Posts Tagged ‘Revelation 2’

Revelation Chapter 2 – Thyatira

Messianic Community of Thyatira

Thyatira, another ancient city of Asia Minor, was situated about 50 miles from the Aegean Sea south of Istanbul and east of Athens. The city was named after Semiramis, the Queen of Assyria. Semiramis was part of pagan fertility traditions who was both Nimrod’s wife and Tammuz’ mother. She was worshiped as the “mother of god” because she gave birth to all gods that represented Nimrod. She was also known as the Queen of Heaven. The pagan worship of these three gods infiltrated Isra’el and was condemned by the prophets Jeremiah and Ezekiel.

“Kush fathered Nimrod, who was the first powerful ruler on earth. He was a mighty hunter before Adonai — this is why people say, “Like Nimrod, a mighty hunter before Adona” (Genesis 10:8-9).

“He brought me to the entrance of the north gate to Adonai’s house; and there before me were women weeping for Tammuz” (Ezekiel 8:14)

“The children gather the wood, the fathers light the fire, and the women knead the dough to make cakes for the queen of heaven; and, just to provoke me, they pour out drink offerings to other gods!” (Jeremiah 7:18).

God-Fearers

“One of those listening was a woman from the city of Thyatira named Lydia, a dealer in fine purple cloth. She was already a “God-fearer,” and the Lord opened up her heart to respond to what Sha’ul was saying. After she and the members of her household had been immersed, she gave us this invitation: “If you consider me to be faithful to the Lord, come and stay in my house.” And she insisted till we went” (Acts 16:14-15).

God-fearers, or gentiles who feared the God of Isra’el, in the first century attended synagogue, but did not fully embrace Torah. Non-Jewish God-fearers became a significant part of the early community of believers. They hosted home fellowships and offered respite to traveling teachers. They eagerly accepted Yeshua as Messiah and received the Ruach haKodesh (the Holy Spirit) fulfilling the prophecy to Abraham that “all nations would be blessed through him” (Genesis 22:18).

A God-fearer named Lydia, who sold purple cloth, was from Thyatira.  When she heard Shau’ls  message of repentance and salvation in Yeshua, Elohim opened her heart.   She was so full of joy that she invited Sha’ul and Silas to her home.

Like Lydia, Cornelius was called a God-fearer” who “gave generously to help the Jewish poor and prayed regularly to God” (Acts 10:2). Though neither were Jewish by birth, they honored the Elohim of Isra’el by supporting the Jewish people (Acts 10:1-2).

“To the angel of the Messianic Community in Thyatira, write: ‘Here is the message from the Son of God, whose eyes are like a fiery flame and whose feet are like burnished brass: I know what you are doing, your love, trust, service and perseverance. And I know that you are doing more now than before. But I have this against you: you continue to tolerate that Izevel woman, the one who claims to be a prophet, but is teaching and deceiving my servants to commit sexual sin and eat food that has been sacrificed to idols. I gave her time to turn from her sin, but she doesn’t want to repent of her immorality. So I am throwing her into a sickbed; and those who commit adultery with her I am throwing into great trouble, unless they turn from the sins connected with what she does; and I will strike her children dead! Then all the Messianic communities will know that I am the one who searches minds and hearts, and that I will give to each of you what your deeds deserve. But to the rest of you in Thyatira, to those who do not hold this teaching, who have not learned what some people call the ‘deep things’ of the Adversary, I say this: I am not loading you up with another burden; only hold fast to what you have until I come. To him who wins the victory and does what I want until the goal is reached, I will give him authority over the nations; he will rule them with a staff of iron and dash them to pieces like pottery, just as I have received authority from my Father. I will also give him the morning star. Those who have ears, let them hear what the Spirit is saying to the Messianic communities'” (Revelation 2:18-29).

Yeshua sends a fourth messenger to the community in Thyatira. He reveals himself to this congregation as ‘the Son of God’  with a very detailed description of his glory.   With his fiery eyes, he searches minds and hearts and gives to each believer what they deserve.  Each of us is accountable for everything we say and do, as well as how we build on the foundation of the apostles and prophets will determine how we stand for fall in the Day of the Lord (1 Corinthians 3:13).

Yeshua’s feet are like burnished brass. Burnished brass is a highly polished brass that shines brightly and lasts longer than unpolished brass. This is evidence that he has walked through the refining fires of persecution and has come out stronger. As I contemplated in Revelation chapter 1, his burnished brass feet remind me of Yeshua as the fourth person in the fiery furnace in Babylon. As he took the heat for Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, he will walk through all the fires of persecution with us.

