You will better understand this study if you understand the Purpose of the Book of Revelation. I would recommend starting with the Purpose then returning to this study.

The seven churches are like a list. When we look at lists, we want to look at things that are repeated and also differences. Let's look at these in this list of seven letters to seven churches.

1. Of the seven churches, Yeshua had nothing bad to say about two of them, nothing good to say of one of them, and both good and bad of four of them. An overall summary of this is that it's not what these four churches are doing that will get them to Heaven; it what these four New Testament churches are not doing that will keep them from Heaven.

2. To every church, the letter is addressed to the "angel of the church of...". We often think of angels as this heavenly being but the word "angel" merely meant messenger. What has happened is that we've taken a word of a common linguistic nature and made it into some kind of spiritual word.

Understanding that "angel" merely means messenger, these letters are written to the "messenger" of the church, or more modernly known as the pastor.

3. The seven letters end in " He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches." First, notice the plural form. It's evident that all churches were able to read all letters.

Second, the term "He who has an ear, let him hear" is translated today to "If you will listen". We see a phrase similar to this in Matthew 13:

‘Hearing you will hear and shall not understand,
And seeing you will see and not perceive;
For the hearts of this people have grown dull.
Their ears are hard of hearing,
And their eyes they have closed
(Matthew 13:14-15 NKJV)

The problem is, most people will shut their ears to the truths of this text.

4. To each and every church, Messiah Yeshua says He knows them by their WORKS. I often hear people say "We are saved by Grace and not by works" and I absolutely agree with that. There is nowhere in Scripture that you will find that we are saved by works. At the same time, I dare for anyone to find in Scripture where we are judged by Grace. How do these two work? Quite simply, it revolves around the relationship. I don't buy my wife flowers because it's my duty, I buy her flowers because of my love for her. If we love our God, the works come naturally.

5. To each church, Messiah Yeshua comes in a specific way. Each way that Yeshua comes to the church is listed in chapter one, and that way has to mean to that church.


“ To the angel of the church of Ephesus write,
‘ These things says He who holds the seven stars in His right hand, who walks in the midst of the seven golden lampstands:2 “ I know your works, your labor, your patience, and that you cannot bear those who are evil. And you have tested those who say they are apostles and are not, and have found them liars; 3 and you have persevered and have patience, and have labored for My name's sake and have not become weary. 4 Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love. 5 Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place—unless you repent. 6 But this you have, that you hate the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.
7 “ He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give to eat from the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God.” ’
(Revelation 2:1-7 NKJV)

The context of Ephesus:
We find Ephesus in Acts and, of course, the letter to the Ephesians. In Acts, we learn that Ephesus has a temple of artemis (Acts 19:23-35) and a temple to Diana; which led to an uproar against Paul (Acts 19:23-41).

In Rev 2:2 we read Messiah Yeshua coming as “Him who holds the seven stars in His right hand”. The right-hand shows power and authority and the saving power of God (Psalm 20:6), and the stars represent teachers (Rev 1:20). Yeshua walks among the seven golden lampstands which represent the church; or church status (Rev 1:20). So what we have is a picture of Christ with the leaders of the churches in His right hand and His control over church status of a congregation.

In Rev 2:2 we see that the people of Ephesus are working hard. Yeshua is probably not talking about their civil job but rather the work for the Kingdom. They are not only working but they are persevering in their work. They are not tiring. They are continuing in the work full force.

They cannot tolerate the wicked. They can not tolerate sin. This would not mean that they did not associate with sinners. What they didn’t do is a compromise with them; nor did they allow it to enter the church. It’s highly possible they had removed wicked people from the church (1 Cor 5:9-13).

They tested teachers and pointed out the false teachers. They did not allow people to teach them theology apart from the doctrine of the Kingdom of God. Which takes us down to the point that they hated “the practices of the Nicolaitans” (Rev 2:6). There are many theory’s of how the Nicolaitans came to be but one thing sticks out in almost all theory’s - their practice was a Gnostic / Manichaeism theology. These theologies were basically a sloppy grace practice. They believed there were two equal waring powers of the universe, one good and one bad. In everything, there were two equal waring powers and since that was the case it did not matter what the bad side of man did as long as the spiritual side was toward God.

First, there are not two equal warning powers: God is Creator and satan is a creature. Satan can only do what God allows and can only go as far as God sets limits.

Second, when our spirit is toward God, our flesh follows. It is impossible for the flesh not to follow IF we turn toward God (Hebrews 10:26-31).

The church of Ephesus was dealing with hardships because of Christ; yet they were persevering and did not grow weary in it (Rev 2:3; 1 Peter 2:20-21; 4:16; Matt 5:11-12).

It sounds like this church really had it going on. It sounds so much better than most churches I know in America today. They never tired in their hard work for the Kingdom of God, they didn’t compromise with the world nor allowed in people who compromised, and they tested teachers to make sure their doctrine did not get distorted - and called out false teachers. This churches seemed like it rocked - until we get to verse 4

“YET, I hold this against you” (Rev 2:4). Even with all that good work, there was still a problem. Was it faith? no. Was it legalism? no. Was it not enough grace? no. What was it? They “have forsaken the love they had at first.”

