Posts Tagged ‘understanding revelation’

Revelation Chapter 4 – Heavenly Throne

“After these things, I looked; and there before me was a door standing open in heaven; and the voice like a trumpet which I had heard speaking with me before said, “Come up here, and I will show you what must happen after these things.” Instantly I was in the Spirit, and there before me in heaven stood a throne, and on the throne Someone was sitting. The One sitting there gleamed like diamonds and rubies, and a rainbow shining like emerald encircled the throne” (Revelation 4:1-3).

While the ‘door’ was shut on the foolish virgins, for the wise virgins, the door opened and they went into the wedding chamber of the Bridegroom. For the community of Philadelphia, Yeshua puts a ‘door’ in front of these believers that is open and will never shut. This door is the ‘pathway’ for entering the heavenly realm where the full unveiling of Yeshua begins.

“Let me say this, brothers: flesh and blood cannot share in the Kingdom of God, nor can something that decays share in what does not decay.  Look, I will tell you a secret — not all of us will die! But we will all be changed! It will take but a moment, the blink of an eye, at the final shofar. For the shofar will sound, and the dead will be raised to live forever, and we too will be changed” (1 Corinthians 15:51-52).

Yochanan hears a voice that sounds like a trumpet and he is “instantly in the Spirit.” This is an allusion to the ‘blink of an eye’, at the last shofar blast, when the first resurrection, the transformation from flesh bodies to spirit bodies takes place in a ‘moment.’

The Amplified Version uses the word ‘quickly’ however, the Hebrew word for ‘moment’ is rega and means ‘just a moment, wait.’ The prophet Isaiah gives a little more perspective to ‘blink of an eye’ with regard to the coming judgment of the Lord.

“Pay attention to me, my people! My nation, listen to me! For Torah will go out from me; I will calm them with my justice as a light for the peoples” (Isaiah 51:14).

The word ‘calm’ in this verse is the Hebrew argia and has its root in raga or ‘rest’ or ‘break.’ It also means to ‘quiet’ as with the ‘wink of an eye’ as a parent would ‘wink’ at a child because they have a ‘secret’ understanding between them. The ‘wink’ gives the child ‘rest’ in the moment. The judgment of the Lord will be through His Torah and his nation Isra’el will be quieted, given a break with the ‘wink of His eye.’

An ‘Appointed Time’ for Everything

Though many teach that that the first resurrection of the dead can happen at any moment in time, the voice of the shofar reveals the appointed season for this event – the season of the fall mo’edim or ‘appointed times.’ “on the first day of the seventh month.”

On the ‘first day of the seventh month’ is the ‘appointed time’ for the blowing of shofars or Feast of Trumpets. The blast of the final shofar, the Tekiah Gadolah, will raise the dead and transform the living into eternal spiritual beings.

“For this perishable [mortal] must put on the imperishable [immortality], and this mortal must put on immortality” (1 Corinthians 15:53).

This ‘first day of the seventh month’ is also known as Rosh Hashanah or the ‘head of the new year.’ This new year is used for counting the yearly reigns of the kings of Isra’el. It follows that if a king is crowned the day before Rosh Hashanah, then the next day, Rosh Hashanah beings their second year of reign. If they are crowned one day after Rosh Hashanah, they have to reign entire 365-day cycle in order to reign one year.

Yeshua, the King of kings, will begin his Millennial reign on Rosh Hashanah. With the sounds of shofars, he will be coronated not just the King of Isra’el, but the King of the whole earth. He will set up his throne in Jerusalem and his kingdom will be the shadow of what Yochanan sees in the heavenly realm.

The throne of Elohim, or the kise hakovod, meaning the ‘seat of the glory’ is encircled by an emerald rainbow. The emerald color suggests an all- encompassing quietness or shalom around the throne. The emerald was the third gem in the breastplate on which was written Levi. Aharon descended from the Tribe of Levi and became the lineage through which the high priests descended. The Levites became the priesthood that served in the Tabernacle in the wilderness.

Hebrew Word Pictures

Levi – Levi – לוי

Lamed is a ‘shepherd’s staff’ and means to ‘prod forward’

Vav is a ‘nail’ and means ‘to bind together’

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

LeviThose who prod forward and bind together a finished work

The Glory of yod hey vav hey

In Hebrew, hakavod means ‘the glory.’ The ‘glory’ of Elohim appeared in a cloud and filled the Tabernacle in the wilderness. It so completely consumed the place that Moshe could not enter until it lifted. At the bottom of Mt. Sinai, the glory of Elohim in the cloud over the mountain looked like a raging fire. Yod hey vav hey tells Moshe that no man can look on His glory and live. Moshe begs Elohim to see His glory. As the glory of yod hey vav hey passes by, Moshe in the crevice of a rock and his eyes are covered by the hand of Elohim (Exodus 33:22).

“The heavens declare the glory of God, the dome of the sky speaks the work of his hands” (Psalm 19:1).

“I am Adonai; that is my name. I yield my glory to no one else, nor my praise to any idol” (Isaiah 42:8).

The Hebrew word Shekinah is related to the kavod of Elohim and means the place where the divine presences ‘dwells’ or ‘rests.’ It is a visible manifestation of Elohim that is naturally understood or seen. With this understanding, Yeshua is the Skehinah of the kavod.

“He [Yeshua] is the visible image of the invisible God” (Colossians 1:15).

“For the Son of Man will come in his Father’s glory, with his angels …” (Matthew 16:27).

“Now, Father, glorify me alongside yourself. Give me the same glory I had with you before the world existed” (John 17:5).

In the Tabernacle, the Ark of the Testimony overlaid with pure gold was a shadow of the ‘throne’ of Elohim in the heavenly realm. The area between the two cherubim on the Ark was called the ‘mercy seat.’ It was at this place that the blood for atonement was placed. Within the Ark were the reminders of Elohim’s provision, instructions and priesthood: manna, the stone tablets and Aharon’s rod that budded. It was over the Ark that the cloud of Elohim’s glory remained while the Israelites traveled in the wilderness.

From the throne in the heavenly Tabernacle Elohim’s voice came with thunder and lightning. This can be compared to when Elohim spoke to the Israelites from His throne, they heard thunder and saw lighting.

“And His lightning to the ends of the earth. After it, a voice roars; he thunders with His majestic voice, and He does not restrain the lightnings when His voice is heard. “God thunders with His voice wondrously, doing great things which we cannot comprehend” (Job 37:3-5).

“The Lord also thundered in the heavens, and the Most High uttered His voice …” (Psalm 18:13).

The One sitting on the throne gleamed like rubies and diamonds. Rubies are known for being a blood-red color. Natural rubies are very rare and have great value, even more than a diamond. King Solomon compares finding an Eshet Chayil, an excellent wife, to be worth far more than rubies. The ruby was the first stone on the second row of the high priest’s breastplate. On this stone was engraved the name Y’hudah (Judah) which means ‘praise.’ It is from the Tribe of Y’hudah that Yeshua was birthed and not only did his ‘red blood’ cleanses the world from sin, but he will return and destroy the enemies of his people and will be wearing a garment soaked in their blood.

Hebrew Word Pictures

Judah – Y’hudahיהודה

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

Hey is a ‘window’ and means ‘reveal’

Vav is a ‘nail’ and means ‘bind together’

Dalet is a ‘door’ and means ‘pathway’

Hey is a ‘window’ and means ‘reveal’

Y’hudah – The finished work revealed and bound to the pathway, revealed

Diamond crystals from carbon that is pressed and squeezed at a high temperature. The crystals have the ability to disperse light of different colors giving it an appearance of white or clarity. In Revelation 21:12, the New Jerusalem has Shekinah of Elohim, its brilliance like that of a diamond. On the breastplate of the high priest, the third stone in the third row is believed to be a diamond. On this stone was engraved the name Gad which means ‘soldier’ or ‘troops’ for the Tribe of Gad. Yeshua will return not as the lowly the ‘Lamb of Elohim,’ but as a ‘raised up’ warrior, the Commander in Chief of Adonai’s armies.

