Love That Surpasses Understanding

One of the things that I’ve read about in scripture is “peace that surpasses understanding.” That is something that I hope for, and I have experienced this peace in varying measures at times–though not at all as consistently as I’d like.

There are many things that chip away at our peace. For some, relationship problems are the main issue. Then, we need love that surpasses understanding, too.

It can be difficult, and without God it is probably impossible, to love properly when your most foundational relationships are troubled. When relationships with parents, spouses, and siblings are wrought with abuse, negligence, envy, slanders, sabotage, conflict-sowing, and unfaithfulness, how can a person know how to love properly? When everyone is eventually revealed to be treacherous in heart towards those who should be closest to them, who can be trusted?

Of course, you know the answer: Jesus. People will disappoint us, and we disappoint others too. People do not love perfectly–and this includes us–but Jesus does love perfectly. In-fact, He loved us before we loved Him, and even though He knows our faults better than anyone ever could, He still loves us and helps us to overcome for His sake.

He can help us to learn love that surpasses understanding, because that is what His love is. His love makes no sense. We do not deserve it. We do not deserve that we could be forgiven of sins by the blood of God’s Son and adopted as sons of God through Him. We do not deserve all of the patience that He shows us as we strive against sin, and we do not deserve all the goodness of this life that we so often take for granted.

Jesus said that we should abide in His love, and thereby we are able to keep His commandments and our joy is made full. He will show us how to love as He loves–a love that surpasses understanding, and in that we find peace that surpasses understanding too.

When He brings us to a point in which He is our only real source of love–both in the love we receive and in the love that we can give, then we can be made strong in loving as He would have us. When He brings us to a point in which He is our only hope and the One we put our trust in, and the means by which we can also be faithful, then we have faith and peace as He would have for us.

It also helps to remember this: There are only two kinds of people in this world. There are those who are Christ’s and those who are not. Those who are His are also ours, and we should love them and be patient because He is working in them according to His own will and timing just as He is working in us.

We inherit everything, so why lose our love and peace over enemies of a kingdom that has already overcome them? Those who are not His will face the judgement, and having received mercy ourselves we should hope in mercy for others. It seems that the most unlovable are loved by God, redeemed, and brought into His family, and this might include some who have not yet received Jesus, but will. This included us, after-all.

It’s hard to remember these things as we should. However, if Jesus is not yet our truest source of love and peace, then He will work that out in us. He might work that out by bringing us through times that we would rather not go through and cause us to face things in ourselves or in others that we’d rather not face, but all things come together for the good of those who are called according to the purposes of God. He will bring peace if we seek peace and He will teach us love if we do not give up on it.

Jesus Opens and Shuts the Way.

“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” [i]

As Christians, our hope is in the grace of God. We understand grace to mean the undeserved favor of God. It is the favor of God that gives us faith so that we can approach Jesus for mercy and forgiveness. Through the gift of faith, we are also healed and transformed by His Spirit that lives within us. As this transformation occurs, we can live righteously as the Father would have His children to do. This is the work of Jesus in us.

All things that a Christian receives are hinged on the grace of God, and it is by grace alone that we stand. God does not choose us to salvation and entrance into His kingdom because we are good people. Rather, we are made good because we are saved. Our salvation brings glory to God in that He shows mercy to sinners, and by His patience and the work of His Spirit we can turn away from a life of sin and destruction.

It is also true that not all receive the same grace from God. For some, they receive the grace of living this life only. For those who are being raised as sons of God, life eternal. God can do whatever He wants with what belongs to Him—and everything belongs to Him. Not all have faith because not all were given faith, and not all have the same measure of faith. God opens and shuts. He gives mercy at His discretion, and He withholds mercy at His discretion so that His purposes are fulfilled.  Below are some scriptures about the sovereign grace of God:

  • For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy (Romans 9:15-16).
  • Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth. Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doth he yet find fault? For who hath resisted his will? Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus? Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour? (Romans 9:18-21).
  • But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal. For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:7-9).
  • Then said one unto him, Lord, are there few that be saved? And he said unto them, Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able. When once the master of the house is risen up, and hath shut to the door, and ye begin to stand without, and to knock at the door, saying, Lord, Lord, open unto us; and he shall answer and say unto you, I know you not whence ye are:

Then shall ye begin to say, We have eaten and drunk in thy presence, and thou hast taught in our streets.But he shall say, I tell you, I know you not whence ye are; depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity.There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when ye shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrust out.

And they shall come from the east, and from the west, and from the north, and from the south, and shall sit down in the kingdom of God. And, behold, there are last which shall be first, and there are first which shall be last (Luke 13:23-30).

[i] Ephesians 2:8-10

The sovereign grace of God is a reassuring thing, but also humbling and a bit fearful for someone like me who struggles to show proper patience with my fellow servants and with mankind in general. Through the scriptures, we see that God resists the proud and gives grace to the humble.

Impatience and proper levels of humility and gratitude for the grace of God do not coexist.

It would be fitting if those who I lack patience towards are raised while I am made lower than they. This is a fearful thing in some ways, but I would actually love to see the faith and faithfulness of those who I struggle to show patience with grow to a degree that exceeds my own.

Those who are first shall be last and those who are last shall be first. This is a good thing. It is good to keep ourselves in a lowly estate, not just in this world, but in spirit also.

According to my understanding, lack of patience and love harkens back to Ephesus, which contain the troubles I most identify with personally. The church of Philadelphia, which I am slowly working on, seems to be directly opposed in spirit to Ephesus, which could be the reason why I so struggle with getting through this chapter. It is higher than I am, so it’s hard to see. It’s easy to see the churches that are rebuked because I am like they are.

The Most Persecuted Group in Our Nation Is…

Standing up for the oppressed is an honorable thing to do. Most people have their idea of which groups should be stood up for, and anyone who refuses to acknowledge their so-called victimhood are targeted as oppressors, perpetrators of false-information, or peddlers of hate crimes.

There are many so-called victims. There are trans victims and victims from various sexual-identities-so-called. There are victims of not-as-much-wealth-as-others. There are victims of the patriarchy and so-called toxic masculinity. There are victims of those who do not obey the science. There are victims of systemic racism. There are victims of climate change. There are victims of any religion that is not Christianity.

What does it mean to be a victim? What does it mean to be persecuted or oppressed?

A victim is a person who is harmed or killed by the actions of another or by a disastrous event. Persecution is persistent, hostile treatment. Oppression is prolonged unjust and cruel treatment.

Who are the real victims? Who are truly persecuted and oppressed? The group that is in the most danger is not any of those mentioned above, and in-fact, the group that is in the most danger is in danger because of the groups mentioned above.

The answer? Children.

Children are the most victimized, persecuted, and oppressed group of people in our nation.

They are butchered in mind and body by insane ideologies that claim a child can determine that they are not the gender that they were born with—which in many cases is not brought on by the will of the child but imposed onto the child by their demented parents who gain some kind of sick social clout for being such loving and trendy champions of the rainbow god.

Children are told that they are inherently privileged and racist, and therefore must repent for their sins against the gods of social equity and racism-so-called and make restitution to purge themselves from their original sin.

Children have been injected with harmful, experimental substances for their so-called safety, muzzled, and kept in constant fear because of illnesses that will most likely never harm them.

Children are kept in fear because of climate change as they are indoctrinated into ideologies that welcome mass human extinction for the sake of so-called “mother earth.”

Children are victims of a society that does not parent them because fathers are few and mothers have gone mad due to a disillusion of traditional, God-ordained roles that men and women should hold, the sanctity of marriage, and the duty to responsible child-raising. In place of parents, we have the state—which busily victimizes and oppresses our children via all the means above—all the while claiming to stand up for justice.

All of this is assuming that the child managed to escape their mother’s womb without being ripped to shreds.

This is a sick society. I heard today about gay masturbation being taught to middle-schoolers, and it made me cry. Then, I saw a video with the heading, “Who is the Most Persecuted Group?” I did not watch the video, but I did decide to write this because the children are the most persecuted group in our nation—hands down.

I’m not a perfect parent, and I don’t do near enough to combat that evil 7-headed so-called victim beast that is devouring our kids—but so help me God—I will do better. Lord willing, I will do my upmost to raise my kids to be upright, or at least know the difference between good and evil and to know who the TRUE God IS! These false gods of so-called-victimhood are disgusting and they themselves are the murders, persecutors, and oppressors. We must fight this in whatever measure we can because if we do not stand up for our children, then who will?

It sickens me that I would ever complain about my own small troubles—even in the slightest—when I spend even a few minutes reading or watching videos about all the harm that is being done to our nation’s children. There’s that too. We can’t worry about our own troubles and properly focus on that which is most worth fighting for. This life is hard, and the enemy will do whatever it can to make us miserable and distracted while it eats our children alive. We cannot let them, even if we die trying to stop them.

Jesus Has and Is the Key of David.

“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even forever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.” [i]

The Son of God was given to mankind to take away their sins and to establish the Kingdom of God. This is the Good News of the Kingdom of God. This is a manifold kingdom that comes first by the Spirit of God and again when Jesus returns bodily. Both are paid for by the blood of the Son of God, because without His sacrifice none could enter this kingdom because it is a kingdom of righteousness, and all have sinned. Jesus is the key. Without Jesus, there is only death and destruction.

He must come by His Spirit to free the hearts of man from their sinful nature, thereby bringing the kingdom that comes “not with observation” and is “within you.” [ii] Just as Jesus was born in the flesh by the Holy Spirit to take away our sins, so is He born in His children. His Spirit grows in us, changing us overtime so that we grow in the ability to walk as He walked in this present world, pushing on until the day that we are raised from the dead and our birth fully accomplished. [iii] Although He reigns in us by the Spirit given to us, He also reigns in Heaven. All things are put under His feet, but we do not see that all things are under Him until He reigns in the earth. [iv]

Jesus must return. He will overthrow all the wicked rulers of this world—just as He overthrew the wicked rulers of our hearts—and those who He has reigned over in heart will rise from the dead or transfigure into renewed bodies and reign with Him in the earth. [v]

Before that day, His church is strengthened as they renew their hearts through remembering, returning to, and thereby bringing forth He whose gospel was nearly forgotten by many—yet always alive in a few. [vi] Satan is cast out of heaven in spirit and manifested in this present world. Tribulation comes to the earth such as was never experienced. [vii]

The Throne of David is usurped for a time, but the true King will come, and His key is always in His hand and His alone. We can trust in His return—a return that will establish a righteous kingdom as He destroys all wickedness including that Wicked One “with the brightness of His coming.” [viii] We can “look to the sky for your redemption draws nigh” [ix] in faith because the Good News of the Kingdom of God is sure and must be fulfilled:

  • And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name Jesus. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end (Luke 1:31-33).
  • And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will call my servant Eliakim the son of Hilkiah: And I will clothe him with thy robe, and strengthen him with thy girdle, and I will commit thy government into his hand: and he shall be a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and to the house of Judah. And the key of the house of David will I lay upon his shoulder; so he shall open, and none shall shut; and he shall shut, and none shall open (Isaiah 22:20-22).
  • Let mine outcasts dwell with thee, Moab; be thou a covert to them from the face of the spoiler: for the extortioner is at an end, the spoiler ceaseth, the oppressors are consumed out of the land. And in mercy shall the throne be established: and he shall sit upon it in truth in the tabernacle of David, judging, and seeking judgment, and hasting righteousness (Isaiah 16:4-5).
  • In that day will I raise up the tabernacle of David that is fallen, and close up the breaches thereof; and I will raise up his ruins, and I will build it as in the days of old: That they may possess the remnant of Edom, and of all the heathen, which are called by my name, saith the Lord that doeth this (Amos 9:11-12).
  • Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth. In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is his name whereby he shall be called, The Lord Our Righteousness (Jeremiah 23:5-6).