What happened was, they started running through the rituals of church and there was no real relationship there. It was there at one time, but it grew cold.

Even though they were doing all those good things, the fall from a love relationship with God was a great fall (Rev 2:5). We need to consider this in America. Most don’t know what a relationship with another human is supposed to look like; none the less a relationship with someone you can’t see and touch.

Think about a relationship with your spouse, a close friend, a close relative. What do we accept in that relationship? Would you consider it a relationship if your spouse rarely talked to you; and when they did, all they had was a list of chores for you? Would you consider it a relationship if they spent their money only on themselves? Would you consider it a relationship if they never really wanted to learn about you and hear what you had to say? Would you consider it a relationship if they rarely wanted to spend time with you? What if you had a spouse who made excuses for why they could not spend time with you only to hang out with someone else? What if your spouse was sleeping around; would you call that a relationship? If it were legal, you’d probably want to kill them and the person they are sleeping around with. None of these are relationships yet the thing that should concern us is that we are that spouse when it comes to a relationship with God.

The truth about sin is, sin is not merely messing up or continuing in something that we are not supposed to do. We view sin from a man perspective and we must get into God’s Word to view sin from His perspective. When we choose sin over God, God see’s it as us “sleeping around” on Him. All through Scripture Israel is called a whore, a harlot, adulterer because they are engaging in sin (Jeremiah 3:8; Hosea 4:15-16).

In Ezekiel 16, the Lord reminds Israel of how He lifted them up from filth and nakedness. He paints a beautiful picture of His love toward His people. Then we get to verse 15:

you trusted in your own beauty, played the harlot because of your fame, and poured out your harlotry on everyone passing by who would have it… You also committed harlotry with the Egyptians, your very fleshly neighbors, and increased your acts of harlotry to provoke Me to anger… You also played the harlot with the Assyrians, because you were insatiable; indeed you played the harlot with them and still were not satisfied. 29 Moreover you multiplied your acts of harlotry as far as the land of the trader, Chaldea; and even then you were not satisfied.
30 “How degenerate is your heart!” says the Lord God, “seeing you do all these things, the deeds of a brazen harlot
(Ezekiel 16:15-30 NKJV)

We must see sin for what it is. If we want to take control of sin in our lives, we must see it in the way that God see’s it. We must understand that when we spend very little time with Him, spend very little money to expand the Kingdom, spend almost no time in wanting to learn about Him, that we are that spouse who is cheating on their Groom. Pursuing the pleasures in this world over God is not just having fun, living life to it’s fullest, making mistakes, or stumbling to a Holy God - it’s harlotry.

We don’t tend to view sin this way. We don’t tend to view the pleasures this world has to offer this way. Because we fell for a lie that a relationship with God was going to church, condemning sin (as it pertains to the Law), making sure we go to a good gathering that teaches good doctrine; but don’t miss this, the Ephesians had all this and were still not in a relationship with God. Their lives turned into a pattern, a habitual act, that led to a stale relationship. And, though they did not allow sin in their lives, the fall from this First Love was as great a sin that would keep them from Heaven. It was a sin they HAD to repent of (Vs 5b). Their repentance was one that they had to be victorious in (Vs 7).

Because of their fall from Love, Yeshua threatens to remove the “candlestick” (Rev 2:5); He threatens to remove their status as a church. Just because we build a building, market the music, donuts, and teaching, bring a gathering of people into the building each week to sing songs and listen to a sermon, it does not mean that is a church. Christ has control of the status of a church. Notice this, the letter is to the minister of the church. The minister is a star in Christ’s right hand, but it’s the lampstand (church status) that will be removed. We will not make it to Heaven if we are not part of Christ’s church (not any specific denomination).

If you’ve heard the argument of “once saved always saved” these letters to this churches should awaken to the truth. This is a New Testament church. This is a church who once was in a relationship with God. Look at the wording used: “You have FORSAKEN the love you HAD at first”. They had a relationship with God and now they don’t. We are not talking about anyone who was never saved, to begin with, we are talking about a church whose leader is in Christ’s right hand and with who Christ walks among their candlestick; yet, because they no longer have that love relationship, their church status is threatened; their eternal life with God and Christ is threatened. If you don’t want a relationship with God now, here, what makes us think we will have a chance there?


8 “ And to the angel of the church in Smyrna write,
‘ These things says the First and the Last, who was dead, and came to life:9 “ I know your works, tribulation, and poverty (but you are rich); and I know the blasphemy of those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan. 10 Do not fear any of those things which you are about to suffer. Indeed, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and you will have tribulation ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.
11 “ He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. He who overcomes shall not be hurt by the second death.” ’
(Revelation 2:8-11 NKJV)

We see the description that this is definitely Christ writing the letter “Him who is the First and Last, who died and came to life again” (Rev 2:8).

This is one of the two churches that have no reproof from Christ

The church was dealing with afflictions and poverty (Rev 2:9). The city of Smyrna was under the rulership of Rome. The leaders of Rome, during this time, was persecuting the church in Smyrna. The Christians were having their property taken from them and even being put to death. Why was this happening?

