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Revelation 1-3: The Seven Churches

Updated 08 Sep 2015

Revelation 1

The book of Revelation is a direct revealing by Jesus Christ to John, and through John to the faithful disciples of Christ. 

The Book is about events FUTURE from the time of John. 

The context of Revelation strongly indicates that it is a revealing of end time events, and since ALL scripture is for the instruction of ALL of the called out. 

The messages to the seven churches are an instructive type or analogy for the end time situation and for very called out individual.

Rev 1:1 The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John: 1:2 Who bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw.

The prophecies were sealed until the end time, when the time of their fulfillment is at hand, Dan 12.  Revelation 5 will confirm this. 

At the very End Time the Books will be unsealed and spiritual knowledge and understanding will be increased for the faithful to God.  We have the promise of God in Dan 12, confirmed in Revelation 5. The books of the prophecies will be opened to the understanding of the faithful, when  their redemption is at hand!

We are not only to hear and understand, we are to KEEP the words of Revelation!  A blessing being pronounced on those who faithfully KEEP the messages to the seven churches as well as the remainder of the Book.

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.

ALL of the seven churches existed together at the same time in the first century when John wrote this, and ALL seven attitudes, strengths and issues have always existed at the same time together, through history from the first century to today; and all seven attitudes, strengths and issues exist together at the same time today! 

The seven churches are about seven sets of attitudes, strengths and problems in the Ekklesia and are written to the WHOLE of the Ekklesia, to each one of us; for the guidance of the New Covenant Ekklesia through the centuries from the first century to today; so that each one of us may examine ourselves as to our own spiritual condition. 

Of course different attitudes may dominate organizations at different times, however this idea of seven consecutive eras is  simplistic and seems designed to justify ignoring most of the messages; when we are to apply ALL scriptures to ourselves for our own benefit.  

Brethren, as verse 3 makes clear, ALL of this Book was written for EVERY PERSON in the Ekklesia at all times!

Nowhere does John record that this was on some mail route and these churches represent consecutive eras!   That is not in the scriptures; ALL seven churches existed at the same time together in the first century; all of these problems have existed in the Ekklesia through history since the first century, and they all exist in the Ekklesia today! 

The true Ekklesia has always been a mix of people with the Ephesian or Laodicean or any of the other attitudes!  In any corporate church group today; ALL of these messages are applicable; because each group is a mix of all of these different attitudes in its individual brethren, as well as briers and tares.

In fact this situation is climaxing today at the end time, fulfilling the prophecies of a great falling away from true godliness! 

This study will demonstrate that today the problems of all seven churches exist in the Ekklesia at the same time, as they have throughout the period from the first century to today; which is what the Revelation messages from Jesus Christ are all about.  Every one of these messages from Jesus Christ is a personal message to each and every one of us, alerting us to what we should look out for, and warning us what to examine ourselves for.

All seven church attitudes exist today and ALL of these messages are for every one of us today!  Each of us needs to examine himself  honestly to see if we have any of these problems.  We need to all remember that NO corporate church is a true church of God at all, and that the true Ekklesia is made up of every called out person!  

2 Ti 3:16  All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:  17 That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.

1 Cor 10  Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; And did all eat the same spiritual meat [the Word of God]; And did all drink the same spiritual drink [in the physical sense; as WE do in both the physical and the spiritual sense]: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.

But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness.

Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted. Neither be ye idolaters [referring to today’s spiritual idolatry], as were some of them; as it is written, The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play.

Neither let us commit fornication [Pornea, any disloyalty to our spouse; today referring to following any other than the whole Word of God as inspired by Jesus Christ our espoused Husband], as some of them committed, and fell in one day three and twenty thousand.

Neither let us tempt Christ [by not being faithful to His Word and so challenging his authority as our head], as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents.

10 Neither murmur ye [We are not to complain against and blame Christ and the Father for our trials and we are not to try to mitigate trials by compromising with God’s Word; instead we are to run to God and cry out to our Mighty deliverer for salvation.], as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer.

11 Now all these things happened unto them for examples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come. Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.

The Seven Churches

Each one of the seven spirits is the spiritual overseer [angel] of one of the seven churches, helping Christ who is over all.

1:4 John to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace 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 Jesus Christ, 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 [the sincerely repentant] us from our sins in his own blood,

The reward of those chosen to be changed to spirit at the early harvest, is to be made kings and priests unto God and his Father. 

As kings [rulers] and priests [teachers of godliness] it will be our mission to bring many to the righteousness of understanding and zealously keeping the whole Word of God! 

Most tend to think that today’s terrible example of elders dominating the brethren is the right way to go, and look forward to dominating others in the Kingdom. 

NO, NO, NO, Absolutely NOT.  The Nicolaitane attitude of most elders today is an abomination to Jesus Christ.  See The Nicolaitanes and the Primacy of Peter  

Mat 20:25  But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them.

26 But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; 27 And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant:

Rev 1:6 And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father [Did you catch that Jesus is here referred to a God and with God the Father!]  ; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

Christ shall come from heaven to be seen in the skies of the earth, and all who live at that time shall see him.  Later in their own time of resurrection, those who killed him will also see him and shall weep and deeply repent. 

When Christ comes, all humanity alive after the last battle, when the political and spiritual rulers of spiritual Babylon are destroyed and  Satan with his demonic followers are imprisoned; all the earth shall repent and turn to HIM, and the Holy Spirit will be poured out on all flesh, Joel 2:28.

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, Amen.

Jesus Christ was from the beginning and will be until the end.  Of God’s family there shall be no end; although of the wicked, they shall have their end by the power of Jesus Christ!   He will NOT tolerate any willful sin, but will cast the unrepentant who will not stop sinning:  into  the fire of eternal destruction.

1:8 I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.

John had been exiled to Patmos because of his preaching of Christ.

1:9 I John, who also am your brother, and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was in the isle that is called Patmos, for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ.

John was in spirit; that is, he saw a vision.  The term Lord’s day refers to the Day of the Lord, so the vision regarding the seven churches was a vision that the seven churches are all together at the day of the Lord, and the issues they had were end time issues.  This vision was not about seven churches in the first century!  The is about seven churches in the latter day: of the Lord!

1:10 I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet,

The whole Book of Revelation is addressed to the seven brother churches; as types representing the seven primary issues of the end time Ekklesia.

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 churches which are in Asia; unto Ephesus, and unto Smyrna, and unto Pergamos, and unto Thyatira, and unto Sardis, and unto Philadelphia, and unto Laodicea.

The whole Book of Revelation was to be sent to the seven churches of Asia in John’s time, and doubtless the specific messages to each of the seven churches did apply at that time to each of them; but they were mere types of the situation in the last days:  Day of the Lord time frame!   In John’s time the seven churches all existed at the same time; and in this latter day; all seven messages are applicable for OUR instruction!

