Revelation 3:1 The One Who has the Seven Spirits of God

“And to the [a]angel of the church in Sardis write,

‘These things says He who has the seven Spirits of God and the seven stars: “I know your works, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead. 2 Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die, for I have not found your works perfect before [b]God. 3 Remember therefore how you have received and heard; hold fast and repent. Therefore if you will not watch, I will come upon you as a thief, and you will not know what hour I will come upon you. 4 [c]You have a few names [d]even in Sardis who have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with Me in white, for they are worthy. 5 He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life; but I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels.

6 “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” ’

‘These things says He who has the seven Spirits of God and the seven stars: 

Jesus again gives us some of His attributes from chapter 1. 

He is the One Who has the seven Spirits of God and the seven stars. 

We have no doubt just what the seven stars mean. We know that these are the seven angels who have been placed over the churches and from our last study we know that these angels are actual angels but they also might be human messengers placed over the churches as well. 

We also know that saying He “has” these stars means that He has authority over them. 

Does that mean the same with the seven Spirits of God?

Are these seven Spirits actually angels?

Catholic narrative and according to Tobit 12:14-15, there are seven angels who stand before the throne of God. 

Revelation 4 tells us that there are seven lamps of fire called spirits but later on we do learn that there are seven angels before the throne. 

Revelation 4

5 And from the throne proceeded lightnings, [c]thunderings, and voices. Seven lamps of fire were burning before the throne, which are the[d] seven Spirits of God.

Revelation 8

1 When He opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour. 2 And I saw the seven angels who stand before God, and to them were given seven trumpets.

Having authority over angels makes sense

What does it mean If the sevenfold Spirit of God indicates the Holy Spirit?

It would seem that He has the same authority over the Spirit as He does over the stars. 

If this is Christ, as most assume, then this doesn’t match what we know of as the Godhead. 

This would fly in the face of the standard Christian doctrine of co-equality of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. 

We know that God the Father has preeminence over both the Son and the Holy Spirit so again, this could be what Jesus spoke of when He was with the Disciples:

John 17

Jesus spoke these words, lifted up His eyes to heaven, and said: “Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son, that Your Son also may glorify You, 2 as You have given Him authority over all flesh, that He [a]should give eternal life to as many as You have given Him. 3 And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. 4 I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do. 5 And now, O Father, glorify Me together [b]with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was.

Also we know that this whole book came from Jesus by the Angel of the Lord so it would explain this being having attributes of both the Father and the Son:

Revelation 22

16 “I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these things in the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, the Bright and Morning Star.”

I believe that there are many things that we don’t understand about the Godhead because our finite minds must have order. We rely on man made doctrines that tend to put these things in a box when it only puts us in a box and hinders us in the end

There is nothing wrong with doctrine as long as it helps us better understand just Who we are dealing with. 

For example, we all know and pray for the time when Jesus returns, but do you remember that, In some way, God is coming too

Zechariah 14

1 Behold, the day of the Lord is coming,

And your [a]spoil will be divided in your midst.

2 For I will gather all the nations to battle against Jerusalem;

The city shall be taken,

The houses [b]rifled,

And the women ravished.

Half of the city shall go into captivity,

But the remnant of the people shall not be cut off from the city.

3 Then the Lord will go forth

And fight against those nations,

As He fights in the day of battle.

4 And in that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives,

Which faces Jerusalem on the east.

And the Mount of Olives shall be split in two,

From east to west,

Making a very large valley;

Half of the mountain shall move toward the north

And half of it toward the south.

5 Then you shall flee through My mountain valley,

For the mountain valley shall reach to Azal.

Yes, you shall flee

As you fled from the earthquake

In the days of Uzziah king of Judah.

Thus the Lord my God will come,

And all the saints with [c]You.

6 It shall come to pass in that day

That there will be no light;

The [d]lights will diminish.

7 It shall be one day

Which is known to the Lord—

Neither day nor night.

But at evening time it shall happen

That it will be light.

8 And in that day it shall be

That living waters shall flow from Jerusalem,

Half of them toward [e]the eastern sea

And half of them toward [f]the western sea;

In both summer and winter it shall occur.

9 And the Lord shall be King over all the earth.

In that day it shall be—

“The Lord is one,”

And His name one.

This is speaking of the Lord, Yahweh and everything we have learned about Christ coming is seen here. In some way, in some form, we will see the Father and the Son come to earth

Amen 

Lord come

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Revelation 3:1 The Church at Sardis

“And to the [a]angel of the church in Sardis write,

‘These things says He who has the seven Spirits of God and the seven stars: “I know your works, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead. 2 Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die, for I have not found your works perfect before [b]God. 3 Remember therefore how you have received and heard; hold fast and repent. Therefore if you will not watch, I will come upon you as a thief, and you will not know what hour I will come upon you. 4 [c]You have a few names [d]even in Sardis who have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with Me in white, for they are worthy. 5 He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life; but I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels.

6 “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” ’

The name Sardis comes from that of the stone “Sardius, Sardinos” from the Greek. 

The semi-precious stone is orange-brown but reflects deep red when light is passed through. 

Sardis was famous for having been built on an acropolis. There were cliffs on three sides and only one major access to protect It seemed impenetrable to outside forces. 

At one point Sardis was one of the greatest cities in Asia as the capital of the city called Lydia. Aesop was believed to be from Sardis and legend claimed that King Midas once ruled here. Their first Lydian king was Gyges. Plato wrote that Gyges gained power through a ring that made him invisible. 

Their patron deity was Cybele. She was said to have had the power of resurrection from the dead. 

Eventually the city was ruled over by Croesus, who was famous for his wealth. 

There was a river where one could easily pan for gold. In fact, legend stated that this river was where Midas dipped his finger to lose his golden touch. 

Gold and silver coins were apparently made here in Sardis for the first time and some historians claim that this is where 

the beginning of money as we know it came about. 

This place was a pretty big deal. But the high cliffs, their gold and silver, and their gods and goddesses didn’t guarantee their safety as much as they thought. 

In 546 BC, the city fell to Cyrus when one of his soldiers noticed a weakness in the cliff walls that surrounded the city. 

The Persians held it until the conquest of Alexander the Great in 334 BC. After his death, it became part of the Seleucid Empire from 312-63 BC before it was absorbed into Rome as an important trade city. 

The city was leveled by an earthquake in 17 AD. Tiberius helped in its rebuilding and that’s when emperor worship kicked into high gear. 

Sardis also had a large Jewish community who they lived in complete harmony with. They eventually built a synagogue that was the length of a football field, the largest in ancient times. 

Sardis also had no issues with the Christians that lived within its walls. 

 Tradition states that Sardis was the first in its area to be converted by the preaching of the Apostle John. 

The most popular early church father of the church there in Sardis was named Melito. He wrote an apologetic defense to Christianity in the 2nd Century to then emperor Marcus Aurelius, which many claim, along with some of his other writings, may have had an influence on the legalization of Christianity under Constantine in the Fourth century. 

The inhabitants of this city as a whole were not viewed very highly by others because of their voluptuous way of life. This very fact seems to have affected even the church in some significant ways and Jesus is not going to waste time by beating around the bush with them

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Revelation 2:24-29 The Morning Star


24 “Now to you I say, [q]and to the rest in Thyatira, as many as do not have this doctrine, who have not known the depths of Satan, as they say, I [r]will put on you no other burden. 25 But hold fast what you have till I come. 26 And he who overcomes, and keeps My works until the end, to him I will give power over the nations—

27 ‘He shall rule them with a rod of iron;

They shall be dashed to pieces like the potter’s vessels’—

as I also have received from My Father; 28 and I will give him the morning star.

29 “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” ’

24 “Now to you I say, [q]and to the rest in Thyatira, as many as do not have this doctrine, who have not known the depths of Satan, as they say, I [r]will put on you no other burden. 

After all the commendations and the stark condemnation from Jesus, He finally addresses the near and latter futures for those believers who are staying faithful. 

Jesus says that He recognizes that not every believer in Thyatira has accepted the teachings of the Jezebel woman. They have not latched on to this so-called “deeper teaching” of Satan and so He’ll not lump on them any further burdens other than to stay faithful until He comes. 

Now this is probably the first time in any of these letters that we get a slight idea as to who these angels of the churches might be. 

In verse 24, Jesus is addressing a “you” and by following the structure of this letter, He is speaking to the Angel of the church. 

We know that the use of the term “Angel” everywhere else in this book literally means “a supernatural being” ; we also know that it means “messenger” as well. So that opens the way for what I believe is a dual meaning. 

These angels can mean a supernatural being sent to protect each assembly of believers spiritually and a human counterpart who is placed over the assembly to protect them physically. 

One example is the fact that Jesus says this “you” hadn’t been seduced by the “depths of Satan” which would point towards a human. I suppose an angel might be tempted to go against God (Many angels followed Satan in rebellion)

but this seems aimed at a human messenger who is a part of the group. 

Also notice the words Jesus uses when mentioning “The depths of Satan”:

as many as do not have this doctrine, who have not known the depths of Satan, as they say,

To me, He is showing just how shallow Satan is. His doctrine is a counterfeit anti-Gospel. It started in the Garden of Eden and it’s been the same thing ever since, although it has changed to envelop the eras. 

God is lying to you, God is hiding something from you, You can be God. 

Jesus tells the remaining believers that He will place no further burdens on them. 

Perhaps they were suffering and about to suffer more as they removed this woman and her followers from their fellowship. There were those believers who were about to go through tribulation until the repented. I wonder if some didn’t. 