[i] Isaiah 9:6-7

[ii][ii] Luke 17:20

[iii] Galatians 4:19

[iv] Hebrews 2:8

[v] 1 Thessalonians 4

[vi] Malachi 3

[vii] Revelation 12, Daniel 12, Mathew 24

[viii] 2 Thessalonians 2:8

[ix] Luke 21:28

The above is an excerpt from a chapter of “These Things Saith He” that is being worked out currently. The full chapter will be coming soon, Lord willing. Praises to our God and our Lord, Jesus Christ who reigns and will reign!

Does Anyone Have Faith?

For most of my life, I thought that everyone was a Christian because most people said that they were. I grew up in a family of people who said they were Christian. The people I went to school with were Christians. It was rare to hear of someone who did not believe in Jesus.

Now, I wonder if anyone has faith. I could get into reasons why I wonder this, but what matters more is the fact that I do have faith. I’m prone to that oh so yucky felling of self-pity. Oh, poor me without real fellowship. People don’t seem to really care about what it means to take up the faith, and many all-out reject and despise Christianity openly as this becomes normal.

I also give into fear. I worry about my kids. I thank God that I have a good relationship with them, so I hope that I can lead them in the faith despite us being surrounded by unbelief or nominal belief. I also know that faith is a gift from God, and I hope that He will give them faith despite the challenges they will face as they grow older.

I don’t worry about my own faith anymore, but I do want to grow in faith and be a better example of the faith. I know that I fall short, and I feel pressured to do better so that those around me might come to faith or come to better faith. I feel like a failure. Has the salt lost its savor? What am I good for? Self-defeating thoughts kick in, and that’s no good either.

Self-pity. Fear. Impatience and self-deprecation of an ungodly sort. These are not productive or helpful. Rather, I should be thankful. For whatever reason, I do have faith–and this is the gift of God.

He gave me real faith that produces a desire to know Jesus, not just the facts, but to experience a change of nature that makes me more fitted for His kingdom. He gave me real faith to know that sin is not acceptable in any measure, and faith to know that He will reward my striving against sin so that I can stand strong in Him among unbelief. I will raise my sons to be strong in Him, because their being born had a role in turning me to Him in the first place and I don’t believe in coincidence.

I need to learn to be patient and to also have faith in His will and timing, which do not bend to my will or impatience in any measure. My will is to have everyone I love become full of faith and for us to live together in a way that honors Him. My will is to openly praise the Lord all the day long in all things that we do, to find out how we can serve Him, and to grow one another as we add to the each other’s faith.

Maybe this is not God’s will. I know many people believe that we choose to believe in Jesus. I believe that faith is given and we cannot just choose it. Maybe His will is for me to learn to look at Him and not at the unbelief that I’m surrounded by. Maybe His will is for me to focus on learning more about who He is and how I can be conformed to what He means, not to convert others, but just to be and to wait for Him to do what He will do.

My worry about the salvation of others consumes me, and maybe it is time to let go of that. I feel tempted to consider many as unbelievers, even when they say they are believers, and I don’t want to go down that road. The Lord’s will be done. I just need to know better what that means.

I pray for people who feel surrounded by unbelief. What a difficult place that is to be, and I am amazed that we have faith at all. How precious it is! God was good to us, and it’s not like we deserved it or that we are more worthy than anyone else. He chose us, and we have to figure out what He would have us to do, which seams to mean that we get to know Him and experience Him work in us as we strive against sin, if for nothing more than to just be. To just live and be rejected like He was. Maybe that is not so bad after all, especially if we want to be like He is.

Jesus is True.

“To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice.” [i]

There are many kinds of truth, but there is only one truth that saves mankind, and this is He who is Truth: Jesus our Lord and Savior. Jesus speaks factual truths and moral truths that guide man in the right way, but more than that, He is true in every meaning of the word. Not only is Jesus the perfect embodiment of what it means to understand and speak truth; He demonstrates what it means to be true.

Jesus is completely true in His character. Meaning, Jesus is completely genuine and sincere. He Is Who He Is, through and through—without hypocrisy, fakery, flattery, or deception of any kind. As He said, “I Am that I Am.” He does not change His aim or His character, because all that He does is right.

Jesus is always true in His doings. Meaning, He is completely righteous. He always hits the mark of perfection in all that He says and does, and there are no unrighteous motivations in Him. Jesus is also true in the sense of faithfulness. If He says that He will do something, then He will do it. If He says that something will be, then it will be.

Who is like Him? Who is true like He is true? If we were true like He is true, then we would not be sinners. Thanks be to God that Jesus provided a true and perfect sacrifice for those who would put their faith in Him. Through Him, we are forgiven and considered righteous in the eyes of God.

Through Him and the Spirit of Truth that He promised, we can experience a change of nature that changes us from creatures that are untrue in character to those who are more like He is. As Jesus said, “They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth. As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world. And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth” [ii]

[i] John 18:37

[ii] John 17:16-19

The above is an excerpt from a chapter of These Things Saith He that I am working on. It’s been slow going lately because I’ve been dealing with some of my own truth that has been difficult, but necessary because my truth blinds me to The Truth. I want to share the above concept because I feel led to do so. I don’t want this idea to get lost in the shuffle of many other ideas being considered within the book I’m writing.

The truth matters so very much, including the truth of our sinful state. This humbles our hearts so that we can be healed by the Spirit of Truth within us. When we put our faith in Jesus, we are passed from judgment to life as the scriptures say. His sacrifice is the only way and it is more than sufficient to cover all of our sins. I am thankful that He gives us even more. I am thankful that we do not have to remain sinners that are merely imputed righteousness, but that we can also seek Jesus so that our actual natures are changed overtime according to His timing and perfect will. We can only be who we are, but He can make us more than we were. Thank God for that. Let us keep seeking Him in truth so that we can grow in Him–by Him and for Him.

He That is in Us is Stronger

16 This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.

17 For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.

18 But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.

19 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,

20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,

21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,

23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

24 And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.

25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit (Galatians 5:16-25).

Jesus tells us that He that is in us is stronger than the world, so when we receive the Spirit of God, we can expect to grow in our ability to walk after His Spirit and not the lusts of the flesh that previously ruled us.

I know this to be true, and I have experienced this change overtime. Yet, the battle between the flesh and the Spirit is ongoing—and it is exhausting me. I’m at a very low ebb right now. Maybe the lowest ever since receiving some things from the Spirit in 2016. So low that the only thing I know to do is to confess some of the things I’m dealing with. Jesus knows all things already. I don’t hide from Him because there is no real point.

I know that He sees all things, but people do not, and I fully expect people to start searching for my sins because of the things that I write and will continue to write, Lord willing. So, why not beat them to the punch? I don’t really care what people think unless they have the Spirit of God. If they are of Him, then I do care because He might have somewhat to say through them.

I have experienced relief through public confession, so that’s what I’m really hoping for. I’m just tired. Maybe that’s a good sign. Not long after I received something from the Holy Spirit a few years ago, I heard a name spoken to me. I did not know what to make of it, or even if this was for me. I know now that it was because it makes too much sense. It makes sense because the name had a dual meaning—one was fitting for a faithful servant, and the other was not. They are totally in opposition. So, which way will I go? Which version of me is going to win? The flesh, or the Spirit? The good name was described partially as being “weary,” so I hope that my exhaustion is a good sign. I do not know.

I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. I know that I sincerely love the things of God given to us through Jesus. There aren’t words enough to honor Him, and I know that I sincerely want to do what is pleasing to Him and I know that His sacrifice and His Spirit is the only way. I also know that God is in control of all things, including this dual nature that I struggle with—and have always struggled with, which is something that I realized somewhat recently.

I’ve always had a double nature. I remember considering this when I was a kid and trying to decide which version of me I should try to be.

One seems very strong, so that was appealing, but that person is also very selfish, vain, angry, a liar, greedy, and so forth. I have some limitations. Mainly, this version of me is very angry and self-protective and self-indulgent.

On the other hand, I had a way of looking at the world and at people that was not normal for a child. A lot of the ways I saw the world were true, but they were taken from me through immersion in ungodliness and gaslighting that made me unable to trust my own judgments or those of God. I also rejected false Christian ideas—which greatly challenged my faith for a time—but I rejected them none the less. Once I heard good teaching, I immediately embraced it as true. I’ve realized recently that this is because God gave His Spirit to me in some measure when I was a newborn.

I was born very prematurely, and my parents were told that I would die. After their church prayed for me, I was suddenly better and soon taken off a respirator because I could breathe on my own. That’s not the first time that God saved me from death, and all of His interventions give me hope. Yet, I still very much have that flesh nature, because I am flesh, and I’m just plain tired of it.

Some things are better, but I am still angry, and I find that my patience with my fellow man is running out and that is the thing that I fear most. I fear that I will be consumed by rage—and then that other me will take over and I will fully give into all the sins of the flesh that are my natural state.

Without Jesus and His Spirit, I am a wicked person. We all are. All who love Him know what it is like to war with the flesh. It is hard. Maybe I’m just tired and a little off my rocker at the moment because life is pushing me to the very brink right now, but I feel as if my experience with this warring of the flesh and Spirit has been to an extreme level. That’s probably a vain idea, but when I consider it all, I think maybe it isn’t. Whether it is or isn’t, Jesus knows. He knows all things. I tell Him all things and at my core I do trust in Him and love what He stands for, or what has been revealed to me so far. None of us know Him as we should, but I want to know Him.

The scriptures say that sinners cannot know God. I know that the blood of Jesus makes it possible for us to approach God, but I still feel blinded to Him because of my sinful nature. I know He has shown me things. I know the Spirit is teaching me and Jesus gave me what I asked for several years ago, though it has come over time and is not fully accomplished. All things are teaching me so that I can do what He created me to do. However, sometimes I feel like I just can’t go on. I won’t make it. The nature that I hate will overrun me and then there will be no turning back and no place of repentance left for me. Yet, as I write that, I know better.

He that is in me is stronger than the world—even the nature of my flesh that I am oh so very tired of warring against. I do not choose that version—if I have a choice—I choose Christ. I want His nature to grow, and I want that B**** to die, crucified with Him as He has promised.

He does all that He says He will do, and I know that my salvation is an accomplished fact. Sometimes though, I just get bogged down and I fear. I have hope because God is in control, but I fear also. I fear because He could make me to be a vessel of wrath to be destroyed, and what say would I have and what right to anything else? I am a vessel of wrath—but that is not all that I am. His Spirit is here too.

I hope that confessing this will help someone. If nothing else, it might shame that nasty, angry, proud, vain, and self-serving part of me into oblivion. Lord willing.  If something does not change soon, I don’t know what will happen. I do know that He shows up for me when I’m at my lowest states, especially when I am honest and call out to Him.

Perhaps He will show up for me again soon. I don’t understand His ways, but I know that they are good, even when it gets hard. He endured far more than we ever will. He endured more temptation during His time in the wilderness, more slander, more hatred from man, more pain, and more suffering—and He did not deserve it. He did not deserve it because He is perfect. He was not merely flesh like we are. We can only receive from His Spirit, which is a great gift, but we are not God incarnate as He is. He is One and Only. The Alpha and Omega. We are dust, so it is fitting for us to return to it. I might fight my flesh until the end, but He will overcome all things because He is true to His word, and despite my nature, He gave me a heart that loves His word.

