70 myths on losing salvation (12): Remove your lamp-stand if you don’t repent!

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Recently I found an interesting blog which states that we can lose our salvation in 70 ways. For the complete list of the 70 “ways”, kindly refer to:https://hischarisisenough.wordpress.com/2012/06/06/70-ways-of-losing-your-salvation-1-stop-believing-luke-813/  

You will find links to the rest of the myths at the end of this article. Please refer to them after your finish this  article.

Myth 12: Removal of the lamp stand if you do not repent!

Revelation 2:5

Young’s Literal Translation (YLT)

remember, then, whence thou hast fallen, and reform, and the first works do; and if not, I come to thee quickly, and will remove thy lamp-stand from its place — if thou mayest not reform;

 

I must admit I really had a problem with this one. I have been attending churches who have traditionally been teaching that the taking of a lamp stand represented the taking away of the Holy Spirit. As such while I was doing research on this verse, I came across many interpretations which say the same thing.

Unfazed with the superficial manner of the interpretation, I seek the Spirit for help.  The 1st  clue which the Spirit left was in the words of Jesus. He said to all the churches, these words “He who is able to hear, let him listen to and give heed to what the Spirit says to the assemblies (churches).”

Note this was the echo of the words of Jesus to all the churches in the book of Revelation. This simply means that the Spirit will always be there speaking to these churches. He is still the pre-eminent voice to these churches.

Hence the Spirit was impressing to me that the Spirit will never leave the church.

The next clue the Spirit showed me was the lamp-stand or candle stick  was a Jewish Menorah. The Menorah is a jewish lamp-stand which was created by God’s command and that it was the lamp-stand that held the light that was burning. The lamp-stand itself was not the light. Nor did it gave light. It merely held the oil that kept the light burning. The oil here is the Spirit. Thus the text “remove the lamp-stand” does not mean “removal of the light”. It thus does not mean the removal of the Spirit. “”It is removal of the candlestick, not extinction of the candle” See: Jamieson Fausset-Browns’ commentary of Revelations.

Then, the Spirit directed me to the King James Version of this verse.

English Standard Version (©2001)
Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent.

New American Standard Bible (©1995)
‘Therefore remember from where you have fallen, and repent and do the deeds you did at first; or else I am coming to you and will remove your lamp-stand out of its place– unless you repent.

King James Bible (Cambridge Ed.)
Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.

It’s a removal from his place and not its place. This suggested to me that it is not the Spirit that is removed but possibility the church that is removed or moved.

You see, legalistic people will teach you that the lamp-stand is remove because we sin. That is not contextually correct. What the Ephesians experienced was that the “doctrines of wolves” were being taught to them. I wrote on this subject sometime back.

Let me produce the relevant portion of what I said: “Paul referred to certain people who false teachers and “wolves in sheep skins” people in Ephesians 5 when he said “You can be sure that using people or religion or things just for what you can get out of them—the usual variations on idolatry—will get you nowhere, and certainly nowhere near the kingdom of Christ, the kingdom of God.

Don’t let yourselves get taken in by religious smooth talk. God gets furious with people who are full of religious sales talk but want nothing to do with him. Don’t even hang around people like that.” (The Message)

What is the context of the 2 verses? Paul again speaks about this problem he had in Ephesus in 1 Corinthians 15:32 (NIV) “If I fought wild beasts in Ephesus with no more than human hopes, what have I gained? If the dead are not raised, “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.” It refers to the teaching of non resurrection. As such clearly the reference Paul is making is about the false teachers in Ephesus. He also makes reference to this in Acts 20 when he calls such people “wolves”! Beasts! Wolves! Same thing. Let me refer you to verse 28 onwards:

“Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God,[a] which he bought with his own blood.[b] I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock. Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them. So be on your guard! Remember that for three years I never stopped warning each of you night and day with tears.”

Surely this refers to the teaching of Radical Grace you say! Well, note Paul states there are false teachers in Ephesus. So Paul prescribes a cure towards the false teaching. He says the cure lies in verse 32. I shall now refer to it:

“Now I commit you to God and to the word of his grace, which can build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified!

The word of His GRACE is the cure. It is NOT the false teaching. It is the CURE to the FALSE TEACHING.