This was completely necessary for the survival of the faithful in this fellowship 

Together this group was about to go through a huge ordeal and upheaval so Jesus tells them to hold onto what they have. 

I [r]will put on you no other burden. 25 But hold fast what you have till I come. 

This letter and the rest seem to a little different than the first three. In the end of this letter, Jesus mentions His coming when speaking to the group, not as a future event, but as something they will possibly witness. 

We know that Revelation was written to 7 real groups and we also know that it is prophecy. We know that the things Jesus says to the churches are for the first century audience but we know they are also for our application as well by the things Jesus says. 

The historic and the futuristic application can be easily seen but there are some who hold to another application when looking at these 7 churches. They see them in a way where each church represents a specific progressive church age in mainly Western Christianity. 

The age that Thyatira represents is the Middle Ages to the return of Christ. It represents the papal supremacy after the Orthodox church was exalted to kingly-like status. 

Jesus seems to have more to say to these believers and He tells them, if they remain steadfast, they will rule with Him during the next age:

 26 And he who overcomes, and keeps My works until the end, to him I will give power over the nations—

The next verse is taken from Psalms 2:

27 ‘He shall rule them with a rod of iron;

They shall be dashed to pieces like the potter’s vessels’—

as I also have received from My Father; 28 and I will give him the morning star.

Psalms 2

1 Why do the [a]nations [b]rage,

And the people plot a [c]vain thing?

2 The kings of the earth set themselves,

And the rulers take counsel together,

Against the Lord and against His Anointed,[d] saying,

3 “Let us break Their bonds in pieces

And cast away Their cords from us.”

4 He who sits in the heavens shall laugh;

The Lord shall hold them in derision.

5 Then He shall speak to them in His wrath,

And distress them in His deep displeasure:

6 “Yet I have [e]set My King

[f]On My holy hill of Zion.”

7 “I will declare the [g]decree:

The Lord has said to Me,

‘You are My Son,

Today I have begotten You.

8 Ask of Me, and I will give You

The nations for Your inheritance,

And the ends of the earth for Your possession.

9 You shall [h]break them with a rod of iron;

You shall dash them to pieces like a potter’s vessel.’ ”

10 Now therefore, be wise, O kings;

Be instructed, you judges of the earth.

11 Serve the Lord with fear,

And rejoice with trembling.

12 [i]Kiss the Son, lest [j]He be angry,

And you perish in the way,

When His wrath is kindled but a little.

Blessed are all those who put their trust in Him.

This Psalm is recognized by both Jews and Christians as a Messianic Psalm. In Christianity this is speaking about a time that we call the Thousand Year Reign of Christ. Most interpretations place it after the Tribulation. 

This Psalm could not be more appropriate in the context of this letter to Thyatira. It speaks of anti-leaders conspiring against God’s chosen leadership. These anti-leaders are throwing off the chains and breaking the fetters of those who demand that everyone live in accordance with God’s laws and commands. 

It is precisely what Jezebel had been doing. 

This Psalm tells us just Who all authority has been given to. This is strictly about the return, rule, and reign of Jesus Christ. This is about the Davidic Covenant coming to completeness. Jesus is taking it further by saying that just as He has received authority from His Father, He will grant the overcomer with authority to rule the nations. 

There are those who see it a little bit differently though. They see this co-regency as happening now rather than physically in the future. 

They see this as happening in heaven where those who die in Christ are ever present with the Lord. 

This view is known as Amillennialism. 

This view teaches that there will not be a specific millennial kingdom in the future but that it has already been inaugurated currently in the church age. It will culminate at the end of time. 

The saints are enjoying the blessings of ruling and reigning with Christ at this very moment in heaven. 

The promises to the overcomers doesn’t end there. He will not only grant the authority for these believers to rule nations but He will also give them the morning star. 

From an outwardly perspective the morning star is something that we all know and have seen. It’s the only visible star that’s not necessary a star but rather the planet Venus. 

Jesus identifies Himself as the morning star in Chapter 22:

16 “I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these things in the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, the Bright and Morning Star.”

The use of morning star in the Old Testament 

Isaiah 14

12 “How you are fallen from heaven,

O [d]Lucifer, son of the morning!

How you are cut down to the ground,

You who weakened the nations!

The word in Hebrew used here is “Helel” and it’s root means “shine” or “shining one” and the Latin Vulgate translators rendered this as “Lucifer” or “Luciferos” 

In Isaiah’s time, Helel was rooted in mythology and associated with a celestial being who had been confined to the lowest depths. Helel is also associated with Venus. 

These verses have widely been accepted as speaking of Satan as the spiritual backer of the king of Babylon. It gained him the name Lucifer but there are also those who believe that somehow this passage speaks of Jesus. 

He gives this message in the context of the reigning Messiah over God’s kingdom 

This seems to be yet another promise of co-regency with Christ. The morning star, or Venus, was always associated with sovereignty and victory in Roman times as the generals owed their loyalty by erecting statues and temples to show her honor. 

Even the legions carried her sign on their standard 

It would be a sign especially in those days as something given to those victorious over others as a glorious affirmation for the future destiny to those believers holding onto what they have which is pure faith. 

Currently Christians are ruled over by the world but this will completely change when this time comes. 

It also seems to be telling us that we will rule over even the angels. 

1 Corinthians 6

Dare any of you, having a matter against another, go to law before the unrighteous, and not before the saints? 2 Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world will be judged by you, are you unworthy to judge the smallest matters? 3 Do you not know that we shall judge angels? How much more, things that pertain to this life?

This speaks of the truth that Jesus is above all things celestial and physical. He is the King above all kings. He is brighter than any star. He is above all that claim to be deity. 

He finishes with the call to all churches and believers to listen to the spirit. When we look at this area today, we don’t see much of a Christian influence there. There are believers there but it would seem that the churches who were addressed in these letters died and faded away. 

What more of an example for us to listen and heed the words of the Spirit for each assembly. 

29 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’

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Revelation 2:20-23 The Attributes of God seen in Jesus

18 “And to the [h]angel of the church in Thyatira write,

‘These things says the Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire, and His feet like fine brass: 19 “I know your works, love, [i]service, faith, and your [j]patience; and as for your works, the last are more than the first. 20 Nevertheless I have [k]a few things against you, because you allow [l]that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, [m]to teach and seduce My servants to commit sexual immorality and eat things sacrificed to idols. 21 And I gave her time to [n]repent of her sexual immorality, and she did not repent. 22 Indeed I will cast her into a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her into great tribulation, unless they repent of [o]their deeds. 23 I will kill her children with death, and all the churches shall know that I am He who searches[p] the minds and hearts. And I will give to each one of you according to your works.

24 “Now to you I say, [q]and to the rest in Thyatira, as many as do not have this doctrine, who have not known the depths of Satan, as they say, I [r]will put on you no other burden. 25 But hold fast what you have till I come. 26 And he who overcomes, and keeps My works until the end, to him I will give power over the nations—

27 ‘He shall rule them with a rod of iron;

They shall be dashed to pieces like the potter’s vessels’—

as I also have received from My Father; 28 and I will give him the morning star.

29 “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” ’

20 Nevertheless I have [k]a few things against you, because you allow [l]that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, [m]to teach and seduce My servants to commit sexual immorality and eat things sacrificed to idols. 21 And I gave her time to [n]repent of her sexual immorality, and she did not repent. 22 Indeed I will cast her into a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her into great tribulation, unless they repent of [o]their deeds. 23 I will kill her children with death, and all the churches shall know that I am He who searches[p] the minds and hearts. And I will give to each one of you according to your works.

There are a few things that we can learn from this part of the letter to Thyatira 

The long suffering of God. 

We can’t feel too bad for this lady and her “children”

Jesus tells us that He gave her time to repent.  The patience of God is evident in the fact that He simply gave her time just as He gives everyone time. Obviously there would have been a definite time when through some means that she was issued a warning probably more than once. Her decision was clear, she did not repent. From His words we can see that she knew what was at issue and made her decision to remain in sin. This shows us the utmost grace our Creator has for us in that His long suffering towards us goes above and beyond what we would consider rational and fair. That is how He deals with free will and our actions. His grace must not be mocked though because some might see it as approval or endorsement for our part only because of a finite time we are allowed a chance to change. 

2 Peter 3

9 The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward [c]us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.

But this finite opportunity will end and with it our options. He gives no doubt that He will deal with unrepentant sin. 

23. I will kill her children with death, and all the churches shall know that I am He who searches[p] the minds and hearts. And I will give to each one of you according to your works.

The deity of Christ 

This verse shouts the very fact “Jesus is God!”

This verse carries us back to verse 18 where Jesus is described as “One who has eyes like a flame of fire”

Jesus is omniscient. He sees everything even into the hearts and “minds” of mankind 

This is an allusion to Jeremiah 

Jeremiah 17

10 I, the Lord, search the heart,

I test the [e]mind,

Even to give every man according to his ways,

According to the fruit of his doings.

Here the word “mind” means “the most secret parts” and literally mean “kidneys” (nephros)

It was used to describe the innermost, secretive thoughts and intentions of the soul. Something that only the person thinking these things would know but completely unknowable by any other human. 

Not so with God the Son. 

He knows every flash of the mind, every thought of the will, no one can claim that He didn’t understand their intentions. 

 No one will be able to hide even in their hearts and minds

Everything is laid open bare in His eyes and He will hold those accountable for their unrepentant actions. 

