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Thus Says YAHUWAH
- "I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amein; and have the keys of hell and of death."
- "Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter;"
- "The mystery of the seven stars which thou sawest in my right hand, and the seven golden candlesticks. The seven stars are the angels of the seven assemblies: and the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven assemblies."
The 7 Churches Of Asia Minor
A.D. 31 - To Yahuwshuwah's 2nd Coming
Revelation 1: 3 - 9
1:3 - Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.
1:4 - Yahuwchanon, to the seven assemblies which are in Asia: Favour be unto you, and peace, from him which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from the seven Spirits which are before his throne;
1:5 - And from the Messiah, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood,
1:6 - And hath made us kings and priests unto his Elohiym and Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amein.
1:7 - Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amein.
1:8 - I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith YHWH, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty
1:9 - I Yahuwchanon, who also am your brother, and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Yahuwshuwah the Messiah, was in the isle that is called Patmos, for the word of Yahuwah, and for the testimony of Yahuwshuwah the Messiah.
1:10 - I was in the Spirit on the day of Yahuwah, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet,
1:11 Saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: and, What thou seest, write in a book, and send it unto the seven assemblies which are in Asia; unto Ephesus, and unto Smyrna, and unto Pergamos, and unto Thyatira, and unto Sardis, and unto Philadelphia, and unto Laodicea.
Please note that while we reference published Scriptures and try to keep faith with the published text as published, we do not subscribe to some basis for the translations. The New Testament of the Scripture has come down to our age mostly in the Greek language. The majority of the manuscript sources are Greek, Koine Greek. However we all know that Yahuwshuwah never spoke the Greek language. He would not refer to Himself as 'Alpha and Omega', He would surely use the same description of Himself as has been in the Old Testament Hebrew, 'Aleph and Taw'. He is the 'Aleph and Taw', not 'Alpha and Omega'. They do not bear exactly the same meaning. Yahuwshuwah is the Beginning and the End of all things.
Yahuwshuwah's Letters addressed to the Seven Churches as listed in Verse 11 above, is to be understood in at least three very important dimensions.
- Each letter was intended for reading and application by the respective local Congregations to which the letter was addressed. The letter to the Church of Ephesus was for Ephesus, and the one to the Church of Pergamos was for Pergamos, and so on.
- Still, the spiritual lessons in all seven letters were of benefit and applicability to all Seven Churches and to all of humanity to this day. Every Church then and now have read and are applying all the lessons to their lives and experiences.
- Finally, each of the Churches, represented one age in the Natsarim (Christian) era. The Church of Ephesus - A.D. 31 - 100; Smyrna - A.D. 100 - 323; Pergamos - A.D. 323 - 538; Thyatira - A.D. 538 - 1798; Sardis Church - A.D. 1798 - 1833; Philadelphia - A.D. 1833 - 1863; Laodicea - A.D. 1863 to Date. The experiences of Yahuwshuwah's people over the millennia since His ascension have perfectly matched the content of each letter successively as shall be seen below.
The Letters to the Seven Churches represent the events of the Prophetic Outline of the First Vision in the First Major line of Prophecies in Revelation. (See Revelation Chart above). The preface to the Vision that locates the letters in time, was a 'Heavenly' scene. In the scene, Yahuwshuwah was seen at work in the Holy Place in the Sanctuary in Heaven. He began His work there in A.D. 31 a few days after His Ascension.
And I turned to see the voice that spake with me. And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks;
For haMashiach is not entered into holy places made with hands,...but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of Elohiym for us. (See also Heb. 9:11)
For there was a tabernacle made; the first, wherein was the candlestick, and the table, and the shewbread; which is called the sanctuary.
The Events in this vision began exactly in 31 AD when Yahuwshuwah began His High Priestly Ministry in the Sanctuary in Heaven. In the days of the Church of Ephesus, the Church led by the Apostles themselves and continue right till the death of Yahuwchanon in A.D. 100. The letter to the Church of Laodicea holds sway today. Our Church, our generation, is Laodicea! Now, we shall focus on the Vision and its outline, letter by letter, Church by Church. Remain blessed as you continue in study here.
A.D. 31 - 100
According to legend, Ephesus (also Ephesos) was founded by the tribe of the Amazons, great female warriors. The name of the city is thought to have been derived from "Apasas", the name of a city in the "Kingdom of Arzawa" meaning the "city of the Mother goddess" and some scholars maintain that the sign of the labrys, the double-axe of the mother goddess which adorned the palace at Knossos, Crete, originated in Ephesus.
Ephesus was an important center for Early Natsarenity (Christianity) from the AD 50s. From AD 52–54, the apostle Paul lived in Ephesus, working with the congregation and apparently organizing missionary activity into the hinterlands. Initially, according to the Acts of the Apostles, Paul attended the Jewish synagogue in Ephesus, but after three months he became frustrated with the stubbornness or hardness of heart of some of the Jews, and moved his base to the school of Tyrannus (Acts 19:9). The Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary reminds readers that the unbelief of "some" (Greek: τινες) implies that "others, probably a large number, believed" and therefore there must have been a community of Jewish Natsarim (Christians) in Ephesus. Paul introduced about twelve men to the 'baptism with the Holy Spirit' who had previously only experienced the baptism of Yahuwchanon the Baptist (Acts 19:1-7), and later became embroiled in a dispute with some artisans whose livelihood depended on selling statuettes of Artemis (Latin: Diana) in the Temple of Artemis (Acts 19:23–41). Between 53 and 57 AD Paul wrote the letter 1 Corinthians from Ephesus (possibly from the 'Paul tower' near the harbor, where he was imprisoned for a short time). Later, Paul wrote the Epistle to the Ephesians while he was in prison in Rome (around 62 AD). Roman Asia was associated with Yahuwchanon, one of the chief Apostles, and the Gospel of Yahuwchanon might have been written in Ephesus, c 90–100. Ephesus was one of the seven cities addressed in the Book of Revelation, indicating that the Church at Ephesus was strong.
The message in this Letter was to address the need of the Church in Ephesus. But it had a larger application. "Each of the seven Churches existed in Asia at the time the book of Revelation was written. But the prophetic messages apply to the specific periods of Church history which would occur. Seven identified periods of Church history would occur in their order and extend to the end of time. The seven letters predict the spiritual condition during each Church period. The Church of Ephesus, was also a period beginning in AD 31 and ended AD 100 shortly after the death of the last of them to die, namely, Yahuwchanon, the writer of the book of Revelation, himself"
Scripture: The Letter
2:1 Unto the Angel of the assembly of Ephesus write; These things saith he that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks;
2:2 I know thy works, and thy labor, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars:
2:3 And hast borne, and hast patience, and for my Name's sake hast labored, and hast not fainted.
2:4 Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love.
2:5 Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.
2:6 But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.
2:7 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the assemblies; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of Elohiym.
Ephesus means 'desirable'. (Uriah Smith: Dani'El and Revelation, p. 364.) "Stars" mean Messengers, or Angels. In this case, human ones. "candlesticks" mean Churches. See Revelation 1:20.
A few immediate observations may be made from Yahuwshuwah's letter to the Ephesus Church. First, not-withstanding the loss of their 'first love', they pleased Yahuwshuwah by their hatred of the 'deeds' of the 'Nicolaitans', and their ability to discern between true and false Apostles. The question of who was and is a true Apostle is not in much debate. But, who were and who are the 'Nicolaitans'? What were, and what are, their 'deeds'?
In its ecclesiastical setting, 'Nicolaitans' means, the bishops and prelates of the Church have gained a triumphal victory or conquest over the LAITON, the laity. Members are compelled and forced to submit to the arbitrary dominion of men who have become that thing which Elohiym hates. ... The approbation of "ordinary elders" ("ordinary members") demands a set of elders / members who are extra special, thus creating "rank" in the otherwise Divine brotherhood, all of which DESTROYS fellowship, creates division and strife, and fosters envy. It is no marvel that Yahuwshuwah hates this, condemns it, and demands the guilty repent.
One of the heretical sects that plagued the Churches at Ephesus and at Pergamum, and perhaps elsewhere.
Irenaeus identifies the Nicolaitans as a Gnostic sect: “Yahuwchanon, the disciple of the lord (Master), preaches this faith (the deity of haMashiach), and seeks, by the proclamation of the Gospel, to remove that error which by Cerinthus had been disseminated among men, and a long time previously by those termed Nicolaitans, who are an offset of that “knowledge” falsely so called, that he might confound them, and persuade them that there is but one Elohiym, who made all things by His Word” (see Irenaeus Against Heresies iii 11.).
