CHAPTER III – Revelation 启示录 1:9-11 – 建造中的天国 KINGDOM UNDER CONSTRUCTION

 

启示录的信息 The Message of the Book of Revelation by Rev. Carpus Yip 葉華牧師/Bilingual Edition  ( 简体中文 Simplified Chinese  and English)

CHAPTER III

建造中的天国 (启示录 1:9-11)
KINGDOM UNDER CONSTRUCTION — REVELATION 1:9-11

很多人的印象,启示录是描写末世灾难的预言。其实启示录的主题
不是讲论末世的灾难,乃是天国的完成。天国在耶稣的时候已经开始建造,现在仍然是在建造之中。
Many people think that the purpose of Revelation is to describe the prophecies of the end times. Actually, the main theme of Revelation is not about the disasters of the end of the world, but the completion of the Kingdom of Heaven. The Kingdom of Heaven began its construction during the times of Jesus and it is still under construction today.

有人对于天国的认识很模糊。有说将来主回来后才建天国。其实耶
稣早说天国已经开始。上文说,基督的使命是使我们脱离罪恶,又使我们成为祂父神的王国,成为父神的祭司,都用过去式,表示基督已经开始祂的工作,也就是说天国已经开始建造,只是还没有完工而已。
Some people are very confused about the idea of​​ the Kingdom of Heaven. Some say: The Lord will build the Kingdom of Heaven after He returns in the future. In fact, Jesus already said in the beginning that the Kingdom of Heaven had already started. We already talked about what Christ did for us in an earlier section. He freed us from our sins, and made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve His Heavenly Father. All the verbs are in the past tense. Christ already began His work ; in other words, the Kingdom of Heaven is already under construction, but it has not been completed yet.

天国已经接近完成阶段。到本书中间与后面部份,不断重覆告诉我
们,天国正式完成了,君王基督正式执掌王权。现在仍然在建造的过程中,虽然有不同的困难与意外事件发生,但我们知道,参与建造的人,总要面对变幻与动乱。但主已经借着这本书,预告我们知道将要面对的事,我们就不会手足无措。我们有了准备,就知道怎样去应付这种种困难。这里短短几节经文,可以给我们先看一看这天国几件重要的事。
The Kingdom of Heaven is nearing its completion. In the middle part and towards the end of the book of Revelation, it repeatedly tells us that the Kingdom of Heaven is formally completed, Christ the King is officially reigning. Right now we are still in the construction process. There may be many difficulties and unforeseen circumstances on the way, as those who participate in the construction process will be facing changes and turmoil. But the Lord has already told us beforehand about the hardships we may encounter so that when these things happen we will not be caught by surprise. If we are prepared, we will know how to confront these difficulties. Here are a few short Bible verses which can give us a first look at some important things in the Kingdom of Heaven.

天国的合伙人
PARTNERS OF THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN

9我约翰,就是你们的弟兄,和你们在耶稣的患难、国度、
忍耐里一同有分,为神的道,并为给耶稣作的见证。
9 I, John, your brother and companion in the suffering and kingdom and patient endurance that are ours in Jesus, was on the island of Patmos because of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus.

约翰本来在以弗所牧养教会,当时的皇帝Domitian不准他传道。
在公元95年把他囚禁在拔摩小岛,去开矿作苦​​工。那时约翰也大约有
95岁,还要做这些粗重的苦工。到了96年,那皇帝死了,接任的皇帝
Nerva把他释放。他再回到以弗所教会牧会。一共被囚禁了18个月。
John was originally pastoring a church in Ephesus when the Emperor Domitian forbade him to preach the word of God. In the year 95 AD he was sent to the island of Patmos as a prisoner to do hard labor in the mines. At that time John was approximately 95 years old, but he still had to do such strenuous work. In 96AD Domitian died and Emperor Nerva succeeded him and freed John from prison, then John went back to pastoring the church in Ephesus. He was imprisoned for 18 months.

