The 7 Churches of Revelation: My Sardis Experience

Since I write some hard things, I cannot do so without also considering myself and putting that out there.

How have I been as Sardis?

According to my understanding of the Church of Sardis, we are dealing with misconceptions and negligence of the Holy Spirit, which leads to a church that claims to be alive in Christ but is in-fact dead.

I was raised in the Christian faith in some form, so I always believed in Jesus. However, I did not hear much about the Holy Spirit that I can recall. I did hear about churches that spoke in tongues and the like but thought those were crazy people.

When I started studying the bible with help from a free online bible study series, I learned more about the Holy Spirit. I heard a testimony of a brother in Christ who received the Holy Spirit in a powerful way, and prior to, this person also did not believe such things happened today. The things I learned about the Holy Spirit today rang true for me, so I started asking to receive the Holy Spirit.

My prayer was answered about a year and a half later. I did speak in another language. Mostly I sang in this language, and I knew that it was a song about the churches—both a song of rebuke and one of reassurance and comfort. This was over five years ago, in January 2016. I do think my ministry is to the churches, but this unravels as the Lord wills and I am just along for the ride. I feel blind to my purpose largely, and as I’ve written before, I do not covet offices. I covet Christ and I think this is a good mindset for us all.

In the last few years, my understanding has continued to grow as I learn what Jesus is all about and how He wants us to live. I also have grown in my understanding of the Holy Spirit and the ways in which we tend to err on the side of legalism on one hand and an abuse of liberty on the other: both of which neglect the Spirit. We also tend to neglect the Spirit of the scriptures, which leads to a lot of misunderstanding and more division among us.

I have also changed my perspective on what it means to receive the Holy Spirit. I used to think that everyone must have an experience similar to mine or else they did not really have the Spirit. I do not think that way anymore.

In general terms, this is what I believe about a Christian receiving the Holy Spirit:

If we put our faith in Jesus as our Lord and Savior, the Holy Spirit is speaking to us. We cannot know that Jesus is the Son of God who was slain and resurrected for our sins without the Holy Spirit. I believe that as we seek Jesus and get to know His ways, we will naturally want to live a life that is more pleasing to Him. In so doing, we will seek the Lord. He sends the Holy Spirit to work in our hearts. If we are bringing forth fruit, then this is the Spirit’s doing.

As for powerful displays, I know these things can happen because they happened to myself and others who I trust. I think this can vary depending on the gifts we are receiving, and I think we might be filled with the Spirit in differing measures at differing points throughout our lives. For example, if we had to give a testimony in a difficult situation, the Spirit might spring up in us an understanding that we did not have before.

In any case, I do know that the Holy Spirt is very active today and there is much we can gain from Him. I also know that Jesus rewards those who diligently seek Him.

The most important gift we want from the Spirit is an indwelling knowledge of our Lord, Jesus Christ that writes the laws of His Kingdom and His righteousness “on the fleshly tables of the heart.” This is the “engrafted word that saves our souls.”

We can seek other gifts like understanding of scripture, wisdom so that we can apply the ways of Jesus to our lives more effectively, and strength to stand firm in righteousness so that we can maintain ourselves despite living in a corrupt world.

As for gifts that serve the brethren, Paul said that we should covet the greater gifts. I do not believe these have ended. People cite a scripture that says, “when that which is perfect is come, the former things pass away.” This is a paraphrase from 1 Corinthians 3. Some say that “that which is perfect” is the King James Bible, and since we have this, there is no need for gifts of the Spirit. Though I love the King James, this Bible is not “that which is perfect” and we do in-fact need spiritual gifts. Neglecting them has led to a lot of dead churches.

As for me, when I sought Jesus, I wanted more power to live according to His will. I also hated how confused I was and how much confusion there seemed to be in the church. I asked Him to show me what His will is for us in this time and to teach me the truth. I said that if He did, I would tell others even if we don’t like it. This was a foolish request, honestly. I did not know what I was asking for, but my heart was for the Lord so He has worked much in me overtime.

I am obligated to do as I said I would do. I’m also learning that writing is not sufficient. Things are going to get harder. People do not like the truth. How foolish I was, but it’s not like I can go back now. So, I do want to say that we should not be foolish, but remember what Jesus said about “counting the cost” before we ask for things, lest we begin to build and do not have what it takes to follow through.

So, I do not push people into seeking things that might be too much for them, but I do push seeking the Spirit and coveting a closer walk with Jesus so that He can use you according to His will. Some tasks are more challenging, but none of us are better than the other. All things are as He wills it according to the grace we receive of Him. It is all Him anyway. Anything we do in His Name of a truth is only made possible because He does it in us.

Sometime after received the Holy Spirit, the Spirit spoke to me saying that I would “speak graciously to those who are confused and without peace.” I’m just now learning what that is about, I think. And this ties into edifying the church so that we can better stand with Jesus as blameless, chaste virgins who will resist the ways of the Adversary, even unto death if need be.

The Holy Spirit is critical in this. Though we war with sin and with the flesh, we should strive to walk in the Spirt of God. “As many as walk after the Spirit of God are the sons of God.”

I’m still learning what it means to walk in the Spirit, and I believe this is an on-going journey for all of us. I also know that we all need grace because we will all fall short. However, our attitude towards these things matters. Especially as they are revealed to us, so let us consider.

Do I speak about myself too much? Maybe. If you knew what an average nobody I was, you would be comforted. Please seek Jesus for yourself. He can do remarkable things with any of us, and it’s often those who the world overlooks that He will use to stir things up. Some things must be stirred up.

There have been some difficult things said lately when considering the churches of Revelation, so I think it’s good to remind readers of the purpose behind these articles: to consider what we can learn from these churches so that we can grow our relationship with Jesus and with our brethren, and in so doing, better stand against the ways of the Adversary.

This is not to condemn but this is to encourage repentance as we consider ourselves on an individual level. I also want to remind readers that we are considering the lessons given through these letters to the churches in terms of heart issues.

Although we might think of specific groups of Christians as we read these letters, these are not best interpreted according to churches of time, place, or denomination. Rather, these are best interpreted according to the spirit of what is being said. Each church represents an issue that we find among Christianity at large, and we can be of more than one of these churches in spirit. If we are of the rebuked churches, then we need to repent.

I know some Christians do not believe that we should ever need to repent. However, Jesus says to five of the seven churches, “repent or else I will remove your candlestick out of its place.” Let us consider as sons rebuked by our Father and not as “sons of disobedience” that are headed for destruction. However, because we love Jesus and respect what He might be communicating to us in this time, let us consider faithfully.

The 7 Churches of Revelation: 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. – Revelation 3:1-5

Jesus said that we should “take heed how you hear.” Meaning, if we are not hearing something properly, but instead hear amiss and interpret amiss, we will go astray. I get a “take heed how you hear” feeling when trying to interpret this letter to Sardis.

Let’s start with the opening and consider why these attributes of Jesus might matter when “hearing” what is being said to Sardis.

Jesus is He who has the seven spirits of God and the seven stars.

We see the seven spirits of God mentioned in Revelation 4 and they are described as seven burning lamps around the throne of God. Some say that the 7 spirits of God are mentioned in Isaiah 11, but I don’t count 7 there: wisdom and understanding, counsel, might, knowledge, and fear of the Lord. I think we can get too hung up on what the 7 spirits are, as far as how to characterize them.

Instead, I think we should consider the fact that only Jesus has the full measure of the Spirit of God (John 3:34-35). It is also Jesus who decides how the gifts of the Spirit will be dispersed among His ministers, which are symbolized as stars in His hand. I think this is why the seven lamps are burning around the throne. This shows that the Father has full possession and control of the Spirit of God.

