Posts Tagged ‘Revelation 3’

Revelation Chapter 3 – Laodicea

Messianic Community in Laodicea

Laodicea, most likely named after the wife of Antiochus II Theos, sat on a hill between the valleys of two small rivers, the Asopus and Caprus which flow into the Lycus. The town was originally called Diospolis or ‘City of Zeus.’ In 60 CE an earthquake leveled the city, but the residents would not take government assistance and rebuilt the city themselves. Laodicea was known for a major medical school where they made an eye salve from a local stone. It was known as a financial center throughout the ancient world because of its gold and for its black wool, and the garments it exported known as trimata. Today, Laodicea is near the city of Denizli, Turkey.

Many Jews were transported from Babylon to Laodicea in the days of Antiochus the Great. Though they sent gold annually to the Temple in Jerusalem, it was confiscated by Roman citizens. Because of the large Jewish community in Laodicea, the message of Sha’ul (Paul) was readily accepted. A home fellowship met in the home of Nympha in Laodicea. From the book of Colossians, it appears that his letters were shared between Laodicea, Colossae which was 11 miles west, and Ephesus which was 99 miles east (Colossians 4:15-16).

“To the angel of the Messianic Community in Laodicea, write: ‘Here is the message from the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the Ruler of God’s creation: “I know what you are doing: you are neither cold nor hot. How I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm, neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of my mouth! For you keep saying, ‘I am rich, I have gotten rich, I don’t need a thing!’ You don’t know that you are the one who is wretched, pitiable, poor, blind and naked! My advice to you is to buy from me gold refined by fire, so that you may be rich; and white clothing, so that you may be dressed and not have to be ashamed of your nakedness; and eye salve to rub on your eyes, so that you may see. As for me, I rebuke and discipline everyone I love; so exert yourselves, and turn from your sins! Here, I’m standing at the door, knocking. If someone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he will eat with me. I will let him who wins the victory sit with me on my throne, just as I myself also won the victory and sat down with my Father on his throne. Those who have ears, let them hear what the Spirit is saying to the Messianic communities'” (Revelation 3:14-22). 

Yeshua sends the seventh and final messenger to the community of Laodicea and reveals himself as “the Amen, the faithful and true witness, Ruler of God’s creation.”

‘Amen’ is a Hebrew word meaning ‘so be it.’ In Hebrew, aman means ‘to support or confirm, to be reliable or established.’ Its root comes from emunah or ‘faithfulness.’ As the person of the ‘Amen,’ Yeshua has the final ‘so be it’ regarding the condition of this community. His words are faithful and true, the witness of two establishing his words.

Hebrew Word Pictures

Amen, aman – אמן

א Alef – An Ox means ‘first’ and ‘strong.’

מ Mem – Water means ‘chaos’ or ‘mighty.’

ן Nun – A Fish means ‘life.’

The Hebrew Word Picture for aman: first strong mighty life.

The Council of Laodicea

The Council of Laodicea met in this city about 360 CE.  The main focus was to regulate the behavior of church members. At this time, many anti-semitic doctrines were established that remain part of  Christian theology today. One significant tenet is Canon 29 which outlawed the keeping of the Biblical Sabbath and encouraged resting on Sunday.

It is obvious that those at this council knew ‘The Lord’s Day’ was not the Sabbath. However, they instilled the idea that ‘The Lord’s Day’ was the ‘first day of the week’ and needed to be honored separating the church from the community of Isra’el and the God-give eternal Sabbath.

“Christians must not Judaize by resting on the Sabbath, but must work on that day. Rather [they should] honour the Lord’s Day; and, if they can, rest then as Christians.”

The Set-Apart Sabbath

In the beginning, through His Word, Elohim created the heavens and the earth in six days and on the seventh day, He rested. He blessed the seventh day and set it apart for Himself. The seventh-day weekly Sabbath is a memorial to the week of creation and His rest (Exodus 20:11-12).

Yeshua was with God and was part of the seven days of creation, including the Sabbath: “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).

The Sabbath is a sign between Elohim and His people so that we know Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh is our God: “I am Adonai your God; live by my laws, observe my rulings, and obey them, and keep my shabbats holy; and they will be a sign between me and you, so that you will know that I am Adonai your God” (Ezekiel 20:19-20).

The Sabbath is given to the nations: “And the foreigners who join themselves to Adonai to serve him, to love the name of Adonai, and to be his workers, all who keep Shabbat and do not profane it, and hold fast to my covenant, I will bring them to my holy mountain and make them joyful in my house of prayer” (Isaiah 56:6-7).

Delighting in the Sabbath brings delight in Elohim and encompasses blessing: “If you hold back your foot on Shabbat from pursuing your own interests on my holy day; if you call Shabbat a delight, Adonai’s holy day, worth honoring; then honor it by not doing your usual things or pursuing your interests or speaking about them. If you do, you will find delight in Adonai — I will make you ride on the heights of the land and feed you with the heritage of your ancestor Ya‘akov, for the mouth of Adonai has spoken” (Isaiah 58:13-14).