那拔摩岛是一个长窄的小岛,宽不到一英哩,长约五六英哩,很小
的火山岛。在岛上,约翰所做的工,都是苦工,因为他是囚犯。
The island of Patmos is a very small, long and narrow volcanic island, less than one mile wide and about five or six miles long.

在世人眼中,他是囚犯。但他怎样看自己才重要。他说:「我是你
们的弟兄。 」也就是说,我们是一家人。我与你们是一样的人。虽然他有非常特别的身份,是12使徒中一个,其他使徒都过世了,只剩他一个。他可以很自豪的说: 「我是唯一一个剩下的使徒。 」但他却很谦卑地说:「我是你们的弟兄,也是你们的partaker、partner。中文比较难翻译,所以译作一同有分。原来是名词,改译成了形容词。
In the eyes of people, John was a prisoner. Yet, the most important thing is how he looked at himself. He said: “I, your brother.” He is saying we are family, we are the same. John had a very special status, he was one of the original twelve disciples; and he was the only one left, all the others disciples had already died. He was the youngest one of all, yet he was not persecuted or murdered by the enemy. He was 95 years old. He could have been very proud of himself and could have said: “I am the only one left of all the apostles.” But instead he was very humble and said: “I am your brother, and your partaker/partner. ”

现代做生意的合伙人叫股东,但在天国里面,我们没有股份这种东
西,当然不能叫股东。可以勉强叫做「合伙人」。合伙人有大家拿出一些东西凑合起来的意思。其实这字的原意是我们大家都分享这几方面的东西,是分享者,或分担者。分享、分担什么呢?这里说是在几方面的分享、分担者:是「患难」、「天国」、「忍耐」的分享、分担者。
Today business partners are called shareholders, but in the Kingdom of Heaven, we do not share company stock, so we cannot call it “shareholder”. You might call it “partner”. A partnership means that everyone comes up with something and puts it together. In fact, the word means that we all share in something together, to share or to partake. Share and partake of what? Here are a few aspects of sharing: Sharing in the suffering, sharing in the kingdom, sharing in patient endurance .

天国的分担者、分享者
COMPANIONS/PARTNERS IN THE KINGDOM

到底是什么意思?我们是其中一个主人吗?是其中的董事吗?是内
阁人员吗?天国的分担者是一同建造天国的人,一同推广天国,发展到全世界的人。我们不只是一个天国公民,也是建立天国的官员,是把这天国的福音传遍世界的建造者。约翰在老年、接近一百岁的时候,还被禁止传道,地上的门虽然关了,天上门却开了。
What does this really mean? Are we one of the owners? Are we a board member? Are we one of the staff members? Companions/partners in the Kingdom of Heaven are those who take part in the construction of the Kingdom of Heaven, so that it expands all over the world. We are not just citizens of the Kingdom of Heaven; we are officers who take part in building the Kingdom of Heaven in order to spread the Gospel throughout the whole world. John was forbidden to preach the Gospel when he was about 100 years old, the doors on earth where closed but the doors in heaven were still opened.

患难的分担者
PARTNERS IN SUFFERING

天国的建筑材料就是患难。天国最后建造完成出现之时,也是在患
难之后。患难是不能缺少的原料。最初期的教会建立起来,因为经历很多的逼迫患难。经过犹太人的迫害、罗马皇帝的迫害,教会就建立起来了。中国教会能够建立起来也是因为患难,因为民间的迫害,因为政府的迫害,因为文革的迫害,造成今天强壮的教会。
The building material of the Kingdom of Heaven is suffering. When the Kingdom of Heaven is finally built, it will be after the great tribulation. Trials and tribulations are the raw materials that the Kingdom of Heaven cannot do without. The early church was established and grew as a result of great persecution by the Jews and by the Roman Emperor. The Church in China was also established through adversity. They were persecuted by the people, by the government and by the Cultural Revolution; all these sufferings made the church to become stronger today.

