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Chapter 3 Program Introduction:
From last week we have been covering the messages to the seven Assemblies of Asia. Last week from Chapter 2 we have already discussed the messages to the assemblies of Ephesos, Smurna, and Pergamos.
We saw it mentioned to the Ephesians that they had left their first love, which must have been that Gospel and Christian instruction brought to them by Paul of Tarsus, and they were warned to return to it. They were complimented for rejecting false apostles, and especially also the Nicolaitans, who were evidently pedlars of idolatry and licentiousness, and who also bore a form of what may be called proto-Gnosticism, as we had seen from the early Christian writers. From their name, which means “people-conquerors”, it is evident that those promoters of a professional priesthood, which have forever sought to subvert and rule over the people, is being described.
We then saw in the message to the church at Smurna, which means anointing, that this assembly was not criticized. Rather, they were warned about those enemies of Yahweh who would persecute them, and encouraged to stand firm in the face of that persecution.
Finally, the message to the assembly at Pergamos warned about the throne of the Adversary. While I have no particular entity in History to identify here, this seems to point to those international merchants and money-changers who have infested the seat of every regional capital city, and Pergamos was the principal city of Roman Asia. Fittingly, Pergamos gets it name from the Greek word for a citadel or tower, and therefore evokes images of the Genesis Chapter 11 account, the tower of Babel, and by extension Mystery Babylon. This is even more fitting, since the assembly at Pergamos was warned not to tolerate those who teach men to commit fornication, or race-mixing: the way of Balaam.
Now to continue with the message to the seven assemblies, from that point in Chapter 2 where we left off last week:
“18 And to the messenger of the assembly in Thuateira, write: Thus says the Son of Yahweh, He having His eyes as flames of fire and His feet like fine brass, 19 I know your works and your love and faith and righteousness and patience, and your last works are greater than the first. 20 But I have against you that you allow that woman Iezabel who calls herself a prophetess, and teaches and deceives My servants to commit fornication and to eat things sacrificed to idols. 21 And I have given her time, in order that she would repent, yet she did not wish to repent from her fornication. 22 Behold, I cast her into a bed, and those committing adultery with her into great tribulation if they do not repent from her works, 23 and I shall slay her children with death, and all of the assemblies shall know that I am He who examines minds and hearts, and I shall give to each according to your works. 24 Now I say to you for the rest of those in Thuateira, as many who do not have this teaching, whoever has not known the depths of the Adversary as they speak: I do not cast upon you another burden, 25 but hold fast that which you have until when I should come. 26 Now he who prevails and who keeps My works until the end, I shall give to him authority over the Nations, 27 and he shall shepherd them with an iron staff as it breaks ceramic vessels, 28 as I also have received from My Father. And I shall give to him the morning star. 29 He having an ear must hear what the Spirit says to the assemblies!
Thuateira apparently means heavenly sacrifice. In Greek, thua- is a prefix form of thuos, or sacrifice. The word teira may be from the noun teiros, “found only in the plural [teirea], the heavenly constellations, signs.” (Liddell & Scott), or it may be from the verb teirô, which means “to rub hard, ... to wear away, wear out, distress” (L&S). So in Greek, thuáteira may mean “heavenly sacrifice”, or perhaps “distressed sacrifice” or “sacrifice of distress” or something similar. Strong’s simply lists the word as being “of uncertain derivation” (2363), not venturing a meaning, and neither does Thayer.
This assembly, like the one at Pergamos earlier, was castigated by Yahshua for having tolerance for fornication. The word fornication can be used to describe various illicit and deviant sexual acts, however it can be fully demonstrated, from 1 Corinthians Chapter 10, Jude 7, and elsewhere in the Bible, that fornication is race-mixing. We have seen that especially in Numbers Chapters 24 and 25, discussed above in the message to the assembly at Pergamos where this same admonishment was issued in a different manner. In the Old Testament, idolatry associated with fornication was a full indication that race-mixing was the committed offense, and that can be established from Paul's statements concerning the account, cited here, and from the account itself, of the events found in Numbers Chapters 24 and 25.