The Lamp Stand

In King James England the use of candles was the method of lighting in the land, so they improperly translated oil burning lamps [ “lamp stands], as candlesticks; and olive oil lamps as candles.  When you see the terms candles or candlesticks: read oil burning lamps or oil lamps [Menorah]. 

The olive oil represents the Holy Spirit which is in the Ekklesia and in converted individuals, produces the light of a godly example for all others to see. 

Today the flow of the oil of the holy spirit has been quenched, as the Ekklesia is spiritually asleep; in due time they will awaken  and fill their lamps with the oil of the Holy Spirit in sincere repentance. 

It is explained in Zech 4 that the latter day Ekklesia is about to die and it is God’s two prophets who God will use to revive them; turning them back to a passion for godliness and reviving them so that the oil of God’s spirit might again make them shine brightly in passionate godliness. 

In Zech 4 the golden lamp or menorah with is a single lampstand with seven branches, each one representing one of the churches of Revelation. In  Zech 4:10 the seven spirits of God are mentioned.  God’s two revive all seven branches of the lamp stand; therefore of necessity all seven Revelation churches must exist at the same time that these two are working. 

1:12 And I turned to see the voice that spake with me. And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks; 1:13 And in the midst of the seven candlesticks [Oil Burning Lamps] one like unto the Son of man,

Jesus Christ and the Seven Spirits

. . . clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle. 1:14 His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire; 1:15 And his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters.

1:16 And he had in his right hand seven stars [the seven spirits or angels of the seven churches in his hand which serve Christ over the seven churches, each church represented by a branch of the Menorah lamp stand]: and out of his mouth went a sharp twoedged sword [The TRUTH of God; which most of the brethren reject today to maintain their false traditions.]: and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength.

John worships Christ and faints in awe of him.

1:17 And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last:

Jesus Christ has the keys of judgment to save or to condemn the wicked who stray from zeal to follow the whole word of God, and follow idols of men.

1:18 I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.

John is commanded to write what he sees.

1:19 Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter;

1:20 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 churches: and the seven candlesticks [the seven oil burning lamps; Menorah] which thou sawest are the seven churches.

 

Revelation 2

The Seven Churches

ALL the words of this Book are for the instruction of ALL of God’s people. 

Each one of us needs to take a very serious look at every one of the messages and examine ourselves as to whether we can learn from them about our own condition; and so profit from them in our own personal spiritual growth.

2 Ti 3:16   All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 17 That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.

Brethren, How long will we cherry pick scripture to claim the good things are about us and any correction is about others; refusing to examine ourselves by the WHOLE Word of God?  How long will we justify our sins by claiming that certain instructions apply only to others and not to ourselves?

ALL of these messages are for EVERYONE who reads the Book.  That means that EVERY message is a personal message to each one of us today!

 

EPHESUS

Jesus Christ speaks directly to those who have lost their first love and zeal for Him and His Word. 

Do you remember the passion of your first love of God and the scriptures?  Do you remember how we eagerly rushed to the scriptures to see whether some new thing we were learning was so?  Do you remember how we tested the words of the various religions and found them to be false? and the joy we had at finding the one closest to the truth? 

Do you remember how you lay awake at night trying to understand God’s word and meditated on the word of God every moment you could? 

Did we not Hunger and Thirst; BURNING with passion to learn – to understand – to know the whole Word and Will of God?  Did we not want to learn the things of God; to be like God our Father and passionately, joyously, whole heartedly  follow God’s every Word?  Was our burning love for our God and his word like the passion of a starving man for food, or a thirsty man for water?  Or as a man and his bride yearn to be one with each other on their wedding day?

2:1 Unto the angel of the church 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;

Can we remember how we loved good and hated evil and tested all men and all things to live by every Word of God?  Can we remember the joy we felt in our study of God’s Word at every  new truth we discovered?  and how we rushed to embrace and to keep it?  Remember how we eagerly rushed to repudiate sin and turn to truth as soon as we learned the Will of God in some matter?  

Remember how we tested by the scriptures all those who make claims of godliness and rejected all error for the truth of God?

Remember how much we endured for our love?  How we were make a laughingstock by our friends, family and neighbours?  Yet we patiently  endured the pain and the disgrace heaped upon us, because of our passionate love for God and his Word.

2:2 I know thy works, and thy labour, 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 [to exalt the authority of God] sake hast labored [To grow in knowledge and understanding of true godliness], and hast not fainted.

2:4 Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love.

Brethren, generally in the Ekklesia we have grown weary with well doing and have fallen away from our first passionate love and zeal for godliness!  We have fallen spiritually asleep content to follow idols of men and corporate institutions in place of following our espoused Husband and keeping His Word and Will. 

We have lost our fire of passionate love for our Husband, and have turned to other lovers by embracing idols of men and calling the promised latter day advances in knowledge and understanding that were promised to us: contemptible. 

Jesus Christ admonishes us to REMEMBER our first love and passion for Him, His Father, and His Word.   Our Husband stands and calls out to his bride:  Remember me and return to me, rekindle your burning fire of zeal for me [Christ] and my Word!

So many of us have lost our first passionate zeal for the whole Word of God and turned to a zeal for corporate idols and idols of men. 

Oh How we loved God and his Word! But deceitful men came in and taught us that they were between us and God, and that we should blindly obey them without question as the supposed chosen leaders of God; and so we became passionate for men, being deceived that this was the same as a passion for God!  Today we love our corporate assemblies and its leaders, elders and our friends in the congregation:  MORE THAN WE LOVE OUR GOD!  

Today many gladly do what men say, even in contradiction to God’s Word!  We no longer have a zeal to run to the whole Word of God to prove all things, instead we look at only the scriptures given to us by deceivers to justify the sins of men! 

Brethren, the vast majority of brethren today have left their first love!  We have left off from any zeal to learn and to keep the whole Word of God, and we have left off from any zeal for the TRUTH of God, to follow idols and false traditions of men. 

Christ admonishes us to REPENT from turning away from our zeal for Him, His Father and His Word.  He commands us to run back to our first passionate zealous enthusiasm for the righteousness of the whole Word of God to follow the espoused Husband of our baptismal commitment!

Jesus Christ warns each one of us that if we do not quickly and sincerely:  He will remove our Light [the Holy Spirit in us]  and reject us [into the great correction of tribulation] for turning away from our zeal for his Word to follow idols of men and ungodly traditions.  Our sins are many; such as calling the Sabbath and High Days holy, and then openly polluting them; or rejecting the newly revealed knowledge of God’s Biblical calendar, for the heathen Rabbinic calendar; even knowingly lying to justify making an idol of the unconverted Rabbinate.

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.

Yes, some of us hate the deeds of the Nicolaitanes; which is the domination system of the Roman Catholic Babylonian Mysteries form of church governance; adopted by Herbert W Armstrong and many of his daughter organizations.  The ministry are to be helps to the brethren, to focus them on God; not to dominate them and demand that the brethren follow their false traditions instead of being zealous for God.