The Sabbath will be celebrated in the new heavens and new earth and is prophetic vision for Eternity: “For just as the new heavens and the new earth that I am making will continue in my presence,” says Adonai, “so will your descendants and your name continue. Every month on Rosh-Hodesh and every week on Shabbat, everyone living will come to worship in my presence,” says Adonai. “As they leave, they will look on the corpses of the people who rebelled against me” (Isaiah 66:22-24).

Yeshua, is the “Ruler of Elohim’s Creation” –– the Lord of the Sabbath: “For the Son of Man is Lord of Shabbat!” (Mathew 12:8, Mark 2:28, Luke 6:5).

The edict by the Laodicean Council not only contradicts the Fourth Commandment given by Adonai in Exodus 20:8-10, it is rebellion to every Sabbath Scripture. Keeping the seventh-day Sabbath has nothing to do with Judaism, but has everything to do with obeying the fourth of the Ten Commandments.

The deliberate twisting of the Biblical Sabbath has kept the church from is Biblical foundation and the blessings of a Biblical walk. It has also successfully kept the gentiles from provoking the Jewish people to jealousy for Yeshua which is their divine calling according to Sha’ul (Paul) in Romans 11. The Council of Laodicea acted out of arrogance and, at that moment, were cut off from the Olive Tree of Isra’el losing the nourishing sap of the root. Those who accepted and followed their edicts brought anti-semitism into every church denomination, an anti-semitism that remains today.

A Tepid Temperature

Many believers in Messiah claim to be ‘on fire for the Lord,’ but that doesn’t make them ‘hot.’  To be ‘hot’ means to be close to the ‘fire’ of Elohim. Moshe stood next to that ‘fire’ in the burning bush and removed his shoes in the holy presence. That ‘fire’ burned in a pillar over the Tabernacle in the wilderness and only a few could go near it. A ‘fire’ of Elohim burns in the heart so intensely, it cannot be humanly contained (Jeremiah 20:9). It is a ‘hot’ fire that refines a spiritual life, removing the dross of sin (Zechariah 13:9).

To be ‘cold’ means to be far away from ‘the fire’ of Adonai’s presence.  A gentile foreigner separated from Elohim, His people and His teachings is ‘cold.’ ‘Cold’ means to be pagan with lustful desires and embracing false gods. ‘Cold’ means to have sterile ways of thinking, an intelligence shrouded in darkness, and to be estranged from the life of Elohim. ‘Cold’ means to be atheist –– irreverent, secular, and profane (Ephesians 2:11-12).

According to the dictionary, ‘lukewarm’ is a state of being warm, but only barely like a forgotten cup of hot tea. When it comes to the people of Laodicea, they lack zeal and enthusiasm for the ways of Adonai. In a Biblical context, ‘lukewarm’ is the mixing of the hot holiness of Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh and the profane coldness of pagan idolatry and foreign gods.

The priests of Isra’el were warned about mixing the ‘holy’ and the ‘profane.’ Ezekiel tells them they do ‘violence’ to Torah by not distinguishing between the ‘clean’ and ‘unclean” and hiding their eyes from the Sabbath. This behavior profanes the name of Adonai among themselves and among the nations around them (Ezekiel 22:26).

The Hebrew word ‘violence’ in this verse is chamas and means ‘do violently against.’ Profane in Hebrew is chol and means ‘to make common.’ This is the antithesis of being “Holy as Elohim is Holy.”

Come Out From Among Them

“Therefore Adonai says, “‘Go out from their midst; separate yourselves; don’t even touch what is unclean. Then I myself will receive you. In fact, I will be your Father, and you will be my sons and daughters.’ says Adonai-Tzva’ot.” Therefore, my dear friends, since we have these promises, let us purify ourselves from everything that can defile either body or spirit, and strive to be completely holy, out of reverence for God” (2 Corinthians 6:17-7:1).

These verses from 2 Corinthians had a profound impact on my faith walk. It clearly stated that I was to separate myself from certain people and touch no ‘unclean’ thing. By obeying Adonai’s commands, I become His daughter. From many years in the institution of the church, I just assumed I had a Father/daughter relationship –– the unconditional love on His part, but nothing from me. I also read that I had to purify myself from everything that contaminates body and spirit out of reverence for Adonai.

I began searching a concordance for ‘unclean’ and I found myself in Leviticus 11 that outlined what Adonai considers ‘clean’ and ‘unclean’ foods – or what He just considers to be food or not food. At the very end of the chapter He states, “You are to be holy as He is holy.”

I was excited to receive a Word from Adonai. I wanted to share what I learned with friends; however, those friends told me emphatically that I was wrong. They said ‘we are no longer under the law’ and if I followed those commands, I would be ‘legalistic.’ I had never heard those two arguments for ‘disobeying’ Adonai’s commands so it became clear from whom I was to separate.

