He Who Has an Ear

This entry is part 367 of 394 in the series Inquiring Minds
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He who has an ear… What do you think that means from Revelations?

This phrase appears eight times in Revelation (Revelation 2:7, 11, 17, 29; 3:6, 13, 22; 13:9). In every instance except Revelation 13:9, it is followed by, “let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”

This phrase is extensively used in the seven letters to the seven churches (Revelation 2-3). It is a way of getting the attention of the reader or listener to the letters. A form of public address, it grabs the attention of those listening.

The idea of the phrase is that everyone will listen to what is being said because everyone has an ear. It forces anyone within earshot, anyone who is reading the text, to pay attention to what follows.

The phrase happens to appear at the end of most of the seven letters to the churches. In this sense, the phrase almost serves as a warning. It makes the hearer liable for the message given in each letter. As the letter of Revelation was passed around the churches, each church named would pay special attention to their part of the letter.

The whole letter of Revelation was written to all the churches. But the mini letters in the front are like an individual touch, a point of personal contact, for the seven churches. Even more, these letters weren’t from John the apostle but from Jesus Christ himself.

He is the one that is stressing the importance of each of the messages to the seven churches. The occurrence in Revelation 13:9 is also a warning, but this time for what follows. John presents a combination, a verse straighten, from Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Genesis.

It prophesies the coming of troubles and then says this is a reason for the faith and endurance of the saints (Revelation 13:10). So one warning looks back at what has been said in the message of the letters while the other looks forward to the prophecy of troubles and the faith and endurance of the saints.

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