You may now say, “Yes but it is not the Radical Grace teaching! It is the Grace teaching that must be balanced by Law!!!” Let us define the teaching of Radical Grace. The gist of Radical Grace teaching is this: The Law of Moses (including the 10 commandments) has been abolished when Jesus fulfilled it, achieved its purpose and died a perfect man in our stead to give us his righteousness with is apart from law (as it has been abolished) and to free us from a performance orientated religion. In short: the Law of Moses (including the 10 commandments) has been abolished. We now live by the Spirit.

Is this “word of Grace” the message of Radical Grace? Let’s look into the context of Acts 20. Firstly Paul was addressing the plot of the Jews (followers of the Mosaic Law) and the problem affected Ephesus:

“Paul’s Farewell to the Ephesian Elders
Acts 20: 19-20 “I served the Lord with great humility and with tears and in the midst of severe testing by the plots of my Jewish opponents. You know that I have not hesitated to preach anything that would be helpful to you but have taught you publicly and from house to house.”

Paul thereafter states that His Grace Gospel is for both the Jew and the Gentile.
v 21:“have declared to both Jews and Greeks that they must turn to God in repentance and have faith in our Lord Jesus.”

Note this Gospel unites the Jew and the Gentile. Now I refer to:

“Ephesians 3:6 (NCV)
This is that secret: that through the Good News those who are not Jews will share with the Jews in God’s blessing. They belong to the same body, and they share together in the promise that God made in Christ Jesus.”

Paul the gives us how the Jew and Gentile become united:

“Ephesians 2:15 (Amplified Bible)
By abolishing in His [own crucified] flesh the enmity [caused by] the Law with its decrees and ordinances [which He annulled]; that He from the two might create in Himself one new man [one new quality of humanity out of the two], so making peace.”

Are you not convinced? Yet then some of you will say “this the ceremonial law and not the 10 commandments.” Dear friends consider what Paul says in 2 Corinthians 3: 7 which is reproduced here:

“Now if the ministry that brought death, which was engraved in letters on stone”. The only part of the Law that was inscribed on stone is the 10 commandments. To argue that it is the ceremonial law that is done away makes it even worse for the believer. He is guilty for his moral convictions and trespasses but he has no way of cleansing himself since there is now no priests or ceremonial cleansing that can be done for him to wash him of his conscience. Why do you think Paul calls the 10 commandments “the ministry of death” and “ministry of condemnation”?

The “word of Grace” here refers to the Gospel of Radical Grace! Grace without Law. Pure unadulterated Grace!”

My contention that the Church was attacked was very supported by the above commentators. You have to note that Ephesus was a church where attacked in terms of doctrine and idolatry. It was where the temple of Diana was built and it was also where Judaizers were trying to seduce the early Christians back into the law.

SO THE PROBLEM THERE IS DOCTRINE! DOCTRINE! DOCTRINE!

 

See their notes:

  1. 1.    Ephesus–famed for the temple of Diana, one of the seven wonders of the world. For three years Paul labored there. He subsequently ordained Timothy superintending overseer or bishop there: probably his charge was but of a temporary nature. John, towards the close of his life, took it as the center from which he superintended the province. 

holdethGreek, “holdeth fast,” as in Revelation 2:25 , Revelation 3:11 ; compare John 10:28John 10:29 . The title of Christ here as “holding fast the seven stars (from Revelation 1:16 : only that, for having is substituted holding fast in His grasp), and walking in the midst of the seven candlesticks,” accords with the beginning of His address to the seven churches representing the universal Church. Walking expresses His unwearied activity in the Church, guarding her from internal and external evils, as the high priest moved to and fro in the sanctuary.

I know thy works–expressing His omniscience. Not merely “thy professions, desires, good resolutions” ( Revelation 14:13 , end). 

thy labour–Two oldest manuscripts omit “thy”; one supports it. The Greek means “labor unto weariness.” 

patience–persevering endurance. 
bearevil men are a burden which the Ephesian Church regarded as intolerable. We are to “bear(the same Greek, Galatians 6:2 ) one another’s burdens” in the case of weak brethren; but not to bear false brethren. 

tried–by experiment; not the Greek for “test,” as 1 John 4:1 . The apostolical churches had the miraculous gift of discerning spirits. Compare Acts 20:28-30 , wherein Paul presciently warned theEphesian elders of the coming false teachers, as also in writing to Timothy at Ephesus. TERTULLIAN [On Baptism, 17], and JEROME [On Illustrious Men, in Lucca 7], record of John, that when a writing, professing to be a canonical history of the acts of Paul, had been composed by a presbyter of Ephesus, John convicted the author and condemned the work. So on one occasion he would not remain under the same roof with Cerinthus the heretic. 