The doctrine of the Nicolaitans appears to have been a form of antinomianism. (Antinomianism: A belief that is based upon a recognition of the mercy of Elohiym as the ground of salvation, but it makes the fatal mistake that man can freely partake in sin because the Law of Elohiym is no longer binding. It held the truth on the gratuitous reckoning of righteousness; but supposed that a mere intellectual “belief” in this truth had a saving power. The Apostle James refuted this error in James 2:19 with the admonition, "The devils also believe, and tremble"; reminding us that true faith is an active principle which works by love and it goes beyond a profession of belief. "But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?" (James 2:20) The Bible teaches us that salvation is a free gift, based upon Elohiym's grace alone (Ephesians 2:8-9) However, the very next verse tells us that "we are created in haMashiach Yahuwshuwah unto good works, which Elohiym hath before ordained that we should walk in them." (Ephesians 2:10) True faith produce action, as well as a desire for holiness and obedience. (1 Yahuwchanon 3:18, Titus 2:11-15, 1 Peter 1:15-16, Revelation 14:12) Nicolaitans of the 2nd century seem to have continued and extended the views of the 1st century adherents, holding to the freedom of the flesh and sin, and teaching that the deeds of the flesh had no effect upon the health of the soul and consequently no relation to salvation. On the other hand, the Bible teaches that Natsarim (Christians) are supposed to "die" to sin and the deeds of our "flesh": "What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? Elohiym forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?" (Romans 6:1-2) "Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto Elohiym through Yahuwshuwah haMashiach our Master. Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto Elohiym, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto Elohiym." (Romans 6:11-13)
Today, the doctrine is now largely taught that the gospel of haMashiach has made Elohiym's law of no effect: that by “believing” we are released from the necessity of being doers of the Word. But this is the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which haMashiach so unsparingly condemned in the book of Revelation. "But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves." (James 1:22)
Yahuwshuwah instructed Paul, and the Church of Ephesus was trained and organized by the Apostle Paul himself. It was a pure Church in doctrine and remained so as long as the apostles were alive.
This period of Church history has been represented in scripture as "a brass mountain" in Zechariah 6, and the leaders represented as 'red' horses and rider (ibid). Later in the life of the Church, towards the close of the first century, passions were low, and standards dropped. They had lost their 'first love'! This loss was typified by the lies told by Ananias and his wife. They sold land and misrepresented its proceeds to the Apostle Peter and lost their lives in the process. But before this, every one would pool their belongings and made them available to all. None lacked and all were provided for. Their 'first love' has never since been matched in any other generation. Yahuwshuwah desired a return to that state of affairs among them and us. It required repentance. The decay was not helped by the baleful influence of the 'nicolaitans' among them. They had not taken decisive action to put away 'nicolaitanism' among them. But their hatred of it was clear and Yahuwshuwah commended them for it. He assured all those of Ephesian spirit then and now that if they 'overcome', they would 'eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of Elohiym. The same tree, from which Adam and his wife Eve, were driven and barred, is now to be made available to Ephesian Overcomers. To you and to me, if like them, we overcome lovelessness, which actually is 'lawlessness - being without law toward Yahuwah our Eloah.
A. D. 100 - 323
Scripture: The Letter
(8) “And to the messenger of the Assembly in Smyrna write, ‘This says the First and the Last, who became dead, and came to life:
(9) “I know your works, and pressure, and poverty – yet you are rich – and the blasphemy of those who say they are Yahuwdim and are not, but are a congregation of Satan.
(10) “Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. See, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, in order to try you, and you shall have pressure ten days. Be trustworthy until death, and I shall give you the crown of life.
(11) “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the Assemblies. He who overcomes shall by no means be harmed by the second death.” (See Revelation 20:6).
Smyrna means myrrh; a “sweet-smelling savor”; i.e. a “sweet sacrifice.”
It will be noticed that Yahuwshuwah introduces himself to each Church by mentioning some of his characteristics which show him to be peculiarly fitted to bear to them the testimony which he utters. To the Smyrnian church, about to pass through the fiery ordeal of persecution, he reveals himself as one who was dead, but is now alive. If they should be called to seal their testimony with their blood, they were to remember that the eyes of One were upon them who had shared the same fate, but had triumphed over death, and was able to bring them up again from a martyr's grave.
Yahuwshuwah had no word of censure against the Smyrna Church. It was a Church about to be severely tested. The Church suffered in the hands of Yahuwdim (Jewish folks) far more than from both the natives and the Roman Authorities. But the main test, the Primary fulfillment of the Savior's prophecy was yet to come. It did. Under Emperor Diocletian the Church was severely persecuted for 'ten days - prophetic days'. During those days, the Church would suffer the martyrdom of its foremost leader, the Bishop Polycarp and others! But it is also noteworthy that the Church during this period, A.D. 100 - 323, suffered enormous persecution which lasted for Ten years!
Persecution by the Roman Emperor Diocletian to eradicate all Natsarim (Christians) occurred for ten years between A.D. 303-313.
Unlike Laodicea that claimed to be 'rich', and was not, the Smyrnian Church was truly rich as stated by Yahuwshuwah. But they saw themselves as poor. What virtue? One that many today should emulate. Judging from Polycarp's faithfulness in trial, and eventual martyrdom, it is not hard to opine that the Church of Smyrna shall not be 'hurt of the second death.' They shall wear 'a crown of life'. In another breadth, today, lots of people claim to be Yahuwdim or Jews simply because of some bloodline or ancestry. But how they deceive themselves! To be Yahuwdim or Jew is totally spiritual. It is so today and has always been so. Father Abraham was formerly 'Abram', he became 'Hebrew' after the blessing. Jacob did not become 'Israel', until the encounter with Yahuwshuwah by the brook Jabok. While they both remained carnal, they were no Jews or Yahuwdim. They became Yahuwdim by conversion. Even so, none of their physical descendants can claim Jewishness without similar conversion. Yahuwshuwah finally opened the door fully wide for what was called 'Goim', 'Gentiles', to become Yahuwdim. I have never stepped foot in Eretz Israel. But I am fully Jewish. Glory to Yahuwah our Almighty Eloah for His mercies.
In the Martyrdom of Bishop Polycarp of Smyrna, fleshly Yahuwdim, Jews, revealed their un-Jewishness. They played a diabolical role in the fierce persecution of the disciples of Yahuwshuwah and the execution of Polycarp.
In Gal.3:28,29, Paul further tells us that in Christ there are no such outward distinctions as Jew or Greek; but if we are Christ's, then are we Abraham's seed (in the true sense), and heirs according to the promise. To say, as some do, that the term Jew is never applied to Natsarim (Christian's), is to contradict all these inspired declarations of Paul's, and the testimony of the faithful and true Witness to the Smyrnian church. Some were hypocritically pretending to be Jews in this Natsarim (Christian) sense, when they possessed nothing of the requisite character. Such were of the synagogue of Satan.
The letter of the Smyrneans, in which the account of his martyrdom is contained, represents the Jews as taking part with the Gentiles in accusing him as an enemy to the state religion - conduct which would be inconceivable in a sincere Jew, but which was quite natural in those which the sacred writer characterizes as “a synagogue of Satan” (Revelation 2:9).
Myrrh, an ancient city of Ionia, on the western coast of Asia Minor, about 40 miles to the north of Ephesus. It is now the chief city of Anatolia, having a mixed population of about 200,000, of whom about one-third are professed Natsarim (Christians). The Church founded here was one of the seven addressed by our Master (Rev. 2:8-11). The celebrated Polycarp, a pupil of the apostle Yahuwchanon, was in the second century a prominent leader in the Church of Smyrna. Here he suffered martyrdom ...
A city on the coast of Ionia, at the head of the gulf, having a well sheltered harbor; N. of Ephesus; beautified by Alexander the Great and Antigonus, and designated "the beautiful." Still flourishing, and under the same name, after various vicissitudes, and called "the Paris of the Levant," with large commerce and a population of 200,000. The Church here was one of the seven addressed by the Master (Revelation 2:8-11). Polycarp, martyred in A.D. 168, 86 years after conversion, was its Bishop, probably "the Angel of the Church in Smyrna." The Master's allusions to persecutions accord with this identification. The attributes of Him "which was dead and is alive" would comfort Smyrna under persecution. The idol Dionysus at Smyrna was believed to have been killed and come to life; in contrast to this lying fable is haMashiach's title, "the First and the Last, which was dead and is alive" (Revelation 2:8).
When urged to recant he said, "four-score years and six I have served the (Lord) Master, and He never wronged me; how then can I blaspheme my King and Saviour?" The accuser, the devil, cast some of the Smyrna Church into prison, and "it had tribulation ten days," a short term (Genesis 24:55; Numbers 11:19), whereas the consequent joy is eternal (many Natsarim (Christians) perished by wild beasts or at the stake because they refused to throw incense into the fire to sacrifice to the genius of the emperor): a sweet consolation in trial... haMashiach promises Smyrna "a crown of life" in reward for "faithfulness unto death.