忍耐的分担者
PARTNERS IN PATIENT ENDURANCE

为什么这个王国总是跟患难、忍耐相连?因为这个建造过程以见证
为主。作主的见证人,就要背十字架,要经过艰难。经过艰难的人必定认识忍耐。患难生忍耐,这种忍耐是从圣灵来的素质。圣灵所结的果子就是忍耐。凡属主的信徒,能够靠圣灵的忍耐度过艰难,没有圣灵的人遇到患难,会大声咒骂、怨天尤人。我们却是忍耐的分担者。
What is the reason that this kingdom is continuously linked to tribulations and endurance? It is due to the fact that the building process gives priority to witnessing. To be a witness for the Lord, you have to carry the cross; you have to go through difficulties. People who have gone through difficulties will know about endurance. Trials and tribulations produce patient endurance. This kind of inner quality comes from the Holy Spirit. The fruit of the Spirit is patience. Any believer who belongs to the Lord can depend on the Holy Spirit for endurance to overcome difficulties. Those who do not have the Holy Spirit will curse loudly, complain and blame God for everything bad that happens to them. We are indeed partners in patient endurance.

也是「为神的道,并为给耶稣作的见证」。希腊文的Martus是见证
人,Marturew是作见证之意,变成今天英文之殉道者。因为当日的见
证人,都成为殉道者。这天国的partner不容易做。不过也不是人人有资格做殉道者,是祂所特别拣选,也是祂额外加给能力的人才有资格。
Another reason is because of the Word of God and the testimony of Jesus. The Greek word “Martus” means witness, “Marturew” means to bear witness. In those days all the witnesses were martyrs. It is not easy to be a partner in the Kingdom of Heaven. Not everyone is qualified to be a martyr, only those who are specially chosen by the Lord and who have been given additional strength.

雅各约翰两兄弟曾经问主,能不能坐在主的左右。主问:「我所喝
的杯,你们能喝吗? 」祂所喝的杯是苦杯,能喝祂苦杯的必得大荣耀,在天国里必有特别位置。不能喝苦杯的人,就不会得到这一种荣耀。
Two brothers, James and John, asked the Lord if they may sit at His right and at His left in His kingdom. The Lord asked them: “Can you drink the cup I am going to drink?”(Matthew 20:22) The cup that Jesus was about to drink was a bitter cup; those who can drink His bitter cup will have great glory and a special place in the Kingdom of Heaven. Those who cannot drink the bitter cup will not receive that kind of glory.

天国的领域
THE TERRITORY OF THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN

9曾在那名叫拔摩的海岛上。 10当主日我被圣灵感动,听
见在后面有大声音如吹号。
9 Was on the island of Patmos… 10 On the Lord’s Day I was in the Spirit, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet.

每一个王国都有一个范围。中文的「国」字,有一个方格,中间一个
「域」字。太平天国的时候把中间的「域」字改成「玉」,简单易写。现在的简体字也跟着他们这样写,其实本来是领域的域。美国的领域,东至大西洋,西至太平洋。
Every kingdom has a territory. The Chinese character for country/nation 「国」 (guo2) is made out of a square and inside the square the word 「域」 (yu4) which means boundary/domain. During the times of the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom the word inside the square 「域」 (yu4) was changed to 「玉」 (yu4) which means jade/precious stone for simplified writing. Simplified Chinese today uses this word 国for country. But originally the character in the center of the square was 「域」 (yu4) which is the character that forms the word 领域(ling3 yu4) which means boundary/domain/territory. The territory of the United States has its boundaries; it is bordered on the east by the Atlantic Ocean and on the west by the Pacific Ocean.

天国的国界在哪里呢?是否就在拔摩海岛上?其实全地都是魔鬼的
国土,它试探耶稣的时候就曾说:「祢只要拜我一下,全世界都归祢所有。」因为全地都归魔鬼掌管。耶稣却在魔鬼的领域里建造起天国。天国的地到底有多大?那就要看听王命的人有多少。顺服主的人在哪里,哪里就是国土。基督像在魔鬼的地上建立起一个大使馆一样。
Where is the territory of the Kingdom of Heaven? Is it in the island of Patmos? In fact, the whole world is the territory of the devil. When the devil tempted Jesus in the desert, he took Him to a very high mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and said: “All this I will give you, if you will bow down and worship me.” In fact, the whole world is under the rule of the devil. But Jesus is establishing His Kingdom in the devil’s territory. How big is the territory of the Kingdom of Heaven? That depends on how many people obey the command of the King. Wherever there are people who serve the Lord that is where the Kingdom of Heaven is. It is as if Christ would have established an embassy inside the devil’s territory.