Let’s hold that thought and continue.

Jesus says that He knows their works. They have a name that they live, but they are dead.

That’s quite a stark passage.

They have a name, meaning, they have a perception in the public eye as a church that is alive, presumably in Christ. Yet, Jesus says that they are dead.

He also tells them to be watchful, to strengthen what remains that is ready to die because He has not found their works perfect before God.

How should we “hear” this? We know that as Christians, we are not saved by works. We are saved by grace through our faith in the sacrifice and resurrection of Jesus that redeems us to God.

Why then does Jesus rebuke this church because of their imperfect works? Why does He instruct them to strengthen what remains that is ready to die?

We could say that Sardis is a church that attempts to reach salvation by their good works, which of course will never be good enough.

We could also say that Sardis is negligent of the faith to such a degree that it becomes offensive to Jesus. As James says, “show me your faith without works and I will show you my faith by my works. Faith without works is dead being alone.”

Does this church get to the heart of the “faith vs works” debate?

Why does it matter that Jesus contains the fullness of the Spirit of God and is the distributor thereof?

Perhaps this speaks to our negligence of the Spirit of God. I think it does, and I think our misuse of the Spirit of God, when better understood, will put to rest our “faith vs works” salvation debate.

As Christians, we are saved by grace through faith in Jesus. However, we are also to receive the Holy Spirit in some measure that brings us into the Kingdom of God that is “within you.”

It is by the working of the Spirt of God, who Jesus has full authority over and will distribute as He wills, that we can overcome sin in the flesh and gain gifts that can be used to edify the body of Christ. The Spirit of God in us will produce many good works, not of our own strength, but by the working of Christ in us.

So, it is not that we perform our own works to gain salvation. However, if we are saved from this world, we will receive of the Spirit so that we can do many good works in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

If we have no works done in us and through us by the Spirit, how can we say that we have been “born again?”

Jesus said that we must be born again. We do not enter the womb again, but we must be born in Spirit. If we are not born in Spirit, we are dead.

Let’s get back to this: Jesus is so good to remind us that it is He who controls and disperses His Spirit according to His will.

I have noticed several problems within the church concerning the Holy Spirit and gifts of the Spirit.

Some say that the gifts are not active today and they discourage people from seeking the Holy Spirit in a powerful way. This is a corrupt teaching that grieves and quenches the Spirit.

Some say that the gifts are active today, but their supposed demonstrations of “signs and wonders” are highly questionable at best, leading many to deny the Spirit today. These false signs grieve and quench the Spirit and perhaps lead many into spiritual idolatry and fornication with spirits of devils.

Some judge their brethren wrongly as doing works by the power of Beelzebub, as the religious authorities accused Jesus, when the Spirt is in-fact working. Some judge their brethren as apostate because they do not manifest the Spirit in accordance with their liking.

Tongues is a good example of both in this case. Some say this is of the devil. It is not when it is real. I have heard fake tongues. On the other hand, some say you did not receive the Spirit if you did not speak in tongues. I don’t think that’s a fair assumption either. I think we judge receiving of the Spirit by the “fruit” which can be many things that edify the person, bring glory to God, and serve the church.

Some try to create special prayers for receiving the Holy Spirit. Some are too strict in their judgments of whether a person received the Spirit or not. These make man judge of things he cannot judge, chiefly being the heart and spirit of another man.

The ways in which we grieve and quench the Spirit are vast! The ways of Sardis permeate so much of our Christian culture!

What happens when we neglect the Spirit? We rely on ourselves. How foolish that is.

If we want to be pleasing to God, we will put rules on ourselves so that we can do our best to conform to what we think a good Christian should be. This is legalism.

If we realize that we cannot be pleasing to God on our own, then we might fall back on grace but we do not seek strength from the Spirit to overcome. This can lead to an abuse of liberty.

Instead of erring on the side of legalism or abuse of liberty, we should seek the Holy Spirit. He will work things out in our heart according to His own perfect and pleasing will, and this cannot be contained by law nor can it be escaped by the loopholes of man, nor can it be abused by teachings that “turn the grace of God into lasciviousness.”

I have seen such a misuse and misunderstanding of the Holy Spirit among churches.

There are so-called charismatic churches that do many “signs and wonders” but they are not of God. There are so-called “apostolic” churches that are “Spirit led” yet some of the most legalistic churches I’ve seen, attempting to be “set apart” by putting regulations on the outward appearance and behavior of their congregants instead of trusting the Spirt to do the work in heart and in sincerity.

I have seen churches that deny the working of the Spirit, but they understand we should be righteous so they harp over their pet peeve sins while seeming to ignore issues of the heart

Both create self-righteousness, hypocrisy, slander and division among brethren, and stagnant growth among believers.

This is a serious matter. How we have neglected the Spirit of God today!

Without Him, we are surely going to be a candlestick “removed out of its place” because there is no oil keeping our lamps burning. Jesus will “come as a thief” at a time we know not, and we will be taken—not to the rapture—but to the battle of Armageddon as those duped by the false prophet and led into his army. “Where are they taken? Wheresoever the carcasses are, there will the eagles be gathered together.”

We do not want to be judged according to works, but by grace. So, let us not rely on works of the flesh and works of man, “whose light is darkness,” but on the works of Jesus by the Holy Spirit. When we rely on the works of man, we will judge unrighteously every single time, and we are going to be judged by the judgments we make.

Instead, watch for Jesus because He will come. Strengthen what remains of the Holy Spirit so that we can die to the foolishness of this world that cannot know nor discern the things of the Spirit. Let us learn to rely on His works alone—which are many works of righteousness in us—according to His perfect and pleasing will. Not the works of the flesh including legalism or an abuse of liberty—works of the flesh that leads to unjust judgment, hypocrisy, strife, division, accusation, slander, and death! Without the Spirit we are carnal and we are yet in our sins.

Yet, there are a few names, even in Sardis.

How comforting. I love how we see the mercy of God in His judgments of the churches. Though many do not understand how the Spirit operates due to many false teachings and corruptions in the churches, there are some who have not defiled themselves. They trust in the blood of Jesus for their forgiveness and they do not quench the work of the Spirit through abuse of grace or through legalism unto destruction of self and the brethren.

We can overcome the failings of Sardis!

Christians are saved by grace, which is the undeserved favor of God that is shown to us by the Son, Jesus. If we have faith that Jesus is the Son of God who was slain for our sins and now lives, we are passed from judgement to life.

Faith means we believe in Jesus. If we believe in Him, then according to the time and opportunity we have, we should seek to know who He is and what He expects from us. As we do this, we will learn about His commandments which hinge on loving God with all you have and loving your neighbor as yourself.

If we want to keep these ways, Jesus will send the Holy Spirit to help. He will also give gifts of the Spirt so that we can edify the brethren, because none have the fullness of God but Jesus. We are a body knit together in Christ, and together we can be perfected. However, this will not be as it could if we do not come together in the right Spirit. In the right Spirit, we are one as the Father and Son are one.

This is my greatest hope for us as Christians: That we would stop grieving the Holy Spirt with our love of this world instead of God. That we would humble ourselves and love others, especially our Christian brethren. Our lack of love for God and for each other testifies to a lack of sincere faith and this leads to sin and division among us. A house divided is a dead, desolate house.

Jesus wondered if He would find faith on the earth when He returned. Thanks be to God that there are “a few names even in Sardis.”

I do not want to be of Sardis, and I think we would do well to consider our misuse of the Spirit so that we can die to works of the flesh and be raised in newness of the Spirit, joined with Christ and made perfected in Him and His working within the body that is under His full authorship!

