|This ministry has a distinct kingdom, Messianic vision, identifying with God’s call and plan for the Jewish people and the church. My position is pre-trib! Personally: I was saved in 1976 while working as a war correspondent, journalist, photographer, artist and environmentalist. My calling is to share these great end-time dramas, to stand as a watchman and above all, to glorify my God.|
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Shabbat (Sabbath) begins on Fridays at 6pm and ends on Saturdays at 6pm. The purpose is to help the church and Israel become reconciled in Messiah and to identify the rift, and the needed restoration. There is much in the church that needs to change before it can be fully reconciled with the Jew. Likewise, changes in Jewish thinking are also needed.
Edition 229 October 15th 2014
The Seven Churches:
The Seven Churches:
Here is a good word-study by Alan Horvath on the Church: Click Here
This edition is vitally important in this day. As goes the spiritual, so goes the natural. My friends, both the false church and the True Church have an incredibly vital role to play today. They are the very embodiment of Bible prophecy and show us much about things to come.
We’ve all heard multitudes of opinions of this church or that, but what does God have to say? What is His opinion? Don’t you think we should ask Him first?
The Revelation of our Lord opens with the most spectacular, awesome, serious, gravity-filled view of His Church, - His body revealed and unveiled in the letters to the seven churches in the opening few chapters of the Revelation.
Wrapped up within these seven spectacular letters to the churches are numerous symbolic and hidden messages as well. We see the future end of various churches. We see when our Lord is coming and we see if the Church will go through the tribulation.
Spiritual eyes and ears are needed to understand all that is contained in these gravity-filled messages to the churches.
This edition is about what our Lord and Messiah is saying now. These are the central issues and now-word to the body of Messiah.
►You must read, study and know Revelation chapters one through three. The messages to the seven churches are the most important portions of scripture in your Bible!
The fantastic plot of history:
The opening of the Revelation sees our Majestic King, Lord and Lion walking between the seven branched Menorah in all His spectacular wonder, glory and power. It is He to whom all will answer. It is He who is the head of the Church. It is not a thieving, glory-seeking pastor who is head of any church. It is not a world-fashioned institution or organisation that is head of the Church. It is not a board of ill-equipped men who are head of the church.
Within the messages to the seven churches are commendations, condemnations, admonitions, warnings, commands to persevere, and commands to be vigilant and watchful.
Each letter contains the phrase “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit is saying.” This implies that many do not have the spiritual ears or eyes to hear and see.
The messages speak to us in three distinct ways.
●The messages had a historic relevance in that they addressed seven literal churches back in those days, which were located in present day Turkey. ●The messages speak to any believer now with relevant messages. ●Hidden within the messages is the plot of church history from its foundation at Pentecost to its final conclusion. This is found in the names, and the titles and the details of the messages. They have powerful prophetic messages, which you would do well to heed!
I’m not going to go into all the details here now (you can see more here: •Edition 11: The seven churches of the Revelation - glory and horror!).
The summarised breakdown is this:
●Ephesus means ‘becoming slack’ and represents the early Church, which lost its first love. ●Smyrna means bitterness coming from the bitter herb myrrh and represents the early Church entering the ten successive persecutions under the Romans. ●Pergamos means ‘mixture’ and represents the Church mixing with Babylonian occult and pagan practises under Constantine. ●Thyatira means ‘thoroughly married’ and represents the orthodox Church of the dark ages, thoroughly married and mixed with paganism. ●Sardis means ‘to escape’ and represents the Church of the reformation trying to escape the clutches of Catholicism and orthodoxy, but being unable to escape because it is dead. ●Philadelphia means ‘brotherly love’ and represents the pure true Church, which is promised that it will “escape the tribulation.” ●Laodicea means ‘people ruled’ and represents the democratic lukewarm church spewed out by our Lord.
There is much more in the content of each letter identifying it with a time period in church history.
In the diagram below please note the churches and the time periods they represent. Note that the last four run through to the end of the age and tribulation period, with Philadelphia removed in a pre-tribulation rapture.
The message to the church today:
Let’s focus in now on the last four churches, since they represent the church today.
Most Bible commentators agree that Thyatira relates to the Catholic and other orthodox churches. God’s words to this church are indeed shocking. In Revelation 2:18-29 we see that this church has a Jezebel spirit within it; that is a spirit of control amongst other things. It is immoral and full of idolatry. It is given time to repent but does not. “I will cast her into great tribulation” says our Lord. This phrase has the definite article contained within it, so it should say “the great tribulation.” Our Lord says to this church, “I will kill your children with death.” This could imply that the offspring of this church will be sent to hell.
God says to this church, “You have a name to live but you are dead!” They are told to be watchful and to strengthen the things which remain and are about to die. So not only is this church largely dead, it has many within it who are atrophying!
