Revelation: The Seven Messianic Communities

Warning:  This is LONG!

Growing up near Philadelphia, I always thought the Church at Philadelphia was my church and that God talked directly to me through the words to that church.  I hung on every sentence even though I was only ten years old and really didn’t understand what I was reading.   I had no idea that the churches were in Asia Minor, Greece or wherever.  Philadelphia was MY church.  I told friends about ‘my church’ whenever the opportunity arose.  Several years ago, God allowed me  to attend a Messianic congregation in Philadelphia on the Feast of Trumpets.  It was  a desire of my heart fulfilled and I cherished every moment.

I also had no idea as a child that each representation of Messiah, the condition of the congregation, the correction and the reward for overcoming had anything at all to do with the Jewish/Hebrew root of Scripture.  As a child, I  was still asking my parents the difficult question of “Where are all the Jewish people in church?”  The reply always was,  “You can’t be Jewish and go to church.”  That answer never made sense to me.

It is important to remember when reading Revelation that the only Scriptures available at the time were the Hebrew Scriptures – Torah, Prophets, and Writings.   Even Revelation didn’t exist as John was being the scribe.   Everything that Yeshua warns each of the congregations about was found throughout the Hebrew Scriptures, especially the Prophets.  To interpret Revelation without the entire Word of God would be to miss the importance of the messages given to the angels who guarded the first century Messianic congregations in Asia Minor.

At the time of John’s revelation from Yeshua, non-Jewish believers had joined the Jewish believers in congregations and were known as the commonwealth of Israel.  These congregations lived a Biblical lifestyle that included Sabbath, New Moons, Appointed Times, dietary commands as well as all of the other Torah instructions that were highlighted at the Council of Jerusalem.  The messages from the Messiah 2000 years ago still have much to say to the Messianic congregations/ Christian communities that exist around the world today.

Alone on an Island

Revelation begins with the Jewish apostle John on an island called Patmos.  At that time, there was no “Christianity” and he had been exiled from Israel because of his testimony to the Word of God and faith in Yeshua just as Yeshua said would happen.

As John sat there waiting to leave this world for the next, he had an encounter with Yeshua through the Spirit.  This encounter took him to the end of times, the Millennial Reign of  Messiah as King, and into the new heavens and new earth.  What comfort it must have been for him to know and see that all prophecy was going to be fulfilled.  What an honor it must have been to be given the privilege of writing down the revelation for those who would live in times of The Day of the LORD.

John says that he was in the Spirit on the ‘day of the Lord.’  So often this is misinterpreted as “Sunday.”  This cannot be the case for several reasons.   Sunday worship had not begun yet and only became the new day of worship when Constantine merged pagan ‘sun god‘ worship with his brand of ‘Christianity.‘  Sunday worship was then fully instituted by the Roman catholic church and has been embraced by every denomination since that time.

Though there are mentions in the writings of Paul regarding the ‘first day of the week,‘  none of the verses ever state that the Sabbath was changed by God, Yeshua or the Apostles.  Meeting on the ‘first day of the week’ in Acts 20:7 is in the evening as there were lamps lit.  The ‘first day of the week’ began at sunset on the Sabbath/Saturday.  As was the custom, after resting on the Sabbath, people would come together to share a meal or ‘break bread.’  The other mention of the ‘first day of the week’ is found in 1 Corinthians 16:2 and mentions putting aside money on the ‘first day of the week’ so when Paul comes a collection would not need to be taken.  In its context, money was never dealt with on the Sabbath because one of the commands regarding Sabbath was ‘no buying or selling’.  Jewish people did their financial activities after the Sabbath; not on the Sabbath.  Money collection still is not done on the Sabbath in a synagogue or Messianic congregation today.

There is no Biblical evidence supporting  that the early church remembered the Resurrection of Messiah on the the first day of the week.  Though it’s a nice idea, it’s not in Scripture.  The Resurrection was to be remembered and celebrated on the Appointed Day called Feast of First Fruits.   Paul speaks of this festival in 1 Corinthians 15:20-23 calling Yeshua the firstfruits of those raised from the dead.

If one still wanted to believe the ‘day of the Lord’ was a specific day of the week, it would seem obvious that it would be the seventh-day Sabbath.  Yeshua said that he was “Lord of the Sabbath” in Mark 4 while it was still being honored as commanded on the seventh day.  Thus, if “the Lord’s Day” is the day of which Yeshua is Lord, then it would have been the Biblical Sabbath.

In actuality, the ‘Day of the Lord’ is the time period of God’s judgment of earth and mankind.  Several prophets describe this ‘day’ quite clearly.  Without searching the Hebrew Scriptures for explanations of concepts, ideas and prophecies, it is easy to create new ones.    The ‘day of the Lord’ is not a day of joy, a memorial to the resurrection of Messiah, nor is it a day to wish someone a good or happy Lord’s Day unless you are wanting them to look  forward to a period of destruction unparalleled since the beginning of time.  The ‘Lord’s Day” is Yahweh’s day of judgment.

“Wail, for the day of the LORD is near; it will come like destruction from the Almighty.  …See, the day of the Lord is coming – a cruel day, with wrath and fierce anger – to make the land desolate and destroy the sinners within it” (Isaiah 13:6, 9).

“For the day is near, the day of the LORD is near – a day of clouds, a time of doom for the nations” (Ezekiel 30:3).

“Woe to you who long for the day of the LORD!  Why do you long for the day of the LORD?  That day will be darkness, not light” (Amos 5:18).

“Blow the trumpet in Zion; sound the alarm on my holy hill.  Let all who live in the land tremple, for the day of the LORD is coming.  It is close at hand … (Joel 2:1).

The Trumpet

When John is taken in the Spirit to have a vision regarding The Day of the Lord,  he hears a voice like a trumpet  that tells him to write down all the things that he hears.    In the Appointed Times set by God, the next festival to be fulfilled by Yeshua is the Feast of Trumpets.  It is my conviction that this is the trumpet blast that John hears.

The Feast of Trumpets also begins what is known as the ‘Days of Awe’ before the final Day of Atonement.  These ‘Days of Awe’ are for preparing oneself for standing before the throne of God when books are opened, every deed we have done is revealed, and final judgement is rendered.  The letters to the congregations include commendations, warnings and rewards. This could suggest that the messages are given on the Feast of Trumpets as Yeshua’s way to direct His people to prepare spiritually, not physically, for the coming “Days of Awe”.

Yeshua appears to John in his glorified body in the middle of seven menorahs.   He wears a robe down to his feet and a gold band around his chest.  His hair and head are as white as wool, his eyes like a fiery flame, his feet like burnished brass refined in a furnace. His voice sounds like rushing waters  and is face like the sun shining in full strength.    He holds seven stars in his right hand and out of his mouth went a sharp double-edged sword.

John had a normal human reaction to seeing the glorified Yeshua dressed as a High Priest.   He fell down at his feet like a dead man, but Yeshua told him not to be afraid.  It is interesting to note that Yeshua does not want John to be afraid.  Often times when people read Revelation, they are filled with fear.   This is not something Yeshua desires from his servants.  If John was going to be afraid of seeing Yeshua, how could Yeshua show him all that needed to be revealed in the heavens, on the earth, and under the earth?

