CHAPTER VIII – Revelation 启示录 2:8-11 – 最富足的教会 THE RICHEST CHURCH

 

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 VIII

最富足的教会 ( 启示录2:8-11)
THE RICHEST CHURCH — REVELATION 2:8-11

受苦的教会
THE SUFFERING CHURCH
8你要写信给士每拿教会的使者说:那首先的、末後的、死 过又活的说: 8“To the angel of the church in Smyrna write: These are the words of him who is the First and the Last, who died and came to life again.”示每拿教会代表第二、叁世纪的苦难教会。受苦教会每一个时代都 有。不过那时候最典型。今日的回教国家、及一些极权国家,仍然积极 对付基督徒,信耶稣的人随时都会失去家庭、财产,被折磨、被杀害。
The church in Smyrna represents the suffering church from the 2nd and 3rd century. Every era has a suffering church, but the church at that time was the model church. Muslim countries of today and some authoritarian countries are still actively against Christians. People who believe in Jesus could be targeted at any time and lose their family, property, be persecuted or even killed.

受犹太人的迫害
PERSECUTED BY THE JEWS
9我知道你的患难、你的贫穷(你却是富足的),也知道那自 称是犹太人所说的毁谤话,其实他们不是犹太人,乃是撒但一 会的人。
9 I know your afflictions and your poverty—yet you are rich! I know about the slander of those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan.这段经文很短,不需要用称讚、责备、鼓励、警告等分段,因为说 的相当简单。但从其中,可以看见很多重要的真理。主对她说:「你看 来是贫穷,其实是富足的。」
This passage is very short and does not need to be divided into sections of words of commendation, rebuke, encouragement or warnings because what is said is very simple; yet, from it, we can learn many very important truths. The Lord said to her: “I know your afflictions and your poverty—yet you are rich!”这受苦的教会,先是受犹太人的迫害。不过主说,那些自称是犹太 人的,其实不是犹太人,乃是撒但一党的人。他们自称是属神的人,行 事却是神的仇敌,他们对付、破坏神的家,到处追杀、赶尽杀绝,他们 自称是会堂中人。但主说:他们是属撒但会堂的人。
This suffering church was first persecuted by the Jews. The lord said: “Those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan.” They claimed to be people who belonged to God; nonetheless, their actions showed that they were enemies of God. They where only looking to destroy the house of God killing ruthlessly all those who belonged to the Lord. They claimed to belong to the Jewish synagogue. But the Lord said that they were a synagogue of Satan.”他们在第二世纪杀了好些传道人,那时候的逼迫,都是来自自称神 子民的人。这种苦比较难受,心以为是朋友,原来是仇敌。像主耶稣所 引用的经文:「同桌吃饭的人,用脚踢我。」被自己家里的人出卖,是伤 心的事。但犹太人当时到底还是次等公民,迫害能力有限,跟著来的灾 难纔更为可怕。
During the 2nd century many servants of God were killed, during those times, the persecutions came from those who claimed to belong to God. That kind of suffering is very hard to take, because those they thought were their friends actually were their enemies. Like what the Lord said in the Scriptures: “He who shared my bread has turned against me.”Being betrayed by a member of your own family is extremely heart-breaking. Jews at that time were second-class citizens. Their capability to persecute Christians was limited. The persecutions that followed were more horrific.主知道
THE LORD KNOWS
9我知道你的患难。
9 I know your afflictions.没有错,他们在受苦。主并非不知道,主关心他们的情况。所以祂 说「我知道」。祂曾说:「就是你们的头髮也都号过了」。祂用头髮说 明,最琐碎小事祂都关心,每根头髮都编了号。如果有十万根头髮,掉 了一根,可说是小事。但这一根所不重视的,祂都编了号,何况整个人 呢?
Indeed, they were in the midst suffering. The Lord not only knew it, but he also was very concerned about it. He said: “I know”.