I’m so glad to know that we serve the Alpha and Omega! However, we also serve He who will “come as a thief in the night.” Do we know what it means to keep our garments? Let us consider. Let “he who has an ear hear.” Many have so gone astray in this.

I know this was a long one and probably not as clear as I’d like it to be. Please leave questions and thoughts in the comments and I will keep doing my best to communicate more concisely and clearly, though it is hard with jam-packed and important topics. Jesus was good at that. He used few words and trusted the Spirit to communicate. Maybe I should too or maybe I should do my best to make what the Spirit says plain.

I will do my best in any case, trusting in the Spirit to do as the Father wills. I’m still learning to come out of Sardis too. Thank you for your patience!

The 7 Churches of Revelation: I Was Fooled by Thyatira Too

As much as I reject the things we see in Thyatira, I also sympathize. I especially sympathize with the ignorant who are lured into the ways of Thyatira, because that is what I was. I was ignorant of the scriptures and of what the Christian life was really about.

I think I spent most of my life, in some form, within the church of Thyatira—at least according to my understanding of what the Church of Thyatira entails—which is a condoning of sexual immorality and condoning of spiritual ideas, teachings, and practices that are not aligned with Christianity but instead lead into a kind of spiritual fornication with this world and the spirits of devils.

I was raised to believe in the basic facts of Jesus and I considered myself to be a Christian. I was “saved” and baptized at the age of 9 and as a child I was very interested in Jesus and I wanted to live for Him.

However, I was also raised to believe in things like reincarnation, horoscopes and astrology, and the idea that all religions were acceptable paths to God. At least, by one parent. The other protested, but to no avail. Later in life, I was also exposed to Wiccan practices, though I did not participate.

Sexual immorality was encouraged as a normal part of being young. Thankfully, I was too shy and inhibited. I did fornicate with my now husband before we were married, and I thought nothing of it at the time because I was taught that this was normal and acceptable.

During my late teens I enjoyed watching Joel Osteen. He made me feel good about myself. I hated all of those “judgmental” Christians, and he was so refreshing because all he talked about was the love of God and how God wants us to live a wealthy and prosperous life.  I lived in the suburbs of Houston for two years while maintaining a long-distance relationship with my now husband, then boyfriend. I tried to go see Joel in person once but I got lost. I’m glad I did.

In my early 20’s I was back with my boyfriend and we got married. After going through some serious relationship problems, I began to drink and do psychedelic drugs. This led me to things like meditation which led me to the enticing world of New Age Christianity—and I was primed and ready to accept it because this fed into all the misconceptions I was taught for most of my life.

These teachings made me feel like I could have greater control over my life—a life that was way out of control. This made me feel like I could find a way to heal my emotional troubles that I incurred from a lifetime of emotional and physical abuse. This made me feel like I was “waking up” to a spiritual realm that regular people just could not see. I was one of the enlightened ones. Until I almost died.

For all of my attempts to use New Age spirituality to heal myself, I was sicker than ever. I was also watching a prominent televangelist, and I was wrestling with an important idea: Is Jesus even real, and if He is real, is He the only way to God or are all ways acceptable? I fell into the most severe depression I’ve ever experienced.

One night I was running a suicide plan through my mind, then I just started pouring my heart out to Jesus. I begged Him to help me because I knew that I was confused. I remembered how much I loved Him as a child and I knew that I was not in His will. I asked Him to show me the truth, whether I liked it or not.

I think it was the next day that I started researching the televangelist I was listening to, because some of his teachings were strange and I wanted to see what other people said. I came across an article from one of his previous students that refuted teachings of this televangelist. This website also had many hours of free bible studies. After about a year, I listened to them all.

That was the beginning of a real “awakening” as I realized just how dead I was inside. All of the “enlightenment” that this world had for me was nothing but death, and it almost took my life.

I understand some of the reasons why people are drawn to “spiritual” things that are not of God. I also know that one of the best ways to arm yourself against this is to become familiar with the scriptures and with Jesus. This world does not know Him. Many pastors claim to know Him and they claim to teach the word of God, but they don’t.

I also understand why many people despise Christians. I know that many can be overly cruel and judgmental in a way that is self-righteous and hypocritical. On the other hand there are many who go to the other extreme and start embracing this world and pushing a kind of “love” onto people that is not the love of God, but a love of this world. This world will kill you. Jesus will save you.

I know the grace of God is what saved me from the snares of the enemy. I was fully entrenched for most of my life. I know He can save others too. If you have questions about what Christianity means or if you think that modern “spirituality” is for you, please seek Jesus.

This world promises freedom from pain, but it only gives you more pain. Jesus has real answers that can truly change your life. However, this means a life of service to Him and not this world. This is challenging, but He knows how to work things out in a way that is personalized to you and His purpose for your life in His Kingdom.

There is no spirituality apart from Jesus and His Holy Spirit that is not of the Adversary. Let no one tell you otherwise. Feel free to reach out anytime in the comments or by email if you want to hear more about my experience with these things or if you just want to chat about Jesus or the troubles you face with spirituality.

I could write volumes on false spirituality, narcissistic abuse (including tactics used by pastors and false prophets), and falsehoods within the Christian church that lead people astray. If my pain can bring peace to a few, then it is worth it. I believe that God is in control and He sets things up in our lives so that we are useful for Him and for our brethren. Use me! Then once you are established, strengthened, and settled on Jesus, go and do the same for someone else.

I do not covet followers, just to have the pains I endured used for others as they find Jesus for themselves. If all my life does is bring me closer to Jesus but I don’t help others also, then what good is it? That seems rather shallow to me. I believe we are called to share ourselves with others as Jesus shared Himself with us, so I put myself out there for whoever wants a friend in Christ.

Most importantly, I want to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ. However, I know from experience that it helps to have someone meet us where we are. Paul the Apostle did this, not to draw attention to himself, but to draw people to Jesus. He is the only One that matters because He is the only name by which we can be saved.

The 7 Churches of Revelation: 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 2:18-29

I will do my best here. There is a lot to cover. When it comes to Pergamos and Thyatira, my mind becomes awhirl with several ideas that include present-day events and speculation about the future. There are heretical teachings that I watch closely, and if these take a turn in the manner I suspect they will, I will be ready to refute them. Meanwhile I endure accusations as I wait on the Lord’s timing, and that is okay too, though it does affect the quality of my work and I am sorry for that.

I will try to filter my messy mind and emotions so that I can present useful information here that isn’t overwhelming or boorish for you readers. I so appreciate you!

Without further ado. Let’s give it a go.

In this opening, Jesus is presented as He who has “eyes like a flame of fire and feet like fine brass.” How beautifully terrifying. It is comforting to know that Jesus sees right through us, so He knows our sincere struggles and love for Him. Yet, if our hearts are far from Him and if we are merely playing Christian or using His name for worldly gain, we should be terrified. What do brass feet mean? I see this as strength of character. He is strong and unshakable. No one can move Him from His place of authority.

We will consider why this matters in a bit.

Thyatira is known for their love (charity), service, faith, patience, and many good works—even more towards their end than at the beginning. This sounds good, right? Perhaps so, but there is something corrupt about this church.

They endure that woman, Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, to teach and seduce the Lord’s servants to commit fornication and eat things sacrificed unto idols.

What did Jezebel of the Old Testament do?

She was the wife of Ahab. She brought the practice of Baal worship to the people of God. She persecuted the prophets of God who stood against her. She also falsely charged a man with blasphemy so that she could take a vineyard that belonged to him, and she used Ahab’s signet ring to sign the order to have the man killed.