Sha’ul only quoted the prophets Isaiah and Ezekiel and my ‘new testament’ friends rejected the words. As part of the royal priesthood serving Yeshua, I am to strive for the same standard of holiness as the Levitical priesthood; in fact, I am held to a higher standard of holiness. I am not to mix the ‘holy’ and the ‘profane’ or become indifferent to the Sabbath. I am not to become lukewarm and profane the name of Adonai. As for one-sided unconditional love, Yeshua said a daughter’s response to her Father’s love obedience which is reverence.

Most of Christiandom is lukewarm; they don’t understand the difference between what is ‘holy hot’ and ‘profane cold.’ Through centuries of traditions, they mix the holiness of Adonai with the pagan ways of the nations. They exchanged Adonai’s Sabbath for the catholic Sunday as proclaimed by the Council of Laodicea. They have combined the spring renewal of the goddess Astarte/Easter with the resurrection of Yeshua. They have confused the birth of the sun-god Saturn with the incarnation of the Son of God. They falsely believe that Yeshua’s death changed pigs, horses, and eagles so they can now be consumed, or they believe he abolished Torah removing sin and disobedience.

Yeshua is telling Laodicea a different message. They are told that they are so lukewarm that ‘the faithful and true witness’ wants to vomit them out of his mouth. The Greek word for ‘vomit’ is emeo and means ‘repulsed, showing utter rejection, and disgust.’ In other words, the people in the Laodicean community disgust Yeshua that he wants to utterly reject them. This doesn’t sound much like the unconditional-love gospel message preached today.

The people of Laodicea see themselves as so rich that they have need of nothing. Their materialistic lifestyle makes them prideful and deceived to their real spiritual condition. Yeshua uses the clothing, gold, and eye salve that Laodicea values to rebuke his community. He doesn’t look at their outward appearance, but at their heart. He sees them as poor, naked, and blind. In his compassion, he offers them correction.

Sardis had soiled clothes; Laodicea has no clothes. They deceptively believe they are clothed in the righteousness of Yeshua, however, their man-made clothes do not cover their nakedness. The are like the wedding guest at the Wedding Feast of the Lamb who didn’t have wedding clothes. Though the guest had been invited, he didn’t properly dress. He had not been to the rehearsal dinner, so he didn’t know what to wear (Matthew 22:11-14).

Even though the city has a rich reputation from their gold, Yeshua tells the Laodiceans that they need to purchase gold refined in the fire. They exchanged a life of riches for an eternal reward of being with him where there are streets of transparent gold. They have become so arrogant that they need the ‘holy hotness’ of the refining fire to remove the dross and purify them.

The Laodiceans need to stop their violence against Torah by mixing the holy worship of Elohim with pagan gods likes Zeus, Saturn, Tammuz –– their own golden calf. For their spiritual blindness, Yeshua tells them they need eye salve. They don’t need the medical eye salve made from the Phrygian stone powder, they need eye salve like Yeshua made with mud and water so the scales fall from their eyes and they see their spiritual idolatry (John 9:11).

The people of Laodicea are so complacent Yeshua has to command them to “exert yourselves and turn from your sins!” ‘Exert’ means ‘put forth some physical or mental action.’  The deceptive doctrine of “Yeshua fulfilled the law so I don’t have to do anything” has utterly deceived them. These people do not need a message of resting in Yeshua, they need a ‘put-forth-some-effort-because-you-need-to-repent’ message. Because Yeshua loves the people in this community, he rebukes them harshly. He disciplines them so they will not be lost for all eternity (Psalm 118:18).

The Ten Commandments given to Isra’el were listed in Hebrew, not Roman numerals. In the Hebrew, the Fourth Commandment is the letter dalet with a letter picture of a ‘door’ meaning ‘pathway.’ The pathway commandment is: “Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy” (Exodus 20:8).

On the seventh-day, Yeshua stands at the dalet knocking.  He pleads with the Laodicean people to repent and return to the ‘true witness’ of their relationship with his Father. He wants someone to open the dalet so he can come in and feast with them.  If they open the ‘door,’ they will celebrate the eternal Sabbath together. This is the same Sabbath that the Council of Laodicea changed and encouraged Messianic believers to discard.

The reward for the overcomer is to sit with Yeshua on his throne.  The action of sitting after a victory is symbolic of rest and cessation of work.  This is the original purpose of Sabbath –– to cease work and rest.  If the Laodiceans open the ‘door’ and guard the Sabbath as it was created, they will no longer be naked, poor or blind to the prophetic vision. They will rule and reign with Yeshua, the Lord of the Sabbath, in the his Messianic Kingdom.

Those [in Laodicea 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 he taught in parables was so that people could ‘look but not see, and listen but not understand’ the message of the Kingdom (Isaiah 6:9-10, Luke 8:10).  Because he wanted his disciples to have a deeper understanding of the coming Kingdom, he explained the hidden meaning away from the crowds.