Well that was the bad news; in our next study we get to hear some good news

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Revelation 2:20-23 That Woman Jezebel

18 “And to the [h]angel of the church in Thyatira write,

‘These things says the Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire, and His feet like fine brass: 19 “I know your works, love, [i]service, faith, and your [j]patience; and as for your works, the last are more than the first. 20 Nevertheless I have [k]a few things against you, because you allow [l]that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, [m]to teach and seduce My servants to commit sexual immorality and eat things sacrificed to idols. 21 And I gave her time to [n]repent of her sexual immorality, and she did not repent. 22 Indeed I will cast her into a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her into great tribulation, unless they repent of [o]their deeds. 23 I will kill her children with death, and all the churches shall know that I am He who searches[p] the minds and hearts. And I will give to each one of you according to your works.

24 “Now to you I say, [q]and to the rest in Thyatira, as many as do not have this doctrine, who have not known the depths of Satan, as they say, I [r]will put on you no other burden. 25 But hold fast what you have till I come. 26 And he who overcomes, and keeps My works until the end, to him I will give power over the nations—

27 ‘He shall rule them with a rod of iron;

They shall be dashed to pieces like the potter’s vessels’—

as I also have received from My Father; 28 and I will give him the morning star.

29 “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” ’

19 “I know your works, love, service, faith, and your patience; and as for your works, the last are more than the first. 20 Nevertheless I have [k]a few things against you, because you allow [l]that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, [m]to teach and seduce My servants to commit sexual immorality and eat things sacrificed to idols. 21 And I gave her time to [n]repent of her sexual immorality, and she did not repent. 

This letter has the most uplifting commendations as well as the most damning condemnations of the seven letters. 

Jesus tells them that He knew their works, love, service, faith, and their patience and that their works of late were more than at first. 

Thyatira, unlike Ephesus, had not lost their fire for the Lord and they had steadily kept it kindled this whole time. 

We probably see a fellowship that ministers outwardly more than looking inward because looking inward to much causes a group to grow cold to the outside and only keep to themselves. 

But looking outward also has its dangers. Sometimes being more focused on including outsiders we can eventually turn to methods that might be discribed as “seeker-friendly,” or we lower theological standards in order to keep the masses and include those with faulty doctrine for the benefit of being tolerant. 

There is a fine line between Godly love for all neighbors and being tolerant and before you know it, this mission or ministry that only loved God in every way, has slowly morphed into something that has nothing to do with Him except for passing reference along with other worldly knowledge and wisdom. 

Tolerance in itself is not evil but what we tolerate can hurt us. 

We have no real way of knowing but somewhere along the line, a person was allowed into the congregation who took some form of leadership as well as power and who was leading some of this group astray. 

She is called “that Jezebel woman” and she was teaching people to commit sexual sins and eat food that had been sacrificed to animals. 

She was probably not named Jezebel but called so in order to bring some things to mind. 

The real Jezebel was the wife of King Ahab, one of the worst kings of Israel. She was a supporter of idolatry, paganism, and everything that was anti-God. She wanted to rid Israel of God and she wanted power. 

1 Kings 16

29 In the thirty-eighth year of Asa king of Judah, Ahab the son of Omri became king over Israel; and Ahab the son of Omri reigned over Israel in Samaria twenty-two years. 30 Now Ahab the son of Omri did evil in the sight of the Lord, more than all who were before him. 31 And it came to pass, as though it had been a trivial thing for him to walk in the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, that he took as wife Jezebel the daughter of Ethbaal, king of the Sidonians; and he went and served Baal and worshiped him. 32 Then he set up an altar for Baal in the temple of Baal, which he had built in Samaria. 33 And Ahab made a [i]wooden image. Ahab did more to provoke the Lord God of Israel to anger than all the kings of Israel who were before him.

Jezebel was responsible for the killing of Naboth and confiscation of his vineyard for her husband 

1 Kings 21

And it came to pass after these things that Naboth the Jezreelite had a vineyard which was in Jezreel, next to the palace of Ahab king of Samaria. 2 So Ahab spoke to Naboth, saying, “Give me your vineyard, that I may have it for a vegetable garden, because it is near, next to my house; and for it I will give you a vineyard better than it. Or, if it seems good to you, I will give you its worth in money.”

3 But Naboth said to Ahab, “The Lord forbid that I should give the inheritance of my fathers to you!”

4 So Ahab went into his house sullen and displeased because of the word which Naboth the Jezreelite had spoken to him; for he had said, “I will not give you the inheritance of my fathers.” And he lay down on his bed, and turned away his face, and would eat no food. 5 But Jezebel his wife came to him, and said to him, “Why is your spirit so sullen that you eat no food?”

6 He said to her, “Because I spoke to Naboth the Jezreelite, and said to him, ‘Give me your vineyard for money; or else, if it pleases you, I will give you another vineyard for it.’ And he answered, ‘I will not give you my vineyard.’ ”

7 Then Jezebel his wife said to him, “You now exercise authority over Israel! Arise, eat food, and let your heart be cheerful; I will give you the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite.”

8 And she wrote letters in Ahab’s name, sealed them with his seal, and sent the letters to the elders and the nobles who were dwelling in the city with Naboth. 9 She wrote in the letters, saying,

Proclaim a fast, and seat Naboth [a]with high honor among the people; 10 and seat two men, scoundrels, before him to bear witness against him, saying, “You have blasphemed God and the king.” Then take him out, and stone him, that he may die.

11 So the men of his city, the elders and nobles who were inhabitants of his city, did as Jezebel had sent to them, as it was written in the letters which she had sent to them. 12 They proclaimed a fast, and seated Naboth with high honor among the people. 13 And two men, scoundrels, came in and sat before him; and the scoundrels witnessed against him, against Naboth, in the presence of the people, saying, “Naboth has blasphemed God and the king!” Then they took him outside the city and stoned him with stones, so that he died. 14 Then they sent to Jezebel, saying, “Naboth has been stoned and is dead.”

15 And it came to pass, when Jezebel heard that Naboth had been stoned and was dead, that Jezebel said to Ahab, “Arise, take possession of the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite, which he refused to give you for money; for Naboth is not alive, but dead.” 16 So it was, when Ahab heard that Naboth was dead, that Ahab got up and went down to take possession of the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite.

She sought the death of all the prophets of Israel

1 Kings 18

2 So Elijah went to present himself to Ahab; and there was a severe famine in Samaria. 3 And Ahab had called Obadiah, who was [a]in charge of his house. (Now Obadiah feared the Lord greatly. 4 For so it was, while Jezebel [b]massacred the prophets of the Lord, that Obadiah had taken one hundred prophets and hidden them, fifty to a cave, and had fed them with bread and water.)

She wanted to kill Elijah because he had 450 prophets of Baal killed. 

And in a moment of weakness he believed her

1 Kings 19

And Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done, also how he had executed all the prophets with the sword. 2 Then Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah, saying, “So let the gods do to me, and more also, if I do not make your life as the life of one of them by tomorrow about this time.” 3 And when he saw that, he arose and ran for his life, and went to Beersheba, which belongs to Judah, and left his servant there.

She died from being thrown out of a window. It didn’t end there, she was then trampled by a horse. When an attempt was made to recover her body; they found that the only parts left of her were her feet, the palms of her hand, and her skull. 

1 Kings 9

31 Then, as Jehu entered at the gate, she said, “Is it peace, Zimri, murderer of your master?”

32 And he looked up at the window, and said, “Who is on my side? Who?” So two or three eunuchs looked out at him. 33 Then he said, “Throw her down.” So they threw her down, and some of her blood spattered on the wall and on the horses; and he trampled her underfoot. 34 And when he had gone in, he ate and drank. Then he said, “Go now, see to this accursed woman, and bury her, for she was a king’s daughter.” 35 So they went to bury her, but they found no more of her than the skull and the feet and the palms of her hands.

From 2 Kings 9 we learn that this was the fulfillment of a prophetic word given to Elijah

36 Therefore they came back and told him. And he said, “This is the word of the Lord, which He spoke by His servant Elijah the Tishbite, saying, ‘On the plot of ground at Jezreel dogs shall eat the flesh of Jezebel; 37 and the corpse of Jezebel shall be as refuse on the surface of the field, in the plot at Jezreel, so that they shall not say, “Here lies Jezebel.” ’ ”

Evidently this unnamed woman Jesus is calling Jezebel had the same power and deceitful intentions or she was also being deceived in her own mind or through Satan. 

Either way she was allowed a place of influence in the assembly because she claimed to be a prophetess. We must also keep in mind that anywhere we find a Jezebel, we will also find a king Ahab who allows her to act impeded. This would sadly be those in leadership of the assembly. We would hope to find an Elijah as well which could be those who oppose these two groups. 

I have seen many who claim to be prophets and even apostles. I have even seen them in action. Most are very confident and charismatic. 

Yet I have seen those who do get true visions and dreams from God and you would never know it unless God wanted them to say or do something. 

I don’t think one should aspire to be a prophet because there is a very serious test when you are. 

The biblical test for a prophet is they can never be wrong and in the Old Testament, if you were wrong after giving a prophecy, you were stoned to death. 

While I still believe that there are those who can truly prophecy out there; I know that most are false but that doesn’t stop some groups from accepting them wholeheartedly and without much discernment 

This false prophet, called Jezebel, had duped plenty of people in this assembly, including the leadership. 

Her teachings must have been to slowly deny God’s Word and to deceive the people into thinking that God had raised her up to give new commandments and laws or that only she knew the truth of God’s Word. 

These new or true way would have always countered any truth that they had learned and gone completely against anything godly. 

The most serious we’re advocating the eating of meat sacrificed to animals, committing sexual sin, and learning the depths of Satan. 

  1. Eating food sacrificed to idols. 

Most believers knew that idols had no power presuming every group had seen a copy of Paul’s letters. 