2:6 But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitanes, which I also hate.

Brethren, IF we sincerely repent and turn back to our first love, the whole Word of God; to prove all things by the whole Word of God and to make God’s Word our ultimate moral authority, and if we overcome our tendency to exalt anything else to love it as much or more than we love the whole Word of God;: We shall be saved into the promised land of a change to spirit and eternal life by our sincere repentance from this terrible sin. 

2:7 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 tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.

If only the brethren, leaders and elders of the assemblies would open up the scriptures and instead of saying Ezra and Nehemiah and such and such do not apply to us, but apply to others: 

If they would only say that ALL scripture is for our instruction; and that we NEED to wholeheartedly REPENT of polluting the Sabbath and Holy Days, and we NEED to STOP cooking and paying other to cook for and serve us on God’s holy time; that we NEED to stop marrying outside the faith; that we need to STOP idolizing men and the false traditions of men and turn with passionate zeal to the Word of God! 

If such a thing were to be done; the whole heavens would erupt with a uncontainable rejoicing!

As Paul told Timothy all scripture is for OUR instruction.  These scriptures apply to us: if we will only acknowledge that and correct ourselves, we shall be saved.

Smyrna

A message to those who are physically poor yet faithfully following every Word of God and spiritually rich.  Jesus reminds us that he died for us and is now alive by the power of God the Father; implying that we too as flesh will die, but if we are faithful to God the Father and the whole Word of God as Christ was. we will also be resurrected to eternal life,   

2:8 And unto the angel of the church in Smyrna write; These things saith the first and the last, which was dead, and is alive [Jesus Christ];

Those who are faithful in their godly actions [works of faith] to zealously KEEP the whole Word of God, may suffer physical poverty and persecution in this world, but they will become spiritually rich and will have riches in the world to come.

Those who claim to be Christians [spiritual Jews]; and then follow men away from and contrary to the Word of God, are of Satan.  This includes the Catholic Church and her daughters, but it also includes the Church of God groups who idolize men and reject zealous obedience to the whole Word of God. 

Does this seem harsh?  The spirit of God leads us into an enthusiastic passion to become like God, by learning and keeping the whole Word and Will of God; which is TRUTH. 

It is the spirit of antichrist, the spirit of Satan, which leads people to follow idols of men, to leave our first love of godliness and to reject any zeal to follow the whole Word and Will of God. 

Those who know better and even stoop to LYING to themselves and others, to justify idolizing the Rabbinate and their false calendar are not of God.  Neither are those who call God’s Sabbaths holy and then routinely and deliberately pollute them, or those who reject the truth to maintain past false traditions. 

2:9 I know thy works [works of faith], and tribulation [trials], and [physical] poverty, (but thou art [spiritually] rich) and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are [converted spiritual New Covenant called out] Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan.

The faithful to God and his Word, will suffer in this life; even from the hands of their families and friends in their beloved Church corporations.  God allows us to be tried that me may grow in godliness and bring forth much fruit, John 15. 

Christ encourages us that our trials will bring forth much fruit and are for our ultimate good; revealing that through patient endurance of trials we shall inherit a crown of eternal life.  Much of this fruit will be due to the godly example they are setting as they patiently endure all things to live by every Word of God.

2:10 Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried;  and ye shall have tribulation ten days [years]: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.

Specifically there was a ten year persecution in the reign of Diocletian, from A. D. 303-313; which was ended by the Edict of Milan, issued by the two emperors, Constantine and Licinius, March, A. D. 313

This persecution covered the whole extent of the Roman empire and affected all professing Christians.  Smyrna type Christians suffered a great persecution for ten years and it is analogous to the fact that all faithful Christians, zealous to keep the whole Word of God; have been persecuted in this world. 

Whether or not one wants to argue that Smyrna was dominant for a specific period of time: Who among those trying to live by every Word of God has not had their faith tested by many trials?  This applies to us, as an encouragement that we may have many trials in this life, but if we rely on our great God and continue to zealously live by every Word of God, we shall become spiritually rich and have a good reward.

Heb 10:32   But call to remembrance the former days, in which, after ye were illuminated, ye endured a great fight of afflictions;  33 Partly, whilst ye were made a gazingstock both by reproaches and afflictions; and partly, whilst ye became companions of them that were so used.

This is a promise from Jesus Christ to all those who are adamantly enthusiastic and full of love for God and his Word will suffer in this world for their zeal, but they will become spiritually rich forevermore! 

John 15:19   If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.

20 Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also.

21 But all these things will they do unto you for my name’s sake, because they know not him that sent me.

The message ends with the promise to Smyrna and to the Ekklesia [all those who are zealous to live by every Word of God] that if we are willing to suffer for our passion or even to die for the faith, we shall receive the gift of eternal life.

This is a particular encouragement for most of today’s church of God who will soon be in the correction of a great tribulation.  If they sincerely repent and overcome and turn to live by every Word of God, they will surely be persecuted, many to the death.  But if they are faithful to God to steadfastly put God first above any trial and are even willing to die for love of God, they shall receive eternal life and will be delivered from the second death. 

I personally bear witness that the vast majority of the COG  [True called out] brethren are zealous for God and his Word; but they have been deceived into thinking of their leaders and elders as being between them and God; and, falsely believe that loyalty to these men is the same as loyalty to God:  That is the sin of idolatry.  And that is the lesson that God is teaching his people today! 

Follow men ONLY as they follow God!

1 Thess 5:19    Quench not the Spirit.

20 Despise not prophesyings.

21 Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.

22 Abstain from all appearance of evil.

2:11 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto [All the called out, the Ekklesia] the churches; He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death.

The Word of God is sharper than any two edged sword to divide the holy from the profane.  If we loved the truth we would never knowingly lie to justify our own positions, therefore it is obvious that many today have no love for the truth. 

Nothing negative is said of Smyrna, only encouragement to be steadfast in trials. 

PERGAMOS

2:12 And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write; These things saith he which hath the sharp sword with two edges;

The Pergamos attitude holds fast to the name [the authority of Christ] even though they dwelt at the very seat of Satan in Pergamos and were among the martyrs.  These people exalted the authority [name] of Christ and the Father above all else even to death. 

This is an allegory that there are some in the Ekklesia today, who are in groups that have exalted men and turned away from their zeal for living by every Word of God; who still exalt the “name” the authority of Christ and the Father.  They are in a group that is full of sins, but still they bow to the authority of Christ.

2:13 I know thy works, and where thou dwellest, even where Satan’s seat is: and thou holdest fast my name [God’s authority], and hast not denied my faith [by turning away from the works of faith], even in those days wherein Antipas was my faithful martyr, who was slain among you, where Satan dwelleth.

2:14 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 [to accept false doctrines of idols of men], and to commit fornication [pornea; spiritually disloyalty to our espoused husband Jesus Christ].

Balaam taught Balac how to entice Israel to bring a curse upon themselves, by tempting them into fornication and idolatry. 