Yeshua spoke all of his parables 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 arrival of the new covenant, men and women who obey the message of Yeshua are given new hearts and a renewed spirit.  The Ruach haKodesh gives them ‘ears to hear what the Spirit is saying’ so they can obey His voice.

Yeshua doesn’t want this community to just ‘hear’ his message, but ‘listen’ to it.  His message was to be heard through spiritual ears that were fine-tuned to his voice, the voice of the Shepherd (Psalm 95:7-8, John 10:27-28)  His sheep were to ‘listen’ and ‘obey’ the message so they would be overcomers –– Isra’el –– and receive their eternal reward.  

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

Revelation 4 – Heavenly Throne

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Revelation Chapter 3 – Philadelphia

Messianic Community in Philadelphia

Philadelphia, a city of Lydia in Asia Minor, was located on a hill about 25 miles southeast of Sardis. It was founded by the king of Pergamum, who had a special love for his brother and was nicknamed ‘brother lover,’ hence the ‘city of brotherly love.’ The city was known for its wine production and was situated along one of the roads known as the doorway to central Asia Minor. This city was known for earthquakes which made the city walls unsafe that much of the population lived outside the walls.

“To the angel of the Messianic Community in Philadelphia, write: ‘Here is the message of HaKadosh, the True One, the one who has the key of David, who, if he opens something, no one else can shut it, and if he closes something, no one else can open it. “I know what you are doing. Look, I have put in front of you an open door, and no one can shut it. I know that you have but little power, yet you have obeyed my message and have not disowned me. Here, I will give you some from the synagogue of the Adversary, those who call themselves Jews but aren’t — on the contrary, they are lying — see, I will cause them to come and prostrate themselves at your feet, and they will know that I have loved you. Because you did obey my message about persevering, I will keep you from the time of trial coming upon the whole world to put the people living on earth to the test. I am coming soon; hold on to what you have, so that no one will take away your crown. I will make him who wins the victory a pillar in the Temple of my God, and he will never leave it. Also I will write on him the name of my God and the name of my God’s city, the new Yerushalayim coming down out of heaven from my God, and my own new name. Those who have ears, let them hear what the Spirit is saying to the Messianic communities'” (Revelation 3:7-13). 

Yeshua sends the sixth messenger to the community of Philadelphia where he reveals himself as “the message of the HaKodesh [the Holy Spirit], the True One, the one who has the key of David.” 

Yeshua’s message to Philadelphia is from the Ruach HaKodesh, the Comforter, the Spirit of Truth which empowers his people to be overcomers. It is apparent the believers in Philadelphia have the Spirit of Elohim and walk in the Ruach, but are struggling.

The Ruach haKodesh imparts gifts to Elohim’s people so they can minister, comfort, and speak Truth to the Body of Messiah. From the Ruach haKodesh flows spiritual gifts of love, joy, shalom, perseverance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. It is these gifts that set the people of Adoni apart from the world’s humanistic love that never brings shalom.

The True One

Yeshua is the ‘True One’ because he speaks the Truth; no lie ever leaves his mouth. He is also called the True and Faithful witness of the El Elyon (Most High God) (Revelation 19:11). He speaks only what he hears his Father tells him to say, even to these communities of faith (John 12:49). His truthful words convict them of sin and righteousness.

“The true Torah was in his [Yeshua’s) mouth, and no dishonesty was found on his lips; he walked with me in peace and uprightness and turned many away from sin” (Malachi 2:6).

Key of David

“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” (Isaiah 22:22).

The key to David’s ‘house’ represents the lineage of King David. Yeshua, as the Son of Man, descended from King David as the “root and offspring of David.” It is Yeshua who will build a ‘house’ for the Name of Adonai. He will sit on its throne and reign forever. Yeshua has been given the key to this eternal Kingdom promised to King David (2 Samuel 7:12-14).

A Door

“I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture” (John 10:9, NASB)

Both Isaiah and Yeshua speak of a ‘door’ that will be opened or shut by the ‘key of David.’ In Hebrew the word ‘door’ is dalet. Dalet is the fourth letter of the Hebrew alphabet with a letter picture that means ‘pathway.’ Yeshua uses the example of a pathway; there is a choice for which ‘path’ one chooses and how that choice determines their destination: eternal life or destruction and eternal loss.

A ‘door’ – opened or closed – can symbolize multiple things in Scripture. An ‘open door’ can be an invitation from Yeshua to ‘enter’ the Kingdom and enjoy fellowship with him. A ‘closed door’ may suggest the invitation is no longer available or rescinded.

In the Parable of the Ten Virgins, the bridegroom shuts the ‘door’ after he arrives taking the wise virgins into the wedding chamber. The foolish virgins are left outside with no access to the bridegroom. The wise bridesmaids enter the bridal chamber; the foolish ones miss the opportunity (Matthew 25).

In Revelation 3:20, Yeshua stands at the ‘door’ and knocks hoping someone will open the ‘door’ so he may fellowship with those inside. The door is ‘closed’ and those on the other side, who don’t open it, miss an important event. Feasting with Yeshua is an allusion to the Feasts of the LORD, the ‘appointed times’ that are prophetic to Yeshua’s life, death, resurrection, sanctification, return, judgment, and redemption of all things.