1 Corinthians 8

Now concerning things offered to idols: We know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge [a]puffs up, but love [b]edifies. 2 And if anyone thinks that he knows anything, he knows nothing yet as he ought to know. 3 But if anyone loves God, this one is known by Him.

4 Therefore concerning the eating of things offered to idols, we know that an idol is nothing in the world, and that there is no other God but one. 5 For even if there are so-called gods, whether in heaven or on earth (as there are many gods and many lords), 6 yet for us there is one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we for Him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, through whom are all things, and through whom we live.

They would have known to abstain from eating this kind of meat in front of a weaker brother. 

  1. Committing sexual sin.

This action, taken with the others, may indicate that Jezebel had influenced her followers into taking part in the Pagan worship services. These would almost always involve eating a feast that had been sacrificed to the god of the temple and then having sex with one of the female priestesses as part of worship. 

  1. Seeking the depths of Satan. 

This could be Gnosticism which was everywhere at the time. It put a lot of weight on knowledge. 

The word “depths” is a very interesting word. The English word comes from the Greek word “Bathos,” and means, “profundity, or occult” which means “wisdom difficult to penetrate; incomprehensible to one of ordinary understanding or knowledge”

Satan does have these false depths and there is no shortage of groups, books, and doctrine that he has helped man create in order to cast doubt on God. 

It’s the same doctrine that he used in the garden, “God is holding you or something back from you” and “You are God”. In some sense it seems that these believers had been duped at first into learning all the ways of the enemy (Satan) in order to best fight him. 

We had our Jezebel in the self-proclaimed prophetess and king Ahab in the leadership. Now it seems that we may have found our Elijah. 

Jesus tells us in verse 21 that this woman was given time to repent and to stop sinning. We know from how Jesus deals with us that there was no beating around the bush and we know she had plenty of time to consider her situation but she chose not to repent. 

Someone apparently stood up to her and confronted her to let her know what was wrong but the leadership was still acting like king Ahab and allowed her to stay in fellowship. 

Were they afraid of her influence?

Did they not want to rock the boat?

Were they confusing love with tolerance?

Verse 22 tells us what Jesus is about to do because the leadership had not reacted 

22 Indeed I will cast her into a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her into great tribulation, unless they repent of [o]their deeds. 23 I will kill her children with death, and all the churches shall know that I am He who searches[p] the minds and hearts. And I will give to each one of you according to your works.

First, He is going to make this woman very Ill. Those who follow her are going to find themselves in great tribulation. They are essentially called adulterers because they can’t follow God and evil at the same time. They are believers because Jesus called them His so they are not so far gone that they can’t come back and repent. 

In her case and judging by her actions, while she may have been a member there, she showed no signs of having ever had a regenerated heart. I’m sure she had great signs and wonders that came with her speech but we all know that these things can come from other origins than God

Her children, meaning those believers who were trained by her and are fully committed to her doctrine instead of God, have a different fate. They are doomed. 

Why so harsh?

Jesus tells us why He is being so severe with the woman and her followers. In verse 23 He says:

I will kill her children with death, and all the churches shall know that I am He who searches[p] the minds and hearts. And I will give to each one of you according to your works.

We hear about this all through the Old Testament as an attribute of God the Father. The fact that He will destroy and dispose of evil people in order to protect His remnant that has not fallen in hopes that all will hear about it and think twice about turning away from Him. 

At the same time, and in view of her opportunity to repent, then we must speculate that Jezebel must have been a member of the assembly. 

But the fact that Jesus names her one of the Old Testament monikers for complete  degenerate wickedness tells us who she really was. She had and was leading members into destructive heresies, moral compromise, idolatry, and immoral behavior. 

While the words adultery and fornication bring to mind sexual sins, and I’m sure they were probably present, these ideas are also used of those who worship false gods as well. 

Jesus was not happy with the leadership of this fellowship as there was implication that they did not follow or believe the filth she was spewing but they tolerated her and allowed her to remain in the group and that had caused some to fall in with her wholeheartedly. The simple fact was that she was about to pay for her teaching as well as her followers and the fact that this could have been avoided was, I imagine, the worst part of this whole situation. 

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Revelation 2:18 The Son of God

18 “And to the [h]angel of the church in Thyatira write,

‘These things says the Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire, and His feet like fine brass: 19 “I know your works, love, [i]service, faith, and your [j]patience; and as for your works, the last are more than the first. 20 Nevertheless I have [k]a few things against you, because you allow [l]that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, [m]to teach and seduce My servants to commit sexual immorality and eat things sacrificed to idols. 21 And I gave her time to [n]repent of her sexual immorality, and she did not repent. 22 Indeed I will cast her into a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her into great tribulation, unless they repent of [o]their deeds. 23 I will kill her children with death, and all the churches shall know that I am He who searches[p] the minds and hearts. And I will give to each one of you according to your works.

24 “Now to you I say, [q]and to the rest in Thyatira, as many as do not have this doctrine, who have not known the depths of Satan, as they say, I [r]will put on you no other burden. 25 But hold fast what you have till I come. 26 And he who overcomes, and keeps My works until the end, to him I will give power over the nations—

27 ‘He shall rule them with a rod of iron;

They shall be dashed to pieces like the potter’s vessels’—

as I also have received from My Father; 28 and I will give him the morning star.

29 “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” ’

18  ‘These things says the Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire, and His feet like fine brass: 

The first description of Jesus in this letter is the only time we will see the term “Son of God” used in this book. 

When we read this term it is natural that we understand it to mean that this describes Jesus as well as His deity and the fact that He is a divine human. 

John the Baptist called Him “The Son of God:”

John 1

32 And John bore witness, saying, “I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and He remained upon Him. 33 I did not know Him, but He who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘Upon whom you see the Spirit descending, and remaining on Him, this is He who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’ 34 And I have seen and testified that this is the Son of God.”

We read that demons, the Disciples, Roman soldiers, and even God the Father use this term when speaking of Jesus. There is no doubt that this is Hid title. But this is not His favorite title. His favorite title is “The Son of Man.”

Also the use of the term Son of God in the Old Testament gives us a good idea of how this title was applied. 

Son of God was applied to several Israelite kings and over time it became understood that the title was indicating a royal descendant of King David. 

A descendant who would become the new king of Israel, the Messiah. It speaks of the human nature of the Messiah. It speaks of His power and authority but not His divinity. 

What is interesting is that this is exactly what Israel was and is looking for in Messiah. 

So we see that Thyatira was receiving a letter from a Davidic King, the Messiah. 

The next words from Jesus used to describe Himself are:

whose eyes are like a fiery flame and whose feet are like burnished brass. 

And again this is where the lines are blurred between God the Father and God the Son. 

Fire is associated with judgment, wrath, and destruction. Bronze is associated with being holy and set apart. 

Isaiah 10

16 Therefore the Lord, the [d]Lord of hosts,

Will send leanness among his fat ones;

And under his glory

He will kindle a burning

Like the burning of a fire.

17 So the Light of Israel will be for a fire,

And his Holy One for a flame;

It will burn and devour

His thorns and his briers in one day.

18 And it will consume the glory of his forest and of his fruitful field,

Both soul and body;

And they will be as when a sick man wastes away.

We see Jesus as the memorial and perpetual offering to God from the rest of His description in chapter 1

13 and in the middle of the lampstands I saw one like a son of man, clothed in a robe reaching to the feet, and girded across His chest with a golden sash. 14 His head and His hair were white like white wool, like snow; and His eyes were like a flame of fire. 15 His feet were like burnished bronze, when it has been made to glow in a furnace, and His voice was like the sound of many waters. 16 In His right hand He held seven stars, and out of His mouth came a sharp two-edged sword; and His face was like the sun shining in its strength.

So here we see that Jesus is ready to examine the 7 churches before the world and in this case Thyatira in order to render a verdict through His eyes of unquenchable fire, eyes that see everything by the Son of God, the King of Kings, Who is most holy and a perpetual memorial offering to God His Father. 

This is possibly also to call to mind the characteristics of this city so steeped in idol worship. 

 Daniel 7

9 “I watched till thrones were [d]put in place,

And the Ancient of Days was seated;

His garment was white as snow,

And the hair of His head was like pure wool.

His throne was a fiery flame,

Its wheels a burning fire;

10 A fiery stream issued

And came forth from before Him.

A thousand thousands ministered to Him;

Ten thousand times ten thousand stood before Him.

The [e]court was seated,

And the books were opened.

Matthew 3 

11 I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit [a]and fire.

This can’t be repeated enough that we, as with the 7 churches and the original audience, are called to keep these things in mind that are given to the physical group first in context but are for all who have ears to hear. 

This letter, as well as the following letters, also seems to be a slight departure from the first letters that we have gone over. 

Remember that this book is prophetic in the sense that when Jesus talks about coming to a church, He is speaking of coming shortly in some way and His secon coming at the same time. More about that in the next few studies

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Revelation 2:18 The Church at Thyatira

18 “And to the [h]angel of the church in Thyatira write,

‘These things says the Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire, and His feet like fine brass: 19 “I know your works, love, [i]service, faith, and your [j]patience; and as for your works, the last are more than the first. 20 Nevertheless I have [k]a few things against you, because you allow [l]that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, [m]to teach and seduce My servants to commit sexual immorality and eat things sacrificed to idols. 21 And I gave her time to [n]repent of her sexual immorality, and she did not repent. 22 Indeed I will cast her into a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her into great tribulation, unless they repent of [o]their deeds. 23 I will kill her children with death, and all the churches shall know that I am He who searches[p] the minds and hearts. And I will give to each one of you according to your works.