Yeshua seems to make a couple connections here. First, there’s a connection between the afflictions and poverty and those who called themselves Jews (Rev 2:9). The Jew’s did not like the Christian church; we see the Jewish leaders fighting them all through Scripture. The Jew’s could not do anything about the gentile Christian church so they took their case to Rome and accused the Christians of viewing a King higher than the ruler of Rome (which is true) and accused them of being dangerous (which was false). We see these accusations made in Acts, with Acts 17:6-7 as an example:

Christ said these Jews are a part of the synagogue of satan. This is not a new accusation from Christ. He called the Jewish leaders of satan in John 8:44. The Jewish leaders are so under the influence of Satan that they do his work of slandering the Christians so effectively that the Roman authorities think them a real threat to the empire and arrest them.

There also seems to be a connection between Rev 2:9 and Rev 2:10. The Jew’s are slandering this church, causing afflictions and the plundering of their property. In verse 9 Christ calls them from the synagogue of satan and in verse 10 he says “the devil will put some of you in prison to test you”. Satan himself is not going to put them in prison. He will work through his “synagogue” to do this. The slandering, the lies, are so bad, people in that church will be imprisoned and even be killed for their profession of faith to Messiah Yeshua.

It’s ok. This life is short. We’ve only about 70 - 80 years in a span of eternity. We all will have an eternity but only 70 - 80 years here on Earth; and it’s the 70-80 years that determine our eternity. This life is so short. What happens here does not matter when we look at eternity.

I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us
(Romans 8:18 NKJV)

For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, 18 while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal
(2 Corinthians 4:17-18 NKJV)

There is an eternal life given here; eternal life and a crown of victory (Rev 2:10). How do we obtain that? Notice that Yeshua does not say to do it by a confession of faith. He does not say do it by being as safe as possible. He does not say do it by avoiding persecution or fighting with the devil over persecution. Christ says to “be faithful, even to the point of death”. That is how we receive eternal life - being faithful - even if it cost us our lives. We don’t fight back, we don’t avoid them, we are faithful to God and stand strong - like Daniel when a decree was made against praying he threw open his windows and prayed anyway. This is what the church in Smyrna was doing amidst persecution. The ironic and tragic response of many modern Christians in that atmosphere of conflict is to simply disappear. And to think that they are doing God a favor by stirring up no opposition to His name.

That is not the way the Christians in Smyrna responded. Jesus said in verse 10 that some would soon be cast into prison and that they would be tested to the point of death―all brought on by slander―by people who stood up and called them names. Jesus 'counsel to them was not to lay low and disappear. His counsel was, "Be faithful unto death and I will give you the crown of life."

Notice that this is a condition statement. Messiah Yeshua is saying to this church, "IF you are faithful to death, THEN I will give you a crown of life". Since a condition is given, the opposite must be true also. "IF you are NOT faithful to death, THEN I will NOT give you a crown of life". Understanding that Yeshua gave a condition statement and that condition statements have an opposing argument, we then see how a "once saved always saved" theology doesn't even work with a church who has nothing wrong because what is being said is, your standing and you must continue to stand. If you do not continue to stand, you do not get a crown of life.

Today’s church is starting to be called dangerous. By the minorities that do not like the message and do not want to repent, those who want to remain in darkness, we are being called bigots, haters, troublemakers, even homegrown terrorist; because our message of light does not agree with their darkness. The sad thing is, the church is not being faithful, they are not enduring. Instead, they are giving into the pressure and allowing the darkness inside. We must stand strong or we will miss the prize. This is MUST be the stance in the face of afflictions - Be faithful.


“ And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write,
‘ These things says He who has the sharp two- edged sword:13 “ I know your works, and where you dwell, where Satan's throne is. And you hold fast to My name, and did not deny My faith even in the days in which Antipas was My faithful martyr, who was killed among you, where Satan dwells. 14 But I have a few things against you, because you have there those who hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols, and to commit sexual immorality. 15 Thus you also have those who hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate. 16 Repent, or else I will come to you quickly and will fight against them with the sword of My mouth.
17 “ He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give some of the hidden manna to eat. And I will give him a white stone, and on the stone a new name written which no one knows except him who receives it.” ’
(Revelation 2:12-17 NKJV)

Messiah Yeshua comes to this church with the Word (Rev 2:12; Heb 4:12). Just like all the other churches, Messiah is basing His judgment of this church upon their works (Rev 2:13).

This church apparently dwells in a very bad spiritual country. Though there is plenty of speculation, no one is quite sure what the reference to “satan’s throne” is but we can be assured that it’s a bad place.

The church holds fast to faith in God even though there are those among them who have been murdered for their faith (Rev 2:13). Antipas is a “no-name” in the history of martyrs. There is plenty of speculation, but that is all it is… speculation. The clear point we get is that people have died, someone which everyone must have known died, yet they are holding fast to the faith in God.

Then we see an elusion to “satans” dwelling again. Some think this could be one of the many temples but Messiah Yeshua could also be generalizing the entire area which this church dwell.