Yeshua explains he is the beginning and the end, the alef and the tau (A and the Z).   He was dead,  but now he is alive forever and ever and has the keys to death and Sh’ol (Hades).

John would have immediately understood the letters spoken by Yeshua as the alef and tau are the first and last letters of the Hebrew alphabet.  In Hebrew, letters have word pictures attached to them.  When the Ten Commandments were given to Moses, they were written out with Hebrew letters not Roman numerals.    The first commandment was “I am YHVH your God … you are to have no other gods before me.”  It was represented by an alef – א. The alef is a picture of a bull’s horns which means first and foremost.  Tau looks somewhat like an ‘x’ and signifies a sign – ת.   In essence Yeshua is telling John, “I am the sign of Yahweh your God.”  The את (et) also occurs together in the Scriptures at random places with no definite meaning.  Yeshua is revealing to John that He is the meaning, purpose, and visual of those letters: את.

Yeshua interprets the seven stars as the seven angels that guard and protect the Messianic communities.   He explains that the seven menorahs are the seven Messianic communities.  Each of them shines as a menorah; each of them has spiritual protection and guidance.

The letters which follow are not written directly to the individual community, but to the angel or messenger that was the overseer.

Ephesus

Yeshua begins with the Messianic Community in Ephesus.  Ephesus was a Greek city that eventually became Roman.  It was known for its Temple to Artemis which was one of the seven wonders of the ancient world.  Acts 19 recounts Paul’s visit to Ephesus and his encounter with people who worshipped the goddess Artemis.

To the angel over Ephesus, Yeshua describes Himself as the ‘one who holds the seven stars in his right hand and walks among the seven gold menorahs.’  Immediately, John knows that the first message begins.  He has already been given the symbolism to the stars and the menorahs and records what he hears.

A menorah is a seven-branched lampstand.  The original menorah made for the Tabernacle in the wilderness was made of hammered  burnished bronze.  No dimensions were given to Moses for making it as it was created from his memory.  It was a shadow of the one in heaven that he was shown on the mountain.    Its gave light in the Most Holy Place.  Yeshua walks among the menorahs because He is the one who gives Light to the congregations.  Without Him, there can be no true light in the darkness (John 1:9).

Yeshua knows that the Messianic believers in Ephesians are hard working.  They persevere, they don’t grow weary.  They hate wickedness and those who lie to them.    Yet, they have lost their first love, fallen and turned to sin.  Sin is defined by John as breaking God’s commandments or being lawless and without Torah (1 John 3:4).  Yeshua, being his Father’s Son, taught the Torah commands which were all about love.   The first and greatest commandment is about love for the Father.

“Yeshua replied, ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.” 

Yeshua also said, “If you love me, you will obey my commandments and I will ask the Father, and he will give you another comforting Counselor like me, the Spirit of Truth, to be with you forever” (John 14:15-16).

Could it be that the Ephesians lost their love for the Father and then the Messiah Himself?  Without that love, their light would not just be dull, but would be darkness.

Paul’s letter to the Ephesians is full of hope, love and encouragement.  He writes about their inheritance and standing in the heavenly realm.   It is to the Ephesians that he explains  how gentiles became part of the commonwealth of Israel and are being built into a holy, spiritual temple.  It is to the Ephesians that he compares marriage to the relationship between Messiah and the body of believers.  It is to the Ephesians that he writes that their salvation is in their faith, not their works.  Yet, Yeshua knows their works, but no longer sees their love.

The judgment upon this community of believers and their sin is the removal of their menorah.  If they don’t repent and return to loving Yeshua with all their hearts, minds and souls,  they will be left in darkness.  Without the light of the menorah, they will no longer be a light to the nations and fellowship with the other Messianic congregations will be snuffed out.

There is a reward for the overcomer in Ephesus as Yeshua gives rewards when he returns (Revelation 22:12).    They will get to eat from the Tree of Life in the new heavens and new earth.  This means that the overcomer will once again be allowed into the Garden of Eden where there  will be a total restoration of all things.   They will enter into the eternal Sabbath of rest and blessing.

Two interesting concepts are presented by Yeshua to the Ephesian congregation.  The first one is the Nicolaitans.  People have different ideas as to what this means, but I’m going to take it at face value with its definition in Greek.   Nico means ‘conquer’, and laitan refers to ‘lay people’.  As I studied some Greek in college and how words are put together, this would mean “those who conquer the lay people” or “victorious over the people.”  Nicolaitans implies a hierarchy of people – those who rule and those who submit.

Yeshua does not like this hierarchy because He is to be the Shepherd over the sheep; the King over his kingdom, the Priest over the priesthood, the Bridegroom over the Bride.     Today’s churches have received their religious roots from the Roman catholic church and have their hierarchy of priests and lay people or pastors and lay people.   ‘Conquering the people’ means that when a lay person reads their Bible, if they even have one,  and sees a Truth, the ‘conqueror’ quenches that Truth in order to keep control and victory over the people.  This is seen today in the numbers of people who warm church pews and no longer read the Scriptures for themselves and depend on a pastor’s interpretation.    If and when they do read their Bibles and desire to return to obeying the Word, their pastors consider them  contentious and divisive and unwilling to submit to authority.

The second interesting concept that Yeshua uses is overcomer.  In Genesis 32:28 Jacob wrestles with an angel of God.  Eventually, the angel touches Jacob’s hip and dislocates it.  Jacob continues to wrestle the angel until he requests a blessing.  “Then the man said, ‘From now on, you will no longer be called Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and men and have overcome” (NIV).  An overcomer struggles with God and with men,  but when he has victory can be called, like Jacob, Israel. 

As mentioned above, it is the congregation at Ephesus that Paul explains how the foreigner who was estranged from national life in Israel has been brought near to the commonwealth of Israel through the blood of Messiah.  They are no longer strangers, but fellow-citizens with God’s people, Israel, and the dividing wall is removed. These foreigners  are overcomers!

Ephesus has works without love, needs to repent from their sin of breaking commandments, and overcome so they can eat from the Tree of Life.

“How blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they have the right to eat from the Tree of Life and go through the gates into the city!” (Revelation 22:14).

Smyrna

The next messenger guards Smyrna.  Smyrna is the ancient Greek word for myrrh.  As an essential oil, it has healing qualities for the skin.  It was located on the Aegean coast of Anatolia where it could defend itself easily and is known today as Izmir in modern-day Turkey.

Yeshua reveals himself to the angel as “the first and the last, who died and came alive again.”  Again, there would have been the immediate understanding of “I am the sign of Yahweh” with the ‘first and last’ reference.    It is for the encouragement and hope of those in Smyrna that Yeshua refers to Himself as the one who died but came to life again because they are going to face martrydom.

“I am the resurrection and the life.  He who believes in me will live, even though he dies …” (John 11:25).