24 “Now to you I say, [q]and to the rest in Thyatira, as many as do not have this doctrine, who have not known the depths of Satan, as they say, I [r]will put on you no other burden. 25 But hold fast what you have till I come. 26 And he who overcomes, and keeps My works until the end, to him I will give power over the nations—

27 ‘He shall rule them with a rod of iron;

They shall be dashed to pieces like the potter’s vessels’—

as I also have received from My Father; 28 and I will give him the morning star.

29 “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” ’

Revelation 2

16 “I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these things in the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, the Bright and Morning Star.”

This passage gives us all we need to know, or it causes more confusion, as to who has been speaking to John in chapters 1-3.  Many bibles contain the words marked in red but the attributes are of both God the Father and God the Son while the speaker never really gives John a name. Only with each letter adding to the list of His characteristics from chapter 1 and letters 1,2, and 3. 

From this we know that this divine being was sent to John with a message and we know that there is an Angel of the Lord

Revelation 22

6 Then he said to me, “These words are faithful and true.” And the Lord God of the [b]holy prophets sent His angel to show His servants the things which must shortly take place.

This Angel has attributes of God because God told Israel that His Name is in Him. 

Exodus 23

20 “Behold, I send an Angel before you to keep you in the way and to bring you into the place which I have prepared. 21 Beware of Him and obey His voice; do not provoke Him, for He will not pardon your transgressions; for My name is in Him.

So the question comes to mind; Does Jesus have the same Angel or His own specific Angel. 

If this is who was sent to John then it could be that they share the Angel of the Lord possibly because of having the attributes of both Father and Son. 

This letter is written to the believers at Thyatira. 

Thyatira was located southeast of Pergamom and was established under the Attalid dynasty. It was eventually integrated into a district of the kingdom of Pergamom. 

It became a part of Rome around 133 BC and today it is called Akhistar

Thyatira was very unimpressive as compared to the cities that we have learned about thus far. It had no significant military, political, or administrative responsibilities. If it was known for anything in particular it would have been its commercial enterprise and the large number of trade guilds that soon became a major problem for Christians. 

The trade guilds included wool, linen, baking, slaves, leather, bronze, pottery, and most notably, dyes, especially purple dye. 

Madder root provided the purple while the murex snail provided a rare royal purple. 

Thyatira was much like the other cities we’ve looked at in that they worshipped the same gods and goddesses 

The first time we hear of Thyatira in the Bible is in Acts 16 as a stop on Paul’s missionary journey. There he met and evangelized a woman named Lydia, a seller of purple, which Thyatira was famous for at the time. She was baptized and persuaded them to come back to her home. 

Acts 16

13 And on the Sabbath day we went out of the city to the riverside, where prayer was customarily made; and we sat down and spoke to the women who met there. 14 Now a certain woman named Lydia heard us. She was a seller of purple from the city of Thyatira, who worshiped God. The Lord opened her heart to heed the things spoken by Paul. 15 And when she and her household were baptized, she begged us, saying, “If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come to my house and stay.” So she persuaded us.

Paul and Silas get into a little trouble and get thrown into jail 

Acts 16

16 Now it happened, as we went to prayer, that a certain slave girl possessed with a spirit of divination met us, who brought her masters much profit by fortune-telling. 17 This girl followed Paul and us, and cried out, saying, “These men are the servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to us the way of salvation.” 18 And this she did for many days.

But Paul, greatly [d]annoyed, turned and said to the spirit, “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.” And he came out that very hour. 19 But when her masters saw that their hope of profit was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace to the authorities.

20 And they brought them to the magistrates, and said, “These men, being Jews, exceedingly trouble our city; 21 and they teach customs which are not lawful for us, being Romans, to receive or observe.” 22 Then the multitude rose up together against them; and the magistrates tore off their clothes and commanded them to be beaten with rods. 23 And when they had laid many stripes on them, they threw them into prison, commanding the jailer to keep them securely. 24 Having received such a charge, he put them into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks.

Yet God intervenes and their jailer gets saved

Acts 16

25 But at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them. 26 Suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone’s chains were loosed. 27 And the keeper of the prison, awaking from sleep and seeing the prison doors open, supposing the prisoners had fled, drew his sword and was about to kill himself. 28 But Paul called with a loud voice, saying, “Do yourself no harm, for we are all here.”

29 Then he called for a light, ran in, and fell down trembling before Paul and Silas. 30 And he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”

31 So they said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.” 32 Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house. 33 And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their stripes. And immediately he and all his family were baptized. 34 Now when he had brought them into his house, he set food before them; and he rejoiced, having believed in God with all his household.

35 And when it was day, the magistrates sent the [e]officers, saying, “Let those men go.”

36 So the keeper of the prison reported these words to Paul, saying, “The magistrates have sent to let you go. Now therefore depart, and go in peace.”

37 But Paul said to them, “They have beaten us openly, uncondemned Romans, and have thrown us into prison. And now do they put us out secretly? No indeed! Let them come themselves and get us out.”

38 And the officers told these words to the magistrates, and they were afraid when they heard that they were Romans. 39 Then they came and pleaded with them and brought them out, and asked them to depart from the city.

Yet here is where we see what may have been the beginnings of the believing community in Thyatira 

Acts 16

40 So they went out of the prison and entered the house of Lydia; and when they had seen the brethren, they encouraged them and departed.

We don’t know for sure but this church may have been founded by a woman but we shall soon find out that it would be floundering under another. 

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Revelation 17: The Hidden Manna and White Stone

17 “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give some of the hidden manna to eat. And I will give him a white stone, and on the stone a new name written which no one knows except him who receives it.” ’

Here Jesus gives us the reward promised to those who overcome. A promise for those who have repented and done away with the destructive doctrines that they allowed to fester in their midst. 

Of course, as with the other promises, He calls our attention that what He is saying applies first to these believers and then has an application for us. 

The first promise is that He will give to overcomers some of the hidden manna to eat. 

God used manna to preserve the people of Israel in the wilderness. 

Exodus 16

And they journeyed from Elim, and all the congregation of the children of Israel came to the Wilderness of Sin, which is between Elim and Sinai, on the fifteenth day of the second month after they departed from the land of Egypt. 2 Then the whole congregation of the children of Israel complained against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness. 3 And the children of Israel said to them, “Oh, that we had died by the hand of the Lord in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the pots of meat and when we ate bread to the full! For you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger.”

4 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you. And the people shall go out and gather [a]a certain quota every day, that I may test them, whether they will walk in My law or not. 5 And it shall be on the sixth day that they shall prepare what they bring in, and it shall be twice as much as they gather daily.”

6 Then Moses and Aaron said to all the children of Israel, “At evening you shall know that the Lord has brought you out of the land of Egypt. 7 And in the morning you shall see the glory of the Lord; for He hears your complaints against the Lord. But what are we, that you complain against us?” 8 Also Moses said, “This shall be seen when the Lord gives you meat to eat in the evening, and in the morning bread to the full; for the Lord hears your complaints which you make against Him. And what are we? Your complaints are not against us but against the Lord.”

9 Then Moses spoke to Aaron, “Say to all the congregation of the children of Israel, ‘Come near before the Lord, for He has heard your complaints.’ ” 10 Now it came to pass, as Aaron spoke to the whole congregation of the children of Israel, that they looked toward the wilderness, and behold, the glory of the Lord appeared in the cloud.

11 And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 12 “I have heard the complaints of the children of Israel. Speak to them, saying, ‘At twilight you shall eat meat, and in the morning you shall be filled with bread. And you shall know that I am the Lord your God.’ ”

God gave them quail in the evening and bread in the morning 

13 So it was that quail came up at evening and covered the camp, and in the morning the dew lay all around the camp. 14 And when the layer of dew lifted, there, on the surface of the wilderness, was a small round substance, as fine as frost on the ground. 15 So when the children of Israel saw it, they said to one another, “What is it?” For they did not know what it was.

And Moses said to them, “This is the bread which the Lord has given you to eat. 16 This is the thing which the Lord has commanded: ‘Let every man gather it according to each one’s need, one omer for each person, according to the number of persons; let every man take for those who are in his tent.’ ”

31 And the house of Israel called its name [c]Manna. And it was like white coriander seed, and the taste of it was like wafers made with honey.

There is only one place where manna is hidden in the Bible 

32 Then Moses said, “This is the thing which the Lord has commanded: ‘Fill an omer with it, to be kept for your generations, that they may see the bread with which I fed you in the wilderness, when I brought you out of the land of Egypt.’ ” 33 And Moses said to Aaron, “Take a pot and put an omer of manna in it, and lay it up before the Lord, to be kept for your generations.” 34 As the Lord commanded Moses, so Aaron laid it up before the Testimony, to be kept. 35 And the children of Israel ate manna forty years, until they came to an inhabited land; they ate manna until they came to the border of the land of Canaan. 36 Now an omer is one-tenth of an ephah.

A sample of manna was placed in the Ark along with Aaron’s budding rod and the 10 commandments. The Ark of the Covenant was stored in the Holy of Holies and no one would dare to enter much more eat it. 

The High Priest, who had the awesome opportunity to enter into the Holy of Holies once a year wouldn’t even entertain the idea of opening the mercy seat because he would have been struck dead immediately. 