Hebrew Word Pictures

Gad – Gad – גד

Gimel is a ‘camel’ and means ‘to raise or lift up’

Dalet is a ‘door’ and means ‘pathway’

Gad – to raise or life up the pathway

“Surrounding the throne were twenty-four other thrones, and on the thrones sat twenty-four elders dressed in white clothing and wearing gold crowns on their heads. From the throne came forth lightnings, voices and thunderings; and before the throne were seven flaming torches, which are the sevenfold Spirit of God. In front of the throne was what looked like a sea of glass, clear as crystal. (Revelation 4:4-5).

Surrounding the Throne of Elohim were 24 thrones. Because 24 is a multiple of 12, the idea of the perfectly established government is symbolized. Twenty-four symbolizes the priesthood. King David created 24 divisions of Levites from the clans of Eleazer and Itamar, the sons of Aharon, that determined when each clan would serve at the Temple. Each division had chief or leader making 24 priestly leaders.

“The first lot drawn was for Y’hoyariv, the second for Y’da‘yah, the third for Harim, the fourth for S‘orim, the fifth for Malkiyah, the sixth for Miyamin, the seventh for Hakotz, the eighth for Aviyah, the ninth for Yeshua, the tenth for Sh’khanyahu, the eleventh for Elyashiv, the twelfth for Yakim, the thirteenth for Hupah, the fourteenth for Yeshev’av,  the fifteenth for Bilgah, the sixteenth for Immer, the seventeenth for Hezir, the eighteenth for HaPitzetz the nineteenth for P’tachyah, the twentieth for Yechezk’el, the twenty-first for Yakhin, the twenty-second for Gamul, the twenty-third for D’layahu, and the twenty-fourth for Ma‘azyahu” (1 Chronicles 24:7-18).

On the 24 thrones were 24 elders. In the Hebrew the same word zaqen means ‘elder’ as ‘beard.’ The Jews considered a full, flowing beard a sign of honor and dignity. Though a young man may have a beard because of the Levitical command not to trim the corners of the beard, he would not be considered ‘elder’ or ‘of greater age’ with the life experience and wisdom that comes from having a gray or even white beard. The 24 elders around the throne of Elohim are the elders from a priesthood created by Elohim who hold to wisdom that lasts through the ages.

“Stand up in the presence of a person with gray hair, show respect for the old; you are to fear your God; I am Adonai” (Leviticus 19:32).

The 24 elders wear white clothing and have gold crowns. Because the Levites wore white to serve in the Tabernacle, it is my belief that these 24 elders are the leaders of the Levitical priesthood who now serve in the Heavenly Tabernacle. Some suggest the 24 elders are the 12 sons of Ya’akov who became the Tribal leaders of Israel along with the 12 disciples. Though these may be valued interpretations, the only two from either group who had any connection to the priesthood are Levi and perhaps Matthew.

I lean toward the 24 elders being Levite priests for a couple of reasons. First, there were 24 Levite men from the Aharonic line who carried the Ark of the Testimony (4), the Table of Presence (2), the Altar of Incense (2), the Altar of Sacrifice (8), the Bronze Laver (4), the Golden Menorah (2) and all of the associated utensils (2) when transporting the Tabernacle in the wilderness. Everything in the Most Holy Place had to be ‘hidden’ under blue cloth.

Second, I believe the 24 elders were Levitical priests is because through Pinchas (Phineas) the covenant of the priesthood was made with Aharon and his descendants forever. The Hebrew word olam means ‘forever, eternal and permanently.’ There is no suggestion that Elohim’s covenant of shalom would end with the death and resurrection of Yeshua. That would not be an eternal covenant. Also, the prophet Malachi states that Elohim will purify the Levites like gold and silver so they can serve Him righteously. These 24 elders may be the evidence of the fire that refined the Levitical line through Pinchas.

“Adonai said to Moshe, “Pinchas the son of El‘azar, the son of Aharon the cohen, has deflected my anger from the people of Isra’el by being as zealous as I am, so that I didn’t destroy them in my own zeal. Therefore say, ‘I am giving him my covenant of shalom,  making a covenant with him and his descendants after him that the office of cohen will be theirs forever.’ This is because he was zealous on behalf of his God and made atonement for the people of Isra’el” (Numbers 25:10-13).

“He will sit, testing and purifying the silver; he will purify the sons of Levi, refining them like gold and silver, so that they can bring offerings to Adonai uprightly” (Malachi 3:3).

The 24 elders wear golden crowns which is a part of the priestly garments as well as kingly garments. These Crowns symbolize the victory, honor and the power given to these elders to rule and reign with the King of Kings in the heavenly realm.

According to the prophet Zechariah, a ‘crown’ or atarah will become a reminder in the Temple of “the man” who builds the Temple. He calls him a Branch or netzer in Hebrew. From the word netzer comes the word ‘Nazareth.’ This ‘man of Nazareth’ will be a priest on the throne bringing the counsel of shalom between the two offices of priest and king creating a royal priesthood (Zechariah 6:12-16, Exodus 19:6, 1 Peter 2:9).

Hebrew Word Pictures

Crown – atarah – עטרה

Ayin is ‘eye’ and means ‘to see or look’

Tet is a ‘snake’ and means ‘twisting’

Resh is ‘head’ and means ‘head’

Hey is a ‘window’ and means ‘reveal’

Atarahlook at the twisting on the head to reveal

Hebrew Word Pictures

Ark (of the Testimony) – aron – ארון

Alef is an ‘ox’ and means ‘first’

Resh is a ‘head’ and means ‘head’

Vav is a ‘nail’ and means ‘binding’

Nun is a ‘fish’ and means ‘life’

Aronthe first head binding to life

Before the throne of Elohim were seven flaming torches. They are described as being the seven-fold Spirit of Elohim. Ezekiel saw something that looked like fiery coals burning like torches. The fire flashing from the coals was brilliant. Isaiah says that one of the creatures he saw brought him a glowing coal taken with the tongs from the altar. Taken together these imageries allude to the Altar of Incense in the Most Holy Place.

The Altar of Incense is the one on which Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aharon, offered ‘strange fire’ and immediately died. This Altar is where Zechariah received word that he would have a son (Luke 1:11). From this Altar, the seraphim brought a coal and touched it to Isaiah’s lips.

The imagery of the Ark of the Testimony and the Altar of Incense become the evidence that Yochanan is standing in the heavenly Tabernacle in the presence of the glorified Yeshua.

“With them [the creatures] was something that looked like fiery coals burning the way torches do, with the fire flashing here and there between the living creatures; the fire had a brilliance, and out of the fire went lightning” (Ezekiel 1:13).

“One of the s’rafim flew to me with a glowing coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar” (Isaiah 6:13).

“His face had the appearance of lightning, his eyes were like flaming torches, his arms and feet like the gleam of polished bronze, and the sound of his words like the sound of a tumult” (Daniel 10:6). 

Before the throne in heaven was a ‘sea of glass’ that looks like crystal. The Greek word for ‘glass’ in this verse is hualos and means ‘a clear transparent stone.’ This word is used twice to describe the brilliance of the New Jerusalem and the river of life flowing from the ‘throne’ of Elohim.

The word ‘sea’ is used two other times in Revelation that give the meaning of the ‘sea.’ The Beast comes up out of the ‘sea’ or comes from one of the nations, peoples and languages. At this time in the vision, the ‘sea’ of nations is calm and transparent. As the events in Revelation occur, the ‘sea of glass’ becomes mixed with ‘fire’ suggesting the nations, peoples and languages are tested with fire.

“In the center, around the throne, were four living beings covered with eyes in front and behind. The first living being was like a lion, the second living being was like an ox, the third living being had a face that looked human, and the fourth living being was like a flying eagle.  Each of the four living beings had six wings and was covered with eyes inside and out; and day and night they never stop saying, “Holy, holy, holy is Adonai, God of heaven’s armies the One who was, who is and who is coming!” (Revelation 4:6-8).

Yochanan isn’t the first to witness the the worship around the throne of Elohim. The prophet Isaiah saw Elohim sitting on a high and lofty throne. The hem of his garment filled the Temple. Seraphim with six wings cried out to each other about the holiness of Adonai-Tzva’ot – the God of the Heaven’s armies. Isaiah hears the voice of Elohim ask him, “Who will go for us?” He responds, “Send me” (Isaiah 1:1-8).