This sounds very much like end-times foreshadowing to me. It sounds like something connected to the dispersal of the mark of the beast, a counterfeit to the seal of God, meant to rob the vineyard of the Lord and make it the vineyard of Satan. Pair this with Baal worship, and I think there is something to this in the future.

This could be a prominent figure in the future. I don’t know for certain. For now, I want to consider this in symbolic terms.

We could consider Jezebel in a few ways. We could consider this to be a corrupt female influence in the church, or we could consider this in the broader context of a spirit that encourages sin and spiritual fornication with spirits of devils and Satan.

This makes me think of New Age Christianity and all its variants, which are popular among televangelists these days—both male and female. These ideas have invaded many small-time churches too. New Age teachings take many forms, but the general theme can be summarized as this: “We are immortal. We are gods.” These are also Pagan in nature.

There are teachings that do not focus on the naturally sinful and degraded state of man—man who needs a savior and the blood of Jesus—but instead encourages vain pursuits of power. This can include things like the Word of Faith movement, which basically says that we control our environment through positive words and thinking. Therefore, if we suffer, we caused it or we deserved it because of Karma. There are ideas about cultivating power from the “universe,” whatever that means. There are ideas about using imagery of light and meditation to heal yourself and to have “balanced chacras” which is Buddhism, I believe. There are those who think that the Pineal Gland is the “third eye” and the Seal of God—which we can activate through meditation and psychedelic drugs.

All forms of pagan ideas are becoming common place among some of the big-name mega preachers out there, and as is true of the Great Whore, there is a trickle-down effect as the filth of her fornication corrupts those under her. Gross imagery, but I say this because it is true. Small ministries have been invaded by these ideas also.

And all in the name of love.

(I speak as a fool.) Jesus loves you. He wants nothing but worldly prosperity for you and there are no conditions or strings attached. You can be just as you are because who you really are is a little god who just needs to remember that their Daddy loves them. You are a child of the Most High. Tap into the abundant resources of the Spirit of Satan—I mean the Spirit of God.

I thank the Lord that I have been such a huge fool. Fool enough to know all about this nonsense. I was immersed in these ideas before I became suicidally depressed, called out to Jesus, and He answered by sending me to a good teacher. I’ve sense been exposed to other insane ideas, tested in them, and made ready to fight when the time is right. Lord willing.

I want to think more about the “love” of Thyatira.

Love is corrupted in many ways among Christians. Love, when it is twisted, is not real love. It is self-pleasing and man-pleasing. It is not love to call sin righteous and to call righteousness sin. If the bible says something is a sin, it is a sin whether people call it love or not.

That does not mean that we should forget patience and compassion. Being overly hard and “losing our first love” is not the way to go either. However, never sacrifice truth and what the love of God really means in order to seem to be more loving to a wicked and deceived world.

What is the “fornication of Jezebel” and the “adultery” that those commit with her?

I think this is an acceptance and praise of fornication in the literal sense and also fornication with Satan and spirits of devils.

Since she does not repent, all who follow her (her children) are cast into a marriage bed of adultery with Satan and sent through great tribulation.

What is the difference in the tribulation of those who commit adultery with Jezebel and the tribulation of the saints? I don’t believe in a rapture. I believe that we all endure the great tribulation and we are raised or transfigured at the coming of Jesus at the 7th trumpet.

We see in Revelation that the beast will turn on the Great Whore and “burn her with fire.” Those who “come out of her” will also go through tribulation. However, with patience as one who knows that their redeemer is coming. I need to think more about this. Maybe I will have clarity about it in the next post.

“I will give unto every one of you according to your works.”

What does this mean? As a Christian, we know that faith creates many good works. Paul the apostle also says that the works we do in Jesus’s name will be tried by fire, but we ourselves are spared if our works are seen to be lacking. In the sense of soul judgment, we want to be judged by grace and mercy, based on the blood of the Lamb, and not works.

Could this church have fallen away to such an extent that they are not longer judged by grace? That is a scary thought.

It does not say that Jesus will judge their works, but they are going to be judged according to their works. Maybe they think their works will save them and they do not trust in the blood of the Lamb anymore. After-all, they are not sinful humans, but divine gods. Could be. The Lord is judge and I am just speculating on this point.

And now some words from our exceedingly merciful and gracious God.

“As many as have not this doctrine and have not known the depths of Satan as they speak; I will put upon you no other burden. But that which you have, hold fast until I come.”

There are some, even in Thyatira, who have not committed fornication with Satan. Perhaps they did not bring forth much fruit in the faith because of their exposure to corruption within this church, but Jesus is dealing graciously with them. “Hold on to what you have until I come.” He will not burden you with anything more because your resistance to Satanism is itself a great burden. Jesus is so merciful and good!

However, as the intro shows us, Jesus is not going to be usurped. He sees our hearts. He knows our intentions. He is not movable and He will not stand for spiritual fornication in His church that is done in His name and creates all sorts of blasphemy against the Holy Spirit of God, the true Church, and the real seal of the promise we are given in Christ.

Now for the promise!

“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.”

Those who overcome by keeping the works of Jesus—and not the works of Satan—will receive real power. Satan and his whores promise power, but not the real power that Jesus offers. If we overcome in Him, we will rule all nations when Jesus comes to overthrow the false prophet, beast, and whore.

He will give those who overcome the Morning Star. That is interesting because Satan calls himself the “morning star” or “bright star, son of the dawn,” or as it is translated in the King James, Lucifer. Jesus is the real Morning Star, and as it is written of the Holy Spirt, He is as a “day star” rising in our hearts.

We can overcome the deceit and false power and promises of Thyatira!

We are sinners in need of a savior. We are created in our mother’s womb. We are of the dust and to the dust we will go. We have no goodness in us apart from the blood of the Lamb of God and no power to overcome except by the true Holy Spirt of God—not a counterfeit that is of the spirits of devils—working many miracles, signs, and wonders of vanity that make man feel as if they are gods. The real power we want is power to know Jesus, to overcome sin in the flesh, and the do our part to bring about His Kingdom.

There is power in the Holy Spirit given to the two witnesses, but this is not a power of vain glory, but a call to repentance in my opinion.

I somewhat understand the appeal to the ways of Thyatira. I will do my best to write about this, Lord willing.

The 7 Churches of Revelation: I Have Been as Pergamos Too

Stumbling blocks can take many forms. What is a stumbling block? Anytime we behave in such a way as to hinder another’s faith in Jesus, we are casting stumbling blocks.

I have done this.

I might not use the word of God to justify sinful living, at least not knowingly, but I have done my share of casting stumbling blocks.

I mentioned this in my previous article about the church of Pergamos in Revelation. I think this is the best recent example I have. I recently became irritated with how irreverent some modern Christian music is towards God but on the other hand people who listen to secular music are accused as being sinful. So, I wrote a provocative post about it.

In my liberty, I could do this. However, if I were considering my brethren who might stumble at my post because of the nature of this music, which was rather dark, then I would not have made the post. It was a stumbling block. I realized this after reading a blog article that a Christian wrote about stumbling blocks, and my heart was immediately convicted. I deleted the post, and I don’t typically delete posts.

I try to be careful that the things I write do not create stumbling blocks. I also try to be careful that my life is not a stumbling block. I don’t want someone to look at me and think, “if this is what being a Christian is about, then I don’t want any part of it.” I want my life in Christ to inspire people to wonder about “the hope that is in me” or in some other way inspire people to seek Jesus.

I have used the word, “ministry” to speak about doing public works for the brethren like teaching, pastoring, and so on. However, the most important ministry is our lives—and we all have this ministry. We are all ministering Christ, so we should try to be aware of the ways in which we cast stumbling blocks at people.