The same goes for all who love Him. Don’t let the flesh win or cause your faith to fail. Ask for His Spirit and keep seeking Him to grow in you and help you walk in the Spirit more and in the flesh less. Pray for one another, and if you would, pray for me too.  ❤

These Things Saith He Unto the Angel of the Church in Sardis

And unto the angel of the church in Sardis write; These things saith he that hath the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars; I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead.

Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God.

Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee.

Thou hast a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with me in white: for they are worthy.

He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.

He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches (Revelation 3:1-6).

These things saith He

that hath the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars;

Jesus holds within Himself the fullness of the Spirit of God, and He also holds the ministers of God. This is important because we are reminded that Jesus can give the things of the Spirit to whoever He chooses and in whatever capacity that He chooses.

Jesus Has the Fullness of the Spirit of God.

“And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth.” [i]

“And out of the throne proceeded lightnings and thunderings and voices: and there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God.” [ii]

In the scriptures, the number seven is used to indicate perfection and completeness. It could be that the seven Spirits of God are the fullness of the Spirit of God, and this would make sense because the scriptures tell us that God gave the full measure of the Spirit to Jesus. “For he whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God: for God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him. The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into his hand.” [iii] This is another indicator of Jesus’s authority and equality with God.

Jesus was born of the Holy Spirit, and He is the One who the Holy Spirit identifies as the Son of God and the Savior of the world. [iv] His sacrifice on the cross pays for the debt of our sin, and His resurrection gives us the promise of life from the dead because He who overcame death can also raise us from the dead by the Spirit of God that is given to us. “If the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.” [v]

Here are some additional scriptures pertaining to Jesus and the Holy Spirit:

  • Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost. Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privily. But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.

And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus: for he shall save his people from their sins. Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us (Matthew 1:18-23).

  • Now when all the people were baptized, it came to pass, that Jesus also being baptized, and praying, the heaven was opened, And the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon him, and a voice came from heaven, which said, Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased (Luke 3:22).
  • And John bare record, saying, I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon him. And I knew him not: but he that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost. And I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God (John 1:32-33).

Jesus Gives the Holy Spirit to His Servants.

Before Jesus suffered the death of the cross, He told His disciples that it was a good thing for them that He should go away, because the Holy Spirit would not come to them so long as He was with them bodily. “Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.” [vi]

After Jesus’s death and resurrection, He instructed His disciples to “tarry in Jerusalem” until they receive power from God. [vii] He then ascended into heaven, and His disciples received the Holy Spirit as Jesus had stated on the day of Pentecost.

And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.” [viii]

Jesus states that receiving the Holy Spirit is the same as receiving Him and the Father.  He said, “I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you. Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also. At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you.” [ix]

Throughout the scriptures, we are told that all things pertaining to the faith are given to us by God through the person of Jesus Christ. This includes the things of the Spirit of God. The Spirit of God makes us “fruitful” in the knowledge of the Lord and His righteousness. Jesus says, “abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.” [x]

The giving of the Holy Spirit is a critical part of the gospel. The gospel of Jesus Christ is the “good news” of the kingdom of God. This kingdom first comes “not with observation and is within you.” This is made possible by the Holy Spirit who “writes the knowledge of God on the fleshly tables of the heart.” This is the new covenant that was spoken by the prophets stating, “But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the Lord, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.” [xi]

This is the covenant of the Christian. This is not a covenant of outward rules, regulations, and observances—but a covenant that begins in the heart, conforming the inner man to the things of God as the Spirit of God works within the believer. This is the work of Jesus within those who believe in Him, and He will complete His work.

“He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.” [xii] Here are some additional scriptures that discuss the giving of the Spirit to the servants of God:

  • For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent? Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him? (Luke 11:10-13).
  • When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power. But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth (Acts 1:6-8).
  • Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them. And ye shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; and ye shall be my people, and I will be your God (Ezekiel 36:25-28).
  • Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls (James 1:21).
  • What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).

Within Jesus contains the fullness of the Spirits of God, and He gives of Himself according to His will so that His nature can change the hearts and minds of those who belong to Him as promised by the New Covenant that was bought with His blood. He died to forgive sin, and so that He could send the Holy Spirit to those who the Father has given Him. With such a high price given so that we can receive “God with us,” Let us consider what Jesus is saying about this matter within His letter to the Church of Sardis.

And unto the angel of the church in Sardis write; These things saith he that hath the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars; I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead. Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God.”

By His Spirit, Jesus reminds us that He contains and has authority over the Spirits of God, and it is He who grants the things of the Spirit to His servants (represented as stars). He who does these things has somewhat to say. First, He mentions the works of Sardis. Next, He mentions that they have “a name that thou livest.” What does this mean?

To have a name means to have a reputation. This church has a reputation for being alive in Jesus Christ. However, as Jesus states, they are dead. Why would Jesus tell them that they are dead? When we consider what we know about Jesus who holds and distributes the things of the Spirit, we might conclude that this church is one that neglects the things of the Spirit of God.

The works of this church are mentioned twice within this section of the letter. Jesus says that He knows their works, and He has not found them perfect before God. As Christians, we are not justified by our works. However, the Spirit of God within us—if we have the Spirit of God—will do many works in us and through us. If this church neglects the things of the Spirit, yet they have a name that they live, what works are they performing?

This is a church that takes a legalistic approach towards righteousness. They have many rules and regulations—all the while claiming to be alive in Christ. Perhaps they even claim to be a Spirit-filled church. However, they are not following the things of the Spirit, but instead attempt to be pleasing to God by following their own set of standards as they try to live out their Christianity by their own power.

What does it mean, “be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God.”

A church that is void of the Spirit is a dead church. Jesus tells them to “be watchful” or to wake up. It seems like a paradoxical statement to say that this church should strengthen things that should die. Perhaps what Jesus is stating is that this church needs to get stronger at identifying their legalistic ways and put these works of the flesh to death.

Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee.”

How is it that one can hear the gospel? All things are given to us by God. This church is instructed to remember that faith is a gift of God that comes from the grace of God towards man. They are to hold fast to the gospel and repent. What are they supposed to repent for? Perhaps this next statement will give some insight.

What does it mean, “if therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee?” This statement brings to remembrance something that Jesus taught during His earthly ministry. In Matthew 24, Jesus spoke about the last days and the events surrounding His return. That chapter should be read in entirety to help inform what Jesus is communicating to Sardis. Here is an excerpt:

Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up.

Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh. Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season? Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing. Verily I say unto you, That he shall make him ruler over all his goods.

But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming;And shall begin to smite his fellowservants, and to eat and drink with the drunken; The lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of, And shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth (Matthew 24:42-51).

This idea is reiterated in Revelation 16:

And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet. For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty.

Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame.And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon (Revelation 16:13-16).

As Christians, we are supposed to become acquainted with Jesus, and our relationship with Him should grow. As our relationship grows, we will get to know Him by the Spirit that is within us. As we learn how to walk in the Spirit as a son of God (“as many as walk after the Spirit of God are the sons of God,”)[xiii] we will live in a manner that pleases Jesus. As we please Him and get to know Him, He will reveal Himself to us and He will also keep us from deception. The false christs of the world will not overtake us, and when Jesus returns, we will be ready and expecting Him.

Thou hast a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with me in white: for they are worthy. He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.”

How can a Christian defile their garments, and how is it that some within Sardis have kept theirs? Based on the scripture given above from Matthew 24 and Revelation 16, it would seem that defilement comes from being “drunken” and “smiting your fellow servants.”

This can occur within a spectrum of severity. Take the legalistic Christian. Some might smite their fellow-servants through rules and regulations as they cast many out as unbelievers wrongly, or as they lay heavy burdens on their congregants, pressuring them to conform to their outward observances.

This can also occur in a literal sense, which is something we might expect when the Great Whore of Mystery Babylon—which includes the apostate church that does not repent—hunts down and kills those who do not worship the false christ and do the outer work of “receiving the mark of the beast or the number of his name.”

The false christ will claim to be God, but the Spirit of God is not with him. The Great Whore is also said to be “the hold of every foul spirit.” [xiv] These might have a “name that they live” but they are dead.

How do we keep our garments? How is this true of some in Sardis? We keep our garments by properly respecting the calling that we have in Jesus Christ. This is demonstrated in Jesus’s parable of the wedding feast. See Matthew 22. Those who enter the kingdom of God “without a wedding garment” are cast out. Many are called, but few take the calling seriously. Instead of pursuing God, they are more concerned with the things of this life, as demonstrated in this parable.

This is made easier to do when a person thinks that they are “saved” (or that they live) because of some legalistic gesture. Meanwhile, they go on to live their lives without much regard for living out their faith as one who walks in the Spirit of God and not as one who is consumed by the spirits of this world.

Even in Sardis—a church that neglects the Spirit and instead goes after the things of this world, leading to all manner of being “drunken and smiting your fellow servants”—there are a few who have not defiled themselves, and they will walk with the Lord forever.

Perhaps there are some who, like Sardis, believe that they can become “saved” through some sort of legalistic practice. Perhaps there are some who, like Sardis, neglect the things of the Spirit of God. However, there is something of their faith that is sincerely seeking the Lord, loving of their fellow servants, and faithful to the calling of God in Jesus Christ.

Concern for Present-Day Ministers of Jesus

There are a few highly unfortunate teachings that come to mind when considering the letter to the Church of Sardis.

The first is the notion that a person can recite a “sinner’s prayer,” become “saved,” and be completely assured of their salvation—even if they go on to live a life that disregards Jesus.

The second is the notion that the things of the Spirit have “ceased” and are no longer active today, including the gift of prophecy, speaking in tongues, healing, and other miraculous gifts. Along with this, people are discouraged from seeking to receive the Holy Spirit in a demonstrative and powerful manner. They are instead told that they should just believe that they have the Spirit, even if nothing happens.

These first two notions seem to go together among the “cessationist” churches. However, the “charismatic” churches have misconceptions as well. Many within the charismatic churches believe that a person will no longer be able to sin after receiving the Spirit. There are also charismatic churches that do many “signs and wonders” that are not of the Spirit of God, and there are many false prophets among them.

As a consequence of neglecting the Spirit, both the cessationist and charismatic churches have troubles with legalism—which neglects the things of the Spirit of God in favor of laying outward rules and regulations onto their congregants.

These rules and regulations can encompass many things, including manner of dress, foods, holidays, use of music in worship, observance of particular Sabbath days, and more. Rather than trusting in the Spirit of God to do the work of God within the heart of each individual Christian according to the timing and will of God, they attempt to usurp the Spirit through faithless acts of the law and of the flesh.

The gospel is simple. Jesus, the Son of God, died for the sins of mankind. His sacrifice on the cross pays the debt of our sin. We believe in the “good news of the kingdom of God.” This is a kingdom of righteousness, and since we have sinned, we need forgiveness so that we can live with God and receive everlasting life. Jesus also sent the Spirit of God to dwell in the heart of the believer, bringing to us that kingdom that comes “not with observation” and is “within you.” As we learn to walk after the Spirit of God, we reside in that kingdom even now. The laws of this kingdom are written in our hearts, and we are changed into the likeness of Christ overtime as the Spirit works in us. This is His work.

We cannot be as those who are “drunken” and “take the Kingdom by force.” This is a spiritual kingdom of the Spirit of God and not the structures of man. This is a real kingdom too, and Jesus will establish it when He comes to overthrow the false christ.