Revelation 3:2 “Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die.”
Do you see that in this verse, our Lord is saying that some within the church are ready to die? Of course this refers to spiritual death and not physical death. Being watchful strengthens you! Did you see that? I’ll say it again. Being watchful strengthens you!
Amazingly this church is given time to repent, but it is also told: “If you will not watch, I will come upon you as a thief and you will not know what hour I come upon you”. Do you see the importance of watchfulness?
This church is told by our Lord that it has only a few who are not defiled and who will “walk with Me in white, for they are worthy.” These few are told that our Lord “will not blot their names out of the Book of Life.”
The picture above shows massive pillars, the remains of buildings in which the Philadelphian church met. Revelation 3:12 “He who overcomes I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God...”
This Church has the “key of David” which also appears in Isaiah 22:22 and relates to those who open the doors to Jerusalem for the people. It implies a Messianic Church with a heart and love for the Jewish people and God’s plans for them.
Those of this Church have “little strength” (are not self reliant) and they “keep the word”. They recognise those of the synagogue of Satan. These are the orthodox Jews who resist Messiah.
This church has before it an “open door which no one can shut.” This implies a missionary church.
Those that have the Philadelphia spirit are offered removal from earth and the end-time tribulation period troubles. (Revelation 3:10)
Laodicea was a city rich in trade. They actually made their own coins, with the god, Zeus, inscribed on one side. It was a prosperous city. This church was in love with the world’s prosperity and ways. It was lukewarm to the things of God, spiritually blind and deaf.
The image above shows original Laodicean coins in honour of the most evil of gods, Zeus, and the ruins of the Temple of Zeus in the ancient city of Laodicea.
Laodicea means self- or people- ruled and opinionated. It parallels with 2 Timothy 3:1 “In the last days men shall be lovers of themselves...”
The major problem of the end-time church is self-love and self- confidence, self-esteem, self-deception. This church is told it thinks it is rich, but is in deep poverty!
There is nothing wrong with being rich! It is the love of money that is a root of all manner of evil. (1Timothy 6:10)
I have a personal long-standing friend who is a believer (and regular reader of this website) who is also the CEO of a top class listed company. I have other friends who are unbelievers and not wealthy. One is going to heaven, the others to hell! The Bible does not condemn physical wealth, but those who have an unhealthy love and use of it. The duty of the rich in the kingdom of God is to assist in the spread of the gospel!
The parable saying, “It’s easier for a rich man to enter heaven than for a camel to go through the eye of a needle” is a good example. Obviously this scenario is impossible. But that’s not what is being implied. Back in those days the eye of the needle was a smaller gate cut into the big city gate, so that late-arriving travellers could go in after the big gates were closed for the night. But the traveller would have to unload his camel of its goods and squeeze it through the “eye”. Then on the inside he could reload the camel.
The message is that it’s difficult for the rich to unemcumber themselves of all their materialism. It is not saying that the rich can’t get saved.
The Laodecian spirit is indifference and neutrality to God’s word and kingdom. It is their indifference and neutrality that makes our Lord sick.
This large end-time church is told it is blind. It needs eye-salve to anoint its eyes so that it can see. This obviously refers to spiritual sight. Revelation 3:18 “I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in fire (type of deity) that you may be rich; and white garments that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye-salve, that you may see.”
Themes compiled from all seven churches:
You have tested those who call themselves apostles and are liars. You hate the deeds of the Nicolaitans (separating clergy above laity). I will give to the overcomer – to eat of the tree of life which is in the midst of the Paradise of God. Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of Life.. But to you who have not known the depths of Satan, I will put on you no other burden. To him who overcomes, I will give him power over the nations. There are a few names among you that are not defiled. I have set before you an open door; you have kept My word to persevere. I will keep you from the hour of trial that will come upon the whole world. I will make you a pillar in My temple.
I know your works and where you dwell where Satan’s throne is. You hold to the doctrine of Balaam. You tolerate Jezebel and do not repent. I will cast you into the great tribulation and I will kill your children with death. You have a name to live but you are dead. I have not found your works perfect. If you will not watch and repent, I will come upon you as a thief in the night and you won’t know what hour I come.. You are lukewarm therefore I will spew you out of My mouth. Anoint your eyes with eye-salve that you may see. As many as I love I rebuke and chasten.
The Seven Churches – key points:
In all seven the phrase appears: “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the Churches.” That is amazing! It presumes that many do not have spiritual ears to hear! Isn’t that exactly why the modern church is so divided? It is so!
Let me inform you that spiritual ears are not those things on the side of your head. They only come through the fullness of the Spirit experientially evident in you.