There are so many ways we can do this. It’s almost overwhelming to think about, but I trust that the Lord will help us. If we ask Him to search our hearts and reveal our stumbling blocks so that we can repent, He will.

Jesus said that it impossible to prevent offenses from coming, and in some way they must come. However, woe unto them by who offenses come. It is better for that man that he had never been born.

Offense in this sense is not offense as we use it in modern English. Offense in this sense is referring to casting stumbling blocks. If we lead the “little ones” that believe in Jesus astray with our stumbling blocks, Jesus says it is better for a mill stone to be hung around our neck and ourselves cast into the sea.

Serious stuff.

So, I want to take this more seriously and consider how I might be casting stumbling blocks. How do I hinder the faith and faithfulness of by brethren? How do I hinder unbelievers from coming to Christ? Not just in how I use the word of God, which I believe was the focus for Pergamos, but in all things.

This is important to consider in this time. Especially as we take a stand against evil and wickedness, both inside the church and outside the church. Take care that your stance isn’t built upon stumbling blocks.

I have seen so much of this lately and I have done this too. We can make things worse. If we are not correcting people in the right way, we only harden them further, we draw the enemy in towards the weaker members of the sheepfold, and we do not convince anyone to repent. We might feel puffed up or cause others to feel puffed up in self-righteous indignation, but what good are we doing? We bring forth hot air, not children of God.

If this is you and the Lord loves you, He might take a hammer to your stumbling blocks so that you can fall to the ground and humble yourself for His Name’s sake and for your soul’s sake. I might help Him do it.

There are particular stumbling blocks right now that I hate. Chief among those are people who use scripture to justify creating stumbling blocks. One of the most common today I see involve Moses and Elijah. So many want to be as Moses and Elijah—the end-times superstars. I believe that the two-witnesses are many, not two, and not Moses and Elijah—but of the Holy Spirit of God. We are to be putting on Christ, not Moses or Elijah. “This is my Son. Hear Him.

In-fact, the false prophet in Revelation “calls down fire from heaven to the earth in the sight of man” as he causes people to worship the beast and his image. Sounds a lot like Elijah. I would not be surprised if he claimed to be Elijah.

How did Jezebel die? Wasn’t she hurled out a window then left in the street as the dogs licked her blood? How do the two witnesses in Revelation die? They are left in the street because no one will bury them. Coincidence? Maybe. Maybe not. I’ve faced Jezebel accusations already for my stance against false prophets, particularly false Elijah’s.

There is an Elijah ministry of “turning the hearts of the fathers to the sons and sons to the fathers,” but many do this among the Christian faith and many always have. We are called to turn hearts to God the Father in particular. We are also called to encourage peace and love among the household of the faith.

There are also many who lead people in the wilderness as we “come out of her my people that you partake not of her sins and receive of her plagues” as Moses. This too is something that has always occurred because there has always been corruption in the church.

I think many of the faithful remnant will do both, just as the faithful have always done, and if it comes down to facing the false prophet, I would not be surprised if they were accused of being Jezebel.

So, I really do not like those who use the OT scripture to justify the works of the flesh or to make themselves appear as something great. I will fight these stones of stumbling to my death if I have to. Call me Jezebel if you want. I’ll take a hammer to your stumbling blocks anyway—the hammer of the Word of God—wielded by the Holy Spirit of God and not the froward tongue of man who want to be seen as Moses or Elijah. Lord willing.

However, I must first make sure that I remove all “beams from my own eyes” as I consider my own stumbling blocks more fully. I encourage all of us to do the same.

**Jesus was a source of stumbling and a rock of offense. If we fall on Him we are broken, but if He falls on us we are ground to powder. Let us not stumble at the teachings of Jesus that fly in the face of man’s foolish wisdom that is as many stumbling stones–and don’t you dare use Christ’s stumbling stone to justify your own stumbling stones of man. If we reject Jesus, He is a stumbling stone to us as we accept the stumbling stones of those who cause many to be “broken and snared and taken” by the enemy. Don’t you dare use the stumbling stone of Jesus wrongly. He will not have it. He will crush you to powder.

(Inserted as an after-thought about 30 minutes after original post. Sorry if the tone of some of this latter bit is harsh. It’s not personal against those who read because they like what I say. There are some hangers on who really enjoy twisting my words, trying to one-up me by creating passive-aggressive jabs at my expense, and so on. I can see them bringing up the stumbling stone of Christ as a way to undermine me in their own mind while justifying themselves.)**

The 7 Churches of Revelation: Pergamos—Let’s Try This Again

I missed an important point when considering the letter to the church of Pergamos, and it is this:

thou holdest fast my name, and hast not denied my faith.

I got hung up on interpreting what “Satan’s seat” means and how we see this today. However, this is not so much the trouble for Pergamos. In Pergamos, though they dwell where “Satan’s seat is,” they have not denied the name of Jesus or His faith. The things I wrote concerning Satan’s seat were correct, I believe, but I think this is more characteristic of the next church we will study, Thyatira.

I think the focus for Pergamos is a misuse of the word of God that leads people to stumble in the faith, just as when Balam taught Balac to teach the people to eat things sacrificed to idols and to commit fornication. We see this in Thyatira too, but the church of Pergamos is not as given into the “depths of Satan” as Thyatira.

I do value handling the word of God rightly, and ironically, this is what Pergamos is chiefly about in my belief. So, let’s try this again.

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.

Pergamos dwells where Satan’s seat is—a seat that can be summarized as one that places man in the stead of God—and in doing so, they are committing spiritual fornication with Satan. We will get into that better, Lord willing, in Thiatyra.

However…

Pergamos, though they dwell in this space, they have managed to hold on to the faith and name of Jesus. Jesus is God. Not man. Jesus is the only way to be saved, and they seem to hold on to the gospel of Jesus Christ without much corruption from Satan.

However, there are influences and this comes down to how they handle the word of God.

It is easy for people to use the word of God to justify living worldly lives. Many big-time televangelists do this, but not all of them take it to an extreme, as we see among those who are seated “where Satan’s seat is.” These are very similar to Thyatira, but to a lesser degree. I think of it as a form of Christianity that errs on the side of liberty.

They use the liberty we have in Christ and the scriptures to embrace sinful living. These are those who like to focus on the grace, forgiveness, and mercy of God, but do not want to consider God’s hatred for sin and the calling we have as Christians to live righteously. They excuse fornication in the church. They encourage worldly pursuits.

Here is the thing.

Their abuse of liberty casts stumbling blocks before others. I think we are getting onto something now. Sorry I got off track.

Paul the Apostle wrote about this. We have liberty in Christ, but do not use your liberty as an occasion to sin, but by love serve one another. Paul said that if his liberty would cause another to sin, then he would forego that liberty for the sake of his brother. For example, we might have liberty to eat unhealthy food, but if we know a brother struggles with this and they are trying to eat healthy, we do not temp them by waving a cheeseburger in their face.

This flaunting of our liberty at the expense of others can be seen in many ways. I made a post recently about my liberties in music, then I realized that it was a stumbling block, so I deleted it.

Let’s consider some ways in which our liberties can cross over to sin or cause others to sin.

As a woman, I do not like churches that try to regulate how I dress or wear my hair. When they create strict rules, it is legalism. In Christ, we should have faith that the Spirit will work in our hearts the righteousness of God out of sincerity and conviction, not pressure to conform to the letter of the law that makes no man righteous in heart.

So, though I do not abide by laws of man regarding Christian women, nor will I, I do know that the Holy Spirit convicts me not to abuse my liberty in these regards.