Jezebel was the daughter of Ethbaal, who is known as Ithobalus in the histories of Josephus. Having had Menander's now-lost translation of the ancient Chronicles of Tyre as his reference, Josephus related that Ethbaal was a priest of the idol Astarte, the Ashtoreth of scripture (cf. 1 Kings 11:5, 16:31) who had taken the throne of Tyre by force from the descendants of the famous King Hiram. While there is no convincing proof that Ethbaal was of the stock of the Canaanites, that is a possibility, however we see here that even Jezebel had the opportunity to repent. It is apparent here, that Jezebel is the model whore, as Yahshua describes her. This is a fitting analogy. When Israel plays the harlot, the nation is eaten by metaphoric dogs (cf Psa. 22:16, Phil. 3:2, Rev. 22:15). Likewise the body of Jezebel the harlot, upon her death, was eaten by dogs, as Yahweh had pronounced would happen to her (2 Kings 9:36). Because of their acceptance of race-mixing, this assembly will suffer great tribulation. We also see in verse 24, that race-mixing comes from “the depths of the Adversary”, or Satan. All through the ages, it has been the Edomite jew who has been the promoter of the integration and mixing of the races, and this is even by their own admission, for they are proud of it. This is the first light in understanding mystery of iniquity!
The Morning Star:
Eosphoros, or Lucifer in the Latin, the light-bearer. Yahshua Christ is the true light-bearer, and therefore lays the only legitimate claim to the title. Yahshua is “the life [that] was the light of men” and “the light [that] shines in the darkness” and also the “light [that] was the truth, which coming into the Society enlightens every man”, John 1:4, 5 and 9.
The Revelation of Yahshua Christ
III “1 And to the messenger of the assembly in Sardeis, write: Thus says He having the seven Spirits of Yahweh and the seven stars, I know your works, that you have a name that you may live, and you are dead. 2 You must be alert and establish the remaining things which were about to die, for I have not found your works completed before My God. 3 Therefore remember how you have received and have heard and keep and repent. Then if you should not be alert, I shall come as a thief, and you may not know what hour I shall come upon you. 4 But you have a few names in Sardeis which have not soiled their garments, and they shall walk with Me in white, because they are worthy. 5 He who prevails thusly shall be cloaked in white garments and his name shall not be wiped out of the Book of Life and I shall profess his name before My Father and before His messengers. 6 He having an ear must hear what the Spirit says to the assemblies!
Sardeis was the capital city of ancient Lydia. It was an important city to the Persians, and held by them throughout the Classical period. The original Lydian cities were all said to have been destroyed by the Persians in the 6th century BC, and until the time of Alexander the Persians held most of Asia Minor. Sardeis was named after the usually transparent-reddish or transparent-brownish sardion stone, which is called carnelian by the English. This stone was used in the making of jewelry by the Phoenicians, Greeks and Romans, and in the making of cylinder seals by the Assyrians. It was also widely used by the Romans for signet seals, which may add to the depth of the meaning here, since there is apparently question as to whether these Christians are indeed as sealed, or assured, of their salvation as they seem to think that they are. The color of the stone can vary greatly, from pale orange to near-black, and perhaps that is also why this assembly was picked out for this message. The Christians of Sardeis were not admonished for having committing any absolute wrong, but they were warned that they should stay alert and be sure to fulfill their Christian obligations. It seems that as the Sardian stone has a wide range of colors, the people of assembly at Sardeis had a wide range of attitudes. The Sardians had the Word, but seem not to have acted on it, having the works too. As James warns us in his epistle, “Faith without works is dead”, that is also the message here.
The Book of Life is the Bible, or at least, the Bible that we know is a reflection of the Book of Life. The copy we have is not quite finished since it is the story of the history of our race in the earth and the Law and the Words of our God. Paul tells us that they who keep the Gospel uphold the “Word of Life”, where in his epistle to the Philippians at 2:14-16 he admonished them to “14 Do all things apart from murmuring and disputing, 15 that you would be perfect and with unmixed blood, blameless children of Yahweh in the midst of a race crooked and perverted - among whom you appear as luminaries in the Society, 16 upholding the Word of Life for a boast with me in the day of Christ, that not in vain have I run nor in vain have I labored. ”. The veracity of this interpretation shall be further upheld as we examine the message to the assembly at Philadelphia. John tells us that the apostles touched the “Word of Life”. So it is evident that if Christ is the Word of Life, the Book of Life is His gospel and His profession. He tells us that if we do not deny Him, the He will not deny us before His Father. If we keep His words, then we are written in the Bible – being of the Adamic Race whom the Bible is about and for whom is salvation, and it is also written in us since His Word is also written in our hearts. Christ told the Judaeans that “Truly, truly I say to you, if one would keep My Word, he would not see death for eternity!” (John 8:51) and Christ told the apostles, talking about the lost sheep at John 15:20-21, to “20 Remember the word which I spoke to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they have persecuted Me, they shall also persecute you. If they have kept My word, they shall also keep yours. 21 But all these things they shall do to you on account of My Name, because they do not know He who has sent Me.” If you are not of the Adamic race, your name is not in the Book of Life, and it cannot ever be.