Yeshua “stands at the door and knocks” because he desires to fellowship with his people through his Father’s holy convocations, just like he desired to celebrate the Passover with his disciples (Luke 22:15). ‘Holy convocation’ in Hebrew is mikra and means ‘rehearsal.’ In order to be ready for the actual event of a wedding, there is always a ‘rehearsal dinner’ for the bride and groom and their groomsmen and bridesmaids. Yeshua is the Bridegroom and he desires his Bride to prepare herself by rehearsing for Wedding Feast of the Lamb. This is the meaning of Yeshua’s words that he would not “drink this ‘fruit of the vine’ until the day I drink new wine with you in my Father’s kingdom” (Matthew 26:28-29).

New wine is an allusion to the Feast of Tabernacles or Sukkot. The prophetic vision of this ‘appointed time’ is the dwelling presence of Yeshua on earth as King of Kings. It is the time of the Messianic Era when Yeshua rules and reigns with his resurrected saints for one thousand years. During the one-thousand-year Feast of Tabernacles, ‘new wine will be put into new wineskins’ (Luke 5:37-38, Zechariah 9:16-17, Job 32:18-19).

A ‘closed door’ may also symbolize the time for repentance has ended. For those who refused to open the door of salvation, they will find judgment instead of reward, eternal death instead of eternal life (James 5:9).

The community in Philadelphia has an ‘open door’ that no one can shut. As Yochanan’s vision progresses, he is shown an ‘open door’ into the heavenly realm that leads to the throne of Elohim (Revelation 4:1). Philadelphia has been given a blessing different from any of the other communities.

Little Strength in the World

The community in Philadelphia continues its works despite having little strength.  The Greek word for ‘strength’ in Revelation 3:8 is dunamis and means ‘miraculous power, ‘energy’ or ‘ability.’ It appears that this community of believers has little energy for whatever they are facing in the world; they need to persevere by trusting in the ‘miraculous power’ of Elohim to get them through (Zechariah 4:6).

This community of believers ‘obeys the gospel’ For many, the gospel is something to believe, not obey. Yet, these people are commended for ‘obeying the gospel.’

After Yeshua came out of the wilderness, he left Nazareth and settled in Capernaum. At this time he began to proclaim the Kingdom of God. He began to preach the good news of the Kingdom. According to his own words, there is action attached to the gospel:

“From that time on, Yeshua began proclaiming, “Turn from your sins to God, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near!” (John 4:17).

‘Turning from sins’ is ‘repentance.’ In Hebrew, ‘repentance’ is teshuvah and means ‘return.’ Teshuvah is making a 180-degree turn in your life that returns you back to the ways of Adonai. Repenting from sin and turning back to Elohim is an action.

Sin is defined by Yochanan as breaking the commandments of Adonai, being lawless (1 John 3:4-6). When those in Philadelphia obeyed the good news, they repented from sinful acts and stopped breaking Torah. They obeyed Adonai’s instructions as taught by Yeshua. Their obedience to repentance becomes the evidence of this community’s faithfulness to Yeshua’s message; they have no disowned him. They stand firm for him in the pagan world and remain connected to him and his message of hope.

“Therefore, repent and turn to God, so that your sins may be erased; so that times of refreshing may come from the Lord’s presence” (Acts 3:19-20)

Hebrew Word Pictures

Repent – teshuvah – תשובה

ת Tav – Crossed Sticks means ‘sign’ or ‘covenant.’

ש Shin – A Tooth means ‘consume’ or ‘destroy.’

ו Vav – A Nail means ‘binding.’

ב Bet – A House means ‘house’ or ‘family.’

ה Hey – A Window means ‘reveal’ or ‘behold.’

The Hebrew Word Picture for teshuvah: sign of the covenant destroying the binding of the house revealed.

False Jews

Like Smyrna, Philadelphia has some people in their congregation who call themselves Jews, but are not.  These ‘fake’ Jews are telling the Messianic believers in Philadelphia that Yeshua does not love them. The ‘city of brotherly love’ appears to have a love problem between so-called brothers.   These liars will eventually prostrate themselves at the feet of the ‘true Jews’ admitting that Yeshua does love them (Romans 2:28-29).

There is a dogma known as Two-House that focuses solely on the two houses of Isra’el –– Judah and Ephraim. The followers of Two-House take on an exterior facade of being Jewish while separating themselves from anything and everything Jewish. They claim that because Elohim divorced Judah, the Jewish people have lost any share in the Kingdom and Ephraim now receives the promises. Apart from being deeply anti-semitic and replacement theology, this movement has created a group of ‘false Jews’ who claim that Yeshua doesn’t love the Jewish people.