It is the same today, as Satan has enticed us to follow idols of men and to commit spiritual adultery against our espoused Husband.  We follow the false teachings of the heathen like the Catholic Nicolaitane Babylonian church governance system of the ministry being a layer of authority to be blindly followed and obeyed.  And by teaching for doctrine the commandments of men we bring the curse of rejection from Christ and his correction down upon ourselves.

2:15 So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitanes, which thing I hate.

Just as the ancients exalted men as a ministry between men and God [The doctrine of the Nicolaitanes] Herbert W Armstrong brought the doctrine of the Nicolaitanes into the church of God, and most maintain that doctrine of a layer of ministry between the brethren and God to this very day.  Jesus Christ says he HATES this false doctrine, because it separates him from his people and attempts to give an authority that belongs to him alone, to mere mortal men.  Today PCG, RCG and LCG and many of the other alphabets hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitanes as HWA did.  SEE:  The Nicolaitanes and the Primacy of Peter

Now Jesus  Christ says very clearly that this condition will exist when he comes and that Christ will fight those who hold to this abominable teaching when he comes.

2:16 Repent; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth.

We are commanded to REPENT of the spiritual adultery of following men in place of the Husband of our baptismal espousal.  We are commanded by Jesus Christ to REPENT of the Nicolaitane Roman Catholic church governance system of exalting idols of men above the Word of Almighty God!  I am NOT against leaders and governance! 

Godly leadership points all men to obey and zealously learn, Keep and Live By EVERY WORD OF GOD!   Nicolaitane leadership says obey us because we are God’s appointed leaders; and so exalts men to be obeyed placing men between the brethren and God!

Those who overcome the spiritual chains of exalting men and thinking of loyalty to idols of men as loyalty to God; will be delivered from slavery to men and will be fed the true heavenly manna of the Bread of Life, the whole Word of God! 

As the physical temple was built of stones so the spiritual Temple is built of stones of the faithful chosen of humanity. 

Eph 2:20   And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; 21 In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: 22 In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.

They will each be given a white [white being a symbol of purity from sin] stone; and a place among the stones [the spiritual stones of the spiritual temple of God] which will constitute the temple [the government of God]; they will, with the other stones [of resurrected men, Jesus Christ being the Chief Corner Stone] of the Temple, become a part of the spiritual Temple which is the eternal government of God! 

They will receive a new name; that is a title [God calls things what they are] reflecting their new life and responsibilities in the government of God!  Their old name representing what they had been in their physical lives, and their new name  reflecting their new birth into spirit and eternity!

Rev 2:17 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 [internalize the Bread of Life, the whole Word of God and understanding of the things of God], and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it.

THYATIRA

Pride in good works toward men while lacking any zeal to love God and keep God’s whole Word and Will; exalting a love of men above our duty to follow and keep the whole Word and Will of God: This is idolatry!

Christ is described as like a flame of fire.  Flames are a fire that purifies all things.  Jesus Christ will purify all things by forgiving sincerely repented sins and destroying all willful sinners in the lake of fire.

2:18 And unto the angel of the church in Thyatira write; These things saith the Son of God, who hath his eyes like unto a flame of fire, and his feet are [shine] like fine brass;

There are people who have many good works and much good in them, who still sin and tolerate sin.  A little leaven [leaven as a type of sin] leavens the whole lump.  Let us not deceive ourselves that because we have some good or do some good works; that a few good things mixed with sins, makes us acceptable to God. 

It is not a few good things that makes us acceptable to God;  but that we should live by EVERY WORD of God!  Many sinners are charitable and do many good things, but they fall short because they will not keep the whole Word of God!

Friends we ought to be charitable and  serve others, but we ought to put God FIRST and serve God FIRST!  We ought to live by EVERY WORD of God, and not by only a few of God’s words!

2:19 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.2:20 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.

These are generally humanly good folks in the Ekklesia who love their neighbor and are very kind and charitable, but lack a zeal to keep the whole Word and Will of God. 

Jezebel is a type of Baalism, or the Babylonian Roman Catholic system of obeying men as our idols; instead of fully zealously obeying God.  They permit seducers and deceivers in the assemblies to teach the false traditions of men and entice the brethren away from any zeal to learn and keep the whole Word and Will of God. 

Those with the Thyatira attitude tolerate false teachings of false religions and teaching people to spiritually [Pornea; refers to ALL sexual immorality]  commit spiritual adultery against our espoused spiritual Husband and His Word, with the false religions, false prophecy and false doctrines of worldliness: and to follow idols of men putting them between us and God!

These people were given warnings and time to repent, just as today’s church of God has been warned and given time to repent of this same sin of exalting a layer of men as our idols to come between the brethren and God. 

Elders and leaders can be excellent helps as long as they focus on God; yet prove all things and follow ONLY what is consistent with the whole Word of God!

2:21 And I gave her space to repent of her fornication; and she repented not.

Those with this attitude of tolerating the sin of idolizing men above the whole Word of God to obey men without question and to follow them contrary to the word of God: are proud of their misguided love of men and will not repent of being unfaithful to the whole Word of God, therefore they will be cast into great tribulation. 

This proves that there will be those with this problem at the end time.  In fact this is an overspreading sin in the church of God today. Jesus Christ calls on us to repent of this sin!

2:22 Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds.

Because of the correction of the great tribulation ALL of the  seven “churches,”  will learn to exalt the Eternal and the whole Word and Will of God  above all others!  Christ will judge us by ALL of our deeds, not just those deeds that are good, but by ALL  our works! 

Appearances can be deceiving.  Some great charities can hide much evil doctrines!

2:23 And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins [kidneys, hidden sensitive places] and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works.

Brethren all of us will be judged by what we say and do therefore this example is for us today!   

I am not saying that they were criticized for doing good works, I said that they had good works towards men while having no zeal to keep all the other things in God’s Word; that they were proud of their good works towards men, not understanding that they lacked the good works of obeying God in other things.  Jesus Christ tells us that this exalting of love of men above any zeal for God is a “Doctrine of Satan!”

Jesus then comforts those who are full of the good works of Thyatira, that if they do sincerely repent and put God first and reject making idols of men; that they will be covered by His sacrifice and will be made blameless; and instructs them to hold fast until he comes. 

This instruction means that they will be present at the coming of Christ. 

2:24 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. 2:25 But that which ye have already hold fast till I come.

Christ has received ruler-ship over the whole earth and it is those with the  Thyatira attitude of faith and service to GOD and to others; without the sins of Thyatira, who will rule the nations. 

To the Thyatira attitude people who are proud of their good works toward men and are not zealous to learn and to keep the whole Word and Will of God, Christ says that this is a “doctrine of Satan” and that Christ will reject them into the correction of great tribulation in teh hope that they will sincerely repent. 

