear their party dresses to church and afterward they would go dancing and drinking. A young man named Tyndale, who graduated from Oxford and Cambridge University and was an expert in Greek and Hebrew literature, translated the Bible into English together with a few other Bible scholars. After the Bibles were published, he put them in at the front door of some churches. The Bibles were locked at the entrance of the churches and every day many people who were curious would pass by and read it. Later on, when more people wanted to read it, it was read out loud to the public by someone who had a strong and loud voice. Soon after, this became a popular way to read the Bible. While people were listening to the Word of the Lord, they were so deeply moved that tears would come out streaming from their eyes. This is how the Puritan revival started. Only the truth can bring out a new life.

尋主道的將得主救恩的邀請

THOSE WHO SEARCH GOD’S WORD WILL OBTAIN AN INVITATION TO GOD’S SALVATION.

17 並賜他一塊白石,石上寫著新名,除了那領受的以外,沒有人能認識。17 I will also give that person a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to the one who receives it.

當時羅馬的大人物邀請貴賓參加宴會,會用一塊光滑的白石,寫上賓客的名字,作為邀請卡。現在我們的主、天國的王要邀請這些得到祂真道、享有祂生命的人到祂的大筵席來。這些人的名字就是他們所得的新生命,只有他自己知道是不是已經有了這新生命。世界的權貴請客,以客人的名氣聲望做決定。主所邀請的人是以他領受的生命作決定。這些人已經得到主救恩,也得到天上嗎哪,將會成為主筵席上的貴賓。

It was customary during the times of the Roman Empire, when very important people were about to hold a banquet, to write the names of the guests on small smooth stones. These were their invitation cards. Now our Lord, the King of the Kingdom of Heaven, wants to invite those who have the true Word of God and enjoy His life to attend His great banquet. The names of these people are the new life that they have obtained; they are the only ones who know whether or not they have this new life. When the influential people of the world send out invitations to others, they do it according to the person’s reputation and popularity. When the Lord invites people to His banquet, He does it according to the life that the person has received. Only those who already have the Lord’s salvation and the manna from heaven will be the guests in the Lord’s banquet.