I believe in dressing with modesty and humility. I do think our dress is an area of liberty, but I also think some women take it too far. They are proud in their look, immodest, and overly adorned with makeup and jewelry—but that’s my preference—and I trust the Holy Sprit to work it all out in each sister as He wills it. I can’t get away from scripture like Isaiah 2-4. If you are a woman who might be tempted to abuse her liberty in manner of apparel, check this out. We have liberty in Christ, but God does not change. He still hates haughtiness.

I’m sure we can think of others. We have liberty to consume alcohol, so long as we are not drunken or casting stumbling blocks before others. We have liberty to consume media and entertainments, so long as they do not encourage sin in us or in others. We have liberty to earn a living, so long as money does not become an idol. On and on it goes.

We need to learn to seek to the Holy Spirit so that we can find a righteous balance that does not use grace as an excuse for serving the self, but as a bridge that can help us love one another better.

Pergamos does not deny Jesus. They do not try to make themselves as little gods or tap into mysticism and spirits of devils.

They do however use the word of God to condone a life of worldliness, and in so doing, they cast stumbling blocks before others. Anytime someone uses the word of God to convince you that sin is acceptable, do not listen to them. This includes sins of the heart, like violence, pride, lust, greed, envy, strife and vain glory, and so on. These are as Pergamos, whether in small or great ways, and they need to repent.

There is another extreme.

Some forget liberty and use the scripture, including OT scripture, to threaten people and cause them to question their faith. This too is a stumbling block. Many pastors and so-called prophets do this. They use the scripture as a hammer to destroy the brethren, and though the word of God is a hammer, when dealing with our own we should edify and not destroy. Destroy evil in their lives, but in meekness and love, not self-righteous indignation. They hammer people with the scripture and about their sins to such a degree that it is sinful because they over shame people and cause them to doubt their faith.

We can overcome this.

We do not need to use the word of God to abuse liberty as an occasion for sin nor do we need to use the word of God to abuse people. Both cast stumbling blocks and both are carnal Christianity, as I believe the “Nicolaitans” deeds and doctrines represent.

Once we overcome, we will be given the “hidden manna” and a “white stone with a new name.” I still think this hidden manna has to do with the true sayings of the word of God, which He reserves for those who want to use His word rightly and not as an occasion for sin. I also believe that the new name speaks to our adoption as sons by the Son, Jesus Christ—a Son who was a lover of righteousness, who denied Himself all the way to the cross so that we could be forgiven and healed. Let us not use our liberty or lack of love and patience to bring shame to His sacrifice.

If we bring shame to His sacrifice, if we count it as an unworthy thing through shear lack of care, neglect of the calling we have been called to as Christians, and misuse of His word to justify works of the flesh by way of misusing liberty or laying laws on others wrongly, then we are at risk of deception from the works of Satan.

I think we see what this leads to in Thyatira. Sorry I jumped the gun a bit. I hope to create a more concise work once all of these 7 church articles are done, Lord willing. I know it’s been a bit rough doing this off-the-cuff. I will clean it up and bring you all something better once I sort it all out in my mind fully.

Thanks for your patience!

Do you have thoughts about what we can learn from Pergamos? What am I missing!!?? I’m certain you have something to add to me, so that we can create a solid work for our brethren concerning the 7 churches of Revelation. Comment or send an email. I’d love to hear from you!

The 7 Churches of Revelation: 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.

“The word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged 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.”

It is interesting that the letter to this church begins as it does. Why does the Lord remind Pergamos that it is He who holds the sharp sword with two edges?

Perhaps they misuse the word of God, and as often happens to those who do, they find themselves judged by the word of God.

When we handle the word of God, we should do so with fear. We are handling something dangerous, and if misused, we could land ourselves in trouble. However, we are thankful that God is dealing with us a sons, so as sons, let us consider.

Pergamos is located “where Satan’s seat is.”

What does this mean? We know that Satan is the Adversary and the Accuser. We know that He is described as a dragon and as a roaring lion seeking who he may devour. However, what is Satan’s seat?

For understanding on this point, I go to what is said about the coming the “son of destruction.” Here are some scriptures.

Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, 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. – 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4

I think it is safe to say that Satan’s seat usurps God. He acts as God and is worshipped as God within the temple of God.

In the last days, this will take on a much more literal meaning, but what about now?

Who sits in temples, exalting themselves above all others, and claiming to do the work of God? We could say many pastors do. However, please do not take this too far, as I have seen some false prophets do.

Though I take issue with churches built with hands and those who lead them because I do think there is something off about their understanding of the New Covenant and the temple not build with hands, which we are, I still respect that there are good pastors who do good work for the Lord. They and their congregants make impacts for good in this world. Let’s not accuse our brethren.

However, there are many men in temples who make themselves as little gods. Some even go so far as to say they are little gods who just need to unlock their inner goodness and glory. That’s just too far.

No. We are sinners and there is no goodness in us apart from the work of Jesus on the cross and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. We are from the dust and to dust we go. In Jesus we live and we are adopted as sons of God, but we are not in our natural state gods waiting to tap into their power, as some say.

This includes word of faith nonsense, speaking things into existence and creating your future, tapping into the power of the universe to unlock your potential. Anything like that—anything that makes man as God—is of Pergamos and it is of Satan.

We can never forget that these are only men and we are only men. Jesus is Lord. Though He uses man to speak to man, and He ordains leaders, many are not of God but of Satan, the usurper of God.

How can you tell? It helps to be familiar with the word of God because a usurper will always misuse the word of God, just as Pergamos does and just as Satan does.

Satan quoted scripture when he tempted Jesus. It is no wonder if his ministers can do the same. Many of them even tout their bible, making a big show of it and claiming that you will be taught the word of God. Yet, you are not taught the word of God, and if some scripture is used, you can bet it is going to be used out of context to manipulate people for the gain of the pastor or his organization.

One prominent television preacher comes to mind. I think this applies to a lot of the big-time televangelist ministries. However, not exclusively. There has been a trickle-down effect that corrupts many small-town ministries too.

Anytime we misuse the word of God and lead people astray into carnality, we are sitting where Satan’s seat is. So, even if we are small-time and we don’t claim to be little gods, we still need to consider our use of scripture and repent as needed.

Jesus will fight against those who misuse His word and sword with the sword of His mouth. Even Satan himself. It is written that when Jesus returns, He will destroy Satan with the sword of His mouth and the brightness of His coming.

So, let us not sit where Satan sits and let us not trust in those who do.

What is this about Antipas, the Lord’s faithful martyr?

One tradition I read said that Antipas was killed for casting out demons that were worshipped at Pergamos.

In the last days, there are sure to be more faithful martyrs of this sort. When we make a stand against those who dwell “where Satan’s seat is,” and worship things that are demonic, we could be martyred—especially when he who dwells in Satan’s seat is Satan himself.

Pergamos also holds the “doctrine of the Nicolaitans.”

I mentioned in my post on Ephesus that I view the “doctrine of the Nicolaitans” as a stand-in for carnal Christian teaching and living.

It makes sense here. It makes sense that corrupt preachers who exalt themselves as a god and who misuse the scripture would also encourage carnality. I think we get an idea of the form this “doctrine of the Nicolaitans” takes when we consider the “doctrine of Baalam who taught Balac to cast a stumbling block before the children of Israel, the eat things scarified unto idols, and to commit fornication.”

You can read about this in Numbers 22.

In basic terms, Balac wanted to curse the people of God. The prophet, Baalam only received words of blessing from God. So, in order to incur cursing from God, Baalam instructed Balac to encourage the people to commit fornication and to eat things sacrificed to idols.