Like a few of the other churches, they are doing things right; but, they are also doing things wrong. It’s these wrong things that are going to cause the issue. Think about what we see here. This church has faith, undying faith even in the face of danger; YET, there is still a problem that will keep them from Heaven. This is an echoing theme that we need to take heed to. We are judged by our works and though we are doing something right, if we continue to be in error in other portions of our lives we will not make it to Heaven.

What is one of the things that are wrong? There are THOSE who hold to the doctrine of Balaam. The pronoun THOSE would tell us that not all the church is guilty, only some. What is the doctrine of Balaam?

The story of Balaam can be found in Numbers 22. Balak, the king of the Moabites, was scared of Israel. Balaam was a prophet of God and to the children of God. Batak offered Balaam lots of riches if he would curse the children of God. Now the story of Balaam’s crime is not easily seen on the surface but we must look at this. Balaam was a prophet of God, therefore, his first devotion should have been to God and then to God’s people. Yet, Balaam asks the princes of Moab to stay with him so that he could inquire of God to curse the people. God said no and Balaam sent the princes back to Moab. Balak sent the princes back with more money and Balaam looked as if he was following God. He tells the princes that they could offer their houses full of gold but he could not curse the children of Israel. The point here is that he could not do it because it was against God but rather that God blessed them and NO ONE could curse them at this point. Yet, Balaam again asked the princes to stay in hopes that God would change His mind. God came to Balaam and told him to go with the princes. This must have been a test of Balaam because when he got up to go, this made God angry. Balaam’s actions proved his heart. This is why we are judged on works and not on confession. Balaam gave good lip services but his heart was far from God.

This is where we come to with the church of Pergamos. There were some who gave good lip service but their heart was far from God.

We see this pronoun again in Rev 2:15. There are some in the church that holds to the doctrine of the Nicolaitans. As mentioned before, there’s speculation as to how the Nicolaitans came about. One thing that seems to ring true is that the Nicolaitans were practicers of gnostism/Manichaeism theologies. This means there was some that were holding to a salvation by knowledge and/or they held to a theology of God and satan being equal waring powers and that it did not matter what the body did as long as the spirit was saved.

Notice the pronouns in Rev 2:16. It says to repent or He is coming to YOU and will fight against THEM. What Messiah Yeshua is saying is that because the church is tolerating this sin within the body, He is going to visit all of them, yet He’s going to fight against those in the practice.

When you look at the story of Achan in Joshua 7, you see one man who sinned by coveting and then stealing from God. Because of that one mans sin, the entire tribe of Israel suffered. When God confronts Israel, He says “the children of Israel committed a trespass” and the “anger of the LORD burned against Israel” because this one man sinned (Joshua 7:1). Paul warns that a little leaven leavens a whole lump; which is to say a little sin in the camp will cause it to spread through the camp (1 Cor 5:6).

Unfortunately, the church in America is filled with “christians” who give good lip service but fail to have a relationship with God. They actually know more about the things in this world than they do about God while professing “christianity” and going to church, maybe even talking with a spiritual language. In other words, we’ll talk really good in that “these new shoes will really help me serve God” or “I could do a lot for God with this new luxury car” but fact is, it’s lip service while coveting the things of this world and spending God’s money on our own comforts rather than to spread the Gospel and make sure people are clothed and fed (1 Cor 10:7; Ezekiel 16:49-50).

When it comes to the doctrine of the Nicholaitans, there are churches today that teach this type of theology also. If not teach, at least practice. I was raised in the “name it and claim it; blab it and grab it” theology. These people practice that God has “healed” them but if it’s not manifested then satan is battling that healing. The problem is, to say this is to say that satan is equal to or more powerful than God; and this is not so. It’s also a massive practice among the church to follow a once saved always saved theology or a sinners prayer (it’s that easy) theology and telling people they are saved because of that person repeating an un-Biblical prayer. That person goes away unchanged but believes they are saved. The churches are filled with such people today.

Just because some are not in this practice does not mean they will not be affected by those in the church who are. We must remember that sin hurts everyone in the church. The best thing is not to stay silent but to lovingly correct such practices (Matt 18:15-17).

To him who overcomes these abominations Messiah Yeshua will give them a “ticket” to the banquet (Rev 2:17). The “white stone” was the common “ticket” that was given to victors of the games. The only way you could go to the victor's banquet was to have a white stone from the games. This stone will have a name in it that only the receiver will recognize. This name must be something that is a representation of the relationship they had with God.

Let us not test God. We need to know God's character and revolve our life around His character. God's first, and we will not compromise God for things of this world.