The new covenant is predicated on the words of the prophet Jeremiah and is promised to the House of Judah and the House of Isra’el (Jeremiah 31:30-32). Yeshua instituted the new covenant at his Passover seder with his Jewish disciples (Luke 22:20). Salvation comes from the Jews, and no one in the Body of Messiah should ever conceive a doctrine that would separate Yeshua’s brothers and sisters from their Jewish redeemer (John 4:22).

Power of Perseverance

Perseverance through the trials that Philadelphia faces will keep them from the time of trial coming on the whole earth.  This time of trial is known as the Great Tribulation or the ‘Time of Jacob’s Trouble.’ The Greek word for ‘keep’ in Revelation 3:10 is tereso and means ‘to watch, to guard over.’ How Elohim will guard or watch over them during this time of trial remains a divine mystery, but these faithful believers will be kept safe during the Day of Adonai’s vengeance because they have patiently endured. With their little strength, they have remained faithful to Yeshua and obey Torah (Revelation 14:12).

The Greek word for ‘endure’ is hupomone and means ‘remaining behind.’ Though believers may be martyred, the faithful in Philadelphia will ‘remain behind.’ For those who adhere to a pre-tribulation rapture, those ‘left behind,’ are not the lost, but followers of Yeshua. In the Day of Adonai, their faithful endurance will be the only testimony the lawless world has to see redemption in Yeshua.

Hebrew Word Pictures

Persevere – hatmadah – התמדה

ה Hey – A Window means ‘reveal’ or ‘behold.’

ת Tav – Crossed Sticks means ‘sign’ or ‘covenant.’

מ Mem – Water means ‘chaos’ or ‘mighty.’

ד Dalet – A Door means ‘pathway.’

ה Hey – A Window means ‘reveal’ or ‘behold.’

The Hebrew Word Picture for hatmadah: reveal the sign of the covenent of the mighty pathway, behold.

Eternal Rewards

“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).

Yeshua tells this community to hold on to what they have and no one will take away their crown of righteousness (2 Timothy 4:8). Their eternal reward, however, includes more than this crown. They will become a pillar in the Millennial Temple of Adonai. The Hebrew word for ‘pillar’ is netzab and means ‘to guard or protect.’ One reward for those in Philadelphia will be to ‘guard and protect’ the Millennial Temple.

Pillars are used as imagery to describe the earth’s foundation. When it quakes, Elohim holds the pillars firm for all the people on the earth (Psalm 75:4). The first reference to a pillar is in Genesis 35:14 when Ya’akov (Jacob) sets up a standing stone or pillar at Beit-el. While the Israelites wandered through the wilderness, the glory of Adonai led them by a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. His pillar shaded them from the heat of the day and kept them warm at night. His pillar protected them from their enemies and moved with them for 40 years. His pillar lived above the Ark of the Covenant in the Tabernacle; His pillar was their sukkah of covering for 40 years.

When Moshe read the words of Adonai and the people responded they would obey everything they heard, he set up 12 pillars for the 12 Tribes of Isra’el. Jeremiah was made an ‘iron pillar’ with whom the kings, princes, and priests of Judah would fight against. He would not be overcome, but rescued (Jeremiah 1:18-19).

Yeshua’s words are similar to Philadelphia who will ‘remain behind’ and not be overcome. They will be as King David wrote: “Our sons in their youth will be like full-grown saplings, our daughters will be like sculptured pillars fit for the corner of a palace” (Psalm 144:12).

Hebrew Word Pictures

Pillar – netzab

Nun – A Fish means ‘life.’

Tzakik – A Fishhook means ‘draw near.’

Yod – A Closed Hand means ‘finished work.’

Bet – A House means ‘house’ or ‘family.’

The Hebrew Word Picture for netzab: life draws near to finished work of the house.

In Hebrew, the word for ‘endure’ is amad and means ‘to take one’s stand in the covenant.’ It suggests an ‘attitude’ of standing.’ To become a pillar in the Millennial Temple suggests the believers of Philadelphia are strong in their covenant relationship with Yeshua and they will continue to stand strong during his one-thousand-year reign.

The believers in Philadelphia have prepared themselves as wise virgins with oil in their lamps. They have matured in faith and have not faltered in their first love. Their clothes are not soiled. They repented and the fruits of righteousness followed. They have stood firm like a pillar when faced with trials. They have not fallen into sexual immorality or eaten foods sacrificed to idols. They have blessed Isra’el and the Jewish people. They have not learned the deep secrets of the Adversary and have nothing to do with Jezebel. They remain behind, enduring patiently the days of tribulation, and are welcomed into the Kingdom by Yeshua who holds the key to the House of David.

This is highest reward given to any of the seven communities. The believers in Philadelphia are not just invited guests to the wedding feast; they become the pure and spotless Bride of Messiah.  They receive the Kingdom family name, the name of their Father –– yod-hey-vav-hey.  They receive a new home in the heavenly New Jerusalem.  They also receive the highest name of all –– the name of their Bridegroom, Yeshua, the King of Kings.