All teachings that neglect the covenant of Jesus Christ are of Sardis. These might have a name that they live in the Spirit or that they are “saved,” but without due respect for Jesus and the Spirit that brings life, there is no life in them. Legalism will not get you there—in any of its forms—of which there are many indeed.

Strengthen your understanding so that you might find your own areas of legalism and faithlessness, repent, and die to those fruitless teachings and works of the flesh that take you and those who you lead towards bloody, defiled ends.

Concern for Present-Day Christian Brethren Generally

For Christians in the West, it seems that the ways of Sardis abound in great measure. Whether you are of the charismatic mindset or the cessationist mindset, legalism robs you of the liberty found in the Spirit of God. Seek the Spirit of God—who is still very much active today. Jesus said that He would send the Spirit to those who seek to obey Him. If you want to live according to His righteous standards—standards that make one part of His everlasting kingdom—then He will send the Spirit to do that work in you.

This is Jesus in you, and you are in Him. You will learn to walk in the Spirit, which means that your heart will not be defiled by the sins of this world as you grow in true righteousness overtime that results from an actual change of nature—not rules, regulations, or other manner of so-called Christian living or churchgoing. Laws and rules do not make a person righteous. This is why Jesus came to give us a new and better covenant than that of the Jews.

He came to die for us AND to raise us again! His Spirit is the beginning of that resurrection. His Spirit is the seal of God that lets us know for sure that we are His, and He will do His work in us. [xv] Our strength is never enough. Our works never save us. He will do all things! Trust in Him. Trust in His blood to cleanse your sins. Trust in His Spirit to renew your heart and mind. Trust in Him to breathe Life back into you when Jesus returns!

Being a Christian is not about going to church, tithing, taking communion, making confession, reciting special prayers, or doing any other outward thing that man says you must do. This is about getting to know Jesus, so when it is time for Him to return, you will be ready. He will not come as a thief, and your garments will be white as snow because His blood cleanses you and you remained faithful as one who walks by faith in the Spirit and not by sight according to the law.

Get to know Jesus, and as you do, you will see your sin. You will see that you do not in any way measure up to the standards of His Kingdom—standards of the heart and spirit and not standards of the flesh. When you see this, acknowledge that His sacrifice is sufficient to forgive your sins, and ask for the Holy Spirit in the Name of Jesus also.

You do not need to recite a special prayer or go to a certain church to receive the Holy Spirit. Jesus has the fullness of the Spirit of God, and He can give Himself to you and in whatever measure He deems. He might not give you the Spirit the first time you ask, and maybe not the hundredth time. Keep asking. He will come to you when it is time. Do not let anyone rob you of the Spirit of God that makes you free and leads you into a real relationship with Jesus.

In Conclusion

The troubles within the Church of Sardis seem to be summarized as stagnant, dead faith. There are two camps of Christian thought that we might attribute to this problem today.

One is the idea that a person can recite a certain prayer or make a one-time commitment to Jesus then claim that their salvation is assured, even if they do not go on to live a Christian life from that point on, but instead go about living their lives as they please without committing themselves to Jesus’s service. They claim to be alive in Christ by the blood of Jesus, but there is no fruit of their faith.

Some hold this idea and do live a generally upright life. However, they reach a place of righteousness that they deem acceptable then stop there, failing to continue to grow because their lives are cleaned up outwardly enough to create an appearance of being a good Christian. Yet, their inner world is sinful, and they use the blood of Jesus to justify themselves without repentance or care for their state or for service that goes beyond legalism, going to church, and doing good to be seen by others.

Another is similar to the first. There is a notion among some who are of the holiness mindset that a person is not capable of sin if they follow Jesus sincerely. They consider themselves to be without sin, not merely by the blood of Jesus, but in their day-to-day lives.

How are these similar?

These are similar because they create the same outcomes: a failure to be honest about sin, a failure to repent from sin as it manifests in their life, and a failure to grow in the things of God given of the Spirit of God through Jesus Christ. Both claim to be sinless. Both claim to be alive in some capacity, yet the fruit is not life but stagnancy and death. What’s worse is when we add rules upon rules, assume that we are righteous because of these rules, and then accuse others of sin wrongfully if they do not abide by our legalistic standards.

How do we overcome the troubles found within the Church of Sardis?

Let’s consider the first camp of thought.

We need to recognize that being saved from sin and death through Jesus also means entering His service. We cannot expect to live as we did before, without regard for sin or for seeking Jesus so that we can be gifted in the Spirit and made useful for His purposes and for our brethren in Christ.

Although our salvation is freely given by the grace of God, grace does not leave a person bound to a life of servitude to sin but makes us free from sin in a tangible way according to the measure of grace we received, the service we are given, and the amount of time that we have available to live out our lives as Christians and grow in righteousness.

We were bought with the precious price of the Son of God. Though freely given to us, the cost is extremely high. God became a man and died for us in a brutal and humiliating manner. We owe Him everything, even our own lives on this earth. That is the least we can do. As Paul the apostle stated, giving up our lives for Jesus is our “reasonable service.”

If we give our lives for Jesus, then He will work in us, change our sinful nature so that we are more like Him, and give us things to do that will honor His name and help people grow up in Him—and there is always more growth to seek. We might clean up our act to a large degree, but that should not keep us from continuing to seek the Lord so that He might search out the sin in our lives and help us overcome. We cannot be negligent and stagnant.

If we neglect our salvation and count the blood of the Son of God as some light thing that we can take advantage of, then our faith is dead, and we are not saved. If we have faith in Jesus, then we will want to get to know Him. We will learn about Him. We will see that He expects us to live uprightly. We will learn that He promised to send us the Holy Spirit and to work His righteousness in us in this present life. This is His work in us, not our works. He will do it because He is faithful, and we put our faith and trust in Him.

It is hard to have faith that Jesus can change us. We see how sinful we are and we feel hopeless. Maybe we even love our sin and we feel ashamed about that. If we are honest about our sin and approach Jesus, He will not despise us or reject us. That is the first step. We must be honest about who we are and know that Jesus is the only way.

We also need to forge a real relationship with Jesus through prayer, learning the scriptures as we are able, and continuing to seek Him despite the challenges we face with sin or with troubles in this life. We also remember that performing outward rituals or good works is not the same as a real relationship with Jesus.

As we get to know Him and spend real time with Him personally, we will see His work in us and our faith is made stronger. We will not defile our garments because we trust in Jesus to cover our sin because we are no longer servants of this world and of sin, but of the Kingdom of God through Jesus Christ.

Now, let’s consider the second camp of thought.

As Christians, we want to live without sin. We do not want to bring shame to the name of Jesus. Because of this, it can be tempting to claim to live a sinless life, especially when we see a drastic change that is so far removed from the life that we lived before.

However, if we believe that a Christian must be without any sin in this world to truly be saved or to have received the Holy Spirit, we might begin to justify our sinful actions to retain the illusion of being sinless.

We must remember that the righteousness of God is very deep and broad, even searching the intentions of the heart and the thoughts of the mind. The righteousness of God cannot be attained by doing outward things only, and those who want to be holy often hold themselves to high standards in their manner of dress, worship, church attendance, and the need for community outreach.

The outer works are great, but what about the hidden things that are easy to neglect? What about vanity? What about pride? What about greed and covetousness? What about addiction to luxurious living? What about misjudging people and falsely accusing them outwardly or in the heart?

There is always going to be more to gain in Jesus, no matter how righteous we think we have become. We must remember what Jesus said about the Pharisee and the tax collector. An honest sinner is more accepted by God than a person who calls themselves righteous.

There is another problem that both camps of thought have in common.

Both tend to accuse other Christians of being false, fake, or possessed by evil spirits.

Take the first camp of thought. Those who believe in a one-time declaration of faith, also called “faith plus nothing” often accuse those of the holiness mindset, who are often charismatic Christians, of supporting works-based salvation or of falsifying spiritual experiences. They look down on those who are of the holiness mindset, esteeming their faith to be superior. Many also get consumed by the sins of others because they fail to look at their own sin honestly.

Take the second camp of thought. Those who believe in holiness often accuse other Christians of being false, part of the Great Whore, or otherwise in league with Satan. They look down on those who are of the “faith plus nothing” mindset, esteeming themselves superior. Many also get consumed by the sins of others because they fail to look at their own sin honestly.

Claiming to be without sin is dangerous, especially if we start to condemn others while we hypocritically live in sin ourselves. Refer again to Matthew 24 and Luke 12.

We do not want to be found “drunken” with our false sense of sinlessness and superiority and our condemning of others who we see as lesser Christians, or worse yet, not Christians at all. We are all in differing stages of growth, and we do not know what the Lord might do with any of us.

It seems that we can defile our garments in two ways, though they are connected. We can defile our garments by taking the blood of Jesus onto ourselves without proper respect, service, and regard for the things of God and true relationship with Jesus. We can also defile our garments with the blood of others who we self-righteously hate, accuse, and condemn.

Both require us to turn a blind eye to our own sin and to repent as we keep the first and great commandment: “Thou shalt love thy Lord with all thy heart, soul, and mind.”

If we keep this commandment, then we will naturally progress in the right things. We will not defile ourselves with love of sin and murderous intents towards fellow man.

In summation, when Jesus returns, we do not want to be found in a state of stagnancy, worldliness, false accusations, slanders, and hatred of our fellow servants. We also do not want Jesus to come as a thief and stranger, but as our friend. We must get to know Him and serve Him faithfully as we look to our own sin, grow in the Spirit, and serve one another as He would have us to do—which means we live for Him and not ourselves, our greed, our gain, our vanity, our pride, or anything else that our modern Christian society deems acceptable. We belong to Him and Him alone.

When He returns, we will hear, “well done, good and faithful servant.” Our name will not be blotted out but written in heaven forever.

Additional Scriptures when Considering the Letter to the Church in Sardis

The entirety of the New Testament is relevant to the troubles of the Church of Sardis, because this church is far removed from the message of the gospel through their negligence of the Spirit and through the laws by which they substitute Him. Below are some specific scriptures, but these are only excerpts. The entire chapter or book is highly useful, so please consider the full context as you are able—particularly pay attention to John 14-16 (not listed here because it’s too much to cover), Romans 8, and Galatians.

  • Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born? Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit (John 3:3-8)
  • There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his (Romans 8: 1-9).
  • This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another (Galatians 5: 1-26).
  • For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober. For they that sleep sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night. But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation. For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him. Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do. And we beseech you, brethren, to know them which labour among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you; And to esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake. And be at peace among yourselves. Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all men. See that none render evil for evil unto any man; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all men. Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. Quench not the Spirit (1 Thessalonians 5:4-19).
  • All of Galatians
  • All of John 14-16
  • Revelation 16

[i] Revelation 5:6

[ii] Revelation 4:5

[iii] John 3:34-35

[iv] Luke 1, John 1

[v] Romans 8:11

[vi] John 16:7

[vii] Luke 24:49

[viii] Acts 2:1-4

[ix] John 14:18-20

[x] John 15:4-5

[xi] Jeremiah 31:33, Hebrews 10:16

[xii] Philippians 1:6

[xiii] Romans 8

[xiv] Revelation 18:2

[xv] Ephesians 1

Previous Chapter: These Things Saith He Unto the Angel of the Church in Thyatira

Introduction explaining the purpose behind These Things Saith He

Method of Interpretation Used within These Things Saith He

Brief Explanation of Symbolism Found Within the Letters to the Churches

Unto the Angel of the Church in Thyatira

18 And unto the angel of the church in Thyatira write; These things saith the Son of God, who hath his eyes like unto a flame of fire, and his feet are like fine brass;

19 I know thy works, and charity, and service, and faith, and thy patience, and thy works; and the last to be more than the first.

