What does Revelation 3:6 mean?
ESV: He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’
NIV: Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches.
NASB: The one who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’
CSB: "Let anyone who has ears to hear listen to what the Spirit says to the churches.
NLT: 'Anyone with ears to hear must listen to the Spirit and understand what he is saying to the churches.
KJV: He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.
This verse calls upon everyone with ears to pay attention to Jesus' inspired messages to the churches and obey the instructions they contain. A church's top priority should be obedience to the Word of God. A beautiful building, a dazzling pastor, a plethora of age-related programs, a full pastoral staff, and overflowing offerings pale in comparison to a congregation that hears and obeys God's Word.
In 2 Timothy the apostle Paul instructed Timothy, a young pastor, to preach the Word. He predicted a time when people would refuse to endure sound teaching. They would turn away from the truth and prefer preaching that would tickle their ears and cater to their personal desires (2 Timothy 4:2–4). People today, who attend church to hear feel-good preaching, or entertaining, non-threatening experiences, need Jesus' exhortation to hear what the Spirit says to the churches. As James 1:22 instructs, we should "be doers of the word, and not hearers only."
Revelation 3:1–6 comprises the letter Jesus dictated to John to send to the church in Sardis. The church's reputation was a far cry from reality. It had a reputation of being a live church, but actually it was dead. While this reputation is—technically—a praise, it's a hollow one. Jesus instructed this church to wake up and strengthen what remained. All was not lost, though. A few members of the church were true to the faith, and Jesus promised they would walk with Him in purity. He would also keep their names in the book of life and confess their names before His Father.
These final letters symbolize Church history from AD 1500 to the Rapture, the event that transports the Church from earth to be with Jesus. Sardis had a good reputation, but it was actually spiritually dead. Philadelphia had a good opportunity to spread the gospel, and it had kept Jesus' word and had remained loyal to Him. As such, Jesus promises to reward this church's conquerors. Laodicea was proud of its wealth, but was spiritually lukewarm, a characteristic that Jesus detests. He promises to fellowship with anyone in the church who would heed His voice and welcome Him. Laodicea is the only church given no praise by Christ.
This chapter concludes the letters Jesus instructed the apostle John to write to seven churches in Asia Minor. Those messages began in chapter 2. This passage ends the section of Revelation that describes the things that are (Revelation 1:19), meaning the things which existed in John's lifetime. Chapter 1 describes what John had seen (Revelation 1:19), and chapter 4 begins John's account of what was to take place in the future (Revelation 1:19).
The word ''revelation'' means ''an unveiling or disclosure.'' This writing unveils future events such as the rapture, three series of judgments that will fall on the earth during the tribulation, the emergence of the Antichrist, the persecution of Israel and her amazing revival, as well as Jesus' second coming with His saints to the earth, the judgment of Satan and his followers, and finally, the eternal state. This content, combined with the original Greek term apokalypsis, is why we now refer to an end-of-the-world scenario as ''an apocalypse.''
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