The condition of the congregation in Smyrna is one of suffering and poverty.  They are insulted by those who call themselves Jews but are not.  Yeshua calls these false Jews members of the synagogue of the Adversary.

There are several considerations about those who refer to themselves as Jews, but are not.  In the flesh, DNA is what determines true Jewish descent.   A literal DNA Jew descended from the Tribe of Judah just as did Messiah.  Jew, however,  became the common name for those who followed the Torah without regard to tribal ancestry.   In his letters (i.e. Galatia), Paul referred to a Jew as the ‘circumcision group’ and the gentile the ‘non-circumcision’ group – never specifically referred to the act of cutting the flesh, but referring to people who were Jewish or non-Jewish.

Paul defines a true Jew in Romans 2:27-29.  “For the real Jew is not merely Jewish outwardly: true circumcision is not only external and physical.  On the contrary, the real Jew is one inwardly; and true circumcision is of the heart, spiritual not literal; so that his praise comes not from other people but from God.”  Paul’s definition of ‘true Jew’ works for the person of the ‘circumcision group’ who has faith in Messiah as well as the person of the ‘un-circumcision group’ who has faith in the Jewish DNA Messiah.  Both have  circumcision of the heart (Deuteronomy 30:6) and both praise the God of Israel together.

Using these definitions of Jew, there must be some people in Smyrna who are either not from the Tribe of Judah saying they are or teaching against the Torah given to Israel.   It could even be that there are converted gentiles to Judaism legally known as Jews insulting those non-Jews who refuse to convert to Judaism through the ritual conversion of circumcision.  Whatever the scenario, Yeshua calls the liars,  ‘Synagogue of Satan”.   Why?

The testimony of Yeshua to the world is Jew and non-Jew worshipping together – one new man in Messiah.     If all men converted to Judaism through ritual circumcision, then the message of salvation that was to be for nations would be perverted and eventually lost.  Today, the converse is true.  Gentiles make Jews convert to Christianity so that the witness of the two is also perverted and lost. Whatever the situation in Smyrna, literal flesh circumcision is not the issue, but people claiming to be something they are not.

Yeshua has no corrections for the congregation at Smyrna because they are going to suffer at the hands of the Adversary.  They will be tested ‘for ten days’,  thrown into prison and face death as martyrs.  The number ten is generally a reference to a ‘time of testing’, however, remember above the reference to the “Days of Awe”?  Well, the “Days of Awe’ from Feast of Trumpets to Day of Atonement last ten days and it’s a time of great testing of one’s soul.  Through their faithfulness during this time of testing,  they will receive the Crown of Life and the second death will not hurt them.

James describes those who will receive the Crown of Life.    “Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him” (James 1:10).  Smyrna does not have the same love deficiency that Ephesus had because the Crown of Life is promised to those who love God.  They respond to God’s love with faithfulness even to the point of death.

The second death is found in Revelation 20.  After the first resurrection, at the beginning of the Millennial Kingdom of Messiah, those who were martyred for their testimony are brought to life to reign with Yeshua for 1000 years.  Once resurrected, the second death into the lake of burning fire at the final judgment,  has no power over them.

Smyrna experiences a lot of persecution and faces martrydom at the hands of false Jews who lie and persecute them.   Their reward for their faithfulness is being resurrected to rule reign with the High Priest, Yeshua in the Millennial Kingdom.

“…And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for testifying about Yeshua and proclaiming the Word of God, also those who had not worshipped the beast or its image and had not received the mark on their foreheads and on their hands.  They came to life and ruled with the Messiah for a thousand years.  … This is the first resurrection.  Blessed and holy is anyone who has a part in the first resurrection; over him the second death has no power.  On the contrary, they will be cohanim (priests)  of God and of the Messiah, and they will rule with him for the thousand years” (Revelation 20:4-6).

Pergamum

The next angel to receive a message is the overseer for the congregation in Pergamum.  Pergamum was another ancient Greek city located in Asia Minor some miles inland from the Aegean Sea.  This city had multiple shrines for the worship of gods/goddesses such as Athena and Dionysus.    The most notable god was Zeus.  There was a Great Altar that partially remains today on the Acropolis; the other part is in a museum in Germany. Zeus was also worshipped in Lystra (Acts 14:14).

Yeshua refers to Himself as the “one who has the sharp double-edged sword.”  The double-edged sword is a description of the Word of God and how it judges the thoughts and attitudes of our hearts.

“For the word of God is living and active.  Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart” (Hebrews 4:2).

The sword is also part of the armor or God when fighting the deceptive tactics of the Adversary (Ephesians 6:11,17).  It is important for those in Pergamum to have this sword because Yeshua states that Pergamum is where the Adversary has his throne.  The Adversary is known for lying, deceiving, killing and destroying.  Therefore knowing and using the Word of God (Torah) is essential for correction, rebuke, teaching and training in righteousness (2 Tim. 3:16).

The believers in Pergamum are commended for holding onto Yeshua’s name (Proverbs 30:4).  One of the things the ‘Adversary’ has accomplished is change the Hebrew name of Yeshua to a Greek/English name, Jesus.   There are some people who even go so far as to claim that the name Jesus came from Zeus.  Whether or not this is true, it must have been difficult for those in Pergamum to speak the Hebrew name of the Jewish Yeshua.  As his name set people free from demons and the worship of other gods, it also brought the prospect of death.   This congregation watched a faithful man named Antipas die “where the Adversary lives.”  According to Wikipedia,  Antipas was martyred because he burned a bronze bull-shaped altar used for casting out demons worshipped by the local population.

The faithful in  Pergamum understood the words of Yeshua: “Whoever acknowledges me in the presence of others I will also acknowledge in the presence of my Father in heaven.  But whoever disowns me before others I will disown before my Father in heaven” (Matthew 10:33).  They remained firm in the name of Yeshua and never denied who he is, was, and will be.

However, there were some in Pergamum who held to the teachings of Baalam who taught Balak to set a trap for the Israelites.  This trap caused them to eat food sacrificed to idols (idolatry) and led them into sexual immorality.

Balak was the King of Midian (northwest Arabian peninsula on the east shore of the Gulf of Aqaba on the Red Sea).  He called on Baalam, a diviner, to curse Israel.  Diviners were considered an abomination to God (Deuteronomy 18:12), but that didn’t stop Balak.  Yahweh had told Israel not to harass the Midianites because of their previous hospitality,  but King Balak decided not to take chances.  Baalam was reluctant to do Balak’s bidding because as he told the King, he could only curse according to the will of God.   Baalam tried three times to curse the Israelites and each time Yahweh blessed His people.  God wanted Baalam’s attention so desperately that he had a donkey speak to him and an angel block his path.  The lesson learned through King Balak and Baalam: Cursing, deceiving and destroying Israel is not the will of Yahweh (Genesis 12:2).

Pergamum also had Nicolaitans and needed to repent of this hierarchical sin.

The judgement against Pergamum would come with a serious correction through Yeshua’s mouth.  The two-edged sword will begin a war with those who curse Israel.  The sword will judge the thoughts and attitudes of the hearts toward the very Word of God and His commandments.  It will not be allowed to cause deception;  it will convict and separate spirit and soul; flesh and marrow.