Jezebel: The Spiritual Adulteress

The congregation in Thyatira has love, faith, service, and perseverance.  They continue to grow in their faith, and their works increase as they mature.  However, they tolerate a woman known as Jezebel, who masquerades as a servant of Elohim, but leads His people into sexual immorality and to eat food sacrificed to idols.   Yeshua has dealt with her before and has given her time to repent of her apostasy, but she has refused. Consequently, he will throw her onto a sickbed and those who commit (spiritual) adultery with her will have great trouble.  He will strike “her children dead!” 

The account of the Jezebel, whose name in Hebrew means ‘not exalted,’ is found in 1 Kings.  She was a Phoenician princess who worshiped Ba’al and his Canaanite consort Asherah (Easter). She married Ahab who was the King over northern Isra’el for a political alliance.  Jezebel, being a very strong woman, convinces Ahab to tolerate her foreign gods, which he does and immediately builds a temple for Ba’al and erects an Asherah pole (1 Kings 16:32-33). For this grievous sin, Elohim sends a drought which turned the people away from Him. This only encouraged Jezebel to separate further from the worship of Elohim. She took authority over her husband, the kingdom, and even its people.

An Israelite named Nahab had a vineyard that was next to Ahab’s palace. When Nahab would not give Ahab his vineyard because it was his ancestral property, Jezebel plotted to have Nahab killed. He was invited to a ‘fast’ and seated as an honored guest. Two other men were also invited and were directed by Jezebel to accuse Nahab of cursing Elohim and the king. Because of their lying statements, Nahab was taken outside and stoned to death. After his murder, Jezebel told her husband to take possession of Nahab’s vineyard (1 Kings 21).

Jezebel had temples built in northern Isra’el for the worship of Ba’al. She brought 450 prophets of Ba’al and 400 prophets of Asherah from Phonecia to live in the northern kingdom. She had many of Isra’el’s prophets murdered.   Only the prophet Eliyahu (Elijah) stood against her pagan practices. When  Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh is proven greater and more powerful than Ba’al on Mount Carmel,  Eliyahu and Jezebel become enemies and Jezebel seeks to kill him (1 Kings 18:20-40).

After Ahab’s death, Yehu is anointed by Eliyahu to overthrow the house of Ahab and confront Jezebel.  With the help of some servants, she is pushed out of a window and dies in the street. As prophesied by Eliyahu, her body is eaten by wild dogs and the only remains found for burial were her skull, feet, and hands (2 Kings 9:30-37).

According to Yeshua, the ‘woman Jezebel’ in Thyatira knows ‘Satan’s dark secrets.’ This makes her not only a false prophetess, but a worker of the occult. When I searched for ‘Satan’s dark secrets’ on the internet, I found nothing but links to the New Age Movement and Satan’s plan for a one-world religion.

Yeshua calls Jezebel an adulteress.  Those who follow her false gods and demonic teachings commit spiritual adultery with her. The children produced from these adulterous practices will die physically and spiritually. The consequences just tolerating Jezebel are severe: a bed of suffering, trouble and dead children.

Sexual immorality – fornication, adultery and homosexuality – causes suffering physically, emotionally and spiritually.  Fornication spreads sexually transmitted diseases and unwanted pregnancies resulting in the abortion of  millions of children.   Adultery causes suffering in marriages between husband and wives destroying families and splintering the lives of children.  Homosexuality made AIDS a cultural disease which causes incredible suffering within the human body.

To be thrown onto a bed of suffering alludes to the  ‘lake of fire that burns with sulfur’ which is the second death signifying complete spiritual death.   Spiritual death is eternal without any hope of restoration.  It is the final judgment for the Adversary, the beast, the false prophet –– and Jezebel!

“But fire came down from heaven and consumed them. The Adversary who had deceived them was hurled into the lake of fire and sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet were; and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever” (Revelation 20:9-10). 

Fighting against the spirit of Jezebel is very oppressive.  There is always the temptation to succumb because the Adversary can be deceptively enticing.  The battle is so fierce for the believers in Thyatira that Yeshua adds nothing more for them to overcome.   He only asks that they do not fall prey to Jezebel’s satanic secrets and “hold fast to what you have until I come.