Those who overcome the sins of tolerating the sin of pride in exalting love of men above love of God and the sin of idolizing men according to the Roman Catholic Babylonian church governance system; to sincerely repent and turn to zealously keep the whole Word of God as Jesus did: will rule the nations with Christ!

2:26 And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works [has the works of faith in keeping the whole Word and Will of God] unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations: 2:27 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.

The sincerely repentant of Thyatira will shine brightly in the government of God forever.

Dan 12:3   And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever.

Rev 2:28 And I will give him the morning star.

Brethren, these things may have some historical era meaning; but their main purpose is for our instruction at the end of the age.  It is not wise to neglect these things as only ancient history.  All of these attitudes and problems are climaxing in the Ekklesia TODAY! 

All of these messages are absolutely applicable to the Ekklesia today.

May those with God’s spirit understand what the Spirit reveals to them.

2:29 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.

 

 Sardis

Rev 3:1 And unto the angel of the church in Sardis write; These things saith he that hath the seven Spirits of God, and [which are] the seven stars; I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead.

These are folks who call themselves God’s people and are spiritually dead in terms of any zeal for godliness.  They are physically alive and claiming to be God’s people but they are spiritually dead; following their own ways, false traditions of men and idols of men instead of being alive and full of the fire of zeal to keep the Word and Will of God. The Sardis warning applies to the vast majority in the Ekklesia today. 

3:2 Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God.

We have some things right but instead of truly GROWING in knowledge, understanding and the works of faith; we are stagnant and even letting those right things that we have; slip away. 

Today the Ekklesia is doing exactly that. As was prophesied, they are turning from any zeal to learn and keep the whole Word and Will of God in a great falling away from the Word of Life. 

Jesus then warns that if these folks are not watching for him, his coming will catch them by surprise.  This means that this attitude will exist at his coming.  It also means that even in the midst of the great tribulation they will be in denial, too spiritually dead to realize  what is taking place.

3:3 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.

Yet there are a few who will sincerely repent and turn to a zeal for godliness; the sacrifice of Christ will be applied to them purifying them and making their garments pure, clean and white.

3:4 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.

With God all things are possible and even some of those who are spiritually dead could be saved and  turned to God receiving the gift of the oil of the Holy Spirit; that their light which has gone out, might be reignited that they may shine brightly with godliness.

3:5 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.

3:6 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.

Philadelphia

Jesus begins his message to Philadelphia by remarking that He is the Door and the Way and the Key into the kingdom of God and eternal life.  

It is Christ who judges and who can let us in or shut us out.  No man can take away our promise of eternal life by casting us out of some corporation; nor can belonging to some corporate church be a pass to enter eternal life! 

Only fidelity to our espoused Husband and his Father  will anyone gain eternal life! 

When HWA said that questioning him was questioning God and that leaving him was leaving God:  HE LIED!  and when others say the same thing:  They LIE!  It is not blindly following idols of men that brings eternal life; only being a part of the spiritual Ekklesia who live by ever word of God brings acceptance by God and eternal life! 

3:7 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;

Those with a Philadelphian attitude of absolute faith in God and a full whole hearted zeal for learning and keeping the whole Word of God have an open door to God the Father and into eternal life!  Jesus Christ will open the door of salvation to those who are faithful to Him and will provide an open way into eternal life; if we are diligent to internalize the very nature of God the Father as he did! 

Those who are diligent to keep the Word of God and do not deny the name [authority] of God and his Word over his people; will be changed to spirit on that day! 

I capitalize the word “Word” for a reason; Jesus Christ is the Logos, the Word; summing up the whole of Holy Scriptures with the Father!  To break any art of the word of God, is to break the teachings of Jesus Christ the WORD who inspired all of scripture! 

ONLY those who keep the whole Word of God and exalt the name  [authority] of God above all others shall have an open door to eternal life! 

A Philadelphian has only a little strength, he knows that; and therefore relies on the strength of the Eternal Almighty God!  He knows that in the flesh he is weak and seeks the strength from God to overcome; he runs to and takes refuge in the Mighty God the Overcomer!

3:8 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.

Those who are full of zeal to live by every Word of God will be made eternal priests and kings [teachers and leaders] and those of the nations who hated the zealous for God will sincerely repent and shall worship God at the feet of [under the tutelage of] the Philadelphian attitude folks who are full of faithful zeal for godliness

3:9 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.

If the zealous for God patiently endure and wait; they shall be the “children of light” 1 Thess 5;  and will not be taken by surprise when the tribulation and later Jesus Christ comes; they shall understand the biblical signs and will obey the words of God’s prophets, and so will be kept from the hour of trial. 

Those who are full of zeal for godliness and study carefully Watching for the coming of their LORD will be preserved from the terrible correction of a righteous God on the earth.

Yes there is a place of refuge, as David said; that refuge is in the arms of our Mighty Deliverer!  Follow and zealously keep the whole Word and Will of God; and when God says to do this or to do that, or he says to go here or to go there:  Follow him and DO IT!

3:10 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.

3:11 Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown.

A pillar is a supporting column that stands on a firm foundation, the pillars of God stand on the firm foundation of zeal to learn and zeal to keep the whole Word of God! 

Eph 2:18   For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.

19 Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God;

20 And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets [the scriptures], Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; 21 In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: 22 In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.

A pillar helps to hold up the rest of the structure; the pillars of God will stand on the foundation of the whole Word of God and will help to hold up the rest of the spiritual building. 

If the zealous to keep the whole Word of God and endure all trials, remain faithful; they will become permanent pillars in the eternal government of God; and they will have the name [authority] of God and of the capitol of His eternal government, the New Jerusalem forever.  For they shall occupy positions of responsibility in God’s government and will act on behalf of God and God’s government, not just in the millennium, but forever!

Rev 3:12 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 Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name.

3:13 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.

The Philadelphian pillar is a person who is weak, and knows it; therefore he relies upon God and seeks the strength of God,  rather than trying to stand on his own strength.   He is zealous to root out all error and internalize the truth of God.  He is faithful to follow God in all things and will not turn aside to follow any man or spirit away from his zeal to follow the whole Word of God.  Yes, he makes mistakes and occasionally slips; and when he does instead of giving up, he cries out to his Father for deliverance! 

There are those who say that “I am a Philadelphian because God does not criticize that church.”   That is a proud arrogant and totally ignorant attitude:  ALL have sinned and come short of the glory of God!

Christ does not criticize Philadelphia because he does not have to!  The Philadelphian pillar is well aware of his short comings, and he knows that he has no strength in himself;  therefore he runs to the Eternal and takes refuge in the Eternal, the Mighty High Tower of Strength; to seek and find deliverance. 

The true Philadelphian attitude is one of humility before God relying totally on God; KNOWING that we are so weak and so sinful; and knowing that God is so great strong and powerful; that they RUN TO HIM and seek HIS STRENGTH to deliver! 

The difference between the Philadelphian and the others is:  HUMILITY and true LOVE for the Eternal and all his ways.  A certain knowledge that he is a sinner and falls very short, and therefore a complete loving submission to the whole Word fo God! 