One reward for the overcomer (Israel) is to receive ‘hidden manna’.  Manna from the wilderness was hidden in a jar in the Ark of the Testimony in the Holy of Holies.  It was kept as evidence of God’s physical provision for the Israelites.  One interpretation of the ‘hidden manna’ is spiritual nourishment from the Word.   The Hebrew Scriptures are full of treasures, old and new (Matthew 13:52).     It is not to be watered down, ignored, changed, or revised because it is misunderstood or doesn’t fit into today’s world.  It is to be kept, guarded and protected because it holds the very words for life (Deuteronomy 8:3, Matthew 4:4) that transform hearts and minds (Romans 11:1).

Another interpretation regarding ‘hidden manna’  is found in John 6.  Yeshua reveals Himself to be the ‘bread that came down from heaven’.   If a man eats  the ‘bread of life’, he will not die like the Israelites in the wilderness, but will receive eternal life and some of the ‘hidden manna.’  For those in Pergamum who held onto Yeshua’s name and didn’t keep it ‘hidden’, they would receive him as their reward.

Another reward for the overcomer (Israel) is a white stone with a new name on it.  In those days, a white stone would be given to the victor of a race.  We are running a race toward a goal, a finish line of complete salvation.  Our race is only hindered by an unwillingness to remove the sin in our lives, but the victor gets the prize – a white stone.

“…Let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us” (Hebrews 12:1).

“Do you not know that in a race all run, but only one gets the prize.  Run in such a way as to get the prize” (1 Corinthians 9:24, Philippians 3:14).

The white stone was also be given by the host of a great banquet as an invitation for a special guest.  On the stone would be the name and/or the message directed only for that guest.   The Wedding Feast of the Lamb in the coming Kingdom is near.   The Father will invite  guests to His feast (Luke 14). These special guests could receive a white stone with their new name and a special invitation.

“Moreover, I tell you that many will come from the east and from the west to take their places at the feast in the Kingdom of Heaven with Avraham, Yitz’chak and Ya’akov” (Matthew 8:11).

Pergamum’s battle is with the Adversary’s hatred of Israel.  Just like Baalam and Balak, there are those today who distort the Word of God. Followers of the Messiah of Israel who choose to obey the Torah of God are called Judaizers or mocked as a Jew.  Yet,  according to the Council in Jerusalem in Acts 15, sexual immorality and eating food sacrificed to idos were two of the requirements that pagans were to leave behind as they became part of the commonwealth of Israel.  Denying them or worse, saying they were removed by Jesus on the cross, is nothing more than wanting to hang on to pagan practices and polluting the Body of Messiah.   Those in Pergamum who overcome (Israel), will be nourished through the Word of God and receive a special invitation on a white stone to the Wedding Feast of the Lamb.

“How blessed are those who have been invited to the wedding feast of the Lamb!” (Revelation 20:9).

Thyatira

The next message that John records is for the angel watching the congregation in Thyatira. This city was named after the Greek goddess “Pelopia.    It is located south of modern-day Istanbul (aka Constantiople named after Constantine).  A worshipper of God named Lydia who sold purple cloth was from Thyatira.  When she heard Paul’s message of salvation, the Lord opened her heart.   She was so full of joy that she invited Paul and Silas to her home (Acts 16:14-15).

Yeshua reveals Himself to this congregation as ‘the Son of God’  with quite the description of Himself – the visible image of the invisible God (Colossians 2:14).  His  eyes are a fiery flame and his  feet are burnished brass.  With his fiery eyes, he searches minds and hearts and gives to each person what they deserve.

“For we must all appear before the Messiah’s court of judgment, where everyone will receive the good or bad consequences of what he did while he was in the body.(1 Corinthians 5:10).

This is a challenging concept for those who do not believe that Yeshua will judge his followers.  It’s not about salvation through justification, but about rewards in glory.    We are accountable in this life for the things we do or don’t do and how we build on the foundation we are given.

Paul describes this judgment of Yeshua’s fiery eyes in 1 Corinthians 3:13: “If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, his work will be shown for what it is because the Day [of the LORD] will bring it to light.  It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man’s work.  If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward.  If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames.”  

The condition of the believers in Thyatira is for the most part commendable.  They have love, faith, service and perseverance.  They continue to grow and do more as time passes.  However, they tolerate a woman known as Jezebel.  She is a false prophetess leads God’s people back into pagan practices:  sexual immorality and eating food sacrificed to idols (idolatry).  Yeshua states that he has dealt with her personally and has given her time to repent, but she has refused.  He will judge her by throwing her onto a sickbed.  Those who commit [spiritual] adultery with her will have great trouble.  He even goes so far as to say that he will strike “her children dead!”  

The account of Jezebel is found in the Book of Kings.  She was married to Ahab who was the King of northern Israel.    He was a weak king and being a very strong woman, took authority over her husband and his kingdom.   She allowed temples for Baal to operate in northern Israel.  Most tof the accounts of her activities show that she had no character or morality.  She had her husband steal Nahab’s vineyard and kill him and had many of Israel’s prophets murdered.   It is Elijah who faces 450 prophets of Baal and begins a competition to see whose God is greater and more powerful (1 Kings 18).   The God of Israel proves more powerful; Elijah and Jezebel become enemies. After the death of Ahab, Jehu is anointed by Elisha to overthrow the house of Ahab and to confront Jezebel.  She eventually dies by falling from a balcony and her body is eaten by dogs.

Jezebel is called a false prophetess because she is involved in the occult.  According to Yeshua, she knows “Satan’s deep secrets”.  She is also called an adulteress and those who follow her false prophecies and teachings commit spiritual adultery with her.

Yeshua knows Jezebel’s ways and states the consequences for those who ‘commit adultery’ with her.  The children produced from the adulterous practices will die.   Whether this is a literal or spiritual adultery, literal or spiritual children,  the consequences of having a relationship with her are severe: a bed of suffering, trouble and dead children.

In this physical world, sexual immorality – fornication (sex before and outside of marriage), adultery and homosexuality –  causes much suffering.   Fornication brings with it sexually transmitted diseases and the abortion of  millions of children.   Adultery causes suffering in marriages destroying families and splintering the lives of children.  Homosexuality has brought AIDS which causes incredible suffering within the human body, mind and soul.  Homosexuals now raise children.  The consequences of homosexual parenting remains to be seen, but it will bring  suffering both spiritually and physically.

To be thrown onto a bed of suffering suggests the the ‘lake of fire that burns with sulfur’ which is the second death or a complete spiritual death. Spiritual death is eternal without recovery or restoration. It is the final judgment for the Adversary, the beast and the false prophet and those that following in their ways which includes Jezebel.

Yeshua knows that fighting against the woman Jezebel is oppressive.  It is so encumbering to those in Thyatira that he adds nothing more to their burden.    He only asks of those who have not fornicated themselves with Jezebel to ‘hold fast to what you have until I come.” 