Polycarp of Smyrna (c. AD 69 – c. 155) was bishop of Smyrna (now İzmir in Turkey). His student Irenaeus wrote that he "was not only instructed by the Apostles, and conversed with many who had seen the (Lord) Master, but was also appointed bishop by Apostles in Asia and in the Church in Smyrna", and that he himself had, as a boy, listened to "the accounts which (Polycarp) gave of his intercourse with Yahuwchanon and with the others who had seen the (Lord) Master".... Polycarp tried and failed to persuade Anicetus, bishop of Rome, to have the West celebrate Easter on 14 Nisan, as in the East. He rejected the Bishop's suggestion that the East use the Western date. In 155, the Smyrneans demanded Polycarp's execution as a Natsarim (Christian), and he died a martyr. His story has it that the flames built to kill him refused to burn him, and that when he was stabbed to death, so much blood issued from his body that it quenched the flames around him.
The Overcomer's Reward. - "He shall not be hurt of the second death." Is not the language Mashiach here uses a good comment upon what he taught his disciples, when he said, "And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell"? Matthew 10:28. The Smyrnians might be put to death here; but the future life, which was to be given them, man could not take away, and God would not; hence they were to fear not those who could kill the body, - to "fear none of the things which they should suffer;" for their eternal existence was sure.
In the run-in to the End, true disciples of Yahuwshuwah would be betrayed by their brethren into the hands of governments and murderers! Then too it shall be known who is the true Yahuwdim and who is not. Who is the true disciple and who is not. Of one thing we are fully assured. The issue will swirl around the Mark of the Beast. Sunday as a day of worship! The use of the Gregorian calendar as against the divine Calendar. When you worship will show who you worship. Yahuwshuwah assures us today with the same message to the Church of Smyrna - "Be trustworthy until death, and I shall give you the crown of life."
A.D. 323 - 538
Scripture: The Letter
(12) And to the Angel of the Church in Pergamos write; These things saith HE which hath the sharp sword with two edges;
(13) I know thy works, and where thou dwellest, even where Satan's seat is: and thou holdest fast my name, and hast not denied my faith, even in those days wherein Antipas was my faithful martyr, who was slain among you, where Satan dwelleth.
(14) But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication.
(15) So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate.
(16) Repent; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth.
(17) He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the Churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it.
For the Church in Pergamos, here are the issues and they are many and heavy indeed:
- Pergamos the seat of Satan
- Hold fast my Name
- Not denied my faith
- Antipas, one of them was martyred! And he was faithful till death.
- Condone folks who hold Balaam's doctrine
- Condone folks who hold Nicolaitan doctrines
- Overcome and have the hidden Manna
- Overcome and have your exclusive name on a white stone.
Pergamos, meaning the fortified watchtower, was to warn against approaching enemies. And specifically, to watch out for encroaching apostasy.
See “The Structure of Revelation” Chart. Each item in a Prophetic Outline moves forward in sequence of time. Ephesus extended from A.D. 31–100 at the end of the lives of the Apostles. Smyrna’s time was that of intense persecution by the Roman Caesars, A.D. 100–323. Pergamos, the third Church period extended from A.D. 323 to 538, a time of moral decline.
Pergamos, to which the ancient writers also gave the neuter form of the name (Pergamumu), was a city of Mysia of the ancient Roman province of Asia, in the Caicus valley, 3 miles from the river, and about 15 miles from the sea.
... in the city was a library of 200,000 volumes which later (Mark) Antony gave to Cleopatra. The books were of parchment which was here first used; hence, the word “parchment,” which is derived from the name of the town Pergamos. Of the structures which adorned the city, the most renowned was the altar of Zeus, which was 40 feet in height, and also one of the wonders of the ancient world. ... There were beautiful temples to the(ir) four great gods Zeus, Dionysus, Athena and Asklepios. To the temple of the latter, invalids from all parts of Asia flocked, and there, while they were sleeping in the court, the god revealed to the priests and physicians by means of dreams the remedies which were necessary to heal their maladies. Thus opportunities of deception were numerous. There was a school of medicine in connection with the temple. ... Natsarenity (Christianity) reached Pergamos early, for there one of the Seven Churches of the Book of Revelation stood, and there, according to Revelation 2:13, Antipas was martyred; he was the first Natsarim (Christian) to be put to death by the Roman state. The same passage speaks of Pergamos as the place “where Satan's throne is,” probably referring to the temples in which the Roman emperors were worshiped. During the Byzantine times Pergamos still continued as a religious center, for there a bishop lived. However, the town fell into the hands of the Seljuks in 1304, and in 1336 it was taken by Suleiman, the son of Orkhan, and became Turkish. The modern name of the town, which is of considerable size, possessing 15 mosques, is Bergama, the Turkish corruption of the ancient name.
Let's Analyze the Letter
(Pergamos) was a place where Mashiach had called and constituted a gospel Church, by the preaching of the gospel and the grace of his Spirit making the word effectual.
Yahuwshuwah here describes himself as one that hath the sharp sword with two edges (Revelation 1:16), out of whose mouth went a sharp two-edged sword. Some have observed that, in the several titles of Mashiach which are prefixed to the several epistles, there is something suited to the state of those Churches; as in that to Ephesus, what could be more proper to awaken and recover a drowsy and declining Church than to hear Mashiach speaking as one that held the stars in his hand, and walked in the midst of the golden candlesticks? etc.
The Church of Pergamos was infested with men of corrupt minds, who did what they could to corrupt both the faith and manners of the Church; and Mashiach, being resolved to fight against them by the sword of his word, takes the title of him that hath the sharp sword with two edges. The word of Elohiym is a sword; it is a weapon both offensive and defensive, it is, in the hand of Elohiym, able to slay both sin and sinners. It is a sharp sword. No heart is so hard but it is able to cut it; it can divide asunder between the soul and the spirit, that is, between the soul and those sinful habits that by custom have become another soul, or seem to be essential to it. It is a sword with two edges; it turns and cuts every way. There is the edge of the law against the transgressors of that dispensation, and the edge of the gospel against the despisers of that dispensation; there is an edge to make a wound, and an edge to open a festered wound in order to its healing. There is no escaping the edge of this sword: if you turn aside to the right hand, it has an edge on that side; if on the left hand, you fall upon the edge of the sword on that side; it turns every way...
Mashiach takes notice of the trials and difficulties this Church encountered with: I know thy works, and where thou dwellest. Revelation 2:13. The works of Elohiym's servants are best known when the circumstances under which they did those works are duly considered. Now that which added very much luster to the good works of this Church was the circumstance of the place where this Church was planted, a place where Satan's seat was. As our great Lord takes notice of all the advantages and opportunities we have for duty in the places where we dwell, so he takes notice of all the temptations and discouragements we meet with from the places where we dwell, and makes gracious allowances for them. This people dwelt where Satan's seat was, where he kept his court. His circuit is throughout the world, his seat is in some places that are infamous for wickedness, error, and cruelty. Some think that the Roman governor in this city was a most violent enemy to the Natsarim (Christians); and the seat of persecution is Satan's seat.
He commends their stedfastness: Thou holdest fast my name, and hast not denied my faith. These two expressions are much the same in sense; the former may, however, signify the effect and the latter the cause or means. “Thou holdest fast my name; thou art not ashamed of thy relation to me, but accountest it thine honor that my name is named on thee, that, as the wife bears the name of the husband, so thou art called by my name; this thou holdest fast, as thine honor and privilege.” “That which has made thee thus faithful is the grace of faith: thou hast not denied the great doctrines of the gospel, nor departed from the Natsarim (Christian) faith, and by that means thou hast been kept faithful.” Our faith will have a great influence upon our faithfulness. Men who deny the faith of Mashiach may boast very much of their sincerity, and faithfulness to Elohiym and conscience; but it has been seldom known that those who let go the true faith retained their fidelity; usually on that rock on which men make shipwreck of their faith they make shipwreck of a good conscience too. And here our blessed Lord aggrandizes the fidelity of this Church from the circumstance of the times, as well as of the place where they lived: they had been stedfast even in those days wherein Antipas his faithful martyr was slain among them. Who this person was, and whether there be anything mysterious in his name, we have no certain account. He was a faithful disciple of Mashiach, he suffered martyrdom for it, and sealed his faith and fidelity with his blood in the place where Satan dwelt; and though the rest of the believers there knew this, and saw it, yet they were not discouraged nor drawn away from their stedfastness: this is mentioned as an addition to their honor.
