Frankmer7: Ephesus was the largest city in Asia Minor and was home to the temple of Diana, the largest idol cult in the region. Revelation 2:4-5 was addressed to the church there, in that city. The whole prophecy was read as a circular letter to them and to all the seven churches, as they were contemporaneous entities. To impose the idea that the Ephesian church represented the entire age of the early church is historicist eisegesis, and ignores the plain meaning of the text, and to whom it is addressed.
First I think I need to prove that the historicist view of prophecy is the gold standard for interpreting Revelation. It is the preterist and futuristic views of prophecy that are the fake views (EGW’s Sunday law interpretation is a futuristic interpretation by definition). Exhibit A in my proof is the book of Daniel. Christ gave His official seal of approval on the historicist view of Daniel by referring to the prophecy in Daniel about the abomination of desolation (why do you suppose nobody ever talks about it, including Adventists?).
Matt. 24:15: “Therefore when you see the ‘abomination of desolation,’ spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place” (whoever reads, let him understand), (it’s also in Mark and BTW He was referring to the heavenly Temple - the one that the wicked prince and his followers would make war against). Why else would the scripture say that the beast blasphemes the Temple of God in heaven.
Daniel’s prophecies in ch. 2 and 7 give a view of historical (historicist!) events that are to take place in the future down to the end of time (time of the end). I don’t see it any other way.
Now because the book of Revelation covers much of the same ground as Daniel (time, times, and half a time, the beast, the little horn, the 1290 days, the 2300 evenings and mornings, along with many other topics), we can, by extension, say that the historicist view also applies to the book of Revelation; that the preterist and futuristic views belong in the garbage.
My second point that I need to make is that the plain meaning of the text in most cases doesn’t cut it. Our Lord Jesus was never in the habit of speaking plainly (destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up) except on rare occasions. Even His disciples admitted that!
John 16:29,30: His disciples said to Him, “See, now You are speaking plainly, and using no figure of speech! Now we are sure that You know all things, and have no need that anyone should question You."
Galileo, in his letter to the Grand Duchess said,
“With regard to this argument, I think in the first place that it is very pious to say and prudent to affirm that the holy Bible can never speak untruth-whenever its true meaning is understood. But I believe nobody will deny that it is often very abstruse, and may say things which are quite different from what its bare words signify. Hence in expounding the Bible if one were always to confine oneself to the unadorned grammatical meaning, one might; fall into error.”
I would suggest that even Asia itself has a deeper meaning than what is on the surface. There is much that lies beneath the surface that a casual reading will miss entirely. Much of the Gospels have a deeper and hidden meaning behind the simple record; the woman at the well, the anointing of Christ at Bethany, not one stone upon another that will not be thrown down, etc., etc.
Here’s an interesting link about the planetary week FYI.
My third point is that the things we read in the letters to the seven churches provide another completely different view of the same time periods and events that are covered in the rest of the book. They provide another lens through which we can focus in on what is being said in the rest of the book. The letters to the churches are extra puzzle pieces that enable us to see the total picture. Take away the letters as a way to understand the rest of the book and you cripple your ability to do so.
Frankmer7: Secondly, where does it ever say in the text that the first day was their first love?
Frankmer7: How can one exegete this from the passage? It’s simply not there, and a reading into the passage of Adventist concerns.
It has to be inferred.
Frankmer7: Again, where does it ever say this in the text or even in the rest of the NT? “Repent and do the deeds you did at first, or I will come and remove your lampstand out of its place,” is what the text says, nothing more or less.
If the word “first” was only used once you would have a much stronger case. The fact that He used it twice (in two contexts- love and works) indicates that there is something He is trying to tell us regarding the word “first” (IMO).
“Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place—unless you repent.”
Acts 20:7 Now on the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul, ready to depart the next day, spoke to them and continued his message until midnight.
The lampstand has to do with light. It has to do with the week.
Isaiah 30:26: And the light of the sun will be sevenfold, as the light of seven days, in the day that the Lord binds up the bruise of His people and heals the stroke of their wound.
Frankmer7: First, the text speaks of plural/multiple deeds, not the singular issue of Sabbath vs. Sunday observance.
This isn’t about sabbath vs. 1st day of the week observance. It’s about how we refer to the first day of the week or any other day for that matter. I’ve used “the first day of the week” in my speech multiple times. Why isn’t speech considered a deed or a work?
Rom. 10:10: For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
Even Peter was told by the servant girl that his speech betrayed him. Perhaps he happened to refer to the numbered days of the Christian week rather than the planetary days of the Mithraic Pagan astrological week as they were known at that time.
Frankmer7: Secondly, for wider context from the NT, the letter to the Ephesians, a Jewish/Gentile faith community, emphasizes the unifying love of Christ and his Spirit, and the growth of the church in love and unity as a reflection of the image of Christ. This is the most significant NT reference to the church there. Do you think that maybe this might have more pertinence to what the issues were that John was addressing, and Jesus himself was speaking to in that church, considering it was in the same city, and had that history from its founding by Paul?
You would have a stronger case if the other six cities were also given epistles by Paul but they weren’t. I have to conclude that such an argument is based on an eisegesis interpretation.
Frankmer7: I’m proposing this from trying to read what’s there, and from what we know about the Ephesian church from Paul’s letter. It is what one needs to do to responsibly interpret, not read into the text one’s theological concerns or biases.
what can I say?
John 7: 27: My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.