• The Letter to the Church in Ephesus Article by Dennis Johnson

    FROM TABLETALK | May 2009

    Ephesus was the site of the first congregation that Jesus addressed in the Apocalypse, and the New Testament tells us more about the history of this church than about any of the others. Planted by Paul during a brief visit, this congregation was nurtured by Paul’s co-laborers Priscilla and Aquila, then by the eloquent expositor Apollos (Acts 18:19–28). Paul subsequently returned to Ephesus for an extended (three-year) period of ministry, marked by the victory of Christ’s gospel and Spirit over demonic powers and the entrenched commercial interests surrounding the city’s world-famous temple of Artemis (19:1–41). Later, bidding farewell to the … View Resource

  • The Letter to the Church in Laodicea Article by Mark Bates

    FROM TABLETALK | May 2009

    The pipes in our home sprung a series of leaks. Since most of my neighbors had replaced their plumbing, I knew it was time for me to do the same. However, hiring a plumber to do this would cost thousands of dollars. My friend, Monte, had just repiped his house himself and offered to help me with mine. I am not a handyman, but I am a tightwad. So, I figured, he could be the plumber and I could be the plumber’s helper. Within a week, I had a new plumbing system. A few days later, when my wife and … View Resource

  • The Letter to the Church in Pergamum Article by Chris Donato

    FROM TABLETALK | May 2009

    The late, great American man of letters, John Updike, once wrote, “Sex is like money — only too much is enough.” But modern Americans aren’t the only people who obsess over sex; it has possessed the minds of men for millennia (as various cave paintings make clear).  The same held true for the third church addressed in Saint John’s Apocalypse. Pergamum was like the Washington, D.C., of Asia. It was the seat of Roman government for the province and the center of the imperial cult. It was the first to erect a temple to the caesar, Augustus (as well as … View Resource

  • The Letter to the Church in Philadelphia Article by Cornelis Venema

    FROM TABLETALK | May 2009

    Many evangelical churches in North America are scrambling to find strategies that will enable them to reach out effectively with the gospel of Jesus Christ. Despite a rich heritage of gospel teaching on this continent, there is a sense of discouragement, even despondency, among many Christians about the prospects for evangelism in our time. And so a variety of pragmatic schemes are being employed to assure success in the communication of the gospel. However, before the evangelical church succumbs to the temptation to craft strategies that accommodate the gospel to the spirit of the age, we need to listen carefully … View Resource

  • The Letter to the Church in Smyrna Article by Paul Gardner

    FROM TABLETALK | May 2009

    How wonderful it would be if our church received an encouraging letter from Jesus, especially if it contained no criticism. Jesus has no censure for the church in Smyrna but reveals His deep compassion for a people who are faithful to the Lord and suffering persecution as a result. It is difficult for many of us to imagine what it really is to suffer for the Lord. Yet this letter indicates all Christians should be willing to suffer for Christ. Suffering may take many forms. As this article was being written, I received an e-mail describing horrific persecution of Christians … View Resource

  • The Letter to the Church in Thyatira Article by R. Fowler White

    FROM TABLETALK | May 2009

    In the opening pages of Revelation, our Lord introduces Himself as heaven’s holy warrior (1:12–20) who would prepare His people to overcome their enemies (2:7, 11, 17, 26; 3:5, 12, 21) by exhorting them to hear what the Spirit has to say in the letters He writes to seven churches. Strikingly, though He writes each letter to a particular church, Christ insists that each be heard by all (2:7, 11, 17, 29; 3:6, 13, 22), effectively making each one an “open letter” for all believers to read. What, then, does Christ want us to learn from His letter to the … View Resource

  • Revelation for All Time Article by Kim Riddlebarger

    FROM TABLETALK | December 2011

    The book of Revelation is the last book in the Bible and completes the New Testament canon. It is Jesus Christ’s final word to His church. This easily overlooked fact suggests that Revelation is one of the most practical and important of the New Testament epistles. Likely written near the end of the first century, Revelation comes in the form of a circular letter addressed to seven churches in Asia Minor. But it is much more than a mere letter. This book is prophetic in content (describing the course of human history in highly symbolic terms) and apocalyptic in style. … View Resource

  • Understanding John’s Prophecy Article by Keith Mathison

    FROM TABLETALK | January 2012

    Winston Churchill once described the Soviet Union as “a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma.” I believe it would be fair to say that many Christians look at the book of Revelation in a similar way. “How,” they ask, “are we to understand a book that is filled with so much bizarre imagery — a lamb with seven eyes and seven horns, locusts with the appearance of horses, a woman clothed with the sun, a great red dragon, and a multi-headed beast? The book is incomprehensible, right?” Well, no. But understanding Revelation does take some effort. There are … View Resource

  • Annihilation or Eternal Punishment? Article by Robert Peterson

    FROM TABLETALK | February 2014 | Revelation 19

    Annihilationism is the view that lost people in hell will be exterminated after they have paid the penalty for their sins. Its proponents offer six main arguments. First is an argument based on the Bible’s use of fire imagery to describe hell. We are told that fire consumes what is thrown into it, and so it will be for the lake of fire (Rev. 19:20; 20:10, 14, 15; 21:8)—it will burn up the wicked so that they no longer exist. Second is an argument based on texts that speak of the lost perishing or being destroyed. Examples include unbelievers perishing … View Resource