“7 And to the messenger of the assembly in Philadelphia, write: Thus says the Holy One, the Truthful One, He having the Key of David, He opening and no one shall close, and closing then no one opens, 8 I know your works. Behold, I gave before you a door having been opened, which no one is able to close it, because you have a little strength and have kept My Word and have not denied My Name. 9 Behold, I shall give those from of the congregation of the Adversary saying for themselves to be Judaeans, and they are not but they are liars, behold: I shall make them that they shall come and they shall worship before your feet and they may know that I have loved you. 10 Because you have kept My Word with patience, I also shall keep you from the hour of trial about to come upon the whole inhabited earth to test those dwelling upon the earth. 11 I come quickly! Hold fast that which you have, that no one may take your reward. 12 He who prevails I shall make him a pillar in the temple of My God that he would no longer go outside, and I shall write upon him the Name of My God and the name of the City of My God, of the new Jerusalem which descends from heaven from My God, and My new Name. 13 He having an ear must hear what the Spirit says to the assemblies!
Philadelphia means brotherly love, and this assembly was not criticized by Yahweh, which is certainly why this assembly was chosen for this message, for the meaning of its name, just as Smurna was chosen for a similar message. That is also the significance of the Key of David. In order to find where the key fits, one must know the door it unlocks. Yahshua said in John Chapter 10 that “1 Truly, truly I say to you, he not entering through the door into the pen of the sheep, but going up from another place, that man is a thief and a robber. 2 But he entering through the door is the shepherd of the sheep.” So we see that the Key of David opens the door to the sheepfold the right way, and anyone else who comes in, who does not belong to the Shepherd, is a thief and a robber. No one is able to close the door to the sheep: the true message of the covenants of God which are exclusively with His people Israel are there for any one of the sheep to enter into, if perhaps they have the strength to do so and do not deny His Name. For those who stand strong, their enemies will one day be forced to acknowledge that they are indeed the true Children of Yahweh. We are also assured that if we keep His Words, we shall be spared the wrath that is to come upon the evildoers.
John 13:34-35: “34 I give to you a new commandment: that you should love one another; just as I have loved you that you also should love one another. 35 By this they shall all know that you are My students, if you would have love for one another.” [This was never so explicit in the Old Testament Law.]
John 15:12-14: “12 This is My commandment: that you love one another just as I have loved you. 13 A greater love than this no one has: that one would lay down his life on behalf of his friends. 14 You are My friends if you would do the things which I command you.”
The New Jerusalem which descends from heaven is discussed at length in the closing chapters of the Revelation. That the name of God is ultimately written on the heads of Christians is also discussed in these chapters. Brotherly love (hence Philadelphia) and a recognition of the Anointed People of Israel (hence Smurna) are of the utmost importance to Christians, and this message to the seven assemblies makes that absolutely clear.
“14 And to the messenger of the assembly in Laodikeia, write: Thus says the Sure One, the Faithful and Truthful Witness, the Beginning of the creation of Yahweh, 15 I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I would be obliged you were cold or hot! 16 So because you are lukewarm and neither hot nor cold, I am going to vomit you out of My mouth! 17 Because you say that ‘I am rich’ and ‘I have become wealthy’ and ‘I have need of nothing’, and you do not know that you are miserable and pitiful and poor and blind and naked, 18 I advise you to buy from Me gold refined by fire in order that you would be wealthy, and white garments in order that you would be cloaked and the shame of your nakedness not be manifest, and eye-salve to anoint your eyes in order that you may see. 19 I as many as I should love I censure and I discipline, therefore be zealous and repent! 20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If one should hear My voice and open the door, then I shall enter in to him and I shall dine with him and he with Me. 21 He who prevails I shall give to him to sit with Me on My throne, as I also have prevailed and I have sat with My Father on His throne. 22 He having an ear must hear what the Spirit says to the assemblies!”