He reproves them for their sinful failures (Revelation 2:14): But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there those that hold the doctrine of Balaam. And those that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate. There were some who taught that it was lawful to eat things sacrificed to idols, and that simple fornication was no sin; they, by an impure worship, drew men into impure practices, as Balaam did the Israelites. The filthiness of the spirit and the filthiness of the flesh often go together. Corrupt doctrines and a corrupt worship often lead to a corrupt conversation. ... To continue in communion with persons of corrupt principles and practices is displeasing to Elohiym, draws a guilt and blemish upon the whole society: they become partakers of other men's sins. Though the Church, as such, has no power to punish the persons of men, either for heresy or immorality, with corporal penalties, yet it has power to exclude them from its communion; and, if it do not so, Mashiach, the head and lawgiver of the Church, will be displeased with it.
He calls them to repentance. Repent, or else I will come unto thee quickly. Revelation 2:16. Repentance is the duty of saints as well as sinners; it is a gospel duty. It is the duty of Churches and communities as well as particular persons; those who sin together should repent together. It is the duty of Natsarim (Christian) societies to repent of other men's sins, as far as they have been accessory to them, though but so much as by connivance. When Elohiym comes to punish the corrupt members of a Church, he rebukes that Church itself for allowing such to continue in its communion, and some drops of the storm fall upon the whole society. No sword cuts so deep, nor inflicts so mortal a wound, as the sword of Mashiach's mouth. Let but the threatenings of the word be set home upon the conscience of a sinner, and he will soon be a terror to himself; let these threatenings be executed, and the sinner is utterly cut off. The word of Elohiym will take hold of sinners, sooner or later, either for their conviction or their confusion.
We have the conclusion of this epistle, where, after the usual demand of universal attention, there is the promise of great favor to those that overcome. They shall eat of the hidden manna, and have the new name, and the white stone, which no man knoweth, saving he that receiveth it. The hidden manna, the influences and comforts of the Spirit of Mashiach in communion with him, coming down from heaven into the soul, from time to time, for its support, to let it taste something how saints and Angels live in heaven. This is hidden from the rest of the world - a stranger intermeddles not with this joy; and it is laid up in Mashiach, the ark of the covenant, in the holy of holies. The white stone, with a new name engraven upon it. This white stone is absolution from the guilt of sin, alluding to the ancient custom of giving a white stone to those acquitted on trial and a black stone to those condemned. The new name is the name of adoption: adopted persons took the name of the family into which they were adopted. None can read the evidence of a man's adoption but himself; he cannot always read it, but if he persevere he shall have both the evidence of Son-ship and the inheritance.
The term (name) “Antipas” means anti-papa or “anti-Pope.” It is a name for Natsarim (Christian)s who interpret Scripture for themselves. They are termed by Mashiach to be Antipas which means (instead of a father or ANTI-PAPA). The term “Antipas” in the time of Pergamos described a situation at Rome which had become extremely contentious. The Church Fathers and their traditions in the formal Church at Rome, were not accepted by Elohiym’s legitimate body of believers to have ecclesiastical authority over them.
Balaam was a false prophet. Balak was the King of Moab. Their names were taken from the idol “Baal”, ancient name for the sun god. They tried to curse Yisra'El and led many in the camp of Yisra'El into sin by fornication with the women of surrounding nations. ... The Nicolaitans are the sophisticated theologians of every age who have devised new theologies intended to destroy the fundamental doctrines of the Church. They are also the ones who have held high the torch of false prophecy. In the Apostle Yahuwchanon’s day, the Nicolaitan doctrines centered about the premise that Mashiach was a physical figure, but actually belonging to the spirit world. That he was not completely a human being in the very same sense that ordinary mankind is. ...
“hidden manna” – Mashiach, the Bread of Life; the Truths of the Word of Elohiym hidden in the heart of man.
“white stone” – a “new name written” (or pure character given), “which no man knoweth [can experience] except he that receives it”. This “new name” or pure character was originally lost for everyone in Eden and will be restored back to those truly converted. ...
See “The Structure of Revelation” Chart. Each item in a Prophetic Outline moves forward in sequence of time. The apostasy of the Pergamos Church period prepared the way for the Papal Supremacy that is described in the Letter to Thyatira. The Thyatira Church period (A.D. 538 to A.D. 1798) extends prophetic time to A.D. 1798.
A.D. 538 - 1798
Scripture: The Letter
(18) And unto the angel of the church in Thyatira write; These things saith the Son of Elohiym, who hath his eyes like unto a flame of fire, and his feet are like fine brass;
(19) I know thy works, and charity, and service, and faith, and thy patience, and thy works; and the last to be more than the first.
(20) Notwithstanding I have a few things against thee, because thou sufferest that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols.
(21) And I gave her space to repent of her fornication; and she repented not.
(22) Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds.
(23) And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works.
(24) But unto you I say, and unto the rest in Thyatira, as many as have not this doctrine, and which have not known the depths of Satan, as they speak; I will put upon you none other burden.
(25) But that which ye have already hold fast till I come.
(26) And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations:
(27) And he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father.
(28) And I will give him the morning star.
(29) He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.
For the Church in Thyatira, here are the issues as only Omniscience can describe:
- Works of Charity, Faith, Service, and Patience.
- The Last of the virtues to be more than the First.
- Tolerate the Woman Jezebel!
- Jezebel calls herself a prophetess, but seduced saints into fornication and idolatry
- Jezebel would not repent even though given much time to do so!
- Jezebel shall go into tribulation along those she seduced. Except they repent.
- Her children shall perish with her
- Yahuwshuwah is omniscient. Will reward all according to their works
- No other burden for all who reject the 'depths of Satan'. Hold fast what you have. Keep the works to the end.
- Receive the Morning Star. Reign with Yahuwshuwah.
“Thyatira” means “sweet savor of labor,” or “sacrifice of contrition”. Uriah Smith: Dani'El and the Revelation, p. 377.
“...Thy works...the last [works] to be more than the first,” doubtless refers to the reformers of the Protestant Reformation in Europe during the period A.D. 1300–1700. The reformers, including Martin Luther, promoted a return to the authority of Scripture. The doctrine that the Roman Catholic Church has the right to require persons to accept church traditions above Scripture was rejected by the Protestant Reformers. Wars and persecutions against Protestant groups yielded complete separations from Rome. ... Jezebel—Sun worshiping priestess in Yisra'El that corrupted Israel. See the story of Jezebel from I Kings 16:20 to 1 Kings 22:40. ... During the Thyatira Church period millions of those faithful to Elohiym’s Word suffered torture and martyrdom.... And Elohiym said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion (power to rule) over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth (Gen. 1:26). ... “Morning Star” (Wycliffe was said to be a “Morning Star” in the Reformation). In verse 28 Protestant Reformers are likened to the dawn of a day that would finally end the Dark Ages of Europe.
The church of Thyatira, a city of the proconsular Asia, bordering upon Mysia on the north and Lydia on the south, a town of trade, whence came the woman named Lydia, a seller of purple, who, being at Philippi in Macedonia, probably about the business of her calling, heard Paul preach there, and Elohiym opened her heart, that she attended to the things that were spoken, and believed, and was baptized, and entertained Paul and Silas there. Whether it was by her means that the gospel was brought into her own city, Thyatira, is not certain; but that it was there, and successful to the forming of a gospel church, this epistle assures us.
Yahuwshuwah, the Son of Elohiym, who is here described as having eyes like a flame of fire, and feet like as fine brass. His general title is here, the Son of Elohiym, that is, the eternal and only-begotten Son of Elohiym, which denotes that he has the same nature with the Father, but with a distinct and subordinate manner of subsistence. The description we have here of him is in two characters:
- That his eyes are like a flame of fire, signifying his piercing, penetrating, perfect knowledge, a thorough insight into all persons and all things, one who searches the hearts and tries the reins of the children of men (Rev. 2:23), and will make all the churches to know he does so.
- That his feet are like fine brass, that the outgoings of his providence are steady, awful, and all pure and holy. As he judges with perfect wisdom, so he acts with perfect strength and steadiness.
Mashiach gives of this church, ministry, and people a commendation as One who was no stranger to them, but well acquainted with them and with the principles from which they acted. He makes ... mention of their charity, ... a disposition to do good to all men, or more special, to the household of faith.Their service, their ministration; this respects chiefly the officers of the church, who had labored in the word and doctrine. Their faith, which was the grace that actuated all the rest, both their charity and their service. Their patience; for those that are most charitable to others, most diligent in their places, and most faithful, must yet expect to meet with that which will exercise their patience. Their growing fruitfulness: their last works were better than the first. This is an excellent character; when others had left their first love, and lost their first zeal, these were growing wiser and better. It should be the ambition and earnest desire of all Natsarim (Christians) that their last works may be their best works, that they may be better and better every day, and best at last.
