Expedition 44 is a Biblical studies and theology podcast. Join Doc Ryan and Matt as they study scripture and aim to look at it through the lenses of the original audience in its historical setting and culture with the aim to grow deeper in discipleship.
Revelation Church Recap & The Problems with Dispensationalism (The Church part 12)
Why we are not dispensational:
• Dispensationalism promotes escapism which hinders discipleship in the present because the goal is to escape the earth. If Christ’s goal is to be his body on earth why would he want us to escape it and if he is the pattern and his pattern was suffering leading to victory then the dispensational interpretation is opposite of the pattern of Christ. If a true disciple looks like Jesus then we are called to endure to the end not escape, this actually builds our faith and discipleship.
• Staunch Dispensationalists see the 7 churches as ages from the ascension up till the “GREAT TRIB” and this stunts the application of Jesus’ message to these churches because they apply them to other “ages” and cannot see the application (not written to us, but written for us). To give the benefit to Dispensationalists some do see the pastoral applications of the churches (The "things that are”).
• Dispensationalists interpretations of the 144,000 as Jews in the “Great Trib” screws up much of the rest of the letter. If they can’t see this as what John “sees” in Rev 7 (The interpretation of 144000) as all tribes, tongues, and nations (the church) who worship the lamb and follow him wherever he goes (Rev 15) and rather see it as some end times jewish army with the church “raptured” out of the picture it can really screw up the mission of the church in following the lamb in suffering and service because that is only reserved for the end times jews (The same that are called a synagogue of Satan in Smyrna?).
• A major thrust is the futurist nosterdomist misinterpretation of what prophecy Is, but we addressed this in part in our intro episode. If it’s all about predicting the future then it has no bearing on the present except to just “watch” for it. It requires not action on the part of the church.
The Church and Nationalism: A Conversation with Dr. Steve Cassell (The Church part 11)
X44 KINGDOM COVENANT PATRIOTISM / NATIONALISM DISCUSSION
Dr. Will Ryan, Dr. Steve Cassell, and Pastor Matt Mouzakis
2 masters Remnant vs salvific instruments
Rival kingdom vs reclaimed kingdom
Who is fighting the Battle?
American Govt as pagan or potential Christian
Churches involvement in government
Letters to the Church: Laodicea (The Church part 10)
Background/History Laodicea was named after Laodice the wife of Antiochus II, the founder of the city. Laodicea, Hierapolis, and Colossae were the 3 major cities in the Lycus valley and build among the Lycus river. In the first century Laodicea was the banking capitol of Asia minor (It was the home of the millionaires) Laodicea was destroyed by an earthquake in 61 AD and when offered aid to rebuild from Rome it refused because they were so rich that they were self-sufficient to do it on their own. This plays into the attitude of the church in Laodicea as well. Laodicea was known for 3 things besides it’s wealth: It’s black wool industry, their medical eye salve ointment, and their lukewarm water.
Description of Jesus (v14)
The Amen: The Faithful and True Witness We are used to “amen” being what we end our prayers with. In Greek it means “so be it” but in Hebrew it has connections to the covenant and promises. 2 Cor 1:20 says that all God’s promises find their yes and amen in Jesus.
The “beginning” of the creation of God- The NASB, which we read from, translates this as the “beginning of God’s creation” but this is probably not the best translation. The Greek word is arche and that is better translated as the ruler of God’s creation. This is a better connection with Amen and faithful/true witness
Jesus’ correction to Laodicea (v15-18) Jesus gives no praise to this church. They are very entangled to the mindsets of the world- individualism, materialism, and the systems of Babylon.
Neither hot nor cold Laodicea built aqueducts to bring the hot water to town from Hierapolis but by the time it made it to Laodicea it would be lukewarm. Laodicea built aqueducts to carry the cold water from Colossae but by the time it reached Laodicea it would have also been lukewarm. Jesus uses this fact about their water to talk about the spiritual life in Laodicea. To Jesus their pride and arrogance of being independent, individualistic, and having no need for Jesus (self-reliance) is the opposite of being a faithful witness. And it makes Jesus sick. He says he’ll throw them up. The point is that in being this way they are not usable for the kingdom of God. He’s rather them be hot, like the healing waters of Hierapolis, Or cold, like the refreshing waters of Colossae. But instead, they are so self-absorbed that they are of no use for the kingdom. He wants to spit them out.