Revelation 2:18-29 (NKJV) “And to the angel of the church in Thyatira write,
‘These things says the Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire, and His feet like fine brass: 19 “I know your works, love, service, faith, and your patience; and as for your works, the last are more than the first. 20 Nevertheless I have a few things against you, because you allow that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, to teach and seduce My servants to commit sexual immorality and eat things sacrificed to idols. 21 And I gave her time to repent of her sexual immorality, and she did not repent. 22 Indeed I will cast her into a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her into great tribulation, unless they repent of their deeds. 23 I will kill her children with death, and all the churches shall know that I am He who searches the minds and hearts. And I will give to each one of you according to your works.
24 “Now to you I say, and to the rest in Thyatira, as many as do not have this doctrine, who have not known the depths of Satan, as they say, I will put on you no other burden. 25 But hold fast what you have till I come. 26 And he who overcomes, and keeps My works until the end, to him I will give power over the nations—
27 “He shall rule them with a rod of iron;
They shall be dashed to pieces like the potter's vessels’—as I also have received from My Father;
28 and I will give him the morning star.
29 “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”

To this church we see Yeshua come as the "Son of God". When you see the title "God" in the Bible, whether referring to the Creator or man, the title is derived from the title elohim. That's right, elohim is not a name of God but a title. This is why the religious leaders are called elohim (Ps 84) and Moses is called elohim (Ex 7:1). The title elohim is equivalent to today's "judge". In contrast to when you see LORD (all caps) which is translated from YHWH. YHWH is the name given through the convenient and means "a friend". Remember these when you read Scripture like Psalm 18. Understanding this, we see Christ coming to this church as "the Son of the Judge". If that would not be enough, He then adds attributes like "eyes of fire".

This is another church that seems to have it going. Yeshua says He knows their works, love, service, faith, and their patience. None of these are addressed; thus, what He knows of them are apparently good. In fact, their works are better now than they were in the past.

Since Yeshua has pointed out their works so strongly, is He hinting that they are saved by their works? No. But we must remember that the Grace that saves teaches us to be ZEALOUS for good works (Titus 2:11-14). We know faith without works is dead (James 2:14-26). So these brothers and sisters were working hard for the kingdom of God. They have love for their brothers and sisters and served well. Their faith was strong and they stayed patient in any suffering. Yet, it's verse 20 that things get interesting.

In their midst was a woman that Yeshua called Jezebel. Now, this was not THE Jezebel but rather a woman who acted much like Jezebel. Today, this woman would be called, "having the spirit of Jezebel". In all actuality of the grammar of "spirit", this title is so. The church was allowing this woman to teach and seduce others within the church. This is not good. A little leaven leavens the whole lump (Gal 5:9; 1 Cor 5:6). They should have called the woman to repentance (Matt 18:14-17) and if she would not listen then they needed to get her out of there (1 Cor 5:5-7). This church was not trying to restore the woman, and those she seduced, nor were they getting her out. This is the problem. The problem is that they were not doing anything, and this is not loving your neighbor.

Let's notice a few things here:
1. People think it's downright wrong to remove someone from the church because of sin, such as that of sexual immorality. Fact is, Yeshua has a problem with this church allowing this sinful woman in their midst. Notice the three groups of people. There are those who allow or accept, the woman (vs 20). There are those who are seduced by her, her children (vs 23). There are those who have not fallen into these things (vs 24). Each of these groups has a different outcome. Christ will give to "those who commit adultery with her", "her children", (notice second person pronouns), sickness and death. He will give to each one of "you" (first person pronoun) according to your works. There are "the rest of Thyatira" which will receive the power over the nations, if they hold fast. Anyone who studies Scripture cannot actually believe that God is fine with non-repentant people within the body.
2. The church was not instructed to cast the "spirit" of Jezebel from the woman. "Spirit" is a mindset, it is not a demon. This is why any moral sins were never addressed by casting out anything, or binding any kind of "stronghold", etc. Moral sins must always be addressed on the principle of repentance.
3. Understanding that this is a New Testament church, we see that God, when it comes to unrepentant sin in those who claim to be His children, still lays down judgments in this life. Notice that God says "HE" will do it. Many believe that God will not cause sickness, loss of goods or calamity to fall on a Christian; yet here we see God casting this woman and those who follow her, into a "sick bed" and ultimately death. The purpose is to cause them to repent. Like any parent who disciplines, the discipline of God is for correction and not vengeance. (See also: Kill, Steal, and Destroy)

Notice that the "give to each one of you according to your works" is directly connected with the sickness and death put on Jezebel and those who follow. Notice that this is not a future judgment but rather an earthly judgment for the refusal to repent. This is the "New Testament God". I say that because the American church seems to disconnect the judgment of God on earth in the Old Testament from the God of the New. Remember that God does not change.

The co-mingling that is happening is called "the depths of Satan. That is so not good. Those who don't follow this pattern need to hold fast while those who do need to repent. For those who are holding fast, it seems like the wicked ones are ruling, and they may be for a time, but the righteous will rule in the end.

The "power over the nations" does not mean the righteous will have a rulership roll while sinners are still alive. Genesis 1:28 has God telling Adam and Eve to subdue the world and rule over it. There was no one else alive and sin had not yet fallen. This is the context of the end for the saints.

What the church needs to learn from this letter is that we don't need to go with what culture, even church culture, says is right. We need to understand that Christ did not take away God's hatred towards sin. The New Covenant also did not take away God's judgment on non-repentant sin in this life. God disciplines, in ways we don't like (that's what makes it discipline) and does so to bring us to repentance. We need not allow non-repentant people in our midst. We restore them or we get them out; even though it's culturally unacceptable. Our God should be YHWH and not culture.