He once told His disciples: “Even the very hairs of your head are all numbered.” He uses hair to illustrate the fact that He is concerned even about our most trivial little things; every single hair is numbered. If out of 100,000 hairs, one falls out, we can say that it is very insignificant. But, if even this very insignificant hair is numbered, how much would he care for our whole person?初期教会的门徒多为穷人。罗马有许多邪教组织,如果人不参加他 们的活动,很难会成为富有。前人赚钱养家,也都是很重的负担。不做 工就没有饭开。很多南美洲人到今天,还是每天在轮候工作。不像很多 西方的基督徒,讲投资、讲股票、讲地产。
In the early church, many Christians were poor. Rome had many cultic organizations, if people did not participate in their activities; it was very difficult for them to become rich. It was a very heavy burden for people in the old times to earn money to support their families. If they did not work, they would not be able to eat.主耶稣说的八福,不是八条得福的路,乃是八种「有福的人」。其中 第一种,就是「贫穷的人」。记得贫穷不会妨碍神向你施恩,也不会影响 爱主的心。但爱财富的心,却会使人离开神,使人灵命贫穷,所以贪财 是万恶之根。而今天社会上,国家领导或普通百姓,普遍的想法都追求 经济起飞。以为经济是幸福的代号。贪财的心,使人忘记神、离开神。
The eight blessings that Jesus talked about are not eight ways to obtain blessings, but eight kinds of “blessed people”. One of those kinds of people is the “poor”. Remember that poverty will not hinder God from blessing you, and cannot affect the love that you have for God. But the heart that loves riches can make people turn away from God, and make their spiritual life become impoverished; for the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. In today’s society, whether national leaders or ordinary people, they are all pursuing economic take-off. They believe that the economy is the code name for happiness. The greediness for wealth makes people forget about God and turn away from the Lord.富有的穷人
RICH POOR PEOPLE
9我知道你的贫穷,你却是富足的。
9 I know your afflictions and your poverty—yet you are rich!主说:「你却是富足的。」丰富的生活,不是买得起百万元的古董或 私人飞机,拥有这些东西的人仍然每天活在忧虑中。虽然有千万元的房 子,却没有温暖的家,他们要花很多时间、很多精力寻找律师去打官 司,这不是丰盛的生活。反而受苦中人,有家人同心,有朋友关心,并 有主供应能力恩典,所以精神生活过得更丰盛。看受苦中人所写的文 章,都非常有深度,就知道了。
The Lord said: “Yet you are rich!” An abundant life is not being able to buy antiques worth millions of dollars or a private airplane. People who own those things worry continuously every day of their lives. Although they own million dollar mansions, they lack the warmth of home; they have to spend a lot of time and energy going to court to sue the other person. That is not an abundant life. On the other hand, those who are afflicted have the support of family members, the care of friends, and the provision of strength and grace from the Lord, so they live more abundant lives. You can see it when you read articles written by people who are suffering, their writings are very in-depth.主对这教会没有责备、没有警告,是一个主所欣赏的教会。而且主 讚赏他们,不是因为他们有很多方面的优点,不是因为守道、行道、传 道、或行善,彼此相爱或爱主。主只说了一件事:「你虽然在受苦,但 却是富足的。」他们不是没有其他优点,乃是不用提了。因他们受苦的 缘故,其他主所讚赏的美德全部都有了,所以他们就成为富足的了。
The Lord does not have words of rebuke or warnings for this church. This is a church that the Lord is very pleased with. The Lord praises them not because they have many strong points like keeping the truth, acting upon it, preaching it, doing good deeds, loving one another and loving the Lord. The Lord only said one thing: “I know your afflictions—yet you are rich.”It is not that they do not have other strong points, but rather, those strong points need not to be mentioned. The reason they were suffering was because they had all the virtues which the Lord admires, therefore, they became rich.在受迫害、遇灾难之时,或患病、失业的时候,会使人贫穷。但受 苦中的圣徒,很享受一起祷告的甘甜,觉得已经得到很丰富的供应。
Difficult circumstances like persecution, disasters, sickness or unemployment, can lead to poverty. But the saints, even in the midst of suffering, enjoyed the sweetness of praying together, they felt that their needs have already been supplied abundantly.雅各书第一章提到「百般的试炼」,表明有很多种苦难,但跟著又 说:「祂赐各样美善的恩典,与全备的赏赐。」主赐各种恩典去应付各种 患难,外表看来像是贫穷,其实却是富足。中国家庭教会因为受逼迫, 大家非常同心,常看见圣灵工作,常看见神蹟奇事。
James, chapter 1, mentions “trials of many kinds”, meaning that there are many kinds of sufferings. But later on, it says that God provides “every good and perfect gift”. God provides different gifts to cope with different kinds of trials. Outwardly they may appear poor but actually they are very wealthy. The home churches in China are very united because they are often under a lot of persecution, the Holy Spirit is greatly at work and miraculous signs are often seen.