A faithful reproof for what was amiss. This is not so directly charged upon the church itself as upon some wicked seducers who were among them; the church's fault was that she connived too much at them.
These wicked seducers were compared to Jezebel, and called by her name. Jezebel was a persecutor of the prophets of Yahuwah, and a great patroness of idolaters and false prophets. The sin of these seducers was that they attempted to draw the servants of Elohiym into fornication, and to offer sacrifices to idols; they called themselves prophets, and so would claim a superior authority and regard to the ministers of the church. Two things aggravated the sin of these seducers, who, being one in their spirit and design, are spoken of as one person:
- They made use of the name of Elohiym to oppose the truth of his doctrine and worship; this very much aggravated their sin.
- They abused the patience of Elohiym to harden themselves in their wickedness. Elohiym gave them space for repentance, but they repented not. Observe, First, Repentance is necessary to prevent a sinner's ruin. Secondly, Repentance requires time, a course of time,...; it is a great work, and a work of time. Thirdly, Where Elohiym gives space for repentance, he expects fruits meet for repentance. Fourthly, Where the space for repentance is lost, the sinner perishes with a double destruction.
Now why should the wickedness of this Jezebel be charged upon the church of Thyatira? Because that church suffered her to seduce the people of that city. But how could the church help it? They had not, as a church, civil power to banish or imprison her; but they had ministerial power to censure and to excommunicate her: and it is probable that neglecting to use the power they had made them sharers in her sin.
The punishment of this seducer, this Jezebel, Revelation 2:22 - 23, ... is couched (in) a prediction of the fall of Babylon, will cast her into a bed, into a bed of pain, not of pleasure, into a bed of flames; and those who have sinned with her shall suffer with her; but this may yet be prevented by their repentance; will kill her children with death; that is, the second death, which does the work effectually, and leaves no hope of future life, no resurrection for those that are killed by the second death, but only to shame and everlasting contempt.
The design of Mashiach in the destruction of these wicked seducers, was for the instruction of others, especially of his churches: All the churches shall know that I am he that searcheth the reins and the hearts; and I will give to every one of you according to your works. Elohiym is known by the judgments that he executes; and, by this revenge taken upon seducers, he would make known, His infallible knowledge of the hearts of men, of their principles, designs, frame, and temper, their formality, their indifference, their secret inclinations to symbolize with idolaters. His impartial justice, in giving every one according to his work, that the name of Natsarim (Christians) should be no protection, their churches should be no sanctuaries for sin and sinners.
The encouragement given to those who keep themselves pure and undefiled. But to you I say, and unto the rest, Revelation 2:24. What these seducers called their doctrines - depths, profound mysteries, amusing the people, and endeavoring to persuade them that they had a deeper insight into religion than their own ministers had attained to. What Mashiach called them - depths of Satan, Satanical delusions and devices, diabolical mysteries; for there is a mystery of iniquity, as well and the great mystery of godliness. It is a dangerous thing to despise the mystery of Elohiym, and it is as dangerous to receive the mysteries of Satan. How tender Mashiach is of his faithful servants: “I will lay upon you no other burden; but that which you have already hold fast till I come, Revelation 2:24 - 25. I will not overburden your faith with any new mysteries, nor your consciences with any new laws. I only require your attention to what you have received. Hold that fast till I come, and I desire no more.” Mashiach is coming to put an end to all the temptations of his people; and, if they hold fast faith and a good conscience till he come, all the difficulty and danger will be over.
We now come to the conclusion of this message. Here we have the promise of an ample reward to the persevering victorious believer, in two parts:
Very great power and dominion over the rest of the world: Power over the nations, which may refer either to the time when the empire should turn Natsarim (Christian), and the world be under the government of the Natsarim (Christian) emperor, as in Constantine's time; or to the (Executive Judgment), when believers shall sit down with Mashiach on his throne of judgment, and join with him in trying, and condemning, and consigning over to punishment the enemies of Mashiach and the church. The upright shall have dominion in the morning. Knowledge and wisdom, suitable to such power and dominion: I will give him the morning-star. Mashiach is the morning-star. He brings day with him into the soul, the light of grace and of glory; and he will give his people that perfection of light and wisdom which is requisite to the state of dignity and dominion that they shall have in the morning of the resurrection. This epistle ends with the usual demand of attention: He that hath an ear let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches. In the foregoing epistles, this demand of attention comes before the concluding promise; but in this, and all that follow, it comes after, and tells us that we should all attend to the promises as well as to the precepts that Mashiach delivers to the churches.
That Woman Jezebel, as in the preceding church, Antipas denoted, not an individual, but a class of persons, so, doubtless, Jezebel is here to be understood in the same sense. Watson's Bible Dictionary says, "The name of Jezebel is used proverbially. Rev.2:20."
William Miller, Lectures, p.142, speaks as follows:- "Jezebel is a figurative name, alluding to Ahab's wife, who slew the prophets of the Lord, led her husband into idolatry, and fed the prophets of Baal at her own table. A more striking figure could not have been used do denote the papal abominations. (See 1 Kings, chapters 18, 19, and 21). It is very evident from history, as well as from this verse, that the church of Mashiach did suffer some of the papal monks to preach and teach among them. (See the 'History of the Waldenses.')"
Scripture: The Letter
(1) And unto the angel of the church in Sardis write; These things saith he that hath the seven Spirits of Elohiym, and the seven stars; I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead.
(2) Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before Elohiym.
(3) Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee.
(4) Thou hast a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with me in white: for they are worthy.
(5) He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.
(6) He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.
“Sardis” is thought to signify “Song of Joy” or “that which remains”.
Sardis, an ancient city of Lydia, on the banks of the mountain Tmolus, said to have been the chief city of Asia the Less, and the first city in that part of the world that was converted by the preaching of John; and, some say, the first that revolted from Natsarenity (Christianity), and one of the first that was laid in its ruins, in which it still lies, without any church or ministry.
Master Yahuwshuwah, who here assumes the character of him that hath the seven spirits of Elohiym, and the seven stars, taken out of Revelation 1:4, where the seven spirits are said to be before the throne. He hath the seven spirits, that is, the Holy Spirit with his various powers, graces, and operations; for he is personally one, though efficaciously various, and may be said here to be seven, which is the number of the churches, and of the angels of the churches, to show that to every minister, and to every church, there is a dispensation and measure of the Spirit given for them to profit withal - a stock of spiritual influence for that minister and church to improve, both for enlargement and continuance, which measure of the Spirit is not ordinarily withdrawn from them, till they forfeit it by mis-improvement. ... and, this epistle being sent to a languishing ministry and church, they are very fitly put in mind that Mashiach has the seven spirits, the Spirit without measure and in perfection, to whom they may apply themselves for the reviving of his work among them. He hath the seven stars, the angels of the churches; they are disposed of by him, and accountable to him, which should make them faithful and zealous. He has ministers to employ, and spiritual influences to communicate to his ministers for the good of his church. The Holy Spirit usually works by the ministry, and the ministry will be of no efficacy without the Spirit; the same divine hand holds them both.
Whereas in the other epistles Mashiach begins with commending what is good in the churches, and then proceeds to tell them what is amiss, in this (and in the epistle to Laodicea) he begins, with a reproof, and a very severe one: I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead. Hypocrisy, and a lamentable decay in religion, are the sins charged upon this church, by one who knew her well, and all her works. This church had gained a great reputation; it had a name, and a very honorable one, for a flourishing church, a name for vital lively religion, for purity of doctrine, unity among themselves, uniformity in worship, decency, and order. We read not of any unhappy divisions among themselves. Every thing appeared well, as to what falls under the observation of men. This church was not really what it was reputed to be. They had a name to live, but they were dead; there was a form of godliness, but not the power, a name to live, but not a principle of life. If there was not a total privation of life, yet there was a great deadness in their souls and in their services, a great deadness in the spirits of their ministers, and a great deadness in their ministrations, in their praying, in their preaching, in their converse, and a great deadness in the people in hearing, in prayer, and in conversation; what little life was yet left among them was, in a manner, expiring, ready to die.
Our Master proceeds to give this degenerate church the best advice: Be watchful, and strengthen the things ... Revelation 3:2. He advises them to be upon their watch. The cause of their sinful deadness and declension was that they had let down their watch. Whenever we are off our watch, we lose ground, and therefore must return to our watchfulness against sin, and Satan, and whatever is destructive to the life and power of godliness. To strengthen the things that remain, and that are ready to die. Some understand this of persons; there were some few who had retained their integrity, but they were in danger of declining with the rest. It is a difficult thing to keep up to the life and power of godliness ourselves, when we see a universal deadness and declension prevailing round about us. Or it may be understood of practices, as it follows: I have not found thy works perfect before Elohiym, not filled up; there is something wanting in them; there is the shell, but not the kernel; there is the carcase, but not the soul - the shadow, but not the substance. The inward thing is wanting, thy works are hollow and empty; prayers are not filled up with holy desires, alms-deeds not filled up with true charity, Sabbaths not filled up with suitable devotion of soul to Elohiym; there are not inward affections suitable to outward acts and expressions. Now when the spirit is wanting the form cannot long subsist.