Revelation 3:1-6 (NKJV) “And to the angel of the church in Sardis write,
“These things says He who has the seven Spirits of God and the seven stars: ‘I know your works, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead. 2 Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die, for I have not found your works perfect before God. 3 Remember therefore how you have received and heard; hold fast and repent. Therefore if you will not watch, I will come upon you as a thief, and you will not know what hour I will come upon you. 4 You have a few names even in Sardis who have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with Me in white, for they are worthy. 5 He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life; but I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels.
6 “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” ’

The seven spirits of God is somewhat of a mystery in our day. First, we must understand the original definition of the word which "spirit" was derived.

The word "spirit" here comes from the Greek word "pneuma". It’s first and foremost definition is air (pneuma is the word by which we get the word pneumatic for pneumatic tools). It can also mean breath or breeze. It can only mean a “spirit” figuratively or metaphorically; by which most modern people see that word. In other words, it means a person of rational, a vital principle, or mental disposition. Now, this is liable to bring all sorts of questions to your mind but this is the definition. Thus then, when the “spirit returns to its source” (Ecc 12:7) then it’s the breath which returns to God because pneuma, or in the Hebrew ruah, is only figuratively a spirit of man and not really this ghostly thing people picture. Understanding the "rational" side of pneuma, or ruah (exact same meaning just Hebrew instead of the Greek pneuma), we see where God will remove our ruah (rational) and give us His ruah (rational) (Ezekiel 36:26). This understanding of pneuma then helps explain why sometimes you will see the Spirit of God (Isaiah 11:3), spirit of Grace (Zech 12:10), spirit of truth (John 14:17), spirit of adoption (Rom 8:15), spirit of life (Rom 8:2), and spirit of Christ (Rom 8:9). It's easy to see how these are a level of rational, or mental thought; i.e. the rational understanding of Grace and truth.

This is not to set in a new doctrine or one that is close to the "oneness" doctrine. There are other portions of text that lead to a being as with the Comforter (John 15:26) and Holy Spirit (Luke 11:13).

I'm sure that does not help clarify what the seven spirits of God are but it, at least, gives you some insight into the meaning of the original word rather than modern day conjecture.

There are two different beliefs of the seven spirits of God:
1. Some believe that it is the seven-fold ministry of the Spirit. It's believed that Isaiah 11:2-3 has a list of the ministries of the Spirit of God and that this list explains what is meant by the seven spirits of God.
2. Some believe it's a symbolic statement of perfection. In Revelation 5:6, there is a picture of Yeshua having seven eyes. We don't believe He has seven eyes. The number seven is a number of perfection; therefore it's understood that the seven eyes represent perfect sight or all seeing. There are some who place the same understanding with the seven spirits of God; being that of a perfect spirit.

As my own addition to understanding what the overall meaning of pneuma means, it could very well mean perfect knowledge.

The point that muddies the picture of seven being perfect in this case comes into the seven stars. We are told the meaning of the seven stars; which are the seven angels, or messengers, of the seven churches (Rev 1:20). These are not angels as we picture but rather the ministers, or messengers, of the churches (See Introduction to this section for more detailed information on this topic). Now I would contest that these seven ministers are "perfect". Therefore, the seven spirits remains a mystery.

This church was worried about its reputation but it was not worried about its character; because they had a NAME of being alive but they were actually dead. This condition is usually the result of complacency in a relationship. A husband and wife who do not continue to pursue each other, because the ring is already on the finger, or been on the finger for many years, will have an appearance of a marriage to everyone around them but behind closed doors it looks more like a fight, or someone just going through the motions of marriage. A rock-solid marriage is a marriage in which both parties continue to pursue each other; no matter how long the marriage has lasted.

The relationship with God is the same as one of a marriage. God is always pursuing but we typically become complacent. We figure we've said the prayer, we sing praises on Sunday morning, we go to church, say a prayer every once in a while, and we believe we are fine. We coast through this thing called "Christianity" with a reputation but in all actuality, the relationship has been long gone.

CHALLENGE: Would you be satisfied, and would you call it a relationship, if your spouse said they wanted a "relationship" but they only wanted to spend a couple hours a week with you, didn't care to learn about you, only cared to talk to you when they wanted something and to thank you for cooking for them; they will call themselves married to you and even post your name on Facebook a few times a week to prove they are married, but other than that they rather spend time on their own things? I dare to say no one reading this would say they call that a relationship but that is exactly how we treat God and we try to declare that a relationship.

When that is the kind of "relationship" we have, we are not pursuing. This is why the next statement from Yeshua's mouth is to "be watchful". If we are "watchful", in our relationship, what we are watching is our spouse, what we are watching is God.