Discerning true prophets of Elohim who proclaim the message of Yeshua in the community of Thyratira from ‘the deceptive Jezebel’ is critical for spiritual survival. Those who overcome will receive authority to rule over the nations.  Their authority will not come from a controlling Jezebel spirit, but from Yeshua. Their power will come from the Spirit of Elohim and they will rule with an iron staff crushing the nations to pieces like pottery – destroying Satan’s one world religious system.

Hebrew Word Pictures

Jezebel – איצבל – Itzavel

Alef is an ‘ox’ and means ‘first, strength’

Yod is a ‘closed hand’ and means ‘finished work’

Tzade is a ‘fishhook’ and means ‘to hunt or capture’

Bet is a ‘house’ and means ‘family’

Lamed is a ‘cattle prod’ and means ‘push by prodding’

Itzavel – The strong finished work hunts or captures family by pushing and prodding

The Morning Star

“How did you come to fall from the heavens, morning star, son of the dawn? How did you come to be cut to the ground, conqueror of nations?” (Isaiah 14:12).

According to church tradition, Satan is given the name Lucifer meaning ‘light-bearer’. The Hebrew word for ‘morning star’ in Isaiah is helel and means ‘shining one.’ The prophet Isaiah calls him “morning star, son of the dawn.” Before his fall from heaven, the “shining one” was one of the archangels. He had a heavenly musical career playing the lyre as a worship leader. Eventually the “son of dawn” becomes so prideful in his position that he seeks have a throne above Elohim. The prophet Isaiah compares him to the King of Babylon who became a conqueror of nations. Isaiah also describes how the “shining one’s” brightness in the heavenly realm fades into the darkness of Sh’eol with his disobedience. It is interesting that in Isaiah there is no definite article in front of ‘morning star’ or ‘son of the dawn’ implying that Satan is ‘a’ morning star among many, but not ‘the’ morning star.

Though both Yeshua and Satan are called ‘morning stars,’ they are not the same.; nor are they opposites. For example, though both are compared to lions, they exude different characteristics. Satan is compared to a roaring lion that seeks to devour and destroy people; Yeshua is compared to the regal and powerful Lion of Judah that fights to save his people. The Greek word for ‘morning star’ is aster and refers to a created star. Satan is just one of many created ‘morning stars’ while Yeshua is not a created being, but the begotten of the Father. According to Revelation 22:15 is Yeshua is ‘THE’ Bright Morning Star with the definite article.

According to Kefa (Peter), the prophetic Word of Messiah is like a “light shining in the dark”. It is important to pay attention to prophecies until they come to pass as the first light in the sky –– when Yeshua appears “and the Morning Star rises in your heart” (2 Peter 1:19). Those in Thyatira who overcome ‘a’ morning star called Satan will be rewarded ‘THE’ Morning Star of Yeshua himself.

Those [in Thyatira] who have ears, let them hear what the Spirit, Ruach haKodesh [the holy wind] is saying to the Messianic community ….”

Yeshua uses these same words in the gospels when he speaks in parables, however, he doesn’t include the words, “what the Spirit says to the communities.”  One reason that he taught in parables was so people could “look but not see, and listen but not understand” the message of the Kingdom (Luke 8:10).  Because his disciples were given a deeper understanding to the coming Kingdom, he would explain their hidden meaning to them away from the crowds.

The parables all occurred before the Feast of Weeks or Shavuot when the ‘holy wind’ was poured out and the new covenant was instituted (Acts 2:2).  With the new covenant, men and women, who believe the message of Yeshua, are given new hearts of flesh and a renewed spirit – neshama.  The Ruach haKodesh within would compel them to obey Torah (Ezekiel 36:24-27). Elohim’s Ruach would give them “ears to hear what the Spirit was saying” so they could hear and obey His voice.

Yeshua doesn’t want this community to just ‘hear’ his message, but to ‘listen’ to it.  His message was to be heard through spiritual ears that were fine-tuned to his voice, the voice of the Shepherd.  His sheep were to ‘listen’ to the message and ‘obey’ in order to be an overcomer – Isra’el – and receive an eternal reward.

For he is our God, and we are the people in his pasture, the sheep in his care. If only today you would listen to his voice … “(Psalm 95:7-8).

“My sheep listen to my voice, I recognize them, they follow me, and I give them eternal life. They will absolutely never be destroyed, and no one will snatch them from my hands” (John 10:27-28). 