The prophet Ezekiel witnessed a windy storm approaching as a huge cloud with flashing fire, glowing with the color of amber. Inside the cloud were four living creatures that looked like human beings, but each had four faces: a human face in front, a lion’s face on the right, a bull’s face on the left and an eagle’s face in the rear. Each had four wings, calf-like hooves, and glittered like burnished bronze. They moved in whichever direction the Spirit moved (Ezekiel 1:4-13).

His vision of the beings included more details about their movement by the Spirit using something that looked like a wheel within a wheel. The rims of the wheels had eyes all around. The beings had four wings and the sound of their wings was like rushing water, the voice of Elohim, the noise of an enormous army. When he saw the glory of Elohim as a rainbow in a cloud on a rainy day, he fell on his face and heard the voice of someone speaking.

The voice of ‘rushing water’ is the same sound that Yochanan heard when Yeshua came to him at the beginning of the vision. Hearing a voice that sounded like ‘rushing water’ says that both Isaiah and Ezekiel were in the presence of Yeshua before he left the heavenly realm to become human. By responding to the voice, each prophet had a conversation with the Word in the Flesh.

Both Yochanan and Ezekiel see the beings as having eyes. In Hebrew the word for ‘eyes’ is ayin and one of the letters of the alphabet.

Hebrew Word Pictures

Eyes – ayin’im – עיניים

Ayin is ‘eyes’ and means ‘to see or search out’

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

Nun is a ‘fish’ and means ‘life’

Yod, Yod is a double ‘closed hand’ stressing the work is finished

Mem is ‘water’ and means ‘mighty’

Ayin’imto see or search out the finished work of life, the mighty finished work

Having so many eyes obviously symbolizes Elohim as being the One who sees and tests everything. He watches over the righteous and discerns between good and evil.

“Adonai is in his holy temple. Adonai, his throne is in heaven. His eyes see and test humankind” (Psalm 11:4).

“The eyes of Adonai watch over the righteous, and his ears are open to their cry” (Psalm 34:15).

“But Adonai’s eyes watch over those who fear him, over those who wait for his grace to rescue them from death and keep them alive in famine” (Psalm 33:18-19).

“The eyes of Adonai are everywhere, watching the evil and the good” (Proverbs 15:3).

The word ayin also has a relative word mayin meaning ‘fountain.’ From the eyes come the fountain of life. When one is alive there is a light of life in the eye, when they pass away that light goes out.

“Look, and answer me, Adonai my God! Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep the sleep of death” (Psalm 13:3).

Eyes are also related to one’s character.

“The eye is the lamp of the body.’ So if you have a ‘good eye’ [that is, if you are generous] your whole body will be full of light; but if you have an ‘evil eye’ [if you are stingy] your whole body will be full of darkness.If, then, the light in you is darkness, how great is that darkness!” (Matthew 6:22-34).

Having ‘lowly eyes’ means ‘humility’ (Job 22:39). Both Isaiah and Ezekiel saw creatures that covered their eyes with their wings – an even deeper sign of their humility. Like Isaiah’s creatures, the ones in Yochanan’s vision sang, “Holy, holy, holy is Adonai, God of heaven’s armies the One who was, who is and who is coming!”

The creatures cry out about the holiness of Elohim. Worshipping the ‘God of heaven’s armies’ suggests that this vision is not about redemption but the coming judgment. Even with His coming wrath on the whole world, His holiness remains. Just as there cannot be grace without Torah, there cannot be wrath without holiness.

In Greek, the word ‘holy’ is agiazo and means ‘sanctified.’ Sacred comes from this agiazo. Those believers who are being sanctified are saints. Sanctification is not given at the time of justification, it is a lifelong process of choosing to obeying the commandments of Elohim. Yeshua asks his Father to ‘sanctify’ his people through the Truth which is His Word.

In Hebrew, the word ‘holy’ is kadosh, but doesn’t actually mean ‘holy.’ It means ‘separated,’ specifically ‘separated from whatever is common.’ Elohim – the yod hey vav hey is not like any other god; there are NO gods before Him. He is the One who is sits high on a lofty throne. He is the One who created heaven and earth in six days and separated the seventh day out and called it ‘holy.’ He is the only One who determines what is righteous or what is wicked. He is the only One who determines what is clean and what is unclean. He is the only One who is deserving of our praise and worship He is like none other.

“For you, Adonai, most high over all the earth, you are exalted far above all gods” (Psalm 97:9).

“I know that Adonai is great, that our Lord is above all gods” (Psalm 135:5).

Hebrew Word Pictures

Holy – kadosh – קדוש

Qof is the ‘back of the head’ and means ‘what is behind’

Dalet is a ‘door’ and means ‘pathway’

Vav is a ‘nail’ and means ‘bind together’

Shin is a ‘tooth’ and means ‘consume’ or ‘the divine presence’

Kadosh – what is behind the pathway of the nails that bind the divine presence

The Four Creatures

These four creatures obviously represent Yeshua, but most interpret them with symbolism with his royal lineage, his humanity, his redemption through sacrifice, and his divine nature.  When looking at the ‘shadow’ of the Tabernacle on earth, each of these creatures were the tribal emblems of the lead Tribes of Isra’el when the Israelites trekked through the wilderness and set up camp.  These creatures also sing “Holy, holy, holy” to the One who is coming as the God of heaven’s armies suggesting the four creatures are proclaiming part of the vision of the coming Kingdom.

The Lion

The first creature has the face of a lion. According to Ya’akov’s blessing to Y’hudah, the lion will hold a scepter and a ruler’s staff which is evidence to his royal linage.  The lion became the symbol for the Tribe of Y’hudah when the Israelites traveled through the wilderness. 

“Y’hudah is a lion’s cub; my son, you stand over the prey. He crouches down and stretches like a lion; like a lioness, who dares to provoke him.  The scepter will not pass from Y’hudah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his legs, until he comes to whom [obedience] belongs; and it is he whom the peoples will obey” (Genesis 49:9-10). 

Also from this blessing came the prophetic hope that the Deliverer of Isra’el will act as a lion.  The Lion of Y’hudah is the Commander of the Armies of Elohim who will return to Jerusalem wearing a robe soaked in the blood of Isra’el’s enemies (Revelation 19:13).  The Lion of Y’hudah  is given the ‘right’ to open the seven seals of the scroll. The Lion of Y’hudah is Yeshua.

“One of the elders said to me, “Don’t cry. Look, the Lion of the tribe of Y’hudah, the Root of David, has won the right to open the scroll and its seven seals” (Revelation 5:5). 

In the wilderness, the Tribe of Y’hudah  had two other tribes under their banner: Issachar and Zebulun.  It was these tribes that would be the first line of defense against their enemies. 

“So they set out on their first journey, in keeping with Adonai’s order through Moshe. In the lead was the banner of the camp of the descendants of Y’hudah, whose companies moved forward; over his company was Nachshon the son of ‘Amminadav. Over the company of the tribe of the descendants of Yissakhar was N’tan’el the son of Tzu‘ar. Over the company of the descendants of Z’vulun was Eli’av the son of Helon” (Numbers 10:13-15). 

The Human Face

The Human Face became the symbol for the Tribe of Reuben. Reuben was the firstfruit of Isra’el’s flesh. Reuben was the firstborn son of Ya’akov through Leah. His name means ‘son of my sight,’ for the Lord saw Leah’s misery and gave her a son who would become a brother among many sons. As the firstborn, he became the head of the family who would receive the firstborn blessing. Unfortunately, he sinned against his father committed adultery with his father’s concubine and lost the firstborn blessing. The firstborn blessing went from Reuben to Yosef.

“Re’uven, you are my firstborn, my strength, the firstfruits of my manhood. Though superior in vigor and power you are unstable as water, so your superiority will end, because you climbed into your father’s bed and defiled it — he climbed onto my concubine’s couch!” (Genesis 49:3-4).

In the wilderness, the Tribe of Reuben had two other tribes under his banner: Simeon and Gad.  These tribes guarded the Tabernacle in the front as the Israelites traveled in the wilderness.

“The banner of the camp of Re’uven moved forward by companies; over his company was Elitzur the son of Sh’de’ur. Over the company of the tribe of the descendants of Shim‘on was Shlumi’el the son of Tzurishaddai. Over the company of the descendants of Gad was Elyasaf the son of De’u’el” (Numbers 10:18-20). 