20 Notwithstanding I have a few things against thee, because thou sufferest that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols.

21 And I gave her space to repent of her fornication; and she repented not.

22 Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds.

23 And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works.

24 But unto you I say, and unto the rest in Thyatira, as many as have not this doctrine, and which have not known the depths of Satan, as they speak; I will put upon you none other burden.

25 But that which ye have already hold fast till I come.

26 And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations:

27 And he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father.

28 And I will give him the morning star.

29 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches (Revelation 3:18-29).

These things saith the Son of God,

who hath his eyes like unto a flame of fire, and his feet are like fine brass;

This statement points to Jesus as the Son of God who sees and tests all things and whose authority cannot be moved. These attributes of Jesus are important when considering the temptation to undermine His authority and corrupt His judgments.

Jesus is the Son of God.

And there came a voice out of the cloud, saying, This is my beloved Son: hear him. [i]

One of the reasons why Jesus was hated by the religious leaders of His day was His claim to be the Son of God. Claiming to be the Son of God made Him equal with God. [ii] Being equal with God, Jesus has all authority—and His authority is second-to-none and higher than all others. As Jesus said, “Ye are from beneath; I am from above: ye are of this world; I am not of this world.” [iii]

All things that He does are better than man. They are wiser, more righteous, and greater in power and strength. He is higher than man, even the most powerful among them because He is the Son of God. As the Son of God who is one with God, none can undermine Him or steal His glory from Him. “I am the Lord: that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images.” [iv]

Being equal to God and the one who the Father has given all things, Jesus is the One who man should strive to obey. Below are some scriptures about Jesus as the Son of God and as He who has all authority:

  • And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth (Matthew 28:18).
  • Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men. The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a tree.Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.And we are his witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey him (Acts 5:29-32).
  • And they were all amazed, insomuch that they questioned among themselves, saying, What thing is this? what new doctrine is this? for with authority commandeth he even the unclean spirits, and they do obey him (Mark 1:27).
  • But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (then saith he to the sick of the palsy,) Arise, take up thy bed, and go unto thine house. And he arose, and departed to his house. But when the multitudes saw it, they marvelled, and glorified God, which had given such power unto men (Matthew 9:6-8).
  • And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. (Matthew 3:17).
  • For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself; And hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man (John 5:26-27).
  • If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater: for this is the witness of God which he hath testified of his Son. He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son (1 John 5:9-10).

Jesus is He who Sees all and Stands Strong.

Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do. [v]

And, Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of thine hands: They shall perish; but thou remainest; and they all shall wax old as doth a garment; And as a vesture shalt thou fold them up, and they shall be changed: but thou art the same, and thy years shall not fail. [vi]

All things are visible to God, including the thoughts and heart of man. God is also unchanging, especially by the whims of man that are always movable depending on what seems popular or beneficial at the time. God also has a righteous standard—and Jesus, the Son of God, exemplifies those standards perfectly as one who was not moved by the world, but firmly stood in the righteous ways of the Father.

God is not going to bend His standards, though He does delight in showing mercy for those who want to do what is pleasing to Him and demonstrate a broken heart when they fall short. That is why the Father sent His Son to sacrifice Himself for us. Even so, man cannot change God’s standards neither can they hide their wickedness from Him. He can see all things, and He stands strong in His judgements of what is right and wrong. Below are some scriptures that demonstrate these ideas:

  • For nothing is secret, that shall not be made manifest; neither any thing hid, that shall not be known and come abroad (Luke 8:17).
  • For there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; neither hid, that shall not be known. Therefore whatsoever ye have spoken in darkness shall be heard in the light; and that which ye have spoken in the ear in closets shall be proclaimed upon the housetops (Luke 12:2-3).
  • lord, thou hast searched me, and known me. Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off.Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O Lord, thou knowest it altogether. Thou hast beset me behind and before, and laid thine hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it (Psalm 139:1-6).
  • But the Lord said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart (1 Samuel 16:7).
  • The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? I the Lord search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings (Jeremiah 17:9-10).
  • Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever. Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines. For it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace; not with meats, which have not profited them that have been occupied therein (Hebrews 13:8-9).
  • Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me, Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure: Calling a ravenous bird from the east, the man that executeth my counsel from a far country: yea, I have spoken it, I will also bring it to pass; I have purposed it, I will also do it (Isaiah 46:9-11).
  • For as the new heavens and the new earth, which I will make, shall remain before me, saith the Lord, so shall your seed and your name remain. And it shall come to pass, that from one new moon to another, and from one sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before me, saith the Lord. And they shall go forth, and look upon the carcases of the men that have transgressed against me: for their worm shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched; and they shall be an abhorring unto all flesh (Isaiah 66:22-24).

Jesus is the Son of God who has all authority over heaven and Earth, and nothing is out of His sight—sight like fire that brings light to darkness, revealing the hearts of man and all things done in secret. He has righteous standards that are unmovable because He is unmovable, so let us consider what He has to say to the Church of Thyatira.

“I know thy works, and charity, and service, and faith, and thy patience, and thy works; and the last to be more than the first. Notwithstanding I have a few things against thee, because thou sufferest that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols.”

He who can see all sees all. Jesus can see their good works, their love, their service, and their patience. Their works are mentioned twice, so it would seem that their good works are a big deal. Some might disagree, but it would also seem as if there were a hint of sarcasm here as if to say, “oh yes. I see how great you are. Look at all the good things that you do. You love people. You serve people. You are oh so tolerant of others. You do so many good things. Yet, you have a false prophet in your midst, and you also tolerate this. You tolerate that woman, Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess. Of course, she calls herself a prophetess. This must be seen and praised by all.” Jesus sees and He does not condone her or those who follow her.

Firstly, what can we determine about that woman Jezebel? In keeping with a Method of Interpretation used when considering these letters to the churches, it is likely that this woman is both a person who existed in the past and a person who points to a type of persons that exist in all time. We can consider this in the same way that we considered Antipas of the Church of Pergamos. We can look to the historical figure and create a sort of architype. What is the type, or spirit, of the Jezebel figure that is found in the Church of Thyatira?

The story of Jezebel is found in 1 Kings 16. Jezebel was the wife of Ahab, a king of Israel. She led the people of Israel into worship of Baal and Asherah. She then persecuted the prophets of God who tried to lead the people of Israel away from idolatry.

When we consider what Jesus has revealed about Himself in the letter to the Church of Thyatira—He who has eyes of fire and feet like fine brass—it could be said that Jezebel is a figure that wants to be seen for their good works. Yet, He who sees all also sees the heart. These are as those “make clean the outside of the cup while the inside is full of uncleanness.” [vii]

The Jezebel figure also corrupts the judgment of God by teaching the servants of God that it is acceptable to commit fornication and to eat things sacrificed unto idols. What is fornication? Fornication is any form of sexual activity that is not performed within the confines of a monogamous, marital relationship between a man and a woman. What about “eating things sacrificed unto idols”?

What does present-day idolatry look like? In most basic terms, anything that breaks the commandment to “love the Lord they God with all thy heart, all they soul, and all the might” can become an idol. In other words, when we love the things of this world more than God, they become an idol to us.

Historical Jezebel also persecuted the true prophets of God. In like manner, the Jezebel type found within the Church of Thyatira persecutes those who stand up for the true things of God as given to us by Jesus Christ. This can include social persecution, legal persecution, and murder. Persecuting the saints of God is not directly implied in this letter. However, it is a characteristic of this type that is worth noting.

“And I gave her space to repent of her fornication; and she repented not. Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds. And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works.”

Sex that is outside of traditional marriage is fornication, and it is spiritual adultery for a Christian to love the things of this world and its sin without repentance. Jesus gives Jezebel and those who follower her time to turn to Him, confess their sins, and change their hearts towards the righteous way (repent). However, they do not. They continue embracing fornication as well as a general love of this world.

What does it mean when Jesus says, “I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation?” It seems that Jesus is creating a scenario in which the ways of Jezebel are accessible and accepted, and He will sit back and see who loves to participate in her ways. When a culture shifts or a social movement begins that is of her, how many will follow? Will they repent? Of course, Jesus sees all, and He also knows all. He already knows exactly what they are going to do, and He is prepared to judge them accordingly.

Jesus states, “I will kill her children with death, and all the churches shall know that I am He that searches the reigns and hearts, and I will give unto every one of you according to your works.” The children of Jezebel are those who do what Jezebel does.

Though Jezebel promises her followers life, they will die. There is no peace and love and acceptance for them—only judgement and condemnation from He who can see all their wicked deeds, and He who will bring all dark things to light—just to reveal who loves darkness and who hates Him—then He will destroy them “with the brightness of His coming.”

 “But unto you I say, and unto the rest in Thyatira, as many as have not this doctrine, and which have not known the depths of Satan, as they speak; I will put upon you none other burden. But that which ye have already hold fast till I come.”

It seems that not all within the Church of Thyatira follow the deceitful and destructive ways of Jezebel—which are ways that “know the depths of Satan.” What does this mean?

As Christians, we are moving towards a better knowledge of God as we form a relationship with Jesus Christ and as the Holy Spirit teaches us and conforms us to His ways. Those who follow Jezebel seem more concerned with developing a deep knowledge of the world and sin, and therefore it could be said that they are also coming to know Satan because they celebrate sin instead of leading people to repentance and a sincere pursuit of Jesus Christ.

Why is the knowledge of the depths of Satan considered burdensome?

There are many things that Jezebel and her followers consider to be of great importance, and you must educate yourself in these matters. Becoming awakened to their ways is of highest priority, because this is the only way that you can know what is good and true according to their ways—the ways of Satan—and repent of your lack of love, service, patience, and works—of which they have in abundance and proudly put on display.

Jesus does not put this burden onto anyone. Jesus says, “my burden is easy, and my yoke is light.” He does not require us to get to know sin and the ever-changing morality of the day so that we can become more tolerant, accepting, loving, and proud of sin and those who follow it.

Jesus instructs them to hold fast to what they have until He comes. What does this mean?

This is a gracious statement. He whose eyes are as a fire and His feet like brass is also a God of grace and mercy who understands our frame. Those who are within the Church of Thyatira, but do not go to the extreme of “knowing the depths of Satan” seem to find mercy. Perhaps there are many who believe the “tolerance” message of this church. However, they remain true to basic standards of morality and basic standards set out by God for mankind, and they do not push the agenda of this church onto others.

“And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations: And he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father. And I will give him the morning star.”

What does it mean to keep the works of Jesus? To keep the works of Jesus is to know who He is and what His gospel means. We know that He came to deliver us from sin and death. He did not come so that we would further bind ourselves to these things. He will search our hearts by the Spirit that lives within us, reveal our sin to us, and cause His nature to grow in us so that we can do His works and not the works of Satan.

Although we are all of this world naturally, and though we have all served Satan and served sin, we repent and put this world behind us as we push forward in the calling we have in Jesus Christ. As Paul the apostle stated in his letter to the Philippians:

“That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead. Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”[viii]

We keep His works by keeping faith in Him as one who is serious about who He is and what He came to do, trusting that He will work in us the ability to live righteously—not by our ability or according to the “good deeds” of man that are outwardly righteous and done to be seen, but true righteousness that comes from a sincere heart that is for God and not for this world.

Those who overcome are given power over the nations when Jesus returns, as described in the parable of the talents. [ix] These do not take what Jesus died to give them and invest in into this earth of sin and death. They invest it into serving Him, and He will reward each person according to their ability and the grace of God extended to them. In the end, those who overcome will rule with Jesus in this earth.