Some believe that Jeremiah hid the Ark of the Covenant in a cave when Nebuchadnezzar was about to attack Jerusalem and at the right time it will be discovered 

2 Mac 2:5–8. (NRSV)

5 Jeremiah came and found a cave-dwelling, and he brought there the tent and the ark and the altar of incense; then he sealed up the entrance. 6 Some of those who followed him came up intending to mark the way, but could not find it. 7 When Jeremiah learned of it, he rebuked them and declared: “The place shall remain unknown until God gathers his people together again and shows his mercy.

8 Then the Lord will disclose these things, and the glory of the Lord and the cloud will appear, as they were shown in the case of Moses, and as Solomon asked that the place should be specially consecrated.” 15

This promise is important for those that do not deny Him

Over the years the Jews developed a legend which stated that Israel would once again eat manna when the Messiah arrived to establish his kingdom 

Jesus tells us that He is the Bread from heaven. 

John 6

32 Then Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, Moses did not give you the bread from heaven, but My Father gives you the true bread from heaven. 33 For the bread of God is He who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”

34 Then they said to Him, “Lord, give us this bread always.”

35 And Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.

48 I am the bread of life. 49 Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and are dead. 50 This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that one may eat of it and not die. 51 I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world.”

52 The Jews therefore quarreled among themselves, saying, “How can this Man give us His flesh to eat?”

53 Then Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you. 54 Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. 55 For My flesh is [k]food indeed, and My blood is [l]drink indeed. 56 He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him. 57 As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who feeds on Me will live because of Me. 58 This is the bread which came down from heaven—not as your fathers ate the manna, and are dead. He who eats this bread will live forever.”

Jesus is telling this group and us that we have something infinitely greater than manna. 

We are being invited not only into the Holy of Holies; we are invited into His throne, or mercy seat to eat the hidden manna. 

It’s an image of just how close our walk with Jesus can be. 

It’s also an image of how He will provide for us and sustain us if we make Him Lord. 

The second promise for the overcomer is that Jesus will give them a white stone

And I will give him a white stone, and on the stone a new name written which no one knows except him who receives it.” ’

Receiving a white stone was an ancient Roman custom given to the victors of athletic games. The winner of the contest was given a stone with their name inscribed on it. This served as his ticket to a special awards banquet. 

At the same time, both the Greeks and the Romans had a custom of noting and perpetuating friendships by means of a white stone. This stone was divided and each inscribed their name, or a nickname, known only by the friend, onto the flat surface, after which the parts were exchanged. Kings observed a similar custom and the white stone eventually became a mark of identification.  The stone was divided and the king would retain half while giving the other to an ambassador. If the ambassador had any trouble he could send it to the king at any time to ensure friendly aid. 

It seems likely that Jesus is referring to this custom. The white stone is a precious token of the love of Jesus and possibly the seal or mark of the Holy Spirit. 

Through this white stone, Jesus is promising entrance to the eternal victory celebration in heaven where overcomers are granted the hidden manna to eat. 

Some argue that the white stone signifies acquittal by a jury, as a black stone pointed to guilt of a defendant (this is where we get the term “black-balled”)

If this is the background for the text, Jesus would be highlighting the reality of our forgiveness. 

The new name suggests a personal relationship between Jesus and each individual.  

This is likely an allusion to Isaiah 62:2, and 65:15

Isaiah 62

2 The Gentiles shall see your righteousness,

And all kings your glory.

You shall be called by a new name,

Which the mouth of the Lord will name.

Isaiah 65

15 You shall leave your name as a curse to My chosen;

For the Lord God will slay you,

And call His servants by another name;

These verses are directed to Israel but here in Revelation it is given to the people of God

One question many have asked is whether this new name given to the overcomer is Christ’s or the individual’s. 

It seems that this is in fact aimed towards the believers new name uniquely give to each individual and points to the fact that we are a new creation in Christ 

2 Corinthians 5

16 Therefore, from now on, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him thus no longer. 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.

It also gives us the idea that this new name could possibly be tied to the fact that in biblical times, one’s name meant more than just identity. It captured and reflected their nature. 

This means God will re-name us to reflect the transformation of our nature into the likeness of Christ. 

But it’s even more personal in that this new name is one that no one knows except for Jesus and the individual who receives it. This points to an intimate and personal relationship. Something that we should long for and look forward to. 

Colossians 3

2 Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. 3 For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.

Yet there is a downside. This is only for those believers who have corrected these sins that Jesus called upon them to repent of. Those who did not, as well as those who do not will not eat the hidden manna nor will they receive a white stone. They won’t get a half measure or partial benefits of salvation; it means they get nothing. They get the Warrior King with His sword Who will fight against them. 

 We must always make sure that we heed the words of Jesus and listen to the Spirit. 

He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.

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Revelation 2:16 Reprnt… Or Else!

16 Repent, or else I will come to you quickly and will fight against them with the sword of My mouth.

17 “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give some of the hidden manna to eat. And I will give him a white stone, and on the stone a new name written which no one knows except him who receives it.” ’

16 Repent, or else I will come to you quickly and will fight against them with the sword of My mouth.

Jesus gives His prescription for what is ailing this group of believers. 

One word; Repent!!!!

Or else…

Jesus will come to them quickly. 

Notice though that He says He will come to “you” and fight against “them.”

Now we know who the “them” is and we know why they need to repent. They are the teachers and followers of the Nicolatans and the doctrine of Balaam. They, as a group are eating things sacrificed to idols and partaking in promiscuous sex. 

Yet why do the leaders, the “you” of this passage, need to repent as well. 

Simply because they were allowing these false teachings to remain within their fellowship. 

It is pretty serious business especially for those tolerating the ones who were in error. 

Paul and John give us some examples of just how serious this call to repentance is. 

1 Corinthians 5

9 I wrote to you in my epistle not to [f]keep company with sexually immoral people. 10 Yet I certainly did not mean with the sexually immoral people of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. 11 But now I have written to you not to keep company with anyone named a brother, who is sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner—not even to eat with such a person.

1 John 4

Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world. 2 By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, 3 and every spirit that does not confess [a]that Jesus [b]Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world.

4 You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. 5 They are of the world. Therefore they speak as of the world, and the world hears them. 6 We are of God. He who knows God hears us; he who is not of God does not hear us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error.

2 John 1

9 Whoever [d]transgresses and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God. He who abides in the doctrine of Christ has both the Father and the Son. 10 If anyone comes to you and does not bring this doctrine, do not receive him into your house nor greet him; 11 for he who greets him shares in his evil deeds.

If they all repent as a group everything was going to be ok. But if one or both refuses then they are going to get a visitor. 

Not the peaceful easy going servant that Jesus came to this earth at first. This will not be the handsome Borgia son with sandy brown hair and blue eyes. 

They will be visited by Jesus Christ the warrior King with His sharp sword to fight against them. 

But, if the leaders would repent and fight against the demonic forces behind this group causing trouble for this fellowship Jesus will fight for them. 

2 Corinthians 10

3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. 4 For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, 5 casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ,

Yet He will fight against them all if they refuse any repentance. We see this in many ways from Paul

In this letter some were weak, some were sick, and some had died. 

But it doesn’t end there. Not only will Jesus fight against this fellowship and their losing their lives; they run the risk of losing their souls when He comes again. 

The risk they run is not just dying now,  as they did in the first century, but dying again a second time. 

John 5

24 “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life. 25 Most assuredly, I say to you, the hour is coming, and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God; and those who hear will live. 26 For as the Father has life in Himself, so He has granted the Son to have life in Himself, 27 and has given Him authority to execute judgment also, because He is the Son of Man. 28 Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice 29 and come forth—those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation.

This is further explanation and it ties to His last letter to Smyrna. It’s called the second death and it is more evidence that this book as a whole has immediate and prophetic meaning. 

If they didn’t repent then they would suffer the consequences in this life; if they didn’t repent they would also suffer the consequences at the end of this life. 

At some point in the future, every person, from Adam to that exact point in time, will see the coming of Jesus. 

When Jesus was before the Sanhedrin and the high priest, He declared to them that He is the Son of God. 

To prove this, Jesus said they, Caiaphas, the high priest that year and the rest of the Sanhedrin, would all see Him with their own eyes. 

Matthew 26

62 And the high priest arose and said to Him, “Do You answer nothing? What is it these men testify against You?” 63 But Jesus kept silent. And the high priest answered and said to Him, “I put You under oath by the living God: Tell us if You are the Christ, the Son of God!”

64 Jesus said to him, “It is as you said. Nevertheless, I say to you, hereafter you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Power, and coming on the clouds of heaven.”

You could raise the argument, and as far as I know  some groups do, that what Jesus is referring to happened and was fulfilled in 70 AD and a few years leading up to it. 

Some see the events of 66 AD as the fulfillment of 2 Thessalonians 1:7 and the chariots in the sky. 

2 Thessalonians 1

3 We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is fitting, because your faith grows exceedingly, and the love of every one of you all abounds toward each other, 4 so that we ourselves boast of you among the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and [a]tribulations that you endure, 5 which is manifest[b] evidence of the righteous judgment of God, that you may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you also suffer; 6 since it is a righteous thing with God to repay with [c]tribulation those who trouble you, 7 and to give you who are troubled rest with us when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, 8 in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power, 10 when He comes, in that Day, to be glorified in His saints and to be admired among all those who [d]believe, because our testimony among you was believed.

In 66 AD the Jews were about to be at war with Rome. Angelic hosts were seen in the clouds in chariots as armed soldiers were surrounding the cities of Judea on all sides. 

This sight was witnessed by thousands across Judea and written about by Josephus, a Jewish historian, as well as his Roman counterpart Tacitus 

Jesus told the disciples that when they saw Jerusalem surrounded by armies then they should flee because trouble was coming. 