Rich, healthy, no need James 5:1-6; Rev 18:2-3
Gold refined by fire
Isaiah 55:1-5 Revelation doesn’t describe what it means to be truly rich but the echo if Isaiah 55:1-5 gives us some clues. Verses 3-5 talk about an everlasting covenant, being a true witness, and the result is the nations coming running into the true Israel because they display the splendor and beauty of the Lord
Today- The job of the church is to make Christ so beautiful the world cannot resist it! Our job is simply to enthrone Christ and meet his needs and evangelism, discipleship, correct doctrine and all else will take care of itself. Let’s just behold him and explore the vastness of who Christ is… THE AMEN! “Buying” in revelation has to do with worship
Letters to the Church: Philadelphia (The Church part 9)
Revelation 3:7-13 Background Philadelphia is 25 miles SE of Sardis in the Hermes Valley. It is the youngest of the churches in Revelation. Philadelphia means “brotherly love”. When King Eumenes II of Pergamum founded the city of Philadelphia he named it after his younger brother and successor Attalus Philadelphus. Attalus got the nickname Philadelphus (The one who loves his brother) because Attalus was deeply loyal to his brother to the point when the Romans offered to help Attalus overthrow his brother and give him the throne he refused. Philadelphia sat on top of a fault line and was affected by several major earthquakes in 17 AD. It was a city that was ruined and rebuilt many times Description of Jesus (3:7) Holy and True This is usually translated as “the words of him who is holy and true” but in Greek “holy” and “true” are each proceeded with the definite article. It should read “the words of him who is THE holy and THE true”. By taking these titles Jesus is reminding the church that he is one with God the Father. It’s also important as we look at the interaction of the Jews and Christians in Philadelphia. The claim of the church that Jesus is Lord and God is what is bringing them persecution. Has the Key of David Isaiah 22:15-24 The theme here in Isaiah 22 is that the previous stewards will be removed, and a new “servant” will be set up who will have the keys to the kingdom, the key of David. There are a lot of Echoes of Christ in this passage: a servant, given authority, connection to David, at the seat of honor (right hand), over the father’s household. And the honor of the family hangs on Him (Jesus is the head of the church). Praise for Philadelphia (3:8-11) Philadelphia, like Smyrna, is a church that Jesus does not call to repent. Both churches are churches that suffer for Jesus’ name. both churches are facing persecution from the religious establishment (The Jews). Synagogue of Satan In Revelation 3:9 Jesus describes this synagogue as not real Jews but liars. Like in Smyrna “Those who say they are Jews but are not”. The true Jew is the one who in part of the family of the Messiah in Christ. Those who claim Jesus as Lord. NT Wright: “which of these two groups then, Jews or Christians, can claim to be the true Jews, bearing the torch of God’s ancient people? Here Jesus is quite clear; those who follow him, the Davidic messiah, are the true Jews. Those who deny him are forfeiting their right to this noble name.” Isaiah 45:14 The Expectation was that the nations would flow into the Jewish nation, but Jesus reverses it and now at the end of Revelation we see the nations flowing into the New Jerusalem, the Kingdom. But Jesus puts the Jews in Philadelphia in the shoes of the pagan nations. Flips the script! He compares the Jews in Philadelphia to Shebna in Isaiah 22 who is removed from the house, and the keys of David are given to God’s servant Eliakim, a shadow of Jesus. It says the glory of his family will hang on him, it’s offspring and offshoots… His body the church Kept in the Trial There are exact word parallels with the words “keep” and “from” in Rev. 3:10 and John 17:15, which is the only other NT occurrence of “to keep” with “from” together: there Christ prays, “I ask not that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one.” Thus, Jesus denies a physical removal from tribulation and affirms a spiritual protection from the devil. Big idea of this section is there is judgement coming on the kingdoms and systems that oppose God but God will keep his family Conquer We conquer the way of the Lamb, not the way of Rome! The conquers will be a pillar in the temple of God and have God’s name, New Jerusalem, and Jesus’ name written on them.
A Church Called Tov: Interview with Scot McKnight (The Church part 8)
Scot McKnight joins Dr. Will Ryan and Matt to talk about the church. In this episode we discuss Scot’s book “A Church Called Tov” about resisting toxic church culture and forming a goodness (tov) culture that promotes healing in our churches.
Follow Scot McKnight:
A Church Called Tov
Kingdom Roots Podcast:
Letters to the Church: Sardis (The Church part 7)
Sardis was a fortress city. It was surrounded on 3 sides by extremely steep cliffs. As a result, it was considered to be so impenetrable that “to capture the acropolis of Sardis” became a euphemism for achieving something impossible.
In the 5th century BC Cyrus king of Persia caught Sardis’ army by surprise and besieged the city. Even after this the people of Sardis believed they were safe but on the 14th day of this siege a few Persian troops claimed the cliff where no man was stationed because the cliff was so steep, and they thought it to be impenetrable there. But their lack of vigilance to an area they thought needed no attention was the downfall of Sardis at this time.
In AD 17 an earthquake ripped apart Sardis and brought sudden destruction to the city once again.
Just prior to John’s day Sardis was a city of wealth and security once again but Jesus and John use their history of being overtaken or sudden destruction to talk about spiritual matters in the church
Description of Jesus
Isaiah 11:1-2, Enoch 61:11, Psalms of Solomon 17:37
It’s about the fruit the Holy Spirit produces. The idea is that this spiritual fruit is rooted in Jesus and resembles Jesus’ life.
The big thing about Jesus’ description that is important for Sardis to notice is that It’s spiritual in nature. Sardis is said to have an appearance of being alive on the outside but are actually dead or dying spiritually
Alive but dead
Sardis had the reputation (a name) to those in the community of being alive, but Jesus says they are actually dead. They are playing church
Col 1:9-10- Bearing fruit, growing in the knowledge of God
Strengthen what remains
Jesus tell the church to “wake up”. Which is better translated as “be watchful”, echoing the story of the defeat of Sardis we mentioned earlier where they were lax in their protection of the city.
Sardis is similar to the Pharisees in Matt 23:25
If they do not repent Jesus is coming to them like a thief in the night
Jesus attributes this coming to being a thief in the night here as well. The message is that is Sardis doesn’t “strengthen what remains” and “be watchful” (of their spiritual state) their lamp-stand will be removed and not be counted as a faithful witness. They will be overtaken like the acropolis of Sardis was in the past.
Jesus mentions that there are some that are faithful in this church. Not all are spiritually dead. They are the remnant. Soiled garments is usually a way of talking about impurity by being stained by sin or the world (Jude 22)
“they walk with me in white, for they are worthy”- This has echoes of Eden and walking with God in the garden.
Jesus gives 2 rewards to the conquerors- White garments and their name not erased from the book of life
Amazing show with great business insights
Such a great show, I always learn something new and very useful. Thank you!
Amazing for entrepreneurs
Really interesting conversations and topics. Like a lot.