这事在什么时候发生?是在主日。耶稣升天之后,他们开始在七日
的头一日聚会,而不在过去的安息日,用来记念主复活之日。保罗的时代,即50年代,称圣餐为「主的晚餐」,90年代称七日的头一日为「主日」 ,以后教会都是这样用。因为礼拜天就是主耶稣复活的日子。 「主日」,就是主的日子。
When did this happen? It happened on the Lord’s Day. After Jesus went back to heaven, the believers started meeting together on the first day of the week, not on the Sabbath Day but on the Lord’s Day, because that was the day of the resurrection of the Lord. During the times of Paul, until the 50s, the Holy Communion was called “The Lord’s Supper”, in the 90s the first day of the week was called “Sunday”, and the church continued to use these terms up to the present times. Sunday is the day that the Lord Jesus Christ resurrected from the dead. Sunday is the Lord’s Day.

有人以为安息日的目的是要我们一星期休息一天。其实安息日有两
个目的:「休息」与「尊为圣日」,不单放下工作,也用来敬拜神。到了新约,还加上了天国君王向我们颁布旨意的时候。耶稣复活之后,每次向门徒显现都在主日。约翰得到主的启示也在主日。主日成了基督徒重大的日子,是天国开大会、万王之王颁布祂旨意的时刻。
Some people think that the purpose of the Sabbath is for people to take one day of the week to rest. Actually, the Sabbath has two purposes: to rest and to keep it holy by setting our work aside and dedicating that day to worship God. During the New Testament times, it was also when the King of the Kingdom of Heaven would issue His decree to the people. After Jesus resurrected, every time that He appeared to His disciples it was on a Sunday. John received the Lord’s revelation also on a Sunday. Sunday is a very important day for the believers, it is the time of General Assembly in the Kingdom of Heaven, and it is the time when the King of Kings will let us know His imperial decree.

这王国的地点不重要,时间反而更重要。约翰被囚在荒岛,没有教
堂,没有会众,但他照常在主日敬拜主。结果他「被圣灵感动」。
The location of this Kingdom is not that important, what is more important is the time. John was imprisoned in a desert island, without a church and without a congregation, but he worshiped the Lord on Sunday as usual. As a result, he found himself “in the Spirit”.

所以真正的天国范围不是在地上。对于他来说,当时的外面世界已
经消失不见,他再不是在荒岛里,像是到了另外一个空间,被圣灵提到另外一处。所以我们可以说,我们聚会都会在同一个地方。这地方在哪里?其实不是最重要,最重要的是我们都在圣灵里面,在另外一个空间与主相会。好像有无线网络,接通天地线一样。我们与主,与其他众圣徒有所交流,好像到了另一个领域,见到、听到平常听不到的东西。所以他所见的异象,比以赛亚先知在圣殿中所见的异象更大、更深奥。So the real scope of the Kingdom of Heaven is not on the earth. For John, the outside world had already disappeared, he was no longer on a desert island, and he seemed to have gone into another dimension, taken by the Spirit to a different place. Thus, we can say that when we gather together we are meeting in that same place. Where is that place? Actually, that is rather not that important, what is important is that we are all in the Spirit, we are meeting with the Lord in another dimension. Like a wireless network connecting heaven and earth. We have fellowship with the Lord and with other saints, like going into another territory; we can see and hear things that we cannot usually hear. The vision that John saw was much larger and more profound than what the prophet Isaiah saw in the temple.

听见在我后面有大声音如吹号。
“I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet.”