Those [in Philadelphia] 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 (Isaiah 6:9-10, Luke 8:10).  Because he wanted his disciples to have a deeper understanding of the coming Kingdom, he explained the hidden meaning away from the crowds.

Yeshua spoke all of his parables 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 arrival of the new covenant, men and women who obey the message of Yeshua are given new hearts and a renewed spirit.  The Ruach haKodesh within them gives them ‘ears to hear what the Spirit is saying’ so they can obey His voice.

Yeshua doesn’t want this community to just ‘hear’ his message, but ‘listen’ to it.  His message was to be heard through spiritual ears that were fine-tuned to his voice, the voice of the Shepherd (Psalm 95:7-8, John 10:27-28)  His sheep were to ‘listen’ to the message and ‘obey’ so they would be overcomers –– Isra’el –– and receive their eternal reward.

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

Revelation 3 – Messianic Congregation of Laodicea

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

Revelation Chapter 3 – Sardis

Messianic Community of Sardis

Sardis was the capital of the Lydian Kingdom and part of the Persian Empire, modern-day Iraq and Turkey. It had a strong military presence and was situated on the major highway leading from the Aegean coast to the plains of Mesopotamia. It was located about 60 miles from the cities of Ephesus and Smyrna on the Pactolus River that flowed through the center of the city floating gold dust from Mount Tmolus. Sardinians learned how to separate gold from silver to create pure silver and pure gold. This purity of metals allowed them to mint gold and silver coins that were used as standard currency throughout the ancient world making Sardis a very wealthy city.

“To the angel of the Messianic Community in Sardis, write: ‘Here is the message from the one who has the sevenfold Spirit of God and the seven stars: “I know what you are doing — you have a reputation for being alive, but in fact you are dead! Wake up, and strengthen what remains, before it dies too! For I have found what you are doing incomplete in the sight of my God. So remember what you received and heard, and obey it, and turn from your sin! For if you don’t wake up, I will come like a thief; and you don’t know at what moment I will come upon you. Nevertheless, you do have a few people in Sardis who have not soiled their clothes; and they will walk with me, clothed in white, because they are worthy. He who wins the victory will, like them, be dressed in white clothing; and I will not blot his name out of the Book of Life; in fact, I will acknowledge him individually before my Father and before his angels. Those who have ears, let them hear what the Spirit is saying to the Messianic communities'” (Revelation 3:1-6). 

Yeshua sends the fifth messenger to Sardis where he reveals himself as the one who “has the sevenfold Spirit of God and the seven stars.”  The prophet Isaiah describes the seven-fold Spirit of Elohim that embodies the fullness of Messiah: “The Spirit of Adonai will rest on him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and power, the Spirit of knowledge and fearing Adonai –– he will be inspired by fearing Adonai” (Isaiah 11:1-2).

He has explained that the seven stars are the seven messengers guarding the communities. He repeats this phrase as a witness that he is the one sending the message, not the ‘star’ who is only the messenger.

The community in Sardis has a reputation for being alive, but is really dead.  Yeshua tells them to strengthen what little they still have or it will die too.  The Spirit of Elohim gives power to the life of the believer; it appears Sardis is missing that power.

Yeshua commands Sardis, “Wake Up!”  The Sardis community is sleep-walking and unaware of their complacent lifestyle (Ephesians 5:14). If they don’t wake up,  Yeshua will come like a ‘thief’ in a swift and stealthy manner, and they will miss his marriage feast.

The phrase ‘thief in the night’ symbolizes the snatching away of a bride from her home when the time for her wedding arrives. The bridegroom comes at an unknown time –– with his friends and loud noise –– to carry away his betrothed to the wedding chamber. Because his arrival time is unknown, the bride must be ready at all times for his appearance.

‘Thief in the night’ is a Hebrew idiom for Yom Teruah or the Feast of Trumpets because the ‘day and the hour’ for when this ‘appointed time’ begins is unknown. This agrees with Yeshua’s statement that no one knows the day or the hour” (Matthew 25:13). This second phrase also points to Yom Teruah, the next Biblical Feast to be fulfilled (1 Thessalonians 5:1-2).

The Feast of Trumpets is celebrated on a New Moon. In ancient times, when the New Moon was sighted by the high priest along with the testimony of two witnesses, the new month began. At this moment, all the Feast times and dates were determined. Yom Teruah began at the sighting of the New Moon with the blowing of shofars throughout the land of Isra’el.

In Matthew 25, Yeshua tells the Parable of the Ten Bridesmaids.  The Bridegroom takes a long time –– years, centuries, and millennia –– to arrive and the Bridesmaids fall asleep.  When they hear the loud voice of the Bridegroom, only five have oil in their lamps. The wise Bridesmaids trim their wicks, light their lamps, and go with the Bridegroom into the Bridal Chamber.  The other five are foolish because they did not prepare for the Bridegroom’s arrival. When they hear his voice, they have to run out and buy more oil. By the time they return, the door is shut, and they are excluded from the wedding feast.