The reward for those who overcome (Israel) will be the authority to rule over the nations.  Their authority will be true authority and not usurped through a demonic spirit.  They will rule with an iron staff and crush the nations to pieces like pottery suggesting that their rule will not be an easy one, but they will have victory  because they held fast and overcame the ‘spirit of Jezebel’.

They will also be given the morning star.  According to Peter, there is a true prophetic Word that is like a shining light and not a false word.   It is important to discern true prophets of God who give light to the people of God and put to death the false ones who destroy the people of God.

“Yes we have the prophetic Word made very certain.  You will do well to pay attention to a light shining in a dark, murky place, until the Day [of the LORD] dawns and the Morning Star rises in your hearts” (2 Peter 1:19).

Thyatira has to deal with the Jezebel spirit that leads people into physical or spiritual adultery or both.   The battle is so difficult that Yeshua tells  those who do not fall prey to her ‘deep satanic secrets’  to hold on to what they already have.  The overcomer (Israel) will be given true authority to rule with Messiah in the Millennial Kingdom and will receive the Morning Star, the true light of Messiah that shines in the darkness.

“Outside [the gates to the New Jerusalem] are the homosexuals, those who misuse drugs in connection with the occult, the sexually immoral, murderers, idol-worshippers and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.  I, Yeshua, have sent my angel to give you this testimony for the Messianic communities.  I am the Root and Offspring of David, the bright Morning Star” (Revelation 22:14-16).

Sardis

Another letter is sent to the angel watching over Sardis.  Sardis which sat at the foot of Mt. Tmolus was once an important city of the Persian Empire, modern-day Iraq.  It had a strong military presence and was on the major highway leading from the interior of the Aegean coast to the fertile plains.

Yeshua reveals himself as the one who “has the sevenfold Spirit of God and the seven stars.”  He has already explained that the seven stars are the seven angels watching over the congregations. This is spoken as a witness that he is the one giving the message, not an angel (Galatians 1:8).

The sevenfold Spirit of God  is found in Isaiah 11:1-2, “But a branch will emerge from the trunk of Yishai [Jesse], a shoot will grow from his roots.  The Spirit of YHVH will rest on him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and power, the Spirit of knowledge and fearing YHVH – he will be inspired by fearing YHVH.”  

The condition of the congregation in Sardis is one of having a reputation of being alive, but really they are dead.  Yeshua tells them to strengthen what little they still have or it will die too.   They are missing the Spirit of God which gives life (John 6:6, Romans 8:11).

Yeshua tells Sardis to “Wake Up!”  These are penetrating words to those who are sleeping!  The Sardis congregation are sleep-walkers and either know it or aren’t aware of their complacency.    If they don’t WAKE UP,  Yeshua will come like a thief and they won’t know the moment that he comes.

“Get up sleeper!  Arise from the dead, and the Messiah will shine on you!” (Ephesians 5:14).

In Matthew 25 there is the account of ten bridesmaids.  The bridegroom is a long time in coming and they all fall asleep.  Only five of them, when they hear the voice of the bridegroom, are ready with oil in their lamps and go with him into the wedding banquet.  The ten were all virgin bridesmaids, but five were not ready and the bridegroom came like a thief in the night leaving them behind (1 Thessalonians 5:1-2).

“Therefore keep watch because you do not know the day or the hour” (Matthew 25:13).

In the beginning of this article, I wrote that the next ‘appointed time’ to be fulfilled is the Feast of Trumpets.  There are types and shadows within this feast that suggest the snatching away of the five ready bridesmaids may occur at this time.  One of the Hebrew idioms for the Feast of Trumpets is ‘no one knows the day or the hour’ because the festival fell on a new moon festival and only the high priest determined the exact moment when the festival would begin.  At some point, our High Priest, Yeshua, will have the trumpet sound and call his ready and prepared Bride to himself (1 Thessalonians 5).  The people in Sardis have been given a warning to WAKE UP, trim their wicks and get oil in their lamps!

Yeshua also says that the works of the people in Sardis are incomplete in God’s sight.  This also suggests that they have lamps, but no oil; faith but no actions.  They seem to have forgotten what they received and heard and no longer obey the gospel message (2 Thessalonians 1:8).  The result is a spiritual complacency or deadness.    They lack wisdom, understanding, counsel, power, knowledge and fear of the Lord.  Yeshua likens all of these incomplete works to soiled clothing or spotted gowns.

“So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this (new heaven and new earth), make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him” (2 Peter 3:14).

Over the years, more and more people are content with believing they are ‘not under the law’ and have removed one half of the Bible from their teachings and instructions.   This neglect has led millions of sincere believers into lives of sin and disobedience.  An increasing amount of people believe that Jesus did everything for them and there’s nothing more they must do except sit and wait for his return.  This is contrary to what Yeshua says to the people in Sardis.  They are to remember what they heard and obey it by living it out through the Spirit.    If there were nothing to obey, no rules or Torah commands, then this would be a foolish correction on Messiah’s part.   Peter confirms that the gospel is more than just a belief system allows people to sleep in their pews; it’s about remembering, hearing, obeying, and repenting in order to have victorious vibrant lives.

“For it is time for judgment to begin with the family of God; if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God” (1 Peter 4:17).

There are those followers of Messiah in Sardis who have not soiled their gowns in sin and disobedience.    They will walk with Yeshua clothed in white, because they are worthy.   Those who win the victory will also receive white robes (Revelation 7:9-14). To those who overcome, their name will never be blotted out of the Book of Life. They will be personally acknowledged before the Father.

Many believe in ‘eternal security’, however, this does not seem to be the case according to Yeshua.    Those who have spotted gowns due to disobedience may have their names blotted out of the Book of Life.  They will face the darkness where there is weeping and gnashing of  their teeth – the place of greatest regret.

Moses understood there was a Book of Life.   He was willing to take upon himself the sins of Israel because he had been called as an intercessor for the people.  What an amazing statement about Moses’ heart for God and his love for Israel!    “But now, please forgive their sin – but if not, then blot me out of the book you have written” (Exodus 32:32).   The only way for a believer in Messiah to have eternal security is to walk in faith and  obedience by the Spirit to what has been taught in the Scriptures by Yeshua, the Prophets and Apostles (Ephesians 2:20).

Sardis was not a living body.  It was dead and needed to WAKE UP or lose the eternal reward of being dressed in white.   The overcomer (Israel)  will be able to stand before the throne of God on the final Day of Atonement to find his name written in the Book of Life.   He would then hear Yeshua calling him by name in front of his Father  saying, “Well done good and faithful servant” (Matthew 25:21-24).

“I saw no Temple in the city … the gates will will never close, they stay open all day because night will not exist there, and the honor and splendor of the nations will be brought into it.  Nothing impure may enter it, nor anyone who does shameful things or lies; the only ones who may enter are those whose names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life” (Revelation 21:22-27).

Philadelphia

Philadelphia is another city in Asia Minor also known as Alasehir.  It means the “City of Brotherly Love” and was  located in the Aegean region of Turkey.

