06.5 Revelation – Rebuked and Disciplined in Love

Rebuked and Disciplined in Love

In Revelation 3:19, Jesus tells the church in Laodicea, “Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent.

I think we need to really understand what this is saying.  We use these words today as a synonym to punish.  When we think of rebuke, we think of scolding someone, berating, finger-wagging, criticizing.  When we think of discipline, we think of punishment, spanking, time-outs, being grounded, yelling.

But how does that fit with “those whom I love”?

It also brings up the question in our minds, when we are going through hard times, is it God’s punishment for something that we are doing wrong?  This thinking isn’t anything new, Job faced it when he was tested, the priests professed it for those who were physically diseased.  Even some religions profess that difficult situations, pain and affliction are “karma” for bad things.  You earn the punishment.

Again, that doesn’t fit with “those whom I love”.

However, if you dig deeper and look into the origins of the words rebuke and discipline, it paints a bigger picture with a deeper meaning.

The word rebuke has origins in in the Old French language.  It means to force back or repress.  It is similar to repent.  Repent is to turn back away from the wrong path.  Rebuke is to intervene in the life or actions of another to direct or prompt them to change their path.  It word be God’s personal engagement in your life prompting you into an act of repenting and changing path from the direction you are going.

But the word is actually even deeper in meaning than that.  The “buke” in the origin of the word is the same word that became busche or buche in French, meaning log.  Even non-French speakers may have heard of the Christmas treat known as a buche de noel (yule log cake).  So, in the original word, a rebuker would be someone who, literally, would cut out logs as in removing the dead and diseased word from a tree.

A gardner or arborist who “rebukes” a tree is not punishing the tree by forcing it back into a healthy path and trimming off the dead and diseased word.  I’m not saying that I think the tree would look forward to it or enjoy it, but it is being done in love and for the good of the plant.

In the same way, I think we misinterpret the word discipline.  Again, to most of us, to face discipline means to face punishment.  However, we also use the term as a compliment at other times, commending an individual or group for being disciplined to accomplish their goals and objectives.  We want our police, fire, soldiers, scientists, engineers, etc. to be disciplined in what they do.

The primary definition of the word discipline is not punishment but training.  It is “to train someone to follow and obey rules or a code of behavior” according to the dictionary.  Interestingly, the origin of discipline is the same as the origin of disciple.  To be a disciple means to undergo training and to submit in obedience to God.

I think with this further light we gain a much deeper understanding of this verse.  Because God loves us He is willing to actively be engaged in our lives.  He is willing to not only stand in our way when we have gotten our lives on the wrong path, but to intervene and cause us to turn back.  He is willing to step in and trim away the dead and diseased wood we have allowed to grow.  And after turning us around, He doesn’t leave us to wander aimlessly, but He trains us in His path, in His word, and toward His light.

In response, we are called on to “be earnest and repent.”  Even in repenting, we are not called upon to use our own strength and will power.  God is calling those He loves “to be sincere in their conviction” (earnest) toward Him and yield to His desire to turn their lives around and back toward Him (repent).

As a loving parent, God’s primary desire is to help His children grow and accomplish amazing things.  He wants His children to be on the right path and He is willing to do all the hard work to lead and teach and walk along side and even carry them along the way.

That is love!

My Answers:

Forgiven and clothed in wedding robes given a gift to present

crown, eternal life

Rebuke = force back original from cut down wood (bukier as in busche, log).  Cut away dead wood.
Discipline – root in the word disciple, method or methodology.  train, drill, teach

It is not punishment, but training and correction to adhere to a new course, a better course, with deadwood removed


06.3 Revelation – Wearing White

Wearing White

Last week and this week, in the letters to the churches in Revelation 3, Jesus mentions a promise of his followers being clothed in white.  In my mind I have always pictured that as a white robe like the vestments of priests or robes of acolytes or choir robes.  However, this past week I ran across an image that gave me a new perspective.