“In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah which says, ‘You will keep on hearing but never understand, and keep on seeing but never perceive, because the heart of this people has become dull — with their ears they barely hear, and their eyes they have closed, so as not to see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their heart, and do t’shuvah [repent and turn from sin], so that I could heal them.’

But you [Thyatira], how blessed are your eyes, because they see, and your ears, because they hear!” (Isaiah 6:9-10, Matthew 13:14-16). 

Revelation 3 – Messianic Congregation of Sardis

©2020 Tentstake Ministries Publishing, all rights reserved.  No copying or reproducing of this article without crediting the author or Tentstake Ministries Publishing.

Revelation Chapter 2 – Pergamum

Messianic Community of Pergamum

Pergamum was a city in the ancient Greece located in a large valley in Asia Minor, 16 miles inland from the Aegean Sea.  This city was the political center for all of Asia Minor known for its library, the arts and its theater, as well as its psychiatric hospital. The city also had a healing center built to honor the Greek serpent-god Asklepios that offered everything from mud baths to major operations.

Pergamum had three temples built for the worship of the Roman emperor; Athena, the goddess of wisdom and war; and Zeus. The Great Altar of Zeus, believed by many to be the “Throne of Satan,” partially remains on the Acropolis today; the other part is in the Pergamum Museum in Berlin, Germany. The word ‘throne’ also referred to a specific chair for the ‘lord of the house’ symbolizing that Satan was the ruling power in that home.

“To the angel of the Messianic Community in Pergamum, write: ‘Here is the message from the one who has the sharp double-edged sword: “I know where you are living, there where the Adversary’s throne is. Yet you are holding onto my name. You did not deny trusting me even at the time when my faithful witness Antipas was put to death in your town, there where the Adversary lives. Nevertheless, I have a few things against you: you have some people who hold to the teaching of Bil‘am, who taught Balak to set a trap for the people of Isra’el, so that they would eat food that had been sacrificed to idols and commit sexual sin. Likewise, you too have people who hold to the teaching of the Nicolaitans. Therefore, turn from these sins. Otherwise, I will come to you very soon and make war against them with the sword of my mouth. Those who have ears, let them hear what the Spirit is saying to the Messianic communities. To him winning the victory I will give some of the hidden manna. I will also give him a white stone, on which is written a new name that nobody knows except the one receiving it'” (Revelation 2:12-17). 

The third messenger is sent to Pergamum where Yeshua reveals himself as the “one who has the sharp double-edged sword.”  The double-edged sword is a description of the Word of God that judges the thoughts and attitudes of our hearts (Hebrews 4:12).  Yeshua says the Adversarywho twists the Word of God, and hates Isra’el and the Jewish people, has his ‘throne’, his seat of authority, in Pergamum.  This community’s battle is with the Adversary; how he twists the Truth and leads the believers of Pergamum into deception.

The Snake OUT of the Garden

“Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him” (John 3:14).

The Hebrew letter tet or ת, has a word picture of a ‘snake’ and means ‘twisting.’ When using the Hebrew letters to list the Ten Commandments, the letter tet refers to the commandment, “You shall not bear false witness.”

The Israelites complained to Moshe for bringing them into the desert where they had no food or water; they had tired of eating manna. Elohim sent poisonous snakes to bite the people, and many died. When they confessed to Moshe they had sinned, Elohim had him “make a poisonous snake and put it on a pole. When anyone who has been bitten looks at it, he will live.  Moshe made a bronze snake and put it on the pole; if a snake had bitten someone, then, when he looked toward the bronze snake, he stayed alive” (Numbers 21:8-9).

The Hebrew text in Numbers 21:6 does not use the words “poisonous snakes,” but nachashim seraphim or ‘fiery serpents’ suggesting that the snakes didn’t just have poison, but a lethal burning power.   Hence, the thought of looking up at the replica of the very snake that was causing death probably seemed ludicrous, but it was Elohim’s way or die.  If they didn’t look at the snake, their bones would be left to decay in the desert sand.  It took a personal act of faith to look up at the ‘fiery serpent’ to receive physical healing from a spiritual disease called ‘rebellion.’

The ‘twisting’ of the snake on the pole to bring healing and life was initiated by Elohim; however, Pergamum distorted it to worship the Adversary bringing eternal separation from God. Even today, the symbol of modern medicine is the rod of Asclepius, a snake twisted around a staff. This suggests that medicine and its pharmecopeia, the Greek word for drugs, is not rooted in the healing power of Yeshua, but in the Adversary.