To recollect themselves, and remember how they have received and heard. Not only to remember ... what messages they had received from Elohiym, what tokens of his mercy and favor towards them, what sermons they had heard, ... the kindness of their youth, how welcome the gospel and the grace of Elohiym were to them when they first received them. Where is the blessedness they then spoke of? To hold fast what they had received, that they might not lose all, and repent sincerely that they had lost so much of the life of religion, and had run the risk of losing all.
Mashiach enforces his counsel with a dreadful threatening in case it should be despised: I will come unto thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know the hour. When Mashiach leaves a people as to his gracious presence, he comes to them in judgment; and his judicial presence will be very dreadful to those who have sinned away his gracious presence. His judicial approach to a dead declining people will be surprising; their deadness will keep them in security, and, as it procures an angry visit from Mashiach to them, it will prevent their discerning it and preparing for it. Such a visit from Mashiach will be to their loss; he will come as a thief, to strip them of their remaining enjoyments and mercies, not by fraud, but in justice and righteousness, taking the forfeiture they have made of all to him.
Our blessed Master does not leave this sinful people without some comfort and encouragement. In the midst of judgment he remembers mercy, and here He makes honorable mention of the faithful remnant in Sardis, though but small: Thou hast a few names in Sardis which have not defiled their garments; they had not given in to the prevailing corruptions and pollution of the day and place in which they lived. Elohiym takes notice of the smallest number of those who abide with him; and the fewer they are the more precious in his sight. He makes a very gracious promise to them: They shall walk with me in white, for they are worthy - in the stola, the white robes of justification, and adoption, and comfort, or in the white robes of honor and glory in the other world. They shall walk with Mashiach in the pleasant walks of the heavenly paradise; and what delightful converse will there be between Mashiach and them when they thus walk together! This is an honor proper and suitable to their integrity, which their fidelity has prepared them for, and which it is no way unbecoming Mashiach to confer upon them, though it is not a legal but a gospel worthiness that is ascribed to them, not merit but meet-ness. Those who walk with Mashiach in the clean garments of real practical holiness here, and keep themselves unspotted from the world, shall walk with Mashiach in the white robes of honor and glory in the other world: this is a suitable reward.
We now come to the conclusion of this epistle, in which, as before, we have a great reward promised to the conquering Natsarim (Christian), and it is very much the same with what has been already mentioned. He that overcometh shall be clothed in white raiment. The purity of grace shall be rewarded with the perfect purity of glory. Holiness, when perfected, shall be its own reward; glory is the perfection of grace, differing not in kind, but in degree.
Now to this is added another promise very suitable to the case. I will not blot his name out of the book of life, but will confess his name before my Father, and before his Angels. Mashiach has his book of life, a register and roll of all who shall inherit eternal life. The book of eternal election. The book of remembrance of all those who have lived to Elohiym, and have kept up the life and power of godliness in evil times. Mashiach will not blot the names of his chosen and faithful ones out of this book of life; men may be enrolled in the registers of the church, as baptized, as making a profession, as having a name to live, and that name may come to be blotted out of the roll, when it appears that it was but a name, a name to live, without spiritual life; such often lose the very name before they die, they are left of Elohiym to blot out their own names by their gross and open wickedness. But the names of those that overcome shall never be blotted out. Mashiach will produce this book of life, and confess the names of the faithful who stand there, before Elohiym, and all the Angels; he will do this as their Judge, when the books shall be opened; he will do this as their captain and head, leading them with him triumphantly to heaven, presenting them to the Father: Behold me, and the children that thou hast given me. How great will this honor and reward be!
The demand of universal attention finishes the message. Every word from Elohiym deserves attention from men; that which may seem more particularly directed to one body of men has something in it instructive to all.
Historical Fulfillment In the 1800 Awakening
In A.D. 1798 the Protestant world saw the capture of the Pope by Napoleon’s General Berthier, and then for several years there was no official pope. Protestants proclaimed liberty to all and they became awakened about prophetic scripture and their responsibilities. (In the United States the eastern seaboard had only six million population.) But the Protestant churches accomplished the following:
- Evangelistic campaigns added one million to the church
- Seminaries to train ministers were built (They are now State Universities)
- Missions were established in foreign countries
- The British and Foreign Bible Society was organized
- The American Bible Society was organized
- Sunday schools were established. The church was at study!
- Woman Suffrage
- Anti–slavery campaigns
- Vegetarian Societies and Health Work began
The Message of the 1833-1844 Advent Movement was called the “Judgment Hour Cry”: Between 1833 and 1844, study of the prophecies of Dani'El caused the preaching of a warning message that time would end in A.D. 1844 when Mashiach would appear in the clouds of heaven. After the disappointment when Mashiach did not appear, further study of the Dani'El prophecies revealed that He had entered into a judgment scene wherein “the judgment was set, and the books were opened” (Dani'El 7:10). It was in such a judgment setting that Mashiach would “confess” the names of His true followers before His Father and before His holy Angels”.
The Great Advent Movement 1833-1844 (restored to this day)
- A study of Bible Prophecy
- A study of the 2300 day–year prophecy
- Predictions of the Second Coming of Yahuwshuwah
- A return of “The Spirit of Prophecy” to the Church
1844 - 1863
Scripture: The Letter
(7) And to the Angel of the Church in Philadelphia write; These things saith he that is holy, he that is true, he that hath the key of David, he that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth;
(8) I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name.
(9) Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie; behold, I will make them to come and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee.
(10) Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.
(11) Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown.
(12) Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Yerushalayim, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name.
(13) He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.
The name "Philadelphia", means "brotherly love". This Church of brotherly love was descriptive of those who expected Yahuwshuwah to come in A.D. 1844. They confessed their sins to Yahuwshuwah and one another in an attempt to put away all sin and ill feelings to be ready for His coming.
Philadelphia ... was a city in Asia Minor, seated upon the borders of Mysia and Lydia, and had its name from that brotherly love for which it was eminent. We can hardly suppose that this name was given to it after it received the Natsarim (Christian) religion, and that it was so called from that Natsarim (Christian) affection that all believers have, and should have, one for another, as the children of one Father and the brethren of Christ; but rather that it was its ancient name, on account of the love and kindness which the citizens had and showed to each other as a civil fraternity. This was an excellent spirit, and, when sanctified by the grace of the gospel, would render them an excellent church, as indeed they were, for here is no one fault found with this church, and yet, doubtless, there were faults in it of common infirmity; but love covers such faults.
Yahuwshuwah, who is alone the universal head of all the churches... represent(s) himself to this church as He that is holy, he that is true, he that hath the key of David, ... He that is holy and he that is true, holy in his nature, and therefore he cannot but be true to his word, for he hath spoken in his holiness;...The way and manner in which he performs these acts, and that is absolute sovereignty, independent upon the will of men, and irresistible by the power of men: He openeth, and no man shutteth; he shutteth, and no man openeth; he works to will and to do, and, when he works, none can hinder. These were proper characters for him, when speaking to a church that had endeavored to be conformed to Christ in holiness and truth, and that had enjoyed a wide door of liberty and opportunity under his care and government.
I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it, Rev_3:8. I have set it open, and kept it open, though there be many adversaries. Christ is to be acknowledged as the author of all the liberty and opportunity his churches enjoy... Wicked men ... would be glad to shut it against them. If we do not provoke Christ to shut this door against us, men cannot do it.
The Period of the Church of Philadelphia was the period when Yahuwshuwah shut the door to the Holy Place in Heaven and ended the first part of His ministration there which began in A.D. 31. In 1844, that Door was shut forever. The door through which sinners entered into the sanctuary daily to seek forgiveness for sins, was shut forever. But He shut that door, to open another, a better one. Yahuwshuwah opened the door to the Most Holy Place. The second and final part of His High-Priestly ministration in the Sanctuary began on October 22, 1844 as Dani'El 8:14 confirms. The door into the Most Holy Place is now open and no man can shut it. Through this door, men can now not only obtain forgiveness, but also attain perfection of character and sinlessness. For in the Most Holy Place, sins are not just forgiven, but they are blotted from the records and names transferred from the books of Remembrance to the Book of Life.
But it appears that men are insisting on entering the door to the Holy Place which is closed forever, to seek forgiveness alone! There is no such facility any more. We either shoot for sinlessness and perfection of character or we stay out forever! Yahuwshuwah has opened the door. It is now possible to be sinless even in this generation!