To the angel of Philaelphia, Yeshua is the one with the message of the HaKodesh [the Spirit], the True One, the one who has the key of David.”  This key opens a door that cannot be shut and shuts a door that cannot be opened.  The same key of David is referred to in Isaiah 22:22, “I will place the key of David’s house on his [Yeshua’s] shoulder; no one will shut what he opens; no one will open what he shuts.” 

Yeshua is the one who holds the the key of David because he is the “Root and Offspring of David.”    David, who was from the lineage of Judah, was promised an eternal kingdom or ‘house’.    This eternal kingdom comes only through the Lion of the Tribe of Judah, Yeshua.   It is only Yeshua who can open or close the door to the kingdom because only he has the key!

Yeshua’s message is from the Ruach HaKodesh, the very breath of God, the Spirit of Truth (John 14:17).  This implies that the congregation in Philadelphia, unlike Sardis, has the Spirit of God, walks in this Spirit and has the ‘ears to hear’ what is being spoken (Isaiah 6:9-10, Mark 4:12).

The condition of the believers in Philadelphia is that they continue to do works in spite of having little power.  They obey the gospel message and have not disowned Yeshua.  Like Smyrna, they have to deal with those who call themselves Jews but are not.  These false Jews are called liars and will,  at some point come forward and prostrate themselves at the feet of the Philadelphian believers admitting that Yeshua has loved them.  This means that these false Jews must be telling the believers in the congregation of Philadelphia that Yeshua does NOT love them.  They distort the love of Messiah for something else.

Today there is a theology in the Messianic world called the ‘Two-House Movement’.   Within this theology is the belief that there are two houses of Israel –  those who are of Judah and those who are of Israel or Ephraim (the nations who now are ingrafted into Israel.)  The deceptive part of this doctrine is that many of those who are of the nations desire to take on the identity of Judah that is not really theirs to embrace while separating themselves from ‘the Jews’.    Though the prophecy of Judah and Ephraim coming together is wonderful and will take place, it is not the Body of Messiah’s place to ‘make it happen’ or ‘make it fit’ into a restoration of the mystery of the gospel that gentiles are to be heirs together with Israel.   The gospel is not about DNA, but about faith in Messiah and walking in the Spirit with Yeshua.

Another distortion of the love of Messiah is through another doctrine called ‘Torah Observant.’  Though we are to obey the Torah commandments, love for the Torah should not supersede our love God who wrote it and Messiah Yeshua who lived it out.   If we are not serving God out of love through the Spirit, then our obedience to Torah becomes meaningless works of the flesh.  Many in this movement have been so indoctrinated with obedience to Torah that they lose their love for God and their neighbor and become judges among the brothers and sisters in the Kingdom.

“Rabbi, which of the mitzvot in the Torah is the most important?” He told him, “‘You are to love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.’ This is the greatest and most important mitzvah [command].  And a second is similar to it, ‘You are to love your neighbor as yourself.’ All of the Torah and the Prophets are dependent on these two mitzvot [commands]” (Matthew 22:36-40). 

The Jewish Messiah is the only One who has the keys to the House of David and we must never separate ourselves from Yeshua’s brothers and sisters, the Jewish people.  Philadelphia is being bombarded and judged by false theology, false brothers.   The end  result will be that those who are liars, who aren’t Jews, will admit that Yeshua loved this congregation.

Philadelphia’s perseverance through trials will keep them from the time of trial coming on the whole earth.  How this is done remains to be seen and understood; however, they are going to be kept safe either on the earth (Revelation 12:14)  or be removed from the earth at Yeshua’s appearing (1 Thessalonians 4:14).

There is danger in both of these views of being kept in the desert or being raptured.  Either need to be orchestrated by God Himself or there will be deception, great deception.  Yeshua warns about the false Messiahs.  There are men, teachers, who tell people to store up goods and go-bags to be ready ‘for the wilderness.’  It is a false teaching because Yeshua says not to take anything from the house,  not even a jacket when fleeing (Matthew  24:24-26).  His words are also for those Jews who are in Jerusalem when the nations of the world come against them.  The words are not for the nations to run and hide in desert camps.

The rapture doctrine also contains misconceptions.  Yeshua will return with a trumpet blast and appear in the clouds.   His Bride (those saints who have a testimony of Yeshua and obey the commandments, Revelation 12:17, 14:12)  from all generations will be translated and/or resurrected in a moment, in a twinkling of an eye depending on their physical condition at his return.  According to Matthew 25, only those who are ready with oil in their lamps will go through the door into the heavenly bridal chamber.  Those who are not ready, who only have the lamp of the Word and not the spiritual obedience that give light,  are told to depart from Yeshua’s sight.    There is no Biblical evidence to the “Left Behind” theory so rampant in modern church culture.   It is my personal conviction that many will prepare to remain while others will prepare to meet the Messiah and leave.   How it all occurs is only speculation;  I am only to be ready and waiting with oil in my lamp.  There is one generation that will not see death and that should be the hope of every generation that is longing for the appearing of their Bridegroom (Matthew 24).

Because the congregation of Philadelphia obeyed the message about persevering, they will be kept from the time of judgment on world’s nations, The Day of the Lord.  This is the ONLY congregation that receives such a promise and it’s because they have endured patiently.  This endurance is not about mere surviving through the time of judgment, but enduring patiently with little strength while they keep the commandments and do not deny Yeshua.  They are to hold on to what they have so no one will take away their Crown of Righteousness.

“Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that day, and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing” (2 Timothy 4:8).

Philadelphia’s reward will include more than a crown.    They will become a pillar in the Temple of God.  This will most likely be the Temple that Ezekiel speaks about in the Millennial Kingdom.   A pillar supports and adorns a building.  The congregation of Philadelphia is given a prominent place in the Temple and they will never leave it. I also see the pillar as  a type of Pillar of Fire that hovered over the Tabernacle.  To be a Pillar in the Temple could mean that those from Philadelphia are going to be the spiritual glory of  Yeshua in the Temple during the 1000 year reign.  They are the immortal ones ruling and reigning with Him as his royal priesthood.

“I will also write on him the name of my God and the name of my God’s city, the new Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from my God, and my own new name” (Revelation 3:12).

This is highest recognition for any congregation by Yeshua. These people are more than an invited guest to a wedding feast; they are the honored, rewarded Bride.   She receives the family name, the name of Yahweh.  She receives her new home, the New Jerusalem.  She receives a new ‘married’ name that Yeshua, her Husband will also receive: King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

This congregation is the true follower of the Messiah of Israel who has made herself ready to be His Bride.   She has grown into maturity.  She has not faltered in her first love.  She has not soiled her clothes.  She has not forgotten to obey the things she has heard and has put them into practice in her life.    She has withstood the tests and trials.  She has not become an adulteress physically or spiritually by falling into sexual immorality or eaten foods sacrificed to idols (false gods).    She has not learned the deep secrets of the Adversary.  She has remained faithful and awake preparing for the return of her Bridegroom with oil in her lamp.   Though it has not been an easy walk with those who judge her DNA, she is welcomed into the kingdom by Yeshua who holds the key to the House of David.