Yeshua has not found the works of Sardis perfect. Why? Because they are going through the motions of a "marriage" while not actually pursuing. Remember that the heart of God, and the Grace of God, will make us zealous for good works (Titus 2:11-14). It's the works we do that is the same as doing them to Christ (Matt 25:40). In the relationship with Christ, doing for those in need is liken to buying your spouse a ring or a new car, it's like taking them out to eat or calling them to see how they are feeling when they are sick. If we are merely going to church on Sunday yet ignoring those in need around us, our works are not good.

What is probably happening here is much like the church today. It's not that there are no works at all. It may not even be that they are only Sunday going people. God points out that there are works but those works are not perfect. Think about that for a moment. This means that someone could be work in ministry, feeding the homeless, visiting those in prison or in elderly homes or orphans, and their works are not perfect. How could their works not be perfect?

We are a people that desire attention and appreciation. It's unfortunate, but something that may have started genuinely can easily lead to something that is attention motivated. This is where flattery can be so dangerous. As soon as people start to flatter, the flesh starts to enjoy that flattery then we tend to do things in order to receive more flattery. Flattery is like a drug to flesh. The more it gets the more it wants. Considering the condition of this church, this is likely what is happening. It's why they look good on the outside. Their reputation is good because of the works they are doing but their motives are bad; therefore they are dead. They are dead because God is the one who deserves any glory; not us. As soon as we do a thing for our own attention, we remove the attention from God and we become the same as satan.

So we have a church that is merely going through the motions and not doing any work for God; rather they work the work of God but for self-gain. The problem is, if we work for God we must give up some of our time for God, like a relationship. We must give up money for God, like a relationship. We may need to put our freedom and safety at risk because these are the areas of the unreached. This is why Yeshua moves to the statement of "Remember how you have received and heard...". The people of Sardis and Asia Minor as a whole were reached because of persecution for the Gospel. They were reached by people who risked their freedom, their safety, their money, giving up their lives for the people in these areas.

In America, we have a hard time relating to this kind of sacrifice to either give or receive the truth of the Gospel. It's likely that most reading this page were either raised in the church, came to God because they wanted their life better, and the likes. Unless you were once in prison or homeless in America, you likely did not hear the Gospel by someone who sacrificed time and money to bring it to you. Honestly, that's only if we can not think past our four corners of this world. We must remember the sacrifice of Christ. We also must remember that the Gospel of the Kingdom went for by perfection. Let us remember the countless lives that were burned alive, skinned alive, sawed in two, crucified so that the Gospel and the Bible could come to us. Let us remember by what means we hold this incredible book in our hands.

Verse three says, "If you do not watch, I will come upon you like a thief." It's vastly taught that people of God will not be taken as a thief BECAUSE they know the signs in the world. That is not what Paul was saying.

(1 Thessalonians 5:1-5 NKJV) But concerning the times and the seasons, brethren, you have no need that I should write to you. 2 For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night. 3 For when they say, “Peace and safety!” then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape. 4 But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief. 5 You are all sons of light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of darkness.

First, notice that the Thessalonians apparently asked for signs to the coming of Christ. Paul says there's no need to write you on this; you know He comes like a thief. In other words, there are no signs (See Matthew 24 - coming soon). If you look out your window and see a suspicious van parked in front of your house, there would be a suspicion that thieves may be staking out someone's house in your neighborhood; maybe yours. This usually doesn't happen because a thief comes when no one is expecting. So then, how are we not taken like a thief? The reason is in Paul's statement: "But you, brethren, are not in darkness, SO THAT..." So, why will the day overtake Christians? Because they don't walk in darkness. He continues to say "You are all sons of the light... not of the night or of darkness."

The reason the day does not take us like a thief is that we are watchful, not of signs in the sky or on the land, but in our relationship. We are not complacent. We are working in this relationship. We are working out our salvation with fear and trembling. We are working on the sharing of the Gospel and desire that God's name be glorified in those around us.

The great thing is that even in a church that is dead, there are can a few with life. We must be careful here. It's at this point that we want to point the finger at ourselves and say we are not dead. I challenge you to compare your relationship with God, in the same manner, you would compare a relationship with your spouse. Does your relationship with God consist of learning about Him, growing (real growing) in Him, doing good for Him, and the likes? Or does it look more like the example shown earlier in this portion of this study? If it looks more like the example given earlier, then we fall in a very dangerous area.

You really need to look at verse five and see the meaning of this passage. Yeshua is talking about the overcomer. These would be those who had "not defiled their garments". These will be given white garments and Yeshua will confess their name before His Father. We see these two statements in other portions of text.

White garments: Revelation 19:8 says the white garments are the RIGHTEOUS ACTS of the saints. Whenever we talk about being clothed in white garments on that day, we need to remember that these white garments come from the "works" we do or the righteous acts we do.
Confess them to the Father: Matthew 10:33 says that those who deny Christ before men will be denied before the Father but those who confess Christ before men, Yeshua will confess them to the Father. When we look at the context of this statement, we see there's more going on here than a verbal confession. I would challenge anyone to start at the beginning of the chapter and see all the language being used, the subject at hand. Even directly before this statement in Matthew, we read:

(Matthew 10:27-31 NKJV) “Whatever I tell you in the dark, speak in the light; and what you hear in the ear, preach on the housetops. 28 And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. 29 Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father’s will. 30 But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. 31 Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.

