Friday, October 27, 2006

Pillars of the Church

The one who conquers, I will make him a pillar in the temple of my God. Never shall he go out of it, and I will write on him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down from my God out of heaven, and my own new name. (Rev 3:12 ESV)
Apparently Philadelphia wasn't an easy place for a Christian to live at the close of the first century A.D. The Apostle John quotes Jesus as saying:
Behold, I will make those of the synagogue of Satan who say that they are Jews and are not, but lie--behold, I will make them come and bow down before your feet and they will learn that I have loved you. (Rev 3.9-10 ESV)
From this I assume that the Christians were on the receiving end of opposition of Jews in Philadelphia, and that such a poor treatment was not lost on the Son of God.

Christ commends the church for remaining faithful and exhorts them to continue to do so. Our verse that leads Awakening Theology's entry today, quoted at the first part of the blog, gives us much upon which to meditate. In his Explanatory Notes, Wesley writes:
I will make him a pillar in the temple of my God - I will fix him as beautiful, as useful, and as immovable as a pillar in the church of God. And he shall go out no more - But shall be holy and happy for ever. And I will write upon him the name of my God - So that the nature and image of God shall appear visibly upon him. And the name of the city of my God - Giving him a title to dwell in the New Jerusalem. And my new name - A share in that joy which I entered into, after overcoming all my enemies.
Tell me: do you want to be a pillar in God's Church? Such imagery would be significant to Philadelphians, whose city was rebuilt by the Emperor Tiberius after a cataclysmic earthquake in A.D. 17. A pillar denotes strength and dependability; a column gives a sense of security.

Those who endure with Christ will be part of an immovable Church long after this present universe is destroyed.

Trust me, you don't want to be on the receiving end of That Earthquake.