Philadelphia is a congregation that understands the key to David’s House is Yeshua.    They prepare for Yeshua’s return as their Husband: loving Him, loving His Father, loving His people.    They are blessed with the greatest of all rewards, the Bride of Messiah wearing a gown of fine linen.

“Let us rejoice and be glad! Let us give him the glory! For the time has come for the wedding of the Lamb, and his Bride has prepared herself — fine linen, bright and clean has been given her to wear.” (“Fine linen” means the righteous deeds of God’s people.)” (Revelation 19:7-8).

Laodicea

The final angel that receives a message is for the congregation of Laodicea.  Laodicea is mentioned in the book of Colossians several times: 2:1, 4:13, 15,16) by Paul.   It was situated on the river Lycus in the Roman province of Asia.  Laodicea was also the meeting place for the Council of Laodicea about 360 A.D.  It was at this council that many anti-semitic doctrines were established for the Body of Messiah that still exist in all of today’s Christian churches.

One canon that came from the Council of Laodicea: “Christians must not Judaize by resting on the Sabbath, but must work on that day.”  Considering the Fourth Commandment in Exodus 20:8-10, the council’s directive was in direct contradiction to the Word of God.  Judaizing has nothing to do with obeying God’s commandments.  Judaizing was the requirement that a gentile believer in Messiah needed to convert to Judaism through ritual circumcision in order to keep the Sabbath, Festivals, New Moons.

Keeping the Sabbath has nothing to do with Judaism, but it involves obeying the commandments of God because of our faith in Yeshua.  This unfortunate misconception of Judaizing has kept the church from understanding the roots and blessings of a true Biblical faith  and has kept the Jews from being provoked to jealousy and trusting in their own Messiah’s atonement.

There is an addendum to Laodicea’  Judaizing that says, “rather honouring the Lord’s Day; and, if they can, rest then as Christians.”  As already discussed, John was in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day when he received revelation about the end times. From this addendum, The Lord’s Day was obviously not the Sabbath and was to be honored apart from the ‘Jewish’  Sabbath.    To call Sunday, The Lord’s Day  is a very serious matter that continues up to this present day.  It is unfortunate that those who met at this council did not heed the warning given by Yeshua because their doctrines have created the Laodicean church.

Yeshua reveals himself to the angel over Laodicea as “the Amen, the faithful and true witness, Ruler of God’s creation.”  This is an important statement when considering what would happen some 300 years in the future.  Yeshua has the final say – ‘the Amen’ to all doctrines.  If man’s tradtions and doctrines nullify God’s Word – are not faithful and true – they won’t receive His ‘Amen’.  Yeshua is the faithful and true witness of Yahweh Elohim Himself.  Without His witness to a doctrine, it is not Biblically sound nor of the faith recorded in all of Scripture.

Yeshua is also Ruler over God’s creation and the order that was set in motion in the beginning.   In Scripture, Sabbath is called a sign for God’s people Israel and was given as a memorial to the Creator and the six days creation being completed with the Sabbath day of rest (Ezekiel 20:20).

Sabbath was a big deal to the Council of Laodicea.  They didn’t want any part of it or what it represented.  Such an attitude is not only ignorant, but also arrogant.

“Remember the day, Shabbat to set it apart for God.  …the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea and everything in them; but on the seventh day he rested.  This is why the LORD blessed the Shabbat, and separated it for himself” (Exodus 20:6,11).

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was with God in the beginning.  All things came to be through him, and without him nothing made had being” (John 1:1-3).

Sabbath was created for man by Yeshua Himself as the Word.  “Then he said to them, “Shabbat was made for mankind, not mankind for the Shabbat; So the Son of Man is Lord even of Shabbat” (Mark 2:27).  To remember the Sabbath day  is to remember the creation  account and not fall into deception about how the world came to be.   To remember the Sabbath day is to embrace the sign that Yahweh is our God and we are His people.  To remember Sabbath is simply to obey the Fourth Commandment.

The condition of the Laodicean congregation was such that Yeshua wanted to vomit them out of his mouth.  They were neither hot nor cold, but lukewarm.  There are believers who say they are ‘on fire’ for the Lord, but that doesn’t make them HOT.  To be HOT means to be close to the fire of the Lord and His holiness.  His presence was a Pillar of Fire that hovered over the Tabernacle in the wilderness.  To be HOT means you are always seeking His presence, His ways, His life, His truth.  It’s not an emotional ‘hot’ that fizzles out when the emotions of the retreat or revival pass,  but a spiritual ‘hot’ that remains and touches and transforms an individual’s life forever.

To be COLD means to be far away from Yahweh and His presence.   COLD means an indifference to His commands, precepts, and statutes.  To be COLD is to be a gentile from the nations, a foreigner, separate from God, His people, His teachings – ‘without God, without hope in this world’ (Ephesians 2).

To be LUKEWARM is to mix the HOT and COLD.  It is mixing the holy hotness of the Lord and the profane coldness of the world as the Israelites did with the golden calf.    Their intentions were right – they wanted to worship the God of Israel.   But their way of worship was completely detestable to God because it was a golden calf that was worshipped in the nation He had just set them free from!  Aaron, their leader, rationalized that because they were doing their abominations FOR the LORD, it was okay.  It was not okay.  Paul teaches that if the root is holy, so are the branches that come from the root (Romans 11).  This must mean the opposite is true as well.  If a practice or tradition is rooted in paganism, then all of the branches that have sprouted and grown into a huge tree are still pagan.

The prophet Ezekiel 22:26 describes lukewarm in the way that God sees it.    “Her priests have done violence to my Torah, profaned my holy things, made no difference between the holy and the common, not distinguished between the unclean and clean,  hidden their eyes from my shabbats, and profaned me among themselves.” 

As members of a royal priesthood, we have the same calling; however, rather than being holy to the Lord, we profane His name among the nations by being guilty of the same crimes.   We no longer use Torah to distinguish between what is holy and what is not, clean or unclean, or honor the Sabbaths because obeying the Bible was labeled ‘Judaizing’ by the lukewarm council of Laodicea!

The Laodicean congregation felt they were rich and had need of nothing, yet Yeshua saw them as poor, pitiful, blind and naked.   He tells them to buy gold refined by fire for true wealth.  This is saying that these people need a  HOT refining fire to remove ugly dross or scum in their lives.

Sardis had soiled clothes, but Laodicea has no clothes. They walk around like “the Emperor with no clothes”.   They walk around believing they are righteously clothed in Christ, but will be ashamed when they are seen by Yeshua as naked. Their manmade fig leaves are not covering their naked bodies.   They need eye salve because they are blind  to their detestable practices.  They see themselves as something they are not. They have fallen into a great deception where they have mixed the pure teachings of Scripture with their own rationalizations of  false god worship and believe they are ‘on fire for the Lord’ while they commit Jezebel’s spiritual adultery.

“I promised you to one husband, to Messiah, so that I might present you as a pure virgin to him.  But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent’s cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Messiah.  For if someone comes to you and preaches a different Jesus other than the Yeshua we preached, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it easily enough” (2 Corinthians 11:2-4).