Yeshua was the firstborn of Elohim, the visible image of the invisible Elohim. He had flesh and blood which was beaten, bruised and bled when he was on the cross. As a brother among brothers, he is the head of the family of God, he holds first place in all things. He was also the firstfruits of those raised from the dead. When his disciples saw him, they believed they saw a ghost, but he had them look at his hands and feet and see his ‘resurrected’ flesh. Reuben’s banner held the Human Face of Isra’el’s Deliverer, Yeshua.

Look at my hands and my feet — it is I, myself! Touch me and see — a ghost doesn’t have flesh and bones, as you can see I do” (Luke 24:39).

“Because those whom he [God] knew in advance, he also determined in advance would be conformed to the pattern of his Son, so that he might be the firstborn among many brothers” (Romans 8:29).

“Also he is head of the Body, the Messianic Community — he is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that he might hold first place in everything” (Colossians 1:18).

The Ox

The Ox became the symbol of the Tribe of Ephraim.  The Hebrew word for ‘ox’ is alef and is the first letter of the alphabet and means ‘first and strong.’  When Ya’akov was reunited with his son Yosef in Egypt, he blessed his two grandsonsons Manasseh and Ephraim saying Ephraim would become a great nation. 

“When Yosef saw that his father was laying his right hand on Efrayim’s head, it displeased him, and he lifted up his father’s hand to remove it from Efrayim’s head and place it instead on M’nasheh’s head. Yosef said to his father, “Don’t do it that way, my father; for this one is the firstborn. Put your right hand on his head.” But his father refused and said, “I know that, my son, I know it. He too will become a people, and he too will be great; nevertheless his younger brother will be greater than he, and his descendants will grow into many nations” (Genesis 38:17-19). 

Ephraim came Yoshua who led the Israelites into the Promised Land. It was in the tribal land of Ephraim where Ya’akov saw the angels ascending and descending the stairway in Beit-el.  And, Ephraim was called the firstborn son of Elohim.  However, Ephraim fell away from a pure worship of Elohim into paganism (Judges 17) and lost his place in the end times list of the 12 Tribes of Isra’el.   

“They will come weeping and praying as I bring them back. I will lead them by streams of water on smooth paths, so that they won’t stumble. For I am a father to Isra’el, and Efrayim is my firstborn son” (Jeremiah 31:8). 

In the wilderness, the Tribe of Ephraim had two other tribes under their banner: Manasseh and Benjamim.  These tribes immediately followed the Tabernacle as it traveled with the Israelites. From this prophetic vision, it seems that Ephraim will be restored because of his position in the heavenly Tabernacle. 

“The banner of the camp of the descendants of Efrayim moved forward by companies; over his company was Elishama the son of ‘Ammihud. Over the company of the tribe of the descendants of M’nasheh was Gamli’el the son of P’dahtzur. Over the company of the descendants of Binyamin was Avidan the son of Gid’oni” (Numbers 10:22-24). 

Yeshua is the ‘first and strength’ of Elohim, the alef of the alef and the tav.  Hewill be the One who restores Ephraim.  He will bring Ephraim back into Isra’el  by “streams of water and smooth paths.”  

The Eagle

“Dan will judge his people as one of the tribes of Isra’el. Dan will be a viper on the road, a horned snake in the path that bites the horse’s heels so its rider falls off backward.  I wait for your deliverance, Adonai” (Genesis 49:16-18). 

Ya’akov’s blessing over Dan seems to be backhanded.  Though he will be a judge of Isra’el, he is also called a ‘horned snake” that “bites the heels of the horse so its rider falls off backward.”

This ‘horned snake’ alludes to Dan’s falling away from a pure worship of Elohim.  According to Judges 18, the people of Dan worshipped the same idols that Micah of Ephraim created. And, like Ephraim, Dan is not listed in the 12 Tribes in Revelation 5:7-8.  

“The people of Dan set up the image for themselves. Y’honatan the son of Gershom, the son of M’nasheh, and his sons were cohanim for the tribe of the people of Dan until the day of the exile from the land. Thus they erected for themselves Mikhah’s idol which he had made, and it remained there as long as the house of God was in Shiloh” (Judges 18:30-31).

The Hebrew word for ‘judge’ is shaphat and means “to pronounce sentence by either vindicating or punishing the accused.” It appears that through Dan Elohim will judge His people and their idolatry. They will not be vindicated, but punished. The prophet Jeremiah gives a little more insight to Dan and the horses.

“From Dan can be heard the snorting of his horses; when his stallions neigh, the whole land trembles. For they come devouring the land and all in it, the city and those who dwell there. “Yes, now I am sending snakes among you, vipers that no one can charm, and they will bite you,” says Adonai” (Jeremiah 18:16-18).

The Hebrew word akal is ‘devour’ and means to ‘slay with a sword.’  In the words of Jeremiah, Elohim sends ‘snakes’ that will ‘bite’ and ‘devour’ the whole land.  When the land is ‘devoured,’ it will be left desolate.  This could also be a reminder to Isra’el about their rebllion in the wilderness when ‘fiery serpents’ bit and killed many of the people.

“Your land is desolate, your cities are burned to the ground; foreigners devour your land in your presence; it’s as desolate as if overwhelmed by floods. The daughter of Tziyon is left like a shack in a vineyard, like a shed in a cucumber field, like a city under siege” (Isaiah 1:7-8).

“In response, Adonai sent poisonous snakes among the people; they bit the people, and many of Isra’el’s people died” (Numbers 21:6).

Though the banner of Dan is generally believed to be a snake to represent the ‘horned snake’ or a ‘set of scales’ to symbolize being a judge, it seems from the tribal symbolism of the four creatures,  the eagle represents Dan in the heavenly Tabernacle. The eagle is often symbol of the divine Spirit of Elohim.  As the eagle, Dan is restored to ‘life’ by the Spirit in order to warn the nations on earth about the coming judgment.  It is also possible that after slaying his own people, he will be given the honor of ‘flying’ them to a place in the desert where they will be protected from the final three shofar judgments (Revelation 8:13). 

“Then I looked, and I heard a lone eagle give a loud cry, as it flew in mid-heaven, “Woe! Woe! Woe to the people living on earth, because of the remaining blasts from the three angels who have yet to sound their shofars!” (Revelation 8:13).

“But the woman was given the two wings of the great eagle, so that she could fly to her place in the desert, where she is taken care of for a season and two seasons and half a season, away from the serpent’s presence” (Revelation 12:14). 

In the wilderness, the Tribe of Dan had two tribes under their banner: Asher and Naftali.  These tribes made up the rear-guard tribes as the Israelites traveled with the Tabernacle through the wilderness. They also camped on the north to the rear of the Tabernacle.

“The banner of the camp of the descendants of Dan, forming the rearguard for all the camps, moved forward by companies; over his company was Achi‘ezer the son of ‘Ammishaddai. Over the company of the tribe of the descendants of Asher was Pag‘i’el the son of ‘Okhran. Over the company of the descendants of Naftali was Achira the son of ‘Enan” (Numbers 10:25-27). 

“And whenever the living beings give glory, honor and thanks to the One sitting on the throne, to the One who lives forever and ever, the twenty-four elders fall down before the One sitting on the throne, who lives forever and ever, and worship him. They throw their crowns in front of the throne and say, “You are worthy, Adonai Eloheinu, to have glory, honor and power, because you created all things — yes, because of your will they were created and came into being!” (Revelation 4:7-11).

The living beings, the faces of the Tribes of Isra’el give glory, honor and thanks to the One on the throne. The 24 leaders of the Levitical priesthood fall down before the One on the throne and worship Him. They place their golden crowns in front of the throne and laud the One who created all things, who brought all things into being including what is going to happen in the next chapters of Revelation.

In Exodus 3:15, the One on the throne gives His memorial character to Moshe. He calls himself Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh, the ‘I Am’. As Sha’ul states, “in him [in his being] we live and move and exist” (Acts 17:28).

Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh is not a name, but a state of being in the present, the essence of who Elohim is and the expression of His existence.  He cannot give Moshe a finite name because Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh is infinite and a difficult reality to comprehend.  Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh is telling Moshe that He can be whatever Moshe needs Him to be; whenever he needs Him to be, wherever he needs Him to be and so much more.  No matter what happens in Egypt, the Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh will be present, seen and available.  

Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh, the essence of Elohim can be the King of Salem,  a visitor with Avraham, an angel who wrestles Jacob, the commander of Elohim’s army, a smoking pot, a fire in a bush, a dove, a whirlwind, a Rock, a pillar of fire, a cloud or even parts of Himself – His right hand, His finger which writes, and His mighty arm which saves.  He can even become flesh in the body and person of Yeshua.

Hebrew Word Pictures

‘I Am’ – Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh – אהיהאשׁראהיה

YHVH yod hey vav hey – יהוה

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

Hey is a ‘window’ and means ‘reveal’

Vav is a ‘nail’ and means ‘binding’

Hey is a ‘window’ and means ‘reveal’

yod hey vav heythe finished work revealed in the binding [of nails], revealed

“A spirit lifted me up, and I heard behind me a very loud sound — blessed be the glory of Adonai from his place!” (Ezekiel 3:12).

Revelation 5 – The Scroll

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

Revelation Chapter 3 – Laodicea

Messianic Community of 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 the “City of Zeus.” In 60 CE an earthquake leveled the city, but the residents would not take government help and rebuilt the city themselves. Laodicea was known for a major medical school where they made an eye salve from a local stone. Because of its gold, it was known as a financial center throughout the ancient world. The city also was know for its black wool and the garments it made known as ‘trimata.’ Today, Laodicea is near the city of Denizli, Turkey.

There were many Jews who 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 other Roman citizens. Because of the large Jewish community in Laodicea, the message of Sha’ul (Paul) was readily accepted. From the book of Colossians, it appears his letters were shared between Laodicea, Colossae which was 11 miles west, and Ephesus which was 99 miles east.

“Give my greetings to the brothers in Laodicea, also to Nympha and the congregation that meets in her home.  After this letter has been read to you, have it read also in the congregation of the Laodiceans; and you, in turn, are to read the letter that will come from Laodicea” (Colossians 4:15-16).

The Council of Laodicea

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

“Christians must not Judaize by resting on the Sabbath, but must work on that day.”

Canon 29 from Laodicea further states, “Rather [they should] honour the Lord’s Day; and, if they can, rest then as Christians.”  It is obvious that those at this council knew ‘The Lord’s Day’ was not the Sabbath.  Instead they began to instill the idea that ‘The Lord’s Day’ was the ‘first day of the week’ and to be honored apart from the Jewish Sabbath.

“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 eyesalve 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.”

As the ‘Amen,’ Yeshua has the final say to the condition of this community. His words are faithful and true, the witness of two for his words. He also reveals himself as the Ruler of Elohim’s Creation.

The Set-Apart 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).

In the beginning, Elohim through His Word created the heavens and the earth in six days and on the seventh day He rested. This is why He blessed the seventh day and set it apart for Himself. The Sabbath is a memorial to the week of creation.

“For in six days, Adonai made heaven and earth, the sea and everything in them; but on the seventh day he rested. This is why Adonai blessed the day, Shabbat, and separated it for himself” (Exodus 20:11-12).

The Sabbath is a sign between Elohim and His people so that we know yod hey vav hey 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. It is a prophetic vision to the coming eternal Kingdom.

“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).

Most importantly, Yeshua as the Ruler of Elohim’s Creation is Lord of the Sabbath.

For the Son of Man is Lord of Shabbat!” (Mathew 12:8, Mark 2:28, Luke 6:5).

This edict by the Laodicean Council directly not only contradicts the Fourth Commandment given by Elohim in Exodus 20:8-10, it is an affront to every Sabbath Scripture. Judaizing has nothing to do with obeying the commandments as an expression of faith.   The term had become synonymous with requiring a non-Jewish follower of Messiah to convert to Judaism through ritual flesh circumcision. Keeping the seventh-day Sabbath has nothing to do with Judaism, but has everything to do with obeying Elohim’s commandments.

This 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 non-Jews from provoking the Jewish people to jealousy for their own Messiah which is their calling according to Sha’ul (Paul) in Romans 11.

 Sabbath was and is central to a Biblical faith and was part of the Jewish heritage from Elohim. They were taught how to set apart the Sabbath from their days of eating manna in the wilderness. The Laodicean Council wanted no part in becoming ‘one new man’ with the Jews or their Jewish ‘traditions.’ They acted out of arrogance and at that moment were cut off of the Olive Tree of Israel. Those who accepted and followed their edicts brought anti-semitism into ‘the church,’ an anti-semitism that exists today in Christianity.

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 of Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh. That ‘fire’ burned in a pillar over the Tabernacle in the wilderness and only a few could go near it. It is a ‘fire’ of Yeshua that burns in the heart of a person so intensely they cannot humanly contain it. It is a hot ‘fire’ that refines a person’s spiritual life removing the dross of sin in order to become more a more set-apart vessel for the Kingdom of Elohim.

“But if I say, “I won’t think about him, I won’t speak in his name any more,” then it seems as though a fire is burning in my heart, imprisoned in my bones; I wear myself out trying to hold it in, but I just can’t do it” (Jeremiah 20:9).

“That third part [the part that survives] I will bring through the fire; I will refine them as silver is refined, I will test them as gold is tested. They will call on my name, and I will answer them. I will say, ‘This is my people’ and they will say, ‘Adonai is my God'” (Zechariah 13:9).

To be cold means to be far away from Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh and His presence.  To be cold is to be from the nations, a foreigner, separated from God, His people and His teachings. Cold means to be pagan with lustful desires and embracing false gods. Cold means to be agnostic with sterile ways of thinking, an intelligence shrouded in darkness, to be estranged from the life of God because of ignorance. Cold means to be atheist – irreverent, secular and profane.

“Therefore, remember your former state: you Gentiles by birth — called the Uncircumcised by those who, merely because of an operation on their flesh, are called the Circumcised — at that time had no Messiah. You were estranged from the national life of Isra’el. You were foreigners to the covenants embodying God’s promise. You were in this world without hope and without God” (Ephesians 2:11-12).

“Many people’s love [of God] will grow cold because of increased distance from Torah” (Matthew 24:11).

According to the dictionary, lukewarm is a state of being warm, but only barely. The example is used of a forgotten cup of hot tea becoming lukewarm. When it comes to the people of Laodicea they lack zeal and enthusiasm for the ways of Elohim. Lukewarm in a Biblical sense is a mixing of the hot holiness of Elohim and the profane coldness.

The priests of Isra’el are warned about their mixing the holy and the profane. Ezekiel tells them they violate Torah by not distinguishing between the clean and unclean and hiding their eyes from the Sabbath. This behavior profanes the name of Elohim among themselves and among the nations.

“Her cohanim have done violence to my Torah, profaned my holy things, made no difference between the holy and the common, not distinguished between unclean and clean, hidden their eyes from my shabbats, and profaned me among themselves” (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 ‘set apart as Elohim is set apart.’

“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 walk of faith. As I read through it, I noticed several things. First, I was to separate myself from certain people. At the time, I had no idea who those people could possible be, but I soon learned. Second, the Scripture said not to even touch anything unclean. I did not know what that meant so I looked up ‘unclean’ in the small Concordance in the back of my Bible. It took me to Leviticus 11 that described ‘clean and unclean’ animals, meats that were not created as food. At the end of chapter 11, Elohim states that “you are to be holy as He is holy.” I considered that not eating ‘unclean’ foods would make me ‘holy.’ Third I noticed that by obeying what Elohim says, He becomes my Father and I become His daughter. From what I had been taught throughout my ‘church days,’ I just assumed the Father/daughter relationship came with faith in Yeshua. You know, unconditional love. Fifth, we are to purify ourselves from everything that defiles not just our spirit, but also our bodies – out of reverence for Elohim.

I became excited with what I saw in those verses. I had received a ‘word’ from the Lord and wanted to share it. When I opened my Bible, read the verses and explained to some friends what I saw, I was emphatically told two things: One, we are no longer under the law; and two, if we did those things we would be considered legalistic. I knew from that response the ‘who’ I was to separate myself from.

Those verses did in fact come from the prophets Isaiah and Ezekiel and were quoted in the new testament even though new testament believers rejected them. As the Ruach haKodesh continued to give me understanding, I realized that because I am part of the royal priesthood serving Yeshua, I am obligated to the same standard of holiness as the Levitical priesthood; in fact 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 yod hey vav hey among the nations. As for unconditional love, that is one-sided. I have to show my love for Yeshua by obeying his commands; I have to show reverence for my Father as His loving daughter.