The true Philadelphian attitude person is usually someone who has been most wicked; and therefore KNOWS how much they have been forgiven and is full of the deepest passionate love for their Deliverer.  They are so full of love for God that they would do anything to please God. 

Luk 7:37  And, behold, a woman in the city, which was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at meat in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster box of ointment, 38 And stood at his feet behind him weeping, and began to wash his feet with tears, and did wipe them with the hairs of her head, and kissed his feet, and anointed them with the ointment.

39 Now when the Pharisee which had bidden him saw it, he spake within himself, saying, This man, if he were a prophet, would have known who and what manner of woman this is that toucheth him: for she is a sinner.

40 And Jesus answering said unto him, Simon, I have somewhat to say unto thee. And he saith, Master, say on.

41 There was a certain creditor which had two debtors: the one owed five hundred pence, and the other fifty. 42 And when they had nothing to pay, he frankly forgave them both. Tell me therefore, which of them will love him most?

43 Simon answered and said, I suppose that he, to whom he forgave most. And he said unto him, Thou hast rightly judged.

44 And he turned to the woman, and said unto Simon, Seest thou this woman? I entered into thine house, thou gavest me no water for my feet: but she hath washed my feet with tears, and wiped them with the hairs of her head.

45 Thou gavest me no kiss: but this woman since the time I came in hath not ceased to kiss my feet.

46 My head with oil thou didst not anoint: but this woman hath anointed my feet with ointment.

47 Wherefore I say unto thee, Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little.

48 And he said unto her, Thy sins are forgiven.

49 And they that sat at meat with him began to say within themselves, Who is this that forgiveth sins also?

50 And he said to the woman, Thy faith hath saved thee; go in peace.

Such pillars are scattered throughout the Temple; representing that the human spiritual pillars are also scattered throughout the Ekklesia. There is no such thing as a true Philadelphian corporate church of God today.  The true Philadelphian pillar is scattered throughout the Ekklesia and is very often serving God independently.

 

LAODICEA

To Laodicea Jesus identifies himself as the faithful and true witness of what they are truly like.   They think themselves spiritually rich and have no idea what Jesus Christ really thinks of them.  Jesus here tells them their problems straight out, but they are proud and willfully blind to reality.

Emphasizing that his message to Laodicea is true and coming out of Christ’s faithful love for them that they might repent and be saved.  Jesus also calls himself the “beginning of the creation of God;”  clearly meaning that Christ is the Creator who began the creation of all things.

3:14 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;

Laodicea is spiritually lukewarm, professing godliness while keeping the commandments according to their own imaginations instead of keeping them the way that God commands. 

They pay lip service to godliness without any zeal to learn and keep the Word of God.  Their zeal is for their own ways and what they think, for their past false traditions and their idols of men and not for what God says. They stand on past traditions and proudly think they know it all, refusing any spiritual growth they are stagnant or even falling backward in their spiritual condition. 

They are hot for their own traditions, and for the teachings of their idols of men about the Word of God, and cold for zealously keeping the whole Word as God, as God has commanded them.  This mixture of hot for their idols of men and corporate entities, and a cold, lack of zeal to keep the Words of God makes them lukewarm and revolting to Christ. 

They are idolaters of men and tradition; proud, thinking that they know it all spiritually and therefore refuse correction from God or man; they reject the Word of God for their own ways and they reject any growth in truth and refuse to turn from error. 

Because these folks have rejected Christ to follow him above our idols of men they will be rejected by Christ into the correction of great tribulation, in the hope that through the correction of the flesh the spirit may be saved.

3:15 I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. 3:16 So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth [They will be rejected by Christ into severe correction] .

Proud and self willed, they think they are spiritually rich and know it all, having need of no spiritual growth, and reject the promised increase in spiritual knowledge and understanding promised for the last days, Dan 12. 

They reject any part of scripture that they do not want to follow, saying it is for others; and are so proud they have no idea how spiritually wretched, miserable and poor they really are. 

They are willfully blind to their own condition and to the things of God that disprove their own false ways;  They lack the garments of righteousness and are naked before God,  their many sins exposed to Him; beginning with the sins of pride and self justification and self approval.

3:17 Because thou sayest, I am rich [spiritually], and increased with goods [spiritual knowledge], and have need of nothing [no one not even Christ (the Word of God) can tell them anything]; and knowest not that thou art [spiritually] wretched, and miserable, and [spiritually] poor [knowing almost nothing of God as they ought to know it], and blind [willfully blind to their wretched spiritual state], and naked [naked of any true godly righteousness, not being zealous to keep the Word of God]:

Christ counsels those with the Laodicean attitude to buy spiritual gold in the fire of tribulation; that they may become spiritually rich. 

They are bidden to sincerely repent of their prideful sins that the nakedness of their wickedness may be covered by the application of the sacrifice of Christ; so that they may receive God’s Holy Spirit and the  white raiment of the righteousness of the zealous keeping of the whole Word of God. 

They are commanded to anoint their eyes and open them to see themselves as God sees them, and to sincerely repent from their pride and false ways and to turn away from their idols of men and false traditions to follow the spirit of God into all truth; rejecting all error and sin to embrace godly truth that they might be saved.

3:18 I counsel thee to buy of me [spiritual] gold tried in the fire [during the period of your correction in the fire of tribulation], that thou mayest be [become spiritually rich] rich; and white raiment [the righteousness of zealously keeping the whole Word of God], that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness [that our sins might be covered by the righteousness of God] do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see [open our eyes to see ourselves as God sees us, to see ourselves as we really are so that we can repent and be saved].

Jesus reminds these folks that he rebukes them only because he truly loves them and is not willing that they should perish.  They are rejected only because they first rejected Christ, refusing to keep the whole Word of God, refusing to follow Christ and refusing to live by every Word of God in Christ-like zeal. 

Jesus Christ tells those of the Laodicean attitude; which is the overwhelming attitude in the Ekklesia today;  to REPENT of their pride and self righteousness. and to REPENT of trusting in their idols of men and false traditions. 

Jesus Christ tells us to turn to him; and turn to a zeal for the whole Word of God, to learn it and to keep it; to turn from our false idols and false traditions and to become zealous to remove error and embrace the truth of God! 

3:19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.

Jesus is warning and calling each one of his straying sheep; He wants them to open up to him, to reject idols and to follow him, to be zealous to remove sin and embrace God’s righteous truth, to internalize  the solid meat of the Word of God in fellowship with Christ. 

They have an open invitation from Jesus Christ who is gladly willing to accept them, if they would only open up their eyes and turn to Him! 

3:20 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 [eat; internalize the Word of God] with him, and he with me.

Only those who overcome this Laodicean attitude of pride and self-centeredness will be resurrected to spirit.  Those who sincerely repent of the sins of Laodicea will be in the resurrection to eternal life and will have a place in the eternal government of God.