The lamps in the parable are the Word of Elohim (Psalm 119:105). The Hebrew for ‘word’ in this verse is Torah. Specifically, each of the ten Bridesmaids have Torah to illuminate their path, but their desire to become a set-apart Bride determines whether or not they use it. Oil is symbolic of the Ruach Elohim and was used to anoint kings, priest, and now filled the lambs of the Bride of Messiah.

At a future Feast of Trumpets, the Bridegroom will come out of the heavens with a loud cry and a shofar blast to call forth his waiting and prepared Bride (1 Thessalonians 4:16). For those Bridesmaids who are unprepared, they will miss the Wedding Feast of the Lamb. This is the warning for Sardis. They must wake up, trim their wicks, and make sure their lamps are supplied with oil!

Hebrew Word Pictures

Torah – torah – תורה

Tav – Crossed Sticks means ‘sign’ or ‘covenant.’

Vav – A Nail means ‘binding.’

Resh – A Head means ‘highest authority.’

Hey – A Window means ‘reveal’ or ‘behold.

The Hebrew Word Picture for torah: the covenant sign binding to the highest authority revealed.

Oil – shemen – שמן

Shin – A Tooth means ‘consume’ or ‘destroy.’

Mem – Water means ‘chaos’ or ‘mighty.’

Nun – A Fish means ‘life.’

The Hebrew Word Picture for shemen: consume and destroy the chaos of life.

Spotted Wedding Garments

The works of the congregation in Sardis are incomplete in Elohim’s sight.  This is another allusion to these believers who have lamp of Torah, but are deficient in their obedience. They have forgotten what they heard and no longer obey the gospel of repentance and bearing fruit of that repentance. Yeshua compares their incomplete works to soiled clothing or spotted wedding gowns.

Sardis is told to remember what they have heard and obey it. If there was nothing to obey, this would be a foolish correction from Yeshua (Romans 10:16).  Even Kefa (Peter) confirms the gospel is about obedience (1 Peter 4:17). It is up to Sardis to repent, wash their robes, and be found spotless as they look forward to the coming Kingdom (2 Peter 3:14).

“Add guilt to their guilt, don’t let them enter your righteousness.Erase them from the book of life, let them not be written with the righteous” (Psalm 69:27-28).

Those in Sardis who don’t wash their soiled gowns will be ‘blotted out’ of the Book of Life.  The Hebrew word for ‘soiled’ is chaneph and means ‘profane.’ Profane means that one lives a secular, carnal life rather than a spiritual one. It also means to ‘make common’ the Word of Elohim. The Greek word for ‘soiled’ is moluno and means to ‘spiritually destroy the reputation of Messiah.’ These two words give a detailed view of the spiritual condition in Sardis. They live carnal, even profane lives that destroy the message of Yeshua. This behavior brings a severe judgment –– they will be blotted out of his Book of Life.

The The Hebrew word for ‘blotted out’ is machah and means to ‘wipe out, cancel or exterminate.’ To be ‘blotted out’ has a serious eternal consequence for choosing to not obey the message of Yeshua. At the final judgment, everyone is thrown into ‘the lake of fire and burning sulfur’ unless their name is written in the Book of Life. Those in Sardis who don’t give up their profane, carnal lifestyle will spend eternity in the outer darkness where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth –– the place of greatest regret.

Sardis was not a ‘living’ part of the Body of Messiah.  They people were dead and needed to wake up or lose Eternity.  On the final Day of Atonement when books are opened, only those names written in the Lamb’s Book of Life will enter the New Jerusalem (Revelation 21:22-27).

“One of the elders asked me, “These people dressed in white robes … They have washed their robes and made them white with the blood of the Lamb” (Revelation 7:13-14).

There are some followers of Yeshua in Sardis who have not soiled their wedding gowns. These people will walk with Yeshua clothed in white robes. They will receive fine, white linen bridal gowns to represent their righteous deeds (Revelation 19:7-8). Yeshua will call each righteous one by name and they will hear: “Well done good and faithful servant” (Matthew 25:21-24).

Those [in Sardis] 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 he taught in parables was so that people could ‘look but not see, and listen but not understand’ the message of the Kingdom (Isaiah 6:9-10, Luke 8:10).  Because he wanted his disciples to have a deeper understanding of the coming Kingdom, he explained the hidden meaning away from the crowds.

Yeshua spoke all of his parables 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 arrival of the new covenant, men and women who obey the message of Yeshua are given new hearts and a renewed spirit.  The Ruach haKodesh gives them ‘ears to hear what the Spirit is saying’ so they can obey His voice.

Yeshua doesn’t want this community to just ‘hear’ his message, but ‘listen’ to it.  His message was to be heard through spiritual ears that were fine-tuned to his voice, the voice of the Shepherd (Psalm 95:7-8, John 10:27-28)  His sheep were to ‘listen’ and ‘obey’ the message so they would be overcomers –– Isra’el –– and receive their eternal reward.

But you [Sardis], 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 Community of Philadelphia

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