Unfortunately much of the modern-‘church’ is lukewarm. They don’t understand the difference between what his holy hot and profane cold. They mix the holiness of Elohim with the pagan ways of the world. They have exchanged the Sabbath for Sunday as pronounced by the Council of Laodicea; they have combined the worship of the goddess Astarte/Ashtoreth with the resurrection of Yeshua, they have confused the birth of the sun-god Saturn with the incarnation of the Son of God, and they falsely believe that Yeshua’s death on the cross either changed the makeup of pigs, horses, and eagles or just removed sin to the point that disobedience still merits eternal rewards.

Laodicea is being told a different message by the faithful and true witness. They are being told they are so lukewarm that Yeshua 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 this community disgust Yeshua and he wants to utterly reject them. This doesn’t sound like the mainstream gospel message of today.

Assimilation and the Soul

The people of Laodicean 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 very things Laodicea values as a city to rebuke this community that has assimilated into that culture: gold, clothing, and eye salve.

Yeshua sees this community as it really is. He doesn’t look at their outward appearance, but at their inner soul. His is disappointed in their way of thinking and sees them as naked, poor, and blind. But, because of his compassion, he offers them spiritual direction.

Sardis had soiled clothes; Laodicea has no clothes. They deceptively believe they are clothed in the righteous of Messiah, however, their manmade riches do not cover their nakedness. The could be likened to the wedding guest at the Wedding Feast of the Lamb who didn’t have wedding clothes. Though this guest had been invited, he didn’t properly prepare. He had not been to the rehearsal dinner so he didn’t know what was expected.

““Now when the king came in to look at the guests, he saw there a man who wasn’t dressed for a wedding; so he asked him, ‘Friend, how did you get in here without wedding clothes?’ The man was speechless. Then the king said to the servants, ‘Bind him hand and foot, and throw him outside in the dark!’ In that place people will wail and grind their teeth,  for many are invited, but few are chosen” (Matthew 22:11-14).

Even though they have much gold, Yeshua tells them they need to purchase gold refined in the fire. They exchanged a ‘golden life’ for their an eternal reward of being with him. They have become arrogant and need the hotness of the refining fire to remove the dross so they can become pure and holy.

For their spiritual blindness, Yeshua tells them they need eye salve. They need to become aware of their detestable practices. They have left the pure milk of the Word and violated Torah. They have mixed the holy worship of Elohim with the false god worship. The salve he offers so they can regain their spiritual eyes is dust and water.

“He answered, “The man called Yeshua made mud, put it on my eyes, and told me, ‘Go to Shiloach and wash!’ So I went; and as soon as I had washed, I could see” (John 9:11).

Exert Yourselves!

“How happy [blessed is] the man whom you correct, Yah, whom you teach from your Torah …” (Psalm 94:12).

The people of Laodicea are so complacent Yeshua tells them to “exert yourselves and turn from your sins!” ‘Exert’ means ‘to put forth some physical or mental action.’  The false doctrine of “Yeshua did everything and so I don’t have to do anything” has utterly deceived them. These people do not need a message of ‘rest in Yeshua,’ they need a ‘Put-forth-some-effort-because-you-need-to-repent’ message. Because Yeshua loves this community, he rebukes them in a harsh way. He disciplines them so they will ‘repent’ and not be lost for all eternity.

“For Adonai disciplines those he loves and whips everyone he accepts as a son” (Hebrews 12:6).

“Yah disciplined me severely, but did not hand me over to death” (Psalm 118:18) .

In Exodus, the Ten Commandments were numbered and lettered in Hebrew not Roman. In the list, dalet or ‘door’ represented the fourth commandment. The ‘door’ commandment is “Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy.”

Yeshua pleads with the Laodicean people.  On the seventh-day Yeshua stands at the dalet knocking.  He wants these people to repent and return to the true witness of their relationship with his Father. He wants someone to open the ‘door’ so he can come in and eat with them.  If they open the ‘door,’ he will fellowship with them and together they will celebrate the ‘appointed time’ of the Lord, the Sabbath. This is the same Sabbath day the Council of Laodicea decided was Judaizing and encouraged people to discard it!

The reward for the overcomer is to sit with Yeshua on his throne.  The action of sitting after a victory is a symbol of rest and cessation of work.  This is the original meaning of Sabbath – to cease work and rest.  When the Laodiceans open the ‘door’ and embrace the Sabbath as it was created, they will no longer be poor, naked or blind to the prophetic vision and hope they have lost. They will rule and reign with Yeshua, the Lord of the Sabbath, in the his eternal 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 that he taught in parables was so the people could “look but not see, and listen but not understand” the message of the Kingdom (Luke 8:10).  Because his disciples were given deeper understanding to the coming Kingdom, he would explain their ‘secret’ meaning to them away from the crowds.

Another reason may be that 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 believed the message of Yeshua are given new hearts of flesh and a renewed spirit – neshama.  The Ruach haKodesh within would compel them obey his Torah (Ezekiel 36:24-27). His Ruach would give them “ears to hear what the Spirit was saying” so they could His voice.

Yeshua doesn’t want this community to just ‘hear’ the 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’ what he instructed 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 [Laodicea], how blessed are your eyes, because they see, and your ears, because they hear!” (Isaiah 6:9-10, Matthew 13:14-16). 

Revelation 4 – Heavenly Throne

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

Revelation Chapter 3 – Philadephia

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 so 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 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 life of the Ruach, but are struggling.

“If you love me, you will keep my commands; 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).

The Spirit of Elohim imparts gifts to His 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 Elohim apart from the world’s humanistic love that never brings shalom.

The True One

Yeshua is the “True One” because he speaks the Truth; not 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. His truthful words will 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).

“I have proclaimed what is right in the great assembly; I did not restrain my lips, Adonai, as you know. I did not hide your righteousness in my heart but declared your faithfulness and salvation; I did not conceal your grace and truth from the great assembly” (Psalm 40:9-10).

“For I have not spoken on my own initiative, but the Father who sent me has given me a command, namely, what to say and how to say it” (John 12:49).

Key of David

The prophet Isaiah gives some insight into the 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 is to David’s ‘house’ which 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’ or Temple for the Name of Elohim. And, he will sit on its throne and rule and reign forever. It is Yeshua who has been given the ‘key’ to this eternal Kingdom promised by Elohim to King David.

“When your days come to an end and you sleep with your ancestors, I will establish one of your descendants to succeed you, one of your own flesh and blood; and I will set up his rulership. He will build a house for my name, and I will establish his royal throne forever. I will be a father for him, and he will be a son for me” (2 Samuel 7:12-14).

A Door

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 also one of the letters of the Hebrew alphabet with a letter picture that means ‘pathway.’ Yeshua uses the example of a pathway in Matthew. In this verse, there is a choice with regard to which ‘path’ one chooses and how that choice determines the destination.

“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad and easy to travel is the path that leads the way to destruction and eternal loss, and there are many who enter through it” (Matthew 7:13 Amplified Bible).

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

In Matthew 25, the bridegroom shuts the ‘door’ after he arrives and takes the wise bridesmaids into the wedding chamber. The foolish bridesmaids are left outside with no access to the bridegroom. The wise bridesmaids enter the bridal chamber; the foolish ones missed the opportunity.

In Revelation 3:20, Yeshua stands at the ‘door,’ the possibility of a pathway, and knocks hoping someone will open it so he fellowship with those inside. Obviously, the door is ‘closed’ and those on the other side are missing something important. Feasting with Yeshua is an allusion to the Feasts of the Lord, the ‘appointed times’ that are the prophetic vision of Yeshua’s life, death, resurrection, sanctification, return, judgment, and restoration of all things in eternity.

“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)

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 in the coming Kingdom. This is the fulfillment 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.”

“For this is my blood, which ratifies the New Covenant, my blood shed on behalf of many, so that they may have their sins forgiven. I tell you, I will not drink this ‘fruit of the vine’ again 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 presence of Yeshua on earth as King of Kings. It is the time of the Millennial Kingdom when Yeshua rules and reigns with his resurrected saints for 1000 years. It is during 1000-year festival that ‘new wine will be put into new wineskins.’

“No one puts new wine into old wineskins; if he does, the new wine will burst the skins and be spilled, and the skins too will be ruined. On the contrary, new wine must be put into freshly prepared wineskins” (Luke 5:37-38).  