3:21 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.

3:22 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.

As the seventh and last church Laodicea has all of the problems of the other churches.  

That is because pride is the chief cause of most of the various problems.  Today all the major COG groups and most of the smaller ones are full of pride and idolatry, rejecting any biblical thing they do not agree with, as applying only to others. 

They think of themselves as the repository of all wisdom and truth, and refuse any zeal to keep the whole Word of God, in order to follow their corporate idols, idols of men and there own false traditions. 

They call the Sabbath and High Days, Holy; and then walk all over them, while claiming that the commandments not to cook or buy food on Sabbath somehow apply to others and not to themselves.  They insist on following the apostate Rabbinic calendar and refuse to keep the Biblical calendar of God; even though the proofs are now overwhelming. 

They have almost no understanding of the Festivals, rejecting the true meanings of the Festivals; even still claiming that the seven day Feast of Tabernacles somehow represents only one thousand years.  They reject any zeal for keeping the Word of God, and insist on a zeal for the corporate idols, idols of men and past false traditions, insisting that people should obey them, above the Word of God. 

The Mosaic Pharisees were a type of Laodicea

Laodicean attitude is an exact replica of the primary attitude of the Mosaic Pharisees during the physical ministry of Christ. 

Contrary to popular belief the Mosaic Pharisees were NOT zealous for the law, rather they made the law of God of no effect by their own false traditions just as today’s modern Ekklesia does!

In Mat 15:9 Jesus said of the Mosaic Pharisees; and this is a very precise description of the Ekklesia today: 

Mat 15:9  Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying, This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.

Math 23 describes the attitude during the physical ministry of Jesus Christ; and it also accurately describes the church of God groups right before Christ comes to rule: today!

Matthew 23

Mat 23:1 Then spake Jesus to the multitude, and to his disciples,

At that time the scribes and Pharisees sat in Moses seat;  that changed with the death and resurrection of Christ who then became our High Priest forever. 

We are to obey men when they speak the truth of God, and are NOT to obey them when they depart from the Word of God!

23:2 Saying The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat: 23:3 All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not.

Today’s corporate churches also bind heavy burdens on the brethren, mainly financial.

23:4 For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers.

With the death of the Husband of Israel; the marriage between physical Mosaic Israel and Christ ended, and so did the authority of the Mosaic Priesthood and the Pharisees!

When Jesus Christ ascended into heaven and was accepted by God the Father as a sacrifice for us; He became our High Priest and the King of the world in waiting; the Mosaic priesthood was superseded by a reestablishment of the High Priesthood of Melchizedek.

From that time on; neither Levi, nor the Jews; have any lawful spiritual authority. they have rejected the only lawful authority in existence at this time and forever more; which is the authority of our eternal High Priest Jesus Christ.

The true and only existing Priesthood of God today is that of our High Priest Jesus Christ, and the called out have the potential to become priests of Christ forever in the coming Kingdom of God. All of us are in training to become priests forever in that spiritual priesthood of Jesus Christ [Melchizedek].

We are not to rely on apostate Christ rejecting, true priesthood rejecting, Rabbins; for our religion! We are to rely on the example and teachings of our Lord Jesus Christ and the whole body of scriptures that were inspired by HIM!

Sadly, today many would be like those Pharisees; and many do indeed bind heavy burdens on the brethren that they would not lift a finger to bear themselves. This varies in intensity by each group as do all these other condemnations.

23:5 But all their works they do for to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments,23:6 And love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues, 23:7 And greetings in the markets, and to be called of men, Rabbi, Rabbi.

Sound familiar? Just substitute the word “Mr”. or “Pope” or “father” or “padre” etc for Rabbi!

Oh how we love titles and the chief seats today.  Oh how many elders love to be greeted with fawning subservience and called by some title!

23:8 But be not ye called Rabbi [our religious master]: for one is your [religious master] Master, even Christ; and all ye [everyone in the Ekklesia are brothers including elders etc] are brethren. 23:9 And call no man your father [as a religious title] upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven. 23:10 Neither be ye called masters: for one is your Master, even Christ.

This is a condemnation of the love of position and titles!

It was always customary to call everyone brothers and sisters, including elders until the great apostasy.  Elders were introduced as elder ******, or brother ******; until Constantine and the Popes introduced layers of authority between the people and themselves; with the Pope between all others and God; with his Roman Catholic pyramid system, that Christ says he hates. 

Then Herbert Armstrong introduced this Babylonian Mystery Nicolaitane system into the church of God; which had until then called its elders Brother “name.” 

God’s government is NOT a pyramid; it is Family with the Father as the HEAD and the firstborn son as the second Head under the Father, and then the Husbands over their own families.

1 Ti 2:5 For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; 6Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.

The Roman Catholic idea of a pyramidal structure of layers of authority between men and God is an abomination to God. It is the job of ALL elders to focus all people on the Father and Christ: NEVER to COME BETWEEN the people and God; but to act as facilitators in helping men to focus DIRECTLY on their Father through their ONLY High Priest and Mediator; Jesus Christ!

1 Corinthians 11:3  But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.

We are to prove the words of ALL men, by the Word of Almighty God!  We are NOT to interpret God’s Word by the words of men; but to prove the words of men by the Word of Almighty God!

23:11 But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant.

We are all to desire to humbly and passionately serve our God and not to exalt ourselves. God will exalt or abase as HE sees fit.

23:12 And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.

23:13 But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in.

How? By paying lip-service to the law while making it of no effect by the traditions of men; and through compromise in its practical application; By making corporate idols and idols of men instead of faithfully putting God and His Word above all men, no matter what titles they claim.

23:14 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye devour widows’ houses, and for a pretence make long prayer: therefore ye shall receive the greater damnation.

Demanding money of poor widows, and then making a show of flowery prayer.

23:15 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves.

How? By teaching them to obey men, organizations and false traditions, instead of focusing them on repentance and a diligent passionate obedience to all of God’s words.

23:16 Woe unto you, ye blind guides, which say, Whosoever shall swear by the temple, it is nothing; but whosoever shall swear by the gold of the temple, he is a debtor! 23:17 Ye fools and blind: for whether is greater, the gold, or the temple that sanctifieth the gold? 23:18 And, Whosoever shall swear by the altar, it is nothing; but whosoever sweareth by the gift that is upon it, he is guilty.  23:19 Ye fools and blind: for whether is greater, the gift, or the altar that sanctifieth the gift? 23:20 Whoso therefore shall swear by the altar, sweareth by it, and by all things thereon.

Today’s corporate Ekklesia exalt mammon and numbers; above repentance, faith and obedience to God. 

23:21 And whoso shall swear by the temple, sweareth by it, and by him that dwelleth therein. 23:22 And he that shall swear by heaven, sweareth by the throne of God, and by him that sitteth thereon.

The important thing is NOT the numbers of responses, but the quality of the message!