Who is this different Jesus?  Perhaps he is the one who is the center of Christmas with evergreen trees and shiny balls, part of Easter with ham and eggs, and goes to church on Sunday. Could it be a Jesus who has lost all resemblance of a Jewish man raised by Jewish parents in a Jewish culture who lived and taught like a Jewish Rabbi in the Jewish Temple courts?   Could it be a Jesus who teaches lawlessness, a covenant of cheap grace, fear of works, a removal of dietary laws and pew sitting complacency?

The congregation of Laodicea is complacent.    Yeshua tells them “exert yourselves and turn from your sins!” ‘Exert’ means to put forth physical or mental action.  This is not a message of ‘rest in me because I’ve done everything for you’  but  ‘put forth a little effort because you need to earnestly repent or you will die in your sins’ message.   Yeshua loves this congregation and tells them that is why he is rebuking them in such a harsh way.  He desires them to be disciplined so they will turn back to Him.  He wants to heat them up and refine them so they aren’t vomit in his mouth.

“Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed – not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence – continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose” (Philippians 2:12-13).

Yeshua pleads with this group of people.  He stands at the door knocking.  He wants someone to open the door so he can come in and eat with them.  When they do,  there will be table fellowship and a feast of the LORD!  What is the door on which he knocks?

In Hebrew, the number 4 is the letter dalet.  Dalet in Hebrew word pictures means ‘door’.  The Fourth Commandment is to remember the Sabbath day.  The Sabbath  is the revolving door between the first commandments about loving God and the last commandments about loving others.  It is also the first feast or appointed time listed in Leviticus 23.  One day a week, on the seventh day,  Yeshua wants to feast with those willing to open the door and return to His loving the Father.  This is the same Sabbath day, the feast that the council of Laodicea removed from Biblical doctrine.

The reward for the overcomer (Israel) is to sit with Yeshua on His throne.  The action of sitting after a victory is a vision of rest and cessation of work.  This is what the Sabbath is all about – cessation of work and resting.  The weekly Sabbath is a memorial to a time before the fall in the Garden of Eden, but it is also a shadow of the eternal Sabbath to come.  Laodicea is to open that door, feast with Yeshua, and rest on the day that he created.  They are to put aside the canons of the Laodicean Council and become holy and set apart as Yahweh Elohim is holy and set apart.

Laodicea is a lazy congregation whose works are lukewarm.  They mix the holy and the profane.   Yeshua wants to vomit them out of his mouth, but loves them enough to correct their errors if only they would open the door and fellowship with Him.  For the overcomer (Israel), they will sit on the throne with Yeshua in an eternal Sabbath.   But, first it seems that a refining fire is in order along with some eye salve and clothing.

“I warn everyone hearing the words of the prophecy in this book that if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues written in this book.  And if anyone takes anything away from the words in the book of this prophecy, God will take away his share in the Tree of Life and the holy city, as described in this book” (Revelation 22:18-19).

Who Am I?  Who are You?

Today I no longer live near the city of Philadelphia, but that congregation took hold of my heart over 50 years ago and has never let go.  I believe some of that hold has to do with the Key of David or knowing the ‘key is David’ and the promises made to this man from the Tribe of Judah.  Yeshua is the promised heir from the Tribe of Judah who desires a Bride that loves Him, His name, His people, His culture and has a circumcised Jewish heart.   He wants a Bride that hangs on His every Word and obeys.  He wants a Bride that has prepared herself to rule and reign with Him in for all eternity.

It’s easy to embrace Philadelphia or even Smyrna because Yeshua has no corrections for them,  but it is important to consider each of the conditions of the congregations, their rebuke, and their reward.  None of us are in the same place and each of us need to be challenged in our walks of faith to not lose our first love and our light to the world.  We need to be willing to embrace suffering because that is what Yeshua sees as great wealth.  We become like Him when we suffer.    We need to think about those sins, those commandments that we neglect or deny that put spots on our white robes.  We need to be careful of those teachers who lead us away from the pure Word of God back into the pagan worship practices that included foods, idols and immoral behavior.     We need spiritual discernment to fight against the secret ways of the enemy so we do not spend eternity with those who are thrown in the lake of fire.   We need to earnestly consider those traditions and practices that men throughout church history have instituted to profane the truth of God’s Word to keep us lukewarm, blind, naked and pitiful and without a testimony in this world except to be a stench and vomit.  We need to be challenged every day to  STAY AWAKE and prepare anxiously for the return of Yeshua, our Bridegroom, so that we can receive a crown of glory, a white linen garment, a new name and a new home in the New Jerusalem.

©2008 Tent Stake Ministries

4 Responses to “Revelation: The Seven Messianic Communities”

  • Marie says:

    Hello there,
    Thank you for the insight. I completed another read through the Bible and the Holy Spirit allowed me to (better) understand the Book of Revelations. I learned about the Sabbath, Christmas and Easter a couple of years ago and my husband and I changed what we do although the Sabbath posed to be more difficult because my husband was already working during the Sabbath. I have to admit it is a lonely walk trying to convey a message that piles of gifts on Christmas is not what Christ intended or that we are guilty of traditions too. I never understood why it was not OK for some people like homosexuals to use the argument, “God knows my heart” but for Christians to break the fourth Commandment because “God knows our hearts”. I am beginning to understand why God’s prophets were a bit saddened.

    • yahuliani says:

      My husband and I were just discussing the whole lonely walk we’ve been on for years and years and how (living in nowhere land) it has affected not only our lives, but the lives of our children. You stated it best, we are among some of the greatest prophets who boldly proclaimed the Word of God, but had to suffer the loss of friends, family, and even a safe place to live in Israel. Though we feel alone, we never are. There are those like you out there who took a moment to comment and for that, I am encouraged and thank you.

  • Cynthia says:

    I found this teaching extremely eye opening! Thank you! One thing I am not sure about is exactly what Matthew 24 means in regard to fleeing. I will be like a berean and study further. I have some friends that are prepping to help others in time of tribulation but have also heard others say the desolation will be so bad it won’t matter? I assume moderation in all things? Any third out there?

    • Yahulia says:

      You’re welcome. I’m glad you enjoyed it! I would agree, moderation in all things as well as teaching ourselves to ‘hear’ the voice of the LORD and what he might have us do in a specific time or moment. Though we are somewhat preparing, my husband says the same thing, “Doesn’t anyone read Revelation to know how bad it will be?” As for fleeing, I really believe prophecy revolves around Israel and specifically Jerusalem. From a recent teaching I’ve heard, I’m beginning to see that the ‘great deception’ is more about the Temple in Jerusalem and how the world will following the anti-messiah believing him to be the Messiah when he sets up the sacrificial system. Though that won’t occur in the prophesied Temple of Ezekiel and must happen before Yeshua returns. When all of false worship is revealed for what it is and eyes are opened, those in Judea and Jerusalem are to flee because the tribulation will be so great against the Jewish people and those who deceived them. What those of us around the world are to do, again, we can only have ‘ears to hear what the Spirit’ says to us. Perhaps be prepared to protect those we can? Any ideas?

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