以前用吹号来召集远处的人,因为它的声音够强,传得够远,就像
今天的扩音器。所以这里说「像」吹号,不是真的吹号,是感觉上有非听不可的声音。这声音使他有很强烈的领受,觉得一定要听从,觉得这声音有权柄,一定要跟随祂的话。所以神的国到底在哪里?就是在人听从祂旨意之处,在人觉得神的声音比其他一切声音更强大的地方。
In the old times, a trumpet was used to gather people from a distance because the sound of a trumpet is very loud and can travel very far, like the loud speakers that we use today. What John heard was not the actual sound of a trumpet but a loud voice like a trumpet. The voice was so strong and full of authority that compelled John to listen and obey. So where is the Kingdom of God? It is where people listen and obey God’s will, where His voice is more powerful than all other voices.

天国的文告
THE PROCLAMATION OF THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN

11你所看见的当写在书上,达与以弗所、示每拿、别迦摩、
推雅推喇、撒狄、非拉铁非、老底嘉那七个教会。
11 “Write on a scroll what you see and send it to the seven churches: to Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea.”

19所以你要把所看见的,和现在的事,并将来必成的事,都写出来。
19 “Write, therefore, what you have seen, what is now and what will take place later.

全书共有12次吩咐他「写下来」,这是第一次。皇帝禁止他传道,
但不能禁止他写作。约翰本仁也是在坐牢的时候得异梦,写下伟大的天路历程。神的仆人虽然被囚禁,但神的话语却不被囚禁。
John was told twelve times in this book to write down what he saw; this was the first time. The Emperor prohibited him from preaching the word of God but he could not prohibit him from writing. John Bunyan was also in prison when he had a dream which inspired him to write the best known and the most remarkable great book called The Pilgrim’s Progress. The servants of God may be put in prison, but the Word of God can never be held captive.

他写下的就是天国的文告,让所有天国的成员知道,要等候天国的
降临,要同心建造天国。所以都不是坏消息,是好消息。这启示录的信息,是主耶稣亲自吩咐约翰写下来,给我们读的文告,使这本书成为最特别的书,是不可不读的书。而且要按着正意来读它与解释它,这本书是给全部所有各教会去读的。
What John wrote down was the proclamation of the Kingdom of Heaven announcing to the members of the Kingdom to wait for its coming, and to build the Kingdom of Heaven in one accord. So it is not bad news but good news. Jesus Christ Himself told John to write down the message of the Book of Revelation for us to read it. It is the most special book ever. It is a book that must be read. Furthermore, it must be read and explained with the correct interpretation. This book is to be read by each and every one of the churches.

为什么这里只选七个教会呢?这七个教会不是特别有名,不是特别
大,也不是在大城市里,不见得特别属灵。当时很多其他的城镇,都有教会,为什么单选这七个?因为这七个教会代表这二千年来的教会,代表所有教会。这七个教会情况非常不同,示每拿教会受大苦,却充满生命;撒狄有教会之名,却没有生命;老底嘉自以为非常富有,但福音传不开。非拉铁非自觉力量小,但蒙主称赞,蒙主大大使用,把福音传到地极。怎么会有这样大的分别?
Why were these seven churches chosen? These seven churches were not particularly famous, big, or situated in large cities; they were not even particularly spiritual. At that time, other cities and towns also had churches, why were these seven churches chosen? These seven churches were chosen because they were a representation of all the churches during these two thousand years. The circumstances of these seven churches were very different, the Church in Smyrna suffered great persecution, but it was full of life; the Church in Sardis was called a church, but it did not have life; the Church in Laodicea thought it was rich, but could not spread the Gospel. The Church in Philadelphia was conscious of their little strength, but was greatly praised and used by the Lord to spread the Gospel to the ends of the earth. Why such a big difference?