The important thing is not the building [the organization] but serving and obeying the Eternal God on his throne, sitting in absolute authority over your deeds and very thoughts! and serving the God who shall most certainly judge us by our works; whether of faithful uncompromising obedience; or of compromising with HIS Word!

23:23 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.

Demanding every last cent that can be demanded or extorted, while ignoring and not rebuking sin, nor teaching repentance from evil doing, and expounding and exhorting faith, mercy and sound judgment founded on the basics of God’s word and commandments.

We are to be merciful to the poor in their needs; we are to be merciful to the repentant instead of condemning them for being over righteous!

We are to preach a message of warning and repentance and the mercy of God [the Father] or the sincerely repentant; who gave his only begotten son that sinners might be reconciled to Him [the Father].

23:24 Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel.

This is a figure of speech that simply means that we strain at the little unimportant things like money and numbers; and neglect the really important things like zeal for our God.

23:25 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess. 23:26 Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also.23:27 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness. 23:28 Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.

We have no business reaching out to the world, while we are full of sin inside ourselves and our organizations.

We need to clean up our own spiritual lives and get right with God. We need to rekindle our passionate zeal for God and his commandments; we need to get rid of those traditions not consistent with scripture; we need to start practicing what we preach, and to start setting a godly example instead of acting so shamefully.

We need to stop exalting men and organizations above God; we need to STOP equating loyalty to men, as being equal to loyalty to God. We need to repent and turn to our God with passionate enthusiastic consummate zeal; and then we need to begin to preach the Gospel of warning and repentance that Christ has commanded us to preach.

23:29 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! because ye build the tombs of the prophets, and garnish the sepulchres of the righteous, 23:30 And say, If we had been in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets.

We honour the prophets and ancient men of God, while persecuting those who are today filled with a similar zeal: Showing ourselves that we are no better than they which persecuted the saints of old.

23:31 Wherefore ye be witnesses unto yourselves, that ye are the children of them which killed the prophets.23:32 Fill ye up then the measure of your fathers.

Today the COG groups persecute the zealous for God as the ancients persecuted the prophets and holy men, and as the Pharisees persecuted Christ and his true faithful disciples. 

23:33 Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell? 23:34 Wherefore, behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: and some of them ye shall kill and crucify; and some of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues, and persecute them from city to city: 23:35 That upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar.

Those who do such things are likened to vipers who hide along the path waiting to strike the unwary. When a person goes to them with questions, they reason with them that they should not be zealous like the Mighty Men of God, but should be lukewarm like themselves, then make a note to persecute such zeal by calling the zealous Pharisaical, when it is they themselves who are Pharisaical; filled with zeal for their own groups and traditions, while being lukewarm and compromising with the Word of God.

Since Cain slew Abel, it has ever been thus; that the faithless and compromised; have always persecuted the faithful and zealous. Those who exalt the Lord their God; will face resistance from outside and from inside these organizations,

Such Philadelphian pillars should REJOICE at the persecution from Laodicea, because they have been given an opportunity to set an example, that their persecutors will later remember and be convicted by.

These pillars persecuted by Laodicea should REJOICE, for they are being tempered and tested to become pillars in the Temple of The Great God for all eternity. 

They that stand unshakable on the foundation of the Word of Almighty God; without turning, no matter what the stress; will be made fit by God to stand on that sure foundation of the Word of God as pillars, helping to hold up the entire family of God for all eternity!

23:36 Verily I say unto you, All these things shall come upon this generation.

These persecutions did come upon the saints by the religious establishment of that day, and have continued to this day.  They are now being fulfilled internally by the Laodicean COG Groups.

23:37 O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! 23:38 Behold, your house is left unto you desolate.

This is about the city, Jerusalem which persecuted the godly through history and is figuratively about the faithless who persecute the faithful today. Jesus Christ would have saved them, if only they would accept his deliverance and turn to him away from sin and compromise with the Father’s law.

Both Jerusalem and today’s faithless people, will be made desolate in the tribulation; it is then that they will repent and turn to the ONLY one that can truly save!

23:39 For I say unto you, Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.

When you see Christ come, Jerusalem, and all those who persecuted the saints; will be in a humbled and repentant attitude, and will no longer reject Christ and the teachings of  the whole Word of God; instead they shall Shout for Joy at his appearance; crying out “Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord”!

Philadelphia and Laodicea

Jesus illustrated the difference between a Philadelphian and a Laodicean the difference between a holy attitude and a profane and unacceptable attitude in this parable.

These prayers are not just words, they reveal the attitude of the person praying, for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. 

Luk 18:8   And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others:

10 Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee [Laodicean], and the other a publican [Philadelphian].

11 The Pharisee [Laodicean] stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.

12 I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.

13 And the publican [Sincerely repentant sinner; Philadelphian], standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.

14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.

Today the true Philadelphian pillars are scattered throughout the Ekklesia, which are overwhelmingly Laodicea.

Oh, how we Laodiceans exalt ourselves to live by our own false traditions and reject any true humble passion for our Mighty One who could deliver us!  Proud and thinking ourselves rich in spiritual things,  thinking we know  it all: We have become spiritually dead, apostate from our Master. 

 

Conclusion 

The various church attitudes may have dominated at various historical tines, but the seven churches also each existed at the same time and each one is an instructional example for us in these last days. 

Today like Ephesus, we have lost the passionate zeal of our first love for truth and godliness and the whole Word of God.

Today like Smyrna, there are some who are faithful to God and God’s Word and suffer much persecution.

Today like Pergamos,  there are some who have not denied the authority of God and the scriptures and yet tolerate Nicolaitane bullying.

Today like Thyatira, there are those who are full of good works, but in their zeal to good to their neighbor have lost sight of their obligations to God. 

As a bride our first duty is to our Husband and good works to others is second.  Many unconverted people are also full of good works towards humanity and do not obey God; how are we different from them if we are also full of good works for humanity and forget our LORD?

We should be filled with good works towards men; while not forgetting to put our LORD first in our lives.  What say you?  If a bride put her personal charitable works ahead of her love and obedience to her husband?  It is a very good thing to do good works for people, but such good works should not overtake our zeal for our LORD!

Today like Sardis, the overwhelming attitude in the  Ekklesia is largely spiritually dead, having no fire of zeal to keep the Word of our LORD. 

Today like Philadelphia, there are some faithful standing on the foundation of the whole Word of God; who are scattered as pillars throughout the various assemblies and standing alone.  In a very short time now God’s two will call for the faithful to gather together and leave for the place that God has prepared; the faithful pillars will respond to God’s call while the others will not, thus separating out the faithful from the others. 

Today like Laodicea, the Ekklesia is overwhelmingly proud, arrogant and unteachable by God.  They reject large parts of God’s Word and very much truth to follow their idols of men and false traditions. The only way to save them from certain eternal death is to afflict the flesh to humble them that the spirit might be saved.

 

 

 

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