“On that day  Adonai their God will save them as the flock of his people; for they will be like gems in a crown, sparkling over his countryside. What wealth is theirs, what beauty! Grain will make the young men thrive, and new wine the young women” (Zechariah 9:16-17).

“For I am full of words; the spirit within me compels me. Yes, my insides feel like new wine under pressure, like new wineskins ready to burst” (Job 32:18-19).

A ‘closed door’ may also symbolize the time for deliverance has ended. For those who refused to open the door of salvation, they will find judgement instead of reward, death instead of eternal life.

“Don’t grumble against one another, brothers, so that you won’t come under condemnation — look! the Judge is standing at the door! (James 5:9).

The community in Philadelphia has an ‘open door’ in front of them that no one can shut. As Yochanan’s vision progresses, he is shown an ‘open door’ in the heavenly realm that leads to the Throne of Elohim (Revelation 4:1). It appears that Philadelphia has been given a blessing like none of the other communities.

Little Strength in the World

“This is the word of Adonai to Z’rubavel: ‘Not by force, and not by power, but by my Spirit,’ says Adonai-Tzva’ot” (Zechariah 4:6).

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.’ It can also be translated as ‘energy’ or ‘ability.’ From this word it appears this community of believers has little energy left for whatever they are facing in the world and so they need to persevere trusting in the ‘miraculous power’ of Elohim to get them through.

Obey the Good News

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 obedience 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 known as ‘repentance.’ In Hebrew repentance is teshuvah and means ‘return.’ Teshuva could be described as making a 180- degree turn in your life that returns you back to the ways of Elohim. Repenting from sins and turning back to Elohim is an action, not a belief.

Sin is defined by John as breaking the commandments of Elohim, being lawless. Thus, when those in Philadelphia ‘obeyed the good news,’ they repented from breaking the commandments and stopped breaking Torah. They obeyed Elohim’s teachings and instructions as taught and exemplified by Yeshua. It is their obedience of repentance and turning back to Elohim that becomes the evidence of this community’s faithfulness to Yeshua’s message.

Hebrew Word Pictures

Repent – teshuvah – תשובה

Tav is ‘crossed sticks’ and means ‘sign’ or ‘covenant’

Shin is ‘tooth’ and means ‘return’ or Shekinah

Vav is a ‘nail’ and means ‘to bind together’

Bet is a ‘house’ and means ‘family’

Hey is a ‘window’ and means ‘reveal’

Teshuvah – Reveal the sin of returning, binding together as a family

“Everyone who keeps sinning is violating Torah — indeed, sin is violation of Torah. You know that he appeared in order to take away sins, and that there is no sin in him. So no one who remains united with him continues sinning; everyone who does continue sinning has neither seen him nor known him” (1 John 3:4-6).

“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)

The this community of believers has not disowned Yeshua.  They acknowledge him to the pagan world around them and remain connected to him and his message of repentance.

False Jews

Like Smyrna, Philadelphia has some in their midst who call themselves Jews, but are not.  These ‘fake’ Jews are telling the believers in Philadelphia that Yeshua does not love them through a distortion of love.  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.

“For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh. But he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that which is of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter; and his praise is not from men, but from God” (romans 2:28-29).

In the modern-day theology known as the Two-House Movement, the central doctrine focuses solely on the two houses of Isra’el – Judah and Ephraim. The followers of this theology take on an exterior facade of being ‘Jewish’ separating themselves from anything and everything ‘Jewish.’ They claim that because Elohim divorced Judah, the Jewish people have lost any share in the Kingdom of Heaven and Ephraim now receives the promises. Apart from being deeply anti-semitic, this movement has evolved a group of ‘false Jews’ who claim that Yeshua doesn’t love the Jewish people. Instead, as Ephraim, they have taken on the identity of the House of Isra’el.

The New Covenant, which is the renewal of a broken covenant, is predicated on the words of the prophets Jeremiah and Ezekiel. It is promised to the House of Judah and the House of Isra’el. Yeshua instituted the new covenant at his Passover seder with his Jewish disciples. Salvation comes from the Jews and no one who claims to be in Body of Messiah should ever conceive a doctrine that would separate Yeshua’s brothers and sisters from their Jewish redeemer.

“Here, the days are coming,” says Adonai, “when I will make a new covenant with the house of Isra’el and with the house of Y’hudah. It will not be like the covenant I made with their fathers on the day I took them by their hand and brought them out of the land of Egypt; because they, for their part, violated my covenant, even though I, for my part, was a husband to them,” says Adonai. “For this is the covenant I will make with the house of Isra’el after those days,” says Adonai: “I will put my Torah within them and write it on their hearts; I will be their God, and they will be my people” (Jeremiah 31:30-32).

“For I will take you from among the nations, gather you from all the countries, and return you to your own soil. Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your uncleanness and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit inside you; I will take the stony heart out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh” (Ezekiel 24:24-26).

“You people don’t know what you are worshipping; we worship what we do know, because salvation comes from the Jews” (John 4:22).

“He did the same with the cup after the [seder] meal, saying, “This cup is the New Covenant, ratified by my blood, which is being poured out for you” (Luke 22:20).

Power of Perseverance

Perseverance through the trials that Philadelphia faces will keep them from the time of trial coming on the whole earth.  This trial is known as the Great Tribulation or the ‘time of Jacob’s trouble.’ How Elohim will keep them from this time of trial remains a mystery, but these faithful believers will be kept safe from the Day of the Lord’s vengeance because they have patiently endured. With what strength they have, they have remained faithful to Yeshua and obey the Torah.

The Greek word for ‘endure’ is hupomone and means ‘remaining behind.’ Though believers may be martyred as Yeshua told Smyrna, these faithful Philadelphians will ‘remain behind.’ For those who adhere to a pre-tribulation rapture, it seems that those ‘left behind,’ are followers of Messiah. In the Day of the Lord, their faithful endurance may be the testimony the lawless worlds needs to see redemption in Yeshua.

Hebrew Word Pictures

Persevere – hatmadah – התמדה

Hey is a ‘window’ and means ‘reveal’

Tav is ‘crossed sticks’ and means ‘sign’ or ‘covenant’

Mem is ‘water’ and means ‘chaos’

Dalet is ‘door’ and means ‘pathway’

Hey is a ‘window’ and means ‘reveal’

HatmadahReveal the covenant in the chaos of the path, reveal

“This is when perseverance is needed on the part of God’s people, those who observe his commands and exercise Yeshua’s faithfulness” (Revelation 14:12).

Eternal Rewards

Yeshua tells them this community to hold on to what they do have and no one will take away their Crown of Righteousness. Their eternal reward includes more than this crown. They will become a pillar in the Millennial Temple of Elohim.

“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).

 Pillars are found throughout Scripture. One of the first references is in Genesis 35:14 when Ya’akov (Jacob) sets up a standing stone where Elohim spoke with him at Beth-el referring to him again as Isra’el and reiterating the land promises he gave to Avraham along with a nation of people.

In Exodus while the Israelites wandered through the wilderness, the glory of Elohim them by a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. When Moshe read the words of Elohim to the people and they responded they would obey everything they heard, he set up 12 pillars for the 12 Tribes of Isra’el.

As imagery, pillars are used to describe the earth’s foundation. When it quakes, Elohim holds the pillars firm for all the people on the earth.

“When the earth quakes, with all living on it, it is I who hold its support-pillars firm”  (Selah) … (Psalm 75:4).

Jeremiah was called a pillar with whom the kings, princes and priests of Judah would fight against. Because he was made “an iron pillar” by Elohim, he would not be overcome, but rescued. These words are very similar to the words of Yeshua to Philadelphia who will ‘remain behind’ and not be overcome.

“For today, you see, I have made you into a fortified city, a pillar of iron, a wall of bronze against the whole land — against the kings of Y’hudah, against its princes, against its cohanim and the people of the land. They will fight against you, but they will not overcome you, for I am with you,” says Adonai, “to rescue you” (Jeremiah 1:18-19).

In Hebrew the word for ‘endure’ is amad and means ‘to take one’s stand in the covenant.’ It suggests an ‘attitude’ of standing and is sometimes translated as ‘pillar.’ To become a pillar in the Millennial Temple suggests the believers of Philadelphia are strong in their covenant relationship with Messiah. They will continue to stand strong with Yeshua during his 1000-year reign.