Luke 21

20 “But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation is near. 21 Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, let those who are in the midst of her depart, and let not those who are in the country enter her. 22 For these are the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled. 23 But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days! For there will be great distress in the land and wrath upon this people. 24 And they will fall by the edge of the sword, and be led away captive into all nations. And Jerusalem will be trampled by Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.

Josephus gave his account of the three and a half years up to the destruction of the Temple (67AD -70AD)

Here is some of his account:

On the twenty-first of the month Artemisium [the last day of the 2nd Passover season in A.D. 66], there appeared a miraculous phenomenon, passing belief. Indeed, what I am about to relate would, I imagine, have been deemed a fable, were it not for the narratives of eyewitnesses and for the subsequent calamities which deserved to be so signalized. For before sunset throughout all parts of the country [everywhere throughout Judea] chariots were seen in the air and armed battalions hurtling through the clouds and encompassing the cities” 

Wars, VI. 5. 3 or Loeb VI. 298,

Tacitus wrote about the same event:

Prodigies had occurred, but their expiation by the offering of victims or solemn vows is held to be unlawful by a nation which is the slave of superstition and the enemy of true beliefs. In the sky appeared a vision of armies in conflict, of glittering armor. A sudden lightning flash from the clouds lit up the Temple. The doors of the holy place abruptly opened, a superhuman voice was heard to declare that the gods were leaving it, and in the same instant came the rushing tumult of their departure. Few people placed a sinister interpretation upon this. The majority were convinced that the ancient scriptures of their priests alluded to the present as the very time when the Orient would triumph and from Judaea would go forth men destined to rule the world. 

Histories, Book 5, v. 13

Eusebius of Caesarea also wrote about this event in his Ecclesiastical History 

Before the setting of the sun chariots and armed troops were seen throughout the whole region in mid-air, wheeling through the clouds and encircling the cities. 

Book 3, Ch. 8

He also writes about the absence of holy men in the city just before it’s destruction:

But the people of the church in Jerusalem had been commanded by a revelation, vouchsafed to approved men there before the war, to leave the city and to dwell in a certain town of Perea called Pella. And when those that believed in Christ had come thither from Jerusalem, then, as if the royal city of the Jews and the whole land of Judea were entirely destitute of holy men, the judgment of God at length overtook those who had committed such outrages against Christ and his apostles, and totally destroyed that generation of impious men. 

Church History, 3.5.3  

Jesus said they would see a sign of the Son of Man. 

Matthew 24:29-31

Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: And then shall appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of Man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.

The Greek word that “sign” is translated from means “miracle, token, or wonder.”

In other words, this sign was a representation of the literal thing so although it was not the coming of Jesus, which will happen literally in the future, it was a representation of that coming. 

Which means that these verses were fulfilled in the present as well as the future so it is understandable that Jesus could say that the present generation would see this sign in the near future. 

Mark 9:1

And he [the Messiah] said to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you that there are some standing here who will not taste death till they see the kingdom of God having come with power.

Luke 9:26-27

For whoever is ashamed of me and my words, of him the Son of Man will be ashamed when he comes in his glory, and in his Father’s, and of the holy angels. But I tell you truly, there are some standing here who shall not taste death till they see the kingdom of God.

Yet even back then, many misunderstood His words and believed that He would return in the First century. 

There is no doubt that what Jesus spoke of can be seen as a fulfillment of His immediate coming. The only problem is that there are those who see His words as already done. Completely fulfilled in 70 AD but we know that the end did not come. We know that there are a few things that must take place and John gives them to us straight from Jesus 

Every eye will see Him

Revelation 1

7 Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him, even they who pierced Him. And all the tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him. Even so, Amen.

This tells us just whose eyes will see Jesus- even those who pierced Him. 

These people are dead and the only way they could witness Jesus coming is they would have to be back on the earth and the only way that could happen in our universe is through a resurrection. 

And Revelation corroborates this truth. 

John sees two reapers in his vision after the 7th Trumpet is blown in chapter 14. 

Revelation 14

14 Then I looked, and behold, a white cloud, and on the cloud sat One like the Son of Man, having on His head a golden crown, and in His hand a sharp sickle. 15 And another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to Him who sat on the cloud, “Thrust in Your sickle and reap, for the time has come [j]for You to reap, for the harvest of the earth is ripe.” 16 So He who sat on the cloud thrust in His sickle on the earth, and the earth was reaped.

This happens after the 7th Trumpet, after the 144 thousand have been sealed, and after the man of lawlessness has been revealed 

We see One, like the Son of Man wearing a golden crown and holding a sharp sickle. Many have issues that this couldn’t be Jesus because He is responding to what seems to be a command from an angel. Yet this angel is coming out of the Temple with what has to be a command from God. 

Also any description given “like the Son of man” has to be describing Jesus. This crown He wears is not the diadem of power but a crown won in conflict proving Jesus to be triumphant.  The Ancient Greek word for “ripe” here has a negative connotation and is describing something that has over ripened showing us that God’s judgment comes only as the earth is over ripened telling us that God does not rush into judgment and He will judge the earth only when it is over ripened 

In this event we see the earth harvested of those who have died from Adam to the 7th Trumpet. These will be resurrected to life. 

Then we see the 2nd reaper

17 Then another angel came out of the temple which is in heaven, he also having a sharp sickle.

18 And another angel came out from the altar, who had power over fire, and he cried with a loud cry to him who had the sharp sickle, saying, “Thrust in your sharp sickle and gather the clusters of the vine of the earth, for her grapes are fully ripe.” 19 So the angel thrust his sickle into the earth and gathered the vine of the earth, and threw it into the great winepress of the wrath of God. 20 And the winepress was trampled outside the city, and blood came out of the winepress, up to the horses’ bridles, for one thousand six hundred [k]furlongs.

These are those who died from Adam to the 7th Trumpet and they are resurrected to wrath. 

John 5

24 “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life. 25 Most assuredly, I say to you, the hour is coming, and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God; and those who hear will live. 26 For as the Father has life in Himself, so He has granted the Son to have life in Himself, 27 and has given Him authority to execute judgment also, because He is the Son of Man. 28 Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice 29 and come forth—those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation.

Paul explains what happens to believers during the 7th Trumpet 

 1 Thessalonians 4

13 But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen [b]asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope. 14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who [c]sleep in Jesus.

15 For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are [d]asleep. 16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore comfort one another with these words.

This group was in danger of being included with the second group but all they needed to do is repent and turn from these two destructive doctrines 

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Revelation 2:14-15 The Doctrines of Compromise

14 But I have a few things against you, because you have there those who hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols, and to commit sexual immorality. 15 Thus you also have those who hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, [g]which thing I hate. 16 Repent, or else I will come to you quickly and will fight against them with the sword of My mouth.

17 “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give some of the hidden manna to eat. And I will give him a white stone, and on the stone a new name written which no one knows except him who receives it.” ’

 14 But I have a few things against you, because you have there those who hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols, and to commit sexual immorality. 15 Thus you also have those who hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, [g]which thing I hate. 

Some of the believers at Pergamos were commended for holding fast to the name of Jesus; living their lives in reflection of His reputation and not denying the faith in Christ no matter what happened to them. 

But….Jesus had a few things against this group and we see firsthand what old strategy Satan had employed in dealing with this church. 

But I have a few things against you, because you have there those who hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols, and to commit sexual immorality. 

The doctrine of Balaam

Who was Balaam?

We are introduced to him in the book of Numbers as Israel has just come out of Egypt. The Lord God had been going before them to clear the way for them and they were defeating every group coming up against them. 

In chapter 22 they had come to Moab. 

Balak, the king of the Moabites, saw how they had defeated the Amorites and he was a little worried about this large group camping way too close to his people. 

Numbers 22

Then the children of Israel moved, and camped in the plains of Moab on the side of the Jordan across from Jericho.

2 Now Balak the son of Zippor saw all that Israel had done to the Amorites. 3 And Moab was exceedingly afraid of the people because they were many, and Moab was sick with dread because of the children of Israel. 4 So Moab said to the elders of Midian, “Now this company will [a]lick up everything around us, as an ox licks up the grass of the field.” And Balak the son of Zippor was king of the Moabites at that time. 5 Then he sent messengers to Balaam the son of Beor at Pethor, which is near [b]the River in the land of [c]the sons of his people, to call him, saying: “Look, a people has come from Egypt. See, they cover the face of the earth, and are settling next to me! 6 Therefore please come at once, curse this people for me, for they are too mighty for me. Perhaps I shall be able to defeat them and drive them out of the land, for I know that he whom you bless is blessed, and he whom you curse is cursed.”

So he calls on Balaam, essentially a pagan wizard, who could involve blessings or curses for a fee.  Tradition claims that Balak already knew of Balaam’s reputation as he had prophesied that Balak would become king of the Moabites.   The Zohar claims that Sichon, the Emorite King, while fighting Moab, had hired Balaam and his father to curse the Moabites, and as a result won the war.

Numbers 22

7 So the elders of Moab and the elders of Midian departed with the diviner’s fee in their hand, and they came to Balaam and spoke to him the words of Balak.

So Balaam tells the messengers to wait while he hears a word from the Lord. Notice that he does actually have a conversation with God and he eventually even calls Him “The Lord my God” but we soon learn that he does not really know Him. 

9 Then God came to Balaam and said, “Who are these men with you?”

10 So Balaam said to God, “Balak the son of Zippor, king of Moab, has sent to me, saying, 11 ‘Look, a people has come out of Egypt, and they cover the face of the earth. Come now, curse them for me; perhaps I shall be able to overpower them and drive them out.’ ”

12 And God said to Balaam, “You shall not go with them; you shall not curse the people, for they are blessed.”

13 So Balaam rose in the morning and said to the princes of Balak, “Go back to your land, for the Lord has refused to give me permission to go with you.”