The iron rule of Jesus is mentioned here for good reason. He has righteous standards; He will judge all things, and no one can undo what He says or cause Him to change. The Church of Thyatira corrupts the judgements of God by softening His judgements or removing them completely by declaring sin to be acceptable, and by stating that those who do such things without repentance are received by God.

What is the “morning star” that Jesus gives to those who overcome in His Name?

Satan calls himself the “morning star.” This is translated as “Lucifer” in the King James, which means “light bringer.” Satan says that he illuminates or brings things to life. He claims to bring the truth. He claims to awaken people to righteousness and to the deceit of this world—but his ways are an inverted corruption of the ways of Jesus Christ and all that He stands for, and Satan hates Jesus and those who follow Him. Those who are of this false light claim to speak for God, but the prophecy that they give comes from their own corrupted hearts and not the Truth that the Holy Spirit provides.

Jesus is the real Light and He who gives us the Holy Spirit so that the “day star rises in your heart” and leads you to all truth. As the Spirit of God dwells within us, our hearts are changed because the ways of God are written in our hearts. As we mature in the faith, the abundance of that work of Jesus in us will come out. As Jesus said, “out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks.” This can be for good or for wickedness. The heart that is of the false light brings forth falsehoods, but the heart that is of Christ brings goodness and truth.

Moreover I will endeavour that ye may be able after my decease to have these things always in remembrance. For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty.

For he received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with him in the holy mount.

We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts: Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost (2 Peter 1:15-21).

Concern for Present-Day Ministers of Jesus

It is a controversial saying, but true none the less, to say that the corruptions of the churches as we read about in the letter the Church of Thyatira are largely due to female influence. This is not always the case, but it is generally true that women are prone to softening the judgements of God to be more pleasing socially, and this can lead to acceptance of sin in lesser and greater measures.

It is also true that women can become overruled by emotion in general. Sometimes this leads to becoming overly harsh just as it can lead to becoming overly soft. What is worse is when there is an over-softness towards sin and an over-harshness towards those who stand against sin.  

In any case, attempts made by either gender to distort the righteous standards and judgement of God will not stand in the judgement of Jesus Christ, especially when the result is a new standard of morality that is of man and not God—and a standard that is “grievous to be borne” as well.

This world does not need weak leadership or those who usurp the will and judgement of the Son of God. Although all things should be tempered with love, as discussed in the letter to the church of Ephesus, a love of this world is not the love of God—and the love of God will not condone sin because sin is destructive to those who are bound by it.

Ministers of God—whether male of female—must be willing to take a stand against all sin, even those that are commonly accepted and praised. Ministers of God also need to seek the Holy Spirit so that the true things of God as given to us through Jesus Christ can grow in our hearts and purge us from the deceptions that we are naturally prone to.

Despite the hatred that comes from the ministers of Jezebel unrepented of, we cannot back down from basic morality and basic standards as set forth by God. Men are men. Women are women. Fornication is a sin. These are just some examples. We must also stand by Jesus as the one and only way of salvation. We cannot accept spiritual practices from other faiths or begin to dilute the teachings of Jesus in order to make them more palatable to a sin-loving generation.

It is not loving to condone sin. It is not loving to praise mental illness. It is not loving to turn people away from the true Light of Christ and instead cause them to embrace the Satanic “woke” culture.

Those who hear Jesus are awakened from death. As Jesus stated, “The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live.”[x] Jesus awakens us to righteousness that brings life. The “woke” culture is not making people awake, but causing them to fall into a deep sleep and leading them to everlasting death. This is a culture that is contrary to Jesus, and this is a Satanic culture that must be rejected strongly—no matter the cost.

Concern for Christian Brethren Generally

It is good to show kindness and compassion. It is good to be merciful, to try to be at peace with everyone as much as possible, and to love people in general. However, as the world begins to corrupt the true judgement of Jesus and as the world calls evil good and good evil, we cannot allow our desire to get along with others cause us to neglect the righteous ways of God.

His word is true and it is good. When we go astray from His ways, our lives become empty and full of hatred of self, hatred of others, and our hearts can become blind to sin. We might even begin to hate those who stand by the truth, because the darkness in us hates the light. The true Light of Christ is in complete opposition to today’s woke culture, New Age thinking, and all similar ideas that are present now and that might arise in the future.

There are many ministers in this world that make a living off corrupting the things of God, and they love making a name for themselves. They love to get rich off people who want to hear soft messages that make them feel empowered or better than other people. They love to hear that their sin is acceptable or that there is no sin at all. Do not listen to these men and women.

Get to know Jesus first by praying to Him and reading the scriptures. The more you know Him, the more you can spot the false teachers and false prophets by default. This world is not your friend. It only wants you dead. Jesus died to give you life, so trust in Him and He will lead you to all truth—a truth that makes you free—not a false truth that keeps you trapped in a life of delusion and destruction.

In Conclusion

The problems within the church of Thyatira seem to be summarized as an over-softening of the judgment of God. This is made possible when corrupt leaders who claim to speak for God (as seen in Jezebel who calls herself a prophetess) fail to lead people in the ways of Jesus Christ. Instead, they lead people in the ways of this world, thereby encouraging a kind of fornication with the world.

We cannot love the world and love God at the same time. One will win eventually, and if we keep the truth taught to us by Jesus Christ and the apostles, we will find that our love of this world dies as a love for what is true and good is made alive by the Spirit of God within us.

If we love Jesus sincerely and do not allow corrupt teachings and teachers lead us away from Him, then He will show us what He expects from us as Christians.

Jesus had a lot to say, and He is still speaking to us today by the Holy Spirit. Within the teachings of Jesus as found in the parables and other scriptures, we can see that Jesus expects those who follow Him to live a life that is set apart from this world.

We are to respect the calling that we have in Christ by taking the sacrifice that was made on our behalf seriously, knowing that we are paid for with a most precious price and this means we are to serve God and not the world.

Before Jesus, we were slaves to this world, and we had no choice but to obey the deceitfulness and destruction of sin. Now freed and forgiven by the blood of the Lamb of God, we are given the righteousness of Christ so that we can approach God for grace and mercy—unashamed and uninhibited.

However, if we draw near to God through Jesus, we will find that we are approaching the judgment of God—not the judgment of wrath—but the judgment of mercy that reveals the error of our ways and provides a truth that can set us free.

We are made free so that we can live and teach the good things of God that we receive through Jesus. We are made free so that we can love one another and build one another up in the things of God. We are not made free so that we can serve sin, serve ourselves, and make ourselves prosperous in the things of this world.

The process of growing in Christ is an on-going, lifelong pursuit for the Christian. There is always going to be one more thing that we lack. There is going to be some sin that creeps in or that we did not see before. There is going to be some service to be done, some sacrifice to be made, and some strengthening of character as Jesus works in us by His Spirit.

This is the work of the Lord, Jesus in us that is made possible by the Holy Spirit that dwells in the believer. As we get to know God through the Word of God and continued relationship with Jesus, we will see how we are to live. We will repent of our sins. We will find forgiveness and we will rest in faith knowing that the Lord is working and making us into a son of God. We fight sin and we do not yield. We will keep His works because He makes us to do so.  

We cannot perform enough righteous works to save ourselves. However, once we accept the sacrifice of Jesus for our sins, we should expect to see the fruits of our faith that make us into servants of Jesus and adopted sons of God in the making.

These works will never say that sin is acceptable.

These works will not love the world.

There is a kind of “love” that pervades many within Christianity, and this is the “love” of the world and of sin. It is tempting for many to assume that love requires us to accept all things, tolerate all things, and never speak about sin—especially the sins that the world wants to re-write as righteous.

We cannot be “reeds shaken with the wind.” We must stand firm in the things of God that were given to us by Jesus Christ. He calls us to love, but His love is not the love of this world because this world leads to sin and sin leads to death.

It is not love to leave a sinner blind to their sin.

We cannot soften the judgments of God.

Jesus shed His blood to forgive us, and this is a beautiful thing. It is true that those who put their faith in Him have their sins forgiven. However, there is a temptation for many to use this forgiveness as a free pass to live sinfully. There is a temptation to look at the love of God and forget the wrath of God that is coming for the disobedient.

Judgement is given to the Son, but all who took His blood upon themselves will have to stand before the Son and give an account of what they did with the forgiveness He died to purchase for us. Jesus stated that many would be rejected because they were disrespectful, wicked and slothful, without mercy, and lovers of sin and of this world.

Jesus is merciful and patient with us and He is faithful to save every soul that the Father has given Him. However, it is also true that many do not have real faith. Real faith will cause us to believe in Jesus—not just the facts of who He is or that He died and now lives—but faith in what He stands for, what He expects from us, and faith to know that when He returns to judge the world, many will be cast out because they did not take the calling seriously.

Teachings that make light of the calling of a Christian are hated by God. We must overcome any teaching that leads a Christian towards a love of this world and not a love of Jesus and what He is truly about.

We must overcome the temptation to look at ourselves and others a good people who are worthy of acceptance based on their kind deeds or acceptance of sinners. We must overcome the temptation to call good evil and evil good in attempts to be pleasing to the whims of the time.

We must overcome by stating that what God says is sin is in-fact sin, no matter what the world says. We must overcome by seeking Jesus who will break us and remake us in His image so that we can keep His words and do them.

We cannot expect to rule with Him if we cannot first submit to His judgement. We must be tamed by Him first and ruled by Him first, and this requires us to “love not our lives unto the death.” When Jesus returns, we will rule with Him—and His rule calls sin out for what it is and leads the world in the righteous way.

We are not fit for that kingdom if we love wickedness and sin, if we corrupt the judgement of God, and if we make ourselves a friend and lover of the world and of Satan.

Jesus is The Morning Star. Satan calls himself that also and as Paul the apostle wrote, his ministers transform themselves into ministers of righteousness. However, their righteousness is not the righteousness of God, but that of the world. [xi]

The Church of Thyatira is a lover of Satan and a fornicator with him and doubtless they will welcome the false Christ with open arms.

We do not fully know what form the beast and false prophet will take, but those who are faithful to Jesus will know that this false god is not their God. It is fair to assume that a true understanding of what is right and what is wrong will have a role to play. Satan can only do what Satan does. He kills, steals, destroys. He is a liar and the father of it.

If we overcome in Jesus, we will receive Him. He will come to us by the Spirit of God in us and the “day star rises in our hearts.” He will come to us after the seventh trumpet also to overthrow the beast, false prophet, and Great Whore. He will raise the dead in Christ and those who remain are transfigured into spiritual bodies. Those who are His will rule with He who is the True Morning Star—and this will be a rule of righteousness.

Knowing all of this, let us find renewed appreciation for the sacrifice of Jesus and renewed respect. We will face the Son one day. How will that meeting go?

Let us get to know His ways, seek Him in faith, and trust in His work in us that makes us fit for Him and His Kingdom. Let us not take it lightly. Let us not love the world. He died to save us from it so that we can live forever with Him.

Additional Scriptures When Considering the Letter to the Church of Thyatira

Below are some additional scriptures that informed the understanding given in this chapter. Please take the time to read all scripture given here and elsewhere in their full context as you are able to help foster a more complete understanding and relationship with Jesus.

  • Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever. Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time. They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us. But ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things (1 John 2:16-20).
  • This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth (2 Timothy 3:1-7).
  • For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ. But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him (2 Corinthians 11:2-4).
  • For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works (2 Corinthians 11:13-15).
  • Son of man, prophesy against the prophets of Israel that prophesy, and say thou unto them that prophesy out of their own hearts, Hear ye the word of the Lord; Thus saith the Lord God; Woe unto the foolish prophets, that follow their own spirit, and have seen nothing!O Israel, thy prophets are like the foxes in the deserts. Ye have not gone up into the gaps, neither made up the hedge for the house of Israel to stand in the battle in the day of the Lord. They have seen vanity and lying divination, saying, The Lord saith: and the Lord hath not sent them: and they have made others to hope that they would confirm the word. Have ye not seen a vain vision, and have ye not spoken a lying divination, whereas ye say, The Lord saith it; albeit I have not spoken? Therefore thus saith the Lord God; Because ye have spoken vanity, and seen lies, therefore, behold, I am against you, saith the Lord God (Ezekiel 13: 1-8).
  • To wit, the prophets of Israel which prophesy concerning Jerusalem, and which see visions of peace for her, and there is no peace, saith the Lord God. Likewise, thou son of man, set thy face against the daughters of thy people, which prophesy out of their own heart; and prophesy thou against them, And say, Thus saith the Lord God; Woe to the women that sew pillows to all armholes, and make kerchiefs upon the head of every stature to hunt souls! Will ye hunt the souls of my people, and will ye save the souls alive that come unto you? And will ye pollute me among my people for handfuls of barley and for pieces of bread, to slay the souls that should not die, and to save the souls alive that should not live, by your lying to my people that hear your lies? Wherefore thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I am against your pillows, wherewith ye there hunt the souls to make them fly, and I will tear them from your arms, and will let the souls go, even the souls that ye hunt to make them fly. Your kerchiefs also will I tear, and deliver my people out of your hand, and they shall be no more in your hand to be hunted; and ye shall know that I am the Lord (Ezekiel 13:16-21).
  • James (entire book)
  • 1 Kings 16

[i] Luke 9:35

[ii] John 5

[iii] John 8:23

[iv] Isaiah 42:8

[v] Hebrews 4:13

[vi] Hebrews 1:10-12

[vii] Matthew 23:25

[viii] Philippians 3:10-14

[ix] Matthew 25

[x] John 5:25

[xi] 2 Corinthians 11

Previous Chapter: These Things Saith He Until the Angel of the Church in Pergamos

Introduction explaining the purpose behind These Things Saith He

Method of Interpretation Used within These Things Saith He

Brief Explanation of Symbolism Found Within the Letters to the Churches

These Things Saith He Unto the Angel of the Church in Pergamos

12 And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write; These things saith he which hath the sharp sword with two edges;

13 I know thy works, and where thou dwellest, even where Satan’s seat is: and thou holdest fast my name, and hast not denied my faith, even in those days wherein Antipas was my faithful martyr, who was slain among you, where Satan dwelleth.

14 But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication.

15 So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitanes, which thing I hate.

16 Repent; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth.

17 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it (Revelation 2:12-17).

These things saith He

which hath the sharp sword with two edges;

This statement is important because it reminds us that Jesus’s words are powerful, dangerous, and can only truly come from Him. Jesus is the Word of God made flesh, and His word is described as a sharp, two-edged sword.

Jesus is the Word of God.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.[i]

In Genesis, we can read the story of creation. God spoke all things into existence. “And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.” [ii] Jesus, the Word of God, is the Light of Life. This is the light that gives life to every soul, many of which are being raised as sons of God through the adoption of Jesus Christ. [iii] Jesus who is the first begotten Son of God and the Word of God made flesh lights the way for all who would follow Him. He shows us the way by bringing the Father to light through the life that He lived, the teachings He taught, and His obedience to the Father.  

When the Word lived among us, He had a lot to say, and many of those words are recorded in the gospels. He also had apostles who served Him by bringing His words to people of all nations. Being the ambassadors of Christ, their words are His words, and we have some of the letters that they wrote on His behalf. We also have the Revelation of Jesus Christ—and this is just the New Testament. The Old Testament also contains the words of God as spoken by the prophets and many historical accounts that provide lessons about who God is and His will for mankind.

God has always given His word to man, and most notably through Jesus who is the Word of God. We also have the Holy Spirit who lives with man and within man, teaching man the good things of God in Jesus Christ and raising man up into a son of God as the Word is “written on the fleshly tables of the heart.” [iv] Here are some scriptures about Jesus as the Word of God:

  • And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth (John 1:14).
  • For I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came out from thee, and they have believed that thou didst send me (John 14:10).
  • I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me (John 5:30).
  • It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life (John 6:63).
  • For I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came out from thee, and they have believed that thou didst send me (John 17:8).
  • But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him (1 Corinthians 8:6).
  • Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost (2 Peter 1:20-21).

Jesus Kills and Makes Alive.

For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. [v]

Being Light, the Word of God can see all things, dividing truth from lie, righteousness from unrighteousness, and life from death. When His Word comes—which is perfectly true, righteous, and life-giving, all that is contrary to that word is sifted and destroyed. [vi] The lies, unrighteousness, and all dead things are defeated by the most powerful weapon of God—the Word of God which is the sword of the Spirit. [vii]

When the Word of God became flesh and lived among us, He defeated many untrue things, including the idea that righteousness could come from following the law. Jesus taught what righteousness really means as He who is less concerned about outward observances of rules and regulations, and more concerned with the “thoughts and intentions of the heart.”

For example, Jesus teaches that hating your brother in your heart is akin to murder, and lusting after a woman in your heart is akin to adultery. The Word of God taught a lot of things, and the things that He taught and the life that He lived demonstrates the obedience that God truly desires, which is hinged on loving God with all you have and loving your neighbor as yourself.

Jesus also teaches that if we love His word and strive to keep it, then He will send the Holy Spirit to indwell us. The Holy Spirit makes the Word of God alive in our hearts, and in so doing tests our hearts and reveals our sin to us. The Holy Spirit also helps us die to sin and raises us in the things of righteousness and life. As our hearts are conformed to Jesus, the Word comes out of us through our actions and things that we speak when done in the Spirit of God. [viii]

The servants of God are responsible for properly handling the word of God, and this is only made possible when the Word of God lives within us and comes out into the world through a sincere and obedient heart, and this is His work in us. As Jesus said, Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.” [ix]

When His servants properly care for His word, the world hates them just as they hated Him, and many are killed for the Word. Many die for Him, but those who have the everlasting Word in them will live as He breathes the breath of life back into them when He returns.

When the Word of God returns, He will judge all things. Jesus will divide the just from the unjust, the faithful servants from the unfaithful servants, and the living from the dead. [x] He will bring the Light of Life back to those who were killed for His sake, and His Word—which is Spirit, a fire, and a sword, will consume all lies and wickedness. Below are some scriptures that relate to the word of God being a sharp two-edged sword:

  • As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction. (2 Peter 3:16).
  • He that is of God heareth God’s words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God. (John 8:47).
  • But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man. (1 Corinthians 2:15).
  • But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. (Matthew 4:4).
  • Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof. (Proverbs 18:21).
  • Is not my word like as a fire? saith the Lord; and like a hammer that breaketh the rock in pieces? (Jeremiah 23:29)
  • And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God (Revelation 19:15).

One day, Jesus who is the Word of God will return, and the sword that comes out of His mouth will judge the earth. As those who have faith in Him, we are passed from judgment to life. Having received so great a salvation, we should take the time to consider all that He has to say to the best of our ability, by the grace of God. Let us consider what Jesus is teaching us by His Spirit to the Church of Pergamos:

I know thy works, and where thou dwellest, even where Satan’s seat is: and thou holdest fast my name, and hast not denied my faith, even in those days wherein Antipas was my faithful martyr, who was slain among you, where Satan dwelleth.”

What is Satan’s seat, and what does it mean to dwell there? It seems that we can know what this means by considering Jesus as the Word of God then comparing that to what the scriptures say about Satan.

Jesus testifies to the truth, and the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Truth. Jesus came to give us life. Jesus does not need the praise of man, but only sought to do the will of the Father and to glorify Him. Jesus speaks the words of God because He IS the Word of God. Jesus pleads for the Father to forgive man, and Jesus sacrificed Himself so that many would be forgiven. Jesus raises the dead flesh to life, both as He works His will in us by the Spirit and when He returns to raise our dead bodies from the grave.

Satan is a liar. He only comes to kill and destroy. He wants praise from man and He slanders God. He inverts the words of God (“you shall not surely die” is an example). He accuses man to God. He can act as a “thorn in our flesh.” Satan is also the “son of perdition who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.” [xi]

That scripture sounds like “Satan’s seat.” Satan sits where only God should sit, and He inverts the ways of God for his own gain at the expense of others. Where God would bring the truth, Satan brings deception. Where the Son would honor the Father and the Holy Spirit the Son, Satan honors himself. Where God would bring freedom from sin, Satan brings captivity to sin. Where God would establish justice and righteousness and hold Himself to the same standard He puts on us—even to the point of becoming man and experiencing death, Satan is above the law.

There are many who claim to be ministers of God, but God is not on the throne of their heart (which is also the temple of God if the Spirit dwells in you). Satan rules them, and they do his works.  

How is it that the Church of Pergamos is said to have kept the name of Jesus and have not denied His faith? Jesus said that many would come in His name, saying that He is Christ. Yet, they would deceive many. [xii] This can be true here also. The Church of Pergamos says that Jesus is our Lord and Savior. They preach the gospel of Jesus’s death on the cross for the forgiveness of our sins. Yet, they do not truly serve Him. They serve themselves because being a Christian minister is profitable for them.

Who is Antipas, the faithful martyr who was slain among them? Historically, this is said to be a disciple of John who was killed because he refused and denounced Christian participation in idolatry and sacrifices, which was punishable by death under the reign of Emperor Nero. How would one apply a Method of Interpretation that looks for the spirit of the letters to the churches—a spirit that applies to all of time and not just a single point in time? Does this have a present or future fulfilment?

It seems that the letters to the churches provide a snapshot of the spiritual state of the church prior to the coming of the false Christ for the purpose of edifying the true believers and judging the false—as the two-edged word of God is created to do. Therefore, it is possible that there will be a martyr who is killed for their resistance to the carnality of the Synagogue of Satan. Most likely, this martyr is not merely an individual named Antipas, but an individual who we can look to in history that is representative of many who will also die as faithful witnesses for Jesus Christ.

“But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication.”

What is this doctrine of Balaam? This takes place in Numbers 22-24, and there seems to be a lot happening within that story. Thankfully, the general failure of Balaam is described in 2 Peter 2 and Jude 1.

  • Which have forsaken the right way, and are gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Bosor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness (2 Peter 2:15).
  • Woe unto them! for they have gone in the way of Cain, and ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward, and perished in the gainsaying of Core. These are spots in your feasts of charity, when they feast with you, feeding themselves without fear: clouds they are without water, carried about of winds; trees whose fruit withereth, without fruit, twice dead, plucked up by the roots (Jude 1:11-12).

These entire chapters are highly relevant, so it would benefit one greatly to read these full chapters, along with the account in Numbers to get a full view. More context surrounding the scriptures above is included at the end of this chapter.

The general idea is that these are prophets for hire who twist the grace of God into something that makes living a sinful life acceptable. They received the knowledge of the truth of Jesus Christ and His gospel, yet they turned back to sin, and they use the grace of God to justify themselves and the sins of others—and they use the word of God to do so.