Laodikeia is literally “righteous people”, from the Greek words laos and dikaios. Yet it may be shown that dikaios was understood in the Greek mind as being that which is deemed righteous by man, as opposed to another word, hosios, which denoted that which was deemed righteous by the gods, or rather by God. Thayer alludes to this distinction, but Liddell & Scott mention it explicitly in their entry at hosios. Therefore the word may be interpreted here as denoting a self-righteous people, and thus the message fits the name of the assembly. The people are neither hot nor cold: they know the Gospel of God and claim to be Christians, but they care not for His will or His works. They sought and counted upon their material wealth, while they were really destitute of the treasures that matter most – those stored up in heaven. This is exactly the opposite condition we find among the assembly at Smurna which was not criticized by Yahshua.
Therefore the Laodikeians are admonished to trade in their worldly riches for the heavenly, to purchase white garments from Yahshua. It is apparent that this message more than any of the others describes the condition of today's modern evangelical churches. While they profess Christ with their lips, in actuality their justification is of themselves because they do not follow His commandments. They seek worldly riches, and therefore they are naked and poor. They also admit all sorts of beasts into their congregations – people who are not involved in the covenants which Yahweh made with Israel, and therefore they are pitiful and blind. They need what Smurna has: ointment in order to anoint their eyes that they may see, which is the knowledge of the meaning and obligations of the covenants!
The Revelation of Yahshua Christ
IV 1 After these things I looked, and behold! A door being opened in heaven, and the first voice which I had heard as a trumpet speaking with me saying “Come up here, and I shall show to you the things which are necessary to happen.” After these things
After having received the messages to the seven assemblies John receives another vision. In this vision John had an experience which describes his spirit actually having left his body, much as we see inferred by Paul in 2 Corinthians Chapter 12, where he described a vision and related that he could not tell whether it happened while he was in his body or out of it. Earlier in that same epistle Paul explained that to be in the body, we are away from God, and to be separated from our body is to be with God. Therefore Christians should not fear death: it is our gateway to our destiny and out true reality.
2 immediately I was in the Spirit, and behold! A throne fixed in heaven, and He sitting upon the throne. 3 And He sitting alike in appearance to a jasper stone, and a sardius, and a rainbow around the throne alike in appearance to emerald, 4 and around the throne twenty-four thrones, and upon the thrones twenty-four elders sitting, cloaked in white garments and upon their heads gold crowns. 5 And going out from the throne stars and voices and thunders, and seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of Yahweh, 6 and before the throne as a sea of glass like crystal. And in the midst of the throne and around the throne four living creatures full of eyes in front and behind. 7 And the first living creature like a lion, and the second living creature like a young bull, and the third living creature having a face as a man, and the fourth living creature like a flying eagle. 8 And the four living creatures, each one of them having six wings above, full of eyes all around and within, and they do not have rest, day and night saying
“Holy, holy, holy, Prince Yahweh Almighty, who was and who is and who is coming!”
The living creatures are actually cherubs, those chimerical sphinx-like creatures made up of the symbols of the four leading tribes of Israel, man, lion, bull and eagle. They are often depicted in association with the throne of Yahweh, as they are in Ezekiel Chapter 1, and they adorned the ark of the covenant.
Matthew 19:28: “28 And Yahshua said to them: “Truly I say to you that you are those who shall be following Me in the regeneration, when the Son of Man shall sit upon the throne of His honor, and you also shall sit upon twelve thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel! ” Yet this does not limit the number of thrones to twelve, and here we see that there are twenty-four. It is often conjectured that these other twelve are for the original patriarchs of Israel. Yet where are the other more prominent patriarchs, Abraham and Isaak and Jakob and Enoch and the others? I would rather think that the numbers are not to be taken literally, but to be seen symbolically. The twelve thrones for the apostles and the reserved number of twelve for the patriarchs of the Israelites is yet another assurance that the Dispensationalists are fools, and that the New Testament and Old alike are two halves of one book, reserved for one people.
9 And whenever the living creatures give honor and dignity and gratitude to Him sitting upon the throne, to He who lives for the eternal ages, 10 the twenty-four elders fall before Him sitting upon the throne and they worship He who lives for the eternal ages and they cast their crowns before the throne, saying
11 “You are worthy, our Prince and God, to receive honor and dignity and power, because You have created all things and by Your will were they then created!”
The throne is the throne of Yahshua Christ, King of Kings who is to rule all of the nations. Here he is revealed – once again in Scripture – as being one and the same with Yahweh the Creator Himself. Whem His people overcome, they are given to rule with Him.