Christ is talking about preaching what He's told us. Not passively but loudly from rooftops. Knowing this will not be liked by many, He tells us not to worry about a man who can kill us for proclaiming Christ's words.

And then He starts the statement at hand with, THEREFORE... which means His denying and confessing statement is built upon what we just read.

Some may be asking, "Are you telling us that failing to preach the Gospel of Christ to those around us, even if we are afraid of rejection, afraid of persecution in any way, that we are denying Christ?" No, I'm not. Christ is.

This is why we see a connection between these two statements in Revelation 3:5 and the context of the issue with this church. Remember, they've forgotten how they've heard and come to God. They've not watched but become complacent by going through the motions of church, having a good reputation around them, but actually dead in the relationship with God.

Our take away from this letter is that God is more interested in character than reputation. Reputation feeds one's own desire for attention while a Christian with good character feeds the Glory of God.


Revelation 3:7-13 (NKJV) “And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write,
“These things says He who is holy, He who is true, ‘He who has the key of David, He who opens and no one shuts, and shuts and no one opens”: 8 “I know your works. See, I have set before you an open door, and no one can shut it; for you have a little strength, have kept My word, and have not denied My name. 9 Indeed I will make those of the synagogue of Satan, who say they are Jews and are not, but lie—indeed I will make them come and worship before your feet, and to know that I have loved you. 10 Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth. 11 Behold, I am coming quickly! Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown. 12 He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he shall go out no more. I will write on him the name of My God and the name of the city of My God, the New Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God. And I will write on him My new name.
13 “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”

The "key of David" represents power and judgment (Rev 1:18). Notice that the statement says "The WORDS of the Holy One". When asked who we will be judged by, in the end, some say God and some say, Christ. Yes, Scripture says Christ will judge the living and the dead (2 Tim 4:1); but Christ said it's not He that will judge but the words He's already spoken (John 12:44-50). For those who push people away, people who are trying to restore, saying not to judge that God will judge them... this passage should not be a comfort. Actually, if you ever really read the words of Christ, the words that judge us, most Americans should not rest easily.

The most likely reason this church was one of little strength is that the Christians were so few in number. He then makes a very hard statement about a false religion in that day calling them "a synagogue of satan". This may have been referring to the many "Jews" who claimed to be followers of Christ while trying to force gentile to keep rites and rituals of the Old Testament. It could also be a reference to the New Testament "Jews", claiming to be followers of Christ (Gal 3:29; Rom 2:28-29). There was a man by the name of Theoleptos who rejected Catholicism but who he himself practiced secret rites of mysticism. It was by Theoleptos's mystic rites that the Orthodox were formed and from this practice came Hesychasm.

Though Smyrna was a church that had no reproof, like Philadelphia, Smyrna was told it would go through a period of suffering. To the Philadelphians, they were told they would be spared trials. I believe these are two different things.

Trials can mean a period of suffering but can also mean a period of riches. America is going through trials today. Not in any problems we are having but in the abundance we have. You can not serve both God and money and we are in a constant test, a constant trial, of which we will choose. Unfortunately, we are failing miserably.

Things get interesting in verse eleven and things that are believed. It's believed that, while these are real churches with descriptions of real churches, these are also periods of time. I'm not saying this is true, but I'm not saying it's not. It's interesting when you look at the different comments made to this point. To Ephesus Christ said He "will come". To Pergamon, He said He "will come to you quickly". To Thyatira He said "till I come" and Sardis He said they "do not know the hour" of his coming. Yet to Philadelphia Christ says He's "coming soon".

When one looks at this theology and then the sparing from trials, and when we look at how America is being tested on her obedience to God versus the love of pleasures; and when we look at the theology says the Philadelphia era ended in mid-1800's, we then have to ask the question... "What's the trials?".

If the "era of Philadelphia" would be spared the trials then the generation would need to pass away before the trials started. That brings us to the early 1900's. It was in the early 1900's that the greatest form of time wasting was invented.... television. While not everyone had on in their home during this time, the popularity eventually grew. From this technology came cable, VCR's (that's like old people's DVD's for those who may not know what that is), DVD's, digital movies, etc. Since then computers were invented and from that comes internet, YouTube, Facebook, and the likes. For the first time in history, we can carry several versions of the Bible, commentaries, writings of Josephus and Spurgeon, and many others all in a notebook-sized device. Yet, do we use this technology to study, to learn? People say they don't have time to study Scripture but how involved are they in sports, TV, movies, Facebook, etc.? If these churches are era's of time, this would be the trial - this would be the testing.

The person who overcomes the trials will be a pillar of the temple. The apostles are the foundation, with Christ as the cornerstone. Those who withstand the fiery trials were good building materials in the building we are working. We must be cautious to build with good materials. I believe the trials and the reference to the pillars of the temple work hand in hand with Paul's parable in 1 Cor 3:9-15.

What do we get from this letter? Even in leaving out the mysteries and theologies, God honors those who stand strong though they are weak. Our strength needs to be in God.


Notes only at this time. Conclusion coming soon.