最严重的迫害
THE MOST SEVERE PERSECUTION

10你将要受的苦你不用怕,魔鬼要把你们几个人下在监 里,叫你们被试炼,你们必受患难十日。
10 Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution for ten days.受苦,不用怕。今天的教会不用受苦,纔可怕。没有苦受,灵命就 奄奄一息,了无生气。有些事比身体受伤害更可怕,例如,不敢在人的 面前作正确的事,那就生不如死。又或出卖忠诚、出卖良心,去换取暂 时的安全,那样的生存,已经没有味道。为安全以致不能面对神、不能 面对自己,这样换取安全的代价,实在太大了。
Do not be afraid to suffer. The churches today have no sufferings; that is something to be afraid of. Without sufferings their spiritual life will become feeble and lifeless. There is something more terrible than bodily hard, and that is not having the nerve to do the right thing in front of people. In that case, it would be better to die than to live. Betraying loyalty and your conscience in exchange for temporary safety, that kind of an existence is pitiful. Not being able to face God or oneself in order to have safety is too great of a price to pay.最初的叁个世纪,共有十个罗马帝皇迫害神的教会。最严重的,可 能是284年纔登基的Diocletian,他是极端残暴的皇帝,像中国的秦始 皇一样「焚书坑儒」,他也烧掉很多圣经与其他相关的书籍。凡是谈论主 在橄榄山上论祂再来的书,全部都烧掉,以百万算。若不是他,我们今 天还会有很多关於末世预言的书。
During the first three centuries there were ten Roman emperors who persecuted the church of God. The most serious of the persecutions was probably during the year 284 when Diocletian assumed the throne. He was an extremely cruel emperor like the Chinese emperor Qin Shi Huang who burned books and buried Confucian scholars alive. Diocletian burned great quantities of Bibles and other related literature. Books about the Lord’s discourse on Mount of Olives concerning His return were burned in its entirety; there were more than a million books. If it wasn’t for him, we would still have many books that talked about prophecies of the last days.他迫害教会十年。这里的十日,大概就是指他的十年。他登基的时 候,本来没有对付基督徒。那时候,他只参与邪教巫术的活动。有一次 法术不灵,他怪罪有基督徒在场,所以下了皇命,要所有教会长老、监 督,参加他们的献祭大典。基督徒当然不从,他一步步杀了叁千多名传 道人,用石头打,钉十字架,叫他们与狮子搏鬥,或冷死,或烧死。
He persecuted the church for ten years. Probably these are the ten that are mentioned here. In the beginning, when he assumed the throne, he did not oppose Christians. At that time, he was only involved in the cult activities of witchcraft. One time the evil spells did not work and he blamed the presence of Christians. Because of that, he ordered all the church elders to attend their sacrifice ceremonies. Christians, of course, did not follow his decree. Little by little, he killed more than 3,000 preachers; they were stoned to death, crucified, put into the lion’s den, frozen to death or burned to death.「魔鬼要把你们几个人,下在监里。」那时候的牢狱,不是为了惩罚 罪恶,而是一种工具。目的是要强迫人改变信仰。像王明道或家庭教会 的传道人坐牢的情况一样,只要改变信仰,就会释放出来。中共跟当时 的罗马帝国政策一样,逼迫教会的目的,是要他们改变信仰,因为他们 看见教会发展大,就会寝食不安。
“The devil will put some of you in prison to test you.”At that time the prisons were not used for punishing crimes but rather they were some sort of tools to force people to change their beliefs. As in the case of Wang Ming-Dao and other pastors from house churches who were put in prison, they could be set free provided they change their beliefs. The policies of Communist China and the Roman Empire were similar; their purpose is to persecute the church and force them to change their beliefs. They feel threatened when they see the great development of the church.所有逼迫主教会的源头,都是从魔鬼来的,但主说不用怕。那杀身 体不能杀灵魂的,不要怕他,因为他们能力有限、伤害有限,多数只是 恐吓,张牙舞爪,看似狰狞,其实只是假牙,是咬不动硬骨头的。最严 重的,也只能杀害身体,即是第一次的死。第一次死,是人人必经的, 看是早到还是晚到而已。