If you do not have spiritual ears how can you hear and follow the leading of our Lord, especially in these days?
A central theme in all seven of the churches is watchfulness. In fact it is so important it is directly associated with spiritual life and death.
The seven letters reveal that only one of the churches (Philadelphia) is without a word of condemnation and only one, Laodicea, is only condemned with not one word of commendation.
The end-time church is shown to be filled with the paganism and many deadly errors. Only a small part of the Church is shown to be victorious.
The Lord comes as a “thief in the night” to the unrepentant, unprepared and unworthy. These are the ones who think that they are in “peace and safety.” The shock for the unworthy is in the verse, “You shall not know what hour I come upon you as a thief.” (Revelation 3:3)
Matthew 24:43 “If the master of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched...”
Watching is for safety against thieves, false doctrines, false prophets, false apostles, and the false church and its god.
►The Hebrew word “watch” also means “take heed to yourself.” We are to watch for and know the signs of the times and to watch for the souls and hearts of those whom the Lord brings our way. As regular readers know, I frequently present teachings for your heart as well as your head.
The state of the end-time church:
Sometimes I get so infuriated watching or listening to various sermons. Much of the church today preaches about self-orientation and comfort. They don’t want to make their congregation feel vaguely uncomfortable. There is no urgency in today’s spineless church. They are blind to their own terrible situation.
Perhaps the major job of the pastor / shepherd is to warn and protect the sheep from wolves. Today most pastors are consumed with self-indulgence and have no concern for the sheep except that they pay in lots of money. In this environment, my friends, you must be on guard yourself. You must know the word and watch for your own soul. You must find watchmen. You must be your watchman.
The state of the modern church is far worse than most people think or imagine for the simple reason that they all compare themselves among themselves. The true standard of comparison has been watered down and in fact rejected by most churches. (2 Corinthians 1:12)
Today we have a church of relevance and tolerance! Those two words should scare the hell out of you! The only way you can be relevant to the world system today is by making peace with it and joining it. You need to be tolerant of all the modern evils of the world.
Isaiah 5:20-21 “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil; who put darkness for light and light for darkness; who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter. Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes.”
The tragic end-time church:
Matthew 24:12 “Because of lawlessness, the love of many will grow cold.”
The tragic end-time church is promised by God that it will be cast into the great tribulation. A large part of it is “spewed out” by our Lord and some are told that they will be “killed with death.”
This tragic church is self-obsessed and self-consumed. It is not watchful and is blind and deaf spiritually.
Ezekiel 12:2 “Son of man, you dwell in the midst of a rebellious house, which has eyes to see, but does not see and ears to hear but does not hear; for they are a rebellious house.”
Have a look at the terrible tragedy of avoiding Bible eschatology. How many do you know who repeatedly say, “no one knows the time?”
Ezekiel 12:24-25 - 13:1-3 “No more shall there be any false vision or flattering divination within the house of Israel. For I am the Lord, the word which I speak will come to pass...Son of man, look, the house of Israel is saying, ‘The vision that he sees is for many days from now, and he prophesies of times far off.’ Then the word of the Lord came to me saying, ‘Son of man prophesy against the prophets of Israel who prophesy, and say to those who prophesy out of their own heart, ‘Hear the word of the Lord’, ‘Woe to the foolish prophets, who follow their own spirit and have seen nothing.”
Note the shocking charge here!
Isaiah 5:13 “My people have gone into captivity, because they have no knowledge (of God); their honourable men are famished and their multitude dried up with thirst.”
The glorious end-time Church:
Revelation 21:7 “He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he will be My son.” Revelation 2:17 “To him who overcomes, I will give him some of the hidden manna...” Revelation 2:26 “To him who overcomes, I will give him power over the nations.” Revelation 3:8 “I have set before you an open door, and no one can shut it...” vs 10 “I will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world...” vs 12 “...I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God...”
“You will walk with Me” says our Lord and Saviour.
The world church is responsible for the world’s woes, because it is her job to keep Satan out.
The Church was designed by God to be successful when done His way and it is gloriously so for a small part of the Church!
Hosea 14:5 “I will be like dew to Israel; he shall grow like the lily, and lengthen his roots like Lebanon.”
Isaiah 40: 3 “The voice of one crying in the wilderness: Prepare the way of the Lord; make straight in the desert a highway for our God.”
Jeremiah 33:6 “Behold I will bring in health and healing; I will heal them and reveal to them the abundance of peace and truth.”
I took this picture in the incredible Namib Desert – Namibia. It covers a few thousand kilometres, running along the coastline. It is a place of sublime beauty, and danger.
If you want to see a short video clip of elephants in this desert click Here.
If you want to see some more pictures of the Namib, click Here.
Shalom and grow in grace!