The believers in Philadelphia have prepared themselves as wise virgins with oil in their lamps. They have matured in faith and not faltered in their first love. They don’t have soiled clothes and obey the good news of repentance followed by acts of righteousness. They have stood like a pillar when trials are given to them. 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 have remained behind, endured patiently, and are welcomed into the Kingdom by Yeshua who has 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 a 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, the New Jerusalem in the restored heavens and earth.   They also receive the name of their Bridegroom, the King of kings and LORD of Lords.

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 the people could “look but not see, and listen but not understand” the message of the Kingdom (Luke 8:10).  Because his disciples were given deeper understanding to the coming Kingdom, he would explain their ‘secret’ meaning to them away from the crowds.

Another reason may be that 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 believed the message of Yeshua are given new hearts of flesh and a renewed spirit – neshama.  The Ruach haKodesh within would compel them obey his Torah (Ezekiel 36:24-27). His Ruach would give them “ears to hear what the Spirit was saying” so they could His voice.

Yeshua doesn’t want this community to just ‘hear’ the 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’ what he instructed 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 [Philadelphia], 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 Laodicea

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Revelation Chapter 3 – Sardis

Messianic Community in 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. The Pactolus River 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 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.”  He has already 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 prophet Isaiah describes the seven-fold Spirit of Elohim that embodies the fullness of Messiah.

 “But a branch will emerge from the trunk of Yishai [Jesse], a shoot will grow from his roots.  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).

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 a life of power to the believer thus it appears that Sardis is missing that power.

Yeshua commands Sardis to “Wake Up!”  The Sardis community is sleep-walking and unaware of their complacent lifestyle.  If they don’t wake up,  Yeshua will come like a ‘thief,’ in a swift and stealthy manner, and they will miss his and ultimately their own wedding.

“It is the Spirit who gives life, the flesh is no help. The words I have spoken to you are Spirit and life …” (John 6:63).

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

Idioms and a Parable

“But you have no need to have anything written to you, brothers, about the times and dates when this will happen;  because you yourselves well know that the Day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night” (1 Thessalonians 5:1-2).

The phrase ‘thief in the night’ symbolizes the snatching away of bride from her home when the time of 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 also 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 concurs with Yeshua’s words, ‘no one knows the day or the hour’ in Matthew 24:36 and points to Yom Teruah, the first fall Biblical festival that has yet to be fulfilled.

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

The Feast of Trumpets is celebrated on a New Moon. In ancient times, only when the New Moon, the beginning of the new month, was sighted by the high priest along with the testimony of two witnesses could any festival time be determined. Yom Teruah began only 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. These are the wise Bridesmaids. They trim their wicks, light their lamps and go with the Bridegroom into the Bridal Chamber.  The other five are called foolish because they did not prepare. When they hear the voice of the Bridegroom, 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 festivities.

“Your word is a lamp for my foot and light on my path” (Psalm 119:105).

The lamps in the parable are the Word of Elohim. The Hebrew word for ‘word’ in this verse is Torah. Specifically, each of the Bridesmaids have Torah to illuminate their path, but their desire to become a set-apart Bride for Yeshua determines whether or not they use to mature spiritually.

Hebrew Word Pictures

Torah – torah – תורה

Tav is ‘crossed sticks’ that mean ‘sign’ or ‘covenant’

Vav is a ‘nail’ that means ‘bind together’

Resh is a ‘head’ that means ‘head’

Hey is a ‘window’ that means ‘reveal

Torah – The covenant sign that binds to and reveals the head

“Furthermore, you who heard the message of the truth, the Good News offering you deliverance, and put your trust in the Messiah were sealed by him with the promised Ruach HaKodesh …” (Ephesians 1:13).

Oil is symbolic of the Spirit of Elohim, His seal on those who are His. Oil was used to anoint kings and priests and now, the Bride of Messiah.

Hebrew Word Pictures

Oil – shemen – שמן

Shin is a ‘tooth’ and means ‘return’

Mem is ‘water’ and means ‘mighty’

Nun is a ‘fish’ and means ‘life’

Shemen – Return to the mighty life

At some future Feast of Trumpets, the Bridegroom will come out of the heavens with the ruling angels and a loud cry and a shofar blast from his Father to call forth his waiting and prepared Bride (1 Thessalonians 4:16). For those Bridesmaids who are foolish and 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 there is oil in their lamps!

The believers in Sardis could be compared to the bridesmaids in Matthew 25. They all have lamps, but no oil. Unless, they get oil before the arrival of the Bridegroom, they will miss his arrival and be shut out of the wedding chamber.

“But you, brothers, are not in the dark [you know the ‘appointed seasons’], so that the Day [of the Lord] should take you by surprise like a thief [in the night]; for you are all people who belong to the light …” (1 Thessalonians 5:4).

Faith Without Works

“Then he [Moshe] took the book of the covenant and read it aloud, so that the people could hear; and they responded, “Everything that Adonai has spoken, we will do and obey” (Exodus 24:7).

“The problem is that they haven’t all paid attention to the Good News and obeyed it” (Romans 10:16).

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

Sardis is to remember what they have heard and obey it. If there was nothing to obey, no rules or Torah commands, then this would be a foolish correction from Yeshua.   Kefa confirms the gospel is more than just a belief system, it’s about remembering, hearing, and obeying

“For the time has come for the judgment to begin. It begins with the household of God; and if it starts with us, what will the outcome be for those who are disobeying God’s Good News?” (1 Peter 4:17).

Many modern-day believers have become complacent because of distorted doctrine. By removing the Torah, Elohim’s teachings and instructions from their theology, millions of sincere continue to live in sin and disobedience. They no longer ‘hear’ what they are to ‘obey.’ Like Sardis they are dead from the lack of the Spirit of Elohim in their lives. Even Yeshua teaches that in order to receive the Spirit of Elohim, the Ruach HaKodesh, one must obey the commandments.

“If you love me, you will keep my commands;  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).

Wedding Garments and the Book of Life

“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 Messiah in Sardis who have not soiled their wedding gowns. These people will walk with Yeshua clothed in white robes. Those who have victory over ‘incomplete works’ will receive white fine linen bridal gowns to represent their righteous deeds.

“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).

Those in Sardis who have 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. The Greek word for ‘soiled’ is moluno and means to ‘spiritually destroy the reputation of Messiah.’ These two words give a more detailed view of the condition of those in Sardis. They live carnal lives that destroy the message of Yeshua! This type of behavior brings a 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.’ At the final judgment, only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life are not thrown into the lake of burning sulfur. To be ‘blotted out’ is a serious eternal consequence for choosing to not obey the message of Yeshua.

Those in Sardis who don’t overcome their carnal lifestyle will spend eternity in the outer darkness away from the light of the New Jerusalem where there is weeping and gnashing of  teeth – the place of greatest regret. 

“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).

Moshe as the intercessor for Isra’el cried out to Elohim to forgive the Israelites of the grievous sin of idolatry. If Elohim could not forgive their sin, then Moshe requested to be blotted out of His book. Fortunately, Elohim forgave their sin and Moshe was given eternal life (Exodus 32:31-32).

Sardis was not a living part of the Body of Messiah in spite of its reputation.  It was dead and needed to wake up or lose their eternal reward.  On the final Day of Atonement, a significant ‘appointed time’ at the beginning of Eternity, when books are opened, it is vitally important that one’s name is written in the Lamb’s Book of Life. The reward is that Yeshua will call each of righteous persons by name.

“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).

Those in Sardis who overcome the carnal flesh and walk in the Spirit of complete works will be introduced to Yeshua’s Father by name as Isra’el. And, He will respond, “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 that he taught in parables was so the people could “look but not see, and listen but not understand” the message of the Kingdom (Luke 8:10).  Because his disciples were given deeper understanding to the coming Kingdom, he would explain their ‘secret’ meaning to them away from the crowds.

Another reason may be that 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 believed the message of Yeshua are given new hearts of flesh and a renewed spirit – neshama.  The Ruach haKodesh within would compel them obey his Torah (Ezekiel 36:24-27). His Ruach would give them “ears to hear what the Spirit was saying” so they could His voice.

Yeshua doesn’t want this community to just ‘hear’ the 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’ what he instructed 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 [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

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