They quote the bible out of context to preach soft sermons that make many comfortable with living a sinful life, and why not? Telling people what they want to hear is the best way to keep a building or television, radio, or Online ministry full of happy donors. They do not have the Spirit of God but walk in the spirit of Satan as they twist the words of God for gain in this world and social exaltation while openly or secretly pursuing their own desires.

Some might even preach righteousness, but they themselves do not obey what they teach or strive to grow in those regards as one who is honest about their sin, repentant, and faithfully seeking the Spirit of God to work the good things of God in them. Instead, they play pastor like a kid playing make-believe, then they go on to live a life of sin when they think no one is watching them. If they had true faith, they would know that the Spirit of Truth is always watching, and He will judge them for their faithlessness, hypocrisy, and their lying ministries that “turn the grace of God into lasciviousness.”

“So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitanes, which thing I hate.”

As discussed more fully in The Symbolism, it is the opinion of the author of These Things Saith He that the “doctrine or deeds of the Nicolaitanes” is a general stand-in for teachings that condone a worldly form of Christianity. As for the Church of Pergamos, this is shown through their mishandling of the grace and forgiveness of God, using His mercy as a license to sin and seek the pleasures of this world without consequence.

It is no wonder that they blaspheme heaven and those who dwell therein. Such as these characterize heaven as a place of never-ending pleasure and self-indulgence. Jesus is busy building them a mansion in heaven. The carpenter works away, preparing for them a place where they can fulfill every carnal desire—and why not? This is the heaven they live in now—which is no heaven—because the Spirit of God is not bringing the real kingdom of God that “comes not with observation” and is “within you.” No, their present-day heaven is sin and those who are truly of the Kingdom are spoken evil of.

In reality, both the kingdom that comes within us by the Holy Spirit and the kingdom to come is a land of righteousness in which we come to know Jesus more fully and serve Him—not ourselves—forever.

“Repent; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth.”

Those who misuse the word of God to condone a life of ungodliness—purchased by the blood of the Son of God—will have to face Him one day. He who is the Word of God will fight against them with His true word, and all their lies will be consumed, as well as those who peddled lies in the Name of Jesus for their own gain. It is fitting that those who abused the word would be judged by it.

“He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it.”

“For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world.” [xiii] Those who are faithful to the words of Jesus are given a truer understanding of His word—even He who is the Word of God. For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.” [xiv]

Those who overcome are also given a new name—a name that Jesus Himself gives them. The false prophets and ministers for hire have a name in the earth. Meaning, people know who they are, and they are well-regarded and loved by many while those who are faithful to Jesus are often slandered and hated.

Those who overcome are given a better name—not one among men, but one given by Jesus Himself that is true to the individual who receives it. The Word divides and judges as He looks into the core of the person, and what He will see and declare about His servants is good. This name is not to be flaunted to be seen as something great in the eyes of others, nor would that be desired because receiving this name from Jesus shows His approval, which is the only approval that matters.

Concern for Present-Day Ministers of Jesus

It is difficult to imagine that a minister of the spirit of Pergamos would repent, because they most likely do not believe in the first place. However, it is possible that there are some who sincerely want to serve Jesus but are raised in the faith by Pergamos-like ministers. This could corrupt the heart of those who would otherwise be faithful to the Word of God and those entrusted to their care.

If this is the case for any would read this, then the best thing would probably be to back down from ministry, seek Jesus for yourself, become filled with the Spirit of God in truth, and perhaps He would call you to become a faithful minister—not ordained by the corrupt seminaries of man, but by the will and Spirit of God.

On another note, the scriptures are written in an interesting manner that allows for varying interpretations and disagreements among believers and nonbelievers alike. It seems likely that the written word of God tries the hearts of man just as Jesus who is the Word of God made flesh tried man, and just as the Holy Spirit tries the hearts of those who He inhabits. “Take heed how ye hear.” The word of God is dangerous, so take it seriously.

Concern for Christian Brethren Generally

If the church that you attend or the ministry, music, or other Christian culture that you consume condones a life of sin paid for by the blood of Jesus, then get out and get away. This is not a true servant of Jesus Christ, but of Satan. It is true that the blood of the Son of God washes away our sins, and there is none that can accuse us before God because we have passed from judgement to life. However, this presumes good faith, and good faith means that we have a sincere heart towards Jesus.

We are not merely paying lip-service to God while we take His Son for granted, using Him as a pass to serve ourselves and not Him. That is not the gospel, and that is not salvation. The gospel is that those who believe in Jesus, the Son of God who died for our sins and now lives, would find freedom sin and from the punishment for sin, which is death. Those who believe in Him will also receive Him in His everlasting kingdom—a kingdom of righteousness.

Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness (2 Peter 3:11-13).”

We will not live a life of hedonism while claiming Jesus, then “go to heaven” and pursue carnal pleasure forevermore. When our King returns, He will say, “well done good and faithful servant.” And also, “Now rise and serve me.” [xv]

Do not be surprised if questioning the ministers of Pergamos results in slander and accusations. They accuse people of denying the faith and replacing grace with works. Some state that those who oppose them are “accusers of the brethren,” which is ironic and hypocritical because they accuse those who point out their sinful and heretical misuse of the sacrifice of Jesus.

They are very much like the Scribes and Pharisees of Jesus’s day. They do not serve God. They serve their own self-interest, positions of power and authority, and they do not like anyone who would threaten their ministries that make them rich, powerful, and popular—in scales great and small.

If you cannot question a minister without being shunned and having your faith accused or belittled because you take the things of God “too seriously,” then that’s a good indicator that you are not dealing with a true person of God. In all things, test what you have been taught and go to the source who is Jesus Christ and ask Him to fill you with the Holy Spirit—the Spirit of Truth so that you will not be deceived by these sorts of ministers and those who follow them.

In Conclusion

Jesus is the Word of God. His word, which proceeds out of His mouth, is called a sharp, two-edged sword. The written word of God that is given to us through the scriptures is also a two-edged sword. Both the written word of God and things spoken in the name of Jesus, when misused, lead to a lot of harm. Perhaps most notable among these misuses is that which uses the word of God to justify a wicked lifestyle.

As a Christian, we are saved by faith in Jesus that comes to us by the grace of God. Our works do not save us. We are covered by the blood of the Lamb of God. Therefore, there is no curse that can come upon us from God. Remember Balac who could not cause God to curse His people. However, as Balac discovered through the counsel of Balaam, the people could cause the wrath of God to come upon themselves if they forsook God and turned to idolatry. Though our faith in Jesus makes us blameless before God, wanton disregard for the blood that was shed to make our covenant with God can leave us as those who followed to ways of Balac and Balaam.

If we say that our sins do not matter because we are forgiven, and therefore go on to live as unrighteous as we please without regard for the calling we have in Christ—a calling to lay aside sin by His power in us as we serve Him and not this world—then we are rejecting the covenant. Our faith is a sham, and it does not matter how we might use the word of God to justify ourselves because that very same word will testify against us.

Where is Satan’s seat? Is it not the seat that seeks to usurp the throne of Jesus through lies, half-truths, and seducing people away from the right way? This church holds on to the name of Jesus and believes in His sacrifice for the forgiveness of sin. This is good; however, it is possible to treat the sacrifice of Jesus with such disregard that our faith is not acceptable.

Our use of the word of God demonstrates our faith in Jesus. Or the lack thereof. Therefore, it is fitting that the word of God would be used to combat those who misuse the word of God in such a manner that leads many astray into faithlessness and wanton sin that disrespects the blood of the Lamb that was slain to provide atonement, and eventually, worship of Satan himself who is the false christ.

Jesus is the bread of life that comes down from God out of heaven, as He stated. Jesus is also the word of God—and as Jesus also stated— “man cannot live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.”  [xvi]  Those who overcome misuse of the word of God, in all the forms thereof, are given the true word of God. They are given true understanding of scripture; they are given true knowledge of the Lord, Jesus Christ; they are given the promise of His return and a greater oneness with our Creator, Savior, and King.

He also gives us a new name because He knows us deeply, even better than we know ourselves. At the time that we know Him, even as He knows us, we will also know ourselves, even as we are known by Him. We will see just how precious we are and that His blood was not shed for no reason—and by His grace—we are made faithful to Jesus, who is the living Word of God.

Therefore, let us stand in faith by the grace of God who teaches us how to deny this world and follow Jesus instead, not misuse His sacrifice or His word to justify the sins that He died to release us from.

That being stated, it is important to remember that the fight against the flesh and sin is an ongoing battle for us until we are raised in our resurrected bodies.

Do not give space to The Accuser. The blood of the Lamb does indeed cover us. If our heart is sincere towards Jesus and we want to serve Him faithfully, we will find freedom from sin as He works in us to free us according to the grace we receive and the calling He has purposed for us in our service to Him and our brethren. Those who are honest about their sin, genuinely want to do right, and believe in Jesus for forgiveness are not condemned. They are “passed from judgement to life.” [xvii]

Our heart toward Jesus is the difference—which comes by grace first because all things come from God and are for His purposes. If His grace is upon us, then we will fear His word and we will strive to live by it—and He who is the Word will live with us, bringing the Kingdom of heaven to us by the Spirit. Jesus will return also, and He will judge all things righteously and with mercy towards those who are of a repentant heart, who call out to Him, and who trust in all that the Word has spoken.

 “To this man will I look; even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, that trembles at my word.” [xviii]

Additional Scriptures when Considering the Letter to the Church of Pergamos

Below are some scriptures that helped inform the understanding given within this chapter of These Things Saith He. The full chapters contain important information, so please read all scripture in context listed here and those mentioned elsewhere as you have the time and opportunity to do so:

  • But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not (2 Peter 2:1-3).
  • Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation. For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water: Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished: But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men (2 Peter 3:3-7).
  • For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.I will therefore put you in remembrance, though ye once knew this, how that the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed them that believed not. And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day. Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire (Jude 1:4-7).
  • Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief. For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do (Hebrews 4:11-13).
  • Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you. And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty (2 Corinthians 6:14-18).
  • Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; And did all eat the same spiritual meat; And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness. Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted. Neither be ye idolaters, as were some of them; as it is written, The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play. Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed, and fell in one day three and twenty thousand. Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents (1 Corinthians 10: 1-9).
  • Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints; And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel, For which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak (Ephesians 6:16-20).
  • My brethren, be not many masters, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation. For in many things we offend all. If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body. Behold, we put bits in the horses’ mouths, that they may obey us; and we turn about their whole body. Behold also the ships, which though they be so great, and are driven of fierce winds, yet are they turned about with a very small helm, whithersoever the governor listeth. Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth! (James 3:1-5)
  • And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come. When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:) Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains: (Matthew 24:11-16).
  • And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God. And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, King Of Kings, And Lord Of Lords (Revelation 19:13-16).

[i] John 1:1-5

[ii] Genesis 1:3

[iii] Hebrews 2:10

[iv] 2 Corinthians 3:3, Jeremiah 31:33

[v] Hebrews 4:12

[vi] Matthew 25, Matthew 13

[vii] Ephesians 6

[viii] John 14-16

[ix] John 15:3-4

[x] Matthew 25, Matthew 13

[xi] 2 Thessalonians 2:4

[xii] Matthew 24:5

[xiii] John 6:33

[xiv] 1 Corinthians 13:12

[xv] Matthew 25:21, John 13:4

[xvi] Matthew 4:4

[xvii] John 5:24

[xviii] Isaiah 66:2

Previous Chapter: These Things Saith He Unto the Angel of the Church in Smyrna

Introduction explaining the purpose behind These Things Saith He

Method of Interpretation Used within These Things Saith He

Brief Explanation of Symbolism Found Within the Letters to the Churches