In yesterday’s lesson I discussed the commendation that the church of Philadelphia received for standing firm and defending their faith.  This, and the discussion of the Armor of God, brought a military connotation to my mind in reading these verses.  Then, I saw a picture of a US Navy Officer wearing their dress white uniform.

creative commons: https://www.flickr.com/photos/walkadog/3561595648/in/photolist-6qJ7iw-kN6fjr-odK556-9NAvQf-rQmJj8-7CnKaV-dsu1jJ-6PvR6h-8JucyS-cSxZ5Y-7aJCjV-dsu1aL-77Vfh-nAfhTB-8vBWhi-ckPcW1-ecXT4w-ek9EiX-nAejn2-6qprw9-5NgHry-dgbgPD-9NMs7K-4Vq3xL-cSxZC7-cSxYvL-kk2XU-nDcUEg-ekfqp3-7yL34z-7TnkKj-cu7LMm-8H5Nfy-71298R-aVyAKc-aVyzTv-8MCUGP-hRRTs3-7QgZaU-oTpCCT-6FTRp6-cA4D3h-a3FKwq-eqSabr-9ShDW1-nBjBYt-2nEkS-6FTR7K-6FTRFc-6FTS2g/
creative commons: Beverly and Pack, Flickr

In that light, reading the promises in Revelation 3:11-13 brought new imagery to mind:

To be made a pillar in the temple of God reminded me of the soldiers who stand guard at our most important and distinguished monuments.  It is an area of peace and one where they have immediate proximity to things and people that are valuable and dear.  It is an honor to be selected to serve in such a capacity.

To have new names written on us: The Name of God, The Name of the City of God, A new name, reminded me of the insignia of the branch, unit, company or troop on the uniform of an officer.  It reminded me of the flag on the arm designating the country and capital city to which the officer has pledged allegiance.  It reminded me of the rank and title and name by which the Captain or Colonel had been given and by which he or she is known.

My Answers:

Faith in the promise, Jesus, The salvation He has purchased, the word of God, prayer (and the prayers of others)

Treasures that are being stored up by us in Heaven.  The good deeds of the saints.

Make a pillar in the temple of God – the ability to stand for ever in the presence of the almight
Write the name of God – family name, adoption
New name of City of God – heavenly city name, no longer dwell on the earth but have a home town in heaven
New name – No longer on earth in heaven in new body

He is the holy and true ruler of all, providing access to the Father and to Heaven with a door that cannot be shut.  He is the judge and He knows (no need to hide)  He is not calling us to fight, but only to not deny His name – He will do the rest.  He passes out crowns in heavens.  He has the authority to adopt us into His Father’s family


06.2 Revelation – Standing the Higher Ground

Standing the Higher Ground

The church in Philadelphia is commended for having kept the word of Jesus and having not denied His name.  They had kept his command to endure patiently.

Our lesson for today discussed taking a stand for truth in a culture hostile to our Lord.  Clearly something in line with what was taking place in Philadelphia.

In the book Sit, Walk, Stand, Watchman Nee points out that the action of standing is a defensive posture, not an offensive posture.  We are called to Stand with Jesus, not to rush out and attack wickedness, but because of the attacks of wickedness.

Jesus is Holy.  Jesus is True.  Jesus hold the keys or rulership both to the church on earth and to everlasting life in heaven.  Everything belongs to Him already.  Especially the good and noble, the pure and unstained, the sacred things.

Even if we look to the description of the Armor of God in Ephesians 6:10-18, everything in the list can be used for defense, even the sword of the Spirit which can block the blow of another sword  or club.

Last year, in the study of Moses, we saw time and again how Moses and Aaron, when under attack, would immediately assume their battle positions.  That position wasn’t, however, what we would normally think of.  Their first battle ready position was to get on the knees or fall face down in prayer to the Lord.  They understood, the principle that would ask, why use a slingshot (our own power) when you have access to cannons and high power weapons (God’s power)?  Why stand behind a paper wall, when you can stand in the shelter of God’s fortress?

Jesus is not commending the church for crusades and battles, He is commending them for continuing to stand with Him even in the face of great persecution, even when they have little strength.  In such action, they are promised to be spared from the larger onslaught attack that is to come to test the inhabitants of the whole world.

My Answers:

deeds, kept word, not denied name (although little strength), kept command, endures patiently

attack from inside, persecution, temptation to deny Jesus

i: dedicated or consecrated to God or a religious purpose; sacred
ii: Factual, Accurate, without variation, in perfect alignment with the factual and real; loyal and faithful
III: the keys to the king of the jews (God’s chosen people), ruler, master of the house, guardian of the door

The key to eternal life.  The key that unlocks our heart so that the Holy Spirit may abide in us.  The key to love and redemption

Those who refuse to obey Jesus – regardless of heritage

He desires joining, raising up, holiness, power, grace, repentence, obedience, joy / they seek to impart the opposite

By choosing that path and then relying on His spirit, His words and His power.  Through actions and witnessing