say they are apostles–probably Judaizers. IGNATIUS [Epistle to the Ephesians, 6], says subsequently, “Onesimus praises exceedingly your good discipline that no heresy dwells among you”; and [Epistle to the Ephesians, 9], “Ye did not permit those having evil doctrine to sow their seed among you, but closed your ears.”  Here’s the link: http://www.biblestudytools.com/commentaries/jamieson-fausset-brown/revelation/revelation-2.html

 

Now look at the relevant verses:

But I have this [one charge to make] against you: that you have left (abandoned) the love that you had at first [you have deserted Me, your first love].

Remember then from what heights you have fallen. Repent (change the inner man to meet God’s will) and do the works you did previously [when first you knew the Lord], or else I will visit you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you change your mind and repent.”

Look at this issue of first love and how the church had fallen and what these works they were doing previously. In the previous articles I had already establish that:

a)   Revelations was written to a Jewish audience;

b) The people who persecuted these early Christians are legalistic Jews who tried to convert them back to the law;

c)   How a Christian fall is dictated in Galatians 5.  It means going back to the law to get righteous with God. That is how you fall from grace. You do not repent from sin. You repent from trying to be righteous by obeying the law. It leads to self righteousness.

d)   First love hence must simply mean (in the light of what I have said about what amount to teaching of wolves earlier), that they had first believed in a “Jesus plus nothing” grace gospel;

e)   I have already said early on in the articles that the only work that mattered was in John 6, the work of God is to believe in the Son. A “Jesus plus nothing” Gospel.

f)    The minute these people preached a “Jesus+ works of the Law” gospel they fell. See: I, Paul, tell you that if you let yourselves be circumcised, Christ will be of no value to you at all. Again I declare to every man who lets himself be circumcised that he is obligated to obey the whole law. You who are trying to be justified by the law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace.(Galatians 5).

 

Hence the church was in danger of being corrupted by these teaching of the Judaizers. They were becoming adulterated by the teaching of demons. https://hischarisisenough.wordpress.com/2012/06/11/70-myths-on-losing-salvation-4-doctrine-of-demons-3/

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Hence what the Lord was actually saying in its context is this was that He will take the church out of Ephesus. To save it! You must understand the Menorah is interpreted in revelation 1 as the church. It is the Lamp-stand that holds the light. The light is the Spirit and we are the holders of that Light. We are carriers of the Holy Spirit. The temple of the Holy Spirit. What Jesus is saying is he is removing the church from Ephesus to “protect them” from Ephesus and its Jewish persecution. This means Jesus is moving the church to save it and not to destroy it!

See the commentary notes:

“do the first works–the works which flowed from thy first love. Not merely “feel thy first feelings,” but do works flowing from the same principle as formerly, “faith which worketh by love.” 

I will comeGreek, “I am coming” in special judgment on thee. 

quickly–omitted in two oldest manuscripts, Vulgate and Coptic versions: supported by one oldest manuscript. 

remove thy candlestick out of his place–I will take away the Church from Ephesus and remove it elsewhere. “It is removal of the candlestick, not extinction of the candle, which is threatened here; judgment for some, but that very judgment the occasion of mercy for others. So it has been. The seat of the Church has been changed, but the Church itself survives. What the East has lost, the West has gained. One who lately visited Ephesus found only three Christians there, and these so ignorant as scarcely to have heard the names of St. Paul or St. John” [TRENCH].””

 

It is hence important to note that the Menorah is the symbol of the Jewish church just as much as the cross is the symbol of the Christian church. Today, much of what Paul has taught the Ephesians remains the bench mark of Gentile Christian beliefs. Jesus will never abandon us. He removes you from the dangers and the seat of Satan and he never leaves you.

It is important to note the word “repent” here is not a call to remorse. The problem with Ephesus is not sin. Verse 2 will tell you that they hated evil and verse 6 tells you that they hate the works of the Nicolaitans. It was because of doctrine. They had problems with the doctrine. It is to change your belief system! That is the context of “repenting”.

What then is the work which Jesus wanted them to return to or repent to?

 The answer lays in a discourse the Jews and Jesus is John 6. See the following:

27 Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For on him God the Father has placed his seal of approval.”