All sources of persecution to the church come from the Devil; but the Lord said not to be afraid. Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul because their strength is limited, they can not do much harm. They might want to intimidate you by putting on a fierce look and showing you their ferocious teeth, but those are false teeth, they cannot even munch on a bone. The worse that could happen is killing the body which is the first death, which is something every human being has to experience sooner or later.忠心者的冠冕
THE VICTOR’S CROWN
10你务要至死忠心,我就赐给你那生命的冠冕。
10 Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you life as your victor’s crown.这冠冕,不是皇冠。皇冠的原文是diadema。这里说的是优胜者 的冠冕stefanos,像奥运优胜者当时所得的冠冕。现在奥运优胜者得 的是奖牌,古代优胜者所得是树枝、树叶编成,能朽坏的冠冕。
This crown is not a royal crown. In the original language, the word for royal crown is “diadema”. Here it talks about a victor’s crown “stefanos”, like the crown given to the winner at the Olympics. Nowadays, the winner in the Olympics gets a medal. In the old days, the winner would get a crown made of leaves and branches, a crown that can rot and decay.新约圣经提过好几种冠冕。其中一种是生命的冠冕,是专给受苦难 的圣徒。它的原意是「丰盛生命冠冕」。生命这字用作形容词时,是指生 龙活虎般的活泼,不是躺病床、吊盐水之生存。就是他们经过苦难之 後,生命变得活泼有生气有深度。生命长得更好。
The New Testament mentions different kinds of crowns. One kind of crown is the crown of life which is given to saints who go through sufferings. Its original meaning is “the crown of abundant life”. The word life is used as an adjective which describes a life that is vibrant and energetic, not a life that is hardly surviving like a critically ill patient connected to IV fluids. Even after they go through sufferings, their lives are still full of vitality and profound intensity. Their lives become even better.现代人注重学术研究,知识技能全在书本或课堂里学习。教会也受 到影响,以为生命丰富,就是需要多读书、拿学位。示每拿教会受迫害 期间,当然不能举办神学讲座,也没有门徒训练,不懂教会组织。但灵 命丰富,并没有世上的證书可以證明,但有丰盛生命的冠冕作證明。
The modern society is oriented towards academic research; intellectual skills which depend on books and classroom studies. The Church is also influenced by these trends. They think that an abundant life depends on studying a lot and getting academic degrees. When the Church in Smyrna was under severe persecution, of course, they could not hold theological lectures or discipleship training classes and did not know much about church organization. But their spiritual life was abundant and although they did not get a certificate of achievement, they received a crown of abundant life as evidence.亚伯拉罕时代没有圣经可读,没有灵修书指导,但他却称为信心 之父。灵命丰盛的成长路,并不像世界人的方式。最重要的是至死忠 心。至死忠心的人就显出他的信心来。
During the time of Abraham there were no Bibles to read or spiritual books to guide him but he was known as the Father of Faith. The way to having a mature abundant life does not lie on following the patterns of this world. The most important thing is to be faithful until death that is how he gave evidence of his faith.示每拿smurna这字,源自希伯来文的没药,没药在受压的时候会 发出香气。教会经过火的试炼,基督的香气就挡不住。就像茶,要泡出 香味,一定需要用高温的开水。
The word “smyrna” has its origin from the Hebrew word for myrrh. When myrrh is pressed it exudes an aromatic smell. When the Church goes through the test of fire, the aroma of Christ cannot be contained. Like tea, in order to give out its aroma, it must be boiled in water at a high temperature.当然我们不是要自讨苦吃,但要认识我们的仇敌魔鬼。我们无法逃 避牠。当人信主、爱主之时,就会出现在牠雷达的萤幕上,牠必会用尽 各种武器、办法来对付。除非你是牠的好朋友,牠可以称你为牠的亲密 战友。如果你在教会中,能使整个教会死气沉沉,毫无生气,那你对於 牠毫无威胁,牠当然不要对付你。