14 And the princes of Moab rose and went to Balak, and said, “Balaam refuses to come with us.”

At first Balaam does the right thing by refusing to go with the princes because God told him two things:

“You shall not go with them; you shall not curse the people, for they are blessed.”

The princes give their report to Balak so he sends more messengers 

15 Then Balak again sent princes, more numerous and more [d]honorable than they. 16 And they came to Balaam and said to him, “Thus says Balak the son of Zippor: ‘Please let nothing hinder you from coming to me; 17 for I will certainly honor you greatly, and I will do whatever you say to me. Therefore please come, curse this people for me.’ ”

18 Then Balaam answered and said to the servants of Balak, “Though Balak were to give me his house full of silver and gold, I could not go beyond the word of the Lord my God, to do less or more.

Up to this point Balaam has handled himself well but he is about to talk himself into a compromise. 

19 Now therefore, please, you also stay here tonight, that I may know what more the Lord will say to me.”

The Lord had given him all that he needed to know but Balaam wanted honor and riches from man not God. 

20 And God came to Balaam at night and said to him, “If the men come to call you, rise and go with them; but only the word which I speak to you—that you shall do.” 21 So Balaam rose in the morning, saddled his donkey, and went with the princes of Moab.

Balaam was expected to stick to what he had already been told. 

God tells him, 

“If the men come to call you, rise and go with them; but only the word which I speak to you—that you shall do.” 

But notice they had already come to his house and Balaam was more than ready to go with them even though they had not called upon him again. 

He sets out to go to Balak and God’s anger is roused against him. What is surprising is that even a direct meeting with the Angel of the Lord and a talking donkey doesn’t change him. 

The irony couldn’t be more evident in the fact that God is showing this pagan prophet that only He can open and shut up the mouths of His creation 

Numbers 22:22-37

The Midrash states that Balaam was so great a prophet that his prophecies equaled to that of Moses, because God had created everything in our universe with symmetry. This means that everything positive has an equally negative counterpart. So the counterpart of Moses was Balaam. 

In Numbers 22-24 we find that Balaam was completely incapable of cursing Israel and only able to speak blessings over them. 

He bestowed on the Jews four tremendous blessings, the last foretells of the coming of the Messiah, some of which they still recite in their prayers today. 

Even though God was using him to speak blessings on Israel, he was not a good person and he was, at all times, trying to figure out a way to get what he wanted while still following the boundaries God had given him. 

He was a fool who didn’t know God. 

Moses claimed that Balaam’s evil council brought a plague into Israel. It’s through this that we know Balaam succeeded in working his way around God’s word and will to enrich himself and bring about his own will. Something that many of us have found in ourselves if we are honest. 

Numbers 31

14 But Moses was angry with the officers of the army, with the captains over thousands and captains over hundreds, who had come from the battle.

15 And Moses said to them: “Have you kept all the women alive? 16 Look, these women caused the children of Israel, through the counsel of Balaam, to trespass against the Lord in the incident of Peor, and there was a plague among the congregation of the Lord.

This is what Jesus is calling “The doctrine of Balaam”

Numbers 25

Now Israel remained in Acacia Grove,[a] and the people began to commit harlotry with the women of Moab. 2 They invited the people to the sacrifices of their gods, and the people ate and bowed down to their gods. 3 So Israel was joined to Baal of Peor, and the anger of the Lord was aroused against Israel.

So it seems that instead of cursing the people of Israel as a mortal man and winning the war for Moab; Balaam is determined to get God angry against Israel by tempting them to sin through fornication and bowing down to worship Baal. 

The worship of Baal consisted of sacrificing animals and then eating them as well as coming together sexually. It also involved sacrificing children. 

Well that worked. The leaders of Israel were seduced by the young women of Moab and they joined in the worship of Baal. In the end many of the children of Israel died from this error. 

In 2 Peter 2, we learn that “ “Balaams way” is a choice to promote falsehood for financial reasons: 

2 Peter 2

12 But these, like natural brute beasts made to be caught and destroyed, speak evil of the things they do not understand, and will utterly perish in their own corruption, 13 and will receive the wages of unrighteousness, as those who count it pleasure to [d]carouse in the daytime. They are spots and blemishes, [e]carousing in their own deceptions while they feast with you, 14 having eyes full of [f]adultery and that cannot cease from sin, enticing unstable souls. They have a heart trained in covetous practices, and are accursed children. 15 They have forsaken the right way and gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Beor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness; 16 but he was rebuked for his iniquity: a dumb donkey speaking with a man’s voice restrained the madness of the prophet.

17 These are wells without water, [g]clouds carried by a tempest, for whom is reserved the blackness of darkness [h]forever.

According to Jude, “Balaams error” was his willingness to accommodate pagan beliefs out of greed. 

Jude

3 Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints. 4 For certain men have crept in unnoticed, who long ago were marked out for this condemnation, ungodly men, who turn the grace of our God into lewdness and deny the only Lord [b]God and our Lord Jesus Christ.

Old and New Apostates

5 But I want to remind you, though you once knew this, that the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who did not believe. 6 And the angels who did not keep their [c]proper domain, but left their own abode, He has reserved in everlasting chains under darkness for the judgment of the great day; 7 as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities around them in a similar manner to these, having given themselves over to sexual immorality and gone after strange flesh, are set forth as an example, suffering the [d]vengeance of eternal fire.

8 Likewise also these dreamers defile the flesh, reject authority, and speak evil of [e]dignitaries. 9 Yet Michael the archangel, in [f]contending with the devil, when he disputed about the body of Moses, dared not bring against him a reviling accusation, but said, “The Lord rebuke you!” 10 But these speak evil of whatever they do not know; and whatever they know naturally, like brute beasts, in these things they corrupt themselves. 11 Woe to them! For they have gone in the way of Cain, have run greedily in the error of Balaam for profit, and perished in the rebellion of Korah.

The teaching or doctrine of Balaam is the idea that we can be fully cooperative with and in the world and still serve God. It’s the attitude that we have complete liberty to sin willfully because of grace. That we can be holy and profane because we were created that way through the fall of Adam. The audacity that we can compromise just because we are enriched personally or financially in some way. 

It is the exact opposite of how we, as Christians should live and interact in this world. We can’t stop sinning but our attitude shouldn’t be that “a little sin” is ok. We should strive not to sin and ask for forgiveness when things happen. 

Thus you also have those who hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, [g]which thing I hate.

We’ve looked at the Nicolaitans before but a refresher is needed because their doctrine is something that Jesus makes no secret of the fact that He hates. 

Who were the Nicolatans?

There is not a definite conscice idea for the meaning of this name but here are a few suggestions that have been put out there

This group was named after a man named Nicolas

Irenaeus wrote that the founder of this group was Nicolas of Antioch, one of the original seven deacons in the church at Jerusalem in Acts 6:5. He claimed to be an apostle, and taught what some call antinomianism.

Antinomianism is the belief that you don’t really need to keep God’s law after salvation.

The only problem with this narrative is the fact that he was chosen by the Apostles with a group of men. They also laid their hands on them, meaning they were filled with the Spirit.  While he could have been faking it, I doubt that he would have been able to hide it from everyone. 

Acts 6

1Now in those days, when the number of the disciples was multiplying, there arose a complaint against the Hebrews by the Hellenists,[a] because their widows were neglected in the daily distribution. 2 Then the twelve summoned the multitude of the disciples and said, “It is not desirable that we should leave the word of God and serve tables. 3 Therefore, brethren, seek out from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business; 4 but we will give ourselves continually to prayer and to the ministry of the word.”

5 And the saying pleased the whole multitude. And they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and the Holy Spirit, and Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas, a proselyte from Antioch, 6 whom they set before the apostles; and when they had prayed, they laid hands on them.

Nicolas was a proselyte. This means that he was not born a Jew but had converted from paganism to Judaism. He then experienced another conversion, this time from Judaism to Christianity. 

Early Church leaders claim that Nicolas taught a doctrine of compromise, implying no real separation between Christianity and paganism. 

Clement of Alexandria, commenting about this group, said:

“They abandoned themselves to pleasure like goats, leading a life of self-indulgence.” 

Their teaching perverted grace and replaced liberty with license.

Others state that this group was not called Nicolatans because of a man, but from the Greek word “Nicolah,” meaning “let us eat,” as they encouraged the freedom to eat whatever one wanted and the liberty to indulge in any activities that they wanted to. 

The fact that Jesus mentions both the doctrines of the Nicolatans and Balaam together could mean that they were teaching the same thing. 

Both would result in total defeat for its followers. When we allow sin and compromise to gain control, it alienates us from Jesus and takes away the power of the Holy Spirit in our lives. 

Some scholars think that this groups name came from a conquest of the people. 

“Nico” means “victory” in Greek and it’s where we also get the word “Nike.”  “Laos” means “people” or “the laity,” and put together this gives us “Conquers of the lay people.”

Many in the Dispensation movement and the Protestant movement equate this with the Catholic Church. 

Interestingly, the name Balaam is capable of being interpreted as a Hebrew equivalent to the Greek Nicolas. 

Balaam comes from two Hebrew words, “bela,” which means “to conquer” and “ha’am” which means “people.”

So it seems that some were following these two doctrines and the leaders of this group were knowingly turning a blind eye to the dangers they all faced because of it. 

Jesus was not happy and this group was about to find out just what He was going to do about it. 

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