28 Then they asked him, “What must we do to do the works God requires?”

29 Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.”

Notice something interesting the Jews asked Jesus what are the works (plural) that God requires. Jesus answered there is one work! (singular).

 

Dear friends, what the passage is actually teaching in Revelation 3 is this your many “works” is not what God wants. He wants your only “work”. That “work” He is looking for is your belief. Your belief is “work” to Him and it will result in works. Just like Abraham and Rahab your faith will produce works because of your faith in Christ. Just like Abraham and Rahab, your works will not be produced by your effort; it flows from the Holy Spirit’s effort. That is why there is a difference between New Covenant and Old Covenant obedience. New Covenant obedience is called the obedience of faith. The only “work” that matters to God is “faith in His Son”.

This is what they are suppose to repent to. Back to grace.

So, Jesus was prepared to move the church away from the city of Ephesus to save it and not to destroy it. History tells us that the church of Ephesus moved back to grace and became the first church that actually had a succession.

As time pass, the Gospel went to the Gentiles and impacted the world. The Gospel in its purity continues to be moved so long as the Spirit speaks. Jesus says once the Spirit is given, it is given forever. John 14:” 16 And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever.”

Jesus doesn’t remove the Holy Spirit when you sin, after the cross. If He did, the Corinth Christians would no longer be the temple of the Holy Spirit, they had slept with prostitutes, temple prostitutes, other people’s wives and even one guy with his own mother. Yet Paul still said they were STILL the temple of the Holy Spirit. He loves us and remains with us forever!

 

That’s myth 12. Here are the rest!

For myth No. 2, please go to: https://hischarisisenough.wordpress.com/2012/06/09/70-myths-about-losing-salvation-myth-no-2-hardening-your-heart-hebrews-312-13-3/

 

For myth No. 3, 20 and 50 please refer to:https://hischarisisenough.wordpress.com/2012/06/09/70-myths-about-losing-salvation-myth-3-and-20-you-can-lose-your-salvation-if-you-shrink-back-and-when-you-sin-willfully-3/

 

For myth No: 4 please refer to:https://hischarisisenough.wordpress.com/2012/06/11/70-myths-on-losing-salvation-4-doctrine-of-demons-3/

 

For myth No: 5 please see:https://hischarisisenough.wordpress.com/2012/06/11/70-myths-on-losing-salvation-5-turning-away-to-satan-1-tim-515-2-2/

 

For myth No. 6: https://hischarisisenough.wordpress.com/2012/06/12/70-myths-on-losing-salvation-shipwrecking-your-faith-2/

 

For myth No. 7: https://hischarisisenough.wordpress.com/2012/06/14/70-myths-on-losing-salvation-7-spat-out-for-being-lukewarm-5-2/

 

Myth No. 8: https://hischarisisenough.wordpress.com/2012/06/15/70-myths-on-losing-your-salvation-8-being-sexually-immoral-or-godless-like-esau-4/

 

Myth No. 9: https://hischarisisenough.wordpress.com/2012/06/15/70-myths-on-losing-salvation-9-being-castaway-1-cor-927/

 

Myth N0. 10: https://hischarisisenough.wordpress.com/2012/06/16/70-myths-on-losing-salvation-10-becoming-worthless-salt-good-for-nothing-but-to-be-cast-out-and-trodden-underfoot-of-men-matt-513-9-2/

Myth 11: https://hischarisisenough.wordpress.com/2012/06/18/70-myths-on-losing-salvation-11-be-cut-off-as-a-worthless-branch-4/

 

5 Comments

  1. I am trying to understand this long post of yours. I must say it is really impressive that you are taking all the time to go into all that detail. But just to understand better on the ‘removing of lampstand’ issues, can I take it to mean that Jesus is saying ‘repent, or your church (flock) will be moved so that do not have to be under wrong doctrine’? One other thing I would like to understand from you is, for all the words given to the seven churches, in some translations, the word is given to the ‘angel’ of the church, I believe this actually meant the pastors or the leaders of the church and that the warning is posted to them? Do you think these warnings (word) given to these seven churches is relevant only for that time (meaning past already) or it is actually carries a perpetual warning (meaning all churches today actually fall into one of these seven categories)?
    Cheers!

      1. My pleasure. I hope it helps. I will edit the note to clarify things. Thanks for the feedback!

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