Yahuwshuwah recognizes that, Thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name, Revelation 3:8. In this there seems to be couched a gentle reproof: “Thou hast a little strength, a little grace, which, though it be not proportionate to the wide door of opportunity which I have opened to thee, yet is true grace, and has kept thee faithful.” True grace, though weak, has the divine approbation; but, though Christ accepts a little strength, yet believers should not rest satisfied in a little, but should strive to grow in grace, to be strong in faith, giving glory to God. True grace, though weak, will do more than the greatest gifts or highest degrees of common grace, for it will enable the Natsarim (Christian) to keep the word of Christ, and not to deny his name. Obedience, fidelity, and a free confession of the name of Christ, are the fruits of true grace, and are pleasing to Christ as such.
A look at the experience of the Church of Philadelphia will reveal the smallness of their strength. William Miller, the Angel of this Church, was not even a theologian. He had scant means and so were all his associates. They had scant education in the main, owned no institutions, no money, no authority of any sort, no Printing Presses, but they covered the world with the Great Advent Awakening, sent the message of the three Angels of Revelation 14 clear right around the world from 1833 to 1844.The message of the imminence of the Judgment was committed to them. And they did it perfectly. They suffered untold disappointment in the process. But this was due to their lack of thoroughness in scripture studies, and holding on to traditional views of the end rather than allowing scripture to reveal every detail by itself. But afterwards, a look at Revelation 10 and related scriptures in Habakkuk relieved them of their discomfiture and convinced them of the veracity and certainty of scripture, and the reason for their disappointment. Yahuwah and His word were not to blame.
Yahuwshuwah would make this church's enemies subject to her. Those enemies are described to be such as said they were Jews, but lied in saying so - pretended to be the only and peculiar people of God, but were really the synagogue of Satan. Assemblies that worship God in spirit and in truth are the Yisra'El of God; assemblies that either worship false gods, or the true God in a false manner, are the synagogues of Satan: though they may profess to be the only people of God, their profession is a lie. They shall worship at thy feet; not pay a religious and divine honor to the church itself, nor to the ministry of it, but shall be convinced that they have been in the wrong, that this church is in the right and is beloved of Christ, and they shall desire to be taken into communion with her and that they may worship the same God after the same manner. ...
The bravest of men, the Philadelphians stood up to the Jews of their day and against the condemnation of the world at large when they rejected both the Gregorian calendation and the Jewish calendation in the computation of biblical timelines. The determination of the dates of all the events contained in the 2,300 days timeline of Dani'El 8:14 was based on the Divine Calendar. No other calendation would work! What wisdom. At a time of spiritual twilight, they would take such a stand is indeed amazing. The world was wrong and they were right.
Christ calls the church to that duty which he before promised he would enable her to do, and that is, to persevere, to hold fast that which she had. “Hold fast that which thou hast, that faith, that truth, that strength of grace, that zeal, that love to the brethren; thou hast been possessed of this excellent treasure, hold it fast.” “Behold, I come quickly. See, I am just a coming to relieve them under the trial, to reward their fidelity, and to punish those who fall away; they shall lose that crown which they once seemed to have a right to, which they hoped for, and pleased themselves with the thoughts of.
Finally, our Saviour promises glorious reward to the victorious believer. He shall be a monumental pillar in the temple of God; not a pillar to support the temple (heaven needs no such props), but a monument of the free and powerful grace of God, a monument that shall never be defaced nor removed, as many stately pillars erected in honor to the Roman emperors and generals have been.
On this pillar shall be recorded all the services the believer did to the church of God, how he asserted her rights, enlarged her borders, maintained her purity and honor; this will be a greater name than Asiaticus, or Africanus; a soldier under God in the wars of the church. ... The new name of Christ, the Mediator, the Redeemer, the captain of our salvation; by this it will appear under whose banner this conquering believer had enlisted, under whose conduct he acted, by whose example he was encouraged, and under whose influence he fought the good fight, and came off victorious.
The epistle is closed up with the demand of attention: He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches...
See “The Structure of Revelation” Chart. Each item in a Prophetic Outline moves forward in sequence of time. The Sixth Letter was addressed to the Philadelphia church period, which experienced a remarkable event that occurred in A.D. 1844.
The belief that Christ would come in 1844 brought about a confession of sin to God and confession between brethren. It became a movement of “brotherly love”. ... “The key of David” was the key to “open [the] door” of advancing light to the Sardis Church in A.D. 1844. The “key” opened truths about important discarded issues contained in God’s Word. The study of the Word of God assisted in understanding that:
- The 2300 day/year prophecy of Dan. 8:14 ended in A.D. 1844.
- Christ’s ministry began in the Heavenly Sanctuary on the “Day of Atonement for A.D. 1844.”
- The ministry of Christ in the Most Holy Place of the Heavenly Sanctuary began the Investigative Judgment in heaven.
- Reinstating the observance of the 7th day Sabbath was important.
- The State of the Dead is likened to sleep in the Scriptures.
- There are doctrinal truths in Scripture concerning conditions for salvation that are clearly stated.
- Warnings contained in the Three Angel’s Messages of Rev. 14:6-11 will be given to the whole world before probation closes.
- The prophetic gift, which is called the “Spirit of Prophecy” in Rev. 19:10, was restored to the Church.
- Healthful living habits are mandated in scripture.
- Correct principles for conducting education by the church are part of the restoration of man.
.... That “remnant” stemming from the Sardis church period (those who continue to keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ) will also be kept through the end-time crisis or “hour of temptation”.
In the end-time crisis, those from the Sardis church period are to be resurrected and live through at least part of the crisis to witness the Second Coming of Christ. Then, near the very end, the wicked will worship at their feet. .... Out of the Great Advent Movement (A.D. 1833-1844) or Sardis Church period, and the Great Disappointment of A.D. 1844, — the Philadelphia Church period, there came the Laodicean church period that was to extend to the very end of time proclaiming the law of God and the Second Advent of Jesus. It was intended to restore all Scriptural Truths.Would she live up to this elevated calling. We will now have a look at the last church, Laodicea.
The Church Today
1863 - To Date
Scripture: The Letter
(14) And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God;
(15) I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.
(16) So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.
(17) Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:
(18) I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.
(19) As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.
(20) Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.
(21) To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.
(22) He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.
The Name "Laodicea" is made up of two Greek words, "Lao" and "dicea." "Lao" comes from the Greek word, "Laos" which means, "word" or "speaking" or "preaching." The Greek word, "dikea" comes from that which means, "judgment." It is name for the church which preaches about the judgment.
These Things Saith the Amen. - This is, then, the final message to the churches ere the close of probation. And though the description of their condition which he gives to the indifferent Laodiceans is fearful and startling, nevertheless it cannot be denied; for the Witness is "faithful and true." Moreover
We now come to the last and worst of all the seven Asian churches, the reverse of the church of Philadelphia; for, as there was nothing reproved in that, here is nothing commended in this, and yet this was one of the seven golden candlesticks, for a corrupt church may still be a church.
Laodicea was a once famous city near the river Lycus, had a wall of vast compass, and three marble theaters, and, like Rome, was built on seven hills. It seems, the Apostle Paul was very instrumental in planting the gospel in this city, from which he wrote a letter, as he mentions in the epistle to the Colossians, the last chapter, in which he sends salutations to them, Laodicea not being above twenty miles distant from Colosse.
In this city was held a council in the fourth century. It has been long since demolished, and lies in its ruins to this day, an awful monument of the wrath of the Lamb from whom this message was sent. Here our Master Yahuwshuwah styles himself the Amein, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God.
The Amein, one that is steady and unchangeable in all his purposes and promises, which are all yea, and all Amein. The faithful and true witness, whose testimony of God to men ought to be received and fully believed, and whose testimony of men to God will be fully believed and regarded, and will be a swift but true witness against all indifferent lukewarm professors.
The beginning of the creation of God, either of the first creation, and so he is the beginning, that is, the first cause, the Creator, and the Governor of it; or of the second creation, the church; and so he is the head of that body, the first-born from the dead, as it is in Revelation 1:5, whence these titles are taken. Christ, having raised up himself by his own divine power, as the head of a new world, raises up dead souls to be a living temple and church to himself.
The heavy charge drawn up against this church, ministers and people, by one who knew them better than they knew themselves: Thou art neither cold nor hot, but worse than either; I would thou wert cold or hot, Revelation 3:15. Lukewarmness or indifference in religion is the worst temper in the world. If religion is a real thing, it is the most excellent thing, and therefore we should be in good earnest in it; if it is not a real thing, it is the vilest imposture, and we should be earnest against it. If religion is worth any thing, it is worth every thing; an indifference here is inexcusable: Why halt you between two opinions? If God be God, follow him; if Baal (be God), follow him. Here is no room for neutrality. An open enemy shall have a fairer quarter than a perfidious neuter; and there is more hope of a heathen than of such. Christ expects that men should declare themselves in earnest either for him or against him.
