Tucked away on the shelf in one of my libraries, (I have several and they are too much), I found a little treasure that I’m very much enjoying. Seeing that the epistle lesson for this Sunday was from Revelation, I was doing research for a sermon. I came across a hidden gem that I haven’t seen for years. It is called “Revelation, The Last Book in the Bible”, by Luther Poellet, published in 1962 by Concordia Publishing House. It reminded me of how much we owe who our own publishing house and how much good they have done for our learning and instruction, and for the kingdom of God.
There was another little hidden treasure and sign that I found on the frontispiece that told me the book had been owned by Ruby Helm. Ruby was one of our teachers at the Developmental Center, now called the Life Skills and Transition Center. She was dedicated to the cross of Christ and to proclaiming the love of Jesus to everyone she met. Anyway, I have her book.
The opening of Revelation has a vision of Jesus shining like the sun and looking like the Ancient of Days from Daniel. He stands in the midst of lampstands that signify the churches to whom John is to send the letter and one of them is Ephesus. This is where John preached. It was because of his ministry at Ephesus that John was sent to the island of Patmos in the first place. Ephesus is where Paul sent his great letter that gives us the marvelous picture of the church being the mystery of the multifaceted plan of God. The church as lampstands is an image of the church being what Jesus said the disciples should be and that is “light in the world” and also that they exist as borrowed light and should be reflecting Jesus as the “light that came into the world”.
The author gives us a good tidbit from history. He says that Ephesus was situated on the river Cayster and was situated at the junction of several trade routes. These factors assured that Ephesus would grow and become a rather large city. Later on we learn that “the silting up of the Cayster river lead to the decay of the city and its removal to a site nearly 2 miles away, and it is now sunk into an insignificant village. A modern traveler found only three Christians there, and they where scarcely familiar with St. Paul or St. John. Ephesus is the head of the church in Asia in name only. The Bishop of Ephesus does not reside there but in another city. Modern churches can be wiped out by silting them up with sluggishness, and indifference, and layer on layer of things which are foreign to the spirit and life of Christianity. Not every so called Christian church is actually a lamp stand in the sight of God. (Matthew 13).”