Hebrew Word Pictures

Fiery Serpent or nechashim seraphim – נחשיםשרפים

noon, chet, shin, yod, mem – shin, resh, peh, yod, mem

life protected by the consuming of the finished work of chaos

– the consuming head speaks the finished work of chaos

Nehushtanlife inner room bound to consume of the covenant of life

The Name Above All Names

The community in Pergamum is commended for holding onto Yeshua’s name.  Over the centuries, the Adversary has played a major role in changing the Hebrew name, Yeshua, which means ‘salvation,’ into the Greek rendering, Jesus, that some believe is a form of the Greek god, Zeus.   Using the given name of the Son of God, Yeshua, set people free from demons and the worship of other gods, but it also brought the prospect of death.

When the believers in Pergamum began standing against a multi-god worship, the citizens were outraged. This community watched one of their own, a faithful follower of Messiah who cast out many demons, be martyred.  According to Wikipedia,  Antipas was martyred in a bronze bull-shaped altar used for casting out demons as a way to try to discredit his work. 

“Who has gone up to heaven and come down? Who has cupped the wind in the palms of his hands? Who has wrapped up the waters in his cloak? Who established all the ends of the earth? What is his name, and what is his son’s name? Surely you know!” (Proverbs 30:4).

Balaam and Balak

Some believers in Pergamum hold to the teachings of Baalam.  Balaam was a prophet who was hired by the king of Moab, Balak, to curse Isra’el.  On his way to meet Balak, Baalam’s donkey saw an ‘angel of Adonai’ standing in the middle of the road. The donkey veered off the road, pushed Balaam’s legs into a rock wall, and then lay down. The ‘angel of Adonai’ that frightened the donkey held a double-edged sword to remind Balaam to speak only the Word of Elohim. Though he tried to curse Isra’el several times, he could not curse those whom Elohim had blessed (Numbers 24:9).  Instead, he prophesied over the people of Isra’el multiple times! However, once Balaam understood he could never curse Isra’el, he taught the King of Moab how to entice them to sin. 

When missionaries from western nations go into the world and preach a Jesus who doesn’t keep the Sabbath, doesn’t celebrate the Biblical holy days, and eats all manner of unclean foods, they also “entice Isra’el to sin.” Recently, we received a letter asking us to support a young woman who wants to go into the mission field in Isra’el.   She needed to raise thousands of dollars to “take the love of Jesus” to the Jewish people. Because we know her and her family, we also know she is steeped in anti-semitic church doctrines. Though her message may seem like one of love, it will not include obeying the commandments of the God of Isra’el. She will only lead the Jewish people into sin and ultimately make impotent the message of salvation from the One who carries the double-edge sword. 

The double-edged sword of Yeshua’s mouth will make war with those who curse Isra’el.  Baalam found out he could not curse people who are blessed by Elohim. Balak, too, saw that Elohim’s chosen people could not be cursed.  Those who reject the eternal promises given to the Jews in the Hebrew Scriptures blame those same people for everything from killing Jesus millennia ago to whatever happens in the stock market today.   Balak was warned by Baalam –– and the nations and churches hostile to Isra’el today should note that warning.  Isra’el is still Elohim’s nation; the Jewish people are still His chosen people. The Land remains His Land of Promise; His Name continues to reside in the eternal city of Jerusalem.  Those who curse Isra’el will be cursed; those who bless Isra’el will be blessed.   

“When they lie down they crouch like a lion, or like a lioness — who dares to rouse it? Blessed be all who bless you! Cursed be all who curse you!” (Numbers 24:9).

Hidden Manna

Believers in Pergamum who overcome the teachings of Baalam and Balak, and bless Isra’el, will receive hidden manna.  A jar of manna was kept in the Ark of the Covenant, hidden, as evidence of Elohim’s provision for the Israelites.  Manna is not only a physical food, but also spiritual nourishment.

Yeshua reveals himself to be the hidden manna, the bread of life that came down from heaven. Perhaps the manna that was once ‘hidden’ in the Ark will be restored so that the overcomer in Pergamum will actually eat the heavenly food.

“He rained down man on them as food; he gave them grain from heaven — mortals ate the bread of angels; he provided for them to the full” (Psalm 78:24-25).

“I am the living bread that has come down from heaven; if anyone eats this bread, he will live forever” (John 6:51).