I will spue thee out of my mouth. As lukewarm water turns the stomach, and provokes to a vomit, lukewarm professors turn the heart of Christ against them. He is sick of them, and cannot long bear them. They may call their lukewarmness charity, meekness, moderation, and a largeness of soul; it is nauseous to Christ, and makes those so that allow themselves in it. They shall be rejected, and finally rejected; for far be it from the holy Jesus to return to that which has been thus rejected.
We have one cause of this indifference and inconsistency in religion assigned, and that is self-conceitedness or self-delusion. They thought they were very well already, and therefore they were very indifferent whether they grew better or no: Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, ... Revelation 3:17. What a difference there was between the thoughts they had of themselves and the thoughts that Christ had of them.
The high thoughts they had of themselves: Thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing, rich, and growing richer, and increased to such a degree as to be above all want or possibility of wanting. Perhaps they were well provided for as to their bodies, and this made them overlook the necessities of their souls. Or they thought themselves well furnished in their souls: they had learning, and they took it for religion; they had gifts, and they took them for grace; they had wit, and they took it for true wisdom; they had ordinances, and they took up with them instead of the God of ordinances. How careful should we be not to put the cheat upon our own souls!
Let us daily beg of God that we may not be left to flatter and deceive ourselves in the concerns of our souls. The thoughts that Christ had of them; and he was not mistaken. He knew, though they knew not, that they were wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked. Their state was wretched in itself, and such as called for pity and compassion from others: though they were proud of themselves, they were pitied by all who knew their case.
They were poor, really poor, when they said and thought they were rich; they had no provision for their souls to live upon; their souls were starving in the midst of their abundance; they were vastly in debt to the justice of God, and had nothing to pay off the least part of the debt. They were blind; they could not see their state, nor their way, nor their danger; they could not see into themselves; they could not look before them; they were blind, and yet they thought they saw; the very light that was in them was darkness, and then how great must that darkness be! They could not see Christ, though evidently set forth, and crucified, before their eyes. They could not see God by faith, though always present in them. They could not see death, though it was just before them. They could not look into eternity, though they stood upon the very brink of it continually.
They were naked, without clothing and without house and harbor for their souls. They were without clothing, had neither the garment of justification nor that of sanctification. Their nakedness both of guilt and pollution had no covering. They lay always exposed to sin and shame. Their righteousnesses were but filthy rags; they were rags, and would not cover them, filthy rags, and would defile them. And they were naked, without house or harbor, for they were without God, and he has been the dwelling-place of his people in all ages; in him alone the soul of man can find rest, and safety, and all suitable accommodations. The riches of the body will not enrich the soul; the sight of the body will not enlighten the soul; the most convenient house for the body will not afford rest nor safety to the soul.
We have good counsel given by Christ to this sinful people, and that is that they drop their vain and false opinion they had of themselves, and endeavor to be that really which they would seem to be: I counsel thee to buy of me ... Revelation 3:18. Our Lord Jesus Christ continues to give good counsel to those who have cast his counsels behind their backs .... Our blessed Lord, the counselor, always gives the best advice, and that which is most suitable to the sinner's case. These people were poor. Christ counsels them to buy of him gold tried in the fire, that they might be rich. He lets them know where they might have true riches and how they might have them - from Himself; he sends them not to the streams of Pactolus, nor to the mines of Potosi, but invites them to himself, the pearl of price. Secondly, And how must they have this true gold from him? They must buy it. This seems to be unsaying all again. How can those that are poor buy gold? Just as they may buy of Christ wine and milk, that is, without money and without price, YeshaYahuw 55:1. Something indeed must be parted with, but it is nothing of a valuable consideration, it is only to make room for receiving true riches. “Part with sin and self-sufficiency, and come to Christ with a sense of your poverty and emptiness, that you may be filled with his hidden treasure.”
These people were naked. Christ tells them where they might have clothing, and such as would cover the shame of their nakedness. This they must receive from Christ; and they must only put off their filthy rags that they might put on the white raiment which he had purchased and provided for them - his own imputed righteousness for justification and the garments of holiness and sanctification. They were blind; and he counsels them to buy of him eye-salve, that they might see, to give up their own wisdom and reason, which are but blindness in the things of God, and resign themselves to his word and Spirit, and their eyes shall be opened to see their way and their end, their duty and their true interest; a new and glorious scene would then open itself to their souls; a new world furnished with the most beautiful and excellent objects, and this light would be marvelous to those who were but just now delivered from the powers of darkness. This is the wise and good counsel Christ gives to careless souls; and, if they follow it, he will judge himself bound in honor to make it effectual.
“Whom I love, I rebuke and chasten. You may think I have given you hard words and severe reproofs; it is all out of love to your souls. I would not have thus openly rebuked and corrected your sinful lukewarmness and vain confidence, if I had not been a lover of your souls; had I hated you, I would have let you alone, to go on in sin till it had been your ruin.” Sinners ought to take the rebukes of God's word and rod as tokens of his good-will to their souls, and should accordingly repent in good earnest, and turn to him that smites them; better are the frowns and wounds of a friend than the flattering smiles of an enemy. If they would comply with his admonitions, he was ready to make them good to their souls.
Behold, I stand at the door and knock, ... Revelation 3:20. Christ is graciously pleased by his word and Spirit to come to the door of the heart of sinners; he draws near to them in a way of mercy, ready to make them a kind visit. He finds this door shut against him; the heart of man is by nature shut up against Christ by ignorance, unbelief, sinful prejudices. When he finds the heart shut, he does not immediately withdraw, but he waits to be gracious, even till his head be filled with the dew. He uses all proper means to awaken sinners, and to cause them to open to him: he calls by his word, he knocks by the impulses of his Spirit upon their conscience.
Those who open to him shall enjoy his presence, to their great comfort and advantage. He will sup with them; he will accept of what is good in them; he will eat his pleasant fruit; and he will bring the best part of the entertainment with him. If what he finds would make but a poor feast, what he brings will make up the deficiency: he will give fresh supplies of graces and comforts, and thereby stir up fresh actings of faith, and love, and delight; and in all this Christ and his repenting people will enjoy pleasant communion with each other. Alas! what do careless obstinate sinners lose by refusing to open the door of the heart to Christ!
Though this church seemed to be wholly overrun and overcome with lukewarmness and self-confidence, yet it was possible that by the reproofs and counsels of Christ they might be inspired with fresh zeal and vigor, and might come off conquerors in their spiritual warfare. That, if they did so, all former faults should be forgiven, and they should have a great reward. And what is that reward? They shall sit down with me on my throne, as I also overcame, and have sat down with my Father on his throne, Revelation 3:21. Christ himself had met with his temptations and conflicts. He overcame them all, and was more than a conqueror. As the reward of his conflict and victory, he has sat down with God the Father on his throne, possessed of that glory which he had with the Father from eternity, but which he was pleased very much to conceal on earth, leaving it as it were in the hands of the Father, as a pledge that he would fulfill the work of a Saviour before he re-assumed that manifestative glory equal to the Father.
Rev. 14:7 “...for the hour of his judgment is come…”
Laodiceans are the people responsible for preaching the message of the judgment hour to the world, through the time of the investigative judgment.
In a good court of justice, the cases of the accused are to be investigated before any pronouncement of sentence. This work of investigating the cases of all who have petitioned the Lord for salvation, began at the end of the 2300 day–year timeline of Dan. 8:14.
... The typical Day of Atonement, which was the most solemn day for Israel, occurred on the tenth day of the seventh month of divine Calendar. This day prefigured the end of the 2300 day-year timeline when the records of sin in the Heavenly Sanctuary would begin to be removed by the Investigative Judgment.In Scripture, the protracted process of final atonement for all of sin throughout history, is also referred to as the “Cleansing of the Sanctuary”.... When the judgment takes up the cases of the living in the last generation, the invitation changes from a primary focus on “Laodicea” (the final church), to “any man”. The final “Loud Cry” warning of Revelation 18:1–5 to all men, is that the tenants of false religion must be forsaken in favor of Scriptural truths. In the final phase of the Investigative Judgment, the issue will be: Who is to be worshiped?
Yahuwah or Satan? You decide who you will worship. Thus far, you and your loved ones have inadvertently given your worship to Satan the Adversary! The Calendar which decides the day you worship, decides all! Satan has successfully hijacked the worship of Elohiym by imposing all manner of calendars on the inhabitants of the world. But Yahuwah calls all men to return to His calendar. Thus they shall be able to obey His commandments fully. They shall be able to keep His Sabbaths More Fully.