Does fornication and idolatry matter for Christians?

You bet it does. However, many ministers are willing to sacrifice this truth in order to retain their positions of authority and power. They tell people enticing things that make them feel as if living sinfully is okay. In-fact, it is more than okay, it means you are blessed of God!

(I speak as a fool) He wants you to live your best life now, so go for it! Heap to yourself riches and promotions, and all the lusts of the flesh. Jesus loves you so much, you see. He wants you to be happy, after-all. He does not care about your sexual sins or love of this world. You are forgiven. Go and live your life. “You shall not surely die.” See what I did there?

Liars. Satanic liars.

And they use the word of God to do so. “Hold up your bible! We are going to be in the word of God!” They manipulate people and they do not teach the word of God as a true minister of God, but as Satan who misuses scripture to lead people astray!

Look at the temptation of Jesus in the wilderness (Matthew 4).

Satan tempted Jesus with bread when He was fasting and hungry. He temped Jesus to “throw Himself off of the pinnacle of the temple,” thereby tempting God. He told Jesus that He could give Him all the kingdoms of the world if Jesus would bow and worship Satan.

Desires of the flesh, shows of miracles and signs that tempt God, love of the world and ungodly ambition, and a desire to be a ruler over this world — these are the things Satan tempted Jesus with — and it is the same for the Satanic minsters of Pergamos.

Let us overcome the ways of Pergamos.

Jesus is the Lord and the King. He is God. Not man. Jesus will teach us His word through the Holy Spirt and He will give us a sincere desire to know the scriptures. He can send good teachers to help who handle his word with fear and not carelessness or self-indulgence. In so doing, we will learn the ways of the Lord of a truth, and His ways are not the ways of this world.

His ways do not condone lust of the flesh, ungodly ambitions, and a love of this world. His ways do not create fat ministries and pop-culture superstar pastors. His ways do not create small-time pastors who follow in the footsteps of the Satanic giants.

Instead, His ways will slay the giants. Just as David slew Goliath—with his own sword. What poetic justice.

However, let us not forget. “But for the grace of God, there go I.”

We should strive to find a balance that recognizes evil and stands against it, but not in a blood-thirsty way, lest we find the chastisement of God pointed in our direction. When the Holy Sprit speaks in us, it is Him speaking and doing the works. However, He speaks within those who keep the commandments of God. So, focus on that first. The rest will come at the right time.

Wait on the Lord. Tarry in Jerusalem. I am certain of this.

Almost done. Thank you for bearing with me through this long article.

Let’s look at the closing statements.

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.

If we overcome the temptations of Pergamos, Jesus will give us something better than all the worldliness Pergamos has to offer. This includes the hidden manna, which I believe is the true word of God that is hidden from the “wise and prudent” whose “heart is far from God though they honor him with their lips.”

You also get a white stone with a new name that Jesus gives specifically to you. You will not be a son of Satan who usurps God, but a son of God of a truth adopted into the family of Jesus Christ by His sacrifice and work in us. How wonderful!

The 7 Churches of Revelation: I Could be More Like Smyrna Too

“Take up your cross and follow me” is a lofty command, and not one I am quick to keep as I should.

I look at this in a few ways, and I think the Church of Smyrna is a good example of what this means.

We can take up our cross as we take a stand against evil, knowing that the world will hate us for it and want us killed.

We can take up our cross as we patiently endure suffering and persecution, rejoicing in the Lord and His promises despite our circumstances.

We can take up our cross as we die to self and to sin, which can be painful as we war against sin.

We can take up our cross as we trust in Jesus to provide for us instead of trusting in man or the things of this world, even if it means death.

We can take up our cross as we turn the other cheek, love our enemies, and trust in God to avenge as we reject the ways of violence and instead seek the path of peace.

Smyrna suffers, but despite all of their suffering, they are rich. They are rich towards God because of their faithfulness and a heart that is “poor in spirit,” always looking for areas of lack and searching for more aid and power from Jesus by the Holy Spirit in them.

As for me, I fall short in many ways.

I appreciate all that “take up your cross” might mean, because ahead of this I want to keep the commandments of Jesus and walk faithfully in His ways. Doing so means death. However, as Jesus reminds Smyrna, “he that overcomes will not be hurt of the second death.” We will live again and be given a crown of life!

I would that I could do better about “taking up my cross.”

I usually have no trouble speaking against evil, so long as I am confident that I know enough about what I’m speaking about. If it’s dealing with things that seem to be very nuanced, I’m not as quick to jump on board because I have done this in the past and was shown to be foolish as a result. In this way, I have learned to take up my cross and die to pride, knowing that most who I view as enemies have some valid points and I should listen so that I can speak to them in an effective way, not just bulldoze them with clever arguments.

However…

I’m not so great at enduring suffering with patience. I’m a complainer and prone to fear, but I do see the Lord working on this.

I know how painful it is to fight against sin. I still have areas of sin I fight against, the chief one being anger and my temper. That’s why I am so adamantly against people who justify these things. For me, they are a kind of Satan to me. I have to say, “get behind me, Satan.” I should rather die for the ways of Jesus than let my flesh cause me to sin and bring shame to Him.

However, to those who are better than me and who can “be angry and sin not,” do not be accused or misjudged by me. Jesus knows your heart. I just do not expect Jesus to give great power to those who are prone to wrath, lack self-control, and have froward mouths, like I do. To this, I must continue to “take up my cross” as I learn to “turn the other cheek” and suffer with patience, peace, and joy in the Lord.

I’m not so great at “taking up my cross” and trusting in Jesus instead of this world. I have had struggles with covetousness and fear of poverty—though, not at an extreme level. I think my problems here have been somewhat mild, other than the anger and resentment that sometimes went with it.

I have put seeking Jesus above riches. I have a business that is very basic. I do just enough work to provide for my family. If I put the time I spend in Christ and placed that effort into growing a business, if I used my full potential in that regard, my family would be very well off.

I do consider myself to have one Smyrna trait, and that is being “poor in spirit,” so even if I am not so great at taking up my cross right now, I trust that the Lord will see my desire and work this in me more fully, for His Name’s sake.

I also know that we all need grace. God sees what we value. He sees our struggle against the flesh and our desire to be pleasing to Him. Maybe we do not become perfected in the spirit of Smyrna, or maybe we do.

I think we should aim to be as Smyrna. However, all things hinge on the grace of God towards us. We are justified before God by the blood of the Lamb, Jesus Christ. If we put our trust in Him, seek Him with our whole heart, repent of sin and be “poor in spirit” as we “hunger and thirst after righteousness,” He will do wonderful things in us!

Do you have thoughts about what we can learn from the church of Smyrna? Please leave a reply in the comments section. I’d love to hear from you!

This is My Beloved Son. Hear Him.

Jesus said that false prophets would rise, and all the more once His Day approaches. He was right. There are many who want to be prophets, but instead of waiting on the Lord, they force the issue.

Let me give you some clues about the false prophets today.

First off, they like to use the prophets of old to justify their sinfulness. For example, Elijah was grumpy and had a temper. Moses “spoke unadvisedly” when he found the people giving into idolatry. Well, if they did it, then it is okay, right?

“This is my beloved Son. Hear Him.”

This is what the Father said when Jesus appeared transfigured with Moses on one side and Elijah on the other.

Jesus Himself said that of all the prophets, none were as great as John the Baptist, and he who is least in the Kingdom of Heaven is even greater than John.

Stop using Old Testament prophets to excuse your wickedness. You are abusing the word of God, and you might find that two-edged sword slicing you up.

We are called to a higher calling in Christ Jesus.