Of course, we are not trying to ask for trouble, but we must know our enemy, the devil. This is unavoidable. When a person believes in the Lord and loves the Lord, he will appear on Satan’s radar screen. Satan will use every possible method and weapon to target that Christian. But, if you are his good friend, he will treat you as his a close ally. If you can make the church feel lethargic and languid, then Satan will not feel threatened in any way and he will certainly not want to harass you at all.殉道者将像主一样复活,无第二次之死
MARTYRS WILL RESURRECT LIKE THE LORD, THEY WILL NOT BE HURT AT ALL BY THE SECOND DEATH
11圣灵向众教会所说的话、凡有耳的、就应当听。得胜的、 必不受第二次死的害。
11 Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. The one who is victorious will not be hurt at all by the second death.我们要得到丰盛的生命冠冕,要享受灵命丰富的生活,要成为富足 的基督徒,因为主是那首先的、末後的、死过又活的、直活到永远的生 命之主。主的忠心门徒,再没有第二次死的害。「第二次死」这个辞,只 出现在启示录,约翰福音与新约的书信都没有提过,是约翰在晚年时从 主所听到的话。
As Christians, we want to have the crown of life; enjoy a spiritual life that is abundant and be richly blessed because our Lord is the one who is the First and the Last, who died and came to life again and who lives eternally. The faithful disciples of the Lord will not be hurt by the second death. The phrase “second death” only appears in Revelation. The Gospel of John and the other epistles in the New Testament have no mention of it. These are words that John heard from the Lord during his later years in life.第一次死是在我们拥有第一个身体的时候,这第一个身体因为犯罪 的结果,都是会死的。第二次的死,是在人得到第二个身体,就是复活 之後所得的身体。义人、恶人将来都要复活,但恶人复活後再被定罪, 就有第二次的死。信主的人,复活存到永远,再没有第二次死的害。主 告诉他们,恶人可能会把他们杀死,但他们将会复活,且活到永远,像 主耶稣复活一样。
The first death happens while we have our first body. Our first body will have to die as a result of sin. The second death will happen after a person receives his second body, which is the body that we will all have after the resurrection. The righteous and the wicked will all be resurrected. The wicked will resurrect to be condemned and will die the second death. The believers in the Lord will resurrect to eternal life and will not be harmed by the second death. The Lord told them that wicked people may kill them but they will be resurrected and will live forever like the resurrected Lord.第二世纪中叶,示每拿教会的监督,约翰的一个学生Polycarp,已 经九十多岁,被抓去拜罗马的皇帝,要他宣誓离弃主,就可以得释放。 他回答说:「我事奉主八十六年,主从来没有亏待我,为甚麽要反祂?」 「我有野兽、有火,你不怕吗?」
「你的火只烧一个小时,火湖的火是不灭的。」
In the middle of the second century, the leader of the Church in Smyrna, John’s first student, Polycarp who was already over 90 years old, was ordered to worship the Roman emperor and to renounce the Lord. If he did that, he could be set free. But he answered saying: “Eighty six years have I served the Lord, and He has done me no wrong; how can I blaspheme my King and my Savior.” “You threaten me with fire which burns for an hour, and is then extinguished, but you know nothing of the fire of the coming judgment and eternal punishment, reserved for the ungodly我们没有中间路线,凡想要保护自己免去衝突,就是失败者。为主 而活,不计较自己损失,纔是得胜者。能为主受苦,与主一同受苦,一 起受死,一起复活,是一件荣耀的事。
We do not have a middle ground; whoever wants to protect himself to avoid conflicts is a looser. To live for the Lord without thinking of your own loss, that is being a real winner. If you can suffer for and with the Lord, die together with the Lord and resurrect together with Him; that is a glorious thing.