不单各地教会不同,各时代教会也非常不同。我们现在正处在最后
的阶段,正在迎接末日的来临。地震、天灾、瘟疫、战乱种种情况,都是按照圣经所预告的发生。美国正在衰退,如果美国不衰退,预言中的兽,那末后敌对神的大帝国出现,就成为不可能的事。现在历史正朝着那方向稳步前进。我们读圣经预言,会觉得非常奇妙,似乎是不可能的事,却真的根据圣经的预言在发生。
Not only churches from different places are unique, but churches from different eras are also very distinct. We are living in the final stages, anticipating the arrival of the end times. Earthquakes, natural disasters, pestilence, chaos caused by war, all these things are happening according to the prophecies of the Bible. The United States is in decline, if it was not so, the beast from the prophecy would not rise. This beast is the great kingdom that is against God. History is moving steadily towards that direction . We feel completely amazed to see how the events which at first seemed impossible are beginning to come true according to the prophecies of the Bible.

另一个不可能的事,就是中国教会的兴起。中国人拜偶像超过一千
年,佛教深入人心,所有佛教的国家都必定贫穷落后。看中国过去一千年的历史,它像走到尽头,必像其他拜偶像的国家一样慢慢消灭。谁知忽然之间,神感动西方宣教士前仆后继的涌到中国来,有人甚至梦见地图上一点,觉得是神叫她到那地方做宣教士。这如果这不算是圣灵的作为,到底是什么力量?
Another event that seemed impossible was the rise of the Chinese Church. Chinese people have worshipped idols for more than 1000 years; Buddhism had deeply infiltrated their hearts. Buddhist countries are poor and underdeveloped. Looking back at 1000 years of the history of China, it seemed that this country would soon come to an end like other Buddhist countries that fade away little by little. But unexpectedly, God moved western missionaries to come to China, advancing wave upon wave. Someone even dreamed of seeing a map pinpointing China and felt that it was God’s calling for her to go to that place as a missionary. If this was not the work of the Holy Spirit, what kind of force was it?

廿世纪后期,看见很多台湾、香港来的基督徒学者,他们受感动投
身在查经班与教会的事工上。他们有自己事业,但每周花卅小时以上做教会福音工作、文字工作。全美各地都有这些专业人士为主作工,这还不是圣灵的工作吗?
By the end of the 20th century, many Christian scholars came to America from Taiwan and China; they were moved to serve the Lord in Chinese churches and in Bible study groups. They had their own career, but spent more than thirty hours a week doing evangelistic work and writing Christian articles. These professionals were working for the Lord throughout the United States. If this is not the power of the Holy Spirit, then what is it?

中国教会遭遇大逼迫超过一百年时间,像使徒时代教会一样。受人
民迫害、受政府迫害,但越受迫害,发展越快,教会更加强壮。现在终于到了丰收的时候。普世发展最快的教会,是在中国的家庭教会,以及海外的华人教会。美洲、欧洲教会普遍衰落、老化、关门之时,中国教会却越开越多,越开越大,世界各地的华人教会也是一样。
The Chinese Church suffered persecution for more than 100 years, like the times of the early church with the apostles. They were persecuted by the people and by the government, but the more they were persecuted, the more the church grew and got stronger. Now , at last, it is the time of the abundant harvest. The churches that are growing the most are the house churches in China as well as the Chinese churches overseas. The American and European churches are in decline and aging. On the other hand, there are more and more churches in China that are being established and are growing at a steady rate. Chinese churches all around the world are also growing.

为什么华人教会特别蒙福?因为在神计划中的外邦人日期里面,也
是分时段的。先是欧洲的外邦人,再是美洲的外邦人,最后是亚洲的外邦人。
Why is the Chinese church particularly blessed? It is due to the fact that the plan of God for the time of the gentiles is divided into different periods: first the European gentiles, then the American gentiles, and finally the Asian gentiles.

传福音其实就是传达天国的文告,执行天国君王的旨意。所以天国
的成员,必需要认识神的通告,听清楚神的宣言,执行神的旨意。
To preach the Gospel, actually, is to convey the message of the Kingdom of Heaven and to carry out the will of the King of the Kingdom of Heaven. Therefore, the members of the Kingdom of Heaven must know the proclamation of God, hear clearly the declaration of God and carry out God’s will.