Jesus and the Apostles said some things that we cannot forget, and it is so tempting to in this time.

We are to turn the other cheek. We are not to overcome evil with evil but overcome evil with good. We are to be wise as serpents but harmless as doves.

Many so-called prophets today have it backwards. They bite as a serpent and their wisdom fails them as drunkards. They are drunken off of their love of violence, love of being something great in the kingdom of God, and love of one-upping people who oppose them in love, trying to get them to wake up from their drunken stooper.

It is fitting to “abhor evil and cleave to what is good.” Abhor evil. Abhor wickedness. Call out the works of darkness and expose the workers of the wicked in high places. We are called to do so. But, if you are wise as a drunkard and harmful as a one who tears with their teeth and stings with their tails, if you are one who out of their mouth is frowardness “smoke and fire and brimstone” then you are not God’s prophet. You are Satan’s.

And you make things worse. You give the enemy fuel for their fire, you draw them nearer to the flock of the Lord, and you probably don’t convince any of them to repent.

Repent yourself and wait on the Lord. He will give power to those who are self-controlled, humble, lovers of peace, and lovers of all that is righteous and haters of all that is wicked including the false prophets.

I trust that the Lord will deal with the brethren and none who love Him of a truth—even if they are acting as false prophets presently—will fall away. That’s my hope. God will use them, and perhaps as Paul they will be even more zealous for speaking the fire of God and not the fire of the serpent.

If you are listening to someone who stirs up feelings of wrath and self-righteous indignation, who uses the word of God to justify works of the flesh, who is a lover of violence, then stop listening to them.

On the other hand, if you are listening to someone who is all peace and love without abhorring that which is evil, but instead justifies the wicked and refuses to stand against the works of evil, stop listening to them also.

It can go to the extreme in both cases. In Christ, we are to walk a balance. We are to find that “straight and narrow way” that often is found in the middle of extremes. Seek the Lord to part the waters for you, so to speak, so you can walk in the right way.

“Take heed to yourselves.” Seek Jesus and focus on your own areas of sin first, because many false prophets are out there with huge beams in their eyes. There are many who would cause you to forget the love of God on one hand and those who would have you justify the wicked on the other. So, again I say, “take heed to yourselves.” Seek Jesus for yourself so that you can be filled with the Holy Ghost. He will teach you all things.

As for delivering people to Satan, as Paul did, this can be necessary. However, if you are drunken then your aim is going to be off and you might find yourself being judged by your judgment. I dare anyone to attempt to deliver me to Satan. I have been delivered from him already by the Mighty God, and I am with Him now. I know Satan when I see him. Try me.

The 7 Churches of Revelation: Smyrna

And unto the angel of the church in Smyrna write; These things saith the first and the last, which was dead, and is alive;

I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich) and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan.

10 Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.

11 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death. – Revelation 2:8-11

Jesus, who is the first and the last, was dead and is alive, and by whom we can overcome the second death, offers words of comfort to Smyrna.

Smyrna is a gathering of believers who do not neglect the suffering of a Christian. They know that “it is not given to us only to believe on Jesus, but to suffer for His sake.” This is a “take up your cross” kind of church.

They die to themselves and to this world, and as result, they go through many difficulties in this life. They put Jesus above riches in this world, esteeming riches in the Kingdom of Heaven to be far greater. They also view themselves to be “poor in spirit,” always seeking the Lord for more of Himself so that they can better conform to His image in this present world and live faithfully to Him.

Though they are poor in this life and consider themselves to be “poor in spirit,” Jesus says to them, “you are rich.” They have treasure in Heaven, both in this present world through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit and His works in them and also in the Kingdom of Heaven to come. Jesus will reward them for all the suffering they endure for His Name’s sake.

Yet, more suffering is to come. As they have always suffered for the Name of Jesus, so will they suffer when the False One and his Whore Bride come into full power. These will persecute Smyrna, cast them into prison, put them on trial, and sentence them to death because they refuse to accept the False One as Lord.

Jesus tells them to expect more suffering, but do not fear. Jesus knows all things and your reward in Heaven is waiting for you, even everlasting life.

Who is the Synagogue of Satan mentioned here?

This is the hard truth we are exploring and one of the main reasons why we are considering the messages to the churches. The Synagogue of Satan carries the name of Jesus, but they do not follow Jesus as they should, but the things of this world and the princes thereof.

They are given time to repent, and if they repent, they will join in with the spirit of the faithful churches, one of which is Smyrna.

If they do not repent, then they are at risk of falling away (having their candlestick removed) during the time of great deception when the Son of Perdition (I like to call him the False One) will appear and reign “for a short time.” He will cater to the unfaithfulness of the churches and lure many into worship of himself. Many will think he is God and they will forsake the brethren and persecute them to death. Once it goes this far — once they are found “drunken and smiting their fellow servants” — Jesus will return and count them among the unbelievers.

How does this apply now?

I believe that we all have something in part to repent for within the household of the Christian faith. However, I also believe that it is Jesus’s faithfulness we trust in. If we love Him of a truth, He will open our hearts so that we can see how we have gone astray in the many generations since He left. Through Him and the Spirit, we will “rebuild the wastelands and desolations of many generations.” Yet, we will be persecuted by those who fall away into full apostacy.

As of now, there is a spirit of apostacy that we all must face honestly. The “synagogue of Satan” is not a physical or genealogical church, but a spiritual church. In Christ, a Jew is not a Jew outwardly, but inwardly as the scriptures say.

If Jesus is Lord of our life, then we are grafted into His house and His church, New Jerusalem. We are grafted into the natural olive tree, as Paul the Apostle said. As Jesus said, if we abide in Him and He in us, we will bring forth much fruit as a fruitful branch that abides in the True Vine of Jesus Christ.

Abiding in Christ means suffering in this world. We suffer because the world hates what Jesus stands for. We suffer when God chastises us as sons for our sin. We suffer sometimes simply because we live in a fallen world, but through patient endurance and praising Jesus we bring glory to His Name all the more because of our suffering.

Christian teachings that deny suffering are not of God. Remember what Jesus said when He spoke to Peter who rebuked Jesus when He said He must die. Jesus said, “Get behind me, Satan. You savor the things of man and not of God.”

To all who expect a Christian life to be one of ease and comfort, worldly prosperity, popularity in this world, and claims “I sit a queen and am no widow and shall see now sorrow,” we say, “Get behind me, Satan.” Lord willing, these will repent and turn their hearts to Jesus and away from the false security and comforts of this world—security and comforts that lead to only one outcome: death.

Is a Christian who might be considered rich in this world barred from being of a Smyrna spirit? I don’t think so.

Jesus said that is not good for a man to be rich in this world but not rich towards God. You can have both. However, worldly riches can be a distraction and lead to a false sense of security that values the world’s security over Jesus. Jesus said that few rich would find the Kingdom of God, but with God, all things are possible. Paul the Apostle said that he had learned to both abound and be abased. Both are good in their season as the Father wills it.

If a person is financially well off, understands that this is from the Lord, and does not condemn the poor as being forsaken of God but understands that the Lord blesses us all in His own way for His own purposes; if they are compassionate towards the poor and themselves “poor in spirit” — which is the real poverty that matters here for Smyrna — then I see no reason why they should be viewed as outside of the spirit of Smyrna.

However, in the last days when no man can buy or sell without worshiping the False One, we may find that we are all made poor in this world, but this is blessing. We can see the Lord work and provide for us, most importantly, in the Spirit as we are strengthened of Him.

Am I as Smyrna? Not as much as I’d like. For more, see I Could Be More Like Smyrna Too