Hebrew Word Pictures

Manna – man – מן

Mem is ‘water’ and means ‘mighty’

Nun is a ‘fish’ and means ‘life’

Man – mighty life

The White Stone

The overcomer in Pergamum will receive a white stone with a new name written on it. This new name will complete their adoption into the family of Elohim. The new name will not be denominational, it will not be doctrinal, it will not be institutional; it will be Isra’el.

“One will say, ‘I belong to Adonai.’ Another will be called by the name of Ya‘akov (Jacob). Yet another will write that he belongs to Adonai and adopt the surname Isra’el” (Isaiah 44:5).

“He determined in advance that through Yeshua the Messiah we would be his [adopted] sons — in keeping with his pleasure and purpose —  so that we would bring him praise commensurate with the glory of the grace he gave us through the Beloved One” (Ephesians 1:5-6).

A white stone was also given to the victor of a race.  Believers in the Pergamum congregation were running a race and heading toward the finished line (1 Corinthians 9:24).   They are only hindered by the sins of Baalam and Balak which need to be removed in order to receive the white stone. The overcomer will win the race over sin and lead a victorious life.

A white stone was also used as a banquet invitation for a special guest.  This white stone with a new name may be the invitation the overcomer receives to be included in the wedding party at the Wedding Feast of the Lamb (Luke 14:15-17).

“The angel said to me, “Write: ‘How blessed are those who have been invited to the wedding feast of the Lamb!’” (Revelation 19:9)

The White Stone in Pergamum

As evidence to the promise given to Pergamum about a special invitation, there is a white stone in this city on which Yeshua’s words are inscribed. Unfortunately, those who were given the initial invitation made excuses for not coming to the Father’s feast in the Kingdom. How many today make excuses for not accepting the invitation to take part in the ‘appointed times’ of Elohim? How many throw what could be their ‘white stone’ invitation onto the ground and continue going about their usual activities?

“I tell you, not one of those who were invited will get a taste of my banquet!’” (Luke 14:24).

Those [in Pergamum] who have ears, let them hear what the Spirit, Ruach haKodesh [the holy wind] is saying to the Messianic community ….”

Yeshua uses these same words in the gospels when he speaks in parables, however, he doesn’t include the words, “what the Spirit says to the communities.”  One reason that he taught in parables was so people could “look but not see, and listen but not understand” the message of the Kingdom (Luke 8:10).  Because his disciples were also his students, they were given a deeper understanding to the coming Kingdom; he would explain the hidden meaning to them away from the crowds.

The parables all occurred before the Feast of Weeks or Shavuot when the ‘holy wind’ was poured out and the new covenant was instituted (Acts 2:2).  With the new covenant, men and women, who believe the message of Yeshua, are given new hearts of flesh and a renewed spirit –– neshama.  The Ruach haKodesh within would compel them to obey Torah (Ezekiel 36:24-27). Elohim’s Ruach would give them “ears to hear what the Spirit was saying” so they could hear and obey His voice.

Yeshua doesn’t want this community to just ‘hear’ his message, but to ‘listen’ to it.  His message was to be heard through spiritual ears that were fine-tuned to his voice, the voice of the Shepherd.  His sheep were to ‘listen’ to the message and ‘obey’ in order to be an overcomer –– Isra’el –– and receive an eternal reward.  

For he is our God, and we are the people in his pasture, the sheep in his care. If only today you would listen to his voice … “(Psalm 95:7-8).

“My sheep listen to my voice, I recognize them, they follow me, and I give them eternal life. They will absolutely never be destroyed, and no one will snatch them from my hands” (John 10:27-28). 

“In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah which says, ‘You will keep on hearing but never understand, and keep on seeing but never perceive, because the heart of this people has become dull — with their ears they barely hear, and their eyes they have closed, so as not to see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their heart, and do t’shuvah [repent and turn from sin], so that I could heal them.’

But you [Pergamum], how blessed are your eyes, because they see, and your ears, because they hear!” (Isaiah 6:9-10, Matthew 13:14-16). 

Revelation 2 – Messianic Community of Thyatira

©2020 Tentstake Ministries Publishing, all rights reserved.  No copying or reproducing of this article without crediting the author or Tentstake Ministries Publishing.

Revelation Chapter 2 – Ephesus

Messianic Community in Ephesus

‘Church’ or Community

I will be using the word community because the word ‘church’ holds certain preconceived ideas about worship, study, and doctrines. In the first century when Yochanan (John), the apostles, and Sha’ul (Paul) preached the message of Messiah, there were no Christians or churches. Instead followers of Messiah, both Jewish and non-Jewish, continued to go to the Temple, attend synagogues on Sabbath, or met in homes to hear Torah. Through meeting in a home, a community of fellowship developed with unity of faith and faith-based goals. It is in this context that Yeshua sent his messengers to challenge, rebuke, encourage, and promise rewards to his followers.

“Continuing faithfully and with singleness of purpose to meet in the Temple courts daily, and breaking bread in their several homes, they shared their food in joy and simplicity of heart … (Acts 2:46).

“My host Gaius, in whose home the whole congregation meets, greets you. Erastus the city treasurer and brother Quartus greet you” (Romans 16:23).

“Give my greetings to the brothers in Laodicea, also to Nympha and the congregation that meets in her home” (Colossians 4:15).

“To: Our dear fellow-worker Philemon, along with sister Apphia, our fellow-soldier Archippus and the congregation that gathers in your home …” (Philemon 1:2).

Ephesus was an ancient Greek port city on the Ionian coast –– present day Turkey. It was situated on the northern slopes of the hills south of the Cayster River. It was known for its Temple to Artemis –– one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. Artemis was the ‘goddess of the dawn, the bringer of the light’ illuminating lives and directing people to find their way.

According to Acts chapter 19, Sha’ul began preaching in Ephesus. He spent more time in Ephesus than any other city –– nearly three years on his second visit. His ministry began by telling the crowds that man-made gods (idols) are not gods at all. The craftsmen in the city worried that their trade of making silver articles for the worship of Artemis would suffer. No one wanted the temple of the “great goddess Artemis … to be taken lightly. It could end up with the goddess herself, who is worshiped throughout the province of Asia and indeed throughout the whole world, being ignominiously brought down from her divine majesty!” Hearing this, they were filled with rage and began bellowing, “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!” (Acts 19:27-28).

Sha’ul’s letter to the Ephesians is filled with hope and encouragement about their redemption and their eternal inheritance. He reminds them they are no longer foreigners to the covenants of Elohim and are being built into a holy, spiritual temple, a dwelling place for God.  He also teaches them that salvation is by grace through faith, not by works.

“To the angel of the Messianic Community in Ephesus, write: ‘Here is the message from the one who holds the seven stars in his right hand and walks among the seven gold menorahs:  “I know what you have been doing, how hard you have worked, how you have persevered, and how you can’t stand wicked people; so you tested those who call themselves emissaries but aren’t — and you found them to be liars. You are persevering, and you have suffered for my sake without growing weary. But I have this against you: you have lost the love you had at first. Therefore, remember where you were before you fell, turn from this sin, and do what you used to do before. Otherwise, I will come to you and remove your menorah from its place — if you don’t turn from your sin! But you have this in your favor: you hate what the Nicolaitans do — I hate it too. Those who have ears, let them hear what the Spirit is saying to the Messianic communities. To him winning the victory I will give the right to eat from the Tree of Life which is in God’s Gan-‘Eden'” (Ephesians 2:2-7).

Yeshua sends his first messenger –– ‘angel’ in Hebrew is malak and means ‘messenger’ –– to the community in Ephesus. Yeshua reveals himself as the “one who holds the seven stars in his right hand and walks among the seven gold menorah.”  He holds the seven messengers in his right hand and releases them to take messages to the seven communities.

The Golden Menorah for the Tabernacle had seven branches made of pure, hammered gold.  It was lit every evening by the priests with a new supply of pure olive oil. The central lamp, the ner tamid, was never to go out, even during the day. No specific dimensions were given to Moshe as it was made in the image of the heavenly Menorah that Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh (Yahweh) showed him on the mountain.  It was a ‘shadow’ of the heavenly Menorah.  As the holy Menorah, the Light of the World, Yeshua walks among the seven individual branches representing his light; for without him, they would have no light.

“Yeshua spoke to them again: “I am the light of the world; whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light which gives life” (John 8:12).

Yeshua sees their works of faith and perseverance through adversity. He has seen they don’t grow weary, even though they are persecuted for his sake. He sees how they test those who come to them as missionaries to make sure they are not liars. He sees how they hate wicked people. But something is missing.

The Messianic believers in Ephesus have one grievous sin –– they have lost their first love. They have lost a love for Yeshua, the Light of the World. If they don’t repent from this sin and return to loving him with all of their hearts, their menorah will be removed. Without light from the ner tamid, the darkness will engulf them, and their testimony of good works will be snuffed out (Matthew 5:16).

To the credit of the Ephesian community of believers, they hate the Nicolaitans. In Greek, nico means ‘conquer,’ and laitan refers to ‘lay people’; thus, Nicolaitan means ‘conquer the lay people.’ This implies there is a hierarchy in Ephesus –– those who rule and those who submit.   Yeshua hates this hierarchy because he is to be the only Shepherd over his sheep, King over his Kingdom, High Priest over his Priesthood, and Bridegroom for his Bride.  

Modern-day Christiandom has come to exemplify a Nicolaitan culture with priests or ruling over the masses and pastors being in authority over lay people.  If someone reads their Bible and sees a Truth that is not embraced by church tenets or doctrines, then the leader quenches the Spirit in order to keep control. This is ‘conquering the people.’ There are millions of people who warm pews and sit in auditorium chairs, who no longer read the Scriptures for themselves and depend on a pastor’s interpretation for the Word. This is evidence of modern-day Nicolaitans.

Yeshua uses the word overcomer for the victor.  In Genesis 32:22-32, Ya’akov (Jacob) wrestles with with an “angel of Adonai.”  The wrestling match appears to be between equals, but Ya’akov doesn’t give up; he perseveres.  In order to end the confrontation, the angel touches Ya’akov’s hip, dislocating it. Ya’akov continues to wrestle the angel until daybreak, even with his injured hip. At the end of the match, he requests a blessing. Yeshua, who is the “angel of the Adonai,” tells Ya’akov that his name is changed to Isra’el because he struggled with Elohim and prevailed –– he was an overcomer.

To the overcomer in Ephesus, Yeshua promises a reward when he returns. To receive their reward, the community in Ephesus must return to their first love so their menorah will not be removed, leaving them to completely assimilate into the dark world.

When Adam and Eve sinned and lost their ‘first love,’ they lost the light of Elohim’s presence. They made a covering of leaves for themselves –– a work of their own doing. After receiving the consequences for their sin, spiritual darkness, they were sent out of Paradise and away from the Tree of Life (Genesis 3:24).

The reward for the overcomer in Ephesus will be a restoration of what was lost in the beginning to Adam and Eve. In the new heavens and new earth, the cherubim will be removed and the overcomer will enter through gate into the New Jerusalem and eat from the Tree of Life (Revelation 22:14).

Those [in Ephesus] who have ears, let them hear what the Spirit, Ruach haKodesh [the holy wind] is saying to the Messianic community ….”

Yeshua uses these same words in the gospels when he speaks in parables; however, he doesn’t include the words, “what the Spirit says to the communities.”  One reason that he taught in parables was so that people could “look but not see, and listen but not understand” the message of the Kingdom (Luke 8:10).  Because his disciples were his students, they were given a deeper understanding to the coming Kingdom; he would explain the hidden meaning away from the crowds.

The parables all occurred before the Feast of Weeks or Shavuot when the ‘holy wind’ was poured out and the new covenant was instituted (Acts 2:2).  With the new covenant, men and women, who believe the message of Yeshua, are given new hearts of flesh and a renewed spirit –– neshama.  The Ruach haKodesh within would compel them to obey Torah (Ezekiel 36:24-27). Elohim’s Ruach would give them “ears to hear what the Spirit was saying” so they could hear and obey His voice.

Yeshua doesn’t want this community to just ‘hear’ his message, but to ‘listen’ to it.  His message was to be heard through spiritual ears that were fine-tuned to his voice, the voice of the Shepherd.  His sheep were to ‘listen’ to the message and ‘obey’ in order to be an overcomer –– Isra’el –– and receive an eternal reward.  

For he is our God, and we are the people in his pasture, the sheep in his care. If only today you would listen to his voice …“ (Psalm 95:7-8).

“My sheep listen to my voice, I recognize them, they follow me, and I give them eternal life. They will absolutely never be destroyed, and no one will snatch them from my hands” (John 10:27-28). 

“In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah which says, ‘You will keep on hearing but never understand, and keep on seeing but never perceive, because the heart of this people has become dull — with their ears they barely hear, and their eyes they have closed, so as not to see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their heart, and do t’shuvah [repent and turn from sin], so that I could heal them.’

But you [Ephesus], how blessed are your eyes, because they see, and your ears, because they hear!” (Isaiah 6:9-10, Matthew 13:14-16). 

